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Over the summer of 2010 I began to ask myself, "what do you do if two of our Rights, as citizens of these United States, are diametrically opposed?" I came to the only viable conclusion: you compromise. Our great Nation works when there is compromise.

Right now most of you will agree with me that our political system is broken. What we currently have is: the politics of destruction; special interest groups who have the power and money to dictate policy; politicians who must spend their time raising money for the next election instead of doing the People's business; and, there are those who are so concerned about getting re-elected they cede their responsibilities to the citizenry to those groups making the loudest noises and the greatest threats.

The attacks that we were inundated with during the this election cycle belittled the democratic process. Shame on everyone involved. And, shame on the political obstructionists who are more interested in gaining and maintaining power than doing the people’s business. During these very difficult times all of us should be supporting our President. The challenge for all of us is, how do we improve upon this imperfect union that we call the United States of America? One thing I know for is not by dividing us.

I can remember when I was sixteen years old there was a day when my father called out to me, "Jackie, come quickly. You have to hear this. It's Winston Churchill. Come listen." I raced to the radio and for the first time heard a recording of Churchill's speech to a Nation standing alone against the greatest evil the world has ever known: "...we shall defend our island no matter what the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; and we shall not surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until in God's good time, the New World, with all it's power and might, steps forth to the rescue and liberation of The Old."

That day my hero was born. Where are our heroes today? jkt

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wages and Benefits

Ohio currently has a 9 billion dollar budget deficit. You cannot begin to balance the budget without tackling the issue of State employee wages and benefits.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics October 2009, National Compensation Survey for Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and surrounding areas the mean (average) hourly earnings are:

Civilian Workers                   $20.55 per hour
Private Industry Workers      $19.58 per hour
State & Loc Gov't Workers  $26.93 per hour
USA Today reported in 2007:
"The nation is dividing into two classes of workers: those who have government benefits and those who don't. The gap is accelerating in every way — pensions, medical benefits, retirement ages.

Governments' generosity could have serious consequences for taxpayers and pensioners. Some states — including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and West Virginia — have troubled retirement systems that may require huge tax increases, spending cuts or even defaulting on promised benefits. The U.S. government has a bigger unfunded liability for military and civil servant retirement benefits ($4.7 trillion) than it does for Social Security ($4.6 trillion).
Contrary to a widely held notion, the extra government benefits aren't compensation for lower pay. Most government workers are paid more than private employees in similar jobs, and the wage gap is growing. Elected officials (are to blame) for awarding unsustainable retirement benefits to win support from employee unions."

I can only imagine what the consequences are going to be in the aftermath of the 2008 crash. The State needs to get its own house in order, and that will be one of my first priorities, along with focusing on jobs and education.