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OpenMarket: February 2013

  • CalPERS: Model Of Pension Dysfunction

    February 20, 2013
    Few state governments are as in as much fiscal trouble as California's, so it's not surprising that few state pension funds have been as mismanaged as the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS). But worse than that, CalPERS -- along with its sister fund, the California State Teachers' Retirement System -- has led the nation in implementing shoddy investment and management practices that have exacerbated led to billions of dollars in losses and foregone revenue. Now, as policy makers in other states consider ways to address their own pension deficits, CalPERS -- the nation's largest pension fund, with about $230 billion in assets under management -- offers an example of exactly what not to do. They would do well to read "The Pension Fund that Ate California,"  Steven Malanga's article on the fund...
  • Setting The Stage For Regulatory Reform -- Part I

    February 19, 2013
    Just about everything in your life is regulated by the government; from the alarm clock that wakes you up in the morning to the size of the holes in your Swiss cheese at lunch, to the pillow you sleep on at night. We don’t often think about these regulations because they seem to have no impact on our lives, but, in fact, they cost us quite a lot. Want to build a house? On average, you will be spending an extra $77,655 on costs associated with government regulations. Own a small business and want to add two employees? That's an extra $21,170 per year in regulatory burdens. But regulations affect everyone. Last year, government regulations cost the average taxpayer $15,491. Thankfully, this theft of our wealth can be easily prevented through regulatory reform, thereby increasing the prosperity of the entire nation. Keep an eye out for a new series of blog posts on regulatory efforts...
  • Third Circuit win

    February 19, 2013
    We won reversal of the settlement approval in the Baby Products Antitrust Litigation, No. 12-1165 (3d Cir. Feb. 19, 2013). The settlement had paid $14M to the attorneys, but less than $3M to the class. The opinion isn't yet online, but I discuss it a bit at a post at Point of Law, which will be updated as events require.
  • NIH-Funded Conspiracy Theory Smearing Tea Party Gets Even Wackier

    February 18, 2013
    Federal cancer research money funded a "laughable conspiracy-theory report smearing" the Tea Party as being created by the tobacco companies and the Koch brothers, which we earlier debunked. The left-wing academics that authored it have "received $7 million" from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. But the senior author of the "study," Professor Stanton Glantz of the University of California at San...
  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week In Regulation

    February 18, 2013
    90 new regulations, from hot air balloons to Sea World’s fireworks shows.
  • Baltic Success Reveals The Folly Of Obama's Doublespeak

    February 15, 2013
    This week’s State of the Union address was full of plans for government action and spending to combat U.S. economic malaise. At the same time, the President claimed that there were drastic cuts to the federal budget on the way (referring to sequestration, under which spending actually continues to grow but at a slower rate). This doublespeak mirrors that of European politicians and hides reality: more government isn’t making the economy any better. Illustrating this point is the dichotomy in economic performance between Western European countries -- whose politicians claim to have made cuts but in reality have increased budgets each year since the Eurocrisis began in 2009 -- and their Baltic counterparts -- which underwent actual cuts in the size of government....
  • Shades Of McCarthyism: Federal Government Funds Smear Campaigns On Tea Party, Kochs

    February 15, 2013
    In backward cultures, people ignorantly blame their misfortunes on witches and the devil. Similarly, progressives scapegoat the Koch brothers for seemingly everything, with equally little basis in reality. For example, the Kochs were falsely blamed by an MSNBC commentator and others for pushing gun rights legislation in Florida, even though it turned out that the only position the Kochs ever took regarding guns in Florida was to oppose, on property rights grounds, an NRA-backed bill that would have forced businesses to let employees bring their guns into employee parking lots. Now, having...
  • CEI Podcast For February 14, 2013: Dodd-Frank's Constitutionality

    February 14, 2013
    CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman discusses a lawsuit in which CEI and two co-plaintiffs argue that portions of Dodd-Frank are unconstitutional.
  • On Selective Memory And Pretending To Care About Illegal Immigration

    February 14, 2013
    In immigration policy circles, there’s one thing no one wants to repeat: 1986. Anti-immigration groups call the now-infamous Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) “the Reagan amnesty,” but it doesn’t matter what side you’re on, one thing is clear: IRCA failed to stop illegal immigration. Anti-immigration advocates repeat the line -- “Regan’s amnesty failed” (to end illegal immigration) -- so often that you’d think that someone actually disagrees. But no one ever thought that the amnesty would end illegal immigration. They thought that amnesty would eliminate the current black market; border enforcement would stop illegal entries; and sanctions on employers would keep immigrants home. Since this formula failed to stop illegal immigration, anti-immigration groups always compare any bill that comes out against...
  • Schools Trample On First Amendment

    February 13, 2013
    Schools like Tarrant County College have banned "empty holster" protests in favor of gun rights, which administrators perceive as somehow threatening. Never mind that such symbolic expression is protected by Supreme Court rulings like Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), as the civil-liberties group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes. Speech cannot be banned simply by labeling it as violence: for example, in Bauer v. Sampson, a federal appeals court ruled...

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