Big School Voucher Plan OK'd
Indiana Court upholds nation's broadest program.
by Charles Wilson; Tom LoBianco,
March , 2013
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the law creating the nation’s broadest school voucher program, clearing the way for a possible expansion.
In a 5-0 vote, the justices rejected claims that the law primarily benefited religious institutions that run private schools and accepted arguments that it gave families choice and allowed parents to determine where the money went.
The court said the law did not violate the state constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom or a ban on the use of state funds for religious institutions. It noted that while the Indiana Constitution does not allow direct spending on religious institutions, it doesn’t prohibit them from receiving indirect government services, “such as fire and police protection, municipal water and sewage service, sidewalks and streets.”
The Indiana case has received national attention because the program has wide eligibility. Middle-class families are allowed to participate in Indiana, while in most states, such programs are limited to low-income families or those in failing schools. Jeff Reed, spokesman for the Fried-man Foundation for Educational Choice, said 530,000 Indiana students qualify for vouchers.
The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program is the nation’s largest in terms of actual enrollment. That program, enacted in 1990, had 24,027 participants this school year, Reed said. The Indiana program has 9,000 students actually enrolled.
The Indiana State Teachers Association had filed suit over the program, saying it drained money from public schools. Its attorney, John West, told the court in November that virtually all of the voucher money goes to schools whose primary purpose is to promote the teachings of their affiliated churches.
Teacher Teresa Meredith, the main plaintiff in the lawsuit and vice president of the Indiana State Teachers Association, called the ruling a setback for public education. [....]
Most Illegal Immigrant Families Collect Welfare
April 5, 2011;
March 31. 2013
Surprise, surprise; Census Bureau data reveals that most U.S. families headed by illegal immigrants use taxpayer-funded welfare programs on behalf of their American-born anchor babies.Even before the recession, immigrant households with children used welfare programs at consistently higher rates than natives, according to the extensive census data collected and analyzed by a nonpartisanWashington D.C. group dedicated to researching legal and illegal immigration in the U.S. The results, published this month in a lengthy report, are hardly surprising.Basically, the majority of households across the country benefitting from publicly-funded welfare programs are headed by immigrants, both legal and illegal. States where immigrant households with children have the highest welfare use rates are Arizona (62%), Texas, California and New York with 61% each and Pennsylvania(59%).The study focused on eight major welfare programs that cost the government $517 billion the year they were examined. They include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the disabled, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), a nutritional program known as Women, Infants and Children (WIC), food stamps, free/reduced school lunch, public housing and health insurance for the poor (Medicaid).Food assistance and Medicaid are the programs most commonly used by illegal immigrants, mainly on behalf of [....]
Federal employees who don’t pay taxes would be fired
by Alex Pappas
March 20, 2013
Citing figures indicating that more than 100,000 federal employees owe more than $1 billion in federal taxes, a House committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would require the firing of government workers who are “seriously tax delinquent.”The legislation, introduced by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, advanced through the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It now has to pass the full House to be implemented into law.
“Most taxpayers file accurate tax returns and pay the taxes they owe on time, regardless of their income,” Chaffetz, a Republican, said during the hearing Wednesday. “Federal employees and individuals applying for federal employment should do the same.”
The Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013 requires the termination of employment for tax delinquent federal employees, while also prohibiting the hiring of new federal employees with a substantial amount of delinquent tax debt.“The intent of the bill is simple,” Chaffetz said. “If you are a federal employee or applicant, you should be making a good faith effort to pay your taxes or to dispute them, as all taxpayers have the right to do.”
Chaffetz explained that the term “seriously tax delinquent” is defined as having an outstanding federal tax debt where a notice of lien has been publicly filed.
The bill exempts employees who can demonstrate financial hardships and an effort of working to settle tax liabilities.
Democrats on the committee opposed the bill. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member on the committee, said the legislation “seeks to demonize federal employees rather than ensure their compliance with tax obligations.”
“By requiring agencies to fire employees for not paying their taxes on time, the measure actually undermines the ability of the government to collect the unpaid taxes,” Cummings said. “It is much, much, much more difficult to recoup the delinquent taxes from someone who is unemployed.”The legislation requires agencies [....]
Can It Happen Here?
by Dr Thomas Sowell,
March 26, 2013The decision of the government in Cyprus to simply take money out of people's bank accounts there sent shock waves around the world. People far removed from that small island nation had to wonder: "Can this happen here?"
The economic repercussions of having people feel that their money is not safe in banks can be catastrophic. Banks are not just warehouses where money can be stored. They are crucial institutions for gathering individually modest amounts of money from millions of people and transferring that money to strangers whom those people would not directly entrust it to.
Multi-billion dollar corporations, whose economies of scale can bring down the prices of goods and services — thereby raising our standard of living — are seldom financed by a few billionaires.
Far more often they are financed by millions of people, who have neither the specific knowledge nor the economic expertise to risk their savings by investing directly in those enterprises. Banks are crucial intermediaries, which provide the financial expertise without which these transfers of money are too risky.
There are poor nations with rich natural resources, which are not developed because they lack either the sophisticated financial institutions necessary to make these key transfers of money or because their legal or political systems are too unreliable for people to put their money into these financial intermediaries.
Whether in Cyprus or in other countries, politicians tend to think in [....]
In the Race to be Cheap, Politics Wins
by John Ransom,
March 27, 2013
Stocks in the S&P 500 are now at record low valuations; the market trades as cheaply as it did in 1980 as measured by price-to-earnings, or PE, ratios, trading at a PE ratio of 15.4 times earnings.While retail stock investors have largely been stuck on the sidelines, the stock market has made new highs. But despite the upward surge, things aren't as rosy for Wall Street as one might suppose.
Although individuals have added almost $20 billion to U.S. stock funds so far this year, the amount is just 3.5 percent of the withdrawals since 2007, Investment News.com reported, and compares with $44 billion placed with fixed-income managers in 2013, according to the Investment Company Institute.
Fund inflows tend to buttress the beliefs of those who think the stock market’s short-term bull run can continue. As the old adage goes, individual investors don’t make money in the market, they just borrow from the institutions for a while.
The lack of participation by retail investors in the continuing rally would seem to indicate we have yet to hit a top -- because the retail money has yet to hit the market. And that’s the line of reasoning I would have used 10 years ago. But a lot has changed in 10 years.
There’s a growing sense of alienation between Wall Street and Main Street. Much of the alienation has to do with the lack of the right type of oversight on money and markets. That lack of confidence, which is largely political in nature, hurts PEs.
Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder [....]
Welcome to the New Freedom in the 50 States Site!
by Roman Hardgrave,
March 28, 2013
We are thrilled to release the new edition of the Freedom in the 50 States study alongside an innovative new website that allows you to explore and customize the freedom rankings. We will briefly walk you through some of the highlights of the website:
Check out 40 different state rankings on various aspects of freedom, from property rights to finding a job to throwing a bachelor party. With a full 10 years of data available, you can drill into a particular state to see how the ranking has changed over the last decade.
We readily admit that freedom is personal to everyone. You can now turn on and off categories or even individual variables within the freedom ranking to personalize the rankings to your tastes and see how the states stack up. Maybe you'll want to move![....]
Jihadist Welfare Queen
by Mark Steyn,
March 28, 2013
Following Uncle Sam’s coughing up of the jizya to Egypt, here’s another angle on the Islamic sheikhdown racket from the United Kingdom — Anjem Choudary, a jihadist imam who urges his followers to soak British welfare and look on it as “Jihad Seeker’s Allowance”:
A controversial Muslim cleric will not face action despite telling his followers to claim benefits and saying David Cameron should be killed.That’s pretty funny for a bloke so insecure he won’t let his womenfolk out of their head-to-toe body bags — and isn’t exactly Prince Charming himself. But here’s the point: Her Majesty’s laughably misnamed Department of Work and Pensions provides a half-million-dollar house for Choudary to live in at public expense, and [....]
Telling fellow fanatics to claim ‘jihad seeker’s allowance’, Anjem Choudary, who in the past has planned to disrupt the minute’s silence on Remembrance Sunday, also openly mocked hard-working Britons, calling them ‘slaves’.
The Sun newspaper secretly filmed him saying Islam will overrun Europe, David Cameron and Barack Obama should be killed, and called the Queen ‘ugly’.
Obama Ignores Nullification
by Tim Brown,
March 25, 2013
In a move that is reminiscent of the tyrannical actions of Abraham Lincoln that led to the War of Northern Aggression, Barack Obama says that he will not wait on states to enforce Obamacare. Instead his administration has announced its intent is to completely disregard the state’s Tenth Amendment rights to nullification of the Obamacare law, via their passed legislation and state constitutions. In fact, his administration has said that in states where they refuse to comply with federal healthcare mandates that agents from the Department of Health and Human Services will assume absolute control over the state’s health insurance industry. Politico reports,Insurance regulation is a huge responsibility that’s been closely guarded by the states. That’s why the Obama administration and those closely watching the rollout of Obamacare believe that even states that have sworn off the law’s coverage expansions will still enforce its new measures — including new benefit mandates, cost-sharing guidelines and rules on how insurers rate customers — to retain control over their health insurance markets.
But the feds will be overseeing the health care law in Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming after those states told HHS they couldn’t or wouldn’t implement the new rules.
“We are enforcing because Oklahoma notified … that it has not enacted legislation to enforce or that it is otherwise not enforcing the Affordable Care Act market reform provisions,” Gary Cohen, director of the federal Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, wrote to the Oklahoma Insurance Department on Friday. Officials in Missouri, Texas and Wyoming received similar letters, an agency spokeswoman said. The enforcement letters come a little more than a month after a Commonwealth Fund report found just 11 states and Washington had started to adjust state laws to prepare for seven major ACA insurance reforms taking effect in 2014.
In a statement by Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak he said, “It is unfortunate that health insurers are being forced into a system of dual regulation by the overreaching Obama administration. My position on this has never wavered, and I welcome every opportunity to try to overturn Obamacare.”
In a letter sent to Cohen, it was clearly stated that the Oklahoma Insurance Department does not have the authority [....]
The Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama Administration
by Frank Gaffney,
September 14, 2012
If anyone needed evidence that Hillary Clinton is in the pocket of the Muslim Brotherhood, the events of the last few days should be more than sufficient. On the anniversary of 9/11, on what should be a day of shame for the Muslim world, the US Embassy in Cairo issued a statement condemning critics of Islamofascism in language appropriate to the office of propaganda for the Muslim Brotherhood. Islamofascists launched violent attacks on Americans, repeating the outrages in miniature of the World Trade Center attacks 11 years ago. In the face of these outrages the posture of the U.S. government is one that would make Neville Chamberlain blush. In four years Barack Obama has managed to turn the entire Middle East over to America’s enemies. So that our readers [....]
30 Stupid Things The Government Is Spending Money On
by 'Mr Conservative,'
March 1, 2012
If you want to get paid for doing something stupid, just turn to the U.S. government. The U.S. government is paying researchers to play video games, it is paying researchers to study the effects of cocaine on Japanese quail and it has spent millions of dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly. The amount of money that the government wastes is absolutely horrifying. Do you remember all of that political wrangling over the debt ceiling deal last year? Do you remember how our politicians told us that there were cutting spending as much as they possibly could? Well, it was all a giant lie. As you will see below, the U.S. government is spending money on some of the most stupid things imaginable. What makes all of this even worse is that we are going into enormous amounts of debt in order to pay for all of this. We are borrowing billions of dollars a day in order to pay for stupid stuff that no government on earth [....]
Israel's Insightful Cynicism
by Robert D. Kaplan,
March 27, 2013Israel is in the process of watching a peace treaty unravel. I don't mean the one with Egypt, but the one with Syria. No, I'm not crazy. Since Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy in 1974, the Israelis have had a de facto peace agreement of sorts with the al Assad family. After all, there were clear red lines that both sides knew they shouldn't cross, as well as reasonable predictability on both sides. Forget about the uplifting rhetoric, the requirement to exchange ambassadors and the other public policy frills that normally define peace treaties. What counts in this case is that both sides observed limits and constraints, so that the contested border between them was secure. Even better, because there was no formal peace agreement in writing, neither side had to make inconvenient public and strategic concessions. Israel did not have to give up the Golan Heights, for example. And if Syria stepped over a red line in Lebanon, or say, sought a nuclear capacity as it did, Israel was free to punish it through targeted military strikes. There was usefully no peace treaty that Israel would have had to violate.
Of course, the Syrians built up a chemical arsenal and invited the Iranians all over their country and Lebanon. But no formal treaty in the real world -- given the nature of the Syrian regime -- would likely have prevented those things. In an imperfect world of naked power, the al Assads were at least tolerable. Moreover, they represented a minority sect, which prevented Syria from becoming a larger and much more powerful version of radical, Sunni Arab Gaza. In February 1993 in The Atlantic Monthly, I told readers that [....]
Despicable Fool Smears Dr. Ben Carson
Reported by Rush Limbaugh,
Rush Limbaugh Radio Network,
March 27, 2013
RUSH: I saw something. I don't have the audio on it because I have instituted a ban on anything that happens on MSNBC, and I'm not lifting the ban even for this. But when I saw this last night, I have to tell you I just got viscerally sad. I became depressed and I didn't try to disguise it. I just... It was a feeling of utter frustration at what is happening in our country, particularly culturally. There is a personality on MSNBC whose name is Toure. He's black, and he is a young fool.He is a classic example of somebody who is dangerous precisely because of what he thinks he knows that isn't right, and he took it upon himself to try to destroy Dr. Ben Carson. He did it in a vile, almost uncivilized manner. The things that he said about Ben Carson were just filthy. They were despicable. It was worse than calling him an Uncle Tom. What depressed me was that Toure -- this young fool Toure -- doesn't deserve to be in the same conversation with Ben Carson. This Toure could live a thousand years; he'll never be anywhere near what Ben Carson is.
And he doesn't get called on any of this trash that he talks.
RUSH: No, I'm not going to play any of the audio from this Toure person on MSNBC. His name is Toure Neblett. He's one of these guys that goes by the first name Toure, and he's just a young fool. An arrogant, condescending young fool. And, of course, he's afraid of Ben Carson.
Now, we talked about this last week. The Democrats and the Drive-By Media do not have [....]
Emerging Market Debt: Harnessing Positive Fundamentals
March 8, 2013
Based on the current low-yield environment, we believe the next two to five years will likely present a challenging period for bonds. Therefore, you may want to consider fixed income asset classes outside of traditional core allocations. The emerging market debt (EMD) asset class is one potential opportunity for investors searching for supplementary options. In this Asset Class Review, we discuss the key fundamental trends, the different segments, and several risks in the EMD asset class. We also review three EMD funds on the LPL Financial Research Mutual Fund Recommended List.
Outside of the United States, major countries represented in the developed bond market include Japan, Italy, Germany, and France. Examples of major emerging market countries represented in the EMD asset class are Brazil, Turkey, Russia, and Mexico. A positive for emerging market countries overall is that they may continue to grow at faster than developed nations. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), emerging market economies, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), are forecast to grow two-to-three times faster [....]
Until Next Sunday....