The value of some firms is strongly affected by which party controls political power. Stock market
reactions to political events demonstrate this. However, contrary to common perception, event
studies do not indicate that the ability to make unlimited campaign contributions enhances a firm’s
value. Geographic and personal connections to political actors matter more, although there is some
evidence that personal connections may be rented via professional lobbying.
Is the midnight regulations phenomenon real and what are its consequences? This paper finds that when an administration’s time is almost up, submissions of economically significant regulations nearly double. Such surges in regulatory activity decrease the duration of regulatory review at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), likely because of political pressure to quickly approve new rules. Specifically, one additional economically significant regulation submitted to OIRA decreases the mean review time for all regulations by about two thirds of a day. If OIRA review improves regulation quality, then regulatory surges that decrease review time could hinder such improvement.
This paper assesses the quality and use of regulatory analysis for economically significant regulations produced by federal agencies in 2008. A shorter and updated version of this paper was published in the journal Risk Analysis.
After a careful review of the legislative requirements that the SEC consider investor protection, efficiency, competition and capital formation in adopting new rules, I would like to simply offer a list of six items that would demonstrate a sincere commitment by the SEC to fulfill its statutory mission. The first five I will list are in fact required by law if one carefully reads the legislative and judicial history of the SEC’s mandate to consider the economic impact of new rules.
Jerry Brito testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations, and Procurement Reform on open government and government transparency through technology.
Congress should conduct rigorous oversight of federal agencies and programs not just to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse, but also because current levels of spending are unsustainable, making spending cuts inevitable.
As more inevitable breaches are reported, the public will demand that Congress “do something” about the cyber threat from abroad—even if they have no idea what that something should be. As a result, Congress will be more than happy to act by spending gobs of money on “cyber R&D and scholarships,” by exempting companies from privacy laws, and even by licensing cybersecurity professionals.
Market competition is an ongoing process among sellers to persuade consumers voluntarily to choose among the vast array of goods and services available at any time from different producers. This competition is key to our high standard of living. As long as consumers are free to spend their money as they see fit, producers must serve consumers. This rivalry among producers is driven by producers’ understanding that, in free markets, profits are earned only by those producers who offer to consumers the best deals as judged by consumers .
What destroys this intricate fabric of social cooperation is when politicians and bureaucrats intervene, thinking they know better who should be producing which things and how they should be doing it. The social cooperation of the market relies on the accuracy of those price and profit signals. When government policy attempts to force prices up or down, limit profits or "bail out" losses, it pits us against each other in a struggle for government privileges rather than encouraging cooperation.
If Congress is truly concerned about a president enacting laws that it has chosen to reject, it should reconsider regulatory powers it routinely extends to the executive. On the other hand, if Congress continues to expand the power of the regulatory state, there might come a time when there indeed is nothing the president can't do unilaterally.
Jerry Brito is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center and directs the Technology Policy Program. His primary research interests are technology and telecommunications policy, government transparency and accountability, and the regulatory process.
Maurice McTigue is vice president for outreach at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He is director of the Mercatus Center's Government Accountability Project and a member of its Spending and Budget Initiative and State and Local Policy Project.
Eileen Norcross is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Her primary research interests include fiscal federalism and institutions, state and local governments, and economic development.