July 14, 2017
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This post appeared on the Property Rights Alliance blog on July 13, 2017.
Today the 2017 International Property Rights Index was released. This yearly publication of the Property Rights Alliance provides a measurement and comparison of the strength of property rights protection in 127 countries around the world, covering 93% of world population and 98% of the world GDP. Looking at Physical Property Rights, Intellectual Property Rights, and the Legal and Political Environment, the Index grades each nation on a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 is the highest value and 0 the lowest. The Property Rights Alliance firmly believes, as this index shows, that strong property rights protection goes hand-in-hand with prosperity and innovation. A well-defined, well-defended property rights system allows people to obtain the full value of their work, and allows them to bring out this wealth in the market economy.
June 28, 2017
Since its formation, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has strongly supported the opening up of trade with other nations. Now, as TPA President David Williams visits Cuba this week, our organization seeks to highlight its support of trade liberalization with the Caribbean nation. Our embargo against Cuba has outlived its usefulness, harming American and Cuban citizens alike. The exchange of goods and services between two nations results in less poverty for both polities, regardless of the system of government present in the countries. TPA signed onto this coalition letter, organized by Americans for Tax Reform, in support of legislation which would open up trade with Cuba. The series of bills (H.R. 442, H.R. 351, H.R. 525) discussed in the letter would respectively lift the Cuba embargo, end travel limitations for Americans, and allow Cuba to loan funds from American institutions when purchasing agricultural products produced in the U.S. » Read More
June 26, 2017
The United States has been a stalwart, albeit imperfect, defender of intellectual property (IP) rights over the past few decades, ensuring that innovators have the right incentives to develop novel products and techniques The United States’ embrace of trade agreements with the rest of the world, though, means that enforcing IP is as difficult as ever. If US companies are unconvinced that foreign trade partners will honor patent or trademark rights, millions of dollars in potential transactions will go unpursued. The Global IP Center’s hallmark report on trade and IP gauges this problem via four case studies: Australia, Korea, Chile, and Canada. While the US has little issue cooperating with Australia and Korea on IP issues, the same cannot be said for Chile and Canada. » Read More
June 23, 2017
This article appeared in Inside Sources on June 20, 2017.
Listening to grave pronouncements of U.N. officials these last few weeks, things certainly don’t sound pretty. Proposed budget cuts to the organization would make operations “impossible,” and planned U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement spells a death knell for Mother Earth. But this alarmism is just a diversion away from the very real problems plaguing the United Nations. And by providing $8 billion a year to the organization, U.S. taxpayers are forced to enable the United Nations’ epic dysfunction and incompetence. » Read More
May 3, 2017
Fresh off his first deregulatory bout, President Trump may be aiming his firepower at the Paris Agreement next. The President pledged on the campaign trail to withdraw from the pact, and will further contemplate withdrawal over the next two weeks. In the meantime, lawmakers and pundits have rushed to the defense of the Obama-era agreement to clamp down on global carbon emissions. On the surface, the accord’s insistence that each nation do their fair share to reduce carbon emissions seems like a reasonable approach to tackle climate change. But despite the Paris Agreement’s lofty goals, the agreed-upon mechanisms in the agreement will harm nations rich and poor. While the agreed-upon reductions reached in the negotiations are nowhere near sufficient to reach the goal of zero net emissions by 2050, provisions ensure that countries will continue to up the ante on emission reductions. Every five years, nations are expected to “ratchet up” their rate of carbon reductions via more and more aggressive governmental actions. China’s announced cap-and-trade program and India’s large-scale solar deployments show just two approaches that signatories are willing to take to meet these reduction goals. This may all seem like a laudable “moonshot,” but advocates of continued involvement are ignoring the taxpayer and opportunity costs that come with a continued worldwide agreement.» Read More
April 25, 2017
Every year, on April 26th, countries from around the globe celebrate the importance of Intellectual Property (IP). IP remains critical to boosting economic growth, and with more than 40 million jobs in the United States directly and indirectly attributable to IP intensive industries, policymakers must take the issue seriously. Protecting IP rights is not only important here at home but also it is important all over the globe. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) remains committed to the goal of promoting and protecting IP at home and abroad and one strong show of support was this coalition letter addressed to Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), outlining the reasons why protecting IP is critical for the entire world. The letter was spearheaded by the Property Rights Alliance and signed by more than 80 other organizations representing more than 50 countries.» 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 9, 2017
This op-ed appeared in Inside Sources on January 4, 2017
Since its inception the United Nations has spent billions of dollars in global taxpayer money pushing questionable resolutions and misguided initiatives. A recent resolution condemning Israeli settlements has prompted considerable backlash and calls to defund the organization. In light of these recent developments, the incoming Trump administration and Congress have a rare opportunity to reduce the annual $8 billion subsidy to the United Nations and push for more oversight. Attaching more strings to U.N. funding can effectively reign in an organization hostile to individual rights and sound public policy. The latest controversy at the United Nations isn’t the only problem at this international organization. The U.N. has an abysmal record on preserving press freedom, regularly blocking access to their meetings and instigating vendettas against journalists. In the first two days of the U.N.-funded World Health Organization’s 2014 Conference of the Parties Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a tobacco control treaty, the public was ejected and the press had their event credentials revoked.» 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
November 7, 2016
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This article originally appeared in The Washington Examiner on November 1, 2016
Calling all media with an interest in healthcare policy, international relations and government accountability: The taxpayer-funded World Health Organization is holding a meeting in New Delhi next week that could have significant public policy ramifications. But you're not invited. Neither are members of the public who foot the bill for WHO's activities and other critical stakeholders who provide critical insight into pressing questions on the intersection of healthcare and law enforcement. So, what gives? Why such secrecy?
When Citizens In The "Nanny State Capital Of The World" Question The World Health Organisation, You Have To Sit Up And ListenDavid Williams on
October 14, 2016
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This article originally appeared in The Huffington Post (UK) on September 22, 2016
Recently, Australia had the dubious honour of being labelled the ‘nanny state capital of the world.’ While places around the world are dealing with serious health epidemics like Ebola and Zika, politicians in Australia have been focused on intrusions into people’s personal lives in the name of public health. Sadly, Australia is not alone in its quest to become a global ‘nanny state’ superpower. The truth is that Australia will never be able to compete with the taxpayer-funded World Health Organisation (WHO) under the leadership of Margaret Chan. We live in a globalised world where pandemics like Ebola and Zika grip the attention of the global community. The reaction of the largest health organization, the WHO, is confusing and the WHO is distracted with social engineering.
October 6, 2016
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a new report detailing the public funding of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the United Nation’s (UN) tobacco-control agency. The report (linked here), titled The World Health Organization in Intensive Care, lays out the massive amount of taxpayer money that is going to further some of the anti-freedom, anti-intellectual property activities of the United Nations. The United States funds the UN and the WHO and those organizations continue to express ideas and engage in policies that are contrary to the values and principles that America stands for when it comes to press-freedom, transparency, and intellectual property.
Click 'read more' below to see the full press release
August 22, 2016
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This article originally appeared in The Huffington Post on August 18, 2016
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has just embarked up a year-long election to find a new Director-General to run the 8,000 person organisation. Arguably, the person who is eventually elected will not have an enviable job. WHO is mired in accusations of lack of transparency, corruption, and even stifling press freedom - in strict contravention to the UN Charter. Even its friends are scathing... “underlying WHO’s relationship with its member states is a lack of trust in the WHO Secretariat’s ability to deliver” laments Charles Clift, Senior Consulting Fellow at Chatham House. WHO matters to the world and, given that it receives 75% of its funding from the USA, the UK and the Bill Gates Foundation, we should all care that its functions properly. The specific accusations made against WHO are too numerous to list here, and I will outline only three. Firstly, there is proof of serious malpractice. The UN’s own Office of Internal Oversight recently conducted a damning audit of WHO stating that 2015 saw a 66% increase in the demands for investigation of wrongdoing. Incidents of reported fraud were up 20% over the previous period, and instances of fraud shot up 166% in 2015.
May 30, 2016
Governments around the world are continuing the assault on taxpayers, business, consumers, and intellectual property (IP) by moving towards passage/implementation of plain packaging schemes. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continues to urge nations not to follow Australia’s lead here, as their plain packaging initiative has been an absolute failure. The results have been a mix of lost revenue, rise in illicit activity, and increases in consumption. With that in mind, TPA was honored to sign onto an international coalition letter led by the Property Rights Alliance addressed to Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO). The letter puts forth a reasoned and substantive response to plain packaging tobacco control measures, and similar initiatives that have been announced or may be in the early planning stages.
Click 'read more' below to see the full letter» Read More
February 15, 2016
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2016 U.S. Chamber International IP Index
Even though the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) focuses most of its efforts on issues on the national level, there are some issues that expand to a broader, international scale. One issue that transcends borders is the protection of intellectual property (IP). TPA continues to work on a wide range of IP issues (including plain packaging and copyright protection) understanding the positive impact that protecting IP has on the economy and jobs. A key component to strengthening IP at home and abroad is to recognize the progress made by countries when it comes to the quality of IP protections. The United States Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 International IP Index (found here), which is put out by the Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), shows the progress that’s being made by countries in protecting IP. The GIPC’s 2016 International IP Index is their fourth annual release and it examines 38 economies and bases the index off of 30 different indicators to measure the strength of their IP system. According to the index, the United States leads the way 28.8 out of 30. The biggest caveat is that even though the US leads the way, more work needs to be done to strengthen IP in the US. Recent figures from a joint report by the Economics and Statistics Administration and the United States Patent and Trademark Office show that 40 million jobs are supported by IP intensive industries. That is a number too big to ignore and it will continue to grow. Upon the release of the report last week, there was an upbeat tone about the current state of IP and the positive trend that the index showed in terms of how countries were getting better at fostering a culture where IP was protected globally.
August 25, 2015
Parliament House in Canberra, Australia
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been sounding the alarm on various attempts by governments around the globe to institute plain packaging policies for tobacco. Australia was the first country to pass legislation mandating plain packaging of tobacco and after just a few years, the impact has been exactly what TPA warned they would be: greater tobacco consumption, increased illicit trade, and loss of revenue. Last week, the following submission was made to the Australian Parliament for public comments regarding the plain packaging laws. You can also download the full submission by clicking here.» Read More
Click 'read more' below to see the full comment
July 27, 2015
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General Dr. Francis Gurry, 2011
Intellectual Property (IP) continues to play an important role in boosting economic growth, and with more than 40 million jobs in the United States directly and indirectly attributable to IP intensive industries, it is important to make sure that policymakers know how serious all stakeholders are about protecting IP rights. Protecting those rights is not only important here at home but also it is important all over the globe, and right now world leaders are preparing to finalize a major international trade deal known as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). So what better time to remind them of the importance of protecting IP rights? With that in mind, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance joined with the Property Rights Alliance and more than 80 other organizations representing more than 50 countries signing this coalition letter sent to the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Francis Gurry. The letter lays out the case for protecting intellectual property rights and not just here in the United States, but around the entire world.
Click 'read more' below to see the full letter» Read More
January 13, 2015
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This article originally appeared in The Hill on January 12, 2014
As Americans take to the Internet as never before, the increasing rate of lawlessness online is of great concern. In addition to all too common identity theft, fraud and worse, 2014 saw devastating cyber breaches of large American companies including Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan and Sony Pictures. All of these attacks contribute to an environment of uncertainty and trepidation amongst consumers, as they consider adopting new technologies and online services. The recent attack on Sony Pictures has dramatically illustrated and escalated the extent of the danger. The attacks have also heightened the awareness of the importance of the need to protect intellectual property. As has been widely reported, Sony suffered a massive attack on its computer systems which led to the release of stolen material including emails, business plans and intellectual property (for some perspective, the amount of data stolen is more than every printed page in the Library of Congress). After an investigation, the FBI accused North Korea of orchestrating the attack, perhaps in part due to terrorist threats levied against Sony, movie theaters and consumers if “The Interview” (a boorish comedy about a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un) was exhibited. On January 7, FBI Director James Comey reiterated North Korea’s complicity stating “We know who hacked Sony. It was the North Koreans… I have very high confidence about this attribution.”
October 10, 2014
Beginning next week in Moscow, the World Health Organization’s COP6 (the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties) will be held in Moscow, Russian Federation from October 13-18. There are many issues that will be on the agenda for this international event, but there are some issues in particular that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will be keeping a close watch on to see what develops out of the meeting. One issue in particular is taxation, as there are those who may be seeking to introduce new taxes or have a ‘harmonizing’ of tax rates beyond sovereign borders. Keeping that in mind, TPA signed onto an International Coalition Letter expressing direct opposition to any of those types of proposals that may come from the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
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Click 'read more' below to read the full letter
May 23, 2014
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This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on May 15, 2014
The latest data continues to indicate that the U.S. economy is still struggling to get back on its feet. Though the most recent jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics told us that the unemployment rate has decreased, the reason behind this is hardly cause for optimism. The labor force participation rate (LFPR) has dropped to its lowest levels since the 1970s, which means that many Americans have simply given up looking for work. More than 800,000 Americans left the labor force last month, a troubling sign for any economy. Even more intriguing is the recently-released data on international trade. U.S. exports and imports both increased in March, a late surge that could be encouraging. Total exports for March came to $193.9 billion, up 2.1 percent from February. Imports jumped 1.1 percent to $234.3 billion, the highest level seen since 2012. All told, the U.S. trade deficit fell 3.6 percent and now hovers at $40.4 billion. More trade means more economic activity which benefits taxpayers and consumers.