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OpenMarket: Doug Bandow

  • Traveling Eco-Friendly

    January 15, 2009
    Even most of us free market people like a clean environment.  But I'll admit that I also like the conveniences and comforts provided by advanced industrial civilization.  You know, good health care, innovative communications, swift transportation, quality housing, and the like.  So the issue is one of trade-offs.

    And if people want to live "green" lives by voluntarily eschewing some of the advantages of modern life, that's great.  But sometimes the suggestions for eco-friendly living, including travel, seem, well, a little silly. has just put out a list of ten, which include buying luggage made of hemp, refilling your bottles of water with tap water, and arranging to be picked up by a hybrid vehicle.  My favorite was number one:
  • Bipartisanship Washington-Style

    January 14, 2009
    President-elect Barack Obama has received plaudits for reaching across the aisle.  That includes appointing Republican Rep. Ray LaHood to be Transportation Secretary.  But no budget hawk is Ray.  Rather, he's one of the great porkers in the Congress.

    Reports the Washington Post:
    The former Republican congressman chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to direct billions in federal highway spending has been an unapologetic advocate of earmarks, a practice Obama now opposes, and has used his influence to win funding for projects pushed by some of his largest campaign contributors.

  • So What if We Wasted $350 Billion?!

    January 13, 2009
    Washington is so awful it's funny. There really is nothing you can do but laugh. Consider the status of the second $350 billion tranche of "TARP" funds.  Reports the New York Times:
    Republican and Democratic Senate leaders signaled on Monday that they would support the release of the second half of the Treasury's $700 billion financial system bailout fund, despite anger among many rank-and-file lawmakers over the Bush administration's management of the program.

    As Congress prepared to act, regulators directed thousands of banks to provide more information about how they have used the money received through the bailout program, responding to concern that financial institutions were hoarding the cash rather than lending it to businesses and consumers.

  • Nannychusetts Fights Obesity

    January 12, 2009
    The paternalists continue on the march. But don't worry, it's for our own good!

    Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby writes:
    THE WORTHIES who govern Massachusetts haven't been able to keep the state's population from dwindling, its property taxes from soaring, its budget from imploding, its Big Dig from leaking, or its politicians from getting arrested...
  • The Answer to Global Warming?

    January 10, 2009
    The Washington Post sponsors the weekly "Style Invitational," officially deemed a humor contest but very often covering matters of great substance.  This week the Post requested proposals for government spending to stimulate the economy.

    My personal favorite came from David Garratt of Glenn Dale, Maryland.  He suggested:
    Start a massive advertising campaign encouraging citizens to participate in Leave Your Refrigerator Open for 24 Hours, to help counter global warming.

    Works for me!
  • Dishonoring the Heroic Passengers on Flight 93

    January 10, 2009
    We all should be thankful for the heroics of the passengers of Flight 93 on September 11.  They prevented the hijackers from crashing another plane into another target--the Capitol or White House.  Understandably the families want a memorial honoring the passengers.

    But now they are urging President George W. Bush to just grab the property.  Reports the New York Times:
    Frustrated by years of negotiations over a parcel of land deemed critical for the proposed Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., a group representing the victims' families has asked President Bush to issue an executive order allowing the Interior Department simply to take it...
  • Amazing How Many People in Europe are Sick

    January 9, 2009
    Europe has a very generous social welfare system--basically, just say you aren't feeling quite right, and you get paid. Surprise, surprise ... people take advantage of the system!
  • Next on the Bail-Out List: The Porn Industry?

    January 8, 2009
    It seems everyone in America is suffering. So obviously everyone is entitled to a bail-out. At least, that is the theory being advanced by America's porn industry.
  • Nationalized Health Care: Growing the Nanny State

    January 7, 2009
    Advocates of the Nanny State have long been with us.  What was Prohibition but an early manifestation of government treating everyone as children to protect them?

    But as Paul Hsieh points out in the Christian Science Monitor, other countries use universal health care as an excuse to further regulate the lives of their citizens.  America already has started down the same road.  Nationalizing the medical system would ensure even more government meddling and violations of individual liberty.

    Writes Hsieh:
    Although American healthcare is only under partial government control in the form of programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, American nanny state regulations have exploded in recent years.

    Many American cities ban restaurants from selling foods with trans fats. Los Angeles has imposed a moratorium on...
  • Expanding Government, Corrupting Business

    January 6, 2009
    Tossing money at most anyone who shows up in Washington touting a sob story in the company of a lobbyist  is doing more than impoverishing taxpayers.  The process is corrupting everyone it touches or has the possibility of touching.  With the president-elect talking of a "stimulus" package approaching a trillion dollars, business desperately wants in on the dole.   When it comes to socialism, there are no stronger supporters than businessmen seeking a subsidy!

    Reports the Wall Street Journal:
    President-elect Barack Obama's stimulus plan aims to help Main Street, but it is already sparking boom times on K Street as lobbyists from a host of U.S. industries seek a share of the projected $800 billion package.

    Wind farms want permanent tax credits. The steel industry wants "Buy...


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