Tag: regulation

Deputized Police are Destroying Trust in Law Enforcement

By Jadan Buzzard | USA

Police officers are sworn to serve and protect their respective communities. These men and women fulfill an essential function, protecting citizens from dangerous criminals who strive to violate natural rights. However, many police departments harbor a dark secret. These departments partake in a program intended to deputize local law enforcement officials to enforce federal immigration laws, granting many officers broad discretion in their policing practices. This program, known as “287(g),” was enacted as a part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which amended the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. In essence, it grants the Department of Homeland Security the jurisdiction to enter into agreements with local police departments, giving those local police the ability to act as federal immigration agents. Once entered into an agreement with DHS, local police can interrogate individuals to determine immigration status, work with DHS databases, issue immigration detainers, and transfer immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation. As one might expect, the 287(g) agreement program severely impacts local communities, destroying trust in the police and spiking serious crime. Citizens ought to recognize this program as flying in the face of good policing practices. Eliminating the program will create an environment that encourages community trust, boosts the economy, and respects the civil rights of all Americans.

Investigations conducted by the Department of Justice uncovered sweeping discriminatory practices in several departments with 287(g) agreements. Does the name “Joe Arpaio” ring a bell? He was the Maricopa County sheriff in Arizona, recently pardoned by President Trump for unlawful enforcement of immigration laws and severe police misconduct allegations. The 287(g) agreement his department had with the DHS granted him the power to sweep Latino communities for illegal immigrants, interrogating any minorities he deemed suspicious. This practice ought to be opposed by all liberty-minded individuals. When officers begin to make judgments based on physical criteria, like skin color, the result is counterproductive and dehumanizing to people of color. Local enforcement officers should focus on protecting the public from dangerous criminals, not immigrants (who are actually less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States). The 287(g) program displaces police priorities, moving them from productive work to pursuing small crimes and traffic violations.

This raises another issue with the program: it destroys community trust in the police. Community trust is essential to the safety of a given community. Minorities need to feel comfortable revealing important information to police officers about serious crime. These individuals are significantly less likely to assist law enforcement with a serious crime if police are constantly questioning their immigration status. In fact, according to The Center for American Progress in March 2017, “70 percent of unauthorized immigrants and 44 percent of Latinos are less likely to communicate with law enforcement if they believe officers will question their immigration status or that of people they know.” Thus, not only is the 287(g)agreement program racially discriminatory, but it also limits the effectiveness of law enforcement in general. Police often rely on insider information when pursuing a serious crime, and a lack of information can leave a police investigation severely handicapped. This leads to crime spikes in local communities, driving police to suspect minorities yet again, encouraging more discrimination. The ensuing crime spiral is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

A final issue with the 287(g) agreement program is the impact it has on federalism, the system created by the American founders to protect against tyranny. Local police have a specific function – to protect local communities from serious crime – and federal immigration agents have their own function – to enforce federal immigration law. While my view on federal immigration policy is another story, separating jurisdictions provides each actor more efficiency in its operations. But federalism also guards against the usurpation of power by the larger branch, which in this case is the federal government. The founders implemented this system throughout the American government, and it tends to work. The 287(g) program, however, creates an unnecessary (and even dangerous) overlap between federal and state jurisdiction. It turns local police officers into federal agents, consequently offering their jurisdictions over to the federal government. The precedent set by 287(g) can have far-reaching negative effects on future policy. We cannot wait idly by as the federal government continues to usurp powers deliberately left to state and local governments. This provides yet another warrant for the abolishing the program once and for all. Through this act, communities can stand for their Constitutional rights and guard against the onslaught of federal usurpation.

Unfortunately, Trump is pursuing efforts to expand 287(g). The acting director of ICE even announced plans to triple the number of agreements by the end of 2017. This, to put it lightly, is not helpful. Trump should not be focusing on undocumented immigrants that pose little threat to overall safety or the economy. In fact, immigration generally boosts economic growth due to lower labor costs. Many politicians talk of immigrants “stealing” American jobs – a flawed understanding of macroeconomics. Businesses gain revenue from cheaper labor, which allows them to expand production, providing cheaper goods and even more jobs to the public. Undocumented immigration should not top of the list of “crack-down” priorities for the Trump administration, yet somehow it continues to pervade his policy and rhetoric.

While some may consider 287(g) rather irrelevant due to its small size and lack of media coverage, I consider it to be critical. Allowing “unimportant” policies to escape public attention is dangerous. It encourages policymakers to slide back-door regulations into large bills in hopes that they remain hidden. This practice is simply an extension of the nanny-state bureaucracy our government is currently devolving into. We, as individuals, have an obligation to preserve the principles of liberty that our country was founded upon. Without them, no nation can truly flourish. Take a stand against 287(g) and other federal policies that violate natural rights and grant officials broad, unnecessary power. United, we will remain a formidable force, against which tyranny cannot prevail.

Advertisements

We’re Gonna Die: How Oregon’s ‘Gas Crisis’ Shows the Psychological Trap of Government Intervention

By Mason Mohon | OREGON

The world is ending, or at least it is in Oregon. Since 1951, Oregon law has mandated that all gas stations have attendants working there to fill up gas on behalf of drivers. 

The intent of this law was to boost employment. Ever since it was made known that rural towns within Oregon would no longer have to abide by this law, all hell broke loose. Oregonians are afraid, and this “fear” shows an all too real issue in American society today: People have become attached to the state, so much so that they cannot bear to see life without it.

First, the situation within Oregon must be analyzed. As NPR reports, “As of Jan. 1, gas stations in counties with a population of less than 40,000 are permitted to offer self-service. While the change in the law is expected to affect a small number of people, Oregonians took to social media to express their discontent.” This discontent was great indeed and echoed what I would see in a post from The Onion. NPR went on to say “The responses to a now-viral Facebook post by a local TV station ranged from concerns about smelling like gasoline to being attacked by drifters lurking around stations. Some said they didn’t even know how to pump gas.”

Yes, these Oregonians are this scared and are this fearful of gas. As somebody who lives in Texas and pumps his own gas, I can confirm that pumping gas does not make you smell like anything.

This hysteria has raised a dangerous issue – once the government intervenes, people cannot even imagine life without it. A classic thought experiment free-market economics professors like to do is telling the student to imagine if the state were to nationalize t-shirt or sneaker productions. Most likely we wouldn’t be able to imagine life without it. The ones who do, though, are what Bastiat called the “good economists,” who were those that saw what was unseeable to the layman.

Oregonians were dependent on this regulation, and they are so scared of life without it that it has turned them into a national joke. This government dependent attitude is not new, though. Recently, taxes were cut, Obamacare was nearly destroyed, and net neutrality was repealed. People got so afraid of every single one of these actions in every end of the political spectrum. People couldn’t imagine the internet functioning without government regulation, nor could they imagine the rich paying fewer dollars in taxes or even being responsible for your own health.

This is a dangerous psychological threat to people everywhere. We cannot sit by and expect the state to do everything for us, because what if something goes wrong one day? What if the state collapses, shuts down, or misallocates resources? You’ve been so dependent on it that you will be helpless without it. People become dependent on the state, so they give it more power. The people in charge live off the dependent backs of the masses, and nobody will ever question. This is the danger of a lack of personal responsibility – when you become dependent on a person or organization, they can now control you.

Thankfully, Oregonians may discover a nice law of the free market. Chances are, they are going to discover that the market serves demand. Although there may not be much competition in rural areas, the stations that have servicemen filling up your car for you will probably have a competitive edge on other stations. Either way, though, this will probably cause Oregonians who do not see a continuation in served gas will both learn how to do a very easy task that they will have to do anytime out of the state and save a few dollars.

We must be incredibly wary when advocating for government involvement in any market, ever, for its damages can be detrimental to masses of individuals and society as a whole. The term “sheep” tends to be a bit of a cliche, but when it comes to being dependent, it definitely applies. Men are responsible. Sheep are dependent.

Government Has Stunted the Potential of Vaccines and the Free Market Can Fix It

By Will Arthur | USA

Recently doctors discovered that an Egyptian mummy (estimated to have died 2,000 years ago) died of bone cancer, in the mid 1300s tens of millions of people died from the Bubonic Plague, and when the colonization of America first began more Native Americans were killed by diseases from European immigrants (primarily smallpox) than any other source of death. These three instances are just a small fraction of all the disease and sickness humans have encountered, and these examples show that humans have been encountering disease and sickness as long as we have existed. Wouldn’t it be nice, however, if we had miracle potions that warded off deadly sicknesses? Well, we actually do have possible “miracle potions” that have the ability to fight off deadly illnesses, and they are called vaccines.

Today, smallpox is nearly eradicated from society and can only be found in small samples at two labs: one in Russia and the other in Atlanta, Georgia. If someone were to look at history as a whole though, they would see that smallpox plagued humanity for a great deal of time. In ancient times smallpox deaths were reduced by a technique called variolation (first used in Asia). These techniques of variolation greatly evolved when Edward Jenner created the first vaccine for smallpox in the year 1796. After about two centuries of advancement, vaccines have been used to rid the world of smallpox and many other deadly illnesses such as polio, tetanus, yellow fever, measles, etc.

If we look at all the accomplishments and diseases vaccines have been used to conquer there should be nothing but praise for them. In reality, however, the public news is filled with controversial articles on vaccines. A study by the Pew Research Center found that nine percent of people believe that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is unsafe, and seven percent of people do not know if the MMR vaccine is safe. This data shows that a significant portion (sixteen percent) of people have an uncertainty/distrust of vaccines. Why would anybody not find an advancement like vaccines (that prevent harmful diseases) safe?

There are many reasons why people believe that vaccines are negative in today’s society: medical studies and anecdotal reports being two major examples. These reasons are up for debate on if they are really justifiable reasons to view vaccines as unsafe because there is much disagreement on how true the studies and reports are. If we look at how the industry of vaccines is run today, however, we will find that there is a great deal of government involvement. This government involvement is an opening for controversy and distrust to creep into the industry. This controversy and distrust in turn negatively affect the potential of vaccines.

In America, legislation for vaccines has existed nearly as long as vaccines have. After Edward Jenner’s vaccination for smallpox was implemented into society and found to be successful the U.S. Vaccine Agency was established in 1813. The objective of this agency was to persuade the public to start getting vaccinated to protect public health. As time progressed the government transitioned from tactics of persuasion to tactics of coercion. There have been many acts of legislation since 1813 including (but not limited to) The Biologics Control Act in 1902 that created a board to take the licenses of makers and sellers of vaccines (now done under the FDA), every state having laws that require students (of public or private schools) to be vaccinated (with few exceptions that must be okayed by local governments), and The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 which shifted liability from vaccine makers and to the federal government (the taxpayers). Tactics of coercion can be found in the consequences that an individual faces when they choose to not follow the legislation (typically a fine or prison time).

All the legislation that exists today allows the government to effectively control the industry of vaccines. The FDA can decide who will be allowed to create and distribute the vaccines, chosen vaccine companies are given an endless market of consumers (the students) from the state governments, and vaccine companies are not responsible for any injuries or harm their customers face. This coercive and socialist approach to any industry takes away the motivation to meet customer standards and is a breeding ground for fraud, misuse of vaccines, and citizen distrust in the industry.

If the government instead took a laissez-faire approach to the vaccine industry and let the free market work its course vaccine companies would have to meet customer standards to make a profit. They would have to competitively engage in business to persuade (not coerce or force) customers and build trust that their vaccine is effective, helpful, and better than the competition’s product. Companies would also be motivated to advance and make their vaccines safer so they can avoid lawsuits from injured customers. In this scenario, citizens would be able to weigh the pros and cons of vaccination without the worry of consequences (fines and jail/prison time) for making the wrong decision.

With the higher degree trust and technological advancement derived from a capitalist (free market) system, more people would be likely to decide to use vaccinations to fight deadly sicknesses: than the other option of using the government to force people (with the threat of consequences) to get vaccinated and creating a distrust between the vaccine industry and citizens. This higher likelihood of people using vaccines and those vaccines being more effective would eradicate illnesses much faster and make communities safer: a sign that vaccines are approaching their potential to aid humanity.

Governmental Regulation: The Antiquated Barrier to Fresh Growth in America – Jesse Stretch

By Jesse Stretch | USA

The trade-off is a perception of public and consumer safety. A label that says you’re safe; a license to guarantee that a person is competent; a logbook proving experience. As a consuming American, the idea is that you’re never going to lose. You’ll never get hurt, swindled, tricked, ripped-off. The food you eat will be clean and wholesome. Your air conditioning man will be licensed and “know what he’s doing” as he crawls through your attic sporting tandem full-sleeve skull tats.

As a farmer, business owner, contractor and product producer, I am licensed and unlicensed in all sorts of fields that many of my customers and friends have never heard of or considered. I know from personal experience that barriers to growth and virtual impossibilities exist in the governmentally-instituted regulatory system that make starting or growing a small, fully compliant business almost impossible for the average working American.

Production and product costs in the agriculture field are up, with much of the rise
attributed directly to the time-intensive process of regulatory compliance. For instance, due to regulation, we must now drive two hours each way to have our cattle processed for customers, because the skilled butcher just down the road has decided that FDA inspection is a pain, and he would rather just process deer and livestock for personal consumption. He has decided that it is easier to turn down business than to comply with the FDA. We local farmers all know he’s a great butcher, but without the Federal Government’s consent, we can’t hire him to process meat for our customers.

In the age of free information transfer, where one person can communicate instantly with an entire nation of peers, the question arises: Do we always need the government to tell us what is safe and what is not? Do we need the government to tell us who to trust now that we have our friends and associates at our fingertips every hour of the day to give us reference?

The first regulatory agency in America was set up in the late 1800s to regulate the railroads. This agency was set up in part because a train could get from Point A to Point B faster than any other communication, meaning that railroad companies had the advantage of far superior information dissemination over the people. With that kind of speed and power, unethical manipulation of commerce was very possible. Thus, the Federal Government stepped in to regulate. Back in the 1800s, this made sense, and it protected small businesses and individuals from a larger manipulative entity.

From there, more than four hundred federal regulatory agencies have sprung up to protect us. They regulate your ability to own a dog, plant a tree, and buy certain foods. As many consumers are aware, purchasing and selling the formerly essential household product raw milk is now illegal in much of the United States. Not only did the federal government tell us that it’s better to pasteurize milk, they told us they’d fine and/or jail us for selling or purchasing its counterpart. There is something wrong with a system that outlaws an elemental, ancient, healthy, local food product. Raw milk is not dangerous.

Most of these regulations were devised years ago because people had no way to
communicate quickly to blow whistles on quality issues. If Farmer Joe sold a bunch of disease-ridden food which was then put on a train to New York City, the situation could escalate for days, weeks, before the word would get out. Hence, Farmer Joe faced regulation to ensure sanitation on the production end— aiding in the prevention disease outbreaks at the controllable single source and not the open multi-consumer end.

These days, however, technology gives consumer groups the ability to instantly report a
quality or service issue. One voice is no longer lost in a crowd, but can often be heard on social media or elsewhere online. Farmer Joe’s bad meat would last a day on the shelf, maybe less, and people would be wary of buying from him again. Society will govern itself in this way. Many federal food safety regulations are rendered almost pointless by this ability to communicate and establish relationships based on trust, free information, and consumer history rather than on an antiquated safeguarding oligarchy.

In all of this, we see the institution of government regulation costing money to producers
and consumers, while not delivering an adequate or necessary return on value for either party.

Over-regulation poses issues for the future of fresh business growth in America, as such
intensive and time-consuming compliance requirements stifle the ability for new ideas to reach fruition. I say fresh growth because that’s just what it is; it’s not a barrier to growth for entities with a net worth north of a few million dollars—they have the funds to hire compliance personnel and pay the fees required to grow under the watchful eye of the regulatory committees. The growth problem exists most for the small business who gets lost under the bureaucracy and can’t find daylight; the little farmer, craftsman, tradesperson—the local girl who wants to sell fresh pastries on her townhouse porch (but is shut down by food safety regulations) or the guy who has a few greenhouses and wants to peddle lettuce greens in a parking lot but can’t because he would need a location with tier three commercial zoning, the highest level of commercial zoning, just to do so.

My business is relatively simple: Farming and Landscaping. In this simplicity, however, one can find the reason why over 20 licenses and/or registration accounts are technically required for such a business to exist. Each license will cost money, take hours to complete, and many will require exams and/or yearly renewals. For a working person, maintaining twenty or more licenses can be virtually impossible—especially if the business is a startup.

There is a really old guy down the road from my farm who used to sit outside his garage
where he’d fashioned a small vegetable stand. They shut him down because of regulatory issues. He was sitting out there under a carport in his lawn chair sleeping half the day, selling tomatoes and melons that he grew in his backyard. They somehow found a way to shut that down because it was deemed a health issue.

Regulation has reached a point where the system no longer creates a safe environment for the consumer but rather projects upon the masses endless doldrums of big box stores and boring commercial multiplicities. Such intensive over-regulation overwhelms the business owner into a state of bewildering semi-compliance. The maze of rules and agencies sequesters growth, mildewing a stagnant climate of anti-creativity in which eligible and worthy business owners are forced to fudge or forego licensing information or credentials, and thereby subvert the institution of regulation itself.

Fresh growth begs simplicity, and simplicity will only come from casual civillydisobedient reformation. If everybody threw their pointless dog license papers away, the dog license would go away. If everybody started selling baked goods on the corner, the agencies would never enough have time to stop them all. I’m not advocating the complete disbanding of regulatory agencies, nor anarchy, but for small business to thrive, something has got to give.

Wouldn’t it be nice to go downtown on Sunday and buy pastries from the girl’s porch
just off Cary Street, eat fresh lettuce from a conscientious farmer, and cut open melons with an 80-year-old man in his carport? I think so.

I, for one, would like to spend less time filing paperwork and fudging truths to
bureaucracy, and more time farming and growing my business under the watchful eye of my peers—not the watchful eye of the federal and state bureaucracies. We don’t need the government to tell us who to trust, we have our friends in commerce for that now. The internet will oust a bad producer in an instant—their operation shall wither and die under the power of online public opinion. In the age of social media and abundant online information, the need for institutional regulation is fading.

To our government: There was a time when we needed your blessing on what farmer or tradesperson to trust. That is true. But this was before we could all get together and communicate instantly online. These days, thanks to the little flickering screens in our palms, we can regulate ourselves, tell our friends who they can trust, and spread our own truths instantly.

We don’t need an inspector to tell us that we can or can’t eat an old man’s produce—but
thanks anyway.

Trump is One of the Most Free Market-Oriented Presidents in Decades

Charlie Gengler | USA

With his biggest success of the year, Trump’s presidency is turning out to be a dream come true for the small government types.  He gave to his country the biggest reform of our wretched tax system in decades, saving U.S. citizens thousands.  But the most important part of his tax plan is by far his cut for corporations.  He lowered their taxes down to 21%, still higher than that of the socialist Europeans.  Many a pundit of the left claimed that this was stealing.  Yet, with the bill passed, they are proven wrong, and libertarians across the country rejoice. After all, less taxation is less theft. This comes off the back of a slew of free market-oriented decisions.

He started off manning a blitzkrieg on Obama-era regulations, freezing all regulations until expressly approved by his administration.  He also provided aid to those negatively affected by Obamacare, both of these on his first day in office.  He enacted a small review of federal regulations, studying there impact on domestic manufacturing, but the big one came just six days later, on January 30.  He wrote in executive order 13771, which decreed, “Unless prohibited by law, whenever an executive department… publicly proposes… new regulation, it shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed,” and at the end of the next month, he began enforcing this order. This was, and still is, huge.  It has, over the course of eleven months, eliminated 800+ regulations.  He went on to eliminate regulations in matters of climate, education and other matters.

Reducing regulations is only a slice of the pie, Trump has gone for nearly the whole shebang.  He has taken more libertarian stances on climate change, backing away from global pressures, and taking a hard stance on climate laws.  His trepidation with global politics shows his hesitations towards global government, the nightmare of many a small-government individual.  His stances on climate change are also inviting.  Libertarians, by principle, are against laws concerning climate in almost all circumstances, therefore we should implore Trump to continue this path.

Moreover, his stances on firearms are consistent with libertarian values.  He is against regulation on guns in every instance so far.  Trump is not only consistent with liberty valuing people on the 2nd amendment though, for his views on LGBT issues tend to fall in line with us.  He supports gay marriage, one of the few Republicans to do so,  but also, by proxy of the DOJ, supports the baker in the controversial case yet to come to the supreme court, Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  The president’s approval of the store, in this case, is vital to our republic.  Without it, the 1st amendment is under serious threat.

The only real complaint against Trump from libertarians came during his campaign, about the time when he was threatening libel laws.  The only problem?  He has yet to pose any threat to not only free speech but all major values consistent with our beliefs.  You might have qualms about his military policies or his stance on immigration, but, so far, he has been the smallest government president since Reagan.