November 8, 2011

Ohio Issue 2-Issue 3 Reax

One thing you can say about Issue 2: Different parts of Ohio weighed in differently tonight.

All the votes aren’t counted, but it’s safe to say that Issue 2 will at least win a few counties, specifically Warren, Miami, Shelby, Mercer, and Holmes. (Update: Add Delaware County.) A couple of other counties remain too close to call.

Here’s one thing you can say about Issue 3: The majority of Ohioans everywhere — and I mean everywhere — despise Obamacare’s individual and other mandates. Issue 3 is not only winning by a greater margin (roughly 66-34) than Issue 2 is losing (roughly 39-61), but it appears to be on track to win in every single one of the state’s 88 counties. It’s still too early to say that for sure, but only two or three counties seem to be in anything resembling doubt. (Update: It’s a clean sweep, 88 for 88.)

So if you want to believe that the voters are telling John Kasich and Ohio Republicans that they pushed the envelope too far in their reform efforts (I believe that the people in charge of making the Issue 2 case did a horrible job which probably accounts for at least half of the losing margin), then you’re also going to have to concede that Ohio’s voters are telling the Obama administration, Kathleen Sebelius, and Washington Democrats that they shattered the envelope into little pieces when they passed Obamacare.

If you’re John Kasich and Ohio’s Republican legislative majority, you can get done some of what must be done incrementally in the next legislative session. They’ll have to; the Issue 2 result may repeal SB5, but it doesn’t repeal the ugly fiscal math which the state, counties, cities, and school districts must still address; the status quo is as unsustainable tonight as it was last night.

But if you’re Barack Obama, you must have the individual and other mandates Ohio has summarily rejected in the law; without them, Obamacare not only doesn’t work from a fiscal standpoint, but also, because of how the law was written, if the individual mandate goes away, the whole law is null and void. The likely 88-county sweep is as strong a slap in the face as you’ll ever see a state’s voters deliver. If, as they say, the Supreme Court follows the election returns, the justices will (or at least should) find it hard to ignore the Obamacare message Ohio sent tonight.

Also hopefully paying attention: GOP primary voters. They have one candidate — Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney — who thinks the individual mandate is super-duper (he can try to back away now, but he said what he said, namely that the individual mandate is “the ultimate conservative plan“). The rest strongly oppose all of Obamacare.

The NotMittRomney.com crowd got a huge boost from Ohio voters tonight. Any chance the ninnies at ORPINO (the Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) will notice?

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UPDATE, 11 p.m.: The SOS site has Issue losing 2-1 in Franklin County while it’s winning by 2-1 or more in all surrounding counties. I think that’s incorrect, especially because “yes” was significantly ahead in early returns. We’ll see in the morning … Update: Franklin County easily passed Issue 3.

Ohio’s Issues Elections Semi-Live Blog: Issue 2 Loses Big, Issue 3 Wins Bigger

Filed under: Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics — Tom @ 7:11 pm

8:27 p.m.: BizzyBlog’s call — Issue 2 loses big; Issue 3 wins big.

8:35 p.m. — Initial reax and memo to ORPINO (the Ohio Republican Party In Name Only): Y’know, if y’all let those dumb Tea Partiers run your issue campaigns (like they ran Issue 3, and won), you might actually see your case consistently and coherently made.

Signing off from this post, and moving on to other matters. Will circle back when the returns are close to final. The all-too-predictable press meme will be that Issue 2 meant everything and Issue 3 meant nothing — which is of course dead wrong. Just ask Obamacare fans how it feels to be zapped by about 60-40 in an election where the leftists were the ones who appear to have been more motivated.

10:10 p.m. — In a stunning development, it has become clear that Issue 3 is going to win by a bigger margin than Issue 2 will lose. More is at the next post.

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7:05 p.m. — Hard to know whether to anticipate a long or short night on this, but here goes.

7:10 p.m. — In reviewing the results of the last significant round of initiatives which went down in flames six years ago, the really striking thing is that in all four cases, Franklin County went against them by far smaller margins than most of the rest of the state, even Cuyahoga County (“yes” votes supported the Soros-inspired initiatives Two, Three, Four, and Five). I guess than means that Issue 2 “yes” supporters should root for low Franklin County turnout tonight. That pretty much shows that Ohio has its own “Beltway” problem, specifically I-270 around Columbus.

7:15 p.m.Cbus Dispatch: “About 80,000 fewer people are registered to vote in today’s election compared to 2009, but voter turnout is expected to be high with the fate of Senate Bill 5 on the line.” The question, of course, is “Whose turnout?”

7:17 p.m. — Here’s where the “semi-live” part kicks in. Need to run a couple of errands. Will return at about 8 when I suspect the votes will start piling in.

8:00 p.m. — A modestly positive sign from the Cincinnati Enquirer: “Voters were flocking to the polls in (Cincinnati suburban) Warren County but were showing up in only “moderate” numbers in (more urban) Hamilton County, elections officials said.” That would be relatively good news for the “Yes” side on Issues 2 and 3.

8:05 p.m. — This leads to an interesting point about why an area like Cbus and Franklin County might go more for the “no” side on Issue 2 as it did for the (liberal) “yes” side six years ago. My theory is that off-year elections don’t grab the attention of the urban lower-middle and poor like presidential elections do. If they don’t turn out (Jesse Jackson’s appearance was presumably made to try to combat that), it would tend to work against the defeat of Issues 2 and 3.

8:07 p.m.Really bad news for Issue 2 proponents, but really good news for Issue 3: Early votes in Warren County (link here, obviously dynamic) went 52-48 “No” on Issue 2 — but a stunning 73-27 “yes” on Issue 3. Both probably foreshadow the final results. Even considering Warren County’s center-right lean, it would be an utter shock if Issue 3 fails statewide with that kind of indicator.

8:13 p.m. — A visit to the county map link at the SOS site indicates that Issue 2 is going down in flames in the absentees, and there’s no reason to think it will change that much in the final analysis. But did 125,000 people really vote early in Cuyahoga County?

8:17 p.m. — But the same link also tells us that the Issue 3 “yes” wipeout is also strong. Even in Cuyahoga, it’s passing by almost 60-40. Again, Franklin is coming in more leftist at about 55-45 for the “yes” side.

8:27 p.m. — Another bad omen: Clermont County is only 50-50 on Issue 2. There’s no way either race is going to turn around. I’m calling both races. Issue 2 loses; Issue 3 wins.

AP’s Pathetic Excuse for Not Reporting Sarkozy-Obama Netanyahu Snipes: ‘French Media Tradition’

MonkeySeeHearSpeakNoEvilAre we supposed to believe standards of professional journalism are so different in France that when you hear something clearly newsworthy, you don’t say or write about it when the government tells you not to because of “tradition”?

That’s what Angela Charlton at the Associated Press, which admits to having had a reporter on hand when French President Nicolas Sarkozy told U.S. President Barack Obama that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is a liar,” would have us believe. Though she did note Obama’s lack of objection to Sarkozy’s assertion, Charlton downplayed Obama’s actual and equally broad response — “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!” — by holding it until the eighth paragraph of her report and keeping it out of the story’s headline. The first six paragraphs of the report (9:45 a.m. version also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), which includes the excuse, follow the jump (bolds are mine):

(more…)

Issue 2 Update: Teachers Aren’t Underpaid

Filed under: Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:09 am

Some much-needed perspective and several important points are made in the Wall Street Journal today, via Andrew Biggs and Jason Richwine (bolds are mine):

Our research suggests that on average—counting salaries, benefits and job security—teachers receive about 52% more than they could in private business.

A common story line in American education policy is that public school teachers are underpaid—”desperately underpaid,” according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a recent speech. As former first lady Laura Bush put it: “Salaries are too low. We all know that. We need to figure out a way to pay teachers more.”

Good teachers are crucial to a strong economy and a healthy civil society, and they should be paid at a level commensurate with their skills. But the evidence shows that public school teachers’ total compensation amounts to roughly $1.50 for every $1 that their skills could garner in a private sector job.

… On objective tests of cognitive ability such as the SAT, ACT, GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and Armed Forces Qualification Test, teachers score only around the 40th percentile of college graduates. If we compare teachers and non-teachers with similar AFQT scores, the teacher salary penalty disappears.

While salaries are about even, fringe benefits push teacher compensation well ahead of comparable employees in the private economy. The trouble is that many of these benefits are hidden, meaning that lawmakers, taxpayers and even teachers themselves are sometimes unaware of them.

a teacher who retired after 30 years of service with an annual salary of $40,000 might receive guaranteed annual pension benefits of about $20,330. Under a typical private 401(k) plan, a guaranteed annual benefit might be only around $4,450 (with a typically much later retirement date — Ed.) …

… BLS data on paid leave for teachers count vacation days only during the school year, omitting summer and long holiday breaks. A valid pay comparison should include this extra time off, in which teachers can enjoy longer vacations or earn additional income.

… Nevertheless, most public school teachers would not earn more in private employment. According to our analysis of the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation, the average person who moves into teaching receives a pay increase of almost 9%, while the average teacher who leaves for the private economy must take a pay cut of over 3%.

No one who supports Issue 2 believes that good teachers aren’t critically important; they are saying that there has to be a way to get the bad ones out of the classroom, which generally isn’t happening. They are saying that we can’t afford the huge differential between what taxpayers are shelling out in pay and benefits and their properly defined market value. Certainly the idea that teachers on the whole are “desperately underpaid” as Arnie Duncan claims is laughably absurd.

Issue 2 is about restoring a balance in the union-management relationship in school districts, counties, and cities. It’s about getting public-sector employees contributions to health and pension benefits to a manageable level that is still far, far more generous than what is typically seen in the private sector. It’s also about keeping great teachers who are early in their careers from being released in layoff situations before underperforming teachers who happen to have more seniority.

At bottom, it’s about whether the unsustainable status quo which has delivered mediocre to poor results at excessive expense will or won’t continue. It shouldn’t continue, which is why a “yes” vote on Issue 2 is so important.

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (110811)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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This is something on which everyone should agree, but won’t (“New formula would reduce Social Security increases”) — The “new formula” is reality-based, i.e., it recognizes the fact that people react to price increases by buying less of one thing and replacing it with something else. Going forward, it makes sense. Looking backward, it’s correct to assert that annual Social Security and other benefit increases have been slightly excessive for almost 40 years — and because of that, they are currently in the neighborhood of 15% higher than they should be.

If Harry Reid and President Obama really cared about creating jobs, they would pass and sign, respectively, the 16 job-creating bills listed here which have passed the House and stalled (i.e., mostly gone unconsidered) in the Senate. Oh, and they would pass a budget, to, which hasn’t been done in over 900 days. The President’s claim that Republicans don’t care about jobs is among his most risible.

RIP, Joe Frazier.

#Occupy Update (as usual, just a sampler):

  • Portland (HT Gateway Pundit) — “… police said several Occupy Portland protesters threatened to assault employees of a Pizza Schmizza restaurant and vandalize the business when employees told them they ran out of breadsticks for their order.”
  • Weasel Zippers (HT Doug Ross) “Denver Occupiers Dance on American Flag Splattered With Red Paint…”
  • UK Daily Mail (HT Weasel Zippers) — “Staff at St Paul’s have been forced to clear up human waste inside the cathedral, it emerged today.”
  • Weekly Standard — Go see “An alarming video of an Occupy Boston mob targeting the Jewish state’s consulate with chants of ‘Long live the intifada! Intifada intifada!’”
  • Global arrest total: 4,000.
  • “78 Year-Old Conservative Woman Talks About Occupy DC Goons Pushing Her Down Stairs
  • John Nolte’s quite incomplete incident count at BigJournalism.com: 172

And the point of the “Occupy” movement is …?

Positivity: Vatican Radio director welcomes seven billionth baby

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Vatican City:

Nov 5, 2011 / 02:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., the director general of Vatican Radio, welcomed the birth of the seven billionth person in his weekly editorial.

“Dear baby number seven billion,” said the Italian priest Nov. 5, “we pray that you can understand that your life will find its fullest meaning not in this world but in the next. Because this is what you were born for. Your Creator and Father made you for this.”

Fr. Lombardi delivered his thoughts only days after a major United Nations report estimated that world’s population reached the seven billion mark on Oct. 31. The report, “State of World Population 2011,” also estimated that the earth’s total population could number more than 10 billion by the end of this century.

Fr. Lombardi speculated about the circumstances and geography of this week’s seven billionth birth.

“I don’t know if you were born on a remote island, or in a refugee tent. I don’t know whether you are healthy or sick or handicapped. I don’t know whether both your parents were there to embrace you at your birth, or whether your mother alone was there to hold you.”

Though some commentators have criticized population growth, the U.N. report casts some positive light on the phenomenon.

“There is much to celebrate in world population trends over the last 60 years,” it comments, adding “our record population size can be viewed in many ways as a success for humanity.”

The report particularly welcomes the rise in average life expectancy, which “leapt from about 48 years in the early 1950s to about 68 in the first decade of the new century.” It also cited decline in infant deaths which have “plunged” from about 133 in 1,000 births in the 1950s to 46 per 1,000 in the period from 2005 to 2010. It also praises the work of immunization campaigns that have reduced the prevalence of childhood diseases worldwide. …

Go here for the rest of the story.