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OpenMarket: September 2013

  • Congress to Mark Up Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Bill

    September 17, 2013
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act directs federal agencies to assess the effects of their rules on small businesses. How’s that going? A new book Where the Jobs Are: Entrepreneurship and the Soul of the American Economy, finds that most job creation comes from start-ups; they're usually small. But business formation has declined. On Wednesday the 18th, the House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, chaired by Rep. Sam Graves (R-M0.), will mark up H.R. 2542, the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2013. It was introduced by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.). The original "Reg Flex" Act has been around a long time,...
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    September 16, 2013
    61 new regulations, from banned avocados to sweet corn insurance.
  • CEI Opposes Risky, Race-Conscious Federal Lending Requirements in Supreme Court Case

    September 13, 2013
    Supreme-Court“Disparate impact” is a term in anti-discrimination law for when a neutral policy happens to affect minorities more than whites. One example is a standardized test that whites pass at a higher rate than some minority group, even though test scores are calculated the same way for members of all races. Disparate-impact is most commonly discussed in the context of hiring and school admissions. But in fact it can also play a role in financial melt-downs. Government can use the "disparate-impact" notion to pressure banks and mortgage companies into engaging in risky, race-conscious lending, It’s for...
  • Taxpayers Pay High Costs for Crop Insurance Subsidies

    September 13, 2013
    Bloomberg on September 9 published an in-depth article on the high costs of federal crop insurance – likely to be increased even more if the House version of a proposed farm bill gets passed. The article noted that last year the U.S. Department of Agriculture spent $14 billion insuring farmers against losses due to crop failure or income. Proposed House legislation would up that to cover so-called “shallow losses” – that would guarantee up to 90 percent of a farmer’s income. It’s estimated that U.S. taxpayers fund about 60 percent of the premiums farmers pay. And there are no caps on those crop insurance subsidies, which encourages farmers to plant on unproductive land, take higher risks, and claim losses. The names of the crop insurance recipients are also not...
  • Third Largest Wisconsin Teachers Union Members Exercise New Freedom

    September 13, 2013
    This week Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's government-sector collective bargaining reform was upheld in Federal District Court.
  • Green Market Pressure Takes Toll on Consumer Choice

    September 12, 2013
    When environmentalists don’t have the political power to regulate away consumer choice, they sometimes can get industry to do the job for them. Most recently, Proctor and Gamble (P&G) has decided to phase out the chemical triclosan, which has been used in a wide range of soap products to reduce risks from bacteria. P&G’s announcement follows other dumb triclosan phase outs that Colgate Palmolive (2011) and Johnson and Johnson (2012) have already begun. Interestingly, Colgate is removing triclosan from some products, such as face washes, but keeps it in toothpaste because of its valuable public health properties! They claim to be eliminating other uses because they are not as...
  • Update on American Airlines-US Airways Merger: Judge Approves American's Bankruptcy Plan

    September 12, 2013
    Today, Judge Sean Lane of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved American Airlines's reorganization plan to exit bankruptcy protection, predicated on approval for the proposed American Airlines-US Airways merger. Last month, many were caught by surprise when the Department of Justice and a handful of states filed suit in an attempt to block the merger. This puts the Obama Justice Department to the left of the European Commission, which had approved the merger. I previously highlighted some...
  • Internet Tax Not A Popular Proposition, According to R Street/NTU Poll

    September 12, 2013
    Andrew Moylan of R Street says members of Congress -- right, left, and center -- who value their electoral health should steer clear of the Marketplace Fairness Act. It polls poorly in all groups as Americans realize this is just another way to prop up inefficient businesses at the expense of the general welfare. Here are some facts on the MFA from CEI Adjunct Scholar Jessica Melugin. And here is the R Street press release on the poll:
    new poll released today by the R Street Institute and National Taxpayers Union found strong opposition across the board to new Internet sales tax legislation like the so-called "Marketplace Fairness Act....
  • CEI Podcast for September 11, 2013: Ronald Coase, 1910-2013

    September 11, 2013
    CEI Founder and Chairman Fred Smith discusses Coase's major works, the animating themes that unite them, and the fact that Coase was always a man of great personal and intellectual humility -- a trait that escapes many of his peers.
  • Korean Air and Asiana Airlines coupon settlement

    September 11, 2013
    At first glance, the Korean Air Passenger Settlement looks pretty good: $50 million in cash for class members. You have to dive very deep in the papers (it's nowhere in the notice) to find out that the attorneys are going to ask for $21.5 million of that cash. They justify this by valuing coupons with face value of $36 million at $36 million, but we know from the Class Action Fairness Act and In re HP Inkjet Printer Litig. that you're not allowed to do that. Tsk, tsk. (And, of course, 25% is likely excessive even if the settlement was worth $86 million, given that the lawsuit just piggybacked on a government antitrust investigation. But, of course, the court is never going to hear that unless a class member...

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