Welcome to our inaugural Weekly Brief. We’re sharing some of our latest feature pieces on The Economic Standard below, along with our weekly Washington policy round-up by the legendary Andy Blom for those of you in the D.C. business.
Going forward, we’ll share these updates with subscribers on Thursday morning.
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— Erik Sass, Editor-in-Chief, The Economic Standard
Stronger Defense Firms Key to Maintaining America’s Global Tech Edge
— Mead Treadwell, Former Alaska Lt. Governor
In The Arctic Resource Wars, Greenland Is A Hot Property
— Daniel McGroarty, TES GeoPolicy Editor
Hong Kong’s People Power Meets Beijing’s Paranoia Pathology
— Dr. Alexander Görlach, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
Washington Behind The Headlines
By Andy Blom, TES Contributor
It’s a short week…the last week of summer in Washington and everybody involved with Congress is gone on vacation, recess, or campaign. May be the safest week of the year for the average American. President Trump is busy, but he might be our busiest president ever. And free market conservatives continue advancing ideas and legislation to move America forward. Here’s a roundup of the week’s activity in Washington…
- Indexing Capital Gains Could be the Economy’s Next Big Boost. As the media and Democrats try to create a recession by word of mouth, momentum is growing for an immediate antidote. As Grover Norquist writes in the Washington Post, it is wrong to tax inflation. Indexing Capital Gains Taxes to inflation would mean no American would be taxed on the inflation gain on the sale of a house, land, small business, stocks or assets of any kind. Just another giveaway to the already rich and wealthy? Hardly. Older Americans who bought a home or built a business before the hyperinflation of the 1970s are mostly paying taxes on imaginary gains. Ending the taxation on inflation would immediately increase the value of every asset in the United States — homes, land, stocks, businesses — and the majority of those (56%) that had a capital gain or loss in the last year are households making less than $100,000 a year. This could be a big deal. Learn more at www.atr.org.
- The PRO Act is a Union Wish List. The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (S.1306 and H.R. 2474) has been mentioned here before. Now, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has released a new report that details the issues and problems with the legislation, further warning that even if the legislation, scheduled for a House vote in September, is defeated, parts of it will doubtless be shoehorned into other legislation. Read the report here. Learn more at www.atr.org and sign on to the coalition letter to Congress at OGRADY@ATR.ORG.
- But Here’s Some Good Worker Legislation…. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R. NY) has introduced The Modern Worker Empowerment Act (H.R. 4069) designed to update the definition of the term “employee” for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The legislation would empower the growing force of independent entrepreneurs who wish to work as independent contractors and remove regulatory hurdles that advantage bigger businesses. The Coalition to Promote Independent Entrepreneurs www.IECoalition.org has a letter to Ms. Stefanik and more info.
- CBO Confirms: Tariffs Hurt the US. President Trump has emphasized the importance of making China play fair, and his tariffs are definitely hitting China. But the tariffs are also hurting the U.S. economy. The Congressional Budget Office issued an updated budget outlook recently and the news was not all good. The CBO says the tariffs are making goods more expensive, reducing purchasing power, increasing business uncertainty and possibly causing retaliation., The numbers? CBO estimates the tariffs will reduce real GDP by 0.3% by 2020 and real income for the average American household by 0.4% by 2020. Tori Whiting has more here.
- A Bold Policy Approach: Development Dividends. Salim Furth of The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has authorized a policy brief on a novel concept: sharing equity to overcome opposition to housing. The plan would allow property owners or developers to gain renters’ support and involvement by paying them as direct beneficiaries of development dividends. If applied, this could have a significant impact on opposition to new development and land use projects. See the in depth explanation at Mercatus.
- It’s Nursing Versus Politics in St. Mary’s Hospital Battle. Nurses at St. Mary’s Medical Center are being pressured in questionable ways as the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals tries to unionize the hospital. Hospital Administration and many nurses feel unionization will undermine the quality of health care. Meanwhile, local politicians who have received significant union contributions are pushing for the union. Union organizers have harassed the nurses at their homes. The nurses have called in the National labor Relations Board to conduct a free and fair monitored election to decide the issue. Kevin Moony gives a full report to The Daily Signal.
- Title IX is Failing Men. One commonly thinks of Title IX as a law to protect or create fair play for women at colleges and universities. What has become clear is that the law, which bans all sex-based discrimination, has been used to discriminate against men. A review of scholarships at over 200 colleges and universities shows widespread discrimination in the provision of sex specific scholarships for male students. 57% of institutions facially violate Title IX provisions and another 27% were “Borderline”. The violations were not only in the larger number of scholarships given to women, but in the larger amounts of funding of the female scholarships. Further, discrimination in sex specific scholarships was not the only violation. Many institutions offer programs limited only to female participation in areas such as engineering and IT programs. The violating institutions range from state universities to Ivy League giants including Yale and Brown. Read about this here. And more at Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, www.saveservices.org.
- Do Opportunity Zones Work? Among the positive economic efforts included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was the creation of Opportunity Zones to encourage investment in economically stressed areas. Joel Griffith and Adam N. Michel of the Institute for Economic Freedom at the Heritage Foundation have taken an in-depth look at Opportunity Zones and how these new ones compare to past efforts of Place-Based Incentives. It’s a complex, interesting and important study. Read more at the Heritage report.
- Does Facebook Discriminate Against Conservatives? Senator Kyl Takes a Look, Changes are Being Made. It’s been in the news, it’s been on our minds. Now former Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona has led a team of investigators looking into whether the social media giant has an anti-conservative bias. The bad news? Yes, it some instances, there are signs of bias. The good news? Facebook has acknowledged Senator Kyl’s findings and preliminary steps are being taken. Should more be done? Read about the report here courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.
- Extra! Extra! Get Your Red Hot Climate and Environment News Here! The Heartland Institute is one of America’s greatest think tanks and intellectual resources. Heartland publishes many worthwhile reports, findings, newsletters, etc., etc., etc. To anyone interested in the actual real information about Climate & Environment News, we suggest checking our their regular newsletter of that name here. Lots of great stuff there.
Upcoming events: Washington is still on Recess Break, but plan ahead…
- CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION, WITH BEER! The Republican National Lawyers Association is hosting ‘Cheers to CLE!’ A day of continuing legal education, networking and beer tasting. Saturday, September 7, 9:30 AM – 5 PM. $45 RNLA Members, $75 Non-Members. Info and Register at rnla.org/vacle
- RNLA (Republican National Lawyers Association) FALL LUNCHEON, with Senator Susan Collins. Monday, September 9, 12 PM – 1 PM, Tony Cheng’s Restaurant, 619 H St., NW. RSVP: RNLA.org/CollinsLunch. Not a fundraiser!
- INTERNATIONAL COALITION MEETING. Roundtable Policy Discussion. Wednesday, September 11, 12 PM – 1 PM. Americans for Tax Reform Conference Room, 6th Floor, 722 12th St., NW. Info and RSVP to Lorenzo Montanari email@example.com.
- SAVE THE DATE: Senator Robert Griffey and Howard Jenkins, Jr. Induction into the U.S. Department of Labor Hall of Honor. Thursday, September 26, 2 PM. U.S. Dept. Of labor. Contact Rudy Olivo, Office of Public Liaison. 202-63-6000. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- COSM, A National Technology Summit Presented by Discovery Institute. October 23-25, Seattle, WA. Info at cosm.technology.
- DAILY CALLER NEWS FOUNDATION Annual Gala. Courage Under Fire Award: The Honorable Lindsey Graham. October 30, The Mayflower Hotel, Washington. Cocktails 6 PM, Dinner 7 PM, Dancing 8:30 PM. Info: haley@DailyCallerNewsFoundation.org.
- Austrian Economics Center, Hayek Institut, and Fundacion Internacional Bases, are organizing a conference with top tier intellectual contributors on the subject, Austrian School of Economics in the 21st Century, November 13-14, Vienna, Austria. Web site.
Andy Blom, is a senior policy and political writer, strategist, analyst and activist.