Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for September 20, 2012

Your one-stop-shop for political news and opinion. Please forward to friends who need to be informed. This SitRep (Military for “Situation Report”) is created by many readers who send me items for inclusion, which I would have likely missed or skipped. And I can only spend at most three hours a night pulling stuff, plus the healthcare or economic stuff that crosses my desk at work. As always, I—and you—owe them thanks and appreciation. I post articles because I think they are of interest and will stimulate thought and discussion. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article, or that I was able to verify the information presented, which is the responsibility of the author. I try not to post things that are false, or too far a stretch, regardless of the view point, but I don’t always succeed. As always on the Net, or in the legacy media, you must read critically and with skepticism.

Advice for my Granddaughter: For When I'm Gone
All royalties go to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

Worth Reading: Economic Freedom of the World: United States Not in Top 10
Excerpt: The Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom of the World 2012 index measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. Forty-two variables are used to construct a summary index and to measure the degree of economic freedom in five broad areas: (1) size of government; (2) legal system and property rights; (3) sound money; (4) freedom to trade internationally; and (5) regulation. In this year's index, Hong Kong retains the highest rating for economic freedom, 8.90 out of 10. The other top 10 nations are: Singapore, 8.69; New Zealand, 8.36; Switzerland, 8.24; Australia, 7.97; Canada, 7.97; Bahrain, 7.94; Mauritius, 7.90; Finland, 7.88; and Chile, 7.84. The rankings (and scores) of other large economies in this year's index are the United Kingdom, 12th (7.75); the United States, 18th (7.69); Japan, 20th (7.64); Germany, 31st (7.52); France, 47th (7.32); Italy, 83rd (6.77); Mexico, 91st, (6.66); Russia, 95th (6.56); Brazil, 105th (6.37); China, 107th (6.35); and India, 111th (6.26). (The NCPA is worth following and supporting. ~Bob.)

Economic freedom in the United States has plummeted to an all-time low. According to the Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report, co-published today with the Fraser Institute, the United States’ ranking has dropped to 18th place after having ranked 3rd for decades up to the year 2000. The loss of freedom is a decade-long trend—the United States ranked 8th in 2005—that has accelerated in recent years. (And you thought he misspoke when he said, “My plan is working.” It is! –Barb)

China, Russia Quit Dollar
Excerpt: China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday. Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies.

British Soldiers No Longer Trust the Afghans. By Con Coughlin
Excerpt: Let us not forget that the main reason we have in excess of 100,000 Nato troops in Afghanistan is to help the Afghans rebuild their country after three decades of civil war, and be in a position to look after their own security. But if the only thanks we get for our trouble is our young soldiers being killed and maimed by ungrateful Afghans, then many people will ask what's the point of sustaining further casualties for a nation of ingrates?

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Nearly Drowned by Climate Change. By James Delingpole
Excerpt: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will have a narrow escape from watery death today when they visit the famous sinking Pacific island of Tuvalu – which, as we know, is in daily danger of total inundation thanks to the threat of man-made warming. How will they escape? God only knows but it's going to be a close one – to judge by this report from local broadcaster Radio Australia.

The Muslim World Should Get Used To Being Offended. English Defence League
Excerpt: For some, the memory of how the Muslim world responded to a Danish newspaper’s decision to print cartoons of the prophet Mohammed appears to have faded – which may well explain their shock that a short, low-budget film by an unknown amateur American filmmaker could have somehow managed to provoke such rage. But the memory’s clearly fresh enough for most people to conclude that Muslims really need to ‘chill out’ (in the words of a work colleague I overheard this week).

Muslims, media dhimmis enraged by Newsweek "Muslim Rage" cover. Jihad Watch
Excerpt: So all around the world Muslims are enraged because they are Muslims, explaining that they are rioting and killing because they believe Muhammad and Islam have been insulted. But if Newsweek runs a cover story referring to "Muslim rage," Islamic supremacists and their media toadies become...enraged.[I had cats at one time & if I was watching them, they would pick fights with each other. When they were out in the back garden & they didn't know I could see them through the kitchen window, it was The Peaceable Kingdom out there. Just Turn Off The Cameras. Kate.]

The Quote of the Decade
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America 's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, "the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. --Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

Worth Reading: Obama on the Middle East. Where is the president’s partisan snarling when we need it? By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: The last three and a half years, Barack Obama has gone out of his way to bow, apologize, contextualize, and scapegoat in order to win Middle Eastern affection. Yet, his reset, “Bush did it” policy is now in shambles, and he apparently has nothing with which to replace it. So I have a modest suggestion.

Stephens: Muslims, Mormons and Liberals: Why is it OK to mock one religion but not another?
Excerpt: On the other hand, if you can afford to shell out several hundred bucks for a seat, then you can watch a Mormon missionary get his holy book stuffed—well, I can't tell you about that, either. Let's just say it has New York City audiences roaring with laughter. The "Book of Mormon"—a performance of which Hillary Clinton attended last year, without registering a complaint—comes to mind as the administration falls over itself denouncing "Innocence of Muslims." (The writer makes a simple but critical point about the hypocrisy of deep concern for bruising the feelings of Muslims because it's so awful to denigrate a religion, while it's perfectly OK to denigrate other religions. He uses the example of the current play about Mormons, but we've seen movies in the past that portrayed Christ as enjoying sex with Mary Magdalene and possibly gay sex as well, and that was OK too. The "feelings" of Christians about such art was not a concern to anyone then either. --Del)

Saving Medicine: The Three Cs. By Lee D. Hieb, M.D.
Excerpt: American medicine today is truly in crisis, but not for the reasons most often reported. Those who generally believe in government solutions cite a need to improve quality, to provide access to care for everyone and to decrease cost. Government, with its inevitable over-regulation, does not solve these problems, but makes them worse.

Excerpt: But before you're impressed, consider this, only about 1 in 4 adults in these top-ranked states are eating five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Yes, that means 75 percent of us are not!

Best Practices for Reforming State Employee Pensions: New Accounting Standards and Bold State Actions Show Momentum Gaining for Reform. By Ivan Osorio
Excerpt: Public awareness of America’s state pension crisis is growing. Years of overly generous pension commitments to government employees have wreaked havoc on state budgets. During the last four years, state governments across the nation have been trying to bring their labor costs under control, especially pensions, which now impose huge unfunded liabilities. This has been an uphill battle, thanks to fierce opposition to reform from government employee unions.

Worth Reading: Medicare reform: battling the myths. By Diana Furchtgott-Roth 
Excerpt: On Sunday, speaking in Melbourne, Fla., President Obama said, “Their voucher plan for Medicare would bankrupt Medicare. Our plan strengthens Medicare. No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.” But the word “voucher” does not appear in the Republican plan. And future seniors would continue to have a choice of traditional Medicare. They would just have other choices, too. It’s clear that Medicare is in trouble. 

Excerpt: But, beyond this well-trodden battlefield, something amazing has happened: Carbon-dioxide emissions in the United States have dropped to their lowest level in 20 years. Estimating on the basis of data from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) from the first five months of 2012, this year’s expected CO2 emissions have declined by more than 800 million tons, or 14%, from their peak in 2007.

Cities' Revenue Keeps Shrinking. By Vauhini Vara
Excerpt: U.S. cities' revenue keeps falling, according to a survey released Thursday, with the delayed effect of weaker property values now weighing on municipal finances. Cities expect revenue to decrease 3.9% on average in fiscal 2012, representing the sixth straight year of declines since the recession hit in 2007, the annual survey from the National League of Cities found. In those six years, cities have shed workers, delayed infrastructure improvements and slashed services.

Race Is On as Ice Melt Reveals Arctic Treasures
Excerpt: With Arctic ice melting at record pace, the world’s superpowers are increasingly jockeying for political influence and economic position in outposts like this one, previously regarded as barren wastelands. At stake are the Arctic’s abundant supplies of oil, gas and minerals that are, thanks to climate change, becoming newly accessible along with increasingly navigable polar shipping shortcuts. This year, China has become a far more aggressive player in this frigid field, experts say, provoking alarm among Western powers. (Since the pro-AGW scientists say there has been no real warming since 1995, do you think the melt might be caused by natural cycles? Nah. ~Bob. Climate scientist Phil Jones: No global warming since 1995

Excerpt: One way to measure this impact is through mortality amenable to health care, defined as the number of deaths that should not occur in the presence of timely and effective health care. Examples of amenable mortality include childhood infections, surgical complications, and diabetes. The level of amenable mortality varies almost threefold among states, ranging from 64 to 158 deaths per 100,000 population. If all states had provided care of the quality delivered by the highest-performing state, 75,000 fewer deaths would have occurred across the country in 2005.

Worth Reading: The Spoon Theory. By Christine Miserandino
Excellent article on what it’s like to live with a chronic disease. ~Bob.

Excerpt: The leak of a video featuring former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) has sparked debate about government dependency and the number of people in the United States who do not pay federal income tax. In the video, Romney refers to “47 percent” of Americans and says that they are “dependent upon government” and “pay no income tax.” While these groups are not necessarily one in the same, there is overlap between the two, and the percentages on government dependency and non-tax-paying are very similar.

“I Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear to preserve, protect and defend Islam from the Constitution of the United States” [Reader Post] By DrJohn
Excerpt: What an American President should be doing is to be telling the Islamic world that the US honors free speech and it is guaranteed by our Constitution and we have no intention of ending that freedom nor matter who is offended by it. We should NOT be kowtowing to Islam, which is what is happening right now. Islam needs to make accommodations to democracy, not the other way around.

Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Overview:

Mr. Obama, Why the Muslim Brotherhood? (Video)

Muslim Brotherhood in America, Part 9: Team Obama & the Islamist Agenda

Best comment on releasing the blind sheik…
I say release him at 25,000 feet above Cairo, and tell Egypt to "catch."

Excerpt: According to a new Gallup poll, the vast majority of Democrats believe the government doesn’t do enough.

Mr. President, Mitt Romney Is Not the Enemy. Al Qaeda is. Please inform your Ministry of Truth. By Ben Stein 
Excerpt: Then along comes Governor Romney, who rightly says, "Hey, why are we appeasing an al Qaeda mob? Why aren't we calling these guys the vicious killers that they are? Why are we back in this apology to bad guys mode?" Then, and only then, the Obama White House goes into hyper drive.

Excerpt: Townhall magazine news editor Katie Pavlich told The Daily Caller that being a target of a collaboration between the Justice Department and the left-wing advocacy organization Media Matters indicates the Obama administration’s desire to “cover up” Operation Fast and Furious. Targeting journalists with the help of a liberal message group, Pavlich said in an email, “is just another example of Obama’s Justice Department, led by Eric Holder, to cover-up the lethal Fast and Furious scandal.” “The Justice Department has blood on its hands and Tracy Schmaler is doing everything possible to wash it off.”

Worth reading: Muslim Mobs Insult Muhammad's Legacy. By Dr. David Liepert, Canadian Muslim Leader and Spokesperson, Interfaith Advisor to the Canadian Council of Imams
Excerpt: Whether or not it turns out (as I expect it will) that Middle-Eastern Muslim mobs were duped by jihadist radicals -- provoked by an old, fringe video to provide cover for their own planned attacks on Muslim-friendly American forces in Egypt, Libya and Yemen -- those mobs are a worse insult to Muhammad and Islam that anything an ignorant non-Muslim could ever do. How can we expect non-Muslims to believe that Islam is a religion of peace, when Muslim mobs around the world make liars of us all, Muhammad included? (If you said this, the Transnational Progressives would call you Islamophobic. JihadWatch doesn’t think much of it, though. ~Bob.)

Romney under fire from Leftist media for stating the obvious fact that Palestinians are not interested in peace
Excerpt: It's good that he knows that. Hope he stands firm.

Anti-Islam film protesters lathicharged near US consulate in Chennai
Excerpt: Some vehicles were set on fire and police resorted to lathicharge on Tuesday to disperse a large number of people belonging to more than 20 Muslim organisations who had gathered to protest against an American movie which allegedly denigrated Islam.

Egyptian court sends Copt to prison over anti-Islam post
Excerpt: An Egyptian court on Tuesday sentenced a Christian teacher to six years in prison after convicting him of blasphemy and defamation of President Mohamed Morsy and a plaintiff lawyer, according to Egyptian news reports. The Sohag Misdemeanor Court found Bishoy Kamil Kamel guilty of insulting Prophet Mohamed, sentencing him to three years. He was also sentenced to two years for insulting the country’s president, and another year for insulting a plaintiff lawyer. (Note they think this should be the law here. But okay for them to insult other religions. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Hafiz Saeed alleged that the film, Innocence of Muslims, had been produced with the backing of US establishment. He said the director, the producer and all those involved in the production and release of the movie must be hanged publicly. “The US must make a law against blasphemy – or we will not let the US consulates in Pakistan function,” he said.

Worth Reading: The Great Tax Divide. By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: There was a time when Democrats and Republicans alike could talk sense about tax rates, in terms of what is best for the economy, without demagoguery about “tax cuts for the rich.” Democratic presidents Woodrow Wilson and John F. Kennedy spoke plainly about the fact that higher tax rates on individuals and businesses did not automatically translate into higher tax revenues for the government.

Excerpt: Three years ago Monday, President Barack Obama tossed cooperative agreements with the Poles and the Czechs, scrapping the previous administration’s plan to counter the growing threat of Iranian long-range ballistic missiles by deploying defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic. Last week, the National Research Council released a report, “Making Sense of Ballistic Missile Defense.” The report concludes that U.S. homeland defense requires — you guessed it — a long-range missile defense site.

Excerpt: White House spokesman Jay Carney took a half-step back from the administration’s widely derided claim that an anti-Islam YouTube video prompted the Sept. 11 jihadi attack in Benghazi that killed the ambassador and three other Americans…The recognition of loose weaponry is a tacit admission of the jihadis’ success in scooping up heavy armaments during the administration’s extended bombing attacks against former ruler Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. The administration did not deploy troops to Libya, even as rebels, thieves and jihadis looted thousands of shoulder-launched antiaircraft missiles, anti-tank rockets and machine guns.

Obama Admin Sent Unarmed British Firm To Protect US Mission in Benghazi
Excerpt: For this reason, according to the source, American Marines were not stationed at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli or the American mission in Benghazi, as would typically have been the case. In the spirit of a "low profile," the administration didn't even want an American company in charge of private security. Blue Mountain, the British firm the State Department hired, was willing to abide by the "no bullets" Rules of Engagement (ROE), so were a logical fit for the contract.

Libyan President: Attack Premediated, Al-Qaeda Involved, US Warned Beforehand. By AWR Hawkins 
Excerpt: Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif says his government received word of the pending attack and passed that information to US diplomatic officials no later than 48 hours before the attack. President Megarif said the attack was planned by an Islamist group with links to Al-Qaeda. A senior Libyan official in Benghazi says he also warned US diplomats three days before the attacks took place.

US State Dept Considers Releasing Blind Sheik to Egypt. By AWR Hawkins 
Excerpt: Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy believes the deal to release Rahman has already been reached by the administration, and they are just waiting until after the election to announce it. McCarthy believes this is why the DOJ so strongly ruled out Rahman's "release" but said nothing against his "transfer." (The ultimate perversion of justice by DOJ if this is the case. –Barb.)

Executive Order in the Works to Enact GOP-Blocked Cybersecurity Bill: Democrats are pushing Obama to act quickly to give another bill not passed by Congress the "We Can't Wait" stamp. By Bridget Johnson
Excerpt: Late last week Tech Dirt published what it says is an “incredibly vague” leaked draft of the forthcoming executive order, which doesn’t delve into how privacy concerns will be protected in tenets including “development of an information exchange framework.”

Excerpt: Anti-Japan protests may have quieted down on the day after the anniversary of Japan's invasion of China, but that does not mean anything has been resolved, and the Chinese 1000 boat armada is still supposedly on its way to the Senkakus. Elsewhere, the US foreign department may have to promptly find an anti-Buddhist hate tape made in the US, because otherwise the attack of the US ambassador Gary Locke's car in Beijing may have to be explained using good old fashioned simmering hatred and anti-American sentiment without an actual inflamatory event. (My guess? They know that Bernanke is deliberately debauching the dollar and are furious that they will have to pay back a trillion for the bonds they bought with currency earned at a higher rate of labor to money. It WAS a scam. They are doing what all of us should be doing after QE3. The scary thing isn't what the Chinese are doing. It's what American sheeple AREN'T doing. --Don Hank)

Excerpt: How convenient for a hip, young resident of the Beltway living in comfort. While real people were dying real deaths, she enjoyed a fat salary for hiding the government behavior that caused it. She lied to the media about Fast and Furious and screamed at those she didn’t lie to.

Selective Edit? Mother Jones Admits Romney Tape Missing 'One to Two Minutes'
Excerpt: Mother Jones, the left-wing magazine that released a controversial video of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's remarks to a fundraiser in May, now admits that it has no full tape of what Romney said, and that its video is missing "one to two minutes" at the most important moment. (Unfortunately, none of the MSM will take any note of this. But it should be given the same publicity that the original release from the magazine got. --Del)

Dems brimming with FALSE confidence?
I read the latest Rasmussen poll results. It looks like Obama is trailing Romney so those who were voting against Obama are still voting against him despite Romney's "gaffe." So the Dems are running on false hopes.
Since neither candidate looks like he has a plan for the economy, 55% of respondents say they would be voting for the lesser of 2 evils. However, I think something needs to be pointed out: The biggest hope for the US economy is probably US shale oil and gas, which are supposed to be the largest reserves in the world. Now, ask yourself: Which of the 2 candidates would be more likely to regulate this option out of existence? --Don Hank

A bit graphic in the language, but not inaccurate. ~Bob. Excerpt: Oh my! The liberals are bawling, throwing tantrums and stomping their feet over Mitt Romney's statement about the huge contingent of government tit-suckers. How sad. What's new? You have wide swaths of America, government union workers, career welfare queens, food stamp armies, and in the last decade, millions of Mexican anchor babies firmly sucking on the government tit.

Excerpt: Under the First Amendment, the free-speech and free-exercise clauses are both compatible and complementary. Under the Islamism that drives the embassy besiegers, the one is, as the vice president would say, literally the mortal enemy of the other.

Quotes from The Patriot Post
"For the press, politics doesn't stop at the water's edge. It stops wherever is most convenient for Obama's reelection campaign." --columnist Rich Lowry

"Right after declining to meet with Israel's Netanyahu, President Obama announced he'll be making an appearance on Letterman. I'm guessing that night's list will be 'Top 10 Worst Ways to Treat an Ally.'" --Fred Thompson

"President Obama spoke at the White House to denounce the attacks on U.S. embassies. The president was resolute. He added a statement saying it's unacceptable to insult anyone's religion unless it refuses to pay for free birth control for its employees." --comedian Argus Hamilton

"Well, according to the Labor Department, unemployment fell from 8.3 to 8.1 percent last month. But that was because ... 368,000 Americans gave up looking for work. And today, President Obama said that's a step in the right direction, and he is encouraging more Americans to give up looking for work so the numbers will come down a little bit." --comedian Jay Leno

French mag publishes nude pics of Mohammed
The Muzzies are mad! Of course, President Hollande urges the French to stop "pouring oil on the fire" now that the US video about Mohammed caused so much trouble.
The mag, Charlie Hebdo, has been publishing anti-Catholic and anti-Christian stuff forever, but is bad boy of the week for this. According to Hollande, freedom of expression must be limited to anti-Christian cartoons. --Don Hank

French Magazine Runs Cartoons That Mock Muhammad
Excerpt: A French satirical magazine on Wednesday published a series of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, setting off a new wave of outrage among Muslims and condemnation from French leaders amid widening unrest over an amateur video that has provoked violence throughout the Islamic world.

Tweet from @EWErickson
Kid down the street is telling his parents he's dressing up as Obama for Halloween and will demand his fair share of candy.

Obama’s foreign policy failures catalogue
Excerpt: With the help of the mainstream media, President Obama has been able to pass himself off as a successful president when it comes to foreign policy. Republicans don’t buy this line, of course, but neither do they push back much.

Just a few radicals???
We keep hearing that it's just a few radicals in the Islamic world who go on these violent rampages, that not everyone is subject to going crazy over a movie trailer made half a world away. That's a nice thought, but we wee that the government of Pakistan is ready to bring to court one man who simply refused to go nuts and join the protests, as if that meant he supported the movie trailer, and is thereby guilty of blasphemy. Which can get him a long jail sentence or maybe just an execution. Meanwhile, of course Iran wants the people involved in the trailer killed, and Egypt wants to bring them to trial for their acts. I've lost track of what the Saudis and assorted other Muslim countries are saying about it all. But the sad bottom line is that we cannot just write all this nastiness in the Muslim world off as the work of a tiny minority, and not meaningful in terms of the rest of the population. Clearly it's a lot more than a few Muslims who react fanatically to even a perceived insult to the religion. And clearly such people basically despise the whole Western culture of freedom of the individual. However unpleasant it is to know that fundamentalism and fanaticism are not a minor problem in the world of Islam, we need to understand that, and think of how best to react to such a situation. Acting on some fantasy that if we're just nice and supportive and apologetic they will come to like us whole bunches and everything will be fine, is the classic ostrich approach. It has never worked and never will. –Del

Important: Justice report faults ATF officials for "Fast and Furious' actions
Excerpt: Attorney General Eric Holder did not know about the controversial tactics before Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent him a letter raising questions about the operation he had received from whistleblowers within ATF, according to the report. (So the report says that AG Eric Withholder isn’t culpable, just incompetent, the only conclusion when a Senator knows and he doesn’t know what is going on under his command. But how do they know that, given that he has stonewalled most of the documents? ~Bob)

Mitt Unplugged
There's a line in The Manchurian Candidate, the black & white version, after a Party Operative suggests shooting a Communist doctor as diversion. The doctor, knowing this tactic is well within the realm of possibility, breaks out in a sweat until the Operative chuckles indicating that he was only kidding. "Humor, my dear Zilkoff." he says. "Always with a little humor." There are several such funny moments in the movie, perfectly timed for a laugh but you don't actually laugh because the whole story is so unrelentingly tense and melancholy. In this spirit I offer a send up of Obama's appearance on David Letterman last night. It originated on a blog called JustOneMoment and was written by someone called "bgates". Whoever he is, he can write.... Here's the link and the text. Obama talking about Mitt Romney not being a president for "all the people" Go ahead and try to laugh...Jed

Chicago teachers’ test scores worse than Illinois students
Excerpt: The Chicago Public Schools teachers’ union agreed Tuesday to end the strike and accept some of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s reforms in exchange for pay increases that would bring the average teacher’s salary to $100,000 a year. Reforms include holding teachers partly accountable for their students standardized test scores. But according to a 2008 study by Illinois Education Research Council, CPS teachers don’t perform much better on standardized tests than their own students. (I’m not surprised. –Steve.)

Why we should care about the CTU deal. From the Illinois Policy Institute. By Scott Reeder
So why should Illinoisans living outside of Chicago care about the Chicago Teachers Union strike, which was suspended Tuesday evening? After all, our children aren’t among the 350,000 caught in that failing school system. And our property taxes don’t go toward those schools. Well, don’t be surprised if Chicago comes hat in hand to Springfield asking for a bailout. Chicago’s problems become Illinois’ problems. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is offering Chicago teachers a 17 percent raise over the next four years. According to the Chicago Teachers Union's own figures, a typical teacher now earns a salary of $71,000. The school district pegs the number a bit higher at $76,000 without benefits. Regardless of whose number you believe, it’s a hefty salary – more than what most of the taxpayers paying for it earn themselves. But the promises don’t end there. The mayor also is committing to hiring 500 new teachers. He is making these promises despite facing a $1 billion shortfall next year. Emanuel knows he won’t have any cash in the bank. He also knows the “holiday” on paying into teacher pensions expires next year. And he knows the Chicago teacher pension fund is almost broke. It’s not a particularly clever or complicated political strategy that Emanuel – or the unions – are employing. It’s called precipitating a crisis. By agreeing to something it knows it can’t afford, the city will have to seek funding elsewhere. It could come from a city tax hike. Or it could come from somewhere else. Like: Springfield. I’ve covered the Illinois General Assembly for many years and observed the pattern time and again. Some urgent “urban need,” whether it be schools, transit or tourism, will come to the forefront and the city will ask the state taxpayers for a bailout. Chicago takes the same approach with the General Assembly that Wall Street banks took with Congress. They consider themselves too big to fail. If a community like Carbondale, Joliet, Champaign or Moline were to make a financial commitment it didn’t have the money to meet, the attitude of lawmakers would be: tough luck. But Chicago is a different matter. The city gets bailed out more than a dinghy caught in a hurricane. Affluent Chicago suburban school districts get comparatively little money from the state. So, most of the state education aid goes to Chicago and to downstate schools. Don’t be surprised if Chicago lawmakers work out a deal to squeeze more from the education formulas, at the expense of already cash-strapped downstate districts. So, why should Illinoisans living outside of Chicago care about the CTU contract? Because in the end, they may end up paying for it.

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