This is a Scandal We Must Not Let Slide

Sunday, May 12th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News

Welcome to 1984.  The government that is supposed to govern by the consent of the people is now attacking those who seek to preserve the Constitution.  Even as a number of non-profit organizations that aid and abet illegal aliens or Islamic terrorists are able to operate without any fear of investigation, we now know that tea party patriot organizations have been singled out for audits by high level officials at the IRS.

On Friday, it was all about “low-level employees” and was not “politically motivated.”  It must have been a random glitch in the system that forced these officials to target limited government educational groups.  Now the AP is reporting that this witch hunt was approved at the highest levels and was going on for 2 years:

The Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration is expected to release the results of a nearly yearlong investigation in the coming week. The AP obtained part of the draft report, which has been shared with congressional aides.

Among the other revelations, on Aug. 4, 2011, staffers in the IRS’ Rulings and Agreements office “held a meeting with chief counsel so that everyone would have the latest information on the issue.”

On Jan, 25, 2012, the criteria for flagging suspect groups was changed to, “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement,” the report says.

During an election year, it’s hard to imagine a directive like this not coming straight from the White House.  Evidently, the audits were so ubiquitous that a number of tea party organizations approached Mark Levin, President of Landmark Legal Foundation, complaining of harassment from the IRS.  Mark Levin then wrote a letter to the Treasury Inspector General last March demanding an investigation into improper inquiries.  These improper inquiries included demands from the IRS that these organizations divulge their political positions on any given policy issue, list all of their key members and family members, and explain their relationships with media outlets.

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21 Republicans Vote for Unconstitutional Interstate Online Sales Tax

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, News, Taxes

Yesterday, 21 Republicans helped secure passage of the Orwellian-named Marketplace Fairness Act.  The bill would allow states to join together in a contract to force online retailers who earn more than $1 million in annual revenue to collect sales taxes on behalf of all 50 states based on the location of the shipping address.

In an effort to rectify what proponents see as an unfair tax advantage over brick and mortar stores, this bill will create a tendentious tax scheme for large online retailers with stores in multiple states, at the expense of small firms who will be encumbered with collecting taxes for almost 10,000 distinct tax jurisdictions.  The bill will also help grow government all over the country, hurt low-tax states, impose taxation without representation, and impede the freest venue of commerce in the world.

Here are the 21 Republicans:

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Paul Ryan’s Busy Week

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Family Values, Immigration, News, Taxes

Here are the rhetorical accomplishments this week of one of the biggest “stars” in GOP politics.

Joining in mass amnesty with a radical Democrat

On Monday, Paul Ryan joined Luis Gutierrez at a rally in Chicago to promote immigration reform.

“A sweeping immigration bill that would provide a path to legalization for millions of illegal immigrants was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week,” WBEZ reporter Alex Keefe notes. “Gutierrez said he and Ryan are in the process of drafting a House bill.”

According to Keefe, Ryan “stressed that changing the “broken” immigration system goes along with quintessentially Republican ideals. He pointed to his own family’s immigration from Ireland during the Great Famine.”

Promoting Gay Adoptions

“I do believe that if there are children who are orphans who do not have a loving person or couple – I think if a person wants to love and raise a child, they ought to be able to do that. Period. I would vote that way. I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman; we just respectfully disagree on that issue,” Ryan said.

It’s funny because Ryan believes that children who were brought here illegally “of no fault of their own” should be given citizenship and welfare.  What about the children who are forced to grow up in a licentious, dysfunctional home of no fault of their own?

Online Sales Tax

Paul Ryan now supports the concept of a online sales tax.  Aside for some technicalities of the current bill, he has no problems with raising taxes and instituting taxation without representation across state lines.

Folks, we’re in a world of hurt.  When do you ever have a prominent Democrat come out one week and evolve on a major issue in favor of conservatives, support massive tax cuts, and join with conservatives on a major right-wing initiative?

There is a reason why we are losing this game.  We have no men on the field.

Internet Sales Tax is Interstate Power Grab

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Taxes

The Commerce Clause of the Constitution has been used as a garbage can of left-wing jurisprudence to grant the federal government infinite power over the the citizenry for years.  Ironically, the original intent of the Commerce Clause was to serve as a check on state power grabs across state lines, not as a new power for the Feds to wield over the people.

Here’s what James Madison had to say about the Commerce Clause in a letter to Joseph C. Cabell in 1829:

For a like reason, I made no reference to the “power to regulate commerce among the several States.” I always foresaw that difficulties might be started in relation to that power which could not be fully explained without recurring to views of it, which, however just, might give birth to specious though unsound objections. Being in the same terms with the power over foreign commerce, the same extent, if taken literally, would belong to it. Yet it is very certain that it grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the non-importing, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government, in which alone, however, the remedial power could be lodged.

Well, in the case of the internet sales tax, Congress finally has the opportunity to exercise its power under the Commerce clause to prevent injustice among the states.  Instead there is a bipartisan consensus in the Senate to allow states to tax internet sales across state lines.

Yesterday, 74 senators, including 27 Republicans, voted to proceed with debate on the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act (S.743).  The bill would essentially allow states to join together in a tax cartel to force online retailers to collect sales taxes on behalf of all 50 states based on the location of the shipping address.   Although the bill never went through regular order and a markup in the Finance Committee, Harry Reid is fast-tracking this bill through the Senate.

Here are my continued concerns about the entire premise of the interstate cartel:

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Dems Vote Down Bill to Ban Tax Delinquents from Federal Jobs

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News, Taxes

Is there no degree of commonsense that Democrats will adhere to?

The media is pining for bipartisan cooperation in Washington.  Well, on Monday, the House brought a bill to the floor that should have passed unanimously.  On Tax Day, Rep. Jasson Chaffetz (R-UT) wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are some federal employees that are delinquent on their taxes.  He brought the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013 (H.R. 249) to the floor under suspension, requiring a 2/3ds threshold to pass.  All this bill would do is make any person who has a seriously delinquent tax debt ineligible for federal employment or to continue serving as a federal employee.  Chaffetz explained the problem in his floor remarks:

In 2011–the most recent year for which the IRS data is available–they tell us that 107,658 civilian Federal employees owed more than $1 billion. Now, the statistics say they have a greater compliance than the rest of the public. But let’s remember, when you’re unemployed, you’re probably going to have a hard time complying. Employment for those that are Federal workers is 100 percent. They have a job. They have a responsibility to pay their taxes.

It was reasonable to assume that he could bring this bill up even under suspension.  How could it fail to garner 2/3ds support?  Well, it did.  It got 250 yea votes and 159 no votes, but fell shy of the 2/3ds supermajorty.  152 Dems, or 75% of the caucus voted it down.

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Taxes, Guns, and Chuck Schumer as GOP Leader

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News, Taxes

Until recently, taxes and guns were the two issues that served as the glue to bind together Republicans of all stripes.  They were the two issues that even feckless elected-Republicans could be counted on to hold the line and stand with conservatives.  But over the past few years, Obama and the Democrats have gotten Republicans to break their impervious opposition to tax increases by supporting “increased revenue” and closing “loopholes.”  Now they are doing the same thing with guns.

Democrats know that they have lost the policy debate on these two issues over the past two decades.  That’s why they will never directly push for sweeping tax hikes on everyone (at least not in a way people will notice) or for complete confiscation of guns.  Instead they are trying to cut around the edges in order to get Republicans on record as supporting some new “revenue increase” or a new gun law, in the hopes of reopening the door on those two issues for future concessions.

On the tax front, they have gotten many prominent Republicans to agree to the premise of closing “loopholes” for those who already pay 40% of the income tax (even after those  so-called loopholes are factored in).  They also got them to sign onto the Biden/McConnell tax increases.  The irony about these tax hikes is that in order to win the messaging war with Republicans, they must target only the very rich.  However, by only targeting the rich, the amount of revenue they raise is so insignificant that it defeats the original purpose of the tax hikes.

Or does it?

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Austerity Cuts vs. Real Entitlement Reform

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare, Taxes

In his latest attempt to cajole Republicans into raising taxes, Obama has called for a budget plan that makes some cuts to Medicare providers and subjects Social Security payments to the chained CPI.  John Boehner was correct to reject this ploy of holding entitlement savings hostage for tax increases.  However, he has come close to negotiating such a deal in the past, and there are some GOP officials who are saying they would still agree to such a trade.  Lindsey Graham has already expressed encouragement over the proposal.

We must remember that even to the extent we would be willing to trade tax increases for something transformational, Obama’s proposal is not entitlement reform, and it certainly doesn’t represent something transformational.  It is a proposal of austerity cuts to the status quo.

The problem with entitlements is not limited to the budgetary cost to the federal government, although that is certainly a major concern.  The problem with our entitlements – in the case of Medicare and Medicaid – is the lack of choices, free market forces, and the inflationary cost of healthcare to the individual.  The problem with Social Security is the lack of private property rights, dreadful rate of return, lack of individual liberty, and hopeless dependency on government.  Limiting benefits to the chained CPI might be fine for the government option, but it should not replace policies that offer more choices.  Means-testing benefits might save money, but we must not forget that Social Security is already means-tested, as its benefit formula is tendentious towards low-income earners relative to what they contribute to the program.

Consequently, any real entitlement reform must follow the principles of free markets, limited government, and individual liberty.  The budgetary problem will self-correct through any conservative reform.  We are all rightfully outraged that Obamacare will force us to purchase health insurance, but where is the outrage over the lack of choice and control over our own retirement and healthcare as seniors?  We don’t need European austerity measures if they will not accompany a pro-growth plan that encourages private ownership and choice in retirement security.

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Guns and Illegal Immigration: It’s Not Just About the Budget

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Economy, Immigration, News, Taxes

Conservatives must remember that although we have focused as a movement on budgetary issues and profligate spending, we are under assault on a number of other fronts.  I have noticed that there are a number of conservative in Congress who don’t care or know much about issues not directly related to the budget.  That is especially true on the issue of immigration.  The irony is that amnesty for illegal aliens and boundless low-skilled immigration will break our budget  quicker than any other policy initiative.  Yet, many conservatives in the House are either indifferent or downright supportive of  some of the amnesty proposals percolating through congress.  We have certainly seen this with some social issues as well.

Over the next few weeks, the focus in Congress will shift from the debt to issues to guns and illegal immigration.  We must stay engaged in all issues that relate to our liberties and sovereignty as a nation.  While some Tea Party and libertarian organizations have sat on the fence on some “non-economic” issues, the Heritage Foundation has continued to fight for all three legs of the Reagan stool.  If you read nothing else today on the web, I encourage you to take a look at two articles from Heritage’s Vice President, David Addington.  The first one, on immigration, cuts to the core of the duplicitous language that GOP and Democrats supporters of amnesty have been advancing:

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26 Republicans Vote for Internet Sales Tax

Monday, March 25th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Taxes

Early Saturday morning, the Senate adopted its first concurrent budget resolution in four years.  Democrats cleverly made sure to hand out enough hall passes to vulnerable red state senators so they could vote against the $1 trillion tax increase, while ensuring that it ultimately passed 50-49.  Senators Baucus, Begich, Hagan, and Pryor were given the green light to vote no.  After a 13-hour “votarama” on 70 amendments, there is a lot to digest.  Obviously, none of this will have the force of law as all of the amendments that passed are attached to this budget resolution, which is dead on arrival in the House.  However, there are some important votes that can be used against Democrats in vulnerable seats, such as those pertaining to Obamacare, abortion, cap and trade, and guns.

On the Republican side, perhaps the most egregious vote was the Enzi amendment to allow states to form a cartel and collect internet sales taxes for other states.  The so-called Market Fairness Act passed in the form of a second degree amendment by 75-24, with the support of 26 Republicans.  This will send the message to Harry Reid that he has more than 60 votes to pass this as a standalone bill.  In doing so, they have voted to grow government all over the country, hurt low-tax states, impose taxation without representation, saddle small businesses with collecting taxes for 10,000 distinct tax jurisdictions, and adulterate the freest most successful entity known to man.  You can read more about it here.

Here are the 26 Republicans:

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Democrats Get Free Pass on Medical Device Tax

Friday, March 22nd, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare

It would be nice if members of Congress were willing to stand by the legislation they helped pass.  Unfortunately, when it comes to Obamacare, there are 33 cowardly Democrats who are scared to vouch for their support of the medical device tax, even though every Democrat voted for it in 2010 (and none of the new Democrat senators have disavowed Obamacare).

Among the 18 new Obamacare taxes is a particularly nasty 2.3% excise tax on the sales of manufacturers and importers of medical devices.  The medical device tax is progressivism at its worst.  It stifles innovation and manufacturing of virtually every medical device known to man – from X-ray machines to wheelchairs and hearing aids.  Medical companies have already laid off thousands of workers in this $140 billion industry, and prices for medical devices are set to rise over the next few years.

It’s not surprising that many Democrats are beginning to feel the pressure back home to repeal this pernicious tax.  So with control of the Senate, and so many Democrats expressing support for repeal, why has the Senate not repealed it?  Because they are duplicitous defenders of Obama.

Unfortunately, Republicans led by Orrin Hatch gave these members a way out by proposing an amendment to the FY 2014 budget resolution which would repeal the medical device tax.  As if on cue, 33 Democrats jumped on board, voting to pass the repeal amendment by a 79-20 margin.  They know that this is only an amendment to a massive budget bill that will never have the force of law. The House budget is dead on arrival in the Senate and the Senate budget is dead on arrival in the House.  Hence, Republicans allowed them to go on record as “repealing the evil medical device tax” without forcing them to make it law.

If 33 Democrats really supported repeal, they could force Harry Reid to bring it to the floor as a standalone bill.  It would immediately pass out of the House with a veto-proof majority.  That would ensure Obama is either forced to sign it or have it become law when Congress overrides his veto.  It’s not hard to understand why Democrats don’t have the guts to embark on such a process.  Instead they will send out press releases about their meaningless vote to placate the medical device companies in their states, all the while doing nothing to push through a slam dunk repeal bill.

For those in the media pining for a spirit of bipartisan, this is exactly why it never works – bipartisanship is always a one-way street.