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OpenMarket: June 2015

  • DOJ vs. Commenters: When Everything Is Deemed a "Threat"

    June 9, 2015

    The Supreme Court has said that true threats can be banned without violating the First Amendment, but that doesn’t mean that hyperbolic rants are unprotected just because they express a yearning for someone’s demise. That doesn’t make them a true threat. For example, the Supreme Court ruled on the issue in Watts v. United States (1969). Robert Watts, a young black man, stated during a protest in Washington, D.C.:

    I have already received my draft classification as 1-A and I have got to report for my physical this Monday morning. I am not going. If they ever make me carry a rifle the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J. They are not going to make me kill my black brothers.

    The Supreme Court reversed his...

  • Bad Tradeoff: Ex-Im vs. a Weak Dollar

    June 9, 2015

    At this point, it looks like Congress will let the Export-Import Bank’s charter expire on June 30. This is not a big deal in grand scheme of things. Ex-Im would continue to service its existing loan guarantees and other financial products, and Ex-Im employees would also review applications for new loans and loan guarantees, though they would not be able to act on them. But suppose Ex-Im does have to shut down operations for good. What other options do export-oriented policymakers have?

    Tyler Cowen brings up one option: mess with the price system.

    Even a slight depreciation likely would offset the effects of...

  • The Right to Choose Your Investment Partner

    June 8, 2015

    The following is an abridged and revised version of my keynote address to the FinTech Global Expo at the San Diego Convention Center on May 29, 2015. I was introduced by conference organizer Andrea Downs, President and CEO of Coastal Shows.

    In startup investment, there have almost as many important developments in the past three years as there have been in the past 30. Let me take you on a very short trip on my time machine back to the days just before the passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups—or JOBS Act in 2012

    In those days—during the reign of the 80-year-old ban of general solicitation of private stock offerings that the JOBS Act repealed—it wasn’t even clear that you could have a conference, trade show, or expo like this one. That was a concern...

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

    June 8, 2015

    New regulations last week covered everything from growing cherries to airport security fees to preventing collisions at sea.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 65 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 70 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 35 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 1,301 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of exactly 3,012 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
    • Last week, 1,344 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 980 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 32,143 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 74,406 pages.
    • Rules are called “economically significant”...
  • Both Parties Should Oppose the Export-Import Bank

    June 5, 2015

    Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) chairs the House Financial Services Committee. The Export-Import Bank’s reauthorization falls under his jurisdiction, and he has been one of the bank’s most consistent critics. He also called for closing Ex-Im in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, making a number of well-reasoned arguments. But his closing clarion call is rather narrow for my taste:

    If Republicans can’t stand up to corporate interests in this skirmish, how will we ever stand up to the myriad special interests warring against adoption of a simplified, pro-growth tax code? How will we earn the moral authority to reform the social welfare state unless we first reform the corporate welfare state? Let the Democrats own corporate welfare by themselves...

  • NLRB Approves of Vulgar Union Gear at Workplace

    June 5, 2015
    Under the Obama administration, the National Labor Relations Board has gone to great lengths to expand employee Section 7 rights to the point of absurdity.
  • NLRB's End Run Around Right to Work Laws

    June 4, 2015
    Yesterday, the House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing entitled, "Compulsory Unionism Through Grievance Fees: The NLRB’s Assault on Right to Work," which examined the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) effort to undermine state right-to-work laws.
  • Henry Hazlitt and the Ex-Im Bank

    June 4, 2015

    Henry Hazlitt is most famous for his book Economics in One Lesson. Export-Import Bank supporters have consistently ignored a very important part of Hazlitt’s simple lesson: don’t just look at how a policy affects some people; look at how it affects all people. Ex-Im subsidizes loans that benefit a number of businesses. But supporters’ case-making usually begins and ends with those businesses, systematically ignoring almost everyone else. As Hazlitt points out, this is a basic analytical mistake.

    There is much more to the story. For example, if a company benefits from Ex-Im financing, any of its competitors who don’t also use Ex-Im are put at an artificial disadvantage, through no fault of their own. This is hardly fair play.

    There is another cost to competitors: Ex-Im is...

  • Obama Has Issued More "Economically Significant" Rules in 6.5 Years than Bush Did in Eight

    June 4, 2015

    It happens to be the case that, in terms of overall counts of rules and regulations published in the Federal Register as final rules, the George W. Bush administration tops that of Barack Obama.

    In its first six years, The Bush administration issued 24,241 rules; an average of 4,040 annually.

    The Obama Administration, in its first six years, issued 21,804, for an average so far of 3,634 each year.

    That Republicans are heavy regulators is no surprise. Books have been written about business as usual under the GOP once it gains power. News reports today in fact illustrate that Republicans will extend Obamacare subsidies in the event...

  • Manufacturing Alarm: Dana Nuccitelli's Critique of John Christy's Climate Science Testimony

    June 4, 2015

    Environmental scientist Dana Nuccittelli accuses University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) atmospheric scientist John Christy of “manufacturing doubt about the accuracy of climate models” at a May 13 hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee. Nuccitelli claims Christy’s testimony “played rather fast and loose with the facts.” Those allegations are incorrect.

    Christy offered a scientific perspective on the Obama administration’s “...


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