Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Advice from a Louisiana Republican

Bobby Jindal with Peter Schweizer and Curt Anderson. Leadership and Crisis. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., Eagle Publishing Company, 2010.

This autobiography of Louisiana's Governor begins with an attack on President Obama for visiting his during the major oil spill and not once mentioning the spill. Obama discussed being asked to provide food stamps to those losing employment from the spill and was upset over public criticism. He felt Obama was more interested in having the press see him involved than actually providing solutions to containing the spill itself.

Jindal criticizes Federal plans on the oil spill. He thought the plan to burn marshes contaminated with oil was "crazy". He believes the Federal government failed to deliver enough resources. Jindal believes multiple actions are needed to control a spill, from placing sand bags to skimmers to constructing sand berms. He further believes the Federal government was slow to obtain funds from BP for containing the spill they caused. He further believes the Federal government failed to challenge the informaiton BP was providing and they should have been questioining their assertions.

Jindal concludes a central command from a remote locaiton can't properly oversee a crisis. This crisis led Jindal to create principals of leadership during a crisis. These principles are to learn from the front of the action, act quickly when urgency so dictates, get advice from those on the scene and familiar with the locality, advise the Federal government what is needed from them instead of stalling while they decide what they think should be done, inform the public with as much information as possible, when something doesn't work act quickly to make changes, require excellent and refuse to accept competence, work towards solutions regardless of their political consequence, consider historic responses and then "throw it out" and improvise new reactions, and prepare alternatives.

Jindal describes getting into politics, noting in Louisiana it is "Bible belt during the day, knife fighting after dark."

Jindal's father is from India. Jindal grew up in Louisiana and states he faced few difficulties as the son of Hindu parents. He converted to Catholicism. He argues it is prejudicial to assume Louisiana residents are prejudiced.

Jindal distrusts the national press. He argues that the issues concerning the people of Louisiana are their taxes, the condition of their infrastructure, and the state budget. The national press seems more concerned over hot button issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and creationism even though these are not issues facing Louisiana state government.

Jindal once gave the Republican response to a President Obama speech. He admits "I blew it". He states he has trouble reading off teleprompters.

Jindal's given name is Piyush. He chose the nickname Bobby in preschool because he liked the Bobby Brady TV character. His parents accepted his new nickname.

Jindal was appointed the head of Louisiana's Health and Hospitals Department at age 24. He became head of the University of Louisiana eight university system at age 27. He was upset to learn universities were more concerned about attracting more students than in properly preparing students with good educations.

Jindal notes that spending on education has increased but results are not improving. He admits resources are important and spending per se makes little difference. He believes teacher pay should be related to their students' performances. As Governor, he led passage of a law allowing parents to choose any school, public parochial, and participating private, to send a child with 90% of the school allocation for that child going to the chosen school He believe competition among schools will force them to prove their educational offerings. He notes this will open up better private schools to students who otherwise couldn't afford to attend them.

When Jindal ran for Governor at age 31, he was one of 17 candidates. He polled at 3% in the first poll he took. His campaign ran only on radio with no TV ads due to its small budget. He proposed 20 reforms and ran on those. His proposals included more ethics, attracting businesses, and helping more small businesses. He faced two candidates who spent $10 million of their own money. He finished first in the preliminary round with 33% of the vote yet, since new candidate won a majority, Louisiana has a runoff between the top two candidates. He lost to Democratic Lt. Gov. Kathleen Blanco by 52% to 48%,

The next year, Jindal was elected to Congress. He found many members of Congress were arrogant and expected special treatment wherever they went. Legislation is complex, written by staff, and is not read by members of Congress. Congressional hearings were often for speeches and not for legitimate legislative inquiry. Congressional debate is usually for cameras before otherwise empty rooms.

Jindal notes that the 2009 Federal budget, when Bush left office, was almost as large as the entire 200 budget, Clinton's last year. Jindal doesn't mention Bush on this fact,

Jindal supports term limits, a part time Congress, a Federal balanced budget, a pay as you go Constitutional amendment, giving the President line item veto over budgetary items. He notes Louisiana cut its state budget by 14% in Fiscal Year 2010-11.

Jindal notes the Pennsylvania Constitution used to require legislators have a honest profession. This was so they wouldn't become career politicians.

Jindal is upset over the bureaucracy that hampered rescue operations of people trapped by flooding after the Katrina hurricane. Bureaucrats demanded stores close when they were needed to be open to sell supplies, Volunteers contributing food were turned away for food safety law reasons,

Jindal, the son of immigrants, favors secure borders while allowing immigration from highly skilled people and those escaping persecution from Cuba and elsewhere. He claims most low income immigrants remain low income and receive $10,000 more in government benefits over the national household average. He favors building a high tech fence along our Southern border. He also favors declaring English as the official language to urge immigrants to learn English.

Jindal campaigned for greater ethics. He sought to disallow legislaotrs, who are part time, from being employed by lobbying firms, requiring financial disclosures from legislators, disallowing being a government employee while owning, even partially, a business that has a government contract. He made ethics a top priority as Governor and ethic laws have been enacted.

Health care is a concern of Jindal's. He argues that health care decisions have become political and that the system has much waste. He notes the Federal government agrees it improperly spent $50 billion on Medicare in 2009. He believes health care spending should reflect outcomes, should involve consumers, and there should be more information provided on costs.

Jindal calls for subsidizing private health insurance to get them to take on more risk. He does not favor expanding Medicaid to fill this role. He wants health insurance portability for when people move or change jobs, to permit voluntary insurance purchasing pools through an employer, union, or church, to reduce lawsuits against doctors, to increase the use of the tax free Health Savings Accounts, to provide discounts of health insurance for healthy life styles, to provide tax credits and tax refunds for insuring the uninsured,, and for educating people on reducing health care costs

Jindal favors nuclear energy and questions the reliability of solar energy, He calls the unreliability of nuclear power a myth that evolved from what he calls the Three Mile Island Effect.

Global warming is an alarmist theory, Jindal believes. He claims evidence refuting global warning has been repressed. He notes the reality is we will be using fossil fuels for now and for some time. He argues that closing polluting businesses in America will only lead to the industries moving to other countries where they will be able to pollute even more in countries with lower environmental standards, and they will take American jobs in doing this.

Jindal warns against taxing oil companies. He claims that taxing them is a major reason why domestic oil production has fallen from 9.2 million barrels a day in 1973 to 5 million barrels a day in 2007. He favors opening the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. He believes offshore drilling should be an issues decided upon by each involved state.

Medicare is being finally supported by short term accounting tricks, according to Jindal. Medicare is complex, creating 10,000 prices in 3,000 counties with 130,000 pages of regulations, guidelines, rulings, etc. He favors Federal suppor of insurance premiums to connect the marketplace of insurance to performance. He argues this will encourage increases in quality and reductions in costs.

Jindal argues that moral issues are very important. He sees our nation united by common values.


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