Three reasons why the new financial bill is bull

July 3, 2010

For Reason.TV, Nick Gillespie walks us through the reasons why the financial regulation bill the Democrats are trying to ram through Congress doesn’t address the real problems with our financial system:

I’ve no doubt there are some good ideas in this bill … somewhere in its 2300 pages, but it’s failure to address core problems, such as the government’s continued attempts at using the financial system as a vehicle of social engineering, make it fatally flawed. It should be withdrawn or defeated, and work started on real reform.

When bureaucrats get bored

June 30, 2010

Boredom must be a real problem for bureaucrats, especially in the European Union. How else does one explain jackassery such as this?

EU to ban selling eggs by dozen

Shoppers will be banned from buying bread rolls or eggs priced by the dozen under new food labelling regulations proposed by the European parliament.

Under the draft legislation, to come into force as early as next year, the sale of groceries using the simple measurement of numbers will be replaced by an EU-wide system based on weight.

It would mean an end to packaging descriptions such as eggs by the dozen, four-packs of apples, six bread rolls or boxes of 12 fish fingers.

The Government appeared to have been caught out by the change, but yesterday Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, signalled Britain would now step in to prevent the rule being enforced.

MEPs last week voted against an amendment to new food labelling regulations that would allow individual states to nominate products that can be sold by number rather than by weight.

Individual countries are currently allowed to specify exemptions but the new rules under discussion make no such provisions.

The changes would cost the food and retail industries millions of pounds as items would have to be individually weighed to ensure the accuracy of the label.

That last should read “…needlessly cost the food and retail industries millions of pounds…” Sure, standardization has some benefits, but how much will EU consumer benefit as compared to the expenses born by the companies (which they’ll pass on to consumers)? Is it really worth it?

And why even bother? What pressing Union-wide need was there for this rule? Doesn’t Brussels have anything better to do? Doesn’t the European Parliament care about this further micromanagement of daily life by a distant bureaucracy?

I think we know the answer to that.

PS. And America is on the same path.

(via Dan Mitchell)

Don’t cry over spilled milk – call the EPA!

June 27, 2010

Yes, according to the EPA, cow’s milk is now classified as “oil:”

Having watched the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, dairy farmer Frank Konkel has a hard time seeing how spilled milk can be labeled the same kind of environmental hazard.

But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is classifying milk as oil because it contains a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil.

The Hesperia farmer and others would be required to develop and implement spill prevention plans for milk storage tanks. The rules are set to take effect in November, though that date might be pushed back.

“That could get expensive quickly,” Konkel said. “We have a serious problem in the Gulf. Milk is a wholesome product that does not equate to spilling oil.”

Remember that the next time you wonder why the price of milk has gone up. And it’s not that I don’t believe agricultural pollution can be a problem, but with the Earth vomiting tens of thousands of barrels of real oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico, you’d think that the EPA would have more pressing matters to deal with, instead of spilled milk. Then again, if their boss isn’t worried…

But some politicians should be. This won’t play well in any big dairy state, not just Michigan, whether it’s California (“It’s the cheese!”) or Wisconsin, which has such large dairy industry that it bills itself as “America’s Dairyland” and where liberal Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is in a tough reelection battle. It’s another intervention and expense imposed by a regulatory agency at a time when most believe government does too much and has too much power. And, as the party of government and the party pushing for a vast expansion of an already intrusive government, the Democrats are doing a bang-up job of turning the public’s suspicion into electoral anger.

Come November, they may be crying over more than a spilled glass of oil milk.

(via Legal Insurrection)

Three reasons why the FCC should keep away from the Internet

June 19, 2010

Reason.TV‘s Nick Gillespie gives us a quick survey of why letting the FCC regulate the Internet is a Bad Idea(tm):

Nanny says “No salt!!”

April 20, 2010

I guess the FDA was feeling left out after the EPA decided that carbon dioxide was a pollutant and a public danger.  I mean, why shouldn’t they join the party and make themselves look ridiculous, too? But how best to do it… I know! Let’s regulate the salt you’re allowed to eat!

The Food and Drug Administration is planning an unprecedented effort to gradually reduce the salt consumed each day by Americans, saying that less sodium in everything from soup to nuts would prevent thousands of deaths from hypertension and heart disease. The initiative, to be launched this year, would eventually lead to the first legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in food products.

The government intends to work with the food industry and health experts to reduce sodium gradually over a period of years to adjust the American palate to a less salty diet, according to FDA sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the initiative had not been formally announced.

Officials have not determined the salt limits. In a complicated undertaking, the FDA would analyze the salt in spaghetti sauces, breads and thousands of other products that make up the $600 billion food and beverage market, sources said. Working with food manufacturers, the government would set limits for salt in these categories, designed to gradually ratchet down sodium consumption. The changes would be calibrated so that consumers barely notice the modification.

The legal limits would be open to public comment, but administration officials do not think they need additional authority from Congress.

Maybe they don’t need any additional authority (maybe), but they need a good dose of common sense. Processed foods are already required to list their ingredients; if someone has to monitor their sodium intake, then treat them as an adult and let them make those choices for themselves. We don’t need a multi-billion dollar program (Come on, you just know it will cost that much.) to pay for government regulators to guard us from the dangers inherent in the humble potato chip.

But there’s the problem: the essence of the progressive-statist mindset is exactly that you are not competent to decide for yourselves, that government has to watch over you, protect you from yourself. For the good of all, it has to treat you like a child. Snack foods, health care, how your money is spent… There is no end to Nanny’s need to, well, nanny you.

Of course, science really doesn’t enter into this decision: the consensus has been that salt is related to heart disease, thus giving the FDA its reason for action. Yet recent studies have called that consensus into question; the science may not be so settled. (via Hot Air) Not that this utterly disproves salt’s connection to heart disease, but it should give reasonable people pause before creating an expensive (and taste-killing) regulatory regime.

But Nanny isn’t reasonable.

LINKS: At Legal Insurrection, William Jacobson thinks the government has finally found its jobs plan. Fausta calls it lunacy.

Good job, Sacramento!

September 18, 2009

The Los Angeles Times reports today that California’s unemployment rate has reached 12.2%, the highest it’s been in 60 years:

Despite signs an economic recovery has begun in the state, California’s unemployment rate inched up in August, once again setting a new postwar high at 12.2%.

The state is one of 14 in the nation with an unemployment rate in the double digits, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. Only Michigan, Nevada and Rhode Island, at 15.2%, 13.2% and 12.8%, respectively, have higher unemployment rates than California. The national unemployment rate in August was 9.7%.

California has shed 741,000 jobs in the last year, and the state’s unemployment rate has climbed 4.6 percentage points from August 2008. The state’s July unemployment rate was 11.9%.

Economists predict that jobless figures will continue to rise for the rest of the year.

The highest since World War II. Next stop, the 1930s. That will give the Mandarins of the Golden Dome something to aim for.

Business cycles happen, but there’s no way this was made worse by sky-high state taxes, regulations that drive up the cost of business and then drive away businesses (and the jobs they create), unsupportable spending, and crazed borrowing that sucks money into a black hole of debt repayment, all brought to us by a legislature long-dominated by progressive Democrats.

Nope. Couldn’t be. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Hope! Change! or We’re #2!

September 9, 2009

Thanks to the statist interventions of the late George W. Bush and, far more so, the present Obama administrations, the United States for the first time in decades ranks less than first in international competitiveness. In fact, we rank 53rd in government regulation of business, 32 places behind communist China.

I weep.  Crying

Full report here in PDF.