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OpenMarket: March 2016

  • NLRB Case against McDonald's Shows Need for Labor Law Reform

    March 22, 2016

    At the beginning of the month, the National Labor Relations Board and McDonald’s trial began. The case will determine whether McDonald’s is a joint employer and responsible for alleged unfair labor practices at a number of independently owned restaurants across the nation.

    The case started back in 2012 when unfair labor practice charges were filed against McDonald’s. As the NLRB is part of the “most transparent administration in history,” it requires a Freedom of Information Act to see them. Although the public cannot see the documents, it is known that the charges are connected to alleged action taken by franchisees in response to the union-...

  • Welcome Kent Lassman, CEI’s New President

    March 21, 2016

    Earlier today, I had the pleasure of announcing that the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s board of directors has selected Kent Lassman to be the next president of CEI.

    I was a member of our search committee, and our task was to find an intelligent, charismatic, and effective leader who embraces CEI’s feisty approach to promoting economic liberty, innovation, and prosperity. We were lucky to have interviewed nearly two dozen fine candidates, any number of whom would have made a great choice. In the end, though, the search committee and board agreed that Kent would be the best person to lead CEI into the future.

  • The Public Pays for Union Political Activity

    March 21, 2016

    Taxpayer dollars in state and municipal governments across the country are, normally without public knowledge, used to subsidize government union political undertakings. Clearly, this is a misuse of the public’s limited resources.

    The latest example, The Baltimore Sun reports, a Howard County, Maryland audit finds:

    According to the Feb. 24 investigation, four employees of the sheriff’s office improperly used union leave, thus granting Howard County Sheriff James Fitzgerald “county-subsidized campaign labor” not available to his opponents.

    Union leave, which allows government employees to perform union business on the taxpayers’ dime, was used to influence the 2014 primary and general...

  • RealClear Radio Hour: Populism's Critic & Supranational Heresy

    March 21, 2016

    This week on RealClear Radio Hour we take issue with political movements in Latin America and across Europe.

    I caught up with Gloria Alvarez at CPAC 2016. Gloria is an activist, radio host, and project manager at the National Civic Movement (MCN) in Guatemala. We discussed the history of the caudillos, the machinery of populism in Latin America, and her work with the grassroots social movement MCN—to empower citizens, restore individual rights, and rescue republican institutions.

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

    March 21, 2016

    Along with nearly four dozen proposed regulations, new final regulations from the last week cover everything from cable boxes to Texas grapefruit.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 66 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, same as the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 33 minutes.
    • With 655 final regulations published so far in 2016, the federal government is on pace to issue 3,090 regulations in 2016. Last year’s total was 3,406 regulations.
    • Last week, 1,683 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,601 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 14,920 pages, the 2016 Federal Register is on pace for 70,378 pages. The 2015 Federal Register had an adjusted page count of 81,611.
    • Rules are called “economically...
  • EPA: More Equivocation on SCOTUS Stay of Power Plan

    March 18, 2016

    The Supreme Court put a stay on EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) last month partly because five Justices thought there was a reasonable prospect the rule would be overturned on the merits. The motion that won the stay made a strong case that the CPP is an egregious overreach of EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act.

    So should anyone be surprised when EPA, an agency bent on circumventing Congress in climate policy, uses lawyer tricks to bypass the Court and evade the stay?

    As noted previously in ...

  • Human Achievement of the Day: Don't Buy the Hyperloop, Bet on Self-Driving Cars

    March 18, 2016

    Futuristic transportation technology often captures the imaginations of the press and public. Sometimes, it’s hype-driven nonsense: think the mysterious “IT” that became the mockery-inducing Segway or Elon Musk’s more recent vomit-inducing death-tube proposal appropriately named the Hyperloop, which has managed to hoodwink the dumber segments of the tech press as well as the government of Slovakia.

    Beyond the problems...

  • Does Global Warming Cause Severe Cold Spells? Court Orders Release of Concealed Records

    March 18, 2016

    On January 8, 2014, the White House posted a curious video claiming that global warming causes more severe winter cold. Called “The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes,” it featured the director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), John Holdren, claiming that a “growing body of evidence” showed that the “extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern that we can expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.”

    This claim was questioned by many scientists and commentators on all sides of the global warming debate. (See, e.g., Jason Samenow, Scientists: Don’t make “extreme cold” centerpiece of global warming argument, ...

  • Berlau at SXSW: Let's Cut Red Tape Strangling Uberization of Finance

    March 18, 2016

    AUSTIN, TX—President Obama traveled here to the ongoing South by Southwest festival from Washington, D.C., and so did I. In his March 11 presentation, he said, “The reason I'm here really is to recruit all of you.” Recruiting the tech and entertainment savvy attendees of SXSW, as it is called, was one of my purposes too.

    But the differences at what has become one of the premier festivals for music, film and technology, ended there. President Obama’s speech was a defense of big government in all its forms. He sang the praises of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and wondered aloud why left and right complain that Dodd-Frank hasn’t reined in Wall Street.

    The reason is called reality. Big banks have gotten bigger since Dodd-Frank, while the...

  • Congress Proposes Bill to Nullify Overtime Regulation

    March 17, 2016

    This week, the Department of Labor took the last step before the final overtime rule is published and implemented. DOL sent the rule to the Office of Management and Budget, which reviews regulations and usually takes 30 to 90 days. The rulemaking process has been sped up for a reason.

    According to the fall of 2015 semiannual regulatory agenda, the overtime rule was scheduled to be finalized in July 2016. But to avoid congressional rejection, the rule needs to be finalized by mid-May.

    It is widely speculated...


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