December 21, 2014
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My take on the news
Good sense: pay employers to hire unemployed
Lonnie Barham

RHODE ISLAND UNEMPLOYMENT: Business, education and labor leaders gathered last week to discuss ways to pull Rhode Island out of its economic hole. The best suggestion came from a small business owner who suggested that instead of taxpayers paying people not to work, we should be paying them to work. He suggested offering perhaps 80 percent of unemployment benefits to employers to hire the unemployed instead of paying 100 percent for someone to sit at home. For a $16-per-hour job, the employer would receive $12 from the state and pay the additional $4 herself – thus getting an employee for $4 per hour while also saving taxpayers $4 per hour. Otherwise, the state would be paying the unemployed person $16 per hour to stay home.
A similar suggestion for unemployed veterans was made to the governor's office and to the state labor department last year by the R.I. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense supported volunteer organization that seeks to resolve employment issues between employers and their Guard and Reserve employees. Neither office acted upon the suggestion.
The small business owner’s suggestion is a win-win-win solution for unemployed workers, for small businesses, and for taxpayers. It deserves close attention and action by our elected leaders and their appointees. Let's hope the new General Assembly elected this November will move fast to ensure this suggestion becomes law.

BIPOLAR CHAFEE: Who was that governor from Rhode Island speaking at the Democratic National Convention last week? It's one thing to be a bit scatter-brained and confused, but it was absolute lunacy for Governor Chafee to say it’s the Republicans who offer no place for such values as "fiscal responsibility" and claiming it is Mitt Romney who wants to return us "to a fantasy land of never having to pay for the things we buy!"
It was President Obama who added $5 trillion to the national debt in just three years – more than any president in history. It is Obama who has, for the first time in American history, pushed the annual budget deficit to over a trillion dollars. It is the Democrats who rail against the Republicans for their plan to rein in the cost of Medicare, one of the entitlement programs that lives in the fantasy land of Democrats who don't want to make any changes to the program to make it sustainable – the same Democrats who seem to think Americans "never have to pay for the things we buy."
Chafee had some legitimate criticism for the Republican Party, such as its steadfast resistance to women's reproductive rights and its antipathy toward marriage rights for gay Americans. But for Chafee to say the Democrat Party is the party of fiscal responsibility simply provides evidence that his brain waves don't always travel along normal synaptic paths.

NOW THERE'S NO DOUBT: Last week, the usually far-left lead editorialist at the Providence Journal opined that President Obama violated the Constitution with his executive order that allows 1.7 million aliens brought here illegally by their parents to obtain many benefits of citizenship and to get a free pass on deportation. Most of us agree that Congress should pass legislation to reform our immigration laws; legislation that would allow the provisions of Obama's executive order to have the backing of law and to fall within the parameters of the Constitution. But, Obama's unconstitutional move was, as the Journal's editorialist said, "...not how the U.S. Constitution structures our government. Congress makes the laws. Presidents are supposed to submit their policy ideas to Congress, not substitute their will for that of the people and their representatives ... When [presidents] cut out the legislature and make policy by fiat, they effectively cut out the public."
When this bluest-of-blue state's largest newspaper, one that has dependably supported Democrats and their platforms, takes the position that a Democrat president has violated provisions of the Constitution, there should no longer be any doubt that our Constitution is in danger.

COURT RULING ON CELL PHONE SEARCHES: A superior court judge has thrown out all evidence obtained as a result of a cell phone search by the Cranston Police that was conducted without a search warrant during investigation of a child’s killing. Both law enforcement officials and much of the public are upset, especially after seeing the media-published text messages that clearly show the suspect committed the horrible crime. Many believe the judge made the wrong decision.
Unfortunately, it was the police who made the wrong decision. There is no difference between searching the contents of a cell phone and searching the contents of a dresser drawer, which requires a warrant. There are ways to keep a suspect from destroying evidence while a search warrant is obtained. Judges are available 24 hours a day to sign warrants. The police should have gotten one before the search.
It is very difficult for police officers to do their jobs within the constraints provided by the Constitution's Bill of Rights; however, it is a difficulty all police officers should know comes with the job. Ensuring public safety is the primary police responsibility; but, except in exigent circumstance, protecting constitutional rights is equally important.
The judge’s decision, which unfortunately means the vicious killer of a defenseless child may be set free, is nevertheless the right one. It is a slippery slope from condoning an illegal search to a police state where citizens have no protection from government excesses.

THE FRENCH AND OBAMA: France, under its new socialist president, Francois Hollande, is already showing us what America will probably look like under the socialist-leaning policies promised by President Obama should he be elected to a second term. Mr. Hollande has broadcast his intention to force a 75 percent income tax on "rich" French citizens and increase tax revenues two and a half times faster than he will cut spending. This extreme redistribution of wealth and lack of substantive spending cuts have frightened investors already. The French economy has stalled with zero expansion for three straight months, while the country's unemployment rate has climbed to 10 percent – the highest in 13 years. This is likely what the U.S. has to look forward to with another four years of Obama. France will survive for awhile as a socialist state with hefty loans from Germany. The U.S. will also survive in the short-term as it tilts toward pure socialism, but at the expense of selling its soul to the Chinese.


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