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5.1.12

Roemer has chance to confirm thesis or continue delusion

Clueless at 66 Hanover Street, Manchester, NH now has his chance. With the exit of one major candidate from the Republican nomination process for the presidency, and another saying he’ll skip the upcoming New Hampshire primary, where the first committed delegates will be awarded, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer finally can make that leap into the public consciousness, break out of the pack, and get his well-deserved attention as a serious candidate for the nation’s highest office.

Not. To be a serious contender, one needs a serious message, which Roemer never has had. He blames his poor showing on the bogeyman of “big money” and shadowy fat cats, financiers (which has been his occupation until recently) who control things with their bucks while he specifically rejects such input with his self-imposed limitation to receive contributions of $100 or less. The conspiratorial outlook, which has more in common with “trilateralism” of the last century and screeds against Jewish bankers of a century ago than with today’s reality, earned him a last place finish in the Iowa non-binding caucuses (behind a candidate already withdrawn, no less).

And that’s what has kept Roemer as a nonentity in the contest so far; the problem is not some cabal of wealth, the media (which, due to his microscopic polling numbers, keeps refusing to invite him to debates that he obsessively believes would permit liberation his message to turn the unaware into adoring throngs), and establishment party figures, but it is Roemer himself and his message. When a Gallup poll last month tell us, regarding “the biggest threat to the country in the future,” 64 percent said “big government” against just 26 percent for “big business” and 8 percent for “big labor” (the numbers were exactly the same for independents, and even Democrats were more likely to worry about big government than big business 48-44), you know anybody would says he agrees with the “Occupy” movement is on the wrong side of the issue.

4.1.12

Perry reassessment shapes LA, Jindal near-term futures

As Texas Gov. Rick Perry returns to his home state to contemplate the future of his presidential campaign – meaning its end almost is certain – this affects Gov. Bobby Jindal’s and Louisiana’s immediate political future.

Almost at the start of Perry’s bid, coming only (even if it seems like ages) five months ago, Jindal enthusiastically announced his support for Perry and matched that with energetic campaigning on his behalf. Some observers believed he came across more effectively than did Perry in that role, and they turned up the volume and frequency of those kinds of comments as Perry, who started out fast, began shedding support.

Had Perry kept blossoming all the way to the nomination, Jindal may have become the leading possibility for Perry to tab as his vice presidential running mate.

3.1.12

Changes needed to stop misallocation to higher education

Concerning mid-year budget reductions, higher education (because of a lack of political courage) in Louisiana once again will bear the brunt of these. And while structural changes to Louisiana’s rigid fiscal structure would provide a better matching of funds to priorities, changes in higher education policy also can provide for more efficiency in delivery, both in Louisiana and for the country as a whole, while sensitizing its consumers and governments to make better choices as well.

Within existing policy parameters, Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Legislature have improved the condition of higher education by laws that entice more efficient delivery. The permutations of the GRAD Act have assisted that tie present resources in to future performance, so long as the concept gets enforced. However, these policy-makers whiffed on structural questions, such as failing to merge next-door lagging institutions and duplicative governing boards,  as well as on more procedural matters such as continued wasteful tuition subsidization.

Desirable are these changes, but they still only would have a limited impact of inducing better resource use and allocation because of the nature of higher education policy in America, governed largely by national law.

2.1.12

Despite charter school success, ignorant elites still resist

Lost in the disappointment of trying to fulfill another mid-year budget shortfall in Louisiana was good news about progress in Louisiana’s education – but coupled with another reminder about how the upcoming changeover in Board of Elementary and Secondary Education with cooperation from the Legislature still is necessary to combat the revanchist attitudes present in the state’s education establishment.

Late last year, the state had to address yet another shortfall in revenues and higher expenses when it took its annual look at how the budget matched to reality. The Constitution requires this review and corrective action in spending cuts to comport to its balanced budget imperative. As has become typical in the past several years, education expenditures were more than budgeted because enrollments in public schools appeared higher than predicted months ago.

But, interestingly, perhaps public schools attracting more students away from private schools caused the underestimation, as one of the members of the panel responsible for reviewing actual vs. budgeted numbers suggested, with the presence of better-performing charter schools the cause.