The “you didn’t build that” gang’s attempt to get the “rich” to pay what they characterize as their “fair share” in taxes (when in fact in almost every western country they pay more than their fair share) is about to get tested in France:
The call to Vincent Grandil’s Paris law firm began like many others that have rolled in recently. On the line was the well-paid chief executive of one of France’s most profitable companies, and he was feeling nervous.
President François Hollande is vowing to impose a 75 percent tax on the portion of anyone’s income above a million euros ($1.24 million) a year. “Should I be preparing to leave the country?” the executive asked Mr. Grandil.
The question asked by the client is typical of what will happen if such a tax is imposed … anywhere. If you believe “the rich” are going to lay back and take it, you’re crazy. They will do what is in their best interest and paying 75% taxes on what they earn isn’t in their best interest. We’ve often talked about the Laffer curve and how it applies to taxes. How at some percentage of taxation, revenues will drop and in some cases drop dramatically.
That’s precisely what that client’s question indicates will happen in France with a 75% “rich” tax.
France has a history of punitive taxation which is one reason it no longer is considered much of a economic power:
[T]he proposal is the latest red flag in a country that has long labored under the image of being a difficult place to do business. France has a 33 percent corporate tax rate — the euro zone’s second-highest, after Malta’s 35 percent. That contrasts with the 12.5 percent rate in Ireland, which has deliberately kept a lid on corporate taxes as a lure to businesses.
Businesses don’t have to stay and take France’s coercive tax rates anymore. There are countries more than happy to accept their businesses and the boost to the economy they bring.
And, that goes for “le rich” as well. ‘Leaving the country’, in the case of France, doesn’t necessarily mean moving too far:
“It is a ridiculous proposal, but it’s great for us,” said Jean Dekerchove, the manager of Immobilièr Le Lion, a high-end real estate agency based in Brussels. Calls to his office have picked up in recent months, he said, as wealthy French citizens look to invest or simply move across the border amid worries about the latest tax.
“It’s a huge loss for France because people and businesses come to Belgium and bring their wealth with them,” Mr. Dekerchove said. “But we’re thrilled because they create jobs, they buy houses and spend money — and it’s our economy that profits.”
You’d think, for anyone with an ounce of common sense, this outcome would be obvious. Apparently not. And so France will drive off its rich, see revenues in that income bracket drop even while the tax percentage is increased to 75% and attack those who’ve avoided those taxes as “greedy”. Just watch.
Of course I agree with the words of Dr. Thomas Sowell in that regard:
“I’ve never understood why it is “greed” to keep money you’ve earned, but not greed to take somebody else’s money”.
Yeah … me neither. Right now, the greediest entities on earth are governments.
I know there are some out there that will say, “hey you were whining the other day about taxing the winnings of Olympians”, weren’t you? And now a politician plans to fix it and you bitch?!”
Yes. Yes, I do. Because this is exactly the wrong way to go about it:
Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill Wednesday to eliminate the federal government’s tax on Olympic medals, saying the levy amounted to yet another way the government tries to punish those who succeed.
Athletes who win a gold medal also earn a $25,000 honorarium — and with it an $8,986 tax bill to the IRS, according to Americans for Tax Reform, which crunched the numbers. That covers both the honorarium and the tax on the value of the gold in the medal itself.
The silver medal tax comes to $5,385, and the bronze medal tax is $3,502 — including $2 for the value of the bronze medal itself, and the $10,000 honorarium.
That could leave amateur athletes — in many cases still teenagers — facing stiff tax bills when they return to the U.S.
Mr. Rubio said that shouldn’t happen.
Of course you can make special pleadings for all sorts of types of special interest taxpayers, can’t you?
But isn’t taxation supposed to fund the legitimate functions of government and be fairly applied to everyone?
How does exempting special constituencies because of their, well, “specialness”, do that?
Certainly Olympic level (and other) athletes compete in other competitive venues and it wouldn’t be at all unusual for them to win some sort of honorarium there. So why is that taxable and this isn’t?
Quite simply visibility and outrage.
That’s no way to run a government. There’s nothing rational about this exemption. It is as arbitrary as many of the taxes we suffer under.
Important issue? After the economy is up and running again, it is time to push – and push hard – for a total revamping of the tax structure and code in this country.
We suffer one of the least representative and certainly the least fair or equitable tax codes in the world.
Time to take it apart and start over again. And this time, let’s make it impossible for Congress to fiddle with it in terms of rewarding or punishing special constituencies arbitrarily at its whim
Are you watching the Olympics? Did you enjoy the gold medal performances of the US women’s gymnastics team?
It was nice to see them bask in the glory of the fruition of all those years of hard work and sacrifice. They reached the peak of accomplishment. They took the gold. The stories of the athletes were as interesting as the victory. Years of monetary sacrifice, hard work, dedication and practice. Families, who moved to avail their daughter of coaching, who lived from paycheck to paycheck to ensure money was available for their daughter’s training, the hundreds of meets and competitions, etc.
But hey, we all know they “didn’t build that” themselves. They traveled on roads to their practice sites and meets, used other common infrastructure improvements and now they get to pay the piper.
It’s time for them to pay up for winning those gold medals, and the IRS will ensure they do.
At today’s commodity prices, the value of a gold medal is about $675 according to Americans for Tax Reform. And the gold medal brings with it $25,000 in prize money. The IRS will tax them at 35%.
So for all those years of hard work, sacrifice and performance, our gold medalists will pay the IRS $8,986 for each gold medal they win. The silver will cost them $5,385 ($15,000 prize money, and $385 for the medal) and bronze $3,502 ($10,000 prize money, $5 for the medal).
Of course they’ll be about the only athletes in the world so treated because you see, the US is one of the few countries in the world that takes it upon itself to tax the world wide earnings of its citizens.
Because, you know, that infrastructure is everywhere and it’s expensive. </sarc>
But I’m sure we’ll hear from our usual apologists for intrusive government trying to spin these taxes as something both necessary and proper.
Just a note to them – most Americans don’t at all agree with the sentiment that they didn’t build what they now have. But you have to hope the Democrats keep trying to sell that. Our Olympians and their tax experience make as good a case against that as any I can imagine.
Pete DuPont does a little analysis of what should be major issues in the upcoming election. They don’t bode well for the current administration if, in fact, Republicans can get the media to actually pay attention and address them:
• Taxes. Big tax hikes coming in January will serve as dampers on economic growth.ObamaCare imposes a new 3.8% tax on investment income. On top of that, if the Bush tax [rates] aren’t extended, the top income tax rates will rise to 23.8% from 15% on capital gains and to 43.4% from 15% on dividends.
But beyond the economic impact, the Obama administration’s focus on class warfare fuels the nation’s dissatisfaction and plays on an unwise resentment towards successful businesspeople. Mr. Obama continues to push for higher taxes and does so in a way that is an attack on those who are successful–demanding that higher-income taxpayers pay their "fair share," when they already pay more than that.
The economic impact shouldn’t be waved off. When and if both capital gains and dividend incomes are taxed at a higher rate, they will effect both investment and retirement incomes. Don’t forget those” rich folks” whose retirement income is structured to depend on dividends from blue chip stocks they’ve methodically bought in small quantities over their working years. It obviously doesn’t matter that their incomes really don’t reach the “rich” threshold that the Democrats want you to envy, their retirement incomes will take an almost 200% tax increase hit regardless if the current rates aren’t extended. Apparently to collect less than a trillion dollars over 10 years taxing the “rich” (so they’ll pay their “fair share”) vs. spending $46 trillion Democrats are happy to sacrifice those folks.
As for investments, there’ll be a recalculation given the increase on capital gains and it will dampen investments, thus business expansion and finally job growth.
• Energy. The American people hear Mr. Obama talk about a broad energy strategy, but they see an administration that has attacked the coal industry with onerous regulations, done little or nothing to assist the natural gas boom, done what it can to slow down oil production, and wasted money on other initiatives that please green supporters but don’t lower the cost of energy.
This administration’s energy policy is a joke, but unfortunately it’s a very expensive joke. Its priorities are completely backward, but purposefully so. To call what they are doing a “policy” is simply absurd. This is agenda fulfillment with the people’s money on pie-in-the-sky projects that have yet to yield (nor do they even promise to yield) the energy required to make them viable. Meanwhile they’ve done everything humanly possible to retard the fossil fuel industry’s growth at a critical time for our economy. On the issue of energy, this administration gets an F-.
• Health care. Although ObamaCare remains unpopular, the Supreme Court ruling upholding it means that a 17% transfer of our economy from the marketplace to the control of the federal government is coming unless Congress and a President Romney can stop it. At a time when our nation needs lower taxes and more flexibility in health-care decisions, ObamaCare has increased taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars and allowed government to regulate most of our health care decisions.
The secretary of health and human services can now set rules that constrain doctors and hospitals and mandate prices. Mr. Obama once promised us all that if you were happy with your current health plan, you’d be able to keep it. The more we learn about ObamaCare, the unlikelier that looks–and the more the government will intrude in the relationship between doctor and patient.
Despite the disapproval of a majority of Americans, Democrats and this President rammed the legislation through anyway. That should tell most Americans what they really think of their opinion. It is a classic “we know what’s best for you” elitist move.
The second paragraph gives a hint though to the powers this legislation has given an unaccountable government bureaucrat. The Secretary of HHS now has tremendous power to make unilateral decisions that will effect everyone’s health care. Of course, that’s been discussed by some on the right, but for the most part the level of intrusion these powers will confer won’t really begin to be felt until, conveniently, after the election.
• Spending. Federal expenditures under Mr. Obama is both unparalleled and unsustainable. As National Review’s Jonah Goldberg notes, from the end of World War II until the end of the George W. Bush administration, federal spending never exceeded 23.5% of GDP, and the Bush years’ average was around 20%. The Obama spending rates have stayed above 23.5% in every year of his presidency. In the past four years, America has added $5 trillion in federal debt, and around $4 trillion of that was from Obama policies, according to The Wall Street Journal. Federal debt held by the public was 40.5% of gross domestic product in 2008. It’s now 74.2% and rising.
Despite the attempts by Democrats using fudged numbers and trying to spin it so Bush gets the blame, the spending by this administration is, as DuPont points out, “both unparalleled and unsustainable”. And, don’t forget, the President hasn’t signed a budget in over 1,000 days because the Democratic Senate has refused to pass one, despite the Constitutional requirement it do so.
Those are the things we ought to be talking about. Not whether or not Romney pissed off the Palestinians (who doesn’t piss off the Palestinians when they take a principled stand on Israel? How is this even news?).
These are where Obama’s skeleton’s are to be found. He’d prefer to keep this closet door firmly closed. The media, for the most part, seems content to help in that endeavor.
This election isn’t about anything but his administration’s abysmal record. Spending time talking anything else is simply a distraction. Unfortunately, given its unprecedented level of economic intrusion, we’re going to live or die economically with the policies that government applies. Talking about whether a candidate may or may not have insulted the London Olympics isn’t going to change that fact one iota. But it sure does distract from examining the previous administration’s record, doesn’t it?
Oh, my … the White House is on the offensive trying to save the middle class, or something:
The White House has launched a new offensive in its fight with congressional Republicans over taxes, arguing 114 million middle-class families will see their taxes rise without action by Congress.
A report from President Obama’s National Economic Council released Monday contends the families would see their taxes rise by an average of $1,600 if the George W. Bush-era tax cuts expire as scheduled at the end of the year.
A) they’re not tax cuts, they’ve been the tax rate for years.
B) Republicans have already made an offer. They said they are willing to extend the rates for all so it is obviously not a tax increase the middle class must suffer.
Of course, that’s where the rub is, because the Democratic Senate and the White House want to raise taxes on a certain level of income earner. They’ve staked their class warfare gig on it.
Because, you see, they’re trying to convince everyone that’s only “fair” and to further imply it will solve the insolvency problem. Well they’re wrong, as usual, on both counts.
Here, take a look at this. Even those who don’t count economics as their strong suit should be able to figure out what this means:
That’s right, the problem isn’t revenue. The problem has nothing to do with high income earners and their “fair share”. It has to do with out of control spending which has accelerated dramatically under this president. And, oh by the way, the increase in taxes on the wealthy would be a mere drop in the bucket of red ink Obama has charted out for the next 10 years.
So while he whines about a $1,600 tax per family if no action is taken, ask him what he’s adding in debt per family with a 10 year plan to spend $46.9 trillion dollars we don’t have, okay?
As I’ve mentioned many times, the engine of America is small business. Those businesses provide jobs to 85% of Americans. And according to the US Chamber of Commerce, they’re not going to be doing much if any hiring in the near future:
Small business owners’ concerns about the future—particularly on health care and taxes-—are impacting their hiring, according to the U.S. Chamber’s fifth quarterly small business survey released today.
Only one in five small businesses (20%) expect to add employees in 2013, according to the poll of 1,225 small business owners, conducted by Harris Interactive. The majority of small businesses say they are likely to keep the same number of employees over the next year – meaning there is likely to be little change in overall unemployment figures.
Concerns about health care and taxes (both brought to you by Barack Obama) are causing caution among small businesses and that’s because they perceive an “unsettled” business climate. Consequently there’s no incentive for them to change the status quo. In fact, they obviously believe there is some safety in the status quo (see the survey to see how they feel about their businesses locally) .
As we’ve mentioned repeatedly, government policy does have an effect on the economy. It can be an enabler that helps create incentives for businesses to expand and hire or it can be a disabler, doing precisely what it is doing now to unsettle the business climate, create disincentives for expansion or hiring and have small businesses go into a defensive posture.
It doesn’t get more defensive than now.
More from the Chamber survey:
- 78% want government to get out of the way.
- 90% are concerned about the impending fiscal cliff and are worried that Congress will fail to take action to prevent it.
- Nearly 60% say that expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax rates and other business provisions, coupled with sequestration, will directly impact their business’ growth.
As you might imagine the road map to a better business climate is not hard to follow. There’s just no desire by the class warriors to do that.
Instead of doing the hard work of creating a business climate that will provide small business incentives to expand and hire, they’d rather tax them while demonizing them as the evil rich and talking about “fair shares” to 50% of the country that pay’s no – zero- income tax.
If this doesn’t paint the picture of what is wrong with the policies of this administration, I’m not sure what will. This is Econ 101 stuff. And apparently it is like a foreign language to this administration.
The golden goose is on life support, and the administration is about to pull the plug.
But let’s talk about Bain Capital, shall we?
President Obama is on his newest attempt to change the subject and find something to take to the people that might interest them and distract from his abysmal economic performance. It’s taxes. Specifically, he’s decided to make an issue of the automatic tax increases that will take effect in January and claim he does not want to see taxes increase on anyone but those nasty rich who need to “pay their fair share”. Or, back to class warfare.
A) He likes to refer to these as the “Bush tax cuts”. In fact, they’re the current tax rate. Have been for years. What he wants to do is see a tax increase on the rich, but no one else. I’m not sure how else one characterizes that but “class warfare”, especially given the percentage of total taxes that top income group pays already.
B) Republicans are saying no tax increases on anyone. Democrats like to characterize that as protecting the rich. I like to characterize it as an attempt to address the real problem – out of control government spending.
C) The nasty “rich” Obama wants to tax also include almost a million small businesses. That’s one of the primary reasons, in this weakening economy, that Republicans are right not to agree to any tax increases. It is both stupid and economically suicidal. But then you have to know about economics and the business world to understand that.
D) Democrats had two years of a complete monopoly on government to get this done and didn’t. It’s not the Republicans who have prevented anything. It is total incompetence on the Democratic side of the aisle. And, as Obama’s favorite pastor likes to say, “those chickens are coming home to roost”.
E) Finally, Barack Obama has already raised taxes on the middle class despite his statement in a speech yesterday claiming he had no desire to raise middle class taxes.
The tax is called the mandate in ObamaCare. It goes like this:
75% of the mandate tax falls on the middle class. That is a middle class tax hike in anyone’s book.
So when he claims he has no desire to raise the taxes on the middle class, that may be true … now. Because, in fact, he’s already done it.
These via the Americans for Tax Reform. Says the ATR:
Taxpayers are reminded that the President’s healthcare law is one of the largest tax increases in American history.
Indeed. Tax increases which took place in 2010 after the passage of the bill:
1. Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by HHS. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971
2. Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (Tax hike of $4.5 billion). This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 108-113
3. “Black liquor” tax hike (Tax hike of $23.6 billion). This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 105
4. Tax on Innovator Drug Companies ($22.2 bil/Jan 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980
5. Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike ($0.4 bil/Jan 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,004
6. Tax on Indoor Tanning Services ($2.7 billion/July 1, 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,397-2,399
By my count $53.4 billion plus that collected in point 1.
7. Medicine Cabinet Tax ($5 bil/Jan 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957-1,959
8. HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike ($1.4 bil/Jan 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,959
$6.4 billion more ($59.8 billion and counting).
9. Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 (Min$/Jan 2012): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957
No actual number but let’s just say “billions and billions” as the middle class gets taxed for its health benefits. Next year (2013), these kick in:
10. Surtax on Investment Income ($123 billion/Jan. 2013): Creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single). This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income: Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 87-93
Also known as a “tax on the rich”. To what effect? Well in 2012 capital gains is taxed at 15%, dividends at 15% and “other” at 35%. If you’re wondering what constitutes “other” here’s how it is defined:
*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations. It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income. It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans. The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.
In 2013 capital gains will be taxed at 23.8%, dividends at 43.4% and “other” at 43.4%.
11. Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax ($86.8 bil/Jan 2013): Current law and changes. Bill: PPACA, Reconciliation Act; Page: 2000-2003; 87-93
12. Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers ($20 bil/Jan 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax. Exempts items retailing for <$100. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986
13. Raise "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI ($15.2 bil/Jan 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994-1,995
14. Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax” ($13 bil/Jan 2013): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited). Indexed to inflation after 2013. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,388-2,389
15. Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D ($4.5 bil/Jan 2013) Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994
16. $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives ($0.6 bil/Jan 2013). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,995-2,000
Your running total through next year? $322.9+ billion in taxes.
And on to 2014:
17. Individual Mandate Excise Tax (Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following:
Of course, there are exemptions (Catholics need not apply regardless of what it says):
Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS). Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337
“Undocumented immigrants” get a bye … more of the DREAM Act?
18. Employer Mandate Tax (Jan 2014): If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees. Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer). Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346
Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years
19. Tax on Health Insurers ($60.1 bil/Jan 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. Phases in gradually until 2018. Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993
20. Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans ($32 bil/Jan 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). Higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions. CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956
At this point, we’re very near if not past half a trillion dollars in new taxes.
Never mind the perverse incentives Dale outlines in his post about ObamaCare and the fact that they’ll work very hard to make it one of the largest failures in American history. Imagine the horrific effect these taxes will have on the middle class, on investment, on innovation and, frankly, on the level of care. Not to mention the drain on a very shaky economy (and the possibility of Taxmageddon hitting as well).
This is the pig-in-the-poke a Democratic Congress passed and the Supreme Court upheld yesterday.
Really something to celebrate, isn’t it?
Tell me if you know which Republican Congressman said this:
"President Obama and others in Washington need to realize that we cannot spend our way to prosperity and that to in order to create jobs," … "We need to address unfair trade deals that ship jobs overseas and enact policies that allow us to take advantage of our vast natural resources such as coal and natural gas in a safe and responsible manner which will lower energy costs and create jobs and approving the Keystone XL Pipeline would be a good first step."
House Speaker Boehner? Paul Ryan? Eric Cantor?
Uh, no … it wasn’t a Republican at all. It was Rep. Mark Critz, D-PA. The guy who represents most of John Murtha’s old district. Does this sound like a guy who is wanting the president anywhere near his district as he runs for re-election?
Meanwhile the President gave a “major speech” yesterday in Ohio that was 54 minutes long and could be boiled down into one sentence – No change: more spending, more taxes, same old failed economic policies and blame Bush.
President Obama’s much-anticipated speech Thursday on the economy didn’t lay out any new initiatives or make any new arguments. It often sounded like a recap of his first three years, or another version of the familiar "how we got here" blamefest.
Meanwhile, going back to part of Rep. Critz criticism, the Keystone XL pipeline, something which would mean jobs for this country and a big step toward increasing our energy security, is indeed proceeding – toward China or elsewhere:
While Joe Oliver, Canada’s minister of natural resources, said in an interview that the United States would remain Canada’s “most important customer,” billions of barrels of oil that would have been refined and used in the United States are now poised to head elsewhere. Expansion of Canada’s fast-growing oil-sands industry will be restricted by the lack of pipeline capacity before the decade’s end, he said, which “adds to the urgency of building them so that the resources will not be stranded.”
Three new pipeline network proposals — two that call for heading west and the other east — have been put forward.
If ever there were a blunder of historic proportions, Obama’s petulant and politically motivated disapproval of the pipeline rank up in the top.
The scale of this blunder, which the President made ostensibly on environmental grounds, is compounded by the fact that there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Once a new pipeline is built, Canada has no reason to return to selling its oil products solely to the U.S. at a reduced price. The decision not to approve Keystone XL makes Solyndra look like a stroke of genius.
Oh and finally, can anyone guess what was required to attend the President’s Ohio speech?
Yeah, that’s right – a photo ID.
The NY Times has an article out saying that extended unemployment benefits are beginning to wind down. Of course that’s in the face of at least 5 million still unemployed. And while it obviously has to happen, i.e. the cut-off of extended unemployment benefits, my guess is that Democrats are less likely to want it to happen than Republicans.
In case you haven’t heard there’s an election soon.
But, that said, it does take us to a number that should concern everyone:
49.1%: Percent of the population that lives in a household where at least one member received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2011.
Cutting government spending is no easy task, and it’s made more complicated by recent Census Bureau data showing that nearly half of the people in the U.S. live in a household that receives at least one government benefit, and many likely received more than one.
Yes, that number. 49.1%. Why should we be concerned about it? Well if I have to explain, you most likely won’t get it anyway. Make this comparison:
The 49.1% of the population in a household that gets benefits is up from 30% in the early 1980s and 44.4% as recently as the third quarter of 2008.
That’s a very large increase from 1984. It speaks, at least to me, of dependence. Now I know the recession has somewhat skewed the numbers. Got it. And, as the unemployment benefits wind down, the number will probably drop.
But in reality it points to a trend in which more and more people depend on less and less working people to help pay their way (CBO says food stamp rolls will continue to grow through 2014). What this points too is increased government spending (no matter how you slice it – those drawing money from the government is up and that means government is spending more) in an era we can’t afford it.
With increased government spending comes the need to pay for it, and if taxes aren’t going to increase that means deficits. Nearly three-quarters of Americans blame the U.S. budget deficit on spending too much money on federal programs, according to a Gallup poll last year, but when the conversation turns to which programs to cut, the majorities are harder to find. For example, 56% of respondents oppose making significant changes to Social Security or Medicare.
Why do you suppose that is? Why would 56% oppose making significant changes to Social Security or Medicare?
Because they have a vested financial interest in the two programs. Government has, for decades, taken money out of their pay check, spent it on other things and over promised the benefits. Or to simplify it for you, they’ve grossly mismanaged the two programs to the point that anyone in the private sector would be in jail.
And yet, the number of Americans getting benefits from government continues to trend upward.
Can you not spot the big red kangaroo here?
Why is it obvious to everyone but our politicians (yeah, that’s a rhetorical question for those wondering)?