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Economic Freedom

After Trump Gets His Wall Funding, He Should Fire The TSA

Investor’s Business Daily

In their constant search for shutdown-related disasters, the media are now fixated on airport screeners. The shutdown is wreaking havoc on airports, they say. Except that it isn’t. The shutdown does, however, present an opportunity to re-privatize the troublesome TSA.

News reports focus on the fact that TSA worker no-shows are up from a year ago. But the TSA’s own data show that wait times haven’t changed. Its latest report finds that “99.9% of passengers waited less than 30 minutes and 95.4% of passengers waited less than 15 minutes.”

That’s in line with normal operations. TSA reported in 2017, for example, that 99.9% of passengers waited less than 30 minutes during summer months. Continue reading


McAuliffe: I Don’t Want Dems Making ‘False Promises’ Like Free College

By Cameron Cawthorne • Washington Free Beacon

Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe (Va.) on Monday said he doesn’t want Democrats going out on the campaign trail in 2020 making “false promises” like free college.

McAuliffe, who said he will make a decision on 2020 by the end of March, said Democrats don’t need a “compulsive liar” running against President Donald Trump, but instead a “compulsive optimist” and a “compulsive realist,” appearing to hint American voters need him.

Bloomberg’s “Balance of Power” host Jason Kelly referenced McAuliffe’s Washington Post op-ed from last week, where he said Democrats must not “make unrealistic ideological promises.” He then asked McAuliffe which policy proposal from his op-ed was the most “feasible.” Continue reading


Crowley christens LNG-powered El Coqui

American Shipper

Crowley Maritime Corp. on Saturday christened its Commitment Class combination container and roll-on/roll-off ship El Coquí, which is among the first of its kind to be powered by liquefied natural gas.

Crowley said the ship is a key component in its supply chain transformation in the U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico trade.

A crowd of more than 350 people, including White House officials, U.S. congressional members, local dignitaries, representatives from shipbuilder VT Halter Marine and Eagle LNG joined Crowley employees, vessel crew members and other industry and union representatives to celebrate christening. Continue reading


Congress must head off pension plan crisis

By George LandrithManistee News Advocate

I am not generally a big fan of lame-duck sessions because such a large number of soon-to-be former senators and congressmen are voting on their way out the door. But Congress must do something about a looming multi-employer pension plan disaster or we could see very difficult economic times ahead.

Multi-employer pension plans have more than $600 billion of unfunded liabilities and are dangerously close to failing. Once these endangered plans fail, others will not be far behind. Additionally, state and local governments have about $6 trillion in unfunded pension promises. If these potential failures come to fruition, it could be a disaster far worse than the 2008 housing bust.

The White House understands the risks and has met with the chief players on Capitol Hill, encouraging them to work together to find a lasting solution. Continue reading


Don’t Import Foreign Price Controls; Break Them

By Phil Kerpen • American Commitment

Americans are justifiably angry that we pay the highest prescription drugs prices in the world – anger President Trump tapped into on the campaign trail. The disparity exists because other rich countries use price control schemes, forcing American consumers to provide the returns on capital that justify the enormous research and development costs associated with bringing new cures to market; the rest of the world free-rides on our innovation.

The good news is that the Trump administration has been aggressive on the trade front in efforts to break foreign price control regimes; the bad news is that the Trump administration is also proposing to actually import foreign price control regimes into the Medicare program by adopting a payment formula that is pegged to foreign prices.

In its recent report “The Opportunity Costs of Socialism,” the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) looked at “the impact on medical innovation of the U.S. adopting European-style price controls” and found: Continue reading


Checking In On New York’s (Health Care) State Of Mind

By Sally C Pipes • Investor’s Business Daily

Every year for the past four years, the liberal State Assembly has approved the New York Health Act, which would establish a statewide single-payer plan. But the bill always died in the State Senate, where Republicans have held the majority since 2011. These Republicans united with the centrist members of the Independent Democratic Conference to oppose single-payer.

Most of those Independent Democrats, as well as a handful of Republicans, lost their elections to progressive challengers in 2018. So when the new Democratic majority is sworn in this January, there may be enough single-payer proponents to radically reform New York’s health care system. State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat, has pledged to put forward a new single-payer bill in January. Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, a Democrat from Manhattan, confidently predicted the legislature is “on track” to pass the proposal. Continue reading


Ocasio-Cortez backs green policies that would hurt the poor and cripple our economy

By Liz Peek • Fox News

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez promises that going green – removing all fossil fuels from our energy mix – will “establish economic, social and racial justice in the United States.”

In fact, her proposal would cripple our economy and hurt our poorest citizens.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has admirable passion, but needs some schooling in energy economics. The cost of renewable energy is dropping fast, but is still more expensive in many applications than traditional fossil fuels like coal or oil. That’s one reason that adoption of wind and solar power has been slow, and that many countries, including the United States, underwrite renewables with subsidies and tax credits. The International Energy Agency predicts in its 2018 report that “the share of renewables in meeting global energy demand is expected to grow by one-fifth in the next five years to reach 12.4% in 2023.” Continue reading


Poll: People Care More About High Health Costs Than About Pre-Existing Conditions

By Christopher Jacobs • The Federalist

Now they tell us! A Gallup poll, conducted last month to coincide with the midterm elections and released on Tuesday, demonstrated what I had posited for much of the summer: Individuals care more about rising health insurance premiums than coverage of pre-existing condition protections.

Of course, liberal think tanks and the media had no interest in promoting this narrative, posing misleading and one-sided polling questions to conclude that individuals liked Obamacare’s pre-existing condition “protections,” without simultaneously asking whether people liked the cost of those provisions.

Overwhelming Concern about Premiums

The Gallup survey asked the public whether it viewed each of four scenarios as a major concern for them. Among those: “Your health insurance plan will require you to pay higher premiums or a greater portion of medical expenses,” and “you or someone in your immediate family will be denied health insurance coverage for a pre-existing medical condition.” Continue reading


No, The Deficit Isn’t ‘Soaring,’ And Yes, Tax Revenues Are At Record Highs

Investor’s Business Daily

In the first two months of the new fiscal year, tax revenues are up. But so is the deficit. Why? Because spending continues to outpace revenues. So why do tax cuts keep getting blamed?

The latest monthly budget report from the Congressional Budget Office shows the deficit jumping $102 billion in just the first two months of the new fiscal year.

That sure looks like the deficit is “soaring,” as one news outlet claimed. But as the CBO makes clear, almost all that deficit increase was the result of quirks of the calendar. Depending on where weekends fall, significant sums of spending can get shifted into different months.

A true apples-to-apples comparison, the CBO says, shows that the deficit climbed by just $13 billion. Continue reading


‘Let Them Come to Venezuela’ and See the Wreck of Socialism For Themselves

By ANDRES MALAVEInvestors Business Daily

“There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin!”

That was June 1963 in West Berlin where President John F. Kennedy gave one of his most memorable addresses. The speech was a stirring defense of liberty and a pointed critique of communism.

Whether you agree with Kennedy broadly or narrowly, I’ve rediscovered that speech and find it to relate now more than ever to the unfolding drama in the country of my birth, Venezuela. My family and I left Venezuela when I was 10. We had every intention of returning. Then Hugo Chavez took power, promising to usher in shared prosperity for all with his “21st century socialism.” We never went back. Continue reading


The Risks of Medicare for All

by Doug Badger • National Review

Critics of American health care often ask why ours is the only highly developed country without a taxpayer-funded universal health-care system.

It is a question meant to answer itself: There is no good reason, so the U.S. should fall in line with European financing methods. That is the view of advocates of “Medicare For All,” a proposal backed by most House Democrats.

But the question deserves more than a rhetorical response. Health care is financed differently in the United States because it evolved differently. Private arrangements among hospitals, doctors, employers, and labor unions to finance medical insurance developed and matured over the course of decades, abetted by government policy that treats employer-sponsored health benefits differently than wages for tax purposes. That generally did not happen in Europe.

The American approach offers several advantages that often are overlooked. Continue reading


House Democrats Change Rules to Make It Easier to Raise Taxes

by Haris Alic • Washington Free Beacon

Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has yet to take the speaker’s gavel of the U.S. House of Representatives, but Democrats are already laboring to make it easier to dismantle the achievements of the Trump presidency.

The incoming chairman of the House Rules Committee, Rep. Jim McGovern (D., Mass.), confirmed to colleagues on Wednesday that he would not honor the three-fifths supermajority requirement to raise income taxes, as reported by the Washington Post.

McGovern’s decision overturns a rule implemented under outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) that mandated a three-fifths majority approve any proposed hike to the income tax.

The change comes after a standoff between Pelosi and her moderate allies in the Democratic conference, such as incoming Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard Neal (Mass.), and younger, more progressive members like Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.). Continue reading


New Administration Report Takes USPS ‘Business Model’ to Task

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.


Renewed Talks with China Can Accelerate Positive International Shipping Reforms

Later this week, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to convene for discussions on a variety of contentious economic matters. While previous talks on tariffs, intellectual property theft, and cyber security have been disappointing, Saturday’s meeting in Buenos Aires presents a clear opportunity for breakthroughs.

Although much of trade negotiations are fraught with roadblocks and challenges, the issues of international shipping through the Universal Postal Union are far more straightforward. As the Trump Administration has pointed out, American enterprises and small businesses have suffered from an obvious one-side imbalance due to the UPU pricing treaty. The majorly reduced rates from the U.S. Postal Service have allowed businesses from China to drastically undercut U.S. companies on shipping costs.

In October, Frontiers of Freedom president George Landrith praised President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the UPU, adding, “Chinese businesses should pay the reasonable price of their shipping. It is not right that the American taxpayer and postal rate payers have been forced to subsidize them.”

The current below-cost international rates have added to the Postal Service’s beleaguered financial position, producing losses of $410 million since 2015. Thankfully, the administration is now poised to adopt pricing changes that are financial sustainable while also creating a level playing field for domestic shippers.


Protecting Property Rights – Allowing the Theft of Other’s Property is BAD Policy!

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.