Getting More Benefits From Benefit Cost Analysis

Engage Volume 16, Issue 1
J. Kennerly Davis May 28, 2015

This article discusses the use of benefit cost analysis by federal regulatory agencies.  It is universally recognized that a sound assessment of the benefits and costs associated with alternative courses of action is essential to good decision making and the cost effective allocation of the resources that must be committed to pursue important goals such as the protection of human health and the environment.  The recurring unresolved disputes about the projected benefits and costs associated with proposed regulations clearly demonstrate that the benefit cost analysis currently performed by federal regulatory agencies suffers from serious shortcomings that undermine public confidence in the rulemaking process.  These recurring unresolved disputes, and the shortcomings they reveal, prevent benefit cost analysis from making the kind of contribution to the rulemaking process that it could, and should, make....[Read More!]

FCC Preemption of State Restrictions on Government-owned Broadband Networks: An Affront to Federalism

Engage Volume 16, Issue 1
Randolph J. May, Seth L. Cooper May 20, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission’s February 2015 Order preempting state law restrictions on local government ownership of broadband networks constitutes one of the most significant overreaches in the agency’s history—a history which already includes plenty of overreaches. From the standpoint of constitutional federalism, the action is one of the most problematic ever taken by the Commission....[Read More!]

Fannie and Freddie We’re Stuck With: But Can We Get Rid of GSEs?

Engage Volume 16, Issue 1
Alex J. Pollock May 07, 2015

The model of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as “GSEs” (government-sponsored enterprises) was a profound mistake.  Virtually everybody agrees with that.  In retrospect, it was also an obvious mistake.  Just imagine anybody wanting to hyper-leverage half the mortgage market on the taxpayers’ credit card, so the profits were private and the losses public, create an enormous credit risk concentration in Washington DC, and inevitably curry political favor by increasing risk....[Read More!]

Redefining “Waters of the United States”: Is EPA Undermining Cooperative Federalism?

Engage Volume 16, Issue 1
Karen Bennett, John Henson May 05, 2015
EPA sign

The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to redefine the term “waters of the United States” for all Clean Water Act programs. The proposed rule generated a purported 1,081,817 public comments.   The comments of governors, attorneys general, and various state agencies and departments are nestled among over 1,055,000 mass mail comments, 11,800 generally non-substantive individual comments, 4,500 anonymous comments, and comments from a broad spectrum of businesses, industries, and environmental groups....[Read More!]