On the Radio: Apple’s EU Antitrust Case

On Friday, I discussed the EU’s new antitrust case against Apple on the Lars Larson show. Audio is here.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

The economy bounced back in a big way, according to numbers released on Thursday. Things are not quite back where they were, but the trend is clear. As the virus retreats, the economy advances. This renders moot most of the plans President Biden outlined in his joint address to Congress on Wednesday. New regulations on the year also passed the 1,000 mark last week. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from underwater cables to tipping.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 60 final regulations last week, after 65 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 48 minutes.
  • With 1,030 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,140 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,149 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 28 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 47 the previous week.
  • With 715 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,180 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 437 notices last week, after 507 notices the previous week.
  • With 7,189 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,918 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,318 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 1,664 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 284 pages.
  • With 23,235 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 70,838 pages in 2021. The 2020 total was 87,352 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (subtracting skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. There are two such rules so far in 2021, none from the last week. Agencies published five economically significant rules in 2020 and four in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from net savings of $100.7 million to net costs of $362.5 million. The 2020 figure ranges from net savings of between $2.04 billion and $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 15 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with none in the last week. This is on pace for 46 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 199 new rules affect small businesses. Four are classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

EU Antitrust Action Against Apple – Bad for Trade, Bad for Consumers

This press release was originally posted at cei.org.

The EU Commission declared today that “Apple has a monopoly” in the distribution of music streaming apps to owners of Apple devices, the upshot of an antitrust investigation launched last year against the App Store and triggered by a complaint filed by streaming music company Spotify. CEI experts criticized the EU for what will be a poor outcome for consumers, entrepreneurs, and trade.

Ryan Young, CEI trade policy expert

“Antitrust policy can be a form of trade protectionism, similar to tariffs. Europe’s tech industry has long lagged behind America’s, largely due to the EU’s stifling regulatory climate. The EU could boost its tech industry by reforming its own bad policies, such as its corporate subsidies and overly risk-averse regulatory approach. Instead, it is trying to boost Europe-based Spotify by taking U.S.-based Apple to court.

“It is better to build up than to tear down. Europe has plenty of talented innovators and plenty of capital to fund them. The EU would better help consumers and businesses by letting its entrepreneurs innovate, rather than suing foreign competitors.”

Jessica Melugin, CEI technology policy expert

“Apple’s fees are in line with or less than the global industry standard, and Spotify has benefited greatly from the App Store’s distribution network. Spotify chose to offer its product through the App Store and now is crying to regulators in the EU and US for them to intervene and change the rules. Apparently, corporate cronyism is at home on both continents.”

Related analysis: Terrible Tech 2.0: The Most Burdensome, Anti-Consumer Technology Policy Proposals in Washington

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

The big news of the week was the guilty verdicts in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Senate Republicans continued their longtime strategy of bargaining with themselves by proposing $568 billion in infrastructure spending. This would leave Democrats free to use the reconciliation process on the remaining $1.4 trillion or so from their spending proposal without worrying about sacrificing any of the GOP bill’s projects in negotiations. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from parachutes to halibut sharing.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 65 final regulations last week, after 22 the previous week.
  • That is the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 35 minutes.
  • With 970 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,142 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,149 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 47 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 39 the previous week.
  • With 687 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,231 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 507 notices last week, after 350 notices the previous week.
  • With 6,752 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,922 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,664 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,122 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 285 pages.
  • With 21,915 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 71,153 pages in 2021. The 2020 total was 87,352 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (subtracting skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. There are two such rules so far in 2021, none from the last week. Agencies published five economically significant rules in 2020, and four in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from net savings of $100.7 million to net costs of $362.5 million. The 2020 figure ranges from net savings of between $2.04 billion and $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 15 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with one in the last week. This is on pace for 48 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 190 new rules affect small businesses. Four are classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

In the News: Hawley’s Antitrust Bill

A Fox News writeup of Sen. Josh Hawley’s newest antitrust bill quotes my colleague Jessica Melugin and me:

“[H]is claims that the industry, ‘hasn’t been a success … for the American economy,’ don’t ring true for so many Americans that are employed by or invested in these economic powerhouses, not to mention the millions of consumers who enjoy tech products,” Jessica Melugin, the director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) Center for Technology and Innovation, said of Hawley’s merger-banning legislation. 

CEI Senior Fellow Ryan Young called Hawley’s broader anti-tech efforts “feel-good populism” that is “just another culture war issue.”

Read the whole thing here.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Congress played a round of good idea-bad idea last week. Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) introduced a bill for a regulatory budget, similar to the spending budget Congress is supposed to authorize each year, while Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced antitrust legislation to overturn the notion of innocent until proven guilty for companies he doesn’t like. The 2021 Federal Register surpassed 20,000 pages, and is on pace for just more than 70,000 pages. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from helicopters to bankruptcy.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 22 final regulations last week, after 52 the previous week.
  • That is the equivalent of a new regulation every seven hours and 38 minutes.
  • With 905 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,142 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,327 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 39 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 29 the previous week.
  • With 640 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,222 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 350 notices last week, after 309 notices the previous week.
  • With 6,245 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,684 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,122 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 1,205 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 281 pages.
  • With 20,248 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 70,306 pages in 2021. The 2020 total was 87,352 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (subtracting skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. There are two such rules so far in 2021, none from last week. Agencies published five economically significant rules in 2020 and four in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from net savings of $100.7 million to net costs of $362.5 million. The 2020 figure ranges from net savings of between $2.04 billion and $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 14 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with one in the past week. This is on pace for 49 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 173 new rules affect small businesses. Four are classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

Seat-Jockeying and the Separation of Powers

An item from today’s Politico Playbook newsletter highlights an important aspect of Washington culture: the importance of proximity to power.

PELOSI’S LATEST HEADACHE — “Lawmakers scramble for ‘musical chairs’ to view Biden’s first Capitol speech,” by Mel Zanona and Sarah Ferris: “Which is a hotter ticket: Beyonce’s first post-pandemic concert or President Joe Biden’s first address to Congress? Washington is about to find out. Even as life slowly returns to normal on Capitol Hill amid the shrinking threat of Covid, strict safety protocols will remain in place for Biden’s April 28 joint address inside the House chamber. That means only 200 lawmakers, administration officials and staff will likely be allowed to attend the distanced and heavily sanitized event, a far cry from the typical crowds for a prime-time presidential speech.

“Such tight limits mean Democrats are already jockeying to score one of the precious few seats. And a handful of lawmakers have already logged a request with party leaders, who have the unenviable task of divvying up the small passel of tickets for the president’s debut speech.”

“Jockeying” is one word for it. We’re told the situation surrounding Biden’s speech is already downright contentious. One Democratic source told us that some in leadership didn’t even want to have this address because they knew it would cause this very problem with their members. People will feel jilted if they don’t get an invite. And Speaker NANCY PELOSI can’t afford that now because her majority is so narrow. But Biden wanted it, and the president gets what he wants.

This is not to pick on Democrats. Republicans are even worse.

Their power-worship problem got so bad, they opted against having a specific party platform for the first time since the GOP’s founding before the Civil War. Instead they pledged to support any policies then-President Trump put forward. They also went along with Trump’s attempt to change the 2020 election results, culminating in the violence at the Capitol on January 6. Even now, officials view trips to Mar-a-Lago as almost pilgrimages and are afraid to upset him.

I’ve been arguing since the Bush 43 years that the executive branch has grown too powerful. The previous administration’s excesses should have been enough to teach a lesson to both parties a lesson about the separation of powers. While the Democratic seat-jockeying episode is minor compared to the past year’s other debasements, it does not inspire hope.

Hawley Antitrust Plan Would Limit Innovation and Harm Consumers

This news release was originally posted at cei.org.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) today touted a new proposal he calls a “trust busting plan” that calls for a new standard for antitrust intervention to replace the legal principle of consumer harm. While the plan is not accompanied by specific legislation, Competitive Enterprise Institute experts weighed in on the Senator’s proposal.

Director of CEI’s Center for Technology and Innovation Jessica Melugin said:

“Senator Hawley claims that allowing the tech industry to operate in a relatively free market ‘hasn’t been a success for the American consumer,’ but if there’s consumer harm to point to, why does he advocate for abandoning the consumer harm standard in U.S. antitrust law? Perhaps it’s because consumers have enjoyed consistent innovations in products and services from ‘big tech,’ especially while quarantining during the pandemic and often at no monetary cost to them.  Similarly, his claims that the industry, ‘hasn’t been a success…for the American economy,’ don’t ring true for so many Americans that are employed by or invested in these economic powerhouses, not to mention the millions of consumers who enjoy tech products.”

Senior Fellow Ryan Young said:

“One of the most problematic parts of Sen. Hawley’s antitrust plan is its proposed ban of mergers and acquisitions for companies larger than $100 billion in annual revenues. Startups need capital to compete in the big leagues. But financial regulations, especially in the post-Dodd-Frank era, make it difficult for smaller companies to hold IPOs or attract other forms of investment. So, they instead get their capital by being bought out by one of the big tech companies.

“The regulatory situation is so bad that many promising startups are founded with the explicit goal of selling out to a bigger company. If Sen. Hawley wants fewer acquisitions by big companies, he should focus on the root cause of bad financial regulations, rather than the feel-good populism of banning mergers and acquisitions.

“Then again, the feel-good populism is likely the point. Hawley’s proposal is unlikely to become law. For him, antitrust policy is just another culture war issue. He wants to fire up his base and provoke his opponents. In this sense, his antitrust proposal is no different than his similarly unserious proposals to ban infinite scrolling in social media apps and to have the federal government regulate political speech.”

For more information on CEI’s position on antitrust, please visit cei.org/antitrust.

This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen floated the idea of a global minimum corporate tax and Amazon workers in Alabama voted against unionizing. The Biden administration on Friday released a $1.52 trillion spending proposal, separate from the $2 trillion infrastructure bill that is still under construction. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from subsistence fishing to robocalls.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 52 final regulations last week, after 48 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 14 minutes.
  • With 876 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,269 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,327 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 29 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 62 the previous week.
  • With 591 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,205 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 309 notices last week, after 422 notices the previous week.
  • With 5,738 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,657 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,205 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 984 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 282 pages.
  • With 18,881 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 70,451 pages in 2021. The 2020 total was 87,352 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (subtracting skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. There are two such rules so far in 2021, none from the last week. Agencies published five economically significant rules in 2020, and four in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from net savings of $100.7 million to net costs of $362.5 million. The 2020 figure ranges from net savings of between $2.04 billion and $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 14 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with one in the last week. This is on pace for 52 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 163 new rules affect small businesses. Four are classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

More on the Corporate Tax

Andrew Stuttaford, who edits National Review‘s policy-focused Capital Matters section, has a writeup in his daily newsletter on the consequences of a corporate tax increase, in which he quotes from my recent piece that ran on his site. Andrew’s analysis is excellent, and detailed.

The Washington Examiner‘s Sarah Westwood quotes me in an article about the proposed increase.

The Dispatch, an outlet founded by Jonah Goldberg to offer a less tribal voice for the right than the Trump-centered outlets, was also nice enough to draw from my National Review piece in their daily newsletter (scroll down to the “worth your time” section”.

I also discussed corporate taxes on the Rod Arquette show in Salt Lake City. I’ll post a link to the audio if I find one.