September 25th, 2020 at 10:05 am
Image(s) of the Day: The Obama/Biden Jobs “Recovery” Versus Trump’s
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From our friends at AEI, a wonderful capture of the difference between the Obama/Biden jobs “recovery,” which was the worst in recorded U.S. history (as the graph shows, they promised that unemployment wouldn’t surpass 8% under their wasteful spending “stimulus,” but instead it exceeded 8% for a record uninterrupted stretch), versus the sharp recovery under President Trump:

The Obama/Biden Jobs

The Obama/Biden Jobs “Recovery”

 

 

 

The Trump Actual Jobs Recovery

The Trump Actual Jobs Recovery


September 18th, 2020 at 11:46 am
Image of the Day: Record One-Year Income Rise in 2019
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From the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income rose by 6.8% in 2019 – a record one-year increase – to a record high of $68,700.  Notably, under the supposed racist President Donald Trump, those 2019 income gains were largest for minority groups.  And since 2016, median income has risen 9.7%, which is fantastic news for Americans, even if it might be bad news for leftists in their disinformation campaign:

 

Record Income Rise in 2019

Record Income Rise in 2019

 


September 11th, 2020 at 12:08 pm
Stat of the Day: Americans Lead Developed World in Economic Optimism
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Despite the leftist onslaught of doom and despair, it’s encouraging to see that even left-leaning Pew Research data shows Americans leading the developed world in terms of economic optimism, with the highest percentage of people saying that they expect improvement over the next year.  In fact, we’re the only nation with a majority reporting optimism:

 

 

U.S. Leads World in Economic Optimism

U.S. Leads World in Economic Optimism

 


August 28th, 2020 at 9:58 am
Image of the Day: Private R&D Dwarfs Public Funding
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As we’ve continued to highlight, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and others dangerously seek to weaken U.S. patent protections, which for centuries have led the world and account for the fact that the U.S. pharmaceutical sector introduces more new drugs than the rest of the world combined.  Their logic is that federal research and development funding justifies confiscation, not realizing that, as former patent attorney Abraham Lincoln once noted, the U.S. patent system added “the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.”  From our friends at AEI, a new graphic highlights again how private R&D actually dwarfs federal funding, which understandably peaked in the 1960s during the Cold War and Space Race.  It’s simply no justification for weakening America’s ongoing legacy of strong patent protections:

Private R&D Leads the Way

Private R&D Leads the Way

 


August 21st, 2020 at 8:17 pm
Image of the Day: Deregulated Railroad Sector Surges
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Amid the coronavirus pandemic, railroads have maintained supply chains while not requiring bailouts despite widespread uncertainty threatening other industries.  That directly reflects the railroad industry’s longstanding position of strength, due largely to deregulation via the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which we cannot allow to be reversed:

 

Deregulated Railroad Sector Surges

Deregulated Rail Sector Surges

 


August 18th, 2020 at 1:09 pm
Image of the Day: Gov. Cuomo’s Conspicuous Malpractice
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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made for a curious choice by Democrats to appear in a feature role on the first evening of their “convention”:

 

NY Gov. Cuomo's Incompetence

NY Gov. Cuomo’s Incompetence

 


July 31st, 2020 at 2:19 pm
Image of the Day: Defund Police, While Crime Spikes Upward?
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As Dennis Prager neatly illustrates, is now really the time for Joe Biden and other leftists to be advocating “Defund the Police?”

 

Not the Time to Defund Police

Not the Time to Defund Police

 

 


July 24th, 2020 at 4:10 pm
CFIF Opposes White House Executive Order Importing Foreign Nations’ Socialized Medicine and Drug Price Controls
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Regrettably, the White House today announced an executive order that effectively imports drug price controls from foreign nations with socialized healthcare systems.  We at CFIF strongly oppose the order and encourage immediate reconsideration.  Below is CFIF President Jeffrey Mazzella’s statement:

“Price controls simply do not work, regardless of the product targeted or the location they’re attempted, and real-world experience establishes that pharmaceutical price controls are no different.  The new executive order would impose what’s known as an International Pricing Index (IPI) for U.S. drugs administered by the federal government, meaning that foreign governments’ drug price controls would suddenly control our own reimbursement rates.  That would upend our current system, which has actually already reduced the cost of the 50 most popular Medicare Part B drugs sold by approximately 1%.  Our current system already includes the discounts negotiated between hospitals, healthcare plans and payers.  In contrast, foreign governments whose price control schemes we would import don’t negotiate, but instead dictate prices while threatening to violate patent rights and employ a ‘take it or leave it’ approach.

“As a direct consequence of foreign nations’ price control approaches that disrespect patent rights, those nations receive far fewer new lifesaving and life-improving drugs than American consumers.  For example, 96% of all new cancer drugs over the past decade were made available to U.S. consumers.  In contrast, only 56% of those same drugs became available in Canada, only 50% became available in Japan and only 11% in Greece, as just three examples.  Simply put, consumers in nations whose governments impose drug price controls don’t enjoy access to nearly as many new drugs as Americans, or nearly as soon.  As The Wall Street Journal found, that’s why America outpaces European nations in terms of cancer survival rates, among other advantages.

“Even the Trump Administration itself has highlighted the destructive effect of importing foreign price controls.  In 2018, its Council of Economic Advisers affirmed that, “If the United States had adopted the centralized drug pricing policy in other developed nations twenty years ago, then the world may not have highly valuable treatments for diseases that required significant investment.”

“Currently, the United States accounts for nearly two-thirds of all new drugs introduced worldwide, and our more market-oriented system and protection of patent rights explains why.  Very few potential new drugs ever reach the market, due to astronomical research and development costs, lengthy government safety tests, laboratory effectiveness trials, possible product liability lawsuits, patent protection limitations and other bureaucratic hassles.  Imposing artificial price controls would add to those headwinds by making it less possible to recover the massive costs of developing new medicines and R&D, leading to fewer new drugs for U.S. consumers.

“Instead of importing foreign nations’ price control schemes and their consequences, America should be exporting our superior system to their shores.

“Today’s executive order contravenes the Trump Administration’s broader agenda of deregulation, free-market approaches and strong intellectual property (IP) protections.  Hopefully, the White House quickly realizes the potentially catastrophic consequences of this order, lest American consumers suffer in the same way as consumers in the foreign nations that impose the price controls that it now seeks to import.

“In his State of the Union Address earlier this year, President Trump reassured Americans that, ‘To those watching at home tonight, I want you to know that we will never let socialism destroy American healthcare.’  Unfortunately, the White House’s executive order announced today regarding drug prices would do precisely that.

“We therefore urge President Trump to reconsider this potentially catastrophic order in the strongest possible terms.”

###


July 14th, 2020 at 11:47 am
Image of the Day: The Shocking Cost of Chinese Intellectual Property (IP) Theft
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Shocking but necessary perspective on the cost of Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property (IP) from National Review employing Congressional Research Service numbers:

 

The Shocking Cost of Chinese IP Theft

The Shocking Cost of Chinese IP Theft

 


July 10th, 2020 at 4:47 pm
Biden Drug Plan Would Slash Innovation and U.S. Consumer Access
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Joe Biden’s inexorable march toward the fanatical left continued this week, as he and Bernie Sanders (D – Vermont) introduced their “unity platform” in anticipation of this year’s Democratic convention.  We can thus add weaker U.S. patents and drug price controls imported from foreign nations to Biden’s existing dumpster fire of bad ideas.

Here’s the problem.  As we’ve often emphasized, and contrary to persistent myth, American consumers enjoy far greater access to new lifesaving drugs than people in other nations, including those in “other advanced economies” (Biden’s words) whose price controls Biden seeks to import:

Of all new cancer drugs developed worldwide between 2011 and 2018, 96% were available to American consumers.  Meanwhile, only 56% of those drugs became available in Canada, 50% in Japan, and just 11% in Greece, as just three examples.  Patients in nations imposing drug price controls simply don’t receive access to new pharmaceuticals as quickly as Americans, if they ever receive them at all.”

Even the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges that overseas consumers’ lower access to pharmaceutical innovations stems from their governments’ imposition of price control regimes:

Every time one country demands a lower price, it leads to lower price reference used by other countries.  Such price controls, combined with the threat of market lockout or intellectual property infringement, prevent drug companies from charging market rates for their products, while delaying the availability of new cures to patients living in countries implementing those policies.”

Just as dangerously, Biden also advocates weaker patent protections for U.S. pharmaceutical innovators.  The United States has throughout its history led the world in protecting patent and other intellectual property (IP) rights, and as a direct result we’re the most innovative, inventive, prosperous nation in recorded history.  The U.S. claims just 4% of the world’s population, and even our  world-leading economy accounts for less than 25% of global production, yet we account for an amazing two-thirds of all new pharmaceuticals introduced to the world.  Public policy should be strengthening patent rights, not weakening them.

Biden rationalizes his socialized medicine proposal by asserting that “taxpayers’ money underwrites the research and development of many prescription drugs in the first place.”  But as we’ve also noted, private pharmaceutical investment in R&D dwarfs public funding, so he can’t justify his heavy-handed bureaucratic idea on that basis.

Just three months into the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, American pharmaceutical innovators are already entering final testing phases, far ahead of original estimates of their anticipated arrival.  That should come as no surprise, because we’ve long led the world.  But it emphasizes even more that Biden’s toxic proposal to impose foreign drug price controls and to weaken U.S. patent protections is particularly dangerous at a moment like this.

 


July 6th, 2020 at 2:32 pm
“Blanket Licensing” – a Collectivist, Bureaucratic, One-Size-Fits-All Deprivation of Property Rights Proposal
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America’s legacy of unparalleled copyright protections and free market orientation has cultivated a music industry unrivaled in today’s world or throughout human history.

From the first days of the phonograph, through the jazz age, through the rock era, through disco, through country, through hip-hop and every other popular musical iteration since its advent, it’s not by accident that we lead the world in the same manner in which we lead in such industries as cinema and television programming.  We can thank our nation’s emphasis on strong copyright protections.

Unfortunately, that reality doesn’t deter some activists from periodically advocating a more collectivist, top-down governmental reordering of the music industry in a way that would deprive artists and creators of their property rights.  Some advocates simply will not relent in their unceasing and misguided campaign to undermine copyright protections that have provided the wellspring for U.S. musical preeminence.  They seek to replace strong copyright protections and the freedom of market participants to mutually negotiate, ultimately to consumers’ obvious benefit, and replace them with a government-determined rate and a one-size-fits-all bureaucratic approach that eliminates market participants’ autonomy.

As just the latest example, British activist Cory Doctorow of the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) now proposes a “blanket licensing” idea under which anyone wishing to offer music to pubic audiences would be required to open an account with a collecting society.  His heavily bureaucratic proposal would curtail the ability of copyright owners to negotiate royalties as they see fit with internet music platforms.

In an era of endless musical genres and methods to access them according to one’s preference, how does imposing such a collectivist, centralized, one-size-fits-all regime make sense?

The obvious answer is that it doesn’t.

Doctorow’s proposal betrays a fundamental flaw by misconceptualizing the nature of copyright itself by misstating “copyright’s real purpose:  spurring creativity and innovation.”

While Doctorow can be forgiven for his unfamiliarity with American constitutional principles, and while the utilitarian goal of creativity and innovation is indeed a primary feature of copyright and other intellectual property (IP) protections, that’s an inaccurate and incomplete statement of its “real purpose.”  Rather, copyright through common law and American constitutional history is valued as a natural property right of the creator, as we at CFIF articulated in our policy manual entitled ”The Constitutional and Historical Foundations of Copyright Protection”:

The Copyright Clause in the U.S. Constitution and the pre-existing rights it secures both arose from a long intellectual and historical tradition that reflected both the importance of economic incentives (the utilitarian argument) and the notion that individuals have an inherent and inviolable right to the fruits of their own labor.  As the Supreme Court has explained, ‘[t]he economic philosophy behind the clause empowering Congress to grant patents and copyrights’ is the conviction that:  ‘(1) encouragement of individual effort by personal gain is the best way to advance public welfare through the talents of authors and inventors in “Science and the useful Arts”’ and (2) ‘[s]acrificial days devoted to such creative activities deserve rewards commensurate with the services rendered.’  Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201, 219 (1954).  Another early decision emphasized that only through copyright protection ‘can we protect intellectual property, the labors of the mind, productions and interests as much a man’s own, and as much the fruit of his honest industry, as the wheat he cultivates or the flocks he rears.’  Davoll v. Brown, 7 F.Cas. 197, 199 (D. Mass. 1845).

Accordingly, Doctorow’s proposal violates the central concept that copyright holders possess a natural right to their creations.  Even ignoring the natural right foundation of copyright, however, no other system of copyright protection has resulted in greater utility than our own, given America’s uniquely prolific music industry as noted above.

In addition to violating the fundamental rights of copyright owners to mutually bargain with music platforms, Seth Cooper of the Free State Foundation cogently summarizes how EFF’s proposal doesn’t accord with the obvious realities of today’s music marketplace:

[T]he EFF plan sidesteps the fact that there are several major Internet music service providers and numerous smaller providers.  Popular interactive (or ‘on-demand’) streaming music providers include Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Google Play Music.  Popular webcasters include Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Deezer.  And there are many others.  SoundExchange reported that some 3,600 webcasting services were operating in 2019.

Importantly, consumer choices also include nationwide satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM and local AM/FM radio broadcasters.  Indeed, radio broadcasts are widely available through apps on smartphones and other devices.  Additional choices include digital downloads from major Internet music service providers as well as independent and individual artist websites.  CDs and vinyl records are also available at retail.

Given the number of competitors and platform choices, it is highly unlikely that Internet music services possess market power – or the ability to charge consumers above-market prices and otherwise engage in anti-competitive conduct.  There’s no showing of market power here and so the case for government intervention falls apart.” 

Accordingly, the EFF proposal contravenes fundamental concepts of copyright protections, it proposes to reorder a music marketplace that continues to function well for all of its stakeholders and it clashes with contemporary market realities.

We currently enjoy a functional market with innumerable market participants, and copyright owners across the spectrum possess the freedom to negotiate with a wide variety of potential distributors.  EFF’s proposal nevertheless aims to strip creators of the property rights they currently enjoy without justification.  The market simply isn’t broken.  Supporters of EFF’s proposal curiously assert that today’s market is corrupted by monopolies, but as Mr. Cooper sets forth nicely above, a broad global spectrum of potential avenues exist for consumers to freely access as they prefer.

Accordingly, the notion that we should upend a market in which consumers can access an ever-greater variety of music at low cost is an untenable one.

A better option would be for Congress to expand copyright holders’ protections to the sphere of terrestrial radio via the Ask Musicians for Music Act (AMFM Act), to extend what we know works, rather than foolishly venture into demonstrably defective novel proposals.


July 3rd, 2020 at 11:22 am
Image of the Day: FBI Gun Purchase Background Checks Set Yet Another Record High in June
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Confirming once again, as Americans witness the increasing lawlessness around them, that the 2nd Amendment isn’t the anachronism that its antagonists believe:

Background Checks Set Another Record

Background Checks Set Another Record


June 23rd, 2020 at 9:33 pm
Image of the Day: Coronavirus Rolling Average Deaths Plummet
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Perhaps this helpful rolling average graph from Eric Topol explains the curious shifting media focus to cases instead of actual deaths while the economy continues to reopen and improve.  Not that we’re cynical.

 

Coronavirus Deaths Plummeting

Coronavirus Deaths Plummeting

 


June 10th, 2020 at 9:41 am
Image of the Day: Obama “Net Neutrality” Regulation Cut Private Investment, Reversal Under FCC Chairman Pai Restored It
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As we’ve often noted, the Obama Administration’s zealous effort via its Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate internet service as a “public utility” under the false label “Net Neutrality” was among its most egregious policy offenses.  Conversely, President Trump’s appointment of Ajit Pai as FCC Chairman and the ensuing effort to repeal the Obama Administration’s regulation, thereby returning federal “light touch” regulatory policy that prevailed from 1996 – 2015 when the internet flourished like no innovation in human history, was among his administration’s wisest policy successes.

Specifically, we’ve highlighted how, following the Obama Administration’s “Net Neutrality” regulation effort, private broadband investment actually fell for the first time outside of a recession, but also how investment surged when Chairman Pai commenced reversal that foolish move, which this image captures nicely:

“Net Neutrality” Regulation Harmed Investment, Reversal Boosted It

“Net Neutrality” may be a fashionable crusade among latenight comedians and far-left activists, but Americans shouldn’t be fooled.  Light regulation, not heavy-handed federal regulatory strangulation, benefits us all.


June 5th, 2020 at 9:46 am
Trump Bump: Record New Jobs Added in May, Unemployment Unexpectedly Plummets
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Defying nearly universal economists’ expectations, it was just announced that the American economy added a record 2.5 million jobs last month, and the unemployment rate actually fell sharply to 13.3%.  Surveyed economists had anticipated a loss of 8.3 million jobs, and a rise in unemployment to 19.5%.  The Dow instantly shot up nearly 1,000 upon opening, and we’re nearly back to its pre-coronavirus record levels.

 


June 1st, 2020 at 10:23 am
Image of the Day: Private Pharma Investment Dwarfs Federal NIH Funding
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There’s a destructive campaign underway to encourage government confiscation of patents from pharmaceutical innovators and dictate the price for Remdesivir and other drugs.  That’s a terrible and counterproductive policy under any circumstance, but particularly now that private drug innovators are already hacking away at the coronavirus.  In that vein, this helpful image illustrates the vast disparity between private investment and National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding that some seem to think justifies patent confiscation, price controls or other big-government schemes:

Private Investment Dwarfs NIH Funding

Private Investment Dwarfs NIH Funding


May 26th, 2020 at 12:40 pm
Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Agree with Trump’s Pandemic Deregulation Initiative
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In our latest Liberty Update, we highlight the benefits of the Trump Administration’s deregulation effort, both pre-pandemic and going forward, and how a budding effort among Congressional leftists to impose a moratorium on business mergers would severely undermine that effort.  Rasmussen Reports brings excellent news in that regard, as large majorities of Americans agree with Trump rather than hyper-regulatory leftists:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey shows that 58% of likely U.S. voters approve of Trump’s decision to temporarily limit government regulation of small businesses to help them bounce back.  Just 26% are opposed, while 17% are undecided.”

Sadly but perhaps predictably, those on the left stubbornly disagree:

The president’s action has triggered criticism from some.  While 70% of Republicans and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party agree with the decision to temporarily limit government regulation of small businesses, just 44% of Democrats share that view.”

Nevertheless, this is welcome news, as Americans maintain faith in what gave us the strongest economy in human history when the coronavirus pandemic suddenly hit – deregulation and letting America’s free market forces work.

 


May 18th, 2020 at 10:37 am
New Gallup Report Undermines the Myth of “Superior” European Healthcare
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Socialized medicine advocates curiously but persistently suggest that European models offer a superior alternative to the American healthcare system that relies more on private market forces and strong intellectual property rights.  Gallup offers an important corrective, even if unintentionally.  Whereas the percentage of Americans rating their healthcare as positive has remained within a high 76% to 83% window for years, Europeans consistently rate their healthcare satisfaction substantially lower, with only Germany matching American satisfaction levels:

 

Germany:  84% approve/15% disapprove

United Kingdom:  76% approve/22% disapprove

France:  74% approve/25% disapprove

Spain:  68% approve/31% disapprove

Italy:  51% approve/487% disapprove

 

That’s important to remember as calls for socialized medicine become louder amid the coronavirus pandemic and as November elections approach.


May 11th, 2020 at 10:36 am
Image of the Day: Majority Says Internet Better Left to Private Providers, Not Federal Bureaucrats
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CFIF continues to highlight how Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s “light touch” regulatory approach benefits Americans immensely in terms of internet service, particularly amid the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.  The left-leaning Pew Research Center offers an encouraging new survey in that regard, highlighting how large majorities agree that while internet service remains essential, it’s something better left to private internet providers than the federal government:

 

Majority Disfavors Federal Internet Control

Public Disfavors Federal Internet Control

 


May 1st, 2020 at 11:04 am
“Net Neutrality”: Former Clinton Official Defends FCC Chairman Pai’s Free-Market Approach to Internet
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We recently highlighted how the Trump Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai did Americans a favor in repealing the 2015 Obama FCC “Net Neutrality” regulation that treated internet service as a public utility.  That Obama FCC effort needlessly reversed the “light-touch” regulatory approach that prevailed from 1996 through 2015, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, and which had allowed the internet to become the most quickly transformative innovation in human history.  In contrast, after the Obama FCC “Net Neutrality” order, private broadband investment fell for the first time ever outside of a recession.

And now, amid the sudden coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, Americans can be grateful for Chairman Pai’s leadership on that issue because the U.S. has more smoothly accommodated the suddenly higher internet burdens than our European counterparts, who more broadly adhere to the heavy-regulatory Obama FCC “Net Neutrality” approach.  In that vein, former Clinton Administration Undersecretary of Commerce Ev Ehrlich emphasizes precisely that point in today’s Wall Street Journal:

I was Undersecretary of Commerce during the Clinton Administration when the Telecommunications Act of 1996 passed.  That law produced some of the best and most affordable broadband in the world.  Our networks are performing much better than those in Europe, Australia and India because we created a deregulatory regime to allow different technologies – cable, fiber, mobile – to compete against one another.  As a result, 95% of Americans today have high-speed broadband available and 80% have access to gigabit speeds.”

Bipartisan consensus is rare in today’s charged political culture, but it’s nice to see a former Clinton Administration official confirm the point – a “light-touch” regulatory approach to internet service has benefited America vis-a-vis the suffocating regulatory approach favored by leftist partisan activists, Europe and the Obama Administration.  For that we should also thank the current FCC under Chairman Pai.