19 Responses

  1. Didn’t get a chance to do one this am… spent the am at the doc.

    Listen to obama talk about CEOs: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/08/barack-obama-talks-economist

    It is their job to complain about regulation… It couldn’t possibly be that obama regulates without putting any thought into it, could it?


  2. My distaste for obama and the MSM just congealed with that interview…


    • Obama’s attitude is that of the classic managerial state dictator: business is inherently corrupt and destructive and should be grateful that His Eminence has allowed them as much freedom as he has. Is anyone surprised?


    • Brent:

      My distaste for obama and the MSM just congealed with that interview…

      Very much agree. I wonder how O would respond if ever faced with a skeptical, challenging press rather than the credulous lackeys we have.


  3. at least he is honest that all he cares about is inequality.


    • I would say he cares about the unequal wealth of “others.” That of his own kind is merited. They are better than other people.


  4. And then there’s this:

    “So if, in fact, our policies have produced a record stock market, record corporate profits, 52 months of consecutive job growth, 10m new jobs, the deficit being cut by more than half, an energy sector that’s booming, a clean-energy sector that’s booming, a reduction of carbon pollution greater than the Europeans or any other country, a housing market that has bounced back, and an unemployment rate that is now lower than it was pre-Lehman—I think you’d have to say that we’ve managed the economy pretty well and business has done okay.”

    Well, in fact the administrations policies didn’t produce that. Most of it was benign neglect (fracking producing the energy boom and lower carbon emissions) and some of it was due to polices the administration actively opposed (deficit reduction from the sequester). Maybe that can be the new meme:

    “Your policies didn’t produce that”


  5. Worth a note:

    “Study: The recession is behind the best news in health care
    Updated by Sarah Kliff on August 4, 2014, 4:00 p.m. ET”



  6. a clean-energy sector that’s booming

    Speaking of which it looks like our solar plans should be released late this week or early next from the City so we’ll be starting construction very soon. I know Mark was curious about the details so here they are.

    1 SMA 8000 TL Grid-tie String Inverter
    33 255 Watt Solar Panels
    1 Roof Mounted Racking System on Main House
    1 Electric Panel Upgrade 200 AMP

    System Size 8415 DC Watt
    Est. Annual Production 13590 kWh

    All inclusive cost is $29,000

    30% tax credit for 2014 $8,700

    We exceeded our average usage by about 900 kWh/yr thinking that the next owners of the property will probably utilize more energy than we currently do. They will also be able to add 3 to 6 panels without changing anything else if necessary.

    The system will last at least 20 years or more and will be saving us about $3000/yr in electricity bills not taking into account the annual rise in cost of electricity. We will be producing enough energy that Edison will buy some back at the end of the year. It looks like the payback will be about 6 years.

    We didn’t lease the system or finance the cost.

    We’re pretty excited about it. We already have solar at the rental and obviously our tenants love it but it is a much much smaller system.

    Our house and property are becoming more like a compound every day……………LOL

    I’ll take a couple of pictures from our balcony off the warehouse so I can bore you guys even more. 🙂


    • McWing:

      For Scott,

      Thanks. Ironically we arrived in Syracuse last night, although to visit my dad, not the university. She wants “someplace warm” so Syracuse was excluded immediately. But she has mentioned UC-Santa Barbara more than once, which I see has made its annual appearance on the top five.


      • The regulatory bureaucracy continues its march towards accruing unconstitutional power.

        A year after vowing to take more of its law-enforcement cases to trial, Securities and Exchange Commission officials now say the agency will increasingly bypass courts and juries by prosecuting wrongdoers in hearings before SEC administrative law judges, also known as ALJs. “I think you’ll see that more and more in the future,” SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney told a June gathering of Washington lawyers, adding that insider trading cases were especially likely to go before administrative judges.

        The 2010 Dodd-Frank law vastly expanded SEC discretion to charge wrongdoers administratively, and this summer the agency increased the number of administrative law judges on staff to five from three in anticipation of an increased workload. This follows a recent string of SEC jury-trial losses in federal courts, though agency officials insist the timing is coincidental.

        Coincidence or not, a surge in administrative prosecutions should alarm anyone who values jury trials, due process and the constitutional separation of powers. The SEC often prefers to avoid judicial oversight and exploit the convenience of punishing alleged lawbreakers by administrative means, but doing so is unconstitutional. And if courts allow the SEC to get away with it, other executive-branch agencies are sure to follow.


        • Good article from Reason: Loyalty Oaths for US corporations?



        • Scott, as a practitioner I really feared administrative courts – especially the one I dealt with most. They are notorious for not having level playing surfaces. They exist at the federal and state levels and are pervasive. You focus on the federal level here.

          The following is a list of non-Cabinet agencies that were created by Congress with regulatory power. I don’t know it to be complete [from wiklipedia].

          The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) gathers intelligence and provides national security assessments to policymakers in the United States. It acts as the primary human intelligence provider for the federal government.

          The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulates commodity futures and option markets in the United States. The agency protects market participants against manipulation, abusive trade practices and fraud. Through effective oversight and regulation, the CFTC enables the markets to serve better their important functions in the nation’s economy providing a mechanism for price discovery and a means of offsetting price risk.

          The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works with state and local governments throughout the United States to control and abate pollution in the air and water and to deal with problems related to solid waste, pesticides, radiation, and toxic substances. EPA sets and enforces standards for air and water quality, evaluates the impact of pesticides and chemical substances, and manages the “Superfund” program for cleaning toxic waste sites.

          The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. It licenses radio and television broadcast stations, assigns radio frequencies, and enforces regulations designed to ensure that cable rates are reasonable. The FCC regulates common carriers, such as telephone and telegraph companies, as well as wireless telecommunications service providers.

          The Federal Election Commission (FEC) oversees campaign financing for all federal elections. The Commission oversees election rules as well as reporting of campaign contributions by the candidates.

          The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the United States federal agency with jurisdiction over interstate electricity sales, wholesale electric rates, hydroelectric licensing, natural gas pricing, and oil pipeline rates. FERC also reviews and authorizes liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, interstate natural gas pipelines and non-federal hydropower projects.

          The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) regulates the international ocean transportation of the United States. It is charged with ensuring a competitive, efficient, and economic ocean transportation system.[12]

          The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is the governing body of the Federal Reserve System (frequently referred to as “the Fed”[13]), the central bank of the United States. It conducts the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the volume of credit and money in circulation. The Federal Reserve regulates private banking institutions, works to contain systemic risk in financial markets, and provides certain financial services to the U.S. government, the public, and financial institutions.

          The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) is one of the smaller Executive Branch agencies, with just over 100 employees. It was established to administer the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which provides Federal employees the opportunity to save for additional retirement security. The Thrift Savings Plan is a tax-deferred defined contribution plan similar to a private sector 401(k) plan.

          The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces federal antitrust and consumer protection laws by investigating complaints against individual companies initiated by consumers, businesses, congressional inquiries, or reports in the media. The commission seeks to ensure that the nation’s markets function competitively by eliminating unfair or deceptive practices.

          The General Services Administration (GSA) is responsible for the purchase, supply, operation, and maintenance of federal property, buildings, and equipment, and for the sale of surplus items. GSA also manages the federal motor vehicle fleet and oversees telecommuting centers and civilian child care centers.

          The International Trade Commission (ITC) provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches of government, determines the impact of imports on U.S. industries, and directs actions against certain unfair trade practices, such as patent, trademark, and copyright infringement.

          The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established in 1958 to run the American space program. It placed the first American satellites and astronauts in orbit, and it launched the Apollo spacecraft that landed men on the moon in 1969. Today, NASA conducts research aboard earth-orbiting satellites and interplanetary probes, explores new concepts in advanced aerospace technology, and operates the U.S. fleet of manned space shuttle orbiters.

          The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) preserves the nation’s history by overseeing the management of all federal records. The holdings of the National Archives include original textual materials, motion picture films, sound and video recordings, maps, still pictures, and computer data. The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are preserved and displayed at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C.

          The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administers the principal United States labor law, the National Labor Relations Act. The board is vested with the power to prevent or remedy unfair labor practices and to safeguard employees’ rights to organize and determine through elections whether to have a union as their bargaining representative.

          The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigates all aviation accidents in the United States, and certain major railroad and other accidents.[14]

          The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was established by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 from the United States Atomic Energy Commission, and was first opened January 19, 1975. The NRC oversees reactor safety and security, reactor licensing and renewal, radioactive material safety, and spent fuel management (storage, security, recycling, and disposal).

          The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering.

          The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was established to protect investors who buy stocks and bonds. Federal laws require companies that plan to raise money by selling their own securities to file reports about their operations with the SEC, so that investors have access to all material information. The commission has powers to prevent or punish fraud in the sale of securities and is authorized to regulate stock exchanges.

          The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) was created in 1971 as the Postal Rate Commission and strengthened under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act enacted in December 2006. Provides regulatory oversight over the activities of the United States Postal Service.

          The Selective Service System (SSS) is an independent federal agency operating with permanent authorization under the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.). It is not part of the Department of Defense; however, it exists to serve the emergency manpower needs of the Military by conscripting untrained men, or personnel with professional health care skills, if directed by Congress and the President in a national crisis. Its statutory missions also include being ready to administer an alternative service program, in lieu of military service for men classified as conscientious objectors.

          The Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 to advise, assist, and protect the interests of small business concerns. The SBA guarantees loans to small businesses, aids victims of floods and other natural disasters, promotes the growth of minority-owned firms, and helps secure contracts for small businesses to supply goods and services to the federal government.

          The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the United States federal agency that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits. To qualify for these benefits, most American workers pay Social Security taxes on their earnings; future benefits are based on the employees’ contributions.

          The Surface Transportation Board (STB) was created in the ICC Termination Act of 1995 and is the successor agency to the Interstate Commerce Commission. The STB is an economic regulatory agency that Congress charged with resolving railroad rate and service disputes and reviewing proposed railroad mergers. The STB is decisionally independent, although it is administratively affiliated with the Department of Transportation.

          The United States Postal Service is defined by statute as an “independent establishment” of the federal government, which replaced the Cabinet-level Post Office Department in 1971. The Postal Service is responsible for the collection, transportation, and delivery of the mails, and for the operation of thousands of local post offices across the country. It also provides international mail service through the Universal Postal Union and other agreements with foreign countries.

          Other independent agencies: the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) (formally part of the Federal Reserve Board).

          I think Congress had and has the power to create Agencies and Commissions within its reach, and of course the Commerce clause gives great reach. I think it can delegate regulatory authority to them. I think it can pass an Administrative Procedure Act to protect individuals dealing with Agencies and to set the outer bounds of Agency/Commission power. I don’t like the result in many instances. And I don’t like the creation of an alternate dispute resolution method “in-house”, so to speak.

          But I cannot imagine Congress being limited by the Constitution to exercising its powers without delegation, and neither can the Congress or the Supremes. The idea that we would have conducted the military draft through the joint committees on the armed services is sort of laughable, isn’t it?

          I sympathize with your frustration more than you know, but I hesitate to follow Ryan’s bald assertions and false conclusion. The SEC is by no means the first alphabet agency with an administrative court that can impose penalties. What you fear is the pervasiveness of the Tax Court coming to your neighborhood. And you should. To avoid Tax Court, the taxpayer must pay the contested tax and sue in federal court to get it back. That is worth the price if you can afford it.

          I am only disagreeing with the characterization: punishing alleged lawbreakers by administrative means, but doing so is unconstitutional. And if courts allow the SEC to get away with it, other executive-branch agencies are sure to follow.

          I am not disagreeing with the often painfully unjust results that will follow.

          The limiting principle that you want to put on Congress’ ability to delegate just is not there.


        • Mark:

          The limiting principle that you want to put on Congress’ ability to delegate just is not there.

          I think it must be. Congress and congress alone is designated as the legislating body. Congress cannot delegate its lawmaking capacity to some bureaucracy that isn’t even contemplated by the constitution. It simply cannot be.

          Both congress and the courts assume that the regulatory agencies are not creating law. They are, it is held, simply carrying out the instructions of congress. And perhaps at some point in history that was even true. But it no longer is true. The regulatory bureaucracy routinely creates new law that was not contemplated by congress in the legislation authorizing the agency to create “rules” regarding a particular subject. The most egregious example that I am aware of is the EPA’s regulation of carbon. When the EPA was created, carbon in the atmosphere was not considered by anyone to be a “pollutant” subject to EPA regulations. Once the control of carbon emissions became a political issue, a bill regulating carbon emissions was placed in front of congress, and it explicitly refused to pass the bill. Yet carbon emissions are now regulated under an EPA “rule”. How is it possible for a regulation that congress explicitly chose not to vote into law be constitutional when enacted by a bunch of unelected bureaucrats? Only through the fog of legal thinking, where a series of successive interpretations slowly inch the interpretation of a law away from its original meaning until it means something totally different, could such a circumstance seem constitutional.

          And now that this overwhelming bureaucracy exists, congress intentionally writes vague and undefined statues, deliberately leaving the spaces blank and allowing these unelected bureaucrats to define the law however they want. Again, it is plainly unconstitutional when unelected persons are making the law, and I really don’t see how anyone can claim that isn’t what is happening.

          I don’t claim that congress doesn’t have the constitutional authority to create executive agencies and delegate to them enforcement powers over the laws they pass. What I do claim is that congress does not have the constitutional authority to delegate its law making powers to such agencies. Yet that is exactly what it now does, fairly routinely.


  7. U of A in Tucson is a righteous party school.

    Interesting fact, Revenge of the Nerds was filmed there.


  8. Moved this comment to Morning Report of 8/05


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