June 23rd, 2017 at 1:43 pm
Analysis: SpaceX Cuts Rocket Launch Costs for USAF
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In recent months CFIF has highlighted the danger of relying upon Russian rocket technology, and the need to leverage the U.S. private sector in providing effective, lower cost, domestic rocket engines for space launches.

Now, a new analysis reveals how much one of those private sector entities, SpaceX, can save the U.S. Air Force.  Previous cost estimates occurred when Air Force launch vehicles consisted entirely of United Launch Alliance (ULA) rockets, but the Government Accountability Office (GAO) complained that ULA’s rendered accurate cost assessment and price negotiation impossible.  Then, new rocket enterprise SpaceX began offering launch services at lower prices, and cost comparison has become more feasible.  And it’s already apparent that SpaceX significantly undercuts launch costs.  Here’s what new Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson had to say earlier this month:

The benefit we’re seeing now is competition.  There are some very exciting things happening in commercial space that bring the opportunity for assured access to space at a very competitive price.”

The arstechnica.com analysis by Eric Berger merits a full read.

It’s just the latest confirmation that we must leverage market competition to increase effectiveness and cut costs, rather than narrow the field or rely upon Russia for our launch capability.


June 20th, 2017 at 10:52 am
Image of the Day: What Explains That Economic Confidence Jump Since November?
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In November, Gallup’s monthly measure of Americans’ economic confidence stood at (-11).  It miraculously jumped to (+4) by December, and according to Gallup “remains considerably higher than it was before last year’s presidential election.”  How to explain that immediate jolt, not to mention the mainstream media’s conspicuous silence in favor of how many scoops of ice cream President Trump allows at the White House?  We’ll probably resolve that deep mystery.

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American Economic Confidence

American Economic Confidence

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June 16th, 2017 at 12:32 pm
N.Y. State Senator Flanagan Fights Gov. Cuomo’s Crony Capitalist Green Energy Subsidy Boondoggle
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

There’s additional reason for optimism amid the ongoing battle against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s crony-capitalist green energy subsidy boondoggle that CFIF has been monitoring since last summer.

Cuomo’s “Clean Energy Standard” (CES) scheme mandates that fully half of all state energy be generated by carbon-neutral plants in just over a decade.  Alarmingly, it comes at a cost of $1 billion in just its first two years, and $8 billion over its entire term.  Making matters worse, it amounts to crony capitalism because all of the CES subsidies would go to a single company named Exelon, owner of the financially unsustainable upstate nuclear plants.  And conspicuously, the plan was approved by a Power Service Commission (PSC) composed entirely of members selected by Cuomo.

Opposition to the boondoggle is bipartisan, and even environmental groups have attacked it as an “$8 billion bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants.”

And who would pay?  New York consumers.

But now, Republican state senator John Flanagan has proposed an alternative funding mechanism, one that would spare pressed taxpayers from paying through the nose to sustain failing nuclear energy plants at the center of the controversial program, as reported by Politico:

‘The state already devotes substantial resources to clean energy, and we are supporting of many of those initiatives,’ said Flanagan spokesman Scott Reif.  ’We believe that this can be funded through existing resources, and not on the backs of ratepayers.’

Flanagan’s proposal retains the subsidy for nuclear plants, which has strong support from upstate members of his conference who represent districts in which the plants are located.  At the same time, it lessens the impact on ratepayers of the subsidy, including those in Flanagan’s district on Long Island who are still paying for the shuttered Shoreham nuclear plant.

It would also gut a key part of Cuomo’s ambitious renewable energy plan, of which the nuclear subsidy is a component.  Cuomo officials have touted the subsidy, which pays the owner of the nuclear plants based on the social cost of carbon avoided by the zero-emissions attribute of the plants, as a bridge to renewable energy sources, ensuring that the plants aren’t replaced with fossil fuel generators.

Flanagan’s measure eliminates that portion of the Clean Energy Standard and requires ratepayers to get a refund.”

CFIF applauds Flanagan’s leadership in highlighting how Cuomo’s Solyndra-like green energy bailout is a costly loser for New York state ratepayers.  Now it’s up to both the New York House and Senate to resolve this matter before its session ends next week.


June 15th, 2017 at 12:36 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Democrats’ Evidence of Russian Collusion
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.


June 12th, 2017 at 6:20 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: Kasie Brill, Senior Director of Brand Protection a the Global Intellectual Property Center: The Truth Behind Counterfeits;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT: John Malcolm, Vice President for the Institute for Constitutional Government at The Heritage Foundation: FBI Director Nominee Chris Wray;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: John Hawkins, Columnist and Author: “101 Things All Young Adults Should Know”;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT: Quin Hillyer, Political Commentator, Writer and Editor: Should Senior Cabinet Members “Intervene” with President Trump?;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: Lance Izumi, Senior Director of Pacific Research Institute’s Center for Education and Koret Senior Fellow in Education Studies: School Curriculum, Whitewashing History, and Corrupt Classrooms; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: Tim Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs: Paris Climate Treaty and the FCC Vote to Restore Internet Freedom.

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

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June 9th, 2017 at 1:28 pm
Rasmussen: Americans Have Cops’ Backs
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Beyond the James Comey cacophony that increasingly appears composed of left-wing hype rather than legal substance, it’s worth highlighting an encouraging new Rasmussen Reports survey released this week.

Despite years of false “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” demonization of the nation’s police forces, the American public continues to back the cops:

It’s been a rough few years to be a police officer, with high-profile police shootings and riots dominating the news.  But despite the negative press, Americans still value the police.  A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that most American adults (70%) rate the performance of the police in the area where they live as good or excellent.  That’s virtually unchanged from 2016, but up from 67% in late 2014.  Just five percent (5%) think their police are doing a poor job.”

Police in America have a difficult job and deal with a disproportionate share of society’s underbelly while putting their lives on the line on our behalf every day, but at least they can know that the public overwhelmingly has their back.


June 6th, 2017 at 2:31 pm
Air Traffic Control Restructuring: Conservatives’ Concerns Remain Unresolved
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

CFIF has for months highlighted serious concerns regarding proposals to remodel the nation’s air traffic control system.

More specifically, alongside other conservative groups, we’ve noted how proposals claiming to “privatize” the system don’t fairly constitute true privatization at all.  The federally-chartered nonprofit corporation earlier proposals contemplate repeats the same errors of previous public/private creations like Amtrak and the U.S. Post Office.  It would maintain monopoly power over air traffic control while perpetuating and expanding benefits for the current air traffic controllers union, which standing alone undercuts the primary goal of true privatization:  eliminating inefficiencies of government bureaucracies in favor of competition and market choice.  In fact, the proposal could weaken existing constraints on unionized air traffic controllers regarding such crucial functions as personnel changes, salary limits and the current mandatory retirement age of 56 (whereas pilots themselves can continue to age 65).  It’s therefore no mystery why the National Air Traffic Controllers Union advocates the proposal.  The new entity would also possess authority to levy new taxes and user fees without oversight of Congress, let alone the sort of competition that true privatization would provide.  That could mean much higher costs for the traveling American public.

Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined that it would widen the federal deficit by $20 billion between 2017 and 2026, and increase net direct spending by $90 during that span.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has also found that the proposal could delay NextGen air system implementation, and the Defense Department recently determined that, “The establishment of a new entity separate from the FAA raises serious concerns regarding the disposition of certain unique National Defense procedures, programs and policy.”  It added that, “it is significant to note that the DoD relies on FAA ‘command and control’ capabilities in the execution of the national defense mission.’”

This week, the Trump Administration issued a broad set of principles regarding air traffic control system reform, but it left those myriad serious concerns unresolved.  Apart from a generalized comment advocating a no-strike clause in any future agreement, it simply accommodated the flaws of previous proposals or left them unaddressed.

The nation’s air traffic control system is too critical an issue to leave vulnerable to the concerns that we and other conservative organizations have itemized throughout this process, and Congress should not authorize any plan that fails to resolve them.


June 2nd, 2017 at 4:46 pm
PSC Confirmation Hearing Offers New York State Senators Opportunity to Demand Answers and Changes to Cuomo’s “Clean Energy Standard” Boondoggle
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Since its inception last August, CFIF has been exposing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s crony-capitalist, costly, climate alarmist “Clean Energy Standard” (CES) boondoggle imposed by the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) composed entirely of his personal appointees.

Now, there’s a perfect opportunity for state senators to hold Cuomo accountable and expose for state residents the unfairness, expense and tawdry cronyism of the entire crumbling program.

By way of refresher, Cuomo’s CES scheme mandates that fully half of all state energy be generated by carbon-neutral plants in just over a decade.  The cost?  A whopping $1 billion in just its first two years, and $8 billion over its entire term.  And how is it a perfect example of crony capitalism, which can rot our democratic process?  Well, because the CES plan’s subsidies will go to a single company named Exelon, which owns financially unsustainable upstate nuclear plants.  The plan is so objectionable that opposition has been fierce and bipartisan, with environmental groups attacking it as an “$8 billion bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants.”

Strong stuff.

Next week, however, Cuomo’s nominee for new PSC chairman, John Rhodes, will appear before the state senate’s energy committee as part of his confirmation process.  At that hearing, state senators must hold Cuomo accountable for the CES’s runaway costs to taxpayers, get answers regarding the plan’s failures and demand a commitment to reverse or at least confine costs to areas of the state in which the relevant plants are situated.  Additionally, senators can ask on behalf of taxpayers how it’s remotely fair for residents of Long Island to pay for plants like Shoreham located six or more hours away without burden-sharing from the remainder of the state.  It makes no sense in terms of fairness, cost or efficiency.

Less than a year into this boondoggle, the CES plan is already collapsing.  Accordingly, state senators should get to the core of the problem, demand answers and require mitigation of damages.  Because state taxpayers who will pay the price are watching.


June 1st, 2017 at 2:31 pm
Image of the Day: Global Warming Projections’ Poor Performance Record
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

The next time a global warming alarmist cites climatologist “consensus” (which is false, by the way) in support of their argument, offer them this straightforward reminder of past performance, courtesy of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI):

Climate Model Failures


May 30th, 2017 at 11:12 am
Gallup: Republicans Far More Favorable Toward Military Branches Than Democrats
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

As we emerge from Memorial Day, Gallup has released a new poll that offers both encouraging and unsettling takeaways.

On the positive side, Americans overall remain extremely favorable toward all five military branches.  The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard receive “Very Favorable” ratings of 53%, 55%, 57%, 59% and 54%, respectively.  For anyone who remembers the post-Vietnam and Carter era malaise, that has to come as welcome news.

Unfortunately, it appears that even military esteem is subject to our deepening partisan divides:

Differences emerge, however, by political party, race and age.  Republicans, non-Hispanic whites and those aged 55 and older who are aware of each branch are much more likely to have strongly favorable views of each of the five branches than are Democrats, nonwhites or those younger than 35.  The biggest gaps in favorable opinion are between Republicans and Democrats (including those who lean to either party).  The largest is a 35-point difference in views toward the Navy, with 74% of Republicans versus 39% of Democrats having strongly favorable views…

Whatever one’s political affiliation, it would be a tragedy for the military to become another outlet for expression of partisanship.  We live in far too dangerous a world, and hopefully this gap diminishes soon.

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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.”

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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:

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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.”

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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!