That Didn’t Go As Planned!

On Wednesday, The American Thinker posted an article about the latest scientific research on global warming. It doesn’t show what it was expected to show.

The article reports:

A team of “high-powered NASA scientists” has just stumbled upon a very inconvenient truth, and no, I don’t mean that they’ve found new evidence to support the Al Gore fear porn flick, but instead, they’ve discovered that 80% of “global warming” in the last ten years has not been caused by man’s use of natural renewable resources like gas and oil, but “draconian fuel shipping regulations” ostensibly “designed to help prevent global warming.”

From a report by Chris Morrison at The Daily Sceptic:

The world of climate science is in shock following extraordinary findings from a team of high-powered NASA scientists that suggest most of the recent global temperature increases are due to the introduction of draconian fuel shipping regulations designed to help prevent global warming.

Well, well, well, the “cure” is worse than the disease… except there was no disease. Now, I don’t contend that the “cure” is all that bad either, as long as we’re speaking only in the context of the environment; a relatively warm planet (of course, I’m talking within reason here) isn’t a bad thing because it means surviving is easier. But, they think it’s bad, which just goes to show you how ill-equipped these climate “scientist” bureaucrats are at deciding on policy.

Obviously we need to go back to drilling in America and driving cars with gasoline engines!

The article concludes:

“It’s also important to keep in mind that man cannot create atoms. All carbon contained in coal and oil (and wood and anything else which burns) was originally atmospheric CO2 plants split into C and 2 O, using the C for themselves and releasing the Os into the atmosphere. Hence, it’s physically impossible to increase the level of atmospheric CO2 beyond what it was at some point in time in the past where life on this planet already existed.”

Can these greens please stop wrecking literally everything? They love to tell us that “there is no Planet B” and we’re at the precipice of an “existential” crisis…which is half true. It’s not a looming climate disaster though for the majority of the world, but a financial and political disaster—so for the love of all that is good, please step away from the pen of government policy and bureaucracy.

When Is A Tariff Not A Tariff?

Yesterday various news sources reported that President Biden would be placing tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and some other products coming into America from China.

MSN reported:

President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced new tariffs on $18 billion worth of Chinese imports, including a sharp tax hike on electric vehicles, to help protect his administration’s investments in key sectors in the United States.

The targets of the tariffs include EVs, solar cells, steel, aluminum, semiconductors, advanced batteries, critical minerals, solar and medical products.

“American workers can outwork and outcompete anyone, as long as the competition is fair,” President Biden said in remarks delivered from the White House Rose Garden. “But for too long it hasn’t been fair.”

Hitting China’s trade policies, Biden said “it’s not competition, it’s cheating.”

“China heavily subsidized all these products, pushing Chinese companies to produce far more than the rest of the world can absorb and then dumping excess products onto the market at unfairly low prices, driving other manufacturers around the world out of business,” he said.

It all sounds very good, but what does it do?

The Conservative Treehouse reports:

Biden might as well be announcing tariffs on Chinese swimming pools flown into the USA via hot air balloon.  There will be more Chinese swimming pools delivered from China than Chinese EVs.  The Chinese EVs come from Mexico.  The tariff is fake.

WHITE HOUSE […] To further encourage China to eliminate the acts, policies, and practices at issue – and to counteract the burden or restriction of these acts, policies, and practices – the Trade Representative shall modify the two actions to increase section 301 ad valorem rates of duty for the following products from China:

    • Battery parts (non-lithium-ion batteries):  Increase rate to 25 percent in 2024
    • Electric vehicles:  Increase rate to 100 percent in 2024
    • Lithium-ion electrical vehicle batteries:  Increase rate to 25 percent in 2024
    • Lithium-ion non-electrical vehicle batteries:  Increase rate to 25 percent in 2026
    • Natural graphite:  Increase rate to 25 percent in 2026
    • Other critical minerals:  Increase rate to 25 percent in 2024 (read more)

None of this stuff is coming from China. It is all coming from Mexico via transnational shipping and Chinese manufacturing in Mexico.

The article notes:

On the EV issue, this tariff approach is politically duplicitous by Biden against the backdrop of massive investment in Mexico by the three largest Chinese EV automakers. Last December, the three Chinese auto manufacturers, MG, BYD, and Chery, announced they were going to spend billions building new EV manufacturing plants in Mexico.  Each Chinese auto manufacturer was going to spend between $1.5 to $2.0 billion.

Those Mexican built Chinese EVs would pass into the USA market under current USMCA trade rules and regulations, as long as they technically meet the material origination rules.  This can make tariffs against the Chinese imported EVs a moot point, because China will be making them in Mexico (North American trade agreement).

One of the reasons President Trump said the U.S. auto industry would suffer a “bloodbath,” is specifically because the current Chinese auto companies are targeting these EVs in the $10,000 or less range.  If you want to see what it looks like when cheap Chinese EVs start to flood a consumer market, visit Russia – the Western sanctions have only increased this flow.  I can see it clear as day.

This is political sleight of hand to encourage voters to vote for Joe Biden. I don’t know if the American voters are really that dumb.

Moving Quickly In The Wrong Direction

On Sunday, John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about the impact of the climate-change regulations the Biden administration is placing on Americans.

The article reports:

Liberals denounce Donald Trump as a would-be tyrant, but the fact is that he ruled less by executive order than any other recent president. It is Joe Biden who has discarded the Constitution and imposed a blizzard of illegal or probably-illegal regulations on the rest of us.

Lately, they have been coming so furiously that it is hard to keep up with them. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board caught up with just one set, relating to power plants. The intent of the regulations is to set our economy and our material well-being back by as much as a century:

On Thursday the Environmental Protection Agency proposed its latest doozy—rules that will effectively force coal plants to shut down while banning new natural-gas plants.
***
Barack Obama’s regulation spurred a wave of coal plant closures. Now President Biden is trying to finish the job by tightening mercury, wastewater and ash disposal standards. EPA is also replacing the Obama Clean Power Plan that the Supreme Court struck down with a rule requiring that coal plants and new gas-fired plants adopt costly and unproven carbon-capture technology by 2032.

It is interesting that the Biden administration is planning to severely limit the production of electricity while at the same time encouraging Americans to buy electric cars. If the grid will not be able to keep up with normal expected growth, how will it be able to keep up with the additional demand placed on it by electric cars?

The article concludes:

Biden’s purpose is not to benefit the climate, it is to benefit the vast “green” grift that is one of the Democratic Party’s main constituencies. The greens, but also Communist China. China controls the market for solar panels and wind turbines, and it also controls the raw materials that are necessary to produce solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and the hypothetical batteries that are the magical solution to the fact that weather-dependent sources of energy can never fuel an economy–a primitive economy, let alone a modern one.

Why is Biden destroying our electrical grid and dragging the United States back into the 19th century, to the immense benefit of the Chinese Communist Party? Occam’s Razor suggests that he is doing it on purpose. Even Joe Biden isn’t dumb enough to fail to understand where these policies are leading. I don’t know whether it is sheer, malicious anti-Americanism, or whether the millions of dollars that Biden and his family have gotten from China have made him the Manchurian Candidate. But, one way or another, the disastrous consequences of the Biden administration’s energy policies are obvious to anyone who pays attention.

Including, even, Slow Joe.

I Have Many Questions About This

On April 24, The Carolina Journal posted an article (a very favorable article) about the growing North Carolina market for “safe, consistent” hemp products. Now I will admit that safe and consistent is a good idea. There have been some local vape shops that have recently been closed down for ‘inconsistent’ levels of THC in some of their products (levels over the legal limit). However, I have a lot of other questions about this ‘growing market.’

The article notes:

The nascent industry may be showing signs of maturing, however. A pharmaceutical-grade hemp products manufacturing facility located in Nash County has been growing its operational capacity since it first opened in 2019 with a primary focus on offering premium quality. Their mission is to create safe and consistent standards for consumers that range from elderly grandmas taking gummies to help them sleep; to spastic dogs being served bacon-flavored CBD gummies for anxiety; to those interested in more recreational products, like hemp-derived ‘Delta 9.’ 

At the helm of the venture is a leading state lawmaker: Rep. John Bell, R-Wayne. Set to serve as chairman of the powerful Rules Committee in the North Carolina House of Representatives, Bell recently became president of Asterra Labs, which develops, manufactures, and distributes hemp-derived products for retail, wholesale, and white-label production partnerships. The goal is to offer consumers a sure-quality alternative to potentially unsafe, inconsistent CBD/THC products in a mostly unregulated space. (emphasis mine)

The hemp products claim to calm dogs with anxiety and help grandmothers sleep. That’s nice, but this looks an awful lot like a pain-killing drug that will be sold on the open market without a prescription. If it can calm anxiety (even though just in dogs), it also has some psychological impact. Also, the North Carolina legislature controls the laws that limit the distribution of certain drugs. It seems to me that having the head of one of the most powerful committees in that legislature as the president of a company producing hemp is questionable at best.

The article is very favorable toward the growing hemp industry in North Carolina. I don’t share their view.

The article concludes:

“The consumer will always know exactly what they’re getting,” said Bell. “This could be a major industry in North Carolina, but we also need regulation to make it happen.” 

He says regulation is needed to prioritize safety and quality rather than unregulated products that likely contain inconsistent ingredients and concentrations. Last week, the House Select Committee on Substance Abuse recommended regulating the sale and distribution of hemp-derived consumable products, as well as kratom products, which are currently widely available across North Carolina. 

Just call me skeptical.

Isn’t Congress Supposed To Be The One Making Laws?

On April 21, American Greatness posted an article about some new regulations the Biden administration is planning for Title IV.

The article reports:

On April 19, 2024, the Biden administration finalized regulations it proposed in July 2022. Likely to avoid backlash at the polls this November, the administration recently indicated it is postponing finalizing the proposed sports-related Title IX regulations it published in April 2023. In each case, the regulations do something that not only the Executive Branch does not have authority to do but also what Congress has specifically declined to do.

They declare that “sex” in Title IX actually means sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

The Executive Branch has no authority to make such a radical change in the meaning of a statute. But this is no ordinary Executive Branch. This is the one whose chief executive recently boasted that although the Supreme Court ruled that he does not have the authority to forgive student loans, he is doing it anyway,[ii][ii]1 requiring truckers and plumbers to absorb the cost of strangers’ ineffectual college degrees. And although the President is required to administer and enforce the laws Congress has passed, this President has steadfastly refused to enforce our nation’s immigration laws.

Our government of, by, and for the people has bit by bit become a government of forced mandates to which we do not consent. Mandatory school, business, and church closures during 2020, along with required COVID-19 shots, were but the most visible recent manifestation of this trend.

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, commonly known as the DREAM Act, was first introduced in Congress in 2001 and reintroduced numerous times thereafter. Each time, members of Congress, mindful of the opposition of their constituents, refused to pass it. Nonetheless, in 2012, without even relying on his phone and his pen as he had threatened, but merely with a memorandum from the head of his Department of Homeland Security, President Obama implemented DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans), a similar program for their parents, in effect implementing provisions of the law—the DREAM Act—which Congress repeatedly refused to pass.

Where is Congress? Hasn’t anyone in Congress figured out that this is not the government of our Founding Fathers? The checks and balances our Constitution put there are there for a reason. Congress needs to stand up and take back the power our Founding Fathers gave it.

Freedom’s Death Knell

Author: R. Alan Harrop, Ph.D

There is an old saying “Death by a thousand cuts,” which of course means slowly destroying something by small increments. Well, the Biden regime’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is at it again, diminishing your freedom one regulation at a time. They recently announced new, impossibly restrictive emission standards that will, they hope, force more people to buy electric vehicles (EVs). This, in spite of strong evidence, that less than 15% of the American people have any desire to buy an EV. Dictators do not care what you think.

What is worse, you are already paying for every EV sold in America through subsidies and other government programs and incentives. The Texas Public Policy Foundation reported that as much as $48,000 of the cost of an EV is paid by you the taxpayer spread over 10 years, not the owner. This amounts to $22 billion of your taxpayer money. This is similar to Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, which does not forgive anything; it merely passes the debt onto other taxpayers. That is how Marxism works, and how a regime stays in power, by using government actions to buy votes.

Who is buying these EVs you might ask? Well, it is primarily wealthy Democrats in blue states like California, Washington, New Jersey, etc. The ten states with the lowest EV ownership are red states. See a pattern here of the Democrats rewarding themselves?

The new unattainable emission standards are expected to result in one-third of all cars manufactured will be EVs by 2027 and two-thirds by 2032. Not only will this restrict your ability to find and purchase an internal combustion vehicle, but will dramatically raise the price due to lack of supply to meet the demand. The Biden regime is also extending these impossible emission standards to trucks, including long haul trucks. The American Trucking Association stated that the new EPA standards are “entirely unachievable.” Imagine driving across country in an 18 wheeler and having to stop every 200 miles, find a charging station, and wait several hours before you can start up again. Think what this will do to the cost of moving goods. By the way, the Biden regime’s EPA announced these new restrictions a few days after the Hertz rental company announced they were selling one-third of their Tesla EV fleet because no one wanted to rent them. They also fired the executive who was responsible for the shift to EVs.

So here is the bottom line. This country was founded on freedom and liberty. Conservatives want to preserve our county and its freedoms. Purchasing an EV should be a free choice–not a government mandate. We are in the era of “Big Government” that the Founding Fathers warned us about. Marxism is government control of all aspects of people’s lives. Restricting travel is taking away our freedom one piece at a time. It is past time for all conservatives to band together and insist that the size of the federal government be dramatically reduced. Start by eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency (Dictatorship), the Department of Education, and firing the new 85,000 IRS agents. It is now or never.

Losing Our Freedom, One Appliance At A Time

Remember when the Biden administration told us that they had no intention of limiting gas stoves? Well, that was then; this is now.

On Monday, The Daily Caller reported the following:

The Biden administration finalized an energy efficiency rule for stoves on Monday after claiming that it has no intention to ban gas-powered models.

The Department of Energy (DOE) published the final rule in accordance with a court order that requires the agency to publish the rule by the end of January. The administration proposed an aggressive efficiency regulation for stoves in February 2023 and subsequently promised that it is not attempting to ban gas stoves, calling suggestions to the contrary “misinformation.”

Compliance with the rules will be required for newly-manufactured products starting in January 2028, according to the DOE. The regulation applies to electric cooktops, gas cooktops, stand-alone electric cooktops, stand-alone gas cooktops and ovens.

…The rules are likely to make certain models more expensive up front, but the government contends that the rule will save Americans money on their utility bills in the long run by reducing the amount of energy their stoves use, according to The Washington Post.

“The new standards will also require only a small portion of models to make modest improvements to their energy efficiency to match the level of efficiency already demonstrated by the majority of the market today,” according to the DOE. “For example, approximately 97 percent of gas stove models and 77 percent of smooth electric stove models on the market already meet these standards.”

The article concludes:

A June 2023 Harvard CAPS Harris poll showed that nearly 70% of respondents oppose policies that would amount to a de facto gas stove ban. Over 80% of Republican respondents and 71% of independents are opposed to such policies, joined by 55% of Democrats polled in the survey.

Beyond stoves, the Biden DOE has also sought to impose energy efficiency regulations for items like water heatersfurnaces and pool pump motors. The administration has also spent hundreds of millions of dollars to help state and municipal governments pursue building codes meant to “decarbonize” buildings.

Neither the DOE nor the White House responded immediately to requests for comment.

The reason the U.S, Constitution requires Congress to make laws is that the members of Congress are elected and therefore accountable to the people. The regulatory state has no Constitutional basis other than Congress not doing its job. There is currently a case before the Supreme Court dealing with the regulatory state. That case is Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council.  Hopefully a ruling from the Court that is in line with the Constitution will save us from this nonsense.

Many Europeans See The Threat

Farmers in Europe are fighting the restrictions that the World Economic Forum are attempting to impose of them in the  name of climate change. The protests have now spread to France.

Breitbart reported Monday:

Kicking off the “Siege of Paris” on Monday, thousands of farmers took to their tractors in a coordinated attempt to block off entrances to the French capital in protest against globalist green policies they say are destroying their ability to stay in business.

In an escalation of the latest example of popular uprisings that have come to define President Macron’s tenure in office, farmers descended in their tractors to shut down major highways leading into Paris on Monday following a week of similar protests throughout the country.

According to the Le Figaro newspaper, farmers successfully enacted blockades on eight major highways, with tractors lined up for tens of kilometres around the ring road surrounding Paris. In total 16 highways and 30 administrative departments around the city were impacted by the demonstrations on Monday, while separate farmer uprisings continued in at least 40 other locations throughout the country.

Requiring farmers to kill their cattle and the farm in certain ways limits our food supply. A hungry populace is easier to control–if you don’t agree with what the government is doing, they will decrease your food allowance.

The article also notes:

In addition to targeting Paris, at least 80 tractors enacted a blockade of the A7 highway and elsewhere outside Lyon, where local farmers have also spoken of a “siege” of the city.

“A siege normally lasts a long time, we are not specialists in blocking but we will maintain it for as long as it takes,” said the head of the regional branch of the FNSEA union Michel Joux. “There is palpable tension and exceptional motivation.”

Critical roads leading into Marseille, including the A7 and A55 motorways were subject to “snail operations” local officials said, adding that the A50 is “currently at a complete standstill”.

The battle between agriculture and green agenda proponents is set to become a key issue in the upcoming European Union Parliament elections in June, with farmers and rural communities rising up in France, Germany, Poland, Romania and previously in the Netherlands over green regulations, which they claim have become too much to handle on top of the rising cost of fuel and inflation.

Green energy has never been about keeping the planet clean–it has always been about control.

Reining In The Federal Government

In recent years, the federal government has altered the lives of Americans in small ways and big ways. The small ways include dishwashers that used to take an hour to cycle now take two hours, showerheads don’t put out the same amount of water that they put out ten years ago, and washing machines also take longer to wash the clothes. These changes are not the result of laws passed by Congress (which is where we are supposed to get out laws), they are the result of federal regulations. Well, the ability of federal agencies rather than Congress to pass laws is now being challenged in our courts.

On Tuesday, The Daily Caller reported the following:

A federal appeals court shot down the Biden administration’s efforts to repeal existing regulations on dishwashers and clothes washers on Monday.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a legal battle between eleven red states and the federal government over the Department of Energy’s (DOE) efforts to impose energy and water efficiency standards for dishwashers and clothes washers that asserted it “is unclear that DOE has statutory authority to regulate water use in dishwashers and clothes washers,” according to the opinion’s text. The Biden administration has attempted to push new standards for both appliances since coming into office in 2021 as part of a wider push to nudge the market toward more energy efficient appliances, which in some cases are generally  less effective than their other models, the court asserted in its opinion.

In March 2018, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) proposed standards for dishwashers that allow the sale of models that run faster cycles, using more energy and water than standard dishwashers in the process. The Trump administration then adopted similar guidelines as policy in 2020, but the Biden DOE repealed those standards in 2021 before advancing its own standards that crack down on the faster models advantaged by the Trump administration’s rules in May 2023.

The article concludes:

Beyond clothes washers and dishwashers, the Biden DOE has also sought to impose energy efficiency regulations for items like water heatersfurnaces and pool pump motors. The administration has also spent hundreds of millions of dollars on helping state and municipal governments pursue building codes

“In this opinion, the court has forced DOE to follow the law and even noted that one of the positions DOE took in this suit ‘borders on frivolous.’ This decision allows manufacturers to build better dishwashers, not be encumbered by counterproductive federal regulations,” Devin Watkins, an attorney for CEI, said of the opinion.

The DOE did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Banned By The Biden Administration!

On Tuesday, The Washington Examiner posted a list of five things that the Biden administration has attempted to restrict.

This is the list:

Gas stoves

Incandescent lightbulbs

Plastic straws

Gas-powered cars

Washing machines

Anyone looking at this list three years ago would have called it a conspiracy theory, but here we are.

The article notes:

The Department of Energy estimated the rule would save consumers 9 cents per month after originally promising higher savings for consumers when the rule was proposed earlier this year. The backlash to the rule caused the House of Representatives to pass the Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act, which would prevent the Consumer Product Safety Commission from using federal funds to enforce the rule on gas stoves. The bill has not been taken up by the Senate.

…One efficiency standard the Biden administration was successful in implementing was a lightbulb rule that outlaws nearly all incandescent bulbs from being sold. The standard went into effect in August.

…Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced in June that a plan would be implemented to phase out single-use plastics on public lands by 2032, citing environmental impacts.

In response to the proposed action, the House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill that would prevent the Interior Department from going forward with the effort. Rep. John Rose (R-TN), who introduced the amendment to deny the measure, argued the alternatives to plastics may not be more environmentally friendly.

…The Biden administration has been a strong advocate of electric cars and phasing out gas-powered vehicles, with the Department of Transportation’s proposed fuel efficiency rules being a recent example of this push.

The proposed rule would raise standards for fuel efficiency to 66 miles per gallon for cars and 54 mpg for trucks by 2032, something National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acting Administrator Ann Carlson has said is “good news for everyone.”

…A proposed efficiency standard by the Department of Energy for washing machines, which could go into effect as early as 2027, has also been criticized as restricting more effective washing machines from being sold.

The Energy Department said the standards would save consumers $3.5 billion annually on energy and water bills, but opponents of the rule argue it would drive up costs for washers while also being detrimental to their effectiveness.

Let’s work together to make sure that the Biden administration has no more success in banning items that make life easier and more efficient for most Americans.

Why The Citizens United Decision Matters

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), is a landmark United States Supreme Court case concerning campaign finance. The Supreme Court ruled on January 21, 2010, prevents the government from restricting campaign contributions from corporations, including nonprofit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.

National Review posted an article on March 5, 2014, showing political campaign donations from 1989 to 2014. Below is the chart included in the article:

As you can see, unions donate a significant amount of money to political campaigns.

On Thursday, The Washington Examiner reported that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is investing $150 million to defeat President Trump in November.

The article reports:

The get-out-the-vote campaign is the biggest investment that the union has ever made in getting voters to the polls. It will largely focus on Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to the Associated Press. It will also focus on urban areas such as Detroit and Milwaukee. And while television ads will be part of the campaign, most of its resources will go to direct contact and online ads targeting minority voters.

Maria Peralta, the union’s political director, said Trump has made inroads with some minority voters who traditionally vote Democratic if they do vote. The Trump campaign plans to open community centers to win the black vote. The offices will feature African Americans who support Trump.

So what is this about? Through deregulation and other policies, the Trump administration has seen record economic growth. In order for the Democrats to stay in power, they need a permanent underclass that is dependent on the government to support them.

On February 15, Breitbart reported:

Approximately 6.1 million individuals dropped off the food stamp rolls since President Donald Trump’s first full month in office in February 2017, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

This is a threat to the growth of the Democrat party. If the Democrats can defeat President Trump, reverse his economic policies, and create a failing economy, they can gain more control over the everyday lives of Americans. That is their goal. That is the reason we need corporate money in elections to counter the union money. That is the reason Citizens United was a good decision.

It should also be noted that as the number of people dependent on the government decreases, the size of the administrative state should also decrease. That should also decrease the cost of government. That is a goal that totally frightens those involved in the administrative state. If the administrative state continues at its present size, we will never get federal deficits under control. Eventually the deficit will crash the economy.

Here We Go Again

Fox News is reporting today the following:

I Guess Legalization Was Not The Right Answer

A number of states have legalized recreational marijuana with the intention of collecting tax revenue on the sale of the drug after it becomes legal. There is little thought given to the possible effects of the drug or the long-term consequences–it’s about the money. As far as the long-term consequences, I posted an article in October of last year that included a first-hand account of the effects of continuing marijuana use. Yesterday (updated today) The U.K. Daily Mail posted an interesting article about how the legalization and taxation of marijuana  has worked in California.

The article reports:

California is increasing business tax rates on legal marijuana, a move that stunned struggling companies that have been pleading with the state to do just the opposite.

Hefty marijuana taxes that can approach 50 per cent in some communities have been blamed for pushing shoppers into California’s tax-free illegal market, which is thriving. 

Industry analysts estimate that $3 are spent in the illegal market for every $1 in the legal one.

The California Cannabis Industry Association said in a statement that its members are ‘stunned and outraged.’

The group said the higher taxes that will take effect January 1 will make it even worse for a legal industry struggling under the weight of heavy regulation and fees, local bans on pot sales and growing and a booming underground marketplace.

‘Widening the price … gap between illicit and regulated products will further drive consumers to the illicit market at a time when illicit products are demonstrably putting people´s lives at risk,’ the group said, referring to the national vaping health crisis.

Los Angeles dispensary owner Jerred Kiloh, who heads the United Cannabis Business Association, said the increased levies added to the heavily taxed market ‘seems like a slap in the face.’

The changes involve taxes paid by legal businesses, which ultimately get passed along to consumers at the retail counter.

Josh Drayton of the cannabis association predicted that an eighth-ounce purchase of marijuana buds, typically priced around $40 to $45, would be pushed up to $50 or more in the new year.

There are a few lessons to be learned here. First, increasing taxes on something results in people finding another source or buying less. In this case, people have found another source. A person buying legal marijuana can be reasonably sure that he is getting the product he is paying for; however, buying any drug illegally can be very risky. This is the Laffer Curve at work–raising taxes on something will at some point decrease revenue. Second, companies don’t pay taxes–increased taxes are passed along to the consumer in the form of increased prices.

Legalizing recreational marijuana use may have unseen consequences we haven’t even dreamed of yet. In California it has not ended the illegal drug trade, and the greedy government’s taxes have only exacerbated the problem.

Good News For Impatient People Who Like Clean Dishes

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about dishwashers–the kind that are installed in with your kitchen cabinets and take forever to clean the dishes about as well as your average cat. I realize that does not apply to all dishwashers, but since the environmentalists got involved, it applies to a lot of them. Well, that is about to change.

The article reports:

Consumers outraged about slow dishwashers are staunchly backing an Energy Department move, over industry objections, to create a new category of products that feature a one-hour washing cycle.

Individual consumers have flooded the public comment docket in support of the Energy Department proposal, which grants a petition made by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank. The agency proposal would establish a separate product class for dishwashers that clean and dry dishes within one hour, an action that would exclude those appliances from current energy and water conservation standards until separate rules are crafted.

The Energy Department could finalize the proposal as soon as next year.

“A First World country deserves a dishwasher that can actually clean soiled dishes in an hour – as it used to have before this regulation was enacted to ‘save’ us energy and money. It doesn’t,” one individual consumer, Chad Anderson, wrote in a comment submitted this week.

The article concludes:

The Energy Department, though, in its proposal said data and customer complaints show many consumers would value “shorter cycle times to clean a normally-soiled load of dishes.” Watkins argued that no dishwasher models currently exist on the market that have a normal one-hour cycle for washing and drying.

Mauer said a number of factors, including consumer preferences for more efficient and quieter dishwashers, have impacted the cycle times.

And she said the lack of standards for the new product class also means the Energy Department’s move likely violates a provision in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which prohibits the agency from loosening the efficiency standards.

Appliance makers also say the product class isn’t necessary, and they say the Energy Department action creates new regulatory burdens that will cost manufacturers.

Creating a new product class would lead to stranded investments for companies, “as manufacturers would essentially be required to abandon” innovations in efficiency they’d made to comply with the previous standards, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers wrote in comments.

The group, which represents more than 150 companies, wrote it has raised concerns about dishwasher cycle times previously but stressed this wasn’t the venue to address them.

Watkins of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, however, argued appliance makers don’t want the Energy Department to change the current limits because it would open up the market to new companies that haven’t spent the money to comply with conservation limits.

“They now view the regulations in some way as a barrier to entry” into the market, Watkins said. He also suggested that creating a new product class could relieve some of the pressure manufacturers face from ever-tightening standards due to the law’s “one-way ratchet.”

Plus, it’s hard to argue with the overwhelming consumer support, Watkins said, pointing to a recent survey the group conducted of more than 1,000 customers showing a majority prefer dishwasher cycles of one hour or less.

“Where can I get a MDGA* hat? (*Make Dishwashers Great Again),” one consumer wrote in the comments.

What has happened to dishwashers in recent years is another example of the government deciding what is good for the consumer without giving the consumer a voice in the decision. The idea of a dishwasher that effectively cleans dishes in an hour is a winner. Government regulation and interference kept it from being a reality.

Censorship Run Amok

On Friday, Newsbusters reported that Twitter had recently labeled a tweet by Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott as “sensitive” and covered it up. The tweet was hardly controversial.

The article reports:

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott met with Twitter officials on July 15 to discuss why his tweet about the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, was covered up by Twitter. His original tweet, which retweeted a video, said, “I’ve always loved watching the Blue Angels. They inspire the precision and power that makes the U.S. military the mightiest in the history of the world.” Both this tweet, and the video, were covered as “sensitive” by Twitter.

Users had to click through the “sensitive” filter in order to see the tweet.

Abbott later tweeted, “Multiple reports say Twitter categorized my Blue Angels post as sensitive. Just another way Twitter is erecting challenges for conservatives and for American institutions.”

After the meeting, Abbott announced, “We are working on solutions to ensure posts are seen.”

However, the consequences might be severe. Abbott mentioned that “Greater regulation of Twitter is on the table.”

The only thing that could even remotely be considered sensitive about a Blue Angels video is the pictures taken from inside the plane. The maneuvers those pilots go through are worse than the wildest roller coaster! At any rate, this is another example of overreaching censorship in a place where censorship should not even be allowed.

Helping Solve The Healthcare Problem

It is becoming obvious that the Democrats in Congress are not really interested in solving problems. They have been absent on the border crisis and they have been absent on healthcare and health insurance. Meanwhile, President Trump is making gains in both of those areas.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about a recent change in health insurance regulations announced by the Department of Health and Human Services. The change will allow businesses to fund employees who buy health insurance on the individual market–something that until now has been illegal.

The article includes the announcement:

Today, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury issued a new policy that will provide hundreds of thousands of employers, including small businesses, a better way to provide health insurance coverage, and millions of American workers more options for health insurance coverage. The Departments issued a final regulation that will expand the use of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). When employers have fully adjusted to the rule, it is estimated this expansion of HRAs will benefit approximately 800,000 employers, including small businesses, and more than 11 million employees and family members, including an estimated 800,000 Americans who were previously uninsured.
***
Under the rule, starting in January 2020, employers will be able to use what are referred to as individual coverage HRAs to provide their workers with tax-preferred funds to pay for the cost of health insurance coverage that workers purchase in the individual market, subject to certain conditions. … Individual coverage HRAs are designed to give working Americans and their families greater control over their healthcare by providing an additional way for employers to finance health insurance.
***
The HRA rule also increases workers’ choice of coverage, increases the portability of coverage, and will generally improve worker economic well-being. This rule will also allow workers to shop for plans in the individual market and select coverage that best meets their needs. … [T]he final rule should spur a more competitive individual market that drives health insurers to deliver better coverage options to consumers.

Moving healthcare and health insurance back to free market principles will be better for everyone–it will increase competition and eventually drive costs down. This is a step in the right direction.

The Free Market Is Good For The Environment

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about air pollution in America.

The article cites the successes America has had in curbing air pollution in our country:

Over the last 50 years, harmful air pollution known as particulate matter has plummeted. Toxic pollutants like lead, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide are now nearly nonexistent in our air. Ozone is down dramatically. We’re the only highly populated nation in the world to meet the World Health Organization’s standards for particulate matter and by a long shot. In fact, our standards are among the strictest in the world.

These radical air quality gains occurred at the same time our population, energy consumption, vehicle miles traveled, and gross domestic product also grew dramatically.

Economic growth does not have to be crippled in order to create a clean environment–in fact, economic growth can be used as an engine to promote a clean environment.

The article explains:

Take the catalytic converter, which turns toxic exhaust into harmless gases, like water vapor, by catalyzing a chemical reaction. It was perfected for use in gasoline engines in the 1950s by Eugene Houdry, a French scientist who became a U.S. citizen in 1942, and was popularized in the 1970s as an efficient way to meet the Clean Air Act standards.

According to the EPA, which calls the catalytic converter “one of the greatest environmental inventions of all time,” modern cars, SUVs, trucks, and buses are 98-99% cleaner now than they were 50 years ago. Tailpipe pollutants have nearly been eliminated, meaning our cities are no longer stifled by smog. We’re free to take advantage of the independence, mobility, and economic opportunity personal vehicles offer without sacrificing environmental quality.

That’s good old American ingenuity at work. It continues to work today in technologies like baghouse dust collectors that eliminate pollution from commercial plants and renewable natural gas generation from methane captured from landfills or wastewater treatment plants. The limitless potential of the free market and innovation, not government mandates and taxes, have driven both our economy and environment to dramatic success.

All this is made possible by access to abundant, reliable, and affordable energy. Our energy resources have the power to improve our quality of life, power our economies, and lift people out of poverty both at home and abroad, all while improving the environment. Nothing is more powerful to drive human flourishing than energy.

We don’t have to ruin the American economy to prevent being wiped out in twelve years.

Anyone who believes that the radical agenda of the environmentalists is actually about the environment needs to consider the following quote from an Investor’s Business Daily article of March 29, 2016:

…listen to the words of former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer:

“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,” said Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.

So what is the goal of environmental policy?

“We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy,” said Edenhofer.

Wake up and listen to what the people who are pushing drastic environmental regulations are really supporting.

Good News–Temporary Good News, But Good News

Breitbart is reporting today that a White House study released on Friday found that President Donald Trump’s Obamacare reforms will save Americans roughly $450 billion over the next ten years.

That is wonderful news, but it is only temporary wonderful news.

The article reports:

A White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) study released on Friday found that Americans will save $450 billion through Trump’s Obamacare reforms. The CEA suggested that Trump’s repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate and the expansion of short-term insurance plans and Association Health Plans (AHPs) will save Americans billions over the next ten years.

The White House also suggested that the benefits of Trump’s deregulatory actions saved Americans billions, increased access to more health insurance options, and did not amount to a “sabotage” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Unfortunately these savings are a result of Executive Orders, not legislative action. That means that the changes can theoretically be reversed by a future President. It would have been wonderful if Congress had stepped up to the plate and made the necessary changes.

The article concludes:

Many Americans have contended that because 80 percent of those who paid the Obamacare mandate made less than $50,000 a year, the individual mandate repeal serves as a significant middle-class tax break.

The CEA said about 87 percent of Obamacare exchange enrollees receive ACA subsidies and “only pay a fraction of their health insurance costs.”

Many Obamacare proponents suggested that the repeal of the individual mandate, as well as the expansion of short-term plans and AHPs, would lead to higher premiums on the Obamacare exchanges.

In contrast, the CEA contended that because more people will use AHPs and short-term plans and fewer people will use the ACA exchanges, the government will save $185 billion over the next ten years.

The CEA said that instead of sabotaging the ACA, the Trump administration offered millions of Americans more affordable health insurance options.

“The oft-expressed view that deregulation ‘sabotages the ACA’ by giving consumers more insurance-coverage options is misguided,” the CEA said.

The free market is always the best answer.

This Is How You Actually Help Middle-Class Families

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial with the title, “Trump Delivers For Workers … After Years Of Empty Obama Promises.” The editorial cites the latest jobs report and explains how that excellent report is the result of President Trump’s economic policies. The first thing to remember here is that President Trump is a businessman–not a politician (although he has a very fast learning curve). His approach to government seems to be very similar to that of a businessman–what is the most efficient way to solve a problem? There are those in Washington who do not welcome this approach.

The editorial reminds us:

The 304,000 gain in jobs reported by the Labor Department was nearly twice the consensus estimate. And it comes after December’s expectation-busting gains.

There’s more. The jobs picture is so strong right now that it’s pulling people in who’ve been sitting on the sidelines.

In fact, for the first time in more than 20 years, the number of people who are out of the labor force — those without jobs and not looking — shrank by 647,000 over the past 12 months. So many people are returning to the labor force that the official unemployment rate is going up, even as the job market booms.

This comes, mind you, at a time when baby boomers are retiring en masse. Under Obama, in contrast, the number of labor force dropouts exploded by 14.4 million.

The latest numbers also underscore a point we’ve been making in this space for months — that all the talk of a tight labor market overlooked the vast pool of idle workers during the Obama years.

The editorial concludes:

Other evidence of this turnaround came earlier in the week, when the Labor Dept reported that private sector wages and salaries climbed 3% last year — the biggest annual increase in a decade. Under Obama, private sector wage gains averaged just 2%.

Why Now?

So why now, this late in the game?

The answer is simple. At least to those not blinded by partisanship or economic ideology.

For eight years, Obama kept promising “bottom-up growth,” while telling the country that tax cuts and deregulation would only benefit the rich. But his policies — Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, higher taxes, a regulatory tsunami — produced economic stagnation. As it always does, that stagnation hurt the working class most.

Trump went in the opposite direction. His pro-growth tax cuts, deregulatory campaign and pro-energy policies fueled huge increases in economic optimism and turbocharged the economy. And now we’re seeing real job growth and strong wage gains for the first time in more than a decade.

You tell us which approach is proving more worker friendly.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Republicans and Democrats could work together to insure the continuation of this economic growth?

About That Recovery

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted an article illustrating the timeline of the economic growth our country is currently experiencing. The article deals with the recent claims by former President Obama that he is responsible for the current economic growth and that the growth began under his leadership. In February 2018 The Washington Times reminded us that Obama Democrats told us that what looked like long-term stagnation under President Obama’s economic policies, with growth stuck at 2 percent on average for his whole eight years in office, was the New Normal that the American people were going to have to get used to, the best we could do now.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Milton Friedman was the first economist to notice a pattern in American economic history: The deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery. The economy has to grow even faster than normal for a while to catch up to where it would have been without the recession. The fundamentals of America’s world-leading economy are so strong that the pattern held throughout the country’s history.

Until the past decade. The 2008-09 recession was so bad, the economy should have come roaring back with a booming recovery—even stronger than Reagan’s boom in the 1980s. But Mr. Obama carefully, studiously pursued the opposite of every pro-growth policy Reagan had followed. What he got was the worst recovery from a recession since the Great Depression.

Before Mr. Obama, in the 11 previous recessions since the Depression, the economy recovered all jobs lost during the recession an average of 27 months after the recession began. In Mr. Obama’s recovery, dating from the summer of 2009, the recession’s job losses were not recovered until after 76 months—more than six years.

The article concludes:

Obama apologists argued America could no longer grow any faster than Mr. Obama’s 2% real growth averaged over eight years. Slow growth was the “new normal.” The American Dream was over. Get used to it. Hillary Clinton promised to continue Mr. Obama’s economic policies. America’s blue-collar voters rose up.

The recovery took off on Election Day 2016, as the stock market communicated. Mr. Trump’s tax cuts and sweeping deregulation—especially regarding energy—fundamentally changed course from Mr. Obama. These policies have driven today’s boom, increasing annual growth to more than 3% within six months and now to over 4%.

Will Democrats ever figure out what policies create jobs, economic growth and rising wages? If not, they’ll wake up some Wednesday morning to find they have been routed in a fundamental realignment election, in which they have permanently lost the blue-collar vote—once the backbone of their party.

The truth is in the numbers. All of us need to be aware that what former Presidents say about today’s economic growth may not be true. Economic policies make a difference, and President Trump has illustrated that.

The Jobs Report Came Out Today

The jobs report came out today. The number I watch, and I am waiting to see change is the Workforce Participation Rate. That number is holding steady at 62.9. That is not a great number, but it is an okay number. That number reached 66 during some of early 2008, but has generally been in the 63 or 64 range most of the time since then. The other numbers on the report are really good.

CNS News is reporting the numbers today:

The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics says a record 155,965,000 people were employed in July, the 11th record-breaker since President Trump took office 19 months ago.

“Our economy is soaring. Our jobs are booming. Factories are pouring back into our country, they coming from all over the world. We are defending our workers,” President Trump told a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday.

BLS said the economy added 157,000 jobs in July (compared with a revised 248,000 in June).

The unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent, as the number of employed people reached new heights, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 284,000 to 6,280,000 in July. 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.4 percent) and Whites (3.4 percent) declined in July. The jobless rates for adult women (3.7 percent), teenagers (13.1 percent), Blacks (6.6 percent), and Asians (3.1 percent), showed little or no change over the month. The unemployment rate for Hispanics hit a record low of 4.5 percent, down from last month’s record 4.6 percent.

There was also good news for wage-earners–in addition to the tax cut, hourly wages went up:

In July, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $27.05. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent.

This growth is the direct result of the policies of President Trump–the combination of deregulation, tax cuts, and domestic energy development has resulted in economic growth.

 

The Trump Economy

CNBC is reporting today that more private-sector jobs were created in October than economists expected.

The article reports:

The ADP National Employment showed private-sector businesses added 235,000 jobs in the month. ADP was expected to show private employers added 200,000 jobs in October, up from 135,000 in September.

Goods-producing companies benefited strongly with 85,000 new jobs, 62,000 of which came from construction. Manufacturing also saw 22,000 positions added.

…Overall, the service sector accounted for the bulk of the job creation, adding 150,000 jobs. Professional and business services added the most positions, up 109,000. Job losses were seen in the trade, transportation, and information sectors, as well as education.

“The job market rebounded strongly from the hit it took from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement. “Resurgence in construction jobs shows the rebuilding is already in full swing. Looking through the hurricane-created volatility, job growth is robust.”

Leisure and hospitality contributed 45,000 to the total while health care and social assistance grew by 44,000.

In terms of business size, job gains were spread evenly, with companies that have more than 500 employees hiring 90,000 while those with fewer than 50 added 79,000.

Part of this growth is the result of deregulation, and part of this growth is in anticipation of tax cuts that will be favorable to the middle class and to business growth. It will be interesting to see how the increase in the number of people re-entering the job market looking for jobs impacts the unemployment numbers that will come out this week.

The ObamaAdministration’s War On Coal Continues

CBN News is reporting today that thousands of America‘s coal workers gathered in Washington, D.C., yesterday to protest new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that will shut down the coal industry in America.

The article reports:

Coal worker Jim Dailer of Wheeling, W.Va., complained, “They’ve tightened down regulation after regulation down through the years and ended up with putting us out of business pretty much.”
 
More than 200 coal-fired plants have already announced they’re closing.  Dailer said it will be some 350 by the end of next year. 
 
These coal miners, workers and officials rallied on Capitol Hill because only Congress or the courts can stop the EPA.
 
“What we’re trying to do is reach the hearts and minds of the people who are in those halls in front of me,” Horton said as he looked up at the Capitol building.  “To get them to understand that coal is much more than an energy source.  It’s people.”

Just for the record, I am not in favor of air pollution–but I do believe that the government is quite capable of over-regulating. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2012 coal provided 37 percent of the electricity generated in America. At the present time, there is not a reliable ‘green’ source of energy to replace that power. Until the ‘green’ energy industry is more reliable and more economical, we need to leave our coal plants open.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Speakeasy Restaurants???

CBS 2 in New York City posted an article Wednesday about an investigation they had done into New York City’s illegal dinner parties. There are a number of underground supper clubs operating in the city, and they are as of yet, unregulated.

The article reports:

But some critics have concerns about these unregulated dinner parties.

“It definitely falls into a gray area,” said Leon Lubarsky, owner of Letter Grade Consulting.

Lubarsky’s staff of retired New York City health inspectors advises restaurants on health regulations.

When asked if the underground restaurants should be regulated, Lubarsky told Leitner, “Yes, they should be regulated by the same system that regulates every restaurant in New York City.”

The article continues:

But if caught hosting an underground dinner party, the hosts could be fined $2,000 and ordered to shut down.

The price to get into one of these underground supper clubs ranges from $40 to several hundred. Some of the hosts say they are in it simply for the love of food, while others hope to turn a profit.

I have very mixed emotions about this. In Massachusetts I was involved in a church that was offering a monthly free dinner to whoever wanted it. Our kitchen help had to be certified, all food had to be cooked on the premises, and all ingredients posted. The rules were there to protect those eating the food. My feeling is that if the hosts (or hostesses) of these dinner parties are charging for the dinners, they should be regulated–they are essentially operating a restaurant–in their homes or wherever. I also wonder what would happen if anyone got sick after one of these dinners. Would the host (or hostess) be at risk of being sued?

I am not a big fan of government regulation–I think taking salt off of the table at restaurants or banning large sodas is stupid. However, I do think that food preparation should be overseen by the Board of Health in order to protect the public.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Here Come The Regulations

The National Journal posted an article on Thursday about increased regulations under the Obama Administration. The article noted that during the first two years of President Obama’s term there were more regulations than normal. In 2012, the number of regulations decreased as regulations became a campaign issue.

The article reports:

Federal agencies are sitting on a pile of major health, environmental, and financial regulations that lobbyists, congressional staffers, and former administration officials say are being held back to avoid providing ammunition to Mitt Romney and other Republican critics.

The article posted a chart to illustrate how Washington plays the regulations game: Unfortunately, I cannot figure out how to post it here, so please follow the link to the article to view the chart. The bottom line is simple–the regulations game is played by both parties.

The article reports:

Among the most politically controversial rules is one that would slash toxic tailpipe pollution from gasoline, but that could also slightly increase costs at the pump. That rule, say industry lobbyists and environmentalists who work closely with EPA, has been sitting at the agency, ready to roll out, for nearly a year. But the White House was reluctant to regulate gasoline in an election year in which pain at the pump has ignited fierce firestorms.

“There are at least a half-dozen other examples like that throughout the agency,” said William Becker, executive director for the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. “And that’s why administrations will do everything they can to avoid putting these rules out during an election year. But all that ends after the election. Then it’s a mad rush to see who gets the rules out the door first.”

Before you vote, please consider this report, and please remember President Obama’s statement to Russian President Medvedev that he would be more flexible in dealing with the Russians in a second term. I sincerely believe that a second term of President Obama will destroy America as we have known it.

Enhanced by Zemanta