08/3/11

Fairness? Raise Taxes on the Middle Class

By: Jason Ivey
Tea Party Tribune

Let’s talk about fairness. As President Obama himself explained in a debate back in 2008, the tax code isn’t and shouldn’t be structured for maximizing either revenue or economic growth.

It’s about fairness. And by fairness, he means a highly progressive system where a small percentage of the population known as “the rich” (a group continually being defined down) pays more and more of their income to the Treasury, ostensibly to be redistributed to those who “need it,” with need being defined by Obama and his gangs of central planners.

In the current “unfair” system Obama ostensibly disdains, the wealthiest 1% of households pay 38% of all income taxes, the top 5% (those earning more than $160,000) account for 59% of all federal income taxes, while a Tax Policy Center study showed the bottom 45% paid no income taxes in 2010.

Looking at these numbers, anyone truly concerned with fairness — not vengeance — must conclude the wealthy are shouldering an unfair burden in a system in which they stand to benefit the least.

Obviously we all pay taxes of one sort or another. There are payroll taxes, Social Security taxes, property taxes, sales taxes. At the local and state levels, the wealthiest pay a higher percentage of the tax burden, because they’re buying more expensive properties and purchasing a greater number of goods and services with their disposable income.

But they benefit equally from laws protecting their property, police and fire departments, roads, public schools, and public parks and institutions. (Those who send their kids to private schools pay the cost of those schools plus the cost of the public school, for which they receive nothing in return.) Those who pay less or nothing have equal access to these protections and services.

No doubt one could argue there are affluent communities around the country that enjoy greater police protection than their lower income neighbors. Is this fair? More affluent communities pay more for the benefit of everyone else and the upkeep of their property only raises the value of surrounding areas.

They’re not only paying a much higher percentage of the cost of police protection, but the value of the property they’re protecting is worth more as well. In an aggregate sense, an increase in crime will lower the value of an affluent area, which in turn will lower the value of the surrounding areas as well. At the federal level, national defense is arguably an equally shared benefit.

Defending the country and our national interests is in the interest of all citizens, regardless of income level. But national defense accounts for roughly 20% of the federal budget and is a shrinking percentage of both the budget and GDP.

The recent debt ceiling debate presented another opportunity for the president and his class warfare brothers-and-sisters-in-arms to roll out their standard rhetorical lines. We heard the usual refrains about protecting oil companies and yacht and jet owners, about corporations sending jobs overseas; and best of all, the moral tug of “shared sacrifice.” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D., RI) stated that Republicans are talking about “protecting the top 400 income earners of the country… people who made on average of more than a quarter-billion… in one year.”

Taken at face value then, we’re to believe “fairness” and “shared sacrifice” means 400 people out of a nation of 307 million will be paying for the vast majority of the salaries of unionized federal workers, the running of the federal government itself, regulatory agencies, frivolous programs, national defense and entitlements; not to mention the interest on the national debt, which now stands at over $14 trillion, most of which results from the entitlements going to the other 306,999,600 citizens of America.

But yet, when our ruling class in Washington breaks the bank, they call on the very people who create and innovate and build and employ the most, because, well, that’s just not enough. Fork it over, pay your fair share and save the country from default. It’s your patriotic duty.

If raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans was really about generating enough revenue to make a serious dent in deficit and debt levels, they’d have to go much further than a repeal of the Bush tax rates. In fact, if the federal government were to cover spending through tax revenue rather than cutting, according to the group Public Policy, the top rate would have to go from 35% to 88%, the middle tier from 25% to 63%, and the lowest tier from 25% to 63%. That’s what shared sacrifice actually looks like.

Considering 99% of the population isn’t the 1% that pays 38% of all federal income taxes, it’s easy for people to succumb to the temptation of believing it’s “someone else’s problem.” They can afford it. But if “someone else’s problem” were to become their own problem, they’d most likely revolt. Most of those who favor soaking the rich likely aren’t aware of the burden they already shoulder.

A New York Times/CBS News poll from April found 72% of Americans thought people making more than $250,000 a year should pay more in taxes. There’s no evidence responders to the poll were told before they were asked what those people already pay.

Other polls show half of respondents believe middle-income earners carry the heaviest load. But a 2009 Resurgent Republic poll found that 69% of registered voters, including 62% of registered Democrats, want to keep at least 80% of what they earn.

If we’re seriously going to entertain the notion of covering spending through taxation (let’s eschew the nauseatingly in vogue “revenue,” shall we?) then let’s look and see where the money is. The accompanying graph (courtesy of the IRS) shows the big fat pile of money right there in the doughy middle. If you’re serious about taking in more money, then the money can be found amongst the middle-class, the sweet spot being earners making between $100K and $200K per year. This chart alone should be enough to nuke the argument that we can tax-the-rich our way out of our debt problem.

Conservative and so-called Supply Siders have pointed for decades to the Laffer Curve, which graphically illustrates marginal tax rates that result in the greatest amount of tax revenue. Accepting the Laffer Curve as factual may be accurate, but by focusing on maximizing revenue conservatives play into the notion that tax and economic policy motivates from what’s best for Government, not what’s best for society or individuals.

Alas, current tax policy is not about maximizing revenue, it’s about — as Obama said — fairness. Fairness defined by someone else. Democrats have convinced enough of the electorate to believe fairness means “someone else pays for it.” Our president and our legislators now openly use language like “those who can afford it” and “money they don’t need.” This implies politicians — or anyone, for that matter — can declare an acceptable amount of income necessary or needed. The rest is surplus, to be redistributed as our philosopher kings dictate. Or, as Michael Moore stated, money belongs to the collective, not the individual. Income becomes something allowable, and that which is allowable can be limited. And as we continue to define wealth down, how long before that addition to the house or that new refrigerator or four-door sedan becomes something else not really “needed?” Those who think they’re immune now will soon discover a different story.

Democrats use tax policy to garner as many votes as possible and to engineer social policy. Over the years they’ve successfully lowered the income tax burden to near zero for half the population, who will ostensibly continue voting for politicians who promise to spare them and stick it to someone else.

Their arguments appeal to the worst traits of humanity; in fact, several are included in the Seven Deadly Sins: greed, pride, lust, envy. Considering their arguments make no sense for either maximizing government revenue or economic growth, the entire basis for their policies boils down to exploiting some of humanity’s worst traits, setting themselves up in the role of dividers and conquerors.

Whenever I hear someone say “They don’t need that much money,” my response is to ask what they might do with all that “extra” money they don’t need. Will they hide it under their pillows, keeping it from hungry hands? Or might they spend it on something, something someone else builds, services or provides? Might they hire landscapers or buy expensive dinners? Perhaps they will buy that yacht. And when they do, into whose hands does that money fall? And those people will continue building those products and providing those services because someone else wants them.

The government could take that money and pay people to dig ditches and fill them back in, as Milton Friedman said. But who does that benefit? And there lies the question so few think to ask. An economy built on paper IOUs will eventually crumble, as we’re seeing across Europe and here in the U.S. Money spent by government is often just the passing around of imaginary value. Real value comes from work and usefulness.

Therefore, tax policy is as much a moral issue as it is a fiscal one. When the left defines “fairness” as using coercive force to take money from those who have it to give to those who want it, they’re punishing hard work and real value while rewarding those who will vote to keep themselves on the receiving end. They’ve created a system where a sliver of people provide a highly disproportionate share of the benefits and protections of government to the many. The contributions are not equal and neither are the benefits.

Not only is such a system unfair, as would be described in regards to any other circumstance, but it poses a threat to democracy. Assuming people will vote with their own self interests, those paying little to nothing in taxes will continue voting for those who vow to place that burden on someone else. They accept more of the benefits and face little to none of the cost. It’s impossible to keep government in check from overreach and overspending when those voting face none of the perceivable consequences.

If we’re really going to talk “fairness” and “shared sacrifice,” then we need to talk about spreading the burden of government around. If there were such a thing as fairness, the wealthiest would pay fewer taxes and would be celebrated for their talents and contributions to the rest of society.

The middle class would pay more than the paltry 2.7% (or 0%) they pay today, and would therefore have a greater stake in where that money goes. As long as it’s someone else’s money — whether the jetting-and-yachting rich or the treasury-buying Chinese — the disputes in Washington are someone else’s problem. Real tax reform is not about revenue, it’s about morality and a responsible government accountable to a responsible citizenry.

By sharing more of the cost of government, the vast majority of Americans can stop thinking about how to funnel more money to themselves from someone else, and more about how a large share of their working life is spent providing funds to a government that should act in the interests of all its citizens, equally. “Fairness” is a much flatter tax system where everyone has a stake.

Perhaps it’s time the middle class started paying their fair share.

08/3/11

NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT IT, CONGRESS HAS FAILED US… AGAIN

By: Dave Logan
ThirdWaveDave

You know it’s a bad day when the ChiComs and Russians share the same conclusions pertaining to the failed attempts by congress to at least slow the economic destruction of America. I’m not so naive to think the ChiComs and Russians aren’t playing against us and using this debt crisis as an opportunity to slam us in the world-wide press, but the truth of the matter is, they are correct. Congress failed in all respects, never coming close to addressing the problems forced upon the American taxpayers.

The failure in congress wasn’t because they didn’t know how to approach the problem, they simply didn’t want hometown politics to take a bite out of their collective asses come election time (business as usual.) The will of the American people has again been ignored–few, if any, will get a pass this time around.

The debt vote has been analyzed seven ways to Sunday, ranging from a “good start” to “absolute failure of leadership” to “disaster.” I agree with the latter two. This was no time to take half a loaf, especially knowing we held all the cards at the table. It simply took a spine and a simple understanding of the sheer magnitude of the economic catastrophe facing us.

Below is a quote from a Bloomberg article:

“China, the largest foreign investor in U.S. government securities, joined Russia in criticizing American policy makers for failing to ensure borrowing is reined in after a stopgap deal to raise the nation’s debt limit.

“People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said China’s central bank will monitor U.S. efforts to tackle its debt, and state-run Xinhua News Agency blasted what it called the “madcap” brinksmanship of American lawmakers. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said two days ago that the U.S. is in a way “leeching on the world economy.”

08/3/11

A strong message to the RNC and NRSC

By: Andrea Shea King
The Radio Patriot

The other night while dining with politi-pals in Orlando, the conversation got a bit passionate over the role the RNC played in helping 2010 candidates get elected, and the viability of the organization now. I was told by the RNC defenders among us that contributions have reached a record high, disputing my contention that campaign contributions are better sent directly to individual candidates. And that the RNC is Establishment Washington ruling class GOP elite and as such, no longer has a place at the table now being set with teacups and teapots by a growing number of Tea Drinkers.

Fast forward to the present, less than 48 hours later….

In a totally unrelated set of circumstances but making my point, I just now received an email from Big Dave in Dallas, in which he described a conversation he had today with an NRSC telephone solicitor. I’ll let him tell the story.

Got one this morning from the National Republican Senatorial Committee…

I told him not one frickin’ dime. He switched ON, he was VERY compelling… clearly had been fighting this phenomenon for some time.. “we can’t win unless we’re together”…

I told him unity without principle is WORSE than division, because it enacts BAD policy that sinks the country and people pretend to have won victories. We talked about Angle and O’Donnell, and he insisted they’d given the maximum allowed by law to every candidate.. $42k. I asked him if the RSNC had sent any spokespeople to campaign with those two or organize anything above and beyond the money, which I told him I could probably raise on my BLOCK because ordinary people are so angry now. He got smart aleck, saying it was nice that I lived in such a good neighborhood that I could raise that much money on my block.. that REALLY pissed me off… because it isn’t the WEALTH I’m talking about, it’s the ANGER, people are involved now like never before, giving like never before, to CANDIDATES. After he realized how much I understood about current politics, he condescendingly suggested that I should run for the Senate. What an ass. But he was determined.

IN the end he failed. And he knew it. It was a matter of who would hang up first, so I did. 🙂

Of course they didn’t HELP O’Donnell or Angle. Republicans were already upset about them having won primaries, already expecting them to lose and unwilling to “taint” themselves by supporting the “extreme” candidates. I am certain many Republicans helped Murkowski beat Miller on the sly. And when I pointed out Fiorina and Whitman lost also, he loudly defended Republicans by saying NO REPUBLICAN CAN WIN IN CALIFORNIA, so their losses were meaningless! So why not yank all republican spending from there and get busy in places we can win? What an idiot.

But we had our hang-up contest (which I won 🙂 before I could ask him if any real constitutional conservatives had run in California in the last thirty years.

It’s my view that no LIBERAL republican can win, because liberal voters just vote for the MORE liberal democrat. But nobody tries a conservative candidate there. Because the Republican party disdains them, PERIOD. They will NEVER try, and this man’s comment proves it. The Republicans have given up on California.

Is that not the cruelest thing anyone can imagine? How much suffering will be inflicted there, how many families uprooted, impoverished, forced to go somewhere like Texas even though they don’t want to leave and have nothing to leave with? And how likely is is that California will someday be some kind of communist outpost from which they will threaten the rest of us?

Our party has abandoned the Golden State. The RNSC guy said so.

Another participant in this email thread replied with his experience. Here’s Shawn:

Either way, to relate a similar experience with the NRSC and RNC I was, at one time a max out contributor and as you might imagine, they continue to send one after another of the “you’re soooo important, you’re so exclusive, here is this so very special one of a kind card!” Please give again, oh please please please!?

I received a telephone call from XXX himself imploring me to return to my generous ways… Here is my response, though not verbatim, pretty close:

“Mr. XXX, (Call me XXX, Shawn, call me XXX!) Mr. XXX, I have no disrespect for you personally, and in many respects your resume of public ‘service’ in office is one you should be proud of; however, I have to say, the actions, inaction, and general misconduct of the Republican Party as a whole is despicable at best. The values that once accurately described ‘a republican’ is virtually extinct in this day and time.

You ventured from our core values, from fiscal responsibility, and from Constitutional governance in favor of nuanced debate on issues that have no place in political discussion when our country is in such dire circumstances, morally, ethically, fiscally, and spiritually. The abandonment of truly conservative candidates because they ventured from the middle is the act of cowards and I will not be aligned with cowards. The cowardice is one which I would have never tolerated in the Navy, nor in Executive Protective Team and I will not tolerate it in political circles either.

I am a Constitutional Conservative, call me an RWE if you like, fail to defend me if your fiber is so weak, but I will stand for our founding documents, their values and what I believe to be Divine direction for our country that is now so obviously abandoned. Let us speak the truth, let us speak it unashamed. Call Obama what he is, caring not for the skin color you share as a tool of battle but as an immaterial fact that has no place in the discussion or consideration. Call out the TREASONOUS acts of Reid, Pelosi, and so many more. Call out for a deeper discussion of Obama’s past, present, and future replete with FACTS not speeches. Call him out and those who fall entranced to his frilly whipped up emotionalism speeches with no fact, in fact a bucket full of plain out lies that we CAN Document for Pete’s sake!

Stop being chickens! We just are represented by a bunch of wimps! This is not how this country was founded, nor is it how we are going to save it this time around.” I shared this same information directly with the NRA, NRA-ILA etc.

As many of you know, we protected Christine O’Donnell pre-primary through today and I can tell you, the NRSC and the NRC were not only NOT helpful, they were destructive. They are cads, heels, and as Mr. Perkins says the French say, BASTARDS!

Michele Bachman is quite simply a SHEro! She is fearless, direct, truthful, and passionate about the truth we face in our country. We are not saved by nuance, we are saved by our acknowledgment of the truth, and then boldly, albeit painfully acting upon that which we know. The hard words bring rational and real solutions without encumbrance to the interests that influence the discussion are pivotal to our turn around.

Bold people, willing to risk the farm for liberty, rescue, and reverence are our only hope.

08/3/11

Everyone’s got an opinion about the Tea Party

By: Andrea Shea King
The Radio Patriot

From CNN:

(That’s a photo of me with my hat on located at the lower left corner of the bus. I’ll be joining the TPX in Wisconsin this weekend. Watch for my real-time posted reports here, on Twitter, and at my radio show producer ThirdWaveDave’s site).

(CNN) – Two of the nation’s prominent tea party groups will merge for a Wisconsin bus tour in support of six Republican state senators facing recall elections.

Kicking off their four-day “Restoring Common Sense” tour Friday, Tea Party Nation and Tea Party Express will hold rallies in multiple cities and defend Republicans who supported Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial bill that curbed collective bargaining rights for state employees earlier this year.

“The tea party stands for fiscal responsibility, and Republican Senators in Wisconsin stood firm for those principles,” said Amy Kremer, chair of Tea Party Express. “Now they are under attack for doing the job they were elected to do. It is critical that we support and defend them from these undeserved attacks and in that effort we are proud to be joined by our friends at Tea Party Nation.”

[…]

Sal Russo, an influential strategist and founder of the Tea Party Express, said that even the terrorist jibe was a sign of success. “When people make outrageous comments like that you know they have lost the rational debate and you are winning.”

Read the rest

“This week the Tea Party Express — in a bit of a risky move — is bringing all of its heavy hitters to Wisconsin to support six Republican state senators who face recall elections. If Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber, Michele Bachmann and Ann Coulter can’t save the GOP from angry voters in a crucial swing state such as Wisconsin, what motivation would traditional Republicans have to continue to listen to their demands? Everyone knows the GOP can win Alabama without the tea party’s help. What Boehner and company are trying to figure out is what they will lose without them. The recall election may provide some answers.” — CNN columnist “Wise up GOP. Ditch the Tea Party”

***

Glenn Beck:

The Tea Party has been set up. This is not something that the Tea Party wants. If you’re excited about this bill, please explain why. I’d like to know. And they are going to blame this on us like it was a really, really good deal for the Tea Party. It’s not a good deal for the Tea Party,” Glenn continued.

Once again this is a case of the liberals and media picking on everyone’s favorite scapegoat in an attempt to save face.

“You just have to understand that a game is being played in the media and the only way to win, watch Wargames, the only way to win is to not play the game,” Glenn warned. “Don’t play the game. Don’t play the game. It’s a setup.”