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OpenMarket: December 2011

  • What Free Market?

    December 5, 2011
    In his eagerness to attack free markets, Mr. Stern has confused the mixed economy’s crony capitalism for the real thing.
  • CEI Weekly: Lessons from the Supercommittee's Failure

    December 2, 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 December 2, 2011 >>Featured Story The Supercommittee was charged with crafting real solutions for our nation's budget problems---and they failed. CEI Adjunct Associate Matthew Melchiorre reports from his current home in Italy that the Supercommittee's failure may bring the same economic woes to America that are now plaguing Italy. Read his op-ed on the issue...
  • Missing the Bigger Story

    December 2, 2011
    Kumar does not mention that Virginia’s budget is set to increase by $1.1 billion in 2012. This new spending outweighs the proposed cuts by a factor of 550.
  • Labor Leaders for Communism!

    December 2, 2011
    Legendary labor leader Andy Stern has seen the future. There's no freedom there, but he's OK with that. Stern, a former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and now senior fellow at Columbia University's Richman Center, recently returned from a trip to China organized by the Center for American Progress. Stern had the opportunity on this sojourn to meet with "high-ranking" Chinese officials, who outlined for the former labor leader part of the authoritarian regime's long-term economic plan. Strern was so enamored with what he saw and heard in the Middle Kingdom that he wrote a slavish op-ed for The Wall Street Journal praising the communist country's state-planned economy and urging the United States to embark on a similar path. Among the more revolting passages of Stern's...
  • On 10th Anniversary of Enron Collapse, Time for Sarbanes-Oxley to Go

    December 2, 2011
    Ten years ago today, Enron Corp. filed for bankruptcy. Today, with all of its dealings with banks, it would probably have been deemed "too big to fail." But luckily, this was before Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner occupied the Treasury Department. Enron was allowed to fail, and its executives were punished for fraud under decades-old securities laws. While there was certainly damage to employees and, temporarily, to surrounding businesses in Houston, the bankruptcy barely caused a blip to the larger economy. The economy, already reeling because of the 9/11 attacks three months earlier, soon had a remarkable recovery. Rather, the most damaging action of the Enron affair occurred in the aftermath of post-Enron reform. This would be the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Ten years later, even the Obama administration agrees that Sarbox's crushing burden of accounting mandates is holding back...
  • Yes, the Ticketmaster class action settlement is appalling

    December 2, 2011
    Yes, we know about the Ticketmaster class action settlement, which over a dozen class members have emailed us about. There's no question that this coupon settlement (complete with questionable cy pres) would be illegal in federal court. Unfortunately, the case is pending in California state court. This limits the precedential value of the case (it's only a jurisdictional accident that it's not in federal court; if it were brought today it would be), and I'm sufficiently discouraged by the last few ventures into state court that I'm reluctant to devote limited resources to it. Including objections and a notice of appeal we've committed to file but haven't yet, we have nineteen cases pending, including eight appeals where the briefing isn't finished.

    However, many of the class members who have written us are attorneys. So a possibility is that sufficiently angry attorney class...
  • CEI Podcast for December 1, 2011: The More Numerous the Laws...

    December 1, 2011
    The Roman historian Tacitus wrote that "Laws were most numerous when the state was most corrupt." Matt Patterson, CEI's 2011-12 Warren Brookes Fellow, applies Tacitus' insight to U.S. politics and discusses what it will take for substantive reforms to become politically possible.
  • Ben Bernanke: Most Powerful Man in America?

    December 1, 2011
    Don’t let his short stature and friendly grandpa beard fool you. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has the power to control the money in your wallet and raise your taxes on all but a whim. And since the financial crisis, he’s been exercising these powers with extreme prejudice. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="312" caption="Bernanke makes it rain every day at the Fed."][/caption] Yesterday, the chairman slashed the Fed interest rate on dollar swaps by 50 basis points so that the European Central Bank could throw one last life preserver at the drowning Euro. But flooding the Eurozone with Dollars won’t change the fact that profligate southern European governments have been racking up unsustainable levels of debt for years by enjoying artificially low...
  • Cobell v. Salazar Indian trust appeal of Kimberly Craven, No. 11-5205 (DC Circuit)

    December 1, 2011
    Update, September 1: The plaintiffs moved for an $8.3 million appeal bond to create a procedural barrier to prevent Ms. Craven from exercising her appellate rights...
  • Today's Links: December 1, 2011

    December 1, 2011
    OPINION WILL OREMUS: "The Rise of the Geek Lobby" "[S]omething happened on the way to [SOPA]'s easy passage and the flourish of the president’s signature: The Internet fought back. The groundswell started with open-Internet stalwarts like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy & Technology. As they have before, the non-profits picked apart the bill’s perceived oversights and omissions. This time, though, their message—that the law would fundamentally damage the Internet’s culture of openness—resonated loudly outside the world of tech wonkdom." LINDA GREENHOUSE: "...

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