Norquist: Pennsylvania House Needs to Pass Asset Forfeiture Reform This Year

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Posted by Krista Chavez on Tuesday, October 25th, 2016, 5:07 PM PERMALINK

On Friday, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist co-authored an opinion editorial for PennLive with Faith and Freedom Coalition Executive Director Timothy Head and Freedom Works CEO and President Adam Brandon on why Pennsylvania needs civil asset forfeiture reform in 2016.

The article emphasizes PA Senate’s recent vote to pass asset forfeiture reform in its house to “improve property rights across the state.” Now, it is up to the House Judiciary Committee to get the bill through the legislature before this session ends in November.

Civil asset forfeiture, the process where law enforcement officials can seize property from citizens who have not been criminally convicted, has been significantly abused in Pennsylvania. Recently, the state’s Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, admitted to seizing $1.77 million in cash using civil asset forfeiture laws to profit off the seizures. On this issue, the article states:

“The money is very good in the forfeiture business – if you happen to work for the government. So good, in fact, that it becomes easy to lose track of it.

A current case in point involves now-disgraced Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who only recently admitted to seizing $1.77 million in cash using civil asset forfeiture laws.

As questions grew louder, the circumstances involving the cash – that had been sitting in boxes in her office for nearly two years – came to light.”

Millions of dollars sat in Kane’s office for two years, and there was no significant mechanism to check this seizure.

In the Institute for Justice’s Policing for Profit report released last November, Pennsylvania received a D- for its poor protections of innocent property owners, low bar for police to seize property, lack of conviction required to take property, and harmful use of profit with 100% of forfeiture proceeds going to law enforcement.

Pennsylvanians deserve to be treated better by law enforcement officials. That is why Americans for Tax Reform supports the current civil asset forfeiture reform bill in the state’s House of Representatives that passed the State Senate 43-7.

Please read and share Norquist’s article (found here) on these necessary measures to restore Pennsylvanian property rights before the 2016 legislative session ends. 

Photo Credit: 
Kevin Saff, Flickr

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30 Years Is Too Long Since Tax Reform

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016, 9:45 AM PERMALINK

Thirty years ago today, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Tax Reform Act of 1986– which became the largest simplification of the U.S. Tax code in history. Prior to 1986, the federal tax code was a complex mess of brackets, deductions, and credits totaling over 26,300 pages.
Some of the laws major achievements were:

  • The reduction of the top marginal individual income tax rate from 50 percent to 28 percent
  • A reduction of the corporate income tax rate from 46 percent to 34 percent
  • Reducing the total number of income brackets from 14 to 2


While Reagan achieved a significant victory with his reforms, they did not far outlive his presidency. Starting with President H.W. Bush, the top marginal tax rate was raised from 28 percent to 31 percent. President Clinton took it a step further raising the top rate to 39.6 percent. After a brief stint at 35 percent under President George W. Bush, President Obama returned the rate to 39.6 percent.

It has been thirty years too long. Our tax code desperately needs reform.

The Tax Code is Too Complex

Since 1955, the federal tax code has increased six-fold, from 409,000 words to 2.4 million words. Countless regulations have increased the tax burden on Americans and it’s time that time and money are spent doing what you want to do, not working to comply with the government. According to the Tax Foundation, Americans will spend 8.9 billion hours and $409 billion complying with IRS tax filing requirements this year. U.S. businesses and individual income tax returns make up the majority of the hours spent complying, clocking in at 2.8 billion hours and 2.6 billion hours respectively. It’s too complex and it’s too long.

The Tax Code is Uncompetitive

The tax code is the worst in the world. The U.S corporate tax rate is 39 percent, whereas the global average is 25 percent. The tax rate has barely changed since 1986 and since then, other countries have cut their rates aggressively. The U.S. rate is two to three times higher than its direct competitors, like Canada (26.3 percent), the U.K. (20 percent), and Ireland (12.5 percent).

Additionally, the U.S. is only one of six OECD countries that still utilizes a worldwide system of taxation. American businesses overseas are required to pay taxes in the country it earned the income in and then pay U.S. taxes on the remaining income, essentially double-taxing American businesses.  This system of double taxation puts American businesses at an immense disadvantage, as they are competing with businesses who utilize the more modern territorial system of taxation. Ultimately, the costs of the worldwide system of taxation are passed onto employees, as much as 75 percent of the costs can be passed onto workers.  

Congress Must Again Pass Pro-Growth Tax Reform

Pro-growth tax reform that cuts rates for all need not be viewed as costing the government money. As noted by the Congressional Budget Office, every 0.1 percent of higher economic growth equates to $286 billion in extra federal revenue, meaning an increase from 2 percent average growth to 3 percent growth would have economic benefits and would help resolve the government’s overspending problem.

House Republicans in their “Better Way” blueprint have introduced ways to simplify the puzzling tax code and fix our competitiveness problem. To simplify the code, House Republicans have proposed a way so that taxpayers can file their taxes on as little as a postcard. To fix, House Republicans suggest reducing the U.S. corporate rate to 20 percent, which is lower than the global average, and creating a territorial system of taxation. A 20 percent rate, like the blueprint calls for would create more than 600,000 full time jobs and increase GDP by more than 3 percent over the long term. If passed into law, these solutions will make American’s lives easier and ensure that our businesses can again compete in the global economy. 

Photo Credit: 
Marion Doss

Tim Kaine Wants to Increase Dodd-Frank Burden on Main Street America

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Friday, October 21st, 2016, 12:04 PM PERMALINK

In a recent interview Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine admitted that a Hillary Clinton White House would look to increase the burden of Dodd-Frank regulations in a misguided effort to help “Main Street”. The irony of Kaine’s plan is that small businesses on America’s Main Streets are already being crushed by Dodd-Frank regulations, and increasing such regulations will only serve to worsen the problem.  

Speaking on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” Kaine made it clear his goals are aligned with the far left liberal branch of the Democratic Party. Kaine praised Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D- Mass.) saying both, “have really important ideas that they’ve put on the table.” Clearly Kaine and the Clinton campaign are grossly out of touch.

Kaine went on to say that “we’ve got to keep regulation…on Wall Street, so that Wall Street doesn’t tank Main Street again” and that, “we put Dodd-Frank in place for a reason, and we want to strengthen it.” However the fact is Dodd-Frank has done nothing to improve the economic health of small businesses and has instead reduced access to the credit and capital many on Main Street need to survive and grow.

It is no secret that new and small businesses play an outsized role in creating jobs and opportunities in the U.S. economy. Yet new reports show a massive decrease in new business growth in recent years, and that slow down has been a product of reduced borrowing opportunities for new and small businesses. 

For example, in 1980 firms in their first year accounted for 13 percent of all companies, but since 2010 that rate has fallen to around 8 percent. Similarly, in the 1990's the average new business hired over 7 workers, while in 2011 the average new business hired roughly 4 workers. Tim Kaine would clearly attribute this reduction to Hillary’s narrative of “Wall Street is crushing the little guy”, but such an argument is misplaced and simply political rhetoric.

The fact is two of the most disastrous results from Dodd-Frank that have impacted growth in small businesses are reduced access to credit due to community bank closures and consolidation, and an economically crushing regulatory burden. 

Community banks (those with less than $10 billion in assets) serve as a primary source of credit for many new and small businesses. According to a 2015 Small Business Credit Survey, small business loan applicants were successful 76 percent of the time at small banks, versus 58 percent of the time at large banks.

Yet since the passage of Dodd-Frank, such sources of credit for many on Main Street looking to start or grow small businesses have dried up. In fact, since Dodd-Frank was enacted, the number of community banks has shrunk by 14 percent. Thus it should come as no surprise that since 2008 small businesses have seen a 15 percent decrease in lending.

Thus the issue is why Tim Kaine and Hillary Clinton would want to “strengthen” Dodd-Frank in order to “help” Main Street. Clearly the resulting regulatory burden of Dodd-Frank has done nothing to help small businesses and instead has limited access to credit and inhibited economic growth on Main Streets across America. 


Photo credit: Emily

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H.D. Rennerfeldt

Dodd-Frank was INVENTED to destroy MAIN STREET ! !
Ask any Communist ORGANIZER.

Norquist Letter Calls Out New York State Senators For Vote Against Property Rights

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, October 21st, 2016, 10:06 AM PERMALINK

(UPDATE: The bill in question was unfortunately signed into law by Gov. Cuomo (D) today)

Today ATR President Grover Norquist sent a letter to Edward F. Cox, Chairman of the New York State Republican Party, and Michael R. Long, Chairman of the Conservative Party of New York, calling attention to a upstate Republicans and Conservatives who voted to restrict property rights.

The full text of the letter is below:

Oct. 21, 2016

Edward F. Cox
Chairman, New York State Republican Party

Michael R. Long
Chairman, Conservative Party of New York State

Dear Chairman Cox and Chairman Long,

I write to you today to call out Republican and Conservative state senators who unfortunately voted for S6340A, the downstate, heavy-handed, union-boss driven property rights restriction which recently arrived on Gov. Cuomo’s desk for his consideration by Oct. 29:

Sen. Terrence Murphy – District 40
Sen. Sue Serino – District 41
Sen. Joseph A. Griffo – District 47
Sen. Patty Ritchie – District 48
Sen. John A. DeFrancisco – District 50
Sen. Fred Akshar – District 52
Sen. Rich Funke – District 55
Sen. Joseph E. Robach – District 56
Sen. Catharine Young – District 57
Sen. Thomas F. O’Mara – District 58
Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan – District 59
Sen. Robert G. Ortt – District 62

This bill is an attack on the property rights and livelihood of all New Yorkers. It reeks of protectionism. I am bewildered as to why any Republican or Conservative would vote against the interests of their own constituents in order to please New York City Democrat leaders and downstate union bosses. Upstate Republicans and Conservatives were elected to protect their constituents from precisely such looting.

In a tough economy home sharing has provided a lifeline for people to pay their bills and make ends meet. It is especially beneficial to lower and middle income families and households. I would encourage the senators to spend some time with home sharing hosts and guests and learn this first hand. As NYU’s own Arun Sundararajan has written: “Peer-to-peer rental marketplaces have a disproportionately positive effect on lower-income consumers across almost every measure.”

This bill is also a case of the political class working against the interests of the people. Voters of all political persuasions want a light regulatory touch when it comes to the sharing economy, as shown by a recent Pew Research Center survey which found that even Democrats and liberals want politicians to leave them alone in this area of their lives. The authors note: “The clear preference for a light regulatory approach among partisans in all camps is striking.”

A vote in support of the bill is something one would expect from the likes of Elizabeth Warren or Hillary Clinton. Clinton has threatened to “crack down” – her words – on the sharing economy if elected.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Republican and Conservative senators who stood their ground and voted against this special interest monstrosity:

Sen. George A. Amedore, Jr. – District 46
Sen. Kathleen A. Marchione – District 43
Sen. Michael H. Ranzenhofer – District 61
Sen. Hugh T. Farley – District 49
Sen. James L. Seward – District 51

Instead of passing hostile and economically destructive new laws that would drive home sharing underground, I encourage Republicans and Conservatives to consider the country’s best free market framework for short term rentals – Arizona’s SB 1350 – passed by the Republican-led legislature and signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey (R). There is a clear movement in many other states toward the Arizona approach.

The State of New York has a choice: It can either be a leader in the emerging sharing economy or it can make itself a mausoleum dedicated to the political structures of the past.


Grover G. Norquist

President, Americans for Tax Reform


Photo Credit: 
Open Grid Scheduler,

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Dodd-Frank is Crushing Small Businesses and Startups in America

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Posted by Justin Sykes, Johnathan Sargent on Thursday, October 20th, 2016, 2:47 PM PERMALINK

After 6 years, Dodd-Frank’s legacy is hindering American innovation. Since its passage, the Dodd-Frank Act has unleashed an onslaught of large and complex regulations. Because of these regulations the growth of American small businesses and startups has hit an all-time low. In a report by Third Way, these regulations are examined as a primary factor for this phenomenon.

The Third Way report found that while new businesses have played a historically large role in U.S. job creation, trends show that in recent years there has been a growing gap in borrowing opportunities for small businesses and startups. Contrast this with the fact that lending to large businesses has surged in recent years. Such trends can be tied to the fact that small banks are being forced to either consolidate or shutter their operations as a result of Dodd-Frank regulations.   

The impact of Dodd-Frank regulations on small businesses and startups begins with their effect on small banks, such as community banks. Dodd-Frank regulations have led to higher compliance costs, which are economically disastrous for smaller banks because they lack the vast resources that their larger competitors possess. According to a study by the Mercatus Center, 90 percent of banks stated that compliance costs have increased since 2010. The report by Third Way highlights that such community and small banks “bear a disproportionate regulatory burden.”

Because of these increased compliance costs, small banks are reducing the number of services that they provide. It is also the case that as community banks close due to skyrocketing compliance costs and other regulatory factors, sources of credit for small businesses are simply no longer available. This has led to a decrease in small business lending in the U.S.

For instance, since 2008 lending to small businesses has decreased by 15%, while lending to big businesses has increased by 35%. According to a 2015 Small Business Credit Survey, small business applicants were successful 76% of the time at small banks, versus 58% of the time at large banks. Thus as community banks close or consolidate, small business lending dries up. 

Small businesses are then left with no other option than to seek loans from lager banks, which cannot provide the same level of personalized service and competitive rates that community and small banks can provide. Ironically, as a result of Dodd-Frank, many large banks have also been forced to eliminate loans that after the financial crisis would be seen as too “risky”. For the most part, this means eliminating loans to businesses with less than $2 million in revenue, or alternatively eliminating loans less than $100,000 altogether.

This lack of access to credit has led to a reduction in the amount of startup firms in the U.S. In 1980, firms in their first year accounted for 13% of all companies, yet since 2010 that rate has dropped to roughly 8%. According to a 2015 survey by Federal Reserve banks, small businesses and startups are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain needed credit. The survey found that 63% of microbusinesses (firms with annual revenue under $100,000) and 58% of startups (firms less than two years old) were unable to realize their funding needs.

It is apparent that the onerous regulations imposed by Dodd-Frank have contributed to the decrease in startups and reduced access to credit for small businesses. This phenomenon not only hinders economic growth in the U.S., but impacts consumers as small businesses and startups are often leaders in product innovation. For those supporting Dodd-Frank, this should be a wake up call that it is time to look to much needed reforms that will encourage small business growth and innovation, instead of deterring innovation and competition in the market.

 Photo Credit: Ian Lamont

Top Comments

H.D. Rennerfeldt

DODD-FRANK was meant to force Banks
to make illegal risky loans. Community
Organizers (you-know-who) used it to
enforce the practice. These "LOANS"
were packaged into bundles and sold
to the sucker bankers of the world. When
these "LOANS" defaulted, economies
everywhere collapsed. Destroying small
businesses is only a BONUS by-product.

Politicians in USA’s Second Wealthiest County Push “Meals Tax”

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Posted by William Sleiman on Thursday, October 20th, 2016, 1:42 PM PERMALINK

Politicians in the nation’s second wealthiest county are looking impose a “Meals Tax” on anyone who eats food.

The Meals Tax is being pushed by the Fairfax County, Virginia Board of Supervisors. The proposed Meals Tax would impose a 4% sales tax on all ready-to-eat foods on top of an already existing 6% state wide sales tax on such foods. On November 8, Fairfax County voters will be asked to vote YES or NO.

The Board of Supervisors does not have authority to implement a meals tax unless given approval by voters. The Meals Tax would apply to all ready-to-eat foods, which include restaurant meals and beverages, food and beverage at hotels, food truck purchases, hot dog stands, meals at coffee shops, and prepared foods at grocery and convenience stores.

The people of Fairfax County would ultimately pay a 10% tax on meals and prepared foods. For a $50 meal people will pay an additional $5 just because they ate food. And don’t get fooled into thinking it is just a meals tax, it is a food tax. It will impose a tax on grocery and convenience items like roasted chickens, deli foods and salads, and any beverage sold with the food.

Everyone who eats prepared food, regardless of their tax status and whether they pay income or property taxes, will be forced to pay this tax. Not only are people going to be double and even tripled taxed, but it is also going to hit lower and middle income households the hardest.

The Meals Tax is also a threat to tourism and small businesses. Tourism is a major contributor to the economy and job base of Fairfax County. Tourism spending in Fairfax County for 2014 reached over $2.85 billion. Within the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, Fairfax County is the #2 contributor of expenditures to Virginia's tourism industry. Visitors to Fairfax County directly supported almost 30,000 local jobs. These local tourism jobs have combined earnings of $601 million. The county predicts that one-third of the revenues of this tax will be paid by non-county residents. Tourism revenues could be threatened and small businesses will be affected. This is a real threat to the tourist industry in Fairfax and could push these tourists to other parts of Virginia or other states altogether.

Instead of governing correctly, the county board is shaking down residents for any loose change they haven’t already taxed. County leaders need to be more efficient and wiser with spending rather than demanding more money. County leaders have already raised taxes on Fairfax County residents by $100 million by raising property taxes and want to raise the total to $200 million on the taxpayers of Fairfax County all within a year. The Fairfax County budget has increased by $1 billion in the last four years. More than half of the $7.5 billion budget already goes to education. County leaders need to spend responsibly instead of asking for $70 million more through a tax hike that hurts the people who need the money the most. The fact that Fairfax County spends almost $13,000 per student per year shows there is a problem with efficiency and effectiveness of education spending.

The people of Fairfax County have an important decision to make on November 8. If the Meals Tax passes, it will be another stepping stone for Fairfax County leaders to keep overspending, and residents will pay the price.

Photo Credit: Tax Credits



Top Comments

L. Najem

Unbelievable. Clearly, an example of overreaching by the government. These sorts of taxes are becoming common place for communities that rely on tourism. Hotel room taxes, bed tax, resort tax- are just a few examples. Thank you for your article and the research provided. go get em tiger!

L Najem

Ron Melancon

Wake up people you will be paying the meals tax on stand alone beer

Ron Melancon

And in Henrico County we have Burger Kings who charge 10% tax! In violation of the law and Henrico County does nothing.? I have receipts and going to test other restaurants and they even charge meals tax at Pop Corn at he movies! The state tax is 5.3% then add 4% it's 9.3..... Not 10% so why ar

Five Tax Takeaways from the Debate

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Posted by John Kartch, Laurens ten Cate on Thursday, October 20th, 2016, 10:46 AM PERMALINK

Five key tax points to consider from last night’s debate:

Hillary is open to a payroll tax on ALL Americans of any income level: Hillary mentioned her support for lifting the payroll tax cap. And back in January at an Iowa forum Hillary said she would sign a payroll tax hike on all Americans of all income levels. She said so in a high-profile venue but the press has not focused on it. Here’s the key video excerpt:

Moderator: “Democrats have introduced a plan [Family Act] that Senator Sanders supports that you’ve come out against because it is funded by a payroll tax. If that were to reach your desk as President, would you veto it in order to make good on your tax pledge?”

Hillary Clinton: “No. No.”

The payroll tax increase she green-lighted would hit all wages under $118,500. And last night, she green-lighted a payroll tax increase on those making above $118,500. Nobody at any income level is safe from her payroll tax desires.

Hillary has already admitted she would violate her $250,000 tax pledge: Hillary said: “I have said repeatedly throughout this campaign: I will not raise taxes on anyone making $250,000 or less.Americans for Tax Reform has debunked this claim multiple times already. Her own words (see payroll tax item above) and actions run contrary to her oft-repeated pledge. She has also endorsed a steep soda tax, which Bernie Sanders called her out on, saying: "Frankly, I am very surprised that Secretary Clinton would support this regressive tax after pledging not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. This proposal clearly violates her pledge.”

Clinton has also refused to support repeal of the seven tax hikes in Obamacare that directly hit Americans making less than $250,000.

Hillary’s gun taxes are a threat to the Second Amendment: During the discussion on the Supreme Court, Hillary slammed the Second Amendment community. Her hostility runs deep. She is on video strongly endorsing a 25% national gun tax and also endorsed a doubling of the existing federal excise tax on guns in 1993. These taxes are a direct threat to the Second Amendment. Anti-gun Democrats continue the push to impose gun taxes after doing so recently in Seattle and Illinois.

Hillary has no tax reform plan: There is overwhelming consensus among Republicans and Democrats agree that the tax code is way too complicated and that tax reform is required to simplify the IRS tax code. Hillary is an outlier. She has not offered a comprehensive tax reform plan and never speaks about the need for structural tax reform. The only thing she offers is tax hikes, and lots of them.

Hillary continues her dishonesty about the progressive nature of the tax code: Once again during the debate Hillary Clinton mentioned that she wants to: “have the wealthy pay their fair share.” She is once again being dishonest about the current tax structure in the United States of America. The tax code in the US is already steeply progressive. According to recent data from the CBO, the top 20 percent of households pay 88% of federal income taxes and 69% of total federal taxes.

Hillary Clinton continues her disingenuous comments about her tax plan and America’s tax plan. She will raise taxes on all Americans. Tax Policy Center recently released a report admitting that Clinton’s tax plan offers no income tax rate reduction for any American of any income level. No rate reduction for any business or any individual, regardless of size.

Clinton’s overall tax plan raises taxes by $1.4 trillion. Americans for Tax Reform is tracking all of Clinton’s tax hikes at

Photo Credit: 
Marc Nozell,

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Show Notes: Hillary Clinton's Tax Hike Plan

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Posted by Alec DiFruscia on Thursday, October 20th, 2016, 9:00 AM PERMALINK

In episode 63 of the Grover Norquist Show, ATR President Grover Norquist runs through the complete list of Hillary’s tax hikes: capital gains tax, death tax, and payroll tax just to name a few. Her tax hike plan will cost Americans over a trillion dollars, and hit middle class families the hardest. 


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Gage Skidmore

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Flashback: Hillary Said She Would Violate Her $250,000 Tax Pledge

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, October 19th, 2016, 9:38 PM PERMALINK

Tonight Hillary Clinton tried to claim she won't raise any tax on any American making less than $250,000. But Hillary’s own statements indicate she will break this promise:

Payroll tax hike -- When asked if she would break her pledge by signing a payroll tax increase on all Americans if such legislation reached her desk, Clinton confirmed she would break the pledge. These remarks took place in Iowa at a major forum on Jan. 12, 2016. Here’s the key video excerpt:

Moderator: “Democrats have introduced a plan [Family Act] that Senator Sanders supports that you’ve come out against because it is funded by a payroll tax. If that were to reach your desk as President, would you veto it in order to make good on your tax pledge?”

Hillary Clinton: “No. No.”

The payroll tax increase she green-lighted would hit all wages under $118,500.

Yes, you read that correctly. The legislation the moderator referred to is the Family Act, which raises taxes on all wages under $118,500.

Soda tax hike -- Hillary endorsed a steep soda pop tax in Philadelphia. This will cost soda purchasers an extra $2.16 per 12-pack. Bernie Sanders called out Hillary’s violation of her middle class tax pledge. Sanders said:

"Frankly, I am very surprised that Secretary Clinton would support this regressive tax after pledging not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. This proposal clearly violates her pledge.”

Sanders also said:

“The mechanism here is fairly regressive. And that is, it will be increasing taxes on low-income and working people.”

Obamacare taxes: Clinton has endorsed Obamacare, which has at least seven direct tax hikes on Americans making less than $250,000: the Obamacare individual mandate tax, two tax hikes on flexible spending accounts, two tax hikes on health savings accounts, an income tax increase on Americans facing high medical bills in a given year, and a 10 percent indoor tanning tax which has wiped out thousands of small businesses (mostly owned by women) since its imposition in 2010.

Just a “goal” -- When asked by George Stephanopoulos in December 2015 if her tax pledge was “a rock solid read-my-lips promise” she did not reply with a “yes.”

Instead she replied that it was merely her “goal.” Here’s the exchange:

George Stephanopoulos: “You are also saying no tax increases at all on anyone earning $250,000. Is that a rock solid read-my-lips promise?”

Clinton: “Well, it certainly is my goal. And I’ve laid it out in this campaign. And it’s something that President Obama promised. It’s something my husband certainly tried to achieve. Because I want Americans to know that I get it.”

If she is serious about keeping the promise, the only acceptable answer to Stephanopoulos’ question is “Yes.” Instead she tipped her tax hike hand.

Also note Hillary’s reference to Bill Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s middle class tax pledges: both men broke their pledge upon taking office.

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The UN Wants to Tax Your Soda

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Posted by Anthony McAuliffe on Wednesday, October 19th, 2016, 1:50 PM PERMALINK

The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) released a report recommending that all countries levy a steep excise tax on soft drinks of at least 20 percent. The proposal represents a dangerous new precedent whereby international organizations will encroach on national sovereignty by telling nations how to tax their own citizens. The recommendations further represent a restriction of choice on global citizens, as well as an ineffective way to combat the global issue of obesity. 

First, a one-size fits all solution for obesity will not work for every country, and sometimes may not work at all. For example, Mexico implemented a soda tax and saw an decrease in sales by 1.9%. However, the next year sales rose by .5%. In Finland, sales dropped the first year and then returned to prior levels the next year. Each country should be able to come up with its own solutions for its own citizens, without worrying about the UN pushing its own policy recommendations. 

Furthermore, an international organization telling nations how they should tax their own citizens directly encroaches on national sovereignty. These “recommendations” risk a full on policy proposal that might force nations to adopt this soda tax. While that has not been proposed as of yet, nations must continually push back against any perceived abuses by UN organizations to undermine national sovereignty

Additionally, international organizations, as well as national governments, should not be dictating certain diets for people. Part of the beauty of our nation, and indeed many across the world, is individual liberty and freedom of choice. People should be free to choose what kind of diet they want, whether that be a healthy diet, an unhealthy diet, or a balanced mix. While the WHO characterizes a soda tax as “key population-based policy interventions,” that is just fancy language for an encroachment on your individual liberties. 

Another issue involves fairness: a soda tax would disproportionately affect poor people. People with more money would still be able to afford soda, giving them the liberty to make a choice as to whether or not they will purchase it. People with little money, on the other hand, may no longer have the liberty and choice to consume soda. Furthermore, those with little money may still spend money on soda, but that would end up constituting a larger expense of an already limited budget. A regressive tax like this would be fundamentally unfair to those already economically disadvantaged. As Bernie Sanders said of the recently-imposed Philadelphia soda tax: "The mechanism here is fairly regressive. And that is, it will be increasing taxes on low-income and working people."

Rather than push high taxes that force people out of buying soda, governments could instead encourage education on a well-balanced diet complemented by exercise. In the U.S., soda consumption has dropped by 25% since the 1990s, but Americans are still obese. Most foods can cause obesity when eaten in excess, so is the solution to just start taxing everything? The WHO seems to forgo this option of education on a healthy style, instead choosing to favor forcing people to adopt a healthy lifestyle against their own free will. 

So is this a threat in the U.S.? Philadelphia is the first major city to adopt a soda tax, and others have tried but narrowly failed. City and state governments might feel emboldened by the UN recommendations, so soda tax laws could be on the ballot soon in several cities and states across the nation. Stay informed to protect your right to enjoy a soda at the normal price. 

Photo Credit: 
Mike Mozart

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H.D. Rennerfeldt

The UN Wants to Tax MY Soda?!?!?!
Not surprising since OBAMA gave the
United Nations the RIGHTS TO TAX US ! ! !
A Civil War can't happen soon enough.