Taxpayers are accustomed to paying for the country’s critical transportation infrastructure. What many taxpayers may not know is that the commercial rail infrastructure is privately funded and it is working quite well. In fact, the U.S. freight rail industry serves a critical role in the U.S. economy and benefits all American taxpayers and consumers. Yet a proposed rule by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) that would mark a significant change in direction from the industry-saving partial deregulation in 1980 could threaten this success by driving cargo from private railroads to taxpayer-funded roads.
David Williams | All Articles
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David Williams is the President of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to educating the public through the research, analysis and dissemination of information on the government’s effects on the economy. In his 18 years in Washington, D.C., David has become an expert in finding and exposing government waste and has helped fine tune criteria in identifying and ultimately eliminating earmarks.
The emotions surrounding the passage, veto, and subsequent veto override of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) are real and undeniable. However, after getting past the visceral reaction to the passage of the legislation, there are also fiscal policy issues that need to be considered. One potential unintended consequence that has received insufficient attention is the role JASTA might play in freezing the global flow of capital.
As the Obama administration winds down, the tenure of Gina McCarthy as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency will go down in history as a bewildering and frustrating abuse of taxpayer money. For eight years, the White House has put all its efforts into headline-grabbing climate change proposals, but its environmental legacy here at home has been marked with scandal and neglect. McCarthy’s EPA has waged war on good faith players in the private sector, while turning a blind eye to appalling public sector scandals where state and local government entities poisoned entire communities.
The growth of new technologies in cable broadband in recent years has greatly expanded the reach and value of its services. Whereas cable itself was once king, broadband now thrives with the emergence of streaming platforms and new social networking tools, all of which we can access on multiple mobile devices. As a result, spectrum demand nearly outpaces supply, and industry stakeholders and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulators are scrambling to ensure there is enough spectrum to support the growth of wireless innovation.
Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas was a disappointment for fiscal conservatives who care about reckless federal spending, particularly at the Pentagon.
More than 112 mergers and acquisitions have been announced in 2015, totaling more than $4.6 trillion in value. That makes this year the most active in history. But regulators in Washington have a dysfunctional disposition when it comes to mergers and acquisitions these days – the combination of anti-merger attitude and corporate cronyism.
On Tuesday, bipartisan members of Congress struck a deal that included renewal of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank into the five-year, $305 billion highway funding bill. What export financing and transportation highway funding have in common is anyone’s guess, but this is exactly why Americans distrust Washington. These political games revived government-sponsored crony capitalism that no one needs and many agree is a waste of taxpayer resources. In today’s hyper-partisan Congress, it seems the only thing our elected officials seem to agree on is more corporate welfare for Fortune 500 companies at the taxpayer’s expense.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives attached reauthorization of the corrupt, free market-distorting U.S. Export Import (Ex-Im) Bank to “must pass” highway legislation – likely resurrecting the crony capitalist institution from the dead. Fiscally conservative members of Congress unsuccessfully offered amendments to bring a small amount of accountability to the Bank. They all failed, even an amendment by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) that would have prohibited the Export-Import Bank from providing assistance to state-sponsors of terrorism.
It was announced on Monday night that congressional leaders and the White House have agreed to a two-year budget deal that lifts the budget caps by $80 billion. In addition to lifting the budget caps, the debt ceiling will be suspended until 2017. That’s not a compromise, that’s capitulation.
When President Obama was selling the government health care takeover to Congress and the American people, he repeatedly promised that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, would keep health insurance companies “honest” and held “accountable” for providing affordable, quality health care to Americans.
The future of the Republican approach to foreign policy and national security was on full display during the first presidential debates. The candidates made pledges to take on the Islamic State and to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, but unfortunately, they failed to offer a grand vision or strategy on how to deal with the security challenges of today and the years to come. They also failed to address Pentagon spending and how to reform the Pentagon to be more equipped fiscally and physically to fight the next war.
The vast majority of fiscal conservatives, including nearly every declared and potential GOP presidential candidate, oppose reauthorizing the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of the United States. So it is extremely disappointing for South Carolinians (and fiscal conservatives everywhere else) to see Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) cave to corporate welfare and support big government cronyism by strongly backing this misguided government agency.
In politics, as in life, you are often judged by the company you keep. This extends not only to individuals but to organizations: the character of an institution is often a function of the individuals connected to it.
In 2009, the federal government loaned half of a billion taxpayer dollars to a company that promised it could help revolutionize American infrastructure. The company manufactured a product that used an unusual technology – panels of “copper indium gallium selenide” – and its executives told the Obama administration that this unproven technology was more efficient than the solutions already on the market. By using a cylindrical shape, the panels could collect sunlight from all angles, concentrate that energy, and use it to power American homes.
When you’re exploring a run for the presidency, it’s never too early to start buttering up potential campaign donors. That is likely what Hillary Clinton had in mind when she used a seemingly innocuous conference on women and girls in Little Rock, Arkansas as a platform to plug the controversial Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of the United States.
For many years, earmarks were business as usual in Washington, D.C. That changed in 2006 when Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives partly due to their excessive spending on earmarks. Responding to that voter pressure, Congress instituted transparency rules for earmarks starting in 2008 and then in 2010, the House and Senate agreed to a two-year moratorium.
Politicians in Washington State are receiving a rude awakening. They jumped through hoops to offer massive tax incentives to Boeing, their “hometown hero” corporation founded in Seattle in 1916, and in return, the company uprooted thousands of Washington jobs and moved them to the Midwest.
The deeply forested state of Oregon may have been in the final one-third of states to join the Union in the latter half of the 19th century, but today the state rates among the very first in the nation working to dismantle the certification monopoly that for decades has quietly strangled America’s timber industry and unnecessarily burdened taxpayers.
Last month President Barack Obama hosted the U.S.-Africa leaders summit in Washington, D.C. Beneath the fanfare of goodwill, the summit saw three of Africa’s longest serving autocrats Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Yahya Jammeh and Paul Biya – the presidents of Equatorial Guinea, Gambia and Cameroon, respectively, all with decidedly checkered human rights records – be honored guests of America at a state dinner held during the summit.