QUOTE OF THE DAY
Reason: Get States off the Federal Dole
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the havoc it wrought on New York, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said they would ask the federal government to cover at least 90 percent—and perhaps all—of the cleanup and recovery costs. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) asked the same for the Garden State. “This was not a New York disaster, or a New Jersey disaster or a Connecticut disaster, but a national disaster, and FEMA and the federal government should be providing help to the region to the full extent they can,” Schumer declared on November 1. “I will continue to push the feds to reimburse the city and state for the full costs of repair and recovery for all aspects of the disaster.”
These reflexive calls for Washington to pick up the tab underscore one of the greatest shifts of power in American politics during the last four decades: the transition from state and local autonomy to federal subsidy and control. This centralization of government was made possible largely by grants-in-aid, money provided by the federal government to state and local governments or private parties. They have become the third largest category in the federal budget, trailing only Social Security and national defense.
Americans for Tax Reform: Obamacare Tax Hike on Braces for Kids
In 2013, the tax increases in Obamacare will increasingly conspire against kitchen-table family healthcare decisions.
As just one example, below are some of the taxes that will impact the purchase of dental braces.
Washington Post: Ouch! Your paycheck just shrank
Many Americans received their first paycheck of 2013 today. That sound you hear is the collective “What the . .. “ they have emitted upon looking at their pay stub.
For all the self-congratulatory back-patting from the White House and Congress on the deal that averted the “fiscal cliff” of tax increases—the deal locked in the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for households making under $450,000—they tended not to mention what the deal did, or rather didn’t do, on the payroll tax. A 2 percentage point reduction in the Social Security tax, which hits all American workers, had been enacted at the end of 2010. In the fiscal cliff deal, Congress and President Obama neither extended it further nor agreed on any other policies that might have the similar effect of leaving more money in workers’ pockets.
Providence Journal: The pension black hole
There are fiscal cliffs, then there are fiscal black holes. The difference? The cliff, you fall over just once. But a black hole increases its pull on you more and more each day.
And that's a disturbingly accurate description of the problem now faced by Rhode Island and virtually every other state: the ever-growing challenge of underfunded pensions for government employees. Regardless of the fate of Rhode Island's pension overhaul as it winds its way through the courts, the problem isn't going away.
CBS Detroit: Riot Breaks Out in Detroit over Housing Voucher Shortage
An event designed to help assist Michigan families with housing expenses turned into a chaotic scene after there was a mad rush to collect Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.
The incident happened Saturday morning at the Wayne County Family Health Services Center on Eureka Road, between Beech Daly and Inkster roads in Taylor — where thousands of people were waiting to get housing vouchers, many who had been waiting outside in the cold since the night before.
Reports say the amount of people who showed up looking for assistance heavily outweighed the number of vouchers to be distributed. As the night was fading away and the sun started to shine, the crowd continued to grow as more and more people arrived. According to reports, only 1,000 vouchers were available for distribution. An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people were in attendance.
Bloomberg: James Buchanan, a Star Economist Who Understood Obamacare
It is sad, but telling, that the economist James Buchanan died just as Congress was finishing up the details of its budget deal. Or, for that matter, that this 93-year-old Nobel Memorial Prize winner left us just as the U.S. entered the stage of enforcement of its new health-care law.
Almost everyone involved in the budget deal agrees that it is more a product of interest groups than a principled construct. The same can be said for Obamacare.
CARTOON OF THE DAY