Tag: Regulation

Obama, a Modern-day Lucius Mummius Achaicus?


The number of Obama Administration attacks on private industry are simply too numerous to count. A Google search of the Environmental Protection Agency’s “War on Coal” produces more than 2.8 million results! But the onslaught isn’t reserved only to the energy industry. The private sector “zone” is so flooded by relentless federal pressure that many of these regulatory crusades fail to get noticed anymore.

One such Presidential war that has largely escaped notice is the effort to obliterate for-profit higher education which the free market produced to fill in the gaps in service from the public and non-profit universities.

About ‘The Republican Case Against Republican Economics’


New York Times’ columnist Thomas Edsall uses my recent The Week column, “What Conservatives Don’t Understand About the Modern U.S. Economy,” as a prompt for analysis on how Republican “reformers” are, in his view, “questioning … free-market orthodoxy.”

The subject of my critique was a recent manifesto put forward by top conservative groups after a big meeting in Washington. To me, their agenda reflected little recognition of the major challenges facing today’s economy. As I wrote:

Piketty’s Focus is in the Wrong Place


It says something about how much attention the French economist Thomas Piketty’s new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, is getting — and something about how deeply flawed Piketty’s thinking is — that I have, for the second straight week, dedicated my column at Defining Ideas to rebutting the arguments made in the book. As I’ve noted before, one of Piketty’s greatest errors is focusing on inequality to the exclusion of economic growth. We should welcome any increase in wealth to the rich or the poor that does not leave other people worse off, whether that change increases or narrows the gaps in wealth between rich and poor—any such Pareto improvement meets the gold standard of economic welfare.

As I write in this week’s column:

The Knave Detector


bandwidthI recently read a comment that Marx is useful to us because his philosophy allows us to easily identify fools and knaves. I’ve personally observed that the net neutrality debate is useful for much the same reason.

The FCC is currently considering a proposal that has many up in arms. Consider this, from the activist group SumOfUs:

Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon want to control what we can and cannot do online — and they’re about to get their wish.

Washington’s Unhelpful Efforts to Stop the Ivory Trade — Richard Epstein


Regular readers of my work are aware that I have had more than a few occasions to criticize the policy goals of the Obama Administration. In my column this week for the Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas, however, I take on an issue of a different nature: one in which the Administration’s goals are laudable, but the means by which it aims to achieve them are hopeless.

The Department of the Interior announced last month that it is imposing a sweeping ban on the commercial trade of ivory — one that will cover both the sale of objects that contain any amount of ivory, however small, and the shipment across state lines by the owner of any object that contains ivory. This policy is part of a well-intentioned effort to protect animals like elephants and rhinos from poachers by strengthening enforcement mechanisms against the illicit markets in which products made from their horns and tusks are traded. It suffers, however, from a total disconnect between ends and means. As I write:

Member Post


Hat tip to Dennis Prager, who alerted me to this story at The Daily Caller: Union representatives from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are now accompanying federal government safety inspectors on site visits to review labor complaints at nonunion private businesses, The Daily Caller has learned. Preview Open

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Jack Daniel’s, It’s Like I Don’t Even Know You Anymore — Troy Senik


I’d like to tell you that the rollout of Ricochet 2.0 was sponsored by Jack Daniel’s, but that would imply that they were putting money into my pocket instead of the other way around. Yes, like any good writer, when the yoke becomes heavy I often pour my therapy into a tumbler (to say nothing of my writerly support for the coffee and tobacco industries — I’m a one-man farm bill!). I may have doubled the GDP of Lynchburg this week.

shutterstock_174073781Being partial to whiskey — and my intermittent home state of Tennessee — Jack Daniel’s is less a choice and more a matter of muscle memory. It’s woven into the very fabric of the Volunteer State.

Can California Make Laws For the Rest of the Nation?


That’s the question I examine in the newest installment of my column for Hoover’s Defining Ideas. California has recently enacted a series of carbon regulations so sweeping that they have the practical effect of regulating behavior throughout the nation. As I note in the column, it is, in my judgment, time for this issue to be heard by the Supreme Court.

The reason this case is so important is that California’s regulations essentially usurp the powers of the federal legislative branch. As I argue: