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Category: Spending



  • 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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  • Taxpayers Want Honesty in Budgeting

    David Williams on October 21, 2011

    With a threatened government shutdown in April averted with a deal to cut spending and an agreement to cut spending as a requirement to raise the debt ceiling in August, budget hawks thought that there would be a decrease in government spending.  A recent article in Investor’s Business Daily threw cold water on that notion when it reported on October 17 that “In fact, in the first nine months of this year, federal spending was $120 billion higher than in the same period in 2010, the data show. That's an increase of almost 5%. And deficits during this time were $23.5 billion higher.”  Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute warned of fake spending cuts in the deal to raise the debt ceiling in an August 1, 2011 blog posting, “The ‘cuts’ in the deal are only cuts from the CBO ‘baseline,’ which is a Washington construct of ever-rising spending. And even these ‘cuts’ from the baseline include $156 billion of interest savings, which are imaginary because the underlying cuts are imaginary.  No program or agency terminations are identified in the deal. None of the vast armada of federal subsidies are targeted for elimination.”  This makes taxpayers even more frustrated as politicians try to take credit for non-existent victories and continue to use one budget gimmick after another to try and confuse taxpayers and increase spending.  Above and beyond real spending cuts, taxpayers ultimately want honesty in budgeting (and all government).  It’s easy to find a member of Congress who supports this but the tough task is finding somebody who will put legislation where their mouth is.  Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has taken the first step in taking real action in trying to bring honesty in budgeting with his aptly named “Honest Budget Act.”  This legislation will get rid of budget tricks and lay the foundation for real budget reform to take hold.

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  • Deadline Looms for Super Committee

    David Williams on October 13, 2011

    As part of the August 2, 2011 deal to raise the debt ceiling, the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the “Super Committee”) was created to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction.  This is in addition to an initial $1 trillion in spending cuts that was instituted immediately after the deal was signed.  Many believed that mid-November was the deadline to contact the Super Committee about specific ideas.  It now appears that taxpayers have once again been misled.  Multiple news reports indicate that October 14, 2011 is the real deadline to make formal recommendations to the Super Committee.  Many groups have been offering advice on where to cut spending.  In fact, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) held a Defense briefing on October 3 with representatives from the Lexington Institute, National Taxpayers Union, and Americans for Tax Reform to discuss potential spending cuts in the Department of Defense that wouldn’t affect national security.  The panelists recommended eliminating funding the Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine and the Medium Extended Air Defense System (read previous blog postings here and here).  TPA has also recommended eliminating Community Transformation Grants funded through the Centers for Disease Control (read previous blog posting here).  Even with all these superb ideas coming out of TPA, and other groups, Congress doesn’t have to look much further than the Congressional Budget Office, President Obama and the National Commission on Fiscal Reform and Integrity for ideas.

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  • Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Has an Opportunity to Eliminate a Wasteful Government Program

    David Williams on October 11, 2011

    The federal government is obsessed with two things (at least), spending money and behavior control.  There is no program more representative of this then the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recently announced Community Transformation Grants. 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. It has little to do with job creation and more to do with expanding government’s reach into society. So far, the government has put more than $1 billion towards these “wellness” programs under The Prevention and Public Health Fund, including, $3,000,000 to label calories on restaurant menus in New York; $1,000,000 to the Boston Public Health Commission to “support the successful implementation of the state's calorie posting regulation;” and $63,265 to the Cascade Bicycle Club, Washington, for “Complete Streets” which will “emphasize that new and reconstructed roadways meet the safety and mobility needs of all travelers.  The good news is that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee meets on Wednesday October 12 and they can bring some common sense back to spending and the government’s proper role in our lives by defunding this program.  On October 11, 2011, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance wrote a letter urging the HELP Committee to defund the program.

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  • Super Committee is a Super Bad Idea - Prepare for More Gridlock

    David Williams on August 12, 2011

    As part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling, members of Congress and the President agreed on initial spending cuts of $1 trillion.  The bill also requires the formation of a super committee that would have to find an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction (if no agreement is made then there would be across-the-board cuts).  Please note that I didn’t say spending cuts with the super committee because a tax increase could be considered as part of deficit reduction.  And, FYI, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is opposed to any tax increase.  First, the super committee is the coward’s way to deficit reduction with 523 members of Congress abdicating their responsibility to 12 members of Congress.  Besides the cowardice of even creating the super committee, there are a number of concerns that TPA has with the super committee:  the constitutionality of the committee, the ability to raise taxes and whether or not there will be any transparency so taxpayers can see what is taking place behind closed doors.

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  • Stimulus Dollars Snapped Up to Fund Teen Alligator Wrestlers

    Drew Johnson on August 10, 2011

    I realize that pointing out a ridiculous stimulus expenditure is so 2009. Still, I can’t help but mention a small project that never seemed to make the news.  You, as an American taxpayer, paid for a teenage kid to wrestle alligators. No kidding.  The Miccosukee Corporation, the business arm of the Miccosukee Indian Tribe, pocketed a $20,785 stimulus handout to subsidize a summer youth employment program. The program hired five kids to perform jobs including cashier, handyman, and alligator wrestler at the Tribe’s Miccosukee Indian Village. » Read More
  • Washington Plays Familiar Blame Game in Wake of Credit Downgrade

    David Williams on August 8, 2011

    By now, most people inside and outside the beltway have heard that Standard and Poors (S&P) has downgraded the United States’ credit rating.  In short, it means that, according to S&P, investing in the United States is riskier today than it has ever been.  Like any good crisis, both sides of the political aisle are blaming the other side for the downgrade.  Republicans have called for the resignation of Secretary Treasurer Tim Geithner and Democrats have blamed the Tea Party for the downgrade with the Vice President of the United of the States agreeing with a characterization that the Tea Party acts like terrorists.

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  • Congress Goes on Vacation As Taxpayers Continue to Work to Pay the Country's Bills

    David Williams on August 5, 2011

    Congress left for recess on August 2, immediately after they raised the debt ceiling and promised to cut spending.  With a month long vacation (they call it district time) and plenty of time on their hands, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) wants to know if you see your member of Congress at an official town hall meeting or at the local grocery store.  What is remarkable about their month-long absence is that they will have one month of “district time” and that they make $174,000 per year.  With very generous benefits such as retirement, pension and health coverage, their total compensation is roughly $285,000 per year (read the report here).  If you do run into your member of Congress we have a few questions you might want to ask.

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  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    David Williams on August 1, 2011

    Congress is preparing to vote on a new deal to raise the debt ceiling.  The deal was negotiated over the weekend after intense negotiations between the White House and the leaders of the House and Senate.  The deal would raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion (which would be enough to last through the 2012 elections) and require immediate spending cuts.  The first round of cuts would total $1 trillion over ten years.  The second tranche would involve a “super committee” of 12 members of Congress and involve an additional $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion.  The weakest part of the deal is that there is no requirement that a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) be passed.  The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) does not believe there are enough provisions to protect the taxpayer and urges the House and Senate to vote “NO” on the deal.

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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