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OpenMarket: August 2009

  • OSHA Nominee Is Anti-Gun Ideologue and Junk Science Peddler

    August 17, 2009
    Obama has nominated David Michaels, an anti-gun activist, to head the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a powerful agency that regulates real and perceived hazards in the workplace. This raises the specter of federal bans on the storage or carrying of firearms in or near workplaces (even though some businessmen in high-crime areas possess guns to protect themselves against armed robbers). Michaels also has links to wealthy breast implant lawyers, who relied on junk science to drive silicone implants from the market, even though they remained available to...
  • Hurricane Activity Increase Due to Better Monitoring

    August 17, 2009
    The potential threat from more frequent and stronger hurricanes is a favorite scare scenario of climate alarmists. They point to disasters like Hurricane Katrina as examples. However, such anecdotal evidence, while dramatic, says little about overall cyclonic activity. A greater document of documented storms does not necessarily mean that more storms have occurred, only that more have been recorded. As Gabriel Vecchi and Thomas Knutson of NOAA state:
    Two recent papers (Vecchi and Knutson; and Landsea et al) suggest that, based on careful...
  • The Long Odds of Voting

    August 17, 2009
    A new NBER working paper finds that "On average, a voter in America had a 1 in 60 million chance of being decisive in the [2008] presidential election."
  • Regulation of the Day 33: Pressure-Sensitive Plastic Tape

    August 17, 2009
    Ending the levy would “likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping,” so it’s here to stay. Domestic tape producers must be pleased. Consumers, not so much.
  • Obama Backs Costly Health-Care Status Quo, and Limits on Choice and Competition

    August 15, 2009
    Germany is a lot smaller than the U.S., but it has a lot more health insurers to choose from, and cheaper health-care costs. One reason might be more competition: in the U.S., you can't buy individual health insurance from an out-of-state insurer, since an obsolete federal law lets states block purchases across state lines, taking away interstate-shopping rights that citizens would otherwise enjoy under the the Constitution's Interstate Commerce Clause. That leaves patients with fewer choices, higher prices, and less competition among insurers, who may control as much as 80 percent of the market in a particular state. In Germany and France, by contrast, you can buy from an insurer...
  • Now might just be the best time to shop at Whole Foods

    August 14, 2009
    That is if you find the usual crowd of holier than thou, environment-angelical, yuppie-types slightly annoying to navigate through while you purchase your organic produce and cage-free eggs. The aisles might just be a little less crowded since the Wall Street Journal published CEO, John Mackey's op-ed on health care reform on 8/12.
    "While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction-toward less government control and more individual empowerment"
    That was the statement that...
  • Tim Carney on State-Level Insurance Protectionism

    August 14, 2009
    In one regulated area of the economy after another, it's exasperating to hear journalists and pundits claim that, "The market has failed," when in fact it hasn't been allowed to function. That's especially true in the case of insurance, which operates under a regime of state-level protectionism, as former CEI Brookes Fellow Tim Carney makes clear in his Washington Examiner column today:
    Rep. John Shadegg, a conservative Republican from Arizona, has proposed a bill to allow interstate purchase of health insurance. Blue Cross has fiercely opposed this idea that could introduce more competition. Currently, Blue Cross companies typically have only a handful of competitors in each state.
    Property and casualty insurers operate under a similar...
  • Federal Budget Deficit Hits $1,270,000,000,000

    August 14, 2009
    Federal spending is going up. Tax receipts are going down. 2009's federal budget deficit is now up to $1.27 trillion as a result. That's about triple what even big-spending George W. Bush could manage.
  • Tech Liberation Front Celebrates 5 Years Today

    August 14, 2009
    The Technology Liberation Front group blog started five years ago today, offering free minds, free markets, free speech perspectives from technology policy experts at top think tanks. Tonight, they're hosting an event at Rocket Bar in downtown DC to celebrate (7th and G st in Chinatown).
  • Don't Forget Cap and Trade!

    August 14, 2009
    Even though 4 Democratic Senators are so nervous about the electricity tax called cap-and-trade they are urging their leadership to drop it from the global warming bill, no-one should count on that happening yet. More Senators need to wake up to the significant problems cap-and-trade has, and there is no better example of those than the European version of the scheme. With that in mind, my colleague Roger Abbott and I have written a piece for the American Spectator today that outlines just two of the problems the Europeans have encountered. We conclude:
    To sum up, the failure of the European ETS should give pause to Senators considering a similar system for the U.S. Cap-and-trade will not result in emissions...


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