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OpenMarket: May 2012

  • An Economics Disaster

    May 23, 2012
    Paul Krugman, who knows better, recently fell for the broken window fallacy in a post at his ?New York Times? blog. An error that basic demands correction; my attempt ran today in The American Spectator:
  • Today's Links: May 23, 2012

    May 23, 2012
    OPINION ARNOLD KLING: "Why We Need Principles-Based Regulation" "When we think of regulation, we think of specific rules that spell out the boundaries between what is approved and what is forbidden. For example, requiring credit card issuers to give 45 days notice prior to a rate increase. I call this bright-line regulation (BLR). What I want to propose is an alternative approach, called principles-based regulation (PBR). With PBR, legislation would lay out broad but well-defined principles that businesses are expected to follow." RICHARD RAHN: "How Soon They Forget" "At what point would you consider leaving the U.S.? If you were taxed 98 percent of...
  • H.R. 1909 -- Unfinished Free-Market Business to Lift Barriers to Lending

    May 22, 2012
    They said it couldn't be done. That Congress couldn't pass a bipartisan bill in an election year to help the economy. Particularly one that lessens the burdens of government on consumers and entrepreneurs. The parties' ideological positions were just too different. And besides, no one had an interest in the other side getting credit for a legislative accomplishment as campaign season was approaching. Yet Congress and President Obama proved them wrong last month when both houses passed and Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which broadens exemptions for small and young firm from some of the most onerous regulations fr0m the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank financial acts. As I noted last week here and in the...
  • Techno-Phobic California Politicians "NHTSA" Google's Driverless Car

    May 22, 2012
    Last week, I wrote about Google's amazing new self-driving car, which CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman and I had the opportunity to test-ride in downtown Washington, D.C. The potential for this technology is huge, and it will likely revolutionize the way we think about travel, in addition to dramatically improving congestion, air quality, and auto safety. But leave it to California to be a wet blanket of over-regulation and techno-pessimism. Late yesterday, California's Senate unanimously passed a bill that...
  • Congress Must End Taxpayers Vulnerability to Government Waste

    May 21, 2012
    Openmarket.org Fraud and abuse continue to be a barrier to effective government. According to the Cato Institute’s 2009 report, fraud or improper payments in government amount to $100 billion per year. But since 1986, the Federal False Claims Act (FFCA) has given Americans incentives to help protect the government from fraud. Unfortunately, an alarmingly small amount, $25 billion over 26 years, has been recovered under the FFCA. The dramatic discrepancy is due to limitations to the act itself. The FFCA holds individuals or companies liable who deliberately submit false claims, or cause a false submission, for payment of government funds. The penalty is three times the governments damages, in addition to...
  • Obama: Promises Broken, Promises Kept

    May 21, 2012
    President Obama has broken many of his promises aimed at the general public and jobless Americans, but he has kept promises to his left-wing base that involved divisive wedge issues.
    He promised to create 7 million new jobs on seven different occasions in 2008. But these jobs have not materialized: "just 16 states have seen job growth since President Obama took office," overwhelmingly conservative states like Texas that have rejected liberal economic policies. "The remaining states have lost a combined 1.4...
  • Congress Must End Taxpayers Vulnerability to Government Waste

    May 21, 2012
    Fraud and abuse continue to be a barrier to effective government. According to the Cato Institute’s 2009 report, fraud or improper payments in government amount to $100 billion per year. But since 1986, the Federal False Claims Act (FFCA) has given Americans incentives to help protect the government from fraud. Unfortunately, an alarmingly small amount, $25 billion over 26 years, has been recovered under the FFCA. The dramatic discrepancy is due to limitations to the act itself. The FFCA holds individuals or companies liable who deliberately submit false claims, or cause a false submission, for payment of government funds. The penalty is three times the governments damages, in addition to civil penalties of $5,500 to $11,000 per...
  • Today's Links: May 21, 2012

    May 21, 2012
    OPINION GEORGE WILL: "When Government Is the Looter" "Russ Caswell, 68, is bewildered: 'What country are we in?' He and his wife, Pat, are ensnared in a Kafkaesque nightmare unfolding in Orwellian language. This town’s police department is conniving with the federal government to circumvent Massachusetts law — which is less permissive than federal law — to seize his livelihood and retirement asset. In the lawsuit titled United States of America v. 434 Main Street,...
  • Regulating Obama's Regulators -- And Those of Future Presidents

    May 21, 2012
    This month, President Obama released a new Executive Order building upon and making permanent the quest for regulatory savings in his January 2011 order called "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review." The idea is to ensure that benefits "justify" (alas, not as strong as "exceed") costs, and to emphasize the "least burdensome" means for achieving regulatory ends. A problem though, is the paltry $10 billion or so in savings so far, touted as a significant achievement by Cass Sunstein, the head of President Obama's Office...
  • A Fit of Sanity on ITAR

    May 18, 2012
    Over at Space Politics, Jeff Foust reports that the House has passed a bill allowing the administration to remove satellites from the munitions list and move control of their export from the State Department to the Department of Commerce. The current situation has cost our launch and satellite industry billions in lost international sales, which could have helped quite a bit with the trade balance since it went into effect fourteen years ago. Unfortunately, there is no companion in the Senate. As Foust notes, such a measure has passed the House before (three years ago) only to die in the upper chamber, but since the recent...

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