Michigan public unions began pushing the initiative last year, shortly after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder—facing a $2 billion fiscal hole—capped public spending on public-employee health benefits at 80% of total costs. This spring, national labor unions joined the amendment effort after failing to prevent Indiana from becoming a right-to-work state.
Bob King of the United Auto Workers said that Michigan’s initiative would “send a message” to other states tempted to follow Indiana’s example. The UAW, along with allies in the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters, poured $8 million into gathering 554,000 signatures—some 200,000 more than needed—to put Protect Our Jobs on the Michigan ballot.
And as to California: “SAN FRANCISCO — Gay rights advocates are making plans to get other states to join California in banning psychotherapy aimed at making gay teenagers straight, even as opponents prepared Monday to sue to overturn the first law in the nation to take aim at the practice.”
Are the liberal states in effect “seceding”? Building their own more perfect bunion? Are they re-writing the Constitution according to the dicta of political correctness and cannibalizing or invading the remaining United States to form their own PC Universe?
If there’s any lesson to be drawn from recent weeks, it’s that people used to spending other people’s money can’t stop. They’re addicted. As the Union Leader put it there is now an “Obamaphone electorate” — “a lot of people are going to vote for Obama purely for the free stuff.” And they’ll find way to keep it free no matter what.
The Daily Telegraph notes that France has bought into the idea that tax increases are a better solution than spending cuts. To save Leviathan, French Prime Minister Hollande is willing to raise the tax rate to any level necessary to pay for “social gains”. Even if it means going to 75%.
Harvard Professor Alberto Alesina says this flies in the face of all we have learned about austerity. “The accumulated evidence from over 40 years across the OECD speaks loud and clear: spending cuts are less recessionary than tax increases,” he said.
France above all screams out for a blast of tax-cutting Thatcherism and pension reform. The International Monetary Fund says the country’s “tax wedge” – or tax as a share of labour costs – is one of highest in the world at almost 50pc.
Just 39.7pc of those aged 55 to 64 are in work, compared with 56.7pc in the UK and 57.7pc in Germany. Early retirement incentives are to blame. “French workers spend the longest time in retirement among advanced countries,” says the Fund.
France coasted through the last decade, losing 20pc unit labour cost competitiveness against Germany as it screwed down wages and pushed through the Hartz IV reforms. French industry has been losing 60,000 jobs a year for a decade. Manufacturing has shrunk to 12pc of GDP, as bad as Britain.
Who needs to manufacture anything? Just buy it at the store. There is no reality that can’t be denied. Joe Scarborough, when caught with a miscaptioned tape describing a crowd shouting “Ryan” when they were shouting “Romney” said he didn’t want to take no backtalk from what he called “cheetos-eaters living in their mothers’ basements”. So no, he’s not going to change; and they’re not going to change. In Spain it’s down to dumpster diving. And the dominant ideology on the Continent still comes down to this: wait for your Obamaphone.
MADRID — On a recent evening, a hip-looking young woman was sorting through a stack of crates outside a fruit and vegetable store here in the working-class neighborhood of Vallecas as it shut down for the night. …
“When you don’t have enough money,” she said, declining to give her name, “this is what there is.” …
The woman, 33, said that she had once worked at the post office but that her unemployment benefits had run out and she was living now on 400 euros a month, about $520. She was squatting with some friends in a building that still had water and electricity, while collecting “a little of everything” from the garbage after stores closed and the streets were dark and quiet. …
Most recently, the government raised the value-added tax three percentage points, to 21 percent, on most goods, and two percentage points on many food items, making life just that much harder for those on the edge. Little relief is in sight as the country’s regional governments, facing their own budget crisis, are chipping away at a range of previously free services, including school lunches for low-income families.
Of course none of these services was “previously free” in the first place. That was the Big Lie told from the beginning to the 47%. The “free” stuff was simply paid for by someone else’s taxes. With governments in the red, Spain must raise taxes to 21% to keep things “free”. And to protect union jobs in Michigan they will just make everyone uncompetitive so there’s no where to relocate the plant to. Whether Romney wins or loses, the liberal cause will spend the next four years trying to wall off economic reality; build their paradise on earth — no matter what. Will this work? Who knows? But they are sure going to try.
Developments in the Europe and the United States may provide into the future of the West. Both the Federal Government and the European Union face a choice: either control everything or accept a diminished role as society Balkanizes. If European nations and American states cannot be completely centralized they must diverge and the remaining federal structures reduced to performing consensus services, such as national defense, foreign affairs and perhaps (and only perhaps) border control.
Perhaps some 21st century political visionary will use information technology to define virtual states within the framework of existing territories; domains which define one’s tax rates, rights, duties and benefits resembling millets under the Ottoman Empire.
Millet is a term for the confessional communities in the Ottoman Empire. It refers to the separate legal courts pertaining to “personal law” under which communities (Muslim Sharia, Christian Canon law and Jewish Halakha law abiding) were allowed to rule themselves under their own system. After the Ottoman Tanzimat (1839–76) reforms, the term was used for legally protected religious minority groups, similar to the way other countries use the word nation. The word Millet comes from the Arabic word millah (ملة) and literally means “nation”. The Millet system of Islamic law has been called an early example of pre-modern religious pluralism.
It would be ironic if the demands for multiculturalism and creeping sharia result not in a “we are the world” society dominated by a nomenklatura as much as devolve into a completely fragmented one where the public space is governed by a truce and everyone returns each evening to his own people.
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