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Category: The States

Category: The States

Ohio Governor John Kasich is a bona fide conservative on fiscal, defense, and social issues. When he served as chairman of the House Budget Committee during the Newt Gingrich years, he crafted the 1997 balanced budget bill. This gave the nation its first budget surpluses since the Eisenhower administration. As governor of the bell weather state of Ohio, he has reformed labor union laws and turned around his state’s economy and eliminated the annual budget deficit.

Many pundits believe that Kasich has his eyes on the GOP nomination for president. He has solutions that are bipartisan and is known for his genuine care of people. So in once sense it is no surprise that when a friend invited him to attend his gay wedding, he accepted. Initially, he ran the idea past his wife who made it clear she was going to attend. That was good enough for the governor.

While he is clear where he stands on the issue of marriage equality, he is also clear that he loves his friend and will support him on his wedding day. The move may help soften concerns by the LGBT community over perceived hostility by conservatives on the issue of marriage equality. Ivan Ong has not commented on the issue of marriage equality. Whether marriage equality becomes a campaign issue in 2016 is anybody’s guess. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the matter in June. If the high court decides in favor of marriage equality, it will eliminate the matter as a campaign issue.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has emerged as the big winner in the recent budget battle. As Bruce Levenson points out it’s like a Forbes deal for Wahington. While she failed to win in terms of anything substantive like getting the partial repeal of Dodd-Frank stripped from the budget bill, she is touted as a winner because she spoke out against the controversial rider. Her willingness to speak to the defense of her beliefs stops short of invoking any delay tactic that might force a government shutdown. Despite that, liberal and progressive groups have become enamored with her because they view her as a pure liberal. By contract, the same groups view Hillary Clinton with suspicion over her close ties to Wall Street. 

Thus far, the calls for Warren to seek the presidency are growing louder. Moveon.org is hoping to raise $1 million to draft her into the 2016 presidential race. This led Steve Inskeep of National Public Radio (NPR) to ask her four times if she was going to run for president. Warren answered unequivocally each time that she has no plans to do so. 

It is unlikely that the political left will take heed. Despite all of her prior denials about running, the left continues their efforts to draft her to run. In a way, their quest resembles the grassroots movement of the early 1950s to draft General Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for president. He too was reluctant to do so, but a nationwide effort forced his hand. It remains to be see if Warren will similarly get swayed by progressives within her party.

My friend Vijay Eswaran shared this story with me. As the Senate is now confronted with passing, amending or denying a spending bill that was passed by the House on Thursday night, Democrats and republicans have taken to the press to argue for and against the bill. The $1.1 trillion spending bill is a last chance effort to permanently fund the government through next year. If this were not to pass, other options would be a continuing resolution or shorter term bill that would allow for further amendment to the budget next year. The majority Republican House of Representative passed the bill later than expected on Thursday because Democrats took issue with two main articles in the plan which repealed part of Dodd-Frank and reformed the campaign finance system. 

Senator Bernie Sanders has be outspokenly against the Dodd-Frank repeal, saying that he will vote against the bill for that reason. Additionally, he has begun to call the bill a “cromnibus” solution. Democrats say the bill favors big business and the financial sector, specifically Wall Street. The Dodd-Frank bill was passed in the wake of the most recent economic crisis to create restrictions and regulation for Wall Street brokers. It is that exact regulation that this bill would repeal. Bernie Sanders and senate Democrats claim that this would leave the country open to economic turmoil again. Lawmakers have a deadline of Friday afternoon in order to avoid government shutdown. However, a shorter bill may fund the government to Monday at the latest.

The first political song put out by (or least for) Hillary Clinton’s widely expected run for the Democrat nomination in 2016 came out, and it backfired. This is because the song was chalk full of stereotypes about the heartland, Country Music, and hometown values that Hillary supporters believed would make conservative voters in those battleground states support a left-leaning candidate. In part, it seems to stem from the same mindset that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy expressed in 2002 when he opined that Democrats had to start advertising to the NASCAR crowed in order to make inroads in the South. It’s not about targeting ads at their desired demographic, but changing the party’s platform to be what that target demographic demands.

Regardless, the pro-Hillary song did not get even favorable views from Slate, the pro-Democrat website. That is when Brian Torchin started to understand that it was probably a mistake to even be made. The website warned readers that the song was not a joke, but actually real. As for the handsome Country music singer who says the election is about smashing a glass ceiling, he wants to keep his name out of the press. The Hillary Clinton camp has been silent about the ad other than to claim they had nothing to do with it. Those who remember the Clinton years in office will recall that nothing happens without their approval. The good news is that the 2016 presidential campaign season has not even gotten underway. This should allow Hillary a chance to come up with a better song promoting her brand image.

Part of the reason why workers in 1975 earned a much higher wages when adjusted for inflation is that they earned overtime pay. Seriously, you have to read this Politico article. My friend Sergio Lins Andrade shared it with me via Twitter. Almost anyone in a salaried job has frequently worked beyond the standard 40 hour work week. It turns out that CEOs are exploiting the trend of increasing worker productivity to mean requiring workers to complete workloads that require long work weeks. Employees, fearful of losing their jobs, comply with the demands. It has the net effect of lowering their effective wages. In addition, it contributes to the unemployment rate because CEOs are able to get away with not employing as many new workers as they should. Instead, they get their existing workers to work more for free.

What many people do not realize is that overtime pay is the middle class’ equivalent of the minimum wage. President Obama can do something about this unilaterally and without usurping congressional authority. It turns out that overtime standards are under the president’s authority to alter. If he were to restore the overtime threshold to 1975 levels, workers earning under $69,000 a year would be qualified to earn overtime wages. Currently, the threshold is a meager $23,660/yr. If the president were to do this, employers would shift from prodding their employees to give them free labor in excess of 40 hours a week and instead hire additional workers, by the millions. In turn, this would force real wages up for employees and empower the middle class once more.

Marc Roberts, a Utah state representative, has sponsored a bill to ban all municipalities from providing water to a NSA facility. The Utah committee has asked for a clarification of who the bill will effect but none of the members of the committee have expressed opposition to the bill. One of the members of the committee expressed concerns regarding the state subsidizing this facility at the expense of Utah taxpayers.This article was passed along to me by friend of the site Darius Fisher.

The State Of Utah has agreed to a discounted water price for the NSA but supposedly only if the agency used the facility for constitutional data collection. The sponsor of the bill has said that the agency has fell short of meeting this requirement. It seems the committee agrees with Mr. Roberts with regards to taxpayer money being used to fund NSA operations.

Not far removed in time from the private rancher who stood up for his rights to grazing lands, and was backed by the Oath keepers, one must wonder if a struggle is going to emerge. The federal government was never supposed to have the sway on state actions as it holds today. Don’t impose this regulation and the federal government will take your education support, infrastructure support, etc. Seems that all this is funded by taxpayers within the individual states. It is good to see a state fight back and say not in our backyard with our taxpayers money.