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OpenMarket: Property Rights

  • Billions of Tax Dollars Spent Raising False Hopes Among Homeowners

    July 24, 2012
    The Obama Administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) gave "banks $1,500 bonus payments and servicers $1,000 bonus payments for each loan modification they processed. This system encouraged mortgage servicers to approve temporary 'trial' loan modifications, even as they continued the foreclosure process against borrowers. Ultimately, after collecting the bonuses, they would deny permanent mortgage modifications," notes the Washington Examiner, citing the findings of Neil Barofsky, a former special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Barofsky's "damning indictment" of this waste of taxpayer money is...
  • Google and Antitrust: Economic Liberty in the Balance

    June 21, 2012
    Way back when the DOJ brought an antitrust suit against Microsoft in 1990s, Milton Friedman had this to say to The Wall Street Journal:
    "We've gradually come to the conclusion that, on the whole, [antitrust] does more harm than good." Antitrust laws, he says, "tend to become prey to the special interests. Right now, who is promoting the Microsoft case? It is their competitors, Sun Microsystems and Netscape."
    Unfortunately, this tendency for antitrust to become prey for special interests continues today.  Antitrust law is supposed to be...
  • Norfolk, Virginia, While Abusing Eminent Domain To Seize 78-Year-Old Business, Attempts To Silence Free Speech

    June 18, 2012
    I'm a month behind on this story, but something terrible is underway in Norfolk, Virginia, that should disturb all Americans who value property rights and free speech. Central Radio Company, which first opened 78 years ago and has been at its current location of 1083 West 39th Street for 50 years, is currently under siege. First officials at the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority attempted to seize their property in order to transfer it to Old Dominion University, which currently has no specific site development plan for Central Radio's property. The owners of the company, Bob...
  • Losing the Universe with LOST

    June 15, 2012
    The Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) has been languishing in the Senate for decades, but led by Massachusetts senator John Kerry, there is growing (and unfortunately) bipartisan support to finally ratify it. Condi Rice's State Department favored ratification in the Bush administration, and (soon-to-be-ex) Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana has been one of Kerry's key allies in the effort. But yesterday, Don Rumsfeld testified that such an act could have dire consequences:
    “[Lady Thatcher] said what this treaty proposes is nothing less than the international nationalization of roughly two-thirds of the earth’s surface,” he said. “The major idea underlying the Law of the Sea Treaty is that the richest of the oceans, beyond national...
  • Legislators Seek to Create New, Unnecessary Protected Class: Gun Owners

    June 13, 2012
    Generally, the Constitution only binds the government, not the private sector. For example, the First Amendment protects speech, and even insults, but that doesn't mean you can't kick someone out of your home or business for insulting you. But Missouri legislators have decided to turn gun owners into a protected class, citing the Second Amendment -- which only applies against the government -- as a reason to restrict private employer policies regarding firearms. As Missouri Freedom Watch notes,
    HB 1621, which...
  • Remembering Elinor Ostrom

    June 12, 2012
    Among the individuals with whom I wish I could have greater opportunities to exchange ideas is Elinor Ostrom. She passed away today, and now I must pursue that conversation indirectly -- via her writings, her colleagues, and my recollections of those few conversations I did have the opportunity to enjoy.
  • Tapping Space Resources

    June 7, 2012
    Over at The Washington Times, Bob Zubrin says that we need space property rights. Gee, I wonder where he got that idea?
  • New Space Property Rights Criticism

    June 1, 2012
    Over at the Space and Cyberlaw blog, Eric Dawson takes issue with my issue analysis on space property rights:
    Foremost, I think the terminology used by Mr. Simberg is disingenuous. The proposed legislation, as I read it, does not create a property right at all. By describing it as such, I believe Mr. Simberg is concealing some of the more important areas of the discussion. A property right has no value if it does not protect your interests from third parties. To grant a property right, a nation must have sovereignty or control over the property in question, otherwise the grant is meaningless. Assuming that the legislation is not intended to be meaningless, what would actually happen under this...
  • Amendments That Take Away Rights

    May 9, 2012
    The Supreme Court, like European courts, has long recognized that corporations have constitutional rights, ever since its 6-to-1 decision in Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819). But left-wing ideologues have falsely claimed that corporate constitutional rights are a recent invention by right-wing Supreme Court justices, in response to the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which ruled that corporations and unions have the right...
  • How to Fix U.S. Water Policy? Less Government, More Market Pricing

    April 18, 2012
    Late last week I received an invitation to testify in the Water and Power Subcommittee of the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee on H.R. 2664, "The Reauthorization of Water Desalination Act of 2011." We've posted the full 20-page testimony; my oral remarks before the committee appear below. The push for politically juiced desalination projects is a diversion from the actual problem; the absence of market pricing to allocate water scarcity.
    I am Wayne Crews, VP for Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and I thank the committee for this Tax Day invitation to speak on H.R...


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