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Entries in CEI (1460)

Wednesday
Aug152012

CEI Today: Obama's new welfare law, EPA & the ethanol mandate, and court appointees under Obama vs Romney

OBAMA FLOUTING WELFARE LAW - HANS BADER

Openmarket.org:
Supposed “Bipartisan” Consensus Can’t Waive Laws Such As Welfare Reform And Its Work Requirements

 

As I’ve noted before, the Obama administration violated the text, structure, and purpose of the 1996 welfare reform law, in claiming the authority to waive its work requirements, which were specifically designed not to be waivable, in its July 12 HHS memorandum. (Contrary to the administration’s claims, that memo did indeed strike at the very heart of welfare reform.)


One thing that really annoys me as a lawyer is the false suggestion by people like Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution that the Obama administration’s action would have been okay if the administration had merely conferred with congressional Republicans first; and the bizarre claim by the Huffington Post that the administration’s expansion of waivers must be okay because it was supported by people such as Nevada’s Republican governor, giving it a bipartisan basis.  > Read commentary on Openmarket.org

>Interview Hans Bader

ETHANOL MANDATE - MARLO LEWIS

Globalwarming.org: Pressure Grows on EPA to Suspend Ethanol Mandate

Even before the drought hit, corn prices were high. Prices increased from $2.00 a bushel in 2005/2006 to $6.00 a bushel in 2011/2012, notes FarmEcon LLC. A key inflationary factor is the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), commonly known as the ethanol mandate.

Since 2005, the RFS has required more and more billions of bushels to be used to fuel cars rather than feed livestock and people.

Suspension of the mandate would allow meat, poultry, and dairy producers to compete on a level playing field with ethanol producers for what remains of the drought-ravaged crop. That would reduce corn prices, benefiting livestock producers and consumers alike.


EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has authority under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) to waive the RFS blending targets, in whole or in part, if she determines that those requirements “would severely harm the economy or environment of a State, a region, or the United States.” The pressure on her to do so is mounting.

> Read the full commentary at Globalwarming.org

 

>Interview Marlo Lewis

 

OBAMA vs ROMNEY COURT APPOINTEES - RYAN YOUNG & DAVID DEERSON

Spectator.org:
Needed: Judicial Activism

 

When it comes to the issues, it’s much harder than it should be to find substantive differences between President Obama and Mitt Romney. One potential difference is in the two candidates’ potential Supreme Court nominations. This is important; there will almost certainly be some turnover in the next four years. Justice Breyer is a spry 73, while Scalia and Kennedy are 76, and Ginsburg is 79. That’s four potential picks right there. But again, the differences between Romney and Obama’s possible selections are overhyped. Both men would seek the same dominant trait in their nominees: deference.  >Read the full commentary on Spectator.org


>Interview Ryan Young or David Deerson

 

 


Also featuring...

Political Legitimacy and the Special Interest State

Alcohol Regulation Roundup: Dog Days Edition

CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week In Regulation

Just another week in the world of regulation:

  • Last week, 68 new final rules were published, down from 85 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 2 hours and 28 minutes — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • All in all, 2,366 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year.

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org, and blogs, Globalwarming.org and OpenMarket.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.

Tuesday
Aug142012

CEI Weekly: FTC Levies Record $22m Fine on Google 

Friday, August 10, 2012

 

Feature: Google pays fine to settle FTC privacy complaint.

FEATURE: FTC Levies Record $22m Fine on Google

 

Yesterday, Google agreed to pay $22.5 million in a record-breaking settlement with the FTC. The FTC had filed a complaint againt the company claiming Google misled Safari users about its privacy policy. In a press release, CEI's Ryan Radia explained that Google is essentially being punished for not updating a help page to reflect a change in Safari. He argued that the FTC should focus on investigating companies who are intentionally defrauding and harming consumers. Read the release here.   

 

SHAPING THE DEBATE

 

Markets, Not Mandates, Are Key to Sustainable Development

Fred L. Smith & Michelle Wei's op-ed in Real Clear Markets

 

TSA Flouts the Law on Body Scanners

Robert L. Crandall & Marc Scribner's op-ed in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

 

The Least Sexy But Most Urgent Economic Reform Remains Ignored in Presidential Campaign

Wayne Crews' column in Forbes

 

The Dangerous Demonization of Our Food

Angela Logomasini's op-ed in Fox News

 

Sen. Al Franken Voter Fraud Revelations Calls For Ways to Reduce It

Bill Frezza's column in Forbes

 

Trade Deficit Is Nothing to Worry About

Carter Lockwood's op-ed in The Daily Caller

 

Google $22.5 Million Settlement With FTC Over Privacy Criticized By Industry Group

Ryan Radia's citation in eWeek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                     

 

 

CEI PODCAST

 

August 9, 2012: Getting TSA to Follow the Law

 

When the TSA installed full-body scanners in airports across the country, it did so illegally. More than a year after a court ordered TSA to open up its full-body scanner policy to public comment, the agency has refused to do so. Land-use and Transportation Policy Analyst Marc Scribner explains how a related lawsuit could force TSA to follow the law, and calls for de-nationalizing airport security.

Tuesday
Aug142012

Cooler Heads Digest 10 August 2012 

10 August 2012

In the News

How the Deniers Won
Robert Manne, The Monthly, August 2012

Carbon Tax? Sorry, But I Already Gave at the Gas Pump
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 10 August 2012

The Climate of Opinion
Steven Kates, Quadrant, 9 August 2012

Obama’s Lawless Solyndra Rewrite
Conn Carroll, Washington Examiner, 9 August 2012

No More Diapers for Infant Wind Industry
Daniel Simmons, National Journal, 8 August 2012

Green Stimulus Loser Could Leave Taxpayers in the Lurch
Michael Sandoval, The Foundry, 7 August 2012

The Push for a Lame-Duck Carbon Tax
Chris Horner, Breitbart Big Government, 6 August 2012

Who Knows Best: Energy Regulators or Energy Consumers?
Travis Fisher, Master Resource, 6 August 2012

Renewable Fools Standard
Jeb Babbin, American Spectator, 6 August 2012

Thomas Friedman’s Fracking Scam
Motor City Times, 5 August 2012

New You Can Use
Facts about the Wind Production Tax Credit

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

President Pushes Wind Subsidy in Colorado

President Barack Obama in a speech in Pueblo, Colorado on 9th August blasted Mitt Romney’s opposition to extending the wind production tax credit.  The President said, “At a moment when homegrown energy is creating new jobs in states like Colorado and Iowa, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers.  Think about what that would mean for a community like Pueblo. The wind industry supports about 5,000 jobs across this state. Without those tax credits, 37,000 American jobs, including potentially hundreds of jobs right here, would be at risk.”

Pueblo has a major wind turbine manufacturing facility owned by Danish company Vestas, which employs 400 people.  Speaking later on Thursday at Colorado College (my alma mater and also that of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar) in Colorado Springs, the President accused former Massachusetts Governor Romney of pursuing “top down economic policies.”   

He did not mention that the wind industry and the jobs it provides are entirely dependent on the top down economic policies: state mandates such as Colorado’s renewable electricity standard plus federal tax subsidies.  Electric utilities must still meet renewable mandates in many States, so it’s not clear why ending the federal subsidy will kill the wind industry. 

Nor did the President mention that adding wind power increases electric rates.  When consumers have to pay higher electric bills, they have less money to spend on other things, which destroys jobs.  When manufacturers have to pay more for electricity, that raises production costs, which makes them less competitive and destroys jobs.  Nor did the President mention the various regulatory decisions made by his administration that are destroying jobs in non-subsidized industries.

The 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour for ten years production tax credit for wind is set to expire at the end of this year.  On 2nd August, the Senate Finance Committee voted out a package of business tax extenders which includes renewing the wind PTC for another year.  A number of House Republicans have come out in favor of renewing it as well.  They include House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and sixteen House Republican freshmen.  Nonetheless, getting a renewal through the House appears to be an uphill effort because of the opposition of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other conservatives in leadership positions.  

Support Grows for Ethanol Mandate Waiver

Twenty-six Senators have sent a letter that urges the Environmental Protection Agency to adjust this year’s corn ethanol mandate downwards in order to take account of the Midwest drought that is reducing the U. S. corn crop. Under the Renewable Fuels Standard included in the 2007 anti-energy bill, refiners are required to buy 13.2 billion gallons to blend into gasoline this year.

The letter was organized by Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and signed by Senators from both parties, but none from corn-growing States.  It follows a similar letter sent last month by 156 House Members. 

International pressure to lower the corn ethanol mandate is also growing.  The director-general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Jose Graziano da Silva, wrote an op-ed published in the 10th August Financial Times that urges the United States to lower the mandate so that more of the corn crop can go for food and livestock feed.  

On 10th August, the U. S. Department of Agriculture lowered its estimate for the 2012 corn crop by 17%.  USDA now predicts that it will be the smallest crop since 1995.  A number of non-profit policy groups from the right and the left are also calling for suspension of this year’s corn ethanol mandate, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Friends of the Earth. Big Corn is now arguing that it is premature to lower this year’s mandated level.  The Renewable Fuels Association told the New York Times that, “So far we have nothing more than speculation…. We need to take a wait and see approach.”

House Committee Report and New Book Expose Obama’s Lack of Transparency

The House Energy and Commerce Committee released a report on 31st July titled, “Promises Made, Promises Broken: the Obama Administration’s Disappointing Transparency Track Record.”   The report finds that President Obama’s campaign pledge in 2008 to conduct the “most open and transparent administration in history” has not been achieved.  Instead, the report details White House attempts to keep secret visits by lobbyists and donors as well as meetings and communications with special interests in the development and passage of Obamacare. 

As it happens, my CEI colleague Chris Horner has a new book coming out in late September that documents the Obama Administration’s strenuous attempts to conceal information from the public and evade complying with Freedom of Information Act requests in a wider range of policy issues.  Of special interest to readers of the Digest, The Liberal War on Transparency: Confessions of a Freedom of Information ‘Criminal’   contains numerous examples of the tricks used to hide questionable activities in the energy and environmental arena, including “green jobs,” Solyndra and other Department of Energy loans, subsidies for wind and solar power, and climate science at NASA and NOAA.   

Alarmist Rubbish Refuted

A persistent heat wave over much of the middle and eastern United States has encouraged global warming alarmists to come out of their caves in the past few weeks.  Richard A. Muller, professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, published an op-ed in the New York Times headlined “The Conversion of a Climate Change Skeptic.”  Next, James E. Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies based at Columbia University, published an op-ed in the Washington Post titled, “Climate Change is Here—and Worse Than We Thought.” Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, drew the conclusion in his Wall Street Journal op-ed (“A New Climate-Change Consensus”) that, “It’s time for conservatives to compete with liberals to devise the best, most cost-effective climate solutions.” 

Anthony Watts responded to Muller in a post on Watts Up with That.  Marlo Lewis, my CEI colleague, responded to Hansen in a post on GlobalWarming.org.  And Craig D. Idso of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change responded to Krupp here. As for NOAA’s announcement that July was the hottest on record in the United State, see Steve Goddard’s response here.  It might also be noticed that this week saw snow across South Africa. 

Across the States
William Yeatman

Gov. Chris Christie Contradicts Himself on Energy Policy

Two weeks ago, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie increased state subsidies for solar power installations. That same week, he affirmed New Jersey’s withdrawal from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a regional cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme for northeastern States.  Of course, these two announcements are contradictory. As my colleague Myron Ebell told Paul Mulshine of New Jersey’s Star-Ledger, “It’s [the expanded solar subsidy approved by Governor Christie] a way to raise electricity prices so that the more expensive forms of electricity become competitive with conventional forms. That’s what cap-and-trade does as well.”

Wyoming Elected Officials Announce Opposition to EPA’s All Pain, No Gain Regional Haze

Wyoming’s entire Congressional delegation and Governor Matt Mead this week announced their opposition to the Agency’s May proposal to take over the state’s visibility protection program known as Regional Haze. EPA’s plan would cost Wyoming ratepayers almost $90 million per year more than the state’s plan, in order to achieve an improvement in visibility that is imperceptible to the naked eye. For more on EPA’s Regional Haze takeover in Wyoming, see this study.

The Cooler Heads Digest is the weekly e-mail publication of the Cooler Heads Coalition. For the latest news and commentary, check out the Coalition’s website, www.GlobalWarming.org.

Tuesday
Aug142012

CEI Today: Ethanol policy, California's green chemistry law, and carbon taxes

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org, and blogs, Globalwarming.org and OpenMarket.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.

Friday
Aug102012

CEI Today: Google $22 mil settlement, Obama union bail out, and a clean energy scam

GOOGLE SETTLES WITH FTC - RYAN RADIA

CEI.org:
FTC's Record Fine Sends Ominous Warning to Internet Innovators

 

Google will pay $22.5 million to settle an FTC complaint claiming the company misled Safari users about its privacy practices. This fine marks the largest the FTC has ever levied on a single company.


Privacy analysts at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, however, criticized the FTC for setting a dangerously overbroad precedent that will chill Internet innovation and hurt online startups.


“The FTC’s headline-grabbing settlement will enrich federal bureaucrats and compliance attorneys at the expense of the consumers the agency is supposed to protect,” said Ryan Radia, Associate Director of the Center for Technology & Innovation at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “Although Google found itself in the FTC’s crosshairs this time, the agency could have just as easily targeted any number of other Web companies for similarly minor missteps.”   > Read the full comment on CEI.org

>Interview Ryan Radia

OBAMA UNION BAIL OUT - JOHN BERLAU

Dailycaller.com: The great Obama auto dealer job shaft

Matthew Boyle’s groundbreaking reports this week in The Daily Caller provide further confirmation that in the Obama auto bailouts, all jobs were not created equal. The administration moved heaven and earth to save the jobs and generous benefits of General Motors and Chrysler workers who belonged to the United Auto Workers, ripping up the contracts of bondholders and secured creditors — including middle-class retirees and teachers and police officers in state pension plans — to give the UAW an enlarged stake in the new companies.

But as shown by TheDC’s reporting and a
video by the conservative group Let Freedom Ring, non-UAW workers affected by the bankruptcies were not so lucky. > Read the full commentary at Dailycaller.com

 

>Interview John Berlau

 

GLOBAL WARMING - MARLO LEWIS

Globalwarming.org:
Kyoto Credits: Stratospheric Unintended Consequences

 

For years, I’ve seen stories about Asian and South American companies that reap windfalls under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). By inexpensively destroying a waste gas (HFC-23) with a high global warming potential (11,700 times that of carbon dioxide), the developing country companies receive boatloads of CDM credits they can then sell for big bucks to European and Japanese firms, who can use the credits to meet their Kyoto obligations in lieu of reducing their CO2 emissions.


Today, the New York Times provides an in-depth analysis of the unintended consequences, which include not only money-for-nothing wealth transfers totaling billions of dollars, but also increased production of a gas that depletes the stratospheric ozone layer.

 >Read the full commentary on Globalwarming.org


>Interview Marlo Lewis

 

 


Also featuring...

Obama Administration Aggravates The Minority Achievement Gap, Increases Risk Of School Violence

CEI Podcast For August 9, 2012: Getting TSA To Follow The Law

When the TSA installed full-body scanners in airports across the country, it did so illegally. More than a year after a court ordered TSA to open up its full-body scanner policy to public comment, the agency has refused to do so. Land-use and Transportation Policy Analyst Marc Scribner explains how a related lawsuit could force TSA to follow the law, and calls for de-nationalizing airport security.

Deal: Stealing You Blind book just $8 (or so) on Amazon!

Get your copy today!

 

 

 

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org, and blogs, Globalwarming.org and OpenMarket.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.