Understanding the underlying meaning of a politician’s words is an art. It is a skill that must be cultivated, because all too often the words they speak are nothing more than deceptive marketing. You have the high-energy sales pitch…and thirty seconds of fine print read at high speed. Most of the time, the loud claims are completely negated by the fine print.
Nowhere is this deceptive nuance more prevalent than when politicians talk about money. To those of us in the real world, we go out and work hard to earn money to provide for the needs of ourselves and our families. We have gross earnings, and then we have “take-home pay”, which is the gross earnings minus the litany of state and federal taxes, insurance premiums, etc. If we take a pay cut, it means that our gross earnings are reduced from the previous level. This is how normal people speak.
The political world has its own Orwellian lexicon, where nothing means what it sounds like it means. Before we can even address the lexicon though, we have to address the larger underlying problem; namely, the philosophical differences between government and the average citizen. Since I believe the words of the Declaration and the Constitution, which says that I am a son of my Creator, endowed with unalienable rights, and that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, I naturally believe that the fruits of my labor belong to me and me alone. As a citizen, I have agreed to take a portion of my earnings and contribute it to the funding of the cost of government, which is there, in theory, to protect my rights.
This is a great video follow up to the full-page ad CATO published listing hundreds of economists who don’t believe that a “stimulus package” is the best option for American taxpayers.
One of the most interesting debates in American politics is taking place right now inside the conservative movement. There has been a lot of focus on the shellacking Republicans took at the ballot box in 2012. Some are saying that the losses happened because conservatives have grown in influence, while others point out that Mitt Romney, the GOP’s presidential nominee in the last cycle, didn’t present a strong agenda.
Among those in the conservative movement who has been part of this debate is Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who is in the middle of his first term in the upper chamber. Along with Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lee has been among those who are not only working to restore fiscal sanity in Washington, but also a strong voice for the rights and liberties that are guaranteed in the Constitution.
Too often, conservatives are known for their opposition to various policies proposed by the Obama Administration. This has helped the Democrats and the media define them as being the “party of ‘no.’” Instead of focusing on opposition, Lee, who was elected as part of the “Tea Party class” in the 2010 mid-term, presented what he called the “positive case for conservatism” by talking about “what conservatives are for.”
Lee began his speech by noting that both Republicans and Democrats “succumb to easy negativity” and that the gridlock in Washington makes for fodder in the media. Lee explained that this “helps explain why the federal government is increasingly held in such low regard by the American people.”
If you’ve been following the presidential race, then you’ve no doubt heard what President Barack Obama said over the weekend during a campaign stop in Roanoke, Virginia. In promoting his plan to raise taxes on higher-income earners, Obama said, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
As you can imagine, those comments been met with outrage, and rightfully so. They’re incredibly disrespectful to hardworking business owners, many of whom have sacrificed everything to live the American Dream. The Wall Street Journal slammed President Obama’s “burst of ideological candor”:
The Internet is awash with images of the President telling the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and other innovators they didn’t build that. Kevin Costner’s famous line in “Field of Dreams,” as adapted for Mr. Obama: “If you build it, we’ll still say you didn’t really build it.”
Beneath the satire is the serious point that Mr. Obama’s homily is the soul of his campaign message. The President who says he wants to be transformational may be succeeding—and subordinating to government the individual enterprise and risk-taking that underlies prosperity. The question is whether this is the America that most Americans want to build.
The Internal Revenue Service is a thorn in everyone’s side. Americans dread April 15th every year, when they have to file their tax return. But now they’re not only hounding taxpayers, but also tax preparers.
According to a new policy implemented by the IRS, smaller, independent tax preparers are now required to become licensed by them and submit to annual “continuing education.” While bigger firms support the licensing requirements, it would force many of these small businesses to close their doors.
Thankfully, the Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm, is fighting back for these tax preparers by filing a lawsuit in federal court challenging the IRS’s authority to impose such a substanial regulatory burden:
Looking for a way to beat up on him, Newt Gingrich recently made an issue out of Mitt Romney’s tax returns. The line of attack was more than curious coming from someone who professes a belief in free enterprise, but as it turns out, Romney tax returns aren’t that big of a deal via Doug Mataconis:
The details of the returns, confirmed by a senior campaign official, provide the most detailed view yet of his wealthy family’s finances. The disclosure comes after a barrage of pressure to release his returns — which Mr. Romney has never done, even when he was elected governor of Massachusetts.
The disclosure — reported early Tuesday by The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News — showed a vast array of investments, from a recently closed Swiss bank account to holdings in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, all underscoring the breadth and depth of his wealth, which has become a central issue in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Mr. Romney said last week that his effective tax rate was “about 15 percent,” a figure lower than that of many affluent Americans. But his returns suggested that he paid an effective tax rate of nearly 14 percent.
In addition to his 2010 taxes, Mr. Romney is set to release estimates for his 2011 taxes, which he will file in April. The campaign will report that he will pay $3.2 million in taxes for 2011, for an effective tax rate of 15.4 percent. That is a slightly higher effective rate than he paid the year before, when he paid about $3 million to the Internal Revenue Service.
If you’ve spent enough time around here, you know that I’m not a fan of Mitt Romney. He hasn’t given conservatives or libertarians a real reason to support him given that he is unapologetic for RomneyCare, which served as the blueprint for ObamaCare.
However, there has been some criticism of Romney that is out of bounds. When Newt Gingrich was being attacked last month for lobbying services as a historian for Freddie Mac, the former Speaker fired back, suggesting that Romney should “give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain.”
This populist line of attack from a so-called conservative is troubling since it sounds like it could have come from Barack Obama, and it no doubt will in the fall. David Harsanyi, at the time, criticized Gingrich for his anti-capitialist tone and defended Romney:
Senate Republicans staged the first successful filibuster of a judicial nominee since 2005 on Thursday, dealing a blow to the Obama administration on the long-stalled nomination of Goodwin Liu to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The final vote was 52-43, eight votes shy of the 60 needed to overcome the filibuster. Only one Republican joined Democrats in supporting Liu, and only one Democrat voted no to opening debate on the 40-year-old University of California, Berkeley professor’s nomination.
Republicans have maintained that Liu’s liberal views on issues like same-sex marriage and affirmative action put him outside the mainstream, pointing to his writings that additional individual rights can be found in the Constitution.
Liu also drew Republican ire over his criticism of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in testimony when the conservative judge was nominated to the court.
“His outrageous attack on Judge Alito convinced me that Goodwin Liu is an ideologue,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said before Thursday’s vote. “His statement showed he has nothing but disdain for those who disagree with him. Goodwin Liu should run for elected office, not serve as a judge.”
The Wall Street Journal noted in an editoral against his confirmation that Liu would have been the “most left-wing judge ever”: