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OpenMarket: December 2007

  • It Almost Makes You Want to Raise Tax Rates

    December 17, 2007
    The standard left-wing argument against tax rate reductions is that doing so will starve government of needed revenue. That, of course, is the best reason to cut taxes. Starve the beast, as they say. But it just doesn't seem to be true. Congress cut taxes at the behest of President George W. Bush and the revenue keeps pouring in. Of course, there are lots of reasons for continuing economic growth and rising incomes. But tax cuts, at least the modest ones typically enacted, have proved to be a terribly inefficient way to cut government revenue. Moreover, tax rate reductions turn out to be a very effective "soak the rich" mechanism. The wealthy keep paying a larger and larger share of total income tax collections. If one hasn't been convinced by leftish propaganda on how tax cuts are intended to help the rich, one might suspect that the supply siders are correct about how...
  • Class Action Abuse in the News: Scandalous Cy Pres

    December 17, 2007
    In the D.C. Examiner, Mark Tapscott has an interesting column about class action lawsuits. A common outcome of such suits is that the lawyers who bring them receive millions of dollars in attorney fees. Meanwhile, the consumers in whose name the lawyers sued receive only coupons that are worthless for most consumers. When consumers don't even bother to claim the money or coupons that they are entitled to receive in class-action lawsuit settlements (owing to factors such as complicated paperwork requirements or inadequate notice), the leftover money is instead given to charities, which often are left-wing advocacy groups, rather than groups that serve the general public or the needy. The Washington Post today...
  • National Review nails it on Bush mortgage bailout

    December 16, 2007
    While much of the media attention has focused on National Review's recent editorial endorsing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, another of the magazine's editorials may have been overshadowed. This is a pity, because it's of high significance in the credit and housing policy debate. In an editorial posted on NR's web site on December 11, the premiere conservative magazine came out squarely against the Bush administration's "voluntary" rate freeze for borrowers with resetting adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). The unsigned editorial hit all the right notes on how the bailout rewards irresponsibility, limits choices, and may send a terrible signal to international investors about America's upholding of its contracts. "For markets to work properly, imprudent actions must have...
  • Apply for a Google Policy Fellowship with CEI!

    December 14, 2007
    Google Policy Fellows will have the opportunity to work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debates on broadband and access policy, content regulation, copyright and trademark reform, consumer privacy, open government, and more.  CEI is proud to be one of those organizations. Applications deadline is January 1st, 2008. For application details visit:
  • The Green Grinch ...

    December 14, 2007
    “‘Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!' Then he [the Grinch] growled, with his grinch fingers nervously drumming, I MUST find a way to keep Christmas from coming! … that old Grinch was so smart and so slick. He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!” ~Dr. Suess, from The Grinch that Stole Christmas. The greens may not be able to steal all the joy of Christmas, but some apparently don't mind trying. One group of environmental activists has launched a new website called "," to take advantage of fear created by recent recalls of Chinese toys. They scare parents needlessly—raising unwarrented questions about the safety of a host of toys. They claim to have scientifically measured “dangerous” chemicals in a wide...
  • Pro-ethanol conversion on the road to Des Moines

    December 14, 2007
    Tim Carney continues to expose the ways in which some businesses seek rents from government, in his DC Examiner column. In this instance, he looks at the way in which the electoral process contributes to the phenomenon of concentrated benefits -- for the rent seekers -- at the expense of diffuse costs imposed on taxpayers.
    Federal subsidies for ethanol, with their costs to taxpayers, drivers, ranchers and food shoppers, might not exist if the nation's leading politicians didn't need to come to the Hawkeye State every four years and win over voters, local politicians, county chambers of commerce and farm...
  • Sun and Warmth Save Lives

    December 14, 2007
    Inadequate exposure to the sun kills at least 50,000 to 60,000 people per year in the United States alone, university researchers say. We've all been told by dermatologists to stay out of the sun to avoid skin cancer. But by depriving ourselves of sun, many of us are actually increasing our cancer risk, since sunlight protects against the most deadly forms of cancer, even as it increases the risk of a less deadly cancer, skin cancer, which does not kill most of its victims. Climate scientists assisted by CEI made this point in a 2006 Supreme Court amicus brief, noting that mortality rates are much higher in chilly northern cities where people tend to stay indoors than in warm Sunbelt cities.
  • Why both M and AO ratings for games?

    December 14, 2007
    During the course of promoting the recent paper I co-wrote with Eli Lehrer, I have come across the same question/complaint from gamers: Why have two adult ratings, both M and AO, when seemingly they perform the same role? The answer is that they don't.

    The key difference between M and AO is that M is sold in stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart, while AO is not. This is analogous to movies. While both NC-17 movies and X movies are only available to adults, X rated movies are definitely not sold in Wal-Mart. Though this isn't an official ESRB stance, most every retailer, large and small will not carry AO games if it sells games to a general audience. ...

  • Digg This Study on Entertainment Ratings

    December 13, 2007

  • Glenn Singleton's Racism and the Arlington Public Schools

    December 12, 2007
    Earlier, I wrote about the racist "diversity" consultant Glenn Singleton, who is hired by school officials, like the Arlington, Virginia schools, despite his long record of promoting offensive racial stereotypes, such as claiming that minority students are "emotional" and not "intellectual" or "task-oriented." What is commonly overlooked about Glenn Singleton's racist approach is who his real victims are: America's minority children. The Maoist indoctrination by Singleton that civil-rights historian and professor David Beito recounts...


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