One prominent reader of TCR, (Paul Burka of Texas Monthly), cited our last issue and asked a good question. What state spending is not necessary? We would add, are there ways to change how the State of Texas runs programs so as to reduce costs?
Here is our take of at least some current spending that should be eliminated or reduced or made more efficient:
(1) Consolidate and reduce administrative functions of school districts throughout the state which allows diversion of funds to teachers and instruction.
(2) Reform the criminal justice system extending alternative programs for drug abusers in lieu of prison and add a new category for sentencing of house arrest with GPS leg monitors for certain offenders and accelerate parole by releasing to house arrest those prisoners who are non-violent, low risk and who have behaved in prison. The end result is a saving of $240 million per year for each 4,000 people diverted.
(3) Reform state pension plans to a defined contribution plan.
(4) Eliminate all grants/appropriations with strings from the state to major counties.
(5) Change Medicaid to a defined contribution premium support plan with a number of insurance options to spend in their entitlement. This will encourage greater efficiency in health care & delivering health care at a more affordable price.
More to come in the next issue.
Obama Gets One Right:
Takes Out bin Laden
TCR has been a major critic of President Obama, but he got a big one right in letting the military do its job and take out Osama bin Laden. It is our hope that this is a sign that the President is abandoning his lead by following foreign policy, and will now just lead by rewarding friends and punishing enemies. It would be a refreshing change.
Middle Class Targeted For Tax Hike By Democrats
When Washington says we are raising taxes only on the rich, hold onto your wallet if you are middle class! How many times have they sold class envy when the truth is the middle class is also targeted? Because, that is where the money is!
Obama has targeted millionaires so let's check the numbers, and we find it shows that in 2008 that's about $980 billion in taxable income. As for the middle class, those who earn between $75,000-999,000, it totals approximately $3.17 trillion.
Remember, Obama promised to raise taxes only on the top 2%, but that won't make a real dent in the debt of $1.65 trillion, even if we tax them at 100%, so the rich aren't rich enough to finance the nanny government ambitions of Obama, without his health care plan.
And raising taxes on the rich and middle class isn't the end. Look for Obama to push a VAT tax and end deductions for state and local taxes, health insurance, 401(k) contributions, charitable donations and mortgage interest without lowering tax rates like Reagan did. And this was all because the debt fueled by runaway spending has exploded from $458 billion in 2008 to $1.4 trillion in 2009; $1.29 trillion in 2010, and currently estimated at $1.645 trillion for 2011!
If you don't want this to be America's future, then we need a new conservative President in 2012 who can get control of runaway spending.
Atlas Shrugged Part I,
A Movie You Must See
The movie that liberal Hollywood never wanted made is a growing independent hit. Atlas Shrugged Part I - begins the story of the monster best seller by Ayn Rand. It is a movie whose timing is impeccable. It is a movie that carries a critical message about what made America great - producers, and what can bring America down - run amok politicians who produce nothing. This movie's success will send a message to Washington and Hollywood. Go see it and take your friends.
Stephen Moore, one of the great editorial writers of the Wall Street Journal, commented recently on the status of today's America and Atlas Shrugged message,
"... With each passing week and with each successive bailout plan and economic stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that "Atlas Shrugged" parodied in 1957 . . . The current economic strategy is right out of Atlas Shrugged. The more incompetent you are in business, the more handouts the politicians will bestow on you. ... As "Atlas" grimly foretold, we now treat the incompetent who wreck their companies as victims. While those resourceful business owners who manage to make a profit are portrayed as recipients of illegitimate windfalls ... when profits and wealth and creativity are denigrated in society, they start to disappear along with everyone's prosperity."
Here's the scary thought: fiction is becoming reality and our future as a great nation is at stake.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones, Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and replaying Sundays at 5:00 p.m. on PBS Houston Channel 8 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
5/06/11: The New Energy Crisis with Bruce Vincent, President/Director of Swift Energy Company and Ryan Kennedy, Professor of Energy Politics at U of H Political Science Dept.
5/13/11: Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland and Houston Fire Chief Terry Garrison.
For a fun feature go to www.houstonpbs.org and under Red White and Blue, you can see commentary about the show and its guests by Gary and David each week. The current show as well as past shows are also available on YouTube.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his thirteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last nine years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.