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OpenMarket: August 2017

  • Texas Court Strikes Down Costly Obama Overtime Rule

    August 31, 2017

    Today, the Eastern Texas District Court struck down the Obama administration’s misguided overtime rule. This is a crucial victory for the rule of law and the disparately impacted entities like small businesses, non-profit organizations, universities, and local governments, which could ill afford the higher labor costs caused by the rule.

    The Obama administration’s goal in raising the salary threshold so high—from a little over $23,000 to above $47,000—was to make as many employees as possible overtime eligible, despite what job functions they perform. As stated in the final rule, the agency...

  • Subsidy Forces Florida Taxpayers to Pay for Union Work

    August 31, 2017

    Most hardworking Americans would be shocked to learn that public employees at all levels of government—federal, state, and local—conduct union business that is totally unrelated to their civic duties, on the taxpayers’ dime.

    The cost of this wasteful practice, known as union release time, is largest at the federal level. In 2014, the latest data available, release time cost, at minimum, $162.5 million with federal employees spending over 3 million hours performing union business.

    But that does not mean the money and time wasted at the state and local level is trivial. In a report released today by the James...

  • Happy 25th to the State Policy Network

    August 30, 2017

    The State Policy Network is an impressive organization that helps improve the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations and nonprofit leaders at the state level across the country.

    This week SPN is having its Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas and...

  • Why Economic Freedom Is the Best Weapon against Poverty

    August 29, 2017

    This blog post is adapted from a speech delivered to the Foreign Service Institute at the United States Department of State on August 29, 2017.

    Over the past few decades, the world has seen one of the most incredible reductions of poverty ever recorded. Hundreds of millions of people who previously lived in dire poverty have emerged to grow into a powerful global middle class.

    This unprecedented rise is one of the most exciting developments in human history, yet it comes as no coincidence. It has overwhelmingly been the result of a shift to a more free and open global market economy—a shift to embrace greater economic freedom. Understanding just what economic freedom entails for developing nations is therefore one of the most important tasks of the 21st century.

    What is Economic Freedom?

    Economic freedom enshrines...

  • Conservative Air Traffic Control Reform Opponents Continue Campaign of Falsehoods

    August 28, 2017

    Recently, I noted how corporate jet lobby National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) had attempted to trot out “Hero of the Hudson” Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger as a supposed expert opposed to air traffic control reform. In advertisements for NBAA front group Alliance for Aviation Across America, Sully at most demonstrated he has not read the reform legislation. NBAA opposes all reform efforts that would reduce the large subsidies corporate jets currently receive under status quo aviation taxation—subsidies that are paid by commercial airline customers.

    Over the last year, I’ve also debunked a series of false claims about the reform proposal from a small number of conservative opponents (see...

  • Applying Big Data Techniques, New Study Finds Most Recent Warming Could Be Natural

    August 26, 2017

    John Abbot and Jennifer Marohasy have published a study in GeoResJ titled, “The application of machine learning for evaluating anthropogenic versus natural climate change.” The study, which is available here and in pdf form...
  • New Film 'Food Evolution' Confronts Confusion on GMO Crops

    August 25, 2017

    “The survival of our species has always depended on advances in agriculture.” So begins the narration for Food Evolution, a new documentary about genetically modified foods and the high-stakes global controversy over their use.

    Astrophysicist and popular science educator Neil deGrasse Tyson provides the soothing, even-handed voice that takes viewers from a plant genetics lab in the United States to a banana farm in Uganda, showing viewers how genetic modification works and the very real problems around the world it is helping to solve. 

  • Smart Move to Repeal Department of Interior 'Valuation Rule' on Minerals

    August 24, 2017

    On August 7, the Department of Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) repealed the Obama administration’s minerals Valuation Rule. The Obama rule revised longstanding regulations governing how...
  • President's Summer Policy Update

    August 24, 2017

    CEI President Kent Lassman recently wrote to supporters with an update on CEI's policy work and media coverage. The post below is adapted from that letter. An earlier post covered...
  • NYT Pesticide Exposé Only Exposes Foolish Reporting

    August 23, 2017

    Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency rejected a petition from two environmental activist groups to ban the longtime, widely-used pesticide chlorpyrifos. Last week, the New York Times published...

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