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Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayer's Tab Issue #32

September 13, 2013

 

 

 

Vol. 4 Issue 32, September 13, 2013

NTUF Highlights Presidential Retirement Perks

This week, National Taxpayers Union Foundation has been giving Americans a new look into how much former Presidents receive from taxpayers after leaving office and how each ex-Commander-In-Chief compares in terms of their expenses. In a previous edition of The Taxpayer's Tab, we examined the retirement system that was set up in the late 1950s and how it looks today.

Below, you can click on special infographics for Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush:

By illustrating each President's spending, we hope to show not only the hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent but the lack of transparency for those expenditures. The General Services Administration makes its annual budget requests available to the public but does not release the actual spending figures, or outlays.

Be sure to share all of NTUF's charts on former Presidential spending on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr!

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 2889, the Local Jobs for America Act

Annualized Cost: $6.3 billion ($25.3 billion over four years)

According to the August jobs figures released last week, the unemployment rate remains high at 7.3 percent. And while that rate has dropped somewhat from the high level of ten percent seen in 2009, the workforce is shrinking. Approximately 63.2 percent of Americans have a job or are actively seeking work: the lowest labor participation rate since 1978. While policymakers across the political spectrum agree that the economy is still ailing, there is not a consensus on a solution. In general, Democrats reason that because private companies are unable to employ the millions of Americans seeking work, public dollars should be spent either to help those businesses expand or to establish new government job programs. Republicans tend to contend that government spending leads to waste and inefficiency and that grants often come with strings attach, limiting what private firms can do and opening up the door for more regulations that further limit already scarce revenues and capital investments. This debate has been central in shaping modern public policy decisions since economists Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes published competing theories of how government should intervene in good and bad economic times.

Taking an approach in line with Keynesian top-down government spending policies, Congressman George Miller (D-CA) sponsored the Local Jobs for America Act. The bill provides federal funding to states to maintain the number of municipal jobs and additional grants to finance the creation of new jobs, either through local non-profit organizations or by increasing the number of local government employees.

A version of H.R. 2889 has been introduced in the last three Congresses. In 2011, Rep. Miller said that his bill would “support 250,000 education jobs, put 5,500 law enforcement offices on the beat, and retain, rehire, and hire firefighters.” According to the text of the Act, up to half of the appropriated funds would be given to local governments to maintain their current personnel who perform a public service. A similar portion would be directed to community-based organizations to boost employment. Any tax dollars that remain after these disbursements would be used to increase the number of public employees; however, funds would only be available to higher-poverty and high-unemployment areas.

Using information from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), NTUF determined that H.R. 2889 would increase federal spending by $25.3 billion over four years. A significant portion of the total, $22.8 billion (or 89.8 percent), would goes towards a new four-year teacher and educational staff jobs fund. First responders and other jobs training measures would be spent in the first year.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 2775, the No Subsidies Without Verification Act

Annualized Cost: "No Cost" -- Regulatory

Number of Cosponsors: 104 Congressmen

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2009, Americans were given a deadline of January 1, 2014 to gain health care coverage. For those with preexisting conditions and/or the inability to pay for insurance while still ineligible for Medicaid, ACA called for the creation of health exchanges that would sell insurance to these people in the so-called “doughnut hole” of coverage. The exchanges were designed to be funded by both paid premiums and subsidies from the federal government. Households would also be able to claim certain subsidies and tax credits on an individual basis. However, before people would be able to claim these new benefits, applicants would be required to verify their income and citizenship through a new government program.

Then, in July, the Obama Administration announced that it would delay establishing the verification program outlined in ACA until 2015. Instead of case-by-case verifications, regulators will rely on consumers’ self-reported information. Members of Congress responded with the introduction of H.R. 2775, which reiterates the requirements set out in ACA to have a verification system in place before applicants are awarded subsidies or credits associated with the exchanges. Congresswoman Diane Black (R-TN) said that the Act aims “to stop the Obama Administration’s attempt to defraud taxpayers by demanding that accurate, real-time verification systems be put in place to prevent fraudulent Obamacare subsidy claims. ... Until the administration figures out how to determine eligibility for this new entitlement program as is already required by law, it is unjustifiable for the administration to proceed with giving out Obamacare subsidies.”

CBO estimates that enacting the No Subsidies Without Verification Act would not result in any new spending because it would require the government to perform a function that is currently law. However, it is unclear whether the verification program defined in H.R. 2775 differs from the enacted ACA requirements. CBO concludes its report by stating it expects the program to be in operation by the start of 2014, which is contrary to the position of the Obama Administration.

All 104 cosponsors of H.R. 2775 are members of the Republican Party.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


Support NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is able to produce timely reports and analysis for policymakers and taxpayers with the help and support of foundations, small businesses, and Americans -- like you -- who wish to stay informed of their government's spending.

With donations from Tab subscribers and members, NTUF will be able to continue to inform taxpayers about entitlement reform, the federal budget, and proposed legislation.

Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to NTUF.

We Want You!

NTUF is looking for winter and spring associate policy analysts to participate in our internship program. Associates assist with BillTally research and other policy projects. Academic credit is possible. Email questions to ntuf@ntu.org. To apply visit our internship page. Join us and help keep a tab on Congress!


 

   

The Wildcard

The Bill: S. 1213, the Weatherization Enhancement, and Local Energy Efficiency Investment and Accountability Act

Annualized Cost: $452 million (first-year cost)

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) was created within the Department of Energy to help reduce energy costs for low-income households. Grants are awarded to local governments, who provide direct materials and services as means of assistance. Tax dollars also go toward sustaining programs for public and nonprofit weatherization training programs for construction professionals. For FY 2014, WAP has requested funding to help weatherize 24,600 homes across the nation, including in territories and on Tribal lands. The Department also operates a demonstration program charged with finding new ways to increase the number of weatherized homes at a lower federal cost per home.

S. 1213 was introduced to reauthorize both WAP and the State Energy Program, which assists states in implementing low- or no-emission energy plans and programs, for five years. The measure was introduced by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE).

WAP and the State Energy Program are funded at $118 million annually but S. 1213 would increase that spending by $334 million. The text of the bill would authorize the increases above the current spending for the FY 2014-2018 period. When the President’s “stimulus” bill was passed, weatherization programs received $5 billion, which was spent in 2009 and 2010.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.



Missed an Issue?

Issue 31 - Sept 6
Temporary Stimulus Programs Beyond Max Life

Issue 30 - Aug 23
Benefits for Former Presidents

Issue 29 - Aug 16
Statehood and Autonomy for the District of Columbia

Issue 28 - Aug 2
NTUF Commemorates Milton Friedman's Work Just Blocks from White House

Issue 27 - Jul 25
Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act


About NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is a research and educational organization dedicated solely to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax policies, spending programs, and regulations at all levels affect them now and in the future. Through NTUF's timely information, analysis, and commentary, we're empowering citizens to actively engage in the fiscal policy debate and hold public officials accountable every day.

NTUF is a 501(c)(3) research and education organization. Donations are deductible for personal income tax purposes. Please make a donation today to help further NTUF's mission of research and education!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation or as a comment on any Member's fitness to serve.

 

 



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