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Entries in CEI (1355)


CEI Weekly: Happy Tax Day! 

Friday, April 20, 2012



Feature: Tax Day was Tuesday, April 17th.

FEATURE: Happy Tax Day!


Americans suffered through yet another Tax Day this week. Doing your taxes is an exhausting process---and when you're finally done, chances are  you owe the federal government a fat check. Warren Brookes Fellow Matt Patterson talks about what the federal government is doing with all those tax dollars in "The Tax Man Cometh -- and Taketh."







Union PACs

Vincent Vernuccio's interview on Fox Business


The Upside-Down Constitution

Fred Smith's latest vodcast


Helping Those With Disabilities Secure Employment

Hans Bader's letter to the editor in The Wall Street Journal


Compulsory 'Free' Speech

Vincent Vernuccio's op-ed in The American Spectator


Sugar Program Isn't Sweet for Consumers or the Economy

Fran Smith's op-ed in The Daily Caller


President Obama Pledges to Recycle His Campaign Pledges

Bill Frezza's op-ed in Forbes


Direct Alcohol Shipping to Minors Is Not a Public Safety Problem

Michelle Minton's op-ed in Michigan Capitol Confidential


DOJ Hungry For a Bite of Apple, Inc

Ryan Young's citation in The Orange County Register







April 19, 2012: Right to Work Laws and Compelled Speech


Indiana is becoming a right to work state, which means unions will no longer be able to force workers who don’t want their representation to pay dues. Labor unions argue that this violates their right to free speech. Labor Policy Counsel Vinnie Vernuccio argues that taking away the power to collect mandatory dues is actually good for workers and unions alike. Workers will no longer be forced to pay for representation they don’t want, or political agendas they don’t support. Unions will also have to pay more attention to representing their members’ interests so workers will want to pay dues.


CEI Today: Farm Bill sugar subsidies, highway bill, and the left-wing attack on ALEC 

FARM BILL & SUGAR SUBSIDIES - FRAN SMITH Sugar program isn’t sweet for consumers or the economy

Don’t look now, but here comes the farm bill, one of those catch-all legislative behemoths littered with wasteful programs and supported by entrenched special interests. The bill comes up for reauthorization every five years and is a lobbyist’s dream — impacting everything from farm subsidies to food safety — and industry and interest groups are working furiously to protect their sacred cows, so to speak.

Given the inability of Congress to agree on much — and the fact that this is an election year — most observers give a new farm bill little chance of passing. Rather, it’s likely that Congress will kick the can down the road by passing an extension of current law. Wasteful spending on unnecessary programs will continue, and an opportunity will be missed — hurting U.S. consumers, taxpayers and workers. > View the full commentary on


> Interview Fran Smith


HIGHWAY BILL - MARC SCRIBNER Everything about the Transportation Bills Is Bad Except for the Energy Parts, Which Are Great


By a 293-127 vote, the House of Representatives yesterday adopted a short-term extension of the federal highway bill. Fourteen Republicans voted against it, while sixty-nine Democrats voted for passage. The original highway bill, known as the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, was enacted in 2005.

Yesterday’s action was the 10th extension passed by the House since the original SAFETEA-LU surface transportation law expired in 2009.

The House’s bill would extend highway funding for 90 days. In March, the Senate passed a bill that would extend it for 2 years. Next, House and Senate leaders from both parties will convene a conference committee, through which they’ll try to hammer out compromise language acceptable to both Congressional chambers.

Alas, it is extremely likely that little good will come of the Conference, at least with regards to transportation policy. > Read the full commentary on

> Interview Marc Scribner


ALEC Unfairly Demonized Over “Stand Your Ground” Laws


The pro-free-market American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is under fire for its support of self-defense laws, known as “Stand Your Ground” laws.

The campaign against ALEC is an attempt to drive the marketplace out of the marketplace of ideas. ALEC’s critics and 
the Times complain that it is partly “corporate funded.” Strangely, ALEC’s critics have no problem with the fact that ALEC’s liberal cousin, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), is government-funded. It makes little sense to allow the government to lobby for more largesse and immunities for itself (which can happen through NCSL), while blocking corporations — which are associations of persons — from lobbying. > Read the full commentary & legal analysis at

> Interview Hans Bader


Also featuring...

Six Reasons Not To Ban Energy Exports*

The Tax Man Cometh — and Taketh

CEI Podcast for April 19, 2012: Right to Work Laws and Compelled Speech

Oil Speculators Are the New Boogeymen


CEI Today: Highway bill, Upside-Down Constitution, and the Water Desalinization Act 

HIGHWAY BILL - MARC SCRIBNER Highway Bill Needs Real Reform, Not Politics as Usual

The House is set to consider yet another extension of 2005’s SAFETEA-LU surface transportation law. The current extension, which is the tenth since the law expired in 2009, is set to expire on June 30.

While the purpose of tomorrow’s
Rules Committee hearing is ostensibly to enact another extension to continue existing highway program funding through the rest of Fiscal Year 2012, proponents of the Senate-passed MAP-21 bill are working overtime to push their deeply flawed legislation into conference.  > View more on

> Interview Marc Scribner


GOV'T WASTE - WAYNE CREWS Tuesday testimony before the House Water & Power Subcommittee, on Reauthorization of the Water Desalination Act of 2011


Occasionally the problem confronting research isn’t market failure but the failure to have markets. “Doing something” about legitimate water needs is not the same as spending money and initiating research and education. When linking research to human needs and promoting infrastructure, capital markets trump the legislative process  — or if not, policy should shift to ensure that they can.

Interestingly, the dollars allocated in the various federal desalination acts over the decades seems to total perhaps a few billion. But removing barriers to private researchand manufacturing could yield far greater gains than relying upon appropriations that invite rent-seeking and that may threaten safety improvements.  
> Read the full testimony and analysis on

> Interview Wayne Crews, author of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State


Video: The Fred Weekly

Fred Smith reviews Michael Greve's book, The Upside-Down Constitution, and explains why America may be experiencing another "Constitutional" moment today much like our founding fathers.


Also featuring...

Ambulance Chasers Feast on Americans with Disabilities Act Claims


CEI Today: UK carbon footprint, compulsory speech, and profiles in liberty

GLOBAL WARMING - MARLO LEWIS Despite Kyoto, UK Carbon Footprint Bigger than Ever

The European Union (EU) preens itself on being the global leader in the fight against climate change. EU politicians scold the USA for ’failing’ to ratify Kyoto Protocol and enact cap-and-trade. Within the EU, the UK champions the most aggressive climate policies. So the UK’s carbon footprint must be shrinking, right?

Not according to a new report by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra). > View the full commentary on

> Interview Marlo Lewis




What is free speech? Is it the right to speak out and give money to causes, politicians and push ideas? Is it the ability to keep silent and not support that with which a person disagrees? Or is it the power of a group to force its individual members to fund political causes and candidates they do not support?

On April 9, attorneys for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 (IUOE) argued that Indiana's Right to Work Law infringes on their free speech rights because -- get this -- it deprives them of the dues mandated from workers by "agency shop" provisions. > Read the full commentary on

> Interview Vincent Vernuccio


AFF's Profiles in Liberty: F. Vincent “Vinnie” Vernuccio

Attorney and labor expert, F. Vincent “Vinnie” Vernuccio is currently heading up the labor policy team at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). He is the creator and editor of CEI’s labor news, home of the acclaimed Big Labor vs. Taxpayer Index which “comprehensively ranks each state on 23 individual aspects to determine the degree to which states favor organized labor and which favor taxpayers.” > Read more at


Also featuring...


How to Fix U.S. Water Policy? Less Government, More Market Pricing

What the Redskins Can Teach Loudoun County


CEI - Highway Bill Needs Real Reform, Not Politics as Usual 

Adopting Senate Bill Would Represent Major Setback for Fiscal Conservatives


Washington, D.C., April 17, 2012—With another Tax Day upon us, taxpayers have something else to worry about: potential action on pending multi-billion dollar highway program reauthorization today in the House of Representatives, says an analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

The House is set to consider yet another extension of 2005’s SAFETEA-LU surface transportation law. The current extension, which is the tenth since the law expired in 2009, is set to expire on June 30. While the purpose of tomorrow’s Rules Committee hearing is ostensibly to enact another extension to continue existing highway program funding through the rest of Fiscal Year 2012, proponents of the Senate-passed MAP-21 bill are working overtime to push their deeply flawed legislation into conference.

“MAP-21 doubles down on the failed policies that are bankrupting the Highway Trust Fund and merely kicks the can further down the road,” said Marc Scribner, land-use and transportation policy analyst at CEI. “It undoes important bipartisan Transportation Enhancement reforms—meant to limit wasteful, non-highway expenditures of Highway Trust Fund dollars—while relying on one-shot funding gimmicks that do not address any of the existing core fiscal problems.”

The Highway Trust Fund is set to become insolvent in Fiscal Year 2013. Analysts from across the political spectrum have called for major structural reforms to prevent such a scenario from playing out. But, as Scribner argues, few policymakers are calling for needed reforms.

“From the left, the answer is to dramatically increase programmatic spending as well as fuel tax rates,” said Scribner. “From the fiscally conservative position, the answer is to begin devolution of highway funding responsibilities to the states while permitting additional flexibility on tools such as public-private partnerships. But this middle-of-the-road, do-nothing attitude from the Hill—which has included proposals to bail out the Highway Trust Fund with oil and natural gas lease revenue—is completely unacceptable given the importance of mobility to the economy and Americans’ daily lives.”

> Read more by Marc Scribner