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OpenMarket: May 2015

  • Will Gov. Cuomo Kill the Economic Opportunity James Franco Extols?

    May 8, 2015

    Kudos to actor, writer, and director James Franco for his Washington Post piece yesterday explaining an important benefit of McDonald’s and the fast-food and franchise industries writ large—they are there for you when you need them.

    James Franco explains that in his case the McDonald’s job was essentially a starting job after being fired from two others. Franco explains that that job sustained him when other avenues were not available. Furthermore, Franco tells how he used that time to develop skills that launched his current career.

    Franco demonstrates the value of a good work ethic and shows how he made the job fun and kept a good attitude.

    Franco’s story points out that in many cases the jobs are starting jobs as...

  • In re Capital One TCPA Litigation Seventh Circuit appeal

    May 8, 2015
    Litigation over whether Capital One and its affiliates violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act settled for $75.5 million—about $4 for each of the 17.5 million class members who allegedly had a statutory claim for $500 or more. Six law firms asked for 30% of that, or over $22.6 million. We objected on behalf of a class member, Jeffrey Collins, introducing evidence showing that something more in the 4.6% range would more than fully compensate class counsel for the risk they incurred. The district court did not adopt our arguments, but agreed with us that there should be a declining percentage as the fund grew larger, and awarded "only" $15,668,265. That's for 4,268 hours of work by six law firms, including associates and paralegals, or over $3,671/hour. Other TCPA cases have awarded over $5,000/hour for similarly mediocre results.

    This award is not because the...
  • Congress Gives Up Fight against NLRB Ambush Election Rule

    May 8, 2015

    The Competitive Enterprise Institute planned on scoring the Senate’s veto override vote on S.J. Res. 8, a Congressional Review Act Resolution of Disapproval to void the National Labor Relations Board’s “ambush election” rule. Unfortunately, the Senate voted 96-3 to table the measure in order to focus on other business.

    While it was unlikely that Senate Republicans could have mustered the 67 votes needed to override President Obama’s veto, GOP members should have demanded a vote to put senators on the record on whether they support the special interests of labor unions or worker rights.

    The NLRB’s ambush election rule threatens workers’ freedom of association and privacy, while hampering employers’ abilities to educate employees on the impact...

  • On Bee Enslavement and Other Nonsense

    May 7, 2015

    I’ve seen many crazy headlines about the challenges facing honeybees, but this one takes the cake:

    “Bee collapse is the result of their enslavement in industrial monocultures.”

    So now, not only are humans “killing off” bees, we are “enslaving” them! According to this article, “industrial agriculture” is the problem and technological approaches won’t help things. However, the authors don’t offer much of any solution other than: Until local agriculture replaces global agriculture, there will always be another parasite, another virus, another mysterious collapse.”

    Although they don’t define “local...

  • The "Draw Muhammad" Contest and the Futility of Trying to Correct Journalistic Mistakes about the Law

    May 6, 2015

    ​Journalists often not only get the law wrong, but then have the audacity to smugly talk down to people who attempt to correct them (usually in a way that manifests a pro-regulatory slant). A classic example was CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s statement, in the context of a “Draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, Texas, that “hate speech is excluded from protection. dont just say you love the constitution...read it.”

    Cuomo has seemingly never read the Constitution himself, despite having once attended law school. The Constitution doesn’t even contain the word “hate,” much less...

  • Why Is the Federal Government Threatening Times Square's Billboards?

    May 6, 2015

    Colleagues tipped me off to an absurd news story about how the federal government is threatening to punish New York City for its famously gaudy Times Square electronic billboards:

    It is known as the “Crossroads of the World,” the “Center of the Universe” and “the Great White Way,” but Times Square could become like the “Black Hole of Calcutta” if the federal government has its way, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday.

    The feds say many of Times Square’s huge and neon-lit billboards must come down or the city will lose about $90 million in federal highway money.

    The edict comes from a 2012 law that makes Times Square an arterial route to the national highway system. And...

  • Trade Promotion Authority: Addressing Some Criticisms

    May 6, 2015

    Some members of Congress are concerned about Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which would fast track trade negotiating authority, but in fact it would be a positive move toward ensuring the United States remains a competitive economy. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) released a statement this week citing concerns with TPA over increased trade deficits, currency manipulation—claiming it would take power away from Congress and give it to the executive branch—and more.

    AEI’s Derek Scissors published a rebuttal to Sessions’ misdirected attack on TPA that deals with many of the issues raised by Sessions. Scissors noted correctly that some of Sessions’ concerns have...

  • Labor Department "Fiduciary Rule" Threatens to Eviscerate JOBS Act Gains for Investors, Entrepreneurs

    May 6, 2015

    Three years ago, President Barack Obama signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, modestly but significantly liberalizing securities markets for investors and entrepreneurs. In signing that bill into law on April 5, 2012, Obama paid heed to the wisdom of ordinary American investors and made the case for easing barriers to their investing in startups.

    “Because of this bill, start-ups and small business will now have access to a big, new pool of potential investors—namely, the American people,” Obama proclaimed. “For the first time, ordinary Americans will be able to go online and invest in entrepreneurs that they believe in.”

    But the authors of the Department of Labor’s new proposed “fiduciary rule” don’t seem to share the view President...

  • Republicans Vote in Favor of Union Giveaways

    May 5, 2015
    Last week, the Competitive Enterprise Institute sent out a Key Vote alert on two amendments. Both were designed to save taxpayers money by ending policies that benefit unions at the expense of fiscal responsibility and common sense. Normally, most would expect Republicans would support such measures, especially since labor unions are primarily donors to the Democratic party. Unfortunately, nearly 50 GOP members voted against both amendments.
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    May 4, 2015

    The 1,000th new regulation of 2015 was published in Friday’s Federal Register, which itself hit the 25,000-page mark on the year. Even so, agencies are still well behind their usual rulemaking pace, on pace for slightly less than 3,000 regulations, compared to the usual pace of more than 3,500 rules.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 65 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 79 new regulations the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 35 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, precisely 1,000 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 2,976 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total.
    • Last week, 1,975 new pages were added to the Federal Register,...

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