This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
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Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight rail and saved it from looming oblivion.

At the time of passage, the U.S. economy muddled along amid ongoing malaise, and our rail industry teetered due to decades of overly bureaucratic sclerosis.  Many other domestic U.S. industries had disappeared, and our railroads faced the same fate.  But by passing the Staggers Rail Act, Congress restored a deregulatory approach that in the 1980s allowed other U.S. industries to thrive.  No longer would government determine what services railroads could offer, their rates or their routes, instead restoring greater authority to the railroads themselves based upon cost-efficiency.

Today, U.S. rail flourishes even amid the coronavirus pandemic…[more]

October 13, 2020 • 11:09 PM

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Green Jobs, Red Ink: The Economic Folly of Obama’s Enviro-Meddling Print
By Troy Senik
Thursday, August 25 2011
Cap and trade’s failure to elicit congressional approval hasn’t kept the Obama Administration from pursuing smaller green jobs initiatives that are just as economically illiterate.

Modern liberalism is a faith defined by the belief that reality is whatever the state says it is. Thus has President Barack Obama often stated his intention to make “clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.” Over time, the American public has become so anesthetized to this sort of rhetoric that it has assumed an air of plausibility. But Obama may as well have pronounced his intention to make Porsches America’s most affordable cars. Presidential fiat cannot rewrite the rules of economics.
 
The marquee example of this principle is the centerpiece of the president’s “green jobs” initiative, a comprehensive cap and trade bill. Contra Obama, its operative principle is not so much making clean energy affordable as it is making every other kind of fuel prohibitively expensive by proposing a de facto tax on all forms of carbon-emitting energy. The results? According to congressional testimony by the Heritage Foundation’s Ben Lieberman, “The cumulative higher energy costs for a family of four … will be nearly $20,000” within 25 years.
 
But cap and trade’s failure to elicit congressional approval hasn’t kept the Obama Administration from pursuing smaller green jobs initiatives that are just as economically illiterate. 
 
In 2009, the state of California received $186 million in federal stimulus money for “weatherization programs,” initiatives to reduce home energy costs through methods such as air sealing and improving insulation. The administration, of course, ignored the fundamental contradiction at the heart of this program: If these improvements really saved more money than they cost, they wouldn’t require a government subsidy.
 
But cost savings were never the Obama Administration’s real intent. If they were, the weatherization efforts wouldn’t have been contingent on paying the “prevailing wage” in the industry. Because it fell to the U.S. Department of Labor to determine that wage, the program was effectively inoperative for more than half a year after passage. That may have been the best-case scenario, however. Since weatherization has been implemented, the Golden State has spent nearly $100 million of the money. In the last quarter, that expenditure created a paltry 538 jobs.
 
California’s disappointments look like outright successes compared to the city of Seattle, however. In 2010, the city received a $20 million grant for weatherization efforts. The grant came with a White House ceremony stewarded by Vice President Biden and a promise to create 2,000 jobs while retrofitting 2,000 homes in the Emerald City. More than a year later, Seattle has retrofitted three homes and created 14 jobs. Unsurprisingly, given the history of the White House’s economic forecasts, the estimates for job creation were off by 99.3 percent.
 
The great tragedy of Obama’s green statism is that it may have the long-term effect of undermining efforts at energy innovation. Any viable technology aiming to displace conventional fuel sources will have to be both scalable and affordable. By subsidizing efforts that meet neither criterion, the administration makes the competitive environment more difficult for firms that have a legitimate shot at developing such transformative technologies.
 
The industries that currently fuel America – petroleum, coal, natural gas – didn’t establish their preeminence through federal diktat. They created reliable, widely available energy sources and made them available at an affordable price. Alternative energy, if it hopes for widespread market penetration, will have to do the same. But every day the federal government puts its hand on the scales is one day further away from reaching that goal.

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was the first 20th century presidential candidate to call for a Presidential Debate?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"In nominating Barrett to the Supreme Court, [President Trump] kept his promise by choosing an undaunted originalist -- someone who interprets the Constitution based on the understanding held by its ratifiers.Trump's most profound effect on the Constitution will come when she and the other Trump Justices apply that originalism to the questions of liberty and equality."Read entire article here.…[more]
 
 
—John C. Yoo, Heller Professor Law at U.C. Berkeley School of Law
— John C. Yoo, Heller Professor Law at U.C. Berkeley School of Law
 
Liberty Poll   

Do you believe Republicans will continue to hold a majority in the U.S. Senate following the 2020 election?