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OpenMarket: John Berlau

  • GW's Entrepreneurship and Crowdfunding Barriers to Today's Revolutionary Entrepreneurs

    February 21, 2014
    george-washingtonHappy Washington’s birthday, everyone! Although the holiday was on Monday, George Washington’s actual date of birth is tomorrow, February 22, in the year 1732.

    And one of the many ways to celebrate Washington is to reflect on his pioneering entrepreneurship. That’s right, the father of our country was also one of the first of America’s many visionary entrepreneurs who was largely self-made. As I write in National Review, “Washington’s background wasn’t exactly poor, but he was not as wealthy as many of his contemporaries among the Founders. His father died when he was eleven, and the family lacked...
  • No Obamaloans at the Post Office!

    February 12, 2014
    While Sen. Elizabeth Warren may proudly brand herself a populist, in her latest crusade, she is casting her lot with fat cats. Warren wants to bestow banking privileges upon the United States Postal Service (USPS), an organization with executives living high on the hog even as, by Warren’s own admission, its “financial footing” is in doubt.

    The USPS pleaded poverty last month as it raised the price of a first-class stamp from 46 to 49 cents and promised that more rate increases are on the way. Yet in 2012, it managed to pay Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe $512,000 in total compensation, according to page 67 of the annual report filed by the Postal Regulatory Commission. And in 2008, then-Postmaster General John E. Potter received more than $800,000 in total compensation and retirement...
  • Target, Retailers Use Dodd-Frank to Skimp on Data Security

    January 22, 2014
    Chutzpah, thy name is the National Retail Federation!

    In the wake of the recent credit and debit card breach at Target that may have compromised the data of up to 110 million consumers, the leading retail trade association argued in federal court on Friday that it should pay even less for fraud prevention and cleanup after fraud losses.

    Joined by the National Association of Convenience Stores and the National Restaurant Association, the NRF claimed to the court that it is actually against the law for banks and credit unions to charge retailers for fraud losses in debit card processing fees. "The inclusion of fraud losses in the allowable costs recoverable ... cannot be justified," the groups maintained in a...
  • "Wall Street" Regs Devastate Main Street Banks and Credit Unions

    January 16, 2014
    Again and again, when regulators implement a new Dodd-Frank regulation aimed at "Wall Street," it is Main Street banks and credit unions that are forced to push the panic button. Amazingly, over the last couple weeks, it seems like some of Dodd-Frank's biggest cheerleaders have suddenly heard Main Street's alarm.

    At House Financial Service Committee hearings this week on implementation of the Volcker Rule and the "qualified mortgage" rule from the Dodd-Frank "financial reform" law enacted in 2010, some of the most liberal members of Congress expressed concern about overreach. While praising most of the Volcker Rule at yesterday's full-committee hearing, Ranking Member Maxine Waters still emphasized the need for "important relief to community banks.."

    She added that "most of the Democratic members...
  • The Great Italian Auto Bailout -- Courtesy of U.S. Taxpayers

    January 1, 2014
    At the beginning of 2014, Detroit may be bankrupt, but they're cheering the five-year-old U.S. auto bailout in Italy. That's because after being the beneficiary of billions in U.S. taxpayer largesse, Fiat, the leading Italian auto company, is going to buy its final stake in Chrysler from that other big bailout recipient, the United Auto Workers (UAW).

    "Chrysler's Now Fully an Italian Auto Company," reads the Time magazine online headline. But wait a minute! Wasn't the bailout supposed to be about saving the American auto industry?

    As Mark Beatty and wrote in The Daily Caller in November 2012, after presidential candidate Mitt Romney made the controversial claim that Fiat would be expanding production of Chrysler's Jeep in...
  • Target Breach -- Are Dodd-Frank "Swipe Fee" Price Controls to Blame?

    December 24, 2013
    Target wants  you to know it is oh-so-sorry for any inconvenience its data SNAFU (as OpenMarket is a family blog, please look up the acronym) has caused, and as a token of its concern, it offered customers a whooping 10 percent discount this weekend!

    In the meantime, who is cleaning up the mess from Target's breach that has affected as many as 40 million credit and debit card accounts? The nation's banks and credit unions -- big and small. In East Tennessee, for instance, Citizens National Bank canceled and reissued 1,000 credit and debit cards potentially affected, but took the step of calling each customer beforehand.

    This is just the latest incident in which banks and credit unions that...
  • Volcker Rule Overshoots Wall Street to Hit Utah

    December 19, 2013
    You might think after the disastrous debut of HealthCare.gov and thousands of insurance cancellations, those who call themselves progressives might just have a little humility about grandiose government schemes with vague terms and objectives.

    Not so, if judged by the adulatory greeting by liberal activists and the establishment media of this month's implementation of a pie-in-the-sky provision of the Dodd-Frank financial "reform," a law that has often been referred to by experts as "Obamacare for banks."

    Like Obamacare, Dodd-Frank was a 2,500-plus page law rammed through the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2010. And like the bureaucrat-written rules implementing Obamacare, the regulations implementing the law are pretty lengthy as well....
  • The Volcker Winter Storm -- Bad Rule, Worse Implementation

    December 11, 2013
    On a snowy day in Washington, several federal agencies packed some mean regulatory snowballs that will most likely overshoot their supposed destination of Wall Street and crash-land with a thud on the businesses and investors of Main Street. Rather than postpone the planned vote on Tuesday, when the federal government was officially closed, agencies sheltered themselves from public view and pushed through the rules.

    According to USA Today, "CFTC spokesman Steven Adamske said his agency will not hold a public meeting, but commissioners will approve the rules in writing." This lack of transparency on voting on the rule was symptomatic of a series of last-minute changes from the rule the agencies had initially proposed two years ago. The agencies never submitted...
  • Government "Study" on Internet Tax Hides Harmful Small Business Effects

    November 20, 2013
    Under presidents of both parties, the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy has produced quality independent studies on the harmful tax and regulatory burden on smaller firms.

    So it is especially troubling that this office would now produce a study minimizing the harm and purporting to show benefits of new Internet sales taxes on small businesses.

    The trouble is it paid $80,000 to two longtime advocates for letting states levy sales taxes on remote online sellers to do so. (Hat tip to Andrew Moylan of R Street for finding the contract.)

    Donald Bruce and William F. Fox of the University of Tennessee's Center for Business and Economic Research have for over a decade produced studies that estimated revenue losses at the very high end for online sales "escaping" taxation and minimized...
  • Twitter, the JOBS Act, and the Return to IPO Normalcy

    November 7, 2013
    The headline read that the company's initial public offering price is "high," and "so is its valuation."  The accompanying story explained that the latest tech sensation had yet to show a profit, and had in fact been losing millions per year.

    An analyst attributed what the article called the stock's "high valuation" to "Internet inhalant." He said, "Some people smoke Internet inhalant and their judgment gets bizarre."

    Think this is an article about the Twitter IPO debuting today? Wrong! It's a piece from Wired in 1997 on the new IPO of Amazon.com.

    Like Twitter, Amazon was losing money when it went public. In fact, investors would have to wait more than four years after its IPO for the firm to turn its first profit.

    Yet...

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