Four problems with the EPA’s new cap-and-trade regulations

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EPA bureaucrats are poised to “impose higher energy costs on American families and businesses for meaningless climate benefits,” Heritage’s Nick Loris writes.

Loris identifies four consequences of this regulation:

  • Higher energy prices, lost jobs, weaker economy. Restricting the use of coal, “will raise electricity rates, and those higher prices will reverberate through the economy. Businesses will pass higher costs onto consumers, but if a company must absorb the higher costs, it will invest less and expand less. The combination of reduced production and consumption will result in fewer jobs and a weaker economy.”
  • No climate benefit, exaggerated environmental benefits. Even climate activists argue the regulations will have minimal effect on the climate. Moreover, the government uses bad math to arrive at the program’s stated environmental benefits, for example double-counting the benefits of some regulations.
  • Overly prescriptive EPA picks winners and losers. The federal government is encouraging states to choose its preferred energy sources, like renewable fuels, over proven sources like coal.
  • Federally imposed cap-and-trade. Congress already rejected cap-and-trade, but the EPA is pushing it anyway. States will have one year to develop their own cap-and-trade plan. If they don’t, they’ll be subjected to a federally-run program.

Do you think the administration should impose a cap-and-trade plan like this without Congress’ consent?

Heritage’s Daily Signal Exposes Companies That Fund Planned Parenthood

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As pressure builds on Capitol Hill to strip Planned Parenthood of taxpayer funds, Heritage’s Daily Signal released a list this week of the 38 private companies that also fund the abortion provider.

This list is making major waves. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have read the story, and several companies have asked to be removed from the Planned Parenthood’s list.

Even the Drudge Report featured the article:

Do you think the federal government or these firms should fund Planned Parenthood?

Ted Cruz Denounces Big-Government Cronyism in Speech at Heritage

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All too often, government picks winners and losers in the economy to benefit special interests in the “Washington Cartel,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said today at The Heritage Foundation.

This sort of cronyism — whether in the form of the Export-Import Bank that funds well-connected businesses or the ethanol mandates that benefit well-connected farm interests — resembles Soviet-style central planning, Cruz said in remarks in Heritage’s Allison Auditorium.

Even proposals like the Internet sales tax, backed by large brick-and-mortar and online retailers, amount to cronyism since they would impose substantial burdens on smaller, upstart firms.

Instead, he said, government should limit regulations and taxes and allow the free market to flourish.

Do you think government should pick winners and losers in the economy?

What Today’s Leaders Can Learn from the Founders About Welfare Programs

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The Founders’ approach to poverty and welfare was very different from today’s, scholar Thomas West writes in a new Heritage report.

Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin both “supported laws that encourage responsibility toward family and community, self-sufficiency, and industriousness. They understood that political liberty rests on the moral character of a people.”

This approach to anti-poverty programs was “enormously successful,” West writes, and was based on a simple recipe:

  1. Establish free markets and protect property rights. Keep taxes and regulation at a minimum to encourage the poor to provide for themselves through their own work and entrepreneurship.
  2. Provide strong government support for lifelong marriage and for a morality of self-controlled self-assertion (a morality combining industriousness, self-restraint, and basic decency with the vigilant spirit that says “Don’t tread on me”). The self-reliant family was to be the nation’s main poverty program.
  3. As the poverty program of last resort, provide minimal, safety-net public and private support in local communities for the poor whose families were unable or unwilling to provide for them.

Unfortunately, the Great Society welfare programs and other changes of the 1960s took an entirely different approach — and poverty rates today are little changed from what they were when the War on Poverty was announced 50 year ago despite massive spending.

Do you think today’s anti-poverty should follow the lead of the Founders? Or should we continue with the status quo?

A Victory for Common Sense Beats Back Overcriminalization

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The Supreme Court this week sided with a fisherman who faced up to 20 years in federal prison for throwing undersized fish into the ocean. He was charged under a law passed after the Enron scandal designed to prevent the shredding of financial documents.

The ruling for fisherman John Yates was a victory against overcriminalization, Heritage Foundation legal expert John Malcolm writes. Overcriminalization, in which ordinary activity is subject to severe penalties, is a real problem:

It is not uncommon for prosecutors to stretch the law beyond the breaking point by charging defendants with violating a broadly-worded statute that carries an unusually stiff penalty even though it seems self-evident that the particular statute was not designed to address the factual situation presented.

Yates’ legal team sent the following message to Heritage after the court’s ruling:

On behalf of Mr. Yates, the Yates team, and the entire Middle District of Florida, Federal Defender’s Office, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to you for your support on Mr. Yates’ case.  The decision, as it turns out, was a close one, and undoubtedly your support helped carry the five votes at the end of the day. We cannot express how valuable we found your moot to be and how much we gained from that experience.

Do you think the government has too many laws on the books regulating Americans’ lives?

Heritage American Perceptions Initiative Finds Good News for Conservatives

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Conservatives Improve on Important Attributes/Characteristics.

In 2013, The Heritage Foundation launched the American Perceptions Initiative, a comprehensive market research program to help conservatives take our ideas to the American people.

Heritage’s Matt Streit reports on some good news for conservatives in the latest survey:

In a rather significant change from October 2013, more Americans believe that conservatives are better equipped to handle the issues personally important to them. Strengthening the economy, fighting terrorism, protecting family and community and passing policies that create jobs are personally important to most Americans and perceived to be conservative equities…

Another notable shift from 2013: Americans’ perceptions of conservatives improved in terms of the characteristics or attributes that a national political movement would need to provide leadership and direction for the country.

Streit urges conservatives to build this momentum by “reinforcing in America’s mind that they are ready and capable of leading on issues of national importance.”

Do you think conservatives are gaining ground with the American people?

Ben Carson Visits With The Daily Signal at CPAC

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Ben Carson stopped by The Daily Signal booth at CPAC today. The Heritage Foundation and The Daily Signal have a robust presence at the annual conservative gathering outside Washington, D.C.

Heritage’s Paul Larkin Urges Congress to Reform DOJ Practices

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Heritage expert Paul Larkin testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on February  12, 2015.

Photo: Heritage/Willis Bretz

When the federal government resolves corporate criminal investigations, it often requires the company to make payments to a third party. This practice is very problematic and should be reformed, Heritage legal scholar Paul Larkin said last week in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee (link in PDF):

First, the Justice Department lacks the statutory authority to hand over government funds to parties of its own choosing. Second, the practice of required third-party contributions is inconsistent with the federal laws that supply financial assistance to the victims of crime. Third, third party contribution requirements circumvent the constitutional process for appropriating taxpayer dollars. Fourth, this practice denies the public the opportunity to know how public funds are spent and to hold elected officials accountable for their choices because it enables Representatives and Senators to shirk their fiscal responsibilities. Fifth, third-party contribution requirements are rife with opportunities for political cronyism because they allow the Justice Department to pick-and-choose among private organizations as to which ones will receive federal funds without any guidance from Congress or any oversight by the Judiciary or Appropriations Committees in each chamber. Sixth, third-party contribution requirements are not necessary for plea bargains, civil settlements, and nonprosecution or deferred prosecution agreements to work as a means of disposing of criminal or civil cases.

Do you think the government should be able to direct companies to spend money this way as a condition of agreements with prosecutors?

Heritage Expert Testifies on Amnesty’s Cost to Election Integrity

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Heritage's Hans von Spakovsky testifies on the consequences for election integrity of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants on February 12, 2015.

Photo: Heritage/Willis Bretz

Granting amnesty to illegal immigrants could allow more noncitizens to vote in elections, Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans von Spakovsky said last week in testimony before the House Oversight Committee.

Amnesty would make it “extremely difficulty for election offocials to prevent or detect those who intentionally or negligently affirm their eligibility to vote,” he said.

Read his full testimony (link in PDF).

Get Your Free E-book on Disaster Preparedness from Heritage’s James Carafano (This Week Only)

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In Other Work of Note

You have greater odds of being hit by a meteor than being killed in a terrorist attack, Heritage Foundation national security expert James Carafano said yesterday on MSNBC. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the threat seriously.

Carafano’s new e-book, Surviving the End, explains basic steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from threats ranging from muggings to natural disasters to major terrorist strikes.

For this week only, the book is free to download from the PJTV store.

Get your free copy today.

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