This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
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Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry

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…[more]

October 13, 2020 • 11:09 PM

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Grading the Potential 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates on Health Care Print
By Troy Senik
Thursday, January 27 2011

Now that a Republican House of Representatives has passed repeal of ObamaCare, a momentous fight for the future of American liberty has been joined. Even amongst the most ardent supporters of repeal, however, the reality that it might require a sympathetic president to pull the final plugs on the program is becoming conventional wisdom. 

Taking that into account, it thus becomes essential that the man (or woman) who is chosen as the Republican presidential nominee in 2012 has the core convictions and political skill necessary to see repeal through to completion. Though the GOP field for the next cycle has yet to congeal, it behooves voters to take an early look at the potential candidates to see where they stand. The future of freedom could depend on it. Here’s a quick sampling of some of the potential candidates and where they stand on health care:

Sarah Palin:  Never known for mincing her words, Palin has been an outspoken and consistent foe of ObamaCare. Her reference to the plan’s provisions for end-of-life counseling as “death panels” became the Facebook post heard ‘round the world – and made the policy’s removal from the final bill inevitable. Palin’s grasp on the fundamentals of the issue have been strong, particularly when she approvingly quoted Thomas Sowell’s notion that “government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost.” She has yet to offer specific alternatives, but her support for general notions of increased competition and free market principles are an encouraging sign.
 
Mike Huckabee:  Huckabee has been opposed to ObamaCare, but his criticisms have been steeped primarily in practical notions of government inefficiency, not philosophical opposition to government intervention. Indeed, Huckabee has joined in rhetorical bashing of the insurance industry, accusing health care insurers of “often [putting] profits ahead of patients” in 2009. He has also shown a willingness to entertain an interventionist role for the government, such as with his support for public smoking bans. Huckabee has long been a fan of increasing preventive care, a policy he sees as superior to the after-the-fact intervention of the current system (experts disagree, however, on the efficiency of preventive care from an economic standpoint). 
 
Mitt Romney:  No candidate will face as much scrutiny for his views on healthcare as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. While serving as chief executive of the Bay State, Romney signed a 2006 bill to establish universal health care coverage. That bill included an individual mandate (which Romney has never subsequently disavowed) and has been widely cited as a template for ObamaCare (one of the MIT economists who consulted on Romney’s plan remarked that “He is in many ways the intellectual father of national health reform.’’) When pressed on the issue, Romney generally defends his plan as an example of federalism in action, sighting the national scope of ObamaCare as its most glaring deficiency.
 
Newt Gingrich:  Gingrich has been a sharp critic of ObamaCare, referring to it as a “centralized health dictatorship.” The former Speaker of the House has long been engaged in health care issues through his Center for Health Transformation, an organization focused on dramatically changing the health care sector through market-driven reforms. Gingrich has supported a modified version of the individual mandate in the past, but has stressed that it would be means-tested (only required of high income Americans without insurance) and that it would be unjust to implement it without reforming the broader health care system first. He has also previously voiced support for some of the less controversial policies in ObamaCare, such as electronic health records.
 
Tim Pawlenty:  Of all the potential 2012 candidates, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty may enjoy the most expansive record on health care. As a two-term governor of the North Star State, he enacted multiple health care reforms predicated on increasing competition by making price and quality more transparent. He’s also been one of the most outspoken proponents for market-driven reforms at the federal level, advocating for policies such as portable health insurance plans, tort reform, competition across state lines and medical pay for performance. Pawlenty may currently be one of the less visible presidential candidates, but his forcefulness on health care has the potential to break him out of the crowded second tier in the upcoming GOP primaries.
 
Mitch Daniels:  A supporter of the repeal movement, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has referred to ObamaCare as a “colossal mistake.” Like Pawlenty, Daniels can point to the contrast offered by his own record as a chief executive. During his time in Indianapolis, Daniels has implemented an innovative plan built around health savings accounts for state employees. The HSAs alone have led to a reduction of over 10 percent in the state’s costs. And the plans have created an incentive for sensible health care consumption by allowing the unspent funds in the accounts to remain the permanent property of the workers. 

Regardless of who emerges as the Republican nominee, he or she will present a favorable contrast to Obama in the fall of 2012. But the specific choice will decide just how favorable. And that could be the margin of victory in the next presidential election.

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following individuals laid the ‘Golden Spike’ joining the Eastern and Western U.S. railroad lines to create the Transcontinental Railway?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"President Trump's recent executive order laying out his 'America-First Healthcare Plan' makes clear his continued commitment to the long-standing, bipartisan consensus that we should protect people with preexisting conditions. Unfortunately, the previous administration's attempt to make good on that consensus -- Obamacare -- has failed to deliver on its promises.Contrary to the prevailing media narrative…[more]
 
 
—Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator
— Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator
 
Liberty Poll   

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