Tea party made clash with public-sector unions inevitable

A showdown like the ones we’re seeing in state capitals across the Midwest has been building since the idea of a tea party movement was born on a Chicago trading floor.

It’s fitting that union members began amassing in, and Democratic lawmakers fleeing from, the Wisconsin state Capitol within days of the second anniversary of CNBC’s Rick Santelli’s now-famous, on-air tirade from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Santelli, you’ll recall, ranted about federal bailouts and then called for “a Chicago tea party” to protest them.

Two months later, tea parties were held nationwide, and American politics was transformed. Just ask any member of Congress who was involuntarily retired last year by the voters.

The tea party caught on as a popular movement in large part because, in the aftermath of the financial panic and the bailouts and the stimulus, the common American taxpayer looked around and realized he was the only “special interest” without a seat at the table. The tea party finally gave him that seat.

While the tea partyers’ outrage was raw, most of the special interests were smart enough to keep their efforts to remain entrenched hidden in the usual back channels, whether in Washington or state capitals. The only special interest to show its face while pushing back against the tea party? Labor unions.

And when it comes to public sector labor unions, no special interest is more pernicious.

The fundamental arguments against allowing government worker unions have been well-known since at least the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who opposed them.

The government, unlike private companies, makes no profits for which workers can bargain. To meet their demands, government can only raise taxes or cut other spending, with no external pressure beyond the electorate.

Yet, increased promises to government workers invariably are designed to incur greater costs in the future, so the voters who pay closest attention to them are the workers.

And it is all too clear to elected officials — particularly on the state and local levels — that they risk their political careers when they refuse the demands of unions for teachers, police, firefighters. These people vote in large numbers.

Taxpayers are a larger voting bloc, but before the tea party they were an amorphous — and therefore voiceless — group. Now that they are organized, they are electing people like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who are willing to side with taxpayers over the unions — and people like the commissioners in Georgia’s DeKalb County who this week voted for layoffs rather than higher taxes.

So, this faceoff has been coming. But it won’t be the last one.

AOL News Opinion editor John Merline recently wrote that payments to individuals now total $2.3 trillion, or more than two-thirds of the federal budget. Most of the money goes to senior citizens via Social Security and Medicare, whose expansions beyond a safety net have turned retirees into a powerful special interest.

Meanwhile, a similar proportion of federal income tax receipts, 59 percent, comes from the top 5 percent of earners.

“When you put these two trends together,” Merline wrote, “what you find is that the federal government has over the years essentially turned into a gigantic wealth-transfer machine … whatever your [political] view, this situation will make getting the federal budget under control increasingly difficult, since it will invariably involve pitting those writing checks against those cashing them.”

Add public workers to Merline’s figures, and the number of check cashers is even larger. From Madison, Wis., to DeKalb County, the clash between the check writers and the check cashers is just beginning.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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64 comments Add your comment

saywhat?

February 23rd, 2011
7:41 pm

“When you put these two trends together,” Merline wrote, “what you find is that the federal government has over the years essentially turned into a gigantic wealth-transfer machine …”

And yet despite this, wealth is being transferred upward rather than downward. How does Merline’s assertion explain the static/falling household income of all but the top 2-5% incomes of Americans? I guess we just need to pity those uber-wealthy victims of the government, right Kyle? Perhaps they need another tax cut.

that's goofy

February 23rd, 2011
7:42 pm

who you calling “these people”?

Kyle – did you accept AJC’s first offer or did you negotiate?

While I think unions do suck – I also thing there needs to be a voice bargaining for salaries, benefits and working conditions of Teachers, Police and Firefighters.

that's goofy

February 23rd, 2011
7:43 pm

missed “first” by a minute!

Brain

February 23rd, 2011
7:48 pm

I like the change of subject after your last missive was roundly dismissed for the bunk it was.

Lies, Statistics and Damn Lies

February 23rd, 2011
7:52 pm

Well put Kyle.

November 2010 was only the beginning.

A year and half ago folks laughed and used a negative, sexual slur. They still still use the slur but they aren’t laughing anymore. Maybe something’s tickling their noses.

The Tea Party has become a serious force in a short period of time and it makes the moonbat lefties froth. Let them froth and type and bark at the moon.

Elections have consequences…

Lies, Statistics and Damn Lies

February 23rd, 2011
7:55 pm

Some folks watch too much John Stewart News Channel.

Lies, Statistics and Damn Lies

February 23rd, 2011
8:01 pm

George Clooney says he’s not running for elected office. He said his slogan would have to be “I drank the bong water”.

How lovely for him… Git Ur Political Advice From This Dude !!

DLink

February 23rd, 2011
8:49 pm

Someone asked earlier, “What have these unions done for me?” I couldn’t answer, because I was at work and internet traffic is monitored. As a right to work state I’d have been fired for saying anything at work. Or from home, if that could be monitored, as it is in China.

So, all those Govn’t codes which are supposed to protect workers in the absence of people speaking out through a union? Yeah, ignored by GA businesses. Overtime, a special meeting was called to explain how it doesn’t apply. Salary vs hourly? Same meeting, doesn’t apply.

Building codes? Not enforced. Cheaper to hire Mexicans to put the plumbing in for 50 bucks, as they can afford to live at that rate 10 wage earners to a house here in GA. Nobody’s complaining, because, you can’t afford to lose that job, no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT. That’s a very important point. Remember it when ya move into your new house.

Think New Zealand earthquake and all the card houses falling down. Sure, I can build card houses, anyone can. But there are electrical codes, plumbing codes, and building codes to keep everyone safe and sound with/out representation of the people doing the work, because there are codes… rules. I’ll tell you right now GA isn’t playing by those rules way too often. Any basic task that could be done in China for 10 bucks is expected here with all the outsourcing going on. A house in China costs what $1000? Corporations compare these prices, expect the same here – outsource to China, or find people to blow off rules and regulations to achieve the cheap standard. Against the rules, but that’s how you make money in corporate america. That’s the reason for the original unions after the first great depression.

Slaves don’t complain about right or wrong. Unions of people do. It would appear that Republicans, much as the Lords of England did during the revolutionary war, would prefer the status quo of silent unless spoken to. Substitute corporations for Lords, CEO, Republican…. same thing. Just looking for cheap labor like the rest of us. Only, on a global scale. Slavery was a godsend in this respect.

I never said I was a nice person.

Stuart

February 23rd, 2011
8:55 pm

I’m not sure which is more pathetic; that you believe what you just wrote, or you expect us to. The tea party is about as organic as a Hostess Twinkie. Without the Koch Brothers and Dick Armey, a fitting name if there ever was one, this would have just been a bunch of demonstrations with people in lawn chair and misspelled signs. And the billionaires who have been trying to break the backs of unions finally found the mass of the useful idiots they’ve longed for. These are people, for the most part, who have no idea they’re happily digging their own graves. The billionaire and millionaire CEO’s and COO’s and SOB’s don’t give a rat’s ass about the “common taxpayer.” They just love their anger.

Rafe Hollister

February 23rd, 2011
8:57 pm

Long live the Tea Party and the Unions. We are finally getting some good out of these union thugs. They are pushing business and manufacturing to move to the Right to Work States. They are inflaming the masses as their Cadillac benefits are exposed. Voters are waking up and finding out how their tax dollars are being wasted. Less than 1/3 of 8th graders in WI able to read at or above the national average.

2012 looks better every day as Barry dithers over homosexual marriage, supports the Unions, wimps out on Libya, and defends doing little or nothing on the budget deficiets. Democrat cowards run for the tall grass in WI and IN. Bring it on and let us vote.

"Walking Dead" Obamunist

February 23rd, 2011
8:58 pm

What if gas goes up to $5 a gallon?

Will it be Obama’s fault or BP perhaps? Factor in Muammar al-Gaddafi, Hosni Mubarak, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the forecast looks even gloomier.

Drill here now. Do it yesterday.

The USA has become the #1 producer of natural gas. Gas is good, it’s cleaner, it’s plentiful and it works right now.

ged

February 23rd, 2011
8:59 pm

good points and yet balance is what we should look for now.

You're not entitled to your own "facts" Kyle

February 23rd, 2011
9:00 pm

“The tea party caught on as a popular movement in large part because” they had their own TV news network.
Astroturf is not grass roots.

Dave

February 23rd, 2011
9:07 pm

This piece is the second time I’ve seen you throw out the FDR thing. Just what is it about collective bargaining is dependent on the employer having profits? I’m not a union fan; but, I’ve always thought the point was “a” worker doesn’t have much leverage to bargain with a large employer, be that employer a government entity or a private entity. Yes the money paid by government comes from the rest of us, then to, so does the money paid by a private employer to a worker. To my mind bargaining has nothing to do with profit. Labor is a cost. The employer has an interest in keeping that cost down, and interest that is promoted if the employee has no power. A union gives the employee power. Maybe too much, given the current atmosphere that you evidence.

Rafe Hollister

February 23rd, 2011
9:09 pm

Substitute corporations for Lords, CEO, Republican….

And, Union bosses do not qualify to be included in this sentence?

Try talking one of them into donating some of your dues to the GOP. SEIU thugs will soon pay you a get acquantained visit, I’m guessing.

DLink

February 23rd, 2011
9:09 pm

One other thing.. ALL of this is about preventing the right to complain and be protected. Sure some of it is BS. Check the Atlanta Public School system under investigation. Someone complains, investigation and they’re gone. It’s the loss of the first amendment in the Bill of Rights.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It was the very first amendment for a reason. Silencing voices kills growth. It’s a very simple thing. I don’t thing you should pay to have to do it, but it seems that the only time a single voice is heard is when someone is up for election, and afterwards, it’s like it never happened.

GA legislature had to step in for a person to be heard. FACT is GA schools are failing and GA doesn’t know why. People aren’t talking. If they want a job they’ll stay not talking, and I don’t blame them.

Dave

February 23rd, 2011
9:12 pm

Apologies for the typos.

"Walking Dead" Obamunist

February 23rd, 2011
9:15 pm

Dear You’re not entitled to your own “facts” Kyle,

Do you mean CNBC or Fox?

You do know it was CNBC’s Rick Santelli who lit the Tea Party fire don’t you?

That dang CNBC, Koch Brothers fronted, Soros hatin’ netwurk should be taken off the air.

Rafe Hollister

February 23rd, 2011
9:16 pm

Dave to try to answer your question. If a private sector union gets a little greedy with their demands (hard to imagine, I’m sure) and management agrees to keep the peace and just pass on those costs, the consumer can seek an alternative, i.e. UAW. We found we could get a better and less expensive car from non union foreign companies.

Public sector unions have no such check or balance. If your elected official sells out i.e. Benefits and Raises for Union fiancial support, the consumer is stuck with paying more taxes. We have no alternative as Gov is a monopoly.

Edie

February 23rd, 2011
9:19 pm

If the retirement plans had been funded (paid into a lock box) as they accrued, instead of deferring the liability, and giving corporations and taxpayers huge tax breaks along the way, states and the federal government would not be in a bind today. Start funding now. Tax estates, to catch up.

"Walking Dead" Obamunist

February 23rd, 2011
9:28 pm

Edie wants to tax the dead? Are you serious??? Nobody owes Uncle Sam for the luxury of dying.

The collective got overpaid while that person was alive.

Katie

February 23rd, 2011
9:28 pm

Has the author of this article been living under a rock? Gives credit to the tea party to Rick Santelli a year ago on the Chicago Merc? Puh-lease!!! The tea party movement grew out of the town halls of August ‘09 when all the politicians were refusing to listen to us about that stupid healthcare law.
Though, if breaking the backs of all those crooked unions is the end result – AWESOME!

Katie

February 23rd, 2011
9:31 pm

@DLink
GA public schools are failing because we have a school system that is being crippled by having to educate Mexico’s children. Give us back our tax dollars for our kids and they’ll all be fine. Well, we could get rid of the teachers Unions too – no doubt there, but in GA all the extra resources that used to supplement and enhance education goes to pay an ESOL teacher now.

Freedom Lover

February 23rd, 2011
9:32 pm

And if you want to thank anyone for the ideas embodied by the Tea Party (well, at least a few principled ones in the group), thank Ron Paul and the Libertarian Party. Since 1972 the party, and Ron since the late 70’s, have been at the forefront of small government, individual liberty, and freedom advocacy. While the republicans have only been paying these concepts lip service to get elected, Ron Paul has been advocating the ideas while in office, in hundreds of tv, radio, and print interviews, during his two presidential bids, and in his votes while in office. Elected libertarians have been casting similarly committed votes in their elected positions as well.

So while all of you Johnny-come-latelies are finally figuring out that principled politics is required to preserve liberty, balance a budget, and promote freedom, the rest of us have been screaming at the top of our lungs to no avail. So if you want to give the Tea Party folks credit go ahead, but it is generally undeserved. With most of the group supporting the unconstitutional Patriot Act, the illegal wars in the middle east, and other big-government policies, the true freedom loving types among us are holding out hope that the Ron Paul wing of the party wins out over the big-government, big-spending, big empire wing that folks like Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Orrin Hatch, Paul Ryan, and others infest.

"Information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment" - BHO, May 1, 2010

February 23rd, 2011
9:41 pm

Freedom lover — Ron Paul money-bomb the other day was $700,000+

Rep/Dr Paul has a real image problem. Like it or not, in today’s 24/7 media, travel and information age he is way behind the curve. I wish him the best of luck.

I’d settle for Chris Christie as POTUS.

DLink

February 23rd, 2011
9:43 pm

“Substitute corporations for Lords, CEO, Republican….

And, Union bosses do not qualify to be included in this sentence?

Try talking one of them into donating some of your dues to the GOP. SEIU thugs will soon pay you a get acquantained visit, I’m guessing.”

My brother would agree with you on this. Didn’t like it, the only way to be heard, though. Try speaking up to the people’s volume today. Easy to drown out rationality when ya holding the strings. He’s dead now at 48. Did I mention the U.S. has one of the lowest survival rates in the world? For anything.

And Republicans are determined to KILL healthcare in the U.S. It’s said in the news like it’s the bestest thing in the world and that amazes me. It F’ing amazes me. Regulation is bad, codes are bad, rules are bad, healthcare is bad, but only when it comes to saving money. What about that 600B/yr war. Add in the costs of foreign outposts. I’d bet they bleed money like the aorta sliced open of the American body. And nobody’s counting it or listening to those who do. Too bad there isn’t a union.

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/war.casualties/

I don’t play fair either. Goes with I never said I was a nice person.

Brain

February 23rd, 2011
9:44 pm

Katie, as a middle-aged GA native, I can promise you that GA’s public schools sucked long before the first Mexican immigrant entered their halls.

Folks my father’s age will tell you that they were fine until they had to start educating the coloreds, too.

It’s always the darkie getting over on all the good whities and causing problems, isn’t it.

The fact is, GA has never had good schools. Even before de-segregation our schools did not prepare our youth to compete anywhere but on the farm. Of what value was Pythagoras and his theorem, when all one needed to do was plow the back 40 under before mid-day?

Georgia schools will continue to lag behind their western and northern peers because of ignorance like what you just demonstrated.

Kyle Wingfield

February 23rd, 2011
9:47 pm

Katie: As I wrote, the Santelli rant was *two* years ago, not one. The first tea parties and the town halls came afterward.

SWhite

February 23rd, 2011
9:55 pm

This article needs fact-checking. The claim that with regard to federal spending “Most of the money goes to senior citizens via Social Security and Medicare, whose expansions beyond a safety net have turned retirees into a powerful special interest.” Much of the data indicates that the military gets 54%, Social Security around 23%, and Medicare about 12%. So “MOST” is an exaggeration unless these facts are incorrect.

The second claim that “Meanwhile, a similar proportion of federal income tax receipts, 59 percent, comes from the top 5 percent of earners” would therefore be false if “similar” is taken literally. But since “similar” does not apply, the correct figure for the top 5% would be that they pay about 53% of taxes.

If above is correct, this article deserves a 50% on correct estimates…an “F” in most grading systems.

All of this focus on what caused which movement misses all points about how to “jump-start” capitalism which is what we are all most concerned about. Capitalism is all about mass-produced, mass-marketed goods for mass men and women (mass has two senses here: think-alikes or very big group of. When taxes are cut for the wealthy and incomes remain flat for the middle classes, mass consumption dwindles. Without setting the ship of capitalism back up straight where it was when marginal tax rates were almost twice what they are today and all classes paid more taxes, there won’t be any remedy for the ills that created the Tea Party. Yep, we’d like to get at the Wall Streeters and bankers who created the financial mess we are in; but that’s about all many of us share with this so-called movement. The Tea Partiers did tap into the anger, but the capitalist ship will sink if income distribution continues to trickle up. Henry Ford understood that. Mariner Eccles (one of the architects of the plans Roosevelt crafted) understood that.

Break the back of the unions and chances will be reduced for uprighting the capitalist ship again. The economy will stall further…but who knows, perhaps some accidental set of circumstances will rescue the economy the doldrums. But that is very doubtful. Of course, there are other issues that need to be addressed as well.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Braan Watsley, kwingfieldajc. kwingfieldajc said: Tea party made clash with public-sector unions inevitable http://bit.ly/gJHS1U [...]

Kyle Wingfield

February 23rd, 2011
10:03 pm

SWhite: Your figures are incorrect. Defense doesn’t even come close to half of federal spending, and in any case “most of the money” referred to the dollar figure in the preceding sentence.

Should you or anyone else wish to look up the relevant data, you want Table. 3.1 here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals

Don

February 23rd, 2011
10:12 pm

I have been in the union a couple of times and hated it. I could only do one job, while I waited for some other guy, who was sitting down smoking or talking. I have seen them sleep, sneak out to the parking lot, all without fear of being fired. They work backroom deals with their friends, you name. Just go by any union job on the street, and you see 6 watching 1 work. The government can’t reduce their staff, because the union says that you have to have, a person for this job, and one for that job. Not like the private sector, we multi task. Most federal and state jobs are given to unions, always at much higher costs. I see the same road contractors across the state doing all of the highway work, they have so much, that they can’t stay in one work area long, because they don’t have enough equipment or manpower to do so. Lastly, with the contract awards, they use that same money, to put back in the hands of the democrats that gave the contract. Total BS, as you can see, it is only democratic senators leaving their states, in support of the unions, how about those people who voted for them, not in the union. You have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to see this.

Real Athens

February 23rd, 2011
10:28 pm

Katie” In Georgia there is no Teacher’s Union. There is no collective bargaining agreement.

Real Athens

February 23rd, 2011
10:34 pm

Kyle:

“A Gallup poll shows almost 80% of Tea Partiers consider themselves to be Republicans. Commentators, including Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport, have suggested that the movement is not a new political group but simply a rebranding of traditional Republican candidates and policies. An October 2010 Washington Post canvass of local Tea Party organizers found 87% saying “dissatisfaction with mainstream Republican Party leaders” was “an important factor in the support the group has received so far”.

DLink

February 23rd, 2011
10:37 pm

@katie

@DLink
GA public schools are failing because we have a school system that is being crippled by having to educate Mexico’s children. Give us back our tax dollars for our kids and they’ll all be fine. Well, we could get rid of the teachers Unions too – no doubt there, but in GA all the extra resources that used to supplement and enhance education goes to pay an ESOL teacher now.

I’m being used to “enhance” educational resources. As to why that is, I can only conjecture. Would you like to play harder?

Should I play racist? Or is it borderly challenged? Who SHOULD be educated in the world today? I’m curious. I’d simply ask, “What is YOUR opinion.”

That GA schools are crippled exactly how? Can you speak your mind or are you a bot? *aka* mindless voter, computer algorithm to save time, ARE YOU SPEAKING FOR THOSE AROUND YOU?

Well.. have you asked your neighbors?

DLink

February 23rd, 2011
11:09 pm

Kyle..

Let people have their say. That’s the argument at hand. Do you have the right to speak?

Yes, you do. Argument in a nutshell. Do you really have the right, tho? Yes you do. NOT to the exclusion of others. You bring topics to discuss and everyone argues. Thaz life.

Creating the perfect argument is a fine art, you should concentrate on that. It would get you killed in Nicaragua, just saying. -DLink

"Information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment" - BHO, May 1, 2010

February 23rd, 2011
11:10 pm

Tea Party vs Guvmint Unions.

Unions lose. Taxpayers prevail.

Real Athens

February 23rd, 2011
11:36 pm

An out of context quote can be used to imply anything.

“You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank all that high on the truth meter,” Obama said at Hampton University, Virginia.

“With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,” Obama said.

SwamiDave

February 23rd, 2011
11:56 pm

The reality is that Democrats who were intoxicated by power just over two years ago are facing not only a retraction, but potentially massive collapse of that financial and volunteer power base among Organized Labor. Without “closed-shop” laws and mandated dues collection directly from paychecks, employees will actually have CHOICE and FREEDOM to decide whether or not they wish to be represented or (*gasp*) might actually represent themselves and stand upon their own individual merits.

The “snakes” are scurrying madly in response to these most recent rattling of their legislative “bushes”!

Specific Thoughts On Wisconsin

-SD

mecq tate

February 24th, 2011
12:29 am

Don’t paint this picture for rose colored glass veiwing. The Tea Party members are the people who cannot accept that our country is now 89% minority ruled, one of which is President of the USA. This has been a fact since the early 1990’s but was kept quiet to further the agenda of the dwindling minority. The Tea Partiers are Johnny Reb in full affect; Jim Crow all over again. Minorities have come under immense scrutiny since November 2008, and any Minority of color must be extremelly cautious in going about our everyday lives.The Ex-ruling majority is now the minority and they are not pleased. Opps karma is a B!##ch……..

get out much?

February 24th, 2011
1:12 am

I am still waiting for Kyle to explain how he expects Wisconsin (and other states) to attract and maintain qualified teaching candidates by paying them less.

the mehlman rings twice

February 24th, 2011
2:52 am

I am still waiting for Pat Robertson to explain how the earthquake in New Zealand was caused by the “deal they made with the devil” like he did with the Haitian earthquake.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Credible, Compelling, Complete....Bwahahahaha, just sayin...

February 24th, 2011
6:12 am

If the children in America weren’t the least educated and most dull youngsters in the civilized world, maybe the teachers would have a case, just sayin…

Independent

February 24th, 2011
6:16 am

Tea partiers are for individual liberty until it comes down to Sunday alcohol sales.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Credible, Compelling, Complete....Bwahahahaha, just sayin...

February 24th, 2011
6:20 am

Good afternoon, everybody. Secretary Clinton and I just concluded a meeting that focused on the ongoing situation in Libya. – obozo

Notice how this jackass has nothing to say about his fellow muslim terrorists in Iran, and with Libya, he waits until the islamic lunatic has no chance?

He’s like allah akbar, homeys.

WillieRae

February 24th, 2011
6:38 am

Kyle, unlike his running mate Tucker, consistently takes up weighty topics that actually matter. Poor Cynthia is getting more pathetic by the day.

Wallis the dog

February 24th, 2011
7:08 am

Great article, Kyle. Gee, there are plenty of loons who post here…

newtsgingrich

February 24th, 2011
7:49 am

Here’s to the tea party, may you all get cancer like my first wife, then I’ll f*ck you all over and dump you.

DebbieDoRight

February 24th, 2011
7:56 am

People who should’ve had Unions:

Coal Miners — maybe then there wouldn’t have been that big diasater last year when the owner just refused to follow those pesky safety standards.

Peanut Workers – after the thingy in Georgia (tainted peanut butter), all those worker lost their jobs because of Missed Management.

Undocumented Workers – with Unions, they could’ve gotten the documentation from their “employer” and would’ve been able to work here legally.

People who like the idea of NO Unions:

Owners. They want to go back to the days of the Robber Barons. What’s the use of having all that money if you can’t browbeat anyone into kissing your azz?

Pat Robertson's Boy Toy

February 24th, 2011
7:59 am

I am still waiting for Pat Robertson to explain how the earthquake in New Zealand was caused by the “deal they made with the devil” like he did with the Haitian earthquake.

He said to read Genesis 1:11 — that would explain everything. At least it explained everything to him…..