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AFF Sentinel-Vol 20#16-Piling On

Blizzard of Proposed Regulations Continues

Steve Dittmer | AFF Sentinel

Colorado Springs, CO

Originally sent to subscribers 04/04/23

We suppose it’s no accident we keep discussing regulation from a very left wing Biden administration and Congress.

But the examples keep piling up until one wonders where it will all end, how it will all end.

The inefficiencies of the bureaucracy on one hand and the determined single-mindedness off near fanaticism on the other hand certainly is discouraging to businesses trying to accomplish things and taxpayers who are trying to pay for it all -- with little say in how the money is spent.

Take WOTUS for example. The Supreme Court has already heard the case likely to re-re-establish guidelines and will issue an opinion by June. But the EPA has already spend hundreds of man-hours -- bet that expression will raise someone’s hackles -- and millions of our dollars to try to stretch their rules to enhance their ability to harass mere citizens, levy fines and expand the government’s control over everyone.

Then there’s USDA’s attempt to tinker with beef labeling rules, not from the perspective of aiding average consumers but from the perspective of activists who make up a small percentage of consumers.

Then there is notice from the federal government that the changes to reimbursements to private Medicare Advantage plans will be phased in over three years instead of in one year -- 2024 -- like originally planned. Do you suppose someone reminded them that 2024 was an election year and making all the old people on Medicare furious would not help them win elections? We’re sure the re-calculation was based on the perceived inability of old people to remember from one election to another which federal government was hurting them. The changes were being made to improve the accuracy of payments, according to Chiquita Brooks-Lasure, administrator, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

That’s separate from another report that estimated that Medicare could cover costs until 2031, instead of 2028, like it projected last year. Social Security, on the other hand, would not be able to cover costs in 2035.

Of course, the “easiest” way to fix Social Security is not even mentioned.

“To improve Social Security’s long-term finances Congress could cut benefits, raise taxes or a combination of the two,” according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.

Could they make a fix sound more awful? The easiest way, especially if Congress would have heeded fifth grade arithmetic, would have been to raise the retirement age in stages starting about 50 years ago or even 30 when President Bush wanted to. Nooo. They had to wait -- actually, they still aren’t doing anything and Biden has said it is a verboten subject. And that was before the riots in France over raising the age from 62 to 64 made every politician quake in their boots.

It was also mentioned that the estimate on Social Security insolvency would come one year earlier than they thought because of “an economic slowdown, persistent inflation and weaker productivity growth…”

Wonder how that happened?

Social Security would last longer if retirees all took a 20 percent pay cut in 2034, they’re now saying.

The aforementioned French protestors, now counting more young people among their ranks, think working another two years, still shorter than our retirement age, is anathema. The young people, blocking access to high schools and universities, must have been taking some heat. The protesting crowds are shifting from middle-aged and older people to younger ones, who now claim they are burning garbage piles and throwing things at cops on behalf of their parents. Not surprisingly, unions have led the protests, leading to garbage piles in the street, no public transportation, etc.

In Washington, as if there wasn’t enough regulation being contemplated, there is the gas stove thing. Biden said he wasn’t going to do it. Either he a) was not telling the truth, as is too frequently the case or b) he has neither control over, or knowledge of, what his agencies are pursuing. The bureaucrats are already working on it. And cities in blue states -- not blue flame states -- are already banning gas stoves and other appliances in new buildings. Steakhouses and upscale burger restaurants could be in real trouble. How do you flame broil steaks and burgers without flame? So, is everyone going to have to shift to wood burning grills? The lefties would have apoplexy over that.

One Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) commissioner openly talked about a ban on gas stoves. The chairman of the CPSC carefully said that a ban is not coming in the immediate future.

But the Biden administration filed an amicus brief in court supporting Berkley’s ban on gas stoves. The Departments of Justice and Energy argued that cities and states should be able to exercise police powers to prohibit the use of items they consider “dangerous” or “unsafe” (“The Coming Gas Stove Culture War,” Wall Street Journal, 01/4-15/23).

As the Journal pointed out here and we have said before, if persuasion, subsidies and shaming doesn’t work, the next step is coercion. The Journal termed it a culture war.

Another one.

Did you know there is a $840 rebate in the Inflation Reduction Act to buy an electric stove? More burden on an electrical grid that already can’t keep up. A power plant company in Illinois was recently fined $39 million for not supplying power during a cold snap. Supply shortages of natural gas and electricity to power equipment necessary to generate power caused plants to fall short of commitments. Energy supply problems, pipeline permit problems and well restrictions have created all kinds of problems for oil and gas companies, utilities, consumers and businesses.

Next time: The Treasury’s IRS goes to work on EV regulations.

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