Taxpayer

No, Tennessee Does Not Have the “Most Regressive” Tax System

[Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared on the Beacon Center of Tennessee’s blog.]

Mitchell on Taxes, Part 2: Now the White House Wants to Raise Taxes without Congressional Approval?!?

This was originally posted at International Liberty. You can read Mitchell’s thoughts on the Flat Tax here.

I’m not reflexively opposed to executive orders and other unilateral actions by the White House. A president and his appointees, after all, have a lot of regulatory authority.

This is because, for better or worse, many of the laws approved in Washington basically express a goal and identify some tools. It’s then up to the relevant agency or agencies to promulgate regulations to enforce and implement those tools in order to supposedly achieve those goals.

But here’s the catch. The executive branch has to make at least a semi-plausible case that any given action is consistent with the law.

And the problem with this White House is that it has been using regulations and executive orders to change laws, thwart laws, and ignore laws.

There have been several instances of the White House arbitrarily deciding to ignore or alter major parts of Obamacare.

HealthCare.gov gets relaunched but bugs still not fixed, experts say

CNN tests Healthcare.gov

In spite of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ promise that the HealthCare.gov website’s relaunch on November 30th would offer a much better experience to users, tech-security experts have claimed that some of the exchange website’s bugs haven’t been properly tackled yet.

According to Reuters, experts who testified before Congress during a hearing by the House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee said that HealthCare.gov still poses threats to the personal data of Americans who sign up.

According to Morgan Wright, one of the tech-security experts that testified before Congress, the risks the website pose to citizens’ financial and Social Security data continue to be limitless. He also pointed out that a memorandum issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services was signed off on a finding that Americans’ personal data would be at risk of falling into the hands of hackers.

Despite the experts’ testimonials, White House Press Secretary stated that consumers can “trust that the information that they are providing is protected by stringent security standards” after the hearing.

A report provided by David Kennedy, a former U.S. Marine Corps cyber-intelligence analyst, highlighted the many issues with the website and that they would require the administration a minimum of seven to 12 months to make sure they are actually fixed.

Contrary to what Pelosi says, there are plenty of budget cuts to be made

It might not come as a shock to some of you, but the Treasury Department has announced that, unless Congress increases the country’s borrowing limit, it will no longer be able to pay its bills.

This announcement follows comments made by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) concerning the efforts of Republican members to restraint government spending. According to the House Minority Leader, the conservative push for any cuts to the federal budget is pointless.

Pelosi stated that “it’s really important that people understand” that there’s no more cuts to make to the federal budget, which has increased to $3.8 trillion this year, as opposed to $1.9 trillion per year up until 2001.

What Nancy Pelosi doesn’t seem to understand is that the American people can no longer afford to cover the expenses of a series of programs that could indeed be trimmed. With that in mind, experts at the Competitive Enterprise Institute decided to make a list of several programs that could be cut or trimmed to give Congress, and especially skeptics such as Nancy Pelosi, an idea of where they can start if they are indeed willing to ensure the American people are no longer forced to foot a bill they never signed up for.

According to the institute, about $1.2 billion could be saved if Congress took aim at the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The EERE’s goal is to offer training, resources and funding toward “business, industry, universities and others” who are willing to focus on increasing the use “of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.”

Obama talks income inequality, blames the GOP

What used to be a value even to the Democratic Party has now become a forgotten lesson: it’s impossible to control the economy by decree.

According to President Barack Obama, he is perfectly capable to, as a president, fight income inequality and actually stop it. Leaving things alone, President Obama said during ABC’s Sunday “This Week” program, can “accelerate these trends (growing income inequality).” The President was also quick to note that technology, globalization and the GOP’s opposition to his personal agenda are all responsible for the growing income gap between the wealthiest and the poorest Americans.

For Obama, the government must intervene in the economy during the recovery in order to promote income equality and ensure the poorest among us have an easier time climbing the income ladder. The President highlighted his goals, which include increase funding for research, education and infrastructure. He also reported to be interested in reforming the tax code in order to keep companies from leaving the country.

Rand Paul Reintroduces the Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has a simple idea to fix Medicare, and it involves offering all seniors the best health care system in America while saving taxpayer’s money.

According to Sen. Paul, his Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act would have Members of Congress and seniors sharing the same health plan, which would save $1 trillion over the first 10 years, amounting to a major cut of Medicare’s $43 trillion unfunded liability.

The bill, Sen. Paul says, “fixes the Medicare system, and gives seniors access to the best health care plans enjoyed currently by Members of Congress and does so without breaking the bank.”

Seniors would have access to a marketplace of various insurance plans that cannot deny coverage to anyone for any reason. While the government still pitches in with about three-quarters of the total costs, the open market makes it fairly less complicated for the senior to find a more inexpensive option, since companies will have to compete to meet the needs of growing numbers of customers. The Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act assures that there’s a gradual raise in the Medicare retirement age, which would go from 65 to 70 over a generation, leading to a major cut in overall costs.

Sen. Paul is confident that with his plan, the Medicare system will get the reform needed to become a more sustainable program without having to cut benefits or force a government rationing. Every citizen would be eligible to enjoy the same plan members of Congress enjoy without bankrupting the country since the new plan would be less expensive than the current Medicare system, which is now run by government bureaucrats.

Hollywood, Full-Time Employees & Physicians Brace for ObamaCare

Hollywood

It shouldn’t be a surprise by now: under ObamaCare, health-insurance premiums will increase, companies will struggle to stay afloat and doctors will earn less money.

That’s right, physicians will earn less if anybody wants to see ObamaCare thrive.

Washington is taking a step into ensuring that the rates physicians are collecting while working for hospital-owned clinics are lower than the rates they currently collect. According to Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the current arrangement that ensures hospitals can bill Medicare at higher rates for services provided by their physicians should be invalidated, given that physicians can offer the same services in different settings. The system that served physicians looking for a way to make up for their declining incomes by establishing long-term contracts with hospitals or hospital-owned clinics could soon collapse. Physicians that once saw an advantage in seeing patients at hospitals in order to counterbalance the high cost of running their own medical practice will no longer see any convenience in maintaining the agreement with hospital-owned clinics.

To offset the expensive mandates, insurance providers must limit what healthcare providers are paid by also controlling what they can and cannot do. While the proposal introduced by the MedPAC is still being considered, it could serve as a strong indicator for future policy making.

While doctors might be losing incentives to work with hospitals when ObamaCare kicks in, employers are already losing incentives to keep employees under full-time contracts.

Welfare Recipients Make More Than Honest Workers

welfare_state_greetings

I think I may have finally found the most bothersome, noxious piece of information of all time, thanks to the editors at Townhall.com. The emphasis in the next quote is mine:

It’s official. Taxpayers are no longer simply helping the poor, they’re subsidizing the lives of welfare recipients at a better rate than their own. The Senate Budget Committee has released a report showing households living below the poverty line and receiving welfare payments are raking in the equivalent of $168 per day in benefits which come in the form of food stamps, housing, childcare, healthcare and more. The median household income in 2011 was $50,054, totaling $137.13 per day. The worst part? Welfare payments are equivalent to making $30 per hour for 40 hours a week. The median wage for non-welfare recipients is $25 per hour but because they pay taxes, unlike welfare recipients, the wage is bumped down to $21 per hour.

When I read this, I threw up a bit.

I’m going to be honest with you and tell you a little bit about my personal life, which I don’t typically do in the pages of United Liberty. And I certainly don’t want to start a pity party over me. But here’s the facts: I currently have a paying job, but not a great one. I’m an intern in DC. I make $30 a day. Let me repeat that: I make thirty dollars a day. Yet even though I work hard, create value, and do my damndest to support myself without forcing others to support me, the average welfare recipient receives 5.6 times what I make, paid for with my tax dollars.

CA Prop 30 - Using Students as Bait

Liberals are masters at messaging and manipulating the legislative process - and a great example of this is the campaign for Prop 30 in California - a “temporary” 1/4 cent increase in the state sales tax and 1% increase in personal income tax for those earning over $250,000/yr - those who can “most afford it,” a direct quote from the proposition.

First, we have the title: “The Schools and Local Public Safety Act of 2012.”  Instead of “Personal and Sales Tax Increase Act of 2012.”

Then the graphics and ads:

yes on prop 30

The hokey music, the wholesome looking school teachers, the all-American apple graphic - it’s all so feel-good! How can you possibly want to DENY these children the teachers that have been laid off over the past few years, the arts and music education?  If you do, you must be a vile human being.

What they’re not telling you:

Legislators have had ample opportunity to cut true wasteful spending, yet they cut things that would gain attention and empathy from the voters: schools and public safety. That way when they come, hat in hand, to ask for a sales tax increase, the understanding electorate will say, “But of course!”

Guess what? It’s still NEW funding.  Adding to what is there before.  If they cut Assembly member benefits or office staff or stopped spending so much on welfare or attempting to build bullet trains, no one would care. But they purposely axed teachers so they would have this excuse to prey on the emotions of low information voters and get what they really want - more money to fund their progressive agenda.

Democrats Take Mythbusters Approach to Facts

dirty_harry_reid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has really sunk to new lows with his accusations of Mitt Romney not paying taxes for ten years. Supposedly, this is based on an “unnamed Bain insider” who saw Mitt’s returns, but as Doug Mataconis has noted, that’s next to impossible and is utter rubbish. (John Stewart joined in as well, as Jason Pye wrote last week.)

Now, we have Reid’s chief of staff calling Republicans “cowards” and “henchmen” for calling out Reid:

The war over Mitt Romney’s tax returns is getting more bitter by the moment, with a top aide to Senate Majority Harry Reid blasting Republicans as “cowards” and “henchmen” for their attacks on the Nevada Democrat.

“They’re a bunch of cowards, and they’re avoiding the issue,” said David Krone, Reid’s chief of staff, in an interview with POLITICO on Sunday night. “Lindsey Graham, Reince Priebus — they’re a bunch of henchmen for Romney, and they’re all reading off the same talking points. They couldn’t hold a candle to Harry Reid.”

Krone added: “What Harry Reid said is the fact of what he was told. To turn it around, all their childish rants this weekend about calling Reid a ‘liar’ and all that, it just shows you how scared they are that Harry Reid was telling the truth.”


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