Archive for the ‘tax’ Category

The New World Financial Order

November 16, 2008

For the past seven years, according to Rep. Jim Moran, “We have been guided by a Republican administration who believes in the simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it.” Actually, that “simplistic notion” has been the linchpin of the American system of free enterprise for the past two centuries. It has served to make the United States the most bountiful, wealthy and charitable nation on earth. Yet Moran says that system “doesn’t work in the long run.”

By Oliver North

My fellow Americans, welcome to the long run.

The coincidence of an economic downturn and our most recent political realignment have produced calls for urgent, dramatic, decisive action. Liberal politicians, such as Moran, are suggesting that we all would be better off if we’d adopt a more punitive tax code and use the Internal Revenue Service to redistribute the wealth. Republicans and Democrats already have allied to use our tax dollars to bail out an insurance giant, mortgage companies and financial institutions that made bad loans and extended credit to borrowers who couldn’t pay. Coming soon: tax dollars to save U.S. automakers. Attached to all these U.S. Treasury checks: countless pages of new fine-print regulations designed to prevent future financial stupidity — or to ameliorate its consequences. But as they say in the Marines, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

Read the rest:
http://www.creators.com/opinion/oliver-
north.html?columnsName=ono

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Poll Tells Obama: Fix Economy First; Tax Cuts When You Can

November 12, 2008

People want the tax cuts promised during the presidential campaign, but they may be willing to wait while President-elect Obama takes on the larger issue of fixing the economy.

Only 36 percent say trimming income taxes should be a top priority when the new president takes office in January, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. That was less than half the 84 percent who cited improving the economy as a No. 1 goal, and the 80 percent who said creating jobs should be a paramount task.

“I don’t think it’s going to work in this instance,” said Ryan Anderson, 31, a Democrat from Bloomington, Minn., who thinks tax reductions would have little impact on most families’ budgets. “That’s kind of like shooting a BB gun at a freight train.”

Obama promised to cut taxes for working families during the campaign.

By ALAN FRAM and TREVOR TOMPSON, Associated Press Writers

Even fewer — 29 percent — said another top priority should be Obama’s plan to allow tax cuts to expire for families earning more than $250,000 a year. He has said he would use the revenue that would raise to help finance some of his priorities.

Amid such talk, 72 percent in the AP-GfK poll voiced confidence Obama will make the changes needed to revive the stalling economy. Underscoring how widely the public is counting on its new leader, 44 percent of Republicans joined nearly all Democrats and most independents in expressing that belief.

Obama has called for about $175 billion in new stimulus spending, including for public works projects, and has said he would make it a top priority in January if it is not enacted by a lame-duck session of Congress and President Bush this year.

The poll shows trust in Obama’s ability to succeed is even broader, at least for now. Sixty-eight percent said they think when he takes office in January, the new president will be able to enact the policies he pushed during his presidential campaign.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081112/ap_on_go_
pr_wh/ap_poll_obama;_ylt=ArhlQW_
78Fn7nRDh2uPpJ_qs0NUE

Economy won’t stop Obama’s priorities, aides say

November 9, 2008

The economic crisis will not stop President-elect Barack Obama from expanding health care, overhauling education and energy policy, and passing a middle-class tax cut soon after he takes office in January, senior aides said on Sunday.

Meanwhile the U.S. Congress should act to ease the pain of an economy sliding into recession by extending unemployment benefits and boosting aid to states struggling to meet their health-care obligations, they said.

Obama’s transitional team has outlined an ambitious agenda for the next several months as it scrambles to assemble an administration in the face of what is widely viewed as the worst economic slump since the Great Depression.

By Andy Sullivan, Reuters

The economic crisis will not prevent Obama from pursuing the priorities he outlined on the campaign trail, said John Podesta, co-chair of Obama’s transition team.

These include extending heath care to the nation’s 47 million uninsured, reducing U.S. reliance on foreign oil, and improving public education, Podesta said.

“These are all core, if you will, economic questions and they need to be tackled together, and I think you’ll have a program, and a strategy to move aggressively across all those fronts,” Podesta said on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

Congress is expected to return in a temporary session as soon as next week to take up a stimulus package defeated by Senate Republicans in September.

That package should not be tied to a free-trade deal with Colombia as some Republicans have suggested, said Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who will become Obama’s chief of staff when he takes office on January 20.

“You don’t link those essential needs to some other trade deal,” Emanuel said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081109/pl_nm/us_usa_politics_
stimulus;_ylt=AuXMEwYg.GtybLaxEx.SZdGs0NUE

Even if Obama’s Perfect, Economy May Continue to Drag

November 9, 2008

This is one hell of a way to win.

Barack Obama owes his victory in large measure to the prospect of the longest and deepest economic downturn in a quarter-century and perhaps since the Great Depression. If he performs well, he could become a great president. If he flubs it, he could get the same reception as Jimmy Carter. In the crassest political terms, it was good luck to have the financial crisis hit so close to the election. But Obama’s lucky streak will end in a hurry if he can’t find a way out of this mess. He will also have to manage expectations: Even if he does everything perfectly, we probably won’t turn the corner for 18 months, and the downturn could last far longer than that.

By Joseph Stiglitz
The Washington Post
Sunday, November 9, 2008; Page B03

The first task facing President-elect Obama, after eight years of misguided economic policies, will be to begin the recovery — or at least forestall a further decline. It won’t be easy. Some 1.2 million jobs have already been shed this year, and some three-quarters of a million Americans are about to exhaust their limited unemployment-insurance benefits. By October, only 32 percent of unemployed Americans were receiving unemployment checks. To make matters worse, when Americans lose their jobs, they typically lose their health insurance, too. Meanwhile, 3.8 million homes are under foreclosure, and states are facing massive revenue shortfalls; without assistance, they will have to cut spending, plunging the economy deeper into recession.

Obama keeps people guessing on missile shield amid Russian threats
AFP/File/Stan Honda

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/0
6/AR2008110602997.html?hpid=
opinionsbox1

Obama Should Make Haste Slowly

November 7, 2008

Festina lente. Make haste slowly. That was the motto of the revolutionary-minded young Augustus who soon grasped that he needed to build upon Rome’s past, rather than dismantle it.

Amid the celebration of the historic victory of Barack Obama, the country should now quit the bickering, appreciate a fair and peaceful transference of power, and unite behind its new commander in chief.

By Victor David Hanson
The Washington Times

But in turn our new President Obama would do well to heed that ancient Roman wisdom, appreciating that the real world after Nov. 4 is not exactly the same as its frequent caricature during the hard-fought campaign.

John McCain promised to cut taxes on all. Mr. Obama promised to raise them on some. But neither plan fully appreciated that we are now buried deep under trillions of dollars of debt – and need both more revenue and less expenditure.

An Obama administration, like it or not, must cede to the laws of physics: America will have to pay down debt while not raising taxes too high at a time of recession. That balancing act will make it hard to borrow additional billions for more promised federal spending.

“Hope and change” may have implied an easy transition to our clean, cool solar and wind future. But for a while longer, America’s envisioned new electric cars will still require old-fashioned natural gas, coal and nuclear power to generate electricity to charge them.

Economic slowdown, conservation and public promises to drill more oil and natural gas have already helped to collapse world oil prices and saved us billions. And before we talk of ending the coal industry, we should thank our lucky stars that America has the world’s most plentiful supply of coal to transition us to alternate sources of energy.

We need more regulation of both Wall Street and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which all went feral and turned on us during both the Clinton and Bush administrations. Yet European leaders are faced with far worse financial meltdowns than we are – and their problems have nothing to do with American excess or George Bush.

The dollar is climbing against the Euro because market analysts realize that for all our sins, American financial institutions are still far less exposed than those elsewhere in the world, and our free-market system far more flexible to recover from excess and grow the economy.

Some have called for the Wall Street bailout to be just the first, rather than the last, large federal takeover of American finance. But again, we should remember that despite a looming recession, Americans are still collectively the most affluent and free citizens in the world – precisely because our unique free-market system creates enormous wealth and draws in more capital and talent than elsewhere on promises of commensurate individual rewards. President Obama need not give radical chemotherapy to an ill economy that does not have a fatal cancer.

The shooting war in Iraq is ending. President Obama can continue to withdraw American troops slowly on the basis of a growing victory, rather than rashly and harnessed to an artificial timetable. In time, a Democratic administration could assert that a constitutional government in Iraq and an unprecedented defeat of al Qaeda in the heart of the ancient caliphate enhanced U.S. security at home and abroad – and are achievements to be claimed rather than simply reckless acts to be abruptly abandoned.

For all the campaign charges of unfairness, America currently has the most progressive tax system in the world, in which the top 5 percent of wage earners pay over 60 percent of all federal income taxes. President Obama will raise rates, as promised. Yet he might consider that Americans in the past came to accept the Clinton income tax hike to 40 percent on the top bracket – but may well balk at adding unprecedented increases in payroll taxes on top of all that. That combination could mean a sizable tax raise on many of those self-employed who already pay nearly half their income in various taxes – and gut rather than just shear the sheep.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/
07/make-haste-slowly/

We Could Be In for a Lurch to the Left

November 4, 2008

There’s an old saying that politics in America is played between the 40 yard lines. What this means, for those unfamiliar with football, is that we’re a centrist country, never straying very far to the left or the right in elections or national policies. This has been true for decades. It probably won’t be after today’s election.

For the first time since the 1960s, liberal Democrats are dominant. They are all but certain to have a lopsided majority in the House, and either a filibuster-proof Senate or something close to it. If Barack Obama wins the presidency today, they’ll have an ideological ally in the White House.

A sharp lurch to the left and enactment of a liberal agenda, or major parts of it, are all but inevitable. The centrist limits in earlier eras of Democratic control are gone. In the short run, Democrats may be constrained by the weak economy and a large budget deficit. Tax hikes and massive spending programs, except those billed as job creation, may have to be delayed.

By Fred Barnes
The Wall Street Journal
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But much of their agenda — the “card check” proposal to end secret ballots in union elections, the Fairness Doctrine to stifle conservative talk radio, liberal judicial nominees, trade restrictions, retreat from Iraq, talks with Iran — doesn’t require spending. And after 14 years of Republican control of Congress, the presidency, or both, Democrats are impatient. They want to move quickly.

Democrats had large majorities when Jimmy Carter became president in 1977 (61-38 in the Senate, 292-143 in the House) and when Bill Clinton took office in 1993 (56-44, 258-176). So why are their prospects for legislative success so much better now?

The most significant change is in the ideological makeup of the Democratic majorities. In the Carter and Clinton eras, there were dozens of moderate and conservative Democrats in Congress, a disproportionate number of them committee chairs. Now the Democratic majorities in both houses are composed almost uniformly of liberals. Those few who aren’t, including the tiny but heralded gang of moderates elected to the House in 2006, usually knuckle under on liberal issues. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bosses them around like hired help.

In the past, senior Democrats intervened to prevent a liberal onslaught. Along with Republicans, they stopped President Carter from implementing his plan to pull American troops out of South Korea.

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122576065024095511.html

Entitlement spending set to soar to mind-boggling heights

November 3, 2008

The federal deficit is expected to more than double to $1 trillion next year, but budget experts concerned about the fiscal impact of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid think 2009 will be remembered as the good old days.

By David Dickson
The Washington Times

Now that the first of the nation’s 76 million baby boomers have reached age 62 and begun to collect their Social Security checks, the demographic time bomb no longer seems such a distant threat. Indeed, baby boomers will begin filing Medicare claims in 2011, just as the next president begins his campaign for a second term.

Judged by the proposals of Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, to address the potentially catastrophic fiscal explosion, neither presidential candidate seems prepared to deal with the long-term fiscal tsunami that has been gathering force for years.

“If they implemented their policies as stated, they would make the deficit and the national debt problems worse,” said David Walker, the former comptroller general who headed the Government Accountability Office (GAO). “My hope is that the winning candidate has an epiphany,” he told The Washington Times.

“Beyond the current crisis, the biggest economic question facing the candidates is the threat to the long-term fiscal health of the country caused by changing demographics and soaring health care costs,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “What is striking in the presidential campaign is the notable absence of a discussion about how to address these long-term challenges.”

Because the candidates are focusing on the current economic crisis, “they’re not talking about the long-term entitlement problems,” said Diane Lim Rogers, chief economist of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization concerned about the challenges facing America’s unsustainable entitlement programs. “They have not got very specific. They rarely bring up Medicare and Social Security in their speeches today except to criticize the other’s proposals.”

Addison Wiggin, executive producer of the debt documentary “I.O.U.S.A.” and co-author of a prescient 2006 book, “Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis,” said he is “greatly disappointed by the fact that the candidates won’t discuss the entitlement crisis before the election. They won’t talk about it because they can’t get votes that way. They’re getting a free pass.”

Long-term budget challenges

The Congressional Budget Office’s latest annual report examining “The Long-Term Budget Outlook” details the problem. The CBO reported that federal spending on the three largest entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) was on track to increase from 8.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2007 to 18.1 percent in 2050 and 25 percent or more in 2082.

Although Social Security today is significantly larger….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/03/into-the-wild-blue-yonder/

Obama: ‘I Will Change The World’

November 2, 2008

With just three days to go he and his opponent John McCain are touring key states in an effort to woo undecided voters.

Senator Obama is still almost seven points ahead in the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, but the gap has narrowed slightly.

Don’t miss these other great pre-election treats:
Is The Maverick a Closer, or a Loser? Is Obama the Messiah? Tuesday We’ll Know!

Obama Says Election ‘Vindicated’ His Faith in America

From Sky News (UK)

At a rally in Henderson, Nevada, he warned his supporters against complacency.

“At this defining moment in history, you can give the country the change we need,” he said.

Sky News’ Michelle Clifford, who was at the rally, said Mr Obama was trying to leave nothing to chance.

“He’ll be using every ounce of his resources to get the vote out,” she said.

At the same time Senator McCain was rallying his followers in Newport Beach, Virginia.

In a usually safe Republican state, which is threatening to go to the Democrats, he asked for help on the home stretch.

He said: “Let me state the obvious again, we need to win Virginia on the 4th of November and with your help we’re going to win and bring real change to Washington.

The campaigning has been tough for both men, but Sky News’ Robert Nisbet, who has been following the McCain bandwagon, says the toll is beginning to show on the older man.

“Being on the road at rally after rally is exhausting and Mr McCain appears to be tired,” he said.

Obama, McCain promise respect for Congress

November 2, 2008

Voters for the first time in almost five decades on Tuesday will send a sitting member of Congress to the White House, with Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain both promising to thaw the prickly relationship between the two branches of government.

But congressional experience is no guarantee the next president will have a cozy time with his former colleagues, as both candidates would likely face obstacles on Capitol Hill that could slow or sidetrack their political agendas.

By Sean Lengell
The Washington Times
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“With Obama, he was not in the Senate very long, and John McCain is not very well-liked in the Senate, so [their congressional experience] might cut the other way,” said Gene Healy, a vice president at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute and author of the 2008 book “The Cult of the Presidency.”

“I don’t know how much we can read into whether legislative experience at the federal level is going to lead to greater comity” between Capitol Hill and the White House.

With Democrats expected to make significant gains to their House and Senate majorities, a Democratic Obama administration would have a clear mandate to press ahead with his priorities, such as an expansion of government-subsidized health care, other spending programs, and a mix of tax increases and middle-class tax cuts.
Capitol Building Full View.jpg

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008
/nov/02/obama-mccain-promise-respect-for-congress/

Could a President Obama Control a Democratic Congress?

November 1, 2008

“Elections have consequences,” John McCain said during the final presidential debate. It’s his way of saying that certain decisions are the prerogative of a president; if you want them to play out differently, win the White House yourself. Should McCain manage to pull out an improbable victory on Tuesday, however, he may well find out how inconsequential elections can actually be. McCain would almost certainly become the first president in 20 years to enter office with a Congress dominated by a hostile opposition, and the scorn he has earned from formerly sympathetic Democrats during what has been, at times, a small and cynical campaign would make the few miles between the Capitol and the White House feel like the distance separating, say, Juneau, Alaska, and Moscow. Narrowly elected amid the inevitable allegations of fraud and divisiveness, McCain in his first year would stand little chance of passing a proclamation honoring Betsy Ross, much less any meaningful legislation on health care, energy or taxes.

By Matt Bai
The New York Times
November 2, 2008

 

WhiteHouseSouthFacade.JPG
For Barack Obama, of course, expectations would be significantly higher. In the 40 years since Lyndon Johnson left office, Democrats have spent much of their time and capital defending the programmatic pillars of the New Deal and the Great Society from conservative marauders rather than adding on to that legacy; even Bill Clinton’s signature achievements — welfare reform, the 1994 anti-crime bill, balanced budgets — were in large part about curbing the excesses of 20th-century liberalism. Now, with the Republican revolution in ruins and the global economy not far behind, Democrats in Washington sense an opportunity not simply to retake power but also to do something momentous with it. If Obama puts his hand to a Bible in January, he may well look out on the highest number of Democratic senators and congressmen since Jimmy Carter took office in 1976 — a substantial majority for a president who has promised a slate of expansive new programs.

If recent history is any guide, however, Obama would need more than raw numbers in his favor. Congressional majorities are, in fact, a lot like corporate profits; they exist on paper, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually there when you need them….

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/magazine
/02wwln-lede-t.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin