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Economic Freedom

The Spectacular Rise and the Meteoric Fall from Grace of a European Banker: The Tzvetan Vassilev Phenomenon

By Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi 

 

Without exception, the history of the last quarter century of Central and Eastern Europe has again furnished the clearest and most convincing proof of the well established view that revolutions almost always have been followed by restorations rooted in deep seated past mentalities and practices. Having been first brutalized by the Stalinist regimes of the 1950s and 1960s, and later completely disillusioned by the faithless crypto communist hypocrites of hopeless stagnation, the peoples of the former Soviet empire plunged into the ethical equivalent of base immorality. Adding insult to injury, loyalty to the dictators and the authorities was measured not by honesty and professionalism but by total devotion to the cause without any scruples or consciences objections. Indeed, the glue that kept the Soviet Union and its so-called empire together was the Faustian bargain between the rulers and the ruled. Accordingly, a scoundrel was far less dangerous than a dissatisfied honest individual.

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Frontiers of Freedom to host conference — Saudi Arabia: Friend or Foe? Buttressing or Undermining American Interests & Values?

Frontiers of Freedom will Host a Conference on Monday, October 2, 2017 from 12 noon until 4 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, DC (529 14th St NW) in the Press Club’s First Amendment Lounge.

Frontiers of Freedom invites the public, the media, policy makers, and opinion leaders to attend this important conference and briefing.

Saudi Arabia:  Friend or Foe?

Buttressing or Undermining American Interests & Values? 

Speakers include:

Kristina Arriaga – Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Doug Bandow – Senior Fellow, Cato Institute 

Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi – Vice President, Frontiers of Freedom

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett – Pres., Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice (invited)

Moderators:

George Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom

Peter Roff, Contributing Editor for Opinion, US News & World Report

Lunch is provided.  There is no cost to attend or for lunch.  However, to attend, you must reserve your seat and lunch and RSVP by providing us with your name, firm or affiliation, and email address.  Guests are also welcome, but they too much RSVP.

“We feel the time has come to examine America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. The say they are our allies but do their actions back up their words,” said George Landrith, Frontiers of Freedom Institute president. “For far too long their contribution to the world’s problems have gone unexamined. We propose to take a look and see what’s really there.”


Obamacare’s Out-of-Pocket Costs for Specialty Drugs Increases 16% in One Year

by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon

Out-of-pocket costs for specialty drugs under the Affordable Care Act increased 16 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to a report from HealthPocket.

While prescription drug coverage comes standard with Obamacare plans, not all medications prescribed to individuals will be paid for.

“For a plan to help pay for a drug, the drug must first be included on the health plan’s formulary,” the report states. “Drugs that are off-formulary are not only paid for completely out-of-pocket by the enrollee but those expenses do not count towards the annual cap on out-of-pocket spending.” Continue reading


The Public Preference for Single-Payer Is Oh So Fragile

By Jim Geraghty • National Review

I’m headed up to New York City today, appearing on CNN to discuss Senator Bernie Sanders’ latest proposal for “single-payer” health care and on CNN International to discuss – well, something, possibly the Sanders proposal, perhaps something else.

The coverage of health care rarely suggests that public support for single payer is a mile wide but an inch deep. But this Kaiser poll from July is usefully illustrative. It found that a majority (55 percent) supports “single-payer,” but when respondents hear the argument that it would give the government “too much control,” then 61 percent oppose it.

When you mention the tax increases, 60 percent oppose single-payer. This concept does not enjoy ironclad support from the masses. Continue reading


Frontiers of Freedom at the Conservative Leadership Conference

Frontiers of Freedom will be at the 2017 Conservative Leadership Conference in Las Vegas on Saturday, September 16th.

At the Conservative Leadership Conference, we will be presenting a panel discussion on emerging issues with:

George Landrith

John Fund

Travis Korson

We will be discussing at least three important, emerging issues:

Freedom through Commerce

EPA & Superfund Reform

High Speed Rail Boondoggles

Hope you will join us in at the Conservative Leadership Conference. Click HERE for more details.


Can we wean Elon Musk off government support already?

By Jenny Beth Martin • The Hill

Tesla’s new Model 3 has finally arrived, and not a moment too soon. The critics seem to love it, and Tesla management says it’s already received deposits for 500,000 of the vehicles. Perhaps now Elon Musk can finally get his hand out of U.S. taxpayers’ wallets?

Musk is, to be sure, an ideas man. Private, commercial space travel? Check. Washington to New York in less than half an hour in what he calls a “hyperloop” train that will travel at 800 miles per hour? Check. A new kind of tunneling engineering? Check. Solar energy? Check. Electric cars? Check, check.

As wide-ranging as these various entrepreneurial ventures may be, they all have one thing in common – not a single one of them would get funding in a competitive private capital market if it weren’t for massive (and I do mean massive) taxpayer-funded government subsidies. Continue reading


Obamacare lies resurfacing

By Stephen Moore • Washington Post

The danger of a Republican bailout of Obamacare is mounting with every passing day. A group of “moderate” Republicans calling themselves the Problem Solvers Caucus is quietly negotiating with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to throw a multi-billion dollar life line to the Obamacare insurance exchanges.

This bailout, of course, would be an epic betrayal by a Republican Party which has promised to repeal and replace the financially crumbling Obama health law.

Republicans who are “negotiating” this bipartisan deal, such as Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, object to the term “bailout” for this rescue package. The left prefers the euphemism “stabilizing the insurance market.” Continue reading


Frontiers of Freedom statement on U.S. Postal Service’s massive third quarter loss

By Frontiers of Freedom

Frontiers of Freedom reacted with continued frustration today in response to the U.S. Postal Service’s latest financial statement detailing a loss of $2.1 billion in the third quarter of the 2017 fiscal year.

“The latest poor financial results from the U.S. Postal Service this week only reinforces the fact that without changes, the USPS’ debt just continues to grow,” said Frontiers of Freedom President, George Landrith. “Losing billions of dollars each year is simply inexcusable and leaders of the U.S. Postal Service should be making dramatic improvements to ensure the agency’s financial sustainability.”

The latest losses this week ominously point to a high probability of the USPS ending the year in the red, which will mark the 11th consecutive year with a multi-billion loss. Year after year, data provided by the USPS details the financial strength of letter mail products, which often earn twice as much revenue compared to their costs. However, the Postal Service is lobbying its regulator, the PRC, to soon grant extensive authority to raise letter mail prices as part of its 10-year review that is due next month.

A wiser course for the PRC would involve closer scrutiny of competitive products and new ill-advised ventures, like grocery delivery, same-day services, and expanded parcels products – all items that USPS fails to fully detail the associated costs and evades proper analyses regarding their long-term financial viability.

By making sound management decisions and focusing on its core mail products, the U.S. Postal Service can best serve its largest base of customers and limit its potential exposure to taxpayers.


Why Single-Payer Will Only Make Health Care More Expensive

by Scott Erhlich • The Federalist

Why do single-payer health care supporters treat it like an unassailable good? Even if you can point to a place like Denmark, with 5 million people and little ethnic diversity, why do people think we can transport that into a country of 330 million ethnically diverse individuals with the same results? After all, we couldn’t even get Americans to buy into the infinitely easier metric system, but they are going to enjoy higher taxes to pay for rationed health care?

I’m not here to bash single-payer because it’s European. I’m also not a fan of socialism in principle, but if there is a way to provide better care at a cheaper price, then I’d be all for it, even if that would make me an awful libertarian. But the arguments I hear for single-payer nationwide are full of ridiculous extrapolations, economically illiterate assumptions, and pie in the sky dreams of willing, abundant, qualified providers to treat these hundreds of millions of patients. I’m willing to listen, but the arguments need to be better.

I recently debated a very accomplished doctor and single-payer supporter. Single-payer is more efficient because it doesn’t have to take into account profits, she said. It reduces administrative costs, there’s less waste, fraud, and abuse, and therefore even conservatives would be stupid not to jump on this opportunity. Continue reading


A Tax Cut Victory Before Labor Day

by Lawrence Kudlow, Stephen Moore, Arthur B Laffer, and Steve Forbes • Investor’s Business Daily

President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress must act with much more urgency and decisiveness on tax cuts.

In recent weeks the tax cut agenda seems stalled out and the delays and indecision are negatively affecting growth and the stock market. We hear that a tax plan from the White House may not come until the fall and may not even pass Congress until 2018 – if at all.

Is it any wonder that investors are getting jittery? The stock market had priced in much of the anticipated benefits to business, wages and profits, which accounts in no small part for the $3 trillion rise in equity values and the surge in business and consumer confidence after the election. Now the confidence is waning. Continue reading


Social Security Trust Funds to Be Depleted in 17 Years

by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon

The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds will be depleted in the next 17 years, according to the Social Security Administration’s trustees report.

By 2034 the combined asset reserves of both funds are expected to be insolvent. Alone, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2028.

According to the report, the trust funds have a total asset reserves of $2.85 trillion. Even though the trust fund reserves are growing, the cost of the program will outweigh the revenue by 2022.

“It is time for the public to engage in the important national conversation about how to keep Social Security strong,” said Nancy A. Berryhill, acting commissioner of Social Security. “People understand the value of their earned Social Security benefits and the importance of keeping the program secure for the future.” Continue reading


President Trump’s Budget Would Reduce Deficit By $160 Billion and Increase GDP Growth

by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 would reduce the deficit over the next decade by $160 billion and increase GDP at the same time, according to an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.

Trump’s budget proposes a cut back in mandatory and discretionary spending that would not only reduce the deficit, but the debt as well.

Relative to the size of the economy, federal budget deficits are projected to decline by 2.6 percent to 3.3 percent of gross domestic product over the next 10 years. This would mean that the deficit would be roughly one-third smaller than it was originally projected to be.

Trump’s budget also aims to reduce the debt to 80 percent of GDP, which is 11 percentage points below the budget office’s baseline. By the end of the next decade, debt held by the public is projected to decline by 0.6 percent of GDP. Continue reading


Freedom Through Commerce: How A Robust Domestic Shipping Industry Is Critical To Defend America

By George LandrithRedState

To project power and protect America the U.S. military requires a robust American sealift capability. Transporting materials and weaponry over across the high seas is a key component of America’s ability to protect its interests around the globe yet it is often overlooked, misunderstood and underappreciated.

History teaches this lesson unmistakably. In 1812, when the greatest army the world had seen up to that time launched an invasion of Russian. Napoleon had an army of almost 700,000 men. At first his troops routed the opposition wherever they engaged but, as he led his forces deeper and deeper into Russia, supplies ran short and his men began to starve.

As winter came, his men began to freeze, not from fear but from hypothermia. Napoleon was forced to beat a hasty retreat back to France, leaving 380,000 dead, 100,000 captured, and many so sick that they could no longer fight. His once great army had only 27,000 soldiers capable of fighting. Continue reading


SpaceX’s Careful Image Management Hides an Ugly Truth

Elon Musk’s business model is a travesty.

By George LandrithSpectator

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been in recent headlines with a recent launch of a spy satellite. In fact, SpaceX is better at well managed and scripted messaging than it is at actually launching cargo into space in a timely and successful fashion. Always the public relations maestro, Musk announced that he plans to reuse every major component of the rocket by 2018. One of the themes SpaceX has carefully crafted is that it represents the future of “free-market” space flight.

The problem with this public relations hype is that it bears little resemblance to reality. Whether it is SpaceX or Musk’s electric car company, Tesla, the business model is based on lining up billions in taxpayer-provided subsidies and obtaining exclusive regulatory benefits and exceptions. Then, they engage in slick marketing to convince everyone how free-market and innovative they are.

Tesla survives on the back of hefty subsidies paid for by hard-working Americans just barely getting by so that a select few can drive flashy, expensive electric sports cars. These subsidies were originally scheduled to expire later this year, and Tesla is lobbying hard to make sure that taxpayers continue to pay $7,500 per car or more to fund their business model. Tesla even tried to force taxpayers to pay for charging stations that would primarily benefit their business. That is not what Musk’s high priced image managers will tell you, but it’s the truth. Continue reading


Op-Ed: China’s Red Army & America’s Financial System: An Incompatible Mix

By George LandrithAmerican Military News

A Chinese company, Ant Financial, largely owned by the government of China, is intent on taking over MoneyGram, a leading US-based financial payments company. This planned acquisition raises serious questions as to whether ownership of MoneyGram would be part of China’s strategic plan to obtain sensitive personal and financial information of Americans and westerners worldwide as well as to undermine American economic strength. This acquisition should be stopped for that reason.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) exists to review the national security implications of foreign investments in US companies. CFIUS is comprised of representatives from a number of US agencies or departments — including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State and Commerce. CFIUS can block foreign sales and investments that would result in a foreign power acquiring assets and intellectual property that would harm America’s national security.

There are a number of important national security and strategic reasons that CFIUS should reject Ant Financial’s proposed takeover of MoneyGram. Continue reading