rules-and-regulationsIn the Old Testament there are 613 commandments. Apparently, God deemed those to be enough to regulate almost every aspect of the lives of his people for thousands of years. You could read all of them in less than 30 minutes.

The American federal government, however, is not so succinct. There are over 1 million restrictions in the federal regulations alone (i.e., not counting the statutory law). And thousands more are added every year.

Each year the Competitive Enterprise Institute puts out annual survey — Ten Thousand Commandments — that reveals the size, scope, and cost of federal regulations. Here are some highlights from the 2016 edition:

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

World Youth Day to include focus on persecuted Christians
Ines San Martin, Crux

For most of those who’ve ever attended an international Catholic rally known as “World Youth Day”, the event is a spiritual adrenaline rush hard to top. For a full week, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of young people from all over the world meet in one city to share and celebrate their faith.

A Legal Victory Against Obamacare—For Now
Matt Ford, The Atlantic

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled against the Obama administration’s method of funding a major Affordable Care Act subsidy.

Chaldean archbishop doesn’t see Christians wiped out of Iraq
Dale Gavlak, Catholic News Service

Despite predictions that Christianity could be wiped out of his war-torn homeland within five years, an Iraqi Catholic cleric said he believes in God’s ultimate preservation.

Markets Are the Voice of the People
Steven Horwitz, FEE

The supporters of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders seem to believe that “establishment” politicians have stopped listening to “the people” and that their preferred candidate’s policies would reverse that trend. This is an old claim with a dark past.

Acton Institute Director of Research Samuel Gregg joined host John Harper on Relevant Radio’s Morning Air on Friday morning to discuss his latest book, For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common GoodBanking and finance are vitally important institutions in a free and prosperous society, and ordered properly contribute a great deal to the common good. The real question of the day is whether or not our banking and finance systems are properly ordered, and if they have gotten off track, how to reorient them toward the common good.

The full interview is available via the audio player below.

Acton Institute Research Fellow and Director of Poverty, Inc. Michael Matheson Miller made an appearance on Fox Business Channel last week to discuss how his documentary addresses the issue of celebrity efforts at poverty alleviation, noting that often, such campaigns can do more harm than good. You can watch the interview below.

littlesister-scotusWhat just happened?

The Supreme Court avoided issuing a major ruling today in a combined religious liberty case, Zubik v. Burwell. In a unanimous decision, the justices wrote that the Court “expresses no view on the merits of the cases” but were instead sending the case back down to the lower courts for opposing parties to work out a compromise.

What is this case, and what’s it about?

The case, Zubik v. Burwell, combines seven challenges to the Health and Human Services’ (HHS) contraceptive/abortifacient mandate.

To fulfill the requirements of the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka ObamaCare) the federal government passed a regulation (often called the “HHS Mandate”) that attempts to force groups into providing insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients. Some religious groups, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, objected on the ground that the requirement violates their religious liberty as protected by the First Amendment and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). HHS offered an accommodation that the Little Sisters found to be insufficient.

The Supreme Court was asked to decide, as SCOTUS Blog explains, whether the government has offered nonprofit religious employers a means to comply and whether the whether HHS satisfies RFRA’s test for overriding sincerely held religious objections in circumstances where HHS itself insists that overriding the religious objection will not fulfill HHS’s regulatory objective—namely, the provision of no-cost contraceptives to the objector’s employees.

Who are Zubik and Burwell?

digging“Martin Luther probably did more than any Protestant to establish the theology of work many Christians embrace today,” says Dan Doriani. “Like no theologian before him, he insisted on the dignity and value of all labor.”

Doriani highlights many of Luther’s positive contributions to the theology of work, but warns that it can lead to confusing “work” and “vocation”:

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, May 16, 2016

Life Expectancy is Increasing and Health Inequality is Down
Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution

In an excellent new paper, Currie and Schwandt discuss the good news overall–life expectancy is up and health inequality is down, in some cases dramatically.

Why Trade Doesn’t Cause Unemployment
The Heritage Foundation

Recently, some have claimed that international trade is responsible for unemployment in the United States. It can be shown that over the last 40 years this has not been the case.

Federal Programs Keep People Poor
Veronique de Rugy,

We can’t tax our way to greater income mobility.

Fatima relevant to today’s religious freedom struggles
Father Jeff Kirby, Crux

Friday is the thirty-fifth anniversary of the attempted assassination of St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in 1981. The date is significant, since May 13 is also the anniversary of the apparitions of Mary in the small Portuguese town of Fatima in 1917.