In this era of increased harassment and persecution of people on the basis of political viewpoints and…
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First Amendment Rights: Good News from the IRS on Donor Privacy

In this era of increased harassment and persecution of people on the basis of political viewpoints and First Amendment expression, there’s actually good news to report.

In fact, that positive development comes from none other than the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which few people typically consider a font of good news.

Specifically, the IRS just announced a proposed rule to stop requiring nonprofit organizations to file what’s known as a Form 990 Schedule B, which exposes sensitive donor information not only to the federal government and potential rogues like former IRS official Lois Lerner, but also people who seek to access and use that information to target people on the basis of political belief.

As we at CFIF have long asserted, this welcome move will help protect the…[more]

September 12, 2019 • 11:07 am

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Greatest Economy Ever? Signs Increasingly Suggest "Yes" Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, October 25 2018
[I]n less than two years, the Trump Administration's economic policy of lower taxes and less regulation has propelled us to economic vitality that in multiple ways has never been matched.

This month, for the first time since 2008, the United States regained its spot atop the World Economic Forum's annual ranking of the world's most competitive economies. 

It's about time. 

For eight long years during the Obama Administration, the United States endured the most sluggish cyclical economic "recovery" in recorded history. 

That's not subjective opinion.  It's objective and demonstrable fact. 

Consider economic growth, the primary measure of a nation's prosperity.  Since World War II, the U.S. has averaged 3.3% economic growth per year.  During the Obama Administration, however, we completed an entire decade without reaching even that average rate.  In fact, we never even reached 3% under Obama, despite promises to the contrary.  As just one illustration, remember the several "Summers of Recovery" promised by Obama and Joe Biden that somehow never seemed to arrive? 

As Obama's tenure neared its end, the U.S. economy narrowly escaped a recession - defined as at least two consecutive quarters of contraction - in 2015 and 2016, with 1.0% growth in the third quarter of 2015, 0.4% in the fourth quarter and just 1.5% in the first quarter of 2016.  That's when rationalizations from Obama apologists that this was some sort of "New Normal," or that the 3.3% growth to which we'd become accustomed since World War II was no longer feasible, became their version of conventional wisdom. 

When Donald Trump suggested during the 2016 campaign that we could not only reach but exceed that average growth number, the mockery and scoffing were as predictable as they were insistent. 

Measured in terms of unemployment, the Obama record was equally dismal. 

When selling his wasteful trillion-dollar "stimulus package" in 2009, the Obama Administration assured us that unemployment wouldn't exceed 8% if Congress passed it.  Instead, what we witnessed was unemployment exceeding 8% for the longest stretch of consecutive months since record-keeping began. 

When unemployment finally and sluggishly began to recede, much of the reason was that so many people simply gave up on seeking employment and dropped out of the labor force.  The labor participation rate, which refers to the percentage of adults actually employed or seeking employment, dropped to its lowest levels since the 1970s, before women fully entered the workforce. 

To top it all off, Obama gave us the most massive deficits in U.S. history.  Before 2009, the largest deficit we'd ever witnessed was $450 billion in 2008.  But then under Obama, we surpassed one trillion dollar deficits for four consecutive years.  By the end of his tenure, Obama had compiled as much debt as all presidents preceding him combined

And all we had to show for Obama's record deficits and debt was the most sluggish cyclical "recovery" in history. 

If ever there was a test case for the effect of massive spending increases, higher taxes and heavier government regulation on our economy, the Obama Administration provided it.  And it failed miserably. 

Upon Donald Trump's surprise election victory in 2016, we were instructed by luminaries like Paul Krugman of The New York Times that markets would crash, and literally "never" recover.  People like Obama economic advisor Lawrence Summers predicted a recession within 18 months. 

What have we witnessed instead? 

In terms of economic growth, 3% apparently wasn't so impossible after all.  In just the first five quarters of the Trump presidency, we've averaged that number.  The most recent quarter even accelerated to 4.2%, with growth in the quarter just ended expected to equal or exceed that. 

Not bad for an economy that was running on tired legs and coming dangerously close to recession toward the end of the Obama presidency. 

In terms of unemployment, the news over the past two years has proven even more impressive. 

This past week, the Labor Department reported that U.S. employers counted over 7 million job openings for the first time ever.  Placing that number in perspective, the number of available jobs in America exceeds the number of people seeking employment by over 900,000.  Until this past March, the number of job openings had never exceeded the number of unemployed in the 17 years in which it had been measured. 

Meanwhile, earlier this month the Labor Department announced that the U.S. unemployment rate plummeted to 3.7%, its lowest level since the Vietnam War.  In other words, the last time that unemployment was this low was at a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans in the prime of their working ages from the civilian labor force were engaged in military action overseas. 

Federal Reserve officials expect the rate will sink even further to 3.5% in 2019, and remain under 4% through 2021. 

As the Temptations sang in "Since I Lost My Baby," "There's plenty of work/And the bosses are paying." 

And now, after ten years outside of the top spot, the U.S. again sits atop the World Economic Forum's competitiveness ranking. 

The index measures twelve pillars of economic vitality, including innovation capability, business dynamism, market size, financial systems, labor markets, product markets, workforce skills, population health, macroeconomic stability, ICT adoption and infrastructure.  "The United States," the report announces, "is the closest economy to the frontier, the ideal state, where a country would obtain the perfect score on every component of the index." 

Accordingly, in less than two years, the Trump Administration's economic policy of lower taxes and less regulation has propelled us to economic vitality that in multiple ways has never been matched. 

It's about time, and hopefully those who would disrupt our trajectory will finally fathom that reality.

Question of the Week   
On September 17 of which one of the following years was the U.S. Constitution sent to Congress for ratification by the states?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"An FBI assistant to James Comey says in a book released Tuesday that the former FBI director took advantage of the 'chaos' of the early Trump administration to set up an interview with Michael Flynn, the national security adviser.Josh Campbell, who was Comey's personal assistant at the FBI, writes in 'Crossfire Hurricane: Inside Donald Trump's War on the FBI,' that FBI leadership had 'intense discussion…[more]
 
 
—Chuck Ross, Daily Caller
— Chuck Ross, Daily Caller
 
Liberty Poll   

Is the desire to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan in conflict with the lessons of September 11, 2001?