Top Five Pitfalls of a Carbon Tax

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Posted by James Morrone on Friday, February 5th, 2016, 9:24 AM PERMALINK

Every so often, the issue of a carbon tax is raised by misguided lawmakers and ideological extremists. The fact is a carbon tax will cause far more harm than good. A carbon tax would not only have a crippling impact on the affordability of energy in the U.S., but would further weaken a fragile economy and increase dependence on foreign goods and energy providers. This is not what we need right now. 

Listed below are the top five reasons why lawmakers should oppose a carbon tax in the United States. 

Impact to U.S. GDP. The projected impact of a carbon tax on U.S. GDP would be a massive loss of at least $146 billion by year 2030. The overall output of the American economy will be decreased; in both terms of investment and labor supply. 

Skyrocketing energy prices. Energy prices, both in gasoline and electricity, will increase by 20 to 30 percent respectively, under a carbon tax scheme.

Increased job loss. In a 3-year span alone, over 400,000 jobs would be lost due to the effects of the tax, with a projected loss of 1 million jobs by the year 2030.

Reduced purchasing power and wages. The tax would also effect wages; the resulting increase in the price of goods and services would lead to reduced purchasing power, thus real wages are affected negatively.

Regressive impact on nation's most vulnerable. Low income households will suffer more so than middle class households because of their reliance on cheap energy and products. Additionally, as mentioned, the costs of many consumer goods would be driven up, which combined with decreased purchasing power, would hit the nation’s most vulnerable populations the hardest.


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Anne Huberman

This article is full of misinformation. A revenue neutral carbon fee (gradually increasing) and dividend would improve the economy and return money to the people to ease the burden of increased fossil fuel prices. This would encourage conversion to renewable energy and that would stimulate the production of many more jobs. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to use a carbon tax as one method of mitigating climate change. See https://citizensclimatelobby.o...

Emily Church

Misguided ideological extremists like Greg Mankiw, John Cochrane, *The Economist*, Art Laffer, George Shultz, Gary Becker, Richard Revesz, Rex Tillerson, Ben van Beurden, The American Enterprise Institute, and Americans for Tax Reform Founder Grover Norquist?


These are the same misleading arguments being publicized by those who are affiliated with the oil, gas and coal industries.

The benefit to our economy from a fee on carbon would be to STIMULATE the move toward clean energy - creating jobs and investment in exciting, new technology.

If the collected tax on carbon is used to reduce taxes or is returned to the American people in the form of a dividend check which is used to offset the rising cost of energy.....then, citizens BENEFIT from this sort of policy.

Hillary’s “Free College” Plan May Increase Taxes On Over 21,000 New Hampshire Families

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Posted by Sarah Feldpausch on Friday, February 5th, 2016, 5:00 AM PERMALINK

Hillary Clinton’s proposed “New College Compact” is estimated by her campaign to cost $350 billion over ten years. Where will the money come from? According to the Clinton campaign, every cent of the $350 billion will come from tax increases on the American people. A review of the proposal by Americans for Tax Reform shows that as many as 21,330 New Hampshire households will be stuck with a higher tax bill.

The $350 billion tax hike over ten years comes in the form of a 28 percent cap on itemized deductions. The Clinton spending plan reduces the income tax deductibility of countless deductions including charitable donations, high medical bills, mortgage interest, and state and local taxes for Iowa families in the 33-percent, 35-percent, or 39.6 -percent brackets, limiting their value to just 28 percent.

According to IRS Statistics of Income Data for 2013 (the most recent year available), this Hillary tax hike will hit about 21,330 New Hampshire households, based on the number of families who earned over $200,000 and itemized their deductions.

The proposal in effect would create a new Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

"By capping itemized deductions -- which already phase out based on income -- Clinton will complicate the tax code and bring back the AMT for millions of families," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "The original AMT targeted 155 individuals but grew to target 40 million families. Hillary's new idea is the old AMT that starts as a $350 billion tax hike and will certainly grow.”

Clinton’s attempt at “free” college through increasing taxes aligns with her threat: “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” This remark was made during a speech to her financial backers and was overheard and reported by the Associated Press. Unaware there was a reporter present, then-Senator Clinton felt free to spell out her true tax worldview.

This is not the only tax hike Clinton has proposed. When the campaign launched, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon warned of upcoming “revenue enhancements” – and the campaign has not disappointed. With almost ten months till Election Day, Clinton has already proposed over $1 trillion in tax increases.


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Hillary's 25% Gun Tax Threatens New Hampshire Jobs

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, February 4th, 2016, 5:12 PM PERMALINK

Hillary Clinton has yet to face questioning about her strong, personal endorsement of a 25 percent national sales tax on guns, a position she staked out in passionate Senate testimony in 1993. Clinton frequently criticizes Bernie Sanders for his 1993 vote against the Brady Bill yet fails to mention her advocacy for a steep new gun tax, which would be of no help to New Hampshire’s 6,000 firearms and ammunition jobs.

Clinton says there is a “big difference” between her and Sanders on the gun issue.

The background:

Clinton was asked by then-Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) if she supported the imposition of a new, 25 percent national sales tax on guns. Clinton emphatically endorsed the tax, stating: "I am all for that."

As reported by the Associated Press on Oct. 1, 1993:

Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., picked up Mrs. Clinton's support for his idea of slapping stiff taxes on ''purveyors of violence:'' a 25 percent sales tax on guns and $2,500 license fees for gun dealers.

''Speaking personally ... I'm all for that,'' said the first lady. But she stressed she was just speaking for herself.

''Well, let me say that there is no more important personal endorsement in the country today, and I thank you very much,'' said a pleased-as-punch Bradley.

After she publicly endorsed the 25 percent gun tax in congressional testimony, she made sure that everyone understood how important this was to her, saying: "I am speaking personally, but I feel very strongly about that." 

Remarkably, although the hearing was broadcast on C-SPAN and Clinton's 25 percent gun tax endorsement was noted at the time by the AP, the Washington Post, the New York Times and others, a search of leading news databases reveals not a single media mention since 1993. 

On the day of the Finance Committee hearing, NBC Nightly News reported the 25 percent gun tax incident as follows:

NBC: "Others urge a hefty sales tax on guns, and much higher fees for gun dealers. Today, they got a powerful ally."

Clinton: "I'm all for that. I just don't know what else we're going to do to try to figure out how to get some handle on this violence."

NBC: "Hillary Clinton added that's only her personal opinion."

The Bill Clinton White House made it clear that Hillary's 25 percent gun tax endorsement was all hers, as shown by the Oct. 1, 1993 White House press briefing transcript:

Q: "Do you know if the President supports the First Lady's endorsement of an idea yesterday by Senator Bradley that there be a 25 percent tax on the sale of guns in America?"

WH Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers: "Well, as you know, she was expressing her opinion."

Hillary Clinton needs to be called out for her support of the tax and what it might mean to New Hampshire’s vital firearms and ammunition industry. As reported by New Hampshire Public Radio in 2013:

According to an industry-funded report, around 2,100 Granite Staters work in jobs directly related to firearms and ammunition. But when you add in suppliers and other jobs on the periphery, that number shoots up to about 6,000.

As New Hampshire Public Radio notes, these are well-paying jobs:

The wages for floor workers here can go up to about $25 an hour. In Sullivan County, where the median wage is about $13,000 dollars lower than the state as a whole, it’s hard to overestimate how important Sturm, Ruger is to the area. 

So let’s hear it, Hillary, how will your gun tax help New Hampshire’s economy?

VIDEO: Watch Hillary endorse a new 25% national gun tax



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These are the same people who once had poll taxes.

Bernie's Tax Plan Will Eliminate 6 Million Jobs

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Posted by James Morrone on Thursday, February 4th, 2016, 1:59 PM PERMALINK

As if anyone expected something different, the millenial backed Sanders’ tax plan will cost the economy at least 6 million jobs.  The increase in taxes, which would slam over 74 percent of the population, will slash economic growth and production in the hopes of financing his single-payer healthcare system.  The ideological attack on business through taxes will do nothing but harm the nation, in both the short and long run. 

When his tax plan was originally released, it was clear it was going to be bad for the economy, but the losses will truly make us all “Feel the Bern”.  The first big hit would be on GDP growth, which is an integral part to American job creation and income growth.  The figures, according to Investors Business Daily, show that GDP growth will be cut by 9.5 percent, shrinking the amount of available jobs for American workers.  The plan will also have a negative effect on stocks as well.  Capital stocks will be reduced by 18.6 percent, allowing for less capital investment in companies, which means less growth.

It was always assumed that the burden of the 6.2 percent payroll tax would be put onto the employee, but the impact the figures from The Tax Foundation  show is far worse than anticipated.  We currently live in a time of stagnant wages and a lack of availability of full-time work, there is no reason to amplify this even more.   To have the wage rate decrease 4.3 percent over ten years is simply unbearable and irresponsible for any leader trying to revive a great nation.

It is absurd to think that anyone would fall for such a blatant attempt to hurt the free market and increase dependence on the government.  Whether it is caused by the allure of “free” services or a sense of entitlement that some may hold, forsaking the ideals of the nation will only hurt us.  The loss of so many jobs and decrease in the economic growth will only hurt these ideals, and force many to turn to the ever growing government to provide.  The founders must be rolling in their graves.

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Cloward Piven Democrat

Good article. Bernie Sanders is a well-meaning crackpot backed by globalist billionaires and an army of disenfranchised young people who cannot find jobs and don't realize how socialist destroys opportunity and freedom. If they think they're poor now, wait until Bernie and the Marxist-progressive wing of the Democratic Party have the whole country on food stamps due to another poorly thought out program like the Unaffordable Care Act.

Millennials: A Generation in Financial Chaos

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Posted by Michael Eyerman on Thursday, February 4th, 2016, 12:02 PM PERMALINK

Millennials are set to become one of the most important constituencies in the 2016 election cycle. This generation faces many diverse issues as they enter the workforce and move out from under the umbrella of their parents. Generation Opportunity, a grassroots organization that represents the interests of Millennials, put out the 2016 State of the Millennial Report, which highlights many of the issues that Millennials are facing today and in the future.

Here are three of their main findings:

  • Millennials face stagnant economic opportunities. As an increasing amount of younger Americans join the workforce the unemployment rate for millennials soars above other generations. Currently, unemployment for 18-29 year olds is around 8%; much higher than the 3.7% for those over the age of 29. Also, many millennials have given up looking for a job all together after a search that has left them unemployed and frustrated with the country’s current economic state.
  • Expanding higher education costs and low wages have put many millennials in a dire financial mess. As young Americans are attending colleges and universities around the country and with tuition rising at rapid rates, millions of young Americans find themselves with mountains of debt. In addition the report states, millennials face “lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations.” With higher unemployment and underemployment rates, this all makes for Millennials to be the first generation that is worse off than the previous one. 
  • Government debt has become an uncontrollable monster that Millennials will be forced to pay. The US national debt is almost $19 trillion and continues to grow every day. Millennials are going to be forced to pay the bill. Elected officials continue to spend an excessive amount of taxpayer money and ignore the snowballing national debt. One particular program that will cause millennials many sleepless nights is Social Security, which is set to go bankrupt in 2034 almost a decade before the first millennials are set to receive their benefits.


With the 2016 election cycle underway, it is time for millennials to vote for candidates who stand to do something about these issues and protect future generations. 

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Cool Slim

DAVID GREGORY: Are US Treasury Bonds still safe to invest in?

PAUL GREENSPAN: Very much so. This is not an issue of credit rating. The United States can pay any debt it has, because we can always print money to do so. There is zero probability of default.

Paul Greenspan said in plain English that we don't have to worry about the national debt.

This Is How the Pentagon Wasted $17 Billion in Afghanistan

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Posted by Emily Leayman on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016, 4:55 PM PERMALINK

We all know the Department of Defense receives one of the larger allocations from the federal budget, but is that money always spent wisely?

Looking at the Afghanistan War alone, that answer is no.

ProPublica compiled a seemingly endless list of $17 billion in wasteful spending, but here are a few of the big zingers:

-$8 billion for a failed drug war: Despite a 14-year effort, Afghanistan now leads the world in heroin production.

-$2 billion for roads Afghanistan cannot afford to maintain.

-$936 million for underused aircraft: Afghanistan does not have enough trained people to use them for counterterrorism missions.

-$486 million for useless aircraft: Speaking of planes, 20 planes could not be flown, and most were sold for scraps.

-$43 million for one gas station: Wait, aren’t gas stations private businesses? A DoD task force developed one anyway. Even further, it was an alternative natural gas station, and most cars were equipped for, well, regular gas.

To paint a picture of how much money the DoD wasted, ProPublica created an info graphic where you can choose one instance of waste and see what it could have funded.

For instance, just the $1.4 billion from underused and useless aircraft could have translated into clinics and community centers for veterans, and job training for 1.4 million veterans, youth and other workers. Moreover, wasteful defense spending translates into a weaker national defense in a time of rising global uncertainty.

Legislators like Sens. John McCain and James Lankford are fed up with the lack of accountability in spending. McCain’s “America’s Most Wasted” report and Lankford’s “Federal Fumbles” report continue the legacy of Sen. Tom Coburn’s celebrated “Wastebook,” which revealed billions of wasteful spending.

In 2015, Lankford also introduced the Taxpayer’s Right to Know Act, which would create a database of federal agencies’ spending.

Lucky for taxpayers that want to know where their money is going, the twin House bill passed, and the Senate added it to the floor schedule.

$17 billion may not even be the full extent of the Pentagon’s wasteful spending in Afghanistan. Last week, ATR reported on a failed $800 million Pentagon budget meant to produce growth and stabilization in the Middle Eastern country. This is why an audit of their books is more important than ever. Until the Pentagon and other agencies become transparent with their spending, the taxpayers will never know. 


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SEC Taking Heat on...Climate Change?

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016, 9:54 AM PERMALINK

Recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has come under fire for it’s handling of climate change disclosures with regard to SEC filings. At first blush one would assume very limited, if any, justification for considering the science of climate change in SEC filings…and this assumption would be logical.

So why is the SEC being pressured to require disclosures on climate science in filings by companies, that for the most, are not nor have been engaged in the field of climate science? The issue arose in 2010, when the SEC proposed “interpretive guidance” on existing disclosure requirements with regard to climate science. To be clear, the SEC did not issue a disclosure rule, simply “guidance” most likely the result of outside influence from extreme idealist and the government.

Given that most companies filing SEC disclosures are not climate scientist, and are not likely engaged in climate science research, the “guidance” went somewhat unheeded. In fact, the SEC has seemed to agree for the most part with reluctance to follow up on the issue.

In the two years following the release of the interpretive guidance, the SEC issued over 40 comment letters to companies addressing climate change disclosure. Yet that number dropped significantly with only three letters issue in 2012 and zero issued in 2013. 

The most logical reason being that the SEC came to realize that such disclosures find little company in basic logic, and the agency’s time is better spent on its core mission, instead of serving the ideological musings of the extreme left. Just the same these outside pressures have reared their misguided head again, recently pushing an agency charged with holding expertise on securities laws to expand to climate science.

The SEC should take comfort in the fact that such a push for climate science based disclosures in securities filings sounds, as far outside the scope of SEC functions to most as it does the agency itself. One can only hope the SEC stands strong, sending a message to other federal agencies, that serving core policy goals, and not outside ideologies is the goal. 


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New Jersey State Senator Proposes Bill to Infringe on Ability to Buy Pets

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Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016, 1:42 PM PERMALINK

Senator Lesniak of the New Jersey State Senate recently introduced NJ SB. 63, which infringes on the right to conduct business via the Internet.  This bill specifically attempts to regulate an already regulated industry, animal breeding.  It is now a common practice to purchase a puppy of a specific breed or cross breeds online from a private breeder. 

The senator uses the rallying cry of animal abuse to shield the true nature of the bill, more intrusion and regulation of the internet on the part of the government.  Animal abuse should be taken seriously.  Americans level of awareness of “puppy mills” or other unsavory breeding methods for any pet has raised dramatically over the decades.  It is my belief that no one in search of that special pet wants their best friend or its relatives to have been abused in any way.

This problem of abuse and added regulation has already been addressed by Animal Plant Health Inspection Service through USDA in 2013.  The rule established that these “unseen sellers” must be federally licensed, thus allowing inspection by federal authorities.  The rule also encourages buyers to report inhumane conditions and sickness stemming from breeding mismanagement.  To put it simply, the New Jersey bill is there only to force regulation down the throats of small business owners while increasing government control. 

The bill, read to the letter, seems to completely ignore the need for service and emotional support dogs, which are often done via the Internet sometimes through unseen sellers.  Many people with mental and physical disorders, ranging from a child with autism to a veteran to PTSD, use service dogs to better their quality of life.  This bill has the potential to hurt those in need by limiting their access to available animals.  

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European BEPS Proposal Is a Tax Grab Aimed at American Business

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016, 8:00 AM PERMALINK

The European Commission last week moved one step closer toward implementing a series of tax and regulatory proposals aimed directly at American businesses. This proposal is a thinly veiled tax grab at U.S. businesses and workers that will make it even harder for American businesses to operate across the world and could leave taxpayers on the hook for billions in retroactive payments.

This plan is being developed based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project, a broader effort by tax collectors in many countries to surreptitiously extract more revenue from businesses operating across the world.   

The European plan includes an information-sharing regime that will allow countries to trade sensitive tax information with each other and will designate many existing tax arrangements as “illegal state aid.” This could completely overhaul how business taxes are applied by unilaterally overriding existing tax agreements held between the U.S. and many of its trading partners and could force U.S. companies to pay taxes retroactively. 

Clearly, the impetuous behind this proposal is to force U.S. businesses to pay more in taxes. Officials in the EU have their eye on up to €70 billion (roughly $75 billion) they say businesses – the majority of them American – owe in additional taxes each year. In reality, the plan will allow EU states to tax income that they never had any right to tax in the past.

Treasury officials have already challenged the EU plan, which will be implemented in a two-year window once approved by the 28 EU members. Top Treasury official Robert Stack expressed concern that U.S. taxpayers will be left on the hook to pay for EU aggression and called into question the “basic fairness of the proceedings.”

This tax grab has also drawn bipartisan attention from Congress, led by Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) who share Treasury's concern that the plan is discriminatory and will hit American businesses and taxpayers.

Given this bipartisan agreement, Congress and the Obama Administration should vigorously defend U.S. companies from this European aggression. But lawmakers should also be proactive and look to ease the burden that the American tax code places on business competitiveness.

The average rate in the developed world is 25 percent, and countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada have rates even lower rates. The American corporate rate – at almost 40 percent is an outlier, and must be reduced substantially to compete with the rest of the modern world. 

In addition, the U.S. is one of the few remaining developed countries to have a worldwide tax system. This means that all businesses profits of an American business are taxed, even profits earned and taxed overseas. Although companies are allowed limited tax deferral on foreign earned income through a tax credit, this system nevertheless creates needless complexity.

This combination of an abnormally high tax rate and an outdated worldwide taxation system creates an environment that squeezes American businesses. Conversely, fixing these problems will provide the economy with a much-needed boost by encouraging stronger economic growth, more jobs, and higher wages.

Given the imminent European tax grab, Congress and the administration must double down to defend American business interests from this aggression. At the same time, there is urgent need for Congress to reform the ineffective tax code that is crushing U.S. business.


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Vermont: The Next Failed Obamacare Exchange?

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016, 7:00 AM PERMALINK

Vermont’s Obamacare exchange still does not work, more than two years after launching.

Despite receiving over $200 million in federal funds and more in state funding, the system shows no sign of improvement and may be in a death spiral toward collapse.

As reported by Erin Mansfield of VTDigger news, the system is beset by basic functionality problems. The “change of circumstance” function no longer works, which has resulted in a backlog of more than 4,000 requests. Another technical problem with the exchange resulted in over 1,000 individuals being unable to reenroll in their insurance plans.

Obamacare exchanges exist to facilitate the purchase of taxpayer-subsidized insurance. For this to occur, the system must be able to accurately process personal information. If this isn’t happening – as Vermont’s exchange has failed to do to date – the entire system breaks down as the federal government cannot tell what level of subsidy an enroll should receive, if they are eligible at all, and if they have maintained coverage or need to pay the Obamacare individual mandate tax.

For taxpayers, this means billions more in wasted money through incorrectly paid subsidies. For the more than 30,000 on Vermont’s exchange – this problem has led to dropped coverage, incorrect billing, and a host of other confusing problems.

Over the past two years, the state has spent millions of dollars fixing the change of circumstance function – a basic tool to allow customers to update and change basic personal information. For almost two years, the exchange instead relied on a mind-bogglingly complex method of processing requests, with many having to be logged and entered manually into up to six different databases. This resulted in a backlog of more than 10,000 requests for most of 2015.

Unsurprisingly, stakeholders of Vermont Health Connect have described the state of the exchange as “depressing” amid fears it is going backwards. Officials are beginning to realize the system may be beyond saving and are looking at moving to the federal

Given these issues, it seems inevitable that Vermont will join the growing list of failed state exchanges in Oregon, Hawaii, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Of these, the most troubling is Oregon. Like Vermont, Oregon’s $305 million exchange failed to work by the November 2013 deadline – or months later. The system was soon shut down by then-Governor Kitzhaber, at an additional cost of $41 million in mostly federal funds.

Recently discovered emails suggest that the Cover Oregon debacle can trace its origins to the Governor’s partisan political advisors who closely managed the project and made the call to shut down the exchange in order to assist the Governor’s reelection campaign. It appears that Cover Oregon's infrastructure was close to 90 percent complete when this happened.

While Obamacare state exchanges continue to fail to provide Americans a pathway to accessible healthcare, things do not get better for Americans once they are enrolled on an exchange. A recent study by Freedom Partners found that Obamacare exchange premiums were skyrocketing in 2016. 34 states had top premium increases of 20 percent or more with Minnesota topping this list with a top premium increase of close to 50 percent.

Congressional leaders are expected to soon craft a replacement healthcare plan focused on patient centered, affordable health care. Given the disaster that is Obamacare this cannot come too soon. In the meantime, Congress needs to ensure to continued oversight over the state exchange debacle.

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Valerie Mullin

With maintenance we're closer to wasting away 300 million for our Vermont non-working exchange. So not only are our insurance rates skyrocketing but so are our taxes to pay for this debacle. As long as Vermonters keep electing the same people in Montpelier, we'll keep getting the same results. So sad but predictable.

Linus MacAlistair Stallman

Why does ATR continue to lobby against the American middle class?