Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bailout spin to begin, again

The Big Three automakers are going back to Capitol Hill this week to beg for a bailout.

There is nothing they can say that will justify throwing taxpayer money at them. Even if the government could "turn a profit" on the deal by taking an equity stake in one or more of them, there is no way we should allow the government to buy up more companies in the name of stability. Just like when Joseph in the Old Testament taxed the Egyptians twenty percent of their grain and sold it back to them in return for their freedom, we will all be slaves when the government figures it can buy up businesses.

Some of the resources tied up in the car companies are misplaced. Delaying the realization of that fact costs us all money. And it might wind up costing us more than that.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tell Beshear to drop tax increase plan

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has a history lesson both President-elect Barack Obama and Gov. Steve Beshear would do very well to pay attention to:
"Important lessons on our current crisis can be drawn from Japan’s “lost decade” in the 1990s, where deeply flawed policy responses lead to a protracted period of stagnation. In the early 1990s, Japan experienced a sharp economic slowdown resulting from the bursting of a real estate and stock market bubble. Sound familiar? In response, Japan’s policy makers pursued an aggressive agenda of fiscal stimulus packages after 1993. Japan’s preference for public spending at the expense of private investment led to record deficits, increasing government debt to 130% of GDP. Following the array of new spending projects, Japan made the critical mistake of raising its consumption tax rate in 1997, proving fatal for Japan’s already stagnant economy. Rather than addressing the significant structural problems in Japan’s financial sector or reducing taxes to spur sustained economic growth, Japan followed a path of increased spending followed by increased taxes. Such a path proved disastrous for Japan, and – should Obama and the Congressional Majority follow a similar path as they’ve promised – it will prove disastrous for America."

Team Obama seems to have gotten the message that tax increases won't do any good for the economy. Maybe they should talk to Gov. Beshear.

Friday, November 28, 2008

While you were hyperventilating...

With all the current problems in Kentucky government to be concerned about, The Lexington Herald Leader is upset about this:

God help us. Oh, sorry guys!

Instead of getting stuck on this stuff, would it be too much to ask the Herald Leader to look into out-of-control public employee compensation, unaccountable school systems, or lying executives?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Special message for Fayette Jail head

Fayette County Detention Center Director Ron Bishop is about to get more of a special greeting from federal investigators than the rest of us. Here's yours:

Bishop may be enjoying the holiday season at his home in Louisville with his Lexington taxpayer-provided luxury car in his garage, but given all the people close to him who are talking to investigators, it's not looking like a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Numbers suggest Beshear expects GOP to fold

I wish I had thought of this one, but credit goes to Andy Hightower at the Kentucky Club for Growth for adding up the numbers and finding the hole in Gov. Steve Beshear's fiscal plan:
"... he's either expecting to raise taxes, or not expecting the $456 million shortfall to materialize."

Read the rest of Andy's post here.

Just plug in your efficiency study, Governor, and everything will be fine. The Senate Republicans have little reason to cut their own throats just to bail you out. In fact, many of the House Democrats don't either.

Will Obama cause food costs to rise?

Harvard professor Dr. Greg Mankiw notes that President-elect Barack Obama's flip-flop on farm subsidies is the wrong prescription:
"Like President-elect Obama (but unlike candidate Obama), I am all for getting rid of farm subsidies. But why would you want to use taxpayer funds to encourage large, efficient, profitable farms to break up into smaller, less efficient, less profitable farms?"

If we are going to get out of subsidizing farmers, let's do it right by eliminating all subsidies, not just those on the "rich."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Really bad financial news closer to home

Nearly a week after receiving the latest report on the financial mess that is the Kentucky Retirement Systems, the KRS has released their information to the unwashed masses.

The good news is that the unfunded actuarial liability has only increased by $1,684,998,416. The bad news is that even if we had an extra two billion dollars laying around, it would not put a dent in the deficit carried over from last year which was $31,128,411,829. And the really scary news is that the current $32,813,410,245 deficit is based on June 30, 2008 figures when the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 11,350. It is now 25% lower at 8452. The current figures also don't include all the toxic securities our investment gurus were loading up on before they exploded this past fall.

And, of course, you get to make up whatever they can't pay out. Good thing House Speaker Jody Richards fixed all this in June.

Don't hate the brown people

WHAS 11 reported on Mexican gangsters setting up shop in Kentucky which you may have already read about here.
"Sutter said, “Now is the time to get on this. It isn’t something we want to wait for. We need to be very proactive with this.""

"Shelbyville’s quality of life may depend on it."

"The latest report by the National Drug Intelligence Center reports drug cartel activity involving the Federation Cartel in Louisville and the rival Gulf Coast Cartel in Lexington."

"Authorities fear violence in the future as these two groups begin to fight over territory here in Kentucky."

You can watch the rest of the WHAS report here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

State investment experts play hide and seek

The Kentucky Retirement Systems seems to have something to hide.

New, New Deal is no free meal

America would be far better off if some of our elected "leaders" had to go to a car dealership and buy their own ride. Something magical happens when you go in, pick a car, and hear the salesman's first offer.

If you say no, the price goes down.

The same thing happens every place else in the economy. That's why there is no reason to be afraid of the possibility of price deflation. Think of it as a big blue light special. Enterprises needing exorbitant pricing just to stay afloat don't make it in times like this. Denying this fact only makes the reality more painful when it hits. Better to take our medicine and get on with it.

So President-elect Barack Obama's plan to "stimulate" the economy with $700 billion should be viewed as hostile to our interests. Will it allow some people to continue to be overpaid for a while? Yes. But I'd love to have someone explain to me how it benefits our nation as a whole to temporarily prop up the price level of anything when the market is trying to say that the party is over.

Like it or not, the market is going to win this one. Best to hang on to our money. We are going to need it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beshear misses out on another victim

On a weekend in which a vampire teen chick flick, Twilight, featured a young girl almost getting eaten, University of Louisville freshman Jordan Fulkerson should probably consider himself fortunate to be alive.

Jordan fell one sporting contest pick short of winning an ESPN online $1 million prize when the Atlanta Falcons beat the Carolina Panthers Sunday. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who has already leapt fangs-first onto the back of online poker web sites, is on the rampage for tax money from innocent Kentuckians to prop up an unsustainable state government.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A belt for Jim Newberry to tighten

Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry is joining the tax increase chorus we are now hearing at all levels of government.

And yet, Lexington jail administrators are still zipping all over the state in taxpayer-provided cars.

Wonder why?

Rep. Ben Chandler, use your influence

Congressman Ben Chandler deserved some credit for voting against the bank bailout when his vote didn't matter.

Now he needs to step up when he can really make a difference.

North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx has filed a bill to cut our bailout losses in half.

Her bill needs Democratic co-sponsors, Rep. Chandler. Also don't see Rep. Hal Rogers, Rep. Geoff Davis, Rep. Ed Whitfield, Rep. Ron Lewis on there. Newly-elected Brett Guthrie could weigh in. And Rep. John Yarmuth should have to explain why he still wants to hand more money over to the fat cats.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Labor unions don't deserve more power

Union abuses have destroyed American auto manufacturers and mandated union wages on public construction projects cost Kentucky an extra $130 million a year.

So the last thing we should be doing is changing union elections to make them even more powerful.

But that is exactly what Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi want us to do:

Bipartisanship doesn't mean raising taxes

A press release from Frankfort Friday afternoon proclaims "Gov. Beshear says spending cuts necessary along with bipartisan approach to address state’s looming shortfall" (Emphasis added)

Gov. Steve Beshear was elected after saying that Kentuckians were taxed enough and didn't need higher taxes. He promised $180 million a year in "efficiences" that we still haven't seen.

And now he wants Republicans to buy in to tax increases.

Right. Let's eliminate prevailing wage and make top priority out of replacing the MUNIS system so we can begin to assess our K-12 spending nineteen years after KERA. Then we can get serious about public employee benefits reform and start to run Kentucky more like a legal entity set up to represent honest people rather than a slush fund to coddle cronies.

All the "hard work" and "pain" Beshear is talking about needs to start with a desire to really change the way things have been done way for too long.

Kentucky bureaucrats too big for their britches

Kentuckians should have no tolerance for government employees going around the law-making process to take rights away from citizens. That is what's happening in Hopkins County. When the local elected officials couldn't pass a smoking ban, they let the local health department enact one anyway.
"In a letter to the Hopkins County Health Department, Kentucky Freedom Coalition spokesman Hal Latham promised his group will “vigorously fight any attempt by the Health Board to enact laws concerning this matter . . . We are passionate about freedom and private property rights.""
"Surely, no process that exists is more fundamentally un-American than laws enacted and enforced by non-elected bureaucrats."

This is like feeding the bears. If we let them ravage private business owners who choose to allow smoking, who will speak up when they come for the rest of us?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Throwing good money after bad

Let's kill the whole auto bailout.

The guys in the private jets from Ford, Chrysler, and GM say if we give them "only" $25 billion, they could go out of business. Well, if giving them $50 billion is too much (and it is) and giving them $25 billion is not enough though it is the only viable political option, then it doesn't really matter if we call the $25 billion a loan, does it?

I prefer the term "government waste."

Promising to spend money they didn't have and couldn't earn got them into this mess. Doesn't make much sense to "loan" them anything we can't afford to burn, does it?

Bankruptcy organization looks like their best option.

And as far as "saving the jobs" goes: how long should we prop up jobs that the marketplace says we don't need. Is someone going to do that for you if your job becomes obsolete?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hillary with a hairpiece

Looks like former Senator Tom Daschle is going to be the Health and Human Services Cabinet Secretary in the Obama administration.

Hold on tight to your health insurance card with this one.

Wouldn't it be great if, instead of expanding government's role in healthcare, we could shrink it? Federal and state management of the medical system has done limited damage only in the sense that it's role hasn't been allowed to expand quite as far as in other places. Daschle is coming in to "change" that.

States like Kentucky could actually teach the feds a thing or two about pulling back successfully from the brink of government-run health insurance disaster. But no one in charge is listening to that kind of talk now.

Before we go to a Medicare for All approach, someone might want to point out to the good time gang that Medicare's hospital insurance fund is set to be insolvent by 2019, during President Joe Biden's first term.

Killing the next bailout in its infancy

While everyone else is talking about the proposed auto industry bailout, some are already kicking around a request for a newspaper industry rescue plan.

One former newspaper editor says on his blog that it won't happen:
"Beyond pure economic considerations, of course, there is the emotionally persuasive argument that the press needs to be saved so it can fulfill its unique role as the watchdog for the oldest democracy in the world. The problem is that it is difficult to imagine how the vigor and independence of the press would be maintained if the industry depended on the largesse of the very government officials it is supposed to be watching."

What's funny is that, in Kentucky, many newspapers already are very dependent on that largesse.

We are looking for ways to cut government spending, aren't we? The time has come to declare newspapers a non-essential government expenditure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hide your arrogance, bloggers are everywhere

From the Hey-are-you-guys-still-in-business? Department:

Louisville Courier Journal Editorial Page Editor Keith Runyon defended the paper for calling rural Kentuckians yokels:
"We never used the term "yokels," but rather "Yokeldom" as a reference to the general population of backward people."

The slur appeared in a November 11 unsigned editorial. I can only assume that Mr. Runyon thinks that if his "apology" isn't good enough for you it is because you are too stupid to understand it.

Jody Richards' disenfranchisement scheme

Clinging bitterly to his job as Speaker of the House, Jody Richards thinks he is going to avoid accountability for his failures in office by silencing the voices of a precinct full of voters in this latest election.

At issue is a vote scanner that failed mid-day on November 4 at the Pine Valley precinct in Elizabethtown. Precinct workers, in order to continue allowing voters to vote, removed the paper ballots from what was a non-functioning machine. A bipartisan team of precinct workers handled the transition to a new machine. The Democratic County Clerk Kenneth L. Tabb said the proper procedure was followed.

The votes in the whole district have been counted twice. Rep. Tim Moore, a Republican, won both times. Former Rep. Mike Weaver, however, could find himself magically back in Frankfort to try to save Jody Richards only if all the votes in that one precinct are thrown out.

So guess what they are trying to do?

The Secretary of State's office will certify the election Friday afternoon and then Speaker Jody Richards is expected to challenge the results.

Guess where House election challenges are heard?

In the House. With Speaker Jody Richards presiding.

Now this would work

Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform suggests the $700 billion federal bailout go like this: $170 billion to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%, $35 billion to eliminate capital gains and dividend taxes, $235 billion to cut the top individual tax rate to 15%, $24 billion to kill the Death Tax, and $240 billion to allow companies to fully-expense capital assets purchased the first year.

Sounds better than the rat hole approach currently underway.

The auto bailout in one sentence

If we "protected" horse buggy manufacturers when those newfangled cars came along, we would all still have manure on our shoes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gov. Mark Sanford, the Anti-Racist

At their Republican Governor's Association meeting, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was talking about "reaching out" to black and Hispanic voters:
""The most important thing is to make sure that we reach out to Hispanic voters, to African-American voters,” Crist said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt.""

Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina had a much better answer:
""The problem to a degree we’ve had as Republicans has been running on one message of conservatism and then governing a very different way," Sanford said. "I think that the way that you appeal to blacks or Hispanics is to first of all carefully define what you’re about.""

That's exactly right, Gov. Sanford. And some Republicans on Capitol Hill need to start by going back and reading what their own party platform has to say about government bailouts.

Hint: they were against them before they were for them. Time to go back to Plan A.

Time to talk about "global warming"

Worse than "spread the wealth"

In a sane world, candidate Barack Obama's spread the wealth comment would have sent him to George McGovern and Michael Dukakis land.

Of course, mental health is not currently political America's strong suit.

So the official President-elect of the mainstream media, which, by the way, is next up as the industry too big to fail, can get away with saying this:
"President-elect Barack Obama said the U.S. government will do "whatever it takes" to revive the economy, and that means "we shouldn't worry about the deficit next year or even the year after.""

That's a different tune than he was singing right before the election.

Imagine that -- another politician claiming he is going to fix everything with an efficiency study.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Does Jack Conway respect First Amendment?

Mark Hebert reports Attorney General Jack Conway wants out of Gov. Steve Beshear's questionable foray into internet regulation.

Anyone interested in freedom of expression on the internet should join Conway and shun the whole mess as well.

And anyone who is still unsure might want to consider the angry American Indians.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Bail, baby, bail!"

President-elect Barack Obama says you are your brother's keeper, subsidizing "green technology" will save the planet, socialized medicine is good, and "America will rise again." So pay up.

Thanks to PageOne for passing this along.

Can we still ignore Kentucky drug cartels?

Federal authorities have identified competing Mexican drug cartels in Lexington and Louisville. And it may be time to care about it.

The National Drug Intelligence Center, a unit of the U.S. Department of Justice reports "Federation" cartel presence in Lexington and "Gulf Coast" cartel presence in Louisville.

This is a new development, but a recent federal crackdown on illegal immigrant drug cartels combined with lackluster local enforcement in Kentucky could create a combustible situation here soon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Republicans still haven't gotten the message

President George W. Bush is on his way out of Washington D.C. in two months, but this afternoon he shows clearly that he doesn't grasp the damage he has done to his party and his country. He has urged Congress to bail out the auto industry.

While Bush deserves some credit for refusing to support the Democrats' plan to add bank bailout money to the money pit that domestic automakers have become, he still wants to throw $25 billion:

Giving nearly bankrupt companies with unsustainable business models $25 billion loans for "more urgent purposes" -- can you imagine a private bank in the pre-bailout era doing that? -- is just like throwing the money away. What do we expect the Big 3 to do next year when all that money is gone but their structural problems persist?

How Big Auto is like Big Media

Very interesting blog post here with a comparison between the arrogance that destroyed Detroit and the arrogance that plagues American newspapers:
"For the most part, the auto industry’s woes were self-inflicted by decades of insular and unimaginative senior management. The problems are not the fault of the workers, the customers, the suppliers, OPEC or the competition. They result from management’s lack of vision, objectivity, originality and courage."

Then there is this, from the comments section:
"The news industry didn't help anyone, least of all Detroit, by selling out and becoming shills for the industry. They've done the same thing by selling out and shilling for Obama and the Dimwits in Congress. People don't buy your product because they've found you to be untrustworthy and they do have an alternative. That the anti-newspaper is free to them is icing on the cake. Choice, for free ? From home, dry and warm ? Newspapers can't compete with that. Sell the presses for scrap. It's over. The patient died. He refused to take his medicine when it might have done some good."

Sure, some jobs are going to dry up and blow away as the domestic auto industry right-sizes. Same goes for Big Media. But when government jumps into the mix to take from those who are succeeding in the marketplace to give to those who recklessly squandered their own success and learned humility only when the music stopped, government by definition makes things worse.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Are Fayette jail birds singing?

The Feb 2, 2009 trial of the five former Fayette jail officers charged with beating prisoners and orchestrating a cover-up has been cancelled and moved to June 8.

This could mean that the defendents are talking to investigators about others who have not yet been indicted. The trial was originally scheduled for August 18, 2008.

Also haven't seen any action on the whistleblower lawsuit against the city of Lexington. That case can't lie dormant forever.

Yeah, we know...

President George W. Bush, discussing today his role in the government bailouts:
"I'm a market-oriented guy, but not when I'm faced with the prospect of a global meltdown," Bush said.

Actually, Mr. President, a time of crisis is precisely the time in which we need our market-oriented guys.

Otherwise, we're just giving lip service to capitalism and the free market. And that is precisely why we are in the mess we are in and not likely to get out any time soon.

Obamamessiah to disappoint Ky. House Dems

Regular readers of the Bluegrass Policy Blog learned back in June that Barack Obama had no plans to help Frankfort by nationalizing the massive state employee health insurance liabilities.

"Some Democratic legislators have stated quietly their belief that a federal universal health insurance plan will save them the trouble of catching up with the rising costs of state and local employees' and retirees' healthcare costs. The funny thing is, none of them have bothered to ask Sen. Barack Obama about that."

"What's even funnier is that Sen. (Tom) Buford did ask." (click here for more)

Don't tell any of the Obama fans in the General Assembly about this, though. Let them learn it the hard way.

That's another half-million, Governor

Every day that Gov. Steve Beshear stonewalls on his $180 million efficiency study, Kentucky taxpayers lose another $493,150.69.

Better talk to the people, sir.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Which gang is Mayor Jim Newberry's favorite?

If you go down to Garden Springs Park next to Garden Springs Elementary School in Lexington, you will see evidence that Lexington does indeed have Hispanic gangs. In this case, it's the Latin Kings.

Continuing failure to enforce existing immigration laws in Lexington appears to be emboldening those who would spread gang activity into our neighborhoods.

Don't bail out Big Momma

Kentucky legislators are responding to a March of Dimes study about pregnant women who smoke. Before we start blindly writing more checks, we might want to think about how we hope to alleviate the social costs of bad behavior.

More people are catching on to Beshear

WHAS reporter Mark Hebert is asking Gov. Steve Beshear where our $180 million from the last year went.

This time next year, will we be asking about another $180 million or will we be too busy paying his new taxes and paying off his new debt?

Can't blame Ernie Fletcher for this one, Governor.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Let's be clear: auto bailout is a union bailout

One of the talking points du jour is that gas-guzzling SUVs caused the domestic auto companies' current woes when people stopped buying them.

The truth is just a little bit more complicated than that.

The Big Three automakers struggled to transition out of SUVs when gas prices killed demand for them because union-negotiated retirement benefits had already wiped out any financial flexibility the companies once had. Decades ago.

This latest speed bump wouldn't have wrecked the companies if union contracts hadn't already caused the companies to rust through from the inside out.

People still need cars and they will continue to buy cars from someone. But taxpayers don't need to throw good money after bad to prop up a labor system that went bankrupt a long time ago.

Let the companies re-organize and toss the United Auto Workers overboard.

Make no mistake: if we bail out Detroit's car manufacturers, we are paying for fat lifestyles of union thugs. No thanks.

Think tank tells states to raise taxes

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has built a reputation as a reliable, if not always coherent, provider of talking points for big-government politicians.

Their current advice, in favor of tax hikes rather than spending cuts, fills the bill nicely:
In particular, the government spending that would be reduced if direct spending programs are cut is often concentrated among local businesses…. By contrast, the spending by individuals and businesses that would be affected by tax increases often is less concentrated among local producers — since part of the decline in purchases that would occur if taxes were raised would be a decline in the purchase of goods produced out of state. Thus, more of the reduction in purchases that results from tax increases than from government budget cuts falls on out-of-state goods (relative to in-state goods), lessening the adverse impact of a tax increase on the state economy. Reductions in direct government spending consequently could have a larger adverse impact on a state's economy than tax increases, which have a stronger adverse impact on out-of-state goods and services.

This is complete nonsense, but expect to hear something much like it very soon from the tax-and-spend crowd in Frankfort.

The truth is that taxation can't benefit an economy as much as leaving money in the economy where it was produced because the bureaucracy that has nothing to do with the production of wealth has to take its cut before any of the money gets re-distributed and re-circulated.

Common sense.

President Obama loves his people

Just discovered the election of Barack Obama has so terrified the gouging gougers in the produce industry that they have dropped the price of large grapefruit forty cents at Walmart.

Thank you, Benevolent Leader.

Actually, there are very serious consequences for a nation who holds its politicians is such a state of worship. It opens the door to great loss of personal freedoms.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gotta stop welfare abuse somehow

Michigan is trying again to limit how much of their welfare budget goes to buying illicit drugs. A new bill would require drug testing of welfare recipients every six months and require the recipient to pay for the test.

Michigan passed a similar bill back in 1999 but it was found to be unconstitutional because it mandated random drug tests. Kentucky failed to pass a similar bill last session with the same unconstitutional provision. A Kentucky bill for 2009 repairs that problem by making the drug tests subject to a finding of probable cause.

Tax increases won't get it done in Kentucky

President-elect Barack Obama and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear have all kinds of tax increase plans for you.

You won't read about it in Tuesday's newspapers, but we got more evidence Monday to suggest tax increases will not solve what in Kentucky is simply an overspending problem.

And Kentucky's spending cuts in the area of lottery advertising seem to have not resulted in lower revenues there either. We should make deeper cuts in the Kentucky Lottery's advertising budget as soon as possible.

Who needs pickpockets? We have Jack Conway

Attorney General Jack Conway is supposed to be the top law enforcement officer in the state. That's not working out so well for taxpayers who don't like to get ripped off by legislators who abuse contracts with other government entities.

Back before the election, Conway was dragging his feet on investigating a money-for-nothing scandal involving Sen. Joey Pendleton.

Conway can not deny that he has known about this issue at least since April. Further, he can not deny participating in Sen. Pendleton's re-election campaign. Only now is he claiming to be investigating the matter.

This looks strangely like that good old boy system we used to hear so much about.

Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Steve Robertson weighed in with this: "The most troubling aspect of this situation is that Jack Conway had one story before the election and another story after the election. It is a shame that this state’s chief law enforcement officer engaged in a political cover-up and hid the truth from the voters of Kentucky."

A moment in the reinvention of the GOP

Just saw native Kentuckian Diane Sawyer go blank when Bill O'Reilly asked her on Good Morning America who the head of the Republican National Committee is. The point he was making in asking her the question was that "no one knows" who heads the Republican Party, the party has no message, and that "there is no leadership."

Sunday, November 09, 2008

"Catastrophic circumstance," Senator Williams?

Just as national Republicans have had their heads handed to them two elections in a row for playing footsie with big spenders, Senate President David Williams told the Louisville Courier Journal that he might be open to a tax increase:
"Asked if he has ruled out supporting a cigarette tax increase, Williams said, "I'm not going to get involved in a discussion about ruling out anything. I've never signed a no-tax pledge in my life because you could have some catastrophic circumstance that would require additional revenue.""

What does that even mean? I thought we all agreed that catastrophic circumstances were exactly the wrong time to raise taxes.

The only way Kentucky is going to get out of any fiscal holes with tax increases is if Frankfort continues its smoke-and-mirrors routine. And we have to know by now we can't keep doing that.

Williams has been one of the few voices of reason on Kentucky's public employee benefits disaster. Let's hope he doesn't mar that record with any more talk about raising taxes.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Apparently Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want to expand the banking bailout to the car industry:
"It is our hope that the actions that Congress has taken, and that the Administration may take, will restore the preeminence of our domestic manufacturing industry so that it can emerge as a global, competitive leader in fuel efficiency and in new and path-breaking energy-efficient technologies that protect our environment."

It's time for Sen. Jim "Beanball" Bunning to start his 2010 re-election campaign with a little Capitol Hill headhunting.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Obama's specifics: I liked the fluff better

Now that he has been elected president, Barack Obama can't get away with just promising to make the sky blue and to make his wife proud to be an American: he's shifting to making detailed policy prescriptions. Hold on tight:

Of course, the one missing piece from this mounting disaster is a big tax increase. Nevertheless, these are precisely the wrong things to be doing. Deep tax cuts are the way to stimulate us out of this. The same old borrow-and-spend tricks will only prolong the agony.

Obama's political future depends on his ability to either stimulate the economy or deflect blame while doing nothing that would really help. At least at first, he appears to be opting for the latter.

Don't leave town yet, Gov. Beshear

Gov. Steve Beshear is heading out for a vacation next week just as a transitioning President-elect Barack Obama goes to work on pushing through his plan to bankrupt the coal industry.

Better call your guy, Governor.

In the early stages of Obama letdown syndrome

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Did you get the late-breaking memo?

A friend just pointed out ridiculously coordinated media coverage about the dramatic drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since Barack Obama was elected two days ago.

Earlier this afternoon the headline "Stocks tumble, lose 10 percent since election day" may have given someone the impression markets were not entirely comfortable with the new president-elect.

Can't have that.

If you do a Google search of that headline, you will see every media outlet who carried the AP article made the same change. I didn't do a screen capture of the original article, but the screen capture below certainly suggests everyone got the memo.

Now there's a great plan

California is back in the news with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to raise taxes by $4.7 billion "to get our budget back on track, invigorate our economy and generate jobs for the state's unemployed."

Stopping government takeover of private sector

Lexington's Warren Rogers went to bat a few years ago to stop the government takeover of Kentucky American Water Company. Now he is back, as Chairman of Kentucky Club for Growth, battling the federal effort to usurp private sector jobs.

This morning, Rogers debated Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan. To Londrigan's credit, the union thug did not scream or utter any profanities during the entire debate.

The discussion primarily was about the card check provision of the Employee Free Choice Act which would increase union intimidation of workers. Interesting, Rogers pointed out a provision that is even worse than that:

For more coverage, go here.

Will work for massive pension boost

Expect to see Sen. David Boswell retire now that his bid to either get hired in the Beshear administration or go to Congress have failed. Had he been able to get a state executive branch job, he would have been able to artificially increase the state pension you will pay him. Since he couldn't, his pension payments are set to go down on January 1 if he is still in the Senate.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Thinkin' about goin' to Washington anyway

She's not talking, but it's looking like we could soon have a Sen. Sarah Palin from Alaska.

Sen. Ted Stevens appears to have been narrowly re-elected despite his felony convictions. His ouster would create a very interesting opportunity for Gov. Palin.

She could help keep Sen. Mitch McConnell in line while she gains that critical Washington experience.

Well, okay, there is this

The chairman of the economics department at George Mason University in Virginia has one pretty good reason free-marketeers shouldn't commit suicide just yet:
5 November 2008

Editor, Washington Times

Dear Editor:

Re "Obama wins presidency" (November 5): to all persons who understand that freer markets bring greater prosperity, I offer a reason to applaud Obama's defeat of McCain.

A President McCain would have followed Bush's script: singing paeans to free markets while simultaneously meddling and spending in harmful ways. Nevertheless - with popular attention on the song rather than on the substance - the problems caused by these intrusions would have been blamed on "free market fundamentalism" or even laissez-faire capitalism. At least Pres. Obama's destructive policies will not unjustly give capitalism a bad name.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Chairman, Department of Economics

Score one for laissez-faire capitalism maybe not getting blamed for the next failure caused by government manipulation. By that reasoning, we can wonder what kind of financial market fix President John Kerry would have been able to get away with if he couldn't blame the problem on free markets.

And in other news...

The most important Kentucky race of 2008 just really gets started today.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The most important man in Washington

President-elect Barack Obama will have one person standing in the way off his agenda next year. That person, of course, is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

That's because Senate Democrats fell short of a filibuster-proof 60 votes. Sen. McConnell knows better than anyone how to tie up bad bills in the Senate. That means a rough road ahead for tax increases and some of the new spending programs Obama has in mind. Unfortunately, Obama won't need Congress to take over the mainstream media with a new Fairness Doctrine.

Starting in January, Sen. McConnell is America's firewall.

Anyone want a ten-bagger?

If you still think Sen. John McCain can win and want to put your money where your mouth is, you might be able to turn $100 into a quick $1000.

Just go to

Election coverage tonight online

I'll be on the radio with Clearchannel's Leland Conway tonight from 6 pm to 10 pm eastern. That's 630 WLAP or

Call in on 859-280-2287 or email or message me on Facebook. It will be a very interesting evening.

Trying times

Considering the alternatives to be worse, this morning I voted for two men who loudly supported the banking bailout that Washington D.C. is now trying to expand into other industries.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Endangering lives at Fayette jail

Last week, Officer Luke Valdez blew the whistle on dangerous policies at the Fayette County Detention Center. This week, he is back again with more:
"It will only be a matter of time when the inmates housed at Fayette County Detention Center figure out the times when the minimal amount of people will be able to respond to emergencies. This will happen at least nine times in a twenty-four hour period. Inmates will use this against the officers and take advantage of these windows of opportunity in an effort to maximize the amount of disruption they can cause. I understand that the way we handle breaks and work shifts had to be changed due to the lawsuit, but the officers of FCDC feel that we are being retaliated against because of this. I have been told several times that FCDC officers receive some of the best training in the nation, yet we are not treated in this manner. Currently Operational Order 3.1-2C states that if an officer responds to an emergency tone, without a commander’s permission and is on break, he or she will write a report and the major will take progressive disciplinary action on that officer. That officer is only doing what he has sworn to do. Before the changing of the Op-order, if an emergency tone went off you were required to respond and once you were relieved by a commander you continued your break, and this worked smoothly."

Don't hold your breath waiting for Mayor Jim Newberry to do something about this. As Officer Valdez suggests, this looks a lot like retaliation for the wage and hour lawsuit.

A strong indicator of newspapers' state of decay

If you are looking for proof that agendized newspapers are counting on Sen. Barack Obama to give them the fairness doctrine so they don't have to compete so hard in the marketplace of ideas, look at the Bowling Green Daily News. That paper's whiny general manager is picking fights with high school yearbooks:
"This isn’t even close. High school yearbooks should not be on the agenda or getting awards where budding high school journalists are in attendance."

And if you are still looking for a reason to keep Sen. Mitch McConnell in the U.S. Senate, let this be it. It could well be that in January, Sen. McConnell is all that stands between us and a radical shift to the left none of us want or can afford.

Caring about kids Steve Beshear's way

Gov. Steve Beshear has unveiled a new, expensive program to recruit families who are eligible for public health benefits but aren't partaking of them. Today, he launched the web site and called for a November 18 pep rally.

The program seeks to spend at least $25 million a year on expanded government health insurance benefits. That's $25 million a year we already don't have. That means we will have to borrow it.

Then there is this from the press release:
"To celebrate the launch of the KCHIP initiative, Gov. Beshear and Kentuckians who care about children’s health care will gather at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008, at the Frankfort Civic Center in downtown Frankfort. The public is invited to attend."

Something tells me they aren't going to be much interested in hearing from Kentuckians who care about children's health care and want to improve it by getting the government out of it as much as possible. At a minimum, we could care for kids by repealing Kentucky's counterproductive Certificate of Need law.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Barack Obama shifts to spreading misery

Have you heard about Sen. Barack Obama's plan to bankrupt the coal industry?

Always the last to know

It seems knowledge of Kentucky's fraudulent K-12 school testing system has gone from California to New York and somehow avoided getting picked up in Kentucky. Except, of course, by the Bluegrass Institute.

It's hard to bring up Kentucky's fixation on its flawed assessment process without resorting to name-calling.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Who do you think you're foolin' Obama?

Samuel Thompson is a law professor at Penn State who is circulating an email claiming that Sen. Barack Obama's "spread the wealth" hubbub is only about $4.60:
"What would happen to Joe if he were successful in buying the business and making over, say, $350,000 per year? Under the current Internal Revenue Code, for each $100 Joe earns over $350,000, he would pay a tax of $35. Under Senator Obama’s tax plan, for every $100 Joe earns over $350,000, he would pay a tax of $39.60. Thus, Senator Obama’s plan would tax Joe an additional $4.60 for each $100 Joe makes over $350,000, and this $4.60 is the basis of the argument around Joe the Plumber."

This would only have a possibility of being true if, for starters, you didn't pay any attention to Obama's Social Security tax increase and his health insurance scheme tax increase. And then there are some of us who didn't believe Bill Clinton when he campaigned on a middle class tax cut. That turned into the biggest tax increase in U.S. history. Why should we expect Barack Obama, backed by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, to do any differently?

Term limits would fix this

A Lexington Herald Leader article about Kentucky's dependence on long-time incumbents in Washington D.C. building their careers on how much pork they can bring back to the state features the Bluegrass Institute's Jim Waters:
"That's a great indicator that Kentucky is falling behind the other states economically," said Jim Waters, spokesman for the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a free-market think tank in Bowling Green.

"It really indicates the depths to which our political campaigns have sunk," Waters said. "All we hear from our sitting U.S. senator is the amount of pork he's brought back. We need to be discussing national security and how we're going to strengthen our economy. We're not hearing about any real issues."

Again and again, we see redistribution of wealth serving mainly those who live off the government. The only fair way to fix this is to limit lawmakers' terms in office and cut Kentucky's dependence on federal dollars cold turkey. We will be a wealthier state in the long run with this approach. The old Great Society way isn't getting anything good accomplished.