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OpenMarket: February 2016

  • Overregulation Turns Sydney into International "Laughing Stock"

    February 16, 2016

    American city officials, take note: Sometimes the remedy to a purported problem is worse than the disease. This is a lesson fans of Sydney’s once vibrant nightlife are beginning to learn. After the punching deaths of two teenagers and immense public outcry, officials sought to address the issue of drug and alcohol-fueled violence by banning takeaway alcohol after 10:00 pm throughout New South Wales and creating “CBD Entertainment Precincts.”

    Bars, clubs, and music venues within these zones would, among other things, be forced to turn away new patrons after 1:30 am and stop serving alcohol after 3:00...

  • Presidential Candidates Neglect Regulatory Bureaucracy

    February 16, 2016

    Allowing a $19 trillion federal debt when it was obvious that interest rates couldn’t remain zero forever is Exhibit A that legislatures rarely control spending. That overreach is compounded by the regulatory bureaucracies those same legislatures have endorsed over decades, either through design or apathy.

    As lawmaking became untethered from the legislature and was delegated to unelected, unaccountable alleged experts at bureaucracies, economic, environmental, and social interventions escalated. There were 87 laws passed by Congress and signed by the president in 2015. However agencies, implementing laws passed earlier and by earlier Congresses, issued 3,408 rules and regulations—a multiple of 39 rules for every law.

    One would think, given all the talk about...

  • News Cycle Contradicts Green Energy Revolution

    February 15, 2016

    Last Thursday, The Wall Street Journal’s Jeff Bennet  and Christina Rogers reported that auto dealers “are telling auto makers to limit production of passenger cars in the face of overwhelming demand for trucks and sport-utility vehicles.” They quote Earl Hesterberg, chief executive of Group 1 Automotive Inc., the nation’s third-largest new-car chain by vehicle sales, as saying that “virtually all retailers … have been communicating that ‘you know, we don’t have enough trucks and SUVs.’” Indeed, the demand imbalance between small and large cars is so great that dealers are asking car manufacturers to alter their production targets in order to make more big cars and trucks.

    By buying big cars in droves, American consumers are acting in blatant contravention of President Obama’s...

  • NYT Editorial Board Repeats Falsehoods on Air Traffic Control Reform

    February 15, 2016

    The New York Times editorial board has staked out a position on proposed air traffic control reform legislation, and it doesn’t like it.

    To anyone following this policy battle, the Times editorial reads like it was written by Delta Air Lines, the sole airline opposed to the deal, even relying on debunked claims about Nav Canada contained in a recent “study” produced by Delta lobbyists. Linking to a Delta press release...

  • RealClear Radio Hour: Government Monopoly & Public Parks

    February 15, 2016

    This week on RealClear Radio Hour we’re talking about big government. From its monopolistic funding and agenda-driven control of Big Science to its mismanagement of public parks, our guests dig into the inherent problems of central planning when politicians and bureaucrats control and manage the flow of goods, services, and information.

    My first guest this week is Dr. Richard Lindzen, atmospheric physicist, MIT professor emeritus, and lead author of the “Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks” chapter of the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. Richard attributes global warming hype to politics, money, and propaganda. Lindzen particularly takes issue with the “97% consensus” claim that is being used to stifle debate and demonize skeptics.

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

    February 15, 2016

    The big regulatory news this week is the Supreme Court’s decision to delay the EPA’s big power plant emission regulation. Other than that, agencies issued 56 new final regulations covering everything from train windows to foreign cotton.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 56 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 58 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation precisely every three hours.
    • With 331 final regulations published so far in 2016, the federal government is on pace to issue 2,853 regulations in 2016. Last year’s total was 3,406 regulations.
    • Last week, 1,281 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,371 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 7,681 pages, the 2016 Federal Register is on pace for 66,216 pages. The 2015 Federal Register...
  • A Majority of States Now Right to Work

    February 12, 2016

    For the first time, in a majority of states, workers can’t be fired from their job if they choose not to financially support a union. A much needed policy since most workers never voted for the union that represents them. Today, West Virginia’s legislature overrode Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of right-to-work legislation.

    Right to work will help the Mountain State’s struggling economy and increase worker freedom. Right-to-work laws make sure workers do not have to pay union dues as a condition of employment—they do not impair collective bargaining. Other than giving workers a choice, right to work is a boon for the economy.

    A state’s status as right to work influences industry location. An economic...

  • Democrats' Debate Further Demonstrates Illegitimacy of Obama's Climate Pivot

    February 12, 2016

    In the wake of Tuesday’s unexpected decision by the Supreme Court to stay the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, politicians and commentators are predicting that the Court’s action will make climate change a top tier election issue in 2016.

    As reported by E&E Daily, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), believes the Supreme Court ruling will “escalate” the climate issue in national prominence during the presidential campaign. Similarly, Salon ran a story about how the Supreme Court’s decision sets up 2016 to be a “climate change election.”

    With...

  • How George Washington Propelled First Great Disruptive Technology

    February 12, 2016

    In my debut column as a Forbes contributor, I celebrate George Washington’s birthday by telling the story of how he championed early American inventor James Rumsey, and in so doing, played a pivotal role in developing the steamboat. As I note in the piece, the steamboat can be called America’s first great invention and “disruptive technology”:

    In 1787, two events changed the course of history in America—and the world. And George Washington, who two years later would become the first U.S president, would play an indispensable role in both.

    One was, of course, the drafting of the U.S. Constitution to safeguard our liberties and create a federal government checked by separation of powers. The other less well known event concerns a mode of transportation that would not come into fruition until the next century: the...

  • The Improvisational Fed, and Unpredictable Regulations

    February 11, 2016

    Improvisation can be a wonderful thing when performed by talented hands—Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and the like. The Federal Reserve, especially for the past several weeks, has fancied itself an improvisational talent on that level. But like most humans, Janet Yellen is no Charlie Parker. They should consider a return to the Paul Volcker/early Alan Greenspan adherence to a defined rule. But that isn’t the end of the story—any substantive Fed reforms will fail unless they are coupled with a thorough program of regulatory reform reaching through the entire executive branch. This post will examine a few worthwhile Federal Reserve reforms, then some regulatory reforms, most of which have already passed the House.

    The rest of the executive branch has a similar lesson to learn—more complexity and an ever-increasing stock of rules means less predictability and more uncertainty for...

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