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OpenMarket: September 2012

  • Fifty Years Later: Rachel Carson Is Still Wrong

    September 28, 2012
    Back in 1996, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Jonathan Tolman authored an article entitled "Rachel Was Wrong,” in which he explained why biologist Rachel Carson mistakenly condemned chemicals -- and pesticides in particular. This month marks the 50th anniversary of her in her 1962 book, Silent Spring, which history shows is, in fact, still wrong. Carson did make one reasonable plea for judicious use of pesticides, stating:
    “All this is not to say that there is no insect problem and no need of control. I am saying, rather, that control must be geared to realities, not mythical situations, and that the methods employed must be such that they do not destroy us along with insects.”...
  • Big Labor's Midwest Offensive

    September 28, 2012
    Yesterday in the St. Paul, Minnesota, Pioneer Press, my colleague Russ Pohl and I detail the current militant tactics used by Midwest public-sector unions that are paralyzing government. The actions reveal the need to uproot the foundation of government union’s power over taxpayer funds by eliminating collective bargaining in government. We explain that in Chicago the power of collective bargaining enabled the teachers union to execute a seven-day illegal strike:
    Illinois state law "prohibits the CTU from striking over non-economic issues, such as layoff and recall policies, teacher evaluations, class sizes and the length of the school day and year." Yet CTU President Karen Lewis has stated that evaluation...
  • Free Checking Nearly Extinct Thanks To Dodd-Frank; Will Credit Card Rewards Follow?

    September 28, 2012
    One year ago on October 1, Dodd-Frank's Durbin Amendment price controls went into effect, causing consumers to lose free checking and be soaked with other bank fees so that the country's wealthiest retail chains could become even richer. Now if these same retailers have their way -- and a similar price control scheme is pushed through for credit cards as well as debit cards -- consumers could lose be hit with annual fees on their credit card and fewer credit card rewards as well. At the behest of lobbying by some of the nation's biggest retail chains -- including Wal-Mart, Home Depot, 7-Eleven, and Walgreens -- banks and credit unions were allowed to charge retailers no more than 21-26 cents per debit card transaction. This represents an ongoing $8 billion annual transfer from banks' to retailers' coffers, but new data confirm that consumers, community banks, and credit unions are the...
  • Unions Outgunning Opposition In Michigan

    September 28, 2012
    Organized labor is driving hard to enshrine collective bargaining right in Michigan State constitution. If Proposal 2 passes this November, they will have done just that, taking Michigan closer to a Mediterranean-style rigid and disastrous labor market. So far, it looks like they are succeeding and no wonder, based on how much money is being spent by Unions and their allies. The Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization supported by the Joyce Foundation (that strives for improving public policies in the Great Lakes region), published precise figures on the financial activity of the committees involved in the...
  • TRUST Act Is An Important Stand Against Federal Immigration Policy

    September 28, 2012
    In a CNN column today, Jose Antonio Vargas calls California’s TRUST Act “the most important piece of legislation for immigrant communities this year.” Vargas is an award-winning journalist who revealed his own undocumented status last year. Vargas acknowledges the TRUST Act has supporters on both sides of the political aisle—including CEI. He writes:
    Undocumented people and their allies -- their relatives and friends, their neighbors and co-workers -- have created a new political climate in which the passage of the TRUST Act is not simply the right thing to do, but the politically strategic thing to do, with supporters from across the political spectrum, from Nancy...
  • Massive Payoff To City For Dropping Challenge To Tool Used To Impose Racial Quotas In Lending

    September 28, 2012
    The Obama administration declined to pursue a fraud claim worth up to $180 million against a city to get it to drop its pending Supreme Court challenge to a dubious interpretation of the Fair Housing Act that the Obama administration has used as a tool to get banks to adopt racial quotas in lending. In doing so, it ignored the objections of career Justice Department lawyers, and likely cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in a case of...
  • Collective bargaining and government: A toxic brew

    September 28, 2012
    By Trey Kovacs and Russ Pohl, Pioneer Press What happens when special interests gain control of the public purse? Some recent events provide a clue. At the start of this school year, in Illinois, Chicago teachers proved harder to drag back from summer vacation than students. In Wisconsin, a court manipulated legal precedent to preserve government employee unions' privileged status -- after elected officials curtailed those privileges and voters upheld those changes by voting down a recall of the governor. In Michigan, a union-backed initiative...
  • Today's Links: September 28, 2012

    September 28, 2012
    OPINION KATE HAVARD: "It’s Not Really a Farm Bill" "This week, Congress is under pressure to pass the 2012 farm bill before the current legislation expires on September 30. About every five years, Congress pushes through a farm bill, ostensibly a big bundle of agriculture subsidies that also funds food stamps. But the name is misleading. Nearly 80 percent of the $1 trillion the 2012 bill would spend over the next 10 years would go to the food stamp program." ALEXIS C. MADRIGAL: "Driverless Cars Would Reshape Automobiles *and* the Transit System" "When I've thought about driverless cars, which...
  • Big Labor’s Midwest Offensive

    September 28, 2012
    Openmarket.org Yesterday in the St. Paul, Minnesota, Pioneer Press, my colleague Russ Pohl and I detail the current militant tactics used by Midwest public-sector unions that are paralyzing government. The actions reveal the need to uproot the foundation of government union’s power over taxpayer funds by eliminating collective bargaining in government. We explain that in Chicago the power of collective bargaining enabled the teachers union to execute a seven-day illegal strike:
    Illinois state law “prohibits the CTU from striking over non-economic issues, such as layoff and recall policies, teacher evaluations, class sizes and the length of the school day and year.” Yet CTU President...
  • Scapegoating Free Speech

    September 27, 2012
    In the aftermath of a terrorist attack in Libya that killed our ambassador and three other Americans, the Obama administration was quick to scapegoat a film called "The Innocence of Muslims" for the attack, claiming that the film caused the attack. But in reality, the attack was pre-planned, and within 24 hours, the administration knew it was a terrorist attack, not a "spontaneous" eruption of outrage over the film, as it later repeatedly claimed on TV:
    U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that it was a terrorist attack and suspected Al Qaeda-tied elements were involved, sources told Fox News — though it took the administration a week to acknowledge it. The...

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