Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spending Cuts Without Pain

There's an unchallenged assumption among even the advocates of dramatic spending cuts: that it would lead to serious economic pain from lost entitlements, perhaps even rioting in the streets.

I beg to differ. If spending cuts were coupled with regulatory cuts, we could have dramatic economic growth at the same time we have government 'austerity'. Imagine what markets (and jobs) would open up if the EPA and all its regulations were shut down. Or the Department of Energy closed and oil, natural gas and nuclear freed of regulation. Or if the NLRB were eliminated and companies could freely choose (as is their right) whether or not to negotiate with unions. Or if Obamacare were repealed and government tax incentives that created the HMO disaster were repealed, reinvesting medical choices and insurance in individuals.

Imagine vast new innovated markets similar to and synergistic with the computer/internet industry. Imagine all of medicine behaving like laser eye surgery, with quality constantly increasing and costs constantly decreasing.

Spending cuts do not have to mean economic disaster or austerity if they're coupled with similarly dramatic cuts in regulations. Unshackle the American citizen, recognize his right to produce without the presumption of guilt, and he will produce.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Regulation Watch - 07-25-2011

Obama's call for ridding ourselves of silly regulations lasted all of a few weeks. There was relative quiet on the regulatory front for the last couple but now they appear to be coming back with a vengeance. Calls for public comments on new regulations have been issued by the FCC for VoIP, the FDA for medical apps, the HHS on trial subjects, and the DOT on regulating farmers as commercial drivers. Plus Justice and FCC are looking to shut down Fox News over the News Corp scandal. FCC wants to further nationalize news. The EPA launched another assault on Texas.

On the positive side several well-known businessmen have formed a new organization to defend free enterprise, the Job Creators Alliance. Could be a vocal, principled defender of capitalism and critic of regulation. I'm optimistic.

  • ‘The first Federal Register was issued in 1936. It contained eleven pages! For the first 147 years of the nation’s existence under the Constitution we somehow managed to get by with only eleven pages of regulations. . . . By 2008 the Federal Register contained 31,879 documents and 79,435 pages, while the Code of Federal Regulations comprised 163,333 pages in 226 individual books. Rules have been accumulating at a rate of nine pages a day since 1936.’
  • Rational Public Radio interviews paleo advocate Robb Wolff. Especially interesting is the controversy surrounding the claim that cows eat grass
  • UK's Academy of Medical Sciences recommends government regulation of animals with introduced human genes used in testing medicines.
  • Entitlement/regulatory state will never be shrunk without recognizing each individuals right to pursue their own happiness.
  • "Shareholder Protection Act" intent to stifle corporate free speech.
  • Home Depot Co-Founder: Obama is Choking Recovery. Mentions creation of Job Creators Alliance.
  • Selling Lemonate is not a crime. August 20, 2011 Lemonade Freedom Day!
  • St. Louis Cookie Stand lawsuit goes to court.
  • On June 9, 2011, by Executive Order 13575, Obama created the White House Rural Council. The mission of the council is to work across executive departments to assure that government has ultimate control of every inch of land, every business, every school and all airways for the sake of government approved development.
  • Update on Dollarhite bunny case. Dollarhite refuses to cede Constitutional rights. 
  • ATF sought to downplay guns scandal, emails show.
  • The farce of Fast and Furious. After millions of dollars and at least one dead agent, only one middle man and a handful of straw buyers busted. "A straw buyer is usually a kid who is 18-25, who needs a couple hundred extra bucks and knows somebody who knows somebody that has a way to make a couple extra bucks."  
  • Obama-Contra.
  • This makes me sad. Hunted grouse many years as a teen. U.S. Fish and Wildlife contends grouse is endangered..
  • When heroes become bureaucrats. The illuminating case of a suicidal man who wades into the San Francisco Bay and has to be rescued by bystanders while police and firefighters passively watch, blaming budget cuts.
  • Coastal Commission orders homeowner to allow 'public' access. How does he have less rights than his neighbors who've been designated the 'public'?
  • Bleh. Subsidizing the production of electric vehicles isn't enough. Should force people to buy them!
  • Salinas electric car manufacturer folds, city loses $500,000.
  • Salazar approves 'clean energy' projects in Oregon, California.
  • Turning out the lights on civilization. The incandescent lightbulb ban. 'This is not "crony capitalism"--there is no such thing. Capitalism is the unfettered free market. Corporations working with the government to restrict competition is crony socialism, also known as fascism.'
  • New York Times doubles down on shale natural gas hit piece.
  • T. Boone Pickens on Bloomberg: Why Crony Capitalists Socialists Need Spokesmen.
  • 'Immediately after the 2010 election Obama was quoted saying “Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way.” The EPA is in the process of completing and finalizing 30 major regulations and 170 major policy rules that would impose hundreds of billions of dollars of compliance costs on the economy, killing jobs and threatening the economic recovery.'
  • Union enlists EPA to attack employer Budweiser.
  • EPA under Obama is dictatorial.
  • Yet another federal assault on Texas. EPA threatens to turn off the electricity in Texas.
  • American Businesses single out proposed EPA ozone regulations as major threat to jobs, economy.
  • Murdoch's corrupt english journalists to bring down Fox? CREW calls for congressional hearings on News Corp.
  • Justice could issue subpoenas in News Corp. probe.
  • FCC calls for more nationalized media ("increased funding for public media"), (obliquely) disparages internet media and advises indoctrinating school children against internet media.
  • FCC asks for public comment on regulation of voice over IP.
  • LA Times argues tabloids don't deserve 1st amendment.
  • Did you know that the first generic drug maker to successfully challenge the patent of an innovator gets 6 months exclusivity? How is it then a 'generic'? Doesn't that exclusive right make it non-generic? Talk about transfer of property from the deserving to the undeserving... Generic drugs approved by different FDA process.
  • It's time to end the war on salt. Or how about get the government out of diet recommendations and edicts and funding studies entirely?
  • If you thought environmentalism was a friend of asthmatics, think again. FDA to ban the only over-the-counter asthma inhaler because it uses CFCs.
  • FDA seeks comments on regulating medical apps.
  • Jonathan Emord had an excellent interview with Peter Schiff this week, which is subscription only, so I dug up some articles. Here's one titled FDA Hypocrisy. And another titled FDA Destruction of the dietary supplement industry. EDIT: I was wrong, here's the interview:
  • If a middle manager says some derogatory things about unions or management offers some seminars on the ill-effects of unionization, a company can find itself embroiled in a dispute with the NLRB, but union members can vandalize, threaten and assault and nary a peep from the NLRB. Unions that engage in violence should be disbanded as criminal organizations. Story of union violence in Washington port.
  • NLRB tries to get out of the limelight.
  • SEIU manual encourages coercion and scare tactics to intimidate managers.
  • Demint's "Retirement Freedom Act" good idea for separating social security participation from medicare benefits.
  • I was wondering why there was so much noise about regulating unsafe tour buses. Looks like it might be part of a campaign to bring TSA like searches to buses. 'One way Congress could dramatically improve bus safety would be to allow random road-side inspections. Small charter bus operators often don't have a fixed terminal or regular schedule, so conducting inspections otherwise can be challenging.' -- head of FMCSA
  • DOT asking for public comment on new regulations of farmers. Might be required to get commercial drivers licences.
  • Only ten thousand complaints of TSA theft in 2009, down from twenty thousand in 2004. Theft rampant among other crimes, soon to be defended by union rules and attorneys.
  • The case of Yukari Miyamae. TSA agent can do whatever it wants, but a passenger doing the same things will be arrested. 
  • On TSA's new scanner software that reportedly cartoonizes the image.

      Monday, July 18, 2011

      Regulation Watch - 07-18-2011

      • Calls for sacrifice justify massive interventions in the economy. Capitalist economy doesn't require sacrifice. Prosperity depends on mutual self-interest.
      • "Under the rule of law, the legal system specifically defines unlawful behavior and gives fair warning of the punishment for wrongdoing. Instead, we suffer under the rule of regulators."
      • Less regulation = more hiring.
      • Justice department pressuring banks to bring back subprime, liar loans, etc.
      • Holder sues Louisiana over low entitlement recipient voter registration. Got that? There's a government program to make sure all the recipients of government largess are registered to vote.
      • Amusing. Cheap beer sales completely shut off in Minnesota from licensing snafu before government shutdown.

      Monday, July 11, 2011

      Regulation Watch - 07-11-2011

      • Coastal developers must now plan for sea-level rise, more frequent storms and other arbitrary environmentalist claims. But can't build walls to protect.
      • California delays carbon-trading program until 2013. They must have gotten the Obama no-new-controversies-until-2012 memo.
      • Cummins pays $500,000 in penalties to California, EPA. Anyone see the irony in the fact that every government agency and the office of the president has violated the law with regard to deadlines to respond to FOIA requests or publishing new rules etc. Without repercussions. Cummins does it, BLAMMO, half a million.
      • California driving businesses out of existence or out of state.

      • Investigation into Atlanta Public School cheating finds unethical behavior across every level.
      • Education Department 'concerned' about cheating endemic to public school teachers and administrators. 178 'educators' involved in Atlanta scandal.
      • Must Read: The Government's Assault on Private-Sector Colleges and Universities. Collusion between regulators and short sellers especially disgusting. (Text and audio avail.)
      • EPA funds groups to sue... the EPA. Then pleads 'court order' to invoke more draconian regulations.
      • Did you know the stimulus bill hat $7.2billion in it to create a nationalized broadband network? That's going to do wonders for our online freedoms.
      • AT&T and T Mobile have a moral right to merge.
      • Obama REALLY doesn't want the Boeing NLRB dispute to go to court, exposing the irrationality of the NLRB.
      West Virginia

      Saturday, July 9, 2011

      Gotta Love Capitalism

      Offers you something that's worth millions to you, but only charges you thousands. (H/T Brietbart's Big Government)

      Thursday, July 7, 2011

      Tired of Nanny State Zoning B.S.? Plant a Garden!

      Under the title "Does Michelle Obama Know About This?" The Agitator (about which I know nothing) just ran an article describing the persecution of a Oak Park, Michigan woman by the local authorities for planting a garden in her front yard!
      Their front yard was torn up after replacing a sewer line, so instead of replacing the dirt with grass, one Oak Park woman put in a vegetable garden and now the city is seeing green.

      The list goes on: fresh basil, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, cumbers and more all filling five large planter boxes that fill the Bass family’s front yard.

      Julie Bass says, “We thought we’re minding our own business, doing something not ostentatious and certainly not obnoxious or nothing that is a blight on the neighborhood, so we didn’t think people would care very much.”

      But some cared very much and called the city. The city then sent out code enforcement.

      “They warned us at first that we had to move the vegetables from the front, that no vegetables were allowed in the front yard. We didn’t move them because we didn’t think we were doing anything wrong, even according to city code we didn’t think we were doing anything wrong. So they ticketed us and charged me with a misdemeanor,” Bass said . . .

      City code says that all unpaved portions of the site shall be planted with grass or ground cover or shrubbery or other suitable live plant material. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are what Basses see as suitable.

      However, Oak Park’s Planning and Technology Director Kevin Rulkowski says the city disagrees. He says, “If you look at the dictionary, suitable means common. You can look all throughout the city and you’ll never find another vegetable garden that consumes the entire front yard.”

      According to the victim's blog, she's facing 93 days in jail. That's probably an understatement, she's no doubt facing 93 days for this incident but further penalties and jail time if she then refuses to obey a subsequent court order to remove the vegetables.

      This is exactly the kind of local Tea Party issue I'd love to see picked up: the immorality, irrationality, injustice of zoning laws, which dictate to private citizens what they can do with their own property. I could go on and on with examples of how zoning laws have screwed up cities, forced us all into suburbs and long commutes, driven up our housing costs, dictated to us the plain vanilla lives we must live and facades we must present...but this news story says it all. Woman faces jail time for planting vegetables. Disgusting.

      You know what? Here's an idea. I encourage all of you that own a home to go buy a few two-by-sixes, make a box and plant some vegetables. Lets show some solidarity for a woman unjustly abused by small-minded, power hungry bureaucrats.

      How to Build a Planter Box -- powered by ehow

      Monday, July 4, 2011

      Regulation Watch - 07-04-2011

      Happy Independence Day! I love this country. Its a good weekend to think on and be thankful for the wonderful capitalist system our founding fathers created. They risked much and accomplished a great deal. It's taken 100 years for the left and right to dismantle and corrupt it. And its still not completely obliterated. We can rebuild it if our vision is clear and commitment is unswerving. Have a look at Independence Day is a Celebration of Freedom from Tyranny for a tribute to our founders system and the ways its been undermined.

      • Obama: No President has ever directed agencies to eliminate senseless regulations. Associated Press: Every president since Carter has.
      • Businesses frozen, waiting for thousands of pages of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank to be written. Strangely the author implies this is the last of them and after that there'll be regulatory stasis.
      • Democrats warming to the idea of unilaterally blasting through the debt ceiling w/o congressional approval.
      • Leftists pushing to 'save' the media (i.e. turn it into an even bigger propaganda machine) by subsidies and regulations.
      • Five ways Obama is circumventing the legislative branch.
      • Senate plans to further lessen the accountability of federal agencies, abdicate its confirmation role.
      • New rules require for-profit colleges and universities to disclose graduation and post-graduate employment rates and to justify increases in tuitions and plans to ameliorate increase. Report outs most expensive.
      • 8 years and $1 million to fire one New York teacher. Could also be filed under NLRB for its union connection.
      • Administration attacking cheaper, non-unionized, diverse for-profit schools. 
      • PBS joins in on the war against for-profit schools. Is it really an attack on online education? 
      • States begin to opt out of federal No Child Left Behind.
      • Despite lack of evidence that Texas emissions effect other states, EPA makes about face and imposes drastic reductions on SO2 and NOX. No public review. No discussion. Probably punitive.
      • Typical. After decades of regulating and outlawing pesticides leading to countless disasters (like the death toll of malaria), they let people use a couple restricted pesticides as an 'emergency exemption'. EPA issues a ruling allowing farms of apples, cherries, pears, and peaches to use two lethal insecticides against stink bugs. Of course the article doesn't mention why, when or how the EPA restricted their use in the first place or question the justification of EPA's existence. Reminds me of a sequence in Atlas Shrugged, when the regulators are in the midst of destroying the rail industry with their regulations and in a panic at some point issue a 'special exemption' allowing trains to travel faster than the limit they'd previously declared. Doesn't help of course. The regulators still destroy the industry.
      • NASA in disarray. Should we be surprised after its mission became muslim outreach? Shut it down and recognize homesteading rights in space.

      Saturday, July 2, 2011

      Violence is Organic to Leftism

      Breitbart's Big Journalism has a piece up today by Ron Futrell on the violence exhibited by leftists and the lack of aggression on the part of the Tea Party. It details several physical attacks by leftists, including the recent incident with Glenn Beck, an SEIU beating, and the member that bit off the finger of William Rice. He contrasts this with the lack of incidents at the hundreds of Tea Party or conservative events that the leftist media has been watching like a hawk, expecting (hoping for and sometimes manufacturing) similar attacks.

      What Futrell doesn't explain is that violence is organic to leftism, just as non-aggression is organic to the Tea Party. Two principles explain the left's violence, collectivism and emotionalism. First they believe that everyone should be subservient to society, whose voice they pretend to be. Thus they feel that their wishes (the supposed demands of society) have moral primacy over their victims. Second, they advocate emotionalism--making decisions, acting on the basis of emotions. In their ideology there is no possibility of convincing their opponents. So what's the alternative? Force, violence.

      In contrast to the left's collectivism and emotionalism, the Tea Party is a reawakening of American individualism and reason. The Tea Partier holds that everyone is a sovereign individual, morally sanctioned to make their own decisions. And in social interactions, he holds to the power of reason, rational arguments, to convince his fellows.

      The left versus the Tea Party is collectivism/emotionalism/violence versus individualism/reason/mutual respect.

      P.S. I have to add that this is why religion, if it exists at all, should be private and never a part of politics or the Tea Party. It introduces the element of emotionalism (faith) and a higher authority than the individual's reasoning mind. Its promotion in politics would mean the death of the Tea Party.