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August 19th, 2019 at 10:09 am
Image of the Day: Middle Class Shrinking… In a Good Way
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From AEI, something to remember when we’re told that the middle class in America is disappearing.  It’s disappearing because people are moving upward:

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Middle Class Disappearing... Upward

Middle Class Disappearing… Upward

 

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August 9th, 2019 at 1:22 pm
Image of the Day: If Too Many Guns Is the Problem, Explain This
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If the problem is too many guns, explain this…

More Guns, Less Murder

 

 

August 2nd, 2019 at 1:33 pm
Texas A.G. Paxton Irrationally Joins Leftist A.G. Colleagues in Multistate Lawsuit Opposing T-Mobile/Sprint Merger
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Inexplicably, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has elected to join leftist state attorneys general in their multistate lawsuit opposing a T-Mobile/Sprint merger that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved, and a majority of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioners support.

That lawsuit took the unprecedented step of challenging the proposed merger before the federal agencies had even completed their review process, demonstrating that their opposition had less to do with the facts and market realities of the case than political grandstanding.  Clearly, their state-level lawsuit centers not on the merits of the merger, especially in light of the DOJ’s announcement this week, which would introduce even greater network capacity and competition to the telecom marketplace.

By indefensibly choosing to join that lawsuit, Paxton now seeks to halt an extraordinary opportunity to accelerate innovation and 5G deployment in the U.S., bridge the digital divide in rural and urban communities and boost high-paying American jobs.

We at CFIF have long supported the proposed merger for all of these reasons and more, and we hope that Paxton and anyone else considering such a needlessly unwise position reconsider.

August 1st, 2019 at 4:29 pm
Drug Importation: An Inexplicably Bad New Proposal from the Trump Administration
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Yesterday, the Trump Administration through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inexplicably introduced a proposal to begin drug importation from other countries.

Currently, Americans enjoy the safest medicine market in the entire world under the system monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  According to FDA estimates, over 99% of drugs making their way into the U.S. via international mail failed to comply with its standards, and the United Nations World Health Organization estimates that fully 10% of all medicines worldwide are actually counterfeit.  That’s an enormous and unacceptable threat.

It’s therefore no surprise that a bipartisan array of experts and officials, including Trump Administration officials, have long panned the drug importation idea.  Just last year, for instance, HHS Secretary Alex Azar labeled drug importation a “gimmick,” emphasizing that, “the last thing we need is open borders for unsafe drugs.”  Recent FDA Commissioner similarly lambasted the idea and detailed the numerous threats that it entails.  A collection of FDA Commissioners spanning the years 2002 through 2016 went so far as to write an open letter to Congress in 2017, explaining how drug importation, “could lead to a host of unintended consequences and undesirable effects, including serious harm stemming from the use of adulterated, substandard or counterfeit drugs.”

Safety concerns, however, aren’t the only problem with the drug importation idea.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has studied the issue and concluded that drug importation would have little to no impact on actually lowering prices.  Former FDA Commissioner Gottleib concurred that the plan “would have added so much cost to the imported drugs; they wouldn’t be much cheaper than drugs sold inside our closed American system.”  Part of the problem, according to a Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) statement released just yesterday, is that Canada’s market couldn’t handle the sudden onslaught of American demand, and importation would crash their market on which the U.S. drug importation plan would rely.

Additionally, as we at CFIF have long emphasized, importing other nations’ pharmaceutical policies and pricing would reduce drug innovation and availability to American consumers.  Even highly developed nations enjoy far fewer new life-saving and life-improving pharmaceuticals than the U.S., which should trigger alarm for every American.

This constitutes a rare unforced error, as drug importation violates free market principles, in addition to the fact that imported drugs meet neither safety nor dependability standards.

How else can we be certain that this is a terrible idea?  Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (D – Vermont) advocates it.  That says all we need to know.

 

July 29th, 2019 at 5:11 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Lineup
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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/99.1FM 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:  Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment – Puerto Rico and Energy;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT:  Tracy Beanz, Investigative Journalist with Undercoverdc.com – Jeffrey Epstein Case;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Mary Clare Amselem, Policy Analyst in Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation – Josh Hawley and the College Monopoly;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT:  Quin Hillyer, American Newspaper Columnist and Writer – Mueller Hearings, Now What?;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Ashton Hayward, Andrews Research and Education Foundation President – AREF and IHMC Project;

5:15 CDT/6:25 pm EDT:  Anastasia Boden, Senior Attorney in Pacific Legal Foundation’s Economic Liberty Project – Setting Quotas on Women in the Boardroom; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs – TV Blackouts and Regulating Cryptocurrency.

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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July 22nd, 2019 at 1:09 pm
Budget Negotiations: CFIF Opposes Use of Drug Price Controls via “Mandatory Inflation Rebates”
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In ongoing negotiations, it’s reported that some are proposing to employ destructive drug price controls as a mechanism to reach a budget agreement.  For multiple reasons that CFIF has highlighted, that poses a potentially catastrophic idea.

Specifically, it appears that debt ceiling negotiations may include a destructive proposal to reduce federal spending levels by targeting $115 billion from Medicare, which would derive largely from alleged “Medicare savings” through instituting a government-imposed mandatory “inflation rebates.”  As we’ve explained, inflation rebate proposals work by penalizing drug innovators with higher taxes whenever their products exceed an arbitrary inflation mark.  Currently, Medicare Part D’s structure works by employing market-based competition to mitigate drug costs via privately-negotiated rebates, meaning that no specific “price” reliably represents that drug’s underlying price.  Accordingly, the proposal would inherently undermine privately-negotiated Part D plan rebates, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said “appear to make the net prices approach the lowest prices obtained in the private sector.”  Indeed, as the Altarum Institute has highlighted, those Part D plans currently achieve greater brand medicine rebates than private insurers.

Critically, it must also be noted that inflation rebate proposals would violate non-interference clauses that facilitate competition among Part D plans, which provide a critical part of Part D’s success in mitigating costs since its inception.  They would also arbitrarily apply to new pharmaceuticals while bypassing generic brands, which now constitute approximately 90% of Part D prescriptions.  The proposal would also inescapably weaken incentives on the part of Part D plan sponsors to negotiate with drug manufacturers and minimize drug spending under a regime of statutorily-imposed rebates, thereby setting a negative precedent for those sponsors.  It also bears emphasis that private-sector limits on drug cost increases already exist via “price protection rebates” that Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) negotiate with manufacturers.

Accordingly, imposing price controls in Medicare Part D would fundamentally undermine its entire market-based model, which would in turn reduce research and development and slow progress toward new and improved medicines.

Adding insult to injury, such a proposal would constitute a raid on Medicare for the benefit of other government spending pork.  During this era of budgetary waste, the last thing that Congress should consider doing is sacrificing Medicare, particularly when affordability and access to pharmaceutical innovations remains such a top public priority.  Budgetary discipline and access to medicines remains a priority of the highest order, but market-oriented solutions, not destructive gimmicks, offer the optimal solution.  Any proposal to target Medicare Part D for mandatory inflation rebates has not been subjected to full review, committee research, hearings or debate.

American citizens, particularly seniors, should not be subjected to that danger.

 

July 18th, 2019 at 8:56 pm
TV Blackouts Reconfirm Need for Free Market Regulatory Reform
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For over two weeks now, failed retransmission negotiations between AT&T and Nexstar Media Group have deprived customers across the United States of 120 Nexstar television stations in 97 markets.

That’s unfortunately something to which far too many Americans have become accustomed recently, as 2019 has already witnessed more TV blackouts than any year in history.  And the news only gets worse:  CBS is now warning that stations in numerous major markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas and others, could be blacked out as this week concludes.

Here’s the overarching problem.  Current laws dating all the way back to 1992 empower the federal government to pick TV market winners and losers by tipping the scales during negotiations.  Those laws governing what’s known as “retransmission consent,” “must-carry” obligations and “compulsory copyright” all derive from a bygone era, when most markets were served by a solitary cable provider.  But today, almost 30 years later, we obviously live in a drastically different consumer marketplace.  Specifically, alternative services like satellite, internet and other cable providers provide an expansive array of consumer options in the TV marketplace.

Yet here we are in 2019, with applicable federal regulations that remain unchanged, and fail to accommodate the fundamental video market evolution that has occurred.  Consequently, broadcasters today possess an unfair regulatory advantage in negotiations with providers, which in turn empowers them to insist upon excessive retransmission consent fees while retaining the alternative option of invoking must-carry rules.  In that manner, outdated laws inhibit free market principles from functioning in what should be an ever-evolving consumer marketplace.

And who pays the steepest price of all?  Consumers.  Including in the form of blackouts like we’re witnessing.

To finally put an end to these increasing blackouts, and spare consumers the headaches, we must reduce the federal government’s interference in the nationwide video marketplace.  That will allow broadcasters and video programming distributors to negotiate in a more even, market-centered environment.  An optimal scenario would be to enact the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act proposed earlier by Congressman Steve Scalise (R – Louisiana).  But in any event, consumers should demand that the federal bureaucracy remove its metaphorical finger from the scale, and instead finally allow all parties to negotiate in a free market, one in which neither side enjoys an inherent regulatory advantage.  Eliminate the outdated regulations, and allow the free market to work.

In a video market otherwise defined by rapid evolution and ever-greater choices, consumers deserve relief at long last.

 

July 15th, 2019 at 2:22 pm
CFIF to U.S. Senate: On Drug Prices, Say “NO” to Mandatory Inflation Rebate Proposals
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On behalf of over 300,000 of our supporters and activists across the nation, CFIF has written the following letter opposing any use of Mandatory Inflation Rebate Proposals when it comes to the issue of addressing drug prices:

We believe that market-oriented solutions offer the optimal solution, and resolutely oppose any use of mandatory inflation rebate proposals – which would unfairly penalize a drug’s manufacturer with higher taxes whenever that drug’s price rises faster than inflation – that will make matters worse, not better. Among other defects, such a government-imposed penalty would undermine Medicare Part D’s current structure, which uses market-based competition to mitigate drug costs. Part D currently works via privately-negotiated rebates, meaning that no specific price reliably represents a drug’s underlying price. Accordingly, the proposal would inherently undermine privately-negotiated Part D plan rebates, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said “appear to make the net prices approach the lowest prices obtained in the private sector.” Indeed, as the Altarum Institute has highlighted, those Part D plans currently achieve greater brand medicine rebates than private insurers.

Additionally, inflation rebate proposals would violate non-interference clauses that facilitate competition among Part D plans, which provide a critical part of Part D’s success in mitigating costs since its inception. They would also arbitrarily apply to new pharmaceuticals while bypassing generic brands, which now constitute approximately 90% of Part D prescriptions. The proposal would also inescapably weaken incentives on the part of Part D plan sponsors to negotiate with drug manufacturers and minimize drug spending under a regime of statutorily-imposed rebates, thereby setting a negative precedent for those sponsors. It also bears emphasis that private-sector limits on drug cost increases already exist via “price protection rebates” that Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) negotiate with manufacturers.”

The issue of reducing drug prices remains an important one, but it’s just as important that we pursue policies that make the situation better, not those that would make the situation far worse.

July 9th, 2019 at 5:48 pm
Patent Protection at a Critical Juncture
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At CFIF, we’ve consistently and unapologetically celebrated the central role of intellectual property (IP) rights – patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets – in making America the most innovative, prosperous and powerful nation in human history.

Recent legal developments domestically, as well as growing focus upon Chinese IP malfeasance internationally, provide new emphasis on the importance of strong U.S. patent protections for American inventors, and highlight some increasingly obvious concerns regarding patent infringers exploiting the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB) for nefarious and selfish purposes.

A couple of weeks ago, patent holder plaintiff TQ Delta won on all eight counts in its first case in a series against 2Wire, Inc. over digital communication technology patents.  The win thereby sets a strong precedent of IP enforcement in what will be the first trial over its DSL patent porfolio.

In another recent example that will instantly resonate with parents as their children splash amid water balloons in their backyards this summer, a federal judge in Texas went to the rare extreme of actually doubling a multimillion-dollar jury award in favor of toy company Tinnus Enterprises, maker of “Bunch O Balloons” water balloon devices, in its patent infringement case against Telebrands.  More often, judges reduce jury awards that they consider excessive.  In this case, however, U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III held that the “serial infringement” of Tinnus’s patents and “flagrant” litigation misconduct merited more than doubling the original damages assessment.

The ongoing case of EagleView v. Verisk offers another salient example, a proverbial David innovator versus a Goliath infringer.  It also presents a perfect opportunity to correct a patent infringement injustice and offer a deterrent lesson to other potential patent violators of the consequences they will face.  In a nutshell, the plaintiff EagleView develops products that create 3-D models from aerial images of rooftops, from which insurers and construction companies can more accurately reach repair cost estimates.  After defendant Verisk unsuccessfully attempted to purchase EagleView in 2014, it allegedly shifted to using its subsidiary Xactware Solutions to infringing EagleView’s patented technology, triggering EagleView’s lawsuit for willful patent infringement.

Since that date, Verisk has employed an array of tactics to prevent EagleView’s lawsuit from reaching a jury, such as filing multiple petitions at the PTAB to invalidate EagleView’s underlying patents, which a federal Court of Appeals found “unpersuasive.”  Verisk has also petitioned the District Court multiple times to invalidate EagleView’s underlying patents, which the Court rejected similarly.  Now, Verisk has even resorted to joining the LOT Network, an openly anti-IP group that includes Google and other titans.  Hopefully, those tactics will be put to an end at long last.

All of this serves to highlight once again the need to protect IP, and patent rights specifically, at the legislative, executive and judicial levels.  At the Congressional and executive levels, legislation to address patent eligibility and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) reform are critical, as CFIF has previously emphasized.  Additionally, abuse at the PTAB level must not be tolerated.  And at the judicial level, courts must hold patent infringers accountable, and grant injunctive relief to patent holders to halt violations.  By holding violators accountable, we can not only deter other potential violators, but also provide the incentive to innovators by creating greater assurance that their work will be rewarded and protected.

America’s tradition of leading the world in innovation and IP protection is ultimately at stake.

July 1st, 2019 at 12:13 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Lineup
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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/99.1FM 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:  Lee Casey, Partner at Baker & Hostetler – Return to the Constitution’s Original Meaning;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT:  Ilya Shapiro, Director, Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute – SCOTUS Wrap-Up;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Tzvi Kahn, Senior Iran Analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies – Iran;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT:  Justin Bogie, Senior Policy Analyst at The Heritage Foundation – Withhold Congress’ Pay;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Sally Pipes, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Research Foundation and Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Health Care Policy – Medicare-for-All;and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs – The Latest News from Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court.

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 28th, 2019 at 10:10 am
Image of the Day: Disposable Income in U.S. Versus Elsewhere
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We’ve regularly highlighted the folly of leftist American politicians suggesting that Europeans somehow enjoy higher living standards than supposedly backward Americans.  This OECD data punctures that myth nicely:

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Disposable Income Comparison

Disposable Income Comparison

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June 24th, 2019 at 1:32 pm
Notable Quote: Trump Beats the “Experts” Again
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Today’s Wall Street Journal commentary “Take the Palestinians’ ‘No’ for an Answer” offers the choice quote of the day today, highlighting the way in which President Trump’s decision to finally (and rightfully) relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem has once again proved him more prescient than the foreign policy “experts” who predicted dire consequences:

This week’s U.S.-led Peace to Prosperity conference in Bahrain on the Palestinian economy will likely be attended by seven Arab states – a clear rebuke to foreign-policy experts who said that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the Golan Heights as Israeli territory would alienate the Arab world.”

The piece also highlights how the Palestinians stand alone among nations who somehow claim entitlement to 100% satisfaction of their demands before accepting a generous offer of independence.  Pakistan, Ireland, India and even Israel never made such demands in their independence movements, yet somehow Israel is a malign force for not granting Palestinians every one of their demands?  The double-standard as applied to Israel is obvious.

June 14th, 2019 at 2:30 pm
Image of the Day: Gallup Poll on Americans’ View of Job Market Hits All-Time Record
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In our Liberty Update commentary entitled “No, Scandinavia Doesn’t Vindicate Socialism” this week, we rightly ridicule admitted socialist Bernie Sanders, including his odd claim that “we now have an economy that is fundamentally broke and grotesquely unfair.”  Well, as this Gallup survey illustrates, he’s swimming upstream against American public opinion.  Specifically, in a survey that Gallup has conducted periodically since 2001, the public’s view of the job market has now hit an all-time record high:

Sorry, Socialists

Sorry, Socialists

 

Perhaps this helps explain why Sanders has suddenly plummeted in 2020 Democratic candidate surveys, although one wonders how long people like Elizabeth Warren can avoid the same fate.

May 21st, 2019 at 11:29 am
WSJ Applauds FCC Chairman Pai, Commissioner Carr in Support of T-Mobile/Sprint Merger
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Echoing CFIF, today’s Wall Street Journal board editorial applauds Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s and Commissioner Brendan Carr’s expressions of support for the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger:

By joining forces, T-Mobile and Sprint will be better positioned to compete against wireless leaders Verizon and AT&T in the 5G era.   Sprint is sitting on loads of mid-band spectrum that boosts wireless speeds while T-Mobile boasts ample low-band spectrum that provides coverage.  The combination is likely to provide a faster, denser network.”

As they rightly conclude, “government penalties pale next to the powerful market incentives that already exist for Sprint and T-Mobile to rapidly build out their networks lest they lose market share to Verizon, AT&T, cable companies and even satellite startups being launched by Amazon and SpaceX.”  Well put.

May 13th, 2019 at 12:20 pm
Image of the Day: Anyone Thinking We’re Undertaxed?
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From the mild-mannered yet oft-censored Dennis Prager, for anyone feeling undertaxed or who advocates even higher taxes:

Anyone Feeling Undertaxed?

Anyone Feeling Undertaxed?

 

 

 

 

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May 6th, 2019 at 2:08 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Lineup
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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/99.1FM 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: Ryan Berg, Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute – Venezuela;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT:  Kenny Stein, Director of Policy and Federal Affairs at the American Energy Alliance – Electric Vehicle Tax Credits;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Quin Hillyer, Associate Editor of the Washington Examiner and Nationally Recognized Authority on the American Political Process – AG William Barr;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT:  Myron Magnet, Renowned Author and City Journal Editor-At-Large – “Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Andrew Och, Award-Winning Television Producer and Author of “Unusual for Their Time: On The Road with America’s First Ladies” – First Ladies as Mothers in the White House; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs – The Economy, World IP Day and NRA/NYAG.

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

May 6th, 2019 at 10:37 am
Image of the Day: Worker Productivity Finally Surges, and Why That’s Important
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After years of Obama economic malaise, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) highlights how worker productivity is finally surging following the election of Donald Trump and implementation of his deregulatory and tax-cutting agenda:

Worker Productivity Finally Surging

Worker Productivity Finally Surging

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Here’s why that’s important, as AEI’s James Pethokoukis notes:

[P]roductivity increased at a rapid 3.6% annualized rate during the first three months of this year.  On a year-ago basis, this puts productivity growth at 2.4%, the fastest pace since early 2010 and far better than the 1% pace that has typified the post-financial crisis expansion.  As Barclays economist Blerina Uruci told The Wall Street Journal, ‘That means we can grow at a faster pace on a more sustained basis.  It also means the economy can run hotter for longer without causing inflationary pressure.’  Moreover, consistent 2%-plus productivity growth makes a 3% real GDP economy less of a stretch.”

April 22nd, 2019 at 1:09 pm
WSJ Urges Regulators to Approve T-Mobile/Sprint Merger
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We at CFIF have steadfastly highlighted the consumer benefits of the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger, and cautioned the federal government against any pointless and destructive objection to the deal.  In today’s Wall Street Journal, its editorial board encourages the Department of Justice (DOJ) to move forward on the deal:

The Justice Department lost its lawsuit to block AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner.  Yet now the antitrust cops are holding up T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint even though it could give AT&T more competition in wireless.  What gives?

A year ago, T-Mobile announced plans to acquire Sprint for $26 billion in stock, yet the merger is still stuck in government antitrust purgatory.  The Federal Communications Commission keeps pausing its 180-day shot clock on the merger review to let staff and third parties dig through documents to trash the deal.”

The piece goes on to neatly summarize the benefits the merger would bring:

With more than 100 million customers, the new T-Mobile would be a stronger competitor to Verizon Wireless (118 million) and AT&T (94 million).  It would also offer a broader mix of spectrum that would improve service.  T-Mobile boasts low-band spectrum that increases coverage in rural areas.  Sprint is sitting on mid-band spectrum that can transmit more data at higher speeds in urban areas.”

Simply put, it’s time for regulators to approve the merger to release the fruits that it promises.

April 12th, 2019 at 1:39 pm
House Democrats Revive Obama FCC’s Ruinous Effort to Regulate Internet
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What’s old is somehow new again on the political left.

Desperate for what they perceive as street cred, leftists continue to repackage failed policies as somehow novel, in a destructive race to claim the most extreme realms of the political continuum.

Merely three decades after it was consigned to the dustbin of failed ideas, socialism actually maintains renewed popularity on the left.  According to Gallup, a majority of Democrats no longer view capitalism favorably, but almost 60% view socialism positively.

People like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D – New York) advocate a return to income tax rates not seen since President John F. Kennedy began cutting them.  Thirty-five years after Jeane Kirkpatrick delivered her famous 1984 Republican convention speech castigating those who “blame America first,” people like Representative Ilhan Omar (D – Minnesota) tweet, “We must confront that our nation was founded by genocide and we maintain global power through neocolonialism.”

Not to be outdone, Democrats in the House of Representatives have joined the fray by attempting to resuscitate one of the Obama Administration’s most foolish and demonstrably destructive agenda items – to begin regulating the internet as a public utility.

Think of it as socialism for the internet.  What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty, it turns out.

From 1996 through 2015, the internet flourished like no other innovation in human history, precisely because the federal government from the Clinton Administration forward employed a “light-touch” regulatory approach.  Just ask yourself what was “broken” about the internet that somehow cried out for a federal bureaucratic “fix” during that two-decade stretch of unprecedented innovation and transformation of our lives.

But like so many other realms of American economic and civic life, the Obama Administration decided in 2015 that the internet merited its trademark brand of hyper-regulation.  Specifically, its Federal Communications Commission (FCC) suddenly decided to regulate internet service as a “public utility” under statutes enacted in the 1930s for copper-wire telephone service.  In Orwellian fashion, the Obama Administration and its apologists throughout the media and entertainment industries labeled it “Net Neutrality,” when by definition federal commandeering of an entire industry and picking winners and losers via the business model it imposes is anything but “neutral.”

So how did the Obama FCC’s scheme work out?

Disastrously.  For the first time in history outside of a recession, private investment in network infrastructure by service providers actually declined.   By way of comparison, investment in wireless alone had increased almost 33% – from $25 billion to $33 billion – between 2010 and 2013, even amid the most sluggish cyclical economic “recovery” in history under the Obama Administration.  But in the first year alone following the Obama FCC’s bright idea to regulate the internet, investment declined by an astonishing $5.6 billion.

In other words, investment declined in just one year by almost the entire amount that wireless investment had increased from 2010 to 2013.

When the Trump Administration arrived, one of its first priorities under new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was to reverse that destructive Obama Administration boondoggle.

Latenight comedians and leftists in media and politics attempted to convince Americans that the sky was falling, and that this would “break the internet.”  But as noted above, it was the Obama Administration’s 2015 effort that was breaking the internet, while the Trump FCC under Ajit Pai was merely restoring the light-touch regulatory approach that had allowed the internet to evolve and flourish from 1996 to 2015.

The results have been immediate and positive, as highlighted by a Recode piece entitled “U.S. Internet Speeds Rose Nearly 40 Percent This Year”:

The internet is getting faster, especially fixed broadband internet.  Broadband download speeds in the U.S. rose 35.8 percent and upload speeds are up 22 percent from last year, according to internet speed-test company Ookla in its latest U.S. broadband report.  The growth in speed is important as the internet undergirds more of our daily lives and the wider economy.  As internet service providers continue building out fiber networks around the country, expect speeds to increase…” 

 

But now, House Democrats have introduced legislation to return to the Obama Administration’s destructive internet regulation regime.  Perhaps airheaded latenight comedians like Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver find that prospect soothing, but nobody else should.

“The United States has turned the page on the failed broadband policies of the Obama Administration,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced this week.  “By getting government out of the way,” he added, “internet speeds are up 40%, the digital divide is closing across rural America, and the U.S. now has the world’s largest deployment of next-generation 5G networks.”  Carr continued, “There’s a lot of common ground on net neutrality, but this bill studiously avoids it.  It elevates the partisan politics of Title II over widely supported rules of the road, and would turn back the clock on the progress America is making,” he concluded.

Wise words.   We all want net neutrality, but heavy-handed federal regulation of internet service is precisely the opposite.   We’ve already witnessed the unwelcome consequences of that scheme, as well as the beneficial consequences of reversing it under the new FCC leadership.  House Democrats’ legislation must be swiftly rejected accordingly.

 

 

April 10th, 2019 at 2:27 pm
Image of the Day: Three Cheers for Capitalism
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Think a dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to?  Think again.  Let’s hear it for capitalism and the underappreciated progress that it brings:

Three Cheers for Capitalism

Three Cheers for Capitalism

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