The Locker Room

July 23, 2010

New CJ Exclusive

Posted by Rick Henderson at 4:52 PM

The latest Carolina Journal Exclusive is Anthony Greco's video report on the General Assembly's decision to underfund the pension plan for teachers and state employees.

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ObamaCare vs. kids

Posted by Rick Henderson at 4:50 PM

Insurers are scrambling to compensate for the higher costs the new federal health care law will impose. The latest victim: individual coverage for children. The Associated Press reports that large insurance companies in Florida and Oklahoma — preparing for regulations that will affect policies written after September — have stopped offering coverage to kids as a result of the law's requirement that new policies can't charge higher premiums for children with pre-existing conditions.

"Insurers are worried that parents will wait until kids get sick to sign them up, saddling the companies with unpredictable costs," the AP reports.

It's estimated that children's insurance policies make up 8 percent of the individual market.

When backers of the bill said it was all about the children, they weren't kidding.

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New Carolina Journal Online exclusive

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:46 PM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Anthony Greco's report on the underfunding of North Carolina's state pension plan.

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What's your share of the American government's debt?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:32 PM

If you're an average American citizen, it's $40,000. That's according to a new study from Bruce Yandle for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

From a news release on the study:

In “Everyman’s Deficit,” Dr. Bruce Yandle explains that each American citizen owns a $40,000 share of the nation's debt. What’s worse, this figure does not include the significant unfunded liabilities (such as the debts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) that taxpayers may have to bear in the future.  But the federal debt doesn’t belong to Washington: the debt and the deficit belong to families like the Everymans.

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Municipal bond meltdown

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 1:27 PM

Meck Deck highlights the problem in Charlotte and across the country. Excessive borrowing now has local governments praying for another federal bailout. Instead, the federal government subsidized more borrowing with Build America Bonds. The normally prudent Girard Miller suggests even more federal guarantees for municipal bonds.

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A reason to go to Rhinebeck this summer

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 1:09 PM

The small town of Rhinebeck, NY, about 100 miles north of NYC, is getting a lot of attention these days. Apparently Chelsea Clinton has decided to have her wedding there. But the fact is that there is an important reason to spotlight Rhinebeck this, and every, summer. It is home to the Dutches County Fair, which is the best county fair you'll ever attend--better than most state fairs. This year the festivities take place from August 24-29. So while you're in the area for Chelsea's nuptials, as I know many Locker Room readers will be, go over to the Rhinebeck fairgrounds ad have some real fun.

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Summa Cum Touchy-Feely

Posted by Jay Schalin at 12:27 AM

Despite all the "draconian" cuts to the budget that supposedly have UNC staffers working day and night to handle the extra work forced on them by layoffs, it seems that Chapel Hill's admissions staff has plenty of time to waste.  Jay Matthews of the Washington Post waxes glowingly about a research study done by a couple of UNC admissions people, for which male applicants were asked to make a collage of pictures about their expectations of college. This supposedly yielded deep insights into the young men's minds. Yet there is no mention of any of the guys including pictures from Playboy's "Girls of the ACC" or other, similar fare in their collages. I therefore doubt that they got the true picture of what 17- and 18-year-old men expect from their college experience. 

Matthews also recommends doing away with SATs and essay tests on applications, which are "so 1997." He doesn't quite recommend replacing them with finger-painting, but perhaps the thought just didn't occur to him.

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New Carolina Journal Online exclusive

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:56 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features part two of a report about N.C. congressional candidates' positions on allowing the "Bush tax cuts" to expire. 

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Where does NC rank on worker freedom?

Posted by George Leef at 11:04 AM

The answer, according to a new study by the Alliance for Worker Freedom is just middling. The state only gets a "C" in the analysis. There are lots of F grades. The best state turns out to be Utah.

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Government expands its subprime business, prepares for IPO

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:42 AM

It's deja vu all over again in Detroit. From the Financial Times:

General Motors has agreed to buy AmeriCredit, a Texas-based vehicle finance company, for $3.5bn in cash as a way of boosting sales to non-prime car and truck buyers.

So a company that the government owns 72 percent of is getting back into the subprime lending business. Good. Glad we've learned the lessons about risky loans.

Most reports focus on the strategic value of the acquisition to rebuild a captive finance arm and restart leasing. Let's look at GM's success in paying back money so far.

Not as bad as the subprime siblings Fannie and Freddie, but not reassuring. And the government still owns 56 percent of the Ally Bank (aka GMAC) while GM itself owns another 10 percent. Definitely worth some questions.

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Historical lesson regarding Fannie and Freddie

Posted by George Leef at 10:27 AM

In today's Wall Street Journal, Alex Pollock has this excellent piece in which he ponders how Andrew Jackson would have dealt with Fannie and Freddie. His answer: Jackson would have axed them, just as he did the Second Bank of the United States.

The parallels Pollock brings up are just delightful, if rather "inconvenient" for politicians in the party that claims Jackson as one of its founders. That's especially so in view of the complete absence of anything in the "financial reform" bill just passed that will do anything to stop the waste of taxpayer money on these ravenous political pets.

We don't need to "reform" Fannie and Freddie. We need to cut off the flow of taxpayer money.

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JLF experts brief legislative candidates on top issues they'll face in 2011

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:56 AM

The John Locke Foundation research staff offered a policy briefing Thursday to more than 20 candidates seeking seats in the next General Assembly.

Watch the entire 1:22:30 opening session by clicking play below.

To see selected segments from the presentation, follow the links provided below:

Greeting and 2010 N.C. legislative recap (John Hood and Becki Gray)

Carolina Journal (Rick Henderson)

JLF research principles and local government issues (Michael Sanera)

Education (Terry Stoops)

Property rights and energy policy (Daren Bakst)

Privatization, ABC reform, and deregulation (Jon Sanders)

Budget challenges and transparency (Joseph Coletti)

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Do we keep John Galt off campus?

Posted by George Leef at 09:54 AM

In today's Pope Center piece Jay Schalin writes about the flap over the fact that some colleges (including some in NC) have accepted funding from the BB&T Foundation, conditioned upon the creation of courses where Ayn Rand's philosophy of laissez-faire capitalism is considered. Some profs are objecting on the grounds that the faculty should have control over the curriculum. Jay sees such objections as selective indignation because they haven't been heard to complain when outside funds are accepted to support courses that are congenial to what Ludwig von Mises called the anticapitalist mentality.

This is the marketplace of ideas at work and there's no harm in it.

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Latest dispatches from the campaign trail

Posted by David N. Bass at 09:30 AM

  • Public Policy Polling: The enthusiasm gap between the parties is big, but not as big as during special elections in Massachusetts and Virginia in 2009.

  • Polls diverge in the Richard Burr, Elaine Marshall U.S. Senate race.

  • Republicans and Democrats vying for N.C. House and Senate seats are in a virtual dead heat in campaign cash on hand.

  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans to run ads for Larry Kissell, D-8th.

  • Veep Joe Biden calls GOP “out of step” during a Chapel Hill fundraiser.

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Praise for Basnight's Lone Cedar Café

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:30 AM

Greg Cox, food dude at the News & Observer, gives Senator Marc Basnight's Lone Cedar Café a glowing review.

In other news, the General Assembly cafeteria has been renamed the Greg Cox Café.

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:04 AM

There was a little good, a little more bad, and plenty of ugly in the recently concluded 2010 session of the North Carolina General Assembly. Becki Gray offers her assessment of the session in the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Speaking of this year’s session, Rick Henderson will address one of its last controversies: the free-press fiasco linked to UNC Public Television and the state’s tussle with Alcoa over property along the Yadkin River.

Joe Coletti will explain how economic uncertainty is slowing North Carolina’s recovery from the recent slump, while Terry Stoops will react to some lawmakers’ desire to raise the state’s compulsory public school attendance age to 17 or 18.

Plus you’ll hear the pros and cons of giving long-term minimum wage workers the first shot at college scholarships funded by the state lottery.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:55 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features a conversation with John Hood about the state's transportation spending priorities.

Becki Gray's guest Daily Journal dissects the recently completed 2010 legislative session.

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