A Tax Reform We Can All Support by Chris Edwards

U.S. law overemphasizes helping favored groups with narrow tax breaks. Here’s a better idea.

Tax reform will be a key Republican theme going into the 2016 elections, but Republicans divide over the needed changes. Pro-growth conservatives and libertarians favor broad-based tax rate cuts, while conservative and moderate “reformicons” favor expanded social policy breaks, such as child tax credits.

The tax divide is important because the next president will likely be a Republican, and he or she will probably push for a first-year tax cut, as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush did. Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts were all pro-growth. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts were partly pro-growth and partly social policy, as were the 1997 tax cuts under Bill Clinton.

Looking ahead to 2016, one reform idea that should appeal to all types of Republicans—and even some Democrats—is universal savings accounts (USAs). Such accounts would be like Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), but for all types of savings, not just retirement savings. People would contribute after-tax income to USAs, and then all earnings and withdrawals would be completely tax-free.

Consider Canadian and British Success

USAs would be great social policy, as they would help families build larger nest eggs, and they would be great economic policy, since savings fuels investment and growth. The accounts would be good politics, as well, as we have seen with the success of USA-style accounts in Canada and Britain.

Let’s look at Canada first. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government implemented Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) in 2009, and they are creating a broad-based savings revolution north or the border. Here are the key features of the accounts:

•Annual contribution limit of $10,000. Portions of the contribution limit not used in a year can be carried forward to future years.
•Tax-free earnings. All earnings are tax-free and withdrawals can be made at any time for any reason, with no taxes or penalties. This feature greatly simplifies the accounts and increases liquidity, both of which encourage added savings.
•No income limits. All adults can contribute to the accounts and withdraw from them at any time during their lives.
•Ease of saving. Accounts can be opened at any bank branch or online, and they can hold bank deposits, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other types of assets.

TFSAs are great for all types of saving—saving to buy a home or a car, or saving to cover health expenses, unemployment, or retirement. That is about as “pro-family” as you can get. The Canadian government has recognized that whether people sock away money for four months or four decades, all savings are beneficial and add to personal financial security.

Britain’s Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are just as impressive as the Canadian accounts. All UK residents can put up to 15,240 pounds (about $23,000) per year of after-tax money into ISAs. ISA earnings grow tax-free and can be withdrawn at any time for any reason with no taxes or penalties. Like TFSAs, ISAs enshrine in the tax code the principle that saving for all reasons is important, not just for reasons favored by governments.

Tax Complexity Scares People

In the United States, the government chooses which savings to favor, with the result that we have a mess of separate accounts for retirement, health care, and education. Everyone agrees that Americans don’t save enough, and one reason is the complexity of the accounts. Between 40 and 50 percent of adults in Canada and Britain now own the all-purpose savings accounts. By contrast, just 38 percent of Americans hold any type of IRA, even though IRAs have been around a lot longer than TFSAs and ISAs.

The Canadian accounts would be a good model for American USAs. One hurdle to enactment might be concerns that such accounts would favor the wealthy. But in Canada, the government’s recent budget reported that “individuals with annual incomes of less than $80,000 accounted for more than 80 per cent of all TFSA holders … About half of TFSA holders had annual incomes of less than $42,000.” And in Britain, a new report from HM Revenue and Customs found that 57 percent of ISA account holders had annual incomes of less than 20,000 pounds (about $30,000), and slightly more women than men hold ISAs.

The economic and the political appeal of these accounts is that all individuals can use them for all types of savings. In Canada, TFSAs have been so successful that Stephen Harper’s Conservative government recently expanded the contribution limit from $5,500 to the current $10,000. In Britain, the accounts were enacted by a Labour government in 1999, and expanded by the Conservatives under Prime Minister David Cameron.

In this country, there is too much emphasis on helping favored groups with narrow tax breaks. USAs would instead help all individuals help themselves through their own thrift. Candidates for 2016 should look to Canada and Britain for a popular, pro-growth, and pro-family reform: universal savings accounts.

Source: The Federalist

The Rich Pay More Than Their Fair Share By Peter Ferrara

Even liberal think tanks confirm it.

From President Obama to Hillary Clinton to Elizabeth Warren, on down, the entire Democratic Party is invested in a false narrative about the relative burden of federal income taxes, and about freedom and opportunity in the American economy.

“The rich don’t pay their fair share,” “the deck is stacked against you,” and “the middle class is being squeezed,” they tell the nation they have been leading. But the truth is just the opposite. The latest, official, U.S. government data for 2014 shows that “the rich” pay far more than their fair share of federal income taxes. That is most recently demonstrated in a report from the Tax Policy Center, which is a project of two liberal organizations, the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.

The top 1 percent of income earners, which the Democratic Party and its increasingly far left base teach us to revile, pays 45.7 percent of all federal income taxes, which is roughly three times its 17.1 percent share of income. Just the top 1 percent pays nearly half of all federal income taxes. Its fair share would be about one third of that, which is its share of national income.

Who are the top 1 percent? Movie stars and professional athletes, at the top of their respective professions, are actually the perfect examples. Because the top 1 percent are simply the best at what they do in every profession — law, medicine, business, finance, art, authors, fashion designers, architects, etc. Entrepreneurs who successfully start and run their own small businesses, which are the source of most new jobs, represent the surest route to the top 1 percent.

The hard work, dedication, and educational achievement necessary to reach the top of any profession are exactly the character traits responsible parents try to instill in their children. Childish and silly are the most accurate words that apply to those carrying on a campaign of vilification and hatred against the top 1 percent.

The top 20 percent pay essentially all federal income taxes, at 83.9 percent of the total, while earning 51.9 percent of total U.S. income. Praiseworthy is the word that applies to those with the dedication to their professions to carry this load.

The true middle class, the middle 20 percent of income earners, works hard too, but pays only 5.9 percent of all federal income taxes, while earning about three times that share of national income at 14.8 percent. The poorest bottom 20 percent earn only 4.5 percent of national income, primarily because its members mostly do not work, some for better reasons than others.

But this bottom 20 percent does not pay any federal income taxes. It receives money from the IRS instead, equaling 2.2 percent of all federal income taxes paid. That results from refundable tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. “Refundable” means the full amount of the tax credit is paid to the individual even if that amount is more than the individual owes in taxes, resulting in a net payment due from the IRS to the individual.

That is true of the next lowest 20 percent as well. The entire bottom 40 percent of Americans pays zero, zip, nada of federal income taxes. Again, it is paid by the IRS instead, due to the refundable tax credits.

If the Democrats are so out of touch with reality, how can they possibly lead the country? Trying to pile more and more taxes on the narrow minority who are the primary source of the nation’s savings and investment would just drag the economy further and further down. Under such blind policies, the economy would never recover its traditional, booming, American prosperity. Indeed, the constant threat of still more confiscatory taxation, and persistent threat of still more overregulation, are the primary reasons the economy never has recovered from the last recession.

Source: American Spectator.org

Flat Tax Makes A Comeback In 2016 Presidential Race

Taxes: By our count, at least five Republican presidential candidates are pushing a radical overhaul of the 74,000-page federal tax code. Included are Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, as well as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

At last a national debate about how to modernize a tax code that was written by and for Washington lobbyists.

The federal tax system has become one of the greatest restraints on U.S. growth. The Tax Foundation finds that America is now saddled with one of the least competitive tax codes among the industrial nations we compete with for jobs and productive capacity. It penalizes thrift, investment, work, entrepreneurship and risk taking.

The tax labyrinth has also become the center of corruption in Washington — as Barack Obama’s IRS scandal reminds us.

Why are five of the wealthiest counties in the U.S. located around Washington, D.C.? Because the tax code is a favor factory for special interest groups and their battalions of lobbyists. Washington gets rich off the code, and the more complicated the better.

Tinkering won’t fix the system. We need to put it in the shredder and rewrite every word of it — with fewer words, of course.

“Everything is wrong with our current tax code,” explains Steve Forbes, who, along with former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, was an early champion of the flat tax idea. “The rates are too high, the base is too narrow, it is mindlessly complicated and it’s an anchor on the economy.”

The corporate tax rate of 40% was once competitive with the rest of the world. Now we’re not even close to giving our American companies that do business abroad a fair shot. For two decades other nations — from China to Canada to Ireland to Iceland — have cut rates to about half the U.S. rate.

Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert calls our corporate tax a “tariff .. . on our own goods and services. What sane country does that to itself?”

Meanwhile, preposterous tax write-offs for green energy, Nascar tracks, filmmakers, swimming pools, horse racing and breast enlargement populate the tax code.

These loopholes force rates to levitate higher, creating an inequity in the tax system that enrages voters. In 1986 the tax code was dramatically simplified, thanks to a bipartisan Tax Reform Act signed by Ronald Reagan, with rates down to 15% and 28%.

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The Taxman Cometh II By the Bear

SideBear: This is reprint of an article from several years ago because we get new calendars every year and April 15 never goes away and some things never change!

I read somewhere recently that January 23rd is the highest day of the year for people committing suicide and they attributed it to glooming weather in the middle of winter. The date might be right but I think the reason is wrong.

The real reason for “National Suicide Day” is as the calendar turns over to a new year we are all faced with that inevitable day coming on April 15th when we, the hard working citizens see a large portion of our earnings confiscated by the Federal Government.

As faith would have it I finally decided one cold dreary day last week (the week of January 23rd) to start the needless never ending accumulation of paperwork to try and figure out how many pounds of flesh they are going to extract from this tired old body as a form of ransom to leave me alone for another year.

To add insult to injury, this dutiful peasant just sent the IRS a quarterly payment the previous week which was due on the 15th. This was right after I paid the Credit Card Queen’s Christmas bills for which she always has a stock answer, “Look all the points I get for you so you can get free airline tickets.” The only problem with that is I can’t afford the cab fare to get to the airport.

Be that as it may, I bit my upper lip and locked myself in humble 2 x 4 office and decided it was time to face reality. As I was sipping on a cup of coffee I tuned in C-Span (Mr. Excitement’s favorite TV show) and there was a helium filled overblown Senator Kennedy having a purple rage fit exclaiming, “How much of our money do you Republican’s want?” (This tirade was in the course of a Senate debate over the minimum wage bill.)

No Senator, this is not your money, this money belongs to the hardworking taxpaying citizens of the United States and the United States Treasury is only the custodian of said funds. I know it is your position, Senator that all money belongs to the government and you allow us to keep enough to sustain ourselves to perform our menial work tasks so that we may pay again another day as the dutiful servants that we are. But No Senator! It is the people’s money.

This tirade gave me a Defcon 4 migraine headache on National Suicide Day as I started to think about my upcoming tax obligations, March 1st the first installment of my real estate taxes are due for the honor of living in my humble abode, on March 15th Illinois replacement taxes are due for what I sold, replace what? I could never figure out the justification for this tax, on April 15th another quarterly payment is due and of course the final settlement for D-Day 2006 is also due.

My migraine just moved up to Defcon 6 as I feel like I am walking through a mine field of taxes as I realized the government is getting more than half of the money I busted my butt to earn last year! Now it my turn to have a purple rage fit…

Why is The Taxman, who assumes no risks, entitled to more than half of my hard earned money? What has The Man contributed to my business for his share? Absolutely nothing! Matter of fact the Man is an impediment to the success of this business with his needless rules and regulations.

And the final humiliation comes on April 15th when you sign your 1040 U.S. Individual Tax Return; in the small print just above your signature is the following statement.

    “Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this tax return and the accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are true, correct, and complete.”

Do they honesty think that I have read the more than 9,000,000 words in the tax code which in itself is a contradiction from beginning to end and is designed to make a felon out of everyone.

The statement should be amended to say, I have No Clue To What I Signed! So if you want to hang me go ahead but remember for every peasant you hang that is one less peon to collect from.

There has to be a better way, maybe its time for another Boston Tea Party and let’s spike the tea this time. And how is your day going?

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The Many Costs Of Obama’s Executive Amnesty BY PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY

Seeing as the costs will come due only after President Obama has left the White House, I guess he doesn’t care how high those costs are. But the costs are horrendous, as just added up by our country’s foremost authority on such things, Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation.

Rector told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week that the lifetime costs of Social Security and Medicare benefits paid to the millions of immigrants to whom Obama is granting legal status will be about $1.3 trillion.

Rector’s calculation is based on his assumption that at least 3.97 million immigrants will receive legal status under Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, and the average DAPA beneficiary has only a 10th-grade education.

DAPA recipients, according to Rector’s calculations, will receive $7.8 billion every year once they get access to the refundable earned income tax credit and the refundable additional child tax credit. Those EITC and ACTC recipients will also be allowed to claim credit for three years of illegal work, which will sock U.S. taxpayers for another $23.5 billion.

This was confirmed by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who told Congress on Feb. 11 that immigrants who didn’t pay any taxes or who used fake Social Security numbers will nevertheless be able to claim back refunds under EITC once they get new Social Security numbers under Obama’s amnesty.

Koskinen said that he doesn’t know how much these tax refunds will cost and that the White House never checked with him before announcing the amnesty.

The average DAPA-eligible family already receives about $6,600 a year in means-tested welfare benefits. That includes food stamps, school lunch (and breakfast), Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

Many Americans labor under the false assumption that because most immigrants are hardworking, they do not depend on welfare assistance. In fact, as Rector patiently explains, most welfare benefits go to households with children headed by a low-income employed adult.

Rector estimates that the combined cost of means-tested welfare benefits the immigrants who came here illegally now receive, plus other goodies such as EITC and ACTC cash, will encourage increased illegal immigration in the future.

The average American, whose children and grandchildren will end up burdened with this enormous debt, must ask whether someone is trying to destroy America.

The Government Accountability Office has already reported that even the debate over legalizing the presence of certain immigrants was “a primary cause” of last summer’s surge of Central Americans crashing our southern border. Even if those teenagers were not eligible for asylum or legal status when they arrived, they knew that deportations could take years, giving them the chance to disappear into the shadows.

Look at California for a preview of our future under Obama’s immigration plan. The Hispanic population is now almost equal to the white population, and almost 50% of babies born in California are Hispanic.

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