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There’s a penalty Minnesotans are paying for electing divided government. That penalty comes in the form of higher taxes, more intrusive regulations and a regulatory structure that gives special interests too many bites at the proverbial apple.

When the DFL ran St. Paul in 2013-14, they rammed huge tax and spending increases down our throats. That’s when Minnesota became less competitive in terms of business environment. The truth is that Minnesota has an outmigration of wealth and talent for years. It isn’t just retirees, either, moving to warmer climates. It’s young people moving to other states to start businesses where taxes and regulations aren’t oppressive.

The regulatory regime isn’t the same as the regulations. For PolyMet to start operations, they have to get approval from the DNR, MPCA, the Department of Health, the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BOWSR), the Public Utilities Commission in addition to local watershed districts and other regulators. It isn’t surprising that people — and wealth are leaving.

This is an organizational chart of Minnesota’s executive branch:

Within the executive branch, there are close to 2 dozen regulatory agencies. They include the MPCA, BOWSR, the DNR, Department of Health, Met Council, the Public Utilities Commission, the Board on Environmental Quality, the State Climatology Office, the Department of Commerce, the Board of Energy, the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, the Minnesota Geological Survey, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Office of Energy Security, the Office of Pipeline Safety, just to name a few.

The point is that the DFL has controlled at least one part of government my entire adult life. It has created a convoluted system of government that’s stuck in the Twentieth Century. The DFL insists on maintaining a mainframe government in an iPad world.

Gov. Dayton and then-Lt. Gov. Tina Smith ignored welfare fraud, elder care abuse and overseen IT disasters like MNsure and MNLARS. When the DFL had majorities in the House and Senate and Gov. Dayton was governor, they raised taxes and raised the state minimum wage, then indexed it to inflation. Further, the DFL hasn’t reformed anything like the IRRRB or the Met Council in forever. They’ve participated in scandals like the Action Minneapolis rip-off, too.

Considering all those things, I can’t justify why they should hold any levers of power in St. Paul.

Steve Rattner “served as lead adviser to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry in 2009 for the Obama administration.” This morning, the racist NYTimes published Rattner’s op-ed, which is simply a continuation of President Obama’s attempt to lie about the success of President Obama’s economic policies.

In President Obama’s attempt to spin his policies, he’s either forced to lying outright or he’s too unwilling to admit that his policies failed. Prior to serving in the Obama administration, Rattner “was a managing principal of the Quadrangle Group, a private equity investment firm that specialized in the media and communications industries. Prior to co-founding Quadrangle, he was an investment banker at Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, and Lazard Freres & Co., where he rose to deputy chairman and deputy chief executive officer.” But I digress.

In his op-ed, Rattner wrote that “For the second consecutive Friday, the Trump administration had an opportunity to point to fresh data that supposedly demonstrates the strong boost the president’s policies have given to the nation’s economy. Last week, news that the gross domestic product expanded at a 4.1 percent rate in the second quarter occasioned a presidential appearance on the south lawn of the White House. Friday’s announcement that 157,000 new jobs were added in July was marked more modestly, with a statement from the White House.”

Let’s be clear about something. There’s no disputing the fact that the economy is stronger than it was during the Obama administration. The energy sector is booming. Manufacturing is the strongest it’s been in a generation. Unemployment in minority communities is the lowest it’s been in history. Literally trillions of dollars are flooding into the United States now that the Obama tax disaster has been repealed and replaced with the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Business investments are increasing nicely.

Yes, the economy is continuing to expand nicely, which all Americans should celebrate. But no, there’s nothing remarkable in the overall results since Mr. Trump took office. Most importantly, there is little evidence that the president’s policies have meaningfully improved the fortunes of those “forgotten” Americans who elected him.

Nancy Pelosi called the tax cuts “crumbs.”

This is Rattner’s more elegant way of saying that the Trump economy is delivering crumbs to the American people. Tell that to these people:

According to the workers at Granite City Works, President Trump’s policies aren’t just providing jobs after the plant was idled on President Obama’s watch. It’s that those workers said that Granite City, IL is getting rebuilt one neighborhood, one family at a time.

Yes, Mr. Rattner, there were far too many people forgotten by President Obama’s policies. If you weren’t part of the well-connected crowd, you didn’t share in the prosperity. If you didn’t work in one of the industries that President Obama picked as a winner, you were in tough shape. Those forgotten workers aren’t forgotten anymore.

The dishonesty of people like Mr. Rattner and other Obama administration spinmeisters is disgusting. President Obama himself said that he planned on shutting down the coal industry. President Obama said that tons of jobs weren’t coming back. He’s right in once sense. Those jobs wouldn’t have come back with his disastrous tax and regulatory policies. Now that those policies have been replaced by pro-growth economic policies, things have gotten consistently better.

As a result, consumer confidence is sky-high and the economy is robust again. How do I know? I know by the amount of traffic on the highways heading out on vacation. This Friday, the traffic on Highway 10 (at 11:00 am, I might add) was bumper-to-bumper. I never saw that during the Obama administration.

That’s because people have money in their pockets to spend again. The behavior of the American people is dramatically different. That’s reflected in the consumer confidence numbers.

No amount of Obama administration spin will change that.

One thing that’s apparent from this past week is that the Democrats’ plan to counter the good economic news is to insist that President Obama deserves great credit for the strong economy. During the first roundtable discussion on Fox News Sunday, Democrat spinmeister Mo Elleithee went right to work on that storyline.

First, Chris Wallace asked “Mo, there has been a lot of talk about a blue wave this November, a big Democratic pickup, may be control of the House, maybe even control of the Senate. But I think you would agree in the absence of where the economy is always the top issue and when you got strong economic growth, when you got historically low unemployment number, isn’t that a pretty strong record for Republicans to run on?” Elleithee replied by saying “Look, first of all, we should all be celebrating 4.1 economic growth. That’s a good number, a strong number. It also would have been the fifth strongest number of the Obama administration, right? The Obama administration — this is the continuation of economic recovery that began in 2009 and 2010. That strong economy wasn’t enough to save Democrats last time. It’s not enough to say it will be enough to say it would save Republicans this time.”

Republicans on the panel should’ve jumped on that immediately. Unfortunately, notorious Trump-hater Jonah Goldberg sat silent. Ditto with Jillian Turner. Since they sat silent, I’ll say what I would’ve said had I been on that panel. First, I would’ve highlighted the fact that President Trump and the GOP Congress scrapped the Obama-era tax system. They essentially threw it out and started from scratch. Thanks to the Trump/GOP tax cuts, business investment is accelerating, capital from overseas investments are flooding into the United States where manufacturing plants are being built or re-opened.

Remember when the Obama administration told us that those jobs were gone forever? I certainly remember. Apparently, all that was required were the right policies. Manufacturing is back in a big way. President Obama doesn’t get credit for the manufacturing rebound.

President Trump unleashed the energy sector by eliminating President Obama’s regulations that were intended to strangle the fossil fuel industry. Now we’re a net exporter of fossil fuels. Another thing is that the manufacturing sector is getting stronger quickly. That’s what I’d expect. President Obama worked tirelessly to put the fossil fuel industry out of business. He can’t take credit for that resurgent industry, the jobs it’s creating or the communities it’s rebuilding. Remember this statement from the campaign trail?

This month’s job report showed that people are returning to the workforce because they know there’s finally good-paying jobs available. In fact, for the first time in history, there are more job openings than there are workers to fill those positions. A frequent highlight of the Obama-era jobs reports was the part where they’d say how many people dropped out of the workforce or how the workforce participation rate had dropped. President Obama can’t take credit for that.

President Obama can’t take credit for surging consumer confidence or business confidence, either. Neither sector was particularly confident during the Obama administration. In truth, there’s nothing from the Obama administration’s policies that are contributing to the strengthening Trump economy. Period.

Last night, Juan Williams was on Fox News @ Night to talk about Friday’s GDP report. Something he hinted at, which isn’t a first, is that the Trump GDP numbers are a continuation of the Obama recovery. Let’s be clear about things. First, it’s indisputable that the recovery from the Great Recession started early in the Obama administration. People arguing otherwise just aren’t telling the truth. Second, anyone that thinks that the Trump economy’s growth is based on a continuation of Obama-era policies simply isn’t informed.

From Day One, President Trump and the GOP Congress have done their best to sweep aside the Obama administration’s policies. That’s why people elected President Trump. They wanted a Disruptor-in-Chief. They didn’t want a Stay-the-Course administration.

One of the first thing the Trump administration was to unleash the energy sector, starting with green-lighting the Keystone XL Pipeline and increasing fracking for oil and natural gas. They stopped in its tracks the war on coal, thanks in large part to the rolling back of regulations put in place late in the Obama administration through the unprecedented use of the Congressional Review Act. Time and again, that was used to rid ourselves of the anti-mining regulations that the Obama administration put in place.

Those things alone would’ve helped the economy soar. But that’s only part of the story. The highest profile legislative victory of the Trump administration is the passage of the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Those tax cuts are working and everyone knows it. Are they enough to push growth into the stratosphere? I’ll say it this way: they’re opening up new opportunities for entrepreneurship. President Trump has unleashed the animal spirits of this economy. That term was first used by John Maynard Keynes. Here’s what he said about animal spirits:

Even apart from the instability due to speculation, there is the instability due to the characteristic of human nature that a large proportion of our positive activities depend on spontaneous optimism rather than mathematical expectations, whether moral or hedonistic or economic. Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be taken as the result of animal spirits—a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities.

In other words, good things happen when people are optimistic. There’s no greater salesman of economic optimism than Larry Kudlow. Sandra Smith’s interview of Mr. Kudlow has me believing that robust long-term economic growth isn’t just possible. It’s likely. Watch this interview:

The only other guy who rivals Mr. Kudlow in terms of economic optimism is his old partner in crime in the Reagan administration, Art Laffer. One thing that I don’t want to overlook in the interview is what Kudlow said about the fundamentals in place. Regulations are reasonable. Taxes, which leads to capital formation, which leads to job creation, are low. The energy sector has been unleashed. Consumer confidence is high. Capital that spent its time on the sidelines during the Obama administration is rushing back into the United States in the hopes of increased return on investment. During periods in the Obama administration, investors were sometimes happy with a return of its investment.

Early in the interview, Mr. Kudlow summed things up beautifully by saying “My hunch is that it’s going to go on for quite awhile.” This of things contributing to this strong economy that Mr. listed was fairly lengthy. Anyone mistaking the Trump economy with the Obama economy isn’t paying attention. The differences are night and day differences.

The thing that’s getting more play at the DFL convention than expected is that Erin Murphy’s momentum is real and that she might win the DFL endorsement. Tonight, Murphy announced that she’d been endorsed by OutfrontAction via this tweet:


A quick glimpse at OutFrontAction’s about us webpage identifies which identity group OutfrontAction represents:

OutFront Minnesota’s mission is to create a state where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination. We envision a state where LGBTQ individuals have equal opportunities, protection and rights. We are working toward the day when all Minnesotans have the freedom, power and confidence to make the best choices for their own lives.

There’s little question whether this is an important endorsement the night before the DFL endorses a gubernatorial candidate. That isn’t the same as saying this is a winning issue in a general election. It isn’t. Compare that with the top contenders’ issue pages. Check out how substantive Jeff Johnson’s issues page is. Then compare the DFL candidates’ pages with Tim Pawlenty’s issues page.

The difference between the Republicans’ issues pages and the DFL candidates’ issues pages isn’t a fair fight. Murphy doesn’t have an issues page. Instead, she calls her page her Vision page. On that page, she talks about single-payer “health care, equity & justice, economic justice, reproductive justice, immigration and mining.”

On immigration, Murphy says this:

Minnesota must be a state where all of our neighbors are treated with respect and dignity. It’s also critical for our future; we need the hard work and bright ideas of people all over the world to build our economy. That’s why, as a state, we must unite against efforts by the federal government to attack immigrants living in Minnesota. Our communities must be strong, safe, and welcoming.

  • I support drivers licenses for all, an initiative that keeps our roads safe while ensuring that people are able to get to work or take their child to the doctor and school.
  • Our state and law enforcement must not serve as an extension of ICE, nor should Minnesota prisons be used as detention centers.

In other words, Murphy supports Minnesota becoming a sanctuary state. In terms of mining, here’s part of what Murphy says:

I’ll protect our state from corporate interests that seek to weaken our permitting process for their financial gain. We see these efforts both at the state and federal level. I’ve voted against them repeatedly, and would continue to oppose them if the science is not sound.

Although we often focus on mining, in Minnesota, we are hard on our water – with agriculture, with overdevelopment, with road salt, and with manufacturing. So it’s imperative we invest in the research already taking place at the Natural Resources and Research Institute at UMD around advanced filtration, reverse osmosis, and other ways to clean impaired waters. As governor I would ensure that we invest in that research more heavily to protect and repair water, regardless of the project.

In short, Murphy will be a friend of environmental activists. This has long-reaching effects. It affects farmers, miners, construction workers and cities building wastewater treatment plants. It isn’t a stretch to say that environmental activists would have too much influence in our lives if Murphy was elected.

After reading this article, I thought that this was another instance of regulators running wild. First, let’s establish what happened.

According to the article, it “started in February with some bicycle wheels under a slide, right where they were supposed to be. “They were tucked underneath the slide in my front yard so the kids could access them, because they do things like experiment with physics and roll them down the hill,” Giuliani said. It ended with the first correction orders she had received in 17 years of providing family child care. On top of the 55-hour weeks, the need to pursue training and do paperwork outside of that window and the emotional heft of helping children grow, there’s now a green letter posted at the entrance to Giuliani’s home, where it will echo her faults until 2019.”

Seriously? This is proof that regulators either have too much time on their hands or they have a God complex. The other possibility is that this regulator is trying to pay in-home child care providers for humiliating the union by rejecting union representation. Whatever the regulator’s motivation, this isn’t acceptable. Here’s the ‘scene of the crime’:

That certainly looks dangerous. It’s a good thing that regulators wrote Giuliani up for being a threat to the children she takes care of.

Seriously, what’s required is a culture change amongst regulators. There’s no doubt that Minnesota is overregulated. That’s why companies have either left Minnesota or they’ve expanded elsewhere. That’s why Minnesota will lose a congressional district in the next round of reapportionment in 2021. It’s that simple.

“Guilty until proven innocent,” testified Julie Seidel, membership director of the Minnesota Association of Child Care Professionals, who added the regulatory environment is “burdensome and often unattainable … and is discouraging providers from continuing child care.”

It isn’t just that laws need to be rewritten. It’s that a total culture change is required. Common sense rules have been replaced by God-like declarations. Rather than just writing Ms. Giuliani a fix-it ticket, the regulator insisted on making an example of her.

County licensors also will be required to get additional training on licensing standards, with the goal of shifting from punitive to more constructive and educational licensing inspections. Giuliani countered that’s like “sending a bully at school to sensitivity training and expecting that because they have 90 minutes of training they’re not going to go back and do what they did before.”

It’d be better to just throw out the people who’ve abused their power.

Friday morning, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources “released a draft permit to mine Friday morning for PolyMet Mining” in what’s being called “a major step forward for what’s poised to be the first copper-nickel mine in the state.” While this isn’t the final step needed to mine, “the draft permit, which includes conditions the state would place on the Canadian mining company, signals the state is comfortable the mine, as proposed, can meet environmental standards and provide significant financial assurances to pay for any needed mine cleanup.”

While that’s a major step forward, the project still faces additional hurdles before construction can start. The next step allows the public “to weigh in on the draft permit, including at two public hearings scheduled Feb. 7 in Aurora, on the Iron Range, and Feb. 8 in Duluth. The DNR will also accept formal objections and petitions for special contested case hearings on the permit before a state administrative law judge.” After that, the MPCA “also plans to release draft water quality and air quality permits, two additional major permits PolyMet needs to obtain before it could open its proposed mine and processing plant near Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes.” That still isn’t enough to open the mine:

Environmental groups have already filed four lawsuits, most challenging a proposed land exchange with the U.S. Forest Service, and more suits are expected if the state eventually grants PolyMet permits. If the DNR calls for evidentiary hearings before an administrative law judge to gather testimony on aspects of the mining plan that are disputed by environmental groups and Indian tribes, that could tack on another 6 to 9 months to the regulatory process.

A vote for a DFL governor is a vote for continuing the status quo. In this instance, this process started in 2004 with the “Initial Environmental Review.”

According to this article, which was written on “Dec. 16, 2015”, PolyMet spent $249,708,000 in its attempt to get the mine operational:

Anyone that thinks spending $250,000,000 is reasonable to get approval for a mine hates mining and miners. The DFL and their front groups (think Sierra Club, Conservation Minnesota and Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters) might think that’s reasonable but sane people don’t. If anyone wants to know why entrepreneurs are leaving Minnesota, the regulatory climate is a major reason. There’s nothing reasonable about it.

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Lately, Sen. Schumer has made a habit of saying that Republicans will rue the day the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passes. It isn’t that he actually believes this. It’s that he’s trying to spin a major loss for Senate Democrats into a smaller loss. Seriously, only Bernie Sanders is stupid enough to think that the bill won’t create jobs and get the economy running better.

Sen. Schumer issued a statement that said “Under this bill, the working class, middle class and upper middle class get skewered, while the rich and wealthy corporations make out like bandits. It is just the opposite of what America needs — and Republicans will rue the day they pass this.”

It’s important to remember that that’s coming from a man who tried protecting Sen. Franken by recommending a do-nothing ethics committee investigation. Anyone that’s willing to protect a pervert like Franken isn’t a person whose opinion I’d value. Marco Rubio, a person whose political instincts I value, though not always his policies, has changed his vote from no to yes on the bill.

Implicit in Schumer’s statement is Sen. Schumer’s admission that the bill will pass. That’s a victory for Republicans and the American people. Since President Trump was elected, the economy has surged. GDP is higher. Consumer confidence is soaring. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. Regulations that’ve been cut by this Congress and this administration have taken government’s boot off the economy’s throat. People’s 401(k)s are getting richer.

For all of Sen. Schumer’s whining, people are better off now than they were a year ago. Despite President Obama’s BS, the economy isn’t stronger because the Trump built off the blueprint that President Obama put in place. It’s flourishing because President Trump tore President Obama’s blueprint down, then rebuilt it from scratch. GDP for Q1 2017 was 1.7%. Q3 of 2017 is dramatically different, with GDP up at 3.3% with an asterisk. (That asterisk is that it would’ve been higher if not for 5 major hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast in a single month.)

This is fantastic news:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said Friday that the chamber would vote on the plan Tuesday, with the Senate vote to follow shortly thereafter.

Expect there to be a lavish bill signing ceremony at the White House either Wednesday or Thursday. Sen. Schumer’s spin won’t change the fact that the middle class will see more in their paychecks after the start of the new year.

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Thank God for President Trump’s regulators. After years of neglecting the riff-raff that serve as regulators, President Trump is installing a new breed of regulator. I’m certain it’s a shock to the environmental activists who’ve ruled the roost the last generation. That’s why it’s essential to clean out the barn and install new regulators that believe in the rule of law and the Constitution.

One of the people who’s likely to be a new regulator is a Wyoming woman named Karen Budd-Falen. It’s likely that she’ll be “the next leader of the Bureau of Land Management.” According to the article, “Budd-Falen has worked extensively for private property owners, agricultural operations and local governments.” Trent Loos, a Nebraska rancher and the host of a radio show Rural Route, said of Budd-Falen “There’s no doubt why people who oppose multiple use and following the law as it’s written would be opposed to Karen Budd-Falen. She believes in the Constitution the way it was written that guarantees multiple use. Not just rancher use but multiple use.”

Later, Loos said “It’s important to point out that she was railing on the BLM when (the Obama Administration was) against multiple use. That’s why she was raising a stink. We’ve had administrations moving away from multiple use not maintaining it. That’s why she went after the BLM so many times.”

That’s why we should expect lots of theatrics by the Democrats. Think of her as a tough-as-nails female version of Scott Pruitt. Needless to say, environmental activists are freaking out:

“This is probably one of the worst picks he could possibly come up with to head the BLM,” explained Athan Manuel, director of the Sierra Club’s Lands Protection Program. “She’s very ideological, and does seem to be completely offended by the concept of federal lands,” he added.

What’s funny is that the Sierra Club is upset that Budd-Falen is using the same tools that environmental activists have used against power companies:

But Budd-Falen’s approach was to destroy Ratner and Western Watersheds through this nuisance lawsuit accusing him of trespassing. She hardly even tried to hide her intentions, reportedly bragging in 2015 to a group of ranchers that “one of the funniest things I’m doing right now” is that she “figured out a way to sue Western Watersheds Project.”

How is that different than MCEA suing the investors of the Big Stone II power plant? Back then, Paul Aasen bragged about his tactics:

Along with our allies at the Izaak Walton League of America, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Wind on the Wires, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Fresh Energy argued, first in South Dakota, then before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), that the new plant was a bad idea. Our message was simple: The utilities had not proven the need for the energy, and what energy they did need could be acquired less expensively through energy efficiency and wind.

We kept losing, but a funny thing happened. With each passing year, it became clearer that we were right. In 2007, two of the Minnesota utilities dropped out, citing some of the same points we had been making. The remaining utilities had to go through the process again with a scaled-down 580-megawatt plant.

These environmental parasites don’t care about the environment. They care exclusively about their extremist agenda.

They’re just upset that someone’s using their tactics against them.

It’s indisputable that past presidents have used the Antiquities Act to create national monuments. The worst presidents in terms of misusing the Antiquities Act were President Obama, President Clinton and President George W. Bush. It’s fair to say that each of those presidents misused the Antiquities Act to sidestep the original intent of the law. Rob Bishop’s op-ed highlights how past presidents have essentially ignored the law in creating national monuments.

In Bishop’s op-ed, he wrote “A few statistics can illustrate the scope of the overreach. Between 1906 and 1943, the law functioned basically as designed. Presidents respected the intent of the act. Most monuments were smaller and had clear boundaries with real antiquities inside them. By contrast, designations under the act last year averaged 739,645 acres, or more than 47 times the size of those created 110 years ago. President Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to use the act. He used it 18 times for a combined total of 1.5 million acres. President Barack Obama used it 37 times to designate 553.6 million acres of land and water.”

Chairman Bishop didn’t just complain about the problem. He’s proposed a solution:

Last week, I introduced legislation to correct these failures and permanently address my colleagues’ concerns. The National Monument Creation and Protection Act would, like the writers of the Antiquities Act intended, allow the president to unilaterally designate land up to 640 acres. Monument designations between 640 and 10,000 acres would be subject to review under the National Environmental Policy Act. Designations between 10,000 and 85,000 acres would be required to obtain the approval of all county commissioners, state legislatures, and governors in the affected area. The bill also standardizes and limits the president’s power to reshape monuments.

Chairman Bishop’s legislation is well-written and desperately needed. Unfortunately, there’s no chance it will pass. That’s because it will get stopped by the Democrats’ filibuster in the Senate. Their environmental activist friends will insist that the bill be stopped.

That’s because these environmental activists want big, unaccountable government. These activists are almost always Democrats, though a handful are Republicans. These activists have proven time and again that they prefer it when government tramples over people in favor of the ‘greater good’ of saving Mother Earth. These activists don’t like the rule of law. Here’s proof:

In 1996, prior to the designation of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah, Clinton’s then-Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Katie McGinty stated the following, “I’m increasingly of the view that we should just drop these utah [sic] ideas. we [sic] do not really know how the enviros will react and I do think there is a danger of ‘abuse’ of the withdraw/antiquities authorities especially because these lands are not really endangered.”

If McGinty’s name sounds familiar, it’s possibly because she ran for Senate in 2016 against Republican Pat Toomey. Thankfully, Sen. Toomey defeated her. But I digress.

It’s disheartening to see Democrats trample over the law. It’s especially disheartening that Democrats do that for a few extra campaign contributions. That’s how cold-hearted Democrats are. This is what’s most disgusting:

The monument was designated in the waning months of Clinton’s re-election campaign. Its total acreage: 1.7 million — three times the size of Rhode Island. No town halls, no public meetings, and no public comment sessions were ever held in Utah. No input was solicited from local stakeholders or land managers in the area. Utah’s governor, congressional delegation, public officials, and residents from across the state all expressed outrage at the lack of prior consultation or warning of the designation. In what feels like symbolism, the proclamation wasn’t even signed in Utah; it was signed in Arizona.

That’s the opposite of transparency. That’s proof that Democrats don’t like accountable government.