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Friday, June 21, 2013

Governmental Paralysis in Illinois: Behind the Underfunded Pension Crisis

Sometimes when a government’s fiscal matters get bad enough, dysfunction in the real power-relations at the highest level can suddenly become painfully obvious, or transparent, as when Toto pulls the curtain away to reveal the man behind the “all and powerful” Wizard of Oz. 

The complete essay is at Essays on Two Federal Empires.

Monday, June 17, 2013

European Federalism in E.U.-U.S. Trade Negotiations

When U.S. President Barak Obama and the E.U. Presidents José Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy announced that talks would begin on a free trade agreement between the E.U. and U.S., the hope was that a sweeping deal would “largely eliminate trade tariffs and harmonize regulations across a broad range of industries” in “the world’s biggest two-way economic relationship.” [1] That E.U. ministers meeting days earlier had decided to protect the “cultural exception” to international trade rules “for the sake of preserving” the distinctive cultures of the E.U. states was cause for concern, should the U.S. seek to exempt the financial sector in exchange. [2] France had long been concerned that the English-speaking California film industry would swamp smaller French studios to the detriment of the French language and culture. Even though exceptions threatening a broader trade deal are indeed protectionist, in this case European federalism is also at issue. This factor could legitimate the exemption such that a countering U.S. exemption would not be equivalent and thus justified.

The complete essay is at Essays on Two Federal Empires, available at Amazon.
1. Matthew Dalton, “EU Deal Paves Way for US Trade Talks,” The Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2013.
2. Ibid.