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29.12.22

Perkins, Tarver deliver opposite legacies

They entered Shreveport politics connected, and basically they’ll leave that way — one among the most influential ever, the other a blip on the radar who made next to no impact and seems unlikely to do much in politics again.

The Shreveport mayor’s race knocked out the careers both of Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins — who’ll surrender his post this weekend — and Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver. The latter does have a year to go in his term-limited Senate office, but for all intents and purposes a nearly half-century run (interrupted for eight years) ended with his defeat earlier this month to Republican Tom Arceneaux — his first election loss ever.

City politics were indelibly defined by Tarver’s service at the parish, city, and legislative levels. He was in the phalanx of the first black politicians elected to local office, at a time where blacks didn’t have much economic power yet even less political power.

28.12.22

Legislature must tap brakes on LA CCS mania

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards finds it necessary to defend his enthusiasm for carbon capture and sequestration projects, which means Louisianans need to defend themselves from his pro-CCS policy.

Last week, the process drew near the end on one of three large CCS projects currently announced in its seeking state permission with hearings about pumping carbon collected from air emissions into a well drilled under Lake Maurepas. The desire for CCS spawns from the speculative and unverified belief that too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere somehow will raise worldwide temperatures enough as to trigger catastrophic anthropogenic global warning.

This alarmist faith, in the minds of its acolytes (although some reject CCS because they irrationally hate the use of fossil fuels), justifies the ruinous expenses associated with CCS, even as altogether projects in use or planned would rein in about a fifth of their goal of over 1.25 trillion metric tons a year by 2050 as part of a net zero emissions strategy in concert with other tactics. It would require enormous government subsidization to make the effort anywhere near cost effective.

27.12.22

Other LA actions discourage work, need reversal

Besides presence of Medicaid expansion/health insurance subsidies and unemployment insurance benefit amounts, other factors also explain why Louisiana has a low unemployment rate yet low labor force participation rate.

As previously noted, payoffs from those two benefits can convey a significant sum to families to discourage work; in Louisiana, maximum unemployment benefits plus half eligible subsidies for a two-parent family of four can amount to more than the annual salary of a retail associate or firefighter. However, a couple of other instances of policy-making in the state also contribute to discouraging work.

One comes from its embrace, eschewed by a majority of states, of a state-level earned income tax credit. Although lauded even by some conservative policy-makers, the data show that while it rewards for work, it doesn’t encourage people to go to work (as well as for those who work discourages them from working more or more productively). Thus, if a family has one able-bodied adult working, the EITC may discourage others from doing so because additional income can reduce or even disqualify reception of it. The bright side is Louisiana’s low rate (temporarily 5.25 percent but on track soon to revert to its normal level one-third lower) minimizes the deleterious impact.

26.12.22

LA low unemployment misleads; policy to blame

If you hear Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards Administration figures crowing about record-low unemployment, it’s to hide the fact that his policies also have helped to create near record-high working-age able-bodied adult idleness.

This month, the state continued a streak of declining unemployment rates, at 3.3 percent in November. Tellingly, however, is that this didn’t approach the most Louisianans ever in jobs, even as the state has its highest population ever.

That’s because the workforce participation rate stayed at its lowest level in 45 years (absent the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic-influenced low of a couple of years ago). Only 58.3 percent of working-age able-bodied adults in the state work, well below the nationalaverage which itself remains near historic lows.

25.12.22

Christmas Day, 2022

This column publishes every Monday through Friday around 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 Easter, 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 Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.

With Sunday, Dec. 25 being Christmas Day, I invite you to explore this link.