You are here

OpenMarket

  • Presidential Candidate, Poker Celebs Oppose Internet Gambling Ban

    April 21, 2015 9:22 AM

    What do two-time world poker champ Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson, presidential-hopeful Rand Paul, and Fraternal Order of Police President Chuck Canterbury have in common? They’ve all come out against the so-called Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), which would create a national prohibition on Internet gambling.

    They are just three of the thousands of Americans who oppose a law that was written by and for the benefit of one casino owner: Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson. RAWA is not only a threat to those who want the freedom to gamble online, but also to those who value personal liberty, consumer protections, and a limited federal government.

    A two-time World Series of Poker champ, an inductee to the Poker Hall of Fame, and author of the poker bible, Texas Dolly is without question the most famous professional poker player alive. He regularly tweets using his handle @TexDolly, and on April 2, he posted a tweet to his 415,000 followers, requesting signatures for the White House petition, asking President Obama to veto RAWA should it land on his desk (add your signature here).

  • New Study Makes the Case for Ending the Export-Import Bank

    April 20, 2015 1:01 PM

    The Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank is making quite the ruckus in Washington these days. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has dubbed the state-run bank “controversial.” House Republicans seem divided on the issue. Indeed, this lesser-known bank will likely surface in the coming months as a topic of debate for presidential hopefuls. Some have called it “crony capitalism,” while others maintain the bank is useful to small businesses nationwide. 

    A new study by Mercatus Center scholar Veronique de Rugy and Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Diane Katz sheds light on the issue. They find that the Export-Import Bank dedicates around 80 percent of its financing to large firms while only 20 percent goes to small firms. So what is the claim that Ex-Im benefits small business based on?

    The bank determines a firm to be “small” when it employs up to 1,500 workers and makes up to $21.5 million in revenue annually—a definition of “small” business that includes firms owned by Warren Buffet and Carlos Slim, as well as companies like Swarovski jewelers, Toshiba, and Hitachi. Indeed, the bank doles out lavish sums of money to domestic and international giants like Boeing, Caterpillar, and Halliburton. It also benefits foreign firms—including oil giants like Mexico’s Pemex and India’s Reliance Industries and airlines like the UAE’s Emirates and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific.

  • New York Times Clings to Discredited Legal Myths about Corporate Personhood

    April 20, 2015 9:51 AM

    Progressivism is essentially a religion based on a set of shared myths and boogeymen. True believers cling to those myths no matter how many times they are debunked by economists, legal historians, or other experts. These shared myths create a sense of belonging and moral superiority to others who don’t share those beliefs.

    A classic example of this is the myth that the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision created the concept of corporate personhood, giving corporations constitutional rights for the first time. In reality, corporate constitutional rights were recognized by 1819, if not earlier. Yet, progressive op-ed writers repeat this myth even after its fallaciousness has been pointed out over and over again in their own newspapers, by experts who know more about law and history than they do.

  • CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    April 20, 2015 7:24 AM

    The Federal Register passed the 20,000-page mark in a big way, with Thursday and Friday’s editions alone accounting for more 1,200 pages. New regulations cover everything from macadamia insurance to net neutrality.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 57 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 39 new regulations the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 57 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 850 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 2,872 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total.
    • Last week, 2,127 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,120 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 21,533 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 72,747 pages.
    • Rules are called “economically significant” if they are estimated to have annual costs of $100 million or more. Six such rules have been published so far this year, none in the past week.
    • The total estimated compliance cost of 2015’s economically significant regulations ranges from $693 million to $746 million for the current year.
    • 73 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
    • So far in 2015, 159 new rules affect small businesses, while 25 of them are classified as significant. 

    Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

  • No Bailouts for Taxi Cab Moguls

    April 17, 2015 12:53 PM

    A recent New York Times article highlights the plight of one plucky New York taxi mogul caught between flawed governmental policy and the process of creative destruction. Evgeny Friedman is asking the city government to bail out his troubled cabbie business after he was unable to make good on loans he took out in order to pay for the sky-high price of dozens of New York City taxi medallions. 

    In New York, the issuance of a taxi medallion is analogous to owning a “deed” to a taxi.  In order to operate a taxi, you must possess or work for someone who possesses one of these medallions, the supply of which is capped at about 6,000. Unsurprisingly, as both the population and demand for taxi services have increased over the years, the price of these medallions has skyrocketed, reaching a peak in 2013 of $1.2 million. Under this scheme, the cost of owning and operating one taxi in the Big Apple is about the same as buying three new 2015 Rolls Royce Phantoms.

  • Dr. Oz Rebuked by Medical Professionals

    April 17, 2015 11:36 AM

    For a long time, TV personally and Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz has gotten little criticism for his sensationalist and often junk science-laden advice. Finally, members of Congress from both parties called him to the table—asking him to appear at congressional hearings related to fraudulent claims about dietary supplements and other products. A largely unapologetic Oz said ,“I actually do personally believe in the items I talk about on the show. … I recognize they don’t have the scientific muster to present as fact but nevertheless I would give my audience the advice I give my family all the time, and I have given my family these products.”

  • Export-Import Bank Update

    April 16, 2015 6:00 AM

    Things have been busy on the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank front. For those not in the know, the Ex-Im Bank makes loans and guarantees loans for U.S. exporters, as well as their foreign customers. For example, if a foreign airline wants to buy a new plane, Ex-Im will arrange favorable financing terms if it buys that plane from U.S.-based Boeing.

    Ex-Im’s critics argue that the bank is a corporate welfare program, and is vulnerable to favoritism and corruption. I compiled several reasons to oppose Ex-Im in this paper. Ex-Im’s defenders counter that Ex-Im is necessary to increase U.S. exports and support American jobs, though buying that argument requires ignoring that 98 percent of U.S. exports happen without Ex-Im’s involvement, and that there are other, possibly better uses for the capital Ex-Im sits on.

    Unlike most other agencies, Ex-Im has a built-in sunset, meaning it will automatically cease to exist unless Congress periodically votes to renew its charter. This led to a bitter political fight last fall, when Ex-Im’s charter was renewed until this June 30. Typical reauthorizations last for four or five years, so this nine-month reauthorization was a significant concession to reformers. As June 30 approaches, the Ex-Im battle is heating up once again. At this point, it appears Congress will hold a vote in May on Ex-Im’s fate.

    This week, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing, where Ex-Im head Fred Hochberg (see his written testimony here) defended his agency from Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), who wants to close the bank.

  • UK Banks End Reward Programs in Anticipation of Interchange Fee Caps

    April 13, 2015 4:17 PM

    File this one under “we told you so.” The Independent reports a scale-back in credit card reward programs in the United Kingdom:

    The UK’s largest credit card provider has announced that it will no longer offer cashback rewards, labelling them “unsustainable”, after a new EU law was passed last month.

    It is thought that other companies may follow Capital One’s decision, significantly curtailing customers’ air miles and cash bonuses in response to legislation from Brussels.

    The European ruling will cap so-called ‘interchange fees,’ charged by card issuers to retailers when a debit or credit card is used as payment.

    Money reaped by the companies – such as Capital One – under this system allow them to offer customers savings or discounts.

    This is exactly what the International Alliance for Electronic Payments , a coalition that includes CEI, warned about in our letter to EU officials in December:

    Capping interchange fees has been tried in some countries around the world.  Despite claims that these efforts were for the benefit of consumers, the real world results have shown the opposite to be true. In every instance, consumers faced higher fees for banking services, a reduction in benefits and services and saw no return in the form of lower prices from merchants despite promises by merchants and policy makers to pass savings to consumers.

  • Honeybees are Not Headed for Extinction

    April 13, 2015 2:14 PM

    In my recently released paper, I point out many misconceptions circulating regarding recent challenges to honeybee hive health. Today, I came across another example of the confusion about this issue in a letter to the editor in a Canadian newspaper. The title says it all:  “Honeybees Headed for Extinction.” I agree with the author’s conclusion that planting certain flowers around farms to give the bees a more diverse diet is a good idea—and I do that myself.  However, honeybees are not going extinct. Consider a few points I make in my paper:

    The number of honeybee hives in the world has increased overall. Globally, far more honeybees are used for honey production than pollination services, and the amount of honey produced has increased. U.S. and European commercial hives have decreased because honey production simply moved to other nations, where the number of hives has grown substantially. According to the United Nations Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) statistics the number of beehives kept globally has grown from nearly 50 million in 1961 to more than 80 million in 2013.

  • CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    April 13, 2015 1:16 PM

    It was a slower week than usual, with 34 proposed regulations and fewer than 40 final regulations covering everything from missile exports to hydropower. Even so, the 2015 Federal Register will likely top the 20,000-page mark on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.

     

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 39 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 68 new regulations the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every four hours and 19 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 779 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 2,822 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total.
    • Last week, 1,120 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,755 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 19,406 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 70,312 pages.
    • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Six such rules have been published so far this year, none in the past week.
    • The total estimated compliance cost of 2015’s economically significant regulations ranges from $693 million to $746 million for the current year.
    • 68 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
    • So far in 2015, 151 new rules affect small businesses; 25 of them are classified as significant. 

    Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

     

Pages

Subscribe to OpenMarket