September 23, 2019
For all its flaws, the Export-Import Bank’s charter gets an important thing right: the agency must be reauthorized every few years, or it will close. This makes Ex-Im an important case study in institutional design. Its reauthorization requirement should be applied to nearly every government agency. Reauthorization offers regularly scheduled opportunities for Congress to enact possible reforms, or close an agency entirely. It also adds a level of democratic accountability to agencies that mostly lack it.
September 20, 2019
The Export-Import Bank’s charter is currently set to expire on September 30. If authorization lapses, the agency will shut down. On Thursday, the House passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through November 21—specifically including Ex-Im. The Senate will likely pass it next week. This means the Ex-Im fight could drag on for an additional seven weeks, and possibly longer.
September 19, 2019
Nobel laureate economist Ronald Coase wrote in his 1975 essay “Economists and Public Policy” that “An economist who, by his efforts, is able to postpone by a week a government program which wastes $100 million a year (which I would call a modest success) has, by his action, earned his salary for the whole of his life.” By Coase’s measure, the Ex-Im fight that began in 2014 was an enormous success, despite the coming reauthorization setback.
September 11, 2019
Earlier this year, the Trump administration issued an executive memorandum directing the Department of the Treasury to “develop a plan for administrative and legislative reforms” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) at the core of the 2008 housing crisis. Specifically, the memo emphasized that such proposed reforms should focus on “facilitating competition in the housing finance market.”
September 10, 2019
The Export-Import Bank is up for reauthorization by September 30. It should be shut down, as I’ve pointed out before, but reauthorization will almost certainly pass. Ex-Im was either shut down or sharply limited for nearly five years, from October 2014 until May of this year.
September 6, 2019
Our old friend (and former Competitive Enterprise Institute journalism fellow) Tim Carney is doing excellent work at the American Enterprise Institute these days, where he is shining a light on the huge costs and breathtaking unfairness of corrupt government handouts to private parties—what we call cronyism.
June 14, 2019
A recent survey conducted for the American Energy Alliance clearly shows that the public does not support congressional efforts to extend or expand federal tax credits for purchasers of electric vehicles. Current subsidies of up to $7500 are available only for the first 200,000 EVs sold by each automaker.
June 4, 2019
Last month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its rulemaking agenda for Spring 2019. While there weren’t too many surprises in the agenda, which mainly involved implementing statutory requirements or completing ongoing initiatives, there was one important new reform that jumped out: assessing the necessity of a provision known as the Qualified Mortgage “patch.”
May 31, 2019
Just when it seemed that reforming the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was becoming a “third rail” that politicians did not want to touch, Trump administration officials—from the president on down—are now making bold statements about curbing the powers of GSEs in the housing market and reducing their risk to taxpayers.
May 17, 2019
Last Thursday Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) teamed up to introduce a bill that only two democratic socialists could have dreamed up.