Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Keystone XL Update: Obama is Losing Battle

The map above (click to enlarge) shows the existing, extensive network of energy pipelines in the U.S. with the following code: green for oil, red for gas, and blue for products such as gasoline, propane and ethylene.  As I pointed out last November:

It's important to understand that: a) the United States already has a huge, safe network of existing pipelines for oil, natural gas and gasoline illustrated in the map above, b) pipelines have been used successfully and safely in the U.S. for more than 100 years, and c) pipelines are an integral part of our domestic energy system.   In other words, we live safely with energy pipelines every day and the Keystone XL pipeline would simply become one new segment of an existing and extensive pipeline network that makes a significant contribution to America's dependable and affordable energy.

Reason science correspondent Ronald Bailey has an excellent update on the Keystone XL pipeline, here are some excerpts from his article "Obama Is Losing the Keystone Pipeline Battle":

The Keystone pipeline became a defining issue for political environmentalists who dramatized their opposition during protests outside the White House by getting themselves arrested. The activists claimed that pipeline leaks could threaten the Ogallala aquifer in the Sand Hills region of Nebraska and would exacerbate man-made global warming by enabling consumers to burn fuel produced from Canada’s oilsands.

Meanwhile the labor union wing of the Democratic Party was eagerly lobbying the Obama administration on behalf of the jobs that constructing and operating the pipeline would create. In November, Obama bravely announced that he was putting off any decision on allowing the construction of the pipeline until after the 2012 presidential election. That's real leadership! Clearly in his electoral calculations, the Green faction won out over the union vote.

In a March trip to oil country, Obama reiterated his support for building the southern leg of the Keystone pipeline, assuring audiences that it is a “priority” for his administration. Perhaps recent poll numbers showing that 57 percent of Americans approve of the pipeline and that only 29 percent oppose it is prompting the president to do a bit of recalculating with regard to his electoral math. Meanwhile the clock is ticking because TransCanada’s February southern leg application triggered a 45-day deadline by which the Army Corps of Engineers must deny construction permits, or they are automatically approved by default. We will soon find out just how expeditiously helpful the Obama administration means to be.

And if that isn’t bad enough for Obama, TransCanada’s new application is raising tensions among the interest groups that generally support the Democratic Party. Over the weekend, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told C-SPAN that labor unions favor building the pipeline. On the other hand, environmental activists who thought they had succeeded in killing off the pipeline only to see it rise from the grave are near apoplectic. Finally, if the transportation bill emerges from Congress with a provision mandating the construction of the Keystone pipeline, will the president really risk vetoing a bill that promises to create a total of three million jobs in order to satisfy the demands of the environmentalists? It’s not like they are going to vote for Romney anyway."

HT: Warren Smith

67 Comments:

At 5/09/2012 9:44 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Still, no one (even those who pose as libertarians) answers the question: There are private property owners, largely ranchers, who do not want the pipeline to cross their property.

If they refuse Keystone the right to pass through their property, they are hauled into court, and Keystone ends up seizing their land anyway. With no approval by the private property owner.

In other words, private property rights mean nothing in this context. A private company can seize your land if it wants to and can get the state to approve that action---your approval is not necessary and is meaningless. Indeed, your approval, even if granted is granted under effective duress---they were going to seize your land anyway.

D. Perry posits himself himself as a libertarian. A true libertarian honors private property rights.

In Keystone, we are saying that a private company, seeking profit, can force many private landowners to give up their property rights.

 
At 5/09/2012 9:44 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

See this:

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-03-08/ranchers-tell-keystone-not-under-my-backyard

 
At 5/09/2012 9:49 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

From the San Antonio Tea Partiers....


"Texas delivers victory for property rights in Keystone pipeline fight
Posted on 03/09/2012 by Terri Hall
Julia Trigg Crawford’s fight to prevent Keystone XL pipeline company, TransCanada, from seizing her property using eminent domain scored a big win late last Friday when an appellate court reinstated her temporary restraining order (TRO). However, the same court just vacated the TRO today. TransCanada called in some big guns from American law firm Fulbright & Jaworski to get it done.

Most Americans believe eminent domain is a power unique to government that should only be used rarely and only in a matter of public necessity, like for a road or school. So they’re incredulous to find out private companies can obtain this governmental power under certain circumstances, and one of them is for pipelines. However in Texas, that’s restricted to what’s called a ‘common carrier’ pipeline deemed a ‘public use’ as opposed to a private use.

A coalition of organizations in Texas who are backing Crawford is expressing “exasperation” that the The Property Rights Protection Act, H.R. 1433, will likely include an exemption for pipelines, including Keystone XL. The bill recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and is now before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The reinstatement of Crawford’s temporary restraining order against TransCanada was not the only big news for her case last Friday. The same day the Texas Supreme Court also denied a motion for rehearing in the Texas Rice Farmers v. Denbury-Green pipeline case, subsequently reissuing an opinion that decidedly favors landowners. The Denbury-Green case unequivocally gives landowners the right to challenge a pipeline company’s common carrier status in court, which Crawford is doing. Her case is the first known litigation to rely on the Denbury-Green decision.

The Court specifically stated that a company cannot simply check a box on a one-page application and self-declare it meets the legal requirement for gaining eminent domain authority without checks and balances."

--30--

Ergo, this post could have been entitled "Obama Loses" or it could also be entitled, "Property Owners Lose."

 
At 5/09/2012 9:54 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I understand your point, and it is a good one. However, it's a tad more complex: the vast majority of this pipeline will be traveling under these people's property. The question is more about haw far down property rights extend then whether or not property rights are being infringed. The implicit implication of your point is that property rights extend downward to an infinite level.

 
At 5/09/2012 10:03 AM, Blogger Paul said...

And Benji comes a runnin' to his boyfriend's rescue once again.

Obama already gave his enthusiastic endorsement(that didn't need his approval) to building the southern part of the pipeline route from Cushing to the gulf coast refineries. So we know his opposition is not based on Texas ranchers' property rights, and he's sure never mentioned property rights as a reason.

I don't see why Obama can't approve the latest of thousands of miles of energy pipelines and let the property owners and courts work it out from there, as they are obviously already doing. And if energy hub Texas has built-in exemptions for pipelines on private property, let the state's voters unleash their wrath if they like.

 
At 5/09/2012 11:13 AM, Blogger Lynn said...

You could also say that the Midwest loses. Tar Sand Oil will be diverted from midwestern refiners to the Gulf Coast to end up shipped overseas as refined products. Or in the least when having greater markets for tar sand oil the price will be forced up in the midwest.

 
At 5/09/2012 11:25 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

jon-

i'm not sure that argument about burying the pipeline holds much water.

they are not burying it that deeply.

if your basement and sub basement etc are yours, then so is the land where this pipeline is going to go.

i don't think it would be any deeper than that.

eminent domain is a really thorny issue. without it, the incredibly valuable interstate highway system and the railroads and pipelines we enjoy would have been essentially impossible to create.

but it's a taking and a violation of rights, even if it is a constitutionally sanctioned one.

 
At 5/09/2012 11:28 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I agree, Morganovich. I was just postulating that the question we are asking may not have been the whole story.

 
At 5/09/2012 11:38 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Paul-

Everyone made sensible, issue-oriented comments.

Except you. You went straight to the toilet with personal invective.

 
At 5/09/2012 12:02 PM, Blogger rjs said...

he's not going to veto the new route; the opposition that made the difference on the first route was not the greens, but the nebraska farmers...

 
At 5/09/2012 12:13 PM, Blogger Ed R said...

So the transportation bill (including the XL pipeline) will create THREE million NEW jobs??

Wow!! That would take about two percentage points off the unemployment rate all by itself.

 
At 5/09/2012 12:28 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Here's a pipeline that uses existing rights-of-way, avoids the aquifers, is not opposed by the administration and....ignored by those amping up the Keystone issue.

which makes me wonder why.

http://www.pipelineandgasjournal.com/km-plans-710-mile-pony-express-pipeline

here's another:

http://goo.gl/Fo1z9

so what makes the Keystone so special?

 
At 5/09/2012 12:40 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

so what makes the Keystone so special?

I may be wrong on this, but I believe Keystone will be able to handle a higher capacity then those other two.

 
At 5/09/2012 12:53 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Unless Keystone converts its pipe into a common carrier pipe, I do not see how it is legal under Texas law to seize private property, or threaten to do so.

 
At 5/09/2012 12:59 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Unless Keystone converts its pipe into a common carrier pipe, I do not see how it is legal under Texas law to seize private property, or threaten to do so.

I'm not sure Texas will have a say. I could be wrong, but I believe since this project crosses both state and national boundaries, it falls under the federal government's jurisdiction.

 
At 5/09/2012 1:01 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Can Keystone use ED without the state's support?

 
At 5/09/2012 1:03 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Can Keystone use ED without the state's support?

I think it can. The company could challenge in a federal court. I am not 100% sure, so don't quote me, but that is what I understand to be the case.

 
At 5/09/2012 1:23 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

Larry G

"what makes the Keystone so special?"
_________________

I've seen you post this sort of comment before, as if to say that there will be no real long-term benefit to the pipeline. Let's suppose, for a moment, that there IS no long-term benefit. Even if that were true, so what? The financing of the pipeline will be provided by PRIVATE CAPITAL (a difficult concept for Obama to grasp, I realize).

If, for example, providers of capital were willing to pay people to dig holes, and cover them up again, that process would still be providing jobs, without a single dime of government money.

Providing jobs by investment of PRIVATE CAPITAL is a good thing (IMO).

 
At 5/09/2012 1:34 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

well, arbitrage789, don't put words in my mouth!

I see several pipelines being proposed and the vast majority of them NOT opposed by the administration and also the administration does not opposed private capital for these other pipelines....so what gives?

I ask why.... it seems obvious to me that Obama is not opposed to any/all pipelines as is implied. He's nowhere to be found on these other proposals. Why?

but let's go with your assumption (which I mostly agree with).

who gives ANY company the right to forcibly take a persons property?

why would we support that at the same time we are arguing for a free market and "liberty"?

what's the justification for one property owner to take another's?

 
At 5/09/2012 1:35 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

legally, federal emminent domain trumps any powers of a state. it's in the constitution.

federal power supersedes state and they have the specifically enunciated right of eminent domain.

we can ague the morality, but the legality is clear. if the feds wanna do it, they can do so legally.

 
At 5/09/2012 1:57 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

So, we have then Keystone supporters touting the powers of the federal government to intrude on commerce, and force private-property owners (ranchers) in the state of Texas to give up their property rights?

All that, so that a private company can make profits on a privately-owned pipe?

Okay fine...but do not the complain when the federal government decides maybe health care ought to be controlled too.

If you are not there to wipe out the ethanol program, then don't be surprised to see a Solyndra eating at the federal lard pit.

 
At 5/09/2012 1:59 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

Larry G @ 1:34

I don't want to "put words in your mouth". Just trying to understand your position.

Regarding the taking of property, that is an important legal issue, and one that is certainly worth discussing (although I basically agree with Morganovich @ 1:35).

But I think that the legal issues should be kept separate from the economic issues. From an economic standpoint, the pipeline would be hugely beneficial, and not cost any government money.

Another point regarding the taking of private property: I've noticed that none of the pundits who are opposed to the pipeline have even raised this issue. Obama hasn't raised this issue; nor has his energy secretary, or Eric Holder.

 
At 5/09/2012 2:03 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

Benjamin,

"do not the complain when the federal government decides maybe health care ought to be controlled too"
___________________

The Federal government most certainly does have the power to regulate those (in health care or any economic endeavor) WHO HAVE CHOSEN to engage in commerce.

The Federal government, however, does not have the power to force people into commerce, if they do not wish to engage in such

 
At 5/09/2012 2:15 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

Benjamin,

There's lots of case law on eminent domain, but consider the 5th amendment to the constitution:

“[No person shall] be deprived of...property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”

 
At 5/09/2012 2:16 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"I see several pipelines being proposed and the vast majority of them NOT opposed by the administration and also the administration does not opposed private capital for these other pipelines....so what gives?"

You don't see his enviro-nutjob base protesting the other pipelines. I don't know about the other pipelines, but it's a stated objective of radical groups like Sierra Club to shut out the "dirty oil" coming from the Candian tar sands.

 
At 5/09/2012 2:21 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

"So, we have then Keystone supporters touting the powers of the federal government to intrude on commerce, and force private-property owners (ranchers) in the state of Texas to give up their property rights? "

Name one supporter "touting" that as their reason for support. The eminent domain issue can be hashed out between the interested parties and the courts once Obama allows it to proceed.

"If you are not there to wipe out the ethanol program, then don't be surprised to see a Solyndra eating at the federal lard pit."

Well, the Tea Party is there to wipe out the ethanol program your boyfriend has a long history of supporting. They're there to wipe out his Green Jobs crony empire as well.

 
At 5/09/2012 2:40 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon Murphy,

"Can Keystone use ED without the state's support?

I think it can. The company could challenge in a federal court. I am not 100% sure, so don't quote me, but that is what I understand to be the case.
"

It is illegal in the US for private property to be seized for a private purpose, period. It makes no difference whether the issue is intrastate, interstate, or international.

The fact that it has been done (Kelo) and upheld by the SCOTUS doesn't change that.

It is necessary that some "public purpose", which is itself a twisted interpretation of "public use" be claimed.

If only T. Jefferson hadn't been otherwise occupied in France during the Constitutional Convention, things might have worked out differently. :)

 
At 5/09/2012 2:41 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

"it's a stated objective of radical groups like Sierra Club to shut out the "dirty oil" coming from the Candian tar sands"
________________

You may be right about that.

But I'll happily take "dirty oil" from Canada over "clean oil" from, e.g., Saudi Arabia.

And then we've got Venezuelan oil, which has a high sulfur content. I suppose the Sierra club thinks that spewing sulfur compounds into the air is far better than for us to use Canadian oil

 
At 5/09/2012 2:51 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Arbitrage,

"And then we've got Venezuelan oil, which has a high sulfur content. I suppose the Sierra club thinks that spewing sulfur compounds into the air is far better than for us to use Canadian oil."

The same d-bags look the other way there because they are also Chavistas.

 
At 5/09/2012 2:56 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"see several pipelines being proposed and the vast majority of them NOT opposed by the administration and also the administration does not opposed private capital for these other pipelines....so what gives?"

Larry, as far as I know, the only thing that connects Obama and the Federal government to the Keystone pipeline in any way, is the fact that it crosses an international border, and therefore falls within the President's authority to make treaties.

Any approval or disapproval at this time, can be seen as a reward to one or another group of Obama's political supporters.

Deferring that decision until after the November election is crass political cowardice, and nothing more. If you aren't sure why that is, ask me, and I will explain it.

"who gives ANY company the right to forcibly take a persons property?"

There is no such right.

"why would we support that at the same time we are arguing for a free market and "liberty"?"

"We" wouldn't.

"what's the justification for one property owner to take another's?"

There is none. It is known as theft - unless government does it, in which case it is called "taxes".

 
At 5/09/2012 3:06 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

Ron H.,

But we shouldn't "rush" Obama into a hasty decision.

After all, he's had ONLY THREE YEARS to think about it.

 
At 5/09/2012 3:23 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Why would you care if the property is taken, provided a fair price is paid?

The problem with eminent domain isn't the taking, it is that the system is used cynically to take unfairly.

However, that said, thee would be no eminent domain if jefferson had his way.

 
At 5/09/2012 3:24 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

This pipeline nonsense was probably a big mistake: we know how to build pipelines, and they very seldom blow up an entire neighborhood or pollut a river.

Quit the bellyaching and get on with it.

 
At 5/09/2012 3:26 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Ron H,

"There is no such right."

Here's my question about all this: when you look at a map of the US pipeline system, you see pipelines criss-crossing all over the United States. Did all those pipelines violate property rights? If so, that would be a truly staggering # of violations. Or maybe everyone who was affected found a way to work with the companies/govt entity laying the pipe?

 
At 5/09/2012 3:31 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

If they refuse Keystone the right to pass through their property, they are hauled into court, and Keystone ends up seizing their land anyway. With no approval by the private property owner.

================================
Usually the deal is that they do not get the land, they only get an easement for the pipeline. It is supposed to be buried and the topsoil replaced as before. (Of course this may be a surface pipeline in remote areas, which is a different deal)

The problem is that the value of the easement is based on the PRIOR use of the land, not the new use. The owner gets a one time payment for the easement, and the pipeline gets perpetual use of the easement.

The farmer/rancher still owns the property and still pays the taxes on it. the problem comes when the constructors do a lousy job and the famer winds up with a big strip of distubed and rocky soil he can't use.

They would probably feel a lot less put upon if they got a piece of the action which resulted in continuing payments, the way a windmill or cell tower pays rent.

 
At 5/09/2012 3:33 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

A true libertarian honors private property rights.


A true Libertarian recognizes there are no absolutes. Property rights can be honored with an appropriate payment.

 
At 5/09/2012 3:36 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

So they’re incredulous to find out private companies can obtain this governmental power under certain circumstances, and one of them is for pipelines.

================================

Also for power transmission lines. And if you think people are mad about a pipeline which will be buried and forgotten, just wait till you see what happens when they try to string miles of new transmission loine to support wind and solar projects (located in remote areas) and upgrade the grid to support new gas fired plants.

 
At 5/09/2012 3:39 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The implicit implication of your point is that property rights extend downward to an infinite level.

===============================

Even so, the constructors need the use of your surface property in order to bury the pipeline. The proper price for an easement agreement would onsider how long your life is going to be disrupted by heavy machinery and maybe blasting.

 
At 5/09/2012 3:41 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

but it's a taking and a violation of rights, even if it is a constitutionally sanctioned one.

===============================

Oh, so the Constitution does not matter. I'll remember that the next time you claim reducing gun rights, or something, is unconstitutional.

 
At 5/09/2012 3:44 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I may be wrong on this, but I believe Keystone will be able to handle a higher capacity then those other two.
=========================

So the property rights issues hinge on the capacity of the service that violates your rights?

 
At 5/09/2012 3:48 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I suppose the Sierra club thinks that spewing sulfur compounds into the air is far better than for us to use Canadian oil.

================================
Some members of the Sierra club think it is possible to live a prosperous life and create ero pollution, too. They are obviously unrealistic, not to say stark raving mad.


However, It ought to be possible to make an estimate as to which source will cause the most damage and require the most government supervision.

Then you look for lowest Total Cost = Production Cost + External Cost + Government Cost

 
At 5/09/2012 3:52 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

what's the justification for one property owner to take another's?

============================

I think it is called creative destruction. You might be using radio frequency which you paid for, but if a much more valuable use for that frequency appears, you are going to be put out of business, just like VHS and Betamax.

Hopefully you will be compensated better than Betamax was.

 
At 5/09/2012 3:56 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Larry, as far as I know, the only thing that connects Obama and the Federal government to the Keystone pipeline in any way, is the fact that it crosses an international border, and therefore falls within the President's authority to make treaties. "

looking at this map:

http://www.pipelineandgasjournal.com/km-plans-710-mile-pony-express-pipeline

it crosses the international border also....

" After all, he's had ONLY THREE YEARS to think about it."

no such issues with the other pipelines? Is Obama against any/all pipelines or not?


re: the Feds/State approving the taking of private land for another private landowner.

to be fair - looking at the map provided..sure looks like a crap-load of pipelines that the govt decided

but we agree that the Feds can forcibly take private property as long as it supports a important goal like Keystone?

( I thought I'd toss a fatball for the last question).

 
At 5/09/2012 3:58 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The Federal government, however, does not have the power to force people into commerce, if they do not wish to engage in such

=============================

Right, says one who lost property to eminent domain - twice. Tell me again how government cannot force me to engage in commerce.

Oh that's right, I am REQUIRED to farm my land and show government the receipts for my farm commmerce but I am PROHIBITED from any other commerce.

Of course I am not FORCED to do this, I can allways sell out and move, in which case the next owner will be forced into the same rules. End result: someone is going to be forced to engage in this particular commerce.

I am sure glad to know that government does not have the power to do this.

 
At 5/09/2012 4:22 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

Hydra @ 3:58

I'm not sure I understand your legal argument here. I'm not a lawyer but it does look to me like the 5th amendment gives the Feds the power to take property (with compensation, of course).

At the same time, despite having listened to endless arguments on this topic, no one has been able to show me where the Constitution gives the Feds the power to force people into commerce.

Bottom line: taking land (with compensation) may be Constitutional in some cases, but forcing people to engage in commerce is not.

 
At 5/09/2012 6:39 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Arbitrage:

Yes, the state or federal government can seize land for public use. But not for private use and private gain, Constitutionally speaking.

The Keystone is private use for private gain.

The ardent Keystone supporters are backing the federal government, and Keystone, in their bid to seize property without private property owner permission.

Even if permission is granted, it will be under duress. They would seize it anyway, if the property owners say no. It's like the Mafia selling you "protection."

So, deep in the heart of Texas, the federal government can ramrod a pipeline, for private profit, through private-rancher land, whether the ranchers say yes or no.

The feds can compel the private property owners into a commercial property transaction---beginning to sound a lot like compelling people to buy health insurance, no?

This is how the power of the federal government has grown so much. When it benefits one partisan group, that group supports the federal government, rights be damned. And when the federal government supports another partisan group, that partisan group over-boards rights just as quickly.
I this case, it is the GOP eager to stomp on private property rights---although the San Antonio Tea Party seems to have other views, and does not want the pipeline.

The Tea Party may offer hope to America. The Grifters On Parade (GOP) Party is a hopeless swamp of scalawags, and a confederacy of con artists.

 
At 5/09/2012 7:06 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

"I this case, it is the GOP eager to stomp on private property rights--"

Stuff like this is why you deserve all the sh*t I and others here give you, and then some. You can't name a single representative of the GOP "eager to stomp on private property rights." What you do find are people who want Obama to approve the pipeline. Apparently, you're too much of a moron to understand the difference.

 
At 5/09/2012 7:45 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Forcing one to sell land isn't forcing them to engage in commerce?

How about forcing them to engage in a trade, as a function of the location of their domicile?
It is the same deal as the health care mandate, I don't HAVE to participate, I just pay money if I don't.

I was just remarking about the comment that government does not have the power, when clearly it does. Authority, maybe not.

But if the property rights advocates need a place to start, they can start locally, no need to hang all of this on Obama. There is plenty of local property theft to work on.

 
At 5/09/2012 7:58 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Keystone is private use for private gain?

But, doesn't everybody gain when the wealthy get wealthier? Doesn't everyone have the option of buying stock and cashing in?

How about those thousands of jobs that will ne created? Where is keystones private gain I'm those?

Does keystone gain from federal largess in being handed eminent domain rights? Largesse that is paid for with taxes from all those newly employed as a result of keystone?

Seems to me that everyone gains here.

I know, socialist thinking.

 
At 5/09/2012 8:03 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Forcing one to sell land isn't forcing them to engage in commerce?"

that's right. It don't really count if the govt "forcing" you to sell your stuff - for a good and just reason.

it's "constitutional" right?

 
At 5/09/2012 9:55 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

Larry G.

No one is saying that everything that's "constitutional" is "good" or "moral" or "just".

But we've got to live by one set of rules.

In the case of the individual mandate (Obamacare), the most important legal issue (IMO) is the expansion of Federal power.

I'm assuming that where H.C. is concerned, your view is that the more power the Feds have, the better off we are, but that you have a different view of Federal power when it comes to E.D.

 
At 5/09/2012 10:00 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

Hydra (7:45)

"It is the same deal as the health care mandate, I don't HAVE to participate, I just pay money if I don't"
______________

You're confusing the power to tax with the power to compel one to engage in commerce against his will.

NO ONE has ever suggested that the Feds do not have the power to tax. Of course they do. But from a legal standpoint, there is nothing in Obamacare about a tax.

 
At 5/10/2012 4:02 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

@arbitrage789 - I guess I think that if the Fed has the power, authority to use ED and to make you pay for social security and Medicare... seat belts, etc...that the argument against health care seem technical.

I support an individual mandate primarily because I feel it protects other taxpayers from having to pick up the expenses of those who do not set aside money for their needs.

 
At 5/10/2012 8:56 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

"Unlike Europe, where governments of all stripes compensate private property owners when regulation acts as de facto expropriation, governments in Canada can wholly or partly freeze your property through regulation and not offer a dime in compensation," said Mark Milke, Fraser Institute director of Alberta policy research and author of Stealth Confiscation: How Governments Regulate, Freeze, and Devalue Private Property-Without Compensation.

"That's a major policy failure and a black eye on Canada's reputation for fairness."



http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-fraser-institute-canadian-property-rights-weakest-among-western-countries-allowing-governments-to-freeze-use-of-property-without-compensating-landowners-2012-05-10-632580


==================================

Contrast that with American law which requires no compensation for regulatory takings, unless the takings remove almost all value from the property.

 
At 5/10/2012 9:04 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

It is the same deal as the health care mandate, I don't HAVE to participate, I just pay money if I don't"
______________

You're confusing the power to tax with the power to compel one to engage in commerce against his will.

================================

I'm not confused: there is no substantial diference other than your word play.

I have a LOCAL government that has put me in the same position Obamacare will put me: I do not HAVE to comply, I just have to pay money if I don't comply.

As a result I am (effectively) forced to participate in one particular form of commerce.


If one is wrong then both are wrong, but I don't see anyone raising the property rights war banner against this kind of local activity, although it is common.

I don't see anyone raising money to drag this sisue before the supreme court, or before dozens of local courts.

Maybe it is because it is not really the issue that matters, but the opportunity to bash Obama. If that is the case,then surely we can find a way to blame Obama for regulatory takings.

 
At 5/10/2012 9:07 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

I support an individual mandate primarily because I feel it protects other taxpayers from having to pick up the expenses of those who do not set aside money for their needs.

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It is hard to understand those who oppose government spending and support individual responsibility to the point that they will gladly pay as much or more to support Free Riders, than they would pay in taxes to eliminate them.

 
At 5/10/2012 9:09 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

But from a legal standpoint, there is nothing in Obamacare about a tax.

===============================

Why pick nits? You pay money to the government, it is a tax, whether it is called a Toll, a user fee, an admission price, a subsidy, or a tax.

It is a tax, get over it, and move on to smething important.

 
At 5/10/2012 9:14 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

No one is saying that everything that's "constitutional" is "good" or "moral" or "just".

But we've got to live by one set of rules.

===============================

That one set of rules pretty much boils down to one rule: the golden rule.

All of the rest of it is just (a sometimes poor) attempt at clarification.

By allowing the lawyers to put too much empahsis on the one set of rules called the consitutio as written, by bending twisting and arguing every nuance of every word as written, by insistitng on the primacy of the constitution, we have lost sight of the one thing it was supposed to buy us:

Fair and equal treatment and fair and equal protection.

 
At 5/10/2012 9:18 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

it's "constitutional" right?

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If it is constitutional then government can force you to engage in commerce.

At least in the case of Obamacare, the over riding goal is (or is claimed to be) to make the situation more fair and more equal by eliminating free riders on the consumer side, and cherry picking on the provider side.

 
At 5/10/2012 11:08 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Paul-

You are the only commenter left on this board who employs personal inventive.

 
At 5/10/2012 1:30 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"You are the only commenter left on this board who employs personal inventive"...

I for one applaud paul for his 'inventiveness'...

 
At 5/10/2012 2:11 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Larry,

"I support an individual mandate primarily because I feel it protects other taxpayers from having to pick up the expenses of those who do not set aside money for their needs."

Yes, I feel so protected.

 
At 5/10/2012 2:30 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

At the end of the day there will be a subjective truth. It won't matter how either of you "feel" about it.

May as well try to discover the truth bfore you get hit by it.

 
At 5/10/2012 2:34 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Paul - I hear you man... but social security is not the cause of the deficit and getting rid of SS won't fix it (unless you want to use the payroll tax to pay down the deficit).

We did not get 15 trillion in debt from SS. We got there by doubling DOD, adding Medicare Part D and increasing Homeland Security.

The real irony here is that Medicare Part B (C&D) is not an individual mandate...it's entirely voluntary and no one pays a penny into it via payroll taxes and we sell it to people - some of whom have significant income and assets for about 1/4 what it costs.

Even at that Medicare Part B is but 210 billion in a budget of over 3 trillion that includes 900 billion for DOD and 1.3 trillion for National Defense in total.

SS has some issues with the ability to pay 100% of benefits but it is not broke and never will be and does not contribute to the deficit in any significant way.

SS is an individual mandate implemented via payroll tax.

You'll find it in every single industrialized country in the world - about 100 countries.

Many of those countries are nowhere near "broke". Sweden has a balanced budget. Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore all have individual mandates and are financially solvent.

 
At 5/10/2012 3:31 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

And, although one might like to think that individuals could manage and invest their money better than SS, the facts are somewhat different.

The crash of 2008 showed how many retirees and near retirees could suddenly have their plans drastically changed. This pretty much ends the argment in favor of individual retirement plans (which I once favored).

At the same time, any prudent personal retirement/investment plan would need a substantial portion of it invested in more secure investmets (probably government bonds), so the claim that you could earn a lot more is false, unless you also take on more risk, the result of which we saw in 2008.

 
At 5/10/2012 3:38 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Here is a question for you property rights lawyers, based on the situation in Galveston.

Does a landowner have the right to build a bulkhead to protect his (beachfront) property from erosion, when it is known that such construction will hasten erosion of his neighbors property?

Background: previous law heald that a certain amount of beach (measured from the water) was public property. If the beach eroded to the point your home was on public proerty, it had to be moved or removed.

New law holds that is not the case if the erosion is sudden, caused by storm damage.

 
At 5/13/2012 2:46 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Why would you care if the property is taken, provided a fair price is paid?"

I don't know how I missed this gem earlier, but I just have to respond to it now, even if it's too late, and it's never read.

This is a comment from a person who whines constantly about his mistreatment by local authorities, who have placed limits on your use of your own property, and which you rightfully consider a taking.

It's obvious that a double standard applies in your world.

 

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