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OpenMarket: Regulatory Reform

  • Iain Murray on the Anti-Stimulus

    February 12, 2009
    On behalf of my distinguished colleague Iain Murray, who is busy speaking at a very important press conference this morning, let me present his prepared remarks on the impending stimulus bill:
    Remarks of Iain Murray, Director of Projects and Analysis, Competitive Enterprise Institute Good morning. Others have already told you what an unutterable waste of money this so-called stimulus package is. I just want to make two points. First, that the American people have been misled about the nature of the bill, and been sold a pig in a poke. Second, that if you really want to stimulate economic activity, there is a very simple way to do it that doesn’t cost a penny; we call it “liberate to stimulate.” The American people were told...
  • Environmental Policies Kill - Again!

    February 11, 2009
    One of the main themes of my book, The Really Inconvenient Truths, is that misguided environmental policies often lead to humanitarian and environmental disaster. We've just seen another example in Australia, where fires have claimed many lives. Distraught survivors are certain they know at least part of the reason why the fires were able to do so:
    During question time at a packed community meeting in Arthurs Creek on Melbourne's northern fringe, Warwick Spooner — whose mother Marilyn and brother Damien perished along with their home in the Strathewen blaze — criticised the Nillumbik council for the...
  • Sirius XM Bankruptcy: Thank Washington for the Delay

    February 10, 2009
    Sirius XM Satellite Radio—the company born from the merger of Sirius Satelllite Radio and XM Satellite Radio—has "been working with advisers to prepare for a possible bankruptcy filing," according to the New York Times. Some may say that Sirius XM was never a fit business to begin with—many of their new subscribers came from the bundling of  subscriptions into the sale of new automobiles—but it's hard to say what might have been had federal regulators not delayed the merger for 18 months and then added insult to injury by subjecting them to seemingly arbitrary restrictions. My colleagues Wayne Crews and Ryan Young wrote about this last year at Real Clear Markets noting the conditions that the merged company...
  • Stimulus Package Shrinks Economy, Expands Welfare Rolls

    February 10, 2009
    The Stimulus Package passed by the Senate will encourage people to stop working and go on welfare, undermining the 1996 welfare reform law by rewarding states that expand their welfare rolls. The stimulus package will also reduce the size of the economy within a decade, as the burdens of servicing the vast amount of national debt produced by the stimulus package stifle economic growth. That's the...
  • Championing Economic Liberty in a Time of Crisis

    February 10, 2009
    From CEI’s Agenda for Congress: Fred Smith, President and Founder of CEI on the economic crisis, the threat of bad policies, and the real change that’s needed in Washington.
  • Geithner's "bad bank" is a big bad idea: fix bad mark-to-market accounting instead

    February 10, 2009
    The Obama's administration $1 trillion plus bank bailout plan -- on top of the $800 billion stimulus that just passed the Senate -- will explode the national debt and rob from future generations while doing little about the tightening of credit and valuation of toxic assets. Like the Bush administration, the Obama team balked at doing anything substantial to provide relief from the mark-to-market accounting mandates that prominent liberals and conservatives agree are spreading the credit contagion. Despite my hopes that Treasury Secretary Geithner 's plan would offer a change to mark-to-market rules we can believe in, as rumored in the financial press last week, the plan turns out to be "more of the same" Bush-Paulson big spending and big government bailout. As knowledgeable observers from conservative...
  • No Florida Insurance Bailout

    February 10, 2009
    It seems that the state of Florida has overpromised insurance coverage to its citizens in the case of a catastrophic storm, and now is coming to Congress for a bailout, lest a major storm bankrupt the state. Naturally, we had something to say about this in a press release today. The director of CEI's Florida office, Christian Cámara:
    Reliance on a Federal bailout as official state policy is reckless at best. Instead of lobbying Washington politicians for money, Commissioner [Kevin] McCarty and Governor Charlie Crist should return to Tallahassee and work together with the legislature to restore a healthy, competitive insurance environment to ensure that Florida is able to weather the aftermath of a storm. Taxpayers should not be forced to bailout neither...
  • Book-Banning, 21st Century Style

    February 10, 2009
    Remember the fuss when it was revealed that Sarah Palin had enquired about removing books from her town library? It would have been so much simpler if she'd just regulated them away on health and safety grounds. Because that's the effect of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, possibly the most ridiculous example of regulatory overreach this side of the EPA. As the Headmistress explains over at The Common Room blog, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has explicitly rejected the arguments of libraries and booksellers that common sense should apply, because:
    ...we know that the ink used in children's books prior to the 1980's did contain...
  • Dickie Scruggs Back in Court

    February 9, 2009
    But, alas, not as a litigator - the role that made him rich and famous - but as a defendant. According to Legal Newsline, Richard "Dickie" Scruggs is headed back to federal court to plead guilty to another count of trying to bribe a judge. He's already serving a five-year sentence for a previous bribery attempt. OpenMarket readers will remember Scruggs as one of the fattest of fat cat trial lawyers to emerge from the multi-state tobacco settlement reached between tobacco companies and state attorneys general in 1998. Our own Hans Bader revisited the scandalous fees charged by lawyers like Scruggs last...
  • Amid Recession, Congress Forces Thrift Stores to Close

    February 9, 2009
    According to statements from the National Association of Retail & Thrift Shops and the National Association of Manufacturers, a law designed to protect kids from lead in toys may soon force thrift stores to close their doors. It seems the law, passed after the uproar over lead in toys imported from China, places an incredible burden on resellers of toys.  The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) controls for lead in toys down to incredible minute amounts, as low as 600 parts per million, the testing for which is incredibly costly.  According to the National Association of Manufacturers:
    Thousands of businesses and organizations, including...

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