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NEWS and OPINIONS by BILL STANLEY
If You Are A Low-Income Earner In Puerto Rico, Why Work?
(5 July 2015) A household of 3 eligible for food stamps, AFDC, Medicaid and utilities subsidies could receive $1,743 per month, compared to a minimum-wage earner's after-tax pay of $1,159. It is no surprise only 40% of the adult population is employed or looking for work. The population declined for the first time in 2006, and has decreased from more than 3.8 million to less than 3.6 million. (Source: 29 June 2015 Puerto Rico - A Way Forward)
Solar Plant Producing Only 40% Of Design Value
(5 July 2015) The $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar power project in California's Mojave Desert is supposed to generate more than a million megawatt-hours of electricity each year. After 15 months, the plant is producing just 40% of that amount. (Source: U.S. Energy Dept., 15 June 2015 National Center for Policy Analysis)
Sotomayor Claims Property Rights Not Violated If Only Some Of Your Property Is Confiscated
(25 June 2015) A 1937 law that allows the Dept. of Agriculture to manipulate the prices of crops by controlling the supply that reaches the marketplace resulted in a 1949 marketing order that allows raisin farmers to form a committee that decides how much of the crop must be turned over to the government each year. The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that it is unconstitutional for the government to force raisin farmers to give up part of their annual crop for less than it's worth. The Court rejected the government's argument that the plaintiff voluntarily chose to participate in the raisin marketing order when he decided not to grow a different crop. Justice Sotomayor, chosen by Czar Obama, was the lone dissenter. Her support for a more authoritarian government was evident when she argued the raisin supply control program was constitutional because it did not deprive the plaintiff of all property rights, it just limited the amount of potential income the plaintiff could earn from part of his raisin crop. (Source: 23 June 2015 Associated Press)
21.3% Of People Get Assistance Based On Their Low Income
(25 June 2015) In 2012, an average 21.3% participated in major government assistance programs for low-income people. Medicaid had the highest participation rate 15.3%. Food stamps was 13.4%. The black participation rate was 41.6% Hispanics 36.4% Asians / Pacific Islanders 17.8% non-Hispanic whites 13.2% female head-of-households 50% did not graduate from high school 37.3%. (Source: 28 May 2015 Census Bureau)
Chicago's Municipal Bonds Are "Junk"
(25 May 2015) Chicago's credit rating was reduced 2 notches, leaving municipal bonds at "junk" status. Government-employee pensions are so underfunded, the shortfall will be nearly 6 times the city's annual budget. The pension debt, quadruple what it was 10 years ago, is $60,000 per household. The Illinois Supreme Court said pensions are sacred, so defaulting is not an option. (Sources: Illinois Policy Institute, 12 May 2015 Moody's, 19 May Fox News)