Friday, May 25, 2012

Scranton, a Case Study in Democratic Governance

Scranton was declared a distressed city in 1992 under Pennsylvania’s Act 47.1

Democratic Mayor Chris Doherty has been in charge of the City of Scranton for ten years – a decade under which the city has been unable to escape the designation.  Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat Mayor Jim Connors held the reins on the city for the preceding ten years of financial trouble.

During his 2001 campaign as the endorsed Democrat for Mayor, Doherty promised to not only escape Scranton’s distressed status, but also reduce the wage tax by .1% each year.2  Doherty broke his promises.

Doherty also stated during the 2001 campaign, “you can't be spending any more money than you bring in.”He hasn’t ever really taken his own advice.

The Pennsylvania Economy League (PEL), acting in their capacity as the city’s appointed Act 47 coordinator, released a revised recovery plan dated 3/27/2012.4  The findings of the recovery plan have been largely unreported.

For example, as of 1 January 2012, the City of Scranton’s long term debt was $122,080,101.5  According to the last census, 76,089 people lived in the Electric City – so each of them owes $1,604.43 for Doherty’s long-term debt.

Scranton guarantees the debt of the Scranton Parking Authority which currently owes at least $95.6 million.6  That means each resident of the city also owes an additional $1,256.42 for the excesses of this authority whose members are appointed by one person, Chris Doherty.

So, to square just the debt mentioned above, every Scrantonian would have to cut a check for $2,860.85 to the city.  And not everyone household, that’s every man, woman and child that lives in the city.  Family of four?  Your share is $11,443.40.

The democratic leadership in the City of Scranton has financially destroyed the city as they have in 12 other cities under a distressed designation.  Yes, the mayor of every distressed city in the Commonwealth is a Democrat.

Scranton, like the other distressed cities spanning Penn’s Woods, have a choice ahead of them.  Many will get the chance to make this critical choice next year.  They can continue to embrace the Democratic policies and politicians that have destroyed them or start electing Republicans.  And please, not just any person with an R after their name.  They should elect Republicans that will not raise taxes, will not increase spending, and will not sacrifice the children of their community on an altar of debt.  Republicans, who understand how to grow their city out of debt and have a plan to do it.

Scranton, you have kicked the can down the road long enough.  If you want leaders that will lead, start electing them.  Otherwise, you have no one to blame but yourself for the situation you are in.
1(Jim Lockwood.  4/22/2012.  Roots of Scranton's financial distress stretch back decades.  The Times-Tribune)
2(Donnie Collins. 5/10/2001.  Doherty says he has vision to restore city.  The Tribune)
3(Borys Krawczeniuk.  5/20/2001.  If I Were Mayor of the City.  The Sunday Times)
4(Gerald E. Cross, Executive Director. Pennsylvania Economy League, Central PA.  Proposed Revised and Updated Act 47 Recovery Plan for the City of Scranton.  Retrieved from
5(Cross.  Page viii)
6(Cross.  Page ix)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What World Does Obama Live in?

According to the EPA, 49.61% of U.S. electricity is generated by using coal.  Pennsylvania plays a tremendous role in this industry.

According to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Pennsylvania coal created more than 41,500 jobs in the Commonwealth and added $7.5 billion in economic output into our economy. 

Over half of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties have a coal company in them.

Pennsylvania doesn’t just mine coal, it also has the largest mining machinery and equipment manufacturing industry in the country.

Pennsylvania is also the fourth largest producer of coal in the nation, using it to provide 54% of our own electricity generation and exporting it our coal to 30 different states.

Coal is still King in Pennsylvania.

Any student of economics will tell you that when you increase the cost of doing business, the cost of the product that business produces will also go up.  Another basic lesson of economics is that if you make it harder for a business to do business, it will kill jobs.

Need proof of the effect of regulation on prices?  Fox News reports that the company that manages Pennsylvania’s energy grid, PJM Interconnection, held their 2015 capacity auction.  This was the first auction that incorporates President Obama’s new coal regulations.  The price per megawatt of energy went from $16 pre-regulation to $167 post-regulation.  That will translate into dramatically higher energy prices for Pennsylvanians.

But, if you ask the Obama Administration about their regulations, you might not get a straight answer.  A leaked internal Obama Administration report confirms this.  When the “real world” numbers came out about just how many jobs the Obama Administration would strangle with his coal-killer regulations, according to a transcript, they asked that the calculations be changed, that they “pretend.”

President Obama understands exactly what damage he is doing to Pennsylvania and other coal-producing states.  He acknowledged as much when he spoke about his war on coal a few years ago.  In the video above, he very clearly states that his policy will both bankrupt the coal industry and cause energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket.”  Based on the new prices for 2015, it looks like we finally have a promise kept by the Obama White House.

Pennsylvania’s economy isn’t a “pretend” economy and Pennsylvanians don’t live in Obama’s “pretend” economic world.  Regulations have results and Obama’s regulations will result in killing Pennsylvania energy, killing Pennsylvania manufacturing, and killing Pennsylvania jobs.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Romney "Mormon Militia" Question

Did Mitt Romney do enough to stop the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857?  Before voters go to the polls in November, shouldn’t they really ask themselves that question?  Sure, Romney’s only 65 years old but, could he have done more to prevent this massacre that occurred over 150 years ago?

That is the lunacy of the left.

In a thinly veiled attempt to talk about anything other than the Obama Economy, the Washington Post ran a story detailing the hard feelings that still exist in Arkansas against Mormons because of their participation in a massacre in 1857.

The Romney connection?  He’s a Mormon.  Because he belongs to the same faith as the people who did this, people that probably died something like 75 years before he was even born, WaPo asks if it will hurt his chances in Arkansas.

Surely Arkansas voters won’t care about why gas has doubled, why unemployment has been sky-high, or why our national debt has increased by over $5 trillion under President Obama’s leadership.  Instead, they will go to polls in November and vote strictly on the Massacre of 1857 – an incident that occurred nearly a century before Mitt Romney was even born.

150+ year-old stories about religion aren’t exactly news so you are never going to convince me that this story wasn’t sitting on a shelf somewhere waiting for the appropriate time to be published.

So, we are left with the questions “why Arkansas?” and “why now?”  It’s too easy to dismiss this as just another attempt by the Obama campaign of making Romney seem “weird.”

Is the media so afraid of a repeat of West Virginia, where a current federal inmate almost beat Obama in the Primary from his jail cell in Texas, that they would see fit to advance this kind of garbage to salvage the Obama Campaign?

What is certain is that Obama has a record that he should be running on and he isn’t.  Instead, his allies in the media are offering up 150+ year-old stories about religion in the middle of an economic crisis.  Is it any wonder we are still suffering dire financial times?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy New Year! Here’s your tax increase.

How does it feel to finally have a month of work under your belt where the product of your labors actually goes into your own pocket instead of Uncle Sam’s?

April 17, 2012 marked Tax Freedom Day, the day when you have finally worked enough just to pay your taxes.  Today, being May 17, 2012, means that you have finally worked enough this year to put one month of your wages towards yourself, your family, or however else you might like to spend your money. The first 107 days of 2012 were spent working for the government.

Tax Day in 2013, will be on Monday, April 15, but there is another tax day that should be relevant to everyone in 2013 – January 1.

According to the good folks at the Heritage Foundation, on January 1, 2013:
·         Income Tax Rates will shoot up (for virtually everyone including the working poor),
·         The child credit is cut in half,
·         The marriage penalty roars back,
·         The capital gains tax rate goes up,
·         The dividend tax rate soars,
·         The payroll tax rate jumps two percentage points,
·         The death tax is restored to its punitive past,
·         The Alternative Minimum Tax relief expires, and
·         A uniquely pernicious additional payroll tax hike from Obamacare takes effect.

That is, if the President doesn’t do something about it.  Most of these tax increases are predicated on allowing certain tax cuts to expire.

Those expiring tax cuts?  Why’ it’s those terrible Bush Tax Cuts.

So, who do you believe has a better chance of at least keeping your taxes where they are today (or ideally lowering your taxes further )?

This guy?

Or this guy?