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OpenMarket: December 2012

  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week In Regulation

    December 31, 2012
    54 new regulations, from handling spearmint oil to drug testing railroad workers.
  • Europe 2013: A Primer

    December 28, 2012
    As the New Year approaches, many challenges loom for Europe. Here’s a quick list of the toughest hurdles for 2013:

    1. Implementing the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM): Earlier this month, European leaders agreed to establish a supranational banking regulator for the member states of the European Union (EU). The European Central Bank (ECB) will directly supervise banks with assets greater than €30 billion or 20 percent of national GDP. National regulators, operating within the confines of the European regulatory framework, will oversee smaller banks within their respective countries. Although the SSM is scheduled to begin operation in March 2014, the actual regulations to be enforced are still unwritten. As political leaders hash out the specifics next year and attempt to harmonize national regulatory structures of EU member states into...

  • EPA Regulations Cost How Much?!

    December 28, 2012
    Over at the Daily Caller, I summarize my recent CEI Regulatory Report Card on the EPA. Recommended if you don't feel like reading the entire document (though it is a mere six pages).
  • Community Reinvestment Act Induced Banks To Take Bad Risks, Economic Study Finds

    December 26, 2012
    The Community Reinvestment Act, which "prods banks to make loans in low-income communities,” encouraged banks to make riskier loans, concludes a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. As J.D. Tuccille at Reason notes, the federal government played
    a role in inducing, even strong-arming, banks to take risks they otherwise would have avoided. Specifically, the Community Reinvestment Act and related policy pressures are pointed to as culprits, part of a government effort to extend home-ownership in lower-income...
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week In Regulation

    December 24, 2012
    68 new regulations, from summer flounder fishing to switching contractors.
  • GM Stock Sale Doesn't End Damage Of Government Motors

    December 21, 2012
    Below is my statement released today on the government's planned 15-month sale of its remaining General Motors stock:
    On Wednesday, the government announced a plan to sell its remaining stake in General Motors at an estimated loss to taxpayers of $12 billion. If the losses on General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) are included, the total probably rises to nearly $20 billion. It is good news the government is winding down its misguided involvement in Government Motors. It has announced an 15-month plan to divest its stock. It also is good news the auto industry is expanding – though most of the growth has been enjoyed by foreign automakers who have built plants in right-to-work Southern states and had nothing to do with the bailout. But there is nothing new or remarkable about businesses...
  • France's Anti-Business Orthodoxy

    December 21, 2012
    In France, running a productive business is not important. Simply creating jobs -- not wealth or innovation -- is the sole purpose of enterprise. At least, that’s the government’s mindset in economically stagnant France. And there’s a danger that this mental disease is spreading to America. Last month, the French government threatened to nationalize the country’s largest steelworks plant run by ArcelorMittal, after the multinational had idled its blast furnaces due to a 29-percent drop in demand over the past five years. The Socialist government gave ArcelorMittal an ultimatum: restart the furnaces and put French metalworkers back to work, or sell the plant to a buyer willing to fire up production (a tall proposition in the current economic climate). If the...
  • Fear The Regulatory Cliff, Not The Fiscal Cliff

    December 20, 2012
    Economist Bruce Bartlett notes that by cutting the federal budget deficit, the much-feared fiscal cliff will actually increase the size of the economy in the long run, even though it will reduce "short-run" economic growth: "It’s too bad that misplaced fears about the fiscal cliff have taken off the table the option of simply letting all the automatic tax increases and spending cuts go into effect. While this would indeed reduce short-run growth, the Congressional Budget Office says the reduction in projected deficits would actually raise growth in the medium- and long-term (see pages 24-25 of the report)." The fiscal cliff is the combination of large tax increases and automatic spending cuts that will take effect next year unless they are canceled by Congress and the president....
  • Free Speech, The Disfavored Stepchild Of The Law

    December 20, 2012
    In a recent column, George Will discussed how college students have been disciplined for racial or discriminatory "harassment" for constitutionally protected expression, such as reading a history book about ugly past racial events, or discussing unpleasant truths about racial or religious matters:
    In 2007, Keith John Sampson, a middle-aged student working his way through Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis as a janitor, was declared guilty of racial harassment. Without granting Sampson a hearing, the university administration — acting as prosecutor, judge and jury — convicted him of “openly reading (a) book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject.” . . . The book, “Notre Dame vs. the Klan,” celebrated the 1924 defeat of the Ku Klux Klan in a fight...
  • The Great California Government Union Swindle

    December 20, 2012
    Are government employees overpaid? A six-part Bloomberg report answers that question with a resounding "Yes." It also singles out one state as the biggest spender by far: California. This isn't a case of a handful of isolated incidents. The team of Bloomberg reporters found a pattern of fiscal irresponsibility characterized by:
    • Lack of control in overtime pay and unused vacation time payouts;
    • Lack of coordination among state agencies which in one instance launched a costly salary bidding war for qualified personnel; and
    • Compensation for pension fund managers that bears little relation to performance.
    Government employee unions supported many of the policy changes that have led to the Golden State's current mess. During his first tenure (1975-1983), Governor Jerry Brown gave state employee unions the right to collectively bargain, greatly increasing...


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