At CFIF, the issue of improving taxpayer privacy and protection against persistent abuse by the Internal…
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Quote of the Day: Taxpayer Privacy and IRS Abuse

At CFIF, the issue of improving taxpayer privacy and protection against persistent abuse by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) remains among our most important missions.  Among the abuses that we've chronicled is the case of convicted criminal Charles Littlejohn, who rejoined the IRS in 2017 with the specific purpose of illegally breaching and leaking the private tax returns of Donald Trump and other Americans to radical left-wing organizations like ProPublica.

In The Wall Street Journal this week, one of those victims speaks out on his own experience and the need for greater taxpayer protection against this recurring problem that should terrify all Americans of every political persuasion.  Ira Stoll, whose tax information was passed to ProPublica, even helpfully details how…[more]

May 29, 2024 • 11:28 AM

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Intellectual Property: America Still Leads the World Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, October 26 2017
Today, as illustrated by the release of the Property Rights Alliance's (PRA's) annual Property Rights Index, America's tradition of IP exceptionalism continues.

Consider the following relationship, and ask yourself whether it's more likely causal or purely coincidental. 

Among the numerous elements of American exceptionalism, the United States maintains the world's strongest protections for intellectual property (IP)  creations of the mind, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets. 

We also happen to stand unrivaled as the most inventive, artistically prolific, technologically advanced, prosperous and powerful nation in human history. 

There's not even a close second.  From the Wright brothers to Neil Armstrong, from Alexander Graham Bell to Bill Gates, from Jonas Salk to splitting the atom, from silent films to "Star Wars," from the first phonographs to iTunes, from the Coca-Cola logo to the Apple icon, it's astounding just how singular our legacy of invention and creativity is compared to every other society. 

We aren't the world's most populous nation.  Nor are we the most resource-blessed nation in the manner that nations like Russia or Brazil can boast.  Nor are we uniquely distinguishable in our historical maturation from subject colony to modern nation.  Similar examples abound, from Australia to Canada, from Argentina to Mexico, from India to Algeria. 

What does distinguish the U.S., however, is our historic and ongoing commitment to protecting IP rights. 

Our Founding Fathers considered IP so sacred that they deliberately safeguarded it in the text of the Constitution.  Article I, Section 8 reads, "The Congress shall have the Power ... [t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."  

Although some attempt to dismiss that clause as solely utilitarian, their supposition ignores the fact that Utilitarianism as a major philosophical movement didn't even gain popular currency for several decades.  Rather, the Founding Fathers were steeped in natural rights philosophies.  James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, stated in The Federalist No. 43, "The copyright of authors has been solemnly adjudged, in Great Britain, to be a right of common law."   Madison's outlook echoes natural rights philosopher John Locke's assertion that, "Our handiwork becomes our property because our hands - and the energy, consciousness, and control that fuel their labor - are our property." 

Several decades later, former patent attorney Abraham Lincoln observed, "The patent system added the fuel of the interest to the fire of genius."  Not only do IP rights provide utilitarian incentive for innovation, they advance fairness and justice by securing for innovators the fruits of their labor and expense. 

Today, as illustrated by the release of the Property Rights Alliance's (PRA's) annual Property Rights Index, America's tradition of IP exceptionalism continues. 

Although the U.S. placed just 14th globally in overall property rights protection, and a disturbing 20th in terms of legal and political ranking, we once again placed first in IP first in patent protection, and first in copyright protection. 

Here's why that's so important.  The current estimated value of total American IP measures approximately $5 trillion.  That's higher than the total gross domestic product (GDP) of every other nation in the world, with the bare exception of China. 

Moreover, amid an increasingly cutthroat global marketplace, IP accounts for over half of all U.S. exports.  American IP-exporting businesses also account for nearly 55 million employees, and their average annual earnings exceed non-IP workers' wages by nearly 30%. 

It's also important to note that our economy and workforce are increasingly knowledge-based, as opposed to the agricultural or industrial economies of yesteryear.  That places an even higher premium on IP rights with each passing year. 

Unfortunately, both domestic and foreign threats to America's IP system persist, just as threats to physical property rights persist.  Companies, individuals and foreign regimes seeking to simply steal others' creations for their own use or profit not only violate IP laws, but actively advocate weakening them. 

But such critics must answer an insurmountable challenge.  If America's IP rights are too strong, and if some better alternative exists, how is it that no other nation today or throughout human history even begins to rival America's record of invention and innovation?  It's not as though innumerable alternative regimes less protective of IP don't exist. 

As confirmed by the latest PRA Index, the simple reality is that America leads the world in IP protection, and as a result in innovation.  In an increasingly knowledge-based global economy, we can't afford to let that advantage slip away. 

Notable Quote   
"Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says Democrats have tipped their hand to their desire to unleash noncitizen voting by opposing his state's citizenship verification in court and he is urging elections chiefs in other states to fight such lawsuits.Georgia's citizenship verification system has prevented noncitizens from getting on state voter rolls, but the state had to defend it in court…[more]
— Natalia Mittelstadt, Just the News
Liberty Poll   

Which would be the most useful for voters: a televised presidential debate that only includes Trump and Biden or one that adds Kennedy?