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OpenMarket: September 2009

  • Nike quits the Chamber. When will the sanctimony end?

    September 30, 2009
    Today's Greenwire (subscription required) reports that Nike, the sports shoe king, is resigning its position on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors. Nike supports cap-and-trade legislation, a national renewable portfolio standard, a moratorium on new coal power plants lacking carbon capture and storage, and EPA regulation of CO2 under the Clean Air Act. The Chamber opposes all of the foregoing. Although the Greenwire story is not slanted, neither is it particularly informative. The reporter makes no effort to ascertain what bottom line interest might account for Nike's decision to quit the Chamber, or for the company's decision to join the Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP) coalition, a project of Ceres, the Gorethodox investor ...
  • Overpaid Bureaucrats Expand in Number and Pay

    September 30, 2009
    Thanks to the $800 billion stimulus package, and other huge government spending increases, the number of federal and state employees is projected to increase massively. The federal government's payroll may grow by more than 200,000, and perhaps as much as 600,000, over the course of the Obama administration. Obama's budgets, which would result in record deficit spending of $9.3 trillion, would add at least 100,000 additional bureaucrats during just his first budget, and perhaps as many...
  • The Magic of Numbers

    September 30, 2009
    Is it really easier to work in groups or is it just a way to shift responsibility? This question is relevant after the recent summit in Pittsburgh, where the G-8 has sort of transformed into the G-20. And even though the G-8 will be still meeting annually as well as the new G-20 format, the world leaders have announced that G-8 is not capable to solve world economic problems alone anymore. Maybe there is a similar reason for Russia to insist on joining the WTO as a union with Belarus and Kazakhstan? It is still not clear why Russia has taken this course of action. It looks like WTO membership is an Achilles' heel for Russia. And recently, the Russian government appears to be searching for new WTO membership obstacles. In June, Prime Minister Putin declared that entering the WTO for Russia is possible only if it were to enter as a trade union with Belarus and Kazakhstan. He pointed out...
  • Big Labor's Big Prize in Health Care "Reform"

    September 30, 2009
    In his Wall Street Journal column today, Holman Jenkins highlights one of the prizes at stake for organized labor in the current health care debate.
    Union members not only like the tax-free, open-ended health -care benefits they're used to getting. More important and often overlooked, organized labor itself is increasingly made up of health-care workers who benefit from an incentive system that artificially force-feeds great gobs of GDP into the industry's maw. Their long retreat elsewhere in the economy may continue unabated, but unions are steadily growing their clout in government and health care, two sectors that increasingly overlap and would become even more overlapped under the bills in Congress...
  • Rowdy Unionists Shout Down Opponents

    September 30, 2009
    Yesterday in Harrisburg, rowdy unionists disrupted a rally held by two Pennsylvania state legislators to promote legislation to end project labor agreements (PLAs), which put nonunion contractors at a sever disadvantage, on state construction projects.  Under a PLA, an open shop contractor could be required to employ workers from union hiring halls, acquire apprentices from union apprentice programs, and require employees to pay union dues. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that "testy exchanges and pushing and shoving followed" the press conference. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Foundation's Adam Cole...
  • Wishing for a Regulatory Monster?

    September 30, 2009
    Be careful what you wish for because sometimes you might not like the result. And big-government advocates should be particularly careful since government rarely meets the goals it sets. That’s what some leftists are learning about the European Union’s chemical law called REACH, which stands for “registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals.” It sounds bureaucratic because it is. In fact, even its supporters are learning that it is a green regulatory monster. And Animal rights activists, which relinquished their opposition to appease left-wing allies, are now learning that the law has become a gratuitous lab-rodent extermination program. And despite all the problems with this law, U.S. lawmakers are looking at this law as a model to emulate! Read all about this in my recent...
  • Swinenewsflash! 21,000 college students missing!

    September 30, 2009
    "Twenty-one thousand college students are sick," begins a Fox online news report titled: "H1N1 Picks Up Steam One Week Before Vaccine Becomes Available." Wow! That's a lot of sick kids! Tell us more! But there is nothing more on those 21,000. Lots of talk about people swamping emergency rooms and school closings, yet not a single number regarding actual flu cases in a 765-word article. What if it began "Flying saucers land on the White House lawn" and no flying saucers were mentioned again? And no, Fox fans, I'm not picking on your favorite network. Lots of people are tossing that number around; I just stumbled upon the Fox piece first. Turns out the data are from the American College Health Association (ACHA) and are cumulative since August 22. So unless we assume...
  • Senate Finance Committee Rejects Public Option

    September 29, 2009
    Liberal Democrats are fuming. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) and House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Cal.) remain committed to a "public option". President Obama signalled his enduring support for it in his September 9 address to Congress.
  • Student Loan Socialism

    September 29, 2009

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  • 7-Eleven serves up Big Gulp of Big Government to credit card consumers

    September 29, 2009
    Tomorrow, 7-Eleven Inc. and other big retail chains will hit Capitol Hill to offer Congress members and their staffs a supersize serving of hypocrisy. Retailers, who rightly complain about costly government mandates in health care and other areas, are now calling for Congress slap price controls on the interchange fees they pay to banks and credit unions for services associated with the credit and debit cards of retail consumers. 7-Eleven has fine stores that offer many conveniences to their customers, but in this case, they are trying to force down the throats of American consumers a “big gulp” of big government. If Congress acts on 7-Eleven’s misleading petition to put price controls on interchange fees, consumers will pay the price through the reduction of reward programs such as frequent flier miles, and the possible return of annual fees. Credit unions and community banks will pay...


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