Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We Are Ohio is Generous With Your Money

County deficits - The Buckeye InstituteIn many ways, Issue 2 is the same as other state and national arguments over government spending. Leftists work furiously to remind voters they’re saving us from the misery of smaller government, with the assumption we’re too stupid to realize their demands mean higher taxes.

The We Are Ohio campaign is not about “middle class jobs,” but about an unsustainable status quo that’s made the unions rich. In a word, union bosses are charitable with taxpayer money. The graphic at left from The Buckeye Institute shows where this leads; orange indicates severe deficits, and red indicates worse.

Stripped of debates over economic forecasting and falling property values, is there any sense in We Are Ohio's position? Imagine living in a city - let’s call it Ohiopolis - with two churches running soup kitchens on opposite sides of town. Both churches have noble goals and similar financial resources.

West Church keeps things simple, providing basic lunches three days a week. The menu is soup, bread, coffee, and water, served in adequate portions. West Church has little trouble funding their soup kitchen. The congregation is happy to help the community but always mindful of their limited time and money.

East Church is more generous. Each day, the needy of eastern Ohiopolis are treated to a breakfast of organic fruit, fresh pastries, and free-range bacon. Lunch and dinner menus feature elaborate fish, chicken, and vegan dishes. Every month, East Church shifts more of its donations to the soup kitchen. The most well-off congregants are pressured to keep operations afloat.

How many hungry will East Church feed when they run out of money? Could you blame members for balking at unsustainable spending, or for leaving East Church to attend West Church instead? Promising the impossible doesn't show you care - it proves you're careless.

Though it takes some serious faith to believe union talking points, We Are Ohio is not a church. Government unions get rich by forcibly taking dues from members, and get away with it by demanding benefits taxpayers are forced to pay.

We Are Ohio acts appalled that taxpayers expect government employees to pay small portions of their health insurance & retirement costs. We Are Ohio claims it’s “unfair” and “dangerous” to consider merit when distributing raises or making cuts. Is it fair or safe to drive Ohio’s businesses and citizens away with smothering taxes to fund unsustainable government?

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted at that hero.

Ohio Farmers for Issue 2

Yesterday Ohio's largest farm organization weighed in on Issue 2 as the Ohio Farm Bureau has endorsed a 'Yes' vote on Issue 2.  Representing over 200,000 members, the OFBF issued a press release explaining their support of Issue 2's reforms.  The Farm Bureau's executive vice president Jack Fisher explains the reasons for their endorsement in the release:

If we are to preserve jobs and services, local governments need flexibility to manage ever increasing labor costs. Issue 2 allows public employees to collectively bargain for hours, salaries, terms and conditions, just like they have for more than 25 years, Fisher said, But now, taxpayers have equal footing when it comes to the negotiating process. (emphasis added)
This endorsement was no spur of the moment decision.  The Ohio Farm Bureau heard arguments from representatives of each side, an examination of the issue that included hosting the first debate on Issue 2. The Farm Bureau endorsement is the latest in a series of endorsements that include the Ohio Society of CPAs, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and others in supporting the reasonable reforms of Issue 2.

For months the debate on Senate Bill 5/Issue 2 was dominated by voices from the left claiming to represent the working class of Ohio.  But, now that some of Ohio's hardest workers are coming out in support of Issue 2, it's increasingly clear that the more people learn about the true nature of Issue 2 the more they are coming to support its retention.  Though We Are Ohio claims to be the voice of Ohio's working class, it's hard to find any groups willing to endorse their repeal effort beyond the union bosses who have funneled millions into their campaign.

The farmers and small business owners that help form the heart of Ohio's economy are now making their voices heard and saying vote Yes on Issue 2.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

OEA teachers campaigning in the classroom?

This week is the first back at school for most Ohio kids. For the younger kids, it's a time for mixed emotions. If they're like my son, they are sad that summer's over, but also excited to see their friends again and start a new year.

One thing children should not be subject to is divisive political campaigns in the classroom. There will be time enough in their adult futures for such matters, and school should be a place of learning, not partisanship.

Fortunately, most school systems agree, and have rules against political activity during school hours. The Toledo Public Schools certainly have a rule like that. employee will not:

misrepresent the District, but take adequate precautions to distinguish between his/her personal and institutional views;

interfere with a colleague’s exercise of political and citizenships rights and responsibilities or
use instructional privileges, District resources or working time to promote political candidates or partisan political activities.
But when it comes to union politics, apparently the rules don't matter to the OEA. Check out this photo in the Toledo Blade from yesterday's first day of school.

Toledo Blade

A fourth grade teacher is sporting a "No on SB5" button in the classroom. I wonder how many other teachers are doing the same thing in an effort to indoctrinate children. Think I'm taking it too seriously? Think the word "indoctrinate" is over the line? Not so. Remember our article from May, where we highlighted an Ohio Education Association newsletter that encouraged teachers to promote unionism to children?
They come right out and say, "it's essential that they not only become teacher unionists, but teachers of unionism. We need to create a generation of students who support teachers and the movements of teachers for their rights."

Really, OEA? What about creating a generation of students that isn't failing math, reading and science?

Speaking of math, the OEA believes that even mathematics should have their progressive views included in the lesson. Math! They encourage Ohio teachers to teach "Radical Math". I wish I was making this up, but I'm not.

They actually lament that the math textbooks out there...I can't even believe I'm typing this...aren't political enough!!
Disturbing stuff. I can imagine the teacher in the photograph, (I'll omit her name, you can read the Blade article for that), can't wait for students to ask "Teacher, what's that button with the crossed-out 5 mean?" Then, she can talk about how the bad guys hate teachers and we need your Mommy and Daddy to vote to save the teachers!

Think that's bad enough? Wait until you read the accompanying article, and you'll discover one huge example of irony. The article is about Robinson Elementary School, and how it is Toledo's worst performing school. The district is pulling out all the stops and enlisting some unconventional methods to turn Robinson around.
The district picked Mr. Bronaugh from Sherman Elementary to lead the new Robinson and fourth-grade teacher Natalie Sexton was chosen as the building's teacher representative.

And that's it.

Breaking district procedure, TPS left the hiring of staff to Mr. Bronaugh and Ms. Sexton, who could ignore seniority rules and pick the teachers they wanted. The only rule was that no more than 50 percent of the staff could be from the last incarnation of Robinson.
In the interest of performance and what's best for the kids, they are being allowed to pick the staff they want from around the district, while ignoring seniority rules. Say, isn't making decisions based on merit, and not seniority, one of the reasonable reforms contained in Senate Bill 5?

This November, vote YES on Issue 2!

Obama's bus tour was a fraud. The buses were flown from stop to stop.

Remember President Downgrade's "Midwest Bus Tour" about jobs? Apparently he thought that the answer to high unemployment has nothing to do with all the uncertainty in the market right now. No, what we really needed was for POTUS to pack up TOTUS and hit the midwest for some more campaigning.

Of course, the White House didn't describe it as campaigning. They said it was a "listening" tour. To Barack Obama, "listening" apparently means speaking to crowds about how none of our economic problems are his fault, and placing the blame mainly on Republicans. He forgot to mention that for 2 years his party had complete control of the US Government, and was able to pass his stimulus bill.

Apparently, the American public was quite unimpressed. According to Gallup, his approval hit a record low. But that wasn't the only problem. On a tour that was touted to specifically address American jobs, the administration ordered buses made in...Canada
WASHINGTON -- President Obama is barnstorming the heartland to boost US jobs in a taxpayer-financed luxury bus the government had custom built -- in Canada, The Post has learned.

The $1.1 million vehicle, one of two that Quebec-based Prevost sold the government, has been tricked out by the Secret Service with state-of-the-art security features and creature comforts.
Ed Morrissey asks why they couldn't have ordered buses made in this country.

Why not use a manufacturer based in the US? I’m certain that Complete Coach Works in California could use the work, for instance, or North American Bus Industries in Alabama. Setra USA manufactures its buses in Greensboro, North Carolina, a key state that Obama could easily lose in 2012. Wouldn’t a $2.2 million buy there have turned a few heads? For that matter, Obama could have bought them from Motor Coach Industries and picked them up in his home state of Illinois at the start of his tour.
Why did Obama go on a bus tour anyway? He's got Air Force 1. He can fly into wherever he wants to do his campaigning, er, I mean listening. White House press secretary Jay Carney explains.
"The president needs to get out in the country and meet with real folks in real places," he told reporters aboard the Air Force One flight to Minnesota. "And as you know, a plane this size is hard to get into small communities."

Ah. Well, that certainly makes sense, doesn't it? The President wanted to go to smaller communities. Kinda nice. So he had his Canadian buses made so he could ride them in security from stop to stop.

Except, he didn't. He actually did fly AF1 from town to town, and even the buses were flown from town to town.
Apparently President Obama only rode the buses for a couple of miles at a time, spending the rest of the time flying from community to community in Air Force One. What’s more, the buses were flown from stop to stop as well. It’s normal practice for the President’s entire motorcade to be loaded up on cargo planes and flown from destination to destination. The buses were just a new part of that motorcade.
Because you can't get a 747 into those small communites, you know.

Obama's fake bus tour about jobs but without a jobs plan reminds me of his ridiculous Greek columns in Denver. He's all about image, and very short on substance.

Monday, August 29, 2011

ProgressOhio continues to beclown themselves

ProgressOhio is a left-wing attack group that seems to be getting more and more desperate in their assault on Governor Kasich.

These are the same jokers who sued in an attempt to prevent Ohioans from making their own choice as to whether citizens can be forced to join a health care system, which is what Obamacare does. They tried to invalidate thousands of Ohioans' signatures and have Issue 3 pulled from the ballot. In their world, the federal government should be free to dictate that you must purchase a product, regardless of whether Congress is granted such power. The Ohio Supreme Court recognized the frivelousness of the effort and unanimously rejected their suit.

Now, they are out with a new smear.
The leader of a liberal policy group levied harsh claims against Gov. John Kasich and the governor's intentions to use Third Frontier dollars for JobsOhio this morning.


Rothenberg said Kasich's intentions to divide $24 million in Third Frontier dollars between six regional economic development agencies for the purposes of working with JobsOhio was a "laundering scheme" to award campaign donors for supporting him and Senate Bill 5. Throughout a monring (sic) news conference, Rothenberg said the Third Frontier dollars were slated to go to "local and regional" chambers of commerce, and said those chambers and their board members have donated more than $430,000 to "Kasich, pro-SB5 lawmakers, and Republican Party campaign committees" since June, 2007...
Rothenberg is being so dishonest, and the accusations are so ridiculous, that the Dispatch article already disproves what he is claiming.

First off, most of the donations he refers to were made before Kasich took office, and before Senate Bill 5 was ever introduced. So, there is no possibility that the donors were looking for a "reward" for supporting SB5.

Furthermore, no Third Frontier money is actually going to any chambers of commerce. Rothenberg lied about that throughout his entire press conference. The money is actually slated to go to development agencies.

In some cases, they highlighted donations to Kasich and Republicans, but ignored donations to Democrats and anti-SB5 politicians made by the same people.
Rothenberg also cited $3,858 in contributions to Kasich and GOP causes made by Team NEO chief executive officer Thomas Waltermire. But Waltermire also donated $1,500 to Democratic House Minority Leader Armond Budish and gave to other Democratic causes during the same time frame.
Normally, I would say, "duh", but Rothenberg knew this detail full well. He just chose not to disclose it because it completely undermines his foolish argument.

And here's the biggest whopper from ProgressOhio. Of the $430,000 in donations that they identified, the overwhelming majority of that money, $372,000, came from members of an agency known as the Greater Cleveland Partnership. Guess how much Third Frontier money the GCP is due to receive to work with JobsOhio?


So, 87% of the donations they are complaining about came from a group who isn't even going to see Third Frontier money. So, how is GCP being somehow rewarded?

Finally, even if Rothenberg's accusation had merit and was true, which it isn't, it would be the height of hyprocrisy.

Using his logic, isn't the relationship between labor unions and the Ohio Democratic Party a "laundering scheme"? Union dues are collected from taxpayer-funded salaries and the vast majority of those funds are directly funneled to Democrats, who reward the union bosses by keeping the forcibly-taken money flowing. If anything is a laundering scheme to use tax dollars to benefit a special interest group, it would be "We Are Ohio".

These folks will do anything, say anything, and straight out lie to the public to defeat Senate Bill 5 and maintain the status quo. Don't let them fool you. Vote Yes on Issue 2.

OEA Member: "OEA has abandoned its Core Values"

The Ohio Education Association (OEA), Ohio's largest government union and We Are Ohio's top in-state donor, has "not only forgotten, but abandoned, its Core Values."

OEA employees on strike
OEA employees on strike
Even more striking OEA employees
Even more striking OEA employees
This is some decades-old union-bashing taken out of context, right? Nope! The above photos are from last year’s Professional Staff Union (PSU) strike against their employer – the Ohio Education Association. The quote comes directly from a September 4, 2010 post on the PSU blog [Update, 09-16-2011: Here's a PDF copy, since union staff have blocked access to the website]:
An OEA member reports that she called OEA headquarters this morning to speak with President Pat Frost-Brooks.  This long-time member was calling to express her dismay that the very association to which she has paid hard-earned dues dollars failed to reach a fair and equitable contract with the PSU employees who provide desperately-needed services to its membership.
In forcing its professional staff on strike, this member said, OEA has not only forgotten, but abandoned, its Core Values.
There's no separating We Are Ohio from the OEA, unless We Are Ohio would like to draw more attention to the millions they've received from D.C. unions. I'll ask again: why should taxpayers trust We Are Ohio when the unions' own members cannot?

On November 8, vote to rein in the power of union bosses who aren't even honest with their own members. Vote Yes on Issue 2!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero and Columbus Tea Party.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lies, Damned Lies, and We Are Ohio

Please join me in welcoming Coelho as a new contributor at 3BP. -Bytor

Yesterday the Ohio Ballot Board approved proponent and opponent statements to be published in newspapers and posted at the polls at public expense for Issues 1, 2, and 3 this November. This “approval” is little more than a formality, as the board lacks the authority to reject the submitted arguments provided it’s less than 300 words. For the biggest fight on the ballot, Issue 2, you can read the proponent and opponent arguments here. The proponent argument, written by 4 Republican lawmakers, lays out an argument for restraining the excesses of public sector unions’ collective bargaining through SB5, backing up several points with statistical facts. Is it written in a way meant to politically persuade? Of course. Every proponent/opponent argument since the dawn of time has been meant to persuade, and this is no different. It wouldn’t be a good proponent argument if it wasn’t persuasive. The “We Are Ohio” opponent argument however is a stream of lies and scare tactics union bosses and liberals have used for generations.

Reading the lies of big money unions that the public will pay to publish is an IQ lowering endeavor into fear baiting. They lie when they say it puts people at risk and threatens police and fire fighters access to safety equipment. The truth? SB5 has a provision specifically declaring that bargaining for anything deemed safety equipment shall not be impacted by the law. They lie when they say it hurts the nursing shortage and cuts their salaries. The truth? First, there are no cuts to wages or benefits to any government employee mandated in SB5. Current contracts remain in effect until their expiration, and the new provisions would only impact the next contract. Even then, giving state and local governments a more level playing field in negotiations does not equate to some great slashing of wages/benefits.

Second, minimal staffing levels would be a condition of employment, an aspect SB5 declares is still subject to collective bargaining. They lie when they say there’s some evil “loophole” being used to exempt certain people. The truth? No loophole exists. The provisions contained in SB5 will apply to all state/local employees. They lie when they say police, fire fighters and teachers “lose their rights and see wages and benefits gutted”. The truth? Again, no one’s wages are cut by SB5, and receiving superior benefit packages while paying less for them than private sector counterparts is not a “right”. Providing greater parity between public and private sector is not the “gutting” of their compensation. They lie when they say “big corporations” and “high-paid lobbyists” are attacking and blaming the middle class. The truth? Well, I could an entire post on the demonizing of lobbyists (noticed more than a few ‘champions of the people’ Democrats had no qualms getting food and drink from the evil AEP corporations’ “high-paid lobbyists” the other day), but the idea that asking government employees to contribute a little more to their benefits and placing mild limitations on bargaining is the same as “blaming middle class Ohioans” for the budget struggles is absurd on its face. The only ones blaming others are the We Are Ohio writers who came up with this manifesto of lies and innuendo.

This isn’t the first instance of unions lying about SB5, and I feel safe saying it won’t be their last. If you’ve followed this issue at all no doubt you’ve heard unions lament how they were “shut out of the process”, how Republicans “refused to listen to them”, and that they “tried to negotiate”. But facts are stubborn things, as John Adams said. Six months ago union leaders told Democrats in the state legislature not to propose any amendments, declaring the bill unfixable. Don’t believe me? Read it yourself (paragraph 17). House and Senate Democrats fell in line and obeyed the union edict. Translation: They shut themselves out. They aren’t interested in negotiation: it’s all or nothing in their world. Then there’s the “army of volunteers” and “grassroots organization” they love to tout. Yes, they did collect about 900,000 signatures to put Issue 2 on the ballot. Funny thing though: the “10 thousand volunteers” that collected signatures somehow cost them:

That’s right, one million dollars. Seems volunteers don’t come so cheaply in the Age of Obama. Now you might see that figure and ask “But, where did We Are Ohio get a million dollars? Some massive grassroots organization of concerned citizens?” I would point you to this analysis of We Are Ohio’s funding. Yep, unions. More specifically, union dues and fees funneled along. Their top 10 donors (all unions) combine for $5,397,000 of cash and in-kind donations. Individual donors? A little over $39,000, a whopping 0.56 percent of the 7 million total. Grace Slick must be proud. Not the counter-culture icon Grace Slick doing backup vocals on “Volunteers” in Jefferson Airplane mind you, but the “We Built This City” era singer for Starship, icon for anyone hoping to sell themselves out for big money. Then there’s the “Stand Up for Ohio” rally last weekend. On their Facebook page, when asked how many attended, their answer was “25,000!!!” And just look at the thousands rallying. (Note to “Stand Up for Ohio”: If you’re going to claim 25,000 attended an event, don’t link to photos showing a crowd of maybe 250, 300 tops.) Every step of the way, “We Are Ohio” has built its campaign on a web of lies.

Why do they do it? What motivates the lies? One word: power. Union bosses are in this fight all the way because they want power. Not for “the people”, not for “the working class” or “union employees”, but for themselves. Unions collect millions from workers and devote a large percentage of their cash not to promoting the interests of the workers they claim to represent but rather to promote the Democratic Party. The collectivist mentality of liberalism is copacetic with the union line. Where an individualist mindset sees the idea of merit pay based upon an established set of standards determined by peers in the profession a logical way to reward excellence, the union collectivist sees a threat. If individuals are rewarded for their individual quality, blind loyalty to a large union claiming to represent their best interests makes no sense. That’s also why unions hate the idea of layoffs based upon anything other than seniority. People who have stayed in a unionized profession longer feel more loyalty and have been more thoroughly “educated” by union pamphlets and field reps than newcomers. Never mind that seniority-based layoffs can lead to teachers of the year being let go, as evidenced here and here. The truth is union bosses don’t give a damn how good any individual is as long as their collective grab to power is protected. That’s why the name “We Are Ohio” makes so much sense in a way. To these power brokers, they are Ohio, not you, not me, not “the working class” or “union employees”, but them, the leaders of the unions. They’ve been able to wield significant power ever since 1983, and they won’t give up even a little of their political influence without a massive, worker funded fight. It isn’t about protecting the people, it’s about insulating and manifesting their own power and influence.

Election Day 2011 is less than 80 days away. So far, unions and their millions of dollars have dominated the course of the debate on Issue 2. But it’s time for we the people, the real ‘We Are Ohio’, to make our voices heard. This is a fight not just over collective bargaining but over who leads and reigns in this state. Do you and I and the great silent majority of Ohio rule, or does power reside with people who believe and declare that “Once taxes are paid to the government, that money doesn’t belong to the taxpayer anymore”? (thanks Twitter handle @Notgvn for the insight into the liberal union mentality) The fight against misinformation and innuendo will not be easily won, but the fight is worth the effort. The reward is a step forward to Building a Better Ohio.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Unions and Villains

I am a public employee. Thankfully I'm classified as Administrative / Professional staff, which means I don't have to worry about being forced to join a union or pay "fair share" fees. Like all public employees, I'm an individual, and should be treated as such.

I am an inconvenience to We Are Ohio. Ohio's government unions enrich themselves by taking money from government workers... the last thing they need is an informed taxpayer pointing that out.

Refer to the reaction of union front group "Join the Future" to the video I posted Tuesday morning:

If you've not seen it, check out my video matching union boss hysterics with union boss pay. At no point do I "attack public workers." Watch closely, also, for the "bitterness" and "unhinged anger" I'm accused of by the official Twitter account of an official union mouthpiece.

The unions don't want you to know Senate Bill 5 offers commonsense reforms to Ohio's broken government union law. That's why self-proclaimed Advocates of Public Workers attack me, a public worker, every time I try to inform fellow Ohioans about the need for government union reform.

Here's another thing you'll never hear from the unions: don't take my word for it. Review We Are Ohio's arguments, and then ask which line of Senate Bill 5 endangers police & firemen; which page slashes teacher wages; which section renders elected officials unaccountable to the voters who pay public workers' salaries.

Because unions are heroes, any criticism of unions is villainy. If this is an accepted truism, questions about union boss pay, raises disconnected from merit, the madness of last-in-first-out, and the need for sustainable benefit plans are unimportant. No wonder Senate Bill 5 supporters are libeled daily!

The troubling thing is not that government unions lie, but that they scarcely do anything else.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted at that hero and Columbus Tea Party.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Outrageous. Unions now using your tax dollars to spread their lies.

We've said it here before. Public employee unions in Ohio hold a privileged status above their private sector neighbors who pay them. They wield power over the taxpayers' elected local and state officials that make it very difficult to balance budgets.

They have lied about the necessary and timely reforms contained in Senate Bill 5 from the very beginning. Their Democrat allies refused to negotiate ANY types of reform at all. No amendments to the bill were offered in the legislature. Not one. Why? Because they will not give up one ounce of the unions power. Their position all along was "kill the bill completely." Their argument was that the status quo is just fine.

Two months ago, meetings were held to further discuss compromise on the bill. The unions walked away.

And just last week, they were invited again to sit down and work out an agreement. They refused to show up.

Their answer is that you should be taxed more to help local governments pay for their excesses. While most of us pay 23% of our health insurance premiums, they say paying 15% is unreasonable. While most of us pay half of our retirement savings, they say asking them to pay 10% is "an attack on the middle class".

They will do anything and say anything to keep their power. They've forcibly taken extra money from their members to put together a misleading campaign of mistruths. But even that wasn't good enough for them. Now, the union front group "We Are Ohio" is using your tax dollars to communicate a list full of false information about the bill.
The ballot argument submitted by We Are Ohio is so full of outright false statements that it barely belongs in a newsstand tabloid. It's just a complete and deliberate attempt to deceive. The Ohio Ballot Board even took the extra step of adding a disclaimer due to concerns about the accuracy of the campaign’s submitted argument. Ohioans are now forced to fund the publication of this tripe under the guise of educating voters, and the ballot board is powerless to stop it. Voters should understand that, once again, the opponents of Issue 2 will do or say anything to keep the failed policies that have led our state in the wrong direction, even if it means using their tax dollars to do so.
Click the link to see the most egregious of their deliberate lies, and the actual truth of the bill.

Ohioans support many of the reforms contained in Senate Bill 5. Last weeks final refusal to discuss any reform at all should tell you the contempt the public unions apparently have for Ohio's taxpayers who are repeatedly sending the message at the polls that they are taxed enough.

This November, send the message that the taxpayers and voters should have the influence over their local governments, not the unions. Vote YES on Issue 2.

Update: GOHP Blog goes right after probably the worst lie the unions tell. Be sure to check it out. Un. Real.

Kasich improving Ohio's relationship with Big 3

Shortly after being sworn into office, Governor Kasich visited the "Big 3" automakers in Detroit to get an assessment of their outlook for business in Ohio. It didn't look good.
Gov. John Kasich called his meetings with the Detroit Three automakers this week “very sobering” and “in some ways very disturbing,” with two of the three blunt in their assessment of Ohio’s business climate.

“I heard words like ‘not competitive,’” Kasich said Thursday. “I heard words like ‘not cooperative.’ I heard words like ‘created a bad attitude and a bad impression.’”

He added, “We are not viewed in that community as the most forward-looking state.”
After promising to turn that around from the previous administration, Kasich returned to Detroit for more face-to-face meeting with the automakers yesterday. Things are already looking better for Ohio.
Kasich reported that executives from Chrysler, GM and Ford all said they’ve noticed a shift to a more favorable business climate in Ohio, and at least one company official backed the governor’s statements.

“We’re very encouraged by the changes we see happening in Ohio,” Bryan Roosa, GM’s executive director for state government relations, wrote in an email. “The attitude toward manufacturers is very supportive, and it’s helping create a very strong environment for business. We’re very pleased with our relationship with Ohio and like what’s happening there for GM.”

Ohio-built Chevy Cruze

Chrysler just announced they are investing in a $72 million expansion at one of their existing Ohio plants. Even better, there are currently negotiations proceding with Chrysler to expand their Jeep plant in Toledo. That would bring $365 million in investments and 1100 new jobs, and the state will meet again with Chrysler next week to work on a plan.

The administration is also working on new project with Ford.
In characterizing his meeting with Ford Executive Vice President Mark Fields, Kasich said he would “have something soon to say” about a new deal or venture with the company.
Obviously, this is all excellent news, and its very encouraging to see Governor Kasich's efforts to make Ohio more business-friendly paying off.

We Are Ohio's Shocking Double Standard

Senate Bill 5 transfers a little power from union bosses back to taxpayers. For this, union front We Are Ohio has spent millions smearing the bill as an “attack on workers.” If you trust We Are Ohio – whose primary in-state donor is the Ohio Education Association (OEA) – union reform simply isn’t needed. Why help local governments get benefit costs under control when we could just raise taxes?

Idiotic as this may be, the rarely-spoken tax hike demands and angry Solidarity Theater make sense given that OEA and the other unions behind We Are Ohio get rich taking dues from workers. But what if the reforms being fought tooth and nail by the OEA were tame compared to policies OEA has tried to adopt for its own employees?

Here are some more photos of the 2010 Professional Staff Union (PSU) strike against the Ohio Education Association, pulled from PSU’s Facebook page:

OEA Employees on Strike
OEA Employees on Strike
Signs from OEA's striking employees
Signs from OEA’s striking employees

Following is a PSU Blog excerpt from last September. If this is what OEA employees think of the state’s largest union, how on earth does We Are Ohio expect taxpayers to believe a word they say [Update, 09-16-2011: Here's a PDF copy of the post, since union staff blocked access to the website]?
One example is OEA’s insistence on removing transfer protections for PSU members. Imagine that one year your district assigns you to teach 8th grade science. The next year, they move you to 1st grade. The year after that, they reassign you once again to 5th grade reading. Sound like a recipe for educational success?  Of course not.
But while even that may be possible to imagine, consider that PSU members work all over the state.  So, to continue using our example, one year you would teach in Parma.  The next year, you would teach in Defiance. And the year after that, you would teach in Athens!  Meanwhile, your working spouse and kids would be either expected to follow you or live without you.  In a statewide organization such as OEA, transfer-at-will simply does not work, to say nothing of being totally contrary to being a good union.
If PSU concedes to what Wicks and his cronies demand, locals will face constant chaos!  Your local could have a new LRC every year.  Imagine how that would impact the services you receive from PSU members!  To further complicate matters, nothing in OEA’s proposal would prevent Wicks from moving our PSU headquarters members out into the field to LRC positions or vice versa.
Certainly your LRC is more effective having developed relationships with you and your members. And of course their ability to facilitate understanding and apply pressure to your school administration and school boards increases with time spent working with your local? Transfer-at-will would make that a near impossibility.
This is just one example of the OTHER issues PSU is standing up and fighting on behalf of Union Values for, and if you think about it, it directly impacts YOU.  The same thing holds true for the OEA Officer/administrator proposals on seniority, union representation, and job security.   At the very least, think of the ‘field day’ school boards and their greedy attorneys will have if OEA is allowed to treat its staff unions this way.
The OEA and We Are Ohio are two completely reliable groups, if you don’t mind that they’re usually wrong and occasionally honest.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted from that hero.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Government Unions: Fighting for You!

I thought it’d be fun to take the shocking union facts from a recent post and string them into a fake commercial, complete with my best ’50s used-car salesman narration. I throw together the shoddy Windows Movie Maker video, you decide!

In a sane world, government union bosses would be ashamed to show their faces in public, knowing they’ve struck it rich by pitting public employees against the public. The best I can hope for is to inform enough voters that the unions behind We Are Ohio shouldn’t be trusted with much of anything – certainly not more of our money.

On November 8, vote for reasonable public union reform. Vote for public workers to pay a small portion of their pension expenses and a small portion of their health insurance premiums. Vote for compensation and layoff policies that don’t reward bad workers simply because they keep showing up. Vote Yes on Issue 2!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted from that hero.

Ohio Dems and unions: Watch the AWESOME

A couple of weeks ago, the Ohio Democratic Party invited their supporters to come out for a major free event to show their grassroots power in opposition to Senate Bill 5.
Join the Ohio Democratic Party and thousands of other Ohioans for the Stand Up for Ohio festival on Saturday, August 20 from noon until dusk at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus. This free festival will feature music from Grand Funk Railroad, The Ohio Players, and Over the Rhine. It’ll also have poetry from Ohio’s own Nikki Giovanni.
Oooo poetry! Yes, when I think of union gatherings, I think POETRY! (What's that poem they recite about "union busting?")

And look who they got to promote the event!

Yes, who better to promote an event to "fight for the American dream" than self-proclaimed communist Van Jones!

This event was going to be so big, that they created a website for it called "Bring Awesome Back!"
They implored people on their Facebook page to get out and show their solidarity:
Ok, all eyes will be on Ohio on Saturday. Kasich is giving the national response to the President about what a great job he is doing in Ohio. Media is still chasing the phony 'negotiations' charade. We can change the narrative with a massive turnout tomorrow...but only if YOU show up. Get up, stand the state fairgrounds noon to dusk.
The folks over at GOHP Blog checked in on how massive the turnout was.
So when they opened the gates, supporters poured in by the bus loads, right? Well, maybe one really short bus:
And that’s their own photograph. Just to make sure we weren’t missing something, we tuned into their live web feed as well:

This is the support they receive? This is their united front? There’s more of an audience at local garage band concerts.

Looks like Ohioans are realizing We Are Ohio isn’t really something worth showing up for, let alone Standing Up with.

What an embarrassment. Where are the grassroots? Why didn't thousands of Ohioans fill the fairgrounds? Come on people, they had poetry!

What's even more embarrassing than that? Claiming that the event drew, get this, 25,000 people.

Well, some big names DID show up at the rally. Here's Ted Strickland, still drawing the huge crowds he did during the campaign last year.

Of all of their photos, this one shows the most people.

Remember, they posted these photographs. Go view their entire album and try to believe that 25,000 were there. Looks more like 250.

Ohio Dems. Bringing back awesome!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Warren Buffett Wants You to Help Fund Liberal Spending

Warren Buffett, is the 3rd Richest person in the world (Per the 2010 Forbes 400). His net worth in that survey was $47 billion dollars. There is no questioning his business acumen, but he seems to have jumped the shark in his recent editorial in the NY Times. In this editorial he talked (his comments are italicized) about the super rich, noting:

"Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent."

Buffett's solution then makes giant leap to raise taxes for those making more than $1 million immediately (so much for the "Super Rich.") He goes on to say that those who make $10 million or more should have an additional increase in their tax rate, saying that "It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice."

I'm sure that Buffett knows that the Top 1% of Taxpayers pay 38% of Federal Income Taxes already. And, since he is expanding his definition of "Rich" to include those who make more than $1 million, he must know that the top 5% of Taxpayers already pay 59% of income taxes. Apparently that's not enough to qualify as a "shared sacrifice." This coming from a man who will never worry about his future, or his kids future. I'm sure that he takes advantage of every part of the tax code to lower his tax bill. Many have observed that he could volunteer to donate to the U.S. Treasury to reduce the deficit. As far as I know he has not done that. Note that Obama further redefines "Rich" to be those who make more that $250,000 per year.

If the U.S. was a business, I doubt that Buffett would invest in the business, and yet he seems to be loaning his reputation to help Obama get his way on the deficit reduction. After Standard & Poor's downgraded the U.S., Buffett said "In Omaha, the U.S. is still AAA. In fact, if there was a quadruple A rating, I'd give the U.S. that." After thinking about why he would do this, I decided to look at his political contributions. The contributions are telling. He made 41 political contributions from 1998 to 2011. Two contributions went to a "RINO," and two more went to a Republican, but I think that last one was a sentimental donation as it went to former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne. The rest of the contributions were to an all star list of Liberals.

The list suggests that he is looking to generate increases in taxes to save his favorite politicians from the results of their own policies. Here is a list of some of the Liberals that Buffett has supported with contributions: Hillary Clinton, Bob Kerry, Ben Nelson, Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, Russ Feingold, John Kerry, Arlen Specter, Daniel Moynihan, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, John Dingell, Bill Bradley, and Chuck Schumer.

As a successful businessman, I think it's time for Buffett to write an new editorial ...... "How to live within your means." I'm sure the aspiring millionaires and billionaires would be grateful for Buffett not putting a road block in front of their own success. While that would be at odds with his political views, in the long run, it would make America a more business friendly country, which would raise all boats. That would require some real "Hope and Change."

Rick Perry runs away with the 3BP GOP Primary Poll

Below are the results of our poll. Rick Perry by a landslide. Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Confirmed: Union boss and "We Are Ohio" lied about meeting with GOP.

Last week, Joe Vardon of the Columbus Dispatch reported that there had been meetings between Ohio Education Association (OEA) vice president William Leibensperger and AFL-CIO president Tim Burga and former GOP Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson and Chan Cochran, a representative of Governor Kasich. The Dispatch reports that two meetings took place to discuss the possiblility of watering down Senate Bill 5 in order to cancel the planned referendum on the bill.

When "We Are Ohio", the coalition of unions opposed to SB5, held their "major campaign announcement" on Saturday, they were asked about these meetings. They denied that any meetings took place with any campaign officials, and denied any knowledge of such talks. Spokesperson Melissa Fazekas actually wanted us to believe that if We Are Ohio's two largest contributors had met with the other side for talks, that We Are Ohio didn't know about it. Uh-huh.

Then, yesterday, according to the Plain Dealer, Burga himself denied it.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga says the union "has never entered into any series of meetings or negotiations on Senate Bill 5," the controversial collective bargaining law.

Burga issued a statement in response to a Columbus Dispatch article that named him as a union leader who in June participated with representatives of Gov. John Kasich in discussions to negotiate a compromise that would end union-led efforts to repeal the law this fall.

Burga called that report "erroneous."
Just hours later, apparently called out on his comments by the Dispatch, Burga walked back his denial.
Burga, president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, confirmed in a telephone interview with The Dispatch last night that he attended two meetings with Jo Ann Davidson and Chan Cochran — the Republicans close to Kasich — and OEA Vice President William Leibensperger.

He also confirmed that ideas were shared on what a deal might look like that would strip Senate Bill 5 of much of its teeth while canceling a fall referendum on the bill, but he objected to those talks being labeled negotiations.

Burga said he “was not there to negotiate” but “was quite interested in what was said,” and he took the information to his union’s executive committee after the first meeting.
Notice how Burga is playing with words to make it sound like his initial denial was not an outright lie. I think once word got out that he had been talking about union concessions in exchange for weakening the bill, there was a lot of backlash among the campaign, so he had to come out and deny it. Luckily for us, The Dispatch had the goods on what really happened.

Here's what voters need to keep in mind on November 8th when they decide on Issue 2:

If the union bosses won't even be honest about whether they discussed the bill with the other side, how can you believe that they are being honest about all of the terrible things they are saying about the bill?

Ohioans are waking up to the unions' propaganda. We posted about a recent poll, as did our friends over at GOHP Blog, showing that people are beginning to see through the class warfare tactics and swing our way.

Encourage and educate your friends and family to Vote Yes on Issue 2.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Math is hard

For the plunderpals, at least, it seems that way. Earlier tonight, they tweeted this:

PPP: 50% of Ohioans support repeal of #SB5, 35% in favor keeping it. Not much different than July Quinnipiac poll.

First, the very poll they linked to is the same one we just posted on. You know, the one with the top line of 50-39, not 50-35.


Second, the July Quinnipaic Poll results were 56% in favor of repeal, and 32% in support of keeping the bill.

Yeah, 50-39 is "not much different" than 56-32. An 11-point spread is "not much different" than 24 points.

In Plunderland, math is hard.

Ohio Independents favor keeping Senate Bill 5

Public Policy Polling (PPP) just released more results from their recent poll of Ohioans, and this time, they included questions about Senate Bill 5. What they found should make the unions a lot less confident about their current position.

So far, polling this year has shown voters heavily in favor of repealing the entire bill, even though they agreed with many of the bills components. I must admit, I was surprised by what PPP finds is the state of Issue 2 right now.
This fall, Ohio will have a referendum on whether to approve or reject Senate Bill 5, which was passed earlier this year and limits collective bargaining rights for public employees. If the election was today, would you vote to approve or reject Senate Bill 5?

Approve SB5..... 39%
Reject.......... 50%
Not sure........ 11%
The partisan breakdown is what you'd expect. Democrats oppose the law and Republicans approve of it.
Half of voters would vote to reject Senate Bill 5 today, while only 39% to support it. The main reason? While Republicans support SB5 2:1, Democrats oppose it more than 3:1, and they make up a 44% plurality of voters. Independents favor it 46-44, but they are only 22% of the electorate.
Wait...what?! The gap is only 11%, and independents have now swung in favor of keeping Senate Bill 5. By a small margin, yes, but that is movement in our direction. And notice how PPP poo-poos the independent vote and trumps up the supposed Democrat plurality of voters. PPP is a Democrat polling firm, remember, and it definitely shows in their comments.

Speaking of the electorate, remember what I said about this poll when reviewing their results on President Downgrade.
There are a couple of things laughable about this sampling. First, they give Democrats a huge 10-point advantage over Republicans. How wrong is that? Well, consider this: In 2008, when Obama was elected, it was certainly a Democrat wave election. The actual exit polling data for Ohio voters then was as follows:

2008 Ohio exit polling
Democrat...... 39%
Republican.... 31%
Independent... 30%

Even at the height of Obama-mania, with massive Democrat turnout, the Democrat advantage was 8%. So, PPP actually believes that the political climate is even more tilted towards them now, than in 2008? Really? Let's also keep in mind the results from last years elections. What did the party breakdown of people coming out to vote look like then?

2010 Ohio exit polling
Democrat...... 36%
Republican.... 36%
Independent... 28%

Clearly, giving Democrats a 10 point advantage in the sample is just plain wrong. Now, notice something else about this PPP sample?

They severely undersampled independents! Judging by 2008 and 2010, the Ohio electorate is about 29% independent.
So, lets split the difference between the 2008 and 2010 exit polls, and run them through Bytor's handy dandy PPP sampling correction spreadsheet. The results are as follows.

Average of 2008 and 2010 exit polls
Democrat...... 37.5%
Republican.... 33.5%
Independent... 29.0%

Approve SB5..... 41%
Reject.......... 48%
Not sure........ 11%

When you look at a realistic sample of the Ohio electorate, the gap closes to just 7%. Again, that is progress in our favor. Another thing to remember, is that while the unions have been kicking and screaming and dominating the news on this issue for months, the campaign to keep Senate Bill 5 hasn't begun to get our message out and educate voters yet.

Hang on folks. This isn't over yet.

Update: This tweet can't be encouraging to We Are Ohio, either. The gap is almost half what it was.

Shocking. "We Are Ohio" demands full repeal of Senate Bill 5.

Just like the Democrats refused to offer any amendments at all during the legislative process, the We Are Ohio campaign today refused to discuss any type of public employee union reform without full repeal of the bill.
If Gov. John Kasich and Republican leaders want to discuss a compromise on Senate Bill 5, they must first initiate a “fresh start” that begins with a full repeal of the anti-collective bargaining bill.
Their letter to the Governor can be viewed here, again courtesy of Ohio Capital Blog.

It's clear that the unions have no interest in changing anything from the current status quo.

Double-dipping? OK.
How about contributing a little more to their health care and retirements, (but still not anywhere near the levels of their private sector neighbors)? No way!
Keeping it nearly impossible to fire bad employees? More please!
Banking up unused "sick" pay? Keep it coming!
What about reforming tenure and seniority rules so that good, young teachers aren't the first ones to get laid off when the voters say no to more money? FORGET IT!

From the very beginning of this debate, we've reminded you that public employees in Ohio are given a privileged status over the rest of us. And it costs us big time. They will do anything to protect their special status, and will not give an inch.

In other news, the AFL-CIO says they were never part of any negotiations to compromise on the bill.

Photo courtesy AP
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga says the union "has never entered into any series of meetings or negotiations on Senate Bill 5," the controversial collective bargaining law.
Burga issued a statement in response to a Columbus Dispatch article that named him as a union leader who in June participated with representatives of Gov. John Kasich in discussions to negotiate a compromise that would end union-led efforts to repeal the law this fall.
Burga called that report "erroneous."
Surrrrre you didn't. Sounds like someone protecting themselves from backlash from their own membership to me. (Anyone who would stand on a stage with ACORN surely is of the utmost in integrity, no?)

As I predicted yesterday, we are still headed for a vote. It would be silly to repeal the bill without any concessions from labor.
Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols compared the We Are Ohio position to wanting an award check prior to buying a lottery ticket.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kasich offers to make a deal with unions. Update: Letter added

Governor Kasich, Senate President Tom Niehaus and Speaker Bill Batchelder held a press conference today to announce that they are inviting opponents of Senate Bill 5 to sit down on Friday to work out a compromise. But the We Are Ohio campaign immediately said there would be no compromise.
Kasich said avoiding a fight over state Issue 2 is in "best interest of everyone, including public employee unions." He asked the unions to "set aside political agendas and past offenses."

But We Are Ohio, the coalition that is leading the effort to overturn the collective bargaining law, reacted negatively almost immediately.

"They can repeal the entire bill or join us in voting no on Nov. 8," said spokeswoman Melissa Fazekas.
My initial reaction is that I don't think the unions will accept a compromise. I also don't think that Kasich believes that the unions will accept a compromise.

I think they went public with this to show that they are willing to have discussions, and then let the unions display their unwillingness to compromise by walking away. For example, it was confirmed during the announcement that there were talks between the OEA and AFL/CIO with people representing Kasich, something that We Are Ohio denied on Friday. The governor also said that there were some good ideas on the table then, but the unions walked away.

While polls have shown that Ohioans will reject Senate Bill 5 in November, there are parts of the bill that are popular in those same polls. An example of that would be support for requiring public employees to contribute more towards their own health care and retirement.

By making this very public invitation now, I think they expect the unions to refuse again, demonstrate the same total opposition to any change in the status quo, hoping that that will turn some voters towards voting yes on Issue 2 and keeping the reforms that we need to help turn Ohio around.

Of course, this is just speculation. Is that their strategy? Would that strategy work? Will the unions accept the governor's invitation? Time will tell.

Update: Courtesy of Ohio Capital Blog, here is the letter to the We Are Ohio campaign.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A look at the PPP Ohio poll

Public Policy Polling released a new poll today which centered on President Obama's approval and reelection campaign versus various GOP challengers.

I don't need to tell most of our readers that our state is extremely important in presidential campaigns. Ohio is known as the "ultimate bellwether" state. So how is it looking for President Downgrade?

Not good.
Q1 Do you approve or disapprove of President
Barack Obama’s job performance?
Approve...... 44%
Disapprove... 52%
Not sure...... 4%
As the incumbent, it will be hard to get reelected at 44% approval. However, if you look deeper into these results, the news gets even worse for him.

Why? Because of the ridiculous sample that PPP used. Take a look at the partisan makeup of this poll.

PPP 8/16 Ohio sample
Democrat...... 44%
Republican.... 34%
Independent... 22%

There are a couple of things laughable about this sampling. First, they give Democrats a huge 10-point advantage over Republicans. How wrong is that? Well, consider this: In 2008, when Obama was elected, it was certainly a Democrat wave election. The actual exit polling data for Ohio voters then was as follows:

2008 Ohio exit polling
Democrat...... 39%
Republican.... 31%
Independent... 30%

Even at the height of Obama-mania, with massive Democrat turnout, the Democrat advantage was 8%. So, PPP actually believes that the political climate is even more tilted towards them now, than in 2008? Really? Let's also keep in mind the results from last years elections. What did the party breakdown of people coming out to vote look like then?

2010 Ohio exit polling
Democrat...... 36%
Republican.... 36%
Independent... 28%

Clearly, giving Democrats a 10 point advantage in the sample is just plain wrong. Now, notice something else about this PPP sample?

They severely undersampled independents! Judging by 2008 and 2010, the Ohio electorate is about 29% independent. Yet, they only make up 22% of the respondents in this poll. Why is this bad news for Obama? Because he is seriously underwater with indies in this poll. Only 34% of independents approve of the job Little Bammie is doing, while a whopping 59% disapprove.

So, what would his approval look like with a realistic electorate? If you take the same people statewide that showed up to the polls last November, his numbers look like this:

Obama approval with 2010 partisan breakdown
Approve...... 39%
Disapprove... 56%
Not sure..... 5%

Indeed, this matches the recent Gallup polling that shows him with a 39% approval rating nationally. I wouldn't go so far as to say today's environment is the same as last November, but if you split the difference between 2008 and 2010, Obama still ends up with a 41% approval in Ohio.

Maybe that's why his team is already planning on possible ways to win without winning Ohio.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kasich was right. Cancelling the slow speed train saved us big money.

From the very beginning of the effort, we covered former governor Ted Strickland's proposed project to build a "high-speed" rail line connecting Ohio's three largest cities. It immediately became a point of differentiation between him and John Kasich during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Strickland insisted it would create jobs, and couldn't turn down the $400 million in "stimulus" funds offered to help pay for it. We argued, and Kasich agreed, that given the speed of the train, plus the costs and inconveniences involved, that ridership would be low. Since I am originally from the Columbus area but now live in NE Ohio, I travel back and forth quite often. So I examined whether the train would be a viable alternative for me.
Current method
I get in my car, and drive directly to my destination in 2 hours at a cost of about $12 in gas.

Using the 3C
I get in my car and drive to the train station. 15 minutes.
I park my car and wait for the train. 30 minutes or more.
I board the train and ride it to the train station in Columbus. 4 hours.
Rent a car. 15 minutes and mucho bucks.
Drive to my final destination. 15 minutes.

So let's see. 2 hours and $12 versus around 5 hours and a lot more money for a train ticket and rental car. Gee, which one will I choose? Yes, I know I don't need the rental car if I have someone to pick me up. I'm sure my family will really appreciate driving me back and forth.
The other main objection to the train project, is that we predicted that there would be cost overruns. Strickland was promoting it as a free project from the feds, and that the $400 million grant would cover the startup costs. Kasich also pointed out that we couldn't afford it, and that the cost estimates were probably too low. What would happen if the cost of the project doubled? Would the federal government help pay for the overruns? No, Ohio taxpayers would get stuck with the bill.

Want to take a guess at what's happening with California's high-speed rail project?
Amid a stagnant economy, a staggering stock market, governments at all levels straining to stay in the black and taxpayers already burdened to the hilt, the last thing Ohio needs is a commitment to spend even more. Given that, Gov. John Kasich is looking like a genius for refusing federal high-speed rail money.

One needs look only at California — which Ohio government more and more had begun to resemble — to see the folly of government-subsidized high-speed rail. The Golden State's cost for a relatively small piece of the state's overall high-speed rail pipe dream has almost doubled. The federal government isn't picking up any of that doubling in cost, leaving already strapped California taxpayers to pay the bill.

It took enough hard choices to close the $8 billion deficit that the Strickland administration left us with. Gambling that a slow-speed rail system that nobody would ride wouldn't cost Ohioans hundreds of millions more on top of that would have been a dumb decision.

Thank you, Governor Kasich for stopping this boondoggle. That decision saved us untold millions.

Follow Bytor on Twitter

Flashback: On Strike – Against the Ohio Education Association

Ohio Education Association (OEA) bosses are an awfully cynical bunch: they use money from teachers for personal wealth and political power while cursing any step towards sustainable budgeting as an “attack on workers.”

Why should you care? Because the benefits OEA demands for members are paid for by taxpayers. Because "solidarity" means compensation and layoff policies based purely on tenure. Because more than $750,000 of the We Are Ohio war chest is from OEA, the largest in-state donor to the group trying to kill Senate Bill 5.

The unions have everything riding on a simple falsehood: unions are for workers, therefore union reform is against workers. What if, in addition to paying themselves six figures in member dues, OEA bosses mistreated their own employees?

OEA is hoping you’ve forgotten that just last fall, the union’s employees went on strike! Here are two photographs from the Professional Staff Union picket line at OEA headquarters in downtown Columbus:

PSU strike at OEA headquarters, September 2010PSU strike at OEA headquarters, September 2010

These are the people who work for OEA, protesting against OEA’s leadership.

Voters are expected to oppose Senate Bill 5 because OEA says so, but OEA can’t even be trusted by its own employees! Rather than work with the General Assembly this spring, OEA and other unions created We Are Ohio to smear any correction of union power over local budgets and policies. Senate Bill 5 will restore some of that power to Ohio taxpayers. This November, vote Yes on Issue 2!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted at that hero and Columbus Tea Party.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

GOP Presidential Poll

It has been 5 months since we polled 3BP members on their presidential choices. The field looks a lot different now than it did then.

The major change is that the overwhelming 3BP favorite from polls past, Mitch Daniels, is not running. Since then, Mike Huckabee has also announced that he isn't running, and so has Haley Barbour.

At this point in the campaign, we are going to start keeping the polls limited to only those candidates that have officially announced they are running. If Sarah Palin announces she is running, she will be included in the next poll, but for now, she will not be a choice.

That leaves us the 8 choices below, since Tim Pawlenty has withdrawn, and Texas Governor Rick Perry has just officially entered.

Feel free to share the poll with your Republican friends, but only vote once, please. We'll keep it open all week and share the results next weekend. The order of the list of candidates is randomly adjusted.

Follow Bytor on Twitter

Soak the Rich: The 6% Barrier!

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has a Progressive’s grasp of economics: corporations are evil, and bureaucrats could micromanage the world perfectly given a little more money. Sherrod – like President Obama – isn’t specific about his approach to sustainable big government, so what if we used the class-warrior’s dream scenario of doubled corporate income taxes and fully “reclaimed” CEO pay? Starting with just the 2011 deficit of $1.62 trillion, how fast could we balance the budget with a bit extra from the kings of the S&P 500?

We've done it! After soaking only 30 of America's largest employers, we've covered... barely 6% of this year's deficit (view source workbook). That’s a reduction from $1,620,000,000,000 to $1,521,756,222,570.

If hiking taxes on a few hundred more corporations could cover the remaining 93.936% of the 2011 deficit, would it be worth it?

Sure! As Sherrod would insist, soaking The Rich has no negative effects. Among the things that won’t happen if Sherrod Brown and President Obama tax their way to the chart above:

  • None of the corporations’ 5,661,050 employees will lose their jobs.
  • None of the corporations’ products or services – health insurance, prescription drugs, medical devices, food at supermarkets & restaurants, purified water, appliances, gasoline, business & consumer lending, checking accounts, savings accounts, construction equipment, air travel, shipping, national defense, cell phone service, broadband access, fast food, the thousands of items available at & Wal-Mart, toothpaste, diapers, detergent, baby soap, Band-Aids, movies, television, newspapers, computer software, iPods, laptops, servers, networking equipment, etc. – will get more expensive.
  • None of the funds or individuals holding the corporations’ 77,807,800,000 shares of stock will be ruined… unless they deserve it!
  • None of the world’s entrepreneurs or executives will stop investing in American businesses.

Good thing raising taxes is an all-around win… otherwise, Ohioans would have to find a senator with more sense than Sherrod Brown!

"Like" Soak the Rich on Facebook to catch all the fun, and follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted at that hero.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sherrod Brown - Just another Tax & Spend Liberal

This is from an article from

After spending several weeks in the nation’s capital waiting for a chance to vote on a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is glad to be back in Ohio. I am sure he is disappointed that he will not be able to spend the way he has since he assumed office in 2007.

Brown, the Democrat from Avon, a Cleveland suburb on Lake Erie, was in Cincinnati this week to visit with constituents in this part of the state and meet with the media. As Brown waited for a U.S. Army veteran to arrive at his office in downtown’s U.S. Bank tower near Fountain Square so he could present him with combat medals for his service in Iraq, the senator spoke with CityBeat about the recent impasse in Washington, among other topics.

“We should’ve been focused on jobs,” Brown said about all the time spent on the debt ceiling debate. “Of course we need to deal with the budget deficit, (but) we don’t cut our way into prosperity. We’ve got to create some jobs. What has Brown done to create jobs other than redistributing wealth?

“I think this debt ceiling crisis is contrived,” he added. “Under Ronald Reagan, the debt ceiling was raised 18 times, and it was raised under Bill Clinton. Neither party did what we’ve seen recently to the president of the other party — basically stomping our feet and saying, ‘If I don’t get my way, I’m going to let the government of the United States default.’”

Noting that most nations don’t have debt ceiling limits, Brown thinks the concept should be abolished here. Regardless, he believes the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment gives authority to the president to unilaterally raise the limit, if needed, and Barack Obama should’ve kept that as an option to force a compromise with the Republicans, calling it a strategic misstep not to have done so. I guess he forgot about his partner in spending (Obama) said in 2006: “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure…Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

“I think he should’ve considered it,” the senator said. “My concern is this happens every time, from here on out. It’s going to be very bad for the country. It’s basically saying that no matter what the president and Congress decides on budgets and spending, a relatively small group of people can stop it later, can roll it back later. That’s not the way it should be.” Obviously he doesn't share the concerns of the American People regarding out of control spending and deficits. Remember when Liberals like Brown expressed those concerns when Bush was President?

Brown is deeply disappointed that the debt deal doesn’t include new revenues such as closing tax loopholes or raising taxes on the wealthy. The Wealthy already pay enough, but more "revenue" (a.k.a. More Taxes) is the only way Brown/Obama can continue to spend beyond our means."

“I think the president should have held firm,” he said. “(Mr. Obama) needed to talk to the country about it. If the president told the conservatives in the House of Representatives that he was going to stand firm on everything from oil company subsidies to tax rates for Wall Street hedge fund managers, who pay a lower rate than do a steel worker or a carpenter or a school teacher, and gone around the country saying it again and again, tell me the Republicans would’ve blocked that and sent the country into default. I don’t think they would’ve.”

The deal reached between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-West Chester) calls for $917 billion in initial cuts, followed by the creation of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly known as “the super committee.” It’s charged with recommending an additional $1.5 trillion in cuts by Thanksgiving, or face $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board cuts to civilian discretionary spending, defense and Medicare.

Some critics doubt that the 12-member, bipartisan committee will be able to reach a compromise and believe there’s enough wiggle room in the deal to avoid the automatic cuts. Not Brown, however.

“I’m optimistic enough to think both sides will do it for the good of the country,” he said. What has Brown done that is "Good for our country" other than funnel our tax dollars to unions?

Brown, 58, was elected in 2006, defeating Republican incumbent Mike DeWine. Prior to joining the Senate, Brown was a congressman and also served terms as Ohio secretary of state and as a state representative. He previously taught at the Mansfield branch of The Ohio State University.

The liberal-leaning Brown is a staunch opponent of the Iraq War and voted against extending the Patriot Act. Also, he supports equal rights for LGBT Americans and voted to end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

When asked about the traditional rivalry between Cleveland and Cincinnati, Brown wasn’t afraid to take a jab at Boehner and his frequent travels. “I would guess I’m in this section of the state as much as John is,” he said. Would Brown extend the same criticism to Obama who spends more time raising money for the 2012 election rather than doing things that are good for our country.

Brown’s major focus currently is stumping for support of the bill that would create a National Infrastructure Bank. Proposed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). It would create an independent, nonprofit bank that would leverage private investment into infrastructure projects around the nation, which Brown said would help create badly needed jobs.

The bank would initially cost about $10 billion and provide loans and loan guarantees for large projects like new highways, bridges and sewer systems. More and more tax & spend. Does Brown know anything else?

“It would mean (funds for) everything from the Brent Spence (bridge replacement) to water and sewer systems in fast-growing townships or in old cities, like Hamilton and Middletown,” Brown said. “Those kinds of needs can be addressed.

“It also includes community colleges, it’s also higher-ed infrastructure” he added. “Because of this fervor the Far Right has about government now, we’re not preparing students for the future. We’re really not preparing young people to go to school without (incurring) huge debt. My wife was the first in her family to go to college. Her dad carried a union card in Ashtabula, she went to Kent State and graduated with very little debt. She got some merit scholarships, but not that much. It mostly was (that) universities cost less, relative to wages, than they do now and Pell Grants were more generous than they are now.” So, the "Far Right" is responsible for the growing cost of education?

Brown criticized the GOP-controlled House for not doing enough to create jobs, while spending time on bills related to abortion and Planned Parenthood, calling it a sign of misplaced priorities. And yet Brown is proposing a Tour Bus Safety Bill. What will save more lives, Tour Bus Safety or weakening Planned Parenthood?

“There is not an emphasis on jobs, only on cutting spending,” he said. “And look what happens: We have this anemic economic growth, there are fewer teachers and firefighters and police officers and public employees today than there were a year ago or two years ago. We’ve seen private-sector job growth in the last 15 months but while private-sector employment goes up, public-sector goes down. We end up staying in this rut that we can’t get out of.” Less moochers and more workers who don't live on the taxpayers back. Also, less money for Brown's campaign.

Although government-hating Tea Partiers might view the situation as a good thing, Brown says it’s adversely affecting most Americans. What a clown. The Tea Party has expressed more concern for Americas future than Brown/Obama who are harming the future for our kids and grandchildren.

“We’re seeing cuts in services to things that matter in people’s lives, and we’re not seeing an economy come back,” he said. “If there were more people today working, there would be more revenue for government and, more importantly, there would be more demand created for goods and services. We’d see these companies that are sitting on billions and trillions of dollars, collectively, that would be spending their cash reserves and would be investing in job creation. But they don’t see the demand in the marketplace for their goods, so they’re not doing it.” The are reluctant to hire because they don't know what their tax rate will be, and what mandates the government will require them to implement.

Sherrod Brown is just another Tax & Spend Liberal. I guess it's safe to say that when he was teaching at Ohio State, he wasn't teaching about how the free market system works.