Posts Tagged Big Government
Making Sense, by Michael Reagan
Jay Leno told his studio audience the other night that President Obama should forget his plans to close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay and instead close the IRS.
The applause was instantaneous and the laughs were loud and genuine.
Rick McKee / Augusta Chronicle
Most ordinary Americans would have whooped and hollered in favor of Leno’s idea long before they learned the IRS has been caught targeting conservative political groups and wasting millions on moronic employee-training conferences.
But the IRS is no joking matter.
The average working American — poor or rich or in-between — hates and fears the IRS for good reason.
Able to seize your bank account or house without a court order, able to shut down your business overnight, the IRS is the closest thing to the Gestapo America has ever had.
But it’s not the current IRS scandals that are the real problem. It’s not the hated tax-collecting bureaucracy itself. It’s not even whether the Obama regime used the dangerous powers of the IRS as a political weapon.
The real problem — the long-term problem and the one Republicans have to find the courage to fix — is the horrible income tax system the IRS is hired to enforce.
The federal income tax code deserves the death penalty for a lot good reasons. It’s unfair, overly complex, horribly politicized, harmful to individuals and the economy, helpful to the forces of Big Government and impossible to understand without a CPA.
It’s also a costly waste of money and time. Just complying with our unnecessarily (but deliberately) complicated federal tax system costs Americans about $430 billion a year, according to economist Arthur Laffer.
The IRS scandals are a golden opportunity for conservatives and Republicans to direct the country’s attention toward the ultimate and long-overdue goal — abolishing the IRS as we know it and drastically reforming our tax code.
We need a strong leader — now — who will stand up and lead the country down the road to radical tax reform.
Maybe it’s going to be Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Earlier this week he called for abolishing the IRS after instituting a simple flat tax that could be filled out on a postcard. Maybe it’ll be another rookie in Washington, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
The biggest problem we have is that our side — the tax-reform side — has no leader and no clear, unified message.
Should we conservatives go for a Flat Tax or a Fair Tax?
A low, simple, flat-tax percentage for all income earners, minus deductions for home mortgages and charitable deductions? Or a national sales tax of about 23 percent that would replace both the federal income tax and the payroll tax?
If my father Ronald Reagan were around today, I know what he’d do.
He’d do exactly what I’d do — get the flat-taxers and the fair-taxers together in a room and have them hash out a single tax reform program to sell to the American people.
So, sure, let’s bring the Obama Gang and its IRS lackeys to justice for their abuses.
But what we need most right now is for someone — Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Donald Trump, even Jay Leno — to convene a national tax convention that would unite our side and lead the fight for a better tax code.
Republicans can’t afford to be split on the important issue of income tax reform or miss this chance to focus on the crimes of the IRS.
The Flat Tax and the Fair Tax each have pluses and minuses that need to be debated. But in the end it really doesn’t matter which idea triumphs.
America and all Americans would be better off with either one. Either would eliminate the progressive tax system and make federal taxes simpler, fairer, smarter and apolitical. And, best of all, either one would kill the IRS as we know it — forever.
- Reform the Tax Code (athomesense.com)
- Sharp Shooting with Michael Reagan & Cutting to the Quick with Ed Cox (mikesrobinson.com)
- Underreporting in Obamaland (athomesense.com)
- Imagine (athomesense.com)
- Editorial: IRS scandal highlights need for tax reform (newsday.com)
- New class of people identified as IRS enemies (wnd.com)
- This Isn’t The Ronald Reagan The GOP Wants To Remember (huffingtonpost.com)
- IRS targets 69 % adoptive families for audits as abuse of power emerges (thewiseme.com)
- IRS Scandal Silver Lining: Tax Reform Momentum (illinoisreview.typepad.com)
- IRS officials face grilling over lavish conference (wfaa.com)
Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan
By DAVID A. STOCKMAN
Published: August 13, 2012
PAUL D. RYAN is the most articulate and intellectually imposing Republican of the moment, but that doesn’t alter the fact that this earnest congressman from Wisconsin is preaching the same empty conservative sermon.
Thirty years of Republican apostasy — a once grand party’s embrace of the welfare state, the warfare state and the Wall Street-coddling bailout state — have crippled the engines of capitalism and buried us in debt. Mr. Ryan’s sonorous campaign rhetoric about shrinking Big Government and giving tax cuts to “job creators” (read: the top 2 percent) will do nothing to reverse the nation’s economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse.
Mr. Ryan professes to be a defense hawk, though the true conservatives of modern times — Calvin Coolidge, Herbert C. Hoover, Robert A. Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, even Gerald R. Ford — would have had no use for the neoconconservative imperialism that the G.O.P. cobbled from policy salons run by Irving Kristol’s ex-Trotskyites three decades ago. These doctrines now saddle our bankrupt nation with a roughly $775 billion “defense” budget in a world where we have no advanced industrial state enemies and have been fired (appropriately) as the global policeman.
Indeed, adjusted for inflation, today’s national security budget is nearly double Eisenhower’s when he left office in 1961 (about $400 billion in today’s dollars) — a level Ike deemed sufficient to contain the very real Soviet nuclear threat in the era just after Sputnik. By contrast, the Romney-Ryan version of shrinking Big Government is to increase our already outlandish warfare-state budget and risk even more spending by saber-rattling at a benighted but irrelevant Iran.
Similarly, there can be no hope of a return to vibrant capitalism unless there is a sweeping housecleaning at the Federal Reserve and a thorough renunciation of its interest-rate fixing, bond buying and recurring bailouts of Wall Street speculators. The Greenspan-Bernanke campaigns to repress interest rates have crushed savers, mocked thrift and fueled enormous overconsumption and trade deficits.
The greatest regulatory problem — far more urgent that the environmental marginalia Mitt Romney has fumed about — is that the giant Wall Street banks remain dangerous quasi-wards of the state and are inexorably prone to speculative abuse of taxpayer-insured deposits and the Fed’s cheap money. Forget about “too big to fail.” These banks are too big to exist — too big to manage internally and to regulate externally. They need to be broken up by regulatory decree. Instead, the Romney-Ryan ticket attacks the pointless Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul, when what’s needed is a restoration of Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era legislation that separated commercial and investment banking.
Mr. Ryan showed his conservative mettle in 2008 when he folded like a lawn chair on the auto bailout and the Wall Street bailout. But the greater hypocrisy is his phony “plan” to solve the entitlements mess by deferring changes to social insurance by at least a decade.
A true agenda to reform the welfare state would require a sweeping, income-based eligibility test, which would reduce or eliminate social insurance benefits for millions of affluent retirees. Without it, there is no math that can avoid giant tax increases or vast new borrowing. Yet the supposedly courageous Ryan plan would not cut one dime over the next decade from the $1.3 trillion-per-year cost of Social Security and Medicare.
Instead, it shreds the measly means-tested safety net for the vulnerable: the roughly $100 billion per year for food stamps and cash assistance for needy families and the $300 billion budget for Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Shifting more Medicaid costs to the states will be mere make-believe if federal financing is drastically cut.
Likewise, hacking away at the roughly $400 billion domestic discretionary budget (what’s left of the federal budget after defense, Social Security, health and safety-net spending and interest on the national debt) will yield only a rounding error’s worth of savings after popular programs (which Republicans heartily favor) like cancer research, national parks, veterans’ benefits, farm aid, highway subsidies, education grants and small-business loans are accommodated.
Like his new boss, Mr. Ryan has no serious plan to create jobs. America has some of the highest labor costs in the world, and saddles workers and businesses with $1 trillion per year in job-destroying payroll taxes. We need a national sales tax — a consumption tax, like the dreaded but efficient value-added tax — but Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan don’t have the gumption to support it.
The Ryan Plan boils down to a fetish for cutting the top marginal income-tax rate for “job creators” — i.e. the superwealthy — to 25 percent and paying for it with an as-yet-undisclosed plan to broaden the tax base. Of the $1 trillion in so-called tax expenditures that the plan would attack, the vast majority would come from slashing popular tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, 401(k) accounts, state and local taxes, charitable giving and the like, not to mention low rates on capital gains and dividends. The crony capitalists of K Street already own more than enough Republican votes to stop that train before it leaves the station.
In short, Mr. Ryan’s plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices. And it couldn’t pass even if Republicans were to take the presidency and both houses of Congress. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have no plan to take on Wall Street, the Fed, the military-industrial complex, social insurance or the nation’s fiscal calamity and no plan to revive capitalist prosperity — just empty sermons.
- Op-Ed Contributor: Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan (nytimes.com)
- REPUBLICAN DAVID STOCKMAN: Paul Ryan’s Budget Is An Empty Fairy Tale (businessinsider.com)
- Reagan’s Budget Director on Ryan’s Plan (seniorsforademocraticsociety.wordpress.com)
- Stockman on Ryan (arunwithaview.wordpress.com)
- Busted: Watch Paul Ryan Beg Congress For A $1 Trillion Wall Street Bailout (dprogram.net)
- BUSTED: Watch TARP Republican Paul Ryan Begging Congress To Vote For The Wall Street Bailout (dailybail.com)
- Busted: Watch Paul Ryan Beg Congress For A $1 Trillion Wall Street Bailout (alexanderhiggins.com)
- Paul Ryan created the deficit, though he claims to hate big government (current.com)
- Wall Street on Paul Ryan: Careful what you wish for (finance.fortune.cnn.com)
- Paul Ryan on soapbox at Iowa State Fair – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)