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Tort Reform Is Key to Health Reform

Investors.com

Though common-sense Americans have repeatedly raised the issue of tort reform while discussing health care legislation with members of Congress during town hall meetings this month, too many lawmakers and analysts still stubbornly insist that medical liability lawsuits do not contribute significantly to rising health care costs. These lawmakers and analysts are wrong.

A 2006 Harvard School of Public Health study found that four out of every 10 medical malpractice lawsuits filed in America each year were “without merit.” Nonetheless, defending against such lawsuits imposes costs on doctors, hospitals and insurers that invariably are passed on to health care consumers.

Beyond the obvious costs of litigation, more subtle costs related to the practice of “defensive medicine” are contributing to runaway health care inflation.

How much? In a Massachusetts Medical Society survey published last November, 83% of Bay State physicians cited the fear of being sued in their decisions to practice defensive medicine.

According to the 900 doctors anonymously surveyed, on average, 18% to 28% of tests, procedures, referrals and consultations and 13% of hospitalizations were ordered to avoid lawsuits. All of this adds at least $1.4 billion to annual health care costs in Massachusetts alone, and national estimates range as high as $200 billion.

So, as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour asks, “If we are trying to make health care more affordable, how can we leave out tort reform?”

Another longer-term concern about leaving tort reform out of comprehensive health care legislation revolves around what is and will remain a growing need for more primary care physicians.

President Obama’s stated desire to emphasize preventive medicine as a means to lower overall health care costs will, with a growing and aging population, require a greater number of doctors. Yet the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that the overall shortage of doctors practicing both primary care and high-risk specialties may grow to nearly 125,000 by 2025.

Surely medical schools will find it easier to persuade bright young men and women to pursue careers in medicine if the costly threat of medical liability lawsuits is reined in. The experience of states that have enacted tort reforms bears this out.

In a recent column appearing in the San Francisco Examiner, Texas Gov. Rick Perry wrote: “Just six years ago, Texas was mired in a health care crisis. Our doctors were leaving the state, or abandoning the profession entirely, because of frivolous lawsuits and the steadily increasing medical malpractice insurance premiums that resulted.”

But Texas has since joined 24 other states by enacting reforms that include a reasonable limit on non-economic damages for pain and suffering of up to $750,000 per incident. This essential reform does not limit compensatory awards for calculable lost wages and medical expenses, but it does balance the interests of patients and care providers while helping to ensure access to necessary care.

Now, according to Gov. Perry, doctors’ insurance rates have declined by an average of 27% while the “number of doctors applying to practice medicine in Texas has skyrocketed by 57%. In . . . just the first five years after reforms passed, 14,498 doctors either returned to practice in Texas or began practicing here for the first time.”

Clearly then, President Obama should reconsider his recently stated opposition to limiting non-economic damages in medical liability litigation. The president and Congress should also consider additional liability reforms, such as medical courts, administrative compensation programs, “early offers” and “safe harbors” for physicians who practice in compliance with evidenced-based clinical guidelines.

If comprehensive health care reforms are to succeed, they must include liability reform. Certainly real victims of negligence must be fairly compensated, but public policy must discourage litigation that abuses our civil justice system and makes health care less accessible and more expensive.

Joyce is president of the American Tort Reform Association (www.atra.org), the only national organization exclusively dedicated to reforming the civil justice system.

© Copyright 2009 Investor’s Business Daily. All Rights Reserved.

Mexican national seeks $30M from tire companies over fatal rollover in Texas

Michelle Massey, Texarkana Bureau

While traveling on the interstate outside of the community of Hooks, Jose R. Esquivel lost control of his vehicle when a tire failed.

The vehicle rolled, injuring five passengers. Another passenger, Raul Esquivel Navarrete, was fatally injured in the incident six years ago.

Navarrete’s heir claims the accident was a result of a defective tire and is suing the tire manufacturer for up to $30 million in damages from the tire makers.

Esther Chavez, on behalf of Navarrete’s minor son Jose Carlos Esquivel Chavez, filed suit against Dunlop Ltd. and Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America on Aug. 17 in the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

The complaint states that both Esther Chavez and Jose Carlos Esquival Chavez are residents of Mexico.

The plaintiff alleges the Aug. 23, 2003, accident was caused by the defendants’ liability, breach of express and implied warranties, failure to warn, failure to recall, negligence, gross negligence, and fraudulent concealment.

According to the lawsuit, the tire was in a defective condition that made it unreasonably dangerous.

The plaintiff states that the “lack of warning added to the tire’s defective condition and was an additional factor in the death and injuries sustained in this accident.”

Specifically, Chavez states that the tire was defective due to the lack of adequate warnings of the propensity and dangers of tread separation and the lack of warnings that a tread separation would dramatically alter the handling and stability capabilities of the vehicle.

The lawsuit states the tire was designed and manufactured without a nylon cap to reduce the degrading heat effect along the belt edge and sold after contaminated from foreign substances.

The plaintiff believes the defendants are negligent for “failing to design and build a tire that would not catastrophically fail,” failed to inspect and test the tire, failed to maintain adequate quality controls to ensure the tire met internal design and manufacturing standards, failed to warn that the components of the tire might prematurely fail and failed to use materials that would maintain adhesive qualities.

The lawsuit argues the defendants are liable for gross negligence and fraudulent concealment stating, “it is believed and conceivable that testing to discover this defect was available, it is also believed and conceivable that the results of such testing was readily available at the time the tire in question was designed, manufactured, distributed, and/or purchased.”

The plaintiff is seeking $6 million in damages for emotional pain, torment and mental anguish of the child, pain and suffering of the deceased, pecuniary loss to an heir, and loss of consortium.

The plaintiff is also seeking up to $24 million in exemplary damages.

Houston attorney Savvas H. Stefanides and Marilyn V. Stefanides of the law firm Stefanides and Associates LLP and attorney Ike Exezidis of the law firm Ike Exezidis and Associates PC are representing the plaintiff.

Jury trial requested.

Health care reform is essential; slowing it down is more so

Waco Tribune-Herald

On Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend a congressional update and discussion with U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards and listen to his ideas about health care reform.

I walked away from this session believing that Edwards and I agree on one thing: When it comes to health care, we need reform.

How we get there is where our opinions differ.

Overhauling our health care system is long overdue, but problems with health care have not been caused by the Republican Party. Republicans as well as conservatives want to be included in the health care debate.

Being shut out of the process is un-American, and bipartisanship is not just going along with whatever the party in power proposes.

Bipartisanship is a process by which both major parties agree and determine a plan of action to a problem that is of great importance to the voters.

I would not consider the passage of health care reform to be bipartisan unless a large percentage of Republican House members voted in favor of the bill.

Any legislation passed should include meaningful tort reform similar to what Texas passed in 2003, limiting the amount hospitals and doctors pay in cases involving medical malpractice. Doctors and hospitals pay far too much to protect themselves against lawsuits. It works in Texas — just ask the trial lawyers.

Personal responsibility by individuals should be a prerequisite as well. People should be rewarded for living healthier lives. Individuals who choose not to live healthier should be required to pay higher premiums — that is how insurance is supposed to work.

Politicians, including Edwards, are wrong to demonize the health insurance companies that have provided coverage to hundreds of millions of Americans over many decades and saved countless lives.

Health insurance companies operate on very low profit margins compared to other industries. In fact, UnitedHealth Group over the past three years has averaged a 5 percent profit margin while Humana Inc. has averaged a meager 2.6 percent. By comparison Microsoft returned a 27 percent profit and Intel returned a 15 percent profit margin during the same period, while Merck returned 22 percent and Pfizer returned 24 percent.

One should not forget that our government is a 35 percent partner in all of these companies — in the form of taxes. Why demonize your partner?

One can only imagine what might have happened to our health care system had Congress passed the current legislation as President Obama insisted be done before the August break.

Democracies only succeed when all voices are heard. Attempts to undermine our democracy will hopefully be defeated by voices such as those heard in recent town halls.

We currently have a health care system that works for 85 percent of Americans and Congress should not have acted so irresponsibly to change that system.

Fortunately, that irresponsibility got Americans voicing their opinions; unfortunately, our country is more divided because of this irresponsible act.

Remember the president’s rallying cry: We’re not blue states, we’re not red states. We’re the United States of America. Well, it’s time for this administration to unite.

Just two weeks ago the U.S. Postal Service released its third quarter results.

For the year, the post office has lost $4.7 billion and is expected to lose more than $7 billion this fiscal year.

Why is the government even considering a public option when it fails so miserably delivering the mail? Can we really trust the government to deliver our health care?

I said I agree with Rep. Edwards that this country needs comprehensive health care reform; I only disagree with the overhauls currently being proposed in Congress.

Everyone needs to step back, take a deep breath, relax, enjoy the August break. And when Congress reconvenes, start fresh and work in a bipartisan manner to reform our health care system.

Gordon Robinson is president of Robinson Media, which owns the Tribune-Herald.

Fiscal Conservatism and the Soul of the GOP The Texas governor on Arnold, Sarah, ObamaCare and the future of his party.

The Wall Street Journal
By EMILY ESFAHANI SMITH

Austin, Texas- California needs a strong leader, says Texas governor Rick Perry. That strong leader, Mr. Perry thinks, needs to go to Sacramento and “take special interests out” of government. He needs to “make massive cuts” in spending and taxes. And he needs “to make major changes in the constitution,” including tort reform.

What about Arnold Schwarzenegger? “Arnold—I think Arnold squandered that chance.”

Six years ago, Mr. Perry’s state underwent a critical tort reform that was codified in the state constitution. The payoff is that Texas is now outpacing California economically. According to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, between 1997 and 2006 Texas’ economy grew an average of 4.3% while California’s grew at a rate of 3.7%. But as of 2002 (to 2007), with tort reform in place, Texas’ annual economic growth jumped to 5%, while California’s remained essentially the same at 3.6%.

With a tan baseball cap hanging off one knee, Mr. Perry is proud to report that “Texas created more jobs in 2008 than the rest of the states—combined.” As of July, the state, which taxes neither capital gains nor income, had an unemployment rate of 7.5%, two points below the national average, while California’s hovered at 11.5%, two points above.

No wonder over half a million people flooded into Texas between 2000 and 2007. Meanwhile, 1.2 million residents left California in the same seven-year period.

The bottom line? Tax-and-spend governance is as bankrupt as California’s bank account. By way of illustration, the governor replays a conversation he had with Rudy Giuliani during the presidential primaries.

They were talking about Michigan. “The Michigan governor was making statements about having to raise taxes so [they could keep] services at the level they were, instead of, like we did in Texas, cutting, not raising, taxes and cutting spending. There was a great difference in political philosophy. In Michigan, a liberal democrat raised taxes and kept their government programs at the same level. And guess what? Their economy continued into the toilet, it continued down.

“Our economy on the other hand [improved]—let me give you a great example: We had a $10 billion budget deficit when we got here in January of 2003. We cut that budget deficit; we did not raise taxes; we came back in ’05, and we had an $8 billion surplus. That’s how fast it can happen.

“That’s the reason I have hope, not only for the country, but for states like California that are in dire financial predicaments. You can turn it around in a hurry, but you have to make hard, principled decisions.”

Mr. Perry insists that Texas’ success “is a broader story than just tort reform.” As governor, Mr. Perry has honed in on four policy issues he believes are drawing people and businesses to the state in record numbers. Businesses like Medtronic and Caterpillar, to name two, are “coming here [because] we haven’t spent all the money, the taxes are low, the regulatory climate is fair—they won’t be frivolously sued—and they know when they get here that they’ll find a skilled work force.”

But do Mr. Perry’s pro-business, low-tax policies mean that Texas’ investments in education and other crucial areas are lagging behind? Just the opposite: While California slashed education funding this year, Mr. Perry notes that a Texas “grant program for kids to go college and university . . . expanded by 44%” this last session. In that same session, the Lone Star State cut taxes for small businesses.

And when it comes to the Obama administration, Mr. Perry doesn’t mince words: “To me, this is one of the great Frankenstein experimentations in American history. We’ve seen that movie before. It was from 1932 to 1940.”

***
Sitting in his white tee and running shoes, the governor begins guiding me along the path that led him from the small Texas town of Paint Creek, where he grew up, to Austin, the state’s capital. “I grew up in a house with no running water, 16 miles from the closest place that had a post office,” he recalls. “I had a very parochial view of the world.”

He became an Air Force pilot and went off to countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Italy, returning to Paint Creek in 1977—only to grow restless on the family farm. He sought a political outlet.

In 1985, Mr. Perry represented a rural West Texas district in the state legislature; in 1990, he was elected state commissioner of agriculture; in 1998, he was elected lieutenant governor under then-Gov. George W. Bush. He became governor when Mr. Bush won the presidency in 2000, and Mr. Perry was chosen by the voters themselves in 2002 and 2006.

Mr. Perry now has the distinction of being the longest-serving governor in Texas history. The state’s senior U.S. senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, announced this month that she will challenge Mr. Perry’s unprecedented bid for a third term. She’s running on a platform that attempts to appeal to women and moderate conservatives, and she criticizes the governor’s rejection of $555 million in federal stimulus funds—even though she opposed the stimulus herself.

The 2010 gubernatorial primary will be a slugfest between the two biggest names in Texas politics. But Mr. Perry claims he isn’t paying too much attention. “She’s in Washington, I’m in Texas” he says, shrugging his shoulders. “I’m busy running a state . . . I’m a results guy and that’s process . . . It’s important to run the state. Politics will take care of themselves.”

Naturally, the governor is concerned about what is happening in Washington. When I ask him if Mr. Obama’s policies would send this country down the same path as California, Mr. Perry lunges forward, “If you want to know what this guy’s policies are doing, it’s been written about before.”

“Read that book. Read this book,” he says, gesturing toward the nearby table. I see something from Weight Watchers and a Harry Potter paperback—but the governor is referring to the “The Road to Serfdom” by Frederick Hayek and “The 5000 Year Leap” by W. Cleon Skousen. “Read Amity Shlaes’s ‘The Forgotten Man.’ Amity’s book is very eye-opening—scary—for me.”

To the governor, one of the scariest policies is the national health-care bill. “I think it’ll die. I think Americans are catching on. That’s the reason that Rahm Emanuel and his guys were trying to push it through so fast, because they know [that once] Americans see what this is going to do—limiting their access to health care, costing them more—they’re going to oppose it. And interestingly, you know who’s against this more than anybody? The elderly. They figured this bill out.

“They like what they got right now, they like their access to health care. Particularly, the aspect of this [bill] that has to do with end-of-life decisions . . . are pretty cold-hearted in my opinion. You’re a little too old to be spending money on, so we’re just going to put you over here in the ‘gonna die’ category. ‘Bye.’ That’s pretty gruesome and scary to people that are my mom and dad’s age.”

Another important reason Mr. Perry believes the bill is flawed is because it ignores tort reform. “To talk about health-care reform and not talk about tort reform is like whistling past the cemetery. . . . In this administration’s case, it’s because they’re bought and sold by the trail lawyers.” The governor puts his cap back on, adding, “I’ll be the pope before we get tort reform with this administration.”

As opposed to a federal and “vanilla . . . one size fits all” government, the governor’s “goal is to have states compete against each other. I don’t want to look like Connecticut, no offense, I don’t want to look like Oklahoma, I don’t want to look like California. I want to be uniquely Texas. And that’s not to diss anybody else.”

Though the GOP has been hurting in recent years, the governor says it can make its “path to recovery substantially faster” if its members embrace something like the Texas model and vow to be “clear, committed fiscal conservatives.”

Reflecting on his party’s recent history he recalls, “They spent too much money. They acted like Democrats. They got up in 1994 and said elect us, here’s our contract with America and here are the things that we’re going to do. And Americans said, by gosh, that sounds good, we’re for you, let’s go. And you know what, they went and did it for a while. And then, we took over everything, the presidency, Congress, senate—shoot, man—they lost their way. . . . And they started being more focused on maintaining power. They had ethical lapses. They had moral lapses, but the big issue was they started spending like Democrats. When they passed that pharmaceutical bill for everybody forever—I mean, one of the most expensive entitlement programs that this country’s ever seen before—we started on the road to hell.”

He adds, “I love George Bush, [but] the previous administration’s bailout, I happen to think, was as bad as any program on [Obama’s] stimulus side.”

Mr. Perry does not see social issues as the raison d’etre of the Republican Party. “You may elect me if I am pro-life. You may elect me if I’m pro-family values. But you probably will not elect me if I’m not a proven fiscal conservative.”

Recently, Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio complained that the GOP is “being taken over by Southerners.” Mr. Perry responds with a laugh. “He’s a piece of work, isn’t he? ‘You Southerners!'” he points his finger in imitation. The political divide, the governor insists, is between “mushy, middle of the road” Republicans and clear, devoted fiscal and social conservatives, like himself and Sarah Palin.

On that last point, he states emphatically, “I love Sarah Palin, I love her positions, I think she was a good governor. . . . I want her to be engaged in this rebuilding of the Republican Party. . . . She is substantially more the face of this country than some other people who might want to be the face of the Republican Party. To me she’s the face of America. I mean she’s a hard worker, she didn’t come from money, she didn’t come from privilege, she just worked hard. . . . I have not seen another person who invigorated the Republican base [like she did] with the possible exception of Ronald Reagan in 1976—the speech he made at the Republican Convention. People were looking around and saying, ‘we nominated the wrong dude.'”

One speed bump along the GOP’s path to recovery could be demographics. In 2004, Texas became a minority majority state, a trend that’s predicted to go national within a generation. In 2020, the Hispanic population of Texas may outnumber the White population.

While Texas has been GOP-controlled since 1994, some say Texas may soon change from red to purple to blue because of the demographic shift.

The governor disagrees, and believes even the hot button issues of illegal immigration and amnesty have been mishandled by national leaders. “The McCain folks totally blew it in my opinion on their immigration deal the moment they mentioned the word amnesty. When the word amnesty came in—American Hispanics don’t want anybody getting amnesty. ‘If you want to be an American citizen, get it the way I got it,’ that’s how they think. The Hispanic voter is a very intuitive and a very expansive individual, one issue doesn’t drive him. . . . They are strong family values people, they are religious, they are patriots, they are hard working. Gee, sounds like the GOP to me.”

Mr. Perry thinks education will help the GOP face the demographic trend. An educated work force, says the governor, will embrace the Texas model and will say so at the ballot box.

And his state’s ballot box is the only one he’s worrying about. Mr. Perry insists he does not plan to take the Texas model to the nation’s capital one day. “Unless my family is at gunpoint, I will not go to Washington, D.C.”

Leading me out the door, the governor explains, “Washington is not the place that great change is going to occur in America. It will occur in the laboratory of innovation called the states. I want to be a part of that.”

Tort reform favored over health care reform, survey finds

IFAwebnews Staff
August 14, 2009

Two-thirds of Americans would like to see health care costs cut in ways different than President Barack Obama and Congress are considering in their health insurance reform plans. The majority of respondents believe national tort reform laws to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals will be the most effective way to lower health care costs, according to a national survey by message research firm M4 Strategies. In a poll of 1,001 U.S. residents conducted from July 24-27, when asked which would likely have a greater impact in reducing Americans’ health care costs, 45% of respondents said national tort reform would be most effective and 16% said they did not know. About 40% said free health insurance for the poor would have the most impact. The survey has a 3.1% margin of error. “It’s clear that Americans aren’t buying Obama’s claim that his health care plan will reduce long term health care costs,” said Chris St. Hilaire, president of Costa Mesa, Calif.-based M4 Strategies. “More people also believe that tort reform, which Obama opposes, is a better way to cut costs than what he’s proposing.”

Poe opposes health care bill, supports Texas tort reform at town hall meeting

Southeast Texas Record

Congress should consider implementing Texas’ medical tort reforms on a national level, said Congressman Ted Poe at a surprisingly orderly town hall meeting on health care reform.

In contrast to his Democratic counterparts, Poe, a Republican representing the 2nd District of Texas, was received with rousing applause as he addressed around 250 Southeast Texas residents Rogers Park in Beaumont on Thursday, Aug. 13.

“As I look out at all of you, you don’t appear to be a mob … or political terrorist,” a smiling Poe told his constituents, adding that “speaking your mind does not make you un-American.”

While the House’s proposed health care bill would only serve to create several layers of bureaucracy between patients and doctors, drive up costs and increase taxes, there is one solution, according to some political pundits, that would reduce all three problems: tort reform.

“Doctors from Massachusetts are moving to Texas because of the state’s (medical) tort reform efforts,” Poe told the Record after he finished addressing the audience. “Tort reform has driven down the price of liability insurance. Texas’ plan has been very successful … and should be (implemented) at a national level.”

Poe also said if H.R. 3200 passes, patients who are genuinely wronged would have no legal remedy.

During the town hall meeting, Poe said the president’s bill will create 37 new government agencies and put bureaucrats in charge of health care in America.

“None of that bureaucracy is going to make you healthier,” Poe said. “If this bill becomes law, then members of Congress should have to be subject to it.”

The event was sponsored by the South East Texas TEA Party. A similar event was held on Aug. 11, but due to the overflow crowd, organizers felt another informational meeting was needed.

Another speaker at the event, Jarren Garrett, chief administrative officer for Baptist Orange hospital, recommended http://pagenine-jds.blogspot.com/2009/08/hr-3200-114-concerns-from-obama.html for an informative overview of some of the controversial parts of the proposed bill (or search “HR 3200 Concerns” on the Internet).

Texas economy shining brightly despite recession

Washington View
By Don Brunnel

The federal government is borrowing a trillion dollars to fund its massive stimulus plan, California is broke, the feds have taken over car companies and banks, and the national unemployment rate is 9.5 percent and rising. Nevertheless, bills moving through Congress would spend an additional $1 trillion on health care reform — an expenditure President Obama says is crucial to the nation’s economic recovery. This, say supporters, is the only way to return the U.S. to prosperity.

Really? Perhaps they should take a look at what’s happening in Texas

In Texas, business is booming. In 2008, 70 percent of all jobs created in the United States were created in Texas. That same year, Texas was named America’s Top State for Business in CNBC’s second annual study that scored states on 40 different competitiveness measures. Texas now surpasses New York as home to the most Fortune 500 companies, and Texas dominated Forbes’ “Best Cities for Jobs in 2008” list with five cities in the top 20.

While the nation’s unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, the rate in Texas is 7.5 percent. And while our state faces a $9 billion deficit, Texas has a $9 billion surplus. Instead of raising taxes, Texas is cutting them.

How did they do it? Gov. Rick Perry says holding the line on taxes, having a reasonable regulatory structure and offering economic development incentives such as the Texas Enterprise Fund and Texas Emerging Technology Fund have attracted hundreds of employers to Texas. He notes that 7,300 new jobs were created in Texas in November 2008 alone.

“We set the state up for it back in 2003,” says Perry, “when we came in here and had about a $10 billion budget deficit. We were able to cut that deficit without raising taxes, passed the most sweeping tort reform in the nation, and people paid attention.”

In fact, new businesses and doctors have flooded into the state in the wake of the lawsuit abuse reform legislation, which capped non-economic damages at $250,000. According to the Dallas Morning News, the average award prior to tort reform was $1.21 million; now it is $880,000.

Malpractice lawsuits have plummeted. In 2003, in a last-minute rush before lawsuit reform took effect, 1,108 medical liability suits were filed in Dallas County. Only 142 cases were filed the following year. In 2007, 184 cases were filed.

To ensure protection for patients, the legislature beefed up the power of the Texas Medical Board and disciplinary actions against doctors have nearly tripled since 2001.

Holding the line

Lawsuit reform has had a major impact on the state’s economy. In addition to the influx of new businesses, more than 7,000 doctors have moved to Texas in the past three years. According to the Texas Medical Association, malpractice insurance premiums for Texas doctors have dropped more than 30 percent since 2003 and 15 new insurance companies have entered the Texas market. Regrettably, the federal health care reforms moving through Congress include nothing about lawsuit reform.

In addition, Gov. Perry is adamant about holding the line on costs. In fact, in the face of intense federal pressure, he refused to accept $550 million in unemployment insurance payments as part of the stimulus plan because it would have mandated a permanent expansion of unemployment benefits. “There was going to be a mandated tax on our small businesses of $75 million a year. And I said no.”

Granted, Washington has also said “no” — no to major tort or lawsuit reform legislation, including efforts to adopt damage limits.

But we’ve also said “yes” to the unemployment money in the federal stimulus package and the resulting future increase in employer costs. And yes to energy policies that ignore hydropower, one of our most abundant natural resources and strongest competitiveness factors. And we’re toying with other issues that might further erode our attractiveness to employers — cap and trade, paid family leave and employer gag rules, just to name a few.

There’s an old proverb: “nothing succeeds like success.” Before our state and our nation mortgage our children’s (and grandchildren’s) future on costly experiments, they should consider adopting some of the policies that have made Texas an economic powerhouse in the midst of a national recession.

Don Brunell is president of the Association of Washington Business, Washington state’s chamber of commerce. Visit www.awb.org.