August 15, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on August 13, 2018.
In less than two years, the federal government will embark on a time-honored, decennial ritual: the U.S. census. One could be forgiven by thinking, that, 230 years and nearly two dozen censuses later, Washington, D.C. knows how to count people. Yet, despite a declining number of individuals per household and the rise in low-cost digital correspondence, the cost of the census is rising far above the rate of inflation. According to the Government Accountability Office, “the average cost for counting a housing unit increased from about $16 in 1970 to around $92 in 2010.” The report further notes that, over the past three years, the U.S. Census Bureau has underestimated how much it will cost to conduct the 2020 census.
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August 14, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on August 5, 2018.
According to green energy advocates, U.S. cities are on the cusp of large-scale electric bus purchases, paving the way for a greener and zero-emissions future. This year, for instance, San Francisco committed to a fully-electric vehicle fleet by 2035, before testing electric buses on the hilly routes of the city. San Francisco is hardly alone; Seattle signed onto an international pledge to only use electric buses starting in 2025. Dallas unveiled their own electric fleet, introducingseven vehicles for downtown services with the help of more than $7 million from the Federal Transit Administration (aka federal taxpayers).
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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.
June 13, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) announced the World Cup Watchdog project to monitor taxpayer subsidies and privileges directed toward the World Cup. The move comes as the 2026 World Cup was awarded to the United States, Canada, and Mexico this morning, setting the stage for billions of taxpayer dollars to be directed toward the major sporting event. » Read More
June 5, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller on May 31, 2018
America’s highway infrastructure is in big trouble, with trillions of dollars in needed repairs across the nation’s roadways and thoroughfares. Elected officials at all levels of government have talked a big talk about this problem, with successive administrations and Congresses proposing grand plans to shore up crumbling roads and bridges. Unfortunately, when it comes to government, one hand often does not know what the other is doing.
May 22, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the American Conservative on May 17, 2018.
Whenever the U.S. deploys soldiers to global hotspots such as Iraq and Afghanistan, the circumstances are hardly ideal. Complex counterinsurgency tactics cost substantial blood and treasure, and temporary gains rarely translate to long-term stability. But at least the deployments are public knowledge, and a code of conduct is in place to address civilian safety. Unfortunately, not all Pentagon (i.e. taxpayer-funded) missions are held to the same standards of warfare. The Department of Defense foots the bill for more than a quarter of the United Nations’ $7 billion annual “peacekeeping” budget. But the UN’s sloppily conceived missions fail to live up to their namesake, exacerbating global issues and resulting in human rights abuses. While U.S. leaders have been moving to curtail these annual contributions, they haven’t moved quickly enough. Taxpayers cannot afford to shovel billions of dollars a year to such an unaccountable organization mired in failure.
May 16, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urged all members of Congress to vote for the Sugar Policy Modernization Act as an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill. The Sugar Program was established more than 80 years ago and keeps the cost of sugar high with import quotas and tariffs. » Read More
May 8, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) applauded President Trump for offering a $15 billion rescissions package. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the package will include, “unobligated balances from prior-year appropriations and reductions to budget authority for mandatory programs. These proposals include rescissions of funding that is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was appropriated by the Congress; in many cases, these funds have been left unspent by agencies for years.”» Read More
April 9, 2018
This article originally appeared in RealClearScience on April 3, 2018
During the federal budgeting process, it’s all too easy for taxpayer dollars to be sucked into a black hole of wasteful space spending. After signaling intent to cut back on America’s space flight and exploration programs and transition responsibilities to the private sector, President Trump signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill that increased funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) by more than $1 billion. The fiscal year (FY) 2018 funding level, set at $20.7 billion, more than a billion-dollar increase than FY 2017. And disappointingly, appropriators successfully gave the agency $1.6 billion more than they requested. » Read More
April 5, 2018
This article originally appeared in The American Conservative on April 5, 2018
The United States Postal Service is deep in the red, with a dwindling list of options available to stop the bleeding. USPS officials and Congress have continually neglected to employ sound financial management, which has resulted in $15 billion in debt and more than $100 billion in unfunded liabilities for the Postal Service. Despite inept leadership, anyone bringing attention to these issues is bound to be repeatedly attacked as a corporate shill trying to harm the USPS. » Read More
April 4, 2018
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This article originally appeared in Economics21 on April 3, 2018
When awarding multi-billion dollar contracts, Uncle Sam expects taxpayers to trust the competitive bidding process. Unfortunately, increasingly fewer contracts are awarded by competitive bid, raising costs for taxpayers. Consider the Pentagon, where the share of contract spending awarded competitively has declined over the past decade, driven by no-bid deals in Human Resources and Special Operations Command. In fiscal year 2017, more than half of Defense Department procurement spending — totaling more than $100 billion — was on noncompetitive contracts. While the public interest can at times merit no-bid contracting, its increasing share is cause for concern. In an environment devoid of transparency and competition, quality suffers and prices rise.
March 27, 2018
This article originally appeared in RealClearPolicy on March 21, 2018
On March 18, in Tempe, Arizona, one of Uber’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian. In response, the company announced it was suspending all testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads pending an investigation. Toyota has followed suit. Motorists, pedestrians, and taxpayers footing the bill for infrastructure cannot afford a “full-speed-ahead” approach to autonomous vehicles that ignores safety evidence. » Read More
March 26, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on March 20, 2018
From bloated overhead to cost overruns, the bar for excellence is set extraordinarily low in Washington, D.C. As can be seen from deliberations over the $1.2 trillion omnibus bill, lawmakers from both parties have little discipline in reining in spending. Traditional cost estimates of federal undertakings, however, often fail to take into account the woeful state of cybersecurity. Compounding this problem is the scourge of no-bid contracts and their propensity to bilk taxpayers and leave federal agencies vulnerable. » Read More
March 23, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the President signs the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Defense Appropriations Act conference report, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has uncovered 642 earmarks totaling $29.8 billion (click here to see the full list) that were not requested by the Pentagon and inserted by members of Congress. That is a 58 percent increase in the 406 projects requested in FY 2017 and a 105 percent increase in total dollars from FY 2017.
March 21, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed congressional leaders in the House and Senate for offering a $1.3 trillion Omnibus spending bill, setting the stage for a trillion-dollar deficit this year. TPA President David Williams sounded off on the details of the legislation released this evening.
March 19, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on March 7, 2018
To listen to some environmental advocates, electric vehicles (EVs) are a panacea for America’s outdated, “dirty” transportation sector. After a decade of sluggish uptake by U.S. customers, a variety of organizations and businesses are making bold predictions about the future of EVs. Edison Electric Institute projects that U.S. EV penetration will reach 7 percent by 2025 and grow by leaps and bounds thereafter. A Bloomberg New Energy Finance report released last year finds that electric vehicles will comprise 15 percent of American cars by 2035. » Read More
March 16, 2018
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This article originally appeared in The American Conservative on March 14, 2018
As the recent spending debate in Congress made clear, the Pentagon isn’t exactly starved for cash. The latest budget agreement, reached by lawmakers back in February, blew the lid off of Budget Control Act spending caps, increasing funds to the Pentagon by 15 percent over the next two years. Of the requested $686 billion for the Department of Defense, $194 billion is slated for the Department of the Navy. In fact, the 2019 Navy budget is an astounding 18 percent higher than the 2017 levels, despite diminishing conflicts around the globe. Why a peacetime Navy demands a budget fit for the Cold War and Iraq War is a mystery. Even reliable defense hawks have begun questioning Navy spending in recent years.
March 12, 2018
This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller on March 6, 2018
When a massive undertaking goes awry, there comes a point where “let it be” trumps “let’s dig deeper.” Washington, D.C. local officials are inclined toward the latter, particularly when it comes to mass transit. The D.C. Streetcar is a sad monument to fiscal mismanagement, in a city already plagued by education scandals and corrupt governance. At a cost of nearly $100 million per mile and initial building delays spanning seven years for the 2.2 mile boondoggle, District and federal taxpayers have every right to demand better uses of their money. Unfortunately, it’s likely to only get worse. » Read More
March 1, 2018
This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on February 28, 2018
The Pentagon is a massive black hole of dubious spending, and its annual final budget never tells the entire story. Case in point: the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund is just one of the ways the military spends our money above and beyond their annual outlays. Supposedly, the OCO will be reduced significantly over the course of the next two years. But before you think the government is reining in spending, think again. » Read More
February 9, 2018
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This article originally appeared on Townhall.com on February 8, 2018
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló has long blamed his predecessors and those in Washington – namely Republicans including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) – for his woes. Rosselló has called the ground-breaking Tax Cuts and Jobs Act a setback for the island. The governor has also criticized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, despite their efforts to rebuild the power utility long-neglected by a long line of Puerto Rico leaders. While many things about Puerto Rico’s governance remain opaque, one thing is quite clear: Gov. Rosselló will stop at nothing to blame everyone else for his own failings. By blaming others and feigning helplessness in the face of challenge after challenge, Gov. Rosselló hopes to secure a heavily subsidized or free loan via the Trump Administration.