This Sunday, April 26, is World Intellectual Property Day ( World IP Day) and the theme for this year’s observance is the protection of the intellectual property of music. World IP Day brings attention to the importance of intellectual property and why it is such a major part of the innovative foundations that have helped to generate a tremendous amount of economic impact not just in the United States but around the world. Even though this year’s focus is on music, there are many battles being fought around the world including countries forcing companies to give up their brands through plain packaging.
This article originally appeared in Townhall.com on April 14, 2015
One can’t help but be impressed by the seemingly great strides solar energy has been making of late. Bullish reports abound of added capacity, aggressive expansion, technical advances and a solar jobs boom. Industry elites engage in bold financial maneuvers that would make Gordon Gekko proud. But don dark enough shades to see through the media-generated glare, and the picture looks less sunny -- and sometimes maybe a little shady. The boom -- some might even call it a “bubble” -- America’s solar energy industry is enjoying stems neither from overwhelming competitive-market success nor from long-promised technological breakthroughs that finally made solar a major player in the U.S. energy sector. On the contrary, Solar today remains a niche energy provider, generating just 0.6 percent of all U.S. electricity, despite nearly four decades of taxpayer generosity, government favoritism and pampered treatment. The sobering reality is that Big Solar’s day in the sun simply couldn’t be possible, and doesn’t appear economically sustainable, without continuous diversions of tax money, government assistance, energy portfolio carve-outs and utility cost-shifting schemes of various kinds. All are aimed at creating a “market” for solar that the industry apparently can’t establish on its own.
Trade is an extremely important issue right now as the U.S. economy continues to struggle as millions of Americans still find themselves jobless and our deficit and debt continue to grow. This is one area where the White House and President Obama have a unique opportunity to come together to approve and ratify trade agreements that benefit working Americans and taxpayers, while at the same time preserving the interest of the country both here and abroad. Last week, bipartisan and bicameral deal was reached on legislation known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). The bill was hammered out by Senators Orin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), along with Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). TPA would ensure that the executive could finalize negotiations on trade agreements, while making sure Congress retained control including oversight on any deal reached. Today, more than twenty organizations joined in a coalition effort supporting the legislation and sent a letter to Congress urging approval of TPA.
Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted along party lines to approve a net neutrality plan proposed by Chairman Tom Wheeler that was more than 300 pages long. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) was quick to criticize the proposal as completely antithetical to the innovative nature that has been a hallmark of the Internet for nearly two decades. Even though the rules have been published in the Federal Register and are set to take effect on June 12, 2015, there is a long road ahead and the battle over the future of the regulation is still far from being resolved. As expected, the FCC decision sparked a number of lawsuits questioning the FCC’s authority to regulate the Internet under Title II (click here to read a previous blog posting on Title II). Currently, a total of seven legal actions have been taken against the FCC and their plans for net neutrality. This is not the first time the FCC has been challenged on net neutrality rules in the courts. Last year the FCC lost in Federal Appeals Court against Verizon in which the court held the FCC exceeded their authority with new rules on internet providers.
It’s been just a few weeks since Congress passed a budget, and in that time TPA has been watching to see what will happen next. Just this week, both the House and Senate voted to set up a conference on the budget so that each Chamber’s version can be formed into one that can be voted on for final passage. Although Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) recognized some positive reforms sought after in the budget resolution, there continue to be problems for taxpayers. Right now the key issue is in the Pentagon spending portion and specifically the money in the House version allocated for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Account. Last week, TPA joined a coalition effort led by Taxpayers for Common Sense urging the conferees to adhere to a Senate point of order “against Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) spending that exceeds the generous level included in the budget request, roughly $58 billion.” The letter was also signed by Campaign for Liberty, Coalition to Reduce Spending, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, National Taxpayers Union, Niskanen Center, and R Street Institute. TPA will be watching the conference closely and will keep you updated as more develops.
Tax Day 2015 just wrapped up and as Americans all around the country have just finished paying a portion of their hard-earned money over to the federal government, it is discouraging to see what is happening at many of the federal agencies. There are power grabs, wasteful spending, and in the case of the United States Postal Service (USPS) a continued drive away from the original mission of the organization: delivering the mail. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been a vocal critic of the management of the USPS. First, there was the initiative by the agency to get into the grocery delivery business in a partnership with Amazon. This partnership was based on a trial run of limited grocery delivery without any true accounting of cost or performance, and it also distorted the market and private sector options already available, which are not backed by the government. Next, TPA called out the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on their leadership and how former PRC Chair Ruth Goldway was taking taxpayer-funded trips around the globe while the agency she was in charge of regulating continued to lose billions of dollars each quarter. Now it seems the USPS is expanding their horizons again, and delving into industries they have no business being a part of when they continue to operate in the red. In a disturbing trend that seems to be getting worse, some are looking to give the USPS banking powers and expanding on the original mission of the agency to deliver letters. This was an idea championed a year ago by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and it seems to be gaining new traction.
Tax Day 2015 is tomorrow! As taxpayers around the country do what they need to finish up their annual tax filings, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) thought it would be the perfect time to go out and talk to people about tax reform. TPA hit the streets of Washington D.C. to talk to everyday Americans from around the country about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and tax reform (click here to see the video). People from all walks of life in our nation's capitol spoke with TPA about their views on what Congress should do to benefit all taxpayers. The video is a sobering reminder of just how important individual and corporate reform is to the economy, and how views of the IRS are still plagued by the bad image the agency has after recent scandals. TPA invites you to sit back and watch as folks take a minute to have their voice heard in honor of Tax Day 2015! And, please let us know what you think of the tax system by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to send us your own tax reform videos so we can share your story and ideas with the rest of the country.
Tax Day 2015 is this week and there’s no better time to remind Washington that the need for real and comprehensive tax reform is critical. The tax code continues to be extremely complicated, as TPA’s recent interviews on the streets of DC (see video here) showed. Congress needs to act in way that will both to increase investment for American businesses and have a positive impact for working families nationwide. This morning, Taxpayers Protection Alliance submitted public comments to the Senate Finance Committee on both individual and corporate tax reform. TPA encourages others to comment at Individual@finance.senate.gov and Business@finance.senate.gov.
Even though Congress passed a budget before their Spring Break, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) expressed concerns with Defense spending. The problem is that that the budget includes a spending request higher than what the President wanted. One particular problem is that the Overseas Contingency Operations Account (OCO) is still being used by Washington as a slush fund to get around spending caps is still a problem. In addition to OCO, there are plenty of opportunities for cutting waste and TPA was part of coalition urging specific ways to save money on Pentagon spending, without jeopardizing national security. Now, there is more news of money being wasted overseas funded through the OCO. Nobody’s interests are being served when men and women risk their lives overseas while billions of taxpayer dollars are being wasted.
It’s almost that time. Tax Day 2015 is a week away! As taxpayers around the country do what they need to finish up their annual tax filings, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) thought it would be the perfect time to go out and talk to people about tax reform. TPA hit the streets of Washington D.C. to talk to everyday Americans from around the country about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and tax reform (click here to see the video). People from all walks of life in our nation's capitol spoke with TPA about their views on what Congress should do to benefit all taxpayers. The video is a sobering reminder of just how important individual and corporate reform is to the economy, and how views of the IRS are still plagued by the bad image the agency has after recent scandals. TPA invites you to sit back and watch as folks take a minute to have their voice heard in honor of Tax Day 2015! And, please let us know what you think of the tax system by e-mailing us at email@example.com. Please feel free to send us your own tax reform videos so we can share your story and ideas with the rest of the country.