A new report from the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan government agency tasked with auditing, evaluating, and investigating government affairs for Congress, faults the Internal Revenue Service for failing to properly secure taxpayer data, leaving taxpayers’ private information at the mercy of hackers, both domestic and foreign. The report, delivered to IRS chief John Koskinen on March 28, says the IRS has failed to make recommended improvements to its financial and information-technology procedures.
The bill was introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and requires that each NSF grant award be accompanied by a non-technical explanation of how the project serves the national interest. This written justification is intended to affirm NSF’s determination that a project is worthy of taxpayer support. The bill passed the House by a vote of 236 – 178. It now goes to the Senate. As the NSF is a poster child for the sometimes frivolous nature of government-funded science in the U.S., shining a light on NSF’s grant-making is a valuable and necessary thing to do.
Supporters of education reform who advocate for government-funded choice mechanisms, such as vouchers, tend to argue the problems in K–12 schools in the United States are primarily economic matters, not pedagogical. This view is validated by much data, but the concept ought to be extended further to say the economic marketplace in which K–12 education operates needs more than vouchers to become as efficient as it needs to be to deliver a quality education to each and every child.
The purpose of any economic exchange is to better one’s position, whether a person buys or sells something for money or barters for something else. This is the essence of free market capitalism, where all economic transactions are voluntary because they are of mutual benefit. They are all “win-win” situations in the minds of the participants.
If you own a business—maybe a taco stand, a dress shop, or an insurance agency—you know it takes a lot of hard work, good market analysis, a better product or service than your competition, and advertising. Add in a bit of luck, and you hope to grow your business—though vacant storefronts and boarded up buildings in towns and cities across America show that isn’t always enough. Each going-out-of-business sale represents the death of someone’s dream.
President Reagan once said, “The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.” The omnibus budget package being negotiated on Capitol Hill is a perfect example.
Many state governments facing budget crises are still trying outdated, proven-failed policy ideas such as higher taxes and increased government spending, hoping they’ll work this time, somehow. Instead, they should copy tried-and-true ideas for successfully attracting residents and fostering an economic environment in which people can prosper.
The Senate will not approve or appropriate money for anything President Obama might agree to in Paris, and developing countries will not (and should not) stop building coal-fired power plants and using fossil fuels to lift billions out of abject poverty. However, we cannot let down our guard.
Uncle Sam has added nearly an additional half a trillion dollars to the national debt over the past twelve months. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Federal government ended its fiscal year on September 30, 2015 with a budget deficit of a “mere” $435 billion. Total Federal expenditures for the fiscal year were nearly $3.7 trillion, while Federal tax receipts came to around $3.3 trillion.
The Washington state Supreme Court on Sept. 4 rule the state’s charter school law as unconstitutional. The justices dug deep to justify their decision, referencing a definition of public schools from a 1909 case, School District 20 vs. Bryan. Instead of citing a particular right spelled out in the U.S. Constitution or Washington state’s constitution, the court based its ruling largely on its own, distinctive interpretation of the term “common schools.”
In this episode of The Heartland Daily Podcast, managing editor Jesse Hathaway and Mercatus Center senior research fellow Veronique de Rugy pick through the fallout of the two-year $1 trillion budget “deal” between President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders.
The Congressional Budget Office just estimated that the federal budget deficit would reach $425 billion this year. That’s an additional $1,300 of debt for each American man, woman and child.
Sustainability issues have been at the center of public discussion in Ohio since 2014, when the state became the first in the nation to freeze its renewable energy mandate. Discussions of state mandates for wind and solar power and policies requiring the use of ethanol in fuels are common in statehouses around the country.
By following through on entitlement reforms started in the 1990s, Congress can defuse a ticking entitlement-spending time bomb and allow states to lead the way on holding costs down and better serving taxpayers.
Five federal employees were charged in August with theft and fraud for falsifying documents to qualify their children for free lunch at Prince George’s County, Md., public schools. The alleged fraudsters — all employees of the Government Accountability Office — were discovered after an audit into the National School Lunch Program by the very federal agency for which they work.
Elected officials often say using taxpayer money to pay for the construction or renovation of sports stadiums is an easy way to boost local economies and revitalize the flagging fortunes of downtown areas. But what really happens is that these teams pit cities against one another in competition for franchises, using their scarcity as a way of wresting ever-greater subsidies from taxpayers while team values rise to astronomical levels.
Lawmakers in Congress introduced a plan to apply sales taxes to Internet purchases, hoping this time they’ve ironed out the problems that scuttled previous attempts. They haven’t, and this attempt at grabbing e-commerce tax revenue has the same flaws as previous attempts.
A hundred years ago, teachers first formed unions in the United States. At that time, too many teachers lost their jobs for reasons such as an unplanned pregnancy or gaining too much weight. Wages and working conditions often were substandard.
The solar industry is jubilant over President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, released in its final form on Monday, August 3. The same day, however, some other news reminded the public of what happens when government policy mandates and incentivizes a favored energy source: Taxpayer dollars are gobbled up and investors lose out.