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OpenMarket: June 2011

  • FDA Should Not Mandate Comparative Effectiveness Trials

    June 15, 2011
    AEI resident fellow Scott Gottlieb has a new paper out explaining why the FDA should not force pharmaceutical companies to prove their new drugs are superior to existing treatments before they may be approved. The idea has been kicked around by pharmaceutical industry critics for years, particularly as a solution to their claim that the industry produces too many "me too" drugs that are all essentially identical. CEI has debunked that argument before, but it nevertheless gets a lot of traction any time the issue of rising drug prices comes up. Still, the FDA itself has held fast to the idea that randomized placebo-controlled trials (i.e. comparing a new drug...
  • Sunblock: Still Can't Protect You from the FDA

    June 15, 2011
    The FDA is rolling out new labeling rules for sunscreen. First, sunscreens that don’t offer “enough” UVA protection (which has been shown to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer) will be required to carry a warning label stating that “the product hasn't been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging.” Although many sunscreens offer strong UVB protection (which prevents sunburn), the FDA is concerned that a sunscreen can have plenty of UVB protection while offering little UVA protection and still call itself "broad spectrum," thereby fooling consumers into buying a product that doesn’t offer complete protection. Second, The FDA-mandated SPF cutoff for labeling whether the product has or hasn’t been shown to help prevent skin cancer and wrinkles is SPF 15. Further, the FDA will prohibit...
  • Standardized Test Scores Continue to Disappoint

    June 15, 2011
    Children would be far better served if government were to take a leading role in K-12 education… oh, wait.
  • Shovel-Ready Was Never Shovel-Ready

    June 15, 2011
    President Obama has belatedly realized that the "shovel-ready projects" he touted so much in his stimulus bill two years ago were anything but:
    "Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected," Obama said.
    And just why weren't they shovel-ready? Regulation, of course:
    "How do we deal with making sure our regulations make sense, so that we start eliminating ones that don't work, aren't making consumers better off or aren't improving our quality of life?" Obama told the employees.
    Of course, some people -- like CEI -- knew that in February 2009, when I wrote:
    So what should we do? There’s an inkling in the Washington...
  • Morning Media Summary

    June 15, 2011
    Tech: China’s Cyberassault on America: “In justifying U.S. involvement in Libya, the Obama administration cited the "responsibility to protect" citizens of other countries when their governments engage in widespread violence against them. But in the realm of cyberspace, the administration is ignoring its primary responsibility to protect its own citizens when they are targeted for harm by a foreign government.” Music pirates won’t rush to iCloud for forgiveness: “Some people, including on this site, have suggested there’s a loophole in Apple’s new iCloud that will allow people who illegally download music to somehow “launder” their dirty music files, getting a nice clean, and...
  • Remembering Roger MacBride

    June 14, 2011
    The news of the passing of John Hospers brought renewed attention to his receiving an electoral vote in the 1972 presidential election, as the first nominee of the Libertarian Party. The man casting that vote, Roger MacBride (who passed away in 1995), has often been described as a “faithless” elector, because he was allegedly “committed” to voting for the incumbent, Richard Nixon. Well, Roger would argue that he was neither a faithless nor renegade elector. He was an expert on the history of the Constitution and the thinking of the Founding Fathers, and once even did a research paper/thesis on the history of the Electoral College. In fact, he may have known more about it than any other person, since he literally wrote the book on it: The American Electoral College, which was published by...
  • Voodoo Economics Behind Government Demand for Mortgage Write-Downs by Big Banks

    June 14, 2011
    In 2010, Obama administration allies proposed a trillion-dollar bailout for those lucky mortgage borrowers whose loans were owned by the government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- including wealthy borrowers who have no difficulty paying their mortgage -- in order to increase their disposable income and temporarily pump up the economy through the next election. Now, Obama administration officials such as Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli are trying to achieve the same goal on a much...
  • A Modest Proposal to Add Jobs and Reduce Injuries

    June 14, 2011
    There are thousands of door-related accidents each year. The Consumer Product Safety Commission should do its bit by requiring that a professionally trained doorman open and shut all doors for door-users. That would create millions of jobs not just as doormen but as Doorman trainers (they’d have to be properly certified so that people aren’t exposed to the horrors of “cowboy” doormen) and also in the apparel industry as doormen need to look smart, with epaulettes and caps. The Amalgamated Union of Door Openers and Kindred Workers could have exclusive representation to ensure the doormen have adequate working conditions and to ensure demarcation from competing trades such as window openers. Of course the political power of the new union would be considerable -- imagine the effects of a strike! In related news:...
  • Legal Lessons from Weinergate

    June 14, 2011
    There may be a silver lining to the sordid Anthony Weiner drama: The sext-happy congressman has drawn much-needed media attention to state legislative efforts to reform teen sexting penalties. The AP's David Klepper puts the issue succinctly:

    A congressman who sends an X-rated photo of himself jeopardizes his reputation and his job. But in many states, teens caught doing the same thing can risk felony charges, jail time and being branded sexual offenders.

    ...
  • Stimulating Bureaucracy: The Stimulus's Only Success

    June 14, 2011
    As if we need more evidence that government feeds off itself in enlarging its size and scope, the Obama administration plans to create a new government bureaucracy to be tasked with overseeing how stimulus money is spent by private contractors. While this measure to instill greater accountability of use of federal money may appear at first glance to be a good thing, it perversely institutionalizes (through the creation of a new oversight agency) that fiscal stimulus is indeed an effective principle and results in even more spending (in order to expand govt) than was first outlayed in the original stimulus package. Instead of continuing to legitimize the stimulus and continuing to spend more money in the name of spending money “efficiently,” the administration ought to admit the stimulus’...

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