Author Archive
November 20th, 2015 at 9:55 am
In Other News, ObamaCare Is Now a Slow-Motion Disaster
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

As ObamaCare enters the real world and departs Barack Obama’s “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” fantasy world, it is already proving a slow-motion disaster for Americans.  This week, The Wall Street Journal featured a front-page article entitled “Rising Rates Pose Challenge for Health Law,” and the news is grim:

Insurers have raised premiums steeply for the most popular plans at the same time they have boosted out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance in many of their offerings.  The companies attribute the moves in part to the high cost of some customers they are gaining under the law, which doesn’t allow them to bar clients with existing health conditions.  The result is that many people can’t avoid paying more for insurance in 2016 simply by shopping around – and those who try risk landing in a plan with fewer doctors and skimpier coverage.”

The report proceeds to describe the magnitude with greater specificity, and it is astonishing:

Premiums for individual plans offered by the dominant local insurers are rising almost everywhere for 2016, typically by double-digit percentage increases, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of plan data in 34 states where the site sells insurance.  More than half of the midrange ’silver’ plans are boosting the out-of-pocket costs enrollees must pay, while more than 80% of the less-expensive ‘bronze’ plans are doing so.”

Meanwhile, a new Gallup survey released this week shows that the percentage of Americans rating their healthcare quality as excellent or good has plummeted from 62% in 2010 when ObamaCare was enacted to 53% now.  The survey also reveals that the percentage who are satisfied with healthcare costs has actually declined from 26% in 2009 to 21% today.

As experience with ObamaCare increases with implementation, the situation promises to get worse by the day.  Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi passed, now we’re staring at the reality of what was in it.

November 17th, 2015 at 9:47 am
Poll: Just 15% of Military Personnel Hold Favorable Opinion of Hillary Clinton
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Year after year, the public rates the U.S. military the most trusted and popular institution in American life.  Now, at a moment in which the military may play an increasingly vital role in protecting us against growing terrorist threats and and increasingly restive antagonists like Russia and China, a new poll reveals that Hillary Clinton’s standing among military personnel can only be described as atrocious:

Hillary Clinton is still in line to win the Democratic Party’s nomination to be the next commander in chief, but few Americans in the military have a good impression of her.  A new Rally Point/Rasmussen Reports national survey of active and retired military personnel finds that only 15% have a favorable impression of Clinton, with just three percent (3%) who view the former Secretary of State very favorably. Clinton is seen unfavorably by 81%, including 69% who share a very unfavorable impression of her.”

For someone applying for the job of Commander in Chief, that is an ominous sign, and one that may receive increasing attention as the 2016 election approaches.

November 16th, 2015 at 2:31 pm
Obama Shows More Anger Over Alleged Anti-Muslim Discrimination by Republicans Than Toward ISIS
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Barack Obama, the man who once dismissed ISIS “junior varsity” and labeled it “contained” mere hours before Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris, held a press conference this morning while attending the G-20 summit in Turkey.

It is worth watching in its entirety, if for no other reason than that he was forced to confront reporters challenging him about his pronouncements regarding ISIS and his anti-terrorism policies.  Most notable, however, is the fact that Obama, as usual, maintains a listless, detached, dispassionate, cold demeanor when discussing radical Islamic terrorism and the acts it undertakes.  But note his sudden change in tone, how animated and forceful he becomes when he shifts his focus toward fellow American political figures whom he accuses of anti-Islamic bigotry.  Would that Obama demonstrated the same hostility toward America’s overseas enemies as he does fellow Americans who happen to hold different political points of view.

It’s increasingly difficult for anyone to deny that Obama directs his disgust more toward fellow Americans than he does foreign terrorism.

November 13th, 2015 at 9:38 am
NY Times: Obama Years Have Devastated His Own Party
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Throughout Barack Obama’s tenure, we’ve understandably delighted in highlighting the “Reverse Midas” touch of this man who openly aspired to become a transformative president on the level of Ronald Reagan.  In a number of ways, he has actually accomplished that, although not in the way he had hoped.  From driving down trust in government to record lows to helping elect Republicans at the national and state levels with his unpopular behavior, Obama has indeed been transformative.

Today, The New York Times details the degree to which Obama has devastated his own party from within:

“While Mr. Obama’s 2008 election helped usher in a political resurgence for Democrats, the president today presides over a shrinking party whose control of elected offices at the state and local levels has declined precipitously.  In January, Republicans will occupy 32 of the nation’s governorships, 10 more than they did in 2009.  Democratic losses in state legislatures under Mr. Obama rank among the worst in the last 115 years, with 816 Democratic lawmakers losing their jobs and Republican control of legislatures doubling since the president took office – more seats lost than under any president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.  ’Republicans have more chambers today than they have ever had in the history of our party,’ said Tim Storey, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.”

That devastation extends beyond the state level, as the report explains:

It has also meant a hollowing out of the roster of potential Democratic candidates for major races…  The absence of up-and-coming Democrats is evident in Washington, where the party leadership in Congress consists largely of aging veterans.  The average age of the three top Democratic leaders in the House is 75, while the three most senior Republican leaders – with the new Speaker of the House, Paul D. Ryan – average 48 years old.  There are a handful of young, ambitious members of the Democratic caucus, especially in the House, but it may be years before they are ready to play a bigger role on the national stage.”

So Barack:  mission accomplished?

November 9th, 2015 at 1:56 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Broadcast Lineup
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CST to 6:00 p.m. CST (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST) 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 CST/5:00 pm EST:  Craig Shirley, New York Times bestselling author and president of Shirley & Bannister Public Affairs – “Last Act: The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan”;

4:30 CST/5:30 pm EST:  Ike Brannon, president of Capitol Policy Analytics – Puerto Rico;

5:00 CST/6:00 pm EST:  Patrick Hedger, policy director of American Encore – Keystone XL Pipeline Project;

5:15 CST/6:15 pm EST:  Sarah Westwood, watchdog reporter for the Washington Examiner – Ben Carson and West Point; and

5:30 CST/6:30 pm EST:  Ben Boychuk, CFIF’s contributing writer, associate editor for City Journal, and columnist for the Sacramento Bee and ScrippsHoward – Common Core.

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

November 9th, 2015 at 10:11 am
TechNotes: Latest Evidence Surrendering U.S. Oversight of Internet Is a Dangerous Prospect
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

CFIF opposes the Obama Administration’s effort to surrender longstanding U.S. oversight over the Internet to the so-called “global community” for many of the same reasons that surrendering any form of U.S. authority to international groups like the United Nations is a dangerous idea.

L. Gordon Crovitz, The Wall Street Journal’s weekly “Information Age” columnist, also opposes the prospective transfer of authority, and has emphasized the particular threat of Internet censorship by nations like China and Russia as a primary reason.  In today’s column entitled “China’s ‘Soft’ Power Exposed,” Crovitz highlights just the latest evidence justifying such fears.  Namely, witness the covert effort by the state-controlled China Radio International to control American radio stations:

Last week it came to light that Beijing’s state-run China Radio International secretly owns 60% of a U.S. company, G&E Studio, which leases stations and airtime in Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco, among other cities.  Beijing uses similar subterfuges in Europe and Australia.  China went to great lengths to hide its role.  Reuters broke the story after deploying 39 reporters to investigate in 26 countries, including the review of ’scores of regulatory, zoning, property, tax, immigration and corporate records, including radio station purchase contracts and lease agreements.”

So why does that matter?  Because it parallels other ongoing efforts to censor content from the global Internet, including control of .xyz domain addresses and words like “freedom” or “democracy” or even “1989,” which was the year in which the Tiananmen massacre occurred.  Fortunately, as we have highlighted, there’s something Congress can do.  And as Crovitz concludes, “Congress should ask the U.S. Commerce Department to explain why it would allow Icann – which it oversees for now via a contract intended to protect the open Internet – to become the global enforcer of the Chinese regime’s censorship against Chinese citizens.  China’s plan to censor Web addresses highlights the folly of the Obama Administration’s plan to end U.S. protection for the Internet.”

Good advice, and we agree.

November 2nd, 2015 at 9:37 am
WSJ’s O’Grady: “Puerto Rico Doesn’t Need Bankruptcy”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

We at CFIF have steadfastly opposed the effort by some to upend American bankruptcy laws in order to allow Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy.  ”American taxpayers,” we believe, “should not be saddled with yet another bailout and force Americans saving for retirement to take a financial hit.”  Rather, “Congressional Republicans should guide Puerto Rico into doing the right thing:  trim spending and taxes, stand up to unions and undertake badly-needed governing reforms.”

We’re therefore happy to find in this morning’s Wall Street Journal that weekly “Americas” columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady agrees:

[T]here is little evidence that Puerto Rico faces a humanitarian crisis any more than the heavily indebted states of California and Illinois.  And as to the deteriorating fiscal environment, it seems to be largely the work of Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who has been signaling markets that default is a policy goal.  As Carlos Colon de Armas, a professor of finance at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Puerto Rico, told me last week, ‘If, instead of doing everything it can do in order not to pay, the government of Puerto Rico were doing everything it could do in order to pay, things would be very different.’”

The answers to Puerto Rico’s situation, as is the case with fiscally irresponsible states like Illinois and even the federal government itself, lie with the tried-and-true concepts of fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, fewer regulations and respect for established rule of law and contractual expectations.

October 30th, 2015 at 10:06 am
CFIF in Wall Street Journal: Gov’t Shouldn’t Pick Winners in Music Creator/Digital Broadcaster Negotiations
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

This morning, The Wall Street Journal kindly included CFIF’s take on the ongoing compensation rate negotiations between music creators and digital broadcasters.  Simply put, our position is that the federal government shouldn’t be in the business of favoring one side or the other.  In an optimal world, the free market would dictate rates and the federal government would play no role.  Because current law mandates that federal regulators at the Library of Congress determine the rate that music creators receive when digital broadcasters play their songs, however, it is critical that regulators remain neutral rather than unfairly favoring one side or the other:

We agree with Bartlett Cleland that free-market negotiation between music creators and Internet broadcasters, not federal regulators, should optimally determine broadcast compensation rates.  Until that time, however, we respectfully disagree that regulators should artificially favor the streaming services industry.  Digital broadcasters possess no inherently superior right to their business model than do musicians, but Mr. Cleland’s suggested course unjustifiably favors the former over the latter.  If anything, artists possess the superior claim, since without their creations digital radio wouldn’t have that product to offer consumers.  And if streaming services consider payment requirements excessive, then they can adjust what they charge advertisers or subscribers to sustain their model.

The federal government should not be in the business of playing favorites.

Timothy Lee

Center for Individual Freedom, Alexandria, Va.

October 16th, 2015 at 9:52 am
Denmark: Not the Socialist Paradise Bernie Sanders, Leftists Conjure
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Whereas the term “socialist” was once an epithet, among today’s political left it is a badge of honor, despite socialism’s uninterrupted record of failure across the globe and over an entire century of experimentation.  As we’ve observed, devotees typically offer Scandinavian nations like Denmark as exemplars, in violation of their professed fealty to “multiculturalism” and “diversity.”  But there’s another problem for Bernie Sanders and other leftists who constantly offer Denmark as a model for us to follow:  It’s not the socialist paradise that they imagine.

In a timely commentary this week entitled “Bernie Sanders’s Denmark Comments Show He Doesn’t Even Understand His Own ‘Socialism,’” National Review’s Kevin Williamson summarizes the flaws in their effort well:

[Y]ou probably missed the exchange between Mrs. Clinton and Senator Sanders at last night’s debate, when she lectured him that the United States isn’t Denmark and he responded with a rousing defense of the Danish model.  Never mind, for the moment, that neither of these batty old geezers has the foggiest idea of what’s going on in Denmark, or in the other Nordic countries.  Denmark, like Sweden before it, has been engaged in a long campaign of reforming its famously generous welfare state.  The country’s current prime minister is the leader of a center-right party, which, strangely enough, goes by the name ‘Left,’ Venstre.  (You might even call it libertarian:  it’s former longtime leader wrote a book bearing the positively Nozickian title ‘From Social State to Minimal State.’)  Denmark has been marching in the direction exactly opposite socialism for some time.  Our friends at the Heritage Foundation rank its economy the eleventh most free in the world, one place ahead of the United States, reflecting Denmark’s strong property rights, relative freedom from corruption, low public debt, freedom of trade and investment, etc.  Don’t tell Senator Sanders, but Denmark’s corporate tax rate is a heck of a lot lower than our own.”

More accurate examples of socialism at work include Venezuela, where consumers endure shortages of such things as toilet paper, or increasingly dystopic France.  Regardless, leftists’ image of a Danish socialist utopia simply isn’t accurate.

October 13th, 2015 at 4:25 pm
Congress Stands Up Against Obama’s Attempt to Surrender Global Internet Oversight
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In March of 2014, the Obama Administration foolishly announced its intent to relinquish oversight of Internet domain name functions to the so-called “global stakeholder community.”

That is a dangerous idea for innumerable reasons, as observers like L. Gordon Crovitz of The Wall Street Journal have chronicled well.  Among other risks, consider the piracy threat that surrendering U.S. oversight poses to critical American artistic industries like music and film.  Online piracy already constitutes an enormous problem to those world-leading industries, and allowing Internet governance to drift into a Hobbesian global abyss would only exacerbate that.  Or consider the censorship threat, as Crovitz recently referenced:

Since the launch of the commercial Internet, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann, has operated under a contract from the U.S. Commerce Department.  American oversight freed engineers and developers to run the networks without political pressure from other governments.  China and Russia can censor the Internet in their own countries, but not globally because Washington would block tampering with the “root zone” of Web addresses.”

Fortunately, some in Congress aren’t sitting passively as the Obama Administration attempt yet another international capitulation.  In a recent letter to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, Senators Charles Grassley (R – Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R – Texas) and Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R -Virginia) and Darrell Issa (R – California) remind the Administration that it cannot dispose of U.S. property without Congressional consent:

The Internet as we know it has evolved from a network infrastructure first created by Department of Defense researchers.  One key component of that infrastructure is the root zone file, which the federal government currently designates as ‘a national IT asset.’  Creation of the root zone file was funded by the American taxpayer and coordinated by the Department of Defense, and the file has remained under United States control ever since.  Under Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution, Congress has the exclusive power ‘to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.’”

Surrender of Internet oversight to a “global community” increasingly dominated by the likes of China, Russia, Iran and other rogues poses a terrible risk.  Fortunately, our Constitution presents a roadblock to the Obama Administration’s latest folly.  Even more fortunately, we have people like Senator Grassley, Senator Cruz, Congressman Goodlatte and Congressman Issa ready and willing to defend it.

October 9th, 2015 at 10:28 am
New Poll: Americans Who Say Federal Gov’t Has “Too Much Power” Matches Record High
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

So it turns out that Barack Obama is succeeding in his effort to become a transformative president in the manner of Ronald Reagan after all.  Unfortunately for him, that’s because his presidency has reinforced rather than reversed Reagan’s axiom that “government isn’t the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”  Think of him as a Midas in reverse.

This morning, Gallup released a new survey on the question that it has asked Americans every year since 2002:  ”Do you think the federal government has too much power, has about the right amount of power or has too little power?”  Hardened by almost seven years under Obama, the number who say that it has too much power maintains its record high:

The 60% recorded in this survey ties the previous high from 2013 for the question, which Gallup has asked annually since 2002.  The solid majorities in 2013, 2014 and this year saying the federal government is too powerful differ significantly from the 51% Gallup measured in 2012.  That poll was conducted in the days after the Democratic National Convention that helped propel Barack Obama to a re-election win that year.  During President Obama’s first year in office in 2009, the percentage of Americans concerned with the power of the federal government was 51%.  By his second year in office, 2010, that percentage climbed to 59%, after the federal government passed the Affordable Care Act.”

Perhaps the worst news of all for Obama, his apologists and dead-end leftists is that the groups accounting for the record high are Democrats, moderates and liberals.  Conservatives, libertarians and Republicans have regularly responded that the federal government possesses too much power.  ”But now,” Gallup reports, “a majority of moderates (57%), as well as independents (64%), share that view.”

To the extent that Bill Clinton’s presidency was successful, it was because of his famous admission after electoral defeats that “The era of big government is over.”  Obama attempted a more hardened course, but that has only made his own presidency less successful and proved the wisdom of Clinton’s reluctant observation.

October 7th, 2015 at 8:40 am
FCC Shouldn’t Force Gov’t-Approved Design for Set-Top Cable and Satellite Boxes
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Last night, like many nights, our family experienced what more and more American families experience when it comes to video entertainment at home:  option overload.  Not that this is a bad thing, of course.  Who wants to return to the days of three major networks dictating the limited number of things we can watch?  Today we enjoy a wealth of options unimaginable even five years ago.

Despite our ever-increasing wealth of options, some continue to ignore reality and push for government-imposed regulations that will only interrupt continued innovation and future choice for consumers.

These parties are urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to revisit an embarrassing chapter in its regulatory past to force a government-approved design for the set-top boxes that allow cable and satellite TV customers to view programming.  The FCC’s previous regulation of these devices cost consumers tens of millions of dollars, and never created the market in alternative set-top boxes envisioned by regulators.  Specifically, some companies who would like to see the FCC engage in another attempt to “create” a market for their set-top products – products consumers stubbornly refuse to demand — are pushing for FCC regulations that would define the technologies cable and satellite companies use in manufacturing their set-top boxes.

The video marketplace has never had more choices in the number of devices and the number of platforms over which consumers can view video products.  There are gadgets and apps available for any number of devices to view any number of offerings, and yet there are those who would lock in the very set-top boxes that may be on their way out if the government would only leave the market to its own devices.

The FCC’s Downloadable Security Technology Advisory Committee (DSTAC, pronounced “DEE-stack”) issued a report in August which made no collective recommendation for any new FCC technology mandate on set-top boxes.  The panel reported what most younger video viewers have known for some time, namely, that there is “wide diversity” in networks, security, and communication technology choices across all pay TV platforms.

Although there is no doubt that interested parties will call for the government to regulate technology for set-top boxes, we urge the Commission to let consumers in the thriving market for video services sort out what devices and what technologies best serve their budgets, tastes, and viewing preferences.  To have the government lock in any present technology means cutting off future innovations.

We also need to respect the interests of content providers who have a right to negotiate the terms under which their content can be viewed.  And here again, apps can serve an important advancement for consumers and content providers, as the services provided by apps have exploded over the past few years as rights become available from content providers.

Simply put, consumers today are viewing video content using Amazon, Apple TV, Netflix, Roku, Cable and Satellite Apps, smartphones, tablets and web browsers.  The video market is thriving without government regulation and intervention.

Let’s hope the FCC can help video consumers by resisting the temptation to regulate in this exciting and rapidly changing world.

October 2nd, 2015 at 9:39 am
Is the U.S. a Particularly Violent Nation? No. Five Must-Read Graphs Rebut 2nd Amendment Restrictionists
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Is the U.S. a particularly violent nation, one that stands as an outlier in terms of murder rates or gun violence?  No.  Unfortunately, Second Amendment restrictionists like Barack Obama hastily trot out that tired claim whenever they attempt to politicize the latest highly-publicized crime to advance their agenda.

The actual numbers tell a far different story.

The U.S. is by far the world’s leader in terms of firearms per capita, but its murder and violent crime rates aren’t particular outliers.  Fortunately, the Crime Prevention Research Center provides a helpful set of five data graphs illustrating these facts in vivid terms that even the most hardened Second Amendment opponents can understand (even if they won’t admit it).  It provides an invaluable and instant rebuttal to their attempts to spread misinformation and cliches, so please share it far and wide.

Leftists constantly claim fealty to “science,” except on issues like Second Amendment rights and U.S. crime rates when the data completely undermines their agenda.  Fortunately, groups like the CPRC help set the record straight.

September 30th, 2015 at 4:23 pm
GroupM, the Leading Global Media Investment Group, Announces Important Anti-Piracy Effort
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

This month, GroupM, the world’s leading media investment management company, announced that it will now require its media partners advertising on websites to receive anti-piracy certification from the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG).  This new initiative will go far to keep its clients’ advertisements off of rogue websites, as GroupM summarized in its announcement:

‘We’re in the business of giving the world’s most valuable brands marketing advantages with smart media strategies.  This inherently means we’re vigilant for clients’ brand safety.  Our work with TAG in the development and full adoption of anti-piracy guidelines is a major leap forward,’ said John Montgomery, Chairman, GroupM Connect, North America and Co-Chair of the TAG Anti-Piracy Working Group.  ’With IAB, 4As, and ANA, we’ve worked for years to make the digital ecosystem more trustworthy.  Fighting pirates of copyrighted content required every ounce of our tenacity and ingenuity, but with the advent of TAG’s Brand Integrity Program Against Piracy, we have powerful new tools and safeguards.’”

Such advertising on piracy sites accounted for an estimated $209 million in ill-gotten revenue in 2014 alone, so this constitutes a significant, voluntary private sector milestone.  Summarizing the nature of the problem, Mr. Montgomery observed:

There’s no brand in the world that wants their advertising to appear on a pirate site or wants to be seen as supporting piracy, even inadvertently…  A brand’s entire reputation is at stake – something that they’ve been nurturing for decades or, in some cases, centuries.  The people who create pirate sites are the same ones who perpetrate clickbait fraud – they’re the ones who spread malware and create armies of bots that generate most of the automated clicks in the business…  Which is why being worried about ad fraud without also being aware of the role piracy plays in its perpetration is like fretting over a flood in your apartment while neglecting to turn off the tap.”

Hopefully, other ad industry players will follow GroupM’s lead in utilizing TAG, but CFIF and anyone who supports the rule of law and property rights – including intellectual property (IP) rights – owe them an enormous “thank you.”  Accordingly, please click here to join us in thanking them.

September 29th, 2015 at 3:45 pm
Progressive Policy Insitute Agrees: FCC Overregulation Threatens Private Internet Investment
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

As we have consistently highlighted, overregulation by Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) poses a grave threat to private investment in Internet service, which has thrived over two decades during both Democratic (Clinton) and Republican (Bush) presidencies because of a deliberately light regulatory approach.

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), in a report released this week, agrees.

In its fourth annual report on investment by American companies entitled “U.S. Investment Heroes of 2015:  Why Innovation Drives Investment,” PPI ranks the top 25 non-financial U.S. companies by their amount of domestic capital spending for 2014.  Notably, the survey highlights the danger that overregulation poses to investment and innovation, particularly in the telecommunications sector:

In the telecom industry, pro-investment policy should support ‘light touch’ regulation.  Here we have the makings of a natural experiment, since the FCC departed from this approach last February by imposing Title II regulations on broadband service.  So far in the first half of 2015, the telecom companies on our list are spending at an 11% slower pace than a year earlier.”

This offers yet another ominous warning, one that cannot be dismissed by Obama or Title II apologists as some sort of right-wing hit job.  The Clinton Administration commenced the regulatory “light touch” approach that PPI’s report references, which continued through the Bush Administration as the Internet remained one of the few bright spots in an otherwise troubled economy since 2008.  The PPI survey shows who the real extremists are, and thankfully offers a bipartisan roadmap for continued Internet investment and innovation:  less federal regulation, not more.

September 28th, 2015 at 2:40 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 p.m. EDT:  Francis Rooney, Former Ambassador to the Holy See – Pope Francis’ First Visit to the United States;

4:30 CDT/5:30 p.m. EDT:  Evan Moore, Senior Policy Analyst at the Foreign Policy Initiative – U.S.-China Relations;

5:00 CDT/6:00 p.m. EDT:  Sarah Westwood, Watchdog Reporter for the Washington Examiner – Hillary Clinton E-Mails; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 p.m. EDT:  Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President for Legal and Public Affairs – Should the U.S. Emulate Europe on the Legal and Economic Fronts?

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

September 22nd, 2015 at 10:12 am
Reverse Midas: Another Obama Legacy Is Record Distrust of Federal Government
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In recent weeks, as we enter the final 500 days of his presidency, we have periodically returned to the issue of Obama’s emerging legacy.  On both domestic and foreign policy, his administration has been one of unprecedented failure, which we take no glee in saying because in so doing he has harmed the country.

On that issue, however, a new Gallup survey highlights another one of Obama’s more notable failures.  Namely, the number of Americans who believe that the federal government poses “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens” has reached a record high.  Accordingly, the fact that the man who set out to reverse Ronald Reagan’s axiom that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem” has through his own actions brought Americans’ fear and distrust of the federal government to record highs.  Through his inexorable and at times lawless agenda of increased federal government power, regulation, spending, deficits and encroachment into our lives, he has paradoxically validated Reagan’s belief and undermined his own.

Although Obama’s impact on America’s wellbeing at home and abroad has been disastrous (quick – name a single significant place in the world that is better off today than six years ago), at least it provides the opportunity for Americans to understand the cause-and-effect relationship of bigger government, more regulation, higher spending, higher taxes and weaker foreign policy and our declining national health.  As Gallup notes, “the persistent finding in recent years that half of the population views the government as an immediate threat underscores the degree to which the role and power of government remains a key issue of our time.”

Hopefully, Americans quickly internalize the opposite lesson that Reagan provided, and act accordingly.

September 17th, 2015 at 11:35 am
Peachtree City, GA: Stop City Council from Wasting Taxpayer Dollars on Municipal Broadband Network Boondoggle
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

The Peachtree City, Georgia city council plans to vote TONIGHT on whether to use taxpayer dollars to build a Municipal Broadband Network for businesses.  This will cost millions of your hard-earned tax dollars and put the city’s bond rating and other important services at risk.  Tell Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and the Peachtree City Council Members TODAY that you do NOT want your tax dollars used to build a municipal broadband network. That is something the private sector can and does provide.

A few important facts to share with your Council Member:

  • Municipal Broadband Networks (also known as Government-Owned Networks or GONs) inevitably cost much more to build and operate than policymakers assume or  realize. [New York Law School study]
  • Some cities have been driven so far into debt because of their GON that they’ve sold them at huge losses, yet taxpayers were still left to foot the bill. [Provo, Utah]
  • Monthly bills are 20% to 50% higher for consumers using GONs than if they used a private broadband provider, according to the American Action Forum.
  • Peachtree City simply has better things to spend its money on than a service the private sector ably provides.
  • 75 % to 80 % of all GONs fail to make an annual profit. [WiFi Waste: The Disaster of Municipal Communications Network, by Prof. Ron Rizzuto, Univ. of Denver]
  1. Our Teacher salaries are 9% below the national average
  2. The Peachtree city council has already voted this year to INCREASE TAXES on residents, collecting an extra $645,000
  • Private sector broadband providers have invested more than $1.4 trillion into our nation’s broadband infrastructure and they are investing more every day. [US Telecom Broadband Investment]

Costly Municipal Broadband Failures

Burlington Telecom, VT

  • Initial Capital Investment: $33.5 Million
  • Current Debt: $17 Million
  • Potential subscriber pool is 39,000 households yet just 4,000 have joined the network.


  • Initial Capital Investment: $135 Million
  • Current Debt: $500 Million
  • Potential subscriber pool if 62,000 households yet just 8,200 have joined the network.

MI-Connection, NC

  • Initial Capital Investment: $92.5 Million
  • Current Debt: $69.5 Million
  • Potential subscriber pool is 88,000 households yet just 16,000 have joined the network.

CDE Lightband, TN

  • Initial Capital Investment: $16 Million
  • Current Debt: $20.5 Million
  • Potential subscriber pool is 146,000 households yet just 18,000 have joined the network.

Contact Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and the City Council TODAY!

Group email to Mayor, Council & City Manager:

Mayor Vanessa Fleisch

Twitter: @vanessafleisch


Post 1 Council member Eric Imker


Post 2 Council member Mike King


Post 3 Council member Kim Learnerd


Post 4 Council member Terry Ernst


September 14th, 2015 at 2:58 pm
TechNotes: “ObamaNet Is Hurting Broadband”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Throughout the “Net Neutrality” debate over whether the federal government should begin regulating Internet service under 1930s Depression-era laws intended for copper wire telephone service, we and others have warned that Obama Administration efforts to impose such regulation would dangerously stifle private investment and innovation in the telecommunications sector.

In his weekly “Information Age” column today, L. Gordon Crovitz highlights how quickly our somber prediction has proven true.  In “Obamanet Is Hurting Broadband,” Crovitz summarizes how “The predictable effect of more regulation has arrived:  Investment is plummeting”:

New data show the Obama Administration’s decision to regulate the Internet as a utility has already caused a steep drop in Internet Investment…  [I]n the first half of 2015, as the new regulations were being crafted in Washington, major ISPs reduced capital expenditure by an average of 12%, while the overall industry average dropped 8%.  Capital spending was down 29% at AT&T and Charter Communications, 10% at Cablevision, and 4% at Verizon. (Comcast increased capital spending, but on a new home-entertainment operating system, not broadband.)  Until now, spending had fallen year-to-year only twice in the history of broadband:  in 2001 after the dot-com bust, and in 2009 after the recession.”  [emphasis added]

Since the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the Internet has thrived and played a central role in maintaining America’s status as the most prosperous, most entrepreneurial and most innovative nation in human history.  That didn’t happen by accident, nor was it due to coincidence.  Rather, it occurred precisely because the federal government during both the Clinton and Bush administrations refrained from suffocating it with destructive and politically-motivated overregulation.  But Obama apparently thought he had a better idea.  Unfortunately, we’re already witnessing the regrettable result.

Meanwhile, Gallup just released its annual survey of public approval of various sectors of American life.  Standing at or near the top once again are the computer industry, the Internet industry and the telephone industry, all with high net positives.  And at the bottom, once again, is the federal government, with an atrocious -29% net negative.

All of this suggests that we would likely be better off if the computer/Internet/telecom industries regulated the federal government, rather than vice-versa.

September 14th, 2015 at 2:40 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:  Riley Walters, Research Assistant at the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy at The Heritage Foundation – Domestic Terror Attacks and Plots Since 9/11;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  David Adesnik, Policy Director at the Foreign Policy Initiative – Iran Nuclear Deal;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Ben Boychuk, CFIF Contributing Editor, writer, and political commentator – The American Political Scene; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Sally Pipes, President, CEO and Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Health Care Policy at the Pacific Research Institute – Mega-Merger Madness in the Health Insurance Industry and the State of VA Care.

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