The Inter Relatedness Of The Swamp

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today that answers a lot of questions about how some supposedly private information found its way around Washington. It seems as if some of the connections found in the Robert Mueller team have resulted in critical links intended to make President Trump look bad.

The article reports:

The indictment of US Treasury officials yesterday is more important than first thought.  The individuals indicted have close ties to demoted DOJ lawyer Bruce Ohr and Mueller team corrupt attorney Andrew Weissman!

On Tuesday, 40-year-old Natalie May Edwards, the senior advisor in the Treasury Department’s  Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, was arrested and criminally charged for leaking confidential financial documents relating to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, the Russian embassy and accused Russian spy Maria Butina.

Ms. Edwards, who leaked the documents related to the Manafort case, was interviewed by Ronan Farrow six months ago. It now looks like that was an attempt by her to set herself up as a whistle blower rather than the leaker she is –

…Ms. Edwards leaked the FinCEN documents to Jason Leopold, a reporter for BuzzFeed according to Wednesday’s announcement by Manhattan federal prosecutors.  Hidden in the DOJ complaint is the fact that Edwards’s BOSS at FinCEN is a criminal co-conspirator and he holds the title of Associate Director.

Investigative reporter Sean Davis reported that there are only six positions at FinCEN with that title (associate director) –

…Additional reporting from Sean Davis shows that one of the Assistant Directors at FinCEN is Thomas Ott.  Mr. Ott worked for Fusion GPS collaborator Bruce Ohr at the DOJ.  Also, Mr. Ott worked for RICO with Andrew Weissman at the DOJ

Notice that the same names keep cropping up. I am not sure how big or how deep the Washington swamp is, but we seem to be discovering that swamp creatures are scattered throughout the swamp.

The Numbers Tell The Story

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the growing federal deficit. The numbers in the editorial tell the story of what is actually happening:

Each month the Treasury Department releases its tally of federal spending and revenues. The most recent data are through the month of August. Since the federal government starts its fiscal year in October, the latest report includes all but one month of the 2018 fiscal year.

What do the data show?

Through August, the federal deficit topped $898 billion. Over the same period last year the deficit was $674 billion.

So, the deficit is running $224 billion higher this fiscal year compared with last.

But the Treasury data also show that federal revenues through August totaled $2.985 trillion. That’s an increase of $19 billion over the previous year.

In other words, despite Trump’s massive tax cuts, federal revenues are running higher this year than last.

The problem is that federal spending has climbed even faster. Through August, outlays totaled $3.88 trillion. That’s $243 billion more than the prior fiscal year.

…The Treasury data show that while corporate income tax receipts are down, individual income tax revenue is up by $100 billion — a 7% gain — over last year. Payroll taxes are up by $5 billion. Revenues from excise taxes and customs duties are also up.

So, while corporations are paying fewer taxes, they’re hiring more workers and paying them more, which is generating additional income and payroll taxes. This is exactly what advocates of the tax cuts predicted would happen.

As Kudlow explained in his remarks, increased growth has “just about paid for two thirds of the total tax cuts.”

The article goes on to illustrate that government spending is totally out of control. Until the spending drops, the deficit will not decrease. Those of us who voted for Republicans expected them to stop the runaway spending. If they continue to spend like drunken sailors, they will lose their majority.

The Facts vs The Talking Points

Remember when the Democrats said that the Trump tax cuts would blow a huge hole in the deficit because of the money that would not be collected. Those who believed the Democrats need to study the Laffer Curve. Although liberals keep saying it doesn’t work, the history of tax cuts proves it does.

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the impact of President Trump’s Tax Cuts.

The editorial states:

The latest monthly budget report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office finds that revenues from federal income taxes were $76 billion higher in the first half of this year, compared with the first half of 2017. That’s a 9% jump, even though the lower income tax withholding schedules went into effect in February.

The CBO says the gain “largely reflects increases in wages and salaries.”

For the fiscal year as a whole — which started last October — all federal revenues are up by $31 billion. That’s a 1.2% in increase over last year, the CBO says.

The Treasury Department, which issues a separate monthly report, says it expects federal revenues will continue to exceed last year’s for the rest of the 2018 fiscal year.

The editorial concludes:

As we have said many times in this space, the problem the country faces isn’t that taxes are too low, but that spending is too high. The CBO projects that even with the Trump tax cuts in place, taxes as a share of GDP will steadily rise over the next decade, and will be higher than the post-World War II average.

But bringing in more tax revenues doesn’t help if spending goes up even faster. And that has, unfortunately, been the case, as the GOP-controlled Congress has gone on a spending spree.

Look at it this way. Tax revenues are up by $31 billion so far this fiscal year compared with last year. But spending is up $115 billion.

In other words, the entire increase in the deficit so far this year has been due to spending hikes, not tax cuts.

There are too many Republicans in Congress who don’t understand why the American voters sent them there. The Democrats have always loved to spend other people’s money, but the Republicans were supposed to be the alternative to that. Unfortunately, many Republicans have failed the voters. The only way to fix Washington is to unelect every Congressman who votes for spending increases. Otherwise the spending will only get worse.

The Internal Revenue Service Has Become A Political Organization

The Wall Street Journal posted an opinion piece this morning about changes that the Treasury Department is proposing to current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules. The proposed rule gives 501(c)(3) charities the ‘option’ of filling out reports on every donor who contributes more than $250 to the organization. This ‘option’ would include name, address, and Social Security number. As of now the rule will be voluntary, but based on past experience (particularly with the IRS) voluntary will soon morph into required.

The article reports:

Under current law, nonprofits must report only donors who give more than $5,000 a year, and then only names and addresses. Donors who give less than $5,000 to (c)(3) charities, and who want to claim a tax deduction, must obtain a “receipt” from the charity—to furnish to the IRS if they are audited or examined. This process has been in place for years, and even Treasury and the IRS acknowledge in their new rule that it “works effectively, with the minimal burden on donors and donees.”

So why change it? The IRS is claiming this will aid in more “timely reporting” of tax-deductible donations, and no doubt the agency’s auditors would love more information to harass taxpayers.

Unfortunately, the IRS has used donation information to harass taxpayers before. After a list of supporters was made public a business that donated money to the Proposition 8 proposal in California was target by opponents of the proposal. I reported another example of IRS abuse in February of 2014 (rightwinggranny.com).

The Wall Street Journal reports another example of IRS abuse:

Frank VanderSloot, a Mitt Romney donor, was audited by the IRS and Labor Department after the Obama campaign singled him out for criticism. Catherine Engelbrecht, the head of the 501(c)(3) True the Vote, was publicly attacked by Democrats and then hit with personal and business audits from the IRS, OSHA and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The National Council of Nonprofits, which opposes the proposed rule, notes that the IRS routinely warns taxpayers not to give out their Social Security numbers unless “absolutely necessary.” Donors will be suspicious of charities that now ask for them.

Many taxpayers will also lack confidence that nonprofits, which are often small operations staffed by volunteers, can safeguard their information. The proposed regulation is an invitation to fraud and identity theft by creating an opportunity for scam artists to claim to be charities and solicit Social Security numbers.

It may be time to go to a tax system that does not involve the IRS. Unfortunately the IRS has shown itself to be an agency that cannot be trusted to be above politics. I realize that a lot of the politicization has been under the Obama Administration, but there are no guarantees that any future administrations will not use the agency in the same way.

 

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the-dog-ate-my-homework scandal just keeps getting more interesting. CNS News is reporting today that the IRS told the White House in April about the missing e-mails. Congress was finally told in June.

The article reports:

“The IRS knew in February, or maybe even in March, and Treasury and the White House knew at least in April — but Congress and the American people didn’t find out until June. Were you purposely not telling us?” House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-Mich.) asked Koskinen. “Were you purposely not revealing this to the American people?”

…Camp told the committee he received a letter from the White House two days ago, telling him that the Obama White House learned about the missing Lois Lerner emails in April and was informed by the Treasury Department.

Koskinen said he’s also seen that letter. He said his “understanding” is that someone in the IRS general counsel’s office informed someone in the Treasury Department’s general counsel office “that there was an issue and the IRS was investigating.”

This is amazing. Remember, the White House just recently announced that there were no e-mails between the IRS and the White House. No wonder–they have had since April to find them and get rid of them!

There is so much wrong with the current state of the IRS, including the sharing of confidential taxpayer information about nonprofit groups to the Federal Bureau of Investigation days before the 2010 midterm elections (see rightwinggranny.com). This information included donor lists. This offense is punishable with jail time. It is time to abolish the IRS. It has become a very powerful political tool and needs to go away. We can institute a flat tax or a consumer tax to generate revenue, but the behavior of the IRS and the people involved with it is unacceptable. The IRS has truly become a danger to our freedom.

The Final Chapter Of The General Motors Bail Out

Yesterday Yahoo News reported that the Treasury Department has announced that all government-held shares of General Motors will be sold by December 31.

The article reports:

…On Thursday, it (Treasury Department) announced it sold 70.2 million shares of General Motors (GM) stock and intends to sell its remaining 31.1 million shares by Dec. 31.

Once the final sale is complete, however, US taxpayers will have lost nearly $10 billion of the $49.5 billion the federal government used to prevent the auto giant from collapsing in 2008, Treasury officials say. The loss offsets a greater calamity that would have occurred – the disappearance of 1 million jobs – if the federal government had not intervened, says Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Tim Bowler.

I guess the question I have at the end of this is how did Ford Motor Company continue without the government bailout, and could General Motors have done the same thing? The taxpayers lost nearly $10 billion in this transaction. What would have been the result of simply dividing that amount of money between those Americans who pay taxes? I think in the long run, it would have had a more positive long term effect on the economy.

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