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OpenMarket: November 2016

  • Drain the Swamp: Sunset the Renewable Fuel Standard

    November 30, 2016

    Just before the Thanksgiving weekend I spoke to a trade association about the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS)—why the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) wants to abolish it, and how reform-minded groups might constructively engage the incoming Trump administration given the President-elect’s well-known support for the RFS. Below is an edited version of...

  • O'Hare Airport Strikes: Will Anybody Notice?

    November 29, 2016

    Roughly 500 workers went on strike at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on Tuesday. They want a $15 minimum wage and improved working conditions. The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) it “doesn't anticipate any disruption in service”, according to the ...

  • Future Cyber Mondays Could Take a Hit from Proposed Internet Tax

    November 28, 2016

    Adobe Digital Insights predicts that Cyber Monday’s sales will surpass last year’s sales by 11.5%, for a total of $3 billion this year. But if state officials and some big box retailers, who’ve been busy lobbying Congress to pass the dubiously named Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) get their way, there could be a lump of coal in consumer’...

  • Federal Biofuel Programs Headed for Failure

    November 28, 2016

    Today the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released two reports on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program: Program Unlikely to Meet Its Target for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GAO-17-94) and...

  • The Future of Work

    November 28, 2016

    On Thursday November 18, I was delighted to deliver a lecture at St John’s University in New York, organized by the university’s Department of Philosophy. The subject was “The Changing Nature of Work – The Sharing Economy, Master/Servant, and the Right to Earn a Living.” (The slides are available below, courtesy of LinkedIN’s Slideshare service.)

     

  • Fidel Castro, Longtime Dictator of Cuba, Dies

    November 28, 2016

    The longtime dictator of Cuba, Fidel Castro, died Friday at the age of 90. Earlier, I debunked pro-Castro myths that some left-leaning politicians have peddled about Castro — including...

  • RealClear Radio Hour: Cancer Care, Chaos, and Climate

    November 28, 2016

    This week on RealClear Radio Hour, Drs. Debra Patt and Kerry Emanuel discuss the politics of cancer care, chaos theory, and climate science.

    We open the show with Dr. Debra Patt, practicing oncologist and Vice President of Texas Oncology. Debra explains how the well-intentioned federal 340B Drug Discount Program is actually driving up cancer care costs. With preferred vendor hospitals applying their 30-50% drug discounts to all patients, not just the underserved, industry-wide prices are being forced up to subsidize the program. On the whole, however, she is optimistic about the diagnostic innovations, therapeutic success, and a drastic drop in cancer mortality rates. 

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  • This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

    November 28, 2016

    Thanksgiving week was a busy one, with new regulations ranging from potatoes to royalties. Meanwhile, the 2016 Federal Register, as of Black Friday, is already nearly 4,000 pages past the all-time record previously set in 2010, with all of December still to go. The midnight rush is on.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 85 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 59 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 27 minutes.
    • With 3,389 final regulations published so far in 2016, the federal government is on pace to issue 3,732 regulations in 2016. Last year’s total was 3,406 regulations.
    • Last week, 2,292 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 3,724 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 85,396 pages, the 2016 Federal Register is on...
  • Reflecting on the Obamacare Disaster and Chief Justice Roberts

    November 24, 2016

    We have arrived at another divisive debate about the future of Americans’ access to health insurance and health care services and our ability to protect it. And no one can claim that the recent election provided a mandate for a specific path forward. With the flood of news about 2017 exchange pricing and Republicans working on how they can make good on their vows to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now is a good time to examine “what might have been” in light of “what is” regarding our nation’s health care insurance and delivery system. 

    The reality is unspeakably ugly—skyrocketing premiums, disappearing competition, enormous unbudgeted federal spending on the exchanges, and unappreciated second-order effects like large increases on the group market (where most people obtain health care coverage) and rising small employer costs. These rising costs depress...

  • Court Blocks Overtime Rule

    November 23, 2016

    Labor Secretary Thomas Perez learned a harsh lesson this month. Public servants at federal agencies cannot allow their political preferences to guide their regulatory agenda. Rather, they must fulfill the mission of the agency as Congress intended.

    The folks over at the Department of Labor  (DOL) do not seem to comprehend that. Once again, a court has issued an injunction against a DOL regulation. This time it was President Obama's signature overtime rule, finalized on May 23, 2016, which would more than double the salary threshold for overtime eligible employees from $23,660 to $ $47,892.

    On November 22, 2016, Judge Amos Mazzant, Obama appointee Eastern Texas U.S. District Court, agreed with the argument of 21 state Attorneys General and issued a nationwide...

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