Wednesday, February 29, 2012

If You Want to Create Jobs, Cut Payroll Taxes

It’s pretty simple. If you make it cheaper to hire people, employers will hire more of them. More people working means more income tax revenue. More revenue means [more to spend/more opportunity to cut taxes - take your pick], and the world is fine.

Take a look at this chart, though, and you’ll see the staggering increase in the percentage of federal revenue from payroll taxes, which, as described above, makes it more difficult for employers to expand their employee base. You’ll see that, as a percentage of overall revenue, payroll taxes have gone through the roof over the past 50 years (click on the picture for more details).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mark Levin Slaps Around Hatrick and His Budget, Commends LoCo School Board

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin absolutely lays into Superintendent Hatrick and his proposed 11% budget increase. YouTube clip below, and link to LCRC Facebook page here discussing it which includes interesting points raised by School Board member Jill Turgeon and the three jobs her teacher-husband holds.

In a nutshell, Levin commends the five members of the board who have stood up to Hatrick and rails on a Lo Co teacher whining about a 3% pay increase.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Thank You, Democrats, for Keeping the Republican Party from Complete Self-Destruction

Oh, the latest hypocrisy of those social ” conservatives.” On the one hand, they argue that medically unnecessary vaginal probes are not unduly invasive, and, on the other, object to mandatory vaccinations against a virus that killed 4,000 women last year. Thank goodness reason was again able to sneak back into the General Assembly today, and the bill to repeal the HPV vaccine requirement was tabled.

Indeed, it’s the Democrats who have repeatedly saved Republicans from completely self-destructing over social issues this session. If it hadn’t been for them, and a few “turncoat” Republicans, we’d have medically unnecessary vaginal ultrasounds and pregnant women (who don’t even know they’re pregnant) qualifying for the carpool lane, to name just a few. In other words, we’d be an even bigger laughing stock. So, on behalf of the rest of the Republican party and its candidates who suffer as a result of such antics, thank you, Virginia Democrats, for keeping the GA Republicans from completely screwing us over.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Greed, and by Extension the Greedway, is Good

I simply have had enough of the uninformed whining about the tolls on the Dulles Greenway and the misguided attempts to artificially lower them.

Here’s the deal.  The Greenway (not the Dulles Toll Road) is privately owned.  It was built on private land with private money.  No land was condemned by the state to build it, and, in fact, the Greenway pays more than $3 million per year in property taxes to Loudoun County. (The Greenway owners, by the way, are doing a crappy PR job  — there’s some really good info on their site that they need to get out).

As a private entity, and even considering the rather unusual structure by which the owners are repaid and the road turned over to the state, the owners have every reason to maximize revenue. The toll is one factor of that revenue, but the number of paying customers is the other. Thus, to maximize revenue, the owners must price the road according to what the market will bear.  If it’s too high, no one will use it and they’ll lose money.  Simple free enterprise economics.  The relatively high fee is more likely a function of the market (that is, the disastrous state of transportation in northern Virginia) than the greed of the owners.  The owners can charge that rate because they can, and they can because the alternatives stink.

If you don’t like the toll, don’t pay it and suck up the longer commute. Just don’t give me the mindless populist drivel we hear every election season, particularly from supposedly free market Republicans, that localities need to control the rates or that the rates should just be  . . . lower.   We need to encourage creative solutions to our traffic problems, and discouraging future attempts at private roads certainly isn’t helping matters.  Let the free market work, and we’ll all be better off in the long run.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Sen. Donald McEachin, who had previously filed a frivolous suit  challenging the authority of Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling to break ties in the Virginia State Senate, dismissed his complaint today, stating, ““I think it’s an unnecessary distraction both for the caucus and the AG’s office.”   Of course, that all comes after the Circuit Court had already denied his request for an injunction.

Yeah, it was an unnecessary distraction — unnecessary because the whole case  was just ridiculous partisanship to begin with.  I tell ya, politicians whining to courts on decidedly political issues just makes me sick.  Glad to see that McEachin got his teeth kicked in on this.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Rich SHOULD Pay Their Fair Share

The most recent tax proposal from President Teleprompter reminded me of  last Halloween when I had the opportunity to explain taxes to the Nukes in a way they could  readily appreciate.  My nine-year old, after having scoured the neighborhood in the cold for 3 hours, came home with a sack full of candy she could barely carry.  My six year old, not quite as into it at this age, strolled around for about an hour and came home early with about 50 pieces.

As we were counting the candy at he end of the evening, I told the nine year old that, as my “Daddy Tax” (a fee generally imposed only for opening juice boxes), I was not only going to eat more of her candy than that of her sister, but a lot more.  In fact, I was going to take 100 pieces of her 300-piece haul, but take only 6 from her sister.  On top of that, I might even take some of what I got from big sis and just give it to little sis.

Now, she had worked hard for that candy, sprinting from house to house and dragging around her pillow case across frosty lawns all the while here sister remained comfortably in front of the fire watching an episode of “Sponge Bob” she had seen 17 times before.  At any rate, the gross disparity between the level of effort and the contribution to Big Daddy prompted the nine-year old to exclaim in disgust,

“That’s not fair!

You’re right, Sweetie.  It’s not.  Not at all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Vogel Sees the Light, Will Move to Strike Ultrasound Bill

In late breaking news from Richmond, both the Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Washington Post are reporting that Sen. Jill Vogel will move to strike HB 484, the abortion ultrasound bill.  I was never a fan of it to begin with, but I am gladified (new term I’ve coined) to see that she’s reasonable enough to reconsider.
From the RTD:
“There are moments when you are a legislator when you have to stop and you have to have a moment of real conscience,” Vogel said. “I sort of had that moment this morning considering the outcome and the fate of this bill.”
Vogel said that after hearing from constituents, including doctors, that she did not “feel in good conscience that I want to carry the bill in its current form.”
What remains to be seen is whether the bill’s co-patrons will be as reasonable.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Obama Girls as Political Collateral

I was thinking just this past weekend about how the Obama girls (not the “Obama Girl,” but Malia and Sasha Obama) had managed to stay out of the public light for the past three years, and how pleased I was that the press had allowed them to keep their lives as private as reasonably possible.

Well, turns out that 2012 is an election year, and the Obamas make a nice looking family.  Not willing to waste a good picture, it’s the Obama re-election campaign, not the press, today parading around Sasha and Malia  in the election materials including web banner ads and the front page of the campaign’s website.

I guess, for Barack and Michelle, the proper political photo op is more valuable than their little girls’ privacy.

A Happier Anniversary . . . and Some Questions

Today marks the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s 5-hour flight into space, a great accomplishment for America which would trigger even greater accomplishments in space in the years ahead.

Somewhat ironically NASA now is figuring out what do with the space formerly occupied by the now-mothballed space shuttle fleet, as if to ask, “What do we do now?”

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Museum, Yes, but not on the Mall

Yes, a museum to address the history of African-Americans is proper, but its placement at the front of the National Mall is fairly questioned by Steve Pearlstein.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Sad Anniversary

Tomorrow marks the 70th anniversary of the absurd Executive Order 9066 authorizing the imprisonment of  more than 100,000 thousands Americans in desert detention camps, guilty of nothing other than being of Japanese descent.

As a college student, I’d drive past the Manzanar relocation center in the high Mojave Desert each time I went home.  Each time, it made me ashamed.  Even the thought of it still makes me sick today.  I know people who were sent there and I’ve heard their stories.  My grandparents also had neighbors sent there who, effectively, lost everything.

One would think the Constitution stood for something, but it sure didn’t then.  Indeed, the Constitution utterly failed to protect these people.  Each branch of government knowingly refused to honor and uphold basic constitutional liberties.  I suppose it just goes to show that we must never take constitutional privileges for granted nor tolerate the abridgement of those rights by those cloaking themselves in “national security.”

Monday, February 13, 2012

What Do You Do with an Epic Political Failure? Declare It a Success and Do It Again!

You may recall that last fall, President Obama announced “AttackWatch,” a way to rat out your neighbors who dare say anything contrary to Fearless Leader’s inspirational leadership.  Thankfully, its Orwellian creepiness was somewhat mooted by the  funniest political video I have ever seen.  Here it is again just for kicks:

Undaunted by the mockery, the Obama hacks are back at it again, announcing  “two new ways” to report  along with a “revamped version of the AttackWatch website.”  

Simply amazing.  How completely oblivious to public reaction is this president?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bob Marshall’s Anti-Sharia Law Law

I don’t get it.

Though touted by some as a law that would prevent Sharia law from being applied in US courts, the bill offered by Del. Bob Marshall really doesn’t do anything to change existing law.  All it says is “no judge shall decide any issue based on foreign law except to the extent federal or state law requires or authorizes” it. (edited for brevity and ellipses deleted).

That’s exactly the way it is now.  Judges apply American law to an issue unless, under American law, a foreign law would apply.  For example, a contract between two multinational companies may state that Dutch law applies in any case between the parties.  In a suit filed in the US, an American judge would, under American law, look to the agreement of the parties and, in that case, would apply the Dutch law because it was chosen by the parties.  Seems like the same analysis would hold true in virtually every case – including those potentially involving the application of Sharia law.

What am I missing here?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The American Dream Is Still Alive

I had the pleasure of lunch the other day with some Richmond colleagues at a Short Pump restaurant called House of Vietnam.  I had been there a few times before, but my friends go there quite often, and have become friendly with the owner –  a very warm and gracious gentleman who immigrated here from Vietnam.  Over the years since immigrating, he was able to open a restaurant and turn it into a very successful establishment.  I’m sure there’s much more to his American story, but that’s all I happen know.

As we were paying our tab, one of my friends asked how his family was doing.  The owner very proudly described how his son had been accepted to several colleges including William & Mary, Washington & Lee and a couple others.  Then, clutching his hand to his chest and almost with a tear in his eye, he said,   “For me, THAT is achieving the American dream.”

Amid our often shrill political discourse, it’s so wonderful to find the occasional pearl of proof that we still live in a land of opportunity and optimism.  Just thought I’d pass it along.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

“Tebow Bill” Scores Big

No pun intended, but I’m a big fan of the so-called “Tebow Bill” which would allow homeschooled children to play on the teams of the schools in their school district.

It’s a common sense bill, and I’m glad to see that Delegates Bob Bell, Randy Minchew and David Ramadan are leading the effort to get it through the General Assembly.  At last look, the bill, HB 947, had cleared the House Education committee and had been read a second time.

Read a bit more broadly, the bill is not just about participation in sports.  Yes, it allows homeschooled kids to participate in more competitive leagues, but, more importantly, it allows them to interact more with their peers and build social skills.  Remember, it’s not the kids who made the decision to be homeschooled.

I am mindful of the potential for abuse – it is obviously difficult to determine whether a homeschooled child is meeting the academic requirements for participation.  One way of addressing that concern, however, is to allow homeschooled athletes to participate only if they did not begin the academic year at the school.  That guardrail would keep kids from dropping out of school to avoid bad grades that would keep them from playing.  It’s not perfect, but anything is far better than the current system.

At a minimum, we should give it chance and see how it all plays out.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Post in Which I Agree with Dick Black – “No” Vote on SB 185

As much as people may think that I take shots at Sen. Dick Black just because it’s so easy (and fun), there are times when he should be commended.  Here’s one.

Sen. Black along with Sen. Jill Vogel recently voted AGAINST SB 185, a bill that would remove science from the third grade Standards of Learning test.  Unfortunately, however, the bill passed the Senate on a 33-7 vote and is now off to the House Education committee of which Dels. Tag Greason and Tom Rust are members.

As anyone who has children in a Virginia public school can attest,  teachers teach to the SOLs.  If it ain’t tested for, they ain’t teaching it.  I’ve personally heard my own children’s teachers unapologetically state it  several times (with better English, however).  That means, then, that there’s no guarantee that science will be taught to our kids until 5th grade when the science module is on the SOLs.

It simply doesn’t make any sense.  At a time when American technological competitiveness is being challenged, Virginia can ill afford deferring teaching science to our children.

I’m still at a loss to determine who’s really behind the bill.  It certainly looks like a teachers’ union thing with the way the unions constantly oppose performance testing of any sort.  One less test to measure them by would be consistent with that strategy.  At any rate, thank you Sens. Black and Vogel for opposing it.

A list of supporting studies, prepared by a fellow parent, are below the fold.