Articles of Interest

Charity, Kansas legal intrigue, Kansas infant mortality rate rises under Sebelius, taxing it all, bailouts not wanted, cap-and-trade costs, school choice saves.

The Charity Revolt: Liberals oppose a tax hike on rich donors (Wall Street Journal) true-blue liberals who run most of America’s nonprofits, universities and charities” are worried that Obama’s plan to limit deductions for charitable contributions will cost them. This article introduces a term I saw for the first time: “New Charity State,” and it is a real danger. “Mr. Orszag [White House budget chief Peter] revealed the real agenda at work when he pointed out that the money taken from the ‘rich’ would be used to fund such Obama state-run charities as universal health care. The argument is that any potential declines in private gifts, whether to universities or foundations, will be balanced by increases in government grants paid with higher taxes — redistribution by another means. This is how Europe’s welfare state works: Taxes are so high that private citizens have come to believe it is only the state’s duty to support cultural institutions and public welfare. The ambit for private giving shrinks.” Ambit: sphere or scope, I learned.

Who is playing politics in the Kansas Judiciary by leaking information to the press? (Kansas Meadowlark) More intrigue.

State’s infant mortality rate rises under Sebelius (Kansas Liberty, a subscription service) “Roderick Bremby, the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, told lawmakers Tuesday that between 1988 and 2007 the infant mortality rate increased in Kansas from a rate of 6.9 to 7.9 per 1,000 live births. Bremby said that though infant mortality rates for white babies actually decreased slightly during that time, rates for non-white babies increased greatly.” Wait … wasn’t Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius just appointed secretary of health and human services for the entire country? With this record?

The 2% Illusion: Take everything they earn, and it still won’t be enough (Wall Street Journal) Can President Obama finance his spending plans by increasing taxes only on the rich? “Even the most basic inspection of the IRS income tax statistics shows that raising taxes on the salaries, dividends and capital gains of those making more than $250,000 can’t possibly raise enough revenue to fund Mr. Obama’s new spending ambitions. … A tax policy that confiscated 100% of the taxable income of everyone in America earning over $500,000 in 2006 would only have given Congress an extra $1.3 trillion in revenue. That’s less than half the 2006 federal budget of $2.7 trillion and looks tiny compared to the more than $4 trillion Congress will spend in fiscal 2010. Even taking every taxable ‘dime’ of everyone earning more than $75,000 in 2006 would have barely yielded enough to cover that $4 trillion.”

Some Banks, Feeling Chained, Want to Return Bailout Money (New York Times) It seems that even free money isn’t all it’s promoted to be. “The list of demands keeps getting longer. … others say the conditions go beyond protecting taxpayers and border on social engineering.”

The Climate Change Lobby Has Regrets: Cap and trade is going to cost them (Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal) Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy, decided to go along with the government’s plan for cap-and-trade as a way to control carbon emissions. “At the time, Mr. Rogers explained: ‘If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’ll wind up on the menu.’ Duke sat, yet it and its compatriots are still shaping up to be Washington’s breakfast, lunch and dinner.” Ms. Strassel explains how now we are beginning to realize just how expensive cap-and-trade will be for consumers, and how lucrative it will be for the government: “President Obama’s auction bonanza would earn the feds $650 billion in 10 years, according to the administration’s budget estimate — and that’s a low, low, low estimate.”

Finding room for school choice (John LePlante, Saint Paul Legal Ledger) The government school lobby says that school choice programs drain precious money from public schools. There’s plenty of evidence to the contrary: “In December, 2008, a research office of the Florida Legislature evaluated a school choice program in that state, and estimated that it saves state government $1.49 for every dollar spent. … Here in Minnesota, a 2005 report published by the Humphrey Institute stated that a majority of K-8 private schools in Minnesota charged less than the state sends to public school districts as their ‘basic formula allowance.’ The allowance is only one block of money, albeit the largest one, that the state sends to school districts. So can we ‘afford’ school choice programs? Perhaps we ought to ask the question ‘Can we afford to not have them?'”

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