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Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s fifth regulatory review! Our Regulatory Action Center proudly updates you with our favorite tidbits from the swamp. We want to smash barriers between bureaucracy and the American people by delivering regulatory news straight to FreedomWorks activists. Check back in on Friday, March 23rd, for the next edition.
Here’s what we're highlighting this week:
1) Video of the Week: This video Prager U video wonderfully explains how the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hurts small businesses with needless regulations. It shows how the NLRB is seeking to change the relationship between franchisors and franchisees, and the negative impact those changes will have on everyday Americans and local communities.
2) Statistic of the Week: Bush steel tariff killed 200,000 US jobs before its repeal. When President Bush issued steel tariffs in 2002, the results were catastrophic. Yes, the steel industry gained 16,000 jobs, but 200,000 jobs were lost in industries that consume steel as an input, such as metals manufacturing. President Trump constantly touts his strong support for manufacturers and manufacturing is at its best conditions in years, yet steel tariffs will slam the industry and stall progress. This tariff was smaller than President Trump’s proposal and didn’t include aluminum.
3) Trump administration approves Arkansas Medicaid work requirements: Medicaid recipients will need enroll in school or work 80 hours per month to keep their benefits starting in June. This plan will help reduce government dependency among welfare recipients. Arkansans who are pregnant, disabled, have dependent children, or are over age 50 will not be subject to this change.
4) Food Stamp program could better support self-sufficiency: USDA seeks public comments on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) waiver program. The goal is reduce government dependence among able bodied adults without dependents. These are people who have almost no physical barriers to employment, yet receive benefits. They likely earn unreported income. Reducing available state and locality waivers for able bodied adults will slash SNAP expenditures.
5) Trump administration moves to repeal the Volcker Rule: Banking Regulatory czar Ryan Quarless, a Trump appointee, says the Volcker Rule is a “complex regulation that is not working well.” The rule limits banks’ ability to offer liquidity and likely prevents some financial activities that weren’t supposed to be banned.
6) Short term health insurance could soon be expanded: HHS is accepting public comments on expanding the legal duration of short term health insurance from 3 months to one year. Short term insurance helps individuals maintain coverage while transitioning between jobs. It’s especially consumed by young people. Short term plans are exempted from Obamacare regulations such as essential health benefits, which drive up costs. These plans’ monthly premiums cost about 33% of the typical Obamacare option at only $109 per month.
7) Hydro-power plots a comeback in the Trump era: While other renewable energy sources have been prioritized in recent years, regulators can boost American energy by reforming the hydroelectric permitting process. This is especially important as aging dams need permit renewals, which come at historically slow rates.
8) We should privatize federal electric utilities: The federal government still owns 7% of US power output. There’s no sound reason for this. As a whole, the US has moved towards private utilities because they deliver better, cheaper, and greener products. They’re also less prone to corruption.
9) How will government handle the “Internet of Things?”: Policy analyst Riley Walters describes the federal government’s likely role in regulating technologies we’ll see in coming years.