Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Will raising taxes on the rich help the economy and create more jobs?

The presidents of my two favorite think tanks, Arthur Brooks (AEI) and Edwin Feulner (Heritage) explain in this USA Today editorial.

Excerpt: (links removed)

First, there is no evidence that tax increases will actually solve our troubles. On the contrary, years of data from around the world show that when nations try to solve a fiscal crisis primarily by raising tax revenues, they tend to fail. In contrast, fiscal approaches based on entitlement reform and spending cuts tend to succeed.

American Enterprise Institute economists Kevin Hassett, Andrew Biggs and Matthew Jensen examined the experiences of 21 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries between 1970 and 2007. They found that countries with successful fiscal reforms, on average, closed 85% of their budget gaps with spending cuts. The countries with failed reforms, on average, relied at least 50% on tax increases. President Obama’s strategy falls firmly in the latter camp. After discounting the accounting tricks that create fictitious spending cuts, the president’s plan would impose about $3 in tax hikes for every $1 in spending cuts.

That is, his approach would probably land America in the “failed attempt” column. Five years down the line, we would be in the same fiscal mess we are in today, just with higher taxes and a bigger government.

Second, tax hikes aimed at small segments of the population wouldn’t raise much in revenues. Consider the “Buffett Rule” that the president spent many months promoting. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, it would raise about $47 billion over a decade. The federal government currently spends about $4 billion more per day than it takes in. The Buffett Rule, then, would raise about enough next year to cover 28 hours of government overspending. Heritage Foundation economist Curtis Dubay finds that closing the deficit solely by raising the two highest tax brackets would require hiking them to 159% and 166%, respectively.

Third, as economists and business executives have noted repeatedly, raising taxes on families earning over $250,000 per year is effectively a massive tax hike on small businesses. Most small businesses today organize as S-corporations or other pass-through entities; their income is taxed as personal income. A study by Ernst and Young shows that Obama’s proposed tax hike would force these small businesses to eliminate about 710,000 jobs. Moreover, these households already bear a great deal of tax liability. According to the most recent Internal Revenue Service data, those earning $250,000 and above — roughly 2% of all taxpayers — earn 22% of income, but pay 45% of all federal income taxes.

Simply put, increasing tax rates on the wealthy is not a serious approach to solving America’s fiscal woes. The problem is purely one of excessive spending, not inadequate taxing.

Revenues haven’t changed substantially over the last decade, but government spending is way, way up. That’s what’s causing us to go into debt – massive government spending on turtle tunnels and Solyndra. We can do better than socialism.

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Obamacare in action: Denny’s to charge 5% surcharge and cut employee hours

Story here from the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

President Obama’s election victory ensured his Affordable Care Act would remain the centerpiece of his first term in power – but that has left some business owners baulking at the extra cost Obamcare will bring.

Florida based restaurant boss John Metz, who runs approximately 40 Denny’s and owns the Hurricane Grill & Wings franchise has decided to offset that by adding a five percent surcharge to customers’ bills and will reduce his employees’ hours.

With Obamacare due to be fully implemented in January 2014, Metz has justified his move by claiming it is ‘the only alternative. I’ve got to pass on the cost to the customer.’

The fast-food business owner is set to hold meetings at his restaurants in December where he will tell employees, ‘that because of Obamacare, we are going to be cutting front-of-the-house employees to under 30 hours, effective immediately.’

I think it’s a terrible thing. It’s ridiculous that the maximum hours we can give people is 28 hours a week instead of 40,’ said Metz to the Huffington Post.

‘It’s going to force my employees to go out and get a second job.’

Obamacare requires businesses or franchises with more than 50 workers must offer an approved insurance plan or pay a penalty of $2,000 for each full-time worker over 30 workers.

The program mandates that only employees working more than 30 hours a week are covered under their employers health insurance plan, chains like Olive Garden and Red Lobster are already considering reduced worker hours.

‘Obviously, I’d love to cover all our employees under that insurance,’ said Metz.

‘But to pay $5,000 per employee would cost us $175,000 per restaurant and unfortunately, most of our restaurants don’t make $175,000 a year. I can’t afford it.’

Claiming that he is not anti-insurance Metz has said that he understands the problems this will cause for his employees.

Several other restaurants including Papa John’s, Apple Metro and Jimmy John’s have announced plans to skirt Obamacare by reducing employees hours to make them part-time.

[...]Earlier this week Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter told shareholders in a conference call this week that Obamacare would cost the company 11 to 14 cents per pizza, a cost that would be passed on to customers.

My hope is that many of the people who voted for Obama will face these higher prices. But they are probably too stupid to connect cause to effect. After all, you don’t learn about economics by watching “Dancing with the Stars” and MTV. My big fear is that after Obama inflates the gas prices with his energy regulations carbon taxes, the insurance prices with his regulations and taxes, and so on, that the people will turn against business and demand communism. I pray that it doesn’t go that far, but many Americans are so bad at understanding economics these days.

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How would raising taxes on the rich affect middle class working families?

Investors Business Daily explains.

Excerpt:

Raising taxes on all those above $250,000 as Obama proposes would raise just $34 billion. That’s a whopping 3% of our $1.1 trillion deficit. Even if you seized all their income, it would only run the government for three months.

So the idea that taxing the wealthy will reduce the deficit is false. This is just class warfare, pure and simple.

Even so, Obama compounds the fib by going on to say his tax hike will have virtually no impact on small businesses. He notes, for example, that 97% of all small businesses would be untouched by his tax hike.

True, but irrelevant, as Treasury Department data show. For while there are 34.8 million small businesses in America, 30 million of those employ no workers.

Just 4.8 million, or 12%, employ workers. But an even smaller number — just 1.2 million — earn 91% of all the small business income. These are Obama’s “rich.”

But while they make up just 3% of all small businesses, they employ a stunning 54% of the total private U.S. workforce.

They are, in short, the nation’s job creators. And their owners, who report their small-business income on their personal income tax return, will be taxed at a higher rate by Obama.

So don’t be fooled. It’s not really the “wealthy,” as Obama says, who’ll get taxed. It’s small businesses. And it will have a devastating impact on jobs.

How devastating? A recent study by Ernst & Young noted that Obama’s tax hike, far from being “balanced,” would cost 700,000 people their jobs.

And it will no doubt kill hundreds of thousands if not millions more jobs in the future as would-be entrepreneurs decide not to start businesses in such a hostile tax and regulatory environment.

It’s important for us to realize that the people voting for Obama have no idea about these facts. A lot of people are annoyed that we lost the election last week. I think that if we want to win the next one then we have to start to think about becoming more persuasive with the people around us. We have to learn to deflate the slogans of those on the left with facts.

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Romney wins CNN debate against Obama and biased moderator Candy Crowley

Romney brought up the Obama administrations lies about Benghazi as well as the Fast and Furious gun-running to Mexican drug cartels to seal the victory. Although the Democrat moderator lied about Obama calling Benghazi an act of terror, it wasn’t enough to save Obama from Mitt’s constant repetition of the horrible performance of the economy under the socialist Barack Obama.

Romney narrowly won, but it could have been better if he had pressed the attack on the security failures in Benghazi with more facts. He pulled his punches there, and he had no reason to.

There are two stories to this debate. First, the CNN moderator lied to protect Obama about his Benghazi security failure:

CNN correspondent and second presidential debate moderator Candy Crowley disgraced herself tonight, repeatedly intervening to save a floundering President Obama and showing why many Americans were rightfully suspicious of her ability to moderate a presidential debate fairly.

Her most outrageous act tonight was her incorrect seconding of Obama’s statement that he declared the Libya terrorist attacks to be “terror.” While Obama did indeed use the word, this is not what he meant by it. Instead, he was simply referring to “acts of terror.” There was no mention of Al Qaeda or any of its affiliates with respect to the actual attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.

Here is the full Obama statement in reference to “terror” in Libya.

“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”

Perusing the full Obama speech reveals that the president and Crowley misstated the facts…

She has now admitted that Romney was correct about Benghazi.

Second, the CNN moderator cut off all discussion of Obama’s Fast and Furious gun-smuggling to drug cartels, after asking a planted question about “assault weapons”:

As I reported earlier, the topic of Operation Fast and Furious came up at tonight’s presidential debate in New York. During Mitt Romney’s remarks on the deadly subject, President Obama sat in the background where he smirked and at one point, laughed.

[The] debate moderator Candy Crowley quickly changed the subject away from Operation Fast and Furious and when she was done speaking, President Obama failed to address the issue. After the debate in the media spin room, the Obama campaign wasn’t interested in discussing the details either.

[...]Fast and Furious has damaged the relationship between Mexico and the United States, not to mention, it’s laughable to hear President Obama talk about gun control when his own Justice Department armed Mexican cartels with thousands of AK-47 style weapons.

“It’s a vital issue. The President promised to run one of the most transparent and open administration in history. That’s not the case in fact literally today the Justice Department filed suit trying to get out access to records thrown out of court. The President is so upside down on Fast and Furious. He’s never directly addressed the question. He was asked specifically by Univision and he said he would get to the bottom of it but nobody has been held accountable and they haven’t provided the documents to Congress,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who sits on the House Oversight Committee, told Townhall. “I’m glad to see Mitt Romney mentioned it and actually talked about it in a proactive way as something that was wrong on every facet.”

Here are some of the other key points about tonight’s debate:

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Polls show voters swinging to Romney after decisive debate victory

Robert Stacy McCain reports on the latest post-debate polls, but urges us to be cautious about believing them now, just because they are in our favor.

He writes: (links removed)

Nevertheless, for several months, I had been saying that I thought the outcome of the election would hinge on the debates, and the one-sided ass-whupping Romney put on Obama may have triggered a decisive shift that the polls are already beginning to detect.

If you check the Real Clear Politics national average, you see that Sept. 26/Oct. 1, Obama held a lead of four or more points after having been tied with Romney just a month earlier. According to Gallup’s tracking poll, Obama had led by 6 points most of the way from Sept. 19/Oct. 2. Both of these key indicators now show a trend toward Romney, who has closed the gap to 3 points in Gallup and 1.6 points in the RCP, which is mirrored in recent state-by-state results for Florida, Ohio, Colorado andWisconsin.

However, to emphasize again, polls are a lagging indicator. What is important in studying election polls is to follow the trendline, and we don’t yet have enough results from different firms to be able to say (on Oct. 7) that Romney’s looking like a definite winner for Nov. 6.

And McCain also links to this story about one of the bluest counties in the United States: (links removed)

You’d have to reckon that our president’s handlers thought that he would be safe visiting Cleveland, Ohio, a place that helped him win Ohio four years ago. Cuyahoga County yields the majority of Democratic votes from our state. But there’s trouble for Team Obama there today, in a dearth of Democrat registrations.

Here was how Mr. Obama was greeted at a local market:

An Ohio market vendor told President Barack Obama on Friday that his business has been going “terrible” since the president’s arrival, according to media reports.

Obama was greeting different vendors at Cleveland’s West Side Market when he came upon the proprietor of Rolston Poultry.

According to the White House pool report, Obama asked the man how business was going.

“Terrible since you got here,” he replied.

[...]That small business owner summed up the sentiments of many Ohioans, reflected in the new Rasmussen poll, also cited in the PJ Media piece on Obama’s Buckeye state woes.

So, there’s a problem with registering Dems in Cuyahoga County? That’s according to analysis by Clinton Cooper of Election Insights, who has been involved in local and regional government and politics for the last 10 years, including at The Ohio State University and in a policy advisory role for several government agencies and consulting firms in Ohio. Mr. Cooper claims that his data shows that the changes in voter registration in Cuyahoga County have made it extremely difficult for Obama to win Ohio.

Remember, the Paul Ryan vs Joe Biden VP debate is on Thursday night this week.

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