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  • Costs of Government Steering by Direct Ownership or Control of Resources

    October 3, 2019
    If one thinks government ought to run a sector of the economy (single-payer health care, education, retirement, energy), then almost by definition that individual would not be inclined toward acknowledging regulatory costs of lesser interventions. The benefits will always exceed the costs in that mindset.
  • Vast Regulatory Costs of Top-Down National Plans, Agendas, and Legislative Schemes

    October 2, 2019
    If government steers in some societal, industrial, or sector-specific endeavor via top-down national plans, agendas, or legislative schemes, it can generate ongoing regulatory costs even without further legislation and rules. Not infrequently, extraordinarily consequential policy choices can eclipse the handful of official regulatory cost estimates that policymakers typically regard as illustrative of government intervention.
  • Priorities for Department of Labor's New Secretary

    October 2, 2019
    On September 30th, Eugene Scalia was sworn in as the 28th Secretary of Labor. Last week, the Senate confirmed Scalia on a 53-44 vote. With about 15 months left in President Trump’s term, here are few actions the Labor Department can take to increase union financial transparency, cut down on federal construction costs, and study the impact of wage and hour laws.
  • New Study: Minimum Wages Have Tradeoffs

    October 2, 2019
    Congress nearly increased the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour this year. Though the Raise the Wage Act is unlikely to pass the Senate, 29 states and numerous local governments have passed their own increases. Moreover, the next session of Congress will almost certainly reintroduce the bill. This issue will be alive for a long time to come. Though some workers would benefit from a higher minimum wage, this would only be at other workers’ expense. As I argue in a new paper, minimum wages have tradeoffs.
  • This Week in Ridiculous Regulations   

    September 30, 2019
    Congress is out of session for the next two weeks, and the impeachment investigation will likely dominate headlines for some time to come. Meanwhile, the 2019 Federal Register topped 50,000 pages and rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from toll-free numbers to voluntary rabbit grading.
  • Environmental Protection Agency to California: Clean up Your Act

    September 27, 2019
    In two separate actions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week put California on notice that the state is violating federal air and water quality standards, and must clean up its act.
  • VIDEO: Life Is Getting Better

    September 27, 2019
    Despite prominent headlines to the contrary, the world is not actually falling apart. As our friends at places like Human Progress tirelessly work to remind us, global trends on everything from war and famine to longevity and literacy are looking good.
  • New Civil Liberties Alliance Fighting for Constitutional Limits on Government Power

    September 26, 2019
    Thanks to the New Civil Liberties Alliance for hosting a great event this week, during which their staff attorneys recounted the status of some of the biggest cases in which they’re currently involved. By a happy coincidence, the legal advocacy group is also celebrating its second birthday this month. See the summaries and links below for information on four important and timely cases that could re-draw the boundaries of federal authority in the United States.
  • Federal Highway Administration to Rescind Outdated Patent Rules

    September 26, 2019
    The Federal Highway Administration announced it will rescind its World War I-era regulation governing the use of patented and proprietary materials in federal-aid highway projects. We are glad FHWA agreed with us and other commenters urging for a clean rescission of this obsolete regulation. Going forward, we expect state departments of transportation to be better positioned in modernizing their highways for a 21st century of self-driving cars and other novel beneficial road transportation technologies currently under development.
  • Like Socialism, Financial Transaction Tax Doomed to Fail

    September 24, 2019
    In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith coins the four maxims of taxation: fairness, certainty, convenience, and efficiency. Smith’s maxims are used as a litmus test amongst public finance economists when determining if a tax is “good” or “bad.” In the case of a financial transaction tax (FTT), such a notion is neither fair, certain, convenient, nor efficient—and therefore, bad public policy.

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