December 27, 2018
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This article appeared in The American Conservative on December 19, 2018.
All is not well at the United States Postal Service (USPS). After an astounding net loss of $3.9 billion over the past fiscal year (its twelfth consecutive annual loss), nearly everyone admits that something needs to be done. One favorite solution of agency leaders is to hike prices, and proposed rate increases that take effect on January 27 would amount to the largest price hikes since 1991. Instead the USPS should pursue deeper structural reforms that put the agency on a path to solvency.
December 27, 2018
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This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on December 26, 2018.
If 2018 had an adage, it would go something like: one man’s cute cat video is another man’s Nazi propaganda video (minus the gender references, of course). Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have been proactive in creating guidelines that try to ensure “over the top” content is banished from their sites, and unruly users expelled. But surprise — “over the top” is a hard concept to define, and overly broad content restrictions tend to hurt conservatives more than liberals. While it’s tempting to take route of social media bashing and call for more government “oversight,” fealty to a free society means allowing the Twitters and Facebooks of the world to moderate at their own promise or peril.
December 21, 2018
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This article originally appeared in DefenseOne on December 17, 2018 and was co-authored with Mandy Smithberger, Director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).
The incoming Congress should tie defense budgets to accounting improvements. While the public is generally familiar with weapons manufacturers delivering fighter jets and other costly products behind schedule and over budget, similar overruns have now crept into service contracting as well. Fortunately, the Justice Department is starting to strike back against rampant misuse of taxpayer funds, seeking criminal indictments and civil penalties against some of the worst abusers of the system. Now Congress must do its part.
December 19, 2018
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), representing millions of consumers and taxpayers across the country, urges the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to rescind its proposed rule to subject drugs administered under Medicare Part B to a new “International Pricing Model” (IPI). Such a change would drastically decrease the availability of current, life-saving drugs, as well as the research and development (R&D) necessary to create future therapies for a variety of ailments. » Read More
December 18, 2018
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Washington, D.C. -Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted to a rare advisory from Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, who called for more government restrictions on vaping products. In the advisory, issued Tuesday morning, Dr. Adams called for additional taxes to deter use, in addition to indoor vaping bans by municipalities. The call comes amidst misguided efforts by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use scarce taxpayer dollars to enforce wide-ranging restrictions on the sale of healthier, safer alternatives to regular tobacco products.
December 17, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on December 10, 2018.
Taxpayers justifiably balk at giving money to Uncle Sam without a clear purpose in mind. When free-market groups and lawmakers publish long compendia of wasteful government spending, the line-items are typically over-the-top and bereft of purpose. Case in point: the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which spends more than $1 billioneach year to seek “technical assistance, research, and education” for soil quality, grassland, rangeland, etc. But at least this service, which was featured in Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford’s “Federal Fumbles” waste report, and which came under criticism from congressional Republicans, still provides some small benefit to taxpayers. It studies ground and dirt that could be useful to farmers and ranchers.» Read More
December 13, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller on November 28, 2018.
When mailing letters and packages to loved ones this holiday season, consumers have to place an awful lot of trust in their mailers. This trust isn’t just about the safety of the paper-clipped check or expensive new gadget that passes through the hands of U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employees. Often, consumers give phone-numbers, e-mail addresses, and multiple addresses to the Postal Service with the understanding that their information will be protected.» Read More
December 11, 2018
This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on November 26, 2018.
Over the last few months, lawmakers, regulators and consumer advocates have been fighting the good fight against forced, expensive solar energy. Advocates of “net metering,” or the cross-subsidization of residential solar power at the expense of the poor, have had a tough time persuading lawmakers to back their flawed policies. In New Hampshire, a bill expanding net metering was vetoed by Governor Chris Sununu, who called the policy a “handout” to developers. Meanwhile, Arizona’s Arizona Corporation Commission nixed net metering all together in September as the state implements its “Value of Solar” decision issued two years ago.
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December 10, 2018
This morning, TPA sent a letter to Members of Congress regarding an issue with the upcoming spending bill. According to an article in The Washington Post on December 7, 2018, “Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is getting help from District officials, congressional Republicans and the Trump administration as he tries to clear a major roadblock to building a new, 60,000-seat stadium on the site of RFK Stadium.” TPA urges every Member to vote against a spending bill that contains this provision. » Read More
December 6, 2018
This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on December 4, 2018.
For companies trying to bring potential life-saving products to the market, the least they can ask for is a responsive, timely bureaucracy. Unfortunately, approving reduced harm technologies in a prompt manner seems to be beyond the ability of American regulatory agencies, with product evaluations often blowing past statutory deadlines and reasonable expectations of timeliness. Case in point: the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) tedious review of the pre-market tobacco product (PMTA) and modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) authorizations for IQOS, a heat-not-burn product that provides the sensation of smoking without many of the health pitfalls. » Read More
December 5, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) praised the recommendations of the Task Force on the United States Postal System (USPS). The report, which was released yesterday afternoon, covered an array of topics ranging from postal pricing models to retiree benefits. The findings come shortly after an abysmal fiscal year 2018 financial statement in which the USPS reported a net loss of $3.9 billion. » Read More
December 4, 2018
TPA spearheaded a coalition of twelve free-market groups, sending a letter to Commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advocating for the availability of adequate spectrum as soon as possible for white space broadband use. Television White Space (TVWS) technology can help bring broadband access to underserved rural areas, helping to give substantially more Americans access to the internet. » Read More
December 3, 2018
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This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on November 15, 2018.
When asked to fund “global health” efforts, money should gravitate toward disease eradication, water provision/purification, and pollution abatement. But when donors (read: taxpayers) don’t get the choice on where their money is spent, bureaucrats at the helm of international organizations lose all sense of priority. Case in point: the World Health Organization’s effort against conditions not caused by infectious agents, i.e. non-communicable diseases. On its website, the WHO lists “tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets,” brought on “rapid unplanned urbanization, globalization of unhealthy lifestyles and population aging.”
November 30, 2018
Last month, TPA policy director Ross Marchand spoke at Balamand University and AZM University in Lebanon on the subject of regulatory reform, hosted by the Lebanese Institute for Market Studies. Below are his abridged remarks. » Read More
November 28, 2018
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This article originally appeared in The American Spectator on November 26, 2018.
As leaders in Congress hammer down the details of the Farm Bill, they should use the Senate’s plan for rural broadband deployment that provides better safeguards against taxpayer waste. Farm Futures reports that negotiators in the House and Senate hope to finalize a framework for the bill so Congress can take up the expired Farm Bill during the lame-duck session before the end of the year.
November 27, 2018
Washington, D.C. - Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for a privacy breach impacting millions of consumers. Silicon Republic reported that, “according to KrebsOnSecurity, a broken API within USPS’s mail tracker service called Informed Delivery allowed any user to see another user’s details.” This data breach comes less than two weeks after the USPS reported a $3.9 billion net loss for the year, an increase of $1.2 billion from the previous year. » Read More
November 26, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on November 26, 2018.
The old Congress’ days are numbered, with only a few weeks’ worth of legislative meetings scheduled before the new Congress is sworn in in January. Yet, these few days must be productive enough to secure 2019 fiscal year appropriations and resolve deep-seated differences across the aisle. In the midst of bickering over border wall funding and the status of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reassuredthe press that “we just want to get it done” and keep the government from shutting down past the funding deadline of Dec. 7. » Read More
November 23, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Catalyst on November 9, 2018.
Most of healthcare spending is out of sight and out of mind, doled out by insurers and state and federal government. How much does a CAT scan or colonoscopy cost? The vast majority of people have no idea. While that is unlikely to change anytime soon, more and more products directly purchasable by consumers can tend to health and wellness. Just a few decades ago, few could predict that cholesterol tests would someday be able to be performed in the comfort of one’s home. And just a few years ago, few could predict that fitness trackers would be able to detect atrial fibrillation and other irregularities. » Read More
November 21, 2018
Ah Thanksgiving, that magical holiday where you pile on the pounds while listening to Uncle Jebediah’s two-hour rant about tank production during the Second World War. While you mindlessly nibble on stuffing and DVR that Back to the Future marathon, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will be (doing the same thing) while holding politicians’ feet to the fire and ensuring that taxpayers aren’t having their hard-earned dollars gobbled up by reckless lawmakers. So, without further ado, we present our 2018 Taxpayer Turkeys! This Thanksgiving, we selected one Republican, one Democrat, and one agency that continue to show reckless disregard for taxpayers and consumers across the country. » Read More
November 20, 2018
This article was originally appeared in the Daily Caller on November 15, 2018.
Even though customers in New Braunfels, Texas, can already access lightning-fast broadband speeds exceeding one gigabit per second, the City Council there seems intent on building a fiber backbone that would connect businesses using taxpayer money. » Read More