You are browsing the archive for 2015 February 05.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Obama's Tax Plan Is Not Simple

February 5, 2015 in Economics

By Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards

President Obama’s tax plan would create “A Simpler, Fairer Tax Code,” according to the official fact sheet. The president’s budget uses “simplify” numerous times in describing the plan, and the president declared in his State of the Union address “let’s simplify the system.”

The president promised us ‘middle-class economics,’ but his tax plan is more like H&R Block economics. The only winning ‘class’ in society would be the tax accountants.”

Alas, the White House political team decided what the spin would be before looking at the actual plan. President Obama’s plan would make the tax code more complicated, not simpler. It would require more tax forms, more calculations, and more federal administration and enforcement, while necessitating more tax planning by families and businesses.

Here are some of President Obama’s pro-complexity proposals:

  • Tax 529 college savings plans. Luckily, this idea was dropped, but the episode illustrated the lack of thought Obama puts into imposing new tax compliance burdens.
  • Expand the earned income tax credit (EITC). The fraud and error rate in the EITC is already more than 20 percent, partly because the credit is so complicated. Expanding benefits would boost fraud and errors.
  • Create a $500 tax credit for two-earner families. This would require a new tax form, generate more errors, and impose administrative burdens on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Tax capital gains at death. This would be much more complicated than the current system of stepping-up the basis of assets at death, partly because of all the rules related to income levels and exemptions under the plan.
  • Impose a new bank tax. Such a tax would require new tax forms and a new division of expert administrators at the IRS. It would also impose compliance burdens on banks, and prompt them to design accounting structures to avoid the tax’s costly bite.
  • Expand the child care credit. This would induce more families to fill out the related tax forms, and would prompt more people to cheat because the credit would be tripled to $3,000 per child. More cheating would generate higher IRS administration and enforcement costs.
  • Impose a “Fair Share” or Buffett tax on high earners. This would add more calculations to tax forms and encourage accountants to create more tax shelters to avoid it. The new 28 percent limit on deductions for higher earners would also add complexity.
  • Increase cigarette taxes by 94 cents per pack. Aside from hitting low-income Americans, this …read more

    Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Libertarianism Is on the Verge of a Political Breakout

February 5, 2015 in Economics

By David Boaz

David Boaz

Rand Paul’s leadership in the Senate — on the budget, regulation, privacy, criminal justice, and foreign policy — and his likely presidential campaign are generating new attention for libertarian ideas.

The growth of the libertarian movement is a product of two factors: the spread of libertarian ideas and sentiments, and the expansion of government during the Bush and Obama administrations, particularly the civil liberties abuses after 9/11 and the bailouts and out-of-control spending after the financial crisis. As one journalist noted in 2009, “The Obama administration brought with it ambitions of a resurgence of FDR and LBJ’s active-state liberalism. And with it, Obama has revived the enduring American challenge to the state.”

That libertarian revival manifested itself in several ways. Sales of books like Atlas Shrugged and The Road to Serfdom soared. “Tea party” rallies against taxes, debt, bailouts, and Obamacare drew a million or more people to hundreds of protests. “Crony capitalism” became a target for people across the political spectrum. Marijuana legalization and marriage equality made rapid progress. More people than ever told Gallup in 2013 that the federal government has too much power.

Libertarianism is the framework for a future of freedom, growth, and progress, and it may be on the verge of a political breakout.”

In studies that David Kirby and I have published at the Cato Institute on “the libertarian vote,” we have found that only 2 to 4 percent of Americans say that they’re libertarian when asked. But 15 to 20 percent — 30 to 40 million Americans — hold libertarian views on a range of questions. The latest Gallup Governance Survey finds 24 percent of respondents falling into the libertarian quadrant, matching the number of conservatives and liberals and up from 17 percent in 2004 and 23 percent in 2008. And when asked in a Zogby poll if they would define themselves as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal, also known as libertarian,” fully 44 percent of respondents — 100 million Americans — accept the label. Those voters are not locked into either party, and politicians trying to attract the elusive “swing vote” should take a look at those who lean libertarian.

In two presidential campaigns, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) attracted hundreds of thousands of followers to his combination of antiwar, anti-spending, and sound-money (“End the Fed”) ideas, and showed them that these views were “libertarian.” Two national student organizations Students for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty now …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Sen. Paul joins Greta Van Susteren On the Record- February 4, 2015

February 5, 2015 in Politics & Elections

…read more

Source: RAND PAUL

Avatar of admin

by admin

Don't Take Vaccines for Granted

February 5, 2015 in Economics

By Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy

The recent spread of measles in the United States is an unwelcome reminder of the declining vaccination rates among American children. It has also led to a vigorous political debate between those who believe that vaccinations of children should be mandatory, and those, like Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Chris Christie, who argue that such decisions are best left to the children’s parents. (Both Christie and Paul later tried to clarify their comments.)

It is important to note that both sides agree that vaccinations are beneficial and believe all children should be vaccinated. The disagreement comes with the idea of government mandates for vaccines. And here, there has been a dearth of much-need nuance in the debate.

First, some perspective is in order. Over time, vaccinations against polio, measles and chickenpox, to give just a few examples, fell to 94 percent, 92 percent, and 91 percent respectively. But, if vaccinations are so obviously good, why are the rates of vaccination declining? In a word: progress. The plagues of the past have been all but vanquished, making the current generation less wary of the dangers that remain.

The plagues of the past have been all but vanquished, making the current generation less wary of the dangers that remain.”

For most of human history, to quote the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, life was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Danger lurked everywhere. Consider smallpox. As late as the 18th century, smallpox killed some 400,000 Europeans annually. The overall mortality rate was 20 percent to 60 percent; among infants, it was more than 80 percent, and was one of the reasons for the low overall life expectancy of 25 years. A French medical textbook written in 1775 estimated that 95 percent of the population contracted smallpox at some point during their lives. Many of those who survived spent the rest of their lives horribly disfigured.

Then Edward Jenner, an English country doctor, noticed that milkmaids never got smallpox. He realized that milkmaids were immune from smallpox, because they contracted cowpox — a mild disease of cows that resembles smallpox — when they were children. So he initiated the practice of vaccination with cowpox. (Vacca, incidentally, is the Latin word for cow.)

Jenner published his results in 1798. In spite of his discovery, life expectancy remained pitifully low for some time to come. As late as 1900, in Western Europe, which was, along with …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Sen. Rand Paul To Oppose Loretta Lynch for U.S. Attorney General

February 5, 2015 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul issued the following statement opposing the nomination of Loretta Lynch to the position of U.S. Attorney General:

‘Mrs. Lynch has a track-record of violating the individual freedoms granted to us by our Constitution. She considers civil asset forfeiture to be a ‘useful tool,’ while I consider it to be an infringement on the Fifth Amendment. She remains non-committal on the legality of drone strikes against American citizens, while I believe such strikes unequivocally violate rights granted to us by the Sixth Amendment. Mrs. Lynch also supports President Obama’s calls for executive amnesty, which I vehemently oppose,’ Sen. Paul said. ‘The Attorney General must operate independent of politics, independent of the president and under the direction of the Constitution. I cannot support a nominee, like Mrs. Lynch, who rides roughshod on our Constitutional rights.’

### …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

Avatar of admin

by admin

Policy Priorities for the 114th Congress

February 5, 2015 in Economics

In the new Policy Priorities for the 114th Congress, Cato Institute scholars outline modest and practical steps Congress and the administration could take in the next two years — reforms of health care, financial regulation, taxes, surveillance, marijuana policy, civil asset forfeiture, war powers, immigration, transportation, and more — to expand freedom and limit government. “If we want more growth, for more people, with wider scope for personal choice and decisionmaking,” says Cato executive vice president David Boaz, “libertarian policy prescriptions are the roadmap.”

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

Avatar of admin

by admin

Austerity in 2009–2013

February 5, 2015 in Economics

The deficit reduction policies followed by several OECD countries in 2009–13, often referred to as fiscal austerity, were motivated by the bond market’s reaction to the large debts and deficits that followed the Greek crisis. New research from Alberto Alesina, Omar Barbiero, Carlo Favero, Francesco Giavazzi, and Matteo Paradisi examines the effects of austerity on output growth, and finds that fiscal adjustments based on spending cuts are less costly, in terms of output losses, than those based upon tax increases.

  • Austerity in 2009–2013,” by Alberto Alesina, Omar Barbiero, Carlo Favero, Francesco Giavazzi, and Matteo Paradisi

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES