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

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Biden Caves to Unions Again, Sabotaging Consumers Print
By Betsy McCaughey
Wednesday, October 20 2021
Despite pushing for trillions in new spending, Biden is choosing not to automate American ports. He's kowtowing to his union backers.

From Christmas toys to clothing and auto parts, shortages of imported products are forcing factories to idle, store shelves to sit empty and consumers to panic.

What else is in short supply? The truth about what's causing this economic crisis.

President Joe Biden, who brags about running "the most pro-union administration in history," won't admit that longshoremen's unions are holding the nation hostage, refusing to allow the use of automated equipment to unload container ships and get the goods onto trucks faster. 

The U.S. is the world's largest importer, but its major ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, rank a dismal 328 and 333, respectively, in the World Bank's Container Port Performance Index. That means nightmare inefficiency worse than most developing countries. Not one U.S. port made it into the top 50 for speed and efficiency. In contrast, Japan's Yokohama port ranks No. 1. 

Nearly 100 container ships have been waiting off the Los Angeles coastline to be unloaded. The longer they wait, the more prices for imported goods rise, clobbering consumers. 

On Wednesday, Biden announced a "gamechanger," saying the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would stay open more hours for a "90-day sprint" to Christmas. Truth is, most ports around the world operate 24/7. Port operators here haven't done that in the past because union contracts require paying higher hourly rates for night and weekend labor. Dockworker salaries already average $171,000 a year. Wednesday's announcement was a concession from port operators, not the unions. 

But increased hours won't fix the bottlenecks. The added hours will boost cargo movement by less than 10%, or an estimated 3,500 containers a week. The real problem is the unions' tooth-and-nail opposition to labor-saving equipment. Cranes in automated ports operate at least twice as fast as cranes in outdated U.S. ports. Biden's port envoy John Porcari let the truth out when he said last week, it's "your grandfather's infrastructure that we're working with." 

Unions won't have it any other way. The International Longshoremen's Association contract, which extends to 2024, blocks the use of automation technology. Willie Adams, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents West Coast workers, says automated cargo handling equipment will not be tolerated.

Here's the biggest lie, straight from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. He went on parental leave in August, ignoring the worsening supply crisis. But he emerged from diaper duty long enough on Sunday to shovel some grown-up manure. Buttigieg said dysfunctional ports are "one more example of why we need to pass the infrastructure bill."

In truth, the $17 billion for ports in the infrastructure bill is mostly for emissions reductions, repairs and dredging. Nothing is allocated for labor-saving automation. In fact, section 30102 of Biden's Build Back Better Bill expressly prohibits the use of funds provided there to be used for automation. 

No surprise. Build Back Better is crammed with pro-union favors, including an extra $4,500 sweetener available only to consumers who buy a union-made electric vehicle and a whopping $14,000 tax credit to homeowners who install energy-saving devices and electrical equipment, provided the contractor doing the job is unionized. Otherwise, zip. Organized labor is spending millions in advertising to get the bill passed. 

Biden is bought, paid for and controlled by the unions. Some 98.8% of union money spent on the 2020 presidential contest went to Biden. Now it's payback time. 

The media is hiding that. Last week, a Washington Post news story claimed "voters blame presidents for all sorts of pocketbook problems that presidents can't fix."

Biden could take action, but he won't. Despite pushing for trillions in new spending, Biden is choosing not to automate American ports. He's kowtowing to his union backers. That means keeping America's ports dysfunctional. It's a drag on the overall economy. 

There are many causes of the current supply shortages, from too few truckers to shutdowns in Asia due to COVID. But one problem is fixable: our obsolete ports. If only Biden had the will to act. 


Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of "The Next Pandemic," available at Amazon.com. 

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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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