Ask a D.C. insider what’s the best way to solve the debt crisis. Nine times out of ten, they’ll recommend taking on more debt. That’s how things operate in the Potomac swamp. Up is down, right is left, digging yourself into more debt is the best way to get out of it. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, there used to be common sense when it came to the economy. So where did it all go wrong?
Politicians talk about the uninsured. Special interests argue on behalf of those with pre-existing conditions. But why is no one wondering how doctors are affected by the new law? They’re the ones on the frontlines dealing directly with new patients, as well as the red tape that makes bureaucracies go round.
Politicians proclaim the benefits of small business while on the campaign trail. But when they meet in the seedy halls of Congress, they have no problem doing whatever they can to stifle, regulate, and subdue their progress. Instead of siding with entrepreneurs, these politicians often side with political allies and cronies that helped put them into office.
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Especially now that you have all the time in the world to do what you really want. Entrepreneurs don’t only come out of Silicon Valley. They come from all walks of life, from all different ages. If you’re retired and want to stay active while you relax, then find out the steps you need to take in order to start, manage, and grow your next small business.
Technology brought the world together. But has it gone too far? Decades ago, mail was delivered by hand. Now it’s delivered in seconds. How has that changed the way you live your life? How has it changed the way people act with each other? These are just some of the questions we need to ask.
The U.S. dollar has been the world's reserve currency for almost a century, and already there are signs it may be in decline. But that doesn't mean it's not still valuable. On the contrary... As Chris Mayer explains, there are many reasons the U.S. dollar will remain relevant on the world stage for years to come. Read on...
Gun control isn’t a modern idea. The rise of gun control laws and limits on your 2nd Amendment freedom go hand in hand with the increase in the size and scope of government. Politicians want you to think the only people who can keep you safe are government forces. But as one renown libertarian economist and thinker will show you, their misguided laws do nothing but take away your freedoms and leave you less safe.
The government will do whatever it takes to make sure it has enough of your money to fund itself. On the surface you might think that means enduring a grueling audit. But the IRS and the government is more than willing to ignore your privacy in the cold relentless pursuit of the money they think they deserve. As they get bigger and bigger every year, the smaller and smaller your paycheck becomes as they leach off it.
The Congressional Budget Office said the government needed to reach 7 million people by the end of March. They claim to have reached the goal and now the debate about Obamacare is over. But what does this milestone really mean in the ongoing healthcare discussion? And more importantly, how will it affect reforms going forward?
If you’re good at something should you be penalized so others have a chance at success? Should award winning actors and actresses be barred from future Oscar ceremonies to give other men and women the chance to succeed? Success should always be rewarded and encouraged. But what happens when you have a government that wants to even the playing field and take away the spoils of success. Gregory Bresiger finds out...
In an effort to cut costs and keep track of patients' records, governments could institute a medical guideline cookbook. Bureaucrats might think they have the best of intentions in mind, but these new rules would drag down the medical process and destroy whatever quality is left in our current system.
Practical people often pooh-pooh fiction reading as a time wasting dalliance, dominated by a Marxist coloring of the world. However, fiction readers were given a scientific reason recently for spending hours absorbing fanciful figments of someone’s imagination.
Argentina is suffering the ravages of government debasement of the currency -- i.e., inflation, the process by which government pays for its ever-increasing debts and bills by simply printing more paper currency. The expanded money supply results in a lower value of everyone’s money, which is reflected in the rising prices of the things that money buys.
When government expansion is allowed to continue unabated or when it casts a heavy regulatory shadow on America’s entrepreneurial spirit, the freedoms that we’ve come to know, and perhaps take for granted, slowly begin to slip away.
The saga of All Saints could soon be coming to a community near you. Thanks partly to the scandal surrounding the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, the agency has proposed a new set of rules for a huge number of social-welfare groups that claim tax exemption under Section 501(c)4 of the tax code.
The new reality of Obamacare’s tax credits has left finance reporters to pen articles warning readers to “take care” when considering a tax credit and providing strategies for how best to “protect yourself.” So what do finance reporters know that the White House doesn’t?
Nihilo ex nihilo fit. Out of nothing, nothing comes. First put forward by ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides in the fifth century B.C., Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine later used this axiom to prove that the universe needed a “first mover” to get things going. Even if the whole thing began with some kind of “Big Bang” moment, it still needed a banger to bang it. Who? God, of course.
What positive steps can we take? The energy that is now expended by well intentioned, freedom-seeking individuals on the destructive course of politics can be turned into powerful steps that will have a positive effect on the future. All are moral, right and just. None require aggressing. Consider the following...
The Affordable Care Act creates a new health insurance marketplace (the exchange). But because of the great uncertainty about what buyers will enter the market and who will buy what product, the law creates three vehicles to reduce insurance company risk.
Politicians and bureaucrats are notorious for manufacturing euphemisms -- clever but deceptive substitutes for what they really mean but don’t want to admit. That’s how the phrase “revenue enhancement” entered the vocabulary. Some of our courageous friends in government couldn’t bring themselves to say “tax hike.”
“It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future,” says a proverb often attributed to Yogi Berra. Imagine the world of freedom, or lack of it. Who could foresee the technologies that make our lives so rewarding and convenient? The same technologies have us all under the government’s giant microscope. Thankfully, the brave have turned the microscope around.
In the months since Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of the spying that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been perpetrating upon Americans and foreigners, some of the NSA's most troublesome behavior has not been a part of the public debate.
National Treasury Union President Colleen M. Kelly recently described the 2014 IRS budget allocation as “woefully inadequate.” But the agency has not proven itself to be an efficient steward of taxpayer dollars. Here are ten ways the IRS lost the trust of the American people.
It’s easy to be negative about the U.S. economy these days. Find a glint of silver, and folks come running to point out all of the dark clouds looming about. This, of course, is what we got last week when the monthly jobs report was released from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Folks pooh-poohed the number of jobs and whining that they’re not enough or that it’s less than a bunch of economists thought that it might be. But you know what? Stuff ’em.
Given how poorly states like California and Illinois have funded the pension funds for their own employees, one would think that this would stop dead in its tracks any plan to have the government assist in managing private sector funds too. The spate of recent activity, however, suggests otherwise.
Facts are easy. You can check facts. What supporters of the Affordable Care Act are doing, on the other hand, transcends factual bungling. It’s far more advanced: a warping of reality so debauched it looks like something out of a tale by H.P. Lovecraft.
The problem for NSA apologist is that when guys like Snowden disclose that the government conducts comprehensive surveillance in ways that would have made 1984’s O’Brien drool, it puts the entire progressive agenda in jeopardy.
If you think of American wage-earners as swimmers, they were mostly underwater after 2008. Then last year, wages increased a bit. It was only 2.4% for the year, but it was like coming up for a slight gulp of air.
Now think of Congress and the president as the people in a boat pushing the swimmers’ heads back underwater. That’s exactly what they did when they let the payroll tax arrive on the first day of 2013.
The 2% increase wiped out virtually the whole wage gain for the previous year. It came as a shock to most workers. “There goes my raise,” was the cry heard all over the Web in the first week of the year.
Michael Daneau, who works a lighting store in Rhode Island, posted on his Facebook wall:
“I opened my paycheck today and noticed I got less pay than I usually get on a regular 40 hour week. Obama stole $20 more out of social security. So now I’m back to making what I was making before my last raise. All that hard work paid off! Stick around more hope and change is coming!”
Some follow-up comments:
- “My wife is being taxed another $150 a month making less than $40,000. We will likely have to move back to an apartment from our rental house as a result”
- “I’ve been drawing two days vacation pay each week since my heart attack in early Dec. One day pays for my weekly insurance premium, the other goes towards my rent. This week, I have a $6 reduction in total net ‘income’…”
- “I’ve lost $18 per week”
- “I make about $50,000 a year. I will lose approximately $70 a month due to this hike. Someone with a brain, please explain to me why in the hell my taxes should rise when we’ve all seen the nauseating curve of how well the 1% are doing.”
It came as a shock to most people because a payroll tax increase had not really been part of the negotiations. We endured weeks of wall-to-wall coverage of the “fiscal cliff.” It was a brutal and heavily partisan battle. How much spending? How high or low the income tax rates? Either way, only the rich would be hurt, right?
Think again. The payroll tax is the most broad tax in increase, taking a far greater bite out of income than the income tax as such.
But where was the discussion of the payroll tax increase? There were no speeches about it. There was no back and forth between the parties. This is because, says The Washington Post, there was “general agreement” it had to happen. The government provides these programs. They disbursements have already gone out. They must be paid for. You are on the hook, period.
Earlier in the year, when this subject was discussed behind closed doors, The Christian Science Monitor reported:
“Getting Congress to agree to continue the payroll tax cut yet again might have been problematic. Many politicians, from Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) of California to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah, were less than enthusiastic about extending it. That is in part because the money that would have come from wage earners’ pockets for Social Security was coming instead from the U.S. Treasury’s general fund.”
If anything, the Republicans were even slightly warmer to the payroll tax increase. This is because it was the Democrats who made the temporary decrease part of the stimulus package of 2010. The idea back then, inspired by Keynesian-style theory, was that by letting workers keep more of their money, they would spend more money and thereby increase aggregate demand, which supposedly addresses the key to why the economy is faltering.
Republicans traditionally favor a more supply-side solution. They want tax changes that benefit producers and investors, based on the idea that what is causing the economy to falter is a lack of real investment. They, as much as the Democrats, see the tax system as a tool for a different sort of economic stimulus.
Both sides are right, but for the wrong reasons. Whenever private property is transferred away from owners to the government, the prospects for recovery are harmed. The point isn’t to boost either the supply or the demand side, but simply to let people keep more of their money. Whether that money is saved or spent, invested or blown on fripperies, what matters is that economic growth flows from the decisions that people make on their own, and not the decisions that government makes for them.
But people in Washington of either party aren’t very warm to this idea.
Note this for the future: What matters is not what they debate, but that what they together decide should not be discussed at all! This is the real business of government. It’s the issues that the political parties agree on that the public need fear most. This is the area in which the most deadly fleecing occurs.
So it came as something of a shock to millions to see their paychecks slammed by $20-40 every week. Where is that raise I was just granted? How is this even possible?
Another factor here is the following: Ever since the 1940s, the payroll tax has been fobbed off on the public not as a tax, but as an insurance premium for services coming later. You know, like Social Security and Medicare. In the market, we pay premiums for services delivered at a later date all the time. Isn’t this just the same?
Well, it’s not the same. For one thing, these “insurance” programs aren’t insurance at all. They are direct transfers of wealth. Young workers today are paying the bills for the money that retired workers have already spent. That’s not the market at work. That’s pure redistribution.
Another crucial factor here: No one elects to pay these stupid taxes. They are forced on us. And just as a sweet little reminder that this is true, the government prosecuted a prominent case of failure to pay just days after the payroll tax when up.
Fox News reported on Jan. 6:
“An eastern Wisconsin business owner will spend about a year in prison for failing to pay taxes that had been withheld from employees’ wages.
“According to court records, Lisa Bartz Vanden Elzen, co-owner of Dairy Transport Services of De Pere, failed to pay about $193,000 in payroll taxes. She’s also accused of failing to pay the Internal Revenue Service $81,000, the employer’s matching share of those taxes.
“The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports the 47-year-old was found guilty in U.S. District Court of failing to pay payroll taxes that had been withheld from employee wages from July 2005-December 2010.
“She was sentenced to 366 days in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $274,000 for federal tax violations.”
The message is that the government means business. You may not refuse its benevolence. If you do, you will go to jail. There is no way out. They’ve got the guns.
But of course, you can push people only so far. The growth of the informal sector continues, and this sneaky little robbery is going to push more people into the role of noncompliance, choosing modes of living that avoid the official system altogether and living on a cash basis, using modern financial tools like anonymous debit cards to make doing so more efficient than ever.
Washington tells us constantly that they are looking after our best interests and want to stimulate the economy toward recovery. This little caper is the best and clearest evidence I’ve seen in recent days that this is not the case. What Washington really wants is more of your money.