The Administration's Assault on Article 1

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Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Friday, August 12th, 2016, 9:35 AM PERMALINK


Whether Democrat, Republican, or Independent, as an American, you likely care about the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. 

The Department of Commerce, via the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), is directly violating a law that forbids it from using funds to transfer the Internet Domain Name contract away from United States oversight.  

Congress should not enable an administration that picks and chooses which laws to follow. It should sue to enforce its Power of the Purse and reaffirm our system of checks and balances.

Americans for Tax Reform signed on to a coalition letter urging the United States Congress to do just that. 

The following can be attributed to Americans for Tax Reform President, Grover Norquist: 

“Congress has already won in court on the Obama Administration’s ‘inappropriate’ spending of funds to pay for the Affordable Care Act.  Congress did not appropriate the cost-sharing provisions and the Administration went ahead and spent the money - that was found to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution. 

“Suing to enforce the appropriations rider, preventing the NTIA from spending funds towards the IANA transition and extending that rider through 2017, is important.  It is a key battle in the fight to protect constitutionally separated powers. 

“Both parties should have a real interest in protecting the Congressional Power of the Purse.  If legislation is no longer binding, Congress forfeits a basic check on Executive power.”

This administration is setting the precedent for all future presidencies.  The executive had bent, indeed broken, the rules and ignore Congressional protests.  The NTIA's action is another example. 

In order to allow some pre-existing issues to be settled, Congress forbade the NTIA from using congressionally appropriated funds to go towards the transition. However, in 2016, the NTIA released a report indicating they were looking into, and dedicating resources to the transition. This is in violation of federal law prohibiting the NTIA from using funds in the years 2015 and 2016 to further the transition of the IANA contract.

Regardless of the numerous concerns surrounding IANA stewardship and the security issues with the transition, the NTIA’s action presents a threat to our democracy. The executive is ignoring a congressional appropriation. This is a signal of disrespect to the Constitution and separation of powers.

Lawmakers should unite behind suing to enforce the power of the purse, it’s most basic constitutionally enumerated check. Otherwise, legislation in Congress will be viewed as non-binding and the legislative branch’s power to check the executive will be greatly diminished. 

The full text of the coalition letter can be found here.

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Kim Davies

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Hillary Is Painfully Clueless on the Corporate Rate

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Thursday, August 11th, 2016, 1:22 PM PERMALINK


Today Hillary Clinton criticized Donald Trump’s proposal to reduce the corporate income tax rate. In a Monday speech at the Detroit Economic Club, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to lowering taxes for ALL businesses. This is welcome news because America has the highest tax rates for businesses in the developed world. Lowering business taxes to a globally competitive rate will allow our businesses to compete against foreign competitors and put a stop to corporate inversions and foreign acquisitions of American assets.

The Trump tax plan calls for lowering the tax rate for all businesses to 15 percent. A rate reduction is desperately needed. The current corporate income tax rate is 39 percent (federal rate of 35 percent plus the average state rate of 4 percent) while the top federal rate for businesses organized as pass-through entities is 39.6 percent.

In contrast, Hillary has suggested there is no need to lower the corporate rate. Clinton advisor Neera Tanden recently suggested that Hillary would oppose any effort to lower the corporate income tax rate because “the U.S. has been doing pretty well when it comes to competitiveness." This position puts Hillary far to the left, far outside the mainstream of economic thought.


Chart by Strategas Research Partners using Tax Foundation and OECD data

Rather than reduce the extremely high, uncompetitive corporate tax rate, Clinton has proposed an “exit tax.” The term “exit tax” is used by the campaign itself. Her campaign document describing this proposal says it will impose an $80 billion tax increase.

The Clinton campaign has called for at least $1 trillion in higher taxes including a $275 billion tax hike through unspecified “business tax reform.” Her campaign has failed to release specific details on these proposals so the true Clinton net tax hike figure is likely much higher than $1 trillion

Clinton’s refusal to acknowledge and address America’s high business tax rates will ensure that America’s competitiveness problem remains unresolved.

As shown in the chart above, America’s corporate income tax rate is close to 15 percent higher than the average in the developed world. The tax rate has barely changed since tax reform was passed 30 years ago in 1986.  At the time, we lowered our rate to 39 percent – below the developed average of 44 percent. Since then, other countries have cut their rates aggressively.

31 of the 34 OECD countries have reduced their corporate rates since 2000. Only the U.S. and Chile have higher corporate tax rates than they did in 2000. Our high rate makes it difficult, if not impossible for our businesses to compete with competitors that have much lower rates Canada (26.3 percent), the United Kingdom (20 percent), and Ireland (12.5 percent).

This inaction has resulted in close to 50 American businesses leaving the country through an inversion in the past decade, according to data compiled by Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee. America has also lost an additional $179 billion worth of assets through acquisitions by foreign competitors, according to a report by Ernst and Young.

Clearly there is a need to reduce business taxes, both to reduce the burden on American businesses and to allow them to compete with foreign competitors. While the Trump tax plan calls for across the board business tax reductions, the Clinton plan would only make the tax code more complex and burdensome for American businesses.

 

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John

Clinton wants to punish the successful people who create jobs and effectively make the average person dependant on the Govt instead. It's lunacy. Goodbye America if she gets elected and gets that plan through congress.


Report: IRS Failing to Screen Contractors for Unpaid Taxes

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Thursday, August 11th, 2016, 11:46 AM PERMALINK


The IRS is failing to ensure contractors have paid all taxes owed as required by federal law, according to a new report by the Treasury Inspector General for the Tax Administration (TIGTA).

29 percent of businesses receiving IRS contracts were granted these contracts without tax checks, according to the report.  Under both internal IRS policy and federal law, the IRS is required to check if contractors have paid their taxes and fully comply with federal law before the business is granted a federal contract. As the report explains:,

“Federal appropriations law prohibits the IRS from awarding contracts to tax delinquent corporations. Current IRS policy requires a tax check for all bidders in the competitive range (under consideration for award) on solicitations greater than $250,000.”

Not only did the IRS fail to check whether contractors had paid their taxes, the agency also failed to ensure competing bidders had paid taxes. As the report notes:

“21 (29 percent) of the 73 contract awards reviewed did not have evidence that the contracting officer performed the required tax check on the winning bidders. In all 73 contracts (100 percent), there was no evidence that the other qualified bidders underwent a tax check, as required.”

This is not the first time TIGTA has raised concern about the IRS’ process of awarding contractors. A 2015 TIGTA report found that the IRS illegally gave 57 contracts valued at $18.8 million to 17 corporations, who had outstanding tax debt or a felony conviction.  

This report identified ZERO contracts that contained the required contract clause and certification guidelines to ensure tax debts of contractors had been paid. As a result, TIGTA estimated that at least 94 percent of contracts had been awarded without adhering to this law.

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Hans Tanzler Signs the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American People

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Posted by Alec DiFruscia on Friday, August 5th, 2016, 2:55 PM PERMALINK


Hans Tanzler (R-FL), candidate for Congress in Florida’s 4th  Congressional District, has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American people. The Pledge is a written commitment to the citizens of Florida and to the American people to oppose all tax increases. Tanzler is running to replace retiring Congressman Ander Crenshaw.

Tanzler’s career has spanned both the private and public sector, including spending time as a federal prosecuter in the 1980s. After his time as a prosecutor, Tanzler returned the private sector where he specialized in corporate restructuring and saved several companies from the brink of collapse. Mr. Tanzler currently serves on the University of North Florida Board of Trustees.

 “The American people are tired of the tax-and-spend policies coming from Washington and they are looking for solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and get the economy going again. Signing the Pledge is the first step in that process.”

The Taxpayer Protection Pledge has been offered to every candidate for federal office since 1986. In the 114th Congress, 218 Congressmen and 48 Senators have signed the Pledge.

“We are ecstatic about Tanzler’s commitment to the taxpayers of Florida. I challenge all candidates for Florida’s 4th Congressional District to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today,” continued Norquist.

Hans Tanzler will run in Florida’s 4th Congressional District Primary on August 30th. 

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Beer Tax Hangs Over IPA Day

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Thursday, August 4th, 2016, 3:10 PM PERMALINK


It’s IPA Day and as beer-lovers rush to the store to celebrate, some may find one ingredient too pricey to swallow. It’s not the hops or the yeast, but taxes! Think about that again. The most expensive ingredient in beer is taxes!  On average, more than 40 percent of the cost of beer comes from federal, state and local taxes. This tax burden borne by beer drinkers is almost 70 percent higher than for the average purchase in the U.S.

Federal excise taxes are levied at a $7 tax on each of the first 60,000 barrels. And for businesses who produce more than 2 million barrels a year (110 million six-packs), they must pay an $18 tax on every barrel produced.

On top of the $7 or $18 per barrel federal excise tax, states also levy taxes on beer. Each state uses a different formula to determine how much of a tax they want to levy on beer-drinkers, ranging from case or bottle fees to additional sales taxes. Regardless of the formula, beer-lovers across the nation face taxes yet again when just trying to enjoy a nice cold brew. Coming in at # 1, Tennessee has the highest beer tax at a steep $1.29 per gallon, whereas Wyoming’s $0.02 per gallon rate is the lowest among states.

See the map below for each state's tax:

According to the Beer Institute, when taxes levied on production, distribution, and retailing of beer are added up, they account for more than 40% of the retail price. Low-balling the all-in-all beer tax bite at 40 percent, a beer-lover who pays $26.25 at the register for a 12-pack of Goose Island IPA might be surprised to know that over $10 dollars of that cost was taxes. Try swallowing that fact.

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Hillary's $250,000 Tax Pledge Flip Flop

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016, 8:27 PM PERMALINK


A real pledge or a lie to get votes?

Hillary Clinton has endorsed several tax increases on middle income Americans, despite her pledge not to raise taxes on any American making less than $250,000. She has said she would be fine with a payroll tax hike on all Americans, she has endorsed a steep soda tax, endorsed a 25% national gun tax, and most recently, her campaign manager John Podesta said she would be open to a carbon tax.

After she endorsed the soda tax, Bernie Sanders called out Clinton’s violation of her pledge. As reported by NBC News, Sanders said:

"Frankly, I am very surprised that Secretary Clinton would support this regressive tax after pledging not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. This proposal clearly violates her pledge," he said.

Sanders also said:

“The mechanism here is fairly regressive. And that is, it will be increasing taxes on low-income and working people.”

It’s no wonder that when asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos if her pledge was a "rock-solid" promise, she slipped and said the pledge was merely a “goal.” In other words, she's going to raise taxes on middle income Americans.

During a July 31 CBS 60 Minutes interview, correspondent Scott Pelley asked Clinton about her tax pledge:

Scott Pelley: “Who gets a tax increase? Who gets a tax cut?”

Hillary Clinton: “The middle class will not get a tax increase. That has been my pledge.”

Scott Pelley: “What does middle class mean?”

Hillary Clinton: “Well, we say below $250,000”

But when pressed on the issue on ABC’s This Week in Dec. 2015, Clinton balked and said her pledge was actually just a “goal”:

George Stephanopoulos: “You are also saying no tax increases at all on anyone earning $250,000. Is that a rock solid read-my-lips promise?”

Clinton: “Well, it certainly is my goal. And I’ve laid it out in this campaign. And it’s something that President Obama promised. It’s something my husband certainly tried to achieve. Because I want Americans to know that I get it.”

So, Clinton’s “pledge” is not real. She admitted as much.

“She’s up front saying ‘I’m going to lie my way into office,’” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

In addition to reducing her pledge to a mere “goal” Clinton referenced two presidents – Obama and Bill Clinton – who raised taxes on the very people they promised to spare.

As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama made the same promise. Speaking in Dover, New Hampshire on Sept. 12, 2008, Obama said:

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” [Video]

In an address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24, 2009, President Obama restated the promise in forceful terms:

“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.” [Transcript] [Video]

But Obama broke that promise. He signed into law eight tax increases that directly hit Americans making less than $250,000 per year. There are seven tax increases in Obamacare that are in violation of his pledge, such as the individual mandate non-compliance tax; an income tax hike on those with high medical bills; tax hikes on flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts; and even a 10 percent “indoor tanning tax.” Combined, these tax increases target tens of millions of Americans.

Obama first broke his pledge on the sixteenth day of his presidency, when he raised taxes on cigarettes. At the time, the median income of smokers was less than $40,000. The Associated Press rightly called out Obama for the broken promise in a national piece titled “Promises, Promises: Obama Tax Pledge Up in Smoke.”

Hillary’s husband Bill raised the gas tax, steeply increasing the tax burden on millions of middle income Americans.

“Hillary told us that her pledge is just a tactic to try and win the election, not a principle with which to govern,” said Norquist.

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Dominic Khan

Government has to maintain armed forces, fund research, provide security to the people etc. Those need to be funded using tax money. Weather to increase tax or to cut tax is based on how much money is needed for those services. The dumb ahole norquist cannot say tax should never be increased.

Now, do not try to argue that Obama's government is the biggest. It is in fact the smallest.


Soda Tax Pops Up Around the World

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Posted by Brady Wilson on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016, 5:11 PM PERMALINK


Philadelphia made news recently when it became the second city in the U.S. to impose a tax on soda.  Such taxes are not just confined to the U.S. either: France, the UK, and Mexico all have a version of the tax.  South Africa and the Philippines are mulling similar taxes.  

The soda tax is just another example of politicians reaching into the wallets of working people.  Governments are targeting low income families who are most likely to consume sugary drinks.  The targets of the tax are the least able to afford the government’s greedy tax.  

Why do politicians push soda taxes? They want the money. Some politicians claim that adding a soda tax will increase healthy behavior, but there is little to no evidence.  In fact, there have been some studies that suggest consumers will take in more calories from other drinks than they would from soda.  Yet, even more ridiculous is that after the tax, Mexicans are drinking more sugary drinks than before.   

Although the soda tax has struggled to achieve its aims, it has had negative consequences.  First, the tax is regressive, hitting low income families the hardest.  In theory, the soda tax should decrease consumption, but what about the people who still continue to drink the beverages?  This isn’t just a hypothetical either.  In Mexico, low income families were the least likely to decrease their soda consumption as a result of the tax.  Those who can afford the tax the least are the ones forced to pay it.

Even the avowed socialist Bernie Sanders is opposed to the soda tax. “The mechanism here is fairly regressive. And that is, it will be increasing taxes on low income and working people,” he said.

Even more damning for the tax is the reality that the homes with an obese head of household were the group least affected by the increase in price.  The tax is meant to lower the consumption of sugary drinks, but it has failed to affect the group the tax targets.  Instead, the tax eats up the family’s resources meaning that less money can be spent on other groceries like fruits or vegetables. 

Furthermore, states are simply ignoring the clear evidence that does exist which is that taxes like this do not work.  In Denmark, the tax on foods and drinks high in fat was repealed within 15 months.  The state saw how the tax failed to help the people’s health and wisely scrapped the useless tax. Despite evidence showing the ineffectiveness of the tax, countries around the world are scrambling to add it. 

Countries typically point to the tax as a measure to combat rising obesity rates, yet recent attempts point in a new direction.  Instead of masking the tax in as a health policy, the Philadelphia tax was propped up as a measure to support education including prekindergarten, community schools, and rec centers.  Even under the guise of education, nearly 20% of the revenue from the soda tax will not be spent on these measures. This new path just shows what we’ve known all along, the soda tax is just another opportunity to steal revenue from the people.

 

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linstur

What if a soda tax works? What if it lowers the rates of Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay? Thus saving Medicaid billions? Billions that could be redirected to tax cuts? We all want lower taxes. So let's get smart. Let's support policies that will save us money. Tobacco taxes have caused a 50%+ drop in smoking and healthcare expenses will accordingly plummet. Like it or not, the US picks up 50% of health care costs through Medicaid and Medicare. Americans spend $140 billion (billion!) per year treating diseases directly related to sugar and soda consumption. We are subsidizing Pepsi. Like anyone, I like a nice cold Coke. But as a tax payer I don't want to pay to treat diseases from smoking or soda--I'd like my money back, thank you. Taxing soda could work beautifully at lowering consumption and tax payer funded medical expenses. At the very least it's a clawback--we are just getting our money back that we've been spending.


ATR Recognizes Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers Ahead of Tennessee’s Congressional Primary

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Posted by Alec DiFruscia on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016, 4:55 PM PERMALINK


Today, Americans for Tax Reform recognizes the Tennessee incumbents and candidates who have taken the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American people ahead of Thursday’s primary.
The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a written commitment to their constituents and the American public to oppose tax hikes.
 

Incumbents

  • Rep. Phil Roe (TN-01)
  • Rep. John Duncan (TN-02)
  • Rep. Chuck Fleischman (TN-03)
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais (TN-04)
  • Rep. Diane Black (TN-06)
  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-07)
  • Rep. Stephen Fincher (TN-08)*

 

Challengers

  • Yomi Faparusi (TN-04)
  • David Kustoff (TN-08)
  • Brian Kelsey (TN-08)
  • Mark Luttrell (TN-08)
  • Raymond Honeycutt (TN-08)

 

*Rep. Fincher is retiring at the end of his current term

 

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IRS to Team USA Medalists: Pay Up!

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Posted by Brady Wilson on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016, 2:38 PM PERMALINK


American athletes still face taxation on Olympic medal rewards

The 554-member Team USA has descended upon Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to compete in the Olympic Games. As a reward for winning Gold, Silver, or Bronze, U.S. athletes receive a monetary reward. But the IRS still wants its share.   

The U.S. Olympic Committee recognizes its medalists with $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze. But the IRS considers these amounts to be regular income, subject to taxation.

A gold medalist from Team USA could end up facing a tax bill of $9,900 per gold medal, $5,940 per silver medal, and $3,960 per bronze medal.

To be clear, these are the maximum possible tax amounts, and vary widely based on an individual’s tax circumstances and available deductions. Still, the athletes must reckon their medal winnings with the IRS code, a headache they can do without.

                                                Maximum Prize Tax             

Gold                                      $9,900                  

Silver                                    $5,940                  

Bronze                                  $3,960           

Americans for Tax Reform brought the issue to the public’s attention during the 2012 Olympics. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) took the lead and immediately introduced The Olympic Tax Elimination Act. The bill called for IRS code to be changed so that the gross income of U.S. medal winners “shall not include the value of any prize or award won by the taxpayer in athletic competition in the Olympic Games.” 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney also called for an end to the tax.

In March 2016, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced a bill (S. 2650) to stop the IRS from taxing Team USA medalists. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent on July 12.

In the House, Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) introduced a similar bill called the TEAM Act (H.R. 2628).

Americans who wish to express their support for the House bill can do so through the petition here or sign below:

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Unbeliever

Taxes are stealing and a form of slavery.

Will setag

That's not really true .....insurance is mandatory both Health and auto and many others . It is mandatory by laws in many cases and all it is , is a form if legal extortion. People were offering business and the public protection at a cost during the 1920s ...it was illegal then...but then the government got involved and insurance became legal...there are fees mandatory by the states that are and should be illegal. Your comment is not entirely true. States extort money from people under the false lie if the good for the public. You need a permit to build a house and it cost thousands of dollars and is by laws supposed to be used entirely for a building inspection. As a former engineer I will tell you 99% of all homes are never ever insoected. It's extortion period.

RememberKathrynSteinle

Nobody makes you take out a loan or borrow money.


Happy Bday Clean Power Plan, Thanks for the Job Losses and Billions in Costs!

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016, 12:53 PM PERMALINK


Today marks exactly one year since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Obama Administration formally unveiled their coveted Clean Power Plan (CPP). While EPA bureaucrats and the Obama Administration tout the so-called “benefits” of the CPP, the truth is the rule has already begun destroying the livelihoods of thousands of hard-working Americans even before enactment. With the rule turning one today, it is only fitting to reflect on the CPP's journey to this point since it was first proposed.  

In February of this year, the CPP suffered a major blow when the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) issued a stay of the rule, meaning that the Obama Administration and EPA may not continue with enactment until all legal challenges have played out. 

The SCOTUS ruling reinforced what CPP opponents have been arguing since the rule was proposed: that the CPP exemplifies federal overreach; would be disastrous for states and the U.S. economy; and is premised on backwards and illogical legal grounds. Even President Obama’s legal mentor, Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe, has argued that the CPP “is a remarkable example of executive overreach and an administrative agency’s assertion of power beyond its statutory authority.”

Aside from the misleading and unlawful legal gymnastics the Obama Administration had to do just to propose the rule with a straight face, the CPP’s impact on the American economy is already being felt. Despite the fact that the CPP has not yet been enacted, in 2015 alone over 11,000 coal miners lost their jobs and a number of energy companies have filed for bankruptcy. Clearly Obama is comfortable with the state of things as long as his “green legacy” is preserved.

Even Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has expressed her support for the CPP and its impact on jobs and the economy. At a Town Hall in Ohio in April Clinton proudly stated that she is the only candidate with a policy to bring renewables “into coal country, because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Apparently Clinton is not up to date on the news because such policies are already devastating American workers.

On top of the economic extermination already taking place as a result of the CPP, the projected economic impacts if the rule is actually enacted are even more drastic. The rule is projected to cause a 12 to 17 percent increase in electricity prices. Every state in the continental U.S. will see rate increases, with an estimated 44 states seeing double-digit rate increases, and 17 states facing price increase of over 20 percent.

The CPP is also slated to decrease household spending power between $64 and $79 billion, with annual compliance costs projected to reach up to $73 billion. Such impacts are economically unsustainable for many businesses and families. Sadly, the low-to-middle income Americans President Obama has claimed will benefit from the CPP will actually be those hardest hit by reduced income, job losses, and higher energy costs.

Thus as the Clean Power Plan turns one year old today, Americans should thank President Obama and the EPA for birthing this tremendously disastrous and unlawful regulation. Americans can also thank the President and his EPA lackeys for the CPP’s contributions to the American economy: thousands of jobs lost; bankruptcy; reduced U.S. economic output and household income; and skyrocketing energy costs.

Happy Birthday Clean Power Plan! Hope it’s your last!

 

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