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Archive for March 19th, 2010

If nothing else, the Obama Administration at least is consistent. Not only do they want higher taxes in America, but they also want other nations to pursue ruinous class warfare policies. Here’s an excerpt from Tax-news.com:

US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, wants Pakistan to review the tax treatment of the country’s most affluent taxpayers to ensure that they are fairly contributing to government coffers. …In testimony before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Clinton said that “well-off Pakistani’s do not pay their fair share for the services that are needed.”

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It is not often that I feel insufficiently libertarian, but being at the annual conference of the Free State Project is one of those instances. These people take freedom seriously. Reminds me of being in graduate school at George Mason University.

The most interesting factoid I’ve learned so far is that the federal government has the power to reject beer labels. A guy at the conference who owns a microbrewery told me that one of his labels was censored because it featured an American flag. I have no idea (and he has no idea) why the bureaucrats thought that was a bad idea, but he did get approval when he re-submitted the label after replacing the 50 stars on the flag with the communist hammer-and-sickle emblem. I guess the paper-pushers in Washington didn’t see the irony.

Here’s another example that accurately captures the stupidity of government. He submitted a label for a beer that he wanted to call “Liquid Wisdom.” This was rejected because the bureaucrats believed that it made an unsubstantiated health claim. Isn’t it nice to know that the federal government is protecting us from thinking that a beer would makes us wiser or smarter? I know I’ll sleep better tonight.

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I know I promised extra political humor this week, but here’s some extra policy pain. Not only does government-run healthcare mean more spending, more regulation,and more taxes, but it also means more power for the internal revenue service. A new report reveals that the legislation makes the IRS the chief enforcer of the new scheme:

If H.R. 3590, the Senate Democrats’ health care bill, is enacted, which could happen as early as this week, Democrats will have vastly expanded the responsibilities of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and fundamentally altered the relationship between the IRS and taxpayers. Specifically, this report examines the Individual Mandate Tax (IMT) proposed in the Democrats’ health care legislation. Under this provision, Democrats make the IRS the chief enforcer for a new government-run health insurance system. One of the most troubling aspects of this new IRS authority is the newly granted power to collect additional taxes from Americans whose health insurance coverage is deemed to be insufficient to meet the definition of minimum coverage, as defined by federal bureaucrats, required to be purchased. Disturbingly, the IRS would be in charge of verifying that every American taxpayer has obtained acceptable health coverage for every month of the year. If the IRS determines that a taxpayer lacks acceptable insurance for even a single month, then the IRS would impose a new tax on that taxpayer, even auditing the taxpayer and could assess interest and penalties on top of the tax. This is an unprecedented new role for the IRS – one that will inject the IRS even further into the lives of American families. This report examines the details of the IRS’s new powers and how this federal bureaucracy will scrutinize and exercise its enhanced authority over Americans. Key findings include:  IRS agents verify if you have “acceptable” health care coverage; IRS has the authority to fine you up to $2,250 or 2 percent of your income (whichever is greater) for failure to prove that you have purchased “minimum essential coverage”; IRS can confiscate your tax refund; IRS audits are likely to increase; IRS will need up to $10 billion to administer the new health care program this decade; IRS may need to hire as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees to investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans; and; Nearly half of all these new individual mandate taxes will be paid by Americans earning less than 300 percent of poverty ($66,150 for a family of four).

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