class warfare

CBO study sheds light on income redistribution

Amid falling poll numbers, thanks to the Obamacare meltdown, President Barack Obama has tried to change the narrative with familiar, tired themes of income equality and higher taxes on the wealthy. But a new study from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), via CNS News, undermines these themes, showing that the 40% of households paid 106.2% of net income taxes in 2010 (emphasis added):

The top 40 percent of households by before-tax income actually paid 106.2 percent of the nation’s net income taxes in 2010, according to a new study by the Congressional Budget Office.

At the same time, households in the bottom 40 percent took in an average of $18,950 in what the CBO called “government transfers” in 2010.

Taxpayers in the top 40 percent of households were able to pay more than 100 percent of net federal income taxes in 2010 because Americans in the bottom 40 percent actually paid negative income taxes, according to the CBO study entitled, “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2010.
Although they paid negative federal income taxes on average in 2010, Americans in the bottom 40 percent of households did end up paying some taxes to the federal government that year, according to the CBO.

Gallup: Economy, jobs remain Americans’ top concerns

The economy and related economic issues remain at the top of Americans’ concerns, according to a poll released by Gallup on Friday.

Gallup asked 2,059 Americans over the age of 18 about the most important problems facing the United States. Unsurprisingly, 25% of Americans said the economy is the most pressing issue, followed by 19% of respondents who listed unemployment and jobs as their biggest concern. Seventeen percent (17%) said that dissatisfaction with government was the most important problem facing the nation.

President Barack Obama has tried to turn his attention back to the economy in recent weeks amid scandals that have come out of his administration and falling poll numbers. His approval rating on the economy fell to dismal 35%, according to a survey released last week by Gallup, and his overall approval rating is underwater, via Real Clear Politics, sits at 45/50.

Americans are not at all concerned about issues that President Obama has tried to push through Congress or unilateral executive action.

Number of Americans renouncing citizenship soars, tax laws blamed


There are a number of reasons why an American may renounce their citizenship, but more often than not, United States’ tax laws are to blame. But the number of those renouncing their citizenship, for whatever reason, soared in the second quarter of this year:

While the numbers of those renouncing their U.S. citizenship are small—more than 1,000 people in the second quarter of 2013, out of more than six million Americans estimated to be living abroad—the numbers have climbed this year, according to recently released figures.
A growing number of wealthy Americans in Asia—and others with green cards—are exploring whether to renounce their U.S. citizenship or give up their green cards to avoid onerous tax obligations.

Some U.S. citizens say they are exasperated by a growing raft of paperwork that forces U.S. citizens living abroad to declare the minutiae of their financial holdings and other assets. That has increased the attraction of becoming a citizen in places such as Hong Kong, where the individual tax rate is capped at 15%.

Kelly Phillips Erb of Forbes notes that the number of citizens renouncing their citizenship in the first quarter of this year, when 679 people opted for friendlier confines, was the longest in 15 years. Of course, that coiencided with a huge tax hike passed in January, with increases on individual income and capital gains taxes included. She also points out that the list in the second quarter came very close to breaking the record set in 1997.

Rand Paul Defends Apple, Slams Complicated Tax Code

Rand Paul

Members of Congress are aghast that Apple, makers of Mac and iPhone, used completely legal tax shelters from 2009 to 2012 to avoid paying taxes on $44 billion in international profits. Rather than using the issue as an opportunity to look at the United States’ insanely complicated tax system, a Senate subcommittee brought in Apple for what was basically a show hearing.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee (HSAGC), had strong words for his colleagues. In his prepared remarks, Paul said that he was “offended by the tone and tenor” of the hearing and noted that Apple had not done anything wrong.

“I am offended by the spectacle of dragging in here executives from an American company that is not doing anything illegal. If anyone should be on trial here, it should be Congress,” Paul told members of the committee. “I frankly think the Committee should apologize to Apple. I frankly think Congress should be on trial here for creating a bizarre and byzantine tax code that runs into the tens of thousands of pages, for creating a tax code that simply doesn’t compete with the rest of the world.”

Refuting Progressives: So Easy A Blogger Can Do It

A blogger by the name of Allen Clifton over at “Forward Progressives” has put out a list of “facts” that annoy conservatives and Republicans, supposedly for fun. Allen writes:

I highly encourage all liberals to share this with their conservative friends.  Then watch as they haplessly try and argue against each comment.

It’s irresistible. And, as I expected, it doesn’t actually make us look bad. It just shows that progressives like Mr. Clifton haven’t thought their argument the full way through. I’ll leave the points Mr. Clifton makes in bold and my responses below.

Let’s begin:

1. Nowhere in our Constitution does it say we’re a Christian nation.

2. In fact, no where in our Constitution does the word “Christian” appear even once.

These points are actually true, and I cannot argue with Mr. Clifton. The Constitution does not mention the word “god,” and while many of the Founders were religious, it is questionable whether they were hardcore Christians or rather deists (or, in Mr. Jefferson’s case and the case of others, Christian Deists.) There are mentions to God in the Declaration of Independence, but again, are these references to the Christian conception? The Declaration refers to “Nature’s God”—a deist term, not a Christian one. The only time the Constitution mentions God is in the dating: “ the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.”

That’s hardly grounds for making the Constitution a Christian document. That’s just how you told the date back then. These days, we replaced “Lord” with “Common Era.”

Obama’s Budget Means More Tax Hikes

You mad, bro?

After a two-month delay and missing a legally-required deadline, President Barack Obama finally unveiled his budget for FY 2014. The spending plan is, unfortunately, just more of the same from this president:

President Obama’s 2014 budget calls for a trillion dollars in new taxes, almost twice as much as previously thought, The Washington Examiner has learned.

“Of the more than $1 trillion in new taxes, about $800 billion is raised through the individual income tax system, about $125 billion comes from new excise taxes — including new taxes on tobacco and financial companies,” a source familiar with the president’s budget explained. “The remainder comes from reverting back to the 2009 estate tax parameters and other miscellaneous tax increases.”

Despite the talk of deficit reduction, President Obama’s budget doesn’t substantially reduce spending and will never balance. The only constant in is the same, old class warfare rhetoric.

Jack Lew’s Cayman Adventure

Written by Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Every so often you get a “teaching moment” in Washington. We now have one excellent example, as President Obama’s nominee for treasury secretary has been caught with his hand in the “tax haven” cookie jar. Mr. Lew not only invested some of his own money in a Cayman-based fund, he also was in charge of a Citi Bank division that had over 100 Cayman-domiciled funds. This provides an opportunity to educate lawmakers about the “offshore” world.

As you can imagine, Republicans are having some fun with this issue. Mitt Romney was subjected to a lot of class warfare demagoguery during the 2012 campaign because he had invested some of his wealth in a Cayman fund. GOPers are now hoisting Lew on a petard and grilling him about the obvious hypocrisy of a “progressive” utilizing—both personally and professionally—a jurisdiction that commits the unforgivable crime of not imposing income tax.

We Need More Growth and Prosperity to Boost Charitable Contributions, not Bribery in the Tax Code

Written by Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

I’m a strong believer in fundamental tax reform. We need a system like the flat tax to improve economic performance.

No tax system is good for growth, of course, but the negative impact of taxation can be reduced by lowering marginal tax rate(s), eliminating double taxation of saving and investment, and getting rid of loopholes that encourage people to make decisions for tax reasons even if they don’t make economic sense.

While the general public is quite sympathetic to tax reform and would like to de-fang the IRS, there are three main pockets of resistance.

New Cato Institute paper looks at income inequality

Occupy DC

Since 2008, Americans have heard a lot about “income inequality” and “fairness.” This rhetoric was amplified thanks to Occupy Wall Street, which triggered populist encampments in many cities across the country where the “we are the 99%” became a frequently heard slogan.

While they may have eventually drifted into the background, parts of their message are still being put forward by President Barack Obama, who is seeking to raise taxes on individuals earning $200,000 or more and families bringing in $250,000.

But are the ranks of the so-called “1%” really a measure of income inequality? Not according to a new working paper from the Cato Institute.

Using data from the last 20 years, Alan Reynolds, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, explains that there has been “little or no sustained increase in the inequality of disposable income for the U.S. population as a whole.” Some other points raise in the paper:

It has become commonplace to use top 1 percent shares of market income as a shorthand measure of inequality, and as an argument for greater taxes on higher incomes and/or larger transfer payments to the bottom 90 percent. This paper finds the data inappropriate for such purposes for several reasons:

Joe Biden: We want to raise taxes by $1 trillion

Raise all the taxes!

As much as we poke fun at Vice President Joe Biden for the crazy stuff he says, you have to hand it to him, he’s at least straightforward with his thoughts. He’ll tell you exactly what he’s thinking, no matter how wrong or foolish he may be.

The latest example came yesterday during a campaign rally in Iowa when Biden told supporters that his boss, President Barack Obama, does want to raise taxes by $1 trillion:

You know the phrase they always use? Obama and Biden want to raise taxes by a trillion dollars. Guess what? Yes we do in one regard. We want to let that trillion dollar tax cut expire so the middle class doesn’t have to bear the burden of all that money going to the super wealthy. That’s not a tax raise, that’s called fairness where I come from.

Here’s the video:

Well, it’s not quite $1 trillion in tax revenue that would come with raising taxes on families making over $250,000 — not merely the “super wealthy.” It’s close, but estimates are between $600 to $850 billion over 10 years. Biden can talk about sequestration cuts, the $1 trillion in spending he referenced, but those aren’t hard cuts, but rather cuts in the anticipated growth of spending. The revenues are also a drop in the bucket when one looks at the bigger picture of spending and budget deficits over the next 10 years. And frankly, $1 trillion in spending cuts is nowhere near enough.

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