Today in Liberty: Trey Gowdy destroys Lois Lerner, Republicans push Internet sales tax again

“How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.” — Adam Smith

— KathLOLn SebLOLus: In case you haven’t heard, our dear Health and Human Services secretary has called it quits. Sebelius recently submitted to her resignation to President Obama, apparently in early March. He’s expected to, at some point today, appoint OMB Director Sylvia Burwell to succeed Sebelius.

What We Spend On Taxes Exceeds What We Spend On Food, Clothing

Each year, we celebrate Tax Freedom Day as the day we, as taxpayers, have earned all of the money we need to pay for the country’s tax bill for that year.

This year, however, our Tax Freedom Day will arrive a few days later.

Taxes have become a burden to all of us, which is why several lawmakers such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) favor a tax system reform and the implementation of a one-rate income tax system. While his dream is not reality, we’ll continue to work to sustain the government until April 21st this year.

According to the Tax Foundation, Americans will be spending more on taxes in 2014 than they will on food, clothing and housing. The full report estimates that the nation as a whole will be paying about $4.5 trillion dollars in state, local and federal taxes. At least $3 trillion of the total is going to the federal government while $1.5 trillion will be going to local and state governments.

This amounts to over 30 percent of the country’s income paid in taxes. Estimates indicate that Americans will be spending a little over $1.5 trillion with food, about half a trillion with clothing and a little over $2 trillion with housing.

Tax Freedom Day to arrive a few days later than last year

Tax Freedom Day will arrive on Monday, April 21 this year, three days later than it did last year, according to a report from the Tax Foundation.

“Tax Freedom Day is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay its total tax bill for year,” wrote Kyle Pomerleau and Lyman Stone. “In 2014, Americans will pay $3.0 trillion in federal taxes and $1.5 trillion in state taxes, for a total tax bill of $4.5 trillion, or 30.2 percent of income. This year, Tax Freedom Day falls on April 21, or 111 days into the year.”

The reason Tax Freedom Day falls three days later this year is because the United States economy is still growing at such a slow pace. If federal borrowing were included, Tax Freedom Day wouldn’t come until Tuesday, May 6.

Tax Freedom Day varies from state to state due to the differences in tax policies. Mississippi (April 2) and South Dakota (April 4), for example, have already paid their tax burden while Connecticut and New Jersey residents won’t pay their tax bill until May 9.

Tax Freedom Day by State

Tax Freedom Day came much earlier in the year in the early part of the 20th Century, but World War I-era tax pushed it back the date into February. It was all downhill from there, thanks to more tax hikes over the next several decades, thanks to tax hikes and increased federal spending. The latest federal Tax Freedom Day was recorded in May 1, 2000.

Today in Liberty: NSA watchdog left in dark about spying, Dem pundits see writing on the wall

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” — P.J. O’Rourke

— House GOP Obamacare alternative still missing: Republicans have made Obamacare repeal a central part of their campaign platform, but they’ve yet to coalesce around a single set of specific proposals to pitch to voters, even though there’s been a lot of talk about rolling out a plan this year. “Republicans aren’t even convinced they will find consensus on any specific set of new health care bills. The ideas they’re discussing — the ability to buy insurance across state lines, wider use of health savings accounts and cutting federal regulations — are the same principles they have kicked around since 2009,” wrote John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman. “But the party is not much closer to finding a proposal — or set of proposals — that would garner enough Republican support to pass the House.”

— Who’s watching the watchers?: The Defense Department’s internal watchdog was left in the dark about the NSA’s most controversial domestic surveillance program. “The bulk of that is in reviews that we have done, and in the collaborative work that we have done with the NSA IG,” Anthony Thomas, who is charged with oversight over the NSA, told The Guardian. “From my own personal knowledge, those programs, in and of themselves, I was not personally aware.” Oh, and he’s not investigating the NSA over the programs either, despite the ongoing controversy. That’s comforting.

Poll: Virginians less likely to back Medicaid expansion when tied to Obamacare

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) is currently traveling around the Commonwealth of Virginia to build support for his push to expand Medicaid and apply pressure to the Republican-controlled House of Delegates to get behind the biggest initiative of his nascent term in office.

Virginians, however, haven’t been swayed by McAuliffe’s arguments for Medicaid expansion, part of Obamacare made optional through the 2012 Supreme Court decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.

A poll commissioned by the Foundation for Government Accountability found that though likely voters initially support Medicaid expansion by a very small margin, their moods shift as they learn more about it.

Voters were first asked, “The Legislature and Governor are deciding whether or not to expand Virginia’s Medicaid program to give taxpayer-funded Medicaid health coverage to 400,000 mostly working-age, non-disabled adults with no kids. Knowing this, do you support or oppose expanding Medicaid in Virginia?”

Forty-two percent (42%) of voters said that they support Medicaid expansion, while 41% oppose it (numbers have been rounded). That’s within the poll’s +/- 4.5 margin of error. Around 13% were undecided.

Vermont struggling to finance single-payer healthcare system

Nearly four years after passage, Vermont lawmakers are trying to figure out how to cover the hefty price tag for the state’s single-payer healthcare system — known as Green Mountain Care — before its planned rollout in 2017, and there is pressure mounting on Gov. Peter Shumlin (D-VT) to scrap the plan after missed deadlines:

[E]ven Democrats say that plan, called Green Mountain Care, isn’t ready for its proposed 2017 rollout, and Rep. Jim Condon told Vermont Watchdog it’s time for Gov. Peter Shumlin to shelve the ambitious plan immediately.

“The deadlines for proposing financing have been missed two years in a row now, so to me that’s very disappointing. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that there is no financing plan,” Condon told Vermont Watchdog.
Sen. Bobby Starr, another Democrat who voted against Act 48, told Vermont Watchdog in January there’s “no way” single-payer can work without new taxes. Indeed, no lawmaker has introduced any bill that would finance single-payer health care without also raising taxes.

Today in Liberty: CPAC 2014 kicks off today, Crimea to hold secession referendum, NSA chief threatens press

“Sometimes you have to beat the Republicans before you beat the Democrats.” — Matt Kibbe

— Happy Anniversary, Rand Paul!: One year ago today, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) made history in the Senate by with a 13-hour talking filibuster against John Brennan’s CIA nomination. Though it didn’t stop Brennan’s confirmation, it did raise awareness to the Obama administration’s drone strikes policy and, almost single-handedly, changed public opinion on the issue. You see our coverage of the filibuster here and here. You can also watch the filibuster, if you have 13 hours to spare, in full via C-SPAN.

Stand With Rand

— CPAC  2014 begins today: The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the largest annual gathering of conservatives, will begin this morning at 9 am with a speech from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Other speakers today include Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). C-SPAN will air part of today’s events, beginning at 12:40 pm. Politico has a list of things to watch for this weekend.

Obama produces another tax and spend budget

President Barack Obama unveiled his $3.9 trillion budget for FY 2015, just days after Senate Democrats announced that they have no intention of trying to push through a budget in a what’s expected to be a contentious election year.

The proposal doesn’t offer anything in terms of new ideas or policy changes, though it does respect the budget framework agreed upon by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairs of the respective congressional budget committees, for FY 2015 before blowing past it in later years.

President Obama’s budget is more a nod to the leftist Democratic base than an actual blueprint for governing the country. It’s not passable, and the White House knows it. The proposal is so toxic that no vulnerable Democrat could support it and win reelection.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the budget would impose $1 trillion in new taxes over the next 10 years. Including new taxes and fees and rather rosy economic projections, the White House anticipates $3.15 trillion in new revenue through 2024, according to Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner.

Obama compares employer mandate delay to hardship exemption

President Barack Obama defended his administration’s latest delay of the employer mandate, telling reporters yesterday at a joint press conference with French President François Hollande that the purpose of the law “is not to punish” businesses.

“What we did [on Monday] was simply to make an adjustment in terms of their compliance, because for many of these companies, just the process of complying…may take them some time even if they’re operating in good faith,” President Obama said.

“[W]e want to make sure that the purpose of the law is not to punish them,” he said. “It’s simply to make sure that they are either providing health insurance to their employees or that they’re helping to bear the costs of their employees getting health insurance.”

Today in Liberty: Protest against government surveillance, Obamacare hitting small businesses

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” — George Orwell

— Internet-wide protest against government surveillance: Some of the most well-known tech firms and civil liberties organizations will participate tomorrow in “The Day We Fight Back,” an Internet-wide protest against government surveillance, hoping to replicate the success of protests two years ago against SOPA and PIPA. Organizers are also dedicating the event to Aaron Swartz, an online activist who committed suicide last year. He was facing federal charges at the time of his death. More than 4,500 websites are expected to participate in the protest, according to The Hill.

— Hardly any Democrat wants to campaign with Obama: Politico reports this morning that only a handful of Democrats running in races across the country gave an “unequivocal ‘yes’” when asked if they would campaign with President Obama.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.