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Sen. Vitter and Rep. Pompeo Launch Opposition to Proposed Carbon Tax
Posted By: Nan Swift - 12/05/12

Members of Congress are trying to hang their hats on anything that might help them avoid making any serious spending cuts ahead of the looming “Fiscal Cliff.” Among the many truly bad ideas that are being floated all in the name of raising “revenue,” as if there was any tax large enough to get us out of the hole our unbridled spending has dug, is a potential carbon tax. While past carbon tax proposals, aimed at curbing greenhouse gases, have also included components aimed at revenue neutrality and other ways to mitigate the regressive nature of such a tax, the current carbon tax talk is pure cash grab.

Senator Vitter (R-LA) and Representative Pomeo (R-KS) have introduced concurrent resolutions opposing such a carbon tax in an effort to get ahead of the harmful tax. As they state in a join press release here, a carbon tax would have a detrimental effect on taxpayers and our already struggling economy:

“There’s a lot of talk in Washington about raising taxes, and finding ‘revenues’ in creative ways, to avoid going over the fiscal cliff,” Vitter said. “But a carbon tax – which would force more financial hardship upon family budgets, energy consumers and job seekers – needs to be completely taken off the table. Our resolution would enshrine that.”
“A carbon tax would be disastrous to our nation’s economy by driving up energy prices and increasing the cost of everything built in America, as well consumer goods purchased by every American,” said Pompeo.  “I am proud to join Senator Vitter in introducing this resolution, which is aimed at putting Congress on the record in opposition to this awful idea.”
The concurrent resolution states that a carbon tax, which would increase the cost of manufactured goods and harm America’s manufacturing sector, is regressive in nature and would unfairly burden those vulnerable individuals and families in the U.S. who are struggling under a stagnating economy.

There’s virtually no part of the economy or everyday life that wouldn’t be negatively impacted by a “revenue-raising” carbon tax. For consumers it would mean higher costs on everything from food and manufactured goods to transportation and heat for the winter months ahead. This would be a massive burden on our economy and would further slow what little growth we have.

Instead of looking for quick cash gimmicks that will only hurt in the long run, Congress needs to make substantive spending cuts and reforms to put us back on the path to long-term prosperity. Higher taxes rarely bring in the revenue that was expected and at the end of the day, we’ll still be left with a growing debt and no one left to tax.

For a good reminder of just how urgently we need to cut spending and what little higher taxes will do, check out this new video from NTU.

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Mr. President, the Government Grinch is Stealing a Lot More than Christmas
Posted By: Douglas Kellogg - 11/30/12

Today, the President appeared in Pennsylvania as part of a new twist in his push for tax hikes on the American people: ginning up concerns over ‘holiday spending’, calling for new outlays, and contriving a fear of middle class income tax hikes highlighted by the “#my2k” social media campaign. The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) is calling this a disingenuous move from the political playbook, designed to divide America’s taxpayers.

NTU Executive Vice President Pete Sepp weighed in: “It is clear that the President’s pro tax-and-spend tour is an unfortunate move that will feature narrow claims about holiday consumer spending being reduced, even as immense budgetary challenges have taxpayers so concerned for their futures.”

The President’s claims, and those from a recent Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) report, don’t tell the whole story:

Blowing fear of middle class income tax hikes out of proportion to divide taxpayers. In his remarks the President admitted, “both parties agree we should extend the middle class tax cuts.” So why make this the focus of a campaign-style appearance? To divide taxpayers and possibly create a situation where inaction would lead to a set of tax hikes you want.

If tax uncertainty is a problem for sub-$250,000 per year income, why is it not a problem for those over $250,000? The CEA report that was released this week correctly notes tax hikes on income under $250,000 a year would have devastating economic consequences (in 2013 though); why they do not extend that logic to income above $250,000 is a mystery. In fact, according to an analysis reported in 2010 in The New York Times, 1 out of every 3 consumer dollars is spent by households earning more than $210,000! If the President is truly concerned about holiday spending, he’s leaving out a big piece of the pie.

The CEA’s own report does not particularly back up the President’s ‘holiday consumption’ concerns. Their report points to the Retail Federation’s prediction that spending would increase 4 percent this holiday season; and they place the greatest fallout from the income tax hikes in 2013.

Why wait until the last minute? Delays will affect tax filing season. Common sense dictates whatever damage uncertainty was going to inflict, it likely already has for consumer spending in 2012. However, the delay means the IRS is making contingency plans for the tax filing deadline; and assumptions about what the tax code is going to look like in 2013. This includes the assumption the AMT patch will go through; a probability the CEA does not reflect in their report.

MORE Spending?!? Tax hikes would be woefully inadequate for the task of deficit reduction the President is setting out for them, but now the President wants to make it a moving target with $50 billion in new “stimulus-style” spending. It’s true, the economy is weak, but a better solution would be NOT hiking taxes!

It’s not about your “$2k”, it’s about your “$53k” share of the national debt. Without the sequestration cuts going through, entitlement reform, and an end to constantly raising the debt ceiling, tax hikes on anyone will cause short-term economic harm. And, the lack of long-term budgetary discipline will result in more fiscal calamity and revenue grabbing in no time.

“The President seems to have become interested in aspects of supply side economics, but for only one segment of taxpayers,” said Sepp. “That’s one big reason why his claims don’t hold up under investigation – all of America’s taxpayers deserve relief from a burdensome tax code and out-of-control spending.”

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The Late Edition: November 28, 2012
Posted By:  - 11/28/12

Today’s Taxpayer News!

President Obama has unveiled his ‘Christmas Campaign’ which essentially attempts to sell higher taxes on upper-income earners to the public in an attempt to avoid weak holiday sales.  

Even higher prices at the pump come January 2013? Congress is considering raising the federal gas tax to avoid the fiscal cliff according to News Max.

Song artist Katy Perry joined NTU and other taxpayer advocacy groups in opposition to the Internet Radio Fairness Act which would further distort the broadcast market.

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The Late Edition: November 27, 2012
Posted By:  - 11/27/12

Today’s Taxpayer News!

After a thirteen year campaign to bring more accountability to government, the President signed the WPEA into law today. NTU earned praise today from Government Accountability Project Legal Director Tom Devine for our part in getting the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) passed.

With little appetite for tax increases in the GOP, President Obama is taking his demand for higher taxes to the public this week according to an article from the Washington Times. But will Americans buy what he’s selling?

This editorial from the New York Post explains the consequences of raising taxes on higher income groups as the Obama Administration seeks to do: weakened economic growth and substantial job losses, resulting in worse financial conditions for all Americans.

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The Late Edition: November 26, 2012
Posted By:  - 11/26/12

Today’s Taxpayer News!

Pete Sepp weighs in on retiring Illinois Democrat Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and the roughly $45,000 annual taxpayer-funded pension he’ll walk away with unless he agrees to decline it.

According to Market Watch, Republican lawmakers are seeking a way to save small businesses from the massive tax increases the President seeks to impose on them.

How would the “fiscal cliff” affect healthcare spending and appropriations? Deseret News has the scoop.

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The Late Edition: November 19, 2012
Posted By:  - 11/19/12

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTU’s Pete Sepp discusses the lame-duck Congress and what they ought to be doing in the last weeks of their term in this Washington Times op-ed.

The tax hikers are ready for the “fiscal cliff” battle:

House Minority LeaderNancy Pelosi statesthat a deal cannot be struck to avoid the “fiscal cliff” without including tax hikes to “bring in revenue.”

New York Times economist Paul Krugman reminisces about the 1950’s-style 91% tax rate on the top income bracket.

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The Late Edition: November 12, 2012
Posted By:  - 11/12/12

Today’s Taxpayer News!

Inside Investing Daily’s Bill Bonner highlights NTU statistics on the disproportionate share of taxes the top 1% of earners are forced to pay into the federal government’s coffers.

If labor groups like the AFL-CIO and the SEIU have their way, Congress and the President will inflict tax hikes on those making over $200,000 at the end of the year.

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Sports Memorabilia and Health Care Reform
Posted By: Michael Tasselmyer - 10/25/12

An article published in the Bradenton Herald on Thursday highlights one of the interesting, if not unintended, consequences of the new Medicare taxes that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is set to levy beginning in 2013.

Sports memorabilia enthusiasts may have noticed the recent surge of high-dollar collectibles flooding auction houses: Bobby Knight's NCAA Championship rings; Don Larsen's New York Yankees pinstripes; even Evander Holyfield's heavyweight boxing championship belts.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, these valuable items are hitting the auction market right before January 1st, when a new 3.8 percent Medicare tax on investment income will take effect for high-income individuals. As mentioned in the article:

"And starting Jan. 1, there will be a new Medicare tax on income from investments for higher-earning people. The IRS hasn't issued rules yet, so money from the sale of collectibles may be subject to the new levy. "The 3.8 percent Medicare tax would probably be the thing that immediately popped into my mind in terms of what folks may be thinking about," said David Boyle, Americas director of personal financial services for the accounting firm Ernst & Young."

Currently, income generated from collectibles held for more than a year is eligible to be taxed at a rate of 28 percent. So, if I'm a wealthy individual who bought Babe Ruth's 1920 uniform for $4.4 million and sold it a few years later for $5 million, I could owe 28 percent of the difference in capital gains taxes. With the PPACA's passage, that amount could increase by 3.8 percent beginning in 2013.

The new Medicare tax, combined with the possibility of Bush-era tax cuts expiring and the estate tax, apparently has some athletes and sports figures more closely examining the benefits of cashing in on their most sought-after mementos sooner rather than later.

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The Late Edition: October 3, 2012
Posted By:  - 10/03/12

Today’s Taxpayer News!

In this article from American Free Press, NTU’s Pete Sepp delves into the relationship between the EPA’s Renewable Fuels Standard requirement which mandates that increasing portions of corn be diverted to ethanol, and the higher prices Americans could end up paying for food as a result.  

Just in time for tonight’s first Presidential debate, Fox News takes a look at five key tax increases put forth by President Obama that hinder the ability of small businesses to be successful.

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The Late Edition: 2 October, 2012
Posted By:  - 10/02/12

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTUF launched its line-by-line analysis of the spending agendas for Ohio Senate candidates Sherrod Brown and Josh Mandel, finding the two swing-state candidates are about $110 billion apart.

A recent report by State Budget Solutions found that each state government carries an average debt load of $13,425 per capita, amounting to an astounding $4 trillion for the nation as a whole.

Are Obama claims about Romney’s tax plan accurate? The Tax Foundation hits back on charges of severe middle class tax hikes should Romney’s plan be implemented.

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