July 06, 2015

Progressive Income Tax. Tool of the Welfare State?

At the Investor's Business Daily website this evening, Terry Jones provides a short history of the progressive income tax, reminding us the nation thrived during the nation's first 124 years of the nation's history when there was no income tax. The progressive income tax will be 102 years old on October 3, 2015.

Jackson next pointed to this January 2015 Gallup poll, which showed:

"According to the Jan. 5-8 poll, 63% of Americans this year are dissatisfied with the amount Americans pay in taxes. In a follow-up question, most of this group -- equivalent to 46% of all Americans -- say they would like to see Americans pay less in taxes. Hardly any -- 4% -- would prefer they pay more. An additional 13% are dissatisfied with what Americans pay in taxes, but aren't specific about how it should change.

"The 46% who currently want taxes decreased is notably higher than what Gallup has found since 2012. It is only exceeded by the 51% recorded in mid-January 2003, a week after President George W. Bush proposed extending certain 2001 tax cuts and implementing new ones, measures that ultimately became known as the 2003 Bush tax cuts. Gallup did not ask this satisfaction question about taxes from 2009-2011."

Gallup also points out that "Democrats' views (are) at odds with Independents and Republicans," saying:

"While only 5% of Democrats believe Americans' taxes should be increased, the largest segment, 47%, is satisfied with what Americans pay, while about a third, 31%, think they should pay less. In contrast, the largest segment of independents (46%) and a robust majority of Republicans (61%) are dissatisfied and believe taxes should be decreased."

Jackson provides a brief history of the progressive or graduated income tax. He points out that "Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution later forbade an income tax per se and required only a uniform tax to be applied "among the several states" based on their populations." He also includes Chief Justice's 1819 admonition, "'The power to tax, . . . involves the power to destroy."

He also reminds us of the role that Karl Marx, writing:

"Several decades later, an obscure German political philosopher named Karl Marx showed he understood what Marshall meant. In 1848, he made a progressive tax on income one of his 10 essentials for fomenting communist revolution. It would later became a key part of the socialist and progressive movements in the U.S."

Jackson then touches all the historical data points until President Wilson's signing of the Revenue Act on October 3, 1913 before writing:

"When the tax was first enacted, proponents promised that it would remain low and that only a few wealthy people would have to deal with it. And at first, that was true, with the wealthy paying a top rate of just 7%. The tax form itself was a mere two pages, and the entire tax code was 400 pages. Some of the new revenue, moreover, provided relief in the form of lower tariffs.

"In retrospect, however, 1913 can be seen as the year the camel first poked its nose under the tent. In just four years, the top income-tax rate soared above 70%, and rules, exceptions, exemptions and loopholes began to multiply.

"'The worst thing,' economist Dan Mitchell said on the occasion of the income tax's 100th birthday in 2013, 'is that the income tax enabled the modern welfare state.' And indeed, the tax became a gusher of revenue, taking money from the private sector and directing it at a relentlessly growing federal government."





















































July 02, 2015

Many Virginia State Agencies Don't Track Federal Grants

Investigative reporter Kathryn Watson of Watchdog.org's Virginia Bureau reported last week on an audit by Virginia's Auditor of Public Account (VAPA) that shows (HT Townhall.com):

"Virginia does a haphazard job of monitoring federal tax dollars it passes along to local groups, and the state auditor’s office says that needs to change."

Watson continues her reporting, writing:

"Each year, about $2.5 billion federal tax dollars travel through Virginia state coffers and into the hands of local governments, nonprofit organizations and even some for-profit organizations.

"That amounts to somewhere around $300 for every man, woman and child in the commonwealth, but it’s hard to say where all of it’s going, or if it’s being used properly. It’s the middleman — the state agencies — that are responsible for tracking the audits of those dollars, and some aren’t doing their job, according to a new audit from Virginia’s Auditor of Public Accounts.

"Of the 16 middleman state agencies studied, three haven’t kept any tabs on the final recipients of federal tax dollars. Only three checked the federal award amounts against audited statements.

“The commonwealth of Virginia is not fulfilling all of its responsibilities as a pass-through entity,” the report found. “There were several sub-recipients who unknowing to the commonwealth did not appear to meet the audit requirements…”

"Comprehensive Services for At-Risk Youth and Families, the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, and Virginia Information Technologies Agency all failed to track federal dollars they handed off, the audit finds. State auditors didn’t study where the dollars went, so it’s impossible to tell whether they were used properly."

Watson also reported the responses of state agencies to the VAPA audit as well as another VAPA audit, which "pointed out the General Assembly has done nothing in 15 years to hold accountable the hundreds of local government-created “supervisory” entities that control hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars." Read the remainder of her report here.

One wonders if any of the current members of Arlington County's delegation in the Virginia General Assembly have patroned legislation to hold those "local government-created 'supervisory' entities accountable for the millions of taxpayer monies entrusted to them, as described in the previous paragraph, rather than patroning legislation to satisfy special interests. Members of Arlington's delegation are:

Senate of Virginia

  • 30th District -- Adam P. Ebbin (D)
  • 31st District -- Barbara A. Favola (D
  • 32nd District -- Janet D. Howell (D)

House of Delegates

  • 45th District -- Rob Krupicka (D)
  • 47th District -- Patrick A. Hope (D)
  • 48th District -- R. C. “Rip” Sullivan (D)
  • 49th District -- Alfonso H. Lopez (D)

Growls readers are urged to communicate their concerns with members of the Arlington delegation. Contact information for members of the General Assembly can be found here  -- use one of the "quick links" to locate the senator and delegate who represent your district. And tell them ACTA sent you!

Kudos to the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity for its support of Watchdog.org. The Franklin Center is a non-profit organization that promotes a well-informed electorate and a more transparent government.

June 30, 2015

A Thought on the Politics of Delusion

"Exchanges established by the federal government are exchanges established by the state. Rachel Dolezal is black. Iran will honor an agreement not to develop nuclear weapons. ISIS is a JV team. There’s an epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses. Michael Brown had his hands up and pleaded “don’t shoot.” Caitlyn Jenner is a woman. Obamacare is working. 2+2 doesn’t necessarily equal 4. The polar ice caps are disappearing. The IRS is doing a decent job. The border is secure.We’ve ended two wars responsibly. Hillary Clinton turned over all work-related e-mails. An $18,200,000,000,000 debt can grow without mention. People who burn down buildings and overturn cars aren’t thugs. The OPM hack is manageable. We’ve reset relations with Russia. Entitlement reform can be kicked down the road. We’re more respected around the world.

"When a nation engages in mass delusion in an era of worldwide terrorism, intense competition, and nuclear proliferation, things are unlikely to end well."

~ Peter Kirsanow

Source: His June 26, 2015, post at National Review's blog, The Corner (HT Thomas Lifson, American Thinker). Lifson would add another item to the list -- lower GDP is really a sign of a better economy).

July 2015
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Items in Growls are written by individual ACTA members and do not necessarily represent the views of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association, Inc. Please send comments about Growls to The Growl Meister