August 2, 2018
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As the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has documented, Medicaid fails patients at an astronomically high cost to taxpayers. Reasons abound for Medicaid’s failures; one commonly cited reason is the low reimbursement rates given to physicians. Though most of this issue is formulaic, a little-known loophole results in hundreds of millions of dollars being skimmed off the top of Medicaid reimbursement payments in eleven states. Generally, Medicaid payments are required by law to go directly to medical care professionals after being allocated to states. But, the previous administration allowed a nice little carve out for unions.
July 31, 2018
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According to Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) campaign website, she’s just a small-town Missourian who “understands what matters most” to the people of the Show-Me state. She’s a “fighter Missourians can count on” and lists “cutting waste, fraud, and abuse” as one of her priorities. Recent news reports, however, tell a different story. Since she’s been a U.S. Senator, businesses affiliated with McCaskill’s developer husband, Joseph Shepard, have received more than $131 million in federal subsidies.
July 30, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on July 27, 2018.
In the days since Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) introduced new carbon tax legislation, limited government advocates have set about criticizing what they see as a misguided scheme. Many have decried the carbon tax as an ineffective environmental policy that would come at a gargantuan cost to low-income Americans, while others fault it for creating more federal bureaucracy and producing thinly-veiled wealth redistribution. » Read More
July 27, 2018
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President Trump has made his campaign promise to lower the cost of healthcare and drug prices a high priority for his administration. His proposal and his policies have already yielded results. And, the implementation of many of his other ideas hold promise in injecting market forces into the American healthcare system to bring down costs. Not all administration proposals are created equally, though; one proposal in particular would prove counterproductive in bringing down prices despite hype by some “reform” advocates. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) has introduced an amendment into an appropriations bill that would force drug manufacturers to include the list price of a drug in any advertisement.
July 27, 2018
Summer time is for going outside, soaking up some sun, and, if you’ve been in Washington, DC for the past week, avoiding unpleasant, persistent lukewarm rain. But some lawmakers and policy gurus have been cooped up inside, busy scheming and counter-scheming onerous taxes and mandates to “save the environment.” Yes, we are referring to the brouhaha created by Rep. Curbelo’s (R-Fl.) scheme to heavily tax energy and electricity, raising prices for hundreds of millions of hard-working Americans. Shortly after the bill’s introduction, the Taxpayer’s Protection Alliance (TPA) and like-minded groups quickly got to work criticizing the scheme as costly and unworkable. » Read More
July 24, 2018
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Washington, D.C.- Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), representing millions of taxpayers and consumers across the country, slammed President Trump’s proposed $12 billion in aid to farmers impacted by foreign tariffs. The President’s announcement comes after the European Union, China, and other countries impacted by US tariffs announced billions of dollars in tariffs targeting a variety of American products, with the heaviest tariffs hitting US farmers.
July 23, 2018
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Since his inauguration, President Trump has pushed for significant healthcare reforms, repeatedly emphasizing the importance of bringing down pharmaceutical prices. In May, the Administration released a 44-page plan to keep costs at bay, ranging from innovative pilot programs to greater price transparency. As more voices weigh in, policymakers have an ever-expanding array of options to make pharmaceuticals affordable for millions of Americans. In particular, scaling back large government initiatives that rely heavily on third-party payer systems can expose products to market pressures and save taxpayers billions of dollars. Last week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health regarding yet another government initiative eating up taxpayer dollars – the 340B program.
July 23, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) expressed its support for H. Con. Res. 119, which states that, “a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses,…and is not in the best interest of the United States.” Introduced by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), the resolution was scheduled for a vote for Thursday July 19. » Read More
July 20, 2018
For this week’s Summer Reading, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is going to assign a subject near and dear to the organization for years: United States Postal Service (USPS) reform. Many lawmakers have sounded off this issue without first doing their homework. For years, billshave been introduced premised on the idea that the “prefunding mandate” (enacted by Congress in 2006) is the primary reason for the USPS being in the red. But the funding of future retirement benefits is a reasonable safeguard against future financial uncertainties, one that is reflected in valuations of many businesses. From good old-fashioned mismanagement to corporate welfare and questionable vehicles purchases, the USPS is a mess. » Read More
July 18, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on July 16, 2018.
At 47 years old, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is showing its age. The independent agency has not replaced most of its fleet in decades. More than half of all trucks are more than 20 years old. The Postal Service needs more trucks, but wasting money on a substandard fleet would mean further taxpayer bailouts and an unacceptable experience for customers. » Read More
July 17, 2018
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This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on July 11, 2018.
Amid the prudent withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Accords last year, tempers flared and administration officials were harshly criticized by “green” advocates. The “ignorant” and “uncaring” decision by the administration, though, proved a reasonable response to a flawed process that dealt inadequately with climate change issues. Recent developments within the U.N.’s energy policy apparatus have affirmed that U.S. disengagement was the proper approach. Operational difficulties (including funding disputes amongst nations), red tape and poor project targeting have led to the resignation of Green Climate Fund (GCF) director Howard Bamsey.
July 16, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on July 12, 2018.
Taxpayers are accustomed to seeing state and local governments draw up sweetheart deals with big businesses and sports teams at a gargantuan cost. Defenders of crony capitalism say opponents of such favoritism are shortsighted. Bribing corporations to move to their state, they say, ultimately benefits everyone by contributing to economic growth and growing tax revenues. In trying to lure Amazon to Maryland with a multibillion-dollar package of subsidies and targeted tax breaks, Gov. Larry Hogan called Amazon’s proposed new headquarters the “single greatest economic development opportunity in a generation … that makes Maryland competitive with any state or city in the country — we’re playing to win.”
July 12, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) praised the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and their move to free up wireless spectrum to help speed up the deployment of 5G wireless services. Spectrum is the invisible airwaves that allow us to talk, text, post, watch, monitor, and research from the convenience of a mobile device. Spectrum is also a financial asset with taxpayers reaping the benefits of the government selling to the spectrum. » Read More
July 10, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on July 9, 2018.
Passing tax reform last year gave the economy a much-needed boost. Singles, families, small businesses, and corporations were the beneficiaries of the first tax reform in 31 years. Now, six months after the historic tax reform, taxpayers are ready for Round 2. While talk of making the individual tax cuts permanent and lowering the corporate rate even further is encouraging, Congress needs to look at the onerous system of citizen-based taxation. » Read More
July 5, 2018
Hundreds of regulations have been rolled back over the past year and a half, resulting in billions of dollars in savings to consumers and taxpayers. Telecommunications policy has been no exception, with the easing of permitting restrictions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the nixing of Title II internet rules. But federal rules are far from the only impediment to 5G deployment; Fees and rules set by states and localities will continue to hamper innovation if left unchecked. Members of Congress have an opportunity to hasten the arrival of 5G, but face the difficult task of limiting state and local interference in 5G rollout while rejecting a one-size-fits-all solution. Fortunately, the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act (S. 3157), introduced by Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), achieves this balancing act and paves the way for faster and more reliable internet. With right-sized regulatory reform rooted in federalism, lawmakers can pull America to the front of the technological frontier. » Read More
July 3, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller on July 3, 2018.
Few government functions are as basic as filling in annoying and destructive potholes. It’s little surprise, then, that when sprawling bureaucracies prove unable to fix these eyesores on the asphalt, resentment flares and trust in the public sector plummets. Driving across the District of Columbia is a constant reminder of the epic ineptitude of the local government, as potholes “bigger than bathtubs” required closure of part of the Clara Barton Parkway in January. » Read More
July 2, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on June 17, 2018.
The United States Postal Office (USPS), an independent agency of the federal government, likes to present itself as a business. The Postal Service also wants to dabble in other businesses such as grocery delivery and banking. It claims to “put information and technology at the center of its business strategies,” while receiving zero taxpayer dollars for operating expenses. » Read More
June 28, 2018
Big Labor is in all-out Armageddon mode, following a June 27 Supreme Court ruling (Janus v. AFSCME) allowing non-union public workers to opt out of union “fair-share” fees. In a 5-4 decision, the Court overturned the status quo, preventing “unconstitutional exactions [that result in] billions of dollars…taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment” in the words of Justice Alito. Proponents of “fair share” fees, however, worry that the ruling will open up a Pandora’s Box of freeriding and union-busting across the country. These fears fail to consider the wider impact of transitioning unions to a more robust “members-only” model instead of the current one-size-fits-all representation. Making public sector unions smaller and more responsive to the needs of members will lead to better representation for employees and lower costs for taxpayers.» Read More
June 27, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on June 20, 2018.
Fear-peddling about safe products now has a home at the center of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). This pseudo science labels hundreds of products from around the world as carcinogenic. Now, with the naming of Dr. Elisabete Weiderpass as new WHO directorin 2019, IARC has the chance to pivot to a more thorough, transparent process that safeguards everyone involved. » Read More
June 26, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Morning Consult on June 20, 2018.
In the wake of historic tax reform delivered by President Donald Trump and Congress, the American economy is showing strong signs of life. Just days ago, it was reported that the United States added around 223,000 net new jobs in May, helping the economy reach an 18-year low jobless rate of just 3.8 percent. And with new tax reform in hand, taxpayers can expect to keep more of their hard-earned dollars in their pockets. » Read More