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They want fairness? Give it to them

They want fairness? Give it to them

Don’t let a good fiscal cliff go to waste

Democrats say they want fairness.

One idea is to force residents of blue states to pay their fair share by capping or eliminating federal deductions for property taxes and state income taxes.

But if we must appease the Democrats’ demand for higher revenue, we also should target the activist institutions which currently enjoy tax exempt status but which serve implicitly political purposes.

Christian Adams in a 2011 post (via Instapundit), listed some of the institutions which have created a permanent structure on the left in the area of election law unmatched by anything on the right:

Leftist foundations, litigators and organizations have established permanent structures designed to alter election outcomes through policy advocacy and strategic litigation. Project Vote, DEMOS, the Asian American Legal Defense Fund (AALDF), the Brennan Center for Justice, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Advancement Project, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), League of Women Voters, Asian Pacific American Legal Center and Common Cause are some of the groups that push election law in a direction hostile to conservatives, and the rule of law. Not surprisingly, money tainted by George Soros also flows downstream through various groups and institutes to the cause….

What do conservative groups have to oppose this coordinated leftist strategy of lies and litigation? Virtually nothing. The best effort is an ad hoc group of Republican lawyers. Other embryonic efforts have sprung out of the Tea Party movement, such as True the Vote in Texas or the Election Integrity Project in California. Like so many other things, conservatives are justifiably too busy making money or raising families to commit to a cause.

Dramatically scale back the dizzying array of institutions which qualify for tax-exempt status.  Eliminate the 501c3 exemption for groups with implicitly political activities like Demos, and make groups like Demos and its donors pay taxes like the rest of us.

Scaling back tax-exempt status will negatively affect some conservative institutions and groups.  Too bad.

We have think tanks, they have activists.

We face structural problems which have left us so far behind there’s almost no hope of catching up, and we’re subsidizing our own destruction. 

They want fairness?  Give it to them.


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This post is outstanding, and I couldn’t agree more. Foundations especially have become sinecures for lefties in search of influence and incomes, when they should instead be out trying to produce something for the good of society. Tax them. Limit their legal lives. Require spending of assets (and not on donations to other foundations!).

And as Professor Reynolds says,

Repeal the Hollywood tax cuts and slap a 50% surtax on excess post-government earnings by federal officials.

We need radical reform in our tax system. (See the period?)

I suggest repeal of the Sixteenth, and that it be replaced with an amendment forbidding an income tax in any form, including corporate taxes (which EVERYBODY who is a consumer pays, and which make American products non-competitive[er]).

No inheritance tax. No tax on wealth. No tax on capital gains.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | November 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I’ve come to the conclusion we should go over the cliff. If it was good law when they passed it, why isn’t it good law now? The American people spoke in November, and they said they mostly prefer the current set of legislators who gave us the cliff. So let’s dive over it.

Since “starving the beast” has failed to make government smaller, then let’s make EVERYONE pay for the government they’ve voted for. We’ll see how much they want big government when they have to pay for it and can no longer dump the tab onto the backs of their children and grandchildren. Sorry if it causes a recession. It’s what you voted for.

Under normal circumstances I would agree, but these aren’t normal circumstances. Any tax revenue they would derive would be wasted in any event by government incompetence because their aren’t going to be any meaningful cuts other than in defense. In fact, additional tax revenue of any sort only prolongs the inevitable end. Let us not forget that the rich whom Obama is targeting know how to avoid paying more taxes in any event so you effort is not necessary. It’s time for Democrats to put up or shut up on their demagoguery. Some of the most pork laden politicians are Democrats in the defense industry, let the Democrats eat their own. There is no point spending political capital by the GOP.

Let the Democrats pass their budgets or continuing spending resolutions. The best advice for these abnormal circumstances is for the GOP to vote PRESENT, just like Obama did for years. In this manner they neither hinder the passage of any bill thus relieving themselves of the blame game being called “obstructionist” but at the same time not be a party to irresponsibility. It’s called being the opposition party, it’s time the GOP start acting like one.

The majority voted for Obama and his cronies, let them feel the full consequences of their decision.

FYI- the printing presses have already begun to roll if you look at the latest figures on GDP, we are in recession were it NOT FOR GOVERNMENT SPENDING. The electorate wanted Obama and Obamanomics they shall get. The debt ceiling limit is coming up shortly as well, let the Democrats own it!

ConserveLiberty | November 29, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Eliminate ALL tax deductions, allowances, exemptions, credits, and other distortions of rational economic behavior. Do away altogether with (for instance) sections 401 and 501 of the tax code, making retirement plans and endowments and foundations taxable entities.

Tax spending and uses, not incomes and assets.

That’ll shake things up!

It ain’t gonna happen!! For decades the GOP Conservatives have ceded this turf to the left with these foreseeable results. We couldn’t be bothered! The only way to gain it back is to go after the failures they have wrought, aggressively and don’t be apologetic! Our people won’t do that, they never have and never will. It’s partly because they are intimidated but more because of inertia. It doesn’t pay for them to do it. It is much easier to mouth platitudes in our direction while cutting their latest face saving cave. Again, until recently, we’ve allowed this because as the Professor says above, we’ve been to busy leading our lives. Well that attitude has over the last 4 years come back to bite us. Some of us have warned this day was coming, no one wanted to hear it.

It needs to be said that some Tea Party groups are 501(C3) non profits. How would you propose that we organize?

    From my experience, to many work to establish their own turf. Another group then tries to Co op that success and establish their own niche. Also there is too much emphasis by some for personal aggrandizement. We must learn it’s about the larger cause and not about us being recognized as the big dog. From there it is a matter of organization and specialization for most efficient effect.

Sounds fair to me as does this simple solution: Occam’s Razor to the throat of government.

Everyone has to be a stakeholder. Everyone has to be exposed to risk, especially that which follows from voluntary actions. It is a dissociation of risk which sponsors corruption. From the richest to poorest, this is the only effective means to control its progress.

Jack The Ripper | November 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm

We should have a consumption-based tax above the poverty level. The Fair Tax is a great idea, but easy for opponents to demagogue. Even George Will got the math wrong by confusing a tax-inclusive tax rate (like the income tax) with a tax-exclusive tax rate (like sales taxes).

Unlike a consumption tax, our current tax system discourages saving and investing.

Our current tax system also encourages debt over equity. Interest is deductible, dividends are not.

I am a huge fan of Herman Cain, but a value-added tax scares me. With a consumption or income tax, the voters know exactly what a tax increase feels like. With a VAT, not only do you create a huge bureaucracy, but politicians in Europe and elsewhere can tinker with the tax with impunity because the voters will think that the tax is only on “corporations.” A VAT falls squarely in the old adage “Don’t tax you. Don’t tax me. Tax the fella behind that tree.”

As for the other question, how do we match “progressives” when it comes to activism? How do we create a standing army of election lawyers? How do we get voter ID implemented – everywhere – before the midterms? Also, we should get rid of early and absentee voting. I don’t mind if I do not get to vote some years because of travel or illness. It happens. It happens to people on both sides of the political aisle. But, early and absentee voting opens the door to too much fraud and chicanery, and, George Will is right: Forcing everyone to go to the polls on the same day reinforces a sense of civic duty. And, this is very important in a society that is as atomized as ours. People used to have certain common experiences, even if it was only going to the movie theater together or tuning in at the same time to watch the Lunar Landing or to find out who shot JR. Now, liberals and conservatives don’t even have to see each other. We all read watch, listen, and read our own materials and usually on our own time. Early and absentee voting just furthers the alienation.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am no collectivist. I am glad for the competition and choice that has broken the grip of the mainstream media and that has made all of our lives better.

But, when I read the comments posted by readers at The Nation, The New Republic, and the New York Times, I start to think I should buy a gun for personal protection. Sure, there are vituperative comments from conservatives that dehumanize liberals, but they tend to be a distinct minority . . . just like the proportion of liberal comments that are tame, judicious, and that do not paint conservatives as non-human caricatures of racism, bigotry, homophobia, misogyny, and heartless lack of concern for the poor.

So, how do we get a standing army of election lawyers and a standing push for voter ID and same day voting?

As a preliminary step, reform the AMT to turn it into a legitimate flat tax.

Then, quit passing so-called AMT fixes. The structure of the AMT will proceed to shove people into the flat tax.

Part of the beauty of this is that the increased taxes will mostly fall on blue states. Californians and New Yorkers will scream, but they’re not voting for the GOP anyway.

In a spirit of pure bipartisan cooperation, in addition to the Hollywood excise tax that Prof. Reynolds champions, may I suggest:
A 10% annual excise tax on lobbyists, political consultants and tax lawyers. Business has never been better for them, and at some point you’ve made enough money, right?
Tax investment income generated by college endowment funds. Harvard makes billions a year that it then re-invests into the endowment rather than spend on student, faculty and facilities. Tax such income at the current capital gains rate.
Do the same to investment income generated by ALL non-profit groups. If you raise money and spend it on a worthy cause (e.g., the local hospital) fine, but if you’re putting it in the bank, you get taxed.
Extend the Reynolds Hollywood tax to Nashville, Broadway and Motown.
Eliminate tax-exempt trust funds. They made sense back in the days when Carnegie, Rockefeller, Ford, etc did what government generally wasn’t doing, such as funding hospitals and universities. But government does all that now, so why grant trusts special status? Ban new tax-exempt trusts and require current trusts to sunset.
Cap federal tax schedule A deductions for state and local income taxes, mortgage interest and charitable deductions. Use the Romney plan, it was more than fair.
A 10% tax on fees paid for abortions. Use the money to fund contraceptives for the poor. Sandra Fluke would be proud.
A 10% tax on print, broadcast and on-line media: that 50 cent newspaper, that $40 a month cable fee, that $20 a month NYT on-line subscription, that $80 gender studies textbook, all those would be taxed. The media companies, publishers and broadcasters can afford it, of course.
I can come up with more, as can you. Remember, we’re being fair and ecumenical here so as to help our progressive buddies generate new revenue!

Here is exactly what I’m talking about:

Boehner rejects Obama’s opening bid

Republicans said the administration is demanding the $1.6 trillion in tax increases upfront, while the smaller amount of spending cuts would come later. The White House also wants $50 billion in new stimulus spending, according to published reports, and to make permanent a change in the way the debt ceiling is raised so that Congress can only block it with a two-thirds majority.

“This offer represents a complete break from reality,” the Republican aide said. “There were only seven weeks between Election Day and Christmas. The White House has now completely wasted three of them. After weeks of negotiations, they just demanded all of their favorite proposals, with no sign of compromise whatsoever.”

Front loading $1.6 Trillion in taxes would slam the already declining economy into a full blown Depression. This confirms my contention that the Fiscal Cliff was Obama’s ultimate goal in the first place. I say give Obama and his Democrat followers and the majority of voters exactly what they asked for and voted for. Speaker John Boehner should immediately draft a bill EXACTLY as demanded by Democrats (just as he did with Obama’s previous 4 budgets which got zero votes btw). Then all of the GOP members should vote PRESENT leaving it to Democrats to either pass the bill taking full responsibility for the economic Depression OR let them bring on the Fiscal Cliff so it will be ALL of the Democrats fault for millions of layoffs in the defense industries.

Let’s be very clear about this, the fiscal cliff as structured would have taken half the cuts to the defense industry and half to entitlements. The only people who would be laid off on the entitlement side would be some bureaucrats who give away our tax dollars. On the defense side, that’s mostly millions of blue collar workers. So who gets the blame for that? Democrats. Force the Democrats to explain to millions of people why they should follow the lunatic liberal agenda to its logical conclusion, after all they hate the military.

Yes, people are going to be hurt but Yes, elections do have consequences. That’s the only way people will start taking their duty to vote seriously instead of foolishly either deciding at the last minute because they didn’t bother to get informed on the issues OR treating the election as some kind of High School popularity contest voting for prom king and queen. As long we as being the voice of reason insist on slowing down the inevitable we prevent people from seeing the problem for what it is. Enough of the incrementalism, let the country fully experience Obama. Our opposition only eases the country into Obama’s faulty world view, in fact it is we who caused the incrementalism by resisting their goal.