I was sitting at home Saturday night and Stossel was on Fox Business Channel. I watched. What a shock! A libertarian watched Stossel!
However, I witnessed something I never would have thought I would see, and that was honesty from a pro-regulation lobbyist.
The segment in question was about a proposal which would require taxis in Washington D.C. to have a medallion system like New York. For the record, per Stossel’s segment, a NYC medallion costs around $1 million per pop. A lobbyist in favor of medallions in D.C. said on Stossel’s show that it was in fact about squeezing out the little guy.
Many of us who are anti-regulation cite how more regulations make it more difficult for the small operator to function. As a small business owner myself, I can tell you that more and more government regulations only make life more difficult. I am currently seeking two full time employees, but only because of a profound need. I would seek out four or five employees if it weren’t for the spectre of ObamaCare - to say nothing of other regulations out there - that could make my life even more difficult and thereby override the benefit of more employees.
The lobbyist’s candor, that the measure he proposed and that a D.C. councilman actually introduced was really about squeezing out the small businessman was unique. However, it’s not really a shock for many of the pro-liberty movement. It was a shock for me though.
While I will often cite the problems of regulations and how they impact the small businessman, I never really thought there was as much of a concerted effort to break the small businessman as there apparently is. Oh sure, I figured Walmart supported an employer mandate because it would hurt Target, but I didn’t really think they gave a damn about the mom and pop store.
Now, I have to step back and rethink that.
We’ve often wondered why President Barack Obama and his administration have had such a hostile view of oil companies. He insists that drilling up during his term, but Obama is taking credit for policies enacted by his predecessor. But much like his attacks on higher-income earners, Obama has targeted the oil industry and speculators with harsh rhetoric in attempt to distract Americans from his own failed energy policies.
We know that Obama’s own Energy Secretary is on record supporting higher gas prices. Obama has said himself that he didn’t have a problem with the cost of gas, rather that they rose too quickly. So we know where the rhetoric and proposed regulations are coming from. But there is something deeper here?
Via the Heritage Foundation, a video has surfaced where a regional administrator from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that the treatment of oil companies in the regulatory agency is “kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them and then, you know, that town was really easy to manage over the next few years”:
Growing up in the South, you’d often hear stories about how kids in rural areas had to get up in the morning and help around the family farm before heading off to school and hitting the books. While those stories aren’t as frequent now that the agriculture industry has declined, this is still somewhat the case in many places in the United States.
But due to child labor laws, the Department of Labor is weighing a ban on kids working on their family farms:
A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.
The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.
Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”
“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”
Rossie Blinson, a 21-year-old college student from Buis Creek, N.C., told The Daily Caller that the federal government’s plan will do far more harm than good.
“The main concern I have is that it would prevent kids from doing 4-H and FFA projects if they’re not at their parents’ house,” said Blinson.
“I started showing sheep when I was four years old. I started with cattle around 8. It’s been very important. I learned a lot of responsibility being a farm kid.”
While it’s not a thorough victory for property rights, the Supreme Court did beat back overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a unanimous decision issued on Wednesday that will give property owners recourse when they are threatened with fines for alleged environmental damage:
The Supreme Court has sided with an Idaho couple in a property rights case, ruling they can go to court to challenge an Environmental Protection Agency order that blocked construction of their new home and threatened fines of more than $30,000 a day.
Wednesday’s decision is a victory for Mike and Chantell Sackett, whose property near a scenic lake has sat undisturbed since the EPA ordered a halt in work in 2007. The agency said part of the property was a wetlands that could not disturbed without a permit.
In an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court rejected EPA’s argument that allowing property owners quick access to courts to contest orders like the one issued to the Sacketts would compromise the agency’s ability to deal with water pollution.
“Compliance orders will remain an effective means of securing prompt voluntary compliance in those many cases where there is no substantial basis to question their validity,” Scalia said.
In this case, the couple objected to the determination that their small lot contained wetlands that are regulated by the Clean Water Act, and they complained there was no reasonable way to challenge the order without risking fines that can mount quickly.
The Food and Drug Administration is one of those departments that will be virtually impossible to ever remove. After all, they’re supposedly responsible for keeping our food supply safe. History tells us that prior to the FDA, food companies were putting all kinds of dangerous crap in foods and drinks…hence the FDA sprang into existence.
However, things are getting kind of silly when it comes to orange juice from Brazil. You see, down there, they use a fungicide called carbendazim. Carbendazim isn’t used here anymore, so no one has bothered to write a regulation on tolerances for the chemical. As such, Brazilian frozen, concentrated orange juice is currently illegal since it has traces of a chemical that we just don’t use anymore.
Obviously, this is because carbendazim is unsafe in any dosage, right? Wrong.
If you happen to notice sometime later this year that you’re suddenly paying a lot more for orange juice, you can blame America’s food safety authorities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after several weeks of deliberation, has blocked imports of frozen, concentrated orange juice from Brazil, probably for the next 18 months or so, even though the agency says the juice is perfectly safe.
The FDA’s explanation is that its hands are legally tied. Its tests show that practically all concentrated juice from Brazil currently contains traces of the fungicide carbendazim, first detected in December by Coca-Cola, maker of Minute Maid juices. The amounts are small — so small that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says no consumers should be concerned.
As you can imagine, there wasn’t much in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address that would please libertarians. John Stossel notes that much of what the president said is in fact anathema to those of us that believe in limited government, and offers some of what he would have said if he were in Obama’s shoes:
Our debt has passed $15 trillion. It will reach Greek levels in just 10 years.
But if we make reasonable cuts to what government spends, our economy can grow us out of our debt. Cutting doesn’t just make economic sense, it is also the moral thing to do. Government is best which governs least.
We’ll start by closing the Department of Education, which saves $100 billion a year. It’s insane to take money from states only to launder it through Washington and then return it to states.
Next, we’ll close the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That saves $41 billion. We had plenty of housing in America before a department was created.
Then we eliminate the Commerce Department: $9 billion. A government that can’t count votes accurately should not try to negotiate trade. We will eliminate all corporate welfare and all subsidies. That means agriculture subsidies, green energy subsidies, ethanol subsidies and so on. None of it is needed.
I propose selling Amtrak. Why is government in the transportation business? Let private companies compete to run the trains.
And we must finally stop one of the biggest assaults on freedom and our pocketbook: the war on drugs. I used drugs. It’s immoral to imprison people who do what I did and now laugh about.
Still, all these cuts combined will only dent our deficit. We must cut Medicare, Social Security and the military.
Last night, President Barack Obama was supposed to speak on the State of the Nation, but in usual fashion, he turned it into a campaign speech. In case you missed it, you can watch it here or read the transcript. Don’t forget to watch or read the Republican response offered by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.
There was nothing in the speech that was ground-breaking. It was more of the same tired themes, such as his divisive class warfare rhetoric (much of it was inaccurate) and tearing down businesses. No substantive defense was offered for the failed economic policies that he continues to push.
Some of the policy experts from the Cato Institute, the Washington-based libetarian think thank, parsed the themes that Obama relayed and found much to be disappointed in:
While thousands of left-leaning folks took to the street last year to decry corporatism via the Occupy movement, many have managed to miss the corporatism of the left.
MapLight has conducted an analysis of campaign contributions from key industry groups to members of the U.S. Senate (July 1, 2005 - June 30, 2011) and found that:
- Entertainment interest groups that support these bills gave 7.2 times as much ($14,423,991) to members of the U.S. Senate as Internet interest groups that oppose these bills ($2,011,332).
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has received 4.8 times as much from entertainment interest groups that support these bills ($571,500) as from Internet interest groups that oppose these bills ($118,050).
Now, is’nt that just fascinating?
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico and current Republican presidential candidate, plans to file a complaint against CBS with the regulatory bodies — the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) — over being excluded from this GOP debate that took place on Saturday:
Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign is filing an official complaint with both the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over their candidate’s exclusion from the most recent GOP debate, Johnson’s campaign announced Tuesday.
Johnson’s complaint charges that debate sponsor CBS significantly contributed to the candidates who were allowed to participate in the debate, “directly and significantly supporting those candidates it favors, and advocating the nomination of one of their favorites and opposing the nomination of [Johnson], whom CBS evidently disfavors.”
Saturday’s debate, co-hosted by CBS and National Journal, was the first debate to air on broadcast television. According to Johnson’s complaint, “the public owns the airways over which CBS broadcasts, and the public deserves to be free from bias- favoring some candidates over others- as well as illegal support of certain presidential candidates on national network television.”
You can read the complaint here.
I’m always heartened to see third parties, of any stripe, get more attention in the news media. Such as this story from the Daily Caller:
The Occupy Wall Street protests have attracted significant support from Democratic Party politicians. But two of the country’s most significant third parties say that the message of the protests is that the two-party system is broken.
Green Party Media Coordinator Scott McLarty told The Daily Caller, “the claim from some people that the Occupy Wall Street and related ‘Occupy’ protests express support for the Democratic Party is more than disingenuous, it’s plain dishonest.”
“Organizers have made it repeatedly clear that the protests are not partisan, to the point of barring representatives of political parties from speaking publicly at the protests,” McLarty said. “The protests aren’t only driven by anger over the Wall Street’s greed and recklessness, but also by the two party political status quo that enabled Wall Street’s theft of the country’s future.”
Now, I may not agree with the Green Party on a lot of things, but I completely agree that it was both parties that led us to where we are today (and if we look at the unemployment trends for the next decade, then yes, I also agree that they “enabled Wall Street’s theft of the country’s future,” via bailouts, bad regulation, and out-and-out collusion.)