Third Way Perspectives
Archive for April, 2012
April 10th, 2012
“Would you like a receipt for that?” That simple question gives customers trust and confidence in their purchases. With a similar gesture, the federal government could gain some sorely needed trust and confidence from citizens. A taxpayer receipt would be a way to acknowledge citizens’ contributions to the Treasury and show them where their tax dollars go.
That’s why Third Way first proposed the idea in 2008 and released an online taxpayer receipt calculator last year. It helped fuel a flurry of activity over the idea. We have updated our receipt for the 2011 tax year. It lets users enter their income taxes and FICA taxes paid so they can see their contributions to nearly 400 items from the federal budget ranging from the FBI to the salaries of member of Congress. It demonstrates how a taxpayer receipt can show citizens what they are getting for their money.
The taxpayer receipt isn’t law yet, but there’s been lots of activity. Here is an update on the progress to date:
The White House has released its own version of an online taxpayer receipt for the second year in a row. First mentioned by President Obama in his 2011 State of the Union Address, this receipt lets users see where their income taxes in terms of major spending categories like national defense and health care and many subcategories. It accounts separately for the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.
April 9th, 2012
This piece was originally posted on National Journal.
Blaming regulation for the decline of coal is like blaming cars for the demise of horse-drawn carriages. The market, not big bad regulators, replaced an antiquated technology with a more efficient one.
Coal is a nineteenth century technology that maintained dominance in the electricity sector because it was cheap. The precipitous decline in natural gas prices, thanks to hydraulic fracturing, are eliminating cost as a reason to use coal. The result has been a boom in new natural gas power plants, along with a dramatic increase in solar and wind power (whose prices are also declining rapidly), and virtually no new coal plants.
April 5th, 2012
This piece was originally posted in The Hill.
Good ideas–ideas that work–should transcend ideological and partisan differences.
For almost 80 years, the Export-Import Bank of the United States has been one such good idea, enjoying broad bipartisan support while effectively promoting job-creating American exports. But the Ex-Im Bank’s work will grind to a halt within weeks without a new authorization. And, without a long-term reauthorization, the Bank’s mission would be seriously undermined, creating great uncertainty for U.S. exporters and their workers.
Rep. Rick Larsen, (D-Wash.), (one of the authors) and Rep. Don Manzullo, (R-Ill.), have introduced the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012 which would extend the Bank’s authority through 2015 and raise the borrowing authority to $140 billion.
Why should we care? First, the Ex-Im Bank is a self-supporting entity that actually turns an $800 million annual profit for the government. Second, and more important, the Bank supports U.S. exports, and exports have played an increasingly important role in driving stronger American economic growth and much-needed jobs.
April 2nd, 2012
The Supreme Court debate on health care was shocking to many Americans. The shock was that the arguments going on inside the court sounded so much like the arguments going on outside the court. It was nakedly political. The partisan takeover of American politics has now engulfed the Supreme Court.