Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom, Regulation, The United States | Tags: Obama has a Phone & a Pen, Over-regulated!, Rules and Regulations
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
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Freedom, Law, Politics, Regulation | Tags: Neighborhood Policing, Broken Windows Theory, Community Relations
At a recent panel discussion, addressing policing practices, Mr. Mitchell said that police should stop prosecuting individuals who shoplift from Wal-Mart and Target.
He simply believes that police have no justification to arrest thieves who steal from Wal-Mart or Target—because they are big box stores with insurance.
“I just don’t think they should be prosecuting cases for people who steal from Wal-Mart. I don’t think that. I don’t think that Target, and all them other places – the big boxes that have insurance – they shouldn’t be using the people that steal from there as justification to start engaging in aggressive police behavior.”
He began his speech advocating for legal relativism, the notion that communities should decide for themselves which laws should be enforced and which laws should not, in order to better recognize what safety means for that specific community.
There are some poor neighborhoods that are largely black, where drugs and crime are a major problem. Drug use and drug sales bring more crime, and gangs. High crime can foster drug use. Single parents have a harder time of bringing up kids and keeping them out of trouble. If one lives in such a neighborhood, and friends’ brothers or husbands are in jail, friends have gone to prison—it would be easy to assume that it was aggressive police behavior, not misbehavior by your friends or relatives.
In the wake of the Ferguson riots, the “hands up, don’t shoot”cry of activists gradually died out when it became clear that wasn’t even true. The new slogan became “Black Lives Matter,” which is having a poisonous effect on the very neighborhoods where the protests are taking place.
Police become afraid of arresting a suspect if they will be accused of racism or improper policing. Contrary to Mr. Mitchell’s views, stealing from Wal-Mart is against the law just as much as stealing from a bank. But if smaller crimes are not dealt with, criminal behavior increases.
Rudy Giuliani cleaned up a dangerous and crime-ridden New York City by adhering to what is called the “Broken Windows Theory.” If a parked car has broken windows and they are not repaired, it will soon be stripped because it is assumed that it is abandoned and nobody cares. Ditto buildings. When police cracked down on the small stuff, the squeegee men, the litter, and the disorder, with walking neighborhood patrols, people felt safer and things improved, even if the crime rate didn’t immediately drop.
The temptation is to assume that police are the problem, and if they can just get rid of the police and policing they will be safer. All police are not perfect, but they take on what is often a dangerous job of protecting the citizens in their jurisdiction. If police are badly treated, their orders ignored, or if police are attacked, the activists may get what they want, and quickly come to regret what they have lost. Police are only human, and way too many are killed in the line of duty.
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
Association, Assembly, and Civil Society
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!
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Health Care, Freedom, Capitalism, Regulation, Bureaucracy | Tags: Free Speech, Food and Drug Administration, Aggressive Prosecutors
I’m afraid I’m becoming something of a crank, grumbling constantly about the depredations of bureaucracy. The Food and Drug Administration has believed its powers so encompassing that it can even prohibit drug companies from making true statements about their products unless they are approved by the FDA.
A federal judge has just called this political control a violation of the First Amendment. Once the FDA has approved a new drug for FDA specified uses, physicians often repurpose them in other doses, or for other diseases, or for entirely different patient populations. A drug designed for breast cancer might prove effective against tumors in other parts of the body, or a medicine for adults may prove effective for pediatric care. About one of every five U.S. Prescriptions is for non-FDA approved uses.
In a small miracle, these off-label experiments are legal, and they drive innovation. The artificial conditions that the FDA demands for clinical trials are increasingly divorced from how medicine is practiced, and modern care advances far faster than the FDA’s regulatory molasses. Off-label use is vital for complex conditions like cancer and psychiatric disorders that require trial and error for individual patients, who can’t wait years for the FDA’s blessing.
But the FDA and Justice Department are targeting off-label prescriptions as a threat to their hegemony. Their goal is to force drug makers and physicians to seek FDA approval for every new real-world use, as if it were an entirely new drug. Until recently, drug makers were banned from making off-label claims backed by solid evidence or even from distributing peer-reviewed journal articles.
Prosecutors have also become increasingly aggressive. In 2012 GlaxoSmithKline paid $1 billion for encouraging doctors to use Paxil to treat depression in patients under 18, which research shows helps although the FDA has not endorsed this conclusion. The FDA construes some forms of off-label promotion as crimes, and people are serving jail time.
The nature of a bureaucracy is to grow, prosper, be better rewarded monetarily and extend its reach. Was there ever a bureaucracy that thought that much that they did was unnecessary, and they should probably downsize for the benefit of the taxpayers? I rest my case.
Judge Paul Engelmayer explained to the FDA that if they believed that a different use of a drug gravely undermined the drug approval process, it should have sought review of that decision, not tried to liken distributing information to an assault on their drug-approval authority, and tried to compare it to illegal speech such as blackmail or insider trading. Free speech wins one!
Filed under: Politics, Domestic Policy, Environment, Freedom, Democrat Corruption, Law, Regulation, Bureaucracy | Tags: President Russell Begaye, The EPA Toxic Waste Spill, The Navajo Nation
“They are not going to get away with this.”
……………………………………– Russell Begaye,
……………………………………..president of the Navajo Nation
The toxic waste is proceeding inexorably downriver. People were advised not to use water for cooking, drinking or bathing before having their water tested. EPA Region 8 administrator Shaun McGrath acknowledged the possibility of long-term damage from toxic metals. Cadmium is responsible for the orange color. The Navajo nation will take legal action. Begaye has instructed the Navajo Nation Department of Justice to take immediate action against the EPA to protect Navajo families and resources.
The plume of sludge is expected to reach the heavily used Lake Powell by Wednesday. Downriver are the Grand Canyon National Park, Hoover Dam, and the water supplies of Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. At least 30 million people are dependent on Colorado River water. This is a very big deal.
When the EPA went after the Sacketts in Priest Lake, Idaho for disturbing a residential lot with a view of the lake, claiming it was a “wetland”, the EPA fined them $37,000 a day for grading the lot in an established development. The EPA has a history of enormous fines designed to frighten the fined into immediate compliance. The Supreme Court put an end to the EPA’s overreach, but any public sympathy for the EPA has pretty much evaporated. I’m with the Navajo Nation on this one.