My Latest

Friday, January 30, 2009

Washington toy story shows why regulation helps the big guys

My Examiner column today delves into another case of big government killing small business through big-business-supported regulation--this time, with toys:

Thousands of self-employed businessmen, artists, and boutique owners who make or deal in hand-crafted children’s toys, clothes, or furniture could be out of work next month. A 2008 federal law, with the salutary-sounding name “Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act,” could drive these craftsmen out of business.

Big toymakers, who helped write the bill, are ready for the regulations that will go into effect Feb. 10, while smaller toymakers look likely to suffer. It’s another example of how Washington, when it regulates an industry, often helps the biggest businesses in that industry while crushing the smaller guys.
Read the column here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How Stimulating!

I have a small item in today's Examiner highlighting some projects funded by the stimulus bill.

» $75 million for “smoking cessation”

Ironically, because state governments are dependent on tobacco sales for billions in annual revenue, if this federal program worked, it would further deplete state coffers.

» $500 million for space travel

The Senate bill calls for funding to “shorten the gap in time that the nation does not have a U.S. vehicle to access space after the space shuttle is retired in 2010.”

Read the article here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I've joined the Examiner full-time

Here's the story:
The Washington Examiner announced today that Timothy P. Carney, who has been writing a weekly op-ed column for the paper, was joining the staff full time to oversee a new K Street page.

Carney will write a lobbying column for the weekly page, which will make its debut in two weeks. He also will continue his Friday op-ed column.

“Most reporters write about how much money lobbyists make and what great access they have,” said Stephen G. Smith, editor of The Washington Examiner. “Tim writes about how they affect, and sometimes distort, the legislative process.”

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Question Obama Doesn't Want You to Ask

Obama's inaugural address was full of inspiring rhetoric, as well as a call for people like me to shut up. My Examiner column:

“Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions—who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans,” President Barack Obama said in his inaugural address on Tuesday.

For these non-believers, the president had scorn: “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them—that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.”

In practice, we know what this means: Obama wants more federal spending, more federal regulation, more federal mandates, and more federal prohibitions. It means the president—like all presidents—wants more power.

Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ENPR: Obama Takes Office With Immense Political Capital

The first Evans-Novak Political Report of the Obama years:
President Barack Obama takes the reins of a nation diminished in prosperity, morale, and reputation. The hope and change he promises have inspired most Americans and nearly all of the news media to rally behind him. His youth and his being the first black President add to his aura. Rarely, if ever, has a President entered office with so much political wind at his back. These high expectations give him immense political capital, but also present high risks.

Heckonomics: The Stimulus

What the Heck is the Stimulus and how is it supposed to work? My Heckonomics column for Culture11 answers that.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Obama’s secret telecom advisor pushing his company’s interest

Hope and Change:

A telecommunications company has confirmed for this columnist that its vice president for policy—who is also an Obama donor and a former lobbyist—is advising Barack Obama’s transition team on telecom policy.

Obama’s transition team, which has failed to disclose this executive’s involvement, happens to have proposed a significant change in telecom policy that will profit that very company, called Clearwire.

By pushing to delay the long-scheduled transition of television broadcasting from analog signals to digital signals, president-elect Obama is directly aiding Sprint and its partner Clearwire while hurting Verizon.

Read my column here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ENPR: Teflon Obama; and More Democratic Senate Gains

This week's Evans-Novak Political Report analyzes Tim Geithner's mulligans, Kit Bond's retirement, and Roland Burris's victory over Harry Reid.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Bringing Bill Richardson’s leadership style to Washington

Obama has dropped Richardson as Commerce secretary ("this is not the Bill Richardson I thought I knew...") but a question remains: Does the Obama administration still embrace the "public-private partnership" thinking that in practice generates the sorts of conflicts of interest, appearances of impropriety, and opportunities for corruption in which Richardson now finds himself embroiled?

My Examiner column today
explores that question.

When president-elect Barack Obama introduced his pick for Commerce secretary last month, he praised him, saying, “As governor of New Mexico, Bill showed how government can act as a partner to support our businesses….”

Those words have a different ring to them now that Bill Richardson has withdrawn from consideration amid an investigation into a donor who won a huge state contract.

Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

ENPR: Burris and Richardson Flaps and Panetta Pick Enliven Washington

The first Evans-Novak Political Report of 2009 analyzes the political scene in the light of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pick of Roland Burris as U.S. Senator and the collapse of Commerce Secretary nominee Bill Richardson.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Heckonomics: The Bailouts

Congress, the Treasury Department, and the Federal Reserve have offered up trillions of dollars in bailouts in recent months. Not one dime was included in an appropriations bill. My Heckonomics column this week asks, "Where the heck is this money coming from? Read the answer here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

2008, The Year of the Bailout

My Examiner column this week provides a sobering look back at 2008.

Not too long ago, in fact, at the beginning of 2008, the U.S. had a reputation as a free-market economy in which businesses rose and fell of their own strengths or flaws and to their own profit or loss. But 2008 changed all that. Too be more precise, the administration of President George W. Bush changed all that in 2008.

Americans used to get exorcised any time the federal government considered bailing out private interests. When Chrysler got a $1.5 billion loan in 1979 (about $4.25 billion in today’s dollars), there was an outcry. When the Clinton administration bailed out Wall Street bankers in 1994 with a bailout of the Mexican peso, it was scandalous.

But as 2008 wound down, we got bailouts so large and in such rapid succession that we never had time to catch our breath.
Read the whole thing here.