Hello

Archives for Federalism

Beware “Free” Federal Money

President Obama has proposed that Congress yet again dump another bucket of money on state and local governments, as a jobs-saving measure. But the “free” money would cost states a lot.

Under the president’s plan, Minnesota would receive $504,400,000 to “save” 6,900 jobs in the fields of “teachers and first responders.” That comes out to $73,101 per job.

Unfortunately, that money has to come from somewhere (adding to the national debt, most likely), and it’s not a permanent source of money. So Minnesota state government, school districts, and cities would have to pick up the load, after one year. In other words, it’s a one-year “gift” that does not address the long-range structural problems facing Minnesota.

In fact, one-time aid “can even induce higher state and local government spending,” setting up the state that takes the money for more fiscal problems down the road. In fact, by one estimate, each dollar of federal grant brings about another 40 cents of increased state and local spending. Not only does that represent a permanent increase in the budget, it places thousands of government employees in the position of hoping that state and local government finances hold up.

Encouragement Amidst U.S. Downgrade and Global Selloff : Let’s Renew Declaration of Independence From Ourselves

While it is easy to get discouraged with the current administration at the national helm (more of the same tax and spend policies that got us in this mess), the Wall Street Journal sounded an encouraging note this morning about the “downgrade uproar” in its lead editorial “A Downgrade Awakening”.  

The good news, we hope, is that this difficult period–which we have not seen the bottom of— will cure young people (current and future voters) of the notion that government creates jobs, government spending stimulates the economy and that it’s OK for  government to borrow to pay back debt.

That will only happen if we teach and convince our young taxpayers/voters that our freedom and prosperity comes from private property rights and private enterprise operating under a government of Limited Powers. Maybe then they will be less tempted than their parents and grandparents to trade their freedom for what has turned out to be an illusive security–or to shove the costly burden of their retirement and health care onto their children and grandchildren while fooling themselves that they have paid for it.

It is up to us to tell this story accurately and to remind all Americans of our heritage as a free, not dependent, people. Our friends on the left are poised with a moral to the story that we did not spend enough, that government just needs to do more and we can pay for it by taxing “the rich.”  They run our public schools and dominate the media and universities–thus they have a lot of control over the message.

Free market enthusiasts need to bust through the left wing noise to tell the young that we have been playing a loser’s game for decades that they would be wise to reject as they take the helm early in the 21st century. Let’s start with a Re-Declaration of our Independence from the weight of our own human  insecurities that fuel oppressive government  laden with massive entitlements for individuals and corporations alike. Let’s Re-Declare the radical notion, proposed in 1787 in the U.S. Constitution, that our federal government is one of Limited Powers and tap our ingenuity to peel off the chains that bind us. This requires leadership from all of us.

Bring on the 2012 Elections. They cannot come soon enough.

 

Minnesota Free Market Institute: Public Comment on Clean Water Act Guidance

The Minnesota Free Market Institute submitted a public comment last week to the EPA’s “Guidance” on the Clean Water Act. Under the leadership of policy fellow, Don Parmeter, we critiqued the Guidance and concluded that it should be withdrawn. We also submitted a letter from a coalition of individuals and organizations.

Why? The Obama administration, through the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, wants to control all the land and water in Minnesota.

Legislation that would have given the federal government that kind of unprecedented control went up in flames last year along with the 36-year political career of the bill’s author, Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar. But the Obama Administration won’t take no for an answer, and is now attempting to ignore two U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the will of Congress, the rights of state and local governments, and the vast majority of the American people.  Through this proposed “Guidance'” document, federal jurisdiction would be greatly expanded to effectively seize control of all water and land in the country.

This outrageous proposal has the backing of the wealthy and powerful environmental lobby, so we need to educate Minnesotans and our leaders to prevent this Guidance from becoming the “new” reality in Minnesota.

We will send our comment and that of our coalition members to our Congressional delegation with a special note to Senator Amy Klobuchar who is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and  co-author of the modified Oberstar/Feingold Clean Water Restoration Act that passed the Committee in June of 2009.

Here is an excerpt: This Guidance attempts to clarify the scope of the Agencies’ jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act following the 2006 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Rapanos v. United States. Through these actions, the Agencies expect to provide clarity for field staff and the regulated community, and fulfill the full extent of their obligations under CWA. The intended clarity, however, will not be provided by the Guidance document, because it leaves unresolved questions of proper rulemaking procedure, runs contrary to recent Supreme Court decisions, provides an unduly broad and ambiguous test for jurisdiction, and is insufficiently supported by scientific and economic data in its cost-benefit analysis.

And our Conclusion: In summary, the Agencies should take into account the following suggestions. Firstly, the content of this action does not lend itself to guidance for the reasons previously mentioned above, and ought to be immediately promulgated through a rulemaking which would be afforded the statutory safeguards of the APA instead. We reject the idea that the Guidance should serve temporarily until it can be replaced by a final rule. Secondly, because the content of this Guidance is clearly at odds with Supreme Court precedent, the standards for determining jurisdiction should be reconsidered, and promulgated through the rulemaking process. Thirdly, the standard for significance expressed in the Guidance is inappropriate, both because of court precedent and because it does not grant either clarification or certainty to those who must abide by it. Fourthly, the Agencies overlooked a number of cost factors which would seriously impact the cost-benefit analysis provided for in this Guidance, and which, if included, would make a strong case against proposing these standards through a guidance document rather than through the rulemaking process. Barring further analysis, the Agencies should clearly specify that the Guidance will only affect CWA Section 404 programs.

You can read the entire 14 page comment here. 

We will continue to educate Minnesotans and our elected officials about the danger of this Clean Water Act Guidance in the months to come.

Page 1 of 2:1 2 »