Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Wisconsin House passes Scott Walker’s tax cut bill, headed to governor’s desk

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: All He Does Is Win

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: All He Does Is Win

The leftist Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reluctantly reports on another victor for Governor Scott Walker.

Excerpt:

Gov. Scott Walker’s $541 million tax cut proposal ended its trek through the Legislature on Tuesday with a final vote in the Assembly, clearing the way for the governor to sign it by next week.

The Assembly voted, 61-35, in support of the bill, with three Democrats joining all Republicans in favor of the proposal. It now goes to the Republican governor for his approval.

“That’s exactly what taxpayers want — giving their money back to them rather than keep their dollars here in Madison,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said, urging lawmakers, “Let’s give it back.”

[...]With growing tax collections now expected to give the state a $1 billion budget surplus in June 2015, Walker’s tax proposal will cut property and income taxes for families and businesses, and zero out all income taxes for manufacturers in the state.

Though the state’s tax revenues are increasing, GOP lawmakers and Walker will use that growth as an occasion to trim overall state spending slightly for the next three years rather than increase it.

Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), a Realtor, said the state’s property taxes are a considerable barrier to people buying a home and staying in it into their old age.

“What we’re doing today does move us back in the right direction, lowering the property tax,” he said.

[...]Under Walker’s bill, the average income tax filer would receive a tax cut of $46 in April 2015 and the typical homeowner would save $131 over the existing law on this December’s bills, according to the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office.

Also, the governor has separately had his administration alter income tax withholding rates so workers have less taken out of each paycheck — about $520 a year for a married couple making a total of $80,000 a year — starting in April.

The bill also would lower income taxes for factory and farm owners by $36.8 million over the current two-year budget and $91.3 million over the following two years.

GOP supporters of the manufacturing tax cut in the bill see it as fuel for one of the state’s main economic engines. Democratic opponents see it as a giveaway with a dubious payback to some of the richest people in the state, averaging about $800 for roughly 30,000 tax filers in 2015.

The Christian Post had a story about Scott Walker as well.

Excerpt:

A Wisconsin-based atheist organization has demanded that that Governor Scott Walker remove a posting on the social media website Twitter that is religious in nature.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation stated Tuesday that they took exception to Walker’s official account, including a tweet posted Sunday that simply read, “Philippians 4:13.”

As rendered by the New King James Version, Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

On Sunday, Walker tweeted “Phillipians 4:13″ on the @GovWalker twitter handle. This is noted as being the “Official Twitter Account of the 45th Governor of the State of Wisconsin, Scott Walker.” Walker has another twitter handle, @ScottWalker.

The @GovWalker tweet of the verse citation received as of Tuesday evening 52 retweets and 76 favorites. It also received diverse responses from other Twitter accounts.

As of Wednesday, the tweet was still up. So I re-tweeted it and favorited it.

I think that in 2016 we should be looking at candidates who will take the fight to the Democrats. We don’t need another Mitt Romney. I want to see a candidate who sticks his neck out for what he believes in and comes out on top. Real accomplishments, this time. Not rhetoric. Why do we always have to care what our opponents think of us? Why not just beat them up and then be magnanimous in victory? If he runs for President on the platform of zeroing out manufacturing income tax, he will win. Every union worker will vote for him.

During the Christmas vacation, I read governor Walker’s new book, which was a Christmas present from my friend ECM. If you want to learn more about governor Walker, I recommend picking that up. I actually got the audio version, and it’s read by governor Walker himself.

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker cuts taxes again, expects $1 billion surplus in 2015

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (Republican)

Walker has actually cut taxes three times in less than a year.

I know what you’re thinking, (if you’re a Democrat). You’re thinking “how can a governor cut taxes three times and have a surplus?”.

When the government cuts taxes, people in the private sector who either create jobs or work at jobs get to keep more of their own money. They either spend or invest their money. Spending money is OK, but the magic really happens when people invest money. Even something as simple as putting money into a savings account can achieve magic, because banks lend that money to job creating businesses. What is the magic? The magic is that when people invest or save their money, the money makes its way to job-creating individuals and businesses, so that they can develop new products and services. For example, if Samsung keeps more of it’s own money, it can hire more and better employees to to develop the S5 smartphone – a new product that performs better than the previous S4 model, even though it will probably cost less than the previous S4 model.

What happens when consumers can get more functionality for less money? It means that they can do more in their own lives using the better products and services, but also means that they have more money to save or spend somewhere else. So what really drives the economy is not government handing out food stamps or government giving money to companies linked to their campaign fundraisers (e.g. – Solyndra). What really drives the economy is the private sector. That’s where new innovative products and services are made. When you thinking of government, you should think of the people with degrees in Marxist studies and women’s studies who take money away from Samsung, so they have less money to innovate with. Government takes money from Samsung and gives it to Brigham and Women’s hospital to study why lesbians are often overweight. (It’s purely a coincidence that this is where Obama’s Surgeon General nominee Vivek Murphy works, and purely a coincidence that he founded “Doctors for America” to market Obamacare to the voters).

When you keep the money in the private sector, you get new products and services that people actually want to buy. The more money that businesses keep, the more they higher workers, and the more the state collects in payroll and income taxes. The more that consumers spend to buy better products and services, the more the state collects in sales tax. The key to economic growth is to have businesses produce better products for less money. When consumers can do more and have more money left over, there is economic growth, which boosts tax revenues. Government rarely spends money as efficiently and effectively as job creators and workers can.

With that in mind, let’s see what happened when Governor Scott Walker cut taxes and let job creators and workers keep more of their own money.

The ultra-leftist Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reluctantly reports.

Excerpt:

Senate Republicans Tuesday narrowly passed Gov. Scott Walker’s $541 million tax cut proposal in a vote that guaranteed the cuts will become law.

The tax decreases — the third round of cuts by Republicans in less than a year — passed 17-15 with GOP Sen. Dale Schultz of Richland Center joining all Democrats in voting against the proposal. The proposal now goes to the Assembly, which passed a different version of the tax cuts last month with two Democrats joining all Republicans in supporting it.

With growing tax collections now expected to give the state a $1billion budget surplus in June 2015, Walker’s bill will cut property and income taxes for families and businesses, and zero out all income taxes for manufacturers in the state.

GOP lawmakers and Walker will use the windfall for the state as an occasion to trim overall state spending slightly for the next three years rather than increase it.

[...]Also Tuesday, the Senate voted unanimously to pass a second bill to increase spending on worker training by $35.4 million through June 2015.

[...]Under Walker’s bill, the average income tax filer would receive a tax cut of $46 in April 2015 and the typical homeowner would save $131 over the existing law on this December’s bills, according to the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office.

Also, the governor has separately had his administration alter income tax withholding rates so workers have less taken out of each paycheck — about $520 a year for a married couple making a total of $80,000 a year — starting in April.

“The more money that we give back to the taxpayers, the more money they can spend or save as they wish and the more our economy will grow,” said Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), co-chairwoman of the Legislature’s budget committee.

The bill would also lower income taxes for factory and farm owners by $36.8 million over the current two-year budget and $91.3 million over the following two years.

GOP supporters of this manufacturing tax cut in the bill see it as fuel for one of the state’s main economic engines.

Now the nice thing about Walker is that he is no Wall Street Republican. The man has been plowing money into worker re-training programs and manufacturing, which is exactly how you draw votes from working Democrats. Working Democrats tend to prefer working to collecting welfare, so Walker is out there competing for their votes by making sure that everyone who wants a job can get a job, and that those jobs pay well. Walker knows that if he can cut taxes on manufacturing, that it will cause manufacturers in his state to hire more people in order to develop cheaper and better products. That’s going to cause them to invest more in his state, and some manufacturers will even leave other Democrat-run states (e.g. – Illinois) to move to Wisconsin.

When Democrats were running Wisconsin, they created a huge $3.6 billion dollar deficit that Walker inherited. Everything has been turned around under Scott Walker, but neighboring states like Illinois continue to decline. What a resume this guy is going to have in 2016 when he runs for President. Walker bet the farm on his pro-growth policies in a blue state, and guess what? He is reaping the rewards. He knows what he is doing, and the left can’t stand him. All he does is win.

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What happened to the economy after Democrats won the House and Senate in 2007?

Labor Force Participation Rate from 2007 (Pelosi/Reid) to 2013

Labor Force Participation Rate from 2007 (Pelosi/Reid) to 2013

Three data points explain what happens when government gets bigger, and job creators get smaller.

First from Investors Business Daily, Obama’s failure to reduce health insurance premiums with his big government takeover of health care.

Excerpt:

The average employer-provided family health insurance premiums have climbed $2,976 since 2009, according to an annual Kaiser Family Foundation survey released this week. They’re up $3,671 compared with the year before President Obama took office. That’s despite Obama’s repeated promises that the health care reform law he championed would cut premiums by $2,500 in his first term.

And while annual premium increases have moderated over the past two years, that’s due to trends in the insurance market largely unrelated to ObamaCare, and trends the law could actually reverse.

The Kaiser survey found that the average family premium this year is $16,351, up 4% over last year, and up 22% since 2009. After adjusting for inflation, premiums climbed an average 3.2% a year in Obama’s first term, higher than the 2.7% average during President Bush’s last four years in office.

During his first campaign for president, Obama repeatedly claimed that his health reform plan would, as he said at a Virginia rally in 2008 “lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.”

Now, let’s take a look the second failure, as reported by the Weekly Standard.

Excerpt:

President Obama likes to talk about income inequality, but what matters far more is the actual income of the typical American.  And how has the typical American household income fared on Obama’s watch?  Well, the economic “recovery” has now spanned an Olympiad, and during that time the typical American household income has not only dropped—it has dropped more than twice as much as it did during the recession.

New estimates derived from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey by Sentier Research indicate that the real (inflation-adjusted) median annual household income in America has fallen by 4.4 percent during the “recovery,” after having fallen by 1.8 during the recession.  During the recession, the median American household income fell by $1,002 (from $55,480 to $54,478). During the recovery—that is, from the officially defined end of the recession (in June 2009) to the most recent month for which figures are available (June 2013)—the median American household income has fallen by $2,380 (from $54,478 to $52,098).  So the typical American household is making almost $2,400 less per year (in constant 2013 dollars) than it was four years ago, when the Obama “recovery” began.

Importantly, these income tallies include government payouts such as unemployment compensation and cash welfare. So Obama’s method of funneling ever-more money and power to Washington, and then selectively divvying some of it back out, clearly isn’t working for the typical American family.

And finally, the third example, from the Daily Caller.

Excerpt:

 In 35 states, welfare benefits pay more than a minimum wage job, according to a new study by the libertarian Cato Institute, and in 13 states welfare pays more than $15 per hour.

“One of the single best ways to climb out of poverty is taking a job, but as long as welfare provides a better standard of living than an entry-level job, recipients will continue to choose it over work,” said Michael Tanner, senior policy analyst and co-author of the study.

The study is an updated version of one Tanner put out in 1995 that estimated the full value of welfare benefits packages across the states. The 1995 study found that such tax-free welfare benefits greatly exceeded the poverty level and “their dollar value was greater than the amount of take-home income a worker would receive from an entry-level job.”

Despite efforts to curb welfare spending, many welfare programs and benefits have continued to outpace the income that many workers can receive for working an entry-level job, which disincentivizes work, according to the study.

“The current welfare system provides such a high level of benefits that it acts as a disincentive for work,” reads the study. “Welfare currently pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, even after accounting for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and in 13 states it pays more than $15 per hour.”

According to the study, the federal government funds 126 separate programs designed to support low-income earners. Seventy-two of these programs provide cash or in-kind benefits to recipients. This is on top of additional welfare programs operated by state and local governments.

Welfare recipients in Hawaii get the most benefits, according to Tanner, at $29.13 per hour — or $60,590 pre-tax income annually. However, the state’s minimum wage is only $7.25 per hour, according to the Labor Department. Hawaiians on welfare also earn 167 percent of the median salary in the state, which is only $36,275.

What if a fireman showed up in front of your house on your birthday and claimed that he wanted to put out the candles on your birthday cake because they were a fire hazard? What if he read out a long, passionate, prepared speech about how much he wanted to put out fires? What if he then dumped a bucket of gasoline on your cake? What if your house caught fire and he claimed that you should let him keep throwing gas on the fire to put it out? What if you found out that this person was a lawyer and a community organizer, and knew nothing at all about putting fires out? Obama was not prepared to run the economy, and, as expected, he spent a ton of money without getting the results he said he was going to get. He gave speeches about jobs and poverty and everything he’s done has been to increase unemployment and increase poverty – and now we are $17 trillion dollars in debt. Speeches about achieving objective X during a campaign don’t necessarily translate into achieving objective X. You actually have to know what you are doing in order to achieve objectives, preferably because you’ve done it before in real life.

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Unemployment rate rises: 169,000 more people not in labor force

First, I hope everyone remembers about the William Lane Craig vs Alex Rosenberg debate tonight at Purdue University. There is live-streaming available, details here.

And now, three scary stories from CNS News.

First, this one about the recent depressing jobs report.

Excerpt:

The number of Americans not in the labor force grew by 169,000 in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest jobs report.

BLS labels people who are unemployed and no longer looking for work as “not in the labor force,” including people who have retired on schedule, taken early retirement, or simply given up looking for work. There were 89 million of them last month.

[...]The nation’s unemployment rate increased a tenth of a point in January, rising to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent, a level the Labor Department described as “essentially unchanged.”

Second, this one about Obamacare health care plans.

Excerpt:

In a final regulation issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assumed that under Obamacare the cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000 for the year.

Under Obamacare, Americans will be required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS.

The IRS’s assumption that the cheapest plan for a family will cost $20,000 per year is found in examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty they will need to pay the government if they do not buy a mandated health plan.

The examples point to families of four and families of five, both of which the IRS expects in its assumptions to pay a minimum of $20,000 per year for a bronze plan.

And finally, this one about Obamacare’s effect on job creators, aka “the rich” who need to “pay their fair share”.

Excerpt:

Sixty-one percent of U.S. small business owners said they were “worried about the potential cost of healthcare” and 56 percent said they were “worried about new government regulations,” according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup small business index released on Jan. 31, which also showed that 30 percent of small business owners are not hiring and fear going out of business within a year.

“At the bottom of the list, but still at a surprisingly high level, 30% of owners say they are not hiring because they are worried they may no longer be in business in 12 months,” according to Gallup’s index summary. “This is up from 24% who had the same worry in January 2012.”

[...]Gallup said the reasons given for less hiring, such as healthcare and government regulations, are “troublesome” and have negative implications for the U.S. economy.

Bad news! I remember the good old days of the Bush administration, when we had lower taxes, a 4.4% unemployment rate, and a $160 billion dollar budget deficit. Maybe watching tonight’s debate with WLC and this Duke University naturalist tonight will cheer me up.

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Fiscal cliff deal raises taxes by $600 billion, increases spending $330 billion

The Heritage Foundation explains.

Excerpt:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just now released its score of the bill the Senate passed early this morning while everyone was celebrating the beginning of the New Year. Despite knowing for a long time that taxes would go up on all Americans today, the Senate waited until we technically went over the cliff to act. Washington’s dysfunction was even fodder for New Year’s revelers in Times Square.

Going over the cliff allows Congress to technically say that it isn’t raising taxes, but is cutting them instead. CBO’s score backs them up on this by scoring the Senate bill as a $3.6 trillion tax cut. No one should fall for this. The Senate bill is a tax hike because it allows taxes to go up from 2012 to 2013. The tax increases in the bill will reportedly raise about $600 billion over the next 10 years.

Also of note in the CBO score is that the Senate bill increases spending by around $330 billion by extending expanded unemployment benefits, a temporary “doc fix” patch to prevent cuts to Medicare, and extension of the agriculture programs.

There was some good in the Senate bill — the harmful defense sequester cuts were postponed and most tax hikes were avoided. But there was bad — tax hikes that will hurt the economy and do little to tame the deficit, especially factoring in the spending in the bill.

As I noted before, the CBO has predicted that the bill will add $4 trillion to the national debt, taking us over the $20 trillion mark.

Bloomberg:

The budget deal passed by the U.S. Senate today would raise taxes on 77.1 percent of U.S. households, mostly because of the expiration of a payroll tax cut, according to preliminary estimates from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington.

More than 80 percent of households with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would pay higher taxes. Among the households facing higher taxes, the average increase would be $1,635, the policy center said. A 2 percent payroll tax cut, enacted during the economic slowdown, is being allowed to expire as of yesterday.

According to the CBO, the deal would raise taxes by $41 for every $1 cut from the budget. Have we really dodged a fiscal cliff?

 

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