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OpenMarket: Regulatory Reform

  • Food Police Attack Denny's Over Salt

    July 29, 2009
    It seems that the food police at the unconscionably named Center for Science in the Public Interest are at it again. Last week, CSPI filed a class action lawsuit against the restaurant chain Denny's, claiming that, because most Denny's menu items contain a "high" level of sodium, the chain is engaging in consumer fraud and breaching the implied warranty of merchantability.
  • Best Way to Curb Irrational Exurberance?

    July 28, 2009
    Zachary Goldfarb, a Washington Post staff writer, discusses (p. A10, "SEC Moves to Limit Short Sales of Stocks") this SEC proposal - sympathetically.  The article is naïve - buying the complaint of "High-profile Wall Street executives" that short sellers "played an outsized role in crashing the stock values of several major financial services companies."  Now, it is certainly true that when an asset value is falling, some will anticipate further declines and sell short - just as many will anticipate that an asset whose values are rising will rise further and buy long. But in politics, as elsewhere, while success has a thousand fathers, losses are orphans.  Thus, many clamor for curbs on short selling, but there are few calling for curbs on those betting on things still going up.  That is we critique irrational exurberance but we penalize only rational prudence.  The story betrays this...
  • Regulation of the Day 22: Rhinestones

    July 28, 2009
    The Consumer Product Safety Commission, after much deliberation, has banned crystal rhinestones from children's products, despite no evidence of harm.
  • The Folly of 100%

    July 28, 2009

    The same groups that have been insisting for years that there is something fundamentally wrong with the United States' international broadband ranking are also the most strident advocates for the necessity of broadband’s total market saturation, even to the point of calling on benevolent old Uncle Sam to subsidize broadband deployment nationwide.

    Consumer advocacy groups and even some telecom companies are lining up at the FCC’s door with petitions in hand and supplicant requests on their lips, claiming that access to broadband is a basic public necessity and should be meticulously regulated as such, right here and right now.

    These...

  • Put it in quotes: health care "reform"

    July 27, 2009
    Robert J. Samuelson has a hard-hitting column in today's Washington Post on the non-reform elements of the health care reform package.  He points out the inherent contradictions in the Administration's claims that health care can both be expanded to cover the uninsured and reduce costs.  As the Congressional Budget Office noted in its devastating assessment, the proposals don't represent fundamental changes and won't reduce future health spending. Samuelson says that in the president's advocacy for the Democrats' health care proposal, Obama has demonstrated "the ability to make misleading statements sound reasonable or sophisticated.  Still, they're misleading." Samuelson is no supporter of the current health...
  • Dems' Health Care Bill Looking Weaker by the Day

    July 27, 2009
    For the Democrats still supporting the health care overhaul, the blows just keep coming. As if the financial problems I described in a previous post were not enough to deter this fiscal suicide, the Congressional Budget Office has now said that a plan to offset the massive costs by putting an outside panel in charge of budget-cutting for other government health care programs will amount to savings of only about $2 billion over 10 years -- practically negligible in comparison to the final price tag, which is already expected to exceed $1 trillion.  For those who still consider this legislation financially feasible, that is a discount of 0.2%.  Oh boy, I can't wait to cut out the coupon! When the...
  • Health Insurance Reform: look at what does and doesn't work already

    July 27, 2009

    “One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.” ~Ayn Rand

    Most agree that the US health insurance market is in need of reform. However, there is a wide spectrum of beliefs about what the problems in the market are and the best way to confront them.

    Those who believe that the reason premiums are high and insurance is less available than...

  • How to End the War over Antitrust

    July 27, 2009
    If the executive branch is not going to consistently enforce antitrust laws -- and they shouldn't -- they should be repealed.
  • Regulation of the Day 21: Potato Research and Promotion

    July 27, 2009
    The Agricultural Marketing Service has a potato research and marketing plan, pursuant to the Potato Research and Marketing Act.
  • Getting the Health Care You Pay For

    July 27, 2009
    There was a good front page article in yesterday's Washington Post on the history of advances in medical science and technology. The conclusion: Although the costs of treating many serious medical conditions has risen dramatically over the course of the last few decades, most of these cost increases have come hand-in-hand with significant improvements in health outcomes.

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