CFIF has long championed greater fairness for recording artists and protection of intellectual property…
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CFIF Strongly Opposes Senator Ron Wyden's "ACCESS to Sound Recordings" Act

CFIF has long championed greater fairness for recording artists and protection of intellectual property (IP) rights in the music industry.   Among other problems, current law generally protects recording artists' rights for post-1972 songs, but not pre-1972 classics:

. Under byzantine laws, artists receive just compensation whenever their post-1972 recordings are played, but in many cases not for their pre-1972 recordings.  That's an indefensible and arbitrary artifact that has persisted far too long.  Why should Neil Diamond receive payment whenever 'America' is played, but not classics like 'Solitary Man?'

Fortunately, the opportunity to correct that unfairness has arrived.  Even better, legislation to correct the existing flawed system arrives alongside other music legislation…[more]

June 18, 2018 • 11:43 pm

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Congress Must Reform Federal Sugar Policy Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, May 17 2018
There simply may not exist a program in the entire federal government that more vividly represents its bloat, waste and crony capitalism than current federal sugar policy.

Should the federal government exist for the purpose of destroying American jobs, raising the cost of living for American consumers by billions of dollars every year, cultivating crony capitalism, wasting taxpayer dollars and dishing out corporate welfare? 

If you believe that it should, then our existing federal sugar policy is right up your alley.  It demonstrably accomplishes each of those ends. 

For everyone else, federal sugar policy cries out for reform. 

Fortunately, that may be about to occur at long last.  An amendment to the farm bill currently before Congress, introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R - North Carolina), would reform some of the worst aspects of our current sugar subsidy complex. 

Currently, federal regulations limit production and sales by cane mills and beet processors in order to artificially prevent sugar from entering the domestic U.S. market.  As with any governmental market quota, that has the inevitable consequence of raising prices for everyday American consumers. 

Existing sugar policy also imposes import quotas on the amount of sugar that can be sold to willing buyers in the U.S., singling out forty nations isolated as sugar exporters three long decades ago.  If domestic food manufacturers or refiners do buy sugar in excess of those arbitrary quotas, they're taxed in the form of punitive tariffs.  Naturally, those unnecessary tariff costs are also passed along to American consumers who buy anything containing sugar. 

Additionally, our federal sugar monstrosity includes price supports by way of minimum purchase costs for domestic sugar buyers, which any freshman economics student would recognize as destructive.  By imposing price floors, the government in turn forces American consumers to pay higher food prices for anything containing sugar compared to consumers in other nations.  According to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), those costs to consumers reach between $2.4 billion and $4 billion every year, and we pay an 84% premium on raw sugar compared to the rest of the world. 

Moreover, since 2008, something called the "Feedstock Flexibility Program" also requires the federal government to purchase surplus sugar whenever it exists, and resell it to ethanol producers - at a loss.  Guess who picks up that tab?  American taxpayers. 

Thus, existing federal sugar policy represents the unholy trinity of quotas, subsidies and taxes. 

Although the scheme's defenders claim that it protects domestic jobs in the sugar industry, the simple fact is that it ends up killing three times as many jobs as it saves.  After all, if a product containing sugar costs more here due to sugar quotas and subsidies, then those jobs shift overseas where costs aren't as unnecessarily high.  Cumulatively, that eliminates an estimated 100,000 American jobs.  And as noted above, it costs American consumers billions of dollars in higher costs every single year. 

There's positive news to report, however.  As noted above, Representative Foxx has introduced beneficial amendments to the farm bill, and support appears to be reaching critical mass. 

Contrary to the hysteria generated by proponents of existing federal sugar policy, those amendments would merely introduce gradual, commonsense, market-based reforms to the program to eliminate some of its most egregious aspects.  By easing current limits upon sugar sales, and ending the irrational program of buying up surplus sugar for resale to ethanol companies at a loss to taxpayers, Representative Foxx's amendments constitute significant reform. 

There simply may not exist a program in the entire federal government that more vividly represents its bloat, waste and crony capitalism than current federal sugar policy.  It serves only to favor powerful special interests at the expense of American taxpayers and consumers year after year. 

Meanwhile, in recent weeks alone we've witnessed significant breaks from business as usual, from finally relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as promised for decades, to exiting the Obama Administration's nuclear agreement with Iran. 

It's time Congress do its part by passing Representative Foxx's amendments to the farm bill, finally reforming indefensible federal sugar policy and offering relief at long last to American manufacturers, consumers and workers. 

Question of the Week   
Which of the following was the first U.S. President to exercise the pocket veto?
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"Germany is no longer the largest recipient of new asylum applications worldwide, according to the United Nations: the U.S. is.A report released Tuesday by the U.N. Refugee Agency showed that the number of new, individual asylum applicants plummeted drastically by 73 percent in Germany between 2016 and 2017, from 722,400 down to 198,300.Meanwhile, the U.S. saw a nearly 27 percent increase in new applications…[more]
 
 
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Recognizing that there will be more DOJ IG reports on DOJ/FBI issues, what level of trust do you have in the accuracy, fairness and conclusions of the just-issued report on the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation?