All freedom loving, taxpaying citizens are welcome to attend.
The University of Kentucky hosted Elizabeth Warren Monday night. Mrs. Warren is a special assistant to President Obama whose address to the campus was titled “Debt, Credit and the Middle Class”.
Bluegrass Institute board chair Kathy Gornik was in attendance and had this to say regarding the address (also posted in the comments section of this Kentucky.com article):
I attended last night’s lecture by Dr. Elizabeth Warren which I found to be very biased toward big government solutions and very much opposed to market solutions to our economic problems. Indeed, to Dr. Warren, free markets are the problem, and her condescending characterization of consumers-as-victims is her justification for the formation of the newly-formed Consumer Financial Protection Program which she now heads. This is simply not an accurate depiction of how consumers experience the credit card market which is the main thrust of the new agency and the focus of last evening’s presentation. In fact, I never, ever hear any of my friends or employees complain about their credit card companies, so I don’t know what problem Dr. Warren is attempting to fix with her big new expensive Federal Bureaucracy.
Her reference to the “shrubbery that muggers can hide in” for credit card contracts could be just as easily leveled at IRS tax regulators who assault us with infinitely more confused verbiage and with consequences for us on a much larger financial scale than credit cards companies ever could. On the other hand, I know of no one who didn’t find their tax preparation a truly vexing, dispiriting experience, despite paying for experts to prepare and file them.
Every single complaint Dr. Warren alleged against credit card companies are questionable as to their actual existence; but turn the tables toward government tax and regulatory codes which we are all required to follow at the point of a gun (unlike credit card companies which you can freely leave at will) and you will see that the government is a far worse perpetrator of the evils Dr. Warren is attempting to save the citizens from.
Additionally the Q & A was a huge disappointment. Despite a large stack of questions submitted by the audience, the moderator kept flipping through them, reading them, and passing them by, selecting only a few that, IMHO, were softballs predictably thrown and which yielded predictable, uninteresting answers. I submitted a question which asked “How much will this new Federal Bureaucracy cost taxpayers?” Given the relevance of cost to the evening’s discussion, you would think this would be a question worthy of an answer. I found out that at least one other person submitted the same question. But it was never brought up, and a very fundamental fact for providing context to the assertions in the presentation was never brought to light.
The evening could have been far more interesting and educational if Dr. Warren had had to face some very good and tough questions from an audience wanting to hear her defend her assumptions and assertions about the benefits of government intervention in the economy. As it was, it came across as “The Dr. Elizabeth Warren Show” and it was apparently set up in advance to keep it that way. Too bad for everyone who longed for a more vigorous and substantive debate.
Elected officials not wanting to break from the script and answer the tough questions – I’d like to see that changed myself.
You know Washington’s budget process is broken when both Democrats and Republicans agree that an earmark isn’t needed, but it’s still being considered for future funding.
The Fayette County Public Schools system is on the hunt for a new superintendent. They have set up a survey for interested parties to share their thoughts about the selection process, what they want to see in a superintendent, and what they currently like about Fayette County Schools.
You can find the survey here!
Recently the Bluegrass Institute released superintendent hiring tips gathered from lessons learned. Share your thoughts on the survey!
Lets not reward failure in Kentucky schools anymore!
Kentucky’s Medicaid program is in trouble, and we need not look far to see the problems. This year’s legislative session focused heavily on plugging the $100 million budget deficit. Kentucky’s Chamber of Commerce has identified Medicaid as one of its leaky bucket issues. With the mandated expansion of the program under ObamaCare set for 2014, the future solvency of Kentucky’s Medicaid program faces even greater challenges.
Last week, the American Action Forum released a new four-part strategy, called FLEX, for states and the federal government to address the Medicaid problem. FLEX focuses on financial accountability, lean operations, ensured access to care, and expanded state ownership.
The final recommendation of expanded state ownership is the crux of real Medicaid reform efforts, and something that is lacking in the commonwealth. Under the current system, the federal government bears more of the financial burden, and therefore, gets the upper hand in establishing state Medicaid rules. As a result, states have little incentive to focus on maintaining solvent programs. Authors Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Michael Ramlet explain,
“At its core the flawed federal-state matching formula has fueled runaway spending. Medicaid’s current payment structure gives states a perverse incentive to spend with little incentive to save or innovate. “
In order to fix this structure, the authors argue that program incentives need changing:
“Adopting the FLEX strategy would establish a long-term commitment to improving the Medicaid program and put in place the type of aligned incentives for states that encourage savings and innovation through coordinated care delivery.”
If left unaltered, Kentucky’s Medicaid program will continue to cripple the state budget, and worse, not effectively provide care for the commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents. Kentucky must begin to address the root causes of our Medicaid problems instead of just focusing on the symptoms.
The evidence showing students in school-choice programs are benefiting from the competition continues to mount.
A new report for School Choice Wisconsin by University of Minnesota sociologist John Robert Warren shows students participating in Milwaukee’s nationally acclaimed school choice program were 18 percent more likely to graduate than students from all economic backgrounds in Milwaukee Public Schools.
In six of the seven years of data studied by Warren, Milwaukee Parental Choice Program voucher students had higher graduation rates than their public-school peers. During that time period, graduation rates rose for both choice and public-school students.
Another group of researchers at the University of Arkansas following the MPCP’s success reached the same conclusion. A report released March 30 by a team led by professor Patrick J. Wolf found that Milwaukee’s school-choice program “increases the likelihood of a student graduating from high school and enrolling in college.”
How these researchers did it:
“At the start of our evaluation, we carefully matched the entire group of 801 9th-grade students enrolled in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program with a similar group of 801 9th-graders in Milwaukee Public Schools,” Wolf said. “Four years later, the students in the voucher program were more likely to have graduated from high school and enroll in a four-year college than were their public school counterparts. Our estimates of the higher rates of college enrollment for the students in the voucher program ranged from 5 to 7 percentage points and were statistically significant in most of the comparisons.”
The Beshear administration and its naive supporters in the legislature support a policy to force students to remain in high school until they age 18.
Of course, that is a politically correct, less-risky approach for politicians than offering parents a choice. Yet, the research increasingly shows that parental choice is working not only to keep kids in school, but also to move on to college.
Our education leaders claim their top priority is getting students college/career ready, yet they work to avoid the controversy surrounding school-choice programs — mainly provided by teachers unions and bureaucrats who are staunch defenders and their fellow staunch defenders of the status quo in the Legislature.
But that’s where the rub comes.
If the research shows that school choice programs are resulting in more kids graduating and going to college, but the teachers unions don’t want it because they will lose control and power, whose interests are we going to go with: the kids or the adults?