February 16, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on February 16, 2018
A recent study from a Harvard University group claims that government-owned broadband networks offer lower prices than the networks of private providers, but the argument quickly falls apart when you drill down into the data. The report from the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard claims that in 23 of 27 communities in which private providers’ prices could be compared to government networks, the government networks’ prices were lower over a four-year period.
February 14, 2018
Today, TPA President David Williams had the opportunity to address members of the Georgia General Assembly to urge lawmakers to support HB 877, which would significantly lower taxes on modified risk tobacco products that are authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). TPA believes that the Georgia General Assembly has an opportunity to encourage smokers to switch from traditional combustible cigarettes to less harmful alternatives such as snus and “heat not burn” by lowering taxes on these products. » Read More
February 5, 2018
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This article originally appeared in Wired on February 5, 2018
When it comes to space policy, reliving the glory days too often means pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into black holes. Preliminary budget plans suggest that the Trump Administration will provide funding for Space Policy Directive 1, which tasks NASA with getting humans back to the moon for the first time in over 45 years. NASA is already testing the feasibility of using the Orion space capsule to get humans to and from alien worlds. President Trump’s directive, hatched from a unanimous recommendation from the National Space Council in June, has the agency eager to prove that it can once again taxi humans into space.
January 25, 2018
This article originally appeared in The American Spectator on January 23, 2018. On January 25, 2018, TPA President David Williams will appear before the FDA to encourage them to embrace innovation with smoking cessation and other products.
Smoking is expensive for consumers and taxpayers, with health-care costs associated with smoking rising to nearly $170 billion per year. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the opportunity to embrace an innovative technology that will help smokers transition away from more harmful tobacco products while also aiding the continued prosperity of tobacco farmers. The FDA will continue its evaluation of the new technology with hearings on Jan. 24-25 examining the issue of heat-not-burn products. These products contain tobacco, but don’t burn them. Instead, they heat the tobacco to a high-enough temperature that they are able to provide smokers that nicotine high with a much lower level of harmful chemicals when compared to normal cigarettes. » Read More
January 16, 2018
This article originally appeared in The Federalist on January 8, 2018
To listen to a growing, ever-more-vocal crowd, driverless cars are in America’s very near future. Commentators have taken the media to task for giving short shrift to the new technology, with some going as far as to declare 2017 “the year of the driverless car” (Or was that 2016? 2015?). Ars Technica senior reporter Timothy Lee is confident that “driverless car adoption will only accelerate in 2018,” pointing to tests in Phoenix thanks to “permissive” regulations.» Read More
November 14, 2017
This article originally appeared in The Hill on November 13, 2017
Buoyed by promises of large federal infrastructure funding injections, states are scrambling to get their piece of the pie. Car-centric Colorado is no exception, as the state teams up with Hyperloop One to study the feasibility of hyperloop “levitating pod” technology across the Rocky Mountains. » Read More
October 11, 2017
This article appeared in The Hill on October 8, 2017.
Another expensive boondoggle by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shows that the government needs to reevaluate its celestial spending. The latest gaffe is that NASA was forced to delay the launch of the $8 billion James Webb Space Telescope another year, just the latest in a decadal saga of overruns and “restructuring.” Despite an inappropriately quiet announcement of the delay, Congressional rumblings have been kept to a minimum. » Read More
September 14, 2017
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The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) 3.0 is an exciting development in the technology community. At least, that is what broadcasters would like you to think. Right now, they are looking forward to a promising revenue stream of targeted advertising and forcing every American with a television set to pay for it. ATSC’s newest standard, ATSC 3.0, will succeed HD transmissions and offer many benefits including some improvement in viewing quality, over-the-air broadcasting, targeted advertising, and accessibility features for emergency services. However, none of these benefits are worth the costs and consequences that come with the aggressive rollout that broadcasters are fighting for.
August 18, 2017
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Facebook knows your dating habits. Google can tell if you like Disney World. Vizio advertisers see in real-time when you watch Game of Thrones. Alexa can record your conversations. The question is whether this is an invasion of privacy or the product of smart targeted advertising. From mobile applications to smart refrigerators, devices we trust with our information all fall under the FTC’s rules. And, even though Google, Facebook, and internet service providers (ISPs) collect information, there is little discussion the glaring unequal requirements between companies. The problems started when the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) issued the Broadband Privacy Rules in 2015. The new rules would have deviated from FTC privacy norms by preventing internet service providers (ISPs) from accessing user data.
August 17, 2017
This piece appeared in The Daily Caller on July 21, 2017.
Driverless cars are the latest sensation sweeping the nation, with forecasts abound of robots taking the wheel in short order. Limited government enthusiasts paint the issue as a simple matter of the government getting out of the way and allowing companies to bring autonomous vehicles to a highway near you. Now, as Congress considers legislation preempting state rules on driverless vehicles, federalism may go by the wayside to ensure an autonomous future. Despite the optimistic language used by the “driverless right,” the hype surrounding this technology does not match up to reality. As with the advent of “renewable” technologies like solar and wind, futuristic hype is being used as a pretext for strapping billions of dollars on taxpayers. » Read More
July 5, 2017
The release of the President’s budget has ruffled many feathers, angering many that would lose funding for pet programs. In particular, the Administration has taken heat over their proposal to nix funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a Department of Energy (DOE) program designed to fund basic research projects. Defenders of the program have engaged in their fair bit of exaggeration, hyping a study by program “consultants” that supposedly points to the usefulness of the program. Online stories readily declare that the program has been vindicated by “studies,” “contrary to political rhetoric.” But an examination of the study reveals large limitations and leaps in logic. Indeed, taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for a program with little empirical justification. » Read More
June 9, 2017
Being condemned to long lines at the airport is the American way, with tedious Transportation Security Administration (TSA) procedures compounded by countless takeoff delays. In addition to the direct costs of delay, making air travel a harrowing experience has deadly unintended consequences. Airline ordeals cause travelers to substitute air travel for (more dangerous) car travel for short-distance trips, resulting in thousands more unnecessary deaths. Our outdated and outmoded air traffic control system is largely to blame, and will continue to inconvenience travelers and bilk taxpayers until structural reform takes place. » Read More
June 6, 2017
This article appeared in Inside Sources on May 17, 2017
Seemingly overnight, sending an email has become fraught with peril. Every day, we hear reports about phishing scams and malevolent viruses designed by cybercriminals and belligerent governments alike. But, unknown to many surfers of the digital domain, our own government has exploited loopholes and ambiguities in current law to snag important user information without obtaining permission in a court of law. In contrast to clear-cut Fourth Amendment prohibitions on physical property services, the law has little to say about privacy rights in the virtual space. And, vagueness in legal restraints leaves the door open for large, open-ended government investigations that squander hard-earned taxpayer money.» Read More
June 1, 2017
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been operating inefficiently for many years, stifling innovation and making questionable decisions on agency process as it relates to the core functions of the FDA. A change in leadership is exactly what is needed, and newly confirmed FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb could have a strong impact on making the positive changes needed in order to foster innovation and progress in many sectors where the FDA plays a meaningful role. That is why TPA joined with TechFreedom to send this coalition letter to the FDA, Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the White House calling on Dr. Gottlieb to bring the focus of the agency back to innovation and technology when evaluating solutions and processes at the FDA.» Read More
Click "Read Blog" below to see the full letter.
May 24, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, May 18 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai took a very important step to undo the regulatory damage left behind by President Obama and former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. The Title II rules implemented by Obama and Wheeler gave control of the Internet to unaccountable government bureaucrats, and threatened to increase taxes and slow investment and growth in this important industry. It is clear that Chairman Pai is serious about getting tech policy accomplished in a way that works best for taxpayers and all Americans. A free and open Internet will foster continued investment in broadband infrastructure, greater consumer choice, and an open marketplace without putting taxpayers at risk. These rules have cost taxpayers, slowed down broadband infrastructure investment, and hindered competition and choice for Americans. The time to remove the regulatory stranglehold on the internet is NOW. TPA is encouraging all of our members to submit a comment TODAY (click here), and tell Chaiman Pai that you support a free and open Internet.» Read More
April 28, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) commended Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai on presenting his plans to undo the terrible regulatory burdens ex-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler imposed on the internet. The proposal to rescind Wheeler’s Internet Conduct Standards and repeal Title II regulations imposed on the internet are exactly what is needed in order to once again encourage investment in broadband infrastructure and ensure an open internet with more competition and choice for all Americans.» Read More
April 21, 2017
When it comes to “sensibly managing markets”, regulatory agencies talk a big game but deliver preciously little. A heap of regulations passed over the past decade were said to make marketplaces a less threatening environment for shoppers and startups, with more competition and less monopolistic behavior. In reality, bureaucrats overstated “market failures” to justify putting rules in place that exacerbated problems and created unintended consequences. But thanks to a new Administration and Congress, public servants skeptical of these destructive regulations are emboldened and taking the fight to unnecessary rules. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen are two of these figures, successfully leading the fight to deregulate and return control to market players closest to the action. The pair successfully advocated for the repeal of a “digital privacy” regulation that would’ve entrusted consumers’ browsing history to bureaucrats with a poor cybersecurity track record.» Read More
April 3, 2017
While there has been endless coverage of the changes taking place in the Executive Branch under the new Trump Administration, there are still some very critical posts and appointments that have received little or no coverage. For example, the nomination of Dr. Scott Gottlieb as the next Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could have a lasting impact on innovation and health. Dr. Gottlieb is a scholar, a physician, and has prior experience at the agency - he also understands that the FDA impacts the lives of all Americans.» Read More
March 13, 2017
As a child of the nineties, nine planets in our solar system will forever be lassoed to my memory by a silly pneumonic device. But then came 2006, when a fateful decision by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) relegated Pluto to “dwarf planet” status and beefed up standards for planethood. After eleven years, Pluto-lovers may finally have their day in the sun, as a team of NASA scientists fights for an expanded definition of “planet.” But the scientists don’t want to stop at Pluto; their definition would include, “basically…anything that's big and round and isn't a star.” Popular Mechanics writer Andrew Moseman estimates that the expanded count would include a whopping 110 bodies, beyond the reach of any classroom acronym. While this may seem like an academic feud worthy of The Big Bang Theory, taxpayers stand to lose from a “big tent” definition of planets.» Read More
March 8, 2017
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been an outspoken critic of the broadband privacy order that came down during the tenure of ex-Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler. The rule does nothing to promote privacy or protect consumers and it also grants new authority to the FCC Chair that needn't be created. This week, following a stay of the rule, TPA submitted comments support mulitple petitions to reconsider the rule. It is critical that the rule be abanadonded so that the FCC can end the cycle of growing regulations it experienced under ex-Chairman Wheeler, and move towards promoting a more consumer and taxpayer friendly agency under new Chairman Ajit Pai.
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