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Tax THIS!

April 15th, 2014 - 2:45 pm

Speaking of new taxes, Jonathan Cohn can’t get enough:

Naturally, there are arguments to be had over how high taxes should go, exactly who should pay more, and what form those levies should take. Personally, I’d opt for some combination of taxes on wealth and taxes on carbon, figuring it’d be good to fight inequality and stop global warming. And while taxes should go up for most people, they should be a little lower for some of the working poor.

Gosh, it’s nice of Cohn to admit there are two sides to the argument — whether taxes should go higher or whether they should go much higher. (Think I’m kidding? Re-read the first sentence in the graf above.) What I find most interesting however comes earlier in the piece, among the reasons Cohn loves his higher taxes:

Sometimes, of course, your tax dollars pay for supports and services you won’t use. And you might resent that. But even taxes that pay for someone else’s benefits can benefit you. Why does the U.S. not have the massive underclass that characterizes many third-world countries—or the incipient danger of violent upheaval that accompanies it? The safety net your taxes purchased, tattered as it is, buys a degree of social harmony, too.

Taxes are how we pay poor ethnic people not to riot in nice neighborhoods like Cohn’s.

Charming.

Tax THIS!

December 9th, 2012 - 11:30 am

Just a reminder, taxes are already going up on “the rich” in just three weeks:

Starting Jan. 1, investment income for individuals earning over $200,000 and households earning over $250,000 will be subject to a new 3.8 percent tax. Further, regular income above those thresholds will be hit with a .9 percent Medicare surtax. Should the Bush tax rates expire for those workers, those increases will be compounded.

What Obama wants is additional tax increases on top of the ones he and the Democrats imposed two years ago.

UPDATE: I almost forgot why I put “the rich” in quotes. And that is, you’re now “in the top 2% of earners” if you’re in the top 20% of earners. The NYT has that story for you:

Affluent people are much more likely than low-income people to have health insurance, and now they will, in effect, help pay for coverage for many lower-income families. Among the most affluent fifth of households, those affected will see tax increases averaging $6,000 next year, economists estimate. [Emphasis added.]

That top fifth includes households making $75k or so a year. But, yes, please let’s do keep talking about “millionaires and billionaires.”

It’s Obama’s party. We’re just paying for it.

Tax THIS!

July 9th, 2012 - 2:07 pm

Obama’s “middle class tax cut” will include tax hikes on nearly a million small businesses — by his own admission.

A while back, I coined the Clinton Rule of Thumb, that any tax hike will generate — at best — two-thirds of the expected revenue. Unexpectedly, of course.

Incentives change behavior. And Obama is hell-bent on disincentivising investment and employment. And that’s one vicious circle. Suppress investment, and there are fewer jobs created, creating lower demand, reducing employment further. Which, of course, further suppresses investment. And so on.

This, Obama says, is Forward!

Tax THIS!

April 20th, 2012 - 9:32 am

Back in 1986, President Ronald Reagan teamed up with House Speaker Tip O’Neil and they did something amazing together: They simplified the tax code. But they didn’t just simplify it. Fewer and lower brackets is nice and all, but the really important thing they accomplished was to de-corrupt the tax code. Loopholes, shelters, perverse incentives, stupid deductions — mostly gone. It was a wonderful, beautiful thing. Government was (mostly) out of the business of corrupting the economy, business, and people through the tax code.

Then rates went up under Bush. They went up again under Clinton. Then down under the next Bush. But forget the bouncy rates. All these guys went to Congress to reintroduce loopholes, shelters, perverse incentives, stupid deductions — and as a result, we once again have an amazingly corrupt tax code.

But Brett Arends spent some time — nearly a whole morning! — cleaning it back up. Here’s what he came up with:

I figure a good tax code should be simple, efficient and fair. So I wondered if we could just combine a national sales tax, which is simple and efficient, with a drastically simplified but progressive income tax, which would be fair.

Scrap the regressive payroll tax. Scrap the regressive corporation tax, too: Instead tax the business owners, and treat all investment income and capital gains as income. No loopholes. No breaks. Easy.

The IRS says 2011 taxes total about $2.3 trillion. A 10% national sales tax would bring in about $1.1 trillion, or nearly half of what we need. That would ensure everybody pays something, and it would be relatively easy to collect.

What about income taxes? I played with three tax rates: 0%, 25%, and 40%. (Notice I have shunned the cowardly “39.6%,” as well).

Single filers would pay zero percent up to about $50,000 in income, then 25% up to $200,000, and 40% on everything over that. For joint filers, I just doubled the limits: zero percent up to $100,000, then 25% up to $400,000, and 40% above that.

Based on the IRS numbers for 2009, the most recent available, this would have raised just over $1 trillion that year compared to the $915 billion that income taxes actually brought in. In 2011, when the economy was stronger, you have to figure it would be well over $1.1 trillion.

Which means, of course, that we are at our goal: $2.3 trillion.

I remain wary of any plan that taxes income and spending. I’d rather go with the Fair Tax. But Arends has given us an great election year starting point. And most importantly, he’s come up with a way to de-corrupt the tax code.

Tax THIS!

July 20th, 2011 - 8:17 am

If you’re getting the feeling the debt ceiling deal will look more like what the Senate is proposing than the House’s “cap, cut and balance” plan — well… me, too. Here’s why:

Obama urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a fellow Democrat, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to start “talking turkey” about it.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, one of the six Democratic and Republican senators who have been working since December on a deficit-reduction plan, said the proposed $3.75 trillion in savings over 10 years contains $1.2 trillion in new revenues.

Plenty of new taxes, and no real cuts. Yep, that’s the ticket.

I’m waiting to see the details on the tax half of the plan. Are the new taxes going to hit just “the rich?” You know, those “millionaires and billionaires” who got that way on $200k a year?

Here are the tax hikes Obama already plans on getting, even before a deal:

In his most recent budget request, the president proposed letting the top two income tax rates revert to 39.6% and 36%, up from 35% and 33% today. He also called for an increase in the capital gains and dividend rates to 20% that high-income households pay, up from 15% today. And he would reduce the value of their itemized deductions and personal exemptions.

In addition, ObamaCare removes the cap on Medicare payroll taxes, and adds a Medicare tax on investment income. (My hurting retirement fund thanks you in advance, Mr. President.)

So if the new new taxes coming out of the Senate fall only the rich — well, how many times can we go back to that well before it runs dry?

Please, also keep in mind that the ObamaCare taxes are deficit-neutral at the very best; they pay for the new program. If, that is, you believe it when Rosy Scenario tells you ObamaCare itself is deficit-neutral. Now also remember that the expiring Bush tax cuts only amount to an extra trillion over the next tens years. At current spending, those ten years of tax hikes cover a mere nine months of deficits.

Something’s gotta give. And it ain’t the rich.

They’re coming for you and my, baby — and they’ve gotta come soon.

Tax THIS!

June 30th, 2011 - 1:47 pm

The California Assembly has gone and killed a few thousand more jobs in the Golden State (11.7% unemployment) with the new internet tax. Amazon thinks the tax is “unconstitutional and counterproductive” and so has killed its Affiliate program, effective today.

Ken Rockwell is my favorite sources for photography advice, and he’s long made a nice income as an Amazon affiliate — and he lives in San Diego. I hope he can make up the lost income, because I’d hate to see him close up shop. But his one-man shop has been going strong since 1999, so I suspect he’ll weather the storm.

Smaller, younger Affiliates won’t do nearly as well.

Tax THIS!

May 12th, 2010 - 2:17 pm

Here’s the good news: Americans are paying less in taxes than at any time since 1950.

Here’s the bad news: Incomes are down, reducing income tax receipts; employment is down, reducing payroll tax receipts; consumer spending is down, reducing sales tax receipts.

And on the horizon: Perhaps a VAT, increased income taxes next year, increased taxes on medical expenses, medical devices, etc. Oh, and a spending binge that will have to be paid for, oh, somehow. Where does government get money again?

Oh, right — taxes.

So you’ll excuse me if I’m not feeling too grateful to my masters in Washington.

Tax THIS!

April 28th, 2010 - 12:51 pm

Under the Obama Plan, 95% of American families will receive a net tax cut — unless a roomful of guys tells him otherwise.

Tax THIS!

April 21st, 2010 - 7:47 pm

Under the Obama Plan, 95% of American families will receive a net tax cut.

Unless they buy a house or a car or a vacation or some toys or a DVD or dinner out or a dinner in or a Coke or anything for sale anywhere at all. Because the venal, grubby, power-mad Washington Democrats need your money to buy your neighbor’s vote, and eff you if you disagree.

Tax THIS!

April 7th, 2010 - 5:11 am

The Obama Plan promises a net tax cut for all American families earning less than $250,000 a year — unless they happen to buy any one single thing ever at all.

Tax THIS!

January 6th, 2010 - 8:28 am

Under the Obama Plan, 95% of American families will receive a net tax cut — except for the ones who have taxes withheld from their paychecks.

Seriously.

Big Government’s SusanAnne Hiller broke the story:

The trick, when looking at the new withholding tax tables for 2010 as compared to post-stimulus 2009, buries an increase in federal withholding taxes–for all income categories–basically giving the government an interest-free loan until current year taxes are filed next year.

Go Galt, young man!

Tax THIS!

December 29th, 2009 - 9:10 am

Under the Obama Plan, 95% of American families will see a net tax cut — except for middle class folks with nice insurance policies. That’s what Bob Herbert found in the HarryCare bill:

The bill that passed the Senate with such fanfare on Christmas Eve would impose a confiscatory 40 percent excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans, which are popularly viewed as over-the-top plans held only by the very wealthy. In fact, it’s a tax that in a few years will hammer millions of middle-class policyholders, forcing them to scale back their access to medical care.

Which is exactly what the tax is designed to do. [Shhhhh -- it's not a tax. -ed.]

More taxes, less care. Where do I sign up?

Tax THIS!

December 12th, 2009 - 11:05 am

Under the Obama Plan, no one making less than $250,000 a year will see a tax increase — except for 68 million middle class Americans who happen to buy health insurance.

Tax THIS!

October 28th, 2009 - 9:18 am

There’s John Galt action going on in New York:

More than 1.5 million state residents left for other parts of the United States from 2000 to 2008, according to the report from the Empire Center for New York State Policy. It was the biggest out-of-state migration in the country.

The vast majority of the migrants, 1.1 million, were former residents of New York City — meaning one out of seven city taxpayers moved out.

“The Empire State is being drained of an invaluable resource — people,” the report said.

You know why people are leaving? Because their government considers them a “resource.”

Tax THIS!

September 26th, 2009 - 9:05 am

Under the Obama Plan, 95% of Americans won’t pay higher taxes, except for the ones who buy stuff.

I’d be happy to switch to a consumption tax and abolish the income tax. But, no — we’d likely get both.

Tax THIS!

September 16th, 2009 - 10:47 am

Under the Obama plan, 95% of Americans will receive a tax cut, unless they happen to heat or cool their homes.

Tax THIS!

August 2nd, 2009 - 9:55 am

Under the Obama Plan, 95% er… 80% uh… maybe half ah, hell… we’ve given up trying to find any Americans who will receive a tax cut.

Tax THIS!

July 27th, 2009 - 5:37 pm

Under the Obama Plan, 95% of Americans will receive a tax cut, except for the ones who want boob jobs.

UPDATE: On second thought, maybe the top five percent should pay more. We’ll call it a What Were You Thinking? tax.
That's Not Eyeshadow - She Went Jogging Earlier

Tax THIS!

July 23rd, 2009 - 11:33 am

Under the Obama Plan, 95% of Americans will get a tax cut, unless they’re in the middle class.

Tax THIS!

July 7th, 2009 - 9:29 am

Under the Obama Plan, only taxpayers making more than $250,000 per year will see a tax increase, except for the ones making more than $200,000.

It’s tax code limbo!

Tax THIS!

June 25th, 2009 - 7:22 am

Under the Obama Plan, 95% of all Americans will receive a tax cut, except for the 180 million or so who get their insurance at work.

Tax THIS!

February 20th, 2009 - 11:11 am

The trade-in value on your Prius, fortwo, MINI, etc., is about to take a hit:

Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood is considering a transportation tax based on miles driven, to replace gasoline tax revenue. “We should look at the vehicular miles program where people are actually clocked on the number of miles that they traveled,” La Hood tells the Freep, echoing proposals being considered by Oregon, Idaho, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and North Carolina. La Hood argues that gasoline tax revenues “can not be relied on” to fund infrastructure maintenance, presumably because relatively high prices have caused a downturn in gas tax revenue.

Increasing the gas tax would have the effect of getting more people out of SUVs and into hybrids and smaller cars. Charging everyone the same amount for the miles they drive… well, doesn’t.

They told me if I voted for John McCain, the government would encourage people to waste gas — and they were right!