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OpenMarket: May 2013

  • CEI Joins Push for Corporate Tax Reform

    May 31, 2013 3:25 PM

    Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute signed on to a letter with taxpayer groups and other public policy organizations that urges Congress to act on corporate tax reform. “High taxes on businesses hinder job creation, drive up costs and make America less competitive,” said Iain Murray, vice president of strategy at CEI. “Today, the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. This seems incongruous with rebuilding our economy.”

    The letter can be viewed here.

  • Union Buyer Remorse on Obamacare?

    May 31, 2013 1:50 PM

    Be careful what you wish for. That's the lesson Big Labor is learning now that Obamacare is unfolding in all its mighty messiness. Labor leaders, who turned out their troops in droves in support of the President's signature health care law, are now realizing that - shock! - it will actually increase premiums for millions of their members, despite Obama's repeated assurances to the contrary.

  • Who is Bob King?

    May 31, 2013 1:06 PM

    The United Auto Workers union is desperately trying to organize Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant. The union’s President, Bob King, has made it his personal mission to organize transnational companies in order to boost the declining UAW membership. Who is the man behind these “very aggressive campaigns” in the South?

  • NLRB Round Up: A Supreme Challenge? Board Authority Questioned

    May 31, 2013 12:58 PM

    Things are looking up for those of us who are tired of the NLRB looking down on America’s job creators. Recently, the entirety of the US Senate’s Republican delegation filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court to take up the issue of the President’s doubly declared unconstitutional appointees.

  • Senate Bill Won't Stop Illegal Immigration Without More Work Visas

    May 31, 2013 5:00 AM

    When the Senate “Gang of 8” released their immigration reform principles earlier this year, they made an important admission: that drastic restrictions on low-skilled work visas incentivizes illegal immigration. The principles called for “a humane and effective system” for the “overwhelming majority of the 327,000 illegal entrants” apprehended in 2011 “to prevent future waves of illegal immigration.” Unfortunately, although the Gang’s bill improves legal immigration options, it clearly doesn’t live up to this principle.

    The Senate legislation deletes one option while creating two new ones—one for agricultural work and another for non-agricultural work. It allocates 112,333 ag visas (W-2/W-3 visas) per year for the first five years. But it replaces the H-2A farm visa program that already brought in around 80,000/year. This means the new ag visa program initially adds at most  just 32,333 net visas each year. For other employment (W-1 visas), the bill grants just 46,250/year over the first four years—meaning, the government would issue up to (no guarantees!) 78,583 new visas per year for the next four years.

    In other words, the bill’s quotas are 250,000 below what the Gang claimed was necessary just a few months ago. Worse still, the actual shortfall is much greater than this because the Gang’s estimate of visa demand 1) excluded demand from would-be legal immigrants and 2) only included “apprehended” entrants 3) from a single year and 4) from a single border region.

    1) Many more would-be legal immigrants would want to come if legal options open up; 2) the apprehension figure ignores all those avoided detection (about 350,000/year during the 2000s); 3) FY2011 had extraordinary few apprehensions—even in 2008 the number was twice as high (475,000/year over last five years); 4) these visas might primarily go to immigrants from Mexico and central America, the primary sending nations for border crossers, but other nations would also compete for the limited supply; 5) finally, the calculation ignores how increasing the availability of work visas to new sectors (dairy, meatpacking, etc.) and new job categories (employment longer than a year) might affect U.S. employer demand.

  • CEI Podcast for May 30, 2013: The Politics of Caffeine

    May 30, 2013 5:16 PM

    The Food and Drug Administration recently announced plans to investigate, and possibly regulate, caffeine consumption. Fellow in Consumer Policy Studies Michelle Minton prefers separation of food and state.

  • Retailers Should Keep Consumers -- Not Greens -- In Mind

    May 30, 2013 2:27 PM

    culture-of-alarmism_ltrAs part of its Culture of Alarmism project, the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) has recently launched a coalition letter -- which includes CEI -- to retailers to combat the greens so-called “Mind the Store" campaign. We (IWF, CEI, and 21 other groups) advise retailers to ignore radical greens' advice to remove certain products from store shelves, and instead honor consumer freedom.

    The greens' effort, led by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, calls on the nation’s top 10 retailers -- Walmart, Kroger, Target, Walgreens, Costco, Home Depot, CVS Caremark, Lowe's, Best Buy, and Safeway --to remove a wide range of useful products from store shelves because they contain one of 101 so-called hazardous chemicals.

    According to this group:

    Since we began in 2009 the evidence that unregulated chemicals are having profound health impacts has only grown. The Presidents Cancer Panel report and the recent United Nations report are just two examples. (Our own report summarizes the state of the science linking chemicals and various health impacts here.) And yet the government is too slow to respond in the face of chemical industry opposition.

    In reality, there is no compelling evidence that trace chemicals in consumer products pose significant risks, particularly when used as directed. As I noted in a recent IWF paper on cancer, the President's Cancer Panel report is a political document, not a scientific study and its claims have been rebuked by reputable cancer researchers. The IWF paper and material found on CEI's offer lots of other reasons why consumers should not be alarmed by these products.

  • Regulatory Opacity

    May 30, 2013 11:29 AM

    In today’s Investor’s Business Daily, Wayne Crews and I make the case that one of the biggest obstacles to regulatory reform is a lack of agency transparency.

  • TTB to Allow, Not Require, Nutritional Labeling on Alcoholic Products

    May 30, 2013 11:28 AM

    It’s a rare occasion that we get to praise government agencies. While the federal agency governing alcoholic beverages certainly took it’s time to make a ruling on nutrition labeling on alcoholic products -- a topic it has been considering since 2003 -- it appears the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax, and Trade Bureau (TTB) ultimately made the right decision to allow, not require, companies to add a “serving facts” nutrition panel to their labels. According to a press release dated May 28, 2013, the TTB reviewed the issue of having a “serving facts” statement on beer, wine, and spirits -- something that the spirits suppliers have been asking for -- and it concluded that it will allow, but not require the use of nutrient analysis in labeling as well as advertisements.

    Happily, companies will not have to apply for approval for a new label, so long as the added nutritional facts panel follows the example provided by TTB and they may include information regarding the serving size, number of servings in a container, calories, carbs, protein, and fat per serving.

    This is good news because there had been some talk in the past about requiring all suppliers of alcohol to add this nutritional information to all of their products, a change that could have been disastrous for some smaller producers of alcohol and consumers who like variety. As I wrote back in 2011:

  • Momma Mia! Big Labor vs. ABBA

    May 29, 2013 1:07 PM

    It’s a great time to be a music fan. Today we have several generations’ worth of music at our fingertips every day; we could listen to garage bands in California while living in Iowa. This was not always the case. At one time restrictions put in place by musicians’ unions on consumer choice helped to delay performances and even prevent bands from touring in the US. However, in the early eighties things looked even bleaker for the Swedish pop group ABBA.


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