Category Archives: Regulation

California’s Centrally Planned Neighborhoods

Federalism, Founding Fathers, Private Property, Regulation

Think Americans still live in the decentralized republic the Founding Fathers bequeathed? Think  Americans benefit from a federal form of government, where control is local and residents get to decide about the character of the place they inhabit? Think again.

Consider California’s housing-supply law. If residents of a community don’t want to “develop” their corner of the world—if they wish to preserve the character of the place they call home—Big Brother Central Planner will make them.

Gavin Newsom, California’s new governor, is  suing “Huntington Beach, a coastal city in Orange County, for failing to comply with the state’s housing-supply law.”

California has a severe shortage of affordable housing, and he wants to bring a sense of urgency to the problem. The state has the highest poverty rate in America when adjusted for the cost of living. One-third of renters pay more than half of their income towards rent, and homeownership rates in the state are at their lowest level since the 1940s.

The lawsuit against Huntington Beach is meant to be a warning shot to cities that they cannot stonewall development. Fifty years ago the state passed a “housing element” law requiring communities to plan for new housing for all income groups, based on forecasts for population growth. In 2017 the state legislature passed several bills to speed up housing development and approvals. Until recently many cities have not met their housing numbers but faced little consequence …

MORE: “Why California’s governor is suing Huntington Beach: Can a lawsuit compel upscale cities to build more housing?

Boeing 737 Max Disaster Reflects Boeing’s Design ‘Philosophy’

Business, Regulation, Technology, The State

Bill Scott:
“The current problem with the brand new Boeing 737 Max stems from a major, disastrous shift in Boeing design philosophy that now allows computers to control critical functions without pilots’ knowledge or control. Pilots MUST be kept in the loop and be able to disconnect all automated flight-control functions with one switch on the control column and/or throttle(s). The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) on the B737-8 MAX aircraft violates that (and other) tenets that Boeing once considered sacrosanct. And the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) let them get away with it.”

**

William B. Scott, author of “The Permit,” is a full-time author and consultant. He retired in 2007 as the Rocky Mountain Bureau Chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology. Over a 22-year career with the international magazine, he wrote more than 2,500 stories, and received 17 editorial awards. He is a coauthor of two other novels, “Space Wars: The First Six Hours of World War III” and “Counterspace: The Next Hours of World War III,” and a nonfiction book, “Inside the Stealth Bomber: The B-2 Story.”

During a nine-year Air Force career, Bill served as aircrew on classified airborne-sampling missions, collecting nuclear debris by flying through radioactive clouds; an electronics engineering officer at the National Security Agency, developing satellite communications security systems; and an instrumentation and flight test engineer on U.S. Air Force fighter and transport aircraft development programs.

Bill is a Flight Test Engineer graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and a licensed commercial pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings. He has logged approximately 2,000 hours on 80 aircraft types, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from California State University-Sacramento.

PLASTIC POLLUTION: Bans vs. Recycling Solutions

Business, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Regulation

Independent Institute: | www.independent.org

… One need only compare Disneyland, for example, with a
national park or a public beach to see the environmental
benefits of privatization.

EPS (expanded polystyren) producers themselves have little incentive
to invest in recycling technologies, since creating
new EPS is cheaper than recycling it. Foam takeout
packaging is cheaper than most paper alternatives,
making it appealing to food vendors (particularly
small vendors).

Governments that already manage waste disposal have some incentive to try to control
the problem, but they may not be best equipped
to do so, or the most efficient at handling the
problem. As mentioned above, blanket bans of EPS
products in food service can generate economic
and environmental costs, and thus it may not be an
effective solution to pollution.
Private Action

Private recyclers and companies have made progress
in reducing the impact of EPS pollution. Some private
companies are making decisions to move away from
EPS of their own accord. Other private companies
are looking at making recycling more efficient and
more accessible.

Several large retail companies—Dunkin’ Donuts,
Target, McDonald’s, Crate and Barrel
, and others—
have announced or implemented plans to phase out EPS
packaging in favor of paper and more easily recyclable
plastic options. Dunkin’ Donuts says that the shift is
“part of its commitment to serve both people and the
planet responsibly,” which echoes the sentiments of other
companies moving away from EPS.

Starbucks® recently announced a $10 million grant to encourage development
of a new, more environmentally friendly coffee cup.

Larger companies that can afford to shift away from
EPS products to more expensive alternatives may do so
in response to public pressure and in an attempt to be
better corporate citizens. If local governments are intent on
implementing EPS bans, they would do better to focus on
large companies that can afford to make the change, rather
than small, local businesses that get hit hard by EPS bans.

Other private groups are working to advance EPS
recycling efforts. Since most municipal recyclers do not
recycle EPS, most of the material ends up in landfills
or wherever the wind takes it. Some private companies
will pick up used, clean EPS and recycle it for a small
price. Unfortunately, most of those recyclers accept only
uncontaminated EPS and, even then, frequently operate
at a loss. Sedona Recycles, a nonprofit recycler in Sedona,
Arizona, says that recycling EPS costs them $725.85 per
pallet.

They continue to recycle, using donations, and
try to reduce EPS pollution with every pallet they process …

READ THE REST: “PLASTIC POLLUTION: Bans vs. Recycling Solutions.”

More Mediocre, IT Worker-Bees On The Way From Bangalore

Economy, IMMIGRATION, Labor, Outsourcing, Regulation, Technology

Nothing much has changed. “Government”—what a neutral way way of putting it—is preparing to hand out H-1B visas for so-called high-skilled (they’re not) foreign workers by lottery, without changes to previous policy. See “U.S. Prepares to Distribute H-1B Visas Without Trump-Demanded Changes.” Who’s the biggest winner, Tata, Infosys or Microsoft?

Again and again this column has relayed the truth about the H1B scam. The last time was in Why The H-1B Visa Racket Should Be Abolished, Not Reformed“:

… Why doesn’t the president know that the H-1B visa category is not a special visa for highly skilled individuals, but goes mostly to average workers? “Indian business-process outsourcing companies, which predominantly provide technology support to corporate back offices,” by the Economist’s accounting.

Overall, the work done by the H-1B intake does not require independent judgment, critical reasoning or higher-order thinking. “Average workers; ordinary talent doing ordinary work,” attest the experts who’ve been studying this intake for years. The master’s degree is the exception within the H-1B visa category.

More significant: THERE IS a visa category that is reserved exclusively for individuals with extraordinary abilities and achievement. I know, because the principal sponsor in our family received this visa. I first wrote about the visa that doesn’t displace ordinary Americans in … 2008:

It’s the O-1 visa.

“Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics,” states the Department of Homeland Security, “means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.”

Most significant: There is no cap on the number of O-1 visa entrants allowed. Access to this limited pool of talent is unlimited.

My point vis-à-vis the O-1 visa is this: The H-1B hogs are forever claiming that they are desperate for talent. In reality, they have unlimited access to individuals with unique abilities through the open-ended O-1 visa program.

There is no limit to the number of geniuses American companies can import.

Theoretically, the H-1B program could be completely abolished and all needed Einsteins imported through the O-1 program. (Why, even future first ladies would stand a chance under the business category of the O-1A visa, as a wealth-generating supermodel could certainly qualify.)

Now you understand my disappointment. In his April 18 Executive Order, President Trump promised to merely reform a program that needs abolishing. That is if “Hire American” means anything to anybody anymore.

MORE: “Why The H-1B Visa Racket Should Be Abolished, Not Reformed.”