Medicare and the Fiscal Cliff

Representative John Boehner is trying to include cuts and adjustments to Medicare as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations. I won’t deny Medicare needs some serious attention to insure is liquidity for the future. But it is far too important and far too complex to be addressed with sound byte ‘fixes’ during this debate. Medicare deserves it’s own dedicated and thorough discussion outside the heat of this self inflicted crisis.

One more quick hit on this. Rep. Boehner is proposing raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67…a band aid which would save some money…but the 65 and 66 year olds are probably the cheapest group to support in the Medicare community. But let’s use a little common sense here, if an eligibility age is determined to be one part of a solution, rather than a hard age for all, maybe tying it to your full Social Security retirement age would be more appropriate!

David Clarke – not a Constitutional expert!

I know I said I’d be taking a little break from blogging, but until my campaign kicks into high gear, this opinion piece by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke was simply too crazy to take a pass on.

In writing about bipartisan calls for a serious national dialogue on the issue of gun control in the wake of last week’s terribly tragedy in Connecticut, Sheriff Clarke said any calls to restrict the ability of U.S. citizens to own assault rifles and extended-capacity magazines should be resisted “with the ferociousness of a junk yard dog,” and he argued the second amendment should not be limited, just as the first amendment isn’t restricted.

We have to resist with the ferociousness of a junk yard dog, any, any attempt by liberals to make us less free by chipping away at our constitutional freedoms. The second amendment is as sacred a right as is first amendment or any other amendment. I’ll be willing to have a conversation with liberals about gun control in the same conversation we should have about whether government should restrict our first amendment right or how about whether we should scale back our fourth amendment rights, how about restricting our 14th amendment due process rights? Let’s have a debate about the second amendment in that same conversation. Then let’s see what the left has to say about restricting our freedoms.

Sheriff Clarke’s huffing and puffing about an unlimited second amendment to go with an unlimited first amendment shows his complete lack of understanding that there are in fact very clear limits on our first amendment rights, as outlined by our nation’s Supreme Court – the ultimate arbiters of what’s Constitutional and what’s not.

The Freedom Forum does an excellent job of outlining the limits on our first amendment rights to free speech. For example, false and defamatory statements (slander/libel) are not protected under the first amendment, nor are “fighting words” that are likely to cause violence orother disorderly words, including profanity, obscenity and threats.

What’s more, obscenity – something a conservative like Sheriff Clarke is likely opposed to in practice – do not enjoy first amendment protections, nor do words that would create a clear and present danger, such as yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theater.

It’s pretty clear there are very reasonable limits to our first amendment rights to free speech, and I’d argue there’s plenty of room for reasonable limits on our second amendment rights, so long as those limits don’t unreasonably infringe on those rights.

After Hanging Tough Is the President About to Sell You Out?

After hanging tough on his budget proposals for avoiding the supposed ‘fiscal cliff’, it looks like the President is willing to reduce Social Security benefits. Wait, what?

Social Security isn’t even part of the deficit problem. It is self funded and self sustaining and is liquid for quite a few more years without any tweaking whatsoever. It should come under some scrutiny in the near future. And lifting the cap on taxable earnings for Social Security taxes would solve the liquidity problem beyond the lifetimes of anyone who is reading this and their children. But that discussion should occur later…after this self imposed crisis is over…it’s got nothing at all to do with the current issue.

(well it does briefly…the 2 point moratorium on payroll taxes that we have enjoyed the past year is being made up out of the general fund…so it currently is contributing to the deficit just a wee bit…but that’s an exception…not the rule)

But the President has shown a willingness to reduce future cost of living adjustments by allowing changes to how inflation is determined. That will in fact reduce Social Security benefits for current and future retirees. This isn’t necessary and goes completely against the general consensus in the country. Shame on the President for even considering this just to sweeten the pot for the Republicans.

Social Security should be off the table for this round of economic discussions.

You’d Fire the Chairman!

What would happen to the Chairman of your employer if the company lost track of $56 million in receivables? And $12 million were past due with no efforts being made to recover them? Or 25% of the corporate credit card purchases were unaudited and unapproved by management? What if cash on hand wasn’t earning interest? What if the entries in the books didn’t meet accounting standards? Or expenses didn’t have supporting documentation?

You’d want the Chairman, most of the board, and the corporate executives fired!

But this is exactly the state of affairs at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The quasi-private corporation that Governor Walker created to replace the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. So all that hype and campaign rhetoric about running government like a business? Well, the can’t even run a government business like a business. If this weren’t a government entity, it’s a good chance government regulators would be taking this over in order to straighten it out.

So who is the Chairman who’s head should be on the block? Well none other than Governor Scott Walker! He just hasn’t a clue on how to manage…one more reason to tell him “You’re Fired” in 2014!

Walker Proposes Freeze on UW Tuition

According to the Associated Press:

Gov. Scott Walker says he’s considering several options to keep tuitions affordable in the University of Wisconsin System.

First, no matter what the governor thinks, it costs a serious amount of money to run a world class university. One that he likes to tout for it’s job creation and business spin offs.

But guess what? When you cut state support of the University, it has to get the revenues from other sources and unfortunately one of them is tuition. And the recent increase in the numbers of out of state residents that will be admitted to UW is one of those tuition revenue enhancements.

The governor is eager to tout the universities contribution to the state economy. He often declares that education will close the skills gap and put Wisconsinites back to work. But when it comes right down to it, he’s willing to choke the university instead of nurturing it. Get out of the way Governor and let the UW Board run a university!

Daniel Inouye (1924-2012)

Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, speaking at the 1968 Democratic National Convention:

“In closing I wish to share with you a most scared word of Hawaii. It is aloha. To some you who visited us it may have meant hello. To others aloha may have meant goodbye. But to those of us who have been privileged to live in Hawaii, aloha means I love you. So to all of you, my fellow Americans, aloha.”

Rest in peace, Daniel Inouye.

inouye

Dick’s Sporting Goods pulls machine guns from shelves

Friends of mine were shopping at a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Kenosha yesterday when they noticed employees removing guns from the shelves. Certain guns are coming down from the shelves in other Wisconsin locations, too. Staff at a Dick’s Sporting Goods Store in Madison confirmed they will no longer sell Mrs machine rifles, but will continue to sell rifles and ammo for hunting.

CNN.com reports:

Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the world, says it has removed all guns from its store nearest to Newtown, Connecticut, and is suspending the sale of certain kinds of semi-automatic rifles from its chains nationwide.

The move was made out of respect for the victims and families of last week’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting “during this time of national mourning,” the store said in a statement Tuesday morning.

“We continue to extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by this terrible tragedy,” the statement said.

It’s unclear how long this suspension of machine gun sales will last.

The move comes after reports that investigators were trying to determine whether the gunman in the Newtown shooting, Adam Lanza, tried to buy a gun from a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in the city of Danbury, about 12 miles away.

“At this time, reports that the suspect visited one of our stores last week have not been confirmed by law enforcement,” the sporting goods store said in a statement. “Based on our records, we can confirm that no firearms were sold to the suspect identified in this case.”

Either way, it’s good to see that Dick’s is taking action. Actions speak louder than words.