Tax What We Burn, Not What We Earn

I am generally against most all government activities in the marketplace, especially those that involve social micromanagement; however, there is one idea that started on the left and has been making its way through the libertarian sphere that has some good potential. I am talking about a revenue neutral carbon tax, one which reduces or completely replaces other taxes such as payroll, income, capital gains/dividends, etc.

What $637,000 Will Buy

It turns out that Congressman David Price (B.J. Lawson’s opponent in this year’s election) has some very good friends in the financial sector, which has given his campaigns a whopping $637,000 over his career, more than 2/3 of which has come from financial PACs. Just this year, the financial sector has contributed about $57,000 to his campaign, with 65% coming from PACs.

Glen Beck: End Game for New World Order

See Video

Glen Beck is right- as usual- and it scares me. 

Taxpayers on the hook for $1.2 trillion in corporate welfare since 2000

When we think about welfare, most of us think about government programs aimed at reducing poverty. While we point out that the poverty rate has remained virtually unchanged since the “war on poverty” began in 1964, despite spending $12 trillion, we tend to ignore the money spent on corporate welfare.

Most Republicans turn a blind eye to corporate welfare, after all, they say, it’s “good for business.” But what’s good for business isn’t always good for taxpayers. Writing at National Review, Stephen Moore points us to a study showing that the federal government has doled out $1.2 trillion in corporate welfare over since 2000, a figure that doesn’t even scratch the surface given the pervasiveness of bailouts and subsidies for favored, politically-connected industries:

This week an Illinois-based watchdog group, Open the Books, issued a new report that scrupulously tallies up all federal grants, loans, direct payments, and insurance subsidies flowing to individuals and companies. It examined all accounts from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Transportation and found that corporate-welfare payments from the federal government to the Fortune 100 companies, from 2000 to 2012, amounted to $1.2 trillion. I recommend a visit to the website, if you can stomach it.

American taxpayers funding Russian companies, conservative group says

Ex-Im Bank

The Club for Growth has waded into foreign policy, an unusual area for an organization that exclusively emphasizes free market policies, by urging on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to join its call for an end to taxpayer-subsidized loans to Russian companies, amid escalating tensions between the United States and Russia.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Club for Growth pointed to a January 2013 story from Reuters on discussions between the Export-Import Bank and Gennady Timchenko, a Russian billionaire, for “U.S. government-backed funding to buy luxury aircraft.” Timchenko was described as “a long-time associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

Another story highlighted in the statement was an August 2000 report from the Center for Public Integrity which noted that the Export-Import Bank had “guaranteed $489 million in credits to a Russian oil company whose roots are imbedded in a legacy of KGB and Communist Party corruption, as well as drug trafficking and organized crime funds

“We don’t think that the Export-Import Bank should exist at all, let alone even consider giving loans and loan guarantees to Russian oligarchs and companies with ties to the Russian mob,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola.

Video: Meet the “Kronies”

The Kronies

In vain of 1980s and early 1990s superhero action figures, a recently released video takes aim at the collusion between government and K Street corporations to crush competition from smaller competitors.

The Kronies shows five powerful lobbyist superheroes — Kaptain Korn, Big G, Parts & Labor, Ariel Stryker, and Bankor — who use their political influence to get protectionist tariffs, bailouts, and other deals for their rent-seeking industries. Or, as the video puts it, “Mandating, Tarrify-ing, Inflating, and Boondoggling their way to profits powered by their special konnection to the G-Force.”

Though it’s unclear who is behind the video, it sums up perfectly the cronyism in Washington. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), for example,” wrote on his Facebook page, “Here’s how government ‘works’ in one short video.”

Michael Moore: “Obamacare is awful”

Michael Moore, the far-leftist “documentarian,” penned an editorial at The New York Times on New Year’s Eve in which he marked the first day of insurance coverage for those who purchased plans on the exchanges by declaring that “Obamacare is awful.”

“For many people, the ‘affordable’ part of the Affordable Care Act risks being a cruel joke. The cheapest plan available to a 60-year-old couple making $65,000 a year in Hartford, Conn., will cost $11,800 in annual premiums,” wrote Moore. “And their deductible will be $12,600. If both become seriously ill, they might have to pay almost $25,000 in a single year.”

Those comments echo conservative critiques of Obamacare, which generally revolve around the mandates and other requirements of the law that are responsible for raising the cost of health insurance coverage. Insurers have tried to hide the cost of these government-approved health plans by raising deductibles.

Moore also noted that Obamacare is a “pro-insurance-industry plan,” which, again, is a criticism of the law from many conservatives. Andrew Stiles of the National Review, a conservative magazine, explained how insurers collaborated with the Obama Administration to push the law on Americans.

Moore isn’t exactly praising Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. He wants to scrap Obamacare and implement single-payer system, though he refers to it as “universal quality health care.” But that’s a distinction without a difference.

Occupy Wall Street meets capitalism — Thanks, Walmart!

OWS goons

Were you part of the Occupy Wall Street movement or do you know someone who was and want to get a last-minute Christmas gift for the Occupier on your list? Well, thanks to capitalism, you can bring home some of the memories.

That’s right,, the big box retailer frequently the subject of mindless leftist rants, is selling a panoramic 27x9 poster print of Occupy Wall Street protesters encamped at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan for the low price of $42.75. -- Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park

The poster only has one review as of the time this story was written. “Rated excellent for the incredible irony,” said the reviewer on Indeed, the irony is so thick you can spread it on toast.

While the Occupy movement was viewed as the left’s version of the Tea Party, it has quickly faded into obscurity. Occupy was an odd movement that took to camping out in public parks or squatted on private property for days or even weeks. In each camp, organizers held a “general assembly” so that protesters could make rules and let their grievances be known.

There were calls for violent revolution against the federal government in these camps and frequent stories of unhealthy conditions. At Occupy DC, protesters could learn about collective housing — because private property is bad, apparently — and the finer points of dumpster diving.

Mike Lee rolls out tax reform plan, slams cronyism

Mike Lee speaks at AEI

In a speech yesterday at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) outlined the principles of a tax reform proposal that focuses on the family, equal opportunity and pursuit of happiness for all Americans.

“Today, this fundamental American ideal is hanging by a thread,” said Lee as he got into the crux of the speech. “Up and down American society – which used to be defined and driven by what Tocqueville called our ‘yearning desire to rise’ - we find a new and unnatural stagnancy.”

“We find the underprivileged trapped in poverty, sometimes for generations,” he explained. “We find the middle class caught on a treadmill, running harder every year just to maintain the economic security and social cohesion that were once taken for granted.”

Top 7 farm amendments House won’t be allowed to vote on

News broke earlier today that the House will proceed with consideration of a “farm only” Farm Bill this week after deciding to split the agriculture and nutrition portions. The combined package failed on the House floor last month after several key crop insurance reforms were narrowly defeated and additional food stamp cuts were added.

While conservatives long have supported bifurcating the bill in this manner, the early word is that the farm portion was going to be considered under a closed rule, meaning no amendments whatsoever would be considered. That’s why we at R Street spearheaded a coalition letter of more than 20 conservative and libertarian organizations and thought leaders urging the House to pursue an open process for the bill.

The entire point of splitting the bills in the first place was to secure more serious reforms than were possible in combined legislation, due to the unique rural-urban coalition that existed for the broad package. Splitting the bills and then immediately closing off any avenues to reform just defeats the purpose.

If the House pursues this method, here’s the top seven amendments that would improve policy substantially that they’ll never even get a chance to weigh in on. Most of these were simply stonewalled by the House Rules Committee; a few were withdrawn; and others were combined into a larger package that made it impossible to deal with them individually. What they all have in common is that they never received votes the last time around and never will if a farm-only bill truly proceeds under a closed rule.


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