Walter Williams highlights a slippery slope linked to the ‘bathroom bill’ debate

Walter Williams‘ latest column at Human Events exposes logical flaws in the campaign against North Carolina’s House Bill 2.

North Carolina’s legislative body passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which mandates a statewide policy banning individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex, as opposed to their opinion of their sex. That means people must use bathrooms and other public facilities where occupants can be in various stages of undress according to whether their sex chromosomes are XX, in the case of females, or XY, in the case of males. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community claims that the use of biology to determine sex is oppressive and limits alternatives. I agree. I all but argued this in a column earlier this year titled “You Are What You Say You Are.” Let’s look at some possible benefits of freeing oneself from the oppression of biological determinism.

Say that I am sentenced to a five-year prison term for bank fraud. Though confinement can never be pleasant, I’d find it far more tolerable if I could convince the judge that though biologically I have XY chromosomes, in my opinion I’m really a woman and thus my confinement should be in a female prison with a female cellmate. For the court to fail to take my sexual opinion into consideration would violate our Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, I could say.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, the entire NCAA and the NBA have threatened to remove important games and championships from North Carolina because of its law denying bathroom rights to males who feel as if they are females and females who feel as if they’re males. I am wondering just how consistent they are. Only a few college basketball players have the skills to make it onto a professional team, but most of these players have skills that exceed most players’ skills in the Women’s National Basketball Association. What if a college basketball star were to claim to be transgender and go out for the WNBA? Would the self-righteous NBA leaders come out and support him if he were to be refused? …

… It’s not just basketball that would yield benefits for those with XY chromosomes. What about allowing transgender XY people to box women in the WIBA? Then there are the Olympics. The men’s fastest 100-meter speed is 9.58 seconds. The women’s record is 10.49. What about giving XY people a greater chance at winning the gold by permitting them to compete in the women’s event? …

… For most of history, homosexuals were unfairly persecuted. They pleaded, “Get out of my bedroom. What consenting adults do is no one else’s business.” I share that sentiment, and for the most part, homosexuals have won that objective. Had their early campaign against persecution included a demand that males be permitted to use women’s bathrooms, the persecution they suffered would have continued.

States sue over Obama’s latest overreach

Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt writes at National Review Online about the latest example of federal government overreach that has united multiple states in opposition.

Unlike the federal government, states like Nevada must actually balance their budgets. That means our officials need to make hard choices on spending priorities.

Take state-employee pay, for example. State payroll has to be carefully weighed against many other spending priorities, and sometimes excruciating budgetary decisions have to be made. While these decisions are never easy, what should be easy to see is who should make them: state officials locally elected by the people of Nevada who are actually footing the bill.

So it is doubly insulting that a presidential administration that has nearly doubled the federal deficit has the audacity to decide — by executive fiat, without Congress — that state and local governments across the nation need to pay certain state employees more. That is easy enough to say for a president thousands of miles away who doesn’t have to pony up the money.

But for state and local governments that now have to adjust their budgets to account for an unfunded federal mandate, the hard question is: Where will the money come from? Which state programs will need to be trimmed or cut? Which Peter will have to be robbed to pay Paul?

Federal law requires overtime pay for work over 40 hours a week. This same law also exempts “bona fide executive, administrative, or professional” employees from the overtime requirement. Two years ago, President Obama ordered the federal Department of Labor to “revise” this so-called white-collar overtime exception. Now the department has done just that — by more than doubling the minimum-salary cutoff for overtime pay and instituting a new indexing mechanism that automatically ratchets it up every three years without going through the process required by federal law.

In short, notwithstanding a federal law requiring an overtime exemption for certain types of workers, the federal executive has unilaterally issued a new rule that disallows such an exemption unless those workers make a specific minimum salary. And worse, the president’s new rule will automatically raise that minimum salary every three years, long after the current occupant of the Oval Office has departed. …

… I challenged the president before when he sought to unilaterally change federal law to mean something other than what Congress intended it to mean. Now I am doing so again, leading a coalition of 21 states composed of both governors and state attorneys general.

Forbes columnist lists the national debt among ‘outrages’ that ought to be addressed

Global economist David Malpass devotes his latest Forbes column to eight “outrages.” Malpass tackles topics such as Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, the ransom of American hostages in Iran, and the “designed” failure of Obamacare.

He devotes the most column space to a long-standing problem tied to government spending.

The national debt will surpass $20 trillion in 2017. It should be refinanced at much longer maturities, but the Fed is buying back the long-maturity debt, leaving taxpayers exposed to higher interest rates.

The Congressional Budget Office says that current policies will cause economic growth to be only 2% per year. That stagnation will push debt up another $10 trillion over the next decade.

Politicians claim to have a debt limit, but it’s written in such a way that they can keep spending freely. Washington has tapped into an endless supply of money. The debt limit doesn’t really cut into spending, because it comes into play after the spending has occurred. That’s like saying you won’t eat a single bite until you’ve lost ten pounds, calling that a diet and renewing the pledge every month.

The only solution that will help taxpayers is to rewrite the debt limit so that it provides actual restraint on spending once the government exceeds it. One concept for the rewrite is to require a gradual decline in debt as a share of GDP. If violated, apply additional spending restraint. Escalate the restraint with more powerful rules until the debt gets back to its downward glide path.

Under current policies the CBO is projecting a steady increase in the public debt-to-GDP ratio to 85.5% in 2026 versus 75.6% today and 39.3% in 2008. It’s imperative to reverse this uptrend. The reality is that debt as a share of GDP is likely to go up unless policies change dramatically in favor of faster GDP growth and slower spending growth.

Forbes foresees ‘reckoning’ for central banks

Steve Forbescontribution to the latest issue of Forbes magazine focuses on the role central banks have played in hurting economic growth.

THE BIGGEST, most immediate obstacle to a vigorous recovery for the U.S. and global economies is the disastrous monetary policies of the major central banks, most notably the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and the Bank of England (BOE). Their policies of quantitative easing (QE) and zero interest rates have massively distorted global credit markets and severely hobbled recovery from the 2008–09 economic crisis. Their actions have not only stood in the way of a genuine economic revival but also persuaded governments to put off badly needed structural reforms, because stimulus from easy money would do the job instead!

The manifest failure of these institutions to spark a genuine economic revival has finally begun to generate a much-needed examination of what has gone wrong. Recognizing that there’s a major problem is the first essential step in coming up with solutions and reforms. …

… [T]he Fed’s insufferable, we-know-it-all arrogance has taken a long-overdue hit, opening up the possibility of a productive examination next year. The House has already passed legislation long pushed by Representative Kevin Brady (R–Tex.) that would set up a bipartisan commission to conduct a thorough study of monetary policy. The Senate should quickly follow suit.

This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

With Election Day approaching, candidates in North Carolina’s down-ballot races are vying for attention. Competitors in the state’s open race for attorney general recently debated in Asheboro. Rick Henderson analyzes that debate and highlights other recent election developments for the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

John Hood assesses North Carolina’s electoral landscape during the campaign’s home stretch, and you’ll hear highlights from the N.C. State Board of Elections’ recent debates about local early-voting locations and hours of operation.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s senior education adviser, Catherine Truitt, discusses prospects for education innovation through digital learning. Plus Jon Sanders explains the links between North Carolina’s price-gouging law and the recent state gasoline shortage.

New Carolina Journal Online features

Barry Smith reports for Carolina Journal Online on an audit exposing a doctor who overcharged the state for thousands of hours never worked at state prisons.

Julie Tisdale’s Daily Journal questions Cumberland County’s agreement to shift tax money from schools to a proposed minor-league baseball stadium.

The Navy shakes up its career structure

Per the Navy Times:

The Navy deep-sixed all of its 91 enlisted ratings titles Thursday, marking the beginning of an overhaul of the rigid career structure that has existed since the Continental Navy in a radical shift sure to reverberate through the fleet and the veterans community beyond.

Sailors will no longer be identified by their job title, say, Fire Controlman 1st Class Joe Sailor, effective immediately. Instead, that would be Petty Officer 1st Class Joe Sailor.

Officials say the controversial move will improve sailors’ lives and ease their transition into the civilian workforce by broadening their skills in this tectonic shift in Navy’s personnel system to redraw the traditional lines between enlisted job specialties — a massive shake-up that is only beginning. Within the next three to four years, earlier if possible, the service plans to allow sailors to retrain in related skills, expanding their worth to the Navy while reaping broader assignment opportunities as well as increased advancement changes and greater access to special pays and bonuses that come with the most critical skills.

As a civilian that follows the Navy and military justice closely, let’s just say that the Navy’s existing rank/rating structure is pretty much incomprehensible to those that haven’t served in one of the sea services. Good to see the Navy do something about that.

Meanwhile on the Outer Banks…

Per the Virginian Pilot, this happened earlier this week:

An abandoned makeshift boat that may have carried Cuban refugees washed ashore in Avon Tuesday afternoon.

The boat made of metal pipe, angle iron, wood and pieces of rigid foam carried a store of supplies including bottles of water, sardines and fuel, said Jarvis Williams of Jarvis’ Towing.

“It was amazing,” he said.

Someone reported the boat to authorities Tuesday. Rangers from Cape Hatteras National Seashore and members of the Avon Volunteer Fire Department came to see it between Avon Fishing Pier and beach access ramp 38, said Michael Barber, spokesman for the seashore.

The boat did not appear damaged and showed no signs that it had capsized, Williams said. Supplies were intact. A diesel engine still cranked. Labels on water bottles and fuel containers were from Cuba.

The boat appeared to have been abandoned for a while, said Joe Darling, ranger at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Coast Guard had not marked the boat with orange paint to signify the occupants had been rescued, a typical practice, he said.

Weird.