July 21, 2017
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This article appeared in Inside Sources on July 19, 2017.
The $19.8 billion proposed by appropriators for NASA funding represents a $200 million increase from the year before. This is happening in the midst of large spending cuts to virtually all other federal programs and agencies. By constraining NASA’s mission and opening the door to private space exploration, lawmakers can be truly “pro-science” without bilking taxpayers. NASA has enjoyed “sacred cow” status in Washington for decades, despite problems in execution and priorities endemic to any other area of government. The New Horizons mission to Pluto was initially estimated to cost $650 million, but that figure crept up to $720 million by the end of the probe’s journey.
June 27, 2017
Congress has seen more than its fair share of Pentagon budget kurfluffles over the past decade, ranging from sequester showdowns to the dysfunctional (and expensive) F-35 program. But, members of Congress across the ideological spectrum can agree that the string of forlorn, nearly-vacant military bases across the nation ought to be shuttered or consolidated. Talk has increased of another round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), in which a commission studies military bases and recommends closures subject to congressional approval. The notion of taxpayers footing the bill for nearly-abandoned installations is an unpopular one, and for good reason. A letter signed by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance and 44 other groups across the political spectrum reinforced the bipartisan idea of closing more bases. » Read More
June 8, 2017
The iconic American company Boeing seems simultaneously to be for and against intervention. This spring Boeing’s former CEO and other U.S. business leaders convinced President Trump to give a new lease on life to the Export-Import Bank, a trade-distorting relic of crony capitalism’s heyday. Just weeks later, Boeing asserted the sanctity of fair trade in allegations about Bombardier, a Canadian aircraft company. The Export-Import Bank was on life support, but, in April, following a meeting with former Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, President Trump reversed himself and decided the Export-Import Bank should not be shut down after all. The Bank has supported major U.S. corporations for years with taxpayer dollars, with Boeing being its chief beneficiary. In 2014, before Congress moved to curtail its activities, the Bank provided long-term loan guarantees totaling $10.8 billion, of which $7.4 billion went to Boeing. All told, Boeing received about 40 percent of the Bank’s $20.5 billion in programs - hence the moniker “the Boeing Bank.”» Read More
May 25, 2017
With the unveiling of the President’s budget this week, detractors are already jumping to apocalyptic claims about the dismantling of the welfare state. To advocates of a perpetually-expanding welfare state, the budget is a senseless “assault on aid, [and] programs” and “dangerous, reckless and contemptuous of American values.” But in reality, the new Administration’s “skinny budget” is filled with encouraging proposals. Many federal programs do not operate as intended, yet are given a free pass year after year and shielded from scrutiny. The Administration attempts to address this problem by getting mammoth, unaccountable programs back on track, at a significant savings to taxpayers. All told, federal taxpayers can expect to save $3.6 trillion through 2027. In particular, Trump’s budget highlights 66 discretionary programs for termination that would save $26.7 billion. Not all items in the budget are laudable however; with every few steps forward comes one step back. And, with a budget deficit of $560 billion and a debt of $19.8 trillion, the country can’t afford to take any steps back.» Read More
May 8, 2017
This article originally appeared in The Hill on May 4, 2017, it was co-authored with Justin Sykes of Americans for Tax Reform
Washington seems to be getting in its own way on a number of potentially major reform initiatives in the first few months of 2017. But Congress is making progress on smaller pieces of legislation that promote better stewardship of taxpayer money and a more efficient and less intrusive bureaucracy. One area in need of heightened scrutiny and reform is the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan program that was expanded under President Obama. PACE loans allow homeowners to finance solar panels (or other “energy efficient improvements”) through a lien that is then paid back with property tax payments. Homeowners should be able to improve their homes without government intervention. However, when homeowners are making a choice on whether to finance these new additions and are leveraging property tax do so, there has to be truth in advertising.» Read More
May 5, 2017
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted to Congressional action on two major fronts: government spending and healthcare. After a busy week in Washington. Congress was able to pass a spending bill that guranteed government funding through late September and prevented a shutdown. The House was able to pass the American Health Care Act after pulling the legislation from the floor a few months ago. TPA President David Williams reacted to both of these developments yeasterday as dual statements were released.
Click "Read Blog" below to see the statements» Read More
May 1, 2017
The year is nearly halfway through, yet Congress still has plenty of work to get done in order to make 2017 a productive one. This week there is expected to be a vote on a spending bill that will miss the mark on any meaningful reductions in spending, but there also may be a vote on repeal and replace of Obamacare. The mixed bag from Congress and the White House so far is a bit disappointing but there are opportunities to cut wasteful programs and save taxpayers money. One such example is the SunShot Initiative. Right now taxpayers, through the Department of Energy (DOE), are paying for the program that spends $270 million per year to “induce companies to lower production and installation costs associated with photovoltaic solar panel systems and reducing the price of solar power.” This is a terrible program and that’s why TPA organized this coalition letter urging House Appropriators to eliminate funding for SunShot.
Click "Read Blog" below to see the full letter» Read More
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 24, 2017
Congress returns tomorrow from a two-week vacation and they have a great deal of work to get done as a government shutdown is looming with only days of funding left, not to mention healthcare and tax reform are still big ticket items that must be addressed this year. However, there is another major piece of legislation that will soon be the focus of lawmakers on Capitol Hill: the Farm Bill. The current Farm Bill expires at the end of September in 2018, but right now the groundwork is already being done behind closed doors to get the ball rolling on the next Farm Bill. Agriculture policy is loaded with subsides, and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance continues to take notice and speak out on behalf of taxpayers that want to see the giveaways just go away. Keeping that in mind, TPA signed a coalition letter recently sent to Congress urging a free-market approach to the Farm Bill and Ag policy. A country that is trillions of dollars in debt must begin to reduce spending and the multi-year, multi-billion dollar Farm Bill is prime for reform that could reduce the debt, save taxpayers money, and spur free-market growth in the Ag industry.» Read More
April 4, 2017
Spring is moving forward and Congress is working to try and move forward on initiatives related to healthcare and tax reform, but the business of regular order still eludes lawmakers in Washington. The budget process has become all but broken in the Capitol and appropriators (particularly on Defense spending) continue to try and jam earmarks into legislation regardless of the ban put in place six years ago. Keeping all of this in mind, and with budget and appropriations season coming in just weeks the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) signed this coalition letter urging the House and Senate Budget Committees to work towards fiscaly responsible solutions on spending bills throughout the coming fiscal year.» Read More
Click 'Read Blog' below to see the full letter
March 21, 2017
The first installment of the President’s 2018 budget, released last week, is shock therapy designed to shake up the moss-covered bureaucracy of Washington DC. Cutbacks, totaling $54 billion dollars for fiscal year (FY) 2018, will target the plethora of interest groups that have been feeding at the federal trough for years. These broad-based spending reductions are a sharp departure from the fiscal imprudence of the Obama and Bush eras. But as per usual in Washington DC, two steps forward are followed by two steps back. In this case, the $54 billion in spending reductions are accompanied by $54 billion in (mainly) defense-related funding boosts. Below are the best and worst of President Trump’s proposed budget changes, along with their fiscal impact for the coming year. The outlined cuts have attracted little press, but demonstrate a real willingness to curb an omnipotent government. As the spending increases show, though, real budget reform is not quite here.» 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 27, 2017
This article originally appeared in The Washington Examiner on February 22, 2017
After a long series of delays and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, the DC Streetcar finally began service one year ago this month. Since then, the District Department of Transportation has been advertising the 2.4-mile streetcar, which runs along H Street Northeast, as a free ride for passengers. In reality, there's nothing free about the service for any Washington resident. The city government spent more than $200 million in taxpayer money on a line that runs from behind Union Station to a point about halfway along Benning Road NE, where it connects with Oklahoma Avenue. This works out to more than $80 million per mile.
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 20, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) marked the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States with a statement reinforcing the message of No More Excuses for Washington inaction on some of the nations’ most pressing problems. With an electorate tired of Washington’s spending habits and the inability to get things done, the new administration and Congress offer a real chance for reform on some of the most important issues. The problems facing the nation must be tackled head on, and for President Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) there are "No More Excuses" for not accomplishing long overdue fiscal and policy reforms.
Click "Read Blog" to see the full statement» 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 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
December 30, 2016
Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a columnist for Reason magazine and the Washington Examiner, and blogs about ecomomics for National Review. Click here to contact her, and follow her on Twitter: @veroderugy. Click here to read previous columns. This piece originally appeared on Noozhawk.com on December 23, 2016.
In his 1986 memoirs, The Triumph of Politics, David Stockman wrote: "The politicians were wrecking American capitalism. They were turning democratic government into a lavish giveaway auction. They were saddling workers and entrepreneurs with punitive taxation and demoralizing and wasteful regulation." For the four years he served as President Ronald Reagan's budget director, Stockman fought for his vision of sustained economic growth and social progress through sound money, lower tax rates and curtailment of federal spending, welfare and subsidies to private interests. Unfortunately, he lost his dream of a true Reagan revolution because many congressional politicians refused to implement the big spending cuts that had to be matched with the big tax cuts.» Read More