The combination of federal rulemaking (by “Administrative Law” as discussed here in December 2014) and associated financial burdens on industry boggle the mind.
For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a final rule effective July 13, 2015, to revise and restrict recycling provisions for scrap metals that involve considerable recordkeeping, storage and spills requirements; worker training; state and local permitting; and government notifications. This is expected to involve 5,000 facilities in 634 industries, 41% in manufacturing sectors. The EPA has changed the definition of legitimate recycling.
Another example of federal intrusion by regulation applies to wood-burning stoves. A new EPA rule prohibits fabrication of new stoves. About 10% of American households burn wood, and the number that rely on it for primary heat rose 10% between 2005 and 2012. Two states (Michigan and Missouri) barred environmental agencies from enforcing the rule, and prohibitions are pending in Virginia and three other states. Did it ever occur to citizens that it is not government’s job to rule by edict on matters of whether “we the people” can have a wood-burning stove in our house?
A major intrusion example is the EPA’s greenhouse-gas regulation for new (and planned) coal-fired power plants, which assuredly portends higher electricity costs with no meaningful environmental benefits. EPA arguments are all based on weak scientific analyses. It is evident that Congress should remove EPA authority to regulate these matters. While politicians have an agenda on these matters, the scientific truths show a controversy about whether human activity is a driver of climate change and give an honest assessment of the magnitude of greenhouse-gas emissions’ contribution to the issue.
Think about this. Regardless of who puts CO2 into the air, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change calculates that the monetary benefit from atmospheric CO2 enrichment for crop production was $3.2 trillion from 1961 to 2011 and will yield $9.8 trillion in benefits between now and 2050. For the dimbulb politicos and media who have no clue about reality and technology, this includes understanding mankind’s true and relative importance in the world.
Now let’s overlay thoughts about the federal establishment that is imposing this nonsense on you and American society. The federal government employed 2.1 million civilians and paid wages and benefits to them of $254 billion in 2014. These federal employees are paid 74% more than U.S. private-sector employees in 80% of occupations studied by both federal agencies and private institutions. Federal civilian employees were paid an average of $81,076 in 2013, according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, while the nation’s private-sector workers were paid $55,424. When health care and pension benefits are included, federal compensation averaged $115,524, or 74% more than the private sector. Two years ago, the federal benefits package amounted to an average $34,448 annually, while it was $10,933 in the private sector. Income growth at the upper end of the scale, as measured five years ago, included 383,000 federal employees with salaries over $100,000; 66,000 with salaries over $150,000; and 22,000 with salaries over $170,000.
As of Jan. 13, 2015, Congress had two companion bills (one each in the House and Senate) that give federal employees a 3.8% pay raise in 2016. The new Congress is reportedly unlikely to “get behind” these bills, but my view is not to count on what the daily papers report. When you hear American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr. lament that “the proposed pay raise would help repay federal workers for wages they lost due to budget cuts” (what budget cuts?) or National Federation of Federal Employees President William R. Dougan whine over the 1% pay adjustment over the past two years as “woefully insufficient,” it infuriates any sane or knowledgeable person.
The message here is that American citizens and the private sector that drive the economy MUST tell the politicians to knock off all such madness, be honest and do the job they were sent to do. Otherwise, American forbearance will collapse and be followed by strife, which is never pleasant or painless for any nation.