“That I and most Americans have no idea whether our tax returns are accurate ought to tell us something.” – Donald Rumsfeld
While the 2000s may have been a lost decade for the American dream, a revival of our model’s advantages is still a real, worth-desiring possibility.
Because it was tax day recently, because he mentions me and because I’m easily provoked, below the quote you’ll find three rejoinders to Jonathan Cohn’s admirably forthright argument that American society would be much better off if most of us were writing larger considerably larger checks to Uncle Sam:
Maybe you don’t like tax day … [because] it reminds you of how high taxes are—and you think that, because of those high taxes, the economy grows more slowly. That would mean fewer jobs and less pay for you—and the country as a whole. It’s not a crazy argument … But the evidence for this point of view turns out to be thinner than you’ve probably heard. Relative to other countries, tax rates in the U.S. are relatively low, even when you throw in local and state taxes and add them to federal levies. Overall, according to the Tax Policy Center and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities … taxes in the U.S. are among the lowest in the developed world. The average for countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an organization of rich countries, is higher. And in countries like Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands countries, the average is much higher. In those nations, taxes account for more than half of total national income. [Read more...]
by Grover Norquist
With the arrival and passing of yet another April 15th Tax Day, the federal government will consume 20.5 percent of America’s total income this year. It’s not as bad as in France or Greece, but somewhat worse than when we formed these United States. When we were Colonies under the British, the average tax burden on American colonists was 2 percent. That was considered unbearable, and the revolution was on.
There has been some slippage over the years. The 16th Amendment allowing the income tax opened the door to truly European, supersized government. [Read more...]
Our corporate tax rates are far too high. The rate kills investment and job creation and it makes us less competitive with other nations who have had the good sense to lower their tax rates. Germany has cut its rates almost in half in the last 25 years. Socialist Sweden has cut its by more than one half. And Ireland has cut its rates by almost 75%. We, on the other hand, have raised our corporate tax rates over that time period — leaving us with the highest rates in the industrialized world.
It is no coincidence that our unemployment rate is historically high and our labor participation rate is historically low. It is also no coincidence that our economic growth rate is painfully slow and far too low.
We realize that there will not be any meaningful tax reform or lowering of the tax rates this year. But the idea that the Senate Finance Committee might consider extending some legitimate tax deductions for manufacturing that actually make profits and employ people, but killing others means that the Senate plans to raise taxes on some american corporations at a time when the economy is weak, employment numbers are bad and taxes are already too high. This is bad policy! [Read more...]
Here comes the ObamaCare tax bill.
The cost of President Obama’s massive health-care law will hit Americans in 2014 as new taxes pile up on their insurance premiums and on their income-tax bills.
Most insurers aren’t advertising the ObamaCare taxes that are added on to premiums, opting instead to discretely pass them on to customers while quietly lobbying lawmakers for a break.
But one insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, laid bare the taxes on its bills with a separate line item for “Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes.” [Read more...]
First came the compliance burdens. Then came the expensive website woes, millions of policy cancellations and skyrocketing premiums. But if you thought Obamacare couldn’t be less popular, guess again. Here come the taxes.
As reported by Jennifer Robison, there are a slew of new taxes to help pay for the boondoggle that is the Affordable Care Act, and the Internal Revenue Service will be reaching deep into wallets to collect that money starting next year. Those with high incomes face the biggest increases, but people at all income levels ultimately will feel the costs of the health care law — beyond higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. [Read more...]
by Arthur Laffer
In June of 2006, I deserted my long-time friend and love of my life, California, for the unknown venue of Tennessee. The push and the pull of the two locations are pretty obvious — taxes. Tennessee, like Texas, has no state income tax, no state capital gains tax, lower property taxes, lower workers’ compensation costs and roughly the same sales tax rate. California, on the other hand, is just simply tax- and fee-crazy.
But in spite of all the tax, fee and regulatory reasons for leaving California, I was deeply concerned that I would be stranded in an uneducated, lawless morass of tobacco-chewing Neanderthals driving old clunkers on dirt roads where churches were on every street corner and there wasn’t a hospital to be found. [Read more...]
by John Fund
Amid all the attention paid to the government shutdown — more of a “slimdown,” as 83 percent of the government remains open — few people noticed that last Friday, October 4, marked the 100th anniversary of the federal income tax. The size and intrusiveness of the federal government that is at the heart of today’s shutdown would never have been possible without the income tax.
For a century and a quarter, the United States avoided an income tax. Thomas Jefferson warned against such “internal” taxes, saying that under the British they had “filled our land with officers and opened our doors to their intrusions.” Until the early 20th century, a small federal government relied on import duties and taxes on alcohol and tobacco for most of its revenue. [Read more...]
Since getting the boot from the United States Senate, Bob Bennett has been writing a weekly column in the Deseret News, one of Utah’s two daily newspapers (and the only one that doesn’t periodically chastise its readers for being too stupid to understand its editorial positions). Occasionally ex-Senator Bennett reminds us that he is a very smart man with many good ideas. Occasionally he reminds us why the voters got rid of him. He does so in his op-ed of Monday, 7 October.
In his short essay, which you can read yourself here, Bennett tells us why it is important not to default on commitments made to those who have lent the U.S. money, and indeed it is. He neglects to mention the spending that made this borrowing necessary – spending to which he was a major contributor. When Bennett took office, the national debt stood at about $6 trillion. By the time he left it had grown to about $14 trillion. During his 18 years in the Senate, Bob Bennett voted for 132 out of 133 appropriations bills on final passage in the Senate. Appropriations bills are the bills that actually spend the money. The size of this debt and its growth trend is what should concern us far more than today’s fight. The Congressional Budget Office projects that by 2038, public debt will reach 100% of GDP. [Read more...]
I am here today because I believe the public policy status quo in Washington – and in particular, within the Republican Party – must once again be challenged and transformed. The focus of my remarks will be the new tax reform proposal I will soon be introducing in the Senate.
But before I get into the specifics of the legislation, I think it’s important to explain the problem it has been designed to solve.
On this Constitution Day, allow me to begin with thoughts from perhaps the two most important constitutionalists in American history. The first, from James Madison, is that the “object of government,” is “the happiness of the people.” The second, from Abraham Lincoln, is that the role of government is: “…to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life.” [Read more...]
“Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits,” President Obama said in his economics address last week, “nearly all the income gains of the past 10 years have continued to flow to the top 1 percent.”
It’s odd that Obama touts these facts, because the facts indict his policies. This is even stranger: Many Republicans want to downplay these facts, even though they provide the GOP with an opening.
Obama’s first term, with all its tax hikes, regulations, mandates, subsidies and bailouts, saw stock markets rise, corporate earnings break records and the rich get richer, while median income stagnated and unemployment remained stubbornly high. [Read more...]
With the recent news that the Obama Administration will postpone the healthcare mandate on employers (but not on individuals) until after the mid-term elections, a new Gallup poll of 603 small business owners sheds some very interesting light on the Administration’s political calculations. The Gallup poll revealed that Obamacare is having a dramatic negative effect on the economy and on the ability of Americans to find jobs.
The Gallup poll reveals that more than 40 percent of small-business owners say that Obamacare has caused them to institute a hiring freeze. Nearly one in five small business employers say that Obamacare has caused them to fire existing employees. Almost one in five small-business owners said they have already cut back their workers’ hours to avoid adverse impacts of Obamacare. About one in four employers “are weighing whether to drop insurance coverage.” [Read more...]
Will Rogers once said, “It is a good thing that we do not get as much government as we pay for.” That may be true, but I think we all wish we were paying for a lot less government and a lot less taxes. Our federal government is at historically high levels of spending — in recent years gobbling up nearly 25% of the total economic output.
Every year, the federal government spends more money than it did the last year. Even this year with the “sequester,” federal government will spend more money this year than it did the year before. [Read more...]
Americans are migrating from less-free liberal states to more-free conservative states, where they are doing better economically, according to a new study published Thursday by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.
The “Freedom in the 50 States” study measured economic and personal freedom using a wide range of criteria, including tax rates, government spending and debt, regulatory burdens, and state laws covering land use, union organizing, gun control, education choice and more.
It found that the freest states tended to be conservative “red” states, while the least free were liberal “blue” states. [Read more...]
Blue states with high taxes are struggling to compete for businesses and workers.
by Arthur B. Laffer and Stephen Moore
You can tell a lot about prosperity in America by observing the places people are moving to and where they are packing up and moving from. New Census Bureau data on metropolitan areas indicate that the South and the Sunbelt regions continue to grow, while the Northeast and Midwest continue to shrink.
Among the 10 fastest-growing metro areas last year were Raleigh, Austin, Las Vegas, Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. All of these are in low-tax, business-friendly red states. Blue-state areas such as Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, Providence and Rochester were among the biggest population losers. [Read more...]
Politicians have fantasies. Not Woody Allen “normal” fantasies about Swedish stewardesses.
No. Politicians fantasize about being able to raise taxes on people who cannot vote against them in future elections. Ancient Rome funded itself by looting the provinces. This worked for a while. Well, it worked for Roman citizens anyway.
Here in the good old USA politicians think they have finally found this Holy Grail, this alchemist’s secret… how to tax those who cannot defend themselves. [Read more...]
It is not surprising that there are liberals in Washington proposing new stealth carbon taxes. What is surprising is that a few “conservatives” support the idea. Even more inexplicable is the fact that some have called the carbon tax a “once in a generation opportunity.”
Let me see if I’ve got this right. A huge, gargantuan tax increase — one that would make everything cost more — is a “once in a generation opportunity?”
Every single day for the last 30 years and every single day for the next 30 years, liberals will crawl over top of each other to be the first one to sign-on to a new energy tax. This is a deal that liberals will always be willing to give. [Read more...]
The economy is not some theoretical concept or ivory tower idea. A strong economy means that Americans have jobs and growing incomes. It means that families can provide their children with the care and opportunities that will provide for a bright future. Conversely a weak economy means fewer jobs and less opportunity. It means lower incomes and it means that families have to do without.
Too often big government slows the economy by taxing and spending too much. Those who support more and more government taxes and spending always argue that government can do something good with the money. But the problem with that argument is that families and businesses also can do a lot of good with that money if government doesn’t take it away from them. [Read more...]
Dr. Thomas Sowell, the Stanford University based economist, wrote this week that when he was teaching he would ask his students to consider this: “Imagine a government agency with only two tasks: (1) building statues of Benedict Arnold and (2) providing life-saving medications to children. If this agency’s budget were cut, what would it do?” Sowell posits that the agency would naturally cut back on medications for children. He explains that is the only result that would lead to getting the budget cuts restored. And he pointedly explains why the government wouldn’t cut back on the silly statues: “If they cut back on building statues of Benedict Arnold, people might ask why they were building statues of Benedict Arnold in the first place.”
Dr. Sowell is absolutely correct! Years ago, when I served on a local school board I witnessed this almost reflexive response every year the budget was tight. The most absurd things were never offered for cuts. They always threatened to cut the things that would most outrage the public. They talked about cutting bus routes for kids that lived far away from schools. They talked about crowded classrooms. [Read more...]
With the sequester deadline looming, there has been a marked uptick in the hyperbole emanating from Washington. Little wonder, a Pew Research poll says that only about one in four is paying close attention to the sequester.
This must be disconcerting to the White House because it has been full-court pressing the issue — suddenly releasing criminals from prison, falsely claiming that teachers are being pink-slipped, holding campaign style events with President Barack Obama personally issuing overblown and false warnings that firemen and policemen and teachers will be pink-slipped, that air traffic will be at greater risk, that waiting times at airports will increase and that meat will not be inspected and may be tainted. The White House even announced that it won’t deploy an aircraft carrier to a hotspot because of sequester budget constraints. [Read more...]