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OpenMarket: March 2015

  • NLRB Holds Training at Union Office and Top Lawyer Forgets Details of Ambush Election Rule

    March 31, 2015
    Congress has held numerous hearings and passed a resolution of disapproval of the National Labor Relations Board regulation known as the "ambush election" rule due to its overt bias toward labor unions at the expense of employee and employer rights.
  • President Obama's UN Climate Plan Ignores American People and Congress

    March 31, 2015

    Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute responded to the Obama Administration’s submission of its intended nationally-determined contribution (INDC) to the United Nations:

    “President Obama has pursued his domestic climate agenda without trying to build support for it with the American people or in Congress, and today’s INDC submission is no different. The President thinks he can make an international commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions by up to 28 percent of 2005 levels, and thereby limit economic growth, without consulting Congress. The administration is making this commitment to the forthcoming Paris Accord under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change without any authorization from Congress and without broad public support. Governments in other countries should...

  • International Panel Outlines Problems with EU Interchange Fee Regulation

    March 30, 2015

    On March 17, an international panel of experts gathered in Brussels to discuss the proposed EU interchange fee regulations that are set to be approved by the Council of Ministers in the next few months. Hosted by the International Alliance for Electronic Payments, experts from France, Austria, Lithuania, the UK, and the USA each outlined different objections to the regulations based on the own countries’ experience and situations.

    Interchange fees are the fees levied by banks and payments card networks from merchants and vendors when a consumer uses a payment card to purchase a good or service. The proposed EU regulation will cap these fees at the rate of 0.2 percent of the transaction value for consumer debit cards and at 0.3 percent for consumer credit cards. For consumer debit cards, the regulation also gives flexibility to Member States to define lower percentage caps and...

  • Administration's GROW AMERICA Act 2.0 Mixes Bad with Good

    March 30, 2015

    Today, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx unveiled the administration’s latest surface transportation reauthorization proposal. Like the previous White House bill, the latest iteration of the GROW AMERICA Act is unlikely to go anywhere on Capitol Hill. The president’s proposal to fund much of his increased infrastructure spending relies largely on a one-shot tax repatriation scheme, something that will do nothing to improve the long-run fiscal position of the Highway Trust Fund. In addition, the White House proposal would make the very wasteful TIGER discretionary grant program permanent. See this post for more on what good and bad surface...

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

    March 30, 2015

    Along with last wwek’s usual slew of final regulations covering everything from power plants to televisions, an additional 55 proposed regulations also hit the books.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 58 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 68 new regulations the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 54 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 674 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 2,856 new regulations this year, which would be nearly 1,000 fewer rules than the usual total.
    • Last week, 1,398 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,157 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 16,531 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 70,047 pages.
    • Rules are...
  • Human Achievement Hour: An Honorable Choice for Saturday Night

    March 27, 2015

    Earth Hour vs. Human Achievement Hour—two irreconcilably opposed events scheduled for the same time: 8:30-9:30 pm EST, Saturday, March 28, 2015. Earth Hour protestors will turn off their lights to express solidarity with the Earth and “raise consciousness” about climate change. Human Achievement Hour partiers will turn on their lights and, in countless individual ways, celebrate the creativity of an energy-rich civilization. I may join some friends at a pub—or just stay home, plug in the Telecaster, crank up the tube amp, and let the good times roll.

    The Earth Hour crowd would have you believe that our mostly fossil-fueled civilization is unsustainable. I know of no better antidote to their ideology than energy analyst Alex Epstein’s new book, ...

  • Human Achievement of the Day: The Sharing Economy

    March 27, 2015

    It’s the most wonderful time of year! Human Achievement Hour is once again upon us, giving us reason to pause and consider recent innovations that have or will significantly improve the human condition. I usually like to focus on some development in medicine or environmental tech, but this year I feel compelled to highlight what may be the most significant advancement in the modern economy. What began with eBay—the digital garage sale—has now blossomed into an entire economy and a way of life. You may have heard it called the “sharing economy,” or “collaborative consumption” is actually about efficient resource allocation.

    Instead of leaving rooms or homes empty and unused families can make extra money by renting them out to vacationers or business people through Airbnb or VRBO. Instead of paying to leave your car at the airport—you can now have someone ...

  • Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform Are Wrong about Passenger Facility Charge

    March 26, 2015

    I saw some unfortunate news today: Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform sent a letter to Congress opposing a possible increase in the cap of the airport Passenger Facility Charge (PFC). ATR is often an ally in CEI’s libertarian battles, but here they are both wrong on the facts and inadvertently supporting a tax-and-spend federal regime that the PFC and other facility user charges can help counter.

    Before I get to why ATR is completely wrong on federalist and free-market grounds in opposing a PFC cap increase, let’s be clear about what a PFC is, why it exists as it does, and what Congress may (or may not) do with the cap.

    First, the PFC is a local user charge. Congress authorized its creation in 1990 and it allows airports to charge per-passenger enplanement fees. The revenue raised can...

  • Arsenic in Wine: Dangerous or Beneficial?

    March 26, 2015

    Dan Nosowitz in Modern Farmer offers some insights on the recent class action lawsuit filed against California winemakers. The plaintiffs found that some inexpensive wines contained arsenic at levels exceeding the federal drinking water standard for this substance. Nosowitz rightly points out that the standard is for water, not wine and “people don’t, or shouldn’t, drink as much wine as water.”   

    Well, let’s not go that far… kidding of course! Moderation is surely a good idea when it comes to alcohol consumption. Yet even if you drank as much wine as you do water, there’s still no reason to be alarmed about arsenic. The levels in wine are...

  • Missouri Government Employers Rarely Keep Track of Union Subsidy

    March 26, 2015
    One would expect government employers to know where and what its employees are doing while paid by the taxpayer. Unfortunately, in Missouri, that is not the case.

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