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In Action

Congress holds a news conference to discuss consumer, economic and accessibility issues surrounding H.R.1542.
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Congress holds a news conference to discuss consumer, economic and accessibility issues surrounding H.R.1542.

LOCATION: 2168 Rayburn House Office Building -- December 5, 2001 PARTICIPANTS: Charlie Crawford, executive director, American Council of the Blind; Erick Gustafson, director, Center for Consumer Choice, Citizens for a Sound Economy; Gabriela Lemus, Center of Policy and Legislation, League of United Latin American Citizens; Terry Neese, co-founder, GrassRoots Impact, Inc.; Esther Shapiro, former director, Office of Consumer Affairs, Detroit, MI CONTACT: Jennifer Silberman, 202-263-2933

12/05/2001
Congress - holds a news conference to discuss consumer, economic and accessibility issues surrounding H. R. 1542.
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Congress - holds a news conference to discuss consumer, economic and accessibility issues surrounding H. R. 1542.

TIME: 1:30 p.m. LOCATION: 2168 Rayburn House Office Building CONTACT: Jennifer Silberman, 202-263-2933 BILL-NO: H. R. 1542 Retrieve Bill Tracking Report Link to Full text of Bill

12/05/2001
Recession…What Now?
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Press Release

Recession…What Now?

America is in recession, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) announced last week. To many, this may be stating the obvious, given the layoffs and economic slowdown after September 11th. What may not be as obvious, however, is the fact that the recession was well underway before the terrorist attacks. Looking at crucial economic data such as industrial production, real income, employment, and wholesale-retail trade, the NBER puts the start of the recession in March 2001. This ended a ten-year economic expansion, and the downturn has only been compounded by the economic uncertainty generated by terrorism. As in past recessions, Washington is brimming with proposals to jump-start the economy. Yet beyond getting the incentives right, there is little that Washington can do to boost the economy.

12/04/2001
Economists Urge Telecom Deregulation; Move Would Spur Investment, Stimulate Recovery
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Economists Urge Telecom Deregulation; Move Would Spur Investment, Stimulate Recovery

In a letter delivered today to the White House, the Department of Treasury and the Department of Commerce, eight leading free market economists outlined ways in which the Bush Administration could reinvigorate the economy by encouraging investment in the IT sector, which has been responsible for as much as 25 percent of recent GDP growth. "Upgrades to the telecommunications infrastructure are important because they will allow the IT sector to create and market 'next generation' products and services that can only be made available over broadband connections," the economists said, citing statistics on the importance of the IT sector to the economy. "Excessive and unwise telecommunications regulation is playing a significant role in the IT sector's decline," and the Administration should "do everything possible to accelerate the process of deregulating the telecommunications business," the letter said. Signatories on the letter included some of the leading free market economists in the nation, including Robert Crandall, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution, George Gilder, Senior Fellow, the Discovery Institute, Thomas W. Hazlett, Senior Fellow, the Manhattan Institute, Lawrence Kudlow, Chairman, Kudlow & Company, James C. Miller III, Counselor, Citizens for a Sound Economy, William Niskanen, Chairman, The Cato Institute and Alan Reynolds, Senior Fellow, The Cato Institute. "We are really making two points," said PFF President Jeff Eisenach, who is also among the letter's signatories. "First, it's important for the economy as a whole to speed up broadband deployment by having a pro-market telecom policy, and, second, a pro-market telecom policy is about deregulation, not protecting competitors." The letter concludes by calling on the Bush Administration to "end its silence on telecom deregulation and take a stance squarely in favor of eliminating disincentives to investment in broadband infrastructure."

12/04/2001
Center-Right Coalition Groups to Expose Motives of State Attorneys General in Microsoft Case
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Center-Right Coalition Groups to Expose Motives of State Attorneys General in Microsoft Case

News Advisory: WHAT: Press conference to discuss motives behind the nine states choosing to opt-out of the Microsoft-DOJ settlement and press forward. (California, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Florida, Kansas, Utah, West Virginia, District of Columbia) WHO: Sponsored by Frontiers of Freedom, a public policy think tank and citizens group founded by retired Senator Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyoming). Speakers include: (statements and interviews will be available on-site) John Berthoud, President -- National Taxpayers Union

12/04/2001
The Battle is Joined
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Press Release

The Battle is Joined

Late last week the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security presented the outlines of a plan to reform Social Security, including the establishment of personal retirement accounts. Later this year they will issue what is expected to be a very positive set of recommendations. The commission’s work will be bi-partisan, thorough, well documented and bold. And unless something changes, the report will go nowhere.

12/03/2001
Back to the basics: Define 'fact'
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Back to the basics: Define 'fact'

BY TERRENCE STUTZ

It was a scene reminiscent of the fractious textbook battles in Texas from years past. Speaker after speaker railed against proposed science textbooks at a public hearing in Austin last month, calling the books un-American, anti-Christian, and unfit for students. State Board of Education members responded by rejecting the most controversial book up for adoption and, in doing so, took a major step toward restoring the authority over textbooks that they lost six years ago.

12/02/2001
CLUB CORNER
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CLUB CORNER

BY JEAN HAYES

GRAPHIC: PHOTO, JEAN HAYES; PHOTO, Special to the Times, (6);; On Nov. 13, the Korean War Veterans, Nature Coast Chapter 174, conducted a flag retirement ceremony for the fourth-graders at Westside Elementary School in Spring Hill. Chapter members who participated in the ceremony included: president John McMillan and his wife, Reberta; chaplain Steve Ackerman and his wife, Marie; quartermaster Ron Webber and his wife, Maryann; secretary Carl Chuman; first vice president Ed Hawley; and treasurer Lou Schneider. The wives are all members of the group's auxiliary.

12/02/2001
U.S. Government Actions Threaten to Accelerate Recession, Deny Homes to Approximately 400,000 Potential Home Buyers
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U.S. Government Actions Threaten to Accelerate Recession, Deny Homes to Approximately 400,000 Potential Home Buyers

The American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance (AHGA), which represents the 70 million U.S. homeowners, today called on President George W. Bush's special softwood lumber trade envoy to urge the President to cancel duties imposed by the Department of Commerce that will deepen the recession and prevent hundreds of thousands of American families from buying homes. Those duties amount to a 32 percent federally imposed sales tax on homebuyers and other consumers. The special envoy, former Montana Governor Marc Racicot, was appointed to try to find a solution to a major softwood lumber trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada. "This tax will raise the cost of an average home $1,000, making homeownership unaffordable to nearly a half million families who are seeking to buy homes. AHGA believes the U.S. Commerce Department has bowed to pressure from a handful of large U.S. lumber producers like International Paper, along with a few forest land owners," said Beth Hahn, President of AHGA. Governor Racicot, who has become the chief U.S. negotiator on the issue, is expected by many to continue pushing Canada in negotiating sessions this week in Toronto to impose a "temporary" tax on consumers or face continued Commerce Department tariffs affecting U.S. consumers. The administration has been pressuring Canada to make reforms of policies it says amount to subsidies. However, those policies were previously challenged through NAFTA and the WTO procedures and were, each time, found legal. "Ironically, the U.S. has made the subsidy allegations at a time when our government reports to the WTO that it provides more than $600 million in federal subsidies to its timber producers, and that hundreds of millions more are provided by federal forestry management and through state subsidies and incentives," Hahn added. "These companies are already heavily subsidized by U.S. taxpayers, and should learn to compete rather than seek more taxes that will ultimately be paid by those same consumers. "AHGA strongly supports President Bush's efforts to lower trade barriers and enact fast track trade negotiating authority," Hahn said. "In every country some business sectors will win and others will lose. However, consumers in every country will benefit from free trade. The solution is not to reward inefficient business sectors with more protection and subsidies, but to offer programs to help displaced workers adjust to temporary unemployment and find new jobs as the President and Congressional leaders have advocated in their economic recovery proposals," Hahn said. At issue are 19.3 percent countervailing duties and 12.6 percent antidumping duties that have been imposed on all Canadian softwood lumber imports. The duties were imposed based on allegations by a few U.S. producers who claim they have been injured by the imports, which account for about 35 percent of softwood lumber consumption in the U.S. The duties are considered preliminary, but are being collected until a final determination is made sometime in the spring. The countervailing duties expire Dec. 15, but could be re-imposed next spring. Antidumping duties however will continue until a final determination expected in May. "These duties ignore the fact that the U.S. timber industry is not able to satisfy domestic needs for softwood, and never will," Hahn said. "Over the past several years, the U.S. government has expanded its efforts to protect our own forests, saving these wonderful natural resources for future generations. However protecting U.S. forests also inevitably makes us more dependent on imports. Therefore, American home builders and consumers must have access to affordable and available Canadian lumber to build homes. Auburn University studies showed that Canadian timber growing and harvesting practices are, in most instances, much more friendly to the environment than those of U.S. timber companies." Hahn said that the ultimate victims of the duties are first time homebuyers and seniors who need affordable housing. Economists have said that, based on U.S. Census Bureau calculations, the duties add more than a $1,000 to the cost of a new home and price nearly a half million U.S. families out of the housing market since that amount prohibits them from qualifying for a mortgage. "We are in a recession and this is a time when we need affordable homes and to not damage the housing sector which remains the only part of our fragile economy that continues to support the GDP," she added. AHGA is a member of American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), an alliance of 17 consumer and business groups whose mission is to promote free trade policies that enhance affordable housing. ACAH is opposed to any new trade restraints between the two countries in any form, even as a bridging agreement, export or import tax, that hurt U.S. consumers and the economy. ACAH represents consumers and companies who account for approximately 95 percent of softwood lumber use in the U.S. ACAH members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP USA, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

11/28/2001
Time to Cut the Payroll Tax
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Press Release

Time to Cut the Payroll Tax

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many policymakers have advocated a payroll tax cut to reduce labor costs and boost consumption. Surprisingly, many conservatives who normally support tax cuts of any sort become wobbly when it comes to payroll taxes. Some, including supply-side guru Bruce Bartlett, have openly criticized the wisdom of enacting payroll tax cuts if they are not accompanied by comprehensive Social Security reform.

11/26/2001

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