Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

House Republicans Pushing Bill To Shift Regulation Authority To Congress


The purpose of having regulatory authority within the administra­tion is that the legislatur­e does not have the time or expertise to do it. The legislatur­e writes broad policy into law, and the administra­tion works out and implements the details.

Putting the administra­tion on a short leash rejects the separation of powers, cripples the regulatory function, inflates hyper-part­isanship, and increases the cost while decreasing the effectiven­ess of government­. This, of course, is what the GOP wants. By crippling the government’s ability to protect the lives and rights of living people, they give a free hand to the predators and polluter who support them. The anarchy they seek favors the powerful and the dangerous.

This is deeply damaging to the country.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

December 10, 2011 Posted by | GOP, Governance, Regulation | , , , , | Leave a comment

House Republicans Stepping Up Anti-Regulation Effort


Regulation is as necessary as traffic law. While I have seen some silly traffic laws, I don’t think that any responsibl­e person would propose getting rid of all traffic law as a consequenc­e.

Every regulation is a reminder that businesses bear no responsibi­lity toward the public good. That responsibi­lity lies with the people, through their official instrument­: the government­.

A bad regulation is a regulation that fails to protect the public interest. A regulation is not properly measured by if or how much it impedes commerce, but whether or not that impediment promotes or fails to promote the general welfare.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

December 3, 2011 Posted by | GOP, Regulation | , , , | 1 Comment

Light Bulb Act: House Republicans Poised To Repeal Incandescent Light Bulb Restrictions



1) Create uncertaint­y for light bulb manufactur­ers.
2) Funnel billions more to utility companies.
3) Accelerate need to build more power plants.
4) Add a multi-bill­ion dollar negative stimulus to the recovery.
5) Encourage arrogant, self-cente­red “patriotis­m”, AKA nationalis­m.

The lives of all Americans have become far too interconne­cted and interdepen­dent for the Plantation­-era concept of liberty to function.

“Nothing is more certain than the indispensa­ble necessity of government­, and it is equally undeniable­, that whenever and however it is instituted­, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers.” – John Jay, Federalist 2

As more lives interact, more conflicts arise, and more authority to resolve those conflicts is required. Otherwise, we lose liberty through the sheer weight of population growth.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Regulation | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gainful-Employment Rule – What Do We Think


Barnard College, 1913 (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Gainful-Employment Rule: What Do We Think?.

“Programs must fail for three years out of four before they are completely cut off from student loan or Pell Grant money. No programs will be ruled ineligible until 2015.”

I find it interesting that conservatives who want government to be run like a business reject the idea of evaluating a supplier based on return-on-investment criteria.

I don’t think there is a business in the world that would contract with a third-party supplier with such a parasitic and ineffective business model as some of these for-profit institutions embrace. Nor would I expect any business to be so lenient with failure.

“”We’re focusing on improving (for-profit programs) rather than closing them. Students would be better off if their programs were stronger rather than closed down,” said James Kvaal, a DOE official, during a conference call with reporters.”

Just the opposite of the approach republicans take toward public schools.

When it comes to funneling taxpayer money to private businesses, republicans are clearly selective about running government like a business.

“The controversy over the “gainful employment” rules highlights an important reality — mainly that the federal government is actively creating rules that will prevent many people from obtaining skilled employment or improving their job status.

The whole issue of higher education regulation is a debate worth having. There is widespread opinion that the federal government has once again overstepped its bounds. That’s why I’m looking forward to taking a close look at how we can improve higher education without selectively imposing draconian regulations that hamper innovation and job creation while reducing student choices.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) is the chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training.

The catch is that for-profit colleges are the only ones deliberately bilking the taxpayers and impoverishing their victims. You have to concentrate regulations on the bad actors in order to minimize unintended consequences.

And the truth is that we cannot afford the economic consequences of predatory for-profit colleges. The high cost of an honest college education already limits the disposable income of college graduates to a degree that weakens the economy. The problem becomes enormously worse when the education is worthless. The Congresswoman merely seeks to complicate and muddy the waters.

June 12, 2011 Posted by | Education, Regulation | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Shimkus, GOP Rep. Who Denies Climate Change On Religious Grounds, Could Lead House Environmental Policy


Considering how often they talk about personal responsibility, republicans usually find a way to rationalize evading responsibility for their own actions.

This is one of the most mind-numbingly irresponsible assertions I have ever heard. After all the “personal responsibility” lectures, now they give us the “hell no to responsibility, God won’t let us fail” line? No wonder they are so cool to the START treaty.

Given the dangers of hydraulic fracturing and the growing demand for natural gas, and a public programmed to believe we have easy access to huge reserves if only the government would “get out of the way”, the republicans are poised to give license the the oil industry to literally destroy this country from the ground water up.

Republicans keep coming up with new ways to hurt this country beyond the wildest dreams of our worst enemies, and still make the ideas popular with the masses.

The more religious zealots strengthen their grip on their spiritual world and loosen their grip on the physical world, the more they fit the definition of insane.

How is John Shimkus any different from a suicide bomber, when it comes to personal responsibility and concern for consequences?

This is a prime example of why religion and government are incompatible.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

The more they strengthen their grip on their spiritual world and loosen their grip on the physical world, the more they fit the definition of insane.

How is John Shimkus any different than a suicide bomber, when it comes to personal responsibility and concern for consequences?

This is a prime example of why religion and government are incompatible.

November 16, 2010 Posted by | Environment, Regulation, Religion | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is the Chamber of Commerce a Subversive Organization?


The more that Corporate America can reach across the border for cheap labor, unprotected resources, and tax shelters, the more they insulate themselves from the American people and the American economy.

The more their interests come in conflict with the interests of the American people, and therefore conflict with government for the people.

It is disturbing to see how many support what are effectively foreign interests instead of the interests of the country. Some are already owned by Corporate America. Others aspire to join them – but with only 4% upward economic mobility, it is generally a vain hope.

Government is the tool we the people have to oppose the otherwise overwhelming power of big business. It is no surprise that they go to any lengths to take that tool away from us.

The working class are the ones who truly need to take back the country.
Take it back from the oligarchs and corporatists.
Take it back from the theocrats and propagandists.
Take it back from fear, prejudice, and ignorance.

Take it back to government of the people, by the people and for the people, because we the people are the ones who ultimately bear the burdens of failure – every failure, regardless of source.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

November 1, 2010 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Capitalism, Economics, Elections, Government, Labor, Regulation | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homeowners Get The Boot For Bad Paperwork While Banks Get Millions For Same


Foreclosure signThree years ago I wanted limits placed on how much the ARMs could reset in a year, in an effort to slow the foreclosures and collapse of real estate prices. I wanted the courts to sort the schemers from the dupes for the same reason.

Republicans would have none of it. They cried sanctity of contract, though these were fraudulently made and deserving of review by the courts. Contracts were sacred (except union contracts) regardless of the harm to the economy. And harm there was.

The financial sector has so badly botched mortgages that sorting it out through due process would take so long that it would freeze the market to the point of another recession. And yet, the banks have earned the losses they are trying so hard to pass on the their victims. Nor can main street absorb any more fiscal abuse if the economy is to recover.

The financial sector has become it’s own worst enemy, and no friend to the economy. They created this recession, and they are not done screwing up. They cannot prove ownership of mortgages or the right to foreclose in untold instances.

Prudent risk and due diligence have given way to unrepentant avarice. Have we reached the time for moral hazard?

They deserve to fail, but they are not the only ones who would pay for their failure.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

November 1, 2010 Posted by | Capitalism, Economics, Regulation | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery, Lower Earnings For All But Super Wealthy


Unemployment woesWe have become a nation divided by ideology. Community vs individualism. Pride and honor vs avarice and power. Perseverance vs instant gratification. Federalism vs Confederacy. Republic vs Corporatocracy.

Capitalism has not only reached across the border, it has straddled it. The economic model of a national economy is fundamentally broken. American workers and American corporations do not function in the same economy. That has to be fixed before we can prosper again.

Capitalism is not a form of government, no matter how many people try to make it one. It is a culture of competing and conflicting self-interests, not leadership. Under the domination of conservatism, we surrendered the initiative to others. The future went from 10 years (Space Race) to 3 months as we became fixated on quarterly profits. Economic myopia.

We need to develop new industries and oil independence, but conservatives resist. For 10 years, we tried the conservative approach in it’s extreme. Environmental law, anti-trust law, regulation, and budgetary restraint were all sacrificed in the name of conservative-style economic growth. And what did we get for it? Private sector job growth in decline for 10 years. Bush43 created only 3m net jobs, the worst performance on record. Wages stagnated, fraud flourished, the economy weakened and inevitably fell into recession.

We have a private sector that cannot get out of it’s own way. Banks rushing to foreclose on properties they cannot prove they have a legal right to foreclose on, using bogus documentation, driving down the value of the property they are ceasing – trampling due process and individual rights in the process.

If we are to recover from this recession, if we are to create meaningful numbers of new jobs, we need new industries and modern infrastructure. We need to recognize the limitations of capitalism, and adapt accordingly.

New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery, Lower Earnings For All But Super Wealthy

October 29, 2010 Posted by | Capitalism, Direction, Economics, Regulation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proposed New Jersey Law Would Penalize Employers For Discriminating Against Unemployed



This law is too broad in that it makes no exception for internal transfer opportunities. As written, it could be interpreted to prohibit efforts to retain existing workers through internal placement.

This law could also be leveraged to downsize higher-paid employees and then hire lower-paid replacements.

I like the basic idea, but when I look at a law, I look for how it could be misunderstood or abused. Ambiguities and generalities are generally bad.

An Act concerning employment discrimination and supplementing Title 34 of the Revised Statutes.

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1.    No employer or employer’s agent, representative, or designee shall publish, in print or on the Internet, an advertisement for any job vacancy that contains one or more of the following:

a.     Any provision stating or suggesting that the qualifications for a job include current employment;

b.    Any provision stating or suggesting that the employer or employer’s agent, representative, or designee will not consider or review an application for employment submitted by any job applicant currently unemployed; or

c.     Any provision stating or suggesting that the employer or employer’s agent, representative, or designee will only consider or review applications for employment submitted by job applicants who are currently employed.

2.    Any employer who violates this act shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation, collectible by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development in a summary proceeding pursuant to the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).

3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

STATEMENT

This bill prohibits an employer or employer’s agent, representative, or designee to publish, in print or on the Internet, an advertisement for any job vacancy that prohibits, announces or suggests that unemployed individuals need not apply for a job vacancy. The bill provides for the imposition of civil penalties, for a violation of the bill, in an amount not to exceed $5,000 for the first violation, or $10,000 for each subsequent violation, collectible by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development.

An Act concerning employment discrimination and supplementing Title 34 of the Revised Statutes.

I worked for a large company for many years, and transferred internally on several occasions. Such transfers promote job stability and reduce training costs, both of which are desirable. If the law stated that external candidates cannot be required to have a current job, then that would be a different story.

Just shuffling people from one company to another does not increase employment. I hope the tax holiday for new hires is limited to hiring the unemployed. There should be an increase in head count involved.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

An Act concerning employment discrimination and supplementing Title 34 of the Revised Statutes.

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Capitalism, Labor, Regulation | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Angle Suggests Free Market Could Solve Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage


Sharron Angle’s pronouncement shows a curious lack of understanding of the subject. I attribute this to too many talking points and too few white papers.

During the 2008 election, McCain put forth a reform plan tat failed to show basic understanding of the concept of insurance, the complexities of health care, sound business practices, and human nature. In short, it could not have worked.

Nevertheless, republicans have clung to those ideas ever since – including Sharron Angle.

The insurance companies created the problems that necessitated reforms. They had things the way they wanted them, and it would be insane to think they would make meaningful changes on their own. Especially changes that favored consumers.

She makes about as much sense as a first down in the fifth inning.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

September 22, 2010 Posted by | Economics, Health Care, Regulation | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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