What freedoms have you lost this week?
The Federal Register is the official daily publication for Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as Executive Orders and other Presidential Documents. This column attempts to summarize the highlights (or lowlights) of the Federal Register during the preceding week.
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JULY 7, 2003:
EDUCATION DEPARTMENT ' $944,000 GRANT FOR 'SAFE AND DRUG FREE SCHOOLS' PROGRAMS
This grant provides financial assistance to organizations primarily serving Native Hawaiians. The program's goal is to prevent violence in schools and prevent the illegal use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.
Curiously, the same Education Department endorses--even encourages--the use of certain drugs that are arguably far worse.
The explosion of ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) diagnoses, despite the absence of any scientific proof of its existence, is largely the result of government policy. In 1991, the Education Department decreed that schools could get $400 in special education grant money each year for every child diagnosed with ADHD. Since then, ADHD diagnoses shot up an average of 20% a year. These data suggest a link between money and the use of Ritalin, the drug that is commonly prescribed for ADHD.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the United States buys and uses 90% of the world's supply of Ritalin. Approximately four million children in the United States are on Ritalin. Some studies estimate that 12% of U.S. boys are being treated with Ritalin.
Ritalin is classified as a Schedule II (most addictive) drug--on par with cocaine, morphine, PCP and methamphetamines. Serious complications have been associated with Ritalin, including suicide, psychotic episodes and violent behavior.
The term 'Drug Free School Zone' makes an exception for Ritalin, the government-approved (and administered) sedative.
INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION (ITA) ' ANTI-DUMPING DUTIES ON NON-FROZEN APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE FROM CHINA
The ITA imposed a 51.74% tariff on apple juice from various Chinese producers when they determined that these imports were being sold at 'less than fair value.' This anti-dumping investigation began when several domestic producers (Coloma Frozen Foods, Inc., Green Valley Packers, Knouse Foods Cooperative, Inc., Mason County Fruit Packers Co-op, Inc., and Tree Top, Inc.) complained to the federal government that these imports produced by their foreign competitors amounted to 'unfair competition.'
Private companies, like any special interest group, are adept at using the government to benefit themselves at the expense of others.
In this case, domestic apple juice producers succeeded in reducing their competition by getting the bureaucrats to impose high tariffs on foreign competitors. Naturally, it is the consumer that pays the ultimate price--in the form of higher apple juice prices at the market.
JULY 8, 2003:
NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION (NTHSA) - $2 MILLION GRANT TO INCREASE AFRICAN-AMERICAN SEAT BELT USE
The purpose of the grant is to 'support demonstration projects in key metropolitan/urban cities designed to increase African American safety belt use.'
Apparently, the NTHSA thinks that blacks are underrepresented in government efforts to harass unbuckled drivers via programs such as 'Click It or Ticket.' Equal harassment under the law?
JULY 11, 2003:
TREASURY DEPARTMENT ' TERRORISM RISK INSURANCE PROGRAM
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 established a temporary Terrorism Risk Insurance Program under which the Federal Government will 'share' the risk of insured loss from certified acts of terrorism with commercial property and casualty insurers until the Program sunsets on December 31, 2005.
This legislation demands that taxpayers act as underwriters for commercial property and casualty insurers in case of future terrorist attacks. It is nothing more than a huge taxpayer subsidy to the insurance industry.
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