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Economic Freedom

George Soros: The False Messiah

By Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi & Dr. Istvan Molnar

Who is George Soros? Born Schwartz Gyorgy (in Hungarian the family name comes first) on August 12, 1930, in Budapest, Hungary, to Schwartz Tivadar, a lawyer, and Schwartz Erzsebet, the co-owner of the family’s silk shop, he grew up in a secular, upper middle class family that was openly anti-Semitic. In response to the burgeoning anti-Semitism in Hungary, the father changed the family name in 1936 from Schwartz that clearly identified the family as Jewish to the Hungarian sounding last name of Soros. The family survived the deportations by obtaining forged Christian birth certificates. He fled in 1947 to England. In 1954, he graduated from the London School of Economics in philosophy. In 1956, he immigrated to the United States.

In 1969, Soros established the Double Eagle hedge fund which in 1970 was followed by Soros Fund Management. In 1973 renamed as the Quantum Fund, it has grown from $12 millions to over $40 billion. Soros’s political involvement has intensified with the growth of his personal wealth, estimated to be around $25 billion. In addition to financing far left organizations in the United States and across the world from 1979 on,he has started to finance dissidents across the former Soviet block. Advocating “open societies” whose declared objective was to open up the communist dictatorships through the free flow of political and scientific ideas, Soros financed the Solidarity movement in Poland, the Charter 77 in the former Czechoslovakia, and Andrei Sakharov’s efforts in the former Soviet Union. In 1984, he established the first Open Society Institute in his native Hungary.

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Trump’s Tax Plan Would Spur Growth

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


GOP Tweaks To Pre-Existing Conditions Will Likely Affect Just 0.5 Percent Of Americans

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


Aetna to Exit All Obamacare Exchanges in 2018 After Experiencing Hundreds of Millions in Losses

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


Harvard Study: Minimum Wage Hikes Cut Entry-Level Jobs, Harm Poor Minorities Most

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


Corporate merger with Chinese company poses security risks

By Travis KorsonThe 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


Press Release: Tort Reform While Needed, is a State Issue, Not Federal

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]

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Coalition Letter Opposing Sen. Warren’s Bill Expanding FDA Authority to Regulate Consumer Electronic Devices

We and the millions of Americans who support our organizations are deeply concerned that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposed legislation — the  “Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017” — is just another big government ploy to create more regulations and aid corporate rent seekers while harming consumers by limiting their choices and driving prices higher.

Sen. Warren claims that she wants to create an all new over-the-counter (OTC) category for personal sound amplification products (PSAPs). However, it turns out this claim is misleading at best, if not completely disingenuous. Sen. Warren’s bill expands the power of federal bureaucrats, eliminates state authority, and reduces consumer access to amplification devices by making them more expensive and highly regulated. That’s not how she advertises the bill, but that’s how it would be described if truth in labeling laws applied to Congress.

Today, without her proposed law, there are PSAPs legally available at Best Buy, Wal-Mart and thousands of other stores and outlets for very reasonable prices.  Anyone can buy these devices.  They simply amplify sound — not for people with medical hearing loss — but for those who want to amplify sound. Some use them for bird watching, others to snoop on conversations that are ordinarily out of ear shot.

As you know, these PSAPs are different from medical hearing aids in that hearing aids are designed for people who have medically measurable hearing loss and require a doctor to help determine the cause of the hearing loss and the most appropriate way to correct the problem. All hearing loss isn’t the same. So doctors play an appropriate role in helping the patient find and tailor the right solution. These medical hearing aids are not used for snooping or songbird listening. They are specifically tailored to the patient.

The bottom line is that PSAPs are not medical hearing aids and they don’t need to be regulated like medical hearing aids. But Sen. Warren wants to subject PSAPs to FDA regulation and explicitly lock states out of any role in the process, and then designate these PSAPs as available “over-the-counter” as if that were some big, new innovation — conveniently failing to mention that they are already available to anyone at thousands of stores.

While it is impossible to know for sure what the motivation for this legislation is, it is clear that it is a solution in search of a problem that does not exit. It is unfortunate that government regulators and big, rent-seeking corporations are the real beneficiaries of this bill. Consumers are the losers.

Some companies believe that they can make more money selling PSAPs if they were regulated because that would make them seem more “big time” and “high tech” and make them seen more like medical hearing aids. That would allow them to charge more and give them new marketing material. In fact, Bose, the famous speaker maker, markets a relatively expensive PSAP called “HearPhones.” They are located in Sen. Warren’s home state. These amplification devices aren’t medical hearing aids, but they could pretend to be “quasi” hearing aids with Sen. Warren’s new bill. Creating a new regulatory regime to help corporations market their products and raise their prices is not a good use of government power.

Sadly, Sen. Warren’s bill will do nothing to give consumers and patients greater access or lower prices. And it certainly won’t lead to more innovation. A new layer of regulation is not a stimulator of innovation — it squashes innovation. What it will do is empower federal bureaucrats and lead to poorer healthcare by eliminating the doctor-patient relationship in finding the right hearing aid and tailoring it to the patient’s needs. Without a doctor’s input, serious hearing problems can go undiagnosed and if untreated, options and hearing can be forever lost without hope of recovery.

We encourage you to thoroughly review this bill and to see through its misleading claims of making more devices “over the counter.”  We also ask you to strongly oppose this legislation on the merits — because more government regulation, and preempting states is not in the best interests of Americans who seek reasonably priced, quality hearing aids for medical reasons. Nor is it in the best interests of Americans who want inexpensive and effective personal sound amplification products for their hobbies and personal interests. Patients and consumers both lose under this legislation. Thus, we encourage you to oppose it at every turn.

Sincerely,

George C. Landrith,  President, Frontiers of Freedom

Morton Blackwell Chairman, Conservative Leadership PAC

James L. Martin, Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Lewis K. Uhler, Founder & President, National Tax Limitation Committee

Charles Sauer, President, The Market Institute

Matthew Kandrach, President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy

Andrew Langer, President, Institute for Liberty

Richard A Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com

David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Andrew F. Quinlan, President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Steve Pociask, President, American Consumer Institute / Center for Citizen Research

Harry Alford, President & CEO, National Black Chamber of Commerce

Heather Higgins, President & CEO, Independent Women’s Voice

Judson Phillips, Founder, Tea Party Nation

Norm Singleton, President, Campaign for Liberty

John Cooper, President, Defending America Foundation

Mark Thomas, Founder, Freedom & Prosperity Caucus

Sabrina Schaeffer, Exec. Director, Independent Women’s Forum

Nicholas Willis, President, Americans for Liberty & Security

Susan Taylor, President, Strengthening America for All

Scott Vanatter, President, The Last Best Hope on Earth Institute

 

* Organizations & affiliations are listed for identification purposes


For The Left, Socialism Denial Is Holocaust Denial

By Robert Tracinski • The Federalist

British athlete James Cracknell was recently caught citing North Korea and Cuba as examples of how to “get a handle on obesity”—which both regimes have done by starving their people.

Cracknell posted a half-hearted apology, and I don’t want to be too hard on him, because in all likelihood he is simply not very bright and just needs to refrain from speaking in public ever again. This is unfortunate for him, since he has ambitions of running for Parliament.

The problem is that Cracknell has clearly been educated and lives in an environment where the reasons for starvation in Communist regimes are considered to be vague and complex and maybe can just be chalked down to “behavior modification.” Cracking jokes about the Holocaust is a line not to be crossed, but insensitive offhand references to brutal communist dictatorships? No big deal. Continue reading


Running The Numbers On Mortality Rates Suggests Obamacare Could Be Killing People

By Brian Frankie • The Federalist

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, a.k.a. Obamacare) has been an utter mess. From passage in 2010 with procedural gimmicks to implementation in 2013 with unworkable software, from the loss of doctors and health plans millions wanted to keep to escalating premiums and insurers dropping out of the market, Obamacare has fallen short of nearly every conceivable goal of health-care reform.

There’s one single exception: Obamacare has dramatically expanded health insurance coverage. This single remaining reason explains why it retains the support of progressives and a significant chunk of the electorate. All other considerations are secondary, if not irrelevant. More people have health insurance, so more people are benefitting from improved health outcomes and access to care.

There is only one simple flaw in this reasoning. It does not appear to be true. Continue reading


It Ain’t Fake News: Environmentalists Are Blocking A Toxic-Waste Cleanup

By Charles Sauer

My parents were hippies, so protestors occupy a soft spot in my heart. There’s something uplifting about people so committed to a cause they’re will to march around holding signs, let themselves be chained to a tree, or even get locked into some kind of weird device that looks like it belongs in a horror film.

Politicians aren’t quite as dramatic which I suppose makes them more dangerous. It certainly makes them less endearing than the Birkenstock-wearing crowd while advancing legislative proposals that are more about fearmongering than facts.

Either way, tugging at heartstrings is a good way to get in the press, especially where the more than 1,000 Superfund sites across the United States are concerned. These are places where toxic materials were buried – either illegally or because no one at the time knew better – and have to be cleaned up under authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In the case of West Lake Landfill, a Superfund site just outside St. Louis, Missouri, a curious thing has occurred. The political left – which would usually move heaven and earth in favor of site clean-up issues – is actually keeping this one site from being remediated.

This is not fake news. Environmentalists are actually preventing the West Lake site from being cleaned-up because the government won’t do it their way.

Having land you own under the supervision of the EPA is usually a nightmare for business.  It costs time and money and sometimes people end up going to court. In this case things haven’t been so bad. The soil in and around the landfill has been studied, the dangers from the radiological materials buried there have been evaluated, and plans have been discussed.

Admittedly the whole process has taken far too long – about 30 years — but just when it looked like the EPA was on the right track and was ready to start on a plan that would secure the site for the long-term, isolate the contaminants, and have it all paid for by the company that owns the property the environmental groups began raising objections. They’ve  been putting roadblock after roadblock in front of the process. They have drafted politicians to their cause, they’ve enlisted the support of unions, they’ve even called on the United Nations to intervene — all the while using the tactics of community organizers like Saul Alinksy to spread fear, distrust, and junk science throughout the the community of people living nearby.

The latest development is a proposal that would literally offer a buyout to nearly ever homeowner living near the site.

When I first heard about this piece of legislation I hoped it was merely a messaging bill – a public relations ploy to raise awareness of the need for a clean-up. Except it passed the Missouri Senate by a vote of 30 to 3, hopefully because those voting “aye” didn’t understand what they were voting for. The science doesn’t back up their reasoning; if it did it could lead, eventually, to an argument for a bailout of tens of thousands of Missouri homeowners living near sites that one environmental group or another declares to be toxic.

That would be a pretty hefty Show Me State price tag.

Despite the fear, the science says the neighboring community is safe, According to a recent article from the local CBS affiliate:

The Environmental Protection Agency has previously said that despite radioactive waste and an underground fire at the (nearby) Bridgeton Landfill, there’s no increased risk for neighboring residents. The agency also hasn’t found evidence that radioactive material has migrated beyond the landfill.

We don’t have to take the EPA’s word for it. Science, good science, backs them up. Most of the soil sampled around the landfill is less radioactivethan anywhere in Missouri, and by a considerable factor. When I say “most,” every sample showed merely 25 percent of the contamination any Missouri resident would expect find in their front yard. There’s only one exception, and that one was just 6 percent  higher. On this data alone Missouri Senators have voted to spend up to $12.5 million to buy the houses of people living in just one development near West Lake landfill. .

Last year, at the urging of the left, who insisted science is more like a data lottery, the EPA announced even more community testing. The results have not yet been announced but there is little reason to believe they will show anything different than previous federal or state studies have shown.

Why did the Senate need to rush through a vote before the data they knew was coming was in? Almost none of the politics around West Lake Landfill makes sense. The facts are easy – waste from the Manhattan Project was illegally dumped there decades ago. The waste was found, and the site was deemed a Superfund Site. Years later the EPA finally figured out a plan. But, the facts and the actions don’t match in this case. When the left didn’t like the EPA’s plan – it didn’t require the use of Union labor is one my guesses – they started doing everything that they can to delay, impede, and throw temper tantrums.

If the left just wanted to have a drum circle and sing some songs – I am game. My goodness, nowadays they protest so much I mark the days when they aren’t protesting. But, when the left wants to impede the progress of cleaning up and securing a toxic waste site as well as spending money that could be used to build infrastructure or educate children based on nothing, then count me out. It’s not groovy.


One in Five Small Businesses Spend at Least $10,000 on Tax Administration Annually

By Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon

One in five small businesses, or 22 percent, pay at least $10,000 on the administration of federal taxes each year, according to the National Small Business Association’s 2017 taxation survey. This does not include the money that a business owes the IRS in taxes.

Five percent of small businesses pay more than $40,000 a year on the administration of federal taxes, seven percent pay between $20,001 and $40,000, and ten percent pay between $10,001 to $20,000. The majority of businesses, 67 percent, pay more than $1,000.

Small businesses and their staff also spend significant amounts of time dealing with taxes, whether it be by filing reports, working with accountants, or calculating payroll. Twenty percent of businesses spend more than 120 hours annually. Continue reading


Taxpayers Spend 113 Days Working to Pay Nation’s Tax Burden

Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon

This year, taxpayers will spend 113 days working to pay for the nation’s tax burden, according to a report from the Tax Foundation.

Tax Freedom Day is April 23, 113 days into the year, and falls 5 days after taxes are collected on April 18. Tax Freedom Day would fall roughly two weeks later on May 7 if federal borrowing or future taxes were included.

“Tax Freedom Day takes all federal, state, and local taxes—individual as well as payroll, sales and excise, corporate and property taxes—and divides them by the nation’s income,” the report says.

Americans will spend upward of $5.1 trillion on taxes, which includes $3.5 trillion in federal taxes and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes, according to the report. Continue reading


On Health Care, Most People Don’t Know What They’re Talking About

By Ben Southwood • National Review

Health care in the United States is famous for three things: It’s expensive, it’s not universal, and it has poor outcomes. The U.S. spends around $7,000 per person on health care every year, or roughly 18 percent of GDP; the next highest spender is Switzerland, which spends about $4,500. Before Obamacare, approximately 15 percent of the U.S. population were persistently uninsured (8.6 percent still are). And as this chart neatly shows, their overall outcome on the most important variable — overall life expectancy — is fairly poor.

But some of this criticism is wrongheaded and simplistic: when you slice the data up more reasonably, U.S. outcomes look impressive, but being the world’s outlier is much more expensive than following behind. What’s more, most of the solutions people offer just don’t get to the heart of the issue: If you give people freedom they’ll spend a lot on health care. Continue reading


Report: Sen. Elizabeth Warren Pays Female Staff 71 Cents For Every Dollar Made By Male Staff

By Frank Camp • Daily Wire

According to The Washington Free Beacon:

…women working for [Senator] Warren were paid just 71 cents for every dollar paid to men during the 2016 fiscal year…The median annual earnings for women staffers, $52,750, was more than $20,000 less than the median annual earnings for men, $73,750, according to the analysis of publicly available Senate data.

When calculated using average salaries rather than median, the pay gap expands to just over $26,051, or about 31 percent.

As one of the most vocal proponents of equal pay legislation, why would Senator Warren allow her female staffers to be paid significantly less than their male counterparts? Continue reading