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Archive for October 20th, 2009

Smoking Ban is Putting Him Out of Business

“I’m extremely angry.”

That’s the bottom line for Chapel Hill hookah bar owner Adam Bliss. The state’s ban on smoking in most bars and restaurants goes into effect January 2 and it spells the end of his business, which was funded by his life savings. From The Daily Tar Heel:

Exemptions are made for cigar bars, country clubs and tobacco retailers — but not hookah bars.

“If you look at the exemptions, they’re generally all places that rich, older white men like to smoke,” Bliss said.

“If our representatives liked to smoke in hookah bars, hookah bars would have been exempt as well.”

According to the story, Sen. Ellie Kinnaird (D-Orange) — who, by the way, is listed as a co-sponsor of the N.C. Senate’s version of the smoking ban and who voted for the ban, which you’ll find here — doesn’t know what else to do:

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange said she tried her best to help Bliss stay open but has run out of ideas.

“He put his life savings into this business, and he’s worked hard,” she said. “I certainly understand where he’s coming from.”

Sen. Kinnaird, will you support repealing this ban, now that you see the consequences right in your own backyard?

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Another Mao-loving Obama appointee

This is getting ridiculous.

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Promises, Promises

This Wall Street Journal piece on the reality of costs for public health care programs is a keeper. It will make you cringe. If it doesn’t, it should.

Thanks in part to expansions promoted by California’s Henry Waxman, a principal author of the current House bill, Medicaid now costs 37 times more than it did when it was launched—after adjusting for inflation. Its current cost is $251 billion, up 24.7% or $50 billion in fiscal 2009 alone, and that’s before the health-care bill covers millions of new beneficiaries.

Medicare has a similar record. In 1965, Congressional budgeters said that it would cost $12 billion in 1990. Its actual cost that year was $90 billion. Whoops. The hospitalization program alone was supposed to cost $9 billion but wound up costing $67 billion. These aren’t small forecasting errors. The rate of increase in Medicare spending has outpaced overall inflation in nearly every year (up 9.8% in 2009), so a program that began at $4 billion now costs $428 billion.

Clearly, any health care reform must infuse competition — real competition — into the marketplace. JLF’s Joe Coletti explains the key elements of consumer-driven health care reform in this interview.

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A Fascinating Piece of Advice

Some folks have a really tough time with defeat. That’s why I respect those who work through it gracefully. We’re going to learn a lot about members of the Wake County school board as the transition to a new majority takes place. For example, current board chairman Kevin Hill told the News & Observer the new members should be careful about acting with arrogance. (emphasis is mine)

It’s likely that a member of the new majority, possibly Margiotta, will become vice chairman. While the position is largely symbolic, the vice chairman has a voice at setting board agendas and sits in leadership meetings with Superintendent Del Burns and the chairman and vice chairwoman of the county board of commissioners.

Kevin Hill said he expects to stay on as chairman of the board until his one-year term expires in June. Hill is urging the majority not to rush in to changes too quickly, to avoid appearing as arrogant as it has accused the current board of being.

“I’m concerned about rushing changes without vetting them,” Hill said.

I wonder how Mr. Hill’s advice will sit with parents who’ve endured the current board’s policies of making the system the priority, rather than the kids and parents.

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