Yesterday the SC Supreme Court ruled against the Governor's proposal that state employees would have to split the costs of the increase in their insurance premiums. Now taxpayers will pay an extra 51 million dollars so that the 255,000 state workers can enjoy their insurance benefits at the same rate they paid as before. Gov Haley's spokesperson said
“It’s a shame that taxpayers will have to foot the entire bill for increases in state employee health care costs. Anywhere other than government, the costs would be shared, and we hope the Senate will do the right thing in their budget and split these costs evenly this year.”
It is a shame and it didn't have to be this way. Everyone knows that insurance rates have been rising faster than the rate of inflation. The past 5 years the rate of inflation has averaged 2.06% a year. That's about the average for the past 25 years. Last year CNN reported that health insurance premiums have been increasing at about 7% a year the past 5 years. The 59% of American workers who are fortunate enough to have health care provided through a company have been splitting those increases with their employers. So why aren't state employees going to do that?
According to The State here's the reason; After years of budget cuts, state lawmakers decided last year to give state workers a 3 percent raise, the first raise in four years. But lawmakers also increased state workers’ required contributions to their retirement fund. That left lawmakers worrying that if they also increased health-insurance premiums, state workers’ 3 percent raises effectively would be wiped out.
That's the kind of liberal thinking that should get everyone who voted for that budget, voted out of office. Every American pockets less money today due to health insurance costs! The math dictates it. If you have a contract that is tied to rate of inflation you take home less, and if like most people, you make the same or less than the year before, you take home a lot less. That's where the country is right now. Working for the state should not insulate people from fiscal pain. Do state employees get put in a magic bubble like it's a Travolta movie.
As for wiping out their raise, there is more money going into their retirement accounts. It's still their money! If you're making $50,000 a year and they bump you up to $51,150 but tell you that entire $1500 will be in your retirement fund, are you not better off? Are we in some weird time space continuum where giving someone thousands of dollars more for their retirement isn't considered giving them more money? That sounds like some Massachusetts math where that extra money doesn't count because they can't spend it today. So we'll give them more money for their retirement fund and we'll give them more money to spend today and we'll give them more money to cover the increase in health insurance. Because if we only gave them more money for 2 of the 3 it's like we didn't give them squat!
Photo: Getty Images
Governor Haley apparently knew this was bad math for the citizens because she's the one who proposed last August that the rate increase be split by tax payers and state employees. But why didn't she know it was bad math June 29th 2012 when she received the budget? Why didn't she and her team know it was bad math after they took all 5 days allowed by law for them to review it? They came up with 81 vetoes, after reviewing it, but this wasn't one of them.
She waited and tried to backdoor the deal a month later at a Budget & Control Board meeting. As the Supreme court noted in their unanimous decision, “If the (budget) board could decline appropriated funds based on its own policy choices, it would have the unbridled power to disregard the General Assembly’s appropriations and make its own appropriations decisions". Of course the Supreme court is correct. You can't have the Governor signing a budget and then getting a couple of people on a commission to just change it to however they really wanted it to look. If it was legal to change deals after everyone signed it there would be no need for fine print. So a good question for legislator (you can find them all here) would be 'did you vote for the budget last year?'. If they answer yes, a good follow up, 'why is it taxpayers are paying the entire increase in state employees premium increase?'. A potential follow up for that 'you don't like this job very much do you?'.
I don't know when it happened but at some point Columbia City Council just said F--- it! I understand that I didn't have to beep it because Julius Geneachowski the FCC Chairman ruled F Bombs are ok if they're dropped from the heart.
But I'm a classy kind of guy. So anyways the point is the council no longer cares what anyone thinks of them. In the most blatant F U ever given by a city council to the people of the city, the council last night announced they will be taking 7 million dollars from a fund set up for cover health care costs of retired police and firefighters. Despite a room packed with firefighters and police begging the city council to not steal their money, they voted 5-2 to do it anyways. In case you're wondering who are the 2 who still give a damn, they are Moe Baddarough and Leona Plaugh. If you're wondering what would compel 5 city council members to take 7 million dollars away from Columbia's finest and bravest it is the promise of easy money for all of them. The one promising the the get rich scheme is Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. Here's how it will play out according to him. The city will take the 7 million and use it as an investment to buy and improve the Palmetto Compress Building.
But isn't that the same building that the Mayor tried to get a company to tear down a few months ago? Well first he tried to protect as a landmark, then as The State pointed out in September he actually saw it and announced he had withdrawn his request to have it protected. In his letter he explained "renovation has unfortunately proven to not be economically feasible". Then last month, once Edwards Community Developers had literly begun demolition of the building in order to build a 40 million dollar housing project for 800 USC students, the Mayor flip flopped on his flip flop! Suddenly he announced "renovating this building could make the city as much as 70 million dollars"! Huh? How? What changed in 6 months for the Mayor to go from "not economically feasible" to telling firefighters and police that we need to gamble 7 million of their retirement healthcare money on the building?
And perhaps that is the answer? There's nothing for the Mayor or people on city Council to lose. Plaugh called the Mayor a liar to his face last night in front of the council and all gathered. The Mayor said "not one penny of their premium's go in to this reserve fund". Yes it does she said. And they went back and forth in the definition of a "he said, she said". One person told the Mayor that they trust the former city manager Plaugh's assessment but asked the Mayor if perhaps her facts were wrong. He declared they were. Plaugh simply stated you'll have to choose whom to believe. Perhaps City Council misinterpreted the yelling of the firefighters and police as support for the Mayor's plan. Or perhaps it isn't any of their money and if their idea of flipping a vacant building for 8 times what they paid for it pan's out the way most get rich quick schemes do they won't lose anything. Apparently they are secure in the idea that voters don't pay any attention to what these people do because they have no fear of losing power.
A few weeks ago Mark Sanford was cruising down the comeback path. Sure polls had him slightly behind the presumed Democrat primary winner, Colbert-Busch, by 2-3 points, but most assumed once he locked up the Republican primary the heavily conservative leaning 1st District voters would fall in line. Sanford had a TV commercial that reminded voters he has a long history of fiscal conservatism. And while he had betrayed his family, he was forgiven by a God of 2nd chances. If you love God and conservatism you should forgive him too.
It worked! Sanford won the Primary by 14 points! Then suddenly last Tuesday the AP somehow received sealed court documents. Hmmmm. Anyways they show that Mark had been charged with trespassing in February at his ex wife's house. Not a big deal and most people found his excuse acceptable.
“I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14 year old son because as a father I didn’t think he should watch it alone. Given she was out of town I tried to reach her beforehand to tell her of the situation that had arisen, and met her at the back steps under the light of my cell phone when she returned and told her what had happened.”
Of course the jokes came quick!
But then the GOP dropped him. The State Newspaper headline said he'd been dropped like a hot potato! The comment made to Politico was "this is what happens when candidates aren't honest and withhold information". Then a fundraiser being hosted by the SC congressional delegation was cancelled. Those who thought Sanford lied to his staff, his wife, his kids, the press, and the voters only because he was having an affair...well a lot, though certainly not all voters could overlook that. Now he's just a liar! The GOP basically told voters the GOP would prefer Stephen Colbert's sister in Congress than this liar. The Colbert-Busch team, running on a platform of my brother is famous, released powerful campaign ads.
Now the poll shows Sanford down 9 percentage points! We are 14 days away from the May 7th election. The national Democrat party has increased their spending by $200,000 sensing a major upset. In a state where all 9 of our Constitutional officers, both of our Senators, and all but 1 of our Congressman are Republican, there's a chance we are about to send someone who is for Obamacare, higher taxes, and unions. What a momentum change it would look like to the rest of the country. Even SC voters are now on board with liberal policies!
Is it possible for the same voters who gave Romney an 18 point victory over Obama 6 months ago to send Obama a footsoldier to do his bidding? Uh yeah! As a matter of fact the only thing that can stop it now is the God of 3rd chances!
Over the weekend, McCain & Graham added a new friend. It has always been John & Lindsey, and there they were again together, just as cute as ever.
Photo: Getty Images
There had been rumors of hurt feelings. John seemed to welcome a girl in to their club and Lindsey wasn't happy about the attention N.H. Senator Kelly Ayotte had been getting. It was like Lindsey had been pushed aside. Poor Lindsey had become a 3rd wheel. See what I mean.
Oops! I meant to post this one.
Photo: Getty Images
Then last week on the gun vote Lindsey showed John! He didn't follow McCain in his maverick yes vote. But now the 2 are back together and have allowed Kelly in on the fun too along with their new friend Rep Peter King. A Congressman? Yes a Congressman. Good lord they'll let anyone join their club. First girls and now a very angry looking Congressman!
Photo: Getty Images
Together these 4 released a statement and are pushing the government to treat suspected Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev aka Suspect #2, aka white hat, aka piece of monkey crap, as an enemy combatant.
I lean towards treating him like a piece of monkey crap. But in light of us not being allowed to have The Rock layeth the smacketh down on his candy ass, I would say just give him a lawyer and lets go to trial.
Now I can hear some of my friends yelling at the screen "you're an f---ing idiot"! Yes the FCC has cleared F bombs for broadcast as long as they're from the heart. But I beeped it because some of my friends cursing wasn't heartfelt. Anyways they're yelling at me because they're thinking, "Let this guy lawyer up and we'll never get any info out of him"! I would respond that it's doubtful this kid has much info to share and even if he did no one can force him to talk.
Anytime it becomes easier for the government to hold people without a lawyer and without a trial we should all be concerned. "But he's a terrorist" screams another one of my friends. (Thank you for self editing your F Bomb.) So is that all it takes for your rights to be stripped away? Someone accuses you of being a terrorist and your locked in a hole somewhere for years, and the only bathing you get is when some official is kind enough to waterboard you? I know American's seem to be in a big hurry to surrender all of their rights to the government, but be patient, they'll come around and take them soon enough.
You think I am kidding......go ahead...click on the headline!
(We are still waiting to find out of they had valid BOMB licenses)