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OpenMarket: November 2007

  • More confused conservatives

    November 12, 2007
    I have recently published several op eds on how the European Right has adopted the environmental policy of the Left, embracing greater interventions in the lives of individuals, rather than finding an environmental policy that promotes economic growth and individual liberty. This debacle from Sweden is another example of my point. The youth and student organizations of the Swedish Conservative party have traditionally been the ideological greenhouse and gatekeepers of the party. The leder of the youth organization, Niklas Wykman, recently raised internal fury when he stated "Why cannot white, middle aged men use public transport" and "it should hurt to use a car where there is public transport." Freelancer Thomas Gür wrote a wonderful column...
  • Sunset provisions needed

    November 12, 2007
    A recent survey in Britain on which laws Brits regards as their most stupid laws make a case for sunset provisions. The laws include a ban on eating mince pies on Christmas days from the days of puritan rule. It was meant to prevent the societal problem of gluttony. The problem is not that the law books are full of ridiculous laws, but that these sleeping regulations can be used against citizens when they least expect it. I am sure Pervez Musharraf would have loved to have some mince pie rules, or upside- down monarch stamps to use against those judges he has been trying to depose lately… Anyway, here's Britains top ten:
    1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament (27 percent) 2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing...
  • Race Games Continue In Our Courts and Schools

    November 12, 2007
    In June, the Supreme Court cut back on school districts' ability to assign students to schools by race, even when school districts claim to have reasons for doing so, such as promoting "diversity" or "racial balance." But that hasn't stopped left-wing trial judges from continuing to order school systems to use race. For example, Judge Bernice Bouie Donald ordered the Memphis schools to spend millions of dollars to bus children long distances, something the Justice...
  • Milton Friedman on Greed

    November 12, 2007
    Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek notes that on Friday [Nov. 16], nobel economist Milton Friedman will have been dead for one year. He forwarded a link to "Friedman giving Phil Donahue a two-minute lesson on markets, 'greed,' and politics." You can watch the video below. Thanks Don.
  • Does Paper Money Discriminate Against the Blind?

    November 9, 2007
    In American Council of the Blind v. Paulson, a trial judge declared that American paper money discriminates against the blind because it lacks features that the blind can use to easily distinguish between different denominations, such as bumps or different sizes or shapes. (The ruling has been placed on hold pending appeal.) Sarah Waldeck argues that this was judicial overreaching, for two reasons. First, the Rehabilitation Act only guarantees the disabled meaningful access to services and transactions, not perfectly equal access, and the blind have such access, through use of credit and debit cards and other payment options and innovations, which reduce the risk that merchants will defraud...
  • Regarldess of whether you believe it's a crisis or not, it's called Global Warming, not California Warming

    November 8, 2007
    California this week sued EPA for failing to grant it a waiver, under the Clean Air Act, that would allow the state to impose its own greenhouse gas emissions rules on new cars. If California succeeds in imposing its own super-stringent emission rules on cars, it will have no measurable effect whatsoever on future temperatures, whether measured globally or statewide. It will, however, have a disastrous impact on California consumers, and perhaps on the rest of the American public. California also recently sued the auto industry, demanding monetary damages for the fact that its cars emit carbon dioxide. The state lost that case. Hopefully, it will lose this one as well.
  • Another argument for eliminating daylight savings time

    November 8, 2007
    This study shows an increase in pedestrian deaths in afternoon rush hour traffic in November every year and the researchers are pinning it on the time shift from daylight savings time. Now that's a meaningless policy that should not cost 37 lives every year.
  • Vote going once, twice, and sold to sugar industry for $9,500.00!

    November 8, 2007
    Politics is a dirty business anywhere, but this story shows how dirty it is, and how cheap you can buy a vote in the U.S. Congress. There is something wrong with the funding model when politicians can peddle influence for contributions. I thought that was called bribing.
  • Subprime mortgages, credit cards, and bankruptcy

    November 8, 2007

    This Bloomberg article notes that banks and other lenders who pushed for reform of the consumer bankruptcy system are now stuck with some unintended consequences in the subprime mortgage market. It seems that many mortgage borrowers who can't afford their loans are willing to lose their homes but not give up their credit cards. That indeed does seem to be the case, according to many lenders. But the article goes on to blame bankruptcy reform for some of the subprime problem. That seems a stretch.

    Before the consumer bankruptcy reforms, people contemplating bankruptcy were able to load up their credit cards with debt, then declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have those debts wiped out. Now, many of those debtors with good incomes can't do that; they have to opt for Chapter 13,...

  • House votes for Peru FTA

    November 8, 2007
    Today the House of Representatives voted 285-132 to approve the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement. The Senate now has to consider legislation implementing the agreement. In the House vote, only 109 Democrats voted in favor of the trade pact, reflecting strong anti-trade sentiment fueled by labor unions.

    Democratic leadership had struck a bargain with the Administration this past summer to include enforceable labor and environmental provisions in all the pending and new trade agreements. The Peru pact was the first one to be voted on with those provisions. Still pending are deals with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea, which will face much tougher battles.

    Peru has been trading with the U.S. under preferential agreements approved by Congress, which provide that most goods can enter...

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