August 13th, 2018 at 3:58 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Show 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: Thomas Jipping, Deputy Director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and Senior Legal Fellow: What Kind of Justice Will Judge Brett Kavanaugh Be?;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT: John Shu, Attorney and Legal Commentator: The Senate’s Unprecedented Obstruction;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Tim Wyrosdick, Santa Rosa County School District Superintendent: Start of a New School Year;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT: Matthew Hennessey, Associate Editorial Features Editor at The Wall Street Journal: “Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millenials”;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: Sally C. Pipes, President and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute: Single Payer;

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: Pete Sepp, National Taxpayers Union President: Republican Tax Reform 2.0; and

5:45 CDT/6:45 pm EDT: Ryan Mauro, Clarion Project’s Shillman Fellow and National Security Analyst: Radical Compound Found in New Mexico.

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


August 9th, 2018 at 12:09 pm
Image of the Day: Wrong, Socialist – the Upper Middle Class Has Grown, Not Disappeared
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Courtesy of James Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute, a splendid visual refutation of budding socialist superstar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic candidate for Congress in New York, who recently and bizarrely said that the “upper middle class doesn’t exist anymore in America.”  Well:

Sorry, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez:  Upper Middle Class Growing, Not Shrinking

Sorry, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez: Upper Middle Class Growing, Not Shrinking


August 6th, 2018 at 3:41 pm
Image of the Day: Private Investment Skyrocketing Following November 2016 Election, Tax Cuts
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

A helpful image of the day, comparing private investment during the final two years of the Obama Administration to the immediate aftermath of the November 2016 election, and even more the tax cuts enacted one year later:

Cut Taxes, Watch Investment Skyrocket

August 2nd, 2018 at 12:48 pm
Even Leftist Economist and Clinton Administration Adviser Admits Need to Index Capital Gains Taxes for Inflation
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

The Trump Administration is contemplating a move to improve the way the federal government taxes capital gains by indexing rates for inflation, which amounts to a de facto tax cut.

It’s a no-brainer in terms of fairness and efficiency, as illustrated by the fact that even leftist economist and former Clinton Administration adviser Alan Blinder acknowledges the need for it today in The Wall Street Journal:

Why index gains?  Suppose you own a stock for many years, during which time overall prices have doubled because of inflation.  Over the holding period, the value of your stock has also doubled.  When you sell, the proceeds have precisely the same purchasing power as the original purchase.   There’s no gain, no loss.  But under current tax law, you owe taxes on the phantom ‘gain.’   Worse, if your stock went up by less than the cumulative inflation, you’ll still get taxed despite your loss.  This is unfair and dysfunctional.”

We’ll admit that it’s amusing to see a man who played the role of cheerleader for Barack Obama, who openly circumvented the Constitution and legislative process using his “pen and phone” to enact policy, demand that Trump refrain from making the change and instead allow Congress to act.  Nevertheless, we’ll gladly celebrate his support for the underlying need for change.


July 30th, 2018 at 1:04 pm
Image of the Day: Inexplicable Economic Surge in 2017 and 2018
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Inexplicably, U.S. economic growth has surged in the first and second quarters of both 2017 and 2018 after a deregulatory and tax-cutting presidential administration replaced a hyper-regulatory and tax-raising one:

Inexplicable Economic Bump

Inexplicable Economic Bump


July 24th, 2018 at 11:57 am
Image of the Day: Manufacturing Ascends to Record High Output
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

From our friends at American Enterprise Institute, predictions from people like Barack Obama on the U.S. manufacturing sector’s demise were greatly exaggerated.  As one can see from the image below, the sharp upward trajectory since Donald Trump’s election has taken American manufacturing output to a record high:

U.S. Manufacturing Reaches New High

U.S. Manufacturing Reaches New High


July 23rd, 2018 at 3:48 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Show 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: Rachel del Guidice, Reporter for The Daily Signal: Trump/Putin and Haley/UN;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT: Cleta Mitchell, Parker and Political Law Attorney at Foley & Lardner: IRS and Schedule B Disclosure;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment: Soda Tax;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT: Bryan Riley, Director of National Taxpayer’s Union’s Free Trade Initiative: Tariffs and NAFTA;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: Roslyn Layton, Visiting Scholar with American Enterprise Institute: Net Neutrality, CRA and Privacy Concerns; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: William J. Conti, Partner with Baker & Hostetler: Judge Kavanaugh and Midterm Elections.

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


July 18th, 2018 at 2:18 pm
Image of the Day: Trump Destroying the Planet, Cont’d
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

From withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord to his administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Trump is obviously destroying the planet:

Trump Is Destroying the Planet

Trump Is Destroying the Planet


July 17th, 2018 at 11:28 am
CFIF Praises IRS Decision to Eliminate “Schedule B” Donor Information Filing Requirement
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

ALEXANDRIA, VA – In welcome news, the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (”IRS”) announced yesterday evening that the IRS will finally cease requiring certain nonprofit organizations to file “Schedule B” forms that list sensitive personal information like the names, addresses and other identifying information about private citizens who donate to those organizations.

In response, Center for Individual Freedom (”CFIF”) President Jeffrey Mazzella issued the following statement:

“As many Americans are all too aware, recent years have witnessed an increase in assaults against our First Amendment freedoms of speech and association.  In some cases, the IRS has collected and leaked private information on contributors to 501(c) nonprofit organizations contained in mandatory Schedule B forms that by law were to remain confidential.  And across America, hyper-partisan government state-level officials have demanded Schedule B forms and confidential donor information contained therein as part of their campaign to harass organizations and donors with whom they disagree politically.

“With this announcement, the IRS and Treasury are acting on the acknowledgment that Schedule B information is irrelevant to its handling of tax filings, and serves no substantive purpose. In this era of persecution of private citizens for their political beliefs, together with the IRS’s admission that it can’t guarantee the confidentiality of the information contained on the Schedule B, this decision is welcome news.

“We at CFIF applaud the Trump Administration Treasury Department and IRS for their leadership and doing the right thing by eliminating the Schedule B form filing requirement for many nonprofit 501(c) organizations.”

CFIF has spearheaded the broad conservative and libertarian coalition to eliminate the Schedule B from filing requirement, including, among other efforts, coordinating a letter to President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier this year signed by more than 60 influential organizations and individuals urging executive action to accomplish that end.

###


July 13th, 2018 at 9:37 am
The Price and Importance of Innovation
Posted by Jeff Mazzella Print

America’s pharmaceutical innovators lead the world, saving and improving people’s lives on a daily basis.  But relentless efforts to move toward a single-payer system and impose destructive price controls threaten our continuing progress.

Drug maker Biogen recently announced exciting results of a clinical trial for a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Yet, despite the promise that this could be a breakthrough that gets us closer to a cure, the medical community and families with loved ones suffering from the disease are holding their collective breath.

Why? Because we’ve been down this road before.

Alzheimer’s is one of the most complex and pernicious medical conditions that we face, with no known cure and an immense emotional and economic toll. Worse, the rate of diagnosis is increasing and estimates suggest the cost of the disease has already surpassed $259 billion.  According to one Alzheimer’s Association spokesperson, it will “bankrupt Medicare.” By 2050, the cost of care for Alzheimer’s patients could exceed $1 trillion annually.

That is a crisis medical professionals are rushing to solve, but progress has been slow. An estimated 99.6 percent of Alzheimer’s drug “candidates” (i.e. experimental drugs designed to treat Alzheimer’s) fail.

In 2018 alone, high profile failures in Phase 3 clinical trials from drug makers like Eli Lilly and Merck represent decades of work and hundreds of millions of dollars in research yielding little to no results. Even Biogen’s announcement, as promising as it is, has only a 50 percent chance of gaining FDA approval, according to analysts.

The issue of high drug prices is real, but too often the public doesn’t understand the immense risk – and cost pharmaceutical companies take on to research and develop new treatments for devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s. While everyone hopes Biogen’s new drug is a success, many drugs – including many recent potential treatments for Alzheimer’s – never make it through the clinical trials to market. What’s worse, the lack of transparency in our health care payment system drives costs up even further.

Drug makers invest hundreds of millions of dollars and more into developing new treatments and cures, with no guarantees their research and development will yield results.  That risk must be protected to ensure the continued motivation to strive for better treatments and new cures.

Efforts to cap prices and leverage government buying power via a single-payer system threaten to curtail research and delay or eliminate future cures. It’s a gamble that the United States cannot make, both for our own health and for future generations.


July 12th, 2018 at 9:37 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Left’s Meltdown
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.


July 9th, 2018 at 5:06 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:  Alex Brill, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute – Unemployment Rate Data:

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT:  John Malcolm, Vice President, Institute for Constitutional Government, Director of the Meese Center for Legal & Judicial Studies and Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation – A Look at Potential SCOTUS Nominees;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies and Editor-in-Chief, Cato Supreme Court Review – Justice Kennedy’s Legacy and the Harvard Admissions Case;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT:  Gayle Trotter, Attorney and Spokeswoman for Judicial Crisis Network – #AnotherGreatJustice and the Confirmation Process;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs – The Janus Decision; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Travis Smith, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Concordia University - Superhero Ethics.

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


July 6th, 2018 at 1:17 pm
Latest Jobs Report: 600,000 Americans Come Off the Sidelines and Get In the Game
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Today brought yet another impressive U.S. employment report from the Labor Department, with an unexpectedly high 213,000 new jobs added in the month of June (versus the expected 195,000).

But the report includes a particularly impressive number after nearly a decade of people just giving up on working during the Obama era malaise.  Over 600,000 Americans decided that the market is so hot that they got off the sidelines and entered the game:

The increase in the unemployment rate came due to a rise in the labor force participation rate, which increased 0.2 percentage points to 62.9 percent as 601,000 people came off the sidelines and re-entered the labor force.”

Continuing the sports analogy, The Wall Street Journal notes that what we’re witnessing is a different kind of ballgame under the Trump Administration than the unprecedented economic sluggishness that characterized the Obama “expansion”:

Steady hiring and low unemployment shows the labor market continues to be an area of strength for the economy since the recession ended nine years ago.  What might be different now is that other aspects appear to be picking up steam.  Some economists project economic output rose at better than 4% annually in the second quarter for the first time since 2014.

Rising consumer spending, manufacturing output and exports are expected to have contributed to the gain, set to be officially reported later this month.  If sustained, that would be a turn from much of the expansion in which hiring has been consistent, but growth has been sluggish, holding near a 2% annual rate.  One explanation is wages.  Even though Americans were finding jobs, scant raises left them with little room in their budgets to step up spending.”

It’s amazing what an economic agenda of tax cuts and deregulation can do for an economic cycle that was supposedly on weary legs and amid an era of “secular stagnation” when solid growth was a thing of the past.


July 2nd, 2018 at 10:10 am
Image of the Day: New Record High Positive Outlook for U.S. Manufacturers
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

And the good economic news just keeps on coming.   American manufacturing companies report a new record high positive outlook in the continuing wake of tax reform and deregulation.  Note the immediate uptick beginning at the very end of 2016:

Record Positivity Among U.S. Manufacturing Companies

Record Positivity Among U.S. Manufacturing Companies


June 25th, 2018 at 5:41 pm
Image of the Day: Obama Rated “Worst Presidency Since World War II” in USA Today Poll
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Not exactly the post-presidency verdict that Barack Obama or leftists would have preferred, from USA Today:

Ouch

Ouch


June 25th, 2018 at 4:18 pm
This Week’s Radio Show 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: Peter Murphy, Vice President for Policy at the Invest in Education Foundation:

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT: Michael Tanner, Cato Institute Senior Fellow: America’s Growing Entitlement Crisis;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Quin Hillyer, Contributing Editor of National Review Magazine, Senior Editor for The American Spectator Magazine, and Nationally Recognized Authority on the American Political Process: Conservatism Just Ain’t What It Used to Be;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: Andrew Moylan, Executive Vice President of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation: SCOTUS and Internet Taxation;

5:15 CDT/6:15 pm EDT: Ryan Radi, Research Fellow and Regulatory Counsel: AT&T/Time Warner Merger; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: William J. Conti, Partner at Baker & Hostetler: Immigration and FBI IG Report.

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


June 18th, 2018 at 11:32 pm
CFIF Strongly Opposes Senator Ron Wyden’s “ACCESS to Sound Recordings” Act
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

CFIF has long championed greater fairness for recording artists and protection of intellectual property (IP) rights in the music industry.   Among other problems, current law generally protects recording artists’ rights for post-1972 songs, but not pre-1972 classics:

Under byzantine laws, artists receive just compensation whenever their post-1972 recordings are played, but in many cases not for their pre-1972 recordings.  That’s an indefensible and arbitrary artifact that has persisted far too long.  Why should Neil Diamond receive payment whenever ‘America’ is played, but not classics like ‘Solitary Man?’

Fortunately, the opportunity to correct that unfairness has arrived.  Even better, legislation to correct the existing flawed system arrives alongside other music legislation that galvanizes the coalition to finally correct the situation.  As a result, a broad coalition of music organizations representing everyone from songwriters, composers, performers, publishers and labels supports three new pieces of legislation…”

Accordingly, CFIF strongly supports the Music Modernization Act, which passed the House of Representatives unanimously earlier this year:

Introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R – Virginia) and Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D – New York), the Music Modernization Act combines music licensing reforms outlined in the CLASSICS Act, Songwriters Equity Act of 2015, the rate standard parity provisions of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, and AMP Act into a single, consensus piece of legislation.  The MMA addresses specific music legacy issues such as establishing federal copyright protection for artists who recorded before 1972, creating a single licensing entity to administer music publishing rights for all digital music and ensuring producers and engineers receive royalties for their contributions to the music they help create.”

Unfortunately, Senator Ron Wyden (D – Oregon) has counterproductively introduced the so-called “ACCESS to Sound Recordings” Act.

Just as the Music Modernization Act claims nearly unanimous support among all stakeholders in the music industry, Sen. Wyden’s proposed legislation rightfully garners similarly consensus opposition:

Seven leading unions, membership organizations, and advocacy groups representing recording artists, performers, vocalists, musicians, producers, and songwriters today sent a letter to the U.S. Senate detailing the flaws in Sen. Ron Wyden’s so-called ‘ACCESS to Sound Recordings Act.’  The groups, which include American Federation of Musicians, Content Creators Coalition, Future of Music Coalition, The Living Legends Foundation, the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs Organization), The Rhythm & Blues Foundation, and SAG-AFTRA detailed how Wyden’s bill would undermine the retirement security of elderly artists before reiterating their support for the CLASSICS Act.”

The group’s letter, which is worth reading in its entirety of detail, highlights the flaws of Sen. Wyden’s proposal:

We are disappointed that the introduction of the ‘ACCESS Act’ was done without consulting any artist group, organization, or union who would have made it clear that the bill’s eleventh-hour introduction is not a viable solution.  The ‘ACCESS Act’ would undercut the goals of the MMA by cutting compensation for the older artists that it is expressly designed to benefit.  It would unfairly shorten the period in which pre-1972 recordings produce royalties for the artists and copyright owners, effectively shutting down a lifeline of payments to artists who need it most.”

There is simply no justification for Sen. Wyden’s proposed legislation.  The MMA received unanimous House support, which is incredible in this hyperpartisan era, and the Senate should pass it for President Trump’s signature at long last.


June 14th, 2018 at 3:33 pm
President Trump’s Prescription Drug Reforms Already Showing Progress
Posted by Timothy Lee Print
It’s been just one month since President Trump unveiled his American Patients First plan to reduce drug prices and, despite the naysayers, we’re already seeing results.

This week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to provide detail on the progress that has already occurred.  His testimony extended over two hours, and Sec. Azar answered tough questions from both Democrats and Republicans, reiterating some key parts of the President’s plan.  Among other important testimony, he highlighted the transparency failures of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and stressed the need to increase competition throughout the market to bring prices down.

That stands to reason, since President Trump’s plan pays special attention to PBMs – “middlemen” that operate in the opaque prescription drug pipeline – who negotiate with insurers, drug manufacturers and pharmacists to bring drugs to market.  As Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) pointed out in the hearing, the way in which PBMs earn profits creates an “incentive for higher list prices,” further driving up the price of prescriptions throughout the industry.

Accordingly, President Trump’s plan deliberately opens up this opaque system, providing greater information to all parties to stop what Sec. Azar characterized as the “perverse” incentives in the system.  By removing the ability for PBMs to profit from price increases, the President’s plan allows the natural downward pressures of the market to take hold, eliminating another driver of cost that consumers feel at the pharmacy counter.  Secretary Azar described the blueprint as a “comprehensive tackling and restructuring of the drug channel, nothing short of that,” further evidence of the President’s bold commitment to this issue.

Senator Collins continued to highlight PBM abuses, explaining how PBMs often employ “gag clauses” that prevent pharmacists from helping consumers to find the best price for their medication.  Those clauses are widely used to help PBMs maximize their profits, but the Trump Administration has already taken action to ensure that contracts with CMS cannot employ gag clauses.

Secretary Azar also explained how the President’s plan will bring greater competition to Medicare Part B, modeled on the success of the Part D program.  Currently, the federal government purchases drugs for Part B at the list price, costing the program billions in extra costs.  In contrast, Medicare Part D allows private companies to negotiate and manage plans to keep costs low.

Secretary Azar further explained to Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) that President Trump’s plan proposes greater negotiation between private-sector actors to help lower costs down across the program.  Nevertheless, Sec. Azar cautioned that, due to the size and complexity of the program, the President’s plan purposefully remains open on that issue, so that the Administration can work with Congress and other stakeholders to ensure that these competitive reforms are implemented without harming existing enrollees.

Those actions, along with an overall increase in transparency in the marketplace for all parties to bring more information and competition, are already at work.  President Trump’s plan works because it finally addresses the real drivers of cost, and removes the barriers that are stopping free market forces from bringing costs down.  On that basis, Sec. Azar’s testimony shows us that we are finally on the right path to bring prices down.


June 13th, 2018 at 3:59 pm
Let the AT&T/Time Warner Ruling Be a Lesson Against Needless Federal Market Interference
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Hopefully this will serve as a deterrent lesson to the U.S. Department of Justice, and the federal government more generally.

Yesterday, Federal Judge Richard Leon delivered his decision rejecting the Justice Department’s misguided lawsuit to prevent AT&T and Time Warner from merging.  The government had no business even bringing the suit, as the merger poses no threat of consumer harm.  To the contrary, as noted in today’s Wall Street Journal by Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang, it promises more choices and greater market competition for American consumers.  Because the merger was “vertical” in nature, rather than a “horizontal” merger of direct market competitors, federal bureaucrats would only inflict harm by delaying or denying its fruition:

[T]he unique characteristics of digital markets have allowed a small number of internet giants – among them Amazon, Google, Netflix and Facebook – to dominate their industries and forestall entry by competitors.  These companies have put serious money into customer connections, data analytics and back-end systems, and these investments scale very well.  Netflix has penetrated more than half of U.S households.  Google and Facebook control almost three-quarters of online advertising.  Amazon does nearly half of all online retail sales.  These are astonishing numbers.

Now that these tech giants have established their downstream power in the distribution business, they are beginning to amass upstream power by getting into the content-creation business…  Given the dominance of Silicon Valley’s internet giants, it makes no sense to prevent AT&T and Time Warner from merging.  These companies aren’t trying to join forces because they want to take control of a dying industry;  they want to be allowed to compete in a new one.”

The American economy has accelerated since President Trump’s election as a consequence of his deregulatory and tax-cutting agenda, and that same logic should apply to the realm of market mergers between mutually bargaining parties.

As one example, Comcast recently announced a bid for certain assets of 21st Century Fox.  In the same way as described above regarding the AT&T/Time Warner merger, Comcast’s acquisition would greatly benefit consumers.  The film and television businesses have never been more competitive, dynamic or creatively rich, and consumers possess more entertainment choices than ever before.  Free markets work, and federal bureaucrats have zero business interfering in this matter.

As Judge Leon noted in his decision, federal government decisions to interfere come at great cost:

The government has had this merger on hold now since October of 2016 when it launched its investigation.  In that 18-plus month period, the companies have twice extended the break-up date to accommodate the government’s litigation of this case.  During that same period, the video programming and distribution industry has continued to evolve at a breakneck pace.  The cost to the defendants and the government to investigate, litigate and try this case has undoubtedly been staggering – easily in the tens of millions of dollars.”

That same logic applies to Comcast’s proposed acquisition.  Let’s not be forced to repeat yesterday’s harsh lesson to the Justice Department, after needless waste of time and taxpayer resources in meritless litigation that only serves to harm American consumers and competitive marketplaces.


June 13th, 2018 at 3:01 pm
In Good News for Consumers, Federal Judge Rejects DOJ Attempt to Block AT&T/Time Warner Merger
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In a decision that came as no surprise but nevertheless merits celebration, a federal judge yesterday rejected the Justice Department’s needless lawsuit attempting to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner.

Whenever federal bureaucracies seek to disrupt functioning markets by prohibiting mutual agreements between two willing parties, they carry a heavy burden of proof to establish impending consumer harm.  In this case, the opposite was true – the federal government’s needless interference, not the proposed acquisition, would result in consumer harm.  Accordingly, Judge Richard Leon ruled that Justice’s allegations “do not come close to answering the question before the Court.”

So why is yesterday’s ruling important going forward?  Hopefully, it provides federal bureaucrats an abject lesson against future destructive campaigns of a similar sort.

As one immediate example, consider the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint announced recently.  Although the T-Mobile/Sprint proposal involves characteristics unique to it, it offers the consumer market similar sorts of benefits.

Namely, T-Mobile/Sprint prospectively offers an enhanced array of consumer services in comparison to what is available today.  For example, the two current companies’ differing but complementary assets would create a new network with enhanced capacity, wider coverage and more effective wireless performance for customers than currently exists.  It also promises network upgrades, lower prices and job creation.  In particular, the proposed merger offers significant potential benefits through deployment of the first 5G wireless network in the U.S.

Through that $40 billion investment in 5G, consumers will enjoy data delivery at a lower cost, and the incentive for competitors to similarly lower prices to consumers.  That will also prompt market competition to expand spectrum in rural areas in addition to urban centers, as well as capacity improvements for consumers.

That’s how market competition works.  A T-Mobile/Sprint merger and its 5G deployment would also mean billions in new private infrastructure investment and countless new jobs.  In contrast, the absence of a T-Mobile/Sprint merger would mean slower deployment of a 5G nationwide network, and the absence of a market competitor of greater scale.  Ultimately, that means consumers would lose.

The Trump Administration has demonstrated to date how deregulation can turbocharge the economy and benefit American consumers.  That logic applies with added potency to the ever-evolving telecommunications market, and the Justice Department should learn its lesson and refrain from future needless interference that will only cost consumers and trigger embarrassing legal defeats.