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OpenMarket: July 2014

  • Kentucky Teachers Union Demands Pay Raise to Perform Union Business

    July 28, 2014
    Contract negotiations between Jefferson County Public Schools and its teachers union have hit an impasse. Union officials want more than the state-mandated 1-percent raise, which is all that JCPS has been willing to offer.
  • CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    July 28, 2014

    Seventy-four new regulations, from spearmint oil to insurance exchanges.

  • Subprime Auto Concerns Caused by Government Intervention

    July 25, 2014

    Should we worry about a crisis in subprime auto loans? That question has been asked in the financial media lately.

    My answer is yes, with caveats. While there are important differences in the auto and mortgage markets, there are similar government interventions that have the potential to fuel a bubble in car loans the same way they did for home loans.

    First, the differences. So far, thankfully, there is no auto equivalent of a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or other government-sponsored enterprise to inflate the car loan market. Sure, there have been lots of bailouts in the auto industry in general, but the secondary market in car loans has developed largely on its own.

    And without a government backstop, it is much smaller than the mortgage market ever was. An otherwise alarmist front-page ...

  • House Hearing Highlights Problems in the Fair Labor Standards Act

    July 25, 2014
    The Subcommittee on Workforce Protections of the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing yesterday that focused on the troubled regulatory structure of federal wage and hour law.
  • Obamacare Architect Admitted in 2012 States without Exchanges Lose Subsidies

    July 24, 2014

    This week, an unprecedented circuit split emerged in Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Burwell over whether health insurance premium assistance is available in states that didn’t set up health insurance exchanges. Many commentators have since claimed that there’s no way Congress intended to deny premium assistance to residents of the 36 so-called “refusenik” states that have not set up their own health insurance exchanges.

    But in January 2012, Jonathan Gruber—an MIT economics professor whom the The New York Times has called “Mr. Mandate” for his pivotal role in helping the Obama administration and Congress draft the Affordable Care Act—told an audience at Noblis that:

    What’s important to remember...

  • Allen v. Dairy Farmers of America

    July 24, 2014
    What happens when class counsel wants to settle and the class representatives do not? Rule 23(a)(4) and the Constitution require adequate class representation before individual class members can be bound. If class counsel can hijack a class and force a settlement when no class representative approves, it would seem to unconstitutionally abrogate the Rule 23(a)(4) inquiry. If class representatives have limited power to bind a class (as the Supreme Court has held in Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles and Smith v. Bayer Corp.), how can a class without any representation do so? And if a zombie class can proceed and settle without any class representatives, why have the Rule 23(a) requirements at all, and not just allow attorneys to sue on behalf of a class without any individual standing?
  • CEI Podcast for July 24, 2014: Victory in Halbig v. Burwell

    July 24, 2014

    General Counsel Sam Kazman talks about what the Halbig decision means for the Affordable Care Act, as well as broader principles such as taxation without representation and the rule of law. Click here to listen.

  • Fraud Rampant and Unpoliced on Obamacare Health Insurance Exchanges

    July 24, 2014

    Almost anyone can fraudulently obtain taxpayer subsidies to cover most of the cost of their health insurance on the Obamacare health insurance exchanges. That’s the gist of recent news coverage in The New York Times, Reason, and Associated Press. The fraud is possible because the government doesn’t check’s people’s eligibility, or verify the claims they make in their applications, contrary to what former HHS Secretary Sebelius certified in January.  ...

  • Uber, Regulation, and Free Markets

    July 23, 2014

    Libertarians are justifiably excited about the prospects of ridesharing companies such as Uber and equally justified in their disgust of regulators intent on preventing the expansion of ridesharing services. However, supporting the regulatory accomodation strategy that Uber appears to have adopted and supporting free market policies are two very different things. Over at The Skeptical Libertarian, I attempt to briefly outline these concerns and urge libertarians to keep their eye on the prize: dramatic transportation services deregulation. Read it here.

  • America's Energy Advantage Dodges the Question

    July 22, 2014

    America’s Energy Advantage has responded to my July 1 post criticizing its stance on the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act. That bill would liberalize liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, while AEA opposes such exports because they would supposedly raise the raise the price of the LNG used by AEA’s members. 

    As CEI has pointed out in the past, AEA is trying to use bureaucratic obstacles to restrict what companies can do with their products—an approach antithetical to free markets

    What’s ironic is that...

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