October 19, 2020
It was a four-day week due to Columbus Day or Indigenous People’s Day. Bad judgment by Twitter content moderators caused a bipartisan flash mob to demand that the government regulate political speech. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett had her confirmation hearings. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from real estate appraisals to Brazilian steel.
October 14, 2020
Forty years ago today, President Carter signed the Staggers Act, which deregulated the American freight rail industry. It allowed for increased investment and technological advancements instead of the continued decline of the rail industry. While it should serve as a model for future deregulation, special interests continue to call for reregulation. This would be a calamity for America.
October 13, 2020
It was another volatile pre-election week. A still-symptomatic President Trump returned to the White House from Walter Reed hospital during prime time. More key staffers tested positive for COVID-19. In the vice-presidential debate, a fly that landed in Vice President Pence’s hair stole the show. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from auxiliary poultry provisions to water cannons.
October 5, 2020
President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis marked the first of what will likely be many October surprises. Congress agreed on one spending bill to avoid another shutdown, but remains deadlocked on a separate COVID-related spending bill. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from TikTok to boat engines.
September 25, 2020
It is not enough to get rid of this or that harmful regulation. For the benefits to last, there must be system-level reform to the rulemaking process that keeps generating those rules. Institutions matter. One of the best of those institution-level reform ideas now has COVID-19-focused legislation at the ready: the independent regulatory reduction commission.
September 21, 2020
Scientists may have found potential chemical evidence of life on Venus—phosphine gas, which in Venusian conditions may well have been produced by anaerobic (non-oxygen-using) microbes. No life forms have been directly observed, and phosphine is also present in the atmospheres of lifeless Jupiter and Saturn, but that is still a pretty big deal. In more earthly realms, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from watermelon promotion to natural gas emissions.
September 18, 2020
For more than 50 years, Americans have used washing machines to clean their clothes and dryers to dry them. Manufacturers built highly effective products that did the job quickly so people had the time to do other things they valued more. Sadly, in the last few decades, the government has been slowly decreasing the energy such machines could use, causing them to take longer and clean less effectively. But the Department of Energy is proposing to solve this problem by once again allow manufacturers to produce machines that can clean clothes quickly and thoroughly and get them dried must faster.
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.
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.
September 8, 2020
COVID-19 deaths passed 200,000 in the United States. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing sparked a fresh Supreme Court battle. A grand jury declined to press murder charges against the Louisville police officers who killed Breonna Taylor. The 2020 Federal Register topped 60,000 pages. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from Cuban assets to shrimp trawlers.