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OpenMarket: May 2019

  • Another Day, Another Blocked Pipeline into New York

    May 17, 2019
    The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on May 15th rejected a natural gas pipeline that would have brought supplies into the state via New York City. The Northeast Supply Enhancement Project would have taken the existing Transco pipeline, which begins in Texas and currently ends in New Jersey, and extend it the final 24 miles underwater to serve New York as well. The decision was taken even though evidence of shortages in and around New York City is already emerging and demand is expected to continue growing in the years ahead.  
  • Trump Mostly Removes Steel, Aluminum Tariffs against Mexico, Canada: Barriers Still Higher than in 2017

    May 17, 2019
    The Trump administration is mostly lifting its steel aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, effective 48 hours from today’s announcement. But metal tariffs will remain higher than they were just 14 months ago. They have raised consumer prices for cars, housing, and washing machines, while preventing passage of President Trump's signature revised NAFTA/USMCA trade agreement. Even now, passage is not guaranteed. 
  • VIDEO: Cheers to Food Truck Freedom

    May 17, 2019
    Congratulations to mobile food vendors Benny Diaz and Brian Peffer—and their attorneys at the Institute for Justice—for scoring a victory for freedom of food commerce in the Sunshine State. Thanks to an IJ legal challenge that began last year, it is now legal to operate a food truck in Fort Pierce, Florida.
  • Credit Card Interest Cap Would Create Consumer Credit Bread Lines

    May 17, 2019
    Last Thursday Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) teamed up to introduce a bill that only two democratic socialists could have dreamed up.
  • Alice Rivlin, 1931-2019

    May 17, 2019
    Some economists do more than teach classes and write books. Alice Rivlin, who passed away this week, was proof. She was the first director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), from 1975 to 1983, serving under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan. She helped develop many of the standards used for estimating how much legislation would cost if enacted. More importantly, she developed a reputation for keeping politicking out of the bill scoring.
  • New York Times Runs Stealth Anti-Vaping Ad as Op-ed

    May 16, 2019
    Readers of The New York Times deserve better than advertising masquerading as righteous opinion writing. While reporters at Times get credit for exploring and exposing conflicts of interest among its reporters or sources, their commitment to ethical journalism is not consistently applied. See the paper’s coverage of e-cigarette controversies.
  • Good and Bad of Government's Debt Collection Proposal

    May 16, 2019
    Earlier this month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a much-anticipated proposal to revamp the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a forty-two year old law regulating debt collection in the United States. Overall, the proposed rule is a mixed bag—some bad, some good. However, it is much better than what was expected out of the former Democratic administration, preventing much more sweeping changes.
  • White House Uses Discredited Complaints Tactic against Social Media Companies

    May 16, 2019
    My colleague Wayne Crews has already slammed the White House for a first step towards government regulation of online speech in its “tech bias” complaints portal. It is interesting that the administration has followed the model of the problematic Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in simply collecting complaints as proof of problems with the industry concerned.
  • Boeing Pushes 100 Percent Tariffs on Airbus

    May 15, 2019
    Boeing, fresh off a victory in restoring the Export-Import Bank’s full lending authority, is floating the idea of a 100 percent tariff on Airbus aircraft and parts. Airbus is Boeing’s largest competitor. There are four factors in play here. The first three are public relations, the opportunity costs of cronyism, and how best to pursue a level playing field in the global economy. The fourth is the likely retaliation such a move would spark.
  • Regulators Find Uber Drivers to Be Independent Contractors

    May 15, 2019
    Determining the proper legal worker classification for an individual has become an arduous task. A major reason for the difficulty is a patchwork of federal and state laws that define the term employee and therefore independent contractor differently. More than ten different tests are applied among federal agencies and courts for defining the term employee.

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