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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

Tucker sounds off on Pennsylvania governor over bill dictating sex dialogue

Posted by M. C. on October 21, 2021

Must video proof be provided?

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Libertarians pushing the envelope

Posted by M. C. on June 28, 2021

There is Hope

In 2019, we shocked Pennsylvania’s political establishment when 47 Libertarians won municipal elections. This increased the total number of Libertarians across the Commonwealth who hold public office to 70. Pennsylvania now leads the entire nation in elected Libertarians. We even won a Libertarian majority on two borough councils!

https://lppa.org/civicrm/mailing/view/?reset=1&id=9e852d60ef59ebd7

The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania is doing something unprecedented.  

In 2019, we shocked Pennsylvania’s political establishment when 47 Libertarians won municipal elections.  This increased the total number of Libertarians across the Commonwealth who hold public office to 70.  Pennsylvania now leads the entire nation in elected Libertarians.  We even won a Libertarian majority on two borough councils!

This year, we intend to double that effort.  We want to elect 100 more Libertarians to office in Pennsylvania in 2021.  No minor party has ever done this before.

We will need your help to accomplish this.  To get those 100 Libertarians elected this year, we must raise $15,000.  We keep overhead low, but politics is expensive, and this is the bare minimum we would need to cover the costs of recruiting and ballot access.  

Would you like to help us make history?  If so, please donate here: lppa.org/moulton-maneuver

Donations both large and small are appreciated.  We understand that budgets vary, and we’re grateful for anything you can contribute to this effort.

This is time-sensitive.  The state’s petitioning and ballot access deadline is August 2, so please contribute today!

Let’s get Libertarians elected to public office, and let’s set the world free in our lifetimes.

In Liberty,

Kevin Gaughen
Executive Director
Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania

The Libertarian Party is committed to America’s heritage of freedom: individual liberty and personal responsibility, a free-market economy of abundance and prosperity, a foreign policy of non-intervention, peace and free trade.

This mailing was sent by: Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3915 UNION DEPOSIT RD # 223
HARRISBURG, PA 17109-5922
United States info@lppa.org

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-CNI tax rate reduction could create more economic opportunities in Pennsylvania

Posted by M. C. on June 24, 2021

Or we could take a page out of the Biden administration book and ask every other state to raise their tax to match ours.

Corporate taxes make products and jobs more expensive. In the end the consumer pays the tax, but you aren’t supposed to think about that. Government counts on the fact that you don’t think.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=0e1954426_1345de4

Sen. Ryan Aument Guest columnist As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time we revisit the conversation around economic opportunity and a vision for the future of Pennsylvania.

After the preliminary 2020 U.S. Census data was released earlier this year, we learned that Pennsylvania’s population growth has been so stagnant that we again lost a seat in Congress. This is the continuation of an unfortunate trend where the commonwealth has consistently lost at least one congressional seat in all of the last 10 censuses beginning in 1930.

The state’s inability to retain residents or attract new ones has cost us political influence in Washington.

Beyond our diminishing power in the nation’s capital, many Pennsylvanians have seen this outbound migration in action as they watch the dream of having their children live nearby fade away as economic opportunity pulls our younger generations out of the commonwealth to jobs in other states where there’s greater promise of upward mobility.

Pennsylvania needs to be a place where every resident has the opportunity, and where new residents come to experience earned success and upward economic mobility. We need to compete for new businesses and industry, and the jobs they create, to do just that.

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania consistently ranks amongst the worst states for business, claiming one of the highest corporate net income tax rates in the country, second only to New Jersey. With Pennsylvania’s current rate of 9.99%, we’re at a tremendous competitive disadvantage compared to most of our neighboring states that boast rates of around 6% to 6.5%.

We must take action to counter this population trend, incentivize working professionals and families to move here and stay here, and create economic opportunity for all our residents. The first step to achieving those goals is to make the state’s Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax rate competitive with that of neighboring states.

Data suggests that doing so would not only increase our population, but also increase home values and wages for our residents all without negatively impacting state revenue. Based on data from the U.S. Census, research shows that lower corporate income tax rates are associated with higher rates of population growth. Additionally, interstate migration trends in 2019 show that many more people move to states with lower CNI rates than move to states with a higher rate, supporting the claim that states with lower CNI rates have more favorable business climates and better job opportunities. Specifically, data modeling projects that lowering the CNI by one point can increase Pennsylvania’s population by an additional 18,000 people in the first year and that population will continue to grow each year thereafter.

Bottom line — reducing our state’s CNI rate would directly address our ongoing issues with outbound migration while at the same time providing real, tangible benefits to those who reside here in the commonwealth.

In fact, lowering a state’s CNI rate is associated with increased growth in home values. For the period between 2010-2020, data analysis shows that the 23 states with the lowest CNI rates experienced significant growth in typical home value compared to the 23 states with the highest CNI rates.

But perhaps the most compelling argument for lowering the CNI is the benefit that it would provide to Pennsylvania working families. Decades of research demonstrate that there is a direct correlation between lower CNI rates and higher wages for working class families.

Unfortunately, when politicians talk about lowering corporate taxes, many middle- and lower-class working families are skeptical that such a policy would benefit them. Though many believe that reducing corporate taxes would only help upper-class CEOs and large corporations, the data clearly shows that this is false and that individual employees and their families will also benefit greatly by enjoying higher wages. Specifically, research shows that a one-percentage-point decrease in the top marginal CNI tax rate would lead to a meaningful increase of up to $223.35 in workers’ wages in our state based on annual mean wage in Pennsylvania in 2020.

Despite all the data showing the benefits of a competitive CNI rate, opponents usually claim that doing so would decrease state revenue thereby negatively impacting many vital state programs funded through the collection of CNI taxes.

However, states with the lowest CNI rates experienced 10% higher growth in state revenues from 2000 to 2020 compared to those states with higher CNI rates. In summary, not only does the data show a strong connection between lower CNI rates and higher population, home values, and workers’ wages, but these goals are able to be achieved without impacting general fund revenue or raising taxes on Pennsylvanians. For that reason, I have proposed Senate Bill 771 which would gradually reduce the state’s CNI tax rate to attract new employers and promote economic growth in the commonwealth. It is my hope that making Pennsylvania more economically competitive by lowering our CNI rate, will benefit working class families, reverse our stagnant population growth, and ensure that Pennsylvania is an attractive place to live, work and raise a family for generations to come.

It’s time to build a stronger Pennsylvania where entrepreneurship, innovation and economic opportunity can thrive — a Pennsylvania where each and every resident has the opportunity to experience earned success and upward economic mobility.

State Sen. Ryan Aument, R-36th Dist., represents a portion of Lancaster County.

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-Erie health officials: COVID-19 ‘still very much here’

Posted by M. C. on May 28, 2021

“About 20 county residents a day are hospitalized due to COVID- 19, including a handful who require ventilators.”

20 hospitalized a day? The same 20, a new 20 or random 20? The resident fear monger is getting lazy with syntax.

Accuracy of detail is not important, keeping FEAR!!! alive is. More importantly…OBEY.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=02ff78b01_1345d84

David Bruce

Erie Times-News USA TODAY NETWORK

Pennsylvania’s loosening of COVID- 19 mitigation measures doesn’t mean the virus has disappeared, Erie County health officials said.

The number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases has declined over the past two weeks but still averages around 20 a day. About 20 county residents a day are hospitalized due to COVID- 19, including a handful who require ventilators.

“The virus is still very much here,” said Amy Machinski, supervisor of environmental health services at the Erie County Department of Health. “It has not gone away.”

Starting Monday, the only COVID-19 mitigation measures still in effect will be that unvaccinated people must wear face masks when in public areas. Even that measure is scheduled to end June 28 or when 70% of adults in the state are fully vaccinated, whichever comes first, state health officials said Thursday.

But some businesses will still require masks, Machinski said Wednesday during Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper’s final weekly COVID-19 news conference. She asked people, especially those who aren’t vaccinated, to comply.

“We hope (unvaccinated people) understand the risk they put not only on themselves but others as well,” Machinski said. “That includes the businesses that are trying to get back up and running.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 21 new cases of COVID- 19 in Erie County on Thursday. The county has 20,947 total cases of COVID- 19, 469 deaths and 72,673 negative tests since the pandemic started.

A total of 19 county residents with COVID-19 were hospitalized Wednesday evening, including nine in intensivecare units and four who needed ventilators, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported.

At least 21,257 county residents are partially vaccinated against COVID-19 and 105,216 are fully vaccinated, according to the state health department.

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ttps://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=02ff78b01_1345d84

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What Pence Should Have Done on January 6 – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 17, 2021

The “state” in action. More Pennsylvania groundbreaking.

I doubt Pence wanted Trump to win.

For example, when the jurists on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court took it upon themselves to change PA’s election laws, they violated the Elections Clause , which stipulates that in the states, only legislatures are empowered to make election laws. Yet, those jurists aren’t being made to account for their unlawful usurpations, even though they struck at the very heart of the American system — our elections, which give us our democracy.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/03/no_author/what-pence-should-have-done-on-january-6/

By Jon N. Hall

Some 2020 changes to election law in the battleground states were prima facie violations of the Constitution. For example, when the jurists on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court took it upon themselves to change PA’s election laws, they violated the Elections Clause , which stipulates that in the states, only legislatures are empowered to make election laws. Yet, those jurists aren’t being made to account for their unlawful usurpations, even though they struck at the very heart of the American system — our elections, which give us our democracy.

It’s heartening to know that members of PA’s legislature can occasionally summon up the will and grit to impeach jurists, but they don’t seem to have done so in these recent cases (see this and this). But the PA legislature is also guilty. Like their Supreme Court, the PA legislature has also violated the law by the way they changed their election laws, as did other battleground states.

It’s necessary to stress that many of the actions taken by public officials in the 2020 presidential elections ran afoul of the law. It’s irrelevant that the infractions were committed in full view of the public and by groups, such as legislatures and courts; they were still breaches of the law. It’s much more egregious when public officials break the law than when individuals do, as the People have put their trust in public officials and have given them extraordinary power.

The 2020 presidential election is one of failure. The safeguards meant to ensure the integrity of our elections broke down on every level of government, local, state, and federal, and involved every branch of government, legislative, executive, and judicial. The issue here is not only that the changes to election law to counter the Wuhan virus opened the gates to even more election fraud; it’s that the changes violated the law.

One would be hard pressed to assess which of the many government failures in the 2020 presidential election was most damaging to the republic. But in the end, the massive government failures and lawlessness of 2020 could be fixed only by a lone individual and only on the final day of the election. On Jan. 6 at the joint session of Congress that counts the votes of the Electoral College, Mike Pence as President of the Senate could have put a patina of legitimacy on an election shot through with illegitimacy and fraud. But how could he have done that?

Some argue that a V.P. cannot unilaterally and summarily reject disputed states’ electoral votes. In “All Pence Can Do Is Count,” a Jan. 3 commentary in The Wall Street Journal, Alan Charles Raul and Richard Bernstein wrote: “Neither the vice president nor Congress has the power to reject electoral votes.” These analysts were saying that the joint session of Congress to count the Electoral College votes is just a formality, and the only action that can be taken in the session is to simply “rubberstamp” the states’ electors. If members feel certain that election laws were unconstitutionally changed or that election fraud was determinative in certain states, that’s a pity, for they are compelled to “ratify” those tainted ballots.

In “Alexander Macris on the 2020 Battleground States” at LewRockwell, this writer showed why the above position is wrong. The article contends that the V.P. does have the power to reject disputed states’ electoral certificates. If the reasoning is correct, then some might say that the Constitution has a hole in it that needs to be filled. In fact, the article cites a 19th Century senator of that opinion. But perhaps the “hole” was deliberate; perhaps the drafters of the 12th Amendment foresaw unconstitutional “elections” and created an escape hatch for some future V.P. to save the republic.

This escape hatch, however, involves defying the Constitution. Democrats would surely raise holy hell about Pence rejecting disputed states’ certificates, and moan about traducing the supreme law of the land. But why should Pence have obeyed the Constitution when so many other public officials hadn’t? Also, what would have happened to Pence had he rejected tainted certificates? President Trump wasn’t about to sic federal marshals on him. Maybe Chuck and Nancy would have gotten apoplectic, but so what.

If a V.P. were to “go rogue” and reject tainted certificates from “rogue states,” with the disputed battleground states’ votes not being counted and with only the states whose certificates had been accepted determining the winner, the nation’s domestic tranquility, such as it is, might end, at least in Blue States and Democrat cities.

With only two weeks from Jan. 6 to Inauguration Day, there wouldn’t be enough time to conduct do-over elections in the disputed states, as the Texas case had urged in December. But because the illegalities in those states were just the most obvious problems, what Mike Pence should have done is to reject the certificates of all the states. And he should have executed the rejection with panache, by ceremoniously tearing up the certificates from the great states of Georgia and Pennsylvania, much like Nancy Pelosi tore up her copy of Pres. Trump’s last State of the Union speech. Pence should then have fed all the remaining certificates into a paper shredder, an appropriate end to an election irremediably corrupt.

Had Pence rejected all certificates, we’d have had a tie which would have thrown the presidential election into the House of Representatives. And that’s where the 2020 presidential election with all its irregularities and improbabilities belonged. The voters of Pennsylvania, Georgia, and all the other rogue states would still be able to weigh in, but with their U.S. representatives rather than electors.

Had Pence rejected all certificates, singlehandedly throwing the election into the House, it would have been a fitting rebuke of the government failure that made the 2020 elections a mockery of democracy. Mike Pence was a great V.P.; this kid still admires him. And it’s not “fair” that one man be made to correct all the failures of everyone else. But in not taking the bold unprecedented action that was clearly called for, Mike also failed. And that’s a tragedy, because such an act might have at long last provided the impetus for real systemic reform in American election law. Instead, with H.R.1 – For the People Act of 2021, the most hideous horrendous anti-democratic legislation in over 150 years, Democrats seek to codify the battleground state outrages and impose them on the entire nation. It’s as though the Dems were trying to foment another civil war.

There are many authors of the failure that has given us the most un-American government we’ve ever experienced. But perhaps the biggest failure of the 2020 election is that the People of this great nation continue to tolerate the failures of their government.

Jon N. Hall of ULTRACON OPINION is a programmer from Kansas City.

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State Issuance of Paper Money in the Early Republic | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on March 16, 2021

The first state to push through paper money during the postwar period was Pennsylvania, in March 1785. The Constitutionalists drove the measure through, but this “radical” act was essentially an alliance of farmers and wealthy public creditors who were anxious to have the state supply itself with money to pay their interest claims. Thus, of the emission of £150,000 of paper bills of credit, £100,000 went to pay the interest on the public debt, and £50,000 to be loaned on the security of land. The money could be used for payment of taxes; it was not, however, legal tender for private debts.

https://mises.org/wire/state-issuance-paper-money-early-republic

Murray N. Rothbard

[Chapter 5 of Rothbard’s newly edited and released Conceived in Liberty, vol. 5, The New Republic: 1784–1791.]

A severe depression, bank contraction, a heavy burden of taxes to pay state debts, all this turned men’s thoughts to issuing paper money to finance government. Historians influenced by the Populist struggles of the late nineteenth century have always identified proponents of inflation with “farmer-debtors” and hard-money men as “merchant-creditors.” Actually, while it is true that debtors, especially during hard times, tend to favor inflation, merchants are even more likely than farmers to be heavily in debt since they have higher credit ratings and can borrow more. The result was that most of the economic groups in the 1780s favored inflation: the main problem was in determining which groups would obtain the enjoyment of the newly created money. Those wealthy cliques of merchants who already enjoyed the favors of the existing monopoly-chartered banks naturally opposed competition of state paper money; others tended to favor the new emissions. The exceptions were largely the sober-minded who remembered the rapid depreciation and dislocation during the war.

The first state to push through paper money during the postwar period was Pennsylvania, in March 1785. The Constitutionalists drove the measure through, but this “radical” act was essentially an alliance of farmers and wealthy public creditors who were anxious to have the state supply itself with money to pay their interest claims. Thus, of the emission of £150,000 of paper bills of credit, £100,000 went to pay the interest on the public debt, and £50,000 to be loaned on the security of land. The money could be used for payment of taxes; it was not, however, legal tender for private debts. Indeed, it was the provision of legal tender, not the paper money itself, at which the conservatives balked. Thus, as during the Revolutionary War, the conservative Pelatiah Webster balked not at banks nor at paper money, but at legal tender legislation. The main opposition to the state paper cause came, naturally enough, from the Bank of North America clique, these being the two major competing methods for supplying new money in the states. The Bank of North America refused to accept the already depreciated state notes at par, a major factor in impelling the legislature to repeal its charter. Despite frenzied attacks on all denigrators of the state paper, it had depreciated by 7.5 percent by the summer of 1786, and in the following year the conservative-dominated Pennsylvania legislature began to destroy and contract the outstanding notes.

In South Carolina, the “farmer-debtors” who led the state to adopt paper money were the great planters heavily in debt to British traders for the purchase of slaves to replace the thousands lost during the war. They were joined by Charleston merchants also in debt to the British. In October 1785, South Carolina authorized the emission of £100,000 of interest-bearing notes to be loaned on the security of land. The bills were receivable in payment of taxes, but again were not legal tender. Opponents managed to scale down the issue from the originally proposed £400,000. Extraordinary efforts, including boycotts, organized and individual, were made by merchants and planters of South Carolina to keep up the value of the notes, but they fell nevertheless to a 10 percent discount by the spring of 1787.

North Carolina issued £100,000 of paper in 1786, and these were legal tender. Over a third of the issue was used by the state to buy one million pounds of tobacco at twice the market price, and thus to provide a windfall subsidy to the state’s tobacco planters. The rest of the money went to pay some of the claims of the veterans of the Revolutionary War. Since the money was legal tender, Gresham’s Law (that money overvalued by the State will drive out undervalued money) came quickly into operation. Specie disappeared from North Carolina, and the paper depreciated by over 50 percent by the end of 1787. And since out-of-state creditors would not accept the depreciating paper, the merchants found it difficult to pay their creditors. Thus, the merchants suffered greatly from being forced to accept depreciated paper by the state, while at the same time their out-of-state creditors insisted on hard money. In the meanwhile, the mass of tobacco piled up in state warehouses, and the states found it impossible to sell it anywhere near the price that it had paid. Eventually the state had to take a 50 percent loss on the tobacco. By the end of the decade, North Carolina was forced to begin calling in and destroying its paper money.

Georgia had a similar experience; the legislature issued £30,000 in 1786 to pay Revolutionary veterans, and the bills were made legal tender for all payments: the issue was made at the behest of the rapidly expanding settlers in the backcountry. The money began to depreciate immediately, and Savannah citizens wisely and increasingly refused to take it despite the law. In only a year, the Georgia paper had fallen to a discount of four to one, and it ceased to be legal tender in 1790.

The New Jersey issue was essentially a land bank, pushed through by the Assembly over the opposition of the Council. The legislature finally passed an emission of £100,000 in legal tender bills in May 1786, all to be loaned on the security of real estate. Local vigilante associations terrorized merchants and traders into accepting the paper at par, but they could not terrorize New York and Philadelphia merchants, and the paper issue quickly began to depreciate by 15 percent. By 1789 the money was too valueless to pass in circulation.

The New York paper issue again belies the “radical-farmer-debtor,” “conservative-merchant-creditor” dichotomy. £200,000 were issued in 1786, of which three-fourths was to be loaned on real estate or specie security, and one-fourth to pay interest to public security-holders. Staughton Lynd points out that New York City’s leading conservative newspaper, the New York Daily Advertiser, approved the paper issue, as did the highly conservative Bank of New York. The conservatives were content that the paper was not declared legal tender for new debts, only for old ones. It should be noted that the New York radical leaders were opposed to legal tender, and most were opposed to the paper money.1 The paper generally passed at a discount of up to 12 percent.

Seven states issued paper money during the Confederation period, and of these Rhode Island was undoubtedly the most enthusiastic. A state in which there had previously been a rash of armed resistance to tax collection, Rhode Island issued £100,000 in 1786, a sizable amount considering its small population. The money was all to be loaned on land—the bill having been put through by the rural farmers over the determined opposition of the Providence merchant community. Rhode Island not only offered a very low interest rate on its loans; it provided a particularly severe set of legal tender laws and punishments. Indeed, a person accused of the heinous crime of refusing to accept the new bills at par was to be tried in a special court, without benefit of jury trial or even of the right of appeal. This brutal attack on the creditors and on merchants impelled mass resistance by the merchants and traders. Many merchants, despite the law, refused to accept the notes, and even closed their stores in protest. Farmers, in turn, pledged to boycott the sale of their produce to Providence. Customers rioted and tried to force tradesmen to accept the notes at par, and many traders and creditors were forced to flee the state. Finally, determined judicial resistance against the coercive acts led, after a furious struggle, to the repeal of these notorious laws in December 1786. The notes depreciated rapidly after that, down to 10 percent of face value by the end of 1788, and the legal tender clause was at last repealed in 1789.

Rhode Island was far more successful in her treatment of public creditors. The creditors were forced by law to accept redemption of their credit in the rapidly depreciating paper. In that way Rhode Island was able to rid her citizens of virtually the entire burden of state debt by 1790, and the debts were repaid at minimum sacrifice to the people of Rhode Island.

Of the six states that did not issue paper money during the 1780s, Connecticut managed to escape its distress by the far sounder method of emergency tax reductions and tax abatements. Delaware was in the trading and financial area of Pennsylvania, and hence Pennsylvania’s bank and state paper circulated there. Virginia’s opinion was staunchly hard money, this sentiment being shared by its liberals as well as conservatives, so there was little struggle there.

A strong drive for paper money arose in Maryland in 1786, and the Inflationist Party called for £350,000 of paper notes, of which £200,000 was to be lent to land owners. The Maryland Senate blocked the bill that was passed by the House in late 1786. Like Connecticut, Maryland, after outbreaks of armed attacks on her tax collectors, was partly able to stave off a drive for paper money by abating tax collections and suspending the forced sale of property of delinquent taxpayers. In New Hampshire too, the grievous burden of taxes led to the march of a large armed mob upon the capital in September 1786. The mob besieged the legislature and urged the issue of paper money; but a counter gang of citizens and militia drove off the rebels, and the voters of the towns firmly rejected a paper-money scheme referred to them by the legislature. Conservative Massachusetts, the hardest pressed of all, refused to issue paper or to grant any relief in taxes or in executions for tax delinquency.

  • 1. Professor Lynd concludes:
    Because of its prominence in the politics of the late nineteenth century, the paper money question has often been considered the central issue dividing radicals from conservatives in the Critical Period. It was nothing of the kind…. The allegedly extremist victory was, in fact, a mild inflationary measure rapidly acquiesced in by all groups in the community, just as in other cities…. What all creditors feared in paper money was not inflation as such…. [but] that it might be made a legal tender.Staughton Lynd, “The Revolution and the Common Man: Farm Tenants and Artisans in New York Politics, 1777–1788” (unpublished PhD dissertation, Columbia University, 1962), pp. 212–13.

Author:

Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard made major contributions to economics, history, political philosophy, and legal theory. He combined Austrian economics with a fervent commitment to individual liberty.

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-Fossil fuel subsidies don’t pay off for Pennsylvanians

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2021

Government shouldn’t subsidize anyone. Government messes up most everything it touches.

If consumers aren’t happy with price, product or delivery of anything the consumer should be free to go somewhere else, stimulating providers to either develop something new and better or fix what they have.

That is called free market.

Did I mention government shouldn’t subsidize anyone. Government messes up most everything it touches?

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=158714e9e

Budget hearings began this week in Harrisburg, a long process that will culminate with the passage of a new spending plan by the end of June.

The next several months will be filled with contentious hearings and verbal sparring as lawmakers grapple with a $3 billion budget deficit. While legislators will argue about individual line items, a much larger issue will be largely ignored — the massive amount of money being wasted on fossil fuel subsidies.

According to research conducted by PennFuture, the fossil fuel industry received $3.8 billion in subsidies for fiscal year 2019 alone, or about $296 per Pennsylvania resident. This makes Pennsylvania one of the largest corporate subsidizers in a country that is the second largest fossil fuel subsidizer in the world.

This industry harms public health, degrades the environment and destabilizes our climate as the people of Pennsylvania suffer very real costs. Instead of ensuring the fossil fuel industry pays for the damage it causes, the commonwealth has been more interested in helping corporate polluters generate as much profit as possible.

These subsidies distort our markets and make it harder for better, cleaner technologies to compete. At a time when we need to be transitioning to a clean energy economy to fight the climate crisis, these subsidies do the exact opposite by prolonging our dependence on polluting industries.

Of the $3.8 billion in fossil fuel subsidies, the fracked gas and petrochemical industry captured at least $2 billion, or 52%. Despite the continued pleas of those living nearest fracked gas and petrochemical development, more subsidies are added every year. Our subsidy problem is getting worse, not better.

The industry continues to claim that keeping the subsidies flowing will bring jobs and prosperity, but as a recent

report from the Ohio River Valley Institute shows, counties with significant oil and gas development are far below average in both job growth and personal income. Even the S&P 500 Energy Index has fallen more than 50% from its 2014 peak. This is the picture of an industry in decline.

As this decline continues, our families, schools and local governments wrestle with unprecedented challenges made worse by dirty industries that are given a free pass to drain our resources. Sustainable alternatives exist, but any attempt to invest in better choices is quickly attacked by the industry as the government ‘picking winners and losers.’

The damage doesn’t stop in the counties with fracked gas. Our report reveals an additional $11.1 billion in external costs, including drinking water contamination, infrastructure damage and health impacts like respiratory problems and cancers. That’s not to mention the greatest damages that come from methane pollution contributing to climate change.

Our legislators owe it to each and every Pennsylvanian to do better than this. PennFuture’s report details over 50 fossil fuel subsidies that have covertly wormed their way into Pennsylvania’s tax code and other rules and regulations.

After reviewing these harmful and unfair subsidies, we find our way forward with a package of key recommendations.

Perhaps most importantly: Pennsylvania’s fossil fuel subsidies are pernicious in part because they are buried out of sight and difficult to disentangle. To tackle this problem, we need to report and track these fossil fuel subsidies so that we can accurately understand the scope and nature of the problem at hand. While watchdog organizations like PennFuture are happy to bring sunlight to this problem, our state government should be providing this transparency. Even before achieving full transparency, however, there are a few things we can say for sure: Fossil fuel development and consumption is not sustaining our communities; it’s fueling their deterioration.

We ask that fossil fuel companies, for just once in their centuries-long existence, begin to pay the full price for consumption of limited natural resources, contribute their fair share to the state treasury, and prevent and mitigate their eroding impact on health and well-being, the environment and the climate.

These are commonsense solutions at a time we need them most. As budget season progresses, we will have our eyes on Harrisburg, hoping that our elected officials do the right thing.

Rob Altenburg is the director of the PennFuture Energy Center, and co-author of a new report that details fossil fuel subsidies in Pennsylvania.

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Biden Nominee Rachel Levine Was a Disaster in Pennsylvania. Now She’s Headed to Washington. | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on January 25, 2021

This absurd claim completely falls apart, since later Pennsylvania Health Department guidelines make it explicitly clear that nursing homes must readmit covid-positive patients and continue to accept new ones even if they are covid positive, as well. Guidance issued on May 12, 2020, states that “A positive test result is not a reason to refuse readmission to a resident” and that “An NCF [nursing care facility] must continue to take new admissions, if appropriate beds are available, and a suspected or confirmed positive for COVID-19 is not a reason to deny admission.”

Pennsylvania’s finest.

https://mises.org/wire/biden-nominee-rachel-levine-was-disaster-pennsylvania-now-shes-headed-washington

Zachary Yost

On January 19 it was announced that Joe Biden planned to nominate Rachel Levine, the Pennsylvania (PA) secretary of health, for the position of assistant secretary of health in the Department of Health and Human Services. This is potentially good news for Pennsylvanians, who will finally be rid of her after having had to endure her disastrous covid lockdowns and restrictions for nearly a year, but is likely bad news for the rest of the country.

News coverage of Levine’s nomination is focused almost entirely on the fact that if she is confirmed she will be the first transgender official to be confirmed by the Senate and barely mentions or completely glosses over her handling of the pandemic in PA. NPR doesn’t mention her track record at all other than noting that she, unsurprisingly, called for more federal funding to deal with the virus. The Morning Call at least reported that Levine has faced criticism over her handling of the virus response but failed to mention that under Levine PA nursing homes were forced to accept covid-positive patients.

After the announcement of her forthcoming nomination, Republicans began to attack Levine on social media, especially concerning her nursing home policy. In response, Newsweek published a laughable excuse of a “fact check,” asserting, “There is no evidence to support Greene’s [a Republican representative from Georgia] claim that Levine placed coronavirus-positive patients in nursing home facilities, thus likely contributing ‘to the thousands of elderly deaths in Pennsylvania.’”

However, the author, Julia Marnin, seems to have failed to adequately research PA Department of Health guidelines. She cites a guideline issued in March of 2020 that states that nursing homes “must continue to accept new admissions and receive readmissions for current residents who have been discharged from the hospital who are stable,” and that “This may include stable patients who have had the COVID-19 virus.” Marnin then argues that this language didn’t mean that nursing homes had to accept positive patients but that “they can” and that there is no evidence that Levine’s policy “placed coronavirus-positive patients in nursing homes or contributed to thousands of elderly deaths in the state.”

This absurd claim completely falls apart, since later Pennsylvania Health Department guidelines make it explicitly clear that nursing homes must readmit covid-positive patients and continue to accept new ones even if they are covid positive, as well. Guidance issued on May 12, 2020, states that “A positive test result is not a reason to refuse readmission to a resident” and that “An NCF [nursing care facility] must continue to take new admissions, if appropriate beds are available, and a suspected or confirmed positive for COVID-19 is not a reason to deny admission.”

Until the late fall/early winter surge in cases and deaths, roughly 70 percent of all covid fatalities in Pennsylvania were among nursing home and long-term care facility patients. Since the latest surge, that number has dropped to roughly 50 percent. Yet, even with the latest drop, it is clear that the state government’s nursing home policy has been a disaster, and the media does a great disservice to the country by sweeping a discussion of that record under the rug.

Perhaps even more disturbing than forcing nursing homes to accept covid-positive patients is Levine’s policy goal of social justice–based rationing of covid treatments that was released by the PA Department of Health under Levine’s leadership.

As I have written about previously, this guidance, entitled “Ethical Allocation Framework for Emerging Treatments of COVID-19,” states that “a core goal of public health is to redress inequities that make health and safety less accessible to disadvantaged groups—we show equal respect for all members of society by mitigating the structural inequities that cause certain communities to bear the greatest burden during the pandemic.” In other words, according to Levine’s department of health, public health isn’t just about medical health issues, it is about using the response to medical health issues to engineer society to promote “social justice.”

In this scheme, the state recommends that healthcare providers use a weighted lottery system to ration care and encourages hospitals to weigh a patient’s entry based on his or her socioeconomic status as determined by old data aggregated from census blocks. You would think that promoting “equality” would mean that whether you receive life-saving medical treatment wouldn’t depend on where you live, but some patients are apparently more equal than others.

The fact that someone who apparently subscribes to such a radical egalitarian agenda is likely to soon be one of the most powerful healthcare bureaucrats in the country does not bode well, as calls for the federal government to nationalize healthcare continue unabated. Levine’s radicalism, combined with the incompetence she displayed by forcing nursing homes to accept covid-positive patients and other heavy-handed lockdown measures, will hopefully at least lead to a serious analysis of her record during her Senate confirmation hearing. But don’t hold your breath. Author:

Zachary Yost

Zachary Yost is a freelance writer and Mises U alum. You can subscribe to his newsletter here.

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Erie Times E-Edition Article – Feds: State inmates got virus jobless benefits

Posted by M. C. on August 26, 2020

Think fraud and 3$ trillion bailout.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=0612698ca

PITTSBURGH — About 10,000 state prison inmates in Pennsylvania fraudulently applied for unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic, prosecutors said in announcing charges Tuesday against 33 people.

“These 33 defendants represent, truly, the tip of the iceberg, and we are seeing unemployment fraud on an unprecedented scale,” U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said at a news conference in Pittsburgh.

Charges were filed against inmates in the Greene, Fayette and Forest state prisons, along with inmates in the local jails in Allegheny, Butler, Lawrence, Somerset and Westmoreland counties.

Investigators recently were able to cross-check a list of state inmates against those who applied for pandemic unemployment benefits and found about 10,000 matches, Brady’s office said. Along with applications by county and federal inmates, Brady said, he believes the total cost of the fraud in Pennsylvania is approaching a quarterbillion dollars...

Be seeing you

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Pennsylvania Is Playing Politics with Drug Rationing | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on August 10, 2020

Just as a reminder of the kind of central planners we are dealing with, this is the same Pennsylvania Department of Health that decreed on May 12 that nursing homes “must continue to take new admissions, if appropriate beds are available, and a suspected or confirmed positive for COVID-19 is not a reason to deny admission.” Months later, nearly 70 percent of coronavirus fatalities in the state have occurred in nursing homes.

Not being content with causing such a disaster, the state health department has issued guidance on how healthcare facilities should ration the limited supply of the new drug Remdesivir in the event that there are not enough doses to go around,

The middle of a pandemic is no time for social engineering, but it is also not a time for state involvement in healthcare to begin with. That involvement has led to thousands of nursing home patients dying and has now led to a blatant redistributionist drug-rationing scheme. Further involvement is only going to make matters worse and continue to poison a crucial aspect of our lives with politics even more than it already is.

https://mises.org/wire/pennsylvania-playing-politics-drug-rationing?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=4010b6d4b9-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-4010b6d4b9-228343965

“Never let a crisis go to waste,” the old adage goes, and the coronavirus fiasco has demonstrated this principle in action more times than one can count. From declarations of veritable society-wide house arrest to crazed government spending and monetary policy, there has been no shortage of opportunistic actors working to live out their dreams of power and dominion over others that “normal” times would not allow. Another such instance of gleeful advantage taking has come to light in the form of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s “Ethical Allocation Framework for Emerging Treatments of COVID-19” guideline, a document that barely conceals its authors’ desire to use the current fiasco as an opportunity to engage in their own schemes of egalitarian social engineering.

Just as a reminder of the kind of central planners we are dealing with, this is the same Pennsylvania Department of Health that decreed on May 12 that nursing homes “must continue to take new admissions, if appropriate beds are available, and a suspected or confirmed positive for COVID-19 is not a reason to deny admission.” Months later, nearly 70 percent of coronavirus fatalities in the state have occurred in nursing homes.

Not being content with causing such a disaster, the state health department has issued guidance on how healthcare facilities should ration the limited supply of the new drug Remdesivir in the event that there are not enough doses to go around, but notes that the guidelines should apply to any scarce form of treatment. While certainly an unpleasant subject to address, it is true that in the face of scarcity the limited supply of Remdesivir or any other treatment will need to be rationed and that some kind of method of choosing will be needed. Scarcity is simply a fact of life that must be dealt with. However, because the distribution of Remdisivir has been taken over by the federal government, which distributes it to state governments, which in turn distribute it to healthcare providers, the process has unavoidably become political.

Putting all the jargon aside, the guideline is very clear about several points. First, it is not considered acceptable to distribute care via a random lottery, or on a first-come-first-served basis. Rather, healthcare providers must take into consideration “community-benefit” when rationing care and the department recommends the use of a weighted lottery system.

As you can see, the example lottery that the health department provides uses three different criteria to determine how a patient’s lottery chance is weighted: membership in a disadvantaged community, being an essential worker, and likelihood of death in the next year.

While the state’s determination of who is and who is not an essential worker is arbitrary and has been full of problems, one can at least see the logic behind such a consideration, as well as for those patients who are not likely to live much longer, although one must question where the state gets the authority to dictate such things to hospitals.

What raises the most concern is the idea that members of “disadvantaged communities” should be given a better chance at receiving treatment than others. According to the guidance, because “low-income communities and certain racial/ethnic minorities” are being disproportionately burdened by the coronavirus, the end goal of public health is served by benefitting some groups over others. According to the guidance, “the rationale is that a core goal of public health is to redress inequities that make health and safety less accessible to disadvantaged groups.”

One might have thought that the main goal of public health was to save as many lives as possible. But instead, it seems that the state department of health considers the emergency room to be the perfect place to start “mitigating the structural inequities that cause certain communities to bear the greatest burden during the pandemic.”

This formulation makes it unclear what the guidance means when it states that the first goal of the ethical framework is “to safeguard the public’s health by allocating scarce treatments to maximize community benefit.” Does community benefit mean saving as many lives as possible? Or is it some kind of grievance studies conception of equality where arriving at a more “equally distributed” survival rate based on race and socioeconomic status is the goal?

One can certainly argue that certain populations do not have very good access to healthcare resources, but it seems outrageous to think that the time to attempt to remedy such inequality is when triaging patients.

Similarly concerning is the way the guidance recommends that the treating physicians be removed from the rationing process and that it be left in the hands of hospital bureaucrats instead, effectively tying doctors’ hands to treat their patients. Is this the kind of state-run healthcare that we have to look forward to in the future? Doctors as helpless as their patients as bureaucrats “assess” a patient’s social suitability to be worthy of treatment?

The guidance goes on to recommend some procedures for how membership in a “disadvantaged community” should be determined. After noting that both members of low-income communities and racial minorities have been adversely affected by the virus and therefore deserve an increased chance of receiving treatment, the racial component drops entirely from consideration in recommendations, no doubt because such discrimination would be highly illegal and result in a torrent of lawsuits against the state and any hospital foolish enough to try it. The guideline is explicit that “no one is excluded from access based on age, disability, religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity and to ensure that no one is denied access based on stereotypes, perceived quality of life, or judgments about a person’s worth.” However, one can’t help but think that if racial discrimination were not illegal the logic of this guidance would dictate that it be undertaken in the name of “equality.”

What that list is lacking is a prohibition on discrimination based on socioeconomic status, which is the method the guidance suggests should be used for the purposes of weighing the lottery. Specifically, it recommends the use of the Area Deprivation Index, which is based on data from the 2015 American Community Survey. Hospitals would use the index’s Neighborhood Atlas to enter a patient’s address and determine if they are a disadvantaged community member.

One can’t help but feel that such a system is arbitrary to the extreme. When I entered my address into the Neighborhood Atlas I discovered that no one in my neighborhood would receive any weighted advantage if Remdisivir were needed. However, when I Google mapped the distance between my home and the nearest sector considered to be disadvantaged, I discovered that it was a mere two-minute drive away. Can anything based on something so arbitrary as five-year-old aggregated census block data be considered a useful tool for the fair rationing of treatment?

This entire scheme is just a taste of the ways medical care would be infected with politics if it were to be run by the government. In a system of socialized medicine would we see similar redistributionist schemes of rationing introduced? No doubt, many people of all political persuasions would view it as a fertile field for attempts at social engineering. Similarly, it is not hard to see politicians scheming to ensure that favored constituents and voting blocs have access to care at the expense of their opponent’s supporters, or that whole classes of people are purposefully and consciously disadvantaged based on whoever holds the keys to power at the moment.

The middle of a pandemic is no time for social engineering, but it is also not a time for state involvement in healthcare to begin with. That involvement has led to thousands of nursing home patients dying and has now led to a blatant redistributionist drug-rationing scheme. Further involvement is only going to make matters worse and continue to poison a crucial aspect of our lives with politics even more than it already is.

Author:

Zachary Yost

Zachary Yost is a Mises U alum and freelance writer.

 

 

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