There are taxes, and then there ARE TAXES. The problem is that our tax system is so complicated (by design), that we don’t see some taxes until it is too late (if ever!). And what of Obama’s pledge not to raise taxes on the ‘Middle Class;’ please, that was blown away just with Obamacare!
A 62% Top Tax Rate?
Democrats have said they only intend to restore the tax rates that existed during the Clinton years. In reality they’re proposing rates like those under President Carter.
Media reports in recent weeks say that Senate Democrats are considering a 3% surtax on income over $1 million to raise federal revenues. This would come on top of the higher income tax rates that President Obama has already proposed through the cancellation of the Bush era tax-rate reductions.
If the Democrats’ millionaire surtax were to happen—and were added to other tax increases already enacted last year and other leading tax hike ideas on the table this year—this could leave the U.S. with a combined federal and state top tax rate on earnings of 62%. That’s more than double the highest federal marginal rate of 28% when President Reagan left office in 1989. Welcome back to the 1970s.
Here’s the math behind that depressing calculation. Today’s top federal income tax rate is 35%. Almost all Democrats in Washington want to repeal the Bush tax cuts on those who make more than $250,000 and phase out certain deductions, so the effective income tax rate would rise to about 41.5%. The 3% millionaire surtax raises that rate to 44.5%.
But payroll taxes, which are income taxes on wages and salaries, must also be included in the equation. So we have to add about 2.5 percentage points for the payroll tax for Medicare (employee and employer share after business deductions), which was applied to all income without a ceiling in 1993 as part of the Clinton tax hike. I am including in this analysis the employer share of all payroll taxes because it is a direct tax on a worker’s salary and most economists agree that though employers are responsible for collecting this tax, it is ultimately borne by the employee. That brings the tax rate to 47%.
Then last year, as part of the down payment for ObamaCare, Congress snuck in an extra 0.9% Medicare surtax on “high-income earners,” meaning any individual earning more than $200,000 or couples earning more than $250,000. This brings the total tax rate to 47.9%.
But that’s not all. Several weeks ago, Mr. Obama raised the possibility of eliminating the income ceiling on the Social Security tax, now capped at $106,800 of earnings a year. (Never mind that the program was designed to operate as an insurance system, with each individual’s payment tied to the benefits paid out at retirement.) Subjecting all wage and salary income to Social Security taxes would add roughly 10.1 percentage points to the top tax rate. This takes the grand total tax rate on each additional dollar earned in America to about 58%.
Then we have to factor in state income taxes, which on average add after the deductions from the federal income tax roughly another four percentage points to the tax burden. So now on average we are at a tax rate of close to 62%.
Democrats have repeatedly stated they only intend to restore the tax rates that existed during the Clinton years. But after all these taxes on the “rich,” we’re headed back to the taxes that prevailed under Jimmy Carter, when the highest tax rate was 70%.
Now let’s consider how our tax system today compares with the system that was in place in the late 1980s—when the deficit was only about one-quarter as large as a share of GDP as it is now. After the landmark Tax Reform Act of 1986, which closed special-interest loopholes in exchange for top marginal rates of 28%, the highest combined federal-state marginal tax rate was about 33%. Now we may be headed to 62%. You don’t have to be Jack Kemp or Arthur Laffer to understand that a 29 percentage point rise in top marginal rates would make America a highly uncompetitive place.
What is particularly worrisome about this trend is the deterioration of the U.S. tax position relative to the rest of our economic rivals. In 1990, the highest individual income tax rate of our major economic trading partners was 51%, while the U.S. was much lower at 33%. It’s no wonder that during the 1980s and ’90s the U.S. created more than twice as many new jobs as Japan and Western Europe combined.
It’s true that the economy was able to absorb the Bush 41 and Clinton tax hikes and still grow at a very rapid pace. But what the soak-the-rich lobby ignores is how different the world is today versus the early 1990s. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, over the past two decades the average highest tax rate among the 20 major industrial nations has fallen to about 45%. Yet the highest U.S. tax rate would rise to more than 48% under the Obama/Democratic tax hikes. To make matters worse, if we include the average personal income tax rates of developing countries like India and China, the average tax rate around the world is closer to 30%, according to a new study by KPMG.
What all this means is that in the late 1980s, the U.S. was nearly the lowest taxed nation in the world, and a quarter century later we’re nearly the highest.
Despite all of this, the refrain from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and most of the Democrats in Congress is our fiscal mess is a result of “tax cuts for the rich.” When? Where? Who? The Tax Foundation recently noted that in 2009 the U.S. collected a higher share of income and payroll taxes (45%) from the richest 10% of tax filers than any other nation, including such socialist welfare states as Sweden (27%), France (28%) and Germany (31%). And this was before the rate hikes that Democrats are now endorsing.
Perhaps there can still be a happy ending to this sad tale of U.S. decline. If there were ever a right time to trade in the junk heap of our federal tax code for a pro-growth Steve Forbes-style flat tax, now’s the time.
Mr. Moore is a member of the The Journal’s editorial board.
New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie announced Thursday he will withdrawal his state’s membership from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by the end of the year.
“It’s a failure,” said Christie. “RGGI has not changed behavior and it does not reduce emissions.”
The goal of RGGI — a ten-state cap and trade program — is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 10 percent by 2018. When utilities purchase their emission permits, the proceeds are supposed to go to investments for developing alternative energy sources.
Last year, however, Christie took $64 million from RGGI and put it in the state’s general fund to help get New Jersey’s fiscal house in order. And while Christie has floated a plan in the past to stay in RGGI simply to use the funds to pay down the debt, it apparently didn’t get very far.
New Jersey isn’t the only state to recently move toward withdrawing from RGGI – often pointed to by environmentalists as a cap and trade success story. In March, the New Hampshire state House also voted to withdraw.
Christie, however, has said he still believes in global warming, but is skeptical that it is entirely man made.
A word to the wise, Herman Cain is a serious candidate, and the people of New Hampshire are taking him serious. His strong business background, real-world commonsense, and dynamic presentation style is winning over new voters with each stop.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has some words for his critics in the conservative political establishment like Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer. Despite both of them dismissing him as “entertainment,” Cain warns that he is a very serious candidate and with new polls showing Cain as a legitimate contender, Krauthammer and Rove might want to soon start singing a different tune.
Related Story: DNC sets sights on Herman Cain
Chris Matthews assembled a panel including Dan Rather and Rachel Maddow to discuss whether Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann should enter the presidential race to scoop up Mike Huckabee’s voters in Iowa. Surprisingly, Rather spoke very highly of Bachmann and called her “very articulate” and someone who could be “dynamite” in the race.
Rather also told Matthews that Bachmann has real “break-away potential” and could potentially go all the way – “This woman is for real, whether you agree with her politics or not. This is not Sarah Palin coming out of nowhere.”
From the ‘Not Surprise at All’ file, former-GOP Chairman Michael Steele is joining the likes of Rachel Maddow, Ed ‘I Know Nothing’ Schultz, and Lawrence O’Donnell over at MSNBC. This should be fun to watch.
Michael Steele inks deal with MSNBC
By Alex Pappas
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele will start taking a paycheck from MSNBC, the news organization many in his party love to hate.
Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, made the announcement Monday. Steele has been a frequent guest on MSNBC since he lost re-election to the top party job in January.
MSNBC, which has been transparent in trying to appeal to a liberal audience with its “Lean Forward” marketing campaign, said Steele will “regularly appear on the full lineup of MSNBC programming.”
“It’s an honor to contribute and engage in the dialogue on MSNBC,” Steele said in a statement. “I look forward to engaging a diverse audience to share insights and analysis about the people, issues, and events shaping America’s future. I’m sure our discussions will be both informative and a bit spirited!”
Steele ran for re-election in January to lead the Republican Party’s national organization, but lost to one challenger, Reince Priebus, after concerns about fundraising and his stewardship of the committee’s money.
He was often criticized for not spending enough time dialing for dollars from big donors and spending too much time going on TV and promoting himself by writing a book.
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/05/23/michael-steele-inks-deal-with-msnbc/#ixzz1NDgUftyI
John Ziegler directed a great documentary, Media Malpractice, that demonstrated the blatant malice committed by most in the media during the 2008 election. And their favor target then, as in now, Sarah Palin.
The media’s coverage of Palin continues to border on insanity. She drives them nuts, and that only makes them push harder, even if it means to misreport, under report, or just plain out lie.
The unfortunate part is that far too many conservatives believe the drivel, which is all the media wants. For them, it is ‘the ends that justifies the means’ moment.
The myth of Sarah Palin’s stupidity
In only the past couple days, just as the Republican presidential field seems to be forming the type of void that almost begs her to fill it, Sarah Palin has once again been called “stupid” in two high-profile media outlets.
The first came from one of the usual suspects, Chris Matthews and MSNBC, where the host dismissed Palin as having allegedly proven herself to be “profoundly stupid.”
The second occurred when the Huffington Post repeated a secondhand quote from an anonymous “Republican” who allegedly told a New York magazine reporter that Fox News head Roger Ailes “thinks” that Palin is “stupid” (just a day after Ailes himself, on the record, had mocked Matthews for the idiocy of his Palin statement).
As a veteran of the Palin media wars, part of me thinks that such allegations ought to be treated with all the credibility of a sixth-grade boy calling the girl he has a crush on “stupid.” After all, I thought we had put this Palin myth to bed when even Matt Lauer was forced to admit live on the Today Show that it was indeed a “lie” that the Palin whom he visited in Wasilla is unintelligent.
At the time, Lauer laughably told me that it was not necessary for him to correct his friends in the media because he didn’t think “everybody in the media ran out saying ‘Sarah Palin is an idiot.’” I thought then that Lauer actually somehow mistakenly bought into such an absurdity. Unless being forced to get up so early has finally eroded his ability to think for himself, I can’t believe that he still has that kind of blind faith in the media two years later.
So even though this is an argument that should have been easily won long ago, I still feel compelled, if only for the record, to once again separate fact from fiction.
With regard to Matthews’s specific allegation, it is just the latest in a long line of baseless attacks that the liberal host has made against Palin. At times it actually seems as if Matthews is obsessed with Palin (or at least the ratings which inevitably come with bashing her).
One of my biggest issues with Matthews here is that he never provides any real evidence to support the defamatory allegation that Palin isn’t intelligent. It is just accepted on MSNBC that it has already been proven beyond any doubt, much like the “fact” that President Obama is brilliant, that this is simply not worthy of any actual debate.
The other disgraceful element of Matthews’s anti-Palin crusade is that, just like this circumstance where his two guests were also decidedly anti-Palin, he rarely if ever even pretends to have on anyone who could possibly provide an alternative view (otherwise known as the truth).
Matthews grew up in Philadelphia in the same neighborhood as many members of my extended family and I have exchanged emails with him many times over the years. Despite this, he has never had the courage or fairness to have me on, and his program remains one of the very few cable news shows where I have never appeared to discuss/defend Palin.
Has cable news television really fallen so far that a host can constantly make gratuitous attacks against someone without even being compelled to have a guest on to provide the other side? Apparently, at least at MSNBC, it has.
As for the New York magazine quote alleging Palin’s boss at Fox News thinks she is “stupid,” this is emblematic of yet another dubious and seldom-used media tactic utilized by the media to go after Palin: anonymous/secondhand “sources.”
Since when is it acceptable “journalism” to quote one (not multiple) anonymous “source” claiming what someone else (who just went on the record defending her) “thinks” about the metal capacity of someone who is currently not an officeholder or candidate? That has simply never been the standard, but as Palin herself has said, when it comes to news coverage of her, “all bets are off.”
As for how this myth of the “stupid” Sarah Palin was created in the first place, this is where the sad tale becomes particularly depressing. It appears to me (and not just because, unlike most of those who attack her, I have had actual conversations with her) that the “evidence” Palin isn’t very bright is really just a media-created narrative which literally feeds on itself.
That legend begins with Palin having attended several colleges before graduating from a non-Ivy League institution. That this is relevant is especially ironic/nonsensical given the media’s blatant lack of regard for the intelligence of the last president (Bush 43), who graduated from both Harvard and Yale, and the obvious lack of mental acuity of two recent Democratic presidential nominees with undergraduate degrees from Harvard and Yale (Al Gore and John Kerry).
As someone who graduated from an allegedly elite university (Georgetown), I can assure you that the notion that someone’s intelligence can be determined by which college they went to is, at best, absurd, and, at worst, classic class bias.
Then of course there is the bias against rural America in general and Alaska in particular, which allows the media to discount or ignore all of Palin’s many accomplishments because they are “small time.”
Finally, there was what appears to be the crux of the “case” against Palin’s intelligence: the infamous Katie Couric interview.
I have written extensively about that episode in these pages and it forms a significant portion of my documentary film on the 2008 election, “Media Malpractice.” I believe I have proven that the perception of that interview created by the media (from newscasts to SNL) is at great odds with the reality of what actually happened. Quite simply, that interview in no way comes close to being an indictment of Palin’s intelligence.
With those three pillars of Palin stupidity supposedly in place, nearly everything that has purportedly happened with Palin since then has been seen by the media through the already distorted prism they created to view her. Anything she has said that they didn’t agree with was simply presumed to be further evidence that she isn’t very smart because, after all, we already know she is an idiot. It is an “argument” so circular it makes the CBS news logo seem square.
If I had just one question (I have many) to ask those who are so fervently convinced that Palin is dumb, it would be this:
How exactly did someone who less than two years ago was mired in legal debt, had a family in crises, and was written off politically when she “suddenly” resigned as governor make millions of dollars, write two best-selling books, lead a political movement that helped take back the Congress, produce a hit documentary series, endure an unprecedented media onslaught, and maintain her presidential viability, all while seemingly having her family now in a great place, if she is remotely dumb?
I doubt we will ever get anyone in the news media to answer that question, but if all Americans were nearly as “stupid” as Sarah Palin, we wouldn’t need to worry about who our next president is, or much of anything else for that matter.
John Ziegler is a documentary filmmaker who recently released a movie on the 2008 election called, “Media Malpractice… How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted.” He has also been in radio talk show host in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Louisville and Nashville. Ziegler has written two books and has appeared live on numerous national television shows including the Today Show, The View, Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC.
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/05/23/the-myth-of-sarah-palins-stupidity/#ixzz1NDRvyTRL
On May 19, President Obama made another major speech concerning the Middle East, and it is not being well-received:
Obama Video (with some text):
“So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.”
Incomparasion, this is what the world needed to hear:
The average unemployment rate in the U.S. has been hovering at 9% for over a year, but the employment situation for college graduates is far bleaker.
Recent, and soon to be, college graduates are looking at a desire employment situation, an unfriendly business climate, and policies that do more to stifle liberty. But some of the college students are turning away from Obama because he is not LIBERAL enough. Go figure.
How does the old adage go – “If you weren’t liberal when you were young, you have no heart. If you’re still liberal when you’re older, you have no brain.”
Recent college grads sour on Obama, surveys say
“These rock-solid Obama constituents are free-agents,” said Kellyanne Conway, president of The Polling Company, based in Washington, D.C. She recently completed a large survey of college grads, and “they’re shopping around, considering their options, [and] a fair number will say at home and sit it out,” she said.
The scope of this disengagement from Obama is suggested by an informal survey of 500 post-grads by Joe Maddalone, founder of Maddalone Global Strategies. Of his sample, 93 percent are aged between 22 and 28, 67 percent are male and 83 percent voted for Obama in 2008. But only 27 percent are committed to voting for Obama again, and 80 percent said they would consider voting for a Republican, said New York-based Maddalone.
That’s a drop of almost 60 points in support for Obama among this influential class of younger post-grad voters, who Maddalone recruited at conferences held at New York University and Thomson-Reuters’ New York headquarters.
The bad news for Obama was underlined May 19 with a report by a job-firm Adecco that roughly 60 percent of recent college-grads have not been able to find a full-time job in their preferred area. One-in-five graduates have taken jobs far from their training, one-in-six are dependent on their parents, and one-in-four say they’re in debt, according to the firm’s data.
Overall, roughly one-third of young voters have some college education, and one-half have college degrees, said Conway. Many are underemployed or unemployed, they’re worried about their debts and economic trends, and they’re worried about the value of their educations, she said. In 2012, she said, “I suspect a fair number will return to Obama, but maybe not enough, and not in the [swing] states where he needs them,” she said.
Those states include Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Indiana, Virginia and Iowa, she said. All were won by Obama in 2008, and all were lost in state-wide elections to GOP candidates in 2010, she said.
The GOP is making some progress towards earning their votes, Maddalone said. For example, 38 percent of his respondents said the GOP is “doing a good job addressing and engaging with young professionals,” and 58 percent said they would consider voting for the GOP “if you felt that Republicans were doing a good job addressing and engaging with young professionals.”
Only one-in-six of his respondents voted for the GOP presidential candidate in 2008, and 80 percent of those said they would vote GOP again, said Maddalone.
“People have had time to reflect on how they voted in 2008, and now they’re thinking about whether they have a job or like their job,” said Maddalone. As their trust in the federal government shrinks, they’re becoming more self-reliant, as their attitude shifts from “‘yes, we can,’ to ‘yes, I can,’” he said.
This shift, he said, “is not really being discussed.”
Still, there’s a wide gap in priorities between the millions of crucial swing-voters in swing-states — Ohio, Florida, Virginia, for example — and Maddalone’s group of mostly male, urban, and upwardly-mobile professionals.
Many of those swing voters have already pulled the lever for GOP candidates in 2010, but 59 percent of Maddalone’s respondents said the GOP is still not “doing a good job addressing and engaging with young professionals.” This gap isn’t merely created by the parties’ economic platforms. One in six of the respondents said would not vote GOP even if the GOP was “doing a good job addressing and engaging with young professionals.”
Some of those gaps were evident in a recent survey by California-based RK Research. One thousand college students ranked education, economic and health care as their top three issues, but credited top marks to the GOP for its stance on military issues and a “business-friendly environment.” The students ranked the GOP low on environmental, immigration and gay-rights issues, but they also ranked those last two issues as a low priority.
Is it transparency or arrogance? I just do not think the Obama Administration even cares anymore.
The AARP, a group that publicly supported the passage of Obamacare, and who spent millions of dollars to convince its members and lawmakers it needed to pass, is the latest entity to receive a waiver excluding it from oversight.
But this isn’t really a surprise. Back in April (2011), we ran a story exposing the real reasons AARP supported Obamacare:AARP’s Support for Obamacare Exposed
AARP latest to receive Obamacare break
The Daily Caller has learned that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rate review rules, which it finalized on Thursday, exempt “Medigap” policy providers, like the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), from oversight when such providers increase payment rates for their supplemental insurance plans.
Insurance providers who aren’t exempt from Obamacare’s rate review rules are required to publicly release and explain some health care payment rate increases.
The AARP is the nation’s biggest seller of Medigap policies, or supplemental healthcare plans that add onto what Medicare won’t cover for seniors. The senior citizens interest group advocated for Obamacare to include an attack on Medigap policies’ biggest competitor, Medicare Advantage.
Though the White House and HHS dismiss allegations of political favoritism when it comes to who’s getting exceptions from the new health care regulations – such as in the recent uproar over the disproportionate number of Obamacare waivers that went to companies in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s district — Obamacare critics say the mere appearance of the administration helping friends is disturbing.
The appearance of favoritism exists with the new AARP exemptions, too. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sens. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, and Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, wrote to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last October asking her not to do what HHS just finalized today – that is exempt Medigap policies from the HHS rate increase oversight.
“While Medicare Advantage premiums are declining, we are hearing disturbing stories from beneficiaries across the country about excessive premium increases for Medigap supplemental insurance policies,” Reid, Baucus and Kerry wrote to Sebelius on Oct. 6.
“For example, some beneficiaries enrolled in the United of Omaha Life Insurance Company will see their Medigap premiums increase by approximately 40 percent between 2010 and 2011,” the letter read. “An increase of this magnitude raises serious concerns about premium-setting practices and rate review procedures in place for Medigap policies.”
Instead of listening to three top Senate Democrats, the Obama administration decided to go ahead anyway with the Medigap exceptions from rate increase reviews.
The AARP was a driving force behind getting Obamacare through Congress, contributing a large sum to the $121 million advertising campaign pushing it, and spending millions more lobbying for it on Capitol Hill.
The senior citizen advocacy organization stands to make huge profits from Medicare Advantage cuts and from the exemptions it will benefit from when it comes to the Medigap plans sold under what AARP CEO A. Barry Rand calls the AARP’s “for-profit side.”
The AARP’s support of Obamacare during the debate over the legislation raised lots of eyebrows nationwide, as President Obama called for $313 billion in cuts to Medicare to push the plan through. Seniors weren’t happy about it, and many ripped AARP representatives at town hall meetings nationwide.
Now, though, it’s clear that the AARP is set to make millions, if not billions, of extra dollars in Medigap plan sales moving forward because they’ve effectively knocked out their biggest competitor, Medicare Advantage, through Obamacare.
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/05/19/aarp-latest-to-receive-obamacare-break/#ixzz1Msw91PsJ