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OpenMarket: Daniel Rivera

  • NAFTA: North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement?

    December 22, 2011
    The North American Free Trade Agreement liberalized trade between the three North American nations -- Mexico, the United States, and Canada -- to great success and positive overall effects on the economy, even though some anti-trade activists argue otherwise. Now, should we expand the agreement to include other nations in Europe?

    The European Union crisis has left the region’s currency union and single market very unstable, and the lack of consensus regarding bailouts to some of its members has left other members questioning their future in the Union. In fact, some of Britain’s MPs are looking to call a referendum to discuss whether or not the U.K. should continue to be part of the European Union. Conflicts have risen between London and Brussels, most recently...
  • Butter-nomics: Protectionism and Food Shortages

    December 20, 2011
    Norway, a fully industrialized country and ranked first in the latest Human Development Index, a United Nations’ metric that tries to quantify the quality of life across countries, is suffering through a butter shortage, a common food staple and an important input in the food industry. Food shortages wouldn’t be out of place in places like Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela and some poor Sub-Saharan nations; it is almost unfathomable that they occur in one of the most developed nations in the world.

    Norwegian authorities seem puzzled by the shortage and subsequent rise in...
  • Immigration is Good for Natives

    December 13, 2011
    Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia are joining the list of states with tough anti-immigration laws. On January 1, most of those laws are going into effect. Undocumented immigration may seem like a serious threat, but the so-called solutions are nothing more than intrusive economic regulations that destroy economic growth and hurt Americans.

    Misconceptions about immigration explain these laws. First off, immigration is not a zero-sum game. There are not a finite number of...
  • Farm Bill: Bailouts, Special Interests, and Pheasants

    November 29, 2011
    The infamous “secret farm bill,” negotiated by the leadership of the agriculture committees with little transparency and discussion, will not pass as part of the debt-reduction “supercommittee” recommendations, since discussions between Democrats and Republicans in the committee broke down. This means that the covert farm bill will not enjoy fast-track approval in Congress.

    Now the new farm bill negotiations will be made public, and the new bill, expected to be based on the “secret” one, will probably face stiff opposition from both Republicans and Democrats. The contents of that farm bill, negotiated by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), are still a mystery....
  • United States and China Talk Trade

    November 22, 2011
    The annual session of United States – China trade talks was held last week, in the Chinese city of Chengdu. These talks look for ways to improve economic ties between the countries, and focused on currency issues, intellectual property and market access issues.

    These discussions are a nice break from U.S. official rhetoric that places confrontation with the Chinese ahead of community-building and strengthening trade relations. Obama’s recent visit to Australia, where he committed 2,500 U.S. Marines to “project power and deter threats to peace,” was clearly aimed at Beijing. China’s response was unsurprising: they...
  • Farm Bill Negotiated In Secrecy

    November 15, 2011
    The Hill reports that a new “secret Farm Bill” will be included with the super committee’s debt deal. As The Hill points out, legislators are “using the super committee to avoid what would be a more public, election-year debate in 2012, when the current farm bill expires and new legislation would be scheduled for writing.”

    As mentioned on OpenMarket before, this presents a big moral hazard problem. Legislators are using the secrecy and lack of accountability present in super committee deliberations and adding legislation beneficial only to narrow sectors of the economy. In the farm bill’s case, the super committee asked members of the Agriculture Committee to come up with $23 billion...
  • U.S. Sugar Program Hurts Businesses and Kills Jobs

    November 10, 2011
    CBS San Antonio affiliate KENS 5 reports that a San Antonio candy company, Judson-Atkinson Candy Company, has ceased operations after 110 years of making candy. The company has been forced to lay off more than 100 employees, and currently has only 14 people in its production facility. The family-run business says that the company simply can’t compete with firms outside the U.S., since domestic companies pay more for candies’ main ingredient: sugar. According to the owner of the company, Amy Atkinson Voltz, the candy company pays more than twice the international price for sugar, which caused an additional $2 million in costs for the company...
  • Moral Hazard in Super Committee

    November 8, 2011
    The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly referred to as the Super Committee, is a bipartisan committee looking for ways to prevent a sovereign default from occurring in the United States, by cutting $1.5 trillion from the 2012-2021 budgets. While in the face of current events this may seem sensible, politicians are taking advantage of the secretive nature of the Super Committee to introduce costly new programs in bills.

    Recently, 27 House members sent a letter to congressional Super Committee co-chairs last week, voicing concerns that members of the agricultural committee were using the deficit reduction process to keep and introduce new programs into the Farm Bill, without any sort of oversight. The letter (...
  • "Made In China" Is Good For U.S. Economy

    November 1, 2011
    In yesterday’s Washington Times, Brett Decker (editorial page editor)  reviews Patrick J. Buchanan’s book Suicide of a Super Power: Will America Survive to 2025? In his article titled Buchanan: Take the China Test, he rallies against free trade and China, with half truths and fear-mongering to appeal to individuals who see trade with China as a negative thing.

    Decker starts his story by narrating his visit to a car dealership, on the look-out for an American muscle car, but becomes distraught when he sees that “the domestic content was only 55%,” and that the transmission was manufactured in China. The author was also shocked to find that a box of nails, and even a box of fruit, was manufactured by the Chinese. As Decker puts it, “the reds had invaded my refrigerator...
  • Don't Fear the Trade Deficit -- Embrace it

    October 14, 2011
    In the evening of October 12,  the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate both passed the Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama. The press, members of Congress and senators all highlighted the job-creating potential of these treaties, because of their boost to exports and the manufacturing sector.

    These stories leave out an important element: The value of imports. In an open market system, where countries...

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