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OpenMarket: March 2012

  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    March 12, 2012
    64 new final rules were published last week, down from 89 the previous week.
  • Higher Education Bubble May Explode in Taxpayers' Faces

    March 9, 2012
    "61 percent of folks with a student loan are not paying," notes Andrew Gillen, Ph.D., of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Many of the non-payers are still in school, but many others have long since graduated, but are failing to make payments on their student loans. "To give you sense of how unhealthy this is, consider that after the worst housing price crash in our history, 28% of mortgages were underwater." In short, it looks like there is a huge higher education bubble about to explode in taxpayers' faces. Gillen notes that there is a whopping "$870...
  • Downgrading the West

    March 9, 2012
    In my column for The Washington Examiner today, I discuss the origins and consequences of our horrific, $15+ trillion debt:
    For decades, the government has been spending our wealth -- first everything we made, then everything we are ever going to make, and now everything our children and their children will ever make. How future generations will judge us for the theft of their prosperity is not hard to guess. America is not alone in this fiscally debased condition, of course. The rot is deep and widespread; it is civilizational. The entitlement promises made by national and local governments of the West are so vast that they can never be kept.
    Some readers have scoffed at my characterization of debt as a fatal, civilizational sickness...
  • It Gets Better All the Time

    March 9, 2012
    One of the larger themes of free-market economic thought is that people need to cooperate if they are to prosper. And when they do, wonderful things can happen. Here is an example of just that, from Steven Kotler and Peter Diamandis' new book, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. Highly recommended:
    A horse can lug two hundred pounds more than thirty miles in a day, but a C-130 carries forty-two thousand pounds over eight thousand miles during those same twenty-four hours. This makes for a 56,000-fold improvement in our ability to cooperate with one another. (locations 1504-1506 in the Kindle edition.)
    Diamandis runs the X Prize Foundation. He is midwifing the birth of commercial space travel, among other things.The book’s thesis is that exponential improvements in the quality...
  • Today's Links: March 9, 2012

    March 9, 2012
    OPINION RYAN CALO: "Drones, Dogs, and the Future of Privacy" "Just in case you haven’t seen the memo: Drones are coming to a city near you. They are arriving on these shores by the hundreds after serving in war zones overseas, and plenty of new models are on order to meet a burgeoning domestic demand. Why now? Under a fresh mandate from Congress, the Federal Aviation Administration will begin to relax its restrictions around the domestic use of “unmanned aerial systems,” leading to greater use of drones by public agencies and, eventually, the private sector." MEGAN MCARDLE: "...
  • Human Achievement of the Day: LED Lamp that Lasts 37 Years

    March 9, 2012
    Continuing the celebration of human achievements this week, we highlight a beautifully designed, and brilliantly engineered, LED lamp which lasts 37 years. Not possible, you say? Well, Jake Dyson begs to differ. The UK-based designer has been building innovative light concepts for years, but has now focused his efforts on inventing an efficient and sleek LED lamp, called CSYS, which uses microprocessor cooling technology to stay lit 12 hours a day, for 160,000 hours straight. Or in other words, for 37 years. With a form reminiscent of a building crane, the sleek lamp contains a copper pipe which conducts heat away from the light source, allowing the notoriously hot and brief life of the LED bulb to last longer -- much longer. This technology is most commonly seen in satellites and processor chips, making Dyson’s use of the technology even more...
  • Structural Factors of the Municipal Pension Crisis

    March 8, 2012
    Public employee pensions are sinking local governments. Over the last four years, they have even pushed some municipalities into bankruptcy -- from Vallejo, California, to Central Falls, Rhode Island. Now Stockton, California, threatens to join the bankrupt cities' ranks. While distressing, this shouldn't be surprising, since many of the causes for the pension crisis are structural. Steven Greenhut, of the Manhattan Institute, explains in The Washington Examiner:
    Stockton's situation epitomizes the reality of local government in California today: City governments don't exist to provide services to the public, but function mainly to dispense high salaries and pensions to the people who work for the government. Ninety-four of Stockton'...
  • CEI Podcast for March 8, 2012: IRS Moves to Fund Foreign Dictators

    March 8, 2012
    A new IRS regulation hits the trifecta of enriching foreign dictators, helping them crush dissent, and would raise no revenue for the U.S. government. Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray explains.
  • New IRS Rule Would Benefit Foreign Dictators, Drive $87 Billion Out of U.S. Economy, Could Cause Bank Failures

    March 8, 2012
    A new IRS rule would benefit foreign dictators and drive $87 billion out of U.S. economy, as my colleague, Iain Murray, explains in The American Spectator. It would require reporting of U.S. interest income of overseas account holders to foreign regimes. It could wipe out banks in Florida, where one-third of all bank deposits are from foreigners, many of whom who don’t trust their corrupt or oppressive home-country governments (e.g., Venezuela). It could result in a new wave of costly bank failures or bailouts, as overseas depositors pull their money out of U.S. banks and put it in other countries instead. Most countries have no legitimate interest in knowing the U.S. interest income of their nationals, since their tax laws -- unlike American tax laws -- do not tax the worldwide income of...
  • Today's Links: March 8, 2012

    March 8, 2012
    OPINION TIMOTHY B. LEE: "The Obama Administration Wants Warrantless Access to Cell Phone Locational Data" "A Maryland court last week ruled that the government does not need a warrant to force a cell phone provider to disclose more than six months of data on the movements of one of its customers. Two defendants had been accused of armed robbery, and a key piece of evidence against them was data about the movements of the pair's cell phones. The defendants had sought to suppress this location evidence because the government did not get a warrant before seeking the data from network providers. But last Thursday, Judge Richard D. Bennett ...


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