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OpenMarket: March 2016

  • Human Achievement of the Day: Fighting Mosquito-Borne Diseases with Technology

    March 17, 2016

    For millennia, mosquitos have wreaked havoc on mankind, passing along myriad deadly or debilitating diseases. Mankind’s clever interventions—from screened windows to pesticides—have helped greatly control mosquito-transmitted diseases in developed nations. Until recently, the hope of getting such diseases under control in poor developing nations any time soon appeared dim. But thanks to some new technologies in this field, there’s cause for some optimism.

    Ultimately, economic growth offers the best solution in these nations because it would allow them to transition to sealed homes with modern heating and air conditioning and windows with screens—separating man from mosquito for much of the time. In addition, modern agricultural practices would mean, fewer people would be needed to produce food,...

  • Senate FAA Reauthorization Bill Disappoints

    March 16, 2016

    This morning, the Senate Commerce Committee held a markup hearing on their Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016 (S. 2658). A couple of positive unmanned aircraft system (UAS) amendments—a drone delivery amendment from Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and one from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) ...

  • Human Achievement Hour: An Enlightened Choice for Saturday Night

    March 16, 2016

    It’s a fun time of year . . . at CEI HQ anyway. Once again we prepare to celebrate Human Achievement Hour—the holiday we started as a tongue-and-cheek response to Earth Hour.

    On March 19th at 8:30-9:30pm, Earth Hour protestors will turn off their lights to express solidarity with the planet and “do something” about climate change. At the same time, HAH partiers will turn on the lights, drive to a pub, or engage in some other enjoyable activity to cheer the products of human ingenuity that allow us all to live better, longer, healthier lives and to applaud the institutions of liberty on which innovation, prosperity, and human flourishing depend.

    If people want to save money by using less electricity and gas, more “power” to them. But the dogma that conservation always pays for itself, hence consumers...

  • Trade Is Good, Using Trade to Weaken Foreign Investment Is Not

    March 16, 2016

    Free traders have long promoted an expansion of the rights of the citizens of one nation to buy and sell to one another. The old GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) achieved much in reducing fees on imports and exports, but protectionists shifted to non-tariff barriers which have proven much harder to discipline. GATT developed rules that limited such protectionist efforts: the PPM (Processes and Production Methods) which specified that it was the item in trade—not the process or the production method used to make it—that could be restricted. Thus, we could limit a specific chemical or food but not the technology used to yield that product. Another was the SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary) rule which allowed restrictions on health grounds that could be scientifically validated.

    The role of these rules was to create a barrier between the internal policies of a nation...

  • After the Incentive Auction: Reimbursing Broadcasters for Channel Relocation Costs

    March 16, 2016

    On March 29, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will kick off a much-awaited incentive auction that could reshape America’s airwaves. The auction, which Congress instructed the FCC to conduct, is outlined in Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. Accordingly, the agency has spent much of the last four years planning the auction, in which mobile carriers and other companies will bid to acquire spectrum licenses that are currently occupied by broadcast stations. Broadcasters are not required to participate—the auction is voluntary—but if they do, they are entitled to a share of the proceeds of the sale of the spectrum. Hence, the incentive.

    What motivated lawmakers to task the FCC...

  • Human Achievement of the Day: Fashion

    March 16, 2016

    On March 19, I will celebrate Human Achievement Hour instead of Earth Hour. The choice is easy: take an hour out of the evening to feel thankful for the many inventions and innovations that make life better versus an hour

  • Human Achievement of the Day: Polio Eradication

    March 15, 2016

    Polio used to be a parent’s worst nightmare. The virus mostly affects children, and hampers the brain’s ability to communicate with muscles. While its effects are usually temporary, polio can lead to permanent paralysis and even death. If the paralysis reaches the respiratory system, victims will be unable to breathe on their own, which led to the depressing sight of hospital wards filled with rows and rows of iron lungs (pictured below). Polio can...

  • Questions for CFPB Director Richard Cordray

    March 15, 2016

    Tomorrow, Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will face questions from the House Financial Services Committee. Here are some of the questions he should be asked.

    Q: The CFPB is currently insulated from the checks and balances required of our government by the Constitution. What is so special about consumer financial protection that makes it immune to meaningful oversight?

    Background: The CFPB has no checks or balances to its power, making it unaccountable to Congress, the Administration, the courts, or the people in general:

    • Congress exercises no “power of the purse” over the CFPB, because the agency’s budget – administered essentially by one person – comes from the Federal Reserve, amounting to approximately $400 million that Congress cannot touch or regulate.
    • The President cannot carry out...
  • RealClear Radio Hour: Free the Market: Ending the Corporate Welfare Racket

    March 14, 2016

    This week on RealClear Radio Hour we tackle insidious corporate cronyism and what can be done to stop it. At the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference, I moderated a lively panel discussion with Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney, Alison Fraser of the Charles Koch Institute, Matthew Mitchell of the Mercatus Center, and Peter Schweizer of the Government Accountability Institute.

    Despite public outcry, big businesses and big government have institutionalized corporate welfare, where taxpayer-supported subsidies, bailouts, and regulations that crowd out competitors are exchanged for votes, campaign contributions, and job security through DC’s ‘revolving door’ of lobbying and consulting gigs. The panelists recommended increased transparency, a lifetime ban on lobbying...

  • Oversight Hearing Will Find Federal Regulatory Transparency Quite Opaque

    March 14, 2016

    The 2015 edition of White House Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) annual Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations was latest we’ve seen from the “most transparent administration in history.”

    Historically, the report has usually appeared in March, typically by April at the latest. There were September arrivals in Bush's last and Obama's first years. But the 2015 draft didn’t appear until October 16. The ...

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