PA’s Teahadist “Eminence Grise” Strikes Again (Updates)

February 26, 2016

scott-wagner-07ce8b1343841526

The Bucks County Courier Times recently gave column space to State Senator Scott Wagner, with predictable results (here)…

More money — $3.6 billion to be exact. That is the amount of additional tax revenue Gov. Wolf wants from you to fund his tax and spend budget. To that I ask, “How dare he?”

Although his budget address to a joint session of the General Assembly was lacking specifics of his 2016-2017 budget proposal, the reality is that Gov. Wolf is continuing the tax and spend theme presented last year.

During his speech, the governor painted a doom and gloom picture as a means to convince the people of Pennsylvania — or maybe himself — that massive tax increases are needed to address the commonwealth’s fiscal problems. He even reflected back on his time as a business owner stating, “You have to take a clear-eyed look at how the problem arose, and then you have to solve it. And fast. Or you won’t be in business very long.”

Besides failing to identify the real problem, Wolf’s only solution is to raise your taxes. Again, how dare he? How dare the governor ask for more money from the people of Pennsylvania without taking basic steps to control costs?

How dare Gov. Wolf ask you to give him more money without:

Doing anything to reform the pension system that is driving costs — and property taxes — through the roof?

Actually, Wolf introduced the pension reform clamored for by Wagner and other Repugs last August, as noted here. But of course, that was shot down by the Repug-controlled General Assembly, including Wagner of course.

And let’s not forget about how public employee pensions prop up local economies (so, if you start cutting, get ready to anticipate the ripple effects, as noted here).

Oh, and Wolf’s budget includes property tax reform, as noted here (with York, the county “represented” by Wagner, poised to do well under the plan – that is, of course, if Wagner would actually support it).

Continuing with Wagner…

Reforming our archaic liquor distribution system to maximize not only consumer convenience but also revenue to the state?

Actually, Wolf took a step in that direction by proposing a private manager, but of course, it isn’t outright privatization, so the Repugs and Wagner opposed it (here).

Continuing with Wagner…

Implementing a real hiring and wage freeze on state workers?

In reality, Wolf ordered a hiring freeze last December, as noted here, even though a state meteorologist managed to get in before the freeze took effect (Wagner made a crack about that here, but as noted here, that’s actually a good idea; I’m sure this Jeff Jumper person could make much more money in the private sector). Of course, state government agencies managed to hire about 3,132 workers anyway; I don’t see how Wolf could be blamed for that.

Continuing with Wagner…

Asking for more concessions from state employees that enjoy pay and benefits unmatched in the private sector?

As noted here for 2012 (the most recent year that I could find data for), on average, a public-sector employee’s salary can range from about $38,000 to about $66,000, with PA workers in the mid-range of that on average; I don’t know how “unmatched” the benefits are, but the pay certainly isn’t.

Of course, demagoguery on the subject of public employees is typical for Wagner who, as noted here, made his fortune in waste disposal and trucking before he won a special election in 2014 and entered public life. And soon after that, he referred to public sector unions as “kind of like Hitler and Stalin and Putin”…nice.

Continuing with Wagner…

Asking for concessions from the money managers that get paid hundreds of millions of dollars to manage the state pension funds?

This may come as a shock, but Wagner is actually right about that. And Wolf agrees with him and has proposed firing the higher-fee managers and replacing them with lower-fee ones, particularly since the funds of the lower-fee managers have outperformed their counterparts (here).

Continuing with Wagner…

Using savings from innovations and efficiency to shrink the looming budget deficit?

I don’t know what that means, and somehow I don’t think Wagner does either.

At this point, I think I’ll stop critiquing the rest of what Wagner said, particularly since he repeats himself like crazy for the rest of his Guest Opinion (besides, at this point, we already know that Wagner is a pro when it comes to regurgitating talking points from the Commonwealth Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and other Teahadist-affiliated groups).

Instead, I’ll provide more information on Wagner, who, as noted here, is a big-time advocate of charter schools (as noted here, Wagner once tried to guess at how well-funded he thought public schools were in his district by flying over them and observing from a helicopter). And as noted above, in addition to direct loans, he also tried some back-door means to fund charters through gaming revenue, which proceeded to totally piss off the school districts where the charters were located (here).

And another thing – let’s not forget how well-versed Wagner is when it comes to the eliminationist rhetoric supposedly employed by Wolf (re., the “garbage” reference Wolf used to refer to the Repug General Assembly proposal last December), with Wagner claiming that he and his same-party pals “had their foot on Wolf’s throat, and (we) let him up” here.

Also, even though the Courier Times has the right to print an opinion of this type no matter how wacky it is, what does it tell you about how far out on the fringe Wagner resides on this issue given that the paper cheered on Governor Wolf when he rejected the GOP’s sham attempt at a budget (here)? This came after a budget more in line with what Wolf has promised passed the PA Senate 43-7, as noted here (and guess who was one of the 7 “No” votes, as noted here?).

As far as I’m concerned, Scott Wagner is more responsible than anyone else in Harrisburg for our current budget impasse for all of the reasons noted previously. And kids, those living in poverty, families, minorities, and working men and women in this state (including those previously-mentioned public sector workers he despises, including policemen, firemen, nurses and teachers among many others) have all suffered and will continue to suffer as a result.

Update 1 3/5/16: Given what Wagner said above, I think it’s important to note the following (from here – h/t Atrios)…

My own state has a budget hole that the legislature is going to blow open worse next year as they expand tax cuts for energy producers, and up north in Pennslyvania (sic), Gov. Wolf is trying to clean up Corbett’s mess but Republicans are having a god damned siezure (sic) over raising the personal income tax from 3.07 percent to 3.4 percent. You read that right. from .0307 to .034. Meaning for every hundred dollars of taxable income, your income tax rises from $3.07 to $3.40. For the median income in PA, that is basically 150 bucks a year.

So when Wagner says “How dare he?” about Wolf, it has to do a tax raise that is, on average, about $150 a year.

I just want to make sure we all understand that.

Update 2 3/5/16: Another response is here.

EARTH_CC_GW

Update 3/30/17: So Teahadist Wagner (who of course has announced that he’ll challenge PA Dem Gov. Tom Wolf) believe that climate change is taking place because of “warm bodies” (here)? Truly, it is to laugh (though the consequences definitely aren’t funny of course).


V for Vote

February 24, 2016

maxresdefault

I just finished watching “V for Vendetta” once more on one of the cable channels, and the following thoughts came to mind.

No, I’m not advocating blowing up buildings or a violent, armed insurrection (the South already did that to start the Civil War), but even though the movie is fiction of course, isn’t it nice to see a citizenry that sees through the propagandistic bullshit of its ruling regime enough to accept the word of a disfigured mutant wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, to the point where they march on a heavily fortified military post guarding the houses of Parliament?

How refreshing to not see a population utterly cowed by the fairy tales and mythology authored by our corpocratic class of overlords, dutifully recorded and propagated by our corporate media stenographers, to the point where even our family members and spiritual counselors tells us that THAT is what we are supposed to believe in as opposed to what we observe and comprehend as part of our everyday experience.

Oh, you know what I’m talking about…the pitiless appeals to class, race, party, ethnicity, presumed physical dominance or desirability, sexual preference and financial status, among other supposedly exalted circumstances, echoed throughout our newspapers (those few precious independent voices still left), our workplaces, places where we congregate for one reason or another, and ultimately what passes for our entertainment. The mythology of our age, which hardly serves to inspire, but instead performs the function of keeping us anxious, dreadful, mistrustful of everyone and everything, and, ultimately, afraid.

And with fear comes the servile compliance that our true “masters,” as The Eternal George Carlin once called them, demand without exception.

It’s probably trite and deflating to automatically go on a rant like this and use it as a commercial of sorts for a political point of view, but I will anyway. Because, even if you truly detest Democrats and President Obama, what else but a sort of mass hypnosis can explain a shrug of the shoulders in response to this? And by the way, don’t forget this in response (and this).

No, we can’t get rid of Mitch McConnell for a while yet; lazy Democrats and mentally calcified Republicans in Kentucky made sure of that. But why the hell would you not AT LEAST register to vote if you have not already done so in opposition to McConnell’s fellow miscreants and encourage others to do the same in response?

They’re laughing at you. At me. At all of us. Our true overlords, I mean.

Their pawns, their lickspittles taking up space on Capitol Hill under the guise of doing “the people’s business,” are deciding to punt on doing their jobs and spitting in our collective eye.

They assume that we’re too lazy and dependent on the pabulum of their so-called “conventional wisdom” that gets served to us throughout every conceivable portal of our media to know how rigged in their favor the game truly is. And how that not only inhibits and degrades all of our lives regardless of our age group, but in particular for those who will mature to adulthood now and into the next generation. And they expect that we’ll merely change the channel, roll over, and go back to sleep.

Are they right?


  • Top Posts & Pages