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Archive for May 13th, 2010

Highly (overly?) paid public employees getting nervous

All of sudden, highly paid public employees don’t want people knowing what they make. In North Carolina, we learned recently that State Treasurer Janet Cowell refuses to tell the public which retired state employees are pulling down pensions in excess of $100,000 a year and how they earned such nice feather beds.

Now we learn that the Tennessee Valley Authority is refusing to disclose what its highest-paid employees make, even though they’ve done so in the past.

Call me crazy, but I credit the Tea Party movement for the nervousness on the part of tax-paid bureaucrats with salaries and pensions that dwarf those in the private sector, and that’s a good thing. As Thomas Jefferson, said, when the people are afraid of government that’s tyranny, when government is afraid of the people that’s liberty.

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Again I Ask: Will the Nanny-Staters Ban Kids Too?

The drumbeat to ban talking on a phone while driving continues in Chapel Hill. Researchers at the N.C. Highway Research Safety Center say talking on the phone while driving is a big distraction, according to this story.

Well, yes it is.

First, just because something is a distraction doesn’t mean it should be banned by the government. Doing so penalizes people in advance for causing a problem that hasn’t even occurred. If someone causes an accident because they were talking on a phone, stiff penalties should follow.

Second, I’ll give up my phone as soon as a companion law bans children from cars. As I’ve blogged previously, I frequently drive long distances on I-40, I-85, and the Durham Freeway. I have repeatedly been the near-victim of drivers who are doing everything under the sun to their kids while behind the wheel — yelling, scolding, singing, tickling, dressing, feeding, and reading — while drifting dangerously close to my vehicle. They are oblivious to the danger they pose to the rest of us.

Under the theory that distractions while driving should be banned by the government, children should be the first to go.

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Some Folks Are So Gullible

Thanks to Chad Adams for this posting over at Right Angles’ sister blog The Locker Room.

When is a promise to not raise taxes just a “preference” or a “stance”? Read and watch this, and then decide for yourself exactly what’s going on here.

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Hackney: “We’re trying to negotiate with the Senate an expansion of public financing.”

House Speaker Joe Hackney (D-Orange, Chatham, Moore) tells Independent Weekly reporter Joe Schwartz that legislative leaders are working on a deal to expand public financing.

Public financing is, of course, the misguided policy that forces progressives to help fund the election campaigns of conservatives, and vice versa. From the story: (emphasis is mine)

How will ethics reform be addressed and what beyond the issue of illegal campaign donations needs to be considered?

We have a whole package being developed; it includes three bills that we passed already last year that the House has passed, that the Senate didn’t feel like it had time to take up. Then in addition to that you have the response to the Citizens United decision, where we hope to put in place pretty stringent reporting and disclosure requirements as to any corporate expenditures of money for campaigns. The governor has sent over several issues having to do with reporting and perhaps barring of campaign contributions for certain categories. We’re trying to negotiate with the Senate an expansion of public financing. There’s a lot of activity there.

JLF’s Daren Bakst, director of legal and regulatory studies, discusses in this brief interview a bill that seeks to expand taxpayer financing of elections at the local level. Chapel Hill conducted a pilot last fall and supporters want other cities and towns to have the authority as well.

I encourage you to read the entire Q&A with Rep. Hackney. He also tells reporter Schwartz he doesn’t anticipate tax increases this year. (emphasis is mine)

Do you expect to raise any taxes, whether it be the cigarette and alcohol tax, or is this summer more about reducing spending?

I do not anticipate any tax increases. I’m just assessing the mood of the members. We raised taxes last year, with great difficulty coming together on a package. There’s unlikely to be much support for that as a solution this time.

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