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OpenMarket: Regulatory Reform

  • Adviser Admits Obama's Tax Increases May Kill Economic Recovery

    May 14, 2009
    Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, warns that “the barrage of tax increases proposed in President Barack Obama’s budget could . . . kill any chance of an early and sustained recovery.”
  • Law Professors Urge Supreme Court to Review Challenge to Powerful Agency, in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board

    May 13, 2009
    Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will weigh whether to decide what a federal judge called the "the most important separation-of-powers case regarding the President's appointment and removal powers to reach the courts in the last 20 years." Law professors Kenneth Starr and Viet Dinh, who worked on the case, have an editorial in today's Wall Street Journal urging the Supreme Court to hear the case, which challenges a powerful, and largely unaccountable, federal agency called the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). As they point out, in creating the PCAOB, "Congress created a striking Constitutional anomaly – a powerful executive branch agency with a structure that gives the President almost no say over its...
  • Another Postage Hike on Monday

    May 7, 2009
    Postage rates will go up on Monday. Thanks to the forever stamp, most of us won’t have to bother with those infernal 2-cent stamps this time around. But this convenience has a trade-off.
  • Cockroaches Win

    May 7, 2009
    If New York regulators get their way, the only other option will be for people to hire an exterminator. So basically, if your income is too low and your kid has allergies and asthma related to cockroaches, you will be out of luck. The cockroaches win, you loose.
  • Obama's pending cybersecurity overhaul should heed the "Cybersecurity Commandment"...

    May 1, 2009
    Not many details have appeared, but the Atlantic reports on a speech given by the administration's Melissa Hathaway in McLean, VA:
    In her speech, Hathaway did not say much about the administration's policy changes, although published reporters indicate that Obama plans to create a powerful national cybersecurity directorate that would work through the Department of Homeland Security, establish a national cybersecurity recovery plan and resolve longstanding conflicts between agencies.
    I remain suspicious of collectivizing and centralizing risk in governmental bodies, and of creating the impression that governments can protect private networks and infrastructure. We do need police forces (gov't) but we also need the barbed wire and doorlooks that private...
  • Fix Social Security; Unleash Capital

    April 29, 2009
    In RealClearMarkets.com, Fred Smith and I explain how the seemingly forgotten -- but still important -- goal of Social Security reform can help unleash capital, now that the U.S. economy desperately needs it. Whole thing here.
  • Well @#$%&, Supreme Court Upholds Ban on "Expleetive Deleetives."

    April 28, 2009
    In FCC v. Fox today, the Supreme Court upheld regulation of "fleeting expletives" on broadcast television. What should be "fleeting" is the nearly century old FCC itself, but it's desperately sought things to occupy itself in the 21st Century, and here's another success. They insist they're protecting my children. As Adam Thierer at the Progress and Freedom Foundation put it:
    While the Court decided this case on purely procedural grounds, its failure to address the constitutional issues at stake will leave the First Amendment freedoms of both media creators and consumers in this country uncertain until another case winds its way up to the court, which could take years.....[W]hat's the point of continuing to apply a censorship regime to one of the oldest...
  • When Government Spending Gets Really Obscene

    April 23, 2009
    My good friend and Bureaucrash ally Xaq Fixx recently altered me to an interesting story on the intersection of politics, technology and free speech. It seems that the state government of California, through the California Employment Training Panel, is paying contractors who train in-state workers in new skills - an effort to boost the Golden State's notoriously sagging economy. Nothing too unusual there. Enter SF Weekly's Matt Smith, who noticed that the list of recipients of this state-subsidized training were employees of Cybernet Entertainment LLC. Cybernet in turn is the proprietor of a number of websites which feature videos catering to adult and, ah, highly specialized interests. Kinky but legal, in other words. Smith submitted a public...
  • General Growth Properties (GGP) -- Bankruptcy the way it ought to be

    April 23, 2009
    On the surface, given the economic turmoil we've had, there was nothing that remarkable about the bankruptcy of shopping mall owner General Growth Properties (GGP). Late last week, GGP filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, an action that some had been expecting for months  given its debt of almost $25 billion. GGP was the second largest mall owner in the country -- with properties including Chicago's Water Tower and the DC area-Tyson's Gallleria -- and filed for what has been described the biggest U.S. real estate bankuptcy ever. Yet the bankruptcy barely made a ripple in the stock market, which was up last Thursday the 16th, the day of its filing. And most of its malls, according to various local press reporties, operated as if nothing had changed. Yet, in another way, the fact that this bankruptcy has so far gone off so smoothly is...
  • Obama credit card meeting -- should meet with economists instead

    April 23, 2009
    Instead of meeting with the executives of credit card issuers and sactimoniously lecturing them about not raising rates, as he is doing today,  President Obama would serve card holders more effectively by meeting with economists and listening to their concerns about the dangers of price controls on credit card services. Economists from all schools of thought -- from Keynesian to supply-side -- recognize the basic principle of microeconomics that price controls lead to shortages of  commodities, including credit, and cause distortions that harm ordinary consumers. Limits on risk-based pricing, as enacted in rules last year from the Federal Reserve, and in proposals in Congress that go beyond these rules, could result in sharp limits in the availability of credit at...

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