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OpenMarket: January 2014

  • Long-Suspected TSA Abuse and Incompetence Confirmed by Former TSA Employee

    January 31, 2014 3:44 PM

    tsa-nun-screeningPolitico Magazine has a disturbing article by former transportation security officer Jason Edward Harrington. At least it would be disturbing if it wasn't largely just a confirmation of what many of us had long suspected. (Titled "Dear America, I Saw You Naked: And yes, we were laughing. Confessions of an ex-TSA agent.") Harrington details the dim view the Transportation Security Administration holds of traveling public, in addition to their willful use of ineffective screening techniques and technologies, which may or may not be deployed by spiteful TSOs to humiliate or delay a...

  • EPA, Freedom of Information, and Good Faith

    January 31, 2014 2:58 PM

    Yes, the recent ruling in Competitive Enterprise Institute v. Environmental Protection Agency (D.D.C. No. 12-1617) is good news for the EPA, but the lawsuit still produced some pretty valuable results for both CEI and the public at large.

    This case involved then-Administrator Lisa Jackson’s use of her "Richard Windsor” email alias. As the court noted, the fact that administrator Jackson and other EPA officials used alternative email addresses “raised questions about the agency's compliance with federal record-keeping laws as well as the completeness of its responses to certain FOIA requests.” In the court’s words, this was a matter of “appropriate… concern,” and not just for us.

    The court ruling has some entertaining references to CEI’s so-called “conspiracy theory.” We didn’t use...

  • CEI Podcast for January 30, 2014: State of the Union

    January 30, 2014 4:36 PM

    Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray analyzes the President's 2014 State of the Union speech.

  • Schism among Democrats On "Fast Track" to Trade

    January 30, 2014 1:11 PM

    The trade debate is heating up in the wake of President Obama’s nod to trade in his State of the Union address, the introduction this month of a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, and the on-going negotiation on two major trade deals.

    A major schism among Democrats on trade broke out January 29, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in an interview that he was against TPA, commonly known as “fast-track” legislation, which gives the president authority to negotiate trade agreements that are then voted on by Congress without amendments. Without fast-track, it’s difficult to negotiate final trade deals with other countries when they know Congress can change the...

  • Reining in the Executive Branch Bureaucracy, Part 5: Categorize Regulations by Impact

    January 30, 2014 1:00 PM

    Since the Federalist Papers, America has debated “Energy in the Executive.” But President Obama’s 2014 agenda framed by his State of the Union address heralds a class warfare agenda, one fusing an “income inequality” theme with federal industrial policy.

    When I can act on my own without Congress, I’m going to do so,” Obama promises. This spend-and-transfer fixation makes Americans poorer and dependent except for the lucky few running things.

    ...
  • State of the Union: More on the President's Debunked Wage Gap Claim

    January 29, 2014 2:14 PM

    Aloysius Hogan has already debunked the president's wage gap claim in his State of the Union Address in an earlier post, noting that labor economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth found that "men and women make about the same" per hour in each "individual" occupation after taking into account factors like “job responsibility" and "experience."

    What's noteworthy is that even fact-checkers for some liberal newspapers such as The Washington Post are finally taking issue with the president's claims in this area. In his State of the Union address, President Obama said,

    Today, women make up about half our workforce. But...

  • Arizona Judge Rules Union Release Time Unconstitutional

    January 29, 2014 2:13 PM

    After about two years of litigation by the Goldwater Institute, the practice of union release time in Arizona has been declared unconstitutional.

  • State of the Union: President Gets Minimum Wage and Gender Pay Gap Wrong

    January 29, 2014 9:53 AM

    President Obama surprised few in his State of the Union address, which was dominated by egalitarian and populist themes. The president is entitled to his ideology, but not to his own facts. On both the minimum wage and gender pay gap, the president's position runs counter to the economic reality.

    President Obama voiced strong support for legislation sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. He also encouraged cities and states to raise their minimum wages, citing the five states to have done so in the past year, while calling on businesses themselves to increase employee pay. Every employee would certainly like to be paid more. Unfortunately, increasing the minimum wage will decidedly not promote economic growth nor help our present employment woes.

    Writing in the The Wall...

  • State of the Union: Economic Band-Aids for Poverty and Unemployment

    January 28, 2014 10:46 PM

    One of progressivism’s most admirable traits is its concern for the little guy. But many progressive policies for alleviating poverty, unemployment, and other social problems don’t work as advertised. This is because those policies often focus only on the desired outcome, and ignore the deeper processes that ultimately generate those outcomes. This misplaced focus was on full display in President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

    This is a subtle point that would benefit from an analogy. Suppose, while slicing vegetables, that you accidentally cut your finger. The sensible thing to do is put on a band-aid. But in the long run, you are far better off knowing and practicing proper knife safety. The band-aid eases the immediate problem. But if you focus on the long-term process of...

  • New Farm Bill Will Deliver the Pork to Farmers

    January 28, 2014 5:31 PM

    Last night House and Senate conferees agreed on a nearly $1 trillion farm bill that would eliminate long-standing direct payments to farmers but beef up the heavily subsidized crop insurance program. Farmers are pretty happy about that because federal crop insurance covers farmers’ crop losses or revenue losses, while the government pays a high percentage of the premiums’ costs and underwrites most of the insurance companies’ administrative costs.

    The five-year farm bill replaces the 2008 farm bill, which had expired and was extended because Congress could not reach agreement on components of a new bill.

    The command-and-control sugar program remains in place, with its combination...

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