OECD Member and Candidate Countries (courtesy wikimedia)
Yesterday was World Intellectual Property (IP) Day, which marked the importance of IP and its positive impact on the global economy. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continues to be a staunch advocate of strengthening IP protections at home and abroad. TPA marked World IP Day by highlighting the widespread support for IP from countries all over in a 2015 coalition letter addressed to the World Intellectual Property Organization. However, as another World IP Day was marked by great examples of the strides being made to encourage innovation in the global market, it is important to recognize that threats to IP still exist and they must be dealt with in order to move toward a better climate for creativity. Recently, TPA wrote about how taxes and IP violations intersect, whether it’s through digital piracy or government mandated initiatives like plain packaging. Taxes are evaded when content is pirated, and that impacts businesses, consumers, and taxpayers. A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD), titled Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, Mapping the Economic Impact, detailed some of the real problems creators and innovators face around the world in protecting their content. The report also shows the annual worldwide cost of IP.
European Resource Bank 2015 showed a world without IP
Today is World Intellectual Property (IP) Day, a day when advocates from around the globe celebrate the importance of IP and the role it plays in driving innovation and shaping economies for the better. With more than 40 million jobs in the United States directly and indirectly attributable to IP intensive industries, it is critical that policymakers know how serious all stakeholders take this issue. In addition to advocating for strengthening IP in the United States, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continues to push for strengthening IP around the world. There is broad agreement across the globe that IP should be preserved and protected. In fact, last year, TPA signed a coalition letter to Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), outlining the reasons why protecting IP is critical for the entire world. The letter was spearheaded by the Property Rights Alliance and signed by more than 80 other organizations representing more than 50 countries. The photo above is from the 2015 European Resource Bank Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey to demonstrate the problems with one specific area weakening IP, plain packaging (read TPA’s extensive writings on plain packaging here). Plain packaging started with tobacco, but governments across the world are moving to spread those regulations to alcohol, fatty foods, and even toys in Australia.
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on April 15th to address yet another failure of Obamacare: the bailing out of insurance companies through the reinsurance program. Created to financially protect insurers during the early years of the implementation of the legislation, the Transitional Reinsurance Program established by the Affordable Care Act requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to deposit a certain portion of fees, $5 billion to be exact. The fee was to be collected by the Treasury for deficit reduction, but for the past two years, much of that has been illegally paid out to health insurers instead. It’s no surprise that Obamacare has been riddled with setbacks and broken promises. When the law was enacted, the President assured Americans that patients would come first and health insurers would be held accountable for providing affordable coverage, but the reality is quite the opposite. Patients don’t come first when it comes to Obamacare, insurance companies do.
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is moving forward with their latest regulatory proposal, known as AllVid, and the criticism is piling up. AllVid would work by requiring traditional pay-for-TV providers to make video programming available to third-party devices. Chairman Wheeler is choosing sides again, playing favorites and picking winners and losers in what should be an all of the above approach to moving beyond the set-top box structure of how cable entertainment is delivered. Regardless of the authority the Chairman is claiming by way of Section 629 of the Communications Act, stakeholders representing a wide-range of industries continue to present key arguments as to why this is the wrong approach as well as pledge to work with the agency on a better proposal that would ensure that free and fair competition remains the standard. TPA this morning, in a joint-filing with a broad coalition submitted these comments to the FCC on the AllVid proposal. The comments call attention to the key issues that many have with Wheeler’s approach including privacy, consumer choice, market competition, and process. Comments can still be filed today by visiting the FCC’s website here.
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continues to believe that spending reform is one of the most pressing issues for elected officials in Congress today. As budget deadlines pass and Congress gets further away from getting back to regular order, it is critical that Washington find a way to reduce spending, in all areas. The budget of the Pentagon is filled with wasteful spending that should be trimmed both immediately and responsibly. Recently, TPA joined a broad coalition effort sending a letter to Congress not only urging spending reform, but outlining specific cuts that could be realized if politicians had the will to act. The savings proposed totaled $38.6 billion in taxpayer dollars. Those savings come from just seven reforms; imagine how much money taxpayers could be saved if Washington looked at every agency.
Now that tax day is over, another very important day is on the horizon: World Intellectual Property (IP) Day on April 26. World IP Day is observed each year and marks the importance of IP and the benefits it has on the free market as well as to taxpayers, consumers, and businesses. As IP continues to be a critical issue on a number of fronts, including trade and the economy, it cannot be ignored that the abuses of IP protections are harmful to economies and taxpayers not just in the United States but also all over the world. Free market groups from around the world are taking notice of the importance of IP. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) joined with the Property Rights Alliance and more than 80 other organizations representing more than 50 countries signing this coalition letter sent to the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Francis Gurry. The letter lays out the case for protecting intellectual property rights and not just here in the United States, but around the entire world. Two areas where the economic impact can be seen directly are digital piracy and plain packaging.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continues to face credibility issues with regards to how the agency has been treating taxpayers and taxpayer information. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been taking this issue head on, including the submission of Freedom of Information Request Acts (FOIAs) as it relates to recent potentially unethical and possibly illegal conduct by the agency in an ongoing audit. As with the tax code, the agency that enforces tax law should be working for the taxpayer not instilling fear in American citizens. Working families spend many hours and a great deal of money to comply with a bloated tax code every year. They should expect the agency to treat them with respect and also to have their information secured and have their rights of due process afforded to them if they feel the agency has made an error.
Today is Tax Day 2016! The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) hit the streets and talked to folks from around the country about what they thought about taxes. The last time there was comprehensive tax reform was 1986. A lot has changed since 1986, why hasn't the tax code? Many of the Presidential candidates have said that tax reform will be a priority if they are elected, but Congress has the ability to act now. This is a bipartisan issue, where both Republicans and Democrats agree that our outdated and cumbersome tax code needs to be reformed now. Taxpayers are sick of being in a time warp where yet another tax day comes and goes and nothing has changed. We need tax reform done in 2016.
The issue of privacy has garnered a great deal of attention lately, particularly with events in the news related phone encryption and data breaches. Privacy is still a concern for all Americans as we move forward in this advanced technological age. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance shares these concerns, and this week we signed on to this letter, made up of a diverse coalition, urging Congress to move forward with reforming the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The reforms would ensure that warrants are granted before law enforcement can collect any emails and/or contents of other private online communications. As technology advances, it is important to make sure that law enforcement has the necessary tools in order to do their job, while making sure to respect privacy concerns of groups and individuals.
Taxpayers Protection Alliance Launches “Tax Day 2016: Watch Your Assets” Campaign
Man on the Street Style Videos Ask People About Taxes and Their Preferred Policies
(Washington, D.C.)—On Monday, April 11th, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) launched a Tax Day 2016 campaign aimed at Capitol Hill and members of Congress in order to keep comprehensive tax reform a priority for policymakers. The campaign, “Tax Day 2016: Watch Your Assets,” will run from April 11 through tax day and feature man on the street style videos, share graphics and targeted emails to members of Congress and Hill staff. The last time there was comprehensive tax reform was 1986. A lot has changed since 1986, why hasn't the tax code? “Many of the Presidential candidates have said that tax reform will be a priority if they are elected,” said David Williams, President of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. “But Congress has the ability to act now. This is a bipartisan issue, where both Republicans and Democrats agree that our outdated and cumbersome tax code needs to be reformed now. Taxpayers are sick of being in a time warp where yet another tax day comes and goes and nothing has changed. We need tax reform done in 2016.”