Taxpayers Protection Alliance
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  • Congress Has Another Opportunity to Kill a Wasteful and Unnecessary CDC Program

    David Williams on December 13, 2011

    On October 11, 2011, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance urged the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to defund Community Transformation Grants (CTG) funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The Prevention and Public Health Fund, which funds this CDC program along with its predecessor, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, was originally created under the stimulus bill. So far, the government has put more than $1 billion towards these “wellness” programs under The Prevention and Public Health Fund (read previous blog postings here and here).  Now, taxpayers have another shot at defunding the program.  With less than two weeks before Christmas, taxpayers will find out which members of Congress have been naughty and which have been nice.  One way to ensure a coal-less stocking would be to defund CTG.  Congress has that opportunity today as they vote on the payroll tax cut in the House that contains a provision to defund CTG’s to offset the tax cut.

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  • Adding Content to Techniques - Education Needs a Facelift

    Todd Kruse on December 9, 2011

    (Todd Kruse, guest blogger for TPA, is a citizen and taxpayer from Minnesota) During my undergraduate years, my friend Brenda was working on her “double E” degree – no not Electrical Engineering as the campus slang is translated but instead she was pursuing an Elementary Education degree.    I remember discussing some news event with her when she replied, “oh I have no idea, I am too busy studying………….”  This is America’s problem for both our K-12 education system and our media industry - our teachers’ colleges and journalism schools appear to be completely dominated by teaching the techniques and theories of teaching and of journalism.  It is now time to add some content.

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  • Identifying Wasteful Spending Doesn't Have to be Partisan

    David Williams on December 7, 2011

    Taxpayers have been accustomed to Republicans talking about government waste and identifying where to cut out the fat.  In some cases, Democrats have even given up on looking and claim that it is tough to identify where the waste, fraud, and abuse is occurring.  For example, after Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) announced his retirement he was interviewed by Chris Matthews on MSNBC.  When asked about where government could cut, Rep. Frank responded that “People say we are going to cut out the fat as if the fat was made on the side. Yes, there`s fat, but it`s marbles. There`s inefficiency in any human activity --the waste, fraud, and abuse is so marbled throughout the government and the various bureaucracies that it is difficult to get rid of the waste.”  Besides the ridiculous story of a welfare recipient owning a $1.2 million house (read here), there are plenty of examples from members of both parties about where to trim the fat. » Read More
  • The REINS Act is a Common Sense Step Forward in Regulation Reform

    David Williams on December 5, 2011

    Regulations are crippling American businesses and burdening taxpayers with a bloated bureaucracy to enforce the regulations.  While some regulations are important, it is also critical to make sure that there is a system of checks and balances in the system.  The Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act would be that safeguard.  The REINS Act may not be as sexy as Bridge to Nowhere or the Solyndra loan scandal, but it is an important piece of legislation that is needed to put the brakes on unnecessary and burdensome regulations.   Before any regulation is imposed on the American people, the REINS Act would require Congress to take an up-or-down vote to approve regulations that have an economic impact of $100 million or more.  The birth of the REINS Act actually goes back to 2009 when Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.) offered the legislation after talking to a constituent about excessive regulations.  This week, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is urging every member of the House to vote for the legislation (read the TPAPB here).  And, TPA urges everybody to call their member of Congress to tell them to vote for the legislation.  You can find your member here or call the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121.

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  • TPA Scores a Major Spending Victory! The Joint Strike Fighter Alternate Engine is Dead

    David Williams on December 2, 2011

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) (and taxpayers) have scored a major spending victory with General Electric (GE)/Rolls Royce announcing that they are giving up their efforts to build an alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter.  According to a December 2, 2011 article in Aviation Week, “The move comes after an Oct. 31 meeting between GE Aviation leadership and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in which ‘it became clear that the [Defense Department] would not support the FET self-funding effort,’ says GE.”  TPA highlighted the wasteful alternate engine in an October 3, 2011 briefing on Capitol Hill and numerous press releases and blog postings.

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  • Happy Anniversary Fiscal Commission: Another Exercise in Fiscal Futility

    David Williams on December 1, 2011

    One year ago on December 1, 2010, President Obama released the findings of The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform which was led by former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson (R-Wy.). The Commission released a report on potential spending cuts that would eclipse $2 trillion from 2012 to 2020.  Recommendations include: selling excess federal real property; repealing The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act which was created in Obamacare; and reducing net spending on mandatory agriculture programs.  The report was very candid when it stated that, “Our country has tough choices to make. We need to be willing to tell Americans the truth: We cannot afford to continue spending more than we take in, and we cannot continue to make promises we know full well we cannot keep.”  Instead of being used to cut spending, the report has been more useful as a virtual paperweight (I am not even sure of any copies were actually printed up).

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  • FCC Report Exposes Questionable 9-1-1 Expenditures

    David Williams on November 29, 2011

    Besides the occasional goofball complaining about a non-delivered pizza or somebody asking how to work his iPhone, most of the time when somebody calls 9-1-1 they are experiencing a dire emergency and need the system to work quickly and efficiently.  While some telecommunications taxes and fees may be controversial, mobile (and landline) customers understand the need for an efficient 9-1-1 system and are willing to pay for that system.  The number of 9-1-1 calls and the amount collected is staggering.  According to CTIA-The Wireless Association®, “Every day, 396,000 9-1-1 calls are made on wireless devices. With almost 30 percent of wireless-only Americans, mobile consumers pay more than $2 billion a year for their states’ 9-1-1 funds to ensure our nation’s first responders are properly equipped to handle wireless distress calls.”  A report earlier this month by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shows that not all money being collected from the fund is being used for the proper purposes.

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  • The First Cut is the Lamest

    David Williams on November 25, 2011

    On November 9, 2011, the Obama Administration issued a press release bragging about its efforts to rein in spending on items such as cell phones, smart phones, laptops and swag including, “plaques, clothing, and other unnecessary promotional items.”  The White House estimates that these savings could amount to billions of dollars.  While taxpayers should applaud these efforts as every dollar counts when it comes to saving money, it will take much more than cutting out free Department of Energy t-shirts to get the debt and deficit under control.  And, let’s be honest, how many people do you see walking around with a federal government branded t-shirt or coffee mug? And, if you did, would that really make you feel better about the government?

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  • TPA Reacts to Super Committee Failure: Congress Fails Taxpayers with Collapse of Super Committee

    David Williams on November 21, 2011

    With the failure of the Super Committee to meet their deadline and find $1.2 trillion in budget savings over the next decade, Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) president David Williams released the following statement.  "Congress has once again failed the American taxpayer with the collapse of the Super Committee. It is time that our representatives in Washington do what we elected them to do-serve the American people and help get our economy up and running again. Instead, they continue to play political games while taxpayers are left holding the bill for our government's out-of-control spending problem. This failure to reach a compromise on an issue of such importance is just another reason why Congressional pay should be cut by at least ten percent. With a country that is $15 trillion in debt, Congress must come together and find a way to cut spending now.”  To read TPA’s Congressional Compensation Report and learn why taxpayers aren’t getting their money’s worth when it comes to Congressional salaries, click here.

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  • The Pentagon Chooses Politics Over Jobs and Fiscal Common Sense

    David Williams on November 21, 2011

    On Friday November 18, 2011, the Obama Administration and the Pentagon made a decision to ship jobs overseas and put a critical defense project at risk, all funded by American tax dollars with zero benefit to American workers or the economy.  The disqualification of aircraft manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft from the Light Air Support and Light Attack and Armed Reconnaissance (LAS/LAAR) aircraft for the United States Air Force leaves only Brazil’s Embraer to fulfill the order.  With Embraer under investigation for corruption, it appears that politics is more important to this Administration than protecting the country and job creation   The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has voiced its support for Hawker Beechcraft over Embraer to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in two separate letters (here and here) because of its ability to protect taxpayers and the country.

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  • MEADS - The Missile to Nowhere

    David Williams on November 17, 2011

    Today, November 17, 2011, the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) will be tested.  Now, before you get too excited, this test will be nothing more than a dog and pony show to keep its funding alive and try to silence the critics.  As one of the harshest critics of the program (see previous blog posts here and here), the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) sent a series of e-mails mails to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medium Extended Air Defense System Management Agency (NAMEADSMA), the Army, and MEADS International on November 8, 2011.  The only response was from NAMEADSMA.  While we appreciated the response, the answers were less than satisfactory and raised even more questions.

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  • Taxpayers Need to Watch Out for the Mini Bus Getting Ready to Run Them Over

    David Williams on November 16, 2011

    On Thursday November 17, 2011, the House of Representatives is expected to vote (FINALLY!) on a triad of fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills rolled up into one.  The three bills, Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science (CJS), and Transportation/Housing and Urban Development (THUD), are included in one bill (H.R. 2112) and is affectionately known as a “mini bus” spending bill.  While the bill is relatively free of earmarks, members of the House of Representatives should vote against the legislation.  There has been very little time for debate and a provision to allow the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to increase its eligible loan limit to $729,750 is plenty reason enough to vote “NAY.”   According to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), “Tucked inside the 401-page bill was language to increase the limits for which the Federal Housing Administration can insure mortgage loans up to $729,750, effectively allowing the agency to back McMansions with taxpayer dollars. Adding further insult to hard-working taxpayers an independent audit revealed, just hours later, that there is a “close to 50 percent” chance the agency would run out of money and need a taxpayer bailout.” Another reason to vote against the mini bus is that the spending levels are above the House-passed budget offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) earlier in the year.

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  • TPA to Congress: Go Big or Go Home

    David Williams on November 14, 2011

    During the next two weeks taxpayers will see some of the elements of the of the August debt ceiling agreement come together with a vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) and the report from the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the Super Committee).  In typical Washington fashion, there are two potential outcomes for both the BBA and the Super Committee.  A weak BBA and a discordant Super Committee could foreshadow a future filled with fake spending cuts and tax increases.

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  • TPA Investigates: Missile Program Needs More Scrutiny and Less Money

    David Williams on November 11, 2011

    The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) has been a hot topic of conversation at the Pentagon and Capitol Hill.  MEADS, which was originally conceived as the replacement to the Patriot missile system, is being jointly built by the United States, Italy, and Germany with the Americans shouldering more than 50 percent of the cost.  Even though the Army doesn’t want the project, there was an additional $800 million allocated for the project through 2013.  Taxpayer groups have expressed their opposition to funding the program over the past years.  On October 3, 2011, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) held a briefing where MEADS was discussed as a primary program to be cut as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the Super Committee) looks for cuts.  Now, it appears that there will be “test” of MEADS on November 17, a day before the federal government runs out of money and less than a week before the Super Committee presents its deficit reduction plan.  TPA is concerned that this test (which is really more of a demonstration than a test) is nothing more than a dog and pony show to boost the funding of the program and keep it off the chopping block. » Read More
  • Senate Set to Vote on Killing Net Neutrality

    David Williams on November 8, 2011

    UPDATE:  Today (November 10, 2011) the Senate voted along party lines (46-52) to allow the FCC to proceed with net neutrality regulations which will kill jobs and innovation. With all of the issues currently on the table regarding the economy- jobs, taxes, the debate on spending cuts- the last thing our country needs is for the federal government to be distracted.  It is ridiculous that Congress and the Senate have to spend time dealing with matters that aren’t really problems. But that is what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is forcing our officials to do. The FCC’s rules on net neutrality are due to take effect on November 20, despite opposition from both sides of the aisle and dissent from throughout the administration.  Having already been rebuked by the House, the Senate has a little less than two weeks to overturn the regulations.  Policymakers should realize that, right now, time is of the essence.  Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) is trying to stop net neutrality in its tracks with legislation that would prevent the FCC from implementing the new rules.  With a vote expected on Thursday November 10, 2011, on “S. J. RES. 6:  Disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to regulating the Internet and broadband industry practices,” the Taxpayers Protection Alliance sent a TPAPB to all Senate offices urging the Senate to vote for Sen. Hutchison’s legislation.  The House has already passed the bill overturning the FCC’s net neutrality rules.  The need for this vote to come soon is critical, as the regulations which the FCC is trying to institute are due to come into effect on November 20th.  TPA urges all taxpayers to contact their Senators and urge them to vote for "S.J RES. 6: Disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to regulating the Internet and broadband industry practices." (click here to find your Senator).

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  • Effort to Cut Congressional Pay Gains Momentum

    David Williams on November 7, 2011

    In July, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance and Our Generation released a report titled “Are Taxpayers Getting Their Money’s Worth? An Analysis of Congressional Compensation.” The report detailed the fact that members of Congress make $174,000 per year or $285,000 when benefits are included.  Considering that the country is on the verge of bankruptcy with a $14.9 trillion debt and Congress continues to bicker instead of passing spending bills, taxpayers deserve more from their elected officials.  Luckily, a bi-partisan group of members of Congress who think that a pay cut is in order and are encouraging other members to support their efforts.  Reps. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) Mike Coffman (R-Col.), Jason Altmire (D-Penn.), and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter urging members of Congress to sign onto a letter that encourages the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the  Super Committee) “to reduce the deficit include savings from reductions in Member compensation.”  TPA urges you to contact your member of Congress and tell them to support this effort to cut congressional compensation.  You can find out who your member of Congress is and their phone number here.

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  • Cutting Corporate Taxes Will Spur Economic Growth

    David Williams on November 3, 2011

    America was built on the ability to out-compete and out-innovate the rest of the world. Both of these advantages are under threat with excessive taxation and tax compliance that fills volumes of books and billions of hours of tax preparation.  As a result, job creation has suffered and any economic recovery is threatened.  The corporate tax rate of 35 percent (the second highest in the world) is an example of an outdated tax system and a burden this country can no longer bear.  This rate is higher than every one of America’s major European trading partners and is higher than China or Canada. In fact, since 1992, the average OECD combined statutory rate has been lower than America’s and it has continued to fall. Today, it is nearly 10 percent lower (25.1 percent) than America’s 35 percent. Add in the state and local taxes that U.S.-based companies pay and the gap widens even further.

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  • The Wireless Tax Fairness Act - Taxpayers and Consumers Win!

    David Williams on November 1, 2011

    It’s not very frequently that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reports on a victory, but this evening (November 1) was a banner moment for everyone that owns a cell phone.  The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1002, the Wireless Tax Fairness Act.  This bi-partisan bill, with 236 co-sponsors, freezes all new state and local taxes and fees on wireless for 5 years.  The official scoring entity of Congress, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), scored it as no additional cost to any level of government.  A true win!  Mobile devices are becoming a popular way to purchase books, music, or just download any content via the Internet.  The Wireless Tax Fairness Act stops states and local governments from imposing multiple or discriminatory taxes on these items.

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  • HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Taxpayer-Funded Halloween Handouts

    Drew Johnson on October 31, 2011

    Halloween is a fun occasion for kids to dress up and go door-to-door looking for handouts of candy and other goodies. What taxpayers don’t realize is that all levels of government celebrate Trick or Treat all year long by handing out tax dollars to unnecessary programs and projects. The scary part is that taxpayers almost always end up tricked.  As the Taxpayers Protection Alliance wraps up a week-long celebration of Halloween (read previous blog postings here, here, and here), today’s offering of Trick or Treats features five frightening examples of Halloween-themed tricks on taxpayers, featuring a jack-o’-lantern carve out, subsidies for scary movies, a high-priced Halloween party, a punkin’ chuckin’ pork project and a government-subsidized corn maze. WARNING!! We repeat, we advise strong parental guidance because some material may not be suitable for children since they are the ones that will ultimately be paying for these tricks.

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  • Trick or Treat! Healthcare and the Food and Drug Administration

    on October 28, 2011

    This Trick or Treat highlights Healthcare and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Without a doubt, the biggest trick played on taxpayers was the passage of Obamacare.  As part of Obamacare, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a panel of 15 “experts” to slow the growth of Medicare, was passed.  IPAB will be a board of 15 unelected members who, according to the American Medical Association, would “extend Medicare solvency and reduce spending growth through the use of a spending target system and fast-track legislative approval process.”  In reality, IPAB will be nothing more than a way to ration health care for seniors.  Even though the FDA is “responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation,’ the FDA is quickly becoming the silent killer of the economy and the free market. WARNING!! We repeat, we advise strong parental guidance because some material may not be suitable for children since they are the ones that will ultimately be paying for these tricks.

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