Category Archives: Entitlements

Income Tax: Why 70 Million Americans Don’t Pay Uncle Sam a Dime — Politics Daily

By midnight Thursday, about 150 million Americans will have buckled down and filed their annual federal income tax returns, and the IRS will begin collecting nearly $1 trillion in revenue from these individuals.

While you struggle to meet your deadline, consider that although the law requires you to file a tax return, more than 70 million of your fellow filers will not owe a single penny to Uncle Sam. As the latest news from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center shows, a record 47 percent of tax filers will have no federal income tax liability this year.

You may wonder, how is this possible? And, more importantly, how can I join this group?

There are many legal ways to reduce your income tax liability to zero. Of course, there are many illegal ways as well, but there’s no sense in breaking the law. Not filing a tax return can get you into big trouble. Two years ago, the actor Wesley Snipes was sentenced to three years in jail and required to pay up to $17 million in back taxes plus penalties and interest because he didn’t file his tax return for three years.

via Income Tax: Why 70 Million Americans Don’t Pay Uncle Sam a Dime — Politics Daily.

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ObamaCare and the Constitution – WSJ.com

The constitutional challenges to ObamaCare have come quickly, and the media are portraying them mostly as hopeless gestures—the political equivalent of Civil War re-enactors. Discussion over: You lost, deal with it.

The press corps never dismissed the legal challenges to the war on terror so easily, but then liberals have long treated property rights and any limits on federal power to regulate commerce as 18th-century anachronisms. In fact, the legal challenges to ObamaCare are serious and carry enormous implications for the future of American liberty.

The most important legal challenge turns on the “individual mandate”—the new requirement that almost every U.S. citizen must buy government-approved health insurance. Failure to comply will be punished by an annual tax penalty that by 2016 will rise to $750 or 2% of income, whichever is higher. President Obama opposed this kind of coercion as a candidate but has become a convert. He even argued in a September interview that “I absolutely reject that notion” that this tax is a tax, because it is supposedly for your own good.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and 13 other state AGs—including Louisiana Democrat Buddy Caldwell—claim this is an unprecedented exercise of state power. Never before has Congress required people to buy a private product to qualify as a law-abiding citizen.

As the Congressional Budget Office noted in 1994, “Federal mandates typically apply to people as parties to economic transactions, rather than as members of society.” The only law in the same league is conscription, though in that case the Constitution gives Congress the explicit power to raise a standing army.

Democrats claim the mandate is justified under the Commerce Clause, because health care and health insurance are a form of interstate commerce. They also claim the mandate is constitutional because it is structured as a tax, which is legal under the 16th Amendment. And it is true that the Supreme Court has ruled as recently as 2005, in the homegrown marijuana case Gonzales v. Raich, that Congress can regulate essentially economic activities that “taken in the aggregate, substantially affect interstate commerce.”

But even in Raich the High Court did not say that the Commerce Clause can justify any federal regulation, and in other modern cases the Court has rebuked Congress for overreaching. In U.S. v. Lopez(1995), the High Court ruled that carrying a gun near a school zone was not economically significant enough to qualify as interstate commerce, while in Morrison (2000) it overturned a law about violence against women on the same grounds.

All human activity arguably has some economic footprint. So if Congress can force Americans to buy a product, the question is what remains of the government of limited and enumerated powers, as provided in Article I. The only remaining restraint on federal power would be the Bill of Rights, though the Founders considered those 10 amendments to be an affirmation of the rights inherent in the rest of the Constitution, not the only restraint on government. If the insurance mandate stands, then why can’t Congress insist that Americans buy GM cars, or that obese Americans eat their vegetables or pay a fat tax penalty?

The mandate did not pose the same constitutional problems when Mitt Romney succeeded in passing one in Massachusetts, because state governments have police powers and often wider plenary authority under their constitutions than does the federal government. Florida’s constitution also has a privacy clause that underscores the strong state interest in opposing Congress’s health-care intrusion.

As for the assertion that the mandate is really a tax, this is an attempt at legal finesse. The mandate is the legal requirement to buy a certain product, while the tax is the means of enforcement. This is not a true income or even excise tax. Congress cannot, merely by invoking a tax, blow up the Framers’ attempt to restrain government under Article I.


READ THE REST HERE:  ObamaCare and the Constitution – WSJ.com.

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Obama: “I Can Go to My Right, but I Prefer My Left” – Political Hotsheet – CBS News

President Obama hit the basketball court and talked politics with CBS “Early Show” co-anchor Harry Smith this morning.Smith asked Mr. Obama, who is left-handed, if he can ever go to his right.”I can go to my right, but I prefer my left,” the president says.He doesnt always sink his famous jump shot.”You know, Ive got a few other things on my mind,” said Mr. Obama, who then makes the jump shot. “Its like health care, I always come from behind – I finish strong.” Watch the video at left.Watch for more of Smiths interview with Mr. Obama tonight on the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” and Friday morning on “The Early Show.”Smith also asked the president if he is aware of the extreme terms some use to describe him, such as “socialist” or “Nazi.”

Read the rest and watch the video here:  Obama: “I Can Go to My Right, but I Prefer My Left” – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

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Moneynews – Professor: Huge Deficit Will Cause Dollar to Collapse

The federal deficit may soon cause a “collapse” of the dollar, Stanford University economics professor Scott S. Powell writes. In an opinion piece in The New York Post, Powell notes that the ratings agency Fitch just cut Portugals bond rating to AA negative — a clear sign that the insolvency crisis that began in Greece is far from over. “And dont think its merely a problem for the European Union. In fact, a debt-driven collapse of the dollar may be closer than most Americans realize,” he writes. Before the government bank bailouts, gross federal debt was 70 percent of gross domestic product GDP. “Its now estimated at about 90 percent of GDP. Add in the $1.6 trillion debt liability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and were already at that 100 percent debt-to-GDP tipping point,” writes Powell. “No, the United States isnt Greece: For a host of reasons, we can probably get away with higher debt. But our problem is about to grow worse.”Right now, low interest rates make federal borrowing seem cheaper than it actually is — because those interest rates wont stay at zero forever.“And when rates head back to normal, Uncle Sams borrowing costs could easily double. We spend 11 percent of the current budget — $382 billion — on debt service; that could rise two- or three-fold to more than $800 billion, warns the CBO,” says Powell. Adding to the pressure on the dollar — inflation related to new job creation once the economy really starts to expand, reports CNNMoney.© Moneynews. All rights reserved.

via Moneynews – Professor: Huge Deficit Will Cause Dollar to Collapse.

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Joe Biden On Taxes: You Call It “Redistribution Of Wealth,” I Call It “Just Being Fair”

In part two of my exclusive interview, I asked the Vice President whether we can afford these tax cuts, given the country’s massive federal deficits. Biden’s view is that we can’t afford not to do them: “We can’t afford to leave the middle class behind,” he says. “These things matter to people who are struggling and they matter to people who have lost their jobs as well.”

There’s also the issue of whether these tax cuts, in conjunction with the health care reform bill signed last week, represent a redistribution of wealth in America, as many claim.

“It’s a simple proposition to us: Everyone is entitled to adequate medical health care,” Biden says. “If you call that a ‘redistribution of income’ — well, so be it. I don’t call it that. I call it just being fair — giving the middle class taxpayers an even break that the wealthy have been getting.”

The top quintile of Americans earned 55.7% of pretax income and paid 69.3% of federal taxes in 2006, according to the most recent CBO data. But the Vice President isn’t buying the idea that the wealthiest are already paying their fair share, noting the top 1% of earners get 22% of all income made in the U.S.

“Taxes have been lowered for the wealthy considerably over the years,” he says. “It’s about time we get a little tax equity here.”

Read the entire Article and Watch the Video Here:  Joe Biden On Taxes: You Call It “Redistribution Of Wealth,” I Call It “Just Being Fair”.

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Energy & Commerce Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Impact of Health Care Reform Law on Large Employers

Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak today announced that the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on April 21, 2010, regarding claims by Caterpillar, Verizon, and Deere that provisions in the new health care reform law could adversely affect their company’s ability to provide health insurance to their employees.  These assertions appear to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs.

Chairman Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Stupak sent a letter to the Chief Executive Officers of Caterpillar, Verizon, Deere and others requesting their testimony at the hearing as well as information and documentation from each company on the law’s projected impact.

Documents

via Energy & Commerce Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Impact of Health Care Reform Law on Large Employers.

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The Tax Foundation – Basic Facts on Redistribution and the Impact of Obama’s Policies

Introduction

The debate over taxing high-income families to fund the expansion of health care coverage in America has renewed the broader question of government’s role in redistributing income through tax and spending policies. What is missing from this debate is some hard numbers on how much current tax and spending policies redistribute income from some Americans to others and how much the policies advocated by the Obama Administration will change the overall amount of redistribution.

The Tax Foundation’s “Fiscal Incidence” project has filled this void by first calculating how much current tax and spending policies are redistributing, then estimating how much President Obama’s policies—from taxes to health care to climate change—will alter that redistribution. Simply put, the Fiscal Incidence Model[1] compares the total amount of federal taxes families pay (such as income taxes, excise taxes, payroll taxes, etc.) to the total amount of government spending they receive (such as entitlement benefits, defense spending, public works, etc.).

How the Money Comes and Goes

We divide American families into ten equal groups by income level, and at the top end of the spectrum, we are able to break that 10 percent down into smaller groups. In general, as anyone would expect, families who earn more pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits while families who earn less receive more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes. These individual results are then summed up into a national picture of how much tax and spending policies redistribute income from some American families to others.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE:  The Tax Foundation – Basic Facts on Redistribution and the Impact of Obama’s Policies.

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