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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘taxes’

Police Gear Up for Arab Riots in Musmus

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Police are preparing for Arab riots, as Otzma L’Yisrael political leader Michael Ben-Ari and his party’s supporters are planning a march inside the Arab town of Musmus in the Wadi Ara region on Tuesday.

They will be marching under the slogan of, “Without duties, there are no rights.”

Ben-Ari claims that many Israeli Arabs, and even entire villages are not not paying taxes, building illegally, and generally ignoring the laws of the state.

Police are expecting a large, and potentially violent counter-protest in the village. Residents of the village have called for a general strike today, and hundreds have been reported as protesting at the junction at the entrance to the village.

Musmus is located just north of Um El Fahm, and 13 miles east of Zichron Yaacov.

Drinking for the State

Monday, January 7th, 2013

There was a time when the United States government ran on hooch. Hard up for cash, taxes on whiskey and beer funded the Civil War. With 40 percent of government revenues coming from liquor taxes, alcohol made the dramatic post-war expansion of government possible so that by the 20th Century, the Federal government would have been unrecognizable in scope and function to a man of the 1800s, but would have been all too familiar to us.

The Department of Education was created in 1867, the Department of Justice in 1870, the Department of Agriculture in 1862 and the Department of Commerce and Labor in 1903. Within that time, the Federal government had become concerned with every aspect of life throughout the country. After the Civil War, the same whiskey taxes that had paid for cannons, aerial balloons and widows’ pensions began paying for the transformation of the government into a booming engine of social change.

During the same period that the government was being unrecognizably reshaped, the major cities were being transformed by a tremendous immigration boom. Immigration had made it possible for the Union to win the war by providing an endless supply of fresh bodies to throw into the fight. German, Irish and Jewish immigrants came by the hundreds of thousands and made the Union victory possible.

Republican Progressives had looked forward to freeing the slaves, but were far less enthusiastic about filling the country with Catholics and Jews, who were not only bound for Democratic precincts, but did not share their faith. Germany had produced a liberal variant of Judaism that was rather close to Unitarianism and had prospered nicely among upper class Jews in the United States, but the Jewish immigrants who were arriving were members of a more traditional faith in Russia and Eastern Europe. But it was the Catholics who truly worried them.

The Draft Riots during the Civil War had to be put down with the military and the armories were a hulking reminder that the cities could go up in flame at any moment if the Democratic Party’s radicals chose to light a match. Those same Catholic immigrants had been invaluable to building the Union, but with the South defeated, and the expansion of the Union underway, they had become a problem.

Progressive reformers cast an uneasy eye on the slums and the Democratic political machines that ran them and pursued a grab bag of strategies for curing their ills, from birth control to temperance to socialism.

The progressive vision of a New America was being funded by liquor taxes, but a combination of bigotry and health-nuttery, which was another of the elements of the modern country taking off, brought quite a few reformers around to temperance. Associating Catholics with liquor, they went after liquor itself. But liquor could not be outlawed, without also outlawing big government.

For the practical politician the link between liquor and big government was a web that should not be touched. The drinking American was making big government possible and should be left to drink in peace. But progressive reformers are ever deaf to such logic and quick to cut Gordian knots. Faced with a liquor revenue problem, they contrived a solution in the form of the personal income tax.

The personal income tax was unconstitutional, but with the end of the post-Civil War era and the revival of the Democratic Party as a progressive political movement, the country had entered a period where the Constitution meant very little. During the Wilson and Roosevelt administrations, that document, then not very much more than a century old, had come to be regarded as an outmoded work with very little relevance to modern times.

The Anti-Saloon League, rising out of the mists of an uncertain time, had assembled a coalition encompassing Klansmen, Suffragists, Socialists and Preachers focused on a single-minded agenda, but pushing whatever laws it had to along the way to reach its goal. And the road to Prohibition lay through such policy territories as the personal income tax.

Prohibition today is remembered mainly for the quaint scenes of smugglers and lawmen chasing each other on dark roads, speakeasies where liquor made in massive illegal stills was served and the end of national integrity as an age of national hypocrisy was ushered in by wet politicians who voted dry. But Prohibition as a phenomenon matters little compared to the ways in which the campaign to achieve it and then hold on to it transformed the country.

How Obama is ‘Saving’ the Middle Class

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

President Barack Obama won re-election by selling the idea that he was the champion of the middle class.  Now he is forcing them into poverty and driving them from their homes.

That is the effect of new taxes going into effect on Jan. 1, regardless of how negotiations on the fiscal cliff turn out (unless, as seems unlikely, Congress decides to extend all of the Bush tax cuts to everyone).  The new marginal rates on dividends and interest (43.4%) and capital gains (20%, or 23.8% including the ObamaCare surcharge for high earners) will be devastating for the middle class.

Not only will it apply to those not-so-rich high earners who breach the $200,000 level, but it will harm those under the limit by undermining their desire to get ahead.  Why work longer or harder with 43.4% of marginal income going straight to Washington, another 15% to 20% going to state and local taxes, and 55% of whatever’s left going to death taxes when you pass on?  It’s easier to do what Obama wants and just stay poor.

New tax rates are just the beginning.  There’s the failure to address the Alternative Minimum Tax.  And with the president’s unwillingness to negotiate, there’s the restoration of higher tax rates on all earners.  There is also a host of indirect taxes, such as an onerous tax on medical device makers and lower reimbursements to doctors and hospitals, that will be passed on to consumers one way or another.

Altogether, Obama is “saving the middle class” with a $494-billion tax hike, three-fourths of it on the middle class.

Those who will be hurt the most are small businessmen, professionals, and modestly affluent retirees.  Many of these filers claim more than $200,000 on their tax returns, but they are hardly the evil 1% that Obama vilified during the campaign.  They operate family farms and small construction companies.  They are dentists and accountants.  They are the hardworking owners of retail stores and fast-food outlets.  In short, they are middle-class Americans.

Granted, they are successful.  But isn’t success what Americans aspire to?  By raising taxes on the middle class and especially on those among the middle class who are more successful than others, Obama is sending the message that Americans might as well not aspire to anything.  If they do, they too can expect to be taxed back into dependency.

That has been the plan all along.  That’s why the president exudes such spite toward those who aspire to be rich (while the Buffetts and Zuckerbergs who support him get a free ride).  As far as the left is concerned, all Americans should be dependent on government.  When’s the last time Obama celebrated the success of anyone other than someone like Christopher Brian Bridges (aka “Ludacris”)?  When’s the last time he spoke in a heartfelt manner about the great gift of capitalism and the everyday sacrifices of those in the middle class who make it work?

Never.  What he constantly proclaims is the glorious benefit of Big Government, with the implication that those who control Big Government possess an absolute right to rule over the middle class.  That is why he insists that Congress hand over control of the debt ceiling.  And to make government bigger, Obama demands bigger revenues.  Why should he negotiate?  On January 1, he gets up to half a trillion more in revenues to force more Americans into dependency.

Next week, all or part of that half-trillion in taxes is going into effect, including the Obama death tax.  Just think of those family farms whose owners pass away in the new year.  With Obama blocking reform, rates will return to 55% of assets over $1 million (in addition to whatever state death taxes are due).  At current prices, a typical 200-acre Midwestern farm is now valued at nearly $2 million.  That farm will have to be sold or mortgaged to pay estate taxes.  It will be difficult for surviving family members, who may be dependent on the farm for their livelihoods and may already have been operating the farm for years, to continue operating “half a farm.”  But that’s what Obama wants.

Small business owners are in the same boat. In order to pay that 55% death tax, many who inherit a franchise, a retail operation, or even a service station will be forced to sell the business.  And everyone who worked at that business loses his job.

US Taxes and the American Citizen Abroad (Podcast)

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

This week, Anne Hornung-Soukup, finance director of the ACA (American Citzens Abroad), comes back to Goldstein on Gelt to tell us more about the American government’s taxation policy and how it relates to U.S. expats. Taxation for American citizens abroad is a complicated story. Listen to this week’s show to find out how U.S. taxes still affect you, even if you haven’t been back to the States for years or have never been there but have American parents…

Obama’s Priorities: Immigration, the Economy, Energy, Taxes; Hagel Still Front Runner for Defense (Video)

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Because we’re the Jewish Press, we’ll start with the Chuck Hagel nomination for Secretary of Defense, and move down from there. Speaking with David Gregory on Sunday’s Meet the Press, President Barack Obama voiced strong support for the former Republican Senator from Nebraska. The president insisted, however, that he was yet to make the final decision on the nomination.

In preparation for the nomination dance, Hagel released a statement Friday apologizing for comments he made in 1998 about a gay ambassadorial nominee. Hagel had come under fire in recent days for calling James Hormel, President Clinton’s nominee for ambassador to Luxembourg, “openly, aggressively gay.”

Sounds dangerous…

Hagel’s statement was published by the Washington Post: “My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families.”

Emphasis on “military.”

Last week, Miami Beach’s Jewish elderly population’s favorite presidential candidate Pat Buchanan endorsed Hagel’s nomination.

Among Hagel’s many qualifications, Buchanan wrote, are his views on Iran, and if the president himself decides against going to war, he’ll have to make the case regardless of whether he nominates Hagel: “If Obama does not want that war, he is going to have to defeat the war party. Throwing an old warrior like Chuck Hagel over the side to appease these wolves is not the way to begin this fight. Nominate him, Mr. President. Let’s get it on.”

Buchanan admitted that Hagel had a few Jewish skeletons in his closet. Like when he told author Aaron David Miller that the “Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up” on the Hill. Or when he urged the U.S. to talk to Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. Or when Hagel said, a few years back, that “a military strike against Iran … is not a viable, feasible, responsible option.”

Both Buchanan and Hagel have been accused of anti-Semitism, Hagel for saying the Jewish lobby wields too much influence on Capitol Hill and Buchanan for—oh, take your pick…

He’s how the president approached the subject of Hagel nomination on Meet the Press, courtesy of policymic.com:

GREGORY: “Former Senator Chuck Hagel has come under criticism for some comments he’s made including about a former ambassador nominee during the Clinton years that being gay was an inhibiting factor to being gay to do an effective job. Is there anything about Chuck Hagel’s record or statements that’s disqualifying to you, should you nominate him to run the Defense Department?” …

OBAMA: “Not that I see. I’ve served with Chuck Hagel. I know him. He is a patriot. He is somebody who has done extraordinary work both in the United States Senate. Somebody who served this country with valor in Vietnam. And is somebody who’s currently serving on my intelligence advisory board and doing an outstanding job.

“So I haven’t made a decision on this. With respect to the particular comment that you quoted, he apologized for it. And I think it’s a testimony to what has been a positive change over the last decade in terms of people’s attitudes about gays and lesbians serving our country. And that’s something that I’m very proud to have led.”

* * * And now, because there are other things of concern happening in the world other than the question of whether a non-ally of Israel replaces Leon Panetta, here are some quotes from today’s interview:

GREGORY: “If you go over the cliff, what’s the impact in the markets?”

OBAMA: “Obviously, I think business and investors are going to feel more negative about the economy next year. If you look at projections of 2013, people generally felt that the economy would continue to grow, unemployment would continue to tick down, housing would continue to improve. But what’s been holding us back is the dysfunction here in Washington. And if people start seeing that on January 1st this problem still hasn’t been solved, that we haven’t seen the kind of deficit reduction that we could have had had the Republicans been willing to take the deal that I gave them, if they say that people’s taxes have gone up, which means consumer spending is going to be depressed, then obviously that’s going to have an adverse reaction in the markets.”

* * * GREGORY: “How accountable are you for the fact that Washington can’t get anything done and that we are at this deadline again? … You’ve had a tough go with Congress.”

Behind Salam Fayyad’s Call for ‘Economic Intifada’

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, this week called for an economic Intifada against Israel.

See related Cartoon

Fayyad, whose government is facing a severe financial crisis, wants Palestinians to boycott all Israeli goods in response to Israel’s decision to seize tax revenues belonging to the Palestinian Authority.

The revenues were seized and transferred to the Israel Electric Company to cover Palestinians’ debts to the firm.

Fayyad is angry because the Israel Electric Company finally collected its debts from Palestinian consumers. Speaking to Palestinian reporters in Ramallah, he denounced the transfer of the funds to the company as “illegal and immoral.”

Fayyad knows better than anyone else that, for various reasons, many Palestinians have not been paying their electricity bills.

Many Palestinians refuse to pay water, electricity and other bills because they believe the international community, primarily the Americans and Europeans, should be covering all their expenses. Others refuse to pay because they believe the money eventually falls into the hands of corrupt Palestinian Authority officials.

Earlier this year, the Palestinian Authority announced a series of measures to persuade Palestinian consumers to pay their electricity bills, but to no avail. The Palestinian Authority even announced a new law that allows it to imprison any Palestinian who is caught practicing the widespread phenomenon of “electricity theft.”

Because of the financial crisis, Fayyad’s government has also failed to pay full salaries to its employees, sparking a two-day general strike of the public sector in the West Bank.

The transfer of funds to the Israel Electric Company, and the Arab world’s failure to fulfill promises to support the Palestinian Authority financially, have created a severe financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority.

This is not the first time that Arab countries lie to Palestinians. Over the past two decades, Arab nations have promised the Palestinians billions of dollars in aid. But, according to officials in Ramallah, the Palestinians have received less than 10% of what they had been promised.

Instead of seeking ways to solve the crisis, however, Fayyad chose to call on Palestinians to boycott all Israeli goods. How does that help solve the financial crisis? Fayyad did not have an answer. He just wants to punish Israel for collecting on the debt for the electricity bills.

He is hoping that by calling for an economic intifada, he will succeed in diverting growing anger and frustration on the Palestinian street towards the Israelis. This has always been the Palestinian Authority’s way of avoiding responsibility for anything that goes wrong — by putting all the blame on Israel.

Fayyad wants Palestinians to boycott Israel, but at the same time is unable to provide them with better alternatives. Does he really think that Palestinians will stop buying Israeli-manufactured medicine, for example?

As one Palestinian public servant asked, “How can our prime minister ask us to boycott Israeli goods when we can’t even afford to purchase Palestinian goods because he’s not paying us our salaries?”

Added another Palestinian who has been working as a school teacher for 25 years: “If Fayyad wants us to boycott Israel, why doesn’t he himself set an example? Why is he living in Jerusalem, under Israeli rule, and enjoying, together with his family, most privileges offered to Israeli citizens? Today, I’m ready to go and work in an Israeli settlement to feed my children and I don’t care whether Fayyad likes it or not.”

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

And the Powerball Numbers Are…

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The record Powerball lottery – $550 million ($360.2 million as a cash option before taxes) – goes to numbers 5, 23, 16, 22, 23, 29 and powerball 6.

The jackpot was initially listed at $450, then jumped to $500 million on Tuesday, stopping at $550 million Wednesday morning.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/and-the-powerball-numbers-are/2012/11/29/

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