regulatory state

Congressional Investigation of FCC Spells Trouble for Net Neutrality

neuter the net

Did the FCC chairman change his mind about Title II on his own, or did he capitulate to White House demands to avoid the disgrace of losing his chairmanship? A shocking investigative report by The Wall Street Journal suggests its the latter, and has prompted a pivotal Congressional investigation.

On Friday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee initiated an investigation of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to determine whether the views expressed by the White House potentially had an improper influence on the development of draft net neutrality rules. A letter from the Committee’s Chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler raised concerns about the independence of the agency based on a shocking investigative report by The Wall Street Journal.

The report indicates that the Imperial President improperly influenced Chairman Wheeler’s decision on net neutrality. If that proves to be true, it would provide a reviewing court with grounds to overturn the FCC’s decision as arbitrary and capricious. See DCP Farms v. Neuter, 957 F.2d 1183 (5th Cir. 1992).

Report: Americans face $1.8 trillion in annual regulatory costs

 Ten Thousand Commandments

One of the most dangerous, least often talked about threats of the governmental regulatory machine is how much of our money is engulfed in the regulatory process, putting the country deeper into debt.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has just released its annual report on the general state of U.S. federal regulations and what is known as the “hidden tax” of the U.S. regulatory state known as the Ten Thousand Commandments.

Because regulations are proposed and enacted without allowing for a substantial review of their cost-benefit and its open discussion, Americans are hit with the consequences of the growth of the regulatory state where it hurts the most: their wallet.

“Federal agencies crank out thousands of new regulations every year,” says CEI Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews, “but we have little information on the cost or effectiveness of most of them.” According to Crews, one of the main issues with this process is the lack of transparency since few of us have access to reliable sources of information on what the regulations hope to accomplish.

The cost of the regulatory mess we find ourselves in adds hundreds of billions to our debt, which is why this report is so important. CEI Vice President for Policy warned the public that action is needed.

Will the FCC Force Television Online Even If Aereo Loses in Court?

Aereo

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments yesterday in a case that will decide whether Aereo, an over-the-top video distributor, can retransmit broadcast television signals online without obtaining a copyright license.

If the court rules in Aereo’s favor, national programming networks might stop distributing their programming for free over the air, and without prime time programming, local TV stations might go out of business across the country. It’s a make or break case for Aereo, but for broadcasters, it represents only one piece of a broader regulatory puzzle regarding the future of over-the-air television.

If the court rules in favor of the broadcasters, they could still lose at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). At a National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) event earlier this month, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler focused on “the opportunity for broadcast licensees in the 21st century … to provide over-the-top services.”

According to Chairman Wheeler, TV stations shouldn’t limit themselves to being in the “television” business, because their “business horizons are greater than [their] current product.” Wheeler wants TV stations to become over-the-top “information providers”, and he sees the FCC’s role as helping them redefine themselves as a “growing source of competition” in that market segment.

IRS Commissioners Shulman and Miller also Unconstitutionally Implemented ObamaCare

ObamaCare Trojan Horse

Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman and current Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller have been the subjects of intense questioning from Congress over the past two weeks over their relation to the Tea Party targeting scandal.  For Shulman, questions remain as to whether he may have lied in front of the House Ways and Means Committee in March 2012 when questioned about allegations of targeting that at the time were simmering without mainstream awareness. He appeared to be less than forthright in his responses when questioned by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday. Miller has already tendered his resignation under pressure.

But there’s another IRS scandal waiting to gain widespread awareness, and this time it undeniably has Shumlan’s and MIller’s fingerprints all over it.  The IRS is unconstitutionally implementing ObamaCare exchange subsidies in states that refuse to establish an exchange.

What PPACA Says

Regulatory State Gone Wild

Ten Thousand Commandments

Americans spend $1.8 trillion each year — nearly $15,000 per family — complying with regulations passed down by the federal government. That’s the estimate given by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in the latest edition of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State.

“The 2012 Federal Register ranks fourth all-time with 78,961 pages, but three of the top four years, including the top two, occurred during the Obama administration,” noted the statement accompanying the report. “The 2010s are on pace to average 80,000 pages per year—up from 170,000 in the 1960s and 450,000 in the ‘70s.”

“There are more federal regulations than ever—the Code of Federal Regulations, which compiles all federal regulations, grew by more than 4,000 pages last year and now stands at 174,545 pages, spread over 238 volumes. Its index alone runs to more than 1,100 pages,” CEI added. “Government has added more than 80,000 regulations in the last 20 years—3,708 in the last year alone. That’s one new rule Americans must live under every 2½ hours. Today, 4,062 sit in the pipeline. Those will add at least $22 billion in compliance costs and probably much more.”

The cost to Americans as result of the regulations is perhaps the troubling aspect of the report. But another startling point is the way in which these rules and regulations are being imposed on Americans. Because the Obama Administration cannot pass many of these regulations through Congress, it is bypassing the legislative branch altogether, meaning that there is little to no oversight by Congress.

The report also notes that there has been a jump in “economically significant rules” — those that bring $100 million or more in compliance costs — on President Obama’s watch.

Obama anti-gun agenda rejected by Americans, White House switches to regulatory tricks

The Obama administration is quietly taking a new angle to impose its anti-gun agenda. Though the FDIC and the Justice Department, federal regulators are pressuring financial institutions and payment processors to end business relationship with gun retailers, labeling them as “high-risk,” according to The Washington Times:

Since 2011, regulators have increased scrutiny on banks’ customers. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2011 urged banks to better manage the risks of their merchant customers who employ payment processors, such as PayPal, for credit card transactions. The FDIC listed gun retailers as “high risk” along with porn stores and drug paraphernalia shops.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has launched Operation Choke Point, a credit card fraud probe focusing on banks and payment processors. The threat of enforcement has prompted some banks to cut ties with online gun retailers, even if those companies have valid licenses and good credit histories.

WaPo: White House delayed environmental, healthcare rules before 2012 election

Government agencies were told to delay enacting environmental and healthcare rules, among others, according to a report from Washington Post, for fear of the role the regulations could play in the 2012 presidential election:

The White House systematically delayed enacting a series of rules on the environment, worker safety and health care to prevent them from becoming points of contention before the 2012 election, according to documents and interviews with current and former administration officials.

Some agency officials were instructed to hold off submitting proposals to the White House for up to a year to ensure that they would not be issued before voters went to the polls, the current and former officials said.

The delays meant that rules were postponed or never issued. The stalled regulations included crucial elements of the Affordable Care Act, what bodies of water deserved federal protection, pollution controls for industrial boilers and limits on dangerous silica exposure in the workplace.

House combats expensive regulations, passes REINS Act

In an effort to fight back against excessive regulations passed by cabinet-level agencies, the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon passed the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act by a 232 to 183 vote.

This measure would require congressional approval of rules and regulations that are expected to have an economic impact of more $100 million. These regulations adversely effect small businesses, have negative impact on job creation, and raise prices for consumers.

“For too long, Congress has allowed administrations of both parties to enact regulations at great costs to the American people with little oversight. The REINS Act would allow Congress to vote on new major rules before they are imposed on hardworking families, small businesses, and agriculture producers,” said Rep. Todd Young (R-IN), who sponsored the legislation. “Regardless of which party occupies the White House, this commonsense legislation is needed to restore the balance of power in Washington and return responsibility for the legislative process to Congress.”

Wayne Crew, vice president of policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), hailed passage of the REINS Act.

“This is a great day for American taxpayers,” said Crews in a release from CEI. “Between ObamaCare and President Obama’s pledge to remake American energy policy through the regulatory process, it’s more important than ever Congress exercise its constitutional authority to vote on these executive actions that impose significant costs on the public.”

Regulation puts teens’ business in jeopardy

rental cars

Imagine that you’ve come up with a great idea to build a niche in the rental car industry that brilliantly minimizes the typical overhead costs that most rental car companies incur. The business is taking off and all seems to be going great when, of course, regulators start asking questions.

That’s what happened to three incredibly talented teenagers in San Francisco. The trio, all of whom had been offered admission to prestigious schools in the northeast, had started a rental car business, FlightCar, in which they offered incentives to travelling passengers to let them rent their vehicles while they were out of town to other travelers.

Earlier this week, ABC News noted that the teens had got the attention of other rental car companies which in-turn complained to regulators. Their business is now threatened under absurd complaints of “unfair competition”:

CEO Rajul Zaparde, 18, one of FlightCar’s co-founders, tells ABC News the company already has signed up 1,400 owners and has arranged 1,500 rentals.

Until Zaparde hit rental car paydirt, he had been headed to Harvard. Now he and co-founders Shri Graneshram, 19, and Kevin Petrovic, 19, have launched a second operation at Boston’s Logan Airport.

Foes of FlightCar, however, have started to shoot back.

It’s easy to see how traditional rental companies might not be amused to have their prices undercut. But San Francisco International is crying foul, as well.

Doug Yakel, public information officer for SFO, tells ABC News that FlightCar refuses to play by the rules that govern other rental car companies. It doesn’t pay the same fees, he says, and it doesn’t abide by the same regulations.

Obama’s job creation numbers the worst since 1945

Barack Obama

The stagnant economy is sure to be on the minds of voters as we get closer to the fall election. President Obama’s campaign is doing everything it can to distract voters from the dismal unemployment rate, depressing budget deficits, and looming tax hikes.

Recently, Veronique de Rugy, an economist at the Mercatus Center, noted the job creation numbers under presidents dating back to 1945. While Obama claims that the economy has created some four million jobs since taking office, the truth is that Americans have seen the worst job creation numbers under the current administration than any of his predecessors dating back to Truman.

And while his fixes haven’t worked as sold haven’t worked as promised — and there was no question that they would fail before they were even passed, President Obama is trying to sell more snake oil to Americans by pushing crippling taxes hikes. Nevermind that the share of income taxes paid by higher-income earners has gone up since the passage of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and nevermind that even Keynesian economists will tell you that raising taxes in an economy is a bad idea.


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