February 5, 2019
This article originally appeared in the Catalyst on January 31, 2019.
Anyone who has had a bacterial infection can attest to the misery of being bedridden and the frustration of taking medications that sometimes do not work. Why some drugs work and some don’t has been a mystery since the advent of modern medicine a century ago, but new advances in medical research show strong links between genetic variation and drug responses. » Read More
February 4, 2019
This article originally appeared in Townhall on January 31, 2019.
On January 27, the United States Postal Service (USPS) hiked up the price of First-Class Forever stamps from 50 to 55 cents, the largest percentage increase in stamp prices since the Civil War. Postal leadership hopes that these increases will help mask historic net losses - most recently, $3.9 billion in fiscal year 2018. The USPS insists that their gargantuan financial issues were caused by Congress, specifically a mandate passed in 2006 that required the agency to set aside money ahead of time for workers’ retirement obligations. » Read More
February 1, 2019
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This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on January 30, 2019.
When Super Bowl LIII takes places in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sunday it will occur — stop us if you’ve heard this one before — in the house that taxpayers built. In an ever-growing race to offer bigger subsidies to owners of professional sports franchises, Georgia taxpayers forked over nearly $700 million of the $1.5 billion it cost to build the replacement for the “ancient” two-decade-old Georgia Dome. The amount of money that is handed out to National Football League (NFL) teams is so large that Atlanta isn’t even the biggest beneficiary of taxpayer handouts. That mantle belongs to the Raiders, to whom Las Vegas and Clark County are guaranteeing $750 million in taxpayer money for the $1.9 billion Las Vegas Stadium, the most expensive of its kind. It’s scheduled to open in 2020.
January 31, 2019
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a report calling for a comprehensive overhaul of the United States Postal Service (USPS). In the report, TPA identifies more than $3.3 billion in common sense savings that the agency can achieve without relying on Congressional reforms and/or taxpayer-funded bailouts. The report’s release comes shortly after the USPS raised the price of First Class stamps from 50 cents to 55 cents, the largest percentage increase since the Civil War.
January 30, 2019
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This article originally appeared in RealClearPolicy on January 22, 2019.
It's tough to decide which is worse: a subsidized company that can't survive without government largesse or a well-off successful business that doesn’t need taxpayers' help but gets it anyway. Tesla will soon find out, as their electric vehicle (EV) tax credit from Uncle Sam phases out. Current law stipulates that, once an auto manufacturer produces more than 200,000 of a qualified electric vehicle, the tax credit (up to $7,500 for buyers) halves. Tesla officially reached that point in 2018, with the maximum credit slashed from $7,500 to $3,750 this month.
January 28, 2019
This article originally appeared in the Des Moines Register on January 25, 2019.
Access to high-speed internet service is the focus of much governmental attention in today’s world. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds affirmed her priority of expanding access to high-speed internet service throughout Iowa in her 2019 Condition of the State address, requesting $20 million in state funding for broadband infrastructure for a program that will also facilitate an additional $120 million in private investment.
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January 23, 2019
This article originally appeared in Townhall on January 23, 2019.
Now approaching two years old, the epic legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm has morphed into a 21st century Hatfield-McCoy feud for tech observers. Apple accuses Qualcomm of enforcing an all-encompassing, onerous licensing system outside the confines of normal patent law. Qualcomm accuses Apple of refusing to pay for intellectual property (IP) and illegally sharing proprietary data with competitors such as Intel. » Read More
January 22, 2019
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This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on January 21, 2019.
Even though it’s jam-packed with internet options, Traverse City, Michigan, wants to use millions in taxpayer money to build its own broadband network. It’s a foolish plan for a number of reasons, from the plethora of existing competition to the evolution in which internet will be delivered in the future. Traverse City Light & Power, the city’s public utility, is moving forward with a plan to connect all residents and businesses in the city limits with high-speed internet at an estimated cost of $16.3 million. It has picked Fujitsu and Allo as the two finalists to build and run the fiber-optic network. The utility’s board of directors is likely to choose a company at its next meeting on Jan. 22.
January 18, 2019
Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a series of issue briefs for the 116th Congress titled Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity. The publication offers a comprehensive blueprint of common sense reforms that would reign in the debt and unleash market forces throughout the economy. » Read More
January 17, 2019
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This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on January 15, 2018.
Republicans and Democrats continue to be at loggerheads over the government shutdown, with no signs of an impasse over border wall funding. There’s little that can be done to change the minds of members of Congress and the administration. But, if underlying ideological issues can’t be solved, the pain of shutdowns can at least be abated in the case of future disputes with the expansion of user fees.
January 16, 2019
This article originally appeared in Morning Consult on January 10, 2019.
Jan. 3rd ushered in a new, Democratic-led House of Representatives and with it, the potential for both peril and promise. Chief among the grievances of new progressive House members is the landmark tax reform that the previous, Republican-controlled Congress put into place at the end of 2017. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which slashed individual and corporate rates and strictly limited deductions, marked the first comprehensive tax overhaul in over three decades. Despite the hundreds of instances of tax reform “good news” documented by Americans for Tax Reform such as hiring increases, pay raises and higher bonuses, many newly minted lawmakers have their sights set on the tax cuts. Instead of targeting tax reform for elimination, Democrats and Republicans need to work together to fight import taxes (tariffs) and keep the tax code simple and fair for all. » Read More
January 14, 2019
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This article originally appeared in the Catalyst on January 3, 2018.
The results are in, argues The Center for Public Integrity’s Wendell Potter: America’s healthcare system underperforms due to “the belief that the free market…can work as well in health care as it can in other sectors of the economy.” Don’t tell that to the more than 2 million Native Americans who receive their medical care through a federal service known as the Indian Health Service (IHS).
January 11, 2019
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This article originally appeared on ConservativeAngle on January 10, 2018.
The cable industry is rolling out plans for 10G at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, showing yet another reason why municipal (taxpayer-funded) broadband is such folly. The G in this case isn’t generation, as in the 5G that the wireless industry is now touting. Instead, it’s gigabits, as in crazy fast speeds of 10 gigabits per second symmetrical upload and download speeds. The networks of the future will also have lower latency and better responsiveness. NCTA – The Internet & Television Association and other cable groups announced plans for 10gpbs at CES, backed by such cable heavyweights as Comcast, Charter, Cox, and MediaCom.
January 10, 2019
This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on January 7, 2019.
It's easy to pay without thinking twice. On trips to the supermarket, consumers can see the price of any product and decide whether or not to buy accordingly, forcing sellers to keep costs as low as possible. A consumer who wouldn’t think much of a $2 price tag for a dozen eggs wouldn’t buy the same product for $20. But if that same customer had someone else’s credit card, and no credit limit, then what does it matter if eggs are $2 or $20 a dozen? Sadly, that’s how markets work right now in the medical sector, where the government and third-party insurers are the primary payers and individuals have no incentive to shop around. » Read More
January 8, 2019
Across the federal government, dysfunctional agencies are a dime-a-dozen. Yet few agencies are as braggadocios or thin-skinned as the United States Postal Service (USPS). In a January 7 tweet, the USPS asked its followers “How well do you know our organization? Here are the top 12 things you should know about the U.S. Postal Service!” The accompanying article(which may be trying to imitate a BuzzFeed list) waxes on platitudes such as “social responsibility,” “all hearts,” “heroes,” and “zero tax dollars used,” despite the agency’s sorry state of affairs and, yes, reliance on taxpayer dollars. To make sure that mail consumers actually get to know their friendly neighborhood Postal Service, here’s a rebuttal and further explanation for each item on USPS’s list: » Read More
January 8, 2019
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This article originally appeared on Watchdog.org on January 7, 2018.
The long, sordid tale of the taxpayer sinkhole (aka Lake Connections) ended recently when the Lake County Board of Commissioners in Minnesota agreed to sell the municipal broadband network to a private provider. The commission accepted the bid of $8.4 million, the highest submission for the network, from Pinpoint Holdings Inc. of Cambridge, Nebraska. Lake Connections is one of the biggest taxpayer-supported, government-owned broadband boondoggles, with taxpayers left holding the note on tens of millions of dollars in debts.
January 7, 2019
This article originally appeared on Inside Sources on January 6, 2019.
As president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, I don’t usually write about policy from a personal perspective (even though I am a taxpayer). Over the past two years, TPA has written extensively about the Food and Drug Administration and its unique position to approve harm reduction products that help people switch from traditional cigarettes to reduced-risk products, such as vaping and heat-not-burn products like IQOS. » Read More
FCC combats fraud as inspector general finds more than $300 million in improper payments in Lifeline programJohnny Kampis on
January 3, 2019
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This article originally appeared on Watchdog.org on December 21, 2018.
A recent audit found that waste, fraud and abuse in the Lifeline subsidy program has increased exponentially as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) transitions the program from focusing primarily on landline telephones to wireless and broadband internet. The examination from the FCC’s Inspector General (IG) discovered that improper payments in the Lifeline program rose from $40.65 million in Fiscal 2016 to $336.39 million in 2017, a more than eight-fold increase. Auditors also found the improper payment percentage in the program was nearly 22 percent, more than double the statutory limit established by the Office of Management and Budget. The IG examined all four programs under the umbrella of the Universal Service Fund and none of them saw close to the amount of waste as Lifeline, with the Schools & Libraries program (also commonly known as eRate) the next highest with an improper payment percentage of 4.34 percent.
January 2, 2019
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Des Moines, Iowa and Washington, D.C.– The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) announced the addition of Chip Baltimore as a Senior Fellow effective January 1, 2019. TPA is a rapid response non-profit, non-partisan taxpayer group dedicated to educating the public through the research, analysis and dissemination of information on the government’s effects on the economy. TPA will hold government officials accountable at all levels of government.
December 28, 2018
This article 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.