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OpenMarket: December 2011

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Were Into Subprime Lending, and Lied About It

    December 16, 2011
    "One of the regular claims from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac apologists . . . is that the two entities were blameless" for causing the mortgage meltdown and financial crisis, as these two "Government-sponsored enterprises" (GSEs) supposedly "weren’t involved in subprime" mortgages and were forbidden to buy them. This false and dishonest claim has now been refuted.  In charging the former heads of Fannie and Freddie with fraud, "the Securities and Exchange Commission has decided that not only could the GSEs buy subprime, but they did in fact do so and, even worse...
  • mid-December update

    December 16, 2011
  • Cradle and Grave? Nations that Built the West Now Pulling it Down

    December 16, 2011
    One of the joys of studying history is discovering the enormous number of bizarre coincidences scattered throughout the affairs of men. Example: Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence, died on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of that document, giving his last breath on July 4, 1826. As if that wasn't coincidence enough, Jefferson's friend and fellow revolutionary (and his predecessor in the presidency) John Adams passed away on the very same day. "Jefferson still survives," were Adams' final words, unaware that his lifelong rival and colleague had expired a few hours previously. Another interesting coincidence: Free government was invented by two separate peoples, apparently independently, within one year of each other in the late 6th century BC. In 509, the Roman people overthrew the Etruscan kingship that had ruled Rome for centuries and instituted...
  • Memo to Gingrich: Credit Unions are Not GSEs

    December 16, 2011
    Let me begin this post with a disclaimer, of which many of our readers are already aware. The Competitive Enterprise Institute and OpenMarket.org do not advocate the election or defeat of any political candidate. What we do do is offer our perspective on many of the policies the candidates have to offer. Often a candidate will receive kudos from us for one idea, but strong criticism for another. In the case of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, I have applauded his and other candidates' calls to repeal the burdensome accounting mandates from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. A few days ago on OpenMarket, Rand Simberg gave qualified praise to Gingrich's idea for a lunar colony, so long as involved lifting regulatory...
  • CEI Weekly: Safety Board Proposes Cell Phone Ban for Drivers

    December 16, 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 16, 2011 >>Featured Story The National Transportation Safety Board is pushing for a nationwide ban on all "nonemergency" use of cell phones by automobile drivers. CEI experts released a joint statement explaining why the ban would be ineffective at best. Read the statement...
  • Media Neglect NLRB Overreach

    December 16, 2011
    The notorious Boeing vs. NLRB lawsuit is settled. Unfortunately, only Big Labor and the Obama administration gain from the Boeing and IAM agreement. Boeing chose to submit to union demands in order to save their $1 billion investment in South Carolina and end the legal battle, as they suspected the NLRB would not drop the case until Boeing agreed to a contract with IAM. Although the agreement works out for Boeing and workers in South Carolina, the case sets a dangerous precedent for future labor disputes. Now employers know the NLRB will blatantly side with Big Labor and strong-arm companies into concessions during collective bargaining. Regrettably this allows Big Labor to accuse employers of trumped up charges while the NLRB covers the legal costs. The Obama administration sent a clear message to the business community: special interests determine policy. The message undoubtedly...
  • Today's Links: December 16, 2011

    December 16, 2011
    OPINION JORDAN WEISSMAN: "The Dark Side of America's Growing Social Safety Net" "By now, we've all gotten used to the fights on Capitol Hill about extending unemployment benefits. Each time they're about to expire, Democrats line up to renew them. Meanwhile, at least a few Republicans rise up to object. Their argument: By writing checks to the jobless, we're making it less likely that they'll go out and find work. " BJORN LOMBORG: "Going to Extremes" "Global warming activists like to cite extreme weather as one of...
  • FDA Needs to Act on Internet and Social Media Policy

    December 16, 2011
    Way back in September 2009, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it would begin using the social media site Twitter to share news and other information about drug safety and regulation. "Messages on Twitter provide consumers, healthcare professionals, the pharmaceutical industry, and others with timely information on new drug approvals, safety alerts, compliance actions, and consumer information," the announcement said. It was curious that FDA mentioned the pharmaceutical industry. You see, drug and device companies have been feeling their way around the Internet and other new media, including Twitter, for several years without substantive guidance from the FDA. That's important because, under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, there's a lot that's not permitted, but nobody's quite sure what is and what isn't. And if the...
  • Santa Claus: Conservative

    December 15, 2011
    In a world awash in socialism and socialist agitators (I’m looking at you, Occupy Wall Street, MSNBC...) it’s good to know at least Santa Claus is kicking it old school. That’s right, Saint Nick is a conservative through and through, in spite of the red get-up. Think about it: Santa doesn’t distribute toys in the willy-nilly, every-one’s-a winner liberal fashion. No, sir, you have to earn your toys from him -- through decent behavior. Naughty boys net no toys. If Santa were a liberal he would give everyone a toy, whether they deserved it or not, and it would be the same toy, shoddily assembled by some government bureaucrat instead of crack private-sector elfin expertise. Which brings us to another point -- Santa is obviously independently wealthy (excellent capitalist creds) and is therefore able to write off his yearly sojourn as a massive and merry act of philanthropy,...
  • A Reprieve For NASA Commercial Crew Contractors

    December 15, 2011
    There has been a great deal of concern over the past few months among the potential providers of crew services to NASA over their stated plans to shift the efforts of the Commercial Crew Program from successful Space Act Agreements, that had been so successful in the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, to a more traditional procurement approach. Under the Space Act Agreements, the providers had the flexibility to come up with their own solutions without a lot of NASA oversight, and were only paid when they actually achieved the specified milestones, reducing risk for the taxpayer. However, NASA was concerned that this approach wouldn't provide them with sufficient assurance that they would get systems designed to meet their exacting safety and mission-success requirements for transport of astronauts to the International Space Station, and they had accordingly decided to...

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