While the media-driven scandals du jour roll on, President Trump quietly goes about reshaping the U.S. economy. Case in point: Last week, Trump directed the EPA to cut even more red tape for manufacturers. And he’s not done yet.
The idea is not to get rid of air quality standards, but to make sure that the science behind them is transparent and reliable — and not just part of someone’s political agenda, as has often been the case in the past.
The White House says that U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards constitute “outdated and unnecessary barriers to growth.” Under the new standards, EPA will process state-submitted plans within 18 months, for instance, giving regulated industries a clearer idea of what they can and can’t do, quickly. And the permitting process for individual projects will eventually be limited to a year. Continue reading
Chicago recently started taxing users of increasingly popular ride-sharing services so it could spend more on its increasingly unpopular mass transit rail service. This sort of thinking only makes sense to government officials.
When app-based ride sharing services Uber and Lyft started to catch on, cities thought they posed a dire threat to their local monopoly taxi services and tried to thwart them. But while ride sharing did cut into taxi ridership, it is also having a big impact on mass transit.
In Chicago, for example, ridership fell almost 4% in 2016 and another 3.5% last year. Ridership on weekends has plunged even further.
New York’s subway system lost ridership in each of the past two years, something that is virtually unprecedented in the city.
In Washington, D.C., ridership on its buses and subway system was down 12% in February, compared with two years ago. And in Boston, ridership dropped 3.3% from 2015 to 2017. Continue reading
By Steve Eder • New York Times
ALTAMONT, N.Y. — For eight weeks every fall, Indian Ladder Farms, a fifth generation
family operation near Albany, kicks into peak season.
The farm sells homemade apple pies, fresh cider and warm doughnuts. Schoolchildren arrive by the busload to learn about growing apples. And as customers pick fruit from trees, workers fill bins with apples, destined for the farm’s shop and grocery stores.
This fall, amid the rush of commerce — the apple harvest season accounts for about half of Indian Ladder’s annual revenue — federal investigators showed up. They wanted to check the farm’s compliance with migrant labor rules and the Fair Labor Standards Act, which sets pay and other requirements for workers.
Suddenly, the small office staff turned its focus away from making money to
placating a government regulator.
The investigators arrived on a Friday in late September and interviewed the
farm’s management and a group of laborers from Jamaica, who have special work
visas. The investigators hand delivered a notice and said they would be back the
following week, when they asked to have 22 types of records available. The
request included vehicle registrations, insurance documents and time sheets —
reams of paper in all.
FCC Chairman Pai recently announced plans to revise and update outdated and out-of-touch media ownership rules. To say that these rules are a relic of a bygone era is a gross understatement; they predate the advent of the internet and were adopted long before Americans went online for news and “over-the-top” for TV programming. The FCC adopted many of its current media ownership rules when Walter Cronkite ruled the nightly news and Lucille Ball was the Queen of Comedy. It is long past time that the FCC adjust regulations to account for an information-rich landscape that never was envisioned more than 40 years ago. Continue reading
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.
Doug Bandow – Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
George Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom
Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi – Vice President, Frontiers of Freedom
Peter Roff, Contributing Editor for Opinion, US News & World Report
Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, Vice Pres, London Center for Policy Research
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. They 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 has gone unexamined. We propose to take a look and see what’s really there.”
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:
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.
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.
Frontiers of Freedom released the following statement:
Frontiers of Freedom opposes the federal government placing caps on medical malpractice damages. H.R. 1215, entitled the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, is at its core a federal power grab — making what has always been a matter of state law, a federal matter.
Frontiers of Freedom signed a coalition letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, outlining the groups’ opposition to H.R. 1215. That letter can be found here.
Our system of constitutional federalism envisioned a dynamic arrangement where states acted as laboratories of liberty. It is a serious mistake to override that process with federal mandates in an arena that belongs to the states.
The idea of state legislatures and state law placing caps on tort damages may be worthwhile. But tort law has always been a matter of state law and our constitutional system of federalism demands that Congress respect that states, not the federal government, are responsible for state tort law.
H.R. 1215 stands in direct contradiction to the Constitution’s checks and balances, system of federalism, and separation of powers. One of Frontiers of Freedom’s primary missions is to preserve the Constitution’s checks and balances, system of federalism, separation of powers, and guarantee of basic rights as the foundation of America’s freedom. Thus, H.R. 1215 violates the very principles Frontiers of Freedom stands for.
H.R. 1215 represents an egregious and unwarranted expansion of federal power over the traditional role of states in tort law, not to mention regulation of health care. With the rigorous national debate on repeal of the Affordable Care Act, it should be obvious that nationalizing healthcare or even tort law is fraught with danger and could have very negative policy outcomes.
Nearly all states have spoken to the issue of malpractice damages either by instituting caps of their own or, alternatively, barring such restrictions legislatively or via court decision. It is not the proper role of the federal government to overrule state governments on matters that are entirely within the state’s purview. It is time for Congress to stop the continued creeping encroachment of federal mandates over state law and issues that should rightfully be regulated at the state and local level.
When I heard that Sen. Elizabeth Warren had introduced the “Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017” claiming that she wanted to create an all new over-the-counter (OTC) category for personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), I knew something disingenuous was afoot.
Sen. Warren has not been a champion of deregulation or of making government less intrusive. So I dug a little deeper, and found that Warren’s bill expands the power of federal bureaucrats, eliminates state authority, and reduces consumer access to amplification devices by making them more expensive and highly regulated. That’s not how she advertises the bill, but that’s how it would be described if truth in labeling laws applied to Congress.
Today, without her proposed law, there are PSAPs legally available at Best Buy, Walmart, and thousands of other stores and outlets for very reasonable prices. Anyone can buy these devices. They simply amplify sound — some use them for bird watching, others to snoop on conversations that are ordinarily out of ear shot.
These PSAPs are different from medical hearing aids in that hearing aids are designed for people who have measurable hearing loss and require a doctor to help determine the cause of the hearing loss and the most appropriate way to correct the problem. All hearing loss isn’t the same. So doctors play an appropriate role in helping the patient find and tailor the right solution. These medical hearing aids are not used for snooping or songbird listening. They are specifically tailored to the patient.
The bottom line is that PSAPs are not medical hearing aids and they don’t need to be regulated like medical hearing aids.
But Sen. Warren wants to subject PSAPs to FDA regulation and explicitly lock states out of any role in the process, and then designate these PSAPs as available “over-the-counter” as if that were some big new innovation — conveniently failing to mention that they are already available to anyone at thousands of stores.
So what is Sen. Warren really up to?
It appears that Sen. Warren is working at the behest of big corporations who feel they could make more money selling PSAPs if they were regulated because that would make them seem more “big time” and “high tech” and make them seen more like medical hearing aids. That would allow them to charge more and give them new marketing material. In fact, Bose, the famous speaker maker, markets a relatively expensive PSAP called “HearPhones.” They are located in Sen. Warren’s home state. These amplification devices aren’t medical hearing aids, but they could pretend to be “quasi” hearing aids with Sen. Warren’s new bill. That’s the real goal — more sales, higher prices, and more profits for Bose and other corporations.
But Sen. Warren’s bill will do nothing to give consumers and patients greater access or lower prices. And it certainly won’t lead to more innovation. A new layer of regulation is not a stimulator of innovation — it squashes innovation. What it will do is empower federal bureaucrats and lead to poorer healthcare by eliminating the doctor-patient relationship in finding the right hearing aid and tailoring it to the patient’s needs. Without a doctor’s input, serious hearing problems can go undiagnosed and if untreated, options can be forever lost.
Another downside to designating something over-the-counter is that insurance and Medicaid coverage usually cease to cover them. So in Sen. Warren’s zeal to confer a regulatory benefit upon a few well-heeled corporations hoping for bigger profits, she is willing to endanger coverage for legitimate medical hearing aids to those who need them most — including many veterans with hearing loss due to combat injuries.
So while Sen. Warren makes it sound like she wants to spur innovation, reduce costs, and improve patient access to hearing aids, she isn’t shooting straight. In fact, she is doing the exact opposite. It is a great con. A lot like when she claimed she was a Native American to help her land a great job at Harvard. The truth wasn’t important. She wove a story — even though false — to benefit her. Likewise, truth is the first casualty with her fake Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act. She benefits big corporations and big government, not consumers or patients.
George Landrith is the President and CEO of Frontiers of Freedom, a public policy think tank devoted to promoting a strong national defense, free markets, individual liberty, and constitutionally limited government.
Who is George Soros? Born Schwartz Gyorgy (in Hungarian the family name comes first) on August 12, 1930, in Budapest, Hungary, to Schwartz Tivadar, a lawyer, and Schwartz Erzsebet, the co-owner of the family’s silk shop, he grew up in a secular, upper middle class family that was openly anti-Semitic. In response to the burgeoning anti-Semitism in Hungary, the father changed the family name in 1936 from Schwartz that clearly identified the family as Jewish to the Hungarian sounding last name of Soros. The family survived the deportations by obtaining forged Christian birth certificates. He fled in 1947 to England. In 1954, he graduated from the London School of Economics in philosophy. In 1956, he immigrated to the United States.
In 1969, Soros established the Double Eagle hedge fund which in 1970 was followed by Soros Fund Management. In 1973 renamed as the Quantum Fund, it has grown from $12 millions to over $40 billion. Soros’s political involvement has intensified with the growth of his personal wealth, estimated to be around $25 billion. In addition to financing far left organizations in the United States and across the world from 1979 on,he has started to finance dissidents across the former Soviet block. Advocating “open societies” whose declared objective was to open up the communist dictatorships through the free flow of political and scientific ideas, Soros financed the Solidarity movement in Poland, the Charter 77 in the former Czechoslovakia, and Andrei Sakharov’s efforts in the former Soviet Union. In 1984, he established the first Open Society Institute in his native Hungary.
By The Hill•
Two years have passed since a state-sponsored cyber-attack caused one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history, and it appears that a foreign government may once again be on the verge of gaining access to a treasure trove of sensitive American information.
For those short of memory, I’m referring to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack where over 21.5 million records were stolen, most likely, by state-sponsored Chinese hackers. The hack, which was discovered in April 2015, included personally-identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, addresses, dates and places of birth and personal financial information.
Instead of using the anniversary as an opportunity to renew the American government’s commitment to protect its citizens from acts of cyber warfare and foreign espionage, it appears that they are instead, inexplicably, considering approval of a transaction that would provide the Chinese a permanent pipeline to the sensitive personal information of millions of Americans. Continue reading
Frontiers of Freedom released the following statement on the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017:
Frontiers of Freedom opposes legislation recently passed by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee placing caps on medical malpractice damages. The idea of caps on tort damages may be worthwhile, but tort law has always been a matter of state law and our constitutional system of federalism demands that Congress respect that states, not the federal government, are responsible for state tort law. The Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017 stands in direct contradiction of our mission to preserve the Constitution’s checks and balances, system of federalism, separation of powers, and guarantee of basic rights as the foundation of America’s freedom.
The legislation represents an egregious and unwarranted expansion of federal power over the traditional prerogatives of states in tort law, not to mention regulation of health care, which is entirely provided on a local basis. Nearly all states have spoken to the issue of malpractice damages either by instituting caps of their own or, alternatively, barring such restrictions legislatively or via court decision.
The full House should reject H.R. 1215, the House-passed malpractice legislation, and with it, the continued creeping encroachment of federal mandates over state law and issues that should rightfully be regulated at the state and local level.
For more information, please contact Frontiers of Freedom at [email protected]
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We and the millions of Americans who support our organizations are deeply concerned that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposed legislation — the “Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017” — is just another big government ploy to create more regulations and aid corporate rent seekers while harming consumers by limiting their choices and driving prices higher.
Sen. Warren claims that she wants to create an all new over-the-counter (OTC) category for personal sound amplification products (PSAPs). However, it turns out this claim is misleading at best, if not completely disingenuous. Sen. Warren’s bill expands the power of federal bureaucrats, eliminates state authority, and reduces consumer access to amplification devices by making them more expensive and highly regulated. That’s not how she advertises the bill, but that’s how it would be described if truth in labeling laws applied to Congress.
Today, without her proposed law, there are PSAPs legally available at Best Buy, Wal-Mart and thousands of other stores and outlets for very reasonable prices. Anyone can buy these devices. They simply amplify sound — not for people with medical hearing loss — but for those who want to amplify sound. Some use them for bird watching, others to snoop on conversations that are ordinarily out of ear shot.
As you know, these PSAPs are different from medical hearing aids in that hearing aids are designed for people who have medically measurable hearing loss and require a doctor to help determine the cause of the hearing loss and the most appropriate way to correct the problem. All hearing loss isn’t the same. So doctors play an appropriate role in helping the patient find and tailor the right solution. These medical hearing aids are not used for snooping or songbird listening. They are specifically tailored to the patient.
The bottom line is that PSAPs are not medical hearing aids and they don’t need to be regulated like medical hearing aids. But Sen. Warren wants to subject PSAPs to FDA regulation and explicitly lock states out of any role in the process, and then designate these PSAPs as available “over-the-counter” as if that were some big, new innovation — conveniently failing to mention that they are already available to anyone at thousands of stores.
While it is impossible to know for sure what the motivation for this legislation is, it is clear that it is a solution in search of a problem that does not exit. It is unfortunate that government regulators and big, rent-seeking corporations are the real beneficiaries of this bill. Consumers are the losers.
Some companies believe that they can make more money selling PSAPs if they were regulated because that would make them seem more “big time” and “high tech” and make them seen more like medical hearing aids. That would allow them to charge more and give them new marketing material. In fact, Bose, the famous speaker maker, markets a relatively expensive PSAP called “HearPhones.” They are located in Sen. Warren’s home state. These amplification devices aren’t medical hearing aids, but they could pretend to be “quasi” hearing aids with Sen. Warren’s new bill. Creating a new regulatory regime to help corporations market their products and raise their prices is not a good use of government power.
Sadly, Sen. Warren’s bill will do nothing to give consumers and patients greater access or lower prices. And it certainly won’t lead to more innovation. A new layer of regulation is not a stimulator of innovation — it squashes innovation. What it will do is empower federal bureaucrats and lead to poorer healthcare by eliminating the doctor-patient relationship in finding the right hearing aid and tailoring it to the patient’s needs. Without a doctor’s input, serious hearing problems can go undiagnosed and if untreated, options and hearing can be forever lost without hope of recovery.
We encourage you to thoroughly review this bill and to see through its misleading claims of making more devices “over the counter.” We also ask you to strongly oppose this legislation on the merits — because more government regulation, and preempting states is not in the best interests of Americans who seek reasonably priced, quality hearing aids for medical reasons. Nor is it in the best interests of Americans who want inexpensive and effective personal sound amplification products for their hobbies and personal interests. Patients and consumers both lose under this legislation. Thus, we encourage you to oppose it at every turn.
George C. Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom
Morton Blackwell Chairman, Conservative Leadership PAC
James L. Martin, Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association
Lewis K. Uhler, Founder & President, National Tax Limitation Committee
Charles Sauer, President, The Market Institute
Matthew Kandrach, President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy
Andrew Langer, President, Institute for Liberty
Richard A Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com
David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Andrew F. Quinlan, President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Steve Pociask, President, American Consumer Institute / Center for Citizen Research
Harry Alford, President & CEO, National Black Chamber of Commerce
Heather Higgins, President & CEO, Independent Women’s Voice
Judson Phillips, Founder, Tea Party Nation
Norm Singleton, President, Campaign for Liberty
John Cooper, President, Defending America Foundation
Mark Thomas, Founder, Freedom & Prosperity Caucus
Sabrina Schaeffer, Exec. Director, Independent Women’s Forum
Nicholas Willis, President, Americans for Liberty & Security
Susan Taylor, President, Strengthening America for All
Scott Vanatter, President, The Last Best Hope on Earth Institute
* Organizations & affiliations are listed for identification purposes
My parents were hippies, so protestors occupy a soft spot in my heart. There’s something uplifting about people so committed to a cause they’re will to march around holding signs, let themselves be chained to a tree, or even get locked into some kind of weird device that looks like it belongs in a horror film.
Politicians aren’t quite as dramatic which I suppose makes them more dangerous. It certainly makes them less endearing than the Birkenstock-wearing crowd while advancing legislative proposals that are more about fearmongering than facts.
Either way, tugging at heartstrings is a good way to get in the press, especially where the more than 1,000 Superfund sites across the United States are concerned. These are places where toxic materials were buried – either illegally or because no one at the time knew better – and have to be cleaned up under authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In the case of West Lake Landfill, a Superfund site just outside St. Louis, Missouri, a curious thing has occurred. The political left – which would usually move heaven and earth in favor of site clean-up issues – is actually keeping this one site from being remediated.
This is not fake news. Environmentalists are actually preventing the West Lake site from being cleaned-up because the government won’t do it their way.
Having land you own under the supervision of the EPA is usually a nightmare for business. It costs time and money and sometimes people end up going to court. In this case things haven’t been so bad. The soil in and around the landfill has been studied, the dangers from the radiological materials buried there have been evaluated, and plans have been discussed.
Admittedly the whole process has taken far too long – about 30 years — but just when it looked like the EPA was on the right track and was ready to start on a plan that would secure the site for the long-term, isolate the contaminants, and have it all paid for by the company that owns the property the environmental groups began raising objections. They’ve been putting roadblock after roadblock in front of the process. They have drafted politicians to their cause, they’ve enlisted the support of unions, they’ve even called on the United Nations to intervene — all the while using the tactics of community organizers like Saul Alinksy to spread fear, distrust, and junk science throughout the the community of people living nearby.
The latest development is a proposal that would literally offer a buyout to nearly ever homeowner living near the site.
When I first heard about this piece of legislation I hoped it was merely a messaging bill – a public relations ploy to raise awareness of the need for a clean-up. Except it passed the Missouri Senate by a vote of 30 to 3, hopefully because those voting “aye” didn’t understand what they were voting for. The science doesn’t back up their reasoning; if it did it could lead, eventually, to an argument for a bailout of tens of thousands of Missouri homeowners living near sites that one environmental group or another declares to be toxic.
That would be a pretty hefty Show Me State price tag.
Despite the fear, the science says the neighboring community is safe, According to a recent article from the local CBS affiliate:
The Environmental Protection Agency has previously said that despite radioactive waste and an underground fire at the (nearby) Bridgeton Landfill, there’s no increased risk for neighboring residents. The agency also hasn’t found evidence that radioactive material has migrated beyond the landfill.
We don’t have to take the EPA’s word for it. Science, good science, backs them up. Most of the soil sampled around the landfill is less radioactivethan anywhere in Missouri, and by a considerable factor. When I say “most,” every sample showed merely 25 percent of the contamination any Missouri resident would expect find in their front yard. There’s only one exception, and that one was just 6 percent higher. On this data alone Missouri Senators have voted to spend up to $12.5 million to buy the houses of people living in just one development near West Lake landfill. .
Last year, at the urging of the left, who insisted science is more like a data lottery, the EPA announced even more community testing. The results have not yet been announced but there is little reason to believe they will show anything different than previous federal or state studies have shown.
Why did the Senate need to rush through a vote before the data they knew was coming was in? Almost none of the politics around West Lake Landfill makes sense. The facts are easy – waste from the Manhattan Project was illegally dumped there decades ago. The waste was found, and the site was deemed a Superfund Site. Years later the EPA finally figured out a plan. But, the facts and the actions don’t match in this case. When the left didn’t like the EPA’s plan – it didn’t require the use of Union labor is one my guesses – they started doing everything that they can to delay, impede, and throw temper tantrums.
If the left just wanted to have a drum circle and sing some songs – I am game. My goodness, nowadays they protest so much I mark the days when they aren’t protesting. But, when the left wants to impede the progress of cleaning up and securing a toxic waste site as well as spending money that could be used to build infrastructure or educate children based on nothing, then count me out. It’s not groovy.
Frontiers of Freedom President, George Landrith, released the following statement on the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act:
“Frontiers of Freedom applauds the introduction of the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act. This legislation — which has strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate — is an important, positive and necessary first step towards a more effective and modernized US Copyright Office.”
“As it is currently organized, the Copyright Office structure is more than 120 years old and designed for a time when intellectual property rights were just beginning to be widely recognized as an important economic driver. Now, copyright dependent industries account for 5.5 million jobs and contribute more than $1.2 trillion to GDP. The time for modernization is now. This legislation begins that important process.”
“This legislation provides that the head of the US Copyright Office, known as the Register of Copyrights would not merely be a staff position at the Library of Congress, but rather would be nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the US Senate, thereby elevating the Register to better reflect important economic sector the Office administers
“This is an important and needed first step to make the US Copyright Office work more effectively. America has led the world in creativity and innovation. That has fueled our economic health and strength. Moving forward, intellectual property will play an even bigger role in our economy and it makes sense that the Copyright Office should be prepared to facilitate that growth. A predicate to the continued success of the creative economy is an independent Register who understands and appreciates the importance of intellectual property in a vibrant, modern economy. It also ensures that the Register is accountable to the People through their elected representatives.”
“This legislation begins this important modernization process and is supported by leaders in both political parties and in both houses precisely because it is clearly what is needed to strengthen our creative and innovative economy.”
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