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Tag Archives: taxes

Shrinking the Federal Bureaucracy

You all know I’ve been super critical of the President on a number of foreign policy and national security issues, including those he chose for his national security team, but I like to think I’m fair, and aside from the thankfully defunct Michael Flynn and the unfortunately current Darth Badhair McHobo and MiniMogul, his national security team is actually shaping up pretty well. Jim Mattis and John Kelly are perfect Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security respectively. I’ve heard nothing but good things about H.R. McMaster, and I literally did a happy dance at the selection of Fiona Hill as White House senior director for Europe and Russia. I’ve referenced her articles on Putin before. She’s an expert and a realist. What’s not to like?

I also like to think I’m fair on domestic policy issues. So, yes, TrumpCare, or whatever we’re calling it this week, is a dumpster fire and the constant Twitter seizures and unsubstantiated claims of wiretapping and unemployment data manipulation by 44 are getting old.

That said… the left’s apoplectic paroxysms of outrage about proposed Trump budget cuts are giving me giggle fits. Fiscal responsibility involves sometimes tough choices, and I think we finally have a President who is willing to make them, who is willing to look at all the multiplicative, wasteful, and downright unconstitutional programs the federal government is funding and say, “Enough!”

Let’s remember that the vast majority of the federal budget is non-discretionary, which means it’s mandatory spending. We have to pay certain bills, and we don’t have a choice about it.  Among them is entitlement spending, such as Social Security. It is spent based on existing laws rather than the budgeting process, and without actual entitlement reform, we must pay it. Discretionary spending constitutes a pretty small portion of the federal budget, which means we need to be judicious about how we spend that money, which includes funding for our military, education, international affairs, environment, etc.

Discretionary Spending is the portion of the budget that the president requests and Congress appropriates every year. It represents less than one-third of the total federal budget, while mandatory spending accounts for around two-thirds.

Trump’s budget proposal does exactly this, but the left is, of course, hyperventilating about it, because they’re all about MOAR SPENDING! The Washington Post this morning helpfully shows what program cuts will help fund $54 billion in proposed defense spending increases. I’m good with this, quite frankly, because national defense is one of the very few constitutional functions of our government. And guess what’s not on that list!

Agency/Program What it does
21st Century Community Learning Centers Provides funding for after-school programs for students in high-poverty areas
Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Program Provides loans to automotive manufacturers developing fuel-efficient technologies
African Development Foundation Invests in African businesses
Appalachian Regional Commission Invests in projects for economic growth in the Appalachian region
ARPA-E Funds research into new energy technologies
Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Provides housing assistance to low-income families
Chemical Safety Board Investigates industrial chemical accidents
Chesapeake Bay Restoration Provides funding for cleanup and protection of the Chesapeake Bay watershed
Community Development Block Grant Provides housing assistance to low-income families
Community Development Financial Institutions Fund grants Provides support to financial services in underserved communities
Community Services Block Grant Provides funding for projects that alleviate poverty
Corporation for National & Community Service Runs AmeriCorps, City Year and other public service programs
Corporation for Public Broadcasting Provides federal funding to local radio and television stations across the U.S.
Delta Regional Authority Funds infrastructure and economic programs in the Mississippi River delta region
Denali Commission Provides economic assistance in Alaska
Economic Development Administration Provides funding for economic development projects across the U.S.
Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Account Provides emergency funding for humanitarian crises around the world
Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program Tests pesticides and other chemicals for adverse effects on humans and animals
Energy Star Provides assistance for energy efficiency programs
Essential Air Service program Provides funding for air transportation to rural communities
Global Climate Change Initiative Provides financial assistance for climate change initiatives in developing countries
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Provides funding for cleanup and protection of Great Lakes watersheds
Institute of Museum and Library Services Provides grants and research for libraries, museums, zoos and similar institutions.
Inter-American Foundation Provides development assistance to Latin American countries
Legal Services Corporation Provides legal aid to low-income Americans
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Assists low-income families with heating and cooling costs
McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program Provides school meals and nutrition programs in poor countries
Minority Business Development Agency Provides technical assistance to minority-owned businesses
NASA Office of Education Supports STEM education initiatives
National Endowment for the Arts Provides funding for arts projects
National Endowment for the Humanities Provides funding for cultural institutions like universities and museums, as well as projects by individual scholars
Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation Provides housing assistance to low-income Americans
Northern Border Regional Commission Economic development in northern New England
Overseas Private Investment Corporation Helps U.S. businesses invest overseas
Senior Community Service Employment Program Funds job training for low-income, unemployed seniors
State Energy Program Provides funding and technical assistance for energy efficiency and clean energy
Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program Provides grants to improve education quality
Targeted Air Shed Grants Provides grants for air pollution control
TIGER Discretionary Grant program Provides funding for transportation projects across the U.S.
Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program Provides loan guarantees for new energy products
United States Institute of Peace Works on international conflict mitigation
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness Coordinates federal response to homelessness
US Trade and Development agency Promotes U.S. exports in developing countries.
Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program Provides funding for water infrastructure in rural areas
Weatherization Assistance Program Provides grants for weatherizing low-income homes
Woodrow Wilson International Center Foreign policy think tank

The Post reports that a number of these federal programs have failed to show efficacy and that the private sector can perform these functions better.

Why the hell are we funding a foreign policy think tank? So it can produce written opinions on policy that, because they’re funded by the government, will invariably become a mouthpiece of said government.

Why are the feds giving money to businesses that want to invest overseas? Let these businesses assume their own risk and invest how they see fit, instead of the taxpayers funding businesses who will inevitably assume more risk, because it’s not their money to play with!

Why are U.S. taxpayers giving money to USAID through the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program to subsidize school lunches to foreign students? Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that it’s the function of the government to give school lunches to our own kids, let alone to ones in other countries! I get that we want to appear to be generous and bighearted, but as a wise man once said, voting for the government to give poor people money is not compassion.

Neither is forcing the U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill for investments in African businesses. If someone wants to plop down their hard-earned dollars to invest in an African enterprise, great! Good for them! But to arbitrarily take money away from Americans and send them overseas tells us that bureaucrats know better how to spend our money and where to invest it (in businesses that likely prop up the political agenda, or in which the bureaucrats and politicians have interests). I’ll remind you how Solyndra worked out.

And don’t even get me started on government funding for the arts!

So yes, we need to be judicious with our spending. We need to focus on programs that are effective, efficient, and constitutional, and all this crap above ain’t it.

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Record Number of Americans Giving Up Citizenship

My parents brought me here from the former Soviet Union when I was just 8 years old. At the time I didn’t really understand why I was here, why we left and why my parents were so happy to have arrived in America.

I learned eventually.

Even though I didn’t rationally understand what this nation was about, and what the nation I escaped was, the raw thoughts were there, and they formed into ideas gradually.

I never thought in a million years of leaving the country my parents fought so hard to enter – or the citizenship they worked so hard to attain. I have always been proud of my American citizenship. I joined the military, because I love this country. I serve, protect and defend the Constitution of these United States for those same reasons to this day.

I cannot imagine what these expats are thinking or feeling. But I’m beginning to understand why.

Globally, more U.S. citizens have renounced their citizenship in the first and second quarters than all of 2012 combined, and 2013 is already on track to becoming a record year for renunciations. A total of 1,130 names appeared on the latest list of renunciations from the Internal Revenue Service, according to Andrew Mitchel, a tax lawyer who tracks the data. That is far above the previous high of 679, set in the first quarter, and more than were reported in all of 2012.

While those numbers are still a fraction of the estimated six million Americans living abroad, lawyers say the main trigger for cutting ties with U.S. recently is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or Fatca, which requires foreign institutions to disclose the overseas assets of U.S. green-card holders and citizens to the U.S. government.

These people are being harassed and targeted by their own government. “My decision was less about the actual amount of taxes I had to pay, and more about the system,” said one investment banker, who renounced his U.S. citizenship and is now a Hong Kong citizen. “I’m not an ultrawealthy dude. It was the hassle with all the paperwork”

Why?

Because somehow our government feels like it hasn’t sucked enough blood, sweat and tears from its citizens. Because somehow, it wants more. Because somehow, it’s never enough.

Not all of these people are ultra-rich, trying to avoid paying taxes. The US is the only nation in the OECD that taxes citizens no matter where they reside. So these American citizens wind up paying for infrastructure they don’t use, government services they don’t need and funding programs for people with whom they do not live, because many of them have been living outside the United States for years. And they will have to pay that money to the IRS – with penalties and interest.

And then there’s the forms and inevitable bureaucracy, which requires foreign banking institutions to get information on US citizens who happen to have accounts with them and hand it over to the IRS.

The result?

Many Americans residing overseas are reporting banking lock-out. Many foreign financial institutions have simply chosen to eliminate their US citizens and US person client basis in order to minimize their exposure to FATCA reporting requirements, withholding fees and potential penalties.

This is the result – again – of a government that is out of control. This is politicians laying claim to your earnings – no matter where you might reside. This is elected scum thinking it’s entitled to your work and your achievements.

You don’t believe me? Listen to Keith Ellison, who thinks the government has a RIGHT to yet more of your money! Ellison, a Prognazi Marxist representative from Minnesota, says there’s no problem! There’s plenty of money! It’s just the government doesn’t have it!

What Keith Ellison and leeches like him do not understand is that the government is individuals elected by the people. The government is representatives who get their power and authority from the people who elect them. There is no “government right.” Rights belong to individuals, not to an entity called the government, and NO individual has the right to steal another individual’s earnings at the point of a gun!

Government is power.

Government is guns.

We delegate certain rights to the government, such as defense. We have the right to self defense, and we have the right to delegate that authority to our government on a larger scale. That right still belongs to each individual. We do not cede it by delegating it. We simply give the government the authority to act on our behalf. What we cannot do is give the government the authority to violate others’ rights on our behalf.

Government is a service, and we pay taxes for that service as a society.

But when that government uses its guns (or the threat of arrest) to relieve us of our rights, that’s when things go wrong.

When that government uses its power to create new “rights” while violating existing ones, that’s when things go wrong.

So when leeches like Keith Ellison claim a “right” to our property and our earnings, it’s time to tell them to stop!

It’s not like we don’t pay enough taxes. Federal, state, local, sales, Social Security, Medicare, property taxes, fuel taxes, federal corporate income tax share, estate tax, fees, licenses, inflation losses, inheritance, deficit allowance, gift taxes, etc.

But Keith Ellison thinks we ought to pay more, and he and his progressive cabal in Congress deserve even more, so they can spend it how they see fit, and that they have a better understanding of how your money should be spent than you do. Because it really doesn’t matter, you see, that you did not ask for the “service” Keith Ellison and the rest of the parasites in Washington want to “provide.”

Services” like soccer fields for the terrorists being kept at Guantanamo Bay, grad students in Indonesia, tattoo removal programs for gang bangers, research on sex habits of Japanese quail and video games, social and environmental programs in China, museums that obviously could not make a profit on their own and required government funding, “artists” who had the same problem, and genital washing research in South Africa.

And now, the politicians in Washington think they have the right to demand even more of your money to fund even more of their stupidity.

Is it any wonder that Americans are leaving in droves, and giving up their citizenship?

It has become quite obvious that their government has become their ruler, not a service. It has become quite obvious that the deadbeats in Washington that produce nothing have no respect for the hard work and the earnings of the people who elected them.

So they are leaving.

I haven’t given up on this country yet. But I do think that people need to understand that their votes have consequences, and putting freeloaders in power year after year has consequences.

When the rich whom they victimize, and whose bones they pick clean have no more left to give, and those who have had enough have left the country, they will turn to what we now consider the “middle class” as the new “rich” whom they can suck dry. And when the “middle class” becomes indigent, and every producer has either lost everything or left the country, whom will they have left to loot?

When Beretta Leaves Maryland…

Remember when I said that Beretta will probably leave the People’s Republik of Maryland after the passage of some of the most onerous gun control laws in the country?

I was right. They’re actively considering it, and they’re not the only ones. And here are some more details about how much Maryland will lose should the firearms manufacturer bail.

Jeffrey Reh, a spokesman for Beretta who also serves as the President of Stoeger Industries under Beretta, announced that the company would begrudgingly uproot and take its business elsewhere. He said, “We don’t want to do this, we’re not willing to do this, but obviously this legislation has caused us a serious level of concern within our company.”

He added that Beretta paid approximately $31 million in taxes, employs 400 people, and had invested $73 million in the business over the past several decades. Despite being such a prominent player in the local economy, Beretta was unable to prevent legislators from passing tighter gun control laws. Ironically, Beretta manufactures some firearms that are now banned in Maryland.

Don’t worry, though. I’m sure Maryland Demonrats will find some environmentally-friendly, high-tech, Obama-supporting, profit-eschewing-in-favor-of-the-common-good company to come and replace Beretta, hire 400 people at good salaries and contribute $31 million in taxes to Maryland’s dead economy.

Or they’ll implement new taxes, like maybe a tax on farting (that methane is dangerous to the environment, you know!) or a tax on heavy exercise in order to raise money to combat the evil effects of increased breathing and consequent expulsion of CO2… or something. Besides, someone has to cover the costs of adding 400 people to the unemployment line!

Maryland legisleeches don’t think you need your earnings, and they don’t think you need to protect what’s left of said earnings after they have sucked you dry.

Blight to follow.

Law Abiding Citizens Forced to Pay for Criminal Acts of Others

It is a well known fact that criminals do not purchase guns legally. They do not go to stores. They do not undergo background investigations. They do not fill out necessary paperwork. They purchase cheap, throwaway guns, steal them, or obtain them from friends or family.

A Bureau of Justice Statistics publication from 2001 confirmed that among state inmates possessing a gun, fewer than 2% bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show, about 12% from a retail store or pawnshop, and 80% from family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source. A more recent BJS study showed that from 2005 through 2010, 86% of burglaries and 75% of other property crimes involving a stolen firearm were reported to police.

In other words, most of the guns used to commit crimes have not been purchased legally.

But, that won’t stop some state legislators from penalizing the innocent for the acts of the guilty.

Cook County, Ill., this month began collecting a $25 tax on gun purchases, and at least six states are considering new taxes on firearms or ammunition as a way to help pay for the consequences of gun violence.

The Cook County tax applies to purchases in Chicago’s suburbs, but not the city. The tax is expected to raise $600,000 a year, which will help pay for indigent gunshot victims’ medical care at county-run Stroger Hospital.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, a Democrat, says 30% of the hospital’s trauma patients have gunshot wounds and it costs about $52,000 for initial treatment for each. The tax won’t necessarily serve as a deterrent to gun buyers, she says, but “it’s an acknowledgment that we as a society pay a terrible price for the proliferation of guns.”

Innocent people being forced to pay for the actions of criminals. The Demotard admits the tax probably won’t stop legitimate purchases (except for those poor people, who are more likely to be victimized and are probably more in need of a means of protecting themselves and their families and will be impacted more than anyone by being forced to make a more expensive purchase).

What she won’t say is that the more difficult and costly you make a legitimate purchase, the more purchases will be off the books.

The criminals will continue purchasing, trading guns on the black market and stealing firearms. And more and more people will simply trade quietly among themselves.

And, placing an additional burden on a constitutionally protected right is something akin to a poll tax – a monetary penalty imposed on those wishing to exercise their rights in order to thwart said action.

And the tyrannical swine in Cook County aren’t the only ones penalizing innocent people whose only “crime” is to exercise their rights.

Legislation introduced in Congress would add a 10% tax to handgun purchases to pay for gun buybacks and other programs.

New Jersey and Washington state are also working on adding taxes to constitutionally protected purchases.

Roger Dickinson, a California Democrat (what else?), introduced a bill that would add a 5-cent tax to the sale of every bullet.

A committee heard testimony last week on a Nevada bill that would create a $25 tax for gun sales and a 2-cent tax on each round of ammunition.

A Massachusetts Democrat, proposed a 25% sales tax on ammunition and firearms, with the money going to mental health and victims’ programs, police training and firearms licensing. “We tax cigarettes, we tax alcohol, we tax other items that have a negative effect on society,” he says.

And of course you have the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that includes a fee of up to $25 for handgun licenses.

What these legislators are doing is not only showing disdain and lack of concern for the poor, but are displaying the most stunning display of bigotry I’ve seen since leaving the former USSR.

It’s not race or religion that is being penalized by these repugnant despot wannabes. It’s life and the willingness to protect it. It’s love – for our rights and freedoms. It’s respect for ourselves and the willingness to take responsibility for our safety and the safety of our loved ones.

This is what they’re punishing.

Because our respect for ourselves, our safety and security and our willingness to be accountable for ourselves makes them irrelevant.

So they will tax us, punish us and try to chain us to the wall of their irrelevance.

I keep wondering how these petty tyrants get elected time and time again, and whether their continued rise to power a sign of the destruction of our society.

I think it probably is.

How to Tell You’re Having a Really Bad Day (UPDATED)

Get taxes done. Be happy you’re getting refund. Find out you’re not getting squat until the IRS tells you you’re getting your refund, because they’re “not ready” for your return. (Next time you owe the IRS money, try that excuse. Tell them they’re not getting their money until you are ready. See reaction in the form of penalties and fees.)

Realize that even though you spent more than 12 percent of your gross income on both yours and kids’ medical expenses last year, you’ll get a better refund if you don’t itemize.

Take Teeny’s car for a state inspection. Be told that in order to pass, it needs $1200 worth of work.

Car is worth $2000

Be happy you’re getting loaner car for free until you realize it’s a queer Prius. Thankfully not in powder blue.

Get to work (late) after leaving Teeny’s car at the dealership. No parking to be had. Anywhere. Park a mile away. Walk to office. In heels. Twist ankle. Twice.

And it’s not even noon yet.

UPDATE: Afternoon is not much better.

You leave late, because the hated PowerPoint presentation you’re working on with your partner is STILL not done thanks to computer issues.

You walk out to begin the trek to the queer Prius and you discover it’s raining. You have no umbrella.

You spend an hour in traffic, because DC residents lose the ability to reason, drive and function when moisture falls from the sky.

You get home and realize you need to go back out to pick up your dog’s Heartguard medicine. You hit every red light on the way to the vet. You drop $98 on 6 months’ worth of meds!!!!

And you realize that your tiny little 4 cylinder Nissan Versa has more pick-up than the queer Prius you have to drive to work tomorrow.

That’s how you know you’ve had a bad day.

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