What did we learn from four hours of 20 Democratic presidential candidates vying for camera time and voter interest?
1. According to the candidates, apparently the greatest existential threat to America (after Donald Trump) is the large corporations that employ millions of Americans.
2. Several candidates want to boldly open the door to socialized medicine now; the others want to sneak it in through the back door...
You could hardly have a more fluid situation than what is going on right now with regard to future Republican House leadership, so this blog may be out of date before it’s finished. But as I’m writing, several people are maneuvering for leadership positions, and the general grassroots mood is that they want a “real conservative.”
(Of course, what a “real conservative” is differs literally from activist to activist. If they agree with you down the line on every single issue, they are a “real conservative,” and if they disagree with you on anything, they are a RINO. Apparently. Which is the biggest problem the conservative movement has right now. It’s principles, people. Anyway . . . )
One candidate who some feel is the “real conservative” for Speaker of the House is Jason Chaffetz from Utah. Chaffetz is an interesting case. Is Chaffetz the “real conservative” option?
Well, yes, the Obama administration doesn’t like Chaffetz, but that’s largely because he chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and thus has been looking into Executive Branch.
But conservatives mostly define themselves by their principles, and one of the pretty bedrock principles is constitutional federalism. On that front, Chaffetz is troubling, for at least two reasons.
It’s almost as if it is official U.S. policy to make it difficult for American businesses to succeed.
First and most significantly, we subject American businesses to the highest tax rates among all of our competitors—39.1% when you add in state taxes. That’s significantly higher than the O.E.C.D average of 25 percent, and it’s even higher than the supposedly “high tax European countries”—consider that Belgium (34 percent), France (34.4 percent), and Sweden (22 percent) all have lower business taxes than does the United States.
Then, at least for select industries, we aid their overseas competitors. Through the Export-Import Bank we finance foreign purchases of Boeing jets, which helps foreign competitors of Delta, Southwest, American, FedEx and UPS. We could solve that problem this year by simply allowing Ex-Im to expire.
We allow other of our domestic industries to be exposed to blatant market manipulation and outright attack by our trading partners, particularly in agriculture. Yes, American agriculture policy is a rats nest of loans, supports and protections that are hard to justify in a free-market economy, and conservatives recognize these as market distorting. Of course we should move toward phasing out these protections.
Yesterday we wrote that the 6 percent who answered in a survey that they thought the U.S. has the best tax system in the world were wrong. Already today we have one more reason the 6 percent are wrong: The Tax Foundation released an analysis showing that the U.S. has the 9th highest top marginal tax rate on personal dividends compared to other countries in the OECD. So, in the U.S., you are highly taxed if you own a business, if you invest, if you save or if you earn income. And some people wonder why so many struggle to make ends meet? Figuring it out is not exactly an exercise in the advanced engineering of spacecraft.
Taxes are going up in 2013, and I mean REALLY up, as a result of a) Obamacare, and b) expiration of the "Bush tax cuts."
Here's a summary of the tax increases that will be hitting in just a few months, absent some kind of agreement between Congress and the Obama administration, which I seriously doubt.
It's not surprising that Saratoga County is attempting to inappropriately extend existing occupancy taxes beyond the actual price paid for the hotel room, under some discredited theory that the County is somehow getting stiffed by online travel companies.