The year 2012 was a busy year, but some of the biggest news was
in regards to business and the environment.
End of year brings major struggle over fiscal
Negotiations on how to avoid the fiscal cliff grabbed most of
the recent headlines. American Family Radio's financial expert Dan
Celia said that it felt like talks were taking place in the media
rather than at the bargaining table.
"Here's what happens," says Celia. "The news media reports on
what Boehner said. The president responds. The news media reports
that. Then the news media reports on what all the pundits say."
Meanwhile, some lawmakers, think-tanks and special interests
were upset by everything from the plans proposed to the lack of
details in the plans themselves.
Another crucial decision in 2012 occurred when the Supreme Court
upheld much of the new healthcare law. Still, libertarians and
conservatives were pleased with the high court's ruling that states
did not have to participate in the massive Medicaid expansion, as
called for in the new law.
Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato
Institute said about the ruling: "The way Medicaid works is the
federal government pays for a little more than half of each state's
Medicaid program, and the state kicks in the other half. What the
federal government said in Obamacare is you have to expand your
Medicaid program dramatically -- and if you don't, then you're
going to lose all federal Medicaid funds. For the average state,
that's 12 percent of their budget."
Gov't regulations, environment concerns
When it came to regulations in 2012, Ryan Young of
the Competitive Enterprise Institute felt it was an average year.
That was not to say, however, that there were not new regulations
"As of December 3, there were 3,392 final rules that had been
published in the Federal Register," Young explained. "It really
does affect everything, but it affects the energy industry, power
plants that are powered by coal, most severely. In the next few
months, EPA is going to pass regulations that will essentially make
it impossible to open new coal-fired power plants."
Part of the Obama administration's reasoning for energy
regulations had to do with the environment. Environmentalists
claimed they were necessary to protect air, water and other
qualities of life, while curbing the amount of emissions into the
Climate-change skeptics, however, argued that the U.S. already
has some of the toughest regulations in the world when it comes to
protecting the environment.
Superstorm Sandy was among the natural disasters cited as
evidence of a changing climate, while 2012 was deemed one of the
hottest years ever in U.S. history despite it being only slightly
warmer than the previous record year. The records only go back to
the late 1800s.
Marc Morano of Climate Depot commented: "The continental U.S.,
which is what they're talking about, is less than two percent of
the earth's surface. We've had no global warming, according to the
database in the UK Meteorological Office, for 16 years."
Michigan became a right-to-work state in 2012, following
Indiana's lead earlier in the year. They are the only right-to-work
states in the Great Lakes region, although
James Sherk, senior policy analyst in labor economics for The
Heritage Foundation said other states in that area could follow in
the New Year.
"Right now," said Sherk, "you don't see that happening. But
what's going to happen is that with Indiana and Michigan becoming
right-to-work states, they're going to become much, much more
attractive to businesses to invest and locate in because
right-to-work makes union organizers less aggressive. There is
simply less money on the line for them, because they can't force
workers to pay these dues once they organize the company."
Big Apple ban
The Big Apple banned large sodas and other sugary beverages
in 2012, specifically those larger than 16 ounces. Restaurants,
movie theaters and street carts were included, but grocery stores
got an exemption.
The idea came from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who
said it would help in the fight against obesity.
However, the soda industry and conservative groups pointed to a
decline in soda sales as evidence that soda was not necessarily to
blame. Meanwhile, refills were not included in the ban.
Conservatives and chicken
Finally, if there is one thing the country may have learned in
2012, it was not to stand in the way of conservatives and chicken
sandwiches. A Chick-fil-A "buycott" was organized in August to show
support for Chick-fil-A leader Dan Cathy amid criticism for his
statement that legalizing same-sex "marriage" is "inviting God's
judgment on our nation."
Art Ally of the mutual fund company The Timothy Plan said about
Cathy: "I don't just believe in God. I believe God. His Word is so
clear. All I can say is God bless Dan Cathy."
Former Arkansas governor-turned-commentator Mike Huckabee also
supported Chick-fil-A Day.