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OpenMarket: May 2012

  • Framing the Debate on Chemical Regulation

    May 11, 2012
    Last week, CEI hosted a congressional briefing on chemical policy and regulation (the video of the event is forthcoming). A news story in Risk Policy Report covering the event proclaims: “Free- Free-Market Group Seeks To 'Re-Frame' Hill Debate Over Chemical Risk.” Indeed we do! I presented on why Congress should not “modernize” the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Dr. Rick Belzer addressed the...
  • Politics Is About Power, Not Ideology

    May 11, 2012
    People who want to be president are not normal.
  • GAO Releases Study About a Study on Studies

    May 11, 2012
    Voltaire once wrote that “I have only ever addressed one prayer to God, and it is very short: ‘My God, please make all our enemies ridiculous.’ God has granted my wish.” As with Voltaire, so with classical liberals.
  • Why JPMorgan Chase's Mark-to-Market Losses Don't Bolster Case for Volcker Rule

    May 11, 2012
    There is much still to be known about the $2 billion in losses JPMorgan Chase is reporting due to a flawed hedging strategy. But this lack of knowledge hasn't prevented proponents of Dodd-Frank's Volcker Rule, which bans banks from certain types of trading, from jumping into the fray and claiming this as a justification for their vaunted rule to keep banks from "gambling" with trading strategies as opposed to the "safe" activities of lending. But just as due diligence is required by banks and investors, so it is by policy makers. $2 billion is a big number that attracts a lot of headlines, but it is dwarfed by the trillions in losses from the "traditional" bank activity of mortgage lending. Yes, these mortgages were traded, but bad underwriting of unqualified borrowers -- encouraged by government subsidies through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- and mandates through the Community...
  • Cyberbullying and Bullying Used As Pretexts for Censorship

    May 11, 2012
    In the name of fighting "cyberbullying," many New York legislators would like to force blogs to remove blog comments that offend readers, unless they "disclose information about the authorship of the supposedly offensive post including the writer’s name and home address." As a law professor notes, the cost of doing that "might well be prohibitive for many Web site operators, whose only option at that point would be just to delete all the comments." On the bright side, the Tennessee legislature has belatedly heeded public criticism, and limited the state's ban on posting images that "cause emotional distress" to comply...
  • PATTERSON AND KOVACS: Labor bosses demand their dues

    May 11, 2012
    CEI Policy analyst Trey Kovacs and CEI Warren Brooks Fellow Matt Patterson. Washington Times  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/may/10/labor-bosses-demand-their-dues/ Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude  shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. - United States Constitution, 13th Amendment Labor bosses are fighting to keep people in unions against their will, forcibly collecting dues from unwilling members and using those dues to line their own pockets. In effect, labor leaders have imposed their own system of “involuntary servitude” on recalcitrant union members. In California, for example, Service Employees International...
  • Today's Links: May 11, 2012

    May 11, 2012
    OPINION WILL OREMUS: "Deep Space Mine" "Last month, a group of starry-eyed billionaires—including Googlers Larry Page and Eric Schmidt and director James Cameron—told the tech world about their latest, craziest scheme. TheAvatar-esque plan: send robotic rocket ships into outer space to chase down asteroids, mount them, and mine them for precious metals. The company they’re backing is called Planetary Resources, and it aims to be prospecting for platinum on space rocks within the next few years." KIM ZETTER: "Few Companies Fight...
  • CEI Podcast for May 10, 2012: Freeing Our Farms

    May 10, 2012
    Current immigration policy keeps many immigrants in dangerous black markets, raises food prices for consumers, makes it difficult for farmers to hire workers and create jobs, and reduces the government's tax revenues.
  • Legacy Risks

    May 10, 2012
    European and American political and private institutions have made many non-sustainable retirement promises over the last 50 years. These promises cannot be kept and that reality is forcing reform. One primary reform is a shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans. Critics argue that would shift risks from the company or agency to the individual. But is this true? While an individual may fail to set aside enough savings for retirement or invest poorly, that is also true for a firm or government entity. The firm or agency may have the resources to make up for a shortfall -- but they may not. When firms and -- increasingly -- political jurisdictions go broke, they leave workers badly shortchanged. In the private sector, the federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation caps benefit...
  • Intellectuals Are the Shoeshine Boys of the Ruling Elite

    May 10, 2012
    "Why do so many intellectuals lean politically to the left?"  CEI President Fred Smith has written extensively on that question. In today's Wall Street Journal, Harvard economics professor Robert Barro makes a contribution to this conversation. Focusing on the ongoing austerity vs. stimulus debate, he remarks upon the persistence of Keynesian policy prescriptions, despite their sorry history.
    Despite the lack of evidence, it is remarkable how much allegiance the Keynesian approach receives from policy makers and economists. I think it's because the Keynesian model addresses important macroeconomic policy issues and is pedagogically beautiful, no doubt reflecting the genius of Keynes. The basic model -- government steps in to spend when others won't...

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