Lois Lerner’s Sad Attempt to Renew Her Image

Friday, September 26th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Taxes

After 16 months of silence, shamed IRS official Lois Lerner finally spoke out. Unfortunately, it was in a puff piece published in Politico, with strong quotes from Lerner assuring folks that “I didn’t do anything wrong” and that she’s doing just fine.

That’s great for her but what about the people affected by her biased, illegal actions? The Politico piece gives no indication that Lerner has any sympathy for the grief her department caused. In fact, she says “I am not sorry for anything I did.”

She plays the victim and denies any knowledge of how emails sent at the time Tea Party groups were allegedly targeted disappeared. It’s interesting she chose to speak out now — apparently to a very friendly reporter — after she pleaded the Fifth last year before the House Oversight Committee. In fact, the entire House voted to hold her in contempt of Court then.

In light of that, it’s ironic we’re hearing from Lerner first in a Politico puff piece. Why? Because U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald C. Machen, Jr. is supposed to be getting Lerner in front of a federal grand jury for an interview. It’s actually mandatory for him to do so but it’s been 4 months since he received the citation and nothing has moved forward. Lerner could be put in prison for up to 12 months for her contempt, but it seems she’s not a priority for the Administration.

Why is she drawing attention to herself now? Image restoration. She doesn’t want to be the “bad guy” forever so it’s time to restore her reputation and this was the first step. Unfortunately for her, it may be an impossible feat. It’s unclear whether anyone buys her innocent routine but she may not care if she gets off scot-free.

She left the Department last year but is still receiving a $100k annual pension so apparently, she really is doing just fine.

Thank you, taxpayers, for that.

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Bob Corker Proposes Massive Hike in Gas Tax

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Taxes

What better way to distinguish ourselves from Democrats than to propose a 12-cent increase in the dreaded federal gasoline tax at a time when gas prices are skyrocketing?

One of the reasons Republicans always lose policy fights is because their starting point in crafting solutions is born out of a Democrat premise.  One illustrative example of Republicans playing follow-the-leader with Democrats is on surface transportation policy.

In recent years, Democrats have bemoaned the “antiquated” and “crumbling” infrastructure as they promote more taxes and spending at a federal level to build roads and bridges – something everyone agrees is a vital function of government.

But which government or governments should be responsible for the lion’s share of surface transportation in the future?  Should we continue raising taxes and pumping hundreds of billions more into the failed federal sinkhole?  Or should we allow the 50 states to retain most of the authority over a function that is uniquely local in nature?

Evidently, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) thinks we should double down on the latter.  He is proposing a 12-cent increase in the federal gas tax (it is currently 18.4 cents per gallon) in order to raise $164 billion over 10 years.  His plan, which is sponsored by Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, will undoubtedly lead to more waste.  And we all know that in 10 years from now they will be proposing yet another gas tax increase.

Adding insult to injury, Corker plans to offset the broad-based regressive tax hike with targeted tax breaks for corporations!

“One big GOP selling point was that the tax increase would not violate the Americans for Tax Reform pledge if it is paired with a provision making some popular tax breaks that are typically part of the tax extenders package permanent.

According to Corker, the list of tax breaks includes: research and development tax credit; Section 179 expensing, a tax break encouraging small businesses to by business equipment; the deduction of state and local sale taxes; the deduction of up to $250 in classroom expenses that teachers paid for out of their own pocket; a subsidy for mass transit and benefits given for land donated for conservation purposes.

“If you just took those, we do them each year, but you make them permanent; I don’t think there is anybody that disputes making those permanent, by the way, that alone would generate $189 billion in savings over the next 10 years,” Corker said. “So if the Finance Committee chose to link this … with that … you would not be violating the pledge.”

Wow – that is a winning message for a party that wants to appeal to the middle class.

Instead of agreeing to the Democrat premise, why don’t Republicans show the American people how the entire federal transportation system is broken and inefficient?  Why hit the American people with a massive tax increase when we can devolve transportation to the states?

Just another day in the minds of those who lead the Stupid Party.

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What will the GOP do about the Latest Cap and Trade Scheme?

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Economy, Taxes

It is has been noted in recent years that a good percentage of Americans do not pay income taxes.  However, we must remember that all Americans incur the cost of the hidden tax of regulations.  According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), burdensome regulations drain $1.86 trillion from the private economy every year.  The tab is $15,000 per family, more than many families pay in federal income taxes.

The cost of the regulatory state is paid for in the form of higher costs for food, energy, transportation, and healthcare.  It is also actualized in the form of lower wages and less job opportunities.

As CEI notes, just last year the administration finalized another 3,659 regulations. It’s no surprise that five years into the most tepid economic recovery in recent years, the economy is actually contracting again.

Naturally, the Obama administration is planning to rub salt on the wounds of the American economy by implementing Cap and Trade style regulations that will shutter American manufacturing.  The EPA has released a 645-page plan forcing all power plants to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.  Much like Obama’s administrative Dream Act, this devastating version of Cap and Trade never passed Congress.

So after creating a permanent part-time economy and driving up the cost of healthcare with Obamacare, this administration seeks to crush the average family with higher energy costs, which in turn, jack up the cost of most other vital goods and services.

In recent months, a slew of Republicans have introduced policy proposals attempting to appeal to middle class families.  There is no better way to advocate reducing government than by promising to reduce the regulatory state.  Along with repeal of Obamacare and opposing open borders (which hurts workers and taxpayers), the crushing burden of energy regulations must play prominent in any general election campaign.

On the surface, this is an issue for which all Republicans can unite and fight with a coherent message.  After all, the Chamber of Commerce is actually on the right side of the issue.  But there are two important observations that cannot be overlooked.

It’s easy for the Chamber and establishment Republicans to act outraged over the regulatory state when the EPA announces crushing regulations.  But what these people fail to see is that they are responsible for growing government and interjecting it into every aspect of the economy – to the point that they now feel that can control entire industries, such as energy, healthcare, and financial services.  People like Thad Cochran can’t have it both ways.  They can’t embrace the federal hand that subsidizes private enterprise and then complain about the hand that regulates them into submission. It is years’ worth of bipartisan work from the Chamber and pay-for-play Republicans to expand the role of government that has allowed the bureaucracies to grow large and brazen enough to regulate anything that moves.

The other point to consider is that although all establishment Republicans claim to be outraged over the latest Cap and Trade scheme, what are they going to do about it?  Remember, even if Republicans win control of the Senate, it will not change the balance of power.  They will not have control over the executive agencies, and Obama will be as truculent as ever in ruling by administrative fiat during the lame duck of his presidency.  Republicans already have control of the purse-string in the House – the last recourse to check against abuse of executive power – yet they sabotaged our only attempt to use it.

At some point, Republicans need to look beyond the next election to solving the constitutional crisis that is upon us.

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Shift Power Back to the States

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Issues, Taxes

Anyone who reads the plain language of the Constitution and the writings of James Madison would come away with the unambiguous impression that the Founders vested the federal government with very few powers – powers that they felt could only be executed by a central government.  Much of what the federal government does in this post-constitutional era is not only superfluous but deleterious to economic growth and free market fairness.

However, there are other functions that are vital and important, albeit best left up to state and/or local governments to administer.  On this day 88 years ago, President Calvin Coolidge delivered a speech at the College of William and Mary echoing this very sentiment:

“We must also recognize that the national administration is not and cannot be adjusted to the needs of local government …

The States should not be induced by coercion or by favor to surrender the management of their own affairs.

The Federal Government ought to resist the tendency to be loaded up with duties which the States should perform.

It does not follow that because something ought to be done the National Government ought to do it.”

Two major issues that fit into this category are authority over transportation and education.  Both of those issues are in the news today, and conservatives should take note if they plan to effectively advance a conservative reform agenda in the coming years.

Transportation

With regards to transportation, once again the Senate is doubling down on the failed transportation policy of the federal sinkhole.  The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a $265 billion highway bill, which dictates full control over transportation policy for all 50 states.  Each state has its own unique population, geography, topography, and transportation needs, yet it is all centrally planned in one 5-year bill from Washington.  Naturally, when you couple the inefficiencies with federal labor and environmental mandates, along with $43 billion spent on mass transit, the revenue collected from the federal gasoline tax can no longer cover the full cost.

Instead of taxing or borrowing our way out of the quicksand of inefficient federal policy, we should devolve most transportation authority to the states.  Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) have companion bills (S. 1702/ HR 3264) to do just that.  Each state would levy its own tax to purvey highway projects and can easily prioritize the level of taxation and spending based upon its needs.  This is not even a left or right issue.  More liberal states would naturally levy a higher gas tax to fund infrastructure projects, while conservatives would cut other functions deemed unnecessary or harmful.  But that should not be decided by the federal government.

Education

Education is also an important function that should be controlled by those closest to the classroom, particularly local governments.  While our ultimate goal must be to remove the federal government from K-12 and higher education altogether, there are two promising bills from Senator Lee that would empower state and local governments with control over some aspects of education.

After a half century of producing no positive results, Senator Lee and Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) want to devolve the $8.6 billion budget for the Head Start program to the states (S. 2119/HR 4481).  The program has done nothing but self-perpetuate and create jobs for special interests.  There is certainly nothing to lose by letting the states experiment with the money already appropriated.

Another bill (S.1904), sponsored by Senator Lee and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), would reform accreditation for institutions of higher education.

One of the major problems with the Department of Education is that is distorts the “education market” much like any other government intervention in the private economy.  The current higher education accreditation system is controlled by the federal government and creates a one-size-fits-all system that is heavily slanted towards conventional four-year college degrees.  This system does not work for everyone, but the accreditation process has forced many people into this framework, even if they would like to pursue other educational training.  In turn, it has contributed to the “education bubble,” in which federal bureaucrats work with leaders of higher education to over-utilize and over-emphasize the current system, thereby driving up the cost of an education – and by extension – student loan debt.

Senator Lee’s Higher Education Reform and Opportunity [HERO] Act would allow states to create their own system of accreditation, which could grant students the same benefits and status for pursuing alternative coursework, apprenticeships or vocational training.

Every Republican publicly decries the growth of the federal government, but many decline to divulge which functions they would eliminate other than rooting out waste and fraud.  Senator Lee’s bills on education and transportation provide conservatives with a solid opportunity to advocate limited federal government, federalism, and changing course from decades of failed policies by the federal government.

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The Simple Truth of Tax Policy

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:

tax graph

  • 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.

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Will Paul Ryan Fight for his Budget?

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Economy, Taxes

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his budget proposal for FY 2015 yesterday, and as expected, it is quite similar to the budget blueprints from previous years.  Let me first say that this budget would be superior to the status quo a million times over.  Medicaid and Food Stamps would be block granted to the states and Medicare would be subject to at least some optional free market reforms at the end of the budget frame.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be eliminated.  And most importantly, it defunds the Obamacare programs.

If Republicans would only fight for this budget during the debt ceiling fisticuffs, many conservatives would be more than satisfied.

But that is the point.  Given the fact that Republican have no intention to fight for even some major components of this budget when the deadline looms in September, why put out a half-baked proposal?  If this is just designed to be a messaging document that is tossed in the trash at the end of the fiscal year, why not place our ideal proposal on paper?

Ultimately, Ryan accepts the entire fiscal cliff ($618 billion) and Obamacare tax increases (roughly $1 trillion), working off the [optimistic] CBO 10-year revenue projections of $40.6 trillion.  Yet, even with the optimistic revenue projections and tax increases, the budget still runs deficits because not enough government programs are phased out or reformed, especially in the Department of Education and some of the other bloated bureaucracies.

As you can see, this year’s budget proposal is essentially the same as the FY 2014 document.  It’s just that entitlement spending will grow every year, engendering a $1.2 trillion increase in this year’s budget.  Even in the near term, this budget actually spends more, increasing spending in 2015 to $3.664 trillion ($166 billion more than what as projected in last year’s budget).

FY 2015

Outlays $42,636

Revenue $40,630

FY 2014

Outlays: $41.466 trillion

Revenues: $40.241 trillion

Hence, although the budget comes close to balancing in 10 years from now, much of that is achieved by accepting the current tax baseline.  Republicans should be able to show how the budget balances within a conservative framework of the tax code.  Granted that this budget would easily balance if we implement Medicare premium support before 2014, but that is the point.  If we plan to leave traditional fee-for-service Medicare in place and make premium support optional, why not begin the free market option earlier?

Moreover, there is a difference between balancing a budget and limiting government.  Balancing a budget is all about accounting.  You can coalesce enough small cuts across many programs and come up with a big number, without ever eliminating many of the 2228 federal government assistance programs.  I’m not sure how many of them would be abolished under this budget, although as mentioned earlier, solid reforms are imposed on Medicaid and Food Stamps.

Even as it relates to cutting raw dollars and cents, spending would increase, on average, 3.5 percent a year until 2024.  In other words, the federal government will still grow faster than the private economy.

Overall, this would be a great start if Republicans planned to fight for this document throughout the appropriations season.  They should announce upfront that they have no plans to pass a CR or omnibus bill this year and force Democrats to go to conference on each of the 12 appropriations bills through regular order.  That way, we can fight Obamacare in the HHS bill without fear of the Democrats holding the rest of government hostage.  Yet, that demand has not been made.  And sadly, we know from past experience that Ryan will be the first one to ditch his own budget when the going gets tough in September.

One other important point: if Ryan gets his way on amnesty, all of the supposed savings from welfare reform will be rendered null and void.

Cross-posted at RedState.com

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A Conservative View of Dave Camp’s Tax Reform Bill

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Economy, Taxes

Yesterday, Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI), the House Ways Committee Chairman, released his draft proposal for comprehensive tax reform.  The mere proposition of positive tax reform is a welcome development.  Even though we clearly lack the votes to enact any tax reform until at least 2017, it is still important to stand on bold colors and offer an alternative vision to the current socialist path from this administration.

On the other hand, if we are going to propose Republican ideas for tax reform just for messaging purposes, we should put forth the boldest tax plan possible – one that embraces completely the concepts of fair and flat and not one that is tendentious or punitive towards any group of people or individual.  It’s not that a compromised version of tax reform isn’t better than the status quo,   but because this is an exercise in messaging, we should propose a bill that fully adopts conservative principles and eschews every premise of class warfare. The purpose is to talk about ideas and principles, not try and win points for being measured in our approach.

The conservative principle of any tax reform – short of wholesale repeal of the 16th Amendment and implementation of the Fair Tax – should have the following goals in mind: it should tax everyone at the same low rate (at least on all income above a certain minimum), that rate should be just enough to net the minimal amount of revenue to sustain a constitutional government, and done so in a way that engenders the least amount of disincentives to produce and invest in the economy.

Obviously, we have to deal with a short-term reality that we don’t have a constitutional form of government and the current obligations require a certain level of revenue.  But the closer a tax plan gets to following those principles, the more utility it will have in uniting us behind a starting point for future negotiations.

With these principles in mind, it is fair to say the Camp proposal is, at best, a mixed bag.  Here are some of the key proposals for the tax code pertaining to individuals:

Good provisions

  • Individual Marginal Rates: Camp’s bill would collapse the current system of seven tax brackets into just two levels of 25 percent and 10 percent.  Hence, the top marginal rate would be reduced from 39.6 percent to 25 percent.  It’s not the preferred flat tax, but at least it’s headed in the right direction.  The tax cut is further enhanced by expanding the standard deductions to $11,000 for individuals and $22,000 for married couples – up from $6,100 and $12,200 respectively. [However, a portion of that tax cut would be offset by repealing the $3,900 personal exemption.]
  • It abolishes the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax).
  • The deduction for state and local taxes would be eliminated.  In theory, this is a good thing because we don’t need the federal government to soften the blow of high taxation in blue states, thereby shielding bad actors in local government from the wrath of their constituents.  However, as is the case with the mortgage interest deduction [see below], eliminating deductions is only a net positive if marginal rates are dropped low enough to engender a decrease in the effective tax rate. Under this plan, it’s conceivable that some people will see their effective tax rates increase.
  • The plan gets rid of all the green energy social engineering in the tax code.

 

Bad provisions 

  • Surtax: If Camp would have stopped at lowering the top marginal rate to 25%, it wouldn’t be perfect but it would represent serious progress.  However, his plan would impose a 10 percent surtax on certain types of earned income over $450,000 a year.  This is a big shout-out to Obama-style class warfare and fundamentally accepts their false premise that the tax code is not progressive enough.  What’s worse this surtax would apply to healthcare benefits (and the deduction for self-employed), contributions to retirement accounts, and untaxed Social Security benefits. If the point is messaging with this plan, including this provision does nothing but solidify the class warfare argument as an accepted premise.
  • Mortgage Interest Deduction: Under this proposal, the $1 million limitation on the mortgage interest deduction would gradually be lowered to $500,000.  The mortgage interest deduction is the biggest market-distorting provision in the tax code, inducing an inflationary effect in the housing market.  In a true limited government/free market system, we would have a perfectly flat tax at a very low rate, and then completely abolish this deduction.  However, the Camp plan only reduces the rate to 25% with those earning over $400,000 paying a de facto rate of 35%.  So cutting down on the deduction could represent a massive tax increase, especially when coupled with the elimination of other deductions.  Although conservatives would like to see this deduction repealed, under the Camp system it would be better to leave it alone. There are also a number of phase-outs of itemized deductions and  the standard deduction for higher income earners.
  • Although Camp would make cuts to the Earned Income Credit, he would expand the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 per child to $1,500, and increase it with inflation.  If we would abolish the refundable nature of the credit (the ability to make money after zeroing out the tax liability), this would represent pro-growth, family-oriented reform.  However, this change would increase the cap on the refundable portion of the tax credit from 15 percent of earned income [under current law] to 25 percent.
  • Capital Gains:  Under current law, investment income is taxed at a flat rate of 20 percent.  Under this proposal, 40 percent of one’s annual investment income would be completely exempt but the other 60 percent would be taxed at the rate of the filer’s income.  This is a surreptitious way of raising capital gains taxes on those in the new 35 percent tax bracket.

Overall, the basic components of the plan are a step in the right direction.  But when you cut through the changes in deductions and phase-outs, it is clear that many people at the top – those who already pay 38 percent of the income taxes, will be hit with higher effective tax rates.  Additionally, it’s likely that the plan would make the tax code even more progressive.

A flatter, lower tax rate without deductions is the best path to real tax reform, but it all depends on how low the marginal rates are dropped and how severely the deductions are cut.  The balance in this bill is a bit concerning. And the myriad of proposals used to sneak in tax hikes actually run counter to the original purpose of the Camp bill – to make the tax code simpler.

Camp should be applauded for moving beyond platitudes and actually proposing a specific reform plan.  But if this is meant to be used as a messaging tool, much of the proposal is not grounded in conservative principles of tax reform.

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For Immediate Release: Madison Project Opposes Omnibus Bill

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Press, Taxes

No Way to Craft a Budget

The Madison Project PAC released the following statement today regarding the $1.1 trillion, 1586-page omnibus bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“Once again, Republican leadership has shown us that they are not willing to change the culture of backroom spending deals in Washington,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project.  “In 2010, they vowed in the GOP Pledge to America, not to pass massive omnibus bills without enough time to read them.  This nearly-1600-page monstrosity covers every aspect of the federal bureaucracy, yet members will not even have the minimum 72-hours to read the bill, as stated in the Pledge.  Sadly, it has become commonplace for Republican leaders to violate their word precisely when it comes time to pass the most important and contentious pieces of legislation.

“Even after agreeing to increase the topline spending levels under the ill-conceived Ryan-Murray agreement, Republicans still should have pushed for regular order by passing each of the 12 appropriations bills, one-at-a-time.  And at the very least they should have secured a commitment from Democrats to pass next year’s budget through regular order.  This would have made it easier to fight funding for Obamacare in one bill without holding up funding for the entire government.  Instead, taxpayers are left with one massive bill that funds Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and many other liberal priorities without any ability to scrutinize each department separately.”

“These past two years, more than any, it has become increasingly clear that if we ever hope to downsize the federal government and inject more transparency into the legislative process, that we will need to elect a new cadre of committed conservatives to replace the failed leadership in both parties,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project. “That is why the Madison Project will continue to support and encourage conservative candidates that will hold true to their campaign promises and not fall victim to the special interests of Washington like so many today.”

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/

Contact: press@madisonproject.com

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New Year Opens With Big Spending Bang

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Taxes

Congress plans to kick off the new legislative session the same way it ended the last one.  They will continue to spend more money.

When Congress voted on the Ryan-Murray budget deal before adjourning for Christmas, members were only signing off on the topline discretionary spending figures, not the individual accounts for all the departments and agencies.  They agreed to repeal part of the sequester for the next two years.  Consequently, discretionary spending will increase from $967 billion to an annualized level of $1.012 trillion for the remainder of FY 2014.  Congress will now work on passing an omnibus bill with 12 appropriations bills rolled up in one massive piece of legislation, which will reflect the topline figure in the Ryan-Murray deal.

Now, as The Hill reports, the appropriator cardinals are working frenetically to divvy up the new spending among their favorite portions of the government pie.

“Congress is set to unveil a giant spending bill next week that staff for appropriators have been preparing on a near daily basis throughout the holiday break.

Aides say progress on the $1 trillion, 12-part omnibus legislation has been better than expected at the subcommittee level, and that their goal remains to pass the bill through both chambers by Jan. 16 to prevent a government shutdown.

The secretive process has members anticipating rushed votes when they return next week, as congressional leaders race the clock.”

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The Passion of Establishment GOPers in Primaries

Thursday, August 29th, 2013 and is filed under Elections, Taxes

It’s been a tough year for conservatives in Washington.

The year started out January 1 with the Biden-McConnell tax increases and $332 billion stimulus bill.  Then House Republicans met at Williamsburg and decided to suspend the debt ceiling and to fund Obamacare in the March CR – all for the promise of fighting Obamacare and a balanced budget during the next CR/debt ceiling.  Now they are abrogating that promise.

Instead of the House jamming the Senate with good legislation, and Senate Republicans blocking bad legislation, we witnessed the opposite dynamic.  Senate Republicans whipped up votes for Democrats to help pass an online sales tax, the unconstitutional Violence Against Women Act, a massive Farm/Food Stamp bill, amnesty/immigration deform, Filibuster deform, and to confirm every radical Obama nominee under the sun – from Tom Perez and Todd Jones (ATF Director) to Jack Lew, Chuck Hagel, and Samantha Power.

As we head into the most critical part of the 113th Congress, Republican leaders are working to block a fight on Obamacare to free up the schedule for amnesty instead of blocking amnesty to fight Obamacare.  We who have fought for years to elect Republicans are left to wonder if there’s a dime’s worth of difference between these people.  Why are our guys working to push Democrat priorities, especially while most of them are politically unpopular?

Yet, amazingly, they have the mendacity to accuse us of helping the Democrats in primaries when we take them to task for….helping the Democrats.  Suddenly, they are possessed with a newfound passion and zeal against the Democrats.  They are so concerned about Democrats winning the election that they launch scorched-earth campaigns against their primary opponents in a way they would never do against Democrats.

Obviously, their cathartic change during the primary season is not born out of a principled fear of Democrat policies.  After all, these Republicans rubber stamp Democrat policies every day they are in office.  It is born out of a fear of losing power.

But is it really conservatives who are losing all the Senate seats to the Democrats?  Why won’t the Republicans at the NRSC look in the mirror and take the blame for Rick Berg, Denny Rehberg (who campaigned against conservatives), George Allen, Tommy Thompson, and Heather Wilson, all total duds.

We all understand that electoral politics is not easy.  Conservative ideology is enduring and inviolable; human beings are fallible.  It’s not easy to vouch for an individual.  It is certainly vital that every potential candidate be assessed by their ability to organize and prosecute an effective campaign.  However, by nominating someone who is not committed to fighting for Republican values, especially in red states, we lose the election to the Democrats on the day of the primary, irrespective of whether they win the general election.  And as we’ve seen, they often lose the general election anyway.

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