Ryan Ellis

Healthcare.Gov to Cost Taxpayers over $1 billion

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Posted by John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Monday, May 19th, 2014, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

Healthcare.gov, the federal Obamacare website, will cost taxpayers over $1 billion, according to congressional testimony submitted by HHS nominee Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

In response to questions from Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) Burwell noted that $834 million had already been obligated to the glitch-prone website as of Feb. 28, with “a need for approximately $200 million” more from taxpayers through Fiscal Year 2015.

The full responses from Burwell are as follows:

Question: What has been the total cost of creating healthcare.gov to date? What has been the total cost of “fixing” healthcare.gov? Please include a detailed accounting of all costs associated with this website, including (but not limited to) salaries and expenditures, contractor costs, and training.

Answer: “It is my understanding that as of February 28, 2014, CMS has obligated a total of approximately $834 million on Marketplace-related IT contracts and interagency agreements. These expenditures include the website and the systems that support enrollment through the Marketplace, such as the data services hub as well as other supporting IT infrastructure, including cloud computing, to support Marketplace IT development.”

Question: What financial outlays are expected for fixing the backend of healthcare.gov? Please include a detailed estimate of future costs for fixing and maintaining the website, including (but not limited to) salaries and expenditures, contractor costs, and training.

Answer: “The President’s Budget reflects a need for approximately $200 million for all Marketplace-related IT in FY 2015, some of which is funded through user fees. Much of this amount reflects ongoing operational and maintenance costs of HealthCare.gov, as well as continued development."

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ATR Supports Senate Tax Extenders Package

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Monday, May 12th, 2014, 12:07 PM PERMALINK

The U.S. Senate this week will begin consideration of a so-called "tax extenders" package.  ATR supports this tax cut legislation and urges senators to vote for it.

On December 31, 2013, some 55 tax relief provisions in the code expired permanently.  Unless Congress acts soon and retroactively, these tax cuts will never again be available to families and businesses.  

Some tax provisions should not return--the wind production tax credit springs to mind, but there are a number of others.  However, these are more than balanced out by extremely important tax relief provisions which must not be lost from the code.  Broadly speaking, these are:

Cost recovery provisions for businesses.  By far, the most important extender is the "50 percent bonus depreciation" item.  This tax cut allows businesses of all sizes to immediately-deduct half the cost of new business equipment investments.  The remaining half of the cost remains subject to punitive and slow "depreciation" deductions over many years.  A number of free market groups are on record that this provision should be made permanent on the road toward full and immediate business expensing.  

For smaller firms, their ability to write off business equipment investments would be permanently reduced to a paltry $25,000, down from $250,000 today.  "Section 179" is relied upon by small- and mid-sized businesses, and it would be a massive tax increase on these employers to require them to submit to the antiquated depreciation regime.

There are a number of other cost recovery tax extenders, some of which have inaccurately been tabled as "spending" or bad tax policy.  In fact, any tax relief which accelerates the speed at which businesses can recover assets on their taxes moves the code closer to the ideal tax policy, full business expensing.  It would make no sense to let these provisions expire permanently, since that would move the tax code in the opposite direction from which conservatives have always wanted it to go.

Jobs here at home and the highest corporate rate in the world.  The biggest and most popular extender is the research and development credit.  It's been around literally since the Reagan tax cuts, and has been extended by Congress some 14 times.  It allows companies to quickly recover the cost of expenditures for research and experimentation.

Most importantly, it's a key placeholder for our largest employers until such time as the corporate rate can be lowered.  The United States has the highest marginal corporate income tax rate in the developed world at nearly 40 percent (including states).  By contrast, the developed nation average is now under 25 percent.  To maintain this super-high tax rate and simultaneously take away the most common way large employers deal with that reality is to invite jobs to be shipped overseas.

In that same light, the two major international tax extenders (CFC look-through and the Subpart F exemption) allow companies to deal with the fact that the U.S. seeks to tax income which has already been subject to tax in other countries.  

Corporate inversions are a predictable outcome when you pair the highest corporate rate in the world with one of the worst international set of rules.  Making the latter far worse is not a good thing if you want to keep jobs and capital here at home.

Tax relief for families.  Many don't realize that the extenders package is not just for employers.  There's also tax increases that families are living under, and which Congress should reverse.  These include: not having to pay income tax on homes sold underwater; a deduction for state and local sales taxes for taxpayers in states without an income tax; a deduction for teacher classroom expenses and for college tuition; the ability for retirees to donate money from an IRA directly to a charity.

These tax provisions were used by millions of taxpayers in 2013.  These families are counting on this tax relief to continue, and to strip away this tax relief without lowering their rates or cutting their taxes in any other way is a cruel twist of fate for the middle class.

Amendments to remove tax policies which should not be allowed to continue (as opposed to pro-growth tax relief, which should continue) should be made in order.  However, ATR is concerned that to date, many conservatives have been deeply confused on this distinction.  We have heard green energy tax credits mentioned in the same breath as accelerated depreciation, for example.  We would urge senators considering amendments to be careful about throwing out the pro-growth baby with the crony capitalist bathwater.

For these reasons, warts and all, the Senate should pass the tax extenders bill.  Ideally, the best of these tax relief items would be made permanent law, and the rest would be plowed into pro-growth tax reform.  For now, though, the mandate for the Senate is clear: do no harm.

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Free Market Groups Call for Permanent Bonus Depreciation Tax Cut

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Thursday, May 8th, 2014, 4:46 PM PERMALINK

This week, the House of Representatives will be voting on a permanent tax credit for business research and development.  While many conservatives support this, there's another temporary tax provision in even greater need of permanent status--the 50 percent bonus depreciation tax cut.

Major free market groups sent a letter to this effect to the House.  The full text can be found here. Below is an excerpt:

The capital stock of the economy grows when businesses and households deploy scarce resources toward investments.  When a farmer buys a tractor, or an architecture firm buys a computer, they are investing in their own productivity: the farmer can grow more crops; the architecture company can design better blueprints.  This increased productivity results in more company profits, higher wages, new jobs, and an increased return to shareholders in their 401(k)s and IRAs.  Capital investment is the mother’s milk of wealth creation. 

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ATR Supports H.R. 4438, Permanent Research and Development Tax Cut

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Monday, May 5th, 2014, 4:15 PM PERMALINK

This week, the House will consider permanent tax relief legislation for American employers. H.R. 4438, the "American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2014," would make permanent a 20 percent tax credit for qualified research and experimentation expenses (wages, supplies, contract research, and basic research costs). 

Americans for Tax Reform supports this legislation and urges all pro-taxpayer Members of Congress to vote for it.

H.R. 4438 is permanent tax relief for American employers.  This research credit has been a part of the tax code since the 1981 Reagan tax cut.  Because it has always been temporary, Congress has had to renew it some 14 times.  The uncertainty created by its expiration date (the credit expired on December 31, 2013) makes business planning difficult.  It's better to have this tax provision be the permanent part of tax law that it de facto has been for over three decades.

The research credit is a good placeholder for comprehensive business tax reform.  The United States imposes the highest corporate income tax rate in the developed world, at nearly 40 percent including states.  Unincorporated businesses are even worse off, with a combined federal-state rate approaching 50 percent.  The research credit is one of the few ways American employers can cope with these sky-high tax rates.  Until such time as these rates can come down, the research credit is an essential part of keeping our employers competitive internationally.

Investment in new technologies and sources of capital is under pressure from other areas of the tax code.  If you didn't know any better, you would think the U.S. income tax code is actually biased against new investment in technology.  We've already mentioned how the U.S. has the highest business tax rates in the developed world.  Couple that with a capital gains and dividends tax rate that just rose from 15 to 23.8 percent.  Pair that with a cost recovery system that makes a company depreciate a computer over 5 years when real-world technology makes it obsolete in half that time.  Throw in one of the only tax codes that exposes our own companies to international double taxation.  What you have left is not much to sell.

This tax credit for research and experimentation is one of the few tax code provisions actually aimed at encouraging new capital investment and growth.  To lose it without taking care of the basic tax code anti-growth bias first would be the wrong move for Congress.

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ATR Lauds Ways and Means for Permanent Tax Relief Bills

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014, 11:25 AM PERMALINK

The House Ways and Means Committee will today mark up six bills to make various temporary tax relief provisions permanent.  These bills represent most of the pro-growth provisions contained in the set of temporary tax relief measures known as the "extenders package."  If Congress does nothing, 55 separate tax increases which took effect on December 31, 2013 will be permanently-embedded in the tax code.  This would be a permanent increase in tax revenue to the federal government of about $80 billion per year.

The common theme here is "do no harm."  The permanent tax relief is targeted to prevent the worst anti-growth tax hikes from taking effect for good.  Unfortunately, there is one large omission--bonus depreciation.

These provisions include:

Small businesses can permanently expense up to $500,000 in business asset purchases.  If current law is not changed, small businesses can only expense $25,000 of purchases for things like computers, office furniture, manufacturing equipment, etc.  The rest must be subject to a slow, multi-year deduction process known as "depreciation."

Make the research and experimentation credit permanent for larger firms.  The biggest extender which drives the whole process is the "R&E credit."  This allows firms to claim a credit against tax for research and experimentation expenses which would otherwise have to be capitalized.  With the highest corporate income tax in the developed world, it's essential that companies be able to recover the costs of these investments quickly.  The alternative is to drive up average effective tax rates so high that it makes more sense to relocate overseas.

Improve tax accounting rules for Subchapter-S corporations.  There are two provisions considered by the committee which makes tax compliance easier for S-corporations, a common tax form for medium-sized, mature businesses.  According to the IRS, there are 4.1 million S-corps with 7 million owners (S-corp owners pay the business' taxes on their individual 1040s). The permanent law changes involve built-in gains and basis adjustments for charitable contributions.

Prevent potential double taxation of international income for large companies.  The final two items would make permanent two key tax provisions which serve to prevent U.S.-based multi-national companies from having to pay taxes twice on the same income.  The U.S. is one of the very few countries left in the world that seeks to tax the overseas income of its own companies, even if that income has already been subject to tax in the foreign jurisdiction.  To ameliorate this potential global double taxation, the U.S. tax code has a mind-numbing hodgepodge of relief measures.  The two being considered by the Committee are simply being made permanent.  Until such time as Congress is prepared to embark upon international tax reform, these relief measures are essential to maintain. To junk them would be tantamount to telling U.S. companies, "we don't want your business anymore--please take your jobs and capital overseas when it's convenient for you."

Bonus depreciation is the missing provision.  There is one tax provision that should be made permanent which is not being considered by the Committee today--bonus depreciation.  In fact, this tax measure is the crown jewel of the entire extenders package.  It allows any company which buys business assets to immediately-expense half the value of what is purchased.  The remaining half is subject to regular depreciation rules.

Under ideal tax policy, all the cost of business investment would be expensed in year one. That's a building block of every conservative tax reform plan from the Fair Tax to the flat tax to everything in between.  To lose 50 percent bonus depreciation would be a crippling loss.  It represents the biggest gains the conservative movement has achieved toward a consumption tax base, the goal of all conservative tax reformers.  

Bonus depreciation is the most important of all the extenders, and its permanent extension (on the way to full expensing in tax reform) should be considered by the Committee and the full House.

Addition by subtraction: the worst extender is not being considered.  On the other end of the spectrum is the worst of all the extenders, the wind production tax credit.  It is not being considered by the Committee today.  The Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) is a misguided tax policy that distorts energy markets and, when combined with state laws and federal regulations, undermines the reliability of America’s power markets. The wind PTC is distinctly different from appropriate cost recovery provisions and allows wind producers to reduce their income tax liability for simply existing. ATR applauds Chairman Camp’s decision to cull the PTC from necessary tax extenders.

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Has President Obama Really Proposed Over 400 Tax Hikes?

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014, 4:51 PM PERMALINK

It's pretty bad when the liberal bias of a "fact check" site is such that it requires its own conservative watchdog, but that's sadly the case with Politifact. This week, and not surprisingly, they rated our claim that President Obama had proposed to raise taxes 442 times as "mostly false." Below is our response to their "fact check" which they refused to print:

Objection #1: Politifact didn't like that we counted Obama budget tax increase proposals each and every time they were put in a budget.

Our response: It is not misleading to count each time Obama proposed a tax increase. The stated goal of ATR’s effort was to total the number of tax increase proposals formally written down by President Obama in his six annual budget proposals.  The goal was not to count each type of tax increase proposed, an arbitrary metric created by Politifact.

If someone commits five counts of the same crime spread out over five years, he is not simply charged for one count of the crime. If a driver gets caught speeding five times over five years, the driver can’t tell his insurance company he only received one speeding ticket. But that’s the logic Politifact used to determine their “mostly false” ruling.

Objection #2: Politifact thinks we should have also listed President Obama's tax cut proposals in his budgets.

Our response: ATR’s press release was purposely and transparently not a comprehensive tax policy analysis of the Obama administration’s tenure. ATR was quite clear in this respect. ATR is under no obligation to account for tax relief in a study that merely seeks to count the total number of tax increases listed in formal budget proposals in black and white.

Politifact also failed to mention that ATR, in its release, clearly stated that it was not counting the 20 tax increases in Obamacare, which alone amount to a ten year net tax increase of over $1,000,000,000. Again, the simple intent of the ATR study was to find the total number of tax increase proposals formally written down by President Obama in his six annual budgets.

Objection #3: A liberal tax expert (Eric Toder of the Tax Policy Center) didn't like ATR's tax research because it didn't distinguish between large and small tax hikes.

Our response: Is this a joke? Politifact fancies itself as a neutral arbiter acting in the public interest. Eric Toder is an employee of a far-left think tank. We can’t recall Politifact ever calling upon Americans for Tax Reform to check on the work of Mr. Toder or any of his colleagues. Besides, the criticism invents a new standard (i.e., the "dollar amount test") arbitrarily foisted upon ATR after the fact. Again, the simple intent of the ATR study was to find the total number of tax increase proposals formally written down by President Obama in his six annual budgets.

That said, if Politifact and Toder want to assign dollar values to these tax increases, they will find them to be far more than pennies. The latest Obama budget raises net taxes over the next decade by hundreds of billions of dollars. As did the first five Obama budgets.

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Top Seven Reasons the IRS Shouldn't Do Your Taxes for You

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014, 3:25 PM PERMALINK

There has been the usual tax day-related glut of articles from liberal publications urging a federal takeover of the tax preparation business.  As always, the ultra-left wing blog Pro Publica took the lead, followed predictably by outlets such as Slate, Vox, and Tax Analystsas well as respectable news outlets like Bloomberg View and Yahoo!.

The basic argument is always the same: the IRS has all this information on you anyway, so wouldn't it just be easier and better if they simply prepared your taxes for you?  Wouldn't that be better than having to pay some rent-seeking middleman?  This flawed line of thinking fools many a reporter this time of year, but it's refuted pretty easily once you scratch beneath the surface. 

Below are the top seven reasons the IRS should not prepare your taxes for you:

1. There already is a "Free File" program that most taxpayers are eligible for.  This is the dirty little secret that the wonky Left doesn't want you to know.  Since 2003, the IRS has partnered with the tax preparation industry to give away tax prep software--for free--to that large bulk of Americans with straightforward tax returns.  This "Free File Alliance" can be used for over 100 million tax returns every year, should people want to use it.  In its history, it's been used over 40 million times, with a 98% customer satisfaction rate. In fact, 23 states have created their own Free File programs. As an indication of the program's success, use of the IRS Free File program is up 11% this tax season over last year according to IRS numbers. 

If the liberals pushing the IRS socialized tax prep idea were actually interested in a public policy solution, one which is already up and running and requires no new laws or regulations to implement, they would be recommending Free File every year.  The fact that they don't should tell you a lot about what their true motives are (i.e., having the IRS be a tax preparer who also has the stick of tax collection).

2. The IRS commissioner has said the agency can't do it--twice.  On two occasions just this year, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has publicly stated that the IRS isn't interested in preparing people's taxes, because it can't: 

On April 26, 2014, he told a Congressional committee, "We're not doing anything with that. It would take a long time to be able to do that."

Just today in Politico, he is quoted as saying, "We don’t have any plan to do that. (He laughed) We’re challenged enough with the things we have to do now, so there’s no work going on here at the IRS in that direction."

That's pretty good evidence that the IRS preparing your taxes is not only not possible--it's probably not a very good idea.

3. The biggest tax prep software company supports a radically-simplified tax system.  The underlying subtext of all these stories is that the tax preparation industry, and DIY software giant Intuit in particular, has been keeping down the obviously good idea for the IRS to prepare most people's taxes for them.  The reason, of course, is that the Intuits of the world want a complicated tax system so people have to keep buying their product every year.

Except that's not true.  Back in February, Intuit endorsed House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp's (R-Mich.) tax reform plan, saying, "Intuit is committed, like the chairman, to see the tax code simplified, reducing the burden on American taxpayers and small businesses.  This is a national policy imperative and Intuit looks forward to working with him and other policymakers of both parties across the Congress as the tax reform process moves forward."

The Camp plan, incidentally, would result in a system where 95 percent of families would be able to claim the standard deduction (up from about 70 percent today).  Presumably, a similar percentage would be eligible for Free File.

This should put to lie the sub-textual assumption that the tax preparation industry is against IRS tax preparation because they have an interest in a complicated tax code.  If these tired annual hobby horse articles were honest, they would acknowledge this and stop casting aspersions on companies that just aren't true.

If you want a simplified tax system, the solution is not the IRS preparing your tax return--the solution is for Congress to reform the tax code.

4. Have you noticed how much the IRS has begun to resemble the tax arm of a banana republic?  Lois Lerner's contempt of Congress citation.  Taxpayer-funded IRS conventions featuring Star Trek videos.  Agency targeting of non-profit applications that have "Tea Party" in the name.  Agency regulations of political speech by conservative non-profits.  

It's not as if the IRS had a lot of goodwill to build off of before this year's filing season.  But the last year has arguably been the worst one in the history of the agency.  Public confidence in the IRS took several devastating body-blows in the past year.

On what planet does it make sense for an agency that is daily redefining "politicized abuse of power" to also take over tax preparation for most of the country?  And against the explicit wishes and counsel of the guy who runs the place?

5. From the people who brought you healthcare.gov...The old joke used to be that, "if you like the Post Office, you'll love government-run healthcare."  The spectacular failure of healthcare.gov has proven that quip a bit of an understatement.

Combine this with just the latest bureaucratic overreach/unintended consequence/abuse of individual rights: the Social Security Administration trying to collect generations-old debts from the descendants of the long-dead targets of collection.  

And these folks think it's a good idea to build off this success and have the IRS prepare taxes for tens of millions of families?  No thanks.

6. Speaking of Obamacare, the IRS will soon be a partner in your healthcare.  Many people don't realize that the IRS is the agency with the second-biggest role in implementing Obamacare.  That's not only a very scary intrusion to people's lives (begging the question as to why it would also be a good idea to make them the nation's tax preparer, too)--it also costs money.

Every year for the past several years, the Obama Administration has asked Congress for a few billion dollars for the IRS to implement Obamacare.  That's not surprising, since the GAO reports that there are 47 Obamacare items on the IRS to-do list.  Congress, quite understandably given the Republican opposition to Obamacare and the IRS' squandering of its existing resources, has instead chosen to freeze the IRS budget at less than $12 billion annually. It's likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

The thing is, Obamacare IS going to get implemented by the IRS.  It's the number one public policy goal of the Obama Administration.  With Obamacare resources crowding out everything else, there simply isn't any money left over to do a brand new system of IRS tax preparation, even it was a good idea (which it's not).  And have you heard of Free File?

7. The IRS has sent you a friend request.  Marketplace this week reported that the IRS has begun to do aggressive data mining of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others.  The goal is for them to find out as much information about taxpayers as possible to help with audits.  So, that's great.

People with good memories might remember a similar story from last year, when the IRS wanted to read all your email messages.

Needless to say, the IRS is not looking for extra tax deductions for you when they're doing this. Their goal is to increase tax revenue collections for the Treasury, plain and simple.

The bottom line.  These tired, annual articles from white collar lefty pseudo-academics living in the Beltway all ignore the really big story here: namely, that it's a giant conflict of interest for the IRS to determine your tax liability, and then to be able to seize your wages and assets in order to collect that tax liability.  To ignore that is to be criminally-naive about the way the IRS goes about its business.  It betrays either a lack of knowledge of how the tax system actually works, or it's a giant con job by people whose common cause with the IRS is growing the size of government.

Demonizing the tax prep industry doesn't change any of the arguments from above.  It does, however, provide a thin shield of self-righteousness for what is otherwise a fool's errand.

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101 Years of the Federal Income Tax

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, 12:45 PM PERMALINK

The 101-year history of the federal income tax has been marked by more and more taxpayers paying higher and higher amounts of tax.

"The American income tax is perhaps the most dramatic example of how government grows at the expense of liberty," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.  "Slowly. Constantly. Inexorably."

As Americans finish yet another tax filing season, let’s take a look at how the income tax became the raw deal it is today:

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Obama has Proposed 442 Tax Hikes Since Taking Office

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Posted by Max Velthoven, John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Monday, April 14th, 2014, 6:00 AM PERMALINK

Since taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama has formally proposed a total of 442 tax increases, according to an Americans for Tax Reform analysis of Obama administration budgets for fiscal years 2010 through 2015.

The 442 total proposed tax increases does not include the 20 tax increases Obama signed into law as part of Obamacare.

“History tells us what Obama was able to do. This list reminds us of what Obama wanted to do,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

The number of proposed tax increases per year is as follows:

-79 tax increases for FY 2010

-52 tax increases for FY 2011

-47 tax increases for FY 2012

-34 tax increases for FY 2013

-137 tax increases for FY 2014

-93 tax increases for FY 2015

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Obama budget with the lowest number of proposed tax increases was released during an election year: In February 2012, Obama released his FY 2013 budget, with “only” 34 proposed tax increases. Once safely re-elected, Obama came back with a vengeance, proposing 137 tax increases, a personal record high for the 44th President.

In addition to the 442 tax increases in his annual budget proposals, the 20 signed into law as part of Obamacare, and the massive tobacco tax hike signed into law on the sixteenth day of his presidency, Obama has made it clear he is open to other broad-based tax increases.

During an interview with Men’s Health in 2009, when asked about the idea of national tax on soda and sugary drinks, the President said, "I actually think it's an idea that we should be exploring."

During an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood in 2010, Obama said a European-style Value-Added-Tax was something that would be novel for the United States.”

Obama’s statement was consistent with a pattern of remarks made by Obama White House officials refusing to rule out a VAT.

“Presidents are judged by history based on what they did in power. But presidents can only enact laws when the Congress agrees,” said Norquist. "Thus a record forged by such compromise tells you what a president -- limited by congress -- did rather than what he wanted to do.”

The full list of proposed Obama tax increases can be found here. 

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Mickey Emerson

Why don't you stop worrying about stinking communism and study the declaration, the federalist anti-federalist papers, the constitution the writings of the founders etc.
Then you will understand the dangers Marxism poses.

Mickey Emerson

You do realize, and trust me I agree with most of what you have stated in your posts. The socialists do regulate , control and tax excessively Everything they
can possibly think of actually. Hitler controlled everything right down to what type of table could be in a restaurant.
Then they put it into so called social programs, to redistribute the wealth so to speak,
and entities like the EPA, to control the people more.
Ones children, dog, house, properties, money, what one can say, do or think really. Oh, they might let one leave their name on the title, but they "own it" Of course the so called "communists" that don't actually exist, (just another brand of socialism) just out and out claim to own it all, heck with the title..


Born in 1958, Reagan tripled the national debt and raised taxes 12 times including the largest tax increase on the middle class in the history of this nation. He spent drunkenly on military and defense spending creating millions of jobs and churning trillions through the economy because of it. I made this comment a year ago so I ma not sure what the context was of the original post. Moving on.

Conservatives Unite Behind Senator Ron Johnson's Obamacare Lawsuit

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Thursday, April 10th, 2014, 3:09 PM PERMALINK

Nearly two-dozen conservative organizations today sent a letter to all U.S. Senators urging them to sign onto an amicus brief.  The brief, related to a pending lawsuit by Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wisc.) against the Office of Personnel Management, calls for Obamacare to be enforced as written.

The case in question involves the illegal rule by OPM which extends Obamacare subsidies and other matters to Congressional elected officials and staff in direct contravention of the Obamacare law as written.

The full text of the letter can be found here.  Letter text and signers below:

On behalf of the citizen activists we represent, we urge you to add your name to an amicus brief in the case of Johnson v. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  This amicus brief is open only to Members of Congress and United States Senators.  
The case in question involves the illegal rule by OPM which extends Obamacare subsidies and other matters to Congressional elected officials and staff in direct contravention of the Obamacare law as written.
The amicus brief makes two main points:
The unlawful enhancement of Congressional health benefits at issue here reflects a growing trend of executive lawlessness.  It’s the duty of the President to make sure that laws are faithfully-executed.  When it comes to Obamacare, there have been many breaches of this principle.  The Galen Institute has estimated that there have—to date—been no fewer than 21 executive fiat changes to Obamacare.  It’s Congress’ job to write the laws, and it’s the President’s job to enforce them as written.  If the law isn’t working, it’s the prerogative of Congress—not the President—to change the law.
Lawmakers and their staff have standing to challenge the illegal distortion of their health benefits.  The OPM rule harms Congressional Members and staff because it alters the health benefits the law calls for them to have.  This denies them equal treatment under the law, since staff and Members receive OPM subsidies that other Americans cannot get.  Even worse, the impossible situation this creates for staff in particular forces them (very understandably) to be complicit in a conspiracy to violate the law as written.  
It’s time that the executive overreaches seen under this Administration be held in check by the courts.  Signing onto Senator Ron Johnson’s amicus brief is one way you can fight back.  We urge you to do so.

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Michael A. Needham, Heritage Action for America
David Christensen, Family Research Council
Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute
Heather Higgins, Independent Women’s’ Voice
George Landrith, Frontiers of Freedom
David Williams, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Colin Hanna, Let Freedom Ring
Jim Martin, 60 Plus Association
Phil Kerpen, American Commitment
Timothy Lee, Center for Individual Freedom
Naomi Lopez-Bauman, Illinois Policy Institute
Amy Ridenour, National Center for Public Policy Research
Sabrina Schaeffer, Independent Women’s Forum
Brian Baker, Ending Spending
Gregory T. Angelo, Log Cabin Republicans
Jacob Huebert, Liberty Justice Center
Ken Hoagland, Restore America’s Voice Foundation

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