Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Morning Miscellany

Howie Carr's column today is particularly good, concerning one of my favorite current topics: the increasing resemblance of Massachusetts public employees' unions to classic movie mobsters. It used to be that the employees of an enterprise - public or private - instinctively understood the concept of the rising tide; the success and continued viability of the enterprise inured to the benefit of its employees. No more. Now, as Howie notes by way of effective analogy to a mob 'bust out,' unions exist primarily to wring every possible concession from an enterprise, regardless of the effects on its long-term prospects. Those inevitable effects can be seen from Detroit's auto-makers and most of our domestic airlines to our public schools and metropolitan fire departments. This is not a knock, by the way, on unionized workers, many or most of whom are just as honest, hard-working and productive as anyone else (and many of whom have literally no choice but to join a union in order to get and keep their jobs).

This is a bad sign for transportation reform. Based on the Globe's inability to get a copy of the budget the Turnpike Authority's board just passed for the upcoming year, it seems the Governor's board appointees are using the excuse of pending consolidation to duck even rudimentary disclosure. Regardless of whether the entity is called the Turnpike Authority or the Transportation Department, those are your tax and toll dollars - $430 million of them - being spent, apparently in ways that the powers that be would prefer not appear in the newspaper.

This is just disturbing. The US House of Representatives has 435 members. Per the Constitution, the allocation of seats to the various states is determined by population. Here in the Commonwealth, our population is relatively stagnant, if not shrinking. Other states are growing at a much faster clip. This sums it up:

The state [of Massachusetts] has grown 2.3 percent in the eight years since, based on the bureau's 2008 population estimates. The average growth per state for that time in the United States is 8 percent, according to the Web site. Virginia, which has 11 members of Congress, grew 9.7 percent in that time, and Arizona, which has eight U.S. representatives, grew at a 26.7 percent rate since 2000.

Arizona is going to pick up seats. They have to come from somewhere. That "somewhere" is likely to be here. It's no coincidence that "city clerks have already met to talk Census strategy with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, D-Lowell..." As the junior member of the Massachusetts delegation, she has reason to be particularly concerned. At base, though, our population is what it is. Secretary of State Galvin should take care this cycle to ensure that political zeal does not lead to mathematical shenanigans. As proud citizen of Massachusetts, I am concerned about the likely prospect of our state losing representation in Washington. As a taxpayer, though, I'm not sure Congress won't be just a little better off with one fewer Massachusetts Democrat.

2 comments:

  1. I agree with you last line " As a taxpayer, though, I'm not sure Congress won't be just a little better off with one fewer Massachusetts Democrat"

    What bothers me is that we are not putting up candidates to run against them. Candidates running unopposed is no different to a dictatorship.

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  2. Now that it is truly a case of the lunatics running the asylum, perhaps there actually is a glint of light at the end of the tunnel. As noted above, though, we need some people who are willing to walk towards that light. Clive, a party that puts up no candidates is not a party at all.

    Putting one's ear to the ground, there are rumblings about what is going on in Washington. Unfortunately, our national party, which seems to be more than adequate at listening to nothing but the echo of their own voices, is spending more time justifying itself to people who never have had and never will have Republican values.

    Somewhere in the Commonwealth, there must be Republicans with deep pockets who can help push the candidacy of good people.

    Having had a little experience in a campaign - a successful one, at that - there is something our party should staple to its collect mind, and that is "dance with the one who brung ya!" Those opposed to your views and values will only spend your term in office working on ways to replace you. Personally, if the Boston Globe likes one of our people, we have lost before we have begun.

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