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  • Federal Highway Administration to Rescind Outdated Patent Rules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.
  • Feds: Gambling Fine, But Investing Too Risky

    September 24, 2019
    “In the risk reform debate, as in so many political debates, logic is often for losers.” So lamented Competitive Enterprise Institute founder and president emeritus Fred L. Smith, Jr. in 1995, and he has expressed similar sentiments many times since.
  • Antitrust Astroturf Activism

    September 24, 2019
    Not too long ago, I pointed out that antitrust regulation is often gamed by special interests and rent-seekers. A recent story in The Wall Street Journal gives a fresh example. A group called the Free and Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) has been advocating for antitrust actions against Amazon. Unsurprisingly, some of its funders are Amazon’s competitors.
  • Protect Consumers, But Let Debt Collectors Do Their Jobs

    September 23, 2019
    Debt collector seem to be the occupation everyone loves to hate, but without them businesses large and small—from banks to gyms to doctor’s offices—could not serve their customers with the assurance that their contracts would be enforced. That’s why the Competitive Enterprise Institute has again weighed in with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), calling for debt collection rules that protect consumers from fraud and harassment, but don’t hinder debt collectors’ crucial function in keeping the credit market flowing.
  • Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization: Lesson in Institutional Design

    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.
  • This Week in Ridiculous Regulations   

    September 23, 2019
    The House passed a continuing resolution to avoid a federal shutdown until November 21st. The Senate will likely follow suit this week. The 2019 Federal Register will also almost certainly top 50,000 pages this week. Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from gooseberry fruit to meat grades.
  • Progressive States Petition Court to Declare Trump Pre-emption Rule Unlawful

    September 20, 2019
    ​​​​​​​A California-led coalition of 24 states and three cities today petitioned the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to declare unlawful the Trump administration’s One National Program Rule, which finds that California’s motor vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards and zero emission vehicle mandate are unlawful because they are pre-empted by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
  • VIDEO: Prosperity Is More Than Wages

    September 20, 2019
    In a new video for the PolicyEd channel, economist Russ Roberts takes on the popular—though misleading—narrative that ordinary working Americans haven’t made any real economic progress in the last generation or so.
  • Export-Import Bank Fight Not Over Yet

    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.

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