Tech Pours Millions Into Lobbying While Pressure Mounts in Washington

Technology companies including Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. spent more than $10 million on federal lobbying in the third quarter, as Washington ratcheted up pressure on issues ranging from child sex-trafficking to Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

Here.

There may not be many regulations on the “internet” per say, but “pressure on issues ranging from child sex-trafficking to Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election” is equivalent to regulation because it is political control. It is de facto regulation.

And that means less money and people are used to improve our lives with better products and services.

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Draining the Swamp – Update

Forbes:

And so here we are, the first president to come solely from the private sector, representing the party that for more than a century championed laissez-faire capitalism and free trade, proposing that government punish and reward companies based on where they choose to locate factories and offices. Is the president comfortable with that idea?

“Very comfortable,” he replies. “What I want to do is reciprocal. See, I think the concept of reciprocal is a very nice concept. If somebody is charging us 50%, we should charge them 50%. Right now they charge us 50%, and we charge them nothing. That doesn’t work with me.”

This is filling the swamp because lobbyists will swarm all over Washington, DC to get their clients excluded and/or their enemies included, however it plays best for their clients. Many politicians will welcome this intervention. They can buy and sell votes up the wazoo. This is a deal-maker’s paradise, which Donald Trump excels at.

Firms buy sales and profits in Washington, DC instead of the marketplace.

Let’s not fool ourselves. This happens all the time, but this is taking it to a higher level. It doesn’t matter if a nationalist or socialist likes it. Its wrong no matter which party does it.

Here.

NFL Pigskins at the Public Trough

Michelle Malkin:

Over the past decade, new tax-supported NFL stadiums rose up for the Indianapolis Colts (the $720 million Lucas Oil Stadium), the Dallas Cowboys (the $1.15 billion AT&T Stadium) the New York Jets and Giants (the $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings (the $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium), the Atlanta Falcons (the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium), and the San Francisco 49ers (the $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara).

Next in the works: a whopping $2.6 billion stadium for the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams and a $1.9 billion stadium for the Oakland Raiders when they move to Las Vegas. Left behind? An $83 million taxpayer debt on two-decade-old renovations to the Alameda County Coliseum that the Raiders are abandoning.

Bottom line: the government spending does not deliver the return on investment.

The Democrats “A Better Deal”

Reading through their agenda, I conclude its the same old crap. More government control, rules, and bureaucracy. And, the results will be the very results they say they are trying to fix. For example, their first issue complains about special interests and so-called the rich getting the benefits of government largess. But, any legislation or regulatory change involves the input of special interests. In fact, Democrats welcome special interests to provide expertise in writing legislation. They are the experts and that’s why they’re involved. The Democrats invite the special interests that fit their agenda to help who then tilt the legislation to their benefit. The result is more bureaucracy and more complexity in the lives of the middle class they say they are trying to help. How much record-keeping do we already have for taxes, medical care, and on and on? Well, that is the result of the very government Democrats are pushing.

How about this:

Our plan for A Better Deal starts by creating millions of good-paying, full-time jobs by directly investing in our crumbling infrastructure and prioritizing small business and entrepreneurs, instead of giving tax breaks to special interests.

How are they going to “creating millions of good-paying, full-time jobs” Well, that crumbling infrastructure is located in states that have been run by Democrats, with an occasional Republican elected such as NY, NJ, CA, IL. The fiscal problem at the state level is that government employee pensions, public education, and Medicaid have consumed their budgets, leaving little budget dollars left for infrastructure. Having the federal government spend on infrastructure relieves the state governors, legislators, and judges of being responsible for the infrastructure in their states. No real reform here.

Next, “prioritizing small business and entrepreneurs, instead of giving tax breaks to special interests.” is funny because “small business” and “entrepreneurs”, from a political perspective, are special interests. “prioritizing” means giving special treatment to special interests. Democrats just hide it from the public by burdening firms with the rules then we get ticked off at the firms for acting the way they do.

Here’s another: “We will crack down on monopolies and the concentration of economic power that has led to higher prices for consumers, workers, and small business”. The monopolies in the economy are the federal, state, and local governments. Further, firms cannot raise their prices. The prices of products and services that are rising faster then general inflation are those with heavy government involvement such as college tuition and public education.

Another problem with their approach is that all this activity interferes with the peaceful, voluntary actions of the American people interacting with each other and others across borders. That interference tilts the playing field because that is how the Democrats view everything. In Progressivism, someone must lose for someone else to win.

Next, their plan “provides new tax incentives to employers that invest in workforce training and education and make sure the rules of the economy support companies that focus on long-term growth, rather than short-term profits.” That means more paperwork, meetings, and time taken away from concentrating resources on doing the work for the customers of the firm. As well, firms have strategies for the short, medium, and long terms. They may not be completely filled out, but that is not possible because the future is unknown. The details get filled in as more information is available and more knowledge acquired. That’s why 10 or 20 years plans are nonsense.

The funny thing is, if a firm invests for the long-term, the results might pay off in government antitrust action against it, see Amazon.com. They invested for the long-term by keeping the retail prices low to build market share. But, Democrats want congressional hearings on its proposed acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. So the people at Amazon.com invested for the long-term and they get rewarded with congressional hearings. That makes no sense unless of course the hearings are for show and graft. Ahhh, graft. Squeeze a firm so its employees make financial contributions to the party.

And let’s not forget the mess the Democrats created in the health insurance market with Obamacare — monthly premiums higher, deductibles, higher, insurers leaving markets. So all in all, the Democrats are pulling the same stunts they always do.

Venezuela Update

CNN:

One of the opposition leaders says he likes the way the streets of the capital looked Thursday morning — empty.

Freddy Guevara, vice president of the opposition-led National Assembly, posted pictures of near-empty Caracas streets to his Twitter account, saying they showed that Venezuelans there were answering the call to stay home from their jobs.

“This is Bolivar Avenue this morning. A point of pride that we emptied it like all of Caracas. We continue!” Guevara tweeted.

Venezuela, the model for central planning of the economy — which is a better description than simply calling it socialism — is producing so much pain for its citizens that they are rebelling. And in response to the failures and protests the Maduro government is trying to re-write the country’s constitution to give itself more power.

And that’s how it goes: too much government control of the economy produces too much misery — such as lines for bread, bread for god’s sake — which leads the political leaders of such stupid policy to go to extremes to continue to hold power.

Trump vows to protect ‘Made in America’ products

President Trump:

Trump did not give details about what his administration would do to protect manufacturers, but he railed against tariffs charged by other countries and unfair trade practices.

“That includes cracking down on the predatory online sales of foreign goods, which is absolutely killing our shoppers and our shopping centers,” he said.

“Killing our shoppers”. Really? Shoppers enjoy shopping online, that’s why they do it. If they didn’t find it beneficial they’d shop in shopping centers. So its up to the shopper where to shop, not politicians. Shopping centers have to step up their game to compete with online. The heavy hand of government will stifle innovation, disadvantage their competitors, and freeze the current situation. Improvements will cease. That’s why the country of Cuba is stuck in the 1950’s.

That’s not sustainable. What is sustainable is free market competition that will continually produce what’s best for consumers and producers. That’s what he and Republicans claim to want in health care, so the same principle applies to retail.

Here.

Uh-oh: Sen. Rand Paul: Senate GOP Decides to Keep Obamacare

Senator Rand Paul (R, KY):

Obamacare regulations? Still here. Taxes? Many still in place, totaling hundreds of billions of dollars.

Insurance company bailouts? Those, too. Remember when Republicans complained about Obamacare’s risk corridors? Remember when we called the corridors nothing more than insurance company bailouts? I remember when one prominent GOP candidate during a presidential debate explicitly called out the Obamacare risk corridors as a bailout to insurance companies. Does anyone else?

Here.