All Politics Is Local

On Friday, The Patriotic News posted an article about the recent elections in Green Charter Township in Michigan. The voters there were not happy with the actions of their governing board, so they voted ALL of them out of office.

The article reports:

The good people of Green Charter Township, a small rural community north of Grand Rapids, ousted all five of the board members in a special election held Tuesday. They swapped the five, all Republicans, for candidates who ran without party affiliation. To show they meant business, the townspeople immediately called in locksmiths to change the locks on the main government building. 

The residents took such drastic action in opposition to the construction in their town of a $2.3 billion EV plant by a company, Gotion, that has links to China

Voters were angered that the now-ousted board moved forward with the project despite severe backlash from the community. At a hearing last year, one resident remarked, “My family members fought communism, and you’re bringing it right here.”

Another resident, Harry King, said, “Right now, we are not on friendly terms with China. They are threatening us. I consider them the enemy. I don’t want them here, either.”

The plan for the Michigan plant, and another targeted for Illinois, has reportedly caught the attention of congressional Republicans, who have called on the Treasury Department to investigate Gotion. In response, the company remarked, “We are a multinational company and don’t believe in political posturing and are still committed to bringing thousands of jobs to the state of Michigan.”

The residents realize that their fight is not yet over, but they are prepared to continue their opposition to the plant.

The article concludes:

Political newcomer Corri Riebow, who ran for the clerk position in the special election and won, said of the town’s brand new government, “We just plan on making it as difficult as possible for them to continue their process. They don’t even have a sight planned, they don’t have permits yet, so, we’re not their friend.”

This is what can happen when voters understand the issues and get involved.

What Happened To The Revenue?

On Tuesday, Issues & Insights posted an article about tax revenues under the Biden administration. The Laffer Curve is at work.

The article reports:

Friday afternoon, the Treasury Department reported that, despite a growing economy and low unemployment, the federal deficit shot up by $320 billion in fiscal year 2023. That’s unusual. But what’s really bizarre is why the deficit exploded.

According to the report, overall spending actually dropped by 2% compared with 2022 as the COVID-19 spending splurge abated.

What drove up the deficit this year was a sudden and completely unexpected 9% drop in tax revenues. Not only did revenues come up hundreds of billions lower than last year, but they were well below what everybody expected them to be.

At the start of the year, the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget projected revenues for fiscal 2023 at around $4.7 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office figured it would be $4.8 trillion.

The actual amount: $4.4 trillion.

In other words, there’s between $300 billion and $400 billion worth of missing tax revenues.

…In a normal world, a better-than-expected economy would result in more revenues for the federal government, not less.

Keep in mind, too, that it’s exceedingly rare for tax revenues to drop from one year to the next. In fact, it’s happened only eight times since 1960 – always around an economic downturn – and the average decline was just 4.7%. Even when the COVID lockdowns caused a massive recession, revenues only dipped by 1.2% in 2020. (Revenues plunged nearly 17% during the financial crisis.)

It’s also worth noting that revenues continued to climb after the Kennedy, Reagan and Trump pro-growth tax cuts went into effect.

The article concludes:

But that’s not what happened this year. The federal government is still tremendously bloated – spending in 2023 will be 43% higher than it was the year before COVID-19. The national debt now tops $33 trillion. Social Security and Medicare are racing toward insolvency. Biden is pushing Congress for another $100 billion to finance the never-ending war in Ukraine and provide aid to Israel.

Did the Biden administration overcount revenues in the past two years to paper over the colossal spending increases? Is the White House goosing employment and other economic data today to make the economy look better than it is? Is Biden’s budget team just hopelessly incompetent?

Preston Bashers of the Heritage Foundation speculates that the shortfall could be the result of a sharp drop in capital gains tax revenues, the explosion in “green” tax credits, and other factors.

Somebody in the Biden administration should be made to explain what happened.

In the meantime, we’re now deeper in debt than ever. Way to go Brandon.

I am not sure, but I don’t believe there is anyone in the Biden administration who has actually run a business. We need to go back to the days of putting a businessman in the White House–not a politician.

The Question Of The Day

On Wednesday, Issues & Insights posted an article asking the question, “If Biden’s Economic Plan Is ‘Working,’ Why Are Tax Revenues Plunging?” That is a very good question.

In 2018, Investors.com reported:

Taxes: Critics of the Trump tax cuts said they would blow a hole in the deficit. Yet individual income taxes climbed 6% in the just-ended fiscal year 2018, as the economy grew faster and created more jobs than expected.

The Treasury Department reported this week that individual income tax collections for FY 2018 totaled $1.7 trillion. That’s up $14 billion from fiscal 2017, and an all-time high. And that’s despite the fact that individual income tax rates got a significant cut this year as part of President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan.

Income Taxes After Trump Tax Cuts

True, the first three months of the fiscal year were before the tax cuts kicked in. But if you limit the accounting to this calendar year, individual income tax revenues are up by 5% through September.

Other major sources of revenue climbed as well, as the overall economy revived. FICA tax collections rose by more than 3%. Excise taxes jumped 13%.

As John Kennedy once said (as he lowered taxes), “A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats.

The article at Issues & Insights reports:

President Joe Biden loves to brag about the masterful job he’s doing managing the nation’s economy, as he did on Tuesday when cheering the latest inflation news – which saw food prices up almost 7% from last year – and “our historic economic progress.”

The day before that, the Treasury Department released its monthly financial statement, which shows that the federal deficit for this fiscal year has already topped $1 trillion and that’s a big factor behind this is a sharp reduction in federal tax revenues from last year.

Wait, you say. If the economy is “strong” and “historic” as Biden claims, why are revenues cratering and deficits exploding?

Or, as the Washington Times put it: “Uncle Sam’s income has plummeted this year, sending the federal deficit spiraling deeper into the red than analysts had predicted and leaving officials grasping for answers.”

The article concludes:

…But what we can say for certain is that the only thing “historic” about the current economy is how delusional the president and the media are about what is actually going on.

You can only lie to people about how good the economy is for so long when they are feeling inflation every day in gas and supermarket prices.

Putting American Interests Last

Venezuela is an obvious example of a prosperous country rapidly declining. As I noted in a recent article, the country went from freedom to tyranny in a very short time. The chances of Venezuela returning to its former status as a free, prosperous nation are very slim. However, evidently the Biden administration has hope.

On Monday, Townhall posted an article about President Biden’s decision to allow Chevron to resume pumping oil in Venezuela. This decision is in obvious contrast to the President’s limiting oil production in America.

The article reports:

The Treasury Department announced Saturday that it was giving Chevron the green light to pump in the socialist country for the first time in years in a joint venture with the country’s national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela.

The article includes the following quote from former White House Economic Adviser Stephen Moore:

Commenting on the news, Moore said he nearly fell out of his chair reading the headlines.

“This is the same administration that won’t allow us to do drilling here in the United States, not in Texas, not in Oklahoma, not in Alaska, not in West Virginia. But we can pump oil from Venezuela,” he told Fox News of the “America last” policy. “It makes absolutely no sense…When Trump left office and I helped Trump on energy policy, our whole policy was to make America totally energy independent so we wouldn’t have to rely on countries like Venezuela and Iran and Russia. And so somebody explain this one to me because it makes no sense.”

The article concludes:

A White House official claimed the move has nothing to do with current oil prices, but instead is “about the regime taking the steps needed to support the restoration of democracy in Venezuela,” an administration official told The Wall Street Journal. 

Wow. If you believe that, I would like to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn. You can have all the tolls you collect.

The Left’s Destruction Machine Goes Into Action

On Wednesday, Fox News posted the following headline:

Treasury Department inspector general to audit DeSantis migrant flight spending

The article reports:

The Treasury Department inspector general confirmed in a letter to Democratic lawmakers that the agency is planning to audit whether spending by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on migrant flights was improper.

The lawmakers asked the Treasury Department to look into whether Florida improperly used American Rescue Plan funds for the migrant flights to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, which drew widespread media attention.

Florida lawmakers authorized a $12 million migrant program funded with interest earnings from the federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, according to documents.

The article concludes:

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., celebrated the announcement Wednesday, taking credit for spurring the Treasury Department into action.

“@USTreasury responded to my letter, confirming that it will investigate [Gov. DeSantis’] use of Covid relief funds to cruelly transport immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretenses and without any consideration for their personal dignity or basic needs,” Markey boasted.

Fox News Digital has reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment.

Who is paying for the federal government to move illegal immigrants around the country in the dead of night (article here)? Note that the investigation is being done at the request of a liberal Democrat. I am sure that is simply an incredible coincidence.

This is another example of the use of a federal agency to intimidate anyone who challenges the misdeeds of the Biden administration. I suspect there are many more relevant things that the Inspector General should be looking at.

What Reports?

On Saturday, Red State reported that Representative James Comer (R-KY), who sits on the House Oversight Committee, has been trying for months to get the Suspicious Activity Reports — anti-money laundering reports that flag suspicious transactions — that have been filed by banks against Hunter Biden.

The article reports:

Now, the word is in from Biden’s Treasury Department that they have formally rejected his request for the information because the Democrats aren’t part of the request.

…But what a coincidence that the Biden Treasury is suddenly cutting off access to the reports that could point to influence peddling and/or other crimes. I’m sure that there isn’t any funny business in making such a decision. Can we say cover-up when they do things like this? It sure sounds like it.

We reported back in July how Treasury Department Secretary Janet Yellen told media that they were complying when in fact they were not according to Comer.

“It is troubling that the Biden Administration is willing to provide a false story to the media to create the appearance of transparency while continuing to thwart congressional oversight,” Comer said at that time, and he said it raised more questions about how far they were willing to go running cover for the Bidens.

The article concludes:

Comer now says that if they get power back over the Committee in November, they’re going to get the records and have the bank CEOs testify about the SARs and what was going on there.

One has to think that Joe Biden is desperate to prevent Republicans from getting back power not just because he and the Democrats don’t want to relinquish any of their power but because with that little bit of power, the GOP finally seems firmly set on holding people — including the Bidens — to account. That’s likely why he’s also demonizing the MAGA people/more pro-Trump Republicans because it’s mostly those people in Congress who are pushing for accountability as well.

There will be serious shenanigans in the mid-term elections because of the Democrat’s fear of losing power. The Biden family cannot stand up to the full investigation of their activities in recent years that might occur if the Republicans take Congress.

Have You Seen This Anywhere On The News?

Yesterday The Hill reported that the legal limit on how much debt the U.S. government can owe was reimposed Sunday.

The article reports:

A two-year deal to suspend the debt ceiling lapsed at midnight following inaction from Congress and President Biden to give the U.S. more borrowing authority. The Treasury Department will now begin taking what it refers to as “extraordinary measures” to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debt.

Those steps are likely to avert a default until October or even November before Biden will need to sign a bill to raise or suspend the limit again.

Think about this in terms of your personal finances. You have reached the top of your borrowing authority and have to cut back on expenses for the moment. However, you plan on expanding the amount of money you can borrow in the fall (or suspending any limit on your borrowing for some length of time). Meanwhile you are considering trillion dollar spending bills. In what universe does this make any sense?

The article continues:

The expiration of the debt limit has triggered numerous partisan standoffs over the past decade, most recently in 2019. Each time, Congress has raised or suspended the debt limit. But the weeks before a potential default have often been the most tense, both for financial markets and administration officials.

“I respectfully urge Congress to protect the full faith and credit of the United States by acting as soon as possible,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote in a letter to congressional leaders last week, warning that they risked “irreparable harm to the U.S. economy and the livelihoods of all Americans” by delaying action.

There is no clear path to a bipartisan agreement as Republicans hold out for spending cuts that Democrats refuse to consider.

While Democrats have slim majorities in both the House and Senate, they will still need the support of 10 GOP senators to avoid a filibuster on legislation to raise or suspend the debt ceiling.

Republican leaders have told Democrats that there can be no bipartisan debt ceiling agreement without a slate of debt reduction measures targeting the roughly $28 trillion national debt. Several GOP lawmakers have floated a deal similar to the 2011 Budget Control Act, which ended a debt ceiling standoff shortly before the U.S. suffered its first ever credit downgrade.

We simply cannot continue our current rate of government spending. At some point the dollar will collapse. It is interesting that none of the news shows I watched this morning mentioned the debt ceiling.

Racism In Public Policy

Dan Bongino posted an article today listing four Biden administration proposals that use race-based criteria in the distribution of taxpayer dollars.

The article reports four examples:

    1. A nearly $10 billion Treasury Department mortgage-assistance initiative plans explicitly to favor “socially disadvantaged individuals,” essentially defined as nonwhite people, in assigning the funds.
    2. A $1 billion Department of Agriculture initiative targeting “socially disadvantaged farmers” would specifically dole out taxpayer money “based on race and ethnicity.”
    3. Another USDA program would spend up to $400 million to buy food from “local, regional, and socially disadvantaged farmers,” with “socially disadvantaged” once again basically standing in for “non-white.”
    4. A $10 billion Small Business Administration credit program intends to emphasize funding businesses with nonwhite ownership.

The story comes as controversy has continued to spread over the critical race theory, with many lawmakers across the country moving to ban the teaching of the theory in public schools over concerns that it is racially divisive.

The article concludes:

The Biden agenda is also set to face legal challenges, with some of his race-based initiatives already suffering setbacks in court challenges.

“This case is about whether the government can allocate limited coronavirus relief funds based on the race and sex of the applicants,” a federal judge wrote in a case challenging the Biden administration’s plan to favor some races in the distribution of COVID-19 relief funds. “We hold that it cannot. It is indeed ‘a sordid business’ to divide ‘us up by race.’ And the government’s attempt to do so here violates the Constitution.”

Discrimination based on race is illegal regardless of who is doing it and who it is against. All four of these policies need to be shot down by the courts before they see the light of day.

 

One Of Many Reasons We Should Not Trust The Government With Our Money

Any time the government starts giving away money, you can almost always bet that there will be corruption. The stimulus plan put into effect to help the country get through the coronavirus crisis is not an exception.

The Daily Caller reported yesterday

  • At least $4 million in PPP loans went to a real estate company at the center of a federal bribery investigation involving a Los Angeles city councilman.
  • Shenzhen New World Group, owned by Chinese billionaire Wei Huang, received two PPP loans for hotels it operates in Los Angeles. 
  • Jose Huizar is accused of accepting more than $800,000 in bribes from a real estate company chairman referred to in a federal indictment as “Chairman E.” 
  • Charging documents against Huizar make it clear that the real estate company in question is Shenzhen New World Group, which is working on a 77-story skyscraper project in Huizar’s district. 

The article continues:

The Real Deal, a website that covers the Los Angeles real estate market, first reported the coronavirus relief loans to Shenzhen New World.

The funds, issued under the Paycheck Protection Program, went to two of Shenzhen New World Group’s limited liability corporations (LLCs), Shen Zhen New World I and Shen Zhen New World II. The LLCs control the L.A. Grand Hotel and Sheraton Universal Hotel, respectively.

California business registration documents show that Huang signed the articles of incorporation for both LLCs in 2010. Shenzhen is proposing to redevelop the L.A. Grand Hotel into a 77-story skyscraper.

The Treasury Department on Monday released a database of PPP loan recipients, showing that both of the LLCs received between $2 million and $5 million each.

The article concludes:

The complaint against Huizar, who has held office since 2005, alleges that the Chinese developer provided the bribes in part because of his position as chairman of the city council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

“HUIZAR was poised to significantly benefit Chairman E’s desire and plans to redevelop Property E and transform it into a 77-story skyscraper, making it the tallest building west of the Mississippi River,” the complaint against Huizar says.

“This project would require official acts from HUIZAR at various stages of the City approval process.”

Huizar’s former aide, George Esparza, pleaded guilty on May 27 to racketeering charges as part of the probe.

According to Esparza’s plea agreement, he said that the Chinese developer began paying Huizar after he introduced a motion to keep the head of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety in his position.

Virginia Clark, who is listed as the point of contact on Shenzhen New World’s applications for the skyscraper, did not respond to a detailed list of questions about the PPP loans and the FBI investigation of Huizar.

The Small Business Administration, which approves the PPP loans, did not respond to a request for comment. Huizar’s lawyer also did not respond to a request for comment.

Please follow the link above to the article for further details.

The More You Know…

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article yesterday about some of the things we have learned as information about spying on the Trump campaign and transition team is declassified. One thing that I don’t think has been widely reported is that Obama Treasury Department officials were on the list of those making unmasking requests relating to General Michael Flynn.

The article reports:

When Acting DNI Richard Grenell released the list of individuals who made unmasking requests relating to General Michael Flynn, one of the curious facts that stood out was the presence of a number of Obama Treasury Department officials on the list. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and no fewer than five of his subordinates–Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary, Acting Assistant Secretary, and so on, all political appointees in the Obama administration–all made unmasking requests with regard to conversations that turned out to involve General Flynn, on the same day: December 14, 2016. Lew made a second request on January 12, 2017.

The mystery of why President Obama’s Treasury Department was interested in electronic surveillance carried out for national security purposes may have been solved by this scoop in the Ohio Star: “The Treasury Department Spied on Flynn, Manafort, and the Trump Family, Says Whistleblower.”

President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department regularly surveilled retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn’s financial records and transactions beginning in December 2015 and well into 2017, before, during and after when he served at the White House as President Donald Trump’s National Security Director, a former senior Treasury Department official, and veteran of the intelligence community, told the Star Newspapers.

“I started seeing things that were not correct, so I did my own little investigation, because I wanted to make sure what I was seeing was correct” she said. “You never want to draw attention to something if there is not anything there.”

The whistleblower said she only saw metadata, that is names and dates when the general’s financial records were accessed. “I never saw what they saw.”

By March 2016, the whistleblower said she and a colleague, who was detailed to Treasury from the intelligence community, became convinced that the surveillance of Flynn was not tied to legitimate criminal or national security concerns, but was straight-up political surveillance among other illegal activity occurring at Treasury.

“When I showed it to her, what she said, ‘Oh, sh%t!’ and I knew right then and there that I was right – this was some shady stuff,” the whistleblower said.

“It wasn’t just him,” the whistleblower said. “They were targeting other U.S. citizens, as well.”

Only two names are listed in the whistleblower’s official paperwork, so the others must remain sealed, she said. The second name is Paul J. Manafort Jr., the one-time chairman of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The Star’s source says that she filed a formal complaint with the Treasury Department’s Inspector General in March 2017, but nothing was done. There is much more at the link.

Please follow the link to read the entire article–it is fascinating.

The article concludes:

We don’t know what Flynn communication these Obama officials were poring over, but we do know that the Treasury Department was never able to make any kind of a case against Flynn for financial misdeeds of any kind. It bears remembering that Jacob Lew was an unusually political Secretary of the Treasury. He was Obama’s Chief of Staff before taking over the Treasury Department. We have written about him several times, e.g. here.

Evidence continues to grow that the corruption of the executive branch of the U.S. government by Barack Obama was comprehensive and perhaps unprecedented.

Consequences are justified and needed.

A New Face

The Washington Times reported on Thursday that Kathy Kraninger has been confirmed as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and will serve for the next five years.

The article concludes:

Meanwhile the CFPB is still facing major legal hurdles.

Some federal judges have ruled that by placing so much power — including an independent budget that Congress doesn’t control — in a single director, the CFPB violates the Constitution. But a ruling earlier this year by the full U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the singe-director structure.

Let’s take a look at the inception of the CFPB. The CFPB is the brainchild of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. It was passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Act was Congress’ way of dealing with the housing bubble that caused the recession of 2008. However, the congressional solution was aimed at banks and Wall Street. It made no mention of the role that Congress had played in creating the housing crisis and made no effort to take responsibility for their actions or prevent a repeat of the problem.

In 1995 The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was changed, allowing Fannie Mae to purchase $2 billion of “My Community Mortgage” Loans, pilot vendors to customize affordable products for low and moderate income borrowers. Some of the things done to make the loans more affordable were low (or no) down payments and variable interest rates. Fannie Mae guarantees mortgages and then sells them to banks and investors. Banks were forced to issue sub-prime mortgages or pay large penalties. As more people took out mortgages, the price of houses rose quickly.  In 2005, 91 percent of Fannie Mae loans were variable rate loans. In 2004, 92 percent of Fannie Mae subprime loans were variable rate loans. Interest rates rose, gas prices increased, and people could not pay their mortgages. The subprime market collapsed, and foreclosures increased rapidly. Banks stopped making mortgage loans.

There were efforts made to stop this train. On September 11, 2003, The New York Times reported:

Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

…a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision  on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The Democrats opposed the reform. Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said that it would mean less affordable housing. Melvin Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, said that it would limit the ability of poor families to get affordable housing.

In 2005, John McCain warned of a coming mortgage collapse. He sponsored S.190 (109th), Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005. The Democrats blocked it. It was again brought up and blocked in 2007.

Opensecrets.org lists campaign contributions to politicians. Fannie Mae gave generously to insure that it would not be regulated. Some Democrats and Fannie Mae executives had ‘sweetheart’ loans from mortgage companies that were heavily involved in sub-prime mortgages.

So where am I going with this? The housing bubble was created by bad legislation. Bad legislation continues. In August 2016, The New York Post reported:

The Obama administration is doing its best to give the nation another mortgage meltdown.

As Paul Sperry recently noted in The Post, Team Obama has pushed mortgage lenders to offer home loans to folks with shaky credit, setting up conditions for another housing-market collapse.

Wasn’t the last one bad enough?

Credit scores of approved borrowers, for example, have been trending down, even as their debt levels have grown.

The Federal Housing Administration and government-sponsored “independent” lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been demanding lower credit standards — just as the feds did starting under President Bill Clinton, in pursuit of the same “affordable housing” goal.

Some borrowers need only put 3 percent down to get a Fannie Mae loan — even if the downpayment is a gift. Fannie also has started up a new subprime lending program.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently warned that mortgage underwriting standards have slipped and now reflect “broad trends similar to those experienced from 2005 through 2007, before the most recent financial crisis.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Board (and Dodd-Frank) were not related to the cause of the 2008 recession–the recession was the result of bad laws. Both the CFPB and Dodd-Frank need to go away. They are nothing but a blatant example of government overreach.

Ugly Rears Its Head In The House Of Representatives

Sometimes dumb ideas come from Republicans as well as Democrats. I am about to illustrate that fact. Yesterday Representative Ted Deutch of Florida introduced H.R. 7173 into the House of Representatives. The bills description is, “To create a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund for the American people in order to encourage market-driven innovation of clean energy technologies and market efficiencies which will reduce harmful pollution and leave a healthier, more stable, and more prosperous nation for future generations.” Never trust the government to create a trust fund–remember the Social Security Trust Fund–it was robbed during the 1960’s (by the government that created it).

Let’s talk about this trust fund for a moment.

The bill states:

“A carbon dividend payment is one pro-rata share for each adult and half a pro-rata share for each child under 19 years old, with a limit of 2 children per household, of amounts available for the month in the Carbon Dividend Trust Fund.”

Do you really want the government commenting or being involved in any way with how many children you have in your family?

The Hill posted an article yesterday about the bill. The article included the following:

…the bill would charge companies when they produce or import fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, based on their expected greenhouse gas emissions.

But instead of using the money to pay for health or community projects, the new bill would distribute it to the public. Its backers say those “dividends” would offset the increased costs from the carbon tax, like higher utility and gasoline bills, for about 70 percent of households.

Dividend funds would be handed out by the Treasury Department under the bill, based on the number of people in a household.

“It’s transparent and easily trackable. You know where the money is going. It protects the American family so that families are not adversely impacted. Dividends would protect most families from cost increases,” Ben Pendergrass, senior director of government affairs at Citizens’ Climate Lobby, told The Hill.

“The market signals should still be there to guide things like fuel efficient cars and dividends protect people who can’t make that transition immediately.”

The bill would also prohibit the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from the sectors that are taxed, unless the taxes aren’t effective after 10 years. That is an effort to attract support from Republicans, who are nearly united in opposition to Environmental Protection Agency climate regulations.

Rooney focused on the economic benefits of the bill, saying in a statement Wednesday that the revenue carbon neutral fee is good policy and a way “to support emerging alternate sources of energy.”

This bill is a really bad idea. It paves the way for more government intrusion into our private lives and takes more money from Americans. America has cut its greenhouse gas emissions without crippling our economy. We are quite capable of doing so in the future without stifling economic growth and creating even bigger bureaucracies.

 

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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