Category Archives: free enterprise

Free-Market Advocates Support Roberts-Stabenow Labeling Bill

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SupportRobertsStabenow(Click here for PDF)

July 13, 2016

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
H-232, United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker:

We, the following pro-growth, pro-innovation, free-market advocates, ask the House of Representatives to immediately take up and pass the common-sense biotech labeling bill that recently passed in the Senate by a 63-30 vote. This bipartisan agreement—Roberts-Stabenow—will establish a national labeling standard that will protect consumers, advance market-based principles, and support sound science.

We want to make it absolutely clear that this legislation will prevent the proliferation of costly, unconstitutional state-based labeling mandates. To date, more than 50 bills have been introduced in dozens of states to require the labeling of genetically modified foods, or GMOs. A Vermont law took effect on July 1. If Congress fails to act, Vermont and other states following suit will upend the nation’s entire market system for food, from farming to supply to retail.

GMOs are among the most analyzed subjects in science. With thousands of global studies affirming safety, the science over GM foods is unquestionably settled. The world’s most prestigious science, health, and academic institutions have confirmed and re-confirmed that GMO science does not pose a risk to our health, and GM foods are as safe and/or safer than conventional or organic foods.

Yet, activists—like those in Vermont—still sound the anti-GMO alarm, and their failure to consider the science when advocating policy betrays their true agenda. The activists’ ultimate goal is not “freedom of choice” or the “right-to-know” for consumers, as they claim, but to drive GM foods out of the market.

An economy based on free enterprise requires a consistent, national labeling solution to maximize the consumer’s right-to-know and allow for competition and innovation to thrive. The alternative of state-based mandates will undermine the market resulting in higher prices and fewer choices for all Americans. The House must act to pass this critical, market-based proposal to protect farmers, families, and businesses. If not, anti-GMO activists will continue to stigmatize biotech science through their organized, yet deceitful, campaign of state-based labeling mandates.

We urge the House of Representatives to approve the Roberts-Stabenow legislation this week before the August recess.

Thank you,
Jerry Rogers – President, Capitol Allies
Andrew Langer – President, Institute for Liberty
Pete Sepp – President, National Taxpayers Union
George Landrith – President, Frontiers of Freedom
Seton Motley – President, Less Government

Roberts-Stabenow: Sound Science/Free Enterprise

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Sound Science Free Enterprise Biotech Labeling Bill (Click here for PDF)

Washington, DC –  Capitol Allies (CapAllies) applauds the United States Senate for passing a common-sense Biotech Labeling bill that will protect consumers, advance market-based principle, and support sound science.

CapAllies urges the House of Representatives to approve the legislation next week before the August recess.

Jerry Rogers, president and founder of Capitol Allies, made the following statement supporting the Roberts-Stabenow labeling bill as it moves to the House:

“We want to make it absolutely clear that this legislation will prevent the proliferation of costly, unconstitutional state-based labeling mandates. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are among the most analyzed subjects in science. With over 2,000 global studies affirming safety, the science over GM foods is unquestionably settled. The world’s most prestigious science, health, and academic institutions have confirmed and re-confirmed over again that GMO science does not pose a risk to our health, and GM foods are as safe and/or safer than conventional or organic foods.”

“If over 100 of the world’s leading scientists and Nobel Laureates can take a stand against those who actively campaign against the use of GM  crops, it is our hope that the House of Representatives will do the same by voting ‘yea’ on Roberts-Stabenow as soon as next week.”

“A patchwork of state-based labeling regimes would create mass confusion among consumers and cause food prices to skyrocket. Such state mandates would cause an explosion of big-government cronyism.”   

Capitol Allies was established to turn policy into practice. Our work is to advance ideas and policies supportive of free enterprise, economic growth, and sound science.

# # #

Media Contact: Jerry Rogers 202.302.9783 / jerry@capallies.com

 Jerry Rogers is the founder of Capitol Allies, an independent, nonpartisan effort that promotes free enterprise, and he’s the co-host of  The LangerCast on the RELM Network.

Pro-Market, Pro-Modernity: Let’s All Adopt the EMV-Chip

By Jerry Rogers

I don’t shop on Black Friday, and I am home all day with my family on Thanksgiving; however, I understand too that a modern economy never really sleeps. Why should it? How can it? Frank Sinatra sang about how capitalism’s most important city – New York, New York – is a city that never sleeps.

“I want to wake up, in a city that doesn’t sleep and find I’m king of the hill Top of the heap.”

You don’t make it to the “top of the heap” by keeping your doors closed or by ignoring changing times and technologies. Entrepreneurship, innovation, disruption, and transformation are pillars of free enterprise. Sometimes this requires getting up earlier, staying open longer, welcoming modernity, and embracing new technology.

As Charles Murray has eloquently made clear, “everywhere that capitalism subsequently took hold, national wealth began to increase and poverty began to fall. Everywhere that capitalism didn’t take hold, people remained impoverished. Everywhere that capitalism has been rejected since then, poverty has increased.” Free enterprise is the only system in the history of humankind to lift people – billions of people – out of poverty.

So, for those of you celebrating capitalism this Thanksgiving or Black Friday, take a look at your credit and debit cards. I write this because just this week my bank sent me a new business card with chip technology. My bank is embracing new technology (and modernity) to help protect me from having my accounts hacked.

An astounding 48 percent of the world’s credit card fraud happens in the United States. In recent years, our credit card security has fallen behind most nations, making us the target of choice for fraudsters. Being the weakling in the room is not the proper place for American Entrepreneurship. It’s really kind of sad when Europe is the iPod to America’s Walkman when it comes to banking technology. This must be fixed.

The immediate answer lies in the thumbnail-sized computer chip found in my new bank card – an EMV chip. It stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, the three companies that originally created the standard. Perhaps your bank has already issued you a new EMV chip-enabled card. These chip cards, unlike the magnetic stripe cards we’re all used to, can’t be counterfeited. Though not a panacea to all card-related cybercrime, they are a huge step in the right direction. EMV cards have been the standard in Europe for a decade.

While we know how to make credit cards far more secure, the urgency to embrace this technology has been lacking. Resistance to making the switch to EMV technology in the United States has, not surprisingly, come down to cost. Banks have been slow to issue new cards and retailers have been reluctant to pay for new terminals to read chip cards. For businesses that have to buy multiple terminals, sometimes hundreds, the cost is considerable. But the cost of inaction is too great. Card fraud is expected to top $10 billion in the United States this year alone.

However, we are starting to turn a corner. On October 1, we saw a shift in liability that should provide increased market incentive for banks and retailers to pick up the pace of the EMV transition. For years, a card issuer absorbed the costs associated with counterfeit fraud transactions. Now, liability for fraudulent charges rests on the weakest link in the chain. That means, in case of counterfeit fraud, retailers are responsible if they haven’t upgraded to EMV-enabled terminals and banks are responsible if they haven’t issued consumers new chip cards.

Unfortunately, while banks are making significant progress in issuing new cards to consumers, retailers aren’t moving nearly as quickly to upgrade payment terminals. That’s a shortsighted mistake. While upfront costs of upgrading terminals may be considerable, liability from a major incident of counterfeit card fraud could be crippling.

Quickly adopting EMV technology is the first, critically important step to righting the ship. More work will be needed, but ignoring modernity and technological change is the antithesis to American Entrepreneurship. We are a country of innovators and entrepreneurs, and it is past time we fix this problem.

In the spirit of modernity, maybe I will venture out this Friday to do a little shopping? While out, I’ll finally replace my Walkman with one of these new-fangled iPod things. Happy Thanksgiving.

Cover Oregon: The “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad” Healthcare Website

While President Obama was ridiculed for the failures of the HealthCare.gov rollout, botched state-operated exchanges did not prove to be much better. As HealthCare.gov sat useless for weeks and months, the few states that built their own ObamaCare exchanges struggled with countless failures and setbacks. A couple of state exchanges—Kentucky and California—worked relatively smoothly. However, in most states the insurance exchanges were, if you can believe it, even worse than Obama’s. The Oregon health exchange—Cover Oregon—stood out as the worst.

In 2014, then-Governor John Kitzhaber, Oregon’s longest serving governor and full-on progressive Democrat—was in a high stakes reelection campaign. The ambitious Democrat needed to weather a storm of controversy around his campaign (he would win reelection with less than 50 percent of the vote in deep blue Oregon), and conceal the complete failings of his administration’s ObamaCare state-based health exchange Cover Oregon.

Kitzhaber hoped that his state’s health exchange would be a testament to activist government. Instead, Cover Oregon had become a laughingstock. The entire fiasco of mismanagement and missed deadlines posed a threat to Kitzhaber’s legacy as a progressive champion for healthcare reform. So, he surreptitiously handed over control of the Cover Oregon mess to a key campaign consultant—Patricia McCaig—who called herself the Princess of Darkness. Ms. McCaig knew nothing about healthcare policy, but that did not matter. Her job wasn’t to fix Cover Oregon; her job was to get Kitzhaber reelected.

Oregon’s ethics and election laws require a separation between political activity and official decisions. Regardless, the Princess of Darkness (you can’t make this stuff up) believed that the health site’s failure was so politically toxic that she decided to pull the plug. Kill it. Hit the eject button, and flush over $300 million in taxpayers’ dollars down the toilet. Government records and internal emails confirm that McCaig—not state officials—directed the decision to close down Cover Oregon rather than work with the state’s contractor, Oracle Corp., to repair the doomed site. Who cares? As long as Kitzhaber won his bid for a fourth term, the ends would justify whatever means.

Adding insult to injury, the Princess of Darkness then pushed to sue Oracle in a shady effort to deflect blame. The state is now embroiled in lawsuits and former Oregon officials are under myriad congressional and federal investigations.

Facing state and federal criminal investigations, Kitzhaber himself was forced to resign in disgrace earlier this year amid corruption charges and accusations of influence peddling. His handing off Cover Oregon to his chief political consultant and political hacks is but a piece of an overall environment where decisions were based on Kitzhaber’s political interests rather than what was best for the people of Oregon.

Like Alexander from the children’s book “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” perhaps it would have been better for John Kitzhaber to have just moved to Australia. Well, it’s too late for him. However, it’s not too late for other governors to learn from Oregon’s failure. The Supreme Court will issue its decision in King v. Burwell this month. It would be best for the states to work with Congress to craft post-King solutions that will provide market-based healthcare solutions to our nation’s healthcare woes.

Governor Kitzhaber and Cover Oregon is a cautionary yet familiar tale. Big government and corruption are inextricably intertwined. King v. Burwell might give us a rare opportunity to hit the reset button.

The LangerCast: The Best Political Talk Anywhere

Aloha from the Big Red Wave! Episode 32 of @The LangerCast is up! Andrew and I were live from the American Conservative Union’s Election Night Party.

A great cast of characters sat and paneled with us, helped us to break down the returns as they came in – and discussed with us solutions to issues and painted a picture of how the GOP might govern come January.

https://soundcloud.com/…/the-langer-cast-32-aloha-from-the-…

The Truth about GMO Labeling

Are the anti-GMO activists pushing flawed labeling requirements in the states? What is their true agenda–a ban on GM science or the consumer’s right-to-know? What’s best–a patchwork of 50 different labeling regimes or one standard under FDA authority? Listen here as we discuss GMO labeling in a civil, yet spirited, debate on Grass Roots Radio Colorado with Kris Cook.

http://grrc.podomatic.com/entry/2014-10-31T16_56_22-07_00

 

 

The Langer Cast: Civil conversation for civil society.

We get a surprise phone call from the “streets of the Bronx.”

Andrew and I give a preview of next week’s midterm elections, and discuss Hillary Clinton’s boneheaded statement last week that businesses don’t create jobs.

We talk about why civil society matters and why race hustling is failing.  Then we talk about cronyism in the lame duck session.

Finally, we circle back to the tour of the Bronx – I remember growing up in the North Bronx near the Tracey Towers, and Andrew discusses his Dad’s family in Crotona Park and Riverdale. We talk about the importance of family, community, and that it’s never too late to give thanks and show gratitude.

Music on this week’s show: The Sweet, Run DMC, Pilot, Joe Jackson, Stevie Wonder, War.

https://soundcloud.com/man…/the-langer-cast-31-a-bronx-tale…

http://www.stitcher.com/podc…/relm-network/the-langer-cast-2

https://itunes.apple.com/podca…/the-langer-cast/id824436935…

http://langerpopp.libsyn.com/