Delta Airlines increases its fee for checked baggage

CONSUMER AFFAIRS: “With more competition among airlines for routes and flyers, consumers, on the whole, are seeing a great trend in cheaper tickets,” Yaël Ossowski, deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center, a consumer advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., told ConsumerAffairs.

“But that means airlines are having to bump up prices for checked luggage to help recoup some of the costs, but it looks like loyalty to a specific airline is paying out dividends. Many airline customers are applying for airline-branded credit cards that offer free check-in bags and discounted second bags, while others are using the perks of airline status to opt out of the costs.”

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist and informational entrepreneur. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter at Watchdog.org. He is currently seeking a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

British taxpayers ‘should not subsidise scaremongering anti-vaping laws’

EXPRESS: Jeff Stier, of the Consumer Choice Centre, a US consumer watchdog, said: “Both the US and UK are financing an organisation which for years has had problems with corruption and transparency, and the biggest part with transparency issues is the FCT.

“Its policies show that the WHO is fighting vaping in an unscientific way.According to Public health England there is virtually no effect for bystanders  bystanders because there is virtually no smoke. You can smell it, but you can also smell a perfume. And there is very little health risk to the user.

“From a scientific prospective, there is no reason why vaping shouldn’t be allowed in public buildings. There’s no smoke or second-hand smoke.

“Adult smokers should have access to a wide variety of products that meet their needs to help them not smoke cigarettes.”

“I’ve been to a recent meeting and they would not allow journalists, or members of the public or analysts to attend”, added Jeff Stier.

“It wasn’t that they wouldn’t  let us speak  – they wouldn’t even let us hear. “They’re deliberating policies that are affecting countries that we taxpayers are paying for, and

“In the US or UK you’d never get away with this transparency. Lack of transparency leads to bad policy. Transparency matters.”

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

Senators receive award for trying to make flying more expensive

FLYERTALK: The Consumer Choice Center has awarded two senators with a sarcastic Bureau of Nannyism Award (BAN) for their attempts to re-regulate the air travel industry and make flights more expensive.

Two senators have been recognized by the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), a global consumer rights body, for their efforts in making air travel more costly. Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have received September 2018’s Bureau of Nannyism (BAN) award, an accolade that, according a media statement by the CCC, wryly acknowledges, “…the work of an individual or organization that has made major contributions to advocating limits on consumer choice.”

The senators’ names are attached to a provision that is included within the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill. The bill itself is currently with the U.S. Senate, but the provision supported by Markey and Blumenthal – referred to as Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act – could, according to the CCC’s Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski, “…force airlines to abandon the successful business model that has made commercial air travel the most affordable it has been in over 20 years.”

As Ossowski explains, this level of regulation would not only harm consumers, but alter the structure of the air travel industry itself.

“Deregulation of the airline industry helped countless Americans access affordable airline travel for business, leisure, and family obligations. FAIR Fees would be a re-regulation of the U.S. airline industry and would thus lead us back to a command economy in the skies, where flights are accessible to only wealthy passengers and business travelers. That’s the opposite of where we should be heading in the 21st Century,” he states.

The CCC hopes that this month’s prize, given to bring attention to the organization’s #FreeSkiesAreFAIR campaign, will “highlight how the setting of airline prices by politicians will only lead to higher prices for flyers and will be a huge detriment to consumer choice,” explains Ossowski.

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist and informational entrepreneur. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter at Watchdog.org. He is currently seeking a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

Governments are going after airline and credit card fees: why that will cost us more than it saves

You could think of add-on fees this way: they aren’t fees, they’re opt-outs.

Be it credit card fees or extra fees on airlines, politicians are trying to crack down on extra charges in the name of protecting the consumer. In reality, they do quite the opposite.

Since January of this year, credit card fees have been outlawed through a directive by the European Union. Well, that at least is what it said in the newspapers, when in fact the real story is a bit more complicated. The European Union made it illegal for retailers to charge extra when customers purchase with a credit or debit card while doing nothing to stop banks from charging a fee to the retailers. Until this directive, retailers were simply passing bank fees on to the consumer, but are now stuck with the bills. Good news for the consumer? Not quite.

On the other hand, those making purchases online (like airplane tickets), will notice that companies are still charging a general administration fee, which they are allowed to do as long as it is not directly associated with the mode of payment. This can then encompass the credit and debit card fees that companies have to pay to banks, but the slight twist is that now everyone will be charged the fee, regardless of how they chose to make their payment. It is either this option or generally including the fees in higher prices for goods and services. Those who previously tried to avoid the fee by using payment services associated with the company, or those who paid in cash in the store, will now generally be charged more.

And yet, even those who always paid by credit card should not be too hasty in believing that they will be better off on each purchase. If this directive generalizes the cost for each payment, then credit cards are likely to become the preferred option as they offer more purchase protection. Increased use of credit cards would then also lead to generally higher prices and more generalized distribution of costs. So, in essence, nobody wins from this apart from the banks who charge the fees.

The new FAA reauthorization bill in America includes a provision by Sens. Ed Markey, (D-Mass) and Richard Blumenthal, (D-Conn), that would effectively turn the entire business of air travel upside down. The so-called FAIR (Forbid Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous Fees Act) Fees Act targets any fee for a change or cancellation of a reservation for a flight in interstate air transportation, any fee relating to checked baggage to be transported on a flight in interstate air transportation; and any other fee imposed by an air carrier relating to a flight in interstate air travel.

Once again, this legislation appears to have a noble goal on the surface: no additional fees, so cheaper flights! Wrong again.

You could think of air travel fees this way: they aren’t fees, they are opt-outs. When you fly on a short-distance flight in order to visit a friend for the weekend, you might choose that you only need a carry-on, no wifi, and no meal or drinks on the flight. Instead of charging you for commodities you didn’t ask for in the first place, you’ll be exempt from all of them. In fact, fast check-ins or lounges are also services for which airlines and airports charge you a fee, and yet you’d never object to paying for an extra service like this, would you? The reason the two senators could pick up support with such a bill is some people will believe that it would lower their transportation costs when, in fact, it is likely to do the exact opposite.

As usual, it seems to be that the name of the bill is almost the opposite of what it contains. Banning airlines from charging any type of extra fee will lead the companies to re-incorporate all the charges into the average ticket price. Baggage allowances, Wi-Fi, or food and drinks will be available to those passengers who wouldn’t have used them anyway but will now be required to pay for them.

Adding to that: if all fares are fully refundable, airlines will see many last minute cancellations by passengers and we will see many empty seats on planes. Being unable to get a good estimate of how many passengers are actually going to fly (and pay) will lead airlines to increase the average ticket price to cover the inevitable losses.

Consider this: airfares have halved since 1978. This trend has made air travel affordable and therefore accessible to many low-income consumers who never had access to flights before. Uniquely, two senators have now found a way to revert this tremendous success.

Even to those aware of the consequences of banning fees, the word in itself doesn’t sound good. We notice this in our everyday life: paying $3 for Wi-Fi anywhere would be considered an offense, but once generalized in the price of the goods and services, we don’t seem to mind. We have to realize that every opt-out offered to us is actually a choice to consume or not consume, and that makes us freer and wiser in determining what we actually want and need.

Ultimately, those who were always able to afford every extra-service in the first place—such as the bureaucrats and politicians who make these laws—will now benefit even more from spreading extra costs among all consumers.

The EU’s directive wants to “protect” consumers, the FAIR Fees Act claims to be fair. Once again, it seems to be proven that when a piece of legislation has a certain descriptive name, the opposite is usually the case.

Originally published at https://fee.org/articles/governments-are-going-after-airline-and-credit-card-fees-why-that-will-cost-us-more-than-it-saves/

 

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Price controls on checked bag fees will not make flying cheaper

The cheapest return flight from New York to Los Angeles is five times lower today than it was back in the 1970s, when airfares were regulated by the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Despite this massive decrease in fares and increase in consumer choice, some politicians are planning to re-regulate the U.S. airline industry and go back to the days when the government set prices.

The trigger for the revival of this bad idea came when JetBlue announced it will increase the fee for the first checked bag to $30, one of the highest fees for checked bags in the United States. In response, Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., are pushing to re-regulate the U.S. airline industry through the so-called FAIR Fees Act.

While many passengers might be unhappy about JetBlue’s fee increase, you need to think about it in perspective. Not all passengers check bags. This change may let the company lower or keep lower its base fare, thus allowing for very price sensitive passengers to travel for even less when they make do with just a carry on bag.

On the other hand, if JetBlue merely adopts this as a strategy to increase its profit margin, it will find itself at a disadvantage against its competitors.

When Washington gets worried about airlines charging additional fees, they would do better not to blame the airlines, but the tax incentives that are set by the IRS. As airlines expert Gary Leff points out, checked bag fees are apparently not subject to the 7.5 percent excise tax Washington has imposed on airfares. This gives all airlines an incentive to shift as much of their costs as possible onto passengers who are laden with baggage.

So if Markey and Blumenthal are really worried about airline fees, they should work to scrap this excise tax.

Instead of abolishing government fees and taxes, their proposed amendment to the FAA reauthorization lets the FAA set price limits on checked bag fees and seat selection charges. It would also drastically limit how much airlines could charge for same-day ticket changes and cancellation fees. One likely result would be that airlines will stop offering flexible fares at all and raise prices across the board, because the premium that they can charge for flexible tickets would be too low to make this a viable business model.

We can clearly see that the deregulation of the airline industry allowed for low fares and the democratization of air travel. A limit on consumers to one-size-fits-all fare packages will lead to a one-size-fits-all fare schedule that will disproportionately affect price-sensitive consumers.

On most domestic routes, there is already tons of airline competition, such that if one airline starts to get too expensive, passengers will start flying with their competitors. Price and product differentiation has allowed consumers to choose among different airlines and products.

Overburdening regulation, on the other hand, has historically limited choice and competition in the airline industry. Flying can probably become even cheaper than it is right now, but that would require further deregulation and a reduction in government-imposed taxes and fees, not new price controls that will take us back to the days when flying was only possible for the affluent few.

Fred Roeder is managing director of the Consumer Choice Center.

Originally published at https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/price-controls-on-checked-bag-fees-will-not-make-flying-cheaper

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About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

The President’s promise to cut the FDA red tape

Technological advances touch every aspect of our lives, often in ways we rarely think about.

Technological advances touch every aspect of our lives, often in ways we rarely think about. Today, we live longer, healthier, and better lives because of our access to innovative products that were unimaginable in the recent past.

That’s why it’s critical for regulators to make timely and common-sense decisions. Yet excessive risk-aversion is endemic at federal agencies.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is one of the worst offenders. The agency regulates products that account for more than a trillion dollars annually. The FDA’s obsessive dislike for taking on reasonable risk often comes at the cost of creating unreasonable harm. But the agency is rarely held to account for its inaction.

Following the Obama administration’s record-setting number of regulations, there was hope that the new administration would keep its promise to unshackle businesses, large and small, to develop life-improving products and create American jobs.

In addition to enacting new regulations, the agency frequently stymies progress under existing rules.

Under President Obama, the FDA refused to grant pre-market review to a direct to consumer suite of tests by 23andMe, which would have allowed consumers to test whether they were at increased risk of being diagnosed with diseases such as Parkinson’s and Celiac. In doing so, it denied affordable access to information that, in the case of Parkinson’s, could have led those who were genetically predisposed to seek medical advice in the critical early stages of disease, when treatment could slow the progression of the disease.

In the case of Celiac, patients commonly suffer from crippling symptoms for months or years before making difficult but important dietary changes.

Fortunately, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s FDA slightly loosened the rules on genetic testing, but testing companies are still unable to warn patients of the vast majority of diseases out there.

Tobacco Harm Reduction

The agency’s track record is even more troubling when it comes to approving beneficial innovations that could help cigarette smokers quit. The FDA must quickly keep its more than year-old promise “to issue foundational rules to make the product review process more efficient, predictable, and transparent for manufacturers while upholding the agency’s public health mission.” 

Earlier this month, Commissioner Gottlieb reiterated the need to minimize, “addiction to the most harmful products while encouraging innovation in those products that could provide adult smokers access to nicotine without the harmful consequences of combustion.”

Innovative alternatives are critical to public health, especially given that FDA approved nicotine replacement therapies and other currently available medications haven’t done the trick for the approximately 15 percent of American adults who still smoke.

Missed Deadlines

In March of 2017, Philip Morris International (PMI) submitted a pre-marketing tobacco application (PMTA) to the FDA for IQOS, which heats rather than burns tobacco.

Agency-watchers expected the FDA to approve the PMTA by this February, consistent with both the Tobacco Control Act and the agency’s own guidelines. Yet to this day, PMI’s PMTA is gathering dust and seems lost in the process. The approval process for other reduced-risk tobacco product applications drags on with little outward signs of movement.

In Japan, one of a number of countries where IQOS is sold, the non-combustible tobacco product quickly captured 10 percent of the tobacco market, according to the Washington Post.  IQOS seems to deliver exactly what many current smokers want (satisfaction and potentially less harm), and what the FDA has already been calling for (nicotine without combustion).

So, why the delays? FDA, in response to our written query, says it does not comment on pending applications, but that generally, the agency reviews an application as required by law.

An FDA spokesman also told us that, “In the meantime, for smokers who do want to quit, there are proven, FDA-approved smoking cessation prescription medicines, as well as over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, such as skin patches, lozenges and gum, to help in the quitting process.”

In other words, despite the agency’s lofty comments about the need for innovation to help smokers who haven’t been able to quit with the help of currently-available FDA-approved medicinal products, there are always FDA-approved medicinal products. As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

In his 100-day action plan, President Trump singled out the slow-moving FDA, promising reforms that “will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA.” The administration must now decide whether to continue to embrace innovation or return to the slow “business-as-usual” model stymieing scientific advances that can save countless lives.

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

FAIR Fees Act would make air travel more unfair

The new FAA reauthorization bill includes a provision by Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., that would effectively turn the entire business of air travel upside down. The so-called FAIR (Forbid Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous Fees Act) Fees Act targets any fee for a change or cancellation of a reservation for a flight in interstate air transportation, any fee relating to checked baggage to be transported on a flight in interstate air transportation; and any other fee imposed by an air carrier relating to a flight in interstate air transportation.

This bill would be terrible news for consumers.

Over the past decades, air travel has revolutionized the way we go on holidays and visit friends and family. Especially for low-income consumers, the massive decrease in airfares has been a blessing. In fact, airfares have halved since 1978.

Another change in the way we book tickets was introduced during that time: instead of including all possible features during travel (food and drinks, checked bags, reserved seating, etc.) airlines have chosen to make those services optional. Those travelling with little to no luggage on short trips have made immense savings through this type of billing.

Unfortunately, politicians have exploited the language, notably that of calling it a “fee”, to tell consumers that they are the victims of greedy airlines. “With all the frills of flying already gone, airlines are increasingly resorting to nickel and diming consumers with outrageous fees. These runaway charges are anti-consumerism at its worst — in some cases doubling passenger fares despite plummeting fuel costs and soaring airline profits. A parent who wants to sit with his young child, a customer who wants to check or carry on a bag, or have Wi-Fi, or a traveler who needs to change or cancel a reservation should not incur exorbitant, unnecessary fees on the whim of an airline,” says Sen. Blumenthal.

But Blumenthal is wrong. Instead of considering them as fees for additional services, many consumers are happy to be able to opt out of services they weren’t going to use in the first place.

As always, it seems to be that the name of the bill is usually the opposite of what it contains. Banning airlines from charging any type of extra fee will lead the companies to re-incorporate all the charges into the average ticket price. Baggage allowances, Wi-Fi or food&drinks will be available to those passengers who wouldn’t have used them anyway, but will now be required to pay for them.

Adding to that: if all fares are fully refundable, airlines will see many last minute cancellations by passengers and we will see many empty seats on planes. Being unable to get a good estimate how many passengers are actually going to fly (and pay) will lead airlines to increase the average ticket price.

This bill would lead to higher air fares, which will particularly hurt low-income consumers, which were, up until now, benefiting from low fares. FAIR Fees will limit consumer choice and make air travel less affordable for the average American.

Bill Wirtz is a political commentator currently based in Belgium. His articles have been published by Newsweek, The American Conservative, the Washington Examiner, Le Monde, and Le Figaro. He is a Young Voices Advocate, a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education, and works as a Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

Originally published at https://www.newsmax.com/billwirtz/blumenthal-consumer-faa-markey/2018/08/20/id/877894/

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

The President’s promise to cut FDA red tape – a moment of truth

Technological advances touch every aspect of our lives, often in ways we rarely think about. Today, we live longer, healthier, and better lives because of our access to innovative products that were unimaginable in the recent past.

That’s why it’s critical for regulators to make timely and common-sense decisions. Yet excessive risk-aversion is endemic at federal agencies.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is one of the worst offenders. The agency regulates products that account for more than a trillion dollars annually. The FDA’s obsessive dislike for taking on reasonable risk often comes at the cost of creating unreasonable harm. But the agency is rarely held to account for its inaction.

Following the Obama administration’s record-setting number of regulations, there was hope that the new administration would keep its promise to unshackle businesses, large and small, to develop life-improving products and create American jobs.

In addition to enacting new regulations, the agency frequently stymies progress under existing rules.

Under President Obama, the FDA refused to grant pre-market review to a direct to consumer suite of tests by 23andMe, which would have allowed consumers to test whether they were at increased risk of being diagnosed with diseases such as Parkinson’s and Celiac. In doing so, it denied affordable access to information that, in the case of Parkinson’s, could have led those who were genetically predisposed to seek medical advice in the critical early stages of disease, when treatment could slow the progression of the disease.

In the case of Celiac, patients commonly suffer from crippling symptoms for months or years before making difficult but important dietary changes.

Fortunately, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s FDA slightly loosened the rules on genetic testing, but testing companies are still unable to warn patients of the vast majority of diseases out there.

Tobacco Harm Reduction

The agency’s track record is even more troubling when it comes to approving beneficial innovations that could help cigarette smokers quit. The FDA must quickly keep its more than year-old promise “to issue foundational rules to make the product review process more efficient, predictable, and transparent for manufacturers while upholding the agency’s public health mission.” 

Earlier this month, Commissioner Gottlieb reiterated the need to minimize, “addiction to the most harmful products while encouraging innovation in those products that could provide adult smokers access to nicotine without the harmful consequences of combustion.”

Innovative alternatives are critical to public health, especially given that FDA approved nicotine replacement therapies and other currently available medications haven’t done the trick for the approximately 15 percent of American adults who still smoke.

Missed Deadlines

In March of 2017, Philip Morris International (PMI) submitted a pre-marketing tobacco application (PMTA) to the FDA for IQOS, which heats rather than burns tobacco.

Agency-watchers expected the FDA to approve the PMTA by this February, consistent with both the Tobacco Control Act and the agency’s own guidelines. Yet to this day, PMI’s PMTA is gathering dust and seems lost in the process. The approval process for other reduced-risk tobacco product applications drags on with little outward signs of movement.

In Japan, one of a number of countries where IQOS is sold, the non-combustible tobacco product quickly captured 10 percent of the tobacco market, according to the Washington Post.  IQOS seems to deliver exactly what many current smokers want (satisfaction and potentially less harm), and what the FDA has already been calling for (nicotine without combustion).

So, why the delays? FDA, in response to our written query, says it does not comment on pending applications, but that generally, the agency reviews an application as required by law.

An FDA spokesman also told us that, “In the meantime, for smokers who do want to quit, there are proven, FDA-approved smoking cessation prescription medicines, as well as over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, such as skin patches, lozenges and gum, to help in the quitting process.”

In other words, despite the agency’s lofty comments about the need for innovation to help smokers who haven’t been able to quit with the help of currently-available FDA-approved medicinal products, there are always FDA-approved medicinal products. As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

In his 100-day action plan, President Trump singled out the slow-moving FDA, promising reforms that “will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA.” The administration must now decide whether to continue to embrace innovation or return to the slow “business-as-usual” model stymieing scientific advances that can save countless lives.

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. Ross Marchand is TPA’s Director of Policy. Ross Marchand is TPA’s Director of Policy.

Originally published at http://dailycaller.com/2018/08/18/presidents-promise-fda-red-tape/

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

Trump’s Free Trade Suggestion remains Unheard

SPEAK FREELY: During European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s visit to Washington D.C, Donald Trump once again suggested a tariff-and subsidy-free trade area between the European Union and the United States. Yet, the American president continues to fall on deaf ears, for reasons that tell more about the EU than it does about ominous ‘Trumpism’.

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Paper or Plastic? Opt for the Latter

NEWSMAX: Be it bans for plastic straws, taxes on plastic bags, or the phenomena of banning styrofoam in major cities: there is a part of the political spectrum obsessed with ridding the world of plastic. However, their measures beg the question if they’re actually achieving their goals, and what unintended consequences accompany the anti-plastic obsession.

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.