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OpenMarket: September 2012

  • CEI Podcast For September 20, 2012: The Economic Development Administration

    September 20, 2012
    CEI Policy Analyst David Bier is author of the new study “The Case for Abolishing the Economic Development Administration."
  • Wall Street Journal: Obama Administration Undermined Welfare Reform's Work Requirements

    September 20, 2012
    "The Administration has made welfare's work requirements far weaker," explains The Wall Street Journal in a detailed editorial today:
    an HHS regulatory "information memorandum" in July . . .said the agency would waive workfare requirements if states asked. HHS is selling this under the guise of "flexibility" and says the point is to get more people working, not fewer. But recall that the joint state-federal welfare program has always had "work" requirements. Prior to 1996, they included such demands as journaling, bed rest and massage therapy. For this reason, the statute specifically enumerated a 12-point definition of "work." People who can but don't meet...
  • Beware Of Unaudited Benefit Analyses

    September 20, 2012
    Regulatory agencies have an eternal incentive to expand their missions and grow their budgets. One consequence of this is that their cost-benefit analyses cannot be trusted.
  • Can We Please Have A Grownup Discussion About Distracted Driving?

    September 19, 2012

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a new study on distracted driving [PDF]. According to the agency, 9 percent of total fatal crashes in 2010 (2,843 of 30,196) were "distraction-affected" (D-A). This does not mean that the distracted driver was at fault; rather, it means that a driver involved in a crash reported to the police that they were distracted in some way. Of the D-A fatal crashes, 12 percent involved a cell phone distraction. Of total fatal crashes, cell phone distraction affected barely 1 percent.

    If you were to listen to the Obama administration's increasingly bizarre propaganda, you would probably come away thinking that cell phones are the biggest auto-related killer. In reality, they are but one potential...

  • Economic Freedom Of The World

    September 19, 2012
    Non-economists tend to be much more skeptical about economic freedom than economists are. This in itself is a powerful case for free markets. But empirical data present a far richer and more compelling argument in favor of freedom. That’s why I look forward each year to the release of an updated edition of the Economic Freedom of the World report, jointly published by our friends at the Cato Institute and the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute, with help from more than 30 think tanks around the world. The report is nothing if not thorough. James Gwartney, Robert Lawson, Joshua Hall, and a small army of contributors assemble data on 144 countries, ranging from regulatory burdens to property rights protections to the amount of corruption. In all, each country is measured on 42 variables. Then each country is given a score from...
  • Today's Links: September 19, 2012

    September 19, 2012
    OPINION ANDREW LEONARD: "Stop That Smartphone!" "The Romney 'secret' fundraising video reminds us all of a basic truth of the contemporary age: If something can be recorded, it will be recorded. [...] News is trickling out from various civil liberties and Apple-watching sites that on Aug. 28, Apple was granted ...
  • Today's Links: September 18, 2012

    September 18, 2012
    OPINION RAMESH PONNURU: "The Right Is Wrong to Pin Obama’s Edge on Welfare State" "The underlying idea is that the more people rely on the federal government, the more they will support government activism and the party that favors it. Whatever one thinks of that activism, it’s a plausible idea -- just as it’s plausible, though Republicans never say it, that defense spending might promote an unhealthy interest in the defense budget among the Americans who benefit directly from it." RICHARD RAHN: "America in Free Fall" "The annual Economic Freedom of the World report...
  • As Union Popularity Fades, A Fight For Power Threatens Michigan

    September 18, 2012
    The major focus on issues involving public sector unions right now is the current teachers’ strike in Chicago. Now that the strike is in its second week, the stakes have risen on both sides and the outcome could have an impact across the nation. While the city of Chicago has been receiving the most attention lately, Michigan is gearing up for an electoral battle that could potentially have disastrous consequences for the state, as well as the nation. The current, contentious debate on labor unions and supposed collective bargaining rights has been ignited over a series of recent political defeats suffered...
  • Striking: Right Or Privilege?

    September 17, 2012
    As the Chicago teachers’ strike is entering its second week, Mayor Emanuel has pledged to seek an injunction with the court to force instructors back to the classrooms. The mayor maintains that those workers are committed to public duties and it’s illegal for them to strike. (Which mirrors Ronald Reagan’s attitude towards government strikers.) Lucky for Emanuel, he is not a mayor of an Italian city like the one I live in, Torino. His power would be much weaker. In Italy, threatening mass firing would be immediately dubbed as fascist and courts would not back his stand against strikers....
  • The Sad, Early History Of Railroad Regulation: From Subsidies To Nationalization

    September 17, 2012
    CEI has long made it its mission to highlight to downsides and dangers of economic regulation. One classic example is the experience with America's railroads following the Civil War. Most of the transcontinentals were heavily subsidized by all levels of government via sub-market-rate loans, land grants, and special local privileges on the frontier. What arose in response was the first coordinated federal interstate regulatory regime, a deeply misguided endeavor that ultimately took more than a half-century to only partially reverse and with severe consequences that we are still living with today. What follows is excerpted from a forthcoming study on railroad regulation. Following the creation and heavy subsidization of the first transcontinental railroads in the 1860s, populist opposition over alleged predatory practices in the railroad industry began to grow. By the...

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