Bankrupting America’s Spending Daily

| April 22 2013

Spending Daily | April 22, 2013

Public Notice Poll: Majority of Americans Want Spending and Taxes Cut to Balance Budget

Public Notice today released the results of a national survey on federal spending and economic issues conducted by The Tarrance Group. The survey found that with serious fiscal battles ahead, the significant majority of Americans believe the best way to improve the economy is for Washington to cut spending, cut taxes and balance the budget. The results show that the economy and government spending remain top concerns with voters.  According to the poll, two-thirds of Americans (66 percent) believe the federal government should cut spending and 62 percent believe taxes should also be lowered to create jobs and grow the economy. A significant majority (70 percent) also believes that a balanced budget would help the nation’s economy.  Click here to read the memo.

 

Senate On Track to Pass Internet Sales Tax Legislation

The Hill reports, “The Senate is expected to pass legislation this week that would empower states to tax online purchases. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has filed to end debate on the bill, which is called the ‘Marketplace Fairness Act.’ A key procedural vote is scheduled for Monday evening. Although the bill looks to be on the fast-track for passage through the Senate, it faces a tougher battle in the House, where Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) says he plans to take his time scrutinizing the legislation. Under current law, states can only collect sales taxes from retailers that have a physical presence in their state. People who order items online from another state are supposed to declare the purchases on their tax forms, but few do. … A coalition of anti-tax groups, including the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform and Americans for Prosperity, sent a letter to members of Congress on Friday, urging them to reject the legislation.”

 

“Pessimism grows over prospects for bipartisan tax reform deal”

The Hill reports, “Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are growing more pessimistic that a bipartisan tax reform deal can get done this year, despite the best efforts of the panel’s chairman, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.). Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed an interest in rewriting a tax code that has ballooned to 4 million words, while Ways and Means members just finished up work on 11 separate groups that examined all areas of the tax code – a process that Democrats and Republicans called helpful. But the two parties also remain deeply divided over whether the government should collect more revenue, an argument that has only intensified after the recent fiscal cliff deal increased government collections by some $600 billion.”

 

Poll: Americans Oppose Raising Gas Taxes

POLITICO reports, “Two-thirds of Americans oppose increasing gas taxes, even if it means the revenue would go toward improving roads and bridges, a new polls shows. Sixty-six percent of those surveyed say they are against a gas tax of up to 20 cents per gallon, with the money going to improve roads, bridges and building more mass transportation, according to a Gallup poll released Monday. Only 29 percent support such an increase while the remainder aren’t sure or didn’t answer. Maryland lawmakers approved such an increase in the state’s gas tax for the first time in about 20 years, with lawmakers in 17 other states considering similar legislation, according to Gallup. Democrats are more likely to support it — 40 percent of Democrats said they would vote for such an increase, with 55 percent voting against it. Among Republicans, 15 percent back it, while 84 percent oppose the gas tax boost. And with independents, 30 percent support and 66 percent are against.”

 

“Part-Time Work Becomes Full-Time Wait for Better Job”

The New York Times reports, “The American economy has generated 30 straight months of job growth. But for millions of people looking for more work and greater income, that improvement provides little solace. In March, 7.6 million Americans who want more hours were stuck in part-time jobs, about the same as a year earlier and three million more than there were when the recession began at the end of 2007. These almost invisible underemployed workers do not count toward the standard jobless rate of 7.6 percent. A broader measure, which includes the involuntary part-timers as well as people who want to work but have stopped looking, stands at 13.8 percent. … Even for those who have been able to take advantage of the better job market, the opportunities have not been good. Since the economy began to recover almost four years ago, hiring has been concentrated in relatively low-wage service sectors, like retailing, home health care, and food preparation, and in contingent jobs at temporary-hiring companies. For example, nearly one out of every 13 jobs is at a restaurant, bar or other food-service establishment, a record high. Household incomes have been stagnant throughout the recovery, and actually fell in the latest report, according to Sentier Research. As a result, economists and policy makers have been expressing concerns about not only the pace of hiring but the quality of new jobs as well.”

 

Coalition Forms Against Chained CPI

Roll Call reports, “When the Obama administration included in its fiscal 2014 budget proposal a plan that would effectively reduce Social Security benefits over the years, officials braced for a strong backlash from Democrats and other defenders of the entitlement program. The White House certainly got an earful from fellow Democrats, but the idea also is drawing sharp resistance from the right, and that is creating an unlikely coalition of opposition from very different sides of the political spectrum. That’s because along with shifting to a stingier way of calculating annual cost-of-living adjustments for federal entitlement programs, use of the chained consumer price index also would set a new inflation gauge for the tax code. That would slow increases in tax bracket thresholds, meaning individuals would pay more in taxes as their income grows faster than inflation. The Congressional Budget Office says that would bring in almost $124 billion more in tax revenue over the next 10 years than current law.”

 

Rahm Emanuel’s Brother Says Obamacare Is Driving Up Healthcare Premiums

The Weekly Standard reports, “Rahm Emanuel’s brother, Zeke Emanuel, told NBC’s David Gregory that Obamacare uncertainty is driving up the cost of health care insurance premiums. ‘The last thing, of course, is what happens with cost, which may be the biggest question of all,’ said Emanuel, referring to the implementation of Obamacare. ‘Can the premiums be kept relatively stable and not growing at, you know, 10, 12 percent? The first year is filled with uncertainty. No one, including the insurers, the hospitals, the federal government knows how many people are going to come in.’”

 

“We still have a health-care spending problem”

Kaiser Family Foundation President and Chief Executive Drew Altman and Senior Vice President Larry Levitt editorialize in The Washington Post, “With every new report about the recent slowdown in health-care spending there is speculation in the media that the problem of rising health costs has somehow been solved or cut down to size. We have seen this movie before. On a number of occasions in the past several decades we have been led to believe that the challenge of containing the growth in health-care costs has been met. In the mid-1990s, it was the managed-care revolution. That was followed by the managed-care backlash, when the trend line for health-care costs headed back up. The idea that we have licked the problem of health-care cost increases is no more probable today than it was in the past. Our nation has made no fundamental change in how health care is paid for or delivered.”

 

Cap And Trade May Be Gone For Good

The Wall Street Journal reports, “One of the great policy bubbles of our times has been cap and trade for carbon emissions, and on Tuesday it may have popped for good. The European Parliament refused to save the EU’s failing program, which is the true-believer equivalent of the pope renouncing celibacy. The Parliament in Strasbourg voted 334-315 (with 63 abstentions) against propping up the price of carbon credits in the EU Emissions Trading System. The failed proposal would have delayed the scheduled sale of 900 million ETS permits over the next seven years, thereby suppressing supply. After carbon traders realized they weren’t getting more artificial scarcity, they drove the price of emissions permits down by 40% at one point on Tuesday. … This failed political intervention also gives the lie to the claim that cap and trade is a ‘market solution’ to climate change. Proponents only like the market in permits when it keeps carbon emissions prices high. Cap and trade is an attempt to use brute political force to limit the supply of carbon energy.”

 

“Europe is becoming a green-energy basket case”

The Washington Post editorializes, “For years, European leaders have flaunted their unwavering commitment to fighting climate change — and chastised the United States for lagging behind. But last week brought yet more confirmation that the continent has become a green-energy basket case. Instead of a model for the world to emulate, Europe has become a model of what not to do. The centerpiece of the European Union’s climate plan — indeed, the only major climate policy that acts across all member countries — is a slowly declining continent-wide cap on emissions. By allowing companies to buy, sell and bank permits to pollute under that cap, the program puts a price on European carbon dioxide emissions. Designed properly, the scheme should encourage companies and consumers to reduce the carbon-intensity of the goods they purchase and invest in cleaner alternatives. But the Europeans didn’t design the policy properly. For a variety of reasons that E.U. officials should have anticipated, the market for carbon permits has all but collapsed. And in a Tuesday vote, the European Parliament rejected a slapdash rescue plan.”

BankruptingAmerica.org is an educational project of Public Notice, an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to providing facts and insight on the effects public policy has on Americans’ financial well-being.

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