Evan Gassman

Too Many CARBs Lead to Higher Taxes

Posted by Evan Gassman on Monday, December 7th, 2009, 12:38 PM PERMALINK

The California Air Resource Board (CARB) is going regulation happy again. CARB has forced regulations on car parts such as catalytic converters and tailpipes in the past. This time, Californians windshields are being targeted.

CARB is now “fighting CO2 emissions” by forcing Californians to change their windshields over to a new, reflective type that will supposedly reduce air conditioning usage in summer. (The new windshields have a frost glaze to reflect the sun.)  Sources say that the new regulations, which kickoff in 2012, will add a $250 cost to each car.
Don’t want a frosted windshield on your car? Too bad. As it says on CARB’s own website, “It is NOT LEGAL to install after-market parts unless it has an exemption from CARB.”
There is good news, however. Concerned Californians can attend a public meeting on Wednesday December 9 to file their complaints. (More information on that here.) If you cannot attend the meeting, written comments can be submitted by noon on December 8. (More information on submitting written comments here.)

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Welcome Janet Parshall Listeners!

Posted by Evan Gassman on Monday, October 26th, 2009, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform’s own John Kartch will be interviewed today on Janet Parshall’s radio show, Janet Parshall’s America at 4:15 ET.

Among the topics that will be discussed include an ATR study that found that the word “tax” was used 124 times in the Senate Finance Bill. (See our blog post about it here, and our press release going into further detail here.)
Also to be discussed during the interview is President Obama and his "firm pledge" not to raise "any form" of taxes on families making less than 250,000 dollars a year. There are several taxes in the Senate health care bill (here) that would break President Obama’s pledge.
Finally, a letter that ATR sent to Senator Reid urging him to post the final health care bill online for five days so the public can inspect it before voting will be discussed. (You can read that letter here.)

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Competitive Enterprise Institute Releases Paper on Economic Liberalization

Posted by Evan Gassman on Monday, October 26th, 2009, 3:38 PM PERMALINK

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has released One Nation, Ungovernable? – a paper written by Clyde Wayne Crews that outlines a feasible agenda to return power to the private market. The paper lays out a broad explanation of what the government is doing wrong (i.e., government spending 29% of our GDP, uncertainty in government action wreaking havoc on markets, et cetera) and then gives suggestions on repairing the problems (create an ongoing program of liberalizing the wealth-creating energies of citizens and the private institutions rather than investing taxpayer dollars as it pleases).

The paper calls for the government to end the detrimental “stimulus” programs, and questions the programs integrity. Tally up another nonpartisan group’s realization that government-sponsored bailouts will not save our economy.
The paper also briefly addresses a hot-button issue, net neutrality, and calls for the government to permanently take that off the table to ensure investments not be stifled by government interventionism. (Read more about ATR’s position on net neutrality here.)
As policy continues to be analyzed, more organizations are continuing to question the tax-and-spend mentality in Washington, especially during times of a recession. Hopefully, Washington is actually listening. Unlike the bills they are working to pass, this paper falls under 1400 pages. (It is only six.)

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The Medicine Cabinet Tax: Your Reactions, and Theirs

Posted by Evan Gassman on Friday, September 18th, 2009, 5:10 PM PERMALINK

Recently, we here at Americans for Tax Reform have been trying to spread the word about the nooks and crannies of Baucus health care bill. The most recent atrocity?: the medicine cabinet tax.

As you probably already know, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) released a draft healthcare reform plan that contains many tax increases on working families.  One of these would deny 30 million American families the ability to use flexible spending accounts (FSA accounts) and health savings accounts (HSA accounts) to purchase over-the-counter medications. 
Under current law, families can use their FSA/HSA account money to buy things like aspirin, pain relievers, and contact lens solution.
Additionally, most of the roughly 30 million families that have flex-accounts and health savings accounts do not earn more than $250,000 per year.  President Obama pledged again and again to never raise “any form” of taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year.  Presumably, that included working families buying medicine at the drugstore.
So you might be wondering, why hasn’t the media covered this?
From the LM Tribune: Americans for Tax Reform ... wants to know where Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, stands on the "aspirin tax." Are you kidding me? The House health care reform bill would cost more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years, and these guys are worried about paying a little more for over-the-counter drugs? Somehow, my enthusiasm lags.
First of all, we here at Americans for Tax Reform have devoted a lot of time informing everyone on the general cost associated with the Bills in Congress.
So now that more outrageous things are being found in the bill, i.e. tax hikes, enthusiasm is lagging? Why don’t you print the story, and let your readers decide if their enthusiasm is lagging or not?
Given the attendance of the 9/12 March in Washington DC this past Saturday, it’d be a safe bet to say that the majority of Americans aren’t “enthused” about more tax hikes from the Obama administration. That’s enthusiasm we can believe in.

Cash for Clunkers sputters to a Halt: The Aftermath

Posted by Evan Gassman on Monday, August 31st, 2009, 11:42 AM PERMALINK

Now that the smog has cleared, what did Cash for Clunkers, the 3 billion dollar government rebate program, do exactly?

The Department of Transportation released the final statistics on Cash for Clunkers. So, did the massive expenditure help the ailing American auto manufacturers? Nope: only 17.6% of rebate recipients bought GM cars, and only 6.6% bought Chrysler.
The top three car types on the list were foreign. Only two American-made car types made it onto the top-ten list. The number one car purchased under the rebate was, unsurprisingly, the Toyota Corolla.
Do those statistics not surprise you? How about this: every single car in the top ten cars traded was made by the Detroit Three.
Still not outraged? OK, how about these numbers: the average MPG of the cars traded in was 15.8 MPG. The MPG of the average car purchased was 24.9. Translation: 3 billion dollars of taxpayer money went to replacing 690,114 cars and improving their gas mileage by roughly nine miles per gallon.

Does that sound like a smart way to spend your money? In a few words: honk, screech, crash.

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Health Care Facts and Horror Stories

Posted by Evan Gassman on Friday, August 28th, 2009, 9:14 AM PERMALINK

Earlier this month, RealClearPolitics ran an op-ed warning Americans they should be horrified of government run health care. The op-ed was very informative, providing a number of statistics that debunked the myth that America’s health care system is worse of than Great Britain’s. (For example: Britain’s prostate cancer fatality rate is 57%, while ours is just 19%.)

But perhaps our friends on the Left won’t respond to cold, hard statistics. Not to worry. Recently, The National Center for Public Policy research released a book called Shattered Lives: 100 Victims of Government Health Care. (The book is available for free online in a .pdf file at www.nationalcenter.org) The chapter on Great Britain is nearly seventy pages long, briefly telling dozens of horror stories about the National Health Service (NHS). The personal stories of patients going blind, losing teeth, or even worse, passing away, paint a much larger picture: a draconian government-controlled healthcare system should not be embraced here in the States.

This op-ed and this newly released book give you the facts and horror stories to continue the health care debate, knowledge in hand.

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