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.

The Court Got It Right

The Covid lockdown resulted in one of the largest transfers of wealth from small business owners to large corporations. In many cases, that was the result of the fact that the small business owners could not comply with the myriad regulations in a cost-effective way. Many small restaurants are gone forever, and many boutique dress shops are closed. One business that refused to shut down (and frequently made the news) was the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey. The co-owner, Ian Smith, was charged with 80 charges stemming from keeping his gym open despite Democrat Governor Phil Murphy’s tyrannical COVID-19 lockdown orders.

On Sunday, The Gateway Pundit posted an update on the case.

The article reports:

Ian Smith, co-owner of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey, has achieved a monumental victory. A New Jersey court has dismissed all 80 charges against him, charges that stemmed from his bold decision to reopen his gym in direct defiance of Democrat Governor Phil Murphy’s tyrannical COVID-19 lockdown orders.

The saga began in May 2020, when Smith reopened Atilis Gym, challenging the Murphy administration’s mandates, which he and his supporters argue are unconstitutional and detrimental to small businesses.

The confrontation escalated in July 2020 when police officers forcefully arrested Smith after he continually violated the state’s shutdown orders.

A swarm of police officers burst through the door of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey arrested the owners for violating Governor Murphy’s authoritarian shutdown order.

The article reminds us of the extreme actions of the Governor:

The state’s aggressive response did not end with the arrest. In a controversial move, Governor Murphy and his administration seized $165,000 from the gym’s accounts—funds that Smith claims were amassed through donations and apparel sales to support the gym’s legal battles. This act was a punitive strike meant to cripple the gym financially and serve as a stern warning to others who might consider similar defiance.

“Governor Phil Murphy seized 100% of our assets today – $165k, all of which came from donations and apparel sales. This is done in the middle of ongoing litigation defending ourselves against these fines, our 80 charges, the revocation of our business license, and the unconstitutional health department shutdown.⁣ This was never about protection, it was always about control,” said Smith in a video statement in January 2021.

The article concludes:

Special thanks to our fearless attorneys – John McCann and Giancarlo Ghione. Some of the most high profile attorneys around the country ran from our case – knowing it would be a long, hard road and would make them a target of the stare. These two gentlemen stood with us through the darkest days of the storm, have not flinched, and never once cared about being in front of cameras to gain notoriety from their work.

More updates later.

Nobody is coming to save you, save yourself. Spit on your hands and hoist the black flag. No quarter.

We win by standing strong and calling out unconstitutional laws.

Regulations Matter

On Thursday, Issues & Insights posted an article about the regulatory nightmare that is being created by the Biden administration.

The article reports:

Just after Ronald Reagan won the presidential election in November 1980, economic adviser David Stockman wrote a memo warning the president-elect that he faced an “economic Dunkirk” thanks to the disastrous economy he was inheriting.

Among Stockman’s warnings was that the Carter administration had set a “ticking regulatory time bomb” that would blow up the economy.

“They have spent the past four years ‘tooling up’ for implementation through a mind-boggling outpouring of rulemakings, interpretative guidelines, and major litigation – all heavily biased toward maximization of regulatory scope and burden,” Stockman wrote.

Stockman – who would later serve as head of the Office of Management and Budget and ended up losing Reagan’s trust – had that part wrong. While Carter was a disaster as president, at least he showed an ability to learn on the job. And so late in his term, Carter embarked on a deregulatory campaign to fight inflation. Among other things, he freed the trucking and airline industries from onerous government mandates.

“Carter gave Reagan the phenomenal gift of deregulation. Combined with the (Reagan) tax cuts that largely took effect in 1983, the economy went on a growth tear,” wrote Brian Domitrovic, a scholar at the Laffer Center, in Forbes. “All the capital that Reagan freed up via his tax cuts found room to roam in the deregulated world which Carter had set up.”

Unfortunately the Biden administration has not studied the lessons of history. The article lists some of the regulations the Biden administration has put in place:

  • Force car owners into inconvenient, expensive, range-deficient EVs.
  • Impose emission standards on large trucks that, the industry says, will be “the most challenging, costly and potentially disruptive heavy-duty emissions rule in history.”
  • Sharply raise the cost of drilling for oil and gas on public lands and raise the cost of water.
  • Make it nearly impossible to get permits to expand or build new facilities in most areas of the country without violating impossibly strict clean-air standards.

The article concludes:

In his 1980 memo, Stockman said avoiding an economic Dunkirk required “an initial administration economic program that is so bold, sweeping, and sustained that it totally dominates the Washington agenda (and) holds promise of propelling the economy into vigorous expansion and the financial markets into a bullish psychology.”

Reagan delivered.

It will take even greater levels of boldness today. And while there is hope for such a comprehensive program under the return of Donald Trump, if Biden wins in November there will be no rescuing the economy this time.

Deregulation will be one of the keys to reviving the struggling economy. Despite the fact that the Biden administration keeps telling us that the economy is strong, people are working two jobs to keep up with inflation, there are layoffs in a number of industries, and high interest rates are making it very difficult for new home owners to afford a home.

Does Anyone Know Where Our Money Is Going?

On Monday, American Greatness posted an article titled:

GAO: ‘Unclear’ if Pentagon Tracking Reports of Misused Aid in Ukraine

I don’t know about you, but that headline does not give me the warm fuzzies.

The article reports:

While the Pentagon has assured Congress that no U.S. military equipment sent to Ukraine has been diverted, stolen, or otherwise misappropriated, a new report from the Government Accountability Office could not determine if the Department of Defense was tracking allegations of misuse two years into the conflict.

“If you never look, you will never find it,” a source familiar with how the report was compiled said of the worst-case possibility that aid was being misappropriated.

The report comes as President Biden struggles to keep the supply lines open to Ukraine. Although a majority of Congress supports sending further aid to help hold back the Russian onslaught, and the Senate passed a bipartisan aid package late last month, House Republicans have yet to approve the latest round of now-stalled military assistance.

The United States remains the leading supplier of munitions and other aid to Ukraine, providing more than $42 billion in assistance since Russia’s invasion. Much of it has come through the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to transfer equipment from American stores directly to allies. The annual amount was limited by law to $100 million a year until Congress lifted the cap to $14.5 billion.

The sheer tonnage of supplies and the speed of its shipment, according to the GAO report, has left the Pentagon without “quality data” to assess its delivery. Ensuring munitions and materiel arrive in the right hands has led to unprecedented challenges on top of the existing chaos of war. Most officials were evacuated from Ukraine long ago, for instance, and those who remain are restricted from leaving Kyiv to ensure delivery of shipments before it is used or destroyed on the battlefield.

The article concludes:

The GAO included in their report eight separate recommended reforms, which the DoD consented to partly or entirely. In a letter from Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, that was included in the report, the DoD declined a recommendation to require which allegations of misuse should be recorded and tracked. According to Cooper, the DoD already has sufficient regulations in place.

This will do little to pacify Republicans eager to rein in the war funding.

“The Biden administration has spent two years deceiving the American people, claiming they’ve closely tracked the military material we’ve sent to Ukraine. The GAO’s report not only proves them wrong, it references allegations that U.S. military equipment ended up in the hands of Russian military forces,” Sen. JD Vance, an Ohio Republican and former U.S. Marine, told RCP.

“This is a major problem. I plan to immediately introduce legislation to hold the Biden administration accountable for these errors,” Vance added.

We need a few people in Congress with the backbone to put an end to this ridiculousness–either account for the spending or stop the spending.

Congress Strikes Back

On January 26th, the Biden administration announced a temporary pause on pending approvals of liquefied natural gas exports, claiming that natural gas, as a fossil fuel, is partially responsible for climate change.

On January 27th, World Net Daily reminded us:

Natural gas is considered to be the cleanest variety of energy-dense fossil fuels, and and U.S. LNG is about 30% cleaner than Russian LNG, for example, according to ClearPath.

“Despite the White House’s claims to the contrary, it is profoundly absurd to claim this action will do anything to curb emissions. The natural gas to meet global demand will come from somewhere — either from the US, where it is produced more responsibly than anywhere else on earth, or from other nations with far fewer environmental regulations,” David Blackmon, a 40-year veteran of the oil and gas industry who now writes and consults on the energy sector, previously told the DCNF (Daily Caller News Foundation).

I am sure that Russia appreciated the pause.

Well, Congress has had enough.

On February 15th, The Daily Caller posted the following headline:

‘Easy Vote’: House Passes Bipartisan Rebuke Of Biden Admin’s ‘Radical’ Natural Gas Restriction

The article reports:

The House passed a bill Thursday that would effectively lift the Biden administration’s pause on new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals.

The lower chamber of the legislature passed the “Unlocking Our Domestic LNG Potential Act,” introduced by Republican Rep. August Pfluger of Texas, by a 224-200 bipartisan vote, with nine House Democrats crossing the aisle to join Republicans in voting in favor of the bill. The bill would remove the Department of Energy (DOE) from the process of approving LNG export terminals and give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) exclusive discretion over whether or not to green light LNG export hubs, according to its text.

All of the Republicans in the House who were present voted for the bill. Nine Democrats also voted for the bill.

The article at The Daily Caller also notes:

“President Biden was pretty clear when, as a candidate, he said, ‘I guarantee you. We’re going to end fossil fuel.’ He has used every weapon and every tool available to make it more difficult on this industry,” Pfluger told the DCNF. “This export ban is just the latest strike in his efforts to appease his radical climate interest groups who refuse to accept the reality that American energy is the cleanest, most secure option for the U.S. and our allies. If you care about energy, about the security of the country, and about what the energy industry has done to lower prices for American households and strengthen our allies and partners, then this is an easy vote.”

If the  American economy is going to survive the Biden administration, we need to be able to harness domestic energy.

 

 

Funding Homeschools


Author: R. Alan Harrop, Ph.D

School choice has become an increasingly important issue as parents observe the overall unacceptable academic performance of public schools and the exposure of their children to socialist indoctrination inconsistent with their values. School choice includes public, charter, private, and homeschools. Most clear thinking people applaud school choice and recognize that competition in any endeavor leads to improved performance. It is also important to recognize that parents, like the rest of us, pay the taxes that support public schools that have been a monopoly.

In 2023, the General Assembly expanded the existing Opportunity Scholarship Program that allows parents to apply for funds to support attending private schools. This revision expanded the income eligibility requirement by raising the income limit. That is the good news. The bad news is that they did not include homeschools in the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Having homeschooled my youngest daughter, I am fully aware of the significant personal and financial sacrifice that parents make when homeschooling their children. The General Assembly needs to correct this error by making parents of homeschoolers eligible for this scholarship program. In truth, the solution is simple: the money should follow the student.

It is my understanding that some homeschooling parents are reluctant to accept government taxpayer’s money for fear that the government will impose restrictions and regulations on how they conduct their homeschools. This is a valid concern since that government almost always tries to exert control anytime they issue funds. However, we should not throw out the baby with the bath water. The law adding homeschools to the Opportunity Scholarship Program must be written in a way that preserves the independence of the homeschools In addition, homeschooling parents should always have the right to decline to accept a scholarship.

One final concern is the whole idea of an income limit that is part of the Opportunity Scholarship Program. When I was a senior in high school, I was awarded a N.Y. state four year college scholarship. It was awarded, not on the basis of my parent’s income, but rather based on the results of a standardized test. That was an example of meritocracy, where the scholarship was awarded based on achievement. We have come a long way in the wrong direction. The idea of awarding scholarship funds based on income is the Marxist idea of taking from the higher income people and giving to the lower income people. I truly wish that our conservative Republican legislators would see this for what it is and do away with the lower income requirement. The country would be much better off. We need to stop the slide towards Marxism before it is too late.

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.

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.

The Accomplishments Of The Biden Administration

On January 2nd, The Daily Caller posted the following headline:

Biden Added $745 Billion Worth Of Regulations In 2023

Just what we needed.

The article reports:

The Biden administration promulgated over $745 billion worth of regulations in 2023, according to information supplied by Advancing American Freedom (AAF) to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Biden administration has used rulemaking procedures in agencies to enact several of its left-wing policy initiatives, such as stringent emissions standards to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles and student loan forgiveness plans. From Jan. 1 to Dec. 29 of 2023, the administration greatly exceeded both the Trump and Obama administrations in terms of the regulations it issued, adding to the 743 rules since 2021, according to data from AAF, a government regulations watchdog.

Remember that when President Trump took office, he began removing regulations in order to allow the American economy to grow. What impact have these new regulations put on by the Biden administration had on economic growth?

The article notes:

“Since January 1, the federal government has published $745.2 billion in total net costs (with $129.2 billion in new costs from finalized rules) and 251.3 million hours of net annual paperwork burden increases (with 60.5 million hours in coming from final rules),” AAF told the DCNF. “[T]he Biden Administration heads into 2024 with to-date final rule cost and paperwork totals exceeding those of the Obama Administration by $173.7 billion and 91.4 million hours, respectively.”

The article reports:

Moreover, in the last working week of the administration from Dec. 26 to Dec. 29, which was shortened due to Christmas Day, the administration added $45.6 billion in total costs and added 43.4 million annual paperwork burden hours, according to AAF.

The article includes the following statement:

Today, we released new standards for fridges & freezers that reflect a joint agreement with manufacturers & advocacy groups.

This will save Americans $5B/year & underscores our ongoing work with industry partners to promote innovation & cut energy costs.https://t.co/0Q9UKTRB31 pic.twitter.com/mXWh6SxR2U

— Secretary Jennifer Granholm (@SecGranholm) December 29, 2023

Can we please have a new President in 2025 before this administration can do any more damage.

Do You Like Having Electricity 24 Hours A Day?

Years ago, I remember talking to someone from another country who was very impressed that Americans had electricity for 24 hours every day. In her country they thought four or five hours of electricity a day was good. That was a foreign concept for me. I would like it to remain a foreign concept.

On Sunday, The New York Post posted an article about President Biden’s plans for American energy.

The article reports:

The Biden administration made two virtue-signaling proclamations at last week’s COP28 conference in Dubai that it says will help save the planet from climate change.

The policies aren’t likely to change the planet’s temperature by even one-tenth of a degree, but they might just destroy the 21st-century American industrial economy as we know it.

First, Team Biden announced it will stop production of all new coal plants in the United States.

This comes on the heels of President Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency saying this year it would impose new power plant emission regulations that are virtually impossible for coal plants to comply with.

The article also notes comments from the Vice-President:

Vice President Kamala Harris trumpeted the next day new rules to “sharply reduce methane from the oil and natural gas industry.”

The administration calls methane a “super-pollutant” that it wants to eliminate because it’s “many times more potent than carbon dioxide.”

But methane is effectively a hydrocarbon that comes from natural gas.

Eliminating methane is a de facto ban on natural gas power plants.

Here is the most sinister part of this story that no one in the Biden administration is telling you: Eradicating coal and natural gas plants will ravage America’s electric power capacity.

These regulations will cause rolling blackouts and brownouts across the country, much like we’ve already seen in California — America’s forerunner of radical anti-fossil fuel policies.

The lights will go out intermittently, and home heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer will have to be turned off or rationed.

Without gas and coal plants, hospitals, schools, the internet, construction projects and factories will be routinely shut down when unreliable alternative energy sources like wind and solar power aren’t delivering enough juice.

Upward of 60% of America’s electric power generation will go away — and soon.

Does anyone want to make a wager as to whether or not the mucky-mucks who are making these policies will continue to have electricity 24 hours a day while the rest of us have electricity for maybe eight hours a day?

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.

The Five Questions That Will Determine The Presidential Election In November

The New York Sun posted an article yesterday by Conrad Black. The article lists the five things that will determine who wins the presidential election in November.

These are the five things listed in the article:

    • Can the President override the Democratic press’s thunderous campaign to terrorize the country over the coronavirus?

    • Can the president successfully connect Vice President Biden’s campaign to the hooligans, anti-white racists, and urban guerrillas who effectively are being encouraged by the corrupt Democratic mayors of many of the nation’s largest cities?

    • Will the economic recovery and the decline in the unemployment generated by the COVID-19 shutdown continue at its recent pace and strengthen the economy as a pro-Trump electoral argument?

    • Will the Republicans make adequately clear to the country the authoritarian and Marxist implications of the Biden-Sanders unity document?

    • Will special counsel John Durham indict senior members of the Obama Administration over their handling of the spurious allegation of collusion between Donald Trump and the Russian government in the 2016 election and Justice Department violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and how will Mr. Biden himself come through it?

The coronavirus has given us some insight into what unbridled government authority can do. Some of the regulations put in place by governors and mayors were based on common sense–things your mother told you when you were young like wash you hands, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and don’t hang around with sick people. Other regulations were simply power grabs to prevent Americans from exercising their First Amendment rights–churches in Nevada restricted to a lower percentage of occupancy than casinos, protests to open businesses criticized and shut down while other protests (that included looting and riots) were allowed to continue. We have had a taste of out-of-control government in recent months. A vote for Joe Biden and whoever he chooses as his running mate will give us more of the same. Joe Biden has already stated that he wants to reassemble the Obama team–the group that gave us anemic economic growth, Benghazi where our ambassador was murdered followed by lying about it on television, ISIS, politicization of the Justice Department, and too many other scandals to mention.

The voters will choose. We need to pray for wisdom in voting and an honest election.

Putting An End To A Really Bad Idea

Breitbart reported yesterday that President Trump has announced that his administration is moving forward to eliminate the AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing) rule. I wrote about this rule on July 1 (article here). The goal of the rule is to end single-family housing in the suburbs.

The article at Breitbart reports:

During his remarks last Thursday, the president targeted the disastrous Obama rule.

“The Democrats in D.C. have been and want to, at a much higher level, abolish our beautiful and successful suburbs by placing far-left Washington bureaucrats in charge of local zoning decisions,” Trump said on the White House South Lawn. “They are absolutely determined to eliminate single-family zoning, destroy the value of houses and communities already built, just as they have in Minneapolis and other locations that you read about today. Your home will go down in value, and crime rates will rapidly rise.”

Trump continued:

Joe Biden and his bosses from the radical left want to significantly multiply what they’re doing now. And what will be the end result is you will totally destroy the beautiful suburbs. Suburbia will be no longer as we know it. So, they wanted to defund and abolish your police and law enforcement while at the same time destroying our great suburbs.

“The suburb destruction will end with us,” the president said, adding:

Next week, I will be discussing the AFFH rule — AFFH rule, a disaster — and our plans to protect the suburbs from being obliterated by Washington Democrats, by people on the far left that want to see the suburbs destroyed, that don’t care. People have worked all their lives to get into a community, and now they’re going to watch it go to hell. Not going to happen, not while I’m here.

The article concludes:

The AFFH rule is a bald-faced federal government takeover of every community. By using its power to approve banking and funding, the federal government would have the ability to tell suburban areas who will be allowed to live in their neighborhoods and what kind of homes they can build to force immigrant and low-income residents into every neighborhood. In the end, the rule would destroy wealth and lower property values. It would also tend to undermine any bastion of conservative voters by injecting government-dependent voters into every single American community.

Ending this rule is a welcome idea to those who imagine that the federal government should not be telling people how to build their communities.

Notice that this is a government program–not a law passed by Congress. It is time we went back to the idea that laws are passed by Congress–not created by un-elected government bureaucracies.

A Step In The Right Direction

By now most Americans have realized that China is not our friend–they have stolen intellectual property for years, the have manipulated their currency to gain trade advantages, and they have gifted the world with the coronavirus. Well, someone in Washington is attempting to take action to prevent further bad behavior.

The Washington Free Beacon reported yesterday that Republican Senator John Kennedy and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen sponsored a bill in the Senate that could prevent some Chinese companies from listing their shares on U.S. exchanges unless they follow standards for U.S. audits and regulations. The bill passed by unanimous consent. It still has to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by President Trump.

The article reports:

“The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act” bars securities of any company from being listed on any U.S. securities exchange if it has failed to comply with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s audits for three years in a row.

The measure also would require public companies disclose whether they are owned or controlled by a foreign government.

The bill is written to apply to all foreign companies, but it is targeted at China, and follows intense criticism of Beijing by Republican President Donald Trump that has been echoed by Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Trump and other officials in his administration insist that China mishandled the novel coronavirus during the early weeks of an outbreak that has spread into a global pandemic that has killed more than 320,000 people and cratered global economies.

Beijing denies such allegations.

“There are plenty of markets all over the world open to cheaters, but America can’t afford to be one of them. China is on a glidepath to dominance and is cheating at every turn,” Kennedy said in a statement.

“For too long, Chinese companies have disregarded U.S. reporting standards, misleading our investors,” Van Hollen said.

Let’s hope this bill becomes law.

How Certificate Of Need Laws Endanger Americans

The Federalist posted an article today about Certificate of Need (CON) laws and how they are hindering America’s response to the coronavirus.

The article reports:

During a Tuesday press conference, Cuomo lashed out at the federal government for not sending enough ventilators as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to rattle the state. “Four hundred ventilators? I need 30,000 ventilators,” Cuomo said. “You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?” The state is projecting it will need approximately 140,000 beds in 14 to 21 days, which is higher than its previous estimation of 110,000 beds by early to mid-May.

However, New York, along with 35 other states and the District of Columbia, have in place what are known as certificate-of-need (CON) laws. According to Reason, “Their stated purpose is to keep hospitals from overspending, and thus from having to charge higher prices to make up for unnecessary outlays of capital costs. But in practice, they mean hospitals must get a state agency’s permission before offering new services or installing a new medical technology. Depending on the state, everything from the number of hospital beds to the installation of a new MRI machine could be subject to CON review.”

The article notes the impact of CON laws on patient mortality rates:

In addition to causing a lack of proper equipment, these rules harm patients. According to a study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, states with CON laws have a 2.5 to 5 percent higher mortality rate than those without. Wait times have also been affected, with the average delay in New York City emergency rooms ranging from seven to 10 hours before the virus outbreak added strain to an already poorly operating medical system.

The article concludes:

Luckily, efforts to eradicate this onerous red tape have already begun, as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order suspending CON law enforcement in the state. Governors like Cuomo would be wise to follow suit and slash these burdensome regulations to allow for the expansion of new medical facilities and COVID-19 treatments.

More government control of our health-care industry is the exact opposite of what should be happening in Washington, D.C, and states around the country. Instead, lawmakers across the nation should be focusing on getting rid of these big-government barriers that make it more difficult for doctors and medical experts to treat patients. Letting the market solve its own problems is the answer to many of our problems in health care. The government needs to know when to step out of the way.

On March 23, I posted an article about how CON laws are impacting New Hampshire’s response to the coronavirus. Hopefully the problems caused by these laws during this health crisis will cause states to revisit them. Unfortunately, hospitals like the monopolies the laws give them and are willing to put forth massive lobbying efforts. Lawmakers need to rise above the politics and lobbyists and do what is best for the people they are supposed to represent.

I Guess There Just Isn’t Any Truth In Advertising These Days

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about a recent lawsuit against ice cream makers Ben & Jerry. Ben & Jerry’s owners are liberals who very openly support liberal causes. Their advertising claims that in harmony with their ideas about the humane treatment of animals ans the environment, their ice cream is made from milk from happy cows. I never really considered the emotional well being of the cows that supplied the milk for my ice cream, but I suppose it is a somewhat valid concern. Well, evidently all of the milk does not come from happy cows.

The article reports:

Since most of this week in Washington is already shaping up to be a festival of the ridiculous, we may as well toss a few more logs on the bonfire. Up in Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s, the famously liberal ice cream company, is being taken to court over fraudulent advertising, along with its parent company, Unilever. But this suit has nothing to do with the quality or safety of their product. An environmentalist is suing them because of their advertisements claiming that their creamy products are made from milk from “happy cows.” Not so, says the plaintiff! Apparently, many of the cows are simply miserable.

Ben & Jerry’s and parent company Unilever are being sued for false advertising by an environmental advocate who claims the milk and cream used to make flavors like Phish Food are deceptively marketed as coming from “happy cows.”

In a complaint filed Oct. 31 in federal court in Burlington, Vermont, where Ben & Jerry’s was founded, environmental advocate James Ehlers accuses the company and Unilever of deceiving consumers who buy the ice cream because of its pastoral and progessive image.

“During the past several years, Unilever has breached consumer trust by representing the Ben & Jerry’s Products as being made with milk and cream sourced exclusively from “happy cows” on Vermont dairies that participate in a special, humane “Caring Dairy” program,” the lawsuit claims.

The complaint alleges that less than half of the milk used is from the “Caring Dairy” program.

The article explains the program (and the problem):

USA Today looked into the question and found that the Caring Dairy program is indeed real. In order to qualify, farms have to follow certain regulations for how the cows are raised and what sort of environmental “carbon footprint” the operation has. But it’s not all that large, with only 65 farms in the Netherlands and the United States qualifying.

Even if Ben & Jerry’s had cornered the market on all of them, they probably wouldn’t produce enough milk to meet their needs. The company claims they “hope” to work with more farms like these going forward, but it certainly sounds as if they’re not using 100% “happy cow” milk. So maybe the plaintiff is correct.

I am strongly in favor of treating animals humanely. However, I also believe that animals are not people. What we need here is a sense of balance.

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.

Does The North Carolina Legislation Really Want To Protect School Children?

I do not consider myself a person interested in guns although I am married to a person who grew up hunting and handling guns all his life. However, I am not against armed citizens. I don’t believe our crime problem is guns. I believe our crime problem has more to do with people not respecting the basic rules of an ordered society. I have also learned over the years that the only way to stop an evil person with a gun is to have an armed citizen protecting other citizens. That is why I support H216 which was introduced into the North Carolina legislature on February 28, 2019.

H216 is a simple two page law. This is the bill:

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE FACULTY OR STAFF OF A SCHOOL TO CARRY A HANDGUN ON THE SCHOOL GROUNDS TO RESPOND TO ACTS OF VIOLENCE OR AN IMMINENT THREAT OF VIOLENCE.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION1.This act shall be known as “The School Self-Defense Act.”

SECTION 2.G.S.14-269.2 reads as rewritten:

Ҥ 14-269.2. Weapons on campus or other educational property.

(a)The following definitions apply to this section:

(3a)Volunteer school faculty guardian. –A person who (i) is a member of the faculty or staff of a school, (ii)is a full-time or part-time employee,and (iii) possesses a valid concealed handgun permit issued to the person in accordance with Article 54B of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.

(3b)Volunteer school safety resource officer. –A person who volunteers as a school safety resource officer as provided by G.S.162-26 or 16G.S.160A-288.4.

(g)This section shall not apply to any of the following:

(8) Subject to the condition set forth in subsection (m) of this section, a volunteer school faculty guardian, while on the grounds of the school the person is employed by or assigned to, who meets all of the following requirements:

    1. Successfully completes 16 hours of active shooter training in the School Faculty Guardian program developed and administered by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission pursuant to G.S.17C-6(a)(21).
    2. Submits to the chief administrator of the school on an annual basis written notice that the person continues to possess a valid concealed handgun permit issued to the person in accordance with Article 54B of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.
    3. Provides evidence satisfactory to the chief administrator of the school on an annual basis that the person has demonstrated proficiency with the type of handgun and handgun retention system used.

d.When on school grounds, only possesses the handgun during the conduct of his or her duties.

e.Except when responding to an act of violence or an imminent threat of violence at the school, keeps the handgun concealed at all times while on the school grounds. For purposes of this subdivision, the term “violence”means physical injury that a reasonable person would conclude could lead to permanent injury or death.

    1. Submits to annual drug testing.

(m)The governing body or entity of a school may opt out of the authority granted under subdivision (8) of subsection (g) of this section and prohibit a person from possessing a handgun pursuant to the authority in subdivision (8) of subsection (g) of this section on the grounds of the school or schools under its control.”

SECTION 3.G.S.17C-6(a) reads as rewritten:

“(a)In addition to powers conferred upon the Commission elsewhere in this Chapter, the Commission shall have the following powers, which shall be enforceable through its rules and regulations, certification procedures, or the provisions of G.S.17C-10:

(21)Establish and administer the School Faculty Guardian program, which provides active shooter training to volunteer school faculty guardians, as defined under G.S.14-269.2.”

SECTION 4.The provisions of G.S.143C-5-2 do not apply to this act.

SECTION 5.There is appropriated from the General Fund to the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission the sum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2019-2020 fiscal year to be used to cover costs incurred in establishing the School Faculty Guardian program required under G.S.17C-6(a)(18), as enacted by Section 3 of this act.

SECTION 6. Section 5 of this act becomes effective July 1, 2019. The remainder of this act is effective when it becomes law.

Note that the teacher participation is voluntary. Also note that there is training involved. Since many of our teachers are military veterans, I think they would be well-suited for the training. Note that schools have the opportunity to opt out of the program.

Something else to consider:

 

  • Arming faculty reduces school shootings: A new study entitled “Schools that Allow Teachers to Carry Guns Are Extremely Safe: Data on the Rate of Shootings and Accidents in Schools that Allow Teachers to Carry found that:
    • Zero school shootings at schools with armed faculty: During hours when armed teachers would logically be present, none of the schools with armed faculty experienced school shootings.
    • A significant increase in school shootings at schools which do NOT allow armed faculty: Between 2001 and 2018, the number of school shootings at schools which did not allow armed faculty more than doubled.

Calling your North Carolina legislator to vote this bill out of committee and on to the floor for a vote would be a really good idea. The website to get names and phones numbers and email addresses is ncleg.gov.

 

 

Consequences Of Good Economic Policy

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about The Heritage Foundation’s 25th annual “Index of Economic Freedom.”

The editorial reports:

In just one year, the U.S. climbed six places to 12th worldwide on the Heritage Foundation’s 25th annual “Index of Economic Freedom.” The U.S. index score of 76.8 is the highest since 2011, the report says.

Heritage bases its annual rankings on a dozen different measures of economic freedom, such as tax burden, protection of property rights, tax burden trade policies, labor laws, judicial effectiveness.

…In fact, during Obama’s tenure, the U.S. plunged from 6th place down to 18th on the Heritage freedom rank, in the wake of tax hikes and massive new financial, insurance and environmental regulations.

The editorial explains the importance of these ratings:

Why do these rankings matter? As Heritage explains, there’s a clear correlation between economic freedom and prosperity. The freer an economy is, the more prosperous its people.

Heritage finds that in countries consistently rated “free” or “mostly free,” average incomes are twice that of all other countries, and five times that of “repressed” economies.

The most striking example of the connection between freedom and prosperity is Venezuela. One of the wealthiest countries in South America before socialist dictator Hugo Chávez took control, Venezuela is now racked with hyperinflation, starvation, and political chaos.

But you can see the same impact in the U.S. as well.

The editorial concludes:

And the benefits of this growth are widespread. The unemployment rate was just 3.9% at the end of the year. The job market is so vibrant right now that it’s pulling people off the sidelines to look for work. In fact, the number of people who aren’t in the labor force actually declined last year. That hasn’t happened since 1996 — which was in the middle of the Clinton boom. Wage growth is accelerating, and median household incomes are at record highs.

The freedom index is a powerful reminder that while redistributionist policies — like those currently in favor among Democrats — might be emotionally satisfying, they won’t grow the economy or boost prosperity.

It will be interesting where our rating is next year in view of the fact that the Democrats now control the House of Representatives.

How To Limit The Second Amendment Without Appearing To Do So

Breitbart posted a story today about a Missouri law that limits the gun rights of foster parents in Missouri. The law prohibits all foster parents from carrying concealed firearms or storing ammunition with firearms in the same locked safe. It seems to me that if a foster parent has a concealed carry permit, he knows to store his firearms in a locked safe and to accept the responsibilities of a legal gun owner. Being a foster parent has nothing to do with gun rights.

The article notes:

James and Julie Attaway are asking for an injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri’s Western Division against the Missouri gun regulation.

…The couple is joined in the suit by the Second Amendment Foundation. They said the regulations “amount to deprivation of civil rights under color of law” and are similar to other laws they’ve challenged in Michigan and elsewhere.

“This is familiar ground for us,” Alan M. Gottlieb, founder of the group, said in a statement. “We have successfully challenged similar regulations in other states when we find them, because there is a significant question about the constitutionality of such prohibitions. We believe this is an unconstitutional provision in Missouri’s Code of State Regulations. It is important for the court to take action to protect the rights of Missouri residents who open their homes and hearts to foster children for whom they wish to provide a stable environment.”

The Attaways said they’re concerned the gun regulation, which they described as “unconstitutional,” may be scaring off other potential foster parents.

“The foster system in Missouri is in need of qualified, loving families to take children into their home,” James Attaway said. “Many families who value their Second Amendment rights to self-defense are deterred from applying to be foster parents. We were not allowed to continue with the licensing process until we agreed to abide by the department’s firearm policy while foster children were placed in our care. We ultimately agreed and finished our licensing process, and while having a foster child in our home, we have had to abide by these unconstitutional policies for fear of losing our foster care license.”

The couple said their goal is to change the regulations so they and other foster parents don’t have to choose between being legally armed and caring for foster children.

“We are pursuing this legal action so that we, and other families who feel called to care for foster children in their home, don’t have to decide between retaining their Second Amendment rights and caring for children in need,” James Attaway said.

I don’t mean to be cynical, but this seems like another back door approach to limiting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. This law does nothing to make anyone safer–criminals don’t follow gun laws, and it simply attacks legal gun owners who are trying to do something positive in their community.

Legislating Against The Middle Class

Everyone loves vacations–the adventure of spending a few days in a different place and relaxing. However, vacations are not cheap. Travel can be expensive, and hotels are expensive. Several alternatives to hotels have appeared in recent years to make vacations more affordable and to give Americans a way to supplement their income–companies like Airbnb provide cheaper lodging at popular destinations and allow people to earn extra income by renting out their houses on a short-term basis. Needless to say, hotels are not happy about the existence of a cheaper alternative. In Massachusetts, the hotel lobby has been successful in creating regulations that will greatly limit the availability of Airbnb lodging.

On December 30, Hot Air posted an article about a law recently passed in Massachusetts that will probably end Airbnb in that state.

The article reports:

Baker (Governor Charlie Baker) is touting this as a compromise which he claims is able to, “avoid placing undue burdens on occasional renters.” This is nonsense, of course, because in order to qualify for the exemptions to most (though not all) of these new burdens on hosts, you can only rent out your room for a maximum of fourteen nights per year. For most hosts, that’s not going to be worth the bother of signing up for the app in the first place.

The article lists the new requirements for people who want to rent their property on a short-term basis:

And what are these burdens? First of all, anyone with a spare room will now have to carry the same type of insurance as a hotel chain, basically wiping out any profit they might make. On top of that, they’ll be paying a 5.7 percent state tax, plus another 6% tax if municipal or county governments decide to impose one.

Further, hosts will be legally required to list themselves on a publicly available registry. Proponents claim this allows neighbors to know who is renting out rooms to “strangers” but it’s obviously intended as an intimidation tactic, opening up hosts to public shaming, abuse or worse.

The bottom line here is that the hotel industry and their lobbyists have won a massive victory. They don’t like private citizens cutting into their business so they’ve greased the palms of enough politicians to essentially shut Airbnb down in the state. As the New York Times reported more than a year ago, leaked documents from the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) revealed, “a multipronged, national campaign approach at the local, state and federal level.” The goal of that campaign was to enlist elected Democrats to pass laws which would choke the life out of Airbnb and protect their profits. They specifically mentioned Boston as one of their key target markets, and now they have succeeded in bribing the state government to shut Airbnb down.

The article concludes:

It’s true that some people have begun “abusing” the system by purchasing large amounts of property and renting it out like a hotel using the app service. Perhaps a law like this might have been more palatable if it were applied only to people with more than ten rental units or something along those lines. But for all the private individuals with an extra room or a guest house who were using the system as originally intended and making a little extra money, this basically shuts them out of the game.

Airbnb already has one lawsuit in progress against Boston for similar municipal laws they passed earlier. Now they’re saying a new suit against the state may be coming. But if they find no satisfaction through the courts we’re probably seeing the beginning of the death of the gig economy along with the chance for private citizens to profit from their own homes or apartments.

I hope Airbnb wins their lawsuit. They are essentially the Uber of the hotel industry and are going to have to fight many of the battles against lobbyists that Uber had to fight.

The Economy Under President Trump

I am not an economist, but I have learned over the years to listen to the people with the best track records on analysis. One of those people is Stephen Moore, who posted an article at The Wall Street Journal yesterday.

The article reports:

Liberals are tripping over themselves to explain why the economy has performed so much better under Donald Trump than it did under Barack Obama. The economy has grown by nearly 4% over the past six months, and the final number for 2018 is expected to come in at between 3% and 3.5%. The U.S. growth rate has doubled since Mr. Obama’s last year in office.

When Mr. Trump was elected, many Democratic pundits predicted an economic and stock-market meltdown. Then the economy started surging and they abruptly changed their tune, arguing that Mr. Trump was simply riding a global growth wave. That narrative was shattered when U.S. growth kept steaming ahead even as global growth—especially in China and Germany—stalled.

The people who predicted an economic crash if President Trump was elected are now saying that the tax cuts have given us a ‘sugar high’, and the market will crash when the sugar wears off. That makes about as much sense as President Obama taking credit for the move toward American energy independence.

The article continues:

The real contradiction in the “sugar high” argument is that it ignores the slow growth of the Obama years, which featured an avalanche of debt spending. Deficits as a share of GDP were 9.8% in 2009, 8.6% in 2010, 8.3% in 2011 and 6.7% in 2012. Where was the sugar high then? Instead of the expected burst in output coming out of the 2008-09 recession, borrowing more than $1 trillion a year for four years yielded the worst recovery since the Great Depression. Even excluding 2009, Mr. Obama’s deficits averaged more than 5% of GDP throughout the rest of his presidency but produced less growth than Mr. Trump has with lower deficits.

This wasn’t what Keynesians expected. Mr. Obama’s economic team predicted 4% growth every year coming out of the recession. Instead the “sugar high” from record peacetime deficits produced measly 2% growth. By 2016 GDP was running about $2 trillion below the trend line of a normal recovery.

The fastest growth rate over the past three decades was recorded in Bill Clinton’s second term, when federal government spending fell from 21.5% to 18% of GDP and deficits disappeared into surpluses. So much for the idea that deficit spending is a stimulant.

Mr. Trump’s fiscal policies have produced more growth than Mr. Obama’s because they were designed to incentivize businesses to invest, hire and produce more here at home. The Obama “stimulus,” by contrast, went for food stamps, unemployment benefits, ObamaCare subsidies, “cash for clunkers” and failed green energy handouts.

The article concludes:

Those pushing the “sugar high” fallacy also don’t realize that the Trump tax cuts aren’t going away soon. The 2017 business tax cuts can’t cause a recession in 2019 or 2020 because they don’t expire until 2025. They aren’t sugar pills.

The biggest threats to the economic boom and financial markets today are a deflationary Federal Reserve and the specter of a global trade war. Solve those problems and the American economy can keep flying high on its own power. And Mr. Trump’s critics will be proved wrong again.

When you decrease taxes and regulations on businesses, we all gain. That combination, if allowed to continue, will bring us continued economic growth.

We Might Take Them Seriously If They Practiced What They Preach

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday about some recent actions by Senator Bernie Sanders. It seems that according to the Federal Election Commission, Senator Sanders spent nearly $300,000 for private jet travel in the final stretch of his campaign for re-election to the Senate.

The article reports:

Air travel is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, with some estimations saying that the aviation industry accounts for about 11 percent of transportation-related emissions in the country. The environmental impact is greatly magnified in cases of private flights, which carry far fewer people per trip than commercial jets.

Sanders claims on his website that “climate change is the single greatest threat facing our planet” and puts the blame chiefly on the growing rate of emissions being produced by the transportation sector.

“Global climate change is real, it is caused mainly by emissions released from burning fossil fuels and it poses a catastrophic threat to the long-term longevity of our planet,” he writes. “The transportation sector accounts for about 26 percent of carbon pollution emissions.”

The Sanders campaign told the Washington Free Beacon it purchased “carbon offsets” to balance out emissions produced on the trip.

“The campaign purchased carbon offsets from Native Energy to support renewable energy projects and invest in carbon reduction projects to balance out the emissions produced on this trip,” Jones said in an email.

The Washington Free Beacon was unable to identify payments made by the campaign to the environmental group. Jones says the purchase will appear in the campaign’s next filing.

So let me get this straight–it’s okay to have a ginormous carbon footprint as long as you are rich enough to buy carbon credits. Meanwhile, all of us little people are supposed to go broke paying ever increasing prices for energy caused by regulations to lower carbon emissions put on us by people who have no intention of curtailing their carbon emissions. Seems a little unfair to me.

Ugly Rears Its Head In The House Of Representatives

Sometimes dumb ideas come from Republicans as well as Democrats. I am about to illustrate that fact. Yesterday Representative Ted Deutch of Florida introduced H.R. 7173 into the House of Representatives. The bills description is, “To create a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund for the American people in order to encourage market-driven innovation of clean energy technologies and market efficiencies which will reduce harmful pollution and leave a healthier, more stable, and more prosperous nation for future generations.” Never trust the government to create a trust fund–remember the Social Security Trust Fund–it was robbed during the 1960’s (by the government that created it).

Let’s talk about this trust fund for a moment.

The bill states:

“A carbon dividend payment is one pro-rata share for each adult and half a pro-rata share for each child under 19 years old, with a limit of 2 children per household, of amounts available for the month in the Carbon Dividend Trust Fund.”

Do you really want the government commenting or being involved in any way with how many children you have in your family?

The Hill posted an article yesterday about the bill. The article included the following:

…the bill would charge companies when they produce or import fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, based on their expected greenhouse gas emissions.

But instead of using the money to pay for health or community projects, the new bill would distribute it to the public. Its backers say those “dividends” would offset the increased costs from the carbon tax, like higher utility and gasoline bills, for about 70 percent of households.

Dividend funds would be handed out by the Treasury Department under the bill, based on the number of people in a household.

“It’s transparent and easily trackable. You know where the money is going. It protects the American family so that families are not adversely impacted. Dividends would protect most families from cost increases,” Ben Pendergrass, senior director of government affairs at Citizens’ Climate Lobby, told The Hill.

“The market signals should still be there to guide things like fuel efficient cars and dividends protect people who can’t make that transition immediately.”

The bill would also prohibit the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from the sectors that are taxed, unless the taxes aren’t effective after 10 years. That is an effort to attract support from Republicans, who are nearly united in opposition to Environmental Protection Agency climate regulations.

Rooney focused on the economic benefits of the bill, saying in a statement Wednesday that the revenue carbon neutral fee is good policy and a way “to support emerging alternate sources of energy.”

This bill is a really bad idea. It paves the way for more government intrusion into our private lives and takes more money from Americans. America has cut its greenhouse gas emissions without crippling our economy. We are quite capable of doing so in the future without stifling economic growth and creating even bigger bureaucracies.

 

The Consequences Of Not Understanding Economics

I am not an authority on economics. I am, however, a person who watches what goes on around me and sometimes learns lessons from what I see. Some economic principles are obvious enough to be learned that way.

In 2013, Forbes Magazine posted an article quoting a statement by then-President Obama on the subject of economic freedom. Economic freedom was not something President Obama believed in. President Obama acted on his belief that economic freedom was not a good thing, and the American economy suffered during his presidency.

The article quotes a speech President Obama gave in Kansas:

there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes–especially for the wealthy–our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ’50s and ’60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.

Well, have we tried this theory? A little history is in order here.

The article reminds us:

I pick 100 years deliberately, because it was exactly 100 years ago that a gigantic anti-capitalist measure was put into effect: the Federal Reserve System. For 100 years, government, not the free market, has controlled money and banking. How’s that worked out? How’s the value of the dollar held up since 1913? Is it worth one-fiftieth of its value then or only one one-hundredth? You be the judge. How did the dollar hold up over the 100 years before this government take-over of money and banking? It actually gained slightly in value.

Laissez-faire hasn’t existed since the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. That was the first of a plethora of government crimes against the free market.

…Obama absurdly suggests that timid, half-hearted, compromisers, like George W. Bush, installed laissez-faire capitalism–on the grounds that they tinkered with one or two regulations (Glass-Steagall) and marginal tax rates–while blanking out the fact that under the Bush administration, government spending ballooned, growing much faster than under Clinton, and 50,000 new regulations were added to the Federal Register.

The philosophy of individualism and the politics of laissez-faire would mean government spending of about one-tenth its present level. It would also mean an end to all regulatory agencies: no SEC, FDA, NLRB, FAA, OSHA, EPA, FTC, ATF, CFTC, FHA, FCC–to name just some of the better known of the 430 agencies listed in the federal register.

Even you, dear reader, are probably wondering how on earth anyone could challenge things like Social Security, government schools, and the FDA. But that’s not the point. The point is: these statist, anti-capitalist programs exist and have existed for about a century. The point is: Obama is pretending that the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and the Great Society were repealed, so that he can blame the financial crisis on capitalism. He’s pretending that George Bush was George Washington.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It accidentally explains the reasons the economy has prospered under President Trump. I also strongly recommend reading The Creature From Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin for the story behind the creation of the Federal Reserve System.