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Entries in Regulatory Actions (587)


CEI Daily - The Indiviudal Mandate, the 1099 Rule, Ethanol and Egypt 

Individual Mandate

Since Judge Vinson's decision against the health care law hinged on the individual purchase mandate, Democrats are boasting about the fact that that the mandate was a Republican creation.


Senior Fellow Greg Conko points out that libertarians were always against the individual mandate.


"It’s worth noting that most of us in the free market movement have never embraced the health insurance purchase mandate. And I’m proud to dig out of the archives an old Cato Institute paper (pdf) written by my former CEI colleague Tom Miller (now at the American Enterprise Institute), which roundly criticizes the 1993-94 Republican compromise legislation. Tom found a lot of faults in those bills, and he singled out the individual purchase mandate as being especially egregious."



1099 Rule


The U.S. Senate rejects repeal of the health care law as a whole, but overwhelmingly approves repeal of a provision requiring frequent filing of IRS 1099 reports for small purchases by businesses.


John Berlau, director of CEI’s Center for Investor and Entrepreneurs, explains why the 1099 rule, as well as restrictions on purchases of over-the –counter drug purchase by flexible spending accounts and health saving accounts, “have proved to be the most burdensome to doctors, entrepreneurs, consumers, and savers and investors.”


"Although the 1099 rule and medicine cabinet tax can both be ended before full repeal of the health care law, it should be remembered that they were enacted because of the flawed process of ramming this bill through Congress. Both are gimmicky revenue “offsets” done so the Congressional Budget Office would technically score Obamacare as reducing the deficit, and score repeal of the law or even of these individual provisions as increasing it."



Ethanol and Egypt


American farmers are growing corn instead of wheat to cash in on ethanol subsidies, which has contributed to the rise in wheat prices in countries that import wheat.


Senior Counsel Hans Bader talks about the effect rising food prices has had on Egypt.


"As I previously noted, the rise in food prices in Egypt seems to have strengthened the anti-American Muslim Brotherhood, rather than the small pro-western reform movements in Egypt, by radicalizing the slums of Cairo, whose residents sometimes rely on relief provided by the Muslim Brotherhood (the only Egyptian political movement that provides non-governmental charitable services), and who have little connection to the Westernized middle class."


CHQ - Opposition Mounts to State Power Grab Over Private Charities

(Vienna, Virginia)  The Free Speech Coalition, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization based in Vienna, Virginia and dedicated to protecting the First Amendment rights of nonprofit organizations, issued the following statement about its opposition to misguided efforts by state charity regulators to implement a model state law now called the Protection of Charitable Assets Act:

"The Free Speech Coalition (FSC) has sent a letter of opposition, signed by 47 organizations, urging termination of the drafting process of this misguided, unconstitutional legislation currently called the Protection of Charitable Assets Act (the "Act").

"As word has leaked out about the proposed new, redundant regulation of nonprofit organizations with more than $5,000 per year income, they are becoming alarmed and are beginning to organize opposition to the new proposed model state law. 

"Especially during this time of economic duress in the nonprofit world, new registration fees and additional reporting requirements, which the Act would implement, would further drain scarce nonprofit resources, depriving legitimate charitable programs of those funds.  The Act would also add more bureaucracy for states to finance despite their already severe financial circumstances.

"The drafting committee relied on anecdotal reports from regulators, not testimony of the general public or nonprofits themselves, as there has been no professional analysis of the issues state regulators claim this Act would address.  FSC asserts that existing laws are sufficient and already overly burdensome. 

"The Act would harm many small and local charities.  The Act also contains serious constitutional violations under the 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments, and violations of the doctrines of separation of powers and checks and balances, that would harm all nonprofits, and are intolerable under any circumstances.
"FSC's opposition is also based in its experience dealing with state charity regulators who would administer the Act and have already demonstrated a propensity to overreach and abuse law-abiding nonprofits."

The FSC letter in opposition to the Act is available at

The Uniform Law Conference Committee, whose members are appointed and are not elected officials, is responsible for drafting the Act (until recently called the Oversight of Charitable Assets Act).  They have held two meetings in Chicago, and a third meeting is this weekend.  A fourth, and presumably final, meeting is scheduled for July.


CEI Daily - The TSA, California, and Crossing the Street 




The TSA has shut down an exemption for private airport screeners.


Senior Counsel Hans Bader explains what has changed.


"Previously, the Screening Partnership Program allowed airports to replace government screeners with private contractors. 16 airports did so. [...] The TSA’s head said he did not see any 'clear or substantial advantage' to the TSA in allowing additional airports to use private screeners, although he said that the few other airports that already use private screeners will be allowed to continue to do so."




In 2010, 204 business left California.


Policy Analyst Brian McGraw says that California's budgetary problems are to blame.


"Their budget deficit is projected to be $19 billion dollars, with annual unfunded pension liabilities potentially reaching $80 billion by 2012, and a law attempting to curb greenhouse gas emissions. This will almost certainly result in reduced state spending but also some form of tax increases, as we’ve seen in Illinois. Given this mess that California has gotten itself into, its not a surprise that companies are fleeing California. Unfortunately, as companies leave the situation only gets worse, and its unlikely that any of these companies have said, 'I’ll be back.'"



Crossing the Street


Three states want to make it illegal to listen to your iPod while you cross the street.


Fellow in Regulatory Studies Ryan Young says the regulations are well-intentioned, but unnecessary, and may even have negative consequences.


"Pedestrian deaths did go slightly up last year. But pedestrian deaths have been trending down for two decades, despite the rise of iPods and smartphones. Turns out that most people have enough common sense to pay more attention to traffic than their phone while crossing the street. Legislating common sense is at best redundant. But in this case, it’s actually harmful. Police departments only have so many resources to go around. All the time and manpower they spend watching people cross the street is time and manpower not spent on more serious crimes. This is a solution without a problem."


CEI Daily - State of the Union Liveblog, Newt Gingrich, and the Internet Kill Switch 


State of the Union Liveblog


Fellow in Regulatory Studies Ryan Young liveblogged the State of the Union Address last night.


Read his commentary here.




Newt Gingrich


Yesterday, Newt Gingrich spoke at the Iowa Renewable Fuel Association Annual Summit.


Policy Analyst Brian McGraw slams Gingrich for pandering to the Iowa corn lobby.


"It’s depressing that Gingrich, much like Bob Barr and Al Gore, is willing to shed intellectual honesty to win votes. Did Gingrich discuss the idea that 'food versus fuel is plain, flat untrue' with his colleague Robert Hahn at AEI? Or his colleague Kenneth Green? Or his colleague Kevin Hassett? Or the thousands of non-partisan academic studies completed on this very subject? I am reminded of a joke told to me by a co-worker, that if the first caucus was in Hawaii we’d all be putting pineapple juice in our tanks."




Internet Kill Switch


CBS News recently reported on the "renewed push" for an internet kill switch.


Research Associate Dennis Grabowski argues that the kill switch will give an unwarranted amount of power to federal regulators.


"The government practice of ignoring private-sector rights is certainly common enough; it’s when one branch of government is liberated of any checks whatsoever, including those of other branches of government, that Americans have an even greater cause for concern. This is especially true when our patronizing representatives are considerably less-qualified, good intentions and all, to understand the ins-and-outs of Internet security than are major Internet corporations."


CEI Daily - The State of the Union, Alcoholic Energy Drinks, and Ethanol


State of the Union


The media is now asking experts what Obama should say in the State of the Union.


Vice President Myron Ebell answers.


"In an ideal world, President Barack Obama would use his State of the Union to admit that America is broke and that his policies have laid the groundwork, not for a robust recovery, but rather for perpetual economic stagnation. That could be the start of working with congressional Republicans to undo the damage and get the economy going. Obama, of course, isn't likely to admit that. He is instead likely to continue to claim that his policies of reckless spending and smothering regulation are leading to a bright new future of clean energy, green jobs, and economic security."




Alcoholic Energy Drinks


South Carolina is pushing to be the fifth state to ban alcoholic energy drinks.


Policy Analyst Michelle Minton explains the flawed rationale behind the ban.


"Regulators are attempting to ban the product-not for minors, who are already banned from purchasing alcoholic drinks, but for adults. Why? The rationale used by many lawmakers is that these drinks eventually lead imbibers to engage in illegal behavior like driving drunk."




The EPA has approved the use of increased ethanol blend E15.

Policy Analyst Brian McGraw observes that the ethanol industry is congratulating itself on this new development while simultaneously complaining about how long it took to get the EPA's approval.


"Let us never forget the delicious irony of an ethanol trade association whining about the unfair government regulations that impede the development of their industry, when the majority of ethanol production in the United States is due solely to the ethanol mandates in the Renewable Fuel Standard."