- The Washington Times - Monday, July 6, 2009

GOING BACKWARD

“Having witnessed the anarchy, chaos and lack of leadership that has engulfed the [New York] state Capitol during the past month, I have a painful confession to make,” New York Post Albany Bureau Chief Fredric U. Dicker writes.

“After three decades as a journalist covering state government, if I had to do it all over again, I’d find another job,” Mr. Dicker said, as Democrats wrestle with Republicans and dissident Democrats for control of the state Senate.

“I’ve covered Govs.Hugh Carey, Mario Cuomo, George Pataki, Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson and for New York to wind up like this after 35 years of modern leadership, it’s clear to me that my real job has been to chronicle the devolution - the decay and decline - of New York state.

“We’re going backwards, not forwards, and of late we’ve even been falling apart.

“The Empire State - once a beacon of progressive state government to the nation - is on the brink of ruin. And it doesn’t look like anything can be done to stop it.

“In two words: We’re doomed.”

LOST ITS WAY

“The optimistic, golden-glow appeal that symbolizes California is enshrined in the state’s official seal - an elegant icon starring Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, surrounded by bounties of food and natural wealth, and the Gold Rush motto: ‘Eureka!’ ” San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci writes.

“But it seems the state has lost its way, with Minerva getting mugged by California’s multibillion-dollar deficit, billions of dollars in IOUs to cover debt, financial mismanagement, legislative constipation and warring special interests,” the reporter said.

“California’s current fiscal troubles are not only beginning to define the place - but turning it into a late-night comedy routine punch line.Jay Leno ribbed that the state motto is now closer to ‘Welcome to California … now available on eBay!’

“Even President Obama, at a recent radio and TV correspondents’ dinner, joked that ‘given the fiscal crisis in California,’ his TV air time is ‘competing directly with Governor Schwarzenegger’s new reality series, “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” ‘

“With a state of emergency declared and IOUs going out, the state’s fiscal fiasco could threaten one of California’s most valuable assets - its brand as the capital of can-do, a place of fresh ideas and innovation, where businesses and residents thrive.”

GRIM OUTLOOK

“The stock market’s reaction on Thursday said it all - with the major indexes plunging 2.4 percent to 2.9 percent on the news of a continued job hemorrhage. Despite some economic green shoots here and there, no one’s sure when jobs will start growing again,” Investor’s Business Daily says in an editorial.

“At this point in a normal downturn lasting 11 months, the economy should be booming - with big jumps in GDP and 300,000 new jobs each month coming mostly from the private sector,” the newspaper said.

“But 18 months into this downturn, we’re still losing jobs - with 2.7 million gone in the private sector just since January, when the Democrats took full control of the government.

“Shrinking GDP has crushed investment. First-quarter gross private domestic investment - a proxy for business investment - plunged 20 percent, or nearly $450 billion, annually. The outlook is grim.

“Worse, the June jobs data mark a milestone of sorts: Our unemployment rate equals that of the no-growth Eurozone nations.

“Why is this job decline happening? The private sector - the real engine of economic and job growth - won’t hire because it’s scared of what it sees coming out of Washington.

“On the horizon, as far as the eye can see, are higher taxes, uncontrolled spending and layers upon layers of new regulations.

“Who would hire new workers faced with that?”

GLOBAL COOLING

“An unusually cold winter (it snowed in Saudi Arabia and Iraq; temperatures fell to minus 80 degrees in Siberia) was followed by an unusually cool spring (it snowed in North Dakota in June for the first time in 60 years),” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Jack Kellywrites.

“This may be why only 42 percent of respondents in a Rasmussen poll published June 18 think human activity is causing global warming, and many of those who do don’t see it as a serious problem. (In a Gallup poll in March, warming ranked last among eight environmental concerns.)

” ‘Global temperatures have declined - extending the current downtrend to 11 years with a particularly rapid decline in 2007-2008,’ said a draft report written in March by an expert at the Environmental Protection Agency.

“You haven’t heard much about this report because the Obama administration is blocking its disclosure. The Competitive Enterprise Institute obtained a copy and put it on its Web site June 25,” Mr. Kelly said.

“Believers in anthroprogenic (man-made) global warming are relying on outdated research and are ignoring major new developments, the report said. Natural factors - chiefly ocean and sun cycles - are the principal causes of global temperature fluctuations.

“To combat a problem that probably doesn’t exist, the House narrowly passed a bill to restrict emissions of carbon dioxide (to 83 percent of 2005 levels by 2020 and to 17 percent by 2050). If the Waxman-Markey bill, named after its Democratic sponsors, Rep. Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, were to work exactly as its sponsors claim (and what bill ever has?), global temperatures 100 years from now are projected to be one-tenth of a degree Celsius cooler than they otherwise would have been.

“We’d pay a lot for that tenth of a degree, though how much is hotly in dispute. Cost estimates range from about $100 per family when the bill would go into effect in 2012 to $3,900 per family.”

STUCK IN PAST

“Those who suspect the president is engaged in a bit of dangerous self-delusion and denial about certain unpleasant realities regarding the threats from rogue states won’t be heartened to read that his current non-proliferation fetish stems, at least according to the New York Times, from his college infatuation with the nuclear freeze movement,” Jennifer Rubin writes at www. commentarymagazine.com.

“Apparently, youthful Obama did not focus on the results from Ronald Reagan’s refusal to buy into the fantasies of liberals - namely the fall of the Soviet Empire. That lesson has entirely eluded now-president Obama. Is it any wonder his critics find his posture fraught with peril and entirely out of touch with the threats we face?”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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