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OpenMarket: February 2013

  • Europe's Latest Wake-Up Call: Italian Elections

    February 25, 2013
    Europe, which has been enjoying a recent respite from financial chaos, is about to get a rude awakening: Italian elections. Voters will go to the polls this Sunday through Monday, and the winner will soon upset the Eurocrat and financial calm that has surrounded Italy since Mario Monti’s caretaker government took office in November 2011. In the months following this weekend’s election results, financial markets will increasingly expect progress on reform of Europe’s third-largest economy. But Rome will be unwilling to deliver. That’s because the almost certain winner, a centre-left coalition led by the Democratic Party is resistant to the kinds of reform that Italy badly needs. There is some hope for change, however. Although Italy’s centre-left coalition is likely to win a majority in the House of Deputies (Italy’s lower parliamentary chamber), a clean victory in the Senate (the...
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week In Regulation

    February 25, 2013
    53 new regulations, from the mental states of federal employees to giving rides to sick or injured people.
  • Baby Products press coverage

    February 23, 2013
    Lots of people are talking about Baby Products, some of whom talked to me.
  • Why is Jaafar & Mahdi Law Group trying to squelch criticism of a bad class action settlement?

    February 23, 2013
    A class action accusing local McDonald's in Dearborn County of falsely advertising its chicken as "halal" was settled. A class member, Majed Moughni, an attorney, wrote a Facebook post complaining, inter alia:
    McDonald's was going to pay $700,000 for selling "Haram" chicken sandwiches and labeling it as "Halal". The current lawyer on the case wants the the [sic] majority of the money to go to a medical center ($275,000) and a museum ($150,000), that lawyer Kassem Daklallah, wants to pocket $230,000 and the plaintiff, Ahmed Ahmed will keep $20,000. We think the money should go to you, the people who were lied to and bought and ate "Haram" chicken sandwiches, not a medical center or a museum who were not injured. ...
    This seems a...
  • The Real Birthday Of America's First Entrepreneur

    February 22, 2013
    While Monday was the federal holiday celebrating his birth, today is the real birthday of George Washington. He was born February 22, 1732. In a FoxNews.com column posted last weekend, I point out that in addition to his achievement's as first president and Revolutionary War general, Washington should also be celebrated as one of this country' "earliest business innovators and large-scale entrepreneurs."
    During a time period of America's existence as British colony and then a young nation—when communication and transportation faced challenges, to put it mildly—this...
  • Regulatory Report Card: Federal Communications Commission

    February 21, 2013
    Regulatory agencies need to be much more transparent. One way to do that is through an annual report card with important information about each agency such as how many rules it has in the books, how many more are on the way, and what they cost. Since agencies aren't doing this on their own, CEI is taking up the mantel. In the Federal Communications Commission report card, released today, previously scattered information is put together in one place. The FCC has over 25,000 specific regulatory restrictions in the Code of Federal Regulations, and they cost an estimated $142 billion. It issued 108 final regulations last year, and 86 more were published in the most recent Unified Agenda, which lists upcoming rules. For more information, read the whole thing here. If you want the quick version, here's a...
  • CEI Podcast For February 21, 2013: The Wages Of Sin Taxes

    February 21, 2013
    CEI and the Adam Smith Institute have teamed up to publish a U.S. edition of Christopher Snowdon's study "The Wages of Sin Taxes." He argues that sin taxes are an ineffective way to treat the harmful effects of drinking, smoking, and obesity. Fellow in Consumer Policy Studies Michelle Minton wrote the foreword.
  • Free Trade Si, Regulatory Harmonization No

    February 21, 2013
    Politics ruins everything, and in few areas is that truer than in international trade. Over the last two decades, the term "trade agreement" has become somewhat of a misnomer, as trade deals have expanded to cover a widening array of policy issues beyond trade itself. And that's where the potential pitfalls lie in the announced trade talks between the United States and the European Union. As CEI's Iain Murray warned recently, while a U.S.-EU trade agreement ideally should focus on trade, the likelihood of it including provisions dealing with labor and environmental standards, among other issues, is high.
    The problem is not in Berlin or Washington, but in Brussels. That particular federal "capital" has shown a complete misunderstanding of the benefits of free trade, having turned what...
  • VAWA Bill Still Contains Provisions Violating First Amendment And Other Constitutional Provisions

    February 21, 2013
    Legal scholars say the Senate-passed bill reauthorizating the Violence Against Women Act contains provisions that violate the First Amendment and Articles II and III of the Constitution. The bill's expansion of Indian tribal court jurisdiction is unconstitutional, says attorney Paul Larkin, who argued 27 cases before the Supreme Court while in the Solicitor General's office, and served as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Larkin explains:
    The bill would authorize Indian tribal courts to adjudicate certain domestic violence criminal charges against non-Indians and to enter a final judgment authorizing the confinement of convicted offenders...
  • Stirrings of Pension Reform in Montana

    February 20, 2013
    Pension obligations' strains on state budgets have made pension reform a priority for state policy makers across the nation. Over the last couple of years, states from Utah to Rhode Island have implemented pension reforms once considered politically nigh-impossible. Montana may soon join the ranks of states with pension shortfalls where fiscal reality trumps politics as usual. Last week, Montana legislators...

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