Dear Mr. President: Paying your fair share begins at home

January 26, 2012

President Obama spent much of his recent State of the Union address declaring that the rich need to pay their “fair share” of taxes. (1)

Maybe he should have given that speech to his staff, first:

How embarrassing this must be for President Obama, whose major speech theme so far this campaign season has been that every single American, no matter how rich, should pay their “fair share” of taxes.

Because how unfair — indeed, un-American — it is for an office worker like, say, Warren Buffet’s secretary to dutifully pay her taxes, while some well-to-do people with better educations and higher incomes end up paying a much smaller tax rate.

Or, worse, skipping their taxes altogether.

A new report just out from the Internal Revenue Service reveals that 36 of President Obama’s executive office staff owe the country $833,970 in back taxes. These people working for Mr. Fair Share apparently haven’t paid any share, let alone their fair share.

Previous reports have shown how well-paid Obama’s White House staff is, with 457 aides pulling down more than $37 million last year. That’s up seven workers and nearly $4 million from the Bush administration’s last year.

Nearly one-third of Obama’s aides make more than $100,000 with 21 being paid the top White House salary of $172,200, each.

(Emphasis added)

On a scale of 1-10 on the Public Secrets Hypocrisy Meter(tm), this hits an “11.” But, coming as it does from the administration of the most cynical, fork-tongued president since Richard Nixon, it also isn’t surprising.

May I suggest that Congressman Issa’s Oversight Committee, in the moments when it isn’t digging into Operation Fast and Furious, summon these federal employees to explain to Congress why they are not obeying federal law and paying their fair share?

Meanwhile, have a look at the rest of Andrew Malcolm’s article; it seems tax evasion is a favorite sport for federal employees.

LINKS: More from Moe Lane and Hot Air.

Footnote:
(1) As determined by Obama and his allies, of course.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Christmas tree tax delayed

November 9, 2011

I’m betting the public left some coal in the president’s stocking.

Background.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Grinch who taxed Christmas

November 8, 2011

I knew Obama was desperate for revenue — any revenue– but taxing Christmas trees to pay for programs to “improve their image?”

Somehow, call me crazy, but I think a Christmas tree has a much better public image than our president.

via Baseball Crank.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What also costs you at the pump

April 24, 2011

In the last post, I explained how basic economics and Democratic policies are what’s behind the sharp rise of gasoline prices. But there’s another factor to consider, one that acts as a buffer to keep your fuel bill high: taxes. The combination of federal, state, and local taxes adds up to a considerable portion of the price you pay.

Here’s a map from the American Petroleum Institute that shows the average tax burden in each state; the national average is 48.1 cents per gallon:

Click the map for the full-sized PDF

So keep this in mind, the next time your eyes bug out at the price on the pump: a huge portion of the money you’re shelling out is due to government actions that distort supply-and-demand — and the punitive levels of taxation in many states*.

*Once again, California is a leader. D’oh! 


Restraining Leviathan III: when the IRS goes wild

April 24, 2011

Here’s a question, the answer to which may just be a hearty “WTF?” Why does the IRS want to turn US banks into deputy tax collectors for foreign governments?

Under a proposed regulation, the Internal Revenue Service would order banks to report interest on deposits from foreign investors, not to the US government, but to the home government of the depositor.

What’s the problem, you ask? There are five, but I’ll list two here:

  1. Foreign depositors have put trillions of dollars in US banks because of the very fact that we don’t report interest payments to their governments. Yes, it’s tax avoidance on their part, but the moneys deposited here help grow our economy through loans and investment capital. If this regulation is enacted, foreign depositors will have every reason to move their fortunes elsewhere, to places like Hong Kong or the Caymans, which don’t threaten to rat them out to their governments. That loss would be a tremendous blow to our already ailing economy and banking sector.
  2. Even worse, this regulation overturns established US law. Congress mandated this safe-harbor for foreign deposits 90 years ago in recognition of the benefits an inflow of capital would bring, and that law has been reaffirmed by our democratically elected legislators at least twice since then. Yet now a bureaucratic agency want to undue laws enacted by the legislature through simple fiat.

WTF, indeed.

Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute has produced a video that goes into these and three other reasons why this regulation shows the IRS is Stuck On Stupid:

This proposed regulation and the harm it will do have attracted the attention of Congress, who’ve reacted in bipartisan opposition to this dumb idea. For example, Senator Rubio said in a letter to President Obama:

At a time when unemployment remains high and economic growth is lagging, forcing banks to report interest paid to nonresident aliens would encourage the flight of capital overseas to jurisdictions without onerous reporting requirements, place unnecessary burdens on the American economy, put our financial system at a fundamental competitive disadvantage, and would restrict access to capital when our economy can least afford it. …I respectfully ask that Regulation 146097-09 be permanently withdrawn from consideration. This regulation would have a highly detrimental effect on our economy at a time when pro-growth measures are sorely needed.

You can read more reactions to this bureaucratic usurpation at Mitchell’s International Liberty, though I have no doubt the statists in the Congressional Progressive Caucus think it’s just peachy.

LINKS: Other posts on Leviathan government.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


In a nutshell: what our taxes pay for

January 15, 2011

As usual, The Simpsons explains everything:

via Daniel Hannan

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


California: Jerry Brown lives down to expectations

January 5, 2011

Well, that didn’t take long. Either we do what Jerry says and continue our exorbitant tax rates or the kids get it:

Gov. Jerry Brown will spare K-12 schools from further drastic cuts in his budget – so long as voters extend higher income taxes in a special election, according to sources familiar with his proposal.

The tradeoff wouldn’t cure education ills, and many districts would still face another year of fewer school days and larger class sizes. But it could avert even deeper cuts after years of school rollbacks and help Brown galvanize powerful education support for tax hikes in a June special election.

“If something like that happens, I’m going to be looking for the feet to be kissed,” said Kevin Gordon, a veteran education lobbyist, of the Brown education proposal. “The big question is, what will the voters do, and if voters don’t come through, will we go through incredible anxiety all over again?”

Brown does not plan to suspend Proposition 98, the state’s minimum guarantee for K-12 and community college funding, though he may seek to do so if the tax hike extensions don’t pass.

For those not familiar with our Sacramento-based soap opera, this is a ploy the legislature (and pliant governors like Schwarzenegger) have used in recent years to scare us into voting for new taxes: promise doom and the death of beloved programs unless we agree to give them even more money. And the newspapers act as their shills. It’s emotional blackmail at its worst, a typical liberal-statist ploy to avoid any real cuts to their precious spending by scaring the public.

And it ignores very real areas in which substantive cuts could be made, cuts that should be considered before any tax-hike proposal. Jon Fleischman of Flash Report has listed several in a hard-hitting post:

  • Have we ended collective bargaining for public employees?
  • Have we gone through and eliminated every possible state employee or contractor possible, streamlining our workforce such as in the private sector?
  • Have we privatized anything (roads, prisons, universities)?
  • Have we eliminated some of the vast array of hundreds of state boards and commissions?
  • Have we made permanent changes to social welfare spending to prevent future spending abuse?
  • Have we put forward repealing unspent bonds (especially high speed rail)?
  • Have we eliminated all of those high-paying, cushy commissions that are landing pads for termed-out legislators?
  • How about implementing all of the cost-savings suggested in the comprehensive California Performance Review?
  • How about ending taxpayer-provided cars (two of them) for members of the legislature?
  • Or how about ending the use of legislatures using public funds to mail “push-surveys” to constituents?

I’ll add another: Have we eliminated the subsidies to community colleges, which cost the taxpayers over $4 billion per year? Yes, it will be hard on their students to have to pay market rates, but higher education is a public good, not an unalienable right. In times of hardship with no new revenues coming in, these are the hard choices we have to look at.

And speaking of new revenue, notice there’s no mention of exploiting this state’s vast natural resources to raise money through royalties. Former Assemblyman Chuck DeVore had a very good proposal to develop the vast oil wealth off the California coast by use of safe slant-drilling techniques for an estimated $16 billion a year in new revenue. That would go a long way toward curing our deficit. Why tax us into penury when we have “money in the vault?”

Back to Jerry’s proposal blackmail: the taxes he wants to extend were enacted as “temporary” measures in 2009, and voters defeated a ballot initiative that same year to extend them for two years — an initiative accompanied by similar dire warnings of DOOM! if it did not pass. We turned it down then 2-1 and, if Jerry and the liberal-statists who control the legislature want to have that battle again, bring it on. California has a spending problem, not a tax-revenue problem. Until we see deep cuts in spending to match revenue, new revenues outside of taxes, and changes in the ways the spending of our money takes place, the Mandarins of Green Dome on 10th Street get nothing.

PS. Anyone else note the deep irony of liberal Democrats, who proclaim their concern for the children ad nauseam, trying to get their way by threatening… the children? One could almost drown in the depths of their insincerity.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Silence, peasant!

October 10, 2010

President Thinskin strikes again: While in Iowa at the end of last month to hear from the common folk in their own backyards, Obama was met with unwanted honesty from one of the little people. So, what’s an enlightened being to do when one of the mundanes says something other than praise? Why, cut off his mike, of course:

Trying to sell his economic record in Iowa yesterday, President Obama got an earful from a successful businessman who pleaded with him not to raise taxes.

“One of the things that concerns me is the repeal of the Bush tax cuts,” said David Greenspon, referring to Democratic plans to raise taxes on individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and on families and certain businesses earning more than $250,000.

“The repeal — I don’t care if it is 5 percent — that’s 5 percent that would create a job,” he told Obama during a meeting with about 70 people in a couple’s back yard in Des Moines.

“Five percent on millions of dollars of profit creates many jobs . . . As the government gets more and more involved in business and more and more involved in taxes, what you’re finding is you’re strangling those job-creation vehicles.”

Before Greenspon could complete his question, his microphone was cut off and taken out of his hand.

You’d have thought, after the Joe the Plumber incident, that the President would be more careful when wandering into people’s neighborhoods. Americans, after all, have a habit of speaking their minds even to big shots with big titles – and maybe especially to them. One of the skills a politician needs is being able to react with grace even to those who disagree with him. Instead, as the article relates, Obama showed petulance and frustration.

And, of course, incidents like this just reinforce the image that Obama is an out-of-touch elitist who only hears what he wants to hear. A leader, especially in a democratic republic, needs to hear contradictory views if he is to govern effectively. Cutting off Greespon’s mike, on the other hand, is a symbolic slamming of the doors to the ivory tower. It’s a “Kodak moment” that captures the essence of the progressive attitude: “We know best, so be quiet and do as you’re told. You’re welcome.”

Way to bond with the common man, sir.

Via Hot Air.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Maybe they’re all trying out for Cabinet posts?

September 10, 2010

Perhaps inspired by the example of Treasury Secretary Timothy “Turbo-tax” Geithner, 41 White House aides owe a collective $831,000 in back taxes. And, as the LA Times’ Andrew Malcolm explains, the problem isn’t just limited to the West Wing:

Over the years a lot of suspicion has built up across the country about Washington and its population of opportunistic transients coming to see themselves as a special kind of person, somehow above average working Americans who don’t work down in that former swamp.

Well, finally, an end to all those undocumented doubts. Thanks to some diligent digging by the Washington Post, those suspicions can at last be put to rest.

They’re correct. Accurate. Dead-on. Laser-guided. On target. Bingo-bango. As clear as it’s always seemed to those Americans who don’t feel special entitlements and do meet their government obligations.

We now know that federal employees across the nation owe fully $1 billion in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

And here’s just one example:

In the House of Representatives, 421 people owe a total $6,524,892. In the Senate, 217 owe $2,774,836. In the IRS’ parent department, Treasury, 1,204 owe $7,670,814. At the Labor Department, where Secretary Hilda Solis’ husband had some back-tax problems before her confirmation, 463 owe $7,481,463. Eighty-one workers for the Federal Reserve System’s board of governors owe $1,076,733.

Yet Congress wants to raise taxes on all of us to pay for health care and all the other stupid ideas wonderful reforms its enacted?

“Obedience to the law is for thee, not for me!” cried the oligarch.

Maybe they should garnish the deadbeats’ wages until the backlog is cleared, instead. Just a thought.

LINKS: Hot Air.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) I want your money!

September 2, 2010

From (oddly enough) IWantYourMoney.net, a trailer for their forthcoming documentary on government spending and the role of the federal government. Trust me, it’s much more entertaining than it sounds:

From the movie’s description:

Set against the backdrop of today’s headline – 67% of Americans don’t approve of Obama’s economic policies, the film takes a provocative look at our deeply depressed economy using the words and actions of Presidents Reagan and Obama and shows the marked contrast between Reaganomics and Obamanomics.

The film contrasts two views of the role that the federal government should play in our daily lives using the words and actions of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.

Two versions of the American dream now stand in sharp contrast. One views the money you earned as yours and best allocated by you; the other believes that the elite in Washington know how to best allocate your wealth.

One champions the traditional American dream, which has played out millions of times through generations of Americans, of improving one’s lot in life and even daring to dream and build big.

The other holds that there is no end to the “good” the government can do by taking and spending other peoples’ money in an ever-burgeoning list of programs. The documentary film I Want Your Money exposes the high cost in lost freedom and in lost opportunity to support a Leviathan-like bureaucratic state.

The movie releases October 15th, just in time for midterms. Quite the coincidence, that.

I’ll be looking for it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Want to know why unemployment is staying high?

August 9, 2010

Michael Fleischer, the president of a New Jersey small business, provides the quote of the day to explain why unemployment is staying so high, and why businesses aren’t hiring:

When you add it all up, it costs $74,000 to put $44,000 in Sally’s pocket and to give her $12,000 in benefits. Bottom line: Governments impose a 33% surtax on Sally’s job each year.

You can read the gory details in Michael’s article, but that quote encapsulates the problem: government impositions in the form of health-care costs and other programs (and, really, it’s all a form of taxation, however they dress it up) increase the cost of each new hire to the business – it’s more than just salary. And the new burdens imposed by ObamaCare have, in Mr. Fleischer’s case, put the cost of hiring more employees beyond what it makes sense for his company to pay.

Hence, thanks to the progressive-statist program of President Obama and the congressional Democrats, the very forces that would work to lower unemployment are instead stifled. Is this what we voted for?

Thankfully, we can start correcting the mistake this November.

(via Sister Toldjah)

RELATED: For an excellent book on an earlier time when government’s anti-business policies kept people out of work, read Amity Shlaes’ The Forgotten Man: a new history of the Great Depression.

UPDATE: MichaelW at QandO has the best summation of this situation:

…when the government continually raises the costs of doing business in the first place (or threatens to do so), the only ones who really survive are either the politically connected or the very wealthy (yes, they are often the same thing). That doesn’t have anything to do with building a better mousetrap, as it were, or growing the economy. And it certainly doesn’t do anything to raise everyone’s standard of living. Instead, all it does is reward those closest to the rule-makers, thus creating more competition to be closest to the King rather than satisfying the marketplace. It is exactly the sort of crony-capitalism we claim to detest.


So, you want a value-added tax?

July 30, 2010

Democrats and some Republicans are floating the idea of a value-added tax to help ease the crushing deficits caused by the (Social) Democrats’ massive spending binge. Before you say “Sure, why not?”, take a look at the VAT rates that would be required over the next ten years to eliminate the deficit:

(Click to enlarge)

Remember, that tax would be applied at every stage of production, from raw materials to the moment you purchase the item, and the costs would be passed along to you.  Oh, and then you’d pay state sales tax, too.

Still think it’s a good idea?

Here’s a better one. Maybe they should cut spending and borrowing, instead. Idea

RELATED: Reasons why a VAT won’t work.

(via dmataconis on Twitter)


ObamaCare: the penalty for not buying insurance

June 19, 2010

After much back and forth over whether the penalty the government may assess for not carrying the proper health insurance constitutes a tax (and thus breaks Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on the middle class), the matter is settled.

According to President Obama’s own Department of Justice, it is.

So there.  Phbbbttt

(via Power Line)


Hillary Clinton: the rich don’t pay their fair share

May 30, 2010

ReasonTV’s Nick Gillespie looks at the hard facts behind the Secretary of State’s assertion and reminds us that the definition of “fair” depends on your point of view:

UPDATE/RELATED: At Big Government, Thomas del Beccaro writes about a debate between Larry Kudlow, Stephen Moore, and former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich about fairness and the proper level of taxation.


Working for the tax man, UK edition

May 28, 2010

The British TaxPayer’s Alliance has posted a good video illustrating how long a typical UK resident has to work during the average day before starting to earn money for himself. It may not be America, but, pay attention; Obama and his allies want to put us on the same path.

(via Dan Mitchell)


The oxymoron perfected

May 3, 2010

Pro-growth tax hikes?

Tax hikes are pro-growth? Did the sun rise in the West this morning?

Sure, sometimes public money can be instrumental to growth, for instance when creating infrastructure that facilitates private commerce. But I have a sneaking feeling that’s not what they mean, in this case…


PA tax authority: “We know who you are and where you live.”

May 3, 2010

Does this mean Harrisburg has orbital lasers targeted on this guy’s house?

ExUrban League calls it “creepy.”


Something to look forward to

April 16, 2010

Yesterday was Tax Day in America (Well, for about half of us) and, if you enjoyed it, you have so much to look forward to.  At FlashReport, Congressman John Campbell (R-CA) looks at the taxes enacted since January, 2009, and provides a list of those scheduled to go into effect through 2013, whether through direct increases or the expiration of cuts and credits.

Good times! Party


California can have jobs or high taxes, not both

April 12, 2010

From Reason.TV, a look at how California’s high-tax, no-cuts regime is costing the state jobs and driving businesses and residents elsewhere. The focus is on one business, Creator’s Syndicate, that may well leave not only because of high costs imposed by the state, but because the City of Los Angeles has lowered itself to legal theft to raise money:

Money quote from a consultant who specializes in business relocations:

“I would love to have companies calling me saying, ‘We’d like to move to California, can you help us with that relocation?’ I get none of those calls,” says business relocation coach Joe Vranich. “The calls I do get are, ‘Hello, we want to move out of California, can you help us do that?’”

Argh.  Doh


Taxes: the cost of compliance

April 12, 2010

Tax Day is coming, and in its honor we have another video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, in which Hiwa Alaghebandian discusses the enormous amounts it costs our economy just to comply with IRS regulations:

Either a flat income tax or a VAT as a replacement for the income tax seems more and more attractive all the time.

(via Dan Mitchell)

LINKS: More at Hot Air.