Monday, April 30, 2007

Top General Assembly Target for '08: Perry Clark

Sen. Perry Clark is a marked man for 2008. Virginia Woodward is likely to come after him in a primary and Doug Hawkins is looking like the early favorite for the GOP nod.

This will be a war, because the GOP needs one more vote to pass medical malpractice reform.

Is Jody Richards Going To Bite Lawyers' Hands?

Gubernatorial candidate Jody Richards will discuss his health care plan tomorrow in Henderson with Dr. David Watkins by his side.

Dr. Watkins is a state representative and a Democrat who won election last year on the strength of his support for medical liability reform.

Liberal trial attorneys will go crazy when they see this. Richards is already in trouble with the left for his statement to the Kentucky Right to Life Association that he would not support a candidate for office who supports legalized abortions (question #9).

KAPT For Everyone: 2008 Wrecking Education Act

Rep. Rick Nelson(D-Middlesboro) has pre-filed a bill for the 2008 General Assembly in an effort to combat rising higher education costs in Kentucky. There is no way his proposal will have the intended result unless Rep. Nelson really wants to make college unaffordable for more Kentuckians.

Rep. Nelson's bill would freeze college tuition rates for two years and then mandate that future increases not exceed the general inflation rate. The bill says nothing about fee increases, which would be the quickest way for state schools to respond to this nonsense. Cost increases have to be paid by someone. After hundreds of failed attempts at price-fixing, you would think we could all agree that this is a poorly conceived attempt to address escalating costs.

Colleges might also respond to this proposal, if enacted, by cutting services. Is that what we want?

By setting their sights directly on lowering college costs in order to increase access to higher education, legislators have increased costs faster than if they had just left them alone. This focus on expanding colleges to receive too many unprepared students has driven up costs without a corresponding benefit.

A recent study showed some benefits of expanding merit-based scholarships and using that as a focus for improving higher education. Kentucky's KEES program is nothing more than HOPE-lite. When we recognize this, we will do better.

Somehow, All Is Not Well In Casino-Land

"There's going to be a lot of depression, a lot of anger. A lot drinking, gambling, and desperate stuff going on."

... and some gubernatorial wannabes still hope to make Kentucky more like Las Vegas.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Little Financial Literacy Goes A Long Way

A report on consumer spending Monday could cause stock market prices to take a quick hit. If it does, the media will quickly predict economic catastrophe.

Don't fall for it.

Yes, the slump in the housing market is having an impact on the economy. And yes, a recession may be in our future. But the answer is to get out of debt by any means necessary and work to improve your earning power.

The last thing we want to do now is initiate the move to socialized medicine or start another round of "soak the rich" tax increases. Economic slowdowns come and go, but socialism is forever.

Pervertphobia: Good For Kentucky

The Lexington Herald Leader argues against Kentucky's law regulating where sex offenders can live:

Thanks to Kenton District Judge Martin J. Sheehan for putting in writing what other public officials admit privately but are afraid to say: The ban that Kentucky enacted last year on sex offenders living near schools, day cares and playgrounds is bad law and poor policy.

The point of the law limiting where sex offenders live was to respond to other states doing the same thing. If we waited while all our neighboring states made efforts to run off their sex offenders, we risked becoming a magnet for perverts.

I still say we should just make it legal to harass them.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Time To Get Serious About Healthcare Reform

Everyone talks about making healthcare less expensive, but nothing ever seems to happen from there. Kentucky only needs courage to lead on this.

The Left wants to chuck the whole thing and let the government run it all. The idea that the government paragons of efficiency would administer services and lower costs merely be eliminating profit margins should be so implausible as to be unnecessary to address. That it must be addressed is a testament to the dire need for improved financial literacy among the electorate.

The Right simply fails to go far enough in allowing the free market to lower consumer costs.

Kentucky should dismantle its system of mandated benefits and byzantine regulations and allow any kind of company to offer any kind of financial arrangement for any kind of health services that they can sell a policy for.

The regulatory structure currently in place could keep itself busy chasing down companies that didn't live up to the obligations spelled out in their contracts. Lawmakers could work up stiff penalties for fraudulent acts.

The proliferation of competition brought on by this plan would improve service, increase customer satisfaction, and lower prices. Increased competition always does this. Stifling competition -- as our current approach does -- always allows the opposite.

Overheard At The Louisville Right To Life Dinner...

Gubernatorial candidate Anne Northup is making plans to go scorched-earth against "all the people" who set her up to run and then stood by to watch her fall in the Republican primary this year.

Someone needs to get her on the record stating whether she intends to go to the Unity Rally after the primary. She should pick an issue, encourage Governor Fletcher to move forward on it, and help his campaign work on that issue. Leasing the lottery might be a good one. We have a lot of debt to pay off and that could get it done.

Billy Harper is showing signs he will stay involved in pushing his conservative agenda after the curtain falls on his campaign. Anne has campaigned on helping the Republican party advance its issues by winning this fall. If she really wants to do that, she is in a position to do so. But if Anne Northup plans to take her ball and go home, she should go now.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Stumbo Favors Taxpayer Subsidy Of Universities' Unconstitutional Health Benefits

The downside of hitching a ride on a gubernatorial campaign is you wind up sticking your neck out on issues. Now that Bruce Lunsford has come out of the closet with a position on taxpayer dollars funding political activism on college campuses, Attorney General Greg Stumbo is going to have to come clean with whether he agrees -- which appears to be the case -- or not.

Lunsford told Polwatchers:

Public universities should be allowed to make their own decisions to hire the best and most talented professors, researchers and other staff.

Does Stumbo agree with his running mate that the Kentucky constitution doesn't apply to state universities when they are promoting their liberal political agendas?

Studying Blogging's Impact On Campaigns

What will this from Anne Northup's campaign do to the GOP gubernatorial primary? What about the general election?

How Do You Define Government Waste?

Everyone likes to talk about cutting government waste, but when it comes down to actually doing it too many supporters of the spending seem to come forward.

Citizens Against Government Waste, nonetheless, has 750 recommendations that would cut $280 billion in federal spending in the next year and $2 trillion over the next five years.

After the president vetoes the surrender budget, Congress will have another opportunity to ignore recommendations like this. But as our population ages, we are going to have to change the way we think about entitlement spending. As public retiree health spending bankrupts Kentucky, Medicare's red ink looms large on the federal front.

A fundamental shift in the function of government is necessary. It is one thing to rail against subsidies for studying methane production by cattle or bridges to nowhere, but until we get government out of places where it doesn't belong, such efforts will amount to nothing.

We must begin to cut back on the kind of businesses governments can get involved in. If we can manage that, we will eliminate a whole segment of government spending that generates much of the waste and corruption we see now. Only then can we get serious about cutting government spending.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Libertarian View Of 2007 Race

Take Back Kentucky blasted Anne Northup and endorsed Gatewood Galbraith.

Kentucky Dem Treasurer Idol

I'm watching the Democratic candidates for Treasurer on KET, something I won't be doing for long. It occurs to me that what this debate needs is a Simon Cowell character.

"I've never heard such a dreadful answer. Why are you even here? Simply awful."

Replacing Skippy; Are You Surprised?

Contributions For Treasurer Candidates:

Lonnie Napier $81,505
Ken Upchurch $36,700
Melinda Wheeler $28,410
Brandon Smith $8,300

Todd Hollenbach $23,374
Mike Weaver $7,841
Patrick Dunmire $2426
Jack Wood $200

Stan Lee Destroys Primary Opponents; Race Over

The really interesting race this fall will be for Attorney General between consistent Lexington conservative Stan Lee and far-flung Louisville left-winger Jack Conway.

Lee has raised $106,476, which is more than his three primary opponents combined. Interestingly, Lee's closest competitor on the stump, Tim Coleman, shows $94,185, but $59,500 came from people with the last name Coleman. This includes $51,000 from the candidate himself.

Lee's broad base of support gained over a courageous tenure as State Representative -- not any shortcomings of the able Mr. Coleman -- has turned this race into a rout.

Jack Conway now faces the unenviable task of convincing Kentuckians outside of Louisville that he is not too liberal to serve as Attorney General. His campaign chairman Ben Chandler just voted to surrender to the terrorists in Iraq and his party's incumbent AG Greg Stumbo is standing by limply watching his bosses in the homosexual agenda lobby ram domestic partner benefits through the commonwealth's two largest universities. No comment yet from Conway on his feelings about these unconstitutional actions.

Good luck, Mr. Conway. You will surely need it with those millstones hanging around your neck.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Chandler, Yarmuth Vote To Surrender War


Self-Funders Of The World, Unite!

A statement from the Harper for Governor campaign attempts to pre-emptively address criticism of his fundraising numbers:

Billy Harper didn’t enter this race with his hand out. He entered the race because he’s a passionate advocate for Kentucky and believes the people of the Commonwealth share his passion.
Billy has focused most of his time and energy on traveling the state, meeting Kentuckians and listening to their point of view rather than asking people for money. The friends Billy has made in business, through his work in education reform and on the campaign trail over the past several months have begun to come to him with offers to hold fundraisers. This emerging grassroots support will put Billy over the top in this election.
The bottom line is Billy Harper won’t be beholden to any interests other than those of the Kentucky people.

Steve Beshear All In For Casino Scheme

How about a little skepticism for the idea that opening up casinos and giving the state a bunch of money will somehow just work out peachy?

Political Ramifications Of Newfound Planet

No doubt Karl Rove cooked this up.

Astronomers think they may have found another habitable planet. Now famous liberals like Alec Baldwin, Madonna, Rosie, and Al Gore won't have to threaten to move to France if their candidate loses the next election. They can actually leave the solar system.

Newspapers Hate Stan Lee's Fiscal Responsibility, Especially When It Bites Their Bacon

Certain government announcements in Kentucky are required by law to be printed up in local newspapers. Kentucky law actually mandates buying of newspaper advertising for this purpose.

Rep. Stan Lee has tried for years to allow those announcements to be published online. Putting public announcements on the internet would save taxpayer dollars, but the effort to do so has made the Kentucky Press Association mad.

I appreciate someone willing to pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel when the issue involved is saving tax dollars. If there is something in these public notices worth knowing about, online disclosure is sufficient. The opposition to Representative Lee on this is just about newspapers not wanting to lose a government contract.

As a conservative, I'm sure Rep. Lee is not bothered about giving newpapers another reason to nip at his heels. It's just funny to see one of his primary opponents trying to make hay over this and almost completely explains why newspapers are coming out of the woodwork to endorse Tim Coleman.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Skippy Speaks

Change for Kentucky has released The Jonathan Miller Tapes. Hot stuff!

I'm gonna be a leader. We've seen in two recent years a governor who has allowed other political forces -- the legislature and special interests, most dominantly -- to take charge of political policy. I'm gonna lead. I'm going to come up with very detailed plans. Now of course there will need to be compromises and of course I want to lend an open ear to ideas from across the state. But when when we come up with a plan...

Another Really Bad Hillary Clinton Idea

Hillary Clinton is running hard on the idea of equal pay for women. Anyone interested in seeing women get a fair shake in the business world really needs to take a second look at this.

Let me begin by saying that my wife and my daughter are very important to me. Years ago when my mother was raising two boys on her salary alone, I was particularly glad she had professional job opportunities available to her. I want very much for my daughter to have at least the same opportunities if not much more.

Hillary's equal pay campaign, if successful, would destroy opportunities for women faster than the Taliban. Women who have struggled for so long to be taken seriously, treated respectfully, and paid well will be crushed in the marketplace if businesses are forced into a no-way-to-win gender-equity pay program.

Think of it like this: you are a manager and you have two applicants for a position. Both are well-qualified and have similar attributes except one is male is one is female. The largest risk under mandated gender-equity pay is that the female -- once employed -- might sue for rather than negotiate pay increases. It would just be too easy to hire the man and avoid the whole mess.

For the benefit of all American women, we need to fight Hillary on this one.

Boyfriend Benefits Pass On Voice Vote

Thanks for the issue, guys.

Good Politics And Good Public Policy

Robbie Rudolph was smart to mention domestic partner benefits as an issue for the inevitable special session last night on KET. Smart politically because of how it got everyone's attention and smart as a pre-emptive policy measure that will benefit the state.

Tax dollars for public school domestic partners would be a minor cut with little bloodflow, though it would surely open up more such wounds if allowed to go untreated. And the unkindest cut to the body politic is the Democratic candidates who insist straight-faced that no tax dollars would pay the benefits. Even the universities' reports that advocate for the extension of benefits admit this is not true.

It is convenient politically that domestic partner benefits through state entities violates the Constitution. This is really about moving forward on government control of healthcare, which is neither cheaper nor more efficient as its advocates -- still with straight faces -- claim. But talking people out of voting themselves largesse from the public treasury is getting harder to do. We don't really want to have the full battle on this now, but this skirmish remains very winnable.

I'm going to the UK Board of Trustees meeting today, where they are set to vote on proceeding with this battle. It's good politics for fiscal and social conservatives to rally together on if they vote for the benefits and good public policy if they vote against.

They will, of course, vote for the benefits.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Greg Stumbo AWOL On Boyfriend Benefits

LG candidate Greg Stumbo must be on strike from his day job as Kentucky's Attorney General.

It has been almost three weeks since Attorney General candidate Stan Lee formally asked Stumbo for an AG's opinion on the constitutionality of state universities providing domestic partner benefits.

What is Stumbo waiting for? Dem AG candidate Jack Conway doesn't want to answer that question either. Don't these guys have any courage in their convictions at all?

Do UK Greeks Want Your Tax Dollars To Pay For Advancing Their Political Activism?

The graduate advisor at the University of Kentucky chapter of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity wants nearly one million state tax dollars a year to pay for health benefits for university employees' domestic partners.

Here is part of an email Russ Williams sent to someone urging him to use his vote as a member of UK's Board of Trustees to stop the unconstitutional push for boyfriend bennies in tomorrow's meeting:

Thanks for your note but it is in the best interest of the University of Kentucky to provide benefits to all its employees. This is an issue of fundamental fairness and competition as a business.

Russ Williams, MSW
Senior Training Specialist
HR Training and Development
123 Scovell Hall
Lexington, KY 40506-0064
Office: (859) 257-9432
Cell: (859) 351-1366

Social Security Report Due Out Today

Another year has passed and we are only getting closer to bankrupting ourselves through inaction on Social Security and other entitlements. Meanwhile, our state problem with public health benefits is worse because we can't inflate our way out of the mess, even if we wanted to.

How the heck do we get the masses worked up enough to demand action on this stuff?

Well, we really can't. At least not yet. As long as most people believe they don't pay income taxes, they will have no fear of raising them. That's why socialized medicine polls so well. If you don't think you will be paying for something, why would you fight it?

And that is why I don't think financial literacy programs in the schools will work. Too many interest groups have too much riding on keeping the people poor and stupid.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The New National Divide: Education Freedom

The state of Georgia passed special needs scholarships on Friday, something Kentucky failed to do earlier this year when House Dems killed this good bill.

This is an important first step toward school choice and the discussion will be back in this state. Education bureaucrats hold on their power (at the expense of students and parents) can't continue in the face of declining results.

I would prefer this not be another partisan fight. Positive results would be better. But education reform opponents depend heavily on teachers union support in their elections.

Fletcher Versus Patton: At Least These Good Old Boy Checks Are Clearing The Bank

It's funny to hear from some of the people ripping Governor Fletcher for passing around big checks for projects around the state. While I wish we were cutting back on the spending while we have increased our bonded indebtedness and are facing billions in pension shortfall, there is one detail conveniently forgotten.

The first "scandal" of the Fletcher administration came after Paul Patton passed out the same oversized checks at the end of his second term. The new administration had to cancel the projects Patton promised because there was no money for them and, predictably, caught hell for doing so.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Kentucky Should Look At Doing This

When you need money -- and we do -- you sell stuff.

Time For Lee Todd To Go

The University of Kentucky should fire Lee Todd.

University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. will recommend that UK's Board of Trustees approve an employee benefits package that includes domestic partner benefits for unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

Todd will give his endorsement when the full board meets Tuesday.

The committee on domestic-partner benefits projected the additional health coverage to cost $633,000 annually.

Is This All They Have Left?

If this is the best hit piece the Courier-Journal can muster against Governor Fletcher, we can only assume they are close to conceding that the field is too weak to beat Ernie.

This week, Gov. Fletcher left open the possibility of tackling only half the pension problem in a special session, which would be worse than tackling none of it at all.

Fixing the financial problem without dealing with the systemic issues that caused it would be a terrible mistake.

After all, if the benefits for future employees aren't changed, then pension costs will eventually take up so much revenue that there won't be money for education, health care and other obligations.

As the Governor said, fixing this will require hard work. It's time he did some.

As uninspiring as this race for the Governor's Mansion has been for fiscal hawks, it has been far more demoralizing for the wage-fixing, homosexual agenda, socialized-medicine folks who lack a champion with enough energy to draw a crowd.

In another month, The Courier Journal and friends will turn their attention from the Governor's race and toward trying to get Louisville liberal Jack Conway elected Attorney General.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Skippy For Chairman?

Sources report Congressman Ben Chandler and Auditor Crit Luallen are pressuring Jonathan Miller to drop his bid for the Dem nomination for governor. The payoff for Miller would be the chairmanship of the Democratic Party of Kentucky.

Their hope is to get Miller's supporters to go for Steve Beshear.

Federal Entitlement Fans' Wrong-Way Bet 2005

In the two years since opponents killed Social Security reform, The Dow Jones Industrial Average has gone up approximately 30%.

Thanks guys.

NKY Poverty Activists Trying To Kill Off Labor Market For Homeless Day Laborers

A lawsuit to "help" homeless people won't result in higher pay for them. They will lose their jobs while the activists rail against the evils of Corporate America.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What Kind Of Sick Puppy Watches The KET Democratic Secretary Of State Debate?

Let's just say Trey Grayson will definitely look like he is ready for higher office after dispatching one of these three very forgettable candidates.

Bruce Lunsford's Fifteen Minute Video

This will drive the other Dem campaigns crazy.

There was one noteworthy quote among the fluff. Lunsford said near the end of the video "He (Ernie Fletcher) promised me he would clean up the mess in Frankfort, he promised me that he would provide health insurance for all the Kentuckians and he promised me he would be bi-partisan."

Lunsford is an avid -- and apparently delusional -- proponent of socialized medicine in Kentucky.

Is Fred Thompson Reaganesque?

Cal Thomas says yes.


Our oldest son, Tommy, is headed to Georgia Tech this fall to study Nuclear Engineering. He gets his brains from his mother. Thanks to Jeff McDanald at the Jessamine Journal for picking up the story.

And thanks to the taxpayers and voters in Georgia for setting up the nation's largest state-run merit-based scholarship program. As a Kentucky resident, Tommy didn't qualify for a HOPE scholarship, but with this good public policy and the Academic Common Market, higher education is surprisingly inexpensive in that state.

Maybe Jonathan Miller Should Plagiarize Some, Too

The MSM has tracked down the sources of Bruce Lunsford's and Steve Beshear's fresh new ideas.

A quick look at Jonathan Miller's website suggests he could use a plagiarist or two on his staff as well:

Education of Kentucky's children is not simply the responsibility of government it is a moral obligation and a question of justice. Every child, regardless of circumstance, should be afforded an education that enriches and empowers. Moreover, it makes sound economic sense for our state. For too long Kentucky has lingered near the bottom nationwide in educational success. By investing in our children early and giving them the tools they need to be successful lifelong learners we ensure the future health of the Commonwealth and the wellbeing of its communities and families.

Is that how they taught you to write at Harvard, Jonathan? Not only does the above paragraph take several sentences to say nothing, it is plagued by poor punctuation and hackneyed verbiage. You have all that liberal Washington D.C. money. Hire a plagiarist.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Louisville Mayor's Handwriting On The Wall

Jerry Abramson won't pick a favorite from the B-list.

Rep. Ron Lewis Says Repeal Tax Code By 2010

HR 510 would repeal nearly all of the federal Tax Code. Rep. Ron Lewis is the only Kentucky co-sponsor. The rest of the state's delegation should be made to explain why they prefer to keep the American people trapped under the current tax scheme when we could do better.

Repeal is the proper first step. We need to repeal payroll taxes as well, but scrapping the Code and giving Congress until December 31, 2010 to replace it would be a great way to start working on a solution to a problem we all agree we have.

In fact, the key to financial literacy isn't a school program or a public-private partnership preaching to kids. The key to financial literacy is getting rid of payroll deductions for federal and state taxes. Make citizens write those checks themselves and see how fast they start paying attention to personal financial and public fiscal matters.

Mitch McConnell Smacks Down Tax Increases

As the majority in Congress inches closer to repealing the Bush tax cuts, Sen. McConnell calls them out.

Out Of Tragedy, Gun Grabbers See Big Opportunity

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stan Lee Wins Economic Freedom Award

The Kentucky Club For Growth release its first annual General Assembly scorecard naming Attorney General candidate Stan Lee as the state's top-ranking legislator and one of only two winners of its Kentucky Defender of Economic Freedom Award.

The Club's executive director Brian Richmond said "fiscal conservatives are in short supply in Frankfort. For the benefit of taxpayers, their children and grandchildren, this must change."

Lee's 91% score narrowly topped Rep. Jim DeCesare's 88%. No other House member scored above 70% and only two Senators -- Dick Roeding and Bob Leeper -- scored above 75%. Richmond had praise for the Senate as a whole, though.

"The Senate did not have as many eligible votes as the House did, which is a good thing," said Richmond. "The Senate defended the taxpayers of Kentucky by not calling to a vote some terrible legislation that passed the House and we commend them in that regard."

Could Public Schools Teach Financial Literacy?

If we allow our state's public employee benefit plans to deteriorate for just a few more years, the subsequent tax increases will destroy the state.

As the The Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Employees Retirement Systems starts meeting in Frankfort, realization of the depth of the fiscal crisis facing states and municipalities across the nation is starting to draw wide attention among serious policymakers.

A newspaper column in Delaware suggests making financial literacy classes mandatory in public schools. In response to this, I have one question: have you seen a high school history book recently?

We absolutely need increased citizen financial literacy for our long-term fiscal health. But the public schools can't get it done.

If you want to do your part to increase financial literacy, get out of debt and learn about and invest in equities. If you want to increase financial literacy for others, help your children set up retirement accounts with their first jobs.

Take a look at a simple retirement calculator and see how a little grows into a lot, especially when you start early.

Jody Richards: The Education Governor

Well, to give credit where it is due, at least Speaker Richards isn't calling himself the Economics Governor.

Richards "new and exciting plan" apparently consists only of increasing need-based aid to college students. This is exactly the wrong thing to do at exactly the wrong time. Until we dramatically increase graduation standards in Kentucky, we will continue to send unprepared students to college where too many of them are doomed to fail. Giving them more money to do it doesn't accomplish anything. In fact, piling more state aid on our colleges artificially inflates tuition rates for those students who remain after the weak ones wash out. That makes education harder to afford for people who aren't poor enough for the aid.

Seeking to offer universal access to higher education (or Galbraith's "further education") will always have a perverse effect on the demand curve, squeezing middle income students out. What we need is a combination of more merit-based aid to improve our state schools and higher standards to better prepare our children. Until we do one of these, we will keep failing our students. And until we do both we will continue flushing increasing amounts of money down the toilet.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Northup Yard Signs Available Now

The Northup campaign has yard signs available, for only $10 each.

Kentucky Club For Growth Takes First Shot Tuesday

Stay tuned for a major announcement tomorrow from the Kentucky Club For Growth.

State Would Have Zapped Billy Donovan $210,000

As you write out your state income tax check, consider another reason Florida Gator coach Billy Donovan is smiling in sunny Florida.

No state income tax.

If the University of Kentucky had paid Donovan $3.5 million as was rumored to be their offer, the state's 6% cut would have been $210,000.

Don't tell new coach Billy Gillispie, formerly of no-income-tax Texas.

LendingTree Mortgage

A Race To Watch In Kentucky This Year?

Ryan Alessi is right about one thing, the race for governor isn't generating any sparks at all. I don't think it is likely to, either.

But the race for Attorney General is another story. Tim Coleman has emerged with a strong challenge to front-runner Stan Lee for the GOP nomination. The winner will face off against either Jack Conway or his primary opponent Bob Bullock. Bullock has the support of state Sen. Julian Carroll.

Most likely, it will be Stan Lee against Jack Conway.

For Dems Debate On KET, Only One Question

Who will not show up?

I think Steve Henry and Jody Richards are the most likely to sit this one out. Otherwise, those who show are just going to agree on issues like supporting the casino industry and wrecking our health insurance market again.

9:40 Update: Well, I was wrong. Steve Beshear and Jonathan Miller were the two who didn't show up. And they were there!

Miller just called his opponents a six-pack and himself Miller Genuine. That's cute if you are running for class president. And Beshear's insistence that casino gambling and "kicking butt" will fix Frankfort falls flat.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Consider This In The Kentucky Treasurer Race

One very good reason to support Lonnie Napier for Treasurer is that Garrard Judge Executive John Wilson would be certain to replace Napier in the General Assembly.

Did You Ever Think Income Taxes Might Be Illegal?

I found a pretty interesting constitutional case against the 16th amendment, which is the one that made the income tax the law of the land.

We should make presidential candidates answer why the 16th amendment should not be repealed. Forcing this issue is the only way we will ever do more than just whine about our broken tax system.

Pushing to have the 16th amendment repealed through the legislative process or deemed unconstitutional by the judiciary would not yield quick results, but it would make more people think about what we are doing to ourselves with a fatally flawed program for financing our government. But I think once the ball got rolling, it would force the reform issue.

Defending the indefensible makes people say goofy things. While we have so many wannabes on the presidential contender talk circuit, we should encourage them to try.

I Love A Good Misleading Headline

The Courier Journal's bold print this morning says "Stumbo respected by both parties."

Then you read the story and see they are only talking about Bob Heleringer. Bob is a casino supporter who used to be a Republican state representative.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Worried About The Tone Of The GOP Primary?

Don't be. Read this.

Good News For Them Is Good News For Us

A column on Bloomberg today should give fiscal conservatives great hope for the future of the United States.

A discussion of emerging-market bond funds might be a great cure for your insomnia, but while many of us have slept poor nations in the world have been catching up to us quickly.

It is time to wake up.

The jolt will be tough for a lot of us, but as prosperity and achievement spread throughout the world we will have to cut our patience for counterproductive public policies.

In other words, as the economies of the third world get stronger we will be less able to afford liberal economic policies.

Could we be seeing progress already? Look at how quickly this turned into this.

Gatewood Galbraith Scores 12%, Otis Hensley Gets 8% In Latest Dem Polls

Mock polls on college campuses may be a nice teaching tool, but I was surprised to see two candidates -- Jody Richards and Jonathan Miller -- have now issued press releases touting the results.

At least Jonathan Miller printed the raw numbers. It's a whole lot less impressive when you consider them.

Fred Thompson Pimps Tax Cuts

If he is going write op-eds in the Wall Street Journal calling out the tax-raisers on Tax Weekend, Fred Thompson needs to go ahead and announce for president.

By the way, have you ever wondered how we got the income tax? Good story.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Battle Of The Would-Be State Treasurers

Responding to Melinda Wheeler's suspicious call to shut down the Treasurer's office she is running for, an opponent has called for her to drop out of the race.

In an email statement from his campaign manager, Rep. Ken Upchurch (R-Monticello) said "if Ms. Wheeler does not have anything to add to the office, perhaps she should consider withdrawing from the race."

Another comment attributed to Rep. Upchurch practically guarantees no other candidate for the office will engage this controversy unless absolutely forced to do so. He said what he would do in an effort to compensate for the lack of meaningful duties associated with the Treasurer's office:

"Down ticket offices can serve the Commonwealth outside of their basic duties with innovative leadership. My plan to increase financial literacy education in our high schools is an example of a forward-thinking platform worthy of this constitutional office."

The first lesson in a good financial literacy class, though, might say something about not spending too many tax dollars to make a state officeholder with few real responsibilities look busy.

LendingTree Refinance Mortgage

A Conservative Looks At Abstinence Education

I have to admit I haven't paid any attention at all to the "abstinence-only" approach to sex education for middle and high school students in public schools.

Now that this report has come out today claiming that such a thing doesn't work, I have to say I don't doubt the report at all.

It is very simple. "Abstinence-only" education works perfectly when two parents who are married to each other start having frank conversations with their children when those children are seven or eight years old. Continuing to hold age-appropriate discussions about members of the opposite sex and what constitutes proper physical contact prior to marriage throughout the teenage years is critical. An intact nuclear family is very important in this process.

As a child of divorced parents, I wish this weren't the case, but it is.

So we are spending $176 million a year in federal tax dollars to start telling 11 year olds in public schools not to have unmarried sex?

What a stupid idea. Sorry, I know liberals have been saying that for a long time. But you guys are so wrong about social issues usually I just tuned it out.

Staying Relevant: Bill Frist Says Vote For Fred

Sen. Mitch McConnell escorted Sen. Bill Frist through Kentucky when the former Senate Majority Leader from Tennessee was still considered a potential candidate for president.

Now Frist is carrying the torch for former Sen. Fred Thompson, who Frist is encouraging to run for the White House.

Richie Farmer Is On The Net

Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has just put up his campaign website. Let's face it, Farmer faces very little chance of losing this year.

But he has talked about running for higher office. He should get ready for the increased scrutiny that goes along with such aspirations.

Shutting Down Kentucky Treasurer's Office

The Kentucky Treasurer's office is meaningless and only Jonathan Miller would have missed it these last eight years if it didn't exist.

So why are more candidates -- eight -- running for this office than any of the other down-ticket constitutional offices?

And why am I just getting an email last night from one of the candidates telling me that after three months of trying to tell people what she would do if elected, she has now decided that if she is elected she will push for shutting the office down?

From the email:

"What will you do if elected?" seems like such a simple question.
If the office of Treasurer is significant why is this such a hard question for me to answer? The reason is that the most meaningful duties have been stripped from the office over the preceding decades.


As a result, I believe the time has come to eliminate the constitutional office of Treasurer.

Melinda Wheeler hasn't put this on her website yet. A skeptic might be forgiven for wondering if this is just a stunt to revive her campaign. And it is pretty hilarious trying to imagine a candidate struggling for three months trying to answer the most basic question in any campaign. Nevertheless, her Republican opponents should be made to answer whether they agree or disagree with disbanding this office that would serve us better as a part of the Finance and Administration Cabinet.

Another fun thought would be to get the Democratic candidates arguing with each other about how important the Treasurer's office is to the future of the Commonwealth.

And where is Jonathan Miller on this? What have you been doing with your time these last eight years, big boy?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Glimpse Into A Universal Health Care Future

If Kentucky elects a governor who pushes mandated health coverage for everyone, it may shake out something like what we are seeing in California.

Jody Richards Press Release: I Won WKU Mock Primary

No, I'm not making it up. Click here to see for yourself.

Georgia Poised To Move Ahead Of Kentucky On Special Needs Education

The state of Georgia moved a big step closer to becoming the fifth state to offer school choice scholarships to special needs students to help them escape under-performing public schools. The bill passed Georgia's Choice Subcommittee of the Georgia House Education Committee, something Kentucky doesn't even have.

Kentucky could have achieved this first, but Rep. Stan Lee's special needs student bill was killed last month in the our state's House Education Committee.

Great quote from the Georgia bill's sponsor:

“If parents have no choice, there is zero incentive for public schools to improve their quality or remain accountable to the citizens and the taxpayers of the community. We want to ensure that every disabled child, regardless of wealth or circumstances, has the opportunity to receive the very best education available,” Senator Eric Johnson stated.

Hillary: I Was Anti-Imus Before Obama Was

Now we know.

Now THIS Is A Nappy Headed Ho

Too bad Don Imus didn't hold his fire against accomplished student-athletes from Rutgers and unleash it instead on Crystal Gail Mangum, the Duke false accuser.

Kudos to Matt Drudge for putting Mangum's mug on his website. If we really want to improve race relations, we should run skanks like Mangum and race-whores like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton off the stage, out the door, and onto a small-island leper colony where they would be forced to live with white racists with whom they have so much in common.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We Need To Join Barack Obama On This One

Sen. Tom Coburn and Sen. Barack Obama co-sponsored a federal bill last year to open up government spending to public scrutiny. An effort earlier this year to do the same thing on the state level in Kentucky was stuffed by Rep. Harry Moberly.

This is another Moberly screw-up we need to fix. A national effort called "Show me the spending" has been set up to draw attention to the open government initiative on the state level. It will help. A lot.

Fighting Back Against Harry Moberly

In the wake of Rep. Harry Moberly's attempt to hijack the legislative process, freedom-loving Kentuckians really need a legislative initiative to counter his secrecy scheme.

A bill to require the General Assembly and governor to pass and sign a budget bill by January 25 of each budget session would help a lot. That way, legislative leaders could negotiate the budget in secret -- behind closed doors, covered windows, and with armed guards -- to their hearts' content. The public and rank-and-file legislators could still have time to examine their work and respond appropriately. The sixty day session would continue past the budget deadline, but the budget bill would be off-limits beyond January 25. And for this to work we couldn't allow special sessions to address the budget either.

I think this would help reinforce the idea of who is actually in charge of our government.

Fun Story About Steve Henry

Democratic gubernatorial front-runner Steve Henry doesn't really need Republicans to rip on him. He has fast-growing liberal bloggers Kentucky Women and Rural Democrat breaking the bad news about him at light speed.

Henry's fundraising problems draw attention to the state of political blogging. Reading the political blogs, you might expect the gubernatorial races in both parties to be almost exactly opposite of where they are now. I don't know if that is more symptomatic of a broken political system or an immature medium, but well-written blogs will continue to have an opportunity to grow in influence.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kentucky Tax Increase Trivia

When I saw Steve Nunn's endorsement of Anne Northup today, it occurred to me that without Steve's father Louie Nunn's support of raising the state sales tax to five cents and Northup's 1990 vote to raise it to six cents, we might still have a four percent sales tax.

While Louie "Nickel" Nunn took a lot of grief for that tax increase, and Northup might get some herself for hers, I won't really join the hit parade. I would far rather see us have the highest sales tax in the nation if we could repeal all income taxes.

But this Northup quote from the January 23, 1990 Louisville CJ has been making the rounds:

Northup said, "I'm really angry that Wilkinson has spent three years stirring up anti-tax sentiment."

Jonathan Miller: Running For Governor

Jonathan Miller can't get enough attention to get arrested in the crowded Democratic primary. This won't help:

Nappy-Headed McCain Wasting Time Again

John McCain says he forgives dead-man-walking Don Imus for calling young women on the Rutgers college basketball team "nappy headed ho's."

They deserve each other.

Imus will wind up losing his show because of his ridiculous apologies as much for his ill-advised comment. A RINO U.S. Senator isn't going to help him now.

A Meaningful Education Reform For Kentucky

We really need to examine the price we pay in our schools when we elevate "access" or "participation" above all else. Not that many of us couldn't use a helping hand from time to time, but making the helping hand our top priority shouldn't be allowed to cripple our ability to serve those who are more likely to move on with a little help.

This year already, we passed a stupid bill that seeks to keep high school dropouts in the classroom. It won't work, but the time we spent on this could have gone to something productive.

Here's an idea: rather than packing high school classrooms with kids who don't want to be there and college freshman classes with students who aren't prepared for higher education, let's allow the drop-outs to drop out and keep 12th graders who need remediation in their seats for 13th grade in their same high school.

This would benefit us in several ways. Shame is a fabulous motivator for teenagers. An underachieving would-be college freshman will move heaven and earth to avoid sitting in high school for one more year. This will alleviate our college remediation problem in one way or the other. And kids who really need the help and want to graduate can have more time to get that help. If what we really want is to improve educational achievement, let's shift some of our focus from flogging drop-outs and toward better guiding students who are showing some interest.

Monday, April 09, 2007

No Knockout Punch Tonight

Governor Fletcher won on style points. I'm a little surprised he brought up the silly I-CARE thing as an achievement, but no one took anything away from him tonight.

It's disheartening that with the possibility of making expensive health mandates optional or reducing any one of several other kinds of regulations that raise premiums more than they protect consumers, we spend an hour talking about less important things. In a year when all the Dems are pushing socialized medicine, a real-world solution to rising healthcare costs should be a great Republican issue.

Anne Northup Is On The Air

Well, what do you think?

A Tale Of Two State Public Pensions

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson vetoed a bill to raise legislator pensions. Meanwhile, New Jersey's pension mess news gets worse.

Meanwhile, Kentucky's inaction on its retirement system problems and rich legislator pensions are sending us in the direction of New Jersey.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Kentucky Hurting Access To Higher Education

I was comparing notes with my brother-in-law today about colleges. When he was a student at the University of Kentucky, I was at the University of Georgia. And our tuition payments were almost identical. Fast forward to today, when I am considering sending my son to Georgia Tech. Tuition at UK is nearly double what it is at Tech, a unit of the University of Georgia System.

Part of the difference is Georgia has the HOPE scholarship, the nation's largest state-financed, merit-based aid program. What it has helped create is a market for success in the classroom. The original requirement for the scholarship was a 3.0 GPA. The promise was tuition-free education at state schools. Currently, that is a joke. A 3.0 won't get you admitted.

The merit-based scholarships have served to keep tuition costs down and that is a lesson Kentucky would do well to learn from.

The KEES scholarships may have done a little to increase access to higher education in Kentucky. A nice goal. But that nice goal is undermined by the tuition inflation that results.

Billy Harper Ad: No Tax Increases

The Associated Press says Billy Harper is using humor to win votes. I think his latest ad is a solid effort to set himself apart, but I didn't think it was funny. That's not a criticism. I think the ad will draw some attention, like it did here.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

How Would A Jody Richards Meltdown Change Race For Democratic Nomination?

The Rural Democrat is reporting Jody Richards' gubernatorial campaign staff appears to have left their jobs. Don't know if it is true, but with no press releases in two and a half weeks, it appears they were running low on steam anyway.

I would guess that a lot of the people who are currently Richards supporters aren't really thinking about winning the race and are instead hoping to curry favor with the Speaker of the House. So who do they jump to next?

Bruce Lunsford.

Lunsford is the front-runner and has the cash to dominate a run-off. He will then control the party, just like Chairman Jerry Lundergan wants him to. Follow the power.

10:03 Update: The Richards campaign responded by saying the campaign staff members didn't quit, but were fired.

If You Are Still Waiting For The Economy To Collapse, The Wait Just Got A Little Longer

American business just keeps roaring along. And no one tells the story quite like Larry Kudlow.

If you really want to see a recession, though, why don't you just raise taxes:

"We Are Out Of Ideas And You Won't Let Us Surrender Fast Enough"

Haven't we seen this thing before?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Boyfriend Benefit Bombshell: Attorney General Greg Stumbo Caught Between Rock, Hard Place

Attorney General candidate Stan Lee has asked AG Greg Stumbo for an official Opinion on the constitutionality of the state's public universities offering taxpayer-subsidized domestic partner benefits to their employees.

GOP Battle Goes On The Air Monday Night

The Republican gubernatorial candidates appear on KET Monday night at 8 pm to debate each other in what will be the biggest event of the race so far.

Governor Fletcher doesn't need to score a knockout punch, but he will have to talk with authority about tax modernization, the projected surplus, Medicaid, roads and private sector jobs to avoid taking any body blows himself.

Anne Northup needs very much to land a knockout punch, but she better appear not to be fighting at all and, instead, must go heavy on a positive, detailed message.

Billy Harper stands to gain the most ground in the horse race if Northup and Fletcher get tied up. I think, realistically, Harper comes out of this stronger if he demonstrates conclusively that he belongs on the same stage as his competitors. Still has a way to go to get into the mix, but could easily pick up a few points. Harper's role is to appear at-ease and on-message but not comical or dogmatic. If he pulls that off, the race for second place could get interesting.

Get Ready For Nuclear Energy

Call it New-clee-uhr or New-cyoo-luhr or whatever you want to, but now is the time to get used to the idea of getting more of our energy from nuclear power plants.

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Herald Leader Points Finger At Teachers Union

The Lexington Herald Leader this morning rolls out the laundry list of problems with Kentucky schools, calls for differential pay for teachers, and smacks the KEA for playing politics with a sincere Senate effort to help.

Predictably, the Herald Leader stopped there. Saying only that something has to be done -- and throwing in a jab at the Senate initiative for mandatory ACT exams as not being the answer -- the editorial stopped short right in front of the answers.

One of them is raising standards for middle school students. If we are succeeding in primary grades and failing in high schools, the obvious place to start looking is in middle schools. Indeed, local efforts to expect more from middle school students have been effective.

Another is to implement some elements of school choice. An honest discussion about what has worked in other states would be extremely enlightening and productive.

And a third thing to do is to stop listening to the Kentucky Education Association. Their only function is to whine about salaries. Look at their own legislative action web page. They only care about protecting the jobs, salaries, and pensions of teachers and stopping any effort to pay more for better teachers. That's how you protect mediocrity. And I don't blame the KEA for this. They aren't being hypocrites. They are a labor union. They are doing what they are supposed to do and are obviously effective at it. I blame those in the media who expect them to be experts on education and look to them for leadership on education policy. When you want a photo-op with hundreds of teachers screaming about their doctor co-pays, call the KEA. But stop expecting them to fix what ails our schools. Parents need to band together to make that happen. And we don't need state help to do much of that. If we go school to school and start retaining middle schoolers who flunk more than one class each year, most of the borderline students will figure out how to stay on track.

Only then will they be sufficiently prepared for high school. And if we can accomplish that, newspapers like the Herald Leader will be less likely to look to the teachers union for education policy advice.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Time To Push Back Against Bad Health Reform

Emboldened by his $25 million of free speech -- er, corrupting cash, er ... wait a minute, I'm so confused!), Barack Obama is pushing universal healthcare hard. So are all the Democratic candidates for governor of Kentucky.

An enterprising Republican candidate would do well to propose a Health Care Common Market in which Kentucky could combine with all seven of our surrounding states -- or whoever would go with the idea -- and allow any citizen or company of any of those states to purchase an individual or group plan from an insurer in any of the other states.

How Would That Work, Mr. Speaker?

Speaker of the House Jody Richards on the Jack Pattie Show this morning is railing against school choice.

"I'm not for school choice. I think that would destroy the system, personally," Richards said.

Really? There is no evidence of school choice destroying an educational system anywhere. It might make things a little tougher for teachers union officials, though. Is that who we really want to be protecting when giving parents greater ability to move students has been successful at improving education where it has been tried?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Charge That Kentucky Misspent Fed Money Is Bunk

With all the talk from the Fletcher administration about how great the "Unbridled Spirit" is for Kentucky on one hand and charges that federal money was spent on the state's marketing campaign on the other, the truth was actually very easy to find out.

State agencies used to handle their own marketing campaigns individually. Early on, the Fletcher administration's Commerce Cabinet consolidated all marketing activities in order to create savings with economies of scale. Implementation involved projecting what costs were going to be and then ironing out overpayments and underpayments at the end of a two year marketing contract. The contract is now publicly available through the Finance and Administration Cabinet. All the money was marketing money and it has all gone where it was supposed to. It's more fun to make charges of abuse or incompetence -- and I'd love to jump in if the facts were on that side -- but the truth is the state has saved a lot of money by buying its advertising in bulk rather than farming it out piecemeal.

The Fletcher administration is in need of a story to tell and should tell this one.

Another Nightmarish Pension Story Somehow Not Repaired By Casino Proliferation

Today there is more disastrous pension news from New Jersey that should be viewed as a cautionary tale for Kentuckians, but probably won't.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Should Government Favor Consumers Or Producers?

I would like to think that governments wouldn't interfere in transactions between businesses and consumers unless one party was committing fraud. But with the recent tariff on Chinese paper, it appears I am swimming upstream on this. Free trade policies benefit consumers by allowing them to pay lower prices for goods or services from foreign producers. Domestic producers sometimes respond by getting the government to help them get tax breaks, subsidies, or tariffs on foreign competitors.

Here is an interesting story from a Chinese perspective showing how tariffs are bad policy for the country placing the tariffs, as well as the target country. As complicated as international commerce has become, it makes no sense to try to outsmart the free market. In fact, when China subsidizes their products with domestic tax dollars or low wages, we might just thank Chinese taxpayers for the low prices and move on. Instead, we spread the pain to our consumers. Trying to create a "fair trade" situation has too many unintended consequences.

Great Opportunity For A Liberal Kid

This springtime is scholarship time at my house, but I get the feeling these folks don't want to know what my son thinks about this:

You have until April 30, 2007 to write a 500 word essay on how you feel about the United States potentially having it's very first female (Hillary Clinton) or African American (Barack Obama) president.

Some of us could have a lot of fun with that one.

Incidentally, if you are looking for money for school and don't pick your liberal presidential candidates on the basis of their gender or their skin color, you might take a look at this site:

Find Scholarships Today!

How Long Before We Import This Idea?

Some lawmakers in New Jersey want to make their legislators full-time state employees and ban outside employment. Their reasoning goes that part-time legislators are subject to conflicts of interest with their outside employment. So, no outside job, no conflict of interest? What a shock it is that such flimsy reasoning would fly in New Jersey. Can there be any doubt Kentucky will pick up the scent quickly?

Kentucky does not need to follow on this track. This is like campaign finance reform. Any effort to get dirty money out of politics just creates more creative criminals. Especially with casino goons circling around Frankfort, we need to keep part-time legislators with their disclosure forms. One change I would propose, though, is that they be required to include their federal income tax return with their annual financial disclosure forms. Lawmakers would then be less likely to "forget" to mention business relationships on their disclosure forms. When they are caught doing that now, they file an amended disclosure form and the problem goes away. If we involve the IRS, then if we catch one of them in some kind of scheme he or she would be subject to federal prison. Another benefit to this approach would be a more intense interest in the Fair Tax, which involves essentially shutting down the IRS.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Real Story On Early '08 Fundraising Yet To Be Told

Ask me again on April 15, when we know how much everyone has on hand. Hillary and Mitt should both take a hard hit on this bottom line figure. Hillary will still show big bucks, but a lot of it isn't going to be available until after the primary.

All those $4600 checks Slick Willie picked up in Lexington and that the campaign has been pulling in all over are for twice the legal limit. Only $2300 can be spent before the primary.

Dick Morris Understands Iraq Funding Issue

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have fallen and can't get up.

Democrats in Congress are heading into a game of chicken with the Bush White House akin to the Gingrich-Clinton government shutdown battle of 1995-96. The roles are reversed this time - so the Republicans are likely to prevail.

The question is, will Bush take full advantage?

For his part, President Bush needs to stand firm as this process unfolds. The split the funding resolution will catalyze in the Democratic Party may be his party's only hope of hanging onto the White House in 2008. He should resist calls for compromise, since any halfway solution or diplomatic wording that could appeal to both sides will rescue the Democrats from the horns of their dilemma - and run most or all of the risks for the troops and the mission in Iraq as the current bills present.

Bush should demand a clean appropriations bill or guarantee a veto. If he doesn't flinch and congressional Republicans don't defect, it will be bad news for the Democrats.

Another Week, Another Adult Stem Cell Victory

While fetal stem cells have served almost entirely to elect Democratic party candidates, adult stem cells have been piling up real-world successes.

The "anti-science" rhetoric from Democrats take hit after hit here on Earth -- paging Ozone Al Gore!! -- yet too many GOP officeholders continue to run like scared dogs when people start talking about minimum wage hikes to benefit poor families and raising taxes to help the economy, fighting back school choice or letting hospitals decide if they want any competition or not.

Hillary Clinton Leads Money Race, Unpopularity Poll; Long Live Queen Hillary

Democratic smoke-filled-room types have a decision to make as Hillary Clinton raises millions of dollars but is hugely unpopular with everyone but the George Soros wing of the party. As she seeks to triangulate the party on Iraq, climate change, and free trade, Barack Obama is rumored to have raised almost as much money as she did in the first quarter. Meanwhile, he confuses Ronald Reagan's negotiations with people who value human life a little bit (Soviets) versus his refusal to negotiate with terrorists (Iranians) who don't value human life at all.

"We have to understand what Ronald Reagan understood, which was that we'll talk even to folks who are your enemies," the Illinois senator told an audience of more than 2,000 at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.

Whatever it is you can get it on eBay!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Fletcher Administration Should Answer This

Dr. Kevin T. Kavanagh goes after Fletcher health care policy:

In a recent campaign advertisement the Fletcher campaign advocated that they have "increased competition and lowered healthcare costs for Kentuckians." Well, at least he didn't claim to invent the internet.

When questioned by the Lexington Herald Leader Fletcher's campaign manager stated that it is easier for hospitals to expand, which will drive down health care costs. "Hospital construction will lead to lower health costs and more competition in the future."

However, new regulations enacted by the Fletcher Administration have made it virtually impossible for new acute care hospitals to enter into a market.

Apparently the Fletcher administration has adopted a health care policy which states that expansion of existing hospitals along with the prevention of others from entering the market will promote competition and in the future lower prices.

Granting virtual monopolies does not promote competition, this is Economics 101. And without a Public Service Commission to oversee hospital charges or even a Certificate of Need Citizen's Board to oversee the CON and healthcare expansion, there is little hope that these monopolies will lead to lower prices. After all, someone will have to pay for these new facilities and it will ultimately end up being the consumer.

The change in wording from "lowered health care costs" to "will lead to lower health costs" is an important one. It the difference between receiving a large check for you to deposit and being told the check is in the mail.

Allowing the massive expansion of existing facilities today may well have the effect of locking out future competitors for years to come, even if another Administration reverses these misguided regulations. What is done today can have the unattended effect of causing higher health care prices experienced by our children in the future.

If the Fletcher Administration is not careful, his legacy will be the turning over our health care to a few large corporations without the checks and balances of competition. Several urban and rural counties in Kentucky need an acute care hospital. Some do not have one and need access; others need competition for lower prices and to help promote quality.

We need to adopt a health care policy of "No County Left Behind" and take the Certificate of Need out of the hands of politicians.

"Let The People Decide"

The Associated Press asked the gubernatorial candidates about casino gambling and got good answers from Billy Harper, Anne Northup, and Otis Hensley.

"Let the people decide" just means let the casino industry spend tens of millions of dollars convincing voters to bet the farm on the worst public policy since, well, never mind. This is a very bad public policy idea that leads to politicians spending illusory gains and then raising taxes and fees to fill the hole up again.