Rhode Island State House (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
Today, Taxpayers Protection Alliance President David Williams is in Rhode Island to highlight some of the costly ways that the state government has wasted taxpayer money over the last year. In a joint project with the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, TPA has produced the Spotlight on Spending Report showing some of the more dubious examples of government spending in Rhode Island. There will be a press conference at 3pm at the state house,
click 'read more'
below to see the press release sent out earlier regarding this event.
When it comes to issues dealing with international conflictand foreign engagement, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) rarely stakes out political or policy ground regarding debates that give way during these situations. However, one debate that is surfacing as a result of what is happening in Ukraine is the importance of missile defense in today’s global landscape. TPA is no stranger to this issue and there should be genuine concern from taxpayers that some may be using a crisis halfway around the world to try to drum up supportfor a defense program, the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), that is so undesirable the bad reviews are not just domestic, but international. MEADS is an international missile-to-missile intercept program with the U.S. as the lead country funding the program. MEADS, which started in 2005, is a program so wasteful and so bad, that even the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) prohibited the funding of the program in 2011, 2012, and in 2013. The problems with MEADS and why it is aptly named the ‘Missile to Nowhere,’ are because of theprohibitive cost, scheduling problems, and bad performance. The fact that anyone is even discussing a possible resurrection of MEADS at a time when we need budget constraint at the Pentagon is alarming. There is another reason that MEADS should be nowhere in the conversation of how we go about reassuring our allies in Europe, during what is clearly a delicate time for global community. MEADS wasn’t just a failure on the domestic side, it was a folly overseas too as we attempted to sell the program to allies in Europe.
This article originally appeared on Townhall.com, March 17, 2014
It may sound like a fairy tale, but once upon a time the federal government operated in the black, running surpluses that allowed the Department of Defense (DoD) to make significant investments in experimental or future replacement equipment and weapon systems, without drawbacks, oversight or taxpayer scrutiny. Unfortunately, the clock has struck midnight and the budgetary fairy tale is long over. There is no question that investing in our nation is important. However, we are no longer living in the lap of defense spending luxury and taxpayers aren’t willing to turn a blind eye to wasting billions of dollars on unnecessary programs. And, regardless of the financial situation of the country, it makes no sense to continue to use taxpayer money on outdated and severely flawed programs. According to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) defense acquisitions report, the Pentagon is set to spend $1.5 trillion to acquire 85 separate weapons programs in the coming years. The GAO also estimates that those 85 programs will experience a projected $411 billion in cost growth and average delays of 27 months. When it comes to consensus in Washington, there is often little. However, in a time where budget restraint should be the norm, billions of dollars of wasteful defense spending is not something either Republicans or Democrats are able to ignore. Realizing the federal government has been getting away with highway robbery of taxpayers, Representatives Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.) and Adam Smith (D-Wash.) are leading the charge to completely overhaul defense acquisitions. It’s time the Pentagon stop gambling billions of dollars on fantasy defense programs that will have little to no real impact on improving the systems our warfighters need to meet today’s threats, and start taking real reform seriously.
TPA Responds to the White House FY 2015 Budget Release:
Today, President Obama unveiled his Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget. The FY 2015 budget is a month late (which has become a tradition for this President) and trillions of dollars short of fiscal responsibility. The President continued his preference for spending more with a budget proposal that spends $3.9 trillion, which is an increase from the $3.8 trillion the federal government is planning to spend in FY 2014. The White House budget aims to confiscate more money from taxpayers and small business owners to fund a laundry list of big government programs disguised as “stimulus” and “infrastructure.” These new spending priorities are sure to be filled with waste and inefficiency, much like many of the programs funded by the 2009 stimulus package... Even though this is only the opening salvo in the budget war for this year, it is instructive to see that the President clearly doesn’t recognize the fiscal reality of a $17 trillion debt and an economy that remains stagnant. There is no way for taxpayers and entrepreneurs to succeed unless the White House gets serious on spending restraint and tax reform. This budget does neither and with no meaningful offers to cut spending, overhaul the tax code, or reform entitlements, this budget is simply a way to double down on the failed policies of big government spending that have been a hallmark of the Obama Presidency. There should be a clear path to fiscal responsibility through meaningful spending reductions and tax reform. That is clearly not the approach from this White House based on what we have seen today. For the full response, click 'read more' below
This week Congressional leaders in both parties and both chambers are looking to raise the debt limit as the US has reached the debt ceiling yet again (last Friday to be exact). Though nothing has been passed, the deal on the table will raise the borrowing limit, which will in turn halt any chance of US default while also giving the Treasury power to borrow more money and drag the nation further into debt. However, the deal may also undo spending cuts (by restoring full cost of living adjustments, or COLAs, to all military retirees under age 62) that was part of the Ryan-Murray Budget deal just a few months ago. The solution to raising the debt limit shouldn’t be used as a way to increase spending or retroactively get rid of unpopular cuts. Congress and the White House should come to an agreement that reduces spending in order to raise the debt limit. The cycle of “bipartisan” deals that have increased spending need to be stopped. These deals have only kicked the can down the road, and left taxpayers holding the bill. To stop this cycle, TPA signed a coalition letter to Congress by Americans for Tax Reform and co-signed by Americans for Prosperity, Citizens Against Government Waste, Coalition to Reduce Spending, Generation Opportunity (GenOpp), and National Taxpayers Union urging Congress to reject any deal that trades a raise in the debt limit in exchange for increased spending.
To read the full letter, click 'read more' below
Whether it’s adhering to spending limits set forth by sequestration, making meaningful reforms within the Department of Defense (DoD) budget, or taking a serious look at many of the programs and weapons systems that simply are not worth the taxpayer dollars funding them; Congress has seriously dropped the ball to reform Defense spending. And, the result has been a disaster for taxpayers. The Abrams Tank, Joint Strike Fighter and MEADS are just a few examples of missed opportunities to save money and make DoD more prepared for future conflicts. TPA was proud to be a part of a coalition effort focusing on the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account and how it is being used as a way to increase spending that DoD hasn’t requested. Last month TPA documented over $7 billion in earmarks in the Omnibus spending bill that the Pentagon never requested, and now TPA has signed on to a trans-partisan letter along with American Friends, Service Committee, Americans for Prosperity, Campaign for America’s Future, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, Center for International Policy, Citizens Against Government Waste, Citizen Outreach, Coalition to Reduce Spending, Come Home America, Council for a Livable World, CREDO, DownsizeDC.org Inc., Foreign Policy in Focus, Freedom Works, Friends Committee on National Legislation, GOProud, Kitchen Table Patriots, Less Government, National Priorities Project, National Security Network, National Taxpayers Union, NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Peace Action, Peace Action West, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Project On Government Oversight, R Street Institute, Republican Liberty Caucus, Take Back Washington, Taxpayers for Common Sense, USAction, US Labor Against the War (USLAW), Win Without War, and Women’s Action for New Directions to express collective “disappointment at the continued use” of the OCO account to “circumvent the very spending caps that Congress itself put in place.“
To read the full letter, click 'read more' below
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urged Congress to reject the $1.1 trillion Omnibus spending bill for fiscal year (2014). On Monday January 13 (unlucky for taxpayers),Congress released a 1,500-page spending bill crafted by House and Senate appropriators. There’s not much to praise when looking at both the substance of the bill and the manner in which it was delivered. In what has been a disappointing string of bipartisan agreement, taxpayers will once again be left on the hook for spending that likely includes programs that are neither needed nor wanted. Another problem with the appropriations bill is that the sequester was “altered” in way that reverses cuts on both domestic and Defense spending. The Omnibus also funds and increase for Head Start and Obamacare. Defense appropriations contains a $5 billion increase for the Overseas Contingent Operations (OCO) account, which is immunized from sequestration. The Ryan-Murray budget deal was just the beginning of the end for the sequester. We have now seen another “tweak” less than a month later that reverses automatic cuts agreed to by Congress and the White House just a few years ago.
MEADS Battle Manager
The final weeks of 2013 gave way to a flurry of activity from Congress as they threw together compromise legislation that found its way to the floor before many folks had time to look over the details of the bills. This was done all for the sake of getting things done before the holidays. One such piece of compromise legislation was the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is used to set the budget of the Department of Defense. Though the House had originally passed a comprehensive defense appropriations bill last summer, the Senate bill was delayed and eventually scrapped altogether in favor of a compromise bill with limited process for debate all in the hopes that it would pass before elected officials adjourned for the remainder of the year. Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been outspoken in advocating for a reduced budget at the Pentagon that would allow for responsible cuts that would eliminate waste while preserving the national security interests of the United States. A specific program that TPA has long-identified as outdated and wasteful is the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), otherwise known as the ‘Missile to Nowhere’. The program, which began in 2005, saw it’s funding prohibited in 2011, 2012, and in 2013 by way of the NDAA; and while President Obama kept the program out of the Pentagon’s budget, that didn’t stop Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel from shelling out $380 million in continuing resolution (CR) funds in 2013 to continue funding design and development of MEADS. Now, just in time to start the new year, there looks to be a major victory for taxpayers as funding for the aptly named “Missile to Nowhere” was left out of the defense appropriations bill signed by President Obama just after Christmas.
Every New Year millions of Americans resolve to change their ways and improve their lives by making New Year’s resolutions such as losing weight or changing their behavior to live a healthier lifestyle. In the spirit of those resolutions, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urges Congress and the whole federal government to resolve to go on a fiscal diet and change their wasteful spending and regulatory habits. And, we will be following up on each and every one of these issues (and more) in 2014. The list TPA put together includes a wide range of issues that lawmakers have been involved with and the need for action on many of these is more than obivious. The issues include: Telecommunications/Technology, Defense, Taxes, Energy, and Wasteful Spending.
Click 'read more' below to see the full list of TPA's New Years Resolutions for 2014!
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Residence of US Ambassador to NATO in Brussels (Courtesy 'Wastebook 2013')
There has been a long tradition of wasteful spending in the nation’s capital for decades and the problem has only gotten worse as each year passes. A recent tradition has done wonders to expose just exactly how bad the spending habits out of Washington have become and how much taxpayers are shelling out for things that they clearly shouldn’t be paying for. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) left an early Christmas present for all the big spenders on Capitol Hill this week when he released his ‘Wastebook 2013’ report highlighting a plethora of examples of how taxpayer dollars have been wasted over the last year. The more than $30 billion dollars the report cites is just the first of many reasons taxpayers should be hoping that politicians get a handful of coal as they return home for the remainder of the year. This report is even more troublesome considering that agencies spent money on these projects despite the fact that agencies instituted furloughs because of sequestration. The rushed worked of Congress over the last few weeks has given way to a slew of less than desirable pieces of legislation. First, the Murray/Ryan Budget Deal altered the sequester caps and set a dangerous precedent for spending cuts moving forward. Next, the compromise National Defense Authorization Act that passed the Senate last night after passing the House last week. Finally, an agreement to push final Farm Bill passage to January 2014; with details scarce. There is very little hope that the Farm Bill will contain much real reform. The ‘Wastebook 2013,’ released by Sen. Coburn’s office this week, is nearly 200 pages of ridiculous and unnecessary spending that everyone should read.