Tag Archives: Taxes

Paul Krugman: Sanders Needs to Distance Himself from ‘Fantasy Economics’

Nobel Prize winning, progressive-leaning economist Paul Krugman said in an op-ed on Wednesday that the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign needs to distance itself from unrealistically rosy predictions regarding the potential consequences of his economic proposals, or else risk making Jeb Bush’s policy proposals “look realistic.

Krugman takes issue with the fact that the Sanders campaign’s policy director praised University of Massachusetts Amherst economics professor Gerald Friedman’s comprehensive analysis of Sanders’ economic proposals as “excellent work.

According to CNN Money’s Tami Luhby, Friedman predicted that the sum of Sanders’ policies, if passed into law, would push median household income to “$82,200 by 2026, far higher than the $59,300 projected by the Congressional Budget Office.” He suggested that unemployment would drop to 3.8 percent and that the labor participation rate would surge back to 1999 levels.

In addition, [Friedman claimed that] poverty would plummet to a record low 6%, as opposed to the CBO’s forecast of 13.9%. The U.S. economy would grow by 5.3% per year, instead of 2.1%, and the nation’s $1.3 trillion deficit would turn into a large surplus by Sanders’ second term,” Luhby added.

[RELATED: DNC Chair: Superdelegates Exist to Protect Party Leaders from Grassroots Competition]

Following the release of Friedman’s predictions, a group of former chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, specifically Alan Krueger, Austan Goolsbee, Christina Romer, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson, signed an open letter to Sen. Sanders and Friedman which said, “We are concerned to see the Sanders campaign citing extreme claims by Gerald Friedman about the effect of Senator Sanders’s economic plan—claims that cannot be supported by the economic evidence. Friedman asserts that your plan will have huge beneficial impacts on growth rates, income and employment that exceed even the most grandiose predictions by Republicans about the impact of their tax cut proposals.

Krugman, in his Wednesday op ed for The New York Times, parroted the fears of the former CEA chairs and wrote, “OK, progressives have, rightly, mocked Jeb Bush for claiming that he could double growth to 4 percent. Now people close to Sanders say 5.3???

The point is not that all of this is impossible, but it’s very unlikely — and these are numbers we would describe as deep voodoo if they came from a tax-cutting Republican,” said Krugman, who argued that Friedman’s predictions regarding the growth and unemployment effects of Sanders’ policies are unlikely to take place in the face of a “long-term downward trend” in the labor participation rate due to an “aging population.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: After Being Trounced By Sanders in NH, Clinton Still Wins More Delegates Thanks to DNC Insiders]

Sanders needs to disassociate himself from this kind of fantasy economics right now. If his campaign responds instead by lashing out [against the former CEA chairs’ open letter] — well, a campaign that treats Alan Krueger, Christy Romer, and Laura Tyson as right-wing enemies is well on its way to making Donald Trump president,” concluded Krugman.

On February 3, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget released a fact check of offsets that Bernie Sanders has proposed in an effort to fund his single-payer healthcare plan, which stated, “By our rough estimates, his proposed offsets would cover only three-quarters of his claimed cost, leaving a $3 trillion shortfall over ten years. Even that discrepancy, though, assumes that the campaign’s estimate of the cost of their single-payer plan is correct. An alternate analysis by respected health economist Kenneth Thorpe of Emory University finds a substantially higher cost, which would leave Sanders’s plan $14 trillion short. The plan would also increase the top tax rate beyond the point where most economists believe it could continue generating more revenue and thus could result in even larger deficits as a result of slowed economic growth.

Sanders’ chief policy adviser Warren Gunnels called the former CEA chairs “the establishment of the establishment” and told NPR, “[The open letter criticizing Sanders’ embracing of Friedman’s projections] does not bother us at all. What bothers us is the fact that the U.S. has more kids living in poverty than nearly any major country on Earth.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Follow Barry Donegan on Facebook and Twitter.

TN AG: Airbnb Homeowners Must Pay Taxes

NASHVILLE, December 3, 2015– Property owners who rent their homes to weekend guests through apps such as Airbnb should expect to be forced to pay taxes in Tennessee after the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association (TnHTA), the statewide lobbying group that represents the hospitality and tourism industry in Tennessee, sought legal recourse by seeking a State Attorney General’s opinion against homeowners making extra money off of their homes.

The lobbying group says they are very pleased with the Attorney General’s opinion because it helps to “level the playing field,” and that it was a win for not only their stakeholders but local governments as well that are missing out on tax dollars.

“We are excited that the AG has opined that short-term rentals are legally subject to both sales and lodging taxes. In some counties, the amount of tax lost is significant- since Davidson County began to enforce the collection of the tax it is estimated that over $1.2 million in just lodging taxes will be collected in 2016 on short-term rentals,” said Greg Adkins, TnHTA President & CEO.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery opined that those renting out their private homes to weekend guests were not simply private homeowners but actually hotel owners and are therefore responsible for collecting and paying sales taxes.

As technology continues to develop, long standing government protected industries are losing profits to apps like Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, and so on. This isn’t the first blow AirBnB has been dealt in Tennessee. In Nashville, the Tennessee Beacon Center, a free-market think tank, has recently filed a lawsuit against the city for attempting to ban homeowners from using the service.

FOLLOW MICHAEL LOTFI ON Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.

Colorado Becomes First State To Generate More Tax Revenue From Marijuana Than From Alcohol Sales

Colorado became the first state in the nation’s history to make more annual revenue off of taxes imposed on marijuana sales than taxes on alcohol, according to numbers released by the Colorado Department of Revenue.

A report from the department, which looked at the taxes collected from  July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, found that the state collected about $70 million in taxes from marijuana sales, and only about $42 million in taxes from alcohol sales.

The Marijuana Policy Project noted that out of the $69,898,059 raised on taxes on marijuana-related sales, $43,938,721 came from a “10% special sales tax on retail marijuana sales to adults” and $25,959,338 came from a “15% excise tax on wholesale transfers of marijuana intended for adult use.”

KDRV reported that Colorado is having a “marijuana tax holiday” on Wednesday, which will suspend all taxes on marijuana-related sales.

Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project and a co-director of the 2012 initiative to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Colorado, released a statement saying that marijuana taxes have been “incredibly productive over the past year,” and Wednesday’s holiday will be a “much-deserved day off.”

“It’s crazy how much revenue our state used to flush down the drain by forcing marijuana sales into the underground market,” Tvert said. “It’s even crazier that so many states are still doing it. Tax revenue is just one of many good reasons to replace marijuana prohibition with a system of regulation.”

[RELATED: ‘Gas and Grass’ Cannabis Dispensary Gas Stations Coming Soon To Colorado]

The Associated Press reported that the holiday is due to Colorado’s “unusual tax law,” and is a rare move in a state that “has many times rejected sales-tax holidays on things like school supplies, clothing or energy-efficient appliances.”

The Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights “requires voters to approve new taxes based on estimates of collections and state spending.”

The Denver Post noted that although the tax revenues from marijuana sales have not exceeded projected figures, “total state spending exceeded initial estimates because of the improving economy,” and as a result, lawmakers settled on a one-day tax waiver.

[RELATED: Truth In Media: Feds Say Cannabis Is Not Medicine While Holding The Patent To Cannabis As Medicine]

In Sept. 2014, investigative journalist Ben Swann looked into the federal government’s involvement with marijuana used for medicinal purposes, and he found that although the government acts as if cannabis is not medicine, they actually own the patent to cannabis as medicine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuX9y0hiqWE

Feds Collect Record 2015 Tax Haul: $19,346 Per Worker

WASHINGTON, September 14, 2015– According to a monthly treasury statement, through the first eleven months of fiscal year 2015 (Oct. 1, 2014 – end of August), the United States federal government has collected a record-breaking haul in tax revenue. In total, the feds have collected over $2.8 trillion so far, which equals approximately $19,346 for every person in the country working full-time or part-time in August.

The largest yield of this fiscal year’s record-setting tax collections were derived from individual income tax. That netted the United States Treasury approximately $1.379 trillion. Payroll taxes for “social insurance and retirement receipts” brought in an additional $977.5 billion. Additionally, the corporate income tax brought in $268.4 billion.

It appears that the record-breaking tax revenue of $2,883,250,000,000 wasn’t enough for the federal government. Despite the extra cash, the federal government spent $3,413,210,000,000 in those eleven months, which ran up a deficit of $529,960,000,000 during the collection period.

To date, the national debt sits at approximately $18.4 trillion with each citizen’s share equaling $57.1 thousand.

The federal government’s largest expenditures are Medicaid and Medicare, Social Security, defense and war, net interest on the debt itself, federal pensions and income securities.

Also, at a 560 percent increase since fiscal year 2000, the monetary base has also been greatly expanded by the Federal Reserve to combat the great recession.

Washington shows no signs of slowing down. Almost exclusively, decreases in budget deficits have been achieved by tax increases, not decreases in federal spending.

In late 2012, Republicans joined President Obama’s proposal and agreed to raise taxes to avoid the “fiscal cliff”. Many Republicans have also joined President Obama and Democrats in calling for an internet sales tax. Meanwhile, federal spending is up 106 percent since fiscal year 2000.

FOLLOW MICHAEL LOTFI ON Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.

Rand Paul To Unveil Plan To Replace IRS Tax Code With ‘Fair and Flat Tax’

GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced that he will release a plan to repeal the entire IRS tax code, making more than $2 trillion in tax cuts and replacing the code with “The Fair and Flat Tax” of 14.5 percent on individuals and businesses.

In an editorial for the Wall Street Journal, Paul claimed that his plan will repeal the more than 70,000 pages that make up the Internal Revenue Service’s tax code and “eliminate nearly every special-interest loophole.”

Paul wrote that although President Obama has talked about “middle-class economics,” his policies have “led to rising income inequality and negative income gains for families.” In contrast, Paul proposes that his plan would help the middle class by eliminating “the payroll tax on workers and several federal taxes outright, including gift and estate taxes, telephone taxes, and all duties and tariffs.

[quote_center]“The Fair and Flat Tax eliminates payroll taxes, which are seized by the IRS from a worker’s paychecks before a family ever sees the money,” Paul wrote. “This will boost the incentive for employers to hire more workers, and raise after-tax income by at least 15% over 10 years.”[/quote_center]

Paul wrote that there is a need to “blow up the tax code and start over,” because from 2001 to 2010, “there were at least 4,430 changes to tax laws—an average of one ‘fix’ a day—always promising more fairness, more simplicity or more growth stimulants.”

“Every year the Internal Revenue Code grows absurdly more incomprehensible, as if it were designed as a jobs program for accountants, IRS agents and tax attorneys,” Paul wrote. He went on to say that another “increasingly obvious danger of our current tax code” is the power the IRS has to “examine the most private financial and lifestyle information of every American citizen.”

[quote_center]“We now know that the IRS, through political hacks like former IRS official Lois Lerner, routinely abused its auditing power to build an enemies list and harass anyone who might be adversarial to President Obama’s policies,” wrote Paul. “A convoluted tax code enables these corrupt tactics.”[/quote_center]

Paul called his tax plan an “all-American solution,” because “everyone plays by the same rules,” and he argued that the US needs a smart tax system to “turbocharge the economy and pull America out of the slow-growth rut of the past decade.”

“We are already at least $2 trillion behind where we should be with a normal recovery; the growth gap widens every month,” wrote Paul. “Even Mr. Obama’s economic advisers tell him that the U.S. corporate tax code, which has the highest rates in the world (35%), is an economic drag.”

Paul concluded, writing that he intends for his “Fair and Flat Tax” to fix the “the rot in the system that is degrading our economy day after day,” and he sees that new tax as one that is “the boldest restoration of fairness to American taxpayers in over a century.”

For more news related to the 2016 Presidential election, click here.

Could “Pot for Potholes” Fill State Budget Gaps?

Marijuana sales have been favorable for Colorado.

Scoff at this idea if you’d like, but Colorado has collected at least $68 million in marijuana tax revenue during the fiscal 2014-2015 year.

Now other states are considering legalizing recreational marijuana, taxing it and using the profits to improve and repair roads.

There is a heated battle to stop a gas tax hike in South Carolina led by liberty-minded state senator Tom Davis, who also sponsored a bill to legalize cannabis for medical purposes.

In many states, voters have struck down penny tax increases to repair roads. Could legalizing and taxing pot be the answer?

Michigan State Rep. Brandon Dillon (D) told local affiliate Fox17 that taxing marijuana might not be the answer to every spending issue, but it’s definitely part of the solution.

Dillon said that the potential for tax revenue from legalized recreational marijuana could reach a half billion dollars.

“That would go a long way in easing the burn on middle class families and others who have to pay the entire fright for roads, police and fire protection and public schools,” he explained.

Many of Michigan’s urban areas have decriminalized marijuana, which has saved money within the criminal justice system.

Lansing, Michigan Mayor Virg Bernero said that Pot for Potholes is a grassroots movement in support of what its name implies.

Cities in other states are also considering the same idea, especially as roads continue to age and revenue from gas taxes continues to decrease as cars become more fuel efficient.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said that legal weed could bring in money the city needs to make repairs.

“It could bring a lot of money back to cities,” said Cranley.

One proposal to legalize marijuana in Ohio would place a 15 percent tax on the drug’s sale. Out of those tax dollars, 55 percent would go to cities and townships.

CPAC Straw Poll Winner Rand Paul Battles The Bush Machine—Goldwater Style

WASHINGTON, February 28, 2015—As the winner of the past three Conservative Political Action Committee’s (CPAC) Straw Polls, Senator Rand Paul excels at generating meaningful political and economic discussions among college students and young professionals. The same generation that is known for speaking in bewildering acronyms continues to gather in force to ask and to answer difficult questions that are essential to the life and liberty of all Americans. Their answers will ultimately determine the future of the nation.

The Senator’s most recent economic stand will endear him to anyone who has ever interfaced with the Internal Revenue Service. He promised to introduce the largest tax cut in American history. In his speech to attendees of CPAC, he mentioned that he is poised to propose a tax plan “that would get the IRS out of our lives.” He indicated his intention to cut taxes “for everyone from the richest to the poorest.”

“It’s time for a new way predicated on opportunity and freedom!” said Paul to a wildly supportive crowd. The Senator attacked America’s indiscriminate foreign aid policies, especially the large sums of money sent without the permission of taxpayers to countries that consider The United States an enemy. “Not one penny more to these haters of America!” said Paul.

His speech had the tenor of a well-run, focused campaign and was eerily similar to comments made by Senator Barry Goldwater exactly 50 years ago on the campaign trail leading up to his landmark GOP presidential nomination. “You cannot stop a man who has vowed to bury you by handing him a shovel,” said Goldwater, “By feeding and clothing his friends, while denying your friends the means to help protect you!” Goldwater believed that removing foreign aid would ultimately prevent wars.

Several members of the Young Jewish Conservatives attending CPAC this year specifically mentioned the foreign aid issue as a driving force behind their support for Rand Paul for president. Paul’s straight talk appeals to countless concerned Americans who are fed up with politics as usual, feel betrayed by the Party Machine, and fear that the United States is on an irreversible course similar to that of the Titanic—or Greece.

Two weeks prior to CPAC, the Students for Liberty (SFL) held its national conference in Washington, D.C. More than 1,700 students from across the world attended. The group was largely inspired by the ideas presented to them by Senator Paul’s father, Congressman Ron Paul. Now it is the fastest-growing political group on college campuses globally, and is surpassing both the College Democrats and College Republicans groups on American campuses.

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is another group inspired by the Paul family’s articulation of limited government principles. Many YAL members were active in the GOP for years before they understood the liberty message, realized how well it resonates, and committed to passionately fight to preserve it. The large presence of both SFL and YAL at CPAC is telling, and has seemingly eliminated the establishment hostilities doled out to them by fellow attendees when they were the minority at previous conferences. The young libertarians gladly swap testimonies of political enlightenment with a fervor nostalgic of a tent revival meeting. They are also getting elected to offices across the land, a clear sign that they are not going away anytime soon.

Freedom is popular, it seems, and the Bill of Rights is back en vogue with a new generation of American rebels. This energy threatens to change the go-along-to-get-along, aging Republican establishment, which is why the party profiteers are so quick to strike back at the resurgence of old school conservatism.

The same Rockefeller Republicans who sandbagged Goldwater after he won the GOP nomination from the floor are currently working financial and legal channels on behalf of Jeb Bush. The 2016 Republican nomination is seemingly fixed for the top fundraiser and his delegate-donors, a complete violation of the nominating process. Sources say Jeb Bush bussed hundreds of people to CPAC from their Washington offices just to fill seats during his speech and to presumably raise his standing in the straw poll. This effort did not succeed in preventing him from being handily booed every time his name was mentioned, including while he addressed the attendees who remained after a protest/walkout. His temporary seat-filling strategy was met with disdain by attendees who saved and spent their own money to attend the duration of the event and cast their ballots.

One of Paul’s leading critics is fellow Senator and former GOP nominee John McCain, a man who praises Goldwater with his lips while shunning everything he stood for by his actions.  Just two years ago, the 80-year-old McCain called Senators Paul and Cruz, as well as Congressman Justin Amash, “wacko birds.” He called their supporters, the Under 40 crowd that supports Paul’s limited government principles, “impressionable libertarian kids.”

Yet, the vibrant, liberty-leaning younger crowd that has wrestled its way into the GOP is the only fresh blood coursing through the Party’s very old veins. Perhaps the current Republican Party leadership is not the right body from which to expect kind words of “big tent” gratitude. The crowds who now stand with Rand don’t seem to care. Their vision is clear, and they know they will eventually outlive the generation that got the country into this mess in the first place. They seem to be ready to get to work.

15 Towns in New York’s Southern Tier Reportedly Considering Secession

Economic desolation has consumed New York’s Southern Tier region, which traces the New York-Pennsylvania border, and some locals are blaming the New York state government for their woes. According to WBNG-TV, the Upstate New York Towns Association, which represents the interests of towns in the area, is researching whether it would be possible or prudent for fifteen towns located in the counties of Broome, Sullivan, Delaware, and Tioga to secede from New York and join Pennsylvania. The Upstate New York Towns Association has declined to name which towns have expressed interest in secession.

A statement released by the organization read, “On December 17, 2014, when it was announced that high volume hydraulic fracturing would be banned in New York State and there would be no casino license in the ‘true’ Southern Tier, a supervisor, whose town is a member of the Association, told a reporter from the Wall Street Journal that we should all secede… That supervisor discussed the idea of seceding to Pennsylvania with the Association. The Association began comparing taxes in New York with taxes in Pennsylvania and comparing the cost of doing business in New York with the cost of doing business in Pennsylvania. The Association also is studying whether or not decisions made in Albany are disproportionately benefiting Downstate.”

At issue are high taxes and bans on fracking and casinos, which some residents feel are crushing the local economy. Conklin, NY town supervisor Jim Finch (R) told WBNG-TV, “The Southern Tier is desolate. We have no jobs and no income. The richest resource we have is in the ground… We’re comparing the taxes in Pennsylvania compared to those in New York. There’s a great, great difference. Right now, we are being deprived of work, jobs and incomes.”

Bradford County, PA Commissioner Doug McLinko (R) said that he feels the pain of New Yorkers who want to jump ship and join up with Pennsylvania. Said McLinko in the above-embedded video coverage by Newswatch 16, “They look across the border and see our farms prospering, staying intact. They’re not being subdivided. They see our county cut taxes, eliminated debt.”

New York Senate Deputy Majority Coalition Leader Tom Libous (R) recently made news when he issued a pocketbook survey to his constituents asking them if they would support allowing some of the affected towns to secede from New York. Though the fifteen towns looking at secession have not yet identified themselves, Libous’ pocketbook survey specifically named Conklin and Kirkwood as two of the possible towns. The Upstate New York Towns Association says that the plan for fifteen towns to secede from New York and join Pennsylvania would have to be approved by the Pennsylvania and New York state legislatures, as well as the federal government. Conklin town supervisor Jim Finch called the possibility that the plan might work “far fetched” in comments to The Huffington Post. The Upstate New York Towns Association said it is conducting a study and will decide whether to go forward with secession after considering the merits and potential complications involved with the transition.

Though attempts at secession from New York have been tried many times before, most have failed, and the last successful effort took place in the 1790s when Vermont seceded from the state.

EXCLUSIVE: Sheriff Stands Up to IRS, Cancels Land Sale

WASHINGTON, February 7, 2015—New Mexico’s Eddy County Sheriff Scott London notified the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) via letter that the sale of county resident Kent Carter’s property is canceled until Carter receives due process of law and his appeal is heard. The certified letter dated February 4 received an immediate response from the Undersecretary of the Treasury’s office. According to the Treasury’s website, however, the public auction is still slated for February 19.

“Many officers have stood up over the years for the rights of citizens being victimized by the federal government,” said Sheriff Mack, founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, “But Sheriff London is the first one to stand up to the IRS since the early 1990s.” Mack said, “His actions show courage and humility. London is setting a good example for the rest of our sheriffs.”

Approximately ten days before Christmas, U.S. Marshals broke in the door of Carter’s rental property with their guns drawn. The tenant was a young mother with a new baby—home alone while her husband was at work. Sheriff London was called to the property to intervene. He advised the Marshals that Carter’s case was in appeal and he deserved due process. They threatened to arrest London, but he stood his ground and they backed off.

Carter has battled the IRS for decades over taxes on the earnings of his modest construction business. One court document listed his debt at $145,000, a figure Carter says an assessing agent “pulled out of thin air.” Every time he challenged them, his bill would shoot up a few hundred thousand dollars. His legal complaints state that the IRS failed to adhere to its own tax code, did not use proper accounting methods, and that the collection activity was unlawful because no notices of deficiency were given. Carter says his private and confidential information, including his social security number, was filed in public records and given to third parties. The IRS countered that it can publish and disperse the private information of Americans if it is trying to collect their money or property. A judge agreed.

Carter says the IRS is currently claiming he owes $890,000, a figure that “doubled with the stroke of a pen.”

The Taxation & Revenue Department ordered Carter to cease “engaging in business in New Mexico” until his arbitrary tax debt was paid. Carter appealed this injunction on the grounds that it was both unconstitutional and vague, as it deprived him of his right to make a living and also prohibited him from, “carrying on or causing to be carried on any activity with the purpose of direct or indirect benefit.”

“The IRS fabricates evidence against citizens by pulling numbers out of a hat and adding fees,” said Mack, “They wear people down emotionally and financially until they can’t take it anymore. No citizen should ever have to fight the IRS for decades in order to keep his land.”

“The IRS is a lie. The income tax is a lie,” said Carter. “Why should they be able to take anything? They’re worse than the mafia.”

The Carter properties have liens placed against them. A locksmith was instructed to change the locks. The IRS authorized the United States Marshal Service to arrest/evict anyone found on the premises. London, however, physically stood in front of Carter’s gate until the Marshals backed down. A public auction on the front steps of the Eddy County Courthouse is scheduled, but the local county sheriff—trained in the Constitution—resisted.

Carter voluntarily vacated his property and relocated his mobile home to an undisclosed location. “I chose to leave to keep it from escalating to something ugly—like Ruby Ridge, Idaho,” he said. Carter said he advised the Marshals and IRS Agents who publicly claimed he had armed friends on his land, “If there is going to be any violence, it is going to be you who starts it.”

Carter says 100% of his Social Security benefits is seized each month by the IRS, in addition to $2,800 the agency drained from his bank account. Legally, the IRS can take no more than 15% of Social Security benefits.

Mack says banking institutions quiver when faced with the IRS’ gestapo tactics and generally hand over customers’ personal banking information, including access to accounts, without requiring a warrant or even any documentation. He encourages county sheriffs to brief every bank in their jurisdiction to refer inquiries from IRS agents to them.

Sheriff Mack is calling for the IRS to start following the law, including no “random” audits without probable cause, as they violate the Fourth Amendment. He asks them to stop committing crimes and rewarding IRS employees with bonuses for cheating on their personal taxes. “I agree with Senator Ted Cruz and others who say the IRS should be abolished,” said Mack. “It’s time they got off the backs of the American people.”

Carter says he prays daily for wisdom, and that he is surviving to be able to look into his grandchildren’s eyes and tell them he fought for their future and for America.

London is the first Republican to ever be elected sheriff in Eddy County. He distributes Bibles on behalf of Gideon International and met his wife in choir practice.

Obama’s “Robin Hood” Plan to Collect $320 Billion in New Taxes

On Saturday, White House officials announced that President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address will include a plan to increase tax credits for the middle class, with $320 billion in revenue obtained by increasing taxes on the wealthy over the next ten years.

Americans for Tax Reform reported that Obama’s budget will include five major tax increases: a capital gains rate hike, an increase in the death tax rate, an increased tax on banks, a tax increase on families saving for college, and a tax increase in retirement plans.

According to the Associated Press, the capital gains rate hike would “increase the total top capital gains rate on couples with incomes above $500,000 to 28 percent,” which has “already been raised from 15 percent to 23.8 percent” during Obama’s presidency.

Obama’s changes in the death tax rate would eliminate a tax break on inheritances, where individuals pay both income and estate taxes on the same dollars. This would close a “loophole” that Obama has suggested is a “huge scam that wealthy people exploit,” according to Forbes.

The Guardian reported that Obama’s proposed “Bank Tax” will put a new 0.07% tax on the liabilities of U.S. financial firms with assets of more than $50 billion, “making it more costly for them to borrow heavily.”

Obama’s plan also includes increased taxes on families saving for college. While the current law lets money put in 529 plans, or college savings accounts, grow tax-free, Obama’s proposal would require that earnings “face taxation upon withdrawal, even if the withdrawal is to pay for college,” according to Americans for Tax Reform.

Politico reported that Obama plans to increase taxes on retirement plans such as the IRA and 401(k), by capping the amount an individual can accumulate in the account at $3.4 million, giving retirees a limit of $210,000 in annual income.

Once accumulating the money from the wealthy, the Associated Press reported that Obama plans to give a “new $500 ‘second earner’ tax credit for families where both spouses work,” and an expanded child care tax credit of up to “$3,000 per child under age 5.”

According to Politico, Obama also plans to “expand tax breaks for small businesses that automatically enroll their employees in retirement savings accounts.

NPR reported that Obama’s plans have been met with criticism from Republicans in Congress, such as a spokesperson for Representative Paul Ryan who said that the plan was “not a serious proposal.”

The Senate’s top tax law writer, Senator Orrin Hatch, told Reuters that Obama “needs to stop listening to his liberal allies who want to raise taxes at all costs and start working with Congress to fix our broken tax code.

Fourteen ways you can avoid paying the Obamacare tax

NASHVILLE, December 7, 2014– Tax season is just around the corner, and the majority of Americans are still completely puzzled when it comes to how Obamacare will affect their taxes. According to Dr. Omar Hamada, unbeknownst to most, 14 ways, in total, to avoid paying the Obamacare tax penalty for not complying with the federal insurance mandate exist. In fact, one of them is so incredibly ambiguous, just about anyone can get away with not paying the tax.

As of now, these “waivers” are available until at least 2016:

1. You were homeless.

Documentation Required: None

2. You have been evicted in the past 6 months, or were facing eviction or foreclosure.

Documentation Required: Copy of eviction or foreclosure notice

3. You received a shut-off notice from a utility company.

Documentation Required: Copy of shut-off notice from a utility company

4. You recently experienced domestic violence.

Documentation Required: None

5. You recently experienced the death of a close family member.

Documentation Required: Copy of death certificate, copy of death notice from newspaper, or copy of other official notice of death

6. You experienced a fire, flood, or other natural human-caused disaster that caused substantial damage to your property.

Documentation Required: Copy of police or fire report, insurance claim, or other document from government agency, private entity, or news source documenting event

7. You filed for bankruptcy in the last 6 months.

Documentation Required: Copy of bankruptcy filing

8. You had medical expenses you couldn’t pay in the last 24 months.

Documentation Required: Copies of medical bills

9. You experienced unexpected increases in necessary expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled, or aging family member.

Documentation Required: Copies of receipts related to care

10. You expect to claim a child as a tax dependent who’s been denied coverage in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and another person is required by court order to give medical support to the child.

Documentation Required: Copy of medical support order AND copies of eligibility notices for Medicaid and CHIP showing that the child has been denied coverage

11. As a result of an eligibility appeals decision, you’re eligible either for: 1) enrollment in a qualified health plan (QHP) through the Marketplace, 2) lower costs on your monthly premiums, or 3) cost-sharing reductions for a time period when you weren’t enrolled in a QHP through the Marketplace.

Documentation Required: Copy of notice of appeals decision

12. You were determined ineligible for Medicaid because your state didn’t expand eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Documentation Required: Copy of notice of denial of eligibility for Medicaid

13. You received a notice saying that your current health insurance plan is being cancelled, and you consider the other plans available unaffordable.

Documentation Required: Copy of notice of cancellation

And here’s the final exemption that will allow anyone without insurance to avoid paying the penalty. Because documentation is only required “if possible” it’s impossible to collect the tax against virtually everyone without insurance. Although it is certainly not suggested that one lie to the IRS, many people could end up doing so in order to have extra money to feed their family.

14. You experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance.

Documentation Required: “Please submit documentation if possible.”

Follow Michael Lotfi: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

South Carolina Losing jobs to states that embrace free markets and lower taxes

 

 

When Stone Brewing Co., the nation’s 10th-largest craft beer producer,  announced its list of potential new locations, South Carolina wasn’t on it due largely to the fact of its high taxes.

The San Diego, Calif.-based company narrowed its list to Columbus, Ohio; Richmond, Va.; and Norfolk, Va.

According to GreenvilleOnline, Greenville, S.C. was on the list almost to the end.

Brook Bristow, who is general counsel for the S.C. Brewers Association and assisted in recruitment efforts said that those other cities were chosen because they are not just centrally located — they also offer a better tax climate.

Both Ohio and Virginia have vastly lower excise taxes on beer — 18 cents per gallon in Ohio, 26 cents per gallon in Virginia, compared to 77 cent per gallon in South Carolina, he told Greenville Online.

“We can’t do anything about where we are, but we can make where we are more attractive for business,” Bristow said. “The brewers association’s next priority is cutting that tax. Currently, South Carolina has one of the 10 highest excise taxes in the country. That has to change to seriously compete with other states.”

South Carolina did make some changes to try and pretty itself for Stone Brewing.

Governor Nikki Haley signed “Stone Law,” which loosened restrictions on beer production and consumption in an effort to make the state more attractive for Stone’s $31 million project.

The bill, which was pushed through this spring after it became clear that brewery was interested in the state, changed the law to allow producing large amounts of beer while also operating a restaurant.

Unfortunately the bill wasn’t enough to woo Stone Brewery. Though it was a step in the right direction, Stone was turned off by South Carolina’s high taxes and regulations. Hopefully South Carolina, a so-called “Red State,” will start changing its laws to embracing free market principles.

Black Box in Cars: More Spying Programs by Federal and State Governments

With car gas mileage improving and people driving less due to high gas prices, the government is looking for a new way to raise taxes for road maintenance.  Their solution involves tracking cars using a small “black box” and taxing their drivers per mile driven.  Some states, such as Oregon, have already been testing such a system for a number of years.

Black_box_2_car_IMG_0003Advocates say that a new method of generating government revenue for road maintenance is necessary.  They say it is unfair that people who drive higher gas mileage vehicles don’t have to pay as much tax money for road maintenance, simply because their cars are more fuel efficient.  The irony, of course, is that the government subsidizes “green energy” to try to prompt more people to use these sources of energy.  Hybrid cars have become increasingly popular in recent years, and now their drivers are having some benefits of their use stripped away.

People also say the black box could help the government to change traffic flow.  By taxing some streets more and some less, they could persuade people to choose some routes over others, rather than individuals simply choosing the faster or shorter route (which would also use less fuel).  Indeed many cars are already made with black boxes to help police determine exactly what happened in traffic accidents.  Some are trying to make this mandatory.

The most obvious problem with the plan is the inevitable violations of privacy which will result.  Government databases would store exactly where individual citizens went, their day-to-day routines, when they did anything, and how fast they were going at any given moment.  Such data could be used for anything, from studies to purchase by private companies to use by law enforcement.  Such widespread tracking would do to everyday life what the NSA has done to internet and phone communication.

Though hybrid cars and electric cars would be charged the same as “gas guzzlers,” many of the people who use the roads and currently pay no taxes would continue to avoid payment.  Nationwide, the government is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into building bike paths – at a cost of $5,000-$50,000/mile – but bicycles would not be taxed for this use.  Advocates claim that this would even out the cost per driver and is therefore more fair, people requiring some of the most expensive work would continue to avoid paying the tax.

Some states have proposed variations on the plan to address these concerns.  Some have said there would be no GPS device in the black boxes, though at that point there is no reason the odometer can’t simply be checked at required emissions tests.  Some have proposed simply taxing tires.  Some have allowed an “opt out” solution in which people who refused to use the black box would be charged for the average miles driven in their state.  Some say that a simple raise in the gas tax – an 18.5 cent per gallon tax which hasn’t been raised in 20 years – would be a better solution.

House Republicans stopped a $90 million federal test of the per mileage concept passed by the Senate in 2011.  It’s not surprising that the majority of people who support such a plan are urban “progressives.”  With cities being more dense than rural areas, people who live there have to drive fewer miles to get where they’re going, but they have a much lower MPG driving there.  Many use public transportation, which is already riddled with privacy violations such as surveillance cameras and trackable passes connected to credit card data.

Some libertarians seem to be in favor of the proposal, however. Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation told the LA Times that it’s an acceptable action because “People are paying more directly into what they are getting.”

The Tea Party and ACLU, however aren’t as keen on the idea.  There are simply too many privacy violations involved, as well as this being yet another tax on American citizens who are already being crushed by new taxes, higher healthcare costs and a crippled economy.  Even when much of the 2009 stimulus went to infrastructure, much of that money was used on projects with no significant value.  There is no guarantee that higher taxes would lead to better roads.