Archive for March 11th, 2010

Tax Foundation — Record Numbers of People Paying No Income Tax; Over 50 Million “Nonpayers” Include Families Making over $50,000

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Two Records Set in 2008: Most Nonpayers and Highest-Earning Nonpayers

Nonpaying status used to be a sure sign of poverty or near-poverty, but Congress and the President have changed the tax laws to pull much of the middle class into the growing pool of nonpayers. The income level at which a typical family of four will owe no income taxes has risen rapidly, now topping $51,000.

As a result, recently released IRS data for the 2008 tax year show that a record 51.6 million filers had no income tax obligation.[1] That means more than 36 percent of all Americans who filed a tax return for 2008 were nonpayers, raising serious doubts about the ability of the income tax system to continue funding the federal government’s ballooning expenditures.

The Growth of the Nonpaying Population
Since it was enacted in 1913, the income tax code has contained provisions that exempt low-income workers or greatly reduce their income tax burden. These provisions include the standard deduction, personal exemption, dependent exemption, and the earned income tax credit (EITC). Between 1950 and 1990, the percentage of tax filers whose entire tax liability was wiped out by these provisions averaged 21 percent.

Since the early 1990s, however, lawmakers have increasingly used the tax code instead of government spending programs to funnel money to groups of people they want to reward. Credits have been enacted to subsidize families with children, college students, and purchasers of hybrid cars, just to name a few of the most well known. In terms of tax revenue, the most significant of these socially targeted credits was the $500 per-child tax credit enacted in 1997. The 2001 and 2003 tax bills doubled the value of the credit to $1,000 and added a refundable component.

How the Campuses Helped Ruin California’s Economy — John Ellis

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I joined the University of California faculty in 1966 and so have watched a good many of them, but have never seen one less impressive that this year’s. In 1964 there was focus and clarity. This one was brain-dead. The former idealism and sense of purpose had degenerated into a self-serving demand for more money at a time when both state and university are broke, and one in eight California workers is unemployed. The elite intellectuals of the university community might have been expected to offer us insight into how this problem arose, and realistic measures for dealing with it. But all that was on offer was this: get more money and give it to us. Californians witnessing this must have wondered whether the money they were already providing was well spent where there was so little evidence of productive thought.

Airline Twitter promotion attracts huge crowds — CNET

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

NEW YORK–It was apparently one step short of a cattle stampede when low-cost airline JetBlue used its Twitter account to announce that as part of its 10th anniversary celebration it would be giving out about a thousand free round-trip tickets at three undisclosed locations in Manhattan on Wednesday.

National Jurist: Law School Faculties 40% Larger Than 10 Years Ago

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

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Florida’s unemployment rate at 35-year high

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

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PJTV — CLIMATEGATE: The Global Warming Cover Up Spreads to NASA

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

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Club for Growth — Misleading Bennett Campaign Owes Utah an Apology

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

WASHINGTON – The Club for Growth today called on Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) to explain or retract a false claim made by his re-election campaign yesterday about Bennett’s big-government record in the United States Senate. According to CNN, Bennett’s campaign said the Club’s claims were “dishonest nonsense” and “dirty politics.”

The three claims at issue – made in both the Club’s television ad now running on Fox News in Utah and in other communications with Utah Republicans leading up to the March 23rd caucuses – are that Bennett “voted to bail out Wall Street, voted for billions in wasteful spending like Alaska’s ‘Bridge to Nowhere,’” and “even joined with liberals supporting big government healthcare.”

And as Sen. Bennett and his campaign know well, all three points are objective facts:

FACT: On October 1, 2008, Bennett voted in favor of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. (Vote #213)

FACT: On October 20, 2005, Bennett voted against an amendment that would have stripped funding for the notorious “Bridge to Nowhere” earmark in Alaska. (Vote #262)

FACT: On May 1, 2008, the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation wrote Senator Bennett about S. 334, his “Healthy Americans Act,” co-sponsored with seven Democrats including Ron Wyden (D-OR). According to the non-partisan analysis, Wyden-Bennett would raise taxes $400-$500 billion, mandate individuals to buy health insurance, and spend $1.3 to $1.4 trillion.

“Every claim the Club for Growth in has made in Utah is a documented fact,” said Club President Chris Chocola. “Bob Bennett owes an apology for his misleading campaign spin – not to the Club for Growth, but to the people of Utah. After all these years in Washington, the least Bob Bennett owes his state is an honest debate.”

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House GOP Passes One-Year Earmark Moratorium, Finally — Club for Growth

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Wow.  Big news.  After years of pork-barrel spending, the House GOP has decided to finally enact a unilateral moratorium on earmarks this year.

Here are some reactions:

REP. JEFF FLAKE: “This is a great day.  We’ve taken a big step toward fiscal responsibility. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re headed in the right direction.  We now need to encourage the Democrats follow our lead.”

REP. TOM PRICE: “Today the voices of the American people have delivered positive change to Washington.  The flawed earmarking process in Congress has devolved into both a symptom and a source of Washington’s fiscal recklessness. It allows hard-earned tax dollars to flow to wasteful pet projects while feeding a culture of big spending. If Democrats are unwilling to fundamentally reform the earmarking process or refrain from requests along with us, responsibility and principle demand that we abstain from earmarks on our own.”

SEN. JIM DEMINT: “This is exactly the kind of bold leadership Americans have been demanding, and I applaud House Republicans for putting their country ahead of earmarks. House Democrats talked a good game this week, but only House Republicans took real action. Finally, Republicans are getting serious about earning back the trust of American taxpayers.”

ROLL CALL: “Surprising his colleagues in announcing his support for the ban was Appropriations ranking member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), a longtime opponent of such a moratorium. Lewis told reporters during a break in the meeting that the move was only temporary.”

Smartphones will shake up paid content debate

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

(Reuters) - Media companies longing to bring a paid-for culture to the Internet might just get what they want if they pay more attention to the smartphone revolution that is changing the way people access the Web.

Volkswagen — German firm sees slight market recovery; net income dropped 80% in 2009

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) — Volkswagen AG, Europe’s biggest car maker, said Thursday it expects to increase its deliveries, sales revenue and operating profit this year, as it forecast a “slight recovery” in the global automotive market.

Still, the firm warned that the climate in the car industry will remain “harsh,” with interest- and exchange-rate volatility continuing to weigh on its profit.

Dodd set to go it alone on sweeping bank reform bill

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — After months of efforts to craft a bipartisan bill, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd plans to introduce a revised version of sweeping bank reform legislation on Monday, most likely without Republican support.

Dodd had hoped to release a bipartisan bill, after working furiously with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., to reach a solution. However, Dodd said that time was running out to pass a bill in 2010.

Sushi chef, restaurant charged with serving endangered whale

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

(Reuters) – A California sushi chef and the restaurant in which he worked have been charged with illegally serving meat from an endangered Sei whale, the Justice Department said on Thursday.

Politico — “Mitt Romney’s new book, “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness,” will debut on top of the New York Times bestseller list due out March 2″

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

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Tiger Woods will be back in two weeks

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

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NBC — N.J. cop followed his nose to the largest pot bust in state history

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Officer Thomas Lucasiewicz followed his nose and it led him to the largest pot-growing bust in New Jersey history.
On February 12, the Monroe County officer was patrolling the streets when he smelled burning marijuana and followed the smell until he saw smoke rising from a chimney in a Middlesex County home.

Unemployment tops 20% in eight California counties

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

The state was one of five, along with Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, that reached their highest unemployment rates since the government began keeping track in 1976, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. California’s was 12.5% in January, up from 12.3% in December.

Nat Semi, Aeropostale, videogames in after-hours sights

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Earnings reports from National Semiconductor Corp. and Aeropostale Inc., as well as the latest figures on videogame sales are expected to highlight after-hours trading Thursday.

Bank of America kills overdraft fees

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Bank of America customers will no longer complain about that $40 cup of coffee because they won’t be able to buy it if there’s not enough money in their debit account.

Investor’s Business Daily editorial on Detroit — Motown To Notown

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Urban Decline: Detroit was once the epitome of an industrial boomtown. From 1900 to 1930, it was the fastest growing city in the world. Now, ravaged by recession and a plummeting population, the city is shrinking.

As recently as 1950, Detroit was a manufacturing mecca, bustling with 1.9 million residents and the energy of thousands of workers at a dozen auto companies, not to mention the industries, shops and stores that sprang up to service them.

Today, the population of the former Motor City is 800,000 and falling. Since the start of 2008, the greater metropolitan area has lost nearly a quarter of its manufacturing jobs, and the city suffers from a 50% unemployment rate.

Wired — 10 Years After: A Look Back at the Dotcom Boom and Bust

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

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