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Willisms

« February 2012 | WILLisms.com | April 2012 »

The Sorry State of Education in America

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 955 -- Education-

A fascinatingly scary and depressing set of stats on American education:

Why America's Education Isn't Worth the Money
Via: OnlineEducation.net

We need more Bobby Jindals in this country, meaningfully shaking things up.


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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas driving America's exports.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 19 March 2012 01:43 PM · Comments (2)

Texas: Driving America's Export Train.

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 954 -- Texas Boosting America's Exports-

In January of 2010, during his State of the Union address, Barack Obama famously committed America to doubling exports by 2015. It's an ambitious goal at first blush, but when you consider that he made the promise at the $143.6 billion per month level (not long after the trough of the most recent recession) doubling from that depressed point was not such a long shot. Just returning to pre-recession export levels ($165.9 billion per month) got us 15% of the way there. At present, we're about 25% of the way toward doubling exports (we're now at $178.7 billion per month).

So, really, how are we going to get there? How do we get to $287 billion in exports per month? With Chevy Volts and Solyndras and shutting down private investment in major infrastructure projects? No. Obviously not.

We may get there in spite of Barack Obama, but if America does double its exports by 2015, Texas will be disproportionately responsible:

texasexportsmorethanamerica.gif

On a percentage basis, Texas exported more of its home-produced goods that the United States as a whole. Nearly 19 percent of Texas' economic output was exported in 2011, while the United States exported just 9.8 percent of its total output.

With roughly 8% of the nation's population, Texas exports nearly 12% of the nation's goods and services.

Indeed, Texas is the number one exporting state, now going on a decade straight. With 12 million fewer people, Texas exports 56.8% more than California.

California! Think about that. California has Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and abundant produce and wine. California has natural deep water ports up and down its coast. California is closer to booming markets in Asia and Australia than any other state but Hawaii. California is as close to most of Latin America as any other state, including Texas. California has vast fossil fuel reserves off shore and under the ground. California should easily be America's top exporting state, and second place shouldn't even be close.

Yet, it's Texas-- not California-- winning the export battle. Texas added almost an entire Michigan worth of exports in 2011 alone.

America's manufacturing renewal is happening in states like Texas. America's jobs renewal is happening in states like Texas. So, of course America's export renewal is being driven by Texas.

Texas, with 8% of America's population, accounted for more than 16% of America's export gains in 2011. In dollar terms, that was a $42.9 billion increase in Texas in 2011, out of a $265 billion total increase in the United States as a whole.

Another way to look at it is to examine the relationship between population and exports.

This is what I call the American Export Power Index, or AEPI (click image for larger version):

americanexportpowerindex.gif

Basically, you take a state's share of the nation's exports and bump that up against a state's share of the nation's population.

Here it is in table format:

aepi.gif

So, seriously, how are we going to double our national exports by 2015?

One easy way: Obama's administration could stop targeting Texas for punishment.

And, rather than attempting to forcibly reshape America in California's image, instead respect the Tenth Amendment and allow the smart states to compete and strive toward being more like Texas (like Oklahoma is now doing with its income tax). The states that initially think they want to be more like California may temporarily get left behind, but as long as the rest of us don't subsidize and/or bail out failing liberal states, competition and people voting with their feet will eventually force even the most recalcitrant lefty states to reform.

We know what works. There's a blueprint. It's called Texas. Indeed, Talmadge Heflin of the Texas Public Policy Foundation notes:

Since June 2009, Texas’ economy, now the 14th-largest in the world, has added 357,400 jobs, almost triple the number of jobs produced by California, the state that has produced the second-most jobs since June 2009. Impressively, this means that Texas is responsible for nearly one of every four jobs created in the nation since the NBER declared the recession over.

And every day that this left-wing President tries to force the failed California/Illinois/Michigan blueprint on the entire nation is a day he is robbing our children and grandchildren of prosperity and economic security.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: America needs more spectrum.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 5 March 2012 04:52 PM · Comments (0)

GUEST POST: "For the Health of Consumers and our Legal System It’s Time to Take Smart Action Against Double Dipping"

From time to time, I post original submissions from guest bloggers on a variety of topics I care about. Even with sweeping tort reform in Texas in recent years, many of our small businesses remain at the mercy of liberal trial lawyer jackpot justice schemes.

The following is an original guest post from fellow Texan Chip Hough, a board member of Citizens Against Lawsuit of Abuse of Central Texas:

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Not so long ago, the Texas court system was drowning in asbestos personal injury lawsuits, seriously threatening access to our courts, harming our business climate and posing a real obstacle for those who were truly harmed by asbestos and deserved their day in court.

Seven years ago Texas lawmakers took steps to rein in these burgeoning lawsuits by establishing medical criteria for filing asbestos and silica cases, giving priority to sick people and heading off the common practice of questionable mass filings of claims.

These smart, balanced and science-based reforms received bipartisan, unanimous support in both the Texas House and Texas Senate.

Unfortunately, greed and questionable practices of some trial lawyers necessitate further action on this issue. The House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence is looking at the issue during this year’s legislative interim. At Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA), it’s our hope that these lawmakers will fully consider the practical, financial and legal ramifications of “double dipping” and quickly move end these abusive lawsuits next session.

Two scoops is better than one for ice cream, but it’s not something we should allow in our court system.

Double dipping in asbestos-related personal injury lawsuits is a practice that allows trial lawyers to double their recovery and lawyer fees by filing lawsuits in court, waiting until those suits are settled and then filing another claim against the asbestos compensation bankruptcy trusts. Simply put, double dipping allows personal injury lawyers to enrich themselves at the expense of asbestos victims.

By closing the asbestos loophole in Texas law, asbestos claimants themselves – individuals suffering from mesothelioma often with little time left to live –actually stand to gain the most. Such a change would allow these harmed individuals and their families access to compensation faster than the present system allows and stop the double payouts to plaintiff’s lawyers looking to game the system.

The other change that must be made is to give judges the authority to dismiss dormant asbestos and silica cases pending in Texas courts, especially those cases that do not meet the medical criteria for trial.

This reform would protect the rights of pending plaintiffs while ensuring that invalid cases don’t place an undue burden on businesses that would have to carry these dormant lawsuits as contingent liabilities on their financial filings. Further, judges already have this authority in all other types of lawsuits. They should have the same authority over asbestos cases.

Reforms to close the loopholes in asbestos and silica personal injury litigation would further strengthen the original reforms passed in 2005 and provide Texans with legitimate asbestos and silica claims better, faster access to the courts and to the compensation they deserve.

Sadly, we know well-funded personal injury trial lawyers – you’ve seen them fishing for clients with their mesothelioma ads on television – have fought and will continue to fight these smart reforms with all their might.

They managed to derail a similar reform effort last session. Greed is a great motivator, and mesothelioma lawsuits can be extremely lucrative. Let’s hope state leaders take action to provide protection and swift compensation to those truly harmed as well as maintain the good health of our state’s court system.

Chip Hough is president of Basic Industries, a Texas-based company that provides industrial and commercial maintenance and construction services. Hough is also a board member of the Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas.

----------

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 March 2012 02:25 PM · Comments (0)

A Slighly Different Take On Texas Independence Day.

Today, March 2nd, is Texas Independence Day, and on this day, Texans get to feeling a bit feisty:

Texas Independence: Go and Take It

One day, Texas will probably have to liberate its former territory. I just wanted to be ahead of the curve on that, in terms of vending high quality merchandise.

But seriously, did you know that Texas only needed about seven weeks from its Declaration of Independence to defeat Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto?

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 March 2012 01:30 PM · Comments (0)