by Peter Roff • Independent Journal Opinion
Throughout his career, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders has championed postal reform. He wants to save the United States Postal Service and its hundreds of thousands of public employee union jobs, by broadening the scope of its activities.
It’s an interesting idea, which is probably why the American Postal Workers Union was an early presidential endorser, and a bad one. Allowing the USPS to transact non-bank financial services opens the door to competition in areas private business has shown it can handle quite competently, thank you very much.
It’s inevitable a full range of banking services would eventually follow, free of the encumbrance of the onerous Dodd-Frank requirements and the overly invasive Consumer Financial Protection Board the massive new banking law spawned. The idea is already out there. More than one policy wonk has hit on it as to provide services to what folks have taken to calling the under-banked. Continue reading
You have to ignore many variables to think women are paid less than men. California is happy to try.
by Sarah Ketterer • Wall Street Journal
This bill, which the California senate unanimously passed in August, is a state version of the Paycheck Fairness Act that the U.S. Congress rejected in 2014. Like its national counterpart, it is an aggressive attempt to eradicate a wage gap between men and women that is allegedly due to discrimination in the workplace. But this wage gap is illusory, and the legislation will have unintended consequences, including for women.
The Fair Pay Act will prohibit employers from paying men and women different wages for “substantially similar work.” At first glance, this prohibition might appear reasonable: Government data for 2014 show that women in California earn, on average, 84 cents for every dollar earned by men. (Nationally, women earn about 79 cents for every dollar earned by men.) Continue reading
By Peter Roff • Washington Examiner
As a general rule, Americans do not like to be told what to do. They will tolerate it, especially when the government makes threats or issues some rule that make sense in the infinite scheme of things, but they’re not happy about it most of the time. This country was founded as a sort of experiment in entrepreneurship — in the commercial sense as well as in the political arena.
Over time, however, the entrepreneurs have given way to the paper-pushers. The bureaucratic impulse to regulate nearly everything that moves has brought what former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher used to call the Nanny State home to our shores.
As a result, the ordinary American businessman who was once a virtual king of all he or she surveyed has been forced to turn to the courts to seek relief from the stranglehold that regulatory agencies, legislative bodies and the do-gooders among us have on American small business. Continue reading
“Clerisy” class does the bidding of tech oligarchs to detriment of the middle class.
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds • USAToday
We’ve heard a lot of election-year class warfare talk, from makers vs. takers to the 1% vs. the 99%. But Joel Kotkin’s important new book, The New Class Conflict, suggests that America’s real class problems are deeper, and more damaging, than election rhetoric.
Traditionally, America has been thought of as a place of great mobility — one where anyone can conceivably grow up to be president, regardless of background. This has never been entirely true, of course. Most of our presidents have come from reasonably well-off backgrounds, and even Barack Obama, a barrier-breaker in some ways, came from an affluent background and enjoyed an expensive private-school upbringing. But the problem Kotkin describes goes beyond shots at the White House. Continue reading
by John Stossel • Fox News
Thanks, Environmental Protection Agency! You’ve required sewage treatment plants, catalytic converters on cars and other things that made the world cleaner than the world in which I grew up. Good work.
Today, America’s waterways are so much cleaner that I swim in New York City’s once-filthy Hudson River — right beside skyscrapers in which millions of people, uh, flush. The air we breathe is also cleaner than it’s been for 60 years.
In a rational world, environmental bureaucrats would now say, “Mission accomplished. We set tough standards, so we don’t need to keep doing more. Stick a fork in it! We’re done.”
OK, I went too far. America does still need some bureaucrats to enforce existing environmental rules and watch for new pollution problems. But we don’t need what we’ve got: 16,000 environmental regulators constantly trying to control more of our lives. EPA should stand for: Enough Protection Already. Continue reading
by Peter Ferrara • Forbes
One of the biggest drags on economic growth under President Obama has been Obamacare, enacted on a strictly partisan basis in 2010. That drag has come primarily from the sweeping overregulation of Obamacare.
The biggest culprit has been the employer mandate, which requires all employers of 50 or more full time workers to buy them health insurance with the terms and benefits as specified by the federal government. That is effectively a tax on employment of well over $10,000 a year per worker for family coverage.
Even for employers that already provide health insurance, the employer mandate will likely be a big tax increase on employment. That is because the mandated health insurance will most likely cost more than what the employer is already providing. That results first because the government responds to political pressure to require generous benefits most people will think the employer is paying for, to be include in the mandated health insurance. That drives up the cost of the mandatory health insurance. Continue reading
Ride-share services benefit consumers, but the taxi commission doesn’t want to give us a good deal.
The regulatory knives are out for Uber and Lyft, two ride-sharing services that make life easier for consumers and provide employment opportunities in a stagnant economy. Why are regulators unhappy? Basically, because these new services offer insufficient opportunity for graft.
Services like Uber and Lyft disrupt the current regulatory environment. I have the Uber app on my phone. If I need a car in areas where Uber operates, it looks up where I am using GPS, matches me with participating drivers nearby, and in my experience gets me a Town Car in just a few minutes. It’s the comfort of a limo service, with the convenience of a taxicab. I get a better service, the driver gets a job, but now there’s competition for those entrenched companies. Continue reading
Labor unions criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations on carbon emissions from power plants on last Monday, highlighting growing tensions between the environmentalist and working class arms of the Democratic Party.
Those tensions have come to the forefront as leading Democrats embrace environmentalist policies backed by billionaire political donors that are generally opposed by members of the party’s rank and file base.
Some labor unions, groups generally considered loyally Democratic, rebelled last Monday after the EPA released its new regulations, which studies have suggested will carry hefty economic costs. Continue reading
How often have you heard a Democrat prattle on and on about how well Barack Obama has done with the economy, given the mess he inherited? Usually, it’s some version of, “Things are getting better, but the economy the President started with was so awful, so he’s done as well as anyone could expect.”
When Ronald Reagan took over from Jimmy Carter in ’81, things were actually worse economically compared to when Obama took over from George W. Bush in ’08. Continue reading
by Marc A. Thiessen
The Obama administration is celebrating that it has achieved its (downwardly revised) goal of signing up more than 6 million Americans for Obamacare by 11:59 p.m. March 31. Mission accomplished!
Not quite. The administration has not revealed how many of those 6 million people have paid their premiums. If you have not paid, you have not actually “enrolled.” It’s like putting merchandise in your Amazon cart but never clicking “buy.”
Besides, the number that matters is not how many Americans signed up for Obamacare but rather how many previously uninsuredAmericans signed up for Obamacare. By that standard, Obamacare may be headed for an epic failure.
Recall that between 5 million and 6 million Americans lost their health plans because of Obamacare last fall. If the administration now succeeds in signing up 5 million to 6 million previously insured Americans, it will have achieved . . . nothing. Breaking even is no great accomplishment. Continue reading
The Los Angeles Times, citing studies and information the Obama administration most certainly knows about but won’t release, reports that 9.5 million previously uninsured people now have health coverage because of Obamacare. Look for that 9.5 million, or perhaps a rounded-up 10 million, to be come the talking point for Obamacare supporters in coming days.
The Times says the numbers break down like this: 4.5 million previously uninsured people are now on Medicaid; 3 million previously uninsured young people are now covered because of a provision that allows them to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26; and 2 million previously uninsured people have purchased coverage on the Obamacare exchanges. In all, it is “the largest expansion in health coverage in America in half a century,” according to the Times. Continue reading
If a man’s home is his castle, then his land is his kingdom.
Property boundaries, of course, must be respected, and trespassing across them becomes a legitimate matter of government’s concern. So, too, if you build a huge bonfire that rains toxic ash onto your neighbor’s land. Or hurl water balloons at his house using a giant, rubber-tubing slingshot that requires three people to operate.
And as old as the law itself are rules governing the use of water from flowing streams and rivers to ensure that landowners downstream are not denied their right to have and use water for their own benefit. These laws have never been designed to deny anyone the use of flowing water, but rather to ensure that everyone owning land along the waterway is able to enjoy reasonable use of the water. Continue reading
Fixated as we Americans are on Canada’s three most attention-getting exports — polar vortexes, Alberta clippers, and the antics of Toronto’s addled mayor — we’ve somewhat overlooked a major feature of Canada’s current relations with the United States: extreme annoyance.
Last week, speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Canada’s foreign minister calmly but pointedly complained that the U.S. owes Canada a response on the Keystone XL pipeline. “We can’t continue in this state of limbo,” he sort of complained, in what for a placid, imperturbable Canadian passes for an explosion of volcanic rage.
Canadians may be preternaturally measured and polite, but they simply can’t believe how they’ve been treated by President Obama — left hanging humiliatingly on an issue whose merits were settled years ago. Continue reading
World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.
For 20 years, the index has measured a nation’s commitment to free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100 by evaluating 10 categories, including fiscal soundness, government size and property rights. These commitments have powerful effects: Countries achieving higher levels of economic freedom consistently and measurably outperform others in economic growth, long-term prosperity and social progress. Botswana, for example, has made gains through low tax rates and political stability. Continue reading
Words seem to carry far more weight than facts among those liberals who argue as if rent control laws actually control rents and gun control laws actually control guns.
It does no good to point out to them that the two American cities where rent control laws have existed longest and strongest — New York and San Francisco — are also the two cities with the highest average rents.
Nor does it make a dent on them when you point out evidence, from both sides of the Atlantic, that tightening gun control laws does not reduce gun crimes, including murder. It is not uncommon for gun crimes to rise when gun control laws are tightened. Apparently armed criminals prefer unarmed victims. Continue reading