Written by Walter Olson, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
The U.S. Department of Labor claimed the authority to issue rules governing the H-2B guest worker program on the grounds that the underlying statute provides for it to be consulted as part of the program’s administration. On Monday, the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals curtly rebuffed this “absurd” claim. From its opinion:
In its proposed and final rules, DOL cited two statutory provisions as the source of its rulemaking authority. First, DOL cited 8 U.S.C. § 1184(c)(1), which instructs the Secretary of DHS to consult with the “appropriate agencies of the Government” in resolving whether to grant a foreign worker a visa upon the “petition of the importing employer.” Although there is no grant of rulemaking authority to DOL in this statutory section, DOL asserts that as the result of the permission it grants to DHS to consult with it, DOL “has authority to issue legislative rules to structure its consultation with DHS.” The end result, in DOL’s view, is that it is empowered to engage in rulemaking, even without the DHS.
We reject this interpretation of “consultation.” Under this theory of consultation, any federal employee with whom the Secretary of DHS deigns to consult would then have the “authority to issue legislative rules to structure [his] consultation with DHS.” This is an absurd reading of the statute and we decline to adopt it.
While attending a “Bloggers Briefing” panel at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday, Kristen Soltis Anderson, one of the participants, noted that some focus group participants have trouble identifying with Republicans when they start talking about “big government.” They don’t disagree with notions that government spends too much, but the definition of big government is hard to define for them.
While this is may seem odd to conservatives and libertarians, this is a problem that we face, particularly with low-information voters. But Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is trying to put faces with the notion of big government, by identifying those who have been hurt by government.
In the first installment of the “Victims of Government” project, Johnson tells the story of Steven Lathrop, who has been fighting various agencies over a problematic area of his neighborhood for more than 20 years and now faces bankruptcy because of the inefficiencies in government.
Watch the video below and read more about Lathrop’s story here:
ObamaCare is a mess, and it’s not just because of things its doing to drive up the cost of healthcare and insurance premiums. It’s literally a nightmare for Americans who will seek eligibility for subsidies that are provided through the law.
Last week, Sarah Kliff from the Washington Post’s Wonkblog posted a draft flowchart showing the complex process that regulators will have to follow to determine eligibility for Medicaid and private insurance subsidies:
Pretty mindboggling, right? Of course, this is what happens the when Congress turns power over to bureaucrats and regulators. They create an endless line of red tape that is far larger than the original bill, as was recently displayed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose office recently posted this photo showing the 7-foot tall stack of regulations and rules compared to 2,400-page bill:
The regulatory nightmare that is ObamaCare has even some Democrats questioning the law. During a recent press conference, Rep. John Barrow (R-GA), who did not vote for ObamaCare, said that the law “wasn’t fairly vetted” and called many of the regulations “way too onerous.”
During testimony before the House Budget Committee in February 2011, Doug Elemendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, told Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) that ObamaCare would reduce employment by some 800,000 by 2021. The effects of the law on the job market was a point that many policy analysts were making before its passage.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress weren’t listening. And now, the Federal Reserve has released a report noting that ObamaCare is leading many businesses to layoff workers:
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday released an edition of its so-called “beige book,” that said the 2010 healthcare law is being cited as a reason for layoffs and a slowdown in hiring.
“Employers in several Districts cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff,” said the March 6 beige book, which examines economic conditions across various Federal Reserve districts across the country.
That line was found in a section of the Fed’s report on employment, wages and prices. That same section also said the Atlanta district noted that healthcare regulations are so burdensome there is a shortage of compliance specialists.
“Atlanta noted a lack of compliance specialists due to heavier regulations in the healthcare industry,” it said.
During a recent interview on CNBC, Fred DeLuca, the founder of Subway, noted how regulations — particularly the new regulations being imposed through ObamaCare — are hurting businesses and entrepreneurs in the United States.
DeLuca explained that the regulations would cause franchisees to pass the costs of the regulations off to consumers. Reponding to co-host Simon Hobbs questions about the current business environment, Deluca said, “It’s continuously gotten worse, because there’s more and more regulations.”
“It’s tougher for people to get into business,” he added. “Especially a small business. I tell you, if I started Subway today, Subway would not exist, because I had an easy time of it in the ’60s when I started. I just see a continuous increase in regulation.”
Here’s the video via the Washington Free Beacon:
It appears environmentalism has officially gone insane. In Florida, a man released several heart shaped balloons into the air as an expression of love to his girlfriend. And for that, the guy was arrested:
Brasfield, 40, and his girlfriend, Shaquina Baxter, were in the parking lot of the Motel 6 on Dania Beach Boulevard when he released the shiny red and silver mylar balloons and watched them float away Sunday morning.
Also watching the romantic gesture: an FHP trooper, who instead noted probable cause for an environmental crime.
Brasfield was charged with polluting to harm humans, animals, plants, etc. under the Florida Air and Water Pollution Control Act.
Seriously? We’re going to arrest people now because they released balloons into the air? What sort of joyless soul-sucking Dementors are the people who push for this kind of legislation?
The story notes at the end that Brasfield, if convicted, faces up to five years in prison. Five years for releasing balloons into the air to show his love to his significant other. If that’s not liberty-trampeling, un-American, and just plain immoral, I don’t know what it is.
Don’t look now, folks, but the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is making a comeback thanks to President Barack Obama.
Between the end of 2011 and early 2012, online activists were able to raise a firestorm over legislation — Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), and CISPA — that would have severely diminished Internet privacy. Thanks to the outcry, all three bills eventually died.
According to a report yesterday from The Hill, President Obama will on Wednesday sign an executive order — completely bypassing Congress, which is becoming an all too familar pattern with this White House — that will implement cybersecurity measures from against attack on the United States:
The White House is poised to release an executive order aimed at thwarting cyberattacks against critical infrastructure on Wednesday, two people familiar with the matter told The Hill.
The highly anticipated directive from President Obama is expected to be released at a briefing Wednesday morning at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where senior administration officials will provide an update about cybersecurity policy.
The executive order would establish a voluntary program in which companies operating critical infrastructure would elect to meet cybersecurity best practices and standards crafted, in part, by the government.
Written by John Kartch, Communications Director at Americans for Tax Reform. Posted with permission from Americans for Tax Reform.
In a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, 18 Democrat senators and senators-elect have asked for “a delay in the implementation” of the Obamacare medical device tax. Like most of the significant tax increases in Obamacare, the medical device tax is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013, conveniently after the 2012 presidential election.
Each of the 18 Democrat signatories voted for or supported Obamacare in the first place. And now they want a sweetheart exemption from one of its most onerous provisions. Even in Washington DC, that shows a lot of gall.
The signatories to the letter are as follows:
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)
Al Franken (D-Minn.)
Herb Kohl (D-Wis.)
Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
John Kerry (D-Mass.)
Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
Robert Casey (D-Pa.)
Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.)
Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) – (Voted for Obamacare in the House)
View PDF here.
“Vote: The instrument and symbol of a free man’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.” - Ambrose Bierce, American Author
Nearly two weeks have passed since the 2012 elections, and we can begin to prepare a postmortem of this latest cycle in American politics. Despite the fact that, for all intents and purposes, the make-up of government has remained almost exactly the same, Obama and the Democrats are declaring a mandate for their agenda of growing government, higher taxes, more regulations, etc. Obama now repeats his demand that Republicans begin any budget talks by agreeing to increase taxes (“enhance revenues”, in euphemistic Washingtonian parlance). The left, gleeful at the re-election of Obama, tell the rest of us to “get over it” and stop fighting Obama’s agenda. I guess that makes sense. After all, almost immediately after the election of George W. Bush in 2000, the left was insisting that the country line up behind Bush because he’d won, saying we all need to support the president. Oh wait, that never happened…
After much contemplation, I’ve concluded that Obama voters fall generally into one of three categories; those that voted based on race, those that voted because they are hard-core leftists who agree with his policies, and the ignorant (this includes those who voted for him because he promised to be Santa Claus).Conservatives could do little to win over those who voted based on race or alignment with his Marxist ideology. However, where we failed was in showing the ignorant how voting for Obama was a losing proposition for them. Since ignorant (unlearned) is not the same as stupid (enable to learn), we retain the possibility of changing minds here, if we can effectively make the argument against Obama’s policies.
Written by Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
The demise of Hostess and Twinkies is not a national emergency, but it is certainly sad when a major business goes under and thousands of people lose their jobs.
If federal and state policymakers want to play a useful role here, they should study why Hostess couldn’t make a go of it. Were there tax or regulatory factors that stood in the way of the company earning a decent rate of return?
Unions were an important factor that pushed up the firm’s costs and reduced its operational efficiency. The policy reform here is obvious for people who appreciate market economics: repeal America’s coercive union laws. If policymakers don’t kill so-called collective bargaining, these rules will keep on killing companies.
Sugar apparently played a role in the demise of Hostess, as discussed in this excellent CSM article. Food manufacturers that use a lot of sugar are at a competitive disadvantage in the United States because federal import barriers on sugar substantially push up prices for that production input.