Jason Pye

Recent Posts From Jason Pye

Senate to take up Buffett Rule today

At some point today, the Senate will take up the so-called “Buffett Rule,” the proposed tax on higher-income earners that President Barack Obama and Democrats say is a matter of “fairness” in the tax code. No one expects that the proposal will pass, and even if it did, the House wouldn’t take it up.

President Obama has been discussing the Buffett Rule on the campaign trail, backing off earlier assertions that it would help raise revenue in a significant way. Recently, he claimed that Ronald Reagan, an iconic figure in the conservative movement, would have supported the proposal:

President Barack Obama said the White House proposed “Buffet Rule” could be named the “Reagan Rule,” referring to former Republican President Ronald Reagan as a “wild-eyed, Socialist, tax hiking class warrior.”

“This president gave another speech where he said it was ‘crazy’ — that’s a quote — that certain tax loopholes make it possible for multimillionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary,” Obama said at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Wednesday. “That wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior was Ronald Reagan.”

Obama floated the idea of renaming the “Buffet Rule,” which would require individuals making over $1 million annually to pay at least 30 percent in federal income taxes.

“If it’ll help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the ‘Reagan Rule’ instead of the ‘Buffett Rule,’” Obama said.

Happy birthday, RomneyCare

While we’ve been focusing a lot lately on ObamaCare thanks to the recent Supreme Court hearing and new studies from the Congressional Budget Office and Charles Blahous, April is the sixth anniversary of the passage of RomneyCare — the plan pushed by then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, which later became the blueprint for ObamaCare.

Over at Reason on Friday, Peter Suderman marked RomneyCare’s birthday by explaining how the law has been a fiscal nightmare for the Bay State:

Orrin Hatch really doesn’t like libertarians

Over the last several months, libertarians have taken shots from all sides. During the Republican primary, Rick Santorum made it clear that he wasn’t fond of the libertarian viewpoint on nearly any matter in public policy and expressed concern about the philosophical influence in the Tea Party movement. Santorum even as far as knocking the Goldwater view of limited government.

More recently, libertarians have been wrongly attacked by Van Jones, a self-described communist and former Obama Administration appointee. During an Occupy Wall Street event, Jones called libertarians “bigots” and claimed that we are anti-gay rights; accusations that are completely false.

Now Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is getting in his shots.

Facing a fate similar to that of his former colleague, Bob Bennett, Hatch recently told NPR that he is “doggone offended” by “radical libertarians” that have gotten involved in the Senate primary in Utah:

This year, major conservative groups announced their intention of defeating Hatch — who they deemed too moderate. FreedomWorks has reportedly spent at least $670,000 attacking Hatch this cycle.

But the long-time senator isn’t sitting on his hands. Hatch told NPR’s Howard Berkes, “These people are not conservatives. They’re not Republicans.”

Ron Paul: The Video Game?

You have to hand to it to Ron Paul. He virtually no shot at the nomination now that Rick Santorum has dropped out, making Mitt Romney the presumptive nominee. Nevertheless, Paul continues to push on, being greeted by dedicated supporters nearly everywhere he goes.

And while Paul, like Newt Gingrich, will stick around for the time being, his supporters aren’t going anywhere. In fact, one backer has decided to take his support for Paul to the video game console:

That actually looks pretty neat, very old school. He’s created a Kickstarter page to raise money for the project. If you’re interested in contributing, click here.

H/T: Buzz Feed

Obama slammed over gas prices

As polls show President Barack Obama to be vulnerable on gas prices, someone is finally getting the message and hitting him on the issues. American Crossroads released an ad this week hitting Obama for blaming others and doing nothing to easy the pain Americans are feeling at the pump:

And now that gas prices are rising faster under Obama than they did under Jimmy Carter, expect to see more ads like this during the summer.

Gingrich bounces check to get on Utah ballot

It’s been a rough go at the Republican nomination for Newt Gingrich. He enjoyed a bump in the polls back in the December as conservatives were still trying to find a viable alternative to Mitt Romney. But when Rick Santorum was able to gain traction in the race, Gingrich struggled mightily, winning only his home state of Georgia and neighboring South Carolina to date.

Now that Santorum is out of the race, Gingrich is again trying to convince Republicans to back him. Not long after sending an e-mail claiming to be the “last conservative standing,” it was reported that Gingrich’s campaign bounced a $500 check to get on the primary ballot in Utah:

GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich might fail to appear on the Utah primary ballot after a check for the required filing fee bounced, according to media reports.

The check for $500 bounced on March 27, Utah state election director Mark Thomas told ABC News, which first reported the story.

“Our office immediately attempted to contact the campaign and the designated agent, but no phone calls were returned,” Thomas said, according to ABC.

“We also asked the state Republican Party to assist us, but they also could not get into communication with them, although I do not know how they attempted to contact them,” he added.

According to Bloomberg, Gingrich’s campaign has had severe fundraising woes and is $4.5 million in debt. However, Gingrich insists that he is going to take his campaign to the Republican National Convention in August where he hopes to influence the party’s 2012 platform. After all, that’s about the only thing he can hope to do at this point.

Poll: Two-thirds of Americans want all or part of ObamaCare overturned

If the Supreme Court decides to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, they may make President Barack Obama angry, but according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, Americans will be happy.

While the White House and Democrats continuing to claim that the public will benefit from ObamaCare, the poll, which is heavily skewed towards Democrats, shows that a majority of Americans oppose the law and two-thirds believing that the Supreme Court should throw out at least the individual mandate:

Fifty-three percent of Americans now oppose the law overall, while just 39 percent support it – the latter the lowest in more than a dozen ABC/Post polls since August 2009. “Strong” critics, at 40 percent, outnumber strong supporters by nearly a 2-1 margin in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

Two-thirds continue to say the high court should throw out either the entire law (38 percent) or at least the part that requires most individuals to obtain coverage (29 percent) or face a penalty; just a quarter want the court to uphold the law as is. Those numbers, like views on the law overall, are essentially unchanged from a month ago.

Again, this is a poll that is tilted toward Democrats and they still can’t find substantial support for ObamaCare, which is the most touted domestic achievement of the administration. Here’s hoping the Supreme Court does the right thing in overturning the law, regardless of the empty threats from Obama.

Ozzie Guillen shouldn’t have been suspended

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the last few days then you’ve heard that Ozzie Guillen, manager of the Miami Marlins (Florida Marlins!), was suspended by his employer after making controversial comments about Fidel Castro. In case you missed the specific comments, here is what Guillen told Time:

I love Fidel Castro. I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that son of a bitch is still there.

If you know anything about Miami, a city with a large number of Cuban exiles and their families, then you can understand why those comments were so controversial. Boycotts of the team were immediately announced and the Marlins were scrambling to condemn, not just the remarks, but also the Castro regime.

Guillen, who came up with and eventually managed the Chicago White Sox (he also played for the Atlanta Braves for two seasons in the late 90’s), is well known for making controversial remarks and statements, so the Marlins should have known what they were getting when they hired him. But looking at everything in context, David Harsanyi notes that Guillen is hardly a fan of Castro. Back in 2008, Guillen said of the Cuban dictator:

Fidel Castro. He’s a bull—— dictator and everybody’s against him, and he still survives, has power. Still has a country behind him. Everywhere he goes they roll out the red carpet. I don’t admire his philosophy. I admire him.

Koch brothers file second suit against Cato

Last month, Charles and David Koch filed a lawsuit against the Cato Institute over the shares owned by the late William Niskanen. They insist that the shares were not transferrable to Niskanen’s widow and should have been made available for purchase.

In the days since the lawsuit was filed, scholars employed by and supporters of the Cato Institute have taken to the Internet, explaining that the lawsuit is nothing more than a hostile takeover of one of Washington’s premier, independent think tanks.

Unfortunately, the battle for the heart and soul of the libertarian movement was escalated yesterday when the Koch brothers filed a second lawsuit against Cato. They’re claiming that a recent election to expand the Institute’s governing board should be invalidated:

According to court documents filed Monday and obtained by The Washington Post, the Kochs are asking the court to invalidate the results of an “improper election” held recently by Cato’s board—an action the Kochs refer to as a “Board-packing scheme.”

On March 22 Cato’s board voted, by a narrow margin of 9-7, to increase the number of seats on the board and to fill those seats with four previous members whom the Kochs had removed earlier in March by exercising their shareholder rights in the organization.

According to the documents, the Kochs argue that, in accordance with Cato’s by-laws, the board has neither the power to expand its size, nor the power to fill the seats.

Buffett Rule: A gimmick, not serious tax policy

Despite the fact that the so-called “Buffett Rule,” a proposed tax for top income earners, will annually bring in what amounts to half a day of spending in Washington, the White House and Senate Democrats are still planning to push ahead for a vote.

They insist now that there deficit reducation argument for the tax has been debunked that it is a matter of “fairness.” Of course, our tax code is already very progressive. The same higher income earners - some 400 people — that are being targeted by Obama already pay more as a share of their income than lower quintiles, shouldering over 39% of the income tax burden.

Over at Forbes yesterday, economist Josh Barro explained why the “arbitrariness” of Buffett Rule is bad tax policy, using a few different scenarios to emphasize his points:

Tax reform is supposed to be about making the tax code simpler, less distorting, and less arbitrary. Yet, as I’ve written before, the Buffett Rule moves in the wrong direction on all of those measures. Here are some examples that show why.

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