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OpenMarket: February 2015

  • Union Employees on Public Payroll Challenged in Pennsylvania Courts

    February 27, 2015
    A recent lawsuit filed by The Fairness Center, a public interest law firm, is challenging the Philadelphia School District's practice of allowing school employees perform union work on school time, commonly referred to as "release time."
  • Net Neutrality Vote Shows Congress Must Rein In and Replace the FCC

    February 26, 2015

    The separation of powers doctrine demands that Congress not tolerate unelected federal agencies going it alone and making binding law. 

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on a party line vote, has elected to impose so-called net neutrality regulation via a reclassification of the formerly lightly regulated Internet under Title II of the Communications Act. 

    Somehow, we suddenly need government force to protect the freedom we’ve known online, with a 332-page set of rules no one outside the agency has seen. 

    Thursday's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) net neutrality conceit should trigger the Congress’ replacement of this rogue agency with something that recognize  boundaries, something attuned to the future and reality. 

    Airwave scarcity and public interest concerns are the causes that long presumably justified telecommunications...

  • CEI Statement on Today's Net Neutrality Vote

    February 26, 2015

    Competitive Enterprise Institute associate director of technology studies Ryan Radia issued the following statement on Thursday's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote to implement new net neutrality rules: 

    "Today, the FCC voted on party lines to reverse its successful policy of keeping the government’s hands off the Internet. Thanks to three unelected bureaucrats, Internet providers will now be governed by an 81-year old law written for the Ma Bell telephone monopoly. Although big broadband businesses dislike the FCC’s decision, they aren’t the ones who will suffer the most. Instead, the innovators who will build tomorrow’s networks—and the American consumers who will benefit from them—are the real losers today. Any company, big or small, that wants to offer Internet access to Americans’ homes or smartphones must now navigate through the...

  • Education Department Floods Schools with New Uncodified Bureaucratic Mandates

    February 25, 2015

    Recently, a task force of college presidents chronicled massive regulatory overreaching by the U.S. Department of Education, which, on a daily basis, floods the nation’s schools with new, uncodified agency requirements that have never even been vetted through the formal rulemaking process. “The Report of the Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education: Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities,” correctly notes that:

    “According to the basic tenets of administrative law, Congress passes laws, and it is up to the agencies to implement them. However, in recent years, the Department has increasingly used the regulatory process not in response to any specific legislative change enacted by Congress, but rather as a means to achieve its own...

  • Wisconsin Opponents of Right-to-Work Offer Weak Defense of Compulsory Dues Payments

    February 25, 2015
    Predictably, yesterday, labor unions and its supporters protested outside of the Wisconsin Capitol to voice their displeasure with the right-to-work (RTW) bill that is making its way through the state's legislature.
  • Capitalism Makes a Comeback on Campus

    February 25, 2015

    There’s exciting stuff going on in the world of higher education these days for fans of free markets. Just last week, the University of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom received a $2.9 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to help build a network of philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) programs at several universities around the world.

    Closer to home here in Washington, D.C., the new Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets at the University of Maryland is making a strong showing out of the gate. Earlier this month the Center ...

  • There Are No “Neutral Taxes” in Politics

    February 25, 2015

    Those favoring larger government are finding it harder to finance them by raising taxes. Proponents have sought to reduce opposition by claiming that they’re not really raising taxes at all—their taxes will be “neutral.” Sure, we’ll take $50 billion or so in taxes from the economy, but we’ll then put it back again in the form of tax reductions or rebates. From a macro-economic perspective, they argue, there will be no impact at all! Why bother, you might ask? 

    The prime candidate advanced by those seeking to better plan our economy is the carbon tax. We’ll tax carbon and use the revenues to offset its impact. People will use less energy but retain the same income. We’ll change prices without changing income—a highly targeted incentive package! To...

  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    February 23, 2015

    In a very cold, holiday-shortened week, federal agencies issued 40 final and 33 proposed regulations covering everything from lithium-ion batteries to small fish in Oregon.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 40 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 57 new regulations the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every four hours and 12 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 351 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 2,581 new regulations this year, which would be roughly 1,000 fewer rules than the usual total.
    • Last week, 1,118 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,341 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 9,353 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 68,772 pages, which would be...
  • Brussels Meeting Ends with White Smoke

    February 20, 2015

    To surprise of many, Friday’s meeting in Brussels ended with white smoke, like Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has hoped when he was referring to the signaling system used by the Vatican. The meeting, which was scheduled to discuss Greece’s proposal for a six-month extension of its loan agreement with the Eurozone lenders, was sealed with a deal to extend the current bailout by four months.

    The Greek government formally submitted their request on Thursday, following pressure from the ECB, which decided to raise a cap of Emergency Liquidity Assistance to Greek banks to 68.3 billion euros. The modest increase of 3.3 billion euros of cash offered by the ECB was significantly smaller than the 10 billion euros that the Greek Central Bank had been requesting.

    Even though the decision to ask for an extension was...

  • How to Help Tesla and Taxpayers

    February 20, 2015

    Policies aimed at reducing auto emissions in California and 10 other states are having a troubling set of unintended consequences, according to a recent editorial at Bloomberg View. Editors point out that the “zero-emissions” credits program ends up amounting to a subsidy for electric carmaker Tesla Motors of up to $30,000 per car sold, penalizing the buyers of nonelectric vehicles who end up underwriting the purchase of someone else’s $100,000 Model S. In addition, electric cars may not even be much “greener” than their nonelectric counterparts, when one considers the time of day these cars are charged as well as the source of the electricity—in many parts of the country, exchanging a conventional vehicle for an electric one means trading a gasoline-powered car for one...

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