John Kartch

Jeb Bush Still Refuses to Rule Out Tax Hikes

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, March 19th, 2015, 12:34 PM PERMALINK


Jeb Bush has enthusiastically endorsed a "grand bargain" tax increase with Democrats, says his father's 1990 "Read My Lips" tax increase "created the spending restraint of the 90's," (false -- see details below) and refuses to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American people.

And today, as reported in a piece by The Daily Beast's Tim Mak, the Jeb Bush camp refuses to even answer the question of whether Jeb will make any general statement promising not to raise taxes:

Pressed regarding Jeb Bush’s positions on taxes, his aides did not directly respond to a question about whether Jeb Bush might make a general promise to voters more broadly not to raise taxes.

Meanwhile, as governors, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry have all signed — and kept — the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  As Senators, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio have all signed — and kept — the pledge.

As president, George W. Bush kept his tax promise to the American people.

George H.W. Bush, reflecting upon his "Read My Lips" tax hike, deemed it the greatest mistake of his presidency.

Regarding Jeb's claim that the 1990 Read My Lips tax hike created spending restraint, let's take a look at what actually happened:

The 1990 “Read My Lips” Budget Deal Scam

Starting in May of 1990, President George H.W. Bush huddled with Democrat House and Senate members at Andrews Air Force Base.

  • What was Promised: Congressional Democrats convinced a number of Republicans to join them in a bipartisan deal promising $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. President Bush signed the deal on November 5, 1990.
     
  • What Actually Happened:  Every penny of the tax increases ($137 billion from 1991-1995) went through. Not only did the Democrats break their promise to cut spending below the CBO baseline by $274 billion—they actually spent $23 billion above CBO’s pre-budget deal spending baseline. Thirty-four House Republicans broke their own Taxpayer Protection Pledges and went along with this one-sided “deal.” As a result, Republicans lost eight seats in the 1990 Congressional midterms, and President Bush only received 38% of the vote in the 1992 Presidential election.
     

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The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia

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Norquist on Obamacare Tax Debacle: “How many Obama appointees will get fired?”

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, February 20th, 2015, 11:50 AM PERMALINK


With the AP reporting the Obama administration sent 800,000 Healthcare.gov customers the wrong tax information, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist issued the following statement: 

"800,000 or more Americans are having their lives disrupted and damaged by the Obama administration’s incompetence and overreach. They said they could run our lives better than we can. They were wrong. They can’t even get this one piece right. How many Obama appointees will get fired? My guess: Zero."

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Flashback: Navigators Warned Not to Leave Tax Returns on Fax Machines

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, February 20th, 2015, 11:08 AM PERMALINK


The Associated Press is reporting that "800,000 HealthCare.gov customers the wrong tax information, and officials are asking those consumers to delay filing their 2014 taxes.” 

The Obama administration says it is "still investigating the root cause of the problem.”

[Norquist on Obamacare Tax Debacle: "How many Obama appointees will get fired?"]

Taxpayers got an early warning that Obamacare’s interaction with the tax code was going to be a debacle. In 2013, the official Obamacare Navigator manual warned navigators not to leave Americans’ personal tax information laying around “on printers and fax machines”:

The Department of Health and Human Services has a helpful tip for the program's so-called Navigators: “Do not leave documents that contain PII [Personally Identifiable Information] or tax return information on printers and fax machines.”

The warning is contained in Section 2.4.3 of the 207-page Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator Standard Operating Procedures Manual.

The same section asks navigators to “double-check” the fax number before faxing Obamacare enrollee’s tax returns:

“When faxing PII or tax return information, double-check that the recipient’s fax number is correct and that someone is able to pick up the faxed information immediately.”

Because the key components of Obamacare are being enforced by the IRS, navigators will have access to highly sensitive identifying information. The Navigator manual describes Personally Identifiable Information as follows:

  • Identifying information such as consumers’ names, addresses, or SSNs
  • Information about consumers’ incomes, personal finances, debts, deductions and exemptions
  • Any action taken by the IRS against consumers, such as investigations or penalties
  • Any private written agreements (such as a pricing agreement) with the IRS and any background information about these agreements
  • Relevant information, even if not found on the return (e.g., expenses)


Additional excerpts from the Navigator Manual:

  • No fake smiles: "Do not pretend to smile, or produce a false smile; these are easy to spot and send the wrong messages." – Section 2.2.1
  • Listen: “By not listening you can become very frustrating to consumers.” – Section 2.2.3
  • Apologize: “Apologizing when things go wrong demonstrates that you care about consumers and their experiences.” – Section 2.2.4
  • "Be Memorable - For the Right Reasons." – Section 2.2.6


The Navigator manual can be found here.

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Abhisek Sarda

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Obama Still Believes in Taxing College Savings Plans

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, January 28th, 2015, 2:42 PM PERMALINK


The White House today confirmed the Obama administration still believes in taxing college savings plans:

Question: "So you call this [taxing 529 college savings plans] a distraction. Do you still think this is a good policy? There was so much backlash particularly from middle class Americans who said - we really value these plans, so do you still stand by this as good policy?”

White House spokesman Eric Schultz: “Sure. We do.”The White House also confirmed that the tax hike on 529s will remain in the President’s official budget:

Schultz: "I do want to give you one heads up for your planning which is the 529 piece will still be in the written budget that will be released. The announcement yesterday was made after the book was in the shop to be produced so just for your planning.”
 

Timeline: Obama 529 Plan Hypocrisy

Obama's New State Of The Union Tax Hike On Middle Class 529 College Savers

Obama calls for $320 Billion in New Taxes

Obama's 529 College Savings Plan Tax Hike is an Assault on the American Dream

Obama Tax Hike on College Savings Plans Breaks Middle Class Tax Pledge

Obamas Make Jumbo 529 Contribution While Pushing Repeal for Everyone Else

Will Obama's 529 Tax Hike Also Hit Disabled Kids?

As Senator, Obama Voted to Make 529 College Savings Plans Permanent

Obama Praised 529 College Savings Plans in "The Audacity of Hope”

 

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US Embassy New Zealand

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Timeline: Obama Hypocrisy on 529 College Savings Plans

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, January 27th, 2015, 5:46 PM PERMALINK


August 3, 2006: As U.S. Senator, votes to make 529s permanent.

2006: Praises 529s in his book, The Audacity of Hope.

2007: Makes a $240,000 contribution to his own 529 accounts.

Sept. 9, 2009: White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families issues a detailed report on 529s. Top conclusion from the report: 

"529 plans are an attractive and convenient means of saving for college.”

The report makes several recommendations on how to further promote 529s.

Sept. 9, 2009: Vice President Biden, Treasury Secretary Geithner, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan share a stage at a Middle Class Task Force event at Syracuse University. Geithner strongly touts 529 plans:

"As the Vice President has said, we are also working to implement, expand or improve a wide array of other government programs that encourage education savings and increase college enrollment. Today I want to highlight one program in particular, Section 529 savings plans. 

These plans can be an immensely effective way for Americans to save for college. They are generally administered by the states, and they allow people to put aside money for college and enjoy investment earnings that are free of federal taxes and, in some cases, receive state tax benefits, as well. When state tax benefits are included, a typical middle class family can accumulate 25 percent more in 529 accounts than they can in a typical taxable savings account." 

Sept. 9, 2009: Official White House statement praises 529s:

"A 529 plan, offered by states, provides a convenient, tax-preferred way for families to save for college, and works much like ROTH IRAs, wherein contributions are made with after-tax income, returns accumulate tax free and distributions can be for qualified educational expenses without taxes." 

July 23, 2010: President Obama sits for a lengthy interview on ABC’s Good Morning America. He was asked, “can you feel the pain directly that other Americans are feeling?” Obama answers by citing his 529s as a example of how he can identify with the middle class: 

"Well, part of it has, that part that is devoted to Malia and Sasha's college fund was in a 529, you know, that had been set up when I was still a state senator. And, obviously, that goes up and down with the stock market and so it's lost value like everybody else."

Jan. 17, 2015: On a Saturday evening, the White House shares with reporters an outline of President Obama’s tax plan. The ten-page, single-spaced document describes 529s as “upside-down. 

Jan. 23, 2015: White House Council of Economic Advisers chairman Jason Furman, in an interview with BloombergBusinessweek, deems 529s “ineffective” and “tilted towards the upper end."

Jan. 23, 2015: White House spokesman Josh Earnest dismisses a reporter question on 529s:

"My guess is those who are saying that are critics of the president. And that’s fine. The—I think the facts about the president’s proposal speak for themselves."

Jan. 27, 2015: Anonymous Obama administration official announces that the White House is abandoning its plans to tax 529s.

See also:

Obama's New State Of The Union Tax Hike On Middle Class 529 College Savers

Obama calls for $320 Billion in New Taxes

Obama's 529 College Savings Plan Tax Hike is an Assault on the American Dream

Obama Tax Hike on College Savings Plans Breaks Middle Class Tax Pledge

Obamas Make Jumbo 529 Contribution While Pushing Repeal for Everyone Else

Will Obama's 529 Tax Hike Also Hit Disabled Kids?

As Senator, Obama Voted to Make 529 College Savings Plans Permanent

Obama Praised 529 College Savings Plans in "The Audacity of Hope"

 

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Mehlam786

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Obama Praised 529 College Savings Plans in “The Audacity of Hope”

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, January 27th, 2015, 8:15 AM PERMALINK


In his 2006 bestseller, The Audacity of Hope, then-Senator Barack Obama praised the tax-free college savings accounts he now seeks to scuttle.

On page 165 — within a chapter titled “Opportunity” — Obama writes:

But no matter how well we do in controlling the spiraling cost of education, we will still need to provide many students and parents with more direct help in meeting college expenses, whether through grants, low-interest loans, tax-free educational savings accounts, or full deductibility of tuition and fees.

One year later, in 2007, Obama took advantage of the opportunity afforded by 529 college savings plans. As first reported by the Wall Street Journal, Obama made a jumbo $240,000 contribution to his own family 529 plans. (View the actual tax form here).

Also in 2006, then-Senator Obama voted to make the current tax treatment of 529 plans permanent.

Fast forward to 2015. On Jan. 17, late on a Saturday night, the Obama administration proposed raising taxes on 529 accounts, criticizing the plans as “upside down.”

Then on Jan. 23, White House Council of Economic Advisors chairman Jason Furman told BloombergBusinessweek that 529 plans are “ineffective” and "tilted towards the upper end."

The Obama 529 tax hike plan, and arrogant comments to the media -- often from anonymous administration officials -- have since caused a nationwide uproar. And according to the College Savings Foundation:

-"Over a million middle class students are currently enrolled in college and benefiting from 529s."

-"Almost 95 percent of 529 accounts are in households with income below $250,000."

The $250,000 statistic is significant in rebutting Obama administration claims: It is the number President Obama has used repeatedly since 2008 to define "middle class."

See also:

Obama's New State Of The Union Tax Hike On Middle Class 529 College Savers

Obama calls for $320 Billion in New Taxes

Obama Tax Hike on College Savings Plans Breaks Middle Class Tax Pledge

Obama's 529 College Savings Plan Tax Hike is an Assault on the American Dream

Obamas Make Jumbo 529 Contribution While Pushing Repeal for Everyone Else

Will Obama's 529 Tax Hike Also Hit Disabled Kids?

As Senator, Obama Voted to Make 529 College Savings Plans Permanent

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Peter Howe

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As Senator, Obama Voted to Make 529 College Savings Plans Permanent

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Posted by John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Monday, January 26th, 2015, 10:21 AM PERMALINK


On August 3, 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama voted to make the current tax treatment of 529 college savings plans permanent.

President Obama’s recently proposed tax plan, however, reverses this vote on 529 plans.

The vote on H.R. 4 — the Pension Protection Act of 2006 — took place in the second session of the 109th Congress, vote #230.

H.R. 4 made permanent the 529 plan expansion in the otherwise temporary 2001 Bush tax cut package (the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 — EGTRRA). The vote for H.R. 4 enshrined into permanent law the current tax-free growth of these college savings plans if used for tuition and fees. The 529 provision was in Section 1304 of the legislation.

The Obama administration has now proposed raising taxes on 529 plans, reversing the vote Senator Obama took in 2006. The administration now criticizes 529 plans as “upside down,” and “ineffective."

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Obama Tax Hike on College Savings Plans Breaks Middle Class Tax Pledge

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Posted by Ryan Ellis, John Kartch on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015, 11:56 AM PERMALINK


Tonight, in his State of the Union address, President Obama will propose a series of tax increases on the American people. One of these tax increases is indisputably an income tax hike on middle class families with children. 

Under Obama’s plan, earnings in “Section 529” (named for its location in the Internal Revenue Code) college savings plans will face full income taxation upon withdrawal.

Under current law, earnings growth in 529 plans is tax-free if account distributions are used to pay for college tuition and fees. The Obama plan will tax earnings in these accounts even if they are used to pay for college tuition and fees.

These accounts are commonly used by middle class families. There are about 12 million 529 accounts open today, and they have an average account balance of approximately $21,000. Most 529 plans permit monthly contributions as low as $25 per month.

This middle class income tax increase is a clear violation of President Obama's “firm pledge” against “any form of tax increase” on any family making less than $250,000. This promise to the American people is documented below:

Speaking in Dover, New Hampshire on Sept. 12, 2008, candidate Obama said:

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” [Video]

During a nationally televised Vice-Presidential debate in St. Louis on Oct. 3, 2008, candidate Joe Biden said:

“No one making less than $250,000 under Barack Obama’s plan will see one single penny of their tax raised whether it’s their capital gains tax, their income tax, investment tax, any tax.” [Transcript]

In an address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24, 2009, President Obama restated the promise in forceful terms:

“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.” [Transcript] [Video]

"Rather than raise taxes on middle class families trying to save for their children’s education, Obama should abolish the seven tax increases in Obamacare that directly hit middle-income Americans,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

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U.S. Embassy, Jakarta

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Taxpayers Sweep Top Five Ballot Measures


Posted by Will Upton, John Kartch on Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, 3:34 AM PERMALINK


On Tuesday, taxpayers overwhelmingly prevailed in each of the top five binding tax related ballot measures:
 
53% – 47% in Massachusetts – Question 1: In deep blue Massachusetts, voters repealed a law that indexed the state gas tax to inflation – eliminating a vote-less backdoor tax hike on taxpayers. 
 
80%  20% in Wisconsin – Question 1: From now on, the state gas tax must only be used to fund Wisconsin’s transportation system. Over the past 10 years, Wisconsin’s legislature has raided the state’s transportation fund to the tune of $1.4 billion. 
 
80% – 20% in Nevada – Question 3: In Harry Reid’s home state, voters defeated a proposed two percent "margin tax" on businesses. The revenue from the new tax was to be granted to the state’s public school districts. 

66% – 34% in Tennessee – Amendment 3: Voters enshrined in the state constitution a prohibition on state and local income taxes. 

74% – 26% in Georgia – Amendment A: Voters enshrined in the state constitution a cap on the state income tax at the effective rate on January 1, 2015. Therefore the state legislature is now constitutionally prohibited from increasing the state income tax rate any higher.

Not only did voters directly reject tax increases, they rejected gubernatorial candidates who championed higher taxes — even in deep blue states such as Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland.
 

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Farm Workers Facing Forced Unionization Seek Help from Gov. Brown

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, September 8th, 2014, 12:34 PM PERMALINK


Today the Center for Worker Freedom (CWF) launched the first in a series of billboards in Sacramento designed to bring attention to Fresno farm workers who are being forced into a union against their will.

Workers at Fresno-based Gerawan Farming voted last November in a decertification election to rid their workplace of the United Farm Workers (UFW).  Union bosses at the UFW are trying to take three percent of the workers’ hard-earned pay, despite the fact that the union has negotiated no wages or working conditions for the workers in over twenty years.

But the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is refusing to count the votes from last fall’s decertification election in an outrageous violation of the Gerawan workers’ constitutional freedoms of speech and assembly.

Writing for Forbes on Labor Day, CWF Executive Director Matt Patterson notes that the California Governor has a unique responsibility - and opportunity - in the Gerawan situation:

For Governor Jerry Brown, who can make the ALRB count the votes, there is an opportunity to restore faith in our democracy to those who have come here seeking its protections.

The CWF digital boards are located on the West side of I-5, just South of Richards Blvd (facing South) and on US 50 half a mile West of Howe Ave (facing East) in Sacramento. They will rotate a variety of messages through September designed to alert Governor Jerry Brown to the plight of the Gerawan workers, while urging him to help them get their votes counted.

The first message (pictured below) shows Silvia Lopez, a Gerawan farm worker, with tape over her mouth labeled “ALRB” and reads:  “Freedom of Speech Includes Fresno Farm Workers.”



The second shows a picture of Gov. Brown and asks: “Dear Governor Brown, You Want Your Vote to Count, Why not Theirs?  Count the Votes at Gerawan.”



CWF is a special project of Americans for Tax Reform dedicated to educating the public about the costs and consequences of unionization.

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