Archive for the ‘Small Business’ Category
Why do we have such massive deficits? Because if the government actually tried to collect the amount it needs to cover its current spending levels and unfunded liabilities, it would trigger a revolt – and that’s not a metaphor.
The truth is that our politicians have been very careful in their labeling of government receipts and payments so as to keep most of the coming bills associated with ‘Take As You Go’ off the books. Consider, for example, Uncle Sam’s promises to pay me my Social Security and Medicare benefits starting in roughly 10 years. The present value (the value in the present) of these promises is $400,000. How does this differ from my holding a Treasury bond valued at $400,000?
Fundamentally, it differs not at all, which means that the government has a lot more debt than it’s reporting.
How much more?
I’m not sure you want to know. I recently calculated the fiscal gap using the CBO’s AFS forecast. The fiscal gap measures the present value difference between all projected future federal expenditures (including servicing official debt) and all projected future taxes. The fiscal gap is thus the true measure of our government’s total indebtedness and the true measure of fiscal sustainability.
How big is the fiscal gap?
Brace yourself. It’s $222 trillion large! In comparison, official debt in the public’s hands is only $11 trillion.
Here’s one way to wrap your head around our $222 trillion fiscal hole: closing it via tax hikes would require an immediate and permanent 64 percent increase in all federal taxes. Alternatively, the government could cut all transfer payments, e.g., Social Security benefits, and discretionary federal expenditures, e.g., defense expenditures, by 40 percent. Waiting to raise taxes or cut spending makes these figures worse.
In short, our government is totally broke. And it’s not broke in 30 years or in 20 years or in 10 years. It’s broke today.
How do we know that a dollar bust is upcoming? The interest we pay on our national debt indicates our future. The interest the United States pays on its debt is now above $350 billion per year. Because more than 43 cents of every dollar the United States spends is now borrowed — and plans are in place to add about a trillion dollars more in debt each year — the interest payment on U.S. debt is expected to climb to a trillion dollars per year in 2017.
In other words, in four years, the interest on the debt will consume almost half of all revenue that the government collects, and each year after that it will get progressively worse — until it consumes all revenues.
As the interest on the debt grows, we won’t be able to borrow enough to pay our bills, and the government will have to either simply print more money to pay up or default. It will likely at least try printing money, and this is when inflation will zoom atmospherically. Even Ben Bernanke, the head of the Federal Reserve, acknowledged this scenario last year.
The chance that the United States will avoid this path in our near future is infinitesimal, but there is a chance. An unexpected business boom could spare us — socialist Norway stays solvent via exploiting oil revenues, and the United States has some of the biggest oil reserves in the world — or a massive downsizing of government could spark a boom — as happened during the Harding administration and at the end of WWII— but there’s little chance of either happening.
The government is issuing smothering business regulations and taxes, and the government will likely run higher debts than projected, not lower.
Debts will likely be higher for many reasons: Not only did the administration fight the minuscule sequester cuts tooth and nail,ObamaCare is much more expensive than promised and will only reduce costs if the death panel lives down to its name, as well as devastating the small businesses that most influence employment. Also, year-in and year-out, Congressional Budget Office figures used to project future tax revenues have predicted a rapidly growing economy and been consistently wrong; the federal flood insurance fund is empty; the Social Security Disability fund is almost empty; etc.
The great majority of U.S. spending is claimed to promote “fairness,” while critics have argued that it is immoral for Baby Boomers — the group mainly responsible for electing political spendthrifts — to heap devastating debt on their children and grandchildren. Ironically, the imminent demise of the dollar has accelerated to where the dollar will almost certainly crash during most Boomers’ lifetimes, so they will have to suffer along with their offspring.
I guess that’s fair.
It’s been three years since Obamacare was rammed down our throats, and damage is already apparent, even before it is fully implemented.
Over one-third of the 9.1 million full-time jobs among America’s diverse business franchises could be cut back or eliminated by Obamacare as small businesses struggle to maintain profitability while coughing up money to pay for Washington-mandated health care coverage, according to the International Franchise Association.
John Merline at Investors Business Daily lists other nasty features that are finally coming to light:
Cause premiums to skyrocket. In December, state insurance commissioners warned Obama administration officials that the law’s market regulations would likely cause “rate shocks,” particularly for younger, healthier people forced by ObamaCare to subsidize premiums for those who are older and sicker.
“We are very concerned about what will happen if essentially there is so much rate shock for young people that they’re bound not to purchase (health insurance) at all,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.
That same month, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said ObamaCare will likely cause premiums to double for some small businesses and individuals.
And a more recent survey of insurers in five major cities by the American Action Forum found they expect premiums to climb an average 169%.
Cost people their jobs. The Federal Reserve’s March beige book on economic activity noted that businesses “cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff.”
Around the same time, Gallup reported a surge in part-time work in advance of ObamaCare’s employer mandate. It found that part-timers accounted for almost 21% of the labor force, up from 19% three years ago.
Meanwhile, human resources consulting firm Adecco found that half of the small businesses it surveyed in January either plan to cut their workforce, not hire new workers, or shift to part-time or temporary help because of ObamaCare.
Tax the middle class. IBD reported in February that much of the $800 billion in tax hikes imposed by ObamaCare will end up hitting the middle class, including $45 billion in mandate penalties, $19 billion raised by limiting medical expense deductions, $24 billion through strict limits on flexible spending accounts, plus another $5 billion because ObamaCare bans using FSAs to buy over-the-counter drugs.
Every year, the federal government spends well over a trillion dollars more than it takes in. As a result, it has racked up seventeen trillion dollars in debt, most of it in the last decade. In seven years at current rates, the U.S. will need almost a fifth of the GDP from the rest of the world just to finance our national debt.
Just two of our federal entitlements, Medicare and Social Security, have “unfunded future liabilities” of $46.2 trillion. Total liabilities are $86.8 trillion or more. Entitlements and other mandatory spending will burden more and more of the federal budget in the coming years. At today’s burn rate, before long no realistic amount of tax revenue will be able to service the debt and fund the government’s basic functions.
We need not worry about the federal government defaulting, since, unlike U.S. states or private citizens, it can print the money it needs to pay the bills. It can and will do so if we don’t make a course correction fast. Massive monetary expansion will ultimately devalue every dollar in circulation and trigger the sort of hyperinflation that flattens entire societies in short order. That’s bad enough, but when government borrows and spends for our supposed benefit, somebody else will have to foot some or all of the bill. If our faith applies to every aspect of life, then it must have something to say about this moral outrage.
[...] In the twentieth century, more than a hundred million people were murdered by their own governments. And that was just in communist countries. History and scripture agree: because of sin, governments with too much power become propagators of evil and destruction.
This speaks directly to government debt, since deficit spending is a symptom of government doing more than it can or should. The federal government now borrows and spends with such reckless abandon that it is careening toward a global economic catastrophe. If Christians can’t muster the courage to speak out against what Rep. Paul Ryan has called “the most predictable debt crisis in history,” we won’t deserve to be taken seriously after the collapse.
Sadly, many Christians don’t know how to disciple our nation to turn the tide because they’ve never studied God’s design for economics or the Biblical role of government. They can’t teach what they don’t know. The key to real reformation, says R.C. Sproul, Jr., is for Christians to understand and work to implement Biblical economic principles:
Christian author and teacher R.C. Sproul, Jr. told CBN News Anchor Lee Webb that he believes it’s time to return to the basics when it comes to economics.
“When we’re left arguing about whether or not we should have a marginal tax rate of 45 percent or 48 percent, and the conservative is stuck arguing for the 45 percent we’ve had an insufficient reformation in our thinking,” Sproul said.
Sproul believes that reformation will happen only when we return to scripture to see what God has to say about economics. That’s why he produced a video series called “Economics for Everybody.” It’s a compelling, even entertaining approach to a topic many find boring.
[...] Sproul provides historical evidence that nations most influenced by biblical Christianity are nations that, by and large, have prospered. They are nations marked by decentralized governments and free markets.
But nations that reject God are marked by centralized power, tyranny, and no free markets. Unfortunately, he said he has observed some of those troubling trends in America now.
“The United States is not a free market. It’s an interventionist economy that’s been moving closer to socialism for over a century now,” he said. “I am not optimistic about our nation’s future economically.”
“We live in a country in which the state forbids me to hire a man unless I promise to pay him X number of dollars,” Sproul explained. “We now live in a country where I can’t hire 50 men unless I promise to buy them all health insurance, including access to abortion.”
“This is not economic liberty. This is not free markets,” he said. “We’re missing the fact that we’re the frog and the water is boiling.”
That’s why Sproul believes it’s not enough to think conservatively. We must think biblically and train our children biblically.
“It’s my conviction that education is always and everywhere religious,” he said.
“And it’s not a surprise that when 80 percent of evangelical parents have their children in the government’s schools that they’re going to embrace the religion of the government which is the worship of the state,” he said.
Sproul cautioned Christians to avoid despair. One way to do that is by returning to the beginning, to the Creation Mandate and begin to see that our work is part of worship.
If you have never watched the “Economics For Everybody” series, I highly recommend it! We cannot teach what we do not know!
Obamacare doing less for fewer and costing more
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We tried to warn you….
First on Obamacare’s hit list…children in poverty:
Come January, many children currently enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will be compulsorily moved out of their current health plans and into state-run Medicaid plans – as a result of Obamacare.
During the 2012 election campaign, Democrats denied that ObamaCare made $716 billion in cuts to Medicare in order to provide funding toward $1.9 trillion in new entitlement spending over the next ten years.
In an announcement on Friday, however, the Obama administration revealed that it would be significantly reducing funding for Medicare, a move that one health insurance analyst said “would turn almost every plan in the industry unprofitable.”
[...] Regarding the cuts, America’s Health Insurance Plans’ (AHIP) president Karen Ignagni said, “Washington cannot tax and cut Medicare Advantage this much and not expect seniors to be harmed.”
Who’s pushing grandma off a cliff, again?
Young adults are not spared the bruising mandates of Obamacare, either:
Younger, healthier people, many of whom voted for Mr. Obama in droves, will see their insurance premiums climb sharply as Obamacare demands that insurers provide them with more medical coverage than they want or need.
[...] Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna Inc. — the nation’s third-largest health insurance company — warned at the end of 2012 that Americans will face a “premium rate shock” when the president’s tidal wave of regulations kick in next year.
Mr. Bertolini predicts unsubsidized insurance premiums will shoot up by 20 percent to 50 percent, on average.
Those numbers may be just for the lucky ones. Some consumers will see their costs double. “We’re going to see some markets go up as much as 100 percent,” Mr. Bertolini told Bloomberg News.
In less than a year, Americans will be hit with not only higher insurance premiums, but massive tax increases:
While much of the dialogue on healthcare reform centers on the federal mandate of health coverage for all Americans – which many conservatives call the largest tax increase in U.S history – less attention is being given to the massive sales tax increase on the purchase of health insurance also implicit within the legislation that will dramatically escalate costs for employers and consumers.
[T]he tax increases that remain on the books will cost taxpayers more than $675 billion over the next ten years. Chief among these will be the sales tax on the purchase of health insurance, totaling $101.7 billion, and making it larger than all the other industry-specific taxes combined.
“The health insurance tax will add a financial burden on families and small businesses at a time when they can least afford it, and it should be repealed, ” says AHIP, a trade association representing health insurance industry providers, in today’s call for the repeal of the health insurance tax before it can take affect.
The costs and regulations are so onerous, some insurance companies are already warning they may not participate in the state exchanges at all:
Last month, the CEO of the nation’s largest health insurance company warned that he and his peers may balk at participating in Obamacare’s insurance exchanges — online, government-run portals where consumers and small businesses without conventional employer-sponsored coverage may shop for policies starting next year.
[...] That’s ominous news for Obamacare. If insurers don’t participate in the law’s exchanges, then consumers who had hoped to secure affordable coverage through the new marketplaces will instead find few choices and high prices. Taxpayers could be hit hard, too, as higher premiums in the exchanges will require more public spending on subsidies.
Due to rising costs, many businesses and individuals may simply choose not to buy health insurance:
[A]s ObamaCare’s official launch date approaches, even its backers are beginning to admit that the law could actually create powerful incentives for millions of people and thousands of businesses to drop their coverage, despite the mandate.
[...] ”We are very concerned,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones told federal health officials at a December meeting, “if there is so much rate shock for young people that they’re bound not to purchase (health insurance) at all.”
The cause of this rate shock is simple: ObamaCare imposes what is called “community rating” on insurance companies, effectively forcing them to charge the young and healthy more so they can charge older and sicker consumers less.
[...] ObamaCare also forbids insurance companies from turning anyone down — a reform called “guaranteed issue” — which also will provide an incentive for some to drop coverage, knowing they can get it back any time.
“Even with the tax penalty … some healthy people would avoid purchasing coverage until they are sick,” Howard Shapiro, director of public policy at the Alliance of Community Health Plans, told regulators .
The problem is that if the young and healthy drop coverage, the result would be what the industry calls a “death spiral.” Premiums will climb as the pool of insured gets sicker, causing still more to cancel their policies.
Of course, the plan all along has been to bankrupt insurance companies and force the creation of a single-payer system.
Ask them if they care.
“For the people, by the people…” Yeah, right!
Regulations are treated as laws and enforced as such, but they are never voted on by the people’s representatives. They are imposed by the “fourth branch” of government: bureaucrats from hundreds of agencies and departments (many of which are unconstitutional or abuse unconstitutional powers).
Now, it’s not that we don’t get to vote on them. We don’t even get to KNOW about them. Does that sound like the system of representative government our founders intended:
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), 35 percent of major federal regulations – those with at least $100 billion in annual economic impact – were issued without a public notice from 2003 to 2010.
The GAO also said that 44 percent of non-major regulations were issued without a public notice, which is referred to as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
“During calendar years 2003 through 2010, agencies published 568 major rules and about 30,000 nonmajor rules,” the GAO said in a December report to Congress. “[Federal] agencies published about 35 percent of major rules and about 44 percent of nonmajor rules without an NPRM during those years.”
The GAO found a large spike in this practice under President Barack Obama, with the percentage of major rules issued without public notice jumping from 26 percent in 2008 to 40 percent in 2009. The number of major rules issued this way also hit a high point in both 2009 and 2010. (Obama’s first year in office as president began in January 2009.)
“In particular, from 2008 to 2009, the percentage of major rules without an NPRM increased from 26 percent to 40 percent,” reported the GAO.
Peter Schiff: Think the Obama Recovery was bad? Just wait until the Obama Recession!
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After four years of reckless spending, $6 Trillion in new debt, massive tax hikes, devaluing the dollar by printing billions out of thin air, Obamacare, and thousands of smothering, anti-business regulations, this economy is THEIRS. We tried to warn them of the tragic results of Keynesian policies, and they wouldn’t listen, so now it’s time to OWN THE CONSEQUENCES.
The American economy has taken a nosedive.
For the first time in over three years, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product shrank. Between October and December of 2012, the GDP had a negative growth of 0.1. And let’s remember that this is the same quarter where we saw the media go into hyper-drive to spin Obama’s anemic job and GDP growth into a repeat of the Roaring Twenties.
The problem with the American economy is that Obama and his media can’t fool it. Happy talk and spin and distractions about contraception don’t create jobs or growth. You might be able to fool legions of people into voting a certain way, but you can’t fool them into spending and hiring and investing.
Naturally, Obama is looking to blame the Republicans for his failures:
In an attempt to get out in front of startling GDP contraction, Democrats are scrambling to blame the unanticipated growth plunge on spending cuts, not President Barack Obama’s trillions in federal spending that have accelerated the need for tightening the nation’s fiscal belt.
[...] These comments telegraph Democrats broader strategy for the days ahead: use the GDP contraction to stoke fears that Republican calls to cut spending or aggressively negotiate the debt ceiling and sequester will drive growth down further.
Such messaging will be a hard sell. First, the negative growth figures come on the heels of Obama’s second inaugural address that boldly proclaimed the “economic recovery has begun.” Furthermore, if Krueger’s argument that cuts in defense spending triggered GDP to nosedive, how will President Obama defend his decision to slash defense spending by $487 billion over the next decade?
Even Politico has dubbed the negative growth numbers “Obama’s GDP headache,” calling it “bad news for Obama” because it contradicts the president’s “we’re-finally-roaring-back-narrative.”
CNBC analyst Rick Santelli was more blunt. “We are now Europe,” said Santelli. “When you act like Europe, you get growth rates like Europe.”
A small, family-owned bakery in Oregon is being investigated for “discrimination” by the Oregon Department of Justice because their faith compelled them to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony.
A woman and her mother came into the bakery asking about wedding cakes. During the course of the conversation, the baker, Aaron, asked the groom’s name. He was told that there was no groom – rather, a second bride. At this point, he apologized and explained that he did not make cakes for homosexual weddings.
The woman apparently left in a huff, and her mother came back to give Aaron a piece of her mind. A few days later, Aaron discovered that a formal complaint had been filed against him for “discrimination,” by the lesbian partner who hadn’t even been present for the discussion. The Oregon Attorney General is now investigating.
Once upon a time in America, the exchange of goods and services was voluntary, unhappy customers were satisfied with taking their business elsewhere, and signs that said “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” actually meant something.
Now, the government wants to tell business owners who and what they must serve, regardless of their convictions. But the sacrament of marriage is particularly sacred and holy to people of faith, and to redefine it in any way is a sin. To take part in a ceremony which seeks to redefine that sacrament would be a violation of this baker’s faith.
Obviously, Aaron has no problem serving gay customers for occasions like holidays and birthdays. This woman had bought a cake from him once before, and had been served with no issue. If she hadn’t been happy with the service, she wouldn’t have come back.
But this time, the customer was asking Aaron to participate in a ceremony which violated his faith. He has a 1st Amendment right to abstain, and the customer has a right to be unhappy about it and never buy there again, but not to force him to accommodate her wedding against his conscience.
A quick peek at their website reveals the reason why this customer’s disgruntled fiance chose to make an intimidating example out of Aaron and his family:
No small business should be bullied into acting against their conscience. I bet if he refused to bake a cake for a Westboro Baptist or Klan rally, nobody would bother him. Or a cake to promote a candidate or cause he doesn’t agree with. Or a Muslim “wedding” with a 6-year-old bride. The only difference here is that he dared to refrain against a liberal pet agenda.
People have a right to discriminate against certain behaviors they find offensive. They have a right to not be bullied by the government for honoring their conscience. The Oregon Attorney General should be ashamed of wasting taxpayer money and pursuing such a spurious complaint. Please show them your support!
Morningland Dairy raided and another family business destroyed 01/25/13
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The FDA is notoriously prejudiced against raw dairy products, and if they personally are opposed to consuming them, fine! But what constitutional authority do they have to tell American citizens what they can and cannot eat and drink? Answer: NONE. With the government takeover of health care, however, you can rest assured that tyrannical attempts to control your diet will increase, not decrease.
The FDA, like so many other federal bureaucracies, has become a tyrannical, unelected, unaccountable apparatus for the Nanny State to rule over Americans instead of representing and serving them. Their goal is not to protect citizens from harming one another, but to protect us from our own choices by restricting them and making them for us. But this abuse of government power is not a victimless crime.
This small, family-armed dairy is the latest casualty in a long line of victims of government abuse and over-regulation. Will your business be next?
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Mo. — After a two and a half year legal battle, 15 tons of cheese made and aged near Mountain View was hauled to a dump. To fans of natural foods, it is monumental waste and over-regulation. To Missouri’s Milk Board, it’s merely protecting public health.
“I see the destruction of what my wife and I and family have worked to build,” said Joseph Dixon, owner ofMorningland Dairy.
Dixon and his family aren’t the only ones outraged by the trashing of about 30,000 pounds of cheese produced on the farm in Howell County.
[...] ”They really haven’t found anything, no sicknesses, no illnesses in 30 years. But it’s what-if. And in the United States of America, if what-if now wins, we have no country left,” Dixon said.
Both Howell County Court and the Missouri Court of Appeals sided with the milk board’s decision to destroy all the cheese.
“We asked for trial by jury; we were denied because it was a regulation, not a law. It wasn’t passed by congress,” said Dixon.
A couple of years ago, the Dixons still had hope of someday making cheese again and were milking daily, but now, the milking barn is empty because the dairy herd is gone.
“If I tried to start back up, it would cost so much to get it in the cooler, and then, if they find, quote, one thing they can complain about, one thing, I’m shut down again, and every bit of that has to be destroyed,” said Dixon.
The Milk Board shut down Morningland’s manufacturing operation and ordered all cheese at the facility embargoed on August 26, 2010 after receiving a report from the California Department of Food and Agriculture that Morningland cheese seized in a raid of the Rawesome food club in Venice, California in June 2010 had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes andStaphyloccocus aureus. Not a single block of cheese in the warehouse had the same batch number as the cheese seized in the Rawesome raid. A Milk Board inspector initially told Joe Dixon that he would only be shut down for a few days—but that changed when FDA stepped up their involvement in the case a short time later and pressured the Milk Board not to let Morningland resume their operations.
On October 1, 2010 the Milk Board sent the Dixons a letter requesting that they destroy the entire inventory of cheese at the facility; when the Dixons refused, the Milk Board filed a petition in the Circuit Court of Howell County to obtain an order for the destruction of the Morningland cheese.
After a two-day trial before Judge David Dunlop, the judge issued a decision on February 23, 2011 ordering the destruction of the cheese. Morningland appealed the decision but on September 27, 2012 the Court of Appeals sided with the Milk Board. A petition to the Missouri Supreme Court to hear the case was rejected onDecember 18, paving the way for the destruction of the cheese to take place.
Neither the Milk Board nor FDA ever tested any of the cheese stored at Morningland. FDA did take 100 environmental swabs at the facility, all of which tested negative for listeria. There was no accusation that any cheese Morningland produced had made anyone sick; there had never been any reported illness from the consumption of Morningland products in the thirty years the farmstead cheese operation had been in business.
The Morningland case was about FDA’s agenda to restrict access to raw dairy products with the eventual goal of banning them. The agency doesn’t hesitate in sacrificing a business like the Dixons’ in order to move its agenda along.
What message does this send to entrepreneurs who are considering starting their own business and creating jobs? Who wants to take the risk of running afoul of busybody bureaucrats with an ax to grind?
Thanks to leftist policies, the current unemployment rate in Oregon is stuck at a pathetic 8.4%, a rate that we haven’t gone below since November of 2008 – more than 4 years ago.
Joblessness has become the new normal in Oregon, which is why Bloomberg listed us in the top 20 WORST states to live in if you’re unemployed:
According to Bloomberg’s rankings (based on wealth disparity, average unemployment benefits, and overall unemployment pool), and somewhat confirming the food-divide discussion we had last night, the following states are the worst to live in if you are unemployed. Connecticut tops the list with its massive wealth disparity – more than one $200,000 household for every household earning less than $10,000. New York, California, and D.C. are close behind with Oregon and Alabama in 19th and 20th ‘worst’ place to be unemployed. Welcome to the bifurcated un-recovery.
Oregon patriot John Kuzmanich observes:
Where’s the tax revenue in Oregon going?
Is it going to the kids or the classrooms?
No, Oregon is 43rd in the nation & at the bottom in public education, again.
Is it going to the help the middle class?
No, our unemployment rate is well above the national average.
Is it going to low income and the unemployed? No, it appears not.
So where are the billions in tax dollars taken from the people of Oregon that pass thru Salem in this one party State going?
Who are these Democrat politicians looking after if not the children, the middle class, our economy, or the lower class and unemployed?
Not to create jobs, certainly.
This ought to do wonders for our sluggish economy.
The Obama administration issued $236 billion worth of new regulations last year, according to a report from a conservative think tank.
The analysis from the American Action Forum, led by former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, found that the administration added $216 billion in rules and more than $20 billion in regulatory proposals in 2012. Complying with those rules will require an additional 87 million hours of paperwork, the report said.
The group put the total price tag from regulations during Obama’s first term at more than $518 billion.
This is what Agenda 21′s “sustainability” agenda looks like in practice: destruction of property rights and the legacy of generations of rural families.
Freedom Foundation: Montana Legacy Jeopardized By Federal Overreach
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A rancher friend once told me he was going to live a pauper and die a millionaire. Much like him, Montana is land rich and cash poor because we’re not allowed to responsibly use our lands and resources for our own benefit. Even as we sit on unimaginable wealth above and below our beautiful landscapes, we have the second lowest wages per job on the nation. We’ve been cut off from our wealth by people who either don’t understand or don’t care about the human toll of pressing their values on Montana families.
We all want and should welcome a sustainable and diverse economy; but industries that aren’t based on some underlying value can pack up and leave overnight. A sustainable economic base must leverage the things that are unique and lasting. In Montana those things are natural resources. You can’t harvest Montana timber in Indonesia, raise Montana wheat in Australia or pump Montana oil in Saudi Arabia. They’re what we have and businesses have to come here to get them. But we’re being increasingly cut off from what makes Montana the Treasure State.
Imagine if the federal government stepped in and outlawed gambling in Las Vegas, tanning in Florida, or Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Those are the local engines of economic growth. Businesses and families depend on those things to prosper and pursue happiness. But here in Montana we’re being cut off from our economic engine. It’s both unfair and unsustainable to have barriers erected by far away special interests and bureaucrats that seem to think that the families and lifestyles of those who live here are expendable.
They can do this because the federal government oversees so much of our land. Nearly 30 percent of Montana is controlled by the federal government. Getting access to those federal lands, whether through grazing, drilling, digging or harvesting is getting more and more difficult and expensive because of federal meddling in what used to be state responsibilities.
Would you expect anything less?
Tucked into the “fiscal cliff” tax package approved by Congress are billions of dollars in tax breaks that should make the new year a lot happier for businesses of many stripes, including film producers, race track owners and the makers of electric motorcycles.
In all, more than 50 temporary tax breaks were renewed through 2013, saving businesses and individuals about $76 billion. Congress routinely renews the tax package, attracting intense lobbying _ and campaign donations _ from businesses and trade groups that say the tax breaks help them prosper and create jobs.
[...] Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the package is filled with “special-interest handouts” that make it difficult for him to justify his vote in favor of it.
“It’s hard to think of anything that could feed the cynicism of the American people more than larding up must-pass emergency legislation with giveaways to special interests and campaign contributors,” McCain said.
This is already happening at my husband’s company. They are no longer permitted to hire full-time workers for non-salaried positions.
The threat of fines totaling $2,000 a year for not providing health care to full-time workers will be a great subsidy for companies that supply part-time workers. They will be in greater demand.
Workers who already work less than 30 hours a week will find lots of new competition. They are likely to be locked into their positions permanently.
Any firm with 50 employees comes under the law. So, the smart move for businesses with 50 to 60 workers is to fire them.
Economics teaches that decisions are made at the margin. What does one more unit of this or that cost? That is the key price for all of the units.
Businesses can take two approaches. First, they can cut workers who work 30 hours a week to 29 hours. Or, just to be safe, 25 hours. Second, they can fire workers who work 30 hours a week and refuse to hire replacements. Both approaches are legal. Both make economic sense.
We are in a tight job market. We have been ever since 2008. The recovery is slow. This will make it slower.
Obama has succeeded in his ultimate goal of getting Republicans to break their “no tax hike” pledge. And for what purpose? So the Democrats can continue their uncontrollable spending binge, while Republicans take the blame.
First day of the year, and we’ve already been royally screwed over by the so-called “conservatives” in congress. More debt on my kids’ backs, more money stolen from our paychecks, and for what? So they can flush more money down the toilet on shrimp treadmills, rum subsidies and blatant assaults on our constitutional rights. America, if THESE are the clowns you want running your lives, you deserve what you get.
The House of Representatives late Tuesday night voted 257 to 167 to approve a “fiscal cliff” deal that had been negotiated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden and approved by the Senate in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.
The majority of House Republicans voted against the bill, with 151 opposing it, 85 supporting it, and 5 not voting. House Speaker John Boehner voted for the bill. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor voted against it.
[...] According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis, the deal will increase federal spending by $332 billion over the next ten years.
The deal phases out exemptions and deductions for individuals earning more than 250,000 per year and for couples earning more than $300,000, according to a summary published by the New York Times. It also increases the income tax rate for individuals earning more than $400,000 per year and couples earning more than $450,000 per year.
The deal also suspends for two months the $110 billion future spending cuts, set to take place in 2013, that House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama agreed to when they made a deal in August 2011 to increase the federal government’s debt limit by $2.4 trillion.
The federal government exhausted that $2.4 trillion in new borrowing authority on Monday. So, the government has thus far been able to borrow all of the additional $2.4 trillion that Boehner and Obama agreed to in seventeen months ago without actually carrying out any of the spending cuts they agreed to at that time.
The bill also spends $30 billion–with no offsetting spending cut–to provide extended unemployment benefits to people who have not worked for more than half a year.
The bill, according to the Republican Study Committee, would also permanently reinstate the federal death tax, requiring a family to pay 40 percent of the value of all assets above $5 million when the senior member of the family dies.
While taxing family-owned businesses through the death tax, the bill would also pay out $134 billion in “refundable” tax credits to low-income people who did not, in the first place, pay the “tax” they are being refunded by the federal government.
It also, as the Republican Study Committee points out, will reimpose the “marriage penalty” by starting the top federal income tax rate at $400,000 for individuals but at $450,000 for married couples.
To add insult to injury, Obama’s favorite cheerleaders in Hollywood got the kickbacks they wanted. So much for “the rich” paying their “fair share.” Obama’s pets get special perks while everyone else gets slammed. Welcome to the new Banana Republic of Amerika, where corrupt politicians pick the winners and losers.
The “fiscal cliff” deal includes more taxes, more ridiculous spending, and NO significant spending cuts!
The REAL cliff is yet to come, when we crash like Greece, but on a MUCH LARGER scale!
While you were sleeping—or ringing in 2013—the Senate voted to raise taxes.
After missing the midnight deadline, Congress and the President have technically sent the nation over the fiscal cliff, meaning higher tax rates are already in effect for all income tax brackets. But the Senate’s deal, brokered by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and Vice President Joe Biden, would target the tax increases on those making more than $250,000.
The Senate voted 89-8 to limit deductions for taxpayers making more than $250,000, which would raise their taxes, and to hike tax rates for those making more than $400,000.
As Heritage has pointed out, trying to tax the top income brackets to close the deficit is impossible. To overcome the massive federal deficit, top earners would have to be taxed atmore than 100 percent. And J.D. Foster, Heritage’s Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy, reminds us that President Obama has already raised taxes on “the wealthy”:
Never mind that Obama already raised taxes on upper-income taxpayers through the 3.8 percent Medicare surtax imposed under Obamacare. Never mind that tax rate hikes would weaken an economy stumbling so badly the Federal Reserve doubled its risky efforts to keep the economy from recession. Never mind Obama’s approach would likely put the kibosh on any hopes for tax reform. Never mind the resulting revenues would be a small drop in a very big bucket compared to projected budget deficits. Never mind that the only justification for higher taxes is spite and envy to be exercised through the extortive power of the federal government.
Some of the key points in the Senate deal, which could go to the House as early as today:
- Raises taxes on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for households
- Raises taxes on investment income for those taxpayers as well
- Limits tax deductions for incomes over $250,000—raising their taxes, too
- Increases the death tax rate for estates over $5 million
- Extends long-term unemployment benefits for one year
- Postpones sequestration’s automatic spending cuts (including those to defense) by two months
Matthew Boyle at Breitbart makes this shocking observation:
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the last-minute fiscal cliff deal reached by congressional leaders and President Barack Obama cuts only $15 billion in spending while increasing tax revenues by $620 billion—a 41:1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts.
When Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush increased taxes in return for spending cuts—cuts that never ultimately came—they did so at ratios of 1:3 and 1:2.
Senator Rand Paul called the deal a “joke,” and refuses to vote for it:
Last night, without any legislative language, the Senate Republicans and Democrats voted to raise taxes. They did not just vote to raise income taxes. They voted to raise the payroll tax on all Americans.
This will hurt small businesses.
Ironically, this plan generates less revenue than even John Boehner’s Plan B option. But both options, as I have long maintained, were only about breaking the will of the GOP and getting the GOP to violate its tax pledge.
Well, today the White House is telling Fox New’s Ed Henry that this was the game all along. According to Ed Henry, the White House staff is saying that getting the GOP to break their tax pledge is, “One of the most consequential policy achievements of the last couple of decades.” The plan cuts $1.00 in spending for every $41.00 in tax increases. Contrary to what Senator Pat Toomey is claiming today, everyone’s taxes will also go up – the 99% and the 1%.
That will be the headline if the House Republicans vote for this plan.
Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul were defiant. They know what is at stake.
Now, many of you think this is the best deal we can get. I understand that. But consider this — the White House has designed this solely for purposes of getting the GOP to break their tax pledge. Any way we play the game we lose.
The only way to even think of winning is to not play this game.
Sadly, the GOP leadership has played into Obama’s hands every step of the way, and it doesn’t look like this is going to be any different.