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OpenMarket: Regulatory Reform

  • Zero-Based Governing and Improving the State of the Union

    February 24, 2009
    Removing burdensome regulations on small business hasn’t figured much into the economic recovery program thus far. Too bad. Alternatives to “spendulus” and the “Bailout to Nowhere” exist.  A “Liberate to Stimulate” campaign would include spending/tax reforms, “deregulatory stimulus,” infrastructure liberalization, financial sector reforms that shift risk back on the institutions rather than toward taxpayers, a "regulatory reduction commission" and much more. Starting from the basics--what exactly is it that limited government entails--can go a long way toward laying the right foundation for unimpeded economic recovery. Consider regulation of business in America today: We’ve all heard of the trillions of dollars in new government spending. But the compliance costs generated by thousands of regulations pouring forth from over 50 departments, agencies and commissions impose trillions...
  • SOTU Watch: Card Check

    February 24, 2009
    In President Obama's State of the Union speech tonight, one thing to watch for is mention of the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) -- or lack of the same. As news reports have noted, the Obama administration has put EFCA, also known as the card check bill, on the back burner in the face of the current economic crisis.  At the same time, some Congressional Democrats from swing districts and states now find themselves stuck in a hard place between EFCA's growing unpopularity and organized labor's aggressive stance in favor of it. Considering how much Democratic candidates rely on union support in elections, to incur union bosses' wrath by not supporting EFCA would be uncomfortable for them indeed. So...
  • More Behavorial Advertising Adventures

    February 24, 2009
    Back in January I wrote about several advertising industry trade associations coming together to impose self-regulation in an attempt to deter federal regulation of behavioral advertising under the Obama administration. I pointed out that the Federal Trade Commission had advised the advertising industry back in December 2007 that it were pushing the envelope on what the FTC considered to be reasonable behavioral advertising. It seems as though the industry may have viewed this as an idle threat under the Bush administration, but got wind that the new administration would be looking at the issue with renewed vigor. Last week, the FTC released its Staff Report on the issue entitled ...
  • Coming Soon: A Predatory, Anti-Business Federal Trade Commission?

    February 24, 2009
    Even an economy in shambles shall not sway the elevation to Federal Trade Commission chairmanship of Jon Leibowitz, an interventionist-minded commissioner who, like all planners, knows better than others how markets should be structured. In several important areas, his inclinations (judging from the cheers emanating from interest groups like PIRG and Center for Digital Democracy) lean toward substituting political "discipline" for what competitive markets offer. He supports "opt-in" with respect to behavioral advertising, which we've often described as not-necessarily good for a lot of reasons. We'll come back to this later. He supports antitrust intervention with respect to firms like Intel (and watch out, Google), and favors destructive "conditions" on mergers. Nineteenth-century, smokestack-era antitrust, rather than...
  • A Gamer Win For Parenting

    February 23, 2009
    If you've followed my posts here at or at my personal site, you're well aware of the fact that I have a soft place in my heart for jumping all over any attempts by government to regulate video game ratings or content.  I always emphasize that we already have a great system in place with the ESRB and that it should be up to parents to decide what is appropriate for their children. Parents should take advantage of parental controls on their kids' gaming systems to lock out games that have content unsuitable for children. That being said, I feel obliged to praise the story of an individual who has avoided simply taking a superficial glance at what his child is playing, and has instead taken an honest interest and engaged their child to broaden his horizons...
  • Top Ten Federal Rules to Jettison -- According to Small Businesses

    February 22, 2009
    The Small Business Administration's Regulatory Review and Reform initiative (r3) has a new compilation of rules that need reform, according to small businesses across America who were asked to submit comments. The unpopular regulations come from all across the federal government's swarm of agencies: IRS, Transportation, Labor, EPA. These are the kind of reforms that count as genuine stimulus,, and should be duplicated on a grand scale with a bipartisan "Regulatory Reduction Commission." In any event, the small-business "Top Ten" will be selected in the Spring. During this economic crisis, Congress and the President should relentlessly be asked: "What are you doing to reduce the cost of employing workers and of investing?"
  • More Grand Theft Common Sense

    February 20, 2009
    I used to think that the groups and individuals that sat around eagerly anticipating the launch of a new Grand Theft Auto (GTA) game were the fans.  I was wrong.  I am now positive the people salivating over these releases are those that intend to create an uproar over the games content and how it 'endangers our children.' Most recently to the forefront is media watchdog Common Sense Media.  The group that stated that HALO 3 was less violent than other first person shooters because, "there's something a bit less impactful about killing creatures that don't really exist."  Just a hint CSM, but the characters in GTA IV don't really exist either. CSM's recent...
  • The Auto Bailout We Need

    February 19, 2009
    The automakers have come back for more taxpayer money, which is exactly what we warned would happen when the first bailout was granted last year. The restructuring plans merely represent an attempt to acheive the results of bankruptcy, with the taxpayer picking up the costs. What is needed is not more taxpayer money, but a way to make US automakers competitive again. As I said in my recent Detroit News piece, we can do that through a simple, cost-free, program that will remove burdens Congress has unfairly placed on the US auto industry. These include: • Repeal federal fuel economy requirements. They restrict consumer choice by insisting that fuel...
  • UBS agrees to deal with the devil

    February 19, 2009
    I revoke my previous apology to the Swiss, and reiterate my previous disapproval.  As evidenced by the latest outcome in the U.S. tax case involving UBS, we have moved beyond troubling and into something much worse.
  • To Know Card Check is to Hate it

    February 19, 2009
    A recent survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted in January by the consultancy McLaughlin & Associates, finds an overwhelling majority opposed to the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), when they find out what the legislation actually entails.
    Three out of four voters (74%) oppose the "The Employee Free Choice Act”. It is interesting to note, union households also strongly oppose the Employee Free Choice Act, 74% oppose to only 20% support.... When given a more detailed description of the Employee Free Choice Act, nearly 9 out of 10 voters, 86%, feel the process should remain private and only 8% feel it should be public information. Again, even union workers feel strongly that the process should be kept private, as 88% said private and only 8% said public...


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