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OpenMarket: Doug Bandow

  • The Boring EU: Sending Itself Into Space

    November 3, 2008
    If you go to Brussels you see how seriously the Eurocrats take their mission to bureaucratize the entire continent.  It is as bad as Washington, D.C.  Worse, actually, since at least the U.S. is a country and most people view themselves as Americans.  But the only way the Eurocrats can consolidate a government in Brussels is by preventing anyone from voting on it.  Only Ireland out of 27 European Union members allowed its people to vote on the treaty/constitution, and they voted no.  So now the Eurocrats spend half their time dreaming up strategems to force the Irish into line.

    The other half of the time they try to figure out to look less boring.  Worried about declining turnout fot the European parliamentary...
  • Market Health Care Reforms in Europe

    November 3, 2008
    While the U.S. seems to continue its slow slide towards socialized health care, patients currently suffering under such systems around the world are clamoring for more options.  Johnny Munkhammar writes in the Washington Examiner about market-oriented reforms in the Netherlands.  People must purchase health insurance, but the government relies on private competition rather than public bureaucracy for the provision of care.

    Explains Munkhammar:
    Most Europeans have followed the American presidential campaign with interest, particularly when it comes to the groundswell of support for...
  • Imagine: Free Health Care Is Expensive!

    November 1, 2008
    Who would have thought it?  Provide free health care and people drop their private coverage.  It seems that politicians are uniformly slow learners.  But after seven months Hawaii has dropped its program providing free health insurance for kids.

    Writes Grace-Marie Turner in the New York Post:
    HAWAII just had a vivid les son in health-care eco nomics, learning that if you offer people insurance for free - surprise, surprise - they'll quickly drop other coverage to enroll.

    As a result, Hawaii is ending the only state universal child health-care program in the country after just seven months.

    The program, called the Keiki (Child) Care Plan, was designed to provide coverage to children whose parents can't...
  • Fighting Global Warming Amidst a Snowstorm

    October 31, 2008
    The Brits have quite a reputation.  Stiff upper limit and all that.  Which may account for the picture of parliament debating global warming legislation in the midst of the first October snowstorm in London in more than eight decades.  Reports the Britain's Register:
    Snow fell as the House of Commons debated Global Warming yesterday - the first October fall in the metropolis since 1922. The Mother of Parliaments was discussing the Mother of All Bills for the last time, in a marathon six hour session.

    In order to combat a projected two degree centigrade rise in global temperature, the Climate Change Bill pledges the UK to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. The bill was receiving a third reading, which means both the last chance for both democratic scrutiny and consent.

    The bill creates an enormous bureaucratic apparatus for monitoring and...
  • Why the Endless Bail-Outs are Making Things Worse

    October 31, 2008
    No surprise, argues Russell Roberts of George Mason University, the mindless, almost random federal bail-outs are going to leave us far worse off.  Writes Roberts:
    By acting without rhyme or reason, politicians have destroyed the rules of the game. There is no reason to invest, no reason to take risk, no reason to be prudent, no reason to look for buyers if your firm is failing. Everything is up in the air and as a result, the only prudent policy is to wait and see what the government will do next. The frenetic efforts of FDR had the same impact: Net investment was negative through much of the 1930s.

    The next administration is unlikely to do any better. Mr. Bernanke is perhaps the greatest living authority on the Great Depression, yet he has failed to stem the damage. Messrs. Paulson and Bernanke are...
  • Depressed by Regulation in America? Look at Europe!

    October 30, 2008
    You've got to love the Europeans. They demonstrate that things always can get worse. For instance, think about the epidemic of stupid farmers who use their farm equipment on wet ground. The EU is on the case! No harvesters in the mud, please!

    Reports the Yorkshire Post:

    EUROPEAN law which bans farmers from using their combine harvesters on wet soil has been criticised by prominent members of the House of Lords.

    Former Commons Speaker, Baroness Boothroyd, described the laws as "ludicrous" while former National Farmers' Union (NFU) president Lord Plumb referred to them as "one of the most stupid ever" during question time in the House of Lords.

    The regulations, imposed by the European Union, have been...
  • Turning Responsible Citizenship into a Sucker's Game

    October 30, 2008
    Some people are hopelessly boring.  They save money, live within their means, don't buy too much house, pay their bills, and contribute to the community.  Then there are wastrals, who spend and borrow wildly and expect others to clean up after them.  The U.S. government is funded by the former but obviously spends an increasing amount of its time catering to the latter.

    Reports the Washington Post:
    Negotiators for the Treasury and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. are nearing agreement on a plan to have the government guarantee the mortgages of millions of distressed homeowners in what would be a significant departure for the federal rescue program, which has so far directed relief exclusively to banks and other financial institutions.

    The plan, which...
  • Paying Dividends with Public Money

    October 30, 2008
    Normally corporate dividends--or executive salaries--should not be a matter of government concern.  But how about when the feds are forking over taxpayer money to encourage borrowing?  It turns out that the banks have taken the money (some more enthusiastically than others) and, well, used it for other things, such as buying other banks and paying dividends.  This has reduced the White House to whining that they are supposed to be getting out there throwing money at borrowers, any borrowers.

    But there are dividends to pay.  Reports the Washington Post:
    U.S. banks getting more than $163 billion from the Treasury Department for new lending are on pace to pay more than half of that sum to their shareholders, with government permission, over the next three...
  • The More the Government Does, the More Harm it Does

    October 26, 2008
    At least, that appears to be the lesson of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's misnamed New Deal.  New research by two UCLA economists suggests that it was FDR's counterproductive manipulation of the economy that lengthened the economic crisis.  Reports UCLA:
    Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian...
  • Where is all of the Warming that We've been Promised?

    October 26, 2008
    Every fall I pray for global warming to intensify. I realize it is supposed to mean the doom of the planet, but I keep thinking about all of the ways in which warm weather is so much more pleasant than the cold. I know that is short-sighted, but despite all of the warnings of disastrous warming, WHERE IS IT? There's been no warming over the last decade. So what does the concept of "global warming" mean if there is no warming?

    In fact, an increasing number of scientists are doubting the alarmist case.  Some even--shudder!--doubt that CO2 is driving temperature changes.  Writes Lorne Gunther of...

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