Category Archives: Taxes

The Supreme Court Sends Obamacare Back to the People, Where it Rightfully Belongs.

“Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war.”  William Shakespeare

Like many conservatives I had come to hope the United States Supreme Court would not only put an end to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, but would also breathe life into the 10th Amendment by placing much needed limitation on the “Commerce Clause”. That hope was awkward and indeed misplaces as one who has opposed judicial activism relying on the court to overturn a legislative act was uncomfortable. It ended just after 10 am yesterday as the court essentially upheld most of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. In doing so the court put Obamacare exactly where it belonged, in the hands of the American People who will almost certainly decide its fate at the ballot box November 6, 2012.

John G. Roberts, 17th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

To be clear, I disagree strongly with Chief Justice Roberts and his majority opinion, believing Justice Anthony Kennedy’s strong dissent was on firmer constitutional ground. Yet my faith in the constitution and the institutions it defines necessitates respect for the decision of the court. I suspect history will long debate the words we first read yesterday but the fate of Obamacare has now passed back to the legislative branch the people who elect their representatives.

We can play “who wins the polls” all day and do nothing but waste hot air. What is clear is Obamacare has failed to secure the majority support among the American people that any major piece of social legislation (think Civil Rights which had strong majority bi-partisan support) has in modern American history. The President and the Democratic leaders in congress were hard pressed to pass the legislation despite strong majorities in both houses of congress. Indeed in all votes more Democrats voted in opposition to their own parties proposal than Republicans voting for healthcare. Then Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi famously told Democrats they had to pass the bill so the public would come to understand and support healthcare reform. Without a doubt this was the central issue in the 2010 Congressional election which resulted in significant Democratic losses in the senate and a near record loss in the House which saw control pass to the Republicans. Throughout the 112th Congress Obamacare has continued to be the focus of debate with the House passing legislation repealing and Senate democrats killing those bills without a vote. Indeed the repeal votes have been little more than political theater since with Barack Obama in the White House, no repeal can ever become law. So Republicans have had to settle for preventing key elements of Obamacare from being funded (such as IRS agents being hired to enforce the taxation elements).

Obamacare

Obamacare is the Largest Tax Increase in American History

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, the solution to this situation seems crystal clear as Obamacare now stands to be one of if not the central issue of the 2012 Presidential & Congressional elections. Indeed, it would seem that in authoring that decision, Chief Justice John Roberts may have helped the conservative cause much more than was first apparent. Clearly, the Obama fabrication that Obamacare was not a tax increase was undermined by his own Solicitor Generals oral argument and was killed in Roberts ruling. Republicans how have a clear case to present that Barack Obama has put into place the largest tax increase in American history, for the middle class and every other class. While initially less apparent but potentially of greater long term significant, Chief Justice Roberts has for the first time in modern history placed significant limits on the Commerce Clause, indeed stating that if the act had relied upon that it would have been unconstitutional. This guidance will live on for generations and many liberals may come to have considerable indigestion over this.

Mitt Romney Pledges to Repeal and Replace Obamacare as First Act Upon becoming President in the Wake of June 28th Supreme Court Decision

Thus Obamacare will be put to its most significant vote exactly where the decision should be made, by the American People. Mitt Romney was quick to say that if he is elected president and sworn in on January 20, 2013 his first act will be to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Given the GOP has a strong majority in the house and with 23 Democrats to just 10 Republicans up for election in the senate this year, a President Romney would almost certainly have majorities in both houses of congress. Obamacare would soon find a place of honor on the ash pile of history. However, if President Obama is reelected, it much less likely he would have both houses of congress, yet he would have a real mandate to move forward with Obamacare. He may well have to finally negotiate in a truly bi-partisan manner to realize the funding required to implement Obamacare, but he would have a moral mandate to move forward (even though we conservatives would like it no better). The only way Obamacare can be implemented as it now exists would be for the American People themselves to show their support by not only re-electing President Obama but giving the Pelosi-Reid Democrats a majority in both houses of Congress.

So the battle lines are drawn and the fight has been joined. Within 24 hours of the court’s decision Mitt Romney raised more than $5 million in small donor online funds and a yet unknown non-online donations. While many things have been said and debated about Barack Obama, one thing is for certain, he is the great unifier of Republicans. Mitt Romney in one day has seen significant divisions in his own base evaporate and conservatives find enthusiasm for his candidacy. Mitt Romney has become the great, if unlikely, savior of free market health care in America. Barack Obama is now clearly the advocate of socialized medicine and the massive tax increases which will be needed to affect such a program. To be certain there will be other issues in the 2012 election such as America’s role in the world, keeping American’s Safe and restoring our nation’s economic base and getting millions of Americans back to work. Yet the fate of health care in America is almost certainly to be decided in this election and the debate over it pivotal to the election itself.

Let the fight begin, it sure will not be boring.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Congress, Constitution, Free Markets, Health Care, Mitt Romney, Obama Administration, Politics, Supreme Court of the United States, Taxes, The White House, United States House of Representatives, US Senate

On Hypocrisy, Barack Obama and the Buffett Rule

There are few issues in American politics today that I find more hypocritical or concerning than the so called “Buffett Rule”. Based upon the Billionaire of Omaha suddenly realizing late in life that he pays a lower rate of tax than his secretary. For starters let’s leave aside that if he had concern over his secretary’s financial situation, he could simply dip into his piggy bank and give her a well deserved raise. No, that Warren Buffett would suddenly have a concern that he pays lower tax rates than most Americans is laughable. What did Warren think he was paying those tax attorneys for over the decades? Why did he structure his investments in corporate structures aimed to qualify resultant earning as capital gains rather than standing up like a man and simply characterizing it as ordinary income? No, Warren has built his fortune exploiting every tax scheme available. Now Warren wants other Americans who have been successful to pay higher taxes than the now 80 year old Buffett has for decades. Well, I may not be a financial genius like Warren, but I can spot a blue blooded hypocrite when I see one Warren Buffett is in a hypocritical league of his own.

This story becomes more pathetic when President Obama comes along and latches onto “The Buffett Rule” as the salvation to the nation’s economic ills. Unfortunately President Obama is more a political opportunist and liberal who can never let the opportunity to increase taxes pass them by. Instead of applying the Buffet Rule revenue to debt reductions President Obama would simply use it to fund his liberal democrat social agenda. The President Obama & the Do Nothing Democrats in congress have bet their future upon a political class warfare platform. Any political opportunist cannot resist an opportunity to leverage someone else’s reputation for their gain and Warren Buffett is big league butt cover.

America is a nation where the dream of a better life for one’s self and children was always a core value of the people.  American’s aspire to success and work to give their children a better life than they have. Those who have succeeded have been seen as inspirations to be emulated, not objects of scorn and envy to be torn down. Class warfare has never been a cornerstone of our nation’s political discourse. Today we have a president who in seeking a second term to advance an extreme leftist agenda is basing his reelection on class division and envy without regard to the damage it can do to the nation’s character. In and of itself, hypocrisy is usually a benign personality trait which simply diminished the reputation of the hypocrite. Rarely do hypocrites succeed for long as their lack of character is transparent. However when a national leader bases his partisan future on such a hypocritical platform to advance the big lie, then real harm can be done to the nation.

I will leave it to others to demonstrate how little good the Buffett Rule would do for the debt and the damage raising taxes during a recovery could do (for reference see the Heritage Foundation Article). I actually share the president’s view that there are fundamental inequalities in our tax system. Corporate Cronyism has permeated the tax code leaving it littered with the best loop holes money can buy. But the Buffett Rule is not a solution to inequality but rather a syndical revenue grab by a tax & spend liberal administration. The only way to solve the inequality is a revenue neutral fundamental round of tax reform with simplification as its goal. The more flat our tax system becomes with fewer deductions and loop holes, the more fairness we would see. Mr. President, real tax reform does not make for as good a rally speech, but it is good for the country and the honesty may just help your reputation and the nation’s future. Country first, what a novel concept.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Budget, Free Markets, National Debt, Politics, Taxes

The Republican No New Taxes Pledge and the Vilification of Grover Norquist

As the Congressional so called “Super Committee” is on the verge of its most predictable failure, Obama administration representatives and congressional democrats are abuzz with their claims that its failure to achieve results is because Republicans will not agree to new taxes. Additionally they have begun to personally vilify the creator of the modern Taxpayer Protection Pledge and leader of American’s for Tax Reform Grover Norquist. All of this has been adopted as a basis the narrative of the day by the Democrat’s tools in the media and blasted across the airwaves. Yet lost in the liberal diatribe is the base question, are the American people truly under taxed or has government expanded beyond the levels the American people desire. Additionally all Americans should be outraged when the state adopts a coordinated attempt to impugn the character and reputation of a single private citizen in the way the Obama administration and their supporters in congress have.

Leading Democrat on the Deficit Super Committee, Senator John Kerry

While many throw around the “No New Taxes Pledge” in interviews and writings, few seem to have read the actual Taxpayer Protection Pledge. In the 112th Congress, 238 Representatives (including 2 Democrats) and 41 Senators (including 1 Democrat) signed the pledge BEFORE the 2010 election. The pledge itself is relatively simple and straightforward stating:

“I, (candidate’s name) pledge to the taxpayers of the (insert district) district of the state of (insert state) and to the American People that I will:

ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

The pledge is signed before the election and far from being hidden or part of any back room deal; virtually all who take it proudly feature it as a key part of their election campaigns. This is not a pledge to some special interest group; it is a pledge to the American people and specifically those voters who send the member in question to Washington. What is really shocking is the way in which the Democrat establishment and their media friends seem shocked when elected representatives actually keep their promises to their electors. One can only assume that keeping ones word to voters is a concept which President Obama and the majority of congressional democrats are not in any way familiar.

Levels of Federal Government Spending and Taxation since 1960 projected to 2021 (source: The Heritage Foundation)

The real question, the ones the Democrats seem unwilling to really address, is the unprecedented increase in federal government spending under the administration of President Obama. While they stand in front of the television cameras claiming to support expenditure cuts, President Obama runs around the country demanding support for his “Stimulus 2 Jobs Bill” which would be funded with additional tax hikes. America is in the midst of the longest and most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression and the Democrat solution is tax increases, which flies in the face of almost ever accepted economic theory. Additionally, if the is second stimulus works as well as the first, the American people may want dig a hole in the back yard and hide because the economic consequences may be catastrophic.

The Leftist Class Warfare Myth that "Taxing the Rich" solves Deficits (source: The Heritage Foundation)

The democrats hold to the myth that they can tax only the “rich” to solve the deficit problem. But the reality is there simply are not enough rich tax payers to tax away the problem and the middle class will have to be taxed to balance the books if Democrats are given their way. We will leave aside that increased taxation on the upper income levels has often produced lower revenues due to capital flight and reduced investment (a story for another day). What the Obama Democrats are doing is attempting to make permanent the record level of peace time spending they have established by putting in place new taxes to sustain it. The only way to get America out of the current economic mess is to fire up the private sector which has always been the true engine of economic growth in this country. One need only look to the current economic turmoil in Europe to see that higher taxation is not a solution to government overspending; it simply feeds the beast of government excess.

This brings us to the unprecedented attacks by the Obama White House and his congressional Democrats on Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. It seems whenever the left wants something they need to create a villain of the day, and to give them cover for the failure of the “Super Committee” they have found Norquist. To be clear, I do not know Grover Norquist, have only met him in person in passing at CPAC meetings and have never contributed to Americans for Tax Reform (something I may have to reconsider). It is outrageous that the full power of the federal government, as controlled by its chief executive, the President would target the destruction of the character and reputation of a private citizen. One is drawn back to the late 90’s when operatives of then President Clinton tried to discredit a certain former intern as “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty” until a blue dress emerged with Clinton’s DNA making that a dead line of attack. Now Norquist is the target because the leftist Democrats know attacking the Republicans directly for keeping their word to their electors by honoring the Taxpayer Protection Pledge has never worked in the end.

It’s time the media who so often lament politicians who come to Washington and forget the promises they made to voters, point out that those rejecting new taxes today are simply keeping their word. Elections matter, a fact conservatives and Republicans had to accept after the 2006 and 2008 elections. Unfortunately the Democrats failed to show the American people their way worked and in 2010 the people revoked their mandate. Republicans were elected overwhelmingly with open support of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. For Republicans to accept higher levels of taxation for Americans now would not only be bad policy, it would be a breach of their commitments to their voters. If the Democrats want higher overall taxation in America to support their expansion of the Federal Government, they should run on that platform in 2012. Maybe Walter Mondale’s campaign manager is available to help them.

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Filed under 2010 Election, 2012 Election, Budget, Congress, Conservative, Grover Norquist, Media, National Debt, Obama Administration, Politics, Republican Party, Spending, Taxes, United States House of Representatives, US Senate

Democrats Engineering Economic Disaster as Foundation of 2012 Election Strategy

As much of the financial world waits with anticipation the outcome of the so called Budget Super Committee whose report is due in just seven days, the back room strategists for the Democratic Party and Team Obama 2012 are giddy with anticipation of the economic train wreck to follow. The plan is elegant in its simplicity; allow a budget disaster which will have dire economic consequences and then cast the “obstructionist” republicans in congress for the resultant economic consequences. They have not had to be overly covert in their strategy as their pet tools in the media have been gladly echoing the White House talking points. Indeed this is the only strategy left for the leftists in Washington as the American public has rejected every element of their tax, spend and government control agenda. What is unfortunate is this destroy America strategy may well work.

Senate Democrats Ploting Stratewgy With President Obama and Vice President Biden in the Oval Office (White House Photo)

The scheme is largely the work of New York Senator Chuck Schumer who is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s political war monger in chief. Throughout more than a decade in the senate and 18 years before that in the house, Schumer has gained a reputation as a narcissistic publicity hound. With an anemic legislative record comprise almost entirely of attaching his name to bills constructed by others, Schumer has developed the finely honed skills of a political ambulance chaser. If the media is there, so if Chuck with political incendiary bombs to toss at his opponents. Credit needs to be given as he has built a successful political career by blaming opponents for everything while personally accomplishing very little.

The first stage of the “Blame the Republicans” was to create the ruse of Republican control of Congress. Forgotten is that the democrats remain in full control of the senate where Senator Harry Reid has been the Majority Leader since January 2007. Not only have the Democrats controlled the senate for the past 5 years, for almost 2 years that had the lofty position of 60 seats constituting a filibuster proof majority allowing them to proceed without Republican cooperation. Reid’s period as Majority leader is most notable for the senate never producing a single years worth of budget authorizing bills but rather relying on an uninterrupted stream of continuing resolutions. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer have succeeded in one of the most audacious Orwellian “Big Lie” strategies, and the media has embraced their message and are now full partners in the narrative.

Team Obama has been quick to join in on this destroy the American economy and blame republicans game. President Obama won the White House by promising a new political climate in Washington. Credit must be given to him he has kept his promise, as while it was almost inconceivable that the political acrimony of the final Bush term could be exceeded, Obama has done just that. I must admit as with the Democrats in the senate, Team Obama 2012 has had no choice in this strategy, everything else they have proposed has been soundly rejected by the American people. His signature achievement, Health Care Reform is opposed by more than 60 percent of Americans and is largely responsible for Democrats suffering the second biggest loss in the 2010 elections for the House of Representatives. If he were to again propose Health Care, he would be lucky to get 35 votes in the senate his own party controls. One component of that package, the SMART long term care insurance was withdrawn by his own administration when they admitted it was irreparably insolvent. In his first year in office he said in an interview 8 percent unemployment was intolerable and if he did not improve the situation his administration would be “a one term affair”. With unemployment stuck in the 9 percent range, his administration’s economic record is the most dismal since the Carter administration.

Unfortunately the GOP in congress handed the Democrats a political life jacket this past August by agreeing to $1.5 trillion in mandated cuts, divided equally between defense and entitlements, in exchange for raising the national debt ceiling. I’m not even going to get into the constitutionality of a 12 member joint senate house committee with automatic sending authority, which is questionable at best. But politically it set up an artificial Thanksgiving deadline which stood almost no chance of being achieved. Team Obama and Senators Reid and Schumer saw the opening almost immediately. President Obama initiated immediate class warfare and demanded tax increases on the “rich”. Schumer and Reid pronounced the republicans obstructionist while not allowing votes on more than 2 dozen bills passed by the house. In the single biggest act of political hypocrisy in memory, Reid prevented the Presidents own “Jobs Bill” to come to a vote in the senate less Obama be embarrassed by the repudiation it would have received by his inability to get even senate democrats to support it. As the same time President Obama was flying around the country on Air Force One blaming the do nothing republicans, while raising millions in campaign contributions from his “1 percent” supporters.

Team Obama 2012 Capital Hill Leads: Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Dick Durbin

So here we stand with a week until a train wreck which will further damage the American economy, potentially even resulting in further downgrades in the credit rating of US government securities. Give the democrats credit, they may have out foxed republicans and have kept President Obama in the race for a second term. But what cost are the Democrats prepared to make the American people pay for their political games? They could not win the battle of ideas in the 2010 election where their tax and spend policies were rejected. Today they are prepared to drive the economy over the cliff in order to manufacture an issue that could preserve their own jobs in 2012. Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Harry Reid and President Barack Obama; three who are prepared to further devastate the American economy to preserve their own political viability. They may well win, but will not be able to escape the shame that will forever tarnish their reputations.

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Filed under 2010 Election, 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Budget, Congress, Constitution, Health Care, Leadership, Liberals, Media, National Debt, Obama Administration, Politics, Republican Party, Spending, Taxes, The Grand Old Party, The White House, United States House of Representatives, US Senate

The Ridiculous Act of the National Debt Limit: A Call for Change

As we approach the August 3 deadline set by the Obama Administration, the ridiculous nature of the entire debt limit would be a source of considerable amusement if not so serious. On or about the deadline, Congress will pass some sort of extension and the President will sign it into law at a level neither of them have any intention to honor. That will result in another performance of the debt Limit Two Step in 18 to 24 months. In truth, the national debt limit is utterly meaningless given congress has the ability to simply raise it to facilitate the annual budget shortfall whatever that may be. It would be as if you had the ability to raise the spending limit on your credit card whenever you bumped into that limit. It is simply ridiculous.

The 112th Congress

To be of any effect, the national debt limit must have real meaning which would force the congress to manage its annual budget within a fixed limit of unfunded expenditures. Some have suggested a maximum level of debt to GDP as a way of limiting the total level of debt. While this has some merits, it provides an administration incredible incentive to modify or tamper with the calculation of GDP, or to fuel inflation to increase the nominal amount of debt available to fuel their spending. The reality is there needs to be an ability to increase the debt limit; it must however be much more inflexible than the budget process the debt limit should be driving.

While in general I do not support legislating by way of the constitution, the primary purpose of that document is to define how the government should function and thus it is only right that the process by which the debt limit is raised should be defined by way of an amendment to the constitution. My proposed amendment would provide two ways by which the debt limit could be increased, both reinforcing the federal nature of our government and imposing upon the Congress and the President a limit they simply could not change at their own whim.

Part 1 would require the Congress to pass a change in the debt limit my way of a two thirds majority vote of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Upon passing any debt limit modification, the resolution would then be forwarded to the states and would require the approval of the legislatures of 50 percent plus one of the states representing at least 50 percent of the population of the United States as at the most recent census. At neither the national of state levels would executive (President or Governor) approval be required.

Part 2 would allow any state’s legislative branch to propose a change in the national debt limit, and if adopted by two thirds of the states representing at least 50 percent of the population, that modification of the limit of the national debt would come into force. As with part 1, no approval would be required by any national or state executive. In this case the federal government would have to function within the debt limitations imposed upon it by the states, the people’s democratically elected representatives at a much closer level.

Such an amendment would make the limit on total debt financing available to the federal government a real constraint on spending. Part 1 would allow the congress to initiate changes they viewed as essential and an opportunity to convince a majority of the people’s state represent ivies of the validity of the change. Part 2 would allow the peoples elected representatives at the state level the ability to restrain the federal government’s ability to mortgage the nation’s future. In no way would this control federal spending so long as such programs are funded. It would however made the national debt a truly limited funding option controlled by elected officials representing the people other than those spending the money.

Is this radical? Absolutely. Would it allow the federal government to function? Absolutely, so long as they spend within their ability to pay for the expenditures with current revenue or to convince the states of the rational to increase the nation’s total indebtedness. The current system of unlimited deficit spending threatens the very existence of the republic; radical change is required to preserve our nation’s future.

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Filed under 2012 Election, American Leadership, Barak Obama, Budget, Congress, Conservative, Constitution, National Debt, Politics, Spending, Taxes