Quote

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Good News On The Jobs Front

The Roanoke Times is reporting good jobs growth in the Roanoke metropolitan area.
Roanoke adds jobs, metropolitan territory
By Duncan Adams

The Roanoke metropolitan area added about 4,000 jobs between January 2004 and January 2005 and also added, for related numbers crunching, job data from the counties of Craig and Franklin.

Jobs in the Roanoke metro area grew during the 12-month period at a rate of 2.6 percent, which nearly equals the state's job growth rate of 2.8 percent and bests the national rate of 1.7 percent for the period.

For the Roanoke metro area, the sector that added the most jobs, about 1,900, was in private education/health care. Bill Mezger, chief economist for the Virginia Employment Commission, said those jobs primarily were in health and nursing services. (link)
I'm somewhat skeptical of the fact that 48% of the job creation came in just one sector. But I'll take them at their word.

2.6% annual job growth. Good beginning.

I Knew It Was Too Good To Be True

I would like to take you back to a point in time long long ago when we all got along as brothers and sisters working together to forge a more perfect universe. When we came together on the Virginia Tech campus to witness the historic and long-overdue signing of the Principles of Community. When we agreed - and had the titular and spiritual leadership of the university endorse - a credo that read in part:

==> We affirm the inherent dignity and value of every person and strive to maintain a climate for work and learning based on mutual respect and understanding.

==> We affirm the right of each person to express thoughts and opinions freely. We encourage open expression within a climate of civility, sensitivity, and mutual respect.

==> We affirm the value of human diversity because it enriches our lives and the University. We acknowledge and respect our differences while affirming our common humanity.

==> We reject all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including those based on age, color, disability, gender, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status. We take individual and collective responsibility for helping to eliminate bias and discrimination and for increasing our own understanding of these issues through education, training, and interaction with others. (link)

I remember reading this and thinking, "My God. This is the turning point. This is truly the dawn of a new age in which we will all get along and begin to show respect for the feelings and attitudes of others. Peace in our time."

Oh. Wait a minute. That's not what I thought either.

What I wrote at the time was this;
Do you suppose they mean what they've written? No. Of course not.
That was one week ago. This is today:

Students protest CIA presence at career fair

Protestors showed up at a career fair in Squires Student Center and later again at a session in Litton Reeves.

By Ashley Puckett, Associate News Editor

Five Virginia Tech students were escorted out of a career fair in Squires Student Center by the Blacksburg police for illegally soliciting signatures from people at the fair.

Students were protesting the Central Intelligence Agency’s presence at the fair, because they feel that the moral values of the CIA conflict with the moral values that Tech students and faculty share. (
link)

I'm trying to remember what punishments were to be meted out to any violators of the Principles of Community. Surely the school administrators, faculty reps and student government spokespersons had had the foresight to include in what will forever be referred to as the POC a provision for providing a modicum of discipline to keep the rowdies in line.

Or maybe not.

Well, let's wait and see what the response of the university is going to be. Expulsion perhaps. Suspension maybe. Letters of reprimand. Calls to parents.

No. I expect to read in the next few days that university officials have sent a formal apology to the offended students. How dare the CIA come on campus where everyone is busy affirming the right of each person to express thoughts and opinions freely and where open expression is encouraged within a climate of civility, sensitivity, and mutual respect.

Between outbursts of:

Imperialist scum!

Baby killers!

Die, you CIA bastards!

Elect a Democrat; Expect a Democrat

The state of Michigan is learning a hard lesson; one that we here in Virginia learned with the election of our current governor, Mark Warner. If you elect a Democrat to run things, expect your taxes to go up.

In the case of the Old Dominion, Warner went through the swearing-in process, consulted with his buddies over on the legislative side of state government (both Republican and Democrat), and declared a fiscal emergency the likes of which the world has never known.

And the savings I had accumulated that was intended for my grandchildrens' education fund was confiscated by the government. The resulting revenue surplus (!) is now being spent as fast as that emergency was declared.

In Michigan, the governor is making a science out of taxation and wealth confiscation. This comes from today's Wall Street Journal:

Michigan Is for Taxers

Has Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm hired Jacques Chirac as her new economic adviser?

Among the 50 states, Michigan ranks dead last in new jobs last year (losing 45,000), and near the bottom in income growth. So it's no surprise that Ms. Granholm is seeking a new formula for growth and prosperity.

But the Democratic Governor is touting a new taxing scheme for Michigan that looks a lot like the industrial policy model of Old Europe, where economically omniscient governments try to pick business winners and losers -- and usually make a mess of it.

The "revenue neutral" tax plan would give tax breaks to Michigan's big three automakers and other heavy manufacturers, while shifting the burden to retailers, wholesalers, banks, insurance companies, professional services and thousands of small businesses. Some in Michigan are dubbing the Granholm Plan the shift-and-shaft tax policy. And that's why its political reception so far has been as frosty as a damp wintry breeze off Lake Michigan.

Compounding the problem is that Michigan is the only state to levy a de facto value added tax on its businesses. (That's another similarity to Old Europe.) Called the Single Business Tax (SBT), this levy is applied to production. This means that any company that loses money or just manages to break even still often pays a hefty sum to the tax man just for the privilege of operating in Michigan. Hence, many don't.

The Granholm plan would cut the business VAT tax rate and provide a personal property tax credit for manufacturers. If only she had stopped there. Instead, in deference to the gods of "revenue neutrality," her plan triples the tax on profits, doubles insurance taxes, and arguably violates Proposal A, the state's constitutionally required inflation cap, by effectively raising property tax assessments on commercial real
estate.


Actually, her plan is a stealth tax hike because the tax base she uses was 2001 when revenues were severely depressed due to recession and the aftermath of 9/11. In non-recessionary times, the plan may in reality amount to a $100 million tax hike. (link)

There is an alternative to this Kafkaeasque approach to fixing the state's ills. And the Wall Street Journal and I are in agreement on what that alternative should be.
The better course would be for Michigan legislators to approve tax cuts for manufacturers, dump the job-destroying tax hikes, and balance the state budget with spending restraint. Better yet, they could finish the job that was started under previous Governor John Engler of phasing down, and eventually phasing out, the SBT.

In the meantime, there's a perverse logic in Ms. Granholm's belief that her plan will create new jobs by cutting taxes on the industries that are laying off workers and raising taxes on the professional service industries that actually are hiring them. The Granholm plan may well keep Michigan Number One -- in high taxes, business relocations, and job losses.
Make no mistake. You elect this bunch to high office, the resulting tax increases are a given.

So Predictable

As was predicted weeks ago, senate Republicans are getting cold feet. Their tough talk about forcing Democrats to allow a vote (how surreal is that?) on the president's judicial nominees was just that.
Support falters for the 'nuclear option'
By Charles Hurt, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist does not have firm support among his caucus to employ the so-called "nuclear option" for dislodging the Democratic filibusters against President Bush's judicial nominees.


Of the 55 Republicans in the chamber, at least six are undecided or adamantly opposed to the plan of using the rare parliamentary procedure to end the filibusters with a simple majority vote, rather than the 60 votes normally required. (link)
These jokers don't deserve to be in control. Give the reins back to the Democrats. They, at least, know how to wield power.

Day Five

Terri Schiavo has gone five days without food or water and the courts are now lining up to do what they can to make her last days on this earth just as horrific as possible.
Appeals Court Refuses to Order Schiavo's Feeding Reinstated
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) -- After losing two consecutive appeals in federal court, Terri Schiavo's parents vowed Wednesday to take their fight to the U.S. Supreme Court as their severely brain-damaged daughter began her fifth full day without the feeding tube that has kept her alive for more than a decade.

In a 2-1 ruling early Wednesday, a panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said the parents "failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims'' that Terri's feeding tube should be reinserted immediately. (link)
We should all be very proud of what our government is doing here. Especially those of you who were wondering how we were going to cope with the staggering cost of taking care of the boomer generation when it reaches the point where tens of millions will need life supportive care.

We can kill them all.