OH YES THEY DID: 20,642 New Regulations Added in the Obama Presidency

All tied up/Caught up in red tape

The unparalleled increase in regulatory burdens spells a decline in economic freedom and individual liberty, with a concomitant increase in political gamesmanship and cronyism—all of which inhibits innovation, investment and job creation, increases prices, and curtails consumer choice.

James Gattuso and Diane Katz report: The tide of red tape that threatens to drown U.S. consumers and businesses surged yet again in 2015, according to a Heritage Foundation study we released on Monday.

More than $22 billion per year in new regulatory costs were imposed on Americans last year, pushing the total burden for the Obama years to exceed $100 billion annually.

That’s a dollar for every star in the galaxy, or one for every second in 32 years.

The consequences of this rampant rulemaking are widespread:

  • Restricted access to credit under the hundreds of rules unleashed by the Dodd–Frank financial regulation statute
  • Fewer health care choices and higher medical costs from the Affordable Care Act
  • Reduced Internet investment and innovation under the network neutrality rules dictated by the Federal Communications Commission

These are just a few of the 2,353 regulations of 2015—and there have been 20,642 since Obama took office in 2009.

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The worst of last year’s wave—in terms of cost, at least—was the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan.”

[read the full story here, at DailySignal.com]

The rule represents the first direct regulation of so-called greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, at a cost of $7.2 billion a year (and far more according to critics). Despite the huge costs, the plan will do nothing to mitigate global warming.

America’s problem with excessive regulation did not start with the Obama administration, of course. Read the rest of this entry »


New York’s Taxi Cartel Is Collapsing. Now They Want a Bailout. Tell Them to Stick It.

The free market: best anti-monopoly weapon ever developed.

“In New York, we are seeing a collapse as inexorable as the fall of the Soviet Union itself.”

Jeffery A. Tuckerjeff writes: An age-old rap against free markets is that they give rise to monopolies that use their power to exploit consumers, crush upstarts, and stifle innovation. It was this perception that led to “trust busting” a century ago, and continues to drive the monopoly-hunting policy at the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department.

No more standing in lines on corners or being forced to split fares. You can stay in the coffee shop until you are notified that your car is there.”

But if you look around at the real world, you find something different. The actually existing monopolies that do these bad things are created not by markets but by government policy. Think of sectors like education, mail, courts, money, or municipal taxis, and you find a reality that is the opposite of the caricature: public policy creates monopolies while markets bust them.

For generations, economists and some political figures have been trying to bring competition to these sectors, but with limited success. The case of taxis makes the point.

“Think of sectors like education, mail, courts, money, or municipal taxis, and you find a reality that is the opposite of the caricature: public policy creates monopolies while markets bust them.”

There is no way to justify the policies that keep these cartels protected. And yet they persist — or, at least, they have persisted until very recently.

Taxi-Driver-poster

“In less than one year, we’ve seen the astonishing effects. Not only has the price of taxi medallions fallen dramatically from a peak of $1 million, it’s not even clear that there is a market remaining at all for these permits.”

In New York, we are seeing a collapse as inexorable as the fall of the Soviet Union itself. The app economy introduced competition in a41eQn3GP4ZL._SL250_ surreptitious way. It invited people to sign up to drive people here and there and get paid for it. No more standing in lines on corners or being forced to split fares. You can stay in the coffee shop until you are notified that your car is there.

[Order Jeffrey’s book “Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World” from Amazon.com]

In less than one year, we’ve seen the astonishing effects. Not only has the price of taxi medallions fallen dramatically from a peak of $1 million, it’s not even clear that there is a market remaining at all for these permits. Read the rest of this entry »


Washington Breaks the Internet

DigitalDC

Musicians and Kardashians may claim they can break the Internet by posting alluring photographs, but they have nothing on Tom Wheeler

The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission unveiled on Wednesday a plan to demolish a policy that for two decades has allowed the Internet to become the jewel of world-wide communication and commerce. His new “Open Internet” plan represents a monumental shift from open markets in favor of government control. It is a grave threat to American innovation.

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“Mr. Wheeler is seeking to overturn Bill Clinton’s policy of allowing the Internet to grow as a lightly regulated “information service” because Mr. Wheeler does not want light regulation.” 

In a piece for Wired magazine, Mr. Wheeler announced that this week he will circulate to his fellow commissioners a plan to enact what President Obama demanded in November: century-old telephone regulation for today’s broadband communications companies.

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“In an acrobatic feat of Orwellian logic, Mr. Wheeler even implies that telephone-style regulation must come to the Net to prevent problems that existed in the old telephone network, such as the difficulty faced by entrepreneurs trying to deploy new communications devices.”

“This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles,” wrote Mr. Wheeler, and he’s right. The game plan is to apply to competitive digital networks rules originally written for monopoly railroads in the 1800s. But don’t worry, this “common carrier” regulatory structure was modernized for telephones as recently as the summer of 1934 when Franklin Roosevelt signed the Communications Act.

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“Mr. Wheeler may promise forbearance, but watch out, because that’s not how government works. The nature of bureaucracies is to grab power and expand it. Once the FCC assumes the authority to set “rates, terms and conditions” across the online economy, expect a political land rush.”

The Wheeler cover story is that such antiquated rules are necessary to provide “net neutrality,” the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally and not blocked from reaching consumers—in other words, to allow the Internet to function pretty much as it does now. Read the rest of this entry »


It Must Be Monday: U.S. Central Command Twitter Feed Hacked, Panic Ensues

TO GO WITH AFP STORY US-PO-AFGHANISTAN-P

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The Twitter feed of U.S. Central Command — which controls all U.S. troops in the Middle East and south Asia — was hijacked Monday by hackers claiming to be from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

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The attack came as President Obama was at the Federal Trade Commission, announcing that he would push Congress for new legislation to bolster cybersecurity.

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The hackers posted a message: “AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS,” and then posted rosters of what appeared to be a list of home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of retired U.S. Army generals, with slides of intelligence collection priorities in China and possible war scenarios on the Korean peninsula….(read more)

Centcom 6

Centcom 8
Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: The Photoshop Cops

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Cosmopolitan does not cause anorexia

Taking a pause from being NRO‘s most controversial firecracker-thrower in the gender identity wars, currently the most-hated voodoo doll of the radical institutional Left, Kevin D. Williamson writes again about sex and identity. This time, challenging a colossally stupid misguided pro-censorship bill being introduced in Congress. Read the whole thing here.

Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) and Lois Capps (D., Calif.) have, at the urging of reformed adman Seth Matlins (D., formerly of Creative Artists Agency, Rock the Vote, etc.), offered up a very silly bill to empower the federal government to censor advertising on the theory that the overuse of photo-editing software causes anorexia and other eating disorders.The world being full of stupid people, there is an emotionally incontinent for-the-children petition demanding that the Federal Trade Commission crackpot-femimplement this censorship, on top of Mr. Matlins’s earlier demand that advertising in which images have been altered end-is-near— which is to say, advertising — be labeled to alert beef-witted Americans to the fact of that alteration.

[Kevin D. Williamson’s highly recommended book – The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome” is available at Amazon]

Anorexia nervosa is a terrible condition that is not caused by Cosmopolitanmagazine. The most significant risk factor for anorexia is genetic composition, not photo composition. While the research on the matter is far from settled, anorexia appears to be associated with a malfunction involving the EPHX2 gene, which, among other things, affects the metabolism of cholesterol and is associated with familial hypercholesterolemia. This points to a possible explanation of the counterintuitive fact that anorexics tend to have high cholesterol despite their restricted diets. Read the rest of this entry »


Obamacare as Big Brother

Who will have access to millions of Americans’ financial and health data?

By  Michael Tanner

Think the NSA data collection on your phone calls and Internet use is scary? Well, here comes Obamacare.

On October 1, the law’s insurance exchanges are scheduled to start open enrollment in all 50 states. In order to help people sign up for insurance and to determine which applicants are eligible for subsidies or Medicaid, the exchanges will need to collect both tax and health-care data for more than 7 million Americans. This means a new government bureaucracy will be in possession of these people’s financial, employment, and health information — everything from their income last year to the prescription drugs they take. What could possibly go wrong?

Start with the application process itself. Applicants will be assisted by thousands of “navigators,” who will provide advice and information about the program, help consumers differentiate between the types of insurance plans available, and assist them in completing the application process. Many navigators are expected to be drawn from pro-Obamacare organizations, such as Organizing for America, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Planned Parenthood.

If you are among the millions of Americans forced to purchase insurance through an exchange, these navigators will have access to such sensitive information as your Social Security number, date of birth, bank account number, place of employment, and medical history. Some of the funds needed to hire and train the workers aren’t expected to be released until the end of August. This means that, in the 34 states where the federal government is running the exchanges, there will be just a month to hire and train thousands of workers. In a rush to have sufficient numbers of navigators in place by the October 1 deadline, the administration has reduced the amount of training required from 30 hours to just 20. Three training courses will be conducted online.

The majority of states don’t have any process in place for running criminal-background checks on applicants for these jobs, and there are no requirements that navigators be bonded. In fact, they don’t even need to have a high-school diploma. (The government does plan to use credit-rating agencies to check on the applicants, if that’s any comfort.)

In fact, the potential for identity theft is so great that even California’s insurance commissioner, David Jones, a Democrat and an ardent Obamacare supporter, recently warned, “We can have a real disaster on our hands.”

Read the rest of this entry »