The Great Gator Hoax
The American alligator is thriving—no thanks to the Endangered Species Act (Green Watch, February 2013 – PDF here)
By Brian Seasholes
Summary: This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, which has been criticized for blocking construction projects, destroying jobs, and allowing the virtual confiscation of people’s property by making land unusable. In the future, the ESA may be used to justify government policies related to “global warming.” Yet one of the most-cited examples of ESA success, saving the American alligator from extinction, simply never happened. The alligator had been well-protected before the ESA was passed. Was it ever endangered at all?
American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) lives only in the United States, mainly in the Gulf Coast region. The state reptile of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, it is an emblem of Southern swamplands—and an American icon like the bald eagle, the American bison, Read all »
Scott Walker, Union Slayer
by Matt Patterson
On January 3, 2011, Scott Walker was sworn in as Wisconsin’s new governor. The state’s finances were a mess; the economy stalled. Walker addressed the crisis head on that cold, January day, telling the crowd:
“What is failing us is not our people or our places. What is failing us is the expanse of government. But we can do something about it right here, right now, today.”
And the Governor proved true to his word. Within weeks he moved to tackle the driving factor behind his government’s “expanse”—the Badger State’s public employee infrastructure, specifically, the union-driven, gold-plated contracts. In particular, the cost of state employee health plans had risen 90 percent since 2002. Clearly the state needed a restructuring of the relationship between government and its work force. Read all »
Attack of the Scare Ads!
By William Yeatman
Since Barack Obama took office in January 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a suite of anti-coal regulations, collectively known as the “war on coal,” which to date has lead to the loss of 26,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity—enough to power 20 million to 26 million homes. And that’s just the beginning: According to an analysis by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, EPA regulations will “likely” retire almost an additional 55,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity by 2018.
Unfortunately, it gets worse. In recent months, EPA has issued two regulations—the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule and the Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants—that effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants. Thus, EPA has effectively taken coal, one of America’s most abundant and reliable energy sources, off the table.
To be sure, Congress never authorized EPA to shut down the coal industry. Rather, EPA is using creative interpretations of existing statutes to seize the power it needs to shutter existing coal-fired power plants and prevent new ones from being built, which raises an important question: Why hasn’t Congress checked EPA’s power grabs? Read all »
Everyone knows that unions try to raise their members’ wages. But far fewer people understand how they try to do it. Unions cannot simply demand that companies hire their members for above-market wages. Employers would raise their eyebrows and simply say no.
To raise their members’ pay unions must control the supply of jobs in a company or an industry. Unions must prevent employers from hiring anyone without their permission. If they can do this, they can expect the laws of supply and demand to work in their favor. Holding down employment drives up union members’ wages. In other words, successful unions are job cartels.
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) gives unions this power. When a union “organizes” a company it obtains a monopoly over its jobs. The law authorizes a single union to act as the “exclusive bargaining representative” for employees in dealing with their employer. Businesses cannot directly hire workers. Instead they must first come to an agreement with the union over how many workers to hire and what to pay them. The monopoly gives the union the power to raise the wages of the company’s employees. Read all »
The Carbonfund.org Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that aims to reduce global warming by having government require people and industries to cut their production and use of fossil fuels (i.e. coal, oil and natural gas). Established in 2003, Carbonfund.org, claims to help individuals and organizations become “carbon neutral” by showing them how to reduce or “offset” their carbon dioxide emissions. The group claims to have worked with over 600,000 individuals and 1,800 organizations—businesses, nonprofits, and religious and academic groups—to fight climate change and be “part of the solution toward a clean energy, low carbon future.” A polar bear stranded on a tiny piece of ice greets visitors to the group’s website. The caption says, “Fight global warming today! For him … and us.”
How do you offset carbon emissions so as to become carbon neutral? The organization explains that donors to Carbonfund.org are investing in carbon-reduction projects. Some projects, such as planting trees to soak up carbon dioxide, directly reduce carbon emissions. Others, such as new wind and solar power projects, are described as alternatives to ”dirty” and “polluting” fossil fuels. But Carbonfund.org emphasizes one other innovative project. It fights global warming by purchasing from companies their “right” to emit carbon dioxide into the environment. “We buy the carbon reductions and retire them, meaning that they are taken out of circulation forever. Simply put, we retire carbon by not using it.” Read all »
The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (“LMRDA”) says labor relations consultants and lawyers must report to the government on their activities if they attempt to persuade employees in a workplace to organize a union and bargain collectively. But the law contains an important provision called the “Advice Exemption” (section203c), which says an employer or its lawyer/consultants is not required to file a report with the government.
For many years the Labor Department (DOL) broadly interpreted this provision. The “advice exemption” was considered protection for an employer so that when it asks a lawyer to look over materials it is preparing to counter a union organizing drive, it doesn’t have to report on the content of the materials or the details of its lawyer-client relationship.
However last June the Obama Labor Department proposed to change the meaning of this important exemption. Under the DOL’s proposed new rules, both employers and their attorney/consultant advisors must file reports that can give labor unions detailed information about their relationships—including information about their fee arrangements—that can be used against them during a union organizing campaign. Read all »