Mark Binker notes one of the more interesting pieces of today's Senate Health Care Committee vote on a proposed smoking ban. A bill that could have a major impact on the state's multibillion-dollar tobacco industry hit a snag last week because lawmakers didn't want to hurt the film industry.
A Lorillard rep made the point before senators approved the smoking ban on a split voice vote.
For more on proposed smoking bans, check out this commentary earlier this year from Becki Gray:
For some reason, this blurb about former Gov. Jim Hunt's testimony to Congress reminded me of some earlier testimony before N.C. lawmakers.
In this earlier testimony, an education advocate urged lawmakers to do a better job setting stringent standards for student performance.
I point this out not to urge more federal interference with the schools. Instead, I hope to instill a sense of caution about relying on state governments to ensure the best education programs for students.
And that is because people keep falling for the same bad ideas.
In this terribly enlightening article Doug French discusses the history of John Law's inflation scheme that the money-desperate French government latched on to after the death of Louis the Fourteenth in 1714. As you read about the avarice of the state and its impact on ordinary productive people, it's impossible not to see the parallel with the situation we face today. But in case you miss that, the author connects the dots.
Most of our 20th and 21st century presidents have had a lot in common with Louis the Fourteenth.
Residents in a number of counties are concerned that revaluations would cause taxes to go up. The problem is tied to the slumping economy. Since the revaluations are taken from property values from past years, the appraisals are higher than current market value, given the recent mortgage implosion.
Higher revaluations don't necessarily mean taxes will go up since county commissioners can set a lower rate in their budget, but many residents are still concerned.
"The citizens of the state don't need this to be taking place right now in these economic times," said Rep. Cole at the committee hearing today.
The bill now moves on to the House Finance Committee.
The latest Newsweek does its best to paint South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s fiscal conservatism as some sort of bizarre lingering affliction, or at least as a calculated attempt to pander to those crazy 2012 Republican presidential primary voters.
Still, some of Sanford’s common sense seeps through to the final version of the story:
"We can't spend our way out of a problem that was caused by too much spending," he says. "There's not a huge market for austerity in austere times, but that doesn't take away from the reality of that being where we need to go."
If you’ve seen neither his office wall nor his license plate, you might not understand the depth of John Hood’s devotion to Star Trek (though somepastcolumns ought to offer a clue).
That’s why I’m interested to read his reaction to Newsweek’s latest cover story, which strays beyond the worthwhile exploration of Trek’s enduring impact to examine the ways in which President Obama resembles a certain Trek icon:
It's the Spock plot strands that give the new "Trek" its best shot at once again commanding the zeitgeist. Spock's cool, analytical nature feels more fascinating and topical than ever now that we've put a sort of Vulcan in the White House. All through the election campaign, columnists compared President Obama's unflappably logical demeanor and prominent ears with Mr. Spock's. But as Spock's complicated racial backstory is spun out in detail in the new "Trek"—right back into childhood—the Obama parallels keep deepening.
Of course, Spock would see that bailouts, stimulus packages, and Keynesian economics are highly illogical.
The trajectory of Obama's presidency might have been determined by what he did in his first 100 days. His budget calls for doubling the national debt in five years and almost tripling it in 10. If the necessary government borrowing soon causes a surge in long-term interest rates, the result will be the 1970s redux—inflation and stagnation. If so, the 44th president will be remembered not as the second iteration of the 32nd (Franklin Roosevelt) but of the 39th (Jimmy Carter).