Tagged: taxes

Ohio Republicans who voted to raise taxes

RINO SeasonThe Congress responded to the fiscal cliff it created by passing a bill that raises taxes by $41 for every $1 of spending cuts.

Our alleged “budget hawk,” US Senator Rob Portman voted “yes.” From our US House delegation, John Boehner, Bob Latta, Bill Johnson, Steve LaTourette (outgoing), Steve Stivers, and Pat Tiberi all voted “yes” to increase your taxes. These gentlemen all deserve to be primaried out of office when they stand for reelection in 2014.

Kudos to Ohio’s Republican US Representatives who stood strong and voted “no.” That would be Steve Austria (outgoing), Steve Chabot, Bob Gibbs, Jim Jordan, Jim Renacci, and Jean Schmidt (outgoing).

I’ll post the text of the bill once it’s available. You see, Congress also violated its pledge to post all legislation for public review online for 72 hours before voting on it.

Is it any wonder that Congress has a 5% approval rating?

Do the rich pay their fair share?

I have questions for people who say “the rich don’t pay their fair share.”

What counts as “rich” to you? Are we looking at net worth? Annual income? Households or individuals? What’s the cutoff for “fair share,” pray tell? 40% of income? 50%? 75%? 100%? Or are we talking about confiscating wealth instead of just income? Should there be salary/wage ceilings?

Effective Federal Tax Rate



fair share

Taxes & Spending

Define the terms you incessantly bleat about, or shut up.

Did the Supreme Court limit the Commerce Clause?

As you read this post, keep these words in the front of your mind: “the opinion of the Court.”

In Part III-A of his published opinion on the Obamacare case, Chief Justice Roberts explained that he would forbid Congress from relying on the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution to pass legislation to force you to buy something. Plenty of conservatives — and even a few leftists — seem to think that his opinion on the Commerce Clause is also the formal opinion of the Supreme Court. Not so.

Here’s the very first paragraph of the published ruling, taken from page 7 of the PDF file.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, and III–C, an opinion with respect to Part IV, in which JUSTICE BREYER and JUSTICE KAGAN join, and an opinion with respect to Parts III–A, III–B, and III–D.

See that highlighted text? Part III-A is where Roberts fleshes out his theories about the limits of the Commerce Clause, but that doesn’t change a damn thing. Part III-A is obiter dictum (often shortened to dictum or dicta), a fancy Latin term that means “this is a part of the written opinion where the judge yammers on about something or other, but it isn’t part of the court’s formal ruling, so it isn’t controlling precedent and you can ignore it.”

Go read the opinion, and look at the beginning of Part III-A and compare it to the beginning of Part III-C.

Roberts opinion, Part III-A Roberts opinion, Part III-C

You have to pay attention to details when you read a Supreme Court opinion. The Obamacare case did not rein in Congress’ use of the Commerce Clause. Chief Justice Roberts wrote his opinion about it, but not enough justices joined him to make it the official, binding opinion of the Court. They did join him in Part III-C, where he upheld the individual mandate by magically rewriting the law as a tax. Part III-C is indeed the opinion of the Court.

Want an even simpler explanation of what Chief Justice Roberts tried to achieve?

Commerce Clause or Taxing Power?

Always look for the opinion of the Court. Let Mark Levin explain it for you.

Do we have a revenue problem?

Take a look at the average American’s share of federal revenue and spending from 1920 to now, adjusted for inflation to the value of a dollar in the year 2005. Click the chart to see it at full size.

We do not have a revenue problem

Since around 1995, the amount of revenue Uncle Sam has been able to squeeze out of the average American has leveled off between $6000 and $8000 per year, suggesting that we’ve hit the practical limit. Historically, the most revenue the federal government can expect to raise is an average of 18% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product; the entire annual American economy). In brief boom times or during existential threats like World War II, the federal government can squeeze more than 18% out of the economy, but it never lasts long. No matter how hard Uncle Sam tries, the biggest average chunk he can grab is locked in at 18% of the economy, because people respond to taxes.

In the seventeen years since 1995, Uncle Sam’s borrowing and spending has not leveled off. The average American’s share is past $10,000 per year and climbing. Our debt is piling up faster than we can repay it. The “recovery” from the late 2008 economic crash has been flat for years, but Uncle Sam keeps pushing the gas pedal down as we drive toward the edge of the cliff.

There is no more revenue to be had.

Squeezing blood from a stoneIf the federal government raises taxes it can only collect more than 18% of the economy for a short period, and then revenue will drop again, as always. If the government keeps borrowing — or tries to print boatloads of money — to feed its spending addiction, the inflation rate will skyrocket. That will destroy the value of the dollar, which will destroy the economy and your life’s savings.

As long as “money out” is a bigger number than “money in,” the national debt will grow and you’ll be on the hook for it. It will sink the economy as surely as that iceberg sank the Titanic. “Money in” is not going to get bigger, but “money out” absolutely will keep getting bigger as long as we keep sending the same progressives to Washington. They won’t stop themselves. Only we can stop them by replacing them with sane people who will reduce “money out” until it’s a lot lower than “money in,” and keep it there for generations. We can either take our medicine now and have an unpleasant experience, or we can keep deceiving ourselves and watch America collapse. There is no third option. The insane big-spending politicians in Washington are going to ruin your life and your children’s lives unless you stop them. Listen to the warning and save your country and your family.

We do not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either misinformed, a fool, or a liar.

Eminent domain questions for Blackwell & Petro

I just e-mailed the gubernatorial campaigns of Ken Blackwell and Jim Petro and asked the following question:

Would [candiate name here] support Ohio legislation to permanently prohibit the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes (see Kelo v. New London)?

I realize that the Ohio legislature passed a temporary moratorium on this kind of government taking, which expires in December. I asked instead about a permanent ban.
I’ll let you know how the candidates reply, if at all. My guess is that at least one (and maybe both) will duck the issue and defer to the “Legislative Task Force to Study Eminent Domain and Its Use and Application in the State”, which will release its first report on April 1st.

Who are you calling stingy?

A mere two days after a tsunami killed nearly 40,000 people in Asia and Africa, the Bush administration has made an initial pledge of $15 million for relief efforts in Asia. But that’s not fast enough for some people:

“The United States, at the president’s direction, will be a leading partner in one of the most significant relief, rescue and recovery challenges that the world has ever known,” said White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy.
But U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being “stingy” with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.
“It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really,” the Norwegian-born U.N. official told reporters. “Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become.”
“There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy,” he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe “believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It’s not true. They want to give more.”

Where to begin?

  1. In what probably comes as a surprise to Mr. Egeland, tax revenue can’t be instantly increased here in America. We have this messy and inconvenient thing called a republic, where tax increases are debated by the taxpayers’ representatives, followed by something called a “vote.”
  2. An appeal to Christmas spirit coming from a European technocrat makes about as much sense as an appeal to modesty coming from Paris Hilton.
  3. Taxpayers can and do give more. It’s known as “charity”, something Americans are known for worldwide. Forcible taxation isn’t the only source of revenue known to humankind.
  4. If my memory’s correct, American taxpayers already cover something like 1/4 of the UN budget, including Mr. Egeland’s salary. That sounds like a good source of money to tap, in an effort to begin rectifying our “stinginess.” When Mr. Egeland offers to cut his own salary or make a public and “non-stingy” donation, I’ll treat him more seriously.
  5. Three words: Oil For Food.

Somebody give this guy a balled up sock, a roll of tape, and an instruction sheet.

UPDATE: David Limbaugh points out more ingratitude from our betters at the NY Times, who call America … wait for it … “stingy.”
UPDATE 2: Amen to Cliff May.
UPDATE 3: Stingy? Feh.

Pigs take wing

Michelle Malkin notes a tax revolt in progress … in Berkeley, California! The columnist writing about the backlash, Louis Freedberg, bends over backward to explain the opposition to confiscatory tax rates while remaining true to his big-government roots:

It would be easy to explain what’s happening as a sign that Berkeley, the home of the Free Speech Movement and the the first city to pass a divestment ordinance against apartheid South Africa, is losing its progressive edge.
But that would be a faulty analysis. After all, similar measures went down to defeat in other bastions of progressivism, such as San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Statewide, voters rejected 120 out of 186 tax measures placed on the November ballot by cities and counties.

Wrong, Louis. It means that even liberals get angry when it’s their own money being vaccuumed away by overreaching government. Even in San Francisco and Santa Cruz.

As someone who has lived for much of his adult life in Berkeley — and willingly paid extra property taxes so Berkeley could remain one of the world’s most livable and innovative communities — even I couldn’t bring myself to vote for all the latest tax measures this time around.

If you financially bleed a blue-stater long enough his blood will turn red … even if it’s Louis Freedberg.

I was incensed to see President Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger make cutting taxes the centerpiece of their respective campaigns — and winning. I realized that voters in Berkeley (and San Francisco, and other similar communities who are not against taxes on ideological grounds) have in effect been enabling Bush and Schwarzenegger to continue on their anti-tax crusades. By continually voting to impose higher taxes on ourselves to keep essential services going, we have made it easier for them to carry on as if the taxes they’re cutting weren’t needed in the first place.
Whatever the causes, the results of the tax cut backlash aren’t pretty. Berkeley will have to figure out how to cut $7.5 million from next year’s budget. San Francisco and other Bay Area communities are even worse off. Yet our brave tax-cutting leaders in Sacramento and Washington continue give back taxes while they raid local treasuries. Just this year, Bates said, the state appropriated $1.6 million in local property taxes that should have gone to the city. ”It’s the big fish eating the little fish,” he said.
Now the little fish are fighting back.

I feel like Brer Rabbit begging begging Brer Fox not to toss me into the briar patch. Please, Berkeley voters, do whatever you like … but don’t “hurt” us by voting down more tax measures!

Attention, Ohio GOP: your bus may be leaving

The outgoing Republican president of Colorado’s Senate digs through the entrails of the Democrat election victory there and identifies some themes that look eerily familiar to Ohio conservatives.

It was motivation, above all, that powered this Democrat victory. Democrats were driven and hungry from decades in the political wilderness. Republicans were complacent and soft from too long in power. Their motive for winning was to get in there and do things. Ours, it often seemed, was merely to stay in there. These attitudes translated into discipline and unity for Democrats, indulgence and disunity for Republicans. GOP factionalism was endemic and fatal.
The message gap was a consequence of this motivation gap. Democrats talked about making Colorado a better state, about not letting Republicans cut cherished programs, and about the GOP’s supposed obsession with “gays, guns, and God.” Republicans talked about … what? Other than denying their charges and hurling some back, we pretty much punted. Republican candidates picked their own issues locally. Churchill would have called it a pudding with no theme.
Our campaign had what one analyst termed a sort of Nixon-Ford tiredness and blandness. I had considered, back in 2003, framing a conservative Contract with Colorado to provide a single, statewide framework for all 75 state Senate and House races. But after sizing up the competing intra-party fiefdoms and tensions, I decided not to start that fight. Mea culpa; I should have fought.

“A Nixon-Ford tiredness and blandness” pretty accurately describes our own Governor Bob Taft, scion of a powerful old Ohio family and a politician whose strongest claim to conservatism seems to be the (R) appended to his name. He opposed the recently-enacted concealed carry legislation, opposed the gay marriage ban, and didn’t earn himself the nickname “Governor Tax” by accident.
Three Republicans have announced their intent to replace Taft when term limits force him to step down in 2006: State Auditor Betty Montgomery, State Attorney General Jim Petro, and Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (toward whom I’m leaning at the moment, since he’s been burnishing his conservative credentials).
Ohio Republicans need to find a bona fide fiscal and social conservative to take Bob Taft’s place. Once we have that candidate identified, we need to round up support early, before our tired and unimaginative party leaders anoint someone more “safe.” Pushing a bland pudding with no theme on Ohio voters isn’t going to get Republicans elected to state offices. Just look at what happened in Colorado.
Then we need to identify districts with retiring or vulnerable Representatives and Senators in both parties, and cajole some conservative businessmen, military vets, and civic leaders to step forward and run for office. A truly conservative Legislature will cut our high tax burden and rein in spending, while returning our government to the pro-family and tough-on-crime stance that Ohio voters obviously want.
Party discipline matters, but party survival’s more important. The Ohio GOP has gotten fat and lazy. It’s time to clear out the deadwood before the Democrats do it for us. My Senator lives two streets away, so I’ll start the grilling here. Who’s with me?

Quick, get that on tape!

In her remarks at a Democrat fundraiser in San Francisco on Monday, Hillary Clinton revealed her agenda:

“Many of you are well enough off that … the tax cuts may have helped you,” Sen. Clinton said. “We’re saying that for America to get back on track, we’re probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”

She goofed and told the truth. Hillary, meet Mr. Woodshed.