Minimum wage kills jobs, reduces economic freedom

President Obama’s plan that would increase the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour would not only reduce the availability of jobs (especially in the minority population, Obama’s biggest support group), but it would prevent the freedom of workers to work jobs for less than the minimum wage even if both parties agree to the lower wage, wrote the Cato Institute’s James Dorn in an article published in U.S. News and World Report.

“If the prevailing market wage for low-skilled workers is $7.25 per hour and Congress mandates a minimum of $9 per hour, then workers who produce less than that will not be retained or hired,” he wrote.  In other words, basic economics.  As the government increases the minimum wage, businesses are necessarily forced to make a decision: reduce their workforce or increase prices.  Which would you prefer?

Both, of course, have negative consequences for our nation.  If businesses reduce their workforce, workers who previously had jobs will probably seek unemployment benefits, costing the American taxpayer money.  If companies increase prices, consumers will naturally spend less which, in turn, effects the cash flow of American businesses and may necessitate further layoffs and curtail innovation.  The minimum wage death spiral gets strengthened.

“The best way to stimulate the economy and create jobs is to increase economic growth by expanding free markets, not by increasing government power through a higher minimum wage.”

Tax the rich? Guess what, we already are, big time!

Although the rich are often criticized for exploiting loopholes in our tax system to reduce their tax burden (which does happen), the top 10% in this country also holds the mark for shouldering a widely disproportionately big percentage of federal income taxes every tax year.  Although the top 10% collect about 45% of our nation’s total income, they are responsible for paying over 70% of the nation’s income tax.

I suppose it is clear to see why states with the highest tax burden, like California, New York and New Jersey, have seen a net loss in domestic migration of its residents, while states with lower tax burdens like Arizona, Florida and Texas have seen a rise in migrations.  Combined with state income taxes, many residents in the more heavily taxed states pay more than half of their income straight to the government.

Empirical evidence is clear that taxes effect inter-country migrations, and the states that confiscate more from residents are always on the losing end.  When the rich leave, who is left footing the tax bill?  The bill does not simply go away.

Even Bill Maher, hardly a source for right-wing or conservative commentary, has lamented on his program just this year that taxes are getting more and more outrageous.  “Liberals, you could actually lose me,” Maher said. “It’s outrageous what we’re paying [in taxes]. Over 50 percent. I’m willing to pay my share, but yeah, it’s ridiculous.”

California is often cited as an example of negative inter-country migration, and why not?  Californians recently passed Proposition 30, which not only raises sales taxes from 7.25% up to 7.5%, but also creates new and higher tax brackets for the state’s more successful residents.  Folks making between $250,000 and $300,000 are now forced to fork over 10.3% of their income to the state, up from 9.3%.  The richest people, those earning more than $1 million a year, will pay 13.3%, up from 10.3% (a whopping 3% increase).  Combine that with federal income tax rates and people’s tax burdens in California easily extend past 50%.

In terms of making the rich “pay their fair share”, I agree.  Let’s lower the income tax rate, encourage further innovation, hiring and spending, and keep our nation’s rich people (and their money) happily settled into the United States and our bank accounts rather than in Cayman Island accounts to avoid our nation’s punitive system of taxation.

Feds to take in record amount of tax revenue in 2013

Despite claims that the rich are not “paying their fair share” and government spending that now exceeds the median income for all Americans, the federal government is projected to take in a record amount of revenue this year, exceeding the CBO’s estimates.  By the end of the fiscal year, the government is expected to confiscate from Americans a whopping $2.712 trillion in taxes.

The previous record was set in 2007 when the feds swam in more than $2.5 trillion.

Gun control proponent admits “Constitution is not the gospel”

AR-15In an opinion piece published by the Christian Science Monitor, a Republican and veteran of the War in Iraq and proponent of gun control regulations on “assault rifles” wrote that the Constitution is “not the gospel” and is instead a “living document”.

The piece, published today, details the author’s disappointment that Diane Feinstein’s unpopular assault weapons ban – which would have banned 157 different weapons, not all of them “assault rifles”, will not be included in the Senate’s soon-to-be-released gun control proposal.  What is particularly disturbing is what the man, a veteran of Iraq, believes our Constitution to be.

He wrote (emphasis mine), “I also like to inform my gun-advocating colleagues and friends that the Constitution is not the gospel and has been amended 27 times since its signing in 1787, including for the provisions of universal suffrage and the abolition of slavery. As demonstrated throughout the course of American history, the Constitution has proved to be a living document, which has reflected the state of affairs and needs of its citizenry.”

The implication is clear – to him, the Constitution doesn’t really represent a document that limits the powers of the federal government – as written.  Apparently because the Constitution contains 27 amendments, it no longer constrains the powers of the federal government.  It’s a “living document”, so as a result, it is effectively meaningless.

His larger point was to argue that the use of assault rifles, such as the AR-15 (pictured to the right), are not necessary for self defense, and therefore should be banned.  His argument is simple, but unfortunately, that simplicity fails the smell test of how effective these bans actually are, not to mention how often these guns are used in crime.

“As a former Army officer with extensive experience with military assault rifles, such as the M16 and M4 (variants of the AR-15), both used for the offensive purpose of neutralizing or killing as many combatants as possible in the shortest duration possible, I can attest that these types of weapons cross the commonsense threshold of a weapon of self-defense,” he argued.

In all due respect to the former Army officer, he is using his experience in a combat zone to argue in favor of laws for everybody at home.  Not only is this nonsensical on its face, but it needlessly confuses the real issue of personal defense and the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.  A trained military officer should know this.

The rights of the people to keep and bear arms “for self defense” is not the constitutional right afforded to Americans – but I suppose, when you do not recognize the Constitution to be “the gospel” of government power and the guarantee of people’s rights in the United States anyway, those little tidbits become less important, don’t they?  But more than that – who gives this man the right to determine what is necessary for self defense?  This man is entitled to his own opinion, but enforcing that opinion on the larger population is where problems come into play.

In fact, the former Army officer considers the ownership and use of AR-15s to be selfish and, ironically, “inconsistent with the Constitution that I swore to support and defend while I was deployed to Iraq.”  Inconsistent, you mean, with the document that you appear to be throwing by the wayside?  The document you consider to be a “living document” and not the be-all-end-all of our nation’s founding principles?  Surely you see the irony.

In the same editorial, the author first disregarded the importance of the Constitution, then later uses the Constitution to support his point of view.  This is flat disgraceful.

I deeply respect your service to our nation, sir, but your insistence that the use of AR-15s is selfish and that our Constitution – which you do not appear to respect – does not protect the right of the people to own those weapons, is absurd.  I expect more from someone brave enough to fight in combat zones for their nation.

The Constitution that you took an oath to uphold protects the right to keep and bear arms, and the 27 amendments to the Constitution proves how important the document is.

If the Constitution wasn’t gospel, there would be no need to amend it, would there?

Milking the rich hits new high as average tax rate reaches 35%

Article Highlights

  • Rich paying largest share of federal taxes since 1979
  • Top 1% of earners pay over 35% of income to Washington
  • Bottom 20% pay nothing

A new study published by the Tax Policy Center in Washington D.C. finds that the rich are paying the largest share of federal income taxation in decades, which puts into question Obama’s claim that the rich need to pay their “fair share” to fix our government’s debt problem.

Earners in the  top 1% pay an average of 35% of their income to the federal government, the study found.  The bottom 20% pay nothing, and often, receive more in tax rebate checks than they paid into the system.  This amounts to a deficit in tax payments, and essentially, an additional yearly paycheck.  Historically, lower income earners are paying lower taxes than ever.

“My sense is that high-income people feel abused by being targeted always for more taxes,” said Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center.  Not only do higher income earners FEEL targeted by our tax system, they ARE targeted with high, punitive taxes – revenues that are then either wasted or lost within the incomprehensible layers of our government bureaucracy.

The Congressional Budget Office recently predicted that government revenues in 2013 will set new records.  Add in the fact that the large majority of those revenues will come from higher income earners, and political rhetoric that demands the rich “pay their fair share”, it does not take much of an imagination to realize just how devastating our tax system is to our nation’s future growth.  No wonder the wealthy maintain overseas bank accounts.  No wonder businesses outsource labor to other nations.  If those resources are kept within the borders of the United States, they are confiscated!

It seems the rich are paying their “fair share” after all.  When nearly 1 in 5 Americans pay nothing in taxes at the end of the year, it casts a serious shadow over the merits of progressive taxation and the class-based society that results from those tax tiers.

Government to take in record amount of taxpayer revenue

Article Highlights

  • CBO predicts record tax revenues for Fiscal Year 2013
  • Economy improving from recession since middle of 2007
  • High revenues and high debt illustrates spending problem

In the midst of budget crises and an incomprehensible sequestration nightmare, there is one element of the equation that no politician wants the people to know about: the government is projected to take in records amounts of revenue in 2013, topping off at an estimated $2.7 trillion.

According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, federal revenues have been recovering from the recession since mid year 2009.  The previous record for government revenue was in 2007 where government took in $2.6 trillion in money confiscated from the American taxpayer.

The projected $2.7 trillion in 2013 revenue would be the most money the government has ever taken in, cutting a whole in the argument among our nation’s career politicians that an increase in revenue is needed to avoid budget cutbacks and sequestration, which is a process to withhold money from departments and agencies when debts are high.

When both revenues and debt are high, spending is the problem.  “Tax the rich” schemes do nothing to cure the spending disease in Washington.  The United States government has repeatedly shown that political careers are far more lucrative funding the medicine rather than the cure.

Obama’s State of the Union proposals to cost taxpayers $84 billion

MoneyPresident Obama put forth a plethora of proposals during the State of the Union speech last week that, he said, would not raise the national debt.  According to the National Taxpayer’s Union, the total cost to taxpayers of those proposals could reach $83.4 billion, the most expensive plan yet by Obama during the State of the Union speech.

“This is a slush fund that has a lineage back to the 2009 stimulus and more recently the President’s Jobs Act from the last Congress; back then CBO scored it at $39.16 billion over five years, which breaks down to $7.832 billion on an annualized basis,” said NTU’s Executive Vice President, Pete Sepp.  The taxpayer’s watch dog group estimated the cost to implement 40 items mentioned during Obama’s speech that would cost the American taxpayer.

Speaking of the President’s vague tax proposals, Sepp said that they “contained enough buzzwords to bear a close resemblance to the tax reform blueprint he put out last year, which in turn draws from previous administration plans. The window-dressing changes, but not so much what’s behind it.”

Listen to the Podcast of the NTU analysis.