Five years ago, a new quirky-sounding consumer-rights group set up shop in a sleepy corner of Capitol Hill. “Consumers for Paper Options is a group of individuals and organizations who believe paper-based communications are critically important for millions of Americans,” the group explained in a press release, “especially those who are not yet part of the online community.”
This week, Consumers for Paper Options scored a big win, according to the Wall Street Journal. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Mary Jo White has abandoned her plan to loosen rules about the need to mail paper documents to investors in mutual funds.
Mutual funds were lobbying for more freedom when it came to mailing prospectuses — those exhaustive, bulky, trash-can-bound explanations of the contents of your fund. In short, the funds wanted to be free to make electronic delivery the default, while allowing investors to insist on paper delivery. This is an obvious common-sense reform which would save whole forests of trees.
Consumers for Paper Options fought back. The group warned that changing the default from paper to electronic delivery would “Confuse potentially millions of investors who suddenly stop seeing important printed fund performance material from investment firms.”
. . .
This is almost laughable: A D.C. lobbyist forming a sham “consumer” protection to fight for federal rules requiring more paper and envelopes be wasted, while getting paid by the envelope lobby.
But the envelope CEOs and the paper lobbyists aren’t the only ones who care about keeping this junkmail flowing. Those paper mills that exist in the U.S. are deeply threatened by digitization. Among the shrinking list of things that go on paper these days are things the government forces people to put on paper. Allow mutual funds to mail fewer prospectuses, and those paper mills will lose a significant amount of work.
The employees at these mills will see their hours reduced, if they’re not simply laid off. The added costs of mailing me unwanted paper nibbles away the value of my retirement account, but is a tiny uptick in my 401(k) really worth laying off paper mill worker in East Millinocket, Maine?
. . .
Here’s the thing about the federal rule requiring the mailing of the prospectus: It’s absurd and wasteful, and it differs only in degree from most subsidies whose defenders use the same “save the jobs” rhetoric.
In a federal mandate for waste, envelope lobby reveals Washington
Ozymandias and statolatry
Tags: crony capitalism, Crony Chronicles, Ozymandias, Statolatry, Timothy Carney
The dress-code libertarianism and bake-me-a-cake libertarianism [Libertarian Party 2016 presidential candidate Gary] Johnson has embraced isn’t libertarianism at all — it’s left-wing social engineering enforced at gunpoint. Coming from Johnson and Weld, it reeks of raw identity politics. The only consistent theme is that religious people are bad.
Johnson’s quick reversal on his Burqa ban, and his logical fallacies and weird arguments on coerced baking suggest that he doesn’t hold libertarianism as a principle — he is really just a social liberal and economic conservative, as he says. This is the heart of [Libertarian Party 2016 vice-presidential candidate Bill] Weld’s campaigning, too.
Maybe Weld and Johnson haven’t been paying attention since they left office, and that’s why they conflate “socially liberal” with libertarian. These days, it’s not the conservatives trying to use government to enforce their morality. The Obama administration is trying to compel nuns to provide contraception for their staff. The ACLU is suing to force Catholic hospitals to abort babies. Gary Johnson’s own state fined a Christian wedding photographer for refusing to participate in a gay wedding.
The “anti-choice” side in America today is usually the cultural Left.
. . .
This puts Johnson and Weld at odds with the rest of libertarianism. The Cato Institute and the Reason Foundation both filed amicus briefs on behalf of Hobby Lobby, the Christian-owned store that objected to Obama’s contraception mandate.
Is this the dawn of bake-me-a-cake libertarianism?
Tags: abortion, Ozymandias, Statolatry, Timothy Carney
Is Big Business a Danger to Economic Liberty?
This all reflects the aspect of lobbying most observers miss: the lobbyists are often more closely bound to the politicians they are supposedly swaying than they are to the clients they are supposedly representing. The result: the lobbyists serve largely to extract money from companies, and use that money to help their political friends, whose success will ensure the lobbyists more clients.
Big Business Loves Big Government: Cronyism in American Politics
This is how wealth begets wealth, power begets power, and how on K Street, they are all intermarried.
The DC Revolving Door swings wide and it swings both ways
See also, “Obama Administration Helps Wall Street Criminals Dodge Accountability“ Hope and Change! LOL!
Crony Capitalism as Progressive Reform
Books by Timothy Carney
– The Big Ripoff
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