This piece originally appeared on Real Clear Markets on January 11, 2016
Welcome to the start of a New Year, a time when many Americans make resolutions to improve their quality of life. Invariably, one of those resolutions is being smarter when it comes to spending and saving money. One New Year's resolution that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has for Congress is to also be more fiscally responsible, and that means passing comprehensive tax reform. Simplifying the tax code and a commitment from lawmakers to do so is the blueprint to ease some of American consumers and businesses' financial woes and increase economic growth. Fortunately, certain Presidential candidates, and some leaders in Congress, are starting to understand the importance of tax reform and have pledged to make this issue a priority in 2016. But all talk will be hollow unless the candidates and lawmakers put their words into action.
Statement by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance on President Obama’s State of the Union Address
In response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address last night, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance released the following statement:
“Last night, President Obama made the case that the American economy is finally turning the page on a chapter of recent history marked by anemic growth and a sluggish economic outlook. While the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) may disagree with that assertion, TPA does support the President’s call to remove the obstacles in the way of a healthy, vibrant business environment. The President and his counterparts on Capitol Hill have an opportunity this year to make real progress towards that goal by tackling comprehensive tax reform.
Click 'read more' below for the full statement
President Obama delivers his final State of the Union Address (SOTU) to the nation on January 12th. The annual tradition of addressing a joint-session of Congress along with millions of Americans is often used to set the stage for the coming year and the battles with the legislative branch that the President assumes will be on the agenda. However, this year will be different for a several reasons and it is important for taxpayers and those watching the speech to understand why this speech (more so than others) will be weighted more on style and less on substance.
The time to say goodbye to 2015 has arrived as the New Year is upon us. From losing weight to reading more, it’s that time of year when millions of Americans make their resolutions for the coming year. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) put together a list of our own resolutions for Washington.
Energy policy is one of the most important components to the United States economy, impacting taxpayers and businesses everyday. Congress has been working to pass a comprehensive energy bill that makes critical reforms to the system and this week lawmakers finally moved forward with legislation. Yesterday, by a vote of 249-174, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act (H.R. 8) was approved by the House and will soon move over the Senate. While President Obama has already issued a veto threat of Rep. Fred Upton's (R-Mich.) bill that lifts the decades-old ban on crude oil exports, TPA sent a letter this week urging Congress to pass the legislation.
Click 'read more' below to see the letter
The last few weeks in Washington have been centered on a flurry of major news stories and events. The election of new House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the continuing Presidential debates for the 2016 nomination, a major budget deal, and now the Paris attack that killed more than 100 people last Friday night. Lost in the constant cycle of continuing coverage of these other things is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was passed (again) by both the House and Senate that is now awaiting President Obama’s signature before becoming law. The very little attention that was paid to the NDAA’s journey through Congress was mainly focused on the first time it passed when President Obama promptly vetoed it. Year after year President Obama has made veto threats but this was the first time that he actually made good on the threat. The reasoning behind the rare White House veto was detailed through a statement from the administration at the time of the signing on October 22.
Last week’s announcement by President Obama that he would reject the Keystone XL Pipeline was not surprising, but nonetheless, it was a disappointing decision because of the economic and energy security benefits that will be lost. The most troubling aspect of the decision is the reasoning behind the rejection. At a press conference, President Obama cited environmental concerns and an upcoming climate conference in Paris as major factors in his reasoning, despite findings that the pipeline would not significantly harm the environment. Lost jobs and the economic growth that Keystone could have brought to the U.S. will be the most significant repercussions of the decision. It’s estimated that more than 42,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs would have been created through Keystone. With an economy still reeling from the recession, those jobs are much needed by Americans who continue to struggle to find work. It is also worth noting that $2.2 billion that would have been put into the pockets of those workers will be lost. In addition to bringing jobs and wages, the project would have also contributed $3.4 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).
This article originally apeared in The Daily Caller on October 27, 2015
It was announced on Monday night that congressional leaders and the White House have agreed to a two-year budget deal that lifts the budget caps by $80 billion. In addition to lifting the budget caps, the debt ceiling will be suspended until 2017. That’s not a compromise, that’s capitulation. The budget caps were put in place in 2011 because the country was faced with a debt-ceiling crisis. Sound familiar? The Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which set the caps and ultimately led to sequestration, was Congress and the president admitting they couldn’t be trusted to be fiscally responsible. The spending caps set forth by the BCA and implemented through sequestration are the first nominal (real) cuts in spending that the federal government has seen in decades. The latest budget deal busts the caps by $80 billion; $50 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2016 and $30 billion in FY 2017. The increase would be equally divided between defense and non-defense discretionary spending, neither of which need more money.
This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on September 22, 2015
As if Solyndra’s monumental failure was not enough of a blow to taxpayers, a new report from the Department of Energy inspector general four years in the making finds the infamous solar company deliberately deceived Energy to secure millions of dollars from the federal government (read: taxpayers). What’s more, it appears the Obama administration was at the helm of the scandal. There’s no surprise that the administration refuses to see the truth about solar power considering that the vice president pledged an additional $102 million grant program for companies, universities and research laboratories to further expand solar power use. It is clear that the administration is ignoring all warning signs and doing whatever it can to shovel more tax money to an unproven and financially risky power source. Solyndra quickly became synonymous with wasteful spending and government absurdity after it received $535 million from taxpayers then went bankrupt. And, when news broke in 2011 that Solyndra was laying off 1,100 employees, just two years after receiving the loan guarantees, much of the American public was outraged.
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Showing herself to be a shrewd politician but a terrible judge of economic and energy policy, Democratic presidential candidate (and former Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton came out in opposition to the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline this week. The move comes after years of dodging and silence on an issue that is critical to the nation’s economic outlook and overall energy strategy. The fact that Sec. Clinton waited this long, and then did so right during an historic U.S. visit by Pope Francis, shows that she’s well aware this decision is not only unpopular with much of the public, but that it is also bad policy. The proposed construction of the pipeline provides the capacity to move more than 700,000 barrels of oil each day. The increased production would provide thousands of jobs and help lower energy costs for working families nationwide.