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  • We are proud to announce that the 2014 Ronald Reagan Gala will honor Gary Sinise. For over thirty … [more]

    2014 Reagan Gala with Gary Sinise
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Cyberlockers: a business model based on selling stolen property

Internet Piracy Copy Rights Intellectual Property Rights Theftby George Landrith

A recent study conducted by NetNames found that in one month alone more than 430 million unique Internet users sought or downloaded copyright infringing music, movies, book, and other materials. This industrial scale theft chills creativity, innovation and investment by depriving creators of a market based return on their investments.. So how do these cyber-thieves steal music, movies, books, and other materials? One tool that is growing in popularity is the shadowy cyberlocker which is designed to sell, not store stolen content.

With so much attention to the “cloud” in today’s online world, it is important that we distinguish between the legitimate cloud storage services like DropBox, Google Drive and Apple’s iCloud, to name only a few. These services allow consumers to store, share, backup, and access data. The so-called cyberlocker business model is very different. Cyberlockers incent users to upload stolen files that are copyrighted and which they have no right to distribute, and then profit by selling subscriptions and advertising. The fact that they pay nothing for the product they sell allows them to enjoy profit margins approaching 90%.

The cyberlocker model is predicated on theft and distribution of stolen property. [Read more...]

Is Capitalism Environmentally Unsustainable?

The goal must be to find ways for liberty and the environment to flourish together, not to sacrifice one in the vain hope of protecting the other.

Stack of Moneyby Ronald Bailey     •     Reason.com

Human activity is remaking the face of the Earth: transforming and polluting the landscape, warming the atmosphere and oceans, and causing species to go extinct. The orthodox view among ecologists is that human liberty—more specifically economic activity and free markets—is to blame. For example, the prominent biologist-activists Paul and Anne Ehrlich of Stanford University recently argued in a British science journal that the environmental problems we face are driven by “overpopulation, overconsumption of natural resources and the use of unnecessarily environmentally damaging technologies and socio-economic-political arrangements to service Homo sapiens’ aggregate consumption.” The Ehrlichs urge the “reduction of the worship of ‘free’ markets that infests the discipline” of economics. [Read more...]

Mass Obamacare Cancellations, Part 2

By U-T San Diego Editorial Board     •     U-T San Diego

Cancelled Cancellation ObamaCareIn fall 2013, there was a political firestorm after millions of Americans were told their individual 2014 health insurance policies would be canceled because they didn’t provide the full range of coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act. This prompted President Obama to unilaterally delay by one year the requirement that individual health plans be compliant with Obamacare. Most states — but not California — went along with this decision.

That year is nearly up, and the White House has ruled out another delay. Otherwise, the administration is waiting until after the Nov. 4 elections to say what 2015 holds for the millions of Americans with noncompliant individual health insurance. It won’t even comment on what’s ahead in the 32 states where the federal government runs the insurance exchange programs. (California runs its own.)

Nevertheless, most evidence indicates millions of Americans with individual policies are likely to lose them in coming months — this time for good. Semanticists may claim these policies haven’t been changed, just amended. But Americans facing much higher premiums and co-pays and fewer options on doctors aren’t likely to agree that this is what President Obama meant when he said, “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” [Read more...]

Hillary: Don’t Let Anybody Tell You That Businesses Create Jobs

Breitbart

Appearing at a Boston rally for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley on Friday, Hillary Clinton told the crowd gathered at the Park Plaza Hotel not to listen to anybody who says that “businesses create jobs.”

“Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs,” Clinton said.

“You know that old theory, ‘trickle-down economics,’” she continued. “That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.”

“You know, one of the things my husband says when people say ‘Well, what did you bring to Washington,’ he said, ‘Well, I brought arithmetic,’” Clinton said, which elicited loud laughs from the crowd.

There is no sugar-coating the weak economy

Regardless of the President’s claims, the economy is weak and the “recovery” is almost invisible to most Americans. 

Editorial Board   •   Washington Examiner

Sluggish EconomyDuring his 60 Minutes interview late last month, President Obama put an old and familiar rhetorical question to the voters: “Ronald Reagan used to ask the question, ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’…And the answer is, the country is definitely better off than we were when I came into office.”

Most members of the public do not share this view, according to this week’s Washington Post/ABC News poll. Only 22 percent surveyed agreed that they are “better off financially” than they were when Obama was inaugurated in January 2009 — including only 37 percent of Democratic partisans. This says a lot about how people feel, because six years ago, the nation was embroiled in the very financial crisis that Obama still cites to absolve himself from blame for America’s continued economic doldrums.

When pressed in the same interview, Obama had to concede that most Americans aren’t feeling the recovery he has been touting ever since the so-called “Recovery Summer” of 2010. That’s because for workers, there hasn’t been much of a recovery. [Read more...]

The Myth of ObamaCare’s Affordability

The law’s perverse incentives will have the nation working fewer hours, and working those hours less productively.

By Casey B. Mulligan     •     Wall Street Journal

obamacare costsWhether the Affordable Care Act lives up to its name depends on how, or whether, you consider its consequences for the wider economy.

Millions of people pay a significant portion of their income for health insurance so they and their families can get good health care when they need it. The magnitude of their sacrifices demonstrates the importance that people ascribe to health care.

The Affordable Care Act attempts to help low- and middle-income families avoid some of the tough sacrifices that would be necessary to purchase health insurance without assistance. But no program can change the fundamental reality that society itself has to make sacrifices in order to deliver health care to more people. [Read more...]

America’s New Class System

“Clerisy” class does the bidding of tech oligarchs to detriment of the middle class.

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds     •     USAToday

Obama-Class-WarfareWe’ve heard a lot of election-year class warfare talk, from makers vs. takers to the 1% vs. the 99%. But Joel Kotkin’s important new book, The New Class Conflict, suggests that America’s real class problems are deeper, and more damaging, than election rhetoric.

Traditionally, America has been thought of as a place of great mobility — one where anyone can conceivably grow up to be president, regardless of background. This has never been entirely true, of course. Most of our presidents have come from reasonably well-off backgrounds, and even Barack Obama, a barrier-breaker in some ways, came from an affluent background and enjoyed an expensive private-school upbringing. But the problem Kotkin describes goes beyond shots at the White House. [Read more...]

How Repealing And Replacing Obamacare Would Help Restore Booming Economic Growth

ObamaCare Launchby Peter Ferrara   •    Forbes

One of the biggest drags on economic growth under President Obama has been Obamacare, enacted on a strictly partisan basis in 2010. That drag has come primarily from the sweeping overregulation of Obamacare.

The biggest culprit has been the employer mandate, which requires all employers of 50 or more full time workers to buy them health insurance with the terms and benefits as specified by the federal government. That is effectively a tax on employment of well over $10,000 a year per worker for family coverage.

Even for employers that already provide health insurance, the employer mandate will likely be a big tax increase on employment. That is because the mandated health insurance will most likely cost more than what the employer is already providing. That results first because the government responds to political pressure to require generous benefits most people will think the employer is paying for, to be include in the mandated health insurance. That drives up the cost of the mandatory health insurance. [Read more...]

A Recovery Stymied by Redistribution

Public policy intended to make layoffs less painful actually made layoffs cheaper and more common.

unemploymentby Casey B. Mulligan

Why has the labor market contracted so much and why does it remain depressed? Major subsidies and regulations intended to help the poor and unemployed were changed in more than a dozen ways—and although these policies were advertised as employment-expanding, the fact is that they reduced incentives for people to work and for businesses to hire.

You probably heard about the emergency-assistance program for the long-term unemployed that ended only a few months ago after running for almost six years. But there is also the food-stamp program. It got a new name and replaced the stamps with debit cards. Participants are no longer required to seek work and are not asked to demonstrate that they have no wealth. Essentially, any unmarried person can get food stamps while out of work and can stay on the program indefinitely. [Read more...]

Regulators Wreck Innovation

Ride-share services benefit consumers, but the taxi commission doesn’t want to give us a good deal.

costs-of-over-regulationby Glenn Harlan Reynolds

The regulatory knives are out for Uber and Lyft, two ride-sharing services that make life easier for consumers and provide employment opportunities in a stagnant economy. Why are regulators unhappy? Basically, because these new services offer insufficient opportunity for graft.

Services like Uber and Lyft disrupt the current regulatory environment. I have the Uber app on my phone. If I need a car in areas where Uber operates, it looks up where I am using GPS, matches me with participating drivers nearby, and in my experience gets me a Town Car in just a few minutes. It’s the comfort of a limo service, with the convenience of a taxicab. I get a better service, the driver gets a job, but now there’s competition for those entrenched companies. [Read more...]

There Is No Better Predictor of Obamacare Than the Veteran Affairs System

ObamaCare IRS Cost Compassion

 The VA offers precisely what Obamacare offers: not a guarantee of treatment in time of need, but a guarantee of a place in line for treatment at a time of the bureaucracy’s choosing.

by Kevin O’Brien

The White House says Americans can’t draw any conclusions yet about just how screwed up is the Department of Veterans Affairs medical care system.

Well, yes, Americans can. And if they have any sense — always a debatable proposition — Americans will.

One conclusion we can draw is an old, familiar one: No matter what the issue or activity, bureaucracy’s first and strongest instinct is to protect itself in the face of a perceived threat. [Read more...]

The Minimum Wage and Economic Reality

Obama Minimum Wageby Steve Chapman

If you offer people something that is too good to be true, you will always find takers. Ask Bernie Madoff. Or ask Barack Obama. He recently proposed an increase in the minimum wage — an idea that suits the natural predilections of many people enough to distract them from the unsentimental and unwelcome logic of economics.

One poll found that 63 percent of Americans favor raising the federal floor from the current $7.25 to $10.10, as the president recommends doing over two years. The reasons are obvious. Wages have stagnated, low-income Americans are getting a smaller share of national income and many working people are stuck in poverty despite their best efforts. A higher minimum wage is the obvious solution.

Obvious, but wrong. The proposal rests on the assumption that the government can decree the price of a commodity — in this case, labor — in defiance of the dictates of the market, without ill effects. But that view requires a heroic suspension of disbelief. [Read more...]

ObamaCare is only one of many failed policies that are shackling the economy

Smug-ObamaObama’s biggest failure is that he hobbled the U.S. economy. ObamaCare is part of that, but it goes well beyond ObamaCare.

by Daniel Henninger

The ObamaCare train wreck is plowing through the White House in super slow-mo on screens everywhere, splintering reputations and presidential approval ratings. Audiences watch popeyed as Democrats in distress like Senators Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor decide whether to cling to the driverless train or jump toward the tall weeds. The heartless compilers of the Washington Post/ABC poll asked people to pick a head-to-head matchup now between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Mitt won. This is the most amazing spectacle of mayhem and meltdown anyone has seen in politics since Watergate.

No question, it’s tough on Barack Obama. But what about the rest of us? For many Americans, the Obama leadership meltdown began five years ago.

In fall 2008, the U.S. suffered its worst financial crisis since the Depression. That wasn’t Barack Obama’s fault. But five years on, in the fall of 2013, the country’s economy is still sick. [Read more...]

Economic Malpractice

obamanomicsIt’s amazing how little President Obama has learned about economics in his four and a half years in the White House. Growth, incentives, tax reform, tax increases, private investment, the middle class, a second great depression, the sequester—all these issues have one thing in common: Obama doesn’t understand their role in our economy.

Nor does he appear interested in finding out. Members of the now-defunct President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness have privately talked about Obama’s economic shallowness. After the 2010 election, he invited four conservative economists to the White House. When former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin broached the subject of the economic cost of Obamacare, the president dismissed it as politics, not economics.

Obama seems oblivious to the feeble recovery his policies have produced since the recession bottomed out in June 2009. The jobless rate is 7.3 percent. But if the millions who’ve dropped out of the job market altogether since Obama took office in January 2009 were counted, the unemployment rate would be 10.8 percent. “In other words, the United States faces a permanently larger pool of jobless Americans,” says the American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis. [Read more...]

Killing the American Dream with the Minimum Wage

Minimum WagePolitical crusades for raising the minimum wage are back again. Advocates of minimum wage laws often give themselves credit for being more “compassionate” towards “the poor.” But they seldom bother to check what are the actual consequences of such laws.

One of the simplest and most fundamental economic principles is that people tend to buy more when the price is lower and less when the price is higher. Yet advocates of minimum wage laws seem to think that the government can raise the price of labor without reducing the amount of labor that will be hired. [Read more...]