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OpenMarket: November 2016

  • Reasons to be Thankful: The CFPB is Accountable

    November 23, 2016

    One thing that supporters of the rule of law should be thankful for this Thanksgiving is that last month a federal court made the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) accountable to the President.

    As I told the Heartland Institute’s Ben Johnson after the ruling:

    Accountability and separation of powers are two basic principles of the American republic. One major component of this is oversight by the elected branches: The president is accountable for the actions of executive agencies, and Congress can examine their activities and, if necessary, restrict their budget.

    The restoration of accountability to the CFPB...

  • O’Hare Workers to Strike for $15 Minimum Wage

    November 22, 2016

    For the 10 years or so that I lived in the Washington, D.C. area, I would fly back home to the Midwest every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was a fresh hell every time. Wonderful as it was to see family and friends, getting to them was brutal. Between security lines, crowds, and flights full of surly, harried passengers, the holidays have a way of making the miracle of human flight actually unpleasant. Labor unions see this as an opportunity to campaign for a minimum wage increase.

    About 500 workers at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, along with a local branch of the Service Employees International Union, have been pressing for a $15 minimum wage, and threatening to go on strike to press the point. They originally planned to do it during the Thanksgiving travel rush, one of the busiest travel periods of the year. But realizing that such timing might not exactly be good public...

  • Myron Ebell: Promoting sound policy for real environmental improvement

    November 22, 2016

    My love of nature began with a deep appreciation for the magnificent landscapes of the intermountain West. Growing up on a cattle ranch in eastern Oregon, I came to highly value people who are good environmental stewards and learned from experience that, typically, private landowners do a better job of taking care of what they own than the federal government does. Primarily, this is because federal land managers must work in a system that does not provide the incentives for responsible stewardship in the same way that private property does. And it’s with this understanding that I have dedicated my career to fighting for the best policies to promote energy affordability and protect both our environment and our climate.

    Spending more than two decades working on environmental and energy policy in Washington, I have been frustrated by the leadership of the modern environmental...

  • Clean Power Plan Is Dead

    November 22, 2016

    David Bookbinder, formerly chief climate counsel for the Sierra Club and now a consultant with the Niskanen Center, is one of the sharpest policy experts I know. Bookbinder was a lead attorney for environmental groups in Massachusetts v. EPA, the landmark case in which the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are air pollutants for regulatory purposes under the Clean Air Act.

    During the past two years, the Niskanen Center has warned there is no plausible scenario in which “conservative political force” rolls back the rising tide of...

  • What Regulators Want Off Your Thanksgiving Table

    November 22, 2016

    This week, families and friends across America will gather around their dinner tables to give thanks for the blessings of this past year. As Americans, we cherish this day of gratitude and celebration, as we fill our bellies with turkey, cranberry sauce, and sweet potato pie.

    By now, an image of Norman Rockwell’s famous Freedom from Want painting may come to mind. But some government officials and academic advocates want to limit your freedom to make dietary choices. This is evident by their efforts to ban, tax, label, or shame people into cutting nutrients like salt, fat, and sugar from their diets.

    As you admire your Thanksgiving feast spread, here are five traditional foods that bureaucrats want to take off the menu:

  • Coalition Submits Comments on Federal Automated Vehicles Policy

    November 22, 2016

    Today, CEI was joined by R Street Institute and TechFreedom in comments submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the recently released Federal Automated Vehicles Policy (FAVP) guidance document. CEI’s initial response to the FAVP can be found here. The comment letter is here.

    The guidance document sets forth best practices and discusses various issues related to deployment of vehicle automation systems. Much of the FAVP is either positive or benign. However, there are several troubling aspects and areas in need of clarification, which we address in detail. These include:

  • RealClear Radio Hour: Free Trade and Trade Finance

    November 21, 2016

    In this episode, we discuss the benefits of free trade and the prospects and opportunities for trade finance in emerging economies.

    I’m joined first by Daniel Griswold, Senior Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Program on the American Economy and Globalization at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Dan discusses the seemingly invisible benefits of free trade that bolster opportunities and businesses’ bottom line. He debunks common myths about the U.S. trade deficit, manufacturing decline, and the negative impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement and explains why the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a welcome 21st century agreement.

  • Another Court Ruling Confirms IRS Illegally Targeted Tea Party and Conservative Groups

    November 21, 2016

    Yet another judge has ruled against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over its targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups. USA Today reports that a federal judge found this month that there was “strong” evidence that the IRS “had discriminated against conservative groups because of their political stances.” Judge Michael R. Barrett wrote in his decision that the Texas Patriots Tea Party group had “made a strong showing of a likelihood of success” on its claim that its free speech rights were violated by the IRS’ lengthy delay in processing its application. “The evidence strongly suggests that the IRS initiated the delay” because the Texas group was affiliated with the tea party, the judge wrote.


  • This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

    November 18, 2016

    On November 17, the 2016 Federal Register set an all-time record page count—an impressive feat for a document that has been published continuously since 1936. The November 18 edition extended the record by 1,465 pages, and the next six weeks or so will only set the bar higher. Along the way, agencies passed rules ranging from compressors to radio spectrum.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 59 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 47 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 51 minutes.
    • With 3,304 final regulations published so far in 2016, the federal government is on pace to issue 3,721 regulations in 2016. Last year’s total was 3,406 regulations.
    • Last week, 3,724 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,357 pages the previous week...
  • Courts Reject Department of Labor Decrees

    November 17, 2016

    It has been a pretty tough month for the Department of Labor (DOL), and it may soon get worse. In the span of a couple weeks, two Obama administration decrees have been enjoined by U.S. Districts Courts. A third could be coming soon. Reports indicate that the United States District Court Eastern District of Texas will rule next week on whether to issue an emergency injunction against the DOL’s overtime rule.

    The first injunction issued this month was against DOL and Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council regulations that implemented an Obama executive order that would institute new reporting requirements on federal contractors, known as the “blacklisting rule.” The rules require contractors who bid on federal contracts in excess of $500,000 to report alleged and actual labor violations over the last three years. Reported violations of any of the 14 federal labor statutes may...


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