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October 3rd, 2022 at 1:08 pm
Image of the Day: Biden’s “Make America an Energy Importer Again” Presidency
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What was once a decades-long dream became reality during the Trump Administration, as the U.S. finally became an energy exporter again.  As Laffer Associates highlights, Joe Biden has inexplicably put that into reverse gear, and now gas prices are on their way back up.  This is progress?

Biden's Reverse-Midas Touch on Energy

Joe Biden’s Reverse-Midas Touch on Energy

 

September 22nd, 2022 at 4:58 pm
New Lung Cancer Breakthrough Illustrates the Potential Peril of Drug Price Controls
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We at CFIF often highlight the clear and present danger that drug price control schemes pose to American consumers, who benefit from our private pharmaceutical sector that leads the world – by far – in innovation.  A new lung cancer treatment breakthrough in the form of Amgen’s Lumakras illustrates that interrelationship.

Simply put, Lumakras reduced the risk of progression by 34% compared to chemotherapy in patents with advanced lung cancer, which is particularly welcome considering lung cancer’s especially low survival rate (18.6% over five years, and just 5% for advanced forms).  The breakthrough required years of research and enormous amounts of investment, however, which The Wall Street Journal notes makes Lumakras the type of innovation put at risk by new drug price controls recently enacted by Congressional Democrats and the Biden Administration:

The drug is by no means a cure, but progress occurs at the margin and some patients who had what amounted to a death sentence now have hope to live.  Lumakras is also much less brutal than chemotherapy.

Yet the drug might not have been developed had the Medicare take-it-or-leave-it negotiations that Democrats recently enacted been in effect earlier.  Their price controls will penalize in particular small-molecule drugs like Lumakras that have the potential to help large numbers of patients.  Within six years, Lumakras could be targeted by bureaucrats for price controls and the payoff on Amgen’s investment could vanish.

The reason for that is simple.  Straightforward economic principles dictate the inevitable negative blowback from government price controls, whether in the form of 1970s gas lines here in the U.S. or food shortages in Venezuela.

Even the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) warns explicitly about these negative consequences of price controls on drug innovation:

[P]rice 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.  

Closer to home, a recent University of Chicago study quantified the destructive effect of drug price controls on future lifesaving innovations:

The United States has fewer restrictions on price than other countries, but the Biden Administration has announced their goal to lower drug prices through greater price regulation…  [N]ew drug approvals will fall by 32 to 65 approvals from 2021 to 2029 and 135 to 277 approvals from 2030 to 2039.  These significant drops in new drug approvals will lead to delays in needed drug therapies, resulting in worse health outcomes for patients.  

As the University of Chicago points out, the U.S. maintains a more market-oriented approach to pharmaceutical innovation than other developed nations, which benefits American consumers.  Of 270 new medicines introduced here in the U.S. since 2011, for instance, Canadians could only access 52% of them, the Germans 67%, the British 64%, the French 53%, the Japanese 48% and the Australians just 41%.  Moreover, the U.S. accounts for two-thirds of all new drugs introduced to the world.

The real-world numbers speak for themselves.  Americans benefit immensely from our world-leading pharmaceutical sector, and Lumakras offers just the latest welcome example.  The sooner the recent drug price control schemes are repealed or scaled back, the more Americans who suffer from cancer and other ailments stand to benefit.

 

September 8th, 2022 at 1:04 pm
Image of the Day: Biden’s War On Drilling
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Joe Biden has leased fewer acres for oil and gas drilling than any other president.  Don’t dare suggest that he bears any responsibility for skyrocketing energy prices during his presidency, though.

Biden Administration's War on Drilling

Biden Administration’s War on Drilling

August 31st, 2022 at 6:18 pm
Senate Should Take Up Companion Legislation to the House’s American Music Fairness Act (H.R. 4130)
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Congress doesn’t maintain a spotless record of affixing accurate titles to proposed legislation, but in the case of the American Music Fairness Act (H.R. 4130), the House of Representatives nails it.

Now it’s time for the Senate to take up companion legislation and bring greater fairness to performance rights in the music industry.

By way of background, federal law currently secures royalty payments for songwriters and others when their songs are played on AM-FM terrestrial radio, but not for the performing artists themselves.  Deepening that odd paradox, performance artists receive compensation when their songs play on digital broadcast platforms like the internet, satellite and cable.  Terrestrial radio broadcasters, however, somehow remain exempt under existing law from having to pay that same compensation.  There’s no logical or legal justification for that paradox, which amounts to crony capitalism in the form of a special government carve-out.

Fortunately, the American Music Fairness Act currently before the House would finally secure performance rights for artists whose recordings are played on terrestrial radio (with exceptions maintained for smaller mom-and-pop stations).  In 2021, we at CFIF joined numerous fellow conservative and libertarian organizations in a coalition letter to the House amplifying the need to pass this legislation to protect artists’ natural intellectual property (IP) rights:

The Constitution protects intellectual property rights and specifically delegates to Congress authority to protect creative works.  Artists who produce music therefore have the right to protect their intellectual property, including both the writer and performer of a given recording.  When a given work is transmitted, common sense and basic fairness dictate that the medium of transmission should not affect the existence of these rights.  Yet, under the current regime, a performer does not hold effective or enforceable rights to his or her product when it is distributed through terrestrial radio.”

Opponents of the American Music Fairness Act illogically suggest that it would somehow introduce needless market regulation, but the obvious reality is that the market is already regulated in the discriminatory manner described above.  The American Music Fairness Act would merely level the playing field and respect the value of the artists’ works.

Some opponents of H.R. 4130 also falsely attempt to portray it as creating a “tax.”  As leading anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform answers, however, taxes are compulsory payments to government, whereas royalties are voluntary payments to broadcast others’ creations:

[W]hat is proposed is not, in fact, a tax but a royalty.  The definition of a tax is the transfer of wealth from a household or business to the government.  Taxes aren’t voluntary; paying a royalty is.  It is completely within the rights of broadcasters to decide not to pay for the use of a performer’s song by simply not using the song.  This may not be an ideal option, but these songs actually are the property of someone else…  Just as dishonest as calling a tax a fee or fine, so too is it wrong to apply the word ‘tax’ to a royalty payment.  Creating the negative perception that this legislation creates a new tax may be convenient in the short term and assist opponents in gaining political support;  in the long run it is incredibly unhelpful to those who work to reduce the burden of government in our everyday lives.”

By any standard of fairness and logic, performing artists possess a natural right to enjoy the fruits of their labor and creativity, just like any of us do for our work.  After all, artists already receive performance payments from non-terrestrial radio stations, reflecting the value of their work.  The American Music Fairness Act simply corrects an unfair and illogical federal carve-out.

Accordingly, the House should promptly pass this long-overdue legislation, and the Senate should similarly take up companionate legislation.

August 26th, 2022 at 2:31 pm
AEI’s Shane Tews Highlights Another Peril of Government-Owned Broadband: Cybersecurity Weakness
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For years we at CFIF have highlighted the failures and peril of government-run broadband boondoggles.  Government-owned networks (GONs) have an uninterrupted history of failure both domestically and overseas.  They compete with private investment in commercial networks, they create more debt for taxpayers who ultimately become liable for them, they rarely if ever manage to break even financially, and they offer substandard quality.

In that vein, our friend Shane Tews of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) offers an excellent new analysis highlighting yet another fatal defect of GONs:  weaker cybersecurity:

Local governments are good at many things, but asking them to understand how to keep local networks safe and protect connections to the nation’s internet infrastructure is a stretch.  Cybersecurity plans deserve more scrutiny at every level — especially given the possibility of local weaknesses in our network fabrics via government-owned and -operated broadband networks that often lack the tools to detect cyber intrusions.”

She rightfully contrasts the superior comparative performance of private broadband, and suggests a better option:

Commercial broadband providers, on the other hand, spend tens of billions of dollars annually to keep things running safely. They invest heavily in network security, pay hundreds of professionals to guard their network operations, and endlessly brainstorm ways to protect customers’ information.

We should build on what the COVID-19 work-from-home period has taught us: that our networks work extraordinarily well. Rather than overbuilding duplicative networks in areas that already have good broadband coverage, the state should partner with the private sector to close coverage gaps and build secure networks that give new internet users safe access. There is almost no question that the size and nature of these cyber threats will continue to escalate. We need to strengthen our network defenses — not build new, defenseless networks.”

Her pieces always merit full reading, and she hits the nail on the head by encouraging government to partner with private broadband providers that work extraordinarily well, not needlessly compete against them.

 

 

August 18th, 2022 at 6:01 pm
Amid Recession and High Inflation, Groups Like the “National Consumer Law Center” Seek to Narrow Rather Than Expand U.S. Consumer Lending Options
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As inflation continues to spiral upward at multi-decade highs and with the U.S. economy now in recession, maintaining an “all of the above” array of lending options for American consumers becomes more and more important.  Unfortunately, activist groups like the “National Consumer Law Center” aim to do the opposite and limit rather than expand consumer options.

For a sense of consumers’ growing desperation, consider a Federal Reserve report on exploding credit card debt, as highlighted by Steve Cortes:

How have consumers dealt with these skyrocketing prices? The simple answer, unfortunately: via credit cards, particularly for working-class households. Just last week, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York issued a damning report on this credit binge for consumers, into a pronounced economic slowdown.

Total consumer debt rose a staggering $40 billion in June, far surpassing Wall Street expectations of a $25 billion increase…

A huge portion of this new debt flows from costly, risky credit card use. In fact, for the April-June second quarter of 2022, total credit card debt rose a staggering $46 billion, the biggest jump in 20 years. Americans pile into new accounts to accomplish this borrowing, opening up a whopping 233 million new cards during that second quarter, the most new cards since 2008. Such comparisons to the Great Recession should worry everyone.”

Additionally, credit cards aren’t always a viable option for many Americans, and traditional bank loans aren’t always an option due to small amounts needed for short-term emergencies.  Whereas higher-income Americans with stronger credit history can borrow from banks, utilize assets they possess as leverage or use their savings, consumers with lower credit scores or lacking sufficient savings cannot.  Indeed, according to the Fair Isaac Corporation, some 46% of consumers possess credit scores below 700, meaning that traditional bank loans aren’t possible for them.

In such circumstances, struggling Americans can access the money they need for the short-term via consumer finance loans.

Groups like the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), however, want to limit the availability of such options, which they falsely characterize as some sort of scheme “to snare consumers into predatory loans for auto repairs, tires, furniture, and even pets.”

In reality, however, the unintended consequence of efforts like that of the NCLC will be to drive temporarily strapped consumers to seek out illegal loansharks, suffer overdrafts, or simply be unable to cover their temporary costs.  As none other than the World Bank found, such limitations lead to “increases in non-interest fees and commissions; reduced price transparency; lower number of institutions and reduced branch density; and adverse impacts on bank profitability, in addition to the lack of access for smaller and riskier borrowers.”

That doesn’t help the people whom groups like the NCLC claim to protect, it hurts them.  Accordingly, American consumers and elected leaders should recognize the peril that NCLC and similar groups present.  Their efforts would only make consumer lending more difficult, more dangerous and more expensive.

August 12th, 2022 at 11:54 am
Image of the Day: IRS Collected Record Taxes Through July
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Our latest Liberty Update highlights the danger of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that’s about to enjoy a doubling of funding and personnel via the abominable Manchin-Schumer “compromise” tax-and-spend-and-regulate bill.  Apologists for the bill rationalize that a turbocharged IRS is necessary to collect more taxes from the American people (and we highlight in our piece how Americans earning under $200,000, not the “rich,” will be the primary targets).  The U.S. Treasury Department, however, just reported that the federal government just collected a record amount of taxes so far this fiscal year.  The obvious problem isn’t insufficient funding of the federal government, but rather excessive spending:

 

August 5th, 2022 at 11:25 am
Image of the Day: Prescription Drug Prices Aren’t the Inflationary Problem
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As Senators Joe Manchin (D – West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (D – Arizona) betray their “moderate” charade and join Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D – New York) latest tax-and-spend monstrosity, we’ve highlighted the preposterousness of the claim that imposing drug price controls will in any way address out-of-control inflation.  Price controls will kill innovation, but do nothing to reduce inflation, because prescription drug prices simply aren’t the problem.  Once again, economist Steve Moore offers a handy illustration of that truth:

Prescription Drug Costs Aren't the Problem

Prescription Drug Costs Aren’t the Problem

July 28th, 2022 at 10:33 pm
Image of the Day: Something Else Defying Inflation? Internet Service.
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We recently highlighted how prescription drug costs defy today’s otherwise out-of-control inflation, which makes it all the more odd that the Biden Administration and the Pelosi-Schumer Congress seek to impose drug price controls (which will suffocate future innovation, not relieve consumers).

Well, federal government statistics identify another critical consumer product that defies inflationary pressures, yet also remains the target of Biden Administration efforts to expand the federal regulatory state:  internet service.   Something of which legislators and regulators must remain mindful as yet another destructive “Net Neutrality” campaign looms.

Broadband Defies Inflationary Pressures

Broadband Defies Inflationary Pressures

 

July 18th, 2022 at 1:13 pm
Image of the Day: “Putin Price Hike?” No, a Biden Inflation Blowup
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While Joe Biden attempts to blame a shifting array of scapegoats for inflation, the simple numbers demonstrate the unmistakable truth.  Consumer prices began skyrocketing upon Biden’s inauguration in January 2021, and wage gains plummeted toward an immediate deficit relative to inflation.  During the Trump presidency, wages consistently exceeded inflation, only rarely even coming in even, let alone in negative territory.  Economist Stephen Moore illustrates the reality unambiguously:

 

 

 

July 5th, 2022 at 12:00 pm
Federal Regulators Again Target Short-Term Lending, Hurting Struggling Americans They Claim to Help
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We’ve often highlighted how federal and state regulators who target short-term lenders only end up hurting the struggling Americans they claim to be helping.

That dynamic is even more pronounced in times of increasing economic uncertainty like today.

According to a 2018 study from the federal government itself, nearly 40% of American families don’t possess sufficient savings to cover even a $400 emergency expense, including 51% of military service members living paycheck-to-paycheck.   For such people, credit cards aren’t always a viable option and traditional bank loans aren’t feasible because of the small amounts involved.

They can, however, access desperately-needed money for the short-term via consumer finance loans.   Unfortunately, the Biden Administration, the Pelosi-Schumer Congress, federal bureaucrats who think they know better and government officials at the state and local levels constantly pursue legislation and regulation to make consumer finance lending less available.  As a consequence, vulnerable Americans are forced to seek illegal loansharks, suffer overdrafts or simply fail to pay their pressing bills.

Our friends at National Taxpayers Union (NTU) commendably highlight the latest dangerous Biden Administration effort in a piece entitled “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Continues to Attack the Financial Industry”:

While taxpayers look for relief from out-of-control inflation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) continues to attack the financial industry, tipping our already unstable economy further over the edge…

As recently as April CFPB announced they would be invoking a long dormant authority to examine nonbank financial companies or ‘fintech’ companies.  CFPB inaccurately posits that these nonbank entities are harmful to consumers, however these companies often represent some of the only credit available to struggling Americans who have been continuously left behind by traditional institutions.  At a time when the economy is faltering and everyday Americans’ financial futures are so uncertain, the CFPB’s action seems misplaced.”

As NTU rightly concludes, “in many cases these institutions are doing the exact opposite of what CFPB claims, they are providing a lifeline to their users and breaking barriers to traditional institutions.” 

As our economy weakens due to the Biden Administration’s own counterproductive economic policies, the least it could do is avoid making matters even worse for struggling Americans increasingly desperate for a workable lifeline, non-traditional lenders.

June 17th, 2022 at 12:18 pm
Inexcusable and Dangerous: Biden Administration Surrenders U.S. Patent Rights to World Trade Organization (WTO)
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For a man who constantly claims to support “Buy American,” Joe Biden demonstrates an inexplicable and almost fetish-like tendency to undercut American industries.

Since day one, the Biden Administration has ceaselessly besieged a domestic energy sector that finally achieved U.S. energy independence after decades of effort.  And now, it is following through on its inexcusably foolish assault against the U.S. pharmaceutical sector.

Each year, American pharmaceutical innovators account for an astounding two-thirds of all new lifesaving drugs introduced worldwide.  That’s the direct result of our system of intellectual property (IP) protections, including patents, which consistently leads the world.

Instead of protecting that legacy of American Exceptionalism, however, the Biden Administration remains bizarrely determined to eviscerate it.  Today, the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced agreement to forcibly waive patent protections for Covid vaccines, a dangerous effort that the Biden Administration for some reason supports.

This is nothing short of a license to steal U.S. patents.

The WTO effort serves no valid purpose, because Covid treatments are already being provided to poor nations across the world and the underlying pharmaceutical patents it targets are already being licensed at reduced prices or even for free.  Moreover, the  nations that the WTO claims to help recognize that lack of immunizations stems not from vaccine shortages, but rather from local logistical distribution problems and vaccination hesitancy among unvaccinated people in those nations.  Indeed, biopharmaceutical manufacturers remain capable of producing 20 billion vaccine doses this calendar year, so the problem isn’t lack of vaccine availability.

Additionally, a  supermajority of American voters spanning the political spectrum oppose this forcible waiver of Covid vaccine patents, favoring instead the licensing of patents to boost the global supply of vaccines.  Specifically, over 70% of voters believe that waiving Covid vaccine IP could have significant negative implications on the safety and efficacy of supply.

American patent protections explain our unmatched record of innovation, and also why we produce the overwhelming share of new drugs worldwide.  As the pandemic demonstrated once again, that includes Covid vaccines.  The WTO proposal egregiously sacrifices U.S. property rights and undermines the rule of law, which in turn will mean fewer lifesaving vaccines and treatments in the future.  If the Biden Administration won’t correct course, Congress must intervene to do so.

 

 

 

 

June 6th, 2022 at 12:49 pm
Drug Costs Remain Far Below Inflation, but Beware Efforts to Impose Socialist “Price Controls”
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CFIF has continuously sounded the alarm on dangerous drug price control efforts, which will only do what artificial price controls always do – cause shortages of the very products they attempt to regulate.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Today, The Wall Street Journal editorial board cogently addresses the looming bankruptcy of Medicare and Social Security, and along the way nicely makes that point that we and others have been making, while also pointing out that drug prices have actually remained flat while prices for other products and services have skyrocketed:

Democrats blame Big Pharma for bankrupting Medicare, but annual Part D prescription drug costs have grown on average 1% over the last five years.  That’s far less than inflation, GDP and other Medicare spending. Even expensive drugs that grow spending in the short run can reduce long-term health spending.

Consider Hepatitis C treatments, which public-health scolds lambasted as too pricey when they launched nearly a decade ago.  Prices have since plummeted 75% from about $100,000 per course thanks to market competition.  A Department of Health and Human Services analysis estimates the treatments reduce patient health costs by about $16,000 annually and will save Medicaid $12 billion after this year.

Once the hospital trust fund runs dry, spending will have to be slashed by 10%.  The Democratic solution is to let Medicare “negotiate” drug prices — their euphemism for price controls.  But this will reduce the incentive to develop innovative treatments for hard-to-treat conditions like Alzheimer’s.  The result may be higher Medicare spending over the long term.

Artificial government efforts to impose price controls never work, whatever the product, whatever the time and whatever the flimsy rationalization.  America leads the world in producing lifesaving pharmaceuticals – 2/3 of all new drugs introduced worldwide, in fact – so we mustn’t tolerate Biden Administration or Congressional efforts to try this failed proposal yet again.  The stakes for us all are too high to re-learn that lesson the hard way.

May 31st, 2022 at 4:43 pm
Image of the Day: Advocates of Internet Regulation Falsely Claim Service Providers Forcing Consumers to “Pay More”
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Advocates of Obama-era internet service regulations that caused broadband investment to decline for the first time ever outside of an economic recession are at it again.  Even though U.S. internet service remarkably flourished amid the Covid pandemic while more heavily regulated Europe suffered, those who want to bring your internet under greater federal bureaucratic control are out with a preposterously defective poll suggesting that service providers are forcing consumers to “pay more” for inferior service.  Well, here’s a comparison of broadband price increases versus inflation among other critical consumer products since 2021, refusing that bizarre claim:

Broadband Prices Remain Moderated

Broadband Prices Versus Other Products

 

 

May 25th, 2022 at 7:32 pm
America Desperately Needs More Skilled STEM Workers, and We Should Steal Them from Russia
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We at CFIF have repeatedly highlighted America’s desperate need for more skilled science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers.  In an increasingly information-based global economy, legal immigration by people with advanced degrees and valuable expertise to the United States must be encouraged, as even President Donald Trump advocated.

In that vein, we’ve also highlighted how desirable a destination the U.S. is to STEM talent, and how many openly seek to come to our shores, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which was named the top defense and national security think tank in the world.  “Only about 10 percent of international scientists and engineers seemed open to moving to China,” CSIS found, “compared to nearly 60 percent for the United States.”

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholars Brent Orrell and Alex Nowrasteh offer yet another excellent idea in a piece entitled “Skilled Workers Are Fleeing Russia.  Let’s Welcome Them”:

According to the Russian Association for Electronic Communications, between 50,000 and 70,000 information technology specialists have already left Russia since the war started.  An additional 100,000 are likely to depart before April 30.  This is not a new trend (since 2020, 20 percent of Belarusian IT workers — about 20,000 — have left the country for Poland), but Western sanctions on Russia and its allies are likely to accelerate the exodus of skilled laborers.

This outflow of highly skilled human capital is coming at a good time for the United States and its economy.  A recent report found that there were nearly 400,000 tech-related job openings in February 2022.  Meanwhile, data show that American universities annually graduate only about 89,000 computer science students — less than a quarter of total openings — leading to a chronic dearth of workers.”

And just like during the Cold War, welcoming more Russian STEM workers would also serve a strategic national security purpose as well, as the authors highlight in their conclusion:

We should welcome Russian skilled workers today as previous generations welcomed German and Soviet defectors during the 20th century with the effect of weakening our adversaries while strengthening the West.  They would fill valuable niches in the U.S. economy and drain geopolitical adversaries of vital skilled technicians while upholding the humanitarian values that we cherish.  In doing so, we can simultaneously do well for our economy while doing good for the world.”

Fortunately, provisions in legislation currently before Congress can help accomplish exactly that.

Despite some other provisions that should be removed during the House/Senate conference process, the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act of 2022 contains important provisions to welcome more highly skilled talent to America.  For example, the relevant provisions would eliminate obsolete green card limits for workers with advanced STEM degrees, create a new visa for entrepreneurs in start-up companies and facilitate the path to Legal Permanent Residence (LPR) status for STEM Ph.D. graduates seeking work in the U.S.

Unless we bring more skilled STEM talent to our shores, we’ll lose it to other countries like China, which in turn will be more able to undermine our global leadership position.  We can’t let that happen, and Congress can do something to help.

 

May 19th, 2022 at 12:51 pm
Image of the Day: More Economic Freedom = Higher Standard of Living
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In last week’s Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation’s 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, which shows that Joe Biden has dragged the U.S. down to 22nd, our lowest rank ever (we placed 4th in the first Index in 1995, and climbed back up from 18th to 12th under President Trump).  As we noted, among the Index’s invaluable metrics is how it demonstrates the objective correlation between more economic freedom and higher citizen standards of living, which this graphic illustrates:

 

May 13th, 2022 at 11:48 am
Quote of the Day: U.S. Leads the World in 5G Rollout, Thanks to Pro-Market Approach
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From economist Thomas Hazlett, in an insightful admonition against crony capitalist government intervention into the telecommunications market entitled “The U.S. May Repeat Mexico’s Wireless Spectrum Mistake” in today’s Wall Street Journal,  offers this little gem and tribute to the positive payoff of America’s comparatively pro-market deregulatory approach:

Meanwhile, 5G networks are spreading more rapidly in the U.S. than in any other nation, with 49% coverage in October 2021.  (China was at 20% that month.)  This rollout benefits from recent U.S. auctions for flexible-use spectrum rights, infusing networks with new capacity that lowers costs and spurs rivalry.  Further liberalization should continue.  Regulators haven’t been able to divert frequencies to selected business models to increase competition.  U.S. policy makers should avoid trying.”

 

May 10th, 2022 at 9:46 am
Image of the Day: Taxpayers Really Fuel EV Programs
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We recently sounded the alarm on how the Biden Administration, political left and crony capitalist big business interests are coalescing on an idea almost too bizarre to be real:  heaping new carbon taxes on traditional energy sources in order to “reduce energy costs.”  We subsequently illustrated one of the main reasons for that novel ploy:  so-called “green” energy sources are non-competitive without government intervention to artificially make more efficient fossil fuel sources more costly.  Courtesy of economist Stephen Moore, we have another biting illustration of that dynamic:

Taxpayers Power

Taxpayers Power “Green” EV Initiatives

 

There’s nothing wrong with electric vehicles, and in fact they offer a promising future technology.  But that should occur via market forces and consumer choice, not artificial government costs and subsidies paid by strapped taxpayers.

April 29th, 2022 at 9:30 am
Image of the Day: High Cost of “Green” Energy Explains Leftist Calls for Carbon Tax
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In our Liberty Update this week, CFIF highlights a bizarre new crony capitalist idea to introduce a carbon tax that some entrenched interests in Washington, D.C., have begun to advocate.  Even more bizarrely, they sell their proposal to begin taxing energy as a way to reduce energy costs.  You can’t make this up.

Courtesy of economist Stephen Moore, we have an illustration that helps explain their motivation.  Namely, “green” energy is far more expensive than more efficient fuel sources.  Accordingly, they need to tax those more efficient fuel sources in order to make their “green” energy boondoggles more acceptable by comparison:

Why Climate Activists Want a New Carbon Tax

Why Climate Extremists Want a New Carbon Tax

April 26th, 2022 at 1:28 pm
Happy World Intellectual Property (IP) Day — Celebrating the Fuel of U.S. and Worldwide Innovation
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Happy World Intellectual Property (IP) Day!

Among the many elements explaining American Exceptionalism in worldwide innovation, power and prosperity, nothing stands above our enduring legacy of protecting IP – patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets.

Since America’s founding, we’ve protected IP like no other nation before or since.  Our Founding Fathers deliberately inserted text protecting IP rights into Article I of the Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall have the Power … To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”  And as James Madison explained in the Federalist Papers while advocating ratification of the Constitution, protecting IP respected the natural right of individuals to enjoy the fruits of their labors, while also serving the public good by encouraging innovation.

The assurance that one’s creations will enjoy legal protection in turn promotes creative activity, which is why Abraham Lincoln — himself a patent attorney — noted that America’s IP protections, “added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius in the discovery and production of new and useful things.”

Consequently, no nation spanning the entirety of human history even approaches America’s record of patented invention, from the telephone to the airplane, from lifesaving pharmaceuticals like the polio vaccine to the internet.   No society remotely rivals our copyrighted artistic influence, whether in the form of motion pictures, television programming or popular music.  No nation’s trademarks stand recognized in the way that the Coca-Cola or Apple logos are instantly identified across the world.  A direct relationship exists between our tradition of IP protection and our unrivaled success in innovation and prosperity.

That’s why we at CFIF are pleased to join over 100 other free-market, conservative and libertarian organizations here in the U.S. and across the globe in celebrating World IP Day, as highlighted by our collective open letter to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director-General Daren Tang:

IP-intensive industries play a central role in job creation. In the United States, IP-intensive industries account for 44 percent of total employment, and jobs in these industries come with a 60 percent weekly wage premium over jobs in other industries… 

Intellectual property protections are also important for promoting economic growth.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office found that IP-intensive industries contribute $7.8 trillion USD to the U.S. economy, or nearly 41 percent of total U.S. DP.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) further reported that these innovative industries account for over 40 percent of U.S. economic growth.  The role of robust IP protections is clearest when contrasting country scores and their World Bank income classification.  According to the 2021 International Property Rights Index, high-income countries’ scores were 33.5 percent stronger than the average score of upper-middle-income countries and 66.1 percent stronger than the average score of low-income countries.  This IP protection gap must be closed.”

Unfortunately, too many political leaders here in America and across the world fail to respect the role of IP in boosting innovation and wellbeing, and actively seek to undermine it.  We cannot let that occur, lest we all suffer.  As we conclude in our coalition letter, “On this World Intellectual Property Day, we urge WIPO, along with other international organizations, national governments, and policymakers around the world, to continue to promote policies which strengthen intellectual property protections and ensure that a healthy innovation environment can thrive for today’s youth and for generations to come.”