The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Amanda Vuke's report on a recent N.C. Association of County Commissioners session devoted to helping county governments win support for sales tax hikes.
One key fact tells much of the story: Mayor Fenty received more than 70 percent of the white vote in Washington. His opponent received more than 80 percent of the black vote.
Both men are black. But the head of the school system that he appointed is Asian and the chief of police is a white woman. More than that, most of the teachers who were fired were black. There were also bitter complaints that black contractors did not get as many of the contracts for doing business with the city as they expected.
In short, the mayor appointed the best people he could find, instead of running a racial patronage system, as a black mayor of a city with a black majority is apparently expected to. He also didn't spend as much time schmoozing with the folks as was expected.
So what if he gave their children a better education and gave everybody a lower likelihood of being murdered?
The mayor's faults were political faults. He did his job, produced results and thought that this should be enough to get him re-elected. He refused to do polls and focus groups, and he ignored what his political advisers were warning him about.
A website out of the United
Kingdom called Numberswatch is keeping track of all the world’s horrors that
allegedly are being caused by global warming. This site has a complete list
with links to the source of all the claims.
As of September 13th the site has documented 817 “things being
caused by global warming.” These included terrorism, higher taxes,
cannibalistic and deaf polar bears, plain crashes plus 813 more. And as the cite
points out, this is all happening because of a .006 degree Celsius annual
increase in temperature.
While John Hood's latest Daily Journal cites some enlightening statistics compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Cato Institute's Dan Mitchell takes aim at the OECD in his latest video presentation:
There are plenty of good reasons to object to an increase in the capital gains tax. In the Center for Freedom and Prosperity video below, George Washington University law student Christina Sochacki focuses on one of them: the capital gains tax is not indexed to inflation. (Note: There's one error in the video. The Obama administration plan would raise the rate to 23.8 percent, not the 23.9 percent mentioned.)
The 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education recently released an interesting study titled Are Educational Expenditures Associated with 11th Grade Student Achievement in Pennsylvania School Districts? According to the researchers,
This report examines three years: 2007, 2008 and 2009. We looked at the association of total expenditures per pupil as well instructional expenses per pupil to 11th grade student achievement. The available student achievement measures were 11th grade PSSA scores in math, reading and science and SAT math and verbal scores. We then looked at 14 subcategories of educational expenditures to determine whether they were related to student achievement. We also looked at the effect of changes in expenditures between 2007 and 2009 and their corresponding changes in achievement. We conducted this analysis in a way that would be most favorable to the claim that higher district expenditures would result in higher achievement levels.
In sum, we found there was either no or very weak association between levels of education expenditures and 11th grade student achievement after controlling for other variables.
The education level, racial composition, and socioeconomic status of the community appeared to be associated with (not necessarily the cause of) differences in student achievement.
Patrick Simmons, head of the state Department of Transportation's rail division, takes to the opinion pages of the News & Observer to "set the record straight" about the marvelous benefits of high-speed rail.
There's nothing new here. Just a rehash of pro-transit arguments. But these discussions, on the big government side, are taking on a surreal nature when you take a sober look at the fiscal state of North Carolina and the nation.
The simplest, most direct reason to reject any new, fixed-rail transit projects goes like this: WE CAN'T AFFORD THEM!
In the latest batch of opinions the N.C. Court of Appeals has released this morning:
A unanimous three-judge panel ordered a new trial in a Person County drug case. The reason for the new trial? SBI lab reports. But this has nothing to do with the recent SBI lab controversy. In this case, the defendant argued successfully that he did not get adequate notice that the prosecution intended to use lab reports in his case.
A unanimous three-judge panel dismissed an appeal from a neighbor attempting to block Wilmington's Carolina Marina and Yacht Club from moving forward with its expansion plans. The club already had won an earlier legal battle with New Hanover County.
A three-judge panel agreed to vacate a Rowan County court order requiring a sex offender to enroll in lifetime satellite-based monitoring. Judges ruled that the defendant did not have adequate notice of the hearing that led to the satellite-based monitoring ruling.
A three-judge panel unanimously affirmed an Alamance County satellite-based monitoring case despite clerical errors made during the legal process.
A unanimous three-judge panel wants the N.C. Industrial Commission to take another look at the weekly disability payments an employer should be forced to pay for a former employee hurt by asbestos exposure.
It’s clear from Michael Kinsley’s latest Atlanticarticle that he doesn’t completely buy into the narrative that Baby Boomers have amassed an incredibly poor record of achievement in comparison with their World War II-winning, Communism-destroying parents.
Still, Kinsley’s willing to play along with the argument in order to recommend one great gift Boomers could bestow upon future generations: tax revenue!
[T]hink of this as an extraordinary historic gesture in response to an extraordinary historic threat to our country and the world. Not a threat like Hitler, perhaps, but a huge threat nonetheless. True, this time it’s our own fault. But that recognition does not do anything to solve the problem. So Boomers will have to step in. Think of our doing so as one generation’s once-in-a-lifetime parting gift to those who follow.
Looked at this way, $14 trillion—it’s not so much. A widely noted 1999 study estimated that at least $41 trillion will have been transferred from parents to children and grandchildren between 1998 and 2052. Most of the transfers in the last half of that time period will be Boomers passing money along to the next generation. But in the first half, money will mostly be coming from the previous generation to the Boomers themselves. Boomers could forswear all or part of this unearned inheritance. Or, more realistically, they could allow the government to tax it.
Specifically, Kinsey’s focusing on the estate tax:
I am suggesting a tax that reaches far more people—essentially anyone who inherits any significant amount of money—but at a much lower rate. The principle behind the current estate tax (or once-and-future estate tax) is frankly redistributive: to prevent large private fortunes from growing, generation after generation, with the recipients accumulating power as well as money. It does this very poorly, because of tax shelters and loopholes (all made possible by the power that people with large fortunes have already accumulated). But that’s still the idea.
That might be Kinsley’s idea. Adam Nicholson of the American Family Business Institute recently offered Carolina Journal Radio a better picture of the reality associated with the estate tax:
James Bennet treats us to the following in his latest Atlanticeditor’s note, alluding to “Doonesbury” characters along the way:
We’re now on our third Boomer president. The first, Bill Clinton, who is fond of referring to himself as the oldest of the Baby Boomers, is generally seen as the generation’s archetype, because of a tendency to indulge himself. But it is the second Boomer president, George W. Bush, who best represents the generation, at least so far; it is Bush who performed the (stereotypically!) defining generational feat of making the least of the most opportunity. Under a cloak of moral seriousness, he led the country on a heedless eight-year binge that would have embarrassed even Zonker Harris, if he followed the news. By the time Bush left office, he had almost doubled the national debt to more than $10 trillion, with two wars and little else to show for it beyond new federal giveaways that are still digging us into an ever deeper hole.
At 49, Barack Obama is among the youngest of the Boomers, years younger than Trudeau’s characters. Maybe he is distanced enough from his generation to learn from its mistakes, and determined enough to summon its own early dreams for itself.
Distanced enough from his generation to learn from its mistakes, eh? If Bennet is referring to Bush’s spending, then Roy Cordato offers a different take: Obama’s policies represent “George W. Bush on steroids.”
In the latest Fortune, Becky Quick offers a “can’t we all just get along” plea to fiscal hawks and doves who are battling over the best way to handle the federal budget crisis.
You don’t have to share Quick’s faith in the power of a “Kumbaya” moment to appreciate the severity of the crisis she depicts:
The federal government is currently spending $3 for every $2 it collects in revenue. That's a big deal when you consider how much money Washington lays out: We're now ratcheting up a deficit that's growing at the breakneck speed of about $100 billion a month.
Our national debt as a percentage of the economy is more than 61%, breaching the 60% line for only the second time in the nation's history. (The last time was during World War II.) In 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, we will be spending more on interest payments to service that debt than we will for all nondefense discretionary spending, which includes education and infrastructure. And that's assuming interest rates don't go up from where they are now, at virtually zero.
It doesn't take a Ph.D. in mathematics to realize that those numbers add up to a bleak future for America.
Paul Krugman alleges that rich opponents of tax hikes are gripped by “a belligerent sense of entitlement” (“The Angry Rich,” Sept. 20). Well, yes: save for corporate-welfare kings and queens, rich people earn their riches. They are, in fact, entitled to their money, and entitled to be angry when government tries to take more of it.
What Mr. Krugman derisively calls a “sense of entitlement” is what
sensible people call “property rights.” In fact, I’ll bet that Mr.
Krugman himself retains traces of this pre-”Progressive”
possessiveness: if government tried to take credit for 40 percent of
his scholarly output – allowing him to sign his name to only 60 percent
of his articles, books, and columns – I’ll bet that he, too, would
exhibit “a belligerent sense of entitlement.”