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  • Time to Reform the Universal Service Fund

    David Williams on July 29, 2011

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the Universal Service Fund (USF) in 1996 to “promote the availability of quality services at just, reasonable and affordable rates for all consumers; increase nationwide access to advanced telecommunications services; advance the availability of such services to all consumers, including those in low income, rural, insular and high cost areas at rates that are reasonably comparable to those charged in urban areas;  increase access to telecommunications and advanced services in schools, libraries and rural health care facilities; and provide equitable and non-discriminatory contributions from all providers of telecommunications services to the fund supporting universal service programs.”  In essence, USF was designed to provide subsidies to build the infrastructure and provide telephone service to high cost areas.  Over the years the USF has taxed cell and land line phone service to provide these services.  But, what most people don’t know is that USF has also been stockpiling this money, more than $4 billion.

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  • Are Taxpayers Getting Their Money's Worth? New Report Exposes the True Cost of Congressional Compensation

    David Williams on July 27, 2011

    If the debate leading up to the debt ceiling deadline has told taxpayers anything, it is that Congress likes to wait until the last minute to do anything and they act like martyrs when they cancel part of their summer vacation.  The American public is not being fooled.  In a national Rasmussen Reports telephone survey, only 8 percent of likely U.S. voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job.  Fifty-two percent rate Congress' performance as poor.  To make matters worse, the same group of elected officials who have trouble coming to a consensus to save the country from economic Armageddon make a healthy living at taxpayers’ expense.  A new report by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance and Our Generation details the generous compensation for members of Congress, who receive a salary of $174,000 per year, as well as generous fringe benefits that boost their total compensation to $285,000 per year (read full report here).

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  • TPA Uncovers More Earmarks - This Time in the Interior Bill

    David Williams on July 25, 2011

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is always looking through spending bills for earmarks.  In fact, TPA was the first to uncover billions of dollars in earmarks for NASA and the Department of Defense.  Now, while Congerss thinks that taxpayers, and watchdogs, are distracted with debt ceiling discussions, they sneak in $498 million worth of earmarks in the House Interior, Environment, and Related Agenices Bill for 2012.  And, let's not forget, there is a self-imposed earmark ban. » Read More
  • Senate Kills Cut, Cap, and Balance - Gang of Six is Still NOT the Answer

    David Williams on July 22, 2011

    On Tuesday July 19, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2560, the Cut, Cap, & Balance Act of 2011 (click here, here, and here to read previous posts on CCB).  On Friday, the Senate cut off debate on its version of cut, cap and balance, effectively killing the legislation.  If it had been passed by the Senate and signed by the President, the legislation would have forced Congress and the President to cut spending, cap spending and pass a Balanced Budget Amendment.  On the same day that the vote on H.R. 2560 took place, the Senate’s Gang of Six proposal was released. Named after the three Republican senators; Tom Coburn (Okla.), Saxby Chambliss (Georgia), and Michael Crapo (Idaho) and three Democratic senators; Kent Conrad (N.D.); Dick Durbin (Illinois) and Mark Warner (Virginia), the Gang of 6 plan is supposed to be THE bi-partisan answer to raising the debt ceiling and addressing future deficits and debt.  In reality, the plan contains massive tax increases.

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  • Game Day - Senate Set to Vote on Cut, Cap, and Balance

    David Williams on July 22, 2011

    On Tuesday the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2560, the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, the only plan that finally forces the federal government to live within its means. Today (Friday July 22) the bill will be voted on in the Senate, and we need your help to pressure vulnerable Democratic Senators to support it!  (click here, here, and here to read previous posts on CCB).  There are eight Democratic Senators that may hold America’s future in their hands.  If they allow the Senate to thoroughly debate and discuss the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act– and the American people to fully engage themselves as they watch – the bill will have a fair chance to pass the Senate.  Call them all RIGHT NOW and ask them to support the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act! Senator Jon Tester- 202-224-2644; Senator Ben Nelson- 202-224-6551;Senator Joe Manchin- 202-224-3954; Senator Mark Pryor- 202-224-2353; Senator Bob Casey- 202-224-6324; Senator Debbie Stabenow- 202-224-4822; Senator Claire McCaskill- 202-224-6154; and Senator Bill Nelson- 202-224-5274.

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  • Gang of Six Should be Nixed

    David Williams on July 21, 2011

    On Tuesday July 19, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2560, the Cut, Cap, & Balance Act of 2011.  On Friday, the Senate cut off debate on its version of cut, cap and balance, effectively killing the legislation (click here, here, and here to read previous posts on CCB). If it had been passed by the Senate and signed by the President, the legislation would have forced Congress and the President to cut spending, cap spending and pass a Balanced Budget Amendment.  On the same day that the vote on H.R. 2560 took place, the Senate’s Gang of Six proposal was released. Named after the three Republican senators; Tom Coburn (Okla.), Saxby Chambliss (Georgia), and Michael Crapo (Idaho) and three Democratic senators; Kent Conrad (N.D.); Dick Durbin (Illinois) and Mark Warner (Virginia), the Gang of 6 plan is supposed to be THE bi-partisan answer to raising the debt ceiling and addressing future deficits and debt.  In reality, the plan contains massive tax increases.

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  • Cut, Cap and Balance - House Set to Vote on Landmark Legislation

    David Williams on July 19, 2011

    Today is the day:  the House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 2560, the Cut, Cap, & Balance Act of 2011.  This legislation will force Congress and the President to cut spending, cap spending and pass a Balanced Budget Amendment. Even though Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) supports cut, cap, and balanced budget, he has his own plan that he wants passed.  Sen. McConnell’s plan (dubbed Plan B) would give the President the power to raise the debt ceiling three times to the tune of $2.5 trillion which would be enough to get them past the 2012. McConnell’s plan does not require spending cuts, that is why it is imperative to tell your member of Congress to stop the over spending and sign the cut, cap, and balance pledge.  Go to www.house.gov or call the main switchboard of the Capitol at 202-224-3121 and urge your member of Congress to vote for H.R. 2560.

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  • Debt Ceiling Negotiations - Sen. McConnell Blinks

    David Williams on July 15, 2011

    Debt ceiling negotiations are at a critical point.  The deadline for default is quickly approaching (even though some say it is a fake deadline, including the Taxpayers Protection Alliance) and the House republican leadership has stood its ground by insisting that tax increases should not be a part of any deal.  A coalition of more than 200 groups from across the country (including the Taxpayers Protection Alliance) has been promoting an idea called Cut, Cap, and Balance (click here for previous blog posting) as a way to get the nation’s fiscal house in order.  It is simple: cut spending; cap spending, and pass a balanced budget amendment.  A bill proposed by Sens. Rand Paul, (R-Ky.), Pat Toomey, (R-Penn.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) mirrors the principles of cut, cap, and balance by allowing a debt ceiling increase as long as if there were spending cuts, enforceable spending caps and a balanced budget amendment.  The House of Representatives also plans a vote on cut, cap, and balance.  Great news for the taxpayers, but then comes along Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to throw cold water on all the progress that had been made during the debt negotiations.   Sen. McConnell’s plan (dubbed Plan B) would give the President the power to raise the debt ceiling three times to the tune of $2.5 trillion which would be enough to get them past the 2012 elections.

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  • Senate Democrats Miss the Point

    Michael Shue on July 13, 2011

    (Michael Shue is a guest commentator and taxpayer from Virginia.  Michael can be reached at michaelshue@gmail.com) On Monday July 11, Senate Democrats released their budget framework detailing their vision on tackling the looming debt crisis.  The framework begins with dire warnings of what will happen if we do not get our fiscal house in order: unsustainable debt levels, trillions in deficits and interest payments; all economic poison for years to come.  They even go so far to quote Admiral Mike Mullen saying that our national debt isn’t just an economic problem, but a dire national security issue.  But their solution is the biggest mistake that could be made:  tax increases.

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  • Net Neutrality - No Need for Internet Regulation

    on July 12, 2011

    On June 3, 2011 the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) wrote about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) coordinating with supporters of net neutrality to advance the new regulation.  On Friday July 8, 2011 the FCC sent the proposed regulations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which begins a 30 day comment period for the new regulations.  After that 30 day time period, the new regulation will go into effect 60 days later.  Any regulation of the Internet is unnecessary and potentially expensive for taxpayers.  There are also some who believe that the FCC does not even have jurisdiction to regulate the Internet.  TPA urges all citizens to contact the Office of Management and Budget (click here) and tell them that net neutrality regulations will be harmful to consumers and taxpayers.

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  • Debt Ceiling Negotiations Illustrate the Need for Cut, Cap, and Balance

    David Williams on July 11, 2011

    After a 75 minute meeting on Sunday July 10, Republican leaders and President Obama have yet to come up with a plan to raise the debt ceiling, or more importantly, cut spending.  The meeting comes just 48 hours after new unemployment numbers were released that showed an increase in unemployment from May to June. President Obama insists that tax increases must be in the table while fiscal conservatives are staking their ground by insisting on spending cuts without tax increases.  Now is not the time to burden the taxpayers with more taxes.  That is why it is imperative to tell your member of Congress to stop the over spending and sign the cut, cap, and balance pledge.  Call the main switchboard of the Capitol at 202-224-3121.

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  • Debt Ceiling Negotiations: Time for Real Spending Cuts and Not Tax Increases

    David Williams on July 8, 2011

    New unemployment numbers were released today (July 8) and the bad news is that the unemployment rate jumped to 9.2 percent.  This number was released smack dab in the middle of the negotiations on raising the debt ceiling and just 48 hours before a rare Sunday meeting between members of Congress and the President as they try to hammer out a deal on raising the debt ceiling. Fiscal conservatives are staking their ground by insisting on spending cuts without tax increases while others keep the door open to tax increases.  Rumors have been leaked about Republicans accepting a deal that would include an increase in revenues.  Now is not the time to burden the taxpayers with more taxes.  That is why it is imperative to tell your member of Congress to stop the over spending and demand real spending cuts and no tax increases.  Call the main switchboard of the Capitol at 202-224-3121.

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  • The Debt Clock is Ticking: Tell Congress to Make Real Spending Cuts NOW!

    David Williams on July 4, 2011

    July 4th is a time to reflect and be thankful and proud of everything that America has to offer.  This year July 4 has also come to symbolize a monumental struggle to get serious about spending cuts as Congress and the President debate raising the debt ceiling.  Fiscal conservatives are staking their ground by insisting on spending cuts without tax increases while others keep the door open to tax increases.  With a $14.3 trillion debt, a projected deficit of $1.5 trillion, and unemployment at 9 percent, Americans are well are of the impending financial crisis.  Tell Congress to stop the over spending and demand no tax increases and real spending cuts NOW!  Call the main switchboard of the Capitol at 202-224-3121.


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  • Minnesota State Government Shutdown - A Citizen's Perspective

    Todd Kruse on July 1, 2011

    (Todd Kruse is a citizen and taxpayer from Minnesota) The State of Minnesota is officially “closed” today because our legislature and governor could not reach a budget agreement before the June 30th, Midnight deadline.  This is not a time to despair fellow citizens – no this is the ideal time to expect true leadership from our public officials.   Behind the headlines depicting the impasse between legislative leaders and the governor there is an ongoing legal process whereby our courts are determining what are deemed “core government functions.”  The Minnesota Zoo is a perfect example of an opportunity to fundamentally re-structure government.  Is the provision of a zoo a core function of government? As a classical liberal who celebrates limited government I would say “no” and would expect PETA to join me in this sentiment.

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  • Time to Cancel the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS)

    David Williams on June 30, 2011

    Today (June 30), President Obama officially thanked Defense Secretary Robert Gates and awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his hard work as sec. Gates leaves the Pentagon.  When Leon Panetta takes over as Secretary of Defense on July 1, he will have many budgetary issues to deal with, including the future of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS).  Originally conceived as the replacement to the Patriot missile system, MEADS is being jointly built by the United States, Italy, and Germany, but Americans are shouldering more than 50 percent of the cost. Even though the Army has opposed the project, Congress allocated an additional $800 million in February and, last week, voted to further continue funding the project.  Unfortunately, misinformation and political wrangling may delay the cancellation of the program.

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  • The Debt Clock is Ticking: Tell Congress to Make Real Spending Cuts NOW!

    David Williams on June 29, 2011

    The country is struggling to recover from one of the worst economic downturns in American history and unemployment is still more than 9 percent.  Politicians in Washington seem oblivious to reality while they struggle to institute real spending cuts as the impending debt ceiling limit is reached and the country is faced with a potential massive financial crisis.  With a $14.3 trillion debt and a projected deficit of $1.6 trillion, Americans are well are of the impending financial crisis.  Tell your member of Congress to stop the over spending and demand real spending cuts NOW!  Call the main switchboard of the Capitol at 202-224-3121.

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  • Los Angeles Tourism Organization Needs to be Eliminated

    David Williams on June 28, 2011

    California has become known for two things:  setting trends (such as ham and pineapple pizza) and bad government. The latest example of bad government comes from our friends at Reason.com who reported that “Although excessive public-employee salaries are getting close attention in California, many ostensibly private officials – including a tourism bureau boss who makes almost $500,000 a year – are paid mostly or entirely from public money. In some cases, these compensation packages are higher than the pay of public employees who have been the focus of public outrage.” This “tourism bureau,” LA Inc., which is a non-profit organization that “functions as Los Angeles’ convention and visitors bureau,” has no seemingly justifiable existence and is funded by taxes.

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  • TPA Uncovers $2.1 Billion in Defense Earmarks: Taxpayer watchdog group first to report violation of earmark ban

    David Williams on June 23, 2011

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) today uncovered 61 earmarks worth $2.1 billion in the 2012 House Defense Appropriations Bill, despite a ban on earmarks passed last year. TPA is the first to report these appropriated funds.  "I'm baffled as to why some of the funds are being included in a defense bill," said Williams. "It seems as though the defense budget has become the island of misfit earmarks. The American people need their leaders to take responsibility for their actions, cut wasteful spending, and fulfill their promise to end earmarks once and for all."


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  • Cut, Cap, and Balance – It’s What the Cool Members of Congress are Doing

    David Williams on June 21, 2011

    The nation is plagued with a $14.3 trillion debt and a deficit that exceeds $1 trillion.  This is happening as the country struggles to emerge from one of its worst economic downturns in history.  Just as any household that is faced with economic woes, Congress should cut (spending), cap (spending) and pass a balanced budget amendment.

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  • Ethanol Subsidy Running on Empty

    David Williams on June 17, 2011

    One program that has epitomized the destructive and nonsensical nature of subsidies is ethanol, and on Thursday June 16, 2011, the United States Senate voted to kill the 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit for blending ethanol in gasoline that expires at the end of 2011.  Not only was it a shock for taxpayers to have a win in the Senate, there was actually bi-partisan support for the repeal.  According to Politico, “’I think the days of large subsidies like this are really over, and this is kind of the first vote on it,’ said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who sponsored the subsidies amendment with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). ‘I think you’re going to see all kinds of subsidies go, because we’ve got so many problems.’”  How many times do you see Sens. Feinstein and Coburn working together?

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