PJTV: Obama IRS Scandal Uncovers the Ugly Side of Income Taxes
” Leaving aside the seriousness of lawlessness, and the corruption of our civic culture by the professionally pious, this past week has been amusing. There was the spectacle of advocates of an ever-larger regulatory government expressing shock about such government’s large capacity for misbehavior. And, entertainingly, the answer to the question “Will Barack Obama’s scandals derail his second-term agenda?” was a question: What agenda?
The scandals are interlocking and overlapping in ways that drain his authority. Everything he advocates requires Americans to lavish on government something his administration, and big government generally, undermines — trust.
Obama’s supposed “trifecta” of scandals — Benghazi, the IRS, and the seizure of Associated Press phone records — neglects some. A fourth scandal is power being wielded by executive branch officials (at the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) illegally installed in office by presidential recess appointments made when the Senate was not in recess.
A fifth might be Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius soliciting, from corporations in industries HHS regulates, funds to replace some that Congress refused to appropriate. The money is to be spent by nonprofit — which does not mean nonpolitical — entities. The funds are to educate Americans about, which might mean (consider the administration’s Benghazi and IRS behaviors) propagandize in favor of, Obamacare and to enroll people in its provisions. The experienced (former governor, former secretary of education, 10 years in the Senate) and temperate Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., compares this to the Iran-contra scandal, wherein the Reagan administration raised private funds to do what Congress had refused to do — finance the insurgency against Nicaragua’s government.
Obama’s incredibly shrinking presidency is a reminder that politics is a transactional business, trust is the currency of the transactions, and the currency has been debased. For example:”
” The IRS scandal of targeting tea party or conservative organizations grew deeper Wednesday with the revelation that the agency denied tax-exempt status to a pro-life organization because of its hypothetical opposition to Planned Parenthood. The Thomas Moore Society, a public interest law firm announced that one of their clients was told that their approval as a non-profit was conditioned on a commitment not to protest outside Planned Parenthood abortion clinics…
…The alleged actions against the pro-life organization, however, are an order of magnitude more serious. If the allegations are true, the IRS used a specific political litmus test to approve non-profit status. It also conditioned approval on actions related to a specific, political organization. It effectively allowed Planned Parenthood to silence political opposition.”
” ObamaCare was sold as a way to achieve several goals: affordable care, guaranteed coverage, protections against bankruptcy.
But before such promises have a chance of being realized, the health reform appears to be delivering something else: Germany-style work-sharing.
Economists hailed Germany’s work-sharing for reducing unemployment during the recession. ObamaCare may be having a similar effect. But there are differences that make the health reform’s labor side-effects much more questionable.
Over the past year, retailers have cut average weekly hours for nonsupervisory workers by 2%, the sharpest such decline in more than three decades. Meanwhile, rank-and-file employment is up 132,000, or 1%, over the same period.
Some 2.3 million workers might have their hours cut due to ObamaCare’s employer mandates, even if there’s no negative impact on total hours worked, a recent study from the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center estimated.
The other part of the equation involves more government benefits for those facing shorter hours. This will come starting in 2014 from ObamaCare health subsidies. Households working less may also get additional benefits, such as food stamps.”
” Sarah Hall Ingram, the IRS executive in charge of the tax exempt division in 2010 when it began targeting conservative Tea Party, evangelical and pro-Israel groups for harrassment, got more than $100,000 in bonuses between 2009 and 2012.
More recently, Ingram was promoted to serve as director of the tax agency’s Obamacare program office, a position that put her in charge of the vast expansion of the IRS’ regulatory power and staffing in connection with federal health care, ABC reported earlier today.
Ingram received a $7,000 bonus in 2009, according to data obtained by The Washington Examiner from the IRS, then a $34,440 bonus in 2010, $35,400 in 2011 and $26,550 last year, for a total of $103,390. Her annual salary went from $172,500 to $177,000 during the same period.
Go here for a spreadsheet of the salary and bonus data for IRS employees getting bonuses between 2009 and 2012.”
” Across this great land, patriotic Americans are behaving subversively.
Uncle Sam is not amused.
As leaders of tea party groups have been painfully aware for years, the Internal Revenue Service has given “special” attention to conservative groups.
Heritage sounded the alarm on the Obama Administration’s hit list nearly a year ago. Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot was singled out by the IRS and the Labor Department after making a sizable donation to Mitt Romney. Who ordered his investigation?
The goal was clearly to reduce the amount of anti-government speech by making it more difficult for these groups to achieve tax-exempt status. And it worked. Just look at these examples from four different states:
- ABC News reports that Jennifer Stefano of Pennsylvania wanted to start a tea party group, but dealing with the IRS “was frightening and that’s why I shut it down. I shut my group down.”
- The IRS ordered an Ohio group to answer 35 detailed questions, including to “provide a listing of all your past activities. Indicate the percentage of your time spent conducting the activity (total of all activities should equal 100%) and the percentage of your funds spent conducting the activity (total of all activities should equal 100%).”
- In Tennessee, Kevin Kookogey was trying to start an educational group called Linchpins of Liberty to teach the economic principles of Milton Friedman and Adam Smith. When he inquired with the IRS in 2011 about the delay in his tax-exempt status, he was told: “We have been waiting on guidance from our superiors as to your and similar organizations.” He is still waiting.
- In Virginia, it took Richmond Tea Party President Larry Nordvig two and a half years to get tax-exempt status. He tells The Washington Post the wait had “a very chilling effect” on how much money his group could raise, and thus on how much speech it could generate. “
” The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.
According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data.“This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents,” the complaint reads. “No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search. IT personnel at the scene, a HIPPA facility warning on the building and the IT portion of the searched premises, and the company executives each warned the IRS agents of these privileged records,” it continued.”
” Just after Midnight Tuesday night, seven people – five men and two women – were caught trespassing at the Quabbin Reservoir. The Quabbin is one of America’s largest man made water supplies, and delivers most of Boston’s drinking water.
So, no big deal, right? It’s probably just some kids who decided to sneak in and have a few beers at the water’s edge.
The problem is all seven were from either Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or Singapore. All of them live in either Boston or New York, and all of them are recent college graduates with chemical engineering degrees. They told police they wanted to see the reservoir due to “their education and career interests.”
Which, of course, means you sneak in after midnight.
So we have seven chemical engineers, all from countries with long histories of producing terrorist activity, caught at midnight lurking around one of our nation’s largest water supplies, which the FBI has long warned are prime terrorist targets.”
” The town is turning on President Obama — and this is very bad news for this White House.
Republicans have waited five years for the moment to put the screws to Obama — and they have one-third of all congressional committees on the case now. Establishment Democrats, never big fans of this president to begin with, are starting to speak out. And reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration.
Obama’s aloof mien and holier-than-thou rhetoric have left him with little reservoir of good will, even among Democrats. And the press, after years of being accused of being soft on Obama while being berated by West Wing aides on matters big and small, now has every incentive to be as ruthless as can be.
This White House’s instinctive petulance, arrogance and defensiveness have all worked to isolate Obama at a time when he most needs a support system. “It feel like they don’t know what they’re here to do,” a former senior Obama administration official said. “When there’s no narrative, stuff like this consumes you.” “
” The Environmental Protection Agency stands accused today of showing favoritism toward liberal groups over conservative groups.
Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Conservative Enterprise Institute.
For 92 percent of requests from green groups, the EPA cooperated by waiving fees for the information. Those requests came from the Natural Resources Defense Council, EarthJustice, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, The Waterkeeper Alliance, Greenpeace, Southern Environmental Law Center and the Center for Biological Diversity.”
” The scandal, McConnell said, extends up the chain. “The Obama effort to shut up opponents isn’t limited to the IRS,” he stated. “It applies to the FCC [Federal Communications Commission], SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission], FEC [Federal Elections Commission], HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] …. And you remember, the Obama campaign last year published a list of eight businessmen who it believed were enemies.”
He also added that the recent IRS revelations were “just the beginning of the story. This is no little thing. This is a big thing. The good news about it is they finally got caught. They finally messed with an agency everybody fully understands. When they try to quiet the critics through other agencies, it doesn’t get attention. This does. Everybody understands the IRS and how powerful they are. This is just one example of an administration-wide effort to silence critics.” “
” In the latest bout of brilliance handed down from the Transportation Security Administration, more frequent fliers and other elite passengers will soon be eligible for something called “expedited screening benefits.” Features include special screening lanes and the luxury of not having to remove your shoes and belt like a common terrorist.
OK, all of that is rather uninteresting—unless you’re the kind of person who thinks programs like the Cedar Point VIP Tour are grossly classist.* (I do.) What’s interesting about TSA Pre✓™—which launched on a small scale in 2011 but is now expanding—is that it’s nearly impossible to go directly to the website by typing in the site’s Web address—because the checkmark and trademark characters are actually part of the URL.”
How Much Control Does Supremacy Clause Give Feds? – Andrew Nappi #N3
” In CT you have to get a permit just to purchase a firearm.
In December state police, who are responsible for processing the background checks for those permits, had a fairly normal backlog of around 1,000 pending background checks.
Now, just over 4 months later, and following the Newtown shooting and the passage of extremely strict new gun laws, that backlog has grown to over 60,000, an increase of around 6,000%
There are several reasons for the massive increase. One, part of the new gun control package passed by CT last month included an “effective immediately” provisions which now requires a background check for rifle and shotgun sales as well as handguns.”
” Somehow, left-liberals have associated the cause of gun rights with white racism, when if anything it is gun control that has a racist legacy. In the United States, early gun laws targeted recently freed blacks, and open carry first became banned in California under Governor Ronald Reagan to disarm groups like the Black Panthers. Today, blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately subjected to humiliating stop-and-frisk searches in the name of gun control.
Perhaps the most telling data concerns the racial makeup of who goes to prison for gun violations.According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, for Fiscal Year 2011, 49.6% of those sentenced to federal incarceration with a primary offense of firearms violations were black, 20.6% were Hispanic, and only 27.5% were white.
This is how gun laws actually work—those caught violating them go to prison. For the mere act of owning an illegal weapon—not necessarily for using it, not for threatening anyone with it, not for being irresponsible with it—people who have harmed no one are locked up in prison for years at a time. As with the rest of the criminal justice system, particularly the war on drugs, these laws disproportionately harm the poor and minorities. That is the inescapable reality of gun control.
It makes sense that blacks and others living in the inner city would rely more on private, illegal guns for self-defense. The police are unreliable at best in many of these communities. It also makes sense that minorities would be disproportionately hurt by these laws, because so many of the dynamics in play are the same as with the drug war—people are being punished for what they own, rather than what they have done to others; “
” For years, home ownership was a big “good thing” among both liberal Democrats like Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd, on the one hand, and moderate Republicans like President George W. Bush on the other hand.
Raising the rate of home ownership was the big red bouncing ball that they pursued out into the street, in utter disregard of the dangers.
A political myth has been created that no one warned of those dangers. But among the many who did warn were yours truly in 2005, Fortune and Barron’s magazines in 2004 and Britain’s The Economist magazine in 2003. Warnings specifically about the dangerous roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were made by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan in 2005 and by Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snow in 2003.
In pursuit of those higher home ownership rates, especially among low-income people and minorities, the many vast powers of the federal government — from the Federal Reserve to bank regulatory agencies and even the Department of Justice, which issued threats of anti-discrimination lawsuits — were used to force banks and other lenders to lower their standards for making mortgage loans.
What makes all this painfully ironic is that the latest data show that the rate of home ownership today is lower than it has been in 18 years. There was a rise of a few percentage points during the housing boom, but that was completely erased during the housing bust. Housing has been just one area where the bouncing ball approach to political decision-making has led the country into one disaster after another.”
” Friedrich August Hayek ; 8 May 1899 – 23 March 1992), born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek and frequently known as F. A. Hayek, was an Austrian, later turned British, economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism. In 1974, Hayek shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (with Gunnar Myrdal) for his “pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and … penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena”.
Hayek is an economist and major political thinker of the twentieth century. Hayek’s account of how changing prices communicate information which enables individuals to coordinate their plans is widely regarded as an important achievement in economics. He also contributed to the fields of systems thinking, jurisprudence, neuroscience, and the history of ideas.
Hayek served in World War I and said that his experience in the war and his desire to help avoid the mistakes that had led to the war led him to his career. Hayek lived in Austria, Great Britain, the United States and Germany, and became a British subject in 1938. He spent most of his academic life at the London School of Economics (LSE), the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg.
In 1984, he was appointed as a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for his “services to the study of economics”. He was the first recipient of the Hanns Martin Schleyer Prizein 1984. He also received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 from president George H. W. Bush. In 2011, his articleThe Use of Knowledge in Society was selected as one of the top 20 articles published in the American Economic Review during its first 100 years.“
” If any twentieth-century economist was a Renaissance man, it was Friedrich Hayek. He made fundamental contributions in political theory, psychology, and economics. In a field in which the relevance of ideas often is eclipsed by expansions on an initial theory, many of his contributions are so remarkable that people still read them more than fifty years after they were written. Many graduate economics students today, for example, study his articles from the 1930s and 1940s on economics and knowledge, deriving insights that some of their elders in the economics profession still do not totally understand. It would not be surprising if a substantial minority of economists still read and learn from his articles in the year 2050. In his book Commanding Heights, Daniel Yergin called Hayek the “preeminent” economist of the last half of the twentieth century.”
- Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle (1929) 
- Prices and Production (1931) 
- Monetary Nationalism and International Stability (1937) 
- Profits, Interest and Investment (1939) 
- The Pure Theory of Capital (1941) ISBN 978-0-226-32099-1 
- The Road to Serfdom (1944) ISBN 978-0-226-32055-7
- Individualism and Economic Order (1948) ISBN 978-0-226-32093-9 
- “The Transmission of the Ideals of Economic Freedom,” (1951) Full Article
- John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor: Their Friendship and Subsequent Marriage (1951) ISBN 978-0-678-06504-4
- The Counter-Revolution of Science: Studies on the Abuse of Reason (1952) ISBN 978-0-913966-67-9
- The Sensory Order: An Inquiry into the Foundations of Theoretical Psychology (1952) ISBN 978-0-226-32094-6
- The Political Ideal of the Rule of Law (1955)
- The Constitution of Liberty (1960) ISBN 978-0-226-32084-7
- The Constitution of Liberty: The Definitive Edition (2011). Ronald Hamowy, ed., v. 17, The Collected Works of F A. Hayek. Description and preview.
- Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (1967) ISBN 978-0-226-32085-4
- Freiburger Studien: Gesammelte Aufsatze (1969) ISBN 978-3-16-146312-9
- A Tiger by the Tail (1972, revised edition 1978)
- Law, Legislation and Liberty: A New Statement of the Liberal Principles of Justice and Political EconomyDenationalisation of Money: An Analysis of the Theory and Practice of Concurrent Currencies (1976) 
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- 1980s Unemployment and the Unions (1980) ISBN 978-0-255-36173-6
- The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism (1988) ISBN 978-0-226-32069-4
” The Heritage Foundation late Tuesday responded to Sen. Marco Rubio’s criticisms of a foundation study that shows the steep cost of providing a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants.
Rubio, R-Fla., called the study “flawed” and suggested it maligned immigrants who are not highly educated. Rubio’s parents, who arrived from Cuba in the 1950′s without high school diplomas, are exactly the kind of immigrants the study recommends should not be allowed to enter the country.
“The folks described in the report are my family,” Rubio said.”
“Sen. Rubio’s parents came here in 1956, almost a decade before the introduction of the Great Society programs that laid the foundation of the modern welfare state. Over the following four and a half decades, our government has added layer upon layer of government involvement in our lives, creating a dependency that undermines self-respect and self-reliance.
“That dependency has been devastating to our society; it has shattered communities, families and individuals. It is now threatening the American Dream. This is true for all—native and immigrant alike, legal or illegal. We do not blame immigrants for being entrapped by that system; we blame the people who created that system. We especially blame people who now seek to expand it.”
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