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I just snipped off my old ISDN line

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | January 12, 2020

In the course of trying to reorganize my little home office so that it could become an actually useful and productive space . . . I just snipped off my old ISDN line.

Only you old timers will remember when we were dependent on ISDN lines for clear voice lines for radio interviews, and for “high speed” internet. ISDN was faster than dial-up (barely) and clearer than twisted pair analog voice lines.

Getting one installed in my home was an ordeal, but also a treasure. You could split 1 ISDN line into two channels so that—get this—you could be on the phone and on the internet at the SAME TIME.

It was really incredible that you could have decent data speed (at that time) and also be on the phone, all through a single phone line. 

Because we lived\live out in a rural area, we weren't exactly among the first to be offered higher speed technologies. DSL (remember that?) was never available at our house, and to this day cable has never been available at our address.

So it was ISDN for a number of years, even while others went to DSL, and then we were able to go to a regional fixed wireless provider, before in the most amazing circumstance we ended up being one of the very first areas to have Verizon's "new" FiOS product offered. I believe I was the 3rd home hooked up to FiOS, and for many months called once a week to find out whether they were yet taking installation appointments.


And unbelievable how far we have come.

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Posted in Trade

How to Think About the Trade War

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | September 5, 2019

The question isn't whether Trump's tariffs are hurting the U.S. economy--they definitely are. They're hurting the U.S. economy, and they're hurting China's economy. And the question isn't who is paying the tariffs--Americans are paying U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, and the Chinese are paying China's retaliatory tariffs. That's how tariffs work. They directly harm the country assessing the tariffs in order to indirectly harm the targeted country. 

The real questions are as follows: 1) is the damage of the trade war worth it? Is the short-term harm worth some greater long-term good? Some critical geopolitical strategy? 

And 2) are tariffs the best way to accomplish the possible long-term good asserted? 

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Yes, Index Capital Gains to Inflation. But Why Stop There?

by Erin Humiston | 0 Comments | September 3, 2019

Tax cuts aimed at capital produce the most significant economic benefits. A legacy 2001 IPI study by economists Gary and Aldona Robbins shows that a cut in capital gains taxes would be one of two most effective to stimulate the economy. In their study, the Robbinses concluded that a capital gains cut would spur economic growth substantially more than any other stimulus measure, with economic growth of more than $10 for every dollar of lost revenue

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Posted in Health Care, Trade

A Long History: IPI's Work on Drug Importation Risks

by Erin Humiston | 0 Comments | August 11, 2019

For over 16 years, the Institute for Policy Innovation has released numerous publications warning the risks of such a scheme cannot be overstated—foremost the public health danger, since it is impossible for the U.S. to guarantee the safety of imported drugs.

The following is a history of IPI’s research into the question of whether the U.S. should open its drug market to imported pharmaceuticals.

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Digital Piracy Steals Our Opportunity

by Bartlett D. Cleland | 0 Comments | August 8, 2019

In April 1902 the first permanent movie house, the Electric Theatre in Los Angeles, opened its doors. People started leaving their homes to go to the movies. More than 117 years later legal video streaming has empowered people to watch video anywhere they want. Consumers clearly value mobility as evidenced by streaming subscribers now being more numerous than paid television subscribers.  

During this era of seemingly endless video choices, and options of where to watch it, one specter looms: Digital piracy continues to grow, threatening the very innovation that has brought us so many options.  

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New York's Minimum Wage Hike Disaster is Simple Economics

by Erin Humiston | 0 Comments | August 8, 2019

Eight months after instituting a $15 an hour minimum wage hike, New York City employers and workers are feeling the pinch. Reports show business operators are cutting staff, cutting hours, and even raising prices. 

This is no surprise.

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Posted in Health Care, Trade

Drug Importation Opens Doors to Counterfeit, Compromised Drugs

by Erin Humiston | 0 Comments | August 7, 2019

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the Trump administration will reverse a decades-long policy and create a way for Americans to import prescription drugs from Canada.

Azar says that by moving forward on reimportation, the administration is putting Americans patients first. But IPI experts agree that the practice has been illegal chiefly because it puts Americans in harm’s way. Importantly, drug manufacturers cannot guarantee the safety of prescription drugs reimported to the United States.

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Posted in Politics

Biden Still Leads Among Democratic Hopefuls, But Where's the Excitement?

by Erin Humiston | 0 Comments | August 1, 2019

IPI resident scholar Dr. Merrill Matthews appeared on CGTN’s The Heat to discuss this week’s Democratic presidential debates.

Identifying moderate and former Vice President Joe Biden as both the leader in the debates and as the biggest threat to President Donald Trump, Matthews said, “I still think many Democrats are more on the moderate side and haven’t bought into the far-left proposals expressed by so many of the presidential candidates.”

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Posted in Health Care

British, Canadian Headlines Debunk Sanders' Claims of Single-Payer Superiority

by Erin Humiston | 0 Comments | August 1, 2019

On Wednesday, July 31, IPI resident scholar Dr. Merrill Matthews joined U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), CMS chief Seema Verma, and an all-star lineup of health policy experts at the Heritage Foundation to discuss what a Medicare for all, single-payer healthcare system would mean for Americans. (Click here for C-SPAN video.)

“Watching this week’s debates, there are two things the Democrats agree on,” said Matthews. “Number one, the current system is an absolute mess— yet nobody seems to point out that system’s Obamacare.”

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How the Warren Court Betrayed Our System of Checks and Balances

by Erin Humiston | 0 Comments | July 18, 2019

IPI president Tom Giovanetti joined host Debbie Georgatos Wednesday on "America Can We Talk" discussing the concept of judicial supremacy.

Is the final word on almost any issue whatever the Supreme Court rules? Do the executive and legislative branches have to roll over to the final arbiter, the judiciary? 

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Posted in Civil Liberties

Tucker Carlson Is Wrong

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | July 16, 2019

Today Tucker Carlson said that the greatest threat to our liberty was no longer the federal government, but is now big corporations.

Tucker Carlson is abjectly wrong.

Hewlett-Packard can’t kick my door in, shoot my dog, and take my kids. Facebook has never planted false evidence on me. Amazon doesn’t seize my assets before I’ve been convicted of a crime.

Best Buy doesn’t have qualified immunity that protects it from liability if it breaks the law and harms me.

Government does all of these things.

The greatest threat to liberty is, and always has been, government. Not the private sector. There’s a bright line there that only a fool would purposely blur.

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Notes from TFRW Talk Against Judicial Supremacy

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | July 3, 2019

I gave a fairly provocative talk a week or so ago to the Texas Federation of Republican Women (TFRW) in Austin on the two factors that, in my opinion, have led to our dysfunctional government. I identify two areas where our system of checks and balances has gone into the ditch: First, the states have abrogated their duty to be the first and best check against federal power (see 9th and 10th Amendments), and second, the courts have asserted a completely unconstitutional doctrine of judicial supremacy, and the states, the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch have meekly complied because it absolves them of their responsibilities under the Constitution.

Once you get your head around the idea that the Supreme Court was never supposed to rule the country, it's like the scales fall from your eyes, and you can see not only the cause of so many of our current problems, but also the solution.

I've been asked for my notes by several people, and the problem is my notes are speaking cues, nothing more. But I've attempted to clean them up a bit and post them here, mainly because there are current issues like the census question and the Trump administration's immigration orders that I think are clear examples of unconstitutional deference to the courts.

So here they are. Hope they are useful and intelligible to someone.

. . . 

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Ten Short Takes from the Democratic Debates

by Merrill Matthews | 0 Comments | June 28, 2019

What did we learn from four hours of 20 Democratic presidential candidates vying for camera time and voter interest? 

1. According to the candidates, apparently the greatest existential threat to America (after Donald Trump) is the large corporations that employ millions of Americans. 

2. Several candidates want to boldly open the door to socialized medicine now; the others want to sneak it in through the back door...

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The Texas Legislature Passed a Stupid Bill. Now the State Is Being Sued

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | June 27, 2019

During the 86th Texas Legislature, which took place from January to May, 2019, legislators passed a really stupid, transparently awful bill. Governor Abbott signed it. Now the state is being predictably sued.

IPI warned them. The Trump administration Justice Dept. warned them. They passed it anyway.

And I mean, they REALLY passed it. It passed the Texas House 141 to 5, and it passed the Texas Senate 31 to 0.

It still boggles my mind that a piece of legislation with such obvious flaws sailed through the legislature with hardly any notice. But now the chickens are coming home to roost, and Texas taxpayers are going to be paying for the state to defend the indefensible in a likely losing cause.

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Scalia's Coded Hint In the Obergefell Decision

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | June 27, 2019

Occasionally I give talks to groups about the problem of judicial supremacy—the unconstitutional doctrine that the Judicial Branch has unique power to interpret the Constitution and can overrule the other two branches and overrule the states without question.

I've written about here, but I'm not the only one. Here's another piece.

Anyway, because this is a hobby horse of mine, my eyes were riveted to some of Justice Scalia's last writings—specifically, his dissent in the Obergefell case (same-sex marriage). The point of this language has nothing to do with same-sex marriage—it has to do with whether courts actually have us much power under the Constitution as we have allowed them to assert.

In my opinion, Scalia left us a coded hint in his dissent on the gay marriage decision. It concludes:

“With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the “reasoned judgment” of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.”

What I think Scalia is suggesting is that the Founders purposely designed the Court without the power to enforce its opinions, and that states and the other two branches of the federal government actually have more power to simply ignore SCOTUS decisions than they know they have.

What, for instance, would happen if a state simply decided to ignore a controversial SCOTUS case? What would happen if a president simply ignored a nationwide injunction issued against the Exective Branch by some mid-level judge in Washington State? What, exactly, would happen?

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