Top 5 Reasons U.S. should Withdraw from Paris Climate Treaty

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Posted by Adam Johnson on Friday, May 26th, 2017, 3:50 PM PERMALINK

In 2016 the United States, under former President Obama, entered into the Paris Climate Treaty as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). By setting what the UNFCCC calls a “Nationally Determined Contribution” (NDC) individual countries would each pledge emissions reduction goals.  

As was typical of the Obama administration’s policies, the Paris Climate Treaty is a deal that is all cost and no benefit for American taxpayers, U.S. businesses, and the nation’s economy. Due in part to the regulations imposed under Obama in order to satisfy the country’s NDC pledge, such as the Clean Power Plan, Fuel Economy Standards, and methane rules, Americans will see increased costs for the affordable energy they rely on every day. 

While developed countries are expected to finance their respective sides of the agreement, the smaller developing countries that cannot afford the changes are financed by the UNFCCC’s Green Climate Fund (GCF). This fund’s goal is to raise $100 billion a year through voluntary contributions from countries who have signed the Paris Climate Treaty. Thus billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars are currently, and will continue to be, sent abroad to finance projects in foreign nations.

While on the campaign trail President Trump consistently pointed out the Paris Climate Treaty as being a “bad deal” for Americans. The Trump administration should now work to withdraw America from this costly and burdensome deal.

Below are the top five reasons the U.S. should withdraw.

  1. Cost to U.S. taxpayers. The direct cost to U.S. taxpayers of the Paris Climate Treaty and GCF is very high since former President Obama unilaterally pledged to give $3 billion dollars to the fund and has already sent hundreds of millions abroad.
  2. Increased energy costs for U.S. consumers and businesses. If the Paris Climate Treaty moves forward, as does the accompanying regulations proffered under Obama, American consumers will see costs skyrocket. The costs of combined measures such as the Clean Power Plan and CAFE standards would amount to the same as a $30 per ton carbon tax, or $20 billion in annual costs. Household electricity costs are projected to increase up to 20%, and an average family of four would see total income loss of over $20,000.
  3. Puts U.S. at a competitive disadvantage. This agreement will cost the U.S. an estimated 6.5 million jobs by 2040 and reduce GDP by over $2.5 trillion, putting the country at a huge disadvantage to countries like China, India, or Russia. Also, these countries, which are signers of the agreement, are allowed to increase or have no cap on their emissions of greenhouse gases. For instance China has asserted its emissions will “peak” around 2030 putting the U.S. economy at a severe economic disadvantage in the interim and moving forward.
  4. Paris Climate Treaty will have negligible benefits to the environment. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which compiled the combined impacts of the various pledges under the Treaty, it found a global temperature reduction of 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2100.
  5. The Paris Agreement is a Treaty and needs to be ratified by Senate. Since the Paris Agreement is a signed agreement between 195 countries for a similar goal it can be defined as a treaty and should be subject to a vote by the U.S. Senate. This is stated in Article 2, Section 2 of the United States Constitution where it says, “He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties.”

 

Photo credit: Eric Lynch

 

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Forty-Four Free-Market Groups to White House: Withdraw from Paris Climate Treaty

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Thursday, May 25th, 2017, 9:48 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) has joined a coalition of over forty free-market and conservative groups calling on the White House to fully withdraw from former President Obama’s Paris Climate Treaty, and to cease all taxpayer funding of United Nations (UN) global warming programs.

The forty-four-member coalition sent a letter to President Donald Trump this month expressing support for the President’s campaign commitments to withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty, reiterating the fact that the treaty is not in the interest of the American people. The letter offers several options for President Trump to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris treaty.

First, the President could submit the Paris Climate Treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent with the recommendation that the treaty not be ratified. Second, the President could withdraw from the underlying UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

The first two options being the most preferable, the letter also suggests that President Trump can announce his intentions to withdraw from the treaty according to a four-year schedule specified in the treaty and continue the process of repealing regulations that the Obama administration submitted as part of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). 

This week the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, reiterated his long held position that the U.S. should withdraw from the treaty, stating it is “a bad business deal at its core.” Pruitt went on to say “Paris represents basically the rest of the world applauding as we penalize ourselves and our economy.” 

During his 100-day rally in Harrisburg Pennsylvania this year, President Trump expressed his opinion that the Paris Treaty is not in the interest of the American people, in line with his stated goal of withdraw while on the campaign trail.

The full coalition letter can be found here.  

 

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Confirmed: Obamacare Repeal Bill Cuts Taxes by $992 Billion

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Posted by John Kartch and Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, 5:16 PM PERMALINK

The House-passed American Health Care Act (HR 1628) cuts taxes by $992 billion over the next decade, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama had promised repeatedly that he would not raise any tax on any American earning less than $250,000 per year. He broke the promise when he signed Obamacare. With the passage of the House GOP bill, tens of millions of middle income Americans will get tax relief from Obamacare's long list of tax hikes.

The bill abolishes the following taxes imposed by Obama and the Democrat party in 2010 as part of Obamacare:

-Abolishes the Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax which hits 8 million Americans each year.

-Abolishes the Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax. Together with repeal of the Individual Mandate Tax this is a $332 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes Obamacare’s Medicine Cabinet Tax which hits 20 million Americans with Health Savings Accounts and 30 million Americans with Flexible Spending Accounts. This is a $6 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes Obamacare’s Flexible Spending Account tax on 30 million Americans. This is a $19 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes Obamacare’s Chronic Care Tax on 10 million Americans with high out of pocket medical expenses. This is a $126 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes Obamacare’s HSA withdrawal tax. This is a $100 million tax cut.

-Abolishes Obamacare’s 10% excise tax on small businesses with indoor tanning services. This is a $600 million tax cut.

-Abolishes Obamacare’s 0.9% Medicare Payroll Tax hike starting 2023. This is a $59 billion tax cut

-Abolishes the Obamacare health insurance tax. This is a $145 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes the Obamacare 3.8% surtax on investment income. This is a $172 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes the Obamacare medical device tax. This is a $20 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes the Obamacare tax on prescription medicine. This is a $29 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes the Obamacare tax on retiree prescription drug coverage. This is a $2 billion tax cut.

- Abolishes the Obamacare “Cadillac tax” on high cost employer provided health plans until 2026. This is a $66 billion tax cut.

 

Photo credit: Kelli Whitman

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ATR Supports Congressman Posey's Seniors’ Tax Simplification Act

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Posted by Virginia Birkofer on Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, 2:00 PM PERMALINK

Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) is introducing H.R. 1397, the “Seniors’ Tax Simplification Act.” This legislation simplifies the tax code for American seniors by creating a new tax form.

By including information for the most common types of income reported by seniors - interest, dividends, capital gains, Social Security benefits, pension payments, IRA distributions, wages, and unemployment compensation, this bill streamlines the process for many of the 23 million seniors who file taxes each year.

A similar form currently exist for young taxpayers – the 1040EZ—and should be utilized as a model for tax simplification. Supporting this legislation would help many Americans navigate the complicated tax system when they file.  

Read the letter here or below. 

 

May 24, 2017
The Honorable Bill Posey
United States House of Representatives
120 Cannon Hob
Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Congressman Posey:

I write in support the “Seniors’ Tax Simplification Act,” legislation that simplifies tax filing for American seniors by creating a new tax form.

This bill would instruct the IRS to create a new form in the 1040 series designed especially for senior citizens with relatively-simple tax filing situations. The most common types of income reported by seniors would be on it—interest, dividends, capital gains, Social Security benefits, pension payments, IRA distributions, wages, and unemployment compensation.  

For younger taxpayers, a similar form exists today—the 1040-EZ. It only reports wages, interest, and unemployment compensation. Any (childless) single taxpayer or married couple under age 65 making less than $100,000 is eligible to file this short form. Nearly 5 million taxpayers take advantage of this convenient form every year.

There is no reason why a similar form can’t be made available to seniors. 23 million tax returns are filed every year in households where the primary taxpayer is over age 65. Many of these taxpayers could use this form easily to make tax season less complicated.

Passage of the Seniors’ Tax Simplification Act is a common sense measure lawmakers can support to help seniors across the country. All members of Congress should have no hesitation supporting and co-sponsoring this helpful legislation.

Onward,

Grover G. Norquist

President, Americans for Tax Reform

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo in the Public Domain, link: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/Bill_Posey.jpg

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Ways and Means Committee To Consider Bills Improving Healthcare Tax Credits

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, 9:39 AM PERMALINK

Today, the House Committee on Ways and Means will markup three pieces of legislation that compliment the recently passed American Health Care Act, legislation that repeals Obamacare and replaces it with free market, patient centered healthcare.

The AHCA repealed close to one trillion in Obamacare taxes, reduced spending, enacted entitlement reform through block granting of Medicaid, and expanded health savings accounts. The legislation will ensure states are able to implement a healthcare system that best fits their needs, and is a giant step forward in lowering taxes and reforming our nation's health care system.

The three pieces of legislation to be considered by the Committee further compliment the gains made by ensuring that veterans and Americans who recently lost their jobs have the access to the care they need, and implementing robust verification for the AHCA’s tax credit. All Members of the Committee should vote in favor of each piece of legislation.

H.R. 2372, the ‘‘Veterans Equal Treatment Ensures Relief and Access Now (VETERAN) Act,” Sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas)

The Veteran Act Puts into law an existing regulation that ensures veterans who are not already enrolled in and receiving health insurance through the VA have help to purchase coverage on the individual insurance market. There is no reason that veterans should not receive all the help they deserve, and this legislation helps ensure that is the case.

H.R. 2579, the “Broader Options for Americans Act,” Sponsored by Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio)

H.R. 2579 ensures Americans who have lost their jobs have access the AHCA’s tax credits. Additionally, it ensures that Americans in similar circumstances who work at churches or other houses of worship can access these tax credits. There is no reason that these Americans should be barred from affordable healthcare simply because of their unique circumstance. This legislation corrects this oversight.

H.R. 2581, the “Verify First Act,” Sponsored by Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Pa.)

The Verify First Act protects taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse by tightening verification requirements to ensure that subsidies under current law and tax credits under the AHCA aren’t dispensed until the legal status of an eligible recipient is verified.

Numerous reports by government watchdogs (see here, here, here, here, here) have found that existing controls are insufficient resulting in billions of taxpayer dollars being sent out without verification. This common sense legislation helps correct this weak system by ensuring that controls are stronger and federal resources are not wasted. 

 

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ATR Statement in Praise of Trump Budget

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017, 1:17 PM PERMALINK

President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal released today is a conservative blueprint to reverse the nation’s frail fiscal state, enact tax reform, and grow the economy.

“Trump starts by respecting taxpayers. Trump’s budget shows that he realizes every dollar being spent by Washington is first earned by American workers and then taken from them,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.  “Spending wisely, ripping out wasteful, duplicative and counterproductive spending programs, is step one. The budget blueprint, titled ‘The New Foundation for American Greatness’ is a dramatic U-turn from the policies of the last administration. The proposal will ensure that the federal government lives within its means, programs are run efficiently, and taxpayer dollars are responsibly spent,” said Norquist.

Highlights of the budget include:

- Reduces IRS budget by $239 million

- Demands tax reform, not tax increases: The Trump Budget calls for desperately needed tax reform that simplifies the code, promotes economic growth, and allows businesses to compete and innovate. Specifically, the Trump budget calls for a 15 percent rate on corporations and small businesses, drastic tax cuts and simplification for families, elimination of the death tax and AMT, and territoriality for businesses operating overseas.

This proposal is in stark contrast to the budget proposals from President Obama in the past eight years, which were replete with tax increases. In his last year alone, Obama proposed a net $3.4 trillion over a decade including a $320 billion energy tax for wasteful new spending on bullet trains and self-driving cars. This would increase federal taxes to the point where they are 20 percent of the economy, far above historical averages.

- Calls for strong economic growth: The policies in Trump’s budget call for strong economic growth of three percent. Over the past decade, the economy has struggled at just two percent GDP growth as the country has experienced the worst recovery in the modern era.  While the post-World War II average remains at three percent GDP growth per year, the Congressional Budget Office projects that under current policies, two percent growth will continue into the next decade.

Strong growth is also the best way to balance the budget, as every 0.1 percent in growth can result in $315 billion in federal revenue over the next decade. The Trump budget does this, instead of relying on higher taxes that suppress economic growth and hurt American families.

Cuts Wasteful Spending Programs: The Trump budget addresses Washington overspending by reducing spending by $3.6 trillion over the next decade.

The budget takes aim at unnecessary federal agencies to ensure states are able to set policies that best fit their needs, free from unelected federal bureaucrats:

- Cuts the EPA by 31 percent.
- Cuts the Department of Agriculture by 21 percent.
- Cuts the Department of Commerce by 16 percent.
- Cuts the Department of Education by 13 percent.

Enacts Welfare Reform: The Trump budget calls for welfare reform that ensures finite federal resources are well spent and encourages able-bodied individuals to return to the workforce. The budget tightens eligibility of SNAP, EITC, and the child tax credit to cut down on waste and abuse.

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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The Marketplace Fairness Act: a Huge Internet Sales Tax

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Posted by Matthew Adams on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017, 9:47 AM PERMALINK

Failed Vice-Presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) has reintroduced a bill, the Marketplace Fairness Act (S.976), in the U.S. Senate that would impose an internet sales tax on Americans. Under the proposed legislation, states would be able to tax across their borders, and businesses would become tax collectors beholden to the states.

As it stands, you pay no sales tax when purchasing from a business that has no physical presence in your state. But that would change under this latest revenue grab.

This carries a litany of issues. It subjects a business of one state to the tax laws of another state- one they have no political representation in. What happened to no taxation without representation?

It shifts the tax burden onto businesses as they would now have to collect a sales tax in these types of transactions and report and file to dozens of other states. This all results in taking even more money out of your pocket. 

Worst of all, it discourages tax competition and business incentives amongst the states, and instead encourages higher tax rates.

While presented as a protector of America’s small businesses, the bill would only subject our already struggling mom-and-pop shops to a greater regulatory and tax burden.

If the objective of the bill is to help small businesses, it clearly misses the mark. In fact, it’s clear the bill only serves big box stores wishing to stomp competition, and state and local governments who want more money in the piggy bank to fund big government.

The bill is bad for small businesses and consumers alike, more like the "Marketplace Unfairness Act".

#KilltheBill #NoNetTax

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Trump Plan Lays the Groundwork for Biggest Tax Cut in American History

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Posted by Elizabeth McKee on Monday, May 22nd, 2017, 12:26 PM PERMALINK

President Trump released a proposal for “2017 Tax Reform for Economic Growth and American Jobs,” which he labels the “biggest individual and business tax cut in American history.” In its current state, the plan enumerates a series of principles that would reduce the tax burden on American workers and generate new economic growth. In the coming months, the president will work with lawmakers to develop these principles into comprehensive, pro-growth legislation.

Elements of the plan, such as eliminating the death tax, reducing the business tax to 15% and simplifying the tax code, represent the cornerstone of Republican fiscal policy. These policies will make the United States a competitive business environment, end the pattern of stagnation that has been plaguing US economic productivity, and create new federal revenues generated by economic growth. According to the Congressional Budget Office, increasing economic productivity by just 1% over the next decade will strengthen the economy and create $3.15 trillion in additional federal revenue.

These principles represent an encouraging first step toward comprehensive tax reform, but there is room for improvement before Trump’s finalized legislation is unveiled.

First, although Trump’s plan does not directly address full business expensing, allowing businesses to immediately recover costs must be a crucial element of tax reform. If businesses were able to immediately deduct the full value of their capital investments, they would face increased incentives to acquire new machinery and expand productive capabilities.

The Tax Foundation models the effects of expensing over the next decade, reporting:

The model estimates that expensing increases the nation’s stock of plant, equipment and buildings by nearly $4 trillion, an increase of over 14 percent. The added capital raises worker productivity. Wages are about 4 percent higher, and hours worked about 1 percent higher, representing nearly a million full time equivalent jobs. These income gains from growth generate added federal revenues in the long term.

This policy would unleash a new era of investment and economic growth, and help Trump to live up to his campaign promise of bringing back American manufacturing.

Second, tax reform will be most successful if it is permanent. Permanency in tax policy creates a culture of certainty that allows business owners to establish clear expectations for the future. Grover Norquist, in a statement to the House Ways and Means Committee, explained, “Certainty means a business owner can plan ahead to invest without concern for their ability to afford the investment and cash flows in the future.”

While members of Congress may still be deliberating on tax reform, the American people are ready for action. According to a poll released by Fox News, 73% of Americans and 61% of Democrats want to see tax reform passed this year. The president plans to galvanize this popular support by hosting roundtables, traveling the country, and bringing industry experts to Washington.

The Trump administration’s dedication to tackling tax reform reflects an historic moment in the course of the United States economy. The GOP must seize this opportunity by enacting tax policies that will restart economic growth and improve the business climate for American entrepreneurs. 

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on the Grover Norquist Show: Repealing Title II Regulations

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Posted by Demri Scott on Monday, May 22nd, 2017, 11:44 AM PERMALINK

On May 18, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai kick started the regulatory process of repealing Title II regulations on Internet Service Providers. Despite decades of a bipartisan light touch regulatory approach, championed by the Clinton Administration, the FCC under the Obama Administration imposed Title II regulations in 2015 through a 1934 law intended to reign in the Ma Bell monopoly, “treating the internet like a utility.” As a result, Title II regulations have stifled growth and innovation from small and large providers within the market.

Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, recently interviewed Pai on his fight to repeal Title II regulations, his nomination process, the recent history of the FCC and the future of 5G.

“The biggest [decision under the Obama administration’s purview of the FCC] was net neutrality,” Pai explained. “The FCC was heading down one path, a more relatively free market path, and after [President Obama’s] instruction in 2014, the agency took a very different road and imposed utility style regulations on the internet which I’ve called ‘ a solution that wouldn’t work for a problem that really didn’t exist’”

Pai then goes on to explain the crippling effects of Title II regulations on the internet.

“If you want your internet to run as well as your water company or the DC metro, congratulations, [Title II is] a regulatory framework that does that. But if you want the internet to be free and open, if you want people to invest in building out networks further and increasing competition, you want the free market approach that started under President Clinton… that light touch regulatory approach was proven to succeed for the better part of two decades.”

The fight to repeal Title II regulations, led by Chairman Pai, has only just begun with the start of the public commenting period that will end on August 16. This will be followed by a decision by the FCC on whether to repeal Title II regulations on Internet Service Providers.

Listen to the rest of Chairman Pai’s interview here: 

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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In Support of Rand Paul and the REINS Act (S.21)

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Posted by Matthew Adams on Monday, May 22nd, 2017, 9:45 AM PERMALINK

A new regulatory killer will soon make its way to the Senate floor.

Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) "Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act" (REINS Act) made it through committee this week, putting our ever-growing bureaucratic behemoth in its sights. 

The REINS Act would reassert Congressional authority over governmental agencies and organizations by requiring every new regulation that will have an annual economic impact over $100 million dollars to be authorized by Congress.

As of late, Congressional Republicans have utilized the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to eliminate Obama era regulations. Signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the CRA gives the legislative branch the ability to overrule regulations set by executive agencies. However, Democrats have scrutinized its use, arguing that its current use is not how it was intended. This May, Sen. Corey Booker (D-N.J.) has gone as far as introducing a bill that would repeal the CRA. 

Regardless, the REINS Act sole purpose is to put an end to reckless bureaucratic nonsense, continuing the efforts made by Congress in the past few months. It would undoubtedly reign in the overbearing regulatory mess by mitigating needless spending and opening up our economy to a freer and more productive atmosphere. Between the cost of the regulatory burden, and its negative impact on the free market, the REINS Act is a common sense solution to shrinking the size of government.

Accompanying the REINS Act is the Regulatory Accountability Act which is much less extensive, but takes a step in the right direction, requiring federal agencies to run cost/benefit analyses on new regulations. A floor vote is expected soon.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


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