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Phila. lawmakers move toward ban of e-cigarettes in public places

Out of the Storm News - March 14, 2014, 12:20 PM

From CBS Philly:

But many speakers spoke in opposition. Among them was Dr. Joel Nitzkin, speaking for what he described as a libertarian think tank called the  R Street Institute.

“E-cigarette vapor contains no products of combustion and only the tiniest traces of other toxic substances,” he said.  “E-cigarettes pose a risk well below two percent of the risk posed by regular cigarettes, and for all practical purposes, no risk to bystanders.”

Uppity Deniers, Unite!

Environment Suite - In The News - March 14, 2014, 11:05 AM
Greenland was first settled in the 10th century during the Medieval Warm Period by Norse farmers. The Norse settlements collapsed in the 14th century when the…

Heartland Daily Podcast: Yaron Brook on the Principles of Liberty – Part 2

Somewhat Reasonable - March 14, 2014, 10:30 AM

This weekly podcast features the second half of a conversation between Jim Lakely, Heartland’s communications director, and Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute. In this half of the interview, Jim and Dr. Brook discuss President Obama’s treatment of capitalism, corporate cronyism, and the morality of libertarianism.

Dr. Brook describes Obama’s rhetoric as “the language of taking”, in which greedy executive take an unfair share of “our income”. It is a dangerous road the President wants to lead America down, one that invalidates hard work and innovation. Dr. Brook emphatically: “We do build it. We do make it”.

On the subject of corporate cronyism, Jim and Dr. Brook discuss how it is the people who have taken federal bailouts, and who have colluded with the government against the capitalist system, who might not “deserve” what they earn. But they are not real proponents of the free market at all, are they?

The morality of libertarianism takes up the latter part of the discussion. In the question of moral goodness, the only answer can be what the individual considers to be valuable. Dr. Brook says that he believes a political system that acknowledges human reason will respect people’s autonomy. Yet today we have a system in which both Left and Right try to undermine individuals. Politicians have forgotten that government is a means, not an end.

The conversation is brilliant, ranging across many of the issues facing the free market and the causes of reason and independence. While things may seem bleak in political circles at the moment, Dr. Brook seems confident in people’s ability to resist the oppression of the state in the end.

Listen to the podcast in the player above.

Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast free at this link.

Categories: On the Blog

Alex Sink Rides Global Warming Alarmism to Surprise Congressional Defeat in FL-13

Somewhat Reasonable - March 14, 2014, 10:21 AM

The national media this morning are calling Democrat Alex Sink’s surprise defeat in a bellwether special Congressional election yesterday a foreboding referendum on Obamacare. Perhaps this is so, but only slightly less noteworthy is Sink supporters’ failed attempt to turn victorious Republican David Jolly’s global warming skepticism into a political albatross.

Having just moved into Florida’s U.S. House District 13, I was shocked these past two weeks to discover how global warming became the central issue dominating television’s political commercials. Granted, I haven’t been watching much television, as moving from one house to another has been nearly a full-time job. Nevertheless, it seemed I couldn’t go 15 minutes into my limited viewing schedule without seeing the same Sierra Club/League of Conservation Voters commercial excoriating Jolly for being a global warming skeptic. I honestly can’t recall seeing any other political commercials these past two weeks, either pro-Sink or pro-Jolly. However, I must have seen the global warming commercial at least a dozen times.

Most campaign analysts and all pre-election polls named Sink the favorite in the race. Sink held statewide office as Florida Chief Financial Officer from 2007-2010. In 2010, one of the bloodiest political years for Democrats ever, Sink came within a hair of winning Florida’s gubernatorial election. Sink had a tremendous name recognition advantage over Jolly, a former lobbyist who nobody had even heard of six months ago. Sink’s campaign outspent Jolly. And Sink decided to counter anti-Obamacare sentiment by defining Jolly as a scientifically dangerous climate change skeptic.

If there is any congressional district in America where Democrats should theoretically get the most bang for their buck selling global warming alarmism, Florida District 13 should be it. The district is urban and decidedly moderate. The Tea Party barely exists here. Northeastern and Rust Belt snowbirds dominate the demographics. President Obama carried the district in 2008 and 2012. And global warming alarmists’ constant (and erroneous) harping about sea level rise and hurricanes should prove especially scary to voters in District 13, which hugs the Gulf of Mexico.

Jolly didn’t even fight back against the constant global warming political onslaught. He never answered the Sierra Club/League of Conservation Voters attacks with a defense of his views on global warming, energy and the environment. He simply let Sink’s supporters sink their political war chest on what turned out to be a loser political strategy. Maybe Sink, despite all her advantages, was unavoidably going to suffer the political upset, anyway. Then again, maybe not. What we do know is a well-known Democrat who had recently served in statewide office lost to a lobbyist running his first political campaign after global warming became the most visible campaign advertising issue in the weeks leading up to the election.

Interestingly enough, the Florida District 13 election occurred just as the Senate Democratic Climate Action Task Force wrapped up an all-night session in which 30 Democratic senators filibustered to protest the Democratic-controlled Senate’s failure to pass a carbon tax. Democratic U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mark Begich (D-AK) and Kay Hagan (D-NC), all of whom face difficult reelection contests in the upcoming November elections, stayed conspicuously away from the high-profile hijinks.

Maybe they know something Alex Sink’s supporters should have, but didn’t.

[First published at Forbes.]

Categories: On the Blog

Senate Democrats’ Anti-Scientific Hot-Air Marathon

Somewhat Reasonable - March 14, 2014, 10:00 AM

While this week’s Senate  Climate Action Task Force all-night marathon may seem like the ultimate  comedy, real climate scientists are crying over the event. It’s not just because  of the numerous basic science mistakes made by the senators.

Scientists are also concerned that most of the media and public will fail to  realize that many of the senators’ absolute assertions are simply science  fiction.

The senators repeatedly argued that the science of climate change is  “settled.” Scientists supposedly know with certainty that our carbon-dioxide  emissions are causing a climate crisis.

There is no further need to investigate the validity of the theory or to  consider alternative evidence, the senators asserted. Rather, we must take  action to stop the  unfolding human-caused climate catastrophe.

Like children frightening each other with ghost stories, senators seemed to  be competing for the most alarming forecasts of eco-disaster.

Sen. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts  Democrat, easily took first place with his warning: “The science proves there is  a danger  . The planet is running a fever, but there are no emergency rooms for  planets.”

Professors Chris Essex of the University of Western  Ontario and Ross McKitrick of the  University of Guelph classify this sort of remark as part of the “Doctrine of  Certainty” that has ruined the climate debate.

In their book “Taken by Storm,” they explain, “The Doctrine is a collection  of now-familiar assertions made about climate, all of which must be accepted  without question.”

If one dares question the Doctrine, the reaction from true believers is  immediate: You are a denier, an enemy of nature, a pawn of big oil — and you  must be silenced.

The senators did not even consider the possibility that, as Mr.  Essex and Mr. McKitrick say, “The  Doctrine is not true. Each assertion is either manifestly false or the claim to  know is false.”

Following Mr. Obama’s assertion in January’s State of the Union address that  “the debate is settled,” Mr. Kerry told  Indonesians last month that the science backing what he called “the greatest  threat that the planet has ever seen” is “something that we understand with  absolute assurance of the veracity of that science.”

In reality, trying to unravel the causes and consequences of climate change  is arguably the most complex science ever tackled. Mr.  Essex and Mr. McKitrick explain:  “Climate is one of the most challenging open problems in modern science. Some knowledgeable scientists  believe that the climate problem can never be solved.”

One of the reasons the Senate Climate Action Task  Force can get away with their exaggerations is that the U.S. National  Academy of Sciences, the United Kingdom’s Royal Society and other national  science bodies are not doing their jobs.

Rather than working to help to defeat the anti-science “Doctrine of  Certainty” distorting the climate debate, these scientific bodies and others who  should know better engage in propaganda, making absolute assertions concerning  topics about which we have little knowledge

The National Academy of Sciences-Royal Society report, “Climate Change:  Evidence and Causes,” released on Feb. 27, is a prime example. In it, there  appear numerous unfounded assertions that cannot be supported by science.

For example, it says, “If the rise in [carbon dioxide] continues unchecked,  warming of the same magnitude as the increase out of the ice age [i.e., 7 to 9  degrees Fahrenheit] can be expected by the end of this century or soon  after.”

Not only does such a confident prediction undermine the careful approach  scientists normally take when addressing difficult fields of study, it is  irresponsible, since it encourages governments to prepare only for warming while  ignoring the possibility that far more dangerous cooling is on the way as the  sun weakens into a “grand minimum” over the coming decades.

Reports such as that from the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal  Society provide political cover for politicians of developed country to bring in  draconian and unnecessary carbon-dioxide regulations that are destroying their  most important source of electric power — coal.

Ontario has already closed most of its coal stations because of the  government’s blind adherence to climate-change doctrine. This has led to soaring  electricity prices, a major  cause of the province’s decline from “have” to “have not” status.

With the Senate Climate  Action Task Force’s help, the Obama  administration appears determined to do the same in the United States, ending  America’s use of coal, the least expensive and most reliable electricity  source.

The president and his allies promote wind and solar power, the least reliable  and most expensive options available, in the vain belief that this will stop the  climate from changing.

No one knows whether spending billions of dollars revamping  the U.S. energy infrastructure will finally break America’s back. Still, there  are limits to how many blunders even a great nation can commit and still  survive.

Let’s not find out if  bowing to the climate-change “Doctrine of Certainty” will be America’s final,  fatal mistake.

[Originally posted at The Washington Times]
Categories: On the Blog

The Austrian Economists Who Refuted Marx (and Obama)

Somewhat Reasonable - March 14, 2014, 9:47 AM

Left unspoken in Obama’s assertion of knowing what a minimum “fair” or “just” wage should be in America is the ghost of a thinker long thought to have been relegated to the dustbin of history: Karl Marx (1818-1883).

Marx’s Labor Theory of a Worker’s Value

Marx’s conception of the unjust “wage slavery” that businessmen imposed on their workers became the premise and the rallying cry that resulted in the communist revolutions of the twentieth century, with all their destruction and terror.

Marx insisted that the “real value” of anything produced was by determined by the quantity of labor that had gone into its manufacture.  If it takes four hours of labor time to produce a pair of shoes and two hours of labor time to prepare and bake a cake, then the just ratio of exchange between the two commodities should be one pair of shoes in trade for two cakes. Thus the quantities of the two goods would exchange at a ratio representing comparable amounts of labor time to produce them.

If a worker’s labor produced, say, three pairs of shoes during a twelve-hour workday, then the worker had a just right to the ownership of the three pairs of shoes his labor had produced, so he might exchange it for the productions of other workers from whom he wanted to buy.

But, Marx insisted, the businessman who hired the worker did not pay him a wage equal to the value of the three pairs of shoes the laborer had produced.  Simply because the businessman owned the factory and machines as private property with which the worker produced those shoes, and without access to which the worker would be left out in the cold to starve, the employer demanded a portion of the worker’s output.

The employer paid him a wage only equal to, say, two of the pairs of shoes, thus “stealing” a part of the worker’s labor. Hence, in Marx’s mind, the market value of the third pair of shoes that the businessman kept for himself out of the worker’s work was the source of his profit, or the net gain over the costs of hiring the worker.

Here is the origin of the notion of “unearned income,” the idea of income not from working and producing, but from, well, simply owning a private business in which the workers who really did all the work were employed.

The businessman, you see, does nothing. He lives off the labor of others, while sitting up in his office, with his feet on the desk, smoking a cigar (when it was still “politically correct” to do so). It is not surprising that given this reasoning about work, wages and profit that a president of the United States then says to businessmen “You really did not make it.”

Carl Menger and the Personal Value of Things

Karl Marx died in 1883, at the age of sixty-four.  A decade before his death, in the early 1870s, his labor theory of value had been overturned by a number of economists. The most important of them was the Austrian economist, Carl Menger (1840-1921), in his 1871 book, “Principles of Economics.”

Menger explained that the value of something was not derived from the quantity of labor that had been devoted to its manufacture. A man might spend hundreds of hours making mud pies on the seashore, but if no one has any use for mud pies, and therefore does not value them enough to pay anything for them, then those mud pies are worthless.

Value like beauty, as the old adage says, is in the eyes of the beholder. It is based on the personal, or “subjective,” use and degree of importance that someone has for a commodity or service to serve some end or purpose that he would like to satisfy.

Goods do not have value because of the amount of labor devoted to their production. Rather, a certain type of labor skill and ability may have value because it is considered useful as a productive means to achieve a goal that someone has in mind.

And furthermore, the value of things decreases as our supply of them increases, because we apply each additional quantity of a good at our disposal to a purpose less important than the purpose for which previously acquired units of that good were used.

As I am adding shirts to my wardrobe, each extra shirt generally serves a use for that type of clothing less important to me than the shirts I had purchased earlier. Economists call this the “diminishing marginal utility of goods.”

Nobody Pays More for Anything Than They Think its Worth

So there is no “objective” minimum value that labor is inherently worth. An employer hires workers because they have value to him in assisting to produce a product that he thinks he can sell to potential buyers. As he hires workers of a particular type and skill, each of these workers is assigned to a task less important than the one the previous worker was hired to do.

As a result, no employer can or does pay more for any worker than he thinks his labor services are worth in contributing value to his production activities. The value of the worker to the employer is an assigned reflection of what that employer thinks the product is worth to the buying public who may purchase what the worker helps to produce.

Suppose that he thinks that some of the people in his work force contribute no more than, say, $6.00 an hour to the making of a product he hopes to sell to consumers. It should not be surprising that when the government tells him that he is legally obligated to pay each one of them a minimum wage no less than $7.40 an hour or $10.10 an hour, he lets go those that he considers now to be more costly to employ than they are worth. In addition, other jobs that he might have made available at that $6.00 an hour will never come into existence.

All that a government-mandated minimum wage succeeds in doing is pricing out of the labor market those workers whose valued contribution in the eyes of the employer in making a product is less than what the government dictates must be paid to them.

But what, exactly, does the employer do? What does he contribute to the production process, over and above the work down by the hired employees? Marx, as we saw, argued that the businessman’s “profit” was the value of that portion of the worker’s output that he appropriated for himself simply because he owned the business in which the worker was employed.

Böhm-Bawerk and the Importance of Savings for Job Creation

Another Austrian economist, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk (1851-1914), who developed many of the ideas that originated with Carl Menger, gave the answer to Marx. In an important three-volume work on “Capital and Interest” (1914), and in several essays, the most important of which were, “Unresolved Contraction in the Marxian Economic System” (1896) and “Control or Economic Law” (1914) Böhm-Bawerk asked: Where does the business come from in which the worker is employed? And from where comes the funds with which the worker is paid his salary?

How has the factory been built? From where comes the capital – the machinery, tools, equipment – in the factory with which the hired workers do their work to produce the products that eventually are available for consumers to buy?

Böhm-Bawerk’s answer was that someone had to do the necessary savings out of income earned in the past so resources could be devoted to building the enterprise and housing it with the capital equipment without which any worker’s labor would be far less productive, far smaller in output, and far more crude in its quality.

The businessman who undertakes an enterprise must either have saved the necessary funds to cover his own investment expenses to do all of this, or he must have borrowed if from others who had done the necessary savings. Someone had to sacrifice, forego, the desirable consumption uses in the present that that savings could have been used for if it had not been invested in starting up and maintaining the operations of the business that may generate a financial payoff in the future when a product has been produced and can be sold at some point in that future.

No one sacrifices the uses and enjoyments that their income could provide them with today unless they are sufficiently compensated with a gain in the future that makes it worthwhile to forego those consumption uses and pleasures of the present.

That is why interest is paid, as the price for trading the use of resources across time, between the present and the future. It is the price that savers receive in the future for sacrificing satisfactions closer to the present until the borrowed sums are paid back. And the borrower pays that interest because he values more highly the uses he has for the money and resources he borrows today than the interest premium that he pays over the principle on the loan when it is repaid in the future.

Businessmen Save the Workers from Having to Wait for Their Wages

The fact that the businessman has such savings at his disposal, either from his own savings out of income earned in the past or from the borrowed savings of others, means that those that he employs do not have to wait until the product is finished and actually sold to receive their wages for the work they perform over the period of production.

The employer, in other words, “advances” to the workers the discounted value of what their labor services are worth while the production process is ongoing, precisely to relieve those whom he is employing from having to wait until revenues are received in the future from the sale of the product to consumers.

Indeed, this is why it is correct to say that the businessman really did “make it,” because without his willingness and ability to organize, fund, and direct the enterprise those whom he employs would have no jobs and would have no wages to live on before a marketable product was made and successfully sold.

This last point is also crucially important to appreciate. The businessman is not only the organizer of the enterprise and the investor of savings to “make it” happen, he is also the entrepreneur, the one who may or may not earn a profit from his enterprising efforts.

Businessmen Bear the Uncertainty of Planning for the Future

The workers and all others who supply businessman with the useful services and resources to undertake a production process receive their pay while the work is on going and being done. But the entrepreneur bears the uncertainty of whether or not he will earn enough from selling the product to cover all the expenses he has incurred when the product is finally ready for sale and actually offered on the market.

By paying those he employs the agreed upon and contracted for wages, he relieves his employees from the uncertainty as to whether or not, at the end of the day, a profit is earned, a loss is suffered, or the enterprise barely breaks even.

It is the businessman who has to make the creative speculative judgments about what to produce and at what price his product might sell. The correctness of that entrepreneurial judgment, in better anticipating than his competitors what it is consumers may want to buy in the future and the price they might pay for it, is what determines the success or failure of his enterprise.

Thus, Karl Marx had it all wrong in misunderstanding what determined the value of goods, the worth of workers in the production process, and the vital and essential role of the enterprising entrepreneurial businessman who really does “make it” all happen.

The Harm That Comes from Marxian-Based Polices

It matters little whether the president of the United States and others who share his views about work, wages and businessmen are consciously aware of how much their conception of capitalism and the labor market is implicitly derived from and influenced by the obsolete ruminations of a long-dead socialist revolutionary from the middle of the nineteenth century.

What does matter is that economic policies based on such Marxian misconceptions of the nature and workings of the free market economy can only lead to harm and disaster for multitudes of the very people it is claimed they wish to help.

And such misplaced policies will further undermine the essential foundations of the free market system that over the last two hundred years has given man more personal freedom and material prosperity than has ever known in all of human history.  They are policies that erode away at people’s liberty to work and freely associate in the ways they find most advantageous, and therefore move society down a road that leads to potential ruin.



[Originally posted at EpicTimes]
Categories: On the Blog

How the Global Warming Scare Began

Somewhat Reasonable - March 13, 2014, 9:11 PM

Heartland friend John Coleman is among the many courageous meteorologists who are speaking out against the fake science of man-caused global warming. He’s brave, influential, and has the backing of his TV station in San Diego, KUSI, to produce videos such as the one below titled “How the Global Warming Scare Began.”

Coleman is the founder of The Weather Channel, was the first weatherman on “Good Morning America,” and was named “Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year” by the American Meteorological Society. (NOTE: Coleman quit the AMS when, he says, it was clear “the politics had gotten in the way of the science.”)

In the video below, Coleman says something all global warming “skeptics” could agree upon: If the science actually backed up the notion that humans were endangering the earth’s climate, he’d be on the front lines to save the planet. “But it’s just not happening,” he said.

The little warming we have now is well within (and even below) natural variations over the centuries. But the fruitless “fight” against man-caused global warming is wasting enormous sums of money — seen in government outlays, and in the unduly rising energy bills of every American.

In his video, Coleman gives us many “Cold Hard Facts.” Here are some of them:

  • Arctic ice levels are well within the average measured by satellites since first recorded about 35 years ago.
  • Polar bear populations are up, not down.
  • The “global warming” superstorms the alarmists predicted have not materialized. No hurricanes hit the US in 2013. Superstorm Sandy was nothing compared to the Galveston Hurricane in 1900, before man supposedly had influence on the climate. Strong tornadoes have been diminishing, too.
  • We haven’t had a “killer heat wave” since the 1950s.
  • Al Gore got a “D” in the only science course he took at Harvard, taught by the godfather of climate alarmism, Roger Revelle … and the rest is history (including Revelle apologizing for his previous alarmism and Gore responding by calling him “senile.”)

There is so much more. This is the primer you must show your alarmist friends:

For more information on what’s really happening to the earth’s climate, visit The Heartland Institute’s archive of its eight international conferences on climate change — featuring more than 300 presentations by 187 scientists, economists, and policy experts (including Coleman).

For the very latest observable climate science, as opposed to political climate science, visit the Climate Change Reconsidered site. Stay tuned to that site, and The Heartland Institute, for news about yet another report from the Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) that will be released later this month.

Categories: On the Blog

Criminal-justice reform and federal funding

Out of the Storm News - March 13, 2014, 2:16 PM

If you need evidence of how much conservative thinking about crime has changed over the past few decades, look no further than the crowd gathered for last week’s CPAC panel on criminal-justice reform, featuring such stalwart conservatives as Grover Norquist and Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Rather than focusing solely on locking people up (still a good thing to do in many cases), conservatives have taken the lead in efforts to encourage businesses to hire more ex-offenders and improve drug treatment behind bars. Thus far, most of these efforts have been focused at the state level, since states enforce the great bulk of criminal laws and imprison most inmates.

While this approach has served the burgeoning movement well, in the long run, conservative criminal-justice reformers will need to grapple with federal policy, as well. Thanks to roughly a dozen federal grant programs of various scopes and sizes, federal policies influence nearly every aspect of local police and corrections practice. But given conservatives’ general skepticism about almost any federal role in local law enforcement (a skepticism I share), few on the right have made constructive proposals for reform at the national level.

This is a mistake. There are some federal law-enforcement programs — such as ones involving border security, technological development and anti-terrorism efforts — that it makes sense for conservatives to support. In other areas, existing federal programs encourage localities to do the wrong things, with funds tied to locking up more offenders and making more arrests. These incentives lead to more spending and bigger government.

Like much of what government does, the inefficient and misguided programs have proven nearly impossible to kill, so ignoring them really isn’t an option. Instead, the right should look to craft its own reform program, while building on to what’s good that has come from the left.

In particular, New York University’s Brennan Center has given a lot of deep thought to ways to fix the largest single police-facing federal program, the Edward A. Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program. Instead of simply rewarding police for making more arrests and issuing more warrants, the Brennan Center team proposes rewarding localities for reducing violent crime, diverting non-violent drug offenders to treatment rather than prison and otherwise policing smarter. These ideas, packaged under the rubric of “success-oriented funding,” make a lot of sense.

There’s reason to think the federal government should vastly reduce its role in criminal justice. But if federal programs are to continue, we have to stop them from doing harm. The Brennan Center’s proposals offer one potential path for moving in the right direction.

Judiciary Committee hears Internet sales tax testimony

Out of the Storm News - March 13, 2014, 11:17 AM

From Heartlander:

Andrew Moylan of the R Street Institute. His testimony favored origin-sourcing, the concept of taxing sales based on where the seller is located rather than where the customer is located. Origin-sourcing reconfigures the sales tax from a consumption tax to a business activity tax, which is revolutionary. The most common critique of origin-sourcing is that it would lead to online sellers clustering in states with no sales tax, which is questionable.

House looks for best way to ‘level the playing field’ with online sales taxes

Out of the Storm News - March 13, 2014, 11:15 AM

From National Journal:

“Simply treating remote sales in the same way that we already treat brick-and-mortar sales would level the playing field in an honest way,” said the R Street Institute’s Andrew Moylan.


Obama Golfs While Americans Job-Seek

Somewhat Reasonable - March 13, 2014, 11:00 AM

A close relative of mine has been spending months job-seeking and the news from the White House in the first week of March was that the President was playing golf in Key Largo while Joe Biden was in the Virgin Islands soaking up the sun. It’s not that they don’t deserve some down time, but down time for the unemployed is full time. The U.S. has 866,000 fewer people employed today than when the recession began in the wake of the 2008 recession.

Since Obama became President in 2009, there has been a 3.5 million increase in jobs, but 12 million new working age people. This is supposed to be a “recovery” according to the White House but the job numbers are not keeping pace with the job-seekers.

It’s not widely reported, but the labor force participation rate of 63% remains stuck at or near its lowest point since the late 1970s. There are two million fewer Americans in the labor force today than a year ago. The number of long-term unemployed, six months or more, rose by 203,000.

While Obama keeps bloviating about income inequality, too many Americans have no income at all.

At the same time, thanks to Obama, the U.S. debt, according to the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of Public Debt, has increased $6.666 trillion since he took office on January 20, 2009. As of January 31, 2014, the total debt stood at $17,293,019,654,983.61. While he has been President, the U.S. has accumulated as much new debt as it did in the first 227 years.

This is a President who has been pushing to raise the minimum wage, but according to the Congressional Budget Office, raising it to $10.10 an hour would cost the U.S. economy a half-million new jobs by 2016.

In an article by Michael D. Tanner that was published by the New York Post in August of last year, he noted that “The federal government funds 126 separate programs targeted towards low-income people, 72 of which provide either cash or in-kind benefits to individuals.” In addition, state and local governments have welfare programs as well. Who funds these programs? Those with jobs. Welfare benefits are not taxed.

“There is no evidence that people on welfare are lazy,” wrote Tanner. “Indeed, surveys of them consistently show their desire for a job. But they are not stupid. If you pay them more not to work than they can earn by working, many choose not to work.”

Former Presidents have encountered recessions when they entered office and those such as Kennedy and Reagan put an end to them. When taxes are lowered it puts more money into the economy and that stimulates it. There is no such talk from Obama and, indeed, his 2014 budget adds billions more that he wants to add to government revenue and spending.

A March 10th Rasmussen survey found that the President’s proposed new $3.9 trillion federal budget that includes $55 billion in new spending for fiscal 2015, is regarded by one-out-of-two voters (50%) who think the Obama administration has already raised spending too much.

Spending is controlled by the House of Representatives, but legislation to address the present economy has been consistently blocked in the Democrat controlled Senate. It’s the same one that enacted the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, which is playing havoc with the nation’s health system and impacting its economy by forcing businesses to either cut the number of people employed or reducing full-time workers to part-time status.

Other actions of the Obama administration are contributing to the unemployment roles as its “war on coal” has shut down more than 150 coal-fired plants that generate electricity and its loans to “green” industries have cost billions as many have declared bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of State, John Kerry, is telling everyone that “climate change” is the greatest threat to the planet and urging U.S. ambassadors to make it a priority. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency is engaged in an orgy of regulation based on zero proof that carbon dioxide warms the Earth.

Obama and his administration is so detached from reality that it is afflicting millions of Americans who want to work while at the same time its policies are reducing the number of new jobs being created.

If this is a deliberate policy—as I believe it is—the only conclusion is that the President is intentionally inflicting a huge debt and impediments to our economy that are reducing the greatest nation on Earth to a third world nation status. He opposed the view of American exceptionalism and is doing everything he can to kill it.

[Originally posted at Warning Signs]
Categories: On the Blog

U.S. Wireless Competition Criticism “Believe It or Not”

Somewhat Reasonable - March 13, 2014, 10:46 AM

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

Softbank’s CEO Masayoshi Son, who bought Sprint for $21b in 2013 with public plans “to become the #1 company in the world,” tells U.S. regulators just eight months after he bought Sprint, that Softbank-Sprint cannot compete with either of America’s #1 and #2 wireless providers, Verizon and AT&T, unless Softbank can buy America’s #4 wireless provider — T-Mobile!

T-Mobile and Sprint, which each voluntarily chose not to bid in the last auction for spectrum available under 1GHz, now complain to the DOJ and FCC that it is unfair that they do not have more spectrum under 1 GHz to compete!

When wireless users use 50% more data than they did last year because they spend more time accessing the Internet for more things anywhere they go, are streaming more video than ever, and getting more value from their wireless services than ever before, pressure groups complain that users overall wireless bills are going up!

Sprint is urging regulators to allow Sprint to buy T-Mobile because T-Mobile can’t compete with Verizon or AT&T when T-Mobile’s maverick “uncarrier strategy” has been successful in enabling T-Mobile to add 4.4 million customers in 2013 and in building a 4G LTE network covering 200m Americans faster than Sprint!

The U.S. wireless industry, with more national facilities-based providers than any nation in the world (4), with four times more wireless investment per subscriber than anywhere else in the world, and with more cutting-edge 4G LTE wireless broadband service available than anywhere else in the world, still has critics trying to claim that the U.S. wireless market is not competitive!

Sprint’s Chairman argues Sprint and T-Mobile are not big enough individually to compete in the U.S. market when Sprint’s customer base is equivalent to the populations of California and New York combined, and T-Mobile’s customer base is the equivalent to the populations of Texas and Florida combined!

The FCC, in its last annual wireless competition report to Congress did not declare that effective wireless competition exists, when the FCC’s own analysis shows the U.S. market is the most competitive it has ever been and more competitive than most any other nation!

The FCC is considering tightening the spectrum screen limits for Verizon and AT&T for the upcoming 600 MHz incentive auction at Sprint’s urging when Sprint commands 57% more spectrum than AT&T and 95% more spectrum than Verizon and when the FCC’s current spectrum screen does not even include 59% of Sprint’s industry-leading spectrum hoard!

The DOJ Antitrust Division claims  both Verizon and AT&T are “the dominant firms” in wireless, when DOJ guidelines define “dominant” as only one player with 50+% share and when two thirds of U.S. wireless consumers do not use Verizon, and when two thirds of U.S. wireless consumers do not use AT&T!

Despite the Government centrally managing Federal lands since 1849, personnel since 1883, buildings since 1949, telecom services since 1960 and budget resources since 1970, the Federal Government has no central management or accountability system for radio spectrum in 2014!

Radio spectrum, a trillion dollar federal asset essential to the mobile revolution of smart phones and tablets still has no inventory, budget, valuation, utilization audits, or accountability, and no group in Congress calling for modern sound fiscal management of this critical natural resource!

Despite the U.S military being considered the most technologically advanced military in the world, the DOD did not have a framework to begin the process of rationalizing and optimizing their radio spectrum resources for the 21st century for the first time — until five months ago!

Strange but true.

“Believe it or Not!®”


[Originally posted at Precursor Blog]
Categories: On the Blog

US House considers alternatives to Internet sales tax bill

Out of the Storm News - March 13, 2014, 10:30 AM
From PC World:

An online sales tax based on the seller’s location would work much like brick-and-mortar sales taxes do today, added Andrew Moylan, outreach director at the R Street Institute, a think tank advocating for free markets. If a Washington, D.C., resident shops in Virginia, she pays Virginia’s sales tax, he noted.

But Stephen Kranz, a partner in the McDermott Will & Emery law firm and a member of the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board, said a tax system based on the seller’s location would be easy to game and would likely drive Internet retailers to relocate or set up ghost headquarters in the handful of states without sales taxes.

The proposals from Moylan and Cox would create “a race to the bottom” in state tax rates, added Representative Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat.

Origin sourcing takes a beating at congressional hearing

Out of the Storm News - March 13, 2014, 10:27 AM

From Digital Marketing News:

Another proponent of origin sourcing, Andrew Moylan, senior fellow of R Street, argued that MFA would hinder economic growth by penalizing the rampant growth of Internet businesses. “Origin sourcing truly levels the playing field,” he told the committee. “The MFA would erase the physical presence standard for remote sales while ostensibly maintaining it for brick-and-mortar sales.”

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