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Freedom Works
Monday June 26, 2017 @ 03:11:48 AM mt

When Considering Welfare Reform Consider a Different Model



The federal welfare apparatus has bloomed into disastrous menagerie of nearly one hundred programs. Many in Congress are seeking a solution to the welfare leviathans imminent collapse.

Currently, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) has introduced legislation that will consolidate the 92 welfare programs in an attempt to minimize waste and redundancy. Davidson isnt alone in his calls for welfare reform. Other members of the House Freedom Caucus are publicly demanding that welfare reform be tied into the promised Trump tax reform package.

Stacked up against other industrialized countries, the U.S. clearly gets the worst bang for its buck. In part, the reason for the failings comes from flawed designs for the American safety net. Governments on both sides of the Atlantic seem to be settled on the model of government intervention supporting those in need, but several Pacific Rim countries offer a different model based on social responsibility.

The tiny nation of Singapore has dazzled economists and pundits since it gained its independence from Great Britain. By embracing free market principles, Singapore has raised its per-capita income from $500 to over $52,000 in the short time it has been free of colonial shackles.

Even more exciting is the attitude the government takes on social welfare programming. Since its inception, the state has taken a hard stance on hand outs. The governments longtime approach has been underpinned by the idea that universal benefits are wasteful and inequitable and has chosen to base their safety net on social pressures.

Singapores philosophy on welfare follows three basic principles : each generation should pay its own way, each family should pay its own way, and each individual should pay its own way. These arent just guidelines. The legislators codified the importance of family reliance by enabling seniors to file litigation against their children if they refuse to support them.

In addition to heavy social pressures, the state also requires compulsory savings for retirement, housing, and other items deemed social necessities. By requiring employers and employees to designate money for individual rainy day funds the government ensures that citizens have money when in need while simultaneously avoiding onerous taxes and bureaucracy that accompany the American and European models.

Other Pacific Rim countries have also dabbled in alternative forms of social welfare. Chile once instituted a meritocratic point based system which enabled those in lower income brackets to advance through subsidies offered by the state and was able to produce better results than those in Europe and America. Japan also has a history of creating social pressures to ensure the elderly and those in need are taken care of without government intervention. Hong Kong, another of the Pacifics shining societies has its own take on welfare in which increased productivity from workers equals increased benefits.

While those in Congress struggle to find the solution to Americas welfare woes, it is important that they look not across the Atlantic to the failing welfare states of Europe for policy, but rather to the east and take note from the alternatives offered by market based models.

Demand Congress Consider The Constitution When Enacting Reforms

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Freedom Works
Monday June 26, 2017 @ 03:11:44 AM mt

FreedomWorks Also Opposes FISA Amendments Act in Current Form



FreedomWorks affirmed its support for the position the House Freedom Caucus Board has taken to oppose the FISA Amendments Act in its current form. FreedomWorks Director of Public Policy and Legislative Affairs Jason Pye released the following statement:

Its great to see constitutional conservatives in the House Republican Conference speak in favor of significant reforms to FISA. Its clear that Americans are vulnerable and their constitutionally protected rights are under threat by sweeping surveillance powers. Section 702 is especially concerning, as its wide net can easily collect communications of innocent Americans, even though it designed to target non-Americans. Former DNI James Clapper admitted that the program did collect Americans emails through the program.

The programs authorized under FISA should require stricter congressional oversight and greater transparency. There has to be a balance to assess both terrorism and privacy concerns. Granting this surveillance authority indefinitely, as some in Congress want, eliminates the opportunity for Congress to strike a more reasonable and balanced approach to between security and civil liberties.

FreedomWorks will oppose any attempt to reauthorize FISA permanently in its current form. With Section 702 expiring in December, Congress should take this opportunity to address the many concerns that have been raised about the warrantless collection of information of innocent Americans under a program designed for foreign surveillance. Congressional oversight and direction are needed to address the publics legitimate concerns about FISA.

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Freedom Works
Sunday June 25, 2017 @ 03:49:09 AM mt

FreedomWorks Condemns Violence



FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon issued the following statement:

We are shocked at the violence against members of Congress and staffers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Majority Whip Steve Scalise, all others injured or involved, and their families. We condemn in the strongest terms any and all violence against our elected officials. Our country does not need to agree on everything, but we all need to be able to engage in political discourse without resorting to assaults and assassination attempts.

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Freedom Works
Sunday June 25, 2017 @ 03:49:07 AM mt

Myth: Repealing Title II Will Unleash Broadband Monopolies



Net neutrality activists claim that repealing Title II regulatory expansion will place your internet access in the hands of monopolistic telecom giants. Allegedly, uncompetitive internet service providers (ISPs) will raise rates, provide miserable service, and arbitrarily choose which websites you access. These concerns stem from alleged reports that ISPs face little competition for broadband services, citing that 48% of Americans living in an area with only one broadband provider of FCC standard high speed internet.

But such reports intentionally mislead readers by excluding satellite and wireless ISPs from their competition metrics. The chart below shows the percentage of United States residents who have access to zero through eight or more providers. When including wireless and satellite options with wireline broadband, 84% of United States residents have access to internet services from five or more providers. Broadband competition is more widespread than net neutrality proponents want you to know.

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If broadband markets were truly monopolistic, wouldnt American ISPs collect more profit than supposedly more competitive European markets? Analysis shows that most European ISPs earn larger profits than their American counterparts. Higher costs in America are attributed to a number of factors, the principle one being population density. The United States has a lower population density than nearly every country in Europe. This means that cable broadband has more customer connections per mile in Europe than in the United States. You would have to use more cable to reach a similar number of people, making internet services more expensive to deliver. The United States also avoids distortionary subsidies and price controls employed in other countries.

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Net neutrality proponents also ignore the fact that there are alternative methods for internet access beyond broadband. Smartphones and tablets connect individuals to high speed 4g LTE service. Pew Research reports that 13% of Americans currently subscribe to smart phone services but not broadband. While smartphones may not provide identical web-capabilities that cable broadband does, they nonetheless compete with ISPs for customers.

The real problem in the American broadband market is adoption, not competition or access. Many individuals simply refuse to use, or in technical terms, adopt the internet. Currently, 73% of United States adults are home broadband users. Among internet-nonusers, neither broadband price nor availability significantly hinders adoption. The chart below displays that 6% of nonusers cite broadband prices as obstacles for adoption while another 6% say the same about broadband availability. The overwhelming majority (88%) of nonusers cite different concerns, such as the 48% who claim that they have no good use for the internet. In other words, some consumers believe their money is better spent elsewhere than on the internet, even if they have access to affordable services. This is evident when considering the vast ubiquity of cable television, which tends to be equally or more expensive than cable broadband subscriptions.

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Net neutrality proponents wrongly misinterpret adoption to mean access. An OECD report displays data for 2010 broadband adoption rates, but labels them as broadband access rankings. The chart above showed us that adoption does not mean access. Many household consumers have access to broadband but choose not to buy it. Thus, access is better defined as broadband deployment, which measures the extent of broadband networks. The United States ranks second among OECD countries in deployment, with 85% of homes having access to either cable or DSL broadband.

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Broadband in the United States is plenty competitive and fairly accessible. The country is a world leader in a number of categories, especially in cable and fiber deployment. With newer technologies such as augmented reality likely to transform internet usage in the future, why hamper such developments with more regulation? Theres no good reason.

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Freedom Works
Sunday June 25, 2017 @ 03:49:07 AM mt

Support Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform in Pennsylvania



On behalf of our activist community in Pennsylvania, I urge you to contact your representatives and ask them to support the Senate Bill 8, introduced by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon). This bill, which passed the state Senate in April, would transform current civil asset forfeiture procedure in Pennsylvania to better protect private property and due process.

If passed SB 8 would raise the standard of proof to clear and convincing evidence and require the government to prove that the property was illegally used. Shifting the burden to the government, upholds the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This is a crucial step in protecting Pennsylvanians civil liberties.

A September 2015 survey showed that nearly 80 percent of Pennsylvania voters, including 75 percent of Republicans, say that the Commonwealth's forfeiture laws are in need of reform. This bill would bring long overdue private property protections against unjust seizures by implementing protections for individuals many of whom are not arrested, charged or convicted who were merely suspected of criminal activity along with individuals who under certain circumstances require their property to avoid undue hardship.

This bill would also increase transparency between the police and public by reporting annually the amount of property seized and if it was tied to criminal activity. The Attorney General would be required to submit a report to the General Assembly disclosing forfeiture profits annually.

Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states that [a]ll men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.

FreedomWorks supports the passage of SB 8 and the passage of this bill is necessary to uphold private property and due process rights.

Sincerely,

Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks

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Freedom Works
Sunday June 25, 2017 @ 03:49:06 AM mt

Support the No Regulation Without Representation Act H.R. 2887



On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and urge him or her to cosponsor the No Regulation Without Representation Act, H.R. 2887, introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.). The bill would codify a 1992 Supreme Court decision preventing cross-border taxation when a business does not have a physical location in which the consumer resides.

In the 1992 case Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, North Dakota led a state suit against the Quill Corporation to pay for a sales tax on goods that the company shipped into the state. At the time, Quill had no employees or any physical presence in the North Dakota, but the state argued that since the company made sales in that state, it should have to pay a use tax.

The Supreme Court sided with Quill and decided that since it had no physical presence in that state, it did not have to be subject to that tax. The decision in the case has protected Internet-based commerce, prevented revenue-hungry states from taxing sales from out-of-state businesses or merchants.

The No Regulation Without Representation Act would codify Quill into law, setting up the guidelines for what would count as having a physical presence in the state and that only those institutions could be taxed. Out of state sellers could not be taxed. This would be a win for small businesses that sell goods and services outside of their current state and prevent a rise in prices.

The No Regulation Without Representation Act would help small businesses, protect employers, and prevent a future tax increase on these goods. For this reason, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to cosponsor the No Regulation Without Representation Act, H.R. 2887.

Sincerely,

Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks

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Freedom Works
Saturday June 24, 2017 @ 05:25:47 AM mt

Support the Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act S. 1290 and H.R. 2832



On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to call your senators and representative and ask them to cosponsor the Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act, S. 1290 and H.R. 2832, sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). This bill would significantly reform welfare and get more families back to work by promoting accountability, reducing spending, and decentralizing control by returning it to the states.

The Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act would greatly increase work requirements for welfare reform. The bill authorizes 20 hours per week work activation programs for adults without dependents and a similar program for adults with dependents that can be fulfilled by both parents or just one parent. This provides for a month safety window to meet for 5 hours per week with a state job research employee while it allows for an exemption for parents with children under six. It also creates a work authorization program for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients that would be phased in over a period of five years.

Works requirements are an effective way to reduce usage of the program, spending, and get people back to work. This is best exemplified by the fact that 13 counties in Alabama saw food stamp participation drop by about 85 percent once work requirements were reinstated. They are effective, beneficial, and accomplish their goals.

One of the most important parts of the programs is that it transitions power from the federal government to the states. The Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act creates programs that provide resources such as vocational education, job training, community service programs, and job search assistance that are entirely run by the states. It also block grants federal housing funds to the states so they have full control over their various housing programs. States are better qualified to know what their citizens need so leaving it to them is a great way to address the needs of the disadvantaged.

Fortunately, the bill does also increase accountability to oversee these programs to make sure they are being used effectively. The bill would require the state housing block grant program to have a federal reporting requirement. It also requires the president to report the total amount that he intends to spend on means-tested welfare in the annual budget submission to congress. Each state that receives funding is required to report to the director of the Congressional Budget Office the total amount of the funds. This would prevent fraud and waste so the government has on record how much is needed and spent.

If this bill were passed, it would greatly cut down on spending and create more accountability. Returning it to the states would also reduce federal overreach and promote state autonomy. However, as President Reagan once said, The best possible social program is a job. Getting people back to work by adding work requirements and creating programs to do just that would be effective in reducing poverty and increasing employment.

For these reasons, I urge you to call your senators and representative and ask them to cosponsor the Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act, S. 1290 and H.R. 2832.

Sincerely,

Adam Brandon,President, FreedomWorks

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Freedom Works
Saturday June 24, 2017 @ 05:25:45 AM mt

FreedomWorks Foundation's Formal Comment on Government-Wide Reform



FreedomWorks Foundation responded to an open request from the Trump administration's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for suggestions on how to reform the federal government to better serve the American people.

The comments submitted by FreedomWorks Foundation focus on regulatory reform. This is in line with a major project of FreedomWorks Foundation called the Regulatory Action Center. The Regulatory Action Center is aimed at rolling back economically destructive and constitutionally questionable rules and regulations.

To this end, the Foundation's comments suggest three reforms:

  • Sunset/review provisions for all new rules (excluding rule-changes reducing regulation)
  • Time-limits on all applications for regulatory permissions and waivers
  • Cost-benefit analysis reform to expand requirements to independent regulatory agencies and enhance the role of judicial review

You can read the entirety of FreedomWorks Foundation's official comments and our supporting arguments here or in the attached document below.

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Freedom Works
Saturday June 24, 2017 @ 05:25:44 AM mt

FreedomWorks Announces Welfare Reform Week



In an effort to educate and raise awareness of the need for fundamental welfare reform, FreedomWorks has designated this week as Welfare Reform Week.

Each day this week FreedomWorks will be hosting live streams with policy experts and members of Congress, to educate activists about the different aspects of our bloated, inefficient, immoral welfare system that traps the poor.

Live Streams

Live streams can be found on FreedomWorks Facebook page. All times are approximate.

Monday The archived video can be seen HERE.

Tuesday Senator Mike Lee, (R-Utah), 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), 4:00 p.m.

Thursday - Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa), 3:00 p.m.

Friday - FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon, 2:00 p.m.

Press Call with African American Leaders

In addition to the daily live streams, FreedomWorks will use this week to talk with its activists and hear their ideas and concerns regarding the welfare system. This will include a conference call with African American leaders including FreedomWorks Senior Fellow Rev. CL Bryant, Star Parker, Rev. Dr. Alveda King, and Dr. Carol Swain.

This call will be open to the press. It will be on Thursday, June 15 at noon. RSVP to Jon Meadows at jmeadows@freedomworks.org to receive call-in information.

This is a really powerful week, said FreedomWorks president Adam Brandon. Democrats believe the only way to improve our welfare system is to add to the mangled, ad hoc welfare programs already in place, increasing the duplicity, inefficiency, and ineffectiveness in the system.

Conservatives know its both charitable and responsible to clean up the 92 welfare programs in place; its the only way to reduce spending, reduce bureaucracy, and increase the number of people who are lifted from poverty to stand on their own two feet.

We dont need a safety net that simply traps people in meager payouts; we need a safety spring that propels them into successful careers where they can provide for themselves and contribute to their communities.

As part of Welfare Reform Week FreedomWorks is showing Congress where grassroots activists stand on the issue by releasing three principles for Welfare Reform.

FreedomWorks Principles for Welfare Reform

FreedomWorks believes that the following principles should be used in a fundamental reform of the American welfare system.

1. More State Control

States are much better equipped to understand the needs of their citizens and tailor programs to fit those needs. By eliminating the one size fits all centralized approach and offering states block grants funds that can be used as they see fit we can improve efficiency and effectiveness of the programs.

Returning the control to the states will also enable them to better engage with local groups and provide benefits and programs that will help lift people out of poverty and get them back on their own two feet.

2. Returning Beneficiaries to the Workforce

A hand up instead of a hand out means able-bodied adults will play a role in their return to the workforce. Reasonable but strong work requirements should be in place for those who receive welfare.

There cant be an incentive to stay in a welfare program. The goal should always be to get people out of the system and able to support themselves and their families.

Leaving the welfare system must always be financially beneficial, and programs must be structured to encourage individuals to leave the welfare system behind.

This will protect against a growing trend of government reliance instead of self-reliance.

3. Welfare System Accountability

We must know the details about the successes and failures of the various programs in the welfare system. Its about being accountable for our tax dollars. The data will lead us to a better understanding of what works, and then we should prioritizes welfare spending on programs that limit the number of those on welfare because they are making their own way in the world.

The fundamental purpose of these reforms is to cut waste, protect taxpayer dollars by making sure it is spent wisely, and unleashing the ability of people to contribute to society and provide for themselves instead of being dependent on government.

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Freedom Works
Saturday June 24, 2017 @ 05:25:36 AM mt

Arent Democrats Supposed to Hate Monopolies



Democrats have long railed against monopolistic practices in the market place. Indeed the bedrock of the early progressive movement was busting up monopolies and taking big businesses to court. Few political movements have done battle with well-established business interests as effectively as the early progressives.

Even modern democrats pay lip service to taking on monopolies and big business. The 2016 Democratic National platform was arguably the most anti-monopolistic platform of a major political party in recent American history.

There were planks promising to promote competition and give the little guy a chance against big business monopolies by cutting red tape and regulations (yes it's really in there). Promising to open up markets and make it easier for people to buy and sell across their city, across their state, or around the world (curiously not across state lines).

The anti-monopolistic rhetoric isnt just something that the Democrats were trying to hide in the fine print of their platform either. All the big names of the national party were speaking out against alleged monopolies. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and even Hillary Clinton spoke up on the dangers of allowing monopolies to form in American markets.

Any rational voter would expect these Democrats to strongly oppose policies that force monopolies on American consumers. So why arent they?

Democrats are fighting tooth and nail to defend one of the biggest pieces of pro-monopoly legislation passed in modern American history. In more than 1,000 counties across the country, only one company offers health insurance on ObamaCares exchanges. Residents of five entire states have only one insurer. By definition these regions are having a monopoly imposed on them passed by Democrats without any Republican support.

Residents are forced to buy from these insurers and are unable to seek out alternatives that might better suit their needs. And those with only one choice could be counting themselves lucky as some areas are looking at having no choices after all insurance providers leave. The most troubling aspect is more states are headed in the direction of being under the reign of a single health insurance provider.

With the monopolies created by Democrat policies have come all the problems you would expect with a closed market. Prices have skyrocketed across the country, plans have decreased in utility, and consumer choices have gone down all due to the monopolies created by Obamacare. Even where there is more than one company operating, the infrastructure of the government exchanges allows for collusion where companies offer nearly identical packages at differing rates.

When Obamacare was introduced to Congress, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised America that the bill will expand coverage, including a public option to boost choice and competition something that most could get behind. Then-President Barack Obama promised that premiums would go down $2,500. Now Americans are faced with the harsh consequences of the the Democrats deceitful rhetoric.

The only way to save the healthcare system and get rid of the monopolies, which Democrats created and are fighting to protect, is by breaking down all the artificial barriers created by Obamacare and like minded regulations. Competition-based policies can make the lives of millions of Americans infinitely better than what they are facing right now. Americans need a full repeal of Obamacare and market-minded reforms, not more dishonest rhetoric.

Join The Thousands Demanding a FULL Repeal of Obamacare

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