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  • Red Tapeworm 2014: Big Dollar Federal Regulations in the Pipeline Highest under Obama

    August 4, 2014 12:21 PM

    This is Part 21 of a series taking a walk through some sections of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State (2014 Edition)


    There were 3,305 rules in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations at year-end 2013. It’s the place where federal regulatory agencies outline their upcoming priorities. Agencies regularly finalize over 3,500 rules each year.


    A subset of these rules is classified as “economically significant,” meaning (usually) that agencies anticipate yearly economic impacts of at least $100 million. Those impacts generally amount to increased costs, although occasionally an economically significant rule is intended to reduce burdens on the public.


    At year-end 2013, economically significant rules from 26 separate departments and agencies appeared at the active (prerule, proposed rule, and final rule), completed, and long-term stages (See Table 6 in Ten Thousand Commandments for the breakdown by agency).


    We’ve noted before that the overall number of rules in the Unified Agenda is down, and we discussed why, including reasons that involve political delays.


  • CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    August 4, 2014 12:17 PM

    Ninety-eight new regulations, from Moroccan blueberries to home furnaces.


  • GMO Row Comes to Kansas Congressional Race

    August 1, 2014 10:30 AM

    The Kansas Republican primary race pitting incumbent Rep. Mike Pompeo against his 4th congressional district predecessor Todd Tiahrt has become heated lately. The generally reliable conservative Tiahrt is hammering Pompeo for sponsoring a bill the former says is a sellout of free market conservative principles. In truth, the bill to limit state power over genetically modified (GM) foods is something conservatives and other free market advocates should get behind.


  • New Study Estimates around $70 billion in Financial Regulatory Costs

    July 31, 2014 7:00 PM

    Complying with regulations is part of the cost of doing business. For bigger businesses that can absorb those costs (or rather, pass them on to the consumer), it means armies of compliance officers and hefty fees. But for smaller businesses, like community banks, the costs can be so great that it means ceasing operation.


    Typically, this scenario works to the larger institutions’ advantage, as they are better placed to handle regulatory compliance costs than are their smaller competitors. But large financial institutions are also subject to certain regulations to which smaller banks are not. The Wall Street Journal cites a new study that estimates the cost to these larger banks of complying with these regulations at roughly $70 billion.


    Some of these costs are fair, such as, for example, premiums charged by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp for insuring deposits. Others seem less fair, such as the $2.06 billion lost to interchange fee restrictions—which incidentally, have led to more and more banks to stop offering free checking in order to compensate for this loss of income. 


  • Federal Official Says Campus Speech Should Be Restricted to Protect Young People’s Brains

    July 31, 2014 6:54 PM

    U.S. Civil Rights Commission member Michael Yaki says that speech on college campuses should be restricted to protect young people’s developing brains. This is yet another depressing example of Progressives turning against free speech. Yaki is a former senior advisor and district director for House Minority Leader (and former Speaker) Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).  (During the Obama administration, the Education and Justice Departments have also sought to restrict students’ free speech and due process rights on college campuses and in the public schools).


    Yaki argues that “how the juvenile or adolescent or young adult brain processes information is vastly different from the way that we adults do” and “young people, not just K through 12 but also between the ages of 16 to 20, 21 is where the brain is still in a stage of development.” 

  • Federal Official Says Campus Speech Should Be Restricted to Protect Young People’s Brains

    July 31, 2014 6:54 PM

    U.S. Civil Rights Commission member Michael Yaki says that speech on college campuses should be restricted to protect young people’s developing brains. This is yet another depressing example of Progressives turning against free speech. Yaki is a former senior advisor and district director for House Minority Leader (and former Speaker) Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).  (During the Obama administration, the Education and Justice Departments have also sought to restrict students’ free speech and due process rights on college campuses and in the public schools).


    Yaki argues that “how the juvenile or adolescent or young adult brain processes information is vastly different from the way that we adults do” and “young people, not just K through 12 but also between the ages of 16 to 20, 21 is where the brain is still in a stage of development.” 

  • Study Proves Economic Harm of Collective Bargaining

    July 30, 2014 4:12 PM

    A new CEI study by economist Lowell Galloway and public policy expert Jonathan Robe demonstrates the harmful economic effects of unionization on a state-by-state basis.


    Among the states most adversely affected by unionization, Michigan has suffered the most with a 23.1 percent loss in real per capita income because of unionization since 1964. Michigan is the latest state to abandon forced unionism by passing a right to work law, and Michigan workers are probably kicking themselves for not passing one sooner.


  • House Brings Transparency to Endangered Species Act, Still Needs to Protect Property Rights

    July 30, 2014 6:27 AM

    Today the House passed H.R. 4315, the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act. Unfortunately, it likely has no chance of passing in the Senate and word is out from the White House that the president would veto the bill.


  • New Report Highlights Driverless Car Urban Impact; Takes Techno-Dystopian Stance

    July 29, 2014 10:26 AM

    Earlier this month, Professor David Begg of Transport Times published a new report on automated transport technology focusing on the potential impacts on London. This is one of the first attempts to apply this new technology to urban areas in a systematic way.


    The U.S. Institute of Electrical Engineers has estimated that up to 75 percent of all vehicles will be autonomous by 2040. Automated vehicles are the future but they are also quickly becoming the present. The chief concern among proponents is the potential for burdensome government regulation. It is absolutely critical lawmakers and regulators do not stand in the way of automated vehicles.


    In his report, Begg explains, like many others have noted, an issue with this technology is who is to blame when a “robot car” is involved in a collision. He asks, “Who is liable? Is the driver to blame? Is the car maker to blame? Might ‘no fault’ legislation be needed to deal with his problem?”


    To be sure, there are very real issues surrounding products liability and insurance. But this is frankly a secondary concern when confronted with the overwhelming evidence that driverless transport will save thousands of lives annually, and so far there is little indication that common law evolution cannot handle the advent of automated vehicles. Yet Begg only mentions these potential accident reductions (over 90 percent of crashes are due to human error) after expressing his speculative concerns.


  • Red Tapeworm 2014: Here Are the Federal Agencies that Issue the Most Regulations

    July 29, 2014 7:52 AM

    This is Part 20 of a series taking a walk through some sections of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State (2014 Edition)


    Each year, a relative handful of Executive agencies accounts for a large number of the rules produced. The five executive departments and agencies listed nearly—the departments of the Treasury, Interior, Commerce,Transportation and Health and Human Services—were the biggest rulemakers in 2013.


    These top five, with 1,451 rules among them, account for 44 percent of the 3,305 rules in the Federal Unified Agenda pipeline.


    A little surprisingly, for the second time, the Environmental Protection Agency does not appear in the top five (it is sixth). Including the EPA’s 179 rules brings the total to 1,953 rules, or 48 percent.


    (There had been 223 EPA rules the prior year, and no one believes EPA is regulating less. We’ve seen earlier that rules were delayed for political purposes, and also that a large portion of federal rules no longer get listed in the Unifed Agenda following new top-down directives.)


    Also shown nearby are the top five Independent agencies in terms of rules in the Agenda pipeline. They are: Federal Communications Commission, Securities and Exchange Commmission, Office of Personnel Management, Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Social Security Administration.




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