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Economic Freedom

From debt to jobs, Obama failed to deliver

by Justin Haskins • Philly Inquirer

Shortly after being sworn into office in January 2009, President Obama, along with Democrats in Congress, spent trillions of dollars on government bailouts, stimulus packages, and various social welfare programs – all passed with the promise they would reverse one of the most significant economic crashes the country has experienced.

After nearly eight years in office, though, Obama has failed to deliver on many of his campaign promises and has left America worse-off than it was when he entered the White House.

During the Obama administration, there hasn’t been a single year in which the nation’s gross domestic product grew at 3 percent or higher, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. That’s a first for a modern president. Continue reading


For Me, Obamacare Means Paying All Your Own Bills And Never Getting The Doctor You Need

By M.G. Oprea • The Federalist

It’s that time of year. No, not New Years. It’s Obamacare enrollment time—that is, if you’re unfortunate enough to not have employer-sponsored health insurance.

There’s been a lot of media coverage lately about rising premiums. But the headache isn’t just financial, although that’s certainly part of it. With more insurance providers fleeing the individual market and coverage becoming worse and worse, getting the care you need can feel almost impossible.

To illustrate, I’d like to share my own experience buying insurance on the Obamacare exchange and trying to get treated for a chronic health problem. Continue reading


Coalition Letter Opposing Suspect “Midnight Litigation” in Waning Days of Administration

Dear Vice President-Elect Pence:

It has come to our attention that a number of Departments and independent agencies are working furiously behind closed doors to bring significant, legally tenuous litigation against American business interests before January 20, 2017.  Doing so will saddle the Trump Administration with having to litigate cases based on job crushing liberal legal theories.  Such “midnight litigation,” particularly litigation that does not concern imminent threats to health or safety, must receive the strictest of scrutiny from the transition, and we urge the new Administration in the strongest possible terms not to treat such litigation with deference.

We have long been concerned about “midnight regulation” – regulations promulgated in the waning days of a lame duck administration.  Because of this concern, Congress enacted the Congressional Review Act, which provides Congress procedural tools to disapprove expeditiously these last ditch midnight regulations.  Congress, however, has no authority over litigation brought by the Executive Branch, and it will be incumbent upon the Trump Administration to decide whether to continue to pursue such cases.

President-elect Trump promised to “make American great again” and successfully argued that a rigged system has stymied growth, competitiveness and opportunity.  This is due in no small measure to the Obama Administration’s war on business, which was again made apparent only days ago with the President’s executive action to ban offshore oil drilling in areas of the Artic and Atlantic Oceans.  The mountains of regulations promulgated by the current Administration are a key reason economic growth has been dismally low.  Litigation is another form of executive action that can have similar devastating impacts on American jobs and competitiveness and should be reviewed in the same manner that the Transition is reviewing regulations.

Should the Obama Administration bring non-routine, last minute, legally unorthodox midnight litigation, your Administration should not hesitate to withdraw immediately from that litigation.  In such circumstances, the new Administration should not be constrained by notions of deference and should not support suspect legal theories that could have devastating economic effects for decades to come.

We appreciate the difficult work ahead of you and wish you the best as you continue to prepare to undo the damage of the last eight years.

Sincerely,

George Landrith
President
Frontiers of Freedom

Horace Cooper
Senior Fellow
Heartland Institute

Grover Norquist
President
Americans for Tax Reform

The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell
Chairman
Constitutional Congress, Inc.

Richard A. Viguerie
Chairman
ConservativeHQ.com

Morton Blackwell
Chairman
The Weyrich Lunch

Phil Kerpen
President
American Commitment

Jim Martin
President
60 Plus

Lew Uhler
President
National Tax Limitation Committee

Judson Phillips
Founder
Tea Party Patriots

David Williams
President
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Seton Motely
President
Less Government

C. Preston Noell III
President
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Scott Vanatter
President
The Last Best Hope on Earth Institute

Dee Hodges
President
Maryland Taxpayers Association

Brent Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer
Americans for Prosperity

Willes K. Lee
President
National Federation of Republican Assemblies

Mark Thomas
Founder
Freedom & Prosperity Caucus

John Cooper
President
Defending America Foundation

Susan Taylor
President
Strengthening America for All

William A. Estrada, Esq.,
Director of Federal Relations
Home School Legal Defense Association

Mat Staver, Esq.
Founder & Chairman
Liberty Counsel

Lorenzo Montanari
Executive Director
Property Rights Alliance

Katie McAuliffe
Executive Director
Digital Liberty

Nicholas Willis
President
Americans for Liberty & Security

Michael J. Bowen
CEO
Coalition for a Strong America

Clyde Wayne Crews
Vice President for Policy
Competitive Enterprise Institute

Charles Sauer
President
Market Institute

Norm Singleton
President
Campaign for Liberty

 


Record-High Health Care Spending Hits $3.2 Trillion in 2015

by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon

Health care spending in the United States grew 5.8 percent in 2015, hitting a record high of $3.2 trillion, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Last year, health care spending in the United States totaled $3 trillion—or $9,523 a person. This year, per-person expenditures went up to $9,990.

“The faster growth in 2014 and 2015 occurred as the Affordable Care Act expanded health insurance coverage for individuals through Marketplace health insurance plans and the Medicaid program,” the report said.

The federal government is the biggest driver of health care spending and in 2015, 29 percent of the nation’s health care bill was due to the feds. Continue reading


Health Insurers Approve of Repealing Obamacare’s Individual Mandate

by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon

Health insurers approve of repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate, the part of the law that forces Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty, among other provisions included in replacement plans put forth by Republicans.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade association representing health insurance companies, released a paper this week outlining their views on how to make health care work for every American.

“The Affordable Care Act will see significant changes,” the group said, using the formal name for Obamacare. “Those changes can either begin a stable transition to a better approach, or they can bring about even more uncertainty and instability.” Continue reading


Vast Majority of Americans Want Changes to Obamacare

by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon

The vast majority of Americans want to change the Affordable Care Act regardless of whether they support the law or want it repealed, according to a poll from Gallup.

Since the election, more Americans, 53 percent, disapprove of Obamacare and 42 percent approve of it.

“Going forward, the vast majority of Americans want to see the law changed,” Gallup says. “This includes the 37% who want it repealed and replaced, along with a total of 43% of Americans who want the law kept, but with major changes.” Continue reading


The EPA’s Chicanery Harms Americans 

The EPA announced that it will disregard the current law and rush new mandates into place before Obama leaves office.

By George LandrithFrontiers of Freedom

In 2012, the Obama Administration pushed through a dramatic increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards — jumping the fleet average mileage mandates to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2015. At the time, it was agreed there would be a mid-term review before 2018 to determine if the new CAFE standards were feasibly possibly in the time frame required. However, now the Obama Administration and the EPA just announced that there will be no midterm review and that intends to impose the 54.5 miles per gallon mandate regardless of the feasibility or impact. Continue reading


Conservative Agenda: Tax Reform, Replacing Obamacare

Rep. Brady touts tax code built for growth

by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon

Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Tuesday that his two top priorities for the coming year are tax reform and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

At the Wall Street Journal‘s CEO Council meeting, Brady said President-elect Donald Trump is making economic growth the pillar of his presidency and that these two issues will play key roles.

“We have two overarching goals in tax reform,” Brady said. “We want a tax code not merely designed to wring money from you, which is the one we have today, [but] a tax code actually built for growth, designed to grow wages, jobs, and the U.S. economy.”

“Our other goal is to leapfrog America from dead last among our global competitors back into that lead pack, and keep us there going forward,” he said. Continue reading


The Entrepreneurial Way to 4% Growth

Trump should set a goal: fix the business climate so a million Americans a year can start companies.

By Carl J Schramm • Wall Street Journal

This week more than 160 countries are celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week. The Kauffman Foundation, which I once led, created this event eight years ago to encourage other nations to follow the American tradition of bottom-up economic success. Yet this example has been less powerful in recent years, as American entrepreneurship has waned. Fortunately, President-elect Donald Trump has plenty of options if he wants to resurrect America’s startup economy.

Consider the economic situation that the president-elect is inheriting. Despite the addition of 161,000 jobs in October, the labor-force participation rate fell to its second lowest level in nearly 40 years, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve. More people have joined the ranks of the chronically unemployed, slipping into poverty at alarming rates as their skills decay and dependency on public assistance grows. Considering population growth, America needs at least 325,000 new jobs every month to stanch the growing numbers of discouraged workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Continue reading


Populist rhetoric doesn’t repeal or replace ObamaCare

By George LandrithThe Hill

The headlines are awash with stories of huge ObamaCare premium cost increases. Some have even referred to the news as an “October Surprise.” But for those of us who read the bill and knew from the start that the President was lying when he said if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan and that his plan would save families more than $2,500 a year, these headlines were completely predictable.

But it is a bewilderment that some Republicans are backing a bill that if enacted will insure that future premiums will cost even more. Oddly, the bill is named the Taxpayers Before Insurers Act, but in the end, it harms every American by jacking up their health insurance premiums even higher. Continue reading


Putting Obamacare Out of Its Misery

Trump’s health care opportunity.

By Michael Astrue • Weekly Standard

Discontent with Obamacare—and with the delivery of health care more broadly—unites most Americans across our other divisions. That discontent creates enormous opportunities and risks for our president-elect.

The new administration would be misguided to start a typical Washington process that brings the usual suspects to town for dull sessions that grind out pablum that no one will digest. On the other hand, they will not inherit a detailed roadmap from congressional Republicans and should not expect that any Health and Human Services (HHS) transition team, no matter how talented and focused, can quickly create a workable plan in isolation. Continue reading


Hillary’s Economically Clueless Plans Will Create Poverty

by Daniel J. Mitchell • Foundation for Economic Education

Hillary Clinton has an editorial in the New York Times entitled “My Plan for Helping America’s Poor” and it is so filled with errors and mistakes that it requires a full fisking (i.e., a “point-by-point debunking of lies and/or idiocies”).

We’ll start with her very first sentence.

The true measure of any society is how we take care of our children.

I realize she (or the staffers who actually wrote the column) were probably trying to launch the piece with a fuzzy, feel-good line, but let’s think about what’s implied by “how we take care of our children.” It echoes one of the messages in her vapid 1996 book, It Takes a Village, in that it implies that child rearing somehow is a collective responsibility. Continue reading


There is No Such Thing as Trickle-Down Economics

by Steven Horwitz • Foundation for Economic Education

Critics of liberalism and the market economy have made a long-standing habit of inventing terms we would never use to describe ourselves. The most common of these is “neo-liberal” or “neo-liberalism,” which appears to mean whatever the critics wish it to mean to describe ideas they don’t like. To the extent the terms have clear definitions, they certainly don’t align with the actual views of defenders of markets and liberal society.

Trickle Down

Economists have never used that term to describe their views. Another related term is “trickle-down economics.” People who argue for tax cuts, less government spending, and more freedom for people to produce and trade what they think is valuable are often accused of supporting something called “trickle-down economics.” It’s hard to pin down exactly what that term means, but it seems to be something like the following: “those free market folks believe that if you give tax cuts or subsidies to rich people, the wealth they acquire will (somehow) ‘trickle down’ to the poor.” Continue reading


A doctor asks: Was ObamaCare designed to fail?

By Jeffrey I. Barke • The Hill

As ObamaCare’s troubles mount, I’ve heard my patients and my peers in healthcare ask: How could the law’s authors not have seen this coming?

For my part, I think a different question needs to be asked: What if they did? What if ObamaCare was purposely designed to fail?

Every day, it seems like there are a dozen new headlines about the crisis facing ObamaCare. Premiums are rising faster than ever. Meanwhile, health insurance companies are abandoning the law’s exchanges left and right, unable to compete in the top-down, regulation-driven environment created by the law. Less than three years into its implementation, the law has never looked so precarious. Continue reading


Expert: Obama Administration Could Bail Out Obamacare Insurers

by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon

The Obama administration could bail out Obamacare insurers through its risk-corridor program, according to an expert from the Mercatus Center.

The risk-corridor program was designed to constrain risk for health insurers who had uncertainty in pricing premiums for new plans they offered through Obamacare. The program was established and administered in years 2014, 2015, and 2016 and transferred funds from profitable insurers to insurers with losses.

In 2014, the risk-corridor program experienced a shortfall of more than $2.5 billion. Poorly performing insurers requested $2.87 billion in that year, while profitable insurers could only make up about $362 million, leaving a deficit of about $2.5 billion. Continue reading