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DC Mayor's Body Cam Proposal Is Better than Some, but It Could be Improved

August 12, 2015 in Economics

By Matthew Feeney

Matthew Feeney

According to a memo obtained by The Washington Post, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has changed her position on the release of police body camera footage. Bowser, who used to oppose the release of body camera footage, now supports the release of the footage, though with some restrictions. If implemented, Bowser’s reported proposal would be much better than body camera release policies elsewhere in the U.S., though it is not without problems.

The release of footage is on of the most discussed topics in debates on police body cameras. Those interested in holding police officers accountable for their behavior understandably want access to police body camera footage. However, there are legitimate privacy concerns that have to be considered. Balancing privacy rights while increasing law enforcement accountability is crucial, but not all lawmakers and law enforcement officials have performed this balancing act well.

For instance, legislation in South Carolina exempts police body camera footage from the state’s Freedom of Information Act. The law allows a select group of people — including subjects of the footage, their attorneys, and a few others — to view body camera video, but it does not allow journalists or nonprofits to have access to the footage. In Los Angeles, police body camera footage is not publicly available unless its release is prompted by a court proceeding.

Bowser’s proposal is perhaps not perfect, but it is better than the policies in place in South Carolina and Los Angeles. The proposal allows for some access while aiming to protect privacy rights.

Balancing privacy rights while increasing law enforcement accountability is crucial, but not all lawmakers and law enforcement officials have performed this balancing act well.”

In order to protect privacy in places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, Bowser’s proposal would ban the release of body camera footage captured inside of homes. This is a good policy, but only if the subjects of such footage, their next of kin, or their attorneys can have access to the footage.

This proposal is not without its problems. Bowser’s staff accepts that there is debate over whether body camera footage captured in restaurants, which like homes are private property, should also be exempt from public release.

Restaurants and homes are private, but it would be unreasonable to claim that individuals in these two places have the same expectation of privacy. A good body camera policy will allow members of the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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More Opportunities for Austrian Grad Students: Per Bylund Moves to Oklahoma State University

August 12, 2015 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Blog

More Opportunities for Austrian Grad Students: Per Bylund Moves to Oklahoma State University

August 12, 2015

Per Bylund, winner of the 2015 Lawrence Fertig Prize, and associated scholar at the Mises Institute, is leaving Baylor University for a tenure track position in the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State…

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The July-August Issue of The Austrian Is Online!

August 12, 2015 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

The Austrian

Blog

The July-August Issue of The Austrian Is Online!

August 12, 2015

The Austrian features new articles on a variety of topics from the war on cash to superhero movies.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Republicans and Crony Capitalism

August 12, 2015 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

As Carly Fiorina gets a second look following her strong performance in last week’s debate, observers are noticing the emergence of an interesting theme in her campaign: opposition to the crony capitalism that infests so much of our economy today. “What we have now is less and less free market,” Carly points out, “and more and more crony capitalism.” It is a distinction that her opponents would do well to note.

A lot of people use “crony capitalism” to mean any business practice of which they disapprove. But the term actually has a more precise definition. Crony capitalism is an insidious system in which businesses’ success is based on a close relationship with government, and specifically with the people in power who dispense favors, subsidies, bailouts, and other forms of special treatment.

From TARP to the Export-Import Bank, crony capitalism has increasingly squeezed out the genuine free market in our economy. It is the reason why so many businesses spend as much time courting politicians as they do innovating and creating. It is the reason why Washington is a buzzing hive of lobbyists, and why six of the ten wealthiest counties in the United States are D.C. suburbs. Crony capitalism costs taxpayers roughly $100 billion per year, according to Cato Institute estimates, and consumers hundreds of billions more in higher prices. It slows economic growth and leads to greater inequality.

Carly Fiorina makes a telling point about government–business alliances.”

Unfortunately, far too many of Fiorina’s fellow candidates are far too comfortable with this corrupt system. Take Scott Walker, for example. His support for using $250 million of Wisconsin taxpayers’ money to build a new stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team is a quintessential example of crony capitalism. Among those who will benefit from the taxpayers’ largesse is real-estate mogul Jon Hammes, a partner in the investment group that owns the NBA franchise; Hammes has agreed to serve as the national finance co-chairman for the Walker campaign. Walker also flip-flopped on support for the Renewable Fuel Standard and ethanol subsidies, dropping his earlier opposition in order to buy support in Iowa.

Want another example? Marco Rubio backs subsidies, loans, and import protections for the sugar industry, which cost American taxpayers millions every year and consumers even more — as much as $3.5 billion per year through higher prices. Time and again, Rubio has voted against reforming the sugar …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Tariffs Key to Successfully Negotiating Trade Deals

August 12, 2015 in Economics

By Simon Lester

Simon Lester

As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks get bogged down in technical issues (such as the length of data protection for biologic medicines), and with another missed deadline last week putting completion of the negotiations in peril, people may wonder if trade liberalization has reached its limit. Are trade deals still possible these days?

In fact, trade liberalization is doing just fine. With the TPP, much of the delay results from the “global governance” approach that has evolved in recent years, under which international agreements bind governments to regulate in a wide range of policy areas. But we needn’t get bogged down in the travails of the TPP. There are other options for trade talks besides broad governance agreements.

As contentiousness and controversy swirl around the TPP, another trade deal is quietly being negotiated at the World Trade Organization: an agreement to eliminate tariffs on a wide range of information-technology goods. If the TPP fails, this deal could serve as a model for future trade liberalization.

If we could focus trade liberalization efforts on helping consumers through the elimination of import taxes, rather than adding new governance mandates at the request of interest groups, a lot of the opposition to trade agreements would melt away.”

The traditional global-governance route carries with it the burden of extensive rules on how much protection governments must offer for patents, copyright, trademarks, and other forms of intellectual property. There are also enforceable labor rules, based on International Labor Organization standards, that signatories must comply with, and there are requirements to enforce domestic and multilateral environmental laws and agreements.

All these rules were added to trade agreements by one interest group or another. In domestic legislation, whenever governments are acting, people try to add their issue to the agenda, and that has been the case for trade negotiations as well.

Eventually, though, granting an interest group its wishes leads to push-back from someone on the other side. Thus, strong intellectual property protection gave rise to criticism from liberal public health groups that support access to affordable medicine. And enforceable labor rights irritated those on the right who worry about sovereignty and think of trade deals as a path to world government. The reality is that adding so many issues to the mix has made trade deals very hard to negotiate.

Luckily, there is an alternative. At the WTO, more than 50 countries are in the midst of …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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GOP's Foreign Policy Goes from Bad to Ugly as Marco Rubio Pushes Intervention for Fun and Profit

August 12, 2015 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The Republican presidential race is heating up as 17 candidates seek attention and votes. But the GOP’s highly touted “adult” debate in Cleveland offered little on foreign policy.

The irrepressible Donald Trump may have made the most interesting comments elsewhere on the topic, challenging Washington’s defense of its rich allies in Asia and Europe. That subject didn’t come up in the debate, unfortunately.

Generally praised was the performance of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Alas, on foreign policy he sounds little different from anyone else, believing intervention and war to be the first resort for most any international problem.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is more bellicose and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is less respectful of civil liberties. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee more clearly take the “kill a foreigner for Jesus” position, mixing religious fervor with a foreign policy founded on war.

But Rubio seems distinctive in his willingness to sacrifice American lives, wealth, and prosperity and wreak death and destruction around the globe for most any reason. If you don’t think the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, drone campaigns in Pakistan and Yemen, and transnational fight against the Islamic State were enough over the last decade, Marco claims to be your man.

Rubio, like Christie and Jeb Bush, has delivered a signature talk on foreign policy. And, like them, he offered the usual neocon clichés, praising American greatness, promising “leadership” based on confrontation and conflict, and acting as if an angry glance from the U.S. president could bring the globe into line with Washington’s desires.

Rubio shares with Christie the delusion that the world has grown more dangerous. Warned Rubio: “Since the end of the Cold War, the threats facing America have changed, but the need for American Strength has not. It has only grown more pressing as the world has grown more interconnected.”

Actually, an oversize military has become much less necessary. The end of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact and demise of Maoist China obviously are far more important than the rise of the Islamic State. Rubio claimed that “Turmoil across the world can impact American families almost as much as turmoil across town.” Only if the U.S. allows it. Much of the globe always has been in conflict. During most of America’s history Washington simply avoided involvement in such tragedies.

That America today has broader interests does not mean that the interests are important, …read more

Source: OP-EDS