Archive for the ‘taxes’ Category

Bar the inspections, and other roundup items

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve gone “Whoa!” when reading a tweet, but this one deserved it,

Among the delegation was a man under investigation for child pornography. Check it out,

The State Department broke with normal procedures last week when it ordered the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) not to conduct a secondary inspection on members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) on their way to visit government officials and think tanks in the United States.

This happened despite the fact that one member of the delegation had been implicated – though not charged – in a U.S. child pornography investigation, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has learned.

Beyond the State Department’s prohibition on conducting extra scrutiny of Dardery and members of his delegation, the State Department barred US Customs officials from carrying out even the standard inspection mandated for foreigners arriving from Egypt, where an enhanced security program is in place as a result of the 9-11 attacks.

“Smart diplomacy”!

Gawker Hires ‘Fox Mole,’ Who Misses the Point of His or Her Own Tale

But assuming that the Mole actually works for Fox — is the Mole’s lack of ability to get a job outside Fox evidence of liberal media bias? Doesn’t the Mole admit as much in noting that they have been “blacklisted” by potential employers?

My friend Maria sent me this link to the HuffPo, Conservative Politics, ‘Low-Effort’ Thinking Linked In New Study. I wonder if Arianna paid the writer of that post for his ‘low-effort’, considering that she doesn’t have to.

President Obama tries to get one guy a job, and fails, but they have a basketball for the ages. Speaking of basketball

Where the wild things are at the Easter Egg Roll.

Smitty ponders the double-secret strategy, now that Santorum is off the race. Menwhile, Newt’s check bounced.

Obama: Buffett rule about fairness, future, so, How will the “Buffett Rule” reduce the deficit? (h/t Ace),

The Obama Rule
He says taxation is about fairness, not growth or revenue.
The Buffett Rule is a Tax on Job Creation

Time for some history painting!

A break from politics,
I was in Betty Jo Tucker’s podcast, talking about Willem Defoe. You can listed to it here.


What we ought to discuss, instead of how much Warren Buffett’s secretary earns

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Last year I asked, Just how much money does Warren Buffett’s secretary make?

In the annals of class-warfare propaganda, the answer appears to be somewhere Between $200,000 And $500,000/Year, which considering how much her boss pulls in, is not unreasonable.

She even went on TV (imagine that!) to say she feels she represents all secretaries, but also is “the poster woman for [Obama's] tax policy”, which means the “poster woman” is in the top 1%,

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I would like to see their tax returns, Warren’s and Debbie’s. Warren even says “I think if you’re an ultra-rich guy and there’s a strong suspicion that you’re paying taxes at a rate that’s half the rate of what Deb pays, you’re going to expect some heat.” Until Warren coughs up his personal tax returns, we should dismiss anything he says as hypocritical propaganda.

But all this is a distraction. Not only Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Owes Taxes Going Back To 2002, Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.

The Keystone XL pipeline would have reduced America’s dependence on oil dictatorships and created an estimated 20,000 jobs; however, Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky dismisses that with the comment,

Twenty thousand jobs is really not that many jobs and investing in green technologies will produce that and more.

Buffett is directly profiting from Obama energy policies while feeding into the Obama propaganda machine.

That, my friends, is the real story.

UPDATE, Monday 30 January,
Warren Buffett: Stop talking about the woman I keep dragging into the spotlight, via Instapundit.

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The NFL and prosperous cities

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

How Sunday’s NFL Cities Became Champs
Favorable property taxes were game changers for New York, San Francisco and Boston. Baltimore needs a Hail Mary.

All these cities had long pursued progressive political agendas with pride. But the problem with redistributive policies at the local level is that the donor classes might move out as fast as beneficiary classes move in—or, as the population figures cited earlier show, even faster. Robin Hood may seem a heroic figure, but once his rich victims flee Nottingham, even that city’s poor might question his effectiveness.

San Francisco and Boston were rescued from their folly by statewide tax revolts. California’s Prop 13, passed in 1978, capped property taxes in that state at 1%—which slashed San Francisco’s rate by almost two-thirds. Massachusetts followed suit in 1980 with Prop 2½, which mandated that municipalities could not increase their total property tax receipts by more than 2.5% annually. New York City taxpayers did not revolt, but state legislators rationalized the Big Apple’s chaotic property tax system in 1981; it now enjoys property tax rates that average about one-third of those in its surrounding suburbs (though its other taxes are certainly punishing).

While no single factor explains any city’s destiny, it is not a mere coincidence that Boston, New York and San Francisco reversed their declines at the exact moment they became favorable environments for private investment in residential and business capital.

It has to do with the fact that

Every time a city raises the tax rate on residential and business property, its owners suffer a capital loss (which economists refer to as “tax capitalization”). In effect, tax hikes are incremental expropriations; owners flee not just because of short-term wealth losses but in fear of future damage to their property rights. Tax caps not only improve the immediate cash flow on investments in real property but—perhaps more important—secure it against further expropriations.

Go read the rest.
Here’s the video,

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About that payroll tax fiasco,

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

The Wall Street Journal has the editorial, The GOP’s Payroll Tax Fiasco
How did Republicans manage to lose the tax issue to Obama?

The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass. This is no easy double play.

Michael Ramirez has the cartoon, (h/t Clifton)

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Taxed in New Jersey

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Second-highest tax burden in the country:

5 Highest State Tax Burdens
1. Connecticut
Income tax: 5%
Sales tax: 6.35%
Property tax per capita: $2,381
Inheritance tax: 7.2% to 16% with $2 million exemption
High taxes in Connecticut are paired with the nation’s highest income per capita–$56,001 per person in 2010, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. A sales tax increase took effect in July, raising the rate, from 6 percent to 6.35 percent, and adding a further 3 percentage-point levy on luxury goods such as expensive cars and boats. The state collects the third-highest property taxes per capita and is one of 14 states to tax Social Security income, according to CCH.
2. New Jersey
Income tax: 6.37%
Sales tax: 7%
Property tax per capita: $2,625
Inheritance tax: See note*
Regularly listed as a state with one of the highest tax burdens, New Jersey is cited by the Tax Foundation as having the country’s highest property tax per capita. All Social Security benefits in New Jersey are excluded from gross income.
* Transfer to a spouse, lineal descendant, or charitable organization is tax-free; transfer to children-in-law is taxed at 11 percent to 16 percent; all other transfers are taxed at 15 percent to 16 percent.

Buy New Jersey magazine, and you’ll find dozens of ads for housing and retirement communities in Pennsylvania.

(h’t Instapundit)

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Michelle Fields and the Patriotic Millionaires

Friday, November 18th, 2011

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Costa Risa: A tax increase Costa Ricans are not happy about

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Tax ‘Experts’ Target Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s official tax stats are deceptive. In 2008 the central government’s revenues equaled only 15.9% of gross domestic product. But as Cato Institute scholar Juan Carlos Hidalgo pointed out in a January op-ed in the Costa Rican daily La Nación, that number doesn’t include local taxes or taxes paid to government entities like the Institute for Tourism and the Institute for Agrarian Development. Nor does it include social security taxes, which rich countries include when they discuss their tax-to-GDP ratios.

Tally up the total take and, according to Mr. Hidalgo, the burden for Costa Ricans in 2008 was 23.1% of GDP. In recessionary 2009 it fell to 21.7%. Compare that to the U.S. overall tax burden of 26.1% in 2008 and 24% in 2009 (the latest year for which Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development figures are available), and it is clear that Costa Ricans are not undertaxed.

Nevertheless, the country’s fiscal deficit as a percentage of GDP rose to 3.5% of GDP in 2009 from only 0.2% in 2008. In 2010, according to the United Nation’s Economic Commission on Latin America, Costa Rica’s fiscal deficit was 5.2%, the highest in Latin America. The government forecasts a deficit of 5.5% in 2012.

The problem is government spending. While revenues as a percentage of GDP are forecast to be 7.5% lower this year than they were in 2008, expenditures as a percentage of GDP are expected to come in 29.4% higher. Most of that money is going into an expanded bureaucracy, which grew by 20% during the previous PLN government of Oscar Arias. Mr. Arias was also generous with salary increases. Tocqueville predicted it.

Now Ms. Chinchilla’s “reform” proposes, among other things, a 14% value-added tax on all goods and services to replace a 13% sales tax on goods only and tax hikes on small and medium-sized businesses. Far from simply raising taxes on the rich, as the politicians want people to believe, this proposal will hit ordinary Costa Ricans hard.

Check out the Costa Risa website (in Spanish). Tax increases are for the clowns.

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Since when can the Dept of Agriculture raise taxes?

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Obama Administration to Delay New 15-Cent Christmas Tree Tax

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to delay implementation and revisit a proposed new 15 cent fee on fresh-cut Christmas trees,  sources tell ABC News. The fee, requested by the National Christmas Tree Association in 2009, was first announced in the Federal Registry yesterday and has generated criticism of President Obama from conservative media outlets.

U S Constitution, Section 8:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

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Good-bye, garage sale

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

In one more instance of governmental intrusion in daily life, Louisiana has banned cash-only transactions for second-hand goods:

Cold hard cash. It’s good everywhere you go, right? You can use it to pay for anything.

But that’s not the case here in Louisiana now. It’s a law that was passed during this year’s busy legislative session.

House bill 195 basically says those who buy and sell second hand goods cannot use cash to make those transactions, and it flew so far under the radar most businesses don’t even know about it.

“We’re gonna lose a lot of business,” says Danny Guidry, who owns the Pioneer Trading Post in Lafayette. He deals in buying and selling unique second hand items.

“We don’t want this cash transaction to be taken away from us. It’s an everyday transaction,” Guidry explains.

Guidry says, “I think everyone in this business once they find out about it. They’re will definitely be a lot of uproar.”

The law states those who buy or sell second hand goods are prohibited from using cash. State representative Rickey Hardy co-authored the bill.

Hardy says, “they give a check or a cashiers money order, or electronic one of those three mechanisms is used.”

Hardy says the bill is targeted at criminals who steal anything from copper to televisions, and sell them for a quick buck. Having a paper trail will make it easier for law enforcement.

It also comes in handy for the taxman, too.

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Just how much money does Warren Buffett’s secretary make?

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

According to the WSJ, long-term capital gains and dividends are taxed as follows:

For taxpayers in the 15% income tax bracket and below, the rate is zero. For those in the 25% bracket and above, the rate is 15%

and the federal income tax rate for people earning $10,000,000 or more is 26.3%

Adjusted Gross Income, 2009 Average Federal
Income Tax Rate (%)
$10,000 to $15,000 6.8%
$15,000 to $20,000 6.6%
$20,000 to $25,000 8.7%
$25,000 to $30,000 9.7%
$30,000 to $40,000 10.0%
$40,000 to $50,000 10.6%
$50,000 to $75,000 11.6%
$75,000 to $100,000 12.3%
$100,000 to $200,000 16.3%
$200,000 to $500,000 24.6%
$500,000 to $1,000,000 28.8%
$1,000,000 to $1,500,000 29.4%
$1,500,000 to $2,000,000 29.6%
$2,000,000 to $5,000,000 29.7%
$5,000,000 to $10,000,000 29.1%
$10,000,000 or more 26.3%
Average 17.8%

Warren Buffett claims that his secretary is taxed at a higher rate than he. President Obama repeated that claim

“Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett.

She may be, if she’s pulling in a salary in the vicinity of $2-$5 million per year, claims no deductions, and has no capital gains.

Otherwise, the evidence doesn’t support Warren’s claim, particularly considering the various tax exemptions, deductions, etc., that change the numbers when you look at what people actually pay. Today Stephen Ohlemacher did a FACT CHECK: Are rich taxed less than secretaries?

This year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average of 29.1 percent of their income in federal taxes, including income taxes and payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay 15 percent of their income in federal taxes.
Lower-income households will pay less. For example, households making between $40,000 and $50,000 will pay an average of 12.5 percent of their income in federal taxes. Households making between $20,000 and $30,000 will pay 5.7 percent.
The latest IRS figures are a few years older — and limited to federal income taxes — but show much the same thing. In 2009, taxpayers who made $1 million or more paid on average 24.4 percent of their income in federal income taxes, according to the IRS.

Those making $100,000 to $125,000 paid on average 9.9 percent in federal income taxes. Those making $50,000 to $60,000 paid an average of 6.3 percent.

Obama’s claim hinges on the fact that, for high-income families and individuals, investment income is often taxed at a lower rate than wages. The top tax rate for dividends and capital gains is 15 percent. The top marginal tax rate for wages is 35 percent, though that is reserved for taxable income above $379,150.

We are being subjected to class-warfare propaganda.

Warren, since you think the government is doing such a stellar job of managing things, leave the rest of us alone, and put your money where your mouth is and give all your income and all of your assets to the government. I beg you.

In the meantime, pay up: Berkshire Hathaway Owes Taxes Going Back To 2002

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