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How Repealing And Replacing Obamacare Would Help Restore Booming Economic Growth

Somewhat Reasonable - 4 hours 36 min ago

One of the biggest drags on economic growth under President Obama has been Obamacare, enacted on a strictly partisan basis in 2010. That drag has come primarily from the sweeping overregulation of Obamacare.

The biggest culprit has been the employer mandate, which requires all employers of 50 or more full time workers to buy them health insurance with the terms and benefits as specified by the federal government. That is effectively a tax on employment of well over $10,000 a year per worker for family coverage.

Even for employers that already provide health insurance, the employer mandate will likely be a big tax increase on employment.  That is because the mandated health insurance will most likely cost more than what the employer is already providing. That results first because the government responds to political pressure to require generous benefits most people will think the employer is paying for, to be include in the mandated health insurance. That drives up the cost of the mandatory health insurance.

Secondly, the mandated health insurance is subjected to costly overregulation involving guaranteed issue and community rating. Guaranteed issue requires insurers to sell their health insurance to everyone that applies, regardless of how sick and costly they are when they first apply, such as those who already have cancer or heart disease. That is like requiring fire insurance companies to sell their fire insurance to buyers who call up after their house has already caught on fire.

Community rating requires health insurers to sell that insurance at the same standard rates as for everyone else, regardless of how sick and costly the buyers are when they first apply for the insurance.   That is like requiring fire insurers to sell fire insurance at the same standard rates as for anyone else, to buyers after their houses have already caught on fire.

Of course, the standard rates for such fire insurance are going to be very high. The same will be true for health insurance subject to such regulation. There are better, far less costly ways of assuring that health insurance is available to everyone, including those with costly preconditions.

This employer mandate employment tax is reducing job and wage growth. Moreover, to further avoid that costly tax on employment, millions of workers across the country have been reduced to part time work of 29 hours a week or less, because the definition of a full time worker in the Obamacare legislation is 30 hours a week or more. That is driving down the net wages and incomes of middle class and working people, and increasing inequality as a result. Small companies around the 50 worker threshold are also restraining growth and employment for the same reasons. All of this has been killing economic growth, stunting the recovery, and greatly extending the misery of the recession well beyond previous recessions.

The individual mandate is increasing costs of health insurance in the individual health insurance market as well, for the same reasons. President Obama was quick to claim credit for Obamacare for supposedly restraining the growth of health costs. But that health cost slowdown he cited actually started back in 2003, when Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were adopted by the then GOP Congress, as I will explain below. Barack Obama was an Illinois State Senator back then, and Obamacare was just a gleam in his eye.

So both the employer mandate and the individual mandate are effective tax increases, which are a drag on economic growth. Obamacare is financed by another half trillion in tax increases, which are also anti-growth.

How to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

But Obamacare can be replaced by free market, Patient Power, health care reforms based on sharply expanding patient power, control and choice over their own health care, which would assure health care for all (unlike Obamacare), with no employer mandate, no individual mandate, and sharply reduced taxes, federal spending and regulation. That would reverse the above anti-growth effects of Obamacare, and contribute to booming economic growth and recovery. Such Patient Power reforms have long been advocated by John Goodman, long time President of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas.

The centerpiece of such Patient Power reforms would be to extend the same tax preference for employer provided health insurance to everyone, in the form of a refundable, universal, health insurance tax credit for all of roughly $2,500 per year ($8,000 for family coverage) for the purchase of private health insurance. The credit would not be meant to pay for the entire cost of such insurance, but only to help pay for it, just as the tax preference for employer provided insurance does not pay the entire cost of such insurance, but only helps pay for it.

There would be no government mandate of any sort to use the credit to buy any particular insurance with any particular terms or benefits. Each worker would be free to use the credit to buy the health insurance of the worker’s own choice, such as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), discussed further below.

Workers would even be free to choose to use the credit to buy into coverage through Medicaid if they desired. The credit amount is equal to the CBO estimated average cost of adding one additional person to Medicaid coverage. This one feature assures coverage for all those with any pre-existing condition, because they could always choose Medicaid coverage, which includes anyone regardless of any pre-existing condition. But few would be expected to choose Medicaid, because of the fundamental problems of Medicaid as discussed below. Indeed, people would also be free to choose to use the credit to leave Medicaid for the purchase of any private health insurance of their choice, including HSAs.

The $2,500 credit would effectively operate as a reverse penalty in terms of lost opportunity cost for failing to use it. The taxpayer would effectively then leave $2,500 on the table in terms of his personal finances.

But socially, the amount of any unused credits would be sent to local safety net hospitals and clinics serving the poor in the local area. For example, if 1000 people in Dallas did not use the credit to buy any health insurance, $2,500,000 would be sent to safety net hospitals and clinics in Dallas specializing in serving the poor.

The second component of the Patient Power reforms would be to transfer control over Medicaid to the states, with the federal financing of the program provided through fixed, finite, block grants to each state, as under the enormously successful 1996 welfare reforms of the old, New Deal, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. Currently, the federal financing for Medicaid is provided under a matching federal financing formula, paying more to each state the more the state spends on Medicaid. That is like the federal government paying the states to spend more on Medicaid.

Under the fixed, finite, block grant formula, the state knows that if its redesigned, state, Medicaid program costs more, it is going to pay 100% of the difference. But if the program costs less, it would keep 100% of the savings. These are ideal incentives for each state to weigh the costs against the benefits for Medicaid spending, and only pursue the spending that was worthwhile.

Preferably, each state would use its power under the Medicaid block grants to provide assistance to the poor through health insurance vouchers that could be used by the poor to supplement the universal health insurance tax credit to help the beneficiary to purchase the private health insurance of his or her choice, including HSAs. The voters of each state would then be free to determine how much assistance at what income levels would be necessary to assure that the state’s poor could buy essential health insurance, which would be very different for Mississippi and Louisiana than for New York and California, given their widely varying health cost structures, and income distributions.

Such Medicaid reform would be enormously beneficial for the poor. Medicaid currently pays so little to the doctors and hospitals to provide essential health care to the poor that they often face grave difficulties in finding timely, essential health care under the program. But with private health insurance purchased with the help of the universal health insurance tax credit, supplemented for the poor with Medicaid health insurance vouchers, the poor would enjoy the same health care as the middle class, because they would have the same health insurance as the middle class, which is forced by competitive market pressures to pay enough to the doctors and hospitals to ensure that those covered by the insurance can get timely, essential health care. This would mean an enormous gain for the poor as compared to the current Medicaid program.

As another safety net component of the Obamacare replacement plan, states would also be free to use a limited part of the Medicaid block grant funds to set up Uninsurable Risk Pools for those uninsured who had contracted costly preexisting conditions such as cancer or heart disease while uninsured. Any uninsured who could not obtain health insurance in the market for this reason would be able to obtain full coverage from the Uninsurable Risk Pool for an affordable fee based on the applicant’s ability to pay, which is necessary for the pool to serve as a safety net program. State taxpayers and part of the Medicaid block grant funds would subsidize the pool to cover all costs not covered by the fees charged to those covered by the pool.

Over 30 states have set up similar Uninsurable Risk Pools, and they have proven by experience to be a low cost means of covering those who could not obtain coverage in the market because of costly pre-existing conditions. That is because only a very small percentage of the population ever becomes truly uninsurable in the private market.

These reforms would assure universal health care for all. Everyone would have the universal health insurance tax credit, the poor would receive additional assistance to purchase private coverage, and everyone would continue to be backed up by Medicaid and the Uninsurable Risk Pools as safety nets. By contrast, Obamacare fails to achieve universal coverage, as CBO projects that even after 10 years, Obamacare would still leave 30 million Americans uninsured, and without any assured access to health care.

Health Savings Accounts

The health cost control functions of Obamacare would also be achieved far more effectively through HSAs and market competition. With an HSA, instead of all the money going to an insurance company, the insured pays only enough to purchase coverage with a high deductible, around the range of $5,000 to $6,000 a year or more. The health insurance then pays for all health care costs above that annual deductible.

The substantial cost savings from purchasing such high deductible insurance is then saved in the HSA to pay for health costs below the deductible. Whatever is not spent from the HSA can be withdrawn after a year and spent on anything, or saved tax free for health care in future years, and for retirement. Consequently, whatever the worker spends on health care from his HSA is effectively his own money.

That will leave him with full market incentives to control costs. He will question what health care is necessary, seek second opinions, and explore less costly alternatives. Moreover, since the patients now have full market incentives to control costs, doctors and hospitals will compete to control costs, the more patients in the marketplace have HSAs.

These HSA incentives have proven very effective in controlling costs in the real world. The Republican Congress passed modern HSAs in 2003. Since then, HSA coverage has been exploding, doubling year after year. Today, 30 million Americans have HSAs. And the slowdown in the growth of health costs first buds after HSAs were passed, and builds along with that growth in HSA coverage.

These HSAs are the classic Patient Power reform, because the patient has maximum power, choice and control over the HSA funds. The Patient Power alternative to Obamacare would expand the HSA option throughout the entire health care system. Workers even with employer provided coverage could use the universal health insurance tax credit to purchase preferred health insurance of their choice, which would include HSAs. This gives workers a market check on the power of employers over their health insurance, as the incentive of employers is to choose the coverage that works best for them rather than their employees. The universal credit could also be used to opt out of Medicaid for HSAs.

Also under the Medicaid block grants, the poor could use the health insurance vouchers to purchase HSAs if they prefer. Retirees should also be assured of the freedom to choose HSAs under Medicare Part C. Through these reforms, virtually everyone would enjoy the freedom to choose HSAs if they prefer. That, and the market competition between the alternative choices among the different insurers in all these markets would restrain the growth in health costs far more effectively than Obamacare, which only works to increase health costs.

Booming Economic Growth Through Health Care Reform

Repealing and replacing Obamacare with the above Patient Power reforms would further contribute to booming economic growth, in addition to previous reforms I have advocated in recent weeks in this column. Repealing Obamacare would automatically involve a tax cut of 16% in the capital gains tax, and in the taxation of corporate dividends. That would promote the capital investment that creates jobs and increases wages. It would also cut the top rate of the Medicare payroll tax by roughly one fourth, which would also create jobs and increase wages.

It would also end the effective taxation involved in the employer mandate and the individual mandate, again increasing jobs and wages. The millions of Americans now reduced to part time work would be liberated to find full time jobs again, restoring millions of middle class incomes. The restrained growth of health costs would also liberate businesses to invest more in job creation, and directly increase wages. That would result both from repealing the cost increasing effects of Obamacare, as well as from the cost restraining features of the replacement reforms.

[First published at Forbes.]

Categories: On the Blog

Ten Things Homeschoolers Think During Back To School Season

Blog - Education - 11 hours 17 min ago

An anthropological look at this curious, intelligent, frededom-loving tribe.

1. But I’m not even done with last year’s math book!

Don’t worry. Public schoolers aren’t, either. And their books are four grades behind. 2. Like my back-to-school outfit?

3. Mom bought way too many school supplies to compensate for “not being a real teacher.”

You don’t need to compensate, mom. Research shows homeschoolers whose parents have just a high school diploma still do better than the average public schooler. 4. And the four-pack of pianos.

5. School? What school?

6. Goodbye, friends. See you next summer.

7. Here’s my school uniform, same as the summer uniform.

We know homeschoolers don’t ever work in pajamas. Just like telecommuters. 8. Ya’ll enjoy school. I’ll over here making robots, real log cabins, and probiotic-filled food. And playing Settlers of Catan.

9. Can I get a science credit for watching a home birth?

10. Maybe it’s time to get a bigger bus.

Photo By: Allan Henderson Photo By: Eric Gelinas Photo By: tony puyol Photo By: dr_tr Photo By: David Goodman Photo By: Ingo Bernhardt Photo By: Liz Photo By: M 93 Photo By: anthony kelly Photo By: ShelahD [First published at The Federalist.]

Ten Things Homeschoolers Think During Back To School Season

Somewhat Reasonable - 11 hours 17 min ago

An anthropological look at this curious, intelligent, frededom-loving tribe.

1. But I’m not even done with last year’s math book!

Don’t worry. Public schoolers aren’t, either. And their books are four grades behind. 2. Like my back-to-school outfit?

3. Mom bought way too many school supplies to compensate for “not being a real teacher.”

You don’t need to compensate, mom. Research shows homeschoolers whose parents have just a high school diploma still do better than the average public schooler. 4. And the four-pack of pianos.

5. School? What school?

6. Goodbye, friends. See you next summer.

7. Here’s my school uniform, same as the summer uniform.

We know homeschoolers don’t ever work in pajamas. Just like telecommuters. 8. Ya’ll enjoy school. I’ll over here making robots, real log cabins, and probiotic-filled food. And playing Settlers of Catan.

9. Can I get a science credit for watching a home birth?

10. Maybe it’s time to get a bigger bus.

Photo By: Allan Henderson Photo By: Eric Gelinas Photo By: tony puyol Photo By: dr_tr Photo By: David Goodman Photo By: Ingo Bernhardt Photo By: Liz Photo By: M 93 Photo By: anthony kelly Photo By: ShelahD [First published at The Federalist.]
Categories: On the Blog

An Anti-Cronyism Solution to Dodd-Frank

Somewhat Reasonable - August 31, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), the unelected oversight group created by the Dodd-Frank Act to monitor and regulate firms deemed to pose systemic risk to the economy (ie. “too big too fail”), has decided begun to expand its remit beyond what even the law’s authors had imagined.

Conceived as a means of circumscribing the actions of the large financial institutions whose failures could crater the economy, the FSOC is now sticking its label on any financial services firm they can get away with. This week they finished their investigation of MetLife, an insurer. Even though MetLife poses no systemic risk to the economy by any empirical measurement, it is likely to be enveloped by the grubby hands of FSOC anyway.

The MetLife episode demonstrates the huge difficulties in administering an extremely complex regulatory mechanism. Rather than looking for actual systemic risks, FSOC just wants to control as much of the economy as it can. Barney Frank has feigned surprise at this turn of events and has apparently said he never envisioned such a wide scope for FSOC. Well, Mr. Frank, this is what happens when you hand a huge amount of nonspecific powers to a virtually unaccountable organization.

The whole idea behind Dodd-Frank is wrongheaded. It relies on the idea that systemic risks can be accurately calculated before a financial shock is experienced. The solution it prescribes is more red tape for the financial services industry to stumble over. It is unlikely to succeed in anything but choking off economic growth and expanding government power over the economy at the expense of the people.

There is an alternative solution to dealing with vulnerable, systemically important institutions: nationalize them.

The very idea of nationalization naturally raises the bile in the throats of any supporter of the free market, but bear with me on this one.

I propose a law that would require any large financial institution seeking emergency funds from the federal government, as happened during the financial crisis through the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) and government subsidized mergers, to instead be taken over by the government. The law would also stipulate a process by which the firm would be broken up into smaller pieces and sold back to the market as quickly as possible.

This radical proposal would be better than what has occurred for two reasons. First, in terms of the actions of the big banks, they would necessarily factor the prospect of being cracked open and sold off piecemeal into their future risk calculations. This would mean firms would take actions less likely to cause systemic shocks to the economy and removes the perverse incentive from banks like Goldman Sachs to deliberately make themselves systemically necessary as a sort of insurance policy. When a firm is too big too fail, that means it does not need to factor the true risk of failure into their calculations. My proposal allows for a mechanism to deal with firms that are systemically important in an orderly way that does not promote bad actions from the institutions in question.

Second, my proposal would prevent the sort of concentration that the government’s response to the financial crisis produced. The big banks were glutted with federal cash to keep them afloat while smaller banks were left largely in the lurch. The result has been that the big institutions that were at the center of the financial collapse have only gotten larger and more profitable, while the smaller institutions with no such blame getting sunk or, if they survive, playing on an even more unfair field.

There is nothing wrong with big banks. There is something wrong with those big banks using their political clout to skew the free market in their favor. My proposal is a means by which the people can reassert control over their economy without giving undue regulatory powers to the government.

My proposal could find support on both sides of the aisle in Congress. For the left, the policy is punitive against firms that take risks while being extremely important to the economy. For the right, it benefits Main Street and only takes effect when institutions are at risk of going under and taking everyone with them.

The government is not to be trusted when it comes to regulating the economy day-to-day. It’s ability to interfere should be strictly defined and the steps it may take clearly delineated. My proposal demands very specific actions in response to specific shocks. In the end, the economy benefits from fewer systemically risky firms, the taxpayers benefit from not writing a blank check to crony-capitalist bankers, and the industry benefits from a more level playing field.

Categories: On the Blog

Rational Thinking About Irrational Numbers

Somewhat Reasonable - August 30, 2014, 12:51 PM

I am drawing this reference from this article from someone who I look up to and admire – Dr. Roy Spencer.

In the last 100 years, the amount of CO2 in the air has increased from three molecules per 10,000 molecules of air, to four molecules out of 10,000 molecules of air.

Which means we are being asked to believe the increase of one molecule of CO2 out of 10,000 molecules of air in the last 100 years is causing catastrophic climate change that threatens mankind.

This is all fascinating to me, given Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments on the immense threat of a catastrophe based on out of control climate, when we have groups like ISIS and Hamas running around.

Seems to me that there is a lot of inconsistency here. The idea from John Kerry is that CO2-induced warming is an imminent national security threat. So he is saying the increase of one molecule of CO2 per 10,000 molecules of air in the last 100 years is a threat on par with what is going on in the Middle East? How can that even be close. The real threat when it comes to CO2 is the agenda that paints it as a threat. One, it makes us more reliant on an unstable area of the world. Two, the policies limiting its use starve the lifeline of our economy. As I have opined before, it’s the global warming agenda that is the major threat, not global warming.

I for one am much more concerned about Hamas, ISIS, etc., than CO2, except that it’s the focus of an agenda that is stopping our nation from progressing.

But think about what is going on here. Hamas fires untold amounts of rockets into Israel. Israel tries to protect itself. Hamas uses its citizens to protect its missiles. Israel uses its missiles to protect its citizens. But Israel is ripped up and down. How does that hook into CO2? Which is a bigger threat to global stability: an organization like Hamas or ISIS, or the increase of one molecule of CO2 out of 10,000 molecules of air in the last 100 years? Why would anyone be even thinking about the latter, given the example of the former, unless of course the absurdity of blaming Middle East problems on climate change is the goal? (Better tell that to Jacob and Ishmael, and everyone that followed.)

But let’s really put this whole CO2 scare (scam) in perspective, okay?

Here is the infamous hockey stick graphic, the last 50 years of warming based on the most reliable temperature measurements versus tree rings that decided to show cooling instead of warming. This, of course, has stirred up the angst of Dr. Michael Mann when people suggested there was something very wrong with switching the way one measured temperatures after 950 years when that way no longer agreed.

Now here is the real hockey stick, the increase in GDP per capita since the coming fossil fuel age really took off over the last 100 years.

That is a real correlation. No switching measurement horses midstream. During the time of the increase of one molecule of CO2 per 10,000, earth’s per capita income went up. And think about how many more people there are now against 1900.

But let’s look more closely at this in the U.S., since we naturally want to lead the world to a brighter tomorrow.

It is estimated that the U.S. has averaged 20% of the CO2 input from man over the last 100 years . Assuming all the increase of CO2 is man-made, that would mean in 50,000 molecules of air, the U.S. has added one molecule of CO2 in the last 100 years, while the global GDP skyrocketed.

How much is that a year? Well we have to divide the figure above. One molecule per 50,000 in the last 100 years means we have averaged one molecule of CO2 for every 5,000,000 molecules of air per year. So we are asked to believe that is changing the climate?

But wait, let’s think locally to act globally (I have a sweatshirt that says that).

300,000,000 people. How many molecules of CO2 does the average American add to the atmosphere every year?

One molecule of CO2 out of every 1,500,000,000,000,000 molecules of air each year.

Why you selfish capitalist pig. You are destroying the planet by your very existence (though the plants love you – I saw a tree hug a human the other day).

You may say, “Joe, this is an absurd exercise.” Exactly. You must fight the absurd by showing how absurd it truly is. And nothing in our national debate today comes even close to this agenda when put in proper perspective, yet we have people trying to say this threatens our way of life. It threatens theirs, given the gravy train of $165 billion spent on climate change in the past 20 years at the expense of the American people as a whole.

So here is the question to, let’s say, Leonardo DiCaprio, given he flies around the world and makes movies with untold amounts of energy use: Do you really believe the U.S. or the rest of the globe, given the absurdly small amount of CO2 that has been added to the air, is actually changing the climate in any measurable way? Do you understand how irrational that is given the actual numbers?

Another question: Given the major problems facing man today, one of which exemplified above, how can any rational person try to even address this issue as being remotely a problem?

Final questions for inquiring minds: Was the iceberg that sunk the Titanic caused by global warming? How long did you train to hold Kate Winslett so she didn’t fall off the boat? Are you going the way of Brando, and when can we expect you to tip 250, 300 lbs? You understand that weight gain means more of a carbon foot print.

Stellllllllllaaaaaa.

I figure he might have the answer to those last three, because he certainly doesn’t the others – nor do any of the people pushing this agenda.

[Originally published at The Patriot Post]

Categories: On the Blog

Warren Buffett Knows Less Government Means More Economic Activity

Somewhat Reasonable - August 29, 2014, 1:17 PM

Remember the “Buffet Rule?”

The Buffett Rule is part of a tax plan proposed by President Barack Obama in 2011.  The tax plan would apply a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on individuals making more than a million dollars a year.

Remember for whom it’s named?

The Buffett Rule is named after American investor Warren Buffett, who publicly stated in early 2011 that he believed it was wrong that rich people, like himself, could pay less in federal taxes, as a portion of income, than the middle class, and voiced support for increased income taxes on the wealthy.

Remember what Buffett 2012 said – in his New York Times editorial?

Suppose that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”

Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent.”

But he has to know that potential investors do exactly that all the time.

Untaxed US Corporate Profits Held Overseas Top $2.1 Trillion

Foreign profits held overseas by U.S. corporations to avoid taxes at home nearly doubled from 2008 to 2013 to top $2.1 trillion, said a private research firm’s report….

Well, flash forward to Warren Buffett 2014.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is expected to help finance Burger King’s pending acquisition of Canadian doughnut-chain Tim Hortons.

The deal will allow Miami-based Burger King to claim Canada as its new legal home for tax purposes….

And why is Canada a more favorable tax locale than the U.S.?  Because everywhere on the planet is.

U.S. Corporate Tax Rates Are the Highest in the Developed World

Buffett’s corporate tax move is called an “inversion.”

Tax inversion, or corporate inversion, is the relocation of a corporation’s headquarters to a lower-tax nation, or corporate haven, usually whilst retaining its material operations in its higher-tax country of origin.

Does Buffett 2014 know this?  He’s not a dumb guy.  But here’s your Joke of the Day: He ludicrously claims:

…(T)he deal was not about taxes, saying that the combined company would be based in Canada because of Tim Hortons’ “strong roots” north of the border.

Of course in May Buffett said:

“I will not pay a dime more of individual taxes than I owe, and I won’t pay a dime more of corporate taxes than we owe. And that’s very simple.”

Indeed it is very simple.  And you can’t blame Buffett 2014 for the sentiment.  But you may certainly blame Buffett 2012 for his contradictory sentiment – and for wishing to impose its inanity upon us all.

So the Buffett Rule fails the Reality Test – per Buffett his own self.  Just as do all the Left’s attempts at reverse engineering the economy and human nature.

This is just and yet another example of (at least) a couple of empirical facts.

1) The greater the government involvement in the marketplace – the more warped and damaged the marketplace becomes.

2) The private sector’s wealthiest members will always outsmart, outpace and outdistance whatever the oft-talentless government hacks try to throw at them.

The government damage is instead done to those who can least afford to absorb it.

The Buffetts already have theirs.  But the tens of millions of Americans looking for work and new opportunities desperately need the Buffetts parking their $2.1 trillion overseas to bring it on home.

And until the government makes it more attractive to do so – those tens of millions of Americans will continue to suffer.

While the Buffetts jet set – and Buffett Rule champion President Obama golfs.

[Originally published at RedState]

Categories: On the Blog

Separation of Powers Alert: Obama Seeks Climate ‘Treaty’ without Senate Ratification

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - August 29, 2014, 12:45 PM
“The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel…

Rupert Darwall - Good-Bye, Treaty

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - August 29, 2014, 12:07 PM
‘I am speaking on behalf of the United States of America because my negotiators cannot,” Abigail Borah, a youth delegate to the 2011 Durban climate…

Cameron Smith

Out of the Storm News - August 29, 2014, 11:23 AM

Cameron Smith is the principle of  Smith Strategies LLC, a regular columnist for the Alabama Media Group and a senior fellow with the R Street Institute.

Prior to founding Smith Strategies, Cameron was vice president and general counsel of the Alabama Policy Institute, where he managed all policy, legal and communications operations.

Previously, Cameron had a number of posts in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. He was legislative counsel for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He ran the House Intellectual Property Caucus and was counsel to Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla. He also served as counsel to Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., where his primary legislative project was the REINS Act, which would provide significantly more accountability for Congress regarding the impacts of federal regulation.

Cameron is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and the University of Alabama School of Law. He is a member of the Tennessee and Alabama bars. He resides with his wife, Justine, and their three sons in Vestavia Hills, Ala.

Email: csmith@rstreet.org

Echoes of Y2K: Engineers Buzz That Internet Is Outgrowing Its Gear

Tech Suite - In The News - August 29, 2014, 11:08 AM
Network engineers are buzzing that that the internet is outgrowing some of its gear. WSJ’s Drew FitzGerald discusses what that means on Lunch Break with Sara…

Net Neutrality Vs. Free Speech

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - August 29, 2014, 11:08 AM
As the Federal Communications Commission’s Sept. 15 deadline for public comment on its new net-neutrality rules approaches, the “open Internet” movement has…

Slowing the rise of the oceans

Out of the Storm News - August 29, 2014, 10:28 AM

From Al Gore to the leadership of groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, environmentalists long have warned that global disaster is certain unless we do something about rising sea levels. The “something” that most on the left want is to remake our energy economy and increase government control over energy use in order to cut down on human emissions of greenhouse gases that cause the thermal expansion of ocean water and the melting of polar ice sheets.

A look at the facts reveals a less alarming, although still disconcerting, environmental picture. When it comes to combating and adapting to rising sea levels, many of the factors most within our control are not directly associated with the climate.

The environmentalists deserve some credit. It is beyond dispute that greenhouse gas emissions are the most important factor behind the global rise in sea levels. Releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, largely from burning fossil fuels, traps heat from the sun. Over the past two decades, global sea levels have been rising at a rate of slightly more than 0.11 inches per year.

But projections about the future extent of the trend remain too imprecise to be of practical use to policy-makers. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that the “most likely” case is that global sea levels will rise between one and four feet over the next century. A continuation of the trend of the last 20 years (roughly twice the average rate most scientists believe seas rose over the 20th century) would result in total sea-level rise near the low end of the IPCC projections.

Although many models indicate the rate will accelerate, whether it does, and by how much, will make an enormous difference. A one-foot rise would be reasonably easy to deal with in many places, while four feet could be catastrophic. And complex climate models have a dismal record of predicting the future.

It’s also important to note that greenhouse gas emissions are not the only factor in climate change, and that climate change is not the only cause of rising sea levels. In North America, relative sea levels are changing not only because of rising waters, but also because of sinking landmass. The East Coast has been slowing sinking for thousands of years. The intersection of these two phenomena, rising seas and sinking landmass, could make sea-level rise doubly destructive in certain parts of the country.

For instance, along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, sea-level rise appears to be happening at nearly a dozen times the global rate: nearly an inch a year. The reasons are complicated, but relate to tectonic shifts in the ocean floor. The consequences could be disastrous. Much of southern Louisiana may be inundated in the next century, and parts of Texas may not be that far behind. And, if the projections are right, controlling greenhouse gas emissions would do almost nothing to change things.

Development has made an already severe natural problem worse. A century-long project to control the Mississippi-Missouri River system and prevent flooding has reduced the amount of silt the river carries. This results in “silt starvation” that is slowly eating away at the land in the Mississippi Delta.

Also contributing to this kind of erosion have been the heavily subsidized National Flood Insurance Program and local economic incentives to build in river valleys and along the coasts. Other causes are more bizarre. The nutria or “river rat,” a South American critter that fur farmers brought to the United States in the 1940s, has no natural predators here and feasts on the plant life of coastal marshes. Along the Chesapeake Bay and other areas, river rats eat so many plants that the land is left bare and gets washed away.

For the regions most likely to face dramatic impacts from rising sea levels in the near future, no amount of emissions control will make a major difference. In fact, for some, the only solution may be to relocate people and property away from the coast.

At a minimum, in our most densely populated hurricane-prone areas, like the New York/New Jersey and Miami metropolitan areas, large investments in “structural mitigation,” seawalls and the like, is almost certainly going to be necessary to protect lives and property. Spending several billion dollars to protect Manhattan from rising seas and hurricane-driven storm surges will almost certainly offer a very good return on investment, even if 21st-century weather patterns aren’t significantly different from those of the last century. A vigorous nutria control and eradication effort is also in order, as are local zoning standards that take potential sea-level rise into account.

In many cases, however, government would do best by simply getting out of the way. Subsidies for flood insurance, which Congress recently voted to extend, need to be eliminated, as do all other federal and state programs that provide implicit and explicit subsidies to build in low-lying areas. A comprehensive review of Army Corps of Engineers river control projects, with an eye to reducing silt-starvation, is long overdue.

Climate change presents its own set of challenges on the global level, and we will need ways to respond to that, as well. Some changes to energy policy are likely justified. But the favorite policies of many environmentalists—heavy-handed regulation of carbon dioxide emissions and subsidies for trendy alternative energy sources like wind and solar power—are not effective ways to help the areas of this country most threatened by rising seas and falling coasts. Policymakers can deal with sea-level rise. But they don’t have to follow the environmental left’s playbook to do it.

America, Our Debt-Ridden Nation

Somewhat Reasonable - August 29, 2014, 9:36 AM

Let’s look at just some of the latest news about the U.S. economy:

# According to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Fiscal Services, the federal government paid $2,007,358,200,000—over $2 trillion—in benefits and entitlements in the 2013 fiscal year, October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013. Most of the benefits, 69.7% came from non-means tested government programs that provide them to recipients who qualify regardless of income. That would include Medicare, Social Security, unemployment compensation, veteran’s compensation, and railroad retirement, to name a few.

# The total federal government spending in 2013 totaled $3,454,253,000,000—over $3.4 trillion—encompassing defense, highway and transportation costs, public education, immigration services, and government worker salaries, to name a few.

# An astonishing amount of that spending constitutes wasted taxpayer money. In July the Government Accountability Office (CAO) testified before Congress that federal agencies made more than $100 billion in improper payments in 2013. That is an amount comparable to the combined total budgets of the Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Border Patrol, Secret Service, and the Federal Emergency Agency, et cetera. Improper payments result when people collect money from government programs for which they are ineligible.

# By August, the total U.S. federal debt had increased to more than $7 trillion during the five and a half years since Barack Obama has been President. That is more than the debt increased under all U.S. Presidents from George Washington through Bill Clinton—combined! More debt than was accumulated in the first 227 years from 1776 through 2003.

# During the time President Obama has been in office the number of unemployed reached 37.2%, a 36-year high for those 16 or older who do not have a job and are not actively seeking one. From December 2013 through May of this year, the labor participation rate had been at 62.8%. The last time the labor participation rate was that low was February 1978 when Jimmy Carter was President.

# As the nation sank deeper into debt by the end of 2012 there were 109,631,000 Americans living in households that were receiving one or more federally funded “means-tested programs”, more generally referred to as welfare. Combined with those receiving non-means-tested benefits and it added up to 49.5% of the population.

It is always tempting to blame everything on the President and, despite the usual rebound from a recession that has occurred in the past, it has not occurred during his first term, nor into his second at this point. In fact, the latest data reveals that the U.S. economy shrank at a 2.9% annual rate during the first quarter of 2014. Its long-run average rate of growth has been 3.3%, but the highest since Obama took office was 2.8%.

According to the World Bank, in 2013 the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, the value of its goods and services, was $16,800,000,000,000. The federal, state and governments took their share via taxation on income and/or property. The rest was saved or spent by those either holding a job or receiving government benefits; very nearly half of the population old enough to be employed if there were jobs for them.

The problem that affects all of us is the imbalance of the U.S. budget where more money is going out than coming in. The difference is deemed the “deficit.” In order to pay bills, Congress has to agree to raise the limit on how much the nation can borrow.

Nick Dranias, the constitutional policy director for the Goldwater Institute, has come up with a proposal,“The Compact for a Balanced Budget”, and it was been published by The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, in July.

As Dranias points out, “The U.S. gross federal debt is approaching $18 trillion. That figure is more than twice what was owed ($8.6 trillion) in 2006, when Barack Obama was a junior U.S. Senator from Illinois and opposed lifting the federal debt limit.” It represents more than $150,000 per taxpayer.

“What if states could advance and ratify a powerful federal balanced budget amendment in only twelve months, asks Dranias. His proposal is “a new approach to state-originated amendments under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

Two states, Georgia and Alaska, are expected to establish a Balanced Budget Commission, an interstate agency dedicated to organizing a convention—before 2014 ends—to propose an amendment to achieve a balanced budget. The amendment would put “an initially fixed limit on the amount of federal debt.” It would ensure Washington cannot spend more than tax revenue brought in at any point in time, with the sole exception of borrowing under the fixed debt limit. It would force Washington to reduce spending long before borrowing reaches its debt limit, preventing any default on obligations; something threatening many other nations as well.

Suffice to say, the proposed amendment involves some complex elements and, if the Compact does not receive sufficient support from many more states than just the two that have signed on, it won’t see the light of day.

What the rest of us understand, however, is that federal spending is out of control at the same time as the amount of money it takes in is more than what it “redistributes.”  Add in a sluggish economy, not growing at its usual rate, and you have a recipe for a lot of trouble ahead.

Republicans are usually credited with being more financially prudent. If true, we need to elect a Congress controlled by the GOP in November and a Republican President in 2016. If we don’t, all bets are off.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Categories: On the Blog

Illinois Forum Celebrates 25 Years Banding Together Freedom Lovers

Somewhat Reasonable - August 29, 2014, 9:28 AM

The Illinois Forum celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a banquet on Saturday, August 23rd, at the Round Barn Banquet Center in Champaign, Illinois. The Illinois Forum was founded by Robert S. Redfern and U.S. Congressman Dan Crane in 1989 as a statewide grassroots coalition of nonpartisan political activists.  Since 1989 Illinois Forum has become one of the largest citizen groups in the state working to promote a smaller state government, to restrain spending, and to encourage tax cuts.

Redfern continues to serve as Chairman of Illinois Forum, with Daniel Crane as its Board Chairman. Additionally there is a Board of Governors consisting of 19 additional individuals from various parts of Illinois. The Hon. Phil Crane (Wauconda) is a member of the Board of Governors.  Heading the the list of eleven pledges cited in the Illinois Forum Pledge for Better Government is “Term limits for Illinois constitutional offices.”

Illinois Forum, first group to issue a proposal for term limits in Illinois

Following the “Pledge of Allegiance” and the Invocation, Robert Redfern, as Chairman of the Illinois Forum, welcomed those gathered, with comments on the issue of term limit.  It was only the day before, Friday, August 22, that Bruce Rauner was dealt a blow when the IL Supreme Court rejected Rauner’s request.

It was in 1989 when Robert Redfern called together 60 individuals to create the Illinois Forum as a non-partisan group to get something done in Springfield.  The first project put together by the newly formed group, and the first group to do so in the state, was a term limits proposal limiting service in either the House or the Senate to 10 years.  The 10-year time limit was retroactive.  Anyone who had already served 10 year had to leave.

The term limits referendum Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner wanted to appear on the November 4 ballot would not have been supported by Redfern, as it reduced Senate Districts from 59 to 41.  Furthermore, the initiative didn’t even kick in until January 1, 2023!   As such Rauner’s proposal was not good for the people of Illinois.  It would have been especially devastating for those living in downstate Illinois where constituents many times would have been 100 miles or more away from their state senator.

In speaking with Robert Redfern by telephone after the event, Thorner was informed that four years ago a petition initiated by Illinois Forum was to change the General Assembly from meeting every year to every two years, with a budget to reflect the two-year period. This would cut down immeasurably on the 7,000 bills now advanced in committees every session, and, most importantly, on the amount of taxpayer money spent.

Robert Redfern then invited Jim Tobin to join him at the podium.  Jim Tobin, president of Tax Payers United for America, presented outrageous facts about IL State Pensions.  Click on the link noted on the left side of this Tax Payers United of America website to hear Jim Tobin speak about IL State Pensions on a CBS Chicago WBBM News Radio program aired 4/30/14.  Per the annual April, 2014, report issued by the Taxpayers Unit For American, there are 78,000 state pensioners who receive more than 50,000 a year and 11,000 who receive more than 100,000.  Larry Flemming, a retired educator was noted as a pensioner who is projected to receive an 11 million lifetime payout.  Yearly payment amount to $258,163, yet Mr. Flemming paid in only $326,000 or 2.8% of his estimated lifetime pension payments.  Handed out by Jim Tobin was a sheet containing State of Illinois Top 200 Government Pension as of April 1, 20l4. Remarked by Tobin is how unfunded pensions in IL went from $100 billion to $200 billion even after the income tax hike by Quinn.

Fair.Tax Nation  was represented by Marilyn Rickert.  Although Ms. Rickert didn’t speak, literature was handed out.  Its mission is to Replace All Federal Taxes on Income with the Fair Tax Act , HR 25 and S 122. Visit this site for grass roots participation information

Comments were heard from three Illinois candidates, all who advanced conservative values and policies.  Unfortunately all three are unknowns outside of their own districts.

  • Dianne Harris is running for state legislator in Will County, 86th District.  As a staunch conservative, Dianne wants to serve but never be self-serving.
  • Julie Fox (Juliefox2014.com) is a candidate for state Comptroller as a Libertarian Party candidate. She’s both an accountant and a CPA, and believes that all elected Comptrollers should first be accountants.  Being a Libertarian, Ms. Fox would not be beholden to either major party.
  • Mark Smith is running for governor.  He is a Christian with a firm belief in God, who believes that God must be put back into government.  Mark will take God with him into office. Mark gave up his job in the U.S. Postal System to campaign for governor.

Introduction of Joe Walsh as Featured Speaker

Rick Biesada, co-founder of the Chicago Minuteman Project, introduced Joe Walsh as a Walsh supporter since Joe’s congressional campaign in 2010.  Biesada noted that the Republican establishment and the media were 100% against Joe. What prompted Biesada to throw his support enthusiastically behind Walsh was when the media reported that Walsh had his house foreclosed on him.  At this point Biesada knew that Walsh was his man, for this made Walsh just like an ordinary average person.  A prudent comment made by Rick Biesada is how the Republican and Democrat Party are but one party with two wings.  A bit of humor took place when Mr. Biesada, after finishing his remarks, forgot to extend a welcome for guest speaker Joe Walsh to advance to the podium.

Undaunted and in his usual spirited way, Joe Walsh, now a talk show radio host on AM560, didn’t miss a beat as he bounded to the front of the room to inform attendees with his booming voice that a podium or a microphone weren’t for him. Emphasized by Walsh is that he considers himself a Tea Party member, not a Republican. Elected in 2010, Walsh spoke of the promises he had made while campaigning and which he then honored when sent to Congress to represent the 8th District. Among them were:  He would never vote to increase the size of government; he would sleep on the floor of his office; he would not take his health care or pension benefits; he would face the pubic by holding open town hall meetings, and he would limit himself to six years in the U.S. House.

While campaigning, Walsh faced skepticism over his campaign promises, even from one of his most ardent supporters, Rick Biesada.  But what kept Joe in line with every vote when in Washington, D.C. was knowing that Rick Biesada would not be at all happy with him if pledges were broken.  As it was, Walsh held 363 town meeting, more than any other legislator in Congress. All were open to the public.  Walsh likewise voted against every single budget bill Congress tried to pass that raised taxes. Unfortunately, Walsh was sent home after two years.

Joe Walsh rips apart Common Core AP History course

Joe Walsh went on to explain that we have somewhere between four and five years remaining to change the direction of this nation, a nation that is fast progressing toward Socialism with atheism as the norm.  It doesn’t help that U.S. History will take a drastic left turn this fall.  The AP History course, which will be taken by the nation’s best and brightest high school students, rewrites America’s past, cutting out the Founding Fathers.  George Washington is only given a quick, passing nod; our founding document, the “Declaration of Independence”, merits only two brief mentions.  What is more, children are taught a hatred for their country.  Not surprising is that David Coleman, Common Core’s architect, is responsible for writing the new AP History standards.

As related by Walsh, it’s no longer a free country when the government takes 60 cents of every dollar; when its citizens  can’t carry a firearm wherever they go for protection; and when government can force a Catholic priest into jail if he doesn’t do what government wants him to do.

Regarding the Ferguson shooting, according to Walsh most of America just doesn’t get it.  The Ferguson shooting of a black teenager by a policeman had nothing to do with race or the victim Michael Brown.  Rather, it has only to do with one man’s innocence or guilt.  Eric Holder’s entrance onto the scene, served to stoke the already burning fire of the felt hostility of blacks against white cops.

While in Congress Joe Walsh was blunt and forceful in his rhetoric, not unlike the tone of his remarks before the Illinois Forum gathering.  There was, however, a difference.  The Republican Party didn’t wish to hear what Walsh had to say.  Joe Walsh went on to say that he considers House Speaker John Boehner clueless as to what to do and even in understanding what is presently going on in this country.

Joe Walsh on Republicans and Amnesty with hint of a third party threat 

Concerning amnesty, Walsh knows why Democrats want amnesty.  It is for the votes, 19 million of them.  But what about Republicans?  Congressional Republicans are scared to death if they don’t support amnesty.  Out of the 233 Republican representatives in Congress, only twenty-eight agree with Joe’s stance against amnesty.  All others want to pass an amnesty bill after November.  It Republicans do pass amnesty, warned Walsh, this will end the Republican Party.  It isn’t what Walsh wants to happen, but this would so rile the Republican conservative base that a new party would surely emerge.  It can truly be said that most Republicans are not adverse to big government, just as they are convinced amnesty would benefit this nation.  Is it any wonder why this nation is in the trouble it is in today?  Even with Obamacare, which represents 1/6 of this nation’s economy, and which passed in the dead of night with a purely partisan Democratic vote, little is heard from House Republicans about repealing it.  Much of the talk involves nibbling around the edges of a bill which is still evolving and which can’t be fixed.

Walsh believes we have not been so close to losing our nation since the Civil War, and that presently we are going through a revolutionary period of time. Many Americans have no clue as to what was created by our Founding Fathers as the foundation upon this nation was built, as embodied in the “Declaration of Independence” and the “Constitution.”  As a nation we are close to losing it if we don’t do what it will take to preserve it.  The Republican Party is our only chance to take this country back.  If the party refuses to fight in the next six years, it’s goodbye for America.  It took 100 years for this nation to get to the point she is now at: morally and financially bankrupt.  i.e.: While all seniors are taken care of under Medicare, only seniors who are really needy should be afforded this type of care.

Joe Walsh bemoans what has become a stupid country

Obama was an accidental president, as reflected by a nation which has morphed into a stupid country.  Inform your elected representatives in no uncertain terms, that if they don’t start straightening up to change what is happening, then you will go elsewhere.  Even should Republicans miraculously begin to understand the urgency to change policy, it might take an election or two to get government out of our lives.  Our Founding Fathers would be appalled to see what has happened to a nation conceived with such hope and promise. Yet today there is more government tension and control in our lives than what our Founding Fathers were escaping from in the Old World.

Here in Illinois and at the federal level a false belief exists that if Republicans are elected here and there all will be fine.    History tells us that most great nations last only 264 years.  We are now somewhere in the middle of the 4th quarter.  Time is of the essence.  There is no time to lose if we care about what succeeding generation of Americans will inherit from us.  Are you willing to allow what was once a proud and prosperous nation to slip into the dustbin of history?

An addendum to Joe’s remarks

A hand was raised after Joe Walsh finished his comments, comments that were received very warmly and with hearty applause.  The hand belonged to David Crane, a practicing Indianapolis lawyer and psychiatrist, and a brother of Dan and Phil Crane.  His comments were worth noting, as they were in line with the concerns of the writer.

  • American is doomed.  It took 100 years for the liberal take over to happen which started in 1910.  We have blown it during the past 100 years, doing nothing to stop the liberal advance. Why should it take less time to take our nation back?

Robert Redfern has the last say

Precincts must be filled to get the vote out.  Young people must be trained.  50% of precincts are empty in Illinois.  The Republican Party in Illinois has all sorts of excuses as to why it can’t win, but had Bill Brady obtained 2 or 3 more votes in each Illinois precinct, he would now be governor instead of Pat Quinn.

  • Illinois ranks 49th in the loss of personal rights.
  • In speaking about FDR, the only area of agreement is that organized labor shouldn’t have any place in government.  Other than that, FDR has helped place this nation in the shape it is in today.

 WE CAN’T AFFORD TO SIT OUT THIS ELECTION CYCLE!.  GET TO WORK TO SAVE THIS NATION!

Categories: On the Blog

NetCompetition’s FCC Comments – Don’t Preempt State Muni Broadband Laws

Somewhat Reasonable - August 29, 2014, 9:17 AM

There are two core reasons the FCC should not try to preempt State muni-broadband laws.

  1. The Supreme Court has already indicated it would be unconstitutional.
  2. It would be anti-competitive, the opposite of the FCC’s statutory purpose and legal mandate.

I.  Why FCC Preemption of States Rights would be Unconstitutional

First, the Supreme Court already has decided this issue effectively in favor of state rights. InNixon v. Missouri Municipal League (2004) the Supreme Court rejected federal preemption of state prohibitions on telecom services. It specifically rejected the use of the FCC’s Title IIsection 253(a) authority to preempt state prohibitions of localities offering telecom services on constitutional federalism grounds.

If clear FCC Title II statutory language was insufficient to overcome states constitutional rights, it is hard to see how the FCC’s new-found, balsa Section 706 authority would be sufficient to trump the Supreme Court’s defense of state’s rights in the Constitution.

This Supreme Court precedent presents a high bar for the FCC to overcome because the core constitutional issue is largely-settled and because Chevron Deference does not apply to the Supreme Court’s decisions.

Second, municipalities are legal creations of the state, not the Federal government. States have clear sovereign economic and fiscal responsibilities to the citizens and taxpayers of their state. The construction and operation of broadband networks in a local community clearly is an in-state activity not an inter-state activity that generally can afford the FCC jurisdiction.

In sum, if the FCC preempts state prohibitions of community broadband capital projects, the FCC essentially would be asserting that it, not the states, is the ultimate approving authority for community broadband capital projects, by effectively pre-approving all potential community broadband projects in advance, by denying the state its right to prohibit them.

II. Why FCC Preemption would be the Opposite of Promoting Competition

Governments do not “compete” with companies; Governments tax, limit, police and judge companies.

So when governments try and offer a similar service that private companies have long provided consumers, these governments effectively are opposing and undermining private companies in the marketplace — not “competing” with them.

Why is muni-broadband anti-competitive?

First, Congress in the 1996 Telecom Act made promoting communications competition the law of the land. To forward that goal the FCC ruled broadband was an interstate service under Federal regulatory jurisdiction.

Nowhere in that law did Congress define or conceive a government to be a potential “competitor.”

Second, everyone knows the old adage, “you can’t fight city hall.” Well a private company certainly cannot compete with their regulator who controls their business’ livelihood — access to public rights of way underground, on poles, or on wireless towers.

Moreover a company can’t compete with their tax assessor, permit-grantor, police force, etc. — no more than a citizen can “compete” with the powers of a policeman, prosecutor, and judge.

Third, a private company cannot compete with a municipality that can compel taxpayers to subsidize the municipality’s overbuild broadband network even if they don’t vote for it or sign up for it; or if they want to use a private company service. That’s not competition; that’s a rigged game.

Fourth, who thinks Government can deliver complex technology better than private companies?

Building and operating a broadband network is much more than digging trenches and laying fiber. It is a very complex and difficult systems integration and management endeavor to do competently, economically, and responsibly.

Moreover, Governments are well known to vastly underestimate the complexity and degree of difficulty in delivering successful systems integration.

Americans learned this lesson only too well last year when the HealthCare.gov website managers failed to anticipate that one needs to not only test individual systems, but also how all the different subsystems work or don’t work together – under most all circumstances.

Provisioning and operating advanced technology networks is a job for professional technologists and experienced systems integrators who have successfully done it before, not municipalities which have neither the core competency, nor the experience to do it.

Sadly, this is why so many municipalities have run up large broadband infrastructure debts that can’t be repaid. It is why they have failed in creating economically sustainable and operationally proficient broadband networks.

Fifth, municipalities building opposing networks create a predatory and hostile market environment that unnecessarily and unfairly chills much needed private capital investment to best serve consumers.

Lastly, what about all the obvious privacy and surveillance conflicts? Who thinks it is a good idea for the mayor or the police to have access to local voters’ emails and web surfing histories?

In short, municipalities building broadband networks are not “competition,” they effectively are Governmental opposition to the existence of private broadband networks.

In conclusion, the FCC should not attempt to preempt state muni-broadband laws because it would be both unconstitutional and anti-competitive.

Categories: On the Blog

Oh, Canada!

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - August 29, 2014, 9:02 AM
Perhaps the strangest thing about Burger King’s “defection” to Canada is that the restaurant seemed vaguely Canadian for as long as I can remember. America vs…

How much does poverty drive crime?

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - August 29, 2014, 8:58 AM
Maybe less than you thought, at least after adjusting for other variables. The Economist reports: In Sweden the age of criminal responsibility is 15, so Mr…

Cameron Smith

Out of the Storm News - August 28, 2014, 3:57 PM

Cameron Smith is the principle of  Smith Strategies LLC, a regular columnist for the Alabama Media Group and a senior fellow with the R Street Institute.

Prior to founding Smith Strategies, Cameron was vice president and general counsel of the Alabama Policy Institute, where he managed all policy, legal and communications operations.

Previously, Cameron had a number of posts in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. He was legislative counsel for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He ran the House Intellectual Property Caucus and was counsel to Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla. He also served as counsel to Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., where his primary legislative project was the REINS Act, which would provide significantly more accountability for Congress regarding the impacts of federal regulation.

Cameron is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and the University of Alabama School of Law. He is a member of the Tennessee and Alabama bars. He resides with his wife, Justine, and their three sons in Vestavia Hills, Ala.

Email: csmith@rstreet.org

Ian Adams

Out of the Storm News - August 28, 2014, 3:16 PM

Ian Adams is senior fellow and California director of the R Street Institute.

Most recently, Ian was the Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellow with the office of state Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, while Hagman served vice chairman of the California Assembly Insurance Committee. In this role, Ian was responsible for appraising legislative and regulatory concepts, providing vote recommendations for bills in committee and on the Assembly floor and performing a host of other public affairs duties.

Previously, while still enrolled at the University of Oregon School of Law, Ian was a legal extern with the office of state Rep. Bruce Hanna, R-Roseburg, who was then co-speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives. Ian’s prior experiences include serving as a law clerk for the Personal Insurance Federation of California and as an intern in the office of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He also works pro bono as registered in-house counsel with Transitional Living & Community Support.

Ian is a 2009 graduate of Seattle University, with bachelor’s degrees in history and philosophy and received his law degree from the University of Oregon in 2013.

Phone: 916.751.5269

Email: iadams@rstreet.org

 

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