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Economic Freedom

Tax Cuts Work — Just Ask Small Businesses

Brian Ellis • Investor’s Business Daily

Employers have until Thursday to implement new tax withholding guidelines, which determine how much they withhold from pay for federal taxes.

Fortunately for many Americans, job creators are already seeing lower rates and distributing larger paychecks. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin estimates more than 90% of working Americans will see greater take-home pay because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s new withholding guidelines.

It’s further proof that tax cuts are working for the middle class. To date, more than 330 U.S. employers have publicly announced tax-induced wage hikes, 401(k) increases, and generous bonuses. While Apple and Wal-Mart grab the headlines, many beneficiaries of the Republican tax bill are small businesses, which account for two-thirds of new jobs in the country.

Missouri-based Dynamic Fastener, a construction hardware supplier, is rewarding employees with bonuses of up to $1,000, while also opening a paint shop, buying new equipment and Continue reading


Feds to repeal 298 tax regulations

By Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon

The Treasury Department plans to eliminate nearly 300 outdated tax regulations, getting tax rules off the books that in some cases have not applied since the 1940s.

The department announced its proposal to eliminate unnecessary tax regulations this week, in compliance with two executive orders signed by President Donald Trump last year to reduce regulatory burdens and simplify the tax code.

“We continue our work to ensure that our tax regulatory system promotes economic growth,” said Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “These 298 regulations serve no useful purpose to taxpayers and we have proposed eliminating them.”

“I look forward to continuing to build on our efforts to make the regulatory system more efficient and effective,” he said. Continue reading


Apple Repatriates Overseas Holdings Thanks to Trump Tax Reform

By Tripp Mickle • Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc. AAPL 1.65% said it would pay a one-time tax of $38 billion on its overseas cash holdings and ramp up spending in the U.S., as it seeks to emphasize its contributions to the American economy after years of taking criticism for outsourcing manufacturing to China.

The world’s most valuable publicly traded company laid out its plans Wednesday in a statement that was full of big-dollar figures, though it said that much of the money reflected Apple’s current pace of spending.

Apple said it would invest $30 billion in capital spending in the U.S. over five years that would create more than 20,000 jobs. The total includes a new campus, which initially will house technical support for customers, and $10 billion toward data centers across the country. It also will expand from $1 billion to $5 billion a fund it established last year for investing in advanced manufacturing in the U.S.

All told, Apple said it would directly contribute $350 billion to the U.S. economy over the next five years, with the bulk—about $55 billion this year, for example—coming from ongoing spending on parts and services from U.S. suppliers. That number also includes the federal tax payment and capital spending.

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The Postal Service Needs To Overhaul Its Leadership And Get Its Act Together

By George LandrithDaily Caller

With tax reform now in the rear view mirror on President Donald Trump’s list of priorities, it is clear now that he has another mishandled federal issue in his sights – the U.S. Postal Service. In a tweet posted just before the New Year, the President asks why the USPS is, “charging Amazon and others so little to deliver packages, making Amazon richer and Post Office dumber and poorer?”

This consternation refers to an analysis conducted by CitiGroup, which found that Amazon deliveries received an astounding average subsidy of $1.46 per package. Multiply this giveaway by hundreds of millions of packages that are captured by the secretive deal (known as a Negotiated Service Agreement) and it appears that USPS’ package losses surely are tremendous.

Even worse, Amazon may also be causing the integrity of USPS to deteriorate. In fact, reports from California, Utah and Georgia indicate that the Postal Service has been falsifying Amazon package deliveries. Continue reading


Get Ready for Economic Liftoff

A record-setting stock market is just one of the big effects Trump's policies are having.

By Peter RoffUS News

The supposedly smart people said Donald Trump would destroy the U.S. economy if he were elected president.

They were wrong. On Thursday, the Dow broke 25,000 for the first time in its history – a meaningful expression of investor confidence in the future. Trump’s policies of deregulation, which have been moving ahead at full steam even before the tax cut bill passed just before Christmas, have helped push the stock market up by a third which, economist Arthur Laffer estimates, works about to about a $6 trillion increase in the nation’s net wealth.

That may not be historic – there may be periods in which wealth has increased at a faster rate – but it sure is impressive. Especially since the same smart people who’ve been telling us Trump would wreck the economy spent the Obama years explaining annual growth at less than 3 percent (and likely closer to 2) was the new normal.

It’s still a little early to proclaim “happy days are here again” but, as the Magic 8 Ball puts it, “all signs point to ‘Yes'” as far as whether there will be a period of protracted economic growth. That Continue reading


The Trump Effect: Business, Anticipating Less Regulation, Loosens Purse Strings

By Binyamen Appelbaum and Jim Tankersly • New York Times

WASHINGTON — A wave of optimism has swept over American business
leaders, and it is beginning to translate into the sort of investment in new
plants, equipment and factory upgrades that bolsters economic growth, spurs
job creation — and may finally raise wages significantly.

While business leaders are eager for the tax cuts that take effect this year,
the newfound confidence was initially inspired by the Trump administration’s
regulatory pullback, not so much because deregulation is saving companies
money but because the administration has instilled a faith in business
executives that new regulations are not coming.

“It’s an overall sense that you’re not going to face any new regulatory
fights,” said Granger MacDonald, a home builder in Kerrville, Tex. “We’re not
spending more, which is the main thing. We’re not seeing any savings, but
we’re not seeing any increases.”

The applause from top executives has been largely reserved for the
administration’s economic policy agenda. Many chief executives have been
publicly critical of President Trump’s approach to social and cultural issues,
Continue reading


The Tax Cut Bill Is Just the Beginning

It's a good start, but it can't be the end of the GOP's economic efforts.

By Peter RoffUS News

The Republicans have kicked off the New Year with an earnest effort to sell the American public on the benefits of the tax bill just passed. It’s better than nothing, but if they hadn’t put the cart before the horse in the first place, they might not be in as much of a mess.

To be sure, achieving the first major overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years without the single vote of a single Democrat is a considerable accomplishment. And, unlike the Affordable Care Act – with all the regulations and other nonsense Barack Obama piled on the economy in his first two years – the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 will be a boost to the economy rather than a drag. Still and all, telling the voters they should be for it because it puts more money in their pockets (or, more accurately, leaves it there in about nine out of 10 cases) doesn’t really constitute a Reaganesque vision for a more prosperous America in which each citizen has a vested share.

Hopefully things will turn towards the better, and soon, meaning the Republicans will retain control of Congress through 2020 and be able to pass additional tax cuts, continue to lessen the size of government, remove unnecessary and counter-productive controls on productive economic activity, and set the stage for another long boom like the Reagan tax cuts kicked off back in the early 80s. But time and the narrative are not yet on the GOP’s side.

Like it or not, even with relatively low rates of inflation for much of the last decade, the purchasing power of the dollar has declined. Families are felling pinched, which is part of the reason many of Continue reading


GOP Business Tax Cuts Force Other Countries to Compete

By Dan McLaughlin • National Review

The Republican tax plan has a lot of moving parts, but its centerpiece is a major long-term cut in corporate taxes. American businesses have been eagerly anticipating these cuts, and 2017’s strong stock performances were driven in part by an expectation in the market that they were coming. Liberal critics are apt to downplay the impact that corporate tax rates have on the competitiveness of American business — but the news from around the globe suggests that our economic competitors are very aware of the threat that the “Trump tax cuts” will lure more business back to the United States, or stem the departures of existing businesses, unless they take steps to keep up.

China: The Chinese government may not share America’s view of how to stay competitive, but it recognizes that the Republican plan improves America’s position. From the Wall Street Journal:

In the Beijing leadership compound of Zhongnanhai, officials are putting in place a contingency plan to combat consequences for China of U.S. tax changes as well as expected interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve, according to people with knowledge of the matter. What they fear is a double whammy sapping money out of China by making the U.S. a more attractive place to invest.

Continue reading


Trump administration ending ‘sue and settle’ is an important First step

By Peter RoffWashington Examiner

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is taking the lead on this, but expect it to spread to other agencies, including the DOJ. It’s a good start, but there are other problems in the lawfare arena that need to be addressed to ease tensions and restore order to the legal system.

Consider the attacks on Big Oil, which started with a novel legal theory that presupposed the U.S. oil and gas industry deliberately conspired for several decades to deceive the public about climate change.

That theory became an allegation which, when backed by several of the attorneys general of more than a dozen states, turned into litigation that threatens to set a number of dangerous legal precedents while undermining the nation’s economic vitality.

Continue reading


The White House Shoots for the Moon

By Peter RoffTownhall

Earlier this month, President Donald J. Trump signed a space policy directive to “restore American leadership in space.” To the excitement of many, this directive includes sending men back to the Moon and perhaps even Mars. The prospect of making dreams a reality once again is enthralling, something we will do, echoing a previous chief executive, not because it is easy but because it is hard.

To do all this, to optimize performance and ensure a successful, modern-day space program, government appropriators must adhere to a standard set of business protocols. It is essential NASA and the White House have clear goals in mind and ensure the interests of the country are at the heart of every mission. Stating the objective of going to the moon is not enough; bureaucrats need to take the process a step further and iron out precisely what it wants to achieve, how much it will cost to do so, and why the country will be better off as a result.

It is true few companies would turn down a government contract – after all, no one’s checks clear better than Washington’s – but that is not license for decision-makers to issue them carelessly. Every mission must have the clear intent of either advancing national security interests or significantly increasing the country’s scientific progress before the disbursement of taxpayer funds begin. The general rule of thumb should be that if extensive research from private firms has not been conducted on a given topic, it is likely not worth the federal government pursuing.

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Dear Liberals, Ownership Isn’t Theft

by David French • National Review

I’m starting to think that all too many Democrats believe that private citizens and private corporations don’t actually own their private income or their private property.

Otherwise, how can we explain the Democratic insistence, repeated endlessly over the last 24 hours, that Republicans somehow are poised to execute a grand “heist” by cutting corporate and individual tax rates, granting an estimated 80.4 percent of taxpayers an average tax break of $2,140.

The rhetoric was remarkable, and the hysterics weren’t confined to fringe figures on the left.

Here’s House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi:

“Shamefully, Republicans were cheering against the children as they rob from their future and ransack the middle class to reward the rich #GOPTaxScam”

— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) December 19, 2017

Continue reading


Analysis: A $15 Minimum Wage Will Cost California 400,000 Jobs

by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon

California is projected to have a $15 statewide minimum wage by 2022. Economists project this will lead to a loss of 400,000 jobs, according to a report from the Employment Policies Institute.

Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25. California’s is $10.50, which is one of the highest minimum wages in the United States. California’s intent to raise it to $15 by 2022 will create the largest gap between a state minimum wage and the federal wage in U.S. history.

“One might argue that a higher minimum wage is justified in California because of its relatively high cost of living compared to the typical state,” the report says. “On the other hand, one might be concerned about whether the higher minimum wage in California causes job loss for low skilled workers, and whether the effects differ in the cities where the cost of living and wages are relatively high as compared to rural areas or less expensive cities.”

California has consistently raised the minimum wage since 2001, even higher than what was mandated by federal law. The study finds that this increase has led to a decline in employment.

Continue reading


Tax Bill Is Christmas Present Americans Have Been Waiting For

by Alfredo Ortiz • Real Clear Politics

Pending tax cut legislation will eliminate the federal income tax burden on the average American family earning $59,000 a year. It will halve the tax bill for the average family earning $75,000. And it will allow the overwhelming majority of small businesses to protect nearly one­-quarter of their income from taxes.

That’s the bottom line of the tax bill that needs to be said up front.

Given the critical media coverage of the bill, these benefits have largely gone overlooked. Rather than reporting on its provisions to double the standard deduction, double the child tax credit, and eliminate the 15 percent tax bracket in favor of a vastly expanded 12 percent rate, media coverage has claimed the bill is a gift to the rich. Rather than reporting on the new 23 percent tax deduction for small businesses earning less than $500,000 a year, media
coverage has claimed the bill is a budget buster.

That’s a shame because these benefits would bring long overdue relief to hardworking taxpayers who have borne the brunt of the slow growth Obama economy from which the country is finally emerging. Continue reading


‘Evil’ Tax Cuts? Nope, It’s Blue-State Panic

By Heather Wilhelm • National Review

Ah, the holiday season. It’s a magical time, bursting with joy and merriment, the laughter of children, jolly parties, twinkling lights, mildly terrifying mall-dwelling Santas . . . and the faint sounds of caterwauling blue-state politicians shrieking that the GOP tax bill signals the end of civilization as we know it.

Can you hear it? Fire and brimstone! The weeping and gnashing of teeth! According to Nancy Pelosi, this reshuffling of government regulations amounts to “Armageddon” and “the worst bill in the history of the United States Congress.” California governor Jerry Brown labeled the tax bill “evil in the extreme.” According to Bernie Sanders, the proposal amounts to “class warfare” and “one of the greatest robberies in American history.” In terms of sheer melancholy drama, comedian Patton Oswalt might win the prize: Because of the GOP tax bill, “there’s no America now. Not the one we knew. Sorry, feeling real despair this morning.” Continue reading


Study Suggests Medicaid Is A ‘Persistently Inferior’ Form Of Health Coverage

By Christopher Jacobs • The Federalist

How many individuals would knowingly want to enroll in a form of health coverage with “persistently inferior” outcomes? It’s a good question, as a new study released last week suggests that Medicaid provides those persistently inferior outcomes in the nation’s largest state, raising more questions about the program that represents the bulk of the coverage expansion under Obamacare.

What This Study Looked Into

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology, used a California data registry to compare cancer survival outcomes across multiple forms of insurance and nearly two decades (1997-2014). The study classified patients based on four forms of insurance: Private coverage; Medicare; other public coverage, about three-quarters (74 percent) of whom were Medicaid patients; and the uninsured. Continue reading