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  • You Won’t Believe How Much China Cheats The U.S. Post Office On Shipping Costs

    Ross Marchand on September 11, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in The Federalist on August 31, 2018.

    As the trade war between the United States and China continues unabated, President Trump assures the American people that China’s “unfair” treatment by will soon end. While eliminating tariffs is a good start to solving the problems facing American businesses, focusing on another sort of tariff may also prove useful. Thanks to convoluted international postage regulations, it is cheaper for Chinese businesses to ship goods to American consumers than for American businesses to ship to American consumers. While this is just one of many factors contributing to China’s massive export edge over the United States, it is one of few that defy market logic.

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  • IGO Watch Comments Submitted to IARC

    Ross Marchand on September 10, 2018

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    On Friday, September 7, IGO Watch submitted comments to the International Agency for Reserach on Cancer (IARC) regarding the revisions set to be made on the IARC Monographs Preamble. Previously, problems in the wording of the Preamble have led to faulty evaluation procedures by IARC, resulting in unnecessary product restrictions and undue concerns by governments and consumer groups. » Read More
  • Tech Will be the Next Tariff Victim

    David Williams on September 6, 2018

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    The tech sector is the latest industry to show signs of trouble stemming from President Trump’s trade war with China. A good deal of attention has been paid to how the President’s tariffs will hit Rust Belt manufacturers, which, paradoxically, are enjoying the benefits of the Trump administration’s tax reform of last year. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) also highlighted how American retailer JOANN Fabric and their craft customers will be negatively affected by tariffs. In testimony given before the U.S. trade representative’s office in August, Jill Soltau, CEO of Joann Fabric and Craft Stores, “The resulting tariffs on these targeted products will cause substantial harm to our customers, our employees and the economy as a whole.” 

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  • FCC looks to establish smart rules to aid local deployment of 5G

    Johnny Kampis on September 5, 2018

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    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote before the end of September on an order to help guide local governments in establishing rules to aid the rapid deployment of 5G.  This would be a significant step forward in closing the digital divide, without taxpayer money. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced the plan during a press conference on the Senate floor of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis on Monday morning. Carr said the order is designed to work cooperatively with states and cities rather than be an effort to impose federal oversight. For example, about 20 states have passed some form of legislation to aid the development of 5G and the FCC’s order wouldn’t disturb the provision in those bills. 

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  • Don’t Believe Net Neutrality Hype Over Verizon and California Fires

    Johnny Kampis on September 4, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on August 31, 2018.

    The mainstream and tech media are pointing to Verizon’s throttling of the data speeds of the Santa Clara County Fire Department as it battled blazes in California as another reason why net neutrality is needed. But upon closer examination, the situation points to the opposite. While Verizon erred in this case, the concept of throttling data after a cap is met is a practice that generally benefits consumers. » Read More
  • Summer Reading: Back to Work Edition

    Ross Marchand on August 31, 2018

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    By now, lawmakers should have put gas in their car, triple-checked Waze directions, and bid adieu to their constituents in preparation for the Fall session. It wouldn’t be surprising if some lawmakers are dragging their feet in making travel preparations for Washington, DC; members of Congress, after all, are experts in defer and delay. It doesn’t help that there’s a “yuuuge” pile of unfinished work left for members of Congress to attend to, ranging from spending bills to passing a fiscally responsible Farm Bill.  This list doesn’t even take into account the other issues like intellectual property protection or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) reform. To help lawmakers procrastinate just a little while longer before getting back to work, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) prepared a Summer Reading to enlighten members of Congress on the issues they need to tackle before the midterm elections.  » Read More
  • The nonprofit journalism industry lost a giant last week, and I lost a dear friend.

    Johnny Kampis on August 29, 2018

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    Trent Seibert, 47, most recently the founder of The Texas Monitor, was found dead in his Houston home on August 23. In a posting about Trent, The Texas Monitor said the death was apparently of natural causes. Trent was known for his skills as an investigative journalist, and he plied his trade literally from coast to coast – he spent his early career working jobs in New Jersey, where he grew up, and later spent a short stint at the San Diego Union-Tribune. It was during his stay at The Tuscaloosa Newsin Alabama, where he served as city editor in 2004, that I met Trent.  He pushed me to do what I still consider the best work of my career investigating allegations of voter fraud in west Alabama.

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  • TPA Condemns Dissolution of NAFTA

    David Williams on August 27, 2018

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted critically to President Trump’s announcement that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be dissolved. President Trump made the announcement this morning at a White House event with Mexican President Enrique PeñaNieto joining by conference call. » Read More
  • TPA Celebrates Life of Sen. John McCain

    David Williams on August 26, 2018

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amidst news of the passing of Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) praised the lawmaker and his outstanding legacy. The senator, who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last year, succumbed to his illness on Saturday.  TPA president David Williams commended Sen. McCain: “Sen. McCain spent years of hard work defending taxpayers across the country against wasteful spending and a corrupt earmarking process. Sen. McCain often waged a lonely battle, fighting against profligate programs supported even by his fellow Republican lawmakers. Colleagues recall a senator unafraid to loudly voice his opposition to wasteful spending, while still embracing the civility sorely lacking in today’s political climate.”
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  • Summer Reading- Freeing the Internet from Government Regulation

    Ross Marchand on August 24, 2018

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    This late in the summer, most lawmakers will soon begin the process of packing up their FDA-approved sunscreen and heading back to Washington, DC, burying their noses in proposed legislation and avoiding a government shutdown at the end of September. But with flight delays aplenty and chronic traffic surrounding the capital, members of Congress better hope they have internet access while sitting idly by. Fortunately, regulatory reform at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the past year ensures that even the people living in the boonies or by the beach will soon have the lightning-fast internet access currently enjoyed in cities across America. But not all lawmakers have gotten the memo, criticizing the FCC’s moves and defending the status-quo of onerous broadband and internet access regulations. For the lawmakers holding on for dear life to their temperamental internet connections, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance suggests ditching the smartphone and picking up our Summer Reading instead. 

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  • On Water Markets and Wildfires, the President Has a Point

    Ross Marchand on August 22, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in Economics21 on August 21, 2018. 

    As wildfires burn through hundreds of thousands of acres in California, Idaho, and Nevada, policymakers are wondering whether America is doing all it can to tame the embers. The President’s recent series of tweets on the issue suggest that states could be doing more to put out the flames, accusing California of magnifying the crisis through “bad environmental laws, which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized.” Following these pronouncements, the media and wildfire experts rushed to discredit President Trump’s linkage of water rights and wildfires. CNN, for instance, quoted University of Tennessee climatologist Henri Grissino-Mayer claiming “California does NOT divert water to the ocean. Ridiculous."

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  • Patents and Intellectual Property: Essential for Competition and Global Health

    Ross Marchand on August 21, 2018

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    For more than a century, the United States has consistently led the world in technological development. From automobiles to iPhones, America has helped to create new industries and raise the standard of living worldwide. But game-changing developments in medicine, communication, and transportation wouldn’t be possible without assurances that inventors would benefit from their contributions. The driving force in promoting innovation is protecting intellectual property (IP) through thorough patent, copyright, and trademark enforcement. 

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  • States should tread carefully in setting sports betting tax rates

    Johnny Kampis on August 20, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in on August 15, 2018.

    The dynamic screens at the Venetian sports book list the various odds of the day, and the Atlanta Braves at 16-1 are a tempting pick to win the World Series. Although the team leads the National League East and faces lesser competition in the senior league, their youth and experience could trip them up if they make the playoffs. Sharps across the country will soon be making such value judgments from their home states. Bettors in places like New Jersey and Mississippi will no longer have to travel to Nevada to make legal wagers; instead they’ll be able to purchase those tickets in casinos in their home states – or even online. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the 1992 law that prevented sports wagers in every state but Nevada, many states have already legalized sports books or have plans to do so. But experts warn them not to overtax the games, lest they chase bettors back into the black market.

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  • Summer Reading: FDA’s Fixable Innovation Gap

    Ross Marchand on August 17, 2018

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    For the past few summer recesses, lawmakers have been dismayed to find that there is no longer “sweat proof” or “instant protection” sun tan lotion on sale to keep the harmful rays at bay. These choices were taken off shelves across the country because of regulations finalized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more than six years ago banishing broad sunscreen claims without evidence. This is just one of countless regulatory battles that the FDA has engaged in over the years, ranging from cosmetics rules to e-cigarettes.  While the agency has furthered important consumer protections since its creation in 1906 and recently allowed a quicker “right to try” process for medications (and medical procedures), the FDA has also repeatedly overstepped its bounds and diminished innovation in the process. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has enough Summer Reading on the subject to keep members of Congress occupied for hours on the beach, hopefully under the protection of an umbrella instead of a government bureaucrat.

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  • Abolish the census

    Ross Marchand on August 15, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on August 13, 2018.

    In less than two years, the federal government will embark on a time-honored, decennial ritual: the U.S. census. One could be forgiven by thinking, that, 230 years and nearly two dozen censuses later, Washington, D.C. knows how to count people. Yet, despite a declining number of individuals per household and the rise in low-cost digital correspondence, the cost of the census is rising far above the rate of inflation. According to the Government Accountability Office, “the average cost for counting a housing unit increased from about $16 in 1970 to around $92 in 2010.” The report further notes that, over the past three years, the U.S. Census Bureau has underestimated how much it will cost to conduct the 2020 census. 
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  • Electric buses will only leave cities seeing red

    Ross Marchand on August 14, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on August 5, 2018.

    According to green energy advocates, U.S. cities are on the cusp of large-scale electric bus purchases, paving the way for a greener and zero-emissions future. This year, for instance, San Francisco committed to a fully-electric vehicle fleet by 2035, before testing electric buses on the hilly routes of the city. San Francisco is hardly alone; Seattle signed onto an international pledge to only use electric buses starting in 2025. Dallas unveiled their own electric fleet, introducingseven vehicles for downtown services with the help of more than $7 million from the Federal Transit Administration (aka federal taxpayers). 
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  • Congress Shouldn't Force Bigger Seats for Air Travelers

    Ross Marchand on August 13, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller on August 3, 2018.

    It’s easy to groan about ever-shrinking airline seats that have little latitude for reclining. Some are taking it a step further, arguing that smaller seats 30,000 feet in the air actually harm passengers’ health and impede emergency evacuation efforts. With Congress considering reregulating airplane seat sizes via the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), consumers may soon see a change in width and legroom. This misguided crusade for “passengers’ rights,” however, ignores the right and ability of passengers to choose from a smorgasbord of seat size and pricing options. For the loyal consumers of low-cost carriers, the bargain fares made possible by bargain seating are preferable to more luxurious options. By keeping regulation off the table, Congress and the FAA can keep travel prices low for millions of Americans desperate for a summer vacation by not meddling in the size of seats.

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  • Summer Reading: Tax Reform 2.0

    Ross Marchand on August 10, 2018

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    Anyone who has been on the Eastern seaboard recently will notice that a torrential downpour can ruin even the best-laid beach plans. Should the unthinkable happen, tanners can at least retreat to their ocean chateaus and turn on a movie. Be careful when watching a movie sequel because the only movie sequel that even comes close to being as good as the first is Rocky II.  But, with Tax Reform 2.0 just around the corner, there could be another sequel where the underdog (taxpayers) win. » Read More
  • TPA Slams Postal Service for Third Quarter Loss

    David Williams on August 9, 2018

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) expressed alarm over the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) $889 million in controllable losses this quarter, up from $587 million during the third quarter of last year. The total net loss of $1.5 billion for the quarter demonstrates the Postal Service's dire state of fiscal mismanagement.  » Read More
  • The Little Known Black Hole in the Pentagon Budget

    Ross Marchand on August 8, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the American Conservative on August 1, 2018.

    The Pentagon is often described as a black hole of government spending. Just how bad is it these days? The Defense Department spent $21 billion in taxpayer money over two years without telling anyone what services were rendered or which companies benefitted. Normally, watchdog groups can at least identify the agency’s frivolous spending and tease out who the major beneficiaries are. But under something called Other Transaction Authority (OTA), the Pentagon can award money without the usual disclosures or due diligence normally required of federal contracts. Voila! A black hole.

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