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  • A Partial Inventory of Federal Agency Guidance Documents Before Trump’s Official Compendium Comes Due

    February 14, 2020
    Reporting on "regulatory dark matter" is still falling short.
  • VIDEO: Assessing Frédéric Bastiat’s Legacy

    February 14, 2020
    A new a three-part video series from the American Institute for Economic Research on Frédéric Bastiat's life and legacy is an excellent introduction to the famous Frenchman’s thought.
  • Study Finds Strong Acceleration in Ocean Circulation

    February 14, 2020
    As part of its “Climate in Crisis” series, NBC News on February 11 reported the results of a new study on “the undersea conveyor belts that help regulate Earth’s climate and influence weather systems around the world.” To quote the headline: “Climate change models predicted ocean currents would speed up—but not this soon.” Yet, in the mid-2000s, many inferred planetary peril from an apparent slowdown in the North Atlantic conveyor belt.
  • New Poll Holds Some Surprises on Demographics and Politics in U.S.

    February 13, 2020
    Gallup has released a new poll about what kind of people Americans would be willing to support for president.
  • The Spectrum Case against AB5

    February 13, 2020
    California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) is intended to classify more independent contractors as formal employees. The goal is for workers to get higher wages and benefits, but thousands of workers are losing their jobs in other fields from journalism to entertainment to business consultants. Part of AB5’s problem is that it treats workers as either contractors or formal employees, but that is not an either/or question. The labor market is a wide-ranging spectrum, not a simple binary.
  • Democratic Witnesses Oppose Interest Rate Cap

    February 13, 2020
    American Banker ran a piece last week on a proposed law to impose an interest rate cap on small-dollar loans. While the hearing revealed the inner-party conflict over the legislation, the divide was further demonstrated by Democratic witnesses who contradicted their written testimony in support of a rate cap by seeming to question the merits of such a measure.
  • Antitrust Enforcement in 4-D

    February 13, 2020
    Competition is an ongoing discovery process. The reason firms exist is not to enable or restrict competition. It is to reduce transaction costs. There is no magic number of firms that accomplishes that goal.
  • Trump Wants Less Federal Meddling in Home Energy Use, but Some in Congress Want More

    February 13, 2020
    Federal energy efficiency standards have a long history of unintended adverse consequences, from more expensive light bulbs with questionable light quality to dishwashers that take hours to finish a load. Putting the federal government in charge of residential building codes would give us more of the same.
  • HHS Price Disclosure Rule Will Not Make Medicines More Affordable

    February 12, 2020
    In his State of the Union Address, President Trump renewed his commitment to “lower[ing] the cost of health care and prescription drugs” and “requir[ing] drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs way down.” His administration’s plan to lower pharmaceutical prices by tying them to foreign countries’ price controls has attracted significant criticism. Unfortunately, while more transparency in health care pricing would be beneficial, the price disclosure mandate Trump wants would do nothing to help consumers and would have no effect on price competition. It’s also unconstitutional.
  • Interest Rate Caps Harm Financial Inclusion; Bank Partnerships Spread Inclusion Around

    February 12, 2020
    The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing last week on small-dollar lending and proposed legislation that would limit the interest rates on such loans. Many lawmakers are concerned that “payday and car-title loans can be harmful to consumers.” While it’s good to focus on improving the lives of financially strapped consumers, much of the hearing ignored basic economics and how the proposed interest rate caps would further harm poor consumers by likely shutting them out of access to legal credit entirely.

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