Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections
As the November midterms draw near, we are beginning to see a growing wave against Democrats, much like we witnessed at this time in 2010.
A new Pew poll gives Republicans a 4-point edge on the generic ballot test, which is significant given the fact that Democrats usually have a slight advantage even in a 50-50 year. They also found that Republicans have a crushing 16-point lead among Independents who are only down 4 among women. Furthermore, voters are still sour on Obamacare, Obama, and the economy.
This sounds like a recipe for disaster for Democrats, right?
But there is one other polling nugget that is worth noting. By a margin of 65%-30%, voters want the next president to pursue different policies than those of President Obama.
While it is quite arduous to sift through polling data or even real election returns in pursuit of a specific mandate from voters, it is quite clear what voters are NOT asking Republicans to do.
The reason they are abandoning Democrats and flocking to Republicans is not for the purpose of electing a Republican majority to pass amnesty and comprehensive open borders reform. In fact, given that amnesty is the biggest outstanding priority of Obama for the remainder of his presidency, the fact that voters overwhelmingly desire a new direction is a clear indication that pursuit amnesty would fly in the face of the prospective GOP governing mandate.
Much like this time four years ago, it would be amazing if we could all celebrate the impending victory. But we know that the biggest priority of a GOP majority would be to work with Obama to pass amnesty. That is why the Chamber of Commerce and their allies are spending millions lying to primary voters while obfuscating their real views from the voters.
Some of you might be excited by the latest polling data, but you will be made to care if we wind up electing Republicans who surrender on Obamacare and go full-throttle on amnesty. It’s better we be made to care while we still have a choice to elect Republicans who will pursue different policies than the current occupant of the Oval Office.
Cross-posted at RedState
Monday, May 5th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Press
Fort Worth, TX –The Madison Project PAC released a new, 60-second radio ad encouraging Republicans in West Virginia to vote for proven-conservative Alex Mooney in the May 13th Republican primary election for the U.S. House Second Congressional District:
To listen to the ad click here.
“Alex Mooney is one of those rare candidates who is able to unite all of the factions of the conservative movement,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project. “He has coalesced the support of fiscal, social, and national defense conservatives. And for good reason. While most candidates talk a good game during the primaries, Mooney has fought for social and fiscal conservatives for years and has the scars to prove it. He is the only candidate in this race who will not buckle under pressure from the establishment Republican elites in Washington. In fact, he is committed to fighting the big government mentality in both parties. Mooney understands that if we don’t change the failed leadership of the establishment GOP, all promises of conservative governance is just talk.”
The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at http://madisonproject.com/
Friday, May 2nd, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections
Over the past few weeks, political news outlets have been filled with articles beaming about the masterful strategy of the GOP establishment in crushing grassroots challenges. They smugly celebrate the wily tactics of Senator Mitch McConnell, the Chamber of Commerce, and Crossroads in counterattacking the Tea Party. But when you think past the initial headline, you will find that there is nothing special, clever, or innovative about their strategy. It is quite simple.
Members of the political class, which is comprised of the leaders in both parties, support unconstitutional policies, corporate welfare, amnesty for illegals, consistent debt ceiling increases, federal control of local functions, and anything else demanded by the dominant moneyed interests. In return, they receive unlimited campaign support in the form of direct contributions and independent expenditures that are carefully coordinated with their candidates through McConnell’s network of the Chamber, NRSC, and Karl Rove – as outlined by National Journal.
In comes a grassroots candidate from the country class. Needless to say, unless they are a billionaire, they struggle to collect small donations from patriotic citizens in order to develop a modicum of legitimacy and grow their name ID with the electorate. In fact, it is precisely because these candidates support principle over power that they have a difficult time raising money – at least anywhere near the scale of the political class. There is a clear inverse relationship between principled stances on the issues and raising money.
The campaign finance “inequality” has been further exacerbated by McCain-Soros campaign finance laws that place upstart candidates at a disadvantage. They lack a large network of donors, but might know of a handful of patriots who are willing to fully support the candidate. However, they are hamstrung by caps on individual contributions.
Challenging the political class in both open seats (or Democrat seats) and incumbent seats would be arduous enough if the only inherent problem was the money gap. But there are two more challenges: defining of the candidate and ideological lies.
Defining the Candidates
In most races with grassroots challengers, the incumbent enjoys ubiquitous name ID and has been fully defined in the eyes of the voters for years. As is often the case, the incumbent might have mediocre approval numbers, but given that he is a known quantity, there is no fear that he is a total lunatic.
Contrast that to most of the challengers who are starting out with zero name ID and are completely undefined in the minds of voters. Again, most of these challengers lack the funds to ever pose a threat to the incumbent, but the minute they gain traction, the political class has unlimited funds to define the challenger with their professional hit man opposition attacks. Let’s be clear, some grassroots candidates are better than others, but there is no human being with an impressive background who does not have something in their lives that can be exaggerated or distorted and put into a massive TV buy.
Remember, the first time most voters are hearing about our candidates is through the prism of the oppo hits, and you know what they say about a first impression. That is how they can destroy someone out of the gate — with a dehumanization campaign. Even if they didn’t have the funding advantage it would still be difficult because of the gap in definition. The establishment can completely destroy upstart insurgent candidates because there is no pre-existing definition in the minds of voters. We cannot destroy their candidates, rather merely hope to slowly knock them down a few points. Moreover, we focus on issues; they focus on oppo hits. Guess which one resonates more with voters?
Lies, Lies, Lies
As the National Journal article noted, McConnell and his lieutenants have learned how to pick the lock. Unlike moderate incumbents of the past like Dick Lugar, who, more or less, ran on their records, these members take the McCain/Hatch route. In other words, they lie their way through the primary.
Instead of running on support of bailouts, amnesty, corporate welfare, debt ceiling increases, expansion of the federal government, jettisoning social issues, and tweaking Obamacare (things they support privately or even vote for) they use their superior firepower to portray themselves as rocked-rib conservatives and paint their opponents as liberals. Remember how Mike Simpson ran ads saying he voted to REPEAL the Wall Street bailout and that his opponent was a liberal trial lawyer? Their cowardly allies do the same thing. Just look at Jason Hart’s article about OH-14 to understand how all these factors play together.
Ponder this thought for a moment: political class candidates receive millions of dollars from big government interests precisely because of their support for liberal causes. Then they turn around and use that money to lie to the voters and sell themselves as the antithesis of their funding sources and their opponents as the epitome of their special interests.
Headed into the next few weeks, this strategy might pay off. We pray to God that it doesn’t.
But one thing is clear: there is no skill, merit, or virtue in what they are doing. It is nothing but old-fashioned corruption and lies.
Thursday, May 1st, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Family Values
As we’ve noted a number of times, Republicans have used their majority to pass these ridiculous “suspension” bills that are often bad policy instead of exclusively bringing conservative legislation to the floor. The latest misfire is an attempt by a number of Republicans to pass a bill granting The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) a physical location on the National Mall.
One of the biggest obstacles to restoring our constitutional Republic is the inherent advantage the progressives enjoy inside of our culture. Their monopoly on media, entertainment, and education has given radicals the opportunity to slowly, yet relentlessly, introduce extreme ideas into the mainstream with a high degree of success. The least we can do as conservatives is not use our majority to gratuitously grant the feminist movement more leverage to promote leftwing propaganda in our nation’s capitol under the guise of celebrating famous women.
Undoubtedly, building a museum dedicated to studying the contributions of prominent American woman is an interesting endeavor, especially when funded by private contributions. But one glance at the website of the NWHM makes it clear that this particular outfit will be used as a conduit to promote general liberal causes like most other feminist “women’s” organizations. They’ve already paid homage to Sandra Fluke, which is not surprising because they are allied with a whole array of left-wing women’s groups.
Here is a sampling of political information on the members of the board:
- Joan Bradley Wages, the President of NWHM, made political contributions to ActBlue, an anti-life Democratic PAC, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Barbara Boxer.
- Susan Scanlan, member of the board of directors, contributed money to those who opposed Proposition 8 defending marriage in California.
- Carey Shuart, the Interim Chair of the Board of Director’s gave all of her campaign contribution money to Emily’s List, a PAC whose only purpose is to support Democratic Pro Choice female candidates for office.
- Ann E.W. Stone, the Secretary of the Board of Directors, is the founder of the organization Republican’s for Choice, an organization that attempts to infiltrate the Republican Party with the anti-life agenda.
With such leadership and associations, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which this museum does not become an organ for the homosexual and anti-life movements.
The House Natural Resources Committee passed HR 863, The National Women’s History Museum Commission Act, by unanimous consent on Wednesday, April 9. The bill is sponsored by uber-leftist Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and co-sponsored by 81 Democrats. But shockingly, 15 Republicans have also co-sponsored this ridiculous endeavor to grant radical feminists a foothold in a national park. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) was an original co-sponsor and is joined by Reps. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Ellmers (R-NC), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rigell (R-VA), McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Lummis (R-WY), Peter King (R-NY), Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Hanna (R-NY), Capito (R-WV), Latta (R-OH), Dent (R-PA), Susan Brooks (R-IN), and Webster (R-FL).
This bill was already introduced during the Pelosi Congress in 2009 and passed by voice vote! It was only stopped in the Senate because Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) placed a hold on the bill.
Leadership plans to bring the bill to the floor next week under suspension. The bill was rushed to the floor by Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). Once this museum is constructed and granted access to the national mall, there is no way it will not grow into a left-wing bastion and it is unlikely that it will not become a recipient of federal funds when Democrats are in control of Congress. If this is how Eric Cantor uses the majority in the House, why should we promote him to the position of Speaker?
Ask yourself the following question: would a Democrat-controlled House grant people associated with the Susan B. Anthony List authority to set up a women’s museum in a national park?
Who needs a GOP majority when Republicans are willing to do the bidding of the far left?
Cross-posted at RedState
Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Immigration
Texas Rep. Joe Barton must have been reading the new polling data this week that shows Republicans are headed for victory in November. Like any good establishment Republican, Barton could not let our prospective victory go unanswered and is seeking a way to stifle Republican turnout. What better way to accomplish “victory” than by introducing comprehensive amnesty legislation?
Joe Barton plans to file his bill this week, but he refuses to call it amnesty. After all, he claims, there is no pathway to citizenship.
But there are two fundamental problems with his assertion. His bill incorporates the so-called Dream Act, which grants full amnesty plus citizenship to a large swath of the illegal population. As we’ve noted before, these people are largely poor and low-skilled. They would be eligible for the entire smorgasbord of welfare programs. They certainly would not pay taxes on net, as some have suggested. They would actually enjoy a net negative tax liability.
Moreover, once you have amnesty for “Dreamers” it is de facto amnesty for everyone else because: A) they can bring in family members, and B) anyone can potentially be eligible, so ICE would have to suspend all deportations to allow illegals a reasonable opportunity to present their case. Sans a proposal to change birthright citizenship first, the Dream Act would expand our anchor baby magnet to an “anchor teenager” phenomenon.
This bill would be bad enough if it only contained the Dream Act. But it grants immediate legal status to everyone else. That is amnesty. People who violated our sovereignty are rewarded with the outcome they desired by breaking the law. Citizenship is merely the icing on the cake – Amnesty-PLUS. Furthermore, the notion that you can create a permanent legal status that will not morph into citizenship in short order – both from a political perspective and from a policy-standpoint – is absurd.
As Barton notes, he is pushing this in order to keep Texas Republican. Let’s put aside the fact that he has the electoral angle exactly backwards, his bill is counterintuitive even from his convoluted standpoint. The minute Schumer and the Dems sign his bill into law, they would decry the permanent second-class status bestowed on the newly-amnestied immigrants and campaign for voting rights. Will Barton be willing to stand up and deny these people that right?
Once again, the solution is not an enigma. Anyone who is trying to solve the problem without repeating the same willful mistakes of the past would implement all enforcement first plus get rid of all the magnets and entitlements. But as we all know, these people have no desire to solve the problem. They like open borders. And that is why they will grant amnesty before their vapid promises to enforce the laws. That way they will ensure a new wave of illegal immigration and cheap labor.
Barton has been in office since 1985. It’s a shame Barton never learned from his predecessor, Phil Gramm, who represented that district in the early ‘80s. Gramm understood the problems with amnesty in 1986 and he is still fighting against the same lunacy.
Some politicians will never learn unless they are booted out of office.
Then again, this is the same politician who thought the ethanol mandate worked so well that we should expand it to natural gas.
Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections, News, Press
Fort Worth, TX –Madison Action Fund, the super PAC associated with the Madison Project, recently released a new TV ad against liberal Republican Mike Simpson (R-ID) called “Nancy Pelosi Republican.” The TV ad started airing districtwide on Wednesday, April 30th and will continue airing until Election Day, May 20th.
“Mike Simpson has always felt uncomfortable and out-of-place with his liberal voting record in such a conservative state like Idaho,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project. “That is why he has attempted to reinvent himself as a conservative, even as his liberal allies, funded by big labor, pump millions of dollars into the campaign in order to save this liberal Republican. It’s time to have an honest discussion about Simpson’s voting record so voters know what to expect if Simpson continues his life-long career in Washington and no longer fears reprisal from conservatives. ”
The Madison Project endorsed Rep. Mike Simpson’s opponent, Bryan Smith, in September. For more information on their endorsement visit: www.sacksimpson.com.
To view the TV ad click here.
The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at http://madisonproject.com/
Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Immigration, Obamacare
We told you so.
During the battle to defund Obamacare last fall, we all warned that the schism within the party was about more than strategy; it was about the future of Obamacare itself.
At the time, our opponents within the party mocked our effort to defund Obamacare as a folly and even asserted that our strategy was distracting from the problems with Obamacare itself and would weaken our ability to repeal it. They promised that as long as we hold tight and wait until Republicans win back control of the Senate, we could repeal Obamacare.
We responded by noting that once the dependency of Obamacare would take effect, the law would be immutable. Even though the coverage offered by Obamacare would be subpar and eventually collapse the healthcare system, for the time being that is the only coverage many people would have, especially those who were thrown off their insurance plans. We also pointed out that the first time Republicans would have full control of government would not be until 2017, at which point the law would never be repealed.
Nonetheless, they fought us every step of the way and publicly lambasted conservatives in the halls of Congress. Obviously, Democrats had nothing to fear, as they knew the majority of Republicans had no intention of holding their ground and would even tear down their own base in order to do Harry Reid’s bidding.
Fast-forward just a half a year and Republicans are now admitting they lied to us. They never had any intention to fight for full repeal of Obamacare. Now that the defund fight is behind us, they are admitting that they cannot repeal it. Over the past week, no less than John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers – prominent GOP leaders who opposed the defund effort – have come out of the closet to imply, in varying degrees, that full repeal is a thing of the past.
What we are starting to see from GOP leadership is a pattern of only attacking those portions of Obamacare that the lobbyists for big business or the healthcare industry oppose, even though these same people have lobbied for the broader law. The House plans to re-introduce the bill that would bailout Cigna – a supporter of Obamacare – from one aspect of the law that adversely affects them.
The irony is that while GOP leaders like Boehner and McMorris Rodgers are surrendering on Obamacare, they are vehemently pushing for amnesty and open borders. Even Rand Paul, while backpedalling on repealing Obamacare, is talking up passage of amnesty and downplaying the problems with illegal immigration.
Folks, the fix is in. If we continue down the same path and fail to install new leadership, don’t act surprised when Republicans abandon the effort to repeal Obamacare and go all in for Obama’s amnesty bill. And frankly, if we reelect these same leaders, that is exactly what we deserve.
Monday, April 28th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections
Most Americans intuitively agree with conservative principles and understand that the policies of the left are irresponsible. But few Republicans truly understand the virtues of limited government and free market to the extent they can explain to ordinary voters why that approach to governing will help them in their everyday lives. That’s why most Republicans, when challenged by the class warfare and demagoguery of the left on issues that relate to economic well-being, run scared and inarticulately advocate a pale-pastel version of the Democrat proposal. Ben Sasse is the perfect man to fill this void within the party.
At the young age of 42, Sasse has racked up an impressive list of professional accomplishments. While a graduate of Harvard and Yale, Sasse has kept his Nebraska conservative values with him and was never influenced by the group-think of those liberal institutions. He spent several years turning around companies and dealing with crisis management for Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey and Company, giving him unique insight into diverse sectors of the economy.
Sasse took those years of experience in the private sector and has been applying conservative solutions to the public sector with a wealth of proposals on how to make health care work like a marketplace, unencumbered by officious federal interventions.
Ben is also a devout Christian and has devoted a lot of time to outreach and charities during his educational and professional career. He is a proud husband and father of three children who he has raised with his Christian conservative values.
Perhaps, his most impressive accomplishment was becoming one of the youngest presidents of a university when he took over the helm at Midland University in 2009 at the age of 37. This is where he actually implemented real free market innovations and saved a failing institution by doubling its enrollment and wiping out fiscal deficits. Instead of going along with the collusion between big government and big education to push the expensive standard college curriculum, Sasse offered new options for students who met certain requirements to graduate without racking up so much student debt. He will be a valuable voice in the Senate for higher education reform that ends the circuitous cycle of federal subsidies, failed college curriculums, and skyrocketing student debt.
When Republicans win back all branches of government over the next few years, they will not only be tasked with undoing the inimical policies of the Obama administration. They must clean up the mess of almost a century-worth of progressive governance. We need solutions-oriented conservatives who can solve these problems from a limited government perspective within the confines of the Constitution. Ben Sasse is clearly one of the smartest policy innovators running for office and will lead such an effort.
As we’ve watched Sasse throughout the campaign season, he has been one of the few candidates to move beyond the platitudes – even the conservative platitudes – and actually put pen to paper on addressing solutions to downsize the harmful footprint of the federal government.
However, there have been many smart policy innovators who have come to D.C. only to be taken in by the establishment and wind up perpetuating the very ills they inveighed against during their campaigns. What makes Ben Sasse different?
Sasse could have counted on his impressive background and accomplishments to gain favor with the establishment in a competitive race in an open seat. He could have chosen the easier path to power. But politics is not about power for Sasse. Instead, he called out the sitting Minority Leader on the campaign trail, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), for his lack of leadership. When McConnell’s team starting undermining Sasse’s campaign, he confronted him directly in a meeting and held his ground. McConnell’s allies have been fundraising for Sasse’s opponent ever since that altercation.
We will never change Washington without first changing GOP leadership, and Sasse has already demonstrated he is all in for the task. Over the past few months, it has become clear that Sasse will provide conservatives with one of the best opportunities to change leadership and to shake up the K Street stranglehold on the party. In addition, Sasse would become the de facto senator-elect in just two weeks, providing us with our first victory in moving a red seat significantly to the right.
Building enduring conservative majorities starts with electing true leaders like Ben Sasse. The people of Nebraska need to stand up to the establishment that are ruining our country and vote for Ben Sasse on May 13th.
Friday, April 25th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Immigration, Obamacare
Imagine the leaders of the Democrat Party mocking the party faithful. Try to conjure up the image of Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid running false ads against liberal candidates. Save that thought in your mind because you will never see it in real life. Democrats harness the power of their base to advance the cause of their ideology and party platform. Republican leaders, on the other hand, are at war with their party’s platform.
While speaking to a rotary club in his Ohio district, Speaker John Boehner had this to say about conservatives who are concerned about open borders:
“Here’s the attitude. Ohhhh. Don’t make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard,” Boehner whined before a luncheon crowd at Brown’s Run County Club in Madison Township.
“We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to. … They’ll take the path of least resistance.”
Boehner said he’s been working for 16 or 17 months trying to push Congress to deal with immigration reform.
“I’ve had every brick and bat and arrow shot at me over this issue just because I wanted to deal with it. I didn’t say it was going to be easy,” he said.
Yes, Mr. Boehner. We actually want to solve the immigration problem.
We want to deal with the problem of criminals being let out of jail.
We want to deal with the problem of Obama suspending deportations.
We want to deal with birthright citizenship and other magnets that allow foreigners to violate our sovereignty and take advantage of the welfare state.
We want to make immigration work for the American people, not for your donors.
Sadly, you have no interest in joining us in combating the President’s malfeasance. You are the one who is too scared to make hard decisions. It’s a lot easier to go along with the political class and cowardly hide behind the misleading canard of “reform” just for the purpose of pushing the same failed amnesty that has engendered endless cycles of illegal immigration and that is already spawning a new wave. It’s akin to saying conservatives are cowards for not dealing with “healthcare reform” because they don’t support Obamacare.
Oh, woops, Boehner is ostensibly saying that as well.
While mocking conservatives for fighting Obama on amnesty, Boehner made it clear that he has given up the fight over full repeal of Obamacare.
(To) repeal Obamacare … isn’t the answer. The answer is repeal and replace. The challenge is that Obamacare is the law of the land. It is there and it has driven all types of changes in our health care delivery system. You can’t recreate an insurance market overnight.
Which means that he has no intention to repeal it.
It’s funny how we warned those who opposed the effort to defund Obamacare that they would never repeal it at a later date. They denied the charge at the time; now they are embracing it.
What about the House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor?
He is being challenged by Dave Brat, a little-known economics professor with almost no money. Yet, amazingly, Cantor is up with a negative ad that is appallingly dishonest. Cantor is not man enough to run ads touting his enthusiastic support for amnesty.
Folks, this is GOP leadership for you. And this is the leadership we will continue to have if we fail to take back the party.
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Taxes
One of the ephemeral trends in Washington policy circles these days is for members of Congress to craft their own draft plans for tax reforms in anticipation of a wholesale reform effort in the coming years. It’s good that members are discussing reforming our antiquated and anti-growth tax code. However, conservative members must not fall into the trap of adopting some anti-conservative premises when crafting tax plans.
Two of the liberal premises that some conservative proposals have bought into include: 1) the notion that tax reform must produce the same level of revenue as the status quo on a static score, and 2) we need to redistribute more wealth from the rich to working-class families.
With regards to the premise of keeping the same revenue baseline, some conservative policy minds often forget that the ultimate goal is to reduce the size of the federal government, not balance the budget as an end in itself. At present, the Treasury is taking in a record level of revenue. CNS news recently reported that the Treasury had raked in a record $1,428,710,000,000 in total taxes (adjusted for inflation) so far this fiscal year. The CBO projects revenues to rise to over $3 trillion this year and grow steadily over the next ten years. This is not good news.
We don’t need more money taken from the private sector to feed the rapacious beast in an effort to create more job-killing, price-hiking bureaucracy. Any tax proposal should not seek to maintain this level of revenue on a static score, but decrease it.
As for the progressivity of the tax code, there is a disturbing trend even from some conservative lawmakers to propose tax plans that will result in higher effective tax rates for the wealthy while growing refundable tax credits at the lower end of the income ladder. It’s understandable that Republicans want to show empathy with working class families and join in piling on the evil rich, but adopting liberal premises about our tax and entitlement structure will not solve the problem.
Many of the GOP plans call for dramatically curtailing or eliminating tax deductions for upper-income individuals. Obviously, all conservatives share the goal (short of repealing the 16th Amendment altogether) of pursuing a more flat tax code with lower rates and elimination of market-distorting, social engineering tax preferences. However, under the current system, especially after the fiscal cliff and Obamacare tax hikes, upper-income earners are subject to a marginal tax rate of over 40%. Eliminating deductions without a commensurate reduction in marginal rates will result in linear increase in the effective tax rate of those who are already paying most of the income taxes in the country.
Let’s be clear: the tax code is already the most progressive in the world; it certainly doesn’t need to be made more redistributive. The Joint Committee on Taxation is out with its annual projection of how the federal tax code will affect different levels of income earners in 2014, and it appears that the tax code is more progressive than ever. If you use the graph that breaks down the distribution of income and payroll taxes by income level, you will find startling results:
- Those earning [individuals and joint filers] over $500,000 annually, which roughly corresponds with the much-maligned “one percenters,” earned 16.7 % of the income, yet paid a whopping 45.2% of all federal income taxes. Even when factoring in all taxes, including the more regressive payroll tax, the top 1% of income earners were still responsible for 26.5% of the tax pie.
- Those earning over $200,000, which roughly corresponds to the top 5% of filers, earned 32.3% of total income, but paid a whopping 70% of all income taxes. When all taxes are factored in, they were still responsible for 46.7% of the pie, well over their share of the national income. If you expand the income threshold to include all those earning more than $100,000, accounting for roughly the top 21% of tax units, you will find that they pay 95.2% of all income taxes and 75.7% of all taxes, even though they only earned 60% of the income.
- Those earning under $75,000 (again, individual and/or joint), which account for the bottom 69%, actually accrued a -2% income tax liability (all of that coming from those earning less than $50,000). They pay 14.5% of all taxes, even though they earn 28.7% of the income pie.
Taken as a whole, anyone who believes that the rich don’t pay their fair share are not living on planet earth. Yet, many Republicans, in an effort to push tax cuts, albeit not for the rich, tend to propose changes to the tax code that actually make the system even more progressive. The dirty little secret is that the rich already pay all of the income taxes. These numbers are all final tax liabilities working off of effective tax rates, so they include all of the deductions and so-called loopholes. And yet, they still pay almost all of the income taxes, while the lower-middle income earners pay almost no income taxes, and in many cases, enjoy a negative tax liability.
Hence, it is impossible to cut taxes other than for those who already pay them. But many Republicans who want to reduce the burden on working class families, and do so in a way that will be revenue neutral, attempt to raise taxes on those who already pay the tab. It’s fundamentally unfair and anti-growth.
Conservatives who want to encourage pro-growth policies that are consistent with our constitutional values of pursuit of happiness should instead look at the payroll tax for areas to promote upward mobility with working class families. The payroll tax burden is shouldered by all workers and would provide conservatives with a great opportunity to cut taxes for all income levels. The only casualty of such a plan would be our record high revenue that purveys the federal leviathan. And that is a good thing.