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Westlake Legal Group > Regulation

Nick de Bois: Conservatives must not fall into Labour’s trap on the four-day week

Nick de Bois is the former MP for Enfield North. He was a member of the Government’s Serious Crime Task Force until his appointment as Chief of Staff to Dominic Raab at DExEU. He is the author of Confessions of a Recovering MP.

A traditional conservative response to Labours promise to introduce a 4-day week would be to rubbish it as unworkable, and fraught with difficulties, particularly for small business.

In short, essentially a classic left wing intervention to implement unrealistic costs on the enterprise economy in a clumsy attempt to win worker votes. After all, four days’ work for five days’ pay – what’s not to like?

However, before Conservatives rush to dismiss this latest policy announcement as economic madness, it’s worth noting Labour’s pitch is not just an economic one. It is also an appeal to a fast-changing work ethic in employees that employers up and down the country will recognise.

But first, the economic case for the four-day week deserves examining. On one point that both left and right will agree is that UK productivity is woeful, and John McDonnell argues a reduced working week will solve that problem.

Productivity has indeed basically flatlined since 2007, and the UK remains way behind our fellow group of the worlds seven leading economies – the G7. This in part explains why wage growth is poor, despite welcome recent improvements.

It means profitability of ‘UK plc’ is less than it should be, and that our workforce is broadly under-achieving – although this should not be confused with being lazy, as so many political and media commentators imply.

The upside to this grim summary is that by improving productivity we are presented with a win-win for government, business and employees.

For example, according to the 2017 Stoddart Review a one per cent productivity gain would represent, across the economy, an additional £20 billion national output. Translated further, that would represent a reduction in annual deficit of £8 billion (it currently at £17 billion) and add another £250 a year to an average pay packet, whilst companies’ profits could increase by £3.5 billion.

The key question for McDonnell’s approach is: would a widespread, top-down imposition of a four-day working week deliver that increase in productivity? In short, the answer is almost certainly no.

This is because it cannot and will not work on a uniform basis across all businesses and workforces, and the strain on the public sector would be huge. The evidence clearly supports that contention.

Advocates of the reduced week often point to the success of Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand. They manage over £200bn of assets, and the CEO argues that the policy has improved staff wellbeing and dramatically improved productivity.

But at the other end of the scale earlier this year the Wellcome Trust rowed back on its plans to implement a four-day working week, announced to much fanfare in April. They gave the not-unreasonable explanation that it became evident to them that work could have become harder for employees in back-office and support functions, such as IT, finance, and human resources. Two large organisations, two very different responses.

Even less ambitious programs for reducing the number of working hour have met huge difficulties. An example is Gothenburg’s municipal local government, which trialled a six-hour working day (reduced from eight). They did see significant wellbeing advantages in healthcare workers, but recognised employers would struggle to meet the costs of reducing working hours yet maintaining a 24/7 healthcare provision.

“Could we do this for the entire municipality? The answer is no, it will be too expensive,” said Daniel Bernmar, the Left Party councillor responsible for running Gothenburg’s elderly care in 2017. Imagine the financial challenge of introducing a four-day working week into our biggest employer: the NHS.

Labour’s proposal mandating a four-day working week through a complex series of measures simply won’t be right for every business or organisation, as the Wellcome Trust and others have found. It is a recipe either for chaos or for a massive climbdown should the Opposition ever come to power.

What should the Conservative response be? Both business leaders and employees are not stupid and will recognise the sop to employees Labour are making for what it is, an election bribe. But equally, when Labour talk about building a society where we don’t “live to work, but work to live” it will strike a chord with millions of people.

Therein lies the answer as to how Conservatives should respond to today’s Labour announcement: advocate a progressive and light-touch regulatory approach to flexible working that goes way beyond the current focus on maternity and paternity rights.

It may be politically attractive to focus on rights for parents, and we have done some great work from which to build on. Yet it is plainly inadequate to stop championing flexible working there and Conservatives, not Labour, should be filling the policy vacuum on the issue.

Such a move makes both economic and political sense. It is striking, for example, that flexible working is presently pretty much the preserve of white-collar workers.

Conservatives would do well to recognise that the relatively untapped benefits, both for employees and national productivity, of the blue-collar worker being able to enjoy flexible working are substantial and politically attractive. As workforce management consultants Quinx identified in their report “Powering the Power House“:

“If a greater proportion of UK employers took steps to address barriers to the recruitment, retention and productivity of workers in manual and elementary service roles in the as yet relatively conservative Blue Collar workplace, estimates show up to 7.6bn of productivity growth”.

That’s quite a contribution to the productivity gap Britain faces.

Both attitudes and the compotion of the workforce have changed dramatically in the last decade, and whilst some employers have been slow to recognise this political parties have been even slower. It is time for Conservatives to take action.

As Karen Mattison from leading employment specialists Timewise noted after the publication of their 2018 employee survey:

“The fact that flexible working has been seen as a women’s issue has not done women or businesses any favours. Today’s new research shows once and for all, that flexible working is a preferred way of working for both men and women at all stages of their working lives.”

Most strikingly the Timewise employee survey also noted, and many employers will recognise:

“Today’s workforce not only want flexible working they expect it. It’s time for businesses to get smarter and use flexibility as a tool to attract and keep the best people. Those who lag behind in adapting how they hire, will risk losing out on millions of skilled workers.”

Government, take note.

Labour’s crude, authoritarian approach to flexible working, with its focus on a four-day week, may be politically attractive to some. But it runs the risk of introducing a simple left-right divide on that single issue, and we fall into Labour’s trap if our response is to dismiss it out of hand.

A Conservative response can be more nuanced and more practical if we become advocates for progressive, flexible employment practices. There is an audience ready and waiting to respond positively to this message, should we chose to offer it.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Yet Another Nuisance Bureaucracy You’ve Never Heard Of – Power Grabbing Like Crazy

 

Westlake Legal Group towa_powergrab_glove_1-558x1024-1 Yet Another Nuisance Bureaucracy You’ve Never Heard Of – Power Grabbing Like Crazy Whiskey ttb rulemaking Regulation power grab Government Front Page Stories Front Page Economy distillers Business & Economy bureaucracy Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Advertising

The Glove of Government

 

When I initially wrote this headline – I had written “THE Nuisance….”

It, of course, immediately thereafter occurred to me – that there are hundreds (thousands?) of such agencies, boards, bureaus, commissions and departments.

So I went with “YET ANOTHER Nuisance….”

The Deep State…is REALLY deep.

Filled with hundreds (thousands?) of agencies.  Populated by millions of career bureaucrats.

Whose primary imperative is keeping their ridiculous, ridiculously cushy gigs.  And whose secondary imperative – is increasing the power they lord over We the People.

Donald Trump ran for President – on Draining the Swamp.  We the People elected him – to Drain the Swamp.

The Deep State Swamp – is having none of it.

Millions of these careerist hacks have ever since been acting to undermine the duly elected President of the United States.

We are currently in the midst of yet another Deep State strike.  This ridiculous “whistleblower” leaker – who filed a report on a Trump-Ukraine call he/she didn’t actually hear.

But that is just one of the big ones – about which we become aware.

The hundred (thousands?) of agencies, boards, bureaus, commissions and departments – are almost all impeding the Trump agenda to varying degrees.

One way the Deep State refuses to Drain – is refusing to adhere to the President’s government-wide deregulatory mandate.

Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

When The Boss issues an order – it’s an order.

The Swamp Creatures view the President’s orders the way pirates view the Pirates’ Code – “more like guidelines than actual rules.”

The nuisance government Swamp Hole refusing to comply with the President’s perspective on (less) government – is the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

From Wikipedia:

“The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, statutorily named the Tax and Trade Bureau and frequently shortened to TTB, is a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury, which regulates and collects taxes on trade and imports of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms within the United States.”

The TTB – is actually the third largest tax collector in the federal government (after the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] and Customs and Border Enforcement).

With government money confiscation – comes much power.

And the TTB is currently using it against the President We the People elected – and all of US.

What major annoyance is the TTB quietly inflicting upon us?

Distilled Spirits – Notices of Proposed Rulemaking

Here’s just some of the titanic stupidity….

“TTB is proposing to comprehensively amend its regulations governing the labeling and advertising of alcohol beverages….”

This is the unelected TTB – looking to unilaterally, fundamentally transform how ALL adult beverage purveyors both label and advertise their products.

That’s not at all a MASSIVE power grab.

What’s supposed to happen – if you actually want the government to do this – is:

Our elected Congress – drafts a piece of legislation calling on the government to do this.

Our Congressmen are then subjected to We the People availing ourselves of our First Amendment right to “lobby Congress for redress of grievances.”  Meaning we tell them what we think of the proposed legislation.

If Congress decides to then do so – both houses of Congress pass the bill.  And then our elected President – signs the bill into law.

All of these players have one thing in common: Accountability to We the People at the ballot box.

But of course this President – would never, EVER sign this nonsense into law.  As it is antithetical to his electoral mandate to Drain the Swamp.

So the Deep State Swamp Creatures are end-running this President – and the entire Constitutional process.

What else is the TTB looking to unconstitutionally do?

The new regulations would mandate all whiskey barrels be 50 gallons.

The industry uses, of course, a wide variety of sizes – from 5 gallons to 53 gallons. And the standard whiskey barrel  – is 53 gallons.

So the government mandate – will undo literally hundreds (thousands?) of years of distillation business practice.

Both by killing the 53 gallon industry standard – and assaulting the small, boutique distillers who have made small batches of spirits for…ever.

Almost all distillers will have to fundamentally transform their distillation processes – to adhere to this ridiculous mandate.

Which means: As always with all things Big Government – Big Business is the only part of the private sector that can absorb the government blows.

Hundreds (thousands?) of small distillers – and very many of the larger ones – will have to simply stop creating their beautiful products.

The TTB is looking to inflict other, additional damage upon the very many industries it in part oversees – but you by now get the idea.

This TTB nonsense – is everything government always is.

Totally pointless actions.

That grievously harm the private sector.

Inflicted by unelected bureaucrats – accountable to no one.

And in this instance:

All of this is transpiring in direct contravention of this President’s mandate and order – to REDUCE government regulations and regulatory costs.

This raft of TTB power grabs – exponentially INCREASES regulations and regulatory costs.

This must be stopped.  By any means necessary.

Almost certainly the best way:

With the entirety of TTB leadership, President Trump needs to yet again reach for his “The Apprentice” catch phrase:

You’re fired.”

The post Yet Another Nuisance Bureaucracy You’ve Never Heard Of – Power Grabbing Like Crazy appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Reagan-quote-you-can-t-be-for-big-government-big-taxes-and-big-bureaucracy-and-still-be-for-the-little-ronald-reagan-83-40-27-300x123 Yet Another Nuisance Bureaucracy You’ve Never Heard Of – Power Grabbing Like Crazy Whiskey ttb rulemaking Regulation power grab Government Front Page Stories Front Page Economy distillers Business & Economy bureaucracy Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Advertising   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Yet Another Nuisance Bureaucracy You’ve Never Heard Of – Power Grabbing Like Crazy

 

Westlake Legal Group towa_powergrab_glove_1-558x1024-1 Yet Another Nuisance Bureaucracy You’ve Never Heard Of – Power Grabbing Like Crazy Whiskey ttb rulemaking Regulation power grab Government Front Page Stories Front Page Economy distillers Business & Economy bureaucracy Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Advertising

The Glove of Government

 

When I initially wrote this headline – I had written “THE Nuisance….”

It, of course, immediately thereafter occurred to me – that there are hundreds (thousands?) of such agencies, boards, bureaus, commissions and departments.

So I went with “YET ANOTHER Nuisance….”

The Deep State…is REALLY deep.

Filled with hundreds (thousands?) of agencies.  Populated by millions of career bureaucrats.

Whose primary imperative is keeping their ridiculous, ridiculously cushy gigs.  And whose secondary imperative – is increasing the power they lord over We the People.

Donald Trump ran for President – on Draining the Swamp.  We the People elected him – to Drain the Swamp.

The Deep State Swamp – is having none of it.

Millions of these careerist hacks have ever since been acting to undermine the duly elected President of the United States.

We are currently in the midst of yet another Deep State strike.  This ridiculous “whistleblower” leaker – who filed a report on a Trump-Ukraine call he/she didn’t actually hear.

But that is just one of the big ones – about which we become aware.

The hundred (thousands?) of agencies, boards, bureaus, commissions and departments – are almost all impeding the Trump agenda to varying degrees.

One way the Deep State refuses to Drain – is refusing to adhere to the President’s government-wide deregulatory mandate.

Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

When The Boss issues an order – it’s an order.

The Swamp Creatures view the President’s orders the way pirates view the Pirates’ Code – “more like guidelines than actual rules.”

The nuisance government Swamp Hole refusing to comply with the President’s perspective on (less) government – is the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

From Wikipedia:

“The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, statutorily named the Tax and Trade Bureau and frequently shortened to TTB, is a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury, which regulates and collects taxes on trade and imports of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms within the United States.”

The TTB – is actually the third largest tax collector in the federal government (after the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] and Customs and Border Enforcement).

With government money confiscation – comes much power.

And the TTB is currently using it against the President We the People elected – and all of US.

What major annoyance is the TTB quietly inflicting upon us?

Distilled Spirits – Notices of Proposed Rulemaking

Here’s just some of the titanic stupidity….

“TTB is proposing to comprehensively amend its regulations governing the labeling and advertising of alcohol beverages….”

This is the unelected TTB – looking to unilaterally, fundamentally transform how ALL adult beverage purveyors both label and advertise their products.

That’s not at all a MASSIVE power grab.

What’s supposed to happen – if you actually want the government to do this – is:

Our elected Congress – drafts a piece of legislation calling on the government to do this.

Our Congressmen are then subjected to We the People availing ourselves of our First Amendment right to “lobby Congress for redress of grievances.”  Meaning we tell them what we think of the proposed legislation.

If Congress decides to then do so – both houses of Congress pass the bill.  And then our elected President – signs the bill into law.

All of these players have one thing in common: Accountability to We the People at the ballot box.

But of course this President – would never, EVER sign this nonsense into law.  As it is antithetical to his electoral mandate to Drain the Swamp.

So the Deep State Swamp Creatures are end-running this President – and the entire Constitutional process.

What else is the TTB looking to unconstitutionally do?

The new regulations would mandate all whiskey barrels be 50 gallons.

The industry uses, of course, a wide variety of sizes – from 5 gallons to 53 gallons. And the standard whiskey barrel  – is 53 gallons.

So the government mandate – will undo literally hundreds (thousands?) of years of distillation business practice.

Both by killing the 53 gallon industry standard – and assaulting the small, boutique distillers who have made small batches of spirits for…ever.

Almost all distillers will have to fundamentally transform their distillation processes – to adhere to this ridiculous mandate.

Which means: As always with all things Big Government – Big Business is the only part of the private sector that can absorb the government blows.

Hundreds (thousands?) of small distillers – and very many of the larger ones – will have to simply stop creating their beautiful products.

The TTB is looking to inflict other, additional damage upon the very many industries it in part oversees – but you by now get the idea.

This TTB nonsense – is everything government always is.

Totally pointless actions.

That grievously harm the private sector.

Inflicted by unelected bureaucrats – accountable to no one.

And in this instance:

All of this is transpiring in direct contravention of this President’s mandate and order – to REDUCE government regulations and regulatory costs.

This raft of TTB power grabs – exponentially INCREASES regulations and regulatory costs.

This must be stopped.  By any means necessary.

Almost certainly the best way:

With the entirety of TTB leadership, President Trump needs to yet again reach for his “The Apprentice” catch phrase:

You’re fired.”

The post Yet Another Nuisance Bureaucracy You’ve Never Heard Of – Power Grabbing Like Crazy appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Reagan-quote-you-can-t-be-for-big-government-big-taxes-and-big-bureaucracy-and-still-be-for-the-little-ronald-reagan-83-40-27-300x123 Yet Another Nuisance Bureaucracy You’ve Never Heard Of – Power Grabbing Like Crazy Whiskey ttb rulemaking Regulation power grab Government Front Page Stories Front Page Economy distillers Business & Economy bureaucracy Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Advertising   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Republicans Need to Be the Party of Small Government, Not Just Say They Are

Westlake Legal Group AP_17172691805663-620x422 Republicans Need to Be the Party of Small Government, Not Just Say They Are vaping small government restriction republicans Regulation Politics Government Front Page Stories Featured Story e-cigs donald trump Big Government Allow Media Exception

Despite the fact that I tell everyone I’m a libertarian, the fact that I vote Republican the vast majority of the time probably makes me one by action. Normally, this doesn’t bother me because as a fan of small government, Republicans and I generally align. I support them, defend them, and encourage them.

So you can imagine my anger when my support and defense is essentially spat on when a Republicans turn around embrace some form of big government.

Imagine my disappointment when Rep. Dan Crenshaw supported ideas that resemble red flag laws, or when President Donald Trump actually banned bump stocks, making him more of a gun-control president than Barack Obama.

These moments are horrible, not just because it practices big government, but because it’s essentially proof that no matter what party is in power, big government is inevitable. It leaves one with the feeling that at any time, even the party who you support for the sake of shrinking government will grow it.

This may seem like a small thing, but today Trump signaled he’s wanting to ban vaping.

The product of e-cigarettes is a multi-billion dollar industry with stores relying on the sale of pens and flavors to help keep themselves in business. If Trump wipes it off the map with a stroke of his pen, it will crash this market and in the process a lot of people’s livelihoods.

All in the name of trying to get young people to stop vaping. I don’t even vape, and this angers me. It should anger you. It may seem like something ridiculous to get upset about, but it’s not about the vape pen. It’s about the principle.

Firstly, it’s not the government’s job to decide what we can and can’t do. If teenagers are vaping and it’s a serious problem, then the parents should be the ones responsible for getting them to stop, not big brother. Instead, we have a Republican lead government deciding that vaping should be illegal for everyone in its quest to target a problem that isn’t even that big of a deal.

That didn’t work for regular cigarettes, it didn’t work for drugs, and it’s not going to work for e-cigs either. They’re playing the role of parent to grown adults after years of failing at it.

And herein lies my problem with Republicans embracing big-government policies. Every intrusion of the government on what the people can and can’t buy is the government treating us like children. It’s deciding or us what is right and wrong. It’s as insulting as it is an expensive waste of money.

I like the Republican party because it typically avoids insulting Americans in this regard, and when it does, I’m twice as angry as when Democrats do it. This is the party of small government, and it needs to act like it instead of just saying it is.

 

The post Republicans Need to Be the Party of Small Government, Not Just Say They Are appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group AP_17172691805663-300x204 Republicans Need to Be the Party of Small Government, Not Just Say They Are vaping small government restriction republicans Regulation Politics Government Front Page Stories Featured Story e-cigs donald trump Big Government Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A UK-US trade deal. Never mind the economics (at least for a moment). Feel the politics.

“While trade deals have taken on an important political and symbolic value in the context of Brexit,” Dominic Walsh of Open Europe wrote recently on this site, “their economic benefits are typically smaller and slower to materialise than many realise.” This is the place to start when considering a possible UK-US agreement on trade.  Boris Johnson’s enthusiasm for one is as much political as economic: a successful deal would show Britain, as it moves a bit further from the EU, also moving a bit closer to America.

Such a rebalancing is a strategic consequence of Brexit, at least in the eyes of many backers of leaving the EU.  Future trade deals were a Vote Leave EU referendum priority – though it may be significant that the United States was not one of the headline countries named.  Perhaps the reason was a wariness of anti-American sentiment among a section of the voting public.  None the less, the prospect of a trade agreement with the United States was mooted during the 2016 campaign: hence Barack Obama’s line, written for him by Team Cameron, of Britain being “at the back of the queue” for such a deal.

The obstacles to one are formidable.  For while the Prime Minister is bound to view it through the lens of politics, Donald Trump is more likely to do through that of economics – though the one admittedly tends to blur into the other.  America’s approach to such matters as food safety and animal welfare, environmental protection and intellectual property rights is different from ours in any event.  Never mind the red herring of chlorinated chickens – so to speak – or autopilot claims from Corbynistas about NHS selloffs. The real action is elsewhere.  The United States has long had a protectionist streak, and is resistant to opening up its financial services markets, for example.

The conventional view is that Trump is the biggest America Firster of all; that he would drive a hard bargain, that he has the muscle to do so – and that he wouldn’t be in control of an agreement anyway.  Congress could block one if it wished, and might well do so in the event of No Deal, since the Irish-American lobby is as well-entrenched as ever.  It has been a headache for British governments over Ireland-linked matters before: remember the McBride principles.  A different take is that politics may win out in the end, because both Trump and Congress will want a UK trade deal in order to put economic and political pressure on the EU: we will publish more about that later this week.

John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Adviser, is visiting Britain.  He said yesterday that the UK will be “first in line” for a trade agreement post-Brexit – a deliberate counter to Obama’s line.  Bolton will be dangling the prospect as an inducement.  He will want Johnson to take a more resistant line to Huawei than Theresa May did, and for the UK to move closer to America’s position on Iran.  But the possibility of early sector deals – or at least the exclusion of Britain from new pro-protection moves – seems to be real enough.  As with the NHS, policing, immigration and stop and search, so with trade.  Johnson wants progress towards a quick win as a possible election looms.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Josh Hawley’s War Against Social Media Continues With Strange New Bill Banning “Addictive Features”

Westlake Legal Group Josh-Hawley Josh Hawley’s War Against Social Media Continues With Strange New Bill Banning “Addictive Features” Uncategorized twitter Social Media Senate republicans Regulation Media Legislation Josh Hawley Front Page Stories Featured Story facebook Conservatives

Image courtesy of Sen. Josh Hawley YouTube account

Senator Josh Hawley has become the biggest thorn in the side of social media with a series of tough Senate hearings and pro-regulation bills aimed at curtailing their influence on the American public.

His strategy appears to be to use the full weight of government to regulate their influence into non-existence. His latest strategy? Effectively banning social media innovation by labeling several features as “addicting” in a sweeping new legislative ban.

Hawley’s Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act would make it illegal for social media platforms to hook users by offering them more content than they requested in order to get them to continue on their respective platforms.

The bill takes aim at practices specifically employed by the country’s top social networking sites – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

For example, it would ban YouTube’s “autoplay” feature, which loads up new videos for users automatically; Facebook and Twitter’s “infinite scroll,” which allows users to continue scrolling through their homepages without limit; and Snapchat’s “streaks,” which reward users for continuing to send photos to their friends.

More troubling than being so very pro-regulation is the fact that Hawley wants to empower the already overly-powerful executive branch through this bill.

Hawley’s legislation would empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys to take action against companies that did not remove “addictive” features within a few months.

It would also allow the FTC and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to jointly write new rules aimed at getting ahead of new “deceptive” tactics, anticipating that there will be new innovations in technology that the bill doesn’t cover.

Believe me when I say that I am concerned with the addictive qualities of social media. I work with teenagers every day, and their attention to SnapChat and Instagram, in particular, is worrisome. But what Hawley is doing here is effectively banning social media from attempting to innovate their products.

The same business models that push for featured to make you spend more time on their apps are the ones that lead to new foods, drinks, and other products. Sugar is addictive. Nicotine is addictive. Should we ban companies from developing new products with them inside because they will cause customers to crave them more?

Have we forgotten how well prohibition worked in the United States?

Let no one doubt that Hawley’s heart is in the right place. Social media is very much addicting and there needs to be a cultural conversation on the topic. But coming in waving Big Government around has never been a good solution, and it is definitely not a conservative solution. That is something that we would expect the nanny statists in the Democratic Party to do.

It’s not a good idea, and we need to stop and talk about this before we just start throwing around legislation on the matter.

The post Josh Hawley’s War Against Social Media Continues With Strange New Bill Banning “Addictive Features” appeared first on RedState.

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Medicare is $38 Trillion Short – And Other Reasons Government Shouldn’t Run Anything

America’s Left has certainly evolved.

Fifty years ago, it was the Left who didn’t trust Big Brother – and wanted to stick it to The Man.

Now – they LOVE Big Brother.  Because they now are The Man.

The Left now runs nearly everything.  And has for quite a long while.

The Left with ever-increasing influence controls schools grades K-12.  The disasters continue to mount.  We spend ever more money – to have them deliver ever diminished results.

Governments schools do not educate – they indoctrinate.  Seven-year-olds aren’t furthering their reading and math – but they are receiving climate change and LGBTQ propaganda.

Government schools have extruded hundreds of millions of students who can not read the diplomas they’re handed – but they can all roll a condom on a banana.

The Left controls the colleges and universities.  Which is why 99+% of them can now more rightly be called insane asylums.  They have spent decades producing not clear-thinking, self-sustaining, educated individuals – but tens of millions of mindless radical Leftists.

The Left controls the vast majority of the media.  Which is the only way they can continue to propagate their Big Lie.  Because Reality so often, so directly opposes them.

We have dozens of television networks and movie studios, hundreds of newspapers and magazines and millions of websites dedicated to the maxim:

“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.”

Westlake Legal Group danger-big-government-1-620x446 Medicare is $38 Trillion Short – And Other Reasons Government Shouldn’t Run Anything Title II Technology republicans Regulation progressives Politics Policy Partisanship News network neutrality Net Neutrality Media Internet Government Front Page Stories Front Page Economy donald trump democrats Congress Business & Economy Bipartisanship bipartisan

It’s a necessary part of the Program.  Which is why they freak out in such a hyper-over-reactory way whenever there is a tiny talk radio-Fox News chink in their otherwise un-penetrated armor.  ANY little glint of sunlight entering their dark world – is egregiously damaging to their cause.

And of course the Left has nigh total control of governments everywhere.

You see it at the local level all the time – especially in schools.  Students and their parents protest the insanity the schools are imposing – and the government tells them to take a flying leap.

High School Student Suspended for Refusing to Join Political Protest:

“High school students across the U.S. walked out of class on Wednesday to protest in favor of gun reform….Jacob Shoemaker, a Hilliard Davidson High School senior in Ohio, refused to join his classmates in taking part of the ‘National Walkout.’…Jacob didn’t feel that politics should play a role in the classroom, and he refused to take sides. He argued that divisive politics should be kept out of schools.”

Hundreds of Parents Pull Kids From School to Protest LGBTQ Curriculum:

“(T)he curriculum would be rolled out in the second grade, where students are about 7 or 8.”

And of course you see the Left’s control of the entirety of Washington, D.C.

We have over the decades periodically elected this attempt or that at reducing government – President Ronald Reagan, the Newt Gingrich Congress, the Tea Party,….  Only to see the Leftist bureaucracy time and again overwhelm our efforts.  And the government only continues to grow.

Since the presidential election of Swamp Drainer Donald Trump – we have time and again see some random institutionalized Leftist bureaucrat or phony judge unilaterally block something Trump has tried to do in the name of drainage.  And the government only continues to grow.

The Left is certainly very good at ensuring they run things.  Are they any good at actually running things?

Heavens no.

Medicare Faces Unfunded Liability of $38.6 Trillion

And that was in 2012.  It’s inexorably worse now.

The Left’s “solution?”  EXPAND the seniors-only program – to include everyone.  Genius.

Social Security’s Looming $32 Trillion Shortfall:

And that was in 2016.  It’s inexorably worse now.

Two Leftist programs – $70 trillion short.  But wait – there’s more:

The Federal Government Will Spend Half Its Budget On Older Adults In Ten Years:

“(M)ostly for health care and retirement benefits.”

Ummm…that’s Medicare and Social Security.  Oops.

This year’s federal budget – is $4.5 trillion.  And will be inexorably larger a decade hence.  Oops.

We could list examples of government failure from now until the crack of Doom.

And things never, EVER get better.  Only inexorably worse.

Bad:

IG Report: 300,000 Veterans Died While Waiting for Health Care at the Veterans Administration (VA)

And then worse:

VA Still in Disarray Four Years after Veterans Wait-List Death Scandal

Bad:

Barack Obama’s Immigration Action Means Tax Refunds For Illegals, Says IRS

IRS to Pay Back-Refunds to Illegal Immigrants Who Didn’t Pay Taxes

And then worse:

IRS Refunds $4.2 Billion to Illegal Aliens for Taxes Not Paid

So when We the Normal have a precious gem – a portion of life that has managed to remain nigh-completely government free – we should cherish and protect it with all the might we can muster.

One such very rare cabochon – is the Internet.

True, the Web was born of government.  But in government’s hands it languished in inert obscurity – for decades.

In the 1990s, government in bipartisan fashion decided to hand the thing to the private sector.

Boom.

Twenty-five years later, the Internet has gone from “What’s that?” – to a free speech-free market Xanadu that is now one-sixth of our entire $19 trillion economy.

Boom.

Very shortly after the very wise bipartisan decision to deregulate – the Left began looking to re-regulate.  Born was the inanity known as Network Neutrality.

And in drooling anticipation of that government grab – the Left got even greedier (shocker, I know).  And now insists we impose upon the Internet – 1934 landline phone law.

Is that a good idea?  Heavens no:

“‘Title II undermines broadband competition. In the five years after the FCC first proposed Title II (2010–15), investment dropped somewhere between $160-$200 billion relative to what it would have been projecting forward from 2005–10, when net neutrality alone was the baseline for investor expectations.’”

So whenever you hear any Leftist demand we have government do this to the Internet – please ask them:

“Are you looking to emulate government’s failure with Medicare?”

Or:

“Are you looking to emulate government’s failure with Social Security?”

Or:

“Are you looking to emulate government’s failure with the VA?”

Or:

“Are you looking to emulate government’s failure with schools?”

Or….

You are free to pick any you wish.

Because the government is awful at all of them.

Because the government is awful at everything.

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Let Us Finally Declare Internet Independence from Net Neutrality Overreach

Behold the Internet.  A free speech-free market Xanadu – developed entirely by the eternal wonderment of unfettered free markets.

The Left has ignored entirely the ongoing, rolling success of the government-free Net – and instead incessantly proclaimed looming doom if we didn’t immediately impose massive government upon it.

The very dumb regulations of which most of us have heard – Network Neutrality.

Which is part inherent dumbness – and part Trojan Horse dumbness to sneak in even more dumbness.

As with nigh all things Left – Net Neutrality is an assault on the free market.  Specifically some really rudimentary free market activities.

Paid Prioritization

You can pay the government Post Office different amounts of money for different delivery speeds.

Net Neutrality is the government stupidly prohibiting us from doing the exact same thing on the Web.

Which means the surgeon performing remote Internet surgery – can not pay extra for extra speed.  So as to clear himself and his operation from the masses watching “Panda Sneezes” videos on YouTube.

So the connection buffers, the surgery goes bad – and you die.  But at least everyone on the Internet was squeezed down by Net Neutrality to micro-size and mal-normal “equality.”  And that’s what’s really important.

Free Stuff

Nigh every business everywhere offers you package deals – that get you multiple items for less coin than the items purchased a la carte.

Fast food joints offer you “meals.”  Sandwiches, sides and drinks – bundled together at a lower aggregate price.

Do that with anything involving the Internet – and the Net Neutrality sirens sound.

AT&T Squeezes Net Neutrality with Free Ride for DirecTV:

“If your phone or tablet gets its wireless service AT&T and a DirecTV subscriber, here’s some good news: you can now watch DirecTV on your mobile device without this counting against your data plan….(T)he implication is clear: streaming DirecTV will cost you less than other services.”

Sounds great, right?  Very consumer friendly.  Except….

“The rub: What’s good news…for AT&T customers may be bad news for net neutrality.”

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Who CARES if it’s bad for Net Neutrality – for its own sake?

If you must make things WORSE for consumers in order to save Net Neutrality – and you must – well then Net Neutrality is titanically stupid.

Net Neutrality freaks must destroy the Internet – in order to save it.

But this is Washington, DC about which we are speaking.  Inherent dumbness is considered not a bug – but a virtue.

We’ve now spent nearly two decades seeing how stupid und unnecessary Net Neutrality is.  Yet like a heinous rash – it keeps flaring up.

Which is awful uncertainty for everyone trying to actually provide us access to the Internet.  And keeps open the threat of even dumber government – Title II Reclassification:

“‘While (President Donald Trump FCC Chairman Ajit) Pai agrees with the basic tenets of net neutrality, upholding them does not mean the FCC needs to regulate broadband under 1934 rules designed for the telephone monopoly….

“‘Title II undermines broadband competition. In the five years after the FCC first proposed Title II (2010–15), investment dropped somewhere between $160-$200 billion relative to what it would have been projecting forward from 2005–10, when net neutrality alone was the baseline for investor expectations.’

“In other words – you can have Net Neutrality…without the draconian Title II Democrats are now demanding.”

In the interest of FINALLY making this nonsense go away, three different Republican bills have been filed to impose relatively mild, non-Title II versions of Net Neutrality.

And look – we have the rarest of sightings: Bipartisanship.  Forty-seven House Democrats have publicly agreed to consider a Net Neutrality compromise.

Doing the math (another DC no-no) – means any one of those Republican bills would most likely pass the Democrat House.  In bipartisan fashion – with these forty-seven Democrats on board.

And given every rational person’s thorough nausea with the issue – the Republican Senate would most likely pass it, and Republican President Donald Trump would most likely sign it.

Sadly, in DC, accepting a little dumbness – so as to prevent an unending avalanche of dumbness – is a big win.

And here we are with Net Neutrality.

The post Let Us Finally Declare Internet Independence from Net Neutrality Overreach appeared first on RedState.

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Senator ‘Grim Reaper’ McConnell – Is Receiving Legislative Corpses from Pelosi

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has wisely, rightly stopped from going forward most of the legislation House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has passed and sent his way.

In the Donald Trump Age of Nicknames (which thus far no one delivers as well as the President) – Pelosi has one for McConnell.

Nancy Pelosi Calls Mitch McConnell ‘The Grim Reaper’

Pelosi Shows Off Poster of ’Grim Reaper McConnell’s Graveyard’

A nickname and messaging campaign – the awful, corrupt, Leftist media is more than happy to back.

The House-Passed Bills that Have Ended Up in the Senate ‘Graveyard’

For his part, McConnell embraced the appellation.

McConnell Brushes Off Pelosi’s Insult: ‘I Am Indeed the Grim Reaper’ of Democrats’ ‘Socialist Agenda’

I would beg to differ with McConnell – if only on his embracing the new title.

Westlake Legal Group nancy-pelosi-bride-of-frankenstein-green-SCREENSHOT Senator ‘Grim Reaper’ McConnell – Is Receiving Legislative Corpses from Pelosi Title II Technology republicans Regulation progressives Politics Policy Partisanship News network neutrality Net Neutrality Media Internet Government Front Page Stories Front Page Economy donald trump democrats Congress Business & Economy Bipartisanship bipartisan

McConnell isn’t the Grim Reaper – he’s simply a coroner.  The Senate isn’t a graveyard – it’s a morgue.

McConnell isn’t killing legislation – he’s receiving legislation that is politically DOA (Dead On Arrival).  And Pelosi – and nigh everyone else on the planet – know it.

Which we addressed a good bit ago.

DC Wastes WAY Too Much Time on Bills Everyone Knows Can Not Become Law:

“Which is why we no longer in DC get legislation.  We get Legislation Theatre.  Elected officials proposing bills that have zero chance of becoming law – but look really good on stage to their respective bases.

“The examples this cycle are already myriad.

“After HR 1 Vote, Democrats Ready to Move Quickly on Other Top 10 Bills:

“‘(House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi has been steadily rolling out bills HR 1 through 10 to keep priorities advancing.’

“HR 1 – is an anti-First Amendment, omni-directional disaster.  So of course the Democrat-majority House passed it.  But to what end?

“(Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell Mocks HR 1 As ‘Parade Of Horrible’:

“‘McConnell was defiant when asked why he wouldn’t bring HR1 to the Senate floor. “Because I get to decide what we vote on,” was his response.

“So the House – wasted its time.  And therefore – ours.

“Do any of Pelosi’s ten items have even the slightest chance of passage?  That is a highly dubious proposition:

“‘The new Democratic majority has been quickly, but steadily and deliberately, rolling out legislation to fulfill their 2018 midterm campaign promises and reintroducing bills that languished during the past eight years when Republicans controlled the House.’

“These bills ‘languished during the past eight years when Republicans controlled the House’ – because Republicans do not like them.  They didn’t vote on them then – they won’t vote for them now.

“Pelosi’s entire agenda – is a titanic waste of time….

“Pelosi is passing her slate of nonsense – knowing almost none of it will even get a vote in the Senate.  Let alone passage and a Presidential signature.”

Pelosi does all of this – and then gives McConnell a lame (and inaccurate) nickname.  For doing exactly what she – and anyone with an IQ above nine on a warm day – knew he would do.

To wit:

House Passes Bill to Restore ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules:

“The House has passed bill Wednesday to restore Obama-era (Title II) ’Net Neutrality’ rules, but the legislation faces slim odds of making it through the Republican-controlled Senate.”

Yet another House bill – arriving in the Senate with no pulse.

Why the Senate Is Blocking a New Net Neutrality Bill:

“The House just passed a bill to bring back net neutrality. McConnell says it’s ‘dead on arrival’ in the Senate.”

Thankfully, there are some Democrats who actually realize we have a divided DC.  A Democrat House – and a Republican Senate and President.

And are trying to actually pass live legislation – that could actually become law.

House Democrats Seek Bipartisan Working Group on Net Neutrality

There’s One Democrat Senator Who Didn’t Co-Sponsor the ‘Save the Internet’ Net Neutrality Bill

Republicans are looking to do the same.

GOP House Members Offer Trio of Net Neutrality Bills:

“Republicans…are offering up at least three versions of legislation that would reimpose network neutrality rules, but without doing so under Title II common carrier regs they argue are a relic of the monopoly (dial-less, black) phone based Title II common carrier rules.”

“The bills would impose the Net Neutrality principles – to which both Republicans and Democrats fairly recently agreed.

“That is, before the Democrats’ Socialist base – demanded the Title II government takeover of all things Internet.”

Title II – is 1934 landline telephone law.  Get that?  1934.  Landline telephone law.

To impose Title II upon the Internet – is insane.  Regulator-ily, technologically, economically – and metaphysically – insane.

Of COURSE McConnell isn’t going to (re)impose Title II on the Internet.

Thankfully, McConnell, nigh all Republicans and a great and growing number of Democrats acknowledge and know you can have Net Neutrality – without Title II.

Net Neutrality has stood astride the Internet – and us – like a Colossus.  Unsolved – for nearly two decades.

We now – finally – have a chance to solve it.

If Pelosi will allow a vote on any one of the three minority Republican House Net Neutrality bills – they could all pass with nearly fifty Democrat votes.

And then likely pass the Republican Senate.

And then likely be signed by the Republican President.

Presto – actual, living-and-breathing legislation.  That can become actual, living-and-breathing law.

There’s a legislative Grim Reaper in DC.

But it ain’t McConnell.

It’s Pelosi.

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Josh Hawley’s Internet Censorship Bill Is A Very, Very Risky Play

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FILE – In this Sept. 27, 2018 file photo, Missouri Attorney General and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley speaks to supporters during a campaign stop in St. Charles, Mo. Missouri’s Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is making a bid for a third term in a state that’s trended increasingly red in recent years, setting up a nationally watched showdown that could be pivotal to party control of the Senate. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

One of the things that made Josh Hawley such an appealing candidate coming into 2018 was his experience going after big tech companies and their use of private data. Specifically, Hawley had made himself a major thorn in the side of Google, who has a long history of just giving away your data for the right price.

His tech-centric view of the issues of the day continues in the Senate, where Hawley has come out swinging against social media companies and their treatment of conservative voices. This particular tack has led up to Hawley introducing a bill – the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act – in an effort to force social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to provide First Amendment-level protections to its users.

The cost? More government regulation.

This is where I get nervous. One of the better qualities of the Trump administration has been to reduce regulation almost completely across the board, but now we have members of the GOP wanting to add more to the Internet. It’s not something I am sure I can endorse.

I get that social media targets conservatives in a very unfair manner. Twitter, in particular, has taken down quite a few accounts for the sole reason of expressing conservative viewpoints (particularly on LGBT and abortion grounds). Facebook has targeted conservative pages and even blocked conservative websites from appearing in its ill-fated “News” sidebar.

But forcing them to prove to the government that they are not favoring one political ideology over another is an overly broad and dangerous venture.

Via David French at National Review:

Hawley wants to replace common sense with a legal fiction, making Facebook responsible for user comments unless it can satisfy an extraordinary condition — it has to prove to the Federal Trade Commission by clear and convincing evidence that it doesn’t moderate content in a manner “designed to negatively affect a political party, political candidate, or political viewpoint” and that its moderation doesn’t “disproportionately restrict or promote access to, or the availability of, information from a political party, political candidate, or political viewpoint.”

Hawley’s standard is most assuredly not the viewpoint-neutrality standard seen in First Amendment case law. It’s a carnival funhouse version that would invite an enormous amount of bureaucratic meddling. For example, conservative sites and posts often do very well on Facebook, in part because of its older user base and partly because conservative Facebook users have gotten quite good at creating viral content. Will a Kamala Harris administration decide that disproportionate conservative success violates political neutrality?

Laws that purport to regulate First Amendment–protected speech bear a special burden of precision and clarity. They have to clearly explain what is prohibited and permitted. Vague or overbroad laws violate the Constitution in part by failing to provide fair notice of government standards. Hawley’s bill, as written, is extraordinarily vague. Terms such as “disproportionate” are very hard to define. Disproportionate to what? User percentages? Population percentages? User engagement? The standard is extraordinarily malleable.

My gut reaction is very much in line with French here – particularly on the question of “What happens when the Democrats take power again?” Realize that while they are currently acting like lunatics, sooner or later they or someone like the current ones running for President (which include an anti-vaccine propagandist, a series of pro-abortion on demand supporters, and a furry) will have the power to go the opposite way.

However, despite all that hesitation, I don’t necessarily disagree with the idea that we have to do something. Social media has only become more of a wasteland in recent years, and it’s not getting any better. The fact that emotionally- and politically-based decisions are being handed down from the site moderators without rational explanation or a clear example of what rule was broken makes for a bad business model.

It’s just very hard to support increasing the scope of the government’s power to force them to do that, and while French’s proposal of a “voluntary First Amendment-based moderation” from websites is a nice idea, it’s a pipe dream that is very difficult to see happening anytime soon.

So, where does that leave us? Other than nuking social media from high orbit (which is not a bad idea, I assure you) we’re going to have to tough it out for the time being or quit. Voting with your feet should be the answer, but that obviously requires a big sacrifice from an increasingly screen-dependent society.

Hawley’s heart is in the right place here, but I am not sure I can go along with more regulation. The problem is, if regulation is not the answer, what is?

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