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OpenMarket: Regulatory Reform

  • U.S. Senate Investigates Mobile Phone Exclusivity Deals

    June 21, 2009
    A group of US Senators has sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission expressing their concern that the exclusive arrangements that are common between wireless service providers and mobile handset manufacturers may be hindering competition and innovation. Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) are worried that the prevalence of such exclusivity arrangements (for example, AT&T and Apple's iPhone, or Sprint-Nextel and the Palm Pre) restrict consumer choice. Are consumers getting a bad deal? In an essay published last year by The Progress and Freedom Foundation,...
  • E-Cigarette Smokers Could Be Left Out in the Cold

    June 21, 2009

    The “smokes” may be different, but the Food and Drug Administration’s ever-vigilant watch to keep us safe from ourselves in its quest to quantify and purge all health risks from society continues. Their latest target? Smokeless cigarettes, or so called “E-cigarettes.”

    The devices in question utilize an atomizer to vaporize a nicotine and propylene glycol (a substance commonly found in fog machines) solution that the user inhales and exhales as a vapor. Since there’s no tobacco, combustion, smoke, or smell involved, savvy individuals have taken advantage of the devices, which can be bought online or in mall kiosks here in the States, to get around heavy taxes on tobacco products and stringent smoking bans in public places.

    But that hasn’t stopped the FDA, which as of this writing has "refused [the...

  • Stimulus = Welfare + Quotas + Corruption

    June 20, 2009
    Obama's $787 billion stimulus package is now being used to force states to adopt racial quotas in government contracts, even if their state constitution or civil-rights laws forbid such quotas. Slate's Mickey Kaus reports that "CalTrans, the huge state agency that spends billions in federal highway construction funds, 'sets a quota of having 6.75 percent of contracts go to women or members of a targeted group--African American, Asian-Pacific American, and Native American.'" The stimulus package also repealed welfare reform, as Kaus and the...
  • The $60,000 Obama Health-Care Plan: It's "Eye-Poppingly" Expensive on a Per-Person Basis

    June 19, 2009
    Obama's health-care proposals will cost well over a trillion dollars, without providing universal coverage. They are so "eye-poppingly" expensive that even Congressional Democrats have been forced to scale them back. But the Congressional Budget Office has concluded that their bill "would cover just 16 million additional people at a cost of $1 trillion," reports the Washington Post. That's more than $60,000 for each additional person covered! Other estimates peg the cost at $1.6 trillion. The Examiner notes that Obama's own Council of...
  • Regulation of the Day: The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission

    June 19, 2009
    The State Department has renewed its membership in the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. This will cost taxpayers more than $2 million in annual membership dues.
  • Regulation of the Day: Parole Rules for Federal Prisoners

    June 18, 2009
    Today’s Regulation of the Day comes to us from the Department of Justice ($26 billion 2009 budget, 112,000 employees). Parole rules for DC offenders and federal offenders are being harmonized.
  • Obama Seeks to Mandate More Risky, Low-Income Loans by Banks, in New Financial Rules

    June 17, 2009
    The President has just announced proposals for a major overhaul of the financial system. The proposals would force banks to make even MORE risky loans to low-income people. Even liberal newspapers like the Village Voice have admitted that "affordable housing" mandates are a...
  • HHS Secretary: Health Insurance Industry Needs Competition... With Government

    June 17, 2009
    In an AP interview on Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called for competition in the health insurance market. No, not between private insurance providers free to set their own policies, but between the private sector and the federal government. Failing to understand (or acknowledge) that the top and proper priority of any private enterprise that intends to survive is profit, not service to others, she boldly claimed that the private insurance market "has really failed to provide affordable coverage to Americans." There can be no real competition in the market if one player makes the rules for the others and cannot run out of money. If (when) the government health care system fails to live up to its stated goals, it will not suffer downsizing or face bankruptcy....
  • Wasteful Regulation

    June 17, 2009
    The issue of “e-waste” has been receiving a lot of attention recently, mostly from critics concerned about discarded electronics being shipped off to developing countries for disposal (conveniently ignoring the positive business opportunities in surplus materials), yet environmentalists need to look no farther than their own government for contributing to this “problem.” This past Saturday, June 13, 2009, all television stations in the United States began broadcasting in digital television (DTV), switching from the previous method of analog broadcasting as mandated by the federal government. The reasoning behind this switch, according to the DTV.gov website, was “to offer improved...
  • Regulation of the Day: Clean Air in Columbus, OH

    June 16, 2009
    Today’s Regulation of the Day comes to us from the EPA. One would think that regulators, seeing heartening results, would pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Mission accomplished. One would be wrong. See page 27,973 of the 2009 Federal Register for details.

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