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Reaganomics & Texas Model vs. Obamanomics

by Vance Ginn
My recent op-ed published in the Investor’s Business Daily compared U.S. employment growth during the sluggish recovery under Obamanomics with the robust recovery under Reaganomics.

President Obama’s big-government fiscal policies promote uncertainty and crowding out of the private sector; whereas, President Reagan’s limited-government policies promoted risk-taking and innovation—keys for economic growth and job creation.

These different policy prescriptions for a weak economy and labor market had substantially different results. To summarize these results, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz said it quite well, “Reaganomics means you start a business in your garage. Obamanomics means you move into your parent’s garage.”

To compare these lackluster employment data under President Obama’s prescriptions of larger government intervention with President Reagan’s prescriptions of limited government interference, I calculate the net jobs added during the current 54-month expansion (June 2009 to December 2013) with changes in the employment-population ratio during the 1980’s 54-month expansion (November 1982 to May 1987).

With approximately 10,000 baby boomers retiring daily and high employment volatility of those between the ages of 16 to 24-years-old, let’s consider the 25 to 54-year-old group.

Historically, this age group faired quite well during past expansions. However, many of them have moved into their parent’s garage during the current expansion, whereby there were 5.8 million fewer 24 to 54-year-olds employed in December 2013 than when the recession began in December 2007.

Continue reading here (+ more graphs).

Texas Monthly Rides to the Rescue of Dan Branch

by Brandon Darby

The current scandal surrounding Texas State Rep. Dan Branch and his campaign to become Texas Attorney General began when Breitbart Texas sent a media request to the campaign regarding a 2005 amendment Branch sought to include in a bill restricting late-term abortions in the state. Branch sought to include language that could have expanded the medical powers of Texas abortionists, according to recent Breitbart Texas analysis.

The Branch campaign chose not to respond to Breitbart Texas; they instead sent out a state-wide press release attacking the reporter who asked the question. The PR stunt backfired and led to many more eyes seeing the issue–largely due to Texas media outlets writing about the bizarre PR stunt.

The debacle led to the original bill’s creator speaking out against Branch and insisting he was “distorting” truth. Breitbart Texas rightfully called out Branch on his seeming hypocrisy on the matter and went further to call out Branch’s campaign manager for his history of involvement in failed, poorly planned political attacks.

Enter Texas Monthly

“A Petty Turn in the AG Race,” wrote Texas Monthly’s Erica Grieder as a headline. After taking every opportunity to attack the character of Breitbart Texas writer Michael Quinn Sullivan, Grieder informed her readers of a long list of matters that she felt should be discussed instead of Branch’s previous attempt, with the heavy implication that apparent character issues and hypocrisy in a Texas Attorney General are irrelevant traits and characteristics for Texans to pay attention to in a candidate. She opined:

Texas has about 27 million people, roughly 5 million of whom are children enrolled in public school. We have six of the 20 biggest cities in the country, and a 1200-mile international land border. We have some of the highest property tax burdens in the country, and some of the worst wealth metrics. Our water supplies are ominously low, and our roads are not in good repair. I get that it’s campaign season, but a failed amendment to an amendment to a 2005 law which has since been made redundant is not, by any defensible criterion, an issue of critical importance to the state of Texas.

Shorter Texas Monthly: It does not matter if a “pro-life” candidate intentionally took an action that could have expanded the medical authority of Texas’ abortionists. It does not matter if the candidate’s campaign director attacks someone asking a question for a news outlet. Questions about a candidate’s character—especially regarding the sanctity of life—are now too “petty” for Texans.

Appeals court upholds law that closed Texas abortion clinics

By Irin Carmon

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that two provisions of a Texas abortion law are constitutional, including one that has closed a third of the state’s clinics. The unanimous panel, made up of three women appointed by Republicans, had already allowed the full brunt of the law – the same one now-gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis tried to block – to go into effect.

Women’s health advocates who sued on behalf of abortion providers to block the law condemned the decision. “This is a terrible court ruling that will severely limit a woman’s access to safe and legal abortion in Texas,” said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents several Texas clinics, said, “Right now, the state of Texas is gutting the constitutional protections afforded by Roe v. Wade more than 40 years ago, leaving large swaths of Texas left without a provider.”

The Supreme Court has held that laws restricting access to abortion can’t put an “undue burden” or have the purpose of putting a “substantial obstacle” in the path of a woman seeking an abortion. But in a decision written by Judge Edith Jones and signed onto by Judges Jennifer Elrod and Catharina Haynes, the Fifth Circuit argued that Texas’s law wasn’t harsh enough to meet that standard. Despite the fact that the admitting privileges requirement has been rejected as medically unnecessary by the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Fifth Circuit opinion accepted the state of Texas’s reasoning at face value – that it was intended to protect women’s health, not end access to abortion.

The Fifth Circuit wasn’t impressed at how much harder it has become for Texas women to have abortions, both because clinics whose providers have been rejected for privileges have closed outright and because clinics with doctors that have been able to get privileges are operating at reduced capacity. According to a map by RH Reality Check’s Andrea Grimes, “As of March 6, there are 25 open abortion clinics, six of which are ambulatory surgical centers, in Texas.” There were 36 abortion clinics in Texas at the time the law was passed, meaning that the dire prediction that a third of the clinics would close has come true. When requirements that abortions be provided in ambulatory surgical clinics go into effect in September, that will leave only six clinics, plus another one Planned Parenthood is building in San Antonio. In 2011, there were 73,200 abortions in Texas.

Continue reading here (+ video).

Arlington ISD, Doubling Down on Debt?

by Ross Kecseg

We’ve written extensively regarding Texas’ local debt epidemic.  But don’t take our word for it.  Both the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the State Comptroller have been analyzing government data in an effort to educate the public regarding the wildly disproportionate growth in government taxing, spending and debt trends.

First a few important facts…

Since 1992, property tax levies from public school districts grew 34% faster than population and inflation.  City levies grew 57% faster; counties, 88% faster.

Between 2001 and 2011, local debt in Texas grew twice the rate of population and inflation growth.  As a result, Texas now has the second-highest local debt, per person, in the nation. Over one third of all local debt is held by school districts, which place bond propositions before voters to approve in May elections.

Taxpayers in Arlington ISD will face such a proposition this spring…albeit a stupendously large one.

The school board is asking voters to approve a single proposition of $663,129,278 in new debt, or $10,266 per student, to be spent over the next several years. Once fully issued, AISD’s total debt would roughly double, from $567,489,788, to nearly $1 billion, depending on how quickly the debt is retired.

To put those figures in perspective, districts with debt in Texas hold roughly $13,500 per student, on average.  If the AISD proposition passes, they would rank approximately 40% higher than average, at $19,000 per student.

Just five years ago, voters approved a $197,000,000 package, of which $17 mil remains unspent.

Continue reading here.

Spec’s: Sophisticated hackers stole customer, employee information

by staff

Spec’s informed customers Friday that its network was hacked, exposing the information of thousands of customers and employees.

The theft affected transactions at: 34 smaller neighborhood stores in the Greater Houston area, College Station, Corpus Christi and El Paso; Copperfield Liquors; JJ’s Liquors; Cowtown Discount Liquors; Restaurant & Bar Supply; The Beverage Shoppe, Warehouse Liquors (in Corpus Christi), Richard’s Fine Wine & Spirits; and some small Spec’s Liquor Stores in the Greater Houston area.

Click here for a full list of stores hackers targeted.

The attack did not impact the Spec’s Superstore in Houston or the company’s other major stores around Texas.

It appears Spec’s was first hacked on October 31, 2012 and the attack may have continued through March 20, 2014, at the latest. The company says it impacted less than five percent of its total transactions.

The Texas-based liquor and fine foods company said it is working closely with the United States Secret Service and with one of the nation’s leading cyber security firms and is taking a series of proactive steps to strengthen its network.

“At Spec’s, we view our customers and our employees as part of our family and we are deeply distressed by this crime against the whole Spec’s family,” said owners John and Lindy Rydman. “We are so sorry for the worry and inconvenience we know this will cause those whose data may have been stolen. We are committed to protecting our customers and employees, strengthening our systems against any future attacks, and fully assisting with an active criminal investigation by the United States Secret Service.”

Spec’s is offering a year of free fraud resolution services to those customers and employees who may have been affected.

Customers who think they may have been affected, should keep an eye on their bank accounts to watch for unauthorized transactions.

A special hotline has been set up at 1-855-731-6017.–252950001.html?ref=prev

Suspect identified in murder of pregnant woman at Houston strip club

by staff

Charges have been filed against a suspect wanted in connection with the murder of a pregnant woman found dead March 22 in a west Houston strip club.

According to the Houston Police Department, Osvaldo Fernandez-Aguilar, 23, charged with capital murder in the death of Maria Lucrecia, 27, of Houston.

Investigators said Lucrecia was found dead around 5:30 p.m. at the Eclipse Gentlemen’s nightclub, located in the 6800 block of Gessner. The victim had suffered blunt force trauma to the head.

Lucrecia was working as a cleaning lady at the club when the suspect entered the club and killer her, investigators said. The victim was five months pregnant.

Investigators said the suspect also stole cash from a register before fleeing the scene.

Surveillance video identified Fernandez-Aguilar as the suspect in this case and he was subsequently charged.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Fernandez-Aguilar is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

(+ video)

Thousands Summoned To Courthouse In Kaufman Co. Death Penalty Case

It looked like a crowd entering a football or baseball game.

Instead, the people who lined up at the Rockwall County courthouse Friday are among the three thousand residents summoned here as part of the Eric Williams death penalty case.

Those who came filled out questionnaires as the judge and attorneys started the process of eliminating people from sitting on a jury.

Non-Rockwall County residents are disqualified from sitting on the jury, and anyone age 70 or over is exempt, but can decide to continue in the process.

The trial is scheduled to begin October 20th, and Barry Sorrels, a Dallas trial attorney credits Dallas County Judge Michael Snipes who’s handling the case, with starting the process early.

Sorrels says, “I think it’s a smart decision on his part to start in March in a case of this nature, with this much publicity, and to sit a qualified jury for an October trial. I think it makes sense.”

The judge moved the case to Rockwall County after Williams, a former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace, feared he wouldn’t get a fair trial in Kaufman County.

Williams and his wife Kim, who’s case has not been moved out of Kaufman County, are accused of killing former District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia, and his former top assistant Mark Hasse last year.

Continue reading here (+ video).

Audio Captures Confusion Of Southwest Wrong-Airport Landing

A newly released air traffic control recording captures the confusion when a Southwest Airlines plane landed at the wrong Missouri airport in January.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. officials said Monday that the captain and co-pilot remain on paid leave pending the outcome of the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the January 12 incident. Both men have at least 12 years of experience at the airline.

In a recording released by the Federal Aviation Administration, an air traffic controller at the main Branson, Mo., airport can be heard clearing Southwest Flight 4013 to land.

♦♦♦ Click Here To Listen To The  Recording ♦♦♦

After the plane stopped, one of the pilots radioed, “I assume I’m not at your airport.”

“Southwest 4013,” the controller answered, “uhm, have you landed?”


The Branson tower called a regional air traffic center in Springfield, Mo., to check on the plane. Then he relayed news that the pilot said he had landed at the wrong airport. The plane had touched down at another and smaller Branson-area airport.

“Are you kidding?” an official in Springfield responded.

“No, I’m not,” the Branson tower answered.

Continue reading here (+ video).

Sebelius: Texas Opposition Hasn’t Helped Sign-Ups

Associated Press

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says political opposition in Texas to the federal health care overhaul hasn’t helped the state’s underperforming sign-up numbers.

Sebelius visited Austin on Friday for one last push before next week’s open enrollment deadline. Millions of uninsured have until Monday to pick a plan or face penalties.

About 295,000 people in Texas had enrolled as of March 1. That’s less than half the 629,000-person target for Texas that federal officials originally set.

Gov. Rick Perry and Texas’ Republican leaders have consistently criticized the health overhaul.

At a United Way center in Austin, Sebelius said legal challenges and a “constant barrage of misinformation” haven’t helped people trying to figure out the law.

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the country.

Governor Rick Perry responded to Sebelius’ comments with the following statement:

“Yet again, the Obama Administration would rather point fingers at other people than accept any of the responsibility for Obamacare’s failure. The truth is, the more people learn about Obamacare, the less they like it, and the most egregious examples of misinformation have come directly from the president himself, with false promises that people could keep their existing plans and they could continue going to their own doctor. Texas is not the reason Obamacare is failing; it’s failing because it’s simply bad policy.”

El Paso health care enrollment sites pop up as deadline looms

By Aaron Bracamontes

Thousands lined up Friday outside the El Paso County Coliseum, scrambling to enroll for health care under the Affordable Care Act just days before the national deadline.

Monday is the last day to register for health care or be fined $95 next year. There is a 15-day extension, until April 15, for those who have already begun the enrollment process.

“We’ve had the biggest rush since we started,” said Jennifer Buschick, Enroll El Paso’s program director.

On Thursday, “we had about 2,000 voicemails at our office.”

On Friday, people and families hurried to the Coliseum and four other enrollment events around the city.

The line at the Coliseum was about 100 yards long at times.

“That’s what we get for waiting until the end,” said Santa Lopez, 38.

Once inside, workers and volunteers had to make sure residents had the proper paperwork, an email address and a health care ID number before they could find an ideal insurance plan.

Maria Magallanes, 56, waited two hours in line to be told she had to get another form filled out

“I didn’t expect this,” Magallanes said. “It was a waste of time. But if I don’t come back today I will have to wait until tomorrow to go to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Canutillo.”

Work and other obligations made it hard for Magallanes to make time to enroll before Friday. She also was confused on what paperwork she needed to have.

Continue reading here.