Marijuana Legalization Update

Bloomberg:

By the end of 2018, 20 percent of Americans will live in a state where adults can legally buy and sell cannabis. Yet big problems remain unresolved, including a persistent black market that legalization was supposed to help undermine. There are also fights between states in favor of legalizing weed and localities that oppose it. And of course marijuana remains illegal under federal law, casting a shadow over the industry.

Come on, government people. There are businesses to create, people to hire, less crime.

Here.

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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.

Obamacare was Not Designed to Fail

A conservative critique of ACA, aka Obamacare, is that it was designed to fail so Democrats could instead implement a single-payer health care “system”. Here’s a column by the respected Larry Elder.

I disagree with that view. ACA was the Democrats’ attempt at using government bureaucracy to administer health insurance and resulting health care. Democrats, following progressive ideology, do not trust the market process. Progressives believe they are smarter than the rest of us and can allocate resources better and fairer than market processes. Note also some conservatives believe this as well. People in government, whether (modern) liberal, conservative, or middle-of-the-road take simply cannot give up the power and control that government provides them. They could be in an elected or appointed capacity.

The market process consists of individuals making decisions, voluntarily interacting with one another in commercial transactions, trial-and-error, competition, choice, and experimentation. You can see from this description how some failures will occur with market processes. But it also allows for many more successes, inventions, and improvements.

If health care cannot be administered by government bureaucracy while letting some limited individual decision-making as the ACA allows, it certainly cannot be distributed by freed market processes. Its too important. Government has to completely take over.

But the Democrats have been pushing, with some Republican help, for bureaucratic administration, which consists of unelected government employees issuing rules and regulations that do not have to be implemented legislatively. Adding language in legislation gives the appropriate government agency the rule-making power.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is one such agency. It reports into the unelected bankers at the Federal Reserve.

 

America’s regulation burden, in 5 charts

James Pethokoukis quotes the Trump Council of Economic Advisers:

Excessive regulation is a tax on the economy, costing the U.S. an average of 0.8 percent of GDP growth per year since 1980. This taxation by regulation has increased sharply in recent years, with approximately 500 new economically significant regulations created over the last eight years alone. Through a thorough review of the literature, the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) finds that deregulation will stimulate U.S. GDP growth.

Now we’re getting to the heart of the slow growth matter. Pethokoukis compiles five charts to make his point. Here.

Sen. Warren (D, MA) Grills Wells Fargo CEO

Senator Warren grilled Wells Fargo & Co. CEO Timothy Sloan during Senate hearings on the firm’s account creation scheme.

She tried to argue that the CEO personally profited from the scheme by making the stock go up. A large company like Wells Fargo, the CEO cannot make the stock up. Institutional investors, pension funds, index funds, traders, government sovereign wealth funds, and other large institutions are the main movers in the financial markets. They have to agree with the story the company is telling in order to buy the shares, or if they use technical analysis, see a pattern that’s bullish.

As for Sloan, he was not prepared for this partisan attack.

She wants him fired. That’s not her responsibility to hire and fire company executives. And, more importantly, its unconstitutional under Article 1, Section 9. The US Constitutions forbids Bill of Attainder. See here and here for explanations. Among other infringements of our rights, it could eliminate Due Process.

And it appears she wants to install a puppet regime so she can control the banking industry. Fascism 101, folks.

There was always something totalitarian about progressivism. The followers of this movement have no problem bossing anybody around if they don’t behave the way progressives want.

Politicians crave control, certainty, and stability. You hear them talk about stability of financial markets, of job markets, of domestic social and global situations.

With that in mind, imagine viewing issues from the perspective of politicians. If some issue gets out of control, they get criticized. We seek comfort in their supposed competence to handle various situations. But that comes with a price in the form of more laws, more regulations, more controls, and less freedom of choice. You may not even know it because politicians have mastered the art of concealing their intentions.

They pass a law that controls corporations in an industry, for example, and that law manifests itself in many ways such as the products and services it offers. And you wonder why a firm acts the way it does — well that’s why. The firm acts as an agent of the government and the politicians escape responsibility.

 

When politicians and activists call on the government to regulate the economy, they mean to regulate us.

Sheldon Richman:

There’s no economy to regulate. It’s not a machine or a vehicle. It’s an unending series of purposeful activities the logic of which gives rise to a process characterized by regularities. Hence, for example, the law of supply and demand. We can talk about this orderly process — the market — as though it were a thing, but we have to keep its metaphorical nature in mind. It’s still only people cooperating with each other.

 

Coal Industry in the U.S.

Salena Zito:

The Acosta Deep Mine in Somerset County marks a dramatic upturn for the area. And while President Trump cannot claim that he brought the industry back here personally (this new mine was already being developed before the election), he is an effective cheerleader for folks who’ve been discounted by the political elite.

Instead of trying to kill an industry under piles of regulations and poo-pooing any notions of its survival let along thriving, I think the government should lay off and let the people in the industry configure itself for the economy.

Maybe its smaller than in the past or maybe bigger, maybe more specialized, maybe more dispersed or stays concentrated in a geographic area. How do they compete and serve a customer base? What technologies can they use and invent, and what business processes can they use and invent? How do they attract capital?

These are questions for the people in the industry to figure out from the bottom-up, top-down, and inside-out, not from top-down impositions and elite opinion. And the people in this industry must do so in a free market environment.