Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, The Sugar Program Is Bad for You

This Valentine’s Day, millions of Americans will buy fewer chocolates and sweets than they would like. The culprit behind buying fewer sugar-loaded sweets may seem to be that they believe their significant other could stand to lose a few. But, the real reason behind small Russell Stover boxes is out-of-control sugar prices, driven by the nonsensical, outdated U.S. sugar program. Thanks to Stalin-esque quotas and price controls, confectioners are leaving America, cutting back jobs, and jacking up prices on sweets. Congress should show sweet-toothed Americans some love this Valentine’s Day and unshackle sugar markets by eliminating the U.S. sugar program.

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Rural Residents Stand to Lose the Most from ‘Medicare for All’

With just a few days left to go until the Iowa caucuses, prominent presidential candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are duking it out for the support of Iowa voters. By now, most of the candidates have crisscrossed the state, visiting everywhere from the Iowa State Fair to miscellaneous local businesses and homes. But there are some places where the candidates may be less keen to go: rural hospitals struggling to keep their doors open. Healthcare facilities across the state are struggling mightily to stay above water. But, if leading Democratic candidates get their way, hundreds more may close for good. Candidates may not have time to swing by the failing hospitals of Iowa, but they should at least answer for their destructive healthcare policy proposals.

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Avant-garde pension reforms can turn around trillion-dollar deficits

It’s all-too-tempting to dismiss the angry protesters converging on the streets of Paris and wreaking havoc on the metro as “France being France.” The issue animating the Fourth Estate — pension system problems — is also a growing issue across the Atlantic. State, local and multi-employer pension systems across America are underfunded by more than $1 trillion, resulting in officials having to make tough choices and contemplate costly bailouts. Unless America can get a grip on retirement funding obligations, it’ll be “vive la revolution” from here on out.

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Phony ’emotional support’ animals should give regulators paws

I love my three-legged cat — and believe me, emotional support goes both ways especially during both of our feeding times. But the Department of Transportation has it right in proposing to allow airlines to bar passengers from bringing their self-described “support animals” on-board flights. On Jan. 22, DOT proposed narrowing regulations to require only that airlines allow specially trained dogs on planes. This planned change has already drawn plenty of ire. A vocal minority of passengers will inevitably complain that they’re being targeted by the government. But these critics are all bark and no bite. Science simply does not back up their claims about support animals and passenger mental health. Flyers deserve a relaxing flight experience unlittered by howls and meows and accompanying costs imposed by federal mandate.

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Healthcare Sharing Ministries Are a Godsend to More than a Million Patients
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Healthcare Sharing Ministries Are a Godsend to More than a Million Patients

This may come as a surprise to many bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., but not all Americans want the same exact healthcare plan. In the wake of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), a growing tide of (mainly religious) Americans have turned to Healthcare Sharing Ministries (HCSM) as a form of quasi-insurance to protect them against ailments and infirmities. But these institutions are incurring the wrath of state officials across the country who eye any alternative to government-ordained medical “insurance” with suspicion. Policymakers should empower patients to make choices for themselves and their families as they see fit, not restrict their medical freedoms.

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Postal Business Plan: The Good, Lame, and Up in Flames
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Postal Business Plan: The Good, Lame, and Up in Flames

Well, it was certainly a late delivery, but the five-year United States Postal Service (USPS) business plan is finally here. Weighing in at 43 pages, it’s less ambitious than the ten-year plan that Postmaster General Megan Brennan promised to release to the American people...last summer. But reform suggestions are welcome, as the USPS hemorrhages red ink and teeters on the brink of insolvency and a potential, costly taxpayer bailout. In its business plan, the USPS discusses promising technological investments that could lead to greater digital engagement with consumers and improve workplace efficiency. The agency, however, fails to provide a satisfactory narrative about its dysfunctional pricing process. But the real dumpster (or mail truck) fire is the USPS’ refusal to think outside the box in order to achieve real cost-savings. Without further ado, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) presents “the Good, Lame, and Up in Flames.”

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California’s surprise billing “fix” compromises care for millions of patients
California is projected to need another 500,000 healthcare workers by 2024, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

California’s surprise billing “fix” compromises care for millions of patients

In the People’s Republic of California, delivering and receiving healthcare is akin to paying a visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It didn’t have to be this way; there are more than 50,000 talented doctors statewide eager to give consumers quality healthcare at a competitive prices. But, like most parts of the Golden State’s economy, a blizzard of bureaucracy has buried the sector in an avalanche of regulatory costs.

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Bloomberg Just Another Also-Ran with Fat Wallet and Bad Ideas
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Bloomberg Just Another Also-Ran with Fat Wallet and Bad Ideas

Here we go again: another billionaire iconoclast kickstarts a presidential campaign, saturating major markets with advertising. Known for funding campaigns for higher energy costs and costly climate crusades, contestant #293291 (approximately) for the Democratic nomination is former New York mayor and anti-harm reduction crusader Michael Bloomberg. And like the vast majority of mega-rich candidates of elections past, he will almost certainly lose by a landslide. But, if Bloomberg manages to beat the odds and win the Democratic primary, it will not be because of the hundreds of millions of dollars he’s spending on advertisements. Billionaires win elections just as the other candidates do, by convincing voters that the government will work for Americans instead of driving up their cost of living.

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From the Russia Investigation to FBI Mass Surveillance, Government Snooping Is Out of Control
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations, officers take biometric photos of passengers prior to boarding a flight at Houston International Airport on February 12, 2018. Photographer: Donna Burton

From the Russia Investigation to FBI Mass Surveillance, Government Snooping Is Out of Control

The federal government may not be good at much, but it certainly has a knack for spying on its citizens (especially politically-valuable ones). From the blatantly illegal attempts to spy on protesters and Civil Rights activists in the 1960s to modern-day mass surveillance and the botched Russia investigation, government agents snoop on millions of Americans who pose little to no national security risk. But fortunately, some lawmakers have been proactive in limiting Uncle Sam’s reach. Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) recently authored the “Facial Recognition Technology Warrant Act” (S. 2878) which would place strict limits on agents’ use of new technologies that pose perils for countless innocent Americans. Lawmakers may not be able to make bureaucrats into angels, let alone competent at their jobs, but limiting their powers is the next best thing.

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