×
↓ Freedom Centers

Economic Freedom

There Is No Plan

The closer attention you pay to Biden, the less he has to say

By Matthew ContinettiThe Washington Free Beacon

Getty Images

President Joe Biden is “rattled,” according to NBC News, and “looking to regain voters’ confidence that he can provide the sure-handed leadership he promised during the campaign.”

How? By trying to change the media narrative. On May 30, Biden published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that explained “My Plan for Fighting Inflation.” The next day, Biden wrote a “guest essay” for the New York Times on “What America Will and Will Not Do in Ukraine.”

Bad poll numbers and a collapsing domestic and international situation have excited the typically drowsy president into action. There’s a problem, though. The closer you read Biden’s op-eds, the less he has to say. This new, annoyed, engaged Biden may be a prolific writer and speaker. But he’s not an incisive one. He won’t admit that there is a connection between his ideology and America’s problems. He can’t decide between giving Ukraine the weapons necessary to defeat Russia or settling for a war of attrition.

Biden’s Journal op-ed is a masterclass in passing the buck. He doesn’t bring up his “plan for fighting inflation” until midway through his thousand-word piece. My inner college professor wanted to send the article back to him with suggestions for revision. Number one: Always move your best material to the top!

The plan itself is gauzy and thin. “The Federal Reserve has a primary responsibility to control inflation.” You wouldn’t know that from listening to Progressives, including some of Biden’s nominees to the Federal Reserve, who argue that the Fed’s interest in price stability distracts it from promoting full employment, green energy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Now Biden wants the Fed to correct not only its mistakes, but his own. Let’s see if his faith in an independent central bank can stand the test of higher interest rates, higher unemployment, and lower incomes.

Parts two and three of Biden’s inflation plan are the remnants of his Build Back Better agenda: some clean energy and housing subsidies here, a few tax hikes there. He mentions his use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gas prices, but not his appeals to Venezuela and OPEC to boost the oil supply. As for the obvious answers to America’s energy problems—a complete reversal of Biden’s hostility to oil and gas exploration and production, huge investments in nuclear power, and emergency efforts to increase refinery capacity—Biden has no words. His devotion to the environmental lobby and to green energy blinds him. If the Progressive Left rejects nuclear power, the “clean energy future” it desires won’t arrive.

This mismatch between ends and means is visible in Biden’s Ukraine policy. The president tells New York Times readers that the United States sends Ukraine weapons “so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.” The desired end state is “a democratic, independent, sovereign, and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression.” And Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is in the driver’s seat. “I will not pressure the Ukrainian government—in private or public—to make any territorial concessions.”

All good. Why, then, limit the weapons deliveries to systems with ranges of 40 miles? Why slow-walk and agonize over each tranche of support? Why engage with Russia in farcical and dangerous negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons? Why not take a more active role in peace talks between Ukraine and Russia? The Biden policy is static even as the shape of the war changes in ways that favor the aggressor. The president’s goals are laudable. But his tactics are calibrated for a war that Ukraine is winning.

And Ukraine is not winning. At least not now. The Ukrainians defeated Russia’s attempt at regime change. But they have been less successful in removing Russia from eastern Ukraine and from their port cities in the south and southeast. Absent a change in Biden administration policy—in the ranges of weapons systems America provides Ukraine, in the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to relieve the Russian blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports, or in a major diplomatic effort—the war will turn into a frozen conflict with no clear resolution and with mounting humanitarian costs. How that situation would help anyone, including Biden, is unclear.

Then again, little Biden says or does makes sense from the vantage point of either policy or politics. He’s right to be rattled. He’s also clueless.


Frontiers of Freedom Statement on Drug Importation:

Drug importation is always presented as a way to reduce costs, but the truth is it is the wrong solution and will have the costly impact of endangering drug safety and creating a huge counterfeit medication problem. 

“Safe” importation of medications is an oxymoron. It may sound good and it may sound like a cost saver, but it’s actually very risky. For example, the reality is that many drugs labeled as “Canadian” and thus assumed to be safe, are usually counterfeit or tainted medications that come from third world countries.  In some cases, the medications are simply ineffective and have no value as medication. But if you need medication and think you’re getting the needed medication at a lower cost, but you’re actually getting what amounts to a placebo, your health is at risk and you’re not saving any money at all. In fact, you’re wasting money. You might as well eat chalk and burn cash. It would provide the same benefit.

And in other cases, the medications are not merely ineffective, they are actually tainted and do great harm. For years, healthcare policy analysts and health safety experts have produced a cacophony of powerful objections to importation based on worries about safety and pricing. Even many government reports make it clear that drug importation is a risky business and that there are better ways to keep costs in check. The health, legal and economic dangers posed by drug importation makes it dangerous public policy. 

This isn’t just our opinion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office carefully reviewed Senator Bernie Sander’s proposal for drug importation in 2017 and determined that it would have minimal to no impact on federal expenditures. 

Additionally, drug “importation” would actually import Canada’s price-controlled, government-run healthcare system and kill off the incentives to develop new medicines. If we hope to find the next generation of cures and treatments to many of the terrible diseases that have plagued mankind for millennia, then we need to encourage innovation, investment and research — not stifle it. 

Simply stated, drug importation may have a certain rhetorical appeal, but when the shiny stylistic glitter is wiped away, it becomes clear that the proposal is dangerous and potentially deadly for American patients. Paying a lower cost for so-called medications that aren’t medications or in some cases are poisonous, is not a cost savings. 

Plus it will stifle and hamstring future innovation and development of new medications. None of that is a good idea, and none of that will help American’s stay healthy or end up reducing healthcare costs.

Drug importation is a bad and risky idea. It keeps getting recycled and some pretend that it isn’t a completely discredited idea. It is time to stop recycling failed ideas that pose real risks to Americans. It is time to look to encourage innovation and research.  


THE RUSSIAN PAPER BEAR AND THE HEROIC UKRAINIAN PEOPLE

By Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi & George Landrith

King Solomon was quoted in Ecclesiastes 1:9: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  As in King Solomon’s time, these days truth does not matter.  As a result of hate-driven and ideologically distorted narratives, politicians like President Putin and his like-minded fellow despots do not allow themselves to be bothered or confused by facts.  Accordingly, in the dark jungle of fake realities Russia the aggressor has been turned counterintuitively into the victim of Ukrainian belligerence.  The old rules of fabricated evidence are back in play again.  

Historically, wars have always been ruthlessly destructive affairs.  Since their outcomes always having been either winning or losing, monarchs and political leaders more frequently than not have ended up as vulnerable, even lamentable players, in the murderous calculus of local, regional as well as global politics.  In the main, such warrior politicians have not been subject to checks and balances.  As self-appointed narcissistic guardians of the presumed national interests, they could have invoked emergency powers, and thus free themselves from man-made laws as well as moral constraints.  Existing in this God-like penumbra of despotic powers they have unfailingly led their nations and the world into historic catastrophes.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the President of the Russian Federation by the grace of his subjects’ lack of political culture and common sense, has accomplished the time tested Russian feat of gradually downgrading his reign from a benevolent autocrat to a despotic bungler.  While celebrating his “Special Military Operation” cum illegal military invasion of the sovereign state of Ukraine,  his over two decades old antediluvian despotism has been writhing in its death pangs.  Now, almost a hundred days after his failed war on Ukraine and counting, President Putin has already made himself a laughingstock across the globe.  His abysmal performance during the May 9th celebrations displayed a slightly deranged person, who has gotten buried up to his neck in his self-generated mis-and-disinformation lies.  Indeed, no politician worth his pound of integrity has any confidence in and respect for him.  The events following February 24, 2022, have proven that President Putin is neither a smart political and military strategist, nor even a good tactician and soldier, but simply a below average gambler, an individual with no persona who oscillates from one vile extreme to the other without any reason, a man no sane person could fear as an enemy, and who deserves no serious consideration.  

Putin’s Russia presents a far greater threat to the peace and stability of Europe and the rest of the world than even China or Iran.  With his childish propaganda of Denazification, for which he cited among other fake evidences the Jewish and originally only Russian speaking President Volodymir Zelenskyy, President Putin’s dezinformacija campaign has been nothing but the ephemeral creation of his KGB-ideology poisoned sick mind.  Thus, contrary to his intentions, his military offensive and his accompanying official Russian Nationality ideology have collapsed, preserving only a political abyss, which has begun swallowing up the Russian nation.

A fix point in this Putin-generated madness is the President of Ukraine, Volodymir Zelenskyy.  His narrative has been straightforward and uncompromising.  A “Putinic” peace would preserve the evolving status quo in its most dangerous form.  Therefore, it is unacceptable.  Russia must withdraw from all the territories it has occupied since 2014, including the Crimea.  Thus, the dismemberment of Ukraine is out of the question.  For the sake of its present and future security, Ukraine, like Finland and Sweden, must join the European Union and NATO.  The burdens of reconstruction must be borne to the fullest by Russia that has illegally invaded his country.  The heinous war crimes committed by the Russian military must be investigated by the international community and the guilty must be punished.  In the ultimate reckoning with Russia’s crimes, all governments and all international organizations must work along the well-established principles of international law and all the relevant bilateral and multilateral agreements.  Among those principles, two are the most important.  The principle that occupying territory does not create sovereignty will help to restore order and stability throughout the European continent.  The other major principle is that political opposition must always be peaceful and not aggressive.         

Thus, in the present situation, the Ukrainian President is one of the few politicians who understands that Russia, with its ephemeral victories and paradoxical wars which will never end will only accomplish the complete destruction of itself.  By chasing the mirage of a superpower and by threatening the entire European system, Putin’s Russia is signing its own death sentence into its unattainable ambitions.  Prevented from realizing that the unrealistic expansion of Russia will definitely end in a strategic cul-de-sac and the continuation of each war will only mean the beginning of new preparations for a greater one, President Putin’s dream of a restoration of the Empire will perish because he cannot comprehend that civilized states must renounce in their relations with other states the exclusive use of violence.  Otherwise, Russia’s cruel games of political insanity will isolate it from the rest of the world forever.  


‘Out of Touch With America’: Biden’s Small Business Budget Makes No Mention of Inflation

Budget proposal requests millions for 'climate crisis'

By Patrick HaufThe Washington Free Beacon

A shuttered storefront in Cairo, Ill. / Getty Images

While the Biden administration’s small business budget references environmental initiatives more than 20 times, it makes no mention of inflation’s impact on businesses—a contrast that Republican lawmakers say shows a disconnect between the White House and American voters.

The Small Business Administration’s 2023 budget proposal, which the White House in March submitted to Congress for approval, lists the “climate crisis” as an agency priority, requesting $10 million toward environmental initiatives such as the replacement of federal government vehicles with zero-emission cars. The request, meanwhile, makes no mention of rising consumer prices, which in March hit a four-decade high of 8.5 percent—even as recent polling shows inflation is a top concern for business owners. Four out of five small business owners say their companies have “suffered” from inflation, according to an April Goldman Sachs report.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, said the budget is “out of touch with America and reality.”

“The president and his SBA administrator are more focused on appeasing climate activists than helping Americans on Main Street,” Ernst told the Free Beacon. “They need to get a clue.”

The Small Business Administration told the Free Beacon that while inflation is not explicitly mentioned in the budget, the agency’s proposed funding for domestic production and global supply chain programs will help small businesses struggling with rising prices.

“We remain committed to advocating for all our entrepreneurs, including supporting several initiatives in the FY22 budget dedicated to lowering costs for Americans,” an agency spokesman told the Free Beacon.

The White House in recent months has blamed rising prices on global supply chain shortages and the war in Ukraine. Some economists, however, have warned that the Biden administration’s record spending has been the main driver of surging inflation. President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed last year, cost an estimated $3.5 trillion. The Small Business Administration, through its Paycheck Protection Program, has forgiven $714 billion in loans to businesses that maintained their staff amid the pandemic.

“This inflation is caused by trillions of newly ‘minted’ dollars flowing through the economy and government-created supply shortages from overregulation and restrictions on society the past two years,” Joel Griffith, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation who focuses on financial regulations, told the Free Beacon.

Congress will review the Small Business Administration’s proposed budget as it prepares to draft appropriations packages later this year. Several Republicans on the House Small Business Committee, including Beth Van Duyne (Texas), Byron Donalds (Fla.), Dan Meuser (Pa.), and Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.), told the Free Beacon the administration is putting left-wing policies above pressing economic concerns.

The budget “does just the opposite of addressing inflation: more reckless spending on policies straight from the Democrats’ radical and extreme agenda,” Luetkemeyer told the Free Beacon.

A Gallup poll in March found that climate change is the top issue for only 2 percent of Americans. Inflation and increased cost of living, meanwhile, are the top concern for 17 percent. Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), also a member of the Small Business Committee, said the Small Business Administration’s priorities are misaligned.

“Every small business owner I talk to is being hammered by inflation, and that’s on top of supply chain delays and a labor shortage,” Rubio told the Free Beacon. “But no one in the Biden Administration seems concerned about the fate of small businesses because they’re too busy pushing some radical, woke nonsense that won’t help anyone on Main Street.”


It’s Time Our Country Stop Emboldening Our Enemies

By Eric SchmittTownhall

It's Time Our Country Stop Emboldening Our Enemies
Source: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Inaction by the Biden administration and an aversion towards long-term strategic policy goals has put the United States in an exceedingly vulnerable position, with China and our adversaries aggressively advancing their plans to overtake the United States on the world stage. 

Our nation’s current leadership has failed to act on forward-thinking initiatives to strengthen the economic and national security of America. It is imperative that new voices be sent to Washington who recognize future challenges and implement strategic plans to protect the wellbeing of American industry, security and freedom.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict underscores the need for a comprehensive plan to confront geopolitical and domestic challenges before they arise. This conflict was driven by Joe Biden’s withdrawal of United States Energy Independence at the world stage, all while the intelligence community and lawmakers having advance knowledge of a Russian invasion into Ukraine. Instead of acting to deter the Russian threat, lawmakers and the Biden administration failed to issue a preemptive sanction package. By lacking the foresight and courage to act, Biden disgraced American diplomacy and strength on the world stage.

It’s paramount that our next class of lawmakers address the needs of tomorrow’s America and develop long-term policies that strengthen United States national security and economic interests. I led the fight for energy independence and stood with President Trump’s successful policies by suing the Biden administration over the cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline and filed suit against Biden’s disastrous ‘Social Cost of Greenhouse Gas’ rule. We must strengthen the American energy sector, and never become a pawn of another nation’s exports.

The lab leak in Wuhan, China exposed critical vulnerabilities in our country’s national security and economy. As Missouri Attorney General, I’ve fought China at every turn, suing the Communist Chinese Party in 2020 to hold them accountable for unleashing COVID-19 on the United States. But more must be done. We must eliminate funding for gain of function research, as seen in the NIH-funded Wuhan lab. The United States, through financing the NIH lab in Wuhan, placed an economic weapon in the hands of our greatest adversary. 

This is an unacceptable lack of foresight our country can never allow to happen again. In the U.S. Senate, I will be relentless in my pursuit to hold accountable, whether foreign or domestic, those responsible for unleashing the pandemic on the world.Through Iran-Contra-like investigations, I will ensure that our enemies will never have the opportunity to use American research funding against us again. 

Energy independence and opposing China, along with the foresight and willingness to take on these big fights like President Trump did so effectively is what our country needs, with the threat to our nation at the highest point in decades. International turmoil, rising inflation, and economic stagnation embolden our enemies and have been perpetuated by the Biden administration. We must do better. We need fighters. And we need long-term solutions. That’s why I’m running for the United States Senate.


Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan is a slap in the face to veterans and active military

I joined the Marine Corps two weeks out of high school, deployed to Afghanistan, and earned my degree using the GI Bill

By Cole LyleFox News

As President Biden considers forgiving student loan debt, there are important factors to consider, including the impact on our military and veterans who earned opportunities to pursue an affordable college education.

For most veterans, the choice to join the military was foremost about serving our country. But for many, it was also about receiving benefits to attend college without debt. Earning the GI Bill meant giving up years of their lives, serving in dangerous jobs and situations. The student loan debate is leaving out the impact cancellation will have on the veteran and active-duty community.

That’s probably why, in a recent Mission Roll Call poll of 6,202 veterans, 77% opposed student loan forgiveness.

College is expensive, and it’s only getting pricier. But since an undergraduate degree — even if unrelated to one’s subsequent career — has become a barrier to entry for most professional career tracks, most prospective students feel like they have no other option. They become saddled with student loans that don’t go away in bankruptcy and can delay important life events like buying a home or having children.Video

But there has always been a path to free higher education. For over 80 years, military service and the GI Bill have enabled millions of Americans to pursue college debt-free, or nearly free. Serve in the military, and the federal government will help ensure you have the resources necessary for success without burdensome debt. 

For over 80 years, military service and the GI Bill have enabled millions of Americans to pursue college debt-free, or nearly free

Already in college? Join the ROTC. In the military and want to use the GI Bill for graduate school? Use tuition assistance. Not sure what you want to do out of high school? Enlist and earn your GI Bill. Already have a degree or want to make the military your career? Transfer the GI Bill to your kids.

I joined the Marine Corps two weeks out of high school, deployed to Afghanistan, and earned my degree using the GI Bill. I know firsthand the sacrifices service members made to earn that benefit. They all made a choice. In most cases, joining the military meant receiving the GI Bill and the chance to go to school for little to no cost. They earned that opportunity.

The U.S. military is an all-volunteer force; the active-duty component makes up less than 1% of the total civilian population. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans earn the GI Bill as an incentive for their service. It isn’t something freely given, and it isn’t something any civilian can feel entitled to.

For veterans and active troops who want to pursue a debt-free education through honorable service, policies that forgive student loan debt minimize their efforts and experiences.

Joining the military is not the only way to attend college, but it’s a vital option for service members who want a degree without having to saddle themselves with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. It was certainly the right of those who chose not to serve to find different options, but it should not be at the literal and figurative expense of those who served our nation.

Serving in uniform takes commitment and courage. And as our nation’s leaders discuss student loan forgiveness, we hope they adequately consider the life-changing decisions service members make for our country and honor their service in this debate.


The 2017 Tax Reform Delivered as Promised

Our predictions about the law’s effects on business investment, wages and tax revenue were correct.

By Tyler Goodspeed and Kevin HassettThe Wall Street Journal

ILLUSTRATION: MARTIN KOZLOWSKI

As Karl Popper demonstrated, evaluating a scientific proposition requires falsifiability—theories or hypotheses can’t be proved or disproved if they can’t be subjected to empirical tests. When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed, we were criticized for being overly optimistic about the effects we predicted it would have. Now the evidence is in. Our critics were wrong, and the economic data have met or even exceeded our predictions.

In 2017, we predicted that reducing the federal corporate tax rate to 21% from 35% and introducing full expensing of new-equipment investment would boost productivity-enhancing business investment by 9%. Though growth in business investment had been slowing in the years leading up to 2017, after tax reform it surged. By the end of 2019 it was 9.4% above its pre-2017 trend, exactly in line with the prediction of our models. Looking solely at corporate businesses—those most directly affected by business-tax reform in 2017—real investment was up by as much as 14.2% over the pre-2017 trend, slightly more than we expected. Among S&P 500 companies, total capital expenditures in the two years after tax reform were 20% higher than in the two years prior, when capital expenditures actually declined.

Citing an extensive empirical literature, we also predicted that by enhancing worker bargaining power and increasing new investment in domestic plant and equipment, the average household would see real income gains of $4,000 over three to five years. In 2018 and 2019 real median household income in the U.S. rose by $5,000—a bigger increase in only two years than in the entire eight years of the preceding recovery combined. In 2019 alone, real median household income rose by $4,400, more than in the eight years from 2010 through 2017 combined.

Those extra wages contributed extra tax revenue as well. We predicted that despite a short-term drop in corporate income-tax revenue as companies expensed new-equipment investment, the combination of increased economic growth and reduced incentives to shift corporate profits overseas would result in a long-run net positive revenue effect. Before the reform, U.S. firms moved their profits overseas to avoid the highest tax of any advanced economy. After the reform, we predicted that more profits would be booked at home. For each dollar booked at home there would be a gain for the U.S. Treasury, since 21% of a positive number is much larger than 35% of zero.


Commentators have recently noticed that in the 2021 fiscal year, not only did federal corporate tax revenues come in at a record high, but corporate tax revenue as a share of the U.S. economy rose to its highest level since 2015. Actual corporate tax revenue in 2021 was $46 billion higher than the Congressional Budget Office’s post-reform forecast. Even though the U.S. economy was only slightly larger in 2021 than the CBO had projected, corporate tax revenue as a share of gross domestic product was 21% higher (1.7% versus 1.4%).

Some have attributed this good news to transitory effects related to the pandemic rather than 2017 tax reform. Yet in President Biden’s latest budget, the administration’s own baseline forecast for corporate tax revenue (i.e., before the revenue effects of its budget proposals) is now above the CBO’s pre-2017 forecast for every year from 2023 through 2027. This is true for both the level of corporate tax receipts and as a share of GDP. This optimistic forecast is consistent with our views about the long-run nature of the effects of tax reform and inconsistent with critics’ claim it has no effects.

Why are corporate tax receipts coming in not only at much higher levels, but also as a bigger share of the U.S. economy? The reason is exactly as we foreshadowed in the 2018 and 2019 Economic Reports of the President. By neutralizing the favorable tax treatment of selling intellectual-property services overseas via a foreign subsidiary, and by taxing past corporate earnings previously sheltered in those foreign subsidiaries, the 2017 tax law effectively created an incentive for multinational enterprises to move their profits home.

As a result, not only did domestic pretax earnings grow by a greater percentage than total pretax earnings between 2019 and 2021, they also grew by more for companies with greater foreign-derived income from intellectual property, meaning these firms were either repatriating intellectual property to the U.S. or locating less new intellectual property outside the U.S.

This is reflected in aggregate international transactions data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which shows that firms were repatriating only 36% of prior-year foreign earnings, and reinvesting 70% abroad, in the years leading up to 2017. Since 2019 they have on average repatriated 57%, and reinvested only 47% abroad. Overall since 2017, firms have repatriated $1.8 trillion in past overseas earnings.

In addition, the average annual dollar value of acquisitions by U.S. companies of foreign assets in 2018 and 2019 was 50% higher than in the two preceding years, while acquisitions of U.S. assets by foreign companies declined by 25%. Multinationals find the idea of domiciling in the U.S. and pursuing outbound acquisitions increasingly appealing. U.S. companies, on the other hand, are increasingly uninterested in being acquired by foreign multinationals and domiciling in lower-tax jurisdictions.

One of the exciting aspects of academic discovery is the opportunity to test theories and hypotheses against real-world data. In 2017, we put our hypotheses about the effects of corporate tax reform in the public record and have passed the test. The White House and Democrats in Congress should think twice about undoing the corporate tax reform and partisan economic pundits should point their criticisms at something else.


Inflation proves Biden has done everything wrong all at once

By Kevin D. WilliamsonThe New York Post

Biden's administration has blamed soaring inflation on Putin and called it "transitory" but failed to face up to the real problem — their own terrible economic policies that have made matters worse.
Biden’s administration has blamed soaring inflation on Putin and called it “transitory” but failed to face up to the real problem — their own terrible economic policies that have made matters worse. Getty Images

Our increasingly ugly inflation problem is a perfect illustration of the Biden administration’s uncanny ability to get everything everywhere wrong all at once.

The Biden administration’s first response to any problem is to pretend that it isn’t a problem. That’s how inflation went from a minor problem to a major one. Unwilling to take the necessary steps to rein in inflation early — pushing the Fed to raise interest rates and slowing down the torrent of money going out the Treasury’s doors — Biden and congressional Democrats at first insisted that inflation wasn’t a real problem: “Transitory,” they called it.

And then when inflation turned out not to be transitory, they thought they could just pin it on the Russians. Jen Psaki sniffed smugly at the “Putin price hike,” as though Americans were too stupid to understand that inflation at home had started long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That gambit fizzled, too.

When you don’t have any fresh ideas or real principles — and when your long-term goals are limited by the fact that the president, who was born during the Roosevelt administration, isn’t exactly buying any green bananas — then the easiest thing to do is to throw money at every problem.

The Biden administration has found a convenient — and easy — target in Russian leader Vladimir Putin, blaming him for the inflation spike. But inflation was rising before the Ukraine war.
The Biden administration has found a convenient — and easy — target in Russian leader Vladimir Putin, blaming him for the inflation spike. But inflation was rising before the Ukraine war.

Throwing money at things is how you make inflation worse.

Washington had already thrown a lot of money at the economy during the COVID-19 emergency, and, predictably, the emergency spending outlasted the emergency. By the time Biden was elected in 2020, Washington had thrown $2.6 trillion in budgetary resources at COVID and had authorized as much as $4 trillion in subsidized federal lending. That was new money amounting to about a third of GDP sloshing around the economy. Biden’s first priority was pushing out another $1 trillion in a phony infrastructure bill (that has little to do with actual infrastructure) and a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, even though the Consumer Price Index was already rising steeply, according to the Federal Reserve.

Our inflation problem is only partly an issue of dovish monetary policy and reckless spending. There are problems in the real-world physical economy, too, those “supply-chain issues” we hear about. The Biden administration has done extraordinarily dumb things to make these worse, too, keeping in place the worst of the Trump administration’s anti-trade policies. That “Made in the USA” talk sounds good on the stump, but the truth is we need a lot that we don’t make at home and aren’t going to — including much of the steel and other vital inputs for the high-value manufacturing we actually do here.

The incredible fact is the Biden administration still had punitive tariffs on Ukrainian steel while it was seeking financial aid for the Ukrainians — it wasn’t until the Chamber of Commerce and conservative critics started making a stink that the administration changed its stance.

Container ships wait to dock at Los Angeles harbor. Biden policies have hindered efforts to improve port efficiency, further adding to the current supply-chain crisis.
Container ships wait to dock at Los Angeles harbor. Biden policies have hindered efforts to improve port efficiency, further adding to the current supply-chain crisis.

Biden has rejected obvious reforms such as waiving the Jones Act, which keeps goods — and fuel — from moving from one US port to another via ship. It has backed union efforts to prevent operators from improving the capacity and efficiency of our ports through automation, sacrificing that progress in favor of a make-work policy for the benefit of longshoremen. Nearly none of that “infrastructure” money has made its way to any project that would actually ease supply-chain issues.

Interfering with trade during a supply-chain crisis is how you make inflation worse.

The United States, Canada and Mexico together make up a formidable energy superpower. But it does not matter how much oil and gas you have if you cannot get it to refineries and then get the refined products to consumers. Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline, and his EPA is standing on the neck of developing any new conventional energy infrastructure. As gasoline prices skyrocket, US refineries in the Gulf are sending much of their gasoline to Mexico to be sold, because there is no economic way to get it to the Northeast or the West Coast.

Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline that would have helped expedite the shipment of crude oil across the US. Instead, we are buying much of our oil from overseas.
Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline that would have helped expedite the shipment of crude oil across the US. Instead, we are buying much of our oil from overseas.

Biden is contemplating a trip to Saudi Arabia to beg OPEC to produce more oil —apparently, nobody has told him that Midland, Texas, is a hell of a lot closer.

Driving up energy prices for no good reason is how you make inflation worse.

Inflation is sometimes associated with a booming economy, but our economy shrank in the last quarter. Biden, who was in the Senate in the 1970s, is old enough to remember the word “stagflation,” which is what you get when you have a stagnant economy and inflation at the same time.

With inflation hitting levels not seen in over four decades, global stock markets are tanking — taking personal savings and 401k accounts down with them.
With inflation hitting levels not seen in over four decades, global stock markets are tanking — taking personal savings and 401k accounts down with them.

And it is what you get when you combine the wrong monetary policy with the wrong fiscal policy, the wrong trade policy, the wrong regulatory policy, and the wrong energy policy. 

And that’s how you make inflation worse.


Biden’s Tantrums leading the USA to War

Obsession with reversal of Trump policies proving disastrous

By Larry Fedewa, Ph.D.DrLarryOnline.com

On 30 September 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain joined France and Italy in the Munich Agreement which pledged that these countries would not interfere with Germany’s annexation of the Sudeten section of Czechoslovakia, which was inhabited by ethnic Germans.

This treaty became known as the “Munich Betrayal” because it violated mutual defense treaties signed in 1924 and 1925 by France and Czechoslovakia. Subsequent events showed that this treaty simply allowed Adolph Hitler the additional time he needed to conquer Europe one victim at a time. Eventually, he turned on Britain as well. For those reasons, Neville Chamberlain’s name has become synonymous with “appeaser”, “coward” and “naïve”.

In 2022, Joseph Biden is facing a similar dilemma. Russia and China are both asserting the same claim that Hitler used as an excuse to begin his invasion of most of Europe, namely, the ethnic heritage of the target countries. To date, Biden, like Barack Obama, seems inclined to imitate Chamberlain rather than Churchill.

The irony is that Biden himself has created this dilemma. His predecessor had implemented a set of solutions aimed at avoiding the very problems Biden is now facing. Underlying all of these problems is the Bidens’ lack of understanding that many actions taken in governing the homeland have foreign policy consequences as well. Biden and his cohorts appear to be living in a little bubble.

The present situation in Europe is a case in point. Much to the satisfaction of the radical Left, the new President cancelled the Keystone Pipeline, then the Anwar Pipeline in Alaska, followed by declaring all federal lands and seas off limits to all new oil drilling and pipelines, effectively crippling the energy industry in America and, incidentally, eliminating the USA’s energy independence as well as our ability to export energy products to other countries, especially Europe, Japan and China.

In a spasm of righteousness, he also reversed America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear materials production agreement as well as the other “green planet” agreements of the Obama administration. He also abandoned Israel and Afghanistan. And Germany got to keep the Nord Stream Pipeline. What he seemed to miss was the effect all this would have on Germany, NATO and Russia – with China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan in the wings.

Our adversaries are watching all this. They have also seen the invasion of foreigners through our southern border, the steep inflation of our economy, the deep division of our population, and the paralysis around the COVID 19 pandemic.

They decided to take advantage of all this and make their play for their own dreams of conquering new territory. Russia covets control of Ukraine now, with the rest of the former Soviet empire on its agenda. China, having already broken its treaty with the UK and taken control of Hong Kong, now wants to annex Taiwan on its way to replacing the USA as the dominant power in the Western Pacific. (USA interests are commercial trade relationships rather than territorial – including China.)

So, let’s connect the dots. The most urgent issue at the moment is Russia’s interest in Ukraine. Why is that a concern of the United States? That is a good question. The answer really goes back to 1945.

World War II ended when Nazi Germany found the eastern half of the country occupied by the Soviet Union and the other half by the Allies, led by the United States, which had saved Europe from the Nazis, aided by the UK and France.

The Americans wanted to stop fighting and go home. The Soviets, however, saw no reason not to extend their occupation and they had the army standing by to replace the Germans as the conquerors of the rest of Europe.

Actually, the Allies faced the distinct possibility of that happening if they did in fact go home. To avoid the possibility of the Soviet Union using its army to occupy the rest of Europe after the surrender, US President Roosevelt and UK Prime Minister Churchill were able to persuade their other ally, Soviet Leader Josef Stalin, to divide Germany into four zones: USA, Soviet Russia, UK, and France, thus leveraging their power which Stalin still needed to win the war. (That treaty was the controversial Potsdam Agreement.)

When the actual surrender came, then, General Dwight Eisenhower, as Supreme Allied Commander, authorized the Soviet occupation of what came to be called East Germany (for which he was criticized in some quarters).

This caution was further justified in 1948 when the Soviets blockaded Berlin. Only the outstanding performance of President Harry Truman’s US Army Air Force in the Berlin Airlift avoided another war. This incident led to the formation in 1949 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to protect Europe from the Soviet Union.

The ultimate concern of the NATO countries with Ukraine (not a member of NATO – although they want to join) is the same that Chamberlain faced in in 1938 with the Nazis, namely, that Russia will keep conquering one country after another until they control all the European countries – by far the major trading partners of the United States. Already, Russian President Vladimir Putin has added Georgia, Belarus, and Crimea and now he is threatening Ukraine (again). At some point in this scenario, World War III would start. Nevertheless, the objections to US involvement in Ukraine are already starting in America.

The force that stands in the way is NATO. It was formed for this purpose and has been successful for 72 years. The mainstay of this alliance on the European continent has been Germany, the most prosperous nation in Europe. However, Germany has a soft underbelly, namely its lack of sufficient sources of energy to support its population. This has become a critical concern of German authorities in recent years.

The closest source for 40% of the energy Germany needs is the new Nord Stream Pipeline which has been built under the Baltic Sea to link Russian oil directly to Germany. This creates a dependence of Europe’s largest and most prosperous nation on the European continent to the Russian Federation. This dependence gives Russia a potential weapon which can be used at any time to cripple the German economy as well as that of France.

The Trump administration dealt with this threat by succeeding in stopping the construction of the pipeline and substituting American energy for Russian energy, thus diffusing the entire issue. At the same time, President Trump strengthened NATO by requiring member nations to contribute their share of the cost of the Alliance and re-arming Poland and other nations bordering Russia one more time. Putin’s hands were tied by this strategy and the threat of war averted.

Joe Biden doesn’t’ have any of these levers. With childish delight he killed America’s energy industry, so that instead of supplying Europe with LNG, we are now pleading with Putin to sell us more of his supply. We have gone from seller to buyer. Biden has painted himself into a corner.

To add to his inept diplomacy, his administration has openly threatened Russia with an American cyber attack, not realizing apparently that American intelligence is unanimous in estimating that Russian cyber warfare capabilities exceed America’s. Russia is thought to possess EMP (electromagnetic pulse) technology which could cause a nuclear explosion powerful enough to cripple our entire electrical grid – a catastrophic weapon. The Americans have spent little on hardening our electrical grid, and our military spends more time on CRT briefings than on developing an offensive EMP weapon. So, Biden is playing with fire. We can only hope that we don’t get burned.
The bottom line is that there are consequences to every major action of an American president. To ignore these consequences is to disqualify oneself and one’s advisors from office.

Maybe impeachment isn’t such a bad idea after all. . .


Pelosi House ramps up perks like Peloton, liquor store while Americans scramble for baby formula

Republicans call new perks "disgusting" and "out of touch."

By John SolomonJust the News

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi belatedly jumped into America’s baby formula crisis on Friday, calling nationwide shortages “unconscionable” and setting an emergency vote next week. But while she tried to get Democrats caught up on a crisis that caught them by surprise, her administrative office was busy ramping up new perks for lawmakers.

House members were alerted to two new perks this week compliments of the chamber’s Democrat leadership: fully paid memberships to Peloton gyms as well as a brand new liquor and drinks outlet.

Republicans immediately seized on the optics, saying doling out additional benefits to lawmakers when everyday Americans are struggling to fill gas tanks, grocery carts or baby bottles was a bridge too far, even for Washington.

“Washington Dems couldn’t be more out of touch,” Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) wrote as he tweeted out a new announcement by the House Chief Administrative Officer announcing a new “House Drinks storefront” in the Rayburn House Office Building where lawmakers and staff can buy beverages, wine and liquor.

“Whether you’re hosting a meeting or an office event or just want to stock up on your favorite drinks, House Drinks sells water, soda, juice, alcohol and spirits,” the announcement boasted. “Six, twelve and 24-packs are available depending on the drink.”

Ferguson, a member of the powerful purse-strings-controlling Ways and Means Committee, sent out his tweet with the hashtag “FirePelosi” and noted “your tax dollars can be used for purchases.”

“Americans can’t afford to buy groceries or put gas in their cars, and Nancy Pelosi decides now is a good time to open a congressional liquor store on Capitol Hill,” he added.

Meanwhile, multiple members of Congress confirmed to Just the News that the Chief Administrative Officer has also decided to provide all lawmakers, staff and Capitol Police officers with free VIP memberships to Peloton gyms.

An email obtained by Fox Business said the “premier employee benefit” will provide employees with both Peloton All-Access and a Peloton App membership at no monthly cost. The network said the deal involved a $10,000 upfront payment and $10 per month per staffer who used the perk.       

Peloton confirmed to Fox Business that the “the US House of Representatives is extending Peloton Corporate Wellness to all House staff and Capitol police.”

The new perks follow other benefits Congress has received — and in some cases abused — over the years, like a post office, a bank, and fat pensions. And they come after Pelosi has faced murmurs about multiple instances of being out of touch, including when she boasted about her expensive freezer filled with ice cream during the pandemic, a move some progressives claimed hurt Democrat election chances.

The gym deal resonated all the way to the campaign trail, where Tennessee House candidate Robby Starbuck decried Washington’s tone deafness.

“Moms and Dads are going to 8 stores looking for baby formula while paying for gas they can barely afford but at least the Democrats are using our tax dollars to do Peloton,” Starbuck tweeted. “Disgusting.”


Pop Goes the Presidency

Biden gets desperate

By Matthew ContinettiThe Washington Free Beacon

Getty Images

A wise man once said: “When the economy is bad, people blame the party in power. When the economy is good, people look at other issues.”

Well, the economy is bad. Nice-sounding growth, job, and wage numbers do not count for much when the American standard of living is in decline. Inflation has outpaced income gains since last year. It remains at a 40-year high. Gas costs more than four dollars per gallon—sometimes much more—in every state. Americans under 40 years old are experiencing consumer delays, shortages, and scarce necessities, including baby formula, for the first time in their lives. According to the Pew Research Center, 70 percent of Americans say that inflation is “a very big problem.”

It’s also a very big problem for the party in power. President Biden’s economic approval rating is 34 percent in the most recent CNN poll. His overall job approval rating is 41 percent in the FiveThirtyEight average of polls. Republicans have held a slight but durable lead in the congressional generic ballot since last October. The midterm election is less than six months away. To preserve their narrow majorities in Congress, Democrats need to change the trajectory of this campaign. Right now.

Their solution? Pretend that the election isn’t a referendum on Biden’s job performance but a choice between Biden and Donald Trump. Scare voters with references to the extremism of the right. Invoking Trump alone is not enough, however. Terry McAuliffe tried that approach during last year’s Virginia gubernatorial campaign and it flopped. McAuliffe lost. Running against Trump and the Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement doesn’t work when Trump is neither president nor on the ballot. Democrats have convinced themselves that victory in the fall requires something scarier than MAGA. It requires Ultra-MAGA.

On May 10 Biden contrasted his policies with the “Ultra-MAGA Agenda.” Haven’t heard of it? According to Biden, it’s the brainchild of Senator Rick Scott of Florida, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (In his remarks, Biden erroneously said Scott hails from Wisconsin.) Back in February, Scott released a policy document that remains controversial within the Republican Party and that few Republican candidates have endorsed in full.

Biden isn’t subtle. He wants to use Scott’s proposals as an electoral cudgel, just as Barack Obama campaigned against Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” in 2012. Hence Biden’s description of “the ultra-MAGA plan put forward by congressional Republicans to raise taxes on working families; lower the incomes of American workers; threaten the sacred programs American count on like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and give break after break to big corporations and billionaires.” Biden says that his foes are not ordinary Republicans. They are not run-of-the-mill Trump voters. They are “Ultra-MAGA Republicans.”

Someone has been spending too much time in focus groups. The Biden administration and congressional Democrats must think that the prefix “ultra” makes a noun sound spooky. But the president and his underlings will have to specify who really counts as an Ultra-MAGA Republican, what the Ultra-MAGA agenda entails, and when “ultra” should be capitalized before voters stop worrying about rising prices, violent crime, insecure borders, and craziness in schools. In its current usage, “ultra-MAGA” comes across as comical. It’s a hackneyed slogan. Some people may even find it appealing.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the other day that “ultra-MAGA” is the president’s coinage for Republicans who support Rick Scott’s plan, Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion returning abortion law to the states, and Governor Ron DeSantis’s (R., Fla.) fight with Disney. “And so,” said Psaki, “to him, adding a little ‘ultra’ to it, gives it a little extra pop.”

A little extra pop? What is Psaki talking about—a new flavor of Pringles?

The Democrats are unable or incapable of running on their accomplishments. Their economic agenda is discredited among voters grappling with inflation. Their traditional advantage on education has narrowed because of parental fury at school closures, mask rules, confusing COVID guidance, and politically correct school boards. They have fallen back on scaremongering and name-calling.

Not for the first time. Nor for the last. Expect the alarm bells to ring louder as autumn approaches. By Election Day, Biden will have moved from “Ultra-MAGA” to “Mega-MAGA,” “Super-Duper MAGA,” “MAGA Deluxe XXL,” and, in homage to his love of ice cream, “All-Out Triple Scoop Chunky Monkey MAGA with Extra Deplorables.” Voters will respond as they usually do when Biden speaks. They will ignore him.


Billions in COVID Relief Funds Will Instead go to Critical Race Theory ‘Culture Shift’

By Michael BrighamAmerican Action News

Billions of dollars in taxpayer funds intended to keep schools open during the COVID-19 pandemic will instead be used to push Critical Race Theory on children.

$122 billion from President Joe Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” is slated for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.  Under the law, those funds are supposed “to help safely reopen and sustain the same operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Nation’s students.”

Fox News reports schools in some states plan to instead spend those funds on “implicit bias” and “anti-racism” training, which teaches children that all white people are racist and global socialism is the only hope for racial reconciliation.

Fox News reports:

Applications were due on June 7, 2021, and at least $46.5 billion from the ARP ESSER fund has been allocated to 13 states, including California, New York and Illinois, that are planning to use the funds to implement CRT in their schools.

The California Department of Education was awarded $15.1 billion in ARP ESSER funding to implement its schools reopening plan, which included $1.5 billion for training resources for school staff regarding “high-need topics,” like “implicit bias training.”

The California DoE used funds to “increase educator training and resources” in subjects such as “anti-bias strategies,” “environmental literacy,” “ethnic studies,” and “LGBTQ+ cultural competency,” according to the plan.

[Secretary of Education] Cardona said in November 2021 that he was “excited” to approve California’s plan, and that it laid the “groundwork for the ways in which an unprecedented infusion of federal resources will be used to address the urgent needs of America’s children and build back better.”

The U.S. Department of Education claims the political re-education classes are necessary to “meet student and educators’ social, emotional, and mental health needs” and are part of a larger government-driven “culture shift” to ensure schools “reopen equitably for all students.”


Tax-Hike-Happy Democrats Are Economic Illiterates

By Peter RoffNewsweek

One wonders what the Democrats in charge of the party’s economic program are thinking—if they indeed think at all. Their proposals are frighteningly similar year after year, decade after decade and now century after century.

The truth is that their objective is not fairness so much as it is to punish the successful. As it is, because honesty and other important virtues got tossed out the window long ago, the public continues in ignorance, counseled by fools and pretenders who explain their troubles away as being someone else’s fault.

Democrats’ worldview does not include certain proven realities, such as the fact that higher tax rates on income do not necessarily raise more revenue than lower ones. Each time the federal government has enacted major rate cuts, revenues increased because the corresponding increase in activity caused the economy to grow, as happened under Presidents Harding, Kennedy and Reagan.

It also happened under Trump. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the 21 percent corporate income tax generated revenues of $372 billion in 2021—nearly as much, the Wall Street Journal recently observed, as the CBO projected would come in at the previous rate of 35 percent.

Somehow, today’s Democratic Party leaders missed all that. When you recall that people used to refer to them as the party of “sound money,” the shift is comical. Consider Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer‘s latest gambit to reduce energy prices—which spiked after the Biden administration attacked the production of energy from domestic sources—by raising energy taxes.

“A wide array of Democrats, including Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), are now finalizing measures that would impose steep fines for abuse, crack down on corporate consolidation or set up new taxes on oil and gas companies’ profit windfalls,” The Washington Post recently reported, without bothering to explain how making energy more expensive (which is what more taxes on energy will do) will bring the price down.

Up is up and down is down unless someone convinces you somehow that two plus two equals five.

The problem of economic mismanagement isn’t confined to Washington. Some politicians believe subsidies are forever. In Kentucky, Democratic governor Andy Beshear vetoed legislation bringing the COVID state of emergency to an end—not because the disease remained a threat, but because he wanted to preserve the flow of relief money to fight the sudden reappearance of inflation by distributing it to folks who are most severely affected. These same people are probably more likely to vote for him when he runs for reelection than those who can better manage the rise in the price of essentials occurring on Joe Biden‘s watch, but Beshear almost certainly never gave that a moment’s thought.

The latest gambit, also backed by Schumer, is the Biden plan to tax unrealized capital gains. As the Democrats see it, when the value of an asset—such as stock shares, real estate holdings or artwork—increases, the owner should have to pay a tax on its newly assessed value. Why that won’t work, at least in economic terms, is that the owner of an unsold asset realizes no actual “gain.” That makes the proposal a wealth tax, which is constitutionally dubious.

Those who understand economics, and believe the government should preserve value rather than loot the stores of the successful, have argued in response that real fairness would lead to the indexation of the value of capital assets to take inflation into account. Without indexation, as data from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity created by Dr. Arthur Laffer show, “the effect of high and persistent inflation in the 1970s pushed the tax rate on REAL gains to 100 percent or more. In other words, investors paid a tax on real capital losses.”

Inflation, which occurs most often because of government mismanaging the economy, destroys the real value of assets even if their price appears to go up. Taxing the apparent appreciation of those assets without considering whether their real value has gone down is confiscatory.

Therein, as Shakespeare wrote, lies the rub. Republicans see tax policy as a tool useful for producing economic growth—which is a good thing. Jobs are created, wages rise, gains in productivity are achieved and living standards improve. Unfortunately for us all, including the disadvantaged, that’s not how progressives see them.READ MORE

To progressives, taxes are a way to redistribute income and punish the successful. The concept of progressive taxation is based on the idea that equalization of outcomes is a good thing. Somehow though, year over year, decade over decade and century over century it never happens.

When the economy doesn’t grow, the rich generally manage to stay rich or get richer while the poor get poorer. Nevertheless, progressives continue to promote these policies as they have since before the creation of the income tax under Woodrow Wilson. That’s because, as historian Ryan Walters writes in his new book on President Warren G. Harding, “The idea of a national income tax had always excited those who wanted to expand the size and scope of government.”

Such proposals, Walters writes, bring inherent danger. “When men once get in the habit of helping themselves to the property of others, they are not easily cured of it,” The New York Times once wrote during the debate over the income tax amendment, according to Walters. The great grey lady of American journalism was, that time at least, absolutely right.


Push for New Antitrust Rules Infested with Cronyism?

By Peter RoffNoozhawk

Peter Kuper cartoon

An unlikely coalition of senators is backing a bill by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., to drastically overhaul the nation’s antitrust laws. They may want to give her proposal another read, because there are things about it that might not be what they seem.

Klobuchar wants to be president and is counting on this legislation, Senate Bill 2992, the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act,” to establish the progressive bona fides she needs to leap to the front of the pack running for president the next time the Democratic presidential nomination is up for grabs.

If she expects her effort to excite the people whose spines once tingled at the thought of President Bernie Sanders, she’s off base.

The Republicans who signed onto her bill generally did so in the belief it gives the government the power to ensure “Big Tech” plays fair with conservatives. It doesn’t, and letting federal bureaucrats determine what to censor online would be worse.

The legislation would also make life more difficult for social media companies the Democrats have allied with in pursuit of election victories. The framework her legislation would erect would take a big bite out of the hand that feeds her.

The impact on Big Tech isn’t the only reason politicians should be concerned. Those issues are largely political. The way some businesses are treated is not — and has given rise to complaints favorable treatment is being extended to some kinds of firms because of what it doesn’t address.

What kind of crony capitalism may we be seeing? The Klobuchar bill overlooks — because it’s not included in the list of discriminatory conduct by “covered platform” — the use of pharmacy benefit managers, also known as PBMs, that negotiate with pharmaceutical manufacturers and health insurers to set the price of prescription drugs.

Proponents say these companies produce lower prices for consumers. Critics say the opposite, arguing they are too open to inducements from manufacturers to set prices higher than they need be in exchange for some kind of remuneration.

Their involvement in the health-care system is, for the moment, a political hot potato second only perhaps to continuing quest by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to impose a regulatory scheme to impose price controls on drugs.

Currently, just three pharmacy benefit managers are responsible for about 80% of the insurance market: CVS CaremarkExpress Scripts and OptumRx.

According to Health Industries Research Companies, CVS has the biggest share at 34% of total 2021 adjusted claims. Express Scripts is second at 25% and OptumRx has 21%.

Now 80% control doesn’t corner the market exactly, but progressives like Klobuchar used to argue it comes uncomfortably close.

Critics were disappointed when members of the Federal Trade Commission voted along party lines back in February not to investigate allegations of anti-competitive behavior by these pharmacy benefit managers. Nonetheless, they keep trying to call on the heavy hand of government regulation to swipe them into line.

Klobuchar cannot be unaware of this ,yet for some reason, her bill (which also has the support of Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., chairman of the House Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, doesn’t mandate or include a mechanism triggering their scrutiny under the proposed new track taken by the proposed legislation. Has cronyism crept into the process?

Some say yes, pointing to the fact UnitedHealth OptumRx, the No. 3 company, has its headquarters in Klobuchar’s Minnesota. CVS, which has the largest single share of the market, is based in Rhode Island, just like Cicilline,

UnitedHealth has given $154,820 in campaign contributions to Klobuchar while CVS gave $50,085 in political money to Cicilline, who also backed the company’s proposed $69 billion merger with Aetna, one of the largest of the nation’s health insurers.

That’s just the kind of business deal the legislation looks to stop because Klobuchar and friends believe mega-mergers are bad for consumers.

Coincidence? Probably. Still, the taint of corruption touches so much of what Washington does these days it’s hard to be sure.

What is clear is that big is not necessarily bad and that the consumer welfare standard, which has been the prevailing justification for most antitrust actions taken for nearly five decades, is a sound enough approach to dealing with legitimate antitrust issues when they arrive.

Klobuchar’s bill should be allowed to go no further.


Study: States With Stricter Lockdowns Didn’t Reduce Covid But Did Hurt Americans More

By ALASDAIRE FLEITASThe Federalist

covid lockdowns
TIM DENNELL / FLICKR

Two years ago, millions of Americans were summoned into lockdowns, throwing families into financial crises and kicking kids out of school. And it was counterproductive, finds a new study, not only not reducing Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths but inflicting additional harms such as millions of missed cancer screenings, increased suicide and anxiety, and ruining children’s educational futures.

“The correlation between health and economy scores is essentially zero, which suggests that states that withdrew the most from economic activity did not significantly improve health by doing so,” says the National Bureau of Economic Research study out this month.

According to the study, a stricter lockdown in states was correlated with the worst Covid outcomes, exactly opposite of what the corporate media and public health establishment told Americans. Fittingly, these freedom-restricting states were mainly Democrat-run. In contrast, the Republican-governed states with shorter and looser lockdowns showed lower Covid mortality while reducing the harms lockdowns cause people.

The study found the worst outcomes were found in New Jersey, Washington DC, and New York state, and the best in Utah, Nebraska, and Vermont.

Due to ill-advised lockdowns, many young Americans were deprived of a consistent education for nearly two years. Even when Covid cases dropped, numerous leftist school boards across the country voted against in-person learning. The study found in-person learning to be safer than remote learning both for children’s mental health and Covid prevention. This is because Covid poses a very low risk of danger to children, while lockdowns a high degree of risk.

“School closures may ultimately prove to be the most costly policy decision of the pandemic era in both economic and mortality terms,” says the NBER study. “One study found that school closures at the end of the previous 2019-2020 school year are associated with 13.8 million years of life lost… The OECD estimates that learning losses from pandemic era school closures could cause a 3% decline in lifetime earnings, and that a loss of just one third of a year of learning has a long-term economic impact of $14 trillion.”

According to a study published by Fair Health, during lockdowns children under the age of 18 showed an increase in anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, and intentions to self harm. Despite such evidence, Democrats refuse to take responsibility for damaging Americans’ health and well-being.

The NBER study also notes that Florida, a state that reversed its lockdown early and faced years of media criticism for it, had better outcomes than many severely locked down states.

“Although sometimes criticized as having policies that were ‘too open,’ Florida proved to have average mortality while maintaining a high level of economic activity and 96 percent open schools,” the study notes.

Even today, after dozens of studies finding similar results visible as early as April 2020, just one month into U.S. lockdowns, the Biden administration is still reluctant to officially waive Covid restrictions and give kids the childhoods they deserve. The administration recently renewed the face mask requirement for airplane travel and is keeping more Covid restrictions on the table.

Governments and employers also continue restricting economic activity and damaging public trust by mandating certain Covid treatments for people to participate fully in society.

For a party whose representatives cried for the children at the border, what about American children who were robbed of an education and locked inside for nearly two years?


WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com