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Fewer than half of LA amendments deserve approval

This space already has delved into why the voting public should reject on the Nov. 6 ballot Amendment 1. Eight other changes to the Louisiana Constitution also need vetting.

Amendment 2 has received by far the most publicity, which would introduce the “strict scrutiny” standard to any state government attempts to restrict firearm usage. Some opponents argue that it could make it more difficult for legal authorities to prosecute criminals regarding gun possession, but any reasonable understanding of the doctrine would not support that contention. Given the continuing demonstration of the salutary impact that increased gun ownership has on the quality of life, this deserves passage.

Amendment 3 tackles the complex subject of retirement legislation by trying to give more time to understand it by filing these kinds of bills earlier in a legislative session. But it creates practical problems, such as when a new Legislature is sworn in new members would have almost no time to even introduce such bills. Further, it creates asymmetry in power relations against those who would want to change things, as a sooner filing would allow for more time to have specific vested interests create defensive strategies. And, the bills can change substantially anyway throughout the process, negating earlier revelation if that even is necessary to understand them. The Constitution, and House and Senate rules, already give retirement as a subject special treatment meaning they must be filed earlier than other bills, which thus needs not be expanded upon nor be allowed to become that much more difficult to change by cluttering the Constitution further with this requirement, so this needs to be rejected.


LA Supreme Court repeats past abdication of rule of law

A partially ad hoc composition of the Louisiana Supreme Court decided that two wrongs indeed make a right, securing a small defeat for the rule of law in the state.

Comprised of three temporary judges, the Court ruled that Assoc. Justice Bernette Johnson would assume the title of Chief Justice come the retirement of the existing Chief Justice Kitty Kimball at the end of the year. A dispute arose because while she had participated in making decisions on the Court two months prior to another member and four years longer than another, Johnson had been elected to the Court almost six years and two years, respectively, after the others. The Constitution stipulates that the justice with the “oldest point of service” takes this position.

The problem was, Johnson participated in cases while as a member of a circuit court as a trick to placate a suit brought against the state, which has no black majority district to elect a judge to the Court. Instead of waiting until the next scheduled redistricting occurred, or doing it then and there, or even doing anything at all because no constitutional violation ever was established, because of political considerations to keep secure the seat of an existing Democrat, the relevant state officials, Democrats all, proposed the elevation on a temporary basis a circuit judge, which turned out to allow for Johnson eventually to assume that role. After redistricting in 2000, she won the newly-drawn seat.


Bossier City seeks to throw more good money after bad

In case you didn't know, Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker quietly is running a reelection campaign. Joining him are most of the councilors. But with a presidential reelection ongoing, he and the Bossier City Council may not want that in the background to draw comparisons with Pres. Barack Obama, even as their election tries will be a few months after his attempt. For they emulate his economic strategy despite its demonstrated failure, as they fail at their own version of it.

Democrat Obama famously declared the country had to boost its deficit spending by trillions of dollars about three years ago in order to turn around the nation’s economy. A compliant Congress with Democrats in charge did his bidding. The month the authorization for this spending occurred, the unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. Today the unemployment rate is the same and through last October there are 2.2 million fewer non-farm private sector jobs since Obama took office, courtesy of an economy sputtering at a 1.7 percent annual growth rate in gross domestic product since the month after the first package began, less than half the rate below historic norms generally and especially for a post-recessionary period (on average, in the third year after the four deepest previous recessions started – all as bad or worse than this one that ended in mid-2009 – real GDP climbed 7.6 percent; in 2011 its increase was an anemic 2 percent).

In other words, Obama squandered trillions of extra dollars and since has proposed more of the same deficit spending that has deteriorated the U.S. financial condition significantly, in the process retarding recovery. But although Walker is a Republican and so are most of the Council’s members, they did the same locally. Now that the city prepares to complete the 2013 version (hopefully avoiding the bleak 2012 situation that was so bad they had to scale it back before even passing it), one might hope the imperative of an election year finally might bring a modicum of fiscal restraint.


Jindal acing Landrieu on relief issue portends challenge?

Maybe if he had let the barb go by without reaction the incident wouldn’t tell us anything. But because Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal didn’t issue a pass to Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu, the idea that Jindal will bail out of office a year early to contest and take her seat continues to simmer.

Given the dynamics of national politics, if he wishes an extended future in that arena, as previously noted Jindal should make his pledge that he has the job he wants look a bit hollow by challenging her. And if he contemplates such plans, he nudged their way towards implementation with his exchange with Landrieu over government relief funding for the impact of the recent Hurricane Isaac.

Landrieu started this when she complained about linkage that Republicans had placed upon replenishing funds for the Federal Emergency Management Administration after the hurricane. They wanted commensurate cuts in other areas to shift money to FEMA. Rightfully so, because, contrary to Landrieu’s belief, the federal government isn’t made of money and with deficit spending far beyond the pale over the past nearly four years, a crisis situation (perhaps intentionally so) has been created on this issue.


Left launches initial demagoguery against tax changes

Already one can envision the mouse spinning away in the wheel inside the heads of Louisiana’s leftist policy-makers, trying to come up with a line of attack to stop the badly-needed tax simplification on tap for the state’s tax code. Their first try doesn’t seem very promising.

Gov. Bobby Jindal seems to have developed a pattern of choosing thematic approaches to each legislative session, and shortly after the conclusion of the most recent (with education reform, of a high-quality type as it turned out, that one’s theme) he alerted the world that simplification of Louisiana’s corporate and personal tax codes, with among the highest top income rates and most exemptions of all the states, would get a deserved overhaul if he had anything to do about it next session. He plans to lower rates in exchange for fewer exceptions, allied with an effort in the Legislature to review those exceptions.

Of course, this threatens directly both the left’s power and privilege as well as its core faith in an America rigged in favor of the wealthy, where it responds to this imaginary environment by trying to use government to rig America in favor of its special interests. The system Jindal prefers removes government from making decisions about winners and losers, i.e. who gets exceptions and who doesn’t, while these opponents precisely want government to maximize exceptions because of the control it gives them as a tool to keep power and privilege flowing their ways, and to keep higher rates in order to satisfy their craving to redistribute for ideological salvation and to buy electoral support.