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Washington Beyond The Headlines: Special Not-Olympics Edition


By Andy Blom, TES Washington Editor

Ho Hum, the Olympics. The great sporting event that should bring us all together features covid-empty venues, highly promoted star athletes quitting before their main event, teams kneeling during the national anthem, athletes disrespecting the flag…the totally unnecessary and totally unwelcome politicization of a previously unifying and enjoyable event. Well, if you want your politics put right where they belong, you’ve come to the right place. Free market thinkers and doers are competing every day to make Government work for you. Here are this week’s medal contenders…

One Good Reason to Move to Ohio: Tax Cuts. Okay, you may not like the Cleveland Indians new name, but there are still lots of good reasons to live in Ohio. High among them is a legislature that is truly looking out for the taxpayer. They just passed the largest tax cut in the state’s history and appear to be headed to a flat tax. Start the day with good news here,  and three cheers for the Buckeye State!

Okay Ohio, Texas Can Play That Game, too. You know Texas just hates to be topped. But Texas already has no state income tax (their constitution forbids it). So the Texas legislature is finding other ways to help its citizens and businesses. This year they passed a conservative Texas budget, strengthened spending limits, maintained property tax relief, improved taxpayer protections, and reduced regulatory barriers. A good year’s work. See the details here.

And Don’t Forget North Carolina and Tennessee…Are You Paying Attention, Washington? While President Biden and Congress go on a historic spending spree (remember, this is your money they are throwing around) “Red” states are showing the way to fiscal sanity. North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are setting examples of conservative budgeting that truly benefit their constituents…and that should be waking up Biden and both Democrats and Republicans in D.C. Patrick Gleason of Americans for Tax Reform and Vance Ginn of the Texas Public Policy Foundation have the good news. 

Breaking Up Monopolies…By Killing Competition? Joe Biden’s heart may be in the right place…but where’s his mind? His new Executive Order contains 72 new government mandates designed to spur competition in the American economy. But as Tom Hebert points out for Americans for Tax Reform, what his EO will really do is burden American companies with bureaucratic oversight and crippling regulations. See his cogent explanation  of why this may be bad for business and bad for you.

Antitrust Legislation – Good for Government Regulators, Bad for You. The people who represent us in Washington are in a mad rush to be trust busters — to break up the big bad monopolies like Amazon, Google and Apple. But are those companies really monopolies? And will breaking them up actually benefit customers? Joseph Murgida points out that traditionally antitrust efforts were supposed to promote consumer welfare, not promote government interference and regulation that could actually have negative impacts on consumers. See how the latest Government efforts could affect you.

And Speaking of Regulations, You’re Paying for Them. Really Paying. Think when you’ve paid your taxes you’ve made your financial contribution to the government? Think again. Washington, and hence the American people and businesses, are awash in government regulations. Thousands of them, and they cost you, and everyone, money. Think of it as financial death by a thousand cuts. Ten thousand cuts. That’s the number the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) uses in their new report that evaluates the hidden cost of regulations. Quick peek? Regulations cost about $1.9 trillion annually, or $14,000 per household every year. Now you know where that money disappeared. 

Federal Drug Pricing Controls, a Bad Idea Made Worse. Prescription drug pricing is a messy topic. Sure, we would all like to pay little, or nothing, for our medications. And the current crop of Democrats in the House and Senate would like to take control of prescription pricing, ostensibly in order to help us. But little nagging questions about their approach remain…like, if the Government mandates prices, will Pharmaceutical companies still spend the millions of dollars necessary to research and develop new medications? If they don’t make (outlandish?) profits will they get out of the business? Pharmaceutical research, development, manufacture and distribution is not cheap and it’s not a charity. And Government regulation seldom improves anything. Andrew Lautz of the National Taxpayers Union takes a look at the latest proposed legislation on this issue and asks the pertinent questions here.      

Covid Government Mistake Number ??? – Pandemic Unemployment Benefits.Okay, there’s been a lot of Pandemic missteps (calling them that to be kind)…mask, unmask, double mask…lockdown…keep children out of school…but the Heritage Foundation makes the case that one of the biggest mistakes was the excessive pandemic unemployment benefits, and they warn that the abuses are a signal to avoid other unemployment benefit expansions. This goes beyond the annoying fact that your local McDonald’s/Safeway/Costco/Saloon/Hairdresser can’t find enough employees. See why this is a systemic problem here and here. 

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Washington at its Worst – Packing the Supreme Court. Did you know there is Biden appointed commission to study “changes to the court”? Do you care? In all probability this is going nowhere and is yet another example of Government wasting your money. But this “serious” look at a “major issue” has produced some fun partisan bickering. The Republican National Lawyers Association reports on the commission’s latest meeting and gives you the highlights and lowlights here. 

Marsha Blackburn is Looking Out for You. Are you worried about the government, or social media, censoring your posts, deleting you, investigating you? Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is…and she’s doing something about it. After Presidential Press Secretary Jen Psaki indicated the White House would be taking an interest in controlling your social media, the Senator fired off a strong letter raising the serious questions involved. We’re all eager to know the answers.  

Broken Chicago’s Financial Breakdown. Okay, there’s lots to like about Chicago — the Cubs, the lake, hot dogs, pizza. But they’ve got some problems — a Mayor who won’t talk to white journalists, a staggering weekly shooting count — and a whopping big financial problem. While many states and cities have actually gained financial ground in the Covid experience, thanks partly to Government (your tax money) bailouts, Chicago is underwater. Wayyy underwater. The city faces a $38.7 billion shortfall that equates to a $43,700 cost per each of the city’s taxpayers. Chilling news for the Windy City. 


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.