Hugh Hewitt Archives - Shopfloor

Gov. Rick Scott: In Focus on Private-Sector Jobs, Trade and Infrastructure

By | Infrastructure, Trade | No Comments

In a far-ranging interview with radio host and blogger Hugh Hewitt, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican, discusses his strategy for encouraging private-sector job creation during a time of budgetary cutbacks.

HH: Now I know that your critics, I’m not one of them, but I know that your critics would immediately say well, we want to cut 8,700 jobs from the state employment workforce, Governor Scott. How can you talk about jobs on the Hugh Hewitt Show, and say you know, I’ve got to cut 9,000 people’s livelihoods from the state budget?

RS: Well, what I’m focusing on is private sectors jobs. So those are the jobs that are going to be there, and there year in, year out. Just like right now, we’re dredging our port in Miami to get ready for the Panama Canal. That’s going to be over 33,000 permanent, private sector jobs that will be there year in and year out. It won’t cost taxpayers anything. As a matter of fact, we’ll get sales tax and property tax revenues out of that. That’s the type of jobs that I want. I don’t want more government. And you know what? The public agrees with me. They’re tired of the size of government. They know that government is way too big, and they can say that at the federal level, at the state level, and at the local level. Government is way too big, and they expect it to be cut.

Not Just a Budget Crisis, Gov. Brown, a Regulatory Crisis, Too

By | General, Innovation, Regulations | One Comment

From Hugh Hewitt, writing in The Examiner, “‘Green chemistry’ is California’s new job-killer“:

“Green chemistry” isn’t just a slogan. It is a full employment concept for government regulators and private-sector lawyers that will have the effect of costing American business billions even as it produces minimal benefits for consumers. Just like “global warming” and “clean energy,” “green chemistry” is a phrase containing worlds within it, almost all of them dangerous or downright deadly to market-driven innovation and productivity. We are entering the third decade of the “green chemistry” movement, and a handy guide to its history is in Katharine Sanderson’s article in the Jan. 6 issue of Nature.

The would-be regulators of all chemistry have not had an easy time of it these past 20 years. Anderson quotes a proponent of the movement as telling her that “a mention of green chemistry in a gathering of chemists can still provoke sighs and eye-rolling.

Yep. Green chemistry is to chemistry what environmental justice is to justice, in both cases redistributionist movements that expand government’s control over economic decisions. (The draft regulations.)

More Hewitt…

[The] new governor, Jerry Brown, will superintend the rules that almost certainly will mandate testing and labeling changes on tens of thousands of products and almost certainly trigger a new generation of product recalls.

“Take the most onerous regulatory regimes you have heard of,” Liz McNulty, one of my law partners, told me, “like those associated with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act or the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

“Take whatever you think is the worst regulatory regime out there, and expand it exponentially,” she continued, “and then you get a glimpse of what is coming to California.”

California Manufacturers and Technology Association has identified regulatory overkill as one of the major factors driving companies out of state, and the CMTA is leading a campaign, “Smart Regulations for California” with an associated website, www.calrecovery.biz. From the factsheet:

An Unconstitutional Power Grab that Will Kill Millions of Jobs

By | Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | One Comment

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity, take on the Imperial EPA in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “How Congress Can Stop the EPA’s Power Grab“:

On Jan. 2, the Environmental Protection Agency will officially begin regulating the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This move represents an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs—unless Congress steps in.

The gist …

The best solution is for Congress to overturn the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright. If Democrats refuse to join Republicans in doing so, then they should at least join a sensible bipartisan compromise to mandate that the EPA delay its regulations until the courts complete their examination of the agency’s endangerment finding and proposed rules.

Like the plaintiffs, we have significant doubt that EPA regulations can survive judicial scrutiny. And the worst of all possible outcomes would be the EPA initiating a regulatory regime that is then struck down by the courts.

The National Association of Manufacturers is actively challenging the EPA’s attempt to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and especially its targeting of specific emitters — power plants and refineries — for which the agency has no statutory authority. A summary of the NAM’s active court proceedings is here.

See also Hugh Hewitt’s blog, “Obama’s EPA and the 2012 Elections.”

The EPA is just one of the Executive Branch agencies attempting to replace Congress as the policymaking branch of government, a power grab that threatens the economy and the U.S. separation of powers. Conn Carroll at the Heritage Foundation reports on other, more recent examples of the aggressive regulatory state in “Big Government Strikes Back,” citing the HHS’s plan to impose federal price controls on health insurance and the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules.

Another Day Gone, and Tax Uncertainty Grows

By | Taxation | No Comments

Surveying the tax policy debate today, we ascertain that the only thing certain is uncertainty.
Washington Post, “Obama, Democrats fail to agree on plan for expiring tax cuts“:

President Obama and congressional Democrats failed to agree on a strategy Thursday for extending an array of expiring tax breaks, with the party badly divided over whether to temporarily extend the cuts for all taxpayers or stick with their pledge to protect only the middle class

Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt has been urging Congressional Republicans to demand a permanent extension of tax cuts, and he discussed tax policy with Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, in an interview at the Republican Governors Association meeting in San Diego Thursday.

HH: Right now, this tax hike is looming at us. It’s coming at us like a tidal wave. And Paul Ryan said on Hannity the other night, and we love Paul Ryan, but he said we’ll take a two or three year extension of the existing tax rates. What do you think of that policy? What ought to be the policy of the Republicans going into this negotiation?

MD: Those are two different questions. I mean, first of all, I trust Paul Ryan. He’s one of the best assets the country’s got now. And he and I think alike about a lot of things. I mean, the right policy, of course, would be certainty, permanence, predictability. This is always the case in tax policy. A lot of businesses say they can live with a sub-optimal tax system as long as they know what the rules will be. You know, in Indiana, we passed the biggest tax cut in state history, and we cut property taxes, which are now the lowest in America. But maybe the more important thing that we did was we, and we just made this part of our constitution two weeks ago, we put those caps, there’s a cap now at 1% on the value of your house, 2% on your farm or rental property, 3% your business, permanently. It can be lower than that, but it can never be above it. And a lot of businesses say that it’s the certainty of that that’s as important to them as the fact that the rates are low. And the same would apply, I think, to federal policy.

But look, if Paul Ryan and other folks down there who know that think that let’s get the best deal we can now and fight another day, I’d defer to their tactical judgment.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) held a colloquy on the Senate floor on Thursday. From Sen. Hatch’s release, “Hatch Outlines Cost of Looming Tax Increase on Utah Families, Businesses.”
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What the Drilling Moratorium Tells Us: Fear Czars Without Portfolio

By | Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | 2 Comments

Funny. We always thought Carol Browner was de facto EPA Administrator. Turns out she’s really the de facto Secretary of Interior.

From Politico, “Interior inspector general: White House skewed drilling-ban report:

The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report.

In the wee hours of the morning of May 27, a staff member to White House energy adviser Carol Browner sent two edited versions of the department report’s executive summary back to Interior. The language had been changed to insinuate the seven-member panel of outside experts – who reviewed a draft of various safety recommendations – endorsed the moratorium, according to the IG report obtained by POLITICO.”

As Ed Morrissey points out at Hot Air: “This is no mere academic exercise. Thousands of people lost their jobs because of this supposed instance of sloppy editing, and the delay it created in safe exploration and drilling may impact the region for years, as well as America’s energy independence.”

The IG’s report certainly bolsters the argument for House oversight hearings into the role of Browner and other White House appointees on energy and climate policy issues. Talk show host Hugh Hewitt this week asked Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) about the possibility of subpoenaing Browner and other appointed “czars” for oversight hearings. “You bet,” said Upton, who is seeking the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit. Chris Horner has sharp commentary here, as well.

Engler: How Tort Reform Can Improve States’ Business Climates

By | Briefly Legal, Economy | One Comment

John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, was a guest on the Hugh Hewitt Show last night to discuss what steps new governors can take to improve their states’ business climates.

Hewitt booked Engler, a former Republican governor of Michigan, as a follow-up to Hewitt’s column, “Where The Action Ought To Be: A Once in a Generation Chance for the Midwest,” which proposed a course of action for new governors in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan: reforms to business taxes, education and the state legal systems.

Here’s a transcript of a portion of the conversation on tort reform, slightly cleaned up for clarity.

Hugh Hewitt: If you’re talking to Kasich or Walker or Corbett, any of these new governors, what ought they to focus on when it comes to asking their legislatures to give them some tort reform?

John Engler: There have been a number of state-level reforms that have worked that need to be replicated everywhere. They’re sort of nitty-gritty, getting down in to how we run the legal system, but clearly, some of the venue issues, so they can keep these cases from being shopped into the more favorable venues. That’s part of it.

Cleaning up the expert witness mess that sometimes exists, where you have people showing up purporting to be an expert who really have no credentials and no special expertise, but yet they’re on the circuit.

I think there’s also a case to be made in certain areas for absolute caps on damages on the non-economic loss.

And you have to get into workers comp laws. That’s a specialty area, but there are many abuses that were there in states, and some I’m sure still remain, where injuries way outside the course of employment are being compensated in that system, driving up costs.

So, each state has peculiarities and subtleties in their system, but in almost all cases there are groups, there are centers for legal reform in the nation, that are helping out at the state level. ALEC [American Legislative Exchange Council] has some recommendations. The American Justice Partnership has recommendations. There are people willing to help when we’ve got leaders who are willing to step up on those issues.

The payoff doesn’t come immediately, but it’s important. … Read More

Hugh Hewitt: What Midwestern Governors Do Now for Jobs, Growth

By | Briefly Legal, Education and Training, Taxation | One Comment

Hugh Hewitt writes in his Townhall.com column about the sweeping political change brought with new Republican governors to Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin, offering excellent policy proposals these leaders should enact. From “Where The Action Ought To Be: A Once in a Generation Chance for the Midwest“:

The voters have delivered the legislative majorities these new governors need, and they should act especially in three areas.

First, they have to slash the business taxes that divert entrepreneurs towards Perry’s Texas and Brewer’s Arizona. Slash the corporate tax rates and throw incentives at new manufacturing plants. Declare large zones like the city of Detroit or Trumbull and Mahoning counties in Ohio to be tax free havens and point out the amazing infrastructure that is already in place. California and New York last night decided to try the European way, and their wealth will flee confiscatory taxation. The old industrial powerhouses can be very inviting, especially the northern coastal states. But it will take the same sort of drive that Mitch Daniels has put into reforming Indiana.

As taxes are being cut and spending to match, the new governors should demand of their legislatures two other bold departures: Education must be reformed and tort law completely reworked.

Hugh makes no bones about being a Republican partisan, but he’s also a good, inquisitive and respectful interviewer of his guests no matter their political leanings. In his blog post early Wednesday, “The Huge GOP Win“, he makes an important observation:

[The] Senate Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns in 2012 –John Tester, Sherrod Brown, Debbie Stabenow, Claire McCaskill, Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad, and James Webb– certainly understand what the verdict of the country was tonight even if MSM spins for the next 24 months. Watch and see how they vote on the extension of the Bush tax cuts in the months ahead.

Hewitt’s radio program is carried now in Washington on WWRC, commonly known as 1260 WRC, broadcast live from 6 to 9 p.m. The dinnertime news-talk radio menu selections inside the Beltway these days are very good. Appetizers? WTOP’s news, weather, sports and traffic. Salad course (Belgian endive) with maybe a nice white wine, WAMU, the NPR station and “All Things Considered.” Steak tartare? That’s Mark Levin on WMAL, obviously (raw meat). But for the meat and potatoes, it has to be the Hugh Hewitt Show.

UPDATE (5:10 p.m.): The NAM’s John Engler will be on Hewitt’s show tonight during the third hour, about 8:20 p.m. East Coast. He’ll be reacting to Hugh’s column cited above.

FIFRA: Jobs-Creating Businesses Could Use Protection from EPA

By | General, Regulations, Technology | No Comments

Lawyer, blogger and talk show host Hugh Hewitt’s latest Examiner column warns against the Environmental Protection Agency’s expanded use and abuse of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), now being turned into an all-purpose weapon against business and advertising. “Federal control costs jobs” cites the EPA’s recent fines totaling $500,000 against four manufacturers, including The North Face outdoor-gear maker, for claiming their products provided “antimicrobial protection.”

“While The North Face, Califone and Saniguard products all incorporated EPA-registered silver-based antimicrobial compounds to protect them against deterioration,” the EPA’s press release said, “they were never tested or registered to protect consumers against bacteria, fungus, mold and/or mildew.”

And there you have the nanny state in all its fury. No testing! No registration! No proof of a marketing claim of “antimicrobial protection.”

Whatever the merits of the manufacturers’ claims, it’s difficult to see a significant threat to public health or safety in the advertising that brought down the wrath of the EPA on these companies.

It’s easy, on the other hand, to see the cost of the fines, and the almost certain additional significant costs for attorneys and other staff who had to deal with the problem. It’s easy to imagine the cost of new marketing materials and of increased regulatory compliance.

Lost jobs, for one.

Hewitt has more detail at his blog, HughHewitt.com, a post, “A Very Disturbing, Job-Killing Trend.”

At his Examiner column, he concludes: “If Congress is serious about helping the economy create jobs, it can start by summoning EPA brass to a hearing and asking for a detailed rationale for its draconian fines and for its reading of the statute.”

If Congress is serious…

Unfortunately, it’s easier to imagine a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committe — the same group of lawmakers that brought us the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act — being convened to berate business owners for failing to live up to the EPA’s rapidly changing standards of consumer protection.

In the meantime, the EPA continues to cement its standing as the most powerful regulatory agency in human history.

CPSC Commissioner Northup on CPSIA, Lead

By | Health Care, Regulations | No Comments

Hugh Hewitt, the radio talk show host, blogger, law professor and all-around good guy, on Monday interviewed Commissioner Anne Northup of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the transcript of the conversation is now up at HughHewitt.com.

Hugh accurately expresses the astonishment and frustration of business people in trying to figure out and respond to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), and Northup, a former Republican member of Congress, confirms that the law is excessive, complicated and disconnected from reality. The discussion of lead content is good, and we appreciate her reaction to efforts now under way in Congress to “fix” the CPSIA.

HH: And the regulatory burden, I know, because many of them are our clients, people don’t know how to interpret this. They write in, they have to hire expensive lawyers to go get exemptions from you. It must be a morass at the building.

AN: Well, and we’re not giving any exemptions. So far, there hasn’t been a vote to give exemptions. And so they’re trapped in figuring out how they’re going to make this. And you know, I think there’s the ATV, the bicycle people, I mean, who sucks on their bicycle handlebars at six years old? And you know, even if you did, you couldn’t swallow enough lead that it would register a change in your blood lead level.

HH: And Congress won’t fix it. I saw Chairman Waxman has proposed an amendment on your blog, and your blog has dissected it. It’s not really that helpful. In fact, it might make things worse.

AN: It really isn’t helpful. It’s really meant to solve the political problem he has from the ATV people. They obviously are very organized. It’s very serious for them. They have children’s, smaller ones that are safer for children, and they’ve had to take them off the market. But you know, I mean, it has all these hoops you have to jump through. You have to prove that you can’t make it officially, you can’t make it, that it’s not practical, that there’s no substitute material, you have to say how you’re going to get into compliance over the next few years, you have to prove…here’s what’s funny. I think the third qualification is you have to prove that it doesn’t harm the health or safety of a child. Well Hugh, if it doesn’t harm the health or safety of a child, why are we even regulating it? What else do we have to prove?

The conversation occurred at a meeting of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. Hewitt also addresses a topic we’ve broached before: If Congress can’t get the CPSIA right, how can it expect to restructure the entire U.S. health care and insurance system?

CPSIA Update: So We All Agree, Then? Congress Must Act!

By | General, Regulations | No Comments

It’s been a while since we’ve blogged about the unnecessary and extraordinary harm done by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, the 2008 legislation that has driven safe products off the market, effectively banned pre-1985 children’s books, and forced thrift stores to remove toys and winter coats from their shelves.

Hugh Hewitt, in his interview with NAM President John Engler Tuesday, reminds us of the CPSIA’s swath of economic damage, even as the radio host makes a broader point. From the transcript:

HH: Now this brings me to the key question, Governor, because a couple of my law partners, Gary Wolensky and Liz McNulty do a lot of time advising companies about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, I know how botched up that is. I know how it’s ruined manufacturing and destroyed competitiveness, et cetera. A lot of people like me don’t really trust Congress to do any of this well. If they can’t handle something as simple as lead levels and phthalate levels in products, how could they possibly get this right?

Good question. A powerful enemy of economic recovery is uncertainty, the doubts of businesses, investors and the public about government’s intentions. If you’ve followed the impact of the CPSIA — a bill passed with overwhelming Congressional support — then it’s reasonable to fear much larger legislative adventures like health care reform or government control of carbon dioxide.

At least the excesses of the CPSIA have finally — finally! — created a consensus that Congress must act. The Consumer Product Safety Commission on January 15 sent a report to Congress about the law’s implementation, a communication that included a call for a legislative action that embraced. (Congress had requested the commission’s recommendations in the conference report on the CPSC’s appropriations bill, included in the DOT spending bill.)

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