July 5, 2018
Hundreds of regulations have been rolled back over the past year and a half, resulting in billions of dollars in savings to consumers and taxpayers. Telecommunications policy has been no exception, with the easing of permitting restrictions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the nixing of Title II internet rules. But federal rules are far from the only impediment to 5G deployment; Fees and rules set by states and localities will continue to hamper innovation if left unchecked. Members of Congress have an opportunity to hasten the arrival of 5G, but face the difficult task of limiting state and local interference in 5G rollout while rejecting a one-size-fits-all solution. Fortunately, the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act (S. 3157), introduced by Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), achieves this balancing act and paves the way for faster and more reliable internet. With right-sized regulatory reform rooted in federalism, lawmakers can pull America to the front of the technological frontier. » Read More
July 3, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller on July 3, 2018.
Few government functions are as basic as filling in annoying and destructive potholes. It’s little surprise, then, that when sprawling bureaucracies prove unable to fix these eyesores on the asphalt, resentment flares and trust in the public sector plummets. Driving across the District of Columbia is a constant reminder of the epic ineptitude of the local government, as potholes “bigger than bathtubs” required closure of part of the Clara Barton Parkway in January. » Read More
July 2, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on June 17, 2018.
The United States Postal Office (USPS), an independent agency of the federal government, likes to present itself as a business. The Postal Service also wants to dabble in other businesses such as grocery delivery and banking. It claims to “put information and technology at the center of its business strategies,” while receiving zero taxpayer dollars for operating expenses. » Read More
June 28, 2018
Big Labor is in all-out Armageddon mode, following a June 27 Supreme Court ruling (Janus v. AFSCME) allowing non-union public workers to opt out of union “fair-share” fees. In a 5-4 decision, the Court overturned the status quo, preventing “unconstitutional exactions [that result in] billions of dollars…taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment” in the words of Justice Alito. Proponents of “fair share” fees, however, worry that the ruling will open up a Pandora’s Box of freeriding and union-busting across the country. These fears fail to consider the wider impact of transitioning unions to a more robust “members-only” model instead of the current one-size-fits-all representation. Making public sector unions smaller and more responsive to the needs of members will lead to better representation for employees and lower costs for taxpayers.» Read More
June 27, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on June 20, 2018.
Fear-peddling about safe products now has a home at the center of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). This pseudo science labels hundreds of products from around the world as carcinogenic. Now, with the naming of Dr. Elisabete Weiderpass as new WHO directorin 2019, IARC has the chance to pivot to a more thorough, transparent process that safeguards everyone involved. » Read More
June 26, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Morning Consult on June 20, 2018.
In the wake of historic tax reform delivered by President Donald Trump and Congress, the American economy is showing strong signs of life. Just days ago, it was reported that the United States added around 223,000 net new jobs in May, helping the economy reach an 18-year low jobless rate of just 3.8 percent. And with new tax reform in hand, taxpayers can expect to keep more of their hard-earned dollars in their pockets. » Read More
June 25, 2018
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This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on June 22, 2018.
As Houston officials mull the possible flow of tax dollars into their city if they win a bid to host some games in the 2026 World Cup, they’re talking up that dreaded “L” word — light rail. Houston is part of a 32-city bid to host some of the soccer matches that will be spread across North America. While the city won’t know if it is selected to host any games until 2020 or 2021, that hasn’t stopped local officials from excitedly talking up possible taxpayer-funded infrastructure and beautification projects that could result from a successful bid.
June 22, 2018
Electric cars are one of the federal government’s favorite pet projects, with billions of dollars in various subsidies bestowed on producers, like Elon Musk, and high income buyers every single year. Increasingly, state and local governments have gotten on the subsidy bandwagon as well, offering lucrative production, purchase, parking, and charging benefits to everyone involved. Justifications ring a dime a dozen, ranging from miniscule impacts on global climate to thinly veiled protectionism. Too often, though, taxpayers and consumers are left out of the equation. Subsidies and “green” requirements, after all, inevitably trickle down to everyone else, resulting in higher prices and “accounts payable” to Uncle Sam and taxpayers. » Read More
June 21, 2018
Today, Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) President David Williams expressed disappointment at the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that allows states to require all internet retailers to collect sales taxes. “The 5-4 decision breaks with 50 years of precedent that kept states from mandating that out-of-state retailers collect sales taxes from their customers,” Williams said. “This ruling opens the door for any state to tax any business that simply wants to use the internet to gain a foothold in the national market.” » Read More
June 21, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on June 19, 2018.
Having failed to get much traction on a federal prohibition of online gaming, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his coalition have pointed to targeted online ads promoting online gambling as proof that Congress should take action. But the measure is a desperate ploy, given that the ads aren’t intentionally placed on certain sites by the online casinos. Business Insider recently ran a story about the Coalition to Stop Online Gambling’s opposition to the ads. The coalition says it has found such ads on websites about gambling addiction or featuring children’s games.
June 20, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on June 18, 2018.
In the aftermath of the historic federal tax reform passed in December, it’s easy to declare “mission accomplished” and divert attention to other pressing issues. But the problem of bad tax policy has not gone away, it has merely shifted from D.C. to state capitals across the country. Case in point: Madison, Wis., where in April, Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a one-time tax payout for families in the state. The payments began going out in May, and will continue until early July.
June 19, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on June 18, 2018.
Why is the White House playing with this terrible idea again? Even after controversy arose earlier this year over a leaked proposal to create a government-backed 5G network, President Trump’s campaign chief reiterated the issue in a recent tweet. “It is time for America to have a single 5G network for all carriers,” Brad Parscale said in his tweet. “The days of dropped calls, slow speeds, and no service need to end. It is time for the U.S. to have the world’s best cell service.” The U.S. is well on its way to that goal, thanks to the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reduce regulations on private providers. The concept of nationalizing 5G into a government-run service, is, well, a terrible idea.
June 18, 2018
Too often, trailblazing musical artists are robbed of their royalties – and their retirements – due to a long-abused quirk in intellectual property law. In particular, artists behind recordings made before February 15, 1972 have been the victims of some digital services’ questionable legal interpretations. In a welcome development, The Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act, included in the larger Music Modernization Act (MMA), remedies the problem by firming up federal language to give “oldie” artists like Darlene Love and Tony Bennett the same protections as their later peers. The MMA unanimously passed the House 415-0 in April and is now in the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee. » Read More
June 13, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) announced the World Cup Watchdog project to monitor taxpayer subsidies and privileges directed toward the World Cup. The move comes as the 2026 World Cup was awarded to the United States, Canada, and Mexico this morning, setting the stage for billions of taxpayer dollars to be directed toward the major sporting event. » Read More
June 11, 2018
In 1897, after Mark Twain’s mistaken obituary was published, it was widely reported that Twain quipped to a reporter, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” The poor, mistaken obituary writer hasn’t been the only one to make this sort of mistake. For months, supporters of Title II regulation of the internet have declared the untimely demise of the internet, with all fervor and no evidence. Now that Title II has officially been repealed (12:01 am on June 11, 2018), its time to set the record straight. The Twainian truth is that Title II has all but been in the ash heap for seven months after the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) December 2017 ruling to rollback internet regulations. From the December 14 repeal date, internet service providers (ISPs) knew that, if they wanted to, they could favor and throttle data without fear of punishment from the FCC. » Read More
June 8, 2018
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This article originally appeared in Economics21 on June 7, 2018.
For more than a decade, Starbucks has branded itself as a liberal company that MSNBC viewers can support. This careful posturing, though, was not enough to shield the company against accusations of racism after staff called the police on two African-American men sitting at a table without making a purchase. Since then, Starbucks announced that all were welcome to make use of company facilities such as bathrooms and Wi-Fi, even if no purchases are made. But what if, instead of a panicked PR response, Starbucks’ open-access policy is an opportunistic ploy to put itself in a league of its own and receive more taxpayer subsidies?
June 7, 2018
On June 7, 2018, TPA President David Williams wrote to Congress urging the passage of the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, H.R. 3. This would remove $15.4 billion in unnecessary funding to programs that, in previous years, have remained dormant in the budgeting process. You can find the full letter here. » Read More
June 6, 2018
The AIRWAVES Act would create a pipeline of spectrum auctions for commercial use and help the U.S. lead the world in 5G development. But, like any legislation, it should be done the right way to ensure that the sale of spectrum doesn't play favorites and that decisions on the use of spectrum be technology neutral.This legislation, from a bipartisan group of senators and congresspersons, intends to reallocate spectrum and encourage wireless deployment to underserved rural areas with its plan for a series of spectrum auctions beginning later this year. » Read More
June 5, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller on May 31, 2018
America’s highway infrastructure is in big trouble, with trillions of dollars in needed repairs across the nation’s roadways and thoroughfares. Elected officials at all levels of government have talked a big talk about this problem, with successive administrations and Congresses proposing grand plans to shore up crumbling roads and bridges. Unfortunately, when it comes to government, one hand often does not know what the other is doing.
June 4, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Morning Consult on May 31, 2018.
Few federal agencies attract more of a media and policy circus than the United States Postal Service. After months of heaping Twitter “shade” on the USPS, President Donald Trump pushed Postmaster General Megan Brennan to raise Amazon’s shipping rates — to no avail. This pressure is the culmination of the president’s correct accusation that Amazon receives a hefty government subsidy due to USPS policy and lax congressional oversight. While the president’s claims are true, there exist far more effective measures to level the playing field for e-commerce players: By adapting simple, commonsense reforms, taxpayers and consumers can look forward to less red ink from flawed postal policy. And, maybe, a fiscally stable USPS. » Read More