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

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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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gets a “B” from Cato

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 29, 2014:

In a remarkable display of pure unadulterated pragmatism, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law in 2014 an unheralded tax reform bill that has won approval from two conservative think tanks: the Cato Institute and the Tax Foundation. In Cato’s “Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors” released earlier this month, the authors were positively ecstatic about him:

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CBO’s Funny Math

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 22, 2014:

National debt clock

National debt clock

The Congressional Budget Office’s August update to the federal budget and outlook for the next 10 years released last week was so filled with questionable assumptions as to make their conclusions completely unrealistic. As expected, the mainstream media focused only on the parts of the report that fed and supported their worldview. For instance, the CBO said that revenues were expected to increase by about 8% over last year to a world record $3 trillion, thanks to increases in individual income taxes, payroll taxes, and corporate income taxes.

This was understood by the White House and establishment economists to

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Sissel Lawsuit Threatens ObamaCare

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, October 8, 2014: 

After losing an appeal before a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals in Sissel v. US Department of Health and Human Services, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed a petition for a full rehearing — called “en banc” — on Monday. Sissel claims that the Origination Clause — Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution — was violated at the very birth of ObamaCare (also called ACA, the Affordable Care Act), and since the Supreme Court ruled in NFIB v. Sibelius that the ObamaCare fines are not penalties but taxes, ObamaCare itself must be ruled unconstitutional.

Nearly 100 lawsuits challenging ObamaCare have been filed since it was passed back in March 2010, but only five now present serious threats to its legal existence, the Sissel case being the one with the most teeth. It was originally brought by

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Stockton Bankruptcy Judge Hammers CalPERS

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, October 3, 2014:

English: CalPERS headquarters at Lincoln Plaza...

CalPERS headquarters at Lincoln Plaza in Sacramento

All Franklin Templeton Investments wanted was a fair shake. All CalPERS wanted is what it already has: exemption from bankruptcy laws. As attorneys for CalPERS – the California Public Employees Retirement System – tried to defend the country’s largest pension plan from contentions that it was getting off scot-free in the Stockton bankruptcy reorganization plan while other creditors were getting hammered, they sounded rather silly.

They claimed that a combination of state laws and statutes dating back into history protected the $300 billion that CalPERS manages from sharing the pain with other creditors in bankruptcy proceedings. They referred to something called

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The Kansas Referendum on Reagan’s Tax Cut Policies

This article was published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 24, 2014:

Big government liberals and high spending politicians have converged on Kansas, seeing an opportunity to discredit not only Ronald Reagan’s tax policies but to get even with the Tea Party, which took out a number of “moderate” Republicans in the state Senate over the last two election cycles.

Gov. Sam Brownback (pictured above), a supporter of less government and lower taxes, was able to ride the conservative wave that resulted in tax reform that not only increased an individual taxpayer’s standard deduction from $4,500 to $5,500 but also

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Welfare State Costs Taxpayers More Than $2 Trillion a Year

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, August 6, 2014:

 

Following the release of the latest budgetary statement from the U.S. Treasury, Ali Meyer dove into the statistical morass of charts and graphs to determine just how much the welfare state is paying out in benefits. Meyer, writing at CNS News, concluded that beneficiaries received over $2 trillion from the American taxpayer last year, or almost

 

Tea Party Protest, Washington D.C. September 1...

Taxpayers protesting

60 percent of all federal government spending. This included “means-tested” benefits — which require incomes to be below a certain level to quality for them — as well as “non-means tested” benefits such as Medicare, Social Security, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and the like.

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New York Times Calls Out City’s Pension System

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, Augusts 4, 2014:

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

In a nearly 4,000-word lead article on Sunday, the New York Times clearly articulated exactly what is wrong with the city’s five separate pension plans: too-optimistic investment assumptions, excessive fees, overly generous pension benefits, and political interference. Mere tweaking on the margins will only delay the inevitable Detroit experience: drastic benefit cuts for retirees and higher taxes on taxpayers.

In 2000, the city’s contributions to its five pension plans (general city workers, police, firefighters, teachers, and other school personnel) consumed just two percent of the city’s budget, and the plans were considered to be adequately funded. For instance, the plan insuring the city’s general workers was actually overfunded by 36 percent. Today those pension plans soak up more than

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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.