April 30, 2008
Bootloggers, Baptists, and government health-care expansion
Posted by John Hood at 4:32 PM
The Cato Institute's Michael Cannon wrote a good treatment of the S-CHIP controversy back last fall. It's still worth a read, particularly the passage where he applies some public-choice analysis to the politics of S-CHIP expansion:
Support for S-CHIP (and Medicaid) expansion comes from an alliance of "bootleggers and Baptists." Economists often explain support for government policies (e.g. restrictions on alcohol sales) in terms of those who truly believe in the merits of the policy (i.e. Baptists who oppose alcohol consumption) and those who benefit from the policy (i.e. the bootleggers who sell illicit alcohol).
The "Baptists" behind S-CHIP expansion are those who believe that the way to increase health care quality and access is for government to finance and control the delivery of care. An example would be left-wing advocacy groups such as Families USA. Expanding S-CHIP and Medicaid to enroll more Americans serves their goal of eventually enrolling all Americans in government health care programs. This incremental strategy is neither new nor secretive. In 1993, the Clinton administration's Health Care Task Force explicitly considered what it called a "Kids First" strategy for health care reform that would have first enrolled all children, and eventually all adults, in a government-controlled health care system.
The "bootleggers" behind S-CHIP expansion include those who stand to gain financially from greater government subsidies for health insurance and health care. They include several lobbying groups: America's Health Insurance plans, and the insurers it represents; the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the drug manufacturers it represents; the American Medical Association and the physicians it represents; and the Federation of American Hospitals and the for-profit hospitals it represents. State officials who support S-CHIP expansion, such as California's Governor Schwartzenegger and the rest of the National Governors Association, also belong in the bootleggers category because increasing federal S-CHIP spending benefits them politically: it enables them to provide new subsidies to voters at a fraction of the cost.
The bootleggers/Baptists explanation for perverse policy outcomes was actually developed by a friend of many at JLF, Clemson University economist Bruce Yandle. The only place I differ with Cannon here is the position of the private health plans — they favor some expansions of government health care, yes, but they obviously don't favor Medicaid expansion to all adults.
Links from SPN Leadership Development Breakfast/Atlanta
Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 3:27 PM
I've just received links from last week's State Policy Network and Heritage Foundation Policy Resource Bank Meetings in Atlanta. The sessions yielded some important and even provocative discussions for those of us attending.
In particular, I note the State Policy Network Leadership Development Breakfast, which featured two discussions relevant to our leadership development efforts here at Locke. One was Denis Calabrese’s excellent presentation on How to Win in Six Steps. Calabrese's analysis has a lot to offer organizations that want to examine the organizational effectiveness topic seriously. You can take his outline as a guide to total organizational reform or to tweak an existing plan.
Second on the SPN Breakfast program, Leslie Graves’ Online Reputation Management examined the special problems and solutions involved in protecting and maintaining your Internet image. Both are important presentations, well worth a look.
Government employment on the rise
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 3:10 PM
USA Today quotes NCSU economist Mike Walden in its story on the fastest pace of government hiring in six years. The reporter even gets the problems associated with hiring new government employees - paying for them. "But the job expansion could later cause financial problems for governments that are spending too much." The hiring boom began with the fiscal year last July. And yet states and government supporters still say the problem is that taxes aren't high enough.
Uncle Sam to the rescue
Posted by David N. Bass at 2:44 PM
Here’s an often-ignored angle in the global warming debate—in this article, Oliver “Buzz” Thomas argues for government policies that encourage couples to have fewer children. Reducing the world’s population, he says, will help cool things off. He also suggests Congress give tax breaks to families who choose to have fewer children—with apologies to couples cursed with triplets.
Thomas singles out the Roman Catholic Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Orthodox Jews, and some Muslims for opposing birth control and encouraging large families. He says:
How should people of faith respond to this gathering environmental storm? First, we must stop having so many children. Clergy should consider voicing the difficult truth that having more than two children during such a time is selfish. Dare we say sinful?
Rather than population growth and global warming, maybe Thomas is really concerned that conservatives are out-reproducing their liberal counterparts and wants to see Uncle Sam put an end to the unfair fighting.
Franklin County officials taken to task
Posted by David N. Bass at 1:27 PMConduct by school board members and other elected officials in Franklin County has prompted two residents to file a complaint with the county and state Board of Elections, according to this report in the Franklin Times.
The county is pursuing a $53 million school bond that will appear on the May 6 ballot. Officials used up to $12,000 in public funds to hire an advertising firm to educate voters on why the bonds are necessary. But in the complaint, Tony Efird and David Kearney claim the county has stepped over the line:
We strongly believe that the actions of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Franklin County Board of Education in advocating for the passage of the school bond referendum are in violation of state election law. Their actions represent a continuing disregard for the citizens and the willingness to use taxpayers [sic] dollars to lobby the public for a tax increase.
Maybe the complaint was partly prompted by the $325 the county paid its private consultant to write a letter to the editor pushing the bond referendum.
How much is a college degree worth?
Posted by George Leef at 12:45 AM
We often hear college attendance hyped by the statistics showing that on average, people with college degrees earn way more than do people without them. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings often says a degree is worth a million dollars over a person's lifetime.
Recently, Charles Miller, who was the chairman of Spellings' Commission on the Future of Higher Education, publicly took issue with the use of big dollar figures to promote college enrollments. In this week's Clarion Call, I comment on this question, showing that for many people, college is a poor investment because they're likely to wind up doing jobs that call for no academic preparation.
Bill Clinton in Apex
Posted by David N. Bass at 12:44 AM
With North Carolina’s primary less than a week away, Bill Clinton continued a two-day swing through the Tar Heel State by stopping in downtown Apex this morning. The turnout was less than I expected—around 400 spectators maximum—much less than recent showings for Obama in Wilson and Chapel Hill.
The crowd filled only half of the gym at the Apex Community Center. The audience was enthusiastic, but the air of revival was notably absent.
State Sen. Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover) and Apex Town Council Member Bill Jensen pepped up the crowd before the former president took the stage around 8:30AM.
Promise of the day: Clinton pledged that Hillary would create millions of new jobs by investing in alternative forms of energy, including wind and solar, and that North Carolina is a good region for this type of investment.
He also chided Obama indirectly for opposing a moratorium on the federal gas tax. Rather than encourage overuse of gas, a gas tax holiday during the summer would help struggling families make ends meet, he said.
The housing bubble is really a market failure
Posted by George Leef at 12:29 AM
At least, that's what people on the left want everyone to believe. Government intervention had nothing to do with it. Don't point any fingers at us.
In this sizzling rebuttal Professor Thomas DiLorenzo explains that federal meddling (especially the hideous Community Reinvestment Act) is indeed to blame for the housing bubble.
Speaker Ban Law
Posted by Dr. Troy Kickler at 11:34 AM
A new essay dealing with the Speaker Ban Law has been added to the commentary section of Northcarolinahistory.org
Enacted in 1963, the Speaker Ban was a North Carolina state law that
restricted the appearance of communists and other radical speakers at
state-supported campuses, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Speaker Ban sparked a major controversy regarding communism, academic
freedom, and the First Amendment.
Are polar bears really a threatened species?
Posted by Dr. Troy Kickler at 10:41 AM
The Interior Department must decide if polar bears are officially a threatened species in the next 16 days.
Canada, home to over two-thirds of the polar bear population, disagrees with the idea that polar bears are endangered. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada announced last week that polar bears are not at high risk of extinction.
NCSU Internet Polls
Posted by Dr. Troy Kickler at 10:01 AM
The Technician, NCSU's student newspaper, has a few interesting internet polls. Of those who participated, over fifty percent of students have been following the primary elections, over forty percent are supporting Obama, and seventy percent agree students should be allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus.
Someone who actually 'gets it'
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:41 AM
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal appears with Jay Leno.
Jindal has attracted praise for his work on school choice.
Latest dispatches from the Gov. Trail
Posted by John Hood at 09:27 AM
• Two new polls show Fred Smith gaining on Pat McCrory while Beverly Perdue widens her lead over Richard Moore.
• Campaign reports from the first quarter reveal McCrory outpacing the other GOP candidates in fundraising, but Perdue's $2.2 million take is the highest of all.
• The chairman of the ABC Commission hosts a fundraiser for Perdue even as she seeks to distance herself from the liquor industry. Richard Moore, campaigning in Hickory, emphasizes his experience managing state departments.
• Bob Orr makes his case at a Cumberland County candidates forum, arguing that his past judicial elections make him the best suited to winning in November. Bill Graham begins a TV buy for the last week of the primary.
• Perdue, Moore, McCrory, Smith, Orr, and Graham all explain their positions on economic development.
You'd have to be ...
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 08:40 AM
... the Larry Brown of academia to cover all those coaching jobs.
Enough with the "coaches"
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:06 AM
Yesterday, Mitch pointed out that the Joint Legislative Commission on Dropout Prevention and High School Graduation recommended spending millions on "graduation coaches." A "graduation coach" would simply do the job that schools and parents expect teachers and guidance counselors to do.
Anyway, leave it to North Carolina's public schools to take "coaching" to the next, extremely absurd level. You may encounter one or more of the following consultants, sorry, coaches sipping some hot Lipton and reading Highlights at a school near you:
1. Athletic (or academic competition) coaches - "traditional" coaches.
2. Literacy coaches - teach teachers how to teach reading. They do the job that teacher education schools didn't or won't do.
3. Data coaches - individuals that will "help school systems to use test data to improve student performance." The State Board of Education requested $2.3 million for data coaches.
4. Life coaches - think Tony Robbins. Thanks to dropout prevention grants, the Edenton-Chowan Schools will receive $150,000 to hire a full-time Life Coach Coordinator and three part-time Life Coaches.
5. Positive Behavior Support (PBS) coaches - work with teachers and administrators to implement PBS principles in schools with rotten kids.
6. Reading coaches - distinct from literacy coaches; work specifically at Reading First schools.
7. District transformation coaches - facilitate "planning process and coordinates coaching and service delivery for a transformation district."
8. School transformation coaches - facilitate "planning process and coordinates coaching and service delivery for a transformation school."
9. Leadership coaches - facilitate "planning process and coordinates coaching and service delivery for 3-4 high needs districts and service delivery for a transformation school."
10. Instructional coaches - offer "on-site support to help guide school leadership in developing school improvement plans."
11. National Board coaches - provide assistance for teachers attempting to earn National Board certification.
12. School change coaches - facilitators for the "planning and implementation of the Learn and Earn early college high school."
ECU study on video games highlighted
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:59 AM
I remember my childhood friends pulling out the old "hand-eye coordination" argument to help convince their parents to take them to the Chuck E Cheese arcade.
Today's video gamers can turn to more sophisticated arguments, especially if research from East Carolina University holds up to further scrutiny. That research draws national attention this week from Newsweek.
Today's Carolina Journal online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:02 AM
The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive focuses on major errors in the economic computations supporting proposed state climate change policies.
John Hood's Daily Journal focuses on the Republican primary in western North Carolina's 11th Congressional District.
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