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OpenMarket: October 2011

  • Postal Service Disputes “Principals of Fairness”

    October 14, 2011
    Openmarket.org Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office released a report concerning the grim financial future of the Postal Service. It may not come as a shock, but GAO refutes the USPS claim of paying billions of dollars in surplus to the federal government pension fund and the USPS plan to attain fiscal solvency as a whole. USPS estimates their pension over-payment is in the ballpark of $50-$85 billion. Even if USPS had paid a surplus to the federal government and the full $85 billion was reimbursed, it would only briefly loosen their liquidity constraints. USPS annual losses would dissolve the funds shortly. USPS the past two years lost $8.5 and $10 billion....
  • Don't Fear the Trade Deficit -- Embrace it

    October 14, 2011
    In the evening of October 12,  the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate both passed the Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama. The press, members of Congress and senators all highlighted the job-creating potential of these treaties, because of their boost to exports and the manufacturing sector. These stories leave out an important element: The value of imports. In an open market system, where countries...
  • Postal Service Disputes "Principles of Fairness"

    October 14, 2011
    Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office released a report concerning the grim financial future of the Postal Service. It may not come as a shock, but GAO refutes the USPS claim of paying billions of dollars in surplus to the federal government pension fund and the USPS plan to attain fiscal solvency as a whole. USPS estimates their pension over-payment is in the ballpark of $50-$85 billion. Even if USPS had paid a surplus to the federal government and the full $85 billion was reimbursed, it would only briefly loosen their liquidity constraints. USPS annual losses would dissolve the funds shortly. USPS the past two years lost $8.5 and $10 billion. GAO’s report exposes the faulty solutions of the USPS plan and for that matter...
  • Where's the Austerity?

    October 14, 2011
    Here's a letter I recently sent to The Economist:
  • Corporations Pay Lots of Taxes, and it's Only Natural that They Should Have Legal Rights

    October 13, 2011
    Despite the recent demonization of corporations, corporations pay lots of taxes, including most of the nation's property taxes, notes Josh Barro. They often pay higher sales and property taxes than individuals due to structural biases in the tax code. In 2010,
    businesses paid about $280 billion in federal corporate income taxes. But over that same period, they paid $619 billion in taxes to state and local governments. The largest components of that tax bill were property tax ($250 billion) and sales tax on purchases by businesses ($124 billion). . . total property tax collections in the United States were $425 billion in fiscal 2010. That means businesses paid 59 percent of all property taxes, even though they only...
  • White House Involved in FDA Approval of Genetically Engineered Salmon?

    October 13, 2011
    A couple of days ago, Talking Points Memo's Jim Kozubek reported that the Food and Drug Administration had finally decided to approve AquaBounty's genetically engineered salmon for human consumption, and that the "evaluation is now under review at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget." I'd seen the TPM article, but didn't write about it at the time because premature reports of FDA being on the brink of approval have been filtering out through the media for several years now. (I filmed a TV interview for Fox News's “Your World With Neil Cavuto” way back in 2005, when it looked like an approval was right around the corner, for example. And I talked about it again on...
  • CEI Podcast for October 13, 2011: Occupy Wall Street

    October 13, 2011
    CEI Founder and President Fred Smith compares the Occupy Wall Street movement with the Tea Party movement and finds similarities as well as differences. Both oppose bailouts and other forms of corporate welfare, for example.
  • Today's Links: October 13, 2011

    October 13, 2011
    OPINION VIRGINIA POSTREL: "Web Bone-Marrow Bounty Takes on Paid-Donor Ban" "Amit Gupta is in a terrible situation, but he’s also lucky. He’s got lots of friends who not only want to help him but also have the connections and financial resources to change the odds of a match -- potentially saving not only him but other, less fortunate patients as well. Too bad the law only hinders such efforts." MEGAN MCARDLE: "No More Servants" "The other day, Arnold Kling asked a sort of interesting question: why hasn't rising inequality resulted in in the much-predicted oligarchy?  Or to put it as he does: with so many...
  • There is Nothing Left to Cut

    October 13, 2011
    Cicero, Illinois spends $1,000 on rubber chickens
  • Unions: The new barbarians

    October 13, 2011
    The Washington Times In a recent address to a union rally in Ohio, Vice President Joseph R. Biden underscored the threat to organized labor posed by the wave of collective bargaining-reform legislation sweeping the country, spearheaded by governors like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Ohio’s John Kasich. “This is a fight for the existence of organized labor,” said Mr. Biden. “You are the only ones who can stop the barbarians at the gate!” Mr. Biden’s use of “barbarian” to describe politicians - of both parties - who have come to realize that...

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