taxes

Mathematical impossibilities

I'm always mystified by the folks who have no trouble spotting the problem with this:

or who can appreciate the humor behind this:

Chicago fans on both sides of town will have to wait until next season to see their favorite team in the playoffs after the Cubs and White Sox were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday...

but who are utterly unable to wrap their minds around this idea (emphasis mine):

...Even now, frantic liberals are gibbering that Republican austerity measures somehow killed Detroit, even though Democrats held absolute power for fifty years.  You’ll hear the same things right before the end at the national level too.  In the very near future, you’ll be told your Social Security and Medicare benefits are being cut because evil rich people don’t want to pay enough taxes to fund them.  It won’t matter that there literally isn’t enough money in the entire world to cover Uncle Sam’s long-term liabilities...

Read the whole thing.

 

Maybe Schumer & Gillibrand should have read the bill...

...before they voted for it so they could find out what was in it. Via Weasel Zippers:

Sixteen Democratic senators who voted for the Affordable Care Act are asking that one of its fundraising mechanisms, a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices scheduled to take effect January 1, be delayed.  Echoing arguments made by Republicans against Obamacare, the Democratic senators say the levy will cost jobs — in a statement Monday, Sen. Al Franken called it a “job-killing tax” — and also impair American competitiveness in the medical device field.
 
The senators, who made the request in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, are Franken, Richard Durbin, Charles Schumer, Patty Murray, John Kerry, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Joseph Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Robert Casey, Debbie Stabenow, Barbara Mikulski, Kay Hagan, Herb Kohl, Jeanne Shaheen, and Richard Blumenthal.  All voted for Obamacare...
 
Yes, there are several businesses in NYS that are impacted by this, including Welch Allyn in Skaneateles:
...In September, the company announced that it would cut 10 percent of its global workforce, including 45 jobs from its Skaneateles Falls headquarters. Welch Allyn employs about 2,700 workers worldwide...
 
Our morally and intellectually superior two-headed monster, Chuck and Kirsten, should have known that voting on Marxist ideological grounds for bills that you haven't actually read has consequences.
 

Thelma and Louise discuss the fiscal cliff

No, wait...it's Dora and Peregrina in an earnest tête-à-tête whilst simultaneously having coffee and their hair done (bet you didn't know you could do that at the Queen Diner—don't let the health department in on it.).  

Are you frustrated by the all the fiscal cliff talk?  So's Dora.  As always, the old gal makes a lot of sense.

 
 
 
 
 
Going Over the Cliff
 
“Are you happy with the direction the Republican Party is taking on the fiscal cliff?” my friend Peregrina asked me as we had coffee at the Queen Diner in Dryden. I had to admit I am not.
 
We agreed that a status quo election in which the popular vote split almost in the middle and which gave continued control of the House to the Republicans by a large margin was no mandate for the President’s radical income redistribution or grow government schemes.  Contrary to media claims, the Republican Party is not dead or even moribund.  About two-thirds of the states have Republican governors.  Even residents of the City of Ithaca have a Republican representative-elect now.  Yet, the Republican Party is suffering from a kind of sickness in which many Republicans neither speak out proudly for our basic principles nor vote on election day.
 
Now I’ve been a registered Republican since I turned 21, 67 years ago, and was eligible to vote (yes, they made you wait until 21 back then).  The main thing I like about the Party is its fiscal conservatism though that has been much lacking among some Republicans of late.
 
Ronald Reagan, bless his soul, said that he had not left the Democrat Party, it had left him.  I’m now beginning to feel the same way about the Grand Old Party (GOP).  In Washington, numerous “Republican” office holders have been talking compromise on basic fiscal principles.  Compromise works when the other side is genuinely interested in reaching a viable solution, but you can’t negotiate with people like the President who think it must be their way “or the highway.” Merely kicking the problem down the road or supplying our ever growing government with more funds just won’t work nor can we keep borrowing forty cents of every dollar we spend.
 
You can’t solve an overspending habit by borrowing, you have to do it by tightening your belt, Peregrina agreed.  Imagine a family, she suggested, that makes $60,000 a year but spends $100,000 every year.  How?  By borrowing money from banks, maxing out credit cards, and using friends and relatives year after year.  Sooner or later, the house foreclosed, bankruptcy filed, overspending must stop.
 
So, I’ve voted for Republicans only to see that when they get to Washington they get infected with “going along to get along” and to see them abandon the basic Republican principles of smaller government and lower taxes.  Sadly, they no longer feel willing to stand up and speak out for fiscal sanity.  They become “me too” Democrats, always wanting to spend more and to solve all problems with government “solutions.”
 
There is no such thing as a free lunch.  Common sense says that whatever we spend must be paid for by someone.  The taxing the rich mantra espoused locally by such voices as Barbara Lifton just cannot work.  Why not?  Because the rich just aren’t rich enough.  The tax increases sought by the President from successful people would only bring in about forty billion dollars a year, enough to run the government for little more than a week. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan lowered taxes and found lower taxes actually mean higher government revenues and prosperity for the American people.  Franklin Roosevelt raised taxes during a depression and got a longer depression. Yet the class warfare advocates continue to assault success and make it more difficult though the revenue that can be raised is merely politically symbolic and not meaningful.  They ignore the facts and follow a false dream.
 
But the problem isn’t revenues, it is spending.  Government is simply too big.  Some Republicans go to Washington to cut its size and end up increasing it.  That won’t do.
 
So, what must happen?  Statist Republicans and taxing Republicans must be given fiscally conservative and committed primary opponents.  We must confront our Republican office holders and let them know they will have internal party opposition if they persist.  We must get them to adhere to principle.  Or, we Republicans must turn to and work with the more committed Tea Party folks in trying to take back the Republican Party.
 
 
 
 
UPDATE:  I guess great minds really do think alike  wink
 

If it walks like a duck...

...then according to Stephen Moore of the WSJ—gasp!—it's a duck:

IOW—nah, they're the same words—nearly 75% of Obamacare costs will fall on the backs of those Americans making less than $120,000 a year.

But this was not a newsflash...Gateway Pundit had called our attention to it via Fox News back at the beginning of July:

And as he now says

Obamacare: It’s not just a big f***ing deal… It’s a big f***ing tax.

For those who prefer a little less hyperbole and a little more analysis, go to Heritage here

But any way you look at it, in the immortal words of our esteemed Vice President, it's a big f***ing deal.

So, you morons and moronettes (as they say at Ace of Spades, where it's a term of endearment--I don't mean it that way) who thought that Obamacare was the best thing since Obamamoney and who pay taxes and who make $120K a year or less and who voted for more of this nonsense—and, yes, I realize that this constitutes a very small group of people—why was this a good idea exactly?

Actually, I think I can answer that question...at Ace (I like this post a lot, so I'm making a rare exception and not excerpting):

Bad News: The Human Race Has Been Getting Stupider For 10,000 Years


Via Instapundit (with obligatory joke), a geneticist believes human brains were more powerful back when we were hunting mastodons than now when we're hunting to find a new episode of Hoarders.

His argument is based on the fact that for more than 99 per cent of human evolutionary history, we have lived as hunter-gatherer communities surviving on our wits, leading to big-brained humans. Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes.

“I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas and a clear-sighted view of important issues,” Professor Crabtree says in a provocative paper published in the journal Trends in Genetics.

“Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues. I would also make this wager for the ancient inhabitants of Africa, Asia, India or the Americas, of perhaps 2,000 to 6,000 years ago,” Professor Crabtree says.

Well no duh on that last one. I'm not sure you can even have petty neuroses in dangerous environment filled with genuine sources of stress and hazard. If your brain is predisposed to worry and stress, it's going to have a lot of serious threats to worry and stress about. There's no such thing as a hypochondriac when the plague is in town.

There's a theory -- I don't know if this is a real theory or just the sort of thing that Adam Carolla says -- that as our environment and diet get cleaner, we actually become more sensitive to allergens. Fear and neurosis almost certainly works that way.

What's so provocative about the professor's paper? Sounds right to me.

Mitt Romney is a piker

From someone who is in the top 1%, not of income earners, but of taxpayers—a journalist's lament:

...Debbie Bosanek, Warren Buffett’s secretary, earned a seat in the limelight next to the first lady, Michelle Obama, at the State of the Union address for paying what ABC News reported was a tax rate of 35.8 percent. It isn’t clear what Ms. Bosanek meant by 35.8 percent — whether that’s her marginal federal tax rate or total tax rate, or whether she included the Nebraska state income tax...

...Republican candidate Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax returns that showed he paid federal income tax of just over $3 million, 13.9 percent of his adjusted gross income of $21.7 million...

...So with all the focus on tax rates, I sat down with my 2010 returns, calculator in hand. I’m still reeling from the results.
 
I paid 24 percent of my adjusted gross income in federal taxes and 37 percent in combined federal, state and local income taxes. I paid 49 percent of my taxable income in federal income tax, and 74 percent of my taxable income in combined federal, state and local income taxes. My totals include federal payroll and self-employment taxes.
Definitely read the whole thing so you can appreciate our byzantine tax code in all its glory. Not exactly the picture painted by OWSers—or by Mitt Romney or Warren Buffett for that matter.
 
What's the bottom line? According to this column we need 
...a return to the principles of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 championed by Ronald Reagan. “Broaden the base, lower overall tax rates, and tax capital gains and unearned income at the same level as ordinary income,” [Leonard] Burman [a tax expert and a professor of public affairs at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University] said.
 
I don’t resent Mr. Romney’s millions or his low tax rate. As Mr. Buffett pointed out, he didn’t write the tax code he’s now taking advantage of. But maybe we can learn something more important from people who aren’t household names or members of the Forbes 400. I’d like to hear from more hard-working people like Ms. Bosanek who are paying high rates. I’d like to feature them in a future column, so if you’re one of them, contact me at taxstewart@gmail.com.
As for the incumbent and the Republican candidates, "no one, including President Obama, has come forward with a credible plan that addresses the inequities [in the tax code] while confronting the realities of the federal deficit."
 
And the "fairness" BHO kept touting during the SOTU?—49 percent of U.S. households pay no federal tax at all. And the top 10 percent of income earners paid 70 percent of all federal income tax in 2008:
 
 
This is fair?
 
How about this? 
 
For the details, read Saving the American Dream at Heritage.
 
P.S. Romney’s tax proposals would lower federal tax revenue by $600 billion in 2015 while not streamlining anything, increasing transparency, or addressing inequities.  I don't think he gets it.
 

Pastoral Poverty

A piece in the Times today illuminates the divide in Middlefield between farmers and people who have moved into the rural town.  It might reflect some on Dryden, too.

The dispute has pitted neighbor against neighbor, and has often set people who live in suburbs or villages against the farmers and landowners who live outside them. The discord is compounded by hard times on both sides and by communication online giving everyone instant access to limitless information confirming their point of view...

Like many farmers, [Jennifer Huntington] sees the drilling opponents as largely comfortable urbanites in an area increasingly home to retirees and second-home owners who know nothing about the economics of farming and little about the safety of drilling.
“This land and my family are my life,” Ms. Huntington said. “We probably use three to four million gallons of water to feed my cows. I’m not going to spoil something I need to make my living and for future generations to come.”

Proponents of fracking say that many farmers are on the verge of losing their property.

“The term we use is pastoral poverty,” she said. “You have farmers trying to hold on to land that’s been in their family for 100 to 200 years. People like the landscape, but it’s people living in poverty who are maintaining what they like to look at.” ...

Many drilling proponents, meanwhile, say the professionals and retirees drawn to the area have become antigrowth fanatics...

* * *

The crowd of about 120 was quiet and polite at the candidates’ debate at the Dryden Fire Hall last Wednesday.  I spent my time watching the body language in the crowd. The anti-fracking polemic of Linda Lavine got a chilly reception based on the crossed arms, shifting of positions and shaking heads.  Maybe it was the intensity that was off-putting, or maybe they’ve heard just about enough about drilling.

The strongest reaction I saw was in favor of attracting business and spreading out the tax base of the town.  While the town tax rate hasn’t gone up, assessments have and people see their tax escrow payments going up alarmingly every year.  A bunch of new businesses are going in just up the road in Cortlandville... but we won’t see any benefit from sales tax revenue across the county line.

The budget talk is complicated, and seems to disintegrate into a he-said, she-said battle of jargon.  A few things stood out... a lot of money spent on consultants for an unloved zoning proposal, a bunch more people working in the planning department, a move by the town board to bypass the tax cap passed by the state.   Recreation used to be done by volunteers.

The next candidate debate will be in Varna on Tuesday, closer to Cornell and the anti-fracking epicenter.  

And the lion shall lay down with the lamb?

Errr, not so much...but it is shades of yesterday's WSJ editorial (h/t Henry):

...There are numerous other new taxes in the bill [the 2010 Affordable Care Act] , all adding up to some $438 billion in new revenue over 10 years. But even that is understated because by 2019 the annual revenue increase is nearly $90 billion, or $900 billion in the 10 years after that. Yet Mr. Obama wants to add another $1 trillion in new taxes on top of this....

For more on geese and golden eggs, see here, here, and here.

More politics of envy

Back in April, we had a post that consisted simply of a powerful Rich Terrell graphic, without comment—believe me, it needed none.

Then at a press conference today, the Carney man had this to say (via RCP):

"Americans are not like -- 'I demand this, you know, I draw the red line here and I draw this in the sand.' They just want us to get something done that's sensible, that spreads the sacrifice and spreads the prosperity."

Really?  Sure sounds like this:

We have our own local crop of "eat the rich" proponents—some of them even have an "R" after their names—but the one who comes to mind first is Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton.  In an op ed from June 22nd:

...we must reform our state income tax structure so that the wealthiest New Yorkers pay their fair share of taxes. I will continue that fight for reform, and perhaps many more New Yorkers will join in that effort as they feel the destructive impact of state budget cuts where they live, work, and send their children to school.

This is a meme, one of a number of stock talking points, that crops up over and over again in Lifton's communications.  What is its origin?  Well, try the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America:

Ithaca Democratic Socialists of America Presents #485:

"Tax, Then Spend in New York State" Charles Dunaway draws on information presented last year by the James Parrott of the Fiscal Policy Institute, Mike Hirsch, Barbara Lifton and Maria Svart to show that New York State could easily afford to pay for what it needs, if only people would demand a return to earlier income tax rates on top incomes or a return to the stock sales tax that the state once had. Recorded Feb. 16, 2010, March 20, 2010, and February 7, 2011.

The video in question may be found here, along with several others.

In fact, if you poke around these local DSA links, you'll find all sorts of interesting things. 

Babs is not your father's (or grandfather's) Democrat.  Her philosophy is much closer to that of Marx—Karl, not Groucho (although you could make a case....).  

For more info, Assemblywoman Lifton has her own entry at KeyWiki, sister site to New Zeal—she may be pleased to know that she's being observed from halfway around the world.  And type in other local names in the search box at KeyWiki—you never know whose name is liable to pop up.

Instead of dining at the Moosewood, maybe they should give this joint a try:

Thanks to South of 5 and 20 and TR for providing the inspiration.

Insanity or Cloward-Piven?

Either way, it's not a good thing.

Click on to embiggen, as they say (via Moonbattery).

At Investors.com:

...According to The Hill, Democrats are so frustrated with President Obama's "passivity on the economy" that they're actively working on a fresh stimulus package that would include significant new spending on roads and other infrastructure, paid for by closing various tax loopholes...

[....] The classic definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. At the moment, that seems a fitting description for the Democratic Party's economic agenda.

A Tale of Two Cities

No, it's not Paris and London, it's Salamanca, NY and...Salamanca, NY.  I can personally attest to the city's "shabbiness."  At Townhall, h/t Patricia at the NYS Moms group of As a Mom (over there in the right sidebar):

...shabbiness blankets what could be a quaint town bounded by a river, a New York state park and a national forest. Garish “Nation-owned” cigarette outlets and gas stations produce a city drawn by Norman Rockwell but touched-up by Jackson Pollock.

“I had a professor who once said, ‘Simple way to understand the importance of private property: Have you ever washed a rental car?’ ” says political science professor Lara Brown. Salamanca, she says, “strikes precisely at the issue. When you don't own, most people don't care.”

[....] “[The citizens of Salamanca and the Seneca Nation] are now paying for the past mistakes and incompetence of the federal government.”

Their plight is compounded by the all-too-familiar pattern of many towns and cities in the Northeast: Over several decades, the Rust Belt’s state and local governments have failed to enact job-sustaining tax policies and, more important, have failed to invest in the infrastructure needed to compete with other regions of the country.

The result, in Salamanca as elsewhere, is sweeping, perhaps irreversible, economic and social devastation.

Well.  We've blogged here numerous times on these very topics—the importance of private property, the ultimate destructiveness of big government, the negative impact of state and local tax policies unfriendly to both business and individuals (most recently here, here, and here)...and here it all is, in microcosm, in one small city in NYS.

Read the whole thing.  The comments are worth reading, too—one commenter called New York "The Vampire State."  Wish I'd thought of it.

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