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Five Facts About Covid-19 Testing

No Labels - August 4, 2020
The United States is approaching a million Covid-19 tests a day, but even that pace falls far short of what’s needed to quell the pandemic. Efforts to re-open schools and businesses are creating an enormous demand for testing and frequent retesting. Two basic tests try to detect current or past infections. Two basic types of tests are used to detect Covid-19. A viral test is meant to tell if someone is currently infected. Negative results, however, can’t predict whether the person might contract the virus a short time later, so vigilance requires frequent re-testing. An...

Flavor Ban Hurts Smokers Looking for Harm Reduction

Elizabeth Sheld - August 4, 2020
The public was sold a false bill of goods by “grassroots” anti-vaping activists when they crusaded against e-cigarettes and e-cigarette flavors in front of city councils, state houses and the U.S. Congress throughout 2019. We were told that the seductively delicious flavors of Juuls and other e-cigarettes were luring youngsters to dangerous nicotine products. To curb underage vaping, the government needed to get rid of the flavored nicotine replacement products. Failed presidential candidate, prolific nanny-stater and billion dollar donor to anti-vape campaigns Michael Bloomberg...

Why Congress Needs to Pass COVID Legislation Now

Strengthened unemployment compensation, one of the key economic provisions in the CARES Act, has expired. And the Congress has not yet acted to renew it. More than 30 million Americans on unemployment insurance face a bleak job market, and many owe rent or mortgages and other bills. They (and their landlords, banks and creditors) need help now. And the overall economy still needs firm support and stimulus under the weight of a continuing, if not worsening, pandemic. Facing a crucial task, Washington decisionmakers need to act now, and do it right. Beyond speed, policymakers must be bold. To...

Emergency Health Care Safety Net is in Danger

Don Powell - July 31, 2020
Emergency physicians are truly on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. We are proudly accepting our roles at this unprecedented time, while also risking our own health and putting those we love at heightened exposure to keep our communities safe.    While we focus on caring for sick patients, the underlying health care system is being severely strained, especially our nation’s emergency departments. Emergency physicians are only four percent of all physicians but provide health care to over two-thirds of the uninsured and over half of the Medicaid population. Our doors are...


Sorry, Environmentalists. There's Nothing Good About COVID-19

Drew Johnson - July 30, 2020
Environmentalists think they've found an upside to COVID-19. Although the outbreak has claimed over 150,000 American lives and upended the economy, it has also caused pollution to plummet in cities across the country.Climate activists have pointed to this development as proof that our country can and should quickly bring carbon emissions to a halt by eliminating cars and restructuring the economy.This argument is absurd and offensive.The COVID-19 outbreak has only reduced emissions because it has forced businesses to close and kept Americans locked up in their homes. This...

People Are Right to Be Skeptical of Experts. That's Why We Need More of Them.

James Czerniawski - July 29, 2020
Plenty of unprecedented things have happened since COVID-19 first crept onto our shores. One of the most noteworthy: Within a matter of three weeks, we saw our entire nation become dependent on the advice of experts. Those working in epidemiology became our one source for answers and guidance. National and international health organizations like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) were pushed to spell out for us exactly how we should behave. Questioning their guidance was deemed unacceptable, with people socially shaming opposing views and legitimate...

When the Culture War Comes for Affordable Housing

Ryan Streeter - July 29, 2020
President Trump’s sudden termination of a 2015 fair housing regulation last week was central to his new suburbs-versus-cities campaign strategy. It was also illustrative of how symbolism in politics can ultimately upend real policy reform that, in the end, would provide political benefits. Housing affordability in metropolitan areas is a major barrier to upward mobility among low- and middle-income families alike and contributes mightily to growing segregation by income in American cities. Addressing it head-on would have benefits in both suburban and urban areas, but instead, we are...

The Political Attack on 'Big Tech'

Jeffrey Westling - July 29, 2020
President Trump and former Vice President Biden don’t agree on much, except perhaps their desire to regulate “big tech,” although admittedly for different reasons. While some regulation of the technology sector could make sense, politics has turned much of the conversation into a continual “roast” of these companies. Unfortunately, these political attacks — from both the left and right — threaten to result in bad regulations if we are not careful. The most glaring example of this slippery slope is the issue of Section 230, the law that protects...


Five Facts about Expiring Pandemic-Related Financial Aid

No Labels - July 28, 2020
The House and Senate are at loggerheads over a new financial relief package for people and businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. If they don’t act soon Americans will begin losing many protections provided in the CARES Act, enacted in March. 1. Enhanced unemployment benefits are set to expire July 31. The CARES Act added $600 a week to most unemployment benefits, but the aid expires July 31. The legislation made self-employed workers eligible for unemployment benefits for the first time, and that aid continues through Dec. 31. Basic unemployment benefits vary by...

Don't Divorce Antitrust Law from Economic Reality

Neil Bradley - July 28, 2020
Tomorrow, the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google will appear at a high-profile antitrust hearing where they are likely to face questions about whether our nation’s antitrust laws apply to their innovative high-tech businesses. And soon the House Subcommittee on Antitrust is expected to produce a seminal report that will delve deeper into these issues.  These developments — most notably the report — are fueling legislative proposals that would radically remake a century’s worth of bipartisan policy that has protected competition and championed innovation...

Boost Unemployment Insurance the Right Way

Neil Bradley - July 27, 2020
Despite recent signs of growth, more than 17 million Americans remain unemployed, and how to compensate them has become a contentious political issue.   Unemployment Insurance has provided financial relief for these individuals, particularly since, per the CARES Act, those benefits have included an additional $600 per week payment under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC). That payment, however, expires on July 31. Congress will need to extend it — with some important modifications.   State unemployment benefits replace only a small percentage of a...

American College Students Are More Reasonable Than We Think

Samuel J. Abrams - July 24, 2020
With colleges and universities opening to some degree in just a few short weeks, I was recently asked if I thought that the campus culture wars would continue despite the rise of distance education. My answer remains the same as before COVID-19 engulfed higher education: the so-called culture wars — ranging from cancelling speakers for their viewpoints to attempts to co-opt the curriculum in the name of social justice — are overblown and not student driven. In reality, the media, a core group of activist students, and social justice minded administrators are leading this fight. In...


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Five Facts About Rural Health Care

No Labels - July 24, 2020
In America, rural residents are generally less healthy than urban residents. Analysts cite numerous reasons, and state and federal governments are pursuing remedies. Several factors contribute to poorer health in rural places. Authorities cite several reasons for the rural disparities. They include greater poverty; less access to health insurance and nutritious foods; the closure of many rural hospitals; higher rates of smoking and obesity; lower rates of exercise; and greater addiction to certain drugs such as oxycodone and methamphetamine. States are trying various...

The First Amendment Should Cover Hirings and Firings

Emilie Dye - July 24, 2020
In Western societies, religion is evolving into a “get out of jail free” card. The Supreme Court recently ruled to exempt religious institutions from specific hiring requirements, allowing them to discriminate against their employees. The only way to protect religious freedom without discriminating based on belief is to increase freedom for all people, not merely the god-fearing. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court issued a verdict on two cases, Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James School v. Biel. Agnes Morrissey-Berru lost her job because of her age,...

The Challenges to Opening Schools This Fall Start at the Bus Stop

Nat Malkus - July 23, 2020
School district leaders feel the mercilessness of the Coronavirus Pandemic in ways most of us can’t appreciate. With school just weeks away, they face not only determining what school will look like but also how to retool existing systems to provide it.  Whether starting the year with all students in buildings, with a hybrid model with some students in buildings on alternating days, or entirely remote learning, they face a dizzying array of decisions to make, tradeoffs to balance, and details to iron out before day one. With many on morning shows, in the media, and on twitter...

The Case for a Payroll Tax Cut

James C. Capretta - July 23, 2020
Senate Republicans are reluctant to include a temporary payroll tax cut in the next coronavirus response bill even though the Trump administration is championing it. The arguments against this idea are unpersuasive. A payroll tax cut would work better than other options to help the middle-class and encourage a return to work. Moderate income households pay much more in payroll taxes than income taxes. Under current law, employers and employees both pay 7.65 percent of wages in Social Security and Medicare taxes. The Social Security tax (6.2 percent each for firms and workers) applies to wages...


Congress Must Increase Support for Missile Defense Technology

Bob Haueter - July 23, 2020
Congress is in the process of debating the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and will fund defense programs, likely as part of an Omnibus Appropriations bill, later this year. During the debate over these two measures, members of the House and Senate should take special care to formulate a strong missile defense policy to combat new missile technologies coming from Russia, China, and potential future nuclear powers, North Korea and Iran.  Protecting American citizens by having a well-funded, and multilayered, missile defense capability will both provide protection, and a strong...

Facebook Thrives in the 'Outrage Economy'

Eric Bovim - July 22, 2020
Poor Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook founder and CEO is frequently attacked by the political right for a supposed left-wing slant in the social network’s algorithms and editorial decisions. And the American left — as evidenced by a historic, mounting ad boycott campaign against Facebook — is sure that Mr. Zuckerberg and Facebook are complicit in a vast right-wing/Russian conspiracy. Among other things, Facebook’s critics on the left blame the site for aiding Donald Trump’s election by promulgating “fake news” in 2016. After a meeting with Zuckerberg and...

What if Washington Just Paid People’s Bills?

Julia Baumel - July 21, 2020
As Congress prepares to debate the next, and perhaps final round of coronavirus relief legislation, two critical questions remain: Have they learned from the mistakes and inefficiencies of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that they passed in March? And are there better ways to get help to the businesses, workers, and families who need it? The jury is still very much out.  The CARES Act included several forms of assistance to shore up credit and financial markets and to provide a critical lifeline to workers and businesses. It expanded eligibility for unemployment insurance and provided...

Has the Fed Discovered a Cure for Displaced Workers?

Kathleen deLaski - July 21, 2020
Ten years ago, as a George Mason University board member, I had the chance to tour the ‘hot cancer’ laboratory that was making waves in the emergent field of “personalized medicine.” Researchers there were on the front lines of a new age in medicine, where doctors prescribe a cocktail of drugs tailored to an individual’s DNA. Instead of designing for the average, therapies could be tailored around the specific response that an individual might have. It could take into account not just an individual’s DNA, but their unique medical history to guide not just...