Saturday, December 24, 2011

U.S. Tax Compliance Costs $44B, not $400B

Tax Foundation’s Runaway Compliance Estimates -

By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." ~ Mark Twain -

According to the Tax Foundation, federal income tax compliance costs were projected to reach $392 billion by 2011, and $483 billion by 2015. Now they say it’s probably in the ballpark of $400 billion as of 2011. So in other words, they figure that it costs taxpayers an additional 20 to 40 percent of the amount paid in income taxes just to fill out and file the forms. However, what people echoing these numbers overlook is the fact that these figures are based on Internal Revenue Service estimates made during an era in which tax forms were completed with a tax booklet, pencil and calculator, a methodology that even the IRS discontinued in 2006.

The fact that the Tax Foundation assigned a dollar value to outmoded time estimates, based on a taxpayer’s average hourly earnings, is even more appalling. The real eye opener ought to be that a huge chunk of the dollar cost mentioned is not money that anyone actually spends. It is rather the value placed on the time each taxpayer would spend preparing their income tax return if (1) they actually prepared their own tax return, (2) they prepared their return with a tax instruction booklet, paper forms, a pencil, and calculator, and (3) they were compensated for their time.

To prove just how bogus this figure is, I pored over the Tax Foundation’s 2005 report. The first thought that occurred to me is that the reason the report hasn’t been updated since then is because the IRS stopped estimating the time it takes to manually fill out tax forms in 2006, and without these estimates, the Tax Foundation’s theoretical foundation disintegrated. And why did the IRS stop making these estimates? Well, primarily because since it began accepting electronically filed returns in 1990, and set a goal of achieving – “80% of all tax and information returns filed electronically by Filing Season 2007", and with the advent of personal computers and cheap software, the amount of time spent and cost of preparing income tax forms has declined dramatically. Thus, the idea of one toiling for 17 to 23 hours, or longer, over a 2 to 3 page tax return is passé.

One section of the report states that: “When examined by income level, compliance cost is found to be highly regressive, taking a larger toll on low-income taxpayers as a percentage of income than high-income taxpayers. On the low end, taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) under $20,000 incur a compliance cost equal to 5.9 percent of income while the compliance cost incurred by taxpayers with AGI over $200,000 amounts to just 0.5 percent of income.”

What the Tax Foundation is saying is that a person with $20,000 of adjusted gross income would incur a cost of $1,180, or 5.9% of their income, in preparing their income tax return, and a person making $200,000 would expend $1,000, or 0.5% of their income. Does that match your experience, because it’s complete nonsense from my vantage point? Is this even remotely reasonable? Let’s examine this theory in more detail.

Following the Tax Foundation’s logic, we could assign a cost to virtually everything we do, as a function of our annual income. Never mind the fact that we only get paid for the time we actually work. So in other words, if you make $9.61 per hour on the job, and it takes you 2 hours per week to wash your clothes (on your time off), then according to this theory, the real cost of clothes washing is more than $1,000 per year ($19.22 times 52 weeks; plus washing powder, water, electricity, and depreciation of your washing machine and dryer), or more than 5.0% of your annual income.

Carrying this through to its illogical conclusion, for a person who works 8 hours per day, the cost of sleeping 8 hours per night would be equal to their annual income, right? So one can only ponder the cost of watching television, driving to and from work, mowing the yard, etc… You can see how silly this is. To drive the point home, under this theory, if you work 8 hours per day, and have 16 hours of free-time, then the cost of everything you do outside of work would be twice as much as your annual income. In other words, you’re not actually making $20,000 per year, heck, you’re not even breaking even; you’re going in the hole by $20,000 every year. Well, so much for that theory.

Ask an Accountant

I have had the fortune of preparing income tax returns, both in the early 1980’s, before the advent of personal computers, and in the 21st Century with high speed internet and gigabytes of random-access memory. In the early 1980’s it took literally days to complete a complex income tax return. Information would be gathered and written onto data forms in pencil, then shipped off to a main-frame computer processing center. The printed return would then be mailed back in about 3 business days, although a typographical error would easily double this time-frame. Then the taxpayer(s) had to be summoned to come in and sign the return before it could be postmarked.

The cost of preparing an itemized Form 1040 with Schedule A, plus a state tax return, back then averaged around $150. Most non-itemized returns were completed on the spot, with pen and calculator, for around $85. What some people miss is that since $150 in 1981 had the same buying power as $380 today, annual inflation over this period being 3.16%, and since the average cost is still around $150 today (in the Southeast), the cost of preparing income tax returns has actually declined by around 61%, over the past 30 years. But you won’t hear about this from today’s rubber stamps.

It was in 1990 that IRS e-file became operational nationwide, and that year 4.2 million returns were filed electronically. I was working for the IRS at the time. Later on, when I started my own practice back in the year 2000, after doing other things for a few years, part of my mission statement read, “To assist the Internal Revenue Service in their goal: ‘To have 80% of all tax and information returns filed electronically by Filing Season 2007’".

By the year 2007, as per the table below, the percentage of electronically filed returns had only reached 57%, however, many practices, such as mine, were already near the 100% mark. As a result, ever since then, that part of my mission statement has read, “To file 99.9% of all income tax and information returns electronically”. Nowadays, a tax preparer, who prepares more than 10 returns per year, is required to file all returns electronically.

From personal experience, these days it takes about an hour to prepare and e-file the same income tax return that used to take 3 days or longer. Like in many other industries, technology has made tax compliance both cheaper and more efficient. While prices have risen dramatically in other sectors, such as Education and Health Care, the cost of professional income tax preparation has plummeted, on an inflation adjusted basis. Most notably, the time it takes to prepare a return has been reduced from days to minutes. Similarly, the time it takes to receive an income tax refund has been reduced from 6 to 8 weeks, down to 7 to 10 days. This is precisely why the IRS no longer publishes obsolete manual computation time-frames.

The 2005 1040 Instruction Book, on page 79, states, for example, that the time and cost of preparing a Form 1040 with Schedule A and other schedules, but no Schedule D, was as follows (see table below, 3rd row from the top):

  • Self prepared without software – 16.7 hours | $18
  • Self prepared with software – 22.7 hours | $51
  • Prepared by Professional – 12.1 hours | $174

In analyzing this, does anyone out there seriously believe that it would take 6 hours longer to self-prepare a tax return with software, than without? Like that makes sense. And what kind of practice would a professional be running, if it took 12.1 hours to complete each itemized 1040 return? At that pace, a professional would only be able to complete around three 1040 returns per week, and since the regular season only lasts about 12 weeks, would only be able to prepare around 40 returns per season, with a seasonal income of around $6,900. If it really took a professional 12.1 hours to prepare each an every itemized Form 1040, we would indeed have a problem. However, since actual facts and figures reveal that tax preparation really takes a fraction of the time it used to, and costs less than half of what it did 30 years ago, perhaps we don’t have a problem after all, at least not a ‘cost of income tax compliance problem’.

According to Nickel, over at the fivecentnickel.com, his research coming from the National Society of Accountants biennial survey, the average tax preparation fee for an itemized Form 1040 with Schedule A, plus a state tax return, was $229 in 2010. And for a Form 1040 and state return without itemized deductions, the average price was $129. But keep in mind that tax preparation fees vary regionally, so the above averages aren’t necessarily applicable depending on where you live. The lowest costs are in the Eastern South Central region (AL, KY, MS, and TN) where a Form 1040 with a Schedule A and state return averages $137. And the most expensive region is the Pacific (AK, CA, HI, OR, and WA) at $292.

He also found that for those with more complex returns, modern day costs average as follows (again, prices will vary by region):

  • $212 for Form 1040 Schedule C (profit or loss from business)
  • $551 for Form 1065 (partnership)
  • $692 for Form 1120 (corporation)
  • $665 for Form 1120S (S corporation)
  • $415 for Form 1041 (fiduciary)
  • $2,044 for Form 706 (estates)
  • $584 for Form 990 (tax exempt)
  • $58 for Form 940 (federal unemployment)

Here in the Southeast, a professionally prepared itemized Form 1040 with Schedule A, plus a state tax return, takes about an hour to prepare, and the fee averages $150. The question of whether a person making over $200,000 will pay more, or less, is actually not based on their income, but rather on how many forms need to be prepared? So if an itemized Form 1040 with Schedule A, plus a state tax return, costs an average of $150 to prepare, that’s generally how much it costs no matter how great one’s income. That’s because the time it takes to prepare such a return would be about the same. If it costs more, it’s most likely due to additional form filing requirements. Thus, the true modern day cost of $150, to prepare such a return, is a far cry from the Tax Foundation’s estimate of $1,000.

At the same time, a basic Form 1040-A, plus a state return, would take around 30 minutes to prepare, with an average fee of $85 ($60 without the state). This is also a major discrepancy from the Tax Foundation’s estimated cost of $1,180, for a person making $20,000 per year. If we were to follow this artificial tack, then we would have to believe that it would take something in the order of 122.7 hours to prepare a basic 2 or 3 page 1040-A return, at a cost of $9.61 per hour (the hourly wage for a person making $20,000 per year). Therefore, the Tax Foundation’s purported $400 billion per year estimate is grossly overstated.

The act of basing an entire tax reform platform on factitious information is called, “fraud”. So who’s been out on the stump quoting these make-believe numbers? Of late, it’s been Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, previously Herman Cain, and a host of others. But it’s time for the public to wake up and realize that the Tax Foundation’s figures are completely bogus.

Sure, some returns take longer than others, some cost more than others, and most businesses require monthly or quarterly accounting and payroll tax services on top of income tax return preparation. But what’s the alternative for a business, to not have any record of whether it is profitable? Can businesses just do away with all record keeping and financial reporting for the sake of skimping on an ordinary and necessary business expense? I don’t think that would be a wise move.

A Gross Overstatement

To conclude, the Tax Foundation’s estimate is a made-up number, based on obsolete data. The true costs of complying with federal income tax laws have declined dramatically over the past 30 years. Thus, anyone floating figures ranging from $400 billion to $500 billion per year must have their head in the sand.

There’s no way you could ever convince me that it takes 122.7 hours, to enter the amounts contained on a W-2 Form into a computer program, or onto a paper form, in order to file a simple 1040-A return. Nor can you persuade me to believe that the cost of preparing such a return could ever reach $1,180. But that’s essentially what the Tax Foundation’s report says.

The correct method of determining any cost is to add up the actual outlay in cash, but since the Tax Foundation has not chosen this method, I must conclude that their estimate is overstated by as much as 88.9%. How did I arrive at this percentage? By sampling.

The 2005 IRS out-of-pocket cost estimates reveal that the most one would pay is charged by tax professionals. Since the fee charged for a simple 1040-A, plus a state tax return, completed by a paid preparer, is actually $85, not $1,180 as they would have us believe, the Tax Foundation’s estimate is off by 92.8% ($85 vs. $1,180). And since the cost of a professionally prepared itemized Form 1040 with Schedule A, plus a state tax return, is actually $150, instead of $1,000, they are off by 85% ($150 vs. $1,000). Averaging these two percentages together results in an overstatement of 88.9%. Thus, I conclude that the Tax Foundation’s estimate, that federal income tax compliance is costing Americans around $400 billion per year, is in reality probably less than $44.4 billion (11.1% of $400 billion).

Frankly, I would be more concerned about real and verifiable IRS statistics, such as the number and amount of refunds being doled out. For example, in 2010, out of the 142,449,000 returns that were filed, 109,376,000 received refunds totaling $328.4 billion, for an average refund of $3,003 per return. Now that’s real money, which, if you think about it, is being summarily piled on to the national debt. So what’s up with that?

Related: Tax Simplification, Part II - Saving $1,756 Billion, Overnight

Cross posted at: Free Republic

What Does $40 per Week Mean To You?

- Let's see, to me one thing it means is that the federal government will be adding another $120 billion to the national debt. For my friend Jeff, at Liberty Works, it means – we've been bamboozled again. -

By: BoomerJeff | Liberty Works

"... On Thursday Obama ramped up the theatrics and gave us a preview of his New Year strategy for diverting attention away from his manifest failures. He stepped to the microphones to prove he identifies with the struggles of the helpless against those cruel Republican Scrooges (transcript). His tone dripping with pious solicitude, he began:

We’ve been doing everything we can to make sure that 160 million working Americans aren’t hit with a Holiday tax increase on January First…If you’re a family making about $50,000 a year this is a tax cut that amounts to about a thousand dollars a year. That’s about forty bucks out of every paycheck.

So far the President’s math is correct, since most employees are paid either bi-weekly or semi-monthly.

It may be that there are some folks in the House who refuse to vote for this compromise because they don’t think forty bucks is a lot of money. But anyone who knows what it’s like to stretch a budget knows that at the end of the week or the end of the month forty dollars can make all the difference in the world…

So on Tuesday we asked folks to tell us what it would be like to lose forty bucks every week.

Wait a minute! “Every week?” He just changed it from $40 out of every paycheck to $40 every week! But the temporary tax cut is worth only $19 every week to his hypothetical $50,000 per year family.

You’d have to earn $104,000 a year for Obama’s Social Security tax markdown to be worth $40 every week.

Obama then quoted some of the emails from his “folks” about how they would deal with the loss of $40 per week.

Joseph from New Jersey would have to sacrifice the occasional pizza night with his daughters. My 16 year old twins will be out of the house soon – I’ll miss this.

Richard from Rhode Island wrote to tell us that having an extra $40 in his check buys enough heating oil to keep his family warm for three nights. In his words, and I’m quoting, If someone doesn’t think that 12 gallons of heating oil is important invite them to spend three nights in an unheated home.

Pete from Wisconsin told us about driving more than 200 miles each week to keep his father in law company in a nursing home. $40 out of his paycheck would mean that he could only make three trips instead of four.

Dinner out for child who’s home for Christmas, a pair of shoes – these are the things that are at stake for millions of Americans. They matter a lot.

Obviously these emails are absurd. If you earn $104,000 and have to give up $40 per week, are you really going to have to deny your kids a pizza or a pair of shoes? Will you shiver for three nights without heating oil?

Of course, there are some folks to whom $40 every week would be make a real difference:

  • A hotel maid who works full time for $8.50 per hour

  • A construction worker who has been cut back to half time work at $17 per hour

  • A self employed business owner whose customers were hammered by the recession and now barely survives by depleting his savings. He generated only $17,700 profit this year after paying his employees and the employer’s half of the payroll tax which was not reduced by the Obama payroll tax markdown.

To each of these people Obama’s temporary payroll tax cut is worth not $40 but $6.80 per week.

But much of the media have already begun to help Obama plant a false perception in the minds of uninformed voters that Republicans would deny everyone $40 per week. (For example, see the headline here.)

Obama knows that informed voters will figure out the deception. But he doesn’t care about informed voters. They won’t vote for him anyway."

Related: Endless Stimulus | Payroll Tax Cut

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Taxing Problem, III: Where Did We Go Wrong?

- By: Michael D. Greaney - The Just Third Way -

Looking at what has happened to the Federal Reserve and the income tax, we have to wonder what is the root cause of the misuse of these institutions? Where, in other words, did we go wrong?

Trying to be objective, we think it is in how people understand private property and contract, and thus money, credit, banking, and finance. Of these, the (mis)understanding of money appears to be the most immediate problem. Not that the others are unimportant, but the vortex, as it were, seems to swirl around money and credit - according to Henry Dunning Macleod, two forms of the same thing.

Money is legally defined as anything that is accepted in settlement of a debt. It is a contract involving "offer" and "acceptance." It is not, as some theorists declare, a claim issued by the State on the general wealth of society. That is socialism, and is rooted in the understanding of taxation and private property found in Thomas Hobbes's virtual manual for totalitarian government, Leviathan, that denied (abolished) private property:

"A Fifth doctrine, that tendeth to the Dissolution of a Common-wealth, is, 'That every private man has an absolute Propriety in his Goods; such, as excludeth the Right of the Soveraign.' Every man has indeed a Propriety that excludes the Right of every other Subject: And he has it onely from the Soveraign Power; without the protection whereof, every other man should have equall Right to the same. But if the Right of the Soveraign also be excluded, he cannot performe the office they have put him into; which is, to defend them both from forraign enemies, and from the injuries of one another; and consequently there is no longer a Common-wealth." (Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Ch. XXIX.)

That is, the king — the State — is the ultimate owner of everything in the State. That being the case, taxes are not a grant from a free citizenry, but a "retaking" of what the State was pleased to allow the citizens in the first place: "[T]he Kings word, is sufficient to take any thing from any subject, when there is need; and... the King is Judge of that need." (Ibid., Ch. XX.)

It is interesting to note that Hobbes influenced Walter Bagehot (who, incidentally, had enormous contempt for the United States), while Keynes, the virtual demigod of today's monetary and fiscal policy, revered Bagehot.

The fact is, despite the fixed beliefs of modern academics, it is possible to create money to finance new capital formation without first having to cut consumption and accumulate money savings. Keynes did not understand basic bookkeeping or the accounting equation, assets = liabilities + owners equity. Keynes failed to realize that the "multipliers" developed from his theories, especially the "money multiplier," are complete fantasy.

The money multiplier relies on counting the same asset multiple times and shifting ownership around indiscriminately to meet political ends. The Keynesian money multiplier embodies a fatal error that is obvious to anyone who understands double entry bookkeeping or (better) money. That is, the money multiplier theory assumes that checks drawn on one account remain on deposit in another account without ever being presented for payment!

Anyone who has ever balanced a bank statement knows that this is not the case. Checks clear, decreasing the amount in the account and thus the amount of money available, or they remain outstanding, in which case you still can't spend the money because it has already been spent. Drawing checks against money in an account that has already had checks drawn against it is called "issuing bad checks." It is a civil or criminal offense, depending on the amount of the fraudulent check you issued and the jurisdiction in which you committed the offense. It is what Henry Thornton called a "fictitious bill," that is, money with nothing behind it.

The Keynesian money multiplier, however, assumes as a matter of course that banks are engaged in a vast criminal conspiracy by creating money backed by nothing more than checks drawn against money that doesn't exist. (We never claimed that the Keynesian theory made sense — but it's in all the textbooks.) Today's academic economists and politicians dismiss as ludicrous the actual case, that commercial banks create money by accepting bills of exchange and issuing promissory notes that back the demand deposits.

Thus, if we accept today's standard assumptions about money and credit, there is no way to create money for Capital Homesteading so that ordinary people can become owners of capital without first having to cut consumption and accumulate money savings. If we reject the standard assumption, however, and use a little common sense along with some basic bookkeeping, the way is clear for a more rational monetary system than the debt-backed Leviathan that has kept the world locked into the slavery of past savings.

CESJ's Pro-Life economic agenda, for which we make the case in Supporting Life (2010) takes all this into account, reorienting the economy to conform to the natural law-based three principles of economic justice, 1) Participation, 2) Distribution and 3) Harmony ("feedback" or "social justice"), and the four pillars of an economically just society:

  1. A limited economic role for the State,

  2. Free and open markets as the best means for determining just wages, just prices, and just profits,

  3. Restoration of the rights of private property, especially in corporate and other business equity, and

  4. Widespread direct ownership of capital, individually or in free association with others.

In short, to require everyone to pay some tax, regardless whether they have the means or ability to pay, is to force anyone without property — and thus power — into a condition of dependency on the State . . . and keep in mind that "condition of dependency" was, prior to the Civil War, a euphemism for chattel slavery.

Via: The Just Third Way Blog

Related: A Taxing Problem, II: What Happened to the Federal Reserve?

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Taxing Problem, II: What Happened to the Federal Reserve?

- By: Michael D. Greaney - The Just Third Way -

Last week we had a few things to say about taxation. Today we have a few more. Mostly today's posting has to do with the way the tax system has been used for purposes other than revenue generation — and the Federal Reserve has been used to provide money for government instead of the private sector, effectively handing over the key to the "money machine" to the State, which is the last place it should be.

To take up the slack and permit unaccountable spending by the federal government, the Federal Reserve has been hijacked from its original and legitimate mission to provide liquidity for private sector investment by rediscounting eligible paper for qualified commercial, industrial, and agricultural capital projects (vide Alexander Hamilton's Opinion as to the Constitutionality of the Bank of the United States, 1791; and the previously-noted McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819), and diverted to funding government by accepting bills of credit that, given a strict interpretation of the Constitution, may be unconstitutional, as it exceeds the specific regulatory, not creative, power granted under the enumerated powers.

We see the tragic results of this "new philosophy" all around us. Government debt has virtually destroyed Europe and is endangering the United States and Japan, making serious inroads on our natural, inalienable rights to life, liberty (freedom of association/contract), and property. Forcing people into dependency on the State has made it much easier to coerce people into accepting programs that they would normally find morally repugnant, with "welfare blackmail" ensuring that the rest give in for the sake of the promised State benefits. Further, because the tax system has been manipulated to meet goals other than mere raising of revenue to defray legitimate expenditures, the IRC has grown so complicated that no single person, even group, can understand it. Even if CESJ's proposed Capital Homestead Reforms were not manifestly in accordance with justice, the reforms could be justified on the grounds of expedience for the sake of increased efficiency and decreased cost of compliance and maintaining the system...

Continued at: The Just Third Way Blog

Image via: MarineBuzz.com

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Eligibility Check: Romney vs. Gingrich

ELIGIBILITY, ELIGIBILITY

Caveat Suffragator – Let the voter beware.

- Updated!

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

When measuring the top GOP contenders in terms of eligibility under the U.S. Constitution, if I had to choose between the two, I have to admit that I am more inclined towards Gingrich than Romney. Like Mitt Romney, I too was born in Detroit, Michigan, but that’s where the similarities end. My parents and grandparents were all born in the State of Georgia, while Romney’s father was born in Mexico.

In contrast, Gingrich’s parents and grandparents, like himself, were all born in the State of Pennsylvania. So when it comes to the question of natural born citizenship, Gingrich clearly passes the test, while Romney’s qualifications are uncertain at best. I don’t believe that because Obama was somehow able to skirt the issue, that Romney, and everyone else who follows, should simply be given a pass. Since we learned the last time around, the issue, as it seems, is more in the hands of the voting public than the courts, it is only fair that we know the facts, and make an informed decision.

When Mitt Romney’s father, George W., made his presidential bid in 1967, questions were occasionally asked about his eligibility to run for President, due to his birth in Mexico, and given the ambiguity in the United States Constitution over the phrase "natural-born citizen". But although questions regarding his presidential eligibility arose, the issue of his status as a U.S. Citizen was never fully addressed. The New York Times article, Celler Suggests G.O.P. Name Group to Investigate Romney's Eligibility, published on May 15, 1967; lead off with, “Representative Emanuel Celler expressed "serious doubts" as to whether Gov. George Romney of Michigan is eligible for the Presidency.” On June 14, 1967, an essay entitled "Natural Born Citizen,” by the Hon. Pinckney G. McElwee of the Bar of the District of Columbia, was entered into the Congressional Record by Texas Representative, Mr. Dowdy. It was written more in the context of a possible candidacy of Governor George Romney (born in Mexico) for president, than regarding his citizenship. George Romney formally announced his withdrawal as a presidential candidate on February 28, 1968.

United States Constitution – Article II, Section 1

Article 2, section 1 of the Constitution states, "No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

The addition of a grandfather clause in this paragraph says a lot as to the meaning of natural born. The first thing it says is that being born in the U.S. is not enough to be natural born; otherwise the grandfather clause would not have been necessary. The writers and delegates, having been born in the United States, wanted to be eligible for the presidency, but most were the children of British subjects. Knowing that this eliminated them from being natural born, and thus ineligible, they included the grandfather clause, which expired when the last person alive at the time of the ratification of the Constitution died. So, being a native born citizen is not the same as being Natural Born, for if it were, the framers would not have included the clause.

Background: Newton Leroy Gingrich

Newton Leroy Gingrich was born on June 17, 1943, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His mother Kathleen Daugherty and father Newton Searles McPherson divorced soon after Newt was born. Kathleen remarried to an Army officer named Robert (Bob) Gingrich, who adopted Newt at the age of 3. Gingrich has three younger half-sisters, Candace, Susan, and Roberta. Growing up, the Gingrich family moved around frequently, like many military families. Bob Gingrich served in Korea and Vietnam during Newt's childhood and adolescence, so Newt had a close bond to his mother. In early years, he also spent a lot of time with Newt McPherson's sister Loma and her husband, and with his grandmother, a teacher, who taught toddler Newt how to read.

In 1953, 10 year-old Newt loved reading and animals. He took a bus to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to lobby the mayor to open a city zoo, for which he was written up in the local paper. In 1954, his father bought Newt an Encyclopedia Americana which he read night after night. In 1956, the Gingrich family moved to Europe -- Orleans, France and Stuttgart, Germany, at the height of Cold War. In 1958, Newt had an "epiphany" at Verdun, France. At the age 15, he visited the battle site and says later this changed his life. It was at Verdun, that Newt Gingrich decided to become a politician who would prevent such carnage in the future.

Ancestry of Newt Gingrich

PARENTS – His father, Newton Searles McPherson, was born in Pennsylvania on February 24, 1923 and died in October of 1970. His mother, Kathleen Daugherty, was born in Enola, PA on November 20, 1925 and died in Harrisburg, PA, on September 23, 2003. His adopted father, Robert Bruce Gingrich, was born on July 22, 1925 and died on November 20, 1996.

GRANDPARENTS – His paternal grandfather, Robert Nelson Kerstetter, was born in Milheim, PA on August 30, 1888. His paternal grandmother, Louise S. McPherson, was born in Pennsylvania on August 1, 1905. His maternal grandfather, Jacob Leroy Daugherty, was born in Pennsylvania around 1890. And his maternal grandmother, Ethel M. Hendricks, was born in Pennsylvania around 1896.

GREAT-GRANDPARENTS – His great-grandparents were John H. Kerstetter, born in Pennsylvania on August 24, 1847, and Julia Kabel, born around 1849; Clarence Newton McPherson, born in Winfield, PA on August 16, 1872, and Hattie Treaster, born in Mifflin Co., PA in October of 1879; and Jeremiah H. Daugherty, born in Pennsylvania in December of 1859, and Rebecca J., born in Pennsylvania in November of 1852.

Background: Willard Mitt Romney

Willard Mitt Romney was born in Detroit, Michigan, on March 12, 1947. He was the youngest child of George W. Romney, and Lenore Romney. His mother was a native of Logan, Utah, and his father was born in a Mormon colony in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Mitt’s father, George Wilcken Romney was born to American parents in the Mormon colonies in Mexico, but events during the Mexican Revolution forced his family to move back to the United States when he was a child. Romney's grandparents were polygamous Mormons who fled the United States with their children because of the federal government's opposition to polygamy.

His maternal grandfather was Helaman Pratt (1846–1909), who presided over the Mormon mission in Mexico City before moving to the state of Chihuahua and who was the son of original Mormon apostle Parley P. Pratt (1807–1857). Romney's uncle Rey L. Pratt (1878–1931) would in the 1920s play a major role in the preservation and expansion of the Mormon presence in Mexico and in its introduction to South America.

George Wilcken Romney's parents were American citizens Gaskell Romney (1871–1955) and Anna Amelia Pratt (1876-1926). They married in 1895 in Mexico and lived in Colonia Dublán, Galeana, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua (one of the Mormon colonies in Mexico) where George was born on July 8, 1907. They are said to have practiced monogamy. George had three older brothers and would gain two more brothers and a sister. Gaskell Romney was a successful carpenter, house builder, and farmer who headed the most prosperous family in the colony.

The Mexican Revolution broke out in 1910 and the Mormon colonies were endangered in 1911–1912 by raids from marauders, including "Red Flaggers" Pascual Orozco and José Inés Salazar. The Romney family fled and returned to the United States in July 1912, leaving their home and almost all of their property behind. Romney would later say, "We were the first displaced persons of the 20th century."

From here on, George Romney grew up in humble circumstances. The family subsisted with other Mormon refugees on government relief in El Paso, Texas for a few months before moving to Los Angeles, California, where the father worked as a carpenter. In kindergarten there, other children mocked Romney's national origin by calling him "Mex". This might explain how Mitt got his middle name, as the State of Michigan is shaped like a mitten.

While a sophomore in high school, Mitt Romney participated in the campaign in which his father was elected Governor of Michigan. George Romney was re-elected twice, and Mitt worked for him as an intern in the governor's office. He was also present at the 1964 Republican National Convention where his moderate father battled conservative party nominee Barry Goldwater over issues of civil rights and ideological extremism.

Ancestry of Mitt Romney

PARENTS – His father, George Wilcken Romney, was born in Colonia Dublán, Galeana, Chihuahua, México, on July 8, 1907 and died in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan on July 26, 1995. His mother, Lenore LaFount, was born in Logan, Utah, on November 9, 1908 and died in Michigan on July 7 1998.

GRANDPARENTS – His paternal grandfather, Gaskell Romney, was born in St. George, Utah on September 22, 1871. His paternal grandmother, Anna Amelia Pratt, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 6, 1876. His maternal grandfather, Harold Arundel LaFount, was born in Birmingham, Warwick, UK on January 5, 1880. And his maternal grandmother, Alma Luella Robison, was born in Montpelier, Idaho on August 19, 1882.

GREAT-GRANDPARENTS – His great-grandparents were Miles Park Romney, born in Nauvoo, IL on August 18, 1843, and Hannah Hood Hill, born in Tosoronto Township, Simcoe, Ontario on July 9, 1842; Helaman Pratt, born in a covered wagon during a one-hour stopover on the trail near Mt. Pisgah, Iowa on May 31, 1846, and Anna Johanna Dorothy ("Dora") Wilcken, born in Dahme, Zarpin, Rheinfeld, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany on July 25, 1854; Robert Arthur LaFount, born in Belbroughton, Worcester, UK on March 9, 1856, and Emily Ethel Hewitt, born in Birmingham, Warwick, UK on January 19, 1861; and Charles Edward Robison, born in Nauvoo, IL on December 2, 1845, and Rosetta Mary Berry, born in Albion, Michigan on July 3, 1843.

Conclusion:

If I didn’t research this matter, I would not only be uninformed, but a hypocrite. Now at the time of Mitt Romney’s birth was his father a United States Citizen? Based on publicly available information, he certainly did not appear to be. Did George W. Romney, Mitt’s father, become a naturalized citizen prior to his son's birth? If he did, that information is not in the public domain. What I do know is that many Mormons became Mexican citizens, that Mitt Romney has more than 20 distant relatives going back three generations living in the region of Mexico where his father, George, was born, and that as the son of a Mexican born parent, Mitt Romney is entitled to dual citizenship under Mexican law. On the other hand, Newt Gingrich was clearly born to parents who were citizens at the time of his birth. So in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, that’s all I need to know to sway my opinion.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt_Romney

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Romney

http://www.biography.com/people/newt-gingrich-9311969

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/newt/newtchron.html

http://www.wargs.com/political/gingrich.html

http://www.wargs.com/political/romney.html

Friday, December 16, 2011

Obama’s Last Stand | A Level Playing Field

Unemployment and Educational Attainment

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

In a speech given on December 6, 2011, Barack Obama, the Debtor-In-Chief, called for a Level Economic Playing Field. “This isn’t just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and all of those who are fighting to get into the middle class,” he said. “At stake is whether this will be a country where people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home and secure their retirement.” Yeah whatever! His populist tone, however, has fallen mostly upon deaf ears, as America has come to realize that the $5 trillion of debt, which he has racked up over the last 3 years, is the real defining issue of our time. And that in spite of all of his irresponsible borrowing and spending, Obama has delivered next to nothing in the way of improved permanent living standards for any American.

News Flash! The recession ended in June of 2009. The economic crisis is over. What we are witnessing at this point is what an economy looks like, some 29 months after a recession has ended, when an emaciated government Administration has miserably failed its people. No, this isn’t a recession, it’s an Obama recovery. If things aren’t moving fast enough for you, it just may be that the Class-Warfare-Instigator-In-Chief has been focused more on disarming the economy than fortifying it. Those who are content with waiting on Obama to remake America, in his own image and likeness, will find themselves waiting a long time, as it originally took some 244 years to get where we were prior to his anointing.

But as for the rest of us, we don’t have to wait any longer than November of 2012 to bury Obama’s dated ideals of crony capitalism and political pandering back underneath the trash heap from which they emanated. As the self-ascribed millionaire, and so called, spokesman for the poor and downtrodden, engages in an irrational personal conflagration to extend a contrived $8 to $16 per week payroll tax cut for most working Americans, while at the same time bankrupting the nation as a whole, most of us realize that it’s going to take a lot more than a temporary handout to fix what is likely a systemic problem.

Does Obama seriously believe that someone hearing his class-warfare vitriol will suddenly be inspired to run out and enroll in a G.E.D. program, or college; or to start a new enterprise? Because I don’t think his divisive tone cuts the mustard. Will an $8 to $16 per week bounty seriously be enough to usher us into the Promised Land? Yeah, right! So Obama has chosen to make his last stand -- the act of doling out a one-year, deficit-financed, premature social security distribution (for the 3rd year in a row), while at the same time handing each American citizen our “fair share” of a national debt, that is now $48,254 for each and every one of us. But it seems to me that he might want to take care of his own issues first, since he (Obama) has already inflated the national debt by 50% of the amount incurred by the first 43 presidents, in just 3 years. The thought of another nickel of reckless spending coming out of this White House makes me want to see him rot in a federal penitentiary, for the rest of his days. After all, has he not essentially stolen the future away from my children and grandchildren?

What is the Playing Field?

So let’s look at the facts surrounding what would be involved in leveling the so called playing field, as Obama so ineptly echoes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate among those, 25 years of age and older, who have attained less than a high school diploma is a whopping 13.2%, while it is only 4.4% for those with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, households with a householder 25 years old and over, with less than a high school diploma have median incomes of $24,787, while those with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher have median incomes of $82,109. So what does that tell you? It tells me that some people achieve more than others, but it doesn’t tell me that the playing field is not level.

The following table, courtesy of the BLS, was split up into four parts, mainly due to the overall size, but also to focus on the characteristics of each category. First, as of November of 2011, the unemployment rate among those age 25 and over who have attained less than a high school diploma was a colossal 13.2%, while the labor force participation rate was a mere 47.0%. That means that while some 10.2 million in this category were employed, another 1.5 million were unemployed, and that there were another 13.2 million people somewhere out there who never made it through high school. Although this is the smallest of the four categories, one’s chances of employment are greatly diminished by not finishing high school.

Next, according to the BLS, the unemployment rate among those 25 years of age and over who are high school graduates was 8.8%, which is still rather high, while the labor force participation rate was 60.3%. That means that while some 33.8 million in this category were employed, another 3.3 million were considered unemployed. Note: It’s curious that the overall unemployment rate dropped from 9.0% in October 2011 to 8.6% in November of 2011, primarily due to the fact that 315,000 workers dropped out of the labor force, and that the civilian labor force among high school graduates -- with no college, fell by 302,000. Is this just a coincidence?

In comparison, for those equipped with a high school diploma, along with some college or an Associate’s Degree, the unemployment rate was 7.6%, which isn’t all that great, but better than the former categories, and the labor force participation rate was also an improvement at 68.4%. This means that while some 33.9 million in this category were employed, another 2.8 million remained unemployed.

Finally, among those with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, the unemployment rate was a mere 4.4%, while the labor force participation rate was a tolerable 76.0%. What a dramatic improvement. This means that some 45.0 million college graduates were employed, while just 2.1 million were considered unemployed. Thus, one’s chances of employment are immensely greater after attaining a college degree.

So from the above, we can state that we have a civilian labor force of 132.7 million people, 25 years of age or older, and that among these, as of last month, 123.0 million were employed, and 9.7 million were unemployed. And as far as the unemployed, 2.1 million have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, 2.8 million attended some college, 3.3 million stopped after high school, and another 1.5 million never graduated from high school. Among those who are employed, 45.0 million are college graduates, 33.9 million attended some college, 33.8 million stopped after high school, and 10.2 million dropped out of high school.

What should be rather obvious from the preceding tables is that the higher one’s level of education, the greater one’s chances of employment, especially in a tough economy. So how does Obama propose to level this playing field? Will he give non high school graduates honorary diplomas? Or will he take money and opportunities away from achievers and hand it over to non-achievers? For the most part, all I ever hear from Obama is nonsense such as, ‘tax high achievers and give a portion of their earnings over to non-achievers’, or ‘tax the rich, and give $8 to $16 per week tax cuts to those who already have jobs’. But how would either method fix the achievement inequality gap which is evident in the preceding tables? They won’t.

You see, there is no way to make this playing field any more level than it already is. I mean it is what it is. If you want a good life, the first step is to finish high school, and if you don’t, it’s not the responsibility of those who did to take care of you. If you want to do a little better, then plan on attending college because, even if you don’t finish, your life will be immensely better. Heck, I’m not ashamed to say that I didn’t finish college until I was 32 years old. And I managed to trudge through it with a full-time job, and a wife and four children at home. Had I not done so, my advancement would have been limited at best. And when I finished, I didn’t have a dime of student loan debt. So it can be done, and it must be done in order to obtain anything in this society. That’s just the way it is.

Digging a little deeper, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 3-Year Estimates, among those 25 years of age and over, only 27.8% attained a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, while 15.1% didn’t make it through high school (see table below). According to the data, 29.0% graduated from high school (including equivalency), 20.7% attended some college but did not get a degree, 7.5% attained Associate’s Degrees, 17.6% earned Bachelor’s Degrees, and 10.2% obtained Graduate or Professional Degrees. So although 84.9% of Americans graduated from high school, a much smaller percentage went on to complete college. So that brings us to the big question: Does one’s level of educational attainment make any significant difference in economic standing?

Well, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 3-Year Estimates, we can see (in the table below) that the poverty rate among those with less than a high school diploma is 24.5%, while it was 11.8% among high school graduates, 8.2% for those with some college, and only 3.7% for those with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. So the chances of living a life in poverty are greatly enhanced for those who fail to graduate from high school, while being very slim for those attaining at least a Bachelor’s Degree. So does this mean that the playing field isn’t level? Do high achievers have a responsibility to take care of non-achievers? Did some of us start out on a different playing field, other than kindergarten? And is it possible for Obama’s wealth redistribution vision to turn back the hands of time and place everyone back on Square One? The answers to all of the above -- a solid "No".

As I mentioned in, Obama’s Square Deal and Just Deserts, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, households with a householder 25 years old and over with less than a 9th grade education earned median incomes of $21,254 and mean incomes of $30,232, while those with some college earned median incomes of $48,722 and mean incomes of $61,026, and those with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher earned median incomes of $82,109 and mean incomes of $104,555 (see table below). So anyone who wants to earn their ‘fair share’ should be prepared to plot their 'own course', and to complete the necessary steps. How high you reach, and how you get there is simply a matter of free will. So unless Obama is proposing to take away free will, or to somehow make college education mandatory, all of this “level playing field” rhetoric is just smoke.

I will go ahead and submit that America is firmly planted on an even playing field. It begins in kindergarten and ends where it ends, due to personal choices, parental upbringing, and life experiences. I will also state that high achievers do not owe non-achievers a single solitary dime. Nor is it the responsibility of the federal government to improve the lives of those who make bad choices. Sure, government can and should encourage upward mobility, but as the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” It is not the federal government’s responsibility to knock high achievers back a few steps so that non-achievers can catch up. Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. Just like God helps those who help themselves, governments should only venture to help those who help themselves.

Now will somebody please explain to me how giving out $8 to $16 per week deficit-financed handouts (i.e. the payroll tax cut), to people who are already working, will manage to level the playing field for the 11.7 million civilian workers who, for one reason or another, didn’t bother to graduate from high school? Or for that matter, for the 37.1 million who chose to climb no higher than high school? My short answer is that it won’t. In fact, nothing that Obama has been spewing will miraculously turn lower levels of educational attainment into higher learning, nor bigger paychecks. For all his rhetoric, Obama hasn’t inspired one American to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and try to make progress.

In truth, all that I’ve heard from Obama are the following misnomers -- society isn’t fair, and under-achievers are owed something by those who have been more successful. Yet it turns out that the most successful members of our society are mainly those who finished high school, and went on to graduate from college. Hopefully someone in the ‘class’, that either didn’t finish high school or is thinking about dropping out, will be inspired by what you have just read, to indeed pick “yourself” up and move forward. And I would to God that some Ronald Reagan protégé would take up the mantle, and again speak those words that so inspired me to pick myself up by the bootstraps, return to school, and seek a better life.

We must not look to government to solve our problems. Government is the problem.” ~Ronald W. Reagan

Related: Obama’s Square Deal and Just Deserts

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Obama’s Square Deal and Just Deserts

What? Obama Borrowed $5 Trillion in 3 Years?

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

It was back on July 3, 2008 when Barack Obama exclaimed, “The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents - #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back -- $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That's irresponsible. It's unpatriotic.”

To be fair, it took Bush a full 8 years to run up a $4 trillion dollar tab, yet just three years into his one-term proposition, Obama has already run up another $5 trillion, by his lonesome. So what does that make him, a genius? Today we have a national debt of $15.1 trillion that we are going to have to pay back -- $48,254 for every man, woman and child, and $133,993 for every U.S. taxpayer. So it may be said that Obama’s record on the national debt is 333 times more irresponsible, and 333 times more unpatriotic, right? But let’s just call it, “Not Fair”.

To be equitable, all that Obama has accomplished, thus far, is to hand every citizen a $48,254 handicap, and to put every U.S. taxpayer $133,993 in the hole. Since I officially became a grandfather in October of this year, the thought of this lying, hypocrite lecturing my children and grandchildren about fairness, as he hands them each their share of $133,993 of the U.S. debt, because they will surely inure their 'fair share', makes me sick. Fair shot, fair share, same rules?

The quotation "All men are created equal" has been called an "immortal declaration". So can Obama top this?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed....” ~U.S. Declaration of Independence

I didn’t think so. Somebody needs to tell the idiot-in-chief that in America, everybody has a fair shot, everybody pays their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules; the only exception being perhaps he and his cronies.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, household income is a product of one's level of education. It’s a fact that households with a Bachelor’s Degree, or greater, earn higher incomes. So if you want more income, you better finish college, otherwise, be happy with what you get, because it could be a lot worse. After all, this isn't the 3rd world. American’s know the drill, and we make the choices that we need to make, to get where we want to be. And if we fall short, we push our children forward.

Those with less than a 9th grade education can expect to earn median incomes of $21,254, and mean incomes of $30,232, while those with some college can expect median incomes of $48,722, and mean incomes of $61,026. In contrast, those with professional degrees may expect to earn median incomes of $119,825, and mean incomes of $159,202. So anyone who wants to earn their ‘fair share’ should be prepared to plot their 'own course', and complete the necessary work. How high each wants to rise, and how they get there is a matter of free will.

Don’t lecture me about fairness. As far as I’m concerned it would be fair to put debt ridden administrations, like this one, and their political minions away – in the nearest penitentiary. Yeah, 14 years would send a powerful message. You want to overspend and force me, my children and grandchildren into debt; then you should pay the ultimate price. You talk about a fair deal? Is it fair for the federal government to be sitting on its collective butt, borrowing $4 billion per day on “our” behalf? I say not. That’s why you can take your 2% payroll tax cut and shove it! Then you can get off the stump, cancel that vacation, curb government spending and balance our collective budget. Otherwise prepare to be ‘thrown’ out of office, and to inherit your just deserts.

Related:

National Debt Bomb | 1976 to 2011

Four More Trillion | Not Change

National Debt: A National Disgrace

Photo via: http://ibloga.blogspot.com/2009/02/new-one-trillion-dollar-bill.html

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tax Virtue: The Golden Mean

Views from the Centre-Right -

By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

“Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.” ~Calvin Coolidge -

In philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, the golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency. The following links and brief excerpts are from 34 articles on income tax reform, written between November 2009 and December 2011. Authored with an independent fiscal conservative twist, the objective has been to define the golden mean, with respect to income taxes. If something catches your eye, pore over it. And if you are able to apprehend and digest them all, consider yourself wise, and fit for the impending battle. For we all know what’s coming, and we should also realize what happens when a government operates on the wrong side of the road.

Endless Stimulus | Payroll Tax Cut - Dec 01, 2011

Since Social Security and Medicare taxes are collected in order to realize future benefits, why would the federal government choose to refund a portion of those collections today? Are its entitlement programs in such good ...

Tax Simplification, Part I - Nov 10, 2011

Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Plan, which involves eliminating the 15.3% payroll tax, of which every dime is presently committed to current Social Security and Medicare payments (and then some), fails to address the main problem ...

Tax Simplification, Part II - Nov 17, 2011

“There is no doubt that many provisions in the Tax Code benefit narrow groups of taxpayers, but the dirty little secret is that the largest special interests are us – the vast majority of U.S. taxpayers. Virtually all of us benefit from ...

Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Sham - Oct 23, 2011

Herman Cain argues that the reason we need his 999-Plan is because the tax law is too complicated. But is it really? I've worked with the tax law for 30 years, and I don't think it's all that complicated. It may have some complex ...

3rd Concern with the 9-9-9 Plan - Oct 29, 2011

Since under the current tax code, the taxpayer's in the first example are already in a 35% marginal tax bracket, if they earned an additional $1,000,000, they would pay federal taxes of $698,543 under the current tax code, ...

Obamas 9-9-9 Tax Cut | For the Blind - Oct 30, 2011

According to a study on GOP flat tax proposals conducted by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, the 9-9-9 Plan would cause '95 percent of people making $1 million or more to receive tax cuts averaging $487,300'. ...

Taxing the Rich – 1765 to 2011, Part I - Sep 02, 2011

“There is a limit to the taxing power of a State beyond which increased rates produce decreased revenue. If that be exceeded intangible securities and other personal property become driven out of its jurisdiction, industry ...

Taxing the Rich – 1765 to 2011, Part II - Sep 03, 2011

Believing the income tax to be unconstitutional, President Grover Cleveland refused to sign it. The Act became law in 1894 without his signature, but was ruled to be unconstitutional in the following year. In 1895, the Supreme ...

Taxing the Rich – 1765 to 2011, Part III - Sep 04, 2011

In 1765, Great Britain imposed a series of taxes upon the American Colonies, in order to pay for its lengthy French and Indian War (1754-1763). After the war, the British forced upon the Colonies, the Stamp Act of 1765, ...

Obama's Tax Fallacy - Jan 27, 2010

First of all 43.4% of Americans don't pay any income taxes. That leaves the rest of us. So did 95% of the 56.6% who actually pay income taxes get a tax cut? I doubt it, but even if that were true, it's not 95% of all Americans (or ...

Obama's Tax Fallacy II: Updated - Mar 05, 2010

According to the Tax Policy Center, there were 151 million tax units in 2009 (excluding dependents of other tax units). Out of those 151 million tax units, 65.6 million, or 43.4% had zero or negative tax liabilities here ...

Obama's 1950’s Tax Fallacy - Aug 06, 2011

The table below compares what 1950's tax rates looked like back then, against what they would look like in 2010 dollars. [Note: Tax rates were the same throughout the 1950’s, and the brackets for Single and Married Filing ...

2011 Tax Increase: A Reality Check - Jul 17, 2010

Left-wing pundits are claiming that the Bush tax cuts were for the wealthy, which is simply not true. Next year when the 10% tax bracket disappears, and tax rates return to pre-2001 levels, will represent an across the board tax ...

2011 Tax Jam: Wrong Way, Wrong Road - Jul 24, 2010

In my last blog post, 2011 Tax Increase: A Reality Check, I attempted to point out how the Bush tax cuts applied to all Americans at every level of income, and that with their expiration at the end of 2010, income taxes will rise ...

2011 Tax Hike: Progressive Style - Jul 25, 2010

Obama and the progressives want to somehow let the Bush tax cuts expire for anyone making over $200,000 per year, but it's not clear whether or not tax rates for those below that amount will revert to pre-2001 levels. ...

We Are All Billionaires Now - Apr 17, 2011

Good luck to Democrats in first identifying tax breaks that benefit people with net worth's of over $1 million (or $1 billion). They don't exist. And secondly, since more than half of millionaire households are headed by retirees, ...

Obama's Static Tax Blunder - Sep 03, 2010

"If we cut taxes, our revenue will decrease, and if we raise taxes, our revenue will increase." "So let's compromise. Let's keep taxes the same on the many, and raise them on the few, that way we'll increase our revenue, and ...

Obamacare's Effect on Small Business - Oct 06, 2011

“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.” ~ Daniel Webster in M'CULLOCH v. STATE, 17 U.S. 316 (1819) - ...

Give Me a Tax Cut, or Give Me Death! - Nov 20, 2009

Do Small Business Owners deserve tax relief? You're damned right! What can you do about it in Washington D.C.? Well, if you want Small Businesses to spend more, hire more, and stop the lay offs, then stop squeezing us. ...

Payroll Tax Cut Forsakes the Poor - Feb 22, 2011

But first of all, extending last year's tax rates actually didn't do anything for anybody (i.e. nothing gained, nothing lost). Secondly, renewing jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed was simply the price we had to pay for a ...

Obamacare's Deadweight Loss - Oct 12, 2011

Prior to Obamacare, with its one existing plant, TEA, Inc. would have net income of $150,000, would pay federal income taxes of $41,750, and would be left with after-tax income of $108,250 (see table below). Assuming all ...

Obama's Ersatz Rich | The Top 400 - Sep 09, 2010

If the goal is to tax the "rich", it would be very easy for Obama to raise taxes on them. All he has to do is add some new upper level tax brackets such as I mentioned above. In fact, such a tiered system existed back in 1921. ...

Keeping It Real: Obama's $250,000 Fallacy - Sep 06, 2010

President Calvin Coolidge, under the Mellon Tax Bill, slashed top rates from 73% in 1921, down to 25% in 1926. The new top bracket was 25% for anyone making over $100,000 ($1,206,419 in 2010 dollars). So under the ...

Tax Revolt of 2010 | Authentic - Sep 11, 2010

War has oft been used as an excuse for raising taxes, and tax hikes have sometimes led to war. Prior to the imposition of the income tax, the federal government's primary source of revenue was through tariff duties. ...

Obsolete Government Programs, Part 1 | FICA - Apr 20, 2011

If we were not forced to pay this mandatory tax of 6.2% (12.4% for the self-employed) on earned income up to the limit of $106,800, we would be able to save a greater portion of our own money into the modern retirement ...

Obsolete Government Programs, Part 2 | Medicare - Apr 21, 2011

Medicare is partially financed through payroll taxes imposed by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and the Self-Employment Contributions Act of 1954. In the case of employees, the tax is equal to 2.9% (1.45% ...

Real Tax Reform I: Taxing Small Business - Nov 13, 2010

Much of the debate against raising tax rates on the upper bracket centers around how income taxes are computed on small business owners. The debate focuses on the way that pass-through income, which is earned by the ...

Real Tax Reform II: Taxing Corporations - Nov 16, 2010

In Part I, we focused on unfair tax policies surrounding S-Corporations and Partnerships. The prospect of increasing tax rates on business owners is a far cry from what most of us would consider meaningful fiscal reform. Part II ...

Tax Reform 101: Stuck on Static - Nov 18, 2010

Example 1: Static Revenue Policy – Joe the retailer owns a gift shop. One day Joe got sick and tired of lackluster sales and decided to raise prices by 100%. Joe believed that if he doubled prices, while maintaining the same ...

Tax Reform 201: The Optimal Tax Rate - Nov 23, 2010

Those immersed in the static conception of human behavior say that America will never grow its way out of debt. Well, that's a self-fulfilling prophecy if we base our tax policy on the static view. So do they think we can tax our ...

Tax Rates, Earmarks, and Weiners - Dec 20, 2010

For those who think that a top federal tax rate of 35% is too low, there is a solution. How about forking over some of that excess lucre? How about putting your money where your mouth is? The time to stand up for your ...

The Elitist Condescension Tax Credit - Dec 06, 2010

According to some estimates, if made permanent, the Making Work Pay tax credit will cost the U.S. government an estimated $640 billion through 2018. Any idiot who would vote for something that cost so much and helps no one should be ...

Shared Sacrifice and a Free Lunch - Dec 05, 2010

According to the Tax Policy Center, in tax year 2009 there were 151,500,000 tax filers excluding dependents of other taxpayers and out of those 71,000,000 (46.9%) had a zero or negative income tax liability. ...

Debt & Taxes: Obama's Rate of Change - Feb 18, 2010

During the 16 year period ending with fiscal year 2009, GDP achieved an average annual growth rate of 6.8%, while government revenues (taxes) grew at 4.5%, and the national debt grew at 10.3%. Summary: The national debt ...