Washington Beyond the Headlines: Norquist Demolishes Price Controls (Again)
By Andy Blom, TES Washington Editor
Fall suddenly hit the East Coast with colder temperatures, early nightfall, leaves all over the ground and dark skies (with or without rain) during the day. Just the time to stay inside and curl up with a hot beverage and some good policy. Luckily, we have just the thing for that…Free Market advocates and organizations are as busy as squirrels hoarding nuts for the winter, doing the critical policy work that makes a real difference. Here’s this week’s news:
Watch This! Grover Norquist Has Something to Say About Price Controls. In just one minute the President of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) tells us just what’s wrong with Foreign Price Controls on drugs. Worth every second. And Mario Lopez, President of the Hispanic Leadership Fund points to the failure of depending on other countries’ socialist policies.
The Energy War in Pennsylvania: Consumers and Legislators in Peril. The Keystone State is becoming ground zero in the battle between environmental concerns and cheap available energy. Former Vice President Joe Biden has promised if elected to ban fracking and to end the oil and gas industry by 2030. Ouch. My car objects. Not only would this raise energy costs across the board in PA it would make energy dependent on unreliable sources (see California rolling blackouts). But that’s not all. Overriding the state legislature, Governor Tom Wolf has pushed Pennsylvania to impose carbon taxes, just as the state was enjoying reduced carbon emissions and cheaper energy. Lose/lose. Get the gory details here.
Speaking of Carbon Pricing…FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) is proposing a new policy that determines it has jurisdiction over wholesale electric market rules that incorporate state determined carbon pricing in those markets. While ordinarily we oppose Federal Government big footing the states with regulations, this is one time when businesses and the consumer may best be served by regs. It’s a bit complicated, but worth getting to know the issue here.
There’s More on Your Ballot than Trump/Biden. Additional sales taxes, for instance. Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform President, warns us that important stay initiatives can be overlooked when voting, and could bring a heavy price. In particular, Norquist cites Arkansas where sneaky politicians are trying to pull a familiar sneaky trick – making a “temporary” tax a “permanent” one. Read the story here, then read your state ballot carefully.
Economic Freedom. Does Your Governor Rank? How does your state rank in Economic freedom (in Hawaii we used to say, ‘live in Paradise, do business in Hell’)? Well ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) has put a first rate team (Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, Donna Arduin, Stephen Moore & Jonathan Williams) together and they’ve graded all 50 states on how their Governors rank on economic freedom, before and post covid. Read their report, and if your Governor got a bad grade send them to bed without supper. Or ground them come next election.
Mais Non! France Moves to Ban Homeschooling. Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite be damned, President Macron is moving in the footsteps of authoritarian movements to effectively ban the practice of home education in France. Nationalize those schools! Indoctrinate those children! The Home School Legal Defense Fund is on the case however, with a strong appeal to Macron to rethink this bad idea. Read their rather passionate, but well researched letter. That’ll teach him. We hope.
Covid Vaccine, the Second Most Important Question. As we approach, in record time it should be noted, several approved Covid-19 vaccines the first question is, of course, will they work? But the second, and equally important question is, will people use them? Regrettably, this has been used as a political football by irresponsible anti-Trumpers. But real questions remain, particularly about use among some of the most at risk groups, like African Americans. The Competitive Enterprise Institute has taken a thorough look at the issue and presents their extensive findings here.
Party Affiliation. More D’s? Nope. More R’s? Nope. More Independents. I’d have got this all wrong. Gallup has it right. They have released a poll showing party affiliation since 2004 and the winner is: Independents. Even allowing for some people shading the truth a little, it still shows an interesting picture of the American electorate. Maybe there are more undecideds each election than we know.
Andresen Blom is a Washington based policy and political analyst and author who has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and Politico.