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ScissorTales: In saving Red Andrews Christmas Dinner, Oklahoma City comes up big again
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Want a glimpse of what happens to businesses reliant on government regulation to stay viable? Take a look at California, where cheese makers benefit from a state law governing the price they pay for milk. The price has been so low that many dairies are now going out of business — an estimated 100 out of roughly 1,600 this year. Dairy owners obviously favor raising the price. Cheese makers argue a milk price increase could drive them out of business given the high cost of operating in California due to its other excessive regulations. To offset the impact of overreaching government regulations, cheese makers are forced to promote ... other overreaching government regulations. Instead of competing through the marketplace and letting consumers ultimately determine price, California's dairies and cheese makers must compete in lobbying state lawmakers. That's no way to run an economy.
Could be worse
Oklahoma Democrats, having further lost seats in the Legislature, may be licking their wounds but things could be worse. In Arkansas, Democrats lost a seat to a Green Party candidate due to self-inflicted wounds. Fred Smith won a state House race after a judge ruled that votes for his Democratic opponent could not be counted. Democratic Rep. Hudson Hallum had pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit election fraud and resigned from office after his name was placed on the ballot. Since no Republican filed for the seat, Smith won by default. Smith previously held the same seat as a Democrat before resigning when facing legal charges of his own. Still, losing to a Green Party candidate at the same time Republicans won control of the Arkansas Legislature had to be salt in the wound for Natural State Democrats.
In the Oklahoma House of Representatives, lawmakers take their oath of office in November, but the House speaker isn't formally elected until January. State Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, suggests that means the House Speaker-elect may not be authorized to expend funds during those two months. That's nonsense, because the House budget was authorized in July. Taken to its logical extreme, Reynolds' argument would have House employees go without pay for two months and then get back pay in January. What public purpose would that serve? Such pharisaical legalism is pointless, but then Reynolds often specializes in such objections. He once debated against his own amendment on the House floor. Reynolds' actions appear united not by ideological commitment, but by the unseemly desire to disrupt orderly operation of the Legislature — even when it's to the detriment of citizens and the cause of good government.
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