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OpenMarket: December 2011

  • Pension Tsunami, Record Federal Spending Increase U.S. Debts by $4.2 Trillion; State Debts Explode

    December 31, 2011
    Massive budget deficits and mushrooming pension, Social Security, and Medicare obligations increased the federal government's long-term obligations by $4.2 trillion in 2011 -- more than three times the $1.3 trillion official figure for the federal budget deficit, notes a Washington Post article. (Even the official budget deficit is more than eight times the size of the budget deficit back in 2007.) But that's just the federal shortfall. States, too, have trillions in unfunded pension obligations, which...
  • CEI Weekly: Federal Handouts Can't Save Solar Energy Industry

    December 30, 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 CEI Weekly December 30, 2011 >>Featured Story The solar industry is a favorite of the federal government--but so far, the industry has proved to be an expensive dud. This week, CEI Energy Policy Analyst William Yeatman appeared on Fox Business' Cavuto to argue that the Obama administration is propping up solar companies to score political points, effectively putting taxpayers on the line for unsustainable job creation and...
  • Regulation of the Day 203: Sledding

    December 30, 2011
    Out-of-towners are not allowed to go sledding in Beaver Borough, Pennsylvania.
  • Today's Links: December 30, 2011

    December 30, 2011
    OPINION DAVID KRAVETS: "2011: The Year Intellectual Property Trumped Civil Liberties" "Online civil liberties groups were thrilled in May when Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the head of the powerful Judiciary Committee, announced legislation requiring the government, for the first time, to get a probable-cause warrant to obtain Americans’ e-mail and other content stored in the cloud. But, despite the backing of a coalition of powerful tech companies, the bill to amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act was dead on arrival, never even getting a hearing before the committee Leahy heads." JENNIFER RUBIN: "...
  • CEI Podcast for December 29, 2011: A Record Year for Regulation

    December 29, 2011
    Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews talks about why 2011 was a record year for both new regulations and their cost, and his ongoing "Ten Thousand Commandments" transparency initiative.
  • Today's Links: December 29, 2011

    December 29, 2011
    OPINION CHARLES H. KUCK: "'Path to Legality' Falls Way Short" "Gingrich speaks of our needs for a '21st Century Visa Program,' of eliminating 'inefficiencies' in order to attract the best and the brightest to come to and remain in America. Even in our current broken system, however, we are attracting the best people. The problem is that we are quickly losing them when they realize that our legal immigration system has waits of up to 15 years for workers to get permanent residence through employment. Wait times exceed 25 years for family immigration. The answer is simple: Increase the numbers of legal immigrants that come to the U.S. in legal categories to meet not only demand, but also our needs." JERRY BOWYER: "...
  • America's Businesses Get It: Immigration Is Good

    December 28, 2011
    Anti-immigration advocates believe that harsh new laws will drive illegal immigrants out of the United States. They ignore the fact that the primary victim of these laws aren’t undocumented foreign workers, but business owners who are expected to verify the immigration status of each new employee. This informal deputizing of businessmen is exactly the sort of burdensome regulation and heavy–handed government intervention that conservatives rail against in every other area. Last Thursday, a popular San Diego restaurant owner—Michel Malecot—...
  • Boom and Bust Madness: An Empirical Look at the Fed's Dollar Binge

    December 28, 2011
    Given the Fed’s continued actions to keep interest rates low and its reported plans to keep them that way beyond 2014, now seems a good time to revisit the deleterious effects that monetary expansion has on the economy. The data makes all too apparent the relevance of the Austrian Business Cycle in explaining the results of years of easy money. Loose central bank policy fuels artificial credit expansion—economists like Bernanke would say this is the point of his policies, but he ignores the problems that cheap money creates. Fed-induced cheap credit fuels an artificial boom—that is to say, consumers and producers have access to liquidity that they otherwise wouldn’t had the central bank not intervened. However, artificially low interest rates distort both consumption and investment from their efficient market allocation. As interest rates plummet, firms shift production from present...
  • Obamacare Stifles Job Creation, Causes Layoffs

    December 28, 2011
    At Bloomberg News, Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc., explains how the 2010 healthcare law is preventing jobs from being created and resulting in layoffs. For example, Puzder notes, CKE Restaurants, which operates Hardee's and Carl's Jr. restaurants, “will have to cut spending on new restaurant construction," in order to “offset higher health-care expenses," even though "building new restaurants is how" the company creates jobs.  Puzder argues that the increase in the company's healthcare costs will “more than consume" the amount it "spent on new restaurant construction last year, leaving nothing for growth."  It “...
  • Today's Links: December 28, 2011

    December 28, 2011
    OPINION GLENN GREENWALD: "Snapshots of Washington's Essence" "I intended to post sporadically or not at all this week, and that’s still my plan, but there is a new Washington Post article which contains three short passages that I really want to highlight because they so vividly capture the essence of so much. The article, by Greg Miller, is being promoted by the Post this way: 'In 3 years, the Obama administration has built a vast drone/killing...


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