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OpenMarket: November 2014

  • Right to Work Should Be on the Agenda in Ohio and Wisconsin

    November 10, 2014
    One takeaway from the midterm elections is politicians who support labor reform, which protects worker choice and reduce union coercive power, should not fear political retaliation from labor unions.
  • CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    November 10, 2014

    Election week was a busy one on the regulatory front, with new rules on everything from fuel taxes to wireless spectrum. With the Senate changing hands in January, we’ll soon find out if agencies will  engage in a midnight rush of rulemaking before the Republicans take over. This phenomenon is most apparent when the White House changes parties, but can happen when Congress switches over, too.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 59 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 60 new final rules the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 48 minutes.
    • So far in 2014, 3,063 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,545 new regulations this year.
    • Last week, 1,450 new pages were added to the Federal...
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Public Sector Unions

    November 7, 2014
    Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Steve Malanga has commented on the growing differences between private and public sector unions. Malanga describes the various instances where the different types of unions have clashed and how they have found themselves supporting candidates on different tickets.
  • The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 25 Years Later

    November 7, 2014

    This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. While much is going to be written about this quarter-century anniversary, my colleague Fred Smith has an excellent piece from the 20th anniversary that’s well worth revisiting.

    On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came crashing down. Today marks the twentieth anniversary of that great day – one of the greatest in the history of human freedom. Communism in Germany finally collapsed, setting off a domino effect that would reach Moscow within two years. Families torn apart for nearly three decades came together in tearful, happy reunions as the world watched. The Cold War...

  • Labor and Employment Look at the 2014 Elections

    November 5, 2014
    The election tide of November 4, 2104, begs to be examined from a labor and employment perspective.
  • Voters Reject Three Rail Transit Boondoggles

    November 5, 2014

    Yesterday, voters across the country had the opportunity to vote on a number of transportation ballot measures. Three of these involved spending for new rail transit projects, and all three were rejected.

    In Austin, Texas, 57 percent of voters rejected Proposition 1, which would have funded a $1.4 billion, 9.5-mile light rail line, in addition to $400 million in road intersection improvements. Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute produced a devastating review of the so-called “Project Connect.” Project Connect was so nonsensical that the light rail boondoggle was even opposed by numerous transit advocates.

    In Seattle, Washington, ...

  • Voters Approve Minimum Wage Hikes

    November 5, 2014

    As pollsters predicted, voters approved increases in state-level minimum wages in four states (Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota), although to levels less than the increase in the minimum wage proposed by Congressional Democrats (to $9.75 in Alaska, $9 in Nebraska, and $8.50 in Arkansas and South Dakota). Voters in the City of San Francisco voted to raise the minimum wage to a whopping $15 per hour from the current $10.74.

    As National Review notes, “In February, the Congressional...

  • In Memoriam: Gordon Tullock

    November 5, 2014

    I write this Tuesday night as TV pundits drone on in the background. The Republicans may win control of the Senate, though races are too close to call in Virginia and North Carolina and Florida. Looks like there will be a runoff in Louisiana. Then that droning on shifts from eager anticipation to more esoteric questions about, “What have we learned?” or “How do voters feel?”

    Who cares?

    I say this not to suggest this election does not matter or that changes in political leadership cannot create opportunities for positive change. I say it because there are bigger things than politics.

    I say it to honor of a former colleague who died on Monday, ironically, on the eve of a midterm election that may change the political landscape and influence the 2016 race for the White House. 

    Ironic because that man was Gordon Tullock, co-founder of the theory of public...

  • Gordon Tullock, R.I.P.

    November 5, 2014

    Imagine making Nobel-worthy contributions to a discipline in which you had almost no formal training. It’s an amazing feat. Gordon Tullock is one of the few to accomplish it. We at CEI are deeply saddened to learn that he has just passed away. But what a life he led, all 92 years of it. That, we can celebrate. Born in 1922 in Rockford, Illinois, Tullock served in World War II. He spent some time in the foreign service in China and Korea, and pondered making a career of it. But his pursuit of a law degree at the University of Chicago changed his life—along with many others.

    At the beginning of Tullock’s career, he had just the barest sketch of economics in his head, mostly from the one class he ever took in the subject. He drew masterpieces from that sketch. Tullock co-founded public choice theory, and invented the now-ubiquitous idea of rent-seeking. He did more than anyone...

  • Volunteering Violation Vignettes

    November 4, 2014

    Did you know it is against the law to volunteer for a for-profit business?

    The issue has surfaced in a trio of varied settings recently.

    Let’s begin in mid-America.

    Congressman Tim Griffin and Senator John Boozman have introduced federal legislation, H.R. 3173 and S. 1656, to help women, predominantly, who volunteer at used-children’s-clothing consignment sales. The consignment sales are a small business that helps reduce waste by promoting the re-use of clothing that might otherwise be tossed in the garbage, were a marketplace not fostered. People selling the children’s clothes make some money, and purchasers save some money, rather than have to shell out bigger dollars for new outfits for their kids. It seems win-win-win, right?

    Well, the supposedly dastardly aspect to it is that people commonly volunteer on the day of the consignment sale to...

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