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OpenMarket: January 2020

  • Warmest Decade - Climate Crisis Still a No Show

    January 17, 2020
    Is there good reason to believe climate change a “crisis” endangering the survival of civilization and the habitability of the Earth? No. If climate change were a bona fide “existential threat,” we would see some evidence of it in major metrics of human well-being. We don’t.
  • CDC Confirms Black Markets, not "Vaping," Caused Outbreak

    January 16, 2020
    A new CDC report puts the final nail in the coffin of the idea that the spat of lung injuries that occurred beginning last summer were caused by “vaping.” The CDC admitted this week that the injuries appear to be exclusively linked to marijuana vapes—not nicotine e-cigarettes, most of which were purchased on the black market, a fact that CEI knew nearly six months ago. 
  • Senate Passes USMCA, Sets Bad Precedent for Future Agreements with China, UK, EU

    January 16, 2020
    The USMCA trade agreement passed the Senate today. USMCA is valuable damage control. Three years of unpredictable tariff increases, threats of increases, and diplomatic tensions will hopefully have more stability going forward. Unfortunately, USMCA is filled with trade-unrelated provisions and giveaways to business, labor, and environmental interests. Trade agreements should stick to trade issues.
  • Phase One Trade Agreement with China: Tariff Stability, at the Cost of Managed Trade

    January 15, 2020
    Phase One of a trade deal with China has enormous value as damage control against further tariffs, but it comes at a cost. The Trump administration has more than doubled total U.S. tariffs in its first three years, and other countries, including China, have responded in kind. Phase One’s signing hopefully marks an end to a tariff-first trade policy and its unpredictable implementation. But a ceasefire is not a victory. Massive tariffs put in place less than two years ago will remain in place, and risk becoming normalized.
  • New Mexico Taxpayers Foot the Bill for Union Business

    January 15, 2020
    Under the practice known as union release time, public employees are allowed to conduct union business during work hours at taxpayer expense.
  • Despite Naysayers, Consumer Finance Panelists are Uniquely Qualified to Tackle Barriers to Financial Inclusion

    January 14, 2020
    Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection announced the membership of the newly created Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law, which will work to “harmonize and modernize federal consumer financial laws” and report to the CFPB director with its recommendations on how to improve and strengthen the legal and regulatory regime around consumer finance.
  • Minimum Wages Rise Across the Country

    January 13, 2020
    Twenty four states rang in 2020 with minimum wage increases. Most of the increases are modest, so the tradeoffs will be, too. But there was curiously little discussion of those tradeoffs. The more than 50 increases that have just taken effect are all at the state and local level, but minimum wages will almost certainly be a significant campaign issue in 2020. Regardless of November’s election results, next year’s incoming Congress will likely attempt another increase next year.
  • This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

    January 13, 2020
    The new year started off with a literal bang, though as of this writing the worst Iran scenario seems to have been avoided. The Senate is poised to move on its two biggest items, impeachment and the USMCA trade agreement, though the timelines for both are uncertain. On the regulatory front, the 2020 Federal Register took just five working days to exceed 1,000 pages. New final regulations for the week range from air compressors to beef promotion.
  • EIA Projects Renewables Will be “Most Used” Energy Source in 2050—but …

    January 13, 2020
    “With the rapid growth of electricity generation, renewables—including solar, wind, and hydroelectric power—are the fastest-growing energy source between 2018 and 2050, surpassing petroleum and other liquids to become the most used energy source in the Reference case,” the U.S. Energy Information Administration concludes in its newly released International Energy Outlook 2019. So, does that mean the world is rapidly phasing out fossil fuels? No.
  • Trump Administration Rewrites the Rules for the National Environmental Policy Act

    January 13, 2020
    President Trump on January 9 rolled out new rules to implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 (NEPA). NEPA was enacted in 1970, and the current implementing rules were adopted in 1978. Since then, NEPA has become the preferred method for delaying major infrastructure and natural resource projects to death, both in the time it takes to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the time it takes to dispose of multiple lawsuits.

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