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Archive for February, 2013

Coming Soon, Thanks To ObamaCare

If you liked how the Alternative Minimum Tax snagged more and more taxpayers because it wasn’t indexed to inflation, you’ll love ObamaCare’s surcharge on high-income earners, according to Allan Sloan of Fortune.

More and more taxpayers will be hit by the tax as incomes rise due to inflation, Sloan predicts. Over time, they will cover a good portion of the middle class.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, he notes, projects that about 2.4 percent of households will pay one or both the surcharges. That figure will rise to 4.6 percent by 2022, and then to 9 percent by 2032. 

In places like New York and California, the surtaxes will probably impact 20 percent or more of taxpayers.

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Clinton Aide Lanny Davis: White House Threatened Paper Over Criticism Of President

Former Bill Clinton aide Lanny Davis is speaking out about what he says a White House official did following Davis’ criticism of the president.

Davis told WMAL that his editor, John Solomon, “received a phone call from a senior Obama White House official who didn’t like some of my columns, even though I’m a supporter of Obama. I couldn’t imagine why this call was made.”  Davis says the Obama aide told Solomon, “that if he continued to run my columns, he would lose, or his reporters would lose their White House credentials.”

And then there’s Bob Woodward’s experience with the White House.

Amateur time.

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“We feel this is specific discrimination and is not what Carolina should stand for”

The Tar Heel Rifle and Pistol Club on UNC Chapel Hill’s campus says a bill making its way through the Student Congress has singled the club out for discrimination because some students don’t like the club. At issue is the percentage of votes needed to approve funding for the group’s ammunition.

“There are precedents built into the Student Code, so this would be a higher standard than for other student group funding,” club president Grant Anastas-King said.

Best said the bill’s passage could set a precedent of Student Congress members targeting funding for organizations, the missions of which they do not support.

“Some of the people who supported this bill have expressed that they don’t like the organization and don’t want to fund it,” Best said.

“To be frank, I think (the bill) was a roundabout way to discriminate against this group.”

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Balancing The State’s Budget

Sarah Curry, director of fiscal policy studies for JLF, writes today about how North Carolina’s balanced budget requirement works.

In the North Carolina Constitution of 1971, the state is required to pass a “balanced budget” (Article III, Section 5). More specifically, the state’s total expenditures cannot exceed the total income and surplus from previous years during a fiscal period. Each biennium the governor recommends his version of the budget; this too must be balanced.

North Carolina’s balanced budget legislation worked in the 1970s, but needs updating to deal with modern fiscal problems. One of those problems is the shift of a majority of the state’s spending in recent years outside the General Fund. Current laws require only the General Fund, or state revenues, to be balanced — this excludes federal funding. Excessive debt accrued through unemployment insurance and Medicaid occurred due to this loophole and will need to be addressed in future budget negotiations. 

North Carolina’s other looming problem is that budgets are based on state revenue forecasts, not actual receipts; if revenues are not at expected levels, there is not a balanced budget. This proved extremely difficult during the Great Recession as revenues were not as high as projected. This caused state government to spend more than a true balanced budget would have allowed.

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Yes, There Really Is Work Americans Won’t Do

When my parents married, they were migrant farm workers who traveled from Colorado to Arizona following the crop harvests that provided money for shelter and food. It was back-breaking work but, as my Dad reminded me many times during my life, honest work is honorable work. Dad instilled me with an appreciation and respect for people who labor with their backs and their hands.  I am thankful we live in a country where opportunity and upward mobility – the last five years aside – have been the norm. In the case of my parents, their willingness to sign on for honest, difficult labor translated into a modest home and two college educated children.

Today we have a very different reality. While some Americans still appreciate the value of an honest job, many Americans simply refuse to hire on for a farm-labor job. A combination of factors contribute to this: a social safety net that pays out more in benefits that one can earn by working, an aversion to physical labor, and a misplaced pride that somehow farm work is beneath an American. Look no further for the impact of this reality than the outcry from farmers and the North Carolina Farm Bureau, which made its case for comprehensive immigration reform at the legislature yesterday, including a guest-worker program.

In other findings from the Farm Bureau study, 60 percent of surveyed farmers reported having trouble hiring qualified domestic employees, and one-third said they’d lost income in the past five years due to an insufficient supply of workers.

“We have been encouraged by the recent bipartisan efforts in Congress to make meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform a top priority this session,” says Wooten, who wants state officials to join in the push for change. “Our leaders cannot miss this opportunity to fix the broken immigration system in our country.”

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A Fine Young Man

This story will melt your heart and make you realize that some of our young people exhibit incredible degrees of character and integrity that is, sadly, lacking in many today.

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R.I.P. Common Sense

Bureaucrats in Louisiana have forced a homeless shelter to stop feeding people venison donated by hunters. Human Events reports the bureaucrats actually destroyed $8,000 worth of the meat — dousing it in clorox and tossing in the garbage. And no, nothing was wrong with the meat.

“Deer meat is not permitted to be served in a shelter, restaurant or any other public eating establishment in Louisiana,” a Health Dept. official told me. “While we applaud the good intentions of the hunters who donated this meat, we must protect the people who eat at the Rescue Mission, and we cannot allow a potentially serious health threat to endanger the public.”

That statement set off a firestorm among hunters and lawmakers who called it outrageous and insulting.

“That’s a mild understatement,” said Richard Campbell, one of the founders of Hunters for the Hungry, a group that has been donating wild game to shelters since 1993. “Hunters are going nuts over it. It’s created an outrage across our state and even over into Mississippi.”

What a travesty for people in need who were being served by the community. The shelter operates without government funding.

R.I.P. common sense.

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“It shouldn’t be comfortable or luxurious to be in TARP.”

Crony capitalism couldn’t be any more blatant than in the auto bailout known as TARP.

Christy Romero, the special inspector general overseeing the bailout, said that the Treasury Department allows such high compensation for executives at bailed-out auto companies as to create an incentive for other companies to seek bailouts.

“Absolutely,” Romero replied when Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., asked her if the Treasury Department had created a “moral hazard” by approving so many pay increases. “It shouldn’t be comfortable or luxurious to be in TARP.”

But it is — thanks to the politicians who put you and me in the position of enabling poorly managed companies to feed at the public trough.

 

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Chapel Hill’s Poor Planning Leads To Tax Hike Proposal

Chapel Hill doubled the size of a library — a $16 million expansion — and now is threatening to cut the library’s hours because there’s not enough money to operate it. The answer? A tax hike of course. The Daily Tar Heel failed to report the nature of the tax hike being considered, but presumably it is a 1-cent increase in the town’s property tax rate.

Facing a budget shortfall for the library, the council proposed reducing hours earlier this month. It will consider the tax increase to keep the library fully functioning at its new location.

In an email to the town council, Town Manager Roger Stancil said the proposed increase would generate about $728,000 to fund the library.

 

So are taxpayers to believe the town didn’t know it would cost more to operate a twice-as-big facility and the town would face an ongoing funding issue because of the expansion? At best, this is horrendous planning. And then there’s this comment from a town councilman.

Town Councilman Jim Ward said that while people might initially be against a tax increase, he thinks residents will support the increase if it is presented correctly.

“I think if it is articulated as to why that decision is being made that the majority of taxpayers can understand,” he said.

 

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Spotted On I-40

Today I drove near a car with two bumper stickers:

1. Standard Obama 2012 campaign sticker.

2. Picture of the president with head bowed and a halo effect around his head.

I admire the president for his commitment to his wife and daughters. I also disagree strongly with most of his domestic policies, which are prolonging a sputtering economy, extending massive deficits and debt, and fundamentally changing, for the worse, the relationship between government and the citizenry.

I understand that much of the president’s support is entrenched and incapable of making a non-political assessment of his policies and their results. That I can live with as an unfortunate byproduct of partisanship. What I find troubling is the hero worship — of any elected official.

 

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