Reason Alert: Texas Jobs, EPA to Hurt Economy

What can the government mandate? High-speed rail fact from fiction

Reason Alert – August 19, 2011

- Examining the Texas Jobs Machine
- Giving Government the Power to Mandate Anything
- EPA to Push New Job-Killing Rules
- High-Speed Rail Supporters Should Get the Facts Straight
- New at Reason

Examining the Texas Jobs Machine
In her column for The Daily, Reason Foundation’s Shikha Dalmia delves into Gov. Rick Perry’s record and writes that Texas “has one of the lightest personal tax burdens in the country and a low cost of living, which are hugely attractive to out-of-work Americans. Their flocking to the state has bumped up Texas’ unemployment rate to 8 percent, prompting Rachel Maddow to jeer on the air that Perry’s jobs record is not a whole lot better than many other states. What she refuses to see is that while in those states high unemployment is due to anemic job growth, in Texas it is due to robust population growth. If anything, Texas offers proof that people prefer jobs, even low-paying ones, to lavish social benefits — repudiating the liberal tax-and-spend economic model. However, if liberals underestimate Perry’s jobs record, conservatives overestimate his fiscal record. Perry boasts that he has plugged the recession-induced hole in the state budget three times without raising taxes. Still, for the 11 years Perry has been in office, overall government spending has gone up by 4.2 percent every two years, compared with 2.3 percent under George W. Bush, after controlling for inflation and population growth.”
Peter Suderman: Rick Perry’s Superficial Extremism

Giving Government the Power to Mandate Anything
In his nationally syndicated column, Reason magazine’s Jacob Sullum says “if the Supreme Court ultimately upholds the unprecedented policy of mandating purchases in the name of regulating interstate commerce, future Congresses could decide there are sound reasons to make people buy other forms of insurance (to prevent cost shifting), exercise equipment (to reduce health care costs), double-pane windows (to conserve energy), or American cars (to stimulate the economy and support domestic manufacturers)...By increasing the federal government's role in medicine, President Obama's health care reforms directly limit freedom. But the legal arguments he is using to defend them may turn out to be a much bigger threat.”
The Mandate and Limits of Congressional Power

EPA to Push New Job-Killing Rules
In today’s Washington Times, Reason Foundation’s Adam Peshek writes that the EPA is on the verge of passing new job-killing ozone standards that even Yellowstone Park can’t meet. He writes, “Twice this year, President Obama asked federal agencies to review regulations to ensure that they are not interfering with efforts to rebuild the U.S. economy. In January, he signed an executive order directing agencies to use the ‘least burdensome tools’ that take ‘into account benefits and cost’ and ‘[promote] economic growth … and job creation.’ Either the Environmental Protection Agency didn’t get the memo or it was lost under the growing stack of regulations the agency is advancing at record speed. Last week, the EPA said it would soon release updated ozone regulations that are going to kill jobs and impose substantial costs on the U.S. economy - at least $90 billion, by its own estimates, and $1 trillion annually between 2020 and 2030 according to industry estimates.”
Shikha Dalmia: Get Ready for the Green Civil War
Ronald Bailey Reviews Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World
Politicized Global Warming in the GOP

High-Speed Rail Supporters Should Get the Facts Straight
In California, high-speed rail’s costs continue to soar - and the project still hasn’t started yet. In Florida, many continue to insist that the public sector is itching to build a high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando. Reason Foundation’s Robert Poole writes that if people are going to “suggest that Florida’s fantasy cost estimates are correct, shouldn’t they point us to a high-speed rail project that came in at, or under, budget, recouped its capital costs, and is currently financially supporting itself? They can’t do that because no such high-speed rail project exists. When Amtrak decided to study how those European trains make money, they instead found out European trains don’t make money. Amtrak’s Inspector General concluded: ‘European Passenger Train Operations operate at a financial loss and consequently require significant Public Subsidies.’...The international and California experiences make it clear: substantial cost overruns have been the rule in rail projects, not the exception. Private companies are in business to make money, not to take losses just because politicians want high-speed rail. It is simply not credible to believe that a private builder-operator would be willing, much less able, to absorb huge construction cost overruns and tens or hundreds of millions in operating subsidies to operate a Tampa-to-Orlando rail line. The bills and debt would have been left to the taxpayers of Florida.”

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