Archive for the ‘Free market’ Category

Michigan – MICHIGAN – is now a right-to-work state.

December 11, 2012

Freedom-to-Work-MILate last night, the 2nd of two bill passed the Michigan House moving the state one nice step forward towards economic freedom.

Once Governor Snyder signs the bills, Michigan – once considered the cradle of the pro-union movement – will become the 24th state in the union with right-to-work laws.

While Washington either argues over or ignores the fiscal cliff, states are taking responsibility for their own destinies. I can’t tell you how great it is to see Michigan (you know, land of a now-desolate Detroit and home to much bailout money) tackle some SUBSTANTIVE stuff.

One of the bills dealt with private sector workers, the other with government employees. Both have the effect of banning any requirement that nonunion employees pay unions for negotiating contracts and other services.

Of course the Democrats protested and continue to threaten retribution, but state Senator John Pross predicts that their anger will fade as more jobs make their way to the state. He told the Washington Post, “As they say in sports, the atmosphere in the locker room gets a lot better when the team’s winning.”

Pretty exciting to see the shift in sentiment growing nation-wide. It’s also pretty exciting to know that at least in some way, Utah has had an effect on Michigan, under the watchful eye of Budget Director John Nixon. Hired away from the Herbert administration, his work in Michigan garnered him one of this year’s “Public Official of the Year” award from Governing Magazine.

Yay for good news!


Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom

November 19, 2012

Illegal hair-do in Utah unless your braider has a license

After a long and grueling election season, I’m tired.

Tired of beating my head against a wall.

Tired of watching good people make bad choices.

Tired of being beat up for taking a stand.

Tired of feeling like no matter what I do, it’s “Same song, 2nd verse” – or 6th, or 10th, or 40th.

After November 6, I took some time off. Read. Played with the kids. Went to the movies. Even went to the dentist. I did NOT go to interim day on Utah’s Capitol Hill last week – but I should have.

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.
We’ve all heard that quote, right?

It can conjur up mighty images of the battlefield, of Patrick Henry and his impassioned speech, of fighting for freedom in the fields of Gettysburg. More recently, it might bring to mind presidential elections and unelected czars, a fiscal cliff and partisan gridlock.

As it turns out, it applies to the state legislature and little things like hair braiding as much as it does our federal politics.  (Dang it. I already knew that….)

In the Business and Labor committee on Wednesday,a bill was passed unanimously, by the legislators who were there. This bill creates – and requires – licensure for hair-braiders in the state of Utah. In fact, it creates two levels of hair-braiders (regular and advanced), adds in hair-braiding apprenticeships (800 hours or more) and creates a brand-new concept of a hair-braiding school. Imagine that.

The committee did manage to exempt “natural” hair braiding, but if you want to add extensions or even just beads, well, you’re out of luck. (Of course, if you don’t charge, then there is no problem because it is OBVIOUSLY the exchange of money that makes the practice dangerous, right?)

Because it passed unanimously, the bill will be introduced during the upcoming legislative session as a committee bill, bypassing additional committee hearings and having very limited floor discussion.

It was sad to hear the only person who testified for the bill (no one knew it was coming up – that eternal vigilance thing biting us in the butt) was the lobbyist for the cosmetology schools. She said that “we” had worked out a “deal” after the last legislative session. “Who’s the we,” you might ask. That would be the owner of a chain of beauty schools, said lobbyist and the sponsor of the bill. That’s appears to be it. There certainly was no outreach to the people who oppose licensing hair braiding in its entirety.

Some people have asked who is behind the push to license hair braiding. The answer is simple: Follow the money. If you as the owner of a beauty school – or even better, a chain of them – can get the government to require any and all persons who want to practice ANY part of your government-sanctioned monopoly, you can laugh it up all the way to the bank. If this bill passes, then if you want to legally braid hair with beads ala Cleopatra, you need HUNDREDS of hours of training – and that’s the bare minimum. Failure to comply? A fine of up to $1000 for the first offense, up to $2000 for EACH subsequent offense. And ps: even if you’ve been doing “advanced” hair braiding since you were 5, not only can you no longer do it, you can’t teach it to others, either.

If that weren’t enough, the committee threw in another little bonus for the cosmetology schools: eyelashes. Want ’em done? Gotta go to a state-licensed school to learn a whole bunch of stuff you’ll never use but hey! Big brother knows best, even in Utah.

Way to shut down cottage businesses, guys. All that free-market stuff only applies prior to the first Tuesday in November, is that it?

I’m so disappointed. And I just don’t get it. We have good people in the legislature, but this is a mighty bad decision.

Back to my opening statement.

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Even when you’re tired.

See you on the Hill.

UPDATE: In speaking with the bill sponsor, Jim Dunnigan, he was clear that a 600-hr license and a 300-hr license ARE a move in the right direction and that even if “hair braiding” is not in the current statute, the definitions of “twisting, locking, weaving” mean that it IS included. Certainly DOPL considers it part of the current licensure. From that perspective – which I understand – he’s right that 600 hours and 300 hours are less than 2000 hours. I still think it’s 300 and 600 hours too many. We’re working on that…..

Obama, Big Bird and the economy

October 9, 2012

After Obama got thrashed during last week’s debate, they have decided to regroup and refocus their campaign. On Big Bird.

CNN had this to say about making a big election about small things:

Removing federal funding from a corporation that will do just fine in the private market doesn’t equal “Killing Big Bird” – it just means pushing him from the nest and letting him find his wings.

And, in case you are wondering, Sesame Workshop, which reported revenue of $130,606,413, in 2009, says 35 percent comes from “corporate, foundation and government support.” The latter includes the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Gary Knell, chief operating officer of Sesame Workshop from 2000–2011, made a salary of $$956,513. He is now the president and CEO of National Public Radio.

Direct government grants amounted to $7,968,918. Its Form 990 reported lobbying expenses of $1 million a year, in order to keep the federal dollars flowing. Lobbying is carried out by Tracy Garrett, Director of Government Affairs at Sesame Workshop.

The actor that plays Big Bird? He makes over $300 grand a year.

Let’s ban profits! So say DNC convention-goers

September 6, 2012

See for yourself.

Honey, You Didn’t Build That

August 30, 2012

Easy enough for even the deliberately obtuse to understand.

Tea Party darling Ted Cruz scores huge win in Texas

August 1, 2012

Last night in Texas, Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz defeated establishment favorite, David Dewhurst, by 13 points. Polling barely into single-digits at the beginning of the race, with low name ID, going against the well-known and VERY well-funded Lieutenant Governor, David Dewhurst, Cruz seemed like a long shot for the open seat left when Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced her retirement.

He enlisted the help of conservative bloggers and grassroots activists early on. He ran a cutting-edge online campaign with award-winning Harris Media and he got conservative groups and politicians to line up behind him, including Utah’s Mike Lee.

With that support came money – lots of it – which helped level the playing field against Dewhurt’s personal fortune. (As of July 25, Dewhurst had loaned his campaign over $19 million. Cruz loaned his campaign $1 million.) Over $14 million poured into the state from super-PACS, with about 1/3 of that going to benefit Dewhurst and almost all of the rest benefiting Cruz. Millions came in just the last week, making this campaign the #1 in outside dollars in US history.

However, most of that money came late in the game. Cruz and his grassroots supporters had to get within striking distance. Called the “Michael Phelps of public speaking” by National Review – Cruz got to work. He spoke at events all over Texas, in DC and elsewhere. He garnered the support of FreedomWorks early on, who in turn worked with Texas activists who never faltered, even though Cruz was the underdog most of the year-and-a-half long campaign. Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks said “Cruz’s win is the biggest this year for tea party activists, calling it “an 11 and Indiana a 10” on the scale of importance.”

According to the Daily Caller,

“It is clear that the tea party voters are still a force to be reckoned with,” emailed Republican strategist Trey Hardin. “Perry owned that state politically but his horse lost tonight. If I were the Democrats I would not underestimate the turnout machine that is the tea party. This election shows those voters are engaged and very much in play for November. As they say … don’t mess with Texas.”

Politico reminded readers there is more to him than just tea-party firebrand.

Cruz undoubtedly embraced the tea party movement, which rightly deserves a hearty share of the credit for his feat.

But Robert George, who taught Cruz constitutional law during Cruz’s undergraduate work at Princeton, said he would caution against simply branding him a pot-stirrer.

George sees Cruz more likely molding himself into a gray beard of sorts who sets out to accomplish big policy goals and is the point man on constitutional questions.

“I think what you’ve got is someone who is going to be a real intellectual leader in the Senate. The closest parallel I can think of is Paul Ryan in the House of Representatives. He’s a real intellectual leader. He’s not just a factional leader,” said George. “There’s going to be some big constitutional questions to address. … And he might be one of the few U.S. senators who’ve read Tocqueville.”

In his victory speech last night, Cruz mentioned Milton Friedman on what would have been his 100th birthday, saying that perhaps it was a providential sign. “Our crushing debt threatens our future. Every generation of Americans has given to their kids and grandkids a brighter future and brighter economic prosperity, and our generation will be no different. That is why we are rising up to take our country, to preserve liberty, to restore the Constitution,” he said.

It may be slow, but the make-up of the United States Senate is changing for the better. Congratulations to Texas for sending a smart, TRUE fiscal conservative to the Senate.

WSJ: Four Little Words

July 27, 2012

“What’s the difference between a calm and cool Barack Obama, and a rattled and worried Barack Obama? Four words, it turns out.”

This morning’s Wall Street Journal contains an article by Kimberley Strassel that starts with that question.

“‘You didn’t build that‘ is swelling to such heights that it has the president somewhere unprecedented: on defense.”

Strassel points out that Mr Obama has cut an ad directly responding to criticisms of the now infamous speech, claiming it was taken “out of context.” The Republican National Committee’s response to that gripe was to run an ad showing context – a full minute of Mr. Obama’s rant. Says Ms. Strassel: “In addition to “you didn’t build that,” the president also put down those who think they are “smarter” or “work harder” than others. Witness the first president to demean the bedrock American beliefs in industriousness and exceptionalism. The “context” only makes it worse.”

Mr. Obama’s “follows two separate ones from his campaign attempting damage control. His campaign appearances are now about backpedaling and proclaiming his love for small business. And the Democratic National Committee produced its own panicked memo, which vowed to “turn the page” on Mr. Romney’s “out of context . . . BS”—thereby acknowledging that Chicago has lost control of the message.”

According to Strassel, Obama has elevated poll-testing to “near-clinical” heights. “That Mr. Obama felt required—teeth-gritted—to address the “you didn’t build that” meme means his vaunted focus groups are sounding alarms,” she says. “And no wonder,” she goes on.

The immediate effect was to suck away the president’s momentum. Mr. Obama has little positive to brag about, and his campaign hinges on keeping negative attention on his opponent. For months, the president’s team hammered on Mr. Romney’s time at Bain, his Massachusetts tenure, his tax returns. “You didn’t build that” shifted the focus to the president, and his decision to respond to the criticisms has only legitimized them and guaranteed they continue.

The RNC has done their own polling and they note that “Mr. Obama’s problem is that his words cause an emotional response, and that they disturb voters in nearly every demographic.”

She concludes:

One unexpected side effect of “you didn’t build that” is that it has emboldened the GOP to re-embrace and glory in free enterprise (so abused since the financial crash). And the president’s disparaging attack on business has also made voters more open to a defense of it.

Meaning, it’s a perfect time to marry emotion with some policy. Mr. Romney has explained why the president doesn’t get it. The next step is to explain why his own tax policies, regulatory proposals, and entitlement plans are the answer for those who actually do the building. The president is on defense. We’ll see if Mr. Romney can keep him there.

Republicans attacking the free market?

February 10, 2012

Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. ~ Milton Friedman

You have to wonder what kind of topysy-turvey world we live in when Reublicans – REPUBLICANS! – start attacking the free market. The GOP is supposed to represent liberty, freedom, and individualism. Yet the intra-party attack du jour is to go after those who have had success in the free market. What?!

Creating jobs is now a bad thing. Freedom to try – and to fail – is now frowned upon by some who claim the mantle of Republican. If we refuse to let people fail, doesn’t that then make us the party of bailouts and big government? The beauty of the free market is …. wait for it…..that it’s free! Free to try, free to win, free to fail and free to try again.

Overly burdensome regulations. Heavy taxation. Uncertainty in the market place. All crushing to innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. What business owner in Illinois wants to stay when corporate income taxes went up almost 50% and personal income tax went up 66% – in one year? What business wants to invest in growing when the rules could change on a whim? Businesses that want to be successful in today’s global economy are flexible, nimble – and smart. They grow, they move and they adapt to a changing market – but they don’t stick around waiting to be destroyed by government.

Freedom in the marketplace (and elsewhere!) means freedom to fail. Guaranteeing employment by never firing people is what leads to bloated, inefficient bureaucracies. I fire people all the time and so do you. If I go to a restaurant and the service is poor, I might fire that restaurant by never going back. If I go to a service provider and they are surly and rude, I fire them by taking my business elsewhere. If I buy a product that turns out to be poor quality, I fire the company that made it by not buying their products again. Imagine being forced to eat at that restaurant, go to that provider or buy that product – and to fund this businesses out of your own pocket. That’s a mandate I know *I* don’t want imposed on me, nor on anyone else. So how is it possible that Republicans are now picking up the Obama line?

Obama has set his sights on Mitt Romney, a successful businessman in today’s global economy, for well, being successful. Whether you support Mitt or not, Republicans should be outraged at the attacks on the free market – not joining those attacks. Newt Gingrich, called a “human hand grenade” by Peggy Noonan, looks like an idiot for siding with Obama and arguing against success. It’s not just happening on the national stage, either. This week, Senate candidate Dan Liljenquist was attacked for being a successful businessman, competing on a global stage. Perhaps his detractors need a reminder of what the free market is all about…..

We license hair braiding? Why?

September 26, 2011

My take: Utah (and every other state, frankly) have far too many licensing laws. Simply put, they’re turf wars aimed at obtaining government sanctioned monopolies.

For more on this subject, check out George Will’s column from the Washington Post titled “Nibbling Away at Free Enterprise”

Hoffa declares war on GOP, tea party

September 5, 2011

Today, Jimmy Hoffa (Jr) declared war on the tea party and Congressional Republicans. Warming up a crowd for an Obama Labor Day speech, Hoffa said: “President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these [SOBs] out and take America back to where America we belong.”

“We gotta keep an eye on the battle that we face, a war on workers, and you see it everywhere in the tea party,” he told an enthusiastic crowd of union supporters. “And, there’s only one way to win that war, the one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know, what, they got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner…. We’re going to win that war.”

Noticeably absent from Obama’s speech was any mention of civility or an urging for “no labels.”

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