By Andy Blom, TES Washington Editor
While the impeachment circus goes on America’s economy surges ahead, unemployment is low and conservative and center-right organizations and individuals are doing lots of work on issues and ideas that affect America, and the world. Read on, it’s a busy week (except in Congress)…
Tariff Wars, Trade Agreements…They Affect You. Find Out How….A tariff is a tax. The government puts a charge on something and the consumer eventually pays more. But tariffs aren’t the only things that impact trade. Regulations, restrictions, quotas…there can be many obstacles to free trade. And non-economic issues can factor as well. The International Trade Barrier Index 2019 can help you understand it all, sort it out and know how it impacts your business and your pocketbook. Just released in the U.S.on Wednesday, January 22, by The Property Rights Alliance, the Index can be found at www.TRADEBARRIERINDEX.ORG.
Standing Up for You — New Coalition Fights Government Healthcare Rate-Setting. Surprise medical billing continues to be a problem, and a hot topic in Washington. A new coalition of 14 Center-Right Groups have formed a coalition to oppose proposed legislation they feel would make the problem worse and lead to widespread closures of doctor’s offices and hospitals. To learn more about The Coalition Against Rate-Setting (and their efforts to stop government meddling in the healthcare system, visit their new website at www.noratesetting.org.
Trump’s Biggest Win in the China Trade War is…Credibility? Tyler Cowen, writing in Bloomberg Opinion, says that the key to the U.S. China Trade deal is not forcing China to cease currency manipulation, or protecting intellectual property rights or even opening China to U.S. financial services…it’s establishing U.S. seriousness in dealing with China. After decades of backing down, Trump’s deal shows China the U.S. isn’t soft and is willing to incur pain to oppose China. A successful line in the sand has been drawn and Cowen believes it has implications far beyond this deal. Read his thoughts here.
Nebraska De-regulates, Homebuyers Win. Following in the path of Maryland, Virginia and Oregon, legislation introduced in Nebraska would limit local regulatory powers in the state by allowing two, three and four family homes as well as townhomes and ‘cottage clusters’ on all residential lots in cities of 5,000 residents or more. Fighting dramatically rising housing costs the legislation would restore property rights and create opportunities for quality affordable housing that has become increasingly rare. The end goal: by decreasing regulation return to American cities, and Americans, high quality homes in desirable locations at affordable prices. Read about it on the Mercatus Center website here.
More Good News from the States: Ohio Senate Bill 7 Facilitates Military Spouses’ Ability to Work. On January 27 Governor Mike DeWine will sign Ohio SB-7 into law, which grants spouses of active duty military men and women relocated to Ohio reciprocity for out-of-state occupational licenses. This is an important move that allows military spouses the right to go too work after a transfer instead of waiting weeks, months, maybe years for state-by-state licensing. It might even lead to other intelligent, much needed licensing reforms. Take a good look at the issue at www.BuckeyeInstitute.org.
Even More Good News from the States: PA Legislators Move to Protect Taxpayers from Reckless Spending. In an all too rare example of self restraint and doing the right thing, legislators in Pennsylvania have introduced the Taxpayer Protection Act (SB 116/HB 1316), a measure that would limit overall spending increases to the rate of inflation plus population growth. It would take a supermajority vote to override the limit. Unlike in DC, the bill has strong bi-partisan (multi-partisan?) support with at least 67% of Democrats, Republicans and Independents behind it. More details at ATR.
And Some Bad News: NY to Join CA in Attacking the ‘Gig Economy’? New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo followed up California’s job killing AB7 by likening ‘Gig Economy’ corporations to 18th and 19th Century sweatshops, saying gig and contract work is “exploitive, abusive, it’s a scam, it’s a fraud.” Most probably, his principal objection is that he finds the freedom, independence, innovation and individualism of the gig and freelance contract economy offensive because it robs the government of control. Of course, he didn’t feel that way when he praised Uber back in 2015 when he was criticizing NY Mayor Bill de Blasio. Will Cuomo lead New York down California’s disastrous path? Rachel Greszler tells you more at the Daily Signal.
The Worst Idea from the States? Digital Advertising Taxes. Maryland (California East? New York South?) has introduced a bill that would create a new gross receipt tax on digital advertising within the state. While proponents claim it would raise $100 million, it comes with a host of legal and constitutional issues. The bill violates the federal Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, as well as possibly the Constitution’s Commerce Clause and First Amendment. That should obviously be enough to stop it, but there are other significant problems as well. Taxes would increase with a company’s global revenues and taxes would be on gross receipts. This is a stupid idea, but dangerous, as Nebraska and other states are considering it. Read the thoughtful analysis here.
Physicians, First Do No Harm — Unless it Benefits You. Taking a hypocritical approach to the Hippocratic Oath, the American College of Physicians endorsed Medicare for All. Bringing socialized medicine to America would deny seniors the treatment they have earned by paying into Medicare for 40 or 50 years. And as seniors often require more frequent and expensive services, they would be most likely to be denied quality care. Jim Martin, Chairman of the 60 Plus Association offers a strong statement on the problematic endorsement here.
Clarence Thomas Speaks! You Can Listen, and Watch! Award winning filmmaker Michael Pack has produced a riveting documentary with the notoriously reticent Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas does speak, extensively, on a plethora of important topics and its beautifully captured in CREATED EQUAL, Clarence Thomas in His Own Words. The film premiers in 18 cities on January 31, including Washington, DC. Find showtimes and theater locations at WWW.JUSTICETHOMASMOVIE.COM.
The Federal Bonding Program — Almost too Good to be True. A win/win for employers and candidates the Federal Bonding Program provides no cost coverage and protection to employers to hire individuals whose backgrounds might otherwise pose barriers, including justice-involved men, women and youth; people in substance abuse recovery; TANF recipients; people with poor credit; economically disadvantaged folks with little or no work history and people dishonorably discharged from the military. These disadvantaged people can make excellent workers and the Federal Bonding Program is a remarkably simple and safe way to give them a chance. If you are seeking employees, do yourself a favor and check it out at www.bonds4jobs.com.
- FUTURE CANDIDATE SCHOOL. Tuesday, January 28 – Thursday, January 30, 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM. $250/meals included. More info at LeadershipInstitute.org.
- INTERNATIONAL COALITION MEETING. Roundtable Policy Discussion. Wednesday, February 5, 12 PM – 1 PM. Americans for Tax Reform Conference Room, 6th Floor, 722 12th, NW. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by 6 PM, 4/4/20. Lunch.
- AMERICA’S EXPIRATION DATE, The Fall of Empires and Superpowers and the Future of the United States. Author Cal Thomas. Thursday, February 6, 12 PM – 1 PM. The Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium, 214 Massachusetts Ave, NE. RSVP at heritage.org/events.
- THE U.S. NEEDS A STRONG NATO. Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison. Thursday, February 6, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM. The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Auditorium, 214 Massachusetts Ave, NE. RSVP at heritage.org/events.
Andresen Blom is a Washington based policy and political analyst and author who has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and Politico.