Every Tax Day is a painful reminder of how all levels of government waste taxpayer dollars. News coverage of an April 15th press event with new General Motors CEO Mary Barra (read here and watch here) is a harsh reminder of the $10 billion taxpayers lost in the federal government bailout of “Government Motors.” And now, the ongoing troubles with their safety recall of 1.6 millions vehicles and the lack of answers made available at a series of Congressional hearings only add insult to injury. There was much debate when the government bailed out GM back in 2009 and taxpayers were promised a return on the nearly $50 billion investment. However, in late December 2013 the U.S. Treasury Department announced it had sold back its remaining shares of GM stock - at a loss of $10 billion. As reported by USA Today, the now-departed CEO Dan Akerson said at the time that he did not think the automaker should repay the $10 billion. So $10 billion later, taxpayers also started the New Year to news that GM was recalling 1.6 million vehicles due to a safety issue that is connected to 13 deaths and another 31 injuries. We then learn that the company knew about the safety default and sat on it for nearly a decade.
(Ryan Ellis is the Tax Policy Director of Americans for Tax Reform, this post originally appeared on the ATR website Wednesday, April 16, 2014) There has been the usual tax day-related glut of articles from liberal publications urging a federal takeover of the tax preparation business. As always, the ultra-left wing blog Pro Publica took the lead, followed predictably by outlets such as Slate, Vox, and Tax Analysts, as well as respectable news outlets like Bloomberg View and Yahoo!. The basic argument is always the same: the IRS has all this information on you anyway, so wouldn't it just be easier and better if they simply prepared your taxes for you? Wouldn't that be better than having to pay some rent-seeking middleman? This flawed line of thinking fools many a reporter this time of year, but it's refuted pretty easily once you scratch beneath the surface.
Click 'read more' below to see the top seven reasons the IRS should not prepare your taxes for you
Tax Day and the pain of filing and paying taxes has come and gone. When Congress returns back to work next week (yes, they’re on another break) they will have quite a bit of work to do to do to ensure that next year’s Tax Day isn’t as painful. Congress and the President have found numerous ways to spend tax dollars, it is now time to find ways to cut spending. The good news is that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its fourth consecutive report on duplicative spending and cost saving recommendations that could save taxpayers billions of dollars. The report details 64 new actions to address concerns in 26 areas. The 2014 report notes that over the past four years, 123 actions have been addressed, 172 actions have been partially addressed, and 75 actions have not been addressed.Taxpayers should be both disappointed and also encouraged by the findings in the report.
Click 'read more' below to see highlights of potential savings from the GAO report.
Find out what 'angry wives' have to do with taxpayer waste!
Taxpayers will reach the dreaded April 15th deadline to file their taxes tomorrow, so the Taxpayers Protection Alliance presents a new web video titled Top 10 Taxpayer Flops, Follies and Fiascos of 2014. This year’s list includes a National Institutes of Health study that says wives should calm down; a taxpayer-subsidized reality show for the Army; and the United States Postal Service paying a “futurist” named Faith Popcorn to give stamp advice.
Click Here to the see the video
Find out what 'angry wives' have to do with taxpayer waste!
As taxpayers approach the dreaded April 15th deadline to file their taxes, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance presents a new web video titled Top 10 Taxpayer Flops, Follies and Fiascos of 2014. This year’s list includes a National Institutes of Health study that says wives should calm down; a taxpayer-subsidized reality show for the Army; and the United States Postal Service paying a “futurist” named Faith Popcorn to give stamp advice.
Click Here to the see the video
TPA Joins Coalition Urging House & Senate to Allow Free Market Process to Function in Time Warner/Comcast Deal
Earlier this year, a deal between Time Warner and Comcast was announced that would provide for the two companies to join, the transaction has been a great deal of discussion not just in the television industry, but also amongst lawmakers in Washington, DC. As for any deal of this signifigance, there will be review and oversight by Congressional Committees with the proper jurisdiction. TPA understands that a process must play out for this type of transaction, but there must also be an allowance of commercial enterprises to conduct themselves as they see fit within full cooperation of legal guidelines and standards already in place. With that in mind, TPA joined with Americans for Tax Reform, American Commitment, Center for Individual Freedom, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Digital Liberty, Discovery Institute, Frontiers of Freedom, Institute for Policy Innovation, and National Taxpayers Union in sending these letters to Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate Judiciary committees expressing the view that this deal represents an opportunity for consumers to benefit, and there should be no reason for not allowing the free market to operate.
Click 'read more' below to see the text of the letters
If your take home pay were the same today as it was one year ago, would you complain to your boss about your cut in pay? If you were a federal program you could. Federal law requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to annually prepare forecasts of federal revenues and spending over a ten year budget window. These forecasts are guided by a series of assumptions set forth in the law. One of the assumptions is that spending on discretionary programs – those programs that Congress chooses to fund – automatically will increase by the amount of inflation from year to year. So, if a program was funded at $100 in fiscal year 2013 and the rate of inflation was 3%, the program’s baseline budget for 2014 would by $100 plus 3%, or $103. Both the President and Congress start the budget process using OMB’s and CBO’s baseline budget projections. This means that from the very beginning of the process, the federal budget assumes increased spending. Every single discretionary line item begins with a higher budget than it had the year before. According to Republicans on the House Budget Committee this bias toward increased spending added, over 10 years, $1.2 trillion to the discretionary budget baseline in 2013.
The power of federal agencies has been expanding in some very troubling and controversial ways over the last several years and Taxpayers Protection Alliance has been deeply concerned with this trend and the examples that should give taxpayers great pause can be seen with the continued scandal involving Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting, and increasing regulatory power from the Environmental Agency (EPA). Recently, another agency has been looking to increase their power over the public and in this case it appears to be an attack on first amendment rights. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is undertaking certain attempts at process reform and while there is some merit to aspects of what they are looking to reform, there is major problem. Hidden in the reforms is an attempt to force any outside organization (like TPA) who decides to submit public comments on FCC policy to disclose their donors. Many groups on all sides feel troubled by such a move that smacks in the face of free speech, and in a joint effort, TPA and Americans for Tax Reform sent this letter, cosigned by American Commitment, American Conservative Union, American Legislative Exchange Council - Task Force on Communications and Technology, Americans for Job Security, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Center for Individual Freedom, Citizens Against Government Waste, Citizen Outreach, Digital Liberty, Freedom Works, Frontiers of Freedom, Hispanic Leadership Fund, Illinois Policy Action, Institute for Liberty, Institute for Policy Innovation, Less Government, The Maine Heritage Policy Center, MediaFreedom.org, National Taxpayers Union, Public Interest Institute, R Street, Rio Grande Foundation, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, TheTeaparty.net, individually Kevin McLaughlin and Bruce Weber urging the the FCC to drop this piece of process reform. There have been attempts in the past by Congress to regulate political/policy speech, and we’ve seen the IRS target opponents based on ideology. This appears to be yet another attempt at silencing discourse amongst those who may feel compelled to voice their opposition regarding a change in public policy at the federal agency level. This is something that definitely does not fall under the heading of “reform” and should be halted immediately.