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OpenMarket: December 2014

  • The 8 Amici (Part 1): Review of 4 Briefs Opposing Breach of Joint-Employer Precedent

    December 15, 2014
    Joint Employer—Eight Amici for the Employers In total, 17 amicus briefs were submitted in June 2014, in the seminal National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) case on joint employers.
  • Purple Haze, Seeing Red and Feeling Blue: The NLRB's Crippling Overreach in Two Recent Actions

    December 12, 2014
    The National Labor Relations Board’s two recent actions cast aside decades of established practice and precedent. This disregard for the legal wisdom of consistency has become the norm for the three left-wing members who rule the NLRB.
  • Political vs. Market Regulation: Uber Edition

    December 12, 2014

    Earlier this week The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell suggested that new entrants in the transportation market, like Uber, should face greater government regulation—despite having fueled much of their initial success by their ability to offer services free of existing taxi regulations. She’s right that commercial enterprises do need a form of regulation that offers corrective discipline, but she’s incorrect that that discipline need be provided by the government.

    Market competition itself provides the best corrective to consumer harm and dissatisfaction—if it is allowed to work. Firms in competition with each other must also simultaneously seek the cooperation of their customers,...

  • Lame Duck Quacks Needed Dodd-Frank Relief

    December 12, 2014

    Waaaah! That’s the sound of former House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) crying about stinging, bipartisan rebukes to his legacy of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory monstrosity rammed through the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2010.

    And it must be all the more painful to Frank that enough members of his own party had turned against provisions of the legislation that a couple much-needed rollback are on the verge of being signed into law in this month’s “lame duck” session.

    According to the Boston Globe, Frank called some of these rollbacks “the road map for stealthily undoing all this in the future.” We can only hope this is the case!...

  • Congress Seeks Multiemployer Pension Reform in the CRomnibus

    December 11, 2014
    Congress seeks to reform multiemployer pensions in the CRomnibus (Continuing Resolution/Omnibus spending bill), which as of this evening remains in a precarious position.
  • Indiana Supreme Court Upholds Right-to-Work Law

    December 11, 2014
    As the number of right-to-work states is expected to grow in the near future, the Indiana Supreme Court reaffirmed the legitimacy of the law in its state.
  • Deteriorating White House Regulatory Disclosure Needs Active Congressional Review

    December 11, 2014

    Recently we’ve spent time reviewing Washington’s “Unified Agenda” of federal regulations, which came out just before Thanksgiving. It purports to tell what the alphabet soup of federal agencies has in store for you and yours.  

    The full name of the bi-annual publication is a mouthful: The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.

    The report appears twice a year, and has since 1983. Well, theoretically, that is; the Obama administration “opted out,” one might say, in Spring 2012, and otherwise...

  • Rep. Leutkemeyer Moves to Choke off Operation Choke Point

    December 10, 2014

    The release this week of a new House Oversight and Government Reform Committee staff report into Operation Choke Point provides another opportunity to underline just how egregious the behavior of executive agencies has been in this matter. As I outline in my in-depth report from earlier this year, Operation Choke Point has been a freelance operation by rogue members of staff at the Justice Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in particular aimed at killing off industries they suspect might have high levels of fraud, on the grounds that they present “reputational risk” to financial institutions they do business with. It represents an end-run around all established...

  • New Minimum Wage Study: Tradeoffs Exist

    December 10, 2014

    Many progressives strongly support minimum wage increases. This is troubling, because the effects those increases actually have on many poor people are regressive. Signaling your concern for the poor is different from actually helping the poor; feeling good about yourself is often different from actually doing good for others. At the very least, minimum wage supporters should acknowledge that the minimum wage has tradeoffs. It is not a free lunch.

    new study by UC-San Diego economists Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither on the minimum wage reaffirms the obvious. Some workers benefit from minimum wage increases, and this is a good thing. But it comes at a cost. Other workers lose their jobs:

    Over the late 2000s, the average effective minimum wage rose by nearly 30 percent across the...

  • The Future and the Regulated

    December 10, 2014

    Lawrence Summers, the enfant terrible of the economics profession, has written a thoughtful column on “Our Loss of Faith in the Future,” noting that today almost nothing seems to get done. He notes broken escalators at LaGuardia, bridges not repaired for years in Cambridge, and argues that our accounting systems fail to measure the costs of such downtime. Still a liberal, Summers suggests changes in accounting rules to measure such downtime losses. This might help a bit but many agencies already keep track of deferred maintenance and, yet, delays continue to increase.

    Summers doesn’t mention the massive array of regulatory approvals needed now for almost all governmental and most private ventures. That...

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