October 31, 2014
The crash of a test flight of billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo, which cost the life of one, riveted many around the globe on Friday afternoon.
Branson headed to the California site, tweeting, “Thoughts with all @virgingalactic & Scaled, thanks for all your messages of support. I’m flying to Mojave immediately to be with the team.”
An investigation will show what happened. The LA Times noted the reawakening to how dangerous these ventures can be. Peopled were lulled into thinking the Virgin craft looked safer than a rocket, but, as an analyst noted, “People will now realize this is space travel...and you’re getting into a rocket.”
We should be careful that governmental responses do not aggravate risks...
October 31, 2014Big Labor just can’t get its way in Wisconsin.
October 31, 2014It is already an arduous process for employees to remove an unwanted union from their workplace. And now the International Association of Machinists is requesting that the National Labor Relations Board overturn established Board precedent to make it even more difficult.
October 31, 2014
“‘If you torture your data long enough, they will tell you whatever you want to hear.’ Dr. James Mills noted in a 1993 New England Journal of Medicine article. “In plain English, this means that study data, if manipulated in enough different ways can prove whatever the investigator wants to prove.”
Indeed, such “data torturing” is responsible for a recent junk science study that claims drinking soda will age your cells, which makes it as dangerous as smoking. But these findings reflect clever manipulation of data—and nothing more.
Regarding the soda study, columnist Daniel Engber points out in Slate:...
October 29, 2014
In recent five-part series called The 2014 Federal Paperwork and Red Tape Roundup, I took a look at hours of paperwork for various departments and agencies in fiscal year 2013.
What I didn't do was look at how hours have changed over the past decade-plus of data collected under the Paperwork Reduction Act. The Office of Management and Budget assembles such information.
The chart nearby depicts millions of hours of annual paperwork since 1997. In President Bill Clinton’s last year, 2000, there were an estimated 7.361 billion hours of paperwork burden (of course, fiscal year 2001 had been underway a few months by the time Clinton left office).
Since that time,...
October 28, 2014
October 27, 2014
Minimum wages help some workers, which is why they are so popular. But they aren’t a free lunch. There are tradeoffs. They aren’t always easy to see, but they exist just the same. My colleague Iain Murray has a piece about those tradeoffs in the Washington Examiner, to which I contributed. As Iain summarizes:
Breaking out of poverty is difficult for many people, and the evidence is that a minimum wage adds to the difficulty. Workers are fired, hours are cut, jobs are not created, non-wage perks, including insurance, free parking, free meals, and vacation days evaporate, annual bonuses shrink, prices rise, (squeezing minimum wage earners themselves), big businesses gain an artificial competitive advantage over their smaller competitors, and crime rates...
October 27, 2014
It was business as usual, with new rules hitting the books on everything from political speech restrictions to butterflies to football broadcasts.
On to the data:
- Last week, 74 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 52 new final rules the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 16 minutes.
- So far in 2014, 2,944 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,573 new regulations this year.
- Last week, 1,251 new pages were added to the Federal Register.
- Currently at 63,779 pages, the 2014 Federal Register is on pace for 77,402 pages. This would be the 6th-largest page count since the Federal Register began publication in 1936.
- Rules are...
October 24, 2014Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) released on October 22, 2014, his annual Wastebook that exposes how the federal government fritters away your tax dollars.
October 24, 2014
In Parts 1 through 4 of The 2014 Federal Paperwork and Red Tape Roundup we compiled a basic picture of federal paperwork costs with respect to independent agencies and federal tax collection, as well as took a look at taxation’s deadweight costs.
Now we will briefly visit the executive departments, agencies and commissions to see what might be appraised about their paperwork.
For the most part, executive agency paperwork costs will have already been captured, at least as far as officialdom...