A Forgotten Promise

When he ran for office in 2008, President Obama promised not to raise taxes on any family that earned less than $250,000. Then candidate Obama stated, “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” (from Townhall.com) Well, I guess that promise has been added to the list of broken promises.

Today, Heritage.org posted a story about tax increases that occurred in 2013 and tax increases planned for 2014.

The article reports two new taxes for 2014:

  • Obamacare’s individual mandate. Beginning in 2014, it’s mandatory to purchase health insurance. If you don’t, you’ll pay a penalty that dramatically increases over time. It starts at $95 or 1 percent of your income (whichever is greater). It rises to $325 or 2 percent of income in 2015, and $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016.
  • Obamacare tax on insurance companies. If you liked seeing your premiums go up, you’ll love this new tax on health insurers—which they are most likely to pass on to you.

The article also posted a list of the 2013 tax increases. The Social Security payroll tax for workers went from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent for everyone–regardless of whether or not they earned $250,000.  Also increased were various taxes on high earners–marginal tax rates increased, deductions decreased, investment taxes increased, and inheritance taxes increased. Excuse me for being totally politically incorrect here, but keep in mind that taxes on people who do not work but collect welfare or other government handouts did not increase. Keep in mind that when you tax an activity it decreases, and when you don’t tax an activity it increases. These kinds of tax increases do not encourage economic growth–they stifle it.

The article reminds us:

President Obama promised the American people a “balanced approach” of tax increases and spending cuts to reduce deficits and debt. He achieved the tax increase portion of that approach. Now Congress needs to force him to follow through on the spending cuts.

Until we see spending cuts, the economy will continue to grow much more slowly than it is capable of growing. The combination of high taxes and over regulation by the government is the biggest obstacle to a much needed economic recovery.

 

 

 

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A Broken Promise

I seem to remember both Republicans and Democrats saying that they did not want to raise taxes on the Middle Class. Then how come, even if a deal is reached to avoid the fiscal cliff, taxes on the Middle Class are going up in January?

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today explaining what is about to happen:

Employee payroll taxes are scheduled to rise nearly 50 percent in 2013 absent action by lawmakers, and there is a growing sense that both parties might be willing to let that happen.

Party leaders have about five weeks to resolve a host of budget issues to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff,” the term used to describe more than $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to occur on Jan. 1, 2013.

The discussion thus far has focused on the Bush-era tax cuts, with very little discussion of what to do with the temporary cuts on employee payroll taxes that has been in effect for the past two years. The employee payroll tax cut affects roughly 160 million Americans and saves the typical middle class family $1,000 per year.

U. S. News posted an article in January 2012 which listed five facts about the employee payroll tax cut. One of these is very interesting:

Even though workers are paying less tax into the Social Security system, they do not suffer any reduction in the benefits that will ultimately be collected. The federal government promises to pay the benefit that would otherwise have been received. The benefits are figured on the basis of earnings (up to the wage base limit for the year) and not on the taxes paid.

So Congress took a program (Social Security) that has been teetering on bankruptcy for a number of years and reduced the amount of money paid into it without reducing the benefits being paid out. What a business plan!

The article at the Washington Free Beacon concludes:

There is some concern among Republicans that Democrats might disregard policy considerations in order use the payroll tax cut as a political wedge issue. Democrats did this in February when House Republicans arguably lost a showdown with the White House.

It remains to be seen whether or not lawmakers can strike a deal to avoid going over the fiscal cliff.

Either way, though, the payroll tax cut appears unlikely to survive.

Obamacare increases taxes on the Middle Class in January. It is likely that even if a deal is reached to avoid the fiscal cliff, other taxes on the Middle Class will be increased in January also. As Americans, we need to tell Washington–THE PROBLEM IS NOT A LACK OF REVENUE–IT IS TOO MUCH SPENDING!!! Until Congress and the President get that message, the American taxpayer will continue to be seen as a never ending source of money, and at some point the American taxpayer will run out of money.

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What We Didn’t Know About The Senate Payroll Tax Extension Bill

Fox News posted a story yesterday about exactly what was in the payroll tax extension bill passed by the Senate. It seems that the bill that the Senate passed was unworkable.

The article reports:

The Senate bill did not cleanly extend the current Social Security employee share of 4.2 percent for two months. Instead, it created a two-tiered payroll tax with a rate of 4.2 percent for the first $18,350 of income in those 60 days, with a 6.2 percent rate above that.

This establishment of multiple rates of payroll tax presents serious logistical challenges for payroll processors. In fact, the National Payroll Reporting Consortium strongly opposed to the Senate bill based on this feature, writing:

“The difficulty is in establishing a new Social Security Taxable Wage limit of $18,350 for the two-month extension period. More than ten percent of the workforce is likely to meet that limit, and would be subject to the higher 6.2% tax rate for earnings over that amount. However, many payroll systems are not likely to be able to make such a substantial programming change before January or even February. The systems affected tend to be highly complex, normally requiring at least ninety days for a change of this magnitude for software testing alone; not to mention analysis, design, coding and implementation.”

To me, that explains why the Senate did not simply pass the House version of the payroll tax extension–they were using the bill as an instrument of class warfare.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It explains the actual process that resulted in a workable bill being passed. This bill was a victory for the taxpayers and for the companies having to deal with payrolls. It was a small victory, but it was a victory.

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Received In My E-Mail This Morning

This article was also published in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette this morning. It was also sent out by the author, Len Mead. I received it in my e-mail this morning.

The economic truth hurts

Did you think Republicans would “raise your payroll taxes” starting in January if no deal had been reached? Do you think unemployment just dropped to only 8.6 percent?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, the Main Street media has succeeded in deceiving you — and most other busy readers and viewers. Like our economy, truthful journalism has sunk to lows unseen in our lifetimes.

Fortunately, dear reader, you have me to help you correct these misconceptions. Let me guide you — through truth — to understand what’s really happening as we celebrate what blessings we have left this Christmas and Hanukkah.

Let’s start with the bogus “payroll tax reduction” issue. You’ve been told if the current reduced amount isn’t “extended,” 140 million plus workers will have taxes raised over $1,000 next year. The truth is this payroll withholding is simply not a tax. It is an amount fortunate working people have set aside for their own retirement to fund Social Security.

So, when it was “cut” last year, it just further short-changed funding for promised Social Security payments which, not surprisingly, were insufficient to cover pay-outs last year for the first time in history.

The truth is that payroll withholdings for Social Security was never a tax, and it never should have been reduced, because now 40 cents of each federal dollar paid to existing Social Security retirees has to be borrowed.

When you buy groceries, do you borrow 40 cents of each dollar for food? That’s the truthful state our current retirement system has fallen to.

Real tax cuts are federal income tax rate reductions implemented by presidents like John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George Bush.

These real tax rate reductions all resulted in sharply higher tax revenues collected by the government due to a growing economy, with more jobs and more people being hired to pay taxes.

One could argue that the so-called payroll tax cut reduction implemented in the past was an intentional destabilizing effort by Democrats to make citizens further dependent on government — similar to now bankrupt Europe. But hey, we’re bankrupt, too, with a national debt topping — hold your breath — $15 trillion (see usdebtclock.org). Not ready to pay this debt bill? Well, surely your children and grandchildren are, eh?

The Main Street media is criminally negligent in not reporting this serious truth to us.

Moving on to the bogus reported “reduction” in unemployment: Folks, it just ain’t so.

True unemployment is rising — horribly. The “official unemployment rate” of 8.6 percent reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not include desperate citizens who have given up looking for full-time work after months or years of failure. For example, if the same number of people were looking for work today as were looking for work when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11 percent.

But the true unemployment figure is even worse.

The more accurate Labor Department unemployment figure is not the “U-3” 8.6 percent figure but really 15.6 percent, which includes “total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.”

Estimates of the number of unemployed by this measure exceed 25 million desperate people in the U.S. out of about 153 million working. Again, the Main Street media seems criminally unwilling to report this truth to us, or to report the possible solutions for improving our economy and thus the number of available jobs people wanting to work could seek.

Fortunately, many sources for these truths exist for curious, open-minded citizens anxious for real solutions to the problems of our economy.

Solutions include real reductions in government spending and regulations, lower and certain taxes for the future, and the repeal of Obamacare, which is a cancer on businesses who simply cannot hire anybody without knowing what future real costs will exist with each new hire.

When these steps are taken, our great free economy will again explode upward — with new jobs, new tax revenues for public needs, and real new hope for the future. Our still-free republic is still our greatest blessing now at year’s end.

Len Mead can be reached at mead1720@gmail.com

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What Was In That Bill ?

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted a summary of the payroll tax cut bill that recently caused so much hand wringing in Congress. The bill that was passed was pretty much what was suggested at the beginning of the negotiations (except for the two-month limit).

The Daily Caller reports:

—Retains through Feb. 29 the current 4.2 percent rate for Social Security payroll taxes paid by 160 million workers, instead of letting the rate rise to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1.

—Renews federal benefits averaging $300 a week for the long-term unemployed through Feb. 29.

—Prevents 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors; extends other health care fees through Feb. 29.

—Requires President Barack Obama to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas within 60 days unless he declares the project would not serve the national interest.

—Price tag of $33 billion. Paid for by increasing home loan guarantee fees charged to mortgage lenders by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration by one-tenth of 1 percentage point. The fee is passed on to home buyers and will apply to many new purchases and refinancings starting Jan. 1. For a $200,000 mortgage, the fee increases a borrower’s cost by about $17 a month.

—Requires House and Senate leaders in both parties to name negotiators to work on a bill extending the payroll tax cut for a year, extend federal jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and keep Medicare payments to doctors at their current level.

I guess I am wondering why we need a committee to extend the bill for a year. The gang of twelve didn’t work out too well, so why are we doing this again?

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A Thought From A Fellow Blogger

A friend and fellow blogger of mine, DaTechGuy.com, has pointed out that the arithmetic we are being given on the battle for the tax cut in Congress is not quite accurate.

He points out:

An 8 week extension of the payroll tax (forgetting the expense the short-term change would cost) would generate 8 x 40 or $320.

A 52 week extension that the GOP has already passed would generate 52 x $40 or $2080 dollars.

Therefore the House bill gives a net profit of 2080-320 or $1760 dollars more to the avg taxpayer.

Instead of asking people what they would do with $40 that the house is keeping from them, perhaps they should ask what they would do with the #1760dollars that the tea party house has approved and the senate has not?

Aside from the fact that it is not a tax cut–it is a raid on Social Security–that is a very interesting way of looking at it.

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About That Common Sense In The Senate I Just Mentioned–Here Is The Other Side Of The Coin

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported on Senator Barbara Boxer’s reaction to the bill that the House of Representatives passed that cuts payroll taxes.

The article reports:

Speaking on the floor of the Senate, Boxer, the chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, assailed a provision House Republicans attached to their payroll tax-cut bill that would delay boiler regulations the Environmental Protection Agency recently enacted.

“They have attached a poison pill — literally, colleagues — because it will kill 8,100 more people more than would have otherwise been killed from pollution,” Boxer said. “They attach that to the payroll tax cut. So have that for a Christmas gift.”

“We have asked for a lot from Santa in our day but we have never asked for lead, arsenic and mercury,” Boxer concluded.

This is the kind of rhetoric Senator McCaskill was speaking out against in the previous article. These words are not true, not constructive, and not consensus building.

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Class Warfare Is More Important Than Actual Numbers

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted a story on the Democrats’ recent efforts to pay for a continuation of the payroll tax by imposing a tax on the rich. (Actually, the Democrats solution to any given problem at any given time is to impose a tax on the rich). Anyway, a Power Line reader ran the numbers to see how much impact the proposed tax on the rich would have. This is what the reader found:

The taxes on the highest incomes are never enough for any of their schemes. The Dems’ proposal is a fraud, which the MSM helps to perpetrate by never estimating the revenues from upper income tax increases.

Politico reports that the cost of the Democrats’ payroll tax reduction is $265 billion. Will that really be paid for by a 3.25 percent surtax on adjusted gross incomes over $1 million?

According to the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute/Brookings Institute, approximately 388,000 households have income above $1 million in any given year; the average income of such households is about $2.7 million. The surtax would be levied on the increment above $1 million. So the arithmetic is simple on a static analysis: 388,000 * $1.7 million * 3.25% = $21.437 billion.

So the “millionaires and billionaires” surtax doesn’t come even remotely close to the reduction in payroll tax. It’s a complete fraud–gratuitous class warfare for revenues that, in the overall scheme of things, are trivial.

The problem with the budget is not the lack of tax revenue–it is the increase in spending. The Obama administration has increased government spending to approximately 24 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). It had previously been between 18 and 20 percent. The average tax revenue collected by the government in a year is about 18 percent of the GDP. Therein lies the problem. Even when taxes on the rich are increased, the amount collected hovers around 18 percent because the ‘rich’ have accountants that help them pay as little taxes as possible. When you tax the rich you only wind up taxing the middle class more and moving closer to the elimination of the middle class. That is not a good idea.

 

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When Is A Tax Cut Not A Tax Cut ?

President Obama and the Democrat party are currently complaining that the Republicans really do not support tax cuts for the middle class because the Republicans are not supporting the extension of the payroll tax cut. That may be good for the campaign trail, but it really doesn’t tell the whole story.

On Sunday, the Business Insider posted the following:

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), the retiring minority whip, said he is opposed to extending the payroll tax cut — raising taxes an average of $1000 on American families and risking eliminating half-a-million jobs from the economy — because he is concerned about the longevity of Social Security.

“The problem here is payroll doesn’t go into general revenue, it supports Social Security, and you can’t keep extending the payroll tax holiday and have a secure Social Security,” he said on Fox News Sunday.

The problem with the cutting the payroll tax is that you are taking money directly out of Social Security, which is already in financial trouble. The government has gotten into the habit of manipulating Americans through tax policy–if you do this, you get a tax break, if you do that, we tax you extra. The payroll tax gives Americans the sense that they are getting something back, without explaining that they are helping destroy the future viability of Social Security. Again–the problem isn’t taxes–it’s spending, and until we deal with the spending (and excessive government regulations), the economy will not recover.

As much as I would love to have extra money in my pocket to spend, extending the payroll tax cut is a bad idea.

 

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