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OpenMarket: August 2013

  • CEI Podcast for August 22, 2013: Germany Legalizes Bitcoin

    August 22, 2013
    Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray discusses Germany's decision to legalize Bitcoin, a controversial digital currency. With the euro's future up in the air, competing currencies are one way to ensure monetary stability in case the worst happens.
  • Before Net Neutrality Eats the World (Part 4): FCC Order Creates Political Vulnerability for All Market Participants

    August 22, 2013
    (Note: On Septe. 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear oral arguments in Verizon’s challenge of the Federal Communications Commission’s December 2010 Order on “Preserving the Free and Open Internet.” This series explores fundamental issues at stake.)
    "You know who owns your pipes? Your customers. You have no right to set up a tollbooth." - Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), Sept. 17, 2007.
    Not every issue should be a public policy question. For instance, free market competition should be exempt from collective decisionmaking. And it is, until someone gets the ear of a regulator. Net neutrality advocates certainly have accomplished this. Their...
  • Fast Food Workers Should Be Wary of Union Tactics

    August 22, 2013
    A Big Labor backed coalition is calling for a nationwide strike among fast-food workers on August 29. The walkout is part of a larger campaign, which is prominently funded by Service Employees International Union and United Food and Commercial Workers union, to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and to organize fast-food workers.
  • Worker Centers Need Oversight

    August 22, 2013
    In response to Rep. John Kline and Phil Roe’s letter to the Department of Labor asking for a determination whether or not “worker centers” should be held to the same reporting standards as labor unions, Kim Bobo, executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, wrote in The Hill, “Classing worker centers like unions is wrongheaded.”
  • Germany Legalizes Bitcoin: Competing Currencies Are Here!

    August 21, 2013
    While Thailand may have banned Bitcoin, the electronic currency -- although some are not so sure -- the economic powerhouse of Germany has just made it legal tender:
    Virtual currency bitcoin has been recognized by the German Finance Ministry as a "unit of account", meaning it is can be used for tax and trading purposes in the country. Bitcoin is not classified as e-money or a foreign currency, the Finance Ministry said in a statement, but is rather a financial instrument under German banking rules. It is more akin to "private money" that can be used in "multilateral clearing circles", the Ministry said.
    Moreover, one Parliamentary...
  • Detroit's Pension Fight: Coming to a City Near You?

    August 21, 2013
    The bankruptcy of Detroit is an unusual event, but its uniqueness lies mainly in its severity. Municipal governments across the nation are struggling to bring their own finances under control, and for many of them, unfunded pension obligations are a huge driver of deficits. If other municipalities want to avoid a similar fate (even if in milder form), they first need to get a handle on the size of the problem. The good news is that this is possible. The bad news is that efforts to clarify the pension obligations picture will meet stiff resistance from government employee unions. Yet, the union can only kick against fiscal reality for so long. In Detroit, a major point of dispute between public pension funds and the city's state-appointed emergency manager is just how large is the pension gap -- specifically, how it is calculated. Pension officials have argued that they are adequately...
  • Before Net Neutrality Eats the World (Part 3): The FCC's Disdain for Markets

    August 21, 2013
    (Note: On September 9, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear oral arguments in Verizon’s challenge of the Federal Communications Commission’s December 2010 Order on “Preserving the Free and Open Internet.” This series explores fundamental issues at stake.) Public policy as a rule forgets we are not immortal, that rulemakers are not omniscient. Net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) contribution to this conceit, forgets that not every network has been built yet, not every company yet created, and that the networks used and business models deployed by our descendants need not resemble or be managed like those of today. In the vision of the...
  • Krauthammer on Questioning Climate Science

    August 20, 2013
    The left seems to have decided the only way to win at global warming politics at this point is by smearing critics of climate change alarmism as being "anti-science" or equivalent to being a "flat earther." Columnist Charles Krauthammer aptly describes this M.O. as "shockingly arrogant and anti-scientific" -- the notion that questioning "settled science" or bringing new evidence to bear is wrong or disallowed. Our friends at Frontiers of Freedom posted the transcript and video clip.
  • Before Net Neutrality Eats the World (Part 2): An Alternative Case for Agency Neutrality

    August 20, 2013
    (Note: On Sept. 9, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear oral arguments in Verizon’s challenge of the Federal Communications Commission’s December 2010 Order on “Preserving the Free and Open Internet.” This series explores fundamental issues at stake.) Instead of compulsory net neutrality, let's mandate agency neutrality. Something remarkable has happened without the Federal Communications Commission's “Preserving the Free and Open Internet” net neutrality order of December 2010. At the time of FCC's...
  • Labor Unions Blast Obama's American Airlines-US Airways Merger Lawsuit

    August 20, 2013
    ObamaLast Tuesday, the Department of Justice and six state attorneys general filed suit to block the planned merger of American Airlines and US Airways. I criticized the lawsuit here on several grounds. One of the more interesting aspects of this case is who is not supporting the Obama administration: organized labor. Once the news broke, the union representing US Airways flight attendants described the Obama administration's antitrust lawsuit as based in "fantasy" and a "...

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