Thursday, July 31, 2014

Obama's Program 'Private/Public Partnership' : Another 'Money Luandering' Scheme (Solyndra?)

Have we all lost our minds??? Why would anyone believe this is just like the energy disaster that brought us Solyndra and the other twenty one fail enterprises that were partnerships with the federal government.

In the finally analysis you have to understand t he energy partnerships were just used to bundle  revenue for campaign coffers of the democrats. Was it lost on the public that those the ran the enterprises that were funded by the energy department were actually "bundlers" for the democrat party?

In the criminal justice system this is known as "money laundering" and it is actually illegal. But that it's illegal is of no consequence for democrats as the justice system that is also run by democrats to protect us from criminal activity is also run by criminals. (See Eric Holder's DOJ History)

Obama Launches Private-Public Partnership to Address Infrastructure Construction
Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "Obama Dances Around Serious Transportation Fixes," Economics21, July 22, 2014

July 30, 2014

President Obama intends to address infrastructure construction with a new "public-private partnership" called the Build America Investment Initiative, explains Diana Furchtgott-Roth, director of Economics21.

What is a private-public partnership? The concept is a partnership between the government and private parties. In the case of the Build America Investment Initiative, the federal government would work with states and cities to grant them federal loans and encourage them to enter into private sector partnerships.

Furchtgott-Roth cautions against the very notion of a public-private partnership, writing that partnerships are supposed to consist of equal partners that share in risks and rewards. Businesses and governments, she writes, cannot be equal, as one party taxes the other.

The initiative would include a Transportation Investment Center within the Department of Transportation, which would serve as a public-private infrastructure bank. When President Obama proposed a similar bank in 2011, cost projections were $5 billion for 2010 and $30 billion over the following six years. Congress did not authorize funding for the project. Instead, President Obama is using his executive power to create something similar.

The Build America Investment Initiative would also include:
  • A navigator service, which would explain to states and local governments how to access federal credit programs and design public-private partnerships.
  • Programs to encourage the use of credit programs with the Department of Transportation that are designed to spur private sector investment.
  • Technical assistance to ensure that the public and private sector can work together on these projects.
Furchtgott-Roth warns that government and the private sector are not good partners, and the flow of money between the two can create the appearance of impropriety. She also questions whether the government would use its leverage to require the payment of above-market wages or the use of environmental impact statements.

ObamaCare Changed 42 Times : Democrat Support Illegal

Every democrat voted for this nightmare and they still support the program even after all these illegal changes by Mr Obama and the democrats.

The question is why vote again for those that are blind to reality? It boggles the mind to think such a huge group of people still supports the false narrative that the democrat party actually believes what they say is the truth. In realty they believe what the say because they only talk to those that have the same ideology. Singing to the choir. But why do so many appear to be deaf and still join in with the tune?

When the democrats say they will go to Washington and make a difference, they are lying in that the progressive socialist liberal democrat party is a collective where everyone votes like they are told. How much change can be effected when you have no freedom of individual thought.

42 Total Changes Made to ObamaCare
Source: Tyler Hartsfield and Grace-Marie Turner, "42 Changes to ObamaCare...So Far," Galen Institute, July 18, 2014.

July 30, 2014

Tyler Hartsfield and Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute detail the number of significant changes that have been made to the Affordable Care Act. Since its passage, the law has been changed 42 times: twice by the Supreme Court, 16 times by Congress, and 24 times by President Obama himself, unilaterally.

The president's 24 revisions to the law via administrative action include:
  • Providing subsidies to enrollees on federally-run exchanges.
  • Delaying enforcement of the employer mandate.
  • Allowing insurance companies to reoffer plans that Obamacare originally required them to cancel.
  • Exempting unions from the law's reinsurance fee.
  • Expanding the hardship waiver from the individual mandate to people whose plans were cancelled because of the ACA.
  • Pushing back the sign-up deadline from March 31 to mid-April.
  • Cancelling Medicare Advantage cuts.
These are just a few of the changes that the executive branch has made to the law. Congress has also passed a number of laws to clarify and modify the Affordable Care Act, including repealing certain IRS reporting requirements and eliminating caps on deductibles for small group plans.

Tobacco Taxes Ensure Black Market Activity

Every time legislatures decide they want to fund a program they think the best way is to tax a product or service to gain revenue. The idea is to get the tax, like on tobacco, to set the program in place and then when the funds begin to fall off, as they due with tobacco when people stop smoking due to the fact they can't afford to smoke any longer, then the politicals hit the tax payers to keep their pet program funded.

See how easy it is? Please explain when a federal program has ever been cancelled because funds came up short of expatiation's.

Unintended Consequences of Tobacco Taxes
Source: Scott Drenkard, "Tobacco Taxation and Unintended Consequences: U.S. Senate Hearing on Tobacco Taxes Owed, Avoided, and Evaded," Tax Foundation, July 29, 2014.

July 30, 2014

The U.S. Senate held a hearing this week entitled, "Tobacco: Taxes Owed, Avoided, and Evaded." In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, Scott Drenkard of the Tax Foundation described how tobacco taxes have led to smuggling.

A number of states have levied high taxes on cigarettes. Today, tobacco taxes are the highest that they have been in U.S. history. While the federal tax rate on cigarettes is $1.0066 per pack, state and local taxes can add several more dollars to the price, with taxes reaching $6.16 per pack in Chicago, Illinois.

The high tax burden has not been without consequences.
  • Cigarettes from low-tax states have been smuggled into high-tax states at such a rate that a majority (56.9 percent) of the cigarettes consumed in the state of New York are actually smuggled in from other jurisdictions.
  • New York imposes a cigarette tax of $4.35 per pack, and New York City adds an additional $1.50 in taxes per pack.
  • Since 2006, the tax rate in New York has risen 190 percent. At the same time, the smuggling rate has risen 59 percent.
Arizona, New Mexico, Washington and Wisconsin also have high rates of cigarette smuggling. The smuggling may consist of counterfeit versions of brand-name cigarettes, counterfeit tax stamps and even hijacked trucks. Many counterfeit cigarettes come from China, where counterfeiters produce an estimated 400 billion cigarettes annually.

Drenkard notes that the federal government has proposed to fund universal preschool by raising the cigarette tax to $1.95 per pack. Such a tax, he says, is not an appropriate way to fund that program. Not only is the tobacco tax a poor funding mechanism in the long-run, as tobacco use is declining, but broad-based taxes are the best way to fund a broad service like universal preschool.

Minimum Wage Rhetoric Misleading : Mr Obama's Data Is Wrong

As usual, Mr Obama is lying about job growth due to increased minimum wage. But then why would the general public believe anything Mr Obama says anyway? He does have a track record of telling the public what he wants them to hear, but not the truth.

After all, he is a progressive socialist liberal democrat, and to understand the ideology of progressive socialist liberalism is to know telling the truth is not part of the ideology. 

Misleading the Public on the Minimum Wage
Source: Donald J. Boudreaux and Liya Palagasvili, "Obama's Misleading Minimum Wage Statistics," U.S. News and World Report, July 28, 2014.

July 30, 2014

The President is using misleading data to argue in favor of raising the minimum wage, according to economics professor Donald Boudreaux and graduate student Liya Palagasvili of George Mason University.

Data from the Labor Department indicates that the 13 states that raised their minimum wages in January 2014 are seeing faster job growth than the rest of the nation. The President has used this information to argue that raising the minimum wage improves workers' job opportunities, but that is not the case. When the prices of goods rise, people are less willing to make purchases. The same rule works for labor, write Boudreaux and Palagasvili: When the cost of labor is forced up, employers will hire fewer employees.

They explain why the Labor Department data is misleading:
  • On average, employment in the 13 states that raised their minimum wages in January 2014 was 0.85 percent higher in June 2014 than it was in December 2013.
  • During that same period, employment in the other 37 states rose 0.61 percent.
  • However, shortening that time span by one month (from January 2014 to June 2014) changes the results: employment in the 13 minimum-wage states rose by only 0.59 percent, while employment in the other 37 states rose by 0.69 percent.
Thus, from January 2014 to June 2014, job growth in the states that raised their minimum wages in January was actually slower than the states that did not raise their minimum wages.
This is an example, write Boudreaux and Palagasvili, of how easily statistics can be manipulated. Comparing employment growth from January to June is not evidence that the minimum wage reduces job growth, they say, just as the President's comparison of growth from December to June is not evidence that the minimum wage creates growth.

Obama's No Show At Thacther's Funeral : Israel Was Watching

I don't know if the note below true or supposition by someone who just understands Mr Obama's ideology, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know our magnificent leader has no love for the British. Given his fathers hatred for the British, it doesn't take any effort to know Mr Obama is his father's son and will not help Israel if they are attacked by Iran.
Again given the outrageous statements that have come in recent days from the White House against Israel's attacks in Gaza's Hamas terrorists, Mr Obama will do everything he can to use this crisis as a means to prove to the world that he is not interested in past history of America defending allies against enemies of freedom and liberty that are attacked.
What will he do if Chine attacks Japan? Taiwan? The Philippines?  Russia moves in force against Ukraine and Poland?
In any event, it is clear to me, and has been from the beginning in 2007, Mr Obama is our worst national security risk. Maybe even worse for our country, our friends and enemies see this clearly America's willingness to just go with the flow, while so many among us do not see Mr Obama and his allies in the democrat party as the source of our problems, will vote to continue, willingly, the demise of our country.
And when America ultimately fails, as it surely will if progressive socialist liberal democrats are elected and reelected in November and again in 2016, those that voted for their own destruction will be like a deer in the heads lights wondering what happened.
I guess the old saying holds true, 'when ignorance is bless, 'tis folly to be wise'.
(Author Unknown)
President Obama was a no-show at Margaret Thatcher's funeral despite being invited to attend and  thus snubbing England's invitation as a representative of the  American people. Joe Biden also refused, as did Hillary Clinton.  What a shameful display.
By the way,  former Secretary of State George Schultz (R) went to the funeral. The British took note of the fact that the Obama administration chose not to send a single senior member of the Cabinet. In fact, no actively serving, elected democrat attended Lady Thatcher's funeral.
The Obama Administration did, however, send a formal delegation of 14 to the  funeral of Socialist Dictator Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Need any more RED flags to understand what's going on in  our own White House? 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Disability Benefits Requests Skyrocket : Progressives : Stay Home

Why has this SS Disability Benefits increase landed on deaf ears? Why do so many among us wonder why there are so many people not working? I believe it's for the same reason people buy brides over the internet. They are stupid. They are lazy.

They are willing to accept any notion from authority as ligament. It's so much easier not to think about what might not be true or compromising to ones own ideology, just let others do the thinking. The problem though then, when it come from the federal government that is controlled by progressive socialists, accepting this information as ligament put themselves and their families at risk.

Why is this so difficult to understand by so many people in this country?

Increase in Disability Benefits Linked to Decrease in Labor Force Participation
Source: James Sherk, "Not Looking for Work: Labor Force Participation and Opportunity," 2014 Index of Culture and Opportunity, Heritage Foundation, 2014.

July 24, 2014

James Sherk, senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, explains what the labor force participation rate means for the economy.

The labor force participation (LFP) rate is a measure of the proportion of adults who are employed or actively seeking employment. A high LFP rate indicates that more work opportunities are available in the economy or that more people are willing to work, and the rate can change based on a number of factors:
  • Age: Workers ages 25 to 54 are more likely to participate in the workforce, while older workers are more likely to leave the workforce and retire.
  • Economic conditions: While adults may cease work for reasons separate from the health of the economy, the LFP rate generally decreases when the economy is performing poorly, because workers, feeling defeated, give up looking for jobs.
  • Disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) enrollment has been on a steady increase since the mid-1980s, when eligibility for the program was expanded, and SSDI applications spike during recessions. Today, six percent of the adult population collects SSDI.
  • Government assistance: Poorly designed welfare programs can discourage recipients from seeking employment, as can subsidies.
  • School enrollment: The percent of Americans enrolled in school has shot up since 2007. In a weak job market, many students have turned towards advanced degrees in the hope that they will have better job opportunities upon graduation.
The LFP rate in the United States began falling in 2000, dropping sharply after the Great Recession. But while most of the drop in LFP prior to the recession was due to demographic changes, such changes were responsible for only one quarter of the drop in LFP after the recession.

Most of the post-recession drop, writes Sherk, is explained by increased enrollment in Social Security Disability Insurance and school. While students pursuing degrees generally return to the labor market, those receiving disability benefits rarely return to work -- a point that Pam Villarreal, NCPA Senior Fellow, made recently in a study on the growing number of women receiving disability benefits.

Waste-to-Energy (WTE) To Generate Energy : Sweden Leads

Interesting! Putting the global warming or climate change, CO2 carp, aside which is just more insanity from progressives democrats for a distraction. It makes sense to use trash or anything that can be consumed to generate energy is something to look at.

Burning Trash in Sweden
Source: Daniel Gross, "Forbranning for All!", July 21, 2014.

July 29, 2014

Sweden sends just 1 percent of its waste to landfills, reports Daniel Gross at Instead, the country recycles and incinerates most of its garbage, turning it into energy.

Sweden produced 1,070 pounds of garbage per person in 2010. But in 2001, Gross reports, the country began a recycling program, reducing the amount of trash that goes to landfills from 22 percent to 1 percent in 2012.
  • The trash that is not recycled (50 percent) or sent to a landfill (1 percent) is incinerated at one of its waste-to-energy (WTE) plants.
  • Sweden has 32 of these plants, which burned 2.27 million tons of waste in 2012.
  • Today, WTE produces 8.5 percent of Sweden's electricity.
Could the United States, which produces 1,600 pounds of garbage per year per person, use WTE? Fifty-four percent of American trash goes to landfills, while 12 percent is burned. While much of the opposition to WTE has focused on emissions, Gross explains that WTE is not as carbon-intensive as it appears:
  • Burning trash emits 2,988 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity produced. This is higher than coal (2,249 pounds per megawatt hour) and natural gas (1,135 pounds per megawatt hour).
  • However, much of that waste (such as paper and food) would have released carbon dioxide over time, naturally. According to the EPA, just one-third of the WTE carbon dioxide emissions are actually due to the fossil fuels used to burn the garbage, making WTE emissions closer to those of natural gas.
Twenty-three states in the United States have WTE facilities, notes Gross, but the amount of waste that they burn is relatively small.

State Tax Code Reform : Not Political Cronysim

Lowering taxes levels the playing field allowing everyone the same opportunity to prosper. This is called the free market approach. It works every time it's tried. Politically, this is not a good solution in that it makes it much harder to squeeze industries for contributions to campaign coffers.

State Tax Code Cronyism
Source: William Freeland, Ben Wilterdink and Jonathan Williams, "The Unseen Costs of Tax Cronyism: Favoritism and Foregone Growth," American Legislative Exchange Council, July 2014.

July 29, 2014

Cronyism in the tax code distorts economies and creates an uneven playing field. In a report for the American Legislative Exchange Council, William Freeland, Ben Wilterdink and Jonathan Williams explain why tax carve-outs are nothing more than subsidies under a different name and run counter to sound, fair tax policy.

Lawmakers can encourage economic growth through the tax code in two ways. They can impose low, broad-based taxes without preferences or carve-outs. Or, they can target industries and businesses with tax breaks and preferences.

The latter option, which the authors deem the "growth through central planning approach," creates unfair advantages for some businesses over others. It is cronyism -- the use of policy to benefit a specific group or industry -- and all 50 states have some degree of cronyism in their tax codes.

It is difficult to track state tax cronyism because states measure tax expenditures differently, and some states rarely, if ever, issue a report on tax carve-outs (Alabama, Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming are the five states that issue no reports on their tax breaks). The authors analyzed the numbers that are available:
  • Using the most recent year's reporting available from each state, states granted $228 billion in personal income and business tax exemptions and $260.1 billion in sales tax exemptions.
  • States also give targeted tax breaks to individual firms. Over the last 20 years, states gave 157,072 in grants to individual companies, according to the New York Times.
The authors explain that tax breaks have the effect of increasing taxes for everyone else: When states issue carve-outs to small groups, tax rates must necessarily rise in order to compensate for the diminished tax base. Favored industries and businesses receive lower tax bills at the expense of those businesses and industries that have not received government favor.

Poverty Measurements Questioned : Mandates Are the Problem

As long as poverty is seen as a positive situation rewarding one party with a steady voting base, nothing will be done of solve the problem. It is imperative to never clearly identify poverty and it's causes. Progressives rely on confusion and chaos

Ever wonder where the 'third rail' saying in politics comes from? Well here it is. The third rail is the power rail that makes the trains run. In politics its the Fear and intimidation used by the democrats to rally and divide people from common sense.

Never, ever reward clear thinking with political support. Individual thought destroys progressive socialism.

The progressive's have always used Social Security and Medicare for the elderly and the disadvantaged as a club to beat them into line saying if they don't vote for us to continue the free stuff to help them survive, the Republicans will take it away and you all will die.

And why not, right? It has worked for decades. Every time the alarm goes out  by Republicans that the system of welfare is going broke and something has to be done to repair it, out come the democrats howling and pointing their fingers at the Republicans, ' see, they want to take away your only source for survival, they want you all to die. They don't care whether you live or die like we do.'

The result of progressive socialist democrats is the system will fail exploding poverty and pestilence to unheard of levels. And who will be blamed by democrats and the media, and I repeat myself,  Republicans of course. 

Federal Poverty Measurement Is Misleading
Source: Robert Rector, "Self-Sufficiency Rate Stagnates, Welfare State Grows," 2014 Index of Culture and Opportunity, Heritage Foundation, 2014.

July 28, 2014

The poverty rate today sits at 15 percent, the same rate that existed in the 1960s when the government's War on Poverty began, explains Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation.
But why has poverty remained at the same level when federal and state welfare spending has dramatically increased and is now 16 times higher today than it was in the 1960s?

Rector explains that the Census Bureau's poverty measures are incomplete. Poverty is a measurement of income below a specific threshold, yet income includes only wages and salaries -- not welfare benefits. Thus, spending on the federal government's 80 welfare programs (which provide cash, food, housing and medical care) are not included in a person's income.
  • The government spent $916 billion on means-tested welfare programs in 2012, aiding 100 million Americans and costing an average $9,000 per recipient.
  • Yet, only 3 percent of that $916 billion was considered "income" for poverty measurement purposes.
Without considering these government benefits, poverty cannot be an accurate indication of a person's living conditions, says Rector.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Light Rail In Detroit Goes Forward : Who Gets Rich - Who Stays Poor

Even in the light of a multitude of facts supporting the notion light rail will not benefit the community and the costs will be prohibitive to build and even higher to maintain. Yet the Detroit officials move forward even though the city is dying from debt from decades of corruption.

This whole project is going to make a few people rich and drive the city further into the hands federal regulators that are suppose to be trying to bring the Detroit out of bankruptcy. Light rail has never work where ever it has been tried and it is guaranteed to fail in Detroit.

Light rail in this city is insane. But given who is in control of the money, and has been, leaves little to the imagination.

Detroit's New 3-Mile Light-Rail Line
Source: Jim Epstein, "Is Detroit's New Light Rail Line America's Greatest Boondoggle?", July 24, 2014.

July 28, 2014

Construction on a $137 million, 3.3-mile light rail line will begin in Detroit next week, reports One quarter of Detroit households do not own cars, depending instead on the city's bus service. But rather than fund more buses, the city has decided to build a light rail line that makes little financial sense:
  • Despite Detroit's size (139 square miles), the new rail line will not serve travelers beyond a three-mile stretch.
  • Even if the rail cars were packed full with riders, the fare that has been proposed for the travel ($1.50) would not cover operating expenses.
The federal government has given Detroit $41 million in taxpayer subsidies to build light rail, and supporters have asked for another $12 million for the project.

Unlike light rail, buses would be able to move in and out of neighborhoods, and for considerably less in operating and maintenance costs. Despite these realities, cities across the United States are moving to expensive, inefficient light-rail lines.

Public Employee Health Care Cost Rising : Cut Benefits? Cut Wages?

One way to handle the increases in heath care is to have the public employee help pay for the increases. If you need an example look not further then the state of Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker's Act 10 has a provision that the public employees, in this case teachers, pay an increase in the percentage of their health care along with an increase in the percentage of what they pay for retirement. It works.

This works for Walker as he presented it in a clear and sensible way, even though the unions attacked the state capital for months causing hundreds of thousands in damages. In the end, once the individuals found that it was reasonable and affordable, the increases were more then manageably for the employee and the state taxpayer.

The losers were the progressive socialist democrats and union officials that saw their revenue and influence decline significantly as the employee now has the option also under Walker's Act 10 to opt out of the union saving at least $800 in dues. More then 50% of the teachers opted not to join the union.

Given a chance, the free market always works best.

Paying for Public Employee Health Costs
Source: Jeffrey Clemens and David M. Cutler, "Who Pays for Public Employee Health Costs?" Cato Institute, July 23, 2014; Jeffrey Clemens and David M. Cutler, "Who Pays for Public Employee Health Costs?" National Bureau for Economic Research, October 2013.

July 28, 2014

In a paper for the Cato Institute based on a report for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Jeffrey Clemens, assistant professor of Economics at the University of California-San Diego, and David Cutler, professor of Applied Economics at Harvard University, analyze the impact of health costs on public employee benefits.

Health care costs across the economy are rising, an increase that becomes clear when analyzing how the cost of providing health insurance for public employees has changed over the last decade:
  • Adjusting for inflation, in 2001, state and local governments spent $70 billion on health insurance.
  • In 2010, state and local governments spent $117 billion on health insurance, an increase of $2,400 per public employee.
While a private business would address these costs by passing them on to workers (whether by giving smaller wage increases, increasing cost sharing or providing less generous coverage), public employment is generally governed by union contracts, which limits the ability of governments to respond to financial problems by adjusting wages and benefits.

As such, how do public employers typically respond? Clemens and Cutler analyzed premium and policy data to determine whether health costs were shifted to public employees by providing less generous benefits. They found:
  • Health insurance premiums for state workers have grown much less rapidly than premiums for those in the private sector.
  • The share of health insurance premiums paid by public employees has been steady or has risen, whereas the share paid by private employees has fallen.
  • For public employees, growth in employee premium share has been especially high in highly unionized states.
The study also looked at benefit costs in school districts:
  • A very small portion of benefit cost increases are offset by wage reductions. As benefits increase by $1, wages increase by $0.85.
  • School districts pay for benefit increases with government transfers, pulling funds from government sources where reporting is discretionary.
  • In school districts where union power is weaker, districts are more likely to reduce health care costs by reducing benefits.
The study also found that student dropout rates increased as school district employee health benefits grew.

Baby Boomers Uneasy About Their Future : The Country is Broke

Just this week, the government came out with the news that Social Security will not go broke along with several other mandates years later then expected. What? We are broke as a nation. How can the feds believe all is well?

CBO Predicts Increasing Debt As Baby-Boomers Retire
Source: Rob Portman, "Heading Off the Entitlement Meltdown," Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2014.

July 25, 2014

The United States' entitlement system is unsustainable, warns Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) at the Wall Street Journal.

Indeed, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts a $40 trillion increase in debt over the next 20 years. In the CBO's "alternative" and more realistic forecast, the agency expects $10 trillion in debt over the next 10 years, followed by $100 trillion in the two decades after that.

But even that forecast, writes Portman, is largely unrealistic, as it assumes that record low interest rates will continue, that Obamacare price controls will materialize and that the United States will not suffer another recession.

What is responsible for the deficit growth? Spending.
  • Tax revenue has averaged 17.3 percent of GDP over the last half-century, a figure that the CBO expects will reach 18 percent within 10 years.
  • Spending, on the other hand, has averaged 20 percent of the U.S. economy over the last 50 years. The CBO expects spending to reach 34 percent of the economy over the next 30 years.
Spending is rising because entitlements are rising:
  • A full 10,000 baby boomers retire each day and begin collecting benefits from Social Security and Medicare.
  • In 1960, five workers supported every retiree's benefits. In 2030, only two workers will fund every retiree.
  • Due to rising health care costs, the average couple retiring in 2015 will have paid $140,000 to Medicare, yet will receive $430,000 in Medicare benefits.
Social Security and health care entitlements must be reformed, writes Portman. He suggests adjusting the retirement ages, means-testing for benefits and creating a patient-centered health care system that reduces health care costs in order to make these programs sustainable.

Death Tax Repeal Necessary for Jobs & Security

This sure makes a lot of sense for creating jobs and ensuring a bright future for the off spring of the enterprise. But given the history of our state and federal legislatures and those that we elected to represent us, common since is not something that is rampant in government.

That eliminating the death tax would bring jobs and security to families for so many seems a logical step in the healing of our economic problems, right? It's important to understand when it comes to collecting taxes, logic and common sense has nothing to do with what is best for the country and everything to do with politics.

Taxes, money, are the 'mothers milk' of political power. The more money one can generate and control, the more power one has to control outcomes. It's always about the money and power. Who has the money has the power.

Death Tax Hurts Small Businesses and Minorities
Source: Bartlett D. Cleland, "The Undead Death Tax," Institute for Policy Innovation, July 21, 2014.
July 25, 2014

The death tax should be fully repealed, contends Bartlett Cleland, resident scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation.

A number of associations that form the Family Business Coalition recently wrote a letter to Congressmen Dave Camp (R-MI) and Kevin Brady (R-TX), asking for a vote on a bill sponsored by Rep. Brady, H.R. 2429 -- the Death Tax Repeal Act.

The letter cited many of the problems with the law that taxes a deceased's assets at death:
  • Repealing the death tax would add almost 1 million new small business jobs, according to a study by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office. Such job creation would reduce unemployment by almost 1 percentage point.
  • The death tax is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to federal revenues, accounting for just one half of one percent of all revenue.
  • The tax hits minorities especially hard. According to a study from two Boston College professors, the death tax will reduce net African American wealth by 13 percent.
  • A 2004 poll from Impacto Group found that half of all Hispanic business owners know someone who sold their business to pay the death tax. One quarter expect to sell their own business because of the tax.
  • Two-thirds of likely voters support permanent repeal of the death tax.
Cleland agrees that the tax needs to go, noting that the estate tax is highly complex and generates massive compliance costs. Additionally, medium-sized estates (often estates of people who have started successful businesses) pay the highest tax rates, and heirs are routinely forced to liquidate their family's businesses in order to pay the tax.

Abolishing the death tax, he says, would be one of the best achievements of the 113th Congress.

Monday, July 28, 2014

California Teachers Sue the Union : Wis's Scott Walker Leads

Good move on the part of teachers that have had it with the unions - this is a page right out of the play book of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin whose Act 10 brought clarity and common sense back into play giving teachers the opportunity to join a union or not among other bright lights.

It's strange how this works, now that the teachers have on average more then $800 more in their checks, a majority have opted not to join the union. Is this how the free market is supposed to work? Who knew?

California Lawsuit Threatens Forced Union Dues
Source: Larry Sand, "Will the Supreme Court End Forced Union Membership?" Heartland Institute, July 24, 2014.

July 25, 2014

A lawsuit that threatens to end forced union dues is winding its way to the Supreme Court. Larry Sand, president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network, details some of the recent litigation dealing with unions.

Two June court decisions have upset union power:
  • California judge Rolf Treu ruled that California tenure rules were unconstitutional under California's state constitution.
  • The Supreme Court ruled in Harris v. Quinn that home health care workers cannot be forced to join a union.
The Harris decision, writes Sand, was narrow. Previous Supreme Court precedent from 1977 -- Abood v. Detroit Board of Education -- upheld the requirement that public (not private) employee unions pay dues. However, Justice Alito wrote that the Abood decision was "questionable," noting that collective bargaining in the public sector is "inherently political."

While Abood required the payment of union dues from public employees, it did not require payments that go towards the unions' political agenda. However, a new lawsuit is challenging that notion, insisting that collective bargaining in the public sphere is necessarily political. The plaintiffs in Friedrichs v. CTA (a group of teachers in California) are challenging the state's requirement that teachers pay dues for collective bargaining activities, claiming that all union dues should be voluntary, not mandatory.
Sand writes that the case will likely find its way to the Supreme Court within a year or two.

New York Cities Trash Collection : Why Does Cost So Much???

The question to ask in New York City is why and who voted for more insanity after what went on with Bloomberg? Now the next question is, after election a total far left lunatic, who will collapse first, New York City or California?

 Oh, and who is in control, and have been for a decade or more of these dandies of economic wonderment?

Why Does Trash Collection Cost So Much in NYC?
Source: Matthew Hennessey, "Hauling Trash in NYC for Twice the Price," Epoch Times, July 23, 2014.

July 24, 2014

It costs twice as much for New York City's Department of Sanitation to haul away trash than it costs private firms. Matthew Hennessey, of the City Journal, explains why.
New York City has 7,200 sanitation workers. The city of 8.3 million produces 8 million tons of trash each year, of which which the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) removes half. The other 4 million tons are handled by private trash firms -- 250 of them -- that contract with local businesses to dispose of waste.

According to the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC), DSNY spends $431 per ton to collect and dispose of the city's trash, yet the private companies spend just $183 per ton. Why?
  • Private firms utilize recycling more than the DSNY. Private firms recycle 63 percent of their trash collections. DSNY, on the other hand, sends just 14 percent of its waste to recycling plants, which pay up to $25 per ton for paper recyclables.
  • DSNY workers receive unlimited sick days, productivity bonuses and shift-differential payments, as well as more days off than private employees.
  • In 2012, the average DSNY employee earned 39 percent more than the average private trash-hauling employee.
  • For a first-year DSNY employee -- including retirement benefits, health insurance, and holiday and overtime pay -- total compensation is more than $100,000. A DSNY worker with two decades of experience takes home nearly $170,000 in total compensation.
Recently, a number of city employees have received wage raises under the tenure of Mayor Bill de Blasio. As public employee groups clamor for wage increases, Hennessey asks whether New York can afford to raise the wages of the DSNY.

Climate Change Is What? : Public Reaction Polls Show 'Who Cares'

Climate change? What's that? The general public has no interest in giving billions so a few well placed individuals so they can drive new Mercedes Benzes every year and vacation in Cancun for weeks on end while they figurer out how to screw the public into believing each year how they will die if they don't fork over the billions of tax dollars the want.

Global warmers and climate changers use of fear and ignorance of the public as a main stay for their ambitions for power and control of outcomes, and of course, make themselves rich at the same time. The fact there is no warming other then what occurs naturally is of no concern, what is important is securing the money to maintain their personal life styles.

Is Congress Afraid to Support Obama's Climate Plan?
Source: Brett D. Schaefer and Nicolas Loris, "Obama's Climate-Change Deceptions," National Review, June 30, 2014.

July 17, 2014

Last week, President Obama said that Congress was afraid to support his Climate Action Plan for fear of political backlash, but empirical data shows that Congress is right to remain skeptical of his climate agenda, write Brett D. Schaefer and Nicolas Loris, fellows at the Heritage Foundation.

While global warming advocates have spent years predicting skyrocketing temperature rises and warming-related disasters, those predictions have not been borne out:
  • Actual atmospheric warming between 1979 and 2012 is only half of that predicted by climate models -- models upon which the president's Climate Action Plan is based.
  • Additionally, the models provide no explanation for the pause in warming that the globe has seen since the late 1990s.
  • The United Nations predicted in 2005 that the world would have 50 million refugees by 2010 due to climate change. There have also been indications that biased U.N. scientists have manipulated climate change data.
  • Weather-related disasters such as hurricanes and floods have not increased on climate timescales, according to scientist Roger Pielke, Jr.
Furthermore, the costs of constraining greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would be massive. According to a report from the Heritage Foundation, the EPA's coal regulations would cost the United States 600,000 jobs, and families of four would lose $1,200 in annual income.

Finally, Schaefer and Loris note that unilateral American action would constrain the American economy while doing nothing to help warming on a global scale.

Polls of the American public routinely show that climate change sits at the bottom of the priority list, and a recent United Nations survey indicates that Americans are not alone. The survey, which solicited responses from respondents in nearly every country around the globe, gave individuals a list of 16 issues and asked them to pick six that were most important to them and their families. Climate change ranked last.

Climate Change Clarity : Weather Channel Founder Speaks Out

Here is a great video on global warming or climate change, which ever you prefer, explaining the insanity that has infested our country and most of the Western world, from someone that knows a thing or two about the weather, the man who founded the Weather Channel and a meteorologist.

There's more then a 100 thousand scientists and meteorologists that believe their is only history and natural occurrences of heating and cooling of the planet, man has little or no effect on the planet. "Climate Change or global warming is a political move to secure votes from the weak and confused, to say nothing of billions of dollars to fatten the banks accounts of a select few that control the narrative.

Watch this video to have some clarity and understanding of just what is happening to the environmental movement and who is driving this fraud that is climate change.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

'Teach For America' Changing Ground Rules : Education From Experience

This is a life lesson - hiring teachers to actually teach a subject that they are proficient in rather then preparing the teacher to be able to become part time teachers and full time baby sitters or amateur physiologists.

Lessons from Teach For America
Source: Lloyd Bentsen IV and Megan Simons, "Lessons from Teach For America," National Center for Policy Analysis, July 2014.

July 24, 2014

Education reformers largely agree that teachers should be hired based on competence and paid based on performance and that strong teachers should be placed in low-performing schools, yet the opposite takes place in most school districts, write Senior Research Fellow Lloyd Bentsen and Research Associate Megan Simons of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Traditionally, public school teachers are recruited and retained based on their teaching degree, state certification and performance. Many public school teachers receive tenure after just two years of teaching, and the more experienced teachers have greater choice with respect to their school assignments, resulting in the most experienced teachers in the best schools.

Teach For America (TFA), however, is one program that recruits, trains and evaluates teachers differently. The teacher placement program has been in operation since 1990. TFA requires a rigorous interview and selection process, providing recruits with:
  • A guaranteed first and second year salary.
  • A training process that better prepares recruits for teaching than traditional certification.
  • Competition based on subject knowledge and teacher quality.
The program has placed more than 32,000 teachers in public schools in high poverty areas, and after completing the program, almost two-thirds of TFA recruits continue careers in education. In the 2013-2014 school year, 11,000 TFA members taught 750,000 students.

TFA recruits students based on subject mastery and experience, with less focus on classroom management and child development. While critics claim that TFA's five-week training program does not adequately prepare new teachers, recent studies illustrate that TFA members are at least as effective as traditionally-trained teachers. Moreover, students learning under TFA members have demonstrated academic achievement:
  • A 2009 Louisiana study found that students taught by TFA teachers performed significantly better in English language arts, reading, math and science than students taught by other new teachers.
  • In North Carolina, a 2010 study found middle school math students of TFA members received the equivalent of an extra half-year of learning.
  • Similarly, a 2013 Tennessee study found that TFA members were equally effective, if not more effective, as veteran teachers in most subject areas.
Besides positively impacting student achievement, TFA has also been instrumental in filling teacher shortages in many school districts.

Progressvie War on Individaual Freedom : Divide And Conquer war on liberty and individual freedom is being fought on many levels between the progressive socialists democrats and the people of America.

The progressive ideology, a society built on a socialist collective, is the war of "fundamentally Changing America", Mr Obama's words in 2008,  to more reflect his vision, and that of the progressives democrats, that individual freedom is a deterrent to the progressive's agenda and must be redirected to one more representative of a collective that allows everyone to share the wealth of the nation.

Anyone that believes otherwise is rendered as an enemy of the state and must be opposed by any means necessary. If this seem over the top then you haven't been paying attention. This is the tyranny of the few taking control of our country. 

ACA Spending to Mushroom : The Calm Before the Strom

To believe the Affordable Care Act will not increase spending is in the those famous words of wisdom of our former Senator from New York and Secretary of State, " to believe one must have a willing suspension of disbelief".

Adding 30 million new American recipients to the health rolls, untold millions of illegal immigrants and if that's not enough, billions in fraud and waste, will some how lower the cost of heath care? Really?

Has the ACA Slowed Health Care Spending Growth?
Source: Andrew J. Rettenmaier, Thomas R. Saving and Zijun Wang, "Has the Affordable Care Act Slowed the Growth of Health Care Spending?" National Center for Policy Analysis, July 2014.

July 23, 2014

Reforms in the Affordable Care Act are likely to increase health care demand and spending, write Andrew J. Rettenmaier, Thomas R. Saving and Zijun Wang of the Private Enterprise Research Center in an issue brief for the National Center for Policy Analysis.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released data in January 2014 indicating that national health spending expenditures declined from 2009 to 2012, dropping from 17.4 percent of GDP to 17.2 percent of GDP. Pundits cited the news as evidence that the Affordable Care Act was slowing health care growth. However, the slowdown is one of several recent periods in which health care spending as a share of GDP has been relatively stable.

Additionally, an examination of health care spending as a share of GDP reveals that spending rose from 1960 to 1993, but began a stair-step rise thereafter, leveling off then rising again. So, the authors ask, are we in a permanent plateau or will spending move upward again? More recent data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis indicates that the recent 2009 to 2012 slowdown in health spending may, in fact, be reversing:
  • Real per capita GDP growth from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014 was 0.8 percent, but real per capita health care spending grew at 2.2 percent.
  • Preliminary estimates indicate that health care spending as a share of GDP will increase from 17.2 percent in 2012 to 17.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014.
The authors also looked to employment growth within the health care sector, finding that health care employment has continued to grow faster than the economy as a whole:
  • From 1990 to the present, health sector employment grew at 2.5 percent per year, the highest rate among all industries.
  • Health sector employment grew 3.3 percent during the Great Recession, while total nonfarm employment fell 5.4 percent from the peak to the trough of the recession. Employment in the construction and manufacturing industries fell a respective 19.8 percent and 14.7 percent.
Additionally, stock prices are a reflection of investors' expectations of future profitability, and the market is very sensitive to industry-specific events. Again, health care sector stocks have performed better, and have been less volatile, than stocks within the broader market:
  • From January 1998 to the recession trough of June 30, 2009, the monthly total return in the health care sector was more than twice the average return of stocks in the S&P 500.
  • The health care sector yielded monthly returns of 1.6 percent after the recession, while the S&P 500 monthly return was 1.4 percent.
These observations indicate that future health care spending is likely to outpace GDP growth.

JPM Chase Bank's Survey : Why Collect Personal Informaion?

The question to ask here is 'what motivated the bank to ask these questions in the first place?'

After Asking Employees to Reveal Personal Beliefs, Chase Faces Boycott
Kelsey Harkness /           

Over 4,000 Americans have signed a petition to boycott Chase bank over a company survey that probed employees about their sexual orientation and personal beliefs.

The National Organization for Marriage’s campaign, “Void Chase,” urges customers across the globe to take their banking business elsewhere until JPMorgan Chase apologizes and promises “never again to invade the privacy of your employees in this way.”

The effort is the result of  what critics call an invasive survey that asked whether Chase employees identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or as an “LGBT ally.”
Robert P. George, a law professor at Princeton University and co-author of a book on the definition of marriage, first reported on the survey on his law blog, Mirror of Justice, after a JPMorgan Chase employee brought it to his attention.

The petition, addressed to JPMorgan Chase’s CEO and Board of Directors, says the survey “creates a menacing and hostile environment for employees who may not answer in the politically approved way.” It also asserts the LGBT questions “violated for both your employees and consumers the central value in any banking relationship – trust.”

Why Is Chase Bank Asking Intrusive, Personal Questions of Employees? Santorum Responds

Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said as part of the “Void Chase” campaign, he’s moving his home mortgage – currently held by Chase – to another bank.
“This situation is unacceptable and deplorable, and a clear message must be sent that it simply will not be tolerated,” he said in a prepared statement.

Human Rights Campaign, which calls itself the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization in the nation, reacted to NOM’s petition:
This week, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) announced an international boycott of JPMorgan Chase for having the nerve to ask employees to fill out a voluntary and confidential survey that included a question asking whether or not they considered themselves an ally of the LGBT community. No action has been taken against any employee based on the survey results. No retaliation has occurred. JPMorgan Chase has not given any indication that they have any intention of doing anything with the information.
Although the banking giant told The Daily Signal the survey was “completely voluntary and anonymous,” multiple whistleblowers said they were required to enter their employee IDs.
“Employees were required to identify themselves with their employee Standard ID Number prior to taking the survey,” one Chase employee told NOM. Another source, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing employment, expressed outrage over the inquiry on Mirror of Justice:
Not selecting that option is essentially saying ‘I’m not an ally of civil rights,’ which is a vague way to say ‘I’m a bigot. The worry among many of us is that those who didn’t select that poorly placed, irrelevant option will be placed on the ‘you can fire these people first’ list.
JPMorgan Chase is one of the largest financial institutions in the world, with 260,000 employees in more than 60 countries. Chase is its U.S. customer and commercial banking unit, with 185,000 U.S.-based employees.
Among its diversity programs is PRIDE, an international LGBT network that offers employees “tools and opportunities for personal career development, including mentoring programs and professional forums.”

Joe Grabowski, director of communications at NOM, told The Daily Signal that Chase owes its employees and customers a sincere apology.
These were inappropriate questions to be asking of employees, especially when there was confusion and doubt about how the information was going to be used in a corporate climate that is very openly pro-LGBT, as Chase bank is.
Grabowski also called on the banking giant to tell employees and customers “what exactly that information is going to be used for.”
When contacted multiple times by The Daily Signal, Chase refused to comment on the petition.
“Each day they refuse to answer questions about this, it further damages their trustworthiness and their credibility with the public,” Grabowski said.

Harry Reid Found Likeness : Comparison Remarkable

cid:X.MA1.1405373397@aol.comMy goodness - finally someone has put in pictures something that truly shows Harry Reid for what he is. But it's not enough to describe Harry in pictures, it's vital to understand he's mentally diseased, that is, medically insane.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Obama Fools the People : Voters Still Believe

There isn't much I can add to this as it covers the entire ideology of Mr Obama and the progressive socialist liberal democrats.

The voting public was fooled, lied to by Mr Obama and his friends in 2008, and yet they voted again in 2012 to accept more lies and abuse of their individual freedom.

Why was so easy to fool so many and so often?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Higher Education Act Needs Reform : Congress Addressing Changes

Need more convincing that we need a better education system and reform? Just look at how the Common Core debate has become national. Little wonder congress sees an opportunity to make some changes for meaningful reform in education.

Congress Looks at Three Education Bills
Source: Lindsey Burke, "These Bills Could Affect American Higher Education. Here's How," Daily Signal, July 21, 2014.

July 22, 2014

Lindsey Burke, education policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation, reports on three education bills that are moving through Congress.

Congress is looking at reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA), but, rather than doing a major overhaul of the HEA, lawmakers are tackling education reform in small pieces:
  • Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act: A bipartisan bill, the law would allow the Department of Education to give more flexibility to educational options that focus on subject mastery rather than time spent in a classroom. It requires the Education Department to create competency-based demonstration projects and removes regulations that impede competency-based program growth.
  • Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act: The federal government currently administers a College Navigator website, which requires colleges to provide data on the cost of attendance and similar information. The bill from Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Luke Messer (R-Ind.) would require schools to provide more than 36 pieces of data, including the ratio of part-time to full-time faculty instruction, in order to give students more information.
  • Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act: The bill, from Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) and Richard Hudson (R-NC) would require the Department of Education to maintain an online tool that institutions can use to provide student loan recipients with loan counseling.
Burke writes that the HEA needs much stronger reforms than these: federal financing that is separated from accreditation, a more targeted Pell Grant system that serves low-income students and the elimination of duplicative and ineffective programs.

Right To Work Laws Boost Incomes : States Look for Jobs & Revenue

The Right to Work laws are becoming more and more understandable to the general public. Most people still harbor the notion unions and union control is just how it is and always has been and so pay little attention.

A good example of how times are changing, no one thought before Scott Walker was elected as governor the teachers union would have to go on bended knee to have a teacher join the unions and voluntarily pay dues.

Governor Walker introduced his ACT 10 proposal to  allow teachers to opt out of the union and start paying for some of their own retirement and health care. The conventional wisdom said not a chance would this pass, and they were right as the state legislature was constituted before walker, but then  everything changed when the Republicans won both houses and the governorship.

So it can be done but will take the Republicans to do it, democrats have too much invested in union membership to do anything that might up set the relationship. After all, democrat have no interest in the common good, everything is about politics and the power to control outcomes.

Governor Walker ACT 10 was just the first step in changing the landscape of the state from democrats driving the state into debt and ruin to a state with a dynamic leadership. You know 'The Right to Work' proposal has already been drawn up, it just a matter of timing to drive it home.

Income Boost from Right to Work Laws
Source: Richard Vedder and Jonathan Robe, "An Interstate Analysis of Right to Work Laws," Competitive Enterprise Institute, July 16, 2014.

July 22, 2014

Incomes rise when Right to Work laws are implemented, according to a study from the Competitive Enterprise Institute by Richard Vedder and Jonathan Robe.

Currently, 26 states allow unions to force new employees to join unions or, at least, pay union dues. But 24 states have Right to Work (RTW) laws, which grant workers the right not to join unions and pay dues as a condition of their employment.

Vedder and Robe analyzed the impact of RTW laws on state economies, as RTW laws reduce union presence. Unionization increases labor costs, which makes capital investment less attractive. Right to Work laws, on the other hand, have a positive impact on economic growth:
  • Total employment growth in the United States from 1977 to 2012 was 71 percent. In RTW states, employment growth was 105.3 percent, while non-RTW states saw growth of only 50 percent.
  • Americans in non-RTW states have been moving to states with the laws. From 2000 to 2009, 4.9 million Americans moved from non-RTW states to RTW states.
  • According to economist Robert Reed, controlling for economic conditions in a state prior to the adoption of a RTW law, wages increase when RTW laws are implemented. In 2000, average wages were 6.68 percent higher in RTW states than in non-RTW states.
  • Real personal income from 1977 to 2012 grew by 123 percent in the United States, but RTW states saw a growth rate of 165 percent.
The authors also calculated the per capita income loss from not having an RTW law:
  • According to the report, the 10 states most negatively affected by their lack of an RTW law are Alaska, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Maryland, Wisconsin, New York and Michigan.
  • According to Vedder and Robe's calculations, Alaskans suffered a per capita income loss of $5,238 due to the state's lack of an RTW law.
The authors note that Michigan provides an especially stark example of the impact of Right to Work laws on wages. In 1977, the state's per capita income was 7.4 percent above the U.S. average -- a figure that had dropped to 12.2 percent below the national average by 2012. If the state had a RTW law, two-thirds of Michigan's current per capita income deficiency would be eliminated.

FEMA Building Standards Scrutinized : Coastal Damage Higher After FEMA Control

The next question after 'why build a house in an area that is bound to be destroyed sooner rather then later' is who in the government decided on the definition of safe and for the quality of building materials, and why they are still working in the public interest after so much failure?

Oh wait, we all know why they are still employed, they work for the government. It seems to get a job in the government it is a requirement you must be incompetent, no matter what agency you happen to work for. scrutinized  

Houses Built Under FEMA Guidelines Suffer More Damage
Source: Carolyn A. Dehring and Martin Halek, "Do Coastal Building Codes Make Stronger Houses?" Cato Institute, Summer 2014.

July 22, 2014

Houses that are built according to FEMA guidelines suffer more property damage during hurricanes than homes built prior to the guidelines, write Carolyn Dehring, professor at the University of Georgia Terry College of Business, and Martin Halek, senior lecturer at the University of Wisconsin's School of Business, for the Cato Institute.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides flood insurance to homeowners in communities participating in the program. Those communities are required to adopt the NFIP building code, which uses minimum building standards established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Dehring and Halek examined the effect of hurricanes on barrier island property in Lee County, Florida. Lee County joined NFIP in 1984, at which point new buildings became subject to the FEMA guidelines. In 2004, Hurricane Charley made landfall in Lee County. The authors examined 264 residential properties, 233 of which incurred damage as a result of the hurricane. The report looked specifically at "A-Zones" -- areas subject to rising flood waters.

The study found that buildings in the A-Zone constructed after the NFIP code was implemented were much more likely to sustain damage, and have a greater extent of damage, than other structures in the area built prior to the NFIP code. Of buildings that were damaged, buildings constructed post-NFIP incurred 57 percent more damages than similarly situated property.

Why was damage in the A-Zone worse? Of the properties analyzed, 63 saw a reduction in the minimum required elevation of between one and four feet. The data indicates that decreasing elevation by 1 foot increases damage by 1.267 percent.
NFIP has paid $3.7 billion in losses in Florida alone since 1978.
Source: Carolyn A. Dehring and Martin Halek, "Do Coastal Building Codes Make Stronger Houses?" Cato Institute, Summer 2014.

Medical Boards / City Officals Crush Competition? : Self Interest Protections

Why not - city officials and professional associations are doing what ever they can to contain any semblance of the free market that that might spring up that will threaten their control of all outcomes by enacting rules and regulations to this effect.

Luckily for all of us, the free market spirit can not be killed off by socialists or self interested groups determined to protect themselves and their power to make others bend to their will.

Can State Medical Boards Keep Competitors Out?
Source: Joe Carlson, "Should state medical boards be allowed to set scope-of-practice? Supreme Court will decide," Modern Healthcare, July 15, 2014; Devon Herrick, "Should Doctors and Dentists Regulate Their Competitors?" Health Policy Blog, National Center for Policy Analysis, July 21, 2014.
July 22, 2014

Modern Healthcare reports that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon address an important question for the medical community: Can state boards of medicine and dentistry make scope-of-practice determinations?

State medical and dental boards regulate the practice of their respective industries. But as Devon Herrick, senior fellow at the NCPA, explains, members of these boards are usually doctors and dentists -- the very people being regulated by the boards' rules. As such, the boards can produce self-interested regulations.

The Supreme Court case arises out of North Carolina, whose state dental board began issuing cease-and-desist letters to hygienists (not dentists) who were whitening consumers' teeth at spas and mall kiosks. The letters accused the recipients of the illegal practice of dentistry. Dentists offering teeth whitening in their offices, Herrick explains, often supervise the whitening work, which is done by technicians and hygienists. "Allowing those same dental technicians and hygienists to perform the work without the supervision of a dentist undercuts dentists' prices and reduces their profits," Herrick writes.

In response, the Federal Trade Commission accused North Carolina's state dental board of keeping competitors from the teeth-whitening market, insisting that scope-of-practice decisions that affect those making the decisions should be supervised by the state.

Those in the medical community have come out in support of the state boards, insisting that public health should trump antitrust law and claiming that the FTC does not have authority over state medical boards.

While medical licensure is intended to protect the public, Herrick notes that economists often argue that licensure cuts down on supply and limits competition.

EPA Seen As A Negative : Plan to Replace The EPA

Oh my goodness - some fresh air and clarity to start bringing our country back to reality. Dismantling the EPA is as important to our countries survival as tax reform or health care reform.

It isn't lost on many in our country today that many of the laws and regulations that are driving costs and prices to escalate can be directly attributable to the EPA, especially in the field of energy. To establish a reform package and present it to congress, one like presented here, would defiantly bring back common sense to environmental protection.

But given the present political climate of progressive socialism driven by liberal democrats, changing the EPA to something that serves the needs of the people and the country is out of the question. The progressives know how effect the EPA is to devise laws and regulations without the consist of congress, and they know how extremely effective the EPA is in forcing the population into submission to the socialist agenda, the ideology of the Obama administration and the democrat party.

After all, again, the progressive socialist democrats are all about getting and keeping power, nothing else, ever. It has always been this way and always will be, it's who they are. To deny their existence is to ensure your future will be diminished.

A Plan to Replace the EPA
Source: Jay Lehr, "Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency," Heartland Institute, July 2014.

July 22, 2014

Jay Lehr, science director at the Heartland Institute, has a five-year plan to replace the Environmental Protection Agency with 50 state agencies.

Lehr, a national authority on groundwater hydrology, was one of the original panelists who studied, and recommended, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1971. But what started as an effort to protect the environment and public health became a full-fledged political organization.
Beginning in the 1980s, the EPA became a way for activist groups to advance their political agendas,

Lehr writes. Today, it costs $2 trillion per year for Americans to comply with all federal regulations, and the EPA is responsible for half of that regulatory cost.

Lehr offers a solution: dismantling the EPA and replacing it with a Committee of the Whole, composed of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Those state agencies have spent 30 years implementing federal environmental laws and are more than capable of protecting the environment without federal oversight.

Lehr's five-year plan is as follows:
  • Dismantle the national EPA, with the exception of the EPA's research laboratories. Those laboratories can continue to perform research, though state-funded research efforts should compete with the federal research lab, in order to keep the laboratories above-board.
  • Cut the EPA budget down to 20 percent of current levels. That 20 percent could run the aforementioned research labs and administer the Committee of the Whole.
  • Reduce staff from 15,000 employees to 300 employees, comprised of six delegates from each of the 50 states. Those employees would work at a new headquarters in Topeka, Kansas. Topeka would allow close contact with the states and would reduce travel costs.
  • In the first year, begin relocating new Committee of the Whole Employees to Topeka, Kansas.
  • Over the next four years, transfer activities from the EPA's 14 federal offices to the Topeka office.
The Committee of the Whole would assess all national EPA regulations and determine which ones were mandated by law and which had been established without approval from Congress. The Committee would vote to continue those rules that had been mandated by law or would request Congressional repeal. The Committee would vote on all rules not mandated by law individually, requiring a two-thirds vote for alteration or repeal.

Moving the Committee from the EPA's headquarters in Washington, D.C., to Topeka would keep the regulators away from Washington corruption, and the 50 state agencies would be less vulnerable to lobbying, Lehr writes, than their EPA counterparts.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

California Courts Rule Pensions 'A Right' : California's Nightmare Continues

This should not come as a surprise to anyone that has been paying attention to what has been the norm in California. State government run-a-muck. Why? Easy, decades of total control by progressive socialist democrats.

That this decision by the courts seems reasonable just means the state of California has to come up with even more insanity to cover the past insanity that has brought them to this point in time.

California: Overprotecting Public Employee Pensions
Source: Alexander Volokh, "Overprotecting Public Employee Pensions: The Contract Clause and the California Rule," Reason Foundation, July 10, 2014.

July 21, 2014

California courts have ruled that public employees have a right to maintain their pension levels, making it difficult for the state to enact pension reform.  Alexander Volokh, economist and professor at Emory Law School, explains the effect of the rule in a new report from the Reason Foundation.

The U.S. Constitution's Contract Clause reads, "No State shall...pass any...Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts." Additionally, most states have contract clauses within their own constitutions.

That clause has been applied to pension plans -- "contracts" between public employees and state and local governments. But while some states have ruled that prospective retirement plan modifications do not violate the Contract Clause (believing that benefits do not vest until they are earned), California courts disagree. In California:
  • Public employees "acquire a vested right to a pension" when they accept public employment.
  • Furthermore, California courts have ruled that the right to a pension is "based on the system then in effect," meaning that the employee has the right to continue to earn benefits according to the same generous terms that applied when he began his employment.
While courts will allow some modifications to pension plans, the changes must be "reasonable" and disadvantages must be "accompanied by comparable new advantages." This is known as the "California rule," an approach followed by twelve states.

Volokh explains that, because California has its own Contract Clause in its state constitution, the state is free to protect pensions beyond that which might be protected under the federal Contract Clause. Even so, such broad protection is bad policy, as it makes it difficult for states to deal with financial problems.
  • Because other terms of employment lack this protection (salaries, tenure or other benefits), the inability of a state government to adjust to fiscal pressures by changing retirement benefits means that salaries and other benefits will be cut. Many employees would prefer more generous salaries, not pensions.
  • Taxpayers may see government services cut in order for the state to meet its pension obligations.
  • Because the rule limits the ability of public employers to change benefits, the state may offer less generous benefit packages up front.
The California rule gives states little leeway in the case of a fiscal emergency, especially as any pension modifications require the state to offer new advantages to compensate for those disadvantages.

Volokh suggests that states instill flexibility into their pension statutes -- for example, by creating benefits that depend on actuarial advice or assumptions.

Unemployment Numbers False : Millions Leave the Work Force / Work Part Time

I know millions will not be able to comprehend the information has been laid out by the author of this report as it contradicts the spin from the Obama administration. For millions to understand the significance of not being able to believe anything that comes from the federal government goes beyond their personal experiences.

For millions of adult citizens, stupidly is a way of life. It's so much easier then having to actually use common sense to make decisions based on reality. Even when these individuals are living the reality they still refuse to recognize it for what it is.

The question that remains is when will reality over power fantasy? For many among us there will never be anything other then living a life of fantasy. Reality is just more lies from the Republicans and Conservatives.

Part-Time Work Responsible for Job Growth
Source: Mortimer Zuckerman, "The Full-Time Scandal of Part-Time America," Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2014.

July 21, 2014

While the June jobs report has been touted as a success, creating 288,000 new jobs, the number is misleading, explains Mortimer Zuckerman, editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report. In fact, the United States lost 523,000 full-time jobs in June. What it gained was 800,000 part-time jobs.

The government numbers make no distinction between full-time and part-time job gains, so the Obama administration has bragged about the 288,000 figure, despite the fact that part-time jobs offer lower pay, little if any benefits and little job security compared to full-time work. The move to part-time work is in large part a product of the Affordable Care Act, which encourages employers to cut working hours.

Less than half (47.7 percent) of American adults are working full time today, and while the unemployment rate has fallen, the drop is due to the fact that 2.4 million Americans have simply dropped out of the labor force. The unemployment rate, Zuckerman notes, would be zero if everyone quit looking for work -- hardly an indication that the economy is strong.

The economic "recovery" since the recession has been incredibly weak:
  • One million positions in high-wage industries have been lost since 2007.
  • Today, low-wage jobs comprise 44 percent of all job growth since February 2010.
  • More than 3 million Americans are considered long-term unemployed.
  • The labor force participation rate is at 62.8 percent today, a 36-year low and down from 2008's rate of 66 percent.
  • The U.S. population has grown by 17.2 million since the middle of 2007, yet it has 374,000 fewer jobs since the November 2007 peak.
  • A record-high 91 million Americans over the age of 16 are not working today.
Growth in today's recovery is half of what it was after the United States' previous four recessions, says Zuckerman.

Federal Spending Cuts to Save Transportation Fund : Free Market Solutions Work

Cut spending? Really? This make a lot of sense as free market enterprises always work better for the proper allocation of resources then any government funding program. But will the congress actually use common sense to make decision that are good and proper for the betterment of the general public, not a chance.

Government decision are all about the money and power. In the end, it's who has the money and the power to get more money and more power, and who will do what ever it takes to get their share.

How to Fix Transportation Woes? Cut Federal Spending
Source: Chris Edwards, "Cut Federal Highway Spending," Downsizing Government, July 8, 2014.

July 21, 2014

Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, argues that lawmakers on Capitol Hill need to cut federal highway spending.

The Highway Trust Fund (HTF) will soon run out of money. The federal government spends $53 billion annually on highways and urban transit, yet the HTF takes in only $39 billion. Politicians in Washington have different ideas for how to close that $14 billion gap: President Obama wants to fund it with corporate tax revenue, while Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) want to raise the federal gas tax.

Despite Senator Corker's claims that the gas tax would create new jobs, federal spending always generates low returns, and transportation spending is inefficient.
  • Federal aid is not based on the demands of the market, so investments are misallocated. For example, growing states like Texas need higher levels of investment, yet Texans pay more into the system in taxes than they receive in federal spending.
  • The system encourages waste of funds, because federal highway aid has only a small state matching requirement, making federal funds appear "free" to states.
  • Federal aid also increases costs. According to the Joint Economic Committee, Davis-Bacon labor rules, which require federally funded projects to pay workers high wages, increase highway project wages by 22 percent on average.
Edwards writes that the solution to the HTF's funding gap is to cut spending by $14 billion. He urges lawmakers to end mass transit and other non-highway funding, as today, one-fourth of HTF spending goes towards non-highway purposes. Cutting transit aid, he projects, would encourage cities to privatize their transit systems.

Similarly, cutting back on federal highway aid would encourage privatization and the use of public-private partnerships. Privatization works, Edwards says, because when private businesses take risks, their profits are on the line, meaning that projects are more likely to be constructed and completed efficiently.

Various studies have confirmed that public-private partnership projects are more likely to be completed on time, and on budget, than government projects.

Millennials Say One Thing But Vote Another? : Trend Lines Blurred

I have my doubts about what the next generation say and what they actually believe. It's one thing to say to someone this is what I believe right now, but it's entirely something else when one is faced with making decisions without outside interference, like that in the voting booth.

It is my contention, when it's crunch time, a whole host of things come into play that will influence a decision that does not impact you physically and immediately. Standing the voting booth and having to make the decision that will be beneficial to you in the near future as against making a decision for the long term are two different animals. One's history of education and ones exposures to life long trends will influence your decision. Where you where educated and who your friends are will make a difference.

So, standing in the booth to pull the right lever is something completely different then talking to someone on the phone or even in person. If you have always voted for the same party without understanding why, it's likely you will continue to vote the same way. It is what it is.

Making a change in your personal history is not something that happens easily or randomly when you are alone, it takes a willingness to change a habit that you understand is in conflict with what you have always believed to be the truth. You know the right thing to do but it's too difficult to make that decision right now, you'll think about later.

But the conflict sometimes doesn't change ones prospective enough to actually change one's history even after considerable contemplation. Case in point was the Scott Walker Recall in Wisconsin. A majority voted against the recall by even margins larger then when he was elected the first time, but when it came to the election for president, the majority voted by habit, by their history. The change was just to great to overcome even when the voter knew what was best for themselves and the country. They voted using common sense in the recall election but voted by habit in the next one.

Millennial Support for Big Government Wanes if It Means Higher Taxes
Source: "Millennials: The Politically Unclaimed Generation," Reason-Rupe 2014 Millennial Survey, July 10, 2014.

July 21, 2014

Millennials distrust political parties and are largely socially liberal but fiscally centrist, according to the latest Reason-Rupe survey. The survey gathered responses from 2,000 adults ages 18 to 29 between late February and mid-March 2014, finding that today's young Americans are largely unaligned with traditional political parties:
  • While young adults have supported Democrat political candidates since 2004, one-third of millennials identify themselves as independents -- three times the number of Americans over the age of 30 who do so.
  • Twenty-eight percent of millennials trust neither major party to handle the nation's issues. Fifty percent do not trust either party to handle privacy.
Notably, the poll found that millennial support for a government that provides more services declines when the costs of such services become clear and when millennials make more money and become more responsible:
  • According to the poll, 54 percent favor "larger government with more services," while 43 percent favor "smaller government with fewer services." But after introducing tax rates into the mix, 57 percent favor smaller government.
  • Similarly, of those millennials whose parents pay for their health insurance, 57 percent favor increasing health insurance premiums to provide the uninsured with health coverage. But of millennials who pay for their own health insurance, 59 percent oppose paying more in premiums, while just 39 percent are in favor.
  • Of those making less than $20,000 annually, 53 percent support income distribution, while 39 percent oppose it. But among those making $40,000 or more, only 42 percent support income distribution while 54 percent oppose it.
The survey found mixed support for government action:
  • Seven in 10 millennials support government guarantees for housing, health insurance and income, yet only 32 percent reported that they preferred a government-managed economy, compared to 64 percent who supported a free market over a state-managed market.
  • A respective 70 percent and 64 percent of millennials have a positive view of competition and profit. More than half reported that they would like to start their own businesses.
  • While just 42 percent of millennials believed that government was inefficient and wasteful in 2009, 66 percent reported thinking so today. Sixty-three percent said that regulators favor special interests over the public.
Significantly, only 16 percent of those surveyed could accurately define socialism, yet 42 percent reported preferring socialism to capitalism.

The survey also indicated that young American adults believe in personal responsibility and other free-market values. When asked to explain success, respondents listed hard work, ambition and self-discipline as the top three explanations for wealth. The most common explanations for poverty were poor life choices, lack of job opportunities and lack of work ethic.

According to the report, six in 10 want to live in a society that distributes wealth based on achievement, even at the expense of unequal outcomes.