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OpenMarket: January 2013

  • Partisanship perverts the NLRB

    January 17, 2013
    The Hill When former SEIU Associate General Counsel Craig Becker left his post at the National Labor Relations Board in December 2011, he quickly segued into a cushy job as the AFL-CIO’s co-general counsel. Likewise, a year later, former management lawyer Brian Hayes exited the board after his two-year term and immediately landed a plum position representing management with one of the nation’s prominent labor law firms. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. In 1935, Congress established the NLRB as a body made up solely of “three impartial Government members” to represent the public interest...
  • Dumb And Dumber BPA "Science"

    January 16, 2013
    Rationalizations to support claims that the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) poses a real and serious health threat have gone from dumb to dumber! Even reputable researchers make their case by regularly citing one inconclusive study to suggest another inconclusive study is meaningful. But science doesn't work that way. Used to make hard, clear plastics and resins that line cans containing everything from soda to soup, BPA is a target of the greens who get plenty help from researchers who use creative rationalizations to spin their findings. A recent example comes from one of the authors of yet another study on BPA using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). It suggests that BPA levels could contribute to heart and kidney disease. But reliance on NHANES data raises a host of...
  • Virginia's Uranium Mining Moratorium Should Be Buried, But What About Property Rights?

    January 16, 2013
    The earth below the United States contains 5 percent of the world's known recoverable uranium deposits. More than a quarter of U.S. uranium is found in southern Virginia at Coles Hill near Chatham in Pittsylvania County. The two uranium deposits at Coles Hill are valued at $7 billion and together constitute the seventh largest deposit in the world. Yet all of it is still in the ground. Over 30 years ago, Virginia placed a moratorium on uranium mining in the state. This prohibition was to be lifted once the state went through the arduous process of drafting uranium mining regulations. Unfortunately, Virginia never got around to writing the rules and the "temporary" ban is still in place. The property owners at Coles Hill and some outside investors formed a company in order to...
  • Federal Regulation Update: 224 Economically Significant Rules In The Pipeline

    January 16, 2013
    The federal government's Fall Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions finally appeared the Friday before Christmas (the Spring 2012 one never appeared). In all, there are 4,062 rules at various stages in the regulatory/rulemaking pipeline. The last time there were fewer than 4,000 was back in 2007 (there were 3,882 then). A portion of these rules are deemed "economically significant," meaning they have impacts on the economy of at least (could be more) $100 million annually or significantly impact government operations. Those impacts could be to decrease costs, and it's a cute sentiment, but that's not how the regulatory enterprise usually works. There are 224 economically significant rules in the pipeline now. The Departments with the most (the top seven, in this instance) are as follows:
    Dept. of Health...
  • Vive la Liberte! Even France Liberalizing Its Labor Laws

    January 16, 2013
    It may not be enough to make Lafayette proud, but it's good news all the same. The New York Times reports:
    French labor unions and business leaders struck a deal on Friday to overhaul swaths of France’s notoriously rigid labor market, moving to tame some of the most confounding rules in the 3,200-page labor code as the country tries to increase its competitiveness and curb unemployment.
    ...
  • Bankrupting America, One Vote At A Time

    January 16, 2013
    The liberal Senate earlier passed a bloated pork-filled monster of a bill labeled as "disaster" relief. There were hopes that the House would trim the size of the bill, but those hopes were dashed Tuesday, as the "House passed a $51 billion disaster relief" package almost as big as the Senate's. "192 Democrats and 49 Republicans voted yes, while 179 Republicans and one Democrat voted no. The bill goes beyond disaster relief to include "$2 billion for the Federal Highway Administration to make improvements...
  • Vive la Liberte! Even France Liberalizing Its Labor Laws

    January 16, 2013
    Openmarket.org It may not be enough to make Lafayette proud, but it’s good news all the same. The New York Times reports:
    French labor unions and business leaders struck a deal on Friday to overhaul swaths of ...
  • Where Did All The Environmental Protection Agency Rules Go?

    January 15, 2013
    The Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations has always been squishy and has never bound agencies to issue solely the rules contained within; but the decline in EPA rules in the Unified Agenda between 2011 and 2012 indicates a scrub of some sort before the tardy document was finally released. Overall, the Agenda contains 4,062 across all the depts and agencies at the active, completed, and long-term stage. This is slightly down from the year before, but it doesn't seem genuine; the Agenda should be bigger given the far higher number of EPA rules in the past decade. Just look at EPA over the past couple years:
    Year Total Active Completed Long-term
    2012 223 117 71 35...
  • Washington’s Liquor Privatization Did Increase Prices, But Also Selection And Availability

    January 15, 2013
    Since selling off the state-owned liquor monopoly, many Washington State residents have noticed an unfortunate development; despite what proponents of privatization promised, the cost of buying liquor in the state did not go down and in fact jumped. The cause of the increase in prices wasn’t the free market or greedy businesses taking the place of the benevolent state-run stores. It was the massive increase in taxes and fees that forced privately run liquor stores to charge more. That said, some of the benefits promised by those supporting a free market for liquor have materialized. As I and others have discussed in the wake of the passage of Initiative 1183, the proposal voters approved to allow the sell-off of state owned liquor operations included a bundle of...
  • The Thievery Of Saints: Liberals Justify Wealth Confiscation In Cloak Of Moral Superiority

    January 15, 2013
    There appeared on the gossip website Gawker.com recently a profane and ignorant article titled “Do ‘The Good Rich’ Exist?” The substance of the piece is exactly what one might expect from such a title, beginning with a lament that wealth -- and wealthy people -- even exist:
    We live in a world in which wealth is distributed in a wildly unequal way. A tiny few have billions of dollars, while many more have nothing.
    Notice the perverse upending of reality in this formulation: Wealth is not made, it is distributed, as though it already and perpetually existed -- thus are the achievements of individual men and women wiped out in a sentence. And how convenient this rearrangement is for the lover of government, for once you accept the notion that wealth is not created but merely “...

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