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OpenMarket: August 2010

  • Unions hire non-union protesters?

    August 31, 2010
    [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqm5RRBCmiw 285 234]
  • Video Exposes Labor Union Protesters - No "Living Wage," No Health Insurance, No Union Membership

    August 31, 2010
    Should labor unions pay their protesters the wages and benefits that the unions demand of other employers? CEI labor policy attorney Vincent Vernuccio crashed a union protest in Washington, DC this week and questioned several people involved in the protest. The protesters – hired by a union, the Mid-Atlantic Region of Carpenters - appeared to not be compensated with the level of wages and benefits that the union itself demands of other employers – the protesters evidently lacked health insurance, for example (see 3:52). Nor is it clear the protesters were union members (see 2:59). So, how could they even hope to benefit from any prospective wage or benefit concessions won from the business targeted by the...
  • Obama's EPA: School Marms R Us

    August 30, 2010
    The Obama Administration's EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSHA) are proposing new rules "labeling each passenger car with a  government letter grade from A to D based on its fuel efficiency and emissions," the Wall Street Journal reports. The new rules "would be the most substantial changes in 30 years to the familiar price and mileage labels afixed to new cars on sale at dealership," the article continues. Only in the make-work world of bureaucrats would the addition of the letters A, B, C, or D to product labels be considered "subtantial changes." The WSJ goes on to point out the obvious: "Currently the labels must show how many miles per gallon a car gets and its estimated annual fuel costs. Under the rules proposed Monday, new labels...
  • Professor John Palmer on the Center for Class Action Fairness

    August 30, 2010
    Professor John Palmer has some very generous things to say about me and the Center for Class Action Fairness on his excellent economics blog. Though I should note that we've never intervened on behalf of defendants; all of our work is plaintiff-side on behalf of consumers or shareholders.
  • Government Insurance: Guaranteed to Fail

    August 27, 2010
    Few observers were shocked when the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) asked for a nearly $20 billion bailout of its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). For years groups and individuals have warned that NFIP was underfunded and increasing its liability each year by not encouraging consumers to move or alter their homes in a way that would limit future losses. The availability of government provided insurance allowed people to continue building in at-risk areas like Florida's coastline. The big problem? Government run insurance providers are not motivated to charge adequate rates, keep costs down, or encourage consumers to alter their homes to prevent further damage. As this USA Today article cites a notable anecdote that, unfortunately, isn't all that uncommon:
    ...
  • Expensive Jobs

    August 27, 2010
    Stimulus spending costs $221,428.57 per job saved or created. Startlingly inefficient.
  • CEI Weekly: Post-Spill Moratorium Worse than the Spill

    August 27, 2010
    CEI Weekly is a compilation of articles and blogs from CEI's staff. This week features Ben Lieberman's op-ed, criticizing the deleterious effects of the oil-spill moratorium on the gulf economy.
  • More Mercantilist Claptrap

    August 27, 2010
    No wonder people are confused about the trade issue when they read mercantilist articles like the front-pager by Howard Schneider in the Washington Post today - "Economic growth slowed by trade gap." According to this article's premise, it sounds like we would all be better off if we just exported and didn't import any goods and services.  Here's the article's lead sentence:
    A widening U.S. trade deficit has become a substantial drag on economic growth as the country's exports struggle to keep pace with the swelling sums that Americans are again spending on imported goods.
    And then it goes on to say:
    But the spike does raise fresh concerns about whether some of the same factors that led to the economic crisis, including U.S. overconsumption, are...
  • Federal Regulators Making Laundry More Costly And More Dingy

    August 27, 2010
    In a classic case of a government solution in search of a problem, Washington has for years set energy efficiency standards for home appliances. By now, refrigerators, air-conditioners, and many other appliances have been subjected to multiple rounds of successively tighter requirements from the Department of Energy (DOE). The Obama administration has taken this pre-existing regulatory blank check and run with it, finalizing standards for over 20 products. As might be expected, such arbitrary government mandates come at a cost -- a higher purchase price for regulated appliances, but also compromised performance, features, and reliability. And the downside can easily swamp the often-modest energy savings. The regulations for clothes washers may be the worst of them all. The clothes washer standards currently in force were promulgated in...
  • Money for Nothing

    August 27, 2010
    A Virginia man collected 12 years of salary despite never showing up to his government job.

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