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December 10th, 2018 at 3:51 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: James Bacchus, Former U.S. Representative, Professor of Global Affairs at the University of Central Florida, and Adjunct Scholar at Cato Institute: Free Trade and Destiny;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT: John Hannah, Senior Counselor at Foundation for Defense of Democracies: US-China Relations;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Quin Hillyer, Contributor to the Washington Examiner and Author: Happenings Inside the Beltway;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: Andrew Och, First Ladies Man and Author: The Legacy of George H.W. and Barbara Bush; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior VP or Corporate and Legal Affairs: Climate Change, US Postal Services and Other News.

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

December 6th, 2018 at 12:58 pm
President George H. W. Bush: 1924-2018
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

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 12th, 2018 at 4:24 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 ET: Hans von Spakovsky, Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow, Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation: On Sessions’ Watch;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm ET: Lee Casey, Partner at Baker & Hostetler: Detractors Denouncing Constitution;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm ET: Trey Kovacs, Policy Analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute: Veterans Department Ends Labor Union Work on Taxpayer Dime;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm ET: Tzvi Khan, Senior Iran Analyst: Iran’s Major Human Rights Abusers;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm ET: Anna St. John, Attorney with the Center for Class Action Fairness at the Competitive Enterprise Institute: SCOTUS Case Challenging Unfair Class Action Settlements;

5:15 CDT/6:15 pm ET: Karlyn Bowman, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute: Midterm Election Report; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm ET: Ashton Hayward, Mayor of Pensacola: Turning Over the Keys to the City.

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, 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

 

November 6th, 2018 at 11:27 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Vote
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

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 4:37 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: Dr. William Lehr, Economist, Industry Consultant and Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology: The Future of Broadband Competition;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT: Hans von Spakovsky, Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow, Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies: Harvard and Racial Preferences;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Peter Wallison, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Author: Judicial Fortitude: The Last chance to Rein in the Administrative State;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT: Dr. Fred Jacobs, Executive Vice President of St. George’s University: Physician Shortages;

5:15 CDT/6:15 pm EDT: Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs: Self-Censorship, the Economy and NAFTA Updated; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: Fred Karlinsky, Shareholder and Co-Chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Insurance Regulatory and Transactions Practice Group: Florida 2018 Ballot Measures.

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

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 11th, 2018 at 7:32 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Filling Haley’s Shoes
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

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 24th, 2018 at 11:50 am
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: Michael Rubin, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute: 40 Years After Camp David Accords;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT: Phil Kerpen, President of American Commitment: Canada and NAFTA Negotiations;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs: Expansion of the Leftist War;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT: Bradley A. Smith, Chairman and Founder of Institute for Free Speech: Maine’s Crowdfunding Campaign and the Kavanaugh Hearings;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: Edward Fleming, Founding Partner of McDonald Fleming Moorhead in Pensacola, Florida: Capitalism,  Socialism and Communism; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: Mayor Ashton Hayward, Mayor of Pensacola, and Luke Goodrich, Vice President and Senior Counsel at Becket: Pensacola’s Memorial Cross Cert Petition to SCOTUS.

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 9:40 am
The FCC Must Move to Stop the Local Internet Power Grab

More than thirty years ago, Congress gave local governments the power to impose “franchise fees” and other regulations on cable television service.  It was part of a broad framework for shared national and local authority over cable television in the 1984 “Cable Act,” which laid the foundation for the cable (and eventually satellite) TV boom of the 1980s and beyond.

By contrast, local governments have very limited power to tax or regulate the internet.  Unlike television, which has a long tradition of serving independent local markets with discrete programming, options, and infrastructure, from the beginning it’s been clear that the internet is inherently national and interstate and can only be effectively regulated at the federal level.  That has been core federal policy for decades, as most recently expressed in the 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which concluded that, “regulation of broadband Internet access service should be governed principally by a uniform set of federal regulations, rather than by a patchwork that includes separate state and local requirements.”

But recently, a number of local franchising authorities have tried to upend that federal policy and claim the right to impose local taxes and regulations on the internet by seizing on the fact that some broadband providers also offer cable television services.  Now, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) is rightly working to put a stop to this local government internet power grab – moving to make clear that the Cable Act only allows local franchising boards to tax and regulate cable companies based on their cable television operations.

If every local franchising board in the country can impose its own rules and fees on internet providers, the freewheeling and open internet we all enjoy today will slowly grind to a halt.  The resulting cacophony of regulation will overwhelm operators, slowing down cyberspace and making it less reliable and less secure.  It will drive away new investment needed to continue to achieve ever-increasing speeds users have come to take for granted.  And it will confuse consumers who expect the internet to be a consistent experience everywhere they go.

This is the exact harm federal policy strives to avoid.  As the FCC explained, “allowing state or local regulation of broadband internet access service could impair the provision of such service by requiring each ISP to comply with a patchwork of separate and potentially conflicting requirements across all of the different jurisdictions in which it operates.”

For that reason, the FCC’s “Section 621 Proceeding” must move quickly to shut down the local power grab by making clear that neither the Cable Act nor any other source of local regulatory power authorizes franchise boards to tax or regulate the internet or any other non-cable-television businesses.

The future of the internet and our unfettered access depend on it.

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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