Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Trump Administration Has Issued 22 Deregulatory Actions For Every One New Regulatory Action.

As Of December 2017, The Trump Administration Has Withdrawn Or Delayed 1,579 Planned Regulatory Actions And Achieved $8.1 Billion In Lifetime Net Regulatory Cost Savings 

GOP press release - On January 30, 2017, President Trump Issued Executive Order 13771, Which Required That For Every New Regulation Promulgated, Two Prior Regulations Be Eliminated. "In his first week in office, President Trump issued Executive Order 13771, which aims to 'manage the costs associated with the governmental imposition of private expenditures required to comply with Federal regulations.' It requires that 'for every new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process.'" (Ted Gayer, Robert E. Litan, and Philip A. Wallach, "Evaluating The Trump Administration's Regulatory Reform Program," The Brookings Institute , 10/20/17)

Under The "2-For-1 Rule," Agencies Were Required To Offset The Cost Of Any New Regulation By Eliminating Two Existing Regulations. "Under the so-called '2-for-1 Rule,' the incremental costs of all new regulations for Fiscal Year 2017 must be no greater than zero, unless the regulation is required by law, or, consistent with advice provided in writing by the Director of the OMB. Agencies are expected to meet this new requirement by offsetting any incremental costs from new regulations with the supposed savings gained from eliminating two existing regulations." (Roncevert Almond, Marina O'Brien, and Andy Orr, "Regulatory Reform In The Trump Era - The First 100 Days," Yale Journal On Regulation )

As Of December 14, The Trump Administration Has Issued 22 Deregulatory Actions For Every One New Regulatory Action. "Agencies have issued 22 deregulatory actions for every one new regulatory action. This 22:1 ratio far exceeds President Trump's promise to eliminate two rules for every one new rule. In total, agencies issued 67 deregulatory actions while imposing only three new regulatory actions." ("President Donald J. Trump Is Delivering On Deregulation," The White House , 12/14/17)

In 2017, Federal Agencies Withdrew Or Delayed 1,579 Planned Regulatory Actions. "In this Administration, agencies have withdrawn or delayed 1,579 planned regulatory actions. 635 regulations were withdrawn. 244 regulations were made inactive. 700 regulations were delayed." ("President Donald J. Trump Is Delivering On Deregulation," The White House , 12/14/17)

Federal Agencies Have Achieved $8.1 Billion In Lifetime Net Regulatory Cost Savings In FY 2017, The Equivalent Of $570 Million Per Year. "Federal agencies achieved $8.1 billion in lifetime net regulatory cost savings, the equivalent of $570 million per year. These savings go beyond the Administration's goal of imposing no lifetime net regulatory costs in FY 2017." ("President Donald J. Trump Is Delivering On Deregulation," The White House , 12/14/17)

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Lamar Alexander: Why tax reform will benefit Tennesseans

Lamar Alexander: Why tax reform will benefit Tennesseans

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

What happened at the 12-19-2017 Council meeting: Bill to trample property rights and kill an affordable housing project deferred, more transparency for corporate welfare approved, $2.9 million in incentives to Philips company approved.

The most important news of the December 19the Council meeting is that BILL NO. BL2016-219  which would trample a persons property rights and kill an affordable housing project was deferred "by rule."   It will be back on the Council agenda next meeting.

Another important action was the approval of  RESOLUTION RS2017-986 which awarded $2.9 million in incentives to Philips company. The company plans to hire 815 employees over the next two years and the company will receive a grant of $500 per employee.  The average wage of the employees will be $60,000.  The incentive package was approved by a vote of 28 to 1 with three abstentions.  The "no" vote was by Councilman John Cooper and the three abstentions were Kathleen Murphy, Dave Rosenberg and Jacobia Dowell. There was no floor discussion.

BILL BL2017-983 which would bring greater transparency to corporate welfare packages was approved on second reading. This bill would require companies getting an incentive to provide such information as to the type and number of jobs that will be created,  both during and after construction, and whether those jobs will be temporary or permanent, and the number of jobs that will be filled by Davidson County residents. This bill was opposed by the Chamber of Commerce and supported by a liberal organization by the name of NOAH and supported by the Central Labor Council. Some of the most liberal members of the Council supported it and some of the more conservative council members opposed it. While on most issues I would find myself not on the same side of an issue as organized labor and liberal activist, and I would find myself on the same side of an issue as council members like Robert Swope and Stenve Glover, I support this bill.  I support greater transparency in the awarding of corporate welfare. This bill established no policy guidelines, it simply required companies seeking incentive grants to provide more information. To see the discussion see timestamp 31:35 - 51:03 in the video.

On a Motion to Reconsider  RESOLUTION RS2017-966, the motion failed by a vote on only one in favor, 33 opposed, and one abstention The motion was not debatable. Having failed, the action taken at the last council meeting to approve RS2017-966 was unchanged. That resolution was the resolution to approved the law firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, as special counsel to pursue claims against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids that have "wrongfully caused drug addiction in Davidson County." The opposition to selection of this law firm came mostly from Black members of the Council, concerned that the firm did not have a sufficient number of Black attorneys working for the firm. 

If you are going to watch the Council meeting, you need a copy of the Council agenda and the Council staff analysis or you really will not know what is going on. To access the agenda, staff analysis and my commentary on the agenda, follow this link.

In other council action, Roy Dale and Anna Maddox were reappointed to the Stormwarter Management Board after previously having had their confirmation delayed.  There was no discussion and no negative votes.

The Nashville Songwriters Association was honored with the presentation of a resolution. (see video timestamp 8:30- 13:24,)

RESOLUTION RS2017-779 , RESOLUTION RS2017-780, and RESOLUTION RS2017-781 all of which deal with right-of-way closures are deferred indefinitely.

All bills on Introduction and First Reading are considered together and pass by a single vote, as is the norm, including BILL BL2017-1031 which is the bill "adopting a transit improvement program for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, approving a surcharge for the program, and requesting the Davidson County Election Commission to call a county-wide referendum election to be held on May 1, 2018." 

BILL BL2017-865  on Second Reading which creates new public works reporting requirements is deferred to the second meeting in March.

BILL BL2017-941 on Second Reading which would establish a a Commercial Permit Parking Program is deferred two meetings.

SUBSTITUTE BILL BL2017-953 as amended imposes various regulations regarding commercial solicitation  including restricting door-to-door commercial solicitation to daylight hours or no later than 7PM whichever is later.  It passes on Second Reading.

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Monday, December 18, 2017

A Season of Giving

This is the time of the year when I look at my giving for the year and make end of year gifts to organizations and causes I support.  I do not belong to a church so I do not tithe or regularly support a church like many people do.  Throughout the year I give to various causes but at the end of the year I take stock of my giving and make most of my donations.

My giving includes support for political causes in which I believe and to good candidates running for office.  Some may think that political contribution are a separate category of giving than charitable causes but I do not agree.  I fear for our country and want to preserve liberty, promote limited government, promote good government, promote justice, protect private property and promote a free market economy.  I want America to remain a unique country.  I do not want our nation to become a "normal" European-type social welfare state. America has been the arsenal of Democracy and the leader of the free world. We are the essential country both in power to do good and as an example of what can be.

There are evil forces in the world.  It is easy to forget how the whole world was on the bring of a nuclear Armageddon at the end of the cold war and how half of the world's population was under communist domination and it is easy to forget the 100 million victims of communism.  While Communism is no longer the primary threat freedom faces at this time, the views that made communism so seductive are alive and well.  People are often ready to follow an ideology that promises to fix everything and they are willing to sacrifice their freedom for an idealistic utopian promise of a better tomorrow.

In my view, resisting tyranny and promoting freedom are every bit as important as finding a cure for a disease or feeding the hungry. We also, however, have a moral obligation, I believe, to help those in need.  I do not think this is a collective obligation. I don't think one gains any merits when the government robs you of your earnings and gives it to someone else. The fact that you are taxed does not satisfy the obligation to be charitable.

If you examine your life and have been blessed and do not give, please consider doing so.  It is so easy to simply not care and not share.  I find that I am blessed when I give. Also, giving makes one more sensitive to the cause to which they give and more vested in results. One has to follow their own heart and where I choose to give, may not be the same place you choose to give but below are some of the organizations I find to be worthy of my support. If you are looking for a place to give where your money will be put to good use, I urge you to consider contributing to the following organizations.

Nashville Rescue Mission is an organization with which we are all familiar.  They are the primary
agency serving Nashville's homeless. They feed them, provide shelter, and provide case management attempting to get people employed and off the street.  They are a faith-based organization and do not receive government funding. The Nashville Rescue Mission saves lives and helps the most unfortunate of our city.

The Beacon Center of Tennessee is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing expert empirical research and timely free market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee. They have fought for elimination of barriers to the right to earn a living. In the days before Uber and Lyft, when Nashville tried to harass and regulate out of existence a ride-sharing company, Beacon came to the defense of the company. Beacon has successfully pushed for bold reforms in education, healthcare, economic regulation, and tax policy, among many others. They also investigate and expose government waste.

Institute for Justice fights for economic liberty including opposing unreasonable licensing laws that serve to protect certain service industries from competition. They were active in Nashville in the past when they opposed the city's efforts to shut down an early pioneer in alternative transportation.  The city tried to force all providers of ride-sharing services similar to Uber or Lyft to charge a minimum fee of $40 per trip among other measure designed to stamp out alternative transportation and to protect the taxi interest. IJ also was active in Nashville in protecting the rights of a small business owner by the name of Joy Ford when the city wanted to take her music business office and sell the property to a big developer. Currently, IJ is working with The Beacon Center to challenge the city's prohibition against home-based businesses.  Metro's ban makes illegal home recording studios and music teachers giving piano lessens in their home and even a one-chair hair salon. The enforcement of the ban is arbitrary. IJ has also been active in fighting civil forfeiture in which the government may seize one's property and to regain the property the owner must prove he is not engaged in criminal activity.

Judicial Watch uses the open records or freedom of information laws to investigate and uncover misconduct by government officials and litigates to hold politicians and public officials accountable who engage in corrupt activities. They also fight for fair and honest elections and defend voter ID laws and fight illegal sanctuary policies.

Tennessee Parks & Greenways Foundation  is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to protecting
and conserving Tennessee’s natural treasures. It is the oldest accredited, statewide land trust in Tennessee. Through collaboration with members, private landowners, local municipalities, and state and federal agencies, they work to create parks, establish wildlife corridors, expand existing protected public lands, and enhance public recreation opportunities.  Some of the most endangered and beautiful spots in Tennessee have been saved and made publicly accessible due to the work of this organization. 

 Tennessee Eagle Forum. The mission of TEF is "to enable conservative and pro-family men and women to participate in the process of self-government and public-policy making so that America will continue to be a land of individual liberty, respect for family integrity, public and private virtue, and private enterprise."  The organization is highly effective and has a tireless leader in Bobbie Patray.

Victim of Communism Memorial Foundation.  The Berlin Wall fell, but communism didn’t. One
hundred years after the Bolshevik Revolution, one fifth of the world’s population still lives under single-party communist regimes in China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam. Communist regimes commit the worst and widest-scale human rights abuses on the planet. Communism promises to make everyone equal, but delivers radical inequality. Every time it’s tried, it ends in economic collapse or a police state. From the famines, purges, and gulags of Soviet Russia to Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge—from the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre to the Castro regime’s 2012 murder of Oswaldo PayĆ”—communists have killed more than 100 million people. Countless more suffered and suffer still. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the record of communism and an entire generation of Americans is open to collectivist ideas because they don’t know the truth. This foundations tries to keep the memory of the evils of communism alive.

The Alzheimer Association  advances research to end Alzheimer's and dementia while enhancing
care for those living with the disease. I support this organization because my wife has been living with dementia for at least 16 years. Misdiagnosed as having Alzheimer's in 2003 it was not until sometime in 2015 that she was correctly diagnosed as having a different condition. By the time the she was properly diagnosed and treated, the brain damage was advanced and not reversible. Advances in diagnosing and treating dementia would have made a big difference in Louella's life and in my life as her caregiver.


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Mayor Barry's bold and courageous proposal to close General Hospital. I hope she will stay the course.

I am normally pretty stingy with my praise for Mayor Megan Barry and I often disagree with her policy proposals, but I applaud her bold and courageous move to close General Hospital.  She is not completely doing away with the facility  but is proposing to convert it to an outpatient care facility.

During the 2014 mayoral campaign all of the candidates for mayor pledged their support for General Hospital (link). Of all of the candidates, I perceived Barry as the most liberal and the one lease likely to make any changes to General.  With Barry's election I just assumed Nashville General would have a blank check to continue losing money.  Barry has pleasantly surprised me. As General continued to need more and more subsidy, Barry's frustration with General became more and more pronounced.

In the last two years the Hospital has sought $26 million in emergency funding  in addition to a $35 million annual subsidy from the Metro Council.  As reported in The Tennessean recently, a recent audit found that the hospital, "failed at basic bookkeeping, unable to keep track of patient payments and major expenses."

While poor management is obviously a problem, the real problem with Nashville General is that  no one wants to go there.  Metro jail inmates without insurance have no choice and are sent to General and there is a financial incentive for Metro employees to use General but it still cannot fill its beds. The facility is  licensed for 150 beds, staffed for 114 and has an average of 44 beds filled a day. Metro General should have been closed fifty years ago.  Ever since the advent of Medicaid there has been no need for a city charity hospital and the reason it has been kept open is purely political.  Nashville General is the teaching hospital of Meharry Medical College. Meharry is the second largest educator of African-American medical doctors and dentists in the United States and has the highest percentage of African Americans graduating with Ph.Ds in the biomedical sciences in the country. It is a symbol of pride for the Black Community and no previous mayor has dared to antagonize the leadership of the Black community.

Mayor Barry is getting push back for her decision to close General.  I hope she has the backbone to follow through with her correct decision.  While members of the Council have also expressed frustration with General, I would not count on them to stand with her when the going gets tough, I would not be totally surprised if there is not a concerted effort with civil rights marches and grandstanding to "save" General.  Pandering to the Black community is always a wise political move in Nashville. The current director could be thrown under the bus and accused of poor management, some superficial changes could occur, and Metro General's future could be secure for another fifty years.

If you have the opportunity to encourage Mayor Barry to stay strong and not back down or to encourage your councilman to support Barry's decision, please do so.

The Tennessean, December 17, 2017: Future uncertain for Nashville General CEO amid mayor's plans to end inpatient care.
The Tennessean, December 15, 2017:  Hospital landscape in limbo as questions swirl over Nashville General's fate
The Tennessean, December 14, 2017: Audit: Nashville General plagued by financial mismanagement despite progress.

For previous reporting on Metro Nashville General issues covered in this blog, follow this link

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