• Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for March 6th from 16:00 to 18:56

    These are my links for March 6th from 16:00 to 18:56:

    • ObamaCare: Number of healthcare reform law waivers climbs above 1,000 – The number of temporary healthcare reform waivers granted by the Obama administration to organizations climbed to more than 1,000, according to new numbers disclosed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

      HHS posted 126 new waivers on Friday, bringing the total to 1,040 organizations that have been granted a one-year exemption from a new coverage requirement included in the healthcare reform law enacted almost a year ago. Waivers have become a hot-button issue for Republicans, eager to expose any vulnerabilities in the reform law.

      In order to avoid disruption in the insurance market, the healthcare overhaul gives HHS the power to grant waivers to firms that cannot meet new annual coverage limits in 2011. The waivers have typically been granted to so-called "mini-med" plans that offer limited annual coverage — as low as $2,000 — that would fall short of meeting the new annual coverage floor of $750,000 in 2011.

      "We don't want to take away people's health insurance before they have some realistic other choices,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview with The Hill earlier this year.

      Republican lawmakers have seized on the waivers as proof that the law they want to see repealed is flawed, and they have accused the administration of giving them waivers as gifts to union allies. The administration has rejected both claims as Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have asked HHS for in-depth details about every waiver decision and request.


      Crony ObamaCare for their pal union buddies.

      Repeal this bad law – repeal it all.

    • Wisconsin Union protests: Why conservatives are having mixed luck getting video of angry, violent liberals. – Even the protesters outside Wisconsin have figured this out. FreedomWorks' Tabitha Hale, who was shoved by an unidentified Communication Workers of America protester as she filmed him outside the organization's Washington offices, recounted the scene at RedState.com. She had a new, key detail: "The concern from a bystander was that 'You'll get on the news, stop it!' Unfortunately for him, he did not know who he was dealing with. I will ensure that this happens."

      The shove did make the news, and the video of it is lurching toward 300,000 views on YouTube. It confirmed, for conservatives, that union thugs were fighting back over Wisconsin. Every reasonably solid video of a shove or insult made it to Breitbart.tv. They just haven't broken into the narrative about the protests the way that 2009 videos of rebellion at congressional town halls did, or even Hartsock's Palm Springs video did. (This week, some congressional Republicans called for an investigation of Common Cause because the group had organized the event where those activists embarrassed themselves on camera.) There hasn't been any dip in support for unions; there has been a dip in support for Scott Walker.

      The videographers have not given up. FreedomWorks activists are on the ground in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, and Utah "this weekend through the next two weeks," according to the group. They want to supplement the FlipCam videos they've already been getting. They want documentary evidence of union anger out there so powerful that the media can't avoid it. But who doesn't know that he's venturing into the view of tiny cameras every time he attends a rally? Who trusts the media? Who wants to wind up as the face of Violence Breaking Out and wrecking his cause? The new age of protests is bringing on more self-consciousness and more détente.


      Journolister Weigel has it wrong.

      Didn't he check the Wisconsin weather vs. the Koch Protests in Palm Springs?

      It is tough to do anything with it cold and snowing.

      Of course, the LEFT and Unions knew they were being filmed and this is why their type of Saul Alinsky protests will have to be re-worked to be effective.

      The Union thuggery/ridicule days are indeed over – at least while someone is paying attention.

    • California Budget: Tax vote a worry for GOP – Republican lawmakers say they don't want a set of tax extensions to go before California voters in a June special election.

      While lawmakers say that's because voters rejected a nearly identical slate of taxes two years ago, making another election a waste of time and money, some Republican legislators and strategists say there's another reason: because voters might approve the taxes this time.

      "I think it's going to be a much closer vote than the last one," said Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucaipa.

      Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plan calls for solving the state's $26 billion budget deficit by cutting spending, taking money from special government funds and extending a set of tax increases approved by the Legislature in 2009. Specifically, the proposal calls for extending increases in sales tax, income tax and the vehicle license fee – some of those increases lapsed on Jan. 1 – for five years, raising about $11 billion this year.

      In May 2009, voters overwhelmingly rejected a plan to extend those tax increases by two years. But despite that, Cook and others say there's good reason to believe the tax measure could pass.

      "It depends on the different special-interest groups and how much they buy in to this election," Cook said. "Right now, I think they're all in. You're going to see a lot of money."

      Republicans are specifically concerned about public employee unions, which would likely offer plenty of money and support to pass the tax


      Read it all

      The California GOP should stand form and not let Jerry Brown have his election in June.

      But, as usual, somebody will sell out – much to the demise of the California economy.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for March 2nd from 15:05 to 15:09

    These are my links for March 2nd from 15:05 to 15:09:

    • Money Train – Story of California High Speed Rail – "Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail," President Obama declared in his State of the Union address, making it the most ambitious element of his vision for "winning the future."

      Invoking national pride, Obama mused that "America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, constructed the interstate highway system." Sadly, he lamented, the U.S. now lags behind Europe, Russia, and China in modern transportation infrastructure.

      If the nation met his goal for high-speed rail adoption, he said, "This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying — without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already under way."

      To most Americans, the passing reference to California was likely an afterthought, lost amid all the dreamy rhetoric of rebuilding the nation. But upon closer inspection, the state's proposed high-speed rail system serves as a perfect example of the gap between the promise of transformational liberalism and the reality of big government. Taxpayers everywhere should pay attention, because the project has already been granted $3.2 billion in federal funds, mostly through Obama's economic stimulus package — and its backers hope to gobble up billions more over the next decade.

      The $43 billion transportation project to link Los Angeles to San Francisco with a bullet train by 2020 would be considered grandiose during the plushest of times, yet it's being pursued during an era when governments at all levels are mired in deep fiscal crises. The plan has been subject to a series of scathing reports by independent analysts, raising concerns about everything from its cost estimates to its business model. The University of California at Berkeley has questioned its lofty ridership projections. And even the Washington Post has editorialized against it.


      Read it all

    • The lunacy of California’s high-speed rail – Perhaps I can make my point more concretely. Suppose you work in Century City on the west side of Los Angeles and you want to commute to a business meeting on Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto. Would you want to drive to Union Station in downtown LA (over the ever-clogged Santa Monica Freeway or faster Olympic Avenue), then take a train for two hours and 40 minutes to downtown San Francisco, then drive nearly another hour down the Bayshore or I-280 to Sand Hill Road? Or would you prefer to drive to LAX, wait some annoying length of time (probably 15 minutes) in the security lines, then fly 50 minutes in the air to SFO, and drive the considerably shorter distance down the Bayshore or I-280 to Sand Hill Road? The rail trip is door-to-door five to six hours and maybe more; the airline trip is door-to-door is three to four hours door-to-door. I know which one I'd pick (if I couldn't manage to get out of the meeting altogether).

      They’re estimating an average speed of 143mph and a fare of only $105—I don’t think so.


      Not going to fly – pardon the pun.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for February 25th from 19:14 to 19:44

    These are my links for February 25th from 19:14 to 19:44:

    • Cato Institute Praises Pawlenty, Disses Daniels – Pawlenty's grades from Cato were slightly better than Daniels's during the years that both were in office. Here are the reports for 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004 in that order (click on any year to read the full report):

      Pawlenty: A, B, C, B

      Daniels: B, B, D, na

      The two earned their low marks during the years when they agreed to tax hikes. But the fiscal records of both Daniels and Pawlenty compare favorably to other potential 2012 candidates who were governors during that same period:

      Mike Huckabee (Ark.): na, na, F, D

      Mitt Romney (Mass.): na, na, C, C

      Haley Barbour (Miss.): C, D, C, na

      Rick Perry (Tex.): B, B, B, D

      Huckabee, the only aforementioned governor who was graded by Cato in previous years, got a "B" in 1998, a "C" in 2000, and a "C" in 2002. Cato doesn't score the governor of Alaska because of peculiarities of the state budget.


      Read it all

    • Report: California Pension benefits “unsustainable” – A respected California government watchdog commission issued a scathing report today on the state’s pension system, calling for cuts in benefits for current and future employees, caps on pensions, an end to “pension spiking” and other reforms.

      The Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy, known as the Little Hoover Commission, calls the current system “unsustainable” and says it has morphed from a program that provided retirement security into one that seeks “wealth accumulation” for public employees.

      The commission traces the growth in pension obligations to 1999, during the stock market’s dot-com boom, when lawmakers approved pension increases that included retroactive bumps for employees who were about to retire. About a quarter of the growth in pension costs can be traced to that legislation, the report says. About half of the growth is tied to an increase in the number of employees and their average salaries, and the rest is attributable to demographics and investment losses.

      The most controversial proposal in the report is the idea of reducing benefits for current employees. Most pension experts have said that doing this would be legally questionable because the benefits are considered a “property right” that cannot be taken away. But the commission urges lawmakers to try this anyway, and test the legal theory in court.

      Download the full report here.


      A long legal battle if they change retirement benefits for existing employees.

    • Internet sales tax: California legislation would tighten rules on Internet sales tax – latimes.com – For the third time in three years, California lawmakers are pushing for legislation to make it harder for Internet sellers to avoid collecting sales taxes, and prospects for getting it passed are stronger than ever.

      Passing the bill is a question of "e-fairness," said Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who is sponsoring one of several Internet sales tax bills.

      It also would put an extra $300 million into the state's depleted coffers in its first year as a law, she said, and would add California to the growing group of states creating their own Internet sales tax rules.


      A big mistake for a little money and Californians who are affiliates will lose their business/jobs.

      I suspect there will be a federal court challenge as well.

    • Ex-congressman tapped for Chapman law school dean | campbell, law, school – News – The Orange County Register – Chapman School of Law has selected former Congressman Tom Campbell as its new dean, betting on the prominent academic and veteran politician to continue the 15-year-old school's ascent among the nation's law colleges.

      Campbell, 58, served as dean for the premier Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and prior to that was a tenured law professor at Stanford University. Campbell accepted a visiting professorship at Chapman School of Law and moved to Irvine from the Bay Area in 2009, part of a strategy of to broaden his geographic base for a statewide political campaign.

      The Republican then launched a campaign for governor before switching to the U.S. Senate race, in which he lost the primary to former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. But Chapman is keeping him in town.

      "I fell in love with Chapman," said Campbell, who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. "This opportunity is great and might not come again. This is huge."

      Chapman School of Law has climbed steadily up the rankings since opening its doors in 1995, and cracked the top 100 in U.S. News and World Report's most recent ranking, landing at 93. It's 8.9 student-to-faculty ratio is seventh best on the list.

      Chapman University President James Doti said that despite its rapid ascent, the law school is remains relatively unknown – and is turning to Campbell after a national search to help change that.

      "One thing Tom Campbell will bring is recognition," he said, noting that Haas under Campbell's deanship went from 15th to second in the Wall Street Journal's ranking of business schools. "I'm quite confident in Tom recruiting the best and the brightest faculty, and the best and the brightest students."

      Doti is scheduled to formally announce the selection of Campbell today.


      I frankly don't care who Chapman Law School chooses as its Dean. But,

      I do care if Tom Campbell a RINO extraordinnaire ever runs for public office again.

      Campbell is a disaster and has moved from one political/government job after another.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links for February 23rd from 14:35 to 14:41

    These are my links for February 23rd from 14:35 to 14:41:

    • How California cities invited the death of redevelopment – Last fall, the League of California Cities, which spent $2.5 million to promote a ballot initiative, argued forcefully that property taxes should be used only to pay for essential public services.

      In their official ballot argument for Proposition 22, the head of the association's Fire Chiefs Department and the president of the California Police Chiefs Association wrote that property taxes should be used "to fund vital local services like 911 response, police and fire protection."

      It's the same argument that Gov. Jerry Brown is using these days as he makes his case to disband the state's 400-plus local redevelopment agencies and to instead spend the property tax revenues they now receive on bread-and-butter services for California taxpayers.

      "Redevelopment funds come directly from local property taxes that would otherwise pay for schools and core city and county services such as police and fire protection and care for the most vulnerable people in our society," Brown said in his State of the State address. "I come down on the side of those who believe that core functions of government must be funded first."


      Read it all

      California Redevelopment Agencies have been an abuse that has gone on for decades.

      They are really an attempt to recapture local property tax revenues before they go to the state and are wasted on state spending priorities.

      The State of California turned a blind eye to this money grab by local communities while taxes and spending increased.

      Now, the state is broke and wants its money back.

      The state is right but the repercussions to local cities and counties will be widespread but what does Jerry Brown care – that is their problem.

    • Indiana lawmakers pass immigration curbs like Arizona – The Indiana senate passed a sweeping immigration bill that echoes Arizona's tougher measures on illegal immigrants and despite opposition from some of the largest employers and business groups in the state.

      The measure, passed on Tuesday night by a vote of 31-18, would allow state and local police to ask a person stopped for infractions like traffic violations for proof of legal residency if the officer has a "reasonable suspicion" they may be in the country illegally.

      Another provision would call for, with some exceptions, the use of English only in public meetings, on Web sites and in documents.

      The bill still needs to be adopted by state's House of Representatives, where opponents say they will now turn.


      Likely in more states as well.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links for February 22nd from 14:50 to 18:56

    These are my links for February 22nd from 14:50 to 18:56:

    • California fees boost traffic fines to aid budget – Justin Jachens learned of California's soaring traffic penalties when he got slapped for a red-light violation.

      Ticketed drivers have been squeezed hard during the budget crisis, perhaps because few complain until they get fined – then it's too late.

      "We're the ones taking the brunt for everything," said Jachens, 21, a student at California State University, Sacramento. "It's outrageous."

      Jachens was nabbed by a red-light camera for not making a complete stop at the intersection of Watt Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard. Three years ago, the offense would have cost Jachens $371.

      Now it's $470.

      With unemployment soaring and median income foundering, California's rising traffic fines stand out. Lawmakers generally have not increased base fines, but they have raised total penalties for each ticket the past three years by expanding or tacking on assessments:

      • $20 for court security.

      • $35 for court construction or renovation, plus an "immediate and critical needs" fee of $2 for every $10 of base fine.

      • $4 to bolster emergency medical air transport services.

      • $2 for every $10 of base fine to assist crime labs in processing DNA samples.

      Jachens plans to attend traffic school, for which state-approved fees have doubled to $49 over the past three years. He also must pay a $7 county charge and tuition for the course itself, perhaps $25, lifting the total tab for attendance above $80.

      Jachens' bottom line to clear his red-light camera ticket? More than $550.

      "It's an entire paycheck for someone like me," Jachens said.


      California is nickel and diming its citizens to pay for public employee pensions and benefits for illegal alien's children,etc.,etc.

    • California teachers’ pension system headed toward insolvency – As California school districts anticipate possibly the worst budget crisis in a generation, many will try to lighten their burden by enticing older teachers into retirement. But as more and more teachers retire — with a pension averaging 55 percent to 60 percent of salary — they will be straining a system that already can't meet its obligations.

      The California State Teachers' Retirement System is sliding down a steep slope toward insolvency. The threat isn't to teachers who have retired or plan to, but to the people of California. Taxpayers, who already pick up 23 percent of CalSTRS expenses, will be increasingly burdened as the giant pension system fails to meet its obligations.

      "We're on a path of destruction," said Marcia Fritz, president of pension-reform group California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility.

      And merely rejiggering formulas for new employees won't rescue the system, she said. Simply put: "We overpromised."

      Among those promises, "Californians have typically given their public employees richer retirement benefits" than have other states, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office.


      Read it all

      Another example of Big Government and Big Labor promising too much to a constituent group.

    • Flap’s Links for February 21st through February 22nd | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links for February 21st through February 22nd #tcot #catcot
    • YouTube
      – Koch Membrane Systems and Santa Paula Water Recycling Facility
      – I uploaded a YouTube video — Koch Membrane Systems and Santa Paula Water Recycling Fac…
  • California Budget,  California Budget Balancer,  Jerry Brown,  State Bankruptcy

    Bankruptcy for the States – Just Say NO

    California is always having a fiscal emergency because the Democrats who have controlled the California Legislature for decades spend and spend and spend. Bankruptcy for California is not the answer and I am amazed that it is being considered.

    Policy makers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers

    Unlike cities, the states are barred from seeking protection in federal bankruptcy court. Any effort to change that status would have to clear high constitutional hurdles because the states are considered sovereign.

    But proponents say some states are so burdened that the only feasible way out may be bankruptcy, giving Illinois, for example, the opportunity to do what General Motors did with the federal government’s aid.

    Beyond their short-term budget gaps, some states have deep structural problems, like insolvent pension funds, that are diverting money from essential public services like education and health care. Some members of Congress fear that it is just a matter of time before a state seeks a bailout, say bankruptcy lawyers who have been consulted by Congressional aides.

    You know, I believe in political accountability and the states are soveriegn entities as spelled out in the U.S. Constitution. If California or Illinois have a massive insolvency problem, then the states MUST solve them.

    I mean, didn’t they cause their own problems in the first place?

    A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times posted an online state budget balance calculator for readers to attempt to balance the California budget. It took me about 3 minutes. In California, Jerry Brown, the new and former California Governor and the Democrat dominated legislature can do likewise – if they have the political will.

    A California state bankruptcy would stiff retired older workers and state/city/county bond holders immediately and have other long term effects without delivering the needed political will or reforms – to say NO to excessive government spending. Bankruptcy would simply delay the enactment of appropriate budgetary solutions – like cutting spending and prioritizing government spending.

    BK would simply reset the clock for the POLS.

    Bankruptcy could permit a state to alter its contractual promises to retirees, which are often protected by state constitutions, and it could provide an alternative to a no-strings bailout. Along with retirees, however, investors in a state’s bonds could suffer, possibly ending up at the back of the line as unsecured creditors.

    “All of a sudden, there’s a whole new risk factor,” said Paul S. Maco, a partner at the firm Vinson & Elkins who was head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Municipal Securities during the Clinton administration.
    For now, the fear of destabilizing the municipal bond market with the words “state bankruptcy” has proponents in Congress going about their work on tiptoe. No draft bill is in circulation yet, and no member of Congress has come forward as a sponsor, although Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, asked the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, about the possiblity in a hearing this month.

    State bankruptcy is a bad idea.

    If Jerry Brown cannot balance the state budget, have him call me – I’ll do it for him in about 3 minutes.

    As far as an oversight panel for California, as a California voter I reject that idea. If voters don’t like what their POLS are doing, then WE THE PEOPLE will take care of the problem. If insolvency occurs, then the POLS have to go and we will elect others.

    No federal bureaucrat or federal judge should be disenfranchising me or other California voters.

    Just say NO to State Bankruptcy

  • California Budget

    The Interactive California Budget Balancer

    The Los Angeles Times posted an interactive California Budget Balancer website yesterday.

    Try your hand at eliminating the red ink in California’s budget.

    The state’s budget shortfall for the rest of this fiscal year and next, estimated to be $28 billion, is the size of the total general fund budget of 12 states combined: Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia.

    We’ve provided a wide range of options — spending cuts and tax increases — that cover most of the proposals made by Democratic or Republican lawmakers. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

    I have worked through the numbers a few times and found it fairly easy to balance the budget WITHOUT raising ANY taxes.

    See what you can do and either Tweet up your results or leave a comment below.

  • California,  California Budget,  Jennifer Rubin

    California NOT So Bad? Are You Kidding Me?

    Jennifer Rubin asks the question.

    A reader calls my attention to an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by Bill Lockyer, the state’s Democratic treasurer, and Stephen Levy, the director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. The two argue that California’s not all that bad.

    Read all of her piece.

    Let’s see:

    I am a native Californian and have lived here for over fifty years and have never seen economic conditions so grim.

    The California Democratic Party has had control of the Legislature (except for some brief periods) for most of my life (6 decades). They have simply spent the state into insolvency.

    Not so bad?

    Ridiculous –  it is worse.

  • California Budget,  Sarah Palin

    Sarah Palin on the “B” Word – BAILOUTS

    Sarah Palin last night posted her latest missive on her Facebook Page – this time about government bailouts. It is particularly interesting since California is facing a continuing budget deficit and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature are at an impasse as to how to solve the chronic budget shortfall.

    Is a bailout in the future?

    Read all of what Sarah Palin has to say:

    Do insolvent states actually believe other states should bail them out?  In June 2009, I was invited to introduce Michael Reagan at an event in Anchorage. In my remarks as Governor of Alaska, I warned against President Obama’s debt-ridden stimulus bill and its effect on all our state budgets. I believed that the bill’s benefits would be limited because government would grow exponentially, and I warned that the package was equivalent to a federal bribe with fat strings attached that created new unfunded mandates for state governments. At the time, most state legislatures, including Alaska’s, chose to ignore that warning. I predicted that states like California would soon be coming to the federal government asking for a bailout.  After I gave that speech, I remember the mocking I received for predicting California and other big government states would continue to spend recklessly and yet expect others to bail them out. The naysayers in the media went a bit wild in their condemnation of my sounding that alarm.

    Well, fast forward to today. We now know that the nearly trillion dollar stimulus package didn’t lead to the job growth promised by President Obama; instead it left already struggling state governments even deeper in debt because now they are on the hook to continue programs and projects that were started by these “free” federal funds. So now, as predicted, folks in Washington and in over-spending state capitols are whispering the dreaded “b-word”: bailouts – for individual states!

    American taxpayers should not be expected to bail out wasteful state governments. Fiscally liberal states spent years running away from the hard decisions that could have put their finances on a more solid footing. Now they expect taxpayers from other states to bail them out, which will allow them to postpone the tough decisions they should have made ages ago and continue spending like there’s no tomorrow. Most Americans would say these states have made their bed and now they’ve got to lie in it. They accepted federal dollars and did not voice opposition to the unfunded federal mandates, and they even re-elected politicians who foisted debt-ridden programs on them that could never be sustained.

    Instead of coming to D.C. cap in hand asking for more “free” money, they should follow the example of their more prudent sister states and take the necessary steps to sort out their own finances. They must start by reforming their insolvent pension systems. Many states have multi-billion dollar unfunded pension liability problems that they have refused to address for many years.  They’ve deferred their spending problems, assuming the problem deferred would be an issue avoided; instead, it’s resulted in a crisis invited.  These states still won’t reform their costly defined benefit systems for fear of offending the powerful public sector unions. Sooner or later, their pension systems will collapse unless they do what states like Alaska did, which is to swap unsustainable defined benefits, which are more like glorified Ponzi schemes, for a more prudent defined contributions system.

    My home state made the switch from defined benefits to a defined contribution system, and as governor, I introduced a number of measures to build on that successful transition, while also addressing the issue of the remaining funding shortfall by prioritizing budgets to wrap our financial arms around this too-long ignored debt problem. When my state ran a surplus because we incentivized businesses, I didn’t spend it on fun and glamorous pet projects for lawmakers – though that would have made me quite popular with the earmark crowd. In fact, I vetoed more excessive spending than any governor in our state’s history, and I used the state’s surplus to bring our financial house in order by paying down our unfunded pension plans that some other governors wanted to ignore. This fiscal prudence didn’t make me popular with the state legislature. In addition to vetoing hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending, I put billions of dollars into savings accounts for future rainy days, much like most American families do in responsibly planning for the future. I also enacted a hiring freeze and brought the education budget under control through a commitment to forward-funding. I returned much of the surplus back to the people (it was their money to start with!) through tax relief and energy rebates. I had proven as the mayor of the fastest growing city in the state that tax cuts incentivize business growth, and though the state legislature overrode some of my veto cuts and thwarted an additional tax relief request of mine, the public was supportive of efforts to rein in its government.

    It’s one thing to veto spending and reduce the size of government when your state is broke. I did it when my state was flush with revenue from a surplus – though I had to fight politicians who wanted to spend like there was no tomorrow. It’s not easy to tell people no and make them act fiscally responsible and cut spending when the money is rolling in and your state is only 50 years shy of being a territory and everyone is yelling at you to spend while the money is there to build. My point is, if I could fight this fight in Alaska at a time of surplus, then other governors can and should be able to do the same at a time when their states are facing bankruptcy and postponing this fight is no longer an option.

    So, let’s not continue to reward irresponsible political behavior. Instead of handing out more federal dollars, let’s give the governors of these debt-ridden states some free advice. Shake off the pressure from public sector unions to cave on this issue. Put up with the full page newspaper attack ads, the hate-filled rhetoric, and the other union strong arm tactics that I, too, had to put up with while fighting those who don’t believe a state needs to live within its means. Stand up to the special interests that are bankrupting your states. You may not be elected Miss Congeniality for fighting to get your fiscal houses in order; but in the long run, the people who hired you to do the right thing will appreciate your prudence and fiscal conservatism.

    As Michael Reagan’s dad once said, “We hear much of special interest groups. Well, our concern must be for a special interest group that has been too long neglected…. ‘We the people’…” The people deserve leaders who will make the tough decisions to secure the future prosperity of their states.

    – Sarah Palin

    With the new Congress about to take office in January and with the House being led by a new Republican majority, I do not think a California bailout is in the cards. There is plenty to cut in the California budget and Jerry Brown, the new Democrat Governor, who also takes office in January will just have to do it. I predict that some of the largess in welfare programs and public employee pensions will be cut fairly easily.

    But, there are also cuts in education and other social welfare programs that will be on the table and those will be harder.

    No help from the federal government will be forthcoming until California can demonstrate its own budgetary discipline – if then.