This week, millions of people will gather around their dinner table with their friends and family to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. There are many things that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has to be thankful for, but sadly for taxpayers there is a great deal not to be thankful for and TPA thought it would be timely to once again take some time to highlight some of the biggest ‘bird’ens on taxpayers this year with the Taxpayer Turkeys of 2014! This year there were five, two more than last year! The Taxpayer Turkeys of 2014 are the Catfish Program, Obamacare, National Institutes of Health, Chattanooga EPB, and Net Neutrality! Watch the video below to see some of the best of the worst that taxpayers shouldn’t be thankful for this year. Click here to see the video!
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), a national taxpayer watchdog group representing concerned citizens all across the country, is deeply troubled by statements made from President Obama today that call on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move forward with new rule making regarding net neutrality and reclassification under Title II. The fundamental debate about the best public policy to ensure that the Internet remains open is extremely important. The White House and FCC Chairman Wheeler continue to get it wrong. There is no justification to adopt an aggressive regulatory approach to keep the Internet open. Of late, the country has seen an unprecedented amount of innovation and investment from the private sector. In fact, a report out early last year by Charles Davidson and Michael Santorelli at the New York University Law School noted that, “Broadband providers have invested more than $1 trillion in broadband between 1996 and 2010, and $66 billion in 2011.” Any reclassification of the Internet could open the flood gates for new taxes. If the FCC decided to regulate broadband as a Title II telecommunications service, customers would see the Universal Service Fund (USF) contribution fee assessed on broadband bills. Telecommunications taxes are already too high and consumers can’t afford to be burdened with more taxes.
click 'read more' below to see the full statement form TPA
Gas prices are the lowest Americans have seen in quite some time. This is partly due to the basic principle that as supplies rise prices fall. And in the past few years we have seen supplies of both oil and gas increase substantially in this country, as we are using new technology to reach energy resources that were previously unavailable to us. Add in discoveries in shale formations across the country and we can see how truly blessed we are. What many may not know is that America recently became the world’s top producer of natural gas, and soon the U.S. may pass Saudi Arabia in oil production. This is a significant turn of events that very few people could have imagined over the past 40 years. During the oil crisis of the 1970s, we found out just how dependent we were on foreign oil. Americans lined up at gas stations, canceled vacations and watched gas prices rise, along with the cost of just about every product that required transportation or depended upon petroleum. Yet now with low prices and abundant resources, our policies should reflect this changing landscape of energy development. A positive step is that just last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote in a letter to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz that “some policy provisions put in place as recently as 2007 are now at best irrelevant, or at worst detrimental, to national environmental and economic goals.”
The midterm elections took place this week and with the lame duck session of Congress coming next week (click here to see TPA’s wish list for that session) there are already warning signs of troubling policy initiatives that taxpayers may get from these rushed remaining congressional working days of the year. For example, tomorrow the White House will be meeting with Senate and House leaders to discuss the long-term agenda for the new Congress, but also the short-term agenda for the lame duck. There is already word on a move with corporate taxes that will be bad for taxpayers and small businesses. Speaking yesterday in his first press conference since the midterm elections, President Obama once again called for a transportation bill that would be paid for by corporate tax reform.
Last week the Obama Administration acted unilaterally, again, proposing new restrictions through the Treasury Department aimed at halting the growing trend of tax inversions by U.S.-based companies. President Obama has been one of the loudest critics of the practice of inversions, but he is one of the main reasons why we have seen such an uptick in inversions over the last few years. Inversions occur when “an American company reincorporates for tax purposes in a tax-friendlier country such as the U.K. or Ireland, typically while maintaining much of their operations in the U.S.A.” Just a little over a week ago, the Treasury Department announced new rules and regulations regarding tax inversions by companies headquartered in the United States. Actions taken by the Treasury Department to change the current inversion rules include various measures designed to make inversions more difficult to complete.
This article orginally appeared on Pennlive.com on September 18, 2014
The U.S. economy has gained real steam in recent months. Last quarter, the groos domestic product grew at a very solid 4 percent. And, the most recent jobs report shows that the job market added nearly 210,000 positions in July. The energy industry is a major contributor to this revival. American oil and natural gas businesses are in the midst of an unprecedented blossoming. In fact, the United States recently surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the number one energy producer in the world. Federal lawmakers need to be wary of undermining this success. Destructive policies can stifle energy industry expansion and choke off the creation of new employment opportunities and general economic growth.
On Monday, the Obama Administration and the United States Treasury Department took executive action towards the practice of tax inversions. Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) President David Williams released the following statement today in reaction to the move by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew:
“The Obama Administration has once again shown that they don’t understand the real problems of tax policy in the United States, and more specifically the corporate tax. The executive action announced by Secretary Lew on Monday aimed at punishing companies who engage in tax inversions is not only the wrong move for the private sector, but it continues the willful ignorance of the federal government to fix our corporate tax structure. It’s been more than two years since the United States surpassed Japan in reaching the highest effective corporate tax rate in the world, and in those two years we’ve seen nothing but demonizing of the private sector from the Obama Administration and their allies in Congress. There should not be new rules and regulations that will make it more difficult for companies to compete in the global economy. There should be drastic reform of the corporate tax rate to reduce the cost of doing business in America so that jobs can be created and companies can be rewarded for their innovation. If President Obama is serious about keeping U.S. businesses in the U.S., he should support comprehensive tax reform, and specifically call for an immediate reduction in the corporate tax rate. TPA will continue to press for bipartisan, bicameral action from Congress on reducing the corporate tax, and in turn fixing the real problem that is plaguing business.”
Last month President Barack Obama hosted the U.S.-Africa leaders summit in Washington, D.C. Beneath the fanfare of goodwill, the summit saw three of Africa’s longest serving autocrats Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Yahya Jammeh and Paul Biya – the presidents of Equatorial Guinea, Gambia and Cameroon, respectively, all with decidedly checkered human rights records – be honored guests of America at a state dinner held during the summit. President Obama also saw the summit as an effort to paint the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank as Africa’s new best friend. Two big mistakes in one summit. The first criticism was leveled at the Obama administration from across the political spectrum over the wisdom of feting some of these men. After all, Gambia’s Jammeh has threatened to “cut off the head” of gay people in his country. Obiang has ruled Equatorial Guinea since overthrowing his own uncle in a coup in 1979 and the U.S. Department of State has accused his government of everything from “unlawful killings” to “corruption” to “suspected trafficking in persons.” Questions about why the United States Government saw fit to wine and dine these individuals are entirely valid, but they only scratch the surface. A few taxpayer-funded bottles of pinot noir are nothing compared to the billions of dollars heading for Africa from the U.S. Export-Import Bank of the United States, many of them destined for countries run by similarly suspect leaders.
At a February 2010 New Hampshire Town Hall meeting President Obama famously boasted that independent reports rated his administration as the “most transparent in the modern era.” Oh what a difference four years makes. Taxpayers continue to see Washington waste money and hide behind archaic rules that enable all sorts of ways to conceal and obfuscate exactly what elected officials are doing. The biggest roadblock to transparency has been the Obama administration. This is ironic considering that President Obama often criticized the lack of transparency in previous administrations throughout the 2008 presidential campaign. The promises made nearly six years ago as President Obama began his transition into the White House were supposed to usher in a new and sweeping change of course for a city that thrived on working in secret. Today, there are reports of secrecy, stonewalling, corruption, and even abuses of power that reach into various federal agencies all under the Obama Administration.
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continues its Summer Reading series with yet another issue that Congress should address when they return from their month-long recess, reforming the corporate tax structure. Corporate tax reform is an issue where there is unique bipartisan, bi-cameral, and multi-branch agreement in Washington. The reason for this unprecedented agreement is that the United States, with a 39 percent corporate tax rate, has the highest corporate tax rate among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. It is long past due that Congress and the White House come together and fix what has become a major ailment to a still struggling economy. Corporate tax reform has taken on a great deal of importance in the last several months. The economic driver, corporate investment, has taken a hit and our high corporate tax rate is responsible for much of that burden. In the spring of this year, retiring House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) put forth his plan for overhauling the tax code, which included lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, something that would be welcome news for small businesses all over the country. TPA supported Congressman Camp’s efforts to even take this issue on at a time when not much of anything is getting done in Washington.