The Locker Room

January 18, 2011

GOP trusted as much as Obama on health care reform

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:57 PM

From the Washington Post/ABC News poll:

Health care reform
                           Both    Neither     No
           Obama   Reps   (vol.)   (vol.)    opinion
1/16/11     42      42       1       10         5
12/12/10    51      38       1        6         5
4/25/10     49      39       1       10         1
2/8/10      46      41       1        9         2
12/13/09    46      39       1       13         2
11/15/09    50      37       1       10         2
9/12/09     48      36       1       12         3
7/18/09     54      34       1       10         1
6/21/09     55      27       2       11         4

Majorities also said the health care law would hurt the economy, kill jobs, and increase the deficit.

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New CJTV exclusive: Raleigh outdoor smoking ban moves forward

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 6:02 PM

Anthony Greco's latest exclusive documents the Raleigh City Council's decision to move forward with an outdoor smoking ban in city-owned parks and open spaces.

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Meet the new boss ... ?

Posted by Rick Henderson at 4:21 PM

Incoming House Speaker Thom Tillis has named former Speaker Harold Brubaker to run that body's Appropriations Committee.

In case you've forgotten about the former speaker's exploits, you can refresh your memory here or here.

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Cato tax expert offers 'Cut and Cap' strategy

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:20 PM

As U.S. House Republicans look for spending reforms they can tie to their support of an increase in the federal debt limit, Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute has some suggestions.

I suggest a “Cut and Cap” strategy—immediate spending cuts and a growth cap on total federal outlays.

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"...Eating our Seed Corn."

Posted by Jay Schalin at 1:39 PM

I have grown to despise the above cliche since moving to North Carolina. It seems like every public official uses it ad nauseum to describe cutting spending on education, and especially higher education. They even use it when pushing for more spending, which doesn't seem appropriate. 

Yet I haven't heard the same officials use the phrase in one case in which it is highly appropriate--the raiding of the Escheats fund principal to pay for massive increases in student financial aid. The fund, which consists largely of unclaimed estates, is in violation of state statutes, according to state fund manager Shawn Wischmeier, who spoke at a Joint Financial Aid Committee meeting today. He said that the traditional investment strategy has been to include a mix of highly liquid public equities, somewhat liquid real estate, and highly illiquid private equities. State statutes mandate that the private equities be no more than 20% of the mix, and that has not been a problem--until now.  The fund's principal has fallen from a high of $687 million in 2007 to a little more than $400 million today.  Because of this shrinkage, and because the more liquid assets are naturally the first to go, the private equities are now up to 22% of the mix. Wischmeier said he therefore must start selling off private equities, probably at a loss. He said the losses won't be too bad at first, as long as the raiding of the fund stops, but that there could be big losses in store if belts aren't tightened immediately.

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure if the seed corn analogy is best here, either. It might be better if I titled it "Fiscal Cannibalism: Eating our Own Legs."

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Walter Williams on the impact of politics

Posted by George Leef at 12:27 AM

In this column Professor Williams explains that the more a country makes decisions through politics, the more strife-ridden it will be.

This is an old point, but one that bears repeating over and over as "progressives" keep pushing for more government control.

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Sowell tackles rhetoric tied to budget 'crises'

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 12:03 AM

If you read John Hood's recent National Affairs article, you learned about the "states in crisis."

Though "crisis" seems like a pretty good word for the structural budget problems most state governments face, Thomas Sowell tackles the topic of "budget crisis rhetoric" within his latest column posted at Human Events.

Politics being what it is, we are sure to hear all sorts of doomsday rhetoric at the thought of cutbacks in government spending. The poor will be starving in the streets, to hear the politicians and the media tell it.

But the amount of money it would take to keep the poor from starving in the streets is chump change compared to how much it would take to keep on feeding unions, subsidized businesses and other special interests who are robbing the taxpayers blind.

Letting armies of government employees retire in their fifties, to live for decades on pensions larger than they were making when they were working, costs a lot more than keeping the poor from starving in the streets.

Pouring the taxpayers' money down a thousand bottomless pits of public and private boondoggles costs a lot more than keeping the poor from starving in the streets.

Bankruptcy says: "We just don't have the money." End of discussion. Bailouts say: "Give the taxpayers a little rhetoric, and a little smoke and mirrors with the book-keeping, and we can keep the party rolling."

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Learning from the Estonians

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:54 AM

Max Borders explores in his Ideas Matter update the positive impact of Estonia's free-market economic reforms:

When Estonia first tasted freedom from totalitarian rule in the early 1990s, a reluctant leader -- Mart Laar -- had only one handbook for economic policy: Milton Friedman's Free To Choose. ... Laar and his advisors remained faithful to what Laar had learned in that book. And the results have been nothing short of staggering.

Estonia is one of the most promising young economies in Europe. If they don't become too ensconced in the regulatory mazes and central banking cycles the EU creates, they will continue to flourish. As one of the freest economies in the world, according to both the Heritage and Fraser Indices on economic freedom, Estonia is a Baltic Tiger that stands to enjoy years of prosperity despite the recent global recession.

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N&O layoffs: do what we say, not what we do

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 11:48 AM

N&O business editor Mary Cornatzer reports,

The News & Observer will eliminate 20 positions across its operations as the slowly recovering economy continues to hurt ad sales.
PhantomLord responds,
Why not just raise ad rates? And subscription rates. And single issue purchase prices?

The N&O has a long held position that to prevent layoffs in government, just raise taxes.

Why not put your position into practice for your own business?

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You might be a progressive if...

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 10:20 AM find yourself worrying about global warming while standing in waste deep snow during the coldest winter in a hundred years.

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Bankruptcy > bailouts

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:53 AM

Before Washington and state capitals get too far ahead of themselves in bailing out profligate states, David Skeel provides three arguments in favor of bankruptcy.

First, the governor and his state could immediately chop the fat out of its contracts with unionized public employees, as can be done in the case of municipal bankruptcies. ...

Second, the state could reduce its bond debt, which is nearly impossible to restructure outside of bankruptcy. ...

Third, state bankruptcy could even permit a restructuring of the Cadillac pension benefits that states have promised to public employees.

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RE: Many college students learn little

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:11 AM

I highly recommend the USA Today article cited below. It includes a pretty (disturbing) pie chart titled "Time Use."

So, how do college students spend their time?

51 percent - socializing, recreating, other
24 percent - sleeping
9 percent - working, volunteering, student clubs
9 percent - attending class/lab
7 percent - studying

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Many college students learn little

Posted by George Leef at 07:57 AM

That's the point of this USA Today article reporting on the findings of a recent book, Academically Adrift.

Some students enter college eager to study, but many others enter college with scant interest in academic work. They've been lured in by easy money and the prospect of four or more years of fun -- "Beer and Circus" as Professor Murray Sperber entitled a book 10 years ago. For great numbers of young Americans, college is not so much higher education as it is LONGER education.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:54 AM

Kristy Bailey's latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive examines Gov. Beverly Perdue's incentives-heavy approach to economic development. 

John Hood's Daily Journal offers an open letter to the Republicans newly elected to lead the North Carolina General Assembly.

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