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Incumbent matchup loser may parlay that into Senate

Give Rep. Jeff Landry credit – he’s taking the lemons of reapportionment and turning them into lemonade of a possible extended political career, one way or the other.

The freshman Landry has by no means acted as a shrinking violet in the House of Representatives. During the recent period of extended debate leading to a temporary resolution of the debt issuance issue of the federal government, Landry emerged as a leader among new Republicans shaping their party’s negotiations, eventually voting against the measure that slowed the approach to but did not solve for the economic problems that will result from too much spending. In doing so, he exerted more influence in a few months in Congress than did his predecessor lobbyist. He also has become one of the more outspoken critics of Pres. Barack Obama in Congress, rejecting an invitation to meet with him over a debt deal over concerns Obama had no workable solutions to impart but instead wished to use the meeting with House Republicans as a vehicle for grandstanding.

Some observers speculate that Landry may publicize more his differences with his ideological opponents in Congress and the White House in order to draw a difference between himself and Rep. Charles Boustany, because in reapportionment Louisiana lost a House seat and these two found themselves odd men out after that drawing.


Adley seems set to continue disingenuous fulminations

State Sen. Robert Adley has a history of grandstanding, and his signature bill this session concerns (yet again) opening up records in state government. While it had its good and bad points and would bring some benefits but create some costs, it also lent itself to use of big-government advocates such as Adley as a potential weapons against smaller and more efficient government in Louisiana. And now, reformers may have to suffer four more years of similar behavior.

SB 57 would have removed from many executive branch agencies, and some of it from the governor, chief of staff, and executive counsel, protection from disclosure “any records having been used, being in use, possessed, or retained for use by the governor in the usual course of the duties and business of his office that relate to the deliberative process of the governor, intra-office communications of the governor and his internal staff, the governor's security and schedule, or communications with or the security and schedule of the governor's spouse or children.” It would have created perhaps the most transparency involving interactions between a governor and the rest of the executive branch of any state in the country.

In some ways, this approach comports more to the historical open-records philosophy in Louisiana, which was to assume everything was open to which exceptions existed based upon origins of the communication.


Fall matchups show benefit of diluted term limits

Like vampires, term-limited Louisiana legislators continue to attempt to exist as the undead, revealing perhaps a silver lining to the otherwise-flawed term limit regime enacted into the Constitution some 15 years ago.

When the Louisiana citizenry overwhelmingly voted for term limits for legislators, essentially three or fewer for a position in the House or Senate, this made the state unique, as it was the only one whose legislators proposed it on themselves without the presence of an initiative process that could have allowed citizens to bypass state government. But perhaps the price of that, not realized by many at the time, was their application only to the position held in their specific chambers.

This allowed, when limitation first applied in 2007, to have a number of those limited in the House to try for Senate seats, and a couple of Senate members to go for the House.


Misunderstanding poverty leads to bad lending policy

Yesterday’s post closed with the truism, “… until public policy recognizes it must alter the attitudes, thus behavior, of people to reduce poverty ….” As a recent opinion piece confirms, some Louisiana renders of opinion have a ways to go to reach this proper understanding.

The column argued for more regulation of “payday” lenders – establishments, many owned by large financial institutions, that charge high interest rates (sometimes in the hundreds of percentage points for an annual percentage rate) for small, short term loans. Predictably, the writer equates regulation of the industry to any less extent than terms that almost entirely discourage it as dereliction of the state’s duty and calls for this, as have some policy-makers (for example).

Such a view not only shows ignorance about the issue, but also betrays a lack of understanding of the nature of poverty.


Throwing money at problem causes more child poverty

The annual KidsCount survey came out showing the usual dismal place Louisiana has comparatively regarding child quality of life. This, even more unfortunately, brings out the usual responses whose only contribution to the public policy debate about this issue is they argue to repeat the same mistakes that have caused this situation in the first place.

That’s the conclusion one draws when an opinion writer sought out, for a Louisiana angle, words of idiocy on this subject from state Rep. Regina Barrow. The Democrat asserts that “We haven’t addressed poverty in a consistent manner” and then proceeds to offer the solution that is consistent: throw more money at the problem, which in fact has constituted the most consistent approach over the past several decades – and a failed approach at that.

This is because those of Barrow’s ilk have no clue as to what poverty is and from where it comes.