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OpenMarket: Regulatory Reform

  • Regulation of the Day: Clean Air in Columbus, OH

    June 16, 2009
    Today’s Regulation of the Day comes to us from the EPA. One would think that regulators, seeing heartening results, would pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Mission accomplished. One would be wrong. See page 27,973 of the 2009 Federal Register for details.
  • Obama’s Speech to AMA on Healthcare Misses the Point

    June 15, 2009
    In a speech before the American Medical Association on Monday, June 15, President Obama pitched his plan for heathcare reform. The main thrust of the speech was that his plan would be "deficit neutral" and would not interfere with people's existing healthcare arrangements, while expanding coverage and offering public alternatives to existing private systems. Underlying the Obama plan is the same hubris that underlies all schemes to take decisions out of the hands of everyday people and instead entrust them to central planners: the belief that the government knows what you need better than you do. Driving it is a belief that there is only one test of an equitable system: outcomes. "We need to give doctors bonuses for good health outcomes," said the President, "so that we are not promoting just more treatment, but better care." President Obama asserted several times in his speech that...
  • Senate Passes FDA Tobacco Regulation Bill; Obama Will Sign It

    June 11, 2009
    The Senate has just passed the FDA tobacco regulation bill by a 79-to-17 vote. The bill now goes to President Obama, who has said he will sign it. The bill has odd and counterproductive provisions. Curiously, the bill would deny companies' protection against "tort liability -- even if they rigorously follow every FDA rule." As I noted earlier, FDA regulation may actually undermine public health by making it harder to market to...
  • Barney Frank Asked about Executive Pay Curbs; Throws Tantrum

    June 11, 2009
    Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) appears to be working in tandem with the Obama administration on making executive pay subject to shareholder votes. That seems fair enough; shareholders deserve some say over companies in which they have a stake. However, as CNBC "Squawk on the Street" host Mark Haines noted in an interview wiht Rep. Frank this morning, the nature of such ownership complicates things. As Haines noted, many public company shares are in the hands of large institutions -- he mentioned mutual funds specifically -- not "mom and pop" owners saving for their retirement. Those funds invest their assets on behalf of somebody else, namely individual investors, who are removed from corporate shareholder decision making by virtue of going through sucn an intermediary. What was surprising to...
  • Steve Forbes celebrates CEI's 25th year

    June 11, 2009
    Steve Forbes in the Washington Times today has a very nice tribute to CEI on its 25th Anniversary.  Forbes points out some of CEI's significant achievements in pursuit of freedom and against expanding government and the real need for CEI and other free market groups to continue their strong defense of these principles. Here's his conclusion:
    Groups like CEI are a crucial voice for entrepreneurs and all people who want to pursue their own destiny in life. That must seem like a lonely struggle at times, when businesses actively seek favors from Washington and the people place false hopes in Big Government. Yet CEI remains hard at work, laying the groundwork for a free society. When faced with the choice between freedom and statism, I hope we will find CEI's call to freedom loud and...
  • FDA Poised to Regulate Tobacco, Which May Backfire

    June 10, 2009
    Congress is about to enact a bill to subject tobacco to FDA regulation. Mark Berlind notes one anomalous feature of the bill: it would deny companies' protection against "tort liability -- even if they rigorously follow every FDA rule." We wrote earlier about how FDA regulation might actually undermine public health by making it harder to market to smokers other tobacco products, like snus, that are not as lethal as cigarettes. As Jacob Sullum notes, the law will require snus "to carry a warning that it 'is...
  • Eleventh Circuit Grants Rehearing in Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Which Gutted Statutory Limits on Sexual Harassment Claims

    June 10, 2009
    Can you sue your employer because your co-workers listen to raunchy radio programs? A federal appeals court is reconsidering its 2008 ruling that you can. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide said you could do so, under the dubious theory that it is "sexual harassment" that's "based on" your sex. But on May 29, it voted to rehear that case. U.C.L.A. Law Professor Eugene Volokh criticized the decision on First Amendment grounds, while I criticized the April 2008 ruling as being...
  • Public Wants Wasteful Stimulus Package Canceled

    June 10, 2009
    By a margin of 45% to 36%, the American people want to cancel the $787 billion stimulus package, reports pollster Rasmussen Reports. Economist Lee Ohanian, a professor at UCLA, explains the failure of the stimulus package in "The $787 Billion Mistake." Economist Kevin Hasset describes how legislation backed by Obama would wipe out more jobs in "Obama Tells American Businesses to Drop Dead." Economist Arthur Laffer explains today how we face massive tax increases and...
  • Regulation of the Day: Saving the Children

    June 10, 2009
    On June 26, the National Commission on Children and Disasters is having a meeting. They will be talking about another meeting from the day before.
  • Supreme Court Vacates Stay Order in Chrysler Case, Refuses to Rule on Legal Challenges At This Time

    June 9, 2009
    The full Supreme Court just vacated the stay that Justice Ginsburg earlier entered that had temporarily blocked the government's plan for Chrysler. Why it did so is mysterious, since it noted that it was not ruling on the merits of the legal and constitutional challenges to the government's actions, and cautioned that "a denial of a stay is not a decision on the merits of the underlying legal issues." Justice Ginsburg yesterday granted a stay temporarily blocking the government's plan for Chrysler, which would give effectively give most of the company to the UAW union, while paving the way for a dubious merger with Fiat. The stay was...

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