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CAGW Releases June 2015 WasteWatcher

Today Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released its June WasteWatcher, a monthly dispatch to members of the news media, highlighting some of the most prominent fiscal issues affecting American taxpayers. The stories from its June edition of WasteWatcher are listed in part as follows:

The TPA Debate: Fears & Facts about “Fast-Track”
By Thomas A. Schatz & William M. Christian
When Chicken Little said “The sky is falling!” and convinced his barnyard brethren of the same, the facts notwithstanding, he practically invented fear-mongering. Trade liberalization opponents are engaged in their own version of spreading false and misleading information by claiming that so-called “fast track” legislation is fraught with end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it perils. Read the full story here.

Floundering USPS Needs Reform, Not Expansion
By Curtis Kalin
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is a government entity and has operated as such since 1775. It has a straightforward mandate: “To provide postal services to bind the Nation together.” And furthermore, “It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons.” In 1970, Congress directed that USPS be run like a business, with its activities funded solely through its revenues. Even with that mandate, USPS’s business performance leaves much to be desired. Read the full story here.

Acquisition Reform Proposal Makes Waves
By Sean Kennedy
Acquisition horror stories are nothing new at the Department of Defense (DOD). The three most costly recent mishaps include the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is approximately $170 billion over budget and has encountered numerous problems with its software and engine design. Read the full story here.

Tossing a Broken Lifeline to Subsidize Broadband
By Deborah Collier
In 2014, approximately $8.5 billion was collected in Universal Service Fund (USF) fees from consumers as a tax on their communications services. The four main USF programs are the Low-Income support services, which includes the Lifeline and Link-Up programs; the High-Cost program; the E-Rate Library and Schools program; and the Rural Health program. While there are many questions and concerns about all of these programs, the Lifeline program, which was established in 1985 to provide subsidized telephone services to low-income households, has perhaps the most sordid history of waste, fraud and abuse. Read the full story here.

Up, Up and Away
By Elizabeth Wright
During both of his two campaigns and the 2009 debate over healthcare reform, President Obama often stated that his plan would cut the average premium of a typical family by $2,500 per year. But not surprisingly, prices are instead going in the opposite and wrong direction. As Jed Graham blared in his May 18, 2015 Investor’s Business Daily column, “ObamaCare Premium Increases Next Year May Shock You.” Read the full story here.

Taxing the Digital Age
By Deborah Collier
Imagine someone sitting at the airport terminal in Seattle, Washington, waiting for a flight home to Ohio. Boredom has set in, as she waits for her flight to board, and she wants something to do. So she scans through the app store on her mobile device, finds a game that happens to be located on a server in Utah and purchases it. When she is back in Ohio and opens up her mobile billing statement, she could find a sales tax remittance for not just her home state of Ohio, but also from Utah and Washington. In fact, if the company that developed the app was based in yet another state that taxes digital goods, she could potentially be subject to up to four separate taxes on a single purchase. Read the full story here.

CAGW is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

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