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Category: Technology

  • How the US government is about to drive up the price of video games

    Ross Marchand on May 20, 2019

    Image result for fortnite
    This article was originally published on CapX on May 16, 2019. 

    Many nostalgia-plagued millennials fondly reminiscence about the 1990s, when movie tickets were less than $5 and a Sports Illustrated issue cost just a couple of bucks. But one popular pastime has actually gotten cheaper over the years: video games. But if US government bureaucrats get their way, video games may not stay cheap for long. Lawmakers and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are keen on “investigating” in-game purchases that result in a better gaming experience for all users. To ensure lower prices and continued high-quality gaming, the government should leave the role of evil villain to the likes of Bowser—and not get involved.

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  • TPA Sends Letter to Senator Barrasso in Support of "The Fairness for Every Driver Act"

    David Williams on October 10, 2018

    Image result for capitol hill
    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), representing millions of taxpayers and consumers across the country, sent a letter to Senator Barrasso in support of the “The Fairness for Every Driver Act,” which would repeal the federal electric vehicle tax credit. Republicans and Democrats should agree that eliminating subsidies for higher income folks and strengthening the Highway Trust Fund are top priorities. » Read More
  • New Poll Shows Web Users Want Less Government Control over the Internet

    Ross Marchand on September 14, 2018

    Image result for social media
    New polling data by NetChoice, a trade association of eCommerce businesses and online consumers, makes clear that a majority of consumers want an internet open and unhindered by government regulators. The results, released on September 12, 2018, show that U.S. consumers value the services provided by tech businesses such as Google and Facebook, and believe that market forces ensure that the best companies continue to lead the pack. 

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  • Triple Threat to Taxpayers: EVs, Charging Stations, and Subsidies

    Ross Marchand on March 19, 2018

    Image result for car charging stations
    This article originally appeared in Economics21 on March 7, 2018

    To listen to some environmental advocates, electric vehicles (EVs) are a panacea for America’s outdated, “dirty” transportation sector. After a decade of sluggish uptake by U.S. customers, a variety of organizations and businesses are making bold predictions about the future of EVs. Edison Electric Institute projects that U.S. EV penetration will reach 7 percent by 2025 and grow by leaps and bounds thereafter. A Bloomberg New Energy Finance report released last year finds that electric vehicles will comprise 15 percent of American cars by 2035. » Read More
  • The International Space Station Would Be Better Off in Private Hands

    Ross Marchand on February 26, 2018

    Image result for international space station
    This article originally appeared on Economics21 on February 19, 2018

    The nation’s space program often entails sucking billions of taxpayer dollars into black holes. The President’s FY 2019 Budget, released on February 12, gives taxpayers a pleasant break from space oddities. The Budget proposes the removal of government funding for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2024, turning the project over to the private sector. Already this proposal is receiving criticism from some fiscal hawks blindsided by their love for federal forays into space. » Read More
  • Harvard’s Inaccurate Picture of Municipal Broadband Pricing

    Johnny Kampis on February 16, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on February 16, 2018

    A recent study from a Harvard University group claims that government-owned broadband networks offer lower prices than the networks of private providers, but the argument quickly falls apart when you drill down into the data. The report from the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard claims that in 23 of 27 communities in which private providers’ prices could be compared to government networks, the government networks’ prices were lower over a four-year period.

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  • David Williams Testimony at Georgia General Assembly

    David Williams on February 14, 2018

    Today, TPA President David Williams had the opportunity to address members of the Georgia General Assembly to urge lawmakers to support HB 877, which would significantly lower taxes on modified risk tobacco products that are authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). TPA believes that the Georgia General Assembly has an opportunity to encourage smokers to switch from traditional combustible cigarettes to less harmful alternatives such as snus and “heat not burn” by lowering taxes on these products. » Read More
  • Proposed Moon Misson Offers Little Value at Astronomical Cost

    Ross Marchand on February 5, 2018

    Image result for moon landing
    This article originally appeared in Wired on February 5, 2018

    When it comes to space policy, reliving the glory days too often means pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into black holes. Preliminary budget plans suggest that the Trump Administration will provide funding for Space Policy Directive 1, which tasks NASA with getting humans back to the moon for the first time in over 45 years. NASA is already testing the feasibility of using the Orion space capsule to get humans to and from alien worlds. President Trump’s directive, hatched from a unanimous recommendation from the National Space Council in June, has the agency eager to prove that it can once again taxi humans into space.

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  • FDA should embrace innovative products to help reduce smoking

    Johnny Kampis on January 25, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in 
    The American Spectator on January 23, 2018. On January 25, 2018, TPA President David Williams will appear before the FDA to encourage them to embrace innovation with smoking cessation and other products. Image credit:

    Smoking is expensive for consumers and taxpayers, with health-care costs associated with smoking rising to nearly $170 billion per year. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the opportunity to embrace an innovative technology that will help smokers transition away from more harmful tobacco products while also aiding the continued prosperity of tobacco farmers. The FDA will continue its evaluation of the new technology with hearings on Jan. 24-25 examining the issue of heat-not-burn products. These products contain tobacco, but don’t burn them. Instead, they heat the tobacco to a high-enough temperature that they are able to provide smokers that nicotine high with a much lower level of harmful chemicals when compared to normal cigarettes. » Read More
  • Why 2018 Won’t Be Another ‘Year Of The Driverless Car’

    Ross Marchand on January 16, 2018

    This article originally appeared in The Federalist on January 8, 2018

    To listen to a growing, ever-more-vocal crowd, driverless cars are in America’s very near future. Commentators have taken the media to task for giving short shrift to the new technology, with some going as far as to declare 2017 “the year of the driverless car” (Or was that 20162015?). Ars Technica senior reporter Timothy Lee is confident that “driverless car adoption will only accelerate in 2018,” pointing to tests in Phoenix thanks to “permissive” regulations.

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  • Taxpayers can’t afford false hype of hyperloops

    Ross Marchand on November 14, 2017

    Image result for hyperloop elon musk

    This article originally appeared in The Hill on November 13, 2017

    Buoyed by promises of large federal infrastructure funding injections, states are scrambling to get their piece of the pie. Car-centric Colorado is no exception, as the state teams up with Hyperloop One to study the feasibility of hyperloop “levitating pod” technology across the Rocky Mountains. » Read More
  • Growth of Private Flight can Shield Taxpayers from NASA Waste

    Ross Marchand on October 11, 2017

    This article appeared in The Hill on October 8, 2017.

    Another expensive boondoggle by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shows that the government needs to reevaluate its celestial spending. The latest gaffe is that NASA was forced to delay the launch of the $8 billion James Webb Space Telescope another year, just the latest in a decadal saga of overruns and “restructuring.” Despite an inappropriately quiet announcement of the delay, Congressional rumblings have been kept to a minimum. » Read More
  • Buyer, and Consumer, Beware of New TV Standard

    David Williams on September 14, 2017

    The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) 3.0 is an exciting development in the technology community. At least, that is what broadcasters would like you to think. Right now, they are looking forward to a promising revenue stream of targeted advertising and forcing every American with a television set to pay for it. ATSC’s newest standard, ATSC 3.0, will succeed HD transmissions and offer many benefits including some improvement in viewing quality, over-the-air broadcasting, targeted advertising, and accessibility features for emergency services. However, none of these benefits are worth the costs and consequences that come with the aggressive rollout that broadcasters are fighting for.

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  • Privacy in an Internet Economy

    Jessica Markowitz on August 18, 2017

    Facebook knows your dating habits. Google can tell if you like Disney World. Vizio advertisers see in real-time when you watch Game of Thrones. Alexa can record your conversations.  The question is whether this is an invasion of privacy or the product of smart targeted advertising. From mobile applications to smart refrigerators, devices we trust with our information all fall under the FTC’s rules. And, even though Google, Facebook, and internet service providers (ISPs) collect information, there is little discussion the glaring unequal requirements between companies. The problems started when the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) issued the Broadband Privacy Rules in 2015.  The new rules would have deviated from FTC privacy norms by preventing internet service providers (ISPs) from accessing user data. 

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  • Taxpayers Shouldn’t Foot the Bill For Driverless Car Hype

    Ross Marchand on August 17, 2017

    This piece appeared in The Daily Caller on July 21, 2017.

    Driverless cars are the latest sensation sweeping the nation, with forecasts abound of robots taking the wheel in short order. Limited government enthusiasts paint the issue as a simple matter of the government getting out of the way and allowing companies to bring autonomous vehicles to a highway near you. Now, as Congress considers legislation preempting state rules on driverless vehicles, federalism may go by the wayside to ensure an autonomous future. Despite the optimistic language used by the “driverless right,” the hype surrounding this technology does not match up to reality. As with the advent of “renewable” technologies like solar and wind, futuristic hype is being used as a pretext for strapping billions of dollars on taxpayers. » Read More
  • Despite Flawed Study’s Claims, ARPA-E is Just Another Taxpayer-Funded Boondoggle

    Ross Marchand on July 5, 2017

    The release of the President’s budget has ruffled many feathers, angering many that would lose funding for pet programs. In particular, the Administration has taken heat over their proposal to nix funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a Department of Energy (DOE) program designed to fund basic research projects. Defenders of the program have engaged in their fair bit of exaggeration, hyping a study by program “consultants” that supposedly points to the usefulness of the program.  Online stories readily declare that the program has been vindicated by “studies,”  “contrary to political rhetoric.” But an examination of the study reveals large limitations and leaps in logic.  Indeed, taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for a program with little empirical justification. » Read More
  • Air Traffic Control Reform is Good News for Taxpayers and Travelers

    Ross Marchand on June 9, 2017

    air traffic control
    Being condemned to long lines at the airport is the American way, with tedious Transportation Security Administration (TSA) procedures compounded by countless takeoff delays. In addition to the direct costs of delay, making air travel a harrowing experience has deadly unintended consequences. Airline ordeals cause travelers to substitute air travel for (more dangerous) car travel for short-distance trips, resulting in thousands more unnecessary deaths. Our outdated and outmoded air traffic control system is largely to blame, and will continue to inconvenience travelers and bilk taxpayers until structural reform takes place.  » Read More
  • With Privacy Legislation, Congress Can Safeguard the Digital Domain

    David Williams on June 6, 2017


    This article appeared in Inside Sources on May 17, 2017

    Seemingly overnight, sending an email has become fraught with peril. Every day, we hear reports about phishing scams and malevolent viruses designed by cybercriminals and belligerent governments alike. But, unknown to many surfers of the digital domain, our own government has exploited loopholes and ambiguities in current law to snag important user information without obtaining permission in a court of law. In contrast to clear-cut Fourth Amendment prohibitions on physical property services, the law has little to say about privacy rights in the virtual space. And, vagueness in legal restraints leaves the door open for large, open-ended government investigations that squander hard-earned taxpayer money.

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  • TPA and TechFreedom Lead Coalition Urging FDA to Embrace Innovation

    Michi Iljazi on June 1, 2017


    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been operating inefficiently for many years, stifling innovation and making questionable decisions on agency process as it relates to the core functions of the FDA. A change in leadership is exactly what is needed, and newly confirmed FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb could have a strong impact on making the positive changes needed in order to foster innovation and progress in many sectors where the FDA plays a meaningful role. That is why TPA joined with TechFreedom to send this coalition letter to the FDA, Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the White House calling on Dr. Gottlieb to bring the focus of the agency back to innovation and technology when evaluating solutions and processes at the FDA.

    Click "Read Blog" below to see the full letter.

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  • TPA Call to Action in Support of Repealing Title II Internet Regulations

    David Williams on May 24, 2017


    WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, May 18 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai took a very important step to undo the regulatory damage left behind by President Obama and former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. The Title II rules implemented by Obama and Wheeler gave control of the Internet to unaccountable government bureaucrats, and threatened to increase taxes and slow investment and growth in this important industry. It is clear that Chairman Pai is serious about getting tech policy accomplished in a way that works best for taxpayers and all Americans. A free and open Internet will foster continued investment in broadband infrastructure, greater consumer choice, and an open marketplace without putting taxpayers at risk. These rules have cost taxpayers, slowed down broadband infrastructure investment, and hindered competition and choice for Americans. The time to remove the regulatory stranglehold on the internet is NOW. TPA is encouraging all of our members to submit a comment TODAY (click here), and tell Chaiman Pai that you support a free and open Internet.

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