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OpenMarket: February 2013

  • Obamacare: More Cost, Less Coverage

    February 7, 2013
    Seven million fewer people than predicted will have health care coverage a decade after Obamacare’s passage, admits the Congressional Budget Office. One reason "is that millions of Americans are expected to lose their employer-based coverage, a point" The Wall Street Journal emphasizes in this story.
    The CBO has long said it expects the new federal health law will prompt some companies to drop millions of employees from health plans because workers have new options to buy insurance on their own. In August, CBO put the number at 4 million over 10 years. Now it’s 7 million.
    Another factor is "...
  • A Peek Into The Statist Mind

    February 7, 2013
    Commuting into the office on the D.C. Metro this morning, I had to endure one of the common annoyances of public transportation: loud talkers, specifically two men who carried on a conversation during my entire ride, loudly enough for everyone around them to hear. In fact, they were loud enough that they were hard to ignore, much as I tried, while reading the paper. Politically, they were both clearly on the left, which isn't surprising in this town. But when they started rattling off the policy laundry list they'd like to see President Obama push in his second term, one of them seemed to forget he was in a public place. "There's a lot you can do through executive orders," he said, adding that Obama could "issue 100 of them; half of them will stick." That brutal honesty made them even harder to ignore. That Obama (like other recent presidents) would try to...
  • House GOP May Want Legal Pathway For All Immigrants, Not Just Those Here Illegally

    February 6, 2013
    Everyone knows the major obstacle to immigration reform will be legalization for the 11.1 million people in the United States who have overstayed visas or entered the country without federal authorization. Many in Congress adamantly oppose anything that would regularize these peoples’ status and/or recognize their right to live or work in the United States. Their argument is a powerful one: Special exceptions for those who have broken the law undermine respect for the law. Although powerful, this argument is now receiving a reply—perhaps for the first time—from conservatives. “Constituents are saying very loudly you shouldn’t get any special benefits because of your illegal status,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said at a hearing yesterday. But, he said,...
  • Former California SEIU Boss Convicted Of Embezzlement; What Did SEIU's National Leadership Know?

    February 6, 2013
    While the January 28 conviction for embezzlement of Tyrone Freeman, the former president of the Service Employees International Union's (SEIU) largest local in California (and second largest in the nation), closes a chapter in one of the worst recent cases of union corruption, it should open a new round of questions regarding Freeman's relationship with the SEIU national headquarters, and specifically, the union's notorious former head, Andrew Stern. Freeman was designated by SEIU's national leadership to lead a forced consolidation of California locals -- including some that resisted the consolidation, leading one Oakland-based local to break away from SEIU altogether,...
  • “Color” Them Bad: Restaurant Shakedown Group Suddenly An Expert On Ethics

    February 6, 2013
    Openmarket.org There’s a hilarious sketch in the comedy show “Portlandia” that features a painfully liberal couple attempting to order a meal in a restaurant. Unfortunately, their earnest desire to be politically correct in all things thwarts their efforts as they barrage the flummoxed waitress with a flurry of questions about the food on offer:
    Is the chicken organic? Is that U.S.D.A. organic, Oregon organic, or Portland organic? How big is the area where the chickens are able to roam free...
  • Will Courts Make Scofflaw NLRB Follow The Law?

    February 6, 2013
    The January 25 decision by the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Noel Canning v. National Labor Relations Board, which declared that three appointments by President Obama to the Board were unconstitutional because they were made while the Senate was officially in session, has thrown decisions made the NLRB while those members sat on it into doubt, for good reason. However, the NLRB then announced that it would simply ignore the court's ruling. So what are businesses at the receiving end of some NLRB unfavorable decisions that included those illegally appointed members to do? To their credit, some are pressing the issue. On January 30, California hospital chain Prime...
  • "Color" Them Bad: Restaurant Shakedown Group Suddenly An Expert On Ethics

    February 6, 2013
    There's a hilarious sketch in the comedy show "Portlandia" that features a painfully liberal couple attempting to order a meal in a restaurant. Unfortunately, their earnest desire to be politically correct in all things thwarts their efforts as they barrage the flummoxed waitress with a flurry of questions about the food on offer:
    Is the chicken organic? Is that U.S.D.A. organic, Oregon organic, or Portland organic? How big is the area where the chickens are able to roam free?
    And on and on... The sketch, like the show, is a good-natured ribbing of left-wing concerns, a reductio ad absurdum of the liberal mind. Unfortunately, as so often happens, real life threatens to out-satirize even the best satire, as The Huffington...
  • The Case Against The McDonnell Transportation Plan

    February 6, 2013
    Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation plan is on life support after two proposed alternatives died yesterday in the Senate. Only McDonnell's plan, slightly modified in the House of Delegates, remains and the Senate is not very enthusiastic about it. The McDonnell plan would abolish the 17.5-cent gasoline excise tax and rely primarily on a sales tax increase for revenue instead. Yesterday in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, I explained in an op-ed why the McDonnell plan was both a...
  • In re Bayer

    February 6, 2013
    Fewer than 20,000 class members have bothered to go through the arduous claim procedures in the Bayer Corp. class action, which caps recovery for most of those class members at $4 unless they saved several-year-old receipts for aspirin products. The class will ultimately receive well under $500,000.

    But the attorneys—led by Hagens Berman—are asking for $5.1 million for themselves. The fee is supposedly justified because about $8-$9 million will end up in the hands of cy pres recipients such as the American Heart Association. Of course, Bayer already gives money to the AHA (and the AHA returns the favor by endorsing Bayer aspirin over other brands of aspirin), so this is really just a change in accounting entries rather than any sort of class benefit.

    I'm a class member and I...
  • Misleading Food Stamp Campaign By Progressive Officials

    February 6, 2013
    As the son of a widow, and as a person who once ate on far less than a food stamp budget, I am amused by the wealthy, privileged progressive officials who make it sound like they can’t eat properly on $5 a day. You can find such people featured in a Washington Post story yesterday entitled "Montgomery Officials Try Eating for $5 a Day." Supposedly, they are doing this in "an attempt to simulate" life for participants in the federal food stamp program, which now has a "record" "46.2 million people" in it "at a cost of more than...

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