If you didn’t catch it my latest for Watchdog.org is The Wages Sin Taxes:

My father always told me that everything cost something.  The current debate on the decisions of both going into Iraq and pulling out when we did has shown that even most noble intentions can have devastating consequences.

You can read the rest including my explanation of said costs here:

 

 

When I’m not posting here I”m still writing at Watchdog.org.  Here are two pieces that went up recently:

The first is on Student Debt:

The cost trend is the same and the number of students with debt continues to rise, particularly since the 2008 election.

Bankrate.com suggests the income-to-debt ratio for buying a house should be no more than 28 percent of your annual income.  How long will it take college students to manage to afford their first house when the average student debt out of college is equal to 50 percent of per capita income?

That’s the iceberg that our national ship is steaming toward. But if your children have not yet reached college age, there are things that can be done.

I have three suggestions to avoid this bomb as a parent but you’ll have to click here to read them.

Meanwhile states are having trouble retaining tech workers:

“Young people always go for the money,” Sowerbutts said. “It happens in the private sector, even in the private sector they tend to stay a few years and go because the driving force is money.  Just not doable.”

There is a reason why engineering is such a good college major to choose.

And money is not the only reason why the young do not find state employment attractive. I spoke to a retired state manager who worked in Massachusetts.

He talked about systems still running Windows 2000 in the second decade of the 21st century, he mentioned patronage hires in management positions who were promoted based on family and political connections, and he mentioned there were people who have different priorities

Both however had a solution to the problem, but again to read it you’ll have to go here.

 

 

 

My latest for Watchdog.org is now up and it’s about Uber and Mathamatics:

Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill had a phrase–that “all politics is local.” He also knew the pulse of the House and of the voters, what could pass and what could not. When challenged on his evaluation of a bill, he often answered, “I’ve always known how to count”–and suggested that this skill was one of the most important any person seeking a political career should have.

This came to mind when considering the legislation coming out of  Boston concerning Uber, the driving service that has been challenging Taxi services all over the county.

Gov. Charlie Baker has filed legislation to institute statewide regulations around ride-sharing companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. The move, if passed into law, could potentially give the state more regulatory control over one of the fastest-growing sectors in the economy.

You can read the rest of it here.

As the last hours of tax day pass let me direct you to a pair of tax day piece for your approval.

First:  No Taxation without understanding

During the American Revolution, one of the major objections the colonists had was the taxation by the British crown without having any representation. While the problem of taxation without representation has been solved, it has been replaced by something almost as bad and nearly as destructive: taxation without understanding.

and there are costs for this ignorance

Being illiterate of the tax code has the same effect as actual illiteracy. It makes you dependent on others to tell you what is true and what is false. It allows you to be led. The more complicated the code the easier you are to manipulate. And that’s also why simplifying the tax code will be one of the hardest things to get done; too many people have a vested interest in keeping you in the dark.

Meanwhile with the passing of tax day 2015 we come a year closer to a tax day that Democrats dread:

the so called “Cadillac tax,” which is a 40 percent excise tax on high value health care plans. Like many parts of Obamacare, its implementation was put off to delay opposition.

It’s one of the last big parts of the Affordable Care Act to go into effect — lawmakers delayed the levy until 2018 in part because it is so controversial — but companies are wrestling with it now as they plan employee benefits. Some are already negotiating with unions over benefits that could spill into 2018.

And as my colleague here at Watchdog Arena,  Moe Lane, points out, a lot of people didn’t think it would ever see the light of day

You’ll want to check out both pieces (and Moe’s too.) not to mention the rest of the great stuff at Watchdog.org

My latest for Watchdog.org notes one thing in the Ferguson report that is actually worth complaining about:

 

The City’s emphasis on revenue generation has a profound effect on FPD’s approach to law enforcement.  Patrol assignment an schedules are geared toward aggressive enforcement of Ferguson’s municipal code, with insufficient thought given to whether enforcement strategies promote public safety or unnecessarily undermine community trust and cooperation.

This practice sets up a perverse reward system if you are a cop, the report explained:

Officer evaluations and promotions depend to an inordinate degree on “productivity” meaning the number of citations issued.

Of course the left’s outrage here would be more believable if not for …

Alas, while this unity in protecting citizens from abuse sounds hopeful in theory, the reality is the outrage over this practice, at least for some, is selective.

What is selective about it?  You’ll have to go to Watchdog.org to find out

The bottom lin

I must admit I was surprised to discover that until a short time ago Medicare payment information was not available to the public but as I write here at Watchdog arena, this info is now available to discover exactly where our money is going and the AMA is not happy:

A federal judge overruled the sealing of those records in March 2013, and only now, 35 years after the original injunction, is this data being released publicly.

The AMA has not taken this lying down. They have urged the Department of Health and Human Services to not release any more information on payments before improvements are made to the data set. The group alleges that information about payments made in 2012 had inaccuracies that would draw possibly sensationalist news coverage.

After all, nothing is more sensational than being forced to clarify and justify their use of public funds.

You can read the rest of this piece here and you can check out the others great writers at Watchdog.org here.

 

 

My latest for Watchdog.org talks about the new Taxes proposed by Barack Obama and how they identify him not as a man pretending to be a king, but as a neighborhood boss:

I’ve seen many portrayals of President Obama as an absolutist king due to his penchant for unilateral policy decisions made over the heads of Congress. Glenn Reynolds often reposts an image of Obama in the likeness of Louis XIV, with the common tagline being “You should be thanking me.”

What I see, however, is a classic graduate of the Chicago school of criminal governance, an old-fashioned neighborhood boss. This sort of boss man attitude is evidenced in Obama’s plan to put into law ten new taxes.

If you want to read the rest including quotes from Casino, Godfather II, Goodfellas, Analyze This and even Chris Christie, you’ll have to go to Watchdog.org and check out the Watchdog Arena.

My latest piece for Watchdog.org: Is President Obama ‘pulling a Homer’ on energy, or is he smarter than that? is now up:

“To pull a Homer”: to succeed despite idiocy.

In “Homer Defined,” a 1991 episode of The Simpsons, the Springfield nuclear power is going into meltdown.  Homer Simpson (the inept lead character of the series) manages to save the day by choosing the right button to prevent the meltdown.

He is celebrated as a hero until it’s revealed that his choice of which button to press was just pure incompetent luck (eeny, meeny, miny, moe).  This coins the term “pulling a Homer,” whereby a person without wisdom or skill succeeds in spite of their own incompetence.

This is an excellent illustration of what has happened with the economy, both over the last six years and in the past two months of the Obama administration.

Has Barack Obama succeeded, and if so why does he compare unfavorably to Homer Simpson?  Well you’ll have to go to Watchdog.org to find out

 

Starting this week I will be an occasional contributor for Watchdog.org.

My first piece for them is titled: The NFL playoffs can teach a lesson about competition and school choice

We are under two weeks away from one of America’s greatest sports spectacles, the Super Bowl, the televised pinnacle of competition in American football. That spirit of competitiveness can tell us something about the importance of school choice.

After the divisional round of the playoffs, four teams out of 32 remain standing- the Patriots and Colts in the AFC, and the Packers and defending champion Seahawks in the NFC.

While people more versed in football can evaluate the probability of each of these teams advancing to the Superbowl and then winning, let’s consider a more interesting set of facts about them:

What does any of this have to do with school choice? Well, you’ll have to click here and read the rest of it to find out.