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OpenMarket: September 2014

  • Lesson from Ex-Im Fight: More Agencies Should Have Sunsets

    September 17, 2014

    Congress hasn’t voted just yet on the Continuing Resolution that includes the Export-Import Bank’s reauthorization. But we already know that it will pass this week, and Ex-Im will get a new lease on life, probably through June. We’ll have this fight all over again next spring and summer. But the fight has already taught an important lesson: more agencies should have automatically expiring charters. Ending or reforming Ex-Im would never have been a possibility if its charter didn’t have an expiration date. I make that point in a piece in Investor’s Business Daily:

    Institutions matter. The rules of the game have a lot to do with how people play it — imagine what basketball...

  • STB Reauthorization Bill Threatens Rail Investment

    September 16, 2014

    The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has scheduled a markup for tomorrow afternoon of the Surface Transportation Board (STB) Reauthorization Act (S.2777). If enacted, the bill (specifically, Section 14) would threaten much needed investment in railroad infrastructure and reverse three decades of progress on railroad regulation.

    Senate Commerce chair Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), irresponsibly joined by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), has for years sought to...

  • In Memoriam: Elizabeth Whelan

    September 16, 2014

    I was very sad to hear last week that Elizabeth Whelan, founder and president of the American Council on Science and Health, had passed away. Beth had a great scientific mind—always asking questions, and always seeking new knowledge—not just information, but understanding. And it was that innate desire to know, to better understand, and to share the truth that led her, in 1978, to found an organization dedicated to injecting solid scientific information into public debates and public policy on public health. Under Beth’s leadership, and with her aggressive, no nonsense activism, ACSH became a leading voice in science advocacy and “go to” source of information about a range of science and health issues.

    I came to know Beth many years ago after becoming interested in food and drug safety issues. As a...

  • Regulator: True Ridesharing Illegal in California

    September 15, 2014

    In the past, I’ve noted that carve-outs for ridesharing providers leaves more innovative and disruptive business models—particularly future automated services—illegal. While self-driving on-demand transportation services are still a ways off, California’s Public Utilities Commission last week sent letters to Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar warning them that operating commercial carpooling services they have proposed is illegal. (See the letter to Uber here.)

    This is not surprising. The narrow carve-out secured by Uber et al. in California, the “...

  • Will the NLRB’s McDonald’s Decision Destroy Franchise System or Make Companies More Accountable?

    September 15, 2014

    That was the question at the center of a September 9 House Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee hearing, which was held in response to the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) July 29 decision declaring McDonald’s to be a “joint employer” with all of its local franchisees across the country.

    Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Phil Roe (R-Md.) warned that the decision would diminish business opportunities for Americans by destroying the franchisee model that allows entrepreneurial people to use an established brand name to start a business instead of starting on their own from scratch.

    The first witness, ...

  • New Mexico Workers and Industry Would Benefit from Right to Work

    September 15, 2014
    Albuquerque Business First reports that New Mexico could become one of the next right-to-work (RTW) battlegrounds depending on upcoming election results, where Republicans could reclaim a majority in the state House.
  • CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    September 15, 2014

    The number of new regulations topped 2,500 on the year, while the Federal Register added 1,853 pages to end the week just shy of the 55,000 mark.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 64 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 62 new final rules the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 38 minutes.
    • So far in 2014, 2,521 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,561 new regulations this year. This would be the lowest total in decades; this will likely change as the year goes on.
    • Last week, 1,853 new pages were added to the Federal Register.
    • Currently at 54,872 pages, the 2014 Federal Register is on pace for 77,503 pages. This would be the 6th-...
  • Celebrate Billionaire Diversity

    September 12, 2014

    Darrell West, a Vice President at the Brookings Institution, has a new book coming out next week on the political influence of the very wealthy, titled Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust. West has come up with a savvy promotional idea by assembling a list of the top 20 billionaires (and billionaire couples) ranked by political influence. Bloomberg TV had him on yesterday to discuss the list and Philip Bump at The Washington Post...

  • CDC Study: Kids Eat Same Amount of Sodium as Worldwide Average

    September 12, 2014

    It’s not exactly a blood-pressure raising headline, which is probably why the new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is actually bears the alarming titled, High Sodium Intake in Children and Adolescents: Cause for Concern. The study will no doubt be hailed by public health advocates as proof that something must be done to bring America’s sodium intake in line with the recommendations of the CDC and other health originations. However, the report’s findings, when put into context of 50 years’ worth of research on global salt consumption aren’t alarming at all.

    High sodium intake is associated with all sorts of nasty health problems—as the CDC was careful to note in the opening paragraph of its report. As...

  • CEI Awards Pro-Worker Legislators

    September 11, 2014
    As we did last Congress, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has produced our Labor and Employment Policy Scorecard for this 113th Congress on our labor website, WorkplaceChoice.org.

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