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Archive for February 4th, 2013

The Birth Rate And Economic Growth

Michael Barone writes here about the relationship between the record-low U.S. birth rate and economic growth.

Birth rates fell sharply during the Depression of the 1930s. They have fallen significantly since the housing collapse, from 69.3 in 2007 to 63.2 in 2011. The steepest decline in births since 2007 has been among Hispanic immigrants, who were also hit hard by housing foreclosures.

We don’t know whether this trend will continue. But if it does, the consequences will resemble the subtitle of Jonathan Last’s newly published book, “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster.”

Last points out that our fertility rate — the number of children a woman has over a lifetime — has been below the replacement level of 2.1. Over time, a below-replacement-level fertility rate means population decline.

To see what that means, look at Japan. Its fertility rate is 1.4, its population is declining, and it has had essentially zero economic growth since 1990.

So who will pay taxes to cover all the entitlements?

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EWTN Statement On HHS’s Latest ‘Compromise’ On Religious Freedom

From the National Catholic Register comes a statement from Michael Warsaw, president and CEO of EWTN Global Catholic Television Network. EWTN publishes NCR.


This morning the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a notice of proposed rule making on the government mandate that employee health plans must provide contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs as part of their coverage. On Feb. 9, 2012, EWTN was the first organization to file a lawsuit challenging this mandate shortly after the original rules were promulgated by the government. That lawsuit is still pending in the US District Court in Birmingham, Ala.

We have analyzed today’s notice with our legal team from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the initial conclusions are not promising. First, this is simply a notice of a proposed rule; it is not an actual rule that changes anything. Second, while the proposed rules might expand the mandate’s religious exemption for some organizations affiliated directly with the Church, it does not appear that EWTN will qualify for this exemption. Third, the proposed rules have not dealt with the concerns of self-insured health plans like EWTN’s. Today’s notice from the government simply kicks this can further down the road.

Sadly, throughout this proposed rule, the government continues to make the erroneous assertion that contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs are health care. They are not.

We will continue to study this notice with our attorneys, but are highly doubtful it will provide EWTN with any relief from this immoral mandate. EWTN remains firmly committed to pressing forward with our case in the Federal Courts and will take all steps necessary to challenge this unjust mandate.

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The Problem Is Those Rotten Rich People

The Weekly Standard posted an enlightening piece of President Obama’s pre-Super Bowl interview, in which he continues his message that it’s just not fair that the wealthy are wealthy.

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Orange County Commissioners Talking Property Tax Rate Hike

Get ready, Orange County homeowners. Commissioners are salivating over taking more money out of the wallets of Orange County families.

During a planning retreat on Friday, the Orange County Board of Commissioners reviewed its proposed $180 million budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

To fill a $1.7 million deficit, the commissioners discussed a 1.1 percent property tax rate increase — which could further cement the county’s place among the highest property tax rates in the state.

The current property tax rate is 85.8 cents.

The talk of another property tax hike comes as Orange County prepares to levy….you guessed it …. a different tax hike.

Effective April 1, 2013, Durham and Oranges counties will levy a 0.50 percent Transit sales and use tax.  Those counties adopted resolutions to levy the Transit tax, which will support the Research Triangle Regional Public Transportation Authority.  
The additional 0.50 percent Transit sales and use tax applies to sales of tangible personal property, certain digital property and other transactions subject to general State rate of sales and use tax.

The State, local and Transit sales and use tax rates for Durham and Orange Counties total 7.50 percent effective April 1.

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