This Is How You Drain The Swamp

Christopher Horner is a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. On Sunday, The Washington Times reported that President-elect Trump has appointed Mr. Horner to be part of the new administration’s landing team at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The article reports:

Mr. Horner is one of the Trump transition’s “landing teams,” who are deployed to each department and agency to learn about the latest operations and any in-the-works policies, with the goal of a smooth changeover come Jan. 20.

Some agency transitions can be friendly, and others are more hostile. The appointment of Mr. Horner to the nine-member EPA team suggests that will be one of the latter.

It’s an agency he has pursued relentlessly. One notable target was President Obama’s first EPA administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, whom he exposed as using a secret email alias, “Richard Windsor,” to conduct official government business. Soon after that revelation, Ms. Jackson stepped down.

Mr. Horner also has sought to expose what he sees as improper ties between environmentalists and the EPA, unearthing reams of emails showing backdoor communications, including on private email addresses, between agency bigwigs and activists plotting their next joint policy moves.

All of that has been done from the outside, using the powerful but limited Freedom of Information Act to pry loose what he could.

“He’s been looking to get into this bank vault over the years, and finally somebody just opened the door up and let him walk in,” said Michael McKenna, a Republican Party energy strategist and friend of Mr. Horner’s who previously worked on the Trump transition team.

The pigs are already squealing. The article reports:

Landing parties are standard practice in transitions. They are made up of people with interest and knowledge in an agency’s area of practice.

Both sides sign agreements promising confidentiality so neither side can meddle in the other’s plans.

But some operations leak, including a massive questionnaire that the Trump transition sent to the Energy Department.

Among other things, the memo asked for names of staffers who worked on global warming issues at the department. Officials at the department balked at providing those answers, and the White House backed them up, saying it appeared the Trump team was targeting career employees for doing their jobs.

The questionnaire was trying to find out who worked on “social cost of carbon” issues. That’s an Obama policy that declares global warming to be of such a magnitude that prognostications of its effects on other parts of society can be used to justify new government regulations.

A group of Democratic senators on Friday demanded an ethics inquiry into the questionnaire.

Are these the same Democrats that did everything they could to thwart the inquiries into the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups? Sorry, guys, I just can’t take you seriously anymore.

Keep in mind what the goal of the global warming types is–government control of almost every area of our lives–in some states it is already illegal to collect rainwater that falls on your own property! The science is not settled–it never has been. We already know that many of the researchers lied about their data (remember the University of East Anglia–if you don’t, here is the story). The predictions of global warming are based on computer models that have a very spotty track record at best. Putting Mr. Horner in the EPA might bring reliability and honesty to what is going on there. We might actually get regulations based on real facts.

Why America Is Not Currently Prospering

Townhall.com posted an article today about the cost of federal regulation.

The article reports on a study released today:

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) put out a study today titled “Ten Thousand Commandments – An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State.”

…The author Wayne Crews, Vice President for Policy at CEI, found that federal regulation cost $1.88 trillion in 2014 in lost economic productivity and high prices. This breaks down to about $14,976 per household and 29% of an average family budget.

Think about it this way. The U.S. economy is expected to produce about $17 trillion this year in output, yet it would be more if the government didn’t hammer the private sector with the hidden tax of regulations. Regulations are exporting jobs from America to countries with fewer regulations.

…The Heritage Foundation released a top 10 worst regulations of 2014 and one example shows local government being the bad guy. Number seven on the Heritage list are regulations governing the ride sharing company Uber. “Uber faces significant hurdles as local regulators try to stop its expansion, claiming that the service is ‘unfair’ to the excessively regulated cab drivers.” Uber is an emerging company that has proven wildly successful, so local governments have used government power to protect cab drivers and to deny consumers cheaper transportation options.

For a number of years, our government has been picking winners and losers. When the government overrides the free market, the consumer loses. That is one reason why your family budget is simply not doing as well as it was a few years ago. Over regulation puts higher prices on both goods and services, as well as an added burden to businesses. If we are fortunate enough to elect a President in 2016 who is not part of the Washington establishment (either Republican or Democrat), many of these regulations will be abolished. If we elect a member of either the Republican or Democrat establishment, we can expect things to get worse.

Learning The Economic Lessons Of History

Yesterday George Will posted an article at National Review Online about the sluggish economic recovery under President Obama. When Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, the unemployment rate was approximately 7.5%. By January 1, 1983, the unemployment rate had risen to 10.4%. By January 1, 1988, the unemployment rate was 5.70%. Presidential economic policies do impact the economy.

The article reminds us:

Ronald Reagan lightened the weight of government as measured by taxation and regulation. Obama has done the opposite. According to the annual “snapshot of the federal regulatory state” compiled by Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, four of the five largest yearly totals of pages in the Federal Register — the record of regulations — have occurred during the Obama administration. The CEI’s delightfully cheeky “unconstitutionality index,” measuring Congress’s excessive delegation of its lawmaking policy, was 51 in 2013. This means Congress passed 72 laws but unelected bureaucrats issued 3,659 regulations.

One of the things that is slowing down the recovery in our consumer-drive economy is the amount of student loan debt. Student loan debt is currently the fastest growing debt–larger than credit-card or auto-loan debt. Another factor is the retirement of the baby boomers.

The article further reports:

In April, the number of persons under 25 in the workforce declined by 484,000. Unsurprisingly, almost one in three (31 percent) persons 18 to 34 are living with their parents, including 25 percent who have jobs.

These are not positive numbers.

The article concludes:

There is, however, something new under the sun. The Pew Research Center reports that Americans 25 to 32 — “Millennials” — constitute the first age cohort since World War II with higher unemployment or a greater portion living in poverty than their parents at this age. But today’s Millennials have the consolation of having the president they wanted.

At some point the Millennials may realize that elections have consequences and that they have voted themselves out of jobs.

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Imaginary Employees At The Environmental Protection Agency

I knew the federal government was out of control, but I didn’t realize that had taken to acquiring imaginary employees. The Washington Times reported yesterday that Richard Windsor, a fictional name used by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson on an email account in order to avoid Congressional scrutiny, was actually listed as an employee of the EPA. Mr. Windsor took the required agency computer training and was awarded the appropriate certificates stating that he had completed the training.

The article reports:

Windsor was also awarded the “scholar of ethical behavior” each year from 2010 through 2012. The only training Ms. Jackson appears to have done under her own name was for cybersecurity awareness in 2010.

“At least her alter ego was up on the law and ethics of federal record-keeping,” said Christopher Horner, the researcher and senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who made the open-records request that pushed EPA to release the certificates.

Mr. Horner first revealed the existence of the alternate addresses last year in his book “The Liberal War on Transparency,” and since then has pushed for more disclosure about the practice.

I have no comment.

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EPA Transparency

Yesterday the Washington Times posted an article stating that the House of Representatives science committee has asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to turn over all information related to an email account under the name of “Richard Windsor.” The charge is that Ms. Jackson used an email alias to try to hide correspondence from open-government requests and her agency’s own internal watchdog.

The article reports:

The researcher who uncovered the “Richard Windsor” alias email, Christopher Horner, has repeatedly battled the administration over its global warming efforts.

Earlier this year he his colleagues at the Competitive Enterprise Institute sued to demand the release of emails from “secondary” accounts from EPA, and cited a memo saying the practice began during the Clinton administration under then-administrator Carol Browner.

Mr. Horner uncovered the existence of the secret emails while researching a book, “The Liberal War on Transparency,” published last month. Mr. Horner said after the book came out, two former EPA officials told him about the “Richard Windsor” email and said it was “one of the alternate email addresses she used.”

Using an alternate email address is contrary to the federal open-records laws. These laws are designed to make information available in the present time and in the future for the National Archives.

The article points out:

There are strict rules on the use of email addresses, and the rules prohibit using private emails to try to circumvent open-records laws.

There are differing opinions as to whether or not global warming is being confused with normal global climate cycles. The emails of the EPA regarding global warming should be part of the public record.

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Problems For The Global Warming People And For The Obama Administration

Aerial view of the Greenland village Qaarsut, ...

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One of the things that is supposed to make our government work is transparency. With the Freedom of Information Act, we the taxpayers can follow the path of a concept as it is discussed and eventually made into some sort of law. That transparency is supposed to be part of the system–except when it is purposely avoided.

Yesterday wattsupwiththat.com posted a story stating that the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has learned of a UN plan recently put in place to hide official  correspondence on non-governmental accounts, which correspondence a federal inspector general has already confirmed are subject to FOIA. This ‘cloud’ serves as a dead-drop of sorts for discussions by U.S. government employees over the next report being produced by the scandal-plagued IPCC, which is funded with millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars.”

The article at wattsupwiththat states:

CEI reminds OSTP (Office of Science and Technology Policy) that this practice was described as “creat[ing] non-governmental accounts for official business”, “using the nongovernmental accounts specifically to avoid creating a record of the communications”, in a recent analogous situation involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff. CEI expects similar congressional and media outrage at this similar practice to evade the applicable record-keeping laws.

This effort has apparently been conducted with participation — thereby direct assistance and enabling — by the Obama White House which, shortly after taking office, seized for Holdren’s office the lead role on IPCC work from the Department of Commerce. The plan to secretly create a FOIA-free zone was then implemented.

Man-made global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the Obama Administration to pave the way for a government takeover of the energy sector. The government policies that would be enacted in the name of global warming will make all Americans poorer (except those invested in green energy). This is truly a ‘follow the money’ issue. Had the Cap and Trade bill been passed in Congress, the demand for solar panels made by Solyndra would have increased, Solyndra would have raised its prices, and many democrat contributors would have made a profit. Had Cap and Trade passed, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), which traded carbon credits would still be in business and investors such as Al Gore and many of our leading congressmen would have made a profit. If Cap and Trade can be implemented through federal agencies, it may not be too late to save the portfolios of some of the major Democrat contributors. It really is all about the money.

Please follow the link to wattsupwiththat.com to read the entire article. There is a lot of very good, but very technical information in the article that I did not fully understand. Hopefully it will make sense to you!

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One Answer To The Deficit And To Job Creation

In April of this year, the Daily Caller posted a story about the high cost of government regulations. The article reports:

Wayne Crews, vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, combed through the 81,405 pages of the Federal Registry — which contains the nation’s regulations on businesses, and state and local governments — and cites a report showing that regulation cost the economy a whopping $1.75 trillion in 2008.

In July, Forbes posted an article about the cost of Government regulation stating:

The country’s wealth creators need a real review of regulations, not comforting words from federal officials. Out of over 3,500 rules finalized in 2010, OIRA (Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) reviewed 66 — and of those only did benefit calculations for 20.

A simple perusal of the Federal Register shows over 430 rules costing over $65 billion so far this year alone, let alone the entire Crain (Nicole and Mark Crain, author of the SBA’s oft-cited report finding of $1.7 trillion in regulatory costs) universe of rules, which stops at 2008. As the Crains note, regulatory costs are often “indirect,” compared with direct taxation.

The article at the Daily Caller also points out:

Combining regulatory costs with federal FY 2010 outlays of $3.456 trillion reveals a federal government whose share of the entire economy now reaches 35.5 percent.
In 2010, federal agencies issued 3,573 final rules.

While agencies issued 3,573 final rules, Congress passed and the president signed into law a comparatively “few” 217 bills. Considerable lawmaking power is delegated to unelected bureaucrats at agencies, an abuse addressed recently in proposals such as the REINS Act.
Proposed rules in the Federal Register have surged from 2,044 in 2009 to 2,439 in 2010, a jump of 19.3 percent.
I don’t know what the President will say in his economy speech tomorrow night, but unless he agrees to cut government regulations drastically, the unemployment numbers will not change significantly.

 

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