General Election Endorsements

The Arizona Conservative is endorsing candidates for public office in the Grand Canyon State in advance of the November 4 general elections. Voters have two choices: candidates who will champion FREEDOM for the individual and those who will push policies that deny and reduce personal freedoms – the candidates of socialism and excessive government CONTROL of your life. Whom do you want in office? Those who will protect your constitutional freedom, or those who would expand government and take away more and more of your freedom, controlling more and more of your life? Your vote will impact every facet of American society and culture. Please make informed and intelligent decisions. Vote on values and principle, not on personalities and negative advertising. Compare what candidates actually say and how they have legislated previously; if you do this, you will find that many candidates from the party of CONTROL will not be as truthful.

Office Freedom Control
Governor Doug Ducey Fred DuVal
Secretary of State Terry Goddard
Attorney General Republican candidate removed for supporting same-sex “marriage” Felicia Rotellini
State Treasurer Jeff DeWitt
Supt. Of Public Instruction Diane Douglas David Garcia
Mining Inspector Joe Hart Manuel Cruz
Congress-District 1 Ann Kirkpatrick
Congress-District 2 Martha McSally Ron Barber
Congress-District 3 Gabriela Saucedo Mercer Raul Grijalva
Congress-District 4 Paul Gosar Mikel Weisser
Congress-District 5 Matt Salmon
Congress-District 6 David Schweikert
Congress-District 7 Steve Gallardo, Cesar Chavez
Congress-District 8 Trent Franks Helmuth Hack
Congress-District 9 Wendy Rogers Kyrsten Sinema

Arizona Legislature

District 1

Senate:

House: Karen Fann

District 2

Senate:

House:

District 3

Senate:

House:

District 4

Senate: Connie Uribe

House:

District 5

Senate: Kelli Ward

House:

District 6

Senate: Sylvia Allen

House: Brenda Barton

District 7

Senate:

House:

District 8

Senate: Irene Littleton

House:

District 9

Senate:

House:

District 10

Senate:

House:

District 11

Senate: Steve Smith

House: Vince Leach, Mark Finchem

District 12

Senate: Andy Biggs

House: Eddie Farnsworth, Warren Peterson

District 13

Senate: Don Shooter

House: Darin Mitchell, Steve Montenegro

District 14

Senate: Gail Griffin

House: David Gowan, David Stevens

District 15

Senate: Nancy Barto

House: John Allen

District 16

Senate: David Farnsworth

House: Kelly Townsend

District 17

SenateA Steve Yarbrough

House: J.D. Mesnard, Jeff Weninger

District 18

Senate:

House: Jill Norgaard

District 19

Senate: Joseph Hobbs

House:

District 20

Senate: Kimberly Yee

House: Paul Boyer

District 21

Senate: Debbie Lesko

House: Rick Gray

District 22

Senate: Judy Burges

House: David Livington, Phil Lovas

District 23

Senate: John Kavanaugh

House: Jay Lawrence, Michelle Ugenti

District 24

Senate:

House:

District 25

Senate:

House: Rusty Bowers, Justin Olsen

District 26

Senate:

House:

District 27

Senate:

House:

District 28

Senate:

House: Shawna Bolick

District 29

Senate:

House:

District 30

Senate: Gary Cox

House:

More Facts about Prop 487 and the Problem of Union Spiking

The Phoenix City Retirement Plan cost taxpayers $28 million in 2000 while it cost $110 million in the 2012 fiscal year and $253 million in 2013.[11][12] In the face of this ballooning of city pension costs, Phoenix voters overwhelmingly approved two propositions that reformed the retirement system of city employees, Proposition 201 and 202, in 2013. Supporters argue that the measure will save millions of dollars for the city in the long-run and will put a stop to exorbitant pension payouts caused by pension spiking. Supporters also argue that Prop. 487 will provide a stable, sustainable retirement system to new employees and any current employees that wish to switch to the new system. Many are worried that the current system is unsustainable and will drag the city into bankruptcy, following the fate of cities like Detroit and San Bernardino.[11]

Phoenix city councilmen who support Prop 487 said …

I am a strong supporter of pension reform, and you should be, too. Facts: 50 Phoenix retirees will be getting $183 million by the time they are 75. A librarian took $280,000 in cash at retirement, and then started a pension of $102,000 per year. This creates strain on public safety, senior services and libraries. The initiative is not perfect, but it does two things: First, it ends all forms of pension spiking. Second, it moves new employees to a 401(k) retirement system, just like yours. Pension reform saves taxpayers millions, stops the abuse and creates more predictability in budgeting.[16]
—Sal DiCiccio, District 6, Ahwatukee and east Phoenix[21]

Vice Mayor Jim Waring, who represents District 2 – northeast Phoenix – on the city council, said:[21]

I support the pension-reform initiative. It will end pension spiking. It will save the city millions in the long run. It will fundamentally change a broken and prohibitively expensive system. Real reform is desperately needed. The March 2013 ballot issue may save taxpayers up to $600 million, but no real reforms were enacted and the financially ruinous status quo persists. In this case, voters will have the chance to make real reforms. If we don’t act, rising pension costs will continue to cause budget deficits and reductions in public safety.[16]
—Vice Mayor Jim Waring, District 2[21]

Supporters of the initiative respond to opponents’ arguments that the initiative could remove death and disability benefits from employees by simply saying the claims are unfounded and false. Scot Mussi said, “This one is just a flat-out lie. It has absolutely nothing to do with death and disability benefits.” He went on to say that the initiative does not prevent the city from offering a separate disability-benefit and death-benefit program for new workers and that the initiative explicitly does not effect current employees who choose to stay in the current pension system. Some supporters also say that the city could easily buy insurance plans for certain employees instead of funding a pension system under Prop. 487.[13]

Reason foundation, a policy research organization espousing libertarian values, also released an analysis of Proposition 487. The report shows significant financial benefits for the city under the initiative, including possible savings of $31 million in the first year and $399.3 million over the next 20 years.[27]

Spiking

Many supporters of pension reform are motivated by a desire to end the use of “pension spiking,” a practice in which city employees convert certain benefits such as unused sick time or saved vacation pay to boost the salaries on which their pensions are based or extend their credited length of city service. Some were further upset by the fact that some employees, such as firefighters and police officers, are allowed to use pension spiking while other rank-and-file employees are limited or restricted from the practice. Some city employees filed suit against the city when they were denied the ability to spike their pensions when other employees were permitted to use the increasingly controversial practice. The city argued in court that it is not legally bound to let employees include unused sick time in their pension-benefit calculations but began allowing it voluntarily in 1996 and can change their position at will.[4]

Several reports released by the Arizona Republic highlighted the pension spiking of executive-level public-safety officers and managers. The reports featured 10 public-safety retirees that had increased their lump-sum retirement benefits to over $700,000 and their annual pension payouts to more than $114,000 per year. According to backers, the proposed pension reform initiative would prohibit the practice of pension spiking.[4]

A study by the Arizona Republic estimated a $12 million dollar cost to the city taxpayers per year from spiking practices, when using overtime and premium pay to boost pensions was counted as spiking. City officials denied the study because they claimed overtime and premium pay were part of base salaries and not a “perk” and, therefore, should not be counted as spiking.[33]

Robert Robb: Who Takes the Risk on Prop 487?

Columnist Robert Robb is the one writer at the Arizona Republic who isn’t in the tank for the Left. He provides this fair assessment of Proposition 487 …

There’s a good debate to be had about Proposition 487. Unfortunately, the opponents are choosing not to have it.

Prop. 487 would change the retirement program for new City of Phoenix workers from a defined benefit to a defined contribution system. Under a defined benefit system, workers are guaranteed a portion of their final salaries, in public systems usually around two-thirds, as a retirement benefit. Under a defined contribution system, taxpayers put a certain amount of annual pay into something similar to a 401(k). The retirement benefit depends on what the employee contributes and how well the investments do over time.

The question of whether a defined benefit or a defined contribution plan is more appropriate for public employees is as much philosophical as it is practical or actuarial. And the question is who should take the investment risk.

In a defined benefit plan, taxpayers guarantee the benefit and thus take the investment risk. If investments do worse than expected, taxpayers have to make up the difference. In a defined contribution plan, what taxpayers owe is fixed. The investment risk lies with the employee.

There are, however, also practical issues. Most public employee defined benefit plans are seriously underwater and straining government finances. Certainly that’s the case with Phoenix’s.

The Phoenix retirement plan only has assets to cover, based upon assumed market performance, about 64 percent of benefits owed. The unfunded liability is north of $1 billion. The cost of the program to the city has been escalating rapidly.

In addition to requiring new hires to enter into a defined contribution program, Prop. 487 would ban spiking (artificially boosting the pensionable salary with ancillary benefits) and other supplementary pension programs.

Proponents and opponents dispute whether the near-term effect of Prop. 487 would be to save the city money or cost it more. In reality, there’s no way to know. Knowing that requires knowing what the stock market will do over the next 20 to 30 years. And despite the pretenses of actuaries, that’s unknowable.

But two things are knowable. First, if there is a near-term cost, it is because switching to a defined contribution program for new hires requires the unfunded liability of the defined benefit program to be dealt with rather than kicked down the road.

And that raises an equity question. Opponents of Prop. 487 want to keep new hires in the defined benefit system so they can help pay off the unfunded liability for current workers and retirees. But that’s not how these systems are supposed to work. If past city governments and workers contributed too little, why should new hires have to contribute more to compensate? Shouldn’t the cost of that past mistake be more broadly socialized?

Second, it is knowable that passage of Prop. 487 will, over time, reduce and ultimately eliminate taxpayer risk for the performance of the stock market.

There are legitimate arguments against Prop. 487. There may be transition costs. Some contend that public employment is intended to be more secure than private-sector employment, so it is appropriate to shield public employees from investment risk regarding their retirement.

Rather than make these arguments, however, the city and its labor unions have gone into cahoots in a pettifogging campaign of misdirection.

The city council adopted ballot language stating that passage of Prop. 487 would prohibit the city from contributing to the retirement system for police and firefighters. Public safety employees aren’t in the city retirement program. They are part of a separate state system.

Prop. 487 plainly says it doesn’t apply to cops and firefighters. No fair interpretation of its operative provisions would find that it does. And it would be superseded by state law if it did. It’s a non-issue.

More recently, the pettifoggers are claiming that Prop. 487 might jeopardize public safety death benefits. Again, it categorically excludes cops and firefighters. It also only applies to retirement benefits. No judge in the history of jurisprudence, going back to the days of Hammurabi, would hold that dying is the same thing as retiring.

For voters, the issue presented by Prop. 487 should be straightforward: Do they think taxpayers or public employees should have the investment risk for the latter’s retirement income?

Yes on Prop 122

Americans for Prosperity’s Arizona chapter has recommended a YES vote on Arizona Proposition 122: Rejection of Unconstitutional Federal Actions, stating Prop 122 will provide Arizonans with a way to protect themselves from overreaching and harmful federal policies.  AFP-Arizona strongly endorses Prop 122.  

Taxpayer Watchdog Group: YES on Phoenix Proposition 487

By Tom Jenney, President
Americans for Prosperity, Arizona Chapter

YES on City of Phoenix Proposition 487 –– Prop 487 would solve the City’s nearly $1.5 billion unfunded pension liability problem by moving new employees to a plan similar to the 401k plans that are common in the private sector.   Prop 487 would fix the City’s scandalous $190 million pension spiking problem by limiting the excess pension benefits given to current employees.

Former Obama Press Secretary Says GOP Unfairly Exploiting Administration’s Failures

By John Semmens – Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News

Folder2 104The incoherence of President Obama’s foreign policy and the cascade of domestic policy scandals are being unfairly exploited for political gain according to former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Hitting a man when he is down is just plain dirty,” Gibbs maintained. “It’s disloyal and unpatriotic. Rather than criticize the President, Republicans should be looking for ways to help him recover from the battering he is taking in the media. That would be the decent thing to do.”

Gibbs was especially outraged that “the GOP hasn’t given the President enough credit for what he has accomplished. President Obama came into office with less executive experience than any other president in American history, with the possible exception of Lincoln. Yet, despite this handicap he was able to pass landmark health care reform and win reelection by a sound margin.”

The former Press Secretary expressed “hope that voters will look past the scurrilous attacks narrowly focused on so-called performance and remember why they voted for the President in the first place. There can be no question that his efforts to make government ‘cool’ have changed the way Americans think about how they want to be governed. Voting for the Democrats on their ballots in November will help him stay the course.”

State Department Praises Hamas-Fatah Alliance

A thawing of the rivalry between Hamas and Fatah was hailed by State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki as “a positive step toward resolving the issue of Zionist occupation of Palestinian lands. This helps thwart Israel’s attempt to drive a wedge between Muslims.”

From a broader perspective anything that stops Muslims from fighting amongst themselves is an encouraging development,” Psaki said. “Different sects of Islam have been warring against one another for centuries. Jihad is a noble endeavor that should not be frittered away on internal disagreements. This needlessly siphons off energy that could be more productively employed for the good of all Muslims. We look forward to the day when all Muslims are united in one ummah, not just in Palestine, but worldwide.”

In related news, the US State Department declined to condemn ISIS’s trafficking in slavery. As part of its reign of terror in Syria and Iraq, ISIS has kidnapped and sold an estimated 2500 Christian women as sex slaves for their jihadi warriors. “As I understand it, these transactions fall under the guidance of the Quran,” Psaki observed. “Condemning the sales just because they contradict western values would insensitively disregard the deeply held religious beliefs of over a billion Muslims. I mean, Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, held slaves. How could we justify criticizing his followers for emulating his model?”

CDC Clarifies Obama Statement on Ebola

President Obama’s attempt to reassure people that “you can’t get Ebola from sitting next to someone on a bus” directly contradicted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advice for people who have returned from Ebola infested west African nations to avoid taking public transportation.

The President seems to have misunderstood what we told him,” CDC Director Tom Frieden explained. “Of course, the President would never have to worry about catching Ebola from a fellow bus passenger because he never rides on public transportation. How he generalized this into a notion that no one could catch Ebola from close proximity to a carrier in a public place is a mystery to us.”

As for the question foremost in the minds of every American, let me alleviate everyone’s worst fears: your President is in no imminent danger of contracting this deadly ailment,” Frieden promised. “You may all go about your daily lives knowing that every measure, no matter how costly, will be undertaken to insure that he remains safe.”

In related news, Frieden nixed the idea of a travel ban, calling it “unnecessary. There are simpler ways for us to insulate the President from exposure to Ebola than banning travel from west Africa to the United States. There is no need for us to negate the fundamental human right of individuals to travel wherever they wish. In fact, it is logical that a person who suspects he has Ebola would want to come to this country where he could expect to face better odds of recovering than if he were confined within the borders of the African Hell-hole he lives in. Blocking his efforts to escape would be cruel and inhumane.”

Frieden also mused that “the possible upside of allowing Ebola to spread to the United States is that it would inspire Congress to approve desperately needed increases to the CDC’s operating budget. Senators and Congressmen are frequent users of public transportation—taxis to the airport, commercial airlines back to the home state. I expect that self-preservation would push them to boost our budget once Ebola gains a foothold in this country.”

Kentucky Candidate Rebuffs Ballot Question

The Democratic candidate for the US Senate in Kentucky, Alison Grimes refused repeated queries as to whether she voted for Obama in either 2008 or 2012.

People may think they have a right to know, but they don’t,” Grimes forcefully asserted. “In this country we have a secret ballot. No one has the right to demand to know how I cast that ballot.”

Louisville Courier-Journal editor Pam Platt defended asking the question when Grimes appeared at the paper’s editorial board meeting to seek its endorsement in her race to unseat Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. “The secret ballot is meant to protect the private citizen from potential government harassment for voting the ‘wrong way.’” Platt said. “But Grimes is seeking to become a member of the federal government. Knowing whether she voted for President Obama would give our readers some insight into what policies she might support if she is elected.”

Grimes stubbornly tried to cast her refusal to answer as a mark of personal integrity. “I could’ve just lied and said I voted for McCain and Romney, but I didn’t,” Grimes argued. “I’m bigger than that. If people want to know where I stand on the issues they can go to my campaign website to find out.”

Whether Grimes’ campaign statements are a valid reflection of where she stands, though, was thrown into doubt by a recent covertly obtained video in which Juanita Rodriguez, a Grimes campaign supporter, admitted that Grimes’ claimed backing of Kentucky coal miners was bogus.

Obama’s Attempt to Cast GOP as “Party of Billionaires” Muddled by Fund-Raising Event

President Obama’s efforts to try to differentiate Democrats from “billionaire Republicans” was undercut by his own participation in a posh fund-raiser sponsored by billionaire Rich Richman.

Though the entry fee for the event ranged from $1,000 to $32,000, the President insisted that “it was an opportunity for the middle class to have a say in the electoral process” contending that “the $1,000 minimum fee was less than half the annual $2500 savings in health insurance premiums that each middle class family has experienced under the Affordable Care Act.”

As for billionaire host Rich Richman, the President asserted that “there are some great Americans—Richman, Soros, Buffett, to name a few—who haven’t had their values warped by money. These aren’t evil billionaires using the free market to amass wealth for selfish purposes. These are men who are aligned with progressive policies, who are cooperating with our effort to promote the collective welfare of those the government has taken under its wing.”

Maryland Governor Declares WiFi a Human Right

In what some project to be the opening gambit of a potential 2016 presidential campaign, Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley (D) declared that access to WiFi is a human right.

I’m not saying that people should merely be free to purchase and use WiFi at their own expense,” O’Malley clarified. “Doing what you please and paying for it out of your own pocket is an archaic conception of basic human rights. It may have been fine for our nation’s Founding Fathers because they didn’t know any better. Fortunately, we’ve made significant advances in our thinking since then.”

A key phrase that O’Malley thinks ought to guide modern thinking is one that appears in the standard “Miranda warning” that police give to arrestees regarding their right to an attorney: “if you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you at government expense.”

People can’t really be said to be free if their resources are insufficient to fulfill their needs,” O’Malley contended. “WiFi has become such an ingrained part of modern life that everyone must be entitled to participate. After all, man does not live by bread alone. If we can justify feeding, clothing, and housing the poor how can we draw a line that bars them from enjoying the abundance available to their better off peers?”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), a projected rival for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination called O’Malley’s declaration “an interesting opening to a whole new philosophy of freedom in this country. My only criticism is that we must go further than just universal free WiFi. No person in America should have to go without anything that anyone else has merely because of insufficient funds. We must evolve out of the anarchic individualized distribution of wealth in this country toward one where government plays the main role in guaranteeing a more equal allocation to all.”

Colorado Senator Opposes Any Limit to Abortions

In a debate with Rep. Cory Gardner, his Republican opponent for the state’s US Senate seat up for election in November, Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo) took a strong stand against any limits on abortion.

I know that it might sound cruel to say that a fetus on the verge of birth might have to be aborted because that is the mother’s decision, but the alternative is just so abhorrent that this seeming cruelty must be seen as the lesser evil,” Udall proclaimed. “For the government to step in at any stage of the pregnancy to stop its termination is the equivalent of saying that the woman is a slave to the fetus and must place its interests ahead of her own.”

This country fought a bloody war to abolish slavery,” the Senator reminded. “To allow this inhuman practice to creep back into our laws under the guise of protecting innocent lives would be the ultimate betrayal. The women of this state, and America for that matter, need to know that their government has their back and will not shy away from the hard choices they have to make about life or death and how they will use their own bodies.”

Despite some gasps from the audience, Udall said he remains confident that his seemingly callous attitude won’t hurt him with the broader electorate. “Right now my refusal to allow these debates to be televised is looking pretty damned smart,” he boasted. “By the time what I said is filtered through the media I’ll look like the second coming of the Great Emancipator.”

Senator Minimizes Concern for Those Who Lost Health Care Insurance

In a debate with GOP opponent Ed Gillespie, Senator Mark Warner (D-Va) expressed little concern over the reported 250,000 Virginians who lost their health care insurance coverage due to Obamacare.

Look, every battle has casualties,” Warner blandly commented. “What we need to do is weigh these against the gains achieved by the Affordable Care Act, of which I believe there were many.”

Among the gains cited by Warner were coverage for preexisting conditions, equal prices for men and women, and keeping children on parents’ plans until age 26. As good as these provisions may sound to Obamacare advocates, they yield no benefit to the 250,000 Virginians who lost coverage due to the ACA.

Warner blamed “penny-pinching business owners for putting profit ahead of the public policy that all be insured. Saying that the costs of the ACA would bankrupt them is no excuse. They should have faith that the government would eventually cover their losses if that becomes necessary for the nation’s overall well-being.”

In related news, Logan Clements, producer of the film “Sick and Sicker: ObamaCare Canadian Style,” has been hit with an IRS audit. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen insisted that “the selection of Clements for audit was completely random. Unfortunately, the documents verifying this were among those lost due to one of the many computer crashes that have plagued our agency.”

A Satirical Look at Recent News

John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire column for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties that our nation’s Founding Fathers tried to protect.

Please do us a favor. If you use material created by The Arizona Conservative, give us credit, and DO NOT change the context. Thank you.

Terry Goddard Distorts the Facts on Voting

Outgoing Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett issued a news release today taking Terry Goddard, the liberal Democrat running for secretary of state, to task for blatant distortions in a debate …

Candidates often make inflammatory statements as a tactic to provoke a sense of mistreatment to curry favor with voters.  However, blatant mischaracterizations about Arizona’s system of elections must be corrected.  With less than three weeks before the General Election, current Secretary of State Ken Bennett believes it’s necessary to clear up inaccurate information being presented by Terry Goddard over the past few months.

The latest examples occurred during the Clean Elections Debate, hosted by Arizona PBS.  During the broadcast, Mr. Goddard made two statements that were either terribly ignorant or deliberate misrepresentations of the truth for political gain.

“I’m confused where Mr. Goddard came up with amount of $2 million to implement the so-called Dual Track, or bifurcated system of voting in the primary,” said Secretary Bennett.  Truth is, our counties will spend about $500,000 for both the primary and general elections.  This system—one that I’ve repeatedly said is not ideal for election officials—was developed in response to two conflicting directives.  One from Arizona’s voters, (Prop. 200) and the U.S. Supreme Court (Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Ariz., Inc.)  As I’ve publically said before, and I’ll ask Mr. Goddard, which directive should we ignore; Arizona’s voters or the Supreme Court?

“In addition, I’m troubled by Mr. Goddard’s characterization that students, ‘who have to vote a federal ballot, are treated as second class citizens,’ which is patently false and simply absurd.  College students do not have to vote a federal form.  Those voting a federal ballot are simply doing so because they haven’t provided proof-of-citizenship to our County Recorders, a requirement approved by voters in 2004.  Election officials around the state are committed to treating each voter equally and for Mr. Goddard to assume otherwise is offensive to elections officials statewide.

“Combined with his conspiratorial accusation of voter suppression when he declared ‘independent voters get only one chance to cast a ballot,’ I question Mr. Goddard’s fundamental understanding of how elections work in Arizona. While I certainly appreciate Mr. Goddard’s compliment about my singing voice during the debate, I would ask he either learn the songs or stop making up the lyrics.”

 

Obama Nixes Ebola Travel Restrictions

By John Semmens – Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News

Folder2 104Despite numerous urgings, President Obama remains determined not to block entry into the United States by persons who may have been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained that “the President emphatically believes that we are all citizens of the world. This ideal cannot flourish if we bar our doors to fellow citizens. We would do more damage to our image as leaders of a global community if out of fear of contagion we sealed our borders to those wishing to enter.”

Earnest also cited “humanitarian reasons” for not blocking travel to the US from regions known to be infested with the virus. “Suppose it is some afflicted person’s dying wish to visit America before he succumbs, should the President cruelly deny that wish?” Earnest queried. “Besides, it is entirely possible that innovations made by the Affordable Care Act will prove a crucial weapon in the battle against this disease. Is it not part of our obligation to share this benefit with those who are less fortunate?”

David Quammen, author of Ebola and Spillover—books on infectious diseases—argued in support of the Administration’s policy saying that “America’s legacy of slavery demands that it bear the burden of succor to ailing Africans. Many of those suffering from Ebola are ancestors of former slaves sent to Liberia by the American government. If this endangers Americans, well, just consider that part of the reparations they owe for that ancient crime.”

GOP Refusal to Extend Unemployment Benefits Leads to Job Growth

A study published by the New York Federal Reserve found that the number of job openings rose by an estimated 20% in the six months following the lapse of the federal government’s extended unemployment benefits. The lapse occurred because the Republican controlled House refused to vote to extend the benefits.

Fatih Karahan, one of the authors of the study, cited the “mutually reinforcing effects of decreasing the burden on businesses to fund the benefits and decreasing the incentives of recipients to shun employment. If your tax burden of supporting benefits declines you can afford to hire more workers. Similarly, if the reward for idleness is taken away your need to seek and accept employment rises.”

Jason Furman, Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers didn’t dispute the economic logic of the study’s findings, but suggested that “certain intangible factors may have escaped the authors’ attention. The lapse of the extended benefits may have sent more people back to work, but the study failed to calculate the loss in leisure time experienced by those compelled to take jobs in order to feed themselves and their families.”

A person receiving unemployment benefits is relieved of some of the stress of making a living,” Furman pointed out. “Being forced into the work-a-day rat race will have long term negative health consequences. So too will the loss of extra time to spend with one’s family—both for the employed individual and his children.”

The fact that four out of five new jobs added this past month were in the low wage sector bolstered Furman’s concern that “more may have been lost than gained. When all factors are considered is a low wage job really better than unemployment payments from an individual’s perspective?”

Obama Calls November Elections “Referendum on My Policies”

Miffed that so many Democrats running for reelection have shunned his endorsement and declined to appear in public with him, President Obama sought to take control of the narrative by insisting that “though I’m not on the ballot this November my policies certainly are.” Mortified Democrats raced to microphones across the nation to dispute the President’s assertion.

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) called the President’s words “very discouraging and a ‘stab in the back.’ We supported his programs. He needs us in the Senate if he hopes to push ahead with his transformation. We’re on-board with that, but we can’t get there if voters know where we stand. It’s discouraging that his need to be the center of attention has caused him to forget his obligation to his fellow Democrats.”

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) expressed her own frustration, saying “doesn’t he realize how unpopular he and his ideas are with the voters? Obamacare irritates more people each day as they see their insurance premiums rise and find the roster of doctors willing to treat them shrink. The open borders have let in illegal immigrants by the hundreds of thousands. It was bad enough when the biggest risk was exploding costs for welfare to feed, clothe, and house these indigents, but now they appear to be vectors for diseases that may kill untold numbers of Americans.”

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Grimes was especially aggrieved. “I wasn’t in Congress,” Grimes fretted. “I didn’t vote for any of the President’s programs. Now, with his latest statements I may never have the chance to help him transform America. It’s just stupid. I thought he’d be a lot smarter than it appears he is.”

A possible rationale for the President’s pitch of a “referendum” theme may be his disappointment that “the gains for the economy have not been broadly shared. People who make investments or who have jobs are reaping a disproportionate share of the nation’s collective wealth. Voters dependent on government for their sustenance need to realize that their votes are needed to ensure the continuation of federal benefits. It is crucial that this key constituency understand that this election is a referendum on my policies.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) sort of backed the President’s view. “Republicans might win this year, but when voters start seeing their benefits cutback and are herded into jobs they’d rather not have by Republican policies they’ll be champing at the bit to restore Democrats to control both Houses and the Presidency in the 2016 elections,” she predicted.

GOP Criticism over Obama Missing Intel Briefings Panned

Revelations that the ISIS grew while President Obama skipped nearly 60% of his scheduled intelligence briefings has sparked harsh criticism from mostly GOP sources. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) characterized the missed briefings as “disturbing and possibly irresponsible. Is ignorance of what’s going on in the world behind what appears to be this Administration’s feckless foreign policy?”

Former Vermont Governor and Democratic presidential aspirant Howard Dean dismissed the criticisms as “baseless. The erroneous premise is that any information that the President might have gleaned from any briefings would have altered his policy decisions. People who know the President are confident that no quantity of intel would have changed his policies in any significant way.”

President Obama is a once-in-a-life-time transformational figure in world history,” Dean said. “He has insights and inspirations that go beyond what more ordinary men can conceive. The chattering of supposed intelligence experts are just distractions that could only deflect him from his destined course of action. Should such a giant fritter away his time listening to the ill-conceived notions of others? I believe ‘no’ is the obvious answer.”

UK Bans Bomb-Sniffing Dogs

Protests from Muslims that dogs are “unclean” has prompted United Kingdom Transport officials to ban the use of dogs to sniff out explosives that terrorists might attempt to smuggle onto transportation vehicles.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin explained that “for Muslims contact with a dog or even being in the presence of a dog is a certain and serious defilement. Since this is a religious belief rather than just a personal quirk it ought to merit the full protection of the law. I mean, we can’t trample this right merely on the theoretical possibility that without these dogs explosives might make their way onto a plane or train.”

Muslim spokesman Ayatollya Ibombu praised the decision as “a true victory for Allah. Protecting the faithful from being tainted is vital for their ultimate salvation. Even if they are blown to bits their clean status assures that they will enter paradise. This same assurance is available to unbelievers who convert to Islam.”

Reporter “Creeped Out” by Michelle Obama Campaign Rally

Meg Kissinger, a long-time reporter for the politically liberal Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, attempted to cover a Milwaukee campaign speech by First Lady Michelle Obama. She was stunned to discover that she was prohibited from talking to members of the audience.

Michelle’s aide Mary Burke explained that “it is important that the message the First Lady is trying to communicate not be confounded by inappropriate crowd comments to any reporters. This is, after all, her event. She has a right to control how it is perceived and reported.”

To say that I was creeped out is an understatement,” Kissinger said. “We members of the press have been very friendly toward the Obamas. By now I would think we could be trusted not to portray their message in any negative way despite whatever feedback the audience might have given us. For me to get the ‘Potemkin Village’ treatment was a disheartening insult.”

In related news, conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza was sentenced to reeducation camp in order to undergo therapeutic counseling by Judge Richard Berman of the Federal District Court in Manhattan. “Mr. D’Souza’s contention that others, including President Obama, who have committed a similar offense were not subject to a similar punishment is irrelevant,” Berman ruled. “He holds no government office or related position that would entitle him to the exemption he requests. The very fact that he would ask demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of how the campaign finance laws work.”

A Satirical Look at Recent News

John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire column for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties that our nation’s Founding Fathers tried to protect.

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