CEI Today: Shrinking economy, Virginia transportation plan, Right to Work, and Cordray nomination
REGULATORY CLIFF - JOHN BERLAU
Wednesday, the government reported the stunning news the U.S. economy actually contracted by .1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. The Washington Post sent a news bulletin shortly thereafter that blamed the problem on “cuts in government spending, fewer exports and sluggish growth in company stockpiles.”
John Berlau, Senior Fellow in Finance and Access to Capital at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, blames the "regulatory cliff":
A more likely cause of the economy contracting was the very real threat – and realization – of the "regulatory cliff." If there's one thing worse than uncertainty, it is the certainty thousands of pages of new regulatory policies will go into effect.
VIRGINIA TRANSPORTATION - MARC SCRIBNER
The Virginia Senate Finance Committee is likely to pass Gov. Bob McDonnell transportation plan.
His proposal would eliminate the gasoline tax, making up for revenue losses largely by increasing the sales tax and redirecting general revenue. CEI transportation policy expert Marc Scribner has expressed concerns with the McDonnell plan, warning that it relies on fiscal sleights of hand and will ultimately harm Virginia’s transportation networks.
RIGHT TO WORK - MATT PATTERSON
The earthquake that was Michigan’s right-to-work law has produced a number of interesting aftershocks, not least of which is the right-to-work rumbling in Pennsylvania where lawmakers (guided by Rep. Daryl Metcalf) have introduced legislation called “Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative,” aimed at ending compulsory unionism. The initiative actually consists of a number of bills.