Remarkable new wonder drugs have caused a new confrontation over pricing wars between manufacturers and health plans, now reaching a fever pitch over hepatitis C treatments from Gilead. Unfortunately, rather than the industry players settling the issue through negotiation, health plans are turning to Congress to step in and arbitrarily limit prices, which could undermine the investment that is critical to developing new cures.
Phil Kerpen | All Articles
Everybody knows computer crashes don’t typically result in permanent destruction of emails, which is probably why a poll from Fox News found that just 12 percent of Americans believe Lois Lerner’s emails were accidentally destroyed. Only 11 percent of independents and just 20 percent of Democrats are buying the accident story. As the Department of Justice keeps playing along with this charade, it’s time for a special prosecutor.
It was one of the biggest applause lines in President Obama’s State of the Union address, drawing cheers from both sides of the aisle. “We’ll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples,” Obama said. “What makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one. And we want to encourage that. We want to help that.”
The fiscal cliff looms and, because it would be the largest tax hike in history, certainly deserves all the attention it’s getting. But a regulatory cliff also looms --- an astonishingly growth-crushing regulatory agenda that could be even more devastating than the fiscal cliff. How devastating? Obama refuses to tell us. And that’s illegal.
Obama’s astonishing takeover of the automobile industry, unlike his health care takeover, occurred without even a vote of Congress. Yesterday, to much fanfare, the administration announced its astonishing ratcheting up of vehicle fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. These regulations --- I call them “ObamaCar” --- were accomplished not through open debate in Congress, but through corrupt backroom deals in which our elected officials had no voice.
There is no more vivid or offensive example of the “you didn’t build that” philosophy on the books than the federal death tax, which supposes that when you die a hefty portion of everything you built up over a lifetime ought to go to government. It’s a vestige of the feudal days when all property was owned by the king.
This week, Senator John McCain will offer an amendment to overturn the ban on the importation of prescription drugs, which has been in place for the past 25 years. The idea has intuitive appeal: American companies do much of the research and development of new drugs, at astonishing costs, then consumers in other countries are able to purchase those drugs at lower prices than we can here. Why should Americans have to pay more for these drugs than people in other countries? The short answer is that we have to unless we want pharmaceutical innovation to grind to a halt.
High school civics students and aficionados of “Schoolhouse Rock!” can be forgiven if they are bewildered by what took place in the U.S. Senate last week. It was Barack “We Can’t Wait” Obama’s new process of turning a bill into a law --- not by duly passing it in both houses of Congress, but by issuing bureaucratic dictates and counting on Senate Democrats to block any effort to stop them.
With the spectacle of Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad being forced to back down on actually offering a budget, it’s clearer than ever that Senate Democrats are pursuing a deliberate strategy of doing nothing, blocking House-passed bills and giving President Obama a free hand to use regulators and bureaucrats to push his agenda forward. The Senate has already failed to stand up to the EPA’s back-door cap-and-trade energy taxes and the FCC’s self-created legally dubious power to regulate the Internet. Next week we’ll find out if there are any Senate Democrats willing to stand up to the NLRB bureaucrats who are imposing the failed card-check legislation in bite-size pieces via bureaucratic decree.
Don’t feel bad if you had never heard of the General Services Administration (GSA) before the recent scandal over its lavish Las Vegas junket and other egregious misuses of taxpayer funds. This obscure, ridiculously out-of-date federal bureaucracy exists only to do a bunch of things that the government has no business doing.
The Senate will vote this week on Senator Jim DeMint's Senate Amendment 1589, which would eliminate all energy tax subsidies. The DeMint Amendment would end the usual games of Republicans subsidizing fossil fuels and Democrats subsidizing renewables. This vote will tell us, clearly, which senators think we as consumers should be in charge of making our own energy decisions and which senators want to make those decisions for us --- at a cost of billions of our tax dollars.
On Tuesday, President Obama met with his so-called Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to discuss its recommendations for the U.S. economy. Despite the panel being stacked with cronies and rent-seekers, its recommendations were mostly sensible. The council recommended aggressively pushing to develop U.S. energy resources, streamlining federal regulations and reforming the corporate tax code to reduce the rate and spur international competitiveness.
Obama’s tightly choreographed media blitz around the historic non-recess appointment of Richard Cordray was designed to disguise a reckless, lawless and unconstitutional action --- a purported “recess appointment” while the Senate is clearly still in session --- into a virtuous, bold move. And to the president’s far-left supporters, surely it will be seen as just that.
Time after time, politicians believe they know best. Taxpayer-funded investments in “green jobs” have been repeatedly exposed as failures, but what F.A. Hayek called “the fatal conceit” --- the idea that central economic planners have the knowledge and wisdom to make decisions for us --- keeps a firm grip on Washington. Politicians seem intent on picking winners and losers, substituting their own political whim for legitimate consumer preferences, but fail to recognize the disastrous consequences.
The U.S. Constitution is crystal clear on where legislative power resides. In fact, it’s the very first thing after the preamble. Article I, Section 1 says: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” But in the Age of Obama, it’s a different story. The legislative powers are being exercised by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. Now the Senate will be put to the test of whether each senator is OK with that state of affairs, or whether they actually want to take responsibility for writing the laws. That’s the fundamental question at stake as the Senate considers the McConnell Amendment to stop the EPA’s global warming power grab.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives today voted overwhelmingly -- 246 to 104 -- for New Hampshire to become the first state to repeal an up-and-running global warming cap-and-trade energy tax system. The state senate is expected to follow suit with a similarly veto-proof repeal. The move has major implications both in the region and nationally.
It is fitting that Illinois is the destination of choice for Democratic legislators desperate to flee their states to prevent newly elected majorities from delivering on the budget reforms they campaigned on. Perhaps the fleeing legislators from Wisconsin and Indiana watched the budget trickery in Illinois last month and knew it was a safe place for big tax-and-spenders.
Nearly every major media outlet is reporting that if the president's fiscal commission gets agreement among 14 of its 18 members, it will force a vote in Congress. They are wrong.
Paul Krugman’s astonishingly incorrect column about Social Security’s finances is based on the premise that anticipated deficits in the Social Security program may never materialize. A couple of years ago, he could have made that claim with a very slight chance of being correct. This year, facts have already overtaken his weak argument: the CBO reported earlier this year that Social Security is already spending more in benefits than it collects in taxes, which the program’s own trustees confirmed last week.