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OpenMarket: May 2015

  • Union Bosses Lobby for Exemption from $15 LA Minimum Wage

    May 27, 2015
    As I reported in yesterday, Big Labor spent a lot of money and resources supporting the Los Angeles' $15 minimum wage.
  • Raise a Glass to Lower Taxes

    May 26, 2015

    You might not know it, but about half the cost of your preferred alcoholic beverage is made up of taxes and fees. One man in Congress, Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.) wants to change that. Today he introduced a bill that would introduced a bill that would cut the current federal excise tax rate on whiskey, rum, vodka, and gin. For the first 100,000 gallons, the bill would reduce the tax from from $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon, and for subsequent gallons the tax would be $9 per proof gallon.

    H.R. 2520 has support from both the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) and the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS), which said in their...

  • Big Labor Money Behind Los Angeles Minimum Wage Hike

    May 26, 2015
    On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted 14-1 in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2020.
  • Politics vs. Principle: Export-Import Bank Edition

    May 26, 2015

    On the merits, the case for closing the Export-Import Bank is a slam-dunk. This has made life difficult for the bank’s supporters, especially since the bank will permanently close on June 30 unless Congress reauthorizes its charter. So they are switching to politics.

    One of the top items on Congress’ agenda is Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which despite some drawbacks, would make international trade a little freer than it is now. Seeing a point of entry, Ex-Im supporters tried to tie Ex-Im reauthorization into the TPA bill. This way, a Senator who opposes Ex-Im might have to hold his nose and vote for it anyway, since it would be part of the larger TPA bill he supports.

    This attempt was rebuffed, and a clean TPA bill is poised to pass the Senate...

  • Fourth Circuit Flouts Appellate, Evidence, and Class-Action Rules in Brown v. Nucor Corp.

    May 26, 2015

    In the past, businesses have been happy to put new factories in states like South Carolina and Virginia, due to their right-to-work laws and relatively reasonable employment laws. But they should think twice about doing so in the future, thanks to some recent, very unreasonable court rulings against employers in those states by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Those decisions illustrate a contempt for binding Supreme Court precedent, and basic rules of logic, evidence, civil procedure, and appellate procedure

    A classic example is the Fourth Circuit’s 2-to-1 decision on May 11 in Brown v. Nucor Corp., which violated fundamental rules of appellate review and class-action procedure. Essentially, the court...

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

    May 26, 2015

    The big regulatory news from last week was the publication of the semiannual Unified Agenda, which lists most upcoming regulations from rulemaking agencies at various stages of the regulatory process. It is one of the most important transparency tools we have for keeping an eye on new regulations, which may explain why it was published just as people are getting ready for the long Memorial Day weekend, and why the user interface is surprisingly difficult to use for such a simple document. Take a look at the Unified Agenda here, and you’ll see what I mean.

    On to the data:

  • Trade Promotion Authority in the Senate: Do-It-Yourself Economics

    May 21, 2015

    The U.S. Senate yesterday continued discussion on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also called the “fast-track” trade authority, which would give the President power to negotiate trade deals based around certain principles and then present any deal to Congress for a vote with no amendments. The bill failed to progress in the Senate last week by 52-45, with only one Democratic senator – Sen. Thomas Carper (Del.) – voting “yes” on the legislation.

    The Senate is currently working on possible amendments to this bill, with most of the negotiations taking place behind the scenes. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell filed a cloture motion to stop debate and limit amendments, which will be voted on today.

    In his remarks Sen. McConnell (R-KY) once again emphasized the benefits of trade to entrepreneurs that were described at a recent press conference (hosted with Sen....

  • Sen. Warren Gets Hit on Trade Issues

    May 20, 2015

    Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus (May 20, 2015) took on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) contention that trade agreements are being negotiated in secret, with multinational corporations calling the shots. Warren, the populist flavor of the month, has been leading a campaign against trade deals and against Trade Promotion Authority, all in the name of confronting greedy multinational corporations and helping U.S. workers. 

    In her column titled “A bogus argument against the trade deal,” Marcus skewers Warren’s argument by pointing out that releasing negotiating documents before they are agreed upon undermines the U.S.’s...

  • Pollinator "Strategy": Pork Barrel, Handouts, and Counterproductive Pesticide Policy

    May 20, 2015

    The Obama administration has finally released its National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators. It’s the federal government’s answer to all the hype found in the news related to the health on the nation’s honeybee hives. While it’s not clear what it will achieve for the bees, we can be sure it comes with lots of pork-barrel spending, government handouts, and shortsighted pesticide polices that undermine food production.

    I have documented why much of the hype on this issue is misinformed and why solutions will only come from ...

  • Long Mass Transit Commutes Are Horrible for Your Health

    May 20, 2015

    Joseph Stromberg at Vox.com has an article up arguing that “commuting alone by car” is “associated with obesity, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, and general unhappiness” relative to other transportation modes. His solution to unhealthy lengthy commutes is to increase carpooling.

    Back in 2012, I argued against another now-Voxxer, Matthew Yglesias, on the supposed health harms of auto commuting. The problem, as Census data make clear, is that other than those who walk to work, people commuting by driving alone generally have the shortest commutes. Those using public transit take on average twice as long to make their commuting journeys as those who drive by themselves.

    ...

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