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OpenMarket: October 2011

  • Today's Links: October 12, 2011

    October 12, 2011
    OPINION GLEN WHITMAN: "Pan Am and the Economics of Hot Flight Attendants" "For an economist, the most fascinating aspect of Pan Am is the highly attractive flight attendants -- or rather, stewardesses, since the show is set in the early 1960s. If you’re young enough, you might think that’s just TV. But I’m just old enough to remember flying in the 1970s, and I recall stewardesses who really were, in fact, hot. Okay, I was too young to understand the concept of “hot” -- but I was definitely aware that I was being attended by some very pretty young women. Not so anymore. Flight attendants aren’t necessarily unattractive now, but they’re no more fetching than people in any other service profession that doesn’t get...
  • Don Boudreaux on Trade

    October 12, 2011
    This video is a quick primer on trade from someone who literally wrote the book about it.
  • No Money, No Sense: On the Infrastructure Bank

    October 12, 2011
    This morning, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Highways and Transit held a hearing on the President Obama’s infrastructure bank proposal. In September, the president announced this solution as part of his plan to get America’s economy back on track. Though not an entirely novel concept, the idea is that by funding massive projects to improve our national highways, water systems and energy infrastructure, jobs will be created and the economy will rebound. This $10 billion project would be overseen by a new bureaucratic entity, the American Infrastructure Financing Authority (AIFA). Defenders of the proposal claim the bank is necessary to put Americans back to work. The president, in calling for...
  • Congress Should Reject Tying a Repatriation Tax Holiday to a National Infrastructure Bank

    October 12, 2011
    It was reported on Tuesday that Senate Democrats intent on creating a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) have quietly thrown Republicans a bone on the corporate tax repatriation issue. Led by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), senior Democrats in "the world's greatest deliberative body" are dropping hints that they will back Republicans' wishes on repatriating foreign corporate earnings to be subjected to reduced tax rates for one year, provided Republicans support some form of NIB. Boosters of a repatriation tax holiday, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are claiming that this will spur much-needed investment in our economy. While it is likely there will be some temporary benefit to the one-year holiday, it isn't likely to greatly increase private investment...
  • Continuing Irrational Risk Aversion by NASA

    October 11, 2011
    About a month ago, I discussed the potential consequences of NASA's extreme aversion to loss of crew. Over at NASA Space Flight, there's a detailed discussion of the risks of de-crewing the ISS, a course that the agency is considering if the next Soyuz flight, scheduled for next month, doesn't go well:
    Numerous other risks are presented by operating the ISS without any crews, since no crews would be aboard to deal with any issues that may arise, such as vital hardware replacements in the event of a failure. Perhaps the most serious risk would be a loss of attitude control by the ISS, since it could potentially lead to a complete loss of the station. While a string of...
  • Today's Links: October 12, 2011

    October 11, 2011
    OPINION ANNIE LOWREY: "Why Small Businesses Aren't Innovative" "The stereotype of the small-businessperson as a start-up innovator is pervasive. But it's not true, according to a new study. Scupper the image of Mark Zuckerberg handcrafting a new service to revolutionize how we socialize and adding thousands of jobs to the economy. Replace it with the image of a gas-station owner, servicing a crowded market, happy to be able to make his kid's soccer games without a boss breathing down his neck, and more wary of innovation than eager for it. In a new paper, '...
  • Alcohol Regulation Roundup: October 7, 2011

    October 7, 2011
    National: A Supreme Court decision is being heralded as potentially liberating the advertising market for tobacco and alcohol as it expands first amendment protections on all types of commercial speech. Eugene Volokh analyzed the Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc. decision and it's implications on whether or not commercial advertising may be generally restricted on the grounds that it might persuade people to do something that the government thinks is bad. Also in National news, the neo-...
  • Today's Links: October 7, 2011

    October 7, 2011
    OPINION JEFFREY A. TUCKER: "Steve Jobs and the Beautification of Capitalism" "What made Jobs's tenure at Apple great is that he wedded profits with aesthetic loveliness. Not every businessperson can or should do this. Even the entrepreneurs who provided the masses with tacky things are just as deserving of our admiration and praise, for they too do their part to lift us all out of the poverty and squalor that is the state of nature. And aside from the prettiness of certain products or the elegance of the smartphone, there is another overarching beauty that we find in the market: a lovely, orderly, productive global matrix of cooperative exchange that leads to human flourishing for everyone, even in the absence of a global dictator....
  • At Long Last, Congress Will Vote on Three Trade Pacts that Unions have Held Up

    October 7, 2011
    At long last both the House and the Senate are scheduled to vote on the three free trade agreements (FTAs) that have languished for more than four years. Votes on the trade pacts are scheduled for  next Wednesday and will be linked to votes on Trade Adjustment Assistance -- a condition that President Obama and Democratic leaders had demanded. Although there appears to be bipartisan support, the AFL-CIO is still opposed to all of the pending FTAs and brought hundreds of union members to Capitol Hill to tell their congressional cohorts to vote against all three pacts. Their particular focus is on the U.S.-Colombia FTA, even though they demanded -- and got...
  • CEI Weekly: Congress Should Start Quantifying Federal Regulation

    October 7, 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 October 7, 2011 >>Featured Story CEI has released a new Issue Analysis by Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews: "The Other National Debt Crisis: How and Why Congress Must Quantify Federal Regulation." Crews argues that the...

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