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OpenMarket: October 2008

  • U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Stirs in Its Sleep

    October 28, 2008
    The stalled U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement has become a campaign issue in Florida's 25th District, which is home to a substantial Colombian-American population. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is using his support of the agreement as a club with which to beat his challenger.

    That challenger, Joe Garcia, doth protest. He says he is “for fair trade and getting it done in a way that protects American jobs and American commerce.” That's another way of saying that he thinks consumers are paying too little for goods and services.

    Here at CEI, we believe that trade cannot be fair unless it is free. For more on how the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement promotes both fairness and freedom, see this study that Fran Smith and I co-authored in July.
  • Hartford's Airport Expansions: A Harbinger of Doom?

    October 27, 2008
    An article from the Australian Herald-Sun newspaper points out that the release of new AC/DC albums has correlated with economic recessions in the United Kingdom. True. Another odd correlate: expansions of Bradley International Airport outside of Hartford, Connecticut.  Whenever the airport expands, the economy contracts. Bradley, according to the FAA, the 50th busiest airport in the country, serves the cities of Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA. Relative to the size of the cities it serves--both under 200,000 in population--it's a pretty busy airport. Some people doing...
  • The More the Government Does, the More Harm it Does

    October 26, 2008
    At least, that appears to be the lesson of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's misnamed New Deal.  New research by two UCLA economists suggests that it was FDR's counterproductive manipulation of the economy that lengthened the economic crisis.  Reports UCLA:
    Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt. After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian...
  • Where is all of the Warming that We've been Promised?

    October 26, 2008
    Every fall I pray for global warming to intensify. I realize it is supposed to mean the doom of the planet, but I keep thinking about all of the ways in which warm weather is so much more pleasant than the cold. I know that is short-sighted, but despite all of the warnings of disastrous warming, WHERE IS IT? There's been no warming over the last decade. So what does the concept of "global warming" mean if there is no warming? In fact, an increasing number of scientists are doubting the alarmist case.  Some even--shudder!--doubt that CO2 is driving temperature changes.  Writes Lorne Gunther of...
  • Have a Slice of Uber-Steroid-Flattener-Cake

    October 24, 2008
    My colleague Iain Murray recently mentioned his upcoming review in the American Spectator of Tom Friedman's new book, Hot, Flat and Crowded. While I'm sure readers will be informed and enlightened by Iain's take on the current book, no mention of any Friedman project could be complete without a link back to one of the best book reviews of the last decade: Matt Taibbi's review of Friedman's The World Is Flat from April 2005:
    Predictably,...
  • Chevron says "don't buy our product"

    October 24, 2008
    Chevron has plastered ads throughout the Washington, DC transit system that have slogans such as "I will unplug things more" or "I will use less energy" or “I will take my golf clubs out of the trunk" or "I will at last consider a hybrid." I have never seen a company basically say "please, don't buy or use our product. Really, don't." Could anyone imagine Apple with an ad campaign that says "I will listen to less music"? Or GM or Toyota putting an ad out saying "I will drive less"? I have no idea what Chevron hopes to accomplish with its campaign. Maybe its just misguided, maybe they think that it will lead to Chevron being perceived more positively. My guess is that the general...
  • Atlas Network joins BeyondBailouts.org

    October 24, 2008

    CEI is happy to announce that the Atlas Network has joined our efforts to stop future reckless spending on the part of Congress, this administration, and the next at BeyondBailouts.org.

    At AtlasNetwork.org you'll find news from a diverse network of independent think tanks, scholars, and friends that collaborate with Atlas to promote individual liberty, economic freedom, and limited government under the rule of law.  Now you'll find their...

  • October surprise -- existing home sales up in September

    October 24, 2008

    Surprise, surprise. Existing home sales were up in September 2008. According to Reuters,

    Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose 5.5 percent last month, the biggest gain since July 2003, and the inventory of unsold homes fell,

    The National Association of Realtors, which released the data, said the gains are fairly widespread:

    Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said more markets are seeing year-over-year gains. “The sales turnaround which began in California several months ago is broadening now to Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Rhode...

  • Russ Roberts on Greenspan's recanting

    October 24, 2008

    Russ Roberts this morning on CafeHayek has two posts on Alan Greenspan's abject testimony on Capital Hill yesterday. One goes through some of the mea culpa replies to Chairman Waxman's aggressive baiting. As Roberts leads off,

    Alan Greenspan has been forced to admit the heresy of his youth. He has recanted.

    Roberts' second post portrays Greenspan as the ghost of Milton Friedman:

    In one of the most shocking and eerie moments in the history of Congress, the ghost of Milton Friedman recently completed an appearance on Capitol Hill before the House Committee of Government Oversight and Reform. Appearing...

  • Mukasey sits

    October 24, 2008
    Trust in the integrity of a government's voting process is critical. If you don't believe me, think Venezuela and Zimbabwe. In the US, public outcry is already beginning over widespread voting fraud issues, yet the government is doing little. Quin Hillyer, in his piece "No Righting Voting Wrongs in Ohio", details what can and should be done to start to restore public trust in the system.
    The nation's highest court ruled Friday that, for now, a federal district court cannot force Ohio's Secretary of State to enforce federal elections laws that she is flagrantly ignoring. Oddly enough, the Supreme Court is right: A loophole allows the Secretary of State to make a mockery of the law — unless and until DOJ steps in. But DOJ is so busy suppressing...

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