Category Archives: Taxes

Open letter to President Obama (Part 530) Sen. Paul Defends Apple Against HSGAC Subcommittee

Open letter to President Obama (Part 530)

(Emailed to White House on 5-3-13.)

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

The federal government debt is growing so much that it is endangering us because if things keep going like they are now we will not have any money left for the national defense because we are so far in debt as a nation. We have been spending so much on our welfare state through food stamps and other programs that I am worrying that many of our citizens are becoming more dependent on government and in many cases they are losing their incentive to work hard because of the welfare trap the government has put in place. Other nations in Europe have gone down this road and we see what mess this has gotten them in. People really are losing their faith in big government and they want more liberty back. It seems to me we have to get back to the founding  principles that made our country great.  We also need to realize that a big government will encourage waste and corruption. The recent scandals in our government have proved my point. In fact, the jokes you made at Ohio State about possibly auditing them are not so funny now that reality shows how the IRS was acting more like a monster out of control. Also raising taxes on the job creators is a very bad idea too. The Laffer Curve clearly demonstrates that when the tax rates are raised many individuals will move their investments to places where they will not get taxed as much.

Rand Paul puts the Senate in their place!!!!

Senator Rand Paul is perhaps even better than I thought he would be.

The Founding Fathers would be proud

He already is playing a very substantive role on policy, ranging from his actions of big-picture issues, such ashis proposed budget that would significantly shrink the burden of government spending, to hiswillingness to take on lower-profile but important issues such as repealing the Obama Administration’swretched FATCA law.

But he also plays a very valuable role by articulating the message of liberty and refusing to allow leftist politicians to claim the moral high ground and use false morality to cloak their greed for other people’s money.

And there’s no better example than what he just did at the Senate hearing about Apple’s tax burden.

Sen. Paul Defends Apple Against HSGAC Subcommittee – 05/21/2013 PART 1

Published on May 21, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul attends the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee hearing that called for executives of Apple to testify on the companies tax practices. In the hearing, Sen. Paul defended the job-creating efforts Apple has made and lambasted his fellow Members for perpetuating a U.S. tax code that hinders corporate growth and productivity. PART 1

Wow. I thought I hit on the key issues in my post on the anti-Apple demagoguery, but Senator Paul hit the ball out of the park.

If you want other video examples of Senator Paul in action, click here to see himgrill a TSA bureaucrat and click here to see him rip an Obama appointee on whether Americans should be free to choose the light bulb they prefer.

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Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

Related posts:

IRS cartoons from Dan Mitchell’s blog

Get Ready to Be Reamed May 17, 2013 by Dan Mitchell With so many scandals percolating, there are lots of good cartoons being produced. But I think this Chip Bok gem deserves special praise. It manages to weave together both the costly Obamacare boondoggle with the reprehensible politicization of the IRS. So BOHICA, my friends. If […]

Dan Mitchell explains what happened in Cyprus

Dan Mitchell explains what happened in Cyprus.   What Really Happened in Cyprus? April 14, 2013 by Dan Mitchell Did Cyprus become an economic basket case because it is a tax haven, as some leftists have implied? Did it get in trouble because the government overspent, which I have suggested? The answers to those questions are […]

Dan Mitchell on Obamacare (includes cartoons on Obamacare)

Some very good points by Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute on Obamacare: Why We Should Be Optimistic about Repealing Obamacare and Fixing the Healthcare System April 10, 2013 by Dan Mitchell I’m going to make an assertion that seems utterly absurd. The enactment of Obamacare may have been good news. Before sending a team of medical […]

Dan Mitchell’s blog has great cartoon that demonstrates what President Obama has been doing the last 4 years!!!

I have put up lots of cartoons from Dan Mitchell’s blog before and they have got lots of hits before. Many of them have dealt with the economy, eternal unemployment benefits, socialism,  Greece,  welfare state or on gun control.     I’ve Obtained a Secret Pre-Release Copy of Obama’s Budget April 9, 2013 by Dan Mitchell The President is supposed to release […]

Dan Mitchell’s tribute to Margaret Thatcher

Very well said by Dan Mitchell. A Tribute to Margaret Thatcher April 8, 2013 by Dan Mitchell The woman who saved the United Kingdom has died. A Great Woman I got to meet Margaret Thatcher a couple of times and felt lucky each time that I was in the presence of someone who put her nation’s […]

Dan Mitchell, Ron Paul, and Milton Friedman on Immigration Debate (includes editorial cartoon)

I like Milton Friedman’s comments on this issue of immigration   and Ron Paul and Dan Mitchell do well on the issue too. Question of the Week: What’s Your Take on the Immigration Debate? April 7, 2013 by Dan Mitchell A reader from overseas wonders about my views on immigration, particularly amnesty. I confess that this is one of […]

Dan Mitchell on Texas v. California (includes editorial cartoon)

We should lower federal taxes because jobs are going to states like Texas that have low taxes. What Can We Learn by Comparing the Employment Situation in Texas vs. California? April 3, 2013 by Dan Mitchell One of the great things about federalism, above and beyond the fact that it both constrains the power of governments […]

Cartoons from Dan Mitchell’s blog on Obamacare

Third-Party Payer is the Biggest Economic Problem With America’s Health Care System Published on Jul 10, 2012 This mini-documentary from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation explains that “third-party payer” is the main problem with America’s health care system. This is why undoing Obamacare, while desirable, is just a small first step if we […]

Obamacare cartoons from Dan Mitchell’s blog

I have put up lots of cartoons from Dan Mitchell’s blog before and they have got lots of hits before. Many of them have dealt with the economy, eternal unemployment benefits, socialism,  Greece,  welfare state or on gun control. The funniest cartoon is the one with “Nurse Sebelius” stuffing the huge capsule down the kid’s throat!!! Obamacare […]

Editorial cartoon from Dan Mitchell’s blog on California’s sorry state of affairs

I have put up lots of cartoons from Dan Mitchell’s blog before and they have got lots of hits before. Many of them have dealt with the sequester, economy, eternal unemployment benefits, socialism,  minimum wage laws, tax increases, social security, high taxes in California, Obamacare,  Greece,  welfare state or on gun control. President Obama’s favorite state must be California because […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Cato Institute, Economist Dan Mitchell | Edit | Comments (0)

Open letter to President Obama (Part 498) (Three Cheers for Governor Bobby Jindal’s Plan to Abolish the Income Tax)

Open letter to President Obama (Part 498)

(Emailed to White House on 4-10-13.)

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

___________________

Will Taxing the Rich Fix the Deficit?

Published on Jul 2, 2012

The government’s budget deficit in 2009 was $1.5 trillion. Many have suggested raising taxes on the rich to cover the difference between what the government collected in revenue and what it spent. Is that a realistic solution? Economics professor Antony Davies uses data to demonstrate why taxing the rich will not be sufficient to make the budget deficit disappear. He says, “The budget deficit is so large that there simply aren’t enough rich people to tax to raise enough to balance the budget.” Instead, it’s time to work on legitimate solutions, like cutting spending.

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I got to hear Bobby Jindal speak a few months ago in Hot Springs and he is the real deal. It is my view that if he is able to abolish the income tax in Louisiana then he will be able to grow the economy so much that other states will follow his lead and it will transform our nation. I wish the federal government would buy into the idea of cutting taxes too!!!

Two months ago exactly, I appeared on TV to talk about the concept of eliminating the personal and corporate income tax in Louisiana.

Now Governor Jindal has unveiled a specific proposal.

The plan will eliminate two major tax types: personal income tax and corporate income and franchise tax. Eliminating income taxes in a revenue-neutral manner and improving sales tax administration will dramatically simplify Louisiana’s tax system and reduce administrative problems for families and small businesses. The effective start date of the program is January 1, 2014. …The plan will ensure revenue neutrality by…[b]roadening the state sales tax base and raising the state rate to 5.88%.

This is a superb plan.

Of all the possible ways for a state to generate revenue, the income tax is the most destructive.

My new man crush

That’s why researchers consistently have found that states without this punitive levy grow faster and create more jobs.

It’s also worth noting that jurisdictions such as Monaco, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands manage to be very prosperous in the absence of an income tax, though the incredible wealth of these places is partly a function of bad policy elsewhere, so the comparison isn’t perfect.

Anyhow, Gov. Jindal expands on this research with some very powerful data.

Over the last ten years, more than 60 percent of the three million new jobs in American were created by the nine states without an income tax. Every year for the past 40 years, states without an income tax had faster growth than states with the highest income taxes.  Economic growth in the nine states without income taxes was 50 percent faster than in the nine states with the highest top income tax rates.  Over the past decade, states without income taxes have seen nearly 60 percent higher population growth than the national average. …While we have reversed the more than two-decade problem of out-migration, we can do more to keep people here. Here are a couple of staggering statistics. Between 1995 and 2010, according to IRS data, Louisiana lost $3 billion in adjusted gross income to Texas.

Amen.

I particularly like that he recognizes the power of tax competition as an argument for better tax policy. Taxpayers win when Texas and Louisiana compete to have less oppressive tax systems.

Indeed, this should help explain why I am so fixated on the importance of making governments compete with each other. Simply stated, governments are very prone to over-tax and over-spend if they think taxpayers have no escape options.

So let’s keep our fingers crossed that Gov. Jindal’s proposal gets a friendly reception from the state legislature.

If he succeeds, I imagine he will vault himself to the top tier of Republicans looking to replace Obama.

And, who knows, maybe he can reinvigorate the argument that we can replace the corrupt internal revenue code with a national sales tax?

P.S. Jindal is good on more than just tax policy. He’s already implemented some good school choice reform, notwithstanding wretched and predictable opposition from the state’s teachers’ union.

Here’s a Lisa Benson cartoon that makes a similar point, but it focuses on Obama’s class-warfare tax policy.

Cartoon Grinch Spending

What makes the cartoon especially effective is that it not only shows that higher tax burden is designed to finance more spending, but also it makes clear that soaking-the-rich won’t be enough.

______________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

Open letter to President Obama (Part 490) (includes editorial cartoon)

Open letter to President Obama (Part 490)

(Emailed to White House on 4-15-13.)

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

___________________

Why not try and copy the same recipe that Reagan used to get us out of a recession? Reagan cut taxes on the job creators!!!

Barack Obama has stated that he wants to be like Reagan, at least in the sense of wanting to be a transformational figure.

But almost certainly he has failed.

Yes, Obama has increased the burden of government spendingraised tax rates, and created more dependency, but there’s nothing particularly special about Obama’s tenure that makes him different from other statist Presidents such as Nixon, Carter, and Bush.

Nor is there any evidence that he has fundamentally changed the attitudes of the American people.

That may sound like a bold – and overly optimistic – assertion, but check out the amazing results from a new poll. According to a survey of 1,000 adults, Reagan would kick the you-know-what out of Obama, winning a hypothetical contest by a staggering 58-42 margin.

Reagan Obama Poll

By the way, the margin might be even bigger than I’m reporting. As you can see from this press excerpt, all we know is that 58 percent of respondents said they would vote for Reagan. I’m assuming that 42 percent would vote for Obama, but it’s possible there was also a “don’t know” or “other” category, so maybe Obama would be under 40 percent!

…just about everything about the era — from the politics, leaders and safety to the music, TV shows and blockbuster movies — are seen as being better than they are today. In fact, 3 in 4 Americans (74%) thought that our country was better off then and even safer (76%). The same amount (76%) believe that government ran better in the 1980s than it does today. And if a presidential election were held today, 58 percent would vote for Ronald Reagan over Barack Obama. Americans ages 18 to 34 were evenly split, with 51 percent favoring Reagan and 49 percent Obama.

Even young people preferred Reagan over Obama, which is remarkable since they didn’t experience the Reagan years and largely have learned about the Gipper from the media and schools, both of which are very hostile to Reagan.

We shouldn’t be too surprised by these polling results. Just take a look at this amazing infographic, which shows Obama’s horrible record on jobs compared to Reagan and other Presidents. Michael Ramirez makes the same point in this very funny cartoon.

Or look at these powerful charts based on Minneapolis Federal Reserve data, which compare the strong results of Reaganomics with the pathetic results of Obamanomics.

In other words, good policy leads to good outcomes, and good outcomes yield political rewards. That simple lesson has been lost on the weak gaggle of big-government GOPers who followed Reagan.

But our hypothetical polling results show that Americans today are still ready to rally behind a candidate who offers a compelling message of freedom and prosperity. That’s yet another reason why I’m still optimistic about the fight for liberty.

P.S. Here’s some snarky humor comparing the Gipper with Obama. And if you liked the story of what happens when you try socialism in the classroom, you’ll also enjoy this video of Reagan schooling Obama.

P.P.S. If you want to be inspired, click here and here to see two short clips of Reagan in action.

______________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Evere

I’ve already posted on Obama’s class-warfare approach to tax policy, and I’ve also posted about the pitfalls of a tax system that exempts 50 percent of the population.

Well, here’s a cartoon that cleverly combines both themes.

 

tte Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

 

Related posts:

“Friedman Friday” Transcript and video of Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan (Part 2)

Below is a discussion from Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. February 10, 1999 | Recorded on February 10, 1999 audio, video, and blogs » uncommon knowledge PRESIDENTIAL REPORT CARD: Milton Friedman on the State of the Union with guest Milton Friedman Milton Friedman, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution and Nobel Laureate in [...]

“Friedman Friday” Transcript and video of Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan (Part 1)

Below is a discussion from Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. February 10, 1999 | Recorded on February 10, 1999 audio, video, and blogs » uncommon knowledge PRESIDENTIAL REPORT CARD: Milton Friedman on the State of the Union with guest Milton Friedman Milton Friedman, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution and Nobel Laureate in [...]

Ronald Reagan and the Founding Fathers

I really enjoyed this article. A Constitutional President: Ronald Reagan and the Founding By Edwin Meese III , Lee Edwards, Ph.D. , James C. Miller III and Steven Hayward January 26, 2012 Abstract: Throughout his presidency, Ronald Reagan was guided by the principles of the American founding, especially the idea of ordered liberty. In the opening of his first inaugural address in 1981, [...]

March for Life March in Little Rock on Jan 20, 2013!!!Ronald Reagan’s videos and pictures displayed here on the www.thedailyhatch.org

Ronald Reagan was the greatest pro-life president ever. He appointed Dr. C. Everett Koop to his administration and Dr. Koop was responsible for this outstanding pro-life film below: I was thinking about the March for Life that is coming up on Jan 20, 2013 in Little Rock and that is why I posted this today. [...]

Ronald Reagan’s pro-life tract

1/30/84 Part 1 of a speech to the National Religious Broadcasters. June 10, 2004, 10:30 a.m. Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation Ronald Reagan’s pro-life tract. EDITOR’S NOTE: While president, Ronald Reagan penned this article for The Human Life Review, unsolicited. It ran in the Review‘s Spring 1983, issue and is reprinted here with permission. The case [...]

Ronald Reagan’s videos and pictures displayed here on the www.thedailyhatch.org

President Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton attending the Dinner Honoring the Nation’s Governors. 2/22/87. Ronald Reagan is my favorite president and I have devoted several hundred looking at his ideas. Take a look at these links below: President Reagan and Nancy Reagan attending “All Star Tribute to Dutch Reagan” at NBC Studios(from [...]

Ronald Reagan and Johnny Carson discussing Balanced Budget Amendment on “Tonight Show”

Ronald Reagan Talks About Balancing the Budget on “The Tonight Show” Uploaded by johnnycarson on Jul 30, 2011 Ronald Reagan talks about balancing the budget on “The Tonight Show” in 1975. _____________ Ronald Reagan was one of my favorite presidents. Mike Lee is one of my favorite lawmakers of today!!! Look at what he says about [...]

Robert Bork and Ronald Reagan

I always liked both Robert Bork and Ronald Reagan. They had a lot in common. Lee Edwards noted concerning Bork and Reagan: Reagan’s most dramatic defeat came in 1987 when he nominated Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court.[xli] Bork’s confirmation became an ugly battle against liberal organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, the [...]

Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation:Ronald Reagan’s pro-life tract

Obama finds himself answering for a vote he made back in the Illinois state Senate. See Barack Obama’s exclusive interview with CBN New’s David Brody, and what he says about his views on abortion and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. June 10, 2004, 10:30 a.m. Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation Ronald Reagan’s [...]

“Friedman Friday” Milton Friedman: “the purpose of the balanced-budget-and-tax-limitation amendment is to limit the government in order to free the people — this time from excessive taxation.”

Friedman on Reagan

Uploaded by on Aug 19, 2009

Nobel Laureate Dr. Milton Friedman discusses the principles of Ronald Reagan during this talk for students at Young America’s Foundation’s 25th annual National Conservative Student Conference

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Passing the Balanced Budget Amendment would be what the founding fathers would have wanted. Look at what my favorite economist once said.

“The amendment is very much in the spirit of the first 10 amendments — the Bill of Rights. Their purpose was to limit the government in order to free the people. Similarly, the purpose of the balanced-budget-and-tax-limitation amendment is to limit the government in order to free the people — this time from excessive taxation.”

The Return of the Balanced Budget Amendment

By: jmattera
3/7/2011 03:01 AM

“The balanced budget amendment has good aspects, but it is simply not good enough in dealing with fundamental constitutional change for our country.” And thus with that 23-word statement in 1997, Democrat Sen. Robert Torricelli of New Jersey sunk conservative spirits. No longer did the U.S. Senate have the two-thirds it needed to enshrine a fundamental principle of governing into the highest law of the land: that politicians should pay for what they spend.

Controversial, I know. Pfft.

Due to Democrat Torricelli’s jellyfish backbone, the 1997 Balanced Budget Amendment fell one vote short of hitting the needed threshold, which was the same margin of failure as just one year before. And liberals couldnt have been happier. Their penchant for obligating the taxpayers of tomorrow to pay for the spending binges of today remained unbroken.

Not that the dissenting senators worded their objections that way. Nope. To Vermont’s incorrigible leftist Sen. Patrick Leahy, inserting a mechanism into the Constitution that would enable our government’s books to mirror the realities American businesses and families face daily was “bumper sticker politics” and “sloganeering.” The way toward rectifying Uncle Sam’s balance sheet was, according to Leahy, “political courage,” not tinkering with the Constitution. Thirty-three of Leahy’s Democratic colleagues agreed.

Mind-Boggling Debt

Of course, by “political courage,” Leahy didnt mean reforming our insolvent entitlement systems or abolishing many of the improvident, senseless, and unconstitutional government bureaucracies and programs in existence. Nah. He meant tax increases on the rich. You know the drill, people.

Prescience, however, is not a valued commodity in Washington, D.C., as lawmakers pursue policies that are in the best interest of their reelection, not of the republic.

When the balanced budget amendment failed in 1997, the federal deficit stood at just $22 billion and the national debt hovered around 5.5 trillion — meager compared with today’s obscene figures, where we have a deficit topping $1.6 trillion this year alone accompanied by a mind-boggling debt of $14 trillion and growing.

To put our debt in perspective, Kobe Bryant makes $25 million playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Any guesses on how many seasons Kobe would have to play in order to pay off today’s national debt? How about a whopping 560,000. That’s chilling, and quite frankly, incomprehensible.

Heck, we’ve run deficits in 54 of the last 60 years, as the National Taxpayer Union points out. That’s a figure that would make Keynes himself blink.

Ironically, Leahy was on the right track when he spoke of the need for political courage. This country desperately needs it, but it must manifest itself in the form of politicians who will defend the property rights of all Americans as opposed to the current lawmaking that treats this nation’s treasury as a personal ATM card.

The brute political courage we need is for politicians to plug Congress’s desire to ransack the appropriations process to engineer winners and losers in the marketplace and thus perpetuate a class of constituents whose inspiration to vote is driven by keeping the government gravy train on a track straight to their bank accounts.

Thanks to the midterm elections, the time for real political courage is now: The balanced budget amendment is making a comeback thanks to one veteran and one freshman senator.

“The people are calling for it. They are clamoring for it. They’re demanding it,” said newly elected Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who has 19 of his colleagues, including Jim DeMint and Rand Paul, rallying in support of his balanced budget amendment. “The American people overwhelmingly demand it, and if members of Congress value their jobs, they are going to vote for it,” he told Human Events in an exclusive interview.

Lee’s a Tea Party faithful who believes his job boils down to this bare-bones task: produce a government in the original mold of the Constitution, which is to say, one whose legislative reach is restricted and clearly defined. In other words, a federal government that looks absolutely nothing like what we have today.

Opportune Time Needed

Lee is so intent on getting a vote on his balanced budget amendment that he’s ready to filibuster the vote on whether or not to raise the debt ceiling as a tactical move.

“I can tell you that there are a lot of people who will not even consider it [a vote on the debt limit] without a balanced budget amendment first being proposed by Congress,” he said emphatically.

That’s certainly one approach — to hold the Senate hostage until real, austere statutory spending limits are adopted.

Utah’s senior Sen. Orrin Hatch doesnt see it that way. He’s looking for a vote on his balanced budget amendment too, but at a time believed to be the most opportune for passage. He hasn’t set firm timetables or made any strict demands.

“You have to have a bipartisan vote. You have to have a President that does care, and you have to have a setting in time where people can’t do anything but vote for it,” Hatch explained. “Right now, I don’t think we have that.”

If youre keeping score, the two senators from Utah both have competing balanced budget amendments floating around the Senate. In some ways, these jockeying amendments are a reflection of the Tea Party being a big kid on the block within the GOP.

Hatch, though, has been in the Senate for more than three decades, and is confident that he can get a balanced budget amendment through, which is why he’s taking a softer tone and insisting on waiting for the best moment to accomplish that.

And there’s something to be said for Hatch’s, well, “political,” approach. He’s shepherded the balanced budget amendment since 1982, when it was approved in the Senate, but torpedoed in the House by then-Speaker Tip O’Neill. And, as noted above, Hatch came painstakingly close twice in the Senate, both in 1996 and 1997.

“It’s every bit as difficult now, but it’s important that we bring it up and that we make all the strides we can,” he said.

The long-serving senator has 32 co-sponsors for his bill, including Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who is the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee.

When it comes down to it, both Hatch and Lee’s amendments have the same goal: ending profligate spending. In fact, as Nobel Laureate James Buchanan said, “The balanced budget norm is ultimately based on the acceptance of the classic principles of public finance, meaning that politicians shouldn’t spend more than they are willing to generate in tax revenues, except during periods of extreme and temporary emergency.”

Wait, why is this concept controversial again? Because it handcuffs Big Government believers from exerting influence over our personal decision making, thats why.


Courts Involved

There are notable differences between the balanced budget amendments of Hatch and Lee, which we lay out in detail in the accompanying chart. While Mike Lee would restrict government spending to 18% of the gross domestic product (GDP), Hatch’s limits the figure to 20%. The 40-year average of tax receipts to GDP is around 18%, and Hatch knows this to be the case, but, to quote him, “If you get it too low, then you lose any chance with the Democrats.” And that, right there, encapsulates the internal friction the GOP will face with this budding Tea Party caucus going head-to-head with those who are willing to work with Democrats to deliver a final product.

But there’s more: Hatch’s proposal allows a simple majority vote to waive the balanced budget requirement when there’s a declaration of war or a designated military conflict, whereas Lee’s amendment provides no such exception. His threshold is much higher — a two-thirds vote.

When aren’t we in a military conflict? Lee quips.

There are also differences in the enforcement mechanism. Lee would grant standing in federal court to members of Congress if flagrant violations of the amendment occur. Hatch doesnt want the courts anywhere near enforcement, believing that public pressure placed on politicians instead provides the best form of accountability. Plus, “Who wants the courts doing it?” asked Hatch, alluding to their predilection toward activism.

Lee himself acknowledges that court intervention would be rare, but that the mere possibility that it could occur would add some additional incentive to Congress to make sure that it stays within their restrictions.

So far, so good.

But procedurally, how would our gargantuan budget ever get balanced? We’re dealing with trillions of dollars here, after all, a highly complex web of arithmetic. Congress must make a good-faith effort, say Hatch and Lee, to use the best possible projections of spending and receipts. Even with the accurate projections, economic conditions change throughout the year that may inhibit the Feds’ budget from being balanced, such as underestimating costs, which happens more frequently than not these days. If such a scenario plays out, and a fiscal year does end with a deficit, such spending cuts can be incorporated into the next fiscal year’s budget and make up the difference on the back end. Under both plans, by the way, two-thirds of Congress would be needed to raise taxes, so it would be more likely than not that the budget would be balanced by spending cuts, not tax increases.

Hey, were all game for that.

Naturally, getting a balanced budget amendment adopted as part of the Constitution will not be an easy feat. And not because of the numerical hurdles and multiple steps needed to get any amendment through the Constitution (the process should be difficult). It’s because Democrats will kick and scream over the severe cuts to spending that would ensue after the adoption of a balanced budget amendment.

Heck, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his left-wing posse went apoplectic at a proposed spending reduction of $61 billion over the next seven months, calling it “extreme” and “draconian.” Just $61 billion. Thats it. To realize just how absurd such objections were, $61 billion is only a one-third of the money needed to cover the interest payments for U.S. bondholders this year alone.

Imagine when formal debate begins on the need to cut trillions in spending to rein in our deficit? Democrats may cut off their right arms in protest.

“This is exhibit A for why we need a balanced budget amendment,” responded Lee. “Politicians have reached the conclusion that they are the bad guys unless they say ‘yes’ to more spending, and it’s in light of that aspect of human nature that particularly tends to affect politicians, and that’s why we need a constitutional amendment.”

Unified GOP Caucus

“If this is going to get passed in the next two years,” says Hatch, “President Obama will have to step to the plate. Ultimately you’ll need presidential leadership because everybody knows that you’re not going to get spending under control until we take on entitlements as well. You cannot do it without presidential leadership.”

Remider: There’s always new presidential leadership come 2012. Well, we hope so anyway.

In the end, expect the GOP to have a unified caucus on a merger of the Hatch and Lee balanced budget amendments. It’s hard enough (almost impossible) to get one through when Democrats are in control of the Senate and the presidency, so the Republicans will need a unified front like they’ve had in the past.

A balanced budget amendment restricts the power of lawmakers, and that’s why the left despises it, and will work vigorously to defeat it. Get ready.

In the end, it is exactly what the Constitution needs. And esteemed economist Milton Friedman identified why two decades ago.

Said Friedman: “The amendment is very much in the spirit of the first 10 amendments — the Bill of Rights. Their purpose was to limit the government in order to free the people. Similarly, the purpose of the balanced-budget-and-tax-limitation amendment is to limit the government in order to free the people — this time from excessive taxation.”

If we cannot cut the Welfare State under these distressing economic conditions, then we’ll never do it. Now’s the time.

Open letter to President Obama (Part 489) (Obama Suffers a Painful Loss in the First Big Fiscal Battle of His Second Term)

Open letter to President Obama (Part 489)

(Emailed to White House on 5-4-13.)

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

______________

Does Government Have a Revenue or Spending Problem?

People say the government has a debt problem. Debt is caused by deficits, which is the difference between what the government collects in tax revenue and the amount of government spending. Every time the government runs a deficit, the government debt increases. So what’s to blame: too much spending, or too little tax revenue? Economics professor Antony Davies examines the data and concludes that the root cause of the debt is too much government spending.

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We got to starve the beast and not increase taxes.

The statist agenda of ever-growing government requires more money going to Washington, which is why I think that proponents of limited government should do everything they can to block tax increases.

This is the “starve the beast” theory, and I’ve previously explained why I think it is a necessary part of any long-run strategy to restrain the burden of government spending.

He would never admit it, but Obama seems to agree, which is why he is dogmatically fixated on doing everything he can to seduce Republicans into supporting higher taxes.

Obama Sequester Boomerang CartoonBut he miscalculated in thinking that the fiscal cliff tax hike somehow meant that he had permanently neutered the GOP, and he definitely goofed when he tried to use the sequester as a weapon to bully Republicans into another tax hike.

Ignoring the President’s hyperbole about the supposed catastrophic effects of a very modest reduction in the growth of the federal budget, Republicans have held firm.

And the President has suffered a painful political and policy defeat.

Here’s some of what was reported in The Hill about the President’s attitude.

The first months of President Obama’s second term are being built around a simple premise: No caving. …Obama is in an ultra-assertive mood, practically daring Republicans to defy his wishes. …Obama’s attitude is more akin to that of a general leading his forces into battle, confident that he can decimate the enemy. …On the sequester, for instance, Obama did little more than pay lip-service to the idea of a last-minute compromise to avert the package of cuts.

Well, Republicans did “defy his wishes” and it’s the worst possible outcome for the President. The growth of spending is being slowed and taxes are not going up.

Democrats on Capitol Hill also thought that the fiscal cliff tax hike would be a precedent for lots of future tax hikes. As reported by Politico, their analysis was misguided.

Democrats toasted the New Year’s fiscal cliff deal with the belief that they had set a crucial new precedent: Tax hikes would be part of any future deficit reduction package. Two months later, the champagne buzz is wearing off. …the exuberance expressed by many Democrats at the beginning of the year was misplaced. Efforts to avert the sequester never achieved liftoff, and Democrats are realizing that new tax revenues are off the table for the immediate future. …“We’ve tried everything we can,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Thursday. “They will not budge on anything dealing with revenue.”

Byron York has the best analysis, explaining in his Washington Examiner column that Obama gambled and (at least so far) lost.

Nine months ago, Barack Obama likened his Republican opposition to an illness. If he could just defeat Mitt Romney, Obama said, then the illness might subside. “I believe that if we’re successful in this election — when we’re successful in this election — that the fever may break,” Obama told a fundraiser in Minneapolis last June. After Obama won re-election, there was extensive discussion among his supporters about whether the Republican “fever” would, in fact, break.

But this strategy appears to have boomeranged. Byron thinks that the White House is now in a weak position.

There was little speculation about whether something quite different might happen: Would determined GOP opposition break Obama’s fever?  That is, could Republicans weaken the president’s resolve to defeat the GOP and further raise taxes? That appears to be what has occurred, at least for the moment. …Friday morning, Obama seemed resigned to the possibility that he cannot win the further tax increases he seeks, and that after enlisting his entire administration in a campaign to frighten Americans about sequestration, the cuts have become a reality that he has to acknowledge.

While I’m glad the President goofed, I’m not under any illusion that winning a battle is the same thing as winning a war.

It’s quite possible that the modest sequester savings will be undone as part of the “continuing resolution” legislation to fund the federal government between March 27 and the rest of the fiscal year.

There will also be a debt limit fight later in the Spring, which will give proponents of bigger government another bite at the apple (though it’s a double-edged sword since advocates of limited government also can use the debt limit as a vehicle for reform).

And the President obviously won’t give up on his campaign for higher taxes. I worry that he’ll trick gullible GOPers into a tax hike at some point, either as part of a Trojan Horse tax reform or as part of a budget summit that produces something like Bowles-Simposon, a package of real tax hikes and illusory entitlement reforms.

But we can fight those battles down the road. Today, let’s enjoy the sweet smell of victory.

_______________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

Open letter to President Obama (Part 472) (Taxing the rich will not balance the budget includes editorial cartoon)

Open letter to President Obama (Part 472)

(Emailed to White House on 4-9-13.)

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here. Why do you think that taxing the rich will balance the budget Mr. President?

___________

Will Taxing the Rich Fix the Deficit?

Published on Jul 2, 2012

The government’s budget deficit in 2009 was $1.5 trillion. Many have suggested raising taxes on the rich to cover the difference between what the government collected in revenue and what it spent. Is that a realistic solution? Economics professor Antony Davies uses data to demonstrate why taxing the rich will not be sufficient to make the budget deficit disappear. He says, “The budget deficit is so large that there simply aren’t enough rich people to tax to raise enough to balance the budget.” Instead, it’s time to work on legitimate solutions, like cutting spending.

__________________

Obama’s position on tax policy made simple below:

I’ve already posted on Obama’s class-warfare approach to tax policy, and I’ve also posted about the pitfalls of a tax system that exempts 50 percent of the population.

Well, here’s a cartoon that cleverly combines both themes.

Cool.

 

_____________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

Open letter to President Obama (Part 470) (If Republicans raise taxes then they are dumb includes several cartoons)

Open letter to President Obama (Part 470)

(Emailed to White House on 4-9-13.)

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

___________

How Raising Taxes Will Not Balance the Budget: More Evidence

Published on Nov 15, 2012

Although it may seem counterintuitive, raising taxes on the rich does not actually increase the amount of taxes the government collects. How could this possibly be the case? According to Professor Antony Davies, it is because the many loopholes in federal income taxes, capital gains taxes, and many other taxes, enable people to partially avoid these taxes. Perhaps instead of discussing how to raise tax revenues, we should spend our energy simplifying the tax code. This would make it more difficult for people to avoid taxes and, Davies says, “The less time and money we spend trying to work around a complex tax code, the more time and money we will have available to put to more productive uses.”

Do you think that the tax code is too complicated? Let us know in the comments!

__________

Republicans falling for that “balanced approach” ploy again? WHY DO YOU THINK RAISING TAXES IS THE ANSWER MR PRESIDENT?

Okay, I’ll admit the title of this post doesn’t really say anything. My toaster is smarter than most Republicans.

But let’s focus specifically on the budget and tax negotiations. As I explained the other day, we basically have a situation where the President wants to trick GOPers into jumping out of the “fiscal cliff” frying pan and into the Obama class-warfare fire.

The frying pan is not a good option since it means a return of Clinton-era tax rates (but unfortunately not a return to Clinton-era levels of spending and regulation), but at least there would also be “sequestration,” which is budget-wonk term for automatic reductions in the growth of government spending.

Obama’s class-warfare fire, by contrast, is nothing but bad news. The tax increases might not be as large in the short run, but they would be designed to impose maximum damage on the economy. And the sequester would disappear. Indeed, Obama’s actually demanding more Keynesian stimulus!

The President says (with a straight face, so he does have acting talent) that he also wants “spending cuts” as part of his “balanced approach.”

Gullible Republicans seem to think this is just peachy keen, but here is the work of some cartoonists with a more realistic assessment. We’ll start with my favorite, from Robert Ariail, if for no other reason than it builds upon a cartoon I created for this 2011 post.

Cartoon Fiscal Cliff 3

Here are two cartoons about that share the same theme, putting Obama in the role of Wimpy from the Popeye series. If that’s not a familiar cultural reference (i.e., if you’re not as old as me), watch this YouTube clip.

Cartoon Fiscal Cliff 2

Cartoon Fiscal Cliff 6

And here’s the cartoon version of a post I wrote back in 2011.

Cartoon Fiscal Cliff 4

Here’s one from the great Michael Ramirez, acknowledging the President’s willingness to meet his opponents halfway.

Cartoon Fiscal Cliff 5

Let’s now close with two really good additions to this collection. Here’s one mocking Republicans for their naiveté.

Cartoon fiscal cliff 1

Last but not least, here’s one showing that Obama prefers the European version of a “balanced approach” rather than the version I put together.

Cartoon Fiscal Cliff 7

By the way, here’s another original bit of Dan Mitchell humor – the very simple two-line Barack Obama flat tax.

________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

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Letter to Senator John Boozman about Sequester Negotiations (PLEASE KEEP SEQUESTER!!!!)

________________________

Senator John Boozman, 320 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Phone: (202) 224-4843 Fax: (202) 228-1371
Dear Senator Boozman,

I want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to respond to my earlier letter to you on this same subject. I have always TRIED TO CONTACT THE REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS ABOUT THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO BALANCE OUR BUDGET AND CUT SPENDING WHENEVER POSSIBLE.

It is obvious to me that if President Obama gets his hands on more money then he will continue to spend away our children’s future. He has already taken the national debt from 11 trillion to 17 trillion in just 5 years. Over, and over, and over, and over, and over and over I have written Speaker Boehner and  every Republican that represents Arkansans in Arkansas before. I am happy to report that both in 2009 and since then GriffinWomackCrawford, have been contacted by me  and you  Senator Boozman were the first one to respond, concerning these issues involved with cutting spending. I am hoping they will stand up against this reckless spending that our federal government has done and will continue to do if given the chance. NOW THE DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS ARE ATTEMPTING TO ELIMINATE THE SEQUESTER EVEN THOUGH IT HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL AT SLOWING DOWN THE GROWTH IN FEDERAL SPENDING RECENTLY.

Take a close look at what Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute had to say about the Sequester Negotiations going on currently between the Democrats and Republicans.

__________________

There’s a saying in the sports world about how last-minute comebacks are examples of “snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.”

I don’t like that phrase because it reminds me of the painful way my belovedGeorgia Bulldogs were defeated a couple of weeks ago by Auburn.

But I also don’t like the saying because it describes what Obama and other advocates of big government must be thinking now that Republicans apparently are about to do the opposite and “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

More specifically, the GOP appears willing to give away the sequester’s real and meaningful spending restraint and replace that fiscal discipline with a package of gimmicks and new revenues.

I warned last month that something bad might happen to the sequester, but even a pessimist like me didn’t envision such a big defeat for fiscal responsibility.

You may be thinking to yourself that even the “stupid party” couldn’t be foolish enough to save Obama from his biggest defeat, but check out these excerpts from Wall Street Journal report.

Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), chief negotiators for their parties, are closing in on a deal… At issue are efforts to craft a compromise that would ease across-the-board spending cuts due to take effect in January, known as the sequester, and replace them with a mix of increased fees and cuts in mandatory spending programs.

But the supposed cuts wouldn’t include any genuine entitlement reform. And there would be back-door tax hikes.

Officials familiar with the talks say negotiators are stitching together a package of offsets to the planned sequester cuts that would include none of the major cuts in Medicare or other entitlement programs that Mr. Ryan has wanted… Instead, it would include more targeted and arcane measures, such as increased fees for airport-security and federal guarantees of private pensions.

But the package may get even worse before the ink is dry.

Democrats on Thursday stepped up their demands in advance of the closing days of negotiations between Ms. Murray and Mr. Ryan. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) brought a fresh demand to the table by saying she wouldn’t support any budget deal unless in included or was accompanied by an agreement to renew expanded unemployment benefits that expire before the end of the year—which would be a major threat to any deal.

Gee, wouldn’t that be wonderful. Not only may GOPers surrender the sequester and acquiesce to some tax hikes, but they might also condemn unemployed people to further joblessness and despair.

That’s even worse than the part of the plan that would increase taxes on airline travel to further subsidize the Keystone Cops of the TSA.

But look at the bright side…at least for DC insiders. If the sequester is gutted, that will be a big victory for lobbyists. That means they’ll get larger bonuses, which means their kids will have even more presents under the Christmas tree.

As for the rest of the nation? Well, you can’t make an omelet without scrambling a few eggs.

P.S. I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky that this looming agreement isn’t as bad as some past budget deals, such as the read-my-lips fiasco of 1990.

________

This is very much the same case as raising the debt ceiling in my view. It seems that the Republicans keep allowing the Democrats to raise that too. Why don’t the Republicans  just vote no on the next increase to the debt ceiling limit and ALSO REFUSE TO DROP THE SEQUESTER REQUIREMENTS!!!!!!!. I have praised over and over and over the 66 House Republicans that voted no on the debt ceiling increase . If they did not raise the debt ceiling then we would have a balanced budget instantly and at least if we kept the sequester in place it would slow down the growth in federal spending.  I agree that the Tea Party has made a difference and I have personally posted 49 posts on my blog on different Tea Party heroes of mine.

I have written and emailed Senator Mark Pryor over, and over again with spending cut suggestions but he has ignored all of these good ideas in favor of keeping the printing presses going as we plunge our future generations further in debt. I am convinced if he does not change his liberal voting record that he will no longer be our senator in 2014.

I have written hundreds of letters and emails to President Obama and I must say that I have been impressed that he has had the White House staff answer so many of my letters. The White House answered concerning Social Security (two times), Green Technologieswelfaresmall businessesObamacare (twice),  federal overspendingexpanding unemployment benefits to 99 weeks,  gun controlnational debtabortionjumpstarting the economy, and various other  issues.   However, his policies have not changed, and by the way the White House after answering over 50 of my letters before November of 2012 has not answered one since.   President Obama is committed to cutting nothing from the budget that I can tell.

TRY BORROWING AT A BANK WITH A FINANCIAL CONDITION LIKE THE USA HAS:

The problem in Washington is not lack of revenue but our lack of spending restraint. This video below makes that point. WASHINGTON IS A SPENDING ADDICT!!!

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, cell ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.comwww.thedailyhatch.org

PS: I named my son Wilson Daniel Hatcher after my favorite president Ronald Wilson Reagan. I got to see Reagan when he spoke in Little Rock in November of 1984 and he waved at my wife Jill and I at a corner where we stood alone when his car drove by. I wish we had more statesmen in Congress like him today and the 66 Brave Republicans who have stood up to Obama’s big government power grab! I have only a few heroes that I look up to and Adrian Rogers, Billy Graham, Francis Schaeffer, Dr. C. Everett Koop, Milton Friedman and George Washington are a few of them that come to mind. We need more men like them today but only Billy Graham is still alive out of that group.

http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/photographs/large/C508-22A.jpgPresident Reagan and Nancy Reagan greeting Billy Graham at the National Prayer Breakfast held at the Washington Hilton Hotel. 2/5/81.

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The Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 25)

Uploaded by RepJoeWalsh on Jun 14, 2011 Our country’s debt continues to grow — it’s eating away at the American Dream. We need to make real cuts now. We need Cut, Cap, and Balance. The Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 25) This post today is a part of a series [...]

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“The Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 14),”

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The Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 9)

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The Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 5)

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“Friedman Friday” Friedman on BBA part 2

Mark Levin “I feel that we can do great things.”

Uploaded by on Mar 26, 2011

Mark Levin “I feel that we can do great things.” Mark is excited by the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment. He states that this would be a great thing for America to pass. He believes the Balanced Budget Amendment will help bring the nation back to it’s Constitutional roots. Mark explains what the amendment is and how it will work. In his February 1983 classic essay, Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman gives his opinion on a balanced budget amendment that requires a super majority to raise taxes. Friedman states, “The purpose of the balanced-budget-and-tax-limitation amendment is to limit the government in order to free the people—this time from excessive taxation. Its passage would go a long way to remedy the defect that has developed in our budgetary process.” Part #1 3-25-2011

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The best article I have ever read on the Balanced Budget Amendment was written by my favorite economist Milton Friedman. Here is the second portion below:

Washington: Less Red Ink

I have been much more surprised, and dismayed, by the criticism that has been expressed by persons who share my basic outlook about the importance of limiting government in order to preserve and expand individual freedom—for example, the editors of The Wall Street Journal and a former editor and current columnist, Vermont Royster. They do not question the objectives of the amendment, but they doubt its necessity and potential effectiveness.

Those doubts are presumably shared by many other thoughtful citizens of all shades of political opinion who are united by concern about the growth of government spending and deficits. Here, for their consideration, are my answers to the principal objections to the proposed amendment that I have come across, other than those that arise from a desire to have a still-bigger government:

1. The amendment is unnecessary. Congress and the President have the power to limit spending and balance the budget.

Taken seriously, this is an argument for scrapping most of the Constitution. Congress and the President have the power to preserve freedom of the press and of speech without the First Amendment. Does that make the First Amendment unnecessary? Not surprisingly, I know of no one who has criticized the balanced-budget amendment as unnecessary—however caustic his comments on congressional hypocrisy—who would draw the conclusion that the First Amendment should be scrapped.

It is essential to look not only at the power of Congress but at the incentives of its members—to act in such a way as to be re-elected. As Phil Gramm, a Democratic congressman from Texas, has said: Every time you vote on every issue, all the people who want the program are looking over your right shoulder and nobody’s looking over your left shoulder….In being fiscally responsible under such circumstances, we’re asking more of people than the Lord asks.”

Under present arrangements, Congress will not in fact balance the budget. Similarly, a President will not produce a balanced budget by using the kind of vetoes that would be required. The function of the amendment is to remedy the defect in our legislative procedure that distorts the will of the people as it is filtered through their representatives. The amendment process is the only effective way the public can treat the budget as a whole. That is the function of the First Amendment, as well—it treats free speech as a bundle. In its absence, Congress would consider each case “on its merits.” It is not hard to envisage the way unpopular groups and views would fare.

2. The President and Congress are guilty of hypocrisy in voting simultaneously for a large current deficit and for a constitutional amendment to prevent future deficits.

Of course, I have long believed that congressional hypocrisy and shortsightedness are the only reasons there is a ghost of a chance of getting Congress to pass an amendment limiting itself. Most members of Congress will do anything to postpone the problems they face by a couple of years—only Wall Street has a shorter perspective. If the hypocrisy did not exist, if Congress behaved “responsibly,” there would be no need for the amendment. Congress’s irresponsibility is the reason we need an amendment and at the same time the reason that there is a chance of getting one.

Hypocrisy may eventually lead to the passing of the amendment. But hypocrisy will not prevent the amendment from having important effects three or four years down the line—and from casting its shadow on events even earlier. Congress will not violate the Constitution lightly. Members of Congress will wriggle and squirm; they will seek, and no doubt find, subterfuges and evasions. But their actions will be significantly affected by the existence of the amendment. The experience of several states that have passed similar tax-limitation amendments provides ample evidence of that.

3. The amendment is substantive, not procedural and the Constitution should be limited to procedural matters. The fate of the Prohibition amendment is a cautionary tale that should give us pause in enacting substantive amendments.

If this amendment is substantive, so is the income-tax (sixteenth) amendment and so are many specific provisions of the Constitution. The income-tax amendment does not specify the rate of tax. It leaves that to Congress. Similarly, this amendment does not specify the size of the budget. It simply outlines a procedure for approving it: the same as now exists if total legislated outlays do not exceed an amount determined by prior events (the prior budget and the prior growth in national income); and by a majority of 60 percent if total legislated outlays do exceed that amount. The requirement of a supernormal majority is neither substantive nor undemocratic nor unprecedented. Witness the two-thirds majority necessary to override a presidential veto or to approve a treaty.

The prohibition amendment was incompatible with the basic aim of the Constitution, because it was not directed at limiting government. On the contrary, it limited the people and freed government to control them. The balanced-budget-tax-limitation amendment is thoroughly compatible with the basic role of the Constitution, because it seeks to improve the ability of the public to limit government.

4. The amendment is unduly rigid because it requires an annually balanced budget.

This is a misconception. Section 1 of the amendment prohibits a planned budget deficit unless it is explicitly approved by three fifths of the members of the House and Senate. It further requires the Congress and the President to “ensure that actual outlays do not exceed the outlays set forth in [the budget] statement.” But it does not require that actual receipts equal or exceed statement receipts. A deficit that emerged because a recession produced a reduction in tax receipts would not be in violation of the amendment, provided that outlays were no greater than statement outlays. This is a sensible arrangement: outlays can be controlled more readily over short periods than receipts.

I have never been willing to support an amendment calling for an annually balanced budget. I do support this one, because it has the necessary flexibility.

5. The amendment will be ineffective because (a) it requires estimates of receipts and outlays which can be fudged; (b) its language is fuzzy; (c) the Congress can find loopholes to evade it; (d) it contains no specific provisions for enforcement.

(a) It will be possible to evade the amendment by overestimating receipts—but only once, for the first year the amendment is effective. Thereafter, section 2 of the amendment limits each year’s statement receipts to the prior year’s statement receipts plus the prior rate of increase of national income. No further estimates of budget receipts are called for. This is one of the overlooked subtleties in the amendment.

Any further fudging would have to be of the national-income estimates. That is possible but both unlikely and not easy. What matters is not the level of national income but the percentage change in national income. Alterations of the definition of national income that affect levels are likely to have far less effect on percentage changes. Moreover, making the change in income artificially high in one year will tend to make it artificially low the next. All in all, I do not believe that this is a serious problem.

(b) The language is not fuzzy. The only undefined technical term is “national income.” The amendment also refers to “receipts” and “outlays,” terms of long-standing usage in government accounting; in section 4, total receipts and total outlays are defined explicitly.

Nor is the amendment a hastily drawn gimmick designed to provide a fig leaf to hide Congress’s sins. On the contrary, it is a sophisticated product, developed over a period of years, that reflects the combined wisdom of the many persons who participated in its development.

(c) Loopholes are a more serious problem. One obvious loophole—off-budget outlays—has been closed by phrasing the amendment in terms of total outlays and defining them to include “all outlays of the United States except those for repayment of debt principal.” But other, less obvious, loopholes have not been closed. Two are particularly worrisome: government credit guarantees, and mandating private expenditures for public purposes (e. g., antipollution devices on automobiles). These loopholes now exist and are now being resorted to. I wish there were some way to close them. No doubt the amendment would provide an incentive to make greater use of them. Yet I find it hard to believe that they are such attractive alternatives to direct government spending that they would render the amendment useless.

(d) No constitutional provision will be enforced unless it has widespread public support. That has certainly been demonstrated. However, if a provision does have widespread support—as public-opinion polls have clearly shown that this one does—legislators are not likely to flout it, which brings us back to the loopholes.

Equally important, legislators will find it in their own interest to confer an aura of inviolability on the amendment. This point has been impressed on me by the experience of legislators in states that have adopted amendments limiting state spending. Prior to the amendments, they had no effective defense against lobbyists urging spending programs—all of them, of course, for good purposes. Now they do. They can say: Your program is an excellent one; I would like to support it, but the total amount we can spend is fixed. To get funds for your program, we shall have to cut elsewhere. Where should we cut?” The effect is to force lobbyists to compete against one another rather than form a coalition against the general taxpayer.

That is the purpose of constitutional rules: to establish arrangements under which private interest coincides with the public interest. This amendment passes that test with flying colors.

6. The key problem is not deficits but the size of government spending.

My sentiments exactly. Which is why I have never supported an amendment directed solely at a balanced budget. I have written repeatedly that while I would prefer that the budget be balanced, I would rather have government spend $500 billion and run a deficit of $100 billion than have it spend $800 billion with a balanced budget. It matters greatly how the budget is balanced, whether by cutting spending or by raising taxes.

In my eyes, the chief merit of the amendment recommended by the Senate Judiciary Committee is precisely that it does limit spending. Section 1 requires that statement outlays be no greater than statement receipts; section 2 limits the maximum increase in statement receipts; the two together effectively limit statement outlays. Moreover, if in any year Congress manages to keep statement receipts and outlays below the maximum level, the effect is to lower the maximum level for future years, thus fostering a gradual ratcheting down of spending relative to national income.

A further strength of the amendment is the provision for approving an exceptional increase in statement receipts (hence in statement outlays). The spending-limitation amendment that was drafted by the National Tax Limitation Committee required a two-thirds majority of both houses in order to justify an exceptional increase in outlays. The amendment passed by the Senate requires only “a majority of the whole number of both houses of Congress.” However, the majority must vote for an explicit tax increase. I submit that it is far easier to get a two-thirds majority of Congress to approve an exceptional increase in spending than to get a simple majority to approve an explicit increase in taxes. So this is a stronger, not a weaker, amendment.

Section 6 proposed by Senator Armstrong in the course of Senate debate, makes the debt ceiling permanent and requires a supermajority vote to raise it. That provision was approved by a narrow majority composed of a coalition of right-wing Republicans and left-wing Democrats—the one group demonstrating its hardcore conservatism, the other seeking to reduce the chances of adoption of the basic amendment.

I do not favor the debt-limit provision. Its objective—to strengthen pressure on Congress to balance the budget—is fine, and it may be that it would do little harm. But it seems to me both unnecessary and potentially harmful. I trust that it will be eliminated if and when the amendment is finally approved by Congress. I shall favor the amendment even if the debt-limit provision is left in, but less enthusiastically.

7. The amendment introduces a near economic theory into the Constitution.

It does nothing of the kind—unless the idea that there should be some connection between receipts and outlays is a new economic theory. The amendment does not even change the present budget process, if Congress enacts a balanced budget that rises by no greater a percentage than does national income. But it does significantly stiffen the requirement for passing a budget that is in deficit or for raising the fraction of our income spent on our behalf by the government.

The amendment recommended by the Senate Judiciary Committee deserves the wholehearted backing of every believer in a limited government and maximum freedom for the individual.

Milton Friedman received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1976. He is the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago and a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

“Friedman Friday” Friedman on BBA

Mark Levin “I feel that we can do great things.”

Uploaded by on Mar 26, 2011

Mark Levin “I feel that we can do great things.” Mark is excited by the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment. He states that this would be a great thing for America to pass. He believes the Balanced Budget Amendment will help bring the nation back to it’s Constitutional roots. Mark explains what the amendment is and how it will work. In his February 1983 classic essay, Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman gives his opinion on a balanced budget amendment that requires a super majority to raise taxes. Friedman states, “The purpose of the balanced-budget-and-tax-limitation amendment is to limit the government in order to free the people—this time from excessive taxation. Its passage would go a long way to remedy the defect that has developed in our budgetary process.” Part #1 3-25-2011

The best article I have ever read on the Balanced Budget Amendment was written by my favorite economist Milton Friedman. Here is the first portion below:

Washington: Less Red Ink

An argument that the balanced-budget amendment would be a rare merging of public and private interests.

Our elected representatives in Congress have been voting larger expenditures year after year—larger not only in dollars but as a fraction of the national income. Tax revenue has been rising as well, but nothing like so rapidly. As a result, deficits have grown and grown.

At the same time, the public has demonstrated increasing resistance to higher spending, higher taxes, and higher deficits. Every survey of public opinion shows a large majority that believes that government is spending too much money, and that the government budget should be balanced.

How is it that a government of the majority produces results that the majority opposes?

The paradox reflects a defect in our political structure. We are ruled by a majority—but it is a majority composed of a coalition of minorities representing special interests. A particular minority may lose more from programs benefiting other minorities than it gains from programs benefiting itself. It might be willing to give up its own programs as part of a package deal eliminating all programs—but, currently, there is no way it can express that preference.

Similarly, it is not in the interest of a legislator to vote against a particular appropriation bill if that vote would create strong enemies while a vote in its favor would alienate few supporters. That is why simply electing the right people is not a solution. Each of us will be favorably inclined toward a legislator who has voted for a bill that confers a large benefit on us, as we perceive it. Yet who among us will oppose a legislator because he has voted for a measure that, while requiring a large expenditure, will increase the taxes on each of us by a few cents or a few dollars? When we are among the few who benefit, it pays us to keep track of the vote. When we are among the many who bear the cost, it does not pay us even to read about it.

The result is a major defect in the legislative procedure whereby a budget is enacted: each measure is considered separately, and the final budget is the sum of the separate items, limited by no effective, overriding total. That defect will not be remedied by Congress itself—as the failure of one attempt after another at reforming the budget process has demonstrated. It simply is not in the self-interest of legislators to remedy it—at least not as they have perceived their self-interest.

Dissatisfaction with ever-increasing spending and taxes first took the form of pressure on legislators to discipline themselves. When it became clear that they could not or would not do so, the dissatisfaction took the form of a drive for constitutional amendments at both the state and the federal levels. The drive captured national attention when Proposition 13, reducing property taxes, was passed in California; it has held public attention since, scoring successes in state after state. The constitutional route remains the only one by which the general interest of the public can be expressed, by which package deals, as it were, can be realized.

Two national organizations have led this drive: the National Tax Limitation Committee (NTLC), founded in 1975 as a single-issue, nonpartisan organization to serve as a clearinghouse for information on attempts to limit taxes at a local, state, or federal level, and to assist such attempts; and the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), which led the drive to persuade state legislatures to pass resolutions calling for a constitutional convention to enact an amendment requiring the federal government to balance its budget. Thirty-one states have already passed resolutions calling for a convention. If three more pass similar resolutions, the Constitution requires Congress to call such a convention—a major reason Congress has been active in producing its own amendment.

The amendment that was passed by the Senate last August 4, by a vote of 69 to 31 (two more than the two thirds required for approval of a constitutional amendment), had its origin in 1973 in a California proposition that failed at the time but passed in 1979 in improved form (not Proposition 13). A drafting committee organized by the NTLC produced a draft amendment applicable to the federal government in late 1978. The NTU contributed its own version. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a final version on May 19, 1981, after lengthy hearings and with the cooperation of all the major contributors to the earlier work. In my opinion, the committee’s final version was better than any earlier draft. That version was adopted by the Senate except for the addition of section 6, proposed by Senator William Armstrong, of Colorado, a Republican. Approval by the Senate, like the sponsorship of the amendment, was bipartisan: forty-seven Republicans, twenty-one Democrats, and one Independent voted for the amendment.

The House Democratic leadership tried to prevent a vote on the amendment in the House before last November’s elections. However, a discharge petition forced a vote on it on October 1, the last full day of the regular session. The amendment was approved by a majority (236 to 187), but not by the necessary two thirds. Again, the majority was bipartisan: 167 Republicans, 69 Democrats. In view of its near passage and the widespread public support for it, the amendment is sure to be reintroduced in the current session of Congress. Hence it remains a very live issue.

The amendment as adopted by the Senate would achieve two related objectives: first, it would increase the likelihood that the federal budget would be brought into balance, not by prohibiting an unbalanced budget but by making it more difficult to enact a budget calling for a deficit; second, it would check the growth of government spending—again, not by prohibiting such growth but by making it more difficult.

The amendment is very much in the spirit of the first ten amendments—the Bill of Rights. Their purpose was to limit the government in order to free the people. Similarly, the purpose of the balanced-budget-and-tax-limitation amendment is to limit the government in order to free the people—this time from excessive taxation. Its passage would go a long way to remedy the defect that has developed in our budgetary process. By the same token, it would make it more difficult for supporters of ever-bigger government to attain their goals.

It is no surprise, therefore, that a torrent of criticism has been loosed against the proposed amendment by people who believe that our problems arise not from excessive government but from our failure to give government enough power, enough control over us as individuals. It is no surprise that Tip O’Neill and his fellow advocates of big government tried to prevent a vote in the House on the amendment, and used all the pressure at their command to prevent its receiving a two-thirds majority.

It is no surprise, either, that when the amendment did come to a vote in the House, a substantial majority voted for it. After all, in repeated opinion polls, more than three quarters of the public have favored such an amendment. Their representatives do not find it easy to disregard that sentiment in an open vote—which is why Democratic leaders tried to prevent the amendment from coming to a vote. When their hand was forced, they quickly introduced a meaningless substitute that was overwhelmingly defeated (346 to 77) but gave some representatives an opportunity to cast a recorded vote for a token budget-balancing amendment while at the same time voting against the real thing.

Milton Friedman received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1976. He is the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago and a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
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