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OpenMarket: September 2019

  • This Week in Ridiculous Regulations   

    September 30, 2019
    Congress is out of session for the next two weeks, and the impeachment investigation will likely dominate headlines for some time to come. Meanwhile, the 2019 Federal Register topped 50,000 pages and rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from toll-free numbers to voluntary rabbit grading.
  • Environmental Protection Agency to California: Clean up Your Act

    September 27, 2019
    In two separate actions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week put California on notice that the state is violating federal air and water quality standards, and must clean up its act.
  • VIDEO: Life Is Getting Better

    September 27, 2019
    Despite prominent headlines to the contrary, the world is not actually falling apart. As our friends at places like Human Progress tirelessly work to remind us, global trends on everything from war and famine to longevity and literacy are looking good.
  • New Civil Liberties Alliance Fighting for Constitutional Limits on Government Power

    September 26, 2019
    Thanks to the New Civil Liberties Alliance for hosting a great event this week, during which their staff attorneys recounted the status of some of the biggest cases in which they’re currently involved. By a happy coincidence, the legal advocacy group is also celebrating its second birthday this month. See the summaries and links below for information on four important and timely cases that could re-draw the boundaries of federal authority in the United States.
  • Federal Highway Administration to Rescind Outdated Patent Rules

    September 26, 2019
    The Federal Highway Administration announced it will rescind its World War I-era regulation governing the use of patented and proprietary materials in federal-aid highway projects. We are glad FHWA agreed with us and other commenters urging for a clean rescission of this obsolete regulation. Going forward, we expect state departments of transportation to be better positioned in modernizing their highways for a 21st century of self-driving cars and other novel beneficial road transportation technologies currently under development.
  • Like Socialism, Financial Transaction Tax Doomed to Fail

    September 24, 2019
    In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith coins the four maxims of taxation: fairness, certainty, convenience, and efficiency. Smith’s maxims are used as a litmus test amongst public finance economists when determining if a tax is “good” or “bad.” In the case of a financial transaction tax (FTT), such a notion is neither fair, certain, convenient, nor efficient—and therefore, bad public policy.
  • Feds: Gambling Fine, But Investing Too Risky

    September 24, 2019
    “In the risk reform debate, as in so many political debates, logic is often for losers.” So lamented Competitive Enterprise Institute founder and president emeritus Fred L. Smith, Jr. in 1995, and he has expressed similar sentiments many times since.
  • Antitrust Astroturf Activism

    September 24, 2019
    Not too long ago, I pointed out that antitrust regulation is often gamed by special interests and rent-seekers. A recent story in The Wall Street Journal gives a fresh example. A group called the Free and Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) has been advocating for antitrust actions against Amazon. Unsurprisingly, some of its funders are Amazon’s competitors.
  • Protect Consumers, But Let Debt Collectors Do Their Jobs

    September 23, 2019
    Debt collector seem to be the occupation everyone loves to hate, but without them businesses large and small—from banks to gyms to doctor’s offices—could not serve their customers with the assurance that their contracts would be enforced. That’s why the Competitive Enterprise Institute has again weighed in with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), calling for debt collection rules that protect consumers from fraud and harassment, but don’t hinder debt collectors’ crucial function in keeping the credit market flowing.
  • Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization: Lesson in Institutional Design

    September 23, 2019
    For all its flaws, the Export-Import Bank’s charter gets an important thing right: the agency must be reauthorized every few years, or it will close. This makes Ex-Im an important case study in institutional design. Its reauthorization requirement should be applied to nearly every government agency. Reauthorization offers regularly scheduled opportunities for Congress to enact possible reforms, or close an agency entirely. It also adds a level of democratic accountability to agencies that mostly lack it.

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