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Today's Links: March 29, 2012

OPINION

JIM MAXEINER: "What Germany Can Teach the U.S.: Rewrite Old Laws"
"In 1955, after ten years of American occupation and 80 years of bad law-making from the governments of Otto von Bismarck to Adolf Hitler, Germany announced a house-cleaning of its laws. At Parliamentary direction, the Federal Ministry of Justice collected all of the existing laws it believed the government should keep. Laws not in the collection were no longer valid. How has Germany kept current since then? For one thing, it sporadically conducts new spring cleanings. Most recently, it reduced 2,039 laws to 1,728."

PETE SEPP: "Obama, Menendez Push Economically-Painful Anti-Energy Bill"
"At the beckoning of President Obama, Sen. Robert Menendez once again introduced a bill in the Congress to increase taxes on oil and natural gas companies by about $4 billion annually. My colleague at National Taxpayer Union warned just Monday  that, if passed, this measure would not reduce fuel prices, and in fact could add to the burden faced at the pump. Still, supporters hope this maneuver will be seen as a way to make these companies feel some kind of pain in return."

TIM CARMODY: "The Case Against Apple and Publishers"
"Apple and five of the 'Big Six' trade publishers are reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice for antitrust violations. The point of concern is the five publishers’ staggered but identical move to an agency rather than a wholesale pricing model, not just for Apple, but for all e-book retailers — a move that caused e-book prices for consumers to rise."

NEWS

INTERNATIONAL - Spanish Strike Tests Tolerance for Reform
"Spanish workers slowed public transport to a crawl and disrupted factories on Thursday in a protest over Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's sweeping reforms a day before a new round of budget cuts."

PRIVACY - House Votes Down Plan to Block Employers From Facebook Snooping
"The controversial -- if not exactly common -- practice of requiring job applicants to disclose their Facebook passwords briefly became ammunition for an unsuccessful Democratic effort to block an unrelated regulatory reform plan. "

GENDER - Access to Pill Boosts Women's Earnings
"A new study may add tinder to the debate over whether the federal government ought to require health insurance plans to pay for  contraception. New research shows that access to birth control pills over the past 50 years has translated into higher pay and better careers for women."