In our latest Liberty Update, we highlight an eye-opening new study confirming how drug price controls…
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AEI's Michael Rosen: "Omicron Variant Sows Chaos but Doesn’t Move Needle on Patent Waiver Debate"

In our latest Liberty Update, we highlight an eye-opening new study confirming how drug price controls kill pharmaceutical investment and innovation at the worst possible time, when America and the entire world depend upon them more than ever.

In similar vein, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Adjunct Fellow and healthcare expert Michael Rosen nicely illustrates how the omicron variant of Covid has paused the destructive global effort to suspend enforcement of patent rights belonging to lifesaving vaccine developers:

But the new omicron variant of the virus has intervened, shelving the planned WTO meeting and throwing into continued contrast the supposed haves and have-nots of vaccine protection...  But the EU has held firm in resisting the vaccine waiver, and rightly so."

Unfortunately…[more]

December 06, 2021 • 12:20 PM

Liberty Update

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Troubling Signs Portend a Biden Economic Bust Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, June 10 2021
Accordingly, the U.S. economy isn’t just falling short of Biden Administration promises of monthly job growth that its spending plan would achieve, it’s falling below what would’ve occurred if they’d done nothing.

What’s wrong with this emerging picture?  

Just five months ago, Joe Biden inherited a turbocharging economy, months of record monthly job growth numbers and a vaccination program that was already conquering the Covid pandemic.  Biden himself was vaccinated before he took office.  

In the short period since his inauguration, however, Biden’s bumbling plan to spend, tax and regulate our economy to even higher speeds instead appears to be slowing it down.  It must perplex him that he could pour trillions of additional dollars into an accelerating economy and only manage to subdue it.  

Biden campaigned on the slogan “Build Back Better,” but a more accurate slogan might be “Budding Biden Bust.”  

That unsettling reality took clearer form this month when the Labor Department announced that payrolls fell well short of expectations for the second consecutive month.  As recently as March, the economy added 785,000 new jobs, but April came in nearly 1 million short of expectations at 278,000, followed by 559,000 in May, approximately 100,000 below expectations.  

With the U.S. population approaching widescale immunity and government lockdowns ending, we should instead be witnessing acceleration, not consecutive months of malaise.  

In equally troubling news, the labor force contracted by 53,000 in May, with the labor force participation rate falling to 61.6%.  

That simply shouldn’t be happening right now.  This week, the number of available jobs increased by 1 million to 9.3 million.  That number not only exceeds pre-pandemic numbers, it’s the highest number of job openings ever recorded.  

Meanwhile, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) reported that half of all small businesses cannot fill job vacancies, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that 91% of surveyed companies report that the shortage of job applicants is slowing the economy in their areas.  

All of this constitutes a slowdown from just a few months ago, as Deutsche Bank chief U.S. economist Matthew Luzzetti notes:  

It is disappointing relative to where we were just a few months ago, where we were anticipating you could see a million-plus type prints over these coming months.  We have had to ratchet down our expectations about what job gains are likely to be going forward.  

So we’re experiencing a record number of job openings, and weekly unemployment claims continue to fall toward pre-pandemic levels, yet people simply aren’t taking jobs.  What gives?  

The Biden Administration and its apologists rationalize that potential workers remain concerned about contracting coronavirus, but that doesn’t withstand even passing scrutiny.  Any adult seeking vaccination has been able to get one for months now, and infections continue to plummet.  This week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported consecutive days without a single Covid death in California, the nation’s most populous state.  

The Biden Administration also falsely claims that he inherited an economy in a “tailspin,” attempting to portray these disappointing numbers as an improvement over what came before he arrived with his tax-spend-regulate agenda.  But the verifiable numbers refute that claim.  After contracting by 31.4% between April and June of last year, the U.S. economy grew by a record 33.4% in the third quarter of 2020, followed by 4.3% growth in the fourth quarter and 6.4% growth in the first quarter of this year, before any of Biden’s agenda took effect.  

Similarly, the U.S. economy added an average of 1.4 million jobs each month between May 2020 and Biden’s inauguration, but as highlighted above we’ve now entered a dramatic and disappointing slowdown.  

The simple fact is that Biden inherited a rapidly growing economy, not one in a “tailspin.”  

A better explanation for these early signs of economic malaise is the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer agenda itself, including an unnecessary $2 trillion “stimulus” bill even as the economy achieved escape velocity, and an additional $300 every week in unemployment benefits that meant many Americans receive more in unemployment than they’d earn by taking an available job.  

Just as damning are the Biden Administration’s own job projections while selling its wasteful spending plan, as American Enterprise Institute (AEI) economist Matt Weidinger explains:  

On February 1, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that even without further legislation an average of 521,000 jobs per month would be created between the fourth quarters of 2020 and 2021.  Those 6 million jobs would result from the continued recovery from the pandemic as well as the significant bipartisan stimulus enacted in December 2020.  White House economists on February 3 cited an analysis by Moody’s Analytics that projected the American Rescue Plan would create an additional “4 million jobs in 2021” compared with that “baseline without additional fiscal stimulus” described by CBO.  Viewed from February, that would have required the economy to produce over 900,000 jobs per month for the rest of this year.  But if the economy is not even creating the jobs forecast without the American Rescue Plan, it is nowhere near producing even the first of the additional four million jobs supporters suggested that legislation would create.  

Accordingly, the U.S. economy isn’t just falling short of Biden Administration promises of monthly job growth that its spending plan would achieve, it’s falling below what would’ve occurred if they’d done nothing.  

Meanwhile, the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer spending blowout is also producing disturbing early signs of inflation.  We’re now witnessing commodity price increases unseen in years, and consumer prices increased at an annualized rate of over 6% in the first four months of this year.  

It is frequently said that those who fail to learn from history are bound to repeat it.  Without a course correction soon, the Biden Administration appears in early danger of bringing back not only the unprecedented economic and jobs stagnation of the Obama years, but also the inflation of the Carter malaise.   

Quiz Question   
Which of the following is famously known as “a date which will live in infamy”?
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Notable Quote   
 
"A bank that misplaced over one-fifth of its deposits would be shut down almost immediately. So would a hospital that bungled one in five operations, or a private health insurer that mishandled one-fifth of its claims.But apparently, the bar is a lot lower for government programs. The Biden administration recently admitted that 'improper payments' made up 21.69% of total Medicaid spending in fiscal…[more]
 
 
—Sally Pipes, President, CEO, and the Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Healthcare Policy at the Pacific Research Institute
— Sally Pipes, President, CEO, and the Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Healthcare Policy at the Pacific Research Institute
 
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