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OpenMarket: March 2011

  • Big Company With Ties to White House Paid No Taxes; GE Also Got Corporate Welfare and Bailout on Special Terms

    March 27, 2011
    “The top corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world,” but General Electric, whose CEO was recently tapped to lead President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, pays no taxes at all, reported the New York Times.
    The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.  Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.
    This negative tax rate is the product of lobbying aimed mostly at liberal lawmakers. “G.E. has spent tens of millions of dollars to push for changes in tax law,” such as “‘green energy’ credits for its wind turbines.” “Since...
  • Judge Orders More Spending on New Jersey's Education-Industrial Complex

    March 27, 2011
    New Jersey spends more money on education than almost any state, resulting in the nation's highest property taxes (and arguably the highest taxes overall). But to some New Jersey judges, the skyrocketing spending is never enough. A New Jersey trial judge Tuesday declared unconstitutional the state’s recent attempts to scale back rapidly-rising education spending, "effectively tying Republican Governor Chris Christie’s hands on budget and education reform. Superior Court Judge Peter Doyne ruled that Christie’s budget cuts to school aid left public schools...
  • Wisconsin Judge's Strange Ruling Blocking Limits on Collective Bargaining Surprises Legal Observers

    March 25, 2011
    Wisconsin legal observers were “surprised last week when Madison-based judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of Gov. Scott Walker’s bill to limit public-sector collective bargaining.” A law professor was “astonished” by the legally-baseless ruling, which didn’t even bother to “address the relevant laws and rules that demonstrate that what the legislature did was proper.” The judge’s decision made no legal or logical sense, but did make political...
  • Senators Seek to Censor Mobile App Stores, Disregarding Public Safety and the Constitution

    March 25, 2011
    In the latest example of big government run amok, several politicians think they ought to be in charge of which applications you should be able to install on your smartphone. On March 22, four U.S. Senators sent a letter to Apple, Google, and Research in Motion urging the companies to disable access to mobile device applications that enable users to locate DUI checkpoints in real time. Unsurprisingly, in their zeal to score political points, the Senators -- Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, and Tom Udall -- got it dead wrong. Had the Senators done some basic fact-checking before firing off their missive, they would have realized that these apps actually enhance the effectiveness of DUI checkpoints while reducing their intrusiveness. And had the Senators glanced at the...
  • Obama Administration Understated Deficits by $2.3 Trillion; Resists Spending Cuts Needed to Stem Deficits

    March 25, 2011
    The Congressional Budget Office reported last week that the Obama administration understated budget deficits “by more than $2.3 trillion over the upcoming decade,” and that “if Obama's February budget submission is enacted into law it would produce deficits totaling $9.5 trillion over 10 years -- an average of almost $1 trillion a year.” President Obama objects to even a tiny two percent cut in the federal budget, submitting a self-indulgent, smoke-and-mirrors...
  • CEI Weekly: CEI Warns Against Hysterical Response to Japanese Crisis

    March 25, 2011
    CEI Weekly is a compilation of articles and blog posts from CEI’s fellows and associates sent out via e-mail every Friday. Also included in the weekly newsletter is a brief description of CEI’s weekly podcast and a feature on a major CEI breakthrough made during the week. To sign up for CEI Weekly, go to http://cei.org/newsletters. CEI Weekly March 25, 2011 >>Featured Story In the tragic aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the American media outlets has focused almost exclusively on what's happening to Japanese nuclear power plants. On Fox Business this week, Chris Horner argued that while the Japanese crisis certainly demands immediate attention, the...
  • Morning Media Summary

    March 25, 2011
    Tech: Google Holds Honeycomb Tight: “Open-source purists often contend that projects should be developed from the ground up, in front of the public, with people free to pick and choose the code they want, when they want it. This is the model Intel (INTC) has backed with its open-source rival to Android, called MeeGo.” Nortel, in bankruptcy, sells IPv4 address block for $7.5 million: “Wake up call for our friends in the Regional Internet Registries. Nortel, the Canadian telecommunications equipment manufacturer that filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009, has succeeded in making its legacy IPv4 address block an asset that can be sold to generate money for its creditors. The March 23...
  • Free Speech, Privacy, and Federalism are Casualties as Obama Administration Exploits Bullying Issue

    March 24, 2011
    The topic of bullying is in vogue, and President Obama is taking advantage of that: "President Barack Obama has acknowledged he was taunted as a child over his big ears and unusual name, as he opened a White House summit on preventing bullying" a few days ago. Meanwhile, administration officials are trying to stretch the federal law against sex discrimination, Title IX, to outlaw bullying aimed at gay and lesbian youth, although the Administration has no statutory basis for doing so. In essence, as I explain over at Minding the Campus, they have invented a federal law against the bullying of gay youth,...
  • Morning Media Summary

    March 24, 2011
    Tech: Half Of Used Phones Still Contain Personal Info: “More than half of second-hand mobile phones still contain personal information of the previous owner, posing a risk of identity fraud, CPP has warned.” New York Times Fixes Paywall Flaws to Balance Free Versus Paid on the Web: “New York Times Co. has been working to fix about 200 glitches in the technology for charging online readers of its namesake newspaper, just weeks before the project is scheduled to debut, said a person familiar with the matter.”
  • The Hidden Costs of State Workers’ Early Retirement

    March 23, 2011
    Open Market Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin could not have foreseen how his Budget Reform Bill may backfire and contribute to larger pension liabilities. A structural issue that causes increased pension liabilities and deficits for states is early retirement of state and local employees. The Wall Street Journal article published today, “Public Employees Rush to Retire,” plays it off as government savings and only a loss of expertise in state employees. This is not the case. A significant reform of Gov. Walker’s budget bill was an increase in employee contribution toward their pension and benefits. The notable increase in state employees applying for...

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