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The Policy and Commentary Blog of The Heartland Institute
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West Virginia Solicitor General Discusses the ‘Building Blocks’ of Obama’s Clean Power Plan

1 hour 44 min ago

Elbert Lin

West Virginia Solicitor General Elbert Lin discussed how the Clean Power Plan imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would dramatically alter power generation. The remarks were made during a presentation made to Americans for Prosperity on August 21st in Columbus, Ohio during the Defending the American Dream Summit.

Lin is the lead attorney in a 16 state lawsuit filed against EPA on August 5th over the radical regulatory scheme. The lawsuit alleges EPA overstepped its limited authority when it created CPP and violated not only the Clean Air Act, but the U.S. Constitution as well.

States are being required to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants by 32 percent from year 2005 levels by the year 2030. All states are required to turn in a preliminary emissions reduction plan by September 6, 2016. States have until 2018 to begin implementation of their plans. Emissions reduction efforts would begin in 2022. EPA will create an emissions reduction plan for any state who fails to turn in a plan by the 2016.

During Lin’s remarks, he described about how the EPA would achieve their emissions reduction targets through the “three building blocks” of the plan. He described these building blocks as:“switching emissions at the source, switching power generation from coal to natural gas, and switching power generation from coal to nuclear.” Power utilities would be forced to switch to renewable sources of energy to fuel their plants if the courts uphold the plan.

Lin promised to attendees: “we will sue and will continue to sue,” against the implementation of the clean power plan. The appeals court is expected to hear on the lawsuit. No date has been set on any oral arguments. Attorneys have until Friday to turn in their updated legal briefs.

Categories: On the Blog

Green Tax Credits: Welfare for the Well Off

8 hours 17 min ago

Two Tesla Motors Model S Charging At Burlington Washington Super

A new study by researchers at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, shows tax credits to improve homes’ energy efficiency, expand the sales of green vehicles, and increase the use of renewable power have proven to be a very expensive form of welfare for the well to do. According to the study, U.S. households have received more than $18 billion in federal income tax credits for weatherizing their homes and purchasing energy efficient appliances, installing solar panels, buying hybrid and electric vehicles, and other “clean energy” investments since 2006.

These tax benefits have gone almost entirely to the highest income Americans — those most able to make energy efficient purchases without government support. The study found Americans in the top income quintile received 60 percent of all energy efficiency related tax credits while those in the bottom three income quintiles combined got only about 10% of all credits. The program encouraging the purchase of electric vehicles was by far the most regressive subsidy, with people in the top quintile garnering approximately 90% of all credits.

I’ll be doing more of these short posts in the future, pulling them from my online publication Climate Change Weekly. I encourage you to subscribe.

Categories: On the Blog

Coal Industry Leaders Betraying Workers

8 hours 17 min ago

By Tom Harris and Tim Ball

Imagine you have been wrongfully arrested, charged with murdering a child. Although the evidence against you is vague, authorities are anxious to appease those demanding justice so your case is rushed to trial. Your lawyer decides that, considering public sentiment, it is best to plead guilty and throw yourself at the mercy of the court.

But then witnesses come forward who place you miles from the scene of the crime when it occurred. Your lawyer discovers that the victim’s body has yet to be found and there is now some question as to whether the child even existed. With a sense of relief you head to court, confident you will be exonerated.

But to your surprise, your lawyer doesn’t bring up evidence of your innocence. Instead he pleads for leniency, giving the court moral authority to punish you for a crime you did not commit and perhaps never even occurred.

This scenario is analogous to what is happening to one of America’s most important industries and the source of 37% of the nation’s electricity: coal. Accused of causing dangerous climate change due to its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, coal-fired electric power is in the crosshairs of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).

You would expect coal leaders to proclaim their industry’s innocence of the crime of which they stand accused, pointing out, for example, that:

–       Global warming stopped 18 years ago despite a 10% rise in CO2 levels,
–       Hurricane activity is at a record low,
–       Medium to strong tornadoes have become less frequent,
–       Antarctic sea ice cover has been increasing at about 1 to 2% per decade,

You would assume coal CEOs would shout from the rooftops that even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has backed away from associating extreme weather with climate change. You would expect industry leaders to enthusiastically promote the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change which shows that fears of climate Armageddon are unfounded.

But, no, with few exceptions, coal leaders accept the charges against their industry. Rather than countering the President’s misguided science, they focus on legal technicalities or throw themselves at the mercy of the court of public opinion with complaints about job losses and high costs as the nation’s cheapest power source is turned off.

Legitimate though these arguments are, they cannot win the day as long as fears of man-made climate catastrophe are not effectively countered. Obama knows that employment in the coal and related sectors is being seriously damaged. He accepts that energy prices will soar, especially in states that currently enjoy low electricity costs due to extensive coal usage. He told Americans this would happen before he was first elected and he twice won the presidency anyways.

Obama recognizes that industry’s current arguments can’t hold a candle to ‘saving the planet’ in the eyes of opinion leaders and the public and politicians outside of coal-dependent areas.

The only way to save coal is to convince Americans that the administration’s primary excuse for killing it is misguided. There is no man-made climate crisis happening. And, despite Obama’s implications to the contrary, the CPP imposes no limits whatsoever on emissions of soot and the precursors to smog, both of which are already well addressed by current regulations.

Coal sector workers and others who rely on cheap and plentiful electricity must demand that their leaders defend them properly. They need to remind their frightened spokespeople that no one wins a war against powerful enemies without intense opposition. If climate activists are not bothering to mount counter-demonstrations to pro-coal rallies, then industry CEOs are not doing their jobs.

Over 400 coal fired power plant units are slated to be closed through 2016 due to Environment Protection Agency regulations. That amounts to 101,000 megawatts of the cheapest electricity available in the United States today. Almost half of these closures are specifically due to Obama’s irrational CPP, rules that are totally unnecessary given what we now know about climate science. Coal industry leaders who are not prepared to publicly make this point must step aside and pass on the responsibility to those who will.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition. Dr. Tim Ball is an environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg.

 

[Originally published at Augusta Free Press]

Categories: On the Blog

Russians Sending Mission to the Moon, Following in the Footsteps of Neil Armstrong and NASA

8 hours 33 min ago

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” — Neil A. Armstrong, American astronaut, former Naval officer, first man to walk on the Moon, July 1969.

More than four decades after man last walked on the surface of the Moon, the Russian space agency Roscosmos is sending a robotic spacecraft there. The purpose of the mission: scout potential locations for a future, manned lunar base.

The moon base will feature living quarters for cosmonauts, labs, a launching and landing port for spacecraft, and even an observatory for star gazing, according to a report by Tech Insider. The reconnaissance spacecraft, dubbed Luna 25, will land on the moon’s south pole in 2024, Roscosmos announced.

Of course, the Obama White House recently reassigned NASA from space exploration duties to the much more meaningful work of Muslim outreach, for which its scientists and engineers are so well-trained, and culturally competent. So unless Richard Branson, Jeffrey Manber, or other commercial space entrepreneurs help America get back up into orbit, soon, the winner of the second phase of the space race is foreordained.

 

Russians launch lunar exploration.

Categories: On the Blog

U.N. Negotiators Preparing ‘Comprehensive Draft’ of Climate Change Accord for Paris Talks

9 hours 53 min ago
The most recent round of climate change talks ended this week precisely as planned to complete the first “comprehensive draft” of the new climate change treaty many governments are poised to sign this coming December in Paris, according to a news release by the U.N. President Obama is in favor of the treaty, but conservatives are telling Somewhat Reasonable that the Senate may declare the document dead on arrival, and refuse to vote to ratify the treaty, or to fund its proposed projects. The draft, being drawn up by Ahmed Djoghlaf of Algeria and Daniel Reifsnyder of the U.S., will present "clear options and ways forward" on all elements of the agreement and the decisions that start enforcement of the accord by 2020. “At this session, countries have crystallized their positions and have requested the co-chairs to produce a concise basis for negotiations with clear options for the next negotiating session in October. This means that we will arrive in Paris on time without too much turbulence-- not before, not later,” said Mr. Djoghlaf, Co-Chair of the ADP, the negotiating body tasked with reaching the agreement that must put the world on a path to stay beneath a two degree Celsius temperature rise. What the parties are looking for now is a better basis from which to negotiate. “This week, we achieved an enormous amount of clarity as to where we are going which makes this possible and allows us to speed up,” said Co-Chair Daniel Reifsnyder. Djoghlaf said he will deliver the framework for the negotiations of the Paris climate package during the first week of October. Mr. Reifsnyder said that this means that all parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be able to negotiate the Paris package in a single drafting committee. “In October, countries will continue their important work, basing their negotiations on a clear, consistent, comprehensive, and coherent draft of the agreement and its accompanying decisions. They will get it in shape and ready for successful completion in Paris,” he concluded.

Polar bears were not part of the negotiating team for the U.N. climate change treaty, but are considered an interested party by greens.

Categories: On the Blog

Study Shows African-American Parents Resoundingly Favor School Choice

13 hours 50 min ago

A new report indicates black parents overwhelmingly favor school choice. Roland Martin of NewsOne Now recently interviewed Cornell Belcher, founder and president of Brilliant Corners Research and Strategies, to discuss his survey findings on views of African-American parents on charter schools, vouchers, and teachers.

The findings show African-American parents resoundingly favor school choice options. The respondents were all African-American, and neither they, nor an immediate family member, currently work in a public, private, or parochial school. Another stipulation of the survey: parents did not home-school their children.

Question Total Parent Respondents Charter Parent Respondents Generally speaking from what you know, do you favor or oppose public charter schools? 72% Favor 97% favor Favorability among respondents familiar with public charter schools 79% Favor 98% Favor How interested would you be in enrolling your children in public charter schools, would yousay you are very interested, somewhat interested, somewhat uninterested, or very uninterested

in enrolling your children in public charter schools? 74% Interested 94% Interested Do you favor or oppose providing parents who enroll their children in private or parochial schools a voucher to cover tuition? 70% Favor 77% Favor Favorability of respondents familiar with school vouchers 75% Favor 80% Favor How interested would you be in obtaining a voucher to cover the cost of private or parochial school tuition for your children, would you say you are very interested, somewhat interested, somewhat uninterested, or very uninterested in obtaining school vouchers? 78% Interested 89% Interested

 

Some of the more interesting findings from the survey were as follows: Nearly three out of four African-Americans are interested in exploring school choice options. Nearly eight out of 10 parents out would be interested in receiving a voucher to do so.

The survey relied on sets of statements, rather than questions. An overview is below:

Question Total Parent Respondents Charter Parent Respondents Statement A: As a parent I should be able to decide which school my child attends. If a public charter school can give my child a better educational opportunity my child shouldn’t be prevented from enrolling just to prop up a failing public system. 56% Agree 62% Agree Statement B: Public schools must educate every child that walks through its doors while public charter schools are free to pick and choose its students. Instead of providing an alternative for a few children, we should make public schools better for every child. 24% Agree 16% Agree Statement A: As a parent I should be able to enroll my child in the school I think will give my child the best educational opportunity. If my choice is a private or parochial school then I should be allowed to use the same tax dollars allotted to every child in public school to cover the cost of their tuition. 56% Agree 57% Agree Statement B: Public schools must accept every child of school age while private and parochial schools can deny children they think are harder to educate. Taking money out of the public system to cover private or parochial tuition will only makes it tougher to educate the vast majority of children who remain. 27% Agree 25% Agree Statement A: If my child could be enrolled in a public charter school they would definitely attend regardless of what arrangements I would have to make to get them there. 45% Agree 59% Agree Statement B: I’d like to enroll my child into a public charter school but unless the school district provides the daily transportation it’s not really a viable option for my family. 35% Agree 26% Agree

 

These survey results indicate parents want a quality education for their children and that school choice offers the best opportunity for that to occur. Moreover, these parents are not satisfied with the current public school quality and want changes. In addition to wanting a number of options for school choice, the two other major challenges parents identified in the survey are the lack of quality teachers and the lack of funding.

You can see the full study results here.

Categories: On the Blog

In The Tank Ep2: Robots, Price Fixing, Ballot Box Selfies, and the Kanye or Trump Game

14 hours 14 min ago

In today’s episode of the In The Tank Podcast, Host Donny Kendal and John Nothdruft discuss some of the latest interesting news stories. These stories include Illinois’ Lotto mishap, robots taking over, price fixing, police body cameras, and selfies in the ballot box. Kendal and Nothdruft also play Who Said It? – Kayne West or Donald Trump.

I hope you’ll listen in, subscribe, and leave a review for our podcast on Itunes. We welcome your feedback in our new show’s inbox atInTheTankPodcast@gmail.com or follow us on twitter @InTheTankPod.

[Please subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

 

Categories: On the Blog

Pope Francis Plans to Greet Crowd of 200,000 Eco-Liberals from Steps of the U.S. Capitol Building

September 03, 2015, 3:08 PM

His Holiness Pope Francis arrives in Washington D.C. later this month. Congressional Republicans may not be ready for him – nor for his call for including the church in the climate change debate.

But Liberals and Greens definitely are excited. A leftist group has secured a permit that will allow up to 200,000 shaggy-haired, malodorous neo-hippies to congregate near the steps of the U.S. Capitol while the pontiff addresses the Congress. But wait, it gets worse. Speaker John Boehner has only himself to blame here for inviting the cleric to speak on the environment. Somewhat Reasonable hears from reliable sources that the Vatican has asked for permission to have the pope address the unshaven liberal masses from the western front of the capitol itself. Now that will be great TV – or at least, headline news on the networks and cable that evening.

Leftist media remains hopeful that the pope’s appearance before Congress and later the U.N. – no word yet about an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, or as host of SNL with Madonna as the musical act – will enthrall American Catholics and force Congress to enact the remnants of President Obama’s environmental agenda that have not yet been illegally implemented by regulation.

Still, even the pope may not be able to get through to all low-information voters.

Polling data released Monday by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Religion News Service shows that one in five Catholics are still unfamiliar with the pope’s position on climate change, outlined in his landmark encyclical—or papal letter—in which he said humans were contributing to the “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems,” reports the progressive Mother Jones magazine. “PRRI describes that number as ‘substantial.’”

At least the political right has that going for it.

The bible of sex, drugs and rock and roll is pleased with the Pontiff of Rome.

Categories: On the Blog

Doctors Will Be the Scapegoats in the Coming Obamacare Disaster

September 03, 2015, 2:51 PM

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the landmark case of King v. Burwell to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from legal precedents, the rule of law, the English language, and common sense, the battle over the role of government in health care has now shifted away from the courts and back to the ballot box.

Democrats certainly have their work cut out for them.

According to a July survey of likely voters by Rasmussen Reports, 53 percent of respondents say they have an “unfavorable” view of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, with 37 percent indicating a “very unfavorable” position. Forty-two percent say they have a “favorable” view, but only a measly 20 percent of the 1,000 surveyed say they have a “very favorable” opinion of ACA.

The public’s lukewarm opinion of the law isn’t a surprise to those who have studied ACA’s effect on the health care marketplace since its implementation. Despite promises of greater access and affordability, Obamacare has done nothing but increase costs and limit health care freedom.

According to an analysis by HealthPocket, Inc., average premiums for men and women age 23–63 increased substantially from 2013 to 2014, with young, healthy millennials being hit the hardest. Men age 23 saw premiums rise by 78.2 percent, and women age 23 were socked with increases topping 45 percent, compared to pre-Obamacare rates. Data released in 2015 indicate premium increases for millennials continued into 2015, and there are no signs cost increases will slow in the near future.

Cost hikes have been coupled by a failure to provide care to 30 million people the Obama administration insisted did not have access to health care. A poll released by the American College of Emergency Physicians found three-quarters of the nation’s emergency room (ER) doctors say ER visits are on the rise, and an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates the various programs established by ACA have yet to have any effect at all on obesity-related diseases, perhaps the single greatest health care problem facing the nation.

In short, since ACA was forced on the American people, costs have gone up, access to primary care physicians has fallen, and the overall health of the nation remains unchanged at best. Obamacare has clearly been a failure, and this damaging program’s supporters have already started looking for their next scapegoat.

 

 

In an article by Judy Lin titled “Road to health care bumpy for Latinos on Medi-Cal,” published by the Associated Press on Monday, a new strategy for advancing the necessity of further government control was revealed: demonizing doctors.

The article tells the story of Miriam Uribe, a 20-year-old college student who has been enrolled in Medi-Cal, California’s health insurance program for low-income people. Despite actively seeking a primary care doctor for the past 10 months, Uribe has been unable to find a physician who will accept her as a new patient, she says.

The article explains doctors say the reason so many in Medi-Cal and other Medicaid programs are being turned away is because reimbursement rates are too low, especially compared to the rates private insurers pay.

Lin reports, “Lawmakers have convened a special session to discuss increasing provider payments but there is no agreement on how to pay for them.”

Of course there isn’t. Cash-strapped states such as California can’t possibly compete with private insurers and primary care doctors, who have to choose between patients who can actually pay for the full cost of the service and those who cannot. It doesn’t take an economist to explain which is the smarter choice.

 

Some would see this as a significant design flaw of the Affordable Care Act, but that’s a big mistake. ACA was carefully crafted to achieve a specific goal, and no, that goal was never to provide as many people as possible with quality health care. If that was the aim, then simple, common-sense solutions such as allowing insurance companies to operate across state lines and creating programs that would increase the number of primary care doctors would have been included in Obamacare. The real foundation of ACA is the desire for increased government control over the life of every American. Those who helped formulate the legislation have admitted the law was deliberately crafted and promoted to mislead people.

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of ACA, made headlines in 2014 when videos of him surfaced calling the “lack of transparency” in Obamacare a “huge political advantage” and necessary due to the “stupidity of the American voter,” who Gruber suggested doesn’t know what’s best for him or her.

Furthermore, Obama made it clear on numerous occasions the ultimate goal of health care reform is the creation of a single-payer health insurance system, one where government is the only insurance provider.

Once you put all the puzzle pieces in place – the provisions in ACA, the deception, and the goal of moving to a single-payer model – the picture becomes clear. ACA was designed to promise health insurance to people who never had it, knowing all along the expansion of Medicaid would lead to millions of people being turned away by primary care doctors. This would allow Democrats and those on the Left to pin the lack of quality care on doctors, many of whom belong to the dreaded “1 percent” the Occupy movement spent months ranting about.

And thus the march toward single-payer continues, and physicians will be among the first to be trampled.

[Originally published at Human Events]

 

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Paul Driessen: Ethanol’s Empty Promises

September 03, 2015, 11:13 AM

In this edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Paul Driessen from a Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and Heartland Institute research fellow Isaac Orr discuss the environmental and economic impacts of ethanol in the United States. The podcast sheds light on the empty promises of ethanol such as energy independence and environmental benefits. 

In reality, ethanol only displaces a minimal amount of fuel and comes with significant costs to the environment and consumers. In addition, the podcast involves an interesting discussion on the food versus fuel debate, tune in to hear these points and more.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

ACLU’s Lawsuit Against Nevada’s Educational Savings Account Program Part of Left’s ‘Anti-Choice Agenda’

September 03, 2015, 10:46 AM

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last week sued the state of Nevada over its emerging education savings accounts program, and the case is already spawning criticism by school choice advocates across the U.S.

“It is ironic that the ACLU pledges itself to ‘defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person,’” said Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd). “Let’s be perfectly clear. This is part of an anti-choice ACLU agenda that erodes parental rights, empowers government authority over children, and consigns them to schools that often become obstacles to their future success.”

According to the foundation, the ACLU lawsuit is based on the “faulty premise” that Nevada will be directly funding religious schools through the ESA program.  In fact, Nevada will be funding parents to customize an education plan for their children.

The success of the ACLU lawsuit is in doubt, for, as persuasive precedent exists that protects the choices of parents. As the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in a nearly identical case two years ago:

“The ESA does not result in an appropriation of public money to encourage the preference of one religion over another, or religion per se over no religion. Any aid to religious schools would be a result of the genuine and independent private choices of the parents. The parents are given numerous ways in which they can educate their children suited to the needs of each child with no preference given to religious or nonreligious schools or programs.”

The Heartland Institute’s education policy experts, like their colleagues at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, were dismissive of the ACLU’s lawsuit.

“The ACLU’s lawsuit is equal parts expected and disappointing. Not a single dollar has been set aside for the purpose of religious education,” said Heather Kays, research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of School Reform News. “The Nevada education savings account program was set up to give parents additional and better educational options for their children.”

Added Lennie Jarratt, project manager for school reform, at The Heartland Institute, “It is a sad day for the students of Nevada that the ACLU, a group known to support freedom, has filed a lawsuit to stifle the freedom of students and parents to choose the education that best fits their needs and circumstances.”

Nevada parents interested in applying for an education savings account can click here.

ACLU does not support the liberties of parents who seek freedom of choice when vetting their children’s schools.

Categories: On the Blog

Republican States Dominate College Football and…It’s Not Even Close

September 03, 2015, 8:57 AM

The leaves are beginning to change color, the weather is cooling off, and pumpkin flavored everything is now available. Yes, after months of sports boredom, it is finally College football season! The season officially (sorry Montana and North Dakota State) kicks off with a full slate of games Thursday night.

For more than a month sports radio and columnist have been debating the preseason top 25 rankings with the near consensus that Ohio State is the best team in the country. With this being a public policy blog it only makes sense to look to see if any political insights can be drawn from the rankings.

Image from Ole Miss Media

I used the Amway Coaches Poll (I can’t take the media seriously) and took the state each school in the top 25 is located and compared it to the political composition of the state legislature and governor’s office using information from the National Conference of State Legislatures. While it may not be surprising it is noteworthy to see how lopsided the breakdown is.

A whopping 20 (80%) of the top 25 teams are in states governed fully by Republicans (both chambers of the legislature and the governor). Only four teams (16%) reside in democrat states and one team (4%), the University of Missouri is in a split controlled state. It could be even worse for Democrats. If it wasn’t for the state of California (Stanford, UCLA, USC) Democrats would have only one team in the top 25 (Oregon).

Here is the breakdown:

Amway Coaches Poll

1 Ohio State (62)
2 TCU (1)
3 Alabama (1)
4 Baylor
5 Oregon
6 Michigan State
7 Auburn
8 Florida State
9 Georgia
10 USC
11 Notre Dame
12 Clemson
13 LSU
14 UCLA
15 Ole Miss
16 Arizona State
17 Georgia Tech
18 Wisconsin
19 Oklahoma
20 Arkansas
21 Stanford
22 Arizona
23 Missouri
24 Boise State
25 Tennessee

Breakdown by Conference

The SEC has eight teams in the top 25, seven of which are in Republican states with one being is a split party state.

The Pac-12 is the only conference a majority of their top 25 teams (four of six) are in democrat governed states.

The Big 12, Big Ten, and ACC each have three teams in the top 25, all which are in Republican controlled states.

The Mountain West with Boise State and an Independent Notre Dame round out the remaining teams both of which are in Republican run states.

Additionally, if these states were converted to Electoral College votes, a Republican would have 195 while a Democrat would have 62.

I would be remissed not to give my predictions of the second college football playoff.

Semifinal Games
#1 Ohio State vs #4 Auburn
#2 TCU vs #3 Arizona

Championship Game
#4 Auburn vs #2 TCU

Champion
Auburn

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – John C. Goodman: Scott Walker’s Health Care Plan Analyzed

September 02, 2015, 3:02 PM

In today’s edition of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Dr. John C. Goodman, a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, president of the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research, and author of the widely acclaimed, new Independent book, A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America, joins managing editor Kenneth Artz to discuss Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s health care plan.

Goodman explains that the plan proposed by Walker is definitely an improvement from Obamacare, but the plan has certain defects. He analyzes the plan and states what changes he would make to further improve the plan.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

 

Categories: On the Blog

Study: Double Digit Rate Hikes for Obamacare Reported in Delaware, South Dakota, West Virginia

September 02, 2015, 10:45 AM

A new study demonstrates disarmingly large hikes in 2016 Obamacare rate requests among states using the federal health insurance exchange, Healthcare.gov.

Research by AgileHealthInsurance.com reveals which states have the highest proposed rate increases and which have the highest percentage of double-digit rate increases.

The study said top 10 states with the most egregious rate hikes requested for a single Obamacare product ranged from 71 percent to 38 percent. Alabama (71 percent), New Mexico (65 percent), Pennsylvania (58 percent), New Hampshire (51 percent) and Utah (47 percent) comprise the top five in this category.

The report said that Delaware, South Dakota and West Virginia top the list of Healthcare.gov states where insurers requested double-digit rate hikes on Obamacare products. Insurers in those states requested double-digit rate hikes on 100 percent of Obamacare products, followed by Montana (86 percent) and Utah (83 percent).

“As the Obamacare enrollment period again approaches, consumers will be comparing health plans, and many will find the new 2016 Obamacare premiums to be unaffordable,” said Bruce Telkamp, CEO of AgileHealthInsurance.com. “Consumer price sensitivity and the broad adoption of the Internet as a primary way to shop for health insurance bode well for the continued expansion of the term health insurance market.”

The new study on rate hikes combined with recent research regarding premium and deductible dissatisfaction among Obamacare enrollees may result in even greater demand for term health insurance moving forward.

President Obama’s health insurance plan — out of control on costs for mandatory coverage.

Categories: On the Blog

Citibank Report Claims Slowing ‘Global Warming’ With Investments in Renewable Energy Will Save Trillions of Dollars for the Economy

September 02, 2015, 8:34 AM

A new report by a division of Citibank, America’s third biggest bank, indicates that the cost of doing nothing on global warming is essentially the same as the expense of enacting a transition to a “low-carbon” economy. According to an approving article in The Guardian, the Leftist U.K. daily, Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions (GPS), recently published a study examining the economic costs and possible benefits of the “low-carbon future” scenario for the world economy.

The Citi report considered two possibilities: “inaction,” or continuing on the current path, and an “action” scenario, involving shifting to a low-carbon energy economy.

“What is perhaps most surprising is that looking at the potential total spend on energy over the next quarter century, on an undiscounted basis the cost of following a low carbon route at $190.2 trillion is actually cheaper than our ‘inaction’ scenario at $192 trillion. This, as we examine in this chapter, is due to the rapidly falling costs of renewables, which combined with lower fuel usage from energy efficiency investments actually result in significantly lower long-term fuel bill. Yes, we have to invest more in the early years, but we potentially save later, not to mention the liabilities of climate change that we potentially avoid,” the paper reports.

Citi claims the cost of forceful, government-centered action would be $190.2 trillion and the price of market-oriented inaction would come in at $192 trillion.

Of course, the report neglects to include figures about likely cost overruns of any government-funded program, which, like Solyndra, the solar energy start-up, wind up costing more than even the most pessimistic minds could ever imagine. Is Citibank now shilling for the Global Left? With billions of dollars likely available to finance solar, wind, and other alternative energy projects from the Obama administration, to implement this fall’s coming accords from Paris, that is a safe bet. Someone has to manage that money, and it might as well be the sensible (and Democratic Party-connected) ruling class lads at Citibank, right? With the U.S. treasury as its own potential ATM, global warming presents many a joy-filled possible scenario for Citi. But probably not for the average American taxpayer.

Citibank eyes the U.S. Treasury as its own ATM for global warming cash advances.

 

 

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Peter Ferrara: Legal and Economic Concerns of Obama’s Clean Power Plan

September 01, 2015, 2:40 PM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, managing editor of Environment & Climate News, H. Sterling Burnett speaks with Peter Ferrara. Ferrara is a Heartland Senior Fellow and author of the newly released book, Power to the People. Ferrara joins Burnett to discuss the legal and economic concerns he has with Obama’s clean power plan.

Ferrara explains that the plan has a particularly regressive, pernicious and disparate impact on the poor, minorities and those on fixed incomes. In addition, he compares and contrasts Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) energy proposals to President Obama’s energy policies.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

E-Cigarettes Not a Path to Smoking

September 01, 2015, 2:20 PM

In an editorial calling for regulations which would put obstacles in front of adults who seek to quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes, The Sun’s editorial board relies on a powerfully debunked innuendo and preposterous logic (“Teens and e-cigarettes,” Aug. 23).

The basis for the paper’s concern that e-cigarettes cause teens to smoke cigarettes is entirely unfounded. In fact, the small survey the piece cites acknowledges that an association between teen experimentation with e-cigarette use and subsequent smoking is not causal. In fact, teens who are likely to try e-cigarettes are the very teens already at risk for trying smoking, accounting for any association.

In fact, in a landmark government report released this month, the United Kingdom’s Public Health England found that “there is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers.”

Regardless, as The Sun points out, there’s no debate: teens shouldn’t vape. That’s why local, state, and soon-to-be-finalized federal regulations forbid it unconditionally.

But the piece argues without basis that Maryland should regulate e-cigarettes as if they were tobacco products like cigarettes. Why? Because allowing adults to use e-cigarettes — even in bars where teens don’t hang out — would somehow lead youth to vaping. That’s not only silly, it is potentially harmful because it suggests that the two very different products are equally harmful to adults. The UK study found that e-cigarettes “have the potential to make a significant contribution to the endgame for tobacco.” This will only be possible for Marylanders if state regulations are based in science and reality.

 

[Originally published at Pundicity]

Categories: On the Blog

Assault by Government: Draining the Capital Pool

September 01, 2015, 1:53 PM

David Lee Roth – the original lead singer of mega-rock group Van Halen – gave us an excellent assessment of the value of coin: “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it.”

What this amusingly quantifies is that money is a vital component of any and everything we do. Certainly for how we (allegedly – used to) organize our economy. “Capital” is the fundamental element of capital-ism. It is the engine that drives our yachts – right up alongside the happiness we all pursue.

Those opposed to capitalism understand this. Thus they look to drain the private capital pool – by any means necessary. They know every penny spent on government is a penny not much better used making everything better, faster and cheaper – and our lives simply better and better. And they know their prolonged, multiplicative attacks will ultimately bring down their capitalism bete noire.

Taxes are the overt way government removes capital. The more it takes – the less we all have to do all of the things that make capitalism work. The Barack Obama Administration has been repeatedly setting records for tax money taken. The federal take in 2015 is projected to be yet another record – $3.2 trillion. The entire economy – the combined productivity of every single man, woman and child – is $17.4 trillion. The Feds are taking nearly 20% of everything we make – and just about every Democrat says that isn’t nearly enough.

Regulations are the covert way for government to drain the pool. Regs are insidious – their punitive costs are indirect. Rather than taking the money, government forces the private sector to waste it in the eternal search for proper compliance. The tab is huge – $1.9 trillion in 2015. And rising dramatically – as the Administration continues its all-encompassing unilateral fiat fest. These costs – and the costs taxes impose – are built in to the prices of the goods and services we purchase. At which point government wins again – as we gripe at the private product providers for their government-inflated pricetags.

So let’s check the tote board. JUST the federal government imposition on the private sector – in taxes and regulations – is $5.1 trillion. Nearly 30% of ALL private capital – taken and/or wasted away. Add in the respective assaults of the roughly 1,000 state and local governments – and you start to see why capitalism isn’t very capitalism any more.

A third way government drives out money – is the money that never drives in because of government. When taxes and regulations make things too unattractive – the pretty coin stays away. If I invite you into my house – and then beat you about the head and shoulders with a bat – I should at least have the decency to not act surprised when you get up and leave. To wit: U.S. companies are stashing $2.1 trillion (and likely much more) overseas. Because of all of the above – including the fact that we have the world’s highest corporate tax rate (35%).

To wit: The Internet. Pre-Obama Administration, the Internet sector was a glorious outpost outlier – largely beyond the crippling bounds of government. Which is why it has become a free speech-free market Xanadu. This Administration absolutely could not allow this to stand – so it began the process of taking it down. That is in large part what February’s unilateral power grab – the full government takeover so as to then impose Network Neutrality – is all about. Getting and keeping everyone’s money out of the pool. Mission being accomplished.

AT&T’s capital expenditure (capex) was down 29 percent in the first half of 2015 compared to the first half of 2014. Charter’s capex was down by the same percentage. Cablevision’s and Verizon’s capex were down ten and four percent, respectively. CenturyLink’s capex was down nine percent. 

(T)he net decrease across the six largest (Internet Service Providers) ISPs amounted to $3.3 billion in capital flight….

This capital flight is remarkable considering there have been only two occasions in the history of the broadband industry when capex declined relative to the prior year: In 2001, after the dot.com meltdown, and in 2009, after the Great Recession. In every other year save 2015, broadband capex has climbed, as ISPs—like hamsters on a wheel—were forced to upgrade their networks to prevent customers from switching to rivals offering faster connections.

What changed in early 2015 besides the FCCs Open Internet Order that can explain the ISP capex tumble? GDP grew in both the first and second quarters of 2015. Broadband capital intensity—defined as the ratio of ISP capex to revenues—decreased over the period, ruling out the possibility that falling revenues were to blame….

This is yet another regulatory assault – to effect their ultimate ideological outcome. As government continues its omni-directional draining of the private capital pool, more and more of our respective yachts become beached. Leaving us marooned – as happiness drifts further and further into the distance. Diamond Dave knows this ain’t the way to go. We should too.

[Originally published at Red State]

 

 

Categories: On the Blog

“Great National Purposes” Mean Less Freedom

September 01, 2015, 1:38 PM

With the seventieth anniversary this year of the end of the Second World War, a number of commentators have focused on the presumed “unity” of America seven decades ago to “win the war” against global tyranny and international aggression by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Individuals put aside their individual personal and petty interests to support and fight for a “greater collective cause.”

The contrast is made between “then” and “now.” Today, it is said, America is divided against itself on domestic policy issues, international and foreign affairs, racial antagonisms, and cultural conflicts, to just name a few.

What America needs, it is said, is a shared set of common values and goals that can provide a unifying sense of public purposes. This is the path back to a restored American greatness at home and abroad, proponents say.

Such a view is often heard among both modern liberals on “the left” and conservatives on “the right.” They may differ on the values to be shared and the public policy purposes people are to unify behind, but the emphasis on a higher collective calling is common to both.

“National Purpose” and Economic Controls

The call to a common cause or national purpose is often appealing to people. When I was a boy, my mother, who worked as a civilian secretary in the U. S. Department of the Navy in Washington, D.C. during the Second World War, would recall that wartime sentiment of a “national purpose,” and did so with a degree of romantic nostalgia.

Among the “bad people” on the home front during the war were those who attempted to place their own interests ahead of the “national interest” during that time of “crisis.” One manifestation of it was black markets in almost everything, from hamburger meat and automobile tires and gasoline to a new suit or a pair of shoes.

You see, “the nation united” to achieve the common collective goal of winning the war required the government to superimpose a single, overarching hierarchy or scale of values over the entire country, to which and within which every American was confined and was expected to conform.

Resources are scarce, labor manpower is limited, and real savings can only be stretched so far to undertake and sustain desired investments in different directions. To assure that all that was considered essential for the war effort was given first and highest priority, the U.S. government imposed wage and price controls throughout the economy; production regulations and central planning over all industry and agriculture dictated what was to be produced, by whom, where, and for what purpose.

Since competition between buyers and sellers could not longer set prices and determine who produced what and for which consumers, the government imposed a vast rationing system on American society. Ration books were assigned to every household throughout the United States that determined, for example, how much milk, meat, bread, eggs, potatoes, salt and virtually anything else, to which anyone could have access out of the “collective” store of national production.

Did your household have children, and if so how many? Were members of your household working in war-related production or priority industry? Was your need for gasoline for your automobile connected with “winning the war” tasks crucial to the nation? The answers to such questions, and multitudes of others, determined how much of each of these goods, for instance, you would be allowed to purchase each month at the government mandated prices imposed on retailers throughout the market.

You needed special certificates, for which you had to apply, for a new suit of clothes or pair of shoes, a new set of tires for your car, or materials to make repairs around your home. To be approved you needed to submit the requisite paperwork arguing why you “really needed” such items when the resources to support “our boys” overseas had to always be considered priority number one so we could win the war.

“National Unity” and the Intrusive State

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as local law enforcement, was diverted from the pursuit of ordinary criminals – murderers, thieves, and defrauders – to detect, interdict and apprehend the networks of black marketeers: those who wished to privately buy and sell at agreed-upon prices that the government insisted could only be done on their mandated terms with their official approval and oversight.

A vast propaganda campaign was also undertaken during the war years to indoctrinate and intimidate people into acceptance of and obedience to the government’s imposed “unity of purpose” upon the nation.

National unity required the criminalization and potential legal prosecution of many aspects of everyday life that before America’s entry into the Second World War in December 1941 the citizens of the country viewed as essential elements of personal freedom. In other words, the price of collective purpose and a national common goal was the loss of individual liberty at home in the name of fighting tyranny abroad.

Police informers, undercover entrapments, invasions of people’s privacy and property through government surveillance enveloped the United States in the name of capturing the black marketeers, whose actions, it was said, weakened the national purpose of winning the war.

Black market gang violence, corruption of the law enforcement and legal system, and behavioral hypocrisy in people’s public acceptance of wartime central planning commands versus their private evasions and avoidance of its impact on their own lives were all elements of the pursuit of a unifying national purpose.

(The United States had experienced a similar episode of lost liberty and wide government intrusions into daily life between 1920 and 1933 during the period of alcohol prohibition, with all the inescapable negative side effects. But after 1941, war hysteria and fears had caused collective amnesia and a willingness to allow government to, once again, dictate personal conduct and permitted trade, only during the war years it was far more comprehensive than during the earlier “war on booze.”)

“National Purposes” versus Individual Diversity

It may be argued that very few, if anyone, are proposing for such comprehensive central planning in the name of a national purpose or a common cause in contemporary America. It is merely being suggested that there are or should be some goals or purposes that all Americans can or should be united behind, and through which there can be an awakening and reinforcement of our common identity and social cohesion as a political community.

But whether comprehensive or piecemeal, all such pursuits through government involve one essential and inescapable element: coercion, that is, the threat or the use of governmental force to make everyone act within the parameters of the national goal or goals. Why is this inescapable?

The more the complex and developed any society, the more it is inevitable that there will be an increasing diversity of values, beliefs and desires among its members.

Life and family experiences; differences in selected specializations of work to earn a living; a growing material prosperity that makes possible the multiplication of options and opportunities to do things, want things, and achieve things that earlier generations could not even imagine because of a greater scarcity of means and methods that limited what could be done or wanted – all these aspects of modern market life makes possible a plethora of visions, values and dreams for individual happiness and meanings for living that works against reducing everyone to a single scale or hierarchy of shared values, purposes, and desires.

Just walk down the aisle of any supermarket and observe the differences in what people put in each of their respective shopping carts. In a time of internet streaming notice the diversity of tastes and preferences in music, movies, sports, and other forms of entertainment, learning, and enjoyment, as well as online shopping.

People spend their incomes in ways that represent and reflect their values, beliefs and desires. Some of us overlap in these matters, and when we do we form clubs, associations, organizations, and connections to enjoy and advance shared beliefs, values and purposes with kindred spirits.

Some donate to cancer research; some give to halfway houses for battered women or children; others support the fine arts to preserve an appreciation of classical music or to house the works of great painters in museums; others give to advance social, political or economic ideas; and still others spend their money on going to Star Trek fan conventions or to buy season sports tickets to watch their favorite teams play in a stadium in the company of similar enthusiasts. The list, obviously, is endless.

Just think of how you furnish your own house or apartment compared to the homes of friends or acquaintances you have visited. Notice how you dress – styles, designs, fashions, and fads – in relation to many others. What do you like to read, what do you like to eat, where do you like to go for vacations or a frequent night out? Again, the list is endless.

There are few who propose that we all should dress or live alike to assure a deeper sense of shared social or national purpose. But there are plenty of people who wish to tell you how and what to eat or drink; what your social attitudes and beliefs should be, and therefore, with whom you should interact, and in what settings and comportments of behavior and speech.

There are many who think we should all have the same values about the environment, attitudes about human relationships, and causes worth financially supporting for the advancement of which they desire government to tax the citizenry, and then to spend the money in the politically selected “right” or “fair” way.

Competing “Common Causes” and Government Control

Rather than one overarching “national purpose” or “common cause” as during the Second World War, today we have a patchwork of different advocated national purposes and common causes for which special interest groups lobby and pressure those in political power to initiate and impose on the whole of society.

The “competition,” in this case, is to marshal the necessary and needed political influence and clout to collectively and coercively impose one’s own valued “common purpose” on everyone in society. The net affect is a spider’s web of interlocking systems of politically imposed values and beliefs that are valued by some, but which end up being forced on all.

The real and meaningful diversity, in which each and every individual is at liberty to guide, direct and give meaning and value to their own lives through the peaceful and voluntary associations of market exchange and civil society, is replaced with the narrowing of that diversity to what those with political influence and power are able to obtain in political competition with others also attempting to use the authority of the State for their own purposes.

Here is the true source of the perceived disunity, antagonisms, and conflicts in American society. Individuals and groups are fighting over the political power to make others conform to their own preferred scale of values, ideals and desires.

When political coercion through government regulations, controls, restrictions, prohibitions, and redistributions become a leading method to pursue and achieve your goals, values, and beliefs through their imposition on others, then the achievement of one person’s desires in these matters is by definition a potential threat or hindrance to other’s choices in these areas of life.

Conflict is inevitable, whether it be about the curriculum in government schools, or being taxed to cover other people’s medical expenses, or whom you have to make a wedding cake for in your bakery shop, or whether you can offer taxis services only with a government license.

Individual Purposes is the “Common Cause” of Liberty

In the free market economy, each makes their own decisions concerning these matters, and virtually all others, through voluntary associations and peaceful trade. The competition among people to pursue their values and dreams is not over access and use of government compulsion, but the non-violent rivalry of offering others attractive terms in the market place for them to supply you with the means of following the goals and purposes that matter to you.

But what about a sense of “national purposes” or “common causes”? What binds members of a free society together is not any detailed agreement concerning the ends that people should pursue, but rather a belief about the moral and just means to be used by anyone in trying to attain their individual goals.

The highest common value held by members of a free society is belief in the ethics of human liberty. Each person should be considered an end in himself, and not a means to other people’s ends through the use of force or its threat. He is not sacrificial animal to be made to conform, work, and obey others who claim to know what is “right,” “good,” or “just” for everyone in almost every aspect of life.

The legal rules of a free society are “procedural,” and not “substantive.” Procedural rules specify the process by which and through which any individual may go about the pursuit of a particular goal or purpose, but it does not specify the goal or end the individual has to pursue.

Substantive rules specify what goals or purposes the individual must follow, and often dictates the end or result that is considered desirable for the attainment of which the actions of individuals are commanded.

Freedom’s “Rules of the Road”

For instance, the “rules of the road” are procedural or “end-independent.” That is, the rules of the road when driving a car specify that you must stop at a red light and only go on a green light; that you have to pull over and stop when an emergency vehicle in speeding by; or that it requires everyone to abide by the indicated speed limit.

But they do not dictate or command when, why or where you must go when driving on the road. You may be going to work, driving to the supermarket, taking you child for a dental appointment, or simply driving around for the pleasure of it. Each individual makes their own decision where he or she may want to go and for what reason while using the roads. All the individual is required to do is follow the lawful procedures when on the roads.

Substantive, or “end-dependent” rules are directly commanding people how and for the achievement of what particular ends or goals individuals are to be required to undertake any activities. This would be more like being told by the government not only to drive your car on the roads, but being told where you had to go, for what purpose, and when you need to be there.

With procedural, or end-independent, rules individuals merely must follow the “rules of the road,” with preferred common courtesy, and are then free to go their own way in life. Under substantive, or end-dependent, rules, where you go, for what, and when all depends on who has the political power and authority in impose their plans and purposes upon you.

We should also not forget that nations do not have “purposes,” “values,” “goals,” or “desires,” because nations are not living, willing entities separate from the individuals who live within a geographical area designated on a map as the boundaries of a “nation-state.”

Human Dignity and Diversity is Freedom’s Purpose

What bind the people of a truly free society together are a vision and an overriding value on the right of the individual to his life, liberty and honestly acquired property. The “common cause” of free men in a society of liberty is one in which any of the specific forms of the “ties that bind” between people occurs through voluntary association and freedom of trade.

For the friend of freedom, the common “social purpose” that all men of good will should share, value, and strive to establish and maintain is a world in which no one person or group of people can make others go places and do things through the use of government regulation, control or command that they do not consider peacefully best for themselves.

That is an idea of individual human dignity and diversity that is morally far superior to the imposition of “national purposes” and collectivist goals through the use of the policeman and the threat of the jailer and the hangman.

[Originally published at Epic Times]

 

Categories: On the Blog

President Obama’s Arctic Jaunt to Burn 161 Metric Tons of Carbon

September 01, 2015, 1:16 PM

President Barack Obama is in Alaska today, experiencing the effects of “Climate Change” firsthand, as part of his push to make a carbon-reduction agenda the hallmark of his second term. According to the White House, Obama will take a “carbon tour” of sites that he considers to be deeply affected by global warming, in an effort to demonstrate to the public that climate change has dire consequences, and is a problem in need of urgent, executive attention in the form of his Clean Power Plan.

Unfortunately for the President, he will be greeted by Alaskan “summer snows” rather than a receding glacier, the result of unseasonably cold temperatures. Alaska is experiencing a temperature shift – not unusual for a such an “extreme weather climate” – known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, “a 60 year cycle which affects the atmospheric steering currents in Alaska, determining whether cold polar air or warm Pacific air tends to win out as the two air masses continually battle for control over Alaska weather.”

Unfortunately, also, for the President, as he lectures about human activity as a contributory factor in climate change, he will be the most contributory human.

President Barack Obama has announced he will be traveling to Alaska at the end of the month to visit the Arctic and other parts of the state which he claims is being ravaged by global warming.

Ironically, his trip to Alaska will [] emit 161 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the very gas he blames for global warming. That’s equivalent to the annual emissions of driving 33 cars and the annual electricity use for 22 homes.

Obama would have to burn 173,000 pounds of coal to emit the same amount of CO2 as a one-way trip to Alaska would emit, according to EPA data.

The President will, of course, be taking Air Force One, traveling 3,361 miles into the wilds of Alaska, to Alaska’s Elmendorf Air Force Base, where Air Force One will refuel for the return trip. That means, he’ll be burning 16,805 gallons of fuel, emitting that 121 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Categories: On the Blog