The Speech from The One
Which Democrats will be happy Thursday morning? The Ron Kind/Evan Bayh Democrats or the Dave Obey/Ed Garvey Democrats? Depends on what the President says in his State of the Nation speech tomorrow night.
Word is that Obama will throw a sop to the middle class -- the ones who would be paying for his ObamaCare while seeing their "Cadillac" plans taxed, their Medicare reduced, and their health care bureaucratized.
In the meantime, Congressional Democrats are hell bent for leather to pass Obamacare, even though the public's concern for health care has fallen way down the list. According to the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, this is what concerns America:
83% -- Revitalizing the economy
81% -- Jobs
80% -- Terrorism
66% -- Social Security
65% -- Education
63% -- Medicare
57% -- Reducing health care costs
49% -- Health insurance reform
28% -- Climate change.
There is now a consensus, perhaps even in the White House, that there was never the broad groundswell for massive change in a nation that remains center-right.
This is Britain's The Economist:
America's most vibrant political force at the moment is the anti-tax tea-party movement. Even in leftish Massachusetts people are worried that Mr Obama's spending splurge, notably his still-unpassed health-care bill, will send the deficit soaring. ... (Cutting government) will prove exceedingly hard-not least because the bigger and more powerful the state gets, the more it tends to grow. [The Economist: 1-21-2010]
At some point, the government classes in Washington and Madison (Jim E. Doyle gives his final -- praise be a merciful Lord -- State of the State speech tonight) have to stop kicking small business people in the shins. These are the people who fuel the tea parties.
Small business 101 for
Jonathan Barry, former Dane County Executive, state legislator, and operator of an area ski hill offers the following guest commentary to Blaska's Blog:
Driving away from our morning 'roundtable' show with Sunny Schubert on Mitch Henck's "Outside the Box" program on WIBA radio, I heard a caller on the issue of raising costs for businesses.
His argument, if it could be called that, was that businesses like ski areas should not worry about the fact that government is imposing new costs on small businesses like mine 'because these costs fall on all the ski areas, and so all they have to do is to raise their prices as each business faces the same cost increases.' He went on to point out that it is fair because the competition all will have the same cost increases.
This is a refrain that I have heard often. Especially in Madison. I surmise that these brilliant people all probably work in government or in very secure jobs and have no actual experience with employing people or trying to keep a small business afloat.
Among those kindly luminaries who have advanced this thinking to me are Joe Wineke, Mark Pocan, and a host of similarly idiotic-thinking poobahs and pols. None of them have a blinking clue.
First, a couple of more recent factoids:
So far this past year, the legislature raised the minimum wage by 11.5% (this was lunacy in the face of severe youth unemployment averaging about a third of all Wisconsin youth and over three quarters of Milwaukee minority youth). The unemployment compensation fund is drained and rates are set to go up another 4% or so ( this now has to be done, I expect, but would that they had been watching the fund sooner), utilities have gone up close to 15%, and now, a health care bill (which has kept all potential employers in limbo and therefore not hiring for a year) will add another 8% of payroll.
Forgetting the utilities and the new taxes and increased fees (chairlift inspection fees, restaurant inspection fees, sewer fees, auto insurance, etc. etc. you have, with just the minimum wage increase and the UC increase, a 15% increase in labor costs--if we keep the full complement of employees. Now, we get to add another 8% for the 'health care bill' and it looks to be a 23% increase in costs--in just a year and that in a lousy economy. When I look at the situation, I am calculating an increase--largely driven by government edicts-of about 30% in my fixed costs.
But not to worry, because all the little businesses are facing the same increase, says your caller. He says my competition will all face the same increase, so it won't hurt my business.
Well, that might work if the economy were booming and people were all fully employed, but even then, I doubt it.
You see, small business does not just compete with the ski area or restaurants or print shops nearby. No, we compete against eating at home, or going to the movies, or taking the kids to soccer, or whatever. There is a limited amount of money around whatever the economy and people make choices of how to spend theirs. And when the economy is lousy as it is now, they also simply decide to stay home and not spend the money.
Now, maybe if one works for the state and your paycheck is really, really secure, you envision things differently.
But the hard reality is that these governmental impositions force a business like Tyrol Basin to cut back on the number of employees, to reduce services and, honestly, to reduce prices in order to attract customers who are fearful of the economy or themselves worried about their jobs.
To stay in business, we have had to do all of these things already this year. We are employing fewer people, have cut service where we figured we could get away with it (no more youth employed parking cars, picking up trash, fewer in the kitchen, the rental shop, the gift shop). We cut managers, don't open the third chair until noon and maybe not until night on weekdays.
We found it necessary to additionally cut mid-week prices by half to keep the customers coming, reduce season pass prices in order to get needed money in earlier because the banks were not inclined to extend credit lines (In Feb-March therefore, we'll have a bunch of pre-paid customers on the hill and reduced revenues from ticket sales and I have not yet figured just how badly that will hurt).
Every restaurant owner I know is doing the very same things: hiring fewer people, cutting the menu, and the prices, in an effort to keep afloat and keep people coming in.
But these snide little asses, like your friendly caller, who have never missed a paycheck or a lunch in their life prattle that I don't have to worry about it -- because it's fair to all.
Tell that to the kids who don't have a job in Mount Horeb or Milwaukee or wherever.
We're drowning in debt
Our national debt has reached an all-time high of $12.4 trillion dollars as a result of the astonishing expansion of big government under President Obama. And now, Congressional Democrats want to raise our national debt ceiling by an additional $1.9 trillion. This is unconscionable.
If Democrats are successful in raising the debt ceiling, our country will have a budget deficit of nearly $14.3 trillion. Sen. John McCain wants us to speak out on this issue and register your opinion.
Bookmark the National Debt Clock.