Trump Hopes to Slash the Unconscionable Cost of Bringing Drugs to Market

by: the Common Constitutionalist

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This week President Trump had a widely publicized meeting with the bosses of Big Pharma.

The Daily Mail reported that the CEOs met with the president at the White House on Tuesday, and said “he expects them to lower drug prices and bring jobs back to the United States.”

“You folks have done a terrific job over the years, but we have to get prices down for a lot of reasons. We have no choice,” Trump said.

Thus far Trump has done some pretty great things – last being his pick for supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch. If he is confirmed, which is likely, and acts according to his history, he will be a voice for the Constitution for decades to come.

However, of course the drug companies have a choice. And to date their choice has been to move elsewhere. And that hasn’t been much of choice. I suppose a better explanation would be to say that our government has forced drug manufacturers to move, just like many other industries, to avoid the crippling taxes and regulations past administrations have saddled them with. read more

Regulate the Regulators

The House approved legislation on Thursday that would give the Department of Energy the right to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) energy-related regulations when it believes those rules would hurt economic growth.

The Energy Consumers Relief Act, H.R. 1582, passed the House in a 232-181 vote. As expected, most Democrats rejected the bill, but nine joined Republicans to pass it.

The legislation is meant to stop EPA rules that Republicans say will hinder economic growth.

The bill arrives as the EPA is preparing rules including carbon emissions standards for power plants and a measure that would force refiners to further cut the sulfur content of gasoline.

During Wednesday debate, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) noted that the EPA has already completed rules under the Obama administration — such as air toxics standards for power plants and auto emissions standards — that will impose billions of dollars in costs.

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Renewable Disaster

I’ll remind you; if you wish to see our future, just gaze across the pond.

It’s not the floods or any other natural disaster.

It’s a self-inflicted disaster, caused by trying to cut CO2 emissions 80% by 2050.

Even Germany is beginning to realize that it can’t continue to support renewable energy.

The accompanying chart shows that the cost of electricity is far higher in Europe than in the United States.

EU vs US costs for electricity and natural gas. From the Economist Magazine

This disparity in the cost of electricity can only get worse if Europe continues with its current low-carbon obsession. The German Association of Energy and Water (BDEW), for example, predicts that electricity prices will increase another 25%. “Thomas Vahlenkamp of McKinsey reckons that the cost of the Energiewende will double over the next decade.1

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Dirty Coal

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Elections have consequences. There will be many that surface due to the reelection of Barack Obama.

I’d like to speak of one; energy and more specifically, the coal industry.

111 US coal plants have already closed due to the Obama administrations EPA regulations. That’s a full fifth of all US coal plants so far.

An additional 200 plus coal plants are slated for closure within the next 3 to 5 years.

The coal plant closures represent between 31,000 and 36,000 MW of power lost. That’s the equivalent of shutting down the electricity supply for the entire state of Ohio.

In October president Obama signed yet another executive order setting a national goal, or better put, arbitrary mandate of 40 GW of new “Combined Heat and Power” (CHP) generation.

CHP captures waste heat and uses it to generate steam to run turbines and for manufacturing.

The administration claims that “Investment” in CHP could save around $100 billion in energy costs over 10 years.

Well, the president can certainly hang his hat on that kind of savings.

Once again it seems Obama is looking out for the folks. Getting rid of those dirty coal plants will actually save us money. That’s a win-win. Getting rid of those planet killing, fossil fuel emitting coal plants and saving money to boot. That is until one examines the numbers.

So we the people, through the intelligent policies of this president reap $100 billion in savings.

I wonder if there are any costs involved in the savings?

Why yes, there just happens to be. Once again the Obama administration will cost business.

Obama’s own White House estimates it will cost American manufacturing facilities between $40 and $80 billion to upgrade.

Okay, well that’s not too bad. That still leaves a savings of between $20 and $60 billion.

But wait, we are not done.

Another $70 to $180 billion will have to be spent on new power plants or further, and in my opinion, unnecessary pollution controls for existing plants.

So the wonderful and highly touted $100 billion savings will cost the private sector between $110 billion and $240 billion.

Aren’t mandates great?

And who do you suppose might have to pay for all these new items and upgrades? Why the consumer, of course.

Power companies will have to raise their rates to pay for all the new equipment and upgrades.

But hey, do we not recall what the president said several years ago? It’s not as if he was trying to hide anything when he stated that, “Electric rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

Oh, and did I mention jobs?

It is estimated that for every job in the coal industry about 3.5 jobs are created to service it. New coal regulations alone are expected to cost the U.S. an additional 1.4  to 1.5 million jobs.

So when you people who voted for Obama get laid off because of coal related regulations fear not, for at least you will be able to call the unemployment office on your new “Obama phone”.

Regulation Tidal Wave

by: Clark Barrow

Editorial comments by the Common Constitutionalist [ ]

A looming tax increase or the threat of higher unemployment usually receives a lot of attention in Washington, D.C. Many politicians can’t wait to lead a charge to avoid any hardship on American families. But there is eerie silence on another front that is fast approaching our country: a tidal wave of costly federal regulations.

According to an analysis by the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), more than 4,000 federal regulations are scheduled to be implemented over the next four years with a cost of more than $515 billion to the U.S. economy. In our world of trillion-dollar deficits, anything in the billions may not sound like such a big deal anymore, but recent regulations have already added $140 billion, sending the total annual regulatory cost to $1.75 trillion. If no action is taken to stop this, the NFIB estimates that the regulatory costs will quadruple over the next four years.

So what in the world are all these new regulations? Well, most of them have to do with protecting the environment. Unfortunately, the sheer cost of the regulations may produce a severe economic downturn, rather than any valuable environmental impact.

One of the most damaging regulations will force power plants to install expensive pollution control technology, which is expected to cost as much as $90 billion over 10 years – the most expensive regulation in U.S. history. This means higher energy bills that will direct small business funds to utility bills, instead of jobs.

Other regulations include the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone, a measure that President Obama postponed in 2011 because of its enormous cost to the economy. Imagine that! Even our own president understood the impact! This far-reaching piece of regulation would establish an unnecessarily strict air quality standard for the entire country at a cost of up to $90 billion. [Years ago freon was effectively banned because it was said to kill ozone. Now we have too much?]

To make matters worse, the science behind these new regulations is not solid. A report by the National Center for Policy Analysis found that the proposed standards produce little, if any, health benefits. Their analysis found that under the current standards, levels of ozone and other pollutants have largely decreased to safe levels. The current standards are working and there is little science to that says tighter standards will meaningfully improve the air quality for anyone. [It matters little to the enviro-weenies whether the “science” is crap. They want to send us back to stone age and they’ll promote any junk science to hasten that journey.]

While the environmental science is not solid, the economic impact is certain – it will be paid with billions of dollars, millions of lost jobs and the lost dreams of millions of Americans.

The solution, as with many of our problems, is to grow our economy. Excessive regulations will only increase the cost of living for Americans, forcing lower-income families to sacrifice the things that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Progress is good! Advances in environmental protection, health care treatments and nutrition have saved countless lives, but expensive household energy bills will only devour money that could be used for a higher standard of living. [The solution is actually to rid ourselves of most the regulation in this country and the growth will take care of itself.]

Putting aside all of these other figures, the true cost of the proposed regulations can be summed up in the fact that the American Thoracic Society found that the number one risk factor for asthma is poverty, not pollution. It’s time environmental regulations protected us.

[ Isn’t it interesting that progressive administrations can’t be honest with the people. They always postpone harsh mandates and regulations until after elections. It’s as if they know the mandates will kill the economy and thus they would never be reelected. Yet after the election, it doesn’t seem to matter. That’s what I call looking out for the American people. Is that why most of the Obamacare mandates don’t start kicking in until 2013? I wonder.]

Such a Hater

Is it wrong to “Hate” the policies of this administration with their jackbooted thugs at the EPA and their war on everything, including jobs, in the name of JUNK science? Just one more example of tyranny on parade.

by: Moe Lane

Well, your ability to guess why the Murray Energy Corporation today announced that it is closing a mine in Brilliant, Ohio will be largely dependent on whether you rely on local news or not.  If you’re just paying attention to local news… you won’t be told at all why a coal mine that employed 239 people at its peak laid off 24 of its remaining 56 employees today, with the remaining to be (hopefully) integrated into the company elsewhere; in fact, you won’t even be told that the mine employed that many people directly.  But if you go to the company’s own press release… yeah.  That’s a different story.

Regulatory actions by President Barack Obama and his appointees and followers were cited as the entire reason.

“Mr. Obama has already destroyed 83,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity generation in America,” said Mr. Michael T. W. Carey, Vice President of Government Affairs for Murray Energy. “Electric prices in the recent PJM Interconnection monthly auction were bid up 800 percent (8 times) for 2015-2016 because of this,” he added.

“At its peak, OhioAmerican employed 239 local people in high-paying, well-benefited jobs,” said Mr. Stanley T. Piasecki, General Manager and Superintendent. “University studies show that our Mines can create up to eleven (11) secondary jobs in our communities, for store clerks, teachers, etc., to serve our direct employees. Thus, if one uses the eleven (11) to one (1) multiplier, the Obama Administration has destroyed 2,868 jobs in eastern Ohio with this forced Mine closure,” stated Mr. Piasecki.

Although, to be fair, the local news article did at least link to the press release; it also mentioned another set of layoffs (29) at Murray’s Powhatan No. 6 mine in Alledonia, OH.  They just forgot to note that Murray Energy squarely laid the blame for that closure too on the Obama Administration’s War on Coal.  And make no mistake: this administration hates coal.

EPA Wears Jack Boots

EPA could thwart mineral mother lode and sets dangerous precedent

The Environmental Protection Agency is employing a disturbing strategy to evaluate a major new mine project by passing judgment on whether it will damage the environment before the company even determines how the venture will work.

The Pebble Limited Partnership wants to mine a deposit in southwest Alaska that holds

The EPA is coming for You!

one of the largest concentrations of copper, gold and molybdenum in the world—at least 80 billion pounds of copper, 100 million ounces of gold, and five billion pounds of molybdenum.

The mother lode of minerals is estimated to be worth $200 billion to $500 billion. Copper is a mineral considered critical to the nation’s economy and is used in computers; molybdenum is used in steel production.

While the unelected bureaucracy of the EPA is trying to stall or block the mining of critical elements, which the U.S. mostly imports from China, Congress passed legislation last week to speed up the mine permit approval process from five years to less than two years in order to advance U.S. self-reliance in obtaining those minerals.

Airlifting outhouses

Pebble has been conducting its own environmental studies for five years and has spent more than $100 million to monitor water, soil and wildlife. While the studies are under way, Pebble removes all of the human waste from the study site by helicopter—including the outhouses, which along with other trash are airlifted to Anchorage—so mine employees don’t add an extra burden to the local treatment facility.

Researchers hired by Pebble have donned dry suits to snorkel through the arctic streams to study spawning habitat and count fish, adding some 7,000 pages of investigative work to another 20,000 pages of environmental reviews the mine company has so far produced.

“It’s one of the most comprehensive environmental studies of a mine project in Alaska, and probably nationwide,” said Mike Heatwole, vice president of public affairs for Pebble.

The problem is that the studies have not been completed or analyzed, and the actual mine plan has not been finalized.

But that hasn’t stopped the EPA from jumping the gun to write its own assessment of the mining operation’s effects on the surrounding 20,000 square mile area and on the salmon population and other species in Bristol Bay—120 miles away from the proposed mining operation site.

The EPA is collecting public comments on their draft report until July 23 and will then submit it for a peer review process in August. If the EPA determines that mining operations are a risk to the water supply, it can use its authority under the Clean Water Act to shut down the mine before its final conception is submitted to the State of Alaska for approval.

Pebble officials say the EPA’s preemptive actions set a dangerous precedent.

“What’s really a concern to us is that the EPA has never stepped into this kind of preemptive space … before we’ve even defined development scenarios for the mine,” Heatwole said. “The EPA is being asked by environmentalists and a number of native Alaskan tribes to potentially take action against us before we have even defined our project and submitted an application.”

Pebble officials say they expect the project to employ 4,000 construction workers over the next four years, plus create another 1,000 jobs for year-round mine operations.

Alaska questions EPA actions

In a series of letters between the EPA, Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell and members of Congress that were obtained by Human Events, the legality of the EPA’s actions have been questioned and condemned.

“EPA has shared little information about its purported legal authority to conduct the watershed assessment,” the attorney general said in a March 9 letter.

The EPA says in its response to the attorney general that its assessment will look at the potential impacts of hypothetical mining alternatives, which the attorney general countered is in conflict with several laws, including the Alaska Statehood Act, Clean Water Act, and National Environmental Policy Act.

“The state selected lands with natural resource potential to provide for the economic welfare of the residents of Alaska,” Geraghty said. “A premature decision could thwart those objectives, as established by both Congress in the Alaska Statehood Act and the Alaska Legislature in a myriad of state laws.”

Dennis McLerran, EPA Region 10 administrator, responded on April 5: “EPA has not initiated any regulatory action under (the Clean Water Act), or any authority. Many of your legal concerns would only be relevant and can only be addressed in the context of a specific regulatory action. Should the EPA move forward with a (Clean Water) action, we will address your legal concerns at that time.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is not taking a position on the mine until a proposal is actually submitted, but her spokesman Robert Dillon said there are serious concerns about the EPA’s interference.

“Will this preempt all mines, regardless of its size or scope? It’s turned the entire process on its head and raised a lot of questions,” Dillon said. “We keep getting told to trust the EPA, but there’s not a lot of trust of the EPA in Alaska.”

Attribution: Audrey Hudson