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OpenMarket: May 2012

  • No, Obama Is Not "the Smallest Government Spender Since Eisenhower"

    May 25, 2012
    As Reason Magazine's Peter Suderman and AEI's James Pethokoukis have noted, federal spending under the Obama administration has been at historic highs, consuming 24 percent of the economy, on average, compared to around 20 percent under George Bush, and 20 percent or less in most years since the end of World War II.  (That percentage holds true even if you blame Bush for the record spending in 2009 after he left office, which is somewhat misleading). In 2011, the federal budget reached $3.6 trillion, compared to...
  • Today's Links: May 25, 2012

    May 25, 2012
    OPINION NATE ANDERSON: "Senator Admits: SOPA "Really Did Pose Some Risk to the Internet" "Today, PIPA co-sponsor Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) admitted that the legislative approach considered by Congress had gotten the balance wrong. One of his sons woke him up and asked 'why I wanted to break the Internet and why Justin Bieber thought I should go to jail,' Coons said, as reported by The Hill. 'That was my first warning that we were not...
  • Carbon Tariffs Again in the Spotlight

    May 24, 2012
    Here it comes again -- talk of an EU carbon tax. This time it’s a member of the new administration of new French President Francois Hollande, namely his minister for “industrial revival,”Arnaud Montebourg, who called for carbon border tariffs in his first official interview. He seems to be following up on former President Nicholas Sarkozy’s earlier scheme to institute a carbon tariff on EU imports so that industries in the EU subject to carbon restrictions wouldn’t be disadvantaged. But France was not alone in those earlier calls. The European Commission in 2008 considered imposing carbon taxes on goods from...
  • CEI Podcast for May 24, 2012: Driverless Cars

    May 24, 2012
    A prototype driverless car made by Google recently made the rounds in Washington, DC, and Land-use and Transportation Policy Analyst Marc Scribner got to take a ride. He shares his experience, talks about the potential benefits for road safety and congestion, and the regulatory hurdles that driverless must clear.
  • Senate Vote Today on FDA, Supplements, and Energy Drinks

    May 24, 2012
    Today, the Senate will vote to reauthorize and modify the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) prescription drug and medical device user-fee program (S. 3187). During debate on the measure, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced plans to introduce an amendment to give the FDA more power over supplements such as vitamins and energy drinks. While Sen. Durbin is selling the amendment as moderate, commonsense legislation, its...
  • MWAA: A Government-Authorized Fiefdom

    May 24, 2012
    Should Congress’s power extend to creating taxpayer-funded government entities that are free from state and federal laws concerning ethics, transparency, and disclosure? No, but it does, and for Virginia residents, it is their reality. The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA), which is in charge of the $6 billion construction of the Dulles Metrorail extension, is such an entity. MWAA’s lack of both accountability and transparency to the public, in combination with its imprudent spending, raised concerns from federal, state, and local government officials. Arising from their calls is an ongoing investigation into the MWAA’s governance and management. The Department of Transportation's Inspector General report gave merit to government officials' concerns, uncovering numerous violations...
  • Empty Cupboards: The Legacy of the Greatest Generation

    May 24, 2012
    A fascinating article in MSN Money asks, "Are Baby Boomers to Blame?" Specifically, is that famously large and famously self-absorbed generation the driving force behind our multi-faceted fiscal crises? Mostly yes, concludes the author, Anthony Mirhaydari, who paints a grim portrait of our economic straights and lays the blame largely at the feet of aging boomers:
    If nothing is done, by 2024 -- according to a Credit Suisse estimate -- 100% of U.S. tax revenues will go to entitlement spending and interest payments on the federal debt. That's it. Nothing left for tanks, jets, food stamps and SEC regulators. Nada. While this seems intractable, the root of the problem is really quite simple: too many old people. Specifically, the nearly 80 million members of the ...
  • Is the Obama Administration Anti-Business?

    May 23, 2012
    If President Obama has found it hard in responding to critics who accuse him of being "anti-business," he really only has his own administration's policies to blame. Today in a Wall Street Journal op ed, former American Express Chairman and CEO Harvey Golub sums it up succinctly.
    [T]his administration has been overtly hostile to business across the economy except for progressive favorites like electric cars or wind and solar power. It has tightened regulatory screws on the coal industry and all other fossil-fuel providers, enacted health-care "reform" based on false estimates of its likely costs and effects, unleashed a hostile National Labor Relations Board on businesses, and...
  • EEOC Restricts Speech in Viewpoint-Discriminatory Manner in Dawson v. Donahoe: De Facto Ban on Confederate Flags

    May 23, 2012
    The First Amendment generally protects even offensive speech, so if you wish to wear a t-shirt celebrating a bloodthirsty thug like Mao, Stalin, or Che Guevara, you can do so without being punished by the government. But you can't wear a Confederate flag t-shirt to work, without risking an investigation by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), under the EEOC's February 8 ruling in Dawson v. Donahoe, which reversed an agency's dismissal of a racial-harassment complaint a Postal employee filed over co-workers repeatedly wearing confederate flag t-shirts. Despite the odious nature of the Confederacy, the Confederate flag is  speech protected by the First Amendment. Thus,...
  • Facebook's Fall and the Post-Sarbanes-Oxley "Cheers IPOs"

    May 23, 2012

    How Over-Regulation is Robbing Investors of Wealth from Smaller IPOs

    When I wrote pieces here and at the Daily Caller late last week injecting a note of skepticism as to the gains of ordinary investors from the Facebook inital public offering (IPO), I was slightly worried that the piece would be seen as raining on the parade. Now that this "parade" has turned into a stampede in the other direction, I still worry that my overall point will be missed. That is that as a result of the massive increase in the cost of going public from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, Dodd-Frank and other regulations that have attempted to protect ordinary...

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