Sunday, March 13, 2022

Your March 13th Sunday Summary ...

Dear Friend of TJI,
“The (U.S. Senate Democrats’) windfall-tax proposal shows that Democrats don’t want U.S. companies to produce more oil so gasoline prices fall. They want higher gas prices so reluctant consumers buy more electric vehicles. They can’t say this directly because it would be politically suicidal in an election year with the average gas price above $4 a gallon, so they do it indirectly via taxes and regulation.”
-- Wall Street Journal editorial
March 12, 2022

Meanwhile ...
1.) Matters are no better in the Old Dominion, where Senior Fellow Steve Haner explores the defeated efforts to roll back expensive rate cost increases imposed by last year’s legislature, concluding “The Green New Deal Still Rules” (here).
2.) The one hope, as he wrote the piece Friday morning, was that the Virginia State Senate would see its way clear to prohibiting local governments from using building codes and local regulation to make Virginia look like San Francisco (here). No such luck. While the final version of HB1257 will protect the customers of municipal gas companies in Charlottesville, Richmond and Danville from being cut off, localities like Fairfax County and others are free to go down the road of passing local ordinances to grab your gas (here).
3.) The parade towards unreliable solar and wind does hit occasional speedbumps in some jurisdictions, as Surry County rejects a solar farm (here) and a judge sends a wind farm back for review in Botetourt (here). Over at Virginia Commonwealth University, a new study demonstrates that creating solar farms means ... well, cutting down thousands of acres of trees (here) – something environmentalists apparently did not think about but which was anticipated by the campaign to repeal the Virginia Clean Economy Act (here) and noted by Michael Shellenberger at the Thomas Jefferson Institute’s September Energy Conference (here).
4.) While the General Assembly has adjourned, leaving about two dozen bills to be completed in a special session, the budget remains an open question as the House fights in conference committee for higher tax reductions and the Senate seeks more spending. A recent Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association poll, which Senate leadership seemingly has not seen, showed 68 percent of Virginians wanted the money back (here). With a $16.7 billion surplus, the issue is graphically summed up in our graph here, demonstrating more than enough left to protect taxpayers from the Northam Administration’s tax increases (here). Jefferson Institute social media advertising has reached nearly 200,000 Virginians urging they contact legislators with a clear message: Enact true tax reform (not just one-year rebates) by doubling the standard deduction and supporting the House budget. You can find your legislator and send your message by clicking here.
5.) In what Senator Adam Ebbin maturely called “teaching the House a lesson,” Senate Democrats rejected Governor Glenn Youngkin’s appointees to the Virginia Parole Board, unintentionally highlighting the parole board scandal under former Governor Northam (here) and rejecting three women, including one who survived being shot in the head while serving as a police officer, a Latina advocate for sexual and domestic violence survivors and a Black female law professor. By the standards of the Left, their vote was “anti-female, anti-Latina and anti-Black.” This leaves the Parole Board unable to operate or parole anyone. The action drew immediate criticism from the current Parole Board Chair Chadwick Dotson (here), ridicule from the Right (here), and bewilderment from the Center (here).
6.) After having its new race-driven admissions policies for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) rejected by a federal court (here), Fairfax County Public Schools asked for a stay of the judge’s order. Judge Claude Hilton rejected the request, ruling that the school system has been aware for months that its process could be in jeopardy (here). 
7.) The TJHSST admissions saga, along with actions in Loudoun County, helped to spark much of the parent pushback against school shutdowns and use of critical race theory to inform instruction. Leading the way in both has been Asra Nomani, a Muslim Democrat who became an unexpected anti-woke education activist with Parents Defending Education (here). Nomani recently appeared before Congress (here) at a hearing in which Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee met her match (here). Nomani has a new book coming out later this year, and we anticipate having her as a guest speaker at a Jefferson Institute Federal Policy Dinner soon after.
8.) President Joe Biden has correctly announced an overdue embargo of Russian oil, liquified natural gas and coal (here). Two days later, it was announced that inflation has now hit the highest level in four decades (here). We suspect that the embargo will now become a Biden excuse for inflation growth and that, in his own mind, they are connected (here). The causes of inflation were long ago baked in, as the American Enterprise Institute’s Desmond Lachman (here), our friend Steve Moore (here), and The Wall Street Journal make clear (here).  Conservatives should not let the Left get away with "doing the right thing" becoming an excuse for the consequences of all the wrong things they’ve done.
9.) Would Americans respond to an invasion of their country the way Ukrainians have responded to the invasion of theirs? A Quinnipiac University poll (here) provides an answer and the response was not exactly Red Dawn (here). Fifty-five percent of Americans say they would stay and fight: 68 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of Independents, and 40 percent of Democrats (here). Two generations of Americans have absorbed an education and a culture defining America in terms suggesting a moral equivalency with other forms of government. It is not unfair to submit that this is the consequence.
Finally ... 34 years ago, we were warned.
Happy Sunday, Everyone.
Let those conversations begin.
Chris Braunlich
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The Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

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