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Monday, November 25, 2013

Just asking questions--education funding

This began when I was assigned to listen to our superintendent plea for more funds for education last year.  Again, this year I went to the same meeting.  But this year was different.  He’s organized a task force of citizens who are whipped into a frenzy of demands that the state appropriate more money for common education.  And such a group is also a natural for the Dems to enlist against my guy, who ironically is very supportive of education.  But politics being the slogan, the short answer, that it is, this will be used to play against anyone prudent about finances. 

            The instigator of the debate has been an organization CBPP which stands for some sort of advocacy group for public policy spending, based in Washington—not in Oklahoma.  They ‘studied’ education spending and found it way too low all over the country, but in particular published a graph showing OK the worst offender, having cut education 22.8% since the recession.  This is stunning since only in one year, 2011, were funds cut by 4%, at the behest of our Governor Fallin to go easy on education.  All other agencies got a 10% ax.  State budgets must balance.  We can’t print money like Washington.  When a recession hits, state revenues plunge.  So in 2004 we had revenue/budget of $5.1Billion; 2008, $7.1B; 2010,$6.0B; by 2012 it had recovered to $6.8B.  If you are interested in this sort of thing, you can look up numbers (albeit awkwardly) on the state website  And during the same time common education budgets went from $1.75B to a high of $2.48B in 2008 to $2.36B in FY 2014 (and projected to propose $2.5B next year).  Then it is a simple matter to divide 2.36 by 1.75 and find a 35% increase over the last decade, although a 5% loss from the salad days before the R. 

            How then the 22.8% decline.  CBPP uses some hocus pocus to put in some unknown but large inflation factor and figures a 6% increase in number of students.  This stretches that 5% 2008-2014 loss into the massive “cut”. Statistics don’t lie but statisticians do. By the way, CBPP is a leftist outfit that favors handing out abortifacients to minors and hates vouchers.  And the journalist who wrote an article for them is from Los Angeles Times. 

            So again using the state website I discovered that from 2004 to 2014 Oklahoma has a 15% increase in students—a direct mirror of the census statistics that say our state is growing by 15% per decade.  So you could argue one way or another that a 35% increase in state budget does or does not take care of a 15% increase of students in the face of whatever inflation is.

            What did amaze me is what education funding is made of.  In OK it looks like this.

            $2.4B   State budget spending

            $1.1B Property tax share for schools

            $0.7B   Federal

            $0.6B   bond issues and sinking funds

            $0.8B fees,tickets, etc.

            $5.6B total

Divide this by the 673,000 estimated students and you get almost exactly what NEA estimates as $8285 spent per student.  The US Census Bureau says, “Hey! Some students drop out or move out of state.” So they convert to student-years and get $8863 per student spent.  Our leftist pals at CBPP said it was $3038 per student.  But if you divide the 673,000 into $2.4B you still get a number of about $3600.  However did they get such a low figger? Methinks they just make stuff up.

            Look at state budget again and you see there are all sorts of revenue sources. Townships in OK reserve one section for rental for support of schools.  That is part of state revenue.  Casinos were sold to the voters as a big equalizer for schools since a percentage of operation goes to schools.  A proportion of income taxes is designated for schools.  In all, 33.8% of the state budget is for common schools and total education takes slightly over 50% of the entire state budget.  If truth-in-advertizing laws governed our state budget it should be described as “education plus other items”  That’s not all.  78% of our county property taxes go for common ed.  But perhaps the most interesting one is those fees, etc.  When you go to a football game and plunk down $6 or a school play for $15, that gets accounted for in a myriad of ways by schools.  Fees charged students or all those magazine sales the band holds are also part of this.  And the Federal portion is labyrinthine with grants and subisidies.  Bottom line, we spend money on schools from a lot of places. 

            But here’s the weird thing.  Does ed spending translate into better ed?  Utah spends $7400 per student while DC spends over $29,000.  Utah gets better results.  Likewise a line-up of states in our area shows OK gets good bang for the buck—lowest spending but #30 in student achievement in USA.  Missouri and KS spend the most, about $12000 per student, and MO gets pitiful results--#42.  AR spends just a little more than OK at about $9500 but comes in #5.  What does AR know that MO doesn’t? 

            Talk to teachers and they say it is teachers being free to teach plus involved parents.

            Indeed.  Perhaps the most pitiful federal program is Headstart.  $23,000 per student (4 yr olds!) and Headstart students cannot out test peers by second grade.  This reflects the impoverished parents.  Likewise, I suspect MO has too many KC and StL ghetto inhabitants which pull the state average down. 

            Where would you go to see inspired teachers and involved parents?  I nominate our church Lutheran school in which teachers make only 80% of the market of public teachers, but are given a very free hand to teach.  When parents plunk down their own hard-earned cash, they tend to be very involved.  There may also be fewer social problems.  When a kid sees mom getting beat up by a drunk dad, it’s hard to concentrate on math at school.  At any rate, 8th graders at our parochial school get grade 11 plus achievement every year.  Last year it was 11.6.  Of the 20 kids in the class, 6 tested “college ready” in all 4 subject areas.  Only two students didn’t test “college ready” in at least one subject.  And of the 189 K-12 students, 24 were on scholarship aid (poor parents).  I asked how much time the teachers spend doing achievement testing.  About 3 school days equivalent each year was the answer.  Public school teachers spend twice this amount and then spend a lot more time teaching the test since there is so much pressure to perform.

            So the bottom line is that we owe a round of applause for our public school teachers who have given us results in the middle with the lowest funding in our area. Over half our state moneys are spent on education and without a tax increase (unlikely) we probably won’t see massive ed spending, even if the super intends it that way.  He needs to learn to live on what the taxpayers say they have.  Spend wisely.  Is $300,000 for new football Astroturf wise when our team is 0-10? I dunno.  Just asking questions.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Kennedy critique

Everybody always asks ‘where were you when Kennedy got shot?’  And being 13, all absorbed in the angst of teenagism, I dunno.  Maybe I was in school and maybe on the bus.  I came home and my mother announced that the President had been shot. 

            In the aftermath of JFK’s death, there evolved quite a cult worship.  The Kennedys were young and beautiful.  Jack had that big perfect, wide smile and the mop of hair. The people who weren’t interested in politics and issues loved them via celebrity worship. The liberals took a giant turn with the Great Society and quotas and wished to bask in the hero worship of JFK, so they made a lot of noise about how Kennedy would have done things exactly as they continued. ("Why, he surely would have retreated from Vietnam, despite having started there.") Nobody dared voice critique over this cultism lest they be branded a heretic and an outcast with no respect for the dead.  The media loved JFK and were liberal as well.  Historians, always a liberal gang, consistently voted him one of the top 3 Presidents. Only many decades later, did we learn the truth about so many of his policies and acts.

            Perhaps the main aura of majesty of JFK for the libs was his soaring rhetoric.  He had been a Richie Rich, dominated by his mother and molded by the ego of his father. But his ability to speak made him inspirer-in-chief.  For it is the ability to incite a mob like Robespierre or Mussolini that really is at heart of leftist politics.

            His presidency was, for the most part, a non-starter. The Bay of Pigs was a fiasco; the Cuban Missile Crisis brought us to the brink of nuclear war, cost us missiles in Turkey and doomed Cuba to Castro’s tyranny to this day. On civil rights, something for which President Kennedy receives much credit and praise, he did little more than pay lip service to the concept, while Republicans, the traditional allies of “colored people” provided the votes.  But his ability to ascend to lofty talk is nowhere better displayed than his support of the space program.  We have recently learned that while he spoke in exalted rhetoric about space flight, behind the scenes, communications signify that he was interested in little more than ‘showing up the Russians’.  It was mostly a political game.  And his ‘brain trust’ of advisors had so many failed ideas, it was illustrates that the citizenry should not follow academics who never had to run an organization.

He had so many women on the side.  One was an East German spy, and when a Congressional investigation threatened to make public the story (the reason we frown on top military officers having affairs is the potential to divulge important secrets), Hoover worked out a deal with RFK for blank check support of the FBI if Hoover would deny the story.  His popularity waned and his approval ratings were in the low 40s prompting a trip to Dallas to shore up southern support.  JFK had a particularly wild tryst with two women the night before and his ailing back paid for it.  The next day he wore his back brace.  When the first bullet struck him in the limousine, he was held erect by the brace, allowing Oswald to get off two more shots and kill him certainly.

            In a little known gaff, that polite Germans won’t make much of, his “Ich bin ein Berliner” mispronounced Berliner making it the name for a jelly donut.  Yet Kennedy should be given credit for being staunchly anti-communist (both in Europe and Vietnam) and a tax cutter to stimulate the economy.

            And as these issues have been argued by historians, his worship has declined.  He is now considered somewhere between 10th and 15th best President as rated by historians.  Ike, Reagan, TR and Jackson often outrank him even among the progressive historians.

            But I do think that the Kennedy worship syndrome proves something.  First, he was the first President to use television well as a medium for communication—just as FDR was first with radio. Good looks, short quotable sound-bites and casual self-assuredness count for much on the tube.  This is why Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin do well while Bob Dole and Walter Mondale didn’t.  Secondly, his trysts came to public knowledge just as Bill Clinton was also philandering his way through the White House, and it made part of the public jaded, and another part sympathetic and admiring.

            For years I scratched my head over how adored Kennedy was while others like Coolidge and Arthur were hardly given a second thought.  Indeed, McKinley was (martyred!) shot by a radical leftist and where is the worship? History is a weird PR game which doesn’t mature until a century or two later when a lot of questions will be asked but by then, cannot be answered except in speculation.  And we absolutely, positively need to protect Obama with all means available.  I don’t want him going down as a martyr.     

Sunday, November 17, 2013

So How Does That Work?

A liberal is someone who wants you to think just like they do.

A conservative is someone who just wants you to think.

            So Obama said he would “allow”, that is, look the other way if insurance companies wanted to let people have the health insurance policies that they liked and wanted to keep, period.  But imagine you are an insurer and how does that work?  Say you sell a now illegal policy that is not allowed by the law.  Someone gets sicker or dies because of this “substandard” policy and sues your company—because an Obamacare policy would have covered what they needed.  Do you think your lawyer could successfully argue that in court—that you knowingly sold an unlawful policy to someone and thus they should hold you harmless?

            So my guess is that few, if any, insurers will re-issue policies which gives Obama and the Dems a straw dog but solves nothing for the people.  Consider, if the law now demands that insurers have no ability to drop a policy holder, that in itself makes it a radically different policy.  I am no insurance expert but consider that all policies seem to be a contract that insurer will cover you for a certain price for one year.  And a clause may protect your continued renewal for a period of years.  But what if we add the proviso of renewability ad infinitium? In your second year of coverage you took up the hobby of skydiving and driving slingshot dragsters, doing drugs and smoking and drinking heavily. Wouldn’t that be asking the insurer to cover this radically increased risk at same-old pricing?  It can't be done economically!  Same thing happens when the insured develops a severe medical condition.  People say they got cancelled, but in reality they were not renewed. 

            Just like my hotel fire insurance failed to renew me when the FBI told them I had a bunch of long-term guests making bombs for terrorism in their rooms.  No, I am kidding.

            Point to be made is that by guaranteeing renewability ad infinitium requires a new actuarially calculated risk which surely drives up a policy’s cost by a large percentage.

            So then the House passed just what Obama said he was going to allow. That would make it law.  He will veto this, according to numerous sources.  That is because if you legally allow a large number of people to revert to their catastrophic policies, it changes the pool of people left over in Obamacare policies.  That screws up the actuarial calculations for the insurance companies.  They’ll probably lose their shirts when healthy people keep the former catastrophic policies and the pool is full of sick people.  Once again, don’t look for the insurers to re-issue the former policies. 

            What we come down to then is that ALL policies will change as they meet Obamacare requirements.  And the cost of such changes, as measured by the changes seen so far are about $2000 increase per adult per year.  It is a new tax as the Supremes told us.  Just pay up and tell yourself how much better off the country is. Stop crabbing about the evil insurance companies (half are mutuals!) and the lack of doctors after this thing is implemented.  Don’t cry to me if your personal data gets misused by feds or hackers.  Alternatively, let me cheerlead as you join the Tea Party.

            “Well the R’s haven’t proposed any solutions!” the D’s are fond of saying.  Strange since R’s have proposed marketing across state lines and high-risk pooling by the states.  Here’s my bipartisan okay-I’ll-agree-to-yet-another-entitlement solution.  Remember we had 46 million without insurance.  But 12 M were illegals who don’t require insurance (and so will be preferentially hired by employers). Scratch also 6M of the 8M who don’t bother to sign up for Medicaid and experts say never will until they get sick. There are also 18M healthy, mostly young who can afford insurance but choose to buy a new car instead. Leave them alone.  There remain then about 8 million who have difficulty getting insurance but want it.  For these folks, why not create Medicaid II, a program that would guarantee they get fundamental & customary care.  If that costs 3 times what normal Medicaid does per person, that is still about $10K per year or $80 billion annually.  (And let recipients pay for much more radical treatments beyond normal coverage) This is far less than the $140 billion that Obamacare ORIGINALLY estimated—a lowball used to get the ACA passed.  But now CBO estimates ACA goes $2.3 Trillion in the red for 6 years 2015-2020.  That’s almost $400 billion a year—not too far under the cost for National Defense. We’d get as many new people insured as Obamacare will for 1/5 the cost.

            And you could still find a doctor.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Beggars at the gate

Jesus told a story about a poor beggar named Lazarus who laid at the gate of a rich man.  They tell me you see this all over the 3rd world.  Beggars come to the gates of the rich and loudly beg at a certain time of the day.  The rich man comes out with much fanfare and throws a handful of coins at the crowd of scrambling beggars.  They then progress to another house.  It’s not spontaneous, but a staged event.  The beggars get some small coin on which to live.  They get to loudly proclaim the unfairness life has dealt them.  The rich guy gets to boast of his generosity and compassion.  He feels good about having so much wealth that he can afford to throw money away. He has a conscience for the poor.  Plus, this act, which costs him just a few pennies, makes him superior to the middle class who struggle and must watch the pennies.  The trouble, of course, is that neither a relationship nor opportunity are created for the poor.  And the rich, Jesus noted, go to hell for their smugness.

            The same thing happens in USA except it is more sophisticated.  The poor are induced to get on entitlements and remain there nursing their victimhood.  Liberals think themselves compassionate and much superior to the regular people.  Compassion is simply pulling a voting lever for the correct party.  Other People’s (tax) Money are the coins thrown at the gate. OPM is just as addictive and tragic for the poor as opium. The rich liberals get to relish their riches—why, they are so rich they’d even vote a tax increase upon themselves, while watching the middle class squirm and struggle with it!  Meanwhile, a country goes to hell with fewer and fewer opportunities and relationships. 

            What then?  I hold that the only true compassion is the one given that hurts the giver, that prompts a personal relationship and calls forth a relationship with the   Almighty.  If you care so much about the homeless, why don’t you take one home?  Child abuse?  Then foster a street kid.  The poor?  Co-sign a note, line up a job for someone. And if you are squeamish about such things, then give generously and quietly of your fortune. And if you have none of these?  Ask God what He can use you to do.  There’s always work to be done. You will smile inside over your newfound mission.

            One of the most cruel things is to point to a government office.  Ask any system kid.  Ask the guy on disability who still dreams of having a career but nobody could point him to the one that would avoid his disability.  Everybody wants to be worth something.  And in that sense, the struggling middle class with it’s middle management pinnacles and the glory of a your own business in your pickup truck, truly does have a charity in creating jobs and guiding the young guy or gal getting started on their own dreams.

            Dreams.  This is what makes America.  The ability to be the person you want to be.  The opportunity to serve your God or your direction until your knees give out and your thumbs are sore.  America, up until this century grew like a young country even though it was mature.  We had missions and dreams.  We were the envy of Europe and the 3rd world combined in the 20th century.  We must throw off the regulation and re-harvest the freedom that makes our dreams. Entitlements?  Crap!  Wouldn’t you rather have a job?  Wouldn’t you rather start your own business?  Follow God’s call? This is the concept I think has the possibility to turn the tide of this liberal war on Faith, Hope and Charity.

The beggars are at our gate.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Church Gay Amendment

Our church denomination is embarked on a crash program to amend every individual church constitution to include a statement on gay marriage and employment.  This is particularly startling since our churches are autonomous and have written their own constitutions.  It is stunning because we usually stay out of politics saying that God has a bigger message.  But next Sunday we have a voter’s meeting and will probably insert some suggested language.  Here’s the text.

“We believe that term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated by Scripture.”

This follows the words of Jesus who says in Matthew 19:4-6 “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?’ Consequently they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”  (Remember this from a wedding or two?)

Then follows a paragraph on the fact that sexual intimacy should only occur between a man and a woman as a command by God.  This comes from Lev. 18:22,27-28. “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination…for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled; so that the land may not vomit you out, should you defile it, as it has vomited out the nation which has been before you.”

It is then explained that all forms of sexual immorality are wrong. (Ten Commandments).

Finally a statement, “We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that All persons employed by the church in Any Capacity, or who serve as volunteers should abide by and agree to this Statement…” It goes on to talk about welcoming compassion for sinners and non-harassment.

            Now, why, you may be saying, did this come about?  A gay rights bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, prohibits any discrimination against gay, bisexual, or transgender Americans, was put on a fast track by the US Senate 61-30, virtually assuring its passage.  What this means is that for the first time in US history non-discrimination will probably be extended to a behavioral choice.  All the other 8 non-discriminatory situations are things like gender, disability, faith and race which you are either born with or were called by God. But being gay is a behavioral syndrome.  It may be more addictive than puff corn or beer but behavioral syndrome nonetheless.  Secondly, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has a long history of elementary schools.  At one point in its history, you could not become a LCMS church if you didn’t also start an ancillary school.  German Lutherans are extraordinarily scholastic and  hire a larger staff than most churches through their schools and daycares.  Thirdly, the Senators may think they are gods but they aren’t.  And they make a huge mistake trying to tell a bunch of Lutherans what to believe.  Sola Gracia, Sola Scriptura, Sola Fides is our motto.  [“Grace alone, Scripture alone, Faith alone”] Thus, the reason for the amendment is to pre-emptively guard against lawsuits brought by some transgender/gay/bi claiming hiring discrimination or some gay couple demanding a marriage in the sanctuary, etc.

            But having been a former employer with some unruly employees at times, I have listened to my own lawyer’s advice quite frequently.  The law differs radically from the overkill of the topic which many businesses tell middle managers. It protects only 8 specific discriminations.  So be creative.  If a wine-o comes in wanting a front desk job, claiming loudly that his alcoholism is an ADA sanctioned habit here’s what you do.  Keep asking him questions in the interview.  There will be other things you can claim disqualified him.  Maybe you didn’t like his smile.  Or his shirt.  Or his diction.  All would be important for that job, and you can discriminate over anything except the 8 sacred-to-the-government topics. Secondly, don’t even come close to asking about things that imply the sacred 8.  Either that or, as my dearest used to do, start up a feminine chit-chat and let the interviewee volunteer the disqualifiers.

            But let’s say that some church or para-church organization gets sued through the Supreme Court. What do we do then?  Be creative. We should hold weekly prayer meetings in different churches publicly decrying the loss of our religious freedom, light votive candles and march to the city square singing Ein Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott, as the East Germans did to bring down communism.  The News Media will make the connection if we tell them.  We should sing the words of A Mighty Fortress Is Our God in English, however.  And chose the verse that goes,

“The Word they still shall let remain

Nor any thanks have for it.

He’s by our side upon the plain

With His good gifts and Spirit

Then take they our life

Goods, fame, child and wife.

Let these all  be gone.

They yet have nothing won.

The kingdom ours remaineth.”

            So if you are a Senator intent on telling us what The Word is and how to express our faith, maybe you should fear being “vomited out”.

That's Entertainment

The CMA guys certainly showed the entertainment value in Obamacare.

Obamacare by morning

Why is this taking so long?

I’m gonna get hemorrhoids

If I sit here ‘til dawn.

What was so funny about it was that George Strait and the entire audience was laughing so hard they had tears in their eyes. Maybe it was Oklahoman Carrie Underwood.  We are rather independent thinkers out here. 

            So all this has me in a lyrical mood. 

Government’s been working on the website

All the live-long day.

3 years workin’ on Obamacare

Just passin’ time away.

Can’t you hear the voters screaming

Smoke rolling out their ears?

“Can’t figure what’s their problem,

This may take us years.”

            You know we could solve the illegal immigration thing by making it law that before any of the illegals can vote they have to register on Sibelius’ website.  For the life of me, I don’t understand how she ever got to be governor of Kansas.  Kansas! Does she have that much common touch to get elected? Maybe she snuck in from outside and came in over the Ozarks.

O! Do you remember sweet Kathleen from Pike,

Who crossed the Ozark Mountains with 3 yeller dogs,

6 Obamacare signees

And one spotted hog!

            Speaking of a woman who has the common touch, I have been watching Sarah Palin lately.  The Easterners adore Christie because he gives ‘em hell rather like Harry Truman.  Palin trumps that.  She utterly destroyed Matt Lauer when he condescendingly spoke of the mere 5% who are losing their healthcare plans.  Palin asked him where he got that 5% number (from buddy Barack, of course) when virtually every policy in America would have to be re-written by Obamacare.  That is, “everybody” common touch Sarah told him and the emperor who has no clothes. (This doesn’t take rocket science.)  Then Lauer smugly cautioned against being conservative lest one offend the Holy Grail of Independents.  Palin told him if you stand in the middle of the road, you get run over by traffic coming each way.  Better to take one side or the other and be true to what you believe.  Touche.  Then on Fox and Friends she was talking about her book, where she encourages people to speak out about Christmas and what they believe as Christians, that this is guaranteed in the Constitution.  But it’s larger than Christmas, she warned.  To take away what a Christian expresses is to threaten not only the First Amendment but also the Expression of God that faithful people represent.  Wow! How true! Go get ‘em, Sarah!  Why is she not running?

            Here’s my theory about that.  She is doing exactly what a good pol needs to do to win the party Prez nomination by supporting other candidates and building supporters.  Her work in 2010 with 20 congressional districts targeted and 18 won, her work in 2012 supporting Cruz when none of the experts gave him a chance (and were sure TX senator spot would fall to Dems) are spot on.  But Palin was very, very middle class with a small (under $30K a year) fishing business before she ran for Gov. of Alaska.  She’s making a pile right now being on TV and writing a book.  A Clinton can make money getting into office and being corrupt.  A Republican has to earn it the old fashioned way before they run.

            Which reminds me of what I always jokingly tell Steve.  “If you don’t like my job, you can just cut my pay!” Or put the Obama way, “If you like your non-pay, you can keep it.  Period.” Or after your cancelled health policy, “If you like your non-policy, you can keep it. Period.” By the way, if your policy was cancelled like mine was, had to go to another insurance company, how can Congress pass a law that allows you to revert to a now non-existent policy?  If you Dems like my non-vote, you can keep it. Period.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Other Lessons from Cuccinelli

“Alas, poor Cuccinelli, I knew thee well!”  I don’t which is worse after the elections.  Newcomers to the movement yelling RINO! at Christie or country club types disdainfully declaring the Tea Parties dead.  Fact is, when you join a political party, you have to learn that there are a lot of others who don’t agree with every dogmatic point that you desire.  You also learn that to run a successful campaign, you need both boots on the ground and money to advertize.


For a long time, the Dems had the distinct advantage of ground forces.  They had slave labor from the unions who were ordered to go into a certain area and canvass.  The Republican Party was more often like a group of silver-haired women who couldn’t do much house-to-house, while a few crafty well-heeled donors lubricated the politics with hefty donations.  Then along came the blessing of the tea party folks and to my dumbfounded surprise, the R’s didn’t all work with them.  I shouldn’t have been so surprised.  The money folks were used to being the influencers and big shots.  The caustic manners of the newcomers who had never belonged to a party rubbed them the wrong way.  Meanwhile the newcomers were pretty fed up and demanded an Inquisition or they would all threaten a third party. 


But a political party is a gathering of somewhat like-minded people who group together to get candidates elected who reflect their own views, at least in the large. This is where the Arch Conservative/Libertarians who have the grassroots roused to action in the neighborhoods need the moneyed interests for funding.  Funding is especially important in state-wide races where the candidate cannot shake every hand, but media advertising is critical.  And the guys with the purse need grassroots folks to talk neighbor-to-neighbor, especially in local races where “knowing the candidate” is most important. 


What both groups need desperately is glib, plainspoken candidates that know what they believe, stick to their guns, but work in steps to achieve laws and policies that conservatives and libertarians are proud of.  In the Presidential race, R’s are in dire need of a person who speaks the people’s language.  Sarah Palin’s comment on how someday she would be holding Trig in front of a Death Panel, was such.  ‘Death Panel’ was stark enough, but to evoke the emotion of a mother trying to protect her son was the kind of stuff that would erase Cuccinelli’s 3:1 loss of single moms. 


We need some candidates with bigger goals and wider focus.  For too long the R’s have talked about abortion and gay marriage.  Both are quite valid issues but the larger issue is the War on Judeo-Christianity.  Set the Dems back on their heels by accusing them of starting this War.  Why, after all, does a military chaplain have to shut up about what the Bible teaches?  Why do I have to shut up about what I believe?  Too long we have talked about lowering taxes.  That’s small potatoes compared with the War on Freedom and the Free Market.  How about calling a Revolution against big government overreach and legislation by bureaucrats?


Cuccinelli lost two groups, Afro-Americans and single women. Both voted for socialist economy.  To the single women, we need someone to level frankly.  Something like, “Listen, let me tell you what’s killing marriage and romance.  Young men don’t seek a partner until they see their own Ability to Achieve.  More than anything, they want to be warrior, skills ready to conquer the world.  It is then that they realize that the World is an awful big place and they could use a soul mate for support and to support.  When the nation’s economy is crappy and no new jobs are being created, it means the warriors can’t Do.  And so the dance of the sexes dies.  If young women want someone to love, they need to support an economy where men can be free to achieve.  Don’t vote the nanny state!  Vote a freer market.”


And to those of African ancestry, we need to talk change.  “The current scheme of government benefits is the cruelest slave master that sucks people into dependence. Don’t we want jobs instead?  With a job you can hold your head high, work and be a man. Respect comes with a career.  Respect comes when a person turns their life around.  Lets pledge to work together, business men and women and working men and women, to build each other up, build families up.  Yeah, there is misunderstanding.  But we can all change.  Government just perpetuates slavery to their handouts.  And the burden of handouts to the nation, is rapidly killing our country.”


I really don’t think we should write these two groups off.  We need leaders who can talk it over.       

Friday, November 1, 2013


Michael Barone has a great piece on how states with low taxes and housing costs are bringing people in, while states with high taxes and housing are shedding population or barely holding even.  Read it on  Barone points out that sky-high housing is unaffordable to middle class people and big taxes hose them.  Doing research for Rep. Vaughan, I have discovered just how true it is, even more so than Barone points out.

            Hawaii and California are perhaps the two most resort-prone and beautiful states in America.  They also have 13% state income taxes, housing that is at least double the Midwestern states.  And both are declining in capitalist enterprises.  HI has lost people for 3 decades and is now only 1.4 million people.  You can get a tourist trap job there but it doesn’t pay much.  I talked to a variety of hotel employees on our vacation. (Sorry.  Who else does an old hotel manager talk to for fun?) All live “up in the hills” where housing is halfway affordable and the dog can run free.  

            Oklahoma and Arkansas are considered the cheapest housing states in the country, though many others are similar.  OK has cheap taxes too.  Kansas has 2/3 as many people and double the state budget—3 times the taxes per person.  Population growth of OK is double that of Kansas.  We have cut top tax rate to 4.85% but there are so many loopholes and tax credits with special interest groups, that no one wants to give up their special deduction.  Our tax commission estimates that if we cut all the exemptions and special treatments, we could immediately cut the top tax rate in half and still raise the same revenue.  That would put us as #10 in income tax rate, just behind the 9 zero tax states.  Some say that the only reason Texas beats us in growth is their zero tax on income.  Otherwise we have better barbecue and football and no alligators.

            If you compare the no-income-tax states to neighbors with high taxes, it is stunning in terms of economic growth and population growth. NH beats VT.  SD is stealing all MN’s business.  Lib WA clobbers lib OR.  Cattle ranching WY outgrows MT despite MT being a paradise for Hollywood nature lovers and skiers. NV all deserts bests CA. Try comparing IL, WI and MI, the high tax states of the North Central with IN which has cut taxes. The zero tax states grow at 3-5% annually while the high tax states grow at 0-2%.   

            Housing is cheap in OK and so are property taxes—half that of TX and KS.  The traditional ag and oil economy is becoming very well diversified, especially around Oklahoma City and Tulsa.  Boeing snuck out of Wichita and went to OKC. Our Indians do all the western art and then send it to Santa Fe so rich people can buy it within range of mountains.  

            As you might imagine, the low property taxes and low income taxes of OK are making the NEA howl.  We are the 49th state in teacher pay.  That is, until you consider cost of living.    Then we are 36th.  And teacher pay in many states (due to the racket of collective bargaining by a public service union with politicians) has elevated them well in excess of median income.  Median income in OK is $43K and teachers is $44K.  Spending on students is $8500 per year, lowest in the region.  But student test scores are #30.  In all cases, we believe we can grow our way out of the low numbers. 

            If you want to retire to OK the worst factor is that we don’t have enough docs and hospitals.  But demand for physicians is also low.  I guess we don’t go to the doc unless me and the vet just can’t figure out what’s wrong.  We aren’t half as fit as Coloradans, the healthiest people in the country, but our life span is only 0.5 years lower.  Figure that out. Indian medicine bags?  No joke.  My mother went to a powwow and saw those cute medicine bags, just the right size for her cell phone.  Bought one and showed it to some Indian teenage girls who have now started a trend of “native cell phone carriers” at Po Hi.

            Our worst worry is public service employee pensions which has unfunded liabilities of $10 B.  But then that has gone down in 3 years from $16 B due to the Republican Gov and legislature.  Getting there.

            If USA has a credit crunch, those high maintenance states are going to crash and burn.  I guess that means Okies will be called upon to bail them out.  It hasn’t been the first time.  Barone makes one huge mistake of facts in his article.  He talked about Okies going down Route 66 to the California Valley.  Ken Burns did the same in his documentary on the Dust Bowl.  Steinbeck started this idiocy.  It never happened.  440,000 Okies departed in the 1930 decade according to census records.  Postal records prove that only 60K went to CA and almost migrated to LA area.  225,000 went to Pacific Northwest where big dams were in dire need of good welders and cement and ironworkers which were abundant in the oil patch.  The “Okie migrants” in San Joaquin valley were actually Arkansans and Mississippians who talked in an accent like the Oklahomans who were already there working on the oil rigs. Hence the mislabel.  We do have a short street called Fresno in Ponca City.  I guess that proves we had Californians coming here in mass.  We have a Washington street also but it is pretty fallen down, maybe the worst street in town.  Which proves the migrants from DC couldn’t even run their own neighborhood.