Consumers

Obama’s ludicrous, anti-consumer cap and trade regulations aren’t actually about the environment

It’s been overshadowed by the continuing coverage of the Bergdahl-Taliban five swap, but reports began to surface this week that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), at the direction of the White House, has begun pushing new carbon rules on existing coal plants that aim to reduce their emissions by 30% from 2005 levels.

Call it cap and trade by regulatory fiat:

Analysts widely expect the final rule to give states the option of joining or creating cap-and-trade programs, which allow companies to trade credits for emissions. The draft released on Monday does not discuss that possibility.

“There are no commercially viable [carbon capture and storage methods]. That’s why we expect cap-and-trade,” said Michael Ferguson, an associate director at S&P who covers merchant energy producers.

At risk of drawing the ire of the climate change true believers, there was a reason the climate change cap and trade legislation failed a few years back, and it wasn’t because evil, bible-thumping conservatives are convinced mankind has no effect on the environment (for the record, we do. But our carbon emissions, for example, are pretty negligible compared to things like decaying organic matter and volcanoes).

No, it was defeated in the Senate because many Democrats that voted against hailed from states that relied on jobs related to the coal industry. And if there’s one thing that moves a politician, it’s the voice of a united constituency.

But not to be deterred, the Obama administration used the EPA and the Clean Air Act to declare carbon emissions a health hazard that must be regulated:

Barack Obama is the middle class’ biggest enemy

Some of the best intentioned among us may think regulations indeed serve a greater purpose, after all, certain companies are only in it to make as much as they can with as little effort as they can! Somebody should certainly make sure they are working under strict rules so this type of predatory behavior can be avoided and consumers can be protected.

Well, that’s everything regulations promise to do and the exact opposite of what they actually achieve.

A recent study carried out by American Action Forum demonstrated that the increase in consumer prices under the Obama administration is directly linked to the surge in the number of regulations it has adopted.

The study shows that since 2009, this administration has imposed at least 36 new regulations that range from new fuel-efficiency standards, which resulted in an increase in the price of automobiles by $91, to the cost of mortgages, which has risen to an abysmal $362 annually.

ObamaCare, this administration failure disguised as health care law, has also increased the prices of health care insurance.

Want to stop jobs from going overseas?

Outsourcing

It seems a day doesn’t go by that I don’t see or hear someone complaining about jobs going overseas.  They invariably want the government to do something to keep jobs on American shores.  They blame “greedy corporations” for seeking profit and not looking out for the interests of Americans who desperately need jobs.

Well, those Americans really do need jobs, so here are some helpful tips to help bring those jobs back to American shores.

1. End the unions

Unions are a large chunk of the reason many companies have looked overseas for labor.  Unions, which once existed as a way to deal with abusive management, now seek to line pockets.  Not just theirs, but those of their members.  Through collective bargaining, they have jacked up wages for what are often unskilled positions to a point that borders on the ridiculous.  In some cases, that border is crossed.  Reports of auto workers with high school educations making six figure incomes while not filling any kind of management role are a prime example.

The thing is, non-union shops in the same industries often pay comperable wages.  They simply expect more work out of their employees, minimizing the number of people required.  Companies want the best workers they can get, and even without unions you won’t see wages plummet.  The best and brightest want to be compensated, and they will be.

However, if unions continue to push for more and more, then more and more companies will seek to move their operations overseas.

2. End the EPA

Food Safety and Dependence on Government

President Obama announced in his weekly radio address (Saturday, March 14) the formation of a new advisory group to coordinate food safety laws and recommend changes to these laws (see the following article). The President makes the typical claims of the food safety system being “too spread out”, with resulting difficulty in sharing information and solving problems. He goes on to say that there are not nearly enough FDA workers or enough money for the FDA “to conduct inspections at more than a fraction of the 150,000 food processing plants and warehouses in the country.” The President stated, ”That is a hazard to public health. It is unacceptable. And it will change under the leadership of Dr. Margaret Hamburg,” his nominee for FDA commissioner.

Shocker: Leftist minimum wage policy forces businesses to pass costs to consumers

MasterPark Airport Parking

Travelers who park their cars at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, located in the town of SeaTac, Washington, will see first-hand how the city’s $15 minimum wage is being passed onto consumers in addition to negatively impacting workers, as Matthew Hurtt recently explained.

MasterPark Airport Parking, a valet parking service, is charging customers a 99-cent per day “living wage surcharge,” listing it on receipts with taxes and other fees patrons pay, according to the Washington Policy Center:

Many SeaTac businesses have tacked on an additional fee to mitigate the increased cost of labor. On the receipt below, a $6.93 “living wage surcharge” was added to a $84.00 parking charge. That is the equivalent of a 8.25% tax.
[…]
Contrary to what supporters claim, increasing the minimum wage does not create jobs and stimulate the economy. The higher wages are not free money. The increased cost must either be absorbed by the employer, which is impossible for many who already operate on shoe-string profit margins, or it must be passed on to workers, in the form of reduced hours and benefits, and consumers, in the form of higher prices. Either way, someone pays.

MasterPark explains the surcharge on its website, pointing out that it “covers a portion of the resulting increase in operating costs.” Here’s the copy of the receipt that a customer recently received:

Colorado may charge insurers a fee to run Obamacare exchange

Of course, as is the case with most regulations and taxes, the fee Colorado officials are reportedly considering to pay for the state’s Obamacare exchange will be passed by health insurance companies to consumers:

A $13 million fee on all Coloradans with health insurance would pay half the operating costs at the state health exchange next year and in 2016 under the newest financial projections.

The proposed fee would affect at least 875,000 people and includes Coloradans who get their insurance through their employers or outside the exchange.
[…]
Exchange managers announced earlier this week that they sold private health plans to 124,000 people through the end of March. People who buy through the exchange will get hit with two fees. They are currently paying a user fee of 1.4 percent and that fee is projected to rise as high as 3 percent by 2017. On top of the user fees, people who buy through the exchange will also pay the fee that exchange managers are calling a “general market health insurer assessment.”

Survey finds businesses would reduce hiring, raise prices to offset minimum wage hike

Though the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has already warned that proposed $10.10 federal minimum wage could cost the economy at least 500,000 jobs over the next two years, President Barack Obama and Democrats are still trying to push the increase through Congress, mostly because they believe it plays to their favor in an election year.

The issue may be an easy way to score political points, but the Wall Street Journal makes note of new survey which found that most businesses would adjust to an increase in the minimum wage by reducing hiring and increasing prices for goods and services, and some would even layoff workers:

Just over half of U.S. businesses that pay the minimum wage would hire fewer workers if the federal standard is raised to $10.10 per hour, according to a survey by a large staffing firm to be released Wednesday. But the same poll found a majority of those companies would not cut their current workforce.

No, bartenders shouldn’t discuss Obamacare with patrons

Beer taps

In a speech on Tuesday, part of his perpetual campaign, President Obama reached out to Millennials, who have grown weary of him, in hopes that they will enroll in a government-approved health plans on the Obamacare exchanges. But he also, strangely, urged bartenders to host happy hours to promote Obamacare:

During today’s White House Youth Summit, President Obama called on young people to do whatever they can to promote his signature health care law — including plying their customers with cheap booze.

“If you are a bartender, have a happy hour,” Obama said as the crowd laughed. “And also probably get health insurance because a lot of people don’t have it.”
[…]
“[The] bottom line is that I’m going to need you, the country needs you,” Obama said, reminding them that their friends and peers might not know the benefits of Obamacare.

An “Obamacare Beer Hall Putsch,” if you will, may sound like a good idea to promote the law, but President Obama must not have worked in the service industry. Many, maybe even most, restaurant owners and managers discourage servers from discussing any sort of political issues with guests because of the possibility of an incident that could hurt them in the community.

Coalition urges Senate to pass REINS Act

A broad coalition of conservative and free market groups are urging members of the Senate to support a measure — the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act,” better known as the REINS Act — that would require congressional approval of executive-level agency rules that will have a costly economic impact.

“This bill restores legislative control and accountability to the federal regulatory process by providing for meaningful congressional oversight over new regulations agencies impose on the American people,” wrote the coalition of organizations to individual members of the Senate.

“It requires both houses of Congress to approve any proposed ‘major rule’ — that is, any rule likely to affect the economy by $100 million or more — before such a rule goes into effect,” the letter continues. “The REINS Act already passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a sizeable margin. It is now time for the Senate to follow suit.”

Policymakers and bureaucrats tend not to be concerned about the implications of rules created by executive-level agencies, like the EPA, for example. But these regulations create a costly compliance burden for consumers and business, which are already facing tremendous strains on their finances as the economy has limped along after the recession, with next to no accountability and only marginal oversight.

In March, the Competitive Enterprise Institute released its annual regulatory snapshot, Ten Thousand Commandments, which found that compliance cost with these rules and regulation cost $1.8 trillion in 2012, roughly $14,678 per American family. Those compliance costs, the coalition letter notes, “was more than half of all federal outlays ($3.4 trillion)” for that year.

Republican Congressman urges leadership to get behind health care alternatives

Tom McClintock

Despite President Obama’s promises, Americans have found out that they can’t keep their health insurance coverage and they’re seeing their premiums skyrocket because they’re being forced to pay for coverage that they may not want or need. Republicans have been handed a tremendous opportunity on health care, and its one that they need to seize upon as the warnings about Obamacare become a reality for many Americans.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) urged his Republican colleagues yesterday to coalesce behind the Republican Study Committee’s American Health Care Reform Act, the recently unveiled patient-centered alternative to Obamacare.

“With all its flaws, the American health care system was the finest in the world: it was the most innovative, the most advanced, the most adaptable and the most responsive to the individual needs of patients,” said McClintock from the House floor on Tuesday. “And now we are losing it.”

McClintock took note a frequent criticism from Democrats and talking heads, which is that Republicans don’t have a healthcare policy alternative. But the California Republican explained that there is a comprehensive plan that would allow Americans to choose what health insurance coverage is best for them and their families, rather than the top-down approach taken by Obamacare.


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