CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY

One of the most insidious ways politicians expand government is by creating new programs to “solve” problems created by politicians. For example, government interference in health care increased health care costs, making it difficult or even impossible for many to obtain affordable, quality care. The effects of these prior interventions were used to justify Obamacare. Now, the failures of Obamacare are being used to justify further government intervention in health care. This does not just include the renewed push for socialized medicine. It also includes supporting new laws mandating price transparency. The lack of transparency in health care pricing is a direct result of government policies encouraging overreliance on third-party payers. This phenomenon is also observed in foreign policy. American military interventions result in blowback that is used to justify more military intervention. The result is an ever-expanding warfare state and curtailments on our liberty in the name of security. Another example of this is related to the reaction to President Trump’s tariffs. Many of America’s leading trading partners have imposed “retaliatory” tariffs on US goods. Many of these tariffs target agriculture exports. These tariffs could be devastating for American farmers, since exports compose as much as 20 percent of the average farmer’s [...]
Mon, Aug 20, 2018
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY
One thing that always amazes me is how protective some normally free-market Congressmen are of the prescription drug industry. Any legislation that reduces drug prices through promoting free market principles in the drug industry – such as those facilitating free trade, or reducing big companies’ ability to game the system (like the CREATES Act) – have been met with opposition from members of Congress who claim that the increased costs to Big Pharma hurt their ability to develop new drugs. Of course, the easy way to address concerns about the cost of development and the price of prescription drugs is to reduce regulations and make it easier to bring new drugs to market, but until the necessary sweeping reforms to the FDA are made, preserving what free market competition there is in the pharmaceutical market is essential. Sadly, there are still lawmakers who promote government intervention in the marketplace to protect pharmaceutical companies’ profits. Sometimes, these Representatives claim their legislation is anti-Big Pharma but will have consequences that benefit pharmaceutical special interests. Take Congressman Buddy Carter (GA-01) for example, who has recently been targeting Pharmacy Benefit Mangers (PBMs) as the cause of higher drug prices. PBMs use the power of competition and free-market [...]
Sat, Aug 18, 2018
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY
Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul recently penned an op-ed for the Daily Caller on the STATES Act (S. 3032), legislation prohibiting the enforcement of federal laws outlawing marijuana in states that have legalized marijuana. You can read Dr. Paul’s op-ed here and below: Despite the partisan bickering and divisiveness that dominates the headlines, progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), conservatives like Sen. Corey Gardner (R-Co.), libertarians like my son Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.) and even President Donald Trump are still able to find common ground in the principles of limited, constitutional government and individual rights. For example, Rand has joined Sen. Gardner in supporting Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Trusting States Act (S. 3032), known as the STATES Act. The STATES Act codifies a policy endorsed by President Trump in his campaign — one that he recently reiterated: The federal government should not enforce federal laws criminalizing marijuana in the 30 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have legalized recreational or medicinal marijuana. The STATES Act does not repeal federal marijuana laws; it simply protects state laws legalizing marijuana use from being usurped by federal law. The STATES Act thus ensures that citizens and business do not face federal prosecutions [...]
Wed, Aug 15, 2018
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY
The taxpayers, silly! The Senate comes back from its truncated August recess tomorrow to consider two judicial nominations this week. That’s right . . . two nominations. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to shorten the August recess doesn’t merely mean that Senators and staffers have to change or cancel vacation plans -- it also means Capitol Hill police must operate at full force, keep every entrance to every Senate Office building open, and all Senate cafeterias must remain open and fully staffed. Usually in August, only the main cafeterias in the House and Senate are open and even then it’s with limited staff and limited offerings. The Capitol Hill police also close all but the most used entrances. The lack of a recess thus increases spending on police, food, and other services in the Senate. The lack of August recess also forces the Architect of the Capitol to delay reconstruction projects, thus increasing the time and cost of those projects. This is a further increase in costs to the taxpayer. Read more about the costs of the Senate not going on vacation here. [...]
Tue, Aug 14, 2018
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY
Are President Trump’s senior cabinet members working against him? It’s hard not to conclude that many of the more hawkish neocons that Trump has (mistakenly, in my view) appointed to top jobs are actively working to undermine the president’s stated agenda. Especially when it seems Trump is trying to seek dialogue with countries the neocons see as adversaries needing to be regime-changed. Remember just as President Trump was organizing an historic summit meeting with Kim Jong-Un, his National Security Advisor, John Bolton, nearly blew the whole thing up by making repeated references to the “Libya model” and how it should be applied to North Korea. As if Kim would jump at the chance to be bombed, overthrown, and murdered at the hands of a US-backed mob! It seems that Trump’s appointees are again working at cross-purposes to him. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that he was invoking a 1991 US law against the use of chemical weapons to announce yet another round of sanctions on Russia over what he claims is Putin’s involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the UK. The alleged poisoning took place in March and only now did the State [...]
Tue, Aug 14, 2018
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY
One of the major problems with healthcare policy (as well as policy in general) is that too many representatives support giving government more power to solve government-created problems. For example, Representative Buddy Carter (GA-01). Rep. Carter has recently been attacking Pharmacy Benefit Mangers (PBM). PBMs negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and are often successful in lowering prices for their clients — which can include Medicare prescription drug plans. PBMs are far from perfect — but the way to address their shortcomings is to take further steps to create a free-market in pharmaceuticals, not to impose new regulations on PBMs. At a time when Medicare is forced to draw from its reserve funds to cover current benefits, and Medicare trustees are predicting that the Medicare trust fund will be bankrupt by 2026, it is odd — to say the least — that a self-proclaimed fiscal conservative like Rep. Carter would attack a proven way of saving money. Hopefully, Rep. Carter and others in Congress can be persuaded by their constituents to stop problems caused by government intervention in the health care market with more interventions that will create new problems. Instead of imposing more regulations on PBMs, Rep. Carter should focus on expanding [...]
Fri, Aug 10, 2018
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY
It is a truism that the negative effect of government intervention is inevitably more government intervention. Take the minimum wage as an example. Minimum wages are set to attempt to combat low wage jobs, but what really happens is that employers end up hiring fewer workers and decrease many from full-time to part-time. This contributes heavily to unemployment. But what do local governments do in response? Raise minimum wages, thus continuing the cycle. The latest example of this relentless cycle is President Trump’s trade wars with major trading partners—including the European Union and China. In response to the President’s tariffs on imports, many countries are raising tariffs targeting American agricultural exports. This is hurting America’s farmers, who rely on exports for 20% of their income on average. The White House’s response? President Trump announced a $12 billion-dollar bailout program to mitigate the heavy blow being dealt to farmers in this trade war. The program consists of direct payments to farmers, government buying and distribution of surplus crops to food banks and other nutrition programs (a fine thing, but not the role of the government and certainly not something that should be done to compensate for lost revenue from bad government policy), and [...]
Thu, Aug 09, 2018
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY
The House continues its five-week long August recess, while the Senate is taking a one-week break, so this week’s blog will just look at some big events from last week. Perhaps the most significant vote was one that didn’t happen. Reacting to the hysteria over the Defense Department’s decision to make public the blueprint to download a 3-D gun, Florida Senator Bill Nelson attempted to gain unanimous consent to move legislation preventing the blueprints for downloading a 3-D gun from ever being published—violating both the First and Second Amendments. Thankfully, Utah Senator Mike Lee objected and stopped this bill from reaching the floor. It will be interesting to see what happens next, especially since President Trump tweeted support for banning these guns and the National Rifle Association has also come out in support of the ban—and was behind the law banning possession of guns that can evade metal detectors. For a good analysis of this issue, see this article by leading Second Amendment scholar John Lott. Last week, the Senate passed the conference report on the Fiscal Year 2019 Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 87-10. Here are the ten senators who voted No: Dick Durbin (D-IL) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) Kamala Harris (D-CA) Mike Lee (R-UT) Edward Markey [...]
Wed, Aug 08, 2018
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY
One of the myths pedaled by opponents of free trade is that it kills American jobs. In truth, free trade creates new economic opportunities and jobs—while government policies restricting the free flow of goods and services across borders kill jobs in industries dependent on trade. Oftentimes, the industries that claim they need government protections to save jobs really need relief from taxes and regulations that make it difficult for them to compete in the global marketplace. And sometimes those industries (and their lobbyists) are not really suffering at all. Case in point is the Big Three U.S. Airlines recent opposition to Open Skies agreements. Open Skies reduced government barriers on foreign travel to the U.S., benefiting business travelers and tourists alike (you can read my past blog post about it here). However, the Big Three U.S. airlines have been campaigning against Open Skies agreements, claiming they hurt American jobs. If that were true, one would expect to see job losses among domestic industries. But companies are hiring more and more people every day. For example, Delta recently announced it will be creating 8,000 new jobs. This suggests that Open Skies agreements aren’t hurting U.S. jobs at all, and that U.S. airlines will, in fact, [...]
Tue, Aug 07, 2018
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY
You can always count on the neocons in Congress to ignore reality, ignore evidence, and ignore common sense in their endless drive to get us involved in another war. Last week, for example, Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-NC), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and others joined up to introduce what Senator Graham called “the sanctions bill from hell,” aimed at applying “crushing” sanctions on Russia. Senator Graham bragged that the bill would include “everything but the kitchen sink” in its attempt to ratchet up tensions with Russia. Sen Cory Gardner (R-CO) bragged that the new sanctions bill “includes my language requiring the State Department to determine whether Russia merits the designation of a State Sponsor of Terror.” Does he even know what the word “terrorism” means? Sen Ben Cardin (D-MD) warns that the bill must be passed to strengthen our resolve against “Vladimir Putin’s pattern of corroding democratic institutions and values around the world, a direct and growing threat to US national security.” What has Russia done that warrants “kitchen sink” sanctions that will “crush” the country and possibly designate it as a sponsor of terrorism? Sen. Menendez tells us: “The Kremlin continues to attack our democracy, support a war criminal in Syria, and violate [...]
Mon, Aug 06, 2018
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY

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