April 9, 2018
This article originally appeared in RealClearScience on April 3, 2018
During the federal budgeting process, it’s all too easy for taxpayer dollars to be sucked into a black hole of wasteful space spending. After signaling intent to cut back on America’s space flight and exploration programs and transition responsibilities to the private sector, President Trump signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill that increased funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) by more than $1 billion. The fiscal year (FY) 2018 funding level, set at $20.7 billion, more than a billion-dollar increase than FY 2017. And disappointingly, appropriators successfully gave the agency $1.6 billion more than they requested. » Read More
April 5, 2018
This article originally appeared in The American Conservative on April 5, 2018
The United States Postal Service is deep in the red, with a dwindling list of options available to stop the bleeding. USPS officials and Congress have continually neglected to employ sound financial management, which has resulted in $15 billion in debt and more than $100 billion in unfunded liabilities for the Postal Service. Despite inept leadership, anyone bringing attention to these issues is bound to be repeatedly attacked as a corporate shill trying to harm the USPS. » Read More
April 4, 2018
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This article originally appeared in Economics21 on April 3, 2018
When awarding multi-billion dollar contracts, Uncle Sam expects taxpayers to trust the competitive bidding process. Unfortunately, increasingly fewer contracts are awarded by competitive bid, raising costs for taxpayers. Consider the Pentagon, where the share of contract spending awarded competitively has declined over the past decade, driven by no-bid deals in Human Resources and Special Operations Command. In fiscal year 2017, more than half of Defense Department procurement spending — totaling more than $100 billion — was on noncompetitive contracts. While the public interest can at times merit no-bid contracting, its increasing share is cause for concern. In an environment devoid of transparency and competition, quality suffers and prices rise.
March 27, 2018
This article originally appeared in RealClearPolicy on March 21, 2018
On March 18, in Tempe, Arizona, one of Uber’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian. In response, the company announced it was suspending all testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads pending an investigation. Toyota has followed suit. Motorists, pedestrians, and taxpayers footing the bill for infrastructure cannot afford a “full-speed-ahead” approach to autonomous vehicles that ignores safety evidence. » Read More
March 26, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on March 20, 2018
From bloated overhead to cost overruns, the bar for excellence is set extraordinarily low in Washington, D.C. As can be seen from deliberations over the $1.2 trillion omnibus bill, lawmakers from both parties have little discipline in reining in spending. Traditional cost estimates of federal undertakings, however, often fail to take into account the woeful state of cybersecurity. Compounding this problem is the scourge of no-bid contracts and their propensity to bilk taxpayers and leave federal agencies vulnerable. » Read More
March 23, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the President signs the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Defense Appropriations Act conference report, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has uncovered 642 earmarks totaling $29.8 billion (click here to see the full list) that were not requested by the Pentagon and inserted by members of Congress. That is a 58 percent increase in the 406 projects requested in FY 2017 and a 105 percent increase in total dollars from FY 2017.
March 21, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed congressional leaders in the House and Senate for offering a $1.3 trillion Omnibus spending bill, setting the stage for a trillion-dollar deficit this year. TPA President David Williams sounded off on the details of the legislation released this evening.
March 19, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on March 7, 2018
To listen to some environmental advocates, electric vehicles (EVs) are a panacea for America’s outdated, “dirty” transportation sector. After a decade of sluggish uptake by U.S. customers, a variety of organizations and businesses are making bold predictions about the future of EVs. Edison Electric Institute projects that U.S. EV penetration will reach 7 percent by 2025 and grow by leaps and bounds thereafter. A Bloomberg New Energy Finance report released last year finds that electric vehicles will comprise 15 percent of American cars by 2035. » Read More
March 16, 2018
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This article originally appeared in The American Conservative on March 14, 2018
As the recent spending debate in Congress made clear, the Pentagon isn’t exactly starved for cash. The latest budget agreement, reached by lawmakers back in February, blew the lid off of Budget Control Act spending caps, increasing funds to the Pentagon by 15 percent over the next two years. Of the requested $686 billion for the Department of Defense, $194 billion is slated for the Department of the Navy. In fact, the 2019 Navy budget is an astounding 18 percent higher than the 2017 levels, despite diminishing conflicts around the globe. Why a peacetime Navy demands a budget fit for the Cold War and Iraq War is a mystery. Even reliable defense hawks have begun questioning Navy spending in recent years.
March 12, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller on March 6, 2018
When a massive undertaking goes awry, there comes a point where “let it be” trumps “let’s dig deeper.” Washington, D.C. local officials are inclined toward the latter, particularly when it comes to mass transit. The D.C. Streetcar is a sad monument to fiscal mismanagement, in a city already plagued by education scandals and corrupt governance. At a cost of nearly $100 million per mile and initial building delays spanning seven years for the 2.2 mile boondoggle, District and federal taxpayers have every right to demand better uses of their money. Unfortunately, it’s likely to only get worse. » Read More
March 1, 2018
This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on February 28, 2018
The Pentagon is a massive black hole of dubious spending, and its annual final budget never tells the entire story. Case in point: the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund is just one of the ways the military spends our money above and beyond their annual outlays. Supposedly, the OCO will be reduced significantly over the course of the next two years. But before you think the government is reining in spending, think again. » Read More
February 9, 2018
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This article originally appeared on Townhall.com on February 8, 2018
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló has long blamed his predecessors and those in Washington – namely Republicans including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) – for his woes. Rosselló has called the ground-breaking Tax Cuts and Jobs Act a setback for the island. The governor has also criticized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, despite their efforts to rebuild the power utility long-neglected by a long line of Puerto Rico leaders. While many things about Puerto Rico’s governance remain opaque, one thing is quite clear: Gov. Rosselló will stop at nothing to blame everyone else for his own failings. By blaming others and feigning helplessness in the face of challenge after challenge, Gov. Rosselló hopes to secure a heavily subsidized or free loan via the Trump Administration.
February 7, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed congressional leaders for agreeing to lift budget caps by $300 billion over the next two years. Politico reported that, “Congressional leaders have clinched a two-year deal to lift strict budget caps on defense and domestic spending, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday afternoon. The deal is expected to increase defense and domestic spending by roughly $300 billion over two years, according to administration and congressional sources.”
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February 7, 2018
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Today, TPA joined together with 22 free market groups led by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) to send a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to stop the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) rule against short-term “payday” loans. The rule also deprives citizens and lawmakers in every state from deciding for themselves how to regulate small dollar loans and fails to take into consideration the impact the rule will have on small businesses, the letter explains. Time is running out for Congress to disapprove the rule using the Congressional Review Act, with an estimated deadline of March 5. The letter asks Congress to vote now on House Joint Resolution 122, introduced by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) and co-sponsored by Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Tom Graves (R-GA).
January 9, 2018
Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed President Trump and members of Congress who suggested bringing back legislative earmarks. Congress banned earmarks in 2011 after Republicans gained control of the House. Seven years later, with full control of the Legislative and Executive Branches the prospect of earmarks shouldn’t be an issue. Instead, the Administration and Congress are close to re-implementing a destructive policy that would proliferate waste in Washington. TPA President David Williams noted that, “Earmarking is an irresponsible way to allocate funds. In addition to the chaos it causes during the appropriations process, earmarks are behind some of the most wasteful programs and projects taxpayers have been bilked for over the years. Earmarks have served as the bribery currency of Congress for many years, as both parties used them to buy votes." » Read More
December 28, 2017
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This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on December 16, 2017.
Here we go again. On the eve of the next Farm Bill reauthorization, Big Sugar corporations are up to their old tricks. To protect their government handouts, they are once again claiming that a so-called “zero-for-zero” resolution should come before Congress passes meaningful reform of the country’s harmful sugar policy. Large domestic manufacturers argue that, before subsidies and quotas are phased out, foreign governments must first stop bolstering their own producers.
December 21, 2017
This article originally appeared on InsideSources on December 19, 2017.
As any board member or financial officer will readily attest, budgeting is never a walk in the park. But federal lawmakers have it especially tough, managing a multi-trillion-dollar operation and navigating through countless competing interests. » Read More
November 29, 2017
It’s that time of year again! As the NFL embraces the harsh mistress of playoff season, some fans can’t help but to find strange parallels between the performance of their squad and the current Congress. Most franchises will inevitably go through a “rebuilding phase” after the bottom drops out, with uneven performances from rookies and lingering issues from the rank-and-file. Congress is similarly in rebuilding mode, correcting for the gargantuan missteps over the past decade with a mixture of Hail Mary’s and fruitless quarterback sneaks. » Read More
November 13, 2017
This article originally appeared in Real Clear Defense on November 7, 2017
The United States faces a grave and growing threat from North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. With North Korea conducting two ICBM tests in July of 2017, Kim Jong-Un is a pariah intent on putting the United States and allies on the defense. For the first time, North Korea has demonstrated the ballistic missile technology necessary to directly attack the U.S. homeland. And these developments are not unfolding in a vacuum. Ballistic missile threats from Russia and China are ever-present and rapidly evolving. However, these pressing issues are no excuse to hand the Department of Defense a blank check. Only a smart and nimble national defense will prove capable in diffusing these threats and protecting the country. Reforming the military’s purchasing protocol by instituting multi-year procurement can accomplish that goal. » Read More
September 15, 2017
This article appeared in The Hill on September 13, 2017.
Between Hurricane Irma’s path of destruction and the threat of future hurricanes, Puerto Rico stands in Mother Nature’s firing line. The House of Representatives, which passed a bill last week authorizing assistance for Hurricane Harvey, will likely open the spigot of taxpayer funds to Puerto Rico and other areas tormented by recent mega storms. While the federal government is right to come to the financial aid of the oft-forgotten part of the United States after disasters, Congress needs to be especially weary of financial mismanagement. In a place where fiscal dysfunction has already forced the federal government to intervene, adding fuel to the fire would make the lives of Puerto Ricans worse. And taxpayers deserve better than for their money to sink into a black hole of failed expectations. » Read More