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OpenMarket: January 2012

  • States Deliberately Qualify Non-Poor People for Food Stamps to Get Federal Money; Obama Administration Blocks Reforms

    January 31, 2012
    As a Bloomberg News commentary notes, large numbers of people who are not poor are getting food stamps, due to perverse incentives that encourage states to deliberately classify people as eligible in order to draw federal money to their state.  People are eligible in some states even if they are not poor at all, but merely received an “informational brochure” for welfare, or a tiny amount of state money that the state deliberately gave them that they didn't even need, in order to qualify them for food stamps: As the article...
  • Today's Links: January 31, 2012

    January 31, 2012
    OPINION SANJIV AHUJA: "Lost in D.C.'s Iron Triangle" "LightSquared, encouraged by the Federal Communications Commission under both the Obama and Bush administrations, has spent billions building a new wireless broadband network on parts of the spectrum we legally own. [...] But then last year, the Space Based Positioning Navigation and Timing Executive Committee was asked to evaluate our plans. This government panel was created in 2004 to guide GPS policy, and we believe it has been captured by the GPS industry. For example, the vice chairman of the committee’s advisory board sits on the board of directors of a GPS company that has spent more than a million dollars lobbying against LightSquared’s technology." ANDREW COHEN: "...
  • Alcohol Regulation Roundup: January 30, 2012

    January 30, 2012
    In national news: Congressman Kurt Schrader of Oregon announced last week that he is withdrawing his support of the CARE Act, the piece of legislation that will likely make it more difficult for small producers of wine, beer, and spirits to reach the market. In his statement, Rep. Schrader noted that after listening to the concerns of Oregon’s wine growers he now believes the legislation would be detrimental to their industry. Also in national news: The Small BREW Act picked up a new cosponsor. Congressman Brad Miller of North...
  • Michigan SEIU Scam the Product of Government Collective Bargaining

    January 30, 2012
    Openmarket.org Proponents of government collective bargaining view it as a fundamental human right. The shameful actions of SEIU in Michigan, however, undermine this claim. In 2005, Michigan lawmakers signed off to create the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3). MQC3 maintains a registry of homecare providers to assist Medicaid recipients looking for a caregiver. In reality, the primary function of MQC3 was to make 45,000 private homecare providers government employees and dues-paying union members. In 2006, SEIU took advantage of Michigan law deeming homecare providers government employees. To gain exclusive representation SEIU organized a covert union campaign...
  • Justice Kagan Should Recuse Herself from Obamacare Case

    January 30, 2012
    Only in Bizarro World can you claim someone is your attorney -- and thus shielded by attorney work-product privilege -- and then insist in the very next breath that they never represented you. But that is what the Obama administration and Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan are doing. The Obama administration refuses to release its communications with Kagan about health care litigation back when she was the administration's Solicitor General, on the grounds that they are covered by attorney work-product protection. Yet, contradictorily, it and Kagan insist that she never acted as the administration's lawyer in the matter, and thus doesn't need to recuse herself from hearing the constitutional challenges to Obamacare that will be decided by the Supreme Court this year. Law Professor Ronald Rotunda, the co-author of a leading constitutional law...
  • Michigan SEIU Scam the Product of Government Collective Bargaining

    January 30, 2012
    Proponents of government collective bargaining view it as a fundamental human right. The shameful actions of SEIU in Michigan, however, undermine this claim. In 2005, Michigan lawmakers signed off to create the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3). MQC3 maintains a registry of homecare providers to assist Medicaid recipients looking for a caregiver. In reality, the primary function of MQC3 was to make 45,000 private homecare providers government employees and dues-paying union members. In 2006, SEIU took advantage of Michigan law deeming homecare providers government employees. To gain exclusive representation SEIU organized a covert union campaign. The stealth-organizing tactic led to...
  • Americans Now Owe $189,000 Each in National Debt and Unfunded Entitlements

    January 30, 2012
    As Michael Tanner noted this weekend in The New York Post, "the current state of our union can be summed up in just two words: We’re broke."  In his State of the Union address,
    The president devoted just 189 words to the deficit and our growing national debt, but the fact is that once again this year we will borrow 32 cents out of every dollar we spend. Overall, our national debt now tops $15.2 trillion (with Congress raising the debt ceiling to $16.4 trillion last week). And that doesn’t count the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare. Throw those in, and our total indebtedness exceeds $120 trillion. That means that if one counts only the official national debt, every man, woman and child in America owes $48,700. Include the unfunded liabilities of Social...
  • Today's Links: January 30, 2012

    January 30, 2012
    OPINION MARK P. MILLS & JULIO M. OTTINO: "The Coming Tech-Led Boom" "In January 1912, the United States emerged from a two-year recession. Nineteen more followed—along with a century of phenomenal economic growth. Americans in real terms are 700% wealthier today. [...] In January 2012, we sit again on the cusp of three grand technological transformations with the potential to rival that of the past century. All find their epicenters in America: big data, smart manufacturing and the wireless revolution." NICK GILLESPIE & MATT WELCH: "Learning From Kodak's Demise" "The human brain is capable of memorizing 67,890 digits of...
  • Romney Pays More Taxes Than He Would in Canada and Many European Countries

    January 28, 2012
    As an article in the Financial Post noted, if Mitt Romney were Canadian, he'd pay less tax than he does in America. That’s because most of Mitt Romney’s income is from investments.  Much of the world taxes investment income far less than the U.S. does, while taxing consumption more, through a Value Added Tax (VAT). Those countries are more generous to savers, unlike our tax code, which favors spenders. The belief that the richest 1 percent in Europe and Canada subsidize all of the other 99% is a common delusion on the American Left. It’s the basis for their fantasy that vast new government programs can be paid for simply by taxing the rich. But as Romney’s situation shows, it has no basis in reality. Europe and Canada finance their more extensive welfare states heavily...
  • Newt's Lunar Base

    January 27, 2012
    Over at PJMedia, I discuss the technical, economic and political feasibility of what Newt proposes. But as I note there, the hardest part is the politics:
    It would be a tough sell to a Congress that is used to directing space funds to its campaign contributors — a prize wouldn’t give them an adequate amount of control over where the money ended up. And even if a President Gingrich could get the support of Congress to establish such a prize, there would be no guarantee that a future Congress wouldn’t rescind it, creating a great deal of uncertainty and risk for someone who wanted to pursue it. A private prize can escrow the funds, but there’s no sure-fire way for a fickle U.S. government to do so, particularly in times of trillion-dollar deficits, because the Constitution doesn’t allow a...

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