Wednesday, April 27, 2011

White House releases Obama's birth certificate

The White House this morning has released the president's long form birth certificate in an attempt to put the birther issue to rest.

In a statement today, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer writes:

"The President believed the distraction over his birth certificate wasn’t good for the country. It may have been good politics and good TV, but it was bad for the American people and distracting from the many challenges we face as a country. Therefore, the President directed his counsel to review the legal authority for seeking access to the long form certificate and to request on that basis that the Hawaii State Department of Health make an exception to release a copy of his long form birth certificate. They granted that exception in part because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting."
All we can say right now, judging from the recent comments and mail we've received, is, "Yeah, good luck with that."

You can download the certificate here:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Douthat on median income: I apologize (sort of)

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat is catching some flack for his recent New York Times column that said the median income for a family of four is $94,900. Say what?!! exclaimed several readers in comments to the column, which also was published in Tuesday's Observerl under the title, "Crushing America's promise." Some readers noted that the median household income reported by the Census for 2010 is only about $50,000 per year, half the figure Douthat used.

On his blog Monday Douthat took note of the criticism, "apologized for the confusion" and explained himself - though he didn't change his column or the conclusions he reached. Here's what he said:

A Note on Median Income
My column today includes an estimate, taken from this Congressional Budget Office report, of what a median-income family would pay in taxes over the next few decades under the “current law baseline” — a scenario in which tax rates rise fast enough to cover the budget deficit without any kind of entitlement reform. The median income figure the C.B.O. used (see Table 4-4 on p. 65 of the report) is $94,900 for a family of four, which (as a number of readers have noted) seems much higher than the usual estimates for median income in a four-person household. It turns out that I didn’t catch a crucial footnote in the C.B.O. document: “All income is assumed to be from compensation, which includes employment-based health insurance and the employer’s share of payroll taxes.” That is to say, the $94,900 in income includes the estimated value of the median family’s health care plan as well as their salary, which is not what most people think of when they hear the term “median income.” I apologize for the confusion.

Ummm. Got that?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reduce dropouts, save millions in Charlotte

If the 11,200 who dropped out had actually stayed and graduated from schools in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord area last year, they could be generating $63 million more a year in earnings for this area. They also could boost state tax revenues by $6.5 million annually and be spending $46 million more on services and products annually.

That's part of the value the Alliance for Excellent Education put on reducing dropouts in eight metro areas of North Carolina in a report released Monday.

The Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord area logged the most dropouts of the areas examined - more than twice as many as the area with the next highest dropout figure (Raleigh-Cary with 5,200) - and thus had the most to gain from declines in the number of dropouts.

According to the Alliance, "the study demonstrates the gross increase in important economic factors such as individual earnings, job creation, spending and investment, home and auto sales, tax revenues, and human capital based on reducing by half the number of students from the Class of 2010 who failed to graduate on time."

“The best economic stimulus is a high school diploma,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “From the individual student to the bank branch manager, new car salesman, or Realtor, everyone wins when more students graduate from high school.” For the entire report and information on other states and other N.C. communities assessed - Greensboro/High Point, Fayetteville, Durham/Chapel Hill and Asheville, Wilmington and Winston-Salem - go to findings for North Carolina and the nation as a whole.