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OpenMarket: July 2015

  • Democratic Judges Green-Light CEI’s Challenge to Dodd-Frank

    July 24, 2015

    Just days after President Obama touted the supposed achievements of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law on its fifth birthday, a unanimous judicial panel—including an Obama appointee—dealt the administration a major defeat in its defense of the law. If the co-plaintiffs in the case—the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the 60 Plus Association, and a courageous Texas community bank––ultimately prevail, it will be a huge victory for American consumers and entrepreneurs being strangled by the red tape of Dodd-Frank and its Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

    Today, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court ruled unanimously that State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, had standing to challenge the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial...

  • Uber: The Best Option for Workers and Consumers

    July 24, 2015

    Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher’s recent Facebook post defending Uber from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent attempts to regulate the company went viral this week, and for good reason. De Blasio, who has received numerous campaign donations from taxi companies, claimed that Uber cars were congesting New York streets and causing more pollution, although he failed to produce evidence for either claim. Yet, a public backlash forced de Blasio to back off, at least for now.

    Kutcher is not alone. Uber users number over...

  • Time to Enforce Texas Constitution’s Bar on Taxpayer Subsidies to Private Parties

    July 24, 2015
    Use of taxpayer funds should be reserved for purely public purposes, not the private benefit of an individual, corporation, or association. Yet, Texas public employee unions, which are officially private organizations, receive a direct subsidy from local governments in the form of release time, a practice that allows public employees to conduct union business during working hours without loss of pay.
  • New York State Mulling Minimum Wage Increase

    July 23, 2015

    A few weeks ago, the New York Times ran an article asking, “It’s Summer, but Where Are the Teenage Workers?” It’s a good question:

    Since 2000, the share of 16- to 19-year-olds who are working has plummeted by 40 percent, with fewer than a third of American teenagers in a job last summer. Their share of the overall work force has never been this low, and about 1.1 million of them would like a job but can’t find one, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The next paragraph begins, “Experts are struggling to figure out exactly why.” Over the course of more than 1,300 words, the article doesn’t...

  • Dodd-Frank’s Conflict-Minerals Rule Increases Violence in the Congo

    July 23, 2015

    The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act increased violence in the Congo by 143 percent (and looting by 291 percent) through its “conflict minerals” rule, which has backfired on its intended beneficiaries. So concludes a new study by Dominic Parker of the University of Wisconsin and Bryan Vadheim of the London School of Economics.

    As we noted earlier, Dodd-Frank conflict minerals regulations have also caused starvation in the Congo, harmed U.S. businesses, and resulted in increased smuggling—even as they punish peaceful neighboring countries in Africa just for being near the Congo, whose civil wars have killed millions over the last 20 years. They have inflicted great harm on a country that was just beginning to recover from years of mass...

  • New York's Minimum Wage Increase: Severe Trade-Offs

    July 23, 2015

    New York’s vote to implement a $15 per hour minimum wage isn’t as much a victory for the “99 percent” as Governor Cuomo’s panel thinks it could be.

    CEI Fellow Ryan Young describes the unintended consequences of a minimum wage hike:

    “…[T]he minimum wage has a reverse-Robin Hood effect. Some workers lose their entire income, which gets transferred instead to other workers fortunate enough to keep their jobs, and get raises besides. Income redistribution programs are supposed to flow from better-off people to worse-off people—not the other way around.

    If the goal is to lift as many...

  • The good, bad, and ugly of the latest Energy & Commerce bill

    July 22, 2015

    Today the House Energy and Commerce Committee set to work doing markup on a yet-to-be-named energy bill. CEI’s William Yeatman breaks down the good, the bad, and the ugly of the proposed bill. See the proposed bill here.

    The good: The bill includes some positive regulatory reform in language that would streamline the permitting process for natural gas pipelines. By far the best part of the legislation is §1102, which would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission enhanced flexibility if EPA’s war on coal threatens electric reliability.

    The bad: Title III...

  • Obama’s 2015 Report to Congress on Federal Regulations Is MIA

    July 22, 2015

    The federal government’s only report that discloses overall costs and benefits of federal regulations is overdue. This is 2015, and it’s almost August. Where is the 2015 Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations in this “most transparent administration in history”?

    Like prior annual reports, it would give us a 10-year look back, in this instance covering October 1, 2004 to September 30 2014, and detail on the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014. On June 15, we did get the final 2014 Report, which covered rules from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013 (the period ending nearly two years...

  • Utah’s Contact Lens Law Flouts Constitution’s Commerce Clause

    July 22, 2015

    If you regularly buy contact lenses in the United States, you might have noticed that the price of your preferred contacts is the same wherever you look. This is because several top contact lens manufacturers recently decided to set a minimum price for their contacts. If a retailer undercuts this price, it could lose out on the ability to buy popular contact lens brands on the wholesale market.

    It’s hardly unusual for a company to set a price below which retailers may not sell its products. If you try to buy a new iPhone, odds are you’ll find most stores selling it for the same price—and that’s exactly what Apple wants. The same goes for many other goods, such as golf clubs and many luxury...

  • Dodd-Frank Is Five Years Old

    July 21, 2015

    On July 21, 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill. Today, that bill turns five. It is not a happy anniversary.

    As CEI’s John Berlau points out in a new paper, Dodd-Frank has reduced competition in the financial sector. By codifying Too Big to Fail and imposing price controls and other regulatory hoops—27,669 total regulatory restrictions and counting—Dodd-Frank insulates incumbent banks from pesky upstart competitors. In fact, in the last five years, precisely one new bank has opened for business. This stagnation is not healthy for innovation or for competition—or for capital-hungry entrepreneurs throughout the economy.

    A few other Dodd-Frank facts worth pondering:

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