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OpenMarket: December 2011

  • Phoenix Government Unions Look for More Money for Nothing

    December 12, 2011
    Recently, the Goldwater Institute filed suit against the city of Phoenix for inappropriately subsidizing government unions. The complaint alleges that collective bargaining agreements between the city and unions requiring “release time” for union officials are illegal. Release time allows union officials to exclusively conduct union business while being paid by the city -- or more accurately, the city's taxpayers. The lawsuit coincides with Goldwater Institute reporter Ken Flatten’s investigation, "Money for Nothing: Phoenix taxpayers foot the bill for union work." The report reveals that Phoenix government unions receive 73,000 hours of release time, costing the taxpayers $3.7 million a year. The report...
  • The GOP Response to TSA Strip-Searches

    December 12, 2011
    The TSA has allegedly strip-searched an elderly woman for wearing a back brace. They wrongly suspected it was a money belt. This search was security-unrelated; even the crispest of $100 bills can't bring down a plane.
  • Dept. of Labor to Send Ag-Youths A'packin'

    December 12, 2011
    Regulatory war has been waged against another job-creating sector of the American economy. The U.S. Department of Labor has set forth new proposals restricting children under the age of 16 that are not children of the farmers from working in the agriculture industry. Should the DOL really be confident enough with the reduced unemployment rate from 9 percent to 8.6 percent to comfortably cut job opportunities for the prospective future farmers of America? Current labor laws allow children under 16 to work when they aren't in school.  Children of farmers may be employed by their parents at any age at any time in any occupation on a farm owned or operated by their parents. But many children work on farms that are either owned by a grandparent, uncle or aunt. Also, if parents do not have full ownership of the property on which they...
  • Christmas Liquor Bans: Is Your State on the List?

    December 12, 2011
    If you were planning to go-a-Wassailing along this Christmas, you may want to read this post carefully so that you can plan your booze-buying accordingly this holiday season. The "blue laws," that still exist in many states, were originally intended to enforce religious worship. While most states have done away with the anachronistic rules, many still maintain bans on sales of liquor on Sundays, election days, and certain holidays.
  • Food Stamp Fraud Costs America Billions

    December 12, 2011
    Food stamp fraud is costing the taxpayers billions, notes the Heritage Foundation. Fraud levels were 39 percent in the District, 25 percent in Maryland, and 16 percent in Virginia, for cases investigated in 2011, according to data obtained by The Washington Examiner. Almost none of the people who committed fraud in Maryland or the District were ever prosecuted. As the Heritage Foundation notes:
    While the number of food stamp recipients has significantly increased (now up to a total of 45 million Americans) the percentage of cases investigated for fraud has not...
  • Second Major Labor Group Condemns Occupy Movement's Planned West Coast "Solidarity" Port Shutdown

    December 9, 2011
    The Occupy movement is planning to force a shutdown of West Coast ports, claiming they are standing in solidarity with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) over the group's ongoing labor dispute at the Port of Longview, Washington. But as I previously noted, the ILWU has called on the Occupiers to stand down and to stop interfering in their affairs. Now a second major labor organization is condemning the Occupiers' planned blockade, which is scheduled for this coming Monday:
    Alameda County Building and Constructions Trades Council, which represents unions whose workers...
  • Will "International" Norms Override Civil Liberties and Protections Against Violent Crime?

    December 9, 2011
    The Supreme Court has agreed to hear challenges to life sentences without parole for teenage murderers, in Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs, two cases in which teen killers argue that such sentences always violate the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, no matter how horrible the crime.  In Graham v. Florida (2010), the Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 vote...
  • Regulation Roundup

    December 9, 2011
    Boy, 7, kicks bully in the groin, school officials threaten sexual harassment charges, plus more.
  • Federal Spending on Student Financial Aid Drives Up College Tuition, Shrinks Economy

    December 9, 2011
    At Bloomberg News, Virginia Postrel writes about how federal subsidies intended to make college more affordable have instead encouraged rapidly rising tuitions, in a column entitled, "U.S. Universities Feast on Federal Student Aid." Education analyst Neal McCluskey links to four studies showing that increased government spending on student aid results in large tuition increases. As Postrel notes, talk of a “higher education bubble” is now...
  • NLRB Drops Case against Boeing - Finally

    December 9, 2011
    Today, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that it has decided to drop its case against Boeing, over the airplane manufacturer's opening of a plant in South Carolina, a right to work state. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), which originally brought the complaint, asked the NLRB to drop the case after an overwhelming majority of its members approved a contract that increases production in Seattle. While the NLRB's announcement today is good news for Boeing workers in South Carolina who saw their jobs threatened, this case should never have gotten as far as it did. By agreeing to pursue the IAM's complaint over the...

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