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OpenMarket: January 2013

  • CEI Podcast For January 31, 2013: The Recess Appointments That Weren't

    January 31, 2013
    Federal judges recently struck down four recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, claiming the Senate was in pro forma session when President Obama made the appointments. Senior Fellow Matt Patterson talks about the case.
  • The Coming Regulatory Recession?

    January 31, 2013
    Yesterday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce reported the stunning news the U.S. economy actually contracted by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. The immediate response by many politicians and the establishment media was to blame spending cuts, or the threat of them, rather than even look at the dramatic increase in regulation over the last few years. The Washington Post sent a news bulletin shortly thereafter that blamed the problem on “cuts in government spending, fewer exports and sluggish growth in company stockpiles.” The "cuts in government spending" part is wrong on its face. According to the U.S. Treasury Department (and hat tip to John Nolte of...
  • Cancer Risks Unlikely From Foam Cups

    January 31, 2013
    Whatever happened to plastic foam coffee cups? Visit any to-go coffee shop and you will most likely only find paper cups that burn your hands and let your coffee go cold. Cups made with polystyrene foam are disappearing from the marketplace because a bevy of misinformation about their environmental effects, including claims styrene -- the chemical used to make them -- is a carcinogen. But a new study issued by the consulting group Gradient Corp. questions claims this chemical poses cancer risks. Specifically, it undermines...
  • Magician Economists Like Bernanke Can't Pull Prosperity Out Of A Hat

    January 30, 2013
    Inflator-In-Chief Ben Bernanke defended today his third round of quantitative easing and additional $45 billion monthly purchases of U.S. Treasuries (totaling $85 billion per month in Fed balance sheet expansion) as efforts to combat “transitory factors” dragging down the economy. Yet there has been nothing “transitory” about the almost five-year recession lasting since 2008. As I explain in Forbes, Bernanke is no more than a magician attempting to paper over the real problems within the U.S. economy with the sleight of hand of the printing press. Ultimately, he and his central banker cohorts cannot defy a fundamental law of...
  • "Right-To-Work" Train Rolls On: Next Stop, Pennsylvania?

    January 30, 2013
    The earthquake that was Michigan's right-to-work law has produced a number of interesting aftershocks, not least of which is the right-to-work rumbling in Pennsylvania where lawmakers (guided by Rep. Daryl Metcalf) have introduced legislation called "Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative," aimed at ending compulsory unionism. The initiative actually consists of a number of bills, including:
    • House Bill 50, The Freedom of Employment Act, under which "employment in Pennsylvania will ...
  • “Right-To-Work” Train Rolls On: Next Stop, Pennsylvania?

    January 30, 2013
    Openmarket.org The earthquake that was Michigan’s right-to-work law has produced a number of interesting aftershocks, not least of which is the right-to-work rumbling in Pennsylvania where lawmakers (guided by Rep. Daryl Metcalf) have introduced legislation called “Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative,” aimed at ending compulsory unionism. The...
  • Unions Bad For Unions?

    January 30, 2013
    Openmarket.org Hard to believe, but even under the most union-friendly president since FDR, organized labor in America continues to shrink in numbers, popularity and influence. The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are enough to give any union leader a Trumka-sized case of heartburn. Last year, the number of union members plummeted by about 400,000 workers, leaving a mere 14.4 million union members in the American workforce. The...
  • Germs In Reusable Grocery Bags Can Prove Deadly

    January 30, 2013
    Cloth supermarket bags may be fashionable, but they can also prove deadly, according to a recent research paper published by the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The researchers point out that after the city of San Francisco banned plastic bags, the number of emergency room visits for bacterial related diseases increased significantly. A Reason.com blog post explains the connection:
    Basically people were schlepping leaky packages of meat and other foods in their canvas bags, then wadding to the bags somewhere for awhile, leaving bacteria to grow until...
  • LaHood Out At DOT, But Is There Hope For A Qualified Transportation Secretary?

    January 29, 2013
    After months of confusing double-talk on whether or not he would stay on in a second Obama term, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced he would be resigning once a successor is selected. I've expressed in the past my distaste for LaHood's management, noting that he lacked the qualifications one would like to see in a transportation secretary. Aping George W. Bush's selection of Democrat Norman Mineta, President Obama appointed Republican LaHood as transportation secretary. Unfortunately, unlike Mineta -- who had a fairly strong transportation policy background in Congress (where he chaired the House Transportation Committee and spearheaded the first post-Interstate highway bill) and the private sector -- LaHood's only transportation experience was a five-year term on the House Transportation Committee. Before leaving Congress, LaHood was best known as a major pork-barrel...
  • Unions Bad For Unions?

    January 29, 2013
    Hard to believe, but even under the most union-friendly president since FDR, organized labor in America continues to shrink in numbers, popularity and influence. The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are enough to give any union leader a Trumka-sized case of heartburn. Last year, the number of union members plummeted by about 400,000 workers, leaving a mere 14.4 million union members in the American workforce. The percentage of workers who belong to a union dropped from 11.8 to 11.3 percent in 2012, the lowest level in nearly a century. (The loss hit unions representing workers in both the public and private sectors: the former declined from 37 to 35.9 percent; the latter from 6.9 to 6.6. percent.) All of this under the watch of Barack Obama, who has labored mightily to repay his money masters with...

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