In The News… 4.12.16

Stacy French - April 12th, 2016
  • The Weekly Standard suggests five methods to wreck the economy, most of which are goals of the Democratic Party
  • In the Daily Signal, Sen. Mike Like writes about the Washington Bureaucracy and government overreach.
  • Time, Our complex tax code is crippling America

In The News… 4.7.16

Stacy French - April 07th, 2016
  • e21 on how ObamaCare is really performing
  • Investor’s Business Daily, Obama takes “new executive action that will alter the tax laws to prevent companies from leaving the U.S. for lower-tax nations” and, of course, it’s “anti-business”
  • The Hill, Big government is hurting the little guy in its efforts to help

In The News… 4.6.16

Stacy French - April 06th, 2016

National Review: Too Much Regulation

Stacy French - March 02nd, 2016

Too Many Laws, Too Much Regulation

By Michael Turner in National Review

Legislators at all levels of government try to make everything their business. Amid the many crucial issues facing this country, lawmakers in some 30 states turned last month to a matter of grave national import: regulating fantasy sports betting. Depending on the state, lawmakers variously seek to ban the popular pastime, to permit it, or to impose regulations such as age restrictions, licensing requirements, and registration fees. All of which raises the obvious question: Why is any of this the government’s business?

One of the complaints that the Founding Fathers leveled against King George III in the Declaration of Independence was that “He has erected a Multitude of New Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their Substance.” This country was founded on the idea that, under most circumstances, government ought to leave us alone.

But today one just has to look around to realize that government, at every level — federal, state, and local — is, with increasing regularity, inserting itself into every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s our bedroom, our wallet, our medicine cabinet, or our refrigerator, there seems no area of our life that lawmakers don’t believe it is their business to regulate according to their morals, judgment, preferences, or whims.

Government is, with increasing regularity, inserting itself into every aspect of our lives. It is becoming increasingly difficult to do anything without first receiving some form of permission from one government authority or another. According to both the Brookings Institution and the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, roughly 30 percent of the workforce is covered by some form of occupational licensing, from florists to funeral attendants, from tree trimmers to make-up artists.

We are all familiar with the stories about cities and towns that have shut down children’s lemonade stands for lack of a business permit. But did you know that more than 50 cities actually prohibit you from giving food for free to the homeless? This includes such liberal bastions as Atlanta, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Seattle.  

We’ve also heard much about former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to ban or regulate large sodas, salt, and trans fats. But New York City is not alone in telling us what we should eat. San Francisco, for instance, has outlawed McDonald’s Happy Meals. New York City, which doesn’t much like Happy Meals either, is considering regulations setting standards for fat, sodium, and calories, and requiring that Happy Meals include a serving of fruit, vegetable, or whole grains.

Food seems to be a particular obsession for lawmakers. The constant tinkering with school lunches can perhaps be justified, since public schools are government run. But what are we to make of the fact that 19 states ban the sale of raw milk? California actually deploys official “food confiscation teams” to raid the homes of people found to have purchased illicit milk. Even the federal government gets in on that one, making it illegal to sell raw milk across state lines. Want more? Arkansas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee have joined Berkeley, Calif., in levying special taxes on sodas. North Carolina bans the sale of rare hamburgers.

E-cigarettes and “vaping” are the latest fad to draw the attention of legislative busybodies. New Mexico is just one of the states that are considering legislation to restrict or ban smokeless smoking. Congress too is thinking of weighing in. The authorities don’t want us to smoke (even non-cigarettes), or to drink, either. Twenty-seven states have banned powdered alcohol, and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York introduced legislation last year to ban it at the federal level (fortunately, that bill didn’t get anywhere). Tanning and tattoos are other “vices” that have come in for special levels of government scrutiny and regulation.

Conservatives have been all too willing to legislate their moral preferences, especially when it comes to sexual behavior. But let’s not assume that it is just the Left that wants the state to inject itself into our personal lives. Conservatives have been all too willing to legislate their moral preferences, especially when it comes to sexual behavior. How else can you read the fact that Alabama outlaws sex toys? In Michigan, the state senate has just passed legislation making oral sex, even among married heterosexual couples, a felony. Some New Hampshire legislators are busy trying to prohibit topless sunbathing on the state’s beaches. And Montana lawmakers recently considered a proposal to ban yoga pants, under the state’s indecency laws. A handful of states still prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

The nanny state is no respecter of party lines.

Too many lawmakers, and too many voters, subscribe to the adage, “There ought to be a law.” That which is good should be mandatory; that which is bad should be banned.  

But, as Ronald Reagan once said, “Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.” That’s worth keeping in mind the next time we think about granting the government more power to regulate our lives. And it is worth remembering the next time some politician promises that he will get some law passed because it is for our own good.

See more:

Sen. Mike Lee’s Op-Ed On FCC Regulations And Overreach

Stacy French - February 25th, 2016

“Instead of expanding the scope of an 80-year-old law beyond recognition, we should trust the good judgment and common sense of the American people to decide what works and what doesn’t.” (AP File Photo/Susan Walsh

Bringing freedom back to the Internet

As unprecedented a step as this was, it was not the first time FCC bureaucrats attempted a takeover of the Internet.

More than five years ago, the FCC released its Open Internet Order of 2010, a set of new regulations designed to appease so-called “net neutrality” activists who had been fighting for more government control over the Internet.

But Americans fought back — and they won. The Internet service providers challenged the new FCC regulations in federal court, arguing that Title I of the Communications Act of 1934 did not give the FCC the authority to implement net neutrality regulations. And in 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a decision holding that the FCC had exceeded its authority to regulate Internet providers as “information services” under Title I.

Undeterred, and forever striving to expand their powers, the bureaucrats at the FCC did not give up. The next year they released their Open Internet Order of 2015, this time reclassifying Internet service providers as common carrier utilities, which is what AT&T was in 1934 when the federal Communications Act was first passed.

Back in the 1930s, it may have made sense for the FCC to protect consumers from a single company with monopoly control over an emerging communications technology. But we live in the 21stCentury, and the Internet today is categorically different from telecommunications technology from the Great Depression era. Today, with numerous providers fighting over multiple platforms to offer consumers the best experience, the FCC’s anachronistic approach will only stifle Internet-drive innovation, which will only hurt the consumers it claims to protect.

The truth is, the term “net neutrality” is deceptive: the notion that “all Internet data must be treated equally,” as FCC supporters put it, is misguided from both a technical and an economic standpoint.

Some Internet traffic is very time-sensitive – think of Skyping your family or streaming a movie – while other traffic is not, like sending emails or general web browsing. This technical distinction points to the danger of a government regulatory regime that treats these different types of data as the same.

And make no mistake: the economic burden of these regulations will fall squarely on the backs of the consumers the FCC purports to help. Already, we have seen innovative programs like T-Mobile’s “Binge-On” targeted by net-neutrality advocates for government regulation, even though they give consumers increased access to popular content at no additional cost.

Some proponents of net neutrality argue that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) engage in predatory practices in the future. The threat of anticompetitive behavior should always be taken seriously. But it makes no sense for a five-person panel of presidential appointees to write a sweeping law aimed at solving a problem that might someday exist. There are more effective, more democratic, and less intrusive ways to address anticompetitive behavior, including existing antitrust and consumer-protection laws.

Others believe the FCC’s regulations are the only way to mitigate potential freedom of speech violations. This concern should be taken seriously too. Since its explosion in the 1990′s, the commercialized Internet has become the greatest marketplace of ideas and information in human history, and we should work to preserve its organic, multifarious nature. But if the availability of diverse content is what makes Internet access so valuable, what incentives do ISPs have to suppress free speech?

The reality is that the Internet has already taught us that the best way to protect free speech online is to keep the Internet open and free from cronyist bureaucratic control, allowing permissionless innovation to produce new and dynamic technologies that empower and connect people. That’s why I have introduced, along with several of my colleagues, the Restoring Internet Freedom Act. This bill will repeal the FCC’s net neutrality rules and set the stage for more comprehensive reforms of federal technology policy.

Instead of expanding the scope of an 80-year-old law beyond recognition, we should trust the good judgment and common sense of the American people to decide what works and what doesn’t. This has been our nation’s way since its inception: the belief that ordinary men and women – not distant, unelected bureaucrats – make their own decisions. The Restoring Internet Freedom Act is an important step in that direction.

Mike Lee is a United States senator from Utah. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

See more: