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  • Contra Foreign Travel Fearmongering, It’s Never Been Safer to Go Abroad

    Ross Marchand on July 3, 2019

    Image result for beach palm free
    This article originally appeared in the Catalyst on June 26, 2019. 

    As the summer of 2019 gets underway, more Americans than ever are packing their bags and exploring the world. According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the number of Americans traveling outside the country has more than doubled over the past decade, from around 40 million U.S. citizen departures in 2008 to more than 90 million departures in 2018. But some lawmakers and bureaucrats are trying to put the brakes on Americans’ travel plans ⁠— particularly to the Dominican Republic — due to scary reports and speculation about a string of U.S. tourist deaths inside that country. Instead of using travel advisories and fearmongering to keep Americans at home this summer, policymakers should celebrate an ever-safer travel industry that creates jobs and tax revenue for millions in the U.S. and overseas. » Read More
  • Bernie’s 'Free' College Plan Indicates We All Need College — We Don’t

    Ross Marchand on July 2, 2019

    Image result for bernie sanders
    This article was originally published on on June 27, 2019. 

    “Spoiled teenagers only like Bernie because of his promising free [fill in the blank].” You’ve probably heard it from your dad, uncle, grandfather — or all three. Indeed, promising free stuff is Sen. Bernie Sanders’ forte. On June 24, he gave the youth yet another reason to support his candidacy by announcing a plan to erase America’s $1.6 trillion in student debt and make most colleges across the country free. Except that…the youth just aren’t going to college like they used to, despite higher incomes and lower tuition (net of student aid) than a decade ago. Instead of wasting away in lecture halls during their formative years, millions of college-aged Americans are increasingly opting to forge their own paths forward. For that, Bernie wants to punish them. » Read More
  • We Need to Reduce our Sea of Red Ink Before We Return to the Sea of Tranquility

    Ross Marchand on July 1, 2019

    Image result for moon landing
    This article originally appeared in the Ripon Society in June 2019.

    As the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing approaches, politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, DC have allowed lunar lunacy to trump sober-minded space policy. Calls by the Trump Administration and members of Congress for another manned lunar expedition have left the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) struggling to come up with a workable plan. And they have left taxpayers wondering how big the blank check will be for the next moon landing.  The moon may be shrinking, but the price tag to return certainly won’t be.

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  • IGO Watch Leads Coalition Urging Finance Ministers to Oppose Global Digital Taxation

    David Williams on June 27, 2019

    Image result for g20
    . – Today, International Governmental Organization (IGO) Watch, an international watchdog monitoring the activities of international governmental organizations, and 39 organizations from 19 countries, sent a letter to Finance Ministers across the G20 urging the officials to oppose any attempts to weaponize global conversations about digital commerce to tax tech companies. » Read More
  • For Continued Drug Innovation, Don’t Nix Patent Protection

    Ross Marchand on June 26, 2019

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    Every year, millions of patients live longer and better lives due to the release of thousands of game-changing and life-saving medications. While it’s easy to take these products for granted, novel drugs are the fruit of a robust system of intellectual property (IP) protections established and enforced by the federal government. But, some lawmakers are trying to stymie these crucial IP protections, threatening to throttle the pipeline of promising new medications. In particular, Sen. Lindsay Graham’s (R-SC) proposed “No Combination Drug Patents Act” would declare a wide array of key drug patents “obvious” and give the green light for copycats to run roughshod on critical discoveries. Instead of undermining the patent protections undergirding key drugs, Congress should strengthen IP and ensure that patients continue to benefit from life-saving products. » Read More
  • Surprise billing solo sounds more like a government healthcare duet

    Ross Marchand on June 25, 2019

    Image result for emergency room
    This article was originally published in the Washington Examiner on June 20, 2019. 

    In the cacophony of Congress’ “greatest” healthcare hits, the issue of “surprise billing” has been topping the charts for weeks now. The partisan divide on healthcare hardly seems relevant anymore, as Republican-led proposals to set physician pay and micromanage the medical system are increasingly echoing the single-payer chorus of the presidential hopefuls on the crowded Democratic campaign trail. The same sorts of failed ideas trumpeted in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign literature were presented unironically by Republicans during the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing last week, as well as by an encore of witnesses advocating for fatally flawed surprise billing legislation as the Senate's health committee considered an array of proposals this week. » Read More
  • What Are San Francisco Officials Smoking?

    Ross Marchand on June 24, 2019

    Image result for vaping street
    This article originally appeared on on June 21, 2019. 

    Looking at all the available evidence, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) war on vaping is a misguided assault on the millions of smokers trying to find a less-harmful alternative to cigarettes. But to radical San Francisco city officials, the agency doesn’t go far enough in keeping consumers “safe” from reduced-risk products. Radical in San Francisco in the 1960s and 1970s meant embracing the hippy culture and individualism, but now, San Francisco officials are embracing big government and fake science. » Read More
  • Putting the Brakes on CAFE Standards will Drive Down Car Costs

    Ross Marchand on June 20, 2019

    car dealership
    This article was originally published in Townhall on June 18, 2019. 

    Buying a new car is almost always a daunting task, with salespeople trying to sell that extra warranty or undercarriage rustproofing. And, to add insult to the process of buying a new car, federal bureaucrats regularly tack on rules that jack up prices for consumers. In fact, average prices for new cars are nearing $40,000. But, that staggering high amount may soon fall due to the Trump administration’s ambitious drive to roll back onerous rules. Keeping standards from dramatically escalating prices would save Americans billions of dollars at the auto dealership. 

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  • Make Sure Rules and Regulations Pass the Smell Test

    Ross Marchand on June 19, 2019

    This article was originally published in Catalyst on June 11, 2019. 

    It was the shot heard around the world… at least, the world of regulatory policy nerds. As the result of a stalemate between Idaho’s House and Senate, the legislature declined to re-authorize Idaho’s regulatory code for fiscal year 2020. As a result, the entire regulatory code for the state will be axed. Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Wayne Hoffman explains, “Gov. Brad Little’s administration will need to reinstate each regulation, one program at a time, hopefully leaving a lot on the cutting room floor.” Idaho’s bold, and maybe accidental, experiment with regulatory reform should inspire other states to not only follow the Gem State’s example, but also think critically about how regulations are proposed and considered. » Read More
  • Anti-Patent Drug Law Not What the Doctor Ordered

    Ross Marchand on June 18, 2019

    This article was originally published in RealClearPolicy on June 14, 2019. 

    Millions of American patients benefit each year from thousands of life-saving drugs produced by drug manufacturers armed with powerful intellectual property (IP) protections for their products. If some in Congress had their way, however, basic patent protection could be labeled as “anti-competitive” activity, causing cutting-edge pharmaceutical innovation to go the way of the dodo. Sens. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are on a mission to stop what they see as current-day “robber barons” who “crushed competition and stifled access to cheaper generic drugs” over the past few decades. Instead of destroying the IP protections undergirding countless game-changing medicines, lawmakers should work with producers to find ways to bring down costs and improve quality.

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  • Keep the 'Green New Deal' out of City Hall

    Ross Marchand on June 17, 2019

    solar panels
    This article was originally published in the Washington Examiner on June 10, 2019. 

    A full 10 years after the Great Recession, states are finally seeing their balance sheets return back to normal. But the storm clouds are gathering again as dozens of cities announce expensive, impractical “zero carbon” plans that would drain city coffers and force state taxpayers to foot the bill for a few residents’ misguided “green” preferences. Instead of funding green boondoggles, cities, and states should keep revenues growing by letting entrepreneurs innovate and provide useful services to residents.

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  • Will MTA’s New Tap-to-Pay System Keep Transit Problems at Bay?

    Ross Marchand on June 14, 2019

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    This article was originally published in the Observer on June 5, 2019. 

    Credit cards and “wallet apps” can make our lives a whole lot easier, and they’re about to have an even larger reach. Recently, New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) announced that it would begin piloting “tap-to-pay” systems at 16 subway stations along the 4, 5 and 6 lines in Manhattan and Brooklyn—and at all Staten Island buses. This promising new technology will surely be a boon to taxpayers and consumers, and it’s a step in the right direction. But if the government really wants to increase ridership, it needs to eliminate the issues that make the transit system wasteful in the first place. » Read More
  • Price Controls Aren't the Answer on Pharmaceuticals

    Ross Marchand on June 13, 2019

    Image result for donald trump
    This article was originally published on on June 12, 2019. 

    Medicine has come a long way in 5,000 years of recorded history, but progress has hardly been even and neat. Health care and the public policy that shapes it are often more of a zig-zag toward progress than a straightly paved road. Case in point: The Trump administration has simultaneously proposed commendable rebate reform and disastrous price controls for pharmaceuticals. By rejecting price fixing and pursuing a consistently free-market approach, President Trump can ensure that America leads the way in innovative, life-saving therapies. 

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  • TPAF Investigation Finds Free, Open Internet After Title II Repeal

    Johnny Kampis on June 11, 2019

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    This article originally appeared on Inside Sources on June 10, 2019.

    Detractors of the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to repeal Title II regulations on internet service providers — including dissenting Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel — claimed the move would be the downfall of a free and open internet. But an investigation by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation found that throttling and blocking internet access did not occur. Among the hundreds of millions of internet sessions in the United States, there have been only a few hundred complaints about throttling or blocking made to the FCC since the repeal went into effect on June 11, 2018. And, analysis of the complaints shows that practically all of them can be explained as standard network issues rather than malicious intent on the part of ISPs. TPAF submitted a Freedom of Information Act request this spring, requesting all complaints made to the FCC about throttling and blocking since last June 11 (the day Title II was officially removed). The FCC found 471 complaints responsive to the request.

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  • TPA Urges NY State Legislature to Reject S428 & A47

    Tim Andrews on June 10, 2019

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    TPA sent a letter to the New York State Legislature urging elected officials to reject S428 & A47 which would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette products in the state. All available evidence confirms that adults are using flavored products to quit conventional tobacco products and that flavors are an important part of this trend, while not affecting youth uptake. We believe the State of New York should take an approach consistent with the science to allow for innovations that could help wean smokers off conventional products.  » Read More
  • Postal-Pricing Problems Cost Consumers Dearly

    Ross Marchand on June 7, 2019

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    This article originally appeared in Morning Consult on June 5, 2019.

    There is a severe problem with leadership at the U.S. Postal Service as the agency’s fiscal cracks grow wider by the day. In the second quarter of 2019, the USPS reported net losses of $2.1 billion and declining revenues nearly across the board. The one bright spot is shipping and packaging volume (up .3 percent compared to the same quarter last year), but “competitive products” revenue from items such as packages don’t nearly make up for the gargantuan drop in regular mail volume. This “bright spot” may actually exacerbate USPS’ problems unless they lift the veil of secrecy of pricing and make the rates more realistic.  » Read More
  • In the Land Down Under, Pro-Liberty Activists Pave the Way Forward

    Ross Marchand on June 6, 2019

    In the Land Down Under, Pro-Liberty Activists Pave the Way Forward
    Source: AP Photo/Michel Spingler

    This article was originally published on on May 30, 2019.

    There are many reasons to take the nearly-24 hour trip to Australia, including seeing kangaroos, going surfing, and/or exploring the Outback (the region, not the restaurant). My experience was undoubtedly a bit out of the norm, as I traveled to the land “Down Under” on May 17 to attend the 17th World Taxpayers' Conference(combined with the 7th Annual Friedman Conference) in Sydney. Through attending this perfectly-executed conference, I got a rare opportunity to see liberty from a global perspective and ask participants from around the world about the struggles and challenges they face at home. 

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  • No, Spectrum for 5G will Not Worsen Weather Forecasts

    Ross Marchand on June 4, 2019

    Image result for weather forecast tv
    As America darts from one wireless generation to the next, consumers and the economy have benefited from ever-increasing connection speeds and capabilities. Launched in 2007, the original iPhone was built for a 2G network that was best suited for calls and simple data functions like texting. Back then, playing games like Angry Birds was just a dream. Fast forward to today, and smartphone manufacturers are readying their new devices to be compatible with 5G, the latest and greatest wireless generation that will be at least ten times fasterthan 4G and empower consumers to access virtual-enabled health care, education and job-training technologies. But this won’t work without increased spectrum made available for 5G.  Efforts by some to limit bandwidth used for wireless - under false pretenses - would make millions of consumers worse off. And, even worse, some are using scare tactics to stop the deployment of 5G. » Read More
  • Socialized Medicine Not What the Doctor Ordered

    Ross Marchand on June 3, 2019

    Like most half-baked, big government ideas, “Medicare for All” as proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sounds great on the surface. But as the citizens of countries with socialized medicine have come to learn, “free” medicine is never actually free. Patients regularly have to wait for many months to get life-saving treatments, while drugs to curb dangerous conditions such as high cholesterol are increasingly difficult to come by across Europe. That’s why rich nationals of these beleaguered countries flock to the US regularly to get treatment, even as the poor and working-class are condemned to substandard treatment. » Read More
  • Report says U.S. now among world leaders in 5G readiness

    Johnny Kampis on May 29, 2019

    FILE - 5G broadband wireless
    James Mattil |
    This article was originally published in Center Square on May 25, 2019.

    Deregulation and wireless spectrum allocation is paying off in the United States. A recent report shows the country is now tied for first in the world for 5G wireless readiness. More than 100 times faster than 4G, 5G has the potential to help close the digital divide without taxpayer money, according to the report. The examination by wireless industry group CTIA shows that after lagging behind China and South Korea in previous years, the U.S. has pulled into a tie with China as global leader. CTIA says the keys to this development are wireless deregulation and spectrum auctions.

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