Isabelle Morales

Pew Research Center Survey: By a 5:1 Ratio, Residents of Majority Minority Neighborhoods Say Uber and Lyft Bring Them Where Taxis Will Not Go

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, August 4th, 2020, 11:15 AM PERMALINK

By a 5:1 ratio, residents of majority-minority neighborhoods say rideshare services like Uber and Lyft “serve neighborhoods taxis won’t visit" according to a landmark Pew Research Center survey.

"Ride-hailing services are seen by minorities as a benefit to areas underserved by taxis," the research found.

Pew Research Center conducted a large survey of 4,787 American adults in 2016 in order to study the scope and impact of the shared, collaborative and on-demand economy. The survey found that Americans who live in majority-minority communities (where more than 50% of residents are racial or ethnic minorities) “are more likely than those who reside in predominately white neighborhoods to say that ride-hailing apps serve neighborhoods that taxis won’t visit.”

Over half (53%) of ride-hailing users living in majority-minority communities communicated to Pew Research Center that ride-hailing provides service to neighborhoods where traditional taxi services are scarce. Only 10% of those respondents disagreed with this statement. Below is a graph displaying these results.

Access to transportation is vital in these areas.

As Sara Heath of Xtelligent Healthcare Media explains, “Rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, are cruising into the healthcare spotlight. As medical professionals focus on improving patient access to care and addressing the social determinants of health (SDOH), these rideshare services are a cheap and effective option for meeting industry needs… For millions of patients across the country, getting a ride to a medical appointment is a genuine challenge. Public transportation can be unreliable or unavailable, many individuals lack access to their own vehicles, and patients may not always be able to secure a ride from a friend or family member at the right time.” According to the CDC, access to transportation is one of the most significant social determinants of health. 

Further, Uber/Lyft have offered a safe alternative to potentially dangerous situations. Many have opted for ridesharing rather than driving while intoxicated. Vulnerable populations, being primarily women, who are wary of walking or taking public transportation at late hours are given the option of a quick get-away with rideshare services.

Rideshare companies also prove useful when passengers are in a time crunch to get to work, an interview, or have to respond to a family emergency. 

The low price, efficiency, and non-discriminatory nature of ridesharing has opened these services to communities otherwise left unserved.

Pew Research Center Survey: By a 3-1 Ratio, Americans Consider Rideshare Drivers to be Independent Contractors

Biden Threatens Independent Contractors and Freelancers Nationwide

Photo Credit: Governor Kay Ivey


Pew Research Center Survey: By a 3-1 Ratio, Americans Consider Rideshare Drivers to be Independent Contractors

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Friday, July 31st, 2020, 2:00 PM PERMALINK

By a 3-1 radio, Americans consider rideshare drivers to be independent contractors and not employees, according to a landmark Pew Research Center survey.

Pew Research Center conducted a sizable survey of 4,787 American adults in 2016 in order to study the scope and impact of the shared, collaborative and on-demand economy. The survey found that most Americans who were aware of the regulatory debate surrounding these areas of the economy do not consider rideshare drivers to be employees, and believe the government should use a light regulatory touch in this area of the economy.

Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) in California is now requiring companies in the gig economy to reclassify their workers as employees. On the national level, Congressional Democrats are attempting to do the same with the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act)

As noted by Pew, most rideshare users do not consider drivers to be employees. In fact, “66% of ride-hailing users think of the drivers who work for these services as independent contractors, while 23% view them as employees of the app or service.”

Similarly, most users consider these to be companies software companies as opposed to transportation companies.

Here is the Pew Research graph that shows these two results:

As noted by Pew, "the clear preference for a light regulatory approach among partisans in all camps is striking."

In general, ride-hailing users themselves tend to favor the notion (by a two-to-one ratio) that rideshare services should not have to follow the same rules and regulations as taxi operators do.

As Pew Research explains, “Among ride-hailing users who have heard of this debate, 57% believe that these services should not be required to follow the existing regulations that are in place for incumbent providers, while just 27% believe that existing rules and regulations should in fact apply to these new market entrants.” Even among self-identified Democrats, only 30% believed that existing taxi rules and regulations should apply to rideshare companies. 

See Also: Biden Threatens Independent Contractors and Freelancers Nationwide

 

Photo Credit: Stock Catalog


Deregulatory Highlight: Trump Administration Cleared the Way for States to Allow Food Trucks at Roadside Rest Areas

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Thursday, July 16th, 2020, 12:30 PM PERMALINK

In April, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration suspended enforcement measures under the Federal-aid Highway Program for States that choose to permit commercial food trucks to operate and sell food in federally-funded Interstate Highway rest areas. This suspension will last the duration of the national emergency.

With limited exceptions, privatization and commercial activity are prohibited in Interstate Highway rest areas as a condition of federal funding. Allowing food trucks to operate in these areas has provided vital sustenance to truck drivers and other travelers, as many restaurants and other food services are closed.

As per the federal notice announcement:

“America’s commercial truck drivers are working day and night during this pandemic to ensure critical relief supplies are being delivered to our communities,” said FHWA Administrator Nicole R. Nason. “I am grateful to our state transportation partners for bringing this idea to the Department and for their leadership in thinking outside the box. It is critical to make sure truck drivers continue to have access to food services while they’re on the job serving our nation during these challenging times.”

Since the federal government gave states the green light, at least 11 states have begun allowing food trucks at their rest areas.

Note the announcements below from Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Connecticut, West Virginia, Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota, Colorado, and California:

Arkansas - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) will issue temporary permits for certified food truck operators to serve truckers at two rest stops in the state, according to a release from the Arkansas Trucking Association on Thursday. The move is an effort to ensure greater food options for truck drivers during the month of April so that they have a safe place to eat while carrying essential goods and aid to communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic." - KNWA FOX 24 (4/2/2020)

Florida - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"Florida will now allow food trucks to operate at select rest stops, after a Channel 3 investigation found that the state was behind on a national effort to keep truckers fed and on schedule during this coronavirus pandemic." - Channel 3 WEAR TV (4/8/2020)

Indiana - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"INDOT has launched a program to allow licensed food truck drivers and vendors to set up at a rest area throughout the state,” said Debbie Calder. She is the Communications Director for the Indiana Department of Transportation. It's a temporary program that will help essential travelers who are dealing with a limited availability of food due to COVID-19 restaurant restrictions." - WLFI News 18 (4/9/2020)

Ohio - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"To address one of the biggest challenges truck drivers face, access to a hot meal, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is temporarily opening the state's 86 rest areas to food trucks. "Truck drivers are the lifeblood of the economy and their jobs have never been more critical than now," said Governor Mike DeWine. "I've heard from many in the trucking industry that finding a place to eat while they're on the road has been tough, but we're here to help."" - Ohio Department of Transportation (4/10/2020)

Connecticut - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) today announced that food trucks will be permitted to set up in several rest areas along Connecticut highways, with the goal of feeding hungry truckers and other essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The action is the result of an Executive Order issued today by Governor Ned Lamont, lifting restrictions on commercial activity in highway rest areas." - Connecticut Department of Transportation (4/10/2020)

West Virginia - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"Gov. Justice announces that the West Virginia Division of Highways has set guidelines allowing for food trucks at rest areas as a temporary measure to ease the burden on truck drivers during the ongoing pandemic." - Office of Governor Jim Justice (4/13/2020)

Arizona - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) shall issue no-fee permits to mobile food vendors otherwise licensed pursuant to A.R.S. 36-136(I)(4) to provide take-away food service at state rest areas." - Office of Governor Doug Ducey (4/15/2020), Executive Order: 2020-31

Idaho - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"An emergency exemption by the Idaho Transportation Department will allow permitted food trucks to set up at rest areas and offer hot meals to truck drivers and other travelers.

“We heard truck drivers were having difficulties finding hot meals with the restrictions placed on nonessential businesses during the stay-at-home order,” said Nestor Fernandez, ITD’s Mobility Services Engineer. “Our goal is to support them as best as we can during this pandemic, especially long-haul drivers delivering goods across the U.S.”" - Idaho Transportation Department (4/16/2020)

Minnesota - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"Consistent with the FHWA’s April 3, 2020 Notice of Enforcement Discretion, the restrictions in Minnesota Statutes 2019, sections 160.08, subdivision 7, and 160.2725, subdivision 1, are waived to the extent that they prohibit commercial food trucks from operating and selling food in designated highway rest areas." - Office of Governor Tim Walz (5/1/2020)

Colorado - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"I temporarily suspend the restriction in C.R.S. § 43-3-101(3) that no commercial enterprise shall be conducted or authorized on any property designated as or acquired for or in connection with a freeway or highway by the department of transportation, or any other governmental agency for commercial food truck. I direct the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation to issue temporary permits to allow commercial food trucks in Colorado’s rest and commercial trucking refueling areas to support truckers and commercial vehicle activity." - Office of Governor Jared Polis (5/2/2020)

California - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"The order also extends permission for commercially-licensed food trucks to operate in roadside rest areas, in compliance with a temporary permit issued by Caltrans…" - Office of Governor Gavin Newsom (6/15/2020)

If these changes were made permanent, it could help truckers, families, and food trucks by providing more substantive, cost-effective, nutritional food options. Additionally, locally-owned food trucks are then allowed to expand where they conduct business and help showcase local and regional foods.

See also: National List of Federal, State, and Local De-Regulations Related to the Coronavirus

 

Photo Credit: Charleston's TheDigitel


State COVID Deregulations Allow Food Trucks at Roadside Rest Areas

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020, 2:55 PM PERMALINK

In a piece of deregulatory good news, at least 11 states have begun allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas. These actions are included in Americans for Tax Reform's running list of nationwide deregulatory actions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rest areas are typically owned and run by state transportation departments and offer a meek selection of vending machine chips and cookies. Food selections are limited for truckers and families who spend days and nights traveling through the United States. 

During the pandemic, many states have opted to close these rest areas while truckers are expected to work longer hours, carry heavier loads, and do more deliveries. Some states have recognized this problem and opened up rest areas to the private market; namely, they have allowed food trucks to serve motorists at rest areas.

After the Department of Transportation issued a notice to State Departments of Transportation that the agency is suspending enforcement measures under the Federal-aid Highway Program for States that choose to permit commercial food trucks to operate and sell food, at least 11 states followed suit:

Arkansas - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) will issue temporary permits for certified food truck operators to serve truckers at two rest stops in the state, according to a release from the Arkansas Trucking Association on Thursday. The move is an effort to ensure greater food options for truck drivers during the month of April so that they have a safe place to eat while carrying essential goods and aid to communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic." - KNWA FOX 24 (4/2/2020)

Florida - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"Florida will now allow food trucks to operate at select rest stops, after a Channel 3 investigation found that the state was behind on a national effort to keep truckers fed and on schedule during this coronavirus pandemic." - Channel 3 WEAR TV (4/8/2020)

Indiana - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"INDOT has launched a program to allow licensed food truck drivers and vendors to set up at a rest area throughout the state,” said Debbie Calder. She is the Communications Director for the Indiana Department of Transportation. It's a temporary program that will help essential travelers who are dealing with a limited availability of food due to COVID-19 restaurant restrictions." - WLFI News 18 (4/9/2020)

Ohio - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"To address one of the biggest challenges truck drivers face, access to a hot meal, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is temporarily opening the state's 86 rest areas to food trucks. "Truck drivers are the lifeblood of the economy and their jobs have never been more critical than now," said Governor Mike DeWine. "I've heard from many in the trucking industry that finding a place to eat while they're on the road has been tough, but we're here to help."" - Ohio Department of Transportation (4/10/2020)

Connecticut - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) today announced that food trucks will be permitted to set up in several rest areas along Connecticut highways, with the goal of feeding hungry truckers and other essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The action is the result of an Executive Order issued today by Governor Ned Lamont, lifting restrictions on commercial activity in highway rest areas." - Connecticut Department of Transportation (4/10/2020)

West Virginia - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"Gov. Justice announces that the West Virginia Division of Highways has set guidelines allowing for food trucks at rest areas as a temporary measure to ease the burden on truck drivers during the ongoing pandemic." - Office of Governor Jim Justice (4/13/2020)

Arizona - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) shall issue no-fee permits to mobile food vendors otherwise licensed pursuant to A.R.S. 36-136(I)(4) to provide take-away food service at state rest areas." - Office of Governor Doug Ducey (4/15/2020), Executive Order: 2020-31

Idaho - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"An emergency exemption by the Idaho Transportation Department will allow permitted food trucks to set up at rest areas and offer hot meals to truck drivers and other travelers.

“We heard truck drivers were having difficulties finding hot meals with the restrictions placed on nonessential businesses during the stay-at-home order,” said Nestor Fernandez, ITD’s Mobility Services Engineer. “Our goal is to support them as best as we can during this pandemic, especially long-haul drivers delivering goods across the U.S.”" - Idaho Transportation Department (4/16/2020)

Minnesota - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"Consistent with the FHWA’s April 3, 2020 Notice of Enforcement Discretion, the restrictions in Minnesota Statutes 2019, sections 160.08, subdivision 7, and 160.2725, subdivision 1, are waived to the extent that they prohibit commercial food trucks from operating and selling food in designated highway rest areas." - Office of Governor Tim Walz (5/1/2020)

Colorado - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"I temporarily suspend the restriction in C.R.S. § 43-3-101(3) that no commercial enterprise shall be conducted or authorized on any property designated as or acquired for or in connection with a freeway or highway by the department of transportation, or any other governmental agency for commercial food truck. I direct the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation to issue temporary permits to allow commercial food trucks in Colorado’s rest and commercial trucking refueling areas to support truckers and commercial vehicle activity." - Office of Governor Jared Polis (5/2/2020)

California - Allowing food trucks to operate at rest areas

"The order also extends permission for commercially-licensed food trucks to operate in roadside rest areas, in compliance with a temporary permit issued by Caltrans…" - Office of Governor Gavin Newsom (6/15/2020)

Along with helping truckers and motorists stay fed, Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin explains that this change will offer business opportunities for food trucks hit hard by stay-at-home health orders.

These deregulatory orders should be made permanent. This would help truckers, families, and food trucks by providing more substantive, cost-effective, nutritional food options. Additionally, locally-owned food trucks are then allowed to expand where they conduct business and help showcase local and regional foods.

A potential consequence of the pandemic is that Americans may increase car travel. Expanded food options would be immensely beneficial for the states, travelers, and businesses typically shut out by contractual agreements between states and restaurant vendors.

Americans for Tax Reform has a running list of COVID-induced federal, state, and local deregulations, which can be found at www.ATR.org/Rules.

 

Photo Credit: CityofStPete


Norquist: Corporate Tax Rate Should Be Cut to 10 Percent

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, May 19th, 2020, 3:45 PM PERMALINK

ATR president Grover Norquist joined Stuart Varney on Fox Business Network's Varney & Co. to discuss lowering the corporate income tax rate, which could help bring businesses back to the United States and aid the country in recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

Varney brings up that, while cutting the corporate tax rate would be great, it simply will not happen if President Trump doesn’t win reelection.

Norquist responded:

“When President Trump won in 2016, we took the rate from 35 percent—highest in the world—down to 21 percent. The President wanted 15 percent, but Congress would only give him 21 percent. 21 percent is much better than 35 percent.

Remember, Communist China is at 25 percent. Before Trump, to invest in an American company, you were taxed… more than 1/3 more because you were investing in America, so it made sense to invest money in other countries, as the corporate rate was lower in other countries. We were driving people out of the United States into Canada—into other countries. Ten percent would be better, 15 percent would be better… but it should be for everybody, not just people leaving China—people thinking about going to China should get 10 percent as well.”

Varney then rightly mentions that, with the House currently being controlled by the Democrats, a corporate tax rate cut wouldn’t pass until Republicans gain seats back. Grover acknowledges this and takes it further, discussing how the corporate tax rate would look under a Biden presidency:

“Not only not with this Congress, but Biden, who is the Democratic nominee, we assume, argued for going back to 35 percent. Sometimes he says 28 percent, sometimes he says, “repeal it all,” which means 35 percent. So whatever Biden is supporting that day—28 percent or 35 percent—in both cases he wants to tax companies that invest in America, more damagingly, with a higher rate than Communist China… Biden would bring us back to the hemorrhaging.”

Decreasing the corporate tax rate would give American businesses desperately-needed relief, keep businesses in America, and incentivize businesses to come back to America.

Watch the interview here. 


San Francisco Mayor Imposes Harmful Price Controls on Third-Party Deliveries

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Wednesday, April 15th, 2020, 12:50 PM PERMALINK

Despite overwhelming historical evidence that price controls never work, one mayor is trying her hand at it again. San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed on April 10 imposed price controls on the third-party food delivery commissions. Specifically, third-party food delivery services can no longer charge more than 15% commission. Normal commission fees can be anywhere from 10-30%.

This price control will harm delivery providers, restaurants, and consumers and make food delivery more expensive. An increase in the price of delivery will cause fewer people to order which will reduce much-needed revenue for restaurants and workers.

GrubHub, a food delivery service that operates in San Francisco, sent out an email encouraging its users to oppose the measure. Grubhub said the following: “Mayor London Breed wants to impose a limit on a restaurant’s ability to pay for delivery services. This will increase your fees by $5–10 per order and immediately cripple delivery orders, outweighing any potential benefits when takeout is the only option restaurants have to stay open.”

In a letter to Mayor Breed, DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub, and Postmates said:

"Any cap on commission fees—regardless of the duration—will result in damaging, unintended consequences for San Franciscans from all walks of life. To date, no city has enacted a cap on delivery commissions. If the City attempts to dictate contract terms between delivery services and restaurants, it would force our services to radically alter our businesses just as we desperately try to meet the needs of restaurants, delivery people, customers, and our communities. This would result in making food delivery more expensive—putting it out of reach for all but the city’s most prosperous residents—and significantly reducing restaurant revenues and earning opportunities for thousands of residents."

Many restaurants would have little or no sales during the COVID-19 pandemic without services like GrubHub, Uber Eats, Postmates, and DoorDash. The delivery services have drivers to pay, employees to support, and a business to maintain. Cutting a large source of revenue in half is radically problematic.

Uber in particular has, voluntarily, taken significant steps in helping fight the effects of the pandemic. For example, they're providing 10 million rides and food deliveries to healthcare workers, seniors and people in need, free of charge. They’ve committed to providing 300,000 free meals on UberEats to first responders and healthcare workers in the US and Canada, 100,000 in London, and 25,000 in Australia and New Zealand. They've also eliminated the delivery fee on consumers for local restaurants. 

Delivery services will have to increase the raw cost of the delivery on their customers in order to make up for lost revenues. In this case, as with any other price increase on consumers, consumers will buy less of it.

This means that, in an effort to "save" local restaurants in the San Francisco area, Mayor Breed, instead, is discouraging consumers from ordering local food at all.

Photo Credit: Haydn Blackey


Uber is Taking Significant Steps to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, April 7th, 2020, 12:49 PM PERMALINK

Uber is taking several actions to support its drivers, customers, business partners, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are one of several businesses stepping up to the plate during this time. 

A few weeks ago, Uber published its first changes in policy; the company has continued adding to this list of measures since.  

In regards to public safety, Uber is working with local public health authorities in order to temporarily suspend accounts of those who have contracted the virus. Any driver or delivery person whose account is suspended for this reason can be eligible for up to 14 days of financial assistance while their account is on hold. Uber has also incorporated in-app public health messages into the app, suspended Uber Pool, and created a no-contact “leave at door” delivery feature. They’ve even started, in a few areas, allowing UberEats orders to be done over a dedicated phone number for those who do not have smartphones.  

In addition to some of these in-app feature changes, Uber is also committed to providing 10 million rides and food deliveries to healthcare workers, seniors and people in need, free of charge. In addition to free rides and deliveries, they’ve also committed to providing “300,000 free meals on Uber Eats to first responders and healthcare workers in the US and Canada, 100,000 in London, and 25,000 in Australia and New Zealand.” For those in vulnerable populations, Uber announced discounted rides for those in San Francisco, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Seattle. 

Below, Brooklyn Council Member Mark Treyger announced that, through this program, 800 workers at Coney Island Hospital received $25 each to use for UberEats:

Stephanie Silver, a health care provider who had been treating COVID-19 patients, was able to receive a free ride home because of this program:

In order to help keep local restaurants afloat, Uber has waived delivery fees on all orders from independent restaurants. This will encourage more customers to buy from these places. For restaurants who hadn’t delivered through UberEats before, the company has made it quicker and easier to sign up; currently, they have reduced their wait times to less than 24 hours for sign-ups. They're also contributing to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, in which grants will be rewarded to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, whether that be through a decrease in wages or a loss of employment.

These are just a few examples of the actions Uber is taking to fight COVID-19: they have also been active in donating, partnering with transit agencies, helping facilitate the transportation of essential workers, and providing perks and protective measures for its drivers and delivery people. 

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted out his appreciation for Uber's many services to the people of New York City including $1,000,000+ in free meals and rides, $750,000 in free rides to the mayor's fund, 10,000 free meals for H+H workers, and 3,500 meals for FDNY:

Uber is a prime example of how the private sector and innovative technologies support communities during this challenging time.

 

Photo Credit: Stock Catalog


Canadian Court Rules Trudeau's Carbon Tax Unconstitutional

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Friday, February 28th, 2020, 10:20 AM PERMALINK

Declaring Trudeau's carbon tax an unconstitutional, wholesale takeover of provincial rights, the Court of Appeal of Alberta struck down the controversial law in a 4-1 decision. The carbon tax (formally, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act) mandates minimum national standards for carbon pricing of commodities and activities that produce greenhouse gasses.

In the 2017-2018 school year, this law cost one school district in Canada $3.3 million, forcing them to kick nearly 400 students off buses. The Calgary Herald reported

"... fewer buses have meant fewer stops, longer commutes and more difficult schedules for families. Many students have also been transferred to public transit.

Busing has been such a challenge for families, adjusting to schedules. It’s a bit challenging that we’re in a situation where we’ve had to remove almost 400 students from buses in order to pay for the carbon tax in addition to the other impacts on the organization."

Trudeau's government defended the constitutionality of the law on one basis only: “It falls within the national concern doctrine of Parliament’s peace, order and good government (POGG) power.” 

The POGG doctrine, or the national concern doctrine, allows Parliament “to make Laws for the Peace, Order and good Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces.” 

This doctrine has only been invoked six times in the country’s history—three times successfully. In this case, even with the arbitrary nature of that specific passage, the court found that the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act violates that passage and others, as it is a “wholesale takeover of a collection of clear provincial jurisdictions and rights.”

The Constitution Acts of Canada specifically says that each province may exclusively make laws in relation to...

(a) exploration for non-renewable natural resources in the province;

(b) development, conservation and management of non-renewable natural resources and forestry resources in the province, including laws in relation to the rate of primary production therefrom; and;

(c) development, conservation and management of sites and facilities in the province for the generation and production of electrical energy.

In this way, the Constitution Acts appear to clearly prohibit a federal mandate on provinces regarding laws that only the legislatures of the provinces have the authority to pass. 

This brings up an interesting aspect of the carbon tax debate in the United States that often goes undiscussed. A national carbon tax would have severe impacts on states themselves. The CBO estimated that a carbon tax would increase direct and indirect energy costs to federal, state, and local governments by 13 to 14%. This covers compliance costs, not even accounting for the inevitable costs of revenue and growth shrinkage. According to the Institute for Energy Research, this puts a huge burden on the states to pay for the federal government’s mistake: they would likely have to raise taxes, cut spending, or demand revenue sharing from the federal government. 

Though carbon tax supporters have spent years claiming sizable and growing public support for a carbon tax, voters have regularly rejected the policy. Once the real, dire implications of a carbon tax start to settle in voters' minds, surface-level support for such a policy crumbles.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, explains it this way:

“A carbon tax raises the cost of gasoline for your car, your home heating and conditioning and hikes the cost of living. Voters throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and France have sent the same message: NO to any energy tax/carbon tax. Rarely has any policy proposal been so thoroughly tested and rejected over time and by voters around the world.”

This kind of policy has intrusive, anti-federalist implications no matter where it is implemented.

The Court of Appeal of Alberta described Trudeau's national carbon tax this way: 

“The Act is a constitutional Trojan horse. Buried within it are wide ranging discretionary powers the federal government has reserved unto itself. Their final shape, substance and outer limits have not yet been revealed.”

Photo Credit: Government of Alberta


Michael Bloomberg is Running to Become America's Nanny

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, February 18th, 2020, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

Always be wary of politicians who want to control individuals’ behavior for the sake of their “well-being.” The prevalence of these paternalistic policies create what we call a “Nanny State.” Any policy created under this rationale must be based on this assumption: politicians know how to live your life better than you do. 

Ronald Reagan once said: ‘‘Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.’’

The position of humility is the non-interventionist one: people should decide how they want to live their lives and reap the benefits, or consequences, of those decisions. The idea that the government should become an intermediary between your decisions and the subsequent effects makes null our value in responsibility and accountability.

Among the 2020 Democratic candidates, former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg stands out as one of the biggest proponents of the Nanny State.

In a 2018 interview with Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg contested that taxing the poor helps them live longer and "deal with themselves."

Bloomberg: "Some people say, well, taxes are regressive... That's the good thing about them because the problem is in people that don't have a lot of money. And so, higher taxes should have a bigger impact on their behavior and how they deal with themselves. So, I listen to people saying 'oh we don't want to tax the poor.’ Well, we want the poor to live longer so that they can get an education and enjoy life. And that's why you do want to do exactly what a lot of people say you don't want to do... Taxes or life? Which do you want to do? Take your poison."

Here are just a few more examples of the paternalistic policies Bloomberg championed as mayor:

1. The Infamous Soda Ban 

Michael Bloomberg proposed the sugary drinks portion cap rule, or the “soda ban,” on May 30, 2012. This proposed amendment would have barred restaurants, movie theaters, food carts, and other businesses subject to NYC Board of Health regulation from selling sodas and other sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces. The rule made its way through the courts to eventually be found unconstitutional. The New York Court of Appeals found that the New York City Board of Health exceeded “the scope of its regulatory authority,” in implementing this rule. 

The New York City Council passed the Women's Restroom Equity Bill with Mayor Bloomberg’s support. This bill establishes a 2-to-1 ratio for women's restrooms in new public venues like bars, restaurants, and concert halls.

Yvette D. Clarke, the bill's chief sponsor, explained that women are conditioned to expect restroom lines; she called this "degrading."

3. Banning Trans Fats from Restaurants

In 2006, New York City’s Board of Health, under the direction of Mayor Bloomberg, banned artificial trans fats from all of the city’s restaurants. 

At the time, “restaurant industry representatives called the ban burdensome and unnecessary.” 

The Bloomberg administration implemented a measure to force chain restaurants (with 15 or more outlets in New York City or across the country) to display calorie information on their menus or menu boards.

A study done at the NYU Langone Medical Center found that the amount of calories consumed at NYC restaurants with calorie displays was statistically the same as those without calorie displays. 

5. A War on Salt

In 2010, the Bloomberg administration unveiled a broad health initiative aimed at pressuring food manufacturers and restaurant chains to diminish the amount of salt in their products.

The administration went so far as to ban food donations to homeless shelters because they couldn't assess the sodium levels in the donated foods.

Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg’s biggest “accomplishment,” New York City banned smoking in commercial establishments like bars and restaurants in 2003, even if those establishments had allowed it themselves. In 2011, NYC banned smoking in city parks, on beaches, boardwalks, and in pedestrian plazas. Citing the danger of “second-hand smoke” as the reason for these policies, Mayor Bloomberg argued that they were necessary to improve public health. 

Ironically, in 2013, Mayor Bloomberg rushed through a law to extend the NYC Smoke-Free Air Act to include e-cigarettes. The use of e-cigs is now forbidden in indoor and outdoor locations wherever smoking is banned. E-cigarettes do not release any second-hand (or first-hand) smoke. 

Mayor Bloomberg signed a city-wide ban on flavored tobacco products into law in 2009. The legislation covers “chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb or spice flavors,” but exempts “tobacco, menthol, mint or wintergreen flavors.”

The federal ban, at the time, was limited to cigarettes; Bloomberg extended this ban to cigars and smokeless tobacco in New York City.

In 2013, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for legislation to make New York the first U.S. city to require stores to conceal tobacco products. This legislation would require that tobacco products be kept in cabinets, under the counter, behind a curtain, or somewhere else concealed from consumers’ eyes. 

Mayor Bloomberg facilitated a 2013 campaign to encourage teens and young adults to turn down the music on their headphones. This campaign cost the city of New York $250,000. 

The Mayor also led the effort to prohibit any commercial music sources from exceeding 45 decibels as measured in a residence.

As the New York Post explains, “The Hearing Loss Prevention Media Campaign will target teens and young adults, conducting focus-group interviews and using social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Bloomberg has had a bug about ear-splitting rackets since taking office at City Hall, making noise reduction one of his key quality-of-life initiatives.”

In 2006, Mayor Bloomberg implemented a city-wide ban on cellphones in New York City public schools. CBS News reported students dismantling their phones to get past metal detectors at school and hiding their phones in areas where they knew school officials would not pat them down. Overall, parents were infuriated by the ban, “insisting they need to stay in touch with their children in case of another crisis like Sept. 11.”

In the face of all of this anger, Mayor Bloomberg refused to drop the ban, claiming that cellphones are distractions used to cheat, take inappropriate photos in the bathroom, and organize gang rendezvous. 

Despite Bloomberg’s suspicions, students are probably just scrolling through their Instagram feeds. Most schools take an "out-of-sight, out-of-trouble" approach.

Our government exists to ensure each of us lives safely and freely. A small group of politicians in Washington or a city council, for that matter, has no business deciding how life should be lived by the masses. 

It is not the government’s job to dictate need, nor mandate our priorities. Bloomberg’s violations of human autonomy were objectionable when done in New York City. If done on the national level, his policies would be devastating.

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr


Norquist: This is the 401k Election

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, February 11th, 2020, 10:19 AM PERMALINK

ATR president Grover Norquist joined Stuart Varney on Fox Business Network's Varney & Co.  on Monday to discuss Tax Cuts 2.0 and the 2020 Democratic candidates' policy proposals. 

Norquist pointed out that all of the Democrats' proposed fiscal policies would roll back the growth we've seen under the current administration and make Americans' life savings worth less. 

Norquist said: 

"Everything the Democrats want to do—everything—will make your 401k worth less. This is the 401k/IRA election because the President's policies have made your life savings worth significantly more than you expected.

So, efforts to cut taxes and expand the availability of 401k/IRA-style savings remind people, not only how well you've done, but that we can do better... The Democrats will take away that which gave us this growth and this comeback."

Click here to watch the interview.


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