Thursday, March 31, 2005

To The Victor Goes The Spoils?

It has been said of warfare that the winning side writes the history. Will that be the case in the Terri Schiavo story? This dreadful, gloating commentary seems to say yes. The writer begins by proclaiming relief at the death of Schiavo and, he hopes, the end of the "political melodrama." Then he proceeds in the very next paragraph to call her "brain dead" -- which of course she wasn't until she was starved to death. Now she is brain dead. Expect to see a lot more of this "see, it isn't so bad now that she is dead, is it? Can't we all just get along and quit acting like a bunch of Bible-thumping wild-eyed pistol wavers?"
And ABC News still has their fake "GOP Talking Points" memo on their website under "Your Government.

Playing Politics

Terri Schiavo is gone and ABC News still has their bogus "GOP Talking Points" memo displayed on their website. Disgraceful.

KEPT Men: Miller and Stumbo Sue, You Pay

Under fire for his misstatements about money-losing "Kentucky's Affordable Prepaid Tuition" program, State Treasurer Jonathan Miller took to the airwaves yesterday to defend his role in a lawsuit over the future of KAPT.
Miller told listeners to WVLK's Kruser & Krew show that he is still upset that bipartisan efforts in the legislature reversed Miller's $13.7 million raid on Kentucky's General Fund and prevented future such raids. This effort survived despite Miller's intense media campaign to justify spending taxpayer dollars endlessly on future KAPT losses.
Miller surely doesn't expect to win his ill-advised lawsuit against the General Assembly. More likely, he expects to keep spinning against the facts of the case and run as a hard-charging battler of the system in his future campaigns. It will be interesting to see how much Miller's silly lawsuit (filed by Attorney General Greg Stumbo) will cost Kentucky's taxpayers.
Call it Kentucky's Extravagant Politicians Tax. KEPT men Miller and Stumbo aren't worried about who pays for this bit of campaigning. We'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Stonewalling on Faked ABC News Memo?

When ABC News reported on March 18 about a so-called "GOP Talking Points Memo" related to Terri Schiavo, skeptical bloggers started searching for evidence of its true source. The Washington Post has picked up the story. Can the media feeding frenzy against ABC News be far behind?
It won't be good for ABC News if their actions can be compared to the CBS News' faked National Guard memo from last fall.
ABC claims "very reliable, multiple sources" in the flap, but stops short of naming any of them. Linda Douglass, the ABC reporter who first brought out the questionable memo is "out of the country."
In Lexington, WTVQ news director Tai Takagashi said of the controversy "It rings a bell, but we haven't been talking about it here."

Kentucky Progress Radio

Tune in to 1340 AM this afternoon at 5:15 pm for the latest news and comment by yours truly. Call in number is 859-623-1340.

KAPT and Social Security Linkage Ignored

In the search for news by local media outlets, national stories are often mined for a local angle. Such has not been the case, however, with the Kentucky's Affordable Prepaid Tuition scandal that is now headed to court. And that is a shame, because the connection between the disinformation campaign that rages around KAPT here mirrors that of the efforts to let Social Security drown in an obstructionist-led propanda campaign against reform.
While the KAPT scandal involves a money-losing Kentucky ponzi scheme that will result in taxpayer dollars being spent to make up shortfalls, Social Security is a money-losing Federal ponzi scheme that will result in taxpayer dollars being spent to make up shortfalls. Unfunded liabilities plague both programs, as do loud Democrat politicians whose political futures ride on a persistent status quo. In Washington D.C., Democrats believe they can't allow a Republican to correct the structural failings of FDR's legacy and are seemingly willing to say anything to avoid such a result. In Frankfort, Treasurer Jonathan Miller has ignored repeated warnings for years that KAPT won't work for long; but he knows a good political issue when he sees one. So, the reasoning goes on both levels, turning Republican efforts to protect taxpayers against them works if no one pays attention to the details and the media plays along. So far this tactic is has effectively slowed reform.
But the tide may be turning.
Miller's ability to persuade Attorney General Greg Stumbo to file suit against the General Assembly for stopping the KAPT raid on the General Fund (under the bizarre claim that the opposite happened) is interesting. Their position is untenable and they must know it. General tax dollars were never intended to pay for bad "investment schemes." Much like the Harry Reid claim that a Social Security that can pay 70% of benefits before digging into taxpayer pockets isn't bankrupt, House Budget Chairman Harry Moberly declares KAPT "safe" by explaining that "No General Assembly is going to leave current (KAPT) contract holders in the breach." Translated, this means that Democrats aren't worried about structural problems with these two programs because when the going gets tough they can just raise our taxes. And, unfortunately, Republicans will be able to do little about it when that time comes; hence the efforts at reform now. But you aren't going to see that explained in the news.
Another key point that hasn't been explored in the old media is that the liberals who insist that the same financial markets that can't be trusted to keep Social Security contributions earning more than general wage inflation (which they easily do) can be trusted to keep KAPT contributions earning more than college tuition inflation (which they can't consistently do).
And they say conservatives rely too much on faith.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Professionals in Pajamas

The University of Southern California is hiring a blogger and paying $45,000 for a six month project. The funny thing is that this is listed on The job requires fluency in Japanese, but the point remains: the vast majority of "real journalists" will never get close to a six figure income. So the next time Joe Schmo at the Daily Fishwrap comes up with another snide remark about bloggers in pajamas, be cool, be calm, and smile.
Our day will come. Soon.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Bloggers on Lexington Radio

Tune in to the Dave Baker Show on WLAP 630 AM Tuesday March 29 at 10 AM for a discussion about blogging and the latest issues with bloggers Leland Conway and David Adams. Also available on the internet at The call-in number is (859) 280-2287.

Ben Chandler Wants More of Your Money

An emailer to the Jack Pattie Show this morning asked Rep. Ben Chandler, in light of his recent calls for tax increases to avoid dealing with the fundamental problems with Social Security, if he was being dishonest now or in early 2004 when he promised not to support tax increases.

The fact is that raising payroll taxes doesn't address Social Security's unfairness. Further, here is how personal accounts will make the program solvent without tax hikes or benefit cuts.

Lexington Writer Draws Attention

Kudos to Michele Ferguson, a Lexington Herald Leader Community Columnist, for drawing not one but three letter writers' wrath in Sunday's newspaper. Her writings have been stirring things up for a while. Nice job Michele.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Faulty Economics Indeed

More evidence that the left is cracking up comes from fellow central Kentucky blogger Bluegrassroots in a post by Brad Clark. Below is the entire post with my corrections in bold.

Faulty Economics: The Myth of an Independent Dollar
The dollar has had its day in the sun. (Bad start. This is highly debatable and nothing in this essay supports such a statement.) Any lingering warmth from the day will soon fade with nightfall. (Soon? Evidence? No, this is just wishful thinking.) In 1980, the United States was the world's strongest creditor; the dollar setting the standard for international currency exchange, and the value of commodities such as oil, gold, and copper. Even today, the dollar is the standard by which international markets determine value, even though twenty-five years later, the United States is the world's leading debtor. (Factoids don't advance your ambitious premise.)
No other nation in the world owes as much money to foreign banks. No other nation in the world has as much consumer debt (consumer debt curtails consumer spending, which is the bulk of America's Gross Domestic Product). Many politicians and businessmen, the ill-informed bastions of a mythological, quasi-Smithian economic model, (name calling. Nice.) hope that the opening of Chinese and Indian markets will foster the expansion of the dollar's power and the democratizing effects of capitalism, (no, they hope to make money through increased production. It's working.) but as China grows in wealth, the more dependent America becomes to its four banks, (this same reasoning in the 1980's would have us a Japanese colony by now) which are controlled by the Chinese government(ominous and xenophobic, but not very relevant). Over fifty percent of all U.S. Treasury securities are owned by Chinese and Japanese banks.(Again, inflammatory rhetoric and fear-mongering factoids don't make good economic analysis by themselves. You need more.)
In all, the U.S. owes almost three trillion dollars to foreign banks. That is twenty-five percent of America's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The growth rate of America's debt exceeds the growth rate of the nation's GDP. One does not have to have a degree in economics to see that the equation does not equal economic stability for America's future.(Maybe not, but perhaps a little historical perspective would help. See World War Two.)
The dollar is inflated. The Federal Reserve has recently raised interest rates seven times trying to curtail the inflation of the dollar. The Euro is quickly becoming a stable and expansive form of currency for a strong European market(Europhoric talking points, not a realistic appraisal of the European currency. Currency trading strength in the face of dollar trading weakness is not evidence of true stability in the euro. Another highly debatable proposition). U.S. foreign policy, if it continues to engage in costly conflicts with no clear and easily accessible economic benefits, will eventually bankrupt the American homeland (This is no more substantial than a good Dean Scream). The American government will not be able to avoid going further and further into debt. Eventually, domestic programs will have to be cut (i.e. education, healthcare, social welfare). Not to mention that American foreign debt will inevitably rise. Debt to foreign banks is a threat to national security; especially when the banks underwriting the American economy are owned by the Chinese government. (Chinese banks underwriting the American economy? Reading the rest of this vapid essay assures me that you aren't kidding, but this is utterly ridiculous. Production "underwrites" the American economy. Chinese banks may underwrite a part of the U.S. government, but Econ 101 should teach the difference between the government and the economy.)
As confidence in the faultering U.S. economy diminishes, foreign capital will leave in search of more stable markets. Look at Mexico in 1994 (hello NAFTA, hello Zapatistas), Russia in 1998 (transition to capitalism, hello organized crime), or Argentina in 2001 (attractive South American economy, hello civil unrest). (Totally bogus examples.) The attractiveness of a new market open to foreign investment inflates a nation's currency beyond its true value, and the slightest signs of distress see foreign investment fleeing for safer markets (or, more often than not, ones that have yet to show signs of distress). How much more dangerous is the fall of a nation's economy when it has been the cornerstone of a world economy for three quarters of a century?(The prior two sentences add nothing of value to the discussion. The question would be scary, but there is nothing here --or anywhere-- that suggests the "fall" of the American economy.)
If the American bubble pops(made up scenarios and their explosive demise make great science fiction but poor economic discussion) , the structure of international finance will have to be reevaluated. Can America take a backseat role in the world? It has been well over a century since America really needed welfare from other states. My advice: make sure your kids speak a foreign language. (Foreign language instruction is a great idea, but none of the other ideas here hold any water.)

Posted by Brad Clark at 02:19 PM in Politics Permalink Comments (1) TrackBack (0)

Great Fiscal Policy

Thanks to Jeff Smith for this post about Social Security. ---

The Socialists like Ben Chandler say it's not a retirement fund.
They call it "insurance". What they conveniently leave out of
their claim that it's insurance is that insurance companies have
the ability to pay out claims due to their INVESTMENTS! Hello!

Our Congress, that screws up everything it touches, borrows from
SSI, to fund everything under the sun, and replace our money with
IOU's. Insurance companies INVEST our monies so it grows. They
make huge profits, claim recipients get huge checks, and the system
is solvent.

Again, the private sector proves it can manage anything better than
the public sector. Hello! But woe be unto anyone who even thinks of
touching the holy grail of American socialists, Social Security and
Medicare. You must be a "baby killer" or a "racist" or "Hitler" if you
want to touch SSI. It is broken. What do we do when our car breaks?
We fix it right?


And he sends along this link that just makes too much sense.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

What a Difference Six Years Makes

Slate had a fairly sober look at Social Security reform in 1998 that makes for a pretty interesting history lesson. What really makes it noteworthy is the partisan crowing in a story this week from the same publication.

Kathy Stein Binge and Purge: Schiavo and Roe v. Wade Out?

The only thing stranger than Kathy Stein's column in the Lexington Herald Leader calling for the murder of Terri Schiavo because some of Kathy's friends were bulimic in the 1970's was her contention yesterday on Sue Wylie's show on 590 WVLK that states' rights should rule supreme on the issue of Terri's life or death. Could Rep. Stein, an ardent pro-abortion activist, have gotten her talking points mixed up? Roe V. Wade prevents states from enacting life and death laws related to abortion. Does Stein want badly enough to give that power back to the states so Terri Schiavo can be starved to death, that she is willing to allow states to prevent the murders of innocent unborn children?
She would, one presumes, claim now that states' rights apply to killing inconvenient sick people while federal law must apply to killing inconvenient unborn children. Who is playing politics now?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Social Security Reform on an Index Card

Personal Savings Accounts (PSA) are funded just like Social Security benefits. The money comes from payroll taxes. When payroll taxes aren't enough to fund the PSAs and pay benefits, the Social Security Trust Fund will be tapped. Since the SSTF has been embezzled already, that money must come from other revenue sources. Opponents call this borrowing, but the "borrowing" must happen anyway because the Trust Fund is gone. Opponents claim benefits will be cut for all. This is a flat lie. The lie has a source, though. Opponents claim that, as part of reform, benefit growth would be reduced. This reduction is not being seriously considered, wouldn't help anyway, and is just being used to promote fear of change. Over 55? Nothing changes. Don't like change? Fine, opt out if you choose. Don't like stocks? That's okay, choose not to invest your money in them. Don't like the idea of lower and middle income people being able to own some of their Social Security funds to pass on to their children and grandchildren? You must be Ben Chandler.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Social Security Showdown

The Bluegrass Institute's Chris Derry will join the newly formed Save Social Security Now to discuss how personal savings accounts will increase national savings, spur the economy, and preserve Social Security.
The Town Hall forum will take place tonight at 5:30 pm at the KU Building in Richmond, Kentucky. The public is invited. Anyone with questions may call David Adams at 859-537-5372.

Reform protestors have flown in Congressman Ben Chandler for an anti-reform rally to draw attention from the Town Hall forum. Any legitimate questions from the protestors will be answered at the forum.

2006 Election Season Begins Today

The Kentucky General Assembly wrapped up work late last night as the news was getting around that Speaker Jody Richards will not run for Governor. Attorney General Greg Stumbo still seems to be in the hunt; his statements about gambling keep the pot stirred. Crit Luallen quietly bides her time, despite her very narrow win in 2003. The prediction here is that several House Democrats are mere months away from deciding they would prefer to spend more time with their families rather than run for re-election next year. Last year's crop of first time candidates for the House take note. Also look for Richards to face stiff opposition to his own re-election.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Lexington Mayor: The Search Continues

Still haven't seen a better potential candidate than Warren Rogers come forward. Maybe while the pro-condemnation folks are collecting their signatures on petitions we could follow their lead. How about a Draft Warren petition? We could call the organization LEAD (Lexington Excels at Democracy) and build a true grassroots organization for giving Lexington the great leadership it deserves.

Save Social Security Now!!!

The Social Security "debate" shows clearly what is wrong with Washington D.C. Just as national Democrats fought against tax cuts that boosted the economy from recession (eventually blaming the tax cuts for the recession--someone buy these folks a calendar!) and after caterwalling against the War on Terror as if we started it, they now turn their efforts toward the absurd contention that Social Security is just fine and dandy as it is and we should just leave it alone.
The first baby boomers turn 62 in 2008 and all credible analysts see this as an unsustainable drain on Social Security. When Bill Clinton was POTUS, he said the choice for saving the system was to raise taxes, cut benefits, or invest some of the money privately. In 1999, with the problem more distant than it is now, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) said "Most of us have no problem taking a small amount of the Social Security proceeds and putting it in the private sector." The only thing that has changed since then is that Harry became Senate Minority leader. Now he seems to think that investment choice would destroy the Republic.
But the fact is that private accounts are all that we need to preserve Social Security. And yes, I know that President Bush seems to disagree. The rationale for private accounts is pretty simple. First, diverting Trust Fund dollars keeps Congress from spending them. That is huge. When Congress takes Social Security Trust Fund dollars and spends them, that money has to eventually be produced all over again to pay off the IOU. That process stops if we stop allowing excess payroll taxes from being spent and replaced with IOU's. Second, giving people the option to gain market returns on their money can't, over any time horizon of five years or more, be worse than what is currently earned in the system. And third, the private accounts will be owned by the people who created them, American individuals. As it is now, the same government officials who want to starve Terri Schiavo so she dies on their schedule will always be hoping you and I die quickly enough to keep their ponzi scheme alive.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Save a Liberal, Ride a Polar Bear

This is beautiful. Senator Barbara Boxer is organizing a boycott of every oil company that winds up drilling for oil in ANWR.

Reform Opponents Turn on Each Other

This video clip shows President Bush knocking another Social Security question out of the park, while liberals still claim to be winning on the issue. In fact they are showing the video to each other as if it somehow justifies their obstruction, by pointing out the Bush quote "Personal accounts do not solve the issue" without including his next statement that "Personal accounts will make sure that individual workers get a better deal." The President is initiating the conversation for a permanent solution to unfunded liabilities in entitlement programs and his opponents are playing politics. Come on, guys. You have no credibility when you insist there is no reason to do anything and you still refuse to discuss the issue rationally. Put aside the hatred for President Bush and listen to his words. He is inviting you to help find a solution. Bogus commentary like this from the New York Times doesn't help anything. Read this angry letter from Sen. Joe Lieberman that confirms what the rest of us already knew: the Social Security problem is getting worse while the obstructionists in Congress are playing political games.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

At least he is better than a Socialist!!

The National Taxpayers Union has issued a Report Card for members of Congress and it is no surprise that Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Versailles) earned an "F."
The good news is that Chandler's 14% grade is slightly better than Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders' 12% and New York neo-con Hillary Clinton (11%).
Sadly, Chandler scored lower than Massachusetts' Sen. Ted Kennedy (15%).

Save Social Security Now Comes To Richmond

A townhall meeting to discuss Social Security reform will be held Tuesday March 22, 2005 at the KU building in downtown Richmond. The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m.
President Bush has pushed for a discussion of how to preserve Social Security for future generations. His efforts have been met with apathy from too many politicians of both parties. Save Social Security Now strives to take the reform effort to the grassroots level. In the belief that citizen activism can overcome political apathy, Save Social Security Now urges elected officials of both parties to put aside personal ambition in favor of the public good. Fixing Social Security now for the benefit of future generations of Americans will take bipartisan cooperation.
Any questions regarding Save Social Security Now may be directed to David Adams at 859-537-5372 or

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Grover Gives Kentucky A Qualified Thumbs Up

Grover Norquist approves of Kentucky's efforts to reform the Commonwealth's tax code. Sort of.
"It's always better to cut spending and cut taxes, but Kentucky's tax plan is revenue neutral in the short run and cuts corporate taxes," Norquist said. "Kentucky's corporate taxes have been horrifying to businesses. They look at Kentucky and then they go to Tennessee."
Norquist, president of the Washington D.C.-based Americans for Tax Reform, spoke to David Adams on WEKY 1340 AM in Richmond Wednesday evening.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Chandler Bears Down Against Reform

Congressman Ben Chandler (D-Ky) today announced his plans to share obstructionist talking points with supporters in two central Kentucky towns next week. Chandler has attempted to distract constituents concerned about his ineffectiveness in office by loudly and inaccurately shouting down Social Security reform. The source of his misinformation appears to be leftwing websites with titles like "There is No Crisis" Chandler will be in Berea on Tuesday and Winchester on Thursday.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Herald Leader Blind To Entitlement Reform

The Lexington Herald Leader used this editorial to call for frank speaking on Social Security and then launched a very predictable talking-point diatribe. This same newspaper who now calls private accounts "market magic" and suggests that they can't work was more than willing to confiscate $13.7 million from Kentucky taxpayers to prop up a money losing KAPT program that uses more than a little hocus pocus to make promises it (and self-proclaimed caretaker Jonathan Miller) can't keep. Our beloved newspaper totally missed entitlement reform when the state Senate voted to stop feeding the KAPT monster. They are missing the boat on Social Security as well.
The left in Kentucky, led by Congressman Ben Chandler, knows that the numbers don't support their side. But they think Kentuckians are so confused by their razzle dazzle that they will support perpetual ponzi schemes in KAPT and Social Security. Go fish...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Congressmen gone wild: Chandler on Social Security

Ben Chandler came out with some more outlandish statements about Social Security on the House floor in Washington D.C. Particularly unsettling was his contention that President Bush is "mortgaging away our future" with a plan that will add $4.8 trillion to the national debt. This new figure seems to have originated with a far left website that Chandler has quoted before. Last month, Chandler claimed that Bush wanted to cut Social Security benefits by "nearly 50%." His source for that, according to his staff, was this same website. He later backed off that statement when questioned about its veracity.
One can only imagine that if Chandler had been elected governor he wouldn't have so much time to surf the internet for liberal talking points.

Bush Visits Louisville; Obstructionists Dissemble

Retired lawyer Chet Care probably didn't mean to connect the anti-Social Security reform protest with the anti-war on terror movement or the anti-tax cut movements, but that is exactly what he did. Care, 74, spoke to the Lexington Herald-Leader about his opposition to entitlement reform and his comments were printed in today's newspaper.
"Millions of people will never be part of the 'ownership society'" Bush envisions, Care said. "Social Security is the only safety net for them."
So there you have it: some people are just poor. We can't expect them to accept the opportunity to be anything other than poor. That is the same argument used to prevent the liberation of Iraq and the effort to spread freedom in the Middle East. Some folks just can't handle things like freedom or the ability to manage their own money when a perfectly good government bureaucrat (or a tyrannical dictator) is available. Come to think of it, they tried the same thing with the tax cuts. Remember Al Gore's imaginary billionaire friend who said he didn't want a tax cut, that the government could do more with his money than he could?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Jonathan Miller does Dean Scream in Louisville

The Courier Journal reports that our illustrious State Treasurer is going to a protest of Social Security Reform tonight in Louisville ahead of President Bush's visit to the River City. The Conservative Edge asks an interesting question for Jonathan Miller. He was the one who said Kentucky needs Democrats in office because it is a poor state. Can't have any of those little people getting above their raisin' now, can we? Elect liberals, he seems intent on screaming, so we can all suffer equally.

Lexington Mayor 2006 Rumor Mill

As Lexington's confiscation of Kentucky American Water Company jerks to a stop, efforts to find a serious replacement for Mayor Teresa Isaac continue in earnest. Jim Newberry has filed and is actively courting voters. The problem, though, is he has shown little in the way of ideas. His bumperstickers are showing up around town and he has yet to establish any compelling credentials other than not being the current mayor. Newberry's early momentum seems to bode well for a real conservative candidate.
Several of the better would-be candidates have little or no interest in serving as mayor. That's a good thing, because we don't want to deal with any dead weight throwing their names out for ego gratification. Several folks whose names have been brought up here are saying they won't run. Here's another name for very serious consideration: Larry Brandstetter.
Brandstetter is a Lexington architect and a former state lawmaker. He has conservative credentials, electoral success, and solid business experience. His prior leadership indicates that as mayor he would bring an approach to government that we are sorely lacking. And he is truly one of the good guys. The problem is that he may need some persuading to run. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hey Democrats: WAKE UP!

It's March already and the national Democrats have not yet come to the table to talk seriously about Social Security Reform. They are stuck in obstructionist mode and it is only now starting to dawn on their strategists that this might not work for them. Fourty two Democrat U.S. Senators have written the White House offering to negotiate if President Bush takes private accounts inside the system off the table. Don't hold your breath. After this fails, what do Democrats have? Of course, they have the ability to filibuster but, still, what do they have? Do the Democrats have any serious ideas for the country other than to fight Bush? That may be enough to feed the red meat Bush-haters, but will it win any elections?
If partisanship was the problem last year, bipartisanship plagued the General Assembly in 2005. Expanding the Senate Republican majority and creating one in the House may be the only way for Kentucky voters to demand responsible budgeting in Frankfort. Demanding a budget agreement at all costs like we did this year is just too darn expensive to do again. We don't need back-slapping politicians getting along with each other; we need change.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Baby Blog Me One More Time

Check out another Kentucky blog site, The Conservative Edge !!! More of a national focus, but some special features that cover the Bluegrass like no one else can...

The Liberal Response to Fiscal Restraint

We knew we were on to something when we saw this reaction to our call to shut down KAPT.

Government giveaways to the poor have been around for a long time. Now that middle class entitlements are becoming the norm, those of us who believe in smaller government even when the largesse is aimed at us have to stand up and be heard.

Kentucky's Affordable Prepaid Tuition program is a way for people to lock in today's college price for future tuition costs. The problem is that the taxpayers are on the hook for the inevitable shortfalls in the program. This is the Savings and Loan debacle of the 1980's all over again.

So when the Kentucky Senate acted to reverse KAPT's $13.7 million drain on the General Fund this year, the one politician that has gained the most from KAPT's bracket creep up the ladder of welfare mentality had this to say. Jonathan Miller's bogus claim that KAPT beneficiaries were being robbed to buy a practice gym for UK was debunked immediately, but he has spent too much time tying his political fortunes to the money losing program. Despite the facts, Miller has gone to war to keep KAPT alive to take even more taxpayer dollars in the years ahead. The original Senate proposal sought to keep taxpayer dollars out of the program this year and stop the Treasurer from opening future accounts in order to stop the bleeding. Miller succeeded this weekend in getting the House Democrats to keep KAPT open to future losses. So, for now, we get some of our money back, but the program lives on and the future losses will dwarf the $13.7 million Miller failed to take from us this year. Not surprisingly, Miller is urging his followers to call their legislators and demand that he be allowed to take this money.

To urge responsibility, you may call your legislator at 800-372-7181 or email using the legislator's name like this:

Conservatives would do well to mount an effort to call Frankfort and encourage their legislators to cut our losses and shut down KAPT once and for all.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Memo to Jonathan Miller: Give us our money back!!

This morning on Dave Baker's show on WLAP 630 AM in Lexington, state Treasurer Jonathan Miller said "KAPT has never used taxpayer dollars and never will."
This is completely untrue. Further, the Unclaimed Property Fund that Miller has said contains $140 million to $150 million to back up KAPT liabilities, has no such value. Not even close. Someone should ask Miller to prove this claim.
But it really doesn't matter. Miller, in his incessant shilling for the KAPT program, leaves out the only important facts. People who signed up for the program were shrewd. The state has to back up those contracts, even if it means using taxpayer dollars to do so. The 9000 or so people who signed up will get an outstanding return on their investments; the General Fund guarantees it. Parents and grandparents who looked at the program and passed on it because it looked too good to be true were right as well. The program is unsustainable without periodic taxpayer bailouts. The deficit this year was $13.7 million. The House voted to fill that hole with General Fund dollars. The Senate acted courageously in not only pulling our General Fund dollars out, but also essentially shutting down the program to future losses. The predictable Herald Leader editorial today weakly urged the Senate to give our $13.7 million back to KAPT. They won't.
Meanwhile, Miller seems determined to die on this hill. After learning at famous sore loser Al Gore's knee in Washington D.C. some years ago, he appears perfectly willing to stick to a bad lie or two. And this is an excellent illustration of the changing media tide. He has convinced the Herald Leader to carry his water for him. The question of the day is what will you do with this information?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Jonathan Miller Lies To Public About KAPT

WVLK 590 AM's Kruser and Krew program this afternoon reported some of the details printed here that sought to clear up misconceptions perpetuated by state Treasurer Jonathan Miller about the existence of an unfunded liability in the KAPT program.
Miller called in to the program and was put on the air. His stated purpose was to "correct misunderstandings about KAPT" and to counter misinformation that he attributed to Senate President David Williams. Miller has repeatedly referred to the State Senate's effort to phase out the KAPT program as a "raid." What the Senate did, which was clearly explained in the Fiscal Biennium 2004-2006 Budget Modification Report, was to reverse an appropriation of $13,700,100 from the General Fund to the KAPT Program Fund written into the House budget. The stated purpose of this suggested appropriation was to "meet KAPT's unfunded liability." So to be perfectly clear, the $13.7 million in question was a payment from Kentucky taxpayers to the 9000 or so KAPT beneficiaries written into the budget by the House of Representatives. The Senate appropriately removed this "gift" and moved to shut down the money-losing program to potentially limitless liabilities. By statute, current contract holders will see all their promised tuition assistance. The Senate's action merely places a limit on future losses by the program. Mainstream media outlets predictably have given Miller a pass for his poor judgement in lying about this matter by not reporting it. Kentucky Progress salutes WVLK and Kruser and Krew for shedding some light on this event. Miller has chosen to make this a cause celebre, aparently against conservative budgeting. As such, we will keep you updated as Miller continues to protect his misstatements with, one assumes, more lies.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Jonathan Miller Declares War to Save KAPT boondoggle

Kentucky's state Senate voted Monday to stop Treasurer Jonathan Miller's raid on the General Fund by removing a payment to his bankrupt Kentucky's Affordable Prepaid Tuition program from the House budget bill.
Despite Miller's insinuations that the removed payment represented savings dollars of Kentucky families participating in the program, the $13.7 million actually was taxpayer money not intended to shore up the KAPT deficit. That money would have to be removed from elsewhere in the budget. KAPT has consistently lost money on investments and squandered millions on promotional expenses since 2001.
Billed as a program to help Kentucky families pay for future higher education expenses at current prices, KAPT would only be sustainable if investment returns exceeded tuition cost increases and KAPT expenses. Miller's response to the Senate's refusal to fund the bail out of his program has been extreme: "(It) is inexcusable, unconstitutional, and immoral," Miller said, claiming falsely that KAPT is "financially healthy" and that the Senate was using KAPT money to fund a basketball gym.
As presently structured, KAPT can most accurately be described as an entitlement program to help middle- and upper-income families pay for college expenses. Miller states that shortfalls in the program can be covered by the nearly-worthless Unclaimed Property Fund, which isn't true.