By Edward P. Lazear • Wall Street Journal
President Trump’s tax plan leaves many details undefined, but there is plenty to evaluate. The administration claims its proposed changes would encourage growth and make the tax system more efficient. History suggests they will.
Less certain is the claim that the tax cuts will pay for themselves. Although budget concerns should always be paramount when cutting taxes, revenue neutrality does little to guarantee that this—or any—administration will exercise fiscal responsibility.
Most economists favor moving away from taxing capital and toward taxing consumption through value-added or sales taxes. Taxing capital squelches growth because capital is mobile and can cross borders in search of the highest risk-adjusted, after-tax return. Economists in both parties have scored the effects of eliminating capital taxation in favor of a pure consumption tax. Estimates range from a 5% to 9% total increase in gross domestic product. Continue reading
By Scott Ehrlich • The Federalist
On the day the American Health Care Act passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the hashtag #IAmAPreExistingCondition was trending on Twitter. At the time I saw it, there were about 65,000 tweets on it.
Earlier that day, I had read in a different article that at its peak only 115,000 were members of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), a high-risk insurance program established as a bridge between pre-Obamacare coverage and the establishment of its exchanges. This brought to mind two key realizations: people care very much about those with pre-existing conditions and want to see them taken care of, but it’s also not a huge number of people and it’s very hard and expensive to insure them no matter what mechanism Americans use.
How People with Pre-Existing Conditions Get Insurance Continue reading
by Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
Immigrations and Custom Enforcement cannot account for all visa overstays due to inefficiencies in the agency, according to a new report.
ICE arrested just 0.4 percent of visa overstays it could account for, according to an audit by the inspector general.
The agency has 27 different databases used to investigate and track immigrants who remain in the country past the deadline issued on their temporary visas. The lack of a cohesive system has “produced numerous inefficiencies,” making ICE ineffective at catching visa overstays who may pose security risks, according to the audit.
“Department of Homeland Security IT systems did not effectively support ICE visa tracking operations,” the inspector general said. Continue reading
Barack Obama emerged from his short-lived political retirement on Sunday to call on Members of Congress to show the “political courage” to preserve ObamaCare. But wait. That plea doesn’t square with the deluge of recent stories predicting that Republicans have doomed their majority in 2018 by voting last week to repeal ObamaCare. How does it take “political courage” to oppose something that everyone claims is politically suicidal?
Perhaps because the predictors of Republican doom could be wrong. The midterm election is still 18 months away, and many events will intervene that could influence the result. But even if the campaign does turn on repealing ObamaCare, we’d argue that the politics are better for Republicans if they pass their reform and fulfill a campaign promise than if they fail and then duck and cover.
Start with the safe assumption that the Democratic base will be highly motivated to vote next November no matter what Republicans in Congress do. The left will be eager to repudiate President Trump, and that means trying to retake the House and Senate. House Republicans can’t do much to deflate that liberal enthusiasm, any more than Democrats could deter the tea party in 2010. Continue reading
By John Daniel Davidson • The Federalist
Something is wrong with the American Left. The recent spate of violent protests on college campuses has been well-documented, but the violence and intolerance championed by left-wing student activists is beginning to creep off campus and into mainstream public life.
The reason for this is straightforward enough: although progressives pride themselves on their putative tolerance and diversity, the imperatives of leftist politics are fundamentally illiberal. Justice imposed through power is the philosophical foundation of the political left, and when earnest progressives become convinced the only avenue to power is violence, their tolerance quickly falls by the wayside. Consider a few recent events, none of which involved college protesters but all of which were marked by threats of violence.
Ahead of a town hall meeting this week in Virginia’s fifth congressional district, Republican Rep. Tom Garrett received a series of disturbing threats—not just against him but also his wife and family, even his dog. One message said bluntly, “This is how we’re going to kill your wife.” Continue reading
By Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, has announced that it will exit all Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2018 after experiencing massive losses in 2016 and 2017.
Aetna announced in August of last year that it would scale back its participation in the Obamacare exchanges in 2017—from operating in 778 counties to 242—citing losses of more than $430 million since January 2014. At that time, the company said it would still operate in four states: Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska, and Virginia.
Earlier this month, the company said it would exit the exchanges in both Iowa and Virginia, saying the insurer has continued to face profitability headwinds from individual commercial products. The company even went so far as to set aside a fund to buffer it from projected losses. Continue reading
By Erielle Davidson • The Federalist
Harvard Business School recently released a working paper titled “Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit,” discussing the effects of minimum wage policies on companies’ survival. For those with any shred of economic understanding, the results were predictably dismal.
The paper focused specifically upon the restaurant industry in San Francisco, using data from the review platform Yelp to track the activity and performance of individual restaurants. Researchers Dara Lee Luca and Michael Luca discovered that a $1 increase in the minimum wage leads to approximately a 4 to 10 percent increase in the likelihood of any given restaurant exiting the industry entirely. In economic terms, minimum wage hikes quicken a restaurant’s “shutdown” point. Continue reading
By Travis Korson • The Hill
Two years have passed since a state-sponsored cyber-attack caused one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history, and it appears that a foreign government may once again be on the verge of gaining access to a treasure trove of sensitive American information.
For those short of memory, I’m referring to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack where over 21.5 million records were stolen, most likely, by state-sponsored Chinese hackers. The hack, which was discovered in April 2015, included personally-identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, addresses, dates and places of birth and personal financial information.
Instead of using the anniversary as an opportunity to renew the American government’s commitment to protect its citizens from acts of cyber warfare and foreign espionage, it appears that they are instead, inexplicably, considering approval of a transaction that would provide the Chinese a permanent pipeline to the sensitive personal information of millions of Americans. Continue reading
Frontiers of Freedom released the following statement on the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017:
Frontiers of Freedom opposes legislation recently passed by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee placing caps on medical malpractice damages. The idea of caps on tort damages may be worthwhile, but tort law has always been a matter of state law and our constitutional system of federalism demands that Congress respect that states, not the federal government, are responsible for state tort law. The Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017 stands in direct contradiction of our mission to preserve the Constitution’s checks and balances, system of federalism, separation of powers, and guarantee of basic rights as the foundation of America’s freedom.
The legislation represents an egregious and unwarranted expansion of federal power over the traditional prerogatives of states in tort law, not to mention regulation of health care, which is entirely provided on a local basis. Nearly all states have spoken to the issue of malpractice damages either by instituting caps of their own or, alternatively, barring such restrictions legislatively or via court decision.
The full House should reject H.R. 1215, the House-passed malpractice legislation, and with it, the continued creeping encroachment of federal mandates over state law and issues that should rightfully be regulated at the state and local level.
For more information, please contact Frontiers of Freedom at [email protected]
# # #
By David Harsanyi • The Federalist
Hillary Clinton was back yesterday, taking “absolute personal responsibility” by blaming Russia, James Comey, and misogyny for her second presidential election loss. If the election had taken place on October 27, Clinton maintained, she’d be president. Perhaps if we all lived in a vacuum where the electorate ignored everything the Democratic Party’s flawed nominee had said and done (and tried to hide), she may well be in the White House — although even that’s debatable.
Clinton’s counterfactual tale about the infamous “Comey letter” has been a security blanket for many Democrats. But, as luck would have it, the FBI director was testifying in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee today, and he reminded us of some factors that Clinton ignored. That’s because even if we concede that Comey’s letter to Congress helped sink Clinton, Hillary deserved that letter, and the FBI director had no choice but to send it. Continue reading