Leef laments legal battle against state right-to-work law

George Leef’s latest Forbes column probes an effort to kill Idaho’s right-to-work law through the courts.

If the judge is on your side, you can win a case despite pathetic arguments. So if the cost of losing is near zero and the possible gain from winning is huge, why not launch a suit and see what happens?

That’s the thinking behind a case challenging Idaho’s Right to Work (RTW) statute on the grounds that the state is taking property that belongs to labor unions when it allows workers to keep their jobs even if they don’t pay the dues demanded by the union.

The theory of the suit is that Idaho’s law (and, logically, all other state RTW laws) is unconstitutional because it violates the Fifth Amendment’s provision that private property cannot be taken for public use unless just compensation is paid. As almost everyone knows, that language was included to require the government to justly compensate property owners when their land had to be taken for a public project such as a road or bridge.

But in this day of “living Constitution” jurisprudence, the words of the Constitution mean whatever a judge thinks they should mean, so perhaps the plaintiff union will find friendly judges who agree that when a state allows workers to keep their jobs without paying dues, it has “taken” their “property.”

Still, could any judge take this argument seriously?

Indeed so. In fact, it was actually suggested by a federal judge who was eager to help unions find a winning strategy against RTW. The judge, Diane Wood, who was on the Seventh Circuit panel that heard the legal challenge to Indiana’s RTW statute in Sweeney v. Pence.

Another day older and deeper in debt

Ali Meyer of the Washington Free Beacon reports on the latest projections for federal government debt.

Outstanding federal debt is projected to hit $28.2 trillion over the next decade, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office.

At the end of this year, outstanding federal debt is expected to climb to $19.4 trillion and to rise by $8.8 trillion in the next ten years.

The federal government’s budget deficit, which is the difference between how much money the government spends and how much money it takes in through tax collection, will be $590 billion by the end of 2016, $152 billion more than the previous year.

Government spending is projected to increase by 5 percent, or $178 billion, while government revenue is projected to increase by less than 1 percent, or $26 billion.

The rise in government spending is attributed to a 6 percent increase in outlays for Social Security and Medicare, a 1 percent increase in discretionary spending, and an 11 percent increase in net interest.

“Debt held by the public will amount to nearly 77 percent of GDP by the end of 2016, CBO estimates—3 percentage points higher than last year and its highest ratio since 1950,” the report states. “Three decades from now … debt held by the public is projected to be about twice as high, relative to GDP, as it is this year—which would be higher than the United States has ever recorded.”

The budget office says that rising debt will have serious consequences such as a substantial increase in spending on interest payments, a decrease in the nation’s capital stock, and declining productivity and wages, all of which increase the likelihood of a fiscal crisis.

BLM, BS, and Mizzou misery

Blake Neff of the Daily Caller tallies damage inflicted on the University of Missouri from the Black Lives Matter campaign.

The University of Missouri’s (MU) flagship Columbia campus has officially lost a staggering 23 percent of its freshman class this year, an even worse figure than administrators initially predicted in the wake of major racial strife.

The big enrollment drop at MU has been brewing for months, but finally became a reality this week with the start of fall term on campus. MU’s freshman class this year has some 4,799 students, a drop of over 1,400 from last year, when freshmen numbered 6,211. Overall enrollment is down by over 2,200, a drop of about 7 percent, according to preliminary numbers released by the school.

The drop is even worse than officials at the school were predicting last spring. In March, interim chancellor Hank Foley warned the school was facing a drop of 1,500 students.

The decline is wreaking havoc on the school’s budget, which has a hole of about $30 million. To contain costs and reflect its shrinking population, the school has already shuttered several dormitories.

It’s not hard to find the cause of the school’s woes. Last year, the black activist group Concerned Student 1950 launched a major protest effort, claiming the school was a hotbed of racism and demanding the ouster of MU president Thomas Wolfe. After black members of the football team went on strike, their demands were swiftly met. At the same time, professor Melissa Click was caught on camera attacking a student journalist trying to cover the protests, and calling for “muscle” to carry him off if he refused to leave. Though Click was eventually fired, campus officials otherwise focused on trying to placate protesters and meet their demands, but this only spurred follow-up protests.

‘Science Guy’ no scientist

Ian Tuttle explains at National Review Online why television’s “Science Guy” fails to practice legitimate science.

Bill Nye — “the Science Guy” — thinks that the recent deadly flooding in Louisiana is a result of climate change.

That’s not surprising. Bill Nye thinks everything is the result of climate change. Flooding in Missouri is climate change. Tornadoes in Kentucky is climate change. Fire in Alaska is climate change. A morning thunderstorm in Houston is climate change. One time, there was a blizzard in New York in January. That was climate change, too. The event doesn’t even have to be weather-related. The Islamic State’s massacre of 130 people in Paris last year? You guessed it.

When it comes to Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” it’s almost like “science” has nothing to do with it. …

… Whatever Bill Nye was — to be fair, it’s no small accomplishment making science hip and interesting for millions of students — he is now primarily the foremost science-side participant in the cycle of personal validation and political-agenda-pushing that has come to characterize the relationship between leftwing politics and science. Stipulate that Bill Nye is a scientist. He then proclaims that climate change is not only real, but an apocalyptic threat. Rachel Maddow and Touré and all the other people who already believed that about climate change for political reasons get a fuzzy feeling, because they have been validated by a Scientist. They tousle Bill Nye’s zany hair. Rinse and repeat. Everybody wins.

Hanson pans the diversity fetish

Victor Davis Hanson‘s latest column at National Review Online challenges conventional wisdom about the value of “diversity.”

Emphasizing diversity has been the pitfall, not the strength, of nations throughout history.

The Roman Empire worked as long as Iberians, Greeks, Jews, Gauls, and myriad other African, Asian, and European communities spoke Latin, cherished habeas corpus, and saw being Roman as preferable to identifying with their own particular tribe. By the fifth century, diversity had won out but would soon prove a fatal liability.

Rome disintegrated when it became unable to assimilate new influxes of northern European tribes. Newcomers had no intention of giving up their Gothic, Hunnish, or Vandal identities.

The propaganda of history’s multicultural empires — the Ottoman, the Russian, the Austro-Hungarian, the British, and the Soviet — was never the strength of their diversity. To avoid chaos, their governments bragged about the religious, ideological, or royal advantages of unity, not diversity.

Nor did more modern quagmires like Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Rwanda, or Yugoslavia boast that they were “diverse.” Instead, their strongman leaders naturally claimed that they shared an all-encompassing commonality.

When such coerced harmony failed, these nations suffered the even worse consequences of diversity, as tribes and sects turned murderously upon each other.

For some reason, contemporary America believes that it can reject its uniquely successful melting pot to embrace a historically dangerous and discredited salad-bowl separatism.

This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

North Carolina has jumped from No. 24 to No. 19 in the Cato Institute’s ranking of freedom within the 50 states. Report co-author Jason Sorens of Dartmouth College analyzes North Carolina’s recent improvement for the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Rick Henderson assesses the prospects for third-party candidates to tip the balance in the North Carolina presidential race. Justin Danhof of the National Center for Public Policy Research explains why he questioned Red Hat about its support of legal action against North Carolina’s House Bill 2, the so-called “bathroom law.”

James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation highlights the threat of a potential electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack. Plus you’ll learn why state lawmakers recently highlighted the results of the first bond sales linked to the voter-approved Connect NC package.

New Carolina Journal Online features

The latest Carolina Journal Online interview features a conversation with the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro about highlights from the U.S. Supreme Court’s latest term.

The Daily Journal distinguishes between policy debates that ought to be settled in the legislature and legal disputes that turn on different issues.

Uber still losing big bucks

Ridesharing may well be a disruptive technology, changing how people get around, but so far its not a profitable development. From Bloomberg via the Charlotte Observer:

The ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. is not a public company, but every three months, dozens of shareholders get on a conference call to hear the latest details on its business performance from its head of finance, Gautam Gupta.

On Friday, Gupta told investors that Uber’s losses mounted in the second quarter. Even in the U.S., where Uber had turned a profit during its first quarter, the company was once again losing money.

In the first quarter of this year, Uber lost about $520 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to people familiar with the matter. In the second quarter the losses significantly exceeded $750 million, including a roughly $100 million shortfall in the U.S., those people said. That means Uber’s losses in the first half of 2016 totaled at least $1.27 billion.

And:

“I think what Uber is trying to do is, ‘Hey, look, we’re going to take the losses up front in order to get to disproportionate scale,’” said Robert Siegel, lecturer in management at Stanford’s business school. “The question is when they can get to profitability.”