Saturday, August 30, 2014

Architect of Destruction : Maureen Scott Understands Mr Obama

I can't add a single thing to this other then I agree with her clear vision and understanding of Mr Obama and his friends.
Maureen Scott Column............. 
http://www.renewamerica.com/images/columnists/lg/scott.jpg 
Maureen Scott is an ardent American patriot who was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and retired to Richmond, VA, in 2000. Free from the nine-to-five grind of writing for employers and clients, she began writing political commentary to please herself and express her convictions. 
 The accomplishment of which she is most proud is her volunteer work at an Army base where she looked into the eyes and hearts of the service members who protect our country.
Our Pledge of Allegiance, a military band playing the National Anthem, and the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, inspire her passion and views. Her life is guided by a firm belief that truth is the most important virtue, and that God knows what He is doing with her.
 
The Architect of Destruction
 
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Barack Obama appears to be a tormented man filled with resentment, anger, and disdain for anyone of an opinion or view other than his. He acts in the most hateful, spiteful, malevolent, vindictive ways in order to manipulate and maintain power and control over others. Perhaps, because, as a child, he grew up harboring an abiding bitterness toward the U.S. that was instilled in him by his family and mentors…it seems to have never left him.
 
It is not the color of his skin that is a problem in America.
 
Rather it is the blackness that fills his soul and the hollowness in his heart where there should be abiding pride and love for this country.
 
Think: Have we ever heard Obama speak lovingly of the U.S. or its people, with deep appreciation and genuine respect for our history, our customs, our sufferings and our blessings? Has he ever revealed that, like most patriotic Americans, he gets "goose bumps" when a band plays "The Star Spangled Banner," (no. he gets goose bumps when he hears the '''Muslim call to prayer"""(his words)))))or sheds a tear when he hears a beautiful rendition of " America the Beautiful?" Does his heart burst with pride when millions of American flags wave on a National holiday - or someone plays "taps" on a trumpet? Has he ever shared the admiration of the military, as we as lovers of those who keep us free, feel when soldiers march by? It is doubtful because Obama did not grow up sharing our experiences or our values. He did not sit at the knee of a Grandfather or Uncle who showed us his medals and told us about the bravery of his fellow troops as they tramped through foreign lands to keep us free. He didn't have grandparents who told stories of suffering and then coming to America, penniless, and the opportunities they had for building a business and life for their children.
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Away from this country as a young child, Obama didn't delight in being part of America and its greatness. He wasn't singing our patriotic songs in kindergarten, or standing on the roadside for a holiday parade and eating a hot dog, or lighting sparklers around a campfire on July 4th as fireworks exploded over head, or placing flags on the grave sites of fallen and beloved American heroes.
 
Rather he was separated from all of these experiences and doesn't really understand us and what it means to be an American. He is void of the basic emotions that most feel regarding this country and insensitive to the instinctive pride we have in our national heritage. His opinions were formed by those who either envied us or wanted him to devalue the United States and the traditions and patriotism that unites us.
 
He has never given a speech that is filled with calm, reassuring, complimentary, heartfelt statements about all the people in the U.S. Or one that inspires us to be better and grateful and proud that in a short time our country became a leader, and a protector of many. Quite the contrary, his speeches always degenerate into mocking, ridiculing tirades as he faults our achievements as well as any critics or opposition for the sake of a laugh, or to bolster his ego. He uses his Office to threaten and create fear while demeaning and degrading any American who opposes his policies and actions. A secure leader, who has noble self-esteem and not false confidence, refrains from showing such dread of critics and displaying a cocky, haughty attitude.
 
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Mostly, his time seems to be spent causing dissension, unrest, and anxiety among the people of America, rather than uniting us (even though he was presented to us as the "Great Uniter"). He creates chaos for the sake of keeping people separated, envious, aggrieved and ready to argue. Under his leadership Americans have been kept on edge, rather than in a state of comfort and security. He incites people to be aggressive toward, and disrespectful of, those of differing opinions. And through such behavior, Obama has lowered the standards for self-control and mature restraint to the level of street-fighting gangs, when he should be raising the bar for people to strive toward becoming more considerate, tolerant, self-disciplined, self-sustaining, and self-assured.
 
Not a day goes by that he is not attempting to defy our laws, remove our rights, over-ride established procedures, install controversial appointees, enact divisive mandates, and assert a dictatorial form of power.
 
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    · Never has there been a leader of this great land who used such tactics to harm and hurt the people and this country.
 
    · Never have we had a President who spoke with a caustic, evil tongue against the citizenry rather than present himself as a soothing, calming and trustworthy force.
 
    · Never, in this country, have we experienced how much stress one man can cause a nation of people - on a daily basis!
 
Obama has promoted the degeneration of peace, civility, and quality of cooperation between us. He thrives on tearing us down, rather than building us up. He is the Architect of the decline of America, and the epitome of a Demagogue.
© Maureen Scott
 

Progressive Democrat Promises : Decades of Misinformation

This of course doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that is not room temperature. Mr Obama has a proven track record that he cannot escape of lying to the population when ever he deems it necessary to bolster his agenda of "fundamental change".

Progressive socialist liberals have no moral obligation to tell the truth and work to resolve problems in our country. It is about politics and always has been and will be so in the future.

It also is not lost on the general public now that the media will say and do what ever they can to protect Mr Obama from any opposition to his efforts to establish his ideology of socialism.

Lying about who and what he is and always has been is laid out for all to see if only the people of this country will just take a few minutes to listen to Mr Obama and his friends and then understand they are not in elected office to help our country but to diminish it where ever and when ever they can.

Understand, this is the legacy of the democrats and has been for decades if not generation.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Unemployment Rate Managed Information? : The Politics of Control

This is just the politics of controlling the information that people rely on to make good decisions. If the government can manage the information going out to the public from agencies and official departments of the government, the results will be beneficial to the controlling political party.

As this article indicates, information collection is flawed and the dissemination of that information is also flawed. Little wonder then government officials work very hard to manage what the citizens are allowed to see and hear.

Is the Unemployment Rate Accurate?
Source: David Leonhardt, "A New Reason to Question the Official Unemployment Rate," New York Times, August 26, 2014.

August 28, 2014

Many people see the unemployment rate as the main indicator of the health of the labor market, but David Leonhardt of the New York Times reports that the number may be questionable. According to a new study from researchers at Princeton University, the unemployment rate has become more and more inaccurate over the last 20 years.

What is responsible for the drop in accuracy? Partly, it is due to response rates, says Leonhardt. Americans have grown more unwilling to respond to surveys:
  • As landlines have become increasingly rare and caller ID has become more popular, fewer people are picking up the phone to respond.
  • Trust in institutions has dropped over the last few decades, writes Leonhardt. Americans are skeptical of survey questions and increasingly concerned about their privacy.
  • In 1997, the average telephone poll had a 36 percent response rate -- a number that had dropped to 9 percent in 2012. The Department of Labor has higher response rates for its monthly jobs survey (89 percent), though it has also fallen, down from 96 percent in the 1980s.
How does the government calculate unemployment rates?
  • It surveys groups of people for four months, takes an eight-month break, then surveys them again for another four months.
  • According to the study, people being interviewed in the later months of the survey are less likely to say that they have been looking for a job. That response would not count the person as "unemployed," because unemployment requires an active job search.
  • Yet, responses from older respondents are weighted more heavily than are those from new respondents, meaning that these respondents -- who are unemployed but report that they are not looking for a job -- are not counted as unemployed. Instead, they are considered outside of the labor force.
This brings the reported unemployment rate down. For example, the unemployment rate for the first half of 2014 was officially recorded as 6.5 percent. Among those being interviewed for the survey, those interviewed in the first month recorded a 7.5 percent unemployment rate, compared to a 6.1 percent unemployment rate among those in the last month of being interviewed.
 

Climate Change Insanity : Mental Disease Run Amok

While the world burns, the leader of the free world goes on vacation. Life is good when one can believe responsibility is someone else's duty. Man made climate change is just a distraction from putting out the fires around the world. Refusing reality is easier with a golf club in your hand and hundreds of people ready to do your bidding.

Living the good life at someone's expense is important to Mr Obama and his friends as it is the very essence of the ideology of progressive socialism. Liberty, individual freedom and the rule of law as set down by our Constitution is of no concern to Mr Obama.

Obama Pushes International Climate Agreement
Source: Victor Morton, "Obama seeks to bypass Congress for U.N. climate change deal: report," Washington Times, August 26, 2014.

August 28, 2014

Reports have emerged that the Obama administration plans to push for an "international climate change agreement" that, unlike a formal treaty, would be entered into without Senate approval.

According to the Washington Times, the goal is to reach a deal by next year. Broadly, the agreement would call for signatories to commit to carbon dioxide emission reduction goals, as well as to send money to poor nations to deal with global warming.

The agreement would be enforced, however, only with pressure and shaming from the other participants, as the group would issue progress reports detailing which parties had not met their goals. The New York Times reported that "President Obama's climate negotiators are devising what they call a 'politically binding' deal that would 'name and shame' countries into cutting their emissions," in order to bypass the requirement that treaties must be ratified.

According to the Washington Times, the negotiators plan to use the United Nations Framework on Climate Change -- a pact passed in 1992 and ratified by the United States -- and add new, "voluntary pledges" to it.
 

Desalinization of Waste Water : Innovation in Texas

Innovation occurs when individuals see a problem and then actually move to solve it. I wonder why so much innovation and economic progress seem to happen in Texas? Is it that the state is run by Conservatizes and not progressive socialists?

Is there any truth to this do you think?  How many states are headed for bankruptcy and how many are moving forward as compared with who is controlling them?

Desalinizing Water in Texas
Source: William McKenzie, "Hope on the water front," Dallas Morning News, August 25, 2014.

August 28, 2014

A plan to desalinize brackish water could provide an answer to Texas' water problems, according to William McKenzie, editorial director at the George W. Bush Institute.

Texas' population continues to grow, but the state has suffered recurring droughts. Desalination poses a potential answer to a water resource problem, though it can be expensive. Desalination takes brackish water and seawater and cleans it, removing the salt and turning it into water that can be used for irrigation and for drinking water. Desalination is not an entirely new idea in Texas:
  • In the Western part of Texas, the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Desalination Plant supplies El Paso and Fort Bliss with fresh water.
  • Craig Pederson, formerly of the Texas Water Development Board, is working to create a private sector solution to the problem, desalinizing brackish water and selling the minerals that are extracted on the commodities market.
According to McKenzie, desalination could be especially significant in Texas because of its relationship with fracking, as fracking produces wastewater. If that water can be recycled, it can be reused and can keep water supplies steady.

NCPA Senior Research Fellow Lloyd Bentsen recently wrote about this topic on the NCPA's Energy and Environment Blog.
 

Light Rail Madness : A Disease Effecting Common Sense & Logic

The question that remains is why does this insanity for light rail persist? The history and a huge pile of evidence that is available to everyone that cares to find it, states beyond a doubt light rail is a total waste of money, and yet officials move to dive into a nightmare of high taxes and citizens anger.

Cheaper to Buy New Cars than Build Light Rail
Source: Randal O'Toole, "Review of Greenlight Pinellas," Cato Institute, August 14, 2014

August 22, 2014

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) serves Pinellas County, Florida. Currently funded by property taxes, the PSTA has proposed to switch its funding source to a sales tax. The switch would make tax revenues double, giving PSTA the funds to build a light-rail line and make its bus system larger. The proposal, writes Randal O'Toole of the Cato Institute, is unnecessarily expensive: light rail is inferior to bus service, which can transport passengers more comfortably for much less money.
PSTA does not have an impressive track record when it comes to predicting travel needs:
  • Between 1991 and 2005, it increased its bus service by 46 percent yet gained no new riders.
  • Moreover, there was a 17 percent decline in passenger miles.
  • Average bus occupancy dropped by 44 percent.
The transit authority says it needs the tax revenue to deal with a growth in bus ridership that took place between 2008 and 2009. However, as of 2012, bus occupancy in Pinellas County was an average of 8 riders per bus, below the national average of 11 riders per bus. According to O'Toole, these numbers suggest that PSTA does not need the tax increase.

Significantly, the PSTA proposal is so off-balance in its costs and benefits that it would not have qualified for federal funding under last year's Department of Transportation rules.

O'Toole provides a shocking statistic: Building PSTA's light-rail line would be so expensive that it would be cheaper to give every new round-trip commuter that would otherwise use the light-rail system a new Toyota Prius, every single year for three decades.

Progressive Elected Soldiers : A Collective Standing Ready

This picture tells a story like none other as it goes to the heart of the leadership in Washington. This would be more humors if it wasn't so serious a failure on the part of Mr Obama and the progressive socialist liberal democrats.

Know to, this sign can be applied to just about every democrat in office to day as the party of old is no longer a party individuals but a collective of soldiers ready and willing to do as they are told.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Climate Changers Move Into Asia : Changers Looking for Easy Marks

Fear and intimidation are weapons that progressive socialists use to force their ideology of climate change on everyone that's unaware of the fact there is no man made climate change. It's a scam to gain control of government resources to make the warmers powerful and rich.

How does a thing like this persist? Given all of the information indicating there is no warming and how the warmers have lied for decades seems to make no difference in how people react to the weather has shown no change or if we look at the latest figures it shows there is actually cooling going on. Does it matter, nah. As the saying goes, a'there is sucker born every minute and two to take him"

Calming Fears of Climate Change in Asia
Source: Tanner Davis, "Calming Fears of Climate Change in South and Southeast Asia," National Center for Policy Analysis, August 27, 2014.

August 27, 2014

Many climate studies have focused on South and Southeast Asia, as the region is considered uniquely vulnerable to the projected effects of climate change such as a reduction in crop yields, rising sea levels, flooding, a loss of biodiversity and drought. Many of these Asian countries are islands or are on peninsulas, with highly populated coastal cities; if climate change predictions come true, these countries would be highly vulnerable.

In a paper for the National Center for Policy Analysis, Research Associate Tanner Davis explains that the five cities deemed at the most "extreme risk" for climate change by global risk analysis company Maplecroft are Dhaka, Mumbai, Kolkata, Manila and Bangkok -- all of which are in South or Southeast Asia. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming poses a special risk to these two regions.

But while climate change alarmists have suggested that higher temperatures will increase food insecurity in Asia, food production has been increasing for the last half-century:
  • Since the 1990s, food production in Southeast Asia has increased substantially.
  • South Asia has kept a stable supply of arable land, and the amount of arable land in Southeast Asia has increased.
  • In fact, according to agronomist Craig Idso, increased levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere has increased, not decreased, plant production.
Similarly, while many have raised concerns about sea level rise, there is no consensus on the amount of rise. According to the World Bank, were the sea level to rise by one meter, just 1 to 2 percent of land area, population and farmland in developing countries would be affected, and GDP would fall by 0.5 percent to 2 percent.

Davis distinguishes what he calls "mitigation" from "adaptation." Mitigation, he says, seeks to combat climate change by embarking upon new projects or instituting measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to curb climate change. Adaptation, on the other hand, consists of strategies to deal with the effects of global warming, such as rehabilitating coral, engaging in water resource management and protecting wildlife.

As climate science is so uncertain and unsettled, writes Davis, adaptation is the more cost-effective approach to climate change.
 

Immigration Policy by Executive Order : Tyranny Is Not Policy

Why would Mr Obama use the rule of law to fix a problem? Worse, why would Mr Obama care if what he does is in violation of our Constitution? If he wants something done and has opposition to his idea, he just issues an executive order to make it happen and then blame congress for being against him.

Any other president would be accused of tyranny.

Problems with Fixing Immigration via Executive Order
Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "3 Reasons an Obama Executive Order on Immigration Would Backfire," Economics 21, August 22, 2014.
August 26, 2014

President Obama is expected to issue an executive order to take action on immigration and the border crisis, potentially giving the millions of illegal aliens currently in the United States a path to become an American citizen.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, director of Economics 21, says that such action by the President would be a mistake. Any order granting legal status to undocumented workers would immediately be challenged in court. Those benefiting from the order would be left in an uncertain position. Moreover, executive orders are different from legislation: they can be changed as soon as a new president enters office. Even if an executive order is upheld by a court, a new president could adopt an entirely new position, taking away the protection that President Obama might bestow upon illegals.

Immigration reform should go through the legislative process. Furchtgott-Roth adds that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle would like to increase the number of work visas available to foreign workers, and she encourages the President to sign any bill doing so. The United States is in dire need of economic growth, and bringing in workers from abroad would encourage such growth.
Moreover, she notes the benefits that legal immigrants have added to the U.S. economy:
  • American businesses founded by immigrants produced $63 billion in sales in 2012, creating jobs for 560,000 workers.
  • Immigrants are more likely to start new businesses than are native Americans. In fact, 44 percent of Silicon Valley companies were founded by at least one immigrant.
  • Increasing the number of immigrant scientists and engineers by just 1 percentage point increases the number of patents per capita in the United States by 18 percent.
Rather than deal with immigration policy via executive order, the United States should do so through the legislative branch.
 

Freedom Is Not Free : Forgetting Is Unacceptable

Just a little reminder of where we came from and where we are to day. And if that's not enough, how did we get here?

Is it just easier to ignore reality by staying home on election day believing others will carry the ball over the line. Is it that some of us are just to busy to understand what has happened to America on education, the economy, immigration, religion, the environment and maybe worst of all, justice.

That all of these things, when they are seen as representative of our foundation as a country of laws, that comprise the American dream, have come under attack as being so unfair that they be "Fundamentally changed" to supposedly level the playing field that all will have the better things in life just like everyone else.

This November it is essential that when you enter the voting booth you should vote like your life and that of your family depends on your ability to understand freedom is not free and never has been. Big government was never the answer and never will be.

The individual freedom to chose your destiny can only be won by making intelligent decisions and hard work. The idea that 'we the people' are not capable of self governing is a destructive ideology and will result the loss of the American dream.

You must believe this is were we are today and to ignore this agenda of government rule by an elite few is tyranny. To believe other wise is to ensure our own demise.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Executive Order On Immigration : Power " By Any Means Necessary"

Mr Obama legislating with his pen is just one more indication he doesn't care what the general public thinks and he will do what ever he wants, as he stated in a campaign speech in 2008, to fulfill his idea of a "Fundamentally Changed America"

Mr Obama and his progressive socialist liberal democrat friends do not like this country as it was founded and have dedicated their political powers to this end. That a majority of the voting public have elected him twice indicates they agree with him that a representative government is no longer needed. A socialists, neocommunism, if you will, all power full centralized government that will work better then the one based on liberty and individual freedom that has brought his to be the most powerful country in the world is lost on the general public.

Is it ignorance of what and who we are and how we got here, or are the citizens with their collective heads buried in their smart phones or I Pads too concerned of missing text message to see they are ready to slide into a socialist nightmare that they will not be able to escape.

Who is going to stop this before it's too late? Think about this before you enter the voting booth in November.

Problems with Fixing Immigration via Executive Order
Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "3 Reasons an Obama Executive Order on Immigration Would Backfire," Economics 21, August 22, 2014.

August 26, 2014

President Obama is expected to issue an executive order to take action on immigration and the border crisis, potentially giving the millions of illegal aliens currently in the United States a path to become an American citizen.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, director of Economics 21, says that such action by the President would be a mistake. Any order granting legal status to undocumented workers would immediately be challenged in court. Those benefiting from the order would be left in an uncertain position. Moreover, executive orders are different from legislation: they can be changed as soon as a new president enters office. Even if an executive order is upheld by a court, a new president could adopt an entirely new position, taking away the protection that President Obama might bestow upon illegals.

Immigration reform should go through the legislative process. Furchtgott-Roth adds that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle would like to increase the number of work visas available to foreign workers, and she encourages the President to sign any bill doing so. The United States is in dire need of economic growth, and bringing in workers from abroad would encourage such growth.
Moreover, she notes the benefits that legal immigrants have added to the U.S. economy:
  • American businesses founded by immigrants produced $63 billion in sales in 2012, creating jobs for 560,000 workers.
  • Immigrants are more likely to start new businesses than are native Americans. In fact, 44 percent of Silicon Valley companies were founded by at least one immigrant.
  • Increasing the number of immigrant scientists and engineers by just 1 percentage point increases the number of patents per capita in the United States by 18 percent.
Rather than deal with immigration policy via executive order, the United States should do so through the legislative branch.

Medical Device Tax Falls Short : Mr Obama; Who Cares

That the tax on medial devices won't generate sufficient funds like the proponents thought it would is not a question of design, it was a matter of urgency. Funding for ObamaCare is not something that Mr Obama and his progressive teams thought through, they knew they could just raise taxes to cover any unforeseen contingency. What was important was getting it passed and then implemented as soon as possible to make sure it couldn't be stopped by losing an election.

Medical Device Tax Not Producing Projected Revenue
Source: Kyle Pomerleau, "The Obamacare Medical Device Tax is Not Working as Planned," Tax Foundation, August 21, 2014; John R. Graham, "Medical-Device Excise Tax Revenues 24 Percent Short of Target," NCPA Health Policy Blog, August 21, 2014.

August 26, 2014

One of the many new taxes in the Affordable Care Act is the Medical Device Tax, a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device sales. Before the law was implemented, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimated that it would take in $1.2 billion from the new tax in 2013. But according to a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the government took in just $913.4 million, 23 percent less than the IRS had expected.

Kyle Pomerleau, an economist at the Tax Foundation, explains what the tax covers: pacemakers and defibrillators, for example, are taxed, while eyeglasses and other direct consumer purchases are not. That might seem simple, but the tax is actually quite complicated:
  • The tax includes a number of exemptions and safe harbors, making applicability confusing for businesses and manufacturers.
  • According to the TIGTA report, errors were made on both sides of the tax returns -- by businesses as well as by the IRS itself.
  • The report found $41.6 million in overpayments and $76.2 million in underpayments last year.
  • The IRS penalized 219 businesses for allegedly underpaying the device tax when, in fact, they had made proper payments. Most of these penalties have been reversed at this point.
Pomerleau sees the device tax as textbook bad tax policy, as taxes should be simple and carry low compliance and administrative costs.

NCPA Senior Fellow John Graham responded to the Inspector General report on the NCPA Health Policy Blog: "One thing is for sure, Obamacare relies on tax revenue that is far riskier and volatile than its framers anticipated. Hopefully this will make the repeal of this universally reviled tax easier to accomplish."
 

Political Competition Drives Bad Fiscal Decisions

Every politician proclaims they will fight for lower taxes and a better life for everyone and it won't cost us a penny more. What's worse is the public seems to believe it every time this nonsense is dumped on the public. Politicians fighting for votes will do and say anything to gain an advantage. That this will change everything for the worst doesn't enter the discussion.

The best example of this is Mr Obama's rhetoric in 2007 and 2008 with his "hope and change" speeches and how his administration will be totally transparent. Once in office, of course it was all about politics and how he is able to 'change' the American dream into a nightmare.

He has succeeded in dividing the population into warring classes, those that believe they deserve more as against those that believe everyone should earn a living to the best of their abilities rather then wait for others to give them what they want.

Unfortunately many among us didn't understand the ideology of Mr Obama clearly enough to see his intentions and there by reelected him to continue his " fundamentally changing" America from a representative republic into a progressive socialist democracy.

Study: Political Competition Leads to Fiscal Irresponsibility decisions
Source: Steve Eide, "Does democracy cause pension mismanagement?" Public Sector Inc., August 21, 2014

August 26, 2014

Stephen Eide, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, reports on a new study from Sutirtha Bagchi at the University of Michigan. Bagchi sought to analyze the source of fiscal irresponsibility: is it more likely to arise in blue states or red states? In fact, Bagchi found that the places that were highly competitive at the ballot box were far more likely to have fiscally irresponsible pension plans.

According to Eide, Bagchi's report studied municipalities in Pennsylvania, taking 2,000 pension plans and comparing them with the votes that the political parties received in each locality in state and national races from 1980 to 2009.

What did he find? Communities that were more politically competitive had the least responsible pension plans; they offered high benefits with high discount rates (which clouds actual costs) and had much lower actuarial funding ratios (the ratio of assets compared to liabilities).

Bagchi concluded, "[P]olitical competition systematically alters the behavior of politicians when in office and induces them to make decisions that are sub-optimal for society in the long run." Politicians may offer extensive pension benefits while keeping taxes low in order to curry favor with voters and public employees, for example, but this only keeps pensions underfunded.

Eide notes that the study was only one of local Pennsylvania governments. However, according to Bagchi, the results in Pennsylvania municipalities are also applicable at the state-level. When he analyzed pension plans in Wisconsin over the two decades from 1989 to 2009, Bagchi reports finding that "as the level of political competition in a state goes up, the actuarial funded ratio of plans offered by that state declines."
 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top Military General Greene Buried With Honors : Mr Obama Puts Out On 16

To understand why Mr Obama didn't go to the funeral of General Greene, you have to understand it's not about what's right or moral, it's about him, it's about the essence of the progressive liberal agenda, the ideology of power centered in the hands of the few that dictate rules and regulations for survival, for getting by day by day while the elite few live the good life. The Royals.
 
If you remember your history from 1776, England was out of touch with the American way of thinking, liberty and individual freedom from overseers. Progressive socialist liberal democrats have lost the dream of the pursuit of prosperity. Life at the top is about others providing for their well being. This is similar to those at the bottom of the life cycle except they are powerless to demand obedience from the masses like the royals at the top.
 
It's shameless and embarrassing for our country when the world sees the leader of the free world, commanding the most powerful military in the world can't find the time to attend the passing of a two Star General in time of war.
 
Two star Major General Harold Greene was killed in Afghanistan on August 8, 2014 while serving his country in pride for 34 years. As of 1972, he was the highest ranking officer in the military killed in action since the Vietnam war.  President Obama has not mentioned anything in regards to this highly decorated soldier yet he spoke highly of Robin Williams. He was buried August 14 in the Arlington National Cemetary. Neither the President, Vice President, Secretary of State nor Secretary of Defense attended the funeral. President Obama was on vacation, playing golf at Martha’s Vineyard. No flags were ordered to half mask yet they were for Whitney Houston.  I find this very offensive and disrespectful to the veterans who have served our great country. But then again, why does this not surprise me.
Do what you want with this email but I am sending it on.
 
David Eads
USMC 1971-1973

Vougher Programs In N Carolina Struck Down : Activism? Judges & Unions?

Where is the North Carolina's government officials that can change the law to provide all of these children with a good education? Why not allow what works as against what doesn't, like public education.

Is this just more judicial activism? Progressive democrats and teachers unions deciding what is best for the poor and disadvantaged? I thought the democrats were all about the poor and disadvantaged and the Republicans hating the poor and disadvantaged? Are the democrats lying to us?  dah!

Where's the outrage?

Judge Strikes Down North Carolina's Voucher Program
Source: Anne Blythe and Jane Stancill, "NC to appeal ruling banning taxpayer money for private schools," News and Observer, August 21, 2014; Matthew Burns and Laura Leslie, "Judge rules NC school voucher program unconstitutional," WRAL, August 22, 2014.

August 25, 2014

A judge in North Carolina has ruled the state's school voucher program unconstitutional. According to Judge Robert Hobgood, allowing public funds to go toward private and religious schools is unconstitutional under North Carolina law.

Seventy-one of North Carolina's school districts sued the state for implementing its voucher program.
  • The program would have provided low-income families whose children are enrolled in public schools with up to $4,200 annually (known as Opportunity Scholarships) to send their children to a private school.
  • According to the News and Observer, parents in North Carolina had filed more than 5,500 applications seeking vouchers for their children, and the state had made $10 million available for 2,400 student spots.
  • With the ruling, the program will not be implemented.
According to Elizabeth McDuffie of North Carolina's Educational Assistance Authority (the entity in charge of the voucher program), over 1,800 students had already accepted their Opportunity Scholarships for the upcoming school year.

North Carolina intends to appeal the decision.
 

Private Charity Success Story : Government Programs Are Failures



Private assistance programs are based on what works and what doesn't to help those in need. Government programs that refuse to be reformed that are failures are supported for a reason as the ideology of government support is founded on that the individual is not capable of self control and the freedom to choose outcomes.

Government support programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security are all 'third rail' programs that will not be reformed to make them functional, they are designed and supported to keep those in need they way they are to maintain the voter base that keeps progressive democrat politicians in power.

Every time the proposal comes to the floor of congress to reform these programs it is defeated and those that say the system is dying, trillions underfunded, are demonized and verbally attacked as haters of the elderly and the poor. Go figure.

A Private Charity Success Story
Source: Michael D. Tanner, "Less Welfare, More Charity," Cato Institute, August 20, 2014.

August 25, 2014

Every day, private charities are proving that they can help the poor get back on their feet, without the help of government, writes Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

Tanner points to the Doe Fund as an example. In 1985, businessman George McDonald began providing New York City's homeless with free meals, yet he became dismayed when the same recipients continued to appear, week after week. As Tanner says, McDonald was solving hunger, but he was not bringing people out of poverty. Undeterred, McDonald created the "Ready, Willing, and Able" program (also known as the Doe Fund):
  • Still operating today, the fund has four centers in New York City and one in Philadelphia. At any one time, the Doe Fund is helping 700 people.
  • Participation in the program requires a minimum of 30 hours of work each week in one of the Doe Fund's businesses. (The Fund has businesses that clean the streets, provide pest control services and cook.)
  • With work, a participant receives pay above the minimum wage, and he is eligible for a raise. If a participant owes child support, the program requires him to pay it.
The program aims to transition participants into the workforce, and it has been successful. Additionally, a study by Harvard University concluded that the ex-convicts in the Doe Fund program had a recidivism rate that was 60 percent lower than similarly situated individuals.

Americans, writes Tanner, are more than willing to help their fellow man in need. Private charity is more effective than government charity because it gives recipients tools to move up and out of poverty. The United States has continued to pour more and more funds into welfare programs, with little to show for it, explains Tanner, because the welfare state lacks the right incentives to push people to become self-reliant.
 

Community Medical Care Worked : ObamaCare Destroys the Individual

Goodness, individuals actually believing they are capable of taking care of their own needs and those that can't were cared for by the community. But as this article points out, progressive socialism moved in and destroyed the idea of individual freedom to decide outcomes.

ObamaCare is only the worst of government elites programs to come our way to take control from the individual placing it in the hands of those that believe they are the smartest in the room and deserve the power to do all things to others and for others.

ObamaCare will ensure individual freedom will be crushed and dependency the new norm. Know then to as a result, 'poverty will come on us like a thief in the night'.

How Medical Benefits Used to Work
Source: Greg Scandlen, "Safe Haven: How Mutual Aid Can Protect Families in Times of Trouble," Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, August 2014; Greg Scandlen, "How We Once Provided Medical Benefits," NCPA Health Policy Blog, August 19, 2014.

August 25, 2014

In a paper published by the Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, Greg Scandlen explains how medical care has changed over history in both the United States and Britain.

Historically, medical care in communities in Britain was provided by mutual aid organizations, who cooperated to provide benefits for their members. These groups dominated the social welfare scene in nineteenth-century. Similar fraternal aid societies developed in the United States, first in the colonies and into the twentieth century. These groups emphasized virtues of thrift and self-reliance, and they established orphanages, hospitals, homes and schools. Their biggest activity was providing life insurance, though others focused on providing medical benefits to their members.

What happened? The Progressive Movement of the early twentieth century gave rise to new ideas of the proper role of government; Progressives saw the government, not the individual, as the answer to society's problems. As Scandlen writes on the NCPA's Health Policy Blog, "The idea that common workmen could provide for their own needs was offensive to those who thought only an educated elite could order the affairs of society." The values of mutual aid and self-help, Scandlen explains, were "replaced with newer virtues of charity and service."

Legal and policy developments contributed to the decline of these societies:
  • Fraternal aid groups were gradually replaced as workers' compensation laws came into being and insurance regulators began regulating their life insurance benefits.
  • Additionally, as employer-sponsored insurance rose in popularity (and gained preferential tax treatment), mutual aid group members were placed at a financial disadvantage.
  • As the state began to offer more and more welfare benefits, the services provided by these organizations became less and less relevant.
Today's welfare system is a mess, with unfunded liabilities that cannot be met. According to Scandlen, "As the reality of our inability to keep these promises hits in the next few decades, the old models of neighbors helping neighbors may come back into vogue."
 

Wisconsin's Medicaid Policy Attacked : Common Sense Verses ObamaCare

Wisconsin used common sense to make sure everyone that needs it has access to Medicaid now and into the future as Scott Walker did with is Act 10 to solve the deficit of $3 billion dollars. It works.

 The federal government sees the use of common sense as a road block to dependency and poverty, the true nature of ObamaCare.

Another Bogus Attack on Wisconsin Medicaid
Source: Devon Herrick, "Another Bogus Attack on Wisconsin Medicaid," NCPA Health Policy Blog, August 22, 2014.

August 25, 2014

Opponents continue to heap criticism on the state of Wisconsin for its refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, insisting that the state is losing millions of dollars as a result. But over at the NCPA's Health Policy Blog, Senior Fellow Devon Herrick explains why Wisconsin took the right route in restructuring its Medicaid program.

The Affordable Care Act encourages states to expand Medicaid eligibility to include adults up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL); in return, the federal government promises to pay 100 percent of the costs through 2016, dropping to 90 percent by 2019.

Wisconsin already had a generous Medicaid system -- most residents up to 200 percent of the FPL were eligible for the state's Medicaid coverage known as BadgerCare, and pregnant women and children had access to the program at even higher income thresholds. But as the low-income uninsured flooded the program, the state had to cap enrollment.

Faced with these structural problems, Wisconsin chose not to accept the federal government's offer to expand to 138 percent of the FPL. Instead, Wisconsin reformed BadgerCare to cover its residents up to 100 percent of the FPL. Individuals above the poverty threshold were transitioned into the Exchanges, where they could purchase subsidized private coverage (subsidies in the exchanges are available up to 400 percent of the FPL).

This offer appears generous, but Medicaid enrollees tend to fare worse than patients with private insurance, says Herrick, and access to care would only become more limited if the state's Medicaid rolls are flooded with new enrollees. By moving Wisconsinites into private insurance, they will likely have better access to doctors. On average, Wisconsin pays physicians who participate in Medicaid just half the rate that private insurers would typically reimburse, making doctors less willing to treat Medicaid patients.
 

Seniors Flee Country : Return as Illegal Immigrants?

Has it come to this - is our country so screwed that our own citizens are immigrating to Latin America so they can come back as illegal immigrants to just survive the Obama administration and the other progressive socialist liberal democrats?

Maybe this is a little tough in cheek, but the picture explains a lot about the mess that our country has become as the progressive democrats try to cement perpetual power.

Never forget, the democrats will use and abuse everyone they can no matter who they are or what they are, know it's always about getting and keeping power to control outcomes 'by any means necessary'.

The means always justifies the ends.

(Author Unknown)
The Coast Guard intercepted a boatload of people off the Texas coast today.
 
This placed the Coast Guard in an awkward position, as the boat was not heading to the US, but towards Mexico and Central America.
 
Another surprise finding was the people were white American retirement age seniors.  Their claim was that they were trying to get to Central America or Southern Mexico, as they wanted to return to the US as illegal immigrants.  Then they would be entitled to far more benefits than they were receiving as legitimate American retirees.
 
It is believed the Coast Guard gave them food, water and fuel and assisted them on their journey.
 
We are booking on the next boat out.  Let me know if you want to join us.
 

White House Leadership : Deciding In Fear of Consequences

If you wondered why there is so much trouble in America with the economy, immigration, health care, education and others, look no further then the White House.

If you wondered why we don't have a foreign policy other then retreating from engaging our enemies and abandoning our allies, wonder no longer.

Why the riots in Ferguson are uncompromisingly, wonder no longer.

It's called a total lack of leadership. We have no one in the White House that has the courage to decide what is right and what is wrong.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Colorado Has Tiger by The Tail : Pot Porblem Rampage

As this is rocket science or something? This just one more failure of common sense and the new the new norm of 'live free, love hard and die young'. Of course the ideology of progressive socialist democrats that demand everyone has the 'right' for self destruction and that someone else will be responsible for the consequences of failure lives on.

The future is easy to see, when the consequences for the legalization are out of control, the progressives will demonize the Republicans for not having good ideas on why this is happening and how to fix the problem. The attacks will be unending.

7 Harmful Side Effects Pot Legalization Has Caused in Colorado
Cully Stimson/

There is more bad news out of Colorado regarding the negative impact of marijuana legalization.
As I reported a few weeks ago, some professors published a peer-reviewed article on the negative social costs to outright legalization. I noted that although overall traffic fatalities in Colorado have gone down since 2007, they went up by 100 percent for operators testing positive for marijuana—from 39 in 2007 to 78 in 2012. (Colorado legalized marijuana for medical usage in 2009, before legalizing marijuana for other uses in 2012.) Furthermore, in 2007, those pot-positive drivers represented only 7 percent of total fatalities in Colorado, but in 2012 they represented 16 percent of total Colorado fatalities. Now, there is even more proof from Colorado that legalizing pot, as I have argued before, is terrible public policy.

This new report paints an even bleaker picture of what is happening in Colorado since it legalized the possession, sale, and consumption of marijuana. According to the new report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area entitled “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact,” the impact of legalized marijuana in Colorado has resulted in:
1. The majority of DUI drug arrests involve marijuana and 25 to 40 percent were marijuana alone.
2. In 2012, 10.47 percent of Colorado youth ages 12 to 17 were considered current marijuana users compared to 7.55 percent nationally. Colorado ranked fourth in the nation, and was 39 percent higher than the national average.
3. Drug-related student suspensions/expulsions increased 32 percent from school years 2008-09 through 2012-13, the vast majority were for marijuana violations.
4. In 2012, 26.81 percent of college age students were considered current marijuana users compared to 18.89 percent nationally, which ranks Colorado third in the nation and 42 percent above the national average.
5. In 2013, 48.4 percent of Denver adult arrestees tested positive for marijuana, which is a 16 percent increase from 2008.
6. From 2011 through 2013 there was a 57 percent increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits.
7. Hospitalizations related to marijuana has increased 82 percent since 2008.
The report includes other data about the negative effect of legalizing marijuana in Colorado, including marijuana-related exposure to children, treatment, the flood of marijuana in and out of Colorado, the dangers of pot extraction labs and other disturbing factual trends.

Don’t expect this data to impact the push to legalize pot in Colorado, or elsewhere for that matter. Big pot is big business, and the push to legalize is really all about profit, despite inconvenient facts.
Drug policy should be based on hard science and reliable data. And the data coming out of Colorado points to one and only one conclusion: the legalization of marijuana in the state is terrible public policy.

Progressive Alinsky Attacks on Perry Sputter : Democrats Left Wondering

It's just the Saul Alinsky way - isolate and then demonize the character of the victim. The progressive socialist democrat vote getting model is and always has been, 'by any means necessary' and you have to understand, they really mean 'by any means necessary'.

There is nothing off the table. If you understand this then the actions of the IRS, DOJ, FBI, DHS and nearly all other agencies that are controlled by democrats in the federal government are poised to attack any and all opposition to their agenda and ideology of socialism.

The use of federal agencies supported by tax dollars to attack the citizens is of no concern.

And the biggest organizations that are front and center in the war on common sense, the truth and the American dream, the main stream media that are fully invested in the ideology of power and control.

Online Education's New Mobels : Innovation Over Establishment

Education is moving forward. Even if this online model for learning is flawed in some aspects, this is inspiring to see innovation and new thinking that will be the forerunners in developing how our kids educated.

The public school system and many universities are not up to the job of education, they seem to be more interested in make establishing and solidifying their own institutions rather then focusing on education. For these established colleges and universities this is all about the money and self gratification that comes with it.

Then to much of the failure of the current and established educational systems is it's institutional bias and ideology, progressive socialist liberalism. Given the cost and success rate of graduates, little is left to the imagination for anything that's paying attention or cares.


A New Online College Model
Source: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, "Minerva Is The Future Of Education. Here's What's Good About It And What's Not So Good," Forbes.com, August 21, 2014.

August 22, 2014

The rising costs of college (in large part thanks to federal aid policies) and the declining value of a college degree have prompted many discussions about the fate of traditional colleges and universities.

Minerva is a new university that is seeking to change the face of higher education. It offers not only online classes, but a technology platform that allows students to join in on discussions, explains Forbes contributor Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry.

Minerva does not accept federal student aid. It keeps its costs down, offers low tuition and admits students from around the world.
  • Minerva's technology platform will create small-group seminars that allow students to join in on classroom discussions from wherever they are.
  • The professor can use the platform to give students on-the-spot quizzes and provide them with other material.
By keeping tuition costs down, students that would otherwise be unable to afford school can attend Minerva, as can international students who want a Western-style liberal arts education without the price tag that comes with a traditional liberal arts college.

Gobry notes a few problems with the Minerva model. He is concerned that the school's focus is on teaching students "how" to think, a model which he says overlooks the basic necessity of a liberal arts education -- teaching students "things to know," such as Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, the Federalist Papers and de Tocqueville.
 

Common Core Overreach : Parents Demand Local Control

As parents become aware of the problems, failures, of Common Core Standards, they are beginning to fight back. This is good news as any time the people understand the overreach of the federal government is a bad thing, it's a winner for everyone, not just the kids.

New Education Poll: Parents Want Local Control
Source: William J. Bushaw and Valerie J. Calderon, "46th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools," Phi Delta Kappa, September 2014.

August 22, 2014

A new poll from Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup surveyed 1,000 American adults to gauge the public's attitude towards the public school system. According to the report accompanying the poll, the results indicated that most Americans are unsupportive of public education initiatives created by the federal government. For example:
  • Fifty-six percent of Americans say that local school boards should have the strongest influence in determining what is taught in public schools.
  • Sixty percent of Americans oppose Common Core Standards, concerned that the standards will not be able to accommodate the unique needs of local communities.
  • Seventy percent of Americans support public charter schools.
One of the biggest issues in the Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) poll was Common Core.
  • While 62 percent of respondents were unfamiliar with the Common Core Standards in PDK's 2013 poll, 81 percent of Americans in this year's poll reported having heard about it. Forty-seven percent said that they had heard at least a "fair amount" about the standards.
  • Sixty percent of Americans were opposed to the standards. Of the 33 percent who favored them, most indicated that they believed the standards would promote student learning regardless of where the student was enrolled in school.
The poll also delved into challenges facing America's public schools. When asked about those challenges, 36 percent of public school parents pointed to lack of financial support as being the main problem in their public school community.  Ten percent cited the difficulty in securing good teachers, while 9 percent said that concerns about education standards were the top issue facing their schools. Another 9 percent of public school parents cited drug use, fighting, gangs and a lack of discipline as the biggest issues facing their school communities.
 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tallest Flag Pole in America : Freedom's Symbol for All to See

America's tallest flag pole representing the greatest country in the world. What an inspiration. Here is a symbol that represents the very foundation of our country; God, Family and pride in country.

And what better place to have such monument to freedom then in the heartland, Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

http://mortenson.wistia.com/medias/tejnwpitig

Kamikaze Attack Navy Ship :1945 : America Fights Back

Lest we forget what has gone before - Freedom is not free, someone had to pay the price. If we now believe the price is too high for the privilege of having freedom, then except without complaint the consequences of having others determine you who you are and what you will be.
 
Now, that's not so bad, right?
 
Watch this video and then try and understand what is at stake given what is happening to our country both at home and over seas in 2014.
 
Great patriotic heroes! 
Subject: Kamikaze Attack in 1945
 
About the best naval footage ever shot by a Navy cameraman. The camera was in the gun turret under attack. Those Japanese pilots had to be totally insane.
 

Job Creation for Prosperity : 5.2 Million Jobs Each Month Needed

The politicians to the man or woman claim they are all about job creation, but when it comes time to stand and deliver they all gather in their separate groups and vote like they are told, especially in the United States Senate.

The of House of Representatives as produced more the 350 bills for the Senate to consider, many for the creation of jobs, and then give an up or down vote, but Harry Reid who controls the Senate refuses to bring any of these bills to the floor for a vote.

Harry wants to be sure the progressive democrats don't have to go on record showing the public how they voted as it might hurt the reelection chances. That the public interest is hurt is of no consequence. This is about the ideology of progressive liberal democrats, the getting and keeping power, nothing else.

We Need More Job Creation
Source: Edward P. Lazear, "Job Turnover Data Show Lots Of Churning, Little Job Creation," Investor's Business Daily, August 19, 2014.

August 22, 2014

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) has been released, a report that provides hiring and separation details for each month. According to Edward Lazear, fellow at the Hoover Institution, the report makes clear that the United States has yet to recover from the economic downturn.

Lazear explains what a typical JOLTS report might show:
  • A month that shows a gain of 100,000 jobs would generally reflect 5.1 million new hires and 5 million separations.
  • In June 2009, at the worst point of the recession, jobs decreased by 500,000. During that month, there were 3.6 million new hires.
In short, an economy tends to experience a great deal of turnover, even during periods of weak growth. When employment falls during downturns, Lazear says, the culprit is often a reduction in hiring, not necessarily an increase in firings.
So where does the United States stand in terms of hiring and firing?
  • According to the latest JOLTS, hiring picked up to 4.8 million in June, the highest since February 2008.
  • During the recession, the typical month saw 4.2 million new hires.
  • Prior to the recession, hiring averaged 5.1 million monthly from 2000 to 2007, reaching 5.5 million per month at its peak.
Significantly, Lazear points out that the U.S. labor force has grown since pre-recession years; it is 8 percent larger than it was 13 years ago. In order to get the economy on track, the country would need to see 5.2 million new hires each month.

NCPA Senior Fellow Pam Villarreal noted that there is another feature of today's job creation that needs to be noticed: the increase in new jobs has largely taken place in sectors like retail, hospitality and food services, which typically pay lower wages.
 

Light Rail Insanity Moves Forward : Dam The Facts

More bad news from the trenches on light rail transportation opponents. Despite the reports that the PSTA in Florida has a track record of failure on all fronts, they demand more money to fund more failure.

In the face of reality and mountains of facts that point to the conclusion light rail does not work where it is tried, and in the case of the PSTA, their entire record is on display for all to see, they seemingly are able to ignore reality without the least bit of consideration for the facts on the ground.

This is about taking advantage of a public that does not pay attention to their collective surroundings, and who much of the time, complain about their taxes being too high.

I wonder who will get rich and who will get screwed, again.  dah -

Cheaper to Buy New Cars than Build Light Rail
Source: Randal O'Toole, "Review of Greenlight Pinellas," Cato Institute, August 14, 2014

August 22, 2014

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) serves Pinellas County, Florida. Currently funded by property taxes, the PSTA has proposed to switch its funding source to a sales tax. The switch would make tax revenues double, giving PSTA the funds to build a light-rail line and make its bus system larger. The proposal, writes Randal O'Toole of the Cato Institute, is unnecessarily expensive: light rail is inferior to bus service, which can transport passengers more comfortably for much less money.

PSTA does not have an impressive track record when it comes to predicting travel needs:
  • Between 1991 and 2005, it increased its bus service by 46 percent yet gained no new riders.
  • Moreover, there was a 17 percent decline in passenger miles.
  • Average bus occupancy dropped by 44 percent.
The transit authority says it needs the tax revenue to deal with a growth in bus ridership that took place between 2008 and 2009. However, as of 2012, bus occupancy in Pinellas County was an average of 8 riders per bus, below the national average of 11 riders per bus. According to O'Toole, these numbers suggest that PSTA does not need the tax increase.

Significantly, the PSTA proposal is so off-balance in its costs and benefits that it would not have qualified for federal funding under last year's Department of Transportation rules.

O'Toole provides a shocking statistic: Building PSTA's light-rail line would be so expensive that it would be cheaper to give every new round-trip commuter that would otherwise use the light-rail system a new Toyota Prius, every single year for three decades.
 

Friday, August 22, 2014

School Choice Surges In Flordia : Freedom to Choose

If anyone needs further proof of how free markets work, look no further then Florida and Miami-Dade county. When the general public has the opportunity to choose they will almost always make the right decisions for their families.

Freedom to choose is the very foundation of our country.

School Choice on Display in Miami-Dade
Source: Christina Viega, "'Choice schools' become the norm in Miami-Dade," Miami Herald, August 17, 2014.

August 21, 2014

Florida's push to inject more choice into its education system is on display in Miami-Dade County where more than half of the county's students will start the 2013-2014 school year in schools that they themselves were able to choose.

Christina Veiga in the Miami Herald reports that the growth of charter schools in the Miami-Dade region has injected competition into the region. 35,000 students were enrolled in charters in Miami-Dade in the 2010-2011 school year, a figure that has jumped to 56,000 this year.

Notably, traditional public schools are responding -- not by opposing the growth of charters, but by competing to offer their own version of choice. Not only has the district created 52 new choice programs for the 2013-2014 school year, it has started marketing its programs to families across Florida.

In fact, most choice options in Miami-Dade are the district's magnet schools, and the programs are unique:
  • One of Miami-Dade's magnet schools is Biotech, a program with laboratories that even some colleges do not have. It partners with scientists at Zoo Miami and Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden to give students the chance to work outside of the classroom environment, and students are expected to conduct their own research projects.
  • Another of the district's magnet programs is iTech. Students wear business attire as teachers train them for business careers in the technology industry, and they have the chance to use 3D printers, drones and advanced computer systems.

The district is offering 500 choice programs this year, up from less than 300 in 2007. Many parents have enrolled their children in different types of programs in the area -- whether magnets or charters -- as they have sought stronger academic experiences, smaller classes and programs aimed at their students' interests. This is consistent with what John Merrifield, NCPA senior fellow, has explained about school choice: it offers students options that are tailored to their own interests, and the resulting engagement leads to better learning and a better classroom experience for students as well as for educators.
 

California's Drought & Economic Disasters : Decades of Democrat Control

California is the poster child for progressive liberalism that is the ideology of controlling democrats and has been for decades. Little wonder California is headed for collapse.

As the drought moves forward and productive people leave the state for greener pastures due to high and getting higher taxes to feed the every increasing population that demands more support and less productivity, it isn't hard to see how this is a losing battle where the number of unproductive keeps increasing because of the productive are decreasing.

And if that's not enough, the voters believe there really isn't an end to the flow of economic support for being unproductive as California politicians like Jerry Brown ignores reality. Why wouldn't the voters believe all is well. Jerry is building a high speed train.

And still more bad news, voters keep reelecting Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer. Where is the common sense in that?

Immigration and Drought Threaten California's Economy
Source: Thomas Del Beccaro, "California's Economic Collision Course: Immigration and Water," Forbes.com, August 19, 2014.

August 21, 2014

California is facing two major problems, writes Thomas Del Beccaro for Forbes: immigration and water.

With more than 38 million residents, California has seen population growth due to immigration. There are an equal amount of Latinos and non-Hispanic whites in California, and the population is expected to reach up to 50 million in just two decades. California desperately needs job creation to deal with this influx of people, as the state is financially strained:
  • Twelve percent of the United States population lives in California, yet, staggeringly, over 30 percent of America's welfare recipients are located in the state.
  • California has over $1.1 trillion in debt, largely the product of its pension system.
  • Taxes in California are 42 percent higher than in Texas. Just recently, the state passed yet another tax increase.
  • In an attempt to combat global warming, California imposes a huge gas tax on consumers. A 15-cent gas tax increase will take effect in 2015.
If this economic situation wasn't bad enough, the state has also spent much of its time in drought. Currently in the third year of a drought, California expects its agricultural industry to lose a whopping $2.2 billion just this year thanks to the lack of rain, in addition to losing 17,000 jobs.

But rather than focus on these problems, Beccaro writes that California's Governor Jerry Brown has focused his energies on bringing high speed rail to the state. He said no to an $11.3 billion water bond proposal (insisting it was too expensive), yet has sought $68 billion for high speed rail. Eventually, he agreed to just a $2.5 billion bond for water storage.

California must deal with its financial problems and water issues, writes Beccaro. If it does not, the number of people on its welfare rolls will continue to climb, only adding to its massive debt.