The California branch of the Americans for Prosperity produced a video detailing just one aspect of the galling fraud perpetrated by welfare recipients at the expense of the taxpayers, in this case, Californians. Money that was suppose to be used for basic needs for poor children and downtrodden adults instead was being spent on vacations at exotic or recreational sites like Rio de Janeiro, Las Vegas, Disney World and on cruises. The amount documentedjust in these few places alone totaled $69 million in one year.
Now just multiply this by all 50 states, add other locations, other areas of fraudulent usage and it doesn't take much to comprehend the magnitude of this problem.
All made possible by larger governments and liberal agendas.
This must be aggressively and effectively addressed.
If it appears to you that Obama seems to just enjoy partying, playing golf and basketball, yukking it up with the media, vacationing and just having fun rather than taking his job and obligations as President seriously – YOU ARE RIGHT. An assessment of his first two years in office unquestionable bears this out as elucidated in the expose below.
What is debatable and less clear is whether his dismissive, somewhat indolent attitude toward the inherent responsibilities of a President is bad or is actually a good thing. After all, when he has shown some involvement in the political process, we have been cursed with such destructive and costly legislation as the Porkulus bill, Obamacare and even FCC and EPA mandates as end runs around the Constitution, all of which rob us of our rights, freedoms and money. He could spend more time then foisting his socialism on a resistant and unwilling American public.
Meanwhile, when he is feeding his insatiable hedonism, spending taxpayers’ money like a corrupt, profligate emperor, such as on his numerous vacations and outings, at least he is not actively pursuing additional means to further abridge our freedoms and rights.
Besides, these “diversions” cost but a fraction of the cost of potential legislation that he would otherwise propose and seek to pass in a corrupt fashion.
(P.S.: Of course, the far left new media has virtually never called him out for his slothful, detached, arrogant, wasteful, elitist, sybaritic and irresponsible ways?)
Where’s Barack? Report Says Obama Spends Nearly 50% of Time Traveling
Jonathon M. Seidl 1/2/2011
Maybe the president doesn’t like Washington, D.C. Maybe he really likes Air Force One. But whatever the reason, recently compiled statistics show he spends a lot of time on the road: 48 percent of his time, to be exact.
CBS News’s Mark Knoller, who regular compiles White House statistics, released numbers on Friday showing that the president has spent nearly 50 percent of his presidency outside Washington, D.C. As of January 2, Obama has been president for 712 days, reports the Washington Examiner. For 339 of those days — about 48 percent — Obama has been MIA from Washington.
“According to Knoller, Obama has spent 176 days on domestic trips, 70 days on foreign travel, 58 days on vacation, and 35 days at Camp David,” The Examiner’s Byron York writes. And “you can add a couple more vacation days to the total before the president returns from his break in Hawaii.”
Knoller’s numbers also show Obama enjoys recreation. He’s played 57 rounds of golf since taking office (29 of them in 2010) and gone on 28 basketball outings (20 of those coming in 2010).
As for the president’s low approval ratings, they’re not for lack of effort. As York points out, “of Obama’s 712 days in office, just 45 days have passed without a presidential public appearance or statement of some sort.”
York’s conclusion: “So as he begins his re-election campaign, Obama can travel even more and engage the people more. But that won‘t change the fact that many voters simply don’t like what he has done.”
And if that means Obama is unsuccessful in his re-election bid, at least we know he hasn’t grown too attached to D.C.
Spreading the wealth became a well-known slogan with Obama’s ascendancy but he was not the originator of the economic idea in America. Such socialistic policies have been insidiously implemented by numerous federal (and state) agencies for decades. Of course, the last two years has seen an unparalleled acceleration of such legislation and rhetoric.
What these institutional policies have done is shred the moral fiber of this country and challenge the precepts that this nation was founded on. Their effects, though not often publicly acknowledged, have been profound, widespread and deleterious - everything from decreased productivity, GDP, two parent households to increased crime, taxation, welfare rolls and divorce rates.
What this has become is economic slavery where those who are productive citizens are forced to pay for those who are slothful and would rather pursue hedonistic endeavors than take personal responsibility. By discouraging personal responsibility, disparaging and punishing those who labor and sacrifice (the “rich”) including with higher taxes and fees, compensating those who don’t or won’t work, and creating rights where none exist (such as home ownership), the government is hurting all Americans – short and long term.
It is also engendering an attitude in the younger generation and in minorities that others will provide for them and that they have just as much a right to things as those who sacrifice and plan.
So, why should they work?
As elucidated in the article below, these socialistic policies have been carried to such an extreme that those who actually barely work actually can have a greater disposable income than those who toil and have little time left for leisure.
Outrage… Head of Household Of 4 on Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than Family Making $60,000 a Year
Jim Hoft November 22, 2010
Democrats want you to believe that they care about the middle class. Of course, this is just another lie. Their policies over the years continue to ravage the middle class.
As evidence, a family of 4 on minimum wage now has more disposable income than a hard working American middle class family making $60,000 a year.
Zero Hedge reported, via Free Republic:
Tonight’s stunning financial piece de resistance comes from Wyatt Emerich of The Cleveland Current. In what is sure to inspire some serious ire among all those who once believed Ronald Reagan that it was the USSR that was the “Evil Empire”, Emmerich analyzes disposable income and economic benefits among several key income classes and comes to the stunning (and verifiable) conclusion that “a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year.”
And that excludes benefits from Supplemental Security Income disability checks. America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system. Not surprisingly, it is not only the richest and most audacious thieves that prosper – it is also the penny scammers at the very bottom of the economic ladder that rip off the middle class each and every day, courtesy of the world’s most generous entitlement system. Perhaps if Reagan were alive today, he would wish to modify the object of his once legendary remark.
You can do as well working one week a month at minimum wage as you can working $60,000-a-year, full-time, high-stress job.
My chart tells the story.
And, yet how many times have we heard democrats claim that they care about the middle class?
In this enlightening article, Young who has served in high government positions for 17 years, attributes the bitter partisanship that we see today to liberal social policies that have evolved over many decades. He details the transformation of the government as primarily responsible for the nation’s defense to one that has become a well of social and redistributive policies.
We agree with has assessment of this transformation and the contribution to today’s fiscally catastrophic state. He notes that:
“Political confrontation has been, and will increasingly be, brought on by inherently unsustainable liberal social spending policies. Too much was promised, and now too much is owed.”
This has been further exacerbated by a politically motivated class warfare abetted by the far-left news media which positions itself as the paladin of the “downtrodden” poor most of whom have little work ethic and whose lives focus on pleasurable pursuits rather than productive activities. This has led to the “entitlement” and “rights” philosophy versus the strong work ethic and productivity one. He notes that:
“…we have gone from having a relatively light social-program burden spread over a broad tax base, to a heavy social-program burden focused on a narrowing tax base.”
We believe, however, that these social policies are not the sole contributor to the rancor and partisanship that we see today. It is also influenced by liberal indoctrination of our children starting at a young age in schools and suffused in the media including on TV and the movies.
Regardless, all this must change or our nation will be irreparably damaged and our lives adversely impacted severely long-term.
Social Policies Led To Today's Divisiveness
J.T. Young 09/07/2010
Even as frustrations over partisanship in Washington grow, the partisanship itself only increases. How did this happen and when?
Most search for answers in the personalities of the present — such as Ronald Reagan's ushering in a conservative resurgence in 1980.
But the real answer lies in the policies of the past — specifically, social entitlement policies, which for decades have been increasing federal fiscal pressures.
Those pressures are coming ever more to the fore in the overall economy and electorate, as witnessed by the nation's mounting concerns over deficits and debt.
The origins of today's partisanship can be traced back to 1972, well earlier than most would assume. That was the year in which federal payments to individuals first outstripped U.S. spending on national defense and international aid — a watershed for America's government priorities.
Before 1972, the federal government's primary function had been the nation's defense at home and abroad. The New Deal's creation of Social Security, and the later additions of Medicare and Medicaid during the 1960s Great Society, began the mission change. But the change was obscured by a succession of military conflicts that kept defense spending high — and social spending under the radar.
The policy change was also obscured by the social programs themselves. Originally, they had the appearance of forward-funded insurance programs. Both Social Security and Medicare were funded from payroll taxes, not income taxes. This distinction immediately served to wall off these programs. With dedicated funding, they became not only sacrosanct but self-propelled.
By 1979, Social Security and Medicare by themselves had overtaken all defense and international spending. While defense spending would increase in the buildup that brought down the Soviet Union, defense and international spending by 1989 had been overtaken for good.
So what does this have to do with today's partisanship? Everything. As in geology, politics are merely a surface reflection of tectonic movements beneath. And in society, the underlying movements are economic.
Washington has begun to increasingly strain under the economic pressure of its social spending policies. Advantageous demographics — with many workers supporting few retirees — within society and decreasing defense spending in fiscal policy (as America moved from hot wars to Cold War, to post-USSR) long helped hide the social policies' burgeoning cost.
But the drop in the worker-to-retiree ratio, as baby boomers age into retirement, and the end of the post-Cold War "peace dividend," with the new rise of the global terrorist threat, have increased the pressure they once eased. At the same time, the income tax has become ever more centered on the top earners.
Last year, the federal government consumed almost a quarter of the nation's GDP. Defense and international spending accounted for just a quarter of that, while federal payments to individuals amounted to well more than double what had once been government's primary purpose. In short, we have gone from having a relatively light social-program burden spread over a broad tax base, to a heavy social-program burden focused on a narrowing tax base.
The distributive nature of government's demands has changed too. In the past, government taxed for a broadly consumed good: national security. Today and increasingly, its demands are on behalf of a more narrowly consumed good: redistributive social policy — granting benefits well beyond recipients' "contributions" (Social Security, Medicare and particularly Medicaid and other need-based programs).
Such redistributive policy is, by definition, a zero-sum exercise that is inherently divisive. The electorate is now feeling the effect of the spending, deficit and debt growth that has resulted — and the associated costs of higher taxes and interest rates.
Critics of Washington's partisanship are right, but for the wrong reasons. Yes, divisiveness has increased, but it's the policies and their resulting effects that are divisive, not the politicians per se. The participants are more cause than effect.
Political confrontation has been, and will increasingly be, brought on by inherently unsustainable liberal social spending policies.
Too much was promised, and now too much is owed.
• Young served in the Department of Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004 and as a congressional staff member from 1987 to 2000.
The following opinion piece can be found on myriad websites with some variations. It was written by Robert A. Hall, who has served as a marine in Vietnam, a State Senator from Massachusetts and is a freelance writer.
This was written just a few weeks after Obama took office yet it sounds even more penetrating, insightful and fresh today.
Robert A. Hall February 19, 2009
I’ll be 63 soon. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce, and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I’ve worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven’t called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired.
I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth around” to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy or stupid to earn it.
I’m tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to “keep people in their homes.” Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I’m willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the leftwing Congresscritters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them—with their own money.
I’m tired of being told how bad America is by leftwing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the religious freedom and women’s rights of Saudi Arabia, the economy of Zimbabwe, the freedom of the press of China, the crime and violence of Mexico, the tolerance for Gay people of Iran, and the freedom of speech of Venezuela. Won’t multiculturalism be beautiful?
I’m tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honor;” of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t “believers;” of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for “adultery;” of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Shari’a law tells them to.
I believe “a man should be judged by the content of his character, not by the color of his skin.” I’m tired of being told that “race doesn’t matter” in the post-racial world of President Obama, when it’s all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of US Senators from Illinois. I think it’s very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the emancipation proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less in an all-knowing government.
I’m tired of a news media that thinks Bush’s fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama’s, at triple the cost, were wonderful. That thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress, that picked over every line of Bush’s military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his, that slammed Palin with two years as governor for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever.
Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.
I’m tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America, while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.
I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore’s, and if you’re greener than Gore, you’re green enough.
I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I don’t think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I’m tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana. Update: People have written to tell me I'd have more sympathy if this was close to me. It is exactly having seen the destruction of alcoholism and herion addiction in my own family that makes me pretty itolerate of people who are willing to destroy the people around them to indulge themselves.
I’m tired of illegal aliens being called “undocumented workers,” especially the ones who aren’t working, but are living on welfare or crime. What’s next? Calling drug dealers, “Undocumented Pharmacists”? And, no, I’m not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic and it’s been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. I’m willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person who can speak English, doesn’t have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military. Those are the citizens we need. Update: A few people have taken this to indicate some bias against Catholics, bbased on events 400 years ago. While I think they are either too touchy or fail to understand, I was onlly trying to say that Ihave zero problem with Catholics wanting to come to the US, but that I hav great concerns about Muslims, as a good % of them do want to kill me, or force their religion and moral code on me.
I’m tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people then themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years—and still are? Not even close. So here’s the deal. I’ll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we’ll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear. UPDATE: It has rightly been pointed out to me, several times, that I should have included Canadian, Australian and New Zealand troops here. My apologies for slighting these gallant allies of freedom.
I’m tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers—bums are bi-partisan. And I’m tired of people telling me we need bi-partisanship. I live in Illinois, where the “Illinois Combine” of Democrats and Republicans has worked together harmoniously to loot the public for years. And I notice that the tax cheats in Obama’s cabinet are bi-partisan as well.
I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.
Speaking of poor, I’m tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn’t have that in 1970, but we didn’t know we were “poor.” The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.
I’m real tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination, or big-whatever for their problems.
Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I’m not going to get to see the world these people are making. I’m just sorry for my granddaughter.
Arizona won’t be bullied by Obama and his inept, corrupt, racist and divisive Administration. And it sure won’t be intimidated by the sanctimonious, arrogant elitists of California, er – Mexifornia.
This is David fighting Goliath.
A fight for what is right versus corruption, hypocrisy and moral and financial bankruptcy.
A state based on good work ethic, virtue and fairness versus one replete with handouts, indolence, high taxes and class warfare.
Now it is time for the rest of the country to follow.
Arizona Official Threatens to Cut Off Los Angeles Power as Payback for Boycott
Judson Berger - FOXNews.com May 19, 2010
A member of Arizona's top government utilities agency threw down the gauntlet in a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, threatening to cut off the city's power supply as retribution for the city's boycott of Arizona.
If Los Angeles wants to boycott Arizona, it had better get used to reading by candlelight.
That's the message from a member of Arizona's top government utilities agency, who threw down the gauntlet Tuesday in a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa by threatening to cut off the city's power supply as retribution.
Gary Pierce, a commissioner on the five-member Arizona Corporation Commission, wrote the letter in response to the Los Angeles City Council's decision last week to boycott the Grand Canyon State -- in protest of its immigration law -- by suspending official travel there and ending future contracts with state businesses.
Noting that a quarter of Los Angeles' electricity comes from Arizona power plants, Pierce threatened to pull the plug if the City Council does not reconsider.
"Doggone it -- if you're going to boycott this candy store ... then don't come in for any of it," Pierce told FoxNews.com.
In the letter, he ridiculed Villaraigosa for saying that the point of the boycott was to "send a message" by severing the "resources and ties" they share.
"I received your message; please receive mine. As a statewide elected member of the Arizona Corporation Commission overseeing Arizona's electric and water utilities, I too am keenly aware of the 'resources and ties' we share with the city of Los Angeles," Pierce wrote.
"If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation."
Appearing to tap into local frustration in Arizona over the raft of boycotts and threatened boycotts from cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Pierce warned that Arizona companies are willing and ready to fight boycott with boycott.
"I am confident that Arizona's utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands," Pierce wrote. "If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona's economy."
Pierce told FoxNews.com that he was speaking for himself, not the entire commission, though he has the support of at least one other member. But Arizona has some serious leverage over Los Angeles, as well as the rest of California. The state and city get electricity from a nuclear power plant outside Phoenix, as well as from coal-fired power plants in northern Arizona and two giant hydroelectric power generators along the Colorado River.
Despite that, the Los Angeles City Council voted overwhelmingly last week to ban future business with Arizona -- a decision that could cost Arizona millions of dollars in lost contracts.
Los Angeles officials were furious with the Arizona immigration law passed last month and joined local officials in cities across the country in pushing boycotts to register their dismay. Critics say the law will lead to racial profiling and civil rights abuses.
Arizona officials have defended the law, saying the state needed to take its illegal immigration problem into its own hands. Pierce said he's "supportive" of the state's efforts to control the border.
The law requires local law enforcement to try to verify the immigration status of anyone they have contact with whom they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. It empowers them to turn over verified illegal immigrants to federal custody. The legislation explicitly prohibits screening people based solely on race or national origin.
The following essay sheds important light on the out of control progressiveness of our tax code and how it threatens our democracy, productivity and attitudes. This is all elucidated in a very cogent fashion and understandable fashion.
Clearly, we must reverse the perversities of the tax code and make sure virtually everyone has some financial responsibility. Our future is depending on it.
Guess Who Didn't Pay Taxes On Tax Day
By Elizabeth Factor and Mallory Factor April 16, 2010 FOXNews.com
Progressive Democrats are using “tax reform” to create a group of Americans who pay no federal income tax at all.
Did you file your federal income taxes on or before April 15? Almost 50% of American households won’t be paying any federal income tax this year, and the reasons why have profound implications for our democracy as well as our economy now.
A series of tax reforms, generous exemptions and tax credits, including last year’s economic stimulus bill, have dropped millions of Americans from the federal tax rolls. Huge numbers of Americans are simply no longer affected by the federal income tax. The Tax Policy Center projects that 47 percent of all U.S. households will pay no federal income tax for 2009. And, the bottom 40 percent of income earners actually receive a cash payment from the government at tax time. This cash payment is styled as a “refund” but it is actually a net cash transfer from the government--not a refund of taxes actually withheld on income. And for many Americans, this cash transfer from Uncle Sam actually exceeds all federal, state and local taxes that they pay in any form during the year including sales taxes and social security taxes.
Of course, we are accustomed to the idea that high income earners pay more in taxes both in absolute terms and as a percentage of their incomes. But taxing only the top half of a society is not normal progressive taxation. Instead, the recent changes to our tax system are an example of politicians using the tax code for their own political ends. In this case, the so-called progressive Democratic politicians are using “tax reform” to grow their political base by creating a group of Americans that pay no federal income tax.
The people who don’t pay federal income taxes are, as the phrase goes, “rational economic actors” just as much as anyone. Like all people, non-taxpayers respond to economic incentives. Their demand for entitlements and government programs is naturally insatiable because they don’t care at all about the cost. Non-taxpayers don’t have any “skin in the game” and are completely indifferent to the government raising income taxes. So they will always support increasing government programs as a long as they get even a small benefit from them because it does not cost them a cent. It’s also perfectly rational for non-taxpayers to support politicians who favor more spending. Non-taxpayers get something for nothing, at least until the country becomes insolvent.
The so-called progressive Democratic politicians are rational actors too. By taking more and more Americans off the federal tax rolls, they are creating a permanent base of supporters for themselves. These politicians may claim to support increased government spending because of their concern for the less-fortunate but--hey, it also happens to be in their own political self-interest. And these politicians will continue to spend on these programs until our nation goes bust because they want to keep their jobs and grow expensive programs for their political base.
And what about the people paying all the federal taxes? Well, taxpayers respond to incentives too. When faced with increasing tax rates, taxpayers will reduce their income, which is why it is impossible to raise a lot of revenue by increasing taxes above a certain point. As taxes on income rise, taxpayers spend less time on work and more on leisure.
They avoid sales of investments and assets which could trigger income until they can pair them with offsetting losses from other transactions. They spend billions of dollars on tax advice and structuring to reduce their tax burden, which makes economic sense for them but which is a waste of resources for our society. In the aggregate, a tax system that is hostile to investment and growth has a distortive effect which harms U.S. productivity and reduces the standard of living of our whole nation.
Under the Obama administration, many Americans accustomed to paying their share of federal taxes are being taken off the tax rolls. Recent tax law changes mean that for the first time, in 2009, a family of four making $50,000 can pay no federal income tax at all. This family may not change its behavior and outlook immediately from its taxpaying days. But the family’s economic incentives are now to keep America taxing and spending. And a family at this income level has surely suffered in this recession, but should they really pay no federal income tax at all?
Ronald Reagan once said that a taxpayer is “someone who works for the Federal government but doesn’t have to take the civil service examination.” Every American should have to work for the federal government at least a little bit. We need to move back to a broad-based tax system so that more Americans understand that there is no such thing as free money—government spending actually has a huge cost for our nation.
The so-called "progressive" politicians have turned John Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” on its head. And telling so many Americans that they don’t need to make sacrifices for our government, as we are now saying, is dangerous new territory for our nation and for the health of our democracy and economy.
Elizabeth Factor is an international tax lawyer and former investment banker.Mallory Factor is the co-chairman and co-founder of the Monday Meeting, an influential meeting of economic conservatives, journalists and corporate leaders in New York City. Mr. Factor is a well-known merchant banker and speaks and writes frequently on economic and fiscal topics for news stations, leading newspapers and other print and online publications. Mr. Factor writes frequently for the Fox Forum. Mr. Factor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Obama sees America not as it was intended and how it has been the paradigm of prosperity over its first 232 years. Instead, he envisions and wants to impose a Marxist philosophy that is the antithesis of our values and work ethic. Terry Paulson assessed his mindset as "America must go beyond equal rights and responsibilities to guarantee equal outcomes and entitlement programs to ensure that".
He sums up this approach of Obama’s by noting that:
"As a result, if you work hard, save, postpone gratification, and take care of yourself and your family, you lose. Not only must you support your family; you’re “forced” to support many others."
This is, in essence, legislated servitude or legalized theft. It’s a government shakedown – and consummately repulsive.
“Give Me Individual Liberty Not Government Dependence”
Terry Paulson April 12, 2010
Dennis Prager has recently added a pearl of wisdom to his repertoire of truths—“The larger the government, the smaller the individual.” The biggest danger from President Obama’s march to bigger government rests in what this means to the grounding principles that have made America great. Will America renew its commitment to individual liberty and personal responsibility or give in to government dependence and control?
As current Tea Party demonstrators would agree, Benjamin Franklin criticized King George’s high taxes to pay for the welfare entitlements of his time, “I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent. The day you passed that act (taxes for welfare), you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality, and sobriety, by giving them a dependence on someone else than a careful accumulation during youth and health, for support in age or sickness. In short, you offered a premium for the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder that it has had its effect in the increase of poverty.”
Franklin preferred “responsible” caring, "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it…. Repeal that law (taxes), and you will soon see a change in their manners. Labor…will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them."
Thomas Jefferson concurred, "A wise and frugal government...shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." Abraham Lincoln stressed common sense, “The worst thing you can do for those you love is the thing they could and should do for themselves.”
Our free-enterprise economy has served for over 200 years as the greatest anti-poverty program in human history because it encouraged work, and discouraged idleness, more than any other. Citizens have been free to pursue their American Dream based on the principle that men are created equal in their rights and their responsibilities.
President Obama finds such values outdated. America must go beyond equal rights and responsibilities to guarantee equal outcomes and entitlement programs to ensure that. As a result, if you work hard, save, postpone gratification, and take care of yourself and your family, you lose. Not only must you support your family; you’re “forced” to support many others. Americans have no trouble providing temporary help, but they expect most to bounce back and lift their own weight.
When caring for your neighbor becomes a compulsory obligation imposed by government instead of voluntary, charity turns to confiscation and freedom to achieve to involuntary servitude. To liberals, compassion seems to be defined by how many people are dependent on the government; to conservatives, it’s defined by how many people no longer need help. One promotes dependence, the other freedom, responsibility and achievement.
There is no moral or Constitutional justification for taking money honorably earned from a neighbor to pay for what some citizens can’t afford. With one half of American voters no longer paying income taxes, wealth redistribution has turned envy into legitimized confiscation.
America has always been known for its national optimism--that sense of unlimited possibility. Only a society that allows individuals to secure the rewards from applying their unique talents will ever reap the benefits of human greatness. It’s a tragedy that so many Americans today no longer believe they can realistically achieve their dreams without electing politicians who will take from other citizens to pay for what they can’t provide for themselves.
Incentives matter. You’ll never strengthen the weak by weakening and taking from the strong. Our messy but free republic works because people are free to create value instead of becoming perpetual burdens.
In the midst of a recession, Ronald Reagan said to Americans, “I’m not taking your time this evening to ask you to trust me. Instead, I ask you to trust yourself. That is what America is all about… It’s the power of millions of people like you who will determine what will make America great again.”
Our commitment to individual freedom and responsibility is one of the anchors that has held our country together through our history’s worst economic storms. President Obama would be wise to reaffirm that anchor if he wants our economy to turn around with the resilience that only freedom can produce.
Where has the American work ethic gone? Our nation was founded on the principles of liberty, freedom, hard work and self-reliance but all of these are present in unacceptably low levels today. Thanks to the indoctrination of our children with ubiquitous progressive ideology, motivation and a strong work ethic are sadly lacking … and getting worse.
Not surprisingly, a record high percentage of these “future leaders” of America believe that socialism as opposed to capitalism is the better system. This belief combined with apathy and complacency will mean far less future productivity, a lower standard of living, relatively fewer individuals supporting far more, overall high taxation rates and big government/nanny state.
Such a scenario can and must be averted but it will take a spectacular reversal of political fortunes and the imbuing in the younger generation or the important principles of motivation, responsibility and self-reliance rather than dependency, victimization and “guaranteed economic fairness” leading to wealth redistribution philosophies.
Once Self-Reliant, Now A Nation Of Takers
Scott Hodge 04/07/2010
Are you a giver or a taker? No, that is not a bad pickup line from an Internet dating site — it's a question every American should be asking themselves these days. "Do I take more than I give?"
I'm sure most of us want to be considered givers, not takers. After all, we grew up with the old adage that "it is better to give than receive." But we all know people who are more takers than givers.
We've all seen someone who brings a small salad to the potluck but piles lots of your casserole on his plate. Or, there is always one person in the lunch group who orders the most expensive meal on the menu because she knows you are all splitting the check.
The same thing happens with government. A growing number of Americans are contributing little but taking a lot, and a shrinking number are giving a lot but taking little.
Recent IRS data for 2008 reports that a record 52 million Americans — or 36% of all filers — filed a tax return but had no income tax liability because of the generosity of the credits and deductions that have been enacted over the past 15 years.
The tax code has always had exemptions to protect the poorest Americans from paying income taxes, but the new credits — such as the child tax credit, Making Work Pay credit, and First Time Homebuyer credit — are now exempting middle-class families from the income tax.
Remarkably, a family of four earning up to $52,000 can expect to pay no income taxes because of these various tax credits. That too is a record.
Many more of these taxpayers are now getting checks back from the IRS even though they pay no income taxes. The IRS paid out $70 billion in "refundable" checks to non-payers in 2008. In essence, lawmakers have turned the IRS into an ATM machine for welfare benefits — and ATM now stands for Another Taxpayer's Money.
Sadly, millions of people now see April 15 as payday, not tax day.
President Obama's policies, from health care to taxes, are all intended to increase the number of takers in America while reducing the number of givers. Our analysis of Obama's FY 2011 budget plan shows that it would increase the amount of redistribution from the top 10% of families by nearly $100 billion per year — to a total of $854 billion — while expanding the amount of government benefits targeted to the middle and upper-middle classes.
Economists have identified a phenomenon they call "fiscal illusion." When people perceive the cost of government is less than what it really is, they will demand ever more government. The real danger today is not just that we have so many non-payers, but that the $1.5 trillion deficit is making the cost of government look cheap for all of us. So much spending is raining down on us that it now seems like "free money" in a sense.
Every marketing guru will tell you that people love free stuff and that they will take as much as they can get whether they need it or not. But for a nation, this is a recipe for fiscal disaster.
Once upon a time, Americans took pride in being self-reliant and there was a stigma about taking handouts from government. It is time we renewed that sense of pride and reject the notion that we are entitled to handouts from government.
Repeat after me: "I will no longer be a taker ... ."
• Hodge is president of the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational organization that has monitored fiscal policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937.