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We are used to leftist opinions from the often derisively labeled Ninth Circus Court of Appeals. However, President Trump with the support of Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has seized the opportunity to firm up the Supreme Court, making wacky rulings from lower courts more difficult within the rules of the judicial game. He has steadily placed relatively reliable constitutionalist judges in lower courts, including the Ninth Circuit. This is starting to pay off in better decisions, like the latest on Title X funds and abortion. The latest Ninth Circuit decision also reflects the willingness of President Trump to actually uphold the laws passed by Congress, a refreshing change from both parties’ norms.
Statement from the Press Secretary
LAW & JUSTICE | Issued on: February 25, 2020
This month marks the 50-year anniversary of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which, when passed, was hailed as one of the key building blocks of the modern environmental movement. When speaking about NEPA recently, President Donald Trump denounced the law. Because of NEPA, many of “America’s most critical infrastructure projects have been tied up and bogged down by an outrageously slow and burdensome federal approval process.” The “endless delays” generated by this ongoing “regulatory nightmare,” he went on, snatch jobs from “our nation’s incredible workers,” who are unable “to build new roads, bridges, tunnels [and] highways bigger, better [and] faster.” He then offered a suite of regulatory reforms for NEPA that “will reduce traffic in our cities, connect our rural communities, and get Americans where they need to go more quickly and more safely.”
His Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) just published in the Federal Register a detailed and lengthy report that proposes a mix of substantive and procedural reforms to break the logjam. What is most notable about Trump’s proposed reforms is that they are all incremental. They try to tweak through regulation a broken statute instead of working to replace it with a sounder remedial structure, which is the only way to fix the current unsatisfactory status quo.More
We like to think of American cities as incubators of opportunity, and this has often been true—but today’s successful city-dwellers are making it harder for others to follow their example. In this year’s Wilson Lecture, Glaeser addresses the conflict between entrenched interests and newcomers in its economic, political, geographic, and generational dimensions.More
One of the most frightening developments in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election is the Democratic flirtation with socialist ideals. One recent manifestation of this unfortunate trend is the recent proposal from Senator Kamala Harris (CA) to have a vast government takeover of employment markets in the name of gender equity. In an age in which the phrase “diversity and inclusion” is on the lips of every business and university, she announces, without a shred of evidence, her deep conviction that labor markets consistently and systematically discriminate against women by failing to offer them equal wages for equal work. Her purpose is to hold “corporations accountable for pay inequality in America.” How? Through “the most aggressive equal pay proposal in history.”
The proposal goes downhill from there. The first question that one has to ask is why competitive labor markets need any form of wage regulation to protect women in the first place. Sure, there are thousands of large corporations in America, but they are in constant competition with each other, along with every small firm in the market, to hire the best talent they can find. Harris starts out with misleading statistics that lament that women only earn 80 percent of what men earn, and then waxes even more indignant that the ratios are even worse for Latina women (53 percent), Native American women (58 percent), and African American women (61 percent). Clearly, any effort to accurately explain these outcomes requires an accounting, as she acknowledges in the fine print, for education, hours worked, job classification, years of experience, parental leave, and many more factors. Accounting for some of these factors—many others are hard to identify, observe, and measure—reduces that gap to around 6 percent at most.More
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the Trump administration for keeping its word to aggressively roll back burdensome government regulations. They also roll their eyes as House Democrats pass a bill to end the partial government shutdown that has zero chance of becoming law. And they react to new Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib admitting, through coarse language, that she came to Washington to impeach President Trump.More
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are pleased to see a key figure from the Florida high school shooting replaced in the Broward County Sheriff’s Office but are irritated the media has stopped covering Sheriff Scott Israel, who still has his job despite failing to perform his duties before and during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They also reject Democrats’ call to regulate the internet as a public utility in the wake of Facebook, Apple, and YouTube’s ban of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. And they mourn for Venezuelans as dictator Nicolas Maduro survived a botched drone assassination attempt, and they discuss regulations on drones and the potential to use them for terrorism.More
Here’s a bit of trivia: New Hampshire’s tallest building was erected by a general contractor unlicensed by the state. Before you decide to avoid forever Manchester’s 20-story City Hall Plaza, you should know no building in the state, including every house, was built by a state-licensed general contractor — because New Hampshire doesn’t license general contractors. I’ll be focusing on New Hampshire here, but the crazy quilt of occupational licenses smothers opportunity in every state.
The state doesn’t license carpenters, auto mechanics, welders or asphalt layers either. Yet your home does not fall apart, commercial buildings don’t tumble down, roads don’t dissolve in the rain.More
It may not be exactly the coming of the Messiah, but seeing a front-page story in the New York Times about over-regulation certainly feels like a breakthrough of note. Titled “One Apple Orchard and 5000 Government Rules,” the story focuses on the Indian Ladder Farms apple orchard in Altamont, NY. A small, family-run business owned by Peter Ten Eyck, the farm does the bulk of its business in the fall (naturally). Their busy season includes sales to supermarkets, direct sales to consumers, visits from busloads of schoolchildren, and “pick your own” days. That’s also the time, or it was last October, when government inspectors showed up demanding to see reams of paperwork to ensure that the farm was in compliance with immigration rules, OSHA guidelines, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and other laws and regulations.
Over the course of the next several days, the family and staff had to devote about 40 hours to compiling 22 different kinds of records – everything from vehicle registrations to insurance certificates to employee time sheets. The federal rules on ladder safety alone amount to thousands of words. “It’s terribly disruptive,” Ten Eyck complains.More
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud President Trump for making good on his efforts to eliminate and postpone costly and burdensome federal regulations. They also tense up as five different Senate GOP votes could be in jeopardy as vote nears on tax reform. They shake their heads as liberals lose their minds and predict an internet wasteland after the Federal Communications Commission votes to return internet regulations to where they were two years ago. And Jim offers a spoiler-free look at the new Star Wars movie.More
When the Trump White House talks about boosting economic growth, it’s not all tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. Officials also mention the administration’s ongoing deregulatory push as a big part of why Trumponomics will turn a Two Percent Economy into a Three Percent or Four Percent Economy. President Trump himself has cited deregulation as one of his biggest accomplishments so far.
But a new analysis by Bloomberg gives reason for skepticism, at least if you define “deregulation” as actually, you know, removing regulations currently in effect. Not much of that seems to be happening yet. “Only a handful of regulations have actually been taken off the books,” Bloomberg finds.More
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America look through a rough and often disturbing 2017 to find three things they’re each thankful for in politics and beyond this year. From some important accomplishments to the arrival of an important new figure in Washington to the bravery of people in different walks of life, Jim and Greg find some silver linings in our toxic political culture. Happy Thanksgiving! There will be no podcast on Thursday. Please join us again on Friday.More
The Obama Council of Economic Advisers ended strong, and the Trump CEA may be picking up right where they left off. The council is out with a report and literature review on regulation:
Excessive regulation is a tax on the economy, costing the U.S. an average of 0.8 percent of GDP growth per year since 1980. This taxation by regulation has increased sharply in recent years, with approximately 500 new economically significant regulations created over the last eight years alone. Through a thorough review of the literature, the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) finds that deregulation will stimulate U.S. GDP growth.
Andy Puzder joined us at Freedom Fest to discuss the minimum wage, small business regulations, his withdrawal from his Labor Secretary nomination, the poignant discussion he had with Mike Pence, and his last marketing effort at Carl’s Jr., creating possibly one of the greatest commercials in modern times (video below).
In February 2017, fast-food executive Andy Puzder withdrew his nomination to be Labor Secretary as the White House realized the CEO of CKE Restaurants would go down in defeat due to infighting even on the Republican side of Congress. Only a couple of days following the termination of Mike Flynn, seeing one of President Trump’s cabinet picks walking away was a victory for Democrats, unions, and liberal groups. The New York Times attacked Mr. Puzder’s business record and, more importantly to Andy, his character. Mr. Puzder said his treatment had been “an unprecedented smear campaign.” Democrats vocally lauded Mr. Puzder’s withdrawal as “a victory for working Americans.” Many Conservatives were dismayed as Mr. Puzder, while running both Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, staunchly opposed the Affordable Care Act, spoke out against the Progressives’ effort to increase the minimum wage to $15, and overtime rules. The unions despised his policies and made it personal.More
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America have good news from Wall Street: stocks are soaring, regardless of the chaos in Washington. Transcripts of President Trump’s January phone calls to the leaders of Mexico and Australia were leaked to the press this week, and Jim and Greg react both to Trump’s comments and the blatant leaking and publishing of classified information. And they have little sympathy for health insurance companies who are forced to bail on the Obamacare exchanges after losing huge amounts of money, but the vanishing coverage is leaving many Americans in a terrible position while Congress accomplishes nothing.More
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America start with an appetizer by cheering the U.S. Navy’s use of a new laser weapon meant to target small watercraft and drones. They also praise the Trump administration for its success in halting hundreds of regulations that would stifle job growth and business expansion. They also address the tragic news that Arizona Sen. John McCain is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, and they express disgust at the tasteless and nasty reactions from both sides of the political spectrum. And they sigh over President Trump griping to the media about his frustrations over Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation.More
On my first trip to DC, an immigrant cabbie pointed out buildings to college-aged me. As he highlighted the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and every other building I already knew, we drove by an imposing monolith near the mall. “What’s that?” I asked. “Oh, that’s the Department of Agriculture,” he said.
As it turned out, it was just the south building of the USDA, the largest office building in the world until the Pentagon was built. Next door is the USDA’s massive Jamie L. Whitten Building, which covers four acres by itself. What on earth do they do in there? I wondered.More
E-cigarettes or vapor products aren’t specifically mentioned in the Tobacco Control Act. The FDA had no expressed mandate to do anything. But that isn’t stopping them from trying. If the FDA actions are not significantly changed by the administration, the Congress, and potentially the courts, FDA regulations will certainly do more to harm public health than benefit it. The nexus used by the FDA to sweep vapor products into its regulatory regime was that nicotine in the products was “tobacco derived.” Most, or all of it, is, just like the nicotine used in gums and patches. Frankly it’s cheaper to acquire nicotine from tobacco than it is to acquire it from other plants (it’s in tomatoes, eggplant, and other nightshades) or to create it in a lab. But, as regulatory agencies often do, the FDA has indicated that they will broadly exercise authority to regulate devices (that contain no nicotine and are not tobacco-derived) or zero nicotine liquids.More
This is the second in a three-part series on e-cigarettes. Part I is available here.
Vapor products contain no tobacco. They produce no smoke. Most contain nicotine and it’s the same nicotine used in FDA-approved gums and patches. While the devices look different, they all operate by heating a liquid solution (propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin, nicotine and flavor) to produce an aerosol. Importantly, the products allow users to replicate the act of smoking. Like smokers, vapers engage hands and mouths in a ritual similar to the one they practiced every day for many years as a smoker. Like a smoker, the vaper inhales and exhales and can both feel and see the vapor produced. But unlike cigarette smoke, the aerosol dissipates quickly. There’s no smoke, no tar, and no carbon monoxide – the things that cause half of all smokers to get sick and some to die. Nicotine doesn’t cause lung cancer or make smokers sick. As far as its heath impact, it’s comparable to caffeine. As long as you don’t consume caffeine or nicotine through smoking, most people can use it without incident for an entire adult lifetime. Nicotine also seems to bring health benefits for some.More
Since the US Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health in 1964, governments (local, state, federal) and tobacco control groups have waged a comprehensive campaign to encourage smokers to quit and discourage non-smokers from starting. They have used every tool available with cost being of little concern.
They’ve educated about the harms associated with smoking. When that didn’t do the trick, they attempted to shock and scare smokers away from the habit with graphic images. They’re in a half-century cycle to fight for increased taxes. They’ve banned smoking anywhere people congregate. They’ve filed individual lawsuits, class action lawsuits, and lawsuits from state attorneys general (resulting in the tobacco master settlement agreement that forced tobacco companies to pay billions to the states, all costs passed on to consumers via increased prices).More