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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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New Study Highlights Value of Copyright and Intellectual Property to U.S. Economy Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, December 15 2016
For the year 2015, output from copyright and copyright-related industries measured $2.1 trillion, which accounted for 12% of the U.S. economy.

Regardless of whether one actually voted for Donald Trump, the spectacle of post-election frenzy by the political left and mainstream media offers a fringe benefit for all conservatives and libertarians to savor. 

Case in point:  Last week's announcement from Carrier that it had agreed with President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to maintain hundreds of jobs at its Indianapolis facility rather than relocate them to Mexico.   Whereas for the past eight years leftist bien pensants applauded Barack Obama's every intrusion into corporate decisionmaking (see, e.g., Boeing's decision to locate jobs in right-to-work South Carolina), this Trump success in saving manufacturing jobs triggered a sudden clutching of pearls. 

Less noticed outside of that manufacturing sector activity, last week also brought positive news in the intellectual property (IP) sector that is often overlooked but increasingly critical in today's information-based global economy. 

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) issued a new study confirming the economic value of copyright industries, defined as "industries whose primary purpose is to create, produce, distribute or exhibit copyright materials" such as film, television, video, software, books, newspapers and other writings. 

For the year 2015, output from copyright and copyright-related industries measured $2.1 trillion, which accounted for 12% of the U.S. economy.  To place that into perspective, the entire manufacturing sector accounted for $2.1 trillion of the U.S. economy for 2015.  Keep in mind that copyright is only one component of IP, which also includes patent and trademark as well. 

In terms of U.S. employment, according to the IIPA report, copyright-related industries accounted for approximately 11.4 million workers in 2015, or 9.39% of the entire private domestic workforce.  Notably, copyright industries create a "compensation premium" in the sense that the average annual earnings for its employees reached $82,117, which is 21% higher than the average annual income of $67,715 for U.S. workers. 

In our era of unprecedented sluggish overall economic growth under the Obama Administration, it's also worth highlighting that copyright industry growth significantly outpaces the overall U.S. economy.  The average annual rate of economic growth since World War II has been 3.3%, but under Obama it has never even reached 3% in a single year.  As the IIPA report notes, however, copyright industries grew at an annual rate of 3.87% between 2012 and 2015, compared to the anemic 2.1% growth of the entire U.S. economy during that same period. 

And amid ongoing public concern over the nation's trade deficit, the copyright industry boosts America's export tally.  Sales of American copyrighted products to foreign buyers in 2015 totaled $177 billion, which the IIPA report notes outstrips other notable export industries: 

As a comparison, the foreign sales of selected copyright industry sectors exceed foreign sales of other U.S. industries, including chemicals (excluding pharmaceuticals and medicines) ($135.8 billion), aerospace products and parts ($134.6 billion), agricultural products ($62.9 billion), and pharmaceuticals and medicines ($58.3 billion). 

Additionally, amid our increasingly hyperpartisan political environment, the degree of bipartisan agreement on the importance of copyright industries and IP more generally is remarkable.  Stalwart conservative Representative Marsha Blackburn (R - Tennessee), for instance, responded to the IIPA report by saying, "Creativity unleashes endless possibilities, as evidenced by the results of this study.  The contributions made by the creative industry to the U.S. economy are remarkable.  It's imperative that we continue pushing to protect intellectual property rights." 

On the opposite end of the political continuum, Representative Judy Chu (D - California) echoed Blackburn's sentiment: 

I founded the Creative Rights Caucus in order to help amplify the work of creators in Congress.  And now, thanks again to this impressive report from IIPA, we can see the important impacts of core copyright industries to our country.  Creative industries form a key part of economies across the country, and they provide good, high-paying jobs that are growing faster than the economy on average...  This report makes it clear that copyright protection is an economic imperative for my district and the rest of the nation." 

Which highlights the reason all of this is important.  Although support for copyright and IP remains broadly bipartisan, some seek to undermine America's copyright protections and tradition of strong IP rights in pursuit of their own narrow self-interest.  For the past eight years, companies like Google that seek to weaken IP protections have maintained outsized influence within the Obama Administration, whose FCC has worked to impose such regulations as recent set-top cable box rules that would undermine creators' property rights. 

Hopefully, along with so many other regulatory endeavors, those threats will come to an end with a Trump Administration that respects America's world-leading copyright and IP protections.  In furtherance of that important cause, the new IIPA report provides a convincing evidentiary boost. 

Notable Quote   
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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?