May 18th, 2017 at 12:35 pm
CFIF Applauds FCC Vote to Advance NPRM to Restore Internet Freedom
Posted by CFIF Staff Print
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, the Federal Communications Commission (”FCC”) voted to advance a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the “Restoring Internet Freedom” proposal championed by Chairman Ajit Pai and Commisser Mike O’Reilly that would return federal internet regulatory policy to the light-touch approach that prevailed from the 1990s onward, until the Obama Administration FCC moved to reclassify the internet as a “public utility” in 2015.

In response, Center for Individual Freedom (”CFIF”) Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs Timothy Lee issued the following statement:

“Beginning in the 1990s, the internet flourished and transformed our world like no innovation in history for a simple reason:  Administrations of both political parties over two decades, beginning with Clinton/Gore, wisely chose a ‘light touch’ regulatory approach to the internet.

“Then in 2015, the Obama Administration FCC suddenly and radically reversed two decades of bipartisan consensus by moving to reclassify internet service as a ‘public utility’ under laws enacted in 1934 to regulate old-fashioned copper-wire telephone service.

There was no justification for that sudden reversal, and it was not based upon evidence, law or logic.  The internet obviously wasn’t ‘broken’ or in need of heavy-handed federal regulatory ‘fix.’  It was merely a scheme to extend government control over yet another sector of our economy.

“Nor was reclassifying the internet as a ‘public utility’ something the American public supports.  A recent Morning Consult survey confirms that an overwhelming and bipartisan 78% of voters prefer little or no government regulation of the internet, with only 12% favoring a heavy-handed regulatory approach.  A broad 51% to 33% majority believes that the internet shouldn’t be regulated as a public utility, and a two-to-one majority agrees that regulating the internet as a utility slows innovation and decreases private tech investment.

“Unfortunately, the Obama Administration FCC’s decision to reclassify the internet as some sort of Depression-era ‘public utility’ had immediate negative consequences, confirming the public’s expectation.  Domestic broadband capital expenditures declined by 5.6%, or some $3.6 billion, which marked the first time that such investment declined outside of a recession during the internet era.  That applied to both large and small internet service providers.

“Proponents of heavy-handed internet regulation continue to employ irrational scare tactics and hyperbole in their effort to regulate the internet more heavily, but their claims are contradicted by straightforward history and logic.  All reasonable people agree that the internet should remain free and open, which was how the internet operated for two decades across administrations of both parties under the light-touch regulatory approach.

“Accordingly, today’s FCC vote simply advances the ball to restore the bipartisan, light-touch regulatory consensus that existed for more than two decades.  This is precisely the sort of common sense that is badly needed in Washington, and CFIF applauds FCC Chairman Pai and Commissioner O’Rielly for moving to restore the regulatory wisdom that the American public overwhelmingly prefers.”

###


May 17th, 2017 at 11:41 am
Former FCC Commissioner: “The FCC Gets Set to Free Wireless”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In today’s Wall Street Journal, former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Robert McDowell offers a timely and instructive commentary entitled “The FCC Gets Set to Free Wireless,” in which he explains the important work by new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai:

The Federal Communications Commission this month is launching initiatives that will shape the fate of America’s wireless industry.  Last week it started to examine competition in the market, and this week it will propose taking Depression-era utility regulations off mobile broadband while protecting an open internet.  This is only the beginning.  The FCC is acting on a rare opportunity to correct its recent mistakes and restore the Clinton-era light-touch regulatory framework that will drive economic growth and job creation.”

As we at CFIF have detailed, the internet flourished over two decades like no other innovation in human history, precisely because of the light-touch regulatory approach started under Clinton as McDowell notes, and continued through the Bush Administration.  But in 2015, Obama’s FCC under former Chairman Tom Wheeler decided to “fix” an internet that wasn’t broken by regulating it as a “public service” under the 1930s copper-wire telephone laws that McDowell references.  As Chairman Pai recently noted, domestic broadband capital expenditures fell for the first time ever outside of a recession.

McDowell notes how the mobile industry experienced “an explosion of entrepreneurial brilliance,” incredible innovation in just a few short years, massive investment, falling consumer prices (25% in the past decade) and arrival of the app economy.  Importantly, he highlights that, “Three quarters of the companies in the global app economy are American.”  Unfortunately, the Obama FCC’s rush to commandeer yet another sector of the U.S. economy imposed an unnecessary threat to that innovation:

Yet since 2009, the FCC has ignored its own studies and refused to determine that the market is competitive. That would have contradicted the rationale for its regulation binge, but new political and market realities make a fresh start possible.”

Fortunately, new leadership under Chairman Pai offers the opportunity to correct that mistake before the harm intensifies:

The FCC should begin by liberating wireless from the heavy-handed rules of a 1934 law called Title II, which was created when phones were held in two hands.  This antiquated law imposes powerful economic regulations on the internet, chilling investment in broadband.  On Thursday the FCC will propose to unshackle the net from this millstone of a law.  This would restore the bipartisan light-touch policies that nurtured the burgeoning internet Americans enjoy today.”

It’s unfortunate that a federal bureaucracy decided in its wisdom that regulating the thriving internet as a “public utility” under a 1934 law was a good idea in the first instance.  But as McDowell cheerfully notes, the opportunity to prevent further harm and restore the innovation and investment that characterized internet service for over two decades is here.  For that we should thank Chairman Pai and support his common-sense restoration of regulatory sanity at the FCC.


May 12th, 2017 at 1:02 pm
Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Favor FCC Chairman Pai’s “Light Touch” Internet Regulatory Approach
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Activists advocating heavy-handed internet regulation of the type pushed by the Obama-era Federal Communications Commission (FCC) pretend that they’re the ones crusading on behalf of everyday consumers.  The reality is that the internet flourished as no innovation in human history precisely because both the Clinton Administration and Bush Administration maintained a “light touch” regulatory stance from the FCC.

But then in 2015, the Obama Administration decided that it must “fix” an internet that wasn’t broken, through a narrow party-line FCC vote to regulate internet service as a “public utility” under 1930s laws enacted for copper-wire telephones.

The result:  internet infrastructure investment fell for the first time ever outside of an economic recession.

Fortunately, new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is restoring common sense by returning internet regulation to the “light touch” approach that worked for two decades and under Clinton and Bush.

Now there’s more good news, highlighted by the good folks over at the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI).  According to a new Morning Consult survey, Americans overwhelmingly favor a light-touch FCC regulatory approach toward internet service:

-  By an overwhelming 78% to 12% margin, voters support the government having little or no regulation of the internet, with 53% supporting a ‘light touch’ and 25% asserting that the government should not regulate the internet at all.

-  By an 18-point margin (51% versus 33%), voters say the internet should not be regulated as a public utility.

-  By a two-to-one margin, voters believe regulating the internet as a utility would slow innovation and decrease private tech investment.

-  Support for light-touch regulation is bipartisan, including 55% of Democrats, 52% of Republicans, and 52% of Independents.  Perhaps surprisingly, 21% of Democrats favor NO government regulation of the internet, along with 27% of Republicans and 26% of Independents.”

Chairman Pai is demonstrating admirable courage and leadership in restoring regulatory sanity at the FCC, and it’s always encouraging to confirm that the American electorate agrees with him.


May 10th, 2017 at 2:36 pm
Senate Confirms Trump Nominee and Drug Importation Skeptic Gottlieb as FDA Chief
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Yesterday brought good news in the form of Senate confirmation of Trump nominee Scott Gottlieb as Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.  In addition to favoring quicker pharmaceutical review and approval, as well as “free-market strategies to bring down drug costs,” The Wall Street Journal notes that Gottlieb brings a healthy skepticism of the ill-advised and potentially dangerous proposal to import drugs from Canada and other countries:

He has also questioned the wisdom of allowing U.S. consumers to import brand-name drugs from countries like Canada, where they cost less, in part because of safety concerns.”

Mr. Gottlieb’s view accords with the opinion of all four of the most recent FDC commissioners, who warned in a recent letter to Congress that suddenly allowing drug importation from Canada or other unsecure countries “is a risky approach that would endanger consumers by exposing them to fake, substandard and contaminated drugs”:

[G]lobal experience confirms that illicit, ineffective, or adulterated products are readily available on the open market and represent one of the most lucrative avenues of organized crime…  Obtaining sufficient resources and expertise to screen and verify the authenticity of every product destined for American consumers presents enormous challenges.”

That also accords with the view of former federal judge and Clinton and Bush FBI Director Louis Freeh, writing in The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Allowing citizens to purchase medicine direct from foreign countries will mean more risk to consumers from counterfeit drugs, more opportunity for criminal activity in the marketplace, and more stresses placed on overstressed law enforcement efforts to combat this problem.  The belief that U.S. consumers can gain access to safe and low-cost medicines from Canadian and European drug markets without an offsetting cost to consumer confidence and law enforcement is not realistic.  Quite the contrary, drug counterfeiting is a global threat that we’re inviting upon ourselves if Congress allows this idea to move forward.”

Drug importation is a deceptive and dangerous idea, particularly in a period of increasing opioid addiction across the country, and Congress shouldn’t make the country more perilous by pushing it.


May 8th, 2017 at 4:01 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Lineup
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CDT to 6:00 p.m. CDT (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn: Meeting Nonsense with Commonsense.” Today’s guest lineup includes:

4:00 CDT/5:00 pm EDT:  Evan Swarztrauber, Director of Public Affairs at TechFreedom – Net Neutrality;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT:  Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment – President Trump’s 100 Days of Regulatory Reform;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Ryan Young, Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute – Jobs Report;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  William Conti, Political Analyst and Partner at Baker & Hostetler – Talking Heads, Healthcare Reform, and the Trump Presidency at 100 Days;

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs – Puerto Rico and Trump’s Tax Proposal;  and

5:45 CDT/6:45 EDT:  Harvey Silvergate, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education – Wall Street Journal commentary “Trump and Congress Can Help Restore Campus Free Speech.”

Listen live on the Internet here. Call in to share your comments or ask questions of today’s guests at (850) 623-1330.


May 8th, 2017 at 2:31 pm
New Poll: Americans Supportive of Trump Tax Proposals
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

As we move forward on President Trump’s tax reform proposal, which we highlighted in our latest Liberty Update, there’s encouraging news to report.  According to Rasmussen Reports, Americans are so far supportive.

By a 46% to 32% margin, Americans support Trump’s proposal to repeal the unfair “death tax,” and by a 48% to 30% margin agree that tax cuts help the economy.  Voters are also receptive to the plan “to eliminate most income tax deductions in exchange for a higher standard deduction,” which will simplify the code and benefit Americans in the lower filing brackets.

So there’s popular momentum, and now it’s up to Congress to finally get this done.


May 4th, 2017 at 12:09 pm
Melloan: High U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Has Undermined Our Economic Dominance
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

This week, we highlight how Donald Trump’s new tax outline offers a remarkably excellent framework for reigniting our economy, increasing prosperity for all Americans and making the U.S. more globally competitive.

Among other things, we note how the U.S. continues to suffer the industrialized world’s highest corporate tax rate, which Trump proposes to slash from 35% to 15%, better than the developed world average of about 25%.  In The Wall Street Journal, former deputy editor and global affairs expert George Melloan observes how our unsustainably high corporate rate has slowly eroded America’s former economic dominance:

.

The slow economic growth in the U.S. over the past decade has resulted not from what the world has done to America but what America has done to itself, according to a Council on Foreign Relations study “How America Stacks Up.”  It says that the U.S. ‘depends far more on the global economy than it did two decades ago, and international trade and foreign investment are increasingly vital to the U.S.’  It also finds that while the U.S. national economy remains by far the world’s dominant one, it has grown less so over that period.

One big reason is that ‘though the United States once had among the lowest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world it now has the highest.’  As the study confirms and Republican  tax reformers in Congress understand, those high rates are not big revenue producers because multinationals choose not to bring home their overseas earnings for the IRS to grab.”

.

This captures again how critical it is that we finally achieve major tax reform for the first time since Ronald Reagan’s presidency, and stop the slow erosion of economic superiority that our crippling corporate tax code has caused.


May 2nd, 2017 at 9:30 am
1st Amendment Nightmare: Overturning Citizens United “Would Permit the Banning of Political Pamphlets by the Federal Government”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In one of our latest Liberty Update commentaries, we note how leftists believe in 1st Amendment free speech rights for powerful mainstream media organizations, but not for everyday citizens like the plaintiffs in Citizens United, who need protection most of all.  A timely new book entitled “The Soul of the First Amendment” by eminent constitutional lawyer (he worked on both the Pentagon Papers case and Citizens United) Floyd Abrams surveys the history of 1st Amendment disputes, and dismantles government attempts to limit free speech.

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal book review praises Mr. Abrams’s effort, and highlights one moment from oral argument over Citizens United before the Supreme Court, when then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan openly admitted that a ruling against the plaintiffs in that case would’ve allowed the federal government to prohibit political pamphlets:

His legal defense of the New York Times over its decision to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971 made him a hero to the left.  Four decades later, he earned enmity from former comrades by appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010’s Citizens United case, which urged the court to affirm the right of corporations to spend money on political campaigns.  In the end, the court did – and Mr. Abrams found himself aligned with the political right.  He was particularly chilled by a statement made by Elena Kagan, then President Obama’s solicitor general and now one of the Supreme Court’s more liberal justices who, during oral argument, acknowledged that her constitutional theory would permit the banning of political pamphlets by the federal government.  Indeed, the more you may revile Citizens United (or think you do), the more essential it is to read Mr. Abrams’s principled defense of that decision and how to learn how he was persuaded to change his mind about the fundamental liberty inherent in campaign spending.”

In other words, opponents of the Citizens United decision would accept restrictions that could’ve banned The Federalist Papers or Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.  The implications of that should terrify and motivate Americans who believe in the freedom of speech for everyday citizens.


April 27th, 2017 at 3:01 pm
Image of the Day: Americans Pay More On Taxes Than Food, Housing & Clothing Combined
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Today’s eye-opening Image of the Day, courtesy of the Tax Foundation:

Americans Tax Burden

Americans' Tax Burden


April 26th, 2017 at 10:20 am
Celebrating World Intellectual Property Day!
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Happy World Intellectual Property Day!

It’s no secret that private property rights constitute a natural human right, as well as the foundation for prosperity and innovation across time and geography.  And among the forms of private property, it’s important to recognize that intellectual property (IP) constitutes a core component.

For proof, look no further than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual International IP Index, which year after year confirms the cause-and-effect relationship between IP protections and prosperity:

The most up-to-date data on the benefits of IP protection reveals that IP is, in fact, a critical instrument for countries seeking to enhance access to innovation, grow domestic innovative output, and enjoy the dynamic growth benefits of an innovative economy.  Conversely, weak IP protection stymies long-term strategic aspirations for innovation and development.

Taken together, the 21 correlations included in this Index present a clear picture:  IP protection goes hand-in-hand with the aspirations topping government agendas around the world.  As Table 1 suggests, a robust national IP environment correlates strongly (having a strength of 0.6 or above) with a wide range of macroeconomic indicators that fall under the umbrella of innovation and creativity – the very same indicators that are found in national strategies for development of many economies today.  This message has only become stronger over the past 3 editions of the Index.  Adding several new variables each year and expanding the sample size by 50% (from 30 to 45 economies), the strength of the relationship between IP rights and crucial economic activities has grown.”

And nowhere is that relationship more obvious than in the United States.  Our Founding Fathers believed so strongly in IP rights as a natural right and a foundation for prosperity that they specifically protected them in the text of the Constitution.  And since that time, America’s world-leading tradition of IP protection has made us the most inventive, creative and prosperous nation in human history, without any proximate rival in that regard.

In an increasingly globalized economy, it’s important that we celebrate IP and ensure that more of the world protect it in the way that America has.  So join CFIF in celebrating World IP Day today!


April 26th, 2017 at 10:18 am
Nat’l Free-Market Orgs Urge Missouri Governor to Champion Public Sector Union Reforms
Posted by CFIF Staff Print
Today, a broad coalition made up of nearly two dozen of the nation’s largest and most influential free-market organizations, led by the Center for Individual Freedom (”CFIF”), sent a letter to Governor Eric Greitens congratulating him on Missouri becoming the 28th state to enact right-to-work legislation and urging him to go further by championing reforms to hold public sector unions accountable to their members and Missouri’s taxpayers at large.

The coalition of organizations pointed to the successful public sector union reforms championed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in 2011 and urged that, “Missouri has a real opportunity in 2017 to join Wisconsin in leading government union reform.”

Specifically, the organizations noted that “House Bill 251, a comprehensive government union reform package containing paycheck protection, regular recertification elections, union transparency requirements and prohibitions on union release time, is currently in the Senate and awaits final votes from both chambers” of the Missouri legislature.  The letter goes on to state, “As the legislative session quickly comes to a close, we urge you to help Missouri become the next state to see government union reform become a reality.”

“The reforms in House Bill 251 not only protect the rights of workers, but also bring immediate, demonstrable benefits to states enacting them, as Wisconsin’s recent example proves so vividly,” said Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs.

“With Governor Greitens’ leadership, House Bill 251 provides a real opportunity for Missouri to become a model for the rest of the nation in terms of holding government unions accountable to their members and taxpayers,” CFIF President Jeffrey Mazzella said. “We urge Governor Greitens to lead the way on this important issue.”

In addition to CFIF, the organizations making up the coalition include: American City County Exchange, American Commitment, American Conservative Union, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC Action, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Center for Worker Freedom, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Frontiers of Freedom, Institute for Liberty, Institute for Policy Innovation, Jeffersonian Project, Less Government, Missouri Club for Growth, National Taxpayers Union, 60 Plus Association, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Taxpayers Protection Alliance and The Market Institute.

Read the letter here.


April 24th, 2017 at 1:38 pm
Tax Reform: Allow Choice Between Immediate Expensing and Interest Deductibility
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Last November, Americans delivered a clear and important message to Washington, D.C.:  Create more American jobs and increase investment in America’s aging infrastructure.

While roads, bridges and other public works projects are obviously important, President Trump has wisely recognized that a successful infrastructure policy must also include steps to stimulate private-sector infrastructure investment and job creation.  Accordingly, as President Trump and Congress take steps to modify and reform the tax code, it is important that any changes being considered not undermine these private infrastructure initiatives.

Specifically, many American businesses currently rely on debt to fund infrastructure investments and create new jobs.  Companies of all sizes in a variety of industries, including energy, internet broadband, telecommunications, manufacturing, transportation, retail and agriculture, routinely use debt to fund new technologies, build out and maintain infrastructure and hire and train American workers.  Like other business expenses, interest paid on debt is an ordinary and necessary cost of doing business and has been tax deductible for over 100 years.

Unfortunately, some tax reform proposals seek to eliminate interest deductibility for businesses in favor of 100 percent expensing — allowing businesses to deduct the full value of capital expenditures in one year rather then spread out over many years.

Eliminating interest deductibility could immediately hinder many businesses’ ability to borrow, thereby impeding infrastructure improvement and expansion, as well as job growth.  Small businesses, which create two out of three American private sector jobs and rely on debt financing, would be particularly hurt by any tax plan that eliminates interest deductibility, because they possess limited or no access to equity capital.  Similarly, large businesses would need to delay investment to account for a larger tax liability over time.

While 100 percent expensing is a good idea that would help spark economic growth, one idea doesn’t need to be sacrificed in favor of the other.  President Trump’s campaign tax proposal offered a wise compromise alternative.

Under his plan, businesses could chose either immediate expensing or interest deductibility, depending upon their particular needs.  That would support economic investment and job growth by giving companies at least the choice between interest deductibility and 100 percent expensing.  The Tax Foundation has determined that allowing companies to choose between the two options would contribute approximately $120 billion to our economy over ten years.

Going back to the infrastructure issue referenced above, electability between the two options also supports the President’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which relies on public-private partnerships, and Congressional leaders’ similar proposals, which include anticipated leverage ratios of up to five-to-one.  Limiting interest deductibility could undermine those plans.

Perhaps most importantly, allowing companies themselves to choose between the two options facilitates passage of tax reform because proponents of either option need not be foes in the process.


April 24th, 2017 at 12:12 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Lineup
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CDT to 6:00 p.m. CDT (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn: Meeting Nonsense with Commonsense.” Today’s guest lineup includes:

4:00 CDT/5:00 pm EDT:  Bradley Smith, Chairman and Founder of Center for Competitive Politics – Victories for Free Speech Rights;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT:  Frederick M. Hess, Education Policy Analyst and Author – “Letters to a Young Education Reformer”;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Catherine Engelbrecht, Founder of True the Vote;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT:  Trey Kovacs, Policy Analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute – Taxpayer Subsidies to Government Unions;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Sally Pipes, President, CEO and Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Health Care Policy at the Pacific Research Institute – ObamaCare and Scrapping the Subsidies; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Christina Doss, Managing Director, Saltmarsh Financial Advisors, LLC – Women and Investing – Closing the Gender Gap.

Listen live on the Internet here. Call in to share your comments or ask questions of today’s guests at (850) 623-1330.


April 21st, 2017 at 1:23 pm
Podcast: Will Congress Roll the Dice to Prohibit Internet Gambling?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President for Legal and Public Affairs, discusses the 1951 federal Wire Act, internet sports betting and the history of state regulation of gambling across the country.

Listen to the interview here.


April 17th, 2017 at 1:37 pm
Image of the Day: How Your Federal Tax Dollars Are Now Spent
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Today’s image of the day, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, how $100 of your federal taxes are now allocated by the government:

.

Federal Spending Allocation

Federal Spending Allocation

.

For perspective (see image below), that means that military spending has declined an alarming 22.3% since just 2011.  In contrast, since 2011 Social Security spending is up 17%, Medicare is up 15.1%, Medicaid is up 25.4%, civilian federal retirement is up 11.3%, education is up 5.3% and interest payments are up 1.8%.  Something to consider as important budget and spending battles heat up…

.

2011 Comparison

2011 Comparison


April 13th, 2017 at 2:21 pm
So Google Favors Intellectual Property After All… Its Own, Anyway
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

So it appears that Google isn’t so opposed to intellectual property (IP) rights after all.  As long as it comes to its own, that is.

That’s the upshot of a high-profile federal lawsuit in which Google subsidiary Waymo accuses Uber of stealing its patents and trade secrets:

Waymo LLC, the self-driving car unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., asked a federal court on Friday to halt Uber Technologies Inc.’s efforts to develop autonomous vehicles allegedly based on stolen design secrets.  The request was made to the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, following a suit filed last month accusing Anthony Levandowski, a former key manager in the Google self-driving car project, of taking 14,000 files before quitting last year to create a self-driving truck maker.  That startup, called Otto, was quickly acquired by Uber last year…

Waymo also filed an expert witness statement to the court from a laser-optics physicist who said he believes Uber’s laser-sensor technology uses Waymo’s trade secrets and infringes on its patents.  Waymo also added a fourth patent to its infringement claims in an amended suit on Friday.”

We take no position on the merits of the case, and maintain no particular grudge against Google as a company.  But its leading role in undermining IP rights in the United States, which made us the most inventive, artistically innovative and prosperous nation in human history, makes its current pleas a bit ironic, to put it mildly.

For years, we’ve been alerting readers to the endless, destructive litany of ways in which Google has undermined IP and public policy for its own benefit:

Here’s the irony.  Google somehow manages to arouse righteous legions of supposed anti-corporatist activists on its behalf (think sunshine anarchists and libertarians of convenience).  Yet Google itself exercises more self-serving, crony capitalist throw weight than any counterpart entity.

For example, consider so-called ‘Net Neutrality,’ with which conservatives and true libertarians are now familiar, that would suddenly empower the federal government to micromanage Internet service.  Google stands to gain enormous free-rider benefits, which explains why it is the chief corporate proponent of that proposed regulatory expansion.

Or think of Google Books, which posts the text of books that Google has gone ahead and scanned for viewing on its site.  Who cares if Google hasn’t first obtained permission from the actual authors and creators, right?  Google counts on the sheer cost and hassle of litigation to discourage individual creators against putting up a legal fight to protect their rights.

How does that square with ‘Don’t Be Evil?’

Or how about this?  Last August, Google voluntarily agreed to a $500 million fine for assisting Canadian online pharmaceutical sellers in accessing American consumers.  That amount is an entire Solyndra, and one of the largest forfeiture penalties in U.S. history.  Google fully admitted that it, ‘improperly assisted Canadian online pharmacy advertisers to run advertisements that targeted the United States,’ and prosecutors added that Google, ‘was fully aware as early as 2003 that generally it was illegal for pharmacies to ship controlled and non-controlled prescription drugs into the United States from Canada.’

But once again, it’s not Google’s health or property at stake, so who cares?”

More recently, Google has used its enormous influence within the Obama Administration to push the Obama Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) destructive cable set-top box proposal, which would have compromised consumer privacy, as well as the Obama FCC’s “privacy” regulation of 2016, which Congress just rightfully rescinded.

Intellectual property rights were so important to our Founding Fathers that they specifically safeguarded them in the text of the Constitution.  Since that time, IP rights have provided the “secret sauce” by which we’ve achieved such incomparable technological, artistic and influential supremacy.

Regardless of the merits of the Google’s litigation against Uber, it has every right to safeguard its own IP rights.  It would be nice if it finally dawned on them that they don’t wear hypocrisy well, however, and that they should stop undermining the same protections for others.


April 11th, 2017 at 8:06 pm
BOOM: U.S. Job Creation Index Notches Third Consecutive Record
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

So while Donald Trump enforced Barack Obama’s chemical weapon “red line” abroad, Gallup brings news today that things continue to hum with the Trump employment bump here at home:

The Gallup Job Creation Index rose to +37 in March from +35 in February.  This is the third month in a row the index has hit a new record high after remaining relatively flat for much of 2016.  Since the start of the year, the index has already increased by four points — the same increase seen throughout all of 2016.”

Obama blamestormed Bush for eight years while the U.S. economy and employment conditions stagnated, but as Syrian dictator Bashad al-Assad learned this week, there’s a new sheriff in town and he appears to be achieving quick results.

Trump Job Creation Boom

Trump Job Creation Boom


April 10th, 2017 at 12:32 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Lineup
Posted by CFIF Staff Print
Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CDT to 6:00 p.m. CDT (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn: Meeting Nonsense with Commonsense.” Today’s guest lineup includes:

4:00 CDT/5:00 pm EDT: Megan Brown, Partner at Wiley Rein, LLP: Associate Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and His Confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT: Tzvi Kahn: Senior Iran Analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies: Increased Sanctions on Iran and Foreign Policy;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Senator Doug Broxson, Florida Senate: 2017 Legislative Session;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT: Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow, Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation: North Korea and Trump-Xi Summit;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: William J. Conti, Partner at Baker & Hostetler: Syria, President Trump’s Approval Ratings, and Politics and Music; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs: Internet Gambling and On-Line Privacy Laws.

Listen live on the Internet here. Call in to share your comments or ask questions of today’s guests at (850) 623-1330.


April 6th, 2017 at 10:21 am
Ramirez Cartoon: A Message from James Madison to Senate Democrats
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.


March 31st, 2017 at 9:55 am
The Judicial Confirmation Circus
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Carrie Severino, Chief Counsel and Policy Director of the Judicial Crisis Network, discusses what may happen next with respect to Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court and the predictable political posturing of Senate Democrats.

Listen to the interview here.