cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Federal employees earn twice as much, on average, as do private sector employees. That revelation came a day or two ago and encompasses both dollars paid in salary as well as dollars spent on benefits for the employees. That is bad enough, but the rate of federal employee salary increases has been 33% greater than the rate of inflation for the past decade. And, their ranks have grown by a quarter-million in just three years.
Now we see the vote in favor of $26.1 Billion of additional funding that is being sent to the states for teachers’ retention and for additional funding for Medicaid programs. Those in the Republican Party claim this is a pay-off to the unions and those in the Democratic Party claim it is a “stimulus” package that will protect the jobs of teachers and state government employees.
At the same time, the economy is stalled; recovery is weak, at best. Our federal government claims that it’s ‘stimulus’ money has saved a huge number of jobs (which is, at best, difficult to measure). As the unemployment numbers continue to stumble along at around 9.5%, we do not have much to cheer about.
The President’s popularity is at an all-time low (about 45%) for this President, and members of Congress rank down there with used car sales people in terms of those in whom we place our trust.
Overall, that is a great picture as we head into the fall election cycle. The Democrats will run against Bush and on their record, and the Republicans will run against Obama and on their record and their vision for the future (and Paul Ryan is about the only one with a real vision for the future).
Our state races promise to be spirited. The Republicans have yet to sort out just whom they’ll promote to the general election although it seems that Neumann is trailing Walker in informal polls. There remains a real opportunity for the Republicans to take control of both the Assembly and the Senate but there is also a lot of time left for that outlook to be diminished. The Democrats will be out in force for Barrett; the President will soon be here to help raise funds for him. It will be interesting see if the President has ‘coat tails’ with which he can help candidates be elected.
This election season could see wholesale change from the state level up through the national level…BUT…it is never easy to estimate what the voters will do even a day or two ahead of the actual vote. Republicans have the uncanny ability to screw up seemingly sure things; Democrats are proved to be tough competitors and have pulled themselves out of what seemed sure losses.
All through this time, we citizens are treated to high unemployment and the specter of rising taxes and fees. Interesting times, indeed.