Search
Archives
Categories

Archive for the ‘Regulations’ Category

This article about President-Elect Trump’s deal with Carrier includes the obligatory ‘this sets a dangerous precedent’ quote. In this article, Steve Weitzner of Silverlode Consulting is quoted as saying “It’s a potentially dangerous policy where you reward a company that threatens to leave. It’s a dangerous precedent. Why wouldn’t every other company make the exact same pitch? In this case, you’re rewarding a company that is actually cutting a lot of jobs in the state.”

If this were done in a vacuum, Weitzner would’ve made a salient point. This isn’t happening in a vacuum, though. This was a stop-gap measure aimed at preventing a single company from leaving. The biggest thing that will incentivize other companies into staying is passing the Trump-Ryan tax simplification legislation. The other biggest thing that will incentivize companies to stay is Trump’s regulatory reforms.

What corporate CEO would have their job if they left a nation with low marginal corporate tax rates, a reasonable regulatory environment and a well-trained workforce? That’s a three-legged stool to build a vibrant economy around. That’s a foundation upon which a thriving economy is built.

Let’s be clear. The questions Weitzner asked are legitimate questions. If the Trump administration wasn’t intent on tax and regulatory reform, the Carrier deal wouldn’t be getting positive reviews. That’s why it’s important to look at this deal in its totality. It’s worth noting that companies will return to the US the minute it looks like President Trump’s tax and regulatory plans are becoming reality.

Finally, imagine a company CEO getting a call from President Trump telling them that their company would get hit with expensive tariffs if they left the US. I can’t imagine that being a pleasant conversation.

Technorati: , , , , , , , ,

After Donald Trump’s victory, there’s been a noticeable outbreak of bipartisanship from red-state Democratic senators.

For instance, “North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is ready to work with Republicans on legislation to invest in ‘clean coal’ technologies. More broadly, she says she’s willing to work across the aisle on regulatory reform. ‘My priority is standing up for North Dakota, not party politics. The reason I’m in the U.S. Senate is to work with Republicans and Democrats to get things done,’ she told The Hill in a statement.”

Meanwhile, “Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) hopes to work with Republicans to reduce the deficit, clean up Washington by stopping former lawmakers from becoming lobbyists and passing legislation to improve service at the Department of Veterans Affairs, a major Trump talking point during the campaign.”

Before you think the Democratic Party has changed into a principled political party, don’t. There’s an explanation for their sudden ‘appreciation’ for bipartisanship:

While outgoing Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) didn’t want Democrats to work with vulnerable Republicans ahead of the 2016 elections, his heir apparent Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is signaling a willingness to let his members do what they need to do to survive in the next Congress.

TRANSLATION: Sen. Schumer has seen the 2018 electoral map. It frightens him. He’s willing to momentarily retreat if it’ll prevent a bloodbath for Senate Democrats.

The thing for Republicans to highlight is whether this cooperation leads to bills getting to President Trump’s desk for his signature. If Sen. Tester works with President Trump on the deficit but doesn’t work with Sen. Heitkamp on regulatory reform and on repealing Obamacare, then we know that Democrats are playing procedural games.

The litmus test for Republicans should be whether Democrats will work with President Trump on Obamacare’s replacement. If there aren’t blocks of Democrats willing to repeal and replace the ACA, then it’ll be clear that Democrats aren’t really interested in productive bipartisanship.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If LFR gave out awards for DFL stupidity, Duluth Rep. Jennifer Schultz would definitely have a shot at winning this week’s award. This article is proof of that accusation. First, a little background is required. Blue Cross-Blue Shield Minnesota dropped the Integrity Health Network from BCBS’s network. This is puzzling because their clinics are some of the highest quality clinics and most reasonably priced clinics in Minnesota. But I digress. Let’s look at what Rep. Schultz said that puts her in the running for this week’s award.

According to the article, “state Rep. Jennifer Schultz, DFL-Duluth, who was aware of the situation, said there’s little, if anything, that state government can do. State regulations require the insurer to have adequate coverage in the areas they serve, she said. But as long as Blue Cross Blue Shield meets those requirements, there’s nothing the Legislature can do to prevent them from dropping providers.”

What a dipstick. Of course, there’s nothing government can do to tell a private company that they have to include specific companies in their health networks. That isn’t the same as saying that Republicans are hypocrites, which is essentially what she said in this statement:

“A lot of these folks … complain about too much government regulation,” Schultz said. “And here they’re asking: What can the government do? We can’t. … If you want the private markets to work, this is what happens in private markets.”

What type of dipstick thinks that’s what Republicans are talking about? House Taxes Chair Greg Davids wants to expand Minnesotans’ networks by giving them the ability to afford purchasing health care outside of the insurance companies’ networks. That isn’t regulations. That’s changing tax policies to help Minnesota families. Rewriting Minnesota tax policy to allow for HSAs might help. Other remedies might work, too.

If this is true, BCBS Minnesota isn’t being honest:

“And when you call customer service, Blue Cross Blue Shield representatives are telling their patients that absolutely we’re in network for 2017,” Shelton said. “But what they’re not telling us is that they may only be in network for one month. And at that point, they will not have the opportunity to change their insurance.”

BCBS needs to update their customers if they’re misleading them like this. At this point, it’s just an allegation. If this becomes verified information, BCBS needs to be punished.

The thing that most people don’t know about Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission, aka PUC, is that Gov. Dayton stuffed the Commission with reliable votes against fossil fuel-powered power plants. At least 3 of the commissioners have worked for DFL offices. The PUC’s chair is Beverly Jones Heydinger. According to Ms. Jones-Heydinger’s bio, she “served in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office from 1978 to 1999, under Attorneys General Warren Spannaus and Hubert H. Humphrey, III.” The vice-chair, Nancy Lange, was appointed to the PUC in March, 2013. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Lange “served as Manager of Policy and Engagement at the Center for Energy and Environment. From 1992 through 2012, Ms. Lange held positions in Energy Program at the Izaak Walton League of America’s Midwest Office, most recently as Director.” The third DFL-appointed member of the Commission, Dan Lipschultz, is “a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)”, something he has in common with Ms. Jones-Heydinger.

The lone Republican on the commission is John Tuma. Commissioner Tuma’s bio is an interesting read. First, Commissioner Tuma “is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).” (Sound familiar?) Next, Commissioner Tuma “most recently served as a Government Relations Associate with Conservation Minnesota. He helped lead efforts to pass key energy legislation, including Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard.”

There’s no question that Gov. Dayton wanted to leave a lasting imprint on ‘the environment’ through this regulatory agency. There’s no question that Gov. Dayton wanted to put in place people who would implement the Sierra Club’s and the Izaak Walton League’s agenda through the PUC. These are the pictures of the men and women whose decisions have made electricity more expensive and less reliable:

Each of these commissioners was hand-picked by the Sierra Club. These commissioners were then officially nominated to the PUC by Gov. Dayton in the hopes of eliminating fossil fuel power plants. Simply put, the Sierra Club, the Izaak Walton League and other environmental organizations don’t care about reliable energy sources. They’re on a mission to ‘save the planet’. If that requires killing great-paying jobs at plants like the Sherco power plants in Becker, then that’s what they’ll do.

The Sierra Club is so radicalized that they oppose natural gas-fired power plants:

Natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decades-old environmental protections, and disregard the health of entire communities. “Fracking,” a violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations, is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.

“No state has adequate protections in place. Even where there are rules, they are poorly monitored and enforced. Thanks to the multiple federal exemptions, we can’t even count on the federal government to keep us safe! Together, though, we can change that! No industry, no matter how wealthy or powerful, can withstand the righteous passion of the American people. The out-of-control rush to drill has put oil and gas industry profits ahead of our health, our families, our property, our communities, and our futures. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.” —Allison Chin, Sierra Club president, July 28, 2012, at the Stop the Frack Attack rally

Don’t forget that the Public Utilities Commission killed the Sandpiper Pipeline project. These aren’t the friendly neighborhood green energy activists most people think of. They’re hardline progressives with a nasty fascist anti-natural resources streak in them.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

There wasn’t much doubt about whether Rep. Jim Newberger represents his district prior to this election. That’s a big reason why he’ll easily win re-election this Nov. 8. Still, Rep. Newberger’s op-ed on Gov. Dayton’s shutting of the Sherco power plants shows how hard he’ll fight for his district.

The most alarming part of Rep. Newberger’s op-ed came when he wrote “With all the talk of a ‘transformational’ approach to energy at Thursday’s meeting, the Public Utilities Commission passed on actually deciding how it was going to ‘transform’ our energy grid. The PUC merely voted to retire two coal-fired units without designating a replacement.” There’s nothing “transformational” about shutting down 2 power plants that supply a large percentage of central Minnesota’s electricity, a significant number of central Minnesota’s private sector jobs and a gigantic portion of central Minnesota’s property tax revenue.

I’d say that it’s downright reckless for the PUC to shut down any type of power plant without having a plan on what to replace them with except I know that the Public Utilities Commission has lots of environmental activists on its board. This decision isn’t just reckless. It’s intentional.

Based on his campaign website, it isn’t a stretch to think that one would-be career politician who’s cheering the PUC’s decision is Zach Dorholt. Here’s what he wrote on his priorities page on energy and the environment:

I believe that our natural resources are one Minnesota’s greatest assets. I want to be able to swim in our waters and eat the fish that I catch and I want my children to be able to say the same thing 50 years from now. An ecological balance in a state that is the headwaters is not only a recreational need, but a necessity for our economy and way of life.
Working together, we can create a more sustainable future by:

  1. Supporting energy conservation programs and investing in alternative energy systems
  2. Fully committing to restoring our local waters and native prairie grasses
  3. Using the Clean Water and Legacy funds, not as a credit card, but for their intended purpose
  4. Encouraging forward thinking businesses to locate in Minnesota
  5. Assisting in the formation of community green spaces, local sustainable food and gardening efforts

This isn’t what a principled politician says. It’s what a man who wants to be a green energy lobbyist says. It’s what a politician who doesn’t represent his constituents says.

Mr. Dorholt won’t fight to keep these high-paying jobs in Central Minnesota. He should be crucified at the ballot box for selling out to the special interests instead of fighting for high-paying jobs in central Minnesota. Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This Duluth New Tribune Our View editorial is nothing if not a shot at the environmental activists who are trying to prevent PolyMet from becoming operational.

The Duluth News Tribune’s editorial starts by saying “More than 10 years of exhaustive, detailed, thorough, and both emotional and science- and facts-based research, study and review: Apparently all of it still isn’t enough for some. A citizens group, joined now by three Duluth city councilors, are calling on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to conduct an evidentiary hearing with an administrative law judge before issuing a permit to mine copper and other precious metals in northern Minnesota.”

Clearly, the intent is to delay, not inform. That’s apparent when the DNT’s editorial says “An administrative law judge would serve as an impartial opinion-maker on the permit to mine, as those advocating for the evidentiary hearing point out. But the judge wouldn’t be an environmental expert or an authority on the science or business of mining. Those experts already have weighed in, prompted improvements to the plans, and signed off. It’s difficult to imagine what new evidence could be brought at such a hearing that hasn’t already been thoroughly researched, considered, vetted and, where appropriate, implemented.”

Let’s be straightforward with this: there aren’t many Republicans who are environmental activists, assuming you use the DFL’s definition of environmental activist. There are tons of Republicans who care deeply about preserving the natural resources that we’ve been entrusted with. That doesn’t fit the DFL’s definition of an environmental activist, though.

Relentless opponents of the $900 million Sandpiper pipeline project across Minnesota certainly cheered last week when Enbridge Energy Partners announced it had bailed on its project after years of protest and regulatory delays. Minnesota and the Twin Ports lost out on an estimated 3,000 badly needed, good-paying jobs.

The Sierra Club rejoiced when Enbridge pulled the plug on the Sandpiper Pipeline Project:

In response, Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels Director Lena Moffitt released the following statement:

“The end of the proposed Sandpiper pipeline is a crucial victory for the tens of thousands of Americans who have fought to protect their communities, their health, and the climate from the threat of fossil fuel infrastructure expansion.

“As far too many communities throughout the Great Lakes region can attest to, when it comes to pipelines, especially an Enbridge operated pipeline, it’s never a question of if it will spill, but rather a question of when. This is a risk no community should face, and thanks to today’s announcement, thousands of people will remain safe from the dangers of the Sandpiper pipeline.

“Rather than continuing to expand our reliance on fossil fuels, we must continue to transition to clean, renewable energy, and leave dirty fuels in the ground, where they belong.”

The end of the Sandpiper Pipeline project isn’t a victory for the environmentalists. It’s just another instance where the company just took a different route. In this instance, the jobs were lost in Minnesota and Wisconsin because the pipeline will now go through the Dakotas, into Iowa, the finishing in Illinois.

The environmentalists didn’t win anything. They just screwed thousands of Minnesotans out of “3,000 badly needed, good-paying jobs.” The dirty little secret is that so-called environmental activists aren’t pro-environment as much as they’re anti-development.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,

The DFL has insisted from the start of this election cycle that Angie Craig was competitive in CD-2, especially once John Kline announced his retirement. When the first fundraising report came out, the DFL’s cries got louder that Angie Craig would flip that seat.

I’ve been skeptical of the DFL’s claims from the start because Angie Craig, like Tarryl Clark in CD-6 in 2010, isn’t a good fit for CD-2. A loyal reader of LFR said that there are lots of entrepreneurs in CD-2. While Craig can appeal to those voters to a certain extent, she might have difficulty appealing to them because Bernie Sanders’ policies are definitely anti-small business. Sen. Sanders wants tons of regulations and higher top tax rates. Those definitely aren’t small business friendly policies.

The reason I mention Bernie Sanders is because an organization called Our Revolution has endorsed Angie Craig, Rick Nolan and Keith Ellison for congress from Minnesota. Here’s a little information on that organization:

Our Revolution will revitalize American democracy by unifying the millions of people who got involved over the course of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in support of progressive causes.

Let’s rewrite that sentence to make it accurate. It would say “Our Revolution will revitalize American democracy by unifying the millions of people who got involved over the course of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in support of socialist causes.” Small business entrepreneurship and socialism fit together like oil and water. In other words, they don’t fit together.

There’s nothing in Angie Craig’s history that suggests she’s truly pro-small business. These endorsements indicate that she’s a Sanders lefty:

Lori Swanson and Sandy Pappas are definitely 2 of the more far left lefties in Minnesota, with bigtime climate change credentials. The League of Conservation Voters is definitely anti-development and anti-small business.

So much for Angie Craig being pro-small business.

If you want to help get Jason Lewis elected, please consider contributing to his campaign. Also, if you want to get the word out on the real Angie Craig, please consider contributing to LFR by clicking on the “Donate” button in the top right corner of the page. You know that the MSM won’t tell Craig’s story. I will.

It’s time people understood just how many jobs anti-development environmentalists kill each year. It’s time people understood, too, the impact excessive regulations have on Minnesota’s state budget. This article helps illustrate the negative and devastating impact overregulation has on economic growth.

This paragraph lays things out perfectly, saying “Enbridge has been trying to build this petroleum pipeline from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to its regional terminal in Superior, Wis. The project is common sense. The oil from the Bakken needs to be moved to market. Building Sandpiper would create thousands of well-paying middle-class construction jobs, bring millions of dollars in much-needed business to rural communities and add millions of tax dollars to rural governments. There is also no disagreement that moving the oil in a pipeline is a safer alternative than moving it via rail cars or trucks.”

It’s indisputable that moving oil through pipelines is safer than other forms of moving product to market. That fight is finished. Further, it’s indisputable that building the pipeline would create thousands of high-paying construction jobs. Think about this: If a bonding bill is called a jobs bill by the DFL, why shouldn’t building the Sandpiper Pipeline project be called a private sector jobs bill by Republicans?

It’s indisputable that the interest that’s paid back by taxpayers on bonding bills costs everyone money, frequently in the form of higher taxes. Interest paid off by companies like Enbridge when they build America’s infrastructure is a net plus on multiple levels plus it doesn’t costs taxpayers a dime in higher taxes. In fact, it’s possible to argue that increased economic growth from the private sector will lower taxes while increasing revenues and raising blue collar workers’ wages significantly.

Minnesota loses

The result of this uncertainty came home to roost earlier this month. Enbridge announced that it had formed a partnership to purchase a pipeline system that would get the Bakken petroleum to market. One of the pipelines Enbridge will purchase is still under construction, and it runs from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois. This pipeline was permitted in all four states in a year and a half. One thing the pipelines in this system have in common is that none of them travels through Minnesota.

Enbridge got what it wanted. North and South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois approved the alternate pipeline route in about 18 months, which is about a third of the time Minnesota had muddled through the permitting process thus far. BTW, North Dakota has better air quality than Minnesota.

This is particularly noteworthy:

One of the first things Gov. Mark Dayton did when he took office in 2011 was sign an executive order to streamline decisions on environmental permits. The rhetoric clearly has not been matched by action.

It’s noteworthy because Gov. Dayton signed that executive order after Dan Fabian submitted a bill (HF1) to streamline permitting. I wrote then that this was a purely political stunt. There’s little doubt but that I got that right.

Minnesota has strong environmental regulations. Unfortunately, it’s also got some of the most untrustworthy anti-development environmentalists in the US. These anti-development environmentalists oppose the Sandpiper Pipeline. They oppose all forms of mining in Minnesota. They opposed the building of the Big Stone II power plant, too.

At this rate, the anti-natural resources wing of the DFL, which is the dominant wing of the DFL, won’t permit anything that doesn’t fit their rigid ideology.

One of the things we learn about Zach Dorholt is that he’s proud of his being a small business owner. One of the things highlighted on Dorholt’s Meet Zach Dorholt page is this paragraph, which reads “Following his entrepreneurial instincts, Zach co-founded The Old Capital Tavern in Sauk Rapids with like-minded friends in 2012. The venture was a first step in building unique businesses that support local economics and highlight Central Minnesota culture.”

It’s understatement to say that the people LFR has talked with from central Minnesota are skeptical of Mr. Dorholt’s entrepreneurial enthusiasm. The biggest reason they question Mr. Dorholt’s entrepreneurial expertise is because he voted for a ton of tax increases that hit small businesses directly, then voted the next spring to repeal the tax increases he’d voted for in 2013.

Those don’t sound like the actions a pro-entrepreneurial politician would make. They sound like the actions of a pro-high taxes politician would make after he’s revealed his political leanings and he knows he’s gone too far to get re-elected.

As for being a small business person, apparently Mr. Dorholt thinks health regulations are optional:

MN Rule 4626.0225 Use spatulas, tongs, deli tissue or other dispensing equipment to limit direct hand contact with food or ice.
Cook was observed dispensing buns, French fries and other condiments with his bare hands.

The reason for these regulations is so that people don’t get sick. A true businessman pays attention to details like that. That wasn’t the only violation. Here’s another:

MN Rule 4626.0070 Food employees must wash their hands at the hand wash sink in the food preparation area by vigorously rubbing together their soap lathered hands and arms for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing underneath the fingernails with a fingernail brush, and rinsing with clean water.
Cook was observed working with raw fish and rinsing his hands in the sink for approximately 5 seconds.

I’m betting that Dorholt invested a little money in the business so he could say he’s a small businessman but doesn’t pay attention to things. Then again, I might be wrong. He might be a hands-on owner who thinks regulations are suggestions.

Had Donald Trump given the speech that Donald Trump Jr. gave at the Republican National Convention, the party would’ve been united by mid-February and Donald Trump Sr. would’ve locked up the nomination on March 1. The GOP presidential nominee spent most of his time projecting an image of strength. Tuesday night, Donald Trump, Jr., projected strength and policy expertise that his father hasn’t shown yet.

Early in his speech, Donald Trump Jr. said “The other party gave us public schools that far too often fail our students, especially those who have no options. Growing up, my siblings and I we were truly fortunate to have choices and options that others don’t have. We want all Americans to have those same opportunities.” The crowd immediately responded with enthusiastic applause.

The applause got louder when Trump Jr. said “Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class, now they’re stalled on the ground floor. They’re like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers, for the teachers and the administrators and not the students. You know why other countries do better on K through 12? They let parents choose where to send their own children to school. That’s called competition. It’s called the free market. And it’s what the other party fears.”

That was just the start of the policies Mr. Trump Jr. rolled out. The next policy goal was hard-hitting if you read Mr. Trump Jr.’s speech:

The other party gave us a regulatory state on steroids. Dodd-Frank was a thousand pages long and it’s already spun off 22,000 pages in regulations. Imagine trying to digest all that before you even open your doors for business. That doesn’t help consumers. What it does is destroy small business in favor of big businesses who can afford the vast number of lawyers and accountants needed to comply. Dodd-Frank is consumer protection for billionaires.

If Donald Trump Sr. puts Donald Trump Jr. in charge of making speeches explaining how regulators kill jobs, Mrs. Clinton won’t be able to fight that, especially in Rust Belt states, the Midwest and in the Mountain West.

Then Donald Jr. took a machete after Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy/national security credentials:

Let me tell you something about risk. If Hillary Clinton were elected, she’d be the first president who couldn’t pass a basic background check. It’s incredible.

If Donald Jr. wants a career in politics, it’s easy seeing him succeeding. Tuesday night, he fired up the crowd while telling the nation watching on TV what a Trump agenda would look like.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,