One Way To Save Taxpayers’ Money

The following is a press release from Congressman Steve King:

King, Colleagues Want King’s Commonsense “New IDEA” In “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”

Nov 6, 2017

Press Release

Congressman Steve King announces today that he is asking Chairman Kevin Brady of the House Ways and Means Committee to include King’s New IDEA (Illegal Deduction Elimination Act) legislation as a component of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. King’s legislation, HR 176- The New IDEA Act, amends the Internal Revenue Code to make it unlawful for employers to deduct wages and benefits paid to and on behalf of an illegal alien. New IDEA also makes the federal E-Verify Program permanent. King, joined by 11 of his colleagues, made the request in a letter sent to Chairman Brady today.

Including this legislation in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the right action for the American taxpayer—it preserves the rule of law and provides a significant tax savings.  The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has estimated that eliminating deductibility for unlawful employment would increase federal tax revenues by approximately $25.4 billion per year, which is $254 billion over 10 years.  This amount more than pays for any increase in the deficit over the limit set by reconciliation.

As we continue to debate the merits of this bill, and attempt to establish a more equitable system of taxation while ensuring that it does not contribute to our nation’s fiscal challenges, I can think of no better single piece of legislative language to include in this landmark tax bill.”

The signatories to King’s letter asking King’s New IDEA be included in the tax reform legislation include: Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Paul Gosar, Rep. Mo Brooks, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Rep. Andy Biggs, Rep. Randy Weber, Rep. Lou Barletta, Rep. Scott DesJarlais, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Rep. Brian Babin, and Rep. Scott Perry.

This is one of the best ideas to reform taxes and to begin to deal with the problem of illegal immigration that I have heard. E Verify would be a big step toward making sure that the workers in America are here legally.

The Heritage Foundation’s Analysis Of The Proposed Tax Plan

Below is the Heritage Foundation‘s analysis of the proposed tax plan:

Months ago, conservatives began pressuring their lawmakers to ensure that tax reform followed five conservative principles. Here’s how the bill stacks up to those principles:

Lowering and Simplifying the Individual Tax Rates: The GOP proposal provides long overdue relief to millions of Americans by simplifying and lowering the individual tax rates to 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent and 39.6 percent. For married couples, the 25 percent rate starts at $90,000, the 35 percent rate starts at $260,000 and the top rate starts at $1 million. The bill will also double the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for families.

Lowering the Corporate Tax Rate: This bill will immediately lower the corporate rate to 20 percent — the rate demanded by conservatives for months — making American businesses more competitive with the rest of the world and providing hard working Americans with a much needed raise. Rates for small business pass throughs were also reduced by 15 percentage points, down to 25 percent.

Tax Free Entrepreneurship (Full Expensing): The GOP proposal includes full expensing for some investments that phases out after 5 years. This is a necessary boost to investment in the short-term, though improvements could be made as the process advances.

Establishing a Territorial Tax System: This bill attempts to eliminate the double taxation that defines our current worldwide tax system, though there are some provisions that could undermine the full value of that reform. Stay tuned for a more in-depth analysis.

Ending Cronyism in the Tax Code: Conservatives have also been fighting back against big-government special interest groups. The plan eliminates many special interest provisions including the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT), though it allows a write off for property taxes. If not for conservative pushback, the swamp creatures would have been far more successful in defending the broken, corrupt status quo.

Here are some other things included in the bill you should know:

  • Child tax credit goes to $1600 from $1000 plus additional $300 credit for parents and non-child dependents.
  • State and local deduction converted to property tax deduction with $10K cap
  • 401k’s are untouched
  • The Death Tax exemption will be doubled and eventually phased out after five years.
  • Preserves the home mortgage interest deduction for current mortgages and limits the deduction to $500,000 for new mortgages.
  • Preserves the Charitable Tax Deduction.

At first glance, the preliminary text released today has the potential to unleash economic growth, create American jobs, increase wages for American workers, allow families to keep more of their hard-earned money, and make U.S. businesses competitive across the globe.

According to documents released by Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, a typical middle-income family of four, earning $59K (median household income), will receive a $1,182 tax cut under this bill.

Some Facts About The Republican Tax Plan

The first fact to remember about the Republican tax plan is that what is eventually passed by Congress will be different than what was introduced today. How different we don’t know, but it will be different.

The Daily Signal posted an article today highlighting some of the proposed plan. The plan would simplify taxes, lower income tax rates, and positively impact business taxes.

The article reports:

The tax reform package would simplify and lower the current tax rate structure, from seven different rates ranging from 10 percent to 39.6 percent, to four rates: 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent, and 39.6 percent.

Most low- to middle-income earners would face lower marginal tax rates, which would help encourage more work and also put more money back into taxpayers’ pockets to spend more productively than the federal government.

Unfortunately, the plan maintains the top marginal rate of 39.6 percent (which reaches 43.4 percent when factoring in the Obamacare surtax).

While only 1 of every 150 taxpayers actually pays the top rate, more than 1 of every $5 of taxable income is subject to that tax rate. That means a lot of economic activity is affected by the top rate, and lowering it would have a significant and positive impact on investment, productivity, incomes, and job growth in the U.S.

Maintaining a high top rate for wealthy Americans may make the plan more politically palatable, more appealing to average Americans, and help reduce the alleged “costs” of the tax reform plan. In reality, though, it would not result in nearly as much revenue as static estimates project, and it would limit the plan’s ability to maximize job growth and boost incomes for everyday Americans.

One aspect of the tax plan that is going to meet with a lot of resistance is the change to state and local tax deductions.

The article explains:

The proposed tax plan would partially eliminate state and local tax deductions by getting rid of the deduction for income or sales taxes, and by capping the deduction for property taxes at $10,000.

State and local tax deductions provide no economic benefit. In fact, they are outright detrimental to the economy.

By allowing those who itemize their taxes to deduct property taxes as well as income or sales taxes they pay to state and local governments, these deductions shift the burden of high-tax states onto low-tax states, and spread a portion of high-income earners’ taxes onto lower- and middle-earners’ tax bills.

For example, just seven states (California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut) receive more than 50 percent of the value of the state and local tax deductions.

And on net, the average millionaire receives 102 times as much benefit from the state and local tax deductions as a typical household that makes between $75,000 and $100,000.

Eliminating the sales and income tax deductions would be a huge benefit to at least 85 percent of Americans.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It explains how each part of the tax plan would impact families in all income brackets. What we are hearing in the mainstream media is not necessarily accurate.

 

 

Work Works

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on welfare reform. The Committee is seeking a way to help poor Americans get out of poverty.

The article reports:

The hearing, titled “Moving America’s Families Forward: Setting Priorities for Reducing Poverty and Expanding Opportunity” examined the welfare system. One area of reform examined was work requirements for individuals receiving welfare.

…“I have a personal relationship with this situation, where I started out, and my family started out, in public housing,” Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., said at  the hearing. “I know what hard work could do to put me to where I am today, from living in the halls of public housing to serving in the halls of Congress.”

In his testimony, Bragdon ( Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability) used two states as examples, Kansas and Maine, that have restored work requirements for welfare programs. In Maine, “Thousands of able-bodied adults leaving food stamps found jobs and increased their hours, leading their incomes to rise by 114 percent on average. And in both states, that higher income more than offset the food stamps they lost, leaving them better off than they had been on welfare,” Bragdon said in his written testimony.

“It turns out work works,” Bragdon said. Bragdon testified that work requirements for able-bodied adults would likely deal with much of the fraud happening in the welfare system.

President Lyndon B. Johnson introduced the idea of ‘declaring war on poverty’ in his State of the Union address in 1964. The chart below shows the impact of the legislation that followed:

PovertyRate1959to2014Although we initially made some progress, it seems as if we have lost the war on poverty. It’s time to rethink our strategy.

The article concludes:

On Tuesday, the Ways and Means Committee passed two bills related to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that provides assistance to families in need.

“These bills are part of a commonsense package of proposals to ensure TANF – one of the nation’s most important anti-poverty programs – effectively spends taxpayer dollars to help those most in need,” a blog post from the committee says.

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, says the legislation “undermines work requirements” in the TANF program.

“Rhetoric aside, the Ways and Means Committee legislation actually undermines work requirements in TANF,” Rector, who played a key role in writing the original TANF legislation twenty years ago, told The Daily Signal. “A key principle of workfare is that parents who refuse to participate should have their  welfare checks halted. Ironically, the legislation financially penalizes states for doing this. The bill shifts from the successful ‘work first’ strategy embodied in the original law to a social service and training model that has a very long history of failure.”

If Congress cannot figure out something that is so completely obvious, maybe it is time for a new Congress.

This Is Not The Way The Internal Revenue Service Is Supposed To Operate

I will admit that I do not love the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). I don’t think that is a particularly unique point of view. My husband and I were audited a few years ago after making a small donation to the Tea Party. Nothing in our returns had changed, and it was the first time we had been audited in forty-seven years. They examined our small amount of paperwork for about a year before they finally told us that nothing was wrong. They are a government agency that has acquired a lot of power over the years, and I believe that in recent years that power has been successfully used against political enemies. Now we are discovering that the IRS was ignoring the rules that were supposed to govern it.

Yesterday The Washington Times reported that as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Judicial Watch, IRS lawyer Geoffrey J. Klimas has discovered another personal email account used by Lois Lerner for IRS business. Judicial Watch is a non-profit organization that strives to hold our government accountable. Over the years they have been responsible for exposing transparency problems in administrations of both parties.

The article in The Washington Times reports:

IRS lawyer Geoffrey J. Klimas told the court that as the agency was putting together a set of documents to turn over to Judicial Watch, it realized Ms. Lerner had used yet another email account, in addition to her official one and another personal one already known to the agency.

“In addition to emails to or from an email account denominated ‘Lois G. Lerner’ or ‘Lois Home,’ some emails responsive to Judicial Watch’s request may have been sent to or received from a personal email account denominated ‘Toby Miles,'” Mr. Klimas told Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is hearing the case.

It is unclear who Toby Miles is, but Mr. Klimas said the IRS has concluded that was “a personal email account used by Lerner.”

…In the wake of the scandal Ms. Lerner retired from the agency. She declined to testify to Congress, citing her right against self-incrimination, but also said she did not break the law.

The Obama administration has declined to pursue the contempt of Congress case that the House brought against her.

The House Ways and Means Committee also approved a criminal referral asking the Justice Department to look into Ms. Lerner’s conduct, but its status is not clear.

 Americans will only find out what happened at the IRS if a Republican becomes President. I am not convinced any Democratic candidate would be willing to pursue this case. The use of the IRS as a political entity to target conservatives goes against the basic principle of free speech. The lack of prosecution of those guilty of abusing their power in the IRS goes against the American concept of all men being equal under the law. It is time to clean house in this organization.

Why Has It Taken So Long For The Public To Learn This?

Fox News is reporting today that the IRS emails that Lois Lerner claimed to have lost may exist on back-up computers. Politico posted a story at the end of July that summarizes the timeline on this whole scandal.

Politico reports:

Backgrounder recap: It all started in May 2013, when ex-IRS tax-exempt chief Lois Lerner acknowledged the agency inappropriately used loaded key words like “tea party” to scrutinize applicants seeking tax breaks. A critical inspector general report followed, Lerner and others stepped down, and here we are, dozens of congressional hearings later.

Although the Justice Department, FBI and Treasury inspector general for tax administration are all probing the matter, it could be awhile before they issue final reports on how and why the ex-IRS official at the heart of the scandal lost two years’ worth of emails, the latest wrinkle in the controversy.

When the Ways and Means Committee began investigating the IRS scandal, they requested Lois Lerner’s emails. In June the Committee was told the emails were missing and that the IRS had been aware of that fact since February.

I hate to be cynical (although sometimes it is necessary), but do you think that the IRS and the Justice Department have had enough time to sanitize those emails and delete anything that might be incriminating? I strongly suspect that when the emails are released, there will be nothing even remotely problematic for the IRS. The emails will be strangely innocent.

Were it not for the efforts of Judicial Watch using the Freedom of Information Act, the IRS and Justice Department would not even have to take the time to clean up the emails. At least Judicial Watch is forcing the IRS to spend some time covering their tracks.

An Invitation To Fraud

Yesterday the New York Post posted an article about fraud in ObamaCare. Because of the way ObamaCare is designed, there are ways that people can sign up using fictitious identities and not be immediately discovered.

The article reports:

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says its undercover investigators were able to get subsidized health care under fake names in 11 out of 18 attempts. The GAO is still paying premiums for the policies, even as the Obama administration attempts to verify phony documentation.

The agency’s findings are contained in testimony to be delivered at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing Wednesday. An advance copy was provided to The Associated Press.

Seto Bagdoyan, head of GAO audits and investigations, will also testify that there’s still a huge backlog of applications with data discrepancies, even though the administration has resolved some 600,000 cases.

The article lists some of the findings of the GAO:

  • Contractors processing applications for the government told the GAO that their role was not to ferret out potential fraud.
  • Five of six bogus phone applications went through successfully. The one exception involved an applicant who refused to provide a Social Security number.
  • Six online applications were snagged by an identity checking system. But investigators just dialed a call center and all six were approved. That seemed to be an open pathway to coverage.
  • The GAO also tried to check the reliability of counselors providing in-person assistance. In five out of six cases, investigators were unable to get help. In the final case, the counselor correctly told the undercover investigator that their stated income would not entitle them to subsidized coverage.

This is what happens when you have to pass the bill to find out what is in it.

 

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 Timeline On The IRS Scandal

On Thursday Kimberley Strassel posted an article at the Wall Street Journal detailing the evolution of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp has sent a letter to the Justice Department requesting a criminal probe of Lois Lerner.

Ms. Strassel points out that Lois Lerner may have felt justified to target conservative groups based on the rhetoric of leader Democrats rather than direct orders from the White House.

The article lists what may be some of the root causes of the IRS attacks:

As the illuminating timeline accompanying the Camp letter shows, Ms. Lerner’s focus on shutting down Crossroads GPS came only after Obama adviser David Axelrod listed Crossroads among “front groups for foreign-controlled companies”; only after Senate Democrats Dick Durbin, Carl Levin, Chuck Schumer and others demanded the IRS investigate Crossroads; only after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a website to “expose donors” of Crossroads; and only after Obama’s campaign lawyer, Bob Bauer, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about Crossroads.

The article goes through a timeline and details various attacks on conservative groups. It also notes the difficulty various investigative committees had in getting the information they requested in the investigation.

The article concludes:

In 2012, both the IRS and Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings were targeting the group True the Vote. We now have email showing contact between a Cummings staffer and the IRS over that organization. How much more contact was there? It’s one thing to write a public letter calling on a regulator to act. It’s another to haul the regulator in front of your committee, or have your staff correspond with or pressure said regulator, with regard to ongoing actions. That’s a no-no.

The final merit of Mr. Camp’s letter is that he’s called out Justice and Democrats. Mr. Camp was careful in laying out the ways Ms. Lerner may have broken the law, with powerful details. Democrats can’t refute the facts, so instead they are howling about all manner of trivia—the release of names, the “secret” vote to release taxpayer information. But it remains that they are putting themselves on record in support of IRS officials who target groups, circumvent rules, and potentially break the law. That ought to go down well with voters.

It may be time to abolish the IRS and institute a consumption tax.

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If The Major Media Doesn’t Report It, Voters Might Not Know It Happened

A major news story broke yesterday, and Fox News Special Report was the only evening news show that covered it.

Newsbusters reported last night:

In a major new development in the IRS scandal, House Republicans voted on Wednesday to send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for former IRS chief Lois Lerner. FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier devoted a full story to the vote by the committee chaired by Congressman Dave Camp, but none of the three broadcast network evening newscasts covered the vote.

The letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder stated that “findings” from the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Republican Camp, “suggest that Lerner may have violated multiple criminal statutes.” The letter went on to add that “the Committee asks that you pursue this evidence.” The three networks ignored this letter, however, although CBS and ABC talked about Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations.

It was also reported at Townhall.com that Lois Lerner’s staff had given information on True The Vote to Representative Cummings’ staff. True The Vote is one of the organizations targeted by the IRS. Representative Cummings had denied that charge, but a number of emails have surfaced.

The article further reports:

Other developments in the letter were ignored by the networks as well. Republicans accused Lerner of talking about taking a job with President Obama’s advocacy group Organizing for Action – while she was investigating non-profit applicants as the IRS head.

The IRS is not and should not be a political organization. We  have two choices–either put honest people in control of the IRS or abolish the IRS. Otherwise the IRS will simply become a weapon to be used by whichever party is in power against the opposition party. That is not what America is about.

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Sometimes New Rules Won’t Solve The Problem

The National Review Online posted an article yesterday about the recent problems in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The article reports:

There are two competing models for reforming the Internal Revenue Service’s oversight of the political activities of certain nonprofit organizations: one put forward by the IRS itself, in the form of a regulatory rule change, a second put forward by Representative David Camp (R., Mich.) on behalf of the House Ways and Means Committee. Neither program is sufficient, because neither reflects the reality behind the recent IRS scandal, which was not the result of murky rules or bureaucratic incompetence but rather of what gives every indication of being deliberate misuse of federal investigatory resources for partisan political ends. That there have not been criminal charges in this matter is probably at least as much a reflection of the highly politicized Department of Justice under Eric Holder as it is of the facts of the case. The problem, then, is that both the IRS plan and the Camp plan assume that the IRS ought to be regulating rather than being regulated.

The article points out the in America, the government is prohibited from regulating free speech–yet that is exactly what the IRS has tried to do since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision.

The article at National Review Online reminds us:

No rule change from the IRS — nor Representative Camp’s well-intentioned but wholly inadequate reforms, which amount to a list of minor no-nos such as inquiring about an audit target’s political or religious beliefs — is going to change the fact that the agency is full of highly partisan bureaucrats with a political agenda of their own and an inclination to abuse such police powers as are entrusted to them.

The article concludes with comments about Representative David Camp’s proposal to fix the IRS:

But his proposal falls short in that it assumes that the IRS is a proper and desirable regulator of political speech. It is not. It is not even particularly admirable in its execution of its legitimate mission, the collection of revenue: Its employees have committed felonies in releasing the confidential tax information of such political enemies as the National Organization for Marriage and Mitt Romney, and the agency itself has perversely interpreted federal privacy rules as protecting the criminal leakers at the IRS rather than the victims of their crimes. The Camp bill, thankfully, would address at least that much, but it would still leave the IRS in charge of determining whether its employees were playing politics with audits and decisions. The IRS does not inspire confidence as a practitioner of self-regulation, much less as a regulator of political speech.

We need honest people in Washington. Until we have that, I am not convinced that any amount of laws will make a difference.

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More IRS Abuses Are Coming To Light

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal posted an article about the IRS targeting conservative groups for audits. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp has stated that the committee’s continuing investigation has found that the IRS also singled out established conservative tax-exempt groups for audits. That is not a surprise when you consider the harassment that donors to conservative causes underwent during the run-up to the 2012 election. As I have previously mentioned, my husband and I were audited for the first time in 45 years. The auditors found nothing, but it took them almost a year to find nothing.

The Democrats in Congress are currently attempting to pass laws that would severely limit the free speech of conservative organizations. Under the new guidelines the Democrats are seeking, the voter guides showing the voting records of candidates would be considered unlawful political activity by organizations that have traditionally distributed them.

The article includes the current spin the Democrats are using to attempt to hide what they are doing and what they have done:

“Instead of this prestigious committee using its broad jurisdiction to address critical issues that confront us, it has been consumed by a tireless effort by Republicans to find political scandal, regardless of what the truth holds, as they look toward the November election,” said Rep. Sander Levin (D., Mich.).

He also chided Republicans for seeking to delay the regulations, noting that “what really remains hidden are donors to groups pouring millions of dollars into campaign advertising.”

The new IRS regulations proposed by the Democrats are a threat to free speech. If they are enacted, most Americans will only hear one side of any political issue.

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More Mischief By The Obama Administration

The Daily Caller posted a story today about the plan to put new rules in place that would silence conservative grass roots organizations before the 2014 election.

The article reports:

The Obama administration’s Treasury Department and former IRS official Lois Lerner conspired to draft new 501(c)(4) regulations to restrict the activity of conservative groups in a way that would not be disclosed publicly, according to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

The Treasury Department and Lerner started devising the new rules “off-plan,” meaning that their plans would not be published on the public schedule. They planned the new rules in 2012, while the IRS targeting of conservative groups was in full swing, and not after the scandal broke in order to clarify regulations as the administration has suggested.

The article explains:

Ways and Means chairman Rep. Dave Camp blasted the off-the-record plan during a hearing Wednesday with IRS commissioner John Koskinen, and called for the administration’s newly proposed 501(c)(4) rules to be halted until criminal investigations into the IRS targeting scandal are complete.

“If Treasury and the IRS fabricated the rationale for a rule change it would tend to raise questions about the integrity of the rule-making process,” Camp said.

...New IRS commissioner Koskinen said that the rules should “put to rest all of the issues surrounding applications for tax-exempt status.”

But Madrigal’s email to Lerner proves that the regulations were being developed long before the IRS needed to publicly put anything “to rest.”

At least 292 conservative groups were subjected to unfair targeting between 2010 and 2012, against six liberal groups that were allegedly given similar treatment.

Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you side on, this should be chilling. The changes in the law will allow whichever party is in control of the executive branch to use the IRS to silence the speech of their opposition. This is not what America is about. Unless this ends now, the American people will never again get to hear both sides of a political campaign. That is frightening.

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It Depends On How You Spin It

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an article with a great quote.

The article reports:

Insurance companies aren’t sending out cancellation letters, they’re helping people “transition” into Obamacare, according to a top Democrat.

“If [the companies] changed [the insurance plans] then they have to notify the people who have to have the opportunity to have another policy,” said House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich.

So getting cut from your healthcare insurance policy means that you are being given the opportunity to ‘transition’ to another policy. The other talking point is that the policies that are being cancelled are being cancelled so that they can be replaced with better policies. Somehow that fact that these ‘better’ policies include maternity care for men and senior citizens and are thus more expensive is not mentioned. ObamaCare is one giant fiasco, and all of us need to work to make it go away.

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Never Put Anything In An Email That You Don’t Want To Be Made Public

Today’s Washington Times posted an article about some emails from Lois Lerner that have been released by the House committee investigating the IRS. The emails seem to show that the IRS specifically targeted Tea Party and conservative groups in 2011 in the run-up to the 2012 election.

There are a number of emails that are detailed in the article:

“Tea Party Matter very dangerous,” Ms. Lerner said in the 2011 email, saying that those applications could end up being the “vehicle to go to court” to get more clarity on a 2010 Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance rules.

…“It is what it is,” she said in the email, released Thursday by the Ways and Means Committee. “Although the original story isn’t as pretty as we’d like, once we learned this [sic.] were off track, we have done what we can to change the process, better educate our staff and move the cases. So, we will get dinged, but we took steps before the ‘dinging’ to make things better and we have written procedures.”

That email suggests agency employees knew they had gone overboard in their scrutiny — despite top IRS officials telling Congress that there wasn’t any special scrutiny of conservative groups.

Needless to say, the Democrats on the investigating committee are claiming that there was no targeting of conservative groups. I suspect that there will be more hearings in the near future.

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Disturbing Testimony in Congress

Yesterday Hot Air posted a story about the testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee by a leader of one of the conservative groups targeted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Sue Martinek, President of the Coalition for Life of Iowa, detailed some of the correspondence she had received from the IRS:

“The IRS continued questioning us,” Martinek continued. “On June 22, 2009, IRS Agent Richards sent us additional written requests, as follows: ‘Please explain how all of your activities, including the prayer meetings held outside of Planned Parenthood are considered educational as defined under 501(c)(3).”

She added: “Organizations exempt under 501(c)(3) may present opinions with scientific or medical facts. Please explain in detail the activities at the prayer meetings. Also, please provide the percentage of time your organization spends on prayer groups as compared with the other activities of the organization. Please explain in detail the signs that are being held up outside of Planned Parenthood and explain how they are considered educational.’ When we met at our next board meeting, we all were disappointed with the IRS’ request.”

It gets worse. There was one pro-life group that was told it would not receive its tax-exempt status unless they signed an agreement not to protest at Planned Parenthood abortion clinics. That is not only an infringement of the pro-life groups’ civil rights, it is illegal.

Someone needs to go to jail because of the actions of the IRS. It will be interesting to see who is chosen for that role–if anyone.

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The Seamy Side Of The Internal Revenue Service

It seems rather obvious that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was a little unfair to to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, but there is more to the story. Hot Air posted an article yesterday about some other very questionable activities the IRS was engaging in during the past few years.

The article at Hot Air cites a McClatchy news story about IRS harrassment:

McClatchy includes the case of Catherine Engelbrecht, which CBS NewsSharyl Attkisson co-reported yesterday.  That case, of course, goes far beyond the IRS; Engelbrecht’s business got harassed by the FBI, ATF, and OSHA as well, which would mean coordination far above the Treasury Department.  They also include the case of an anti-abortion group that was told they couldn’t picket Planned Parenthood locations if they wanted to keep their exemption, and a Nebraska veteran who got hassled in an IRS audit over his donations to his church once he began donating to conservative causes.

John Eastman, a constitutional law professor and former Dean at Chapman University in California, posted an article at USA Today explaining an IRS abuse that took place during the debate on homosexual marriage in California in 2012.

Professor Eastman explains:

My organization was not the only conservative-linked political group or business that appears to have faced shady actions from IRS employees. ProPublica reported this week that the IRS handed over to them confidential documents of nine conservative organizations whose applications for non-profit status were still pending. Among them: Crossroads GPS, a key group backing Mitt Romney‘s presidential campaign.

Our case was particularly egregious because the IRS leak of confidential information fed directly into an ongoing political battle. For months before March 2012, the pro-gay marriage HRC had been demanding that my group, NOM, publicly identify its major donors, something that NOM and many other non-profits refuse to do. The reason is simple. In the past, gay marriage advocates have used such information to launch campaigns of intimidation against traditional marriage supporters.

Just as gay marriage proponents were demanding the information, the IRS appears to have illegally given them exactly what they were looking for. The tax return released by the HRC contained the names and addresses of dozens of major donors to NOM. And there’s little doubt where the documents came from. The tax returns contained internal coding added by the IRS after the returns were originally submitted.

For the IRS to leak any organization’s tax return to its political opponents is an outrageous breach of ethics and, if proven, constitutes a felony. Every organization — liberal and conservative — should shudder at the idea of the IRS playing politics with its confidential tax return information. But the situation here is even more egregious because the head of the HRC was at the time serving as a national co-chair of President Obama’s re-election campaign.

On Tuesday the House Ways and Means Committee will hold hearings to allow the victims of IRS targeting to testify. During the next two weeks, the House Oversight Committee will be interviewing the ‘low level employees’ in Cincinnati who have been scapegoated for these crimes. It will be interesting to hear what they say about who was directing their activities. Keep in mind that targeting specific groups and releasing tax information is a crime. It may be an interesting week.Enhanced by Zemanta

Exactly What Do They Mean By Claiming It’s A Tax ?

The chart below appeared in the Washington Times yesterday:

There are a few things to look at when viewing this chart. Notice the increase in dividend, capital gains and investment taxes on the ‘so-called wealthy.’ How long do you think it will be before that tax increase begins to apply to those of us with significantly lower incomes? How long will it be before that tax applies to all retired people attempting to live on those dividends?

The Washington Times reminds us:

The high court’s ruling leaves in place 21 tax increases in the health care law costing more than $675 billion over the next 10 years, according to the House Ways and Means Committee. Of those, 12 tax hikes would affect families earning less than $250,000 per year, the panel said, including a “Cadillac tax” on high-cost insurance plans, a tax on insurance providers and an excise tax on medical-device manufacturers.

“This is a clear violation of the president’s pledge to avoid tax hikes on low- and middle-income taxpayers,” said a statement from the panel, which is chaired by Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican.

On the campaign trail four years ago and since taking office, Mr. Obama has been fond of saying that middle-class families will not see their taxes rise “a single dime” under his leadership.

The thing to remember here is that Obamacare is not about healthcare–it is about redistribution of wealth. The goal here is to give everything you have worked hard for to those people who have been unwilling to work for it. Please keep this in mind when voting in November.

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Washington’s New Math

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about the additional $111 billion in Obamacare costs requested in the President’s budget for next year. Keep in mind that Obamacare is not even fully implemented yet and it’s cost to taxpayers have increased by 33%. Wow. That is amazing math!

The article reports:

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., wants to know by Monday why the estimated ten-year cost of helping millions of middle-class Americans buy health insurance has jumped by about 30 percent. …

At issue are subsidies that will be provided under the health care law to help middle class people buy private coverage in new state insurance markets that will open for business in 2014.

The response of the Obama Administration:

Administration officials say the big increase from last year’s estimates is no cause for alarm and that the administration is not forecasting an erosion of employer coverage or higher insurance costs.

About two-thirds of the increase is due to effects of newly signed legislation that raises costs for one part of the health care law, but still saves the government money overall. The rest is due to technical changes in Treasury assumptions about such matters as the distribution of income in America.

Does anyone actually believe that after Obamacare is fully implemented, it’s costs will go down. We need to repeal Obamacare as soon as possible!

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What The Republican Debates Should Really Be About

This chart is from the website of the House Ways and Means Committee

America Before President Obama Took Office and Now

  Before Now Change
Number of Unemployed1 12.0 Million 13.1 Million +9%
Long-Term Unemployed2 2.7 Million 5.6 Million +107%
Unemployment Rate3 7.8% 8.5% +9%
“High Unemployment” States4 22 43 +95%
Misery Index5 7.83 11.46 +46%
Price of Gas6 $1.85 $3.39 +83%
“Typical” Monthly Family Food Cost7 $974 $1,013 +4%
Median Value of Single-Family Home8 $196,600 $169,100 -14%
Rate of Mortgage Delinquencies9 6.62% 10.23% +55%
U.S. National Debt10 $10.6 Trillion $15.2 Trillion +43%

1 Number of unemployed in January 2009 and December 2011. http://www.bls.gov/data/#unemployment.
2 “Long-term unemployed” means for over 26 weeks; data for January 2009 and December 2011. http://www.bls.gov/data/#unemployment.
3 Unemployment rates in January 2009 and December 2011. http://www.bls.gov/data/#unemployment.
4 “High unemployment” means having a 3-month average unemployment rate of 6% or higher.  From the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Extended Benefits Trigger Notice” for January 18, 2009 and January 22, 2012. http://www.ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/trigger/2009/trig_011809.html and http://ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/euc_trigger/2012/euc_012212.html.
5 The “Misery Index” equals unemployment plus inflation.  For January 2009 and December 2012.  http://www.miseryindex.us/indexbymonth.asp.
6 Average retail price per gallon, January 2009 week 3 and January 2012 week 4. http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=EMM_EPMR_PTE_NUS_DPG&f=W.
7 U.S. Department of Agriculture, values represent monthly “moderate” cost per family of four for January 2009 and November 2011. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm.
8 U.S. median sales price of existing single-family homes for metropolitan areas for 2008 and 2011 Q3. http://www.realtor.org/research/research/metroprice.
9 Residential mortgage delinquencies (real estate loans) for 2008 Q4 and 2011 Q3. http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/chargeoff/default.htm.
10 Values for January 21, 2009 and January 23, 2012.  http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np

This is where the focus of the debates should be.

 

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