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OpenMarket: June 2013

  • Time for Splitting the Farm Bill?

    June 24, 2013
    The Chicago Tribune this morning had an excellent editorial about the House of Representatives’ defeat of the 2013 Farm Bill last Thursday. (See Tony Traina’s post in OpenMarket on that defeat.) The editorial pointed to the crux of the problem with bloated farm bills -- the fact that agricultural support programs and nutrition and food stamp programs are in the same bill, which leads to an unholy alliance of urban and rural policy makers. The Tribune urged that the current legislation be thrown out in favor of splitting the bill:
    Here's an opportunity for Congress to do something revolutionary: Break up the farm bill. Debate and vote on food stamp policy and farm policy as entirely separate matters....
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    June 24, 2013
    96 new regulations, from fireworks shows near water to handling FOIA requests.
  • E-Verify: A Boon for Lawyers, Bad for Employers

    June 24, 2013
    I have written extensively about the threats to Americans’ civil liberties from E-Verify, the employment verification system contained within the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill.[i] I have also written a study outlining the costs of E-Verify to the economy—at least $8.5 billion per year.[ii] But the problems from E-Verify go far beyond what can be estimated in a simple study. Regulatory complications will ultimately make the system much more costly than anyone can predict now. The most recent evidence for this fact comes from a report by Immigration Daily (ILW.com), the largest immigration attorney website in the country. “The reaction of the large law firms is a little different than the conventional wisdom—apparently legalization is not where they see the opportunity,” its editors wrote this Friday. “The...
  • A Critique of "300 Million Engines of Growth": Why More Spending Won’t Cure what Ails U.S. Infrastructure

    June 24, 2013
    Earlier this month, the Center for American Progress issued a  report in which it set out recommendations for growing the American economy. A significant priority in this bold agenda is the rebuilding of our nation’s infrastructure. CAP estimates that spending $262 billion annually is required to repair our roads, bridges, water, and sewer facilities over the next 10 years. However, federal, state, and local governments are annually apportioning only $132 billion. After hearing these statistics, it is natural to conclude that the answer to infrastructure that is aging and breaking is simply a matter of increasing our spending to make up the difference in what we are currently spending and what we need to spend.  This is the conclusion CAP’s report...
  • My Kingdom for a Peanut

    June 21, 2013
    Poking fun at United States agricultural policy is low hanging fruit. From catfish to sushi to alfalfa, most agriculture industries are handsomely subsidized via the half-a-trillion dollar farm bill. So after the House’s 195-234 defeat of its version of the bill, what’s the proverbial forest to see for the trees, as The Wall Street Journal put it in an editorial this morning?...
  • More Recognition that Dodd-Frank Harms Main Street Banks, Farmers, and Airline Passengers

    June 20, 2013
    In two high-profile forums last week, Dodd-Frank, the financial "reform" law sold as targeting Wall Street, was shown to have a devastating effect on Main Street businesses -- from community banks to farmers and manufacturers. First came a June 11 hearing before Judge Ellen Huvelle of the federal district court of the District of Columbia. Attorneys for the State National Bank of Big Spring (Texas) argued that the small bank should have standing in a constitutional lawsuit against Dodd-Frank (in which the Competitive Enterprise Institute is a co-plaintiff), because of the damages it has suffered due to the law's costly rules and designation of large banks as "systemically important." As described in an excellent case summary by Andrew Evans in the Washington Free Beacon, the small Texas "...
  • Spread the Word: New Voice for Wine Consumers

    June 19, 2013
    With the launch of The American Wine Consumer Coalition today, U.S. wine consumers now have a place in public policy debates for the first time ever.  Brainchild of award-winning wine blogger and wine industry public relations consultant Tom Wark, the new organization will focus on increasing consumer rights to access wine via direct shipping, supermarket sales, privatization, and more! Wark is executive director, and AWCC's president is David White, who this year won “Best Overall Wine Blog” at the 2013 Wine Blog Awards for Terroirist: A Daily Wine Blog (congratulations, David!). I serve as a member of the AWCC board....
  • D.C. Council Passes New Rules: Food Trucks Are Here to Stay

    June 19, 2013
    After four years, the Council of the District of Columbia finally passed rules to regulate the burgeoning mobile food industry that seem to please all sides. Restaurant owners were hoping the new dining option would be a flash in the pan, but it seems the new rules and the food trucks are here to stay.
  • President Repeats False "Equal Pay" Statistic Claiming Women Earn 77 Percent of What Men Do

    June 19, 2013

    President Obama repeated a myth about equal pay and pay discrimination, as the economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth notes at RealClearMarkets:

    Last week in the Rose Garden, at an event celebrating the Equal Pay Act, he once again repeated the myth that women earn 77 cents on a man's dollar.

    "The day that the bill was signed into law, women earned 59 cents for every dollar a man earned on average. Today, it's about 77 cents," the president said. "Over the course of her career, a working woman with a college degree will earn on average hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a man who does the same work. "

    Nonsense. The 77 percent figure is bogus because it averages all full-time women, no matter what education and...
  • E-Verify National ID System Threatens Americans’ Privacy

    June 18, 2013
    “I’m not a criminal, so there’s really no reason for me to be in a criminal database.” That was James Shepherd, a Kentucky native and a roofer, after he was stopped by police under “suspicion of trespassing” at a Florida hotel. The officer on the scene asked to take his picture and ran it through Florida’s facial recognition database. Finding no matches, he uploaded Shepherd’s photo with the label “suspicious person.” Florida is one of 26 states that use facial recognition software to verify identities of individuals who possess state ID photos or have their photos added by police, according a...

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