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OpenMarket: November 2011

  • United States and China Talk Trade

    November 22, 2011
    The annual session of United States – China trade talks was held last week, in the Chinese city of Chengdu. These talks look for ways to improve economic ties between the countries, and focused on currency issues, intellectual property and market access issues. These discussions are a nice break from U.S. official rhetoric that places confrontation with the Chinese ahead of community-building and strengthening trade relations. Obama’s recent visit to Australia, where he committed 2,500 U.S. Marines to “project power and deter threats to peace,” was clearly aimed at Beijing. China’s response was unsurprising: they...
  • Fred Weekly: Give Thanks for Capitalism

    November 22, 2011
    With Thanksgiving fast approaching, CEI President Fred Smith gives thanks in the latest installment of "Fred Weekly" for all the prosperity and opportunity capitalism has afforded us in our Age of Abundance.
  • Elites of the World, Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose!

    November 22, 2011
    And they are -- but we have much to lose. See Iain Murray’s latest piece on the EU crisis. The intellectual temptation -- the Fatal Conceit -- seems dominant in the political world (especially the financial world) today. It is not only a repudiation of limited government and democracy, it is also a repudiation of empiricism. They might have reviewed the record of central banks, IMF, and technocrats like Jeffrey Sachs. For the latter, see William Easterley’s (The White Man’s Burden -- an exploration of the record of developmental aid) succinct graphic summary of his policy advice. We’ve work to do. Never has there been such an opportune time to...
  • Ninth Circuit cy pres victory in Nachshin v. AOL

    November 22, 2011
    We've been at the forefront of noting the problem of abusive cy pres; originally intended as a last resort "second-best" way to benefit the class after resolution of a case where there is leftover money, too many class actions use cy pres as a first resort to exaggerate the class benefits, or to siphon some of those benefits to the class attorneys or the defendants or, shockingly, the judge. A couple of recent decisions speak out against free-flowing cy pres. In Klier v. Elf Atochem, the Fifth Circuit struck down cy pres given to local charities instead of to undercompensated class members;...
  • Today's Links: November 21, 2011

    November 21, 2011
    OPINION MICHAEL HIRSH: "The Supercommittee and a Never-Ending Cycle of Dysfunction" "If the '62 Mets were the worst team in major league history, it's also fair to wonder whether any Congress has ever been more dysfunctional, with less cause, than this one. And whether there is a single politician left in Washington who can behave like a leader, or even play one on TV. Asked about the prospects for seeing some production out of the hitless and shut-out supercommittee--even a late-inning bid to solve part of the problem by delegating its special fast-track powers to regular congressional committees--Steve Bell of the Bipartisan Policy Center harked hopefully back to Senate precedent."...
  • Regulation of the Day 199: How to Catch a Tuna

    November 21, 2011
    Authorities confiscated an otherwise legally caught bluefin tuna because it was caught with a net. The government intends to sell the fish and keep the money.
  • And Now, a Word from John Waters . . .

    November 21, 2011
    Financial Times's November 18 interview with Baltimore native John Waters (available ungated at Slate) is a great read for a couple of reasons: First, because Waters -- the cult film director who made a career out of transgressive quirk and camp -- is now working on a one-man Christmas show; and second, because Waters has a singularly refreshing perspective on Occupy Wall Street and anti-capitalism. After complaining about pressures to make movies for nothing ("I can't be faux underground") and slamming "liberal censors" for rating his last film NC-17, Waters starts talking about young people today:
    "I think young people are still having fun. I never think my time was better. I think they’re having the same amount of fun...
  • Stimulus Will Hurt Economy in the Long Run, Congressional Budget Office Confirms

    November 21, 2011
    The Congressional Budget Office is admitting that the $800 billion stimulus package will indeed hurt the economy in the long run. In his testimony to the Senate, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf conceded that the stimulus package would have "a net negative effect on the growth of GDP over 10 years." In an exchange with Senator Sessions, Elmendorf added that the economic drag from the stimulus will continue in the following decade:
    SESSIONS: And in the next 10 years, since you’re carrying that debt and paying interest on it and the stimulus value is long since gone, it would be a continual negative of some effect? ELMENDORF: Yes, it would represent a drag on the level of GDP beyond that, if no other actions...
  • California Supreme Court Rejects Union Suit to Bar Private Contractors from Golden Gate Project

    November 21, 2011
    Last week, the California Supreme Court rejected a suit by a government employee union, the Professional Engineers in  California Government, that sought to bar state and local transportation officials from hiring private contractors to work on the rebuilding of the northbound approach to the Golden Gate Bridge. This decision is a welcome victory against the phenomenon known as "in-sourcing," which involves government taking over functions that could performed by private contractors and handing them over to government employees. Thus, in-sourcing fuels government growth directly by increasing the number of government employees. It also fuels government growth indirectly, by providing new potential members for government employee unions, which in turn can use the...
  • Law Schools: Incubators of Evil and Waste?

    November 21, 2011
    The New York Times had a disturbing article Sunday about how most law schools are utterly failing to teach their students the basics of how to be a lawyer, despite collecting tens of thousands of dollars in tuition. (I wrote about this previously in The New York Times and legal blogs, discussing how little I learned at Harvard Law School despite paying a fortune in tuition, and how students should...

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