The School Board Game

It’s best to keep our expectations low when giving unsolicited advice to congressional Republicans. We hope they won’t let Barack Obama get away with telling the country the coming budget sequester means deep and painful cuts in barely adequate federal spending. His tactic is especially contemptible because it’s so familiar.

We’ve always called it the school board game:  Taxes keep rising to pay armies of overfed assistant principals and dubious guidance counselors, citizens turn out to protest at the school board meeting and board members—many owing their positions to the teachers’ union—announce that they’ll have to eliminate band and football.

Last Tuesday, Obama posed with cops and firefighters and told the country it will need to get by with a lot fewer of them if the federal government reduces current-year spending—by the measly 2.3 percent required under the sequester.

Never mind that cops and firefighters are paid predominantly with local, not federal tax dollars. And never mind that anybody who takes an oath of office has some explaining to do if public safety personnel disappear while any other part of government is still standing.

And never forget that the sequester is Obama’s invention. He demanded it in 2011 after breaking a debt-limit deal with Congress. Now he’s reduced to running around the country telling horror stories that are pure nonsense.

Relentless deceit becomes a tactical imperative when a guy who really doesn’t know all that much convinces himself he’s the Supreme Genius of All Time. It now has Obama denouncing his own ideas. Call this progress.

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Bics and Barf

Sometimes an off-the-wall remark about a seemingly unrelated subject explains things we’ve struggled to understand. Last week brought two examples, from Colorado, where lawmakers have been debating the right of self-defense.

The Liberal mindset was starkly illuminated by advice legislative Democrats and a state university dispensed for women concerned about self-defense against rape.

In summary: Don’t even think about carrying a concealed weapon. Fight back with a ballpoint pen or vomit on your attacker. We’re not making this up.

Assuming you’ve already heard the story, we bring it up again because alongside the obvious outrage, it illustrates both big and small things about Liberal priorities.

The small thing is that between rapists undeterred and self-reliant women fending off violent crime, Liberals clearly judge self-reliant women more alarming. The big thing is the kind of reasoning that invented the Bic and Barf Defense can’t possibly be confined to the ways society confronts rape.  It is the generic Liberal suspicion of anything that enables people to control their own fate.

Liberals hate being ignored and they know criminals ignore laws.  Prescribing better behavior by criminals is a poor way for liberals to demonstrate their relevance, so they find validation in regulating the activities of law-abiding people. In the case of the Bic and Barf, the interests of Liberals align perfectly with the interests of criminals.

Industrial-strength fraud

It’s not surprising that the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) is playing up the Obama administration efforts to make voter fraud routine.

Add in the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board’s (GAB) indifference toward ballot security and resistance to reform, and it’s clear we’re up against a tag team of government agencies contriving ways to nullify our votes.

This past week the DLCC touted recommendations including expansion of early voting, online voter registration, Election Day voter registration at the polls and restricting the practice of purging dead people and ineligible registrants from poll lists.

As you’d expect, nearly every DLCC claim revolves around the slander that ballot integrity is just camouflage for racist voter-suppression. They even cite a study finding polling-place “wait times were disproportionately longer for Democrats and Democratic-leaning demographics by huge margins in 2012.”

That might even be true without in any way indicating voter suppression; what we do know about the “study” is that the DLCC doesn’t mention it was commissioned from a Democratic polling firm by the AFL-CIO.

What we also know is that this is the opening salvo in a ferocious barrage of lies designed to render the right to vote meaningless—all in the name of the right to vote.  Meanwhile the GAB helpfully insists Wisconsin can’t afford the cost of ending same-day registration, and fresh examples of the fraud that never happens turn up week after week.

Supreme Court SOS

Suppose Government Motors laid-off a few thousand members of the United Auto Workers Union because Americans—obstinately shortsighted as we tend to be—aren’t buying enough Chevy Volts.

If you agree with Ed Fallone’s reasoning in defending the constitutionality of ObamaCare, then you’d also agree that Congress could enact a law mandating that you buy a Volt.

This matters because Ed Fallone could be elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in April. He would make a 4-3 Liberal majority and ObamaCare reasoning would be applied to every significant case to come before the court. Bury your cash.

Last spring Professor Fallone wrote about a debate in which he defended the individual insurance mandate.  The bottom line is that where interstate commerce is concerned, Ed Fallone doesn’t think there’s anything Congress can’t force you to do. And transactions—or even a refusal to engage in transactions–needn’t cross state lines to qualify as interstate commerce.

Fallone uses a 1942 decision to help make his case.

The case of Wickard v. Filburn (1942) is the closest precedent to the individual mandate.  The law upheld in Wickard forced farmers to enter the market and purchase wheat that they might otherwise prefer to grow themselves.

The decision to forego health insurance is similar to the decision of the farmers to forego the wheat market.  In both cases, Congress is requiring the consumer to participate in the national market.  The only difference is that the farmer wants the wheat now while the health care consumer wants to delay their purchase as long as possible.  If the offensive nature of the individual mandate simply reduces to a question of timing, then one has to question why such a distinction should make a difference.

It’s not the timing that offends us.  It’s the endless ways in which government can control our lives under Fallone’s  interpretation of the constitution.

Here’s one scenario:  GM workers are laid off because nobody wants a Chevy Volt, they’ll collect federally-enhanced unemployment compensation. That generates a measureable cost with interstate implications and Professor Fallone says Congress can step in and order you to make a purchase to help abate such costs.

Don’t bother quibbling about private citizens being ordered to buy specific consumer products; Professor Fallone cites precedent claiming “plenary” power, as in “unlimited” power, for Congress to regulate interstate commerce. Heck, even if a legislative body doesn’t actually believe it has unlimited powers, the Ed Fallones of this world will say it does, and so it will.

Most Spring elections are low-turnout affairs in which ordinary good-citizen voters can be overwhelmed by big-union interests like those propelling Fallone’s campaign. The consequences would be grave.

Tax Fraud

We don’t believe the carbon dioxide tax introduced in the U.S. Senate last week by Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Barbara Boxer (D-California) is going anywhere. It probably has a 50-50 chance of passing the Senate  because Senate Democrats know the House of Representatives won’t take it up—unless majority Republicans want to prove themselves unworthy of the air they breathe.

But it’s not without value as a teaching tool.

Note, first, the increasingly agitated talk of “doing something” to rescue Earth’s climate following a steady trickle of disclosures that global average temperatures have been essentially flat-lining for the better part of two decades, while carbon dioxide emissions continue increasing.

A million arguments can be made on climate issues, but steadily rising CO2 in the atmosphere and no temperature trend in either direction leaves 999,999 arguments few of us need bother about.

So it would appear that while Sens. Sanders and Boxer and the Obama administration are intent on rescuing something, it isn’t the climate. Most likely they just want the money, as their tax would theoretically raise upwards of a trillion dollars over the next ten years.

Our guess is they wouldn’t get that much, even if the tax were adopted in a misguided tradeoff for approval of the Keystone Pipeline. If it happened, such an approval would soon be regulated into a nullity—presumably right after the 2014 midterm elections.

Still, the vengeful repetition of proven failures practically defines left-wing liberalism, so of course they’ll pursue a tax that doesn’t deliver. Paul Driessen offers a picture of what we’d really get from Sanders and Boxer’s disingenuous anti-carbon crusade.

The tantrum strategy

Every legislative session begins with talk of bipartisan cooperation and civility. Nowadays, the mirage lasts as long as it takes for people to start paying attention. At that point, anyone making the slightest pretense of objectivity must see Democrats everywhere—as a minority in the Wisconsin Legislature or running the U.S. Senate and White House—struggling frantically to make every issue be about anything except competing ideas. In the doghouse or in charge, today’s Democrats resemble children maneuvering to escape adult supervision.

Among recent examples:

The increasingly bizarre State Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) suggested in a public hearing that the Walker administration committed federal felonies by requiring state employees to pay a share of their benefit costs.

Veteran lawmakers feign ignorance of legislative courtesies to create imaginary grievances. Making legislators co-authors of resolutions without asking is trumped up into an issue with sinister racial implications. See the accusation and the reply from a grown-up.

Outside the legislative chambers, people attending public hearings in the Capitol have noticed that “sing-along” protesters during the noon hour interfere with the conduct of lawful business. Now, a sometime member of the purposefully disruptive group is litigating state government’s authority to require permits for demonstrations in the Capitol building. By preserving the ability to converse in the Capitol—with moderate difficulty—the Walker administration crushes the First Amendment, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

As defined by the Left and the media, civility means Republicans shutting up and Democrats saying anything they want about Republican ill will.  Things won’t get better unless Democrats find their numbers so small as to be irrelevant. Then, they may learn something. Don’t get your hopes up.

Things are tough (almost) all over

Are government employees the only ones who didn’t get invited to the party where the rest of us have been reveling in eight percent unemployment and declining GDP?  The Fond du Lac Reporter seems to think so.

The headline identifies Wisconsin’s Act 10 collective bargaining reforms as the malefactor in “smaller paychecks” and “reduced opportunity” for government workers. County Executive Alan Buechel is quoted saying “Because of property tax freezes, we cannot afford to give raises.”

Cry us a river. It isn’t as if private sector employees are running out of closet space to store the cash showering down from their raises over the past several years.

Government as an employer isn’t going to shut its doors because of what happens to the private sector, but lots of private-sector employers have been shutting their doors because of what government does to them. We’re waiting for the Reporter to pick up on that.