The Heritage Insider: CDC mission creep threatens public health, ObamaCare will reduce jobs by 3 percent, more economic freedom is the solution to child labor

Updated daily, InsiderOnline (insideronline.org) is a compilation of publication abstracts, how-to essays, events, news, and analysis from around the conservative movement. The current edition of The INSIDER quarterly magazine is also on the site.

October 11, 2014

Latest Studies
41 new items, including a National Center for Policy Analysis report on how ObamaCare affects Wisconsin workers, and two Pioneer Institute reports on how ObamaCare affects Massachusetts

Notes on the Week
CDC mission creep threatens public health, ObamaCare will reduce jobs by 3 percent, more economic freedom is the solution to child labor

To Do
Get informed about election fraud

Latest Studies

Budget & Taxation
Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors 2014 – Cato Institute
Curbing the Surge in Year-End Federal Government Spending: Reforming “Use It or Lose It” Rules – Mercatus Center
2015 Tax Brackets – Tax Foundation
Wireless Taxation in the United States 2014 – Tax Foundation
Bringing Greater Government Transparency to Special Purpose Districts – Texas Public Policy Foundation
Homeowners and the Texas Property Tax – Texas Public Policy Foundation
Citizens’ Guide to Spokane Streets Levy & Park Bond – Washington Policy Center

Crime, Justice & the Law
More Law, Less Justice: The Proliferation of Non-Traditional Crimes in the Texas Legal Code – Texas Public Policy Foundation
“Cy Pres” Awards: Is the End Near for a Legal Remedy With No Basis in Law? – Washington Legal Foundation

Economic and Political Thought
Aftermath: The Unintended Consequences of Public Policies – Cato Institute
Britain Tomorrow: The Case for Enterprise, Liberty and Meritocracy – Free Enterprise Group

Economic Growth
Economic Freedom of the World: 2014 Annual Report – Fraser Institute
Fifty Economic Fallacies Exposed – Institute of Economic Affairs
Under the Microscope: Mrs. Thatcher’s Industrial Legacy – Institute of Economic Affairs
A Challenge to Economic Freedom: Declining Labor Participation – Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research

Education
Tenured Teacher Dismissal in New York: Education Law §3020-a “Disciplinary Procedures and Penalties” – American Enterprise Institute
Untapped Potential: Making the Higher Education Market Work for Students and Taxpayers – American Enterprise Institute
Student Loan: The Worst of All Worlds – Institute of Economic Affairs
Accountability in Education: Who Is Responsible? – Texas Public Policy Foundation
Destroying the School-to-Prison Pipeline – Texas Public Policy Foundation

Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
Sovereignty, Blame Games and Tony Abbot’s New Federalism – Centre for Independent Studies

Family, Culture & Community
Life at the Top: The Worldview that Makes the Elites – The Heritage Foundation

Foreign Policy/International Affairs
2014 Asia Update: What’s at Stake for America – The Heritage Foundation

Health Care
How Obamacare Is Affecting Wisconsin’s Workers and Employers – National Center for Policy Analysis
New ACA Medicare Payroll Tax Hits Massachusetts, $1.7 Billion Over 10 Years – Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
The Undisclosed Cost of Developing an Affordable Care Act State Exchange in Massachusetts – Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research

Information Technology
Thinking the Unthinkable: Imposing the “Utility Model” on Internet Providers – Free State Foundation

Labor
Union Power in the States = Lost Pay, More Taxpayer Debt – Capital Research Center

Monetary Policy/Financial Regulation
New York High Court Should Keep “Stream of Commerce” Tort Rule – Washington Legal Foundation

National Security
America’s Military Profession: Creating Hectors, not Achilles – American Enterprise Institute
On Defense Acquisition Reform: Where Do We Go From Here? – American Enterprise Institute
Strategy in Asia: The Past Present, and Future of Regional Security – American Enterprise Institute
The Rise of Al-Qaeda’s Khorasan Group: What It Means for U.S. National Security – The Heritage Foundation

Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
Pyramid Scheme – Capital Research Center
EPA as Overlord of U.S. Electric Power – Texas Public Policy Foundation

Regulation & Deregulation
The Push for State-Controlled Media – Capital Research Center
Bootleggers & Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics – Cato Institute
Advertising in a Free Society – Institute of Economic Affairs
Blurred Lines: Insurance Challenges in the Ride-Sharing Market – R Street Institute
Cab Ride to the Future – Wisconsin Policy Research Institute

Transportation/Infrastructure
Do the Locomotive – American Enterprise Institute

 

 

Notes on the Week

Who should choose your ride, you or the government? In case it wasn’t clear that taxi regulations protect the taxis, not the taxi customers, here is a chart: 

[Daily Signal, October 4]

If the ridesharing services Uber and Lyft are unsafe and/or a bad deal, then why do more and more consumers continue to choose to use them instead of taxis? As Milton Friedman said: “Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.”

 

For the environment, go nuclear. If you are an environmentalist you should be in favor of nuclear energy. The Manhattan Institute calculates that if the United States had adhered to its original 1970s plans for constructing nuclear power plants, then we would have double the reactors we have today. That would lead to a 46 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from coal-fired plants, which represents a 15 percent reduction in total CO2 emissions. Here’s more from the Manhattan Institute: 

 

More economic freedom is the solution to child labor. Kailash Satyarthi won the Nobel Peace Prize this week for his activism fighting child labor and human trafficking. The award may bring welcome attention to the problems, but the solution to child labor probably isn’t what most people think. It’s not trade sanctions, anyway. The 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics winner Paul Krugman explains: 

In 1993, child workers in Bangladesh were found to be producing clothing for Wal-Mart, and Senator Tom Harkin proposed legislation banning imports from countries employing underage workers. The direct result was that Bangladeshi textile factories stopped employing children. But did the children go back to school? Did they return to happy homes? Not according to Oxfam, which found that the displaced child workers ended up in even worse jobs, or on the streets—and that a significant number were forced into prostitution. [New York Times, April 22, 2001; h/t: Dalibor Rohac, Cato Institute, October 10]

As Benjamin Powell points out: “The main reason children do not work in wealthy countries is precisely because they are wealthy.”

[Cato Institute, July 29; h/t: Dalibor Rohac, Cato Institute, October 10]

Child labor will end when child labor no longer seems like the best option for poor families in developing countries. For that to happen, developing countries need economic growth, and the best way to have more growth is to have more economic freedom:

[2014 Index of Economic Freedom, Chapter 2, by Anthony Kim, The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal]

 

Video of the week: China’s gendercide: China’s one-child policy has been a 34-year war against women that has forcibly aborted 400 million children. On an average day in China, 590 women commit suicide. China’s female suicide rate is three times that for men, and China is the only country in the world where women commit suicide at a higher rate than men. The one-child policy combined with sex-selective abortions has also left China with a large gender imbalance that has turned the country into a magnet for sex-trafficking. Chris Smith, Reggie Littlejohn, and Chen Guangchen discuss what can be done to end this crime against humanity:

thf 2014-10-11 insider OneChildPolicy.jpg 

 

Mission creep puts the public’s health at risk. Why was Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan sent home from a hospital in Dallas, despite informing the hospital he had recently arrived from Liberia? Why were his family members left in a contaminated apartment for days? The problem might be, says Glenn Harlan Reynolds, that CDC doesn’t have just one job: 

[T]he CDC has multiple jobs, having involved itself in everything from playground safety to smoking in subsidized housing.

In 2014, the CDC received (together with the Public Health Service and related programs) $6.8 billion. But not all of that money went to infectious diseases. In addition to the CDC’s supposed raison d’etre, there were programs for:

• Chronic disease prevention (obesity, heart disease, etc): fiscal 2014 budget approximately $1 billion, or just under 15% of the total budget.
• Birth defects: $132 million, or just about 2% of the total budget.
• Environmental health (asthma, safe water, etc): $179 million, 2.6% of total.
• Injury prevention (domestic violence, brain injury, etc): $150 million, 2.2% of total.
• Public health services (statistics, surveillance, etc): $482 million, 7% of total.
• Occupational safety (mostly research): $332 million, 5% of total.

And, of course, the various busy-body looks at playgrounds, smoking in subsidized housing, and the like. As The Federalist’s David Harsanyi writes: “The CDC, an agency whose primary mission was to prevent malaria and then other dangerous communicable diseases, is now spending a lot of time, energy and money worrying about how much salt you put on your steaks, how close you stand to second-hand smoke and how often you do calisthenics.”

The entire government has this problem:

It seems that as government has gotten bigger, and accumulated more and more of its own ancillary responsibilities, it has gotten worse at its primary tasks. It can supervise snacks at elementary schools, but not defend the borders; it can tax people to subsidize others’ health-care plans but not build roads or bridges; and it can go after football team names but can’t seem to deal with the Islamic State terror group. [USA Today, October 5]

And speaking of priorities: “The World Health Organization (WHO) will meet behind closed doors in Moscow later this month to discuss adopting new measures to regulate and curb the use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.” [Washington Free Beacon, October 6]

 

ObamaCare will reduce employment by 3 percent. ObamaCare is a tax on work. The law penalizes employers for not providing health insurance to full-time employees. It encourages workers to shift to part-time work so they can gain subsidies on the exchanges. And it discourages higher earnings by phasing out subsidies as incomes rise. How will people respond to those incentives? Casey Mulligan has calculated the effects in a new paper for the Mercatus Center. He finds: 

Nearly half of the workforce will experience significant changes in work incentives due to the ACA.

For 20 percent of the labor force—some 33 million workers—their family’s eligibility for exchange subsidies hinges entirely on their employment status. In any month they work part time or not at all, they can obtain subsidized coverage; in any month they work full time, they do not qualify for these subsidies. Members of this group would, on average, have to work an additional 5.5 hours per week to make up for the subsidies they forgo by working full time.

Because of the penalty on employers who do not offer health insurance, 5 percent of the workforce faces a new implicit income tax. These workers, who are left to obtain coverage from the ACA exchanges, would have to work at least four hours a week for free if they were to compensate their employer for the $2,000-per-employee penalty the ACA imposes.

An additional 21 percent who work for employers not offering coverage will find that their employers are less willing or able to pay their workers because of the ACA’s employer penalty. These workers, on average, would have to work four hours a week for free if they were to compensate their employers for the non-coverage penalty.

And:

This analysis, combined with lessons from labor market history, leads to an estimate that the ACA will reduce employment and aggregate hours by slightly more than 3 percent, or about 4 million full-time-equivalent workers. This is nearly double the contraction indicated in prior studies, mainly because some previous work underestimated the size of the ACA’s employer penalty and did not consider the full range of tax effects. [“The Affordable Care Act and the New Economics of Part-Time Work,” by Casey B. Mulligan, Mercatus Center, October 7]

 

Connecticut wants your children. The state that educated Adam Lanza wants to prevent more kids like Adam Lanza from shooting up its government schools by cracking down on parents who don’t want their kids to attend public schools. We refer to Connecticut, where Gov. Dannel Malloy’s committee on the Newtown shootings is recommending that home-schooling parents be required to present their children to local authorities for periodic psychological evaluation. Adam Lanza, as Kevin Williamson notes, was a product of Connecticut public schools; if we want fewer Adam Lanzas, we should encourage, not discourage, alternatives to public schooling: 

Our public schools are dysfunctional, depressing, frequently dangerous places. Their architecture is generally penal, incorporating precisely the same sort of perimeter control as one sees in a low-security prison, with dogs, metal detectors, and the whole apparatus of control at hand. They are frequently run by nakedly corrupt, self-serving men and women who are not above rigging test scores to pad out their bonuses and who will fight to the end to keep pedophiles on the payroll if doing so serves their political interests, as in the case of California. They cannot even keep their teachers from raping their students, but they feel competent issuing orders that every family present its children for regular inspection in the name of the children’s “social and emotional learning needs.”

Contrary to all of the sanctimony surrounding them, the government schools are in fact the single most destructive institution in American public life, and they are the bedrock of the Left’s power, providing billions of dollars in campaign contributions and millions of man-hours for Democratic campaigns. But they do more than that: They are the real-life version of those nightmarish incubator pods from The Matrix, and home-schooling is a red pill. We entrust our children to the state for twelve or thirteen years, during which time they are subjected to a daily regimen that is, like the school buildings themselves, more than a little reminiscent of the penitentiary: “bells and cells,” as one of my teachers used to call it. They are instructed in obedience and compliance, as though the most important skill in life were the ability to sit quietly and follow instructions; those children who are more energetic than the authorities care for are given psychiatric diagnoses and very often put on psychiatric drugs: Since the 1980s, the rate of antidepressant prescription for children has increased five-fold, while the rate of antipsychotic prescription has increased six-fold. Locking children up for the largest part of the day, in a dreary room with 20 to 30 other children all born within nine or ten months of each other, is a model that make sense—that is something other than insane—only if you think of children as batches—if you believe, as our president and those who share his views believe, that the children are the government schools’ product rather than their customers.

How could the committee propose a solution so disconnected from the actual problem? Perhaps it’s because the Left is simply hardwired to believe that more control—more power for an elite to tell other people what to do—is always the answer. As Williamson further explains:

It’s no accident that the people who want to seize your guns are also the ones who want to seize your children. Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s desire to imprison people who hold the wrong views on climate change and Harry Reid’s plot to gut the Bill of Rights are not aberrations in an otherwise genuinely liberal agenda; the Left desires to put every aspect of every human life under political discipline, from which history books your children read to what kind of cheese you eat. [National Review, October 7]

 

You can help fight voter fraud. Elections are less than month away. Will there be cheating? The Left claims that voter fraud is just a myth conjured up by conservatives to justify voter ID laws in order to keep minorities and the elderly from voting. In fact, voting fraud is quite common. For example, a 2012 city council election won by four votes in Vernon, Calif., was overturned after it was discovered that five voters had falsely claimed to be residents of the city when they registered to vote. In 2004, the Indiana Supreme Court threw out the election results for mayor of East Chicago after pervasive absentee ballot fraud was discovered. And as for the canard that voting fraud has never changed the outcome of an election, consider this example: In 2010, a legislative candidate in Missouri won an election by one vote. That candidate’s uncle later pled guilty to felony voter fraud for falsely registering in the district. 

You can find these and other examples in a new booklet produced by The Heritage Foundation called “Does Your Vote Count?” The publication also provides some solutions to election fraud. In addition to requiring photographic ID to vote, states can combat election fraud by requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote; and by checking voter registration rolls against other sources of data, such as court reports of jurors dismissed because they are not citizens, the databases of the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, and records from the state’s own Department of Motor Vehicles.

Election fraud diminishes the legal votes of other citizens. If you are concerned about election fraud, you should consider raising the issue at your local town hall or other public meetings or volunteering to be a designated poll watcher for a candidate or a political party. You can also help educate your friends and family. If you would like copies of “Does Your Vote Count?” to distribute, send us a request to insider@heritage.org with “Does Your Vote Count?” in the subject line.

 

If you support free speech only when it suits your aims, then you don’t really support free speech. Many liberals celebrated freedom of the press during Banned Books Week recently. Many of those same liberals are also in favor of banning books. As A. Barton Hinkle explains, liberals who support—as many of them do—the effort to roll back the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision must be in favor of banning some books. In Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that the McCain-Feingold law’s limits on political speech by corporations and unions were unconstitutional. 

During the oral arguments in the case, Justice Anthony Kennedy asked: “Well, suppose it were an advocacy organization that had a book. Your position is that under the Constitution […] the book itself could be prohibited.” The government’s attorney answered: “If the book contained the functional equivalent of express advocacy.” Hinkle:

[T]hose who seek to roll back Citizens United want precisely what the American Library Association objects to: They want to limit the free flow of information. They have reasons for this, which they think are good ones: ensuring a level playing field. Preventing big money from drowning out smaller voices. Stopping corporate interests from influencing politicians.

Well, those who want to restrict access to Captain Underpants and To Kill a Mockingbird have their reasons, too, which they also think pretty highly of. Liberals cannot open the door to censorship for reasons they consider good without also opening the door for reasons they consider not-so-good. [Reason, October 1]


 

To Do: Get Informed About Election Fraud

Learn how we can keep elections honest. The Heritage Foundation will host a panel discussion on voter fraud, featuring Catherine Engelbrecht of True the Vote, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The discussion will begin at noon on October 14. Also: You can help keep elections honest by talking about the issue in your community. Check out The Heritage Foundation’s new booklet “Does Your Vote Count?” If you would like some printed copies to hand out to your friends and family, send us a request at Insider@Heritage.org.

Find out why the transition from Communism to capitalism worked better for some countries than others. The Cato Institute will host a half-day conference assessing Eastern Europe’s 25 years of economic and political freedom.  The event will begin at 9 a.m. on October 15.

Assess the Obama administration’s strategy for dealing with the Islamic State. The Hudson Institute will host a panel discussion on the topic beginning at noon on October 17.

Get the physician’s perspective on how Certificate of Need laws affect the supply of medical care. Richard Bruch will speak at the John Locke Foundation at noon on October 13.



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