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OpenMarket: October 2019

  • Are Hurricanes Becoming Blow-Hards?

    October 16, 2019
    Last month, as Tropical Storm Imelda slowly dissipated over south Texas, creating yet another Texas-sized flood, I read an article in Business Insider making the remarkable claim that “warming overall makes hurricanes more frequent and devastating than they would otherwise be.”
  • In Praise of Pro-Consumer Tenure of Finance Regulator Kraninger

    October 16, 2019
    As she prepares to give her semi-annual testimony to Congress this week—on Wednesday to the House Financial Services Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and on Thursday to the Senate Banking Committee—Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Kathy Kraninger has much to be proud of. Since the Senate confirmed her in December 2018, Kraninger has worked diligently to make the CFPB more transparent, more accountable, and ultimately more consumer-friendly.
  • CEI Leads Coalition Letter Supporting Airport Financing Reform

    October 16, 2019
    Today CEI led a coalition letter in support of H.R. 3791, the “Investing in America: Rebuilding America’s Airport Infrastructure Act,” the bipartisan airport financing reform legislation introduced by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).
  • Killing Us with Kindness: Democrats' War on Vaping Costs Lives

    October 15, 2019
    Liberals are supposed to the ones whose hearts “bleed” with concern for others’ welfare. That’s why modern liberals generally reject an abstinence-only approach to regulation. They recognize that policies aimed at reducing harm, like sex education, needle exchange programs, and addiction services, are beneficial to both individuals and society while prohibition merely creates injustice and suffering.
  • This Week in Ridiculous Regulations 

    October 15, 2019
    The latest Mad Libs-style political feud involves the NBA, the television cartoon South Park, and the Chinese government. President Trump also issued a pair of executive orders intended to rein in regulatory dark matter, and the 2019 Federal Register topped 55,000 pages. Rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from pedestrians and bicycle traffic to significant uses of fatty acids.
  • California Utility Cuts Power to Avoid Fires Caused by Downed Power Lines   

    October 11, 2019
    Pacific Gas and Electric has intentionally turned off electricity to up to two million people in parts of northern California for hours and days at a time this week. The purpose is to avoid the catastrophic fires caused when high, gusty winds knock down power lines and the sparks ignite tinder dry brush. There were a number of such fires last year; the worst was the “Camp Fire” in Butte County, which destroyed the town of Paradise, California, killed 85 people, and did an estimated $16.5 billion in damages.
  • President Trump Signs Executive Orders to Improve Use of Guidance Documents

    October 11, 2019
    President Donald J. Trump on October 9th signed two executive orders (EOs) intended to improve and limit the use of guidance documents. This is good, potentially great, news for individuals and small businesses that have not violated any laws or even any regulations, and yet have felt the heavy hand of the regulatory state.
  • 'Art of the Deal' Meets Renewable Fuel Standard

    October 11, 2019
    It’s the ultimate dealmaker versus the ultimate dealmaking challenge. President Trump has again sought changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that he hopes both supporters and critics of this program can live with. The previous reform effort granted ethanol producers and corn growers their request to raise the amount of ethanol allowed year-round in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent (E-15), while, on the other hand, giving the refining sector more exemptions for small facilities which serves to lower the overall RFS targets.   
  • More Shields and Fewer Swords in Realm of Federal Regulation

    October 11, 2019
    Yesterday the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) held a fascinating event on one of their marquee cases, Baldwin v. United States (read more in my post from last month—it’s the second of the four cases discussed). The case involves the Internal Revenue Service issuing a tax filing rule that conflicted both with legislation passed by Congress and with centuries-old common law practice.
  • Software Solutions for Regulatory Reform?

    October 8, 2019
    On Friday, the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State held a fascinating conference, “The Administration of Democracy,” which covered issues like campaign finance law, apportionment, and the president’s tax returns. The fourth panel of the day, “The Democracy of Administration,” featured a discussion of the public comment process on proposed regulations, now accessed by most people via the web portal regulations.gov.

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