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OpenMarket: May 2012

  • Labor and Occupy: Comrades in Arms

    May 14, 2012
    CEI Brookes Warren Fellow Matt Patterson Featured in Openmarket.org The Washington Examiner is reporting that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is helping Occupy DC become a “more permanent fixture” of the Washington, D.C., landscape by moving the anti-freedom agitators into cozy offices in the heart of the nation’s capital. And as usual where “occupiers” are concerned, there is no shortage of hypocrisy to be found: The Service Employees International Union, one of Obama’s most vocal supporters among labor groups, is paying $4,000 a month for three offices the...
  • The Constellation Empire Strikes Back

    May 14, 2012
    Constellation, the Bush administration's plan to return to the moon, was canceled a couple years ago. But not all of Constellation was canceled. The Orion crew module, designed to go to lunar orbit and back, survives, with plans to test fly on a Delta IV rocket in a couple years, and Congress, eager to preserve the Space Shuttle jobs base, demanded that NASA reinstitute a new heavy-lift launch vehicle to replace the canceled Ares V with the Space Launch System. So at this point, despite the cancellation, Constellation continues to waste money, except for the Ares I, the new crew rocket that NASA was developing. Derived from Space Shuttle and Apollo hardware, it used a new five-segment version of a shuttle solid rocket booster (SRB) as a first stage, with a new LOX/hydrogen upper stage. At the time of cancellation, it had been experiencing development issues, missing performance, cost...
  • The Highway Bill and Sen. Jeff Bingaman's Anti-P3 Propaganda

    May 14, 2012
    I've written extensively about federal surface transportation reauthorization, which is currently pending in conference. CEI, along with The Independent Institute and Reason Foundation, will be holding a Capitol Hill briefing tomorrow at noon titled, "Reforming Federal Surface Transportation Policy: Problems, Solutions, And A New Path Forward." The Highway Trust Fund is facing imminent insolvency. This is the result of keeping federal fuel excise tax rates at the same level since 1993. Since then, inflation has eroded about one-third of those dollars’ buying power. Rather than attempt to fix this very serious problem, the Senate’s Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21...
  • Greek Tragedy Nears a Dramatic End

    May 14, 2012
    With the prospects for a Greek pro-austerity coalition fading rapidly, here is a round-up of the most useful stories on the Greek tragedy:
    • The BBC's business editor, Robert Peston, asks if the Euro could survive a Greek exit. His comments on German reactions are key.
    • A group of economists and financiers comment on what a Greek exit would mean. The consensus: economic disaster for Greece, but only a couple note that the Greek position right now isn't exactly bread and roses.
    • A useful note from JP Morgan that suggests that immediate losses from a Greek Euro exit could be...
  • Immigration and Demographic Doom

    May 14, 2012
    America -- the world’s most recent great civilization -- faces a demographic problem that calls for a solution from the dawn of civilization. When civilization began in ancient Sumer over 6,000 years ago, city life increased trade and wealth, but also created the perfect environment for diseases to spread. Epidemics wiped out much of the working age population, but help soon arrived. Akkadians from neighboring rural areas traveled to the Tigris and Euphrates river basin to build Sumer’s irrigation canals, roads, and other infrastructure. The first great civilization survived, not by social isolation, but thanks to a constant supply of migrant workers. Unlike Sumer, America has so thoroughly subdued disease and prolonged death that it has produced the opposite demographic situation -- an aging population supported by a shrinking workforce. America’s over-65 demographic grew three and a...
  • Why Are Statists So Inconsistent?

    May 14, 2012
    From time to time, I think of this question.  Consider free speech -- almost every liberal views that as the one part of the Constitution they’d keep. Indeed, they once defended the rights of Nazis (Nazis!) to march in Skokie, Illinois! Now they find it all too easy to support selective speech restrictions: “harmful” speech, campaign finance laws, campaigns to eliminate the “false balance” of the media (re global warming and other PC-controversies). Free speech now is restricted to intellectuals --- academics, the media (if they don’t fall into “false balance”), liberal politicians. But economic interests must be treated differently -- they have undue influence and threaten true, democratic “free speech.” Business and business friendly voices have been targeted repeatedly -- and campaign laws are but one example. Research papers funded (even with independence guarantees) must carry the...
  • Today's Links: May 14, 2012

    May 14, 2012
    OPINION LAWRENCE HUNTER: "Imagining A Cruel World Where Everyone's 'Too Something' To Fail" "Imagine a world where the rich and the poor are “too something” to fail—too big, too small, too important, too weak, too fixed, too impotent—whatever.  Conceive of a world where it is illegal to renovate, refurbish, raze or plow under the old and replace it with something new.  Envisage a world where it is against the law to reallocate capital and labor or put idle natural resources into productive use.  Picture a world where such a high value is placed on equality of outcome and reducing wealth disparities among individuals that forcible redistribution is elevated to an impoverishing moral imperative...
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    May 14, 2012
    62 new final rules and 1,577 new Federal Register pages covering everything from sunscreen to commericial driver's licenses.
  • FCC Delays Threaten to Hurt Wireless Consumers

    May 11, 2012
    America’s communications regulatory regime is broken. Case in point: prior government approval is needed for what should be a run of the mill marketplace transaction. In order to get the FCC approval needed to consummate a proposed spectrum purchase from Cox and SpectrumCo, Verizon Wireless has offered to divest some of its most valuable spectrum licenses. But the Commission continues to drag its feet. Faced with an impending spectrum shortage, many wireless carriers are aggressively seeking more spectrum. Verizon Wireless, for its part, wants to buy a chunk of spectrum that cable companies acquired in 2006 through a bungled FCC attempt to force competition in the industry by allowing cable companies to...
  • Austerity Is Mythical, But It Would Have Real Benefits

    May 11, 2012
    Left-leaning commentators are wrong to decry "austerity" in Europe, since, as the Richmond Times-Dispatch notes, such "austerity" is largely mythical:
    European nations have not slashed spending. To the contrary, only a couple have even so much as nicked it. According to the European Union, "National budgets are not decreasing their spending, they are increasing it." In 2011, 23 of the EU's 27 nations raised spending levels. This year 24 of them will. In the past decade, aggregate spending by EU governments rose 62 percent, according to Investor's Business Daily.
    On the other hand, during some past periods of economic growth, the U.S. actually did practice austerity, cutting government spending, as a graph at The American...

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