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OpenMarket: July 2009

  • Congress Sticks It to the Taxpayer by Supporting No-Strings-Attached Green Energy Loans

    July 9, 2009
    Earlier this week the House Appropriations Committee passed a $27 billion budget for the Department of Energy. You might think that the DOE already has enough trouble trying to spend the $39 billion it received in the federal stimulus act enacted earlier this year (that's almost twice the DOE's entire budget for 2007), but you'd be wrong-when it comes to taxpayer dollars, the money pit otherwise known as the DOE can't get enough. There are many problems with the DOE's bloated budget, but I'm only going to address the most egregious: The Congress's support for no-strings-attached "clean energy" loans. As I've noted elsewhere, in 2005, the Congress created a Loan Guarantee Program for "innovative" energy production that reduces greenhouse...
  • Government health care monopoly--not in consumers' interests

    July 9, 2009
    dmvRegina Herzlinger, chair of Harvard Business School, in National Review takes on health care and the Obama Administration's arguments that a government-run plan would increase competition, provide more choice, and lead to greater cost efficiencies:
    But before we get swept away, let us remember that these health-insurance markets would be monopolies run by government, two characteristics that normally do not enhance consumer welfare. Picture the efficiency of your Division of Motor Vehicles, for example. Also consider government-...
  • Leading trade lawyer: real problems with carbon tariffs

    July 9, 2009
    Leading trade lawyer Gary Horlick testified yesterday on carbon tariffs before the Senate Finance Committee.  As the Senate prepares an energy suppression/global warming bill, it is attempting to find ways to soften the "border adjustment" provisions in the House-passed bill (H.R. 2454). Horlick points out some of the practical problems of setting up a carbon tariff system and cautions about the potential effects of such measures on the international trading system.  As he notes, if the production method rather than the end-product is focused on, such processes as agricultural biotechnology may face...
  • Regulation of the Day: Asphalt Emissions

    July 9, 2009
    EPA is proposing national emission standards for asphalt processing and asphalt roofing manufacturing.
  • Obama Nominee: Corrupt Foreign Rulers Have Right to Remain in Office Until They Receive "Judicial Process"

    July 8, 2009
    Arturo Valenzuela, Obama's nominee to be Assistant Secretary of State, falsely claims it was an illegal "coup" for Honduras to remove its corrupt would-be dictator, President Mel Zelaya, without providing more "judicial process," even though courts said it was perfectly legal. Obama has joined Cuban dictator Castro and Venezuelan dictator Chavez in ...
  • July 6 Bluetooth hearing

    July 8, 2009
    Monday, I attended the fairness hearing for the Bluetooth MDL settlement. UCLA math professor and client Henry Towsner was in the audience.

    Dozens of people filed objections with the court, but, aside from the CCAF objection, only 12 of those successfully navigated the procedural maze to file a "valid" objection. Out of those, we were the only ones to cite precedent in favor of our objection. And we were the only ones to make an appearance in court, which suggests that this would've been a quiet rubber-stamp without our appearance and filing.

    After hearing from all sides, Judge Fischer took the position that settlements are favored outcomes in a world of crowded dockets, and, even if the case is meritless and unlikely to succeed, it is preferable to allow defendants to get out of the case by paying a small cy pres sum, since the plaintiffs would get nothing if...
  • Crews in the News: Consumer Choice Doesn't Come From Regulation

    July 8, 2009
    CEI's own Wayne Crews is quoted in the Boston Globe this morning, explaining why real competition -- not government-mandated 'openness' -- is the best way to promote consumer choice. Wayne takes issue with Ben Scott of Free Press, who describes cellular data access as “a classical net neutrality issue.’’ Apparently placing legal burdens on any new web platform is Mr. Scott's strategy for encouraging the spread of mobile internet access...
  • Igniting Agricultural Innovation

    July 8, 2009
    "Biotechnology applied to agriculture has enormous potential to enhance our ability to develop seeds for improved crops and for enhanced livestock to enable us to meet the food, feed and fiber challenges of a growing world and stressed ecosystems in coming years. Significant impediments are created by unwarranted or outdated regulatory burdens that could easily be removed."
  • Antitrust Irony

    July 8, 2009
    Microsoft is having a tense antitrust discussion with the EU. Meanwhile, Google is readying an operating system to directly compete with Windows. Compare and contrast.
  • Blight Hits East Coast, Capitalism Saves the Day

    July 7, 2009
    There are many reasons for free-market advocates to be unhappy about current affairs. With numerous pieces of legislation being proposed to put shackles on our economy, it can be quite easy to take a pessimistic outlook on the present state of free markets. While there are many problems facing advocates of free markets, worrying about blight-induced famine should not be one of them. It can be easy to get caught up in defending open markets and to forget the unseen benefits that they constantly provide.

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