DMV COMPUTER SYSTEM WORSE THAN OBAMACARE’S: We were all amazed that the U.S. Government, as large as it is and with as much of our money as it spends, couldn’t put together a simple computer program that would allow Americans to enroll in Obama’s mandatory health insurance program. Obamacare’s computer problems were of epic proportions and will become legendary.
All along, though, we in Rhode Island have had a computer problem plaguing our little state that is proportionately worse than Obamacare’s. It’s the computer system that has been in the works at our Department of Motor Vehicles for eight long years and was supposed to finally go online May 1st. Though approved in 2006, eight years and $13 million later, the system has yet to even be turned on. Its programming and installation have been so full of bugs and glitches that we have started over again and again - as the price continued to climb and as its “new” technology aged toward obsolescence. Statements this week by Director of Administration Richard Licht indicate it won’t be going online May 1st and won’t be ready anytime soon. And we thought the Obamacare computer problems were bad!
It looks like “it’s good enough for government work” is still alive and well at both the federal and state levels when it comes to government employees trying to install or oversee installation of computer systems.
CRIMEA AND AUSTRIA/SUDETENLAND, OBAMA AND CHAMBERLAIN: It’s hard not to draw comparisons between the 1938 Nazi invasion of Austria and the Sudetenland provinces of Czechoslovakia in order to “protect ethnic Germans” with Russia’s invasion of Crimea to “protect ethnic Russians”. More disturbing is the valid comparison between British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, whose cowering at the feet of Adolph Hitler resulted in the west agreeing to allow Austria and the Sudetenland to become a part of Nazi Germany, and President Barrack Obama, whose foreign policy weakness and past kowtowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a vain attempt to “reset American-Russian relations”, has emboldened Putin to pursue such Nazi-like aggression. Just as Chamberlain and the rest of Europe bowed to Hitler in hopes of peace that resulted in war instead, Obama’s and the EU’s weak sanctions against Russia may likely result in a very similar outcome. The U.S. Congress and the European Union Parliament need to quickly demand harsher sanctions!
GOVERNMENT TRIES AGAIN ON FLOOD INSURANCE: Congress has just passed legislation that reverses most provisions of the Biggert-Waters flood insurance law passed in 2012 that was intended to get the $24 billion-in-debt National Flood Insurance Plan under control and to stop inland property owners from subsidizing insurance rates for those with seaside homes in flood-prone areas.
Homes that were not identified as lying in flood-prone areas when built will maintain their far-below risk rates even though science and satellite mapping technology now show they are in likely flood areas. Sellers who want to move out of their homes in flood-prone areas can pass on their subsidized rates to buyers. The approximately 4.5 million policy holders in low-risk flood areas will see their rates increase so the plan can continue to subsidize the one million policy holders in high-risk areas whose rates would otherwise skyrocket. And the $24 billion the flood insurance plan currently owes will continue to be subsidized by taxpayers who live on mountains, prairies and deserts.
Critics of this latest move admit that changes were needed but contend the 2012 law’s foundation should have been maintained; that simply lowering the maximum annual rate increases to reasonable amounts, perhaps 5-10 percent per year, but allowing them to ultimately increase to actual risk levels, would have been the best way to ameliorate the hardships for homeowners who have chosen to live in high-risk flood areas. This would have eventually gotten the program on solid financial footing. Most Americans would agree.
Congressman David Cicilline, who voted for the bill, had the audacity to say, “This fix...is completely paid for”. Sure it’s paid for! It’s paid for with OPM - other people’s money.
PELL HASTY AND IRRESPONSIBLE: He tried to spin the story as much as possible. It didn’t work. Clay Pell was running late, in a hurry, accidentally dropped his keys between the seats of his wife’s Toyota Prius as he and his wife, Michelle Kwan, were getting out. Kwan later told police that Pell had left the keys “tucked” between the car seats. Either way, the irresponsible Pell had chosen to leave the car unlocked with the keys inside parked in front of his Providence house. He and Michelle went on to the event they were rushing to attend.
When they returned home a few hours later, Pell didn’t try to retrieve the keys and lock the car. He didn’t even check to see if the car was still there, choosing instead to retire for the night.
At some point during the night, a thief very easily took the car. In the case of the Prius, the keys don’t have to be in the ignition in order for the car to start. The next morning, instead of immediately reporting the theft to police, Pell and Kwan chose to drive around looking for the car. Were they going to “arrest” the thief themselves? They didn’t report its theft until nine hours after they noticed it gone.
So, what’s the moral of this story and how does it relates to Pell’s desire to be our governor? Here’s a young man whose haste and irresponsibility caused him to purposely leave unsecured a valuable piece of property, tempting thieves - even young, teen thieves. Surely Pell realizes that Providence has the highest crime rate in the state. Later, when he had plenty of time to secure it, he chose instead to go to bed without even checking to see if the car was still there. The next day when he noticed the car missing, he chose to be a “cop” himself instead of reporting the theft immediately.
This incident reflects a whole series of bad decisions by Pell that makes one seriously question his judgment. We don’t need a governor whose personal habits include such hasty, irresponsibility actions. Bad judgment about protecting a Toyota Prius is one thing; bad judgment about an $8.5 billion state budget is something else altogether!
WISDOM FROM CONNECTICUT ON MINIMUM WAGE: Few states are further to the left politically than Rhode Island. Connecticut, however, is one of those that leans even further to the left than does our little state. Consequently, one doesn’t expect to hear much from Connecticut that doesn’t toe the line with national left-wing ideology.
After President Obama’s visit to Connecticut last week to push his agenda to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, during which he repeated his mantra “It’s time to give America a raise”, one of Connecticut’s major newspapers, the Manchester Journal Inquirer, blasted the idea of increasing the minimum wage. The Journal Inquirer had this to say: “If, as President Obama said Wednesday in New Britain, It’s “time to give America a raise,” his solution - raising the minimum wage - is laughable. Only 5 percent of the workforce earns the minimum wage, and raising it would probably just raise the cost of living for the remaining 95 percent.”
Not only will raising the minimum wage result in higher prices for everyone, it will increase the living standard of less than 2 percent of low-income working families - a percentage that lends dishonesty to Obama’s claim that it will “give America a Raise”. The downside will be the loss of about a half million jobs in our still-struggling economy.
Defying evidence that it will harm the economy, it seems clear that Democrats are using the minimum wage increase solely as a 2014 campaign tool. Keeping it on the front burner will bring out more of their urban and minority supporters - voters who otherwise tend to shun mid-term elections.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: A letter to the editor of the Providence Journal this week decried a bill introduced in the General Assembly that would impose a 10 percent supplemental tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition. Bill Welch of Portsmouth said, “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Murdock v. Pennsylvania (1943) that a constitutional right cannot be taxed. The Second Amendment reads: ‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ Seems an open and shut case that the proposed law would be unconstitutional.”