Tag Archives: economy

Potential Reversal of Fortune for Snubbed Smokers in Illinois Casinos

A potential reversal of fortune awaits snubbed smokers in Illinois casinos.

A potential reversal of fortune awaits snubbed smokers in Illinois casinos.

Lawmakers and casino industry officials agree: Illinois’ nearly three-year-old smoking ban has cost the state $500 million in lost revenue as smokers travel across state lines to light-up and gamble to their hearts’ delight.

On Tuesday, a measure to exempt the state’s casinos from the smoking ban passed the House Executive Committee by a 9-1 vote, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

HB 1846, House Amendment 1 provides that smoking would be re-allowed in the state’s casinos “if smoking is not banned in gaming facilities located in the nearest neighboring state.” It continues, “This exemption shall no longer apply to a gaming facility on and after the date that smoking is banned in gaming facilities located in the nearest neighboring state.”

That said, Indiana State Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary) said last week he will offer a bill in the coming legislative session that would ban public smoking without an exemption for any establishment, including casinos.

The full House of Representatives will now consider the measure and determine if it moves on to the Senate or goes up in smoke. If you live in Illinois and support re-allowing smoking in casinos, contact your state representative.

And, if you live in Indiana, you’ve been warned. There’s a smoking ban smoldering in State Rep. Charlie Brown’s office. It’s up to you whether it catches fire or gets extinguished.

State Rep. Brown’s email address: h3@in.gov
Tel: (317) 232-9600

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New College Grads Are Becoming Big Gov’t Bureaucrats

Blogger Mike Mandel reveals that new college grads are overwhelmingly turning to the government over the private sector to launch their careers. We can’t help but see the eery resemblance to what’s happening here and what’s already driven bureaucracy-driven nations like Greece to bankruptcy.

"Why work in the private sector when you can come with me and control it? Did ya see what I did to GM?"

"Why work in the private sector when you can come with me and control it? Did ya see what I did to GM?"

“Immediately obvious: Government has been the main hirer of young college grads over the past year,” Mandel says. “And why not? Government jobs are safer, they pay well, and have better benefits than the private sector.”

Let’s look at how well having the majority of citizens working for the state has turned out for bankrupt nations like Greece, for example:

Greece’s problem is Europe’s problem…and following closely behind, America’s problem too. We’re all Greeks now. Quite simply, Greece’s problem starts and ends with government employee unions. There are too many government employees (1 in 3 Greek citizens works for government); their salaries are way too high; their bonuses can only be described as insane (2 months for each public employee); their pensions are ridiculous (retirement far too young and free healthcare for life); and their government jobs are guaranteed for life.

Sounds crazy, right? Sounds like in Greece the inmates must be running the asylum. Except America has the exact same problem. California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois are our very own homegrown version of Greece. These states are bankrupt, insolvent, and desperately need a bailout. Why? For the same reasons as Greece. Far too many government employees; bloated salaries for civil servants; bonuses and raises are contractually obligated even during an economic crisis; sky high pensions; and jobs guaranteed for life. The only difference is that we are a nation of 300 million, so the debt is far bigger than Greece. It turns out that we are Greece squared.

What are your thoughts? Should recent grads be faulted for being attracted to government jobs that offer greater security than the private sector in this difficult economy and job market, or is big government to blame using them as pawns to expand the role of bureaucracy in all aspects of Americans’ lives?

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NSLF’s Top 10 Least Wanted Gubernatorial Contenders

Editor’s Note: Candidates appear in no particular order.

When you act like a piñata, people will treat you like one.

When you act like a piñata, people will treat you like one.

1. Mike Beebe (D-Ark.) – Incumbent Mike Beebe has proposed more than $10 billion worth of tax-and-spend legislation since launching his career as a professional politician in 1982. Mike’s plan for putting the Arkansas’ more than 100,000 unemployed citizens back to work: None. In March 2009, the State borrowed more than $390 million from the Federal Unemployment Account (FUA) to cover future unemployment claims. Considering only $60 million has been repaid, that should ensure big government continues to play a role in citizens’ lives for at least the next few years.

Don't mistake this bobblehead's nodding for giving a damn.

Don't mistake this bobble head's nodding for giving a damn.

2. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) – During an interview with CNN in 1992, Brown readily admitted lying to voters was a strategy he used to win his first term as California’s governor (1975-1979). Asked by CNN, “You said you had a plan for California and you lied because you didn’t have a plan,” Brown candidly replied, “You say you’re going to lower taxes, you’re going to put people to work, you’re gonna improve the schools, you’re going to stop crime … crime is up, schools are worse, taxes are higher. I mean be real!” More recently, he reiterated that “being governor is a pain in the ass,” just to give you a feeling for how much he’s looking forward to governing in the people’s best interests, if elected, of course.

It's going to take more than a cold shower to wake-up this 'rock' star.

It's going to take more than a cold shower to wake-up this 'rock' star.

3. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) – Hickenlooper traded his job as a rock-digging geologist for a career as a gold-digging politician in 2003 when he became Mayor of Denver. Over the past 7 years, he’s signed over $290 million in to law and even established a charitable organization to benefit the same anarchists whose threats to disrupt the 2008 Democratic National Convention “cost the city and federal taxpayers tens of millions in added security measures.”

Jamming the system is what Barnes does best.

Jamming the system is what Barnes does best.

4. Roy Barnes (D-Ga.) –  Two separate incidences of personal financial mismanagement should make voters question whether Barnes is capable of leading Georgia down the road to economic recovery. A so-called “accounting error” was recently blamed for claiming a tax break on a home he didn’t even own. That blunder was followed by a request for a $30,000 refund from a failed bank in which he invested, reports BigGovernment.com’s Dan Riehl.

Pat celebrates Flag Day.

Pat celebrates Flag Day.

5. Pat Quinn (D-Ill.) The State of Illinois continues to bury itself in more than $5 billion in debt while only making $1.4 billion in spending cuts, yet incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn has rewarded his fellow big government bureaucrats with handsome pay raises of up to 20 percent. It’s something Quinn likes to call “shared sacrifice.”

"Son, your ego is writing checks your body can't cash."

"Son, your ego is writing checks your body can't cash."

6. Chet Culver (D-Iowa) – The incumbent is fond of saying, “Iowans are at their best when their backs are against the wall.” Since assuming the role of Governor in June 2007, Iowa’s unemployment rate has steadily risen from 3.7 percent to 6.6 percent, more than 3,000 businesses have declared bankruptcy, and more than 66,000 Iowans have been added to the state’s ‘Food Stamps’ roster.

O'Malley burns through taxpayers' money like a rock star.

O'Malley burns through taxpayers' money like a rock star.

7. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) – Maryland’s roadways have become Martin O’Malley’s private ATM machines since he rode anti-Bush sentiment to the Governor’s Mansion in 2006. Last year, O’Malley signed SB 277 in to law, prompting the installation of speeding cameras that nanny state bureaucrats expect to generate revenues in excess of $11 million annually by tricking and trapping motorists.

Don't take Deval Patrick's bait!

Don't take Deval Patrick's bait!

8. Deval Patrick (D -Mass.) – Thanks to a revenue-generating scheme incumbent Gov. Patrick signed in to law in 2009, even the those found ‘not guilty’ in traffic court must still pay a $25 fine. Maybe that explains why he recently said, “It’s a free country. I wish it weren’t.”

A.G. Cuomo receives Rev. Sharpton's blessing. We rest our case.

A.G. Cuomo receives Rev. Sharpton's blessing. We rest our case.

9. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) “Government in New York is too big, ineffective and expensive,” says Cuomo, the former secretary of the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) who “planted the seeds for the nation’s housing collapse.”

Ted enjoys a hefty helping of 'stimulus pie.'

Ted enjoys a hefty helping of 'stimulus pie.'

10. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) – While Gov. Strickland doesn’t trust Ohioans to borrow money from short-term lending companies, he has no problem spending $57 million in federal stimulus money on highway projects “that won’t begin for years.” So, citizens who need money in a pinch to feed their families and pay the bills can’t get “payday” advances, but Strickland can pig-out on his state’s share of the stimulus pie whenever and however he desires. Talk about your big government hypocrites!

Don’t see a candidate listed? Spotlight the offender of freedom and liberty on our Facebook page’s Wall or Twitter page.

View NSLF’s additional “Top 10 Least Wanted” lists:

1. U.S. Senate (Oct. 27)
2. U.S. House (Oct. 29)
3. State and Local Government (Nov. 1)

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NSLF’s Top 10 Least Wanted in U.S. Senate

Editor’s Note: Candidates appear in no particular order.

"Do the 'robot' for me one more time, Barry!"

"Do the 'robot' for me one more time, Barry!"

1. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) – “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” says Murray, but only if it’s her gander and you’re willing to play nice with this big government bureaucrat. In 2009, she threatened Senate colleagues to fund the now infamous $223 million Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere” — a favor for her friend Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) — or else she’d make it difficult for them to waste taxpayers’ millions in their own states on their own pork barrel projects.

"So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye!"

"So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye!"

2. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) – For some strange reason, the Rolling Stone’s song “Start Me Up” comes to mind when thinking about good old Harry. Let’s all sing together, especially if you’re a Nevadan: “I’ve been running hot. You’ve got me ticking gonna blow my top.” Why? In Nevada alone, unemployment is at 14 percent and foreclosure rates are five times above the national average. His solution: Grab $57 million in taxpayer funds to pay-off defaulted mortgages in his state. Better watch out for your job, too, because he thinks unemployed American citizens should compete with illegal aliens for whatever jobs still exist.

"Do you think we can re-unite on Dancing with the Stars?"

"Do you think we can re-unite on Dancing with the Stars?"

3. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) – Babs doesn’t think American parents are responsible enough to raise their own children, so she’s pushing the Obama Administration to ratify a United Nations treaty that would empower foreign crackpots and quacks to make decisions about how our nation’s children should be raised, disciplined, and educated. One provision of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child states, “A child’s ‘right to be heard’ would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.” So, asking Little Johnny to take out the trash could result in a U.N. tribunal determining the legal merits of your request versus his so-called ‘rights.’ Brilliant, Babs! There are some nice men in white coats awaiting your arrival.

"I love it when you talk dirty politics with me!"

"I love it when you talk dirty politics with me!"

4. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) — “There’s only thing worse than big government and that’s big government owned by special interests,” Feingold told the Wisconsin Democratic Convention in June. Guess what? He’s taking in special interests’ money hand over fist in his current campaign alone, making him worse than … himself! And, let’s not forget about a little law he passed in 2002 commonly known as the ‘Incumbent Protection Act’ to silence opponents of big government career politicians in election years.

Is there a cereal for losers, too?

Is there a cereal for losers, too?

5. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) – Lincoln claims that she’s “saving our children” with the $4.5 billion allocated to her Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, but chances are you’re still packing lunches for Little Johnny (or, Jane) while other kids are eating for free, courtesy of taxes taken out of you job wages. Quit the job and maybe your kid(s) will eat for free, too! And, that’s just how big government bureaucrats like Lincoln want it – them taking care of you and your kid(s) from the cradle to the grave.

"You remind me of a younger Arlen Specter!"

"You remind me of a younger Arlen Specter!"

6. Charlie Crist (I-Fla.) – “I’ve never voted for a new tax in my life, and I only signed one, and that was on cigarettes, so who cares,” remarked Crist in a July interview with the Wall Street Journal. Who cares? Well, for starters, how about every American citizen who is still free to purchase and smoke cigarettes! Crist seems to think taxpayers who smoke don’t matter, and taking their hard-earned money is proper punishment for a lifestyle decision he opposes.

"Show me how bad you want my old seat!"

"Show me how bad you want my old seat!"

7. Alexi Giannoulias (D-Ill.) – Here’s what President Obama says about Giannoulias: “Alexi’s my friend. I know his character. You can trust him. You can count on him.” Well, back in 2004, Alexi was a loan officer for his family’s bank when it leant $20 million to Chicago mobsters hard hit by the recession. Alexi joins a growing list of FoBs (Friends of Barry) that Americans can’t afford to trust, much less elect to represent their best interests in the U.S. Senate.

"A vote for me is a vote for Nancy Pelosi!"

"A vote for me is a vote for Nancy Pelosi!"

8. Paul Hodes (D- N.H.) – Hodes spends money like it’s nobody’s business, including American taxpayers. On Sept. 15, he told his Facebook followers, “I will fight to create and keep jobs right here in New Hampshire and to end the wasteful spending and reckless policies in Washington that have left our hard-working men and women in the dust.” Those are tough words coming from a guy who has voted lockstep with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to make it nearly impossible for businesses nationwide to afford to create jobs and hire new workers.

"Joe's gonna do to you what I did to New Yorkers - control your appetites and everything in-between."

"Joe's gonna do to you what I did to New Yorkers - control your appetites and everything in-between."

9. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) – For starters, you have to be suspicious of any politician who has the cross-party blessing of New York City’s Nanny-in-Chief Michael Bloomberg. Next, Sestak tells us, “I don’t just give a cute slogan and say cut government, cut taxes. Yes, we all would like that. It’s about effective government. Tell us what you’d cut. I’ll stand up to my own party and to any special interest group. I served this nation. My career is over. This is a passion to do what’s right in service to this country one more time.” Hmm. Was bailing out Wall Street, then buying stock in Bank of America (BoA), and then voting for a second bailout of America’s banks, including BoA, “right” for helping taxpayers or your stock portfolio recover from economic collapse?

Done kissing babies on the campaign trail, Jack turns to horses to win their votes.

Done kissing babies on the campaign trail, Jack turns to horses to win their votes.

10. Jack Conway (D-Ky.) — Conway adamantly refuses to file a lawsuit to repeal Obamacare in W.V. because he doesn’t want to “waste” taxpayer dollars on something that the majority of his state’s citizens didn’t want to waste their money on in the first place. Also note that he has vowed to eliminate the ‘filibuster’ in Congress because he says opponents of Obama, Pelosi and Reid’s big government agenda are always making a fuss about nothing and wasting everyone’s time in the process.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Joe tries to prove that the stimulus is working for West Virginians. Again, he's the only one who believes it.

Joe tries to prove that the stimulus is working for West Virginians. Again, he's the only one who believes it.

11. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) – Manchin said in February that the stimulus bill would “make a big difference in the job market.” West Virginia’s unemployment rate peaked at 10.9 percent that month, dropped down to 8.5 percent in May and has been steadily on the rise ever since, thanks to porkulus funds being flushed down the toilet, literally, in his state. According to Gov. Manchin’s “WEST VIRGINIA STIMULUS/AMERICAN RECOVERY ACT INFORMATION” webpage, “[M]any of the details of the Recovery Act are still being determined both on the federal and state level.” That’s big government talk for, “We still don’t have a clue, but our intentions are really good.”

Don’t see a candidate listed? Spotlight the offender of freedom and liberty on our Facebook page’s Wall or Twitter page.

View NSLF’s additional “Top 10 Least Wanted” lists:

1. Governor (Oct. 28)
2. U.S. House (Oct. 29)
3. State and Local Government (Nov. 1)

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Bureauweenies Shut Down Hot Dog Stand

It's not the recession that's busting Smitty's - it's the nanny state. Click image to visit Smitty's Pronto Pups online.

It's not the recession that's busting Smitty's - it's the nanny state. Click image to visit Smitty's Pronto Pups online.

A seasonal hot dog stand has been forced to close up shop early this year because city officials claim it was selling contraband doughnuts. The owners of Smitty’s Pronto Pups say Park Township bureauweenies are selectively interpreting the definition of “snack” which allows them to sell homemade “sourdough cinnamon” pretzels and should not prohibit them from adding freshly made doughnuts to their menu.

According to WZZM-13 News, the Park Township Zoning Board’s ordinance requires that Smitty’s Pronto Pups strictly limit its menu offering to “hot dogs on a stick with or without batter coating, with side snacks such as chips, pretzels, or similar items, and drinks.” Doughnuts, officials argue, do not qualify as “similar items.”

Mark and Kimberly Smith, the hot dog stand’s owners, said they added doughnuts to their menu with the understanding that “a snack is a snack,” and that the specific notation of chips and pretzels was provided as an example — not as limitations that they were forbidden to extend beyond.

“Our interpretation comes from the way the zoning board actually put in there and wrote it,” says Mark Smith. “The ordinance uses chips and pretzels as examples of side snacks, but does not limit side snacks to chips and pretzels. That is one of the most important factors,” he told WZZM.

Doug Dreyer, a member of the Park Township Zoning Board, told WZZM that if the Smiths had asked for permission to sell doughnuts, they’d still be in business. Apparently, he and his fellow board members refuse to admit that their ordinance’s definition of “snack” is vague and would rather be sticklers and bankrupt a ‘mom and pop’ business in a lousy economy that’s hit already devastated Michigan.

If you feel that the Smiths are being treated unfairly by Park Township’s Zoning Board, file an official complaint with Sandy Brodie at 616-738-4238 or sbrodie@parktownship.org.

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Feds’ New Emissions Standards Threaten Already Unstable Economy

Ultimately, the Enviro-Statists would love for farmers and truckers to return to their roots.

Ultimately, the Enviro-Statists would love for farmers and truckers to return to their roots.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released an extremely vague press release, but one thing was clear: Consumer prices will rise in 2014 due to rigid new emissions standards targeting America’s truckers and farmers.

Beginning in model year 2014, new heavy-duty trucks and tractors must be fitted with environmentally-friendly engines that achieve significant reductions in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. That means truck and tractor manufacturers will be forced to spend millions in research and design and pass the cost on to their customers who will — you guessed it — pass that cost on to American consumers, unless you believe what Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is saying:

“This is a win-win-win for the environment, businesses and the American consumer.”

Wishful thinking by LaHood, but nowhere in the press release does he spell out the real costs to America’s truckers and farmers who will soon have no choice other than to purchase these federally-mandated eco-friendly big rigs and tractors. LaHood, however, hypothesizes:

With the potential for significant fuel efficiency gains, ranging from seven to 20 percent, drivers and operators could expect to net significant savings over the long-term. For example, it is estimated an operator of a semi truck could pay for the technology upgrades in under a year, and save as much as $74,000 over the truck’s useful life. Vehicles with lower annual miles would typically experience longer payback periods, up to four or five years, but would still reap cost-savings.

Hey, Ray! Enough with the guessing games and speculation! Tell truckers and farmers how much they will actually pay for these new ‘green’ trucks and tractors. You were kind enough to note that they’d likely be going in to the red during at least the first year of ownership, meaning they won’t likely turn profits unless they jack-up their prices for transporting consumer goods and harvesting crops.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson also fails to look at the bigger picture that could unfold in 2014 and beyond if these new emissions standards make the cost of business for truckers and farmers too much to bear, and ultimately, puts them out of business:

“These new standards are another step in our work to develop a new generation of clean, fuel-efficient American vehicles that will improve our environment and strengthen our economy,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. “In addition to cutting greenhouse gas pollution, greater fuel economy will shrink fuel costs for small businesses that depend on pick ups and heavy duty vehicles, shipping companies and cities and towns with fleets of these vehicles.  Those savings can be invested in new jobs at home, rather than heading overseas and increasing our dependence on foreign oil.”

Again, wishful thinking by another big government bureaucrat for a best case scenario in which truckers and farmers can afford to purchase expensive new trucks and tractors that may or may not ‘pay for themselves’ over the years to follow.

Soviet-style food shopping coming in 2014?

Soviet-style food shopping coming in 2014?

The underlying fact is that American consumers will ultimately pay the price for the new emissions technology LaHood and Jackson are pushing, and right now, in this economy, that’s not a very enlightening scenario. And, if consumers are not willing to or can not afford to foot the bill for increased costs of everyday necessities –including food, toilet paper and oil transported by truckers — well, things are going to get ugly pretty quick.

NOTE: “NHTSA and EPA will jointly hold two public hearings: one in Chicago on November 15, 2010, and one in Boston on November 18, 2010. Sessions may end earlier than scheduled if everyone has had a chance to speak.” Those two dates are your only opportunities to make your voice heard, according to the EPA. Chances are you won’t be able to attend, so make sure your congressman and senators know what’s at stake for consumers, truckers and farmers.

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Is Your Rep Whipped by Pelosi?

From The National Republican Trust PAC:

THE PELOSI INDEX analyzes and tracks every member of Congress’ true voting record and details how often these self proclaimed moderates vote to support Pelosi’s radical transformation of America.

Lawmakers of both parties will be forced to think twice before voting in favor of any new radical proposal Nancy Pelosi forces onto the House floor. There is no place for them to hide and the liberal media cannot protect them from their true voting record.

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