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OpenMarket: July 2011

  • Bipartisan Regulatory Reform

    July 29, 2011
    Usually, "bipartisan" means "twice as stupid." But for real regulatory reform to happen, both parties need to be involved.
  • The Limits of Government-Funded Psychology: 9/11 Counseling Backfires

    July 29, 2011
    After school shootings, psychologists fan out and provide "grief counseling" to student bodies, but it's far from clear that this does any good. Critics say it just encourages students to wallow in despair, rather than putting the episode behind them, and forces students to relive the tragedy. Nevertheless, local governments persist in spending money on such activities. Now, even psychologists are admitting in The New York Times that similar grief counseling to New Yorkers after 9/11 backfired and harmed people: "researchers later discovered that the standard approach at the time, in which the therapist urges a distressed person to talk through the experience and emotions, backfires for many people. They plunge even deeper into anxiety and depression when forced to relive the mayhem." A...
  • CEI Weekly: Debt Ceiling Deadline Approaches

    July 29, 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 July 29, 2011 >>Featured Story The deadline for resolving debt ceiling negotiations is Tuesday, and Washington is nervously counting down the days. Meanwhile, the media has drummed up public paranoia about what will happen if the U.S. defaults on its loans. For free-market perspectives on the debt ceiling debate, see the commentary by CEI experts at the links below....
  • Legislative Band-Aids Won’t Fix the NLRA

    July 29, 2011
    Openmarket.org The House will vote on the Jobs Protection from Government Interference Act today. Sponsor Rep. Tim Scott and other representatives of Congress have proposed numerous bills to amend the National Labor Relations Act in response to the NLRB and Boeing lawsuit. The litany of Band-Aid bills attempting to fix bad legislation with slightly better legislation does not achieve labor reform. Congress has missed the root of the problem of labor law in the U.S.: the NLRA. True labor reform cannot happen when an unelected board with a Big Labor agenda interprets the laws governing labor relations. In the 112th Congress, the Secret Ballot Protection ActH.R. 2118, ...
  • Regulation of the Day 190: How to Behave While in a Forest

    July 29, 2011
    Since time immemorial, Cook County, Illinois has had very strict personal conduct regulations for its forests. Among other things, it has been illegal to:
  • They Aren’t Math Majors

    July 28, 2011
    Eleven people were arrested for staging a sit-in today inside the U.S. Capitol. They were protesting budget cuts. The trouble is that spending is set to increase every year for at least the next decade.
  • False Prophets of Debt Ceiling Doom

    July 28, 2011
    As the debt ceiling deadline of August 2 draws closer, the demagoguery and fear-mongering of government officials has ramped up. This is not surprising given Washington’s spending addiction. Despite their harsh words and prophecies of Armageddon, I explain in The Orange County Register that these fears are no more than political theater and that the real threat is continued unsustainable spending financed through a debt limit increase.
    Contrary to what spendthrift politicians have been saying, reaching the federal debt ceiling does not automatically trigger default. The debt limit simply caps the amount of debt that the U.S. Treasury may issue. The Treasury has the ability to prioritize its payments to bondholders and sell off assets (like TARP funds and gold) to avoid a default situation. Debt interest payments total $214 billion for 2011 – that's less than 10...
  • Legislative Band-Aids Won't Fix the NLRA

    July 28, 2011
    The House will vote on the Jobs Protection from Government Interference Act today. Sponsor Rep. Tim Scott and other representatives of Congress have proposed numerous bills to amend the National Labor Relations Act in response to the NLRB and Boeing lawsuit. The litany of Band-Aid bills attempting to fix bad legislation with slightly better legislation does not achieve labor reform. Congress has missed the root of the problem of labor law in the U.S.: the NLRA. True labor reform cannot happen when an unelected board with a Big Labor agenda interprets the laws governing labor relations. In the 112th Congress, the Secret Ballot Protection ActH.R. 2118, ...
  • Flash Mobs, Disobedience, and Democracy

    July 28, 2011
    What is the role of community spaces in the democratic process? Which is better at producing good community spaces: civil society and the market, or government? Many people see community spaces as essential facilitators of the dialogue needed for a healthy democracy, and look to government to maintain such spaces. For these people, private control eliminates the fundamental character of a community space, turning it from a civic to a commercial purpose. Naomi Klein characterizes the anti-globalization movement as about reclaiming public spaces overrun by privatization.
    The spirit they share is a radical reclaiming of the commons. As our communal spaces—town squares, streets, schools, farms, plants—are displaced by the ballooning marketplace, a spirit of resistance is taking hold around the world. People are reclaiming bits of...
  • Stop Messing with My Daughter's Happy Meal!

    July 28, 2011
    There are apples and other fruit sitting around my house, and my four-year-old daughter can eat an apple anytime. By contrast, she seldom gets to eat McDonald's french fries. So when I go to McDonald's, I want her Happy Meal to include french fries (which take time to cook), not apple slices. But under pressure from public-health activists and potential lawsuits, McDonald's is now substituting apple slices for much of the french fries that historically came with a Happy Meal. I have no idea why apple slices are such a fetish for public health activists. There's nothing bad in an apple, but they're not a paragon of nutrition, either -- an apple has only a little over 10 percent of your day's supply of vitamin C, not much different...

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