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OpenMarket: September 2020

  • Trade News: WTO Rules China Tariffs Violate Rules, Aluminum Tariffs Dropped, No Trade Deal with EU

    September 16, 2020
    Usually policy-related news slows down near elections; nobody wants to rock the boat. This has not been the case with trade policy. Three important stories have emerged in the last day or so.
  • Trump’s Drug Price Controls are a Lousy Deal for Patients

    September 15, 2020
    Prescription drug prices are popular targets for lawmakers. Still, it came as a surprise when President Trump issued an executive order imposing price controls on pharmaceuticals purchased through Medicare. This administration has done an admirable job touting the benefits of slashing red tape. So, President Trump should know that price controls on prescription drug are likely to backfire.
  • Don’t Panic Over Ad Tech

    September 14, 2020
    The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an antitrust hearing on September 15 to examine Google’s 90 percent market share in online advertising. Senators who would normally support competition should remember that antitrust regulation is government regulation that replaces the judgment of the marketplace with the whims of government officials and courts.
  • This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

    September 14, 2020
    It was a four-day work week due to Labor Day. There were massive fires along the West coast, and Congress declined to pass a $500 billion spending bill because it was thought to be too small. Regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from domestic hemp production to Pyongyang flyovers.
  • Do We Want Corporations to Be Society’s Moral Referees?

    September 11, 2020
    The New York Times is observing the 50th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s famous article “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits” by inviting 22 experts to react via an online symposium. The diversity of criticism reinforces Friedman’s points that everyone wants corporations to do the “right” thing, but we no more agree on what is right in corporate life than we do in political life.
  • Senate Reaches Bipartisan Deal to Raise Air Conditioner Costs

    September 11, 2020
    Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee just agreed to a measure that would raise the cost of air conditioning. It is being done in the name of fighting climate change. To be specific, hydrofluorocarbons, a class of compounds used as refrigerants in most air conditioners as well as refrigerators, are being targeted as greenhouse gases.
  • Executive Order 13,891 Sub-Regulatory Guidance Document Portal Tops 70,000 Entries

    September 10, 2020
    Congress makes laws. Agencies make rules, but they also issue guidance documents. The year 2019 brought Executive Order 13891 (“Promoting the Rule of Law through Improved Agency Guidance Documents”) and a subsequent White House directive requiring federal agencies to create “a single, searchable, indexed database that contains or links to all guidance documents in effect.
  • Socialism, Nationalism, and Political Control: Iain Murray on The Remnant

    September 10, 2020
    My colleague Iain Murray had a fascinating conversation this week with The Remnant’s Jonah Goldberg about his excellent new book, The Socialist Temptation. One of the most interesting points they cover, which we generally take for granted in daily conversations about politics, is how socialism is really defined.
  • FDA Rules on E-cigarette Makers Go into Effect Today, to the Detriment of Public Health

    September 9, 2020
    As of September 9, all nicotine vapor manufacturers must submit an application to the FDA if they want to continue legally marketing their products. The requirement was spawned by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Though ostensibly intended to protect the public from new cigarettes, the TCA protects the existing cigarette cartel by preventing new competitors from entering the market.
  • No Market Failure, No New Regulations

    September 9, 2020
    The Senate is about to consider federally regulating transportation network companies for the first time. But proof of market failure should always be a prerequisite for imposing new regulationsThis bar is not met for the regulations proposed by Sami’s Law. Born out of a tragedy and good intentions, the law seeks to make mandatory what’s already happening in the marketplace.


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