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September 17th, 2021 at 12:54 pm
Quote of the Day: WSJ on H.R. 3, Biden & Pelosi’s Dangerous Healthcare Bill

In this week’s Liberty Update we highlight the potentially catastrophic threat of H.R. 3, the healthcare and drug price control bill that Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are attempting to rush through Congress.  The Wall Street Journal helpfully offers further insight this morning on how H.R. 3 would threaten lifesaving U.S. pharmaceutical innovation and leadership, including on things like the Covid vaccines:

 

Companies that refuse the government’s price must pay a 95% excise tax on all revenue they generate from that drug in the U.S.  They’d also have to offer the government price to private insurers.  There’s no “negotiation” when a gun is pointed at your head.  A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that drug spending in the U.S. would have been 52%, or about $83.5 billion, lower in 2020 based on the bill’s formula.  The research outfit Vital Transformation estimates the bill would reduce bio-pharmaceutical earnings by $102 billion a year…

The hugely successful mRNA Covid vaccines are the result of years and billions of dollars in research.  BioNTech initially set out to create cancer vaccines and linked up with Pfizer in 2018 to work on a more effective flu vaccine.  Biotech firms are trying to use mRNA technology for personalized cancer vaccines, autoimmune treatments and gene therapies.”

 

Americans cannot allow Biden, Pelosi and Schumer to jeopardize our future health on behalf of their hyper-partisan agenda.

September 2nd, 2021 at 5:31 pm
Image of the Day: Targeting Florida Gov. DeSantis Doesn’t Make Sense
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It’s unsurprising that leftists and the Biden Administration desperately seek to shift the topic from their disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, which has Biden’s approval/disapproval underwater and sinking further.  But targeting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott seems strange, especially when one of the worst examples of Covid mismanagement remains their erstwhile hero and Emmy recipient Andrew Cuomo:

 

 

 

 

 

August 24th, 2021 at 4:51 pm
Image of the Day: Meanwhile, the Biden Inflation Boom Continues…
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The Biden Administration’s failures aren’t exclusively overseas in nature.  For seven consecutive months now, average U.S. hourly wages have declined when adjusted for inflation.

 

The BIden Inflation Boom

The Biden Inflation Boom

 

 

August 13th, 2021 at 1:11 pm
Image of the Day: The Biden Inflation Surge
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From RealClearPolitics, a comparison of wage gains (blue line) versus inflation (red line) under President Trump and now Joe Biden.  But don’t sweat it, Joe – nothing that another creepy photo-op to an ice cream shop for fawning reporters won’t cure.

Biden's Inflation Boom

Biden’s Inflation Boom

 

June 18th, 2021 at 4:38 pm
ProPublica/IRS Leak: There’s No Underlying “There” There
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In our Liberty Update this week, we highlight the latest illegal leak of thousands of supposedly confidential Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxpayer returns spanning over 15 years, confirming that the partisan and power-hungry IRS simply cannot be trusted to safeguard our sensitive records, let alone to begin collecting sensitive private information from nonprofit organizations on donors who contribute to them in violation of the First Amendment.

Getting to the substance of the ProPublica/IRS leaked documents themselves, former Senator Phil Gramm and U.S. Policy Metrics partner Mike Solon explain in The Wall Street Journal how there’s nothing scandalous in the least in what they reveal:

ProPublica’s ‘blockbuster’ story showing that the wealthy ‘pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year, looks at first like a stunning revelation.  But the whole tempest plops into a teapot once you ask yourself:  How much of the total growth in the value of my home, retirement funds and business did I pay federal income taxes on last year?  The answer is none.  Nobody pays federal wealth taxes in America, but ProPublica and its Democratic allies are using stolen tax returns to try to change that.”

As they correctly conclude, suddenly imposing a nonsensical “wealth tax” would not only be unfair, but destructive:

Proponents of a federal property tax on wealth offer guarantees and protections that they will only tax the superrich like Mr. Buffett, promising not to touch your retirement plan, home, farm or business.  But the federal income tax started out only taxing the superrich like John D. Rockefeller.  The same politicians who promise to protect you from the federal wealth tax voted to impose income taxes on ‘wealthy’ Social Security retirees with an annual incomes above $25,000.  And these are the same politicians who are proposing to tax your businesses and farms at 43.4% when you die, before they take another 40% in death taxes.  In taxing wealth we eat the nation’s seed corn.  That may be worth it to politicians who want power, but for most Americans a wealth tax, whether they have wealth or not, would mean fewer jobs, lower wages and less opportunity for human flourishing.”

Well said.

 

 

 

June 4th, 2021 at 10:17 am
Image of the Day: Another Disappointing Jobs Report Under Biden, and an Increasingly Likely Explanation
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This morning brought yet another disappointing monthly jobs report from the Labor Department.  While the Biden Administration continues to blindly insist that potential employees sitting on the sidelines because of cushy government unemployment payouts aren’t the problem, the people who actually hire people in order to continue their operations seem to recognize a different story.  Over 9 in 10 say that worker shortages are weighing them down – far and away their biggest problem.  We know the workers are out there, but they’re not taking the available jobs.

 

May 13th, 2021 at 8:59 pm
Image of the Day: Private Sector Pharmaceutical Investment Propels Innovation
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As we’ve highlighted, the dangerous effort to weaken critical patent protections for U.S. pharmaceutical innovators often minimizes the role of private investment and exaggerates the role of public funding.  This offers a critical corrective at a moment when American drug and vaccine innovation is more important than ever:

The Critical Role of Private Pharmaceutical Investment

The Critical Role of Private Pharmaceutical Investment

May 4th, 2021 at 7:25 pm
Image of the Day: Electric Vehicle Irrationality
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As Congress considers the so-called “Clean Future Act,” which would unfairly allow utilities to pass the cost of electric vehicle charging stations that overwhelmingly benefit the rich to all utility customers, it’s worth highlighting how even the New York Times acknowledges how impossible “Green New Deal” dreams for EVs really are:

Impossible Electric Vehicle Dreams

Impossible Electric Vehicle Dreams

 

April 19th, 2021 at 10:52 am
Image of the Day: Biden Wants U.S. to Suffer World’s Highest Corporate Tax Rate
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In our latest Liberty Update, we highlight how even some elements of the Biden Administration’s wasteful spending blowout that actually do constitute “infrastructure” are nevertheless terrible ideas — his broadband plan chief among them.  Along the way, we note in passing how part of Biden’s plan includes returning the U.S. to the inglorious status of imposing the developed world’s highest and least-competitive corporate tax, which the Tax Foundation illustrates nicely:

 

Biden Plan Imposes World's Highest Tax Rate Upon U.S.

Biden Plan Imposes World’s Highest Tax Rate Upon U.S.

 

April 12th, 2021 at 1:05 pm
Amazon Workers Soundly Reject Unionization, and NR’s Kevin Williamson Highlights Another Great Reason Why: Big-Labor Corruption
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We’ve recently highlighted how right-to-work states, which the Biden Administration and Congressional leftists hope to abolish, dramatically outperform forced-union states in terms of job growth, manufacturing and household consumption.  Worker freedom from Big Labor bosses is a leading reason why in a high-profile vote, Amazon workers in Alabama voted to reject unionization by a 71% to 29% margin last week.

In a phenomenal new piece, National Review’s Kevin Williamson offers another reason for rejecting unionization that we mustn’t ignore:  big labor bosses’ widespread corruption.  Williamson lists a litany of union officials convicted and sentenced for embezzlement and other misuse of members’ hard-earned dues – in 2020 alone.  Accordingly, the leftist anti-capitalist drumbeat just didn’t resonate with workers who were forced to choose their path:

It is easy to imagine a world in which American labor unions performed a valuable service in the labor market, as unions do in some other countries and as ours have at times in the past.  But that is not the world in which we live.  In our world, a small and declining share of private-sector workers belong to unions, which derive their clout from the fact that so many government functionaries — see the teachers- and police-union officials listed above — belong to unions…  The more money going into the union coffers, the more that can be transferred to Democratic campaign committees and super-PACs.  That’s a lot of foxes watching a lot of henhouses…

The Amazon workers in Alabama decided that it is better to have the market on your side than to have a cartel on your side. Smart call. The rest of the country should take note.”

 

Alarmingly, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and leftists generally seek to impose laws depriving workers of that choice.  From the looks of things, everyday workers aren’t buying into it.

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
Posted by Print

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.