By Andy Blom, TES Washington Editor
January 16, 2020
A BIG week in Washington! Impeachment staggers forward as the House finally sends articles of impeachment to the Senate. Of course, this is the government at work, so it’s all about process and now this will drag on for an indeterminate amount of time. The good news? Our Senators will do nothing but sit silently, electronic devices disabled, throughout the whole ordeal. Kind of hard on those campaigning in Iowa, but them’s the breaks. Thank Nancy Pelosi. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy surges ahead. Unemployment is so low, fast food monoliths are considering paying managers six figures and giving them four day work weeks…and conservative and center-right organizations and individuals continue to work hard on issues and ideas that affect America, and the world.
Who Knew — the Green New Deal is Bad for the Environment. The Heartland Institute has done what turns out to be very useful–and alarming–research on the impact of the proposed Green New Deal. Based on dubious fears of global warming, the GND would replace all fossil fuels and nuclear energy with renewables, principally solar and wind. The result? Significant harm to the environment. Massive solar and wind facilities would disrupt wildlife habitats and kill threatened species. Toxic and harmful materials required by renewables would create an environmental nightmare. And those are just the highlights. The details are both horrible and amusing. More
Deregulation News — Making Joint Employer Rules Rational. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia has announced a major rollback of an Obama Administration interpretation of the joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The new rule un-complicates the definitions and requirement of employers in situations where an employee performs work for one employer that simultaneously benefits another entity or individual. Cutting down filing requirements and simplifying definitions will benefit employees and employers. More
Government Unaccountability Run Wild — Meet the EPA Appeals Board. Okay, so major governmental decisions that affect us should only be made by elected officials, or appointed officials confirmed by the Senate. It’s not just a good idea, it’s in the Constitution. But the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), isn’t playing by those rules. EAB members exercise absolute authority deciding all administrative appeals of permitting decisions and civil enforcement actions–which can include fining individuals up to $75,000 a day for alleged violations. EAB members are hired like any other employee with little vetting and no Congressional input. Lots of power, no accountability. And we pay the price. Michael Poon of the Pacific Legal Foundation defines the issue and provides solutions here.
Breaking the Patent System — It’s Called “Efficient Infringement”. If you’re a giant technology company like Apple or Google, it may just be easier and cheaper to infringe on a smaller company’s patent and use the knowledge than to pay a proper licensing fee. Tying up smaller organizations in litigation isn’t difficult for their teams of attorneys and can be much less costly. Short version: it’s a cold-hearted business decision that helps the corporation’s bottom line and can cripple the smaller organization, further damaging our strained patent system. More
FDA Drug Review Under Review — A Case for Faster Approvals and More Monitoring. Anna Chroniy, Emma Blair and James Bailey of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University have taken a careful look at the FDA Drug Review process and offered some possible positive reforms. Currently, it take 466 days for a new drug to be FDA approved for marketing. That lengthy process results in pharmaceutical companies bringing fewer drugs to market, which only deprives patients and could cost lives. But it is not clear that this lengthy review is even an effective guarantee of safety. The authors propose faster approvals and more post launch monitoring to increase drug availability and safety. Are these reforms desirable? Necessary? More
More Good News from DOL: December Jobs Report. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia issued strong statements following a very positive December Employment Situation Report (commonly called the Jobs Report). Scalia noted unemployment at a 50 year low of 3.5%, with record lows for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans. Americans with less than a high school diploma and Americans with disabilities. Further, for 17 straight months, year-over-year wages for production and non-supervisory employees have grown at or above 3.0%. The “bad” news? Well, with final passage of the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement and the signing of the Phase One Trade Agreement with China, we can expect even more job creation in 2020. Just where will those employees come from? More
Using Medical Drones…Can the U.S. Catch Up to Undeveloped Nations? In Ghana, Rwanda, the Philippines and other under-developed nations, drones are transporting blood, drugs and other critical medical supplies on a regular basis. Many rural areas of the U.S. face similar conditions and long wait times for emergency medical supplies. So how do we catch up to these less developed, less sophisticated countries? Researchers at The Mercatus Center take a look at the problems, costs and possibilities. More
WHAT NEXT AFTER AMERICA? Featuring the Hon. Tony Abbott, Former Prime Minister of Australia. Tuesday, January 21, 12 PM – 1 PM. The Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium, 214 Massachusetts Ave, NE. RSVP
DC LAUNCH: INTERNATIONAL TRADE BARRIER INDEX. Philip Thompson, Author of the Index and Panel moderated by Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform. Wednesday, January 22, 12 PM – 1 PM. Americans for Tax Reform 6th Floor Conference Room, 722 12th Street NW. Lunch. Email Philip Thompson to RSVP.
FUTURE CANDIDATE SCHOOL. Tuesday, January 28 – Thursday, January 30, 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM. $250/meals included. More
WHY THE U.S. NEEDS A STRONG NATO. Feat. Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison. Thursday, February 6, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM. The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Auditorium, 214 Massachusetts Ave, NE. RSVP
Andy Blom is a veteran political and public policy pro with decades of experience in Washington, D.C. circles.