Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Taxes

American Sea-Change in Attitude Toward Government

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, April 20, 2015: 

Careful observers of Hillary Clinton’s brief announcement for the presidency on April 3 noted one word missing: redistribution. She alluded briefly to how “the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top,” but she focused instead on wanting to be everyone’s “champion,” supporting strong families, same-sex marriage, and economic opportunity.

She and her advisors no doubt read and took to heart the latest from Gallup. In 2006, by a margin of more than two to one, 69-28, those surveyed said that

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allup: Americans Say Federal Government Is Number One Problem

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 20, 2105:

Income inequality and mortality in 282 metropo...

Income inequality and mortality in 282 metropolitan areas of the United States.

According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans have named the federal government as the most important U.S. problem for four months in a row, noting that “dissatisfaction with government is by no means a new issue,” having been at or near the top in its surveys for years.

None of this is new news to Emmanuel Saez, economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, or to any of his co-authors in their study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in early 2013.

That study summarized polls of more than 5,000 Americans about income inequality in the United States and what if anything should be done about it. They were fully expecting to discover that

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House Votes to Repeal Federal Estate Tax

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 17, 2015: 

English: Official photograph of John Thune, U....

U.S. Senator John Thune from South Dakota

On Thursday the House voted, 240-179, to repeal the federal estate tax, setting the stage for a confrontation with the Senate and a veto threat by the president. Identical bills were presented in both houses of Congress, by Representative Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Senator John Thune (R-S.D.). Brady’s bill passed with the support of all but three Republicans and the defection of seven Democrats. Thune’s bill is expected to die in the Senate.

Said Brady: 

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Election Win Will Cost Chicago Even More

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 7, 2015:

, former White House Chief of Staff

Going into Tuesday’s runoff election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel held nearly a 20-point advantage over his rival, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a hard-left progressive member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Four years ago Emanuel won in a walk, taking 55 percent of the vote. In February he couldn’t even manage a majority, with just 46 percent, forcing Tuesday’s runoff. As a North Side small business owner explained:

[In February] I cast an “anybody-but-Rahm” vote. Rahm is not a likeable guy. Sadly, he has no competition. Chuy is a nice guy but doesn’t seem to have a clue what he would do if elected.

When I go back for the final vote, I will vote for Rahm. Maybe he has a chance of fixing some of the [city’s] financial problems.

That’s hardly likely. In the past four years, Emanuel’s abrasive personality and his leftist worldview have added immensely to Chicago’s woes:

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Is NewSat the next Solyndra?

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, March 27, 2015:

English: Export-Import Bank of the United Stat...

In 2012 and 2013, the Export-Import Bank unanimously agreed to guarantee loans by Lockheed Martin to a small private Australian satellite company called NewSat, whose president was ecstatic at the news. NewSat’s CEO Adrian Ballintine celebrated:

It is fantastic to receive the support of the U.S. Ex-Im Bank. They are backing our … satellite with a direct loan, with a favorable low-fixed interest rate and long tenure.

 

The deal is an Australian first for Ex-Im Bank and a major milestone towards the launch of Australia’s first commercial satellite.

His was a company worth $50 million before Ex-Im guaranteed $304 million in loans by Lockheed Martin to provide it with a satellite designed to reach all across the South Pacific and rake in millions. Ex-Im was simply following its charter: make loans no one with any sense would consider making.

Of course, that isn’t exactly what the bank’s charter really says;

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Tax-credit Private-school Scholarship Funding Explodes in Oklahoma

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 24, 2015:

Many Oklahoma taxpayers are paying less in state income taxes, thanks to contributions made to scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) last year.

It’s a new wrinkle, and many of those opening envelopes from the Oklahoma Tax Commission are in for a pleasant surprise. A single taxpayer contributing $2,000 to an SGO last year will save $1,000 in state income taxes. A couple contributing $4,000 will save $2,000. These are credits, not deductions, based on one-half the contribution. Translation: Every dollar of credit saves one dollar in state taxes.

For those able to give more — think successful small business owners, lawyers, accountants, physicians, software engineers, farmers, ranchers, and other business owners operating as regular C corporations — that letter in the mail this month could generate even greater excitement.

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Boston University Economist Calls Out Congress on Enormous Fiscal Gap

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 12, 2015:

Logo of the United States Government Accountab...

Logo of the United States Government Accountability Office

During his annual trek to Washington, D.C., to lecture Congress on its spendthrift habits, Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff took the gloves off this year. He dressed down Senator Mike Enzi, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, along with the committee’s members:

Let me get right to the point. Our country is broke. It’s not broke in 75 years or 50 years or 25 years or 10 years.

 

It’s broke today.

 

Indeed, it may well be in worse fiscal shape than any development country, including Greece.

It isn’t just Enzi, or his committee, or the present Congress, that’s responsible for a fiscal gap that’s vastly larger than that projected by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). It’s the idea that the country can borrow without limit because

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Moody’s Downgrades Chicago Again

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 3, 2015:

English: in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Downtown Chicago, Illinois

Within hours of Moody’s Investors Service announcing another downgrade to Chicago’s general obligation bonds last Friday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration responded, saying that Moody’s was out of touch with reality:

We strongly disagree with Moody’s decision to reduce the city’s credit rating and would note that Moody’s has been consistently and substantially out of step with the other rating agencies [Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings], ignoring progress that has been achieved.

At the moment those other two agencies rate Chicago’s debt at A-plus or A-minus, each with a negative outlook. But in light of an imminent court ruling that could invalidate efforts to cut pension benefits, along with the crushing and increasing burden of those benefits, observers are just waiting for the next two shoes to drop.

As Moody’s noted, its downgrade will stand even if the court validates those pension modifications: 

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Milton Friedman, the W-2 Withholding form, and the Underground Economy

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 23, 2015:

English: Portrait of Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman

With Americans about to file their income tax returns, most of them will look at their W-2 withholding forms to get the numbers without any background on how paying the government first came to be accepted as normal.

At age 16 this writer worked as a helper on a Canada Dry delivery truck. It was a plum job if one could get it. A “helper” load was 160 cases (the heavy glass-bottle kind), and it paid $20 for the day. There was great incentive to dump those cases as fast as possible (without breaking them!) and get back to the warehouse and put in the time sheet.

The first week generated $100, and this writer had never seen a $100 bill before. Imagine his surprise when his pay envelope had “change” in it. The slip showed Gross $100.00. Net: $92.43. The government got into this writer’s pay envelope before he did!

He’s never forgotten that moment, and was surprised, so many years later, to learn how much a hand one of his favorite economists, Milton Friedman, had in creating the entire withholding system in the US back in 1943.

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U.S. Government’s Interest Costs to Quadruple in 10 Years

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 5, 2015: 

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the federal government will be paying $800 billion annually just to service the interest on its massive debt by 2025, up from just over $200 billion currently. By 2021, those interest costs will equal what the government is projected to be spending on national defense, and on non-defense (so-called “discretionary” items), and will greatly exceed those two budget items just by 2025. The Journal also noted that “non-discretionary” items (so-called “mandatory” expenditures) will continue their inexorable march upward, from $2 trillion currently to more than $4 trillion by 2025.

Surprisingly, few eyebrows were raised over the announcement,

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Wisconsin Governor Walker to Substantially Reduce University Spending

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 4, 2015: 

On Tuesday, as part of his continuing quest to bring Wisconsin’s government spending under control, Governor Scott Walker announced a 13-percent cut to the University of Wisconsin’s $2.3 billion annual budget. In addition, his plan includes a two-year tuition freeze and the severance of state control over the university, passing it over to an autonomous authority. It also includes drug testing for people applying for public assistance, the merging of several state agencies, and the elimination of 400 state jobs. Walker explained: “Our plan will use common-sense reforms to create a government that is limited in scope and ultimately more effective, more efficient and more accountable.”

He also made clear in a radio interview that professors are going to have to ante up as well: 

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This is the Largest Wealth Transfer in History

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 21, 2015: 

English: Murray Rothbard in the 90's

Libertarian economist Murray Rothbard

Coinciding with the announcement from the IRS that January 20 is the start of the 2015 tax season came the report from two wealth management consultancies, Wealth-X and National Financial Partners, that the largest transfer of wealth in world history is about to take place. With Obama’s help and the acquiescence of the Congress, the IRS is hoping to partake in the windfall.

According to the Family Wealth Transfer Report, an estimated $16 trillion of wealth belonging to 211,275 ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals worldwide will pass to their heirs over the next 30 years. $6 trillion of that wealth is

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Largest Wealth Transfer in History is Coming

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 20, 2015: 

According to a study just published by Wealth-X and National Financial Partners, $16 trillion of wealth belonging to 211,275 “ultra-high net worth” individuals will be passed on to the next generation over the next 30 years. $6 trillion of that wealth is located in the United States, and financial “consultancies” such as Wealth-X and NFP are gearing up to help them manage the transfer.

Two-thirds of that wealth was created by entrepreneurs starting businesses, and these entrepreneurs are now faced with questions on the future of their money:

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“Audacious” State of the Union Speech to Push for Higher Taxes on the Rich

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 19, 2015:

In what the New York Times termed an “audacious” move, President Obama will use his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night to push for higher taxes on the rich and big financial institutions, and give the money to the middle class still caught in the clutches of a slow economic recovery from the Great Recession.

The details are straightforward:

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Obama to Burnish his Unrepentant Marxist Credentials in his State of the Union speech

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 19, 2015:

From each according to his ability, to each ac...

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need

An anonymous source at the White House leaked the details of Obama’s State of the Union speech scheduled for Tuesday night. In a move deliberately designed to infuriate Republicans who thought they might hear from a repentant president sincerely interested in reconciliation, he will instead poke them all in the eye in a move that the New York Times called “audacious.”

Not happy with increasing the capital gains tax rate by 58 percent so far in his administration, from 15% to 23.8%, he will announce his plan to nearly double it, to 28%. Furthermore,

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New Illinois Governor Facing Torrent of Red Ink

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 12, 2015:

 

Previous Illinois administrations and politicians have been kicking the can down the road for decades. Now, the state has run out of road. Bruce Rauner, Illinois’ new Republican governor, was inaugurated on Monday and is facing a daunting task: a $4 billion backlog of unpaid bills and a budget showing deficits approaching $21 billion in three years unless something is done.

During his campaign that successfully ousted what Huffington Post noted as the “nation’s least popular governor,” Pat Quinn, Rauner made the usual political promises of streamlining government and improving education and the state’s business climate, all without increasing taxes. In fact, he promised

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New Jersey Driving Away Businesses

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, January 9, 2015: 

Mercedes-Benz

On Tuesday, when Mercedes-Benz’s North American Chairman Stephen Cannon finally confirmed the rumors swirling around his company’s headquarters in Montvale, New Jersey, that he was going to move it to Atlanta, Georgia, he didn’t tell the whole truth:

New Jersey has been a wonderful home to our U.S. operations for our first 50 years, and still is today. The state has worked tirelessly with us as we evaluated our options.

 

Ultimately, however, it became apparent that to achieve the sustained, profitable growth and efficiencies we require for the decades ahead, our headquarters would have to be located elsewhere.

 

That brought us to Atlanta.

It was the location that sealed the deal, according to Cannon:

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Mercedes-Benz Latest to Leave New Jersey Owing to High Taxes

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 8, 2015:

Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines

The rumors swirling around the Mercedes-Benz headquarters in Montvale, New Jersey were confirmed by the company’s U.S. president, Stephen Cannon, on Tuesday: It would move its U.S. headquarters from Montvale to Atlanta, starting in July. The move would affect about 1,000 employees, about half of whom would likely be offered the opportunity to move with the company.

The decision to move was based on the high-cost and high-tax environment in New Jersey compared to Georgia, although one had to read between the lines of the company’s official statement to ferret that out:

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51 OECD Countries Sign Tax Evasion Treaty

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 3, 2014: 

Last Wednesday’s agreement among 51 countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Berlin to share tax information across borders in a continuing effort to crack down on tax evasion was announced with great excitement but precious little logic.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the group at a meeting entitled the “Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes” that the agreement is “a joint contribution to more transparency and fairness in our globalized 21st century.” Britain’s Finance Minister George Osborne added, “Tax evasion is not just illegal, it is immoral. You are robbing from your fellow citizens and you should be treated like a common thief.” Said Osborne, the new treaty “strikes a blow on behalf of hard-working taxpayers.”

A careful look reveals that the new treaty in fact is designed to benefit tax collectors, not taxpayers.

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Tax Avoiders Performing a Public Service

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, November 3, 2014: 

English: Judge Learned Hand, circa 1910. Franç...

Judge Learned Hand, circa 1910.

In his letter to the Washington Post on Saturday, libertarian economist Donald Boudreaux unwittingly exposed the logical fallacy behind the OECD’s (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) new “tax evasion” treaty: they really think they can help the little taxpayer by increasing the collection of taxes on the evaders. Wrote Boudreaux:

Consider the U.S.: in 31 of the 67 post-war years from 1946 to 2013, Uncle Sam’s budget deficit rose … when his tax receipts increased.

This fact means that Uncle Sam almost as often as not responds to each dollar of additional tax revenue by increasing his spending by more than a dollar – thus imposing a heavier tax burden on future taxpayers.

In other words, tax avoiders (not evaders) are performing a public service by doing what they can to reduce government revenues which constrain government spending.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.