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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Federal Sugar Subsidies: Not Very Sweet Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 18 2018
Current federal sugar policy offers a textbook illustration of Ronald Reagan's adage regarding government philosophy: 'If it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it; if it stops moving, subsidize it.'

It's bad enough any time the federal government needlessly intervenes into the U.S. economy. 

After all, over the past year alone we've witnessed how reducing federal intervention turbocharges our economy and ignites markets to record high after record high, following years of malaise and the worst cyclical recovery in recorded U.S. history.  Intervention also increases the amount of crony capitalism and rent-seeking that have earned Washington, D.C., its "Swamp" moniker. 

But it's even worse when the economic interference in question costs at least three times as many jobs as it claims to protect; results in American consumers and manufacturers paying double the cost for a product that consumers and industries in other countries pay;  eliminates over 100,000 American manufacturing jobs;  and costs Americans approximately $3 billion per year. 

Yet that's precisely the reality of the federal government's sugar subsidy program, which artificially restricts imports and puts taxpayers on the hook for wasteful subsidies. 

Fortunately, however, there's good news to report:  Bipartisan legislation currently before Congress can finally put an end to that indefensible scheme. 

Current federal sugar policy offers a textbook illustration of Ronald Reagan's adage regarding government philosophy:  "If it moves, tax it;  if it keeps moving, regulate it;  if it stops moving, subsidize it." 

At the "tax it" phase, government regulators set an arbitrary limit on the amount of sugar allowed into the U.S. each year from forty nations that exported sugar to our shores as of three decades ago.  Any excess imports purchased by food manufacturers or refiners within our borders are taxed through extremely punitive tariffs, which obviously increase those purchasers' cost of production.  In turn, those higher costs are passed on to American consumers of everyday goods containing sugar. 

At the "regulate it" stage, federal law imposes marketing allotments.  Those mandates aim to prevent surplus sugar supplies from entering the domestic market by imposing production and sale limits upon cane mills and beet processors.  Those artificial restrictions upon supply further raise prices for American consumers. 

Finally, at the "subsidize it" stage, federal regulations maintain price supports in the form of minimum costs for domestic sugar purchases.  Naturally, that artificial floor also means unnecessarily higher sugar costs for American consumers compared to world market prices.  Additionally, the federal "Feedstock Flexibility Program" created in 2008 requires that when sugar surpluses occur, the government must buy the excess stocks and resell them to ethanol producers at a loss, which further punishes U.S. taxpayers. 

Combined, those four components create a prototypical spaghetti bowl of bureaucratic tangles and needless costs to taxpayers and consumers. 

While the program's apologists would attempt to rationalize these regulations as some sort of protection of the domestic sugar industry and jobs, the simple fact is that the U.S. has never been self-sufficient in sugar production.  Imports have always been necessary to satisfy American food producers, refiners and consumers. 

So what can be done to put an end to this D.C. Swamp monstrosity? 

The Sugar Policy Modernization Act of 2017, introduced in the Senate by Pat Toomey (R - Pennsylvania) and Jeanne Shaheen (D - New Hampshire), and in the House of Representatives by Virginia Foxx (R - North Carolina) and Danny Davis (D - Illinois), would gradually introduce market reforms into the federal sugar subsidy morass. 

More specifically, the bill would lift current limits upon domestic production and sale of refined sugar, require that domestic sugar demand is taken into consideration whenever the United States Department of Agriculture (USDCA) administers its regulations, reduce taxpayer liability in the event of loan delinquencies by sugar processors and finally allow market forces to govern sugar supply and pricing. 

Existing federal sugar policy constitutes one of the most egregious examples of government waste and regulatory abuse, one that protects large sugar interests at the expense of taxpayers and everyday consumers. 

Over the past year, Congress and the Trump Administration have made great progress in reducing destructive federal regulations and unleashing the proverbial animal spirits of our economy.  By passing and signing the Sugar Policy Modernization Act of 2017 into law, they can continue that trend and finally bring relief to American manufacturers, consumers and employees. 

There's simply no justification for further delay in reforming this bureaucratic abomination. 

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?
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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
 
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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?