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OpenMarket: August 2019

  • Leaked White House Executive Order on 'Censorship' Violates Two Basic Constitutional Tenets

    August 9, 2019
    Earlier this week it was reported that the Trump administration was drafting an executive order to combat perceived “censorship” of conservatives on online platforms such as Facebook and Google. Without details, the Competitive Enterprise Institute urged caution since the First Amendment does not empower government to police speech but rather restricts government from limiting or compelling speech.
  • Underfunded Public Pensions Put Future Taxpayers on the Hook

    August 9, 2019
    One of the most well-known and enduring lessons of public choice economics is the dynamic of concentrated benefits and diffuse costs. Well-organized groups have both the incentive and ability to lobby government for benefits for themselves, paid for by taxpayers at large, who lack organization and whose individual payouts toward said benefits aren’t large enough to prompt them to expend much effort opposing this arrangement.
  • VIDEO: Where the Regulatory State Came From

    August 9, 2019
    Our friends at the Pacific Legal Foundation have a funny and insightful explainer video on the historical development of the regulatory state (also known as the “administrative state”), and how the power of administrative agencies threaten our constitutional rights.
  • Limits of 'Soft Law' Approach to Tech Regulation

    August 9, 2019
    Can the regulation of new technology be voluntary and non-coercive? In a recent op-ed for The Hill, Mercatus Center law and technology analyst Jennifer Huddleston argues that manifestations of “soft law” can be superior to the hard requirements of statutes and binding federal regulations.
  • Evils of 'Craving Engineering'

    August 7, 2019
    America is a decidedly liberal (in the sense of being tolerant) nation comprised of people with different­—often competing­—worldviews. As a culture, we value the ability to determine for ourselves what makes for a good life more than assurances that the life we choose to lead is, in fact, good. This unwavering American individualism is why we tend to reject overt attempts to control or restrain our choices.
  • The Millionaires and Billionaires of Environmental Politics

    August 7, 2019
    There’s a story that’s told in newspapers, on news networks, and in the buzzing of Twitter. In this story, there’s a clear good guy, a heroic underdog fighting the good fight, and a clear villain cackling in a corporate boardroom. This is a tale of grassroots environmentalists, banding together to solve the so-called climate emergency and financing their campaigns from small dollar donors impressed by and invested in the cause that these organizations are supporting.
  • Nipping at Big Tech's Heels: Competition in Social Media

    August 7, 2019
    There has much bemoaning and hand-wringing by members of Congress on the alleged dangers of social media.
  • Response to State Lawsuit against T-Mobile/Sprint: Mergers Signal Dynamic Markets

    August 6, 2019
    The end of the first blog post in this series warned that the real result of a successful lawsuit to block the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile would not be a market with four large wireless competitors, but rather one without Sprint or T-Mobile at all. This is because mergers signal a dynamic marketplace that is highly competitive.
  • Guidance Documents of the Week: Agriculture, Housing, Management

    August 6, 2019
    Guidance documents are statements of policy issued by your favorite alphabet soup of agencies, which more often than not translate into law, despite rarely going through the notice-and-public comment period required of most regulations. Wayne Crews’ study “A Partial Eclipse of the Administrative State” puts the number of guidance documents—just one form of “regulatory dark matter”—at more than 13,000 over the period 2008-2017.
  • Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Except Those with Eating Disorders)

    August 6, 2019
    The goal of the government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans is to provide simple advice that promotes nutritional health, but for millions of Americans it may do exactly the opposite. The recommendations, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), may appear harmless. There remains, however, little evidence that the Guidelines have helped reduce obesity in America and some evidence that it may actually have made it worse.

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