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OpenMarket: September 2018

  • Five Western States Will Vote on Energy Questions on November Ballots

    September 30, 2018

    Five western states have initiatives or referendums on energy issues. They include increasing renewable energy mandates, instituting a carbon tax, restricting oil and gas production, and repealing a gas tax increase. Here is a brief summary of each with links to recent news stories.

  • Trump Auto Rule: Washington Post's Non-Shocking Non-Discovery

    September 28, 2018

    Today in the Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis, and Chris Mooney bash the Trump Administration’s SAFE Vehicles Rule, a proposal to freeze new motor vehicle fuel economy standards at the 2020 levels through 2026. Eilperin, Dennis, and Mooney (EDM) claim, or rather insinuate through the mouths of others, that the SAFE rule is a plan to doom humanity to a future of planetary ruin.

  • VIDEO: 'Gov' Is Back and He's Here to Help

    September 28, 2018

    Our creative friends at the Independent Institute in California are back with an entertaining new video series that pokes fun at some of the blundering missteps of big government. Back in 2015 Independent launched “Love Gov,” a narrative series in which apparently well-meaning character Scott “Gov” Govinsky tries to help out college-aged friend Alexis, albeit with disastrous consequences. With Gov as an allegory for meddlesome interventionism, the original series dramatized problematic government policies having to with education, healthcare, consumer debt, and housing. The second season, Love Gov2, has now hit the Internet.

  • Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Trade?

    September 27, 2018

    A common argument for free trade is that fewer trade barriers mean more trade. That argument is mostly true—there are a lot of deals people want to make but don’t, because trade barriers make them too expensive to be worthwhile. But there is more to the story.

  • A New Front in the Trade War: Overseas Private Investment

    September 26, 2018

    Tariffs get most of the press in today’s trade debate, and for good reason. Tariff rates under Trump have roughly doubled in less than two years, and more might be on the way. But tariffs are not the only way government tries to manage trade. Another is in finance. In particular, an agency called the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, or OPIC, might be doubling in size shortly, to a total portfolio size of $60 billion.

  • National Labor Relations Board Responds to Democrats' Invented Ethics Concerns

    September 25, 2018

    On September 17, Sen. Warren sent a letter to the NLRB warning that it must “fully comply with federal ethics regulations during reconsideration” of whether employees may use an employer’s email system for union organizing purposes. Her letter calls for the recusal of Republican Board member William Emanuel in the case Rio All-Suites Hotel. But Sen. Warren’s analysis of the ethics standard shows either a misunderstanding of the rules or is an attempt to obstruct the NLRB from taking legitimate action.

  • This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

    September 24, 2018

    Hurricane Florence, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault allegation, and a ten percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods dominated the news. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new rules ranging from LED lamps to diabetic truckers.

  • Tariffs and Opportunity Costs

    September 21, 2018

    Today’s unsubtle trade debate largely ignores a subtle, but vitally important concept: opportunity costs. Direct harms from tariffs are easy enough to point out. Steel and aluminum tariffs mean new buildings and cars cost more now, for example. But opportunity costs are more abstract. The economist Frederic Bastiat famously called them “the unseen.”

  • 'Energy Independence' Hawks Caricature Trump Auto Rule

    September 21, 2018

    Securing America’s Energy Future (SAFE), a pro-regulatory “energy independence” advocacy group, this week released “The Military Cost of Defending Global Oil Supplies.” The report is intended to persuade the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to finalize tougher fuel economy standards than the agencies are proposing.

  • Making a Living with Free Speech

    September 21, 2018

    Free speech protections in the United States are pretty far reaching, including protections for commercial free speech and occupational free speech. If you make your living by giving tours or lecturing students or instructing trainees, the First Amendment still applies. Unfortunately, many states encroach on that freedom of expression when it comes to occupational licensing. The Institute for Justice is currently representing Jon and Tracy McGlothian of Virginia, who are challenging their state’s requirements that they be licensed and otherwise regulated for operating a vocational training business.

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