Friday, February 18, 2011

Bye Bye TEA?

The Tennessee Education Association may soon pass in to irrelevance-thank God:

This idea is really the beginning of the expansion of school choice for parents who want to take their kids out of bad schools and put them in a better environment, with at-risk students getting the first shot in many cases. Haslam's plan, along with the elimination of the union's collective bargaining power, could take a wrecking ball to the Tennessee Education Association.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Politics of Education

Some say that education reform in Tennessee is all about politics. To some people it is:

Those opposed to this legislation are saying that the bill is "just about politics." It isn't just about politics, but it is certainly political to the Tennessee Education Association. The TEA, for those who may not know, is the State chapter of the National Education Association, or NEA. The NEA is by far the Democratic Party's largest client union and one of its biggest union political donors. Its union bosses are encouraged to spread the word to members to support Democratic candidates while Democrats dutifully support their client union's right to hold schoolchildren and parents hostage in district after district right across our country.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The $18,000 amendment

If all we have to do to make sure there is never an income tax in this State is pay $18,000-count me in:

Even more importantly than the digital divide, however, is the reality that those in this State who support an income tax will do everything they can to stop this amendment from coming to a free vote of the people because they know that it will pass and likely in an overwhelming fashion. If the text of the proposed anti-income tax amendment is not printed in the State's major metropolitan newspapers, income tax supporters will almost certainly sue to keep the amendment off the ballot. Senator Kelsey and other amendment supporters might eventually win that case, but when one considers how long it can take such a case to wind its way through the court system, it may be too late to vote on the amendment in a timely fashion, and Tennesseans may not get to ratify until 2018 at the earliest, since the Tennessee Constitution requires that two separate General Assemblies accept a constitutional amendment,the second time by two-thirds votes in both Houses, before the public can have their vote-which must coincide with a gubernatorial election. While the present political climate would allow for the Kelsey Amendment to pass a referendum easily, no one can predict what the political situation might be many years down the road.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Bills Coming Due

Fewer bills are being filed at the Tennessee General Assembly, which can be both a positive and a negative:

"On the one hand, there are fewer bills being introduced in the first place, and that means that there are going to be fewer new laws and should be less new government regulation, which is a good thing," State Senator Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) said to The Examiner Monday. "However, we weren't just sent here to keep new needless regulations from passing, we were sent here to cut the size and scope of State government and reform education, and those things do require some pretty extensive new bills that may become new laws. We don't want the limits in bill filing to keep needed measures from making it to the floor for a vote."

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Foreclosure In Print

Some banking interests in Tennessee want to end the practice of publishing foreclosure notices in the paper. I explain why the reputation of the banking community could take a hit with such a move:

It seems that Tennessee's bankers may have forgotten that since the credit-induced economic depression from which the nation has yet to fully recover struck Tennessee and America, they've developed more than a bit of an image problem.

The reader may say "Oatney, isn't that the fault of the consumers for making irresponsible decisions?" In the end, of course, credit default or foreclosure of property are absolutely the fault of the people who made wrong-headed financial choices. However, large banking and credit interests also made bad choices by willingly extending credit to extremely high risk debtors who would never have gotten any credit at all 20 to 30 years ago and lobbying the government to force small community banks to do the same over the years (and then often buying the bad loans from the small banks when the little man couldn't play the collection game very well). The big boys, after all, could make a ton off of interest! When the house of cards came tumbling down, many of the people who were ultimately responsible for the extension of bad credit to high risks asked the federal government to bail them out.

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