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OpenMarket: November 2008

  • Banks Sued No Matter What They Do

    November 30, 2008
    Banks get sued for discrimination no matter what they do.  If they don't make enough loans in low-income, predominantly minority neighborhoods, they get accused of "redlining," and are subject to sanctions under politically-correct laws like the Community Reinvestment Act, which contributed to the financial crisis by pressuring lenders to make risky mortgage loans.  But if they do make such loans, they get accused of "reverse redlining," and...
  • Stimulus Follies

    November 30, 2008
    President-elect Obama wants a massive stimulus package of $700 billion or more.  But previous attempts to artificially stimulate the economy have generally been failuresThe $160 billion in stimulus rebates early in 2008 failed to stimulate the economy, much less prevent the financial crisis that followed, even as they drove up the federal deficit and the national debt, while punishing hard work and providing pork for left-wing special interest groups....
  • Health Care Bureaucrats Take Care of Themselves

    November 30, 2008
    For years observers have noted the phenomenon of public school teachers sending their kids to private schools--especially in cities with the worst and deadliest public facilities.  Teachers at government schools might not be able to teach their own kids, but they can send them to safer, better private alternatives.  So it appears to be with health care in Great Britain. Reports the Daily Telegraph:
    The money was used to bring in physiotherapists to help workers recover from muscular-skeletal injuries at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Bosses said it prevented them from leapfrogging NHS patients and enabled them to return to work more quickly. However, the private treatment, which amounted to £12,116 for 271 appointments over the past year, was...
  • You've Just Got to Love Britain's Health Care Bureaucrats

    November 29, 2008
    First the National (Un)Health Service said if you wanted a drug that it wasn't willing to provide--too expensive for the purpose of saving your miserable life!--and decided to buy it yourself, then you would lose ALL medical care under the NHS.  That is, if you wanted a potentially life-saving treatment, you might have to bankrupt your family to pay for the rest of your treatment.  Just love those bureaucrats.  How I want that kind of treatment here, but I digress. Under fire from just about everyone, NHS reversed itself. Now you can buy the drugs and continue your treatment under NHS.  But what about families that did ruin themselves financially under the old rules?  Reports the Daily Mail:
    The health service is set to face a string of compensation...
  • DeLorean disproves domsayers in debate over auto bankruptcies

    November 28, 2008
    In the debate about bailing out the Big 3 automakers, it is said that we just can't allow a bankruptcy. Despite the fact that Chapter 11 bankruptcies have taken place for retailers such as Circuit City and many airlines such as U.S. Airways, autos are said to be different because of the duration of time that people hold on to their cars for. Horrific senarios are painted of consumers not being able to get parts for their automobiles if manufacturers are no longer in existence. But of all the many admittedly complicated aspects of a bankruptcy of General Motors (the company the Congressional hearings established was in the most trouble), these consumer issues provide the least reason for worry. In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, GM would most likely be reorganized into a new company, sans the current management and heavy costs. This is something that has proved impossible so far due to lax...
  • Imagine that: More Research Suggests that More Research is Needed

    November 28, 2008
    It seems that methane hasn't been behaving as the climate models suggest. Hmmm ... another problem for the alarmists who believe that the world is about to burn up. After they figure out methane, maybe they can get to work explaining why there's been no increase in temperature over the last decade--yet even as the temperature stabilizes global warming is supposedly causing all sorts of dastardedly climate disasters around the world. Something here does not compute. Before jumping off the policy roof and ruining the economy, maybe we should be sure that catastrophic climate change looms. Observes Rick Hodgin of Trendwatch::
    One thing does seem very clear, however; science is only beginning to get a handle on the big picture of global warming. Findings like these tell us it's too early to know for sure...
  • Wasteful "Stimulus" Packages by Government Don't Work

    November 27, 2008
    Only in Washington could politicians and bureaucrats dump more than $2 trillion into bail-out money holes and then claim that the federal government needs to spend several hundred billion more to "stimulate" the economy.  If a little of something fails, goes the mantra in Washington, do a lot of it!  Especially if it is money. But the Japanese government tried the same strategy to bring the country out of its economic slump, with disastrous results.  Editorializes Investors Business Daily:
    In the marketplace, money naturally gravitates toward real needs, signaled by the willingness of people to pay for goods and services out of their own pockets. In government spending, money follows power. It is channeled by key officeholders to favored constituencies. So when a national government...
  • Filling the Federal Money Hole

    November 27, 2008
    The Onion explains Washington, D.C. to those Americans who still have a naive civics class view of government.  Why is it important to continue filling the great "money hole"?  The Onion's top political analysts tell us.  And they do a better job than most of the talking heads on TV!
  • Holiday foods and natural carcinogens

    November 26, 2008

    I always enjoy the Thanksgiving Holiday Dinner Menu from the American Council on Science and Health. It lists the natural carcinogens and toxins that exist in just about every food we'll eat on Thanksgiving — and throughout the year -- but notes that none of those cause human health problems at those levels.

    As ACSH points out:

    ACSH's Holiday Dinner Menu highlights the chemicals -- and the carcinogens -- that Mother Nature herself has put in our food. These natural carcinogens, like...

  • Credit Spiral

    November 26, 2008
    So, say you've had a good relationship with a credit card company and been paying off substantially more than minimum payment over recent months. You've also completely paid off other credit cards in recent months. You then get a notice from the credit card company saying they're reducing your credit limit, right before Christmas. Would you be more than a little miffed? Well, I certainly was. The behavior of a certain large company surprised me today as I have always tried to maintain the best possible business relationship with that particular company. On inquiring, we were told that it was primarily because of the fall in the value of our house leading to a less positive debt ratio report from a credit rating agency, and that this could not be challenged because it was company policy. This is, of course, precisely the sort of generic modeling that led to the credit problems in...

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