Chye-Ching Huang at the New York Times proposes a way for President Biden to fund his dream infrastructure bill: simply restore our IRS's ability to collect the taxes big money earners avoid paying! This is a wonderful idea, and not just because our IRS didn't collect some $570 billion in unpaid taxes in 2019, and may face a "tax gap" of $7.5 trillion over the next decade: frankly, if you owe money to our government, you owe it to the American people, and you shouldn't short your friends and neighbors. But our government has enabled this noxious behavior by pointedly underfunding our IRS. It should be hard to argue against "making big money earners pay the taxes they already owe," but in these times, we have to get One Real True and Great President Joe Manchin on board; his phone number is 202.224.3954. He wants that infrastructure bill "paid for," but every dollar in IRS funding brings back $6 in unpaid taxes, per our Treasury Department, so, hey, this could help us meet his goal of getting that bill "paid for." And, hey, we're all about helping people reach their goals!
With the departure of Ajit Pai, our Federal Communications Commission (or FCC) is short one commissioner, meaning it only has four, and it's hard to break ties with four -- and since two Commissioners are Democrats and two are Republicans, you're going to have a lot of ties. It's not such a great time for that, though, since millions of good Americans don't have reliable internet access and have never needed it more -- how many millions of kids are going to school over the internet again? How many folks are trying to sign up online for a vaccine as we speak? How many big telecom corporations are imposing data caps to squeeze more money out of good Americans, again, during a pandemic? Hence both Battle for the Net and Demand Progress help you tell our President to nominate an FCC Commissioner who will support good internet policy, and tell your Senators to confirm said individual. And let's have one who'll help establish a net neutrality policy like the Open Internet Order of 2015; maybe you haven't noticed the loss of net neutrality, but like the proverbial frog in a boiling pot, you're not supposed to notice it until it's too late. So we need a good 5th Commissioner.
Meanwhile, S. 409, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (or CFTC) Fund Management Act, would increase funding for whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing in the bankster sector of our economy; the Dodd-Frank law of 2010 created the whistleblower program, but Congress hasn't effectively funded the program in years, and it's about to run out of money. And S. 409's lead sponsor, Iowa's Chuck Grassley, is a Republican; one Republican and two Democrats join him as co-sponsors, and you'd hate to think our Senate would smother this bill in its crib merely because it's actually bipartisan. Regardless, whistleblowers deserve compensation for the law-breaking they find, and don't think some of those guys are making stuff up just so they can steal money themselves -- whistleblowers can count on getting blacklisted and threatened if they come forward, so the number of "frivolous" whistleblower complaints is not only quite small, but, ah, handled by circumstances. The National Whistleblower Center helps you tell your Congressfolk to help protect whistleblowers by passing the CFTC Fund Management Act.
Finally, Pennsylvania residents, take note: our Department of Environmental Protection (or DEP) has proposed a rule that would cut methane emissions and other pollutants from oil and gas drilling -- a big deal in a big fracking state like Pennsylvania -- but contains a rather important loophole that a lot of frackers will try to drive a Mack truck through: it would excuse "low-producing" wells from the rule. Maybe that seems logical to you: how much can a "low-producing well" pollute, after all? Problem isn't how much one pollutes, but how much they all pollute all together! Turns out more than half of all methane emissions coming from fossil-fuel operations in the Keystone state come from "low-producing" wells, so the proposed rule wouldn't keep as many pollutants out of our air and water as we'd like. And you can just imagine some big drilling operation deciding to evade regulatory scrutiny entirely by drilling only "low-producing" wells! Hey, if I thought of it, you know they have. Hence the Sierra Club helps you tell our DEP to close the "low-producing well" loophole in its proposal to cut methane emissions.