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CEI Today: Volcker rule, Iron Man capitalist hero, and chemical regulation

Why JPMorgan Chase’s Mark-to-Market Losses Don’t Bolster Case for Volcker Rule

There is much still to be known about the $2 billion in losses JPMorgan Chase is reporting due to a flawed hedging strategy. But this lack of knowledge hasn’t prevented proponents of Dodd-Frank’s Volcker Rule, which bans banks from certain types of trading, from jumping into the fray and claiming this as a justification for their vaunted rule to keep banks from “gambling” with trading strategies as opposed to the “safe” activities of lending. > Read the full commentary on

>Interview John Berlau




Filmmakers who have brought Tony Stark to the big screen in a string of recent blockbusters—Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012)—have made him even more unpalatable to liberals.  After all, what other super-hero is regularly shown blasting terrorists out of their caves in Afghanistan, or working side-by-side with the United States Military? Imagine how queasy greens must feel to see that this arch-capitalist be the one to invent renewable energy in the Marvel universe.  And worse, he didn’t do it for the good of Mankind.  He did for entirely selfish reasons, indeed, the most selfish reason:  He built the first, miniature version of his energy source in the first Iron Man film in order to power his wounded heart, which had been shredded by enemy shrapnel.

More unforgivable from the environmentalists’ perspective, however, is that Stark did all of this without a Department of Energy grant. 
> Read the full commentary at

> Interview Matt Patterson


Chemical Risk - Angela Logomasini Framing the Debate on Chemical Regulation

Last week, CEI hosted a congressional briefing on chemical policy and regulation (the video of the event is forthcoming). A news story in Risk Policy Report covering the event proclaims: “Free- Free-Market Group Seeks To ‘Re-Frame’ Hill Debate Over Chemical Risk.” Indeed we do!

I presented on why Congress should not “modernize” the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Dr. Rick Belzer addressed the National Toxicology Program’s faulty carcinogen classification methodology, and Dana Joel Gattuso addressed why Congress need not impose onerous regulations on the cosmetics and personal-care product industries. Unfortunately, our views are unique, but they shouldn’t be. Even those industry groups who will be harmed by misguided chemical policy reforms are not fighting back.  >Read the full commentary on

> Interview Angela Logomasini

Also featuring...

Today -
Capitol Hill Briefing: Reforming Federal Surface Transportation Policy: Problems, Solutions, and a New Path Forward

FCC Delays Threaten to Hurt Wireless Consumers

Cyberbullying and Bullying Used As Pretexts for Censorship

Austerity Is Mythical, But It Would Have Real Benefits

Politics Is About Power, Not Ideology

GAO Releases Study About a Study on Studies


CEI - Expanded 2012 Edition of Ten Thousand Commandments Now Available

Annual Report on Regulatory Costs Seeks to Hold Congress Accountable; Shows Federal Register Pages and Economically Significant Rules on the Rise

Washington, D.C., May 15, 2012 – Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) released the expanded 2012 edition of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State. CEI Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews authors the report every year to draw attention to the “hidden tax” of regulations---a cost often imposed not by legislators, but by unelected federal bureaucrats.

When lawmakers and government officials spend public funds on new initiatives, they properly expose themselves to taxpayers’ approval or criticism. But, Crews explains, when federal agencies advance government goals by regulating the private sector, the costs of their activity are hidden from public view. Crews writes, “Rather than pay directly and book expenses for new initiatives, the federal government can require the private sector, as well as state and local governments, to pay for federal initiatives through compliance costs.”

While the exact cost of federal regulations can never be known, the Small Business Administration has estimated annual complaince costs of well over $1 trillion since the mid-2000s. The most recent evaluation, a controversial one based on data and information available in 2008, was $1.7 trillion.

Meanwhile, numbers of rules, pages in the Federal Register, and economically significant rules are rising under President Obama.

Below are highlights from the 2012 edition of Ten Thousand Commandments:

• Estimated regulatory costs, while "off budget," are equivalent to over 48% the level of federal spending itself.

• The 2011 Federal Register finished at 81,247 pages, just shy of 2010’s all-time record-high 81,405 pages.

• Regulatory compliance costs dwarf corporate income taxes of $198 billion, and exceed individual income taxes and even pre-tax corporate profits.

• Agencies issued 3,807 final rules in 2011, a 6.5 percent increase over 3,573 in 2010.

• Of the 4,128 regulations in the works at year-end 2011, 212 were “economically significant,” meaning they generally wield at least $100 million in economic impact.

• 822 of those 4,128 regulations in the works would affect small businesses.

• The total number of economically significant rules finalized in 2011 was 79, down slightly from 2010 but up 92.7 percent over five years, and 108 percent over 10 years.

• Recent costly federal agency initiatives include the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards Rule and the Department of Transportation’s Fuel Economy Standards.

The report includes a spotlight feature on the Federal Communications Commission, further analysis of trends in the numbers of regulations, and an appendix of historical tables. Crews also proposes reforms that would improve regulatory transparency and restore accountability to Congress, who, Crews argues, should bear “direct responsibility for every dollar of new regulatory costs.”

Read the full 2012 report: Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State.

Browse archives of past reports.

Visit for regular updates and data.


CEI Today: ALEC & free speech, Highway Bill event today, Buffett/Keystone Pipeline, and more 

Driving the market from the marketplace of ideas; ALEC’S leftist critics prefer speech suppression to democratic debate

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin recently came under attack from left-wing activists for meeting with representatives of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a nationwide association of conservative state legislators. This is but the latest salvo in a sustained attack on ALEC from the political left. The governor rightly has ignored the attacks, which really are efforts to stifle political speech.

ALEC’s critics paint it as a shadowy organization that pushes ready-made legislation to advance a corporate agenda. In reality, the attack on ALEC is part of a much broader attack by those seeking to drive all market voices from the marketplace of ideas. ALEC’s critics say they object to its tactics, but what they really seek to attack is its ideological principles: free markets and limited government. >Read the full commentary on

> Interview Fred L. Smith, Jr.

> Follow Fred L. Smith, Jr. on Twitter

The Highway Bill and Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s Anti-P3 Propaganda

The Highway Trust Fund is facing imminent insolvency. This is the result of keeping federal fuel excise tax rates at the same level since 1993. Since then, inflation has eroded about one-third of those dollars’ buying power. Rather than attempt to fix this very serious problem, the Senate’s Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) merely kicks the can down the road. We find this unacceptable.

We have reached a point where burying our heads in the sand is no longer a viable option. Much of the Interstate system is nearly 50 years old, which means in the near future that these segments will need to be completely reconstructed from the roadbed up. So the question is not if we reconstruct the system; rather, it is who pays for this construction. > Read the full commentary on

> Attend today's Capitol Hill briefing, noon ET

>Interview Marc Scribner

>Follow Marc Scribner on Twitter

KEYSTONE PIPELINE - MYRON EBELL Buffett’s Support Signals Movement on Keystone Pipeline

The House and Senate conference committee on re-authorizing the highway bill met for the first time on Tuesday, 8th May.  One of the most contentious issues is House language that would require permitting of the 1700-mile Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf refineries. Initial reactions were that the Keystone provision has little chance of being included in the final conference report.  However, there are signs that the ground is shifting.  > Read the full commentary at

> Interview Myron Ebell


Also featuring...

Today -
Capitol Hill Briefing: Reforming Federal Surface Transportation Policy: Problems, Solutions, and a New Path Forward

Immigration and Demographic Doom

The Constellation Empire Strikes Back

Greek Tragedy Nears a Dramatic End

Why Are Statists So Inconsistent?

CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

Iron Man: Capitalist Hero


CEI Weekly: Workers Prevented From Leaving Unions

Friday, May 11, 2012




Feature: Labor bosses aren't respecting workers' choices.

FEATURE: Workers Prevented From Leaving Unions


In tough economic times, having labor bosses who demand dues and force strikes can be a hard extra burden. That's why some workers are now trying to leave their unions. But in California, the SEIU is fighting desperately to prevent workers' exit. Warren Brookes Fellow Matt Patterson and Labor Policy Analyst Trey Kovacs explain what's going on in a Washington Times op-ed this week. Read the op-ed here.






Forget France, the Greek Elections Are the Beginning of the End of Europe

Iain Murray's article in The American Spectator


Stephen King Horrified By His Low Taxes. What's Next?

Bill Frezza's column in Forbes


Global Warming Crusaders Lose Steam, Tempers

Matt Patterson's op-ed in The Washington Examiner


Lending Cap is Unfair to Small Business

John Berlau's op-ed in Newsmax


Immigration Policy Is an Economic Meltdown Trifecta

Bill Frezza's op-ed in Real Clear Markets


Opinions on Genetic Engineering That Aren't Worth a Bean

Henry I. Miller's op-ed in Forbes


Our Immigration Problem's Not Going Away

David Bier's op-ed in Real Clear Policy


Federal 'Stimulus' Spent $34.5 Million in Michigan for Only 183 Total Jobs

Fred L. Smith, Jr.'s citation in Michigan Capitol Confidential


Civil-Liberties Groups Urge Rejection of White House-Supported Cyber Bill

CEI's citation in The Hill


Obama Is Losing the Keystone Pipeline Battle

Marlo Lewis' citation in Reason Magazine








May 10, 2012: Freeing Our Farms


Immigration Policy Analyst David Bier explains how the Labor Department’s byzantine restrictions on immigrant agricultural workers hurt immigrants and native-born Americans alike. Current immigration policy keeps many immigrants in dangerous black markets, raises food prices for consumers, makes it difficult for farmers to hire workers and create jobs, and reduces the government’s tax revenues.




Legacy Risks

By Fred L. Smith, Jr.


Amendments That Take Away Rights

By Hans Bader


Fossil Fuel Shill Sierra Club Bites the Hand That Feeds It

By Myron Ebell


Austerity Bites--But It Isn't the Problem

By Iain Murray








CEI Today: Occupy SEIU, amendments vs rights, and space policy

OCCUPY SEIU - MATT PATTERSON Labor and Occupy: Comrades in Arms


The Washington Examiner is reporting that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is helping Occupy DC become a “more permanent fixture” of the Washington, D.C., landscape by moving the anti-freedom agitators into cozy offices in the heart of the nation’s capital.

How ironic, then, that labor bosses can be counted among that dreaded [1 percent] category. Take AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who has been exposing the alleged exorbitant salaries of various CEOs with his organization’s new website Executive PayWatch.

But after stirring up all this hatred for the wealthy, Trumka may have  a hard time explaining his own “runaway pay.” Trumka earned $293,750 in 2011 alone, and in fact, as the Beacon reports, “has earned well over $200,000 every year since he was promoted to Secretary Treasurer [of the union] in 2003.” 
> Read the full commentary on

> Interview Matt Patterson


Amendments That Take Away Rights

Three state legislatures — Vermont, Hawaii, and New Mexico — have passed resolutions in support of the People’s Rights Amendment, which is worthy of a Communist People’s Republic. And 28 members of the House of Representatives (all but one of them liberals) are sponsoring the People’s Rights Amendment in Congress.

The People’s Rights Amendment
takes away the rights of non-profit corporations, which include most churches, colleges, charities, political parties, and campaign committees. Most newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters today are corporations, unlike back in 1789, when the press was not incorporated.


North Carolina voters passed a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. For some reason, this amendment is described by many of its supporters as a “marriage protection” amendment. I am not sure why. Banning gay people from getting married does not do anything to “protect” my marriage.

If people want to protect marriage and the family, they should focus on eliminating marriage penalties and disincentives to marry contained in federal law, rather than wasting time trying to ban gay marriages.

  > Read the full commentary on

>Interview Hans Bader


SPACE POLICY - RAND SIMBERG Republican Space Socialism Update

Last time we checked in on this topic, House Appropriations Chairman Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) was decrying the wastefulness of competition. Well, he’s still at it.

A couple weeks ago, the draft report language for the appropriations bill that includes NASA demanded both a reduction in that pesky competition and a return to the traditional acquisition process, rather than the cooperative use of Space Act Agreements that involves private investment. > Read the full commentary on

> Interview Rand Simberg

Also featuring...

The Great Unanswered Question About the Eurozone

Austerity Bites – But It Isn’t the Problem

There Is Nothing Left to Cut

Fossil Fuel Shill Sierra Club Bites the Hand That Fed It