If you want an example of potentially damaging policies the federal government is pursuing, look no further than the situation in South Carolina. In case you’re not familiar with the story, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is suing to prevent Boeing from opening up a new plant in the Palmetto State, which would create some 5,000 new jobs, to build the new 787 Dreamliner aircraft. What’s the problem? South Carolina is a “right-to-work” state; meaning workers are free to labor without being forced to join a union.
Yesterday, the House approved legislation that would protect companies from this sort of overreach from NLRB:
The House approved legislation Thursday prohibiting National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from dictating corporate decisions about where to set up shop.
The House approved H.R. 2587 in a 238-186 vote in which eight Democrats joined Republicans in supporting the bill and seven Republicans voted against it.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), would prohibit the abor board from ordering a company to relocate its employment. If the NLRB’s complaint against Boeing is held up, the company would have to maintain the production line in Washington, though it would not be forced to close its South Carolina operations.
The bill will likely have little chance in the Senate, where Democrats control the chamber. But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has promised to fight for a floor vote on the legislation once it passes the House.
According to a new report from the National Federation for Independent Business, small businesses owners’ confidence in the economy has dropped:
Confidence among U.S. small businesses dropped to a 13-month low in August as fewer companies projected better economic conditions and improving sales, a private survey found.
The National Federation of Independent Business’s optimism index decreased to 88.1, the weakest reading since July 2010 and the sixth-consecutive decline, from 89.9 in July. The number of small-business owners saying they expected the economy will improve six months from now fell to the lowest level since 1980.
“Hope for improvement in the economy faded even further through the month,” William Dunkelberg, the group’s chief economist, said in a statement accompanying the index report. “With such a dim outlook, owners are not going to do a lot of hiring or expanding.”
Small-business owners have grown less confident that conditions will improve as stagnant job growth weighs on consumer sentiment. Households “uncertain about the future” won’t “engage in the spending that would help lead us out of the recession,” Dunkelberg said.
Six of the index’s 10 components decreased. The gauge of expectations for better business conditions six months from now led the decline, falling 11 points to a net minus 26 percent in August. The drop brought business assessment of the economy to the lowest level since the second quarter of 1980, when the measure fell to minus 37, according to Dunkelberg.
National Review reported yesterday that Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz will attend President Barack Obama’s speech this evening. You may remember that his company, which makes some really fantastic guitars, was raided by the federal agents recently due to the imported wood they use:
Sources tell National Review Online that Gibson’s chairman and chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, will attend President Obama’s joint address to Congress on Thursday. Federal agents recently raided Gibson’s manufacturing facilities, suspecting that the company was using illegally-imported wood.
Juszkiewicz has vocally defended Gibson’s practices and denied the allegations. “There’s no doubt we’re being persecuted,” he said in an interview with the Tennessean. “But while I was sitting in my conference room, while agents blocked the door to my office, I decided two things. One, we were going to try and fight this in court. Secondly, we were going to give this issue visibility.”
Juszkiewicz will be the guest of Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican. Blackburn represents numerous Gibson employees, many of whom reside in the Nashville suburbs.
As Jason pointed out yesterday, legendary Gibson Guitars was raided last week by armed federal agents. What was their crime? Was Gibson being used as a front for the Mexican cartels? Was it in league with terrorists who want to destroy our way of life? Oh no. They may have been using exotic woods that were harvested in a way not entirely kosher. At least that’s the speculation since Gibson is already under investigation for that. The Feds have been rather tight lipped about the reasons for the raid, though it wouldn’t be out of the realm of reality to think that it’s more of the same.
My libertarian streak ends when it comes to endangered species of just about anything. I just can’t do it a lot of the time. However, it’s also important that the laws make sense. The regulation Gibson has allegedly run afoul of seems to be a different matter entirely. For example:
Progressive blogger Matthew Yglesias has done something that I’m sure few actually thought they would ever see him do. He is actually calling for less regulation in a piece that ran yesterday afternoon. Of course, when you hear about the regulation, I’d have a hard time understanding who wouldn’t support this regulation being killed.
Guys like Tam Van Nguyen would get paid money by Vietnamese entrepreneurs to go down to the BACP office and do the forms, “but in 2008 things got complicated. The city started requiring people like Nguyen to have a something called an expediters license.”Meanwhile, Rahm Emanuel wants to make it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to help launch new businesses in part by launching an “Office of New Americans” to identify and clear barriers to immigrant entrepreneurs. That seems like a perfectly reasonable idea to me. But why not start by dropping the expediters’ license rule so it’s easier for people who don’t speak English to get someone to help them with the forms?
These are people who simply fill out the forms for the immigrant so they can start their own business. We already have some pretty idiotic licensing requirements in this country anyways, but this “expediters license” is just a special kind of stupid. Of course, like so many licenses, it’s primarily more of a revenue generation tool than anything else, but it’s still beyond idiotic.
After the housing collapse, Congress did what Congress typically does. They tried to prevent it from ever happening again. Their answer was the Frank-Dodd Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In regard to housing, it set down mandates that were supposed to prevent alleged predatory lending practices. What it’s done appears to be to drive a stake through the heart of community banks, or at least their ability to offer home loans.
NORWALK, Iowa — Alesia Harlan plopped the thick folder on the desk and started flipping through papers.
Disclosures, notices, statements, forms and tax documents — it was about 300 pages, and it was just a home loan.
Last year, reviewing the bank’s 455 home loan applications created more than two months of work for Harlan, a compliance officer at City State Bank in Norwalk, Iowa.
“I’ve yet to see the benefit to the customer,” said Harlan. “It’s highly technical and confusing for the borrower.”
Harlan says the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which became law in July 2010, nearly doubled what she must review and report to regulators, with little margin for error. And that, she says, is only a portion of the avalanche of new regulation that has executives at smaller banks concerned.
The bill is massive — 2,300 pages — and bankers expect it to result in 5,000 pages of new rules as regulators turn its mandates into specific instructions for financial institutions in coming years.
Bankers worry the flood of new paperwork could choke community banks, regulating some out of existence.
Yesterday was another bad day on Wall Street as the gains from the day before, which mostly made up losses on Monday, were completely erased and then some:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 519.83 points, or 4.62 percent, to finish at 10,719.94, wiping out the previous session’s 429-point rally. The blue-chip index has had triple-digit moves in four of the last five trading days.
The Dow has now lost over 2,000 points, or nearly 16 percent, in the last 14 trading sessions (or since the close on Jul. 21). It’s the Dow’s worst 14-day decline since March 2009.
The S&P 500 lost 51.77 points, or 4.42 percent, to close at 1,120.76.
The Nasdaq dropped 101.47 points, or 4.09 percent, to end at 2,381.05.
Both the S&P and Nasdaq have shed almost 17 percent over the past 13 trading sessions (or since the close on Jul. 13), which is the worst 13-day drop since Mar. 2009 and Nov. 2008, respectively.
At least some of the problem is continued debt problems in Europe, including the possibility of France’s credit rating being downgraded. The Federal Reserve’s less than glowing view of the economy for the next two years haven’t helped, and the Wall Street Journal is calling the Fed on it, noting the plan to keep interest rates artificially low is “what a central bank does when it wants to appear to do something to help the economy but has already fired most of its ammunition.”
Another little girl’s lemonade stand was shut down by police, this time in Iowa, because she didn’t follow the local regulations
Police closed down a lemonade stand in Coralville, telling its 4-year-old operator and her dad that she didn’t have a permit.
Cedar Rapids television station KGAN reports that an officer told Abigail Krutsinger’s dad on Friday that she couldn’t run the stand as RAGBRAI bicyclers poured into Coralville. RAGBRAI is The Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, which ended Saturday.
The city ordinance says food vendors have to apply for a permit and get a health inspection.
Abigail’s dad, Dustin Krutsinger, says the ordinance and its enforcers are going too far if they force a 4-year-old to abandon her lemonade stand.
We’ve documented other instances of this happening before (you can see a detailed map here), including a smiliar situation that took place recently here in Georgia. Three girls looking to earn money for a trip to the water park were shut down by cops for largely the same reasons, including health concerns and the lack of a government-issued permit.
Sadly, these kids are getting a dose of the absurity of government regulations that stifle business and the nanny state at an early age, but it looks like someone is fighting back. Robert Fernandes, a concerned father, is encouraging parents and kids to protest nanny statists on Saturday, August 20th, which he has dubbed Lemonade Freedom Day.
Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. We’ve already covered their reports on the records of Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul. Next up is Gary Johnson, who served two terms as Governor of New Mexico (1995-2003).
The Club for Growth notes that during his eight years of service in New Mexico, Gary Johnson received at “B” on each of the Cato Institute’s biannual Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors (1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002). However, these scores don’t do him justice.
Johnson’s record on taxes is described by the Club as “excellent,” noting that he pushed back against all forms of tax hikes:
Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. We’ve already covered their reports on the records of Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. We missed the report on Michele Bachmann, but you can read that here.
Last week, the Club for Growth released the white paper on Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX),who fares well against President Barack Obama in a hypothetical matchup and is making Iowa and the Ames Straw poll priorities for his campaign.
The Club notes that Paul has received better than average ratings on their own scorecard, and they’ve gradually increased over the last five years. And while his record on spending is “impressive,” including votes against Medicare Part D, raising his own pay, TARP, the stimulus and other wasteful spending.
They also point out that Paul was once a stalwart in voting for amendments to strip wasteful earmarks out of spending bills; however, he has changed his tune recently: