Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Laser-Like Focus on Social Engineering

NH state revenues are down by $56.7 million for the month of November, according to a recent story in the Union Leader. Our state is facing a huge budget shortfall next year. We still have problems with both unemployment and underemployment. Both of those things contribute to our state’s budget shortfall. You may remember that during the 2010 campaign season, the folks who now have the majority promised a laser-like focus on job creation. Since their budget went into effect, the state has lost over 2000 jobs, and the unemployment rate has risen. That laser appears to be defective.

Speaker of the NH House, Bill O’Brien staked his name (and hopefully his NH political career) on getting the governor’s veto of a so-called right to work bill overridden. He failed to bully enough legislators, and the veto override failed. When asked to name a single company that refused to move to NH because there was no right to work bill in place, O’Brien failed again. He was unable to name even one.

The so-called “right to work” legislation comes from a well-funded special interest group in Virginia. This is not a NH initiative. This is our Speaker and our state legislators bowing to out of state special interest groups. O’Brien is the lackey of special interest groups. After a trip to DC to meet with folks like the Heritage Foundation, O’Brien came back and pushed to lower the tobacco tax. (Heritage gets big bucks from Big Tobacco.) That move has cost the state at least $11 million in revenue.

This is all deliberate. The Teabaglicans want to have as little money as possible to work with, therefore justifying their ongoing mantra of: “NH doesn’t have a revenue problem, NH has a spending problem.” If you don’t have much money coming in, there’s not much money to go out. They desperately want to fulfill that prophecy. In doing so, they’re willing to take our state back two centuries.

There’s a reason O’Brien can’t name a single company that won’t move here because of right to work. There isn’t one. There are many reasons that companies won’t move to NH, and many of them involve our state’s lack of infrastructure. There aren’t sufficient roads and highways for moving merchandise, and there isn’t sufficient telecommunications infrastructure for doing business in the upper half of the state. We also have high energy costs, high property taxes, and we hate education. Companies may also look askance at a state where some of our legislators are comfortable with letting poor people freeze to death.

Given that the legislative laser has been on hiatus this session, one might think that they’d sharpen their promised focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs” for next session. One would be wrong. Having ensured that the state coffers are barely full, our legislators are turning to social engineering. When NH passed a marriage equality law, there was no plague of locusts, no rain of toads from the sky. All that changed is that more people are married, new families have been created, and NH businesses have benefitted from providing a variety of services associated with weddings.

Local Representative Frank McCarthy is opposed to marriage equality, but wants to hear from his constituents, claiming that they’ll make his decision for him. Does anyone actually believe that? McCarthy marches to the drumbeat of the most loathsome aspects of the far right. His opposition to gay rights is typical of old Republicans. They’re old, rigid in their beliefs, and often very religious. It’s not a winning issue or strategy for the Republicans. Even Maynard Thomson, disgraced former Chairman of the Carroll County GOP, acknowledges that repealing marriage equality isn’t a winner for the Teabaglicans.

This same bunch natters on endlessly about freedom, liberty, too many gummint regulations, and “the rights of the individual.” How lofty! How utterly insincere! They throw those fauxbertarian ideals right out the window when it comes to gays and women. Regulatin’ business is bad. Regulatin’ homosexuals and wimmin is essential.

I trust I’m not the only one who is looking forward to watching these same paragons of self-professed morality twist themselves into pretzels to justify supporting Newt Gingrich, if he becomes the GOP presidential nominee.

Newt Gingrich, whose first wife supported him financially, all the way through his Ph.D. Newt didn’t work. Didn’t take a job as a janitor, the way he wants low income kids to do. He was so grateful to her, that he cheated on her, and divorced her after she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She had to take him to court to get him to pay alimony and child support. After that divorce, Newt married the woman he’d been having an affair with. The lizard didn’t change his spots. He cheated on #2, and eventually began having an affair with a woman who worked for him. A woman younger than his daughters. At the same time this was going on, he was working to impeach President Clinton. He finally ditched #2 after she was diagnosed with MS. After that, he married the young woman who worked for him, who is currently #3, and presumably the beneficiary of his famed revolving charge account at Tiffany’s. Maybe he just buys engagement rings in bulk, given his belief in the sanctity of marriage.

The same people who decry marriage equality will leap right on to the Gingrich bus, without a moment of reflection on their own hypocrisy.

In 2009, NH had an official poverty rate of 7.9 %. In 2011 that rate has increased to 8.3%. That’s a rate higher than the official unemployment number. That tells us that many NH families are working, and still qualify as poor.

People of conscience would have a problem of that. We didn’t elect people with a conscience.

I sure do miss the Weekly World News!
© sbruce 2011
published as an op-ed in the December 9 edition of the Conway Daily Sun Newspaper

1 comment:

CraftyVeggie said...

I was amazed when Gingrich at the outset of his campaign returned from his overseas holiday after being dumped by his staff, and continued his presidential bid appearing to actually gain success. Both he and Cain would have made perfect bedfellows since their morals and family values are so identical. As for the values of our own NH teafarters, they are completely lost in their own fog. Unless they blindly follow outside groups and sources, they are clueless on their own and have about as much creativity as the NH slogan Live Free Or Die provided you do it in this state with outside resources. Their blind hatred of taxes is going to have to be overcome if they don't want further discomfort. As for our property taxes being high, I've found over the years that all things being equal, without income tax, our tax rates are about on par with ME. I believe that adding an income tax would really create further hardship and that in NH we still aren't taxed as highly as ME and of course the lower southern states. But I do believe that our taxes could use a very slight bump up in order for the pain to be well distributed. It's tough stuff, but how else will we pay for the mess we find ourselves in, I have no idea. Our NH GOP has proved itself useless with nary a creative thought or action because they haven't any.