Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Puerto Rico - Our 51st State?

Puerto Rico is amazing, but do we want it as our 51st state? I don't think so! Would you be surprised to know that later this week the U.S. House is scheduled to vote to begin the process of doing just that?

Is it a good idea? I think we should have some good information before we decide. Brian Darling from The Heritage Foundation released this post today on The Foundry:

According to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the House will vote on H.R. 2499 , the Puerto Rico Democracy Act, later this week. The legislation provides Puerto Rico a two stage voting process and makes some non-resident Puerto Ricans eligible to vote on Puerto Rican statehood.

This legislation has rigged the process in favor of making Puerto Rico the 51st state and is not a fair way to force statehood on a Commonwealth whose people may not want it. Furthermore, this may be an expensive proposition for the American people who are already on the hook for approximately $12.9 trillion in national debt.

This bill attempts to rig the voting process and denies the American people a real say on the issue of whether they want to allow Puerto Rico to be granted statehood.

The fact of the matter is that Puerto Ricans have rejected statehood numerous times and this bill seems to have been written in a way to fast track statehood without a majority of Puerto Ricans favoring the idea.

Furthermore, the people of the United States should be allowed a vote on whether they want to admit Puerto Rico as a new state. If the people of Puerto Rico can vote, the people of the United States should have a vote.

You can read the rest of Brian Darling's post here. Then call your Representative - Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

House Attempts to "Invent" Another DC Congressmen this Thursday! Call!

The D.C. House Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional.
Ask your Representative to vote NO on H.R. 157!
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

After casting a career-defining vote in favor of Big Government Obamacare, congressional liberals know that they have little time left as the majority party in Congress, so they are pushing hard for all the little-known leftist bills that have been sitting in dusty desk drawers for decades. One such piece of legislation is the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act. Just last week, President Obama called on Congress to get this bill passed and to his desk before November 2010 rolls around.

Sponsored by DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009 (H.R. 157) would establish full House of Representatives voting rights for the District of Columbia while adding an additional seat to Utah, a traditionally Republican stronghold and the next state in line to pick up a Congressional seat in reapportionment. However, there is one minor problem: D.C. is NOT a congressional district or a state!

The D.C. House Voting Rights Act would accomplish the following:

• Subvert the District Clause of the U.S. Constitution - Article I, Section 8, clause 17 - which makes clear that D.C. is a federal city, not a state, with final governing authority resting with Congress. The U.S. Constitution states that the House shall be composed of "Members chosen...by the People of the several States," not delegates representing non-state territories.

• Silence critics of D.C. voting rights by buying them off with a "sure Republican" seat because they know the D.C. seat will be a solid Democrat. In the last 12 elections since D.C. was granted the right to cast presidential electoral votes, it has never cast less than 74.8 percent of its popular vote for the Democratic presidential candidate. This move is simply a partisan trade-off by the congressional liberal Majority wanting to add a permanent Democrat vote to their tallies.
• Bribe Republicans to favor the idea by including a provision to increase the number of House Members from 435 to 437 and give the extra Representative to Utah.

• Lay the initial groundwork for achieving the ultimate goal of establishing two permanent Democrat Senate seats for the District. If the initial inclination is for DC to be "considered a Congressional district for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives," then the idea for DC to be "considered a state for the purposes of representation in the U.S. Senate," will not be far down the road.

Simply introducing a bill such as this is unconstitutional! DC cannot be "treated as though it were a congressional district," unless it were formally made a congressional district via a constitutional amendment, which would require a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress as well as three-fourths of the states to ratify it.

This is nothing new from the Left. Congressional liberals have been trying to grant full voting rights to the District of Columbia since the 1980s. The maiden attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution through the "D.C. Representation" Amendment was unsuccessful, after it passed Congress but was rejected by the American people and died on August 22, 1985 after a decisive majority of 34 of the 50 states refused to ratify it. Now, Members of Congress are attempting to forgo the constitutional process and slip one past the American people in order to accommodate their political agenda!

Remember, the Senate passed its version of the DC Voting bill (S. 160) by a vote of 61 to 37 (Roll Call 73) in February 2009. However, that bill stalled in the House because it contained a Senate Republican-offered amendment which repealed strict DC gun laws. Although the language of H.R. 157 has not yet been made public, the bill is expected to contain either the same or similar gun provisions, and although many House liberals favor DC gun control laws, it is likely that the liberal House leadership will approach this legislation in much the same way it did Obamacare: Pass it now, fix it later.


The House is scheduled to vote on H.R. 157 on Thursday, April 22, 2010! Please call and email your representatives and tell them to vote NO on this unconstitutional bill!

Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Firm Pledge

Barak Obama campaigning in 2008:

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Held Hostage With Lies

Dori Monson had this interesting post on My Northwest:

King County officials say they will likely put a sales tax increase on the ballot this summer. They say they need to jack the tax to avoid drastic cuts to police and criminal justice services.

Without the increase, they claim there will be no more tracking of burglars, fewer domestic violence investigations, arrest warrants piling up, and fewer cases filed.

And they say they need to raise the tax because they have already cut to the bone.


Take a look at this link with the list of the 17,894 King County employees and their salaries. I'm not very good with Excel - but I know some of you are. Do any of you in the comments want to take a shot at breaking down how many are making over $100,000/year? What is the average salary?

And see if you can find some of the more ridiculous job titles.

But most importantly, can anyone look at this list and tell me, with a straight face, that there is no fat to cut in King County? And that they need to raise taxes to preserve law enforcement?

Please stop buying this game that our politicians play - holding that which is important to us hostage - so their lies can grease the skids for yet another tax increase. It's an incredibly sleazy, shameless strategy on their part.

King County employee salaries

One commenter discovered this: I count 1,473 employees making over 100k/year while the average gross is $54,349.34. Michael David Miner, Police Officer, added 127k worth of overtime to Gross 228k, more than doubling his salary.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Public Disapproval Grows

A new KING 5 News poll of people statewide finds strong disapproval of the job Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Legislature is doing.

In a poll of 600 adults conducted by SurveyUSA, 62 percent say they disapprove of Gregoire's job performance. 35 percent approve and 3 percent are not sure.

It's even worse for the Legislature. Seventy percent disapprove of the job they are doing while just 21 percent approve. Ten percent are not sure.

The poll comes two days after the Legislature approved about $800 million in new taxes to help close a $2.8 billion budget hole.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Tax Burden Dangerously Shifted To One Side Of The Boat

Much has been made in recent years of the "Bush tax cuts" for wealthier individuals, and certainly there have been benefits for higher-income Americans. But the class warfare waged by Democrats is sorely misguided.

Here are the facts:

- The top 1 percent of wage earners in this country pay more than 40 percent of all federal income taxes.

- The top 5 percent pay over 60 percent of all federal income taxes.

- The top 10 percent pay over 71 percent of all federal income taxes.

Those numbers completely debunk the emotional blackmail coming from the left about who pays the freight in this country.

But it is what it is, as they say. The more troublesome statistic is that we are approaching the day when a majority of this country pays no income taxes.
Think about the ramifications of that.

When a majority of voters receive government services without paying for them, the natural incentive is to seek more of those services -- and not to bother about whether tax rates have to increase to support those services.

That starts a political and mathematical chain reaction that leads toward a financial meltdown. It is simply unsustainable.

Nor is it healthy, even for those who end up on the receiving end.

"We have 50 percent of people who are getting something for nothing," Curtis Dubay, senior tax policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, told the Associated Press.

National policies cannot help but be warped if half or more of the people in this country have no skin in the game.

Moreover, you have to ask: Should Americans even want a tax system that requires nothing of so many of us? Where's the pride? Where's the American spirit of self-reliance and selflessness?

Tax time tends to pervert the spirit. Americans are the most generous on Earth when it comes to helping out the less fortunate with their time, talent and treasure. One recent news report brought that home in a very personal way: A nurse headed for volunteer work in Haiti broke her leg in three places, then learned she had breast cancer -- and she still left for Haiti.

Yet, late-night television ads happily trumpet how individuals and couples have managed to drastically reduce or eliminate the federal taxes they owe. Is that really something to celebrate? Didn't those people just shift more of the tax burden onto you?

A lower tax burden for all is a good thing. But shifting the weight too much to one side of the boat will only make it perilously unstable.

We're all in the same boat. Shouldn't everyone who's capable grab an oar?

Augusta Chronicle Editorial Staff

Obama Tax Hikes...So Far

Yesterday, President Obama made the following comment in Miami about the Tea Party rallies on Tax Day:

"In all, we passed 25 different tax cuts last year. And one thing we haven't done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year -- another promise that we kept," he told supporters at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. "So I've been a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies about taxes. You would think they would be saying thank you."

You know what? You're right, Mr. President. We should be thanking you. Not for keeping your actual promise never to raise "any form" of taxes on families making less than $250,000 (as opposed to the stripped-down promise you make above).

No, taxpayers should instead be "thanking" you for the following tax hikes you have signed into law (so far):

• a hike in the tobacco tax
• a new tax on individuls not purchasing and employers not providing "qualifying" health insurance
• a 40% excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans
• a new "medicine cabinet tax" on over-the-counter purchases from HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs
• increasing the non-medical early withdrawal HSA penalty from 10 to 20 percent
• a "special-needs kids" tax (capping FSA contributions at $2500)
• an increase in the top Medicare payroll tax rate from 2.9 to 3.8 percent (in so doing raising the top marginal tax rate on labor from 37.9 to 43.4 percent)
• a hike in the capital gains rate from 15 to 23.8 percent
• a hike in the dividends tax rate from 15 to 43.4 percent
• a hike in the "other" investment tax rate from 35 to 43.4 percent
• an increase in the "reduction of the deduction" for medical expenses from 7.5 to 10 percent of AGI
• new annual taxes on health insurance companies, innovator drug companies, and medical device manufacturers--which will make
• a 10% excise tax for tanning salon sessions
• eliminating the deduction for employer-provided retiree Rx coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D
• creating the "economic substance doctrine," which allows the IRS to disallow perfectly-legal tax deductions it deems are only being used to reduce tax liabilities
• requiring 1099-MISC information reporting for small business payments to corporations, increasing compliance burdens for small employers

If that's not enough thanks for you, Mr. President, maybe we should also be thanking you for the new taxes that you or your advisors have proposed on top of these tax hikes:

• a European-style value-added tax (VAT)
• a "bank tax," even on financial institutions that never received a dime of bailout money or who paid their bailouts back with interest
• restoring the death tax from totally gone (this year) to either a 45 or 55 percent rate (depending whom you ask)
• a dangerous new "cap and tax" energy tax on every American family who uses energy
• raising taxes on investment partnership managers, which will result in lower profit sharing for charities, universities, and pension plans
• restoring the "Superfund" tax for trial lawyers
• repeal "LIFO accounting," which is a tax hike on every America using liquid energy sources
• imposing a whole host of international tax hikes which will drive jobs and capital offshore
So thank you, Mr. President, for all you've done for us this Tax Day week.

Ryan Ellis, EA
Tax Policy Director of ATR

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Back At Ya! Initiatives Filed To Repeal Democrat Taxes

Tim Eyman took direct aim at the $668 million of new taxes Democrats passed in Olympia on Monday by filing eight seperate initiatives to repeal them. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tax and Run

One of the state Legislature's top lawmakers voted to increase your taxes on Saturday, and then announced her retirement today. Of course she did!

Democrat House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler told the House today that she will not run for re-election in November.

Kessler has been in the Legislature for 18 years and served in the majority leadership team for about a decade. As majority leader, she is the second-ranking Democrat in the state House.

But even that position would not have protected her from the voters - the very real families and businesses she targeted with a multimillion-dollar package of tax hikes she helped pass.

So for Kessler it was tax and run...before November.

Not Enough Doctors

The very real concern of a shortage of doctos was raised in this Wall Street Journal article today:

The new federal health-care law has raised the stakes for hospitals and schools already scrambling to train more doctors.

Experts warn there won't be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

That shortfall is predicted despite a push by teaching hospitals and medical schools to boost the number of U.S. doctors, which now totals about 954,000.

The greatest demand will be for primary-care physicians. These general practitioners, internists, family physicians and pediatricians will have a larger role under the new law, coordinating care for each patient.

The U.S. has 352,908 primary-care doctors now, and the college association estimates that 45,000 more will be needed by 2020. But the number of medical-school students entering family medicine fell more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007.

A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could mean more-limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Hardly Surprising" Americans Personal Income Down Since Obama/Biden Took Office

Real personal income for Americans - excluding government payouts such as Social Security - has fallen by 3.2 percent since President Obama took office in January 2009, according to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

For comparison, real personal income during the first 15 months in office for President George W. Bush, who inherited a milder recession from his predecessor, dropped 0.4 percent. Income excluding government payouts increased 12.7 percent during Mr. Bush’s eight years in office.

“This is hardly surprising,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economist and former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. “Under President Obama, only federal spending is going up; jobs, business startups, and incomes are all down. It is proof that the government can’t spend its way to prosperity.”

According to the bureau’s statistics, per capita income dropped during 2009 in 47 states, with only modest gains in the other states, West Virginia, Maine and Maryland. But most of those increases were attributed to rising income from the government, such as Medicare and unemployment benefits.

Two of the most populous states in the country reported dramatic declines: Per capita income in California dropped 3.5 percent to $42,325; in New York, the drop was 3.8 percent to $46,957.

“The evidence from New York and California reinforces a basic lesson: Where government gets too large, prosperity suffers. Let’s hope that the Congress learns this lesson before it is too late for the country as a whole,” said Mr. Holtz-Eakin, who also served as chief economic policy adviser to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Obama often derided Mr. Bush for what he said were dramatically falling incomes for workers.

“American families, since George Bush has been in office, have seen average family incomes go down $2,000,” Mr. Obama said in a September 2008 speech on the economy in Green Bay, Wis.

The bureau, which doesn’t compile statistics on “family” income, reported that per capita income rose during Mr. Bush’s two terms, from $29,159 to $32,632 (using 2005 dollar values as a base). During Mr. Obama’s 15 months in office, per capita income has dropped nearly 1 percent to $32,343.

The dropping numbers show that the $862 billion stimulus package has not turned the tide on dropping incomes.

Washington Times

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Democrats Give Us The Largest Tax Increase In State History

Today Democrats in Olympia did the only thing they know how to do - raise our taxes.

Not a reform or restraint in sight, they only had eyes for our paychecks proving once again they are perfectly willing to hurt and even destroy employers and working families with the largest tax increase in state history.

Taxes include:

• A 0.30% increase in the B&O tax on all services except hospitals and scientific R&D = $242 million;
• DOT foods = $155 million;
• Cigarette($1 per pack) and other tobacco products = $101 million;
• B&O tax on economic income (Nexus) = $84.7 million;
• 50-cent per gallon (28-cents per six pack) beer tax = $59 million;
• Sales tax on bottled water = $32.6 million;
• Sales tax on candy/gum = $30.5 million;
• 2-cent per 12-ounce soda tax = $33.5 million;
• Taxes on business structure transactions = $8.5 million;
• B&O tax increase on property management salaries = $6.9 million;
• B&O increase on certain canned meat products = $4.1 million;
• B&O tax increase on mortgages = $3.6 million;
• B&O tax increase on corporate officer salaries = $2.1 million;
• Tax increase on bad debts = $1.7 million;
• Tax increase on livestock nutrient management = $1.3 million;
• Tax increase on PUD electric bills = $1.2 million;
• Personal liability for tax debts = $1.1 million.

“Families and small businesses are being targeted by new tax increases that will kill jobs and come at the worst possible time in a down economy. These new tax increases highlight an approach that refuses to reform state government in meaningful ways and embraces business as usual in Olympia.

“There have been solutions on the table since day one of the legislative session that would have created jobs, prioritized government and reformed the budget process. Nearly all of these solutions were pushed aside in favor of new tax increases.” Rep. Doug Ericksen

November is coming.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Imagine All Your Purchases Costing 20% More...

VAT = Very Abominable Tax

President Obama is vetting a new national sales tax (commonly referred to as a VAT) to extract more wealth from the private sector to sustain his insatiable hunger for more government spending.

Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke have commenced a vetting strategy to convince Americans that they need to give more and more money to an every-expanding and bloated federal government. Congress needs to just say no to a VAT — and increased taxation — as part of any pitch by this Administration to balance the budget.

Volker and Bernanke have used a two pronged strategy to vet the VAT. First is fear mongering. Bernanke argues that Americans need to choose between higher taxes or massive cuts in critical government programs.

He mentioned Social Security, Medicare, Education and Defense as areas of government spending that would be targeted if we don’t raise taxes. This is a false choice. The federal government needs to reform entitlement programs, needs to root out waste fraud and abuse and should eliminate programs like the National Endowment for the Arts.

The deficit incurred by the federal government has reached about $12.8 trillion and next year’s projected deficit is record breaking at $1.6 trillion. Obama’s solution? Not cutting government, not ending bailouts, not entitlement reform, and not stopping the Stimulus.

Instead, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke yesterday commenced a debate on higher taxes yesterday, see the Washington Post: To avoid large and ultimately unsustainable budget deficits, the nation will ultimately have to choose among higher taxes, modifications to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, less spending on everything else from education to defense, or some combination of the above.

White House economic advisor Paul Volcker, and former Chairman of the Fed, urged the United States to follow Europe and impose a Value Added Tax (VAT). The Washington Examiner has this description of a VAT:

A VAT is a national sales tax that would be collected by retailers. But it can also be imposed on products as they make their way through the manufacturing process. That is, the tax for a single product is paid by manufacturers, producers, and business that add value to the product, as well as by the consumers. Critics argue that the VAT is a regressive tax that unduly places the burden on the poor.

The reason why elites in Washington would look to a VAT before increasing income taxes (and, believe me, higher income taxes are coming) is because not enough of the population even pays income taxes to make it worthwhile for the government to use the income tax structure to balance the budget.

According to the Tax Policy Center, only about 47 percent of Americans will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Meanwhile, the government can extract the most amount of your wealth from a national sales tax (VAT) and Volker’s statement yesterday evidences a will on the part of this Administration to start the fear mongering process to tee up higher taxes.

Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric on the part of the agents of President Obama when they try to downplay the effort to impose higher taxes on all Americans. Volker and Bernanke would not be messaging for higher taxes if this Administration did not want them to.

A VAT, national sales tax, would be the end of economic freedom as we know it, because the federal government would then have the power to tax all aspects of our lives. Until Washington can restrain spending, we should not entrust it with the power to create a brand new tax.

by Brian Darling

An Obamanation Against Free Enterprise

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the Obama administration is banning internships within private businesses.

Barack Obama is telling teenagers and college students, who are now suffering through a 26% unemployment rate, that they are not allowed to volunteer their time in the free market in exchange for acquiring valuable and relevant job skills that might, just might, get them off the unemployment line — and that ignores the ability to make valuable connections through networking in the workplace and build relationships for future careers and opportunities.

“If … you want to pursue an internship with a for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law,” the Labor Department’s Nancy J. Leppink tells the New York Times.

Since the nation was formed and even before that, apprenticeships and then internships have been a key way for students to acquire valuable jobs skills.

Companies would, frequently through college programs, agree to put a student to work teaching the student a trade. The company would get free labor and the student would, at no cost, get job skills.

It is a tried and true method of acquiring skills in this country. But the Obama administration is declaring such an act against the law.

If you want to work as a Congressional or White House intern, for Organizing for America, or any other non-profit, they’ll let you do it.

But if you want to actually work for a business that produces goods and services in the free market? You’re screwed as is the business.

And guess what? Existing workers will be spread more thinly and college kids will wait longer and longer for jobs.

Barack Obama is opposed to the American free enterprise system. Barack Obama is opposed to an individual’s right to make the individual’s own decisions about what is in the individual’s own best interest.

by Erick Erickson

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where Is My Free Health Care?

By Margaret Talev, McClatchy

Two weeks after President Barack Obama signed the big health care overhaul into law, Americans are struggling to understand how — and when — the sweeping measure will affect them.

Questions reflecting confusion have flooded insurance companies, doctors' offices, human resources departments and business groups.

"They're saying, 'Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?' " said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for eHealthInsurance.com. The California-based company sells coverage from 185 health insurance carriers in 50 states.

McLean said the call center had been inundated by uninsured consumers who were hoping that the overhaul would translate into instant, affordable coverage.

That widespread misconception may have originated in part from distorted rhetoric about the legislation bubbling up from the hyper-partisan debate about it in Washington and some media outlets, such as when opponents denounced it as socialism.

"We tell them it's not free, that there are going to be things in place that help people who are low-income, but that ultimately most of that is not going to be taking place until 2014," McLean said.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Democrat Showdown in Olympia

In Olympia Democrats are in a showdown with Democrats (they have all the power there) over how to raise your taxes. It's getting kind of interesting as reported by Austin Jenkins:

Today marks the start of week three of a legislative special session that, when Gov. Chris Gregoire declared it, was only supposed to last seven days. Each day that passes, Gregoire ratchets up her rhetoric. She’s moved from simply frustrated to now “disgusted” that lawmakers have yet to resolve their differences.

Majority Democrats in the House and Senate are locked in a stare-down over whether to hike the sales tax. The Senate says yes, the House and Gregoire say no. But the governor refuses to flash her veto pen.

Both chambers are so dug in that lawmakers have been sent home to resume their normal lives. Left behind to negotiate are Speaker of the House Frank Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown. On Friday, reporters staking out the third floor of the Capitol witnessed Chopp and his chief of staff cross the rotunda to meet with Brown.

Half an hour later, Chopp emerged with little more to say than he still opposes the sales tax. Brown then invited reporters into her office and offered the first hint that the Senate may blink first. She said she’s begun looking for $200 million in taxes that could replace the Senate’s proposed two-tenths-of-a-penny sales tax increase.

What those alternative revenue sources might be, Brown isn’t saying...yet.

Thursday, April 1, 2010