Posts tagged taxes
Where does your tax dollar go? (An infographic)
Watch the “net interest” percentage going forward as interest rates rise. That’s going to put a cramp in our lifestyle.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
Posted September 3, 2013
Matt Drudge Breaks Up With Republicans, Joins Libertarians
“It’s now Authoritarian vs Libertarian,” Drudge tweeted. “Since Democrats vs. Republicans has been obliterated, no real difference between parties…”
Drudge also asks his followers why anyone would still vote Republican. “Who are they?!” he asks. “Raised taxes; marching us off to war again; approves more NSA snooping.”
By editor on August 19, 2013
Following the Money: A Tennessee Education Spending Primer
NASHVILLE – A new study released today analyzes taxpayer spending on public education in Tennessee. In the study, the Beacon Center of Tennessee, the state’s premier free market policy organization, looked at the amount taxpayers actually spend on education versus what is reported, where that money goes, and whether more funding equals better results.
The first of its kind in Tennessee, the report titled “Following the Money: A Tennessee Education Spending Primer,” reached some troubling conclusions. First, the amount that taxpayers already spend on public education is significantly underreported. While the average stated amount spent per pupil is $9,123 per year, the true figure is about 11 percent more than reported, or $10,088 per student.
Of that funding, less than 54 percent is directed at classroom instruction, such as teacher salaries, textbooks, and other instructional spending. And that figure is in constant decline, whereas administrative spending is on the upswing. Since 2000, the number of administrators in Tennessee’s education system has grown by 34.5 percent, while the number of teachers has increased by less than 17 percent, and the number of students has grown by just seven percent.
Administrators’ salaries have also outpaced those of teachers during that time period. In fact, when factoring for inflation, teachers make less money today than they did in 2000.
“Not only have taxpayers been misinformed about how much we spend on education, there has been a growing trend of adding administrative personnel, redirecting funding away from the classroom,” said Beacon Center CEO Justin Owen.
Finally, after comparing similarly situated school districts within the state, while also comparing Tennessee to other states, the report found no measurable correlation between spending and student performance.
“Ultimately, more spending does not equal better results,” said Owen. “Rather than allocate more money, especially on administrative personnel, public school districts should focus on spending education funds more wisely. Only then can Tennessee expect to provide its students with the quality education they deserve.”
The full report can be found at http://www.beacontn.org/wp-content/uploads/Following-the-Money.pdf.
The Beacon Center of Tennessee’s mission is to change lives through public policy by advancing the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government.
Image credit: http://www.beacontn.org
Why Are So Many People Choosing To Leave The United States Permanently?
Have things gotten so bad that it is time to leave the United States for good? That is a question that a lot of Americans are dealing with these days, and an increasing number of them are choosing to leave the country of their birth permanently. Some are doing it for tax reasons, some are doing it because they believe the future is brighter elsewhere, and others are doing it because they are very distressed about the direction that America is heading and they don’t see any hope for a turnaround any time soon. Personally, I have several friends and contacts that regard themselves as “preppers” that have decided that the United States is too far gone to recover. They have moved their families out of the country and they never plan to return. As this nation continues to head down the very troubled road that it is currently on, this trend is probably only going to accelerate even more.
In fact, some Americans are even going so far as to renounce their citizenship when they leave. This represents only a small percentage of those that are leaving the country, but as Bloomberg recently reported, the number of Americans that renounced their citizenship in the second quarter of 2013 was six times larger than the number that renounced their citizenship in the second quarter of last year…
Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship surged sixfold in the second quarter from a year earlier as the government prepares to introduce tougher asset-disclosure rules.
Expatriates giving up their nationality at U.S. embassies climbed to 1,131 in the three months through June from 189 in the year-earlier period, according to Federal Register figures published today.
Renouncing the country of your birth is not an easy thing to do. From the moment that we come into this world, those of us born in this country are trained to think of ourselves as “Americans”. The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Simon Black of the Sovereign Man blog…
It doesn’t matter where you’re from– the United States, Sweden, New Zealand, or Venezuela… many people all over the world are inculcated from birth with a sense that their country is ‘better’ than all the others.
We grow up with the songs, the flag waving, and the parades until the concept of motherland becomes deeply rooted in our emotional cores.
Not to mention, when so many of our friends and neighbors unquestionably fall in line, it’s a powerful social reinforcement that only strengthens the bond.
We come to view our nationalities rather ironically as a big piece of our core individuality. I am an American. I am a Canadian. I am an Austrian. Instead of– I am a human being.
It has taken decades… centuries even… to reach this point. So the fact that more and more people are making the gut-wrenching decision to ditch their US passports is truly a powerful trend.
Traditionally, the American people have been some of the most patriotic people on the face of the planet.
So why are we now seeing such an increase in the number of people choosing to leave the United States permanently?
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
By The Associated Press Posted: Aug 11, 2013 12:11 PM ET | Last Updated: Aug 11, 2013 12:09 PM ET
Family rescued after plan to leave U.S. by sailboat fails
Arizona family said they were fed up with government interference in religion
A northern Arizona family that was lost at sea for weeks in an ill-fated attempt to leave the U.S. over what they consider government interference in religion will fly back home Sunday.
Hannah Gastonguay, 26, said Saturday that she and her husband “decided to take a leap of faith and see where God led us” when they took their two small children and her father-in-law and set sail from San Diego for the tiny island nation of Kiribati in May.
But just weeks into their journey, the Gastonguays hit a series of storms that damaged their small boat, leaving them adrift for weeks, unable to make progress. They were eventually picked up by a Venezuelan fishing vessel, transferred to a Japanese cargo ship and taken to Chile where they are resting in a hotel in the port city of San Antonio.
Their flights home were arranged by U.S. Embassy officials, Gastonguay said. The U.S. State Department was not immediately available for comment.
The months-long journey has been “pretty exciting” and “little scary at certain points,” Gastonguay said.
She said they wanted to go to Kiribati because “we didn’t want to go anywhere big.” She said they understood the island to be “one of the least developed countries in the world.”
Kiribati is a group of islands just off the equator and the international date line about halfway between Hawaii and Australia. The total population is just over 100,000 people of primarily Micronesian descent.
Family allege government interference in religion
Hannah Gastonguay said her family was fed up with government control in the U.S. As Christians they don’t believe in “abortion, homosexuality, in the state-controlled church,” she said.
U.S. “churches aren’t their own,” Gastonguay said, suggesting that government regulation interfered with religious independence.
Among other differences, she said they had a problem with being “forced to pay these taxes that pay for abortions we don’t agree with.”
The Gastonguays weren’t members of any church, and Hannah Gastonguay said their faith came from reading the Bible and through prayer.
“The Bible is pretty clear,” she said.
The family moved in November from Ash Fork, Ariz., to San Diego, where they lived on their boat as they prepared to set sail. She said she gave birth to the couple’s 8-month-old girl on the boat, which was docked in a slip at the time.
In May, Hannah, her 30-year-old husband Sean, his father Mike, and the couple’s daughters, 3-year-old Ardith and baby Rahab set off. They wouldn’t touch land again for 91 days, she said.
She said at first, “We were cruising.”
But within a couple of weeks “when we came out there, storm, storm, storm.”
Canadian ship offered supplies
The boat had taken a beating, and they decided to set course for the Marquesas Islands. Instead, they found themselves in a “twilight zone,” taking more and more damage, leaving them unable to make progress.
They could have used a sail called a genoa, she said, but they risked snapping off the mast and losing their radio and ability to communicate.
They had been on the ocean for about two months and were low on supplies. They were out of food and were down to “some juice and some honey.” She said they were able to catch fish, but they didn’t see any boats.
Still, we “didn’t feel like we were going to die or anything. We believed God would see us through,” she said.
At one point a fishing ship came into contact with them but left without providing assistance. A Canadian cargo ship came along and offered supplies, but when they pulled up alongside it, the vessels bumped and the smaller ship sustained even more damage.
They were getting hit by “squall after, squall, after squall.”
“We were in the thick of it, but we prayed,” she said. “Being out on that boat, I just knew I was going to see some miracles.”
They watched the surrounding storms disperse, and “next thing you know the sun is out. It’s amazing.”
Lack of navigation expertise
Eventually, their boat was spotted by a helicopter that had taken off from a nearby Venezuelan fishing vessel, which ended up saving them.
“The captain said, ‘Do you know where you’re at? You’re in the middle of nowhere,”‘ she said.
They were on the Venezuelan ship for about five days before transferring to the Japanese cargo ship, where they were for nearly three weeks before landing in Chile on Friday. The Chilean newspaper Las Ultimas Noticias reported the story of their arrival.
“They were looking for a kind of adventure; they wanted to live on a Polynesian island but they didn’t have sufficient expertise to navigate adequately,” police prefect Jose Luis Lopez, who took the family’s statement at San Antonio, told the newspaper.
Sean Gastonguay’s brother Jimmy, who lives in Arizona, said he had provided a description of the family’s vessel to the U.S. Coast Guard and exchanged emails with them once they were picked up by the first boat.
“There was some concern, but we were hoping for the best, and they eventually popped up,” he said. He was able to keep track of the family with the help of the Coast Guard as they were transferred from ship to ship.
“We’re all happy. We have good peace of mind now,” he said.
Hannah Gastonguay said the family will now “go back to Arizona” and “come up with a new plan.”
Posted by Judy Morris
Spain Levies Consumption Tax on Sunlight
Proving that idiocy truly has no bounds, Spain issued a “royal decree” taxing sunlight gatherers. The state threatens fines as much as 30 million euros for those who illegally gather sunlight without paying a tax.
The tax is just enough to make sure that homeowners cannot gather and store solar energy cheaper than state-sponsored providers.
Via Mish-modified Google Translate from Energias Renovables, please consider Photovoltaic Sector, Stunned The Secretary of State for Energy, Alberto Nadal, signed a draft royal decree in which consumption taxes are levied on those who want to start solar power systems on their rooftops. The tax, labeled a “backup toll” is high enough to ensure that it will be cheaper to keep buying energy from current providers…..
Posted by Judy Morris
Detroit Red Wings Get New $400 Million Taxpayer-Financed Stadium While the City Goes Bankrupt
Well, you know, I mean, I think that Detroit built a new baseball stadium, it built a new football stadium, and lo and behold, here we are a few years later and Detroit is still going into bankruptcy.
Read the rest at Therealnews.com, here.
The Pentagon is spending taxpayer dollars on what?
Some will always argue that “defense” is specifically enumerated in the Constitution and therefore a legitimate expenditure. It is a legitimate expenditure.
But it is “defense” which is enumerated. Policing all of the world’s sea lanes was not envisioned by our founders. Nor was maintaining an archipelago of bases in every corner of the world. This is hugely expensive and a drain on our economy back home.
(From The Daily Caller)
The military recently spent $34 million on a construction project in Afghanistan. The money was spent building a headquarters for planning U.S. military operations. Unfortunately, the structure is unoccupied and will most likely never be used. It will either be demolished or handed over to the Afghans.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State received $3.5 million from the Department of Defense to purchase land around the base to protect gophers that inhabit the area. The DOD also gave Eglin Air Force Base in Florida $1.75 million to save a tortoise habitat.*
*For the record I am a big fan of tortoises
IRS Execs “Commute” via plane, Charge taxpayers for flights (3 over $100K last year)
One would think that to be an executive at the IRS one would at the very least have to reside generally in the Washington DC region. But not so. Some top IRS brass live in places such as Dallas, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. These guys must be pretty indispensable because it’s costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to have them fly in.
Remember though, that travel is taxable.
In other words, they would fly weekly to and from Washington, D.C. by plane, and then bill the taxpayer for that travel and their extended stay in D.C. – and it is not a temporary situation, but has been going on for years.
One IRS official, labeled “Executive B” in the report, traveled to Washington, D.C. a total of 282 days in Fiscal Year 2012, claiming almost $127,000 in travel costs. (That’s $450/day if you do the math.)
In FY 2011, “Executive B” traveled to Washington 238 days, with total travel costs of almost $116,000.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
The Biggest Oil Discovery In 50 Years?
In a virtually uninhabitable section of South Australia, a discovery has been made which could rock the world. Some are calling it the biggest discovery of oil in 50 years. Earlier this year, a company called Linc Energy announced that tests had revealed that there was a minimum of 3.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent sitting under more than 65,000 square kilometres of land that it owns in the Arckaringa Basin. But that is the minimum number. It has been projected that there could ultimately be up to 233 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the area. If that turns out to be accurate, the oil sitting under that land is worth approximately 20 trillion dollars, and it would be roughly equivalent to the total amount of oil sitting under the sands of Saudi Arabia. In essence, it would be a massive game changer.
If the 233 billion barrel figure is accurate (and some have even suggested that the true number could actually be 400 billion barrels), that would make it nearly 10 times larger than the Bakken formation, 17 times larger than the Marcellus discovery and 80 times larger than the Eagle Ford deposit down in Texas.
It would also mean that Australia now has more “black gold” than the nations of Iran, Iraq, Canada and Venezuela.
The closest town to this oil discovery, Coober Pedy, is in the process of being totally transformed. It normally only has about 1,700 inhabitants, but news of this discovery has drawn in 20,000 additional people already and real estate prices in the town are absolutely skyrocketing.
So does all of this mean that gas prices will go down soon?
Well, unfortunately that is not likely to be the case.
First of all, the oil in this formation in Australia is going to be quite expensive to extract. It has been estimated that it is going to cost up to 300 million dollars just to get this site ready for production.
In addition, many of our politicians are absolutely determined to greatly punish the use of oil because they believe that it is the primary cause of global warming. So they continue to raise taxes on gasoline consumption.
Today, motorists in the United States pay an average of 49.5 cents of taxes per gallon of gasoline, and in the state of California motorists pay an average of 71.9 cents of taxes per gallon of gasoline.
Hopefully the price of gasoline will come down a bit over the next few years, but even if it does I would not expect it to come down too much.
But what we can be sure of is that the world is not going to run out of oil any time soon. Those that have been predicting that we are are on the verge of an “energy doomsday” can take a rest for a while.
Sometimes it is funny to look back and remember some of the ridiculous things that our politicians were saying about oil in the old days. For example, U.S. President Jimmy Carter made the following statement back in 1977….
“Unless profound changes are made to lower oil consumption, we now believe that early in the 1980s the world will be demanding more oil than it can produce”.
That prediction didn’t exactly work out for him did it?
It is time that the American people were told the truth about our energy situation, and the truth is that we have plenty of energy resources. The following stats have been updated from one of my previous articles…
#1 Back in 1995, the U.S. Geological Survey told the American people that the Bakken Shale formation in western North Dakota and eastern Montana only held 151 million barrels of oil. Today, government officials are admitting that it holds 7.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil, and some analysts believe that the actual number could be closer to 24 billion barrels of oil.
#2 It is estimated that there are 19 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the tar sands of Utah.
#3 It is estimated that there are 86 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Outer Continental Shelf.
#4 It is believed that there are 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Green River formation in Wyoming.
#5 Overall, the United States is sitting on approximately 1.442 trillion barrels of recoverable oil.
#6 According to the Institute of Energy Research, the United States has an 88 year supply of natural gas.
#7 According to the Institute of Energy Research, the United States has a 169 year supply of oil.
#8 According to the Institute of Energy Research, the United States has a 465 year supply of coal.
#9 Goldman Sachs is predicting that the United States will be the number one oil producing country in the world by the year 2017.
So the bottom line is that we have plenty of energy resources. We do not need to be importing oil from OPEC or anyone else.
But just because we are not going to run out of oil, natural gas or coal any time soon does not mean that we should not be developing alternative energy resources. We should definitely be seeking ways to produce energy more cheaply, more cleanly and more efficiently.
If America does not end up leading the world in developing new forms of energy, we should be ashamed of ourselves. And right now, the Chinese appear to be way ahead of us as far as thorium energy is concerned, and Italian scientists appear to be ahead of our own scientists in developing “cold fusion” technology.
So yes, let’s be glad that we are not going to be facing a crippling energy crisis in this generation, but let’s also not be complacent. There are lots of new technologies out there just waiting to be developed, and the rewards are going to go to those that are able to develop them first.
Read more articles like this at: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com