Obama raises taxes on the middle class
On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office confirmed what we've been saying for years now: President Obama has broken his pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class. During his 2008 campaign, Obama promised Americans that he wouldn't raise taxes on anybody making less than $250,000 a year. Technically, he broke that pledge weeks after taking office, when he signed an increase in cigarette taxes, which fall disproportionately on those with lower incomes. Now, the CBO has released updated estimates showing that Obamacare's insurance mandate -- which the Supreme Court ruled to be a tax -- will hit millions of middle-class Americans.
In its report, the CBO determined the mandate tax would cost 6 million Americans a total of $7 billion in 2016, with a minimum payment of $695 apiece. The annual cost will then average about $8 billion from 2017 through 2022. The health care law requires Americans either to purchase government-approved insurance or to pay a penalty. The CBO estimates 30 million will be uninsured by that year, but most will be exempted from the mandate because they are unauthorized immigrants, members of Indian tribes or don't earn enough income to file taxes, among other reasons.
Among those who will have to pay a mandate penalty, 4.7 million will have incomes below 500 percent of the federal poverty level, according to the CBO, which is projected to be $60,000 for individuals and $123,000 for families of four by 2016.
The tax penalty, according to the CBO, is "the greater of: a flat dollar amount per person that rises to $695 in 2016 and is indexed by inflation thereafter (the penalty for children will be half that amount and an overall cap will apply to family payments); or a percentage of the household's income that rises to 2.5 percent for 2016 and subsequent years (also subject to a cap)."
Lest some of his defenders argue that Obama's campaign pledge merely pertained to income tax rates, here's what he actually said as a candidate in Dover, N.H., on Sept. 12, 2008: "I can make a firm pledge: Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase -- not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes."
As with many of Obama's "firm pledges," this one was a bit flimsy.
Ex Obama Supporter Interviews Herself
Apple panders to Muslims
Apple’s new operating system iOS6 was released earlier this week, and one of the highly touted features is the addition of Apple Maps, but the new mapping feature fails to list Jersualem as the capital of Israel. In fact, according to the new Apple Maps application, Israel has no capital city.
The World Clock function, which allows users to pick a city and set the time on their device according to the local time zone, lists Jerusalem as a city with no affiliated country.
In the newly released Apple Maps, capital cities are noted with encircled 5-point stars, and Israel is the only country with no such notation.
Bowing to the Mob
Government-funded film critics do grotesque damage to freedom of speech
By Mark Steyn
I see the Obama campaign has redesigned the American flag, and very attractive it is too. Replacing the 50 stars of a federal republic is the single “O” logo symbolizing the great gaping maw of spendaholic centralization. And where the stripes used to be are a handful of red daubs, eerily mimicking the bloody finger streaks left on the pillars of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi as its staff were dragged out by a mob of savages to be tortured and killed. What better symbol could one have of American foreign policy? Who says the slick hollow vapid marketing of the Obama campaign doesn’t occasionally intersect with reality?
On the latter point, after a week and a half of peddling an utterly false narrative of what happened in Libya, the United States government is apparently beginning to discern that there are limits to what even Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice can say with a straight face. The official line — that the slaughter of American officials was some sort of improvised movie review that got a little out of hand — is now in the process of modification to something bearing a less patently absurd relationship to what actually happened. That should not make any more forgivable the grotesque damage that the administration has done to the bedrock principle of civilized society: freedom of speech.
The more that U.S.-government officials talk about the so-called film Innocence of Muslims (which is actually merely a YouTube trailer) the more they confirm the mob’s belief that works of “art” are the proper responsibility of government. Obama and Clinton are currently starring as the Siskel & Ebert of Pakistani TV, giving two thumbs down to Innocence of Muslims in hopes that it will dissuade local moviegoers from giving two heads off to consular officials. “The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video,” says Hillary Clinton. “We absolutely reject its content, and message.” “We reject the efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” adds Barack Obama. There follows the official State Department seal of the U.S. embassy in Islamabad.
Fellow government-funded film critics call Innocence of Muslims “hateful and offensive” (Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations) and “reprehensible and disgusting” (Jay Carney, White House press secretary). General Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and senior Pentagon adviser to Variety, has taken to telephoning personally those few movie fans who claim to enjoy the film. He called up Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who apparently thinks Innocence of Muslims is the perfect date movie, to tell him the official position of the United States military is they’d be grateful if he could ease up on the five-star reviews.
Obama and Clinton’s two-on-the-aisle act cost $70,000 of taxpayers’ money. That may not sound much in the $16 trillion–dollar sinkhole of Washington, but it’s a pretty big ad buy in Islamabad, and an improper use of public monies. If government functionaries want to do movie reviews, they should have a PBS fundraiser, offering a “Barack & Hill at the Movies” logo-ed burqa for pledges of over $100, and a complimentary clitoridectomy for pledges over $500. I fought a long battle for freedom of expression north of the border when the Canadian Islamic Congress attempted to criminalize my writing, and I’m proud to say I played a modest role in getting Parliament to strike down a shameful law and restore a semblance of free speech to a country that should never have lost it. So I know a little about how the Western world is shuffling into a psychological bondage of its own making, and it’s no small thing when the First Amendment gets swallowed up by the vacuum of American foreign policy.
What other entertainments have senior U.S. officials reviewed lately? Last year Hillary Clinton went to see the Broadway musical Book of Mormon. “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others”? The Book of Mormon’s big showstopper is “Hasa Diga Eebowai” which apparently translates as “F*** you, God.” The U.S. secretary of state stood and cheered.
Why does Secretary Clinton regard “F*** you, God” as a fun toe-tapper for all the family but “F*** you, Allah” as “disgusting and reprehensible”? The obvious answer is that, if you sing the latter, you’ll find a far more motivated crowd waiting for you at the stage door. So the “leader of the free world” and “the most powerful man in the world” (to revive two cobwebbed phrases nobody seems to apply to the president of the United States anymore) is telling the planet that the way to ensure your beliefs command his “respect” is to be willing to burn and bomb and kill. You Mormons need to get with the program.
Meanwhile, this last week has seen the publication of two controversial magazines in France: One, called Closer, showed Prince William’s lovely bride, the Duchess of Cambridge, without her bikini top on. The other, the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, showed some bloke who died in the seventh century without his bikini top on. In response, a kosher grocery store was firebombed, injuring four people. Which group was responsible? Yes, frenzied Anglicans defending the honor of the wife of the future supreme governor of the Church of England rampaged through Jewish grocery stores yelling, “Behead the enemies of the House of Windsor!” The embassy-burning mobs well understand the fraudulence of Obama and Clinton’s professions of generalized “respect” for “all faiths.” As a headline in the Karachi Express-Tribune puts it:
“Ultimatum to U.S.: Criminalize Blasphemy or Lose Consulate.”
The assistant attorney general of the United States has said he does not rule out a law against blasphemy, so that’s good news, isn’t it? Once we’ve got government commissars regulating movies, and cartoons, and teddy bears and children’s piggy-banks and Burger King ice-cream tubs and inflatable sex-shop dolls and non-sharia-compliant mustaches (just to round up a few of the innumerable grievances of Islam), all the bad stuff will go away, right?
If you’ll forgive a book plug before General Dempsey calls me up and asks me to withdraw it from publication, the paperback of my latest, After America, has just come out. On page 297, I speculate on how future generations will look back on our time from a decade or two hence:
In the Middle East, Islam had always been beyond criticism. It was only natural that, as their numbers grew in Europe, North America, and Australia, observant Muslims would seek the same protections in their new lands. But they could not have foreseen how eager Western leaders would be to serve as their enablers. . . . As the more cynical Islamic imperialists occasionally reflected, how quickly the supposed defenders of liberal, pluralist, Western values came to sound as if they were competing to be Islam’s lead prison bitch.
Gee, that’d make a pretty funny number for Koran: The Musical next time Secretary Clinton wants a night out on Broadway, wouldn’t it?
In the meantime, spare a thought for Abdullah Ismail, one of 10,000 Pakistanis who participated in a protest in Lahore the other day. He died after “feeling unwell from the smoke from U.S. flags burnt at the rally.” But don’t worry: I’m sure the new Obama flag is far less toxic, and there’s no risk of keeling over in mid-chant of “Death to America!”
The IRS: A bureaucratic monster
I’ve done thorough blog posts highlighting the economic benefits of the flat tax, but I find that most people are passionate about tax reform because they view the current system as being unfair and corrupt. They also don’t like the IRS, in part because it has so much arbitrary power to ruin lives.
But it’s not just that is has the power to ruin lives. That can be said about the FBI, the DEA, the BATF, and all sorts of other enforcement agencies.
What irks people about the IRS is that it has so much power combined with the fact that the internal revenue code is a nightmare of complexity that can overwhelm even the most well-intentioned taxpayer. Just spend a couple of minutes watching this video if you don’t believe me.
I’ve already shown depressing charts on the number of pages in the tax code and the number of special breaks in the tax law. To make matters worse, not even the IRS understands how to interpret the law. According to a recent GAO report, the IRS gave the wrong answers on matters of tax law more than 530,000 times in 2010.
Yet if you use inaccurate information from the IRS when filing your taxes, you’re still liable. To add insult to injury (or perhaps injury to injury is the right phrase), you’re then guilty until you prove yourself innocent – notwithstanding the Constitution’s guarantee of presumption of innocence.
Now we have some new information showing the difficulty of complying with a bad tax system. A new report from the Treasury Department reveals that volunteers (who presumably have the best of intentions) make mistakes in more than 50 percent of cases. Here are some key excerpts from the report.
Of the 39 tax returns prepared for our auditors, 19 (49 percent) were prepared correctly and 20 (51 percent) were prepared incorrectly. The accuracy rate should not be projected to the entire population of tax returns prepared at the Volunteer Program sites. Nevertheless, if the 20 incorrect tax returns had been filed: 12 (60 percent) taxpayers would not have been refunded a total of $3,996 to which they were entitled, one (5 percent) taxpayer would have received a refund of $303 more than the amount to which he or she was entitled, one (5 percent) taxpayer would have owed $165 less than the amount that should have been owed, and six (30 percent) taxpayers would have owed an additional total of $1,483 in tax and/or penalties. …The IRS also conducted 53 anonymous shopping visits during the 2012 Filing Season. Volunteers prepared tax returns for SPEC function shoppers with a 60 percent accuracy rate.
So here’s the bottom line. We have a completely corrupt tax system that is impossibly complex. Yet every year politicians add new provisions to please their buddies from the lobbyist community.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could rip up all 72,000 pages and instead have a simple and fair tax system?
Sadly, tax reform is an uphill battle for four very big reasons.
* Politicians don’t want tax reform since it reduces their power to micro-manage the economy and to exchange loopholes for campaign cash.
* The IRS doesn’t want tax reform since there are about 100,000 bureaucrats with comfy jobs overseeing the current system.
* Lobbyists obviously don’t want to reform since that would mean fewer clients paying big bucks to get special favors.
* And the interest groups oppose the flat tax because they want a tilted playing field in order to obtain unearned wealth.
But there are now about 30 nations around the world that have adopted this simple and fair system, so reform isn’t impossible. But it will only happen when voters can convince politicians that they will lose their jobs if they don’t adopt the flat tax.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
A creepy pledge
The pledge is nominally a pledge to vote and voting is of course fine but it still is all rather reminiscent of North Korea and homage to the "Dear Leader"
There was a day when Barack Obama couldn't muster the energy or desire to lift his hand to cover his heart during the national anthem. Now, the Obama campaign is asking his supporters to do for him what he refused to do for America: place their hands over their hearts to pledge support for none other than President Obama.
The campaign is being called "For All," which is a take on Christian socialist Francis Bellamy's Pledge of Allegiance, "with liberty and justice for all." This newest Obama for America gimmick asks committed fans of the President to take photos of themselves with their hand over their hearts with notes scribbled on the exposed skin explaining why they are vowing loyalty to Obama.
Among those willing to send America a message are the usual suspects - twenty-something Hollywood starlets like Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, and Jessica Alba.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)