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 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
October 30, 2018
It’s 4 PM right before Halloween night, and you traipse on over to the grocery store to get some Halloween candy before the kids come a-knocking, looking for their treats. Unfortunately, the scariest part of Halloween will prove not to be the too-retro Michael Myers costumes, but rather the price tag on those mini Hershey bars. Unbeknownst to the irksome ghouls and Kylo Rens knocking at your door later, those candies have become far more expensive thanks to tariffs, continued sugar protectionism, and miscellaneous regulations. But, regardless of how many treats you have to buy to placate the kids of the neighborhood, the fearful prospect of Uncle Sam stretching out his hand to trick taxpayers is ever-present. » Read More
September 25, 2018
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This article appeared in The Daily Caller on September 24, 2018.
This week, President Trump arrives at the United Nations headquarters in New York City to lead the security council meeting. Though the issue of frivolous spending at the international governmental organization (IGO) will likely not be addressed, the Trump administration has set the admirable tone of cutting down waste and introducing much-needed oversight. President Trump has already begun to take action on the big-picture spending items,withdrawing $2 billion from the Green Climate Fund, a U.N. project rife with ineptitude and prioritization woes that ensure poor returns for taxpayers.
September 18, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the President prepares to sign the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Defense Appropriations Act conference report, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has uncovered 679 earmarks totaling $19.3 billion (click here to see the full list) that were not requested by the Pentagon and inserted by members of Congress. That is a 5.8 percent increase in the 642 projects requested in FY 2018 and a 35.2 percent decrease in total dollars from FY 2018. » Read More
August 27, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted critically to President Trump’s announcement that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be dissolved. President Trump made the announcement this morning at a White House event with Mexican President Enrique PeñaNieto joining by conference call. » Read More
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