Friday, November 28, 2008

Here's the frightening part

I told you I would come back with some frightening numbers on where your tax dollars are spent.
Are you sitting down? You really should be.
Pennsylvania spent a whopping $108.3 billion in the 2005-06 fiscal year, according to the Commonwealth Foundation, and is expected to increase spending to $130 billion by the 2010-11 fiscal year. That's right. That's a billion with a 'b.'
Any time anyone starts talking in the billions I lose track. I can’t even imagine what a billion of anything looks like. So, thanks to the good folks at the Commonwealth Foundation, I’m going to break it down for you.
The state spent, in the 2005-06 fiscal year, $4,312 for every man, woman and child in the state. Really?
But it gets better. For the same year local governments spent an average of $4,378 for every man, woman and child in their respective municipalities. Seriously?
Unfortunately, I am serious. By the way, this amounts to an increase in government spending, on just the local and state level, by a little more than 98 percent since the 1991-92 fiscal year.
Governments have no reason to rein in their own spending. All they have to do if they need more money is increase taxes, and we all know how good they are at doing that.
I think it’s time to start a movement that requires a referendum on any local or state spending that goes beyond the rate of inflation.
Our federal government is a monstrosity. Did you know there are more than 14 million people working for our federal government?
Pennsylvania alone employs more than 80,000 people, according to our state’s own recruiting Web site.
That's right, the state government is so big it has its own recruiting Web site.
So, let's kick it up a notch, folks.
Government is simply getting out of hand, no matter what level you look at.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Where do our tax dollars go?

I'll tell you where I think it all goes. I think it all goes to our local, state and federal governments so they can tell us how we're supposed to be living. We spend as much money on people working in government than we do on programs that are supposed to be helping people.
When are we going to let them know we've had enough?
We work now until, what, April before we're actually finished paying our tax load?
Our state and federal governments are huge.
And locally, our school districts tell us how much money they're taking from us each year to give our children a quality education. How about we start telling them how much we're going to let them spend to give our children a quality education?
When did we let our governments get so big?
It wasn't just yesterday so you can't blame Bush, which a lot of people try to do for just about everything.
I think it's about time for some accountability.
Just where do our tax dollars go?
You tell me where you think they're going and then I'll come back with another blog with some absolutely frightening numbers.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Color blind

My candidate lost last night.
There will be time to reflect on that loss, but now it's time to reflect on the win.
The color barrier in this country has been shattered.
When I think about all of the times in my life when I've walked a little taller, they just don't seem to compare to what African Americans must be feeling this morning.
I'm working on a column for Monday's print edition and I'll be speaking with friends during the next few days to at least attempt to understand the magnitude of Barack Obama's march to the White House, forty years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s march on Washington.
Please, take a few moments to share your thoughts.
I know there must be an awful lot of pride out there right now. What other emotions are being felt as the reality of the first man of color being elected to the highest office in the land settles in?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The writing on the wall

There is a very real possibility this could be a landslide, at least electorally speaking.
This is awfully reminiscent of two years ago when dems were swept into office on the congressional level with Nancy Pelosi leading the charge, telling us how she was going to fix everything within her first 100 hours.
Obama has told us how he's going to fix everything, and I mean everything, if he's elected.
Well, he won't take office until January, but after that, let's make sure we're holding his feet to the proverbial fire.

Down to the wire

I'm not really sure if that's going to be the case, but I'm hoping we'll get to call it tonight before we put the paper to bed.
Turnout is heavy everywhere, though, so it's going to be tough.
I voted a little while ago and I was number 938 in a precinct that normally gets two or three hundred.
There's plenty of time left before the polls close, though so tell me what you're hearing out there.
I'll be here all night, so let's get the conversation started.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Time for the 2-minute offense

Is it just me or are you seeing a little change in the polling numbers, too?
McCain is making that last quarter drive that could just put him into the end zone first.
I'm not certain why it's happening, but a few thoughts would include that people are trying to figure out just how the Wizard of Obama can promise every American everything and then give them a tax cut to boot.
Some things just don't add up and a trillion dollars in new spending combined with a tax cut is one of them.
Here's the playbook that we need to be following.
Instead of giving health care to everyone we need to open up health care to competition by allowing people to buy across state lines. That's John McCain's playbook by the way, not mine.
Instead of rolling back the Bush tax cuts and then pretending to give tax cuts to everyone, how about we leave the tax cuts in place and cut government spending?
It's time for the 2-minute offense.
The game's on the line.
I'll be here throughout Election Day. Drop me a line and we'll chat about the numbers as they come in.