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8.4.21

Fleeing system explains LA GOP voter losses

A significant number of Louisianans leaving the GOP because of its presumed association with violent activity around the U.S. Capitol? Absolutely fake news.

Even just a surface knowledge of Louisiana politics and electoral behavior in general should brought skepticism to a headline screamed by the Louisiana Radio Network: “State GOP membership sees trend-breaking dip post January 6th US Capitol attack.” Its content argued, apparently reviewing first quarter 2021 numbers, that Republicans shed registrants disproportionately, with most of that occurring in January, hence the association with the episode of unrest (see the stylebook). It noted drops of that magnitude didn’t happen in 2017 (slight gain) and 2013 (slight loss), true for both the first month and first quarter.

However, insofar as voting partisanship has little meaning in Louisiana state politics. With the blanket primary system in place, little reward or punishment accrues to registering a certain way. One could argue, as one of my colleagues at Louisiana State University (who probably didn’t look at the data himself) that changing a registration could serve as a symbolic penalty on the party, but when the symbol means so little substantively relative to the act of voting in the first place, that seems unlikely as a response.

7.4.21

Leftists inadvertently endorse LA flat tax

Even in manure you sometimes can find a gem here and there. That describes the latest advocacy attempt by the leftist Louisiana Budget Project, with the very policy problems it identifies amenable to solving by legislation before the Legislature that the group would reject.

Last week, the group that champions redistribution of wealth took advantage of woke trendiness in issuing a report about state tax policy. It rehashed the oft-made observation that the lower income a household, the greater proportion of its cash income goes to pay taxes. This it attributes to state tax policy that charges too high of a sales tax and insufficiently redistributes wealth, but adds a new wrinkle to this critique: that this policy causes “racial injustice in Louisiana’s tax system.”

The report blithely assumes, consistent with the attempted redefinition ongoing by leftist elites of what constitutes confirmatory evidence of racially prejudiced policy, that outcomes define this and thus differences in outcomes by race have no other explanation than prejudicial policy – despite the large amount of evidence that invalidates this notion in a vast number of policy areas. Not only is that a bad assumption, but also the data the reports presents also contradict it.

6.4.21

Bossier City sore losers defying voters' will

In his military career, Bossier City Republican Mayor received and gave many salutes. Now, as his 16-year tenure approaches its end, he is giving Bossier City residents a Bronx salute.

Walker and his city hall gang, many of whom will lose their power and prestige when Republican Mayor-Elect Tommy Chandler who defeated Walker last month takes office, don’t appear willing to make a graceful exit. That’s the implication of an ordinance scheduled for introduction this City Council meeting, with final passage set for Apr. 20.

The ordinance would make adjustments to contracted services rendered by the Baton Rouge-based Manchac Consulting Group. Over the past five years, Manchac has overseen sewerage and wastewater administration under a private-public partnership agreement, to net over $7 million by the time the agreement expires on Walker’s last day in office, Jun. 30.

5.4.21

LA govt policy must protect unvaccinated

Let’s try to understand correctly why a significant portion of Louisianans won’t take a Wuhan coronavirus vaccine presently without lapsing into overly simplified argumentation, avoidance of which will produce optimal public policy in combatting the virus.

A recent pair of studies pointed out that about a third of the state’s population didn’t intend to receive a vaccination. One of these, the 2021 Louisiana Survey, also provided data on the party and ideological identifications of respondents, which revealed liberals and Democrats much more likely to want to get vaccinated than do conservatives and Republicans. The same pattern was observed on the issues on approval of a mandate to wear masks in public and on state government response to the pandemic, with liberals and Democrats much more in approval.

The common nexus behind all three of these is government fiat. More than most states, Louisiana has responded with a heavy-handed approach of government control that statistically has brought a low payoff, and vaccine development had heavy government involvement. Unfortunately, the short-term, risk averse nature of politicians at all levels of government – many recoiling at the idea what could happen to their political careers if they received blame for anybody’s death because they “didn’t do enough” – plus the opportunity playing up the risks of the pandemic by the political left in order to increase its ability to control and magnify the power of government served a political end.

4.4.21

Easter Sunday, 2021

This column publishes five days weekly after noon U.S. Central Time (maybe even after sundown on busy days, or maybe before noon if things work out, or even sometimes on the weekend if there's big news) except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Monday through Friday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, Christmas, or New Year's Day when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, in addition to these are also Easter Sunday, Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.


With Sunday, Apr. 4 being Easter, I invite you to explore this link.

1.4.21

Demagogic insurance bill aims to distract

It’s not even old wine in new bottles; it’s old wine in old bottles and still sour. And it’s the same old story of distraction to enable continued transference of wealth from ratepayers and consumers to trial lawyers.

SB 55 by Democrat state Sen. Jay Luneau essentially warms over some corpses from last year, combined into one bill. It would prevent insurers from basing rates on individuals for vehicles on the status of an insured being a widow or widower, the insured's credit score/rating, or the gender (which really means “sex,” but insurers refer to it as “gender”) of an insured over the age of twenty-five.

The facts haven’t changed to make any of these changes any more redeemable or sensible. To start with the banning using of widow or widower status that typically confers higher rates on previously married individuals, that simply reflects that in general single people drive more, which raises rates. Individual cases vary, but insurers often can’t distinguish among individuals and so are permitted to use this grouping.

31.3.21

Panel stops short with LA elections advice

A legislative task force made a very small step in improving Louisiana policy outcomes by recommending the state move its congressional elections to a modified closed primary system.

Currently, the state operates under a blanket primary system, which really isn’t a primary at all. It’s a general election without party nominations where any candidate may run regardless of label (or none), and if no candidate secures an absolute majority heads to a runoff between the highest two finishers.

And it’s extremely problematic from a policy-making view because it devalues the single most effective concept in aggregating, articulating, and clarifying issue preferences and holding politicians accountable: the political party. This tarnishing occurs because the state’s blanket primary system (except for presidential preference primaries) provides no incentives for voters to think in programmatic terms and reduced penalties for disloyalty by a candidate to his articulated preferences, of which these may not match those generally of other candidates running under that label for similar offices.

30.3.21

Honesty needed on gas tax failure, Biden suit

Honesty would be the best policy in Louisiana politics. You’re not likely to get it, as those who want bigger and more intrusive government illustrated last week.

Perhaps the defeat of his wife for a spot on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in a special election the previous weekend convinced Republican state Rep. Jack McFarland to pull the plug on his legislative attempts to hike the gas tax. Associating the family name with increasing taxes may have cost her a spot in the April runoff by making her conservative claims less credible compared to those of her conservative Republican opponent lawyer Michael Melerine, who almost certainly will capture the seat.

Regardless whether that result demonstrated a paucity of support for hiking taxes while the state’s economy shrinks year-over-year, McFarland announced he would abandon the effort publicized by a special interest group intent on seeing increased government spending on building roads. The group, which counts among its members many entities who would receive that taxpayer largesse, claimed that other legislation could meet its goals and the recent federal spending bill also would provide the state with potential one-time funding for roads.

29.3.21

Trucking tort reform needed to avert crisis

Unless the Louisiana Legislature acts soon, trucking operators in the state will find themselves becoming extinct.

Over the past decade, industry costs have spiraled upwards dramatically, largely fueled by exploding liability costs. The average size of jury verdicts increased nearly 1,000 percent from 2010 to 2018, rising from $2.3 million to $22.3 million. Worse, runaway juries are stretching the bounds of liability, with the most notorious case being a 2014 incident where a passenger vehicle crossing the median and striking a truck, killing a child in the vehicle, yet the family successfully sued the trucking company and won a $90 million judgment, now on appeal.

Any interstate truck must carry $750,000 in primary liability. In Louisiana, for those who don’t leave the state, the limit starts $300,000. Just for that minimum, the average annual rate is $13,143 per rig.

28.3.21

Harmful agenda threatens LA higher education

Louisiana leaders should rebuff attempts to cheapen higher education delivery on the basis of racist argumentation.

Last year, a panel authorized by law to study dual enrollment – allowing qualified high school students to take courses for college credit – issued a report aiming to increase this incidence. It made many recommendations, but the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic made any movement on these impossible last year.

With a new year, legislative action could occur. And certain special interests have seen this as an opportunity to advance a destructive agenda for both taxpayers and students.