Posts tagged Republican
By Tona Monroe
Wheel Tax is latest ploy demonstrating hypocrisy of Republicans
Blount County voters will once again decide if they wish to pay a Wheel Tax, in the specially called election on June 11. The cost to the taxpayers for the special election will be at least $80,000, but saving money is of little concern to the resolution sponsors who have a habitual history of tax and fee increases. The Wheel Tax is the latest demonstration that being a Republican doesn’t necessarily mean limited government and low taxes.
All 21 members of the Blount County Commission were elected as Republicans in 2010, at a time when people were angry with Democrats and calling for a return to constitutionally limited government. The Blount County Republican Party sent a post card mailer warning people not to vote for local Democrats because of the big tax and spending Democrats in Washington DC. The three Democrats on the Commission were easily defeated.
Blount County voters handily defeated a wheel tax in 2006, with 71% of the voters rejecting it. Voters rejected a sales tax increase in 2008. Both of these votes took place prior to the current Commission, but Republicans had a super majority on the previous Commission, with a majority of the current Commissioners sitting on the previous Commission.
The current all-Republican Commission voted to raise the property tax rate the first year of their new term in 2011. While some of the Republican Commissioners voted against the tax increase, many of them voted for most or all of the spending that caused the tax increase, which makes them guilty of big spending and culpable for the tax increase.
Instead of creating a Committee to cut waste, the Commission created a Committee to Study Lost Revenue. The all-Republican Commission finished out the last month of the first year of their current term with litigation fee increases, with the resolution reading “WHEREAS, Blount County is in need of additional revenue.”
Rather than increase property tax in the second year of the current term, a sales tax increase was proposed in 2012. Blount County voters defeated the proposed sales tax increase a second time, but with a much narrower margin of defeat than in 2008.
Now the Wheel Tax is back, as the all-Republican Commission faces a huge spending increase from Blount County Schools, in its third year. The timing of the special election is interesting, the middle of June when School is out and people are taking vacations. The Commission has been unable to get voters in November elections, when voter turnout is at its highest, to approve tax increases. The date of the election appears to be deliberately set to catch people off guard so that the tax can be slid through, knowing that government employees usually vote, while hoping that those opposed are unaware or busy during the specially called election.
Republicans gave Blount Countians a property tax increase and fee increases in their first year. Republicans tried to give Blount Countians a sales tax increase in their second year. Now Blount Countians are faced with a Wheel Tax. The Commission could implement a Wheel Tax on its own authority with a two-thirds majority vote during two consecutive Commission meetings. Republican Commissioners don’t want to do this, partly because they hope to get the voter to do it for them.
The other reason is because the Wheel Tax won’t fix the School Budget problem entirely. The $86.8 million School Budget means a funding deficit of $6.9 million. Commissioner Holden Lail, one of the Wheel Tax resolution sponsors who is a retired Blount County educator and is married to Blount County educator, doesn’t know how much the Wheel Tax will actually generate. Estimates range from $2.5-3.5 million, which is far short of the $6.9 million needed. The Commission would then have to decide whether to increase the property tax rate to fund the deficit or tell the School Board to cut its budget.
The Wheel Tax proposal is sloppy, slothful and sly. It’s sloppy because the amount it generates is unknown but the best estimate shows it only providing about half of the requested increase. It’s slothful because it raises taxes without making any attempt to cut wasteful spending. It’s sly because it’s planned to avoid a general election so that County employees can ramrod it through.
The people of Blount County need to critically evaluate the performance of this all-Republican Commission. Voters have rejected all proposed tax increases, while the all Republican Commission has proposed a tax increase each year. Republicans railed about the dangers of big government Democrats in Washington DC in 2010, but the people of Blount County have an all-Republican Commission that hasn’t gone a single year without trying to increase taxes since their rhetoric about the Democrats in Washington DC.
Tona Monroe, a regular contributor to BCPublicRecord.com, is actively involved in state and local politics having a keen desire for restoring privacy and our right to travel. She resides in Greenback, Tenn. with her husband and dogs and enjoys a healthy lifestyle and dog rescue work.
By Judy Morris
Ron Paul on Monday dismissed both Republican and White House claims about Benghazi as a “sideshow” and said GOP criticisms on the issue politically motivated.
“Republicans smell a political opportunity over evidence that the Administration heavily edited initial intelligence community talking points about the attack to remove or soften anything that might reflect badly on the president or the State Department,” Paul, a libertarian-leaning former Republican congressman and presidential candidate, charged in a column posted on Monday.
His comments came as reports indicated that official talking points about the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, had been stripped of references to terrorism. President Barack Obama, for his part, on Monday rejected criticism over the talking points as a “sideshow.” Paul, too, used that word — but in a very different context.
“The real lesson of Benghazi will not be learned because neither Republicans nor Democrats want to hear it,” he concluded. “But it is our interventionist foreign policy and its unintended consequences that have created these problems, including the attack and murder of Ambassador Stevens. The disputed talking points and White House whitewashing are just a sideshow.”
So what does bad government fear most? Openness and transparency that would allow a view into their possible corruption and back room deals. When government conducts business in secret it makes one wonder as to which master they serve, as it would be apparent that they may not be serving those that entrusted them to office and the citizens they are to represent. If no other thought from this post stays in your thoughts, this last sentence should.
On February 5th the Blount County GOP held such a meeting, behind closed doors, which locked out and turned away approximately 40 or more people, from my quick head count, that took time out to attend, including a Republican County Commissioner as seen below. As no meeting was posted on the schedule on the Blount County GOP website, no signs were visibly posted, that I was able to see, as to give direction to the meeting room or that a meeting was even taking place, it makes one wonder what was the “agenda”. While that remains a mystery, we do know that open discussions with it’s citizens and transparency were not on the “agenda”.
Here was the only sign posted on the glass doors going back into the meeting room area. AARP Tax Aid was the only message given.
Below are two posts that originated on the Blount County Public Record website giving some of the details.
Sheriff’s Employee Jimmy Long Prohibiting Republican County Commissioner Jim Folts from Entering Meeting
Blount County Commissioner Jim Folts, a Republican, was prohibited by Blount County Sheriff’s Employee Jimmy Long from entering the Republican Party meeting on February 5, 2013.
Friends & Concerned Citizens,
On Tues. night there was a Republican meeting at the Blount County Library. This is what one of our patriots has posted on facebook: “Today a large number of grassroots Republicans showed up at the reorganization meeting of the Blount County Party. About 75 or so of the local elites, most of them you know, were the ones that got to make all of the decision about who is going to be in power in this county. They met in private, even though their own bylaws state the meeting is supposed to be open to the public and advertised in the paper of record. They denied fellow Republicans including a former state senator and sitting county commissioner entrance into the meeting, even though their own bylaws state anyone who has voted in 3 of the last 5 Republican primaries is eligible to vote in the meeting. Judges, who were part of the decision making process, suddenly left this meeting in the presence of so many people and at least one camera. Do you ever wonder why government operates in secret? The parties operate in secret. Well, the secret is up. More will be coming soon.”
Wayne and I were there in the hallway so experienced this firsthand and saw it with our own eyes. Do you ever wonder why we’re sick of incumbent or career politicians? We have our share of them here in Blount County and it’s past time to get involved as the taxpaying citizens of this county and tell them we want “openness and accountability” for our hard earned money.
By Tyler Durden
On February 3rd, 1913, one of the two most historic events in US history took place: the ratification of the 16th amendment, which established Congress’ right to impose a Federal income tax on Americans, and overturned Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution which explicitly prohibited a general income tax. The amendment was brief and to the point, and read as follows: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” And with that, the US Federal Income Tax was born and has been with us for precisely 100 years.
The amendment itself:
The result: the first ever iteration of what would henceforth become the most hated form in US history.
Passed by Congress on July 2, 1909, and ratified February 3, 1913, the 16th amendment established Congress’s right to impose a Federal income tax.
Far-reaching in its social as well as its economic impact, the income tax amendment became part of the Constitution by a curious series of events culminating in a bit of political maneuvering that went awry.
The financial requirements of the Civil War prompted the first American income tax in 1861. At first, Congress placed a flat 3-percent tax on all incomes over $800 and later modified this principle to include a graduated tax. Congress repealed the income tax in 1872, but the concept did not disappear.
After the Civil War, the growing industrial and financial markets of the eastern United States generally prospered. But the farmers of the south and west suffered from low prices for their farm products, while they were forced to pay high prices for manufactured goods. Throughout the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s, farmers formed such political organizations as the Grange, the Greenback Party, the National Farmers’ Alliance, and the People’s (Populist) Party. All of these groups advocated many reforms (see the Interstate Commerce Act) considered radical for the times, including a graduated income tax.
In 1894, as part of a high tariff bill, Congress enacted a 2-percent tax on income over $4,000. The tax was almost immediately struck down by a five-to-four decision of the Supreme Court, even though the Court had upheld the constitutionality of the Civil War tax as recently as 1881. Although farm organizations denounced the Court’s decision as a prime example of the alliance of government and business against the farmer, a general return of prosperity around the turn of the century softened the demand for reform. Democratic Party Platforms under the leadership of three-time Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, however, consistently included an income tax plank, and the progressive wing of the Republican Party also espoused the concept.
In 1909 progressives in Congress again attached a provision for an income tax to a tariff bill. Conservatives, hoping to kill the idea for good, proposed a constitutional amendment enacting such a tax; they believed an amendment would never receive ratification by three-fourths of the states. Much to their surprise, the amendment was ratified by one state legislature after another, and on February 25, 1913, with the certification by Secretary of State Philander C. Knox, the 16th amendment took effect. Yet in 1913, due to generous exemptions and deductions, less than 1 percent of the population paid income taxes at the rate of only 1 percent of net income.
This document settled the constitutional question of how to tax income and, by so doing, effected dramatic changes in the American way of life.
As for the other historic event of US history, ironically it, too, took place in 1913, on December 23: this was the day when the Federal Reserve was founded.
The charts below summarize what has happened next:
By Andrea Egizi
Posted Jan 4, 2013
It seems like everyone who is paying attention to the fiscal cliff debate has an opinion one way or another about the benefits and disadvantages of the Tuesday night passage of the Senate Bill. The compromise that was agreed upon can be described as a barrel filled with pork for both Democrats and Republicans and their corporate sponsors, being that earmarks and tax breaks for corporations are included amongst the illusion of fiscal relief for the middle and lower classes.
For the left, the tax increases on the super-rich, who make up approximately 0.9 percent of the American population (those individuals earning more than $400,000 or $450,000 per household), was a victory but still managed to fall short of the Obama campaign promise of raising taxes on the top two percent (individuals earning more than $200,000 or $250,000 per household). For the right, the numbers must have added up, seeing as quite a few house Republicans voted in line with the Democrats. This tax increase on rich folks from 35 percent to 39.6 percent will create about $600 billion in revenue over the course of ten years, but with congress’ track record being as shoddy as it is, who knows what programs or misuse it will go to, you know: like the TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program), where taxpayer money went directly to the banks and CEOs but not to the millions of underwater homeowners that it was designed to assist to avoid foreclosure. But don’t worry, this money will surely not go towards paying down our world-record national debt of $16.4 trillions that was not even addressed by the bill. Economists have predicted that all the expenditure this bill allows will raise the national debt to $20 trillion during the next ten years.
Let us take a look at what else this bill will do to the economy and the American people. For starters, the bill extends for another year Goldman Sachs and Bank of America’s tax break by moving their headquarters to the “Liberty Zone”, a post 9/11 area where the World Trade centers once stood. This tax provision was created to help revitalize Lower Manhattan’s small businesses but instead helped out these two mega-bailed-out banks and helped to subsidize the construction of luxury apartments. Goldman Sachs alone was reported to have received $1.6 billion in tax free financing of its new building.
The Extension of the Active Financing Exception of Sub-part F is a very fancily-worded trade tax loophole; it extends a bill created in 1997 that allows American companies to avoid paying taxes on income from certain transactions called “active financing.” This loophole, a credit of up to $9 billion, basically encourages American companies to move overseas and thus outsource employment from Americans. One of the biggest corporations to abuse this loophole is General Electric (GE).
By Ezra Van Auken
The Ron Paul Republican, freshman Congressman from Kentucky, Thomas Massie has wasted no time getting to work in D.C., as Massie has already introduced a Libertarian ideal bill. If passed, the legislation introduced by Massie and his colleague, Rep. Steve Stockman would repeal the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act.
Gun-Free School Zones Act explains that it’s “unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe is a school zone.” On the contrary, Rep. Massie believes these designated “gun-free zones” are “ineffective”. The Kentucky Congressman said in a statement, “They make people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments,” arguing that these zones will only disarm victims, not criminals.
Rep. Massie also noted, “Gun free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, and create vulnerable populations that are targeted by criminals.” Bringing opposition against Massie’s legislation is Rep. John Yarmuth, who considers greater gun laws to be the answer for less violence.
Rep. Yarmuth spoke out saying, “The Gun-Free School Zones law is designed to keep students from bringing guns to school and to ensure that there are serious consequences for those who do.” However, if a criminal has the intent to murder, wouldn’t breaking a “lesser” law be a no-brainer to an individual with the incentive to kill? The Democratic Congressman as well said, “Repealing the law would make it more difficult to hold offenders accountable.”
The Courier-Journal detailed, “Massie said his legislation is in answer to calls from President Barack Obama and others for tougher gun restrictions after the Dec. 14 elementary school shootings in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six staff members dead.” Kentucky’s 4th District Congressman pointed out, “Weapons bans and gun free zones are unconstitutional. They do not and cannot prevent criminals or the mentally ill from committing acts of violence. But they often prevent victims of such violence from protecting themselves.”
In hopes to gather more support for H.R. 133, Rep. Massie met with National Association for Gun Rights Executive Vice President, Dudley Brown this past Friday to discuss Massie’s legislation. A supporter of the two meeting, Joanna Reichert, wrote, “Wow – finally a push that recognizes criminals don’t care about signs! What a concept!”
SLN will be contacting Rep. Massie’s office to gather updates as this bill moves around the House.
Bill Schickel, the Iowa GOP Co-Chair, was upset with the dominance of positions held by Ron Paul supporters and members of Campaign for Liberty, stating about the situation, “that is disenfranchising to many, many of our Republicans”. Later he mentions that he is running to ‘bring all of these groups together”.
By the way, Schickel failed in his bid and the supporters of Ron Paul and Liberty are still holding the positions of chairman, next co-chair and treasurer.
Submitted by Ian56
Ben mentions some of the other items of Corporate Welfare and how the vast majority of taxpayers are going to pay more in taxes in 2013.
Posted by Lew Rockwell
Despite claims that the Administration and Congress saved America from the fiscal cliff with an early morning vote today, the fact is that government spending has already pushed Americans over the cliff. Only serious reductions in federal spending will stop the cliff dive from ending in a crash landing, yet the events of this past month show that most elected officials remain committed to expanding the welfare-warfare state.
While there was much hand-wringing over the “draconian” cuts that would be imposed by sequestration, in fact sequestration does not cut spending at all. Under the sequestration plan, government spending will increase by 1.6 trillion over the next eight years. Congress calls this a cut because without sequestration spending will increase by 1.7 trillion over the same time frame. Either way it is an increase in spending.
Yet even these minuscule cuts in the “projected rate of spending” were too much for Washington politicians to bear. The last minute “deal” was the worst of both worlds: higher taxes on nearly all Americans now and a promise to revisit these modest reductions in spending growth two months down the road. We were here before, when in 2011 Republicans demanded these automatic modest decreases in government growth down the road in exchange for a massive increase in the debt ceiling. As the time drew closer, both parties clamored to avoid even these modest moves.
Make no mistake: the spending addiction is a bipartisan problem. It is generally believed that one party refuses to accept any reductions in military spending while the other party refuses to accept any serious reductions in domestic welfare programs. In fact, both parties support increases in both military and domestic welfare spending. The two parties may disagree on some details of what kind of military or domestic welfare spending they favor, but they do agree that they both need to increase. This is what is called “bipartisanship” in Washington.
While the media played up the drama of the down-to-the-wire negotiations, there was never any real chance that a deal would not be worked out. It was just drama. That is how Washington operates. As it happened, a small handful of Congressional and Administration leaders gathered in the dark of the night behind closed doors to hammer out a deal that would be shoved down the throats of Members whose constituents had been told repeatedly that the world would end if this miniscule decrease in the rate of government spending was allowed to go through.
While many on both sides express satisfaction that this deal only increases taxes on the “rich,” most Americans will see more of their paycheck going to Washington because of the deal. The Tax Policy Center has estimated that 77 percent of Americans would see higher taxes because of the elimination of the payroll tax cut.
The arguments against the automatic “cuts” in military spending were particularly dishonest. Hawks on both sides warned of doom and gloom if, as the plan called for, the defense budget would have returned to 2007 levels of spending! Does anybody really believe that our defense spending was woefully inadequate just five years ago? And since 2007 we have been told that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down. According to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next eight years military spending would increase 20 percent without the sequester and would increase 18 percent with the sequester. And this is what is called a dangerous reduction in defense spending?
Ironically, some of the members who are most vocal against tax increases and in favor of cuts to domestic spending are the biggest opponents of cutting a penny from the Pentagon budget. Over and over we were told of the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be lost should military spending be returned to 2007 levels. Is it really healthy to think of our defense budget as a jobs program? Many of these allegedly free-market members sound more Keynesian than Paul Krugman when they praise the economic “stimulus” created by militarism.
As Chris Preble of the Cato Institute wrote recently, “It’s easy to focus exclusively on the companies and individuals hurt by the cuts and forget that the taxed wealth that funded them is being employed elsewhere.”
While Congress ultimately bears responsibility for deficit spending, we must never forget that the Federal Reserve is the chief enabler of deficit spending. Without a central bank eager to monetize the debt, Congress would be unable to fund the welfare-warfare state without imposing unacceptable levels of taxation on the American people. Of course, the Federal Reserve’s policies do impose an “inflation” tax on the American people; however, since this tax is hidden Congress does not fear the same public backlash it would experience if it directly raised income taxes.
I have little hope that a majority of Congress and the President will change their ways and support real spending reductions unless forced to by an economic crisis or by a change in people’s attitudes toward government. Fortunately, increasing numbers of Americans are awakening to the dangers posed by the growth of the welfare-warfare state. Hopefully this movement will continue to grow and force the politicians to reverse course before government spending, taxing, and inflation destroys our economy entirely.
Photo added to original post.
By Joe Newby
In an op-ed at the Des Moines Register, retired columnist Donald Kaul called for, among other things, a repeal of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, the forced elimination of the NRA as an organization, and the death of gun owners who refuse to give up their arms, Newsbusters reported Monday.
“Here, then, is my ‘madder-than-hell-and-I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore’ program for ending gun violence in America,” he wrote.
“Repeal the Second Amendment, the part about guns anyway. It’s badly written, confusing and more trouble than it’s worth. It offers an absolute right to gun ownership, but it puts it in the context of the need for a ‘well-regulated militia.’ We don’t make our militia bring their own guns to battles. And surely the Founders couldn’t have envisioned weapons like those used in the Newtown shooting when they guaranteed gun rights. Owning a gun should be a privilege, not a right,” he wrote.
“Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did,” he added.
Kaul said he would also “raze the organization’s headquarters, clear the rubble and salt the earth, but that’s optional.”
After saying he would make “ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony,” Kaul announced that he would punish such ownership with the death penalty.
“If some people refused to give up their guns, that ‘prying the guns from their cold, dead hands’ thing works for me,” he wrote.
After saying he would kill gun owners who refused to give up their guns, Kaul issued a threat against Republican leaders.
“Then I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control,” he added.
He concluded his violent rant by saying that if killing gun owners, shredding the Constitution and torturing GOP leaders didn’t work, he would “adopt radical measures.”