Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our Cliff, The Party's Cliff or ALEC's Cliff

From the Wilmington News Journal:
After taking his oath, Rosenberger said he ran for “the people of Wilmington and Clinton County and southern Ohio” and promised to make the 91st District and southern Ohio his top priority.”
That would be a huge change in priorities Cliff. Let me count the ways.
1. You voted to reduce a scheduled and significant increase in state funding for Wilmington Schools. The increase was based on the loss of revenue caused by DHL's departure. You promised to add some or all of the planned funding increase in a separate bill. Never happened. Party loyalty?
2. Voted to increase sales tax on consumers while decreasing income taxes significantly on big earners and businesses. Party loyalty
3. Voted to increase property taxes on all home owners and to reduce availability of senior property tax reductions. Party loyalty?
4. Voted to reduce the amount of our state taxes returned to local governments, thus requiring local governments to reduce services and/or ask the voters for new taxes. Party Loyalty?
4. Played a major role in trying to prevent poor Ohioans from accessing health insurance via expanded medicaid coverage, while representing three of the worst heath outcome counties in Ohio. ALEC loyalty.
5. Voted to effectively kill the billions of dollars in alternate energy projects and component manufacturing planned for Ohio in order to protect the coal industry (no mines in his district) and a large electric power company also not in his district. Loyalty to ALEC?
6. Is a dues paying member of the big money front organization ALEC
7. Refuses to correspond with a constituent(s) that disagree with his positions.

The answer to the opening questions would appear to be a. That Cliff's loyalty (ambition) trumps local interests but, hey, he was rewarded with the speakership. b. By being in ALEC's pocket he ensures a steady supply of scripted legislation and financial support during his reign. Why he worry? He runs unopposed.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Hypothetical but Possible

How did the New YORK cop killer get his hands on a handgun?
As sad as the situation was the question should be asked.
If the madman bought the gun from a gun show parking lot, a straw purchaser from Virginia or a private seller is the answer, a national universal background check might have saved a life. If the weapon was stolen from a legal but unregistered owner we may never know the answer.

Opinion of Paul Hunter

Friday, December 26, 2014

Mankind Not Ready For Equality

By an amateur economist and even more amateur philosopher.
To paraphrase the Winston Churchill quote*
It has been said that capitalism is the worst form of an economic system except all the other that have been tried.
Over 100 years ago the idealist, Louis Blanc wrote these words. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
I take from that proposal that all persons would work as hard as their talents would allow and all would share equally in the results of the resultant productivity. Alas, mankind as a whole may never reach that utopian goal in spite of centuries of theological and social urgings.
It would appear that, lodged deep in the human brain stem, is the urge to have more material goods than others.
This urge, when subjected to public oversight and regulation can be turned into a beneficial prioritized distribution system of both scarce and plentiful assets. Obversely the urge to greed when left unchecked will eventually lead to social unrest and revolution. Bread and circus has a limited life span as a preventative. Just ask Rome.
*“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

Paul Hunter

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Economics Schools' Score

Keynes 2 Hayek 0

The American economy is continuing to beat expectations, especially relative to the performance of many economies around the globe. And that's sending the U.S. dollar surging.
On Tuesday, the Commerce Department announced that in the third quarter, gross domestic product rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.0 percent, nicely above the earlier estimate of 3.9 percent. Consequently, the U.S. dollar index, which compares the U.S. dollar to a basket of six currencies, jumped to the highest level since April 2006 on Tuesday.

The sputtering engine

Is Germany’s economy getting too weak to pull Europe out of its crisis?

Nov 20th 2014, 13:38 From the print edition
THE world cannot afford a European lost decade,” says Jacob Lew, America’s treasury secretary. The latest European figures were uninspiring. In the third quarter the euro zone grew by just 0.6% at an annualised rate.

Opinion of Paul Hunter

Monday, December 22, 2014

Will South South St. and Trusdell Last Another year?

These streets are coming apart as I type. If they survive the winter without multiple pot holes and loose asphalt I will be surprised.
The city has around $200,000 in dedicated funding for this coming year's street improvement projects covering less than a mile of resurfacing or maybe a couple of miles of top coating. As you drive around the city that seems like an inadequate amount to meet the near term needs. The council will have take money out of the very lean general fund to cover even a small portion of the needed maintenance and repair.
But wait, doesn’t the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) assist in maintaining streets that are also state or U.S. highways such as U.S. Rt. 68 - South St? The short answer is yes, the long answer is, only when ODOT has the funds to do so.
In the case of South St. ODOT has informed me that they will be able to assist the city repaving it in 2018. The total cost of repaving South St. from the southern corporation limit to Main St. is estimated to be $1,290,000. The city's matching portion would be between $258,000 and $645,000 depending on the scope of work to be completed. If we can't wait until 2018 where will the funds come from? Included in the 2018 project costs is the repaving of Ohio Rt.134 -Lorish/Lincoln Streets.
Ohio Rt. 730 -Trusedell St. is also in dire need of repaving and ODOT plans call for repair work on this street in 2016. Repaving from the southwestern corporation limit to S. South St. is estimated to cost $498,960 and the city's matching portion will be from $100,000 to $250,000. Where will the local money come from?
As costs accumulate, other streets are in need of repair and will have to be totally funded by we city taxpayers. As an example of the condition: When the S. South St. bridge was replaced last year by ODOT, Randolph St. was the designated detour. The state indicated that Randolph would be, at their cost, returned to the same condition it was in prior to the bridge project.
When I asked ODOT when they planed to repair Randolph I received this response.
“The plans state and show a portion of Randolph St. as the local detour. The plans also state that the Department [ODOT] will restore the local detour to existing condition prior to the project. Per ODOT personnel, the road was very rough before the project: upon completion of the project, the route was left in a similar condition to the pre – detour condition and the department did not need to provide any repair.”
It appears that we can add Randolph as another street on life support. The recently acquired Airborne Rd. is also looming as a potential million repair project. Again, where will the money come from?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Amateur Economist

Wealth Redistribution Is Necessary
It's about more than fairness, in fact, fairness is of secondary importance. Redistribution is an economic imperative directly tied to nation growth as represented by gross domestic product (GDP). GDP defined: (consumer spending, investment spending, government spending) The Economist published this observation in its 12/13/14 edition:
The OECD* assessed the effects of inequality on economic growth, finding that it has a statistically significant negative impact. It reckoned, for example, that income inequality knocked ten percentage points off cumulative GDP growth in Mexico between 1990 and 2010, nine points off Britain’s growth and up to seven points off America’s. Redistributive polices do not hinder growth, it argued, as long as they are targeted effectively, specifically at education.
*Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organization of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

Posted by Paul Hunter

Saturday, December 13, 2014

It's Now Official, Politicians Can Lie! (update)

With enough funding the lie can be expanded to match the Goebbels dictum that, If you tell

 a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

From the DDN 13/12/14 Beagle had more than $1.6 for state Senate re-election bid

The Lie:
Beagle Ads Continue Bogus Claim
New television ads for Republican state Sen. Bill Beagle continue making the false claim that Dee Gillis, his democratic opponent for the 5th District Senate seat, raised her own pay on the Tipp City Council.
The Facts:
Ohio Law states that the salary of any officer of a city shall not be increased or diminished during the term for which he [sic]was elected or appointed.
The Rationale:
A federal judge in Cincinnati has struck down, as unconstitutional an Ohio election law that banned candidates or independent organizations from lying in political campaigns.
Paul Hunter

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Heads In The Sand Of Progress

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Gov. John Kasich on Friday[6/16/14] signed into law -- without comment -- controversial legislation [voted for by Petersen and Rosenberger] that freezes state rules requiring electric utilities to sell more power generated by wind and solar and to help customers use less electricity.
Senate Bill 310, created by the Republican legislative majorities at the behest of the utilities and some of the state's largest industries, keeps the annually increasing mandates at this year's levels.........

In the meantime the world is moving on.

........China should slow its nuclear ambitions to a pace its regulators can keep up with, and build its reactors using the best existing technology—which happens to be Western. That need not condemn it to more sooty, coal-fired years. The cost of renewable energy is dropping quickly and its efficiency is rising sharply. Last year, over half of all new power-generation capacity installed in China was hydro, wind or solar. If China wants to accelerate its move away from coal, ramping up those alternatives yet more would be a lot safer.
Paul Hunter 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Why Is It So Easy For Jihadis To Recruit?

A scathing report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday found that the Central Intelligence Agency routinely misled the White House and Congress about the information it obtSenate Torture Report Condemns C.I.A. for Deception and Brutalityained from the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, and that its methods were more brutal than the C.I.A. acknowledged either to Bush administration officials or to the public.
The long-delayed report, which took five years to produce and is based on more than six million internal agency documents, is a sweeping indictment of the C.I.A.’s operation and oversight of a program carried out by agency officials and contractors in secret prisons around the world in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It also provides a macabre accounting of some of the grisliest techniques that the C.I.A. used to torture and imprison terrorism suspects.
Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.’s medical staff, some C.I.A. prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.’s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.”


Posted by Paul Hunter