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 19, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, 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 is scheduled for a vote for Thursday July 19. » 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
June 25, 2018
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This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on June 22, 2018.
As Houston officials mull the possible flow of tax dollars into their city if they win a bid to host some games in the 2026 World Cup, they’re talking up that dreaded “L” word — light rail. Houston is part of a 32-city bid to host some of the soccer matches that will be spread across North America. While the city won’t know if it is selected to host any games until 2020 or 2021, that hasn’t stopped local officials from excitedly talking up possible taxpayer-funded infrastructure and beautification projects that could result from a successful bid.
June 22, 2018
Electric cars are one of the federal government’s favorite pet projects, with billions of dollars in various subsidies bestowed on producers, like Elon Musk, and high income buyers every single year. Increasingly, state and local governments have gotten on the subsidy bandwagon as well, offering lucrative production, purchase, parking, and charging benefits to everyone involved. Justifications ring a dime a dozen, ranging from miniscule impacts on global climate to thinly veiled protectionism. Too often, though, taxpayers and consumers are left out of the equation. Subsidies and “green” requirements, after all, inevitably trickle down to everyone else, resulting in higher prices and “accounts payable” to Uncle Sam and taxpayers. » Read More
June 21, 2018
Today, Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) President David Williams expressed disappointment at the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that allows states to require all internet retailers to collect sales taxes. “The 5-4 decision breaks with 50 years of precedent that kept states from mandating that out-of-state retailers collect sales taxes from their customers,” Williams said. “This ruling opens the door for any state to tax any business that simply wants to use the internet to gain a foothold in the national market.” » Read More
June 21, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on June 19, 2018.
Having failed to get much traction on a federal prohibition of online gaming, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his coalition have pointed to targeted online ads promoting online gambling as proof that Congress should take action. But the measure is a desperate ploy, given that the ads aren’t intentionally placed on certain sites by the online casinos. Business Insider recently ran a story about the Coalition to Stop Online Gambling’s opposition to the ads. The coalition says it has found such ads on websites about gambling addiction or featuring children’s games.
June 20, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on June 18, 2018.
In the aftermath of the historic federal tax reform passed in December, it’s easy to declare “mission accomplished” and divert attention to other pressing issues. But the problem of bad tax policy has not gone away, it has merely shifted from D.C. to state capitals across the country. Case in point: Madison, Wis., where in April, Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a one-time tax payout for families in the state. The payments began going out in May, and will continue until early July.
June 19, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on June 18, 2018.
Why is the White House playing with this terrible idea again? Even after controversy arose earlier this year over a leaked proposal to create a government-backed 5G network, President Trump’s campaign chief reiterated the issue in a recent tweet. “It is time for America to have a single 5G network for all carriers,” Brad Parscale said in his tweet. “The days of dropped calls, slow speeds, and no service need to end. It is time for the U.S. to have the world’s best cell service.” The U.S. is well on its way to that goal, thanks to the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reduce regulations on private providers. The concept of nationalizing 5G into a government-run service, is, well, a terrible idea.
June 18, 2018
Too often, trailblazing musical artists are robbed of their royalties – and their retirements – due to a long-abused quirk in intellectual property law. In particular, artists behind recordings made before February 15, 1972 have been the victims of some digital services’ questionable legal interpretations. In a welcome development, The Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act, included in the larger Music Modernization Act (MMA), remedies the problem by firming up federal language to give “oldie” artists like Darlene Love and Tony Bennett the same protections as their later peers. The MMA unanimously passed the House 415-0 in April and is now in the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee. » Read More