Issue Brief posted June 30, 2014
Read My Bits: No New Taxes (Permanently)
At midnight on October 31, Congress’s long-standing moratorium on state Internet taxation expires, freeing state and local governments to tax online access and other Web services enjoyed by Americans. The ban has been up for renewal four times in the past 16 years, raising constant concern that this protection from taxation will not be continued. This time, Congress…
Issue Brief posted May 19, 2014
Taking Stock: Shareholder Lawsuits No Barrier to GSE Dissolution
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that were at the center of the financial collapse of 2008, have now been in federal conservatorship for nearly six years. Several bills are pending in Congress to end the conservatorships and dissolve the firms, although the proposals differ on what—if anything—should replace them.
Backgrounder posted March 26, 2014
Red Tape Rising: Five Years of Regulatory Expansion
In his January 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama vowed to wield his executive powers when faced with congressional resistance to his legislative agenda, stating: “America does not stand still—and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation … that’s what I am going to do.”
This provocative declaration was…
Issue Brief posted March 21, 2014
Important Work to Be Done Before the U.S. Relinquishes Stewardship of ICANN
The Department of Commerce announced on March 14 that it will give up its last bit of control of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 2015. As is often the case with government decisions announced late on a Friday, this decision is controversial. The U.S. has exercised light oversight of ICANN since it established the organization and…
Backgrounder posted February 12, 2014
Net Neutrality Rules: Still a Threat to Internet Freedom
In a significant victory for American consumers, a federal appeals court struck down Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules regulating broadband Internet service on January 14. The much-anticipated decision clears the way for more investment, more innovation, and lower costs for Internet users. But the political battle over these “network neutrality” rules—which…
Issue Brief posted December 31, 2013
The 10 Worst Regulations of 2013
The year 2013 will be remembered for many things, not least the miles of red tape that were imposed on Americans. It has been a very busy year for regulators, who imposed new dictates on everything from the food people eat to the loans they obtain and the health insurance they buy (or lose).
Which are the worst new rules? There are so many choices, and there is no…
Backgrounder posted October 10, 2013
Can the Postal Service Have a Future?
Americans love to complain about the post office. Enjoying one of the few government-enforced monopolies in the U.S., it has long been a model of bureaucratic inefficiency. In popular culture, it has been portrayed by TV sitcom characters such as Seinfeld’s Newman and Cheers’s Cliff Clavin as bumbling and dysfunctional. But Americans may not have the United States Postal…