The Venezuelan government set price controls on the new and used car markets Tuesday. This is just the latest move in the country’s ongoing war against freedom – a war that is destroying their economy: shortages are rampant and inflation is around 50%. From the Wall Street Journal (may be gated):
A salesman at a Toyota dealership said his showroom gets one or two cars a month, while he gets calls and visits from between 300 and 600 consumers looking to buy. “I don’t know what to tell all these people,” he said, declining to give his name for fear of losing his job.
The electric grid is having difficulty coping with renewable energy sources – sources that were created at the behest of federal and state subsidies and mandates. And in response to the problems these activities have caused, regulators are doing the only thing they know how: creating more mandates. From the LA Times:
Green energy is the least predictable kind. Nobody can say for certain when the wind will blow or the sun will shine. A field of solar panels might be cranking out huge amounts of energy one minute and a tiny amount the next if a thick cloud arrives.
The California Public Utilities Commission last month ordered large power companies to invest heavily in efforts to develop storage technologies that could bottle up wind and solar power, allowing the energy to be distributed more evenly over time.
The whole article is well worth reading.
A business owner in Deltona was fined for placing a sign outside, informing people that it was a Toys for Tots drop-off site. As it turns out, the rule isn’t uniform – it doesn’t apply to the government itself. From the USA Today:
Moreover, Deltona’s sign code is seriously flawed. It includes a hodgepodge of exemptions and restrictions, and it appears that Deltona’s code enforcement does not even understand them, as one of the exemptions is for nonprofit organization banners like Corey’s Toys for Tots sign.
Not surprisingly, Deltona’s municipal code also grants “public agencies” an exemption from the same restriction that Corey allegedly violated.
In August we noted that a new federal regulation would slow the revolving door between the SEC and the private sector. Well, the Office of Government Ethics is withdrawing the rule before it can take effect (a seemingly unusual event). The Project On Government Oversight reports:
A notice published in Monday’s edition of the Federal Register said that the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) was withdrawing the new rule at “the request of the SEC” so that the agency could have more time to “effectively educate affected employees before the exemption revocation takes effect.”
That being said, OGE is planning to republish the rule in January, for an effective delay of about 90 days.
The ethics office said it expects to republish the rule in January 2014, but it then would take another 90 days for the rule to go into effect, according to Monday’s announcement. As a result, SEC employees who would be affected by the rule change—including supervisory accountants, attorneys, economists, analysts, and administrative specialists—will have even more time to take advantage of the loophole.
The Federal Reserve is considering more regulations for the finance industry. The regulations will likely affect banks that rely on short term funding and hedge funds. From Reuters:
Global financial watchdogs should have more policy tools and powers over firms such as hedge funds to counter the risk of a devastating run on investment banks, the U.S. Federal Reserve’s top regulator said on Friday.
Food for thought: Is there an optimal level of regulation? If so, are regulators able (and willing) to determine what the optimal level might be?
More food for thought: Is it possible for once-beneficial regulations to become detrimental, perhaps due to time and changing institutions? If so, are regulators devoting an appropriate amount of resources toward finding and removing detrimental regulations?
The Competitive Enterprise Institute continues to track the growth of regulations during that aftermath of the government shutdown. They find that government regulations are expanding at an above-normal rate.
The accelerated pace of post-shutdown rulemaking continues, though still at a slower pace than under the Gingrich-Clinton showdowns.
Ninety-two final regulations were published last week. Three thousand forty-two have been published this year.
CEI’s Battered Business Bureau reports on the state of regulations since the end of the government shutdown:
The pace of new rules is definitely above normal, but not like the deluge witnessed after the Gingrich-Clinton shutdowns, where 82 regulations were published in one day. A normal day has about 15 rules, and right now we’re seeing about 20. We’ll see what the coming week brings.
CEI’s Battered Business Bureau reports that only three regulations were passed last week due to the government shutdown. Be on the look out, though -
The post-shutdown deluge of rules likely will begin on either Monday or Tuesday. Expect to see very different numbers in next week’s edition.
The Project On Government Oversight notes that Boeing was paid by the Pentagon for parts that ultimately weren’t needed and that Boeing kept.
POGO has taken on Boeing’s egregious misspending in the past. In June, Investigator Neil Gordon wrote about an earlier audit with surprisingly similar details: Boeing overcharged the Army by about $13 million for helicopter parts. And in 2011, POGO published a previously unreleased DoD IG reportshowing that Boeing had overcharged the Army up to 177,475 percent for mundane helicopter parts.
The daily deluge of new government regulations slowed to a trickle when the government shutdown began. And although regulators will likely make up for their lost time, the Daily Caller notes that the delay may have saved Americans a significant amount of money.
As the late Nobel-winning economist Ronald Coase wrote, “An economist who, by his efforts, is able to postpone by a week a government program which wastes $100 million a year (what I would consider a modest success) has, by his action, earned his salary for the whole of his life.”