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OpenMarket: June 2013

  • Another Federal Appeals Court Rules against Obama Administration's Contraceptive Mandate

    June 28, 2013
    Contraceptives are easy to obtain, and forcing employers to include a broad array of contraceptives in employee health insurance makes as little sense as forcing an auto insurer to cover routine oil changes. Actually, it makes much less sense, since without an oil change, your car will eventually break down, but some people have no desire to ever use any contraceptive (and get by just fine without them). But that did not stop the Obama administration from imposing a contraceptive mandate on employee health insurance, requiring even religious employers (with the exception of churches) to provide them (and not just contraceptives, but -- more controversially -- certain abortifacients). Some objectors, like Bishop Lori, have likened the administration's demand that Catholic institutions provide contraceptive and abortifacient coverage to forcing a kosher deli to serve ham. HHS...
  • What the Senate Immigration Bill Got Right

    June 28, 2013
    The Senate’s passage of its immigration reform bill is a meaningful victory for free markets. Free markets ought to extend beyond borders. As has been seen clearly by economists since Adam Smith, exchange in both goods, services, and ideas make the world a richer and freer place. Legalization: The bill would legalize the statuses of roughly 11 million immigrants here illegally, so long as they arrived before last year and were not a felon. Protecting the rights of immigrants to live and work freely also protects Americans’ rights to associate, contract, and trade with those immigrants. A first principle of U.S. immigration policy is that it should not violate the rights of U.S. citizens. Those who recommend that we “just enforce the law,” as it is currently written, rarely understand the implications of that suggestion for Americans. Not only would tens of thousands of business...
  • The Plot Thickens: Mystery Trip to Germany for Chattanooga City Officials

    June 28, 2013

    Earlier this month, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger skipped the Mayor’s Industry Appreciation Breakfast in order to meet with Volkswagen officials at the auto company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

    The Mayors were lobbying for the expansion of Chattanooga’s plant and the production of the new line of VW BlueCross Coupe cross-over SUVs.  Though no official decision has been made yet, President and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce Ron Harr is optimistic that the trip was a good step towards securing SUV production locally, rather than letting China or Mexico reap the benefits of producing the...

  • DOMA Decision: Win for the Rights of U.S. Citizens to Freely Associate with Foreigners

    June 27, 2013
    Gay marriage“We received a cold, brief letter from the Immigration Service notifying us that our petition had been denied. Why? Because we’re both men.” That was Brandon Melchiorre, explaining late last year his failed-attempt to get a green card for his spouse, Luke. “The denial letter from Immigration Services clearly stated in an unapologetic, discriminatory tone that we are still, in fact, second-class citizens.” Under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), gay Americans cannot sponsor their partners to enter and reside in the United States. But thanks to the Supreme...
  • DOL Regulating An Entreprenuer Out of Business

    June 26, 2013
    Not much of a surprise, but the Department of Labor is inappropriately enforcing arcane regulations that threaten an entrepreneur. In a recent USA Today op-ed, Rhea Lana Riner tells her story how regulations deriving from the WWI era Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) would stifle her innovative business model.
  • CEI Podcast for June 26, 2013: TSA Full-Body Scanner Transparency

    June 26, 2013
    Fellow in Land-use and Transportation Studies Marc Scribner discusses the TSA's lack of transparency and the scanners' ineffectiveness in deterring terrorism.
  • Border Security Doesn't Require "Invading" the Border

    June 26, 2013
    When President Bush left office in January 2009, there were about 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. If the Senate immigration bill (S. 744) passes, this military-style mobilization will come to the U.S.-Mexico border -- and then some. Under the Hoeven-Corker border security amendment, approved Monday, the bill would now pour in at least 38,405 Border Patrol personnel along America’s Southern border -- more than double the original amount. At the same time, it would increase total border security funding more than five-fold -- from $8.3 billion to $46.3 billion. These funds will go to finish a 700-mile border fence and add hundreds of new surveillance...
  • No Help Wanted: Unions Shut Out Foreign Students

    June 25, 2013
    Union-backed provisions in the Senate immigration bill would punish organizations that coordinate visits for foreign students who spend summers traveling and working in America.
  • Tracking the Cultural Exception, Part One: How Does One Exempt a Culture?

    June 25, 2013
    On June 14, the European Union’s Council of Foreign Affairs adopted a mandate for negotiation on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). It includes a “cultural exception” so obviously protectionist that it’s hard to understand how it got through. Many European leaders made a good show of opposing the exception, but French ministers didn’t have to twist too many arms. The French Culture Ministry released a letter documenting support for the cultural exemption from across Europe, and mentions a pro-exception petition by filmmakers that has gathered 5,000 signatures. In light of all this, the ...
  • Federal Regulations Make Americans 75 Percent Poorer

    June 25, 2013
    "Federal regulations have made you 75 percent poorer," and as a result, "U.S. GDP is just $16 trillion instead of $54 trillion," says an article in Reason magazine. It cites a study that finds that as a result of growing regulation,
    the average American household receives about $277,000 less annually than it would have gotten in the absence of six decades of accumulated regulations—a median household income of $330,000 instead of the $53,000 we get now. The researchers, economists John Dawson of Appalachian State University and John Seater of North Carolina State, constructed an index of federal regulations by tracking the growth in the number of pages in the Code of Federal Regulations since 1949. The number...

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