American Elephants


Over-regulated! Over-controlled! Over-angry! by The Elephant's Child

If you wonder why the recovery from the last recession has dragged on and on in the slowest recovery since World War II, you can blame the Left’s compulsive drive for ever more control. They are perpetually discontented and want to fix things, sure that a new regulation, another rule, a new organization to control things will somehow fix everything.

Wayne Crews is vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Every year he compiles CEI’s annual 10,000 Commandments report on federal regulations. He found six official, but different, counts of the number of federal agencies. He started looking for dark matter rules that are pushed through memoranda and press releases outside the regular lawmaking processes, and realized that it was difficult to determine how many rules were coming out if you couldn’t be sure how many agencies exist. If you can’t get a list —that’s too many.

Agencies are issuing guidance, but it can be hard for businesses to know who they are regulated by. And if that is the case, to whom they apply for clarification, or relief. Everybody is fed up. They are tired of being told what they can and cannot do, what they can and cannot say.

Businesses cannot act for fear of regulations that will be imposed. What restaurant would expect a federal regulation that all of the ingredients in their pizzas would have to be displayed with a calorie count for each ingredient?

Who would expect the EPA to propose two new rules Monday to protect drinking water from harmful waste chemicals — after they just polluted the waters of five Western states with their toxic spill from the Gold King mine tailings?

In Florida, the Ocheesee Creamery is being forced to dump gallons upon gallons of good, natural skim milk because the state is requiring the business to label its good, natural skim milk “imitation ” because they haven’t added anything to it. This has become a legal battle with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs (DACS) which insists that what is commonly called skim milk — whole milk with the cream skimmed off — cannot be called “skim milk” unless it is artificially injected with vitamin A. The Institute for Justice is helping the Wesselhoefts take their case to federal court.

The creamery got into business to sell an all-natural product. The judge said “It’s hard to call this imitation milk. It came right out of the cow. Anyone who reads imitation skim milk would think it didn’t come out of a cow.”

The case of Il Mondo Vecchio is different, but similar.  The “Old-World-style salumeria” was similarly dedicated to natural products. The FDA was having none of that and requiring that these sausage makers, adored by Denver foodies, add nitrates,nitrites and preservatives to their meats. After a long discussion with the FDA the owners determined that the requirements forced on dry cured sausage products was detrimental to the quality of the product, and they shut down their business.

President Obama announced that he had a phone and a pen, and if Congress would not cooperate, he’d do it himself.  He has already imposed 1,568 new regulations, and 38,000 Federal Register pages this year. In 2014, there were 3,541 rules and regulations and 78,978 pages in the Federal Register. Who do these people think they are? The direction comes from the White House, as does the example. Wayne Crews noted that:

“This administration has made significant use of Executive Memoranda compared to earlier ones. That practice and other kinds of federal agency ‘Regulatory Dark Matter’ like guidance documents, memos, bulletins, letters, lawsuits, notices, press releases and blog posts need serious attention from policy makers.

“For example, there are 11,932 Notices issued by agencies so far in 2015; most are ordinary announcements like meetings and hearings (which do matter); but some even are considered ‘significant.’ “

You see announcements like this every day: “Report: Obama coal plan will boost electricity bills 16%, drive companies offshore.” It becomes mind-numbing. Do you wonder why people are angry?

The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office.                     Ludwig Von Mises, 1944

 



Do You Save Quotations? Here’s a Good One! by The Elephant's Child

From Steven Hayward

Liberalism’s irrepressible drive for an ever larger welfare state without limit arises from at least two premises upon which the left no longer reflects: the elevation of compassion to a political principle (albeit with other people’s money) and the erosion of meaningful constitutional limits on government on account of the idea of progress.



Why Do They Never Learn? Socialism Doesn’t Work. by The Elephant's Child

BN-KA013_venloo_J_20150825170528How is it possible, in a world that has demonstrated so clearly that Socialism simply does not work, to have a candidate for the office of President of the United States who is an avowed socialist? Barack Obama may not adopt the label, but his efforts to expand government control over ever more of the economy, to regulate American lives, and to strive for more redistribution of wealth and “social justice” or forced equality have no relation to free markets and free people.

Democrats’ big ideas aren’t working. Detroit, under Democratic governance has declined from America’s richest city to a cesspool of poverty. New York, cleaned up under Rudy Giuliani, has declined into crime again, and New Yorkers are not only complaining, but becoming fearful.

San Francisco, designated as a “sanctuary city,” has that designation to thank for the murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal alien who had been deported over and over.  In 1994, the voters approved a “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law which led to  overcrowded prisons. The Supreme Court in 2009 ordered the state to reduce the prison population to 137.5 percent of design capacity, or one inmate per cell.

That led to Prop 47, which reduced many felonies to misdemeanors, and an 50,000 reduction in the prison population and a rise in crime. The responsibility for incarcerating prisons was turned over to local sheriffs. Neighborhood are not as safe. People are moving out of California in droves. Yet “Black Lives Matter” is a very real drive to blame the high murder rate in inner city neighborhoods on policing. There are always unintended consequences.

Social justice in California has led to a wealthy coastal corridor and poverty in the rest of the state.

If the failure of Democrats’ ideas of social justice utopias in America don’t convince you, let’s turn to the newly-reopened embassy in Havana. Obama said that if 50 years of isolating Cuba had not worked, we should try something else. But precisely what does he mean by hadn’t worked? Cuba is a poverty stricken country where the people have to line up for bread, the 1950’s era cars are not there because they are quaint and picturesque, but because that’s all they have. Fidel Castro, on the other hand has been listed in Forbes as one of the world’s richest men. A lot of arms dealing, narco-terrorism, that sort of thing. Viva  la revolucion!

Obama’s big idea seems to be that if America just stops being the big bully, throwing our weight around, and offers our helping hand in peace, while removing all sanctions and barriers, then they will reciprocate because they care about their people and their children. Unfortunately, no they don’t.

In Venezuela, it’s all falling apart. Socialism is in a death spiral. The people have to stand in line for hours to buy ordinary staples like corn flour or laundry soap. Looting and violence are on the rise in supermarkets, but there’s nothing on the shelves anyway. No toilet paper, food shortages, people are going hungry.    There are fights when delivery trucks arrive with chicken or milk. The break-even price for Venezuelan oil is estimated to be $151 per barrel.  Today’s  price for Brent crude   is $47.10.

Supporters of the ruling Socialist Party note that the network of subsidized state-run grocery stores created by late president Hugo Chavez and financed by plentiful oil revenue helped reduce poverty and hunger during his 1999-2013 rule.

Typically, the late  Hugo Chavez’s  second-eldest daughter  may be the wealthiest woman in Venezuela. Maria Gabriela Chavez reportedly has stashed away a cool $4.2 billion in American and Andorran banks according to Diario las Americas. The ruling class typically does pretty well.

Hugo Chavez  was, after Fidel Castro, the tin pot dictator most admired by Democrats in Hollywood and Washington.

When Senator Bernie Sanders describes himself as a socialist,his critics point to such experiments as Cuba and North Korea, but they explain, no, no Democratic socialism. Socialism does not work.

Nicholas Maduro has been cracking down for years on newspapers, radio, any source of free speech. You cannot have free speech and a socialist government. Have you not noticed the Obama administration’s attacks on free speech?

Venezuelans are running out of food, and starvation is possible. Medicines, even the most usual kinds are unavailable. Everything the Maduro government does makes things worse.

Armed soldiers monitor supermarkets as part of an effort the president calls “Operation People’s Liberation.”

The picture is simply one of the lines for non-existent food in Venezuela.

 



The Clean Power Plan Is Not So Clean by The Elephant's Child

blobPresident Obama is embarked on his Clean Power Plan, in an effort to fulfill the last of his campaign promises, and put in place some kind of legacy — so he has something to put into the billion dollar presidential library he is planning.

You remember the megalomaniacial claim — “this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.” It just hasn’t gone well. Health Care costs are spiraling out of control, we are in the most sluggish recovery ever, millions have just dropped out of the job market.  The oceans rise only in millimeters, not the feet that Obama seems to fear.

The Clean Power Plan is one of the most controversial mandates ever to be attempted. The EPA has received over 1.6 million comments on the proposed rule which attempts to reduce CO2 emissions from conventional power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. But the American power sector’s CO2 emissions are now at their lowest level since 1988, and this is with a larger population and increase energy use. In 1988 we had a population of 245 million,  today there are 319 million energy consumers. Roughly 50 percent more electricity is generated, yet emission levels are low.

So will the Clean Power Plan have a significant impact on global carbon dioxide emissions? No. The expected reductions in emissions would reduce global temperatures by about 0.03 degrees Celsius by 2100. An analysis of the proposed ruling by NERA Economic Consulting estimated that the Clean Power Plan could cost the electric sector between $41 billion and $73 billion per year, and accomplish nothing, nothing at all.

The Reason Foundation takes on the Clean Power Plan’s main claims and finds them wanting. The White House claims that the plan will “Save the average American family nearly $85 on their annual energy ill in 2030, reducing enough energy to power 30 million homes, and save consumers a total of $155 billion from 2020 -2030.”Sounds like a lot like the expectations for ObamaCare. In reality, Reason says, the rule will almost certainly spend more in total on energy and energy saving devices than without the rule. Do read the whole thing, it’s a significant debunking.

Britain, Canada and Australia are all cutting back on subsidies for renewables, as is Germany as well. Spain ended their subsidies some time ago.

Anthony Watts at wattsupwiththat writes about a report “exposing coordination between Governors, the Obama White House and the Tom Steyer-“Founded and Funded” network of advocacy groups to advance the “climate” agenda, revealing a vast, coordinated, three track effort by public officials and private interests to promote EPA’s expansive, overreaching and economically devastating greenhouse gas rules, specifically the section 111(d) regulation to shut the nation’s fleet of existing coal-fired power plants, as well as the December Paris climate treaty President Obama is expected to sign to replace the Kyoto Protocol.”

The exposé details a campaign to use public offices, in very close collaboration with wealthy benefactors, to advance and defend President Obama’s climate change regulatory and treaty agenda. This quasi-governmental campaign involves more than a dozen governors’ offices with a parallel advocacy network and political operation funded and staffed by activists paid through ideologically and politically motivated donors.

So there you go. In spite of the attractive sounding name, the Clean Power Plan is just not what it is cracked up to be. It has been suggested that the States can just refuse to go along.



Thanks, Obama! U.S. Drops to Number 20 In The Human Freedom Index. by The Elephant's Child
August 21, 2015, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Environment, Health Care, Freedom, Progressivism, Taxes, Capitalism, Regulation, Bureaucracy

The Cato Institute, the Libertarian think-tank, publishes an annual Human Freedom Index, ranking 152 countries in the world according to the level of liberty enjoyed by its citizens.

The index represents a broad measure of human freedom. which can be understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 76 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in these areas:

Rule of Law
Security and Safety
Movement
Religion
Association, Assembly, and Civil Society
Expression
Relationships
Size of Government
Legal System and Property Rights
Access to Sound Money
Freedom to Trade Internationally
Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business

This reflects the degree to which people enjoy the freedom to engage in voluntary exchange and enjoy major liberties such as freedom of speech, religion and association. Also measures freedom of movement, women’s freedoms, safety and security and the rule of law.

Hong Kong and Switzerland top the list, followed by Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Malta, Luxembourg, Chile, Mauritius —and finally, The United States at Number 20, followed by the Czech Republic, Estonia, Belgium, Taiwan and Portugal.

The U.S. was 17th in 2014. but think of EPA regulations, scheduled speakers disinvited, the government confiscating a big chunk of a raisin farmer’s crop, ObamaCare regulations, you might try tallying up the new constraints you have seen or felt. Swat teams breaking into the wrong house, Lois Lerner, the attack by the Left on anything connected to the South and it’s Civil War history. The attack on free speech has been not only notable, but widespread — things you cannot say. So we are at number 20 and declining. We talk a lot about the Left’s drive for increased regulation and increased control — and just look at where that’s got us!

11-Liberal-Gated-Community-copy



Big Complex Problems Aren’t Usually Solved with Quick and Simple Answers by The Elephant's Child

140403_042214_oim_d504_246_0Donald Trump has put the immigration issue back on top of the table by recognizing just how angry Americans are at Obama’s executive rewrite of our immigration laws all on his own. The images of trainloads of Central American illegal immigrants riding on top of box cars, of tattooed members of Mara Salvatrucha gangs among the illegals, quarantines of hundreds of young illegals are bad enough, but when American citizens are murdered by illegals who have been deported several times, but go to sanctuary cities to avoid being deported again, it’s just too much.

The Obama administration, again by “executive authority” has sent the flood of illegals all over the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, presumably to register them to vote in the next election. To remind Obama-shoes-3them who let them in, they passed out Obama shoes, with an image of Obama printed inside.

Trump said “A nation without borders is not a nation, There must be a wall across the southern border.” The border is 2,000 miles long. The Israeli border fence has sensors and the IDF can be there in minutes. The Egyptians are building a fence in three layers including trenches and all sorts of sensors. I think it’s the Bulgarians (though that’s from a faulty memory) that have put up a 3-layer, very tall razor-wire fence that so far no one has breached. Europe is overcome with refugees from the murderous chaos in the Middle East. Australia’s coast guard makes it clear that no one is going to land in Australia uninvited.

It’s not that simple. The Fourteenth Amendment has been deemed by the courts to decree that any child born in the United States is automatically a citizen. The Immigration crowd cries that any objection to “anchor babies” is racist. In the winter of 2013, Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich brought Eclipse, his 533 feet long, 13,000 ton, billion dollar  yacht into a dock at Manhattan’s pier 90 for what turned out to be a 3-month-long stay. In early April, Darya Zhukova, Abramovich’s girl friend gave birth to a girl named Leah. The cost of their stay has been estimated at $500,000 a week, to give the child an American birth certificate, as her older sister also has.

There are 4,422,660 people on the legal immigrant visa waiting list, according to the State Department’s annual tally. This is 100,000 more than at the same time last year. Ninety-eight percent of those waiting have been sponsored by a U.S. family member. This list does not include those already in the country who are waiting to adjust from a legal temporary status to a green card. The waiting lists are needed because the number of immigrants who can be admitted in certain family and employment categories, and because of caps on the number who can come from each country. The waiting time in the families category varies from 19 months to 33 years.

Manufacturing is not in decline. We are manufacturing more than ever, but we are doing it with fewer people (think robots and computers) which are responsible for big productivity gains. Don’t blame China or Mexico for job-losses. According to the San Francisco Fed the total share of “made in China” goods in U.S. household consumption is just 1.9 percent.

DHS has been releasing illegal immigrants with violent criminal records back into local U.S. communities, where they have often committed violent crimes. Rep, Matt Salmon  (R-AZ) and law enforcement officials have petitioned the Obama administration on Wednesday to stop freeing violent criminals who are in our country illegally. There has been the beating of a 7-week old baby, and the immolation of a person.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under current law can no longer legally hold the three individuals,” ICE press secretary Gillian Christensen said. “To further promote public safety and transparency, ICE notified local law enforcement agencies of the release of the individuals.”

In 2013, ICE freed 36,007 illegal aliens with criminal convictions across the nation, according to statistics compiled by Arizona law enforcement. At least 193 of those aliens released were convicted of homicides, 426 were convicted of sex crimes, and 303 convicted of kidnapping.

Trump says it’s a big problem, and he will fix it. He does not mention how this will be done, or talk about the complexity of the problems. But calling attention to the immigration problems will help to expose what the Obama administration is currently doing.



Now It’s The IRS Again, With 334,000 Stolen Identities. If They Haven’t Got You Yet, They Soon Will. by The Elephant's Child

The news about our favorite bureaucracies just keeps coming. In this case it is the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS reported a wee break-in to its computer systems back in May. Now they have admitted that an additional 220,000 taxpayer accounts have been compromised.

So if the ObamaCare Hospital required computer breach didn’t get you, you have another chance to get your identity hacked by the IRS — that trusted organization that deals so efficiently with your taxes. There were also 170,000 instances of “suspected attempts that failed to clear the authentication processes.” whatever that means.

So the number of stolen identities now adds up to 334,000 , nearly three tunes the IRS original estimate of 114,000.

Why, it was only about a month ago that it was the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that admitted that Chinese-origin cyber attacks on its computer networks compromised the personal data of 22.1 million Americans who had been employed by the government.

And earlier this month defense officials said that Russia had launched a “sophisticated cyber attack” on the Pentagon’s unclassified email system used by the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the end of July. That breach affected approximately 4,000 military and civilian employees, including Chairman General Martin Dempsey.

The IRS break-in occurred in an online service called “Get Transcript” an application that helps taxpayers get their prior year return information. It has been shut down. The IRS will notify taxpayers who were potentially affected as soon as possible and provide them with support — such as free credit protection.

It would be reassuring to hear a strong voice from Washington, telling us that tech experts are already hard at work hardening off or rendering government computer systems impregnable from enemy attack. Instead, we hear the Democratic candidate for president insisting that she never received, saw, or heard of a classified document, and certainly never sent one. That server of hers was all yoga exercises and wedding plans and baby showers and messages to Bill, who has never sent an email message in his life.

Can we expect Cyber-Security from the folks who gave us ObamaCare?




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,322 other followers

%d bloggers like this: