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OpenMarket: October 2009

  • Reps. Issa and Sensenbrenner issue report on the politics of EPA's endangerment finding

    October 15, 2009
    Updated 10/16/09 Today [Oct. 15, 2009], Rep. Darrell Isa (R-CA), ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. James Sensenbrenner, ranking member of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, released a joint minority staff report titled, The Politics of EPA's Endangerment Finding. I'll say more about the report after reading the 146-page document. Key findings include:
    • EPA prejudged the outcome of its endangerment finding to advance the Obama administration's policy agenda.
    • EPA's effort to control greenhouse gas emissions will give the Agency authority over the entire U.S. economy. 
    • EPA did not conduct its own analysis. Instead, the Agency deferred to the judgment of two external...
  • Defending free trade: the pending FTAs

    October 15, 2009
    The pending U.S. Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia are languishing in limbo, despite the fact that all three agreements will improve the flow of goods and services, foster economic growth and create jobs, and enhance the close relationships between the U.S. and those countries.   That was the theme of the panel of speakers at The Heritage Foundation's seminar today, "Getting America's trade agenda back on track." The panel featured H.E. Han Duk-soo, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea; Francisco Álvarez de Soto, Vice Minister for International Trade Negotiations, Republic of Panama; and Ricardo Triana, Director, Colombian Government Trade Bureau.  The speakers pointed principally to the FTAs' benefits to the U.S., not only in economic terms but in its national interests.  Ambassador Terry Miller...
  • Robert Reich Gets It

    October 15, 2009
    Some of the consequences of increasing government’s role in health care are easy predict.
  • Free-market commentary on the Kerry-Graham cap-and-trade oped

    October 15, 2009
    Updated 10/16/09 Over the weekend, Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) co-authored an oped in the New York Times titled, "Yes We Can (Pass Climate Change Legislation)." On Tuesday, my colleague Myron Ebell responded with "Yes We Can (Raise Your Energy Prices and Send Jobs Abroad)." On Wednesday, the Washington Examiner  scorned "Lindsay Graham's costly collegiality." Thursday, on MasterResource.Org, the free-market energy blog, I posted "...
  • New Version of Obama Health-Care Plan Relies on Imaginary Savings, Costs More Than $2 Trillion, and Will Explode Federal and State Budget Deficits

    October 15, 2009
    Health-care "reform" always costs more than predicted, as ObamaCare provisions have at the state level.  So the claim that the new, cheaper version of President Obama's health care plan will cost only $829 billion, while not increasing the deficit, should be taken with a grain of salt. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid admitted that the actual cost will be more like $2 trillion, and health-care...
  • Regulation of the Day 61: Big Screen TVs – Mankind’s Doom!

    October 15, 2009
    On November 4, California regulators may vote to ban big-screen televisions. The large sets use more energy than they would prefer.
  • Web help wanted for Fumento.com

    October 14, 2009
    No, you won't get GI Bill benefits but then again you don't have to get shot at, either. It's for my website Fumento.com. But I will also soon be looking to build the Independent Journalism Project website, so help would be appreciated there too. Other than what should be a short learning curve, it’s probably just a three-hour-a-week task for somebody with web skills; but I know less about HTML than about the approximate air velocity of the African swallow. That said, somebody with initiative could have all sorts of fun improving things. I don’t feel bad about asking for volunteers in that so much of my own work is pro bono, including the site itself.  But the site does have about 19,000 outside links and is important to a lot of people. Please direct responses to fumento@pobox.com. Thanks.
  • Eliot Spitzer Wants your Pension

    October 14, 2009
    Today, Slate features a rant by disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer that includes distortions and falsehoods so blatant that they wouldn't merit a response if they didn't come from so loud a megaphone. Spitzer is miffed at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for opposing the major expansions of government power currently being proposed in Washington.The Chamber, he says, has a "right to be wrong" (wrong in Spitzer's universe apparently being anything that opposes the expansion of government), but it doesn't have a right to do it with "our money." "Our" money? Yes, according to Spitzer, the publicly held companies that are members of the Chamber have an obligation to promote a liberal agenda -- or at least not oppose it -- because that's what shareholders want. What he bases this belief on is hard to fathom. Has he polled a...
  • How Much Harm Do Teacher Unions Do?

    October 14, 2009
    Plenty, according to the new film, The Cartel. The film purports to show "educational system like we've never seen it before. Behind every dropout factory, we discover, lurks a powerful, entrenched, and self-serving cartel." Trailer below. In fact, the power of teachers unions is part of an even greater problem: the growing ranks of unionized government workers, a phenomenon that creates a permanent constituency favoring the growth of government -- one that is well organized, motivated, and well funded. For more on public sector unions, see the study, "Vallejo Con Dios: Why Public Sector Unionism Is a Bad Deal for Taxpayers and Limited Government."...
  • Taking the heat and defending free enterprise

    October 14, 2009
    It's about time that business groups started defending free enterprise, and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce is off to a good start - a bit belatedly - with its "American Free Enterprise. Dream Big" campaign. Launched on October 14, the campaign features national TV and print ad campaigns, a video contest, small business awards, and other outreach. Here's the underlying message, as shown on their website:
    At the U.S. Chamber, we believe that the values of individual initiative, hard work, freedom of choice, and the free exchange of trade, capital, and ideas can lead America back to prosperity. Only free enterprise will create the innovation, the opportunities, and the jobs our nation needs. That is why we are launching this campaign.
    The Chamber has been under a lot of pressure recently to cave in to the rent-...

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