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Cato Institute's Call to End U.S./Canada Softwood Lumber Quotas Adds to Growing Chorus Citing Harm to U.S. Consumers
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Cato Institute's Call to End U.S./Canada Softwood Lumber Quotas Adds to Growing Chorus Citing Harm to U.S. Consumers

A summary report issued (today) by the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies calling for the end of the U.S./Canadian Softwood Lumber Agreement adds to a growing chorus of U.S. consumers, businesses and other independent voices who say that the pact has resulted in higher lumber prices and harmed U.S. consumers. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are also on record in calling for the termination of the agreement when it is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2001. The Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) places restrictive limits on the amount of softwood lumber, used mostly in home construction, which can be imported from Canada. The Cato report, entitled, "Nailing the Homeowner - The Economic Impact of Trade Protection of the Softwood Lumber Industry," refutes a long list of myths that have been used by some U.S. producers to block imports. "A significant finding in the Cato report is that the U.S. consumer is the real victim of the SLA, resulting in a 20 to 35 percent hidden surcharge on the cost of lumber in a new home," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for the ad-hoc alliance, American Consumers for Affordable Homes. "The report concludes that it is unacceptable to have an agreement like the SLA penalize consumers." Petniunas applauded the Cato report as "providing a thoughtful third-party and independent analysis of the issues surrounding the SLA." The report says: "The best policy course is to simply let the SLA expire and not impose any new barriers." Concurrent resolutions in the U.S. House and Senate calling for the agreement to end have been endorsed by a growing list of congressional cosponsors. The Cato report says that after controlling for the effect of the strength of the economy, overall inflation and changes in timber supplies, "lumber prices are higher by between $50 and $80 per thousand board feet as a consequence of attempts to protect the U.S. softwood lumber industry." Cato's economic analysis says that these higher prices result in the addition of $800 to $1,300 to the cost of a new home. The Cato report notes that while softwood lumber producers claim that jobs would be in jeopardy without protection from Canadian wood, the number of workers in the lumber-using sectors outnumber logging and sawmill workers by 25 to 1. "The protectionist arguments in favor of the SLA is thus tantamount to saying that the commercial interests of a portion of one small industry outweigh those of many, much larger industries - not to mention the interests of millions of American home buyers." The Cato Institute was founded in 1977. It is a non-partisan public policy research foundation in Washington, D.C., "dedicated to broadening policy debate consistent with the traditional American principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace." ACAH represents more than 95 percent of the purchasers and users of softwood lumber in the U.S. Its members include: Abitibi-Consolidated, CHEP Equipment and Pooling Systems, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Coalition for Indian Housing and Development (formerly the National American Indian Housing Council), Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, the National Association of Home Builders, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, and the National Retail Federation. The Cato report is available at http://www.freetrade.org/pubs/pas/tpa- 011.pdf The ACAH web site provides more information on this issue at http://www.acah.org.

07/10/2000
Citizens Condemn "Roadless Areas Initiative"
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Press Release

Citizens Condemn "Roadless Areas Initiative"

Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation today condemned the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) proposal for placing 54 million acres of land into de-facto Wilderness status under the guise of the "Roadless Areas Initiative." The proposal would effectively ban most human activity in these areas. Since the plan was first announced by President Clinton on October 30 of last year, the amount of land to be placed off-limits has increased by 35 percent.

07/10/2000
Washington CSE and Congressman Doc Hastings Host Environmental Town Hall Meeting
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Press Release

Washington CSE and Congressman Doc Hastings Host Environmental Town Hall Meeting

“By the way CSE is a great group. Not only here in Washington State but they are national as well. In Washington D.C. they are very active on Capitol Hill and many lawmakers rely on CSE’s position papers.” --Congressman Doc Hastings

07/10/2000
Tech Bytes - Tid Bits in Tech News: Polling Futility
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Press Release

Tech Bytes - Tid Bits in Tech News: Polling Futility

Last month, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) released the results of a Wirthlin Worldwide survey on Americans’ viewpoints about Internet taxation. According to Wirthlin, “Americans support collecting existing state and local sales taxes on Internet purchases.” This should be no surprise because existing state and local sales taxes already apply to the Internet and electronic commerce.

07/10/2000
How would breaking up Microsoft Corp. affect the economy? Consumers Would Be Hit Hardest
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How would breaking up Microsoft Corp. affect the economy? Consumers Would Be Hit Hardest

BY Sen. Slade Gorton

More than a year ago, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Microsoft Corp., which is based in my home state of Washington. While I believe the lawsuit was ill-advised in the first place, the remedy decision handed down by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to split Microsoft into two separate companies is simply disastrous. His decision, if carried into practice, would have a terrible impact on the U.S. economy for decades to come, cost consumers billions of dollars and set a troubling precedent for government regulation of the high-tech industry.

07/10/2000
Civil Justice Reforms in Texas, Florida, and Alabama
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Press Release

Civil Justice Reforms in Texas, Florida, and Alabama

Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) is hundreds of thousands of volunteer activists working for less government and lower taxes. For the past 15 years, CSE and our educational affiliate, CSE Foundation, have identified, educated, and activated citizens who are passionate about showing up to support free enterprise and limited government. CSE’s Civil Justice Reform Campaign was conceived in 1998 with the notion that our civil justice system is simply not working, and that trial lawyers are robbing decent, honest Americans of their money, trust, freedom, and peace of mind.

07/09/2000
Texas CSE Injects Key Issues into the Texas State Republican Convention Platform
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Press Release

Texas CSE Injects Key Issues into the Texas State Republican Convention Platform

(Houston, Texas) On June 17th and June 18th, 9,000 Texan delegates convened to determine their Year 2000 Platform. Texas CSE was there to inject our key economic issues into the platform – and we did!

07/07/2000
Correction
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Correction

In a story in Friday's A section, the number of Texas members of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy was misstated: It is 48,000. Also, information about the Center for Public Policy Priorities was incorrect: The center's executive director is Dianne Stewart, and its e-mail address is cppp@cppp.org.

07/07/2000
Correction
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Correction

Koch legal work A report Sunday about Washington lawyer Robert Bennett's work for Koch Industries incorrectly said its executives were spending up to $1 million on an ad campaign against first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the New York Senate race. The money is being raised by a political action committee formed by the Citizens for a Sound Economy, a Washington-based think tank founded by Koch family foundations. Koch officials say, however, that neither the company nor family members have given money to the PAC or a related political fund.

07/07/2000
Chilean brings support for private Social Security system at Grams' invitation
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Chilean brings support for private Social Security system at Grams' invitation

BY Eric Black

If Chile could successfully privatize its Social Security system in 1980, it should be easier for the United States to do so now, Jose Pinera, the architect of Chile's highly touted and much copied privatized pension program, said Thursday in the Twin Cities. Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn., whose own plan to privatize the U.S. Social Security system is based on Chile's in many respects, said that Chile's success proves "this isn't just pie in the sky."

07/07/2000

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