John Stossel on Tax Reform

8 Nov 2017

2017/11/08 – Simpler Tax Simplification – Rasmussen Reports

As you read this, President Trump’s tax plan is being debated. Congress will change it. Where this ends, no one knows.

I want two things:

1. Simplification.

2. More money in private hands.

Trump offers some of both.

Read the rest for a good take on tax reform.


Pensions in Los Angeles are Sinking The System

19 Dec 2016

Los Angeles’ Pension Problem Is Sinking The City

Indeed Los Angeles, like so many major U.S. cities, is being crippled by its public employee pension debt. According to the most recent actuarial report, the city’s three retirement systems–for public safety workers, water and power workers, and general employees–have a combined $15 billion debt.

In total, LA’s system has 38,113 retirees and beneficiaries receiving average yearly benefits of $48,218, and many of them no longer live in California, reducing these plans’ supposed multiplier benefits.

Unfunded pension liabilities have already caused bankruptcy in Stockton, Vallejo and San Bernardino; and eat up similarly large chunks of the budget in San Jose and San Diego (despite those cities’ previous reform attempts).

So who will be the first to start saying no to these pensions?

1 Trillion Dollars Estimated Spent Dealing With The Tax Code

15 Dec 2016

Tax Code Complexity Now Costs U.S. Economy up to $1 Trillion Annually

A recent Wallet Hub poll has revealed that 75 percent of Americans believe the federal tax code is too complex. A similar Pew poll registered Americans’ dissatisfaction with the federal tax code at 72 percent, while the last Tax Foundation poll found a staggering 82 percent of the public in favor of a “complete overhaul” of the entire federal tax system. Even the U.S. Treasury Department has admitted that “the complexity of the U.S. tax code makes the tax law too difficult for taxpayers to understand and for the IRS to administer.”

Enough is enough; it’s time for a change.

I don’t think any of this is surprising. It’s time to simplify things. Of course that may mean government employees out of a job.

Missouri House/Senate Overturns Governor Veto – Historic Tax Cuts Approved

8 May 2014

Missouri House Overrides Gov. Nixon’s Veto, Enacts Historic Tax Cuts

Today – following the lead of the State Senate – the Missouri House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Tim Jones has overridden Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of SB 509. For the first time in nearly 100 years, Missouri taxpayers will be given broad-based tax relief.

This vote to override the governor’s veto will provide $620 million in tax relief for hard working Missourians. The legislation includes a reduction of the top income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent and a 25 percent exemption from income taxes for small businesses.

Nice job, Missouri.

Good to see the system work when even the top dog can have his say overturned.

Obama Wants Tolls on Interstates

5 May 2014

White House Wants to Lift Ban on Interstate Tolls – NY Times

A transportation proposal sent to Congress by the Obama administration on Tuesday would remove a prohibition on tolls for existing Interstate highways, clearing the way for states to raise revenue on roads that drivers currently use at no cost.

Some Northeastern states, like Delaware and New Jersey, were allowed to keep tolls on existing highways that became a part of the national system. Other states were allowed to charge tolls on highways that were added to existing Interstates, but that revenue can be used only for repair and maintenance of those roads.

The proposal comes as Congress prepares to rewrite the existing surface transportation bill. A Congressional Budget Office study found that the Highway Trust Fund, which helps pays for Interstate repairs and is financed by a gasoline tax, will run out of money in August.

My questions is why is this Highway Trust Fund running out of money. Is spending ever addressed with these people (except when using it as leverage against political opponents)?

The government wants us to drive less and use less fuel, right? Now the fund that comes from gas taxes is running out of money. People who bought electric cars to save gas money may have to pay for it with tolls. And then, there’s are possible privacy issue with tracking drivers.

Obama Pressure Republicans to Increase Unemployment Benefiits

7 Jan 2014

Obama pressures Republicans to extend unemployment benefits – Washington Examiner

President Obama on Tuesday called on Republicans to extend unemployment benefits to 1.3 million Americans for three months, looking to build momentum for the federal aid after the measure cleared a major hurdle in the Senate.

“We’ve got to get this across the finish line without obstruction or delay, and we need the House of Representatives to be able to vote for this as well,” Obama said from the East Room of the White House, surrounded by Americans who lost unemployment benefits in late December.

The Obama administration estimates that failing to extend unemployment beyond 26 weeks would cost the economy roughly 240,000 jobs. But some Republicans counter that extending such benefits would keep Americans perpetually unemployed and limit their motivation to return to the workforce.

So here we are again with another government finance crisis. To have crisis after crisis that are only solved with temporary “fixes” is insanity from a problem solving perspective. From a political perspective, it does give the President and Democrats more opportunities to make Republicans look heartless. The latter is obviously the goal here.

There is a problem with the last paragraph quoted above – it’s not true. The logic behind that statement implies that if we put money in the hands of the unemployed, they will spend it and therefore businesses will have income to keep jobs. Here’s the problem. The money that the unemployed receive is recycled money – it comes from taxes paid from people who are working. In other words, we are simply shifting around money at this point from those who are working to those who are not working. So yes, unemployed people can buy more, but people who are employed and pay taxes will buy less. There is no net benefit.

At some point, we need to add in the ability to produce more money – but right now, there are numerous regulations that hinder manufacturing and production. But if we want to shift money around, I suggest shifting money away from the federal government towards the private sector. We are much better at using money than the federal government.

Audit Finds IRS Needs Changes to Avoid Tax Credit Fraud

3 Dec 2013

IRS Needs Changes to Avoid Health Law Fraud, Audit Says

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service needs to make changes to prevent fraud and improve security in systems it is building to deliver health insurance subsidies, according to an audit by the tax agency’s inspector general.

The audit found that “critical” pieces in security controls failed during testing and anti-fraud programs are still being developed.

The report is here.
Affordable Care Act: Improvements Are Needed to Strengthen Systems Development Controls for the Premium Tax Credit Project