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OpenMarket: January 2009

  • Next on the Bail-Out List: The Porn Industry?

    January 8, 2009
    It seems everyone in America is suffering. So obviously everyone is entitled to a bail-out. At least, that is the theory being advanced by America's porn industry.
  • Sunstein Nomination

    January 8, 2009
    Looks like my colleague Iain Murry and I concur on President-elect Barak Obama's selection of Cass Sunstein to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Sunstein may be the best choice we could have expected from an administration that pro-regulatory environmental activists seem to believe is a Superhero. In fact, Sunstein is a reasonably good choice for any administration because he has a solid understanding of science and risk management, which is critical for a leader of OIRA. I did offer a critical review of his book, ...
  • Stimulating Rent Seeking

    January 8, 2009
    President-elect Obama's proposed economic stimulus package (on which Doug Bandow commented recently) isn't even in Congress yet, and the the rent-seeking has already started. ClimateWire reports:
    As lawmakers and President-elect Barack Obama mull another economic stimulus package, businesses and congressional leaders are jockeying to be in position to receive the first trickles of federal cash intended to stem losses of jobs and raise energy efficiency. Two sectors, in particular, stand to benefit, judging by the debate so far. Labor unions are pressing for a package that focuses on "green jobs" like renewable energy generation and retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency, as well as traditional construction...
  • Stimulus Exit Strategy

    January 8, 2009
    Along with a deflating perfect storm bubble, the US economy is facing a crisis in confidence. These trillion numbers--1,1,3, and 10.6; Obama's stimulus package, the deficit, the budget and the debt--have us all freaked out. There is now even a market for shorting the US government. According to Senator Corker, congressional talks with the auto CEOs and UAW broke down when the UAW refused to agree to a date that the auto companies wages would be competitive. Americans who value this country's competitiveness should demand no less. You want a fiscal stimulus--what day does the balanced budget amendment go into effect? And while you're at...
  • Let the Sunstein In

    January 8, 2009

    I was cheered this morning by the news that Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago is to be the next head of OIRA, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. While not someone a libertarian conservative would necessarily appoint, he is possibly the best choice possible that Obama could have made, and his friendship with the President-elect suggests he will have some power. In particular, Prof. Sunstein has been a very strong opponent of the Precautionary Principle, which is the rock upon which many environmental regulatory initiatives are built. He also called CEI's litigation to draw attention to the fatal consequences of CAFE regulation "the principal case involving the issue of health-health tradeoffs."

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  • Thousands Die After Zimbabwe Dictator Nationalizes Water Systems

    January 8, 2009
    Thousands of people have died of cholera in Zimbabwe after the country's left-wing dictator Robert Mugabe nationalized municipal water systems to seize their revenue, allowing them to fall into ruin in the process. "The cholera epidemic has its origins in politics . . .Mugabe's ZANU-PF regime nationalized municipal water supplies in 2006 after the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by Morgan Tsvangirai, controlled some 80 percent of seats nationwide following successes in municipal elections. Mugabe's government seized the water authorities to deny the MDC revenue and to control the lucrative contracts for repair of the broken system. The result was mayhem: Graft and corruption further undermined repairs, water went untreated and raw sewage was pumped into [the capital...
  • Stopping Wasteful Spending: Better Latte Than Never

    January 7, 2009
    Working in Washington, D.C. for the last decade, I've become familiar with the experience of criminal conduct in city government. The city sports a culture of corruption so brazen that it has included everyone from the (former) mayor down to local beat cops. The crimes perpetrated include everything from selling drugs to demanding kickbacks from government contractors to a $50 million embezzlement scam perpetrated by local tax officials. It is therefore with a spirit of weary amusement that I read about a group of Chicago Public Schools officials and their recent purchase of...
  • Costa's Confusion on Net Neutrality

    January 7, 2009
    As PC Magazine ends its run as a print publication and moves to an online-only model, columnist Dan Costa pens a good, yet confused, column.
  • The Thaw Could Melt Our Cynical Hearts

    January 7, 2009
    Fans of eco-apocalyptic movies will be happy right now. The past few months have seen a veritable bonanza in human-killing eco-excellence.
  • Nationalized Health Care: Growing the Nanny State

    January 7, 2009
    Advocates of the Nanny State have long been with us.  What was Prohibition but an early manifestation of government treating everyone as children to protect them? But as Paul Hsieh points out in the Christian Science Monitor, other countries use universal health care as an excuse to further regulate the lives of their citizens.  America already has started down the same road.  Nationalizing the medical system would ensure even more government meddling and violations of individual liberty. Writes Hsieh:
    Although American healthcare is only under partial government control in the form of programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, American nanny state regulations have exploded in recent years. Many American cities ban restaurants from selling foods with trans fats. Los Angeles has imposed a moratorium on...

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