Daily Adams

Business

Really Old School 

Being “pro business” doesn’t necessarily mean “pro free markets.” Reality TV star and wannabe Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump reminds us of this.Writing for The Stream, Acton’s Director of Research, Samuel Gregg, argues that not only does Trump seem to be a mercantilist, but, if implemented, this medieval economic system would weaken the United States.

Via Is Donald Trump a mercantilist? @ Acton PowerBlog.

A How-To for Tech Firms

To help tech businesses of all sizes plan around these issues and implement strong practices, the ACLU of California is releasing a new edition of Privacy and Free Speech: It’s Good for Business.

This business primer(and its companion website) is packed with more than 100 real-life case studies and cutting-edge recommendations on everything from privacy policies to security planning to community speech standards. Together, the principles and examples show the business value in making privacy and free speech part of a company’s DNA.

Via A How-To for Tech Firms: Doing the Right Thing on Privacy & Free Speech @ American Civil Liberties Union.

Lawsuit Over Stifling Wisconsin Baked Goods Ban

Anyone with an oven and a recipe should be able to have a baking business—but that is not the case in Wisconsin, where selling baked goods made in your home kitchen is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines or six months in jail. Wisconsin is one of only two states (the other being New Jersey) to ban the sale of home-baked goods.

Wisconsin’s home-baked-good ban has nothing to do with safety. The state bans home bakers from selling even food the government deems to be “not potentially hazardous” such as cookies, muffins and breads. The state also allows the sale of homemade foods like raw apple cider, maple syrup and popcorn, as well as canned goods such as jams and pickles. In addition, the state allows nonprofit organizations to sell any type of homemade food goods at events up to 12 days a year.

The ban is purely political. Commercial food producers like the Wisconsin Bakers Association are lobbying against a “Cookie Bill”—which would allow the limited sale of home baked goods—in order to protect themselves from competition. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who owns his own commercial food business, even refused to allow the Assembly to vote on a Cookie Bill last session, despite bipartisan support.

That’s why on January 13, 2016, three Wisconsin farmers joined with the Institute for Justice in filing a constitutional lawsuit in state court against Wisconsin’s State Department of Agriculture. The lawsuit will ask the court to strike down this arbitrary home-baked-good ban and allow home bakers to sell home-baked goods—like muffins, cookies and breads—directly to their friends, neighbors and other consumers.

Via Wisconsin Baked Goods Ban @ Institute for Justice.

Trolls for Tasers

The documentary film Killing Them Safely, which delves into Taser International’s claim that their products are non-lethal, has garnered generally wide praise and positive reviews, with a few exceptions. However, as Forbes reported, the filmmakers recently uncovered some questionable authors behind some of the film’s harshest critics.

Scores of one-star reviews for the movie hit iTunes this week, though none of the amateur reviewers said they worked for the company. Some, however, decided to use their real names and it’s apparent they work for Taser, according to Berardini and producer Jamie Concalves, who put out a number of tweets as proof.

Via Are Taser Employees Trolling an Anti-Taser Documentary? @ Hit & Run : Reason.com

Incumbents at the trough

The Ex-Im Bank didn’t exist to help small businesses — at least not in recent years. Over three-fourths of Ex-Im’s financial assistance went to just ten massive corporations, the top three recipients of which were Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar. According to a study done by Veronique de Rugy of George Mason’s Mercatus Center, Ex-Im provided support for less than one percent — 0.28 percent, to be exact — of small businesses. Furthermore, in past years Ex-Im has been found doctoring their stats and mischaracterizing businesses with as many as 1,500 employees as a “small business.” Aside from manipulating data, Ex-Im has been plagued with scandal and corruption — with 31 open fraud investigations on bank employees.

Big Business v. Markets

In 2014 big business opposed several of the most free-market members of Congress, and even a Ron Paul-aligned Georgia legislator who opposed taxpayer funding for the Atlanta Braves.

The U.S. chamber jumped into a Republican primary in Grand Rapids, Mich., to try to take down Rep. Justin Amash, probably the most pro-free-enterprise and most libertarian member of Congress. Free-market groups, including the Club for Growth, Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity, strongly backed Mr. Amash.

And now the chamber plans to spend up to $100 million on the 2016 campaign. Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, reports, “Some of business’ top targets in 2016 will be right-wing, tea party candidates, the types that have bucked the corporate agenda in Congress by supporting government shutdowns, opposing an immigration overhaul and attempting to close the Export-Import Bank.” Politico adds a highway bill to big business’ list of grievances against fiscal conservatives.

This clash between pro-market and pro-business is an old one. Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations” to denounce mercantilism, the crony capitalism of his day. Milton Friedman said at a 1998 conference: “There’s a common misconception that people who are in favor of a free market are also in favor of everything that big business does. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Via David Boaz: The Divide between Pro-Market and Pro-Business @ Cato.org.

Public Employees Threaten Private Business

The FOP was accused of bullying the business by anti-police brutality activists.

“The Facebook post they made, which was removed because of the unprecedented public outrage towards their attempt to bully a local landmark and beloved destination, further reinforces the lack of trust in the Fairfax County Police Department,” Mike Curtis, with the organization CopBlock, told the station.

Via Virginia cops try to bully family farm over ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign – but ignite furious backlash instead @ Raw Story.

Building more for private gain

….it appears NV Energy wants to run short of power on purpose. And the “preferred” solution it wants to pursue is to build a new and costly power plant.

This won’t help its customers. Their bills will go up as a result of the addition of the new power plant built from scratch and the subtraction of those that now supply the power NV Energy sells.

But it will help Warren Buffett and his friends at Berkshire-Hathaway….

Via Crony Capitalism Driving Nevada Energy Controversy @ Human Events.

A New Crony Capitalist for Wisconsin 

Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday appointed banking executive and frequent GOP donor Mark Hogan to lead the state’s troubled job-creation agency…..

M&I Bank faced its own problems several years ago with bad loans and a crashing stock price and ended up being absorbed by BMO Harris of Canada in 2011.

M&I loan losses during the real estate bust — concentrated heavily in Arizona and Florida — totaled $4.8 billion across its portfolio from Dec. 31, 2007, through December 2010, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review.

Hogan has given $24,125 to Walker’s campaigns for governor since 2009, state records show.

He gave another $10,000 this year to the super PAC backing Walker’s presidential run. His son, Patrick, has worked for Walker’s office and campaign.

Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said the contributions and Hogan’s son’s work for the campaign played no role in Hogan’s appointment.

Scott Walker appoints banking executive to lead state jobs agency @ JSOnline.  

Free markets in capital, goods, and labor

Hugo Ortega crossed over the Mexican border and arrived in Houston, Texas, without documents and without knowing any English. Over the next few years, he would become a citizen through President Reagan’s amnesty program and go from washing dishes to owning multiple restaurants. Now, he and his wife, Tracy Vaught—whom he met while working as a dishwasher in her restaurant in the 80’s—are the “reigning powerhouse couple of Houston’s competitive restaurant scene.”

In this documentary produced by Katherine Wells for The Atlantic‘s American Dreams series, Ortega reflects on his journey within the industry. “I have a great responsibility to represent the Mexican cuisine in a proper way,” he says. “It’s a magnificent cuisine.”

Via FREE WHITEWATER.