Tag: Regulation

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America’s current medical care systems are terrible. Not the worst in the world by any means, but also not the most efficient in the world. I believe that one of the current problems is how medical care and medical care insurance interact. I see incentives for insurers to either provide as cheap or as little […]

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David Spady on Regulations, California, the EPA, and Trump’s Executive Order

 

David Spady serves as Director of Government Affairs for Salem Communication Corp., a syndicator of leading conservative talk radio on over 2,000 stations which include Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, Bill Bennett and 30 other talk show hosts. David is also State Director of Americans for Prosperity in California, a national grassroots organization focused on economic issues, free markets, and limited government.

Spady has been involved in political and media consulting for over 20 years. He is a columnist for Townhall.com and has appeared on numerous television news broadcasts including CNN, FOX News, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Inside Edition. His editorials have been published in a number of newspapers including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Sacramento Bee. He is the producer of two documentary films, Wolves in Government Clothing, and No Water, No Farmer, No Food. We discuss regulations, the EPA, President Trump’s “2 for 1 regulation” executive order, and whether California can be saved.

Regulate Twitter as a Utility?

 

Should Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram be considered as Public Utilities and regulated accordingly?  This was the question posed yesterday by Scott Adams, of Dilbert (and election 2016 prognostication) fame.  Of course the question itself assumes that the existing regulation of utilities, in their operations and services, is already a good (or least a necessary) activity of government, and that regulation in turn requires us to define what a Public Utility is.  Merriam Webster’s definition is, to my mind, unsatisfactorily circular:

a business organization (as an electric company) performing a public service and subject to special governmental regulationhttps://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/public%20utility

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A few questions, only loosely related: Do we still rely on Middle Eastern nations to produce oil and natural gas? The US now has access to plenty without them. Also, the region has been in turmoil for years and yet I’m paying less than $2 per gallon, so even their impact on the world market doesn’t […]

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The Pitfalls of Management by Measurement

 

shutterstock_144543284The news is full of Wells Fargo’s follies since they got hit with fines totaling $185 million last week. What happened was a case of management by measurement. Wells Fargo employees were heavily pressured – including threats of job loss – to rack up customer “solutions,” which translate into selling additional services to the bank’s customers that included additional bank accounts and bank credit cards. In order to meet the strict quotas that management had imposed, employees opened accounts for customers without first receiving customers’ permission or informing them.

Though this practice was widespread (some 5,300 Wells Fargo employees have been fired since 2011 for opening fake accounts), it does not appear to have been the result of a conspiracy. Rather, it was an example of spontaneous order that emerged from employees acting in their own best interests — in this case, reducing the pain of management pressure — given the incentives and constraints imposed by the system. In an article appearing on Bloomberg, Matt Levine explains how this sort of thing happens:

Two basic principles of management, and regulation, and life, are:

Beet the System

 

Studies have shown that these sugar beets also contain significant amounts of hydrogen hydroxide.

Consumers and producers are capable of incredible folly. Consider, for example, the latest instance of anti-GMO hysteria: Under pressure from consumers, several major food companies — including Hershey’s Chocolate — have decided to only use “non-GMO” sugar. This is stupid for several reasons. To begin with, crystalline sugar does not contain any genetic material, in much the same way that a cat is not made up of several dogs. Indeed, attempts to correctly identify the source of table sugar have found that it’s refined to the point that it’s impossible to tell whether it came from sugar cane or sugar beets, let alone GMO whether or not they were GMO or not; it doesn’t just look identical, but actually is identical, down to the molecular level. Moreover, GMO sugar beets come in a single, well-understood variety that actually reduces pesticide use and increases yield.

Google Is a Monster, But We’re Dr. Frankenstein

 

shutterstock_14906359In 2013, the United States Department of Justice started a program called Operation Choke Point. Unable to ban industries they deem undesirable, they decided to make it hard or impossible for those industries to work with banks and credit card payment processors. Every single one of the now-undesirable industries, like adult entertainment, is legal.

Operation Choke Point categorized certain industries as “high-risk,” which had the effect of making fearful banks shut down accounts. The program is a way for the Administration to stifle or severely damage industries it simply doesn’t like. Unsurprisingly, the Administration’s biggest targets was the firearms industry. Operation Choke Point led to many banks shutting down the accounts of gun stores:

Another industry deemed undesirable is payday lending. To be fair, many feel it’s an unsavory business, that too often takes advantage of people. However, it is a legal industry, as evidenced by the “EZ-Credit” or “Instant Cash” storefront you’ll probably pass on your way to work today.

Why Does Silicon Valley Like Democrats So Much?

 

shutterstock_176341079Over at TechCrunch, Greg Ferenstein — after pointing out how little interest Silicon Valley has had in the 2016 GOP presidential candidates — offers his theory as to why American tech leans left:

I think the more likely explanation is that the nation’s new industrial titans are pro-government. Google, Facebook, and most Internet titans are fueled by government projects: the Internet began in a defense department lab, public universities educate a skilled workforce and environmental policies benefit high tech green industries. The CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, is a fan of Obamacare, which helps his entrepreneurial drivers keep their health insurance as they transition between jobs.

In other words, the Democratic party is good for emerging industries and billionaires recognize it. Donald Trump is a candidate known to go after major figures in tech; a trend that may further the Democrats friendship with new industrial titans. Perhaps more importantly, I’ve argued that the modern emerging workforce of Silicon Valley, urbanized professionals, and “gig economy” laborers all represent an entirely new political demographic redefining the Democratic party to be more about education, research and entrepreneurship, and less about regulations and labor unions.

Today in Misguided, Counterproductive, Onerous, Pernicious Federal Regulation

 

As the presidential primaries dominate the news, under the radar the Obama administration continues its unilateral assault on the economy and civil society. Consider the news from just this week.

1. We start with HUD, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal: “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Monday released guidance that could give ammunition to tenant advocates, saying the practice of excluding tenants based on their criminal or arrest records could violate the Fair Housing Act where it has a disproportionate impact on blacks and Hispanics.” The argument is basically that use of criminal history in this way is discriminatory because African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately represented in the prison population.

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The source of much of the angst of this election season is the perceived waning work prospects of the average American. This may have reached a critical mass now, but it is the culmination of trends long in the making. The purpose of this post is to review them, and how they have created a […]

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#MakeAmericaCompetitiveAgain

 

shutterstock_208443250Donald Trump hit a nerve on tariffs, American manufacturing, and competition from China. A lot of people find the arguments for free trade unpersuasive and feel they’ve been on the receiving end of a bi-partisan policy that that imposes rules on costs on Americans that lets the rest of the world (literally) profit at our expense. I don’t quite buy that narrative but — as I’d wager some of you are thinking — of course you wouldn’t, Meyer. That doesn’t mean it’s totally wrong, though, and of course I want of my fellow countrymen to have every opportunity to find remunerative, useful employment.

My problem with Trump on this matter isn’t so much his calling attention to problems, but that his solutions are bunk. More specifically, I think the kinds of tariffs he’s suggesting are going to hurt people by raising prices, will spark retaliation against our own manufacturing, and will suffer from all the pitfalls that happen when one person thinks he’s smarter than the combined wisdom of hundreds of millions. Trump may have an economics degree, but his reading seems to have stopped before Adam Smith.

Even if Trump’s ideas worked as promised, they still strike me as misinformed. First, most of the manufacturing jobs in China aren’t particularly attractive and don’t make economic sense when you factor for Americans’ productivity and education. As Kevin Williamson and others have said, if you want to build cars, airplanes, firearms, or other high-end manufactured goods, Americans are the people to go to; if you want to make flip-flops, cheap electronics, or things that should be labeled as disposables, you’ll go broke hiring people as expensive as us. Second, the 1950s were an aberration: there were far fewer industrialized nations 60 years ago, and those that existed were still digging out of the Second World War. Third — whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing — we’re living through an emergence of a service economy much like the emergence of an industrial economy that started 200 years ago.

From the Editors’ Desk: Senate Food (& Drug) Fight!

 

shutterstock_243773839Via the WSJ, the parties’ attitudes on the subject could hardly be in starker contrast:

For weeks, members and staffers of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee have been trying to find common ground on the legislation. Republicans wanted to smooth the regulatory path for drug and medical device approvals, while Democrats strove to increase funding for medical research and find ways to keep drug prices in check. But in recent weeks, Democrats balked at several industry-sought measures they believed would lower the bar too much on the safety of products approved at the FDA, according to people familiar with the talks. These measures supported by Republicans would have, among other provisions, reduced FDA scrutiny of certain laboratory tests’ accuracy and of medical software.

On Thursday, Democrats on the panel confirmed they were offering their own version that would increase research funding for the National Institutes of Health and the FDA, but avoid some of the regulatory provisions. They also sought ways to cut prices of cancer, hepatitis and other expensive drugs. So now, the two parties are offering versions of an NIH funding bill that are poles apart. This strife is unusual for the HELP committee, which has been relatively bipartisan and cooperative for decades. Chairman Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) and the panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, for example, negotiated a rewrite of K-12 education programs last year.

Cronyist Deregulation

 

As conservatives and free-marketeers, we’re familiar with the way large businesses and entrenched interests weaponize political power by passing new regulations. Given enough time, skill, and sleaze, they can use government to keep all would-be competitors at bay and achieve de facto monopolies. But there’s another model of regulatory abuse that often gets less attention and is actually more insidious: Getting tailor-made, exclusive exemptions from general laws for oneself while leaving everyone else stuck with the old system.

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“You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!” James Pethokoukis wrote another in a series of articles pointing to the disturbing downward trend in new business start-ups.  Preview Open

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Well, I can’t say that I ever expected to see a government agency agree in principle to reducing regulation of a major consumer product, but apparently that’s what might be happening: …”NHTSA will interpret ‘driver’ in the context of Google’s described motor vehicle design as referring to the (self-driving system), and not to any of the vehicle occupants. […]

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