Millennials Say Govt Is Wasteful (66%) and Govt Agencies Abuse their Power (58%)

Download the PDFReason-Rupe has a new survey and report
out on millennials—find the report

Reason-Rupe’s latest study of millennials finds that
whilemillennials support government action; however, they also
believe government comes with its own problems. They have come to
view government as wasteful and inefficient, recognize the
potential for regulatory
 and also agency corruption.

66 Percent of Millennials Think Government Is Wasteful

The perception that government is wasteful and inefficient has
surged among millennials in the past five years.

In 2009, the Pew Research Center found that only
42 percent of millennials thought government was “usually
inefficient and wasteful,” compared to six in 10 among Americans
over 30. This number hascrept
 in recent polls. By 2014, using the exact same wording
as the question Pew asked in 2009, we found the share of
millennials who agree the government is wasteful and inefficient
has shot up to 66 percent, while 32 percent disagree.

Even millennials who favor a broader role for government view it
as wasteful. Fully 57 percent of millennial Democrats say
government is wasteful, as do 69 percent of independents and 81
percent of Republicans.

63 Percent Say Regulators Favor Special Interests Over the

Millennials generally favor government regulation of business to
protect the public interest. However, nearly two-thirds (63%) say
that when government regulators write and implement regulations,
they generally act on behalf of narrow special interests, not the
public. Only 18 percent think regulators generally have the public
interest in mind when deciding how to regulate businesses, and
another 19 percent aren’t sure. While liberal and moderate
millennials are more trusting of regulators, majorities of liberals
(56%) and moderates (59%) still expect special interests to benefit
more than the public from regulations. Conservatives (82%) and
libertarians (85%) are the most likely to say special interests
benefit the most.

58 Percent Say Government Agencies Generally Abuse Their

In the aftermath of government contractor Edward Snowden’s
revelations about the federal government’s surveillance programs,
the American people have been essentially asked to trust government
officials to do what is right. However, Reason-Rupe data reveal
that millennials don’t believe government agencies generally do the
right thing.

The Pew Research Center found that
young people were more supportive than older cohorts of Edward
Snowden’s choice to release classified information about the
existence of government surveillance: 60 percent said it served the
public interest and 34 percent said it harmed it. Moreover, they
were the only age group to disapprove (55%) of the data collection

The Reason-Rupe millennial poll finds one driver of support for
Edward Snowden is that 58 percent of millennials think “government
agencies generally abuse their power” while only 25 percent think
they “generally do the right thing.”

Concern extends beyond partisanship. Majorities of Democrats
(53%), independents (53%), and Republicans (73%) worry government
agencies abuse their power. Nevertheless, Democrats (33%) are
nearly twice as likely as Republicans (16%) to believe these
agencies do the right thing. There are only small differences
across race/ethnicity, although African-American millennials (66%)
are slightly more likely than their peers (56%) to believe
government agencies abuse their power.

To learn more about millennials, check
out Reason-Rupe’s new report.

from Hit & Run

Fiscal End-Times: White House Not Able to Fix Up Bowling Alley

BowlingThe White House has opted not to renovate
its bowling alley after all—a tell-tale sign of the
moral decay of our once great nation.

The bowling alley, which is reportedly nigh unusable
(unbowlable?) due to its shamefully “chipped lanes and worn-out
shoes,” has not been fixed up in 15 years. Post-9/11 America has
never had a respectable White House bowling alley. Now it never

Media scrutiny (read: sabotage) of the proposal to spend money
on a fancier bowling alley—at a time when government purports to be
cutting back—ultimately doomed the renovation, according to

The Washington Times

Without a better alley, how will President Obama improve his
abysmal bowling game? Answer: he won’t. Woe to the American

from Hit & Run

Steve Chapman on Secrecy, The No-Fly List, and Concealed Weapons

George OrwellSome
women and men shouldn’t be trusted with a loaded gun in public, and
some shouldn’t be allowed to board a plane. But the only reliable
way to separate the worthy from the unworthy is in a public forum
where people can learn why they’re excluded and offer

Providing this opportunity is crucial for individuals who
otherwise might suffer unwarranted deprivation of rights that are
available to others. But it’s also important for the rest of us, if
only to reveal whether policies adopted by our elected officials
are being carried out with even a minimum level of fairness and
competence, writes Steve Chapman.

The alternative is to expect people given power to use it wisely
in the absence of public accountability, writes Chapman. It assumes
what Orwell’s Ministry of Truth proclaimed: Ignorance is

View this article.

from Hit & Run

3 Ridiculous Ways the FDA Is Policing Social Media

I’m not sure if the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) is especially good at empire-building or it’s just that I pay
more attention to this federal agency than others. But the FDA
seems to spend a significant amount of its time trying to extend
its reach.

Recently it has taken a manifest destiny mindset toward the
digital landscape, attempting to broaden its regulatory
jurisdiction to include Twitter, Facebook, message boards, blog
comments, and more. Here are three absurd (and possibly
unconstitutional) ways that the FDA is now policing food, drug, and
other companies online. 

Facebook Micromanagement

On June 27, the
FDA sent a warning later to Zarbee’s Naturals
, a line of cough
syrup, sleep aids, and seasonal-allergy remedies. Zarbee’s products
rely on active ingredients such as buckwheat honey, Butterbur leaf
extract, and the sleep hormone melatonin. The FDA scolded Zarbee’s
for saying its products treat conditions such as coughs and
congestion, as treating these conditions would “cause the products
to be drugs.” That’s right—if your all-natural product does the
same thing as a drug, that makes the product a “new drug” to the

“New drugs may not be legally introduced or delivered for
introduction into interstate commerce without prior approval from
the FDA,” the agency warned Zarbee’s. FDA drug approval is a
lengthy and expensive process, of course (and no real guarantee of
a drug’s safety at all). 

As examples of Zarbee’s illegal promotion of its “new drugs”,
the FDA cited several Facebook posts from the company as well as
personal testimonials that customers had posted to its Facebook
page. Zarbee’s “liking” these comments was considered “endorsing or
promoting” them. From the FDA warning letter: 

Zarbees “liked” the following comment made on February 4, 2014:
“…I received your…Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Sleep Product. I
have a daughter…born with cerebral palsy and she suffers from
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome… [s]he took the samples you sent and
slept through the night…best sleep she has had in years…”

On February 4, 2014: Zarbees commented “Mary, Thank you for
writing this!!! We love to hear that we have helped people…” on
this claim.

Zarbees “liked” the following comment made on January 7, 2014:
“I’ve been battling either bronchitis or pneumonia for the last 18
days and have tried everything…your Children’s Cough Syrup and
mucus relief got rid of…my hoarsness [sic]…[m]y throat and chest
are beginning to feel so much better…”

Zarbees “liked” the following comment made on October 30, 2013:
“Love Zarbee’s this is the only medicine we use for our 2 year old.
Colds and congestion clear up in 2 days.”

Zarbees “liked” the following comment made on October 15, 2013:
“Received the sample for allergy relief and my husband had a
terrible problem with allergies…he was very impressed on how well
it worked for him…”

Good thing the FDA is going to step in and pull this dangerous
product off the market until it gets a permission slip, or at least
stop Zarbee’s from making honest, accurate, non-FDA approved
claims. These customers may think Zarbee’s cold remedies
are working for them and their children, but clearly that’s only
because they’ve been duped by the company’s manipulative
advertising (like this February tweet the FDA cites: “Try @Zarbees
#naturalremedies for Cold and Cough Season”).

The FDA must step in to break this false consciousness brought
on by lived experience and not an external authority—for the
ignorant masses’ own good!, obviously. Coughs and colds, after all,
“are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals
who are not medical practitioners,” the FDA states. “Therefore,
adequate directions for use cannot be written so that a layperson
can use these drugs safely for their intended purposes.” 

(h/t Tristyn
Daily Caller

Tweet Police 

Zarbee’s Naturals was also cited for several tweets. It’s not
the first company to come under FDA scrutiny on Twitter, and it
certainly won’t be the last:
Draft guidelines
released by the agency in June instructed drug
companies that
any pro-pharmaceutical tweet would also have to list product
and side effects.

Because Twitter users only have 140 characters to convey a
message, this would effectively make tweeting about prescription
drugs (and perhaps honey) illegal. And this may be what the FDA
intends: “If a firm concludes that adequate benefit and risk
information, as well as other required information, cannot all be
communicated within the same character-space-limited communication,
then the firm should reconsider using that platform for the
intended promotional message,” the agency states.

If the FDA’s attitude toward Facebook liking is any indication,
companies may also want to reconsider what they retweet and
“favorite” on Twitter, too, lest that be considered a form of
criminal endorsement. (It’s a good thing the FDA doesn’t regulate
beer—Tecate recently favorited an Instagram photo of my kitten
getting curious about a can, thereby tacitly endorsing my
unscientifically-tested caption, “even kittens love

“It’s been very challenging for companies to use Twitter in a
way that the FDA prescribes,” Jeffrey K. Francer, vice president
and senior counsel with Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers
of America (PhRMA),
told biotechnology publication GEN

“If the FDA is going to require the same type of fine print that
you see in a magazine ad to be in a tweet, then the FDA is
essentially taking that tool away from patients who may want to
hear from companies as well as healthcare professionals.”

Francer said PhRMA has proposed in the past that companies be
allowed to use graphic symbols to indicate risk, with a short
statement about what the drug does, and a link to more detailed
risk-benefit information. Such character-limited messages would be
along the lines of the FDA’s (new drug approval tweets), which
include links with the details about risks and benefits rather than
embedding info within the tweets.

“The companies want to provide information that’s useful to
physicians and that’s useful to patients, and they should be able
to use all the different media that the government uses itself,”
Francer said. “I assume that the FDA believes that its own tweets
are truthful and not misleading. If they believe that, then why
couldn’t a company use Twitter in the same way that the FDA is
using Twitter?”

Francer said it raised First Amendment concerns that the
government is restricting the speech of a particular group while
engaging in that same type of speech itself. In a January 2014
letter to the FDA, PhRMA said the agency’s proposed rules for drug
companies on social media, podcasts, and blogs “could chill
truthful and nonmisleading communication protected by the First

And as we see with Zarbee’s Naturals, it’s not just
pharmaceutical companies who should worry about FDA oversight on
social media. Any company marketing a remedy for something that
could also be treated with drugs is apparently on notice. 

All Your Social Medias Are Belong to Us

Under the FDA’s new draft guidelines, pharmaceutical companies
must submit monthly reports to the agency listing “all
non-restricted sites for which it is responsible or in which it
remains an active participant” if these sites involve real-time
communications. In other words, every company must keep the FDA
abreast of any and all of its social media accounts, and resubmit
this information on an ongoing basis.

“Firms need not submit screenshots or other visual
representations of the actual interactive or real-time
communications with the monthly updates” if the site is public, the
FDA oh-so-generously offers. Just let it know where you are online
and the FDA is more than capable of monitoring your every comment
and like, thanks. 

Brittany La Couture, a health policy analyst with the American
Action Forum, nicely sums up the damage these
kind of FDA policies can do
. “With each additional regulation
limiting free speech in marketing, producers are under more
pressure to refrain from any advertising at all for fear of harsh
repercussions for inadvertently crossing an invisible line,” writes
La Couture. “When drug and device manufacturers are afraid to use
the latest and most popular technologies to market their products,
companies and patients both pay the price.” 

Here are the relevant FDA draft guidelines: 

January 2014: Fulfilling
Regulatory Requirements for Postmarketing Submissions of
Interactive Promotional Media for Prescription Human and Animal
Drugs and Biologics

June 2014: Internet/Social
Media Platforms with Character Space Limitations— Presenting Risk
and Benefit Information for Prescription Drugs and Medical

June 2014:
Internet/Social Media Platforms: Correcting Independent Third-Party
Misinformation About Prescription Drugs and Medical

from Hit & Run

See a Kid in a Car? Get Out Your Crowbar and Start Smashing, Says New Law

CrowbarTennessee has just made it legal
break into a
 if you see a child in there and have a “good
faith belief” that he or she will suffer harm if not immediately

In other words, feel free to get out the crowbar.

This would make sense if we had a realistic sense of when kids
are truly in danger. But we don’t. We have been told by the media
and the government that kids are in danger absolutely any time they
are waiting in the car, even for a single minute. Look
at this
, for instance: a mom found guilty of neglect for not
hauling her sleeping kid into the store with her on a 10 minute
errand. Or this
—a four-minute errand. Or this
, a mom berated by a “Good Samaritan” for a
20-second errand.

I hear from moms who got yelled at for returning their shopping
cart to the corral after first getting their kids into their car
seats, as if this put their kids in mortal peril.

We have become so hyper sensitized to the danger of kids waiting
in cars, we can no longer see the difference between a child
waiting while mom picks up the pizza and a child locked in the car
all day while mom plays the slots.

But there is a big difference. I can find no instance of a child
dying in a car who was there for the duration of a short
errand. Of
the 30-40 kids who died in parked cars
, 86 percent perished
because their parents forgot they were in the car and didn’t come
back for hours, or the children got into the car unbeknownst to the
parents and then couldn’t get out. (That wouldn’t be the case in a
parking lot.)

free-range-kidsThe Tennessee law
requires that before a would-be Samaritan crowbars the car they try
actually opening the door, and also call 911. But that immediately
involves the police in a parenting decision. A far better course of
action would be to simply stand by the car for a while and wait for
the parent to return.

Smashing the window or prying open the door without waiting a
while for the parent is extreme. It’s acting as if every time a
child is waiting in a car he’s in danger, when—thank
goodness—that’s not the case. We know that because most of us often
waited in the car as kids.

That practice simply was not labeled negligence back then,
because it wasn’t and still isn’t. It’s a decision that decent,
rational parents who love their kids make every day.

Sometimes it makes sense to bring a child in while running
an errand, sometimes it doesn’t. Parents should be allowed to make
that choice without the law breathing down their necks.

from Hit & Run

Liberals Shocked That Religious Beliefs About Emergency Contraception Are Not Scientifically Based

Plan BLet’s not dive back into the whole Hobby Lobby
contretemps, but consider for a moment that some folks over at
Talking Points Memo (TPM) are horrified to discover that
religious beliefs are “irrational.” Really? Readers are treated to
this deep insight from the article, “Science
Was Irrelevant in Hobby Lobby and That’s Congress’s Fault

“I think RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] was a very
unfortunate law because it enshrined a legal shield for [religious]
people even if they had irrational beliefs,” said Sara Rosenbaum, a
professor of health policy at George Washington University who
an amicus brief
in favor of the birth control mandate. “So if
the court feels it’s dealing with someone who’s sincere, I don’t
think anybody’s going to subject that person’s belief to a
scientific test.”…

“The whole purpose of RFRA is to honor people’s religious
beliefs and so science steps out of the doorstep in RFRA,”
Rosenbaum said. “The wonderful thing about being religious is you
can believe all sorts of irrational things.”

Who would have thought it? And Professor Rosenbaum teaches at a
university run by a church that thinks that using regular
contraception (pills and condoms) is

The TPM article cites a chart from The New Republic
showing that emergency contraceptive pills are not abortifacients
as the owners of Hobby Lobby believe. As it happens, the New
England Journal of Medicine
in a 2012 editorial
excoriating the Obama Administration
for not allowing emergency
contraceptive pills to be sold over the counter in pharmacies

The best available evidence indicates that it prevents pregnancy
largely by delaying or preventing ovulation, but prevention of
implantation cannot be ruled out. Levonorgestrel does not cause
abortion; it does not terminate an established pregnancy (an
implanted conceptus) and should not be confused with the
abortifacient mifepristone (RU-486).

As it happens, for some religiously irrational folks prevention
of the implantation of a fertilized egg would count as an

Possibly the greatest achievement of the Enlightenment was the
principle of tolerance: I may or may not have access to
transcendent truth, but I am damned sure that you don’t. So let’s
leave each other alone in our irrational beliefs about the

Since between 60 and 80 percent of embryos are never born due to
natural causes, let’s reprise my column, “Is
Heaven Chiefly Populated with the Souls of Embryos?

Disclosure: For what it’s worth I have been an out-atheist
since my teens.

from Hit & Run

Another Likely End for ENDA—Or Will It Return Even Stronger?

Anybody know whether she's alive or dead these days?It appears as though the
federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
may be dead again
. This legislation—outlawing employment
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender
identity—has died
more times
than the average comic book character.

The last time it died, it was amid a fight over whether to
include gender identity to protect transgender workers. Supporters
and sponsors of ENDA agreed to strip out the transgender
protections to increase the likelihood of legislation passing. This
caused a rift among civil liberties and gay activists groups who
balked at the omission. Despite the “protection for some is better
than protection for none” argument and increasing support from
Republicans, it died in 2011.

Introduced again in 2013 in the House by Rep. Jared Polis
(D-Colo.) and the Senate by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), ENDA made
it farther along the road to passage than it ever has. It passed
the Senate in April of last year, even drawing support from the
likes of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

But now it looks like it’s going to die again, not at the hands
of Republicans or religious conservatives, but at the hands of gay
and civil rights groups. ENDA excludes religious organizations and
non-profits from its rules and in the wake of the Hobby Lobby
ruling, groups are now withdrawing their support for the law, the
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the American Civil
Liberties Union among them. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is
still supporting ENDA, just as they did during the kerfuffle over
whether to included transgender workers. They kind of have to—ENDA
is their baby, essentially. Despite having their logo plastered all
over the gay marriage debate, they’ve always been really more about
fighting employment discrimination.

The Supreme Court decision on Hobby Lobby
has been tossed out
as an explanation or excuse, but that logic doesn’t exactly follow.
The majority ruling, based on the Religious Freedom Restoration
, argued that the government failed to pursue the “least
restrictive means” to achieve its aims of providing access to
contraceptives by requiring employers pay for them. It doesn’t seem
at all likely that, presuming the government could argue it has a
compelling interest in stopping employment discrimination, an
anti-discrimination law wouldn’t pass a “least restrictive means”

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed (before you dismiss the
source, Geidner does significant amount of reporting on legal
issues affecting the gay community) suggests that this sudden shift
isn’t an implosion, but rather a belief that shifting attitudes
toward gays, lesbians and transgender people mean
even stronger legislation
could be introduced and passed:

The real question is what the bill will look like when
introduced in the next session of Congress. Will it only focus on
employment, or will it include additional areas like public
accommodations, housing, education, or lending? And, regarding
today’s debate, will it include a streamlined religious exemption
or will it continue building on this year’s exemption? (None of
this even gets into Republicans’ support for the bill, and whether
their support — from key congressional supporters like Sens. Susan
Collins and Mark Kirk and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to the American
Unity Fund and Log Cabin Republicans — is contingent upon the
religious exemption remaining as is.)

Even some of the other organizations still supporting today’s
ENDA, like the National Center for Transgender Equality and Freedom
to Work, signaled to BuzzFeed that next year could be different
with regard to the religious exemption.

While Freedom to Work’s Tico Almeida continues to support ENDA,
as passed by the Senate, he said of the group’s work to lobby for
ENDA this year that “increasing the numbers of co-sponsors of ENDA
this year increases the chances of a stronger bill getting
introduced next year.” When asked if getting “a stronger bill”
included seeking a more narrow religious exemption, Almeida said
that it did.

Support for antidiscrimination laws that protect gays and
is high
, according to polls, and actually has been for years.
The opponents tend to be the religious for religious reasons and us
libertarians for thinking that “freedom of association” actually
still applies even when we think the outcomes are

from Hit & Run

No One Told Obama About the Alleged Double Agent in Germany

President Barack Obama was, apparently,
completely out of the loop last week when an alleged double agent
working for the CIA was caught in Germany’s intelligence

The claim raises some eyebrows, and if true, is pretty
embarrassing for the commander-in-chief. He was on an
already-scheduled phone call with Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel
last Thursday, just hours after suspect was arrested. The New
York Times


Merkel chose not to raise the issue during the call. …

What is particularly baffling to [White House] officials is that
the CIA did not inform the White House that its agent — a
31-year-old employee of Germany’s federal intelligence service, the
BND — had been compromised, given his arrest the day before the two
leaders spoke. According to German news media reports, the agency
may have been aware three weeks before the arrest that the German
authorities were monitoring the man.

A central question, one American official said, is how high the
information about the agent went in the CIA’s command — whether it
was bottled up at the level of the station chief in Berlin or
transmitted to senior officials, including the director, John O.
Brennan, who is responsible for briefing the White House.

The 31-year-old suspect was, apparently, gathering information
on a German committee that was investigating American surveillance
on Germans. German officials
he sold 218 secret documents for 25,000 euro ($34,000).

A second alleged spy, whose case according to
BBC is “more serious” but believed to be “not connected” to the
first, was also discovered recently and was being investigated
yesterday. Whether or not Obama was informed about this one is

The Associated Press
earlier that the German government today asked the
latter suspect to leave the country.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who has been
outspoken about the two-part spy scandal took a jab at the U.S. “If
the situation remains what we know now, the information reaped by
this suspected espionage is laughable. However, the political
damage is already disproportionate and serious.”

German officials have expressed indignation about the
revelations and many reports have emphasized the tension this puts
on U.S.-German relations, but given how much the two nations
collaborate with each other on spying, it’s hard to know how much
of an impact this scandal will ultimately have. 

For more Reason coverage of this scandal, click


from Hit & Run

53% of Millennials Would Vote for a Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative Candidate

Reason-Rupe has a new survey and report out on
millennials—find the report

A majority—53 percent—of millennials say they would support a
candidate who described him or herself as socially liberal and
economically conservative, 16 percent were unsure, and 31 percent
would oppose such a candidate.

Interestingly, besides libertarians, liberal millennials are the
most supportive of a libertarian-leaning candidate by a margin of
60 to 27 percent. Conservative millennials are most opposed (43% to
48% opposed).

A libertarian-leaning candidate would appeal to both Democratic
and Republican voters. For instance, 60 percent of Hillary Clinton
voters, 61 percent of Rand Paul voters, 71 percent of Chris
Christie voters, and 56 percent of those who approve of President
Obama all say they would support a fiscally conservative, socially
liberal candidate.

Registered voters are also more likely to favor (58%) this kind
of non-traditional candidate than non-voters (48%).

Support for such a candidate also increases with educational
attainment. Forty-nine percent of those with a high school degree
or less would support a socially liberal, economically conservative
candidate, compared to 63 percent of those with post-graduate

Religious millennials are far less likely to support a
libertarian-leaning candidate. Among those who say religion is very
important to them, 43 percent would oppose this non-traditional
candidate, and 44 percent would support. Among those who say
religion is not important to them, 58 percent would support a
libertarian-leaning candidate, and 24 percent would oppose.

While partisanship and voting intention often vary by race and
ethnicity, this is less so for a libertarian-leaning candidate.
Fifty-five percent of both white and Latino millennials would
support such a candidate, while 30 percent would oppose. Slightly
fewer African-American and Asian American millennials would support
the candidate, by a margin of roughly 46 percent in support to 37
percent opposed.

The fact that a socially liberal, fiscally conservative
candidate mainly attracts liberals over conservatives indicates
that social issues rather than economics largely drive millennials’
political judgments. It also suggests millennials are more socially
liberal than they are economically liberal.  

Download the PDFTo
learn more about millennials, check
out Reason-Rupe’s new report.

from Hit & Run

Brian Doherty on Kickstarting John Galt

Last September, the producers of Atlas
Shrugged Part
 III: Who Is John
launched a Kickstarter campaign that ended up
raising $446,000 to help fund the final installment of the film
adaptation of Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel about a world driven to the
brink of collapse by overweening redistributionist government. The
predictable response was cheap jokes from people whose
(mis)understanding of Rand only went as far as: “She’s that scary
chick who valorizes businessmen and the market.” Detractors assumed
that asking people to freely support something they valued was
altruistic and therefore un-Randian.

Producer and main financier of the trilogy John Aglialoro sees
it differently. (As would anyone who understands Rand.) Rand
believed in the glory of trading value for value—in this case,
money for a film that the giver wants to see made. Aglialoro says
he’s proud of the hundreds of $1 contributions he received from
people who he says told him: “I want to take some value of mine and
place it where I see value.” Brian Doherty visited the set in
February and talked to Aglialoro about the film, which hits
theaters this September. 

View this article.

from Hit & Run