About Me

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Business, Free Enterprise and Constitutional Issues; Pro-Life and Pro Second Amendment. Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. She serves as Chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources subcommittee, a member of the Finance Ways and Means Committee and the Ethics Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thank You Ralph

Ralph Bristol of the Morning News on Supertalk 99.7 FM has asked me to become a permanent cast member on his show. I will be on to talk about state government each Monday at 6:40 am.

Thank You Slater and the Nashville Post

Thank you to Michael Slater of West Tennessee's TJ Radio Network and to the Nashville Post for the mention today about my interview with Slater on the Copeland Cap.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Susan Lynn did what?

My opponent is trying to say I voted wrong...you be the judge.

He attacks on Big Oil, education and the minimum wage.

Big Oil

Each year the House Democrats pass a resolution for the US Congress asking them to investigate the oil companies for price gouging. This is done for partisan reasons and passes with a scant few votes.

Is the resolution effective? No. Not once has it ever even been acknowledged by the US Congress.

The Republicans try to amend the bill to ask the US Congress to drill domestically. The Democrats kill this amendment!

So this year I tried to explain a little economics to the Democrats and that is that oil is a commodity. If the price of oil goes up on the Commodities Exchange the price of oil, and the price of gasoline, will follow. The oil companies buy the oil for refining and must pay the commodity price. This price is passed on to us as consumers.

I further explained that while the oil companies make profits in the billions of dollars, as a percent of revenue they earn about 8% profit. Sure they earn a lot dollar-wise because they sell a whole lot of gasoline.I also pointed out that while oil company profits are 8% of revenue, left leaning companies like Google earn profits at 30% of revenue. Should we investigate Google for price gouging too?

And I asked, what about the drug companies, most make 20%, 22%, even 30% profit - and most drugs are paid for with tax payer dollars - Now frankly that sounds like something to investigate.

And what about the taxes they pay? Businesses like oil companies actually pay billions of dollars more in taxes than they make in profit, taxes passed on to you and me when we make a purchase. Why don't they think the government is tax gouging?

There are only 7 American oil companies. They have direct access to only about 7% of the world's oil. Foreign nations and foreign oil companies control 93% of the world's oil. Why would the Democrats want to weaken our American oil companies by attacking them and refusing to enable domestic drilling?

Many Americans are invested in American oil companies through their pension fund, retirement plans and money markets. Why would Democrats want to weaken these companies and destroy American savings?

If anything funny was going on with the recent spike in oil it was on the Commodities Exchange and this IS being investigated by the federal government without a request from the Tennessee General Assembly being at all necessary.

Improving our schools

My opponent implies that I voted against our schools - NOT TRUE!

The bill he is referring to, HB2354 is the cigarette tax. The bill barely passed, receiving only 59 votes out of 99.

In actuality, I voted against using the cigarette tax, a declining source of revenue, to fund education.

If we are serious about funding education we will fund education out of the General Fund and not with a source of revenue that is in decline - leaving our school children short.

Last year the Governor cut $69 million dollars out of the education budget because the cigarette tax had come up short in collections.

I believe it is immoral for school children to have to depend on smokers for their education, and it makes me angry that things such as a bunker would be funded and education would be cut. The Republicans have a plan to fund education first - a plan the Democrats killed in a tabling motion - see amendment 3, Democrat motion to lay on the table.

Raising the Minimum Wage

My opponent obviously wants Tennessee to have our own minimum wage, separate from the federal minimum wage because that is what the Democrats tried to pass - it failed.

He also seems to approve of that wage being linked to the Consumer Price Index - an idea that uses circular reasoning.

This bill is considered to be a JOB KILLER BILL by small business owners (NFIB, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce).

It is clear that the best way to help a low wage person make more money is by improving their skills so that their labor is worth more to an employer. It is not by causing inflation in the economy which only makes the low wage person's life more difficult.

Please see my article: Circular Reasoning and the Minimum Wage. This article about this bill was published by a national magazine and received much praise.

By the way, the bill my opponent mentions in the mailer is not the Minimum Wage Bill - it is HB3402 a bill that exempts from the County Powers Relief Act any county in which at least 51 percent of the real property is owned by the federal government and dedicated as a national forest...it didn't pass either.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Eyeing Your Pension

Are 401(k)s safe from congressional Democrats?


"If you have a 401(k) or equivalent retirement plan, you've probably been watching nervously the past few weeks as your nest egg has shrunken owing to the current turmoil in the markets.
Well, it could be worse. But don't take heart, for what we mean is it could get worse. The market turmoil has some politicians on Capitol Hill eyeing the end of the 401(k) as we know it. "

The Age of Prosperity is Over

Art Laffer's WSJ Opinion

"Every $100 billion in bailout requires at least $130 billion in taxes, where the $30 billion extra is the cost of getting government involved.

If you don't believe me, just watch how Congress and Barney Frank run the banks. If you thought they did a bad job running the post office, Amtrak, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the military, just wait till you see what they'll do with Wall Street."

Read more - http://ssomail.charter.net/do/redirect?url=http%253A%252F%252Fonline.wsj.com%252Farticle%252FSB122506830024970697.html

Sunday, October 19, 2008

How to Read the Constitution

The following is an excerpt from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's Wriston Lecture to the Manhattan Institute last Thursday

The Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2008, Read article... http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122445985683948619.html

"The Declaration of Independence sets out the basic underlying principle of our Constitution. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . . ."

The framers structured the Constitution to assure that our national government be by the consent of the people. To do this, they limited its powers. The national government was to be strong enough to protect us from each other and from foreign enemies, but not so strong as to tyrannize us. "

Obama Is Wrong About Colombia

Labor unions are much safer under Uribe.

Barack Obama gets his facts wrong during the presidential debate. The Americas columnist Mary Anastasia O'Grady explains the gaffe to Kelsey Hubbard.

Wall Street Journal, Oct. 20, 2008


Link video...http://online.wsj.com/video/obama-misspeaks/171CEB77-7B3E-4FFB-BE20-D81A31990AF3.html

Obama's Carbon Ultimatum

The coming offer you won't be able to refuse.

The Wall Street Journal, Opinion, October 20, 2008

"Normally a democracy reaches consensus through political debate and persuasion, but apparently for Mr. Obama that option is merely a nuisance. It's another example of "change" you'll be given no choice but to believe in."

Read more...http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122445812003548473.html

A Liberal Supermajority

Get ready for 'change' we haven't seen since 1965, or 1933

The Wall Stree Journal, Opinion, October 17, 2008

If the current polls hold, Barack Obama will win the White House on November 4 and Democrats will consolidate their Congressional majorities, probably with a filibuster-proof Senate or very close to it. Without the ability to filibuster, the Senate would become like the House, able to pass whatever the majority wants.

Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933. In other words, the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s. If the U.S. really is entering a period of unchecked left-wing ascendancy, Americans at least ought to understand what they will be getting, especially with the media cheering it all on.

Read the rest...http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122420205889842989.html

Friday, August 08, 2008

McGovern on Check Card

My PartyShould Respect Secret Union Ballots


August 8, 2008

Wall Stree Journal

As a congressman, senator and one-time Democratic nominee for the presidency, I've participated in my share of vigorous public debates over issues of great consequence. And the public has been free to accept or reject the decisions I made when they walked into a ballot booth, drew the curtain and cast their vote. I didn't always win, but I always respected the process.

Voting is an immense privilege.

That is why I am concerned about a new development that could deny this freedom to many Americans. As a longtime friend of labor unions, I must raise my voice against pending legislation I see as a disturbing and undemocratic overreach not in the interest of either management or labor.

The legislation is called the Employee Free Choice Act, and I am sad to say it runs counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement. Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak.

The key provision of EFCA is a change in the mechanism by which unions are formed and recognized. Instead of a private election with a secret ballot overseen by an impartial federal board, union organizers would simply need to gather signatures from more than 50% of the employees in a workplace or bargaining unit, a system known as "card-check." There are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.

Under EFCA, workers could lose the freedom to express their will in private, the right to make a decision without anyone peering over their shoulder, free from fear of reprisal.

There's no question that unions have done much good for this country. Their tenacious efforts have benefited millions of workers and helped build a strong middle class. They gave workers a new voice and pushed for laws that protect individuals from unfair treatment. They have been a friend to the Democratic Party, and so I oppose this legislation respectfully and with care.
To my friends supporting EFCA I say this: We cannot be a party that strips working Americans of the right to a secret-ballot election. We are the party that has always defended the rights of the working class. To fail to ensure the right to vote free of intimidation and coercion from all sides would be a betrayal of what we have always championed.

Some of the most respected Democratic members of Congress -- including Reps. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, George Miller and Pete Stark of California, and Barney Frank of Massachusetts -- have advised that workers in developing countries such as Mexico insist on the secret ballot when voting as to whether or not their workplaces should have a union. We should have no less for employees in our country.

I worry that there has been too little discussion about EFCA's true ramifications, and I think much of the congressional support is based on a desire to give our friends among union leaders what they want. But part of being a good steward of democracy means telling our friends "no" when they press for a course that in the long run may weaken labor and disrupt a tried and trusted method for conducting honest elections.

While it is never pleasant to stand against one's party or one's friends, there are times when such actions are necessary -- as with my early and lonely opposition to the Vietnam War. I hope some of my friends in Congress will re-evaluate their support for this legislation. Because as Americans, we should strive to ensure that all of us enjoy the freedom of expression and freedom from fear that is our ideal and our right.

Mr. McGovern is a former senator from South Dakota and the 1972 Democratic presidential candidate.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wall Street Journal Editorial

$4 Gasbags

Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2008; Page A16

Anyone wondering why U.S. energy policy is so dysfunctional need only review Congress's recent antics. Members have debated ideas ranging from suing OPEC to the Senate's carbon tax-and-regulation monstrosity, to a windfall profits tax on oil companies, to new punishments for "price gouging" – everything except expanding domestic energy supplies.

Amid $135 oil, it ought to be an easy, bipartisan victory to lift the political restrictions on energy exploration and production. Record-high fuel costs are hitting consumers and business like a huge tax increase. Yet the U.S. remains one of the only countries in the world that chooses as a matter of policy to lock up its natural resources. The Chinese think we're insane and self-destructive, while the Saudis laugh all the way to the bank.

There are two separate moratoria on offshore drilling: One is a ban that Congress has attached to every budget since 1982, and the other is a 1990 executive order that President Bush has waived in only a few cases. Republicans made failing attempts to overcome both when they ran Congress, but current Democratic leaders and their green masters remain adamantly opposed.

The new political opportunity amid record prices is to convince enough rank-and-file Democrats that they'll suffer at the polls if they don't break with this antiexploration ideology.

While energy "independence" is an impossible dream, there's no doubt the U.S. has vast undeveloped fossil-fuel deposits. A tiny corner of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge contains an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil and would be the largest producing oil field in the Northern Hemisphere. Yet the Senate blocked that development as recently as last month. The Outer Continental Shelf is estimated to contain some 86 billion barrels of oil, plus 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Yet of the shelf's 1.76 billion acres, 85% is off-limits and 97% is undeveloped.

Engineers recently perfected refining solid shale rock into diesel or gas, which may amount to the largest oil supply in the world – perhaps as much as 1.8 trillion barrels in the American West. That's enough to meet current U.S. oil demand for more than two centuries. Yet as late as 2007, Democrats attached a rider to the energy bill that prohibits leasing the federal interior lands that contain at least 80% of America's oil shale. The key vote was cast by liberal Senator Ken Salazar from Colorado, of all places.

These supply guesses are probably conservative, because the only way to know for sure is to drill exploratory wells. Yet most of Alaska and offshore are cut off even from modern seismic testing. Many areas haven't been examined since the 1960s, when exploration technology was far more primitive. This has led to the believe-it-or-not situation in which the Chinese are prepping to drill in Cuban waters less than 60 miles off the Florida coast. American companies are banned from drilling in American waters nearby.

Yes, we know, increased drilling is no energy cure-all; new projects take about a decade to come on line. Then again, more than a few experts say that new production could affect price as the market perceives a new U.S. seriousness to increase supplies. Part of today's futures speculation is based on the assumption that supplies will remain tight for years to come, even as Chinese and Indian demand surges.

Nor would merely repealing the exploration bans be enough. Between 2000 and 2007, the drilling of exploratory oil wells climbed 138%, but over the same period domestic crude oil production decreased 12.4% and fell to the lowest levels since 1947. Refineries for gasoline are stretched to the limit, but multiple regulatory barriers impede new construction or even expansions at existing facilities. Then there is the inevitable lawsuit downpour from the environmental lobby.

Democrats are going to have to grow up. The oil-rich areas they want to leave untouched are accessible with minimal environmental disturbance, thanks to modern technology. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita flattened terminals across the Gulf of Mexico but didn't cause a single oil spill. As for anticarbon theology, oil will be indispensable over the next half-century and probably longer, like it or not. Airplanes will never fly on woodchips, and you won't be able to charge your car with a windmill for some time, if ever.

Public anger over fuel prices could hardly come at a worse time for the GOP, since voters tend to blame a flagging economy on the party that occupies the White House. But the opportunity is to offer a reform alternative to Barack Obama and the high-price energy status quo he embraces. It looks like the public is increasingly ready for . . . change. In a May Gallup poll, 57% favored "allowing drilling in U.S. coastal and wilderness areas now off limits." Just 20% blamed the increase in gas prices on Big Oil, like Mr. Obama does.

Recent weeks have seen some GOP stirrings on Capitol Hill, but John McCain has so far refused to jettison his green posturings, such as his belief in carbon caps and his animus against offshore development. A good reason for a rethink would be $4 gas. At present, it is charitable to call Mr. McCain's energy ideas incoherent, and it may cost him the election.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

George Will Column

George Will's column below is a great illustration of how the suffering caused by today's high energy prices is not just a problem caused by the Congress' current energy policies but it is a problem brought about over the last ten, twenty, thirty or more years.

Instead of voting to keep America strong they have weakened America and our quality of life. Such policies will always have a greater impact on the poor. As we can see by the high prices of energy, food and clothing, they do.

The Gas Prices We Deserve

By George F. Will

Thursday, June 5, 2008; Page A19, The Washington Post

Rising in the Senate on May 13, Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, explained: "I rise to discuss rising energy prices." The president was heading to Saudi Arabia to seek an increase in its oil production, and Schumer's gorge was rising.

Saudi Arabia, he said, "holds the key to reducing gasoline prices at home in the short term." Therefore arms sales to that kingdom should be blocked unless it "increases its oil production by one million barrels per day," which would cause the price of gasoline to fall "50 cents a gallon almost immediately."

Can a senator, with so many things on his mind, know so precisely how the price of gasoline would respond to that increase in the oil supply? Schumer does know that if you increase the supply of something, the price of it probably will fall. That is why he and 96 other senators recently voted to increase the supply of oil on the market by stopping the flow of oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which protects against major physical interruptions. Seventy-one of the 97 senators who voted to stop filling the reserve also oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

One million barrels is what might today be flowing from ANWR if in 1995 President Bill Clinton had not vetoed legislation to permit drilling there. One million barrels produce 27 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel. Seventy-two of today's senators -- including Schumer, of course, and 38 other Democrats, including Barack Obama, and 33 Republicans, including John McCain -- have voted to keep ANWR's estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil off the market.

So Schumer, according to Schumer, is complicit in taking $10 away from every American who buys 20 gallons of gasoline. "Democracy," said H.L. Mencken, "is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." The common people of New York want Schumer to be their senator, so they should pipe down about gasoline prices, which are a predictable consequence of their political choice.

Also disqualified from complaining are all voters who sent to Washington senators and representatives who have voted to keep ANWR's oil in the ground and who voted to put 85 percent of America's offshore territory off-limits to drilling. The U.S. Minerals Management Service says that restricted area contains perhaps 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas -- 10 times as much oil and 20 times as much natural gas as Americans use in a year.

Drilling is underway 60 miles off Florida. The drilling is being done by China, in cooperation with Cuba, which is drilling closer to South Florida than U.S. companies are.

ANWR is larger than the combined areas of five states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware), and drilling along its coastal plain would be confined to a space one-sixth the size of Washington's Dulles airport. Offshore? Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed or damaged hundreds of drilling rigs without causing a large spill. There has not been a significant spill from an offshore U.S. well since 1969. Of the more than 7 billion barrels of oil pumped offshore in the past 25 years, 0.001 percent -- that is one-thousandth of 1 percent -- has been spilled. Louisiana has more than 3,200 rigs offshore -- and a thriving commercial fishing industry.

In his book "Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of 'Energy Independence,' " Robert Bryce says Brazil's energy success has little to do with its much-discussed ethanol production and much to do with its increased oil production, the vast majority of which comes from off Brazil's shore. Investor's Business Daily reports that Brazil, "which recently made a major oil discovery almost in sight of Rio's beaches," has leased most of the world's deep-sea drilling rigs.

In September 2006, two U.S. companies announced that their Jack No. 2 well, in the Gulf 270 miles southwest of New Orleans, had tapped a field with perhaps 15 billion barrels of oil, which would increase America's proven reserves by 50 percent. Just probing four miles below the Gulf's floor costs $100 million. Congress's response to such expenditures is to propose increasing the oil companies' tax burdens.

America says to foreign producers: We prefer not to pump our oil, so please pump more of yours, thereby lowering its value, for our benefit. Let it not be said that America has no energy policy.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Value Added School Performance

Tennessee's value-added evaluation system is frequently lauded across the country as a very good way to measure student achievement and school performance.

Today I received an easy to use tool to determine how your child's school performs.

The Education Consumers Foundation is pleased to give you direct access to information on the value-added achievement of all the schools in Tennessee.

Please visit https://owa.legislature.state.tn.us/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://srv.ezinedirector.net/?n=2266692%26s=44101708 to explore the schools in your area.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tennessean Column May 2008

Recently the Tennessean published my guest column below with a rebuttel written by Rep. Mike McDonald and the final word given by the Tennessean editorial staff.

I was very proud that the Tennessean agreed with me that the state should not use its power to legislate property rights away from individuals.

State Should Respect Property Rights

Buyer beware - children learn the phrase, adults experience its meaning, and attorneys are trained in its certainty.

Most learn from their mistakes and go on. However, the state's recent attempt to either buy its way out of a regretful deal or legislate its way out of the deal should raise citizen's interest.

The Governor’s administration may be commended for greatly increasing our state park land. However, after a recent acquisition, it was learned that the purchase price didn’t include certain rights, among them logging. Naturally, the timber company that owned the trees kept on harvesting. The environmentalist outcry caused the Governor to include $82 million dollars in last year’s budget to purchase said trees, et. el.

Now we find out another “regretful” deal neglected to purchase the mineral rights to the Cumberland Trails State Park. Not surprisingly, the rock harvesters that own the rocks continue to harvest them. Like most minors, they don’t earn very much. Some of them supplement their earnings with food stamps.

The mining activity is not pretty. As the harvesters work to fulfill the nations latest fad; “green” building materials, several environmental groups are upset by the disturbance of the land to obtain the rock. Thus far the harvesters have followed the law and regulations; stabilizing the land and complying with water pollution rules. But objectors want a state park to look natural and untouched. And who wouldn’t?

The harvesters offered to sell their mineral rights to the state for appraised value but the state refused choosing instead to file suit. When the judge sided with the harvesters, the state decided to legislate the embarrassment away by proposing a law so restrictive that the harvesters may just give up - effectively; an unconstitutional taking of private property. Tennessee’s citizens should be treated better than this.

Some believe that the end justifies the means. I ask, is it fair to purchase land without all of the rights, and at less than full market value, and then legislate the harvesters’ ability to exercise their property right away? If an end, no matter how strongly desired, is brought about by bad means are we not compelled to work for a better end brought about by acceptable means?

As children we learned that a deal is a deal, and to honor our agreements. As adults we learn the significance and sanctity of a contract. We are careful to agree on terms acceptable to both parties prior to a sale. We can’t change the past. The right thing now is to purchase the mineral rights for a fair value.

Prosperous is the nation that is able to utilize her rich natural resources, and wise is the nation that cares for the environment. However, if laws are made so restrictive that those resources cannot be gathered; if a nation cannot acquire her coal, her timber, her minerals, her oil and gas; then that nation and her people will suffer unnecessarily.

Tennessean Column Dec 2, 2007

Republicans vigilant on available funds
By State Representative Susan Lynn

State tax revenues are suffering as collections are currently $135 million below their mark. Before wish lists for the new session are even considered, many want to know how the state will manage our way through a budget already more than $100 million dollars short in the first quarter.

Last May, legislators debated over the Copeland Cap; a constitutional amendment that limits the growth of the budget to the growth in personal income. Signs of a softening economy worried Republicans as they cautioned against spending every penny of the massive $1.5 billion surplus, plus an additional $220 million dollar cigarette tax increase on new programs. In addition, it was difficult to understand how by spending so much more money we could not have been exceeding the Constitutional limit of the Copeland Cap by far more than was stated.

But we’ll have to manage. Most business managers will adjust to the economic downturn by making tough decisions like restraining spending, reducing new hires, curtailing unnecessary travel, and by putting expansion plans on hold. The state should do no less.

It is clear that 2008 may not be the time to fill wish lists by starting new programs or expanding old ones; after all, we can’t continue to ignore the inflationary demands of necessary commodities forever such as those needed to repair and build new roads. It is time to concentrate on government’s core basis for existence; those things that have an immediate impact on justice, health, safety or supply.

The Department of Education is hoping for an additional $133 million dollars next year to help fully fund the newly revised basic education plan. A little more controversial is a request of $30 million dollars to expand the pre-k program by 38%. The department notes that this addition to the currently $80 million program would help to advance the state toward universal pre-k; an $196 million goal.

Some may call legislators who are cautious about such an expansion mean spirited; others realists. We already have a burgeoning state budget shortfall. There will likely be local government budget shortfalls. Many local school systems are struggling to afford a desperate need to repair or to build new schools just to accommodate the current students. And there is much data that indicates no long term beneficial effect from early education.
Many wonder, why not just concentrate on what we already know needs improvement, and that which will save money in the long run - accountability. How much more would taxpayer dollars be multiplied by ensuring greater accountability?

Getting through this revenue downturn will require restraint, leadership and cooperation. We were proud of how our state employees efficiently handled the departmental budget cuts in 2003 and 2004. No doubt they will handle 2008 with the very same degree of professionalism.

Republicans will continue to respect the taxpayer’s hard work by remaining good stewards of the dollars they provide, and by displaying an understanding for the pressures they face in their own family budgets every day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Florida & Iowa reform CON law

"Florida and Iowa legislators have passed bills that will reform their respective certificate-of-need processes."

Florida simplifies the process, and establishes a "loser pays" provision to discourage lawsuits meant only to obstruct the process.

Iowa's CON legislation has not passed both houses. "The bill would let replacement critical-access hospitals serving 75 percent of the same area, providing 75 percent of the same services and keeping 75 percent of the same staff avoid the CON process entirely."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Another attempt to repeal CON

The Birmingham News reports of the Alabama Policy Institute's mission to repeal the state's Certificate of Need law.

"there's no evidence the regulation has reduced health care costs and some evidence that it increases them. Instead, the laws have limited innovation and patients' choice...Michael Morrisey, an health economist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham

This joins a recent article by Fierce Healthcare and the Florida Governor's work to end his state's certificate of need program.

Thirteen other sates have recently repealed the CON.

Please see my recent blog post on CON.

A Must Read

Mandates for Change
By ARNOLD KLING, Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2008

If the Democrats win, they won't be able to increase spending much. But boy, will they regulate...

Thank You

Thank you to Ralph Bristol, Super Talk 99.7 - WWTN and to Mike Slater - WTJS - 1390.

Each interviewed me about my bill HB 2948 - a bill to base licensure of occupations and professions on factual data that proves or disproves a need for licensure.

Thank you to American Family Radio for recenly inviting me to talk about my article on Democratic Socialism.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Florida gov wants to end CON law

Fierce Healthcare reports that Florida's governor wants to end his state's certificate of need program for acute-care hospitals. The article reveals that 13 states have recently repealed the CON.

This is good news. Please see my recent blog post on CON.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bills would put vote in people's hands

Tennessean Column, February 01, 2008

The legislature's Voter Confidence Act Study Committee met last week and approved two very important pieces of legislation to require paper ballots for the new voting technology used in Tennessee. Now the bills head back to the elections subcommittee for reconsideration.

Voters may like the new touch-screen electronic voting equipment but, in retrospect, many are concerned it doesn't increase voter confidence for secure elections at all.

High on the list of noted problems is that Tennessee's new machines are run completely by computer software programs. No paper ballot is produced to back up information or to perform random audits of machine totals for accuracy.

Because the machines employ computer software, few have the skill or ability to verify the software source code for voting integrity. In addition, almost no one has the opportunity to verify the source code. Further, no law requires the source code to be stored for comparison at a later date.

Risk of foul play is real

Even so, a comparison of source code may not reveal if there was tampering. Recent congressional testimony and a report issued by Princeton University's School of Engineering each demonstrate how easily a virus, created to steal an election, can be uploaded into electronic voting machines and then erase all indication of itself after voting is complete, thus eliminating all evidence of foul play.

A simple, verifiable paper trail would help to alleviate many concerns for voters. As each voter casts his or her vote, they verify their choices on an anonymous paper record. Once voting is complete, random audits comparing the paper record to the electronic totals help to confirm the accuracy of the election.

A better alternative may be the optical-scanning machine, which requires each voter to mark a paper ballot. Then, the vote is counted by a scanner. The advantage of this system is that the ballot is retained, it is available for a recount, and it can be stored indefinitely.

Because of the concerns over ballotless voting equipment, some states reconsidered their use of electronic equipment in the 2006 elections. Congress is currently considering banning equipment without a paper ballot and funding replacement machines.

Tennessee House Bill 1256 would mandate replacement of all electronic voting machines without a paper ballot at a cost of $25 million. I believe that the General Assembly should commit to fund this legislation whether or not Congress sends us the money. HB 1282, legislation that I have sponsored each year since 2004, will ensure that going forward, all new voting equipment purchased in Tennessee will have a paper ballot.

A frightening quote by Joseph Stalin states, "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything." Tyranny relies on secret processes controlled by a scant few. The Voter Confidence Act Study Committee has voted to put the ballot back into the hands of the people. Let us pray the General Assembly will ultimately vote to do the same.

State Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, is secretary of the Voter Confidence Act Study Committee.
E-mail: rep.susan.lynn@legislature.state.tn.us

The Tennessee Republican Primary Explained

By: Don Johnson, Executive Director of the Shelby County Republican Party

The Presidential Preference

Your first vote is for a Presidential Preference, or who you want to be the Republican nominee for President. It is the results of this vote that is used to determine how many delegates each Presidential candidate gets out of Tennessee.

Some states are "Winner-take-all", but Tennessee's delegates are allocated proportionally (unless one candidate were to get 2/3rds of the vote) so several candidates are likely to receive statewide delegates or delegates in any of our 9 Congressional Districts. A Presidential candidate must get at least 20% of the vote in either jurisdiction in order to get any delegates.

Here is an example using some previous Republican Presidents

Let's say the statewide result were something like this example:

Tennessee Republican Primary
Statewide vote
Lincoln, Abraham 30%
Reagan, Ronald: 28%
Eisenhower, Dwight 22%
Ford, Gerald 15%
Hoover, Herbert 6%

Ford and Hoover would not receive any delegates because they did not meet the 20% threshold. Delegates would be allocated based on the votes received by Lincoln, Reagan, and Eisenhower. Since 12 delegates are available statewide the distribution would be as follows:

5 delegate spots are for Lincoln
4 delegate spots are for Reagan
3 delegate spots are for Eisenhower

Each Congressional District also elects 3 delegates. Essentially the first place winner gets two and the second place finisher in that district gets one delegate spot:

Tennessee Republican Primary
9th District Results
Eisenhower, Dwight: 36%
Reagan, Ronald: 31%
Lincoln, Abraham: 22%
Ford, Gerald: 8%
Hoover, Herbert: 3%

Additionally, Thirteen delegates are chosen by the Tennessee Republican Party's State Executive Committee and the three RNC members (our State Chairwoman, National Committeeman and Committeewoman) also attend the convention as delegates.
These delegates are not pledged to any particular candidate and you don't have to worry about them on your ballot. This will make a total of fifty-five Tennesseans that will represent all Tennessee Republicans at the National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Voting for Delegates

After you have chosen your Presidential preference, the Republican Party lets the voters decide which individuals get to represent their favored candidate at the Convention.

Essentially, delegates pledged to each Presidential candidate are running against one another in order to get a ticket to represent their man at the Convention. If, using the above example, Lincoln gets 5 statewide delegate spots; the top 5 vote-getting delegate candidates pledged to him will go to the convention.

Do I have to bother voting for delegates at all?

You do not have to vote for any delegates in order for your Presidential Preference to count.
What if my Presidential preference doesn't have 12 statewide delegates (or 3 Congressional district delegates) to vote for?

You can just vote for the ones that are there, or vote for delegates for other Presidential candidates. It will not hurt your Presidential preference.
Can I vote for delegates for other Presidential candidates?

You have the option to vote for delegates who are pledged to candidates other than your own. Using the example above, lets say you are a Reagan supporter but you have a friend from church who is running as a delegate pledged to Lincoln. You can vote for Reagan, which helps him get more delegate spots, and vote for your friend under "Delegates pledged to Abraham Lincoln" to help him/her win the right to represent Lincoln at the Convention.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Democratic Socialism

As we head into another legislative Session and Presidential election year, many are concerned about our elected officials proposing evermore socialist policies and programs. Our nation seems to be split - some want to stop this advance, and clearly others want it to progress.

The late, great economist Milton Friedman often reminded us that throughout history there have been oppressive governments that impose totalitarian socialism on the people – causing untold tyranny, servitude, and misery. As Americans, we reject such oppression.

Yet, many of the very same Americans who regard totalitarian socialism as something evil do not seem to see a problem with democratic socialism.

If it is agreed that socialism takes away our freedom, imposes heavy taxes, and creates heaps of inefficient government bureaucracy, why then is socialism any more palatable just because a legislator votes for it through the democratic process than if a dictator imposes it?

Is it really possible to take freedom away in a kinder gentler manner? As government programs become ever more elaborate and expensive just how much will it ultimately cost to buy the compliance of America?

Today, there seems to be societal confusion over just what constitutes a "right." A constituent asked me, “Do you believe healthcare is a right?” “No, I don’t” was my reply and I went on to explain that if a so called “right” takes something from another person to provide that right to you it is not a right.

My right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness costs others nothing and yet I delight in each of those rights everyday. My right to freedom of speech, religion and my property costs others nothing as well. The government doesn’t provide rights to me – they are mine, given to me by God. The government protects my rights for me.

Socialized healthcare is not a right but a government program. All socialism, democratic or totalitarian, is born of a “Plan” by politicians that think they know better how to spend your money and pretend to care more about your children than you do.

How is it accomplished? It is a gradual process to pass laws that destroy the free market and bring us to our knees begging for government intervention.

However, such programs are destined to be laced with coercion, power struggles, turf wars and pressure from special interests that are assured to grant you less power, choice and money. Ask yourself, do you really want to pathetically beg some politician for something that you should decide for yourself?

Our free enterprise system has produced the greatest nation the world has ever known. Experience shows us that government programs don’t perform market activities as well as the free market. It is time to remind ourselves of the distinction between a "right" and a "program"; "protection" and "provision."

Socialism fosters rationing, inferior quality, poor service, stunted innovation and undermines motivation. Some politicians may have very smooth words that tempt your better judgment and buy your compliance but beware, their rhetoric costs more than we can afford.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Buying Compliance

As we head into another legislative Session and Presidential election year, many are very concerned about our elected officials proposing evermore socialist policies and programs. Our nation seems to be split - some want to stop this advance, and clearly others want to progress with it.

The late, great economist Milton Friedman often reminded us that throughout history there have been oppressive governments that impose totalitarian socialism on the people – causing untold tyranny, servitude, and misery. As Americans, we reject such oppression.

Yet, many of the very same Americans who regard totalitarian socialism as something evil do not seem to see a problem with democratic socialism.

If it is agreed that socialism takes away our freedom, imposes heavy taxes, and creates heaps of inefficient government bureaucracy, why then is socialism any more palatable just because a legislator votes for it through the democratic process than if a dictator imposes it?

Is it really possible to take freedom away in a kinder gentler manner? As government programs become ever more elaborate and expensive just how much will it ultimately cost to buy the compliance of an entire state or a nation?

The genius of our founding fathers is unmatched in the history of civilization. They created a nation based on the blessings of liberty, personal responsibility and free enterprise. Never before had such freedom or prosperity been known.

Far from being anarchists, they formed our government to determine, arbitrate and enforce rules that protect our rights and punish those who would violate our freedom.

But today, there seems to be confusion over just what constitutes a "right." A constituent once asked me, “Do you think healthcare is a right?” “No, I don’t” was my reply and I went on to explain that if a so called “right” takes something from another person to provide that right to you it is not a right.

My right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness costs others nothing and yet I delight in each of those rights everyday. My right to freedom of speech, religion and my property costs others nothing as well. The government doesn’t provide those rights to me – they are mine, given to me by God. The government protects those rights for me...and for you.

Yet, if you say "I have a right to healthcare," you are expressing an expectation to get all the healthcare you want for free. However, if it is your right, why must others suffer to pay for it?

Socialized healthcare is not a right but a government program. All socialism, democratic or totalitarian, is born of a politician with a “Plan.” He typically thinks he knows better how to spend your money, and pretends to care more about your children than you do. All in a scheme to force your dollars out of your pocket into the government coffers for some program that will provide him power and make him immortal. However, the program is destined to be laced with coercion, power struggles, turf wars and pressure from special interests that are assured to grant you less and less power, and less of your own money for time immemorial. Before you know it, you’re pathetically begging some politician for something that you should decide on for yourself.

The carrot to take away your freedom? How do they buy your compliance? They promise you that "they and they alone" will give you something for “free” – in reality, they are offering to purchase your vote with your own money.

Our free enterprise system has produced great riches; therefore, it is tempting for politicians to come up with a “plan” to smooth over the bumps in life. However, the original plan for our nation is a plan that produces the most freedom and prosperity through the protection of our rights. Would taxes be so high if we stuck to the basic elements of:
  1. Providing protection for our citizens inside and outside of our national boundaries
  2. Effective laws and courts to preserve order and provide justice, interpret and enforce private contracts, pronounce punishment, grant restitution, foster competitive markets and counter monopolies
  3. Providing a strong monetary framework and banking system
  4. And protection of the truly helpless (generally the insane and children)

Experience shows us that government just doesn’t perform market activities as well as the free market. Socialism fosters rationing, poor quality, poor service, stunted innovation and undermines motivation. Politicians may have some very smooth words that tempt your better judgment and attempt to buy your compliance but truly their rhetoric will only bankrupt us all.