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In case anyone had forgotten what propelled the reelection of Republican Congressional majorities and the GOP capturing of the White House three months ago, activity at a town hall meeting in Metairie for Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy provided a reminder.
Political opponents of Cassidy converged at the location, strategically arriving early enough to pack the venue. During the event, they filibustered against Cassidy’s issue preferences and others imputed from GOP Pres. Donald Trump, rudely shouting down attempts to explain when those veered from their party line. In all, it replicated a pattern seen at a handful of other such meetings involving politicians in prominent positions of reforming the excesses of the former Pres. Barack Obama era – in Cassidy’s case, by his sponsorship of a reasonable alternative to the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).
Recognize that little in the way of reason or intellect marked the screed launched by the militants. This reflects the state of liberalism in America today, that has seen over the past half century constant erosion of its validity, as history and analysis increasingly demonstrates its bankruptcy. Only raw emotion remains, where liberalism as an ideology now centers on invalid assertions repeated often and forcefully enough will grant its views legitimacy, despite what we have learned by experiencing liberalism in action – as its rejection at all levels of government culminating in last year’s elections demonstrated.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 13:15
Perhaps Louisiana’s Superintendent of Education John White should change his first name to “Solomon,” such as it seems he has tried to thread a needle in recent policy decisions.
During his tenure as the executive responsible for carrying out the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s mandates, White has shown marked preference for expansion of school choice as a means to improve delivery quality, and also backing ever-escalating accountability standards. Typically, this has pitted interests who focus on increasing achievement as a means of spurring economic development and improving life prospects against those invested in a one-size-fits-all model that advocates for increased inputs into the system that disproportionately flow to state-run providers and their allies.
Typically, the former group has supported his efforts while the latter has opposed White. Yet a few recent decisions by him have scrambled alliances, sometimes putting those who see progress as inducing greater efficiency out of schools in the same camp as those who view as best a state system monopolizing education flush with cash, for and against him.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 10:50
Although a deal seems afoot to resolve Louisiana’s latest budgetary shortfall, what if it doesn’t come off?
The special session that ends legally tomorrow Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards called to close the gap. That came about beginning when on Jan. 27 the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget confirmed a $304 million general fund deficit existed.
At that point, according to the Constitution and fleshed out in statute, Edwards had the option (the word “may” features prominently in all language regarding procedures in this instance) of making cuts on his own, with JLCB blessing, of up to three percent per budget unit for most appropriated spending. If he can close the gap to seven-tenths of a percent – almost $63 million in this instance, he can ratchet that shaving of up to five percent in most instances.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 12:10
It doesn’t help Louisiana’s higher education in general make the case that it should garner increased subsidization by taxpayers when in aggregate institutions’ endowments shrunk in a positive investing environment.
Disturbingly, a number of institutions’ academic foundations – legally separate fund-raising arms but controlled by their beneficiary institutions – reported not just losses for the past fiscal year, but in many cases these extended losses from prior years. This does not include athletic foundations. For example, the state’s largest endowment by far – the Louisiana State University Foundation – lost in the past two fiscal years 5.2 percent in investments, even as in this time span the total system funding eked out a small rise in total assets under the leadership of former Secretary of Economic Development Stephen Moret, who departed towards the end of the period.
That his investment acumen fell much short of his fundraising prowess seems shared across several other Louisiana universities that reported much similar losing results. Former Commissioner of Higher Education and present president of the University of Louisiana Lafayette Joseph Savoie, whose school’s foundation also suffered investment losses, inappropriately blamed fickle markets: “The endowment tends to follow the market. It goes up, and it goes down, depending on the overall performance of the market.”
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 11:10