In an excellent piece in today's Wall Street Journal, Scott Atlas of Stanford University highlights…
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Want to Address Drug Costs? Avoid Price Controls, Eliminate PBMs and Don't Weaken Patents

In an excellent piece in today's Wall Street Journal, Scott Atlas of Stanford University highlights how Americans enjoy far greater access to new lifesaving drugs than patients in Europe and elsewhere, and how the movement to impose government price controls would only restrict access to new drugs and degrade Americans' health outcomes, as we at CFIF have been emphasizing:

America has superior treatment results for virtually all serious diseases reliant on drug treatment, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes.  Price controls would jeopardize that advantage...

Pegging drug prices to those of foreign countries, as both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have proposed, would ultimately lead to the same consequences Europeans endure - reduced access…[more]

February 14, 2019 • 05:20 pm

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Alarming New Poll Shows Americans Fear Expressing Themselves, and Congress Should Act Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Wednesday, October 17 2018
Private citizens should not remain afraid to express their viewpoints or support causes that are protected by the First Amendment, and federal laws most certainly shouldn't exacerbate that fear.

Do you fear speaking your mind in today's political climate of hyper-sensitivity and outright targeting? 

Do you find yourself self-censoring your viewpoints and concealing your political activities, except among trusted family and friends, or people you're certain are like-minded? 

If so, then you've got a lot of company.  According to an alarming new poll, large majorities of fellow Americans feel the same way. 

The new poll sampled an enormous field of 8,000 people, and was conducted by More in Common, a nonprofit organization with a stated mission of reducing political polarization.  Among other interesting findings, it highlighted a disturbing reluctance to engage in the most basic First Amendment right of free expression: 

Polarization has made it increasingly difficult for Americans to engage with each other on the most contested issues of the day.  This creates a chilling effect, driving more and more Americans away from public debate and leaving the conversation to the loudest, most extreme voices...   At least 50 percent of Americans claim there is "pressure to think a certain way."  Even among liberal groups, a significant percentage feels constrained...  More than two-thirds of Americans say they feel less inhibited voicing their perspectives when they are among "people like me." 

Over 80% of respondents agreed that political correctness is a problem in society, and that includes self-described liberals, moderates and conservatives. Only self-described "progressive activists" disagreed, which suggests the ongoing basis for the problem. 

Moreover, what respondents fear isn't necessarily official government retaliation.  Instead, it's harassment from fellow citizens, including being targeted at work or on social media: 

Across most segments, Americans are highly conscious of the risk of offending other people, and many express anxiety about doing so.  Many recount being called out for an insensitive remark, and they have heard examples of far more extreme cases.  They worry that these sensitivities stifle dialogue and intimidate people into silence. 

Until the Trump Administration took corrective action earlier this year, the federal government actually maintained a policy that would "stifle dialogue and intimidate people into silence" as the survey describes.   

Now, Senators Jon Tester (D - Montana) and Ron Wyden (D - Oregon) want to reverse the Trump Administration's corrective action through a hasty Congressional Review Act (CRA) vote. 

For years, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) required nonprofit organizations to submit what are called "990 Schedule B" forms, which disclosed the names, addresses and other personal information about donors to those nonprofit organizations.  Applicable law prohibited the IRS from using that information for any meaningful purpose, but that didn't stop IRS officials, state authorities and outside hackers from exploiting it to harass private citizens for supporting causes they opposed. 

For example, records of donors to the National Organization for Marriage were leaked, and far-left attorneys general like Eric Schneiderman of New York have sought access to IRS data to harass people for engaging in political activity on issues like climate change. 

Is it any wonder that Americans are more and more reluctant to engage in First Amendment free speech and protected political activity? 

The Trump IRS reversed that dangerous requirement for many exempt organizations earlier this year, but now Senators Tester and Wyden want to reverse it, and resume allowing the IRS to collect sensitive private information on donors that doesn't even serve any substantive IRS purpose. 

As the new poll confirms, Congress should reject Sen. Tester's and Sen. Wyden's dangerous attempt to make Americans more fearful of engaging in political activities protected by First Amendment freedoms of speech and political participation.  Congress should also enact pending legislation making the Trump Administration's corrective action permanent.

The First Amendment protects the individual freedoms of speech and political engagement, not the ability of the IRS, vindictive state authorities or vengeful hackers to scrutinize which causes private citizens choose to support. 

After rejecting Senator Tester's and Senator Wyden's proposal, Congress should then pass the "Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act," which would make the Trump Administration's correction permanent.  The House of Representatives passed the same legislation in 2016, and there's no excuse for delay now that a president who will actually sign it occupies the White House. 

As the new More in Common survey shows, doing so would address a concern held by enormous majorities of Americans. 

Private citizens should not remain afraid to express their viewpoints or support causes that are protected by the First Amendment, and federal laws most certainly shouldn't exacerbate that fear. 

Question of the Week   
How many votes need to be cast in the affirmative in order to expel a member of Congress from either Chamber?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"Amazon does not need New York City. There are many advantages to operating in a city such as New York, which offers experiences and opportunities that well-paid tech-company executives are not going to find in such business-friendly alternatives as Houston or Las Vegas. But Amazon has decided that these are not worth the price of admission, which in this case would be subjecting itself to a political…[more]
 
 
—Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
— Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
 
Liberty Poll   

Given the hard-left turn of Democratic Party leaders and many rank-and-file elected officials, how do you think Democrats will fare in 2020 elections?