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OpenMarket: February 2013

  • "King" Of Nowhere: UAW Chief Makes Noise, Not War

    February 13, 2013
    Poor Bob King. Perhaps no other union leader presides over an organization in such stark decline as the United Auto Workers. At its peak in 1979, the UAW boasted a membership of 1.5 million. Today, by its own admission, it boasts a mere 390,000. And Michigan's newly passed right-to-work law almost certainly will make it harder for the union to both retain existing members and recruit new ones. The dire demography explains why the UAW is desperate to organize in the so-called "transnational" automakers -- foreign companies whose manufacturing plants are largely scattered throughout the low-tax, low-regulation - and less-unionized -- southern states. King is not shy about...
  • An Unconstitutional Gift To Labor Unions

    February 13, 2013
    In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the New Jersey Senate has only passed one bill associated with rebuilding storm-damaged public infrastructure. Sadly, if passed, the bill would only inflate the cost of recovery efforts and future public works. New Jersey Senate Bill 2425 would grant unions a monopoly on all Sandy reconstruction. It would do so by expanding the reach of what are known as project labor agreements (PLAs), which mandate firms hire union labor and agree to their work rules on all government construction projects. Unfortunately, PLAs have been shown to increase government construction costs to taxpayers and discriminate against non-union construction workers, who represent 86.7 percent of the trade nationally. Higher costs from PLAs lead to less construction,...
  • “King” Of Nowhere: UAW Chief Makes Noise, Not War

    February 13, 2013
    Openmarket.org Poor Bob King. Perhaps no other union leader presides over an organization in such stark decline as the United Auto Workers (UAW). At its peak in 1979, the UAW boasted a membership of 1.5 million. Today, by its own admission, a mere 390,000. And Michigan’s newly passed right-to-work law will almost certainly make it harder for the union to both retain existing members and recruit new ones in the very...
  • Obama Renews Call For Paycheck Fairness Act

    February 13, 2013
    In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama renewed his call for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would make it harder for employers to rely on certain merit-based factors "other than sex" in setting employee pay. Two federal laws, the Equal Pay Act, and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, already ban gender-based pay discrimination. Appealing to low-information voters who may not be aware of these laws, Obama declared, “I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year...
  • Reminder: State Of The Union Live Blog Tonight

    February 12, 2013
    Follow CEI's commentary on the president's speech below.
  • Payback? Government Targets S&P And Egan-Jones, Not Moody's Or Fitch

    February 12, 2013
    Why not Moody's? Why not Fitch? Of all the questions raised about the U.S. government's strange case against Standard & Poor's—a lawsuit that actually  asserts that some of the nation's largest banks were S&P's "victims," and that the credit rating firm somehow fooled these banks about products the banks actually created—the lack of similar actions against S&P competitors still rings the most alarm bells. S&P, Fitch and Moody's all gave AAA rating to many packages of subprime mortgages that imploded. But of those three, only S&P downgraded the U.S. government from its decades-old AAA credit rating. Floyd Abrams, the attorney representing S&P's parent company McGraw-Hill in the litigation and a veteran First Amendment lawyer (and yes, the First Amendment is a strong concern here, as I will get to in a second),...
  • Breast Cancer Victims Suffer From Foolish Priorities

    February 12, 2013
    In government, political priorities often supersede science and good health policy. In fact, a recent government report may shift funding away from useful research to study the most unlikely causes of breast cancer. More women will suffer in the future than necessary as money for useful research shrinks. Released by the Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee, which an act of Congress created in 2008, this report says more funding should go to “breast cancer prevention.” But...
  • Immigration Reform’s Economic Benefits

    February 12, 2013
    Comprehensive immigration reform is coming. For those that don’t speak D.C. doublespeak, that means more costly, useless, and privacy-invading border drones, more guards and fences, more employer prosecutions, and national identification for all Americans. On the other hand, it means much more legal immigration and legalization for immigrants already here illegally. Looking at only these last two parts, what will the economic impact be? 1) Fewer deportations mean less wasteful federal spending. College of William and Mary professor of economics Rajeev Goyle estimated in 2005 that if we could find all 11 million deportable immigrants, the cost of...
  • State Of The Union? Try "Over-Regulated"

    February 12, 2013
    In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama cannot be expected to pledge to roll back government in any manner whatsoever, a stance that helps account for the state of our union. We've often addressed the heavy flow of rules out of Washington, but below I've compiled and highlighted some of the notable ones recently completed and on tap. Just scan the list for your favorite agency; and remember, this is just a sample. Department of Agriculture
    • Mandatory country-of-origin labeling of beef, pork, lamb, fish, and peanuts
    • National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs: Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School; and Certification of Compliance With Meal Requirements for the National School Lunch Program (as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010)
    • Rural Energy for America Program
    • ...
  • Sequester Budget Cuts Would Increase Long-Term Economic Growth

    February 12, 2013
    The automatic budget cuts contained in the sequester will increase economic growth in the long-term, if Congress will just let them happen—rather than listening to Obama's pleas to cancel the cuts, which are currently scheduled for March.  As I note in today's National Post, in response to a column by David Frum:
    David Frum claims modest automatic budget cuts scheduled to go into effect in the U.S.A. in March will somehow harm the economy if they aren’t cancelled. But those cuts are tiny compared to Canada’s budget cuts in the 1990s, which fueled economic growth. The cuts are just 0.5% of U.S. GDP. While the Congressional Budget Office says the cuts will reduce growth in the short run, it says they will increase economic growth in the long run by cutting...

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