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OpenMarket: September 2016

  • Tom Cotton's Last Minute Anti-Gambling Bill

    September 26, 2016

  • This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

    September 26, 2016

    Agencies issued more than six dozen new final regulations last week, ranging from minerals to dates. Meanwhile, this year’s Federal Register, the 81st edition, is now in the top 20 in all-time page counts, and it’s still September.

    On to the data:

  • How a New President Can Roll Back Bureaucracy, Part 6: Enhance Disclosure in 'Unified Agenda'

    September 26, 2016

    This is the sixth entry in a series on how the next president can reduce the scope of bureaucracy. Earlier installments have addressed a freeze on rulemaking, the role of law and economics staff in policymaking, rule review and repeal, stricter cost analysis and ...

  • Surface Transportation Board Seeks to Impose Backdoor Railroad Price Controls

    September 26, 2016

    The infamously destructive Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) may be history, but many outside of the railroad policy world are unfamiliar with its predecessor: the Surface Transportation Board (STB). Created under the ICC Termination Act of 1995 to take on the...
  • RealClear Radio Hour: Penniless Presidencies and Fashioning America

    September 26, 2016

    This week, we discuss two new books covering the national debt crisis and political values with authors Dr. Alan Axelrod and Cathy Lynn Taylor.

    Alan Axelrod, author of Full Faith and Credit: The National Debt, Taxes, Spending, and the Bankrupting of America, opens the conversation explaining why the U.S.’s perilous gross debt to GDP ratio may have passed the point of no return. Axelrod’s stories of our most to least fiscally responsible presidents reveal our trajectory—from the parsimonious George Washington to Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase extravagance, Abraham Lincoln’s budget-busting Civil War, and modern presidents’ bailouts paving the road to national bankruptcy.   

    ...
  • Comment on EPA Power Plan's Alleged Air Pollution “Co-Benefits”

    September 24, 2016

    Climate activists assure us that even if we don’t consider global warming a big problem, we should still support carbon taxes, renewable energy quota, and EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP). Such policies, we are told, will save thousands of lives, delivering billions of dollars in net benefits, by coincidentally reducing airborne concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

    There are three main problems with this “co-benefits” argument. First, EPA’s own data show that total emissions of six principal air pollutants declined 62 percent since 1980 even though carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased by 14 percent. What’s more, PM2.5...

  • Obama Readies the Military for Climate Change, Our No. 1 Global Threat

    September 24, 2016

    The White House on 21st September released a Presidential Memorandum on Climate Change and National Security.  Section 1 states its purpose: “This memorandum establishes a framework and directs Federal departments and agencies to perform certain functions to ensure that climate change-related impacts are fully considered in the development of national security doctrine, policies, and plans.”

    The memorandum creates a Climate and National Security Working Group consisting of nineteen federal departments and agencies plus more to be named later.  The working group will be chaired by Assistant to the President for National...

  • Economics Made the World Great – and Can Make It Even Better

    September 23, 2016

    This week our friends at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University hosted their Annual Dinner here in Washington, D.C., and it was an elegant and well-produced affair. Instead of a single keynote speaker, the event featured an on-stage conservation between Mercatus Director Tyler Cowen and Kai Ryssdal, host of public radio’s Marketplace. This format was an extension of the series of public events at which Cowen interviews intriguing public figures, known as “Conservations with Tyler”.

    Before Tyler and Kai could get to discussing their first seven jobs, though, Mercatus Executive Director Dan Rothschild introduced the following short...

  • Mr. Robot and the Future of Money

    September 23, 2016

    Last week, the cult USA channel TV show Mr. Robot showed once again why it is required viewing for anyone interested in technology. In a conversation between E Corp CEO Phillip Price and a top government official named Jack (a thinly-veiled Jack Lew?), he talked about his plans to get official government backing for his virtual currency, eCoin:

    Jack (James Lloyd Reynolds) : “…it’s unconstitutional, you can’t make your own currency.  That is the Federal Government’s job!  We simply cannot let you make big loans in eCoin that you would not make in dollars.”

    Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer): “Jack look at me.  I am not the problem here.  The problem here is hard cash is fading rapidly. That’s just the way of the world right now.  And Bitcoin is spreading.  And if Bitcoin takes over, we are all in...

  • Inquiry into Judicial Deference

    September 22, 2016

    What is deference?

    Deference is judicial respect for agency interpretations of ambiguities in texts that carry the force and effect of law.

    Deference can be binding or nonbinding. “Binding” deference means that a court will uphold an agency’s interpretation—so long as it is reasonable—even if the court thought it had a better reading of the text at controversy.

    Nonbinding deference is accorded by Article III courts to agency interpretations to the extent they are persuasive. That said, there is robust debate about whether or not “nonbinding deference” is an oxymoron. Some argue that a textual interpretation that “persuades” the court is no different from any argument in any legal brief; others argue that nonbinding deference can add a little oomph, albeit ill-defined...

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