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Reflections on CPAC
Posted By:  - 02/12/11

Today is the third and final day of the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the largest annual gathering of conservatives and libertarians in the nation. After three days of staffing a well-visited booth, meeting with dedicated activists, and listening to dynamic speakers, I’m looking forward to some rest and relaxation, but also to what the future holds for the conservative movement.

This year’s CPAC had the highest number of attendees (11,000) in the history of the conference. CPAC speakers ranged from Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee Chair, to Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a potential presidential candidate who gave, in my view, an outstanding keynote address, which you can read here. Also, CPAC 2011 featured a number of new participating organizations that focus on both activism and policy related to social, economic, and political issues at the federal, state, and local levels.

While attending CPAC, I had the opportunity to participate in a number of discussions about important tax and fiscal policy issues facing the United States. NTUF hosted a discussion about entitlement reform that featured experts such as Rep. Devin Nunes, Maya MacGuineas, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Steven Moore, and Dan Mitchell. The bottom line of their presentation was that we need to start tackling the problem of runaway entitlement spending before it’s too late.

But budget reform should not be restricted to social programs. CPAC also featured a panel on how the nation can reduce defense spending to a more manageable level without jeopardizing readiness. As a former military aide to a fiscally conservative Member of Congress, I was pleased to hear all of the views presented and the many ideas for maintaining an affordable defense posture. The passion the attendees displayed at the panels, and in conversations with me at the NTU table, was striking.  It bodes well for conservatives if these activists carry their views home and remain outspoken and active in the political process.

For the last several weeks, there has been a lot of talk in the media about differences in the conservative movement over certain policies and suggestions that these differences spell certain doom the conservative movement.  After three days of observing conservatives of all stripes from across the country, I can unequivocally say that reports of destructive differences among conservatives are greatly exaggerated. In fact, I would argue that the conservative movement has never been stronger and ready to bring real solutions to the many serious problems facing the nation.

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A Conversation You Can't Afford to Miss
Posted By:  - 02/11/11

Need something to do in Washington today?  Why not join us for a discussion on entitlement reform?  It's a conversation that you can't afford to miss, so come be a part of it.

What: Moving Forward on Entitlements: Practical Steps to Reform
When: Feb. 11th from 2-4 p.m.
Where: Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
The Coolidge Room
2660 Woodley Road, NW
Washington, DC 20008

 

 

 

 

 

Speakers

DanDan Mitchell

Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

DevinThe Honorable Devin Nunes

U.S. House of Representatives

DouglasDouglas Holtz-Eakin

President, American Action Forum

mayaMaya MacGuineas

President, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

SteveSteve Moore

The Wall Street Journal

  

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Panel on Entitlement Reform, SOTU Analysis Covered in Latest Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 02/02/11

Tab Insert

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation released the latest information on the President’s State of the Union speech this morning. Covered on CNBC, US News & World Report, and Investors Business Daily, the study authored by Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady also appeared at the top of the Drudge Report. A part of the Foundation’s SOTU coverage, Brady examined the speech line-by-line to give taxpayers a cost of the President’s proposed agenda. Here are a few highlights:

  • 2011 SOTU Net Spending: $21.349 billion per year
  • 2010 SOTU Net Spending: $70.46 billion per year
  • Number of Spending Proposals: 15 (5 boost spending, 3 cut spending, 7 unknown spending impact)
  • Largest Spending Increase Item: “Investment” in transportation infrastructure ($50 billion)
  • Largest Spending Cut Item: Two-year extension of last year’s proposed three-year discretionary spending freeze (-$15 billion)
  • Highest NTUF Recorded SOTU Net Spending: President Clinton’s 1999 speech ($305 billion)
  • Lowest NTUF Recorded SOTU Net Spending: President Bush’s 2006 speech ($1 billion)

NTUF also announced the panelists who will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference next week in Washington DC:

  • The Honorable Devin Nunes of the House of Representatives
  • Maya MacGuineas, President, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum
  • Dan Mitchell, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
  • Steve Moore, Wall Street Journal

The Taxpayer’s Tab included four newly scored bills in the 112th Congress:

  • HR 403, Homes for Heroes Act of 2011
  • HR 38, a bill to rescind funds appropriated to the Health Insurance Reform Implementation Fund under the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
  • HR 27, Lumbee Recognition Act
  • HR 90, a bill to provide for federal research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities to enable the development of farms tha are net producers of both frood and energy, and for other purposes.
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Tune into NTU's State of the Union Coverage tonight
Posted By:  - 01/25/11

Tonight at 9 p.m. EST, the National Taxpayers Union's crack government affairs and policy analysis teams will provide special online coverage of the President’s State of the Union Address, and we want you to be there and be a part of the discussion. We will be breaking down the President's proposals and what they will mean for taxpayers. Details on how you can join the conversation are below.

  • If you have a Twitter account, use the hash tags #NTUSOTU and #SOTU to link to our discussions and analyses. Hash tags are like keywords for Twitter. Just use them in each of your messages to link to the ongoing dialogue. Remember to also follow @NTU and @NTUF for all the latest commentary!
  • You can also log onto NTU’s Facebook page, where we will constantly update our newsfeed with links, comments, and memorable quotes. Be sure to join our page by clicking "Like"!
  • Even if you don’t have a Twitter of Facebook account, you can still share your thoughts and opinions by going to our special chat room. Join the chat here.
  • NTU will also be updating our blog, Government Bytes, as the night progresses. You can comment on each post as well! Just click on the “Post a Comment” link and speak your mind.

We look forward to seeing you online tonight at 9 p.m. EST!

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NTUF Special Event on Entitlement Reform
Posted By:  - 01/21/11

A poll out today indicates that Americans are wary about cutting entitlements, according to the New York Times. But, are there solutions to America's entitlement problems that could ease this wariness and solve these challenges in a pro-taxpayer, pro-growth way? Find out during a special NTUF event on Feb. 11th. Mark your calendar and plan to attend this vital discussion about our fiscal future.

 

What: Moving Forward on Entitlements: Practical Steps to Reform
When: Feb. 11th from 2-4 p.m.
Where: Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
The Coolidge Room
Washington, DC
Speakers:

The Honorable Devin Nunes, U.S. House of Representatives

Maya MacGuineas, President, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum

 

We hope to see you there!

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$14.5 Billion Bill Highlighted in The Taxpayer’s Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 12/07/10

Tab Insert

Issue 22 brings taxpayers a newly scored bill, the Seniors Protection Act, which would require the federal government to pay federal benefits recipients $250 if a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) does not occur. The COLA is explained in further detail in the Tab. This year, a COLA was not implemented and so would cost taxpayers $14.5 billion. The bill would require this kind of mechanism to be in place in future payment increase considerations.

Bills covered in the latest Taxpayer’s Tab include:

  • H.R. 5987, Seniors Protection Act of 2010; H.R. 6294, Social Security Safety Dividend Act
  • H.R. 1875/S. 3893, a bill to establish the Emergency Trade Deficit Commission, and for other purposes
  • H.R. 6130, Strengthening Medicare Anti-Fraud Measures Act of 2010
  • H.R. 6383, Bed Bug Prevention and Mitigation Pilot Program Act

Wondering how to check on the unique BillTally research going on right now to highlight the spending agendas for EVERY member of Congress? NTUF maintains a searchable database of legislatures dating back to the 107th Congress in 2001. You can also check out the latest updates on legislatures, especially ones featured in the Tab, through our Twitter feed.

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$572 Million Net Federal Spending in Taxpayer’s Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 11/09/10

Tab Insert

The NTU Foundation’s Taxpayer’s Tab is back to its regular schedule and format, highlighting four newly scored Congressional bills.

Covering veterans educational benefits, the Most Expensive Bill of the Week would allow certain service members to transfer benefits to their dependents. The Least Expensive Bill of the Week would establish a comprehensive energy plan, including more domestic oil exploration, alternative technology development, and a natural gas vehicle demonstration project provision. The House version of the Prevention First Act was found to increase federal spending by $417 million in the first year.

Bills covered in the latest Taxpayer’s Tab include:

  • HR 3577, Education Assistance to Realign New Eligibilities for Dependents (EARNED) Act of 2009
  • HR 3505, American Energy Production and Price Reduction Act
  • HR 463/S 21, Prevention First Act
  • S 3078/HR 4757, health Insurance Rate Authority Act of 2010
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NTU Joins with Liberal Group to Identify $600 Billion in Waste
Posted By: Andrew Moylan - 10/28/10

Today, NTU joined with the liberal group U.S. PIRG to release a report called "Toward Common Ground: Bridging the Political Divide to Reduce Spending." This report debuts a list of $600 billion worth of specific federal spending reductions. With all the talk about debt and deficits, we saw an opportunity to put together a true left-right coalition in order to begin the conversation about the difficult choices we’ll have to make as a nation. We thought it would be useful to reach across the ideological divide to identify specific items that we could cut from the federal budget without reducing the quality of government services or neglecting the government's basic commitments.

The U.S. PIRG and NTU study identifies 30 specific, actionable items to cut in federal spending, including:    

  • $62 billion in savings by eliminating wasteful subsidies to farmers and large corporations.
  • $354 billion in savings from reforming inefficient contract and acquisition procedures.
  • $77 billion in savings by improving execution of existing government programs as well as eliminating unneeded programs.
  • $108 billion in savings from ending low-priority or unnecessary weapons systems, along with rightsizing other programs.

While we're under no illusions that every group or individual on the left and right will agree with our list, we think that it can serve as something of a consensus document from which Congress and the President's Fiscal Commission can work. Simply stated, we can't continue to kick the can down the road on reducing the size of the federal government.  In order to head off a debt crisis like that facing Greece today, we need to begin scaling back our unsustainable spending habits.  This list can help to do that without starting a political food fight.

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Public Presidential Campaign Financing Covered in NTUF Taxpayer’s Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 10/14/10

Tab Insert

Springing forth from the successful BillTally Quarterly Report in Issue 14 of The Taxpayer’s Tab last week, NTU Foundation brings you brand new cost estimates in the traditional weekly format -- that's four bills introduced in the 111th Congress that would increase or decrease federal spending.

The most expensive bill of the week is a collaborative effort between pro-choice and pro-life caucuses in the House, to prevent unintended pregnancies and attempt to reduce the need for abortions. If enacted, the $3.9 billion first year cost would go towards state grants and programs supporting education and women’s health.

This week’s Taxpayer’s Tab details the following bills:

  • HR 3312, Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion, and Supporting Parents Act
  • S 3452, Valles Caldera National Preserve management Act
  • HR 775/S 535, Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act
  • HR 6061/S 3681, Presidential Funding Act

To supplement the large number of Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act cosponsors, the following is a breakdown by party and chamber.

  • House – 352 Congressmen in Support
    • 222 Democrats (87 percent of all Democrat Representatives)
    • 130 Republicans (73 percent of all Republican Representatives)
  • Senate – 60 Senators in Support
    • 40 Democrats (68 percent of all Senate Democrats)
    • 17 Republicans (41 percent of GOP Senators)
    • 2 Independents (100 percent of Independent Senators)*
    • 

* Senators Lieberman and Sanders caucus with the Senate Democrats.

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GOP Pledges to Keep Tinkering
Posted By:  - 09/23/10

Although I'm hardly the first to say it, the GOP's brand spanking new "Pledge to America" sounds pretty darn familiar.  I'm not talking about the obvious reference to 1994's Contract with America, but 2010's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

As the WonkRoom gleefully points out, the Pledge seems to be completely restating at least 7 practices that are ALREADY LAW.  To quote directly from the Pledge, "Health care should be accessible for all, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses. We will expand state high-risk pools, reinsurance programs and reduce the cost of coverage."  Sounded nice when President Obama said that too.

The problem here has been discussed ad nauseum.  The GOP summed it up nicely themselves back in April (apparently before their pollsters told them to shut-up), "The basic tenets of economics, combined with inherent self-interest, guarantee that people will wait until they are sick before they buy insurance now that Congress has guaranteed they can get it at any time."  Why on earth would any healthy person who currently pays for insurance continue to do so?  Even with a fine, it will still be cheaper to stop paying until you get sick!  It doesn't matter how many times you say it, this will NOT in any way shape or form bring down the cost of coverage.

What will?  Stop tinkering, Stop regulating, Stop mandating.  Allow insurance companies to compete.  Allow insurance companies to sell cheap plans that only cover catastrophes.  We've heard GOP representatives talk about how regulatory uncertainty has been cripping our markets.  Let's go ahead and take that advice.

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