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November 30th, 2018 at 9:28 am
Image of the Day: So U.S. Manufacturing Wasn’t Dead After All
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People like Barack Obama, rationalizing his unsatisfactory economic stewardship, assured us that manufacturing was a thing of the past, and not coming back.  Well, a funny thing happened following his departure:

 

Barack Was Wrong

Barack Was Wrong

November 26th, 2018 at 5:04 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Show 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 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: Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies the Cato Institute and Editor-in-Chief, Cato Supreme Court Review – SCOTUS Happenings;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT:  Ana Quintana, Senior Policy Analyst, Latin America and the Western Hemisphere, The Heritage Foundation – The Migrant Caravan;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Carrie Severino, Chief Counsel and Policy Director of the Judicial Crisis Network – Judicial Nominations in the Senate;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT:  Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment – President Trump’s Unfilled Presidentially Appointed Positions;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Craig Rucker, Executive Director, Co-Founder for a Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) – COP 24, The UN Conference on Climate Change;

5:15 CDT/6:15 pm EDT:  Raheel Raza, Clarion Project Advisory Board Member and Founding Member of the Muslim Reformer Movement – Khashoggi Affair and Saudi Arabia-U.S. Relations; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  William J. Conti, Partner at Baker & Hostetler: Inside Washington – the Trump/Roberts Exchange and the Judiciary and Pelosi/Democrat Leadership Elections.

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

November 19th, 2018 at 11:14 am
Quote of the Day: John Stossel On the Dangers of Government Drug Price Controls
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In our recent weekly Liberty Update commentary entitled “On Pharmaceuticals, HHS Contemplates Disastrous New Price Controls,” we explain how government price controls undermine intellectual property (IP) rights, stifle American innovation and ultimately punish consumers in the form of fewer new pharmaceuticals.  We therefore encourage the Trump Administration to rethink a toxic new proposal along those lines, and instead pursue a course more in accord with its generally excellent stewardship of our economy and markets to date.

In his latest weekly commentary entitled “Not Healthy to Be Naive,” John Stossel agrees, and in a nice blurb explains the real-world consequences of drug price controls:

[G]overnment-run systems save money by freeloading off American innovation.  American drug companies, funded by American customers, fund most of the world’s research and development of pharmaceuticals.  New drugs and devices are expensive, so sometimes in Britain, says Pope, ‘whenever a new drug comes on the market that can save lives, the government just doesn’t have the funds to pay for it.’

Patients, accustomed to accepting whatever government hands out, don’t even know about the advances available elsewhere.  Single-payer systems also save money by rationing care.  Hence the long waiting times for treatments declared ‘nonessential’ in Canada, Britain and, for that matter, at American veterans hospitals.”

Hopefully, the Trump Administration is listening and corrects course.

November 9th, 2018 at 9:16 am
Image of the Day: Meanwhile, On the Economy…
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While attention can be distracted by shiny objects elsewhere, a nice new illustration of the U.S. economy’s revitalization beginning in 2017, as the procession of deregulation and tax-cuts revitalized an economic cycle previously on weary legs:

An Economic Surge

An Economic Surge

 

October 30th, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Image of the Day: Under Trump, the Poor Get… Richer
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From the U.S. Senate Joint Economic Committee, a stark illustration of the sharp increase in wage and salary growth for full-time employees in the bottom 10% of earners:

The Poor Get Richer

The Poor Get Richer

 

 

October 25th, 2018 at 2:09 pm
HHS Prepares to Commit Unforced Error On Drug Price Disclosure Mandate
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Healthcare costs, including pharmaceutical costs, remain a legitimate concern.  But the Trump Administration Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is about to commit a needless unforced error.

The issue in question is an effort to force pharmaceutical companies to announce “list price” of drugs that they advertise.

A similar effort was recently introduced as legislation in Congress by Senator Dick Durbin (D – Illinois), which is itself proof of the wrongfulness of the idea.  A coalition of conservative and libertarian voices, including CFIF, stopped Senator Durbin’s effort.  But for some reason the HHS announced intent to impose the mandate via regulation, reminiscent of Barack Obama’s “pen and phone” manner of presiding.

Here’s why this is a terrible idea.

First, a drug’s “list price” is more likely to confuse consumers than enlighten them.  The reason is that what consumers actually pay for a drug is almost always very different, and much lower, than its list price.  Most patients’ drugs are subsidized by co-pays or co-insurance programs, whether via Medicare, Medicaid or insurance companies.  Insurance companies themselves typically don’t even pay the full list price, since they also receive various rebates and discounts from pharmaceutical sellers.  Overall, approximately 9 out of 10 consumers pay below the technical list price.  Consequently, compelling advertisers to state the list price in ads would mislead consumers into assuming that their out-of-pocket cost would be higher than they price they’d actually pay.

That hardly advances the goal of informing consumers.

An even more fundamental problem with the contemplated HHS mandate is that it would violate the First Amendment by compelling speech.

Under First Amendment free speech application, including commercial speech, courts strictly scrutinize any effort by government to force private citizens or entities to what it wants them to say.  Only where the compelled speech is purely factual and non-controversial will allow exceptions to the general prohibition against compulsory words.  As noted above, a drug’s list price doesn’t qualify as purely factual for purposes of informing consumers, because consumers rarely pay that price.  Nor does the HHS proposal qualify as non-controversial, for obvious reasons.

Accordingly, a government attempt to force advertisers to state prices that are higher than what almost all consumers actually pay can’t withstand First Amendment scrutiny, and will be struck down when challenged in court.

Finally, the HHS doesn’t even possess authority to impose this proposed mandate.  That authority under Congressional statute instead lies with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Proponents of the HHS mandate assert that the Social Security Act provides a loophole to force this proposal upon the pharmaceutical market, but that too won’t withstand court scrutiny.

For all of these reasons, the HHS proposal to engage in compulsory speech, speech that isn’t even accurate or informative, is a head-scratcher.  Hopefully it will reconsider this ill-advised effort sooner rather than later, and pursue more effective ways of reducing pharmaceutical and healthcare costs.

October 22nd, 2018 at 10:19 am
Image of the Day: Tax Cuts Bring Dollars Back to the U.S.
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From our friends who do such great work at the Tax Foundation, take a look at how tax cuts have led to companies bringing back more cash to the U.S.:

Tax Cuts Spur Repatriation

Tax Cuts Spur Repatriation

October 15th, 2018 at 10:28 am
Shattering the Decade of “New Normal” Economic Sluggishness
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Consumer spending accounts for approximately two-thirds of the U.S. economy, and this helpful chart from the U.S. Senate’s Joint Economic Committee illustrates why our economy suddenly turbocharged over the past two years from its decade of sluggishness that we were told was the “new normal”:

Turbocharging the U.S. Consumer Economy

Turbocharging the U.S. Consumer Economy

October 8th, 2018 at 3:23 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 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:  Steve Bucci, Former Military Assistant to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Former Green Beret, and Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation National Security & Foreign Policy Institute – Cybersecurity and the Mid-Term Elections;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT:  Peter Murphy, Vice President at the Invest in Education Coalition – USA Workforce Tax Credit Act;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Thomas Jipping, Deputy Director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation – The Kavanaugh Confirmation and What’s Next;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT: Bryan Riley, Director of National Taxpayers Union’s Free Trade Initiative – NAFTA 2.0;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment – California and Net Neutrality;

5:15 CDT/6:15 pm EDT:  Myron Ebell, Director, Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute – United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  William J. Conti, Partner at Baker & Hostetler – Mid-Term Elections and 2020.

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

September 24th, 2018 at 1:06 pm
Image of the Day: Something Apparently Turbocharged U.S. Economic Sentiment in 2016
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From the left-leaning Pew Research Center, note how something caused the number of Americans responding that the state of our economy is good to turbocharge past the Europeans and Japanese around 2016.  Perhaps Paul Krugman of The New York Times has a theory.

Something Happened Around 2016

Something Happened Around 2016

September 18th, 2018 at 4:32 pm
Google and Other Politicized Organizations Target 2nd Amendment and Consumer Choice
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In recent months, Google has justifiably suffered heavy criticism for selectively acting as internet gatekeeper, deciding what Americans can and cannot view online.  Countless examples exist when the liberal Silicon Valley giant leveraged its  market power to censor along ideological lines, including:  banning the conservative blog The New York Conservative, hosted on Google Blogger, for opining on the trial of terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed;  demoting pro-Brexit/Euroskeptic websites by pushing them down in search results;  excluding Donald Trump from “presidential candidates” search;  and blocking free speech social network Gab from the Google Play Store, alleging violations of the company’s hate speech policy.

The latest revelation of Google’s partisan bias arrived in late July, when the company quietly shifted its Google Play policy to ban apps selling firearms and accessories.  That change went largely unreported, although TechCrunch stated, “Google takes an almost moral position with the addition of a ban of apps that ‘facilitate the sale of explosives, firearms, ammunition, or certain firearms accessories.’”   That maneuver follows an instance in which Apple did something similar last December.

Given the sheer market power of Apple and Google, their ideologically driven policy poses an incredibly damaging peril not only to consumers who utilize firearm-related apps, but also an entire industry – a completely legal one –  selling firearms or firearms accessories.

The inescapable conclusion is that Google seeks to censor viewpoints and entirely legal behavior that it disfavors out of existence.  A full month after Google’s policy was quietly implemented, Steve Urvan, CEO and CTO of GunBroker.com, received an email notification stating that the GunBroker.com app had been suspended and removed from Google Pay due to a “Violation of Dangerous Products policy.”  Google’s questionable decision to ban Gunbroker.com’s app raises an ominous specter about politicized and powerful corporations  attempting to socially engineer from the boardroom.

Google’s behavior joins a wave of social activism that increasingly pervades American companies and weakens Americans’ ability to purchase perfectly legal goods.  In April, Bank of America announced that it would abruptly discontinue banking services to firearms manufacturers that produce legal and popular AR-15-style rifles.  Mere months earlier, Citigroup announced a new U.S. commercial firearms policy precluding the company’s commercial and institutional clients, small business clients and credit card partners from selling any firearm to individuals under the age of 21, (even though the legal age remains 18).  It also refused to serve any business client manufacturing magazines exceeding ten rounds. Citigroup has also held preliminary discussions about potentially monitoring consumers’ gun purchases within their internal payment systems.

These alarming steps highlight an emerging trend of politicized and politically powerful activist businesses targeting perfectly legal behaviors of everyday Americans.  If the leadership of Bank of America, Citigroup and Google want to dictate consumer choices, that’s  certainly within their rights, although perhaps they’d be better off running for official office.  At the very least, they could be more honest with consumers about their shenanigans.

September 14th, 2018 at 10:00 am
Image of the Day: Big Government’s Reverse-Midas Touch
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From our friends at American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a vivid illustration of big government’s reverse-Midas touch — notice what all of these things have in common:

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Big Government:  Midas in Reverse

Big Government: Midas in Reverse

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September 10th, 2018 at 2:04 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 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:  Carol Greenlee, President and Managing Partner for Business Resource Group LLP and daughter of Charles Greenlee, and Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of “Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America” – Clemency Review and Pardons for the Groveland Four;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT:  Dr. Michael R. Strain, Director, Economic Policy Studies, John G. Searle Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute – Workers on Welfare;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  John Malcolm, Vice President, Institute for Constitutional Government, Director of the Meese Center for Legal & Judicial Studies and Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation – Kavanaugh Hearings;

5:15 CDT/6:15 pm EDT:  Leah Byers, Policy Analyst at the Civitas Institute – State Charitable Solicitation Programs and Privacy; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: William J. Conti, Partner at Baker & Hostetler – Mole in the White House, Midterm Elections and Nike/Kaepernick Ad.

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

September 8th, 2018 at 11:01 am
Image of the Day: Senator Corey Booker’s “Resistance”
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The funniest response yet to Senator Corey Booker’s (D – New Jersey) self-immolation during this week’s confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh:

Corey Booker:  So Brave

Corey Booker: So Brave

September 5th, 2018 at 1:34 pm
Image of the Day: Right Track/Wrong Track Improves Sharply Since 2016
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Somehow, it has escaped mainstream media attention that public satisfaction with America’s direction has jolted upward by almost 40%, from 26% to 36%, since January 2017:

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Right Track/Wrong Track Improves Dramatically Since January 2017

Right Track/Wrong Track Improves Dramatically Since January 2017

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August 27th, 2018 at 4:37 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Lineup
Posted by 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:  Angela Logomasini, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute – Plastic Straw Ban;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT:  Jason D. Delisle, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute – Student Loan Programs;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT:  Cleta Mitchell, Partner and Political Law Attorney at Foley & Lardner LLP – Mueller’s Partisan Witch Hunt?;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT:  Tori K. Whiting, Jay Van Andel Trade Economist, Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation: NAFTA;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT:  Diante Johnson, President of the Black Conservative Foundation – Advances President Trump and the GOP have made in the Black Community;

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT:  Robert M. McDowell, Former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission – Proposed T-Mobile and Sprint Merger; and

5:45 CDT/6:45 pm EDT:  Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs – Union Coffers Post SCOTUS Decision.

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

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August 24th, 2018 at 12:56 pm
Quote of the Day: From Obama Stagnation to Trump Acceleration
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Obama apologists desperately claim that the current economic acceleration is somehow attributable to him, never mind that the acceleration began as soon as the Trump Administration began reversing Obama policies by cutting taxes and reducing regulation.  In The Wall Street Journal today, two Arizona State University professors – Nobel laureate Edward Prescott and Lee Ohanian – debunk that claim in a commentary entitled “The Good Times Can Roll On.” As an ASU alumnus, it offers particular pleasure to recommend their entire piece for reading and passing along to others who may need it:

It’s clear the recovery ended in 2014 because the two hallmarks of recovery –  investment’s share of gross domestic product and labor input relative to the adult population – stopped increasing.  This left a large gap between actual output and the output level that would have occurred had the economy recovered to its prerecession growth path.  According to our calculations, the U.S. cumulatively lost about $18 trillion in income and output between 2007 and 2016.  Everything suggested this shortfall would persist or even grow.

Yet economic performance began to improve beginning in the first quarter of 2017.  Real GDP growth accelerated to about 2.7% between the end of 2016 and the second quarter of 2018, up from about 2% between 2014 and the end of 2016.”

Oh, and as football season approaches, go Sun Devils.

August 20th, 2018 at 1:20 pm
Image of the Day: What Deregulation and Tax Cuts Do for Job Growth
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Here’s what a steady diet of deregulation and tax cuts have done in terms of job creation expectations from even the notoriously wet-blanket Congressional Budget Office:

Deregulation + Tax Cuts = Jobs Boost

Deregulation + Tax Cuts = Jobs Boost

August 9th, 2018 at 12:09 pm
Image of the Day: Wrong, Socialist – the Upper Middle Class Has Grown, Not Disappeared
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Courtesy of James Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute, a splendid visual refutation of budding socialist superstar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic candidate for Congress in New York, who recently and bizarrely said that the “upper middle class doesn’t exist anymore in America.”  Well:

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

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

August 6th, 2018 at 3:41 pm
Image of the Day: Private Investment Skyrocketing Following November 2016 Election, Tax Cuts
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A helpful image of the day, comparing private investment during the final two years of the Obama Administration to the immediate aftermath of the November 2016 election, and even more the tax cuts enacted one year later:

Cut Taxes, Watch Investment Skyrocket