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OpenMarket: October 2011

  • Today's Links: October 27, 2011

    October 27, 2011
    OPINION NICHOLAS KRISTOF: "Crony Capitalism Comes Home" "Whenever I write about Occupy Wall Street, some readers ask me if the protesters really are half-naked Communists aiming to bring down the American economic system when they’re not doing drugs or having sex in public. The answer is no. [...] [W]hile alarmists seem to think that the movement is a 'mob' trying to overthrow capitalism, one can make a case that, on the contrary, it highlights the need to restore basic capitalist principles like accountability. To put it another way, this is a chance to save capitalism from crony capitalists." JAMES PETHOKOUKIS: "Seven...
  • CEI Podcast for October 27, 2011: How Much Do Undocumented Immigrants Cost?

    October 27, 2011
    Policy Analyst Alex Nowrasteh debunks a flawed study that exaggerates the costs of undocumented immigration.
  • In Memoriam: William Niskanen

    October 27, 2011
    Bill Niskanen was an individual who will be missed sorely in a world where intellectuals of integrity are a rare breed.
  • Today's Links: October 26, 2011

    October 26, 2011
    OPINION DAVID KRAVETS: "Patriot Act Turns Ten, With No Signs of Retirement" "The USA Patriot Act, the law granting the government vast surveillance powers that was adopted in the wake of September 11, turns a decade old Wednesday. But despite its namesake of 'Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism,' the law seemingly is being invoked far more to target domestic crime than for fighting terrorism." MICHAEL PATRICK LEAHY: "The Price of Civilization?" "[A] few brief observations about [Jeffrey Sachs'] new book,...
  • Can Fraud Be Immunized by Giving the Defrauder Certain Governmental Powers Over the Victims?

    October 26, 2011
    Can a private organization that has been delegated some government regulatory powers claim absolute government immunity against lawsuits when it engages in fraud against those it regulates -- even when the fraud is at most distantly related to its regulatory functions? Amazingly enough, an appeals court said yes -- a ruling that conflicted with another appeals court's ruling -- and the Supreme Court is now being asked to reverse that decision. The Competitive Enterprise Institute joined Cato Institute in filing an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to review that disturbing ruling shielding wrongdoing. The brief, which cites constitutional safeguards and separation-of-powers principles, can be found here. The case is Standard...
  • Hyper-Active Headlines on BPA

    October 26, 2011
    The journal Pediatics recently published findings from a research study suggesting that children exposed to the chemical bisphenol A (aka, BPA, which is a chemical used to make plastics and resins used in food packaging among other things) during gestation may eventually suffer from hyper-active or depressive behavior as toddlers -- or not. The article is capturing scary headline like "BPA may make girls anxious, hyperactive, study says," "Chemical may affect behavior in young girls," and "...
  • Beware of Asking FDA to Change Itself

    October 26, 2011
    Every five years, Congress must reauthorize a piece of legislation called the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), which gives the Food and Drug Administration authority to charge pharmaceutical companies substantial fees for regulating their products. Every time a manufacturer submits an approval application for a new medicine, a new use for an already approved medicine, a generic copy of an already approved medicine, or any number of other things, it has to pay a "user fee" that ranges roughly from $100 thousand to $2 million dollars, depending on the particular application. These fees now account for about a quarter of FDA's total budget, and close to two-thirds of the drug and...
  • Bailout for Underwater Mortgage Borrowers Is Illegal and Economically Illogical

    October 26, 2011
    Economist Mark Calabria says Obama's new $7.4 billion plan to let underwater mortgage borrowers refinance at investors' expense is illegal and won't help the economy.  He also says that the Federal Housing Finance Authority (which was created by a law that Calabria helped draft) should have refused to go along with it, rather than succumbing to pressure from the Administration. Bad as the plan is, at least it isn't aimed at deadbeats, like many other mortgage bailouts that have done so much recently to promote increased delinquency rates and make cynical people who can afford to pay their mortgage simply stop doing so (although the plan does effectively reward...
  • Today's Links: October 25, 2011

    October 25, 2011
    OPINION A. BARTON HINKLE: "Obama's Great Depression" "Barack Obama has joined George W. Bush in a dubious category. They are the only two presidents besides Herbert Hoover to see the number of job-holding Americans decline on their watch. The parallels with Hoover don't end there. It's commonly believed Hoover took a hands-off approach to the country's economic distress, and that his administration's tight-fisted refusal to spend prolonged the misery. But Hoover was about as stingy with a government dollar as 'Jersey Shore' is with hairspray." GENE HEALY: "Life is Good in the Capital of Crony Capitalism" "According to the latest Census figures, Washington, D.C. is now the wealthiest...
  • The House Considers Legalizing Online Gambling

    October 25, 2011
    Defenders of online gambling testified before the House today to beg for their right to gamble legally. Poker Players Alliance Chairman (and former U.S. Senator) Al D’Amato, who represents 1.2 million online poker players, detailed several problems in the current law he would like to see corrected. First, he noted that players currently cannot “play on a site that is located in the U.S.; that employs U.S. citizens; that pays U.S. taxes or is regulated by any level of government in the U.S.” Second, he described how since Obama’s Justice Department cracked down on U.S.-based online poker sites last year, “many thousands of U.S. poker players have not been able to recover money that they deposited into Full Tilt Poker and Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker accounts, or money they won playing on these sites.”...

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