News
Another Unneeded Regulation on the Table: Cough Medicines
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:49 am | By Katerina Bricker

At the beginning of August, American’s for Tax Reform sent a letter to the FDA's Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Board expressing concern over a proposed rulemaking to regulate the ingredient, Dextromethorphan, in cough medicines. The regulation is in response to worries that the drug is widely abused, despite the fact the drug has long been considered safe by the FDA and the significant measures taken by manufacturers to label and educate consumers.

The drive to push certain cough medicines behind the counter carries with it significant cost increases. As the letter states, “Pushing a drug that is safe and properly labeled behind the counter will also increase health care costs, at a time when consumers are already facing increased taxes and costs on their medical care.”
 
What’s more, the proposed rulemaking poses serious threats to trademarks. Consumers make purchases largely through association with a brand’s trademark. When you have a need and then go to the store to fulfill that need you always want to see the product. If you are searching for a pair of running shoes you go to the store and look at them. You are able to hold and see what they are like right away, thus making it easier to make a purchase. Medicines behind the counter are harder for consumers to identify with. A consumer would have to go ask the pharmacist about the medicine and then look at it there. If some of the cough medicines are behind the counter and some are not, then it will be tough for the companies whose product contains Dextromethorphan to sell their product.
 
Forcing certain cough medicines that contain Dextromethorphan behind the counter creates an unnecessary regulatory burden that impinges on the rights of manufacturers, increases costs on consumers, and will do little to curb the perceived abuse of the drug. I encourage you to follow this issue at www.atr.org.

 

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The Real Blight in Montgomery
Thursday, August 26, 2010 4:35 pm | By Cassandra Baker

As if eminent domain – in which the government seizes one’s property and pays what it sees as “just compensation” – wasn’t bad enough, city officials in Montgomery, Ala. have discovered a loophole that allows them to condemn and demolish private residences without compensation, leaving the owner to foot the bill or else face a lien on the property.
 
Alabama, which took a stand in favor of private property rights five years ago by outlawing eminent domain except for publicly-funded projects, allows exceptions for the seizure of blighted properties. Under the law, buildings can be demolished “due to poor design, obsolescence, or neglect” if they can have an effect on public safety such as mold contamination or are structurally weak and prone to collapse.
 
This loophole, however, is now being exploited by Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, who is hoping to attract higher-income developers to the city’s famous Civil Rights Trail at the expense of the lower-income families who currently live there. Mayor Strange has said that by condemning these properties, he is cleaning up the city and making the neighborhood safer for all residents, but the citizens who have had their homes destroyed aren’t buying it. Several residents who have had their houses declared “in disrepair” have teamed with the Institute for Justice and are fighting back against the Montgomery City Council to protect their basic right to private property.
 
 
If the Montgomery city officials are allowed to decide, willy-nilly, which houses are threats to public safety and which houses are not, who is to say that the government can’t tear down your house simply because someone didn’t like it? Instead of punishing these families for not living up to some arbitrary standard of housing, perhaps the city of Montgomery could take care of the true blight – politicians like Todd Strange who favor the potential of increased revenues over the well-being of his city’s citizens.

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Harry Reid's New Energy Bill is a Property Rights Disaster
Tuesday, August 3, 2010 4:54 pm | By Anthony Lizan

The hits keep coming from Harry Reid. His new energy bill, the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act of 2010 (S. 3663), is a property rights disaster in the making. The act would provide a perpetual, and wholly unnecessary, source of funding for the Land & Water Conservation Fund, which is used to pay for government land grabs. Currently, the $900 million allocated to the fund yearly must be appropriated by Congress. If Reid gets his way, “amounts shall be made available from the fund without further appropriation.”

Without Congressional expenditure approval, Reid’s bill would leave the door wide open for further spending abuse, something that happens often within the federal government. The Heritage Foundation notes,

“Reid’s bill would fill the fund with a minimum of just under $5 billion through fiscal year 2016. Spending these funds would no longer require congressional approval. Between fiscal year (FY) 2017 and FY 2020, all LWCF funding—without fiscal year limitation—would be subject to appropriations. For FY 2021 and beyond, the LWCF pot would be filled with a minimum of a half billon annually and, again, evade congressional approval.”

Allowing federal agencies to spend more without oversight, smacks in the face the promise of transparency and accountability made by the Administration. Moreover, at a time when the budget deficit and national debt are gargantuan, increasing spending—especially on property expropriation—makes no sense. With estimated $9.6 billion maintenance backlog, further spending will only burden the National Park Service, and more importantly—the taxpayers.

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