Happy Birthday, Milton Friedman

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Posted by Caroline Anderegg on Friday, July 31st, 2015, 4:50 PM PERMALINK

Today we celebrate the memory of Milton Friedman, a champion of free market economics. Friedman is widely regarded as one of the most revolutionary economists in modern history, and his book Capitalism and Freedom, which makes a case for free markets, was arguably the most influential book of the 1960s.

Friedman filled many roles during his lifetime—chief among them was teacher. He was the Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, for nearly forty years. He taught at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976, and was on the research staff of the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981.

Friedman was a pioneer for school choice, and was the first to recommend the voucher system. In 1996, he and his wife Rose founded the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice to advance school choice nationwide.

Among his many achievements he won the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences in 1976, and was awarded both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science in 1988.

Friedman served on President Reagan’s Policy Advisory Board in the 1980s as one of his most trusted advisors. Though notably libertarian in philosophy, he identified as a Republican for the sake of “expediency,” in his own words. Because of his influence as an advisor Friedman was the architect of many of Reagan’s economic policies that transformed the Republican Party.

 Milton Friedman passed away in 2006 at the age of 94, leaving behind a legacy that has had a lasting impact on free market economic policy. 

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Congress and Ex-Im: It's Complicated

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Posted by Emma Boone on Friday, July 31st, 2015, 4:16 PM PERMALINK

Conservative free marketeers scored a major victory on Wednesday evening by preventing the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank from being re-authorized. Once an important tool for American exports, the Ex-Im Bank is now nothing more than America’s poster child for corporate welfare.

Sunday night, the Senate voted 67-26 to attach an amendment to the “must pass” Highway Trust Fund bill that would reauthorize Ex-Im for another four years. This desperate attempt to revive the bank came after Congress decided to do nothing and let Ex-Im’s charter expire on June 30.

In recent years, public opinion on the Bank has plummeted while opposition to Ex-Im in the Senate has doubled. Ex-Im has become notorious for its ties to crony capitalism, fraud and corruption, and has been behind numerous wasteful taxpayer-backed loans, including a $2 million loan to a fraudulent Florida-based small business conducting a Ponzi-scheme.

The House chose not to take up Highway Trust Fund bill from the Senate, leaving no choice but to force Senators to pass a short term, three month extension for highway funding, without Ex-Im’s amendment attached.

For now, Ex-Im will lie in its grave, with no hope of resurrection until September. The thousands of lost jobs that supporters of the bank warned of has not eventuated. In fact, beneficiaries of the bank will be able to continue their businesses unaffected through private sector loans.

There is no doubt supporters will stop at nothing to reauthorize the bank. But the fact is, American businesses do not need this New Deal relic any longer.  For each day that Congress resists re-authorizing Ex-Im, businesses and taxpayers will realize they are better off without this icon of crony capitalism and corporate welfare.

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ATR Sends Letter Opposing Bentley Tax Hikes

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Posted by Nathaniel Rome on Friday, July 31st, 2015, 2:45 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) sent a letter to Alabama legislators yesterday in opposition to Governor Bentley’s proposed tax hikes. The Governor has proposed increases in cigarette and e-cigarette taxes as well as reductions in state income tax deductions to address the $200 million shortfall in the General Fund. Next week, the legislature will reconvene with a Special Session to debate whether tax increases, spending reductions, or budgetary reforms are the best way to balance the budget.

ATR’s letter explains that tobacco taxes – like the one proposed by Governor Bentley – punish the poor and are an unreliable source of revenue. Of the 33 tobacco tax increases between 2009 and 2013, only three have them have met revenue projections. All others fell short, showing that balancing the budget on unpredictable revenue streams is irresponsible.

The letter also strongly opposes the proposed dramatic increase in e-cigarette taxes:

“With e-cigarettes, the free market has provided a solution to a problem that social engineers have not been able to address through stiff government regulations. The imposition of tax hikes on innovative products that reduce smoking and people’s dependence on tobacco cigarettes is misguided and will impede proven harm reduction methods. It will also kill jobs and discourage poor Alabamans from making the switch from cigarettes to tobacco-free alternatives.”

As an alternative to these destructive taxes, ATR encourages legislatures focus on reforming the budgetary process. Currently, Alabama is one of only three states with a separate Education and General Fund budget. Combining these budgets would allow for more flexibility when appropriating funds.

The letter concludes by pointing out that Alabama’s budget problems are not the result of undertaxation, but instead the result of overspending:

“Between 1999 and 2009, Alabama overspent beyond the rate of inflation and population growth by 21 percent. Tax hikes should be ruled out because Alabama doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has an earmarking and spending problem. As such, I would urge you to reject the Governor’s attempts to raise taxes, especially on those who can least afford it.”

Click here to see the full letter.

Photo Credit: 
Alabama EMA, https://www.flickr.com/photos/alabamaema/

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ATR Releases List of 2015 State Pledge Signers Ahead of Mississippi Primary

Posted by Caroline Anderegg on Friday, July 31st, 2015, 2:23 PM PERMALINK

With the Mississippi primary election taking place Tuesday, Americans for Tax Reform has released an updated list of incumbents and challengers for state legislative and state-wide office who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. These candidates have made a written commitment to their constituents to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes. ATR strongly encourages taxpayers to consider those who have made this commitment when they vote on Tuesday, August 4. The list of incumbents and challengers who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and will be on the ballot Tuesday is as follows:



  • Gov. Phil Bryant
  • Nancy Adams Collins (S-6)
  • Josh Harkins (S-20)
  • Angela Burks Hill (S-40)
  • Billy Hudson (S-45)
  • Dean Kirby (S-30)
  • Richard Bennett (H-120)
  • Gary Chism (H-37)
  • Bill Denny Jr. (H-64)
  • Mark S. Formby (H-108)
  • Stephen Horne (H-81)
  • Bobby Moak (H-53)
  • Alex Monsour (H-54)
  • John Moore (H-60)
  • Bill Pigott (H-99)
  • Ray Rogers (H-61)
  • Jeff Smith (H-39)
  • Dennis Debar (H-43)



  • Tony Smith (Public Service Commissioner, District 2)
  • Robert Foster (H-28)
  • Dennis Quinn (S-38)
  • Cliff Brown (S-35)
  • James D. Eubanks (S-1)
  • Randall Stephens (H-61)
  • Steve Hopkins (H-7)
  • Barney W. O’Neal (H-114)
  • Vance Cox (H-75)
  • Chris Caughman (S-35)
  • Brian Sims (H-35)
  • Jerrerico Chambers (H-33)

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Even National Parks Can't Comply with New EPA Regulations

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Posted by Dorothy Jetter on Friday, July 31st, 2015, 12:03 PM PERMALINK

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to roll out even more aggressive regulations come October. Despite scientific reports of ozone levels declining 20 percent over the past ten years, the EPA has proposed even harsher restrictions that could cost $1.1 trillion.  

The agency's new regulations could slash U.S. GDP by $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040 and result in 2.9 million fewer jobs or job equivalents per year on average through 2040. This proposal comes after reports that 40% of American households live in areas unable to comply with the existing regulations.    

Perhaps these detrimental effects are why 269 businesses are asking President Obama to stop his administration from moving forward on its ozone pollution rule.  The National Association of Manufacturers is leading the charge against the Obama regime. The NAM recently released a video explaining how Yosemite and the Grand Canyon would violate the EPA’s proposed ozone limit of 70 parts per billion.  

Science and common sense contradict the claims of the EPA as they pertain to ozone and public health.  Louis Anthony Cox Jr., Chief Sciences Officer of NextHealth Technologies explains

"If we look at actual data instead of at EPA’s model-based predictions, it is clear that, in many places in the United States, much larger reductions in ozone levels have already occurred in recent decades than those that are now being proposed. Yet, these relatively large reductions in ozone levels have caused no detectable public health benefits. Therefore, EPA’s assumption that future proposed reductions in ozone will do so is unwarranted. Such changes have been tried and they have not worked: their predicted public health benefits have not materialized."

The EPA wants to implement unattainable regulations on American businesses that would stifle economic growth.  As the NAM explains, "Under new ozone rules out of Washington, these national treasures would actually violate clean air laws If national parks can’t comply, how can your community?"


Photo Credit: 
Mrs Airwolfhound https://www.flickr.com/photos/amylloyd/

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IRS “Midnight Unit” Destroyed Backup Tapes With Lois Lerner Emails

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Friday, July 31st, 2015, 11:20 AM PERMALINK

Backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 Lois Lerner emails were destroyed by an IRS entity officially known as the “Media Management Midnight Unit” located in Martinsburg, West Virginia, according to documentation released this week by the House Oversight Committee. In all, 422 backup tapes holding the emails were magnetically “degaussed” despite an agency-wide preservation order and congressional subpoena. Degaussing is a process whereby powerful magnets are used to erase data on a storage tape.

The preservation order came from IRS Chief Technology Officer Terence Millholland in response to Congressional subpoenas over Lois Lerner’s emails. However, the agency completely failed to ensure the order was followed or understood. According to the House Oversight report:

“The IRS failed to ensure compliance with the preservation order at each turn. The IRS failed to confirm compliance with the preservation order in February 2014, upon learning of the gap in emails; failed to ensure the Media Management Midnight Unit, the team that destroyed the backup tapes, properly understood the preservation order; and failed to make certain that individuals who ordered the destruction of the specific media, in this instance the backup tapes, properly understood the preservation order.”

The backup tapes were sent to Martinsburg starting in May 2011, when the IRS took its backup system located in New Carrollton, Maryland and migrated it to the facility in West Virginia.

As the Oversight Committee report notes, IRS management failed to take simple steps to ensure backup tapes were not destroyed:

“Had IRS managers taken simple steps to ensure compliance with the order, the tapes likely would not have been destroyed.”

Interestingly, the tapes were destroyed a month after top IRS officials learned there were gaps in the Lerner email production.

In addition, Commissioner John Koskinen withheld both the preservation order and destruction of tapes from Congress:

“Koskinen withheld from Congress that a notice instructing preservation of backup tapes had been in place for over a year and that the IRS had deleted backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 emails during that time.”

As a result of the inability – or unwillingness -- of multiple IRS employees to follow the preservation order, as many as 24,000 emails are lost forever. As the House Oversight Committee notes:

“No one will ever know what was contained in those emails.”

Below is a 10-minute summary video outlining the IRS stonewalling of Congressional investigations into the Lois Lerner targeting scandal:

See also: 
The Curious Case of Lois Lerner's Physically Damaged Hard Drive
IRS Failed to Search Five of Six Locations for Lois Lerner Emails
IRS Used Instant Messaging System to Hide Internal Communications
House Oversight Committee Details Case for Removal of IRS Commissioner
Watchdog: IRS May Still Be Targeting Conservative Non-Profits

Photo Credit: 
Robert Emperley, https://www.flickr.com/photos/emperley3/

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Jim Denney

Laws are for schmucks.


And the beat (down) goes on...the criminals at the IRS should have to answer for their crimes, but they won't.

When will We the People finally come to our senses and DEMAND that our govt. representatives do their jobs and clean up the toilet that is the federal govt.???

ATR Supports H.R. 3167, the “Tax Administration Integrity Act”

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Thursday, July 30th, 2015, 5:06 PM PERMALINK

Congressman John Katko (R-N.Y.) recently introduced H.R. 3167, theTax Administration Integrity Act. This important legislation would prevent the IRS from using outsourced contractors for any work that puts these contractors in contact with confidential taxpayer information. ATR supports this legislation and urges all members of the Congress to vote for and otherwise support it.

In recent years, public trust in the IRS has plummeted because of revelations of the agency’s inappropriate targeting of conservative nonprofits. Unfortunately, this is just one of many transgressions the agency has been involved in. The IRS has also contracted outside organizations for work involving the personal tax information of organizations and individuals. In fact, earlier this year the agency hired a $1,000 an hour trial law firm to perform an audit, a highly unusual decision that prompted the ire of Congress.

The Tax Administration Integrity Act would put a stop to this by explicitly forbidding the agency from hiring outside contractors for any work involving confidential taxpayer information. The IRS already has 40,000 employees dedicated to enforcement efforts and has the ability to turn over any case to the IRS office of Chief Counsel or Department of Justice attorneys, both of which have sufficient legal expertise to handle any examination or audit. Put simply, there is no reason the IRS needs to waste finite taxpayer resources on an elite law firm.

Given the proven inability of the IRS to act in a responsible way, it is clear that Congress needs to tighten its oversight over the out of control agency. This legislation is a good step in this direction and will stop the agency unnecessarily putting taxpayer information at risk. ATR endorses the Tax Administration Integrity Act and urges all members of Congress to support this important legislation.

Photo Credit: 
MoneyBlogNewz, https://www.flickr.com/photos/moneyblognewz/

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"This legislation is a good step in this direction and will stop the agency unnecessarily putting taxpayer information at risk."
This is an excellent first step. Now, when are We the People, through our govt. representatives, going to demand that the IRS stop "unnecessarily putting taxpayer" MONEY at risk?
Fair Tax, anyone?

Networks Refuse to Report on Latest IRS Scandal Revelations

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Posted by Geoffrey Dickens on Thursday, July 30th, 2015, 3:45 PM PERMALINK

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on NewsBusters and was republished here with permission.

  • When Lois Lerner found out that instant messaging e-mails were not automatically archived she responded: “Perfect.” 
  • The IRS failed to search 5 of the 6 possible sources of electronic media for Lerner’s emails.
  • House GOP chairman Jason Chaffetz called for removal of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen because he repeatedly “obstructed” congressional investigations.

None of these three stunning IRS scandal developments, that have unfolded this week, have yet to be reported on by any of the Big Three network evening or morning shows. 

The cover-up behind the IRS targeting scandal continues to unravel, despite President Barack Obama’s protest to The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart last week that “the truth of the matter is there was not some big conspiracy.” This week’s revelations provided the perfect opportunity to catch Obama in a “gotcha” moment but so far ABC, CBS and NBC have reacted with total silence. 

The following is a rundown of the IRS targeting scandal developments this week that, so far, the networks have refused to cover: 

On Monday, AP’s Stephen Ohlemacher reported on Chaffetz’s call for Koskinen’s job in his July 27 article: 

The Republican chairman of a powerful House committee called for the removal of the IRS commissioner Monday, saying he has obstructed congressional investigations into the treatment of conservative groups.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, sent a letter Monday to President Barack Obama, asking him to remove IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Chaffetz is chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which has been investigating the IRS for more than two years.

"Throughout his tenure, Commissioner Koskinen obstructed these congressional investigations," Chaffetz wrote in a letter that was also signed by 20 other Republicans on the Oversight Committee. "His obstruction takes the form of failure to comply with a congressional subpoena, failure to testify truthfully and failure to preserve and produce up to 24,000 emails relevant to the investigation."

Chaffetz also raised the possibility of impeaching Koskinen or voting to hold him in contempt of Congress. But when pressed, Chaffetz was noncommittal, saying those were tools available to Congress if the White House does not act.

On Tuesday, Americans for Tax Reform’s Alexander Hendrie posted the following on Lerner’s reaction to the IRS’s use of instant messaging: 

The IRS used a “wholly separate” instant messaging system that automatically deleted office communications, according to documentation released by the House Oversight Committee on Monday. The system appears to have been purposefully used by agency officials responsible for the targeting of conservative non-profits, in order to evade public scrutiny.

The system, known as “Office Communication Server” or OCS was used by IRS officials, including many in the Exempt Organizations (EO) Unit, which was headed by Lois Lerner.

As the Oversight Committee report states, the instant messaging system did not archive any communications, so it is not possible to know what employees of the EO unit discussed on it.

However, in an email uncovered by the Committee Lerner warns her colleagues about evading Congressional oversight:

“I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails – so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.”

Lerner then asks whether OCS is automatically archived. When informed it was not, Lerner responded “Perfect.”

While it is possible to set the instant messaging system to automatically archive messages, the IRS chose not to do so, according to one employee interviewed by the Committee. The fact that the agency chose not to archive messages raises questions about the true purpose of OCS and what discussions took place.

Needless to say, the apparent use of OCS to evade Congressional oversight once again shows that the IRS does not want the American people to learn the truth about the Lois Lerner targeting scandal. 

On Tuesday, Hendrie also filed this July 28 post on the IRS’s less than exhaustive search for missing e-mails: 

The IRS failed to search five of six possible sources of electronic media for Lois Lerner’s emails, according to a documentation released by the House Oversight Committee on Monday.

Over the course of investigations into the Lois Lerner targeting scandal, Commissioner John Koskinen repeatedly assured Congress that he would provide all of Lois Lerner’s emails. But based on testimony from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), this did not occur. The agency’s ineptness -- or corruption -- resulted in 24,000 Lerner emails being lost when they were “accidently” destroyed. 

According to TIGTA official Timothy Camus, the IRS had six possible sources to search for Lois Lerner’s emails:

“The hard drive would have been a source, Blackberry source, backup tapes a source, the backup tapes for the server drives and then finally the loaner lap tops.”

When asked how many of these sources the IRS searched, Camus says was unable to say for certain whether the IRS had searched any, although he acknowledged it appears the agency did search Lerner’s hard drive:

“We’re not aware that they searched any one in particular. They did – it appears they did look into initially whether or not the hard drive had been destroyed, but they didn’t go much further than that.”

The agency’s refusal to conduct due diligence in its search for Lerner’s emails meant that 1,000 emails were not found until TIGTA searched backup tapes. When asked why the IRS did not give these emails to Congress, Camus said it was because the agency never looked for them in the first place:

“To the best we can determine through the investigation, they just simply didn’t look for those emails.”

Commissioner Koskinen stated that the IRS took “extraordinary efforts” to recover any emails, but this is clearly not the case. Years after the investigations into the Lois Lerner targeting scandal began, the agency’s unprecedented obstruction has meant Americans are no closer to the truth.

Photo Credit: 
Brookings Institution https://www.flickr.com/photos/96739999@N05/17222917832

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President Obama is complicit in this cover up. He is allowing it to take place, after he benefited from the IRS targeting of conservative groups. All along he could have compelled Koskinen and Lerner to turn over emails and come clean (instead Lerner twice plead the 5th). The targeting helped suppress grass roots political opposition to Obama's candidacy leading up to the 2012 election. He is therefore overseeing and confining illegal and corrupt activity, the use of the government's most powerful and feared agency to suppress his political opposition. Obama is therefore not a legitimate president—he, or those working for him, used illegal methods to get him re elected, and he now shields those criminals from prosecution and investigation. Americans therefore need not, and perhaps should not, accord to Barack Obama the sense of legitimacy that is due a president. His presidency is Nixonian and worse. With the help of his Justice Department, he is running a criminal presidency.


Faults and all, Richard Milhouse Nixon still loved this country. Barack Hussein Obama clearly wants to burn America to the ground. To say that his 'presidency' is "Nixonian" commits a grave insult to RMN - faults and all.


El Dorko in the White House is a joke, and he should be arrested and put in prison. He is a disgrace to be even called a President, let alone a President for the USA. So sad . He is a waste of a human being.

Obama's Birthday Wish List: Job Losses and Increased Poverty Rates

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Thursday, July 30th, 2015, 3:24 PM PERMALINK

Next week the Obama Administration and EPA will release the final version of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). In support of the rule, the President and EPA routinely cite to the benefits the CPP’s carbon emissions regulations will have on the American public and environment.

Yet such “benefits” are tenuous at best, largely based on questionable science and seldom founded in reality. The EPA’s own projections show the rule would amount to a 0.02 degrees Celsius difference in world temperatures by 2100 and sea level reduction equivalent to the thickness of three sheets of paper. 

However in stark contrast, the impact the President’s carbon regulations will have on Americans, especially the country’s most vulnerable are all too real. Consensus shows and the EPA has even agreed that the carbon regulations will lead to higher energy rates across the nation. Indeed double-digit increases are expected in over 40 states. 

While the President and his Capitol Hill cronies may not be impacted by rate increases, many of the countries most vulnerable will not be so lucky. A recent report by the National Black Chamber of Commerce found that the President’s carbon regulations could prove devastating for minority communities.

The Chamber’s report looked at job losses, decreased household income and increased poverty rates due to the carbon rule. The report showed that 200,000 African-American jobs would be lost just in 2020. During that same period over 300,000 jobs would be lost in Hispanic communities. The cumulative impact by 2035 would be almost 7 million African-American jobs lost and over 12 million for Hispanics. 

Additionally, the report projected that the carbon regulations would reduce median household income for African-Americans by more than $5,000 within the next 20 years. For Hispanics the impacts would be even worse, with reductions over $7,000.

However the most troubling finding of the report was the impact on poverty rates resulting from reduced income and job losses. For African Americans the poverty rate is slated to jump by 23 percent and Hispanic poverty would grow by 26 percent.       

It appears that the Obama Administration and the EPA are more than willing to ignore such devastating impacts, all in the name of preserving the President’s legacy. In fact it is rumored the final rule may be released on President Obama’s birthday, August 4th.

Sadly, while the President is blowing out his candles next week, many of the country’s most vulnerable will be preparing for the worst. Thus on behalf of the millions of Americans soon to be teetering on the brink of poverty as a result of the Clean Power Plan…Happy Birthday Mr. President.  


Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson

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IMHO, the congress, even with its current make-up (Republican "control"), is more and more worthless to those of us who continually work to pay our bills and stay off the govt. teat.
Meanwhile, the free-loading gimme-crats are loving every second of the wealth re-distribution and pushing, no, agitating for more.


"A recent report by the National Black Chamber of Commerce found that the President’s carbon regulations could prove devastating for minority communities." - cue the race-baiting community agitators who will begin their rants in 4, 3, 2...something like -

"We need to make sure the fed. govt. takes care of the 'black folk' who will be adversely affected by these higher energy costs!" And yet it was Obama himself who declared, "My plan makes energy prices necessarily skyrocket." - https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Let the riots (against the white middle class) begin!


EPA Employment Prevention Agency

Grover Norquist Simplifies Spectrum

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Posted by Timothy Wilt on Thursday, July 30th, 2015, 3:11 PM PERMALINK

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Wireless spectrum and the federal policies that surround it are complicated. For years, Congress has struggled to establish the necessary and lasting spectrum policies our nation needs to support the growth of wireless communication. Public advocates and Congressional representatives have univocally expressed concern over the government’s current approach to spectrum allocation, keeping the best and most valuable for its own agencies, without even requiring them to declare it as the valuable asset it is.

In his newest op-ed, Grover Norquist explains the value of wireless spectrum, and the pressing need for Congress to establish a plan that will allow spectrum availability to keep pace with the rapid expansion of wireless communication technologies. By 2019, the United States mobile data traffic is predicted to increase 6-fold from the 2014 levels. If commercial spectrum availability does not increase in tandem, Americans will suffer from dangerous levels of congestion and interference.

Spectrum sales are also a government cash cow. If Congress sold just 1 quarter of agency held spectrum for commercial use, it could generate up to $200 billion in pure revenue. That money could be used to reduce the debt or the tax burden on American citizens.

Norquist addresses this and more in his new article:

“Spectrum delivers our wireless communications, like broadcast television, AM/FM radio, WiFi and smartphone traffic, through the air. Our ever-increasing consumption of wireless data coupled with spectrum scarcity, makes it a cherished resource for companies that want to deliver wireless services.

The fed, of course, does not want to part ways with its gold, especially since this particular asset doesn’t have to show up on the balance sheet.

We need more spectrum to market. There are plenty of buyers. The feds need an incentive. Senator Rubio has the carrot/stick.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which manages federal spectrum use, must restructure and reclaim under-used spectrum—“clean the attic”. Then let the Federal Communication Commission manage the commercial auctions—“host the yard sale”

Click Here to read the full article. 

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