Category Archives: Politics

State of denial

tax, taxes, debt, deficits, spending, trillion, State of the UnionLet’s say you served on a company’s board of directors, and its by-laws required the president to give a periodic report. And let’s say your company was losing money – in fact, a lot of it, and had been for a long time. It’s deeply in debt with no real plan to get out. Worst of all, the company’s structure and culture virtually assure the debt will continue growing until someday its consequences are severe.

The report would have to cover a lot of things. But shouldn’t at least part of it include an honest appraisal of the company’s rising red ink along with a specific plan of action?

That’s what was wrong with President Trump’s State of the Union address, and most of the ones given by previous presidents. The speech stretched for nearly an hour and 21 minutes from the first word to last. It was not a bad speech. But, in all that time, Trump didn’t even mention the national debt. For the record, it’s now almost $20.5 trillion, or more than $62,600 for every American man, woman and child. Continue reading State of denial

Mark Moore’s law

vote, Mark MooreWant to run for office as an independent – not as a Republican, Democrat or anything else? Thanks to Mark Moore, you’ve just been given two more months to submit your signatures.

Moore, of Pea Ridge, won a lawsuit Jan. 25 where U.S. District Judge James Moody declared the state’s March 1 deadline for independent candidates unconstitutional and issued an injunction on Moore’s behalf.

Moore had sued the state in 2014 because he wanted to run for lieutenant governor as an independent. He believed the law was stacked in favor of Republicans and Democrats. Under current law, independent candidates must collect signatures over 90 days and submit them to the secretary of state’s office by March 1, the end of the candidate filing period. Republicans and Democrats must submit party filing fees by that date but won’t hold their primary elections until May 22.  Continue reading Mark Moore’s law

Whose fault? This time, Senate Democrats

ShutdownSo now yet another manufactured crisis has ended, and we’ll see if we have another one by Feb. 8.

Here’s how the process should work: Congress should prepare a budget once a year – once – that spells out the nation’s taxing and spending priorities, and then it should make sure its numbers add up. Instead, it lurches from one unnecessary deadline to another, putting off the hard choices and adding debt. This past week’s was the 113th time since 1998 that Congress has passed a temporary funding measure, and this one’s tax cuts will add $31 billion to the deficit – about $100 for every American.

Both sides are at fault for Washington’s toxic atmosphere, but Senate Democrats are mostly to blame for this particular shutdown. They filibustered the funding bill in order to gain concessions for the 700,000 young people brought to America illegally as children – the beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. In the end, all they got in return was a promise that the issue will be debated in the Senate, which was probably going to happen anyway. Continue reading Whose fault? This time, Senate Democrats

Drama in the Legislature over Arkansas Works? 3 reasons why not, this time

Arkansas Legislature, Arkansas WorksWill there be the usual drama over Arkansas Works when the Legislature meets for its fiscal session Feb. 12? Probably not so much.

Originally known as the “private option,” Arkansas Works is the Obamacare-funded program created in 2013 that purchases private health insurance for lower-income Arkansans. It’s helped a lot of people obtain insurance – currently 286,000 Arkansans. But it’s also a government health care expansion, which makes it controversial.

It’s always had the majority votes needed in the House and Senate. The challenge for supporters has been funding it. Arkansas Works is run by the Department of Human Services. All state agency appropriations require a three-fourths vote – 27 in the Senate and 75 in the House. In theory, nine senators or 26 representatives can kill Arkansas Works by refusing to fund the department. Continue reading Drama in the Legislature over Arkansas Works? 3 reasons why not, this time