Shafting Taxpayers – Promoting Crony Corporatism by Paul Driessen

President Reagan once said, “The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.” The omnibus budget package being negotiated on Capitol Hill is a perfect example.

The wheeling and dealing is too complex and fast-moving for anyone to follow or understand. But much of it centers on trading an end to the 40-year-old oil export ban in exchange for extending and perpetuating renewable energy programs and President Obama’s dictatorial Clean Power Plan.

It is especially maddening when supposed Republican fiscal conservatives are supposedly in charge of Congress and the purse strings. It’s especially despicable when the energy policies are based on lies and fraud about “dangerous manmade climate change,” and on blatant crony corporatism that gives coerced taxpayer subsidies to companies that then make campaign contributions to helpful legislators. It makes it perfectly clear why voters are spitting mad, and “outsiders” have an inside track on presidential races.

The not-a-treaty arrangements just concluded in Paris allow climate alarmists to claim 100% of countries now agree that climate change is a huge problem – even though most American disagree, and some 90% of those countries signed the agreement just to get their “fair share” of the $100 billion per year that they demand from developed nations, which are now expected to de-carbonize, de-industrialize and de-develop.

But where are the dangerous, unprecedented rising seas and stronger storms? They’re not happening in the Real World. They exist only in computer models and White House press releases. But we are supposed to accept the hysteria as fact; base laws and policies on them; and destroy millions of coal, oil, natural gas and factory jobs, while we prop up wind, solar and biofuel industries to replace fossil fuels.

The ban on exporting American crude oil was enacted after the Arab oil embargo, and long before the fracking revolution, when politicians thought we were running out of petroleum. Now the United States and world have abundant oil and natural gas, oil prices have plummeted to $40 per barrel, oilfield jobs are threatened, and letting American companies export crude to Europe and other regions would spur drilling and job preservation, generate major tax revenues and greatly reduce balance of trade deficits.

However, Democrats detest drilling and fossil fuels, and President Obama had threatened to veto any bill that ends the export ban. So congressional leaders cobbled together a deal that would lift the ban – in exchange for extending wind and solar subsidies, and sending billions of dollars to “poor” countries like China and India, for climate change “adaptation and reparations,” while they burn more and more coal.

The reported deal extends subsidies five more years. The wind energy Production Tax Credit would be reduced 20% in 2017, 40% in 2018 and 60% in 2019, after which it would finally expire (unless Congress extends it yet again). For solar, the 30% Investment Tax Credit would remain in place past 2017, then drop to 26% through 2020, then to 22% through 2021, then remain at 10% in perpetuity. Biofuel mandates would also remain.

Just as bad, wind and solar would continue to be exempt from the Endangered Species Act. Companies would still be allowed to bury, hide, incinerate or ignore millions of eagle, hawk, other bird and bat carcasses – and never be subjected to penalties imposed on oil and coal companies for a few dozen deaths.

As Politico explains, the “logic” behind these arrangements is that solar (and wind) companies need this “lifeline” so that they can survive over the next few years, “until EPA rules kick in and boost demand for their carbon-free power.” As I see it, the omnibus bill sanctifies EPA’s draconian Clean Power Plan and other anti-coal regulations, which force coal-fired power plants to close in favor of wind and solar.

That would mean millions more jobs lost in factories and communities that depend on low-cost coal-based electricity, and on natural gas-fueled power plants that are also under environmentalist and EPA assault. It would mean ruling elites again get to decide whose jobs get preserved, and who get the shaft.

It seems Congress doesn’t dare imperil jobs and companies created via government diktats and taxpayer largesse. They are granted eternal life. It likewise doesn’t dare furlough federal workers for a few weeks, during another government shutdown over the budget. Fear of being blamed for a government shutdown drives Republican decisions – even though the feds would again get full back pay when they return to work, unlike private sector workers whose jobs get destroyed, often sacrificed on the climate altar, or for campaign contributions from crony corporatist friends.

As to “carbon-free” power, there is no such thing. Enormous wind and solar installations require coal or gas-fired backup generating plants, operating at peak inefficiency as they ramp up and power down when wind or sun conditions repeatedly change. That means even more carbon dioxide emissions.

And as even Secretary of State John Kerry recently admitted, with nearly 200 other countries still operating, building and planning thousands of coal-fired power plants, even if Americans all biked to work and ended all U.S. fossil fuel use, atmospheric CO2 levels would continue to rise. So even if carbon dioxide actually does drive climate change (which it doesn’t), our sacrifices would be for nothing.

In fact, even EPA analyses make it clear that a fully implemented job-killing Clean Power Plan would bring an undetectable, irrelevant reduction of 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.05 F) in average global temperatures 85 years from now – because the rest of the world is not about to stop burning oil, gas and coal.

But meanwhile we are supposed to blanket millions of acres with solar panels and wind turbines, convert millions of acres of crop and habitat land into biofuel plantations, send electricity prices “skyrocketing” for families, factories and hospitals, and kill millions of jobs – because our government says we must.

Then, even more insane, the Republican leadership also seems prepared to end the ban on using American dollars to bankroll our “fair share” of the $100-billion-a-year Green Climate Fund. And they’re planning to participate in this massive global wealth redistribution program in a sneaky, stealthy way.

They plan to let the Obama Administration have total control over $171 million that’s been appropriated in the omnibus spending bill for the Clean Technology Fund and $50 million appropriated for the Strategic Climate Fund – both of which feed into the GCF. They’ll also end prohibitions on reprogramming $168 million of Global Environment Facility money, so that it can be transferred to the GCF, and let the Treasury Department use $50 million of International Bank for Reconstruction and Development money for the same purpose. Otherwise no ending the oil exports ban.

Presto! $439 million in hard-earned taxpayer money becomes a down-payment to the Green Climate Fund, as “reparations” for climate changes we never caused, and “adaptation” money for future climate changes that will be no different or worse than what humans have experienced throughout history. Of course, the president and Democrats want a lot more – something closer to $3 billion a year.

Finally, let’s assume Republicans agree to all this pain, waste and joblessness, to end the oil export ban – and Mr. Obama refrains from vetoing it, because he gets the “renewable” energy subsidies he wants. Can we trust this president not to impose more regulatory edicts to block leasing, drilling, fracking, pipelines and exports? Or will we again be left holding an empty bag and looking like suckers?

Simply put, would it be better to give up on ending the export ban until we get a less anti-American occupant in the White House – and just eliminate these wind, solar and climate fund subsidies right now?

Voters should remind their rank-and-file representatives and the Republican (and Democrat) leadership that they are sick of the duplicity, double dealing and job destruction at the hands of ruling elites. No budget deal is better than a domestic version of the Iran nuclear deal or Paris climate non-treaty.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

The Paul And Cruz Flat Tax Plans Are Best Tax Proposals BY ARTHUR B. LAFFER AND STEPHEN MOORE

As we’ve cheerfully noted on these pages, the good news on the presidential campaign trail is that almost all Republicans are now for serious pro-growth tax reform and simplification. Every candidate wants lower rates (some a one-rate flat tax), fewer loopholes and carve-outs, and a reduced role for an abusive IRS.

What a contrast with Bernie Sanders, who declared at last week’s Democratic debate that he could live with a 90% tax rate on the rich. Why not take it all, Bernie?

All the GOP tax plans look good to us — though some are admittedly better than others. The danger now is that too many conservatives have formed a circular firing squad and are shooting down nearly all proposals on purity grounds or attacking trivial differences.

This is the surest way to derail tax reform altogether.

If Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp and Bill Bradley had held to such a “my way or the highway” approach, the epic 1986 tax reform that collapsed tax rates to 15% and 28% never would have happened.

Which brings us to Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. The two of us helped craft their low-rate flat tax plans.

The plans are similar: Paul’s rates are 14.5% on business net sales and wages and salaries. Cruz has a 16% business net sales tax and a 10% wage and salary tax.

These would be the lowest tax rates since the income tax was devised 100 years ago. Both are estimated by the Tax Foundation to grow the economy by a gigantic $2 trillion in extra GDP per year after 10 years.

Both eliminate almost all deductions and special-interest carve-outs. (Against our wishes, they retain the tax write-off for charitable organizations and have family deductions that are too big. But no one’s perfect.)

They completely kill the corporate tax, the estate tax and the FICA payroll tax.

Yet conservatives are strangely griping. Economists at the Cato Institute have joined with Larry Kudlow to complain that the business tax is a value-added tax (VAT). Such a dreaded tax, they fear, would be a giant new source of revenue and lead to government gone wild, as has happened in Europe.

That’s the last thing we want.

But nearly all leading flat-tax plans have some form of VAT to replace the god-awful corporate income tax. If these plans didn’t eliminate the corporate tax entirely, and the new tax was a European-style add-on VAT, we’d be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Kudlow in denouncing them.

When we designed our Complete Flat Tax in our book “Return to Prosperity,” we came up with this business tax system with no deductions, simple as can be, and the lowest rate just about anywhere in the world.

Hello. That’s exactly what you want in a good tax, isn’t it?

Almost every economist will agree that the right way to tax businesses is on their income minus their allowable expenses.

The crux of the complaint here is that the Paul and Cruz tax plans are too efficient and too pro-growth and thus raise too much revenue.

Let’s go back to basics.

The sole reason we need taxes is to raise the requisite revenues to fund government. (The left wants taxes to punish the rich, but that’s the subject of another column.) The U.S. government should collect taxes in the most efficient way possible so as to do the least damage to the economy.

Criticizing the Cruz and Paul VATs based on worries about providing too much revenue to government is like arguing against cutting the capital gains tax rate — because every time we cut that rate, the feds get more revenue.

If a VAT raises lots and lots of revenue at minimal economic cost, it enables us to eliminate all sorts of other taxes that are less efficient and more damaging to the economy. As Br’er Rabbit told Br’er Fox: “Please, please don’t throw me in the briar patch.”

We fail to see how cutting individual tax rates from 40% and business taxes from 35% to 16% or less isn’t conservative or pro-growth.

We fail to see how eliminating the corporate and death taxes isn’t pro-growth.

We fail to see how allowing American companies to expense all their capital expenditures immediately isn’t pro-growth.

And for Trump voters, there’s a bonus: Under the Paul and Cruz plans, all imports will be taxed at 14.5% or 16%, respectively, and all our exports won’t be taxed at all.

Under either of these plans, no country — not China, not Mexico — will ever eat our lunch again.

• Laffer is chairman of Laffer Associates.

• Moore is an economics consultant with FreedomWorks

Source: Investor’s Business Daily:

Is There a “White Privilege” Tax in America’s Future? By John W Lillpop

Now that “white privilege” is officially a part of the American lexicon, it is just a matter of time until some off-her-medications granny-nut like Nancy Pelosi proposes a “White Privilege” tax to punish lily- white Americans for their pigmentation, AND for those still- being- invented micro-aggressive attitudes and behavior, especially Caucasians who also happen to be Republican, Christian, anti-terrorism and whom oppose infanticide, also known as abortion!

Liberals will spin it so that the new white tax sounds vital to the national defense and a critical element in kicking the buttocks of climate change.

Without this new tax, liberals will contend, places like Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charleston will become unmanageably hot, and perhaps even under water in a matter of months.

America will surely fall into anarchy, they will warn.

Chicago is not included in the above list only because everyone knows that the Godfather/Mayor and hard-boiled Jew in charge, Rahm Emanuel, has already driven the Windy City into anarchy and ruin. Behind underwater might be the only thing that can save this cesspool of liberal failure!

It has been written, “One cannot squeeze blood from a turnip,” a particularly apt truism, when it comes to the massive ruins remaining after years of progressive governance in the windy city.

Although getting a “White Privilege” tax through the Republican, nearly all-white, Congress will be a formidable challenge, one must remember that the most racist president in US history is sitting in the Oval Office; thus, there is a glimmer of hope—or despair, depending on your perspective.

Of course, Congress critters will have to write a new tax law with the usual gratuities to special interest groups and causes, most if not all, as phony as Nancy Pelosi’s latest Botox look!

Exemptions and write-offs will have to be deliberated and debated to keep we lower-class munchkins in our lowly places, and to protect the undeserved privilege of the scoundrels holding political office.

White privilege tax? What the nation really needs is a “corrupt politicians tax” to be levied against any politician who votes to increase taxes!

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