On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner announced plans to sue the White House for breaching the Constitution’s separation of powers. “On one matter after another during his presidency, President Obama has circumvented the Congress through executive action, creating his own laws and excusing himself from executing statutes he is sworn to enforce,” Boehner wrote in a memo to House members.
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Ryan Young is the 2009-2010 Warren Brookes Journalism Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. His writings communicate ideas from economics and classical liberal political theory in layman’s terms. His articles apply the economic way of thinking to issues from airplane baggage restrictions to fiscal stimulus to salary caps in baseball. He has been published in Politico, Investor’s Business Daily, Real Clear Markets, and other outlets. He also writes the popular “Regulation of the Day” feature for Open Market, CEI’s staff blog.
Ryan holds an M.A. in economics from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and a B.A. in history from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He was previously Fellow in Regulatory Studies at CEI, and worked in the Cato Institute’s government affairs department.
For the seventeenth time since current budgeting rules were adopted in 1976, the federal government is shut down. Seventeen years of relative peace have devolved to business as usual. Roughly 800,000 federal workers are sitting idle. Despite the reduced workforce, the shutdown began with a bang on the regulatory front. During the shutdown’s first week, the Federal Register, the government’s daily journal where all new rules are published, contained 113 new regulations, more than any other week so far this year.
Under American anti-trust laws, there are three things no business should ever do. They are as follows: Charge higher prices than your competitors, charge lower prices than your competitors, and charge the same price as your competitors.
Transparency is the lifeblood of democracy. Washington needs more of it, especially in the all-too-opaque world of regulation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example, is the most expensive federal regulatory agency. Its annual budget is fairly modest in Beltway terms, at a little less than $11 billion, but that’s not where the vast majority of its costs come from. Complying with EPA regulations costs the U.S. economy $353 billion per year — more than 30 times its budget — according to the best available estimate. By way of comparison, that is more than the entire 2011 national GDPs of Denmark ($332 billion) and Thailand ($345 billion).
To hear President Barack Obama’s supporters tell it, his challenger in this year’s presidential contest, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, is an out-of-touch plutocrat mainly concerned with becoming president. According to Governor Romney’s supporters, the president is an out-of-touch elitist whose main concern is staying in the White House. They’re both right.
The Supreme Court has upheld the health care law’s insurance mandate, to the surprise of many. This surprise sparked a few quick thoughts about the Constitution, the Supreme Court’s role in government and newly enriched health insurers.
The results of a Reason-Rupe poll that was released on Monday are more interesting than the pollsters may have intended. Two of the questions they asked rely on the same basic principle: whether or not the government should be able to force you to purchase a certain product. The answers were wildly different.
The Arab Spring is over a year old now. It’s too early to tell if that movement will bring liberal democracy to countries that badly need it. But if it does succeed, it will be right in line with a decades-long global trend. According to Freedom House, 41 percent of the world’s countries in 1989 were democracies. By 2011, 60 percent were democracies.
The 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded this morning. The winners are Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Reiss. They revolutionized astronomy in 1998 by finding out that the universe is not just growing, but growing at an accelerating rate. Their discovery has influenced the entire discipline. Everything from the search for dark matter, to theoretical multiverses, to string theory and M-theory, rests at least in part on what today’s laureates discovered.
The philosopher Yogi Berra once said that "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." Let’s apply his lesson to the proposed $39 billion AT&T-T-Mobile merger. The Department of Justice is predicting that the merger, by creating the country’s largest wireless carrier, will reduce competition. Today, the DOJ sued to block the merger.
AT&T and T-Mobile would like to merge. The $39 billion deal would make them the largest mobile phone service provider in the country. Not everyone thinks this is a good idea. One website, notakeover.org, lists some of the reasons.
The U.S. is slowly working towards free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. After years of wrangling, they might even pass this summer. President Obama is making the agreements a priority. But it won’t be easy. Some people prefer protection to competition, and they have the ear of many politicians.
Once upon a time, GOP politicians wanted $100 billion in spending cuts. As Reason's Peter Suderman points out, "the GOP's budget cut promises [went] from $100 billion to $61 billion and then resulted in a deal party leaders claimed cut $38 billion but really cut just $14 billion . . . The Congressional Budget Office now says the deal will reduce the budget deficit by just $353 million."
There is nothing good about a natural disaster. The tsunami that hit Japan today is an unmitigated tragedy. Still, there is a certain optimism in the human condition that tries to find the upside even during the worst of times. This is one of our species’ nobler attributes. But sometimes it leads smart people to say dumb things.
There is a lot of talk about tone these days. People think political arguments are nastier than they used to be. They are certainly nasty. But I'd argue people are actually more civil now than they used to be.
Turns out there is such a thing as bad publicity. School districts across Wisconsin have closed because of the number of teachers calling in sick. They aren’t sick, of course. They are in the state capital Madison to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed labor policy changes. This is not a good way to get parents on one’s side. If anything, many parents scrambling to find and pay for daycare are livid.
In 1957, the Soviet Union launched a satellite into space. Therefore, taxpayers should give more money to politically favored corporations. This is not a rigorous line of thought. But it was typical of yesterday’s State of the Union address.
The last time I voted was in 2002. And once again, after careful thought, I decided to sit this one out. There are lots of good reasons to vote. But there are also good reasons not to vote. They deserve to be taken seriously.
On Friday, the 2010 Federal Register eclipsed the 50,000-page mark with a notice from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Dr. Robert F. Hunt, D.O., had his registration revoked for prescribing anabolic steroids to a patient in a way the DEA does not approve of.