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OpenMarket: May 2012

  • Today's Links: May 17, 2012

    May 17, 2012
    OPINION LEONARD KILROY and HARRIS KENNY: "States and Cities Going Private With Infrastructure Investment" "As public debts grow, cities and states simultaneously face pressing needs to repair and modernize critical infrastructure assets that can't wait if citizens hope to keep goods and services moving in the economy. For example, many interstate highways, which are owned and maintained by states, are reaching the end of their useful lives and will cost tens of billions of dollars to reconstruct." NEW YORK POST EDITORIAL: "Channeling George Orwell" "‘War is peace,' wrote...
  • Bailouts Wanted -- All Taxpayers Solicited!

    May 17, 2012
    Business spends around the world almost $1 trillion annually, seeking to sell its goods and services. These communiqués are focused almost exclusively on influencing the choices that consumers make. Logical, of course, since failure to sell one’s products in the private world means bankruptcy. But, in today’s world, sustainable profitability requires also that businesses find ways of reducing costly political predation (excessive regulation, government support of competitors, high taxes, direct governmental agency competition). And business does spend a minor fraction of its overall communication budgets on political advertising.  Unfortunately, these ads tend toward rent-seeking -- increasing the overall burden of government on others -- not on reducing the firm or sector’s vulnerability to such predation. A recent example was a full-page ad by the National Association of Realtors in...
  • Government Lost Tons of Money in the Auto Bailouts, Despite Benefiting from Blind Luck

    May 17, 2012
    As John Lott notes, "Having just $34 billion to show after a $100 billion-plus investment would get a chief executive of any private company fired." But the Obama administration is boasting about doing just that in the auto bailouts, where the government gave General Motors more than $100 billion in subsidies, handouts, and preferential tax treatment, to keep in business a company currently worth $34 billion. "On Tuesday, the entire company, not just what the government owns, was worth less than $34 billion." By contrast, "The money the government spent adds up quickly: $50 billion in TARP bailout funds, a special exemption waiving payment of $45.4 billion in taxes on future profits, an exemption...
  • Senate Rejects Obama Budget, 99-0

    May 16, 2012
    President Obama's proposed budget is so irresponsible that even the Senate, controlled by Obama's own political party, just rejected it in a 99-to-0 vote. Reading the proposed budget does not inspire confidence, even in liberal journalists. In February, USA Today wrote that “Obama's budget plan leaves debt bomb ticking… The best test of a budget proposal these days is whether it reins in the national debt… The election-year budget President Obama sent to Congress on Monday fails that test.” The Los Angeles Times noted on February 14 that Obama's...
  • Let's Lose LOST

    May 16, 2012
    The Law of the Sea Treaty would drastically undermine American sovereignty, giving massive powers to the U.N. (aka the Dictators’ Club of New York), but the Senate is actually considering passing it -- get this -- as a tribute to Dick Lugar, whose voters unceremoniously dumped him last week. Seriously, couldn’t they just give him a medal? This is enough to make me think the House of Lords is a good idea. In any event, Let Freedom Ring has an action site up on this -- Let’s Lose LOST. For further background, here are two ...
  • Cut Military Spending to Prevent Tax Increases; Obama Administration Endangers Anti-Terrorism Efforts by Exposing Undercover Agent

    May 16, 2012
    The Cato Institute has identified $17-20 billion in readily-achievable savings to the 2013 military budget. Such cuts can help stave off tax increases. As Cato's Christopher Preble notes, if no other action to cut the deficit is taken, "the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011" will require "$110 billion in spending cuts in January 2013 via sequestration, half of which need to come from DoD." Such spending cuts are a long overdue first step towards getting America's skyrocketing budget deficit under control. The deficit is now so huge that America racked up more debt...
  • Today's Links: May 16, 2012

    May 16, 2012
    OPINION FARHAD MANJOO: "What Does Facebook’s $100 Billion IPO Mean for You?" "When Facebook filed for its initial public offering in February, Mark Zuckerberg wrote a frank letter to potential investors in the firm. 'Facebook was not originally created to be a company,' he began. 'It was built to accomplish a social mission—to make the world more open and connected.' The founder went on to say that while making money was important to Facebook, raking in cash was not its primary goal. 'Simply put: we don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.'" SEN. LISA...
  • Court Slaps NLRB -- Again

    May 15, 2012
    In yet another victory for workers and job creators, a federal district court has struck down the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) ambush election rule. The ruling is the latest in a series of cases where the courts have overturned the NLRB. This time U.S. District Judge James Boasberg threw out the NLRB’s rule because the board rushed through the rule without the requisite three member quorum. The Hill reports:
    U.S. District Judge James Boasberg struck the regulation down, saying the labor board only had two members when it...
  • Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Survey of the Regulatory State

    May 15, 2012
    The latest edition of my colleague Wayne Crews’s annual snapshot of the regulatory state, “Ten Thousand Commandments,” is out. This year’s lowlights include:
    • Estimated regulatory costs, while “off budget,” are equivalent to over 48 percent of the level of federal spending itself.
    • The 2011 Federal Register finished at 81,247 pages, just shy of 2010’s all-time record-high 81,405 pages.
    • Regulatory compliance costs dwarf corporate-income taxes of $198 billion, and exceed individual income taxes and even pre-tax corporate profits.
    • Agencies issued 3,807 final rules in 2011, a 6.5 percent increase over 3,573 in 2010.
    • Of the 4,128 regulations in the works at year-end 2011, 212 were “economically significant,” meaning they generally wield at least $100 million in economic impact.
    • 822 of those 4,128...
  • More First Amendment Violations from Obamacare, Thanks to HHS

    May 15, 2012
    Obamacare will drive up costs for most patients and insurance policyholders. Yet "health-insurance companies must tell customers who get a premium rebate this summer that the check is the result of the Obama administration's health-care law, according to federal guidelines released Friday. . . .Rules finalized by the Department of...


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