Stella held by a happy aunt, Patti, and the two family pooches (Theo and Tate )who remain querulous!
Our son loves jazz and plays the piano so he named the pooches after Monk and Tatum!
So you want bigger and bigger government. Well here it is. (See 1 below.)
Californians are not real people but maybe those who live in Wisconsin are getting the message and regaining their senses. (See 2 below.)
The China episode and its implications suggest one more screw up by Obama's foreign policy initiatives or lack thereof? Is a face saving for both nations' prestige in the works? (See 3 below.)
How smart can America's youth be if they continue to vote for Obama?
Maybe all that debt incurred getting a college education is not worth it. (See 4 and 4a below.)
The EPA does not crucify anyone it just nails them to the Obama's government cross. (See 5 below.)
I have oft argued that when you start drinking your own bath water perhaps you have peaked. Is this true about Buffet? (See 6 below.)
From" Kitchen Cabinet" to closet idiots! (See 7 below.)
1)Subject: Why California is Broke
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2) Wisconsin Recall Amnesia
These are all California State Agencies:
California Academic Performance Index (API) * California Access for
Infants and Mothers * California Acupuncture Board * California
Administrative Office of the Courts * California Adoptions Branch *
California African American Museum * California Agricultural Export
Program * California Agricultural Labor Relations Board * California
Agricultural Statistics Service * California Air Resources Board
(CARB) * California Allocation Board * California Alternative Energy
and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority * California Animal
Health and Food Safety Services * California Anti-Terrorism
Information Center * California Apprenticeship Council * California
Arbitration Certification Program * California Architects Board *
California Area VI Developmental Disabilities Board * California Arts
Council * California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus *
California Assembly Democratic Caucus * California Assembly Republican
Caucus * California Athletic Commission * California Attorney General
* California Bay Conservation and Development Commission * California
Bay-Delta Authority * California Bay-Delta Office * California Bio
Diversity Council * California Board for Geologists and Geophysicists
* California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors *
California Board of Accountancy * California Board of Barbering and
Cosmetology * California Board of Behavioral Sciences * California
Board of Chiropractic Examiners * California Board of Equalization
(BOE) * California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection * California
Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind * California Board of Occupational
Therapy * California Board of Optometry * California Board of Pharmacy
* California Board of Podiatric Medicine * California Board of Prison
Terms * California Board of Psychology * California Board of
Registered Nursing * California Board of Trustees * California Board
of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians * California Braille
and Talking Book Library * California Building Standards Commission *
California Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education
* California Bureau of Automotive Repair * California Bureau of
Electronic and Appliance Repair * California Bureau of Home
Furnishings and Thermal Insulation * California Bureau of Naturopathic
Medicine * California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services *
California Bureau of State Audits * California Business Agency *
California Business Investment Services (CalBIS) * California Business
Permit Information (CalGOLD) * California Business Portal * California
Business, Transportation and Housing Agency * California Cal Grants *
California CalJOBS * California Cal-Learn Program * California CalVet
Home Loan Program * California Career Resource Network * California
Cemetery and Funeral Bureau * California Center for Analytical
Chemistry * California Center for Distributed Learning * California
Center for Teaching Careers (Teach California) * California
Chancellors Office * California Charter Schools * California Children
and Families Commission * California Children and Family Services
Division * California Citizens Compensation Commission * California
Civil Rights Bureau * California Coastal Commission * California
Coastal Conservancy * California Code of Regulations * California
Collaborative Projects with UC Davis * California Commission for Jobs
and Economic Growth * California Commission on Aging * California
Commission on Health and Safety and Workers Compensation * California
Commission on Judicial Performance * California Commission on State
Mandates * California Commission on Status of Women * California
Commission on Teacher Credentialing * California Commission on the
Status of Women * California Committee on Dental Auxiliaries *
California Community Colleges Chancellors Office, Junior Colleges *
California Community Colleges Chancellors Office * California
Complaint Mediation Program * California Conservation Corps *
California Constitution Revision Commission * California Consumer
Hotline * California Consumer Information Center * California Consumer
Information * California Consumer Services Division * California
Consumers and Families Agency * California Contractors State License
Board * California Corrections Standards Authority * California
Council for the Humanities * California Council on Criminal Justice *
California Council on Developmental Disabilities * California Court
Reporters Board * California Courts of Appeal * California Crime and
Violence Prevention Center * California Criminal Justice Statistics
Center * California Criminalist Institute Forensic Library *
California CSGnet Network Management * California Cultural and
Historical Endowment * California Cultural Resources Division *
California Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Branch * California
Data Exchange Center * California Data Management Division *
California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission * California Delta
Protection Commission * California Democratic Caucus * California
Demographic Research Unit * California Dental Auxiliaries * California
Department of Aging * California Department of Alcohol and Drug
Programs * California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals
Board * California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control *
California Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating) *
California Department of Child Support Services (CDCSS) * California
Department of Community Services and Development * California
Department of Conservation * California Department of Consumer Affairs
* California Department of Corporations * California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation * California Department of
Developmental Services * California Department of Education *
California Department of Fair Employment and Housing * California
Department of Finance * California Department of Financial
Institutions * California Department of Fish and Game * California
Department of Food and Agriculture * California Department of Forestry
and Fire Protection (CDF) * California Department of General Services
* California Department of General Services, Office of State
Publishing * California Department of Health Care Services *
California Department of Housing and Community Development *
California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) * California
Department of Insurance * California Department of Justice Firearms
Division * California Department of Justice Opinion Unit * California
Department of Justice, Consumer Information, Public Inquiry Unit *
California Department of Justice * California Department of Managed
Health Care * California Department of Mental Health * California
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) * California Department of
Personnel Administration * California Department of Pesticide
Regulation * California Department of Public Health * California
Department of Real Estate * California Department of Rehabilitation *
California Department of Social Services Adoptions Branch * California
Department of Social Services * California Department of Technology
Services Training Center (DTSTC) * California Department of Technology
Services (DTS) * California Department of Toxic Substances Control *
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) * California
Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVets) * California Department of
Water Resources * California Departmento de Vehiculos Motorizados *
California Digital Library * California Disabled Veteran Business
Enterprise Certification Program * California Division of
Apprenticeship Standards * California Division of Codes and Standards
* California Division of Communicable Disease Control * California
Division of Engineering * California Division of Environmental and
Occupational Disease Control * California Division of Gambling Control
* California Division of Housing Policy Development * California
Division of Labor Standards Enforcement * California Division of Labor
Statistics and Research * California Division of Land and Right of Way
* California Division of Land Resource Protection * California
Division of Law Enforcement General Library * California Division of
Measurement Standards * California Division of Mines and Geology *
California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) *
California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources * California
Division of Planning and Local Assistance * California Division of
Recycling * California Division of Safety of Dams * California
Division of the State Architect * California Division of Tourism *
California Division of Workers Compensation Medical Unit * California
Division of Workers Compensation * California Economic Assistance,
Business and Community Resources * California Economic Strategy Panel
* California Education and Training Agency * California Education
Audit Appeals Panel * California Educational Facilities Authority *
California Elections Division * California Electricity Oversight Board
* California Emergency Management Agency * California Emergency
Medical Services Authority * California Employment Development
Department (EDD) * California Employment Information State Jobs *
California Employment Training Panel * California Energy Commission *
California Environment and Natural Resources Agency * California
Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) * California Environmental
Resources Evaluation System (CERES) * California Executive Office *
California Export Laboratory Services * California Exposition and
State Fair (Cal Expo) * California Fair Political Practices Commission
* California Fairs and Expositions Division * California Film
Commission * California Fire and Resource Assessment Program *
California Firearms Division * California Fiscal Services * California
Fish and Game Commission * California Fisheries Program Branch *
California Floodplain Management * California Foster Youth Help *
California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) * California Fraud Division *
California Gambling Control Commission * California Geographic
Information Systems Council (GIS) * California Geological Survey *
California Government Claims and Victim Compensation Board *
California Governors Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons *
California Governors Mentoring Partnership * California Governors
Office of Emergency Services * California Governors Office of Homeland
Security * California Governors Office of Planning and Research *
California Governors Office * California Grant and Enterprise Zone
Programs HCD Loan * California Health and Human Services Agency *
California Health and Safety Agency * California Healthy Families
Program * California Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau * California
High-Speed Rail Authority * California Highway Patrol (CHP) *
California History and Culture Agency * California Horse Racing Board
* California Housing Finance Agency * California Indoor Air Quality
Program * California Industrial Development Financing Advisory
Commission * California Industrial Welfare Commission * California
InFoPeople * California Information Center for the Environment *
California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank) *
California Inspection Services * California Institute for County
Government * California Institute for Education Reform * California
Integrated Waste Management Board * California Interagency Ecological
Program * California Job Service * California Junta Estatal de
Personal * California Labor and Employment Agency * California Labor
and Workforce Development Agency * California Labor Market Information
Division * California Land Use Planning Information Network (LUPIN) *
California Lands Commission * California Landscape Architects
Technical Committee * California Latino Legislative Caucus *
California Law Enforcement Branch * California Law Enforcement General
Library * California Law Revision Commission * California Legislative
Analyst's Office * California Legislative Black Caucus * California
Legislative Counsel * California Legislative Division * California
Legislative Information * California Legislative Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus * California Legislature
Internet Caucus * California Library De velopment Services *
California License and Revenue Branch * California Major Risk Medical
Insurance Program * California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board *
California Maritime Academy * California Marketing Services *
California Measurement Standards * California Medical Assistance
Commission * California Medical Care Services * California Military
Department * California Mining and Geology Board * California Museum
for History, Women, and the Arts * California Museum Resource Center *
California National Guard * California Native American Heritage
Commission * California Natural Community Conservation Planning
Program * California New Motor Vehicle Board * California Nursing Home
Administrator Program * California Occupational Safety and Health
Appeals Board * California Occupational Safety and Health Standards
Board * California Ocean Resources Management Program * California
Office of Administrative Hearings * California Office of
Administrative Law * California Office of AIDS * California Office of
Binational Border Health * California Office of Child Abuse Prevention
* California Office of Deaf Access * California Office of Emergency
Services (OES) * California Office of Environmental Health Hazard
Assessment * California Office of Fiscal Services * California Office
of Fleet Administration * California Office of Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Implementation (CalOHI) *
California Office of Historic Preservation * California Office of
Homeland Security * California Office of Human Resources * California
Office of Legal Services * California Office of Legislation *
California Office of Lieutenant Governor * California Office of
Military and Aerospace Support * California Office of Mine Reclamation
* California Office of Natural Resource Education * California Office
of Privacy Protection * California Office of Public School
Construction * California Office of Real Estate Appraisers *
California Office of Risk and Insurance Management * California Office
of Services to the Blind * California Office of Spill Prevention and
Response * California Office of State Publishing (OSP) * California
Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development * California
Office of Systems Integration * California Office of the Inspector
General * California Office of the Ombudsman * California Office of
the Patient Advocate * California Office of the President * California
Office of the Secretary for Education * California Office of the State
Fire Marshal * California Office of the State Public Defender *
California Office of Traffic Safety * California Office of Vital
Records * California Online Directory * California Operations Control
Office * California Opinion Unit * California Outreach and Technical
Assistance Network (OTAN) * California Park and Recreation Commission
* California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) * California
Performance Review (CPR) * California Permit Information for Business
(CalGOLD) * California Physical Therapy Board * California Physician
Assistant Committee * California Plant Health and Pest Prevention
Services * California Policy and Evaluation Division * California
Political Reform Division * California Pollution Control Financing
Authority * California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo *
California Postsecondary Education Commission * California Prevention
Services * California Primary Care and Family Health * California
Prison Industry Authority * California Procurement Division *
California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) * California
Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) * California Public Utilities
Commission (PUC) * California Real Estate Services Division *
California Refugee Programs Branch * California Regional Water Quality
Control Boards * California Registered Veterinary Technician Committee
* California Registrar of Charitable Trusts * California Republican
Caucus * California Research and Development Division * California
Research Bureau * California Resources Agency * California Respiratory
Care Board * California Rivers Assessment * California Rural Health
Policy Council * California Safe Schools * California San Francisco
Bay Conservation and Development Commission * California San Gabriel
and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy * California
San Joaquin River Conservancy * California School to Career *
California Science Center * California Scripps Institution of
Oceanography * California Secretary of State Business Portal *
California Secretary of State * California Seismic Safety Commission *
California Self Insurance Plans (SIP) * California Senate Office of
Research * California Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business
Enterprise Certification Program * California Small Business
Development Center Program * California Smart Growth Caucus *
California Smog Check Information Center * California Spatial
Information Library * California Special Education Division *
California Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board * California
Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) * California Standards and
Assessment Division * California State Administrative Manual (SAM) *
California State Allocation Board * California State and Consumer
Services Agency * California State Architect * California State
Archives * California State Assembly * California State Association of
Counties (CSAC) * California State Board of Education * California
State Board of Food and Agriculture *California Office of the Chief
Information Officer (OCIO) * California State Children's Trust Fund *
California State Compensation Insurance Fund * California State
Contracts Register Program * California State Contracts Register *
California State Controller * California State Council on
Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) * California State Disability
Insurance (SDI) * California State Fair (Cal Expo) * California State
Jobs Employment Information * California State Lands Commission *
California State Legislative Portal * California State Legislature *
California State Library Catalog * California State Library Services
Bureau * California State Library * California State Lottery *
California State Mediation and Conciliation Service * California State
Mining and Geology Board * California State Park and Recreation
Commission * California State Parks * California State Personnel Board
* California State Polytechnic University, Pomona * California State
Railroad Museum * California State Science Fair * California State
Senate * California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science
(COSMOS) * California State Summer School for the Arts * California
State Superintendent of Public Instruction * California State Teachers
Retirement System (CalSTRS) * California State Treasurer * California
State University Center for Distributed Learning * California State
University, Bakersfield * California State University, Channel Islands
* California State University, Chico * California State University,
Dominguez Hills * California State University, East Bay * California
State University, Fresno * California State University, Fullerton *
California State University, Long Beach * California State University,
Los Angeles * California State University, Monterey Bay * California
State University, Northridge * California State University, Sacramento
* California State University, San Bernardino * California State
University, San Marcos * California State University, Stanislaus *
California State University (CSU) * California State Water Project
Analysis Office * California State Water Project * California State
Water Resources Control Board * California Structural Pest Control
Board * California Student Aid Commission * California Superintendent
of Public Instruction * California Superior Courts * California Tahoe
Conservancy * California Task Force on Culturally and Linguistically
Competent Physicians and Dentists * California Tax Information Center
* California Technology and Administration Branch Finance * California
Telecommunications Division * California Telephone Medical Advice
Services (TAMS) * California Transportation Commission * California
Travel and Transportation Agency * California Unclaimed Property
Program * California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board * California
Unemployment Insurance Program * California Uniform Construction Cost
Accounting Commission * California Veterans Board * California
Veterans Memorial * California Veterinary Medical Board and Registered
Veterinary Technician Examining Committee * California Veterinary
Medical Board * California Victim Compensation and Government Claims
Board * California Volunteers * California Voter Registration *
California Water Commission * California Water Environment Association
(COWPEA) * California Water Resources Control Board * California
Welfare to Work Division * California Wetlands Information System *
California Wildlife and Habitat Data Analysis Branch * California
Wildlife Conservation Board * California Wildlife Programs Branch *
California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) *
California Workers Compensation Appeals Board * California Workforce
and Labor Development Agency * California Workforce Investment Board *
California Youth Authority (CYA) * Central Valley Flood Protection
Board * Center for California Studies * Colorado River Board of
California * Counting California * Dental Board of California * Health
Insurance Plan of California (PacAdvantage) * Humboldt State
University * Jobs with the State of California * Judicial Council of
California * Learn California * Library of California * Lieutenant
Governors Commission for One California * Little Hoover Commission (on
California State Government Organization and Economy) * Medical Board
of California * Medi-Cal * Osteopathic Medical Board of California *
Physical Therapy Board of California * Regents of the University of
California * San Diego State University * San Francisco State
University * San Jose State University * Santa Monica Mountains
Conservancy * State Bar of California * Supreme Court of California *
Teach California * University of California * University of
California, Berkeley * University of California, Davis * University of
California, Hastings College of the Law * University of California,
Irvine * University of California, Los Angeles * University of
California, Merced * University of California, Riverside * University
of California, San Diego * University of California, San Francisco *
University of California, Santa Barbara * University of California,
Santa Cruz * Veterans Home of California
Of course, the only places they can cut are . . . Education, Police and Fire.
Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican or Independent, this list has
to shock you.
Over the years, our politicians have created this enormous pork barrel
of agencies that employ about as many people as the entire State of
All of these people get salaries, medical coverage and pensions at
Why aren't Democrats running against Scott Walker's union reforms?
Remember the Greek-style protests in Madison, the union sit-ins, the lawmakers who fled to Illinois to avoid voting on Scott Walker's collective-bargaining law last year? Now that the recall election of Mr. Walker is in full swing, Big Labor must be wondering where the outrage went.
Since last summer, unions have been throwing millions at defeating the man who reformed collective bargaining for government workers and required union members to pay 5.8% of their paychecks toward pensions and 12.6% of their health insurance premiums, modest contributions compared to the average in private business. As the May 8 Democratic recall primary nears to determine who will run against Mr. Walker on June 5, this should be their rhetorical moment ne plus ultra.
So, let's see. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the front-runner, has focused his campaigns on jobs, education, the environment and "making communities safer." One of Mr. Barrett's ads singles out "Walker's War on Women," with nary a mention of collective bargaining. Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk is heavily supported by union groups, but even her issues list makes only passing reference to collective bargaining.
No wonder. Since Mr. Walker's reforms went into effect, the doom and gloom scenarios have failed to materialize. Property taxes in the state were down 0.4% in 2011, the first decline since 1998. According to Chief Executive magazine, Wisconsin moved up four more places this year to number 20 in an annual CEO survey of the best states to do business, after jumping 17 spots last year.
The Governor's office has estimated that altogether the reforms have saved Badger State taxpayers more than $1 billion, including $65 million in changes in health-care plans, and some $543 million in local savings documented by media reports. According to the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute, Mayor Barrett's city of Milwaukee saved $19 million on health-care costs as a direct result of Mr. Walker's reforms. Awkward turtle.
Some of the good news has been in the schools, because districts have been able to avoid teacher layoffs and make ends meet because of flexibility created by the changes. In the Brown Deer school district, savings created by pension and health-care contributions from employees allowed the school to prevent layoffs and save some $800,000 for taxpayers.
In Fond du Lac, school board president Eric Everson says the district saved $4 million as a result of last year's reforms, including $2 million from the changes in employee contributions to their pensions.
Another 52 schools across the state saved an average of $220 per student thanks to the ability to introduce competitive bidding for health insurance, rather than automatically going through WEA Trust, the favored provider of the Wisconsin Education Association Council. If the savings are even half as large as the Governor's surveys indicate, they are still enormous.
All of this is making an impression on Wisconsin voters. According to a Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday, only 12% of Wisconsin voters say "restoring collective bargaining rights" is their priority, which explains the Democratic decision to fight on other issues.
One of those issues is an investigation by Milwaukee Democratic District Attorney John Chisholm into alleged wrongdoing by former staffers to Mr. Walker when he was Milwaukee County Executive, including whether some did political work on government time. Mr. Chisholm's political impartiality was, er, questioned last month when it was revealed that 43 people in his office had signed recall petitions.
Mr. Walker's reforms were a modest but necessary response to the state's fiscal problems, and the proof is in the emerging results. The union reaction was so ferocious because the reforms reduced Big Labor's clout over state and local taxpayers and thus its ability to milk taxpayers year after year without challenge.
Democrats and unions will still do all they can to recall Mr. Walker to prove to would-be reformers nationwide that unions can't be crossed. But it speaks volumes that Democrats are running on everything except their real goal—which is to restore the political dominance of government unions.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------3)U.S. Weakness in Beijing
America's reputation is now implicated in Chen's fate.
Hours after Chen Guangcheng agreed to leave the U.S. Embassy in Beijing Wednesday under a deal that would let him relocate within China, he changed his mind. The blind Chinese dissident and his family now want asylum in the U.S., and late Thursday he made a plea by phone to Members of Congress. American diplomats seem to be negotiating again on his behalf, only now they have less leverage.
So much, then, for the feel-good story about smart U.S. diplomacy in which everyone comes out a winner. Instead we have a case of claims and counter-claims—with the potential to tarnish America's reputation as a defender of human rights. In one interview after he left the embassy, Mr. Chen accused U.S. officials of passing along Chinese government threats to harm his wife. U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke denies that claim, and Mr. Chen has also said that the U.S. protected his interests.
Mr. Chen's apparent inconsistencies may be forgiven. After being injured during a traumatic escape from house arrest, he was vulnerable to Chinese government manipulation. The Chinese Foreign Ministry agreed to bring Mr. Chen's wife and daughter to Beijing to encourage him to accept the deal. But it then threatened to send them back to Shandong, where they faced violent retribution from local officials, if he didn't leave the embassy.
This must have left Mr. Chen feeling that his back was against the wall. It didn't help that the U.S. didn't allow Mr. Chen to have a cell phone or call his friends freely while in the embassy. It also didn't help that Mr. Chen says the U.S. pressed him to make a quick decision, almost certainly so the issue could be settled before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's arrival in Beijing for a Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
Once Mr. Chen left the embassy and called fellow dissidents, they expressed doubts about the deal. U.S. officials promised to stay with him in the hospital but then disappeared. It's hardly surprising that he grew anxious once he was back under the thumb of Chinese police.
Now more than Mr. Chen's best interests are at stake. The case will reverberate within China and in U.S.-China relations for years. In response to Beijing's demands that the U.S. apologize for sheltering Mr. Chen for six days, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell—who had helped negotiate the deal—said "this was an extraordinary circumstance" and "we don't expect it to be repeated."
That may have been diplomatic of Mr. Campbell, but it was credited by Chinese state media as a sign of "contrition." It certainly smacks of weakness that could end up harming Mr. Chen, his family, and U.S. interests.
4)College Grads Need Jobs, Not a Lower Loan Rate
Young workers who enter the labor force in a recession suffer years of lower wages.
President Barack Obama has been on a tour of college campuses touting proposals to lower student loan repayments for college graduates. He hopes to rekindle the enthusiasm of young voters, who in 2008 favored him over Sen. John McCain by more than two-to-one.
Ironically, these same young Americans may suffer most from the administration's inability to get the economy back on its feet. College graduates who enter the workforce during an economic downturn accept lower wages in lower-quality jobs, and the effects on their income and promotions can last for well over a decade.
All workers face wage cuts and job losses during a recession, when the supply of labor outstrips demand. But in this recession, new college graduates have been particularly hard hit. According to an analysis by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, 54% of bachelor's degree-holders under age 25, about 1.5 million in total, were jobless or underemployed last year.
To help out college students, President Obama is promising to retain the interest rate on government-issued student loans that was temporarily lowered in 2007. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, also favors this measure. This would keep the interest rate on new government loans at its current 3.4%, instead of returning on July 1 to its previous 6.8% rate. The House has passed a bill to keep the rate at 3.4%, but paid for it with cuts to ObamaCare the White House says are unacceptable.
Some perspective is in order. The lower interest rate would apply only to government-subsidized Stafford loans, far less than half the total amount of college loans. And the average monthly payment would be reduced by about $7, according to calculations by economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office.
More important, lower payments on college loans after graduation won't come close to repairing the long-term economic damage that new graduates will suffer as a result of entering the workforce during a downturn.
For most workers, the negative effects of a recession fade fairly quickly as the economy recovers, but research shows that the impact can last far longer for young workers. A 2006 study by University of Toronto Prof. Philip Oreopoulos and his co-authors found that Canadians entering the labor market during a typical recession had their initial earnings reduced by 9%. It took a decade for wages to return to normal levels earned by young workers entering the workforce in a non-recessionary economy.
A 2009 study by Katrien Stevens of the University of Sydney found that young Germans graduating college during a time of high unemployment suffered 3% to 6% lower pay for the first three years of work, with the negative effects not disappearing for another three years after that.
Lisa Kahn of the Yale School of Management found even longer-lasting effects for Americans. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to follow white males graduating college from 1979 through 1989, Prof. Kahn found that a one percentage point increase in the national unemployment rate correlated with wage losses of 6% to 7% per year for new college graduates. Recovery is excruciatingly slow: Even 15 years following graduation, their pay was 2.5% below normal.
Roughly two-thirds of lifetime wage growth occurs in the first decade of employment, when individuals build their skills and match them to the right jobs. Graduating into a down economy puts that process off track. As Ms. Kahn writes, "workers who graduate from college in bad economies are unable to fully shift into better jobs, at least over the first 15 years of their careers."
If we assume that unemployment today is one percentage point higher than it could have been given more effective policies—such as a stimulus that actually stimulated, and spending and entitlement reforms to generate confidence in the economy—today's new college graduates on average will lose around $40,000 in inflation-adjusted income over the next 15 years. That money wouldn't simply have helped graduates meet their loan payments; it's more than enough to repay the average college graduate's entire $25,000 loan balance.
Young voters helped elect Mr. Obama but may pay a large price for doing so, both today and in the future. What college graduates need most is not the Band-Aid of lower student loan payments but an economy capable of creating new jobs that will let them score the best jobs, repay their loans, and build a future. That the best the president can offer them is $7 per month in lower student loan payments shows how far this White House's aspirations have fallen.
Mr. Biggs is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
4a)Henninger: Memo to the Youth Vote
Unless they plan to be union lifers, what's in an Obama vote for young Americans?
Why would anyone under the age of 25 vote for Barack Obama in November?
Mr. Obama resumed his College Tour 2012 last week, visiting campuses in Iowa, North Carolina and Colorado for the purpose of replicating his 66% youth-vote total from 2008.
In 2008, he reeled them in with promises of hope and change. In 2012 he's offering cash, promising to protect 3.4% interest on their college loans. We're about to find out if it's true that when you're young, hope springs eternal.
Put differently, the past three years have been a Peter Pan presidency for Peter Pan voters. If you're going to college, it's good to vote for Barack Obama again, so long as you'll never have to turn 23. But for many young Americans, there will be no Tinker Bell showing them how to land a job with lovely thoughts.
The youth unemployment rate for Americans has hovered around 16%. Anecdotal stories abound of college graduates living in the bedroom they grew up in, jobless. But hey, the president they voted for as freshmen is promising 3.4% interest on the average $25,000 or so of college debt they owe four years later.
At his appearance before students at the University of Iowa, President Obama ran straight at those who've criticized his student interest-rate gift as small beer: "These guys don't get it. . . . This is the economy!" Mr. Obama shouted. "This is about your job security! This is about your future! If you do well, the economy does well. This is about the economy!"
We get it: The election really is about the economy. If so, the job market for many young people during the Obama presidency has bordered on, well, social Darwinism. Many students who did well in school either don't have a job or took one far below their expensive skills.
Last May, the Nobel laureate economist Robert Lucas, an expert on economic growth, put together a lecture on the economy because so many people asked him why the U.S. economy's post-recession growth rate was struggling around 2%.
He noted that in the years after World War II, both the U.S. and Europe grew at an annual rate of about 3%. But in the mid-1970s, Western Europe dropped below that growth rate and stayed there, creating a 20% to 40% gap in income levels between Europe and the U.S. Prof. Lucas suggested this had to do with the cost of maintaining the social-welfare commitments Europe accumulated in the postwar years.
He then looked at the levels of U.S. social-welfare commitments, including the new Obama health-care entitlement, and ended with a simple observation: "Is it possible that by imitating European policies on labor markets, welfare and taxes, the U.S. has chosen a new, lower GDP trend? If so, it may be that the weak recovery we have had so far is all the recovery we will get."
That stark assertion—this may be all the growth we're going to get—is something the youth vote should think about. And there's a good place to do that: Backpacking through Europe. But this time try to get a look behind the fabulous theme-park façades in Italy, France, Spain, the U.K., Portugal and Greece. In Spain the youth unemployment rate is 50%; in Italy it's 36%.
Don't miss visiting Europe's famed and beautiful universities. The Chronicle of Higher Education this week has a nightmarish story about what low economic growth has done to the Continent's intellectual seed corn. In Spain, 300,000 of last year's graduates left the country. A Portuguese professor says the system there is falling into "a sort of third-world pattern." A side-bar story is headlined: "In Italy, a Dysfunctional University System Sinks Deeper Into Decay."
For new American college graduates, there is an alternative to that job you thought you'd have: Join a union.
If your new goal in life is to join the United Auto Workers (saved by Mr. Obama with your parents' taxes) or work for a government agency somewhere for the next 40 years, the president is your candidate. The modern Democratic Party from top to bottom is the party of all unions, hardly different than the European political parties whose union members and unemployed college graduates filled city squares Tuesday in forlorn May Day demonstrations. If a career inside an American union is what it's all about, then an Obama vote ("Forward") is a no-brainer.
But aside from the aspiring union lifers, what's in an Obama vote for the rest of the youth vote? The U.S. annualized growth rate in the first quarter this year was 2.2%. Perhaps the life raft is that provision in ObamaCare that extends health-insurance coverage to children living at home until the age of 26. If Barack Obama wins another four years, you may need it.
5)The 'Crucify Them' Presidency
Al Armendariz, the EPA official who resigned in disgrace this week, was no outlier among the Obama administration's regulators.
Al "Crucify Them" Armendariz resigned from the Environmental Protection Agency this week, for the mistake of telling it like it is. All he leaves behind is an entire administration of Al Armendarizes.
EPA chief Lisa Jackson was quick to assure the public that her regional administrator—who was caught on video describing his desire to "crucify" oil and gas companies—was not "representative of the agency." Mr. Armendariz's views, she said, "don't reflect any policy that we have, and they don't reflect our actions over the past two years." At least she didn't say it under oath.
The Armendariz story matters precisely because he is the model Obama regulator. Hamstrung by both public opinion and Congress, President Obama has turned to these types to enact his broader agenda.
The regional EPA administrator was no rogue appointee. Rather, "there are Armendarizes all throughout this administration" says Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, who first drew attention to the "crucify" video. They were chosen for a purpose.
Consider the broader tale of Mr. Armendariz, lost in the wake of the sensational video. Prior to being appointed by President Obama in late 2009 to serve as EPA's point man for south-central states, Mr. Armendariz was at Texas's Southern Methodist University. His then-résumé showed a scant three years of private-sector experience, with far more time devoted to his work as an adviser to the militant fringe of the environmental community.
Mr. Armendariz's expertise—take note—was working with groups like the Environmental Defense Fund and "Downwinders at Risk" against hydraulic fracturing. Among his achievements: a cameo appearance in "Gasland," the anti-drilling propaganda film, as well as authoring a 2009 study making the wild claim that gas drilling was the cause of more air pollution in Dallas than even cars.
In other words, he was a perfect general for Mr. Obama's war against natural gas. The White House is hostile to fossil fuels, yet it has been unable to get Congress or the public to act. So it has unleashed the EPA to crack down on those industries.
The bonanza in natural gas has nonetheless been tricky for the feds, since hydraulic fracturing regulation is technically left to the states. The agency's solution has been to invent enforcement actions out of existing federal law to harass drillers.
Mr. Armendariz was on the front lines. By early 2010, the EPA boss was already making his "crucify them" comments at a public-meeting-cum-activist-rally in Dish, Texas. At this gathering, Mr. Armendariz also bragged that one of his "really special moments" had been getting the overall chief of EPA enforcement, Cynthia Giles, to watch "Gasland." He lamented that he did not have a "Way of Life Act" that he could enforce—to deal with the "truck traffic," "noise," "water use" and "waste pits" associated with natural-gas drilling. Though he reminds the crowd that the laws he can use, like the Clean Water Act, aren't exactly "toothless."
As he proved. Within a year of arrival, Mr. Armendariz had found his first target: Fort Worth-based gas driller Range Resources. While Texas regulators had found no evidence that Range had polluted local water wells, Mr. Armendariz in December 2010 publicly bypassed them and issued an emergency order giving Range 48 hours to begin supplying water to residents and to clean up.
Emails show that Mr. Armendariz was communicating with his activists on the day of the action. "We're about to make a lot of news," he crowed in an email, advising them: "Time to Tivo Channel 8."
As it happens, "Channel 8" had the news before an aide for Mr. Armendariz had bothered to notify the state. One of Mr. Armendariz's email buddies (who included members of the Environmental Defense Fund and Public Citizen) wrote back: "Yee haw! Hats off to the new Sheriff and his deputies!" When a Texas official told Mr. Armendariz that he felt the action was "premature," the EPA appointee forwarded the email to his staff with this word: "Stunning."
Or not. Fifteen months later—after Texas regulators unanimously concluded that Range was not the cause of natural gas in local wells, after Range had sued, and after EPA was unable to find any evidence of wrongdoing—the agency withdrew its order. Turns out Mr. Armendariz had nothing more against Range than his, and his activists', disdain for fossil fuels.
His actions are no aberration. This is the "Crucify Them" presidency. Mr. Obama couldn't get a card check law passed, so his National Labor Relations Board's union lawyers sue Boeing for locating in a right-to-work state. He couldn't outlaw offshore drilling, so Interior activists continue a permitorium in the Gulf. He can't make ObamaCare work, so Health Department officials threaten to exclude insurers from exchanges if they raise premiums. He couldn't outright kill nuclear energy, so his top nuclear regulator has shut down the Yucca Mountain waste repository to strangle industry growth.
Mr. Armendariz apologized for his "words," though you might wonder why. He was picked to do a job—to "crucify" industry—and he did it. His real mistake was admitting it.
6)3 Burning Questions Warren Buffett Must Answer
OMAHA -- The world's eyes are on Warren Buffett. Berkshire Hathaway's ( ) ( ) stock is sagging, its future is uncertain, and its relentless leader's health is in question. And starting Saturday, 30,000 investors from around the globe will converge on Omaha to hurl questions at history's greatest investor at Berkshire's annual meeting.
By Victor Davis Hanson
We've had some unusual Cabinet secretaries in past administrations -- Earl Butz, John Mitchell and James Watt come to mind -- but never anything quite like the present bunch.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has overseen some $5 trillion in new debt. To help pay for it, he wants the rich -- the top 1 percent already contributes more in income taxes than does the bottom 90 percent -- to pay more for what he calls "the privilege of being an American." Geithner, whose department oversees the IRS, should have taken his own advice: As a rich American one-percenter, he once failed to pay his own self-employment taxes, and improperly claimed his children's camp costs as a dependent-care deduction.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has pulled off the near impossible: At a time when the known gas and oil reserves of the United States on public lands have soared, he has cut back on federal leasing of them to just about 2 percent of available offshore lands and 6 percent of onshore. Meanwhile, huge new amounts of oil are now found on private lands despite, not because of, the Interior Department. When he was a U.S. senator, Salazar claimed that even $10-a-gallon gas would not change his mind about voting to increase offshore drilling. And although he controls the leases of the richest oil and gas reserves in the Western world, he just recently shrugged that no one knew whether gas would hit $9 a gallon.
Then there is the even stranger case of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whose department helped oversee millions in bad loans to green companies like Solyndra, First Solar and Solar Trust of America -- the Teapot Dome scandals of our times. Chu once infamously quipped before assuming office that he wanted U.S. gas prices to reach European levels. Apparently Chu wanted to force less fossil-fuel burning -- although he later confessed that he does not drive a car.
Chu also once warned that the California's Central Valley agriculture might disappear due to global warming. True, it could decline, but more likely due to the Obama administration's decision to divert irrigation water in hopes of helping out the 3-inch San Francisco Delta smelt. Chu should realize that private-sector California farmers create thousands of jobs, while his own Cabinet's Solyndra-like projects have done precisely the opposite.
Attorney General Eric Holder dropped charges against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation. That may explain why he said nothing when the same group put out a dead-or-alive bounty poster on George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting case. Holder's department is suing the state of Arizona for passing a law to enforce the largely unenforced federal immigration law. Holder suggested that the Arizona law was racially inspired even as he admitted that he had never read it. Holder has praised the race-baiting Al Sharpton for his "partnership" and called the country "cowards" for not holding a national conversation on race on his terms. The attorney general has referred to African-Americans as "my people," and he has characterized congressional oversight of his office's failure to rein in the Fast and Furious scandal as racially motivated attacks on himself.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis just tried -- and failed -- to draft a proposal prohibiting kids under 18 from working "in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials," even on family farms. And she wanted to turn over some farm training programs now run by the Future Farmers of America and the 4-H to the government. Most Americans raised on a farm believe that the times spent doing chores with their parents, siblings, and neighbors were the most important and rewarding years of their lives.
Yet more worrisome, Solis is selective in her enforcement. She envisions new rules for businesses, but she first should have ensured that her family had followed old ones. When Solis was nominated, it was learned that her husband had several tax liens against his business, some of them 16 years old. And not long ago, Solis' department posted a video advising illegal aliens to call her office if they felt they were treated unfairly by employers. Abusing workers is wrong, but then so is entering and residing in the United States illegally -- as a Cabinet official should know.
The common theme with these Cabinet secretaries is loud, uninformed rhetoric; a lack of practical experience; a certain utopian zealotry -- and an expectation that there are rules for government grandees and quite different ones for the rest of us.
They have one thing in common, they will do exactly whatever Obama tells them to do and stand at attention whenever he gives them their insturctions.
Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.