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  • 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

    Image result for new york mta pay
    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

    Image result for net neutrality
    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

    Image result for ny state legislature
    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

    Image result for post office mail delivery
    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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  • Charging Patients More Upfront Leads to More Affordable Healthcare

    Ross Marchand on May 28, 2019

    Image result for doctor with patient
    This article originally appeared in the Catalyst on May 15, 2019.

    To scholars studying the ins-and-outs of the U.S. healthcare system, the phrase “bending the cost curve” (lowering the cost growth of healthcare services) has become a mantra spread from one policy lunch to another. To millions of real Americans dealing with exorbitant medical bills, though, lowering medical costs is the single most important thing that policymakers can do to ease anxiety and improve quality of life. A recently-released study suggests that costs can in fact be lowered, but counterintuitively through higher-deductible healthcare plans. In other words, more skin in the game means lower costs for consumers and eventually taxpayers via lower federal health program costs. » Read More
  • Bureaucrats Declare War on Bandages and (air) Bags

    Ross Marchand on May 24, 2019

    Bureaucrats Declare War on Bandages and (air) Bags Source: Emily Whiting/Dartmouth College via AP

    This article originally appeared on on May 14, 2019. 

    Almost always, key ingredients behind products we use on a daily basis have scary-sounding names. Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (“D4”), decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (“D5”), and dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane(“D6”) silicones, for instance, are essential in a wide range of products such as bandages, protective coating on aircrafts, and airbags.  Yet, to some officials in the European Union (EU), these silicones pose an unacceptable risk to the environment. Despite science-based, sober-minded assessments in other countries vindicating silicones, European regulators and the UN may soon make a plethora of products costlier and harder to obtain. Instead of doubling down on heavy-handed rules, bureaucrats should embrace a rigorous scientific evaluation process for the chemicals in question. 

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  • UN Biodiversity Report Confirms the Sky Is Not Falling

    Ross Marchand on May 23, 2019

    Image result for plants
    This article was originally posted to the Catalyst on May 13, 2019.

    There’s no better way to start a week than perusing through the pages of a massive, alarmist report that predicts the demise of everything held dear. But, the United Nations’ (UN) gargantuan new report on biodiversity around the globe (see summary here) is actually a hidden reality check. The authors warn that nearly 10 percent of all terrestrial species are facing habitat loss, and as a result, around 1 million species face extinction in the coming decade.
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  • How the US government is about to drive up the price of video games

    Ross Marchand on May 20, 2019

    Image result for fortnite
    This article was originally published on CapX on May 16, 2019. 

    Many nostalgia-plagued millennials fondly reminiscence about the 1990s, when movie tickets were less than $5 and a Sports Illustrated issue cost just a couple of bucks. But one popular pastime has actually gotten cheaper over the years: video games. But if US government bureaucrats get their way, video games may not stay cheap for long. Lawmakers and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are keen on “investigating” in-game purchases that result in a better gaming experience for all users. To ensure lower prices and continued high-quality gaming, the government should leave the role of evil villain to the likes of Bowser—and not get involved.

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  • Beleaguered Postal Service Needs to Say No to ‘Green’ Vehicles

    Ross Marchand on May 17, 2019

    Image result for postal truck
    This article was originally published on on May 10, 2019.

    Just when everyone thought that the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) finances couldn’t get any worse….they did. On May 10, the USPS announced second quarter FY 2019 losses of $2.1 billion, bringing total postal net losses to more than $70 billion since 2007. But be prepared to suspend disbelief even further, it may soon get far worse.  » Read More
  • A Conservation Program That Has Preserved 30 Million Acres of Habitat Is Being Threatened

    Ross Marchand on May 16, 2019

    Image result for forest with people
    This article originally appeared on on May 9, 2019.

    It’s expensive to maintain fragile ecosystems. States are determined to take charge of preservation but have the misguided idea of bilking big companies (aka consumers) to pay for conservation via endless lawsuits. Fortunately, there’s a better way to safeguard Mother Nature at a lower cost and with less disruption to consumers and taxpayers. Under the existing tax code, landowners can donate undeveloped land to a conservation group and use the donation to reap tax benefits. This is more than theory: nearly 30 million acres of habitat have been preserved through this process. » Read More
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