April 26, 2017
As President Trump marks his 100th day in office, commentators are already busy sizing up the leader’s legacy. The President’s short time in the Oval Office has been greeted with a constant stream of protests, cries for impeachment, and bouts of reflexive praise. Despite attempts to characterize the presidency in one word or phrase, the Mr. Trump’s performance has been wildly uneven. With a government shutdown looming around the same time as this milestone takes place, the stakes have become that much higher for the President to appear as though he is on or ahead of schedule with the laundry list of policy priorities he had coming into office. To highlight the positives and underscore the need for further improvement, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has graded the chief executive on his approach to regulation, tax reform, and spending.» Read More
April 21, 2017
When it comes to “sensibly managing markets”, regulatory agencies talk a big game but deliver preciously little. A heap of regulations passed over the past decade were said to make marketplaces a less threatening environment for shoppers and startups, with more competition and less monopolistic behavior. In reality, bureaucrats overstated “market failures” to justify putting rules in place that exacerbated problems and created unintended consequences. But thanks to a new Administration and Congress, public servants skeptical of these destructive regulations are emboldened and taking the fight to unnecessary rules. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen are two of these figures, successfully leading the fight to deregulate and return control to market players closest to the action. The pair successfully advocated for the repeal of a “digital privacy” regulation that would’ve entrusted consumers’ browsing history to bureaucrats with a poor cybersecurity track record.» Read More
Technological Innovation Is Making Your Eye Care Cheaper - But Big Medical Lobbyists Are Fighting ItDavid Williams on
April 20, 2017
This article originally appeared in IJ Review on April 13, 2017
Technology that slashes costs for healthcare is good for consumers and taxpayers alike. There are those who don’t want to see these new technologies flourish, but, thankfully, these forces of negativity are losing the battle of bringing new technologies into the market. Just like with the disruptive technologies that have helped Uber and Airbnb become household names, tele-health and tele-medicine are disrupting the cartel that forces consumers to pay inflated prices and suffer the inconvenience of travel and time at the optometrist's office to get a prescription for eyeglasses and contact lenses. With the click of a few keys on a computer or smartphone, consumers can receive their prescriptions (signed off by an eye doctor) from the comfort of their own homes. Thanks to this technology, healthy adults only have to go to the eye doctor’s office once every two years for an eye health exam as opposed to once every time a new prescription is needed - unless the medical lobby’s intense influence campaign is successful.» Read More
April 14, 2017
For the past decade, spitting saliva in a tube for DNA processing has been all the rage for viewers of the Maury television show, science geeks, hypochondriacs, and everyone in-between. Companies such as 23andMe have vigorously marketed their ability to use these genetic samples to identify customers’ ancestry and health risk. But the firm’s foray into health status prediction was too much for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which finally went nuclear on 23andMe after several warnings. In 2013, the FDA barred 23andMe from sharing health related conjecture tailored to customers’ genetic markers. For example, my own 23andMe report, which gave me risk percentages of developing major diseases relative to the population, was suddenly devoid of any such projections after the FDA’s actions. In justifying the ban, the administration reasoned that any disease probability estimate was inherently misleading, since the vast majority of genes playing a role in the development of the illnesses are not known. In the government’s view, 23andMe was assigning an unreasonably-high weight to a handful of genetic markers they’d analyzed.» Read More
April 3, 2017
While there has been endless coverage of the changes taking place in the Executive Branch under the new Trump Administration, there are still some very critical posts and appointments that have received little or no coverage. For example, the nomination of Dr. Scott Gottlieb as the next Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could have a lasting impact on innovation and health. Dr. Gottlieb is a scholar, a physician, and has prior experience at the agency - he also understands that the FDA impacts the lives of all Americans.» Read More
February 28, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has a mixed evaluation of President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress and the American people. With a national debt nearing $20 trillion, spending is out of control. TPA is disappointed that President Trump has called for more Defense spending. TPA is also disheartened that he did not address Washington’s runaway spending. Taxpayers should be encouraged that the President is committed to comprehensive tax and regulatory reform.
Click "Read Blog" to see TPA's full reaction to the Trump Address.» Read More
February 28, 2017
Tonight, President Trump will ascend to the lectern and articulate his policy vision to a joint session of Congress. Presidents have used past joint sessions to focus on a myriad of issues, from voting rights to foreign foes to economic policy. But as the new President makes his first address on Capitol Hill, the plight of the taxpayer could and should take the forefront.» Read More
February 16, 2017
This article originally appeared in The Hill on February 13, 2017
President Trump has made his disdain for the Dodd-Frank Act clear as day. In his first weeks in office, he even signed an executive order that said his administration will roll back the most punitive parts of the law. This week, a coalition of conservative organizations ranging from the R Street Institute to the Taxpayers Protection Alliance dispatched a letter to Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, urging repeal of the Durbin Amendment, a provision of the law that sets price controls on interchange fees for debit card purchases. If Congress wants to help “drain the swamp,” ending this corporate giveaway would be a great place to start.» Read More
February 10, 2017
Over the past few decades, our nation’s gears of productivity have been clogged by an avalanche of rules and regulations created by meddling bureaucrats in Washington. This gusher of new, complex regulations has wreaked havoc on the economy by relegating companies across sectors to bureaucracy processing centers. Implementation of Dodd-Frank rules, for instance, has prompted large financial institutions to turn to cognitive systems like IBM’s Watson for help. With sufficient expertise and resources required to ride out the regulatory storm, larger corporations took advantage of low borrowing costs under the new government framework. So, it should come as no surprise that three of the “Big Four” banks - Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase - have gotten bigger since the end of the financial crisis. While large banks and investment firms celebrate government favors, community banks have largely been left to the wolves. There’s been a dearth of bank formation, as prospective institutions realize that healthy earnings will result in hefty mandates from the federal government. Mercatus Senior Fellow Hester Pierce surveyed small banks in 2014 and found that more than eighty percent of these institutions faced increased compliance costs. Additionally, a quarter of small operations were contemplating mergers as the result of regulatory overload.» Read More
January 30, 2017
This article originally appeared in the Washington Times on Jabuary 24, 2017
Last week, Reps. Kevin Yoder, Kansas Republican, and Jared Polis, Colorado Democrat, reintroduced the Email Privacy Act, a bill that will protect Americans’ privacy rights from bureaucratic overreach by updating the grossly outdated 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Last April, the Email Privacy Act passed the House with a stunning 419-0 vote in the House of Representatives. Shortly afterward, the Senate version of the bill was compromised with controversial amendments, causing it to never make it to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now, however, all signs point to the clean version passing both houses of Congress this session. The ECPA allows law enforcement to gain possession of any emails or messages that are more than 180 days old. This is a violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, making us less safe because it overwhelms our bureaucrats with excessive information.» Read More
January 25, 2017
This week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a series of issue briefs for the 115th Congress titled Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity. The publication puts forward an aggressive reform agenda for Congress. The publication focuses on 14 different policy areas where reform is needed to help reduce the size of government, cut spending, enact tax reform, and help get the economy back on track. Issues covered in the publication include Defense Spending, Earmarks, Energy, Health Care, Intellectual Property, Mergers, Regulatory Reform, Solar Subsidies, Tax Reform, Telecommunications Policy, Trade Policy, United Nations/World Health Organization and United States Postal Service Reform. TPA President David Williams said of the release, “The newly elected Congress has No More Excuses for not acting on real and meaningful reform when it comes to reducing spending and getting the debt under control. TPA’s Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity provides a path forward.”» Read More
January 16, 2017
This article orginally appeared in The Daily Caller on January 11, 2017
Taxpayers are accustomed to paying for the country’s critical transportation infrastructure. What many taxpayers may not know is that the commercial rail infrastructure is privately funded and it is working quite well. In fact, the U.S. freight rail industry serves a critical role in the U.S. economy and benefits all American taxpayers and consumers. Yet a proposed rule by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) that would mark a significant change in direction from the industry-saving partial deregulation in 1980 could threaten this success by driving cargo from private railroads to taxpayer-funded roads.» Read More
January 13, 2017
Friday the 13th is a holiday of morbid unintended consequences. Like indoor umbrella openers or mirror breakers, most members of Congress are oblivious of the negative effects stemming from their actions. But, unlike superstitions that rarely have a cause and effect, the action (or inaction) by Congress has dire fiscal consequences. Spending initiatives such as health-care subsidies and loan guarantees are well-meaning, but balloon the deficit and harm intended beneficiaries. But this grim reality comes with a silver lining. By eliminating many programs in the federal budget, Congress can simultaneously restore solvency and increase prosperity. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report produced last month provides a long list of possible program cutbacks with estimated savings over a five-year and ten-year timeframe. In total, the CBO examined 54 spending proposals. In honor of this Friday the 13th, we chose 13 fiscal actions that would result in ten-year budgetary savings of nearly $300 billion over five years and $1.1 trillion over ten years if taken together. Our selections are far from exhaustive, and our non-triskaidekaphobic readers should feel free to send us their own lists.» Read More
January 2, 2017
The New Year has begun, and after saying goodbye to 2016, taxpayers are ready to welcome 2017. While many people resolve to shed a few pounds and break some bad habits, this year’s list of resolutions highlights all of the major issues that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will focus on throughout the year.
The resolution for Congress in 2017 is clear: No More Excuses. Washington (including the incoming Trump administration) have no more excuses for not getting things done for taxpayers. On a wide range of issues, including tax reform and regulatory reform, members of the House and Senate can longer make excuses for not doing the necessary work to fix some of the major problems impacting taxpayers. It is time for Congress to get to work. For more on Congress, click here.
Click "Read Blog" below to see all of TPA's 2017 Resolutions!» Read More
December 28, 2016
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is headed into 2017 with a campaign called No More Excuses. As previously discussed, the No More Excuses campaign is about making sure that the new Congress and new White House administration know that the time for action is now. Issues that have been getting lip service for many years must now be tackled head on and the fact is there are simply No More Excuses for inaction. However, there are many issues that Washington should stay away from, and a ban on Internet gambling is one of those issues. TPA recently joined with a number of groups on a coalition letter sent by Institute for Liberty making the case once again for why legislation known as the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), which is a federal ban of online gaming, would be a disaster. The Lame Duck session was a looming threat where a ban may have been slipped into last minute legislation, thankfully that did not happen. TPA and others will still be working to make sure it doesn't happen in 2017 either.» Read More
December 17, 2016
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is closing out 2016 with a message for Congress and the incoming Trump administration: No More Excuses!» Read More
Over the past several years, Congress has dropped the ball in coming together on solutions to very real and solvable problems that are impacting taxpayers and businesses. Now, with the likely prospect of a Congress and White House that are seemingly aligned on some of the major issues facing the country, there is no reason that many of those problems can’t be solved over the course of 2017. Hence, no more excuses.
December 13, 2016
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Under the leadership of Chairman Tom Wheeler, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has interfered with the free market and allowing consumer-friendly initiatives to prosper. For example, while the FCC’s latest rules for net neutrality are making their way through the federal courts, the agency is using the rules to go after the private sector in terms of how they offer wireless data to their customers and what’s known as “Zero Rating.” Zero rating is a type of service that allows for providers to give “free data” for content to their customers. The way it works is that some content doesn’t get counted as part of data used in a customer’s plan with their wireless provider. In short, a company offers something for free to their customers as part of their paid service. This is a great way to get more customers and have competitors contemplate offering similar services to fill the marketplace with more options. This all seems like a win for companies and consumers. But, Chairman Wheeler disagrees and apparently would prefer people pay for something they can receive for free.
December 7, 2016
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Justin Sykes is Manager of Federal Affairs at Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). This article originally on the ATR website on November 28, 2016
Throughout his campaign Donald Trump pledged to repeal and “dismantle” burdensome financial regulations such as the Department of Labor’s (DOL) “fiduciary rule” and regulations enacted under the Dodd-Frank Act. Now that President-elect Trump has clinched the Whitehouse and has the backing of a Republican House and Senate, he now has the ability to act on his campaign pledge. Looking ahead to 2017, there are five financial reforms that Trump can undertake to relieve the burdensome and costly regulatory impact left over from the Obama administration.
November 30, 2016
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This week, continuing a tradition started by former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) released the second edition of his wastebook, Federal Fumbles: 100 Ways the Government Dropped the Ball, Vol II. The report (here) details $247 billion in questionable spending and regulations. The Taxpayers Projection Alliance (TPA) applauds Sen. Lankford for carrying on what is not only a noteworthy tradition, but also a useful policy tool that can help guide the way on how to eliminate wasteful programs and expensive regulations.
November 14, 2016
This article appeard in The Hill on November 2, 2016
Most researchers, scientists, and leaders in the medical community know that heavily regulating health care doesn’t bode well for innovation. However, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Sylvia Burwell, recently announced plans that would give the agency the authority to negotiate the prices of medicines — a proposal that would have disastrous results if implemented. The issue of how much influence the government should have in the marketplace has been tested by Congress and regulators for years. However, when it comes to healthcare, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) seems to have opened the door for the government to seek new ways to interfere in the private sector.» Read More