Lois Lerner, the senior executive in charge of the IRS tax exemption department and the federal employee at the center of the exploding scandal over the IRS targeting of conservative, evangelical and pro-Israel non-profits, was given $42,531 in bonuses between 2009 and 2011. That figure was included in data provided by the IRS in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Washington Examiner. Lerner is director of the IRS exempt organizations division, which processes and approves or denies applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status. Lerner received $17,220 for 2009, $24,691 for 2010 and $10,620 for 2011, the most recent year for which the IRS said data was available. The newspaper’s FOIA was dated Aug. 21, 2013, but the tax agency said it only received the request on Nov. 21, 2012. The response, including the data, was postmarked May 10, 2013.
Redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top.
“No doubt the raising of a very exorbitant tax, as the raising as much in peace as in war, or the half or even the fifth of the wealth of the nation, would, as well as any other gross abuse of power, justify resistance in the people.”
President Obama’s long-awaited budget proposal, to be released today, does not come right out and say that intends to reduce contributions to charity—but that is almost certainly what would happen were it to become law. Here’s why. The White House has effectively doubled down on a tax change it has been pushing for four years that would limit the value of the charitable tax deduction. The Administration has, since 2009, pushed unsuccessfully to allow only 28 cents on a dollar donated to charity to be deducted—even though the top tax rate for the wealthy donors who make most use of the deduction has been 35 percent. In the budget released today, the President again proposes to cap the charitable deduction at 28 percent—despite the fact that the top rate on the highest earners has increased to 39.6 percent. Think of it this way: the White House proposal would raise the cost of giving to charity from 60 cents per dollar to 72 cents per dollar. That’s a 20 percent increase in what can be called the “charity tax.”
Howard County property owners can expect to see a new fee on their annual tax bill in July.
After a three-hour legislative session Thursday that included the passage of 17 amendments, the Howard County Council voted to approve legislation creating a state-mandated stormwater fee to fund stormwater restoration projects. The average residential property owner will be charged about $105, according to county officials, but the fees are expected to be lower for most residential property owners in the east part of the county and higher than $105 for most in the west.
“It is going to impact everyone in the county,” Council member Mary Kay Sigaty said. “I believe that what we have done is to create a fair system of assessment.”
A majority of Republicans in the U.S. Senate (26 yeas, 19 nays) voted for the massive tax hike, joining Democrats in making online purchases more expensive for consumers, harming small businesses, and fueling ever more wasteful government spending. The bill will soon move on to the House.
In a report that could prove a big political headache for the administration, the Society of Actuaries estimated Tuesday that insurers will have to pay out an average of 32 percent more for claims on individual health policies under the Affordable Care Act, a cost likely to be passed on to consumers.
While some areas will see declines in medical claims costs, the report predicts the majority of states will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers rather than get coverage from employers.
By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent in Ohio and Wisconsin, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.
The costs associated with this study don’t even touch the tax hikes associated with the legislation. Let’s also not forget that the Department of Health and Human Services is projected to be the federal government’s first trillion-dollar-a-year department. All of this brings back that famous Thomas Sowell quote, “It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.”
“Real personal consumption expenditures peaked in late 2007 before the recession and by late 2010 had already recovered to that peak. Consumption today is well ahead of that peak and up substantially from its weakest point in mid-2009. The economy is not suffering from lack of consumer spending, putting a substantial dent in Rawlins’s case for more government spending on consumer stimulus.
The problem instead is private investment spending. One of the first things economists teach about business cycles is that the most variable part of spending is not consumption but the investment that firms make in capital. Private investment spending has only recovered about half of its losses from the recession. Firms are simply not willing to invest in the equipment and research and development to make new products and create new jobs. That is the problem to be solved.
In fact, consumers cannot spend what they haven’t earned, and government cannot spend what it hasn’t taken from producers through taxes, borrowing, or inflation. Rawlins falls for one of the oldest fallacies in economics and one that has to be pointed out every generation. Demand does not create wealth, the production of wealth creates the ability to demand.”
— Steve Horwitz laying to waste the Keynesian myth that all this economy needs is more consumer spending (and by extension, more government spending).
Paul Krugman: Bring on the sales taxes and death panels!
Eventually we do have a problem. That the population is getting older, health care costs are rising…there is this question of how we’re going to pay for the programs. The year 2025, the year 2030, something is going to have to give…. …. We’re going to need more revenue…Surely it will require some sort of middle class taxes as well.. We won’t be able to pay for the kind of government the society will want without some increase in taxes… on the middle class, maybe a value added tax…And we’re also going to have to make decisions about health care, doc pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits . So the snarky version…which I shouldn’t even say because it will get me in trouble is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this.