Importing Bad Ideas: Let’s Not
“Foreign reference pricing” is just price controls by the backdoor
The world is full of bad ideas that self-interested parties sometimes try to bring to these shores, swearing up and down they’re actually good: karaoke, kale, Neti pots, the Yugo, the Macarena, Gerard Depardieu — the list goes on. To this hall of shame must now be added a genuinely dangerous idea: foreign reference pricing, a policy proposal currently under consideration which would force drugmakers in the U.S. to lower prices based on comparisons with drug prices in other countries.
Foreign reference pricing is often presented as a market-friendly alternative to market-distorting price controls — after all, it’s just bringing U.S. drug prices in line with other countries. However this argument is disingenuous at best: for one thing, many of the foreign countries included in price comparisons have already instituted arbitrary price controls themselves (often justified by, you guessed it, foreign reference pricing) meaning America would just be importing price controls through the back door. The results would be the same as in other countries, including shortages of critical, sometimes life-saving drugs.
Worse still, like other arbitrary price controls, foreign reference pricing jeopardizes the development of new cures and treatments, by making it impossible for pharmaceutical companies to justify the substantial R&D investments required — an average of $2.6 billion for each new drug that reaches the market.
Thankfully commonsense may yet prevail: this week the Competitive Enterprise Institute hosted a panel of expert economists and patient advocates who detailed precisely how bad an idea reference pricing really is. TES published a complete summary of the panel, with quotes from notable thinkers, available here. With luck members of Congress will listen — we don’t want to make the kombucha mistake again.
Daniel Bunn and Else Aken: Healthy tax competition is possible and needed
A different approach to tax policy can be more conducive to long-term growth. Some smallest countries like Estonia and Latvia have cracked the code by adopting tax systems that are both neutral and competitive. Instead of creating incentives or targeted taxes, these countries have taken a broad-based approach to raising tax revenue in a way that creates few distortions. More.
Martin Michelot: Can the transatlantic relationship survive the age of Realpolitik?
The simple fact — as anecdotal as it may be — that a German think tank would run a policy game based on the scenario of a US withdrawal from NATO would have been unthinkable a few years ago, and symbolizes the fact that trust in US leadership, and perhaps trust in the US, has diminished across Europe, especially in Western Europe. Have Europeans accepted that the US will, for the foreseeable future, play realpolitik, and therefore adjust accordingly? More
Daniel Griswold: Post-election U.S.-UK trade deal?
The British Parliament voted this week to hold a national election on December 12. If the Conservative Party holds on to its lead in the polls, the results could deliver an early Christmas present for those who support “Brexit” and a potential US-UK trade agreement. More
Duncan Simpson: Raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million
Brexit will likely be the focus of the election, but ditching the death tax should be the top priority of all parties to help hard-working families. If the inheritance tax threshold was increased from £325,000 to £1 million, almost 25,000 fewer families would have to pay the hated death tax across this year and next. The government would still be raking in £7 billion in 2019-20 and 2020-21, but only the very wealthiest in the country would pay. More
Molinari Economic Institute: French motorists and smokers are “cash cows.”
The taxation of fuel and cigarettes is particularly hard to understand for the general public, but also for specialists. The price of these products includes specific charges that combine with traditional taxation at every stage. But experience shows that these concentrations of taxes on specific products are sensitive, even “inflammatory.” More
Policy At Work…
WASHINGTON BEYOND THE HEADLINES
By Andy Blom, TES Correspondent
That sense of peace and quiet you have is because Congress is out of session. Again. Don’t you wish you could get a high paying powerful job with so much time off? Wait! We’re paying these guys not to work! Well, if you want to see actual work being done by free market organizations and individuals to move America forward, read on…
Good News — Voters Protect Taxpayers in Texas/Colorado
Election Day 2019 brought good news for taxpayers in two western states. A Colorado Ballot Measure introduced by the Democrat legislature and Democrat Governor Jared Polis that would have killed the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights was soundly defeated. And in Texas more than 77% of the electorate approved Proposition 4, amending the state constitution to prohibit an income tax. More
Fixing the Budget Mess? Enzi and Whitehouse Have a Plan
Frustrated with the federal government’s broken budget process, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Committee member Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have introduced The Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act. The legislation would put more emphasis on an orderly, deliberative budget process focused on long term planning and end the constant brinkmanship surrounding the debt limit. A good plan that could do a lot of good. More
Up in Smoke — New Poll Shows Vaping Ban Could Cost Trump 2020 Election
As the Trump Administration tries to decide how to handle the “Vaping Crisis”, a new poll of battleground states shows the powerful vaping voter block could cost President Trump his re-election if he institutes a flavored vapor product ban. The poll shows 4 in 5 vapers are likely to decide their vote based solely on a candidate’s position on vaping. They consider vaping life-saving…and we are talking about BIG, election altering numbers. Check out the poll report here, and get additional news about the political power of vapers at Americans for Tax Reform: More
Cheaper Oil and LNG for Americans? Dump the Jones Act
Sometimes old, outdated legislation should stop protecting a few special interests and just go away. It’s time to mothball the Jones Act, part of the Maritime Act of 1920, passed to assure an American shipping industry in case of war. Today, the Jones Act costs businesses and consumers in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, Alaska and – Yes! — all across the contiguous 48 states. Colin Grabow gives all the dirty, depressing, deeply irrational details. More
Unaccountable Bureaucracy — Is the CFPB Unconstitutional?
Did Congress create an unconstitutional monster? The Editors of The Washington Times believe they did when, included in the Dodd-Frank banking reform legislation, they birthed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This completely unchecked or balanced bureaucracy exercises unparalleled power and, the Editors believe, unconstitutional authority at every turn…very much to the detriment of the American ideal. A single federal agency, led by a single individual, not having to answer to anybody, is the kind of concentration of power the founding fathers most feared. And that’s just what the CFPB is. Unless it is challenged and ruled unconstitutional, the CFPB is the leading edge of an ever expanding administrative state. More
Ring Ring…Is it Smart to Use a Smart Doorbell?
Sorry to complicate the comforting feeling you get checking out who’s at your front door through your smart doorbell, but…who else is watching? The Freedom Foundation is raising concerns that the new technology could lead to discriminatory law enforcement practices and expose sensitive consumer data. They are leading a coalition letter to Chairman Simons asking the Federal Trade Commission to look into the issue. Details to come.
As Congress continues to dither with impeachment, failing to pass the almost universally beneficial (except for China) United States Mexico Canada Agreement, Saul Anuzis, President of the 60 Plus Association makes a strong case for its benefits to U.S. Senior Citizens. Highlighting the importance of American medical innovation to the elderly, Anuzis points to strong intellectual property provisions in the trade agreement. More
Are we having fun yet? Learning anything? Fall is full of Galas, Exciting Educational Opportunities, Informative Discussion and Just Plain Fun. Join in… and don’t forget to RSVP!
The Austrian School of Economics in the 21st Century, 8th International Conference. November 13-14 in Vienna. One of the premier gatherings of the sharpest libertarian economists in the world. The Economic Standard will be covering the conference as an official media partner. The program will include the presentation of the 2019 Hayek Lifetime Achievement Award on November 14. More
An Introduction to Constitutional Law: 100 Supreme Court Cases Everyone Should Know. Panel. Wednesday, November 13, 12 PM – 1 PM, The Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium., 214 Massachusetts Ave., NE. RSVP
The Inaugural Charter Cities Conference. March 17th and 18th, 2020 in Johannesburg. Ever wanted to build your own city? Well, here’s your chance. Participants will learn how to build the foundation for strong, economically vibrant charter cities from experts who are traveling from around the world to discuss projects both planned and in progress. This is your opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an exciting movement to build the future of governance for the cities of tomorrow. More
Andy Blom is a veteran political and public policy pro with decades of experience in Washington, D.C. circles.