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  • Brother, Can You Spare Two Weeks?

    September 22, 2020
    Last year, California passed AB5, intended to go after rideshare companies Uber and Lyft. The law requires “gig economy” companies to classify all of their workers as employees. These restrictions went into place exactly as the COVID-19 outbreak hit. People found themselves stuck at home and in need of alternate, temporary means to earn money. What are typically called gig economy jobs.
  • Regulatory Waiver Clears the Sky for Private Partnership, Innovation, and Competition

    September 21, 2020
    Three months have passed since the FAA granted a special waiver to the drone delivery company Zipline International. Early last week, Walmart announced a partnership with Zipline to “launch a first-of-its-kind drone delivery operation in the U.S.” to distribute health and other wellness products. This innovation could have substantial health and economic benefits.  
  • This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

    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.
  • Government Is Asking if We Want Faster and More Effective Appliances. Say Yes!

    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.
  • Appointment of Climate Realist David Legates at NOAA Sparks Protest by Representatives Grijalva and Huffman

    September 18, 2020
    Two Democratic leaders of the House Natural Resources Committee are demanding that the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration explain why it hired a “climate denier” to be the new Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction. The alleged “denier” is David R. Legates, a climatologist and professor at the University of Delaware. According to Google Scholar, Legates has authored or co-authored 146 papers, which have been cited 12,755 times in the scientific literature. A question for the Reps. Grijalva and Huffman: How can one "deny" science, yet contribute so much to it? ​
  • Fuel Economy: DOJ Defends One National Program Rule

    September 18, 2020
    The Department of Justice last week filed its initial reply brief in Union of Concerned Scientists v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a case in which California and its allies are petitioning the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the One National Program Rule. That rule clarifies that federal law preempts state government greenhouse gas and zero emission vehicle standards. Today’s post—Part 1 of this series—summarizes and excerpts DOJ’s defense of NHTSA’s preemption of California’s CO2 tailpipe and zero-emission vehicle standards. 
  • 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.


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