Tag Archives: Tax and Spend

Welfare program usage drops 85% after work requirement reinstated

This story is from National Review, and it really made me think about where all the money that I’ve paid in taxes over the years has gone.

Excerpt:

After Alabama reinstated food-stamp work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents, the rolls dropped by 85 percent.

[…]According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources, between January 1 and May 1, 13 counties in the Yellowhammer State saw their food-stamp rolls drop by a combined 85 percent. The reason? At the beginning of the year, those 13 counties joined the rest of the state in ending a years-long exemption from work requirements for ABAWDs — able-bodied adults without dependents — participating in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

On New Year’s Day, there were 5,538 ABAWD enrollees across the 13 formerly exempted counties; by the beginning of May, there were 831. That mirrors a sharp statewide decline, which began on January 1, 2016, when the same exemption ended in Alabama’s 54 other counties. At the beginning of last year, the state had 49,940 able-bodied adults without dependents on its SNAP rolls; by May 1 of this year, that number was 7,483 — a drop of 85 percent.

The article notes that work requirements on welfare programs were dismantled at the federal level by the Obama administration in 2009.

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Obama that February, Congress “temporarily” suspended the conditions on ABAWD SNAP enrollees nationwide. The suspension was supposed to extend only through 2010, but no government initiative is temporary. Eight years later, ABAWD time-limit waivers are still in effect in at least part of 36 states; ten states remain entirely exempt.

The article also notes that Kansas (in 2013) rejected Obama’s federal waiver. The result? Welfare program usage fell 72%.

The article concludes:

The overall food-stamp population remains large: Forty-four million Americans — about one in seven — at a cost of $71 billion to the federal government last year. Compared to other categories of recipient, that of able-bodied adults without dependents is small. But more than savings is at stake in removing clingers-on from the dole. A free people does not depend on the government for its daily bread. Those who can work, should.

People who have jobs don’t need welfare, but these people were literally choosing not to work so that they could collect welfare. They could have worked if they wanted to, but they chose not to.

How do you think that people who are dependent on government vote? Do they vote for smaller government and lower taxes? All that Obama achieved by attacking welfare reform was to buy hundreds of thousands of votes from dependent people. But he didn’t use his own money to do this – he used mine. I could have used my money for my own life priorities, but Democrat politicians know better than me, apparently. My job is just to work to earn the money, but I’m too stupid to know how to spend it. Other smarter people who are better than me know best about how to spend it. And they spend it on buying the votes of lazy people so they can get re-elected.

Is Obama’s economy as good as the mainstream media are telling us?

This article from CNS News was tweeted by GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

The economy is not good
This economy is not good (click for larger image)

It says:

The federal government taxed away more money, spent more money and ran a bigger deficit in the first half of fiscal 2015 than it did in the first half of fiscal 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“The federal government ran a budget deficit of $430 billion for the first half of fiscal year 2015, CBO estimates–$17 billion more than the shortfall recorded in the same span last year,” the CBO said in its Monthly Budget Review for March 2015, which was published April 8. “Both revenues and outlays were about 7 percent higher than the amounts recorded in the first six months of fiscal year 2014.”

Keep in mind that these deficit numbers are for half a year. In 2007, George W. Bush was running a deficit of $160 billion for an entire year.

And we’re being taxed more, too:

The biggest source of additional tax revenue for the federal government was the individual income tax. In the first six months of fiscal 2014, Americans paid the federal government approximately $585,000,000,000 in individual income taxes. In the first six months of fiscal 2015, Americans paid $642,000,000,000 in individual income taxes—an increase of $57 billion (or 9.7 percent) from fiscal 2014.

What’s the long-term forecast?

The Wall Street Journal has it:

Question: “How close are we from seeing entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security come into direct conflict with defense spending priorities? Defense spending is almost 20% of the Fed budget and nearly 60% of discretionary spending. Current cost of health care and an aging population are strong indicators this could happen sooner than later.”

Zumbrun: “I’d say we’re already seeing it now. As Nick noted above, the CBO projects that mandatory spending and spending on interest will climb, but that defense and nondefense discretionary spending will be squeezed. Anyone who doesn’t want to see that happen in the next decade needs some combination of higher revenue, much faster economic growth, or cuts to entitlement programs.

“The budget deal known as sequestration squeezed down both defense and non-defense discretionary spending. If, instead, everyone agreed it was okay to cut entitlements (which they obviously don’t), you wouldn’t have needed to squeeze that down. So I think it’s fair to say these things are already in conflict.”

Question: “Debt as long as partnered with productivity is no problem. From the looks of it, the U.S. might fall as an economy, but is now the time?”

Timiraos: “That’s a good point. One thing that’s a little bit troubling, however, is that estimates of the potential output of the U.S. economy have been revised down. What does that mean exactly? Instead of growing at a 2.7% rate from 2014-18, it now says the economy will grow at a 2.5% rate. That doesn’t sound too bad, but over time, it adds up.”

Question: “The U.S. has so far been capable of keeping its cost of borrowing at a remarkably low level. What about in the long term where it seems likely that servicing the debt will eat up a larger and larger percentage of government expenditures in an age of slowing growth?”

Zumbrun: “There’s actually decent reason to believe that if the economy slows down a lot then interest rates will stay very low. That’s basically the situation in Japan, right? They’re mired in decades of low growth, driven by aging demographics and a central bank that was really timid for a long time, but as a result of their permanently stagnant economy, interest rates are incredibly low. In the U.S., one scenario like this is known as secular stagnation.

Wow, if our economy starts to look like Japan, that will not be good. They have massive deficits, zero economic growth and a looming demographic crisis (few young workers, many older retirees). It’s a very bad situation that’s being masked by low interest rates and massive, massive borrowing.

The Brookings Institute agrees

Lest you think that this is just the conservative take on this, here’s the leftist Brookings Institute, writing about it just last week.

They say:

Debt figures tell part of the story. When the Great Recession hit, the federal debt was equal to about 40 percent of GDP. But to fight the recession, Congress enacted an $800 billion dollar stimulus bill. Stimulus spending, combined with already enacted spending and tax policy, resulted in four years of trillion dollar deficits. As a result, the debt ballooned to 78 percent of GDP in 2013, almost twice the pre-recession level. The annual deficit is now declining at a stately pace, but by 2016 it will begin increasing again, and by 2020 under CBO’s alternative fiscal scenario, we will once again return to annual deficits above a trillion dollars, thereby once again greatly increasing the national debt.

Oh come on – Obama says that he saved the economy, and everyone in the mainstream media agrees.

Did he?

What’s the word for our fiscal situation? Stunning? Shocking? Desperate? In recent testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, Boston University Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff, in effect, told the Committee that all of these terms are pathetically inadequate to describe our true fiscal situation. In compelling testimony, Kotlikoff argues that the federal fiscal situation is much worse than the CBO estimates let on. The reason is that CBO’s debt estimates do not take into account the full financial obligations the government is committed to honor, especially for future payments of Social Security, Medicare, and interest on the debt. He asserts that the federal government should help the public understand the nation’s true fiscal situation by using what economists call “the infinite-horizon fiscal gap,” defined as the value of all projected future expenditures minus the value of all projected future receipts using a reasonable discount rate.

If you’re going to be retirement age around 2030, you’d better do two things right now – first, don’t expect any help from the Federal government. I don’t care if you paid into their Ponzi scheme redistribution programs – there is no money for you there. Second, if you’re working till you’re retired, then expect the government to raise taxes even more on you.

Would you expect secularists to care about the next generation when this is the only life they have? I would not. Ideas have consequences.

What we voted for: new Obamacare taxes coming in 2014

The New York Post reports.

Excerpt:

The cost of President Obama’s massive health-care law will hit Americans in 2014 as new taxes pile up on their insurance premiums and on their income-tax bills.

Most insurers aren’t advertising the ObamaCare taxes that are added on to premiums, opting instead to discretely pass them on to customers while quietly lobbying lawmakers for a break.

But one insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, laid bare the taxes on its bills with a separate line item for “Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes.”

The new taxes on one customer’s bill added up to $23.14 a month, or $277.68 annually, according to Kaiser Health News. It boosted the monthly premium from $322.26 to $345.40 for that individual.

The new taxes and fees include a 2 percent levy on every health plan, which is expected to net about $8 billion for the government in 2014 and increase to $14.3 billion in 2018.

There’s also a $2 fee per policy that goes into a new medical-research trust fund called the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Insurers pay a 3.5 percent user fee to sell medical plans on the HealthCare.gov Web site.

[…]Americans also will pay hidden taxes, such as the 2.3 percent medical-device tax that will inflate the cost of items such as pacemakers, stents and prosthetic limbs.

Those with high out-of-pocket medical expenses also will get smaller income-tax deductions.

Americans are currently allowed to deduct expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of their annual income. The threshold jumps to 10 percent under ObamaCare, costing taxpayers about $15 billion over 10 years.

Then there’s the new Medicare tax.

Under ObamaCare, individual tax filers earning more than $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000 will pay an added 0.9 percent Medicare surtax on top of the existing 1.45 percent Medicare payroll tax. They’ll also pay an extra 3.8 percent Medicare tax on unearned income, such as investment dividends, rental income and capital gains.

Right now, Obama is furiously trying to re-write the law by arbitrary executive decisions. But all this does is remove the amount of money being paid into the system, while keeping the amount being spent the same. What will be the end result of a massive shortfall in funding for Obamacare? As Byron York argues, the end result of will be that the Democrats bail out health care insurance companies to keep them from going bankrupt.

Transcript:

COLBY: What do you think about these bailouts of insurance companies, as well? Could that happen?

YORK: It absolutely will happen –

COLBY: Will happen?!

YORK: As a matter of fact, it’s written into the law. There’s something called “risk corridors,” which basically ensure that if an insurance company ends up paying a lot more in benefits than it takes in in premiums, then the federal government will bail it out — it will make it good. And it looks like we are entering a situation — certainly in the first month of January — where the insurance companies will be in that situation. And they’e not going to take the losses. It will be the taxpayer who makes up for those losses.

Do you think that raising the debt from $8.5 trillion to $17 trillion was irresponsible? Then wait until the government has to bail out all their left-wing cronies in the health insurance industry.

One thing is for sure – the Republicans will be running on Obamacare in 2014:

New Hampshire:

Minnesota:

This money that is being wasted due to socialist incompetence doesn’t come from government workers or politicians – they don’t earn any money of their own. The money comes from government borrowing from your children. Honestly, I if I had children, I might be tempted to leave this country, especially if I wanted to have lots of them. This really isn’t the place for a big family any more.

Would Ted Strickland or John Kasich be a better governor of Ohio?

Here’s a clip of Ted Strickland giving a speech to his Democrat supporters.

Here’s the transcript of Ted Strickland’s speech from the Weekly Standard.

Excerpt:

“The Republican party has been overtaken by the zealots, by the extremists, by the radicals … and they don’t seem to like Ohio very much… And quite frankly they act like they don’t like America very much. They want to change our Constitution. They want to change Medicare. They want to change labor rights. They want to change this country in fundamental ways.”

Does Ted Strickland encourage businesses to remain in Ohio and hire workers in Ohio?

Let’s see:

Wow. 400,000 jobs lost in Ohio while Strickland was governor? He sounds as competent at encouraging job creation as his fellow Democrat Barack Obama.

Ted Strickland raised taxes on citizens of Ohio by 840 million dollars. He thinks he knows how to spend your money better than you do.

Social Issues

I wonder how Ted Strickland is on social issues?

Life News says:

In June of last year, Strickland upset pro-life Ohio residents by using his line-item veto to axe the section of the $1.3 billion funding bill banning state funds for cloning human beings.

Mike Gonidakis, the director of Ohio Right to Life, told LifeNews.com at the time, “By vetoing a ban on using taxpayer funds for human cloning, Ted Strickland has demonstrated that he supports treating human life as a commodity.”

“Most Ohioans don’t share Governor Strickland’s cavalier disregard for the value of human life and they should not be forced to pay for its creation, exploitation and destruction in cloning research,” Gonidakis said.

In March 2007, Strickland feuded with pro-life advocates over his budget proposal that eliminated the $500,000 the state normally spends annually on encouraging kids to practice abstinence.

The governor said he would not apply for any more federal funds for abstinence education for future budgets.

In February 2007, Strickland would not fight to save an Ohio law that protects women from the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug which has killed seven women in the United States and injured more than a thousand more. With little fanfare, Strickland quietly dropped a legal effort to salvage a law that puts safety limits on the drug.

The Ohio state legislature previously approved a bill to bring the use of the abortion pill in Ohio in line with Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

During his tenure in Congress, Strickland had a strong pro-abortion voting record while Kasich compiled a strongly pro-life record.

Ohio Right to Life says:

Ohio Right to Life today announced its endorsement of a slate of pro-life candidates seeking elected office statewide. The pro-life organization picked Rob Portman as its endorsed candidate for the U.S. Senate and named John Kasich as its endorsed candidate for governor.

[…]Marshal Pitchford, the chairman of the Ohio Right to Life Society Board of Trustees said the pro-life movement in Ohio “is fortunate to have experienced and highly qualified pro-life candidates seeking the state’s executive offices.”

“John Kasich had an outstanding pro-life voting record during his career in Congress,” he said. “His running mate, Mary Taylor, is an articulate advocate of the right to life movement. As Governor and Lt. Governor, they will reflect the common sense and common decency of the people of Ohio.”

And he’s also lousy on traditional marriage and the rights of children to be raised by a mother and a father. He was opposed to the Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, and opposed to banning gay adoption in D.C. He’s a left-wing radical on social issues. Just like Barack Obama.

Right now, the Ohio governor race is a toss-up. I recommend that all my Ohio readers get out and vote for Kasich on election day.

 

n June of last year, Strickland upset pro-life Ohio residents by using his line-item veto to axe the section of the $1.3 billion funding bill banning state funds for cloning human beings.

Mike Gonidakis, the director of Ohio Right to Life, told LifeNews.com at the time, “By vetoing a ban on using taxpayer funds for human cloning, Ted Strickland has demonstrated that he supports treating human life as a commodity.”

“Most Ohioans don’t share Governor Strickland’s cavalier disregard for the value of human life and they should not be forced to pay for its creation, exploitation and destruction in cloning research,” Gonidakis said.

In March 2007, Strickland feuded with pro-life advocates over his budget proposal that eliminated the $500,000 the state normally spends annually on encouraging kids to practice abstinence.

The governor said he would not apply for any more federal funds for abstinence education for future budgets.

In February 2007, Strickland would not fight to save an Ohio law that protects women from the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug which has killed seven women in the United States and injured more than a thousand more. With little fanfare, Strickland quietly dropped a legal effort to salvage a law that puts safety limits on the drug.

The Ohio state legislature previously approved a bill to bring the use of the abortion pill in Ohio in line with Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

During his tenure in Congress, Strickland had a strong pro-abortion voting record while Kasich compiled a strongly pro-life record.

 

Obama flip-flops on health care mandates – now it IS a tax

Here’s the deal. In order to get the health care bill to pass, Obama had to trick people into thinking that it was not going to result in higher taxes.

So, you would see him on ABC News before the bill was passed saying that forcing people to buy things they don’t want is not a tax:

OBAMA: No. That’s not true, George. The — for us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase.

OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I’m taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re going to have an individual mandate or not, but…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?

OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.

So forcing people to buy health insurance and fining them if they don’t is NOT A TAX, he says.

And so the bill was passed.

But the thing is, the government can’t legally force people to buy health care coverage – it’s unconstitutional! And people are suing them for having passed an unconstitutional law. So now the Obama regime has to argue in court that it really is a tax in order to escape court challenges that they overstepped their bounds by passing a health care mandate.

The American Spectator explains. (H/T Hot Air)

Excerpt:

In order to protect the new national health care law from legal challenges, the Obama administration has been forced to argue that the individual mandate represents a tax — even though Obama himself argued the exact opposite while campaigning to pass the legislation.

Late last night, the Obama Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the Florida-based lawsuit against the health care law, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction and that the State of Florida and fellow plaintiffs haven’t presented a claim for which the court can grant relief. To bolster its case, the DOJ cited the Anti-Injunction Act, which restricts courts from interfering with the government’s ability to collect taxes.

The Act, according to a DOJ memo supporting the motion to dismiss, says that “no suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person, whether or not such person is the person against whom such tax was assessed.” The memo goes on to say that it makes no difference whether the disputed payment it is called a “tax” or “penalty,” because either way, it’s “assessed and collected in the same manner” by the Internal Revenue Service.

It actually is a tax, and just another one of the many ways that Obama broke his campaign promise not to tax the middle class. How else is he going to pay for the trillion-dollar deficits he is creating? He has to raise taxes – or devalue our savings with inflation. There is no third way. The money has to come from somewhere – and if you tax the rich you just end up losing jobs.