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OpenMarket: November 2009

  • Against a Value Added Tax

    November 17, 2009
    Over at Investor's Business Daily, Wayne Crews and I make the case against a Value Added Tax. Policy makers have been flirting with the idea as a way to reduce the $1,400,000,000,000 budget deficit.
  • Oyster Ban Update: Partial Victory!

    November 17, 2009
    The ban, due to take effect in 2011, has not been repealed outright. But, in response to public outcry, it has been delayed.
  • Stimulus Package Creates Imaginary Jobs, Destroys Jobs in the Real World

    November 17, 2009
    President Obama's $800 billion stimulus package creates imaginary jobs, while destroying ones in the real world. Billions from the stimulus are being spent on creating tens of thousands of imaginary jobs in 440 phantom Congressional districts, according to the government's own web site:
    Just how big is the stimulus...
  • LibertyWeek 69: Feeding the World with Property Rights

    November 17, 2009
    Richard Morrison, Jeremy Lott and William Yeatman bring you Episode 69 of the LibertyWeek podcast. We cover swine flu, global warming, corrupt judges, Intel and world hunger.
  • 30 Jobs "Created or Saved" in a Phantom Congressional District

    November 17, 2009
    The Recovery Board, a task force created to track the $787 billion in federal stimulus spending, published on its website data for jobs “created” in congressional districts that don’t even exist!
  • England's "migrant children; US "orphan trains"

    November 16, 2009
    A little known part of British history is coming to light - its migrant program for young children in England , who were sent to Australia, Canada, and other British Commonwealth countries. Such programs, which began in the late 1800s and persisted well into the 1960s, shipped about 150,000 poor children, orphans, and illegitimate children to Commonweath countries where they were sent to institutions, foster homes, farms, and other places where they worked as laborers.  A House of Commons report published in 1998 noted that "hardship and emotional deprivation were the common lot of child migrants, and that cases of criminal abuse were not infrequent." In Australia Prime...
  • Wireless Customers Don't Like Variable Billing

    November 16, 2009
    The Sunday New York Times ran an article over the weekend that digs into the apparent madness behind cell phone and wireless mobile service pricing. Athour Saul Hansell eschews traditional economics and instead turns to behavioral economic insights to explain consumers' seemingly irrational behavior when it comes to selecting cell phone plans:
    Neither the cellphone companies nor their customers, as it turns out, always act in the rational way that economists might predict. Consumers often put immediate gratification and the avoidance of unpleasant surprises above their long-term interests. The companies, meanwhile, are trying to meet the sometimes irrational expectations of investors, who want growth without too much nasty volatility, even if their profits suffer.
    The...
  • "How ACORN Destroyed the Housing Market"

    November 16, 2009
    Federal affordable-housing mandates were a major factor in the mortgage crisis, fueling the housing bubble and the subsequent collapse of the housing and financial markets, which helped bring down the economy.  Even the liberal Village Voice has admitted that.  Who drafted those awful mandates?  ACORN, reports the Washington Examiner, in "How ACORN Destroyed the Housing Market." How did...
  • DOJ Asks For News Site's Visitor Info

    November 16, 2009
    Declan McCullagh is reporting that earlier this year the Department of Justice subpoenaed the left-of-center news aggregation site Indymedia.us for information including visitor lists and IPs, then issued a gag order forbidding them to talk about it unless authorized to do so. From CBSNews.com:
    The subpoena (PDF) from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded "all IP traffic to and from www.indymedia.us" on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to "include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information," including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers' Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.
    This gag order presents a particular problem for any news organization in a nation...
  • Fixing TARP: Is Transparency Enough?

    November 16, 2009
    Transparency is a good start. But the goal should be to not have government bailing out politically favored companies in the first place.

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