August 18th, 2010
August 18th, 2010
Anthony W. Hager
A New York State Assemblyman envisions an increased millionaire tax. If passed, high income earners–who already bear a disproportionate share of New York’s tax burden–will pitch in an additional 11-percent. The broken record known as Hillary Clinton still laments how “the rich” don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes. Oregon, too, has joined the chorus.
Earlier this year Oregon voters passed Measures 66 and 67, raising taxes on individuals and businesses that wealth redistributors, in their profundity, have deemed excessive winners in life’s lottery. Typical class envy tactics preceded that electoral outcome. Proponents argued that education, public safety and health would suffer if the initiatives failed. The poor, naturally, would take it on the chin.
The entire premise of a perceived “fair share” is ambiguous at best. Would the egalitarian consider taxation equitable if the “rich” surrender, say, 75-percent of their income to government? Hillary Clinton, Oregon voters and New York assemblymen might think so. But anyone with a toehold on reality understands that productive people shoulder the tax burden now. The top one-percent of earners pays 28-percent of federal income taxes. Additionally, over the last 30 years the taxation on incomes above $75,000 has steadily increased while declining on incomes below that threshold.
Arguing that wealthier Americans pay little or no taxes is misleading. No, make that an outright lie. And that’s not the only mischaracterization offered by the “soak the rich” crowd.
In promoting Measures 66 and 67 the Oregon Center for Public Policy claimed that “asking” Oregonians to “contribute” more in taxes would improve the state’s fiscal structure. Certainly some taxation is necessary for governments to execute legitimate functions. But referring to tax increases as “asking” people to “contribute” is unadulterated spin, sufficient to strain even the strongest gastronomical constitution. And it’s so typical of the egalitarian social engineer.
Charitable organizations solicit contributions, and contributors alone determine their level of participation. No such choice exists with taxation. Tax levies aren’t a request on government’s part, and taxes aren’t contributed sans duress. Taxes are compulsory and their collection is ultimately a matter of force.
Sadly, there’s little to be achieved in arguing taxation with egalitarians. Redistributionists are so devoted to equalizing all incomes and imposing their Marxist vision on society that debate has become futile. Equally futile are the protests of the productive, whose incomes are sacrificed upon the perverse altar of egalitarianism. The producer’s right to their production will never match the needs of the oppressed when it comes to conjuring empathy. Therefore the “rich” are safely marginalized, demonized and dismissed.
What would happen if busybodies like Hillary Clinton, New York legislators and Oregon voters fulfill their collectivist dreams? If there were no private wealth the economy would become void of capital investment. Innovation and production would decelerate, with a corresponding decline in employment and living standards. The resulting misery would create greater demand on government, which puts the do-gooders in position to distribute the remaining wealth as they so determine. They will achieve their socialist dreams, but only for a season.
Such idealism has no foundation upon which to build. Since government produces little, and that which is produced is a case study in inefficiency, the egalitarian society is doomed to failure. Only the most influential busybodies will benefit from their societal and economic transformation. The rank and file do-gooder will be destined to impoverished servitude alongside their once-wealthy neighbors, whose property they helped confiscate.
So goes the nation without private wealth. Utopia? I think not.
Anthony W. Hager has authored more than 200 published articles for various newspapers, periodicals and websites. He can be reached through his website, www.therightslant.com.
Posted By Larry Elder On June 11, 2010 @ 12:20 am In FrontPage | 14 Comments
While in high school, I was standing at a bus stop next to a gas station. A kid tossed a candy wrapper on the station lot. Somebody yelled, “Hey, pick that up.” The kid, with a straight face, defended himself. He said, “I just created a job.” Someone would be hired, he explained, to pick up the trash, and this would be good for the economy.
Don’t laugh. The kid probably works for the Obama administration.
Congress is now considering yet another “stimulus” package. But did the administration’s previous one work? Of the $787 billion stimulus package, President Obama said it would “save or create” 3.5 million new jobs. Has it?
The National Association for Business Economics polled 68 private-sector members. Seventy-three percent said the employment at their companies was neither higher nor lower as a result of the stimulus package.
What about the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office? A February 2009 Washington Times article said:
“President Obama’s economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.
“CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.”
What do normal, regular, real-world people think? In December 2009, a Rasmussen poll asked likely voters whether the “stimulus” helped, hurt or did nothing.
They agreed with the private-sector economists and the CBO — the stimulus did not work. And more felt it did damage than thought it helped: “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30 percent of voters nationwide believe the $787-billion economic stimulus plan has helped the economy. However, 38 percent believe that the stimulus plan has hurt the economy. This is the first time since the legislation passed that a plurality has held a negative view of its impact.”
Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and commentator Ed we-need-health-care-reform-and-I-don’t-care-how-much-it-costs Schultz think one way. Believers in the free market and limited government think another. As between these two camps, which one better understands how the real world works?
Zogby International asked questions about economics of nearly 5,000 people. George Mason University economist Dan Klein co-authored a report on the responses given to eight basic economic questions.
(Correct answers and “not sure” responses were ignored — only flatly incorrect responses were counted.) Do housing restrictions increase the price of housing? The answer is yes. Whether the restrictions are good or bad is a separate issue. But restrictions on any good increase the price of that good — whether houses or horseshoes. Do minimum wages increase unemployment? The answer is yes. Whether one accepts this as a worthy trade-off is a separate question. Is our standard of living higher than it was 30 years ago? It is. Whether we are “addicted” to oil or facing cataclysmic “global warming” is a separate issue. The other questions involved licensing, rent control, the definition of a monopoly, the definition of exploitation, and whether free trade leads to unemployment.
Respondents self-identified as progressive/very liberal, liberal, moderate, conservative, very conservative, or libertarian. Who did better?
“On every question,” wrote Klein, “the left did much worse. On the monopoly question, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (31 percent) was more than twice that of conservatives (13 percent) and more than four times that of libertarians (7 percent). On the question about living standards, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (61 percent) was more than four times that of conservatives (13 percent) and almost three times that of libertarians (21 percent).”
Maybe those with more education performed better? No, the report said. “We work with three levels of schooling: (1) high school or less; (2) some college (but not a degree); (3) a college degree or more. In our data, economic enlightenment is not correlated with going to college.”
The left blames the financial collapse on “greed,” ignoring the role played by government involvement — Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration, the Community Reinvestment Act and elsewhere. Leftists point to “insufficient regulation” on Wall Street for reckless behavior, rather than to the players’ assumption that too-big-to-fail would protect them.
On the BP Gulf oil spill, Obama wants to find “whose ass to kick.” He’s called for a moratorium on new offshore drilling. But why do we drill offshore for oil more than a mile deep? Is it that on-land and safer, shallow water areas are off-limits — thus pushing companies to extract oil from more dangerous places? Have the restrictions on clean nuclear power altered how and where we obtain energy?
Republicans, in the eight-question economics poll, averaged 1.61 incorrect answers. Democrats averaged 4.59 wrong answers. So in the President’s search for “ass to kick,” start here.
Larry Elder is a syndicated radio talk show host and best-selling author. His latest book, “What’s Race Got to Do with It?” is available now. To find out more about Larry Elder, visit his Web page at http://www.WeveGotACountryToSave.com.
June 9th, 2010
By Bob Unruh, WND
Maj. Gen. Paul Valley calls for Obama to resign
A retired U.S. military leader who now is a presence on the Internet with his Stand Up For America and Veterans Defenders websites has issued a call for President Obama’s resignation and a new election to replace him.
The call comes from Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, who served in Vietnam and retired in 1991 from the U.S. Army as deputy commanding general for the Pacific.
“We now must call for the immediate resignation of Barry Soetero (AKA President Barack Hussein Obama) … based on incompetence, deceit, fraud, corruption, dishonesty and violation of the U.S. oath of office and the Constitution,” he said in remarks delivered to a Lincoln Reagan dinner in Virginia City, Mont., last week and published today on the Stand Up America website.
“And a call for a national petition for new elections to select the next president of the United States of America must be initiated,” he continued. “We can wait no longer for a traditional change of power and new government.”
A number of retired military members have sought the removal of Obama from office. They mostly have tried to utilize the courts to challenge his eligibility based on claims he fails to meet the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that a president be a “natural born citizen.” Few have asserted Obama needs to walk away from the Oval Office for the best of the nation.
June 5th, 2010
The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [America currently does] – whether it’s individual, corporate or whatever [form of] taxation forms.
Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere and guess what – they’re growing like crazy.
Thomas Lifson adds:
Brazil’s economy is benefitting from offshore oil exploration and development – the sort of thing Obama wants to stop in the wake of his failure to contain the Gulf oil spill by implementing the the existing plan.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a rare foray into domestic politics today, offering her view that — given America’s high unemployment — wealthy Americans don’t pay enough taxes.
“The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [America currently does] — whether it’s individual, corporate or whatever [form of] taxation forms,” Clinton told an audience at the Brookings Institution, where she was discussing the Administration’s new National Security Strategy.Clinton said the comment was her personal opinion alone. “I’m not speaking for the administration, so I’ll preface that with a very clear caveat,” she said.
Clinton went on to cite Brazil as a model.
“Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere and guess what — they’re growing like crazy,” Clinton said. “And the rich are getting richer, but they’re pulling people out of poverty.”
Both Clinton and Obama campaigned for president on promises to allow the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans expire this year, a plan that is now part of Obama’s budget. The move will effectively raise taxes sharply on people earning more than $250,000.
The Administration’s new formal strategy document makes the case that domestic economic strength is crucial to influence abroad.
Morning Bell: This Congress Has No Shame
Posted By Conn Carroll On May 27, 2010 @ 9:38 am In Ongoing Priorities | No Comments
On February 4, 2010, pushing for passage of her pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said  on the House floor: “When I became Speaker of the House, the very first day we passed legislation that made PAYGO the rule of the House. Today we will make it the law of the land. … So the time is long overdue for this to be taken for granted. The federal government will pay as it goes.” That was the promise. But here is the reality : in the three years that Speaker Pelosi has enforced her PAYGO rule, the House has violated it by nearly $1 trillion .
And now with the U.S. Debt Clock  officially passing the $13 trillion milestone Wednesday, the House is set to violate their own PAYGO law yet again, this time to the tune of around $150 billion . The legislation clocks-in at almost one-fifth the size of President Barack Obama’s original $862 billion failed economic stimulus, and the leftist majority in Congress has titled it “The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act.” And it is a tax-hiking, spending-exploding, job-killing, deficit-hiking wonder.
The Tax Hikes: The entire purpose of this bill was originally to extend some popular and well-established tax cuts that have been around for years but have to be reapproved every year. But being the big government lovers that they are, the left has crafted a bill that actually increases tax revenues by $57 billion over ten years . The biggest items are a job-killing tax on American corporations that compete overseas , a job-killing tax on innovation-creating venture capital partnerships , and a four-fold increase in the tax on oil production  that ostensibly is supposed to go to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, but is instead being siphoned off to help pay for completely unrelated new domestic spending .
The Spending: The bill originally clocked-in at almost $200 billion , and Democrats have since cut the spending to just under $150 billion, $95 billion of which will go straight onto our children’s credit card bill  in flagrant violation of Congress’ own PAYGO rules. Goodies include $26 billion for infrastructure, more than $40 billion for yet another unemployment insurance extension, another $24 billion bailout of state Medicaid programs, $8 billion in needlessly expensive health insurance subsidies , and $2.5 billion for states to increase their welfare rolls . Even some Democrats are beginning to question the endless UI extensions, with Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) telling The Washington Post  that businesses back home complain that they want to start hiring but are getting few applicants because Congress has repeatedly extended unemployment benefits. 
And then there is what was originally the largest-ticket item in the bill: $65 billion over three and a half years for increasing physician Medicare reimbursements, aka the “doc fix.” This one item alone proves that all of President Barack Obama’s claims that his health care law reduces the deficit are 100% false. The CBO report this month estimated that $276 billion would be required to shore up the “doc fix” over the next decade. Adding that spending to Obamacare’s already $940 billion total would easily push it into the red. That is why Congress did not address the problem in Obamacare. Brandeis University professor Stuart Altman calls the “doc fix” charade “one of the worst pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen.”  The House has cut this version of the “doc fix” down to $21.8 billion just through December 2011.
Across the country, millions of American families are struggling to make family budgets and keep to them. Not Congress. For the first time in the history of the budget process, the House of Representatives has failed to plan how they will spend your tax dollars . Instead they will recklessly continue to flagrantly violate their own PAYGO rules as they add billions and billions worth of debt onto your children. This Congress has no shame.
May 25th, 2010
By Dennis Cauchon,USA Today
Obama’s economy is fulfilling his big government agenda
Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds.
At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.
Those records reflect a long-term trend accelerated by the recession and the federal stimulus program to counteract the downturn. The result is a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs.
The trend is not sustainable, says University of Michigan economist Donald Grimes. Reason: The federal government depends on private wages to generate income taxes to pay for its ever-more-expensive programs. Government-generated income is taxed at lower rates or not at all, he says. “This is really important,” Grimes says.
The recession has erased 8 million private jobs. Even before the downturn, private wages were eroding because of the substitution of health and pension benefits for taxable salaries.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that individuals received income from all sources — wages, investments, food stamps, etc. — at a $12.2 trillion annual rate in the first quarter.
Updated 49m ago
By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY
At the same time, government-provided benefits —
from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food
stamps and other programs — rose to a record high
during the first three months of 2010.
Those records reflect a long-term trend accelerated
The trend is not sustainable, says University of
Michigan economist Donald Grimes. Reason: The
federal government depends on private wages to
generate income taxes to pay for its ever-more-e
xpensive programs. Government-generated income
is taxed at lower rates or not at all, he says. “This is
really important,” Grimes says.
The recession has erased 8 million private jobs.
Even before the downturn, private wages were
eroding because of the substitution of health and
pension benefits for taxable salaries.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that
individuals received income from all sources —
wages, investments, food stamps, etc. — at a $12.2
trillion annual rate in the first quarter.
Key shifts in income this year:
• Private wages. A record-low 41.9% of the nation’s
personal income came from private wages and
salaries in the first quarter, down from 44.6% when
the recession began in December 2007.
•Government benefits. Individuals got 17.9% of
their income from government programs in the first
quarter, up from 14.2% when the recession started.
Programs for the elderly, the poor and the
unemployed all grew in cost and importance. An
The shift in incomeshows that the federal
government’s stimulus efforts have been effective,
says Paul Van de Water, an economist at the liberal
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
“It’s the system working as it should,” Van de Water
says. Government is stimulating growth and helping
people in need, he says. As the economy recovers,
private wages will rebound, he says.
Economist Veronique de Rugy of the free-market
Mercatus Center at George Mason University says
the riots in Greece over cutting benefits to close a
huge budget deficit are a warning about
unsustainable income programs.
Economist David Henderson of the conservative
Hoover Institution says a shift from private wages to
government benefits saps the economy of
dynamism. “People are paid for being rather than for
producing,” he says.