Search This Blog


GOP equal pay bill backers might find nasty surprise

So now Louisiana Democrats bank upon the Orwellian idea of “unintentional” discrimination, displaying the absolute intellectual poverty behind such a notion. But failure to understand this may lead Republicans into a trap of their own making.

Not many jurisdictions in the country have fallen for the fiction that women face institutionalized and widespread discrimination in pay to explain raw differentials that show men receive more compensation than women. Proper analysis including all intervening variables show a number of factors explain the difference, and when accounted for makes any differential if not zero or actually favoring women in certain instances otherwise trivial: differences in occupation choices, hours worked, educational attainment, taken time off, reliability, and seniority between sexes all condition the relationship, most if not all ignored inappropriately by advocates of increasing the use of government to interfere in pay decisions in trying to justify their views.

The left has deduced that emphasizing this is not a winning strategy, and so has coined a new term to describe the difference where it exists that tries to emphasize that there is no organized effort to reduce women on pay questions to the equivalent of forced to be barefoot and pregnant: “unintentional” discrimination. It appears to mean that where differences occur, they are not meant by employers but somehow magically appear through system irregularities and inefficiencies, and therefore government must devise mechanisms by which to cancel these, et voilĂ , the evidence witnessed by the pay gap of the phenomenon of “unintentional discrimination” disappears.


Voters humiliate stubborn Caddo over unnecessary tax

If at first you don’t succeed … be prepared to get a worse beatdown the second time, the Caddo Parish Commission learned this past weekend as its tax renewal was gutted 3-1 at the polls.

The Commission has been taking its lumps lately, in part due to a controversial financial deal putting taxpayers on the hook for millions in a venture capital deal. Essentially, the parish purchased the former General Motors plant and set up a deal to allow three-wheel vehicle startup Elio Motors to lease it for production. Elio claims it has collected at least 10,000 reservations for these but production seems nowhere near ready to commence and the Commission signaled its own dubiousness about the arrangement when it allegedly dangled the property to another concern for purchase, about which some commissioners were not even aware.

Apparently the mystery firm turned down the parish. All this went down right before the election, with the central question of whether the parish, sitting on tens of millions of dollars in idle funds collected through the shale boom of recent years, needed to ask to issue up to $23 million in debt – the only difference from the defeated measure being asking for about a million bucks fewer – at the same 1.75 mill rate set to expire in June. At least this time Caddo released a laundry list of projects that would cost about $19 million to try to justify the need.


Jindal should defer to prevent assessment train wreck

The rearguard struggle to defeat the Common Core State Standards became more interesting with another gambit to force the state out of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers that may make the state in following one law to violate another and only ensures that elementary and secondary education delivery suffers.

Tentatively at first, Gov. Bobby Jindal, at the urging of some Republican state representatives, switched from undemonstrative support of PARCC, a coalition of 17 states that plan to assess students using a common instrument built around CCSS, to outright opposition, followed by a national, public reversal on CCSS itself. Previously, these representatives had counseled Jindal to opt out of the signed agreement to institute PARCC, but that documentation reveals that this cannot be done unilaterally by him.

Apparently, even as these legislative opponents mouthed brave words about his being able to do so, the search continued for a unilateral gubernatorial action to stop PARCC entrance, as it appeared a majority of the Legislature opposed action to remove the state from the consortium (reaffirming that yesterday). And it was found, courtesy of an unforced error by the Louisiana Department of Education.


Award perpetuates negative view of LA higher education

In academic circles, it’s fashionable in Louisiana to complain that the larger public just doesn’t get it, in response to the mild but real revenue reductions to higher education over the past few years that draws little real outcry. But this imagined slight might become more understandable to its propagators were academia to do some self-scrutiny on its self-inflicted wounds.

One such example emanates from the awarding of Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication’s most recent Courage and Justice Award, going to Louisiana native (although attending college out of state) Zach Kopplin for his strident opposition to the Louisiana Science Education Act, a law known less for its actual purpose of encouraging critical thinking in educating by the sciences by allowing instructors to add governing authority-approved readings in their lecturing than for the straw man characterization followers of the trendy level at it that it somehow (despite its wording disallowing this) permits the teaching of creationism in the classroom. Kopplin, demonstrating the old saw that youth lets its emotions run ahead of its wisdom, very much believes in this mistaken notion and has conducted a vigorous campaign to excise the law from Louisiana’s statutes.

While this is merely unfortunate that he should be so confused, that the school endorses and celebrates the view with the award is disturbing. From an explanation about the choice in the Baton Rouge Advocate:


Given facts, politics appears motivating HHS rejection

Perhaps unexpected only because of the audacity involved, the federal government put what appears to be a politicized power play on the state with its questionable decision to reject the financing method that has led to private operation of most of Louisiana’s charity hospitals.

A letter last week from the Pres. Barack Obama Department of Health and Human Services said it would not approve Medicaid amendments to allow the lease arrangement negotiated by the state with providers for operation of six facilities. It claimed that the use of advance lease payments, meaning payments graduate over the life of the lease, instead fit the characteristic of a “donation” and allowed extra money to be used to obtain federal matching funds. It did not find fault in the concept, and presumably were there a straight-line deal or one of increasing payments, these appear to be acceptable for matching purposes. The initial higher payments the state said was a way of lessees to demonstrate long-term commitment, and also would be helpful in the upcoming fiscal year by adding tens of millions of accelerated dollars into the fiscal year 2015 budget.

HHS argued the arrangement for these was “not usual” or “customary,” and therefore insisted the state had to do a better job of differentiating them from a donation. All of which seems very odd both in terms of logic and practice. By claiming the extra amount is a bonus donation, it seems to ignore that the like amount is reduced from future payments and is an arbitrary decision mechanism at best: higher rates at the back end don’t get treated as “donation,” but at the front end they do. As long as the lease payments over the period do not exceed the lease in total amount, it should make no difference as to when they become payments – especially as, acknowledged in the latter, the leases were vetted by independent appraisers for fair market value and the reimbursement methodology remains separate from that.