Sunday, April 3, 2022

Your April 3rd Sunday Summary ...

Dear Friend of TJI,
“One road is all too familiar to us. It leads ultimately to higher taxes.
It merely brings us full circle back to the source of our economic problems, where the government decides that it knows better than you what should be done with your earnings and, in fact, how you should conduct your life. 
The other road promises to renew the American spirit. It’s a road of hope and opportunity. It places the direction of your life back in your hands where it belongs.
-- Ronald Reagan
Meanwhile ...
1.) As the General Assembly budget conference committee continues to discuss whether you get to keep more of your earnings, we weighed in with a commentary at the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star (here), reprinted at a half-dozen other news outlets. What the General Assembly does depends on what an informed Virginia insists on. Identify and contact your legislator by clicking here. Sign our Tax Petition by clicking here.
2.) One reason we are fighting hard is because of the Biden-induced inflation Virginians are witnessing, now at a 40 year high (here), which will confiscate the income of Virginians and one of the reasons we continue to favor indexing tax rates as well. Over at The Bull Elephant, our good friend Hans Bader notes the well-founded concerns about inflation (here). In The Wall Street Journal, the former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the director of the Political Economy Research Institute explain “How Inflation Raises Your Taxes” here.
3.) Europe is proud of the fact that it is “going wind and solar.” This weekend, however, energy prices in Europe about doubled. Institute Senior Fellow Steve Haner reports on European experts warning that if the U.S. does the same, “it will end in tears.” (here) He also reports in Bacon’s Rebellion on another try to get badly-needed natural gas to Hampton Roads (here).
4.) In Prince William County, initial efforts by the teachers union to impose monopoly union contracts has hit a roadblock: Seems the School Board wants to actually certify the union petitions and not just take union organizers’ word for it (here). This is what comes of an overly broad statute that fails to protect public employees, and the Jefferson Institute’s Visiting Fellow Vinnie Vernuccio is working to overcome that – for starters, with the Institute’s Collective Bargaining Toolkit warning county, city, and school board leadership of what union organizers will try to do (here). It’s a link worth sending your local elected officials.
5.) “Putting Children First” is the subject of The Virginia Education Summit May 7, sponsored primarily by the Middle Resolution Policy Network (the Thomas Jefferson Institute will be a co-sponsor). Speakers include Ian Prior, Executive Director of Fight for Schools; Congressman Bob Good, West Virginia State Senator Patricia Rucker; the Feulner Center’s Katharine Gorka; and Back to School Pennsylvania’s Beth Ann Rosica. A training session for those interested in running for local School Board will be held on May 6. General Admission registration is $125 and you can register by clicking here. For more information, email
6.) Many years ago, our predecessor had the notion of taking on Rick Hess as a Senior Fellow. Mr. Hess had other ideas and went on to run the education shop at the American Enterprise Institute, where he notes that Mr. Jefferson would be embarrassed by UVA today (here), observes that “rigorous” high school courses aren’t so rigorous anymore (here), and discusses how classroom civics discussions might properly be informed by the Russian invasion (here) – all in the last week. He’ll be interviewing Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera on Virginia’s plan for public education at 4:30 pm on April 12. You can register to participate by clicking here.
7.) In the rush for criminal justice leniency, the General Assembly in 2020 made it illegal for police to ticket owners for overly loud vehicles. They did not, however, bother to ask their constituents about that proposal, including Rev. Robin Mines, president of the Swansboro West Civic Association and Associate Minister at Richmond’s Hood Temple AME Zion Church (here). Tired of intentionally loud exhaust systems and people “driving like they’re on a drag strip,” she spent the last year working to successfully reverse the law, arguing that “We can’t keep bending the rules and letting our (black) neighborhoods go down because we’re feeling sorry for someone who can’t follow the rules like the rest of us.”   The Legislative Black Caucus, beholden to their social justice warrior constituents, ignored their real constituents and opposed it, but the bill overwhelmingly passed. It is now on Governor Youngkin’s desk and we trust he’ll sign.
8.) Back to Bacon’s Rebellion,  where our friend Jim Bacon, who is becoming the “go to guy” on free speech and the college campus makes the point that without free speech there is no intellectual diversity (here).
9.) Remember when we were told “We are long past the day when a wife’s opinions are assumed to be the same as her husband’s”? In The Wall Street Journal, Jason Riley remembers and calls the hypocrites out by name as the attacks on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas continue (here). His bosses say Thomas should not recuse himself (here). And in National Review, former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy (a former Jefferson Federal Policy Dinner speaker) provides example after example of why the attacks are transparently partisan politics (here). It is a good time to revisit the Created Equal, a documentary about Thomas’ life (here).
10.)               Three factors drive population change: People are born, die and move. What factors affected your locality’s changes in the 14 months ending in July 2021? And what do the winners and losers suggest for the political future of Virginia? The Virginia Public Access Project provides the data here.
11.)               A “Disney story” used to be uncomplicated, but the company’s current saga is anything but. Disney CEO Bob Chapek said he wouldn’t get the company involved in opposing the Florida Parental Rights in Education bill, which would ban classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade “in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate” and would require parents be told when a child seeks school counseling. Possibly, this was because when given the provisions of the bill, parents (Disney’s customer base) support it (here and here).  This angered a number of employees supporting LBGTQ issues and more than 100 walked out (here). Chapek backtracked and said the company had quietly tried to oppose the bill. There is no evidence of that (here). Florida Governor Ron DeSantis refused to back down (here) and is now questioning Disney’s status as a special administrative zone (a form of “privilege?”) allowing them to avoid local zoning regulations and other laws (here). 
Meanwhile, conservative Disney employees (here) released a letter urging the company to remain politically neutral, and saying they fear for their jobs as “our beliefs come under attack from our own employer.” (here) Congressional candidate (and Disney employee) Jose Castillo claims a majority of Disney employees support the law and disagree with Disney’s stance (here).  The company itself has now announced it will no longer welcome “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls” in an effort to scrub gender roles (here), and Variety reports that a same-sex kiss has been restored in a forthcoming Pixar move, Lightyear (here). It’s a woke world, after all.
Finally ... As Disney digs itself deeper, it’s best to remember when 10-year-old imaginations could run free in a simpler time.
Happy Sunday, Everyone.
3, 2, 1 ...
Chris Braunlich
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