Washington Beyond the Headlines: Deregulation to Speed Vaccination
By Andy Blom, TES Washington Editor
While we wait and wonder about the presidency, the pandemic, promised vaccines, pending Brexit and Jeffrey Toobin’s p— er never mind,,, anyway while all that remains up in the air, Free Market advocates and organizations will keep on working, doing the critical policy work that makes a difference. Here’s this week’s news:
Open Wide — Dentists Fighting Covid. Oregon is leading the way, and other states are watching. New, intelligent legislation in this otherwise usually restrictive state, will allow Dentists to administer Coronavirus (and presumably other) vaccines. An admirable solution to address the enormous and confusing logistics of mass inoculation. A positive read from Forbes here.
The U.S. Treasury is Working for You. Really. We want to believe our Government has our best interests at heart and is using all that money they collect to make our lives better, especially in this time of Covid. Well, it seems the Treasury Department actually is…in a bunch of ways. Monica Crowley, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, directs us to a webpage that gives a helpful timeline of how Treasury is helping combat the Wuhan Flu.
Pulling the Plug on Big Tech’s Political Power. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides online platforms immunity for removal of users or content they deem “otherwise objectionable”. Unfortunately, some Big Time Big Tech players (think FaceBook, Twitter) who have reached near monopoly status have used Section 230 to censor policy, people and organizations they don’t agree with. Representative Paul Gosar (R- AZ) wants that to stop and has introduced the Stop the Censorship Act of 2020. The legislation continues to provide protection for platforms, in accordance with Justice Department recommendations, but ends the Big Tech censorship abuse and promotes open discourse and greater transparency. An important effort to take on a critical issue.
A “New Direction” — The Conservative View from Europe. They’re not all crazy across the pond. New Direction, founded in 2009 by Margaret Thatcher, offers a network of established academics and research partnerships to create an intellectual hub for conservatism in Europe. Tackling everything from the insanity of the Woke Left to environment and economics with articles and podcasts, they present a sound, sane voice and a new perspective.
EU Has Budget Problems? Hit American Companies. It’s being done in the name of “fairness”, “competition”, and protecting the well known “little guy”. But the bottom line is the European Union has budget shortfalls and they’re planning to fine American Companies to fill their coffers. It starts with American tech companies, but there is little doubt their target list will grow. After all, don’t all businesses do some tech nowadays? This is (a) wrong and (b) serious. Katie McAuliffe of Americans for Tax Reform fills you in on the European Commission’s misuse of their courts as collection points.
Ticking Off Your Local Neighborhood Drug Dealer. End the War on Drugs by…legalizing drugs? Sound crazy? Well Oregon’s trying it, passing a decriminalization bill 59 to 41% allowing personal use of hard drugs. Citizens Opposing Prohibition says this is the way to go. Police, Prosecutors and the Drug Treatment folks disagree. Read Citizens’ arguments and make up your own mind.
Patent Trolls, China and the ITC Threaten U.S. Technology Consumers. And Companies. Patent trolls exist to make charges against deep-pocketed entities (think Apple, Microsoft) claiming theft of intellectual property. Seems simple and fair, right? Except if a patent troll simply goes searching and a claim is successful, it could mean (for example) all touch screen devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) in the U.S. would be illegitimate. Leaving China, who ignores these claims, as the only available supplier. Who makes this ruling? The ITC, the U.S. International Trade Commission. End result? Pay A LOT more for your smartphone and watch the U.S. suffer badly in the world market. Peter Roff gives you all the details on why Trump’s tough-on-China trade policies need to be expanded.
Online or Brick and Mortar, Collecting Data Provides Choice and Savings to Consumers. As the antitrust fervor in governments both here and in the EU heats up, consumers may be the ones to pay. Yes Amazon collects and analyzes your purchase data. So does Walmart, Target, CVS, Lowe’s and everybody else. It’s not just how they know what products and quantities to stock. It informs them on where to invest in lower price “store brands”. Hence better options and lower prices for consumers. Unless the Government puts it big foot in and stops it. Antitrust action can be good, but not always. Americans for Tax Reform asks you to consider this as you follow the cries to break up Big Tech.
Making De-regulation Permanent fights the Pandemic and Puts People to Work. One of the signature achievements of the Trump Administration has been its aggressive and extensive elimination of Government regulations. Now, with a potential new Administration coming in, Citizens Against Government Waste argues that it’s time to make those de-regulations permanent. Of particular focus are the regulations eliminated to help businesses and individuals during the pandemic, and removing occupational licensing barriers to help people get back to work. Find out why this could be so important.
Here’s a Shocker: Paying people to Stay Home Keeps People Out of Work. Okay, anybody but an idiot (here’s looking at you, Ms. Pelosi) ought to be able to figure this one out. If you give people more in unemployment benefits then they make working, they’ll stay home. But if you doubt that, a study from the New York Federal Reserve confirms it. And yet Democrats still want extra unemployment in pandemic still bills. Tom Hebert gives you the unsurprising nuts and bolts from Americans for Tax Reform.
Radical Idea of the Week: Don’t Let Government Require Prescriptions for Medication. Wow. Hold on and think for minute before reacting. Is it safe to just go get any medicine you want (or need) without a doctor’s prescription? The Cato Institute thinks so and they make a strong case that it could actually be safer, and less expensive. Read about this revolutionary idea and see what you think. Or, just watch the video. And finally, if you doubt Government interference raises cost, look at this chart.
Proposed Bank “Fairness Doctrine” is Unfair and UnAmerican. File this under “your ox will be gored next”. The Office of the Controller of the Currency has proposed a “Fairness Doctrine” for banks…prohibiting banks from discriminating based on political viewpoints. The problem? Well, sure conservatives might feel victimized by “woke” banks not wanting to do business with them. But under a different scenario that could also mean forcing conservative banks to lend money to abortion clinics, gun control organizations or socialist web sites. Oh, and there’s that nagging First Amendment problem. CEI Senior Fellow John Berlau warns us not to rush into a mistake.
Ho Ho Ho…California’s AB5 is Putting the Brakes on Santa. Was there ever a more Independent Contractor than Santa Claus? Well, California’s new AB5 law doesn’t just hurt Uber and Lyft drivers. It puts a halt to old Saint Nick. Watch the Independent Women’s Forum’s entertaining, informative and aggravating video to see the consequences of bad legislation.
Marching Backwards in South Africa. South Africa is acting to undo decades of progress by rolling back property rights — both real property and intellectual property — and allowing Government to expropriate property without paying just compensation. It’s a terrible step into the past and Jacques Jonker and Martin van Staden of the Free Market Foundation, South Africa have compiled a thorough study on the potential impact.
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.