Taxes

Just what we need: Flights even more pricey due to asinine bipartisan blunder. Thanks, Congress!

Shortly after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) reached a budget deal in December with his Senate counterpart, Patty Murray (D-WA), he declared that the agreement “reduces the deficit — without raising taxes.” Well, that depends on your definition of a tax.

Thanks to the Ryan-Murray budget deal, the fee tax passengers pay to fly to fund the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — known as the “September 11th security fee” — more than doubled on Monday, from $2.50 to $5.60 per one-way flight:

The current fee is $2.50 for a non-stop flight or $5 for a connecting flight. The new fee will be $5.60 for all flights, with any connection longer than four hours counting as a separate flight.
[…]
Congress agreed to the increase in December to raise $12.6 billion to cut the deficit. TSA estimates the hike will generate $16.9 billion more than current collections.

“In accordance with federal law, the revenue generated from the security fee will be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury,” said David Castelveter, a TSA spokesman. “The revenue is to be used to offset TSA costs for providing civil aviation security services, after stipulated amounts are applied to reduction of the federal deficit.”

CBO once again shows that Washington’s budget deficits will be driven by out-of-control spending, not a lack of revenue

spending

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has, once again, issued a dire warning about the long-term fiscal problems facing the United States. But one has to wonder if how many elected officials on Capitol Hill are listening.

The good news, according to a report released yesterday, is budget deficits are expected to decline over the next few years and Medicare is doing a little better than it was last year. The bad news is that Medicare is still broken, Social Security is even worse off, and the share of the national debt held by the public is at its highest point since World War II and that’s only going to get worse.

“If current laws remained generally unchanged in the future, federal debt held by the public would decline slightly relative to GDP over the next few years,” the CBO report explains. “After that, however, growing budget deficits would push debt back to and above its current high level.”

“Twenty-five years from now, in 2039, federal debt held by the public would exceed 100 percent of GDP, CBO projects,” the report continues. “Moreover, debt would be on an upward path relative to the size of the economy, a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely.”

The public share of the national debt is currently at 74 percent, almost double what it was in 2008. Here is a look at the debt projections from the CBO report:

This is ridiculous: Americans worked until July 6 to pay Washington’s spending tab

Each year, Americans across the nation anxiously wait for the moment they can declare themselves done with working enough days, weeks and months to have paid their taxes and their share of the U.S. regulatory spending for that given year.

In 2014, this particular day fell on July 6th.

You see, Independence Day may have been celebrated on the 4th of July, but the average American only became free to earn his or her own money after the 6th.

As Americans for Tax Reform recently pointed out, the Cost of Government Day (COGD) didn’t fall in July until President Obama took office. Up until the moment Barack Obama had been sworn in, Americans celebrated their COGD before June 27th.

Federal spending may have shown modest signs of a decrease since 2013, for which Americans for Tax Reform thanked Republicans in Washington, but federal regulatory costs have added an extra burden to the national debt.

As it stands, government costs 51 percent of the GDP, meaning that most average workers must give 121 days of their working lives only to cover spending. Americans must work for at least 65 days to cover the increasing costs of regulations.

Ludwig von Mises wrote in his famous book of analytical criticism of socialism entitled Socialism that “state interference in economic life (…) has done nothing but destroy economic life.” He then insightfully concluded his statement by saying: “prohibitions and regulations have by their general obstructive tendency fostered the growth of the spirit of wastefulness.”

Barack Obama hates America — that’s the only conclusion you can draw after nearly six years of terrible economic policies

This is pretty douchetastic. In an Independence Day eve speech at the DC-based tech firm 1776, President Barack Obama — the worst president since World War II — suggested that Republicans don’t have enough “economic patriotism” to work with him to get the economy moving again:

“[W]e can make even more progress if Congress is willing to work with my administration and to set politics aside, at least occasionally, which I know is what the American people are urgently looking for,” Obama said Thursday at 1776. “It’s a sort of economic patriotism where you say to yourself, how is it that we can start rebuilding this country to make sure that all of the young people who are here but their kids and their grandkids are going to be able to enjoy the same incredible opportunities that this country offers as we have. That’s our job. That’s what we should be focused on. And it’s worth remembering as we go into Independence Day.”

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

Sorry, but this is ridiculous. President Barack Obama’s idea of working with Republicans is for them to do what he wants without asking questions. He doesn’t view Congress as a coequal branch of government, but rather a minor inconvenience that he can go around pretty much whenever he wants.

What’s more, if President Obama wants to start throwing around the term “economic patriotism” so loosely, then his own record should be open for discussion. The most recent recession, for example, officially ended six years ago, in June 2008.

North Carolina voters hate the Obama-backed Internet sales tax, but Kay Hagan supports it anyway

North Carolinians aren’t all that fond of the proposed Marketplace Fairness Act, the Orwellian name given to the Internet sales tax. A recent poll conducted on behalf of the National Taxpayers Union and the R Street Institute found that an overwhelming 70 percent of likely Tar Heel State voters oppose the measure:

The poll, based on a telephone survey of 400 North Carolinians likely to vote in the 2014 general election, showed that 70 percent of respondents oppose the legislation, known as the Marketplace Fairness Act. Opponents say the measure would force online businesses to line the pockets of other states and face scrutiny from out-of-state auditors, while supporters of the bill contend that it levels the playing field between online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

“Across the board, there is surprisingly large opposition to changing the law to impose a sort of Internet sales tax collection burden,” said Andrew Moylan, executive director and senior fellow at the R Street Institute.
[…]
The push against the legislation comes mostly from political conservatives, but Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, said the poll reveals opposition to the bill from voters of varying political backgrounds and consumer habits.

“Not only those who shop online were concerned about this issue, but those who hardly ever shop online at all,” Sepp said at a Tuesday news conference. “They understand that what this amounts to is a massive expansion of tax enforcement power.”

Obamacare train wreck continues: States are trying to figure out how to pay for their exchanges

States that opted to create their own Obamacare exchanges aren’t going to be able to rely on funding from the Obama administration to operate their health insurance websites in 2015 as well as future open enrollment periods, leaving them to looking for other ways to keep the costly systems up and running smoothly.

Sarah Kliff at Vox explains that the 15 states that plan to operate exchanges when the next open enrollment period opens later this fall will have to find a way to find the websites, including levying a tax on health insurers and/or dipping into their general funds:

Most state exchanges plan to rely, in least in part, on charging health insurers a fee for selling coverage. So far, the fees set for 2015 range from 1 percent of the monthly premium in the District of Columbia and Vermont to 3.5 percent in Minnesota. Some states also charged fees in 2014, in order to begin generating revenue further in advance, while others are implementing them for the first time.

Figuring out the right level for the fee is a difficult task that involves a lot of predictions about what Obamacare will look like in 2015.

“It’s not just anticipating how many people will enroll but also how much premiums are going to be,” Avalere’s Carpenter says. “The question of long-term sustainability is certainly going to take some time to figure out.”
[…]
Some states are turning to their legislature to help foot the bill for the new insurance exchange. New York State of Health, for example, will rely completely on appropriations from the state to finance its web portal.

Get government out of the way: Ending subsidies and bailouts for crony industries will lower consumers’ costs

all the things

From dire warnings about imminent hyperinflation to the leftist dismissal of the risk of any inflation at all to Internet memes showing near-empty grocery carts now costing ONE BILLION dollars, the debate over rising prices won’t be settled anytime soon. Some prices have gone up, some have gone down, yet government measure of inflation hasn’t budged much in the last few years.

There has been a graph floating around for a few months now showing the difference in price increases and decreases for consumers over the last 10 years. It appeared first in an April New York Times story about how we define poverty. It then showed up on Twitter this morning with some annotations highlighting government’s role in those increases or decreases. Here’s a slightly better looking version:

prices

At the very least this shows a clear correlation between government subsidies and tax credits and consumer price increases.

College tuition is paid for largely by student loans, which were absorbed by the federal government in early 2010. State governments also provide funding for the schools themselves. Tuition has subsequently increased over 40% over the last 10 years, and in some places has doubled.

Hardworking Americans shouldn’t be forced to finance Washington cronies

 See How Cronyism Affects You

Americans had to work until April 21 this year to pay their tax bill to the federal government, according to the Tax Foundation. Adding in the borrowing used to finance the red ink in the budget this year — after all, deficit spending is a tax — Tax Freedom Day wouldn’t have come until May 6.

Taxpayers work hard to provide for themselves and their families, only to have to fork over huge chunks of their incomes to feed the leviathan in Washington. And while many have heard of the big government programs and wasteful pork-barrel spending that politicians from both parties feverishly protect, others are less well-known.

In a new video, The Daily Signal, a new project of the Heritage Foundation, explains that Americans’ hard-earned dollars are being used by politicians to enrich their politically-connected friends and pick winners and losers in the marketplace through agencies like the Export-Import Bank.

Surprise! CBO isn’t able to determine the fiscal impact of Obamacare

When the White House and Democrats rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2010, they told Americans that the price tag for the law would be under $1 trillion in the first 10 years and it would reduce the deficit.

Those initial estimates have proven to be wishful thinking. The most recent update found that the net-cost of Obamacare will be nearly $1.5 trillion, as the more costly provisions of the law come into focus, and will contribute to budget deficits.

But it may actually be worse than that. Roll Call reports that the Congressional Budget Office is no longer able to determine Obamacare’s fiscal impact due to delays of key tax provisions:

Four years after enactment of what is widely viewed as President Barack Obama’s key legislative achievement, however, it’s unclear whether the health care law is still on track to reduce the deficit or whether it may actually end up adding to the federal debt. In fact, the answer to that question has become something of a mystery.

John Boehner just doesn’t get it: The difference between the Tea Party and ‘average’ Republicans is enormous

John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) tried to downplay suggestions that there is discontent inside the Republican Party, telling reporters that he doesn’t think there’s much of a difference between the Tea Party and the “average conservative Republican” in Congress:

“I think the tea party has brought great energy to our political process,” he said in response to a question about Tuesday’s primaries, adding that he expects many Republican candidates will continue to adopt the tea party mantle in the future. But he disputed suggestions of a rift between traditional Republicans and upstart tea party-backed candidates.

“There’s not that big a difference between what you call the tea party and your average conservative Republican,” he said. “We’re against Obamacare, we think taxes are too high, we think government is too big. I wouldn’t continue to sing that same song.”

What’s this “we” stuff? This is the same John Boehner who derided and mocked conservative and Tea Party groups that opposed the Republican surrender on the sequester and his leadership team threatened principled conservatives who planned to vote against last year’s budget deal that authorized more deficit spending.


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