Category: Regulation

Anonymous political speech has been essential to democratic discourse since the founding of our republic.  Ratification of the U.S. Constitution was primarily debated through a series of anonymous papers.  Yet in recent years, anonymous political speech has been under attack by so-called “dark money” critics, who demand that government expose the identities of individuals, businesses, labor unions and nonprofits that spend money to participate in political dialogue.  Couched as “transparency” measures, “dark money” disclosure mandates are often used as excuses to silence disfavored speech.  Troublingly, disclosure mandates are sweeping the country in the form of vague and overbroad regulations reaching the activities of 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations – groups that operate in nearly every sector and industry in the United States… View Article

Municipal Broadband Puts Taxpayers’ Wallets at Risk

By Kelly McCutchen For centuries, too-good-to-be-true deals have snagged investors with promises that they can ignore past failures because “this time it will be different.” Peachtree City’s leaders appear to have been told a similar story. The Peachtree City city council approved a resolution last month to build out a government-owned broadband Internet network for municipal buildings and local businesses. The project will require a 10-year, $3.2 million bond issue to pay for the cost of laying fiber optic lines along the right-of-way of the city’s many golf cart paths. For those who don’t know their Georgia geography, Peachtree City is not a small, rural hamlet in the-middle-of-nowhere Georgia with limited broadband Internet access. It is located just 30 miles… View Article
By Kevin Glass Government Internet is coming to a city near you. The only question is if anything can be done to stop the politicians scheming to bring it. Across the country, there’s been an explosion in what are euphemistically called “municipal broadband” projects – government-funded and operated broadband services that are competing with community service providers that have been operating for years. All across the country, from Newark, Delaware, to Seattle, Washington, government officials are exploring the possibility of sinking hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into these projects. This isn’t a new fad: Government broadband networks have been pursued by officials since the late ’90s, when smaller locales like Ashland, Ore., and Marietta, Ga., built out their own… View Article
By Jon Sanders The rhetorical case for renewable energy seems, at its core, to be this: Why rely on traditional sources that burn expensive energy and emit carbon dioxide when you can replace them with energy freely provided by nature that emits nothing? Seems like a slam-dunk. If that were truly the choice, no doubt it would be. But unfortunately, it isn’t. Not even close. Industry advocates know that, which is why they work in concert with friendly politicians and media true believers to make the choice seem that way. Nature, economics, and simple math are their biggest obstacles. Not politics, not irrational hatred of renewable energy, not even donations from bugbear philanthropists. The renewable energy sources (wind and solar) … View Article

Snake Oil in the Clean Power Plan

By Benita M. Dodd “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” Ronald Reagan famously said. After new energy regulations were announced this week, Americans should ask government, “With friends like you, who needs enemies?” This nation has never been sold a bigger, costlier bill of goods than the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (climate action plan) to reduce carbon emissions, which the administration has fervently tried to relabel as carbon “pollution.” According to President Obama: With this Clean Power Plan, by 2030, carbon pollution from our power plants will be 32 percent lower than it was a decade ago.  And the nerdier way to say that is that… View Article
This commentary is excerpted from testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services. By Todd Zywicki An animating premise of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) was the belief that a primary source of financial instability was an inadequate consumer financial protection regime at the federal level.  Dodd-Frank sought to address those perceived deficiencies by creating the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) and vesting that new super-bureaucracy wielding an unprecedented combination of vast, vaguely defined substantive powers with no democratic accountability.  At the outset, allow me to stress that I personally agreed with the proposal to combine the administration of federal consumer financial protection laws under one agency’s roof. The preexisting system was too… View Article

Dodd-Frank’s Dire Legacy: Durbin Amendment

By Iain Murray This week was the fifth anniversary of the passage of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, better known as Dodd-Frank. As the Mercatus Center revealed this week, it may be the biggest law ever written, because it gives the administration so much discretionary power to make secondary law. It has harmed consumers by reducing choice in financial services and failed to solve the problems it was purported to solve, as I outline in my new paper, How Dodd Frank Harms Main Street. One of the worst examples of this stems from the Durbin Amendment, a last minute addition to the bill that gives the Federal Reserve the power to cap interchange fees charged… View Article
A new study from North Carolina’s John Locke Foundation suggests a market-oriented alternative to state professional licensing. Read the press release below: North Carolina could promote job creation, lower consumer prices, and boost opportunities for low-income families by replacing most of the state’s occupational licensing with voluntary certification. A new John Locke Foundation Spotlight report explains why. “North Carolina’s aggressive occupational licensing faces considerable concerns about its fairness, efficiency, scope, and more,” said report author Jon Sanders, JLF Director of Regulatory Studies. “A ready answer to these concerns would be to transition most jobs currently under state regulation away from licensure and into private certification.” Sanders releases his report as the state’s occupational licensing system faces questions on multiple fronts.… View Article

The Ethanol Scramble

By Harold Brown The Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) were enacted to solve perceived problems with energy independence, carbon footprints, job creation and the farm economy, among others. They are proof positive that government solutions are always complicated, especially with mandates that address future, undefined problems. The legislation mandated fuel uses that were not yet developed and of questionable benefit. Proposed rules in the Federal Register announced in 2006 that, “Under the Clean Air Act … the Environmental Protection Agency is required to promulgate regulations implementing a renewable fuel program.” The most controversial mandate was for the use of ethanol as a fuel. The main goal was to replace petroleum fuels with renewable fuels, mainly ethanol in motor vehicles. So the… View Article
The Wall Street Journal published an essay by Charles Murray last week, “Regulation Run Amok — And How to Fight Back,” arguing that “America is no longer the land of the free” due to the modern regulatory state. He cites Thomas Jefferson’s definition of good government as one “which shall restrain men from injuring on another” and “shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement.” This presumption of freedom, says Murray, no longer holds. He says that at last count there are nearly 5,000 federal crimes you can commit. He states that “No individual can know how to “obey” laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley (810 pages), the Affordable Care Act (1,024 pages) or… View Article

As an employer, and a parent and a graduate of Georgia public schools, I am pleased that the Foundation has undertaken this project. (The report card) provides an excellent tool for parents and educators to objectively evaluate our public high schools. It will further serve a useful purpose as a benchmark for the future to measure our schools’ progress.

Dan Amos, CEO, AFLAC more quotes