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Will Upton

Daily Media Spotlight September 7, 2010

Posted by Will Upton on Tuesday, September 7th, 2010, 4:21 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform’s own Mattie Corrao appears in the opinion pages in The Washington Times with “Getting the drop on cough medicine.”  She notes: “The FDA has announced it will hold a hearing in September to discuss the safety of dextromethorphan, an ingredient in more than 100 common cough and cold medications. Absent any compelling evidence that abuse of the drug is widespread or growing, the FDA has decided what recreational use of cough medicines does exist is egregious enough to require redress.”

Chris Prandoni appears in The Daily Caller with a great piece on how Big Labor is lining up to support Barack Obama and the Democrats’ Big Government policies this election cycle: “Democratic members facing tough races will likely enlist Big Labor to drum up support and money for their campaigns...  Unions know their only chance to get theirs is during a lame duck session, when soon-to-be unemployed members of Congress must expiate for prior support.”

The American Spectator debunks the argument that the Tea Party exposes the strains in the GOP’s “Big Tent.”  As Grover Norquist puts it, “The pro-family, traditional-values conservatives are an important part of the "Leave Us Alone" coalition… The development of a national grassroots conservative activism grew out of a self-defensive response to threats from the Carter Administration to regulate Christian radio stations and remove the tax-exempt status of Christian private schools.”

The blog has some sharp commentary on the recent article “120 Days to Go Until the Largest Tax Hikes in History” by Americans for Tax Reform’s tax policy director Ryan Ellis.  The blog notes that not only have congressional Democrats punted on producing a budget this year, they still show no signs of trying to stop the January 1, 2011 tax increases. 

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Daily Media Spotlight September 3, 2010

Posted by Will Upton on Friday, September 3rd, 2010, 3:56 PM PERMALINK

“How Do You Stop an Elephant Charging?” That’s the question asked by Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal.  According to Grover Norquist, the charging elephant seems like it will be pretty hard to stop as long as it stays on point, “The big issue, and people know this, is the explosion of federal spending that is damaging our economy and threatening our future.”

National Review Online has picked up the brewing tax battle raging in Pennslyvania’s gubernatorial race between Republican Tom Corbett and Democrat Dan Onorato.  “ ‘These candidates understand that tax hikes right now are lethal,’ said Madonna. ‘Onorato’s problem is that he wants to replace a Democrat [in Rendell] who’s job performance has plummeted and who has, almost weekly, called for tax hikes.’ ” brings us further coverage of the false attacks by Dina Titus on Joe Heck and the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  It seems Titus has found a new “union” ally in smearing Heck, The American Federation of State, Federal and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), who release their own false attack ad costing nearly three-quarters of a million dollars – most likely paid for with union member dues – to run.

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Why was the Volcker Commission Constrained by Obama's Tax Pledge, but not the Simpson-Bowles?

Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, September 2nd, 2010, 1:41 PM PERMALINK

During his campaign, President Obama made a “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year.  White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has said the pledge “didn’t come with caveats.”  

On March 25, 2009, Peter Orszag, the director of The Office of Management and Budget stated that the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, would be limited in their recommendations by President Obama’s “firm pledge”: 

DIRECTOR ORSZAG:With regard to the task force, the only constraints on its activities are that there will be no tax increases during 2009 or 2010, and the proposals should not raise taxes on American families making less than $250,000.

Despite saying new taxes were off the table with Paul Volker and the president’s Economic Recover Advisory Board, the White House has not held the Simpson-Bowles Debt Commission to the same standard. In an interview on Fox News Sunday, debt commission co-chairman Erskine Bowles had the following exchange with host Chris Wallace:

CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR:  Mr. Bowles, Barack Obama — I don't have to tell you — campaigned in 2008 for president on a flat pledge that he would not raise any taxes — not income taxes, not any taxes — on people making less than $250,000 a year. Do you feel bound by the president's pledge?

ERSKINE BOWLES, DEBT COMMISSION CO-CHAIRMAN:What I feel bound by is the president looked Senator Simpson and me in the eye and he said, everything is on the table.

Obama was first walking, and is now running away from his most famous pledge to taxpayers.  We’ve been discovering a no tax promise with a loophole becoming bigger than the promise.  Said Grover Norquiest.

Bowles also refused to rule out a Value-Added Tax. 

Did President Obama simply forget his tax pledge to the American people or is he making a play for political cover?  He seemed to remember it when instructing Paul Volcker and the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.  Maybe if the debt commission recommends a tax increase, he thinks he will not have to be accountable to his pledge not to raise taxes anymore.  

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Daily Media Spotlight September 2, 2010

Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, September 2nd, 2010, 1:01 PM PERMALINK

From Nevada News and Views: "ATR Comes Back Swinging at Dina ' Tax-Us'."  Democrats seem to be truly committed this election cycle to misleading the American people about what the Taxpayer Protection Pledge means.  Besides Dina Titus, Rep. Mark Schauer (D-Mich.) and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin have made similar blatantly false attacks.  

Is Pennsylvania’s Democrat gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato suffering from short term memory loss?  According to WITF: “For months, Onorato has decried Republican Tom Corbett’s pledge not to raise taxes as a “gimmick” and a stunt. But starting last week, Onorato began flat-out promising not to raise revenues, if he becomes governor next year. During a Capitol press conference today, Onorato was blunt. ‘I don’t plan on raising taxes,’ he said.” highlights a recent International Policy Network study showing that the political talking point saying we should invest in “green jobs” is bunk.  Investing in “green jobs” is actually a terrible investment. The article notes: “ATR [Americans for Tax Reform] previously stated that ‘it is estimated that for every government mandated ‘green energy job' created, 2.2 jobs in the private sector were prevented from being created’.”

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Daily Media Spotlight September 1, 2010

Posted by Will Upton on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010, 5:26 PM PERMALINK

Victory!  FlashReport celebrates the defeat of California’s “bag tax” in the state legislature.  FlashReport’s Publisher Jon Fleischman: “I want to express my personal admiration to…Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform… all of the legislators who voted no on this bill, and all of the other patriots out there who stood up publicly against this bad bill.”

From, “An Interview with Ryan Ellis – Very Important News for Teachers.”  Americans for Tax Reform’s tax policy director, Ryan Ellis chats with Michael Shaughnessy about the January 2011 tax increase and the financial pain it will cause teachers across America. 

Appearing in Forbes, Americans for Tax Reform’s Ryan Ellis notes how Obamacare will actually hurt many of those it purports to help, especially our wounded veterans, “The health care overhaul… signed into law by President Obama earlier this year contains a new tax on medical devices such as prosthetic limbs, pacemakers and wheelchairs… Senate Democrats specifically refused to exempt veterans from the tax.”

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Daily Media Spotlight August 31, 2010

Posted by Will Upton on Tuesday, August 31st, 2010, 5:00 PM PERMALINK

The Washington Times has the scoop on the growing tax battle between Barack Obama and the small business community.  Americans for Tax Reform’s own John Kartch weighs in regarding Obama’s January 2011 tax hike, “These are real small businesses. Raising taxes on these most successful of small businesses will cost jobs.”

The Daily Caller exposes Democrats and the AARP, arguing that both undermine the future retirement benefits for younger workers. “They’re major role seems to be that of obstruction,” said Ryan Ellis, director of tax policy with Americans for Tax Reform. “The people being affected are not current AARP members, and for some reason they feel they need to obstruct and demagogue to curry favor with their membership.”

J.E. Dyer writing in’s “The Greenroom” has a great story on Cost of Government Day and continues the trend of lamenting the “holiday”, “High taxes correlate with high-cost government… there is no discernible pattern of late Tax Freedom Days – high tax rates – yielding smaller calendar gaps between Tax Freedom and Cost of Government.  No matter how much the people are directly taxed, the gaps remain huge.  So much for the “raise taxes” argument.”

From the blog Doug Ross @Journal, “What say you SEIU AFL-CIO and AFSCME?” Do Unions think they can dupe their members and funnel $150 million in Union dues into Democrat campaign coffers for November?

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Robert Gibbs's Fuzzy Tax Hike Math

Posted by Will Upton on Monday, August 30th, 2010, 5:28 PM PERMALINK

Today, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs once again trotted out his misleading “only two to three percent” argument when asked whether the January 2011 tax hikes supported by Congressional Democrats and the White House would negatively impact small businesses.  Americans for Tax Reform’s tax policy director, Ryan Ellis, details the effects of the January 2011 tax hikes on small businesses:   

  • The Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats have said that they want to raise taxes in the top two income tax rates in January 2011.  Under their plan, the 33 percent rate will rise to 36 percent, and the 35 percent rate will rise to 39.6 percent automatically in January.  These rates affect families and small business owners earning at least $200,000 per year
  • Unlike corporations, small businesses usually don’t pay their own taxes.  Rather, business profits flow through to the business owner.  The business owner pays taxes on her small business by adding the profits to her income tax form.  Therefore, personal income taxes are the same thing as small business taxes.
  • According to the IRS, most small business profits pay taxes in households making more than $200,000 per year.  The IRS keeps track of two types of small business income: sole proprietors, and “pass-through” entities like partnerships and S-corporations.
  • All small businesses:  There were 30 million tax returns reporting small business income in 2008.  On net (profits reduced by losses), these owners reported business profits of $631 billion.  A large chunk of this net profit--$457 billion—faced taxation in households making more than $200,000 per year.  A majority of small business profits will face a tax rate hike under the Obama-Pelosi-Reid plan.
    • Sole proprietors:  There were 22 million tax returns reporting sole proprietor income in 2008.  On net (profits reduced by losses), these owners reported business profits of $264 billion.  A large chunk of this net profit--$90 billion—faced taxation in households making more than $200,000 per year.  34 percent of sole proprietor profits will face a tax rate hike under the Obama-Pelosi-Reid tax hike plan.
    • S-corporations and partnerships:  There were 8 million partners and S-corporation shareholders in 2008.  On net (profits reduced by losses), these owners reported business profits of $367 billion.  Virtually all of this profit faced taxation in households making more than $200,000 per year. Aggregate pass-through entity profits will almost entirely fall in households making more than $200,000 per year.  These are real small businesses.  For example, there are 250,000 doctor and dentist offices organized as S-corporations or partnerships.  They employ millions of workers making less than $250,000 per year.  These jobs are endangered by Obama’s tax rate hike on small firms.
  • Mature small businesses make a majority of the profits and employ a majority of the workers.  The Census Bureau reports that the top three percent of small businesses employ a majority of everyone who works for a small business.  Raising taxes on these most successful of small businesses will cost jobs.

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Daily Media Spotlight August 30, 2010

Posted by Will Upton on Monday, August 30th, 2010, 5:24 PM PERMALINK

FlashReport highlights ATR’s own Mattie Corrao with the lamenting of California’s “Cost of Government Day.”   As Corrao notes: “Golden State workers toiled 239 days in 2010 just to pay for their bloated government.  Only residents of six states and the District of Columbia work longer to pay off the costs of government.”  

Josh Culling appears in Nevada News and Views warning that 2011 could be a bad year or Nevada’s taxpayers.   With the nations highest unemployment rate, Culling notes that in Nevada, “looking to next year, with an estimated $3 billion overspending problem in the 2011 budget, lawmakers in both parties are falling in line in support of a smorgasbord of job-killing tax hikes.”

Unions are supposed to look out for their members’ best interest.  In reality, they empty their members’ wallets and dump the cash into the campaign coffers of Congressional Democrats who continue to consider multiple pieces of job killing legislation.  Just how much money will the Unions give this November you ask?  Click here to find out. 

Steamboat Today lauds the second annual Freedom Conference held in Steamboat Springs.  Not only did the event bring national attention to the Northwest Colorado town, as the paper notes, it provided a great opportunity for locals to listen to and meet conservative leaders like ATR’s Grover Norquist.

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Daily Media Spotlight August 26, 2010

Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 4:17 PM PERMALINK

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pennsylvania Democrat and gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato falsely accuses his opponent, state Attorney General Tom Corbett, of breaking his tax pledge – while Onorato won’t fully commit to not raising taxes himself. 

“A Month’s Wages Lost”, that’s the headline in the Chattanooga Times Free Press highlighting Cost of Government Day and the additional month it has taken this year to pay for our government.  

The Los Angeles Times has the story on the difficult task Obamacare’s backers have in trying to turn public opinion towards the big government program around.  As Grover Norquist points out, “All you have to do is say the words 'Obamacare' or 'the healthcare bill,' attach it to your opponent, and it's a boat anchor.”

Steve MacDonald of bemoans New Hampshire’s Cost of Government Day, but offers the consolation that at least the Granite State paid for its government long before Connecticut – whose residents will continue to pay for the cost of their government until September 15th.

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Daily Media Spotlight August 25, 2010

Posted by Will Upton on Wednesday, August 25th, 2010, 5:24 PM PERMALINK

Longtime ATR friend and ally, Christopher Freind, penned a piece for Philadelphia Magazine’s “Philly Post” explaining how school choice can not only improve education, but also rectify the City of Brotherly Love’s crime problem

Steve Prestegar of Marketplace Magazine rings in Cost of Government Day for Wisconsin noting that under the Doyle administration, between the 2003 and 2010 fiscal years, state and local taxes have increased $602.5 million.  He also highlights his favorite solutions offered by Grover Norquist to reduce government spending.     

Chuck Muth writing in Nevada News and Views exposes Republican Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea as a tax and spend addict who has, “…called for almost a billion dollars worth of new taxes… including more than half of that amount from a new tax on…..groceries.”

The Orange County Register’s Jan Norman, in preparation for California’s Cost of Government Day this Friday, notes, “…people don’t merely pay taxes; they adjust behavior to avoid them if possible. The 10 states with the highest tax burden (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Vermont, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) lost 129,455 residents and $10.2 billion in income in 2008…”

In the OrangeCountyRegister’s “Orange Punch” liberty blog, Mark Landsbaum laments that the 2010 Cost of Government Day report proves that the era of big government is not over and, “…its appetite appears to linger on.”

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