Kentucky Club for Growth
fighting and winning for economic freedom

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May 28, 2007

Sick statistics

The New York Times has a great story about the funny numbers Michael Moore has used in his upcoming documentary "Sicko." The choicest cut:

Universal health care has long given the Cuban regime bragging rights, though there is growing concern about the future. In the decades that Cuba drew financial and military support from the Soviet Union, Mr. Castro poured resources into medical education, creating the largest medical school in Latin America and turning out thousands of doctors to practice around the world.

But that changed after the collapse of the Soviets, according to Cuban defectors like Dr. Leonel Cordova. By the time Dr. Cordova started practicing in 1992, equipment and drugs were already becoming scarce. He said he was assigned to a four-block neighborhood in Havana Province where he was supposed to care for about 600 people.

“But even if I diagnosed something simple like bronchitis,” he said, “I couldn’t write a prescription for antibiotics, because there were none.”

He defected in 2000 while on a medical mission in Zimbabwe and made his way to the United States. He is now an urgent-care physician at Baptist Hospital in Miami.

Having practiced medicine in both Cuba and the United States, Dr. Cordova has an unusual perspective for comparison.

“Actually there are three systems,” Dr. Cordova said, because Cuba has two: one is for party officials and foreigners like those Mr. Moore brought to Havana. “It is as good as this one here, with all the resources, the best doctors, the best medicines, and nobody pays a cent,” he said.

But for the 11 million ordinary Cubans, hospitals are often ill equipped and patients “have to bring their own food, soap, sheets — they have to bring everything.” And up to 20,000 Cuban doctors may be working in Venezuela, creating a shortage in Cuba.

Pretty sick, indeed. 

May 23, 2007

One last schoolyard taunt

David Weigel at Reason Magazine gives Gov. Fletcher a figurative noogie for his campaign ads. The comments include one from David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute and Mayfield native.

I could not disagree more. The Fletcher ads were, well, extremely effective as evidenced by the results of Tuesday. Not one of us would have said back in the fall that Fletcher would get over 50% of the vote.  He did, and in doing so elevated campaign manager Marty Ryall to the top of the list of wanted campaign operatives for the 2008 race for the White House. Policy people underestimate the power of political messaging, and that saddens me as a self-confessed policy wonk. Fortunately for Team Fletcher, both Ryall and Fred Davis do understand message, and understand it well.

May 21, 2007

Minimum wage not coercive?

A surprising number of economists seem to think the minimum wage isn't coercive in any significant way. Never mind the whole you'll-go-to-jail-if-you-refuse-to-pay-it argument.

May 19, 2007

Faint praise?

K-Pac II wonders if a Republican should really want primary endorsements from the two largest newspapers in the state.


May 18, 2007

C-J political blog

Kentucky's newspaper of record now has a political blog and a link to our humble club.

May 15, 2007

Who gets the fiscal conservatives?

Who's a real fiscal conservative? Turns out fiscally conservative voter is up for grabs:

Many Republicans blame runaway federal spending and corruption for part of the party's 2006 congressional losses, and Mr. Toomey's group has numbers to back it up. Polling done for the club in key swing congressional districts during the weekend before the elections showed voters viewed Democrats as more likely than Republicans to be fiscally responsible.

"Republicans gave up that brand, which is devastating for the party," Mr. Toomey said.

Some Republicans are trying hard to win the brand back.

It's obviously too late for some to retake the mantle of fiscal conservatism. In Kentucky, only one of ten candidates even appears to be trying to appeal to fiscal conservatives.

May 12, 2007

Gouging Marathon

Kentucky Progress has been boiling down the Stumbo v. Marathan Oil v. Fletcher/Stumbo issue. The national Club for Growth then added a bit to the story.

Here's the gist:

  • Stumbo sues Marathon Oil for "price gouging," which is code for "trying to make as much money as you can with as little effort as possible."
  • Marathon responds by suing Stumbo and Fletcher in an attempt to invalidate Kentucky's price gouging law.
  • Fletcher and Stumbo immediately begin singing from the same hymnal, decrying "gougers." Fletcher, for his part said that his "executive order stands and it has the full force of law," which is essentially the same as saying, "The emergencies created by hurricanes Katrina and Rita are still in effect."

Here's the problem. Price gouging is always a short-run phenomenon in a competitive market economy. Every entrepreneur wants to gouge. Luckily, there's almost always another entrepreneur willing to gouge you less. Then, invariably, someone shows up with a new way to do the job very cheaply, basically killing the profit margins of the other two guys. But without the possibility of being able to make a HUGE profit, would the first guy even have jumped into the market? 

May 11, 2007

Jody Richards: Kansas 'not as good a state' as Kentucky

Jody Richards on the Bill Goodman One to One program:

"80% of Kansans go on to college from high school. Now Kansas is not as good a state as Kentucky."

Presumably, Jody means that Kansas is not as good as Kentucky in every measure except the share of high schoolers who go on to college. In that one measure, Kansas apparently has the edge.


May 10, 2007

Lunsford makes it clear

Lunsford says he would not consider making Kentucky a Right-to-Work state or eliminating Kentucky's oppressive prevailing wage laws. Bill Goodman asked him specifically about those issues on his One To One series on KET. Lunsford's response:

"I don't see it doing anything except causing a lot of controversy."

The battle lines are drawn pretty clearly along party lines on these issues.

May 9, 2007

Billy talks up school choice

Billy Harper is pushing for school choice.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Billy Harper today renewed his support of school choice for parents and students and pointed to a new survey that shows a strong majority of Kentuckians support school choice programs when informed of the facts about them.

The statewide survey, conducted by the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, an independent research group based in Bowling Green, was conducted March 11 to April 1 and included a random sample of 493 Kentuckians. Survey participants were questioned about their knowledge of and support for open enrollment, scholarship tax credits, vouchers and charter schools.

According to the survey, nearly 80 percent of respondents agreed that Kentucky parents should have more choice in determining where their children attend school. Also, when informed of the facts about open enrollment for public schools, more than 72 percent of survey participants said that system would be good for Kentucky education.

“I believe Kentucky parents finally deserve a real say in where their children attend school,” said Harper. “It’s not about labeling schools as good or bad. It’s about competition and specialization and holding schools and teachers accountable.”

For more information about the survey click here:

Harper, a member of the McCracken County school board, pointed out that open enrollment agreements already exist among a number of school districts, including some in the Paducah area. Harper said one of his first priorities as governor will be to establish open enrollment in every Kentucky school district. Harper also said that he will consider vouchers and charter schools as avenues for advancing student achievement.

“Kentucky students must be given the best opportunities to learn at the very highest levels,” Harper said. “Whether that means attending a school with an advanced drama department, a strong vocational program or one that offers special needs courses, parents should determine which learning environment is best for their child and that child’s future.”


May 8, 2007

Let's give all our money to the rich guy!!!!

Reason magazine is among the best in America. If you don't have a subscription, you should get one. A story that just popped up on the magazine's Web site claims that the South leads the nation in huge taxpayer-funded subsidies for private development. Here's a sickening example:

In 2005 the multibillionaire France family, which owns NASCAR, decided its sport needed a hall of fame museum. So it went through the motions of pitting Atlanta against Charlotte for the privilege of hosting the attraction. NASCAR probably had already decided on Charlotte; the city lives and breathes stock car racing, and most of the drivers are based in North Carolina. But the bidding war drove up the public subsidies. Atlanta offered about $102 million; Charlotte anted up $123 million.

The museum will provide only about 100 jobs, most of them low paying. Business development officials in both cities claimed that the prestige of gaining the NASCAR museum, plus the promise of expanded tourism, were worth forcing taxpayers to foot the bill.

What do you want to bet that if Kentucky had a shot at landing a museum like that, most members of the General Assembly would claim credit for giving away the store?

May 7, 2007

Cleaning the House

The Sunlight Foundation is offering some tips for how Nancy Pelosi can reform the U.S. House. Columnist Robert Bluey goes through a few of the recommendations:

Enhance the legislative database. In its current form, THOMAS offers an abundance of data about legislation -- from bill status and co-sponsors to roll-call votes and amendments. Unfortunately, it’s not in a format that can be easily used. By making the information accessible in a structured, non-proprietary format, THOMAS could be used in new, creative ways to educate citizens about legislation.

Preserve congressional information. As important as it is to give citizens access to timely information through THOMAS, it’s just as essential to make sure the historical record is archived. With e-mail, word-processing documents and PDFs replacing paperwork, Congress needs to update its rules to ensure this information is preserved.

Shine sunlight on House committees. Pelosi would be wise to put forward a proposal requiring House committees to post transcripts of their proceedings promptly online. Much of the work done in committees is accessible only those who are able to attend personally, an option not available to a farmer in Kansas or an ironworker in Pennsylvania.

Create an Online Media Gallery. Citizen journalists and bloggers provide some of the most in-depth coverage of Congress, yet they lack what reporters take for granted: access to the U.S. Capitol. The current structure governing congressional press credentials offers little hope for citizen journalists, but a new Online Media Gallery could adopt guidelines that fit these news hounds.

File records electronically. In a world where everything from banking to grocery shopping is done online, Congress still operates in the Stone Age -- or rather, the Paper Age -- when it comes to filing campaign and lobbying disclosure forms. By making this information available electronically, citizens wouldn’t have to physically travel to Washington to access them.

When Caleb O. Brown was with, he led the effort to get more data about the General Assembly online. had some success, but the process toward openness in Frankfort needs to continue. The above recommendations could just as easily apply to Kentucky as they apply to the U.S. House. 

Attention candidates for Governor

If you don't have a position on school choice, now's the time to go public with one.

May 3, 2007

Waters strikes again

Jim Waters on Kentucky, the state of denial:

Take, for instance, the Democratic gubernatorial debate, which consumed two hours of "denial" time on KET.

At that gathering, Steven Beshear indicated he would be quite comfortable in denying the people the power our Founding Fathers intended when they established a representative democracy.

"When Steve Beshear is governor, the governor's office is going to be more powerful than either the president of the Senate or the speaker of the House," said the blustering Beshear. "You're going to have to prove to everyone you know how to run the show, and that you're going to run the show."

Beshear must have been sick the day his high-school civics class covered how the founders respected the people's representatives. Denial comes easier when you don't really know the truth.

While showing little respect for the separation of powers intended to ensure people receive proper representation in Frankfort, Beshear promised a "shakedown" cruise after he gets elected.

Scary. Then again, I guess I could just deny he meant it.

 Funny, I thought the Kentucky Constitution set the rules regarding separation of powers between the governor and the legislature.

GOP Debate

The first debate among the candidates for the Republican nomination for president will take place on Thursday, May 3rd at 8:00 pm EDT.

For those who are looking for principle over substance, Congressman Ron Paul will be on stage standing between Senator John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. That's a single slice of small-government libertarian in between two slices of big-government conservative. Hold they mayo.

The 90-minute debate will be broadcast live on MSNBC, and streamed live on The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library will host the event.

May 1, 2007

Enough, already

We continue to hear candidate Northup state the position that she is a fiscal conservative and that things would change if she is elected. That is candidate Northup. But Rep. Northup was anything but a fiscal conservative during her stint in Washington:

National Club for Growth political director Andy Roth made a great point to me last week regarding the RSC alternative budget. He said, "A person may say they are a fiscal conservative, but if they don’t vote for the RSC budget, then their rhetoric is empty."

Do Kentucky Club for Growth members need to know anything else?

Toomey on Laura Ingraham

This is just a friendly reminder. Club for Growth President Pat Toomey will debate National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru on Laura Ingraham's nationally-syndicated radio show tomorrow, May 2, 2007, at 11:15 A.M EDT. The question: Is John McCain conservative? Go here to see what time Laura's show plays in your area.

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The KY Club for Growth seeks principled candidates who are committed to the following:

* Free market principles
* Lowering taxes
* Reducing spending
* Decreasing the size of government
* Judicial reform
* Protecting property rights
* Expanding school choice
* Reducing needless regulation

We will hold endorsed candidates accountable for these principles by monitoring each candidate on a vote-by-vote basis. As a Club member, you will receive candidate monitoring updates and scorecards on a regular basis. Join us today.