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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

Liberty Update

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2019 Index of Economic Freedom: America Finally Regains Its Footing Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 31 2019
The Trump Administration commenced a deregulatory agenda and cut taxes, and GDP growth has already averaged that allegedly unachievable 3% during its six full quarters in power.

After a decade of decline, the United States is finally enjoying a renaissance in economic freedom. 

So says the just-released 2019 edition of the Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom, which for twenty-five years has ranked the world’s nations in terms of property rights, rule of law, taxes, government spending, regulatory burden and market openness. 

For anyone still wondering why America’s economy has accelerated while economies like China’s, Europe’s and much of the globe’s continue to stall, look no further. 

As the Index demonstrates statistically and thoroughly, a nation’s prosperity correlates directly with its economic freedom.   It therefore comes as no surprise that wealthy Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia populate the Index’s top five, while impoverished Congo, Eritrea, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea constitute its bottom five. 

And in that vein, America’s current economic acceleration is similarly no surprise.  According to the 2019 Index, our resurgence has been sudden, significant and fruitful: 

According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, America’s economic freedom has seen a dramatic boost – from 18th place in the world to 12th place in the span of just one year.  America’s score ticked up by more than a full point from last year, reaching the highest level in eight years… 

The vibrant growth we’re feeling has been unleashed by several key policy changes over the past two years, the most important being the 2017 tax cuts and deregulation.  Real gross domestic product grew by upward of 3 percent over the last four quarters – unlike anything seen in the last 13 years. 

That constitutes a welcome reversal of what we experienced under Barack Obama, when the U.S. suffered eight consecutive years of decline and consequent malaise. 

When Obama entered the White House in 2009, the United States ranked 6th in the Heritage index.  But by the time he departed, we’d plummeted to 17th, and had fallen from its “Free” category to “Mostly Free.” 

In January 2017, here’s how Heritage summarized that deterioration: 

Having registered its lowest economic freedom score ever, the United States is no longer among the world's 15 freest economies…  The anemic recovery since the great recession has been characterized by a lack of labor market dynamism and depressed levels of investment.  The substantial expansion of government's size and scope, increased regulatory tax burdens, and the loss of confidence that has accompanied a growing perception of cronyism, elite privilege, and corruption have severely undermined America's global competitiveness.

The negative consequences of our deterioration under Obama were unambiguous. 

For example, consider that for the first time in U.S. history, we endured an entire decade without once achieving even 3% economic growth.  To put that in perspective, the U.S. has averaged 3.3% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) annually since World War II.  

And in terms of jobs, under Obama the U.S. endured its longest streak of consecutive months with unemployment exceeding 8% since recordkeeping began.  Keep in mind that at the beginning of his term while selling his wasteful trillion-dollar “stimulus” package, Obama and his economic team assured us that unemployment would exceed 8% at all.  

Obama, with the assistance of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, increased taxes, accelerated wasteful spending, created more national debt than all previous presidents combined and increased regulation in every sector of the American economy. 

All it got us was record debt and the worst economic “recovery” in recorded U.S. history. 

By the end of Obama’s term, we were assured by leftist economists like Paul Krugman and Lawrence Lindsay that it was simply the “new normal.”   Economic growth of 3%, they proclaimed, was a thing of the past.  Donald Trump’s promises to the contrary during the 2016 campaign, they scoffed, were fantasy. 

But then a funny thing happened. 

The Trump Administration commenced a deregulatory agenda and cut taxes, and GDP growth has already averaged that allegedly unachievable 3% during its six full quarters in power. 

In terms of employment, the number of open jobs exceeds the number of unemployed Americans for the first time in history, which is astounding.  Weekly jobless claims have plummeted below 200,000 for the first time since the 1960s, when the U.S. workforce was less than half its current total. 

The takeaway is simple:  Over the past two years, economic freedom has increased in the U.S., and economic prosperity has accelerated along with it. 

That’s something Americans must remember with Nancy Pelosi regaining control of the House, and with leftist politicians openly embracing socialism.  Despite the wealth of obvious evidence, too many would still rather pursue the path of Venezuela than the path of Switzerland.  We mustn’t allow that regression to resume.

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?