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OpenMarket: October 2011

  • Capital Gains Taxes are Too High, and are a Tax on Savings that Punishes Thrifty People for Inflation

    October 4, 2011
    Capital gains taxes are much too high, rather than too low. They are effectively a tax on savings, since when your investments go up solely due to inflation, you have to pay capital gains tax on them when you sell them, even though you didn't really get any richer. Thanks to capital gains taxes, you get punished just for living during a period of inflation. As I noted recently in The Washington Times:
    Warren Buffett was wrong to suggest that capital gains taxes are too low (“Calling Buffett’s bluff,” Comment & Analysis, Monday). They are actually much too high, since they force people to pay taxes when they sell a stock based on inflation that occurred after they bought it. Impoverished investors can be forced to pay capital gains taxes even during huge slumps in the...
  • The Physics Nobel and Human Achievement

    October 4, 2011
    The Daily Caller was kind enough to run an article I wrote about this year's physics Nobel laureates, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Reiss. They discovered the accelerating universe.
  • Brazil v. Dell

    October 4, 2011
    The class attorneys in Brazil v. Dell are asking for $6 million for themselves, but it is a claims-made settlement that will almost certainly pay a small fraction of that amount to the class. The parties are attempting to hide that from the court by scheduling the claims deadline after the fairness hearing, but this is where objectors come into play, and the Center has filed an objection on behalf of a class member in advance of the October fairness hearing. The settlement also suffers from several of the self-serving features identified as problematic in Bluetooth.
  • The Future of Air Travel?

    October 4, 2011
    First-generational suborbital crafts would reach 2,200 miles per hour, with an eventual goal of hitting 13,750 miles per hour. A trip from London to Sydney would take an hour and forty five minutes.
  • The Economic (Un)Development Administration

    October 4, 2011
    Last Friday Iain Murray and I published an op-ed in The Washington Times, which described how government spending fails to create economic growth. We show how the Economic Development Administration’s spending reshuffles economic resources with several recent examples. Here is the first part of the article with links to the sources:
    Government spending fails to stimulate economic growth because, quite simply, we do not see that it depends on resources taken from elsewhere in the economy. That’s how EDA economic grants work. Consider the recent case of its $2 million grant to Visalia, Calif., in the San Joaquin Valley. The EDA claimed the project would...
  • Free Trade Agreements are Not that Free

    October 4, 2011
    Business Insider reported that the Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama were sent to Congress today for their vote and approval by the House and Senate. The Trade Adjustment Assistance program, last major hurdle to the trade agreements, was voted and passed by the Senate a couple of weeks ago. This expensive (and expanded) program, geared towards appeasing union and worker pressures and fears of job displacement, was set as a condition by some Democratic congressmen and senators as a precondition to the vote on the Free Trade...
  • Today's Links: October 3, 2011

    October 3, 2011
    OPINION NEAL STEPHENSON: "Innovation Starvation" "Believing we have all the technology we’ll ever need, we seek to draw attention to its destructive side effects. This seems foolish now that we find ourselves saddled with technologies like Japan’s ramshackle 1960’s-vintage reactors at Fukushima when we have the possibility of clean nuclear fusion on the horizon. The imperative to develop new technologies and implement them on a heroic scale no longer seems like the childish preoccupation of a few nerds with slide rules. It’s the only way for the human race to escape from its current predicaments. Too bad we’ve forgotten how to do it." GARRETT EPPS: "...
  • Shuttlyndra and Bipartisan Crony Capitalism

    October 3, 2011
    Over at Pajamas Media today, I tell a tale of crony capitalism that makes Solyndra look like a model of government probity and wisdom:
    No, it’s not Solyndra — it’s much worse, at least in terms of the amount of money proposed to be wasted on it, and in other ways as well. Let’s call it “Shuttlyndra,” aka NASA’s Constellation, then called the Space Launch System, aka the Senate Launch System. The Solyndra scam wasn’t a federal contract per se — it was based on taxpayer-guaranteed loans, which meant that the taxpayers would never have to pay off if it had worked. Shuttlyndra isn’t just a contract, but multiple sole-source, no-bid, cost-plus contracts, guaranteeing that the taxpayer money will be spent. And because of the nature of the contracts, in...
  • What if NFL Players Were Paid Like Teachers?

    October 3, 2011
    I'm not a big fan of football analogies in politics (think of former Sen. George Allen absurdly carrying a football wherever he went), but Fran Tarkenton has a good one.

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