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OpenMarket: June 2015

  • Federal Witch Hunt Successfully Bans Trans Fats

    June 16, 2015

    Ding dong the witch is dead; killed by the federal government…well, that’s if the witch was a recluse people hardly ever saw, probably hasn’t hurt anyone, and was brought into town by the person burning her at the stake. The “witch” I’m referring to is trans fats, which were officially banned today via Food and Drug Administration (FDA) edict. A witch hunt is a good way to describe what the FDA did; revoking the additive’s determination as “generally recognized as safe,” because despite the fact that Americans have almost completely eliminated the substance from our diets voluntarily, the administration believes any amount of trans fats can be harmful. The fact that there is no scientific evidence to prove this didn’t seem to temper calls to “burn it...

  • Reasons to Oppose the Ex-Im Bank, Part 2: Its Favors for Some Businesses Hurt Other Businesses

    June 16, 2015

    Reasons to Oppose the Ex-Im Bank, Part 2: Its Favors for Some Businesses Hurt Other Businesses

    The Export-Import Bank’s charter expires on June 30. Unless Congress votes to reauthorize that charter, Ex-Im will soon cease to exist. This would be a major victory in the fight against corporate welfare. Ex-Im’s beneficiaries often tar their opponents as anti-American, anti-business, and anti-jobs. This series of posts will instead stick to the merits of the issue, which overwhelmingly favor closing Ex-Im, one argument at a time. For more arguments, see my recent paper. For the first installment of this series, see here.

    The Export-Import Bank has given...

  • Union Deauthorization Provides Workers Weapon to Combat Pro-Union NLRB Actions

    June 15, 2015
    Nearly all action to come out of the Obama administration's National Labor Relations Board has sought to ease union organizing campaigns in order to funnel workers' money into union coffers.
  • Reasons to Oppose the Ex-Im Bank, Part 1: It's Pro-Business, Not Pro-Market

    June 15, 2015

    The Export-Import Bank’s charter expires on June 30. Unless Congress votes to reauthorize that charter, Ex-Im will soon cease to exist. This would be a major victory in the fight against corporate welfare. Ex-Im’s beneficiaries often tar their opponents as anti-American, anti-business, and anti-jobs. This series of posts will instead stick to the merits of the issue, which overwhelmingly favor closing Ex-Im, one argument at a time. For more arguments, see my recent paper.

    The upcoming Ex-Im reauthorization vote provides the perfect litmus test for which members of Congress are pro-business, and which are pro-market. The distinction is an important one. Pro-business thinkers are concerned with the fates of particular firms. The General Motors bailout is an example of a pro-...

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

    June 15, 2015

    It was a prolific week for the Federal Register, with more than 1,700 pages covering everything from real estate appraisal to water banks.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 64 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 65 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 38 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 1,365 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of exactly 3,020 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
    • Last week, 1,752 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,344 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 33,895 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 74,989 pages.
    • Rules are called “...
  • Abolish Ex-Im Bank, Don't Reform It

    June 12, 2015

    Over at the American Spectator, University of Chicago lecturer Frank Schell recently published a column arguing that the Export-Import Bank should be reformed, not abolished. Today, I have a piece disagreeing for two reasons:

    First, Congress has no appetite for substantive changes. Second, corruption and favoritism are inevitable consequences of Ex-Im’s very mission. As such, Congress should let the agency’s charter expire…

    America’s entrepreneurs are talented and resourceful enough to compete in global markets without having to spend time influence-peddling in Washington. They deserve the opportunity.

    Read the whole thing...

  • How Many Significant Regulations Escape Congress' Notice?

    June 11, 2015

    The Spring 2015 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions was released in late May, presenting recently completed actions and ongoing priorities of the federal bureaucracy. It covered 3,260 rules and regulations in the pipeline.

    Among these, there are 205 “economically significant” rules highlighted; this subset sports economic impacts of $100 million or more annually.

    Shortly after the Agenda appeared, the Environmental Protection Agency’s sweeping new Clean Water Rule on nationwide permitting on private property was released and got a lot of...

  • Trade Promotion Authority: What it Is and What it Isn't

    June 11, 2015

    The House of Representatives is poised to vote on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314). Unfortunately, there has been some misinformed criticism, in Congress and elsewhere, of so-called “fast track” legislation. Under TPA, the President has the authority to negotiate trade agreements if certain criteria established by Congress are met. Then Congress reviews the agreement and the implementing legislation and has to vote on the bill with no amendments allowed.

    • TPA puts Congress in charge.

    TPA essentially is an accommodation between the Executive and the Legislative branches of government to assure trading partners that what they agreed upon during negotiations won’t be overturned in the voting process.

    Congress gives negotiating authority to the...

  • Union Official Time Breeds Corruption

    June 10, 2015
    The Office of Labor-Management Standards of the Department of Labor conducts criminal investigations to unearth union wrongdoing that violates the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.
  • DOJ vs. Reason.com Commenters: How the Deck Is Stacked Against Anonymous Political Speech

    June 9, 2015

    Our friends over at the Reason Foundation, a venerable libertarian think tank and publisher of Reason magazine, recently received a grand jury subpoena from a federal prosecutor in New York, reports Ken White at Popehat. The subpoena demands that Reason disclose “all identifying information” it has regarding six pseudonymous users who posted comments about the death and afterlife of a federal judge on Reason’s Hit & Run blog.

    These comments came in response to a May 31 Reason post by Nick Gillespie about the trial and sentencing of Ross Ulbricht, who was ...

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