SOME STATES’ DIRE FINANCIAL STATUS

A potential fiscal crisis has been percolating for some time now.  Heretofore, it has been simmering just below the surface like an inactive volcano overdue to erupt.  It has been superseded by other more pressing matters, but I believe it is about to burst into the forefront.  It is the substantial differences in fiscal health among the various states.

Some states are in serious financial straits.  In most cases, their difficulties predate the advent of the Coronavirus, but the unanticipated substantial expenses they have been forced to incur to fight it have exacerbated their financial situation.  Their only hope to attain solvency appears to be a federal bailout.  This may become a central issue in the next Rescue Plan, which Congress will likely address as soon as the House Dems return to DC from their “vacation.”

As denoted by “24/7 Wall St” the underlying causes have resulted from the poor management of prior and current administrations.  Some states have been profligate and poorly managed for many years.  They are now saddled with huge debt, primarily due to pensions owed to retired public and union employees.

According to “The Hill,” these states will be seeking an aggregate bailout of in excess of $500 billion.   For example, the unfunded liabilities of IL’s state pensions is an astronomical $137 billion.  I don’t see how it can ever meet that obligation on its own.  Declaring bankruptcy may be a realistic option, but, then, what will happen to the pensioners.

Another example is NY.  Its budget deficit for the coming year is estimated at $6.1 billion.  Moreover, its tax base is declining at an alarming rate as middle class and even upper class taxpayers have been relocating to states with lower or no state taxes.  These are just two examples of many.  Other states with a heavy burden of debt include NJ, MA, and Kentucky.

Naturally, the states in good financial condition are objecting to the idea of a bailout.  Some of these states are AK, SD and NE.  For the most part, the low debt states don’t mind reimbursing expenses related to the CV, as it is viewed as an unforeseen calamity, but they hold a dim view of a federal bailout for pre-existing debt.

Normally, Americans are generous and forgiving.  They don’t mind helping others who are in need through unforeseen circumstances, e.g. natural disasters.  But, they do object to helping others whose problems have been caused by their own profligacy.  They realize that any such funds will ultimately come out of their pocket.  They resent having to bail out the states that, in their view, have been poorly managed, while they were careful with their money.  Some even view it as a form of socialism, which is the “kiss of death.”

Before you criticize and scoff at that notion, consider the following two examples, which I feel illustrate the situation.

  1.  Farmer A and Farmer B

Farmer A and Farmer B are neighbors.  All year long, Farmer A works his land diligently.  He spends long hours planting, tending and harvesting his crops.  He husbands his excess cash carefully for a “rainy day.”  Farmer B is not the least bit diligent.  He is lazy.  He spends much of his time “hanging out” or visiting friends in town.  He blithely borrows money to fund his extravagant lifestyle.  At the end of the year, Farmer A has a bumper crop and sells it at a good price.  He has a goodly surplus left to see him through the winter and deal with any unforeseen circumstances.  Farmer B’s crop is very poor.  He does not have enough to see him through the winter.  Moreover, he is heavily in debt, having spent lavishly without serious regard for the future.  What does he do?  He asks Farmer A to help him out.  Do you think Farmer A would be willing to give Farmer B some of his surplus crop and money?  Should he?

2.  Student A and Student B

Students A and B are in the same class at school.  They are both assigned a term paper due at the end of the year.   Student A diligently works on the paper during the year, forgoing parties and other social events.  He writes a really good paper.  Student B does little or no research.  He enjoys parties and social events throughout the year.  As the due date approaches he realizes he is in trouble.  He asks Student A to give him some of his research notes so he can write his paper.  Do you think Student A should help out Student B or not?  Would it be fair for him/her to do so?

CONCLUSION

In my view, these illustrations are similar to the above situations regarding the states.  Farmer B and Student B are akin to the profligate states I described above.  I do not think it is equitable or appropriate for the states illustrated by Farmer A and Student A to, in effect, pay for the misdeeds of the others.

I believe we should all be responsible for our own actions.  The US is not a socialist country.  Our nation’s economy has been and is based on capitalism, initiative, free enterprise, hard work, and self-determination.  I realize that some of you may disagree with me and think my reasoning is callous.  That is your right.  The issue is worth debating.  I welcome your thoughts.

At the end of the day, this issue is a potential powder keg.  As is often the case, the situation and its solution is far more complex than it appears.  How we deal with it will have a profound effect on our nation prospectively.

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READE VS. BIDEN

The Dems, their allies in the mainstream media, and various women’s groups, such as #MeToo and Planned Parenthood, among others, (collectively, the “Accusers”), are being hoisted on their own petard.   Collectively, these groups have strenuously and repeatedly maintained that in all “he said-she said” cases women are to be believed, no questions asked.  Regardless of the longstanding concept of due process, which is guaranteed to everyone by the Constitution, in their minds the man is always guilty.  My favorite quote was from Mazie Hirono, the nitwit Senator from Hawaii, who self-righteously intoned “I believe her [Ford]….  Men  need to shut up.'”

This was never more apparent than in the case of Ford v Kavanaugh.  I’m sure most of you recall how they hounded Kavanaugh and his family relentlessly for weeks despite the fact that Professor Ford’s case was weak.  They went so far as to track down his high school buddies and pore through his high school yearbook.  They accused him of participating in gang rapes.  Upon detailed investigation Ford’s accusations did not hold up.  She could not recall crucial details of the alleged attack, including where and when it occurred or who else was present.  Moreover, she had not reported the incident contemporaneously.  Finally, her supposed corroborating witnesses’ stories did not hold up either.

On the other hand, Reade has a far more believable case.  She does recall crucial details, quite graphically, such as when and where the incident occurred; she told various persons at the time; she filed a contemporaneous report, (although she has not yet produced a copy of it); and there is that haunting telephone call from her late mother to “Larry King Live.”  And, yet, the Accusers tried to ignore the story in the hope it would somehow disappear.  Incidentally, let’s not forget that Reade is a lifelong Dem and a Biden supporter, so there is no political bias involved.

Other than on Fox News the story got very little “play.”  For five weeks, from March 25 to April 30 Biden gave dozens of interviews.  He was not asked one question about Reade.  Not one!  The contrast is stunning.  The hypocrisy is apparent.  The same Accusers who tormented Kavanaugh have rushed to Biden’s defense.  In lock-step they have either stated they don’t believe Reade or have declined to comment.

Tobe Berkowitz, a BU professor who specializes in political communications told “The Hill” that there has been “a disparity” in the media coverage.  “The burden of proof [in the two cases] has not been the same.”  (That’s a really polite way to say the media has been biased and hypocritical.) President Trump and others have characterized it as a “double standard.”  Apparently, the new standard is to always believe women, unless the person accused is a Democrat.

Among the many prominent Dems who have rushed to Biden’s defense and praised his “integrity” regardless are Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Nancy Pelosi, and Amy Klobuchar.  Could the reason for their support be that each of them, except for Pelosi and perhaps Clinton, harbors hopes of being selected as Biden’s running mate?

The #MeToo, Emily’s List, and Planned Parenthood groups and other women’s organizations have been put into a very difficult position.  They have long claimed to support women, but they feel the pressure to stick by Biden.  The hypocrisy is obvious.  If they really were committed to supporting women they would be supporting Reade.   In my opinion, the integrity of these groups is taking a huge “hit.”  They are being exposed as phonies.

By  the way, where is the aforementioned Mazie?  Why hasn’t she come out in support of Reade?  Why hasn’t she told Biden to just “shut up?”   We know why.  She’s the biggest phony, the biggest hypocrite of all.

Another significant factor is that this is not Biden’s first incident of sexual harassment.  He has often been photographed as hugging, kissing, sniffing, and petting women (for example, then-Nevada assemblywoman Lucy Flores in 1994), earning the unflattering nickname of “handsy Joe.”  If you doubt this, just watch him mingle among a crowd.  He’s like that creepy old guy that women and young girls instinctively shy away from.  His actions are beyond innocent and friendly, especially in the current PC climate.  Moreover, his attitude toward and treatment of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearing in 1991 was rather callous.

After weeks of silence finally Biden addressed the matter in an interview.  Of course, he picked MSNBC.  I’m sure the hope was that he would be asked only “softball” questions.  No such luck.  To her credit, Mika Brzezinski did not give Biden a fluff interview.  She questioned him rigorously on the incident.  I think Biden did all right (at least he didn’t fumble, mumble and stumble like he often does) until Mika queried him about disclosing the content of his papers that are in the custody of the University of Delaware.  He did not have a good answer as to why those records should not be made available to the public.  The proper answer of an innocent man would have been something like, “go ahead and investigate.  I have nothing to hide.  I will be vindicated.”  Maybe, some enterprising reporter should interview Biden’s high school buddies or take a look at his high school yearbook.  Just kidding, or maybe not.

I suspect his reluctance is based on the fact that the papers contain personal conversations with foreign leaders that he would not want disclosed.  Perhaps, they contain further evidence of corruption that has nothing to do with the Reade case.  Joe is the likely Dem nominee for president.  Everything should be on the table.  The public has a right to know.  If this were about President Trump you can be sure there would be widespread demands to release all the information.

If Biden wants to put this issue to bed once and for all he will have to consent to the release of those papers, personal or not.

CONCLUSION

I am willing to grant Biden the presumption of innocence until and unless he has been proven guilty.  Hopefully, the matter will be investigated by an independent party, and the true facts will be disclosed to the public.

It will be interesting to observe how the media covers this matter prospectively.  Many if not most Americans do not believe we have an unbiased media in this country.  In my opinion, the media has been protecting Biden for years.  Truly, as I have blogged before, he is “the emperor with no clothes.”   This will be an opportunity for the media to “step up.”  Will it?  We’ll see.

It will be interesting to see the impact of this matter on the election.  What will the Dems and independents do?  In my opinion, even if it is determined that he is guilty there will still be many Dems who will still vote for him.  They hate Mr. Trump that much.  That is their right, but let’s not be hypocritical about it.