Democrats on the House Energy & Commerce Committee have introduced a relabeled and slightly revised bill from the past and given it the inaccurate and misleading name “the CLEAN Future Act.” This bill is aimed at restricting and reducing the use of reliable energy sources, and mandating and increasing the use of unreliable energy sources. This will make energy more substantially expensive and it will reduce jobs and economic growth. Simply stated, the bill, if passed, would do a great deal more to insure that more and more of America repeats the catastrophic widespread power outages that Texas experienced last month than it will ever do to provide a “clean future” as the act’s name implies.
The CLEAN Future Act is less focused on energy policy than it is on imposing an anti-energy policy and a virulent climate focused policy aimed specifically at destroying America’s current domestic energy supplies. In other words, the goal is to make it illegal to use clean fuels like natural gas or to use any fuel based on oil, or even clean coal technology — all abundant energy sources in the US. And it wants us to transition from these reliable energy sources to unproven and unreliable energy sources in the space of a little more than a dozen years. If they get their way, be ready for dramatically more expensive electric bills and for more Texas style blackouts which can cost lives and billions in damages.
The widespread use of those natural gas, oil and coal in conjunction with innovative clean technologies have caused American air quality to dramatically improve in the last thirty years. With air quality improving, there is no need to turn the economy on its head and endanger people’s lives with poverty, power outages, and economic disruption.
Even if you buy into the idea that carbon dioxide is harmful, America’s carbon emissions are on the decline. But the truth is, carbon dioxide is a natural occurring and necessary element for life. If we removed all carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, all life would shortly die out as there would be no plant life. Humans and animals require oxygen to respirate and live. Plants require carbon dioxide to live and do photosynthesis which provides animals and humans with food. So take away the carbon dioxide and you kill off life — both animal and plant life. But as I said, even if you buy into the idea that carbon dioxide is at harmful levels (it isn’t), no serious human can hope for a planet without CO2. That would be a dead planet.
The CLEAN Future Act will punish the production and use of our most reliable energy sources, and it will dramatically raise energy costs and destroy jobs. This seems to fit well with Biden’s agenda. He may have promised a “moderate” and “unifying” agenda, but his first months in office blew the lid off the idea that there will be anything moderate or unifying about the Biden-Harris administration.
The bill is also designed to give the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of “social justice” more teeth. For example, the bill would establish an Office of Energy Equity at the Department of Energy. Americans love the idea of equality before the law and the idea that we are all created equal. Justice is a founding ideal for any nation that promotes freedom. But when you add modifiers to the word justice, you are likely not talking about justice, but actually trying to co-opt the term to suit your ulterior motives and goals. With energy policy, the goal should be to provide all of America with reliable and affordable energy. That benefits everyone — the poorest among us, need affordable energy more than anyone else and they need the jobs and opportunity that affordable energy helps create.
So if you are really interested in “energy equity” or “energy fairness,” you would focus on providing reliable energy to Americans at reliable and relatively stable and affordable prices. But if you have another agenda, you might hide it by promising greater energy equity while forcing prices dramatically higher and making the reliability of the energy sources spotty and questionable. That’s exactly what “The CLEAN Future Act” does and it is in line with the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals.
If we imposed the same truth in labelling laws on Congress that apply to food products, this law would be named, “The Make Energy Expensive and Unreliable Act.” And if truthful labeling applied to the committee names in Congress, the committee would no longer be called the Committee on Energy and Commerce, but would be renamed the Committee Against Energy & Commerce.
Unexpected expenses are never welcome and no one likes a costly surprise. So it isn’t surprising that there has been a lot of talk in Washington and Congress about “protecting” patients from surprise medical bills. And if rumors swirling around Washington are true, the Administration will enter the fray with an announcement about an executive order that will supposedly “fix” the surprise medical billing problem. This may sound good, but in reality it won’t be good news despite the Administration’s best intentions. In the end, a government “solution” will simply drive out and crowd out market forces which if allowed to work would not only solve the surprise billing problem and reduce costs to consumers, but also maintain the highest levels of quality and incentivize innovation in our healthcare system.
The most common cause of a surprise medical bill is when a person uses a healthcare provider that is not in their insurance plan’s network of providers. While it doesn’t happen that often, it is a real challenge for consumers when it does happen. Insurance companies have contracts with healthcare providers to provide medical services at discounted rates. That makes them “in-network.” The “out-of-network” providers charge a price without any pre-negotiated discounted rates which means the out of network costs are greater.
These circumstances, no matter how rare, are used by politicians to make us think they are proactively solving problems for our benefit. Sadly, they are doing nothing of the sort. One only needs remember how President Obama and Vice President Biden repeatedly promised that they would save us all thousands of dollars every year and allow us to keep our health insurance and our doctor. Obviously, Obama and Biden failed to deliver on that promise. It was the lie of the year even as judged by liberal fact checkers. Literally, millions of Americans lost their preferred plans and virtually everyone saw their health insurance costs increase — not decrease by thousands.
So a healthy dose of skepticism about promises to fix surprise billing with government price controls is entirely justified. Government imposed price controls skew incentives and reduce the availability of quality healthcare. To make things worse, government imposed price controls also reduce the likelihood of future healthcare innovations and slow the development of promising medicines and procedures. But the bad news doesn’t end there — government mandates almost invariably shift power to government bureaucrats and health insurance companies, rather than giving consumers more control over their own healthcare.
And it is fair to ask what is the government’s track record on reducing costs? And on top of that, government mandates will do nothing to reward innovation or to empower consumers.
The marketplace — and the negotiations that take place when you have two or more parties all trying to maximize the value that they receive — has a knack for providing high quality goods and services for the lowest possible prices. That is the process that has brought us smart phones that have more computing power than was used in the 1960s in the Apollo program. Today, the average American eats better and spends a lot less to feed themselves than our great grandparents did. We also have access to all manner of foods — something even kings didn’t have a few generations ago. Additionally, we work far fewer hours to obtain that food. This is the power of the marketplace and the innovation that it encourages.
We need to harness that market power which will deliver high quality and low prices in the medical arena. Because the government has historically been such a big player in the medical field and because it is always arguing for a larger and more powerful role, we will see less quality and higher prices than the marketplace could have provided.
Instead of continuing to empower government, let’s try reforms that put economic power back in the hands of healthcare consumers. Where’s the proof that government run schemes produce the needed quality and lower costs? Let’s trust the marketplace to do what it does so well — boost quality and keep prices comparatively low. We trust the marketplace to provide us with food, housing, technology, and a thousand other things. Why not healthcare?
In Treasury Secretary Mnunchin’s report released today, the U.S. Postal Service’s future as a sustainable organization was appropriately and undeniably called into question. The Trump Administration has worked diligently this year to fashion positive USPS management changes and this report follows the President’s move to commission a Task Force review in April.
“The Task Force’s findings detail inexplicable financial malpractice on the part of the U.S. Postal Service,” said George Landrith, president of Frontiers of Freedom. “Clearly there are many new directives that the USPS must advance to create meaningful change for the sake of American taxpayers, consumers, and postal workers. For years, the Postal Service has asked to be treated like a private business, however, every action it takes has resulted in greater losses and worse service overall.”
“For an agency of the Federal Government, full accounting transparency of the costs and revenues of each individual product is essential. Members of Congress and USPS regulators and its board of governors must have the ability scrutinize services, like parcels and others, where the agency is unable to cover the costs of delivery.”
As a limited government advocate focused on constitutional principles, Frontiers of Freedom believes that the preservation of affordable and timely mail delivery is essential. Furthermore in 2019, the Postal Service must be subject to reforms to ensure its solvency and decrease the risk of a potentially massive taxpayer bailout.
The situation is extremely critical. The Ukrainian people are freezing. In the cities of Cherkasky, Hmelnickiy, Herson, and Kharkov the authorities have been forced to declare emergencies. People all over Ukraine have gone to the streets to protest the inhuman conditions. The civil movement called the Organization of Ukrainian Mothers has called for nationwide protests. Its leader, Natalia Korolevskaya has announced that they will protest in front of the Parliament building and other government installations. Most of the protesting mothers have carried signs claiming that not starvation, in Ukrainian golodomor, but the threat of freezing to death, in Ukrainian holodomor will kill their children.
In fact, Ukraine is frozen both literally as well as figuratively speaking. Because of serial non-payments for Russian gas, Gazprom has stopped deliveries. Simultaneously, Ukraine cancelled the bilateral agreement on gas deliveries. More importantly, since its independence on August 24, 1991, Ukraine has failed spectacularly to build a politically stable and economically prosperous state. Its politicians have used their anti-Russian rhetoric to build up their individual fiefdoms and in many cases their criminal organizations. Simultaneously, they have abused Ukrainian nationalism to suppress the sizable ethnic Russian community, allegedly as a payback for the Russian oppression prior to the country’s independence.
Historically, attempts to create new states in Europe in the 20th century by the dominant European and the non-European powers ended, without exception, in failures, and subsequently in the necessary restoration of the status quo ante. Judged by the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia in the late 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century neither the United States of America nor the dominant member states of the European Union learned the lessons from the forced and artificial unifications of the Czechs and the Slovaks, and the multitude of ethnic groups in the former Yugoslavia after the end of World War I.
Between the two World Wars Yugoslavia was held together by the joint vision of the Serbs and the Croats to establish a strong state of the southern Slavs. After 1945, Josip Broz Tito’s ethos as the anti-German and anti-Soviet hero provided the political glue that held Yugoslavia together, albeit barely. The dictatorship that Tito invented was based on allowing the Croats and the Slovens to get rich, while financing and thus taming the Serbs militaristic ambitions. The rest of the republics and the two autonomous regions were kept relatively placid by showering them with the money left from arming the Serbs.
Frontiers of Freedom released the following statement on property rights and condemning the ITC for approving of theft:
Protecting property rights has long been a core mission of Frontiers of Freedom. Our Constitution provided for property rights for physical property and for intellectual property. America became the world’s most innovative and economically powerful nation because our Founders grasped the importance of property rights and created a system that incentivized creativity, innovation and the productive use of such property.
Unfortunately, too many – in various industries and in government – dismiss the importance of IP rights. Too many users of patented technology (like big tech companies) think they should be able to use that technology in their products without paying at all or paying as little as possible. Along with that courts and legislators have taken steps to weaken those protections – causing the US to start losing its place as the world’s innovator.
A decision just last month is particularly egregious. The U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm filed a case against Apple at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) for infringing some of their patents. An administrative law judge (ALJ) of the ITC found that Apple was guilty of infringing these patents, but in an strange conclusion decided not to impose an exclusion order – the one remedy available to the ITC. As Apple imports its phones (manufactured overseas) into the US, the ITC – a US agency – has the authority to impose an exclusion order to prevent them from importing devices that include infringed technology. The possible order would not apply to all Apple phones, btw, in case anyone worries iPhones would suddenly be banned. It would only apply to certain infringing devices. Of course, Apple could stop violating Qualcomm’s patents and there would be no issue.
It is outrageous that a judge can conclude that a company has violated the patent rights of another company but then impose no punishment or remedy whatsoever. The decision sets a very dangerous precedent and only encourages more IP theft by letting would be patent thieves think they can get away without punishment.
Our patent and IP laws work when individuals and companies believe they will pay a price when they violate those laws. If ignored, it encourages patent theft and damages the cycle of innovation that has set America apart! The ITC is one of the key agencies that is charged with enforcing those rights and must let anyone know – including powerful companies like Apple – that the law will be enforced pure and simple.
The ruling by the ALJ is only the first step and we are hopeful that the full ITC sees the importance of enforcing patent law and ensuring that patent infringement is punished accordingly.
Frontiers of Freedom has long been a leader in protecting property rights. Our Constitution provided for property rights for physical property and for intellectual property. And with good reason. America became the world’s most innovative and economically powerful nation because our Founders grasped the importance of property rights and created a system that incentivized creativity, innovation and the productive use of such property.
Sadly, some foolishly think that property rights are old fashioned or that everything should be free. But these folks miss the point that if new innovations were free, we would see far fewer innovations. That would mean fewer new life sustaining medications, fewer new movies, less new music, and fewer new electronic devices and gadgets. Imagine if someone argued that food is so important that everyone should be able to get it free and simply walk into grocery stores and restaurants and grab whatever food they want. How long would food be available? How long before grocers and restaurants close down? That’s the point. We need to incentivize the production of the things we want and need and we need to encourage innovation.
For this reason, Frontiers of Freedom was part of a group that sent the following letter to Capitol Hill hoping to highlight the importance of intellectual property rights. Continue reading
One of the most important parts of the Constitution is one of the least recognized. While American’s appreciate the importance of free speech and free elections, few realize that America may well have become the world’s unmatched economic superpower because the Founders wisely authorized Congress to protect intellectual property rights. This, in turn, provided the incentive to innovate and create.
Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution authorizes Congress 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….” With this under-appreciated constitutional provision, the Founders made the U.S. the engine of innovation that drove technological, economic, and medical advances for the entire world. Continue reading
It’s all-shutdown-all-the-time in Washington these days. But all that talk has obscured the far bigger challenge facing the nation next week, when the government runs out of room to borrow more money to cover its expenses as it hits the congressionally imposed “debt ceiling.” It would be a disaster for the global economy to see America default on its debts. While it is true America can continue to pay the obligations on its debt and most of its other outlays each month with the tax dollars that are collected, that is only a stop-gap solution. As a nation we must find a sustainable long-term solution to run away debt and eventual insolvency.
Therefore, it is incumbent on all parties to work to work to find a practical and workable long-term solution. Thankfully, we have a recent precedent from the last debt ceiling debate. The result was sequestration. It worked in curbing spending growth, but was a blunt tool, applied across the board. The current shutdown gives us much better information about where the next sequestration should be targeted. Continue reading
Official White House records show that the embattled former IRS Commissioner, Douglas Shulman, visited the Obama White House at least 157 times. Most of those visits, interestingly enough, around the time the IRS was deciding to target conservatives. In contrast, not one Obama Cabinet Secretary came anywhere close to 157 White House visits. Not the Secretary of Defense, despite the wars in Iran and Afghanistan. Not the Secretary of State, despite the terrorist attacks at Benghazi and elsewhere and the generally unstable world situation. Not the Attorney General, despite the problems associated with Operation Fast and Furious, the administration’s desire to give terrorist’s trials in civilian courts, or the push to close Gitmo. Not the head of Homeland Security, despite the problems with border security or the debates surrounding immigration.
Barack Obama is the world’s most inept and feckless leader. This is not merely my opinion. Any serious review of the facts reveals inescapably that the official, yet unspoken, position of the Obama White House is that Barack Obama is completely incompetent.
Of course, Barack Obama didn’t hold a press conference and explicitly admit that he is an incapable bungler. But if you believe Obama’s and his Administration’s explanation for everything from the Benghazi attacks, to the related cover-up and whistleblower threats, to the recent IRS scandal, they are implicitly admitting that Obama is the weakest, most ineffectual president ever.
UPDATE: CBS News is now reporting that Obama administration officials say that mistakes made in responding to the Benghazi incident reflect “incompetence rather than malice or cover up.” “We’re portrayed … as either being liars or idiots,” an anonymous Obama Administration official said and then admitted, “It’s actually closer to us being idiots.” How bad do things have to be before an Obama official is willing to cop a plea to being “idiots?”
While British Prime Minister David Cameron was in town this earlier this week, President Barack Obama held a press conference and was asked about several growing scandals including the Benghazi coverup. At issue were the CIA talking points that Administration officials radically changed – removing all references to warnings before the attack, terrorism, al-Qaeda, and the planned and coordinated nature of the attack. Obama claimed it was all a politically motivated “sideshow.”
Obama made at least three claims that were clearly false. First, he said that from the first day, he was clear that the attack was an “act of terrorism.” False. Second, he claimed that he sent a White House official to Capital Hill to testify that it was terrorism. Again, false. Third, he said that Congress reviewed administration emails and determined several months ago that “there was nothing afoul.” Again, completely and totally false. Continue reading
by George Landrith
At the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, the president revealed a sad truth – the mainstream media actively works to advance his political career. He quipped that his campaign manager “David Axelrod now works for MSNBC, which is a nice change of pace since MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod.”
In deed, the mainstream media has been diligently advancing Obama’s political career since at least 2008. And the media’s active participation in the Benghazi cover-up is proof positive of the media’s deep and profound dishonesty. Continue reading
For years, media bias has been hotly debated. Let me settle this here and now. The mainstream media is not biased. Bias implies some level of subtly in the prejudice. There is nothing subtle about the media’s blatant partiality which actually reaches the level of dishonest propaganda.
There is an unmistakeable trend in play – some evil and/or demented person kills and injures a large number of innocent people and the extreme Left and the “mainstream” media (but I repeat myself) blame conservatives for the evil-doer’s actions. This is an almost reflexive reaction for the media and the Left. Continue reading
Ronald Reagan coined the phrase, “Peace through strength,” but it was not a new idea and it had not been an historically partisan concept. It dates back to George Washington who said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” Washington and Reagan understood that peace is achieved through strength and conversely that weakness invites attack. This was once a universally accepted truth among American leaders. Current events prove, it should again become American policy regardless of party.
We live in a dangerous world. Kim Jung-un is threatening military invasions and nuclear attacks. We’ve recently learned that the North Koreans are much closer to being able to put a nuclear warhead on a missile than was previously believed. China, already a nuclear power, is rapidly developing a large navy and stealth aircraft. Russia has been sending its military aircraft into American airspace on provocative test missions. Continue reading