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March 29th, 2021 at 9:46 am
Image of the Day: Guess Which States Boast Lower Unemployment Rates?
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From economist and friend Stephen Moore, the latest inconvenient truth:

South Dakota tops the list again at 2.9% unemployment – exactly the same as where it was 12 months ago. The only states with Democratic governors in the top 10 – Kansas and Wisconsin – had Republican legislatures and courts that blocked school closures and lockdown orders. And the same basket case lockdown states are at the bottom – California, New York, Hawaii – barely recovering still.”

Guess Which States Excel

Guess Which States Excel

March 16th, 2021 at 10:58 am
Image of the Day: Right-to-Work States, Which Leftists Hope to Kill, Outperform Compulsory Unionization States
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The Biden Administration outrageously hopes to curtail American workers’ freedom by eliminating Right-to-Work states (currently 27), and the House of Representatives just passed legislation accordingly.  Preposterously, breathtakingly dishonest and dishonorable leftists like Rep. Tim Ryan (D – Ohio) make the Orwellian claim that doing so actually advances worker freedom.  That’s a lie, as economist Stephen Moore highlights.  But more broadly, American’s must understand what a threat this is to their jobs and our economic welfare more generally, before it’s too late:

 

Right-to-Work States Excel

Right-to-Work States Excel

March 10th, 2021 at 9:11 am
Coalition to Congress: A Financial Transaction Tax Will Harm American Savers and Investors
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In our latest Liberty Update, we highlight how a financial transaction tax and new market regulations would punish everyday American investors and retirees.   Yesterday witnessed significant movement on the issue, as CFIF joined a broad coalition of 27 organizations representing millions of Americans across the nation in urging Congress to reject any proposal to implement a financial transaction tax on Americans:

An FTT is the latest attempt by the left to take advantage of a ‘crisis’ to implement a massive new tax on the American people.  Contrary to their rhetoric, this tax would be borne by the American people, not Wall Street.  It would punish investment, leading to lower returns for American retirees and savers and increased market volatility.  It fails to raise as much revenue as supporters claim, and has failed everywhere it has been tried in past decades.”

Unfortunately, some in Congress nevertheless invite that potentially catastrophic risk.  Yesterday, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D – Maryland) advocated a financial transaction tax during a hearing before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.  Senator Van Hollen confirmed that Senators Elizabeth Warren (D – Massachusetts) and Brian Schatz (D – Hawaii) stand ready to introduce such legislation, falsely asserting that, “We know that Wall Street has made an art of high-frequency trading and rank speculation that’s fattened the wallets of a few, while putting everyday investors at greater risk.”

But as we noted specifically in our most recent piece on the matter, the exact opposite is true:

Any financial transaction tax will inevitably impact millions of Americans who rely upon investments to sustain their pensions, 401(k) plans, index funds and other retirement accounts.  Today, 53% of American households own stocks, while between 80 million and 100 million possess 401(k) accounts.  According to one recent analysis from the Modern Markets Initiative, the proposed financial transaction tax could mean a hit of $45,000 to $65,000 to 401(k) owners over the lifetime of their accounts.  Accordingly, the suggestion that a new tax on financial transactions won’t punish everyday Americans is flatly untrue.

In fact, the hardest-hit would be those who rely upon public sector employment pensions, such as police, firefighters, teachers and other public servants whose retirement accounts rely heavily on markets for retirement.  They stand to lose billions of dollars every year to the proposed tax, meaning significantly reduced savings and retirement incomes.”

Our broad coalition has it right, and Senators Van Hollen, Warren and Schatz have it wrong.  A financial transaction tax would sacrifice American consumer and investor wellbeing at the altar of a broader politically motivated agenda.

March 1st, 2021 at 10:26 am
Image of the Day: “Green” Energy Hogs Taxpayer Subsidies
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In our latest Liberty Update we explain how Texas highlights the peril of the stubborn “green” energy agenda.  Economist Stephen Moore continues his fantastic work by illustrating how “green” energy, not fossil fuels, irrationally hogs taxpayer subsidies:

[N]ow the left is recirculating its myth that fossil fuels require massive taxpayer subsidies. In psychology, this is called “projecting” – when you accuse someone else of deviant behavior that applies to yourself. In reality for every kilowatt of power generated, wind gets about 10 times more taxpayer subsidies and solar gets 50 to 100 times more handouts than fossil fuels”:

 

“Green” Taxpayer Subsidy Hogs

February 22nd, 2021 at 1:00 pm
Biden Admin. Must Resist Pressure by Congressional Leftists and Global Chorus to Surrender U.S. Pharmaceutical Patent Protections
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Strong patent protections provide the foundation for U.S. pharmaceutical innovation, which leads the world and accounts for an astounding two-thirds of all new drugs introduced worldwide.  In the words of former patent attorney Abraham Lincoln, patent rights also “added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius” explaining why America led the way in developing coronavirus vaccines with breathtaking speed.

Reconfirming the adage that no good deed goes unpunished, however, an array of internationalist voices like the World Trade Organization (WTO), India and South Africa now demand that the U.S. surrender those vital patent and other intellectual property (IP) protections for coronavirus vaccines, diagnostics and other treatments.  Worse, leftist politicians here in America like Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D – Illinois) now ask the Biden Administration to bow to those potentially destructive demands.

That would tragically and needlessly undermine the very policies that prompted pharmaceutical innovators to devise and develop the vaccines already providing relief to the world, and leave us less capable of addressing current and future diseases and pandemics.

The good news is that Biden himself has historically supported patent and other IP rights, including sponsorship of the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act that proved so invaluable in promoting innovation, and which The Economist magazine labeled “possibly the most inspired piece of legislation to be enacted in America over the past half-century.”  Biden also visited a Pfizer vaccine plant in Michigan just last week, praising its pioneering work that may save millions of lives, suggesting that he at least understands the high stakes.  Additionally, U.S. opposition to the WTO proposal is joined by the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland and Japan.

But the bad news is that Rep. Schakowsky’s effort appears to have convinced Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D – California) and Congressional Democrats, who will in turn pressure the Biden Administration to cave.

This assault against U.S. drug innovators and patent protections is unnecessary, as they already plan to offer their treatments to poor nations across the world, and to license their patent rights at abnormally low prices or even free of charge.   But on a broader level, the Biden Administration must consider the dangerous signal that suspending patent rights for pharmaceutical innovators would send, and the long-term disincentives that would follow if pharmaceutical patent rights were weakened rather than protected.  Pharmaceutical innovation demands billions of dollars in sunk costs of investment, not to mention potential product liability lawsuits for any error.  To suddenly signal that those costs and risks won’t be sufficiently and fairly rewarded through ensuing patent protections would have catastrophic effects over both the short and long terms.  Drug costs remain a fair concern.  But how would it be a preferable alternative if the new drugs were never created at all due to lack of patent protection incentives?  That’s precisely why the nations supporting the WTO proposal don’t produce the lifesaving drugs that U.S. innovators constantly create, and that would be the reality if we opted for public policies that deprived those innovators and investors of the incentives to create drugs that save millions and even billions of lives.

American patent protections are the leading reason why we continue to produce the overwhelming share of new drugs worldwide, including the new coronavirus vaccines.  Hopefully, the Biden Administration keeps that reality in mind as it stands up against Congressional leftists like Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Schakowsky and rejects this potentially catastrophic WTO proposal.

 

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February 18th, 2021 at 10:52 pm
Notable Quote: Green Energy Fables About Texas Power Outages
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As usual, The Wall Street Journal editorial board provides a North Star on how “the wind industry and its advocates are spinning a fable that gas, coal and nuclear plants – not their frozen turbines – are to blame” for Texas power outages:

Between 12:00 a.m. on Feb. 8 and Feb. 16, wind power plunged 93% while coal increased 47% and gas 450%, according to the EIA.  Yet the renewable energy industry and its media mouthpieces are tarring gas, coal and nuclear because they didn’t operate at 100% of their expected potential during the Arctic blast, even though wind turbines failed nearly 100%…  Politicians and regulators don’t want to admit this because they have been taking nuclear and coal plants offline to please the lords of climate change.  But the public pays the price when blackouts occur because climate obeisance has made the grid too fragile.  We’ve warned about this for years, and here we are.”  [emphasis added]

There’s a place for wind, solar and other “green” energy sources, but not on the basis of taxpayer subsidy or regulatory mandate, and the Texas experience reconfirms that the old reliables – coal, gas and nuclear – remain central to meeting America’s power needs.

February 16th, 2021 at 1:37 pm
Image of the Day: Don’t Believe the “Blue State Tax Bailout” Advocates
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From our friend Dan Clifton, a nifty visual rebuke to leftists and Biden Administration officials pleading impoverishment and demanding a federal bailout of “blue” states.  Incoming tax revenues are actually up at the state and local level, and high-tax blue states would be better off engaging in tax reform and reduction for their own citizens instead of asking taxpayers in other states to bail them out:

No Blue State Tax Bailout Needed

No Blue State Tax Bailout Needed

February 8th, 2021 at 12:53 pm
Image of the Day: On Leftist Policies and Unemployment, the Song Remains the Same
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We often highlight how Barack Obama didn’t end the 2008-09 recession or “prevent the next depression” (despite incessant uninformed assertion to the contrary), but instead captained the worst post-recession “recovery” in U.S. history.  As helpfully illustrated by economist Steve Moore, that just continues the longstanding record of leftist economic failure:

 

 

New Deal Debacle

New Deal Debacle

 

 

January 29th, 2021 at 10:28 am
Image of the Day: On Unemployment, “Red” States Outperform More Pro-Lockdown “Blue” States
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As they say in the legal field, “res ipsa loquitur” – the fact speaks for itself.  From our friend and economist Stephen Moore’s blog:

 

“Red” States Outpace “Blue” States

January 25th, 2021 at 1:07 pm
CFIF Joins 75-Group National & State Coalition Opposing Socialized Medicine and Importation of Foreign Price Controls
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Today, continuing our longstanding opposition to the ruination of American healthcare by importing foreign price controls and socialized medicine, CFIF proudly joins a 75-group coalition letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services opposing the interim final rule to implement the “Most Favored Nation” (MFN) model under Section 1115A of the Social Security Act, which forces physicians, patients and providers into a mandatory demonstration under the ObamaCare Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), and which ties prices paid for medicines in Medicare Part B to the prices paid in socialized healthcare systems of foreign nations.

Specifically, the letter explains in detail how the rule will do nothing to stop foreign freeloading off of American pharmaceutical innovation, it will reduce access to new cures (just as it has in those foreign nations), it threatens millions of high-paying American jobs, it moves America one step closer to government-run healthcare and it utilizes ObamaCare to circumvent Article I of the U.S. Constitution.

As demonstrated once again by U.S. pharmaceutical leadership in quickly developing coronavirus vaccines, we’re the envy of the world in this regard.  The last thing we need at a moment like this is to undermine our status with a potentially catastrophic unforced error like this.

January 22nd, 2021 at 12:29 pm
Image of the Day: Trust In Media Plummets to New Low
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Here’s something that ought to terrify the self-appointed gatekeepers of our national discourse in the mainstream media.  Amid their widespread campaign of censorship, especially conservative and libertarian voices, trust in media overall has plummeted to a new low, falling below 50% for the first time ever:

 

 

January 4th, 2021 at 9:51 am
Image of the Day: Medical / Pharmaceutical / Healthcare Sector Approval Skyrockets
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Although the year 2020 was a trying one in so many ways, one bright spot that we at CFIF repeatedly highlighted is the wondrous way in which America’s pharmaceutical sector came to the rescue, achieving in one year what typically takes a decade or more:  devising and perfecting not one, but multiple lifesaving vaccines.  It’s therefore no surprise, but welcome nonetheless, that Americans’ approval of our healthcare sector and its workers skyrocketed.  Their remarkable achievements have not gone unnoticed:

Medical Sector Approval Skyrocketed

Medical Sector Approval Skyrocketed

 

November 12th, 2020 at 11:49 am
Images of the Day: Unemployment Claims Plummeted Faster After $600 Checks Expired
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As the nation debates continuing coronavirus stimulus, AEI offers an eye-opening analysis:  Unemployment claims plummeted and the employment picture improved much faster after those $600 checks expired, reestablishing that while we always want to help those who cannot help themselves, government payouts can sometimes reduce incentives and ability to return to the workforce.  And this doesn’t even reflect remarkably positive employment reports released by the government since the end dates:

 

Unemployment Claimes Dropped

Continuing Unemployment Claims Dropped

 

 

 

 

Initial Unemployment Claimes Dropped

Initial Unemployment Claims Dropped

October 30th, 2020 at 5:06 pm
CFIF Applauds SMARTER Antitrust Reform Bill
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As we at CFIF regularly highlight, among the best ways to boost the American economy is via federal deregulation, which brought us the strongest economy in world history under President Trump.

For that reason CFIF enthusiastically applauds a bill sponsored by Senators Mike Lee (R – Utah), Thom Tillis (R– NOrth Carolina) and Charles Grassley (R – Iowa) entitled the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules (SMARTER) Act.  Currently, differing antitrust review standards applied by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) create confusion throughout our business and financial sectors, unnecessarily restraining U.S. economic prosperity.  The SMARTER Act changes that by harmonizing that process:

‘The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice unnecessarily apply different procedures and standards for reviewing proposed mergers,’ said Senator Tillis.  ‘This commonsense legislation will streamline the enforcement of our federal antitrust laws by creating a system of consistency that will benefit consumers and businesses.’

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission share concurrent jurisdiction to review proposed mergers for compliance with the antitrust laws but it is not always clear in advance which agency will review a particular merger.  Although the two antitrust agencies apply the same substantive law to the mergers they review, their procedures differ in important ways.

The SMARTER Act fixes this problem by requiring the Commission to satisfy the same standards that DOJ must meet in order to obtain a preliminary injunction to block a merger and requiring the Commission to litigate the merits of contested merger cases in federal court under the Clayton Act — just as DOJ does — rather than before its own administrative tribunals.

Separately, certain mergers also require approval of the Federal Communications Commission.  However, the Federal Communications Commission’s merger review procedures create an open-ended process that fuels uncertainty and is potentially insulated from judicial review.  This invites regulatory mischief from both sides of the aisle that only leads to an imbalance in the implementation of regulatory policy.  The current process results in an inconsistent merger review process that not only harms the businesses seeking to complete a transaction in a timely manner, but it also hurts workers and consumers alike.  The SMARTER Act fixes this problem by requiring the Commission to issue a decision within 180 days of receiving a completed merger application.  The merger review process should not invite Congress or a regulatory agency to put a thumb on the scale of a particular transaction, but instead it should enable a fair and timely system that affords due process.”

As our economy continues to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, legislation of this sort is precisely what we need to reover and surpass the old mark.  CFIF applauds Senators Lee, Tillis and Grassley for their leadership.

 

October 29th, 2020 at 10:37 am
CFIF Letter to White House: Keep Targeting Rogue Venezuelan Regime, But Protect U.S. Enterprises Operating There
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Less than twenty years ago, Venezuela was Latin America’s wealthiest nation.  In the terrifyingly brief time since then, however, the rogue socialist regimes of Hugo Chavez and now his successor Nicolas Maduro have reduced it to a dystopian rubble more akin to starving Cuba.  For that, the United States justifiably isolates and targets the Maduro regime for its ongoing corruption, theft and human rights abuses.

Amid that effort, however, we must also protect vulnerable American companies that have conducted business in Venezuela since long before the Chavez and Maduro regimes.  By granting those American businesses specific waivers to continue operations, we protect them from suffering asset seizure at the hands of Maduro and his cronies.  The alternative of denying that latitude would suddenly force U.S. enterprises to surrender their assets, thereby strengthening the Maduro regime by allowing it  to commandeer those valuable assets for the benefit of Venezuelan state-owned enterprises or even handing them over to Chinese or Russian competitors.

In a new letter to the Trump Administration, we at CFIF highlight these realities and urge it to continue renewing U.S. business licenses to operate in order to protect their assets against Maduro expropriation:

American companies actually serve a positive capacity when allowed to continue operations in Venezuela.  Numerous U.S. enterprises have operated in Venezuela for decades, preceding both the Maduro and Hugo Chavez regimes that have wreaked such havoc that once made Venezuela Latin America’s wealthiest nation.  Not only do they visibly represent American values and the possibility of prosperity for the people of Venezuela, but they also provide well-paying jobs and labor protections that would evaporate if state-owned enterprises took over operations.  Those American companies also support communities where the Maduro regime has failed to act, by providing healthcare and nutrition for needy Venezuelans, who continue to rely upon foreign support for humanitarian needs due to Maduro government failures.

It’s therefore critical that your administration send a clear signal to the Maduro regime that it cannot confiscate U.S. business assets, and that we will not allow it to enrich itself via American enterprises.  The way to send that signal, and to protect U.S. businesses, is to grant those enterprises licenses to continue operations and protect their assets.”

The Trump Administration has shown leadership throughout its tenure in isolating the Maduro regime, and our letter urges it to protect American interests by renewing licenses for U.S companies to continue operations in Venezuela.  That will allow those companies to protect their invaluable assets and investments, while signaling that the United States remains committed to the democratic and free market values that we represent.

 

 

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October 13th, 2020 at 3:18 pm
Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry
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This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight rail and saved it from looming oblivion.

At the time of passage, the U.S. economy muddled along amid ongoing malaise, and our rail industry teetered due to decades of overly bureaucratic sclerosis.  Many other domestic U.S. industries had disappeared, and our railroads faced the same fate.  But by passing the Staggers Rail Act, Congress restored a deregulatory approach that in the 1980s allowed other U.S. industries to thrive.  No longer would government determine what services railroads could offer, their rates or their routes, instead restoring greater authority to the railroads themselves based upon cost-efficiency.

Today, U.S. rail flourishes even amid the coronavirus pandemic, accounting for 42% of total U.S. freight, while the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) anticipates another 30% growth in rail volume over the next two decades.  In terms of cost-efficiency, today’s railroads transport nearly twice the freight for the same price of 40 years ago when the Staggers Act passed.  Rail now transports fully one-third of all U.S. exports, its accident rate has fallen 10% in the past ten years alone and it moves one ton of goods over 470 miles on a single gallon of fuel – far surpassing the fuel efficiency of ground trucks.  Rail also supports approximately 1.5 million jobs, industry employees earn 60% more than average U.S. workers and railroads have poured over $700 billion into domestic infrastructure improvements since 1980.

And importantly, in contrast to industries like trucking, shipping or airline freight, rail travels almost entirely upon infrastructure that it built and maintains with its own dollars.   Rail also hasn’t needed federal bailouts, as opposed to other industries.

Americans should all recognize rail’s success story, and thank the Staggers Rail Act and the deregulation that it restored for that success.  Happy 40th!

October 2nd, 2020 at 11:40 am
A Note from CFIF on President Trump’s Positive Coronavirus Test
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Amid an excessively acrimonious partisan landscape, we simply wish to extend the CFIF family’s best wishes of luck and health to President Trump following his positive test for coronavirus, as we wish to anyone and everyone who has tested positive, as well as those loved ones affected by it.  In similar spirit, we express gratitude that Joe Biden and his wife have reportedly tested negative.

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