By Glenn Kessler • Washington Post
“The average tax refund is down about $170 compared to last year. Let’s call the President’s tax cut what it is: a middle-class tax hike to line the pockets of already wealthy corporations and the 1%.”
— Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), in a tweet, Feb. 11, 2019
Harris, who is running for president in 2020, attacked President Trump’s tax law after the Internal Revenue Service reported that preliminary data shows that the average tax refund check is down 8 percent ($170) this year compared with last year.
Boy, talk about a non sequitur that turns out to be nonsensical and misleading. Let’s take a look.
The average tax refund is down, at least according to very preliminary data for returns processed through Feb. 1. (That’s essentially one week of filing data.) But the size of a refund tells you nothing about a person’s tax bill. Continue reading
Washington D.C. – Frontiers of Freedom President expressed alarm about the U.S. Postal Service’s latest quarterly loss of $1.5 billion to start the 2019 fiscal year. The latest losses underscore the USPS’ failure to fulfill proper cost controls, accuracy in pricing, and neglect in meeting its long-term obligations to the federal government and the agency’s thousands of employees.
On the USPS financials, George Landrith, president of Frontiers of Freedom, stated:
“The latest massive loss detailed by the Postal Service demonstrates that there is still much work left to be done to meaningfully change the USPS business model. In 2018, the Administration had success in helping the USPS to better crack down on drug transports through the mail, and to ensure better deals for American businesses on international shipments.”
Landrith continued, observing that, “the Postal Service wants to be treated like a private business, but nearly every “business decision” has made its finances and service quality increasingly worse. Fortunately, the Administration’s Postal Task Force report provides a promising roadmap for reform with an emphasis on critical structural separation changes. In truth, there needs to be clear distinctions between USPS’ monopoly service and its underpriced competitive services, like subsidized parcel shipments.”
Landrith concluded: “Analyzing the viability of all USPS services based on proper cost and revenue analyses will be an essential step for Postal leaders. The understaffed oversight bodies must be outfitted with financially astute professionals who are commitment to transparency and accountable practices. Installing experienced regulators and leaders must be a priority to get the Postal Service on a sustainable path.”
The USPS Board of Governors is currently seven members short of its full complement. Nominees announced by the President last month have yet to be confirmed: Ron A. Bloom, Robert M. Duncan, Roman Martinez IV, and Calvin R. Tucker. The Postal Regulatory Commission, which recently added Michael Kubayanda, will soon be two members short as the terms for Nanci Langley and Tony Hammond are expiring this year.
By John Stossel • Reason
Today is the Super Bowl.
I look forward to playing poker and watching. It’s easy to do both because in a three-hour-plus NFL game there are just 11 minutes of actual football action.
So we’ll have plenty of time to watch Atlanta politicians take credit for the stadium that will host the game. Atlanta’s former mayor calls it “simply the best facility in the world.”
But politicians aren’t likely to talk about what I explain in my latest video—how taxpayers were forced to donate more than $700 million to the owner of Atlanta’s football team, billionaire Arthur Blank, to get him to build the stadium. Continue reading
By Christian Barnard • Reason
“Do School Vouchers Only Benefit the Wealthy?” asks an article this month in Governing. Like too many headlines, the implication is that school choice is a scam that disproportionately benefits wealthy students who already live in high-performing districts. The Governing story suggests that Arizona’s education savings accounts (ESAs)––publicly-funded savings accounts that parents can use to pay for private school tuition or other education services for their children––rarely help out those who authentically need assistance, favoring already-privileged children instead.
The article cites a 2017 report from The Arizona Republic which found that 75 percent of the ESA money went to students leaving districts that had an “A” or “B” ranking, and only 4 percent of the money followed students opting out of districts rated “D” or lower.
But these numbers hardly even hint at the full story. Arizona’s ESA program can only be used by specific groups of disadvantaged students. In fact, Arizona Department of Education data from 2017 reveals that 82 percent of ESA recipients were students with special needs, from military families, or students from D/F rated schools. Continue reading
In their constant search for shutdown-related disasters, the media are now fixated on airport screeners. The shutdown is wreaking havoc on airports, they say. Except that it isn’t. The shutdown does, however, present an opportunity to re-privatize the troublesome TSA.
News reports focus on the fact that TSA worker no-shows are up from a year ago. But the TSA’s own data show that wait times haven’t changed. Its latest report finds that “99.9% of passengers waited less than 30 minutes and 95.4% of passengers waited less than 15 minutes.”
That’s in line with normal operations. TSA reported in 2017, for example, that 99.9% of passengers waited less than 30 minutes during summer months. Continue reading