Advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996.
|Delaware politics||Alphabet soup|
|Guide to newspapers||Letter to the editor|
|SAFE on Twitter||Get on the ball Congress|
Oops, did we really say that? – In its efforts to stay on the cutting edge, SAFE sometimes takes the risk of offering predictions about future events. The results have been gratifying at times, as when we anticipated an S&P downgrade of US Treasury securities last summer that caught many by surprise. Who cut my credit rating? http://bit.ly/LvUNaD (8/1/11)
But to paraphrase the Bible (Proverbs), “pride goeth before a fall.” Our prediction “that the [Healthcare Insurance] mandate will be held unconstitutional” – GovCare saga http://www.s-a-f-e.org/blog.htm (6/18/12) - was technically in line with the Court’s several opinions. Chief Justice Roberts reasoned that the mandate was really a tax, however, so the legislation was upheld.
We came closer to the mark earlier. “The Supreme Court will be under heavy pressure on the GovCare decision, and the justices may be inclined to tread lightly. Our only prediction at this point is that the case will be decided by a 5-4 margin.” Can this country be saved? http://bit.ly/KZ46Dg (3/5/12)
Now the possibility of a judicial fix has been eliminated, it seems safe to say proposals to repeal GovCare will be a key issue in the 2012 elections. As for the likely outcome, our crystal ball is a little cloudy right now. What do you readers think?
Constitutional Law 101 – Watch this lady go after Representative Pete Stark for saying healthcare is a “right.” Doesn’t that mean someone else has a “duty” to provide the healthcare, even though the 13th Amendment prohibits slavery? And if the government can make people provide or pay for the healthcare for others, what can’t it do? Stark winds up saying the federal government “can do most anything in this country.” 7/24/10 town hall meeting in Hayward California, video (3:37). http://bit.ly/N7W9Xw
Delaware politics – We invited representatives of the two major parties to address the Retired Men’s Luncheon Club. John Daniello, Democratic Party state chairman, led off in April. John Sigler, his Republican counterpart, spoke in June.
The speakers were asked to provide a general rundown on their respective parties – policies or personnel, state or national, problems or opportunities, whatever they would like to talk about – and then take a few questions.
John Daniello, has spent most of his working life in politics and government service; he has chaired the Delaware Democratic Party since 2005.
Daniello favors a two-party system. It permits competition between conflicting viewpoints, which a one-party system does not, without becoming chaotic like a multi-party system.
He contrasted the Democratic “family model” (if some members are not doing well, they will be helped out) with the Republican “business model” (cuts support if there isn’t enough money in the budget).
The parties should maintain a constructive dialog. Effective elected officials (e.g., Governor Markell, Senator Carper, & former Representative Castle) reach across the aisle to get things done. Compromise legislation often passes overwhelmingly in Delaware, and that’s good.
Daniello thinks Republicans at the national level (including presidential candidate Mitt Romney; “I doubt he’s going to be elected”) – and also some Democrats - have gotten too rigid in their thinking.
Pet peeves include court decisions allowing PAC money and treating corporations as “people,” and the disappearance of journalists who report what is actually going on.
John Sigler, formerly a captain in the Dover Police and a past president of the National Rifle Association, is general counsel for a multistate firm. Since he took the Delaware Republican helm last year, the state committee’s debt has been paid off and unity has been bolstered.
At the national level, starting with the presidential race, Sigler likes the Republicans’ chances. He suggested that the GOP is rightly focused on holding down taxes and controlling the size and scope of government.
In Delaware, the Democrats hold all but one statewide elective office and a decisive majority in the legislature. Accordingly, Republicans are unable to block ill-advised or overly costly initiatives – such as a proposal to establish a “single payer” healthcare system. For those who do not normally vote Republican, this might be the year to consider some “ticket splitting.”
Sigler feels the Republican candidates in Delaware are solid and should do well. As for the Democrat edge in registered voters, remember how many “independent” voters are up for grabs.
In response to a question, Sigler discussed the “national popular vote” bill being pushed in Delaware and other states around the country. He feels Democrats and Republicans alike should resist this legislation, which would diminish Delaware’s already modest clout in presidential elections.
Milestone – Dr. Richard Timberlake, a SAFE member in Bogart, Georgia, recently celebrated his 90th birthday. http://bit.ly/MEoEjl Many happy returns, Dick!
Guide to newspapers – This list was forwarded by a friend and condensed by us; it is not meant to offend anyone.
1.The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
2.The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
3.The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and are very good at crossword puzzles.
7.The New York Daily News is read by people who don't really care who is running the country as long as they can get a seat on the train.
11.The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the store.
12.The Key West Citizen is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something to wrap it in.
Networking - The Retired Men’s Luncheon Club meets monthly at the Ed Oliver Club. For more information, call Bill Whipple (302-464-2688).
SAFE on Twitter – It’s hard to keep up with computer technology these days, but we are trying. As an example, click one of the Twitter logos on SAFE’s Website. http://www.s-a-f-e.org/ (bottom of homepage, near top of Blog and “Delaware Chatter” pages).
SAFE’s Twitter feed recaps weekly blog entries and other noteworthy content. To learn more about an item, click the link provided and scroll down as necessary.
While you're on the Twitter site, please sign up to "follow" SAFE if you have not already done so. This is a one-time step, no sensitive personal information need be disclosed, and there is no commitment to post tweets of your own.
Recruiting more “followers” will hopefully boost traffic on the SAFE website (currently averaging about 4,000 visits per month, but we’d love to go higher). Thanks for your support!
Alphabet soup, Andrew Betley – Delaware promotes the sale of electric power from “Renewable Energy” (wind, solar, Bloom Energy fuel cells) vs. conventional sources. Under the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), Delmarva Power and other electric power distributors in the state must (a) acquire a rising portion (8.5% currently, 25% by 2025) of their power from renewable sources, and (b) make up any shortfall by buying “Renewable Energy Credits” (RECs) from renewable energy producers. The RECs are traded in a market sponsored by nine Northeastern states (including Delaware) that are participating in a “Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative” (RGGI).
With these arrangements plus other state and federal subsidies, renewable energy producers (including property owners with wind turbines or solar cell arrays) can potentially recoup their investment – at the expense of others. Electric power from renewable energy is 2 to 3 times as expensive as conventional power, and it is also unreliable. Delmarva Power et al. can pass on the higher costs, but consumers get stuck.
Delaware power costs are about 13th highest in the US for residential and 7th highest for commercial, but proposals to rethink the current policies have fallen on deaf ears in Dover. Bills to pull Delaware out of the RGGI (2011) and freeze phase-in of the RPS pending further study (2012) died in committee.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s time for a free market energy policy in Delaware. Why should the government try to pick the winners and losers?
Letter to the editor – SAFE Director Edgar Fasig recently sent a zinger to the (Wilmington, DE) News Journal.
Eugene Robinson’s Saturday article seeks to equate the “Fast & Furious” operation with the George W. Bush program “Wide Receiver.” In “Wide Receiver,” all the weapons had imbedded devices to allow tracking on the ground and by fixed wing and helicopter aircraft. The attempt was to track the weapons in order to nab the crooks. It also directly involved the Mexican government. “Fast & Furious” had no means of tracking the weapons and did not involve the Mexican government in any way. “Wide Receiver” was terminated when it was found the Mexicans had found a way to disable the tracking. US Attorney General Eric Holder has stonewalled US Rep. Darrell Issa’s committee for 18 months [re “Fast & Furious”] and now, the president, who initially said he know nothing about the program, has cited executive privilege to prevent crucial documents from being sent to the committee.
So we have a new Nixon in the White House covering up critical information the public has a right to know. Lies and stonewalling at the highest levels of government.
Caveat: It remains to be seen whether and in what way the White House was involved in F&F, but Rep. Issa’s committee is quite properly trying to determine who was responsible for this operation and/or tried to cover it up.
Get on the ball Congress – SAFE has directed a steady stream of advice to federal legislators. For example, here is a part of our 5/8/12 comments to 30 members of Congress. For the full text, see http://bit.ly/JZMHFR
The House has now passed a budget package that would represent a major step forward and deserves serious consideration. It has also endorsed the idea of a tax overhaul although the House Ways and Means Committee needs to flesh out the details; see SAFE’s SimpleTax proposal . . .
The Senate leadership reportedly intends to stonewall the House budget without proposing any alternative, thus ensuring nothing will get done before the election.
The fiscal problem is serious business and no one knows when the roof will cave in. The time has come for less fancy footwork and a lot more action!
Andrew Betley, (302) 239-9679
Edgar Fasig, treasurer, (302) 999-0611
Dan Kerrick, (302) 658-7101
Steve McClain, (302) 998-3910
Jerry Martin, (302) 478-5064
Bill Morris, (302) 475-7060
Ryck Stout, (302) 478-9495
Bill Whipple, president, (302) 464-2688
For e-mail addresses see: http://bit.ly/HM3UBn
SAFE is a non-partisan, all-volunteer organization that was founded in 1996. We advocate smaller, more focused, lower cost government, to be achieved by cutting spending, restructuring “entitlements,” simplifying taxes, and rationalizing regulations.
The SAFE agenda is promoted through:
# Our website, including a weekly blog. Members can help to spread this content by forwarding links or downloads to their families, friends, and contacts.
# A quarterly newsletter for members, which is also posted on line for convenient reference and sharing. http://www.s-a-f-e.org/safe_newsletters.htm
# Letters to the editor, microblogs, videos, public events, and legislative contacts. www.s-a-f-e.org
We appreciate your membership and support. Dues are $10 per year (if the number after your name on the mailing label equals or exceeds the last two digits of the current year, your dues are up to date). As SAFE is a Section 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, contributions in excess of your dues may be tax deductible.
To join SAFE or renew membership, please complete the form and mail it with your check to SAFE, 214 N. Spring Valley Road, Wilmington, DE 19807. Thank you!