John Kartch

"Patriotic Millionaires" Meet with Grover Norquist


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011, 6:40 PM PERMALINK


Today, the “Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength” visited with Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist to make their case for higher taxes. The group approached ATR with the request last week.

On their website, the Millionaires write: “Please do the right thing for our country. Raise our taxes.”

Norquist pointed out to the group that if they want to pay higher taxes they have several options:

They can cut a check directly to the U.S. Treasury. Any citizen may make a donation today simply by writing a check to the Treasury, to a fund called “Gifts to the United States.” In September, Norquist wrote a letter to Warren Buffett pointing out this fact.

They can cut a check to one of the state “Tax Me More” funds. There are at least eight states that have established Tax Me More funds to allow those who feel they are not paying enough in taxes to contribute to the state treasury.

They can support the “Buffett Rule Act of 2011.” ATR supports this bill which would instruct the IRS to provide a prominent, convenient checkbox line on 1040 forms to allow those so inclined to pay extra income tax. In the House, the bill (H.R. 3099) is being championed by Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.), and in the Senate (S. 1676) by John Thune (R-S.D.)

ATR also pointed out that the tax code is already steeply progressive, with the top 1% of income earners paying 40% of all income taxes while the bottom half pay just 3% of all income taxes.

Handed to the Millionaires was a copy of Maimonides’ Eight Levels of Charity. A ninth level was added by ATR in good humor, called The Warren Buffett Level: “Not anticipated by Maimonides and lower than all the others, this is when someone doesn’t actually make a charitable contribution but parades around saying he would if he was forced to after everyone else was forced to.” 

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Boehner Makes It Clear: We're Not Raising Taxes


Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011, 2:31 PM PERMALINK


During a press conference today, House Speaker John Boehner explained why House Republicans will not be voting for a net tax increase:

BOEHNER:  “Listen: Our conference is opposed to tax hikes because we believe that tax hikes will hurt our economy and put Americans out of work.”

 

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Reminder: Simpson-Bowles is a $1 Trillion to $3 Trillion Tax Hike


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, November 1st, 2011, 11:29 AM PERMALINK


Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, Co-Chairmen of President Obama’s debt commission, will testify before the Congressional “Supercommittee” this afternoon.  Taxpayers should be reminded that the Simpson-Bowles plan is a net tax increase of $1 trillion, $2 trillion, or $3 trillion over a decade:

  • Even the internal score of Simpson-Bowles admits the plan raises taxes by over $1 trillion.
     
  • House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who voted against Simpson-Bowles, writes:

“Relative to a current policy baseline, the proposal would increase revenues by $2 trillion over 10 years.”  [“Expanded Views on the Fiscal Commission,” by Paul Ryan, Dec. 4, 2010]

  • The Heritage Foundation scored Simpson-Bowles as a $3.3 trillion tax increase over ten years:

“Overall, the fiscal commission would raise taxes by $3.3 trillion over the decade.”  Heritage also wrote that Bowles-Simpson would be “the highest sustained tax burden in American history.” [“Fiscal Commission Report: Too Much Taxes, Not Enough Spending Cuts,” by Brian Riedl, Dec. 3, 2010]

 

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Appropriator Frank Wolf Borrows Obama/DCCC Playbook to Craft Lies About Tax Pledge


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011, 6:40 PM PERMALINK


Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) today borrowed a page from the campaign playbook of President Obama and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  Wolf, a member of the Appropriations Committee and one of only six Republican members of the U.S. House who has failed to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to his constituents, submitted the following to the Congressional Record:

Rep. Wolf said:  “On the Republican side, Grover Norquist holds up the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge to block even the mention of putting tax reform on the table for discussion as part of a deficit reduction agreement.”

Many recent unsuccessful Democrat congressional candidates, as well as President Obama, have trotted out similar claims deemed “blatantly false” by the nonpartisan FactCheck.org.

As FactCheck.org has noted:

“[The Pledge] leaves ample room for elimination of any number of special tax breaks so long as the overall level of taxation is not increased. To claim that this ‘protects’ any particular provision of the tax code is simply untrue.”

ATR has offered the Pledge to all candidates for federal office since 1987. In the 112th Congress, 41 U.S. Senators and 238 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. Additionally, thirteen governors and over 1,200 state legislators have signed the Pledge.

 

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Frank Wolf Admits He Supports Trillions in Tax Hikes


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011, 4:47 PM PERMALINK


Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) is one of only six Republican members of the U.S. House who has failed to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to his constituents.  In his remarks submitted to the Congressional Record today, Wolf confirmed that he supports the recommendations of President Obama’s Bowles-Simpson commission, a net tax increase of $1-3 trillion over ten years.  According to Wolf’s statement:

“I have supported every serious effort to resolve this crisis: the Bowles-Simpson recommendations, the “Gang of Six” effort, and the “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill – including the Balanced Budget Amendment.  None of these solutions were perfect, but they all took the steps necessary to rebuild and protect our economy.”

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who voted against Bowles-Simpson, writes:

“Relative to a current policy baseline, the proposal would increase revenues by $2 trillion over 10 years.”  [“Expanded Views on the Fiscal Commission,” by Paul Ryan, Dec. 4, 2010]

The Heritage Foundation scored Bowles-Simpson as a $3.3 trillion tax increase over ten years:

Overall, the fiscal commission would raise taxes by $3.3 trillion over the decade.”  Heritage also wrote that Bowles-Simpson would be “the highest sustained tax burden in American history.” [“Fiscal Commission Report: Too Much Taxes, Not Enough Spending Cuts,” by Brian Riedl, Dec. 3, 2010]

 

 

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Grover Norquist Letter to Warren Buffett: I Have Solved Your Problem


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 12:03 AM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist today sent the following letter to Warren Buffett: 

Dear Warren:

I have solved your problem.

You have mentioned in passing that you feel unhappy that you do not pay enough money to the government each year in taxes.

As it turns out, you don’t need to wait for President Obama to sign legislation raising taxes on you. You can open up your checkbook right now, write a check payable to the United States Treasury, and drop it in the nearest mailbox (or just hand it to your “secretary”). Problem solved.

Here are the details below, taken directly from the U.S. Department of the Treasury website: 

http://www.fms.treas.gov/faq/moretopics_gifts.html

How do I make a contribution to the U.S. government?
Citizens who wish to make a general donation to the U.S. government may send contributions to a specific account called "Gifts to the United States." This account was established in 1843 to accept gifts, such as bequests, from individuals wishing to express their patriotism to the United States. Money deposited into this account is for general use by the federal government and can be available for budget needs. These contributions are considered an unconditional gift to the government. Financial gifts can be made by check or money order payable to the United States Treasury and mailed to the address below. 

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782  

Once you’ve sent the check, I would be glad to help spread the word. The many others who believe the government can spend their money better than they can will be inspired by your example.

As a convenience to you, I’ve enclosed an envelope pre-addressed to the U.S. Treasury.  You’ll have to take care of the stamp yourself, however.  

Onward,

Grover Norquist



 

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Obama Should Apologize for Lying About Taxpayer Protection Pledge


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, September 19th, 2011, 4:47 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform today called on President Obama to apologize to members of Congress and all Americans for his false statements about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge during his tax-hike speech in the Rose Garden this morning. Obama said:

“It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million.  Anybody who says we can’t change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out.”

Obama’s political attack is straight out of the DCCC playbook:  Many recent unsuccessful Democrat congressional candidates have trotted out similar claims deemed “blatantly false” by the nonpartisan FactCheck.org.

As FactCheck.org has noted:

[The Pledge] leaves ample room for elimination of any number of special tax breaks so long as the overall level of taxation is not increased. To claim that this "protects" any particular provision of the tax code is simply untrue.

In response to President Obama’s comments, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said:  “Had President Obama actually read the Pledge, he would know that the Pledge is a commitment by Congressmen to the American people that they will oppose any and all net tax increases.  Many Pledge-signers join Americans for Tax Reform in working for revenue-neutral tax reform: a simpler tax code with lower rates.  Americans support tax reform, not a tax increase.  Today President Obama vowed to veto real tax reform and said he would only sign legislation that raised taxes significantly.”

ATR has offered the Pledge to all candidates for federal office since 1987. To date, 41 U.S. Senators and 238 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. Additionally, thirteen governors and over 1,200 state legislators have signed the Pledge.

More from Americans for Tax Reform


White House Signals New Push for Value-Added Tax?


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011, 11:49 AM PERMALINK


Although the imposition of a value-added tax (VAT) would violate President Barack Obama’s central campaign promise – a “firm pledge” that no family making less than $250,000 per year would see “any form of tax increase” – he continues to surround himself with those sympathetic to the tax.

President Obama, who in April 2010 deemed a VAT “something that would be novel for the United States”, announced on Monday his intention to nominate Princeton University’s Alan B. Krueger to head the Council of Economic Advisors.  In a 2009 blog post for the New York Times, Krueger wrote:

“Why not pass a 5 percent consumption tax to take effect two years from now?”

Even when pressed, the Obama White House has never ruled out a VAT.  As the timeline below illustrates, those in and around the White House have been flirting with a VAT from the earliest days:

December 18, 2008:  The Obama transition team announces VAT advocate Ezekiel Emanuel’s appointment as special advisor for healthcare at the Office of Management and Budget.  Emanuel had long pushed for a VAT as a way to pay for government-funded universal healthcare. (See here, here, and here.)

Sept. 25, 2009:  John Podesta, former head of Obama’s transition team, floats the VAT on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt”:

“There’s going to have to be revenue in this budget,” said Podesta,

A so-called consumption tax would “create a balance” with European and Japanese economies and “could potentially have a substantial effect on competitiveness,” said Podesta.

Podesta said such a tax may be regressive, but can be balanced by exempting some products and using “the money to support low-wage workers.”   

Sept. 29, 2009:  Obama advisor Paul Volcker suggests a carbon tax and a VAT as a way to raise large amounts of revenue.

"Those are the two big ones.  I'd love to see the expenditures held in check so we don't have to do that." 

Sept. 30, 2009:  The Center for American Progress—a group with close White House ties—releases a draft report encouraging the Obama Administration to consider a VAT.  The report concludes:

"In all seriousness, responsible people know that additional revenue has to be part of the mix even if they believe in lower taxes in general.” 

The White House did not respond to a Wall Street Journal reporter’s requests for comment about the proposal.

Feb. 19, 2010:  During a Bloomberg interview, Erskine Bowles, co-chairman of Obama’s debt commission, said:

“A value-added tax -- I’ve looked at lots of them -- ought to be something that’s on the table.”

April 6, 2010:  Speaking at a New York Historical Society event, Obama advisor Paul Volcker said a VAT is “not as toxic an idea” as it has been in the past and concluded:

"If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes." 

April 19, 2010:  The New York Times reports that the White House economic team has been calculating government revenues from a possible VAT:

But since any Social Security plan would probably preserve benefits for those nearing retirement, it would not help the administration achieve its goal of reducing the deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product, from 10 percent, within a decade.

One way to reach that 3 percent goal, by the calculations of Mr. Obama’s economic team: a 5 percent value-added tax, which would generate enough revenue to simultaneously permit the reduction in corporate tax rates Republicans favor.

April 20, 2010:  On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, White House economic advisor Austan Goolsbee refuses six consecutive opportunities to permanently close the door on a VAT: 

MARK HALPERIN:  Will the President ever consider tax reform that will involve a VAT?  Would he ever consider it?

(Refusal #1)  GOOLSBEE:  Look, we are not, the report -- and I’m not sure where it came from cause it’s not anything I saw -- was that they were contemplating a VAT, that is not true.  We have stood up this bipartisan fiscal commission, which as I understand it is considering a whole bunch of things.

HALPERIN:  But would he ever consider.

(Refusal #2) GOOLSBEE:  He’s going to consider whatever comes out of that fiscal commission.

HALPERIN:  So if they recommend a VAT, he would consider it?

(Refusal #3) GOOLSBEE:  I’m not going to get into a linguistic game about it. 

HALPERIN:  Well it’s not a linguistic game. 

(Refusal #4) GOOLSBEE:  He’s looking to see what comes out of the fiscal commission.  He’s going to look at it.

HALPERIN: We had a President for eight years who said ‘no new taxes, we’re not going to raise taxes’.  This President said ‘no taxes on the middle class’.  Arguably there are taxes in the healthcare bill that will hit the middle class.  So again, a VAT would be a big change in America.  Would he consider it, if the commission recommends it, would he consider it?

(Refusal #5) GOOLSBEE:  As you know, the President cut taxes for 95 percent of the workers in the stimulus.  Many many billions of dollars.  The President is committed to this bipartisan fiscal commission process and he’s going to seriously consider all the things that they put forward and he’s going to look at them.  It doesn’t mean he’s supporting a VAT.  We haven’t even contemplated a VAT.

HALPERIN:  But if they recommend it, it’s not something he’d rule out?

(Refusal #6) GOOLSBEE: I’m not going to get into a hypothetical thing about it.  He’s committed to a bipartisan fiscal commission. 

April 21, 2010:  President Obama makes it official:  He is open to the imposition of a VAT on the American people.  Obama’s admission came during an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood.  Asked if he could see the potential for a VAT, the President said:

"I know that there's been a lot of talk around town lately about the value-added tax. That is something that has worked for some countries. It's something that would be novel for the United States.  And before, you know, I start saying 'this makes sense or that makes sense,' I want to get a better picture of what our options are.”

August 29, 2011:  Obama announces his intention to appoint Alan Krueger to head the Council of Economic Advisors.  In a 2009 New York Times blog post, Krueger wrote:

“Why not pass a 5 percent consumption tax to take effect two years from now?”

 

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Biden and Conrad Reach Agreement: Raising Taxes is "Patriotic"


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, July 22nd, 2011, 6:59 PM PERMALINK


Today, during a live interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said the following:

“Shame on you, Grover Norquist. Let's have some patriotism!  Let’s have some people that come forward and say ‘We understand when you are borrowing 41 cents of every dollar, it’s time for everybody to contribute and that includes the wealthiest among us that he apparently is so beholden to for whatever reason, that he will accept no change.”

Conrad’s comments echo the Sept. 18, 2008 sentiments of then-candidate Joe Biden.  As reported by the Associated Press -- “Biden calls paying higher taxes a patriotic act” -- Biden, stumping for the campaign tax increase plan, said:

“It's time to be patriotic ... time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

As noted by Samuel Johnson, appeals to false patriotism are “the last refuge of a scoundrel.” 

 

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Coburn's Top Five "Let's Hike Taxes" Quotations


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, July 18th, 2011, 11:34 AM PERMALINK


WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is expected to release his fiscal plan detailing a $1 trillion net tax increase.  Below are the top five “Let’s Hike Taxes” quotations from Coburn:

“Why will I take on those that are against tax increases for Republicans?  Because it’s the right thing to do to save our country.”

-Tom Coburn, 29 May 2011, on C-SPAN’s Newsmaker program [Video Link]

“I’ve been just as vocal supporting revenue increases after I left the commission as I was before.

              -Tom Coburn, 29 May 2011, on C-SPAN’s Newsmaker program [Video Link]

              "Do I believe we have to raise taxes to be able to get a deal to cut spending?  Yeah."

-Tom Coburn, 9 June 2011, on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show [Video Link]

“You know, the reason I'll stand up as a conservative Republican, one of the biggest deficit hawks in Congress, and say ‘I'll negotiate on taxes’ -- because our country’s in trouble.”

 -Tom Coburn, 14 June 2011, on the Early Show, CBS News [Video Link]

“Everybody knows there is gonna have to be a compromise on some sort of revenue increase as we make the major cuts.  That’s just fact.”

 -Tom Coburn, 14 June 2011, on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell [Video Link]

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Pages

hidden