Federal Frights: 10 Issues That Keep Taxpayers Up At Night

More than any ghost story or horror movie, the big government’s looming, dark presence across practically all facets of life should keep taxpayers up at night. Unless Congress acts, these issues will certainly “double, double” taxpayers’ “toil and trouble.”

  1. Terrifying Tax Rates: Jobs flee in the face of our terrifying tax rates. The U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, making it harder and more expensive to do business here. To boost jobs, wages, and investment, we need to reduce this rate and make the U.S. once again a place where people WANT to do business.

  2. Jobs-killing Death Tax: The death tax haunts family farms and businesses, waiting to pounce on their success at one of the most challenging moments in any life. Families without the liquid assets to pay the tax are often forced to sell land, sell the business, or lay off workers and reduce wages. The death tax kills jobs and investment, punishing success, and tax reform should put it on the chopping block.

  3. Zombie Earmarks: The earmark ban in Congress still holds, but taxpayers continue to pay-out for earmarks still on the books. These “zombie earmarks,” as Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) calls them, perpetuate wasteful spending and divert limited funds. Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) “Jurassic Pork” report details billions in earmarked funds that keep lurching along without question or oversight. Extremely hard to kill, zombie earmarks have a habit of coming back from the grave, forcing taxpayers to be ever vigilant.

  4. Swamp Things & Dead Zones: Two policies: the Renewable Fuel Standard and the Farm Bill are the prime culprits of the enormous, goopy, green harmful algae blooms in the Great Lakes and the massive “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. Fueled by fertilizer run-off as a result of poor farming practices that these policies encourage, algae blooms and dead zones are a costly water-quality crisis for people, animals, and fish.

  5. Government-Sanctioned Theft: Better known as civil asset forfeiture, private property can be seized without criminal charges or conviction. Under the auspices of “crime fighting,” everyone from the Department of Justice, to the Internal Revenue Service, to state and local authorities, often abuse this power in what should be considered a clear violation of due process protections under the Constitution. Time and time again, civil asset forfeiture has upended the lives and businesses of innocent individuals who face a costly uphill battle to retrieve their assets.

  6. Failed Obamacare Repeal: This October 30 report from the Department of Health and Human Services spells ongoing doom for families on the Obamacare Exchange: higher insurance premiums and fewer choices. Without Congressional action to restore markets and repeal Obamacare’s mandates and taxes, this nightmare will continue to drag on.

  7. Unaccountable Medicare Bureaucrats: The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), one of the most harmful Obamacare provisions, would give enormous power to unelected bureaucrats. Far from the long-term reforms Medicare needs, the grasping hand of IPAB could lead to scarcity, health care rationing, and spikes in the cost of other forms of medical care. Congressional action to repeal IPAB would be one bright spot in an otherwise dismal outlook for health care freedom.

  8. Drowning in Debt: Only a few weeks ago, the national debt topped an all-new record high of $20 trillion - and counting! Unless Congress takes steps to change course, the Congressional Budget Office has us reaching a debt-to-GDP ratio of 150 percent by 2047. Even the most optimistic economic growth levels won’t be enough to bridge this gap; only serious spending reforms to halt a brewing debt crisis that threatens both our prosperity and national security.

  9. The Entitlements That Ate the Budget: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other welfare programs comprise the fastest growing proportion of federal spending. This autopilot spending is already more than 50 percent of our total budget, squeezing out other federal priorities and increasing our deficit. This in turn requires more borrowing by the Treasury to make ends meet - and with it, more debt and greater interest payments on that debt. This is a perfect storm for fiscal disaster that can only be averted with real political courage.

  10. The Abominable Sugar Program: The Sugar Program is a cronyist policy that limits sugar imports and sets a guaranteed minimum price for sugar. The result is that U.S. consumers and food manufacturers pay twice the global average for this essential commodity. It increases the cost of all kinds of food and beverages - not only candy. This puts U.S. businesses, particularly small businesses, at a competitive disadvantage and hurts jobs. As taxpayers face this and the other horrors above, chocolate treats have never been more necessary or the Sugar Program a greater threat to our national well-being.