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Net Neutrality: A Bureaucratic Solution in Search of a Non-Existent Problem | Americans for Prosperity

Tech Suite - In The News - May 19, 2014, 10:27 AM
The federal government has a spending problem. Take action today and urge lawmakers to cut spending now. AFP urges Senators to support Senator Toomey’s Full…

Net Neutrality: A Bureaucratic Solution in Search of a Non-Existent Problem | Americans for Prosperity

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - May 19, 2014, 10:27 AM
The federal government has a spending problem. Take action today and urge lawmakers to cut spending now. AFP urges Senators to support Senator Toomey’s Full…

The Millennial Vote

Somewhat Reasonable - May 19, 2014, 10:14 AM

There is good news for the Republican Party about millennial voters: they won’t be voting. A survey done by Harstad Strategic Research for the Youth Engagement Fund and Project New America on millennial voters provides important insight into voting preferences for 18-31 year olds. Although the survey was done by a Democratic polling firm, the results still send an important message to the Republican Party.

Lucky for the red team, millennial voters will likely be staying home in 2014. Only 28% of the survey’s respondents stated they will definitely vote in 2014. This should be worrisome to the Democratic Party. Obama’s ability to mobilize and woo young voters in 2008 and 2012 significantly helped his prospects at the polls. Without this bloc, the already existent Republican edge in midterm elections grows stronger.

The good news ends there. This survey (along with others) shows that once these voters mobilize, especially for the 2016 election, they will vote progressive, liberal, and Democratic. Rather than counting on low turnout, the Republican Party will be better off taking lessons from this survey and altering their message to young voters.

To be clear, the party does not need to change its views or stances on issues, it just needs to change the way it communicates with millennials. Words like ‘patriotism’ and ‘competition’ will no longer work. The party can emphasize its free market policies and limited government, but it has to appeal to the ethos of the voter by proving to him or her that our policies bring about ‘opportunity’ and equality’.

As of now, young people are convinced the government needs to be involved in their lives. The Republican Party can and must convince them otherwise, but to do so, they have to appeal to the right emotions and values. The party is better off limiting talk on Obamacare and focusing on affordable college and job openings. More so, it is important to spend time emphasizing that conservative policies help the poor and marginalized. By connecting conservative policies to the values young people find most important, the Republican Party can begin to make gains with the millennial generation.

The survey by Harstad Strategic Research is filled with liberal bias, but that does not mean conservatives should immediately write it off. The party should be relieved young people are staying home in 2014 because they have not done enough to earn their vote. By appealing to values that matter to millennials, Republicans can shape their message in a better way. Our policies create the results that young people want to see; it’s time to work harder to tell them that.

Categories: On the Blog

Light at the End of the Tunnel: The Passing of the Age of Obama

Somewhat Reasonable - May 19, 2014, 12:09 AM

Conservatives need to wake up and start thinking past the rapidly passing age of Obama. Increasingly likely every day is that voters this November will remove Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader. By electing a new Republican Senate majority, the voters will also render Barack Obama a lame duck, one of the lamest in history, as he will have no prayer of getting any of his legislative proposals — increasingly recognized as hard left — through Congress. (Despite his early national rhetoric, Obama doesn’t do bipartisanship.)

That new Republican Senate majority will also be a new check and balance on Obama’s appointment of federal judges, reversing the effect of the Reid rule change eliminating Republican judicial filibusters. That is especially crucial given that the five remaining Reagan/Bush appointees on the Court constitute the slimmest of majorities, with a couple of occasionally weak sisters among them. If just one of these five is replaced by another Elena Kagan or Sonia Sotomayor, the resulting shift from a Reagan majority on the Court to an Obama one would mean a longer-term Obama transformation of America.

Given the long-term cycles of American political history, Obama’s second midterm this year should be even worse for Democrats than the disastrous Obama first midterm in 2010. And the polls are bearing out that possibility.

The latest is a Pew/USA Today poll finding that 47 percent favor the Republican candidate for Congress in their district or state, while 43 percent favor the Democrat. That is a sharp turnaround from last October, when Democrats held a 6 point lead in the same generic midterm preference poll, 49 percent to 43 percent. The new Pew poll also finds a 16 point GOP lead among independent voters.

Moreover, the Pew poll finds that “65% would like to see the next President offer different policies and programs from the Obama Administration while 30 percent want Obama’s successor to offer similar policies,” as reported by Jason Riley in the May 5 Wall Street Journal.

In an April 27 Washington Post/ABC News poll, President Obama’s approval rating was down to an all-time low of 41 percent. That poll featured an 11 point Democratic advantage in the sample, which indicates further weakness in that Obama support, especially as compared to the 2010 midterm turnout rather than the 2012 turnout.

For context, in April 2010, President Obama’s job approval in that Washington Post/ABC News poll was 54 percent. In October 2010, just before the voters administered their first midterm beating to Democrats, Obama’s job approval was still 50 percent.

Similarly, the April Gallup poll showed an Obama approval rating of 43 percent, compared to an April 2010 Obama approval rating in that poll of 49 percent, and an early November 2010 approval rating of 44 percent. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found Obama’s job approval at 44 percent, compared to a May 11, 2010 approval of 50 percent, and an October 30, 2010 approval of 45 percent. So consistently in all these polls, Obama was doing better in 2010 just before that year’s Democrat blowout than he is doing this year.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll also found only 42 percent approval of Obama’s handling of the economy, lower than the 44 percent in the October 2010 poll. Most damning of all, 53 percent in the 2014 poll say it is more important to have Republican congressional majorities to check Obama’s policies, compared to 39 percent who believe it is more important to have Democratic congressional majorities to support those policies.

Bottom line in that poll, 45 percent say they plan to vote for Democratic candidates for Congress this fall, compared to 44 percent who say they plan to vote for Republican congressional candidates. But in October 2010, the Washington Post/ABC News poll showed Democrats with a 5-point advantage on that question, just before voters granted Republicans a 63-seat gain in the House, and a 6 to 7 seat gain in the Senate (depending on how you count the November 2010 affirmation of Scott Brown’s special election pickup of Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat).

These polls above, and state by state polls, are consistent with a Republican pickup in this fall’s midterm of as many as 10 Senate seats, establishing a new 55 to 45 Republican Senate majority, and 20 more House seats. To maximize that victory, Republicans need to campaign on a pro-growth platform of specific reforms to get America booming again as under Reagan. But in designing those proposals, conservative and Republican candidates, think tanks, publications, and policy intellectuals need to think past what can possibly be compromised with President Obama, and take their case for populist, pro-growth reforms directly to the people.

That should begin with pro-growth tax reform. Directly contrary to the Thomas Piketty/MSNBC socialists celebrating around massive, far left, anti-growth increases in tax rates on the most productive, Republican tax reform should involve sharp reductions in tax rates for everyone, in return for eliminating tax loopholes for special interest, crony capitalists.

A good model for that are the tax reform proposals developed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, already included in his budget proposals approved by the full House. For personal, individual income taxes, those proposals involve a 10 percent tax rate for annual incomes below $100,000, and a 25 percent tax rate for incomes above that. For corporate taxes, the top federal tax rate would be reduced to 25 percent as well.

Republicans should avoid the trap of promising that such reform would be revenue neutral, shifting the debate to that rather than the impact on growth. Their proposals should involve a net tax cut on a static revenue estimating basis (not taking into account the pro-growth effects), and a net revenue gain on a dynamic basis, considering the pro-growth effects.

Another pro-growth measure would be to repeal and replace Obamacare with the Patient Power health policy reforms proposed by free market health policy expert John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas. Those reforms would assure universal health care for all, with no individual mandate, no employer mandate, and a sharp net cut in taxes, spending, and cost-increasing regulatory burdens.

Those reforms would be based on a universal health insurance tax credit of roughly $2,500 per person, $8,000 per family, that every citizen could use to help purchase the private health insurance of their choice. For those who nevertheless still don’t choose to buy coverage with the credit, the unused funds would be sent in federal block grants to clinics and hospitals that serve the indigent. For those who get too sick while uninsured, perhaps with cancer or heart disease, to then buy private health insurance for the first time, the tax credit can be used to buy coverage from a state-based uninsurable risk pool, or from Medicaid, which would assure coverage for pre-existing conditions in any event. Medicaid should also be turned over to the states for further reform, with block grants as in the enormously successful, 1996 welfare reforms. That has also been endorsed by Ryan’s Republican budgets, and by the 2012 Romney/Ryan ticket. CBO estimates that would save $1 to $2 trillion in the first 10 years alone.

Some conservative analysts, and Republican health policy staffers, have been too pessimistic about the prospects for such reforms. They have succumbed to the fundamental mistake that under any market repeal-and-replace plan like the Goodman Patient Power plan, tens of millions of Americans will necessarily lose the health insurance plan they now have under Obamacare, doing to them what Obamacare just did to millions of Americans who were falsely told by President Obama that under Obamacare, if they liked their health plan, they could keep it.

The egregious error here is that since there is no mandate at all in the Patient Power market alternative to Obamacare, not a single health policy insurance plan in the entire country would be invalidated by repeal and replacement of Obamacare by the Patient Power market plan. Under that market plan, each individual chooses the health plan he will buy with the universal health insurance tax credit. The federal government does not specify what health plan anyone has to buy. So the Patient Power market reforms would not require the cancellation or invalidation, of any health insurance plans. Anyone who likes the health plan he has under Obamacare can simply use the tax credit to help pay for that one. The exact number of health insurance plans in the entire country invalidated if Obamacare is repealed and replaced by Goodman’s Patient Power market plan would be precisely 0.00, not 35 million as some analysts have misled their more credulous readers to believe.

With no employer mandate in the Patient Power plan, the effects of Obamacare in destroying jobs and full time employment are eliminated. With no individual mandate and no guaranteed issue or community rating regulation, the primary effects of Obamacare in increasing health costs are eliminated as well. The elimination of increased taxes and spending under Obamacare would be powerfully pro-growth as well.

Other important pro-growth reforms for Republicans to support would include a federal balanced budget amendment, fundamental reform of the Fed and monetary policy, possibly including a restored link to gold and other precious metals to at least guide monetary policy, comprehensive welfare reform based on work for the able bodied instead of guaranteed handouts, and personal savings, investment. and insurance accounts for Social Security and Medicare (instead of suicidal cuts in those highly sensitive programs).

Such reforms would involve a dramatic reduction in government spending and taxes over a generation, and restore booming, world leading, traditional American economic growth and prosperity, meaning millions of more jobs, higher wages and incomes for working families, and more real equality as a result.

[First published at The American Spectator.]

Categories: On the Blog

FCC Tries (Again) to be Lord of the Internet

Somewhat Reasonable - May 18, 2014, 6:59 AM

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the Lord of the Internet Pretend

The Federal Communications Commission this week voted 3-2 to establish new net neutrality rules that would prevent broadband networks from selectively blocking traffic, but allowing those companies to enter into deals with content providers for preferred access to their networks in “commercially reasonable” ways.

Scott Cleland, policy advisor for The Heartland Institute and chairman of NetCompetition, says this development indicates the FCC is moving ever closer to regulating broadband under “Title II” — as if it was a utility, such as telephone service.

“The primary problem of Title II regulation is it would abruptly decelerate the fast-speed of Internet business to the slow-speed of government,” Cleland said. “At core, Title II is a ‘Mother may I?’ regulatory regime that is as slow as its slowest part. What could take hours or days to accomplish in business time could take several months or even years in FCC Title II time.

“Practically, Title II regulation would require every business decision of consequence to be approved by the FCC – i.e., changes in services, prices, terms, conditions, or infrastructure,” he added. “Ironically, the obvious unintended consequence here would be to put the American part of the Internet in the slowest lane filled with interminable speed bumps, potholes, stop lights, and inspection stations.”

Matthew Glans, Senior Policy Analyst for The Heartland Institute, agreed, noting that putting broadband under Title II would “stifle” the growth of the digital economy.

“The Internet has thrived due to its open and market-based nature. Imposing a vast new array of government regulations under Title II would stifle what has made the Internet one of the biggest growth sectors of the economy,” Glans said. “Title II regulations are a throwback to a system which no longer exists and is ill suited to regulate the dynamic internet and broadband markets of today.

“To ensure the growth of our nation’s broadband infrastructure and the growth of the digital economy, any changes to how the Internet and broadband is regulated need to look away from outdated regulatory models and instead focus on policies that do not hinder innovation and growth,” Glans said.

Jim Lakely, co-director of the Center of the Digital Economy for The Heartland Institute, noted that the FCC doesn’t have the authority to impose rules on broadband networks.

“Watching the FCC attempt to construct net neutrality regulations to lord over the Internet is a bit like watching a child build a sand castle and declare himself king of the beach,” Lakely said. “Neither has really created a kingdom, but at least the latter is cute.

“Despite what he thinks, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler does not have the power to regulate broadband networks as if they are telephony systems because Congress has not granted that power,” Lakely said. “Several federal court decisions have upheld that fact, yet every few months a partisan majority on the FCC persists in playing micromanager of the Internet. If broadband providers want to start charging Netflix and Google for hogging all the bandwidth, that is their right as the owners of those networks.

“Market forces are moving the digital economy in that direction, and rightly so – without arbitrary ‘reasonable pricing’ guidelines from bureaucrats who can’t possibly know what a ‘reasonable price’ is,” Lakely said.

“The push to enforce net neutrality via the FCC is, and has long been, a solution in search of a problem. Free markets have brought the world the wonders of the modern digital age, solving privately the inevitable conflicts and problems that have arisen,” Lakely said. “It is incumbent upon federal regulators to at least wait until there is an actual problem before moving in to ‘fix’ it. A failure of humility on the part of the FCC will only end up creating problems – and possibly crises – where none currently exist.”

Bruce Edward Walker, a policy advisor on telecom and technology policy for Heartland, compared the FCC’s decision to the Biblical Solomon.

“Whereas Solomon employed characteristic wisdom when he suggested splitting the baby, the Federal Communications Commission employs its equally characteristic dithering with its latest net neutrality plan,” Walker said. “Yes, the plan stops (just) short of Title II reclassification and allows fast lanes for delivery of high-bandwidth Web sites, which angers progressives. Conversely, it angers conservatives and free-market proponents by granting near complete control of the Internet on a case-by-case basis.

“Furthermore, such broad rule-making smacks of the last two failed FCC attempts to implement net neutrality,” Walker said. “A modern-day Solomon would recognize only Congress possesses the constitutional ability to pass such laws, not a regulatory agency prone to arbitrariness, inconsistency, and favoritism.”

The FCC’s proposed rule can be viewed here. Comments from the public are welcome through July 15, 2014. Leave yours here.

Watch me talk about net neutrality in the video below:

Categories: On the Blog

Cruz Bill Promotes Energy Liberation, Job Creation, Prosperity

Somewhat Reasonable - May 17, 2014, 10:41 PM

The Obama administration has repeatedly threatened private and state land oil and gas exploration.

On March 27, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the American Energy Renaissance Act, providing for comprehensive liberation of energy producers to maximize energy production, job creation and prosperity for America. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK).

Despite the war-like hostility of the Obama administration to the traditional carbon based energy that fueled the industrial revolution, the entrepreneurship and modern technology of America’s private economy is producing a boom in oil and gas production that is overwhelming President Obama. America has already surged to become the world’s number one natural gas producer. It is also now the world’s fastest growing oil producer, already third in the world. And America has the resources to be the world’s number one coal producer as well.

Not that President Obama did not try to stop this American success story, contrary to the grossly misleading rhetoric in his speeches taking credit for it. The Congressional Research Service recently reported that the portion of total natural gas production from federally controlled lands and offshore declined by 40% from Fiscal Year 2009 to Fiscal Year 2013. The portion of total oil production from such federally controlled areas declined by 32% over that period.

That was achieved by slowing permits for exploration and development of oil and gas in federally controlled areas, imposing moratoria on already granted permits (held to be contrary to federal law in federal court), and even withdrawing already granted permits. These policies have hurt federal revenues from oil and gas royalties, and taxes that would have been paid by oil and gas producers.

But the explosion of oil and gas production on private and state owned lands, so far outside of federal reach, has more than made up for the losses of possible production in federally controlled areas. That explosion of private oil and gas production has been due to the advances and development of the process of hydraulic fracking.

The practice of “fracking” has been in use in oil and gas production for almost 70 years. It involves high speed water injection underground, combined with less than 10% sand in volume, and 0.5% salts and other solvents, often commonly used by the general public. Though the practice more recently has excited the religious quality hysteria that might be expected from a demon sighting, no other negative effect of the practice has been documented in all these decades.

The more recent advances that have made the practice so much more effective have combined it with the 360 degree drilling techniques originally developed for deep water production of oil and gas, and modern computer technology that helps identify promising drilling targets. The resulting burgeoning supply of natural gas in the U.S. has produced sharp declines in natural gas prices in America, which has promoted a revival of American manufacturing, for which President Obama has also tried to take credit.

But the Obama administration has repeatedly threatened private and state land oil and gas exploration and production with potentially crippling new federal regulation that could shut this blossoming boom down. State governments have regulated fracking effectively to protect the public all these years. The Cruz-Bridenstine bill would continue that state regulation, removing any federal authority to interfere and regulate fracking.

The bill would also immediately approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, freeing the private sector to build it entirely with its own funds. That would directly create 42,000 good paying, private sector jobs, according to Obama’s own State Department, and support many times that through the reliable, low cost energy it would provide to the American economy. The Obama administration itself has already conducted five environmental reviews of the pipeline, all concluding it would have no significant, negative environmental effects.

President Obama repeatedly calls for more taxpayer funding of infrastructure to create jobs. But the private sector would be paying for the Keystone Pipeline infrastructure entirely with its own money, without taxpayer funds. So it should be a no brainer. Does the Democrat Party represent working people at all anymore?

The Cruz-Bridenstine bill would also remove any authority for EPA to regulate greenhouse gases to address supposed global warming concerns, until Congress acts to expressly authorize such regulation. Such proposed regulation under development by the EPA would be prohibitively expensive for the economy, causing skyrocketing energy costs for everybody, which would threaten the loss of millions of jobs. Such costly regulation should not be adopted by bureaucrats hiding from democratic accountability, unless expressly authorized by Congress to do so.

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) documents in the thousands of pages of the multi-volume, peer-reviewed, Climate Change Reconsidered II, that the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), followed religiously by Obama’s EPA, leaves out consideration of hundreds of published, peer-reviewed, studies indicating that human emissions of greenhouse gases do not threaten catastrophic results. Indeed, those emissions have probably only benefitted plant and animal life on the planet so far, as increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere promotes greater plant and agricultural growth, creating an actual greening of the Earth.

In fact, there has been no global warming for more than 17 years now, which even the IPCC concedes, and that period will soon be longer than the period of actual global warming (which may not have been global) lasting only 20 years or so, from the late 1970s to the late 1990s, as I have shown in a previous column. So there is no real world justification for the imposition of such regulatory costs.

The U.N.’s IPCC and Obama’s EPA only represent the government’s interests in expanded governmental tax and regulatory powers. Indeed, the U.N. is an organization of governments, many if not most not democratically elected. So it is not representative of the interests of working people in jobs and improved standards of living.

President Obama campaigning in 2008 famously said he would bankrupt the coal industry. He is already well down that road, with 288 coal fired power plants in 32 states already closed or closing as of June, 2013 due to newly adopted EPA regulatory costs and burdens. Those closures are already eliminating 50,000 good paying jobs in the coal, utility and rail industries alone, with indirect effects eliminating another quarter million jobs.

You see why I say President Obama is at war with America’s own energy industries, and that the Democrat Party no longer represents working people? Senator Cruz’s bill would terminate the EPA regulations already shutting down the coal industry, and destroying good paying jobs for working people.

Moreover, prospectively, the Cruz-Bridenstine bill would require that before any EPA regulations eliminating any jobs could take effect, the regulations would have to be expressly approved by Congress and signed by the president. EPA regulations currently under development are estimated to eliminate 2 to 3 million jobs in the next decade. Again, today’s Democrats are not representing working people.

Senator Cruz’s bill would also grant states the power to lease, approve permits for, and regulate oil and gas exploration and development on federal lands within their borders, and adjacent offshore areas. Federally controlled onshore and offshore areas hold 43% of America’s proven oil reserves, and 28% of natural gas reserves. Reversing Obama’s perverse policies and leasing and producing oil and gas in these federally controlled areas could create more than 1 million additional good-paying jobs. The states would then gain their share of those lease royalties and payments. States can best represent the interests of their own people in balancing jobs and environmental protections.

The bill would also authorize further exploration and development of oil and gas production in the National Petroleum Reserve, by Indian tribes on tribal lands, on the coastal plain of Alaska (ANWR), and offshore on the Outer Continental Shelf. The National Petroleum Reserve is estimated to hold close to a trillion barrels of oil, and 53 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This reserve is set aside for oil and gas production, yet President Obama is not allowing further exploration and development even there.

West of the Mississippi river alone, Indian reservations hold 30 percent of the nation’s coal reserves, 50 percent of potential uranium reserves, and 20 percent of known oil and gas reserves. Cruz’s bill would empower the tribes to develop and gain the revenues from these energy riches.

While President Obama has held press conferences announcing expanded offshore drilling, in reality he has effectively prohibited exploration and development off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Welcome to the world of Orwellian Progressivism. Senator Cruz’s bill would streamline the regulatory process for offshore oil and gas exploration and development by requiring lease auctions of federally controlled offshore areas within 6 months of enactment of the legislation, and every 9 months after that, and drilling permit applications to be approved or disapproved within 20 days after they are submitted. The bill would similarly streamline regulatory approvals for new refineries, with not one new one built in the past 30 years.

Finally, the Cruz-Bridenstine bill would phase out the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements over 5 years. The RFS, a federal folly adopted during the Bush years by a Democrat Congress, requires increasing percentages of so-called “renewable” biofuels to be blended into gasoline and diesel every year. The law now requires more such biofuels to be blended than are produced, which has left refiners forced to pay fines for failing to comply with impossible requirements. That has only arbitrarily increased gas prices, which harms the poor most of all, who often lack the money even to fuel essential drives to school, the grocery store, the pharmacy, or even mandatory court appearances. For these costs, the RFS provides essentially no actual benefits.

This comprehensive American energy liberation is a very Reagan-like policy that shows presidential vision and leadership. It shows that Cruz understands how to create jobs and rising wages and incomes, while Obama has shown he does not. Those Progressives out there who think they can laugh off Cruz should learn that in the late 1970s, Reagan was not socially acceptable among the elite Washington establishment. Within a few years, he had won two landslide national elections, including one over an incumbent Democrat president.

[First published at Forbes.]

Categories: On the Blog

The Bitter Harvest of Obama’s Transformation

Somewhat Reasonable - May 17, 2014, 11:02 AM

In campaigning for the presidency, Barrack Obama inspired popular support of millions of voters by eloquently promising to “transform” America with “fundamental” change. Now his popularity is at its all-time low, his signature legislation, Obamacare, has been a disaster, his highly touted—and extremely expensive—stimulus program has failed. He has done nothing to lower the federal debt or tackle the future insolvency of Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.And the economy continues to stumble 58 months after the recession officially ended.

In the first quarter 2014, home loan demand plunged 58% from the same period a year ago and 23% percent from fourth quarter 2013. Ever since the Fed began its “quantitative easing”— printing money—in late 2008, it was hoped that driving down interest rates would stimulate home buying and lead to growth in other segments of the economy. Many people were able to refinance their homes with lower mortgage rates, but the hoped-for follow through for the rest of the economy has been very weak. Moreover, the low interest rates have a sizable downside: they lowered the purchasing power of millions of retirees struggling to supplement fixed incomes with decent returns from low-risk investments.

Since the recession ended 58 months ago in 2009, the gross domestic product (GDP) has grown only 1.8% a year on average, half the rate of the past three recessions. The unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 6.7%, and the standard of living for most people has declined. Median household income declined 1.65% in 2008 and 2.6% in 2009—but it continued to fall after the end of the recession: by 2.3% in 2010 and 2.5% in 2011. In 2013 median household income was 6.2% lower than in 2007, the official beginning of the recession. And it was 4.7% lower than in June 2009, the official end of the recession. Obama’s policies have put the country on the wrong track. This is emphasized by the fact that since the end of the recession, employment has risen from 140 million to 145.7 million—but the number of Americans who are neither working nor seeking to work soared from 80.9 million to 91.4 million!

The labor participation rate includes workers and those looking for work but not those who have quit looking for work. This rate now stands at 62.8%, the lowest in 36 years. The employment rate (employment-to-population ratio) stands at 58.9%, compared to 59.4% in 2009. Pathetic as those numbers are, the situation is much worse than they indicate. As we pointed out in a previous posting, 60% of the jobs lost during the recession were in the middle pay range and only 21% in lower paying jobs, but almost the exact opposite occurred during the so-called recovery: 58% of the new jobs were low-paying while only 22% were in the middle range. In short, workforce income has downshifted. Far from showing an economic recovery, the numbers collectively show the economy has been going downhill since Obama became president.

Obama got elected by promising a fantasy he cannot deliver because it is disconnected from economic realities. The “transformational change” he promised has burdened the economy with wasteful government spending, mounting debt, tax increases and costly regulations that dissuaded business from investing and hiring. Evidence throughout the world shows the path to prosperity lies in reducing government spending and government’s role, not in increasing them as Obama has done. The International Monetary Fund data show that nations which restrained government spending enjoyed above-average economic growth. Daniel Mitchell of the Cato Institute provides some examples:

In Sweden, government budgets grew an average of only 1.9% annually from 1992 to 2001, and government spending as a percent of GDP dropped 15%.

In Germany, government spending grew an average of less than 0.2% annually 2003 to 2007, and government spending dropped to 5.4% of GDP. A significant budget deficit became a surplus.

In Canada, government spending grew an average of only 0.8% annually 1992 to 1997, and government spending as a percent of GDP dropped 9.4%. A large deficit turned into a surplus.

Latvia has cut government spending by an average of more than 4% annually since 2008 and reduced government spending as a percent of GDP by more than 7%.

Other nations with similar results include: Ireland (1985-89), Slovakia (2000-04), Singapore (1998-08), Italy (1996-2000), Lithuania (2008-present), Taiwan (2001-06), Israel (2002-05), Estonia (2008-11), Iceland (2008-present) and the Netherlands (1995-2000).

Regulations slow economic growth and impose costs on business and consumers. They make business less competitive and leave consumers less money for saving or spending—including spending for necessities. The overall cost of federal regulatory compliance is estimated at $1.9 trillion annually in a new study, based largely on government documents, by Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. This amounts to $14,974 per U.S. household, because the added cost of regulatory compliance is embedded in the prices of all goods and services. Regulation is not a free service provided by a benevolent government for its citizens; it is a service that costs them much more than they realize. But by far the greatest and most tragic cost is the slower economic growth that has meant fewer jobs, lower incomes and vanishing economic possibilities that tens of millions of Americans will never see.

The 2013 Federal Register contains 3,659 final rules, which means they must be obeyed now, and 2,594 proposed rules that will have to be obeyed when their final publication appears. Mr. Crews reports that there are another 3,305 regulations moving through the pipeline. Of these, 191 are defined as “economically significant” (having annual costs over $100 million each). This means we are likely to see even more of these expensive regulations from Obama’s remainder in office than in his first 3 years as president, when 106 new regulations in this cost category were adopted. That compares to 28 during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration.

The Federal Register in 2013 contained 79,311 pages. The all-time record was 81,405 pages in 2010. Four of the five largest occurred during Obama’s presidency.

Regulations also impose costs by delaying or denying permits for enterprises that would provide employment. Obama has stated his goal of income equality affects everything he does, even why he ran for president. He speaks out against the rich with the class warfare rhetoric of Saul Alinsky and Karl Marx. This makes him popular with middle and lower income voters and unwilling to approve permits or regulations that would favor business or the wealthy—even when they would provide jobs and good wages for the very people he professes to be most concerned about. A case in point is the oil and gas industry.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, new jobs in the oil and gas industry increased 92% between 2003 and 2012, compared to a 3% increase in all jobs during this period. The BLS says the average annual wage in the oil and gas industry was $107,200 in 2012, the latest full year available. At the other end of the scale, waiters and waitresses earned about $16,200 a year, workers in the accommodations industry averaged $27,300, and those in retail trade averaged $27,700. But in oil boom regions, energy development lifted wages for low-income workers, too.

Williston, North Dakota, and Sidney, Montana, are oil boom towns on the western edge of the Bakken geologic formation. Drs. Polzin and Whitsett report:

“Before the Bakken boom in 2003, BLS data showed that average wages in all jobs in Richland County [Sidney] and Williams County [Williston] were roughly equal to their state averages. In Richland County, wages averaged $30,000, or 91% of the Montana average. In Williams County, wages averaged $32,700, or 97% of the North Dakota average.

“The data show that these counties now have average wages that have risen to 133% (Montana) and 170% (North Dakota) of their state averages. And wages in lower-paying jobs have also increased in inflation adjusted terms and relative to the region. In Richland County, food service wages have risen 109% (from 80%) of the Montana average. In Williams County, wage growth has been even more dramatic—to 146% from 97% before.”

The authors point out that these two counties are not atypical but characteristic of oil and gas development throughout the U.S. They conclude: “Lower-paid workers in retail trade, food services and accommodations jobs experienced much faster than expected increases in wages per worker. The data don’t lie.”

The reality of lower-wage, less-skilled workers benefiting from higher-wage, more skilled workers does not jibe with collectivist ideology to which Obama clings. That ideology holds that people becoming rich under capitalism do so at the expense of the poorer classes. That is the essence of the class warfare attacks against the rich and demands that they pay higher taxes— their “fair share”—and that government redistribute this wealth. The more some people increase their wealth, the more virulent become the diatribes against the inequality of wealth. The clamor increases for extending unemployment benefits, other transfer payments, food stamps, subsidies for Obamacare, and other welfare measures, all disincentives to work.

North Dakota has an unemployment rate of 2.6%, the lowest in the nation. You’d think Obama would want to emulate North Dakota in order achieve jobs and lower the unemployment rate elsewhere. He has spoken repeatedly about his concern for “jobs, jobs, jobs,” which he claims to be concerned about and trying to create. But he has so far refused to approve the Keystone XL pipeline to bring oil from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast, which would create thousands of jobs just like happened in North Dakota. Last year North Dakota added 18,000 jobs; the Keystone XL pipeline would add 20,000 jobs over several states. The Keystone XL pipeline has been waiting for approval since 2008. (It appears the White House doesn’t want to reject the pipeline until after the November elections because billionaire Tom Steyer, who is pleased by the delay, has promised $100 million to help the Democrats retain the Senate. Obama doesn’t want to nix the pipeline until after November elections because several Democratic office holders are in favor of the pipeline and might lose re-election if the pipeline is vetoed.)

Another illustrative example in the oil and gas industry is Oregon’s Jordan Cove terminal for exporting liquefied natural gas. It will provide Rocky Mountain drilling states with easier access to international markets; however, it took two years to obtain federal approval, which happened just last month. The regulatory delay was tantamount to a 100% tax on the profits that would have been made during those two years. The costly delay would no doubt have been even longer if Putin’s invasion of Crimea had not led Congress to push for more exports to ease Russia’s control over Europe’s energy needs. Significantly, there are 24 other liquefied natural gas terminal projects waiting for approval.

Before wealth can be “redistributed,,” it must first be created. Obama’s policies act against the creation of wealth. Food stamps do not create jobs. Extending unemployment benefits does not create jobs. Waiters and waitresses and others in low-paying employment do not create jobs; they benefit from jobs created by others.

How do people become wealthy? By providing goods, services and jobs that other people accept to better themselves. Consumers and workers choose new or more economical products, more efficient service or a better paying job because those things are in their self-interest. Other people provide these things through innovation, capital investment and hard work. Some get rich from this process. So much the better, for now they have the know-how and capital to do more of the same. Buyers and sellers enter transactions for their own benefit, but each side must benefit the other in order to succeed. Transactions are “win-win.” In this system those who accumulate the most wealth are those who most enrich others through the freedom of the marketplace. These are the people Obama targets for higher taxes in order to make them pay their “fair share.”

When Obama castigates the wealthy for not paying their “fair share,” his accusation is devoid of any respect for their natural rights. Under a system of natural rights, every individual has a natural right—by the cause-and-effect principle—to whatever wealth he accumulates by the exercise of his rights through labor and trade with others. That is the only “fair” system for the distribution of wealth. It is also the most efficient way of utilizing financial, human, and material resources and raising the standard of living in society.

Aristotle was the first to introduce the cause-and-effect principle in human thought, more than 2,000 years ago, but it has been at the root of knowledge far longer. At least as far back as primitive man learned to hunt or grow food, he has employed the cause-and-effect principle to learn about the world around him and advance his condition. The same cause-and-effect principle is applied so often today we take it for granted in our daily routines, our work, providing for our families and their futures, in medical research and countless other scientific pursuits that extend our knowledge of nature. It is this same principle that identifies property as an effect of action stemming from the right to life, which is the cause. The right to property was seen by our Founding Fathers as the principle means of exercising their right to the “pursuit of happiness,” which is a moral statement of an individual’s natural right to act for his own self interest. It means his own happiness is a moral purpose of his life, in the context of his own rights and respecting the same rights of others. The only political system for this is free-market capitalism.

Natural rights are “unalienable,” as the Declaration of independence states. That means they are “not transferable to another person or capable of being repudiated.” You cannot repudiate natural rights; you can only honor them or violate them—as Obama has done by trying to “fundamentally transform” America. It is appropriate to recall Étienne Gilson’s observation, “The natural law always buries its undertakers.”

When government attempts to redistribute wealth, it necessarily violates the property rights of some for the unearned benefit of others. Some people gain, others lose. Unlike free-market transactions, which are win-win, government-forced economic transactions are win-lose. The more win-lose transactions proliferate, the more the economy underperforms what would be achieved by the win-win transactions of a free market. Obamacare is a perfect example: tens of millions of people lose by being forced to pay more for their health insurance, and the money is redistributed to others in the form of unearned health benefits and salaries to administrators.

Obamacare is not an exception. All government economic interventions are win-lose transactions. They are wasteful, distort price signals, misallocate funds, and foster inefficient use of natural resources. In a future posting we shall discuss these issues and include examples. For now, we conclude with further evidence against demands for economic equality and show that the disparity is NOT increasing, as is frequently claimed. Those claims are simply phony propaganda for advancing socialist schemes.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inheritance and gifts account for 16% of household wealth of the top quintile. For the hated top one percent, inheritance is about 15%. Those numbers have declined by almost half in recent decades. Meanwhile, inheritance comprises 43% of the lowest quintile of household wealth and 31% of the second-lowest quintile.

Kevin D. Williamson writes: “The wealthiest Americans work for their money, and the poor could learn from them. Wealthy households contain on average more than four times as many full-time workers as do poor households….They live modestly relative to their means and for the most part do not work on Wall Street or as corporate executives….

“The country would in fact be far better off if more people lived the way the top 20 percent do: married, working their butts off, saving and investing their money, and living within their means. …as a practical matter we are running out of ways to spend money on the needy: We already pay for education, food, housing, job training, health care, heating, etc.”

[Originally published at American Liberty]

Categories: On the Blog

No, Mike Pence, Obamacare's Medicaid Expansion Isn't Conservative

Health Care Suite - In The News - May 16, 2014, 1:04 PM
Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced today his state is expanding its Medicaid program using the Healthy Indiana Plan, styling it an “alternative” to Medicaid…

No, Mike Pence, Obamacare's Medicaid Expansion Isn't Conservative

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - May 16, 2014, 1:04 PM
Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced today his state is expanding its Medicaid program using the Healthy Indiana Plan, styling it an “alternative” to Medicaid…

Net Neutrality Rhetoric: ‘Believe it or not!’

Somewhat Reasonable - May 16, 2014, 12:11 PM

With due credit to Ripley’s Believe it or Not!®,” so much odd and bizarre is happening in Washington in the “name” of “net neutrality” that the topic calls for its own collection of: “Believe it or Not!®” oddities.

INTERNET FAST LANES:

Net Neutrality activists who have long condemned the FCC for not making the Internet fast enough now condemn the FCC for proposing to make the Internet faster!

Google and Amazon oppose the FCC enabling them to pay for fast-lane delivery of their online services when they both are launching very-costly, same-day, home delivery services!

The U.S. Post Office, Fedex, UPS, and DHL, which all allow faster, paid-prioritized delivery of letters and packages, the airlines and the TSA, which allow faster paid-prioritized plane-boarding and airport-security-clearance, and consumers, which have long paid more for faster-lanes to the Internet, apparently “didn’t get the Free Press memo” that “paid-prioritization” and faster service is a bad thing!

Net neutrality activists think they can get Gigabit-speed broadband by imposing kilobit-speed Title II regulations!

Net neutrality activists’ latest claim that we currently have an equal speed Internet with no slow or fast lanes, ignores what all consumers know, that they can get free access to slower Internet or pay more for whatever faster Internet speed they want or need!

Sloganeers’ serial and opportunistic rebrandings of “net neutrality” have so confused it’s meaning that the latest “No Internet fast lanes” rallying cry implies opposition to most everyone’s desire for a speediest Internet!

By opposing Internet fast lanes as unfair, net neutrality proponents are arguing for everyone to have equally slower Internet service!

TITLE II UTILITY REGULATION

While advocating the use of 706 authority to accelerate broadband deployment and “remove barriers to infrastructure investment,” the FCC also is toying with imposing Title II utility regulation, which would enshrine the FCC as the single biggest barrier to infrastructure investment ever!

In seriously considering Title II utility regulation of broadband, the FCC considers protecting edge providers freedom to innovate without permission by taking away broadband providers freedom to innovate without the permission of the FCC!

America’s aristechractic Internet companies, which enjoy the least regulation, taxation, and law enforcement from government of any sector, are aggressively pushing the FCC for the most draconian type of regulation possible on the broadband industry!

Internet Association members imagine that playing with the launch of a Title II reclassification “nuke” would present no risk of “fallout” for them or the Internet ecosystem!

Internet Association President Michael Beckerman strongly opposed Net Neutrality regulation and Title II reclassification when he was on the Hill, butnow is among its most ardent proponents!

Net neutrality coiner Tim Wu has proposed a novel Title II corporate welfare scheme to the FCC that would apply Title II regulation only to Silicon Valley’s downstreaming “telecommunications,” that combined with his recommendation for zero-pricing of downstream traffic, would then force users to shoulder the entire cost burden of upgrading the Internet’s infrastructure!

Net Neutrality professors Tim Wu and Susan Crawford think broadband should be regulated as a utility like monopoly electricity, water and gas utilities are, but electricity, water and gas cannot be delivered via copper, coax, fiber, wireless and satellite like broadband can!

COMMERCIALLY REASONABLE:

The Internet Association threatens to “go SOPA” on the FCC if they have to pay “commercially reasonable” prices for special delivery of their high-volume video streaming rather than their non-negotiable demand of a zero price for downstream traffic – forever!

Silicon Valley interests and net neutrality activists are making a federal case over the difference between a “commercially reasonable” and a “just and reasonable” pricing standard!

Silicon Valley companies and investors suggest that the Internet start-ups they fund can’t afford a “commercially reasonable” price for bandwidth!

Strange but true.

“Believe it or Not!®”

[Originally published at Precursor Blog]

Categories: On the Blog

Storms of My Father

Somewhat Reasonable - May 16, 2014, 10:58 AM

James Hansen has a fantasy book out called “Storms of my Grandchildren.” I say fantasy because it seems that if you are climate scientist, or pretend to be (Dr. Hansen is actually a trained astronomer and a darn good one from what I have heard), you are allowed to make forecasts that no one now will be around to verify, and the ones you do make short term are allowed to bust and then be claimed as correct anyway. I think a lot of people in my business, who pre-date the rise of the climate science hero, are wondering if we chose the wrong profession.

However, I have a real story. It ties in with the major worry we have about what on paper in the large term is a less than spectacular hurricane season. And now I see forecasts coming out that look and sound much like what WeatherBell Analytics has had out for quite some time now.

Read about it here. It has been out since the start of April!

I thought I would recount a story that my dad would tell me. We were still living in Rhode Island at the time, before my father went to Texas A&M to get his degree in meteorology, and it may have been around the time of Donna in 1960. But he always knew I would get fired up when he told me as a little kid (I was not normal – the 3 bears never hacked it for me). Of course my “nonna” knew she could fire me up with Oreo cookies, but that shows you how much I loved the hurricane stories too.

Side note: The senator from Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse (interesting name if you have presidential ambitions using global warming as an agenda to get attention, eh?), either does not know what happened to his home state between1954-1960, even after being devastated in 1938 and hammered to a lesser degree in 1944 by hurricanes, or he is trying to purposely use the fact that less and less of the population that remembers is around so he can distort the current hurricane conditions. This is par for the course given what is obviously a politically-driven agenda now. But how do you try to say things are worse now than they were then? We have a radar fence on the East Coast partly because former Rhode Island Senator T.F. Greene (the airport is named after him) thought it was important for the state to get prepared for hurricanes slamming them in alarmingly frequent fashion. He was probably tired of thinking storms would pass to the east and then dealing with hurricane blasts knocking over trees left and right.

In any case the story of my father involved the New England hurricanes of 1954, Carol and Edna. My father’s story: “Joe I came home from work at 8 am (he was working the graveyard shift at United Wire in Cranston) and turned on the Today Show. And the announcer (I believe at the time David Garroway) was saying Hurricane Carol was passing east of Cape Hatteras and would ‘break up east of Cape Cod’ that afternoon.” Then, with a pause to enhance the drama, dad would say, “20 minutes later, the power went out at Westerly (RI).”

No wonder; look at this picture of Westerly from Carol.

His description of the passage of Carol was interesting. At the height of the highest winds, which were at a constant roar, there was a cirrus overcast that one could see the sun through. As in so many storms that recurve, there is less rain east of the center relative to the west of the center. This is because of the storms’ structure changing as the cool upper troughs that catch these systems start to interact with the storm. However, there is no doubting the severity of the surge up Narragansett Bay, second only to 1938.

Here is the Edgewood Yacht Club in Cranston, RI, not more than five miles from where I lived the first five years of my life:

What is amazing is this picture. Remember what my dad said about the overcast being high and thin? Look at this guy fighting the wind, but notice you can see the cumulus clouds against a backdrop of high, or few clouds.

I can’t do justice to this, but a good description of Carol is in Wikipedia.

But it wasn’t over; not yet.

While Carol’s little sister Dolly recurved southeast of New England, dad’s story picked up with Carol’s ferocious sister, Edna. “11 days later, the power had just come back on and here comes Edna, being forecasted to travel the same track as Carol! At the last minute, Edna veered enough so the wind shifted from hurricane force gusts from the east and northeast to the north and northwest, not south like Carol. The center passed to the east of Rhode Island, over Cape Cod, resulting in a huge blowout tide in Narragansett Bay, and the exposure of ships not seen since the revolutionary war! But if Edna had stayed the course, then Rhode Island would have been devastated twice within two weeks! Nothing has come close to this since.”

Which says a lot about people that are trying to say things are worse now than ever, especially a U.S. senator from the state of Rhode Island, or any East Coast state for that matter given what happened between 1954 and 1960. (Remember, we had Hazel too in 1954, another story which I have linked with Sandy many times). And finally there was Donna in 1960 along the entire East Coast, which my dad wrote about at Texas A& M. With hurricane force winds from Maine to Florida, no other storm has come close to that since!

Now these storms of my father are not some fantasy about the future, but verified fact that less and less people alive today remember. But they were told and retold to me, which why I scoff so much at the hysteria whipped up by people today that look from afar, and may I add down the noses of people that actually experienced this.

My dad would always end the story, and he will tell it many times through the years: “Joe, do you realize what would happen today if this repeated itself?”

You know, it’s a scary thought for several reasons. 1.) The population and property now on the East Coast. 2.) The amazing politicization of the weather. 3.) The lack of what appears to me to be a media that will do its job to make sure the public understands that something like this has happened and can happen again, and that man does not have a darn thing to do with it!

Now let’s look at that 1954 season. You can easily see the tracks of the three sisters up the East Coast, the strongest by the way was Hazel, a category four hurricane in mid-October.

Notice there was only one big storm, Hazel, that came out of the deep tropics. Most of the action was to the north. The 11th storm was a fluke so to speak – it developed at the end of December in the northeast Caribbean. Again, can you imagine with the propaganda and the agenda today how this would be twisted as something less than natural? By the way, look at storm number four, Dolly. Suppose that was 200 miles further west, a stones throw in terms of the global circulation.

Let’s get to the water temps. around this time of the year back in 1954. There was plenty of warmth off the East Coast.

Now look at 2014.

Very similar with warm water in very close to the coast. Why? We are in the same decadol cycle in the climate overall; it’s why anyone that has studied hurricanes understands that we have been fortunate compared to the 1950s. Now again I want you to look at our forecast, which came out to clients first at the end of March, and went public on April 8th. Notice our worry and where it’s targeted.

The “Storms of My Father” were real. Perhaps I am guilty, because of a love for the weather and the way the weather has worked in its patterns throughout time (that’s called climate), of being a bit overdramatic here. But the fact that you see something before, and understand the cause, and then see it again and warn people you are in a similar set up, is far different from those who perhaps know what should happen, then try to attribute a different reason to it for their own gain. I don’t know. But there was a great senator years ago that grew up in New England like his brother before him who was struck down by an assassin’s bullet in the prime of his life. As perhaps a too idealistic and yes, a bit naive, teenager at that time, I was a big fan of RFK, and even today I wonder what would have happened if he and his brother lived. In any case, there was something he used to say that applies in a way to the hurricane threat today. While any storm that comes along, or multiple storms for instance like the “storms of my father,” may have some men asking, “Why?” I see the weather and climate for what it is and wonder, “Why not?”

Joe Bastardi is chief forecaster at WeatherBELL Analytics, a meteorological consulting firm.

© Copyright 2014 The Patriot Post

[Originally published at The Patriot Post]

Categories: On the Blog

It’s a Very Complex World

Somewhat Reasonable - May 16, 2014, 10:37 AM

In the 1980s I devoted a lot of effort to debunking a torrent of Green lies about pesticides and herbicides. This was before the Greens latched onto “global warming” which has since become “climate change” and the subject of a recent White House report filled with dire predictions of planetary doom and disaster.

Nobody died from using pesticides or herbicides in the 1980s or since unless they drank it straight from the bottle. When I talked with farmers they would frequently say “Do you think I would put this stuff on the crops my family eats if I thought it would harm them?” The Greens have always attacked anything that would increase crop growth by limiting the real harm of weeds or the predation of insect species. These days genetically modified seeds are a target for environmentalists though studies have amply demonstrated their crops are safe to eat.

Less food means less people and that has always been a major goal of the people leading the nation’s and the world’s major environmental organizations. The same formula applies to denying energy to people worldwide.

As for pesticides, we all use them to keep our homes and workplaces free of insects that are the key vectors for all manner of diseases. In a world before their invention, millions died from mosquito-borne diseases such as Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Encephalitis, West Nile virus and Malaria. Millions still die from malaria and these diseases because one of the most effective pesticides ever invented was DDT and it was banned because of the lies Rachel Carson told in her iconic, environmental book, “Silent Spring.”

The world is a very complex place and it is essential to have a fundamental understanding of how it works. One of the best new books on this subject is Robert Bryce’s “Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper” ($27.99, Public Affairs). What Bryce doesn’t know about energy is probably not worth knowing and, happily, he has authored several books on the subject. His latest provides wonderful and useful insights to the world we share today with seven billion other human beings.

Bryce quotes Edward Abbey, “one of the patron saints of American environmentalism” who, in 1971, said, “We humans swarm over the planet like a plague of locusts, multiplying and devouring. There is no justice, sense or decency in this mindless global breeding spree, this obscene anthropoid fecundity, this industrialized mass production of babies and bodies, ever more bodies and babies.”

This is the kind of thinking that is the hidden justification for genocides. Not surprisingly the leaders of the Nazi regime were all dedicated environmentalists. At the heart of much that passes for environmentalism is an attack on the energy sources that enhance or lives and agricultural practices that feed us.

It’s not by accident that environmental groups all trumpet the same doomsday lies at the same time. Their leaders get together to coordinate their efforts and the current one is aimed at what they call “de-growth”, the reduction of economic growth by any means.

With President Obama blathering about “climate change” threats, it should not surprise anyone to conclude that the horrible economic conditions he has imposed on our nation was not an accident, nor that he focuses on thwarting the provision of energy, the most vital component of economic growth.

“The prescriptions put forward by the degrowth crowd,” says Bryce, “are familiar. Nuclear energy is bad. Genetically modified foods are bad. Coal isn’t just bad, it’s awful. Oil is bad. Natural gas—and the process often used to produce it, hydraulic fracturing is bad.”  And it is no surprise that the Environmental Protection Agency—the most anti-growth governmental agency—has just announced steps to require the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, a technology that has been in use for more than a half century and one that has unlocked access to vast reserves of natural gas and oil.

It is essential to understand who the enemy is and it is groups like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the Worldwatch Institute, to name just a few.

The next time some environmental spokesman is busy spreading fear, Bryce says it is necessary to keep in mind that “Their outlook rejects innovation and modern forms of energy. It rejects business and capitalism. We must move past the climate of fear to one of optimism. We must move past fear of technology to an understanding that technology isn’t the problem; it’s the solution.”

[Originally published at Warning Signs]

Categories: On the Blog

Job Listings

Out of the Storm News - May 16, 2014, 9:26 AM

Our current openings include:

GOVERNANCE PROJECT DIRECTOR

The R Street Institute, a free-market think tank located in Washington, D.C., is seeking a senior-level director for its new project on governance. The director will spearhead a new initiative to make government work better from a distinctly free-market perspective of “limited, effective government.” In short, we want somebody interested in working to fix democratic dysfunction in ways that satisfy advocates of limited government.

To date, most of those looking at the legislative process and institutional reform have come from the center or left of the political spectrum. As a group on the right, we look at democratic dysfunction through a prism informed by our own public policy preferences. In particular, we think government should live within its means, regulate only when no viable market alternative exists, rigorously assess the effectiveness of government programs and end those that are ineffective or counterproductive.

We want somebody who agrees with these principles. The person would investigate, explore and advance proposals like reforming the congressional committee system, improving the budget process, instituting stronger regulatory review, creating a better process for overseeing and evaluating program effectiveness and ending programs that are not cost effective. We’re not imposing an ideological litmus test on the person we hire—many of us wouldn’t pass one—but we do want somebody who is comfortable being part of the conservative movement.

During the first year on the job, we expect the person we hire for this job would identify and explore a range of issues that we could address in this area, lead a process whereby we prioritize a sub-set to focus on, produce one or two major white papers on issues related to governance, publish a number of articles and host several small events on the Hill and elsewhere. By the end of the year, this work should result in a full-throated agenda and vision for “limited, effective government” that is both credible and actionable.

The person we hire should have 10 or more years of experience with issues of governance, including at least some experience working in the government (ideally in Congress.) A record of published work on public policy issues is also required and publications from magazines like The Weekly Standard and National Review are as important (maybe more important) than academic papers. An advanced degree is very strongly preferred and experience managing projects is also desirable. We want a person, in short, who can hold his or her own with the top scholars of Congress working in think tanks today.

Salary will be commensurate with experience, and will certainly exceed $100,000 annually. The job also has an excellent benefits package that includes health insurance with premiums fully paid by the employer, bike sharing, health club membership reimbursement, employer-provided breakfast, a 401(k), an employer-paid mobile phone and an exceptionally generous leave policy.

R Street doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, sex, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, taste in music or anything else that’s illegal, immoral or stupid to use as a basis for hiring.

To apply, please send a resume, a short cover letter in the body of the e-mail, and at least two published writing samples to employment@rstreet.org. This position will remain open until filled. We currently anticipate that we’ll accept applications until June 20, 2014. We’ll conduct final-in person interviews in late June or early July and make a job offer at the same time. This timeline may change. Applicants we’re interested in talking with further should expect to be contacted within two weeks. Anyone who doesn’t hear for us after two weeks and thinks they really deserve consideration should follow up.

For more information about working for the R Street Institute, contact employment@rstreet.org.

Patrick Brennan - Massachusetts's Teachers' Union Elects Anti-Common Core President

Education - In The News - May 16, 2014, 1:34 AM
The Common Core standards and their implementation are suffering attacks all around America and from all sides — in red states and blue, and from the left and…

2+2=What? Parents Rail Against Common Core Math

Education - In The News - May 16, 2014, 1:34 AM
An Iowa woman jokingly calls it “Satan’s handiwork.” A California mom says she’s broken down in tears. A Pennsylvania parent says it “makes my blood boil.” What…

Parents rail against 'ridiculous' Common Core math homework

Education - In The News - May 16, 2014, 1:32 AM
Proponents say Common Core will help establish national education standards, but critics believe it will mean the end of local control of education. (AP) An…

Sen. Grassley: Federal Government Pressured States to Sign Onto Common Core

Education - In The News - May 16, 2014, 1:32 AM
Grassley, a strong opponent to Common Core, joined host Tim Constantine on TPNN.com’s The Capitol Hill Show to discuss the nationalized standards. “Both…

State Rep. Joe Carr Challenges Sen. Lamar Alexander's 'Misleading' Citizens on Common Core

Education - In The News - May 16, 2014, 1:31 AM
His responses to questions about Common Core show the nationalized standards are so much a significant electoral issue this year that he’s not talking about…

GOP Civil War Is Really A Fight Between Two Big-Spending Establishments

Budget and Tax Suite - In The News - May 16, 2014, 1:29 AM
E.J. Dionne Jr The language used to describe the battle going on inside the Republican Party is wrong and misleading. The fights this spring are not between…

Your tax dollar collectors at work-- the IRS targeting scandal deepens

Budget and Tax Suite - In The News - May 16, 2014, 1:28 AM
New documents obtained by Judicial Watch demonstrate conclusively that the IRS policy of targeting tea party and conservative groups came directly from…
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