Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 Legislative Session Proves You Don’t Matter

   While the press may be claiming victory with regard to the anti-discrimination package which passed, there are some things not being discussed that need to be regarding other actions by Utah’s left leaning but still Republican legislators.

   Thursday night I went to bed, hoping some of the things I had been alarmed by were just going to die quietly. When I woke up and went to buy gas the next morning I found myself aghast. The prices jumped ten cents over night. This couldn't be right, I knew, because oil was going down again, and, as of Tuesday, it was only $52.00 a barrel. Then I looked online and saw that oil had indeed slipped again down to $47.00 a barrel. Such a price was not being dictated by market forces. What could have possibly happened to cause gas to spike without a corresponding spike in oil prices?

   The guy across from me frowned as he hesitantly grasped the fuel nozzle, “Those damn, greedy bastards at Big Oil are at it again,” he said solemnly, “they just won’t let us have even a little bit of a break.”

   Once inside the Holiday store, I asked the lady behind the counter why the gas surge, she said, “you know, those greedy guys at the oil company are always doing this.”

   But are they?

   As of today, oil is selling at $43.00 a barrel according to CNBC, so is it really big oil that is screwing you right now? Turn back the clock a bit, turn on the radio. Remember all those commercials about Utah needing to address its infrastructure for the health of the economy? Promising more jobs, more money and cleaner air for everyone? And also promising chocolate rivers, and rainbows that will spill Skittles over the land? And that all bunnies and deer, and cattle will turn to chocolate so that we never actually have to kill to eat? You know the one. They encouraged you to talk to your legislators about a long term solution. Did you? I tried. My legislator is a very dear friend. I was completely ignored. You see, whenever someone is promising me the sun, the moon and especially chocolate, I know they’re up to mischief. I wanted to ensure my legislator did not give these organizations what they were after, because I knew what they were really pushing: a massive gas tax hike.

   Did you know that? Oh, but you were okay, because we need roads? Did you know we’re already paying for them? And that the budget was covered completely for all projects currently under way and then some? Bet you didn’t think the gas tax would affect you, did you? Well, look at the gas prices now. At a time when oil is selling this low, the only reason gas prices went up is because of the Legislature. There is no other reason. But let’s deep dive this for a moment.

   They told us they had to do this because of a shortfall in their budget. That’s a lie. In all actuality, they crafted a budget some years ago designed to take construction projects into 2040. They did not base that budget on a dynamic model, but rather a static one. They forgot to account for inflation. Again, every project currently under way is completely covered in spite of that short sightedness. The alleged shortfall is more than a decade away. But of course, they had to do the “hard thing” and raise the gas tax. The “hard thing” would have been to re-examine the budget, and re-draft it, making it dynamic and adjustable. There’s plenty of time to iron the kinks out and make the budget better. But no, they took the easy way out and increased your costs of living to cover it. At a time many of us were finally starting to feel some relief, the REPUBLICAN legislators took that relief away to pay for their pet projects.

   But let’s add some insult to injury, they are running on a multi-million dollar per year surplus. What’s more they managed to find $400 million new dollars for education, without raising taxes. They did it by retooling the budget. Still have a surplus, mind you. Then they gave the Governor, and several highly paid high ranking government officials a massive pay raise, as much as $10,000 a year, when the governor already made $100,000 a year. Doesn’t it seem odd to you that they can do these pay raises at a time they insist they have to raise our gas tax?

   The truth is, they did not have to raise our gas taxes at all. This started with Rep. Anderson laying out the necessity of increased revenue in a complete capitulation to leftist nonsense economic theories that have been proven false time and again. There were no alternatives ever discussed. We were given two choices, a tax reform that would auto-adjust to inflation every year (which of course would cause inflation by making shipping and transportation more expensive), or a flat tax increase. We ended up with both. 5 cents per gallon now, with additional tax increases once gas hits $2.45 a gallon. It’s already $2.39 a gallon, and that is just from the market getting spooked by all this tax increase talk… plus the per cent per gallon increase…  Worse yet they keep justifying this by lying to us, claiming the tax hasn't gone up since 1997, when in fact, the last one was 2002, and was supposed to be temporary, for the 2002 Olympics.

   Even if it really had been 1997 since the last increase, there is a direct link to oil and gas and inflation in the market place. The more expensive oil and gas are, the more expensive transportation and shipping get. That added cost of doing business is passed on to the consumers, causing inflation. While the market was prepared to see prices across the board lower, the legislature has opted to keep your prices artificially higher. This, of course, will only cause more inflation further down the road, meaning in a few years, we will be right back where we started. If they had just been patient, prices for everything would have corrected for cheaper oil, including construction. Smart Money, Austrian, or even Supply Side Economic principals would have solved this problem. Sadly, it’s clear our Republican Legislators are not smart enough to avoid an obvious Keynesian trap.

   The entire time talk of these increases were going on, the feds were also talking about additional gas tax increases. The market got spooked, and in an attempt to brace for impact, gas prices went up. And when the gas tax was finalized, we learned prices didn’t go up enough to address it, so it went up again. All total, the Utah State Republican Party has raised your gas tax by an additional 12%. Keep an eye on the feds, because the Market is still bracing for that impact. With the actual price of oil, gas prices should be in decline. There is no other reason that market correction isn’t happening. This is Government Greed running a World in Need, to turn Obama’s quote about white folks against him…
But next time you go to fuel up, instead of bitching about Big Oil, thank a Republican. You know, because roads. Or whatever. Then vote him out.

   As for me? Friendships have been lost over this issue. I made clear, I would not stand behind, or with anyone who voted for this, or failed to fight against it. This increase (SB160) passed the Senate 20-5. Meaning it was virtually unopposed. Then these jerks had the audacity to send me the following email:
This is a pivotal time for our Party.
The stakes are high. And winning the White House will require an operation unlike any we've seen before.
We're creating comprehensive victory plans for each state. But it requires a full-team effort.
As we build up our operation in Utah, we need to know we can count on you.
     Thousands of folks in Utah have already jumped on board. And I’m counting on you    to commit to our effort in Utah right now.
Commit to building to victory — contribute today:

(I’m withholding the name of the email’s author as a courtesy to them, but I won’t if I keep getting these messages.)
   Un-freaking-believable. Well, I guess I could have sent a donation, but you just raised my costs of living quite significantly. So what I would have sent to the GOP now has to go to the gas tank. They should have thought of that before passing SB160.

   I’m done. I will remain registered as a Republican until a viable 3rd party option comes along, but the people we keep putting our faith in are all too eager to betray that trust. This is a very serious problem. What’s worse, however, is that when people like me point out that they have betrayed the Party’s principals, we get called names. And if we strike back by calling them RINOs, all hell breaks loose. I am too tired of all this (pardon my language) RINO fodder to continue at this point. I have written the party and asked them to stop seeking contributions from me. Mike Lee will have my endorsement. I will send him money. I feel like Chris Stewart recognizes that he errored in his support of Boehner, as he has been voting against the Party line lately. As long as that continues, I will endorse and send him money. But aside from those two? I’m done.

   At this point, I will not volunteer my time for anyone. I have too little of it anyway. No phone banks, no door knocking, no hours upon hours arguing with people about why my candidate is the best… obviously I was wrong, but promises were made, and then subsequently broken. I should have seen that coming, but I am far too trusting. Never again.

   Unless there really is a Tea Party in Utah. Utah’s mythological Tea Party sure gets beat up in the
press a lot, but I have seen only minimal evidence of its existence. Frankly, I’ve seen more evidence of the existence of Gregg Gutfeld riding a Unicorn away from Red Eye than I have seen for the existence of a Utah Tea Party… but we need one, and badly. We need to clean house, and the Senate, and we need to elect genuine Conservatives and Libertarians who will not balance the budget on the backs of the poor. The fact that the State Legislators made decisions that will directly, and negatively impact the poor shows how little they really care about us. In short, you don’t matter to them. That is why none of them deserve your support.

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