Report Finds CFPB Fastest Rulemaking Body in Federal Government

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Posted by Johnathan Sargent on Thursday, October 13th, 2016, 10:10 AM PERMALINK

According to a report from the American Action Forum, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is the fastest rulemaking body in the federal government. In the 5 short years that the agency has existed, it has issued nearly 50 rules at a rate 3.5 times faster than any other government agency. The CFPB has quickly become synonymous with the overkill regulatory mindset that Washington is known for. Having unelected bureaucrats make rules and regulations without the input of the American people will not benefit consumers, but harm them.

The CFPB was born out of the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010 in response to the financial crisis. Much like other provisions of Dodd-Frank, such as the Volcker Rule and the Durbin Amendment, the CFPB was intended to protect consumers and promote financial stability. However, again like much of Dodd-Frank, the CFPB has done nothing but burden American consumers and businesses with additional costs.

Of the nearly 50 rules that the CFPB has imposed, according to the report, 26 of them have directly resulted in “$2.8 billion in costs with an associated 16.9 million in paperwork burden hours”.

Additionally, with such a fast pace of rulemaking there will undoubtedly be errors. In the CFPB’s case that means an error rate of nearly 25 percent, meaning that of nearly 50 rules that the CFPB has passed, they have had to issue 13 corrections. This agency is a prime example of what happens when unelected bureaucrats are not held accountable and are given complete autonomy.

The CFPB is given this broad mandate and invested with a large amount of regulatory power, but is not subject to Congressional oversight. This large, bureaucratic agency thus has the power to affect millions of Americans however it sees fit with no avenues for retribution from consumers or Congress

Earlier this year, the CFPB proposed a new rule to regulate short-term lending. These added restrictions and regulations, according to one article, will “force thousands of small businesses to shutter, but also severely restrict the availability of credit for millions of Americans”. This is just one of the many rules that the CFPB has unilaterally implemented that will hurt hardworking Americans and American businesses.

Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, recently issued a statement about the CFPB’s leadership as “neither elected nor accountable to the American people”. The purpose of the CFPB is to make sure that financial products and services that Americans depend on every day work better for them. But how can unelected bureaucrats know what is best for the American people? The answer is that they cannot.

Hensarling’s sentiment, and the sentiment of many CFPB opponents, was further validated this week when the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals ruled the structure of the CFPB to be unconstitutional. The court found that the director of the CFPB, Richard Cordray, “enjoys significantly more unilateral power than any single member of any other independent agency” and that he is the “single most powerful office in the entire United States Government.”  

Fortunately, a handful of lawmakers are now looking at ways to fix the CFPB and make it more accountable. Last month the House Financial Services Committee approved H.R. 5983, the Financial CHOICE Act, introduced by Representative Hensarling.

This piece of legislation undoes much of Dodd-Frank, but most importantly it turns the director of the CFPB into a bipartisan commission subject to congressional oversight. Thereby subjecting the CFPB to Congress, the true representatives of the American people. It adds transparency and makes bureaucrats accountable to the American people.

Such reform efforts by Hensarling and other lawmakers are greatly needed and justified given the rampant rule making the CFPB has subjected American consumers to, and the recent ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals.


Photo Credit: Christian Schnettelker

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Show Notes: Empower Real Americans' Voices in Presidential Debates

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Posted by Alec DiFruscia on Thursday, October 13th, 2016, 9:00 AM PERMALINK

In Episode 62 of the Grover Norquist Show, ATR President Grover Norquist discusses the importance of the American people having a voice in the Presidential debates. Norquist is a part of the Open Debate Coalition, a bipartisan group that focuses on having questions asked in debates about topics the American people care about.

All too often, the debate questions are chosen by the moderators who have little interest in the problems facing Americans, leaving substance by the wayside. Guns, vaping, and school choice are all examples of issues that impact millions of Americans, but not a word is muttered about them in the Presidential debates.

Click here or use the link below to listen.

More information: 


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McKinsey Report: The Real Size of the Sharing Economy

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Posted by Laurens ten Cate on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016, 5:29 PM PERMALINK

This week a new report by the consulting giant McKinsey was released, and it shows the real size of the gig-economy in the US and the EU. McKinsey estimates that 162 million people in the USA and the EU work in the gig-economy, this is about 20% to 30% of the workforce.

The impact of this report might be bigger than you'd think at first. Not only does it prove what people have been seeing over the past few years, namely that traditional job formats are changing very rapidly, but also that the people that are working in these new type of prefer the flexibility afforded by being their own boss.

They find that for these 162 million people 70%, or 113 million people, working in the gig-economy is their preferred choice. This group can then be divided into two subgroups based on whether for them it is primary income or supplemental income. They call these groups 'Free Agents' and 'Casual Earners'.

Next to that McKinsey finds that another 16%, or 26 million people, work in the gig-economy because they are financially strapped. Basically all these companies allow people to do some part-time extra earning with incredible flexibility. Allowing those in financial need to choose a few hours every week to earn a little bit extra, completely on their terms.

Research by Arun Sundararajan and Samuel Fraiberger from New York University and Harvard University respectively from October 2015 figured this effect out already. They found that: “Peer-to-peer rental marketplaces have a disproportionately positive effect on lower-income consumers across almost every measure.” They also say that the Sharing Economy is: “a force that democratizes access to a higher standard of living.”

McKinsey's report adds to the growing list of evidence of the positive effect the sharing economy has on our society. Especially for those on the lower end of the earnings spectrum the sharing economy has a huge positive effect. 

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Hillary’s Tax Plan Will Kill 697,000 Jobs

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016, 4:32 PM PERMALINK

Tax Foundation report finds Clinton’s tax hike plan also reduces GDP by 2.6 percent and wages by 2.1 percent

Hillary Clinton’s tax hike plan will lead to 697,000 fewer jobs according to a new analysis by the Tax Foundation released today. The Clinton plan will also reduce GDP by 2.6 percent and wages by 2.1 percent.

The Tax Foundation report states:

The plan would increase marginal tax rates on individuals and businesses, which would lead to a 2.6 percent lower level of GDP. The smaller long-run economy would also lead to lower levels of wages and full-time equivalent jobs.

The report notes the Clinton plan will cause “reduced incentives to work, save, and invest”:

These projections are what we estimate would happen at the end of a ten-year period and are compared to the underlying baseline of what would occur absent any policy change. For example, the U.S. real GDP will grow by 19.2% from 2016-2025, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if policy remains unchanged. We predict that the reduced incentives to work, save, and invest would reduce the end-of-period GDP by 2.6 percent below the level it would have been without the policy change.

The report, authored by Director of Federal Projects Kyle Pomerleau, also found that Clinton’s proposal for a crushing 65% Death Tax will “greatly reduce the incentive to save and invest.”

In contrast, the Trump tax cut plan creates between 1.8 and 2.2 million new jobs, increases GDP by between 6.9 percent and 8.2 percent, and increases wages by between 5.4 percent and 6.3 percent.

Clinton offers no income tax rate reduction for any individual or business. None. She also has refused to support serious structural reform of the U.S. tax code.

Clinton has endorsed and voted for a long list of tax increases during her career. Americans for Tax Reform is tracking Hillary’s tax hike record at a dedicated website,

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Hillary Clinton's "Fracking" Double-Speak

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016, 11:30 AM PERMALINK

During the March 6th Democratic debate in Michigan, Hillary Clinton voiced her opposition to the energy extraction method known as “hydraulic fracturing.” Responding to a question on “fracking” during the debate, Clinton stated that, “by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.”

However, newly leaked e-mails from inside the Clinton camp offer insight into what was really driving her fracking opposition. Spoiler alert – it was not some ideologically based concern over the safety of fracking or the environment, but instead Clinton’s desire to win at all costs. 

According to the newly released e-mails, during the primaries one of Clinton’s top aides in Colorado suggested that she take a “reluctant tone” on fracking, likely because her appreciation for the extraction method would not play well with those on the far left.  That same aid urged her to recruit a liberal ally to essentially conduct a political hit job on then candidate Bernie Sanders for his suggested ban on fracking.

However the most revealing insight into Clinton’s double-speak on fracking came from leaked excerpts from one of her infamous paid corporate speeches given to Deutsche Bank in 2013. During the speech Clinton praised the economic benefits of fracking and touted her goal of helping the U.S. “become the number one oil and gas producer.” Clearly there is disconnect between what Clinton says publicly and what she says when she thinks no one is listening. 

The obvious conclusion that can be reached is that Clinton realizes the economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing, which is also evidenced by her tenure as Secretary of State during which time she advocated for expanding hydraulic fracturing technology to countries across the globe.

It is also clear that Clinton would otherwise support the extraction method, and oil and gas development in general, were it not for her ability to ignore reality and her desire to win at all costs. This includes ignoring the fact that fracking has led to a 60 percent reduction in imported energy, billions in increased GDP, and over 2 million jobs created

While Hillary Clinton would have preferred to keep American voters in the dark about her stance on fracking, the recently leaked e-mails support a different narrative. A narrative that shows her stance on energy is not to be trusted, and that Clinton is willing to ignore facts and sacrifice U.S. energy independence in order to appease a small group of far left extremists. 


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America’s Corporate Tax Ranked Worst in the World

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016, 10:00 AM PERMALINK

The United States has the worst corporate tax system in the developed world, according to the Tax Foundation’s 2016 International Tax Competitiveness Index. The report, which analyzes the tax codes of all 35 developed countries, placed the U.S. tax code 31st overall.

In ranking the tax code of each developed country the report, authored by Kyle Pomerleau, divides each countries' tax code into five different categories – corporate taxes, consumption taxes, property taxes, individual taxes, and international taxes.

The report further divides each category into subcategories. For corporate taxes, the report includes three subcategories: the top marginal rate, cost recovery (to what extent the corporate tax system allows business expenses to be deducted), and the incentives and complexity in the code.

The U.S. ranks poorly in all three categories – our tax code is ranked last in the top marginal rate subcategory, 20th of 35 for cost recovery, and 27th of 35 in the incentives and complexity subcategory.

The corporate tax is a tax directly on labor and capital, so reducing it would benefit workers and the economy, not just businesses. As noted by the Congressional Budget Office, domestic workers bears 70 percent of the corporate tax, while shareholders bear the other 30 percent.

Reducing the corporate income tax to 20 percent, as the House Republican “Better Way” Tax Reform blueprint proposes, would have strong, positive economic effects. A 20 percent rate, like the blueprint calls for would create more than 600,000 full time jobs and increase GDP by more than 3 percent over the long term.

Top Marginal Rate

With the highest corporate tax rate in the world at 35 percent (plus a state average of 4 percent), it is unsurprising that the U.S. finishes last in the marginal rate ranking.

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.

32 of the 35 developed 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).

The high rate 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. The uncompetitive code has also resulted in a net loss of more than $700 billion in assets that have been acquired by foreign competitors according to a report by Ernst and Young.

Cost Recovery
The ideal tax policy from a cost recovery perspective would be allowing businesses to immediately expense the cost of investments from taxable income. But this is not the system the U.S. uses.

Instead of full business expensing, American businesses have to deduct, or “depreciate,” business costs over several years depending on the asset they purchase, as dictated by complex and arbitrary IRS tables. These rules create needless complexity, and force business owners to make decisions based on tax, not management reasons. 

With the existing depreciation schedules, business purchases are treated differently under the tax code, with no clear pattern or common theme. Businesses have two different systems of depreciation and investments can be depreciated over 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 20, 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 39, 40, or 50 years depending on the system used and the asset purchased. 

Implementing full business expensing would eliminate needless complexity in our tax code, and it would also lead to strong economic growth. According to past research by the Tax Foundation, full business expensing would result in 5.4 percent higher long-term GDP, would create more than 1 million full time jobs, and would increase after-tax income by 5.3 percent.

Incentives and Complexity

Tax policy should treat all economic decisions neutrally by minimizing the number of distorting credits and deductions in the code. At close to 75,000 pages the U.S. tax code is exceedingly complex. An estimated 8.9 billion hours and $409 billion will be spent complying with IRS tax filing requirements this year. 

Clearly, there is a need to simplify the code and this should be done within pro-growth tax reform that lowers tax rates for all Americans and eliminates many credits and deductions in an overall net tax cut.

Making the tax code simpler and fairer also has the added benefit of taking power from the IRS. With the existing, byzantine code, the IRS or a similar agency is necessary, but making the code simpler can make the agency obsolete.

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Sales Factor

The corporate tax code can be made simpler by adopting a Sales Factor Apportionment System, in which the US would base its determination of what income to tax solely on the percent of any company’s sales made to U.S. customers.

Trade Crucial to Every State's Economy

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016, 8:59 AM PERMALINK

Every state across the country relies on international trade. Trade has not only a significant impact on the entire nation as a whole, but on each and every state’s GDP and jobs.

Washington leads the way with 24.18 percent of their state GDP is tied to trade,followed closely by Louisiana with 23.84 percent and Texas with 21.26 percent. For 33 of 50 states, more than 10 percent of the state’s GDP is tied to trade.

While it has been subject to criticism on the campaign trail, free trade is positive. It cuts and reduces tariffs—taxes on trade—as well as other barriers to trade. Despite being about 5 percent of the world population, the U.S. contributes close to 10 percent of all world exports. Additionally, the United States sells to 234 countries around the world, who buy U.S. goods and services. It’s clear that the U.S. has a significant stake in trade and that trade has a weighty impact on the U.S. economy. Fewer barriers to trade therefore results in greater economic gains for the U.S. and lower prices of goods and services for consumers.

Trade-related jobs account for more than one-quarter of ALL jobs in almost every state and a total of 41 million jobs across the country are tied to trade. These jobs pay on average 15-20 percent more than jobs in industries not tied to trade.

Without a doubt, promoting free trade will lead to greater economic growth, greater GDP, and more jobs for the American people.


Percent of State GDP Tied to Trade (2015)

1. Washington



26. Massachusetts


2. Louisiana



27. South Dakota


3. Texas



28. Kansas


4. South Carolina



29. Ohio


5. Kentucky



30. Florida


6. North Dakota



31. Minnesota


7. Vermont



32. New York


8. Michigan



33. New Jersey


9. Oregon



34. North Carolina


10. Indiana



35. New Hampshire


11. Mississippi



36. Wisconsin


12. Tennessee



37. Connecticut


13. Iowa



38. Arkansas


14. Alaska



39. Pennsylvania


15. Illinois



40. Missouri


16. Utah



41. Montana


17. Delaware



42. Rhode Island


18. Georgia



43. Hawaii


19. West Virginia



44. Colorado


20. Nevada



45. Virginia


21. Alabama



46. Maine


22. California



47. New Mexico


23. Idaho



48. Maryland


24. Nebraska



49. Wyoming


25. Arizona



50. Oklahoma



Source: (Bureau of Economic Analysis,



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DC Court Rules CFPB Structure Unconstitutional

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Posted by Johnathan Sargent on Tuesday, October 11th, 2016, 5:26 PM PERMALINK

This week the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals, the second highest court in the land, ruled that the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is unconstitutional. In the 5 years following its creation, the CFPB has unilaterally imposed nearly 50 burdensome regulations upon the American people and small businesses, with no Congressional oversight. The ruling by the court is a victory for the American people and the movement for enhanced accountability from Washington.

The CFPB, the brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), was created in the midst of the financial crisis by the Dodd-Frank Act. In order to prevent it from being swayed by political pressure, it was given a great deal of autonomy in terms of its leadership and funding. However, because of this autonomy the unelected bureaucrats who lead the CFPB are free to do as they please. This has led to the creation of numerous regulations at a faster pace than any rulemaking body in the federal government and without input from the American people. 

Earlier this year, Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, criticized the CFPB’s leadership as “neither elected nor accountable to the American people”. Last month the House Financial Services Committee approved H.R. 5983, the Financial CHOICE Act, introduced by Representative Hensarling that would change the leadership of CFPB into a bipartisan commission with congressional oversight.

The ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals not only confirms Henarling’s criticism of the CFPB, but goes further by stating that the director of the CFPB “enjoys significantly more unilateral power than any single member of any other independent agency” and that he is the “single most powerful official in the entire United States Government”. The court went on to say that the CFPB’s structure “represents a gross departure from settled historical practice” in regards to the “unilateral power” that has been concentrated in the CFPB’s director.

Today’s ruling confirms that the structure of the CFPB and the director’s role over consumer finance poses a threat to the Constitution’s separation of power and threatens individual liberty. Clearly the time has come to reassess and reform this out of control and unaccountable agency.  

Photo Credit: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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Tax Policy Center: Trump Plan Gives Americans of All Income Levels Bigger Tax Cuts Than Hillary

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie, John Kartch on Tuesday, October 11th, 2016, 3:49 PM PERMALINK

Left of center group’s own numbers show after-tax income under Trump plan is higher than Clinton’s plan for all income levels

Donald Trump’s tax plan would increase after tax income more than the Hillary Clinton plan regardless of income, according to data published by the left-of-center Tax Policy Center.

As noted in the graphic compiled by the Wall Street Journal, the middle quintile of income earners would see a 1.8 percent increase in after tax-income under the Trump plan but would receive just 0.2 percent increase in after-tax income under the Clinton plan. The Trump tax cut in this income range is nine times the size of Clinton’s.

Clinton’s tax plan offers no income tax rate reduction for any American of any income level. No rate reduction for any business or any individual, regardless of size.

Clinton’s overall tax plan raises taxes by $1.4 trillion. Americans for Tax Reform is tracking all of Clinton’s tax hikes at

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ATR Supports H.R. 3687, the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Tuesday, October 11th, 2016, 3:13 PM PERMALINK

ATR today sent a letter of support for Congressman Rick Crawford’s bill H.R. 3687, the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act. This bill would lift the current restrictions on private financing that exist under the Trade Sections Reform Act (TSRA) and institute safeguard measures to ensure that no funding is given to the regime. H.R. 3687 would also permit USDA marketing programs and limited agricultural investment in Cuba. Cuba imports nearly 80% of its food. Enacting this bill will enable American farmers to fulfill Cuba’s agricultural demand without any monetary funds granted to the regime. See the letter of support here or below. 

October 11, 2016

The Honorable Rick Crawford
United States House of Representatives
1711 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Crawford,

I write in support of H.R. 3687, the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act. By removing needless private financing restrictions that exist under the Trade Sections Reform Act (TSRA), this legislation promotes market access for American agriculture that will lead to more jobs and higher wages.

American farmers have lost nearly $1 billion in the last few years due to the existing Cuba financing restrictions. It is important that we expand trade with Cuba, while keeping safeguards that ensure that no taxpayer funding is given to the regime.

While U.S. producers are now free to export agricultural goods to Cuba, there are many restrictions that still prohibit agricultural businesses from reaching full export potential.  Under TSRA, only cash-based trade and third-party financing agreements are allowed with Cuba. Additionally, under current law, businesses are not permitted to receive help from USDA marketing programs or invest in agricultural business development in Cuba.

The Cuba Agricultural Exports Act would fix this by lifting the private financing restrictions under TSRA, permitting the USDA marketing program to function in Cuba, and allowing limited agricultural development investment in Cuba.

The legislation implements key safeguards to ensure that no funding is granted to the regime. Before being allowed to invest in Cuba, businesses must receive joint approval from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Agriculture. This bill also contains restriction on investment in Cuban government entities as well as those who operate in property that was confiscated during the revolution.

ATR is opposed to any government guarantees of loans to the regime or any taxpayer grants to the regime. We do support free and open trade as well as open travel to Cuba. Americans trading with island will serve as the best ambassadors of freedom to help liberate the people of Cuba from the failed socialist regime. This legislation is one step toward ensuring open trade with Cuba. As such, all members of Congress should support and co-sponsor the Cuba Agricultural Exports Act.


Grover G. Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform



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