Internet Analogies: Twice as Many Americans Lack Access to Public Water-Supply Systems than Fixed Broadband
After abandoning the “information superhighway” analogy for the Internet, net neutrality advocates began analogizing the Internet to waterworks. I’ve previously discussed the fundamental difference between infrastructure that distributes commodities (e.g., water) and the Internet, which distributes speech protected by the First Amendment – a difference that is alone sufficient to reject any notion that governments should own and control the infrastructure of the Internet. For those who remain unconvinced that the means of disseminating mass communications (e.g., Internet infrastructure) is protected by the First Amendment, however, there is another flaw in the waterworks analogy: If broadband Internet infrastructure had been built to the same extent as public water-supply systems, more than twice as many Americans would lack fixed broadband Internet access.
California AB 880: “This bill would make it unlawful for a large employer to, among other things…reduce an employee’s hours or work…if the purpose is to avoid the imposition of the penalty. A violation of those provisions would result in a penalty of 200% of the penalty amount the employer would have paid for the applicable period of time.”
ObamaCare’s employer mandate is off to a disastrous start even before it kicks in. The CBO has already scored the measure to cost employers $150 billion in draconian excise taxes over the next eleven years, and there’s no telling how much the compliance costs will total. Most employers are in no position to shoulder this burden. How have they responded? For many, the only hope has been to reduce employees’ hours because the employer mandate and its associated penalty taxes apply only to employees who average at least 30 hours per week. Regal Entertainment Group recently announced that it would join the long line of mega-sized employers to be reluctantly forced down this road.
In the wake of the Boston bombings, many people throughout the country are bracing. Yes, they got the alleged perpetrators, with one in custody and the other in the morgue, but now they brace for the inevitable legislative push that will result in nothing but a loss of liberty for people who had nothing to do with the bombings.
Sounds a lot like gun control, doesn’t it?
Memes are flying fast and furious in the wake of the apprehension of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, many joking about what Congress and the White House will try to ban. They’re generally meant humorously, but I’m not so sure.
Over this week, we’ve heard about pressure cookers being suggested as bomb housing by such diverse sources as The Anarchist Cookbook and an al-Qaeda guide on making IEDs. As such, could they be the likely target of Washington’s ire?
Even now, statist forces are trying to decide how to keep us safe my taking away our freedoms. Just as they have done with meth, it’s entirely possible that those forces will look at regulation of how many pressure cookers one can buy in a given time frame as a way to curb would be terrorists.
In reality, almost no one buys several pressure cookers over a short period of time…unless they’re building bombs. The fact that multiple publications call for such to be used as housing is really a good reason in some people’s eyes to restrict them in some way.
Of course, there are a few things that will make this more difficult. For one, Sudafed doesn’t exact have a resale value, while used pressure cookers do. Of course, that’s not exactly a deterent for many in Washington, now is it?
Let’s put aside for a minute that ObamaCare is unconstitutional, adds $6.2 trillion in debt, piles on countless new taxes, and has already racked up $31 billion and 71.5 million hours in regulatory compliance costs. Yes, that’s a lot to put aside. But for just a moment assume the role of a liberal with an entitlement mentality. For a law with enormous riches and political capital invested in it, wouldn’t you expect it to at least function on its most basic level consistent with its namesake? In other words, you would expect for the Affordable Care Act to provide affordable coverage.
The latest of ObamaCare’s fundamental flaws to be euphemistically reported as a “glitch” that needs to be “tweaked” is its failure to provide affordable family coverage for a broad group of employees. As a result, Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 3.9 million family dependents may not be able to afford employer-sponsored family coverage or receive subsidized coverage on an ObamaCare exchange.
Understanding the family glitch requires a quick primer on the byzantine regulatory structure governing Obamacare’s subsidies:
We are now only a month into the President Obama lame duck-era, yet the post-election deluge of Obamacare regulations is already well underway. Clearly, these regulations were completed prior to the election, withheld to prevent any political blowback. This should come as no surprise. Here’s a quick rundown of the latest expansive entries into the Federal Register:
Essential Health Benefits (77 FR 70644, November 26, 2012)
Obamacare lists ten broad categories of health benefits as essential health benefits (EHB), to be defined in detail by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has instead put this burden on the states. States are to choose a benchmark plan to serve as the framework for EHB in that state. The states that refuse will have a default benchmark plan assigned to them. Individual health policies sold on state or federally facilitated exchanges (referred to as qualified health plans, or QHP) must actually provide these EHB. For employer sponsored group health plans, only non-grandfathered plans that are insured in the small group market must provide EHB. Any grandfathered, large market, or self-funded group health plan does not need to provide EHB, but they cannot impose any lifetime or annual limits on the dollar value of EHB. Welcome to Obamacare.
Jeff Edgens is a member of the Executive Committee for the Libertarian Party of Georgia and a member of the Cigar Rights of America. He lives in Statesboro, Georgia.
Cigars have a family tree that can be traced back like that of a pencil. I,Pencil - the classic article written by Leonard Reed describes how a pencil is made. In his essay, Reed chronicles the business transactions seen and unseen in the manfuacture of a pencil. He distinguishes between the invisible hand of the marketplace that brings willing buyers and sellers together from that of the planned economy foisted on to the marketplace by a regulatory agency.
I, Pencil reminds us that no single person has the knowledge to make a pencil and the same holds true for making a cigar. Both are made by a myriad of individual business transactions that cooperate and bring to bear their respective talents toward a final product.
In this case, besides rolling the cigar there are all of the steps that come before the final product reaches the hands of the customer. There are those who provide the raw materials to build the tools used to harvest the tobacco. There are those who harvest the leaf, those who ship it, those who buy the leaf, those who roll it, those who market it, and those who sale the final product. Other steps are unseen and those are the ones that take place long before a cigar ever reaches the marketplace. There are entirely too many transactions for one person or an agency of people to know how to direct or control.
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
Just in time for Christmas, Washington has a gift for all of you feeling the joy and optimism of the season… a giant, economy killing, power grab by the EPA. Rejoice! Rejoice! The polar bears will continue to thrive while Americans suffer record unemployment and poverty!
In a perfectly timed press release, the EPA announced their intention to begin limiting emissions from coal-fired power plants to combat so-called climate change late last night. While most people aren’t going to pay much attention to this story, it’s going to have significant affects for all of us. Almost half of the electricity generated in this country comes from coal-fired power plants, so even if your personal power bill doesn’t see an immediate and significant increase, you can certainly expect the price of many of your “Made in the USA” products to increase substantially. Until the exact provisions are released to the public, however, we can only speculate how much this massive power grab is going to cost each of us, but know that it is going to cost you.
Obviously, if these regulations are adopted, they certainly aren’t something that will aid our economic recovery, to say the least. It is going to be sadly interesting, however, to see how detrimental these new regulations will be to the economic recovery in specific regions of the country. For example, why would a company that is building a new factory ever consider an area where the cost of electricity has been artificially and unnecessarily inflated by the geniuses in Washington?
So often today, those that protest statist or liberal policies are derided as being ignorant or as having nefarious motivations. The working class is often portrayed as being too stupid to know what is best for them; therefore, an elite, benevolent intelligentsia is needed to pat us on the head before brushing aside our concerns and running the country for us. Years ago, Bill Clinton dismissed a reporter’s question as to whether the budget surplus realized from having a balanced budget (thanks to the Republican takeover of the House) would be returned to the taxpayers by explaining that the taxpayers could not be trusted to spend the money “the right way”. The recent passage of the health care bill was done against the will of the majority of voters, but our concerns were dismissed as we were told that once it was passed, only then would we be able to learn what was in it, and just how good it would be. Well, it has passed, and we are finally learning what is in it, and it’s not good at all.
It is trendy in circles of intellectuals today to dismiss the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, to say that what they designed is not relevant two centuries later, or that we need a “living” Constitution, which sways with the political winds and means what we want it to mean at that specific point in time. This shows an extreme lack of historical perspective at just how unique and brilliant our founding documents are.
The U.S. Constitution was passed in 1787. It contains a mere 4,400 words and yet has successfully governed a nation which began with a few million citizens to today, when we number over 300 million. So brilliant was its construction that it has only been amended 27 times, one of which (prohibition) was repealed.