In the 2014 Republican primary in Texas, in many of the races we have lots of good choices. Our job is to pick the best candidates and tell you why. We will roll out endorsements on a weekly basis.
Railroad Commissioner - Malachi Boyuls
The energy industry is the lifeblood of Texas, which makes Texas Railroad Commissioner one of our most important elected offices. As a regulatory agency, the RRC can either facilitate growth with common sense regulation or bring it to an economy-busting grinding halt with a heavy regulatory hand. Malachi Boyuls understands this fact; both as a former environmental attorney where he discovered a passion and a gift for going toe-to-toe with the Federal Government on behalf of the private sector and also as the head of an investment firm that helps spur growth and create jobs in the energy industry. We also get the sense that Boyuls' passion for the industry makes the RRC post one that he views as a calling where he can truly make a difference, rather than a stepping stone to higher office. It is his combination of regulatory knowledge, private sector perspective and passion for the industry that makes Malachi Boyuls the best choice for Texas Railroad Commission.
Texas State Senate District 7 - Paul Bettencourt
Like his political hero Ronald Reagan, Paul Bettencourt is a principled conservative who thinks about the taxpayer first, not last. He has a great background as a GOP party leader, a strong family man, a small businessman, and former Tax Assessor-Collector.
Over the last 20 years it is hard to think of any major conservative policy effort in Harris County Paul didn't help lead. He will be a difference maker in Austin with relentless focus on conservative public policy.
It is often said you know someone by their opponents. Paul has been a bÍte noire to the left wing media in Texas.
His opponent is forever losing challenges to Representative Debbie Riddle (by almost 4 -1), has no message except he wants to be a Senator and he has the support of liberal education PAC's.
In this race there is no choice - elect Bettencourt in the State Senate, and we can all celebrate.
Texas State Senate District 17 - Joan Huffman
A respected former District Judge and prosecutor, Joan Huffman is seeking a third term in the Texas Senate and TCR recommends she be elected. While in the senate she has demonstrated strong conservative leadership on criminal justice, fiscal responsibility, economic development, and children's health and education.
When we endorsed her in 2008 we commented, "Huffman's life story is inspiring. She was a secretary who became a top prosecutor and then an effective and popular Criminal District Court Judge. Joan has proven in her career that she stands firm on conservative principles. Whether it's illegal immigration, health care, education, or taxes, Huffman will be on the right side for us ... Joan's distinguished career reflects the character we need in the Texas Senate in these challenging times." What was true in 2008 is still true.
263rd District Court, Harris County - Jim Wallace
An experienced jurist completing 20 years on the bench. Judge Jim Wallace is a Board Certified Specialist in criminal law, an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law and a co-author of Criminal Pattern Jury Charges published by the State Bar of Texas.
Judge Wallace is a former Assistant District attorney and is known for his conservatism on the bench. TCR wholeheartedly supports Judge Wallace's re-election. Let's keep him working hard for us.
Paul Simpson Joins Jared Woodfill In Opposing Houston Mayor Parker's Partner Benefits Executive Order
Paul Simpson, in an exchange of letters with TCR has clarified his position on Mayor Parker's illegal overreaching in extending partner benefits to city employees. He in fact supports the position of HCRP Chair Jared Woodfill in opposing the Mayor's actions.
"I also oppose Annise Parker's outrageous acts that violate the will of the citizens of Houston," Simpson stated.
What we at TCR still don't understand is how Simpson ended up in an article criticizing HCRP's involvement in social issues on the Washington Times website (as reflected in the GOP platform) given his stated position in opposition.
TCR also wonders if in fact, as has been alleged by his supporters and critics, that if elected, Simpson intends to de-emphasize social issues as one of the focuses of the Harris County Republican Party? If so, it would invariably result in the Party being nonresponsive to the Mayor's recent actions.
This is an important discussion going on relative to the place of social issues as part of the 2014 Republican Party agenda, and we will continue to cover this discussion.
Why Obamacare Cannot Succeed
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor
Now that Obamacare has actually been unleashed on the unsuspecting American public, there is mass speculation about whether it will succeed as a program. Each political side presents its arguments with many former supporters caught in the middle. But if you understand how insurance works, it is basic that the program cannot work without even more coercion than is in the law as presently constituted.
Prior to the passing of this massive law, there was a basic pattern how health insurance matters worked in most states, which is where these decisions were made. The state had an insurance commissioner to oversee insurance companies. The state legislatures would establish laws regarding health insurance policies which were far more extensive than for auto or homeowners' insurance. The legislature would be lobbied by either a special interest group or by a few "suffering" souls, and new mandatory benefits like chiropractors or maternity care would be included in each policy. Basic policies were larded up with so much that affordability became difficult for families or businesses. Choice became limited as rules became dictated and basic catastrophic policies became limited in their availability.
With all that being said, the insurance companies never breached certain taboos which they knew would break the bank and make policies soar beyond any reasonable economic sense. It was not because the insurance companies were just cold, heartless corporate animals. These benefits were not part of policies because the people who operate insurance companies knew through sophisticated mathematical analysis they would have to charge such outlandish fees that the average person would be overwhelmed financially.
In step the Democrats of Washington who had a guiding light - equality. Everyone should bear the burden equally for the minority who cannot instead of addressing those individuals in a different manner.
There are many "benefits" that were mandated by Obamacare, but three were particularly financially unsustainable or corrupting:
1. The lifting of lifetime caps on benefits: The insurance companies never did this because they cannot calculate what their potential outlays would be in the future to be able to estimate what should be properly charged to policy holders. They are shooting at an unknown and moving target. They now have no choice but to jack up premiums to cover the potential costs.
2. Pre-existing conditions: The insurance companies limited their exposure from new policyholders to highly-expensive illnesses because they would have needed to either charge exorbitant rates to limited individuals to cover the risks or massively increased the rates of others not afflicted with the same ailments.
One might ask that since employer-sponsored plans do not exclude people for pre-existing conditions now why this will be such a problem. That is because the insurance companies are able to amortize their costs over the members of the policy.
In this new situation they will just being throwing people into an insurance group without any actuarial analysis. There is a program that does that now - it is called Medicare. That is a large reason expenditures for Medicare are out of control.
3. Equal charges for the two sex - Feminists never liked that insurance companies charged more for health insurance for women than for men. But you did not hear them arguing about auto insurance premiums that were higher for young males than for young females. The reason those rates were higher was because young males drove more and had more accidents. In California, in an attempt at equality, Proposition 103 eliminated different charges for males and females, so young girls were stuck with higher insurance bills to cover their boyfriends' errant behavior.
In the same manner, insurance companies were not charging women more because the people who operated the companies hated their mothers. It was because women use medical services more frequently than men and therefore incur higher costs. They were charging the people who used the services for what they were using.
All of these new policies as part of Obamacare are wonderful in a make-believe world. But insurance is based on mathematical calculations. Actuaries study pools of policy holders and then calculate based on historical data what the projected outlays will be, then figure overhead and profit above that. That is how they come up with a monthly fee for members of their group.
Obamacare threw that all out the window. They figured on a group of young people obtaining insurance at rates above what their medical care experience would warrant. They have caused people to have significantly increased premiums, most with much higher deductibles. That is all with what for the most part are much smaller pools of providers (doctors and hospitals).
There are some winners, but most people are financial losers. That was never explained to Americans, but now that it is hitting them personally they are revolting. That is why there are so many penalties in the law. This is not sustainable on its own without threats and coercion. You could surmise that the writers of the bill new it would be hated. That is why crafters of the legislation wrote so many penalties into the plan. If the plan is so hotsy totsy people should be running to get it -- not running away?
One of two things will happen. The program will fail on the weight of its outrageously expensive requirements, or it will remain in place but only with the addition of much higher penalties and more threats of actions against those who won't willingly overpay for their health insurance. We donít believe the latter will be tolerated by the American people so we are left with the former.
Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland, liberal commentator David Jones and moderator Linda Lorelle on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8.1, replaying Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8.1, Mondays at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
Red, White & Blue returns on January 17, 2014.
Should marijuana be legal, featuring Pastors Roundtable head Dave Welch, and 2014 Primary preview show.
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About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his fifteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last twelve years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 10 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his twelfth year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.