The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (the Bureau) proposes a rule to prohibit mandatory arbitration agreements in consumer financial-product or service contracts. The Bureau bases its proposed rulemaking on findings from its 2015 study, which was mandated by Congress under Section 1028(a) of the Dodd-Frank Act.
In a new public interest comment for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, University of Virginia law professor Jason S. Johnston, George Mason University law professor Todd J. Zywicki, and Mercatus Center senior policy writer Michael P. Wilt examine the Bureau’s proposed rule and findings, and they demonstrate that the Bureau’s data and analysis are often inconsistent, inadequate, and flawed.
Because of flaws in the methodology and data, the Bureau’s 2015 study should not be used as the basis for any regulatory proposal to limit the use of consumer arbitration. Furthermore, regulatory efforts to limit the use of arbitration will likely leave consumers worse off. A deeper analysis of the Bureau’s data shows that arbitration is, in reality, relatively fair and successful at resolving a range of disputes between consumers and providers of consumer financial products.
Federal regulations affecting food are intended primarily to protect public health by ensuring that food is safe. These regulations affect both the cost of growing and manufacturing food and the ever-changing makeup of the food supply. According to President Clinton’s Executive Order 12866, food safety regulations (like all regulations) must be based on “the best reasonably obtainable scientific, technical, economic and other information concerning the need for, and consequences of, the intended regulation.” Agencies are also legally responsible for ensuring that the science and analysis within these regulations satisfies quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity requirements. Yet far too often, federal food regulations conform to none of these requirements. As a result, food regulations cost far too much and accomplish far too little, far too often.
My testimony today will touch on these problems with our current food regulation system. I will provide several examples of failed food safety regulations and explain why there are better approaches to solve food safety problems than regulations that try to anticipate every conceivable problem.
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has requested comments pertaining to the governance of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The Technology Policy Program of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the impact of regulation on society. It conducts careful and independent analyses employing contemporary economic scholarship to assess policy issues from the perspective of the public interest.
My testimony focuses on three key issues: first, the extent of the Social Security financial shortfall; second, whether we’re actually facing a so-called “retirement crisis;” and third, how the current structure of the nation’s largest retirement program, Social Security, provides disincentives to work and save and is in need of modernization if the program is to fit the needs of the twenty-first century and achieve fiscal sustainability.
Chairman Meadows and Ranking Member Connolly: I am honored to have been invited to testify before you on the process of competitive sourcing as an initiative in government purchases of goods and services.
I am a vice president at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where my work over the past 15 years has focused on mechanisms that would improve the quality of governance in America. Before joining Mercatus, I served as an elected member of the New Zealand Parliament and a member of the Cabinet of New Zealand and was later appointed New Zealand’s ambassador to Canada and the Caribbean. New Zealand implemented a series of reforms to budget procedures when I served as a legislator, and Canada made major changes to its budget processes during my tenure there.
My comments today will draw on my research, these experiences, and on research that we have done at the Mercatus Center on budget procedures throughout the United States.
Chairman Price, Ranking Member Van Hollen, and members of the committee: thank you for inviting me. As an economist and senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, my primary research focuses on the regulatory process—its strengths, its weaknesses, and proposals for improving it. One such proposal is the creation of a budget for regulations.
The economic world changes most and for the good in economies where rivalrous economic behavior is allowed most to flourish, that is, in economies devoted to free enterprise. The flood of new economic knowledge that these swiftly changing economies produce generally results in higher-quality products for consumers at lower prices on average, as businesses compete with each other for the consumer’s dollars and strive to better serve consumer needs.
Congress has no end to the number of things it has to do, as I experienced not long ago as a staffer. Near the top of its list of “to-dos” is the protection of this amazing process of value creation through innovation, discovery, and competition. We depend utterly on the private sector to produce nearly all of the material things we value. While the public sector is a necessary partner in this production through its provision of public goods (courts of justice, defense of the country, highways, and so forth), the betterment of the American people since 1900 is almost wholly the accomplishment of competition between entrepreneurs trying to obtain the consumer’s attention for their products or services.
My view on a successful reform strategy is to first create a concept of what this activity would look like in a perfect world. Once you are satisfied that you have identified what the very best new systems and procedures would look like, it is necessary to identify what it is possible to get done. You will then know what has been traded off to produce a solution that is doable. It is also possible to design today’s reform in such a way that it does not eliminate future desirable reforms that would cumulatively improve the process.
The Regulatory Studies Program of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is dedicated to advancing knowledge about the impact of regulation on society. As part of its mission, the program conducts careful and independent analyses that employ contemporary economic scholarship to assess regulations and their effects on the economic opportunities and the social well-being available to all members of American society.
My name is Adam Thierer, and I am a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where I study technology policy. Along with other Mercatus Center scholars, I have conducted extensive research on the questions raised in the NTIA’s Internet of Things (IoT) proceeding. Accordingly, I am pleased to submit for the record two recently published Mercatus Center articles. The first article is a compendium of statistics on the economic impact of the IoT and wearables that I coauthored with Andrea Castillo. The second is a law review article I authored for the Richmond Journal of Law and Technology last year.
In a new video, Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow Brian Blase discusses a report from the Department of Health and Human Services that finds Medicaid enrollees who gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act cost almost 50 percent more, on average, than the government projected just one year ago.
Central banks' part in the Great Recession, and the lackluster recovery since, are reviving interest in monetary rules. That revival raises crucial questions. Might the Federal Reserve and other central banks have performed better if they’d adhered to monetary policy rules? Could rules have avoided the crisis altogether? Can they avoid future crises? If so, which rules work best? Can a monetary policy rule work even in a world of near-zero, or negative, interest rates?
Rebounding after disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods can be daunting. How do residents of these communities gain access to the resources they need to rebuild while overcoming the collective action problem that characterizes post-disaster relief efforts?
Please join the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University for a panel discussion featuring Hayek Program Senior Fellow Virgil Storr and his new book Community Revival in the Wake of Disaster: Lessons in Local Entrepreneurship.
As the world’s first decentralized digital currency, Bitcoin has the potential to revolutionize online payment systems and commerce in ways that benefit both consumers and businesses. Individuals can now avoid using an intermediary such as PayPal or submitting credit card information to a third party for verification—both of which often involve transaction fees, restrictions, and security risks—and instead use bitcoins to pay each other directly for goods or services.