Monday, July 23rd, 2012 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under News
Here is yet another example of how government subsidies are not free. While government intervention in agriculture has subsidized farming for years, they also have instituted onerous and cumbersome regulations. There is a bill being floated by Democrats that would regulate the size of hen cages on farms. It might be attached to the farm bill. This, from The Hill:
Egg Farmers says the bill will impose unsustainable costs on farmers who will have to toss their existing battery cages. UEP supports the bill, which it says would preempt competing state standards and has a long phase in period.
The Senate Agriculture Committee is set to hold a hearing on the bill, which eventually could find its way into the 2012 farm bill, on Thursday.The legislation would phase in over 18 years the use of cages that are large enough for hens to turn completely around in, and would abolish competing state standards.
This is just one more reason why agriculture interests should be leery of government subsidies. They come at a great cost.
Friday, July 20th, 2012 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Taxes
In recent weeks, we’ve been subjected to mellifluous pandering to our nation’s farmers by liberals in both parties. They admonish us about the need to provide farmers with a “safety net” and to protect them from catastrophic events. To that end, they are pushing a massive $1 trillion Ag subsidy, which happens to contain over $750 billion in food stamp spending.
Aside for the fact that crop insurance is something that should be dealt with in the private sector, these supporters of Ag subsidies – especially the Democrats – are hypocritical in their treatment of farmers.
One of Reagan’s most incisive declarations was when he summed up government’s view of the economy like this: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” Well, what the government can giveth with one hand, it can taketh with the other hand.
At present, the Death Tax forces inheritors to pay a massive 35% tax on all assets passed down above a $5 million exemption. This is one of the most confiscatory taxes, as it taxes money that has already been taxed at least once before. It disproportionately hurts farmers who own millions’ worth of land, but don’t necessarily have huge sums of cash. If the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, the tax rate will rise to 55% on everything over $1 million. Many farmers will be forced to sell parts of their family farms to pay for the tax.
Here’s what Democrats think of those farmers that they are so eager to subsidize (via CQ):
Senate Democrats have dropped an estate tax provision from their extension of the President George W. Bush-era tax cuts, removing an issue that does not directly relate to their promise to continue tax breaks for middle-income earners.
In legislation (S 3393) released Wednesday, Democrats had proposed extending the estate tax at its 2009 levels, meaning estates worth less than $3.5 million would be exempted from taxation while those above that threshold would be taxed at a 45 percent top rate in 2013.
That language is not included in their revised bill, which the Senate is expected to consider next week, a Democratic aide confirmed. Absent action from Congress, the estate tax will revert to its pre-2001 parameters, with a $1 million exemption and a 55 percent top rate.
As we know, even a tiny parcel of land in some parts of the country could cost close to a million dollars. Add equipment, crops, and livestock to the mix, and a simple family farm could easily own $5-10 million in assets, but lack large sums of cash to pay off the tax. Not wanting to sell a farm that has been in the family for generations, many farmers are forced to take out a life insurance policy in order to cover the cost of the confiscatory double taxation and pass down tax free inheritance to their children.
Obviously, with government creating an artificial demand for life insurance policies covering the estate tax, the cost of premiums goes up. The life insurance industry spending millions each year in lobbying and political donations for a good reason. It’s good for business.
Here’s a novel idea. Why don’t we get government out of private enterprise altogether? Let’s stop taxing the dead and subsidizing the living.
Friday, July 20th, 2012 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under News
How badly does this president desire to import poor people and make them dependent upon government? This badly: (via Daily Caller)
The Mexican government has been working with the United States Department of Agriculture to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.
USDA has an agreement with Mexico to promote American food assistance programs, including food stamps, among Mexican Americans, Mexican nationals and migrant communities in America.
Friday, July 20th, 2012 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
In a major breakthrough in the Michigan GOP Senate primary, tea partier Gary Glenn announced that he would suspend his campaign and back Madison endorsee, Clark Durant against moderate Pete Hoeskstra. Gary Glenn has been indispensable to the cause of freedom in Michigan and had inspired a passionate following. He was unable to raise money or put together a large enough organization for a statewide campaign. Realizing that he would only split the vote with Durant and help Hoekstra win, Glenn put the cause above self, as he has always done. Thank you Garry Glenn.
Now we can go full steam ahead and push Durant over the top in the August 7 primary. There’s no reason why Debbie Stabenow should not lose. Even Democrats admit that her approval is less than stellar and that the right candidate can beat her. Not only is Hoekstra a moderate who has voted for all the big government initiatives in Congress, he is a weak candidate and will guarantee that Stabenow cruises to reelection. Let’s do what we can to help Clark Durant put this one away.
Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Debt
Here is an open letter to Speaker Boehner concerning the consideration of the farm bill originally posted at RedState.
Dear Speaker Boehner,
During every election cycle, virtually every Republican candidate affirms his or her support for limited government, free markets, and balanced budgets. They all tout their conservative credentials on the flashy flag-waving issues of the day in an effort to ingratiate themselves with Republican primary voters. However, it is the “inside baseball” issues such as the farm bill that expose many of them as frauds.
Put simply, the farm bill is an anathema to free enterprise, limited government, and individual responsibility. The House version (H.R. 6083) authorizes $957 billion in spending over 10 years, 80% of which will go towards food stamps. Despite erroneous claims in the media regarding severe cuts to food stamps, this bill actually consummates the Obama-era baseline into our entitlement empire forever.
Furthermore, this bill adds an additional 3 crop insurance and price support programs that distort the market, encourage risky behavior, protect parochial interests, and are tendentious towards large farms. This bill also continues the egregious coddling of rich sugar farmers and the dairy supply regulations that you so aptly referred to as “Soviet style.”
Unfortunately, a bipartisan group of 38 Republicans and 24 Democrats, led by Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Peter Welch (D-VT), have sent you a letter requesting floor consideration for this big-government, budget-busting monstrosity. If Republicans allow this bill to pass the House and become law under Republican-control of Congress, they will essentially be abrogating all their campaign promises to limit government, terminate special interest politics, decrease dependency and welfare, and balance the budget. In one fell swoop, they will blur the distinction between the two parties to the extent that they are virtually indistinguishable.
Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
Since the Supreme Court ignored the Constitution by upholding Obamacare, we have no choice but to use every legislative and executive tool at our disposal to kill this socialist monstrosity. One opportunity we will have to disrupt and impede its implementation will be through the appropriations process.
Last December, we incurred the ‘great spending betrayal’ under Republican leadership in the House. Sixty percent of House Republicans and 34% of Senate Republicans voted for a 1,200-page omnibus bill to fund the government for fiscal year 2012. Despite the pledge to cut spending, the omnibus actually appropriated $10 billion more than the previous year. The bill also violated the GOP pledge against bundled appropriations bills and the rule that all legislation be posted 72 hours before the vote. Moreover, the bill contained funding for all the unsavory things they pledged to defund; most prominently, Obamacare.
Back in 2011, many members figured that the Obamacare problem would easily disappear once the Supreme Court gets involved. Now with John Roberts’s betrayal behind us, we must take a more aggressive posture against funding Obamacare. Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and Tea Party Caucus Chairman Michele Bachmann took up the call and spearheaded a letter to John Boehner and Eric Cantor urging them not to bring any spending bill to the floor that funds Obamacare.
Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee approved an appropriations bill for HHS that defunds Obamacare. Now we have 127 commitments, a majority of the GOP Conference, to hold them to their word and preclude the mistakes from last year. Last year, only 86 members opposed the omnibus. We would hope that the additional 41 members are serious about their commitment to vote against any omnibus that fails to defund Obamacare.
Here is a breakdown of the members who signed the letter (download here). The full copy of the letter can be viewed here .
Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog
We’ve seen this coming for years. The government’s stranglehold over first class mail via the US Postal Service has crowded out others from making the business more profitable. More importantly, it has precluded the USPS from implementing much needed reforms.
At present, it appears that the USPS will not have enough moneyto make the schedule August 1 payment of $5.5 billion into a health-benefits fund for future retirees.
As part of the 2006 agreement for USPS to recoup some of the money they had paid into the Treasury for their employees’ retirement health benefits, the Postal Service was required to prefund its future retirees’ health benefits with $5.6 billion per year to the Treasury for 10 years. Yet, Postal Service revenue has declined so precipitously over the past few years that Congress granted them a deferment from paying those prefunded obligations in 2009 and 2011.
Now, USPS is in such dire straits that it won’t be able to fulfill its current payroll obligations without further help from taxpayers. They face the specter of default at the beginning of August. Earlier this year, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe asked Congress for the flexibility to act more like a business and use innovation to restructure and cut costs. In order to continue operating at a limited capacity, which is what the free market would dictate in this circumstance, there is a plan to end Saturday delivery, to cut the workforce by about 220,000 employees and to close 3,700 local post offices and 252 processing centers.
Instead of spinning off the USPS from its government partnership and allowing it to become privatized or at least reform itself, the senate passed a $41 billion bailout bill. The Senate bill (S. 1789) actually prohibits the post office from implementing those vital reforms.
The next time you hear the media decrying the downward spiral of the post office, remember that it didn’t have to be this way. But it is the way of Washington.
Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under News, Obamacare
According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Virginia voters support repeal of Obamacare by 59-37%. Why is Governor Bob McDonnell equivocating over blocking Obamacare health exchanges?
Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under News, Obamacare
In case you didn’t believe that we have a serious problem at the highest levels of the Republican Party, take a look at this news story from The Hill. Bill Frist (RINO-TN) was the Republican Senate Majority Leader during the critical Bush years. Well, while most conservatives are urging governors to reject and disrupt the Obamacare exchanges, he is urging them to adopt the exchanges:
Former GOP Sen. Bill Frist (Tenn.) urged fellow Republicans Wednesday to embrace the insurance exchanges that are central to President Obama’s signature healthcare reform law.
Republicans in both chambers are dead-set on repealing the whole of the law, and a growing list of GOP governors is refusing to adopt central provisions, including the insurance exchanges.
But Frist, a prominent heart transplant surgeon who was Senate majority leader from 2003 through 2006, said that’s a mistake. The exchanges, he wrote in an op-ed in The Week magazine, are “perhaps the most innovative, market-driven, and ultimately constructive part of the law.”
Wednesday, July 18th, 2012 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
Most of us view Obamacare as a national fight, but over the next few months we will have the opportunity to disrupt this travesty on a local level. Governors and state legislators can refuse to expand the Medicaid rolls as prescribed under Obamacare, pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision. Moreover, there is no mechanism in place to prevent them from blocking the establishment of the healthcare exchanges before the law is set to take effect 2014.
Remember that although we lack control over the federal government, we have full control over 23 state governments (governor +both chambers of the legislature). In total, there are 29 GOP governors and 39 states where we have control of at least one branch of government. We must push those governors and state legislators to block implementation of any aspect of Obamacare. The 29 governors could easily bock it simply by doing nothing. Alaska Governor Sean Parnell is the latest to refuse to implement Obamacare exchanges. Even in states with Democrat governors, state legislators can pass laws banning implementation or cut off funds to support the exchanges.
Kentucky Republicans provided a small but instructive example for disrupting Obamacare. Kentucky is one of those red states that stubbornly holds onto Democrat governors. The current occupant of the statehouse, Steve Beshear, was all too eager to implement Obamacare. On Tuesday, he signed an executive order creating a healthcare exchange for residents to purchase insurance under the confines of the individual mandate. Now Republicans in the General Assembly want to block funding for it, according to the Lexington Herald Leader:
Gov. Steve Beshear signed an executive order Tuesday to create an online marketplace offering health insurance plans for Kentuckians, as called for in the federal Affordable Health Care Act.
Shortly afterward, the Kentucky General Assembly’s Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee rejected, on a 3-4 partisan vote, a proposal by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to spend $294,540 for rental space to accommodate 210 employees associated with the health insurance exchange.