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OpenMarket: Cord Blomquist

  • More Economists Sign On to Cato's Anti-Stimulus List

    February 9, 2009
    The Cato Institute continues to gather support against the stimulus from economists, including 3 Nobel Laureates.

    Despite this growing resistance, President Obama still insists that economists "across the spectrum" support his stimulus plan.

  • 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...
  • Eileen Norcross on the Stimulus Bill

    February 9, 2009
    CEI's former Warren Brookes Fellow, Eileen Norcross, tells us that when it comes to the stimulus bill, we can't have our cake and eat it too.
  • Spending Money Isn't Bold, New and Certainly Isn't Change

    February 9, 2009
    President Obama is tired of the old ideas, the Washington that existed for the last eight years when we suffered under policies that didn't work.  He insists that we need a new, bold kind of politics—his stimulus package is the first expression of this kind of approach.  But directing a large portion of GDP toward projects that were haphazardly assembled in Congress isn't change at all.  It's more of what Mr. Obama calls "The failed policies of the past."

    To be sure, the past several years haven't seen America at its best.  Just like the bubble that led to the recession in 2001, Wall Street has funneled money toward an area of the economy that wasn't worth what everyone thought.  Main Street was at fault too.  Home flippers and even average folks who thought they'd be able to turn a profit on their homes after the prices rose even more, took loans they couldn't afford and bet on a...
  • Stimulus Watch Launches Today

    February 2, 2009
    As the "Stimulus Package" nears passage in the Senate, you can get involved by evaluating the projects that are most likely to be funded with this coming deluge of taxpayer dollars.
  • Len Nichols of NAF on Incentives in Health Care

    February 1, 2009

    Len Nichols of the New America Foundation is driving down the same "Middle Road" that the last panel plotted out.  So far, he's applauded John McCain for realizing that price transparency has been a problem in the health care industry and he's applauded Barack Obama for realizing that markets are a good idea and by advocating that a national health care policy focus on working with private insurers.

    According to Len, these are the biggest problems with the existing system:

    • Incentives in the current system are perverse

    • Current players profit from the flaws in the system, so there are interests who want the system to stay the same

    • Individual choices affect health and health costs, bit time

    • There are tremendous barriers to change...
  • Heart Docs & Health Reform: What about Regulation?

    February 1, 2009
    I'm listening now to a panel discussion at the America College or Cardiology Health System Reform Summit. The panel's topic: "Health Care Reform: State Models for Improving Access to Care."  The panelists: Secretary Kimberly Belshe or California's HHS, John Holahan of the Urban Institute, and Paul Wingle of Massachusettss Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector.

    So far, I've heard a lot about Massachusetts-style reform programs, which basically break down to mandating that everyone carry some form of insurance and then figuring out a way to help them pay for it—usually this means businesses and governments kicking in a good share of coin.

    Given the realities of the health care industry, namely that professional and ethical standards result in nearly no one being turned away when they're in dire need of care, insurance mandates seem like a sensible policy. In other words, because...
  • What's Stupid About Bottled Water?

    January 30, 2009
    [youtube: 285 234]
  • How to Sell a Bunk Bill: Marginalize the Opposition

    January 29, 2009
    Jesse Walker at Reason gives us a how-to guide on stifling the other side of any debate and finding success in Washington.  Of course, Reason Magazine has long been a proponent of open debate.  The real goal of Walker's article is to show us what tactics the "political mainstream" is using.

    Walker outlines the basic strategy:
    If you argue with those outsiders, you've made them a part of the debate. But you can't shut them up either. The goal then is to persuade everyone else that the dissidents simply don't deserve attention: that they're extremists, partisan flacks, or just not "serious."

    This sort of tactic is used all the time.  Mr. Obama seems to have adopted the version of this strategy made famous by Al Gore—...
  • Chris Horner on Al Gore's Global Warming Testimony

    January 28, 2009
    [youtube: 285 234]


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