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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Conservative Party of Canada on track to deliver budget surplus in 2015

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Conservative Party)

Story from Yahoo News about the results delivered by the Conservative Party of Canada.

Note: To understand the numbers in the article, simply multiple the numbers by 10 to compare with American numbers – Canada’s economy is about 1/10 the size of ours. For example, our GDP is $15.7 trillion and theirs is $1.8 trillion. Our national debt is $17 trillion, while their’s is $1.2 trillion.

Excerpt:

Canada’s Conservative government looks set to comfortably balance its books in 2015 or even sooner, its latest budget showed on Tuesday, with cuts in spending on the public service more than offsetting a series of modest new expenditures.

The low-key spending plan leaves Prime Minister Stephen Harper well-positioned to offer tax breaks and other initiatives in the runup to an election scheduled for October next year.

“Some people will say this budget is boring,” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters ahead of the budget speech. “Boring is good.”

The budget shows a deficit of C$2.9 billion ($2.63 billion)in the 2014-15 fiscal year, up from the previous estimate of C$5.5 billion. That balance includes a C$3 billion contingency fund, which in fact reveals an underlying surplus that year.

Flaherty acknowledged the budget would be narrowly balanced this coming year without the contingency fund, but said he preferred to have a “nice clean surplus next year”.

The government estimates a bigger-than-expected C$6.4 billion surplus in 2015-16. In the year ending March 31 of this year, the deficit is pegged at C$16.6 billion.

[...]Flaherty, who is 64 and battling a rare skin disease, has staked his reputation on eliminating Canada’ small deficit, equivalent to about 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and restoring the reputation the country had before the global financial crisis as having the strongest fiscal record in the Group of Seven major economies.

Germany is currently the only G7 country running a surplus, but Canada’s ratio of debt to GDP is substantially less and it is one of a handful of countries with a triple-A rating from rating agencies.

Canada is beating us in debt to GDP:

G7 Debt to GDP as of 2013

G7 % Debt to GDP as of 2012 (lower is better)

Canada is beating us in economic growth:

G7 GDP growth for 2013

G7 % GDP growth from 2007 to 2012 (higher is better)

Source: BBC Business

The next Canadian election is in 2015. I know that the Liberal Party is currently leading in the polls, but I found some good news. The Canadians just redistricted after their census, and there are 30 new electoral districts. If the same turnout occurs in 2015 which occurred in the 2011 election, then the Conservative Party of Canada would get 22 out of 30 of those new seats. However, I am concerned. I want Harper to keep his majority, as he and Tony Abbott (Australia) are two bright conservative stars who show people what conservatives can do. 

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American Spectator praises Australia’s bold new conservative leader

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

Well, I think we can get some encouragement from this article from the American Spectator.

Let’s take a look at his policies and appointments:

On economic policy, his government has moved in the opposite direction of those who favor Dodd-Frank-like behemoth approaches to the financial industry. Instead it’s opted to simplify regulation. As the minister responsible for the reform bluntly pointed out, “no amount of legislation will ever be a guarantee against another Storm Financial.” Indeed it’s often excessive regulation that creates opportunities for financial shenanigans by industry insiders.

Regarding the welfare state, Abbott’s minister for Social Security, Kevin Andrews (another conservative politician-thinker), has announced a major overhaul of a welfare system that was starting to drift in a distinctly European-direction. Predictably the left are up in arms. But so too are those rent-seeking Australian businesses who now find themselves dealing with a government uninterested in subsidizing them. That’s nothing, however, to the fury that greeted Abbott’s disbanding of the climate-change bureaucracy established by the preceding Labor government.

[...]The first sign of Abbott’s seriousness about obstructing the left’s long march through the institutions was his government’s appointment of the policy-director of the center-right Institute of Public Affairs to the nation’s Human Rights Commission. This was widely seen as the beginning of an effort to re-balance an organization long criticized as monolithically left-wing. Since then Abbott has indicated that major changes are coming to the ABC: Australia’s government-funded institutional — and ideological — equivalent of the BBC.

[...]Along the same lines, Abbott’s education minister, Christopher Pyne, has initiated a review of the national curriculum implemented by the previous government. A moment’s glance at the curriculum’s treatment of history soon illustrates the extent to which it seeks to downplay Australia’s indisputably Western heritage. In the words of Sydney’s Cardinal George Pell, “Europe, Britain and the United States are mentioned 76 times, while Asia is referred to on more than 200 occasions.” This disparity is odd because although Australia is certainly in Asia, no objective observer could say that Australia is “of” Asia. Moreover, while Australian students learn about “Gaia” and other deep-green fantasies in grade 9, many Australian universities find they need to put the same students through remedial English classes once they begin college.

Then there are Abbott’s initial steps on the international stage. Take, for instance, his recent remarks at Davos. Much of the address was devoted to pushing a strong free trade agenda and insisting that governments should let business do what it does best: promote lasting economic growth. “After all,” Abbott said, “government doesn’t create wealth; people do, when they run profitable businesses.”

In the same speech, however, Abbott made the conservative point that economic prosperity and freedom can’t be sustained in a value-neutral world. Nor did Abbott shy away from relentlessly pressing one of the most important moral arguments for free trade articulated long ago by Adam Smith: that economic freedom, combined with the right institutions, radically reduces poverty faster than any other approach. “No country,” Abbott added, “has ever taxed or subsidized its way to prosperity.”

All in all, the address added up to a solid integration of sound economics with conservative principles. That’s what makes Abbott different from, say, Canada’s Stephen Harper or Spain’s Mariano Rajoy. Abbott happily engages in the indispensable task of moral suasion in favor of conservative positions. What’s more, he’s quite good at it. With his rare combination of plain-speaking and intellectual substance, Abbott makes conservative ideas sound, well, reasonable to the average voter.

Now, I personally thought that prime minister Stephen Harper of Canada was the best leader of any nation out there, but I had not been following Australian politics as much as I should be, and now I think I’ll give the crown to Abbott. He seems to have a good fusionist view that integrates economic policy and social policy, and that makes him better than Harper, in my view. I would like to see Abbott flex his muscles on foreign policy, as well. Something to look forward to.

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Conservative Christian Tony Abbott wins majority in Australia

Tony Abbott, future Prime Minister of Australia

Tony Abbott, future Prime Minister of Australia

Timothy Stanley of the UK Telegraph reports that Australia has elected a Stephen Harper of their own.

Excerpt:

Tony Abbott has won the Australian election – a blow not only to the Australian Labor Party but to Left-wingers everywhere who presumed that he was too “Neanderthal” to win. Well, us Neanderthals will be having a barbie tonight and sculling some beers to celebrate. “Good on yer, mate!”

Abbott won for two reasons. First, the Australian Labor Party is going through a long-term identity crisis. The ALP was once the party of the working man (and Sheila) but in recent years it’s succumbed to the worst aspects of factional politics, becoming a magnet for liberal pressure groups desperate for their slice of the taxpayers’ pie. The party contained plenty of factions in the past but it always managed to steer a sensible middle course between them – so while it was the ALP in the 1970s that established Australia as an outward-looking, Pacific power it was also the ALP in the 1980s that recognised the need for economic reform and rejected protectionism. It’s the party of both Gough Whitlam and Les Patterson.

However, in recent years the Left gained an ascendance over the Right that undid that delicate balance. Under Gillard and Rudd, the ALP “bought” off Australia’s metropolitan elites by embracing issues like gay marriage and the green agenda – the latter threatening the livelihoods of ordinary Australians trying to drill, mine and log their way through the global recession. It invested in silly, expensive projects that turned into giveaways to client companies and unions. And it displayed all of its internal bickering in public, reducing national politics to student union shenanigans. The ALP is now severed from the base that it once represented so well, leaving the ordinary blokes and blokesses looking around for something new.

[...]On the quiet, Abbott has picked up some of the politics that the ALP abandoned. He is said to be a devotee of BA Santamaria, the Catholic thinker who tried to build a Christian Democratic movement that combined social justice and social conservatism. Abbott’s conservatism is plain to see: he rejects doctrinaire environmentalism and favours a far freer and competitive market than the ALP’s clients would ever tolerate. But he also has Santamaria’s concern for social justice: Abbott wants to introduce a scheme that would pay for parental leave to encourage mothers and fathers not only to spend more time with their children but to have more of them, too. Dig beneath that hard man image and you’ll find a politician who is considerably softer and complex. Whereas some Western conservatives seem to be entirely motivated by the desire to win (Romney, Cameron), Abbott has a philosophy and – almost unique in our materialist age – a theology.

This puts him in the George W Bush, Stephen Harper compassionate conservative tradition – the tradition that tends to attract the most votes. For while British Tories might look at Abbott’s politics and language and sneer, they would do well to remember this important distinction. Tony Abbott wins elections; David Cameron has yet to do even that.

Congratulations, Conservative Coalition!

My previous post on Tony Abbott is here, if you want to know more about his policies.

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