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OpenMarket: March 2012

  • Today's Links: March 23, 2012

    March 23, 2012
    OPINION GUY BENSON: "Obama: Solyndra Was Not Our Program, You Know" "Obama professes to be heartbroken over the fate of the 1,100 Solyndra employees who were laid off when the fantasy finally burst.  He was not heartbroken enough, though, to speak up against the bonuses Solyndra executives -- people who were complicit in the collapse -- were paid after the jig was up.  Nor was he heartbroken enough to tell those workers (and Congress) the truth as soon Solyndra's fate became undeniably clear.  No, his administration...
  • Agricultural Innovation in the 21st Century: CEI on Capitol Hill

    March 22, 2012
    On Monday, I'll be speaking at a Capitol Hill event sponsored by Americans for Choice and Competition in Agriculture, which also goes by the name of AgChoice: "Feeding the World & Growing Our Economy: Agricultural Innovation in the 21st Century."
    The global population reached seven billion people on October 31, 2011, and is expected to reach nine billion by 2050. In order to meet the challenge of feeding this growing population, agricultural output must double and food production must increase by 70 percent by mid-century. Despite a weak global economy, the demand for U.S. agricultural exports is growing and has increased 45 percent in the last five years. Leadership from the U.S. agricultural industry will play an important role in addressing these challenges, but only if policies that encourage increased innovation...
  • CEI Podcast for March 22, 2012: Human Achievement Hour

    March 22, 2012
    At the same time as Earth Hour, millions of people will leave their lights on to celebrate Human Achievement Hour. Michelle Minton, CEI’s Fellow in Consumer Policy Studies and also the founder of Human Achievement Hour, explains.
  • Paul Ryan (and Penn Jillette) vs. Entitlements

    March 22, 2012
    No sooner had Rep. Paul Ryan unveiled his new budget proposal than liberals were howling in rage and righteous indignation. What was it that  infuriated them so? James Pethokoukis at The American gives a clue when he compared Ryan's budgetary approach with the president's:
    Ryan’s Path to Prosperity would cut the growth in Medicaid spending by $770 billion over ten years vs. President Obama’s budget, still spending $3.5 trillion overall on the program. Ryan would convert the federal share of Medicaid spending into a block grant to the states – indexed for inflation and population growth — giving them the flexibility to design programs that best suit their needs. He would also convert the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program into a block grant indexed for inflation and...
  • Human Achievement of the Day: Boingy Boingy Suspended Drum Kit

    March 22, 2012
    If you thought Justin Bieber was the best Canadian export in recent music history, you must not have heard of the Boingy Boingy bouncing drum kit! Canadian inventor and drummer Charlie Rose created the Boingy Boingy in an effort to make the old fashioned drum set more “dynamic.” The set is suspended by car springs and features a steel oil barrel to “ride” on as the player bounces around. Rose has ensured player comfort by mounting the barrel with a horse saddle, creating an overall effect like that of a mechanical bull -- a mechanical bull with rhythm. The current model, the third after a couple of failed prototypes, was developed in collaboration with a group of custom motorcycle builders in Medicine Hat, Alberta. The group worked for ten months, after which the Boingy Boingy was born. Rose cites the development cost at “$4,000 in beer and pizza...
  • Today's Links: March 22, 2012

    March 22, 2012
    OPINION CHRIS REED: "Solyndra Times Seven: Why California's High Speed Rail Project Is an Even Greater Waste of Federal Tax Dollars" "The national media have devoted plenty of skeptical attention to California’s bullet-train boondoggle—from the ballooning cost of the California High-Speed Rail Authority project to its shoddy management to the baffling decision to build the first segment in the lightly populated Central Valley. But the press has yet to focus on a crucial fact: the bullet train isn’t just some quirky Left Coast fiasco; it’s also a grotesque waste of federal money. " NINA TOTENBERG: "...
  • Yes, the JOBS Act Will Create Jobs, Wealth, and Investor Freedom

    March 21, 2012
    Tomorrow, the Senate is expected to pass the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. The bill achieved cloture today by 76 votes, all but assuring final passage. True to its acronym, by removing burdensome and outdated regulatory barriers to capital formation, the JOBS Act will likely result in the private sector creating millions of addition jobs over the next decade. As I testified last month before a House Energy and Commerce Hearing hearing on “Where the Jobs Are,” data from the respected Kauffman Foundation that have been embraced by the president’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness show that “over the last three decades, young firms less than five years old have created 40 million new jobs, accounting for all net new jobs during that period.” But...
  • Supreme Court Affirms Right to Challenge Government Power Grabs in Sackett v. EPA; Justice Alito Cites CEI Amicus Brief

    March 21, 2012
    Rejecting the arguments of the Obama administration, the Supreme Court has just held that EPA "compliance orders" can be challenged in court if they are arbitrary and capricious -- for example, if they are based on an erroneous bureaucratic interpretation of what a "wetland" is, that results in dry land improperly being declared an unusable wetland. In his concurring opinion, Justice Alito explained one reason why such judicial review is needed: the EPA uses vague, inconsistent standards when it declares seemingly-dry land to be a wetland. As he pointed out, citing CEI's amicus brief, "far from providing clarity and...
  • Some Good News on Pensions, for a Change

    March 21, 2012
    Over the last four years, state governments across the nation have been trying to bring their labor costs under control, especially pensions, which are now imposing huge unfunded liabilities. This has been an uphill battle, as reforms generally face opposition from government employee unions. Yet, despite that opposition, lawmakers in most states have been able to enact some reforms, of varying boldness. A new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has some encouraging news. The NCSL report states, "From 2009 through 2011, 43 states enacted major changes in state retirement plans for broad categories of public employees and teachers to address long-term funding issues." Reforms enacted include:
    • Increased employee contributions;
    • Higher age and service...
  • ThinkProgress' Schizophrenia on Crowdfunding and the JOBS Act

    March 21, 2012
    ThinkProgress, the blogging arm of the liberal Center for American Progress, is usually pretty good on enforcing the political left’s party line. But two of its bloggers seem to have radically different viewpoints on crowdfunding, the pooling of resources through online social networking for a given product or production. Liberalization of securities laws governing crowdfunding is at the center of the debate around the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which had sailed through the House with the Obama administration’ support and 390 votes (including from vocal liberals such as Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif.) on March 8, yet has encountered resistance from Democrats in the Senate due to its alleged riskiness. In her post Tuesday afternoon, TP culture blogger Alyssa...

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