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Capitol Comment 285 - “Privacy Online”: Fear and Loathing at the FTC
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 285 - “Privacy Online”: Fear and Loathing at the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) recommendations in Privacy Online: Fair Information Practices in the Electronic Marketplace have replaced the heat and humidity as this summer’s most stifling climatic development. The FTC’s suggestion that legislation is needed to supplement industry self-regulation disregards private-sector developments and long-established American values.

06/23/2000
Capitol Comment 284 - Privacy: While Legislators Debate, Others Innovate
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 284 - Privacy: While Legislators Debate, Others Innovate

Privacy is this year’s ubiquitous issue. It can be found on bookshelves, magazine covers, the evening news, and in campaign speeches. Privacy applies to different aspects of people’s lives, from medical records to financial records to shopping habits. Definitions of privacy vary, but it might be best described as the control we have over information about ourselves.

06/22/2000
Capitol Comment 283 - It’s Time to Bury the Death Tax
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 283 - It’s Time to Bury the Death Tax

No section of the tax code is more unfair and more dangerous to our entrepreneurial economy than the death tax. With rates as high as 55 percent, the death tax punishes people who build a successful business or farm and try to leave that legacy to their kids. Moreover, the death tax’s modest contributions to the federal Treasury are dwarfed by its staggering impact on the U.S. economy. Repealing the death tax is the right thing to do for American family farms, businesses, and the new economy

06/08/2000
Capitol Comment 282 - The Big Sugar Bailout: A Bittersweet Reminder of the Federal Legacy of Everglades Destruction
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 282 - The Big Sugar Bailout: A Bittersweet Reminder of the Federal Legacy of Everglades Destruction

On May 11, 2000, in one of the most blatant cases of corporate welfare to come down the road in recent years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that its Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) planned to buy and store 150,000 tons of surplus sugar. This most recent bailout of the heavily subsidized U.S. sugar industry involves spending $60 million in taxpayer funds to purchase the surplus. Good weather, expanded plantings, improved productivity, and more imports have brought the domestic price of sugar down 25 percent over the last year.

06/07/2000
Capitol Comment 277 - Where Do Unions and Government Workers Invest Their Pension Funds?
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 277 - Where Do Unions and Government Workers Invest Their Pension Funds?

Many of the major unions in the United States have joined Vice President Al Gore in a well-orchestrated campaign against Governor George W. Bush’s proposal to allow workers to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts that they control. Like Gore, the union bosses say that personal retirement accounts will undermine Social Security and put workers’ retirement “at risk” to the uncertainties of the stock market.

05/17/2000
Capitol Comment 276 - Annexation in North Carolina: Democracy Denied
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 276 - Annexation in North Carolina: Democracy Denied

Over the past decade, North Carolina has experienced a period of rapid growth. Along with this growth have come demands from cities and towns for larger budgets and new tax revenue. To meet this demand, more and more municipalities are resorting to a controversial procedure known as "involuntary annexation."

05/10/2000
Capitol Comment 275 - Clinton Has It Backward: More Telephone Service Would Result From Fewer Taxes, Not New Taxes
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 275 - Clinton Has It Backward: More Telephone Service Would Result From Fewer Taxes, Not New Taxes

Amid a flurry of travel last month, President Clinton – flanked by two commissioners from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – announced new programs to help poor Americans get online. Unfortunately, his latest proposal will only trap the poorest of American consumers into yesterday’s technologies. Clinton announced a $17 million – or about 3 percent – increase to the federal Lifeline1 program, a telephone service subsidy for poor Americans.

05/09/2000
Capitol Comment 274 - It's the New New Economy, Stupid!
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 274 - It's the New New Economy, Stupid!

In 1992, Bill Clinton coasted into the White House on a simple message: It's the economy, Stupid. During his two terms in the White House, we saw a communications revolution that gave birth to the "New Economy." As he prepares to leave office, President Clinton's legacy could be described as the beginning of the "New New Economy." Government lawyers and their private-sector trial-lawyer counterparts are attempting to replace engineers and designers as the driving force in the technology sector.

04/27/2000
Capitol Comment 288 - Universal Service Subsidies Constrain Local Telephone Competition
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 288 - Universal Service Subsidies Constrain Local Telephone Competition

For most of this century, regulators and legislators have considered cheap local phone service akin to a basic human right, nearly as important as free speech itself. Phone companies cashed in on this political preference by promising “affordable” service for all in exchange for monopolies. But now that competition in local service is legal, new competitors in the residential market find themselves up against established firms that are required by regulation to sell service at prices well below cost.

04/21/2000
Capitol Comment 273 - Class Action Lawsuits: We Are All Victims Now
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 273 - Class Action Lawsuits: We Are All Victims Now

Not everyone is getting rich through tech stocks these days. There is a large group of people becoming wealthy through another hot investment: the state-based class action lawsuit. Unfortunately, it is the trial lawyers who reap huge benefits, while plaintiffs often receive only coupons. The Class Action Fairness Act of 1999 (S. 353) is a positive step towards reining in frivolous class action lawsuits and the trial lawyers who encourage them.

04/03/2000

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