- Written by Don Boudreaux
- Category: Letters to Editor
Here's a letter that I sent last night to U.S. News & World Report:
You report that President Obama today "challenged" his cabinet to "cut the budget by $100 million" ("Obama to Cabinet: Cut $100 Million from Budget," April 20). What courage. A President who proclaims the importance of making "hard choices" calls upon his government to trim away a whopping one thirty-six-thousandth of its projected expenditures for the year - or, alternatively reckoned, one twelve-thousandth of its projected budget deficit.
The Unknown Taxpayer made an appearance at the tea party on the Morristown Green. He was there representing the thousands of New Jerseyans who were afraid to show their faces in opposition to the IRS for fear of audits or harassment.
Yesterday, members of the NJ Libertarian Party attended Tea Party Rallies across the state. The citizens of this state and the NJLP are outraged over the enormous growth of government at both the state and federal levels. The Bush-Obama bailouts are just the straw that has broken the camel's back.
The NJ Libertarian Party has held tax day demonstrations across the state every year since 1972. We are happy to see a revival of the same libertarian principles that our founders espoused and look forward to the day that government intrusions into our bedrooms, our relationship, and our wallets are rolled back by our elected leaders.
Study from Nation's Largest Taxpayer Group Shows Individuals, Corps., Spending Nearly $300 Billion on Tax Compliance
(Alexandria, Va.) -- Complying with the nation's Tax Code now costs American families and businesses more time, money, and frustration than ever, according to the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union's (NTU) 11th annual study of tax complexity trends. Taxpayers using any of the 1040 tax form series will spend an average of 26.4 hours and $209 completing their returns for the most current tax year, up from 25.4 hours and $185 four years ago.
"Just in time for the Tax Day 'Tea Party' revolts being held around the country tomorrow is the unsurprising news that taxpayers are bedeviled by increasingly complex federal income tax regulations," NTU Senior Counselor and study author David Keating said. "If our study tells us anything, it's that Americans are ready to toss the U.S. Tax Code overboard and start anew with a simpler and more transparent version."
NTU has conducted comprehensive examinations of Tax Code complexity since 1999, providing historical trends of the burden on Americans to comply with IRS demands. Among 2009's findings:
There have been politicians that have ran for executive offices such as governor or president, that have promised that they were going to deliver great changes to the state and to the country. Often times, the moment that these politicians are sworn in, is the moment that reality hits them. They find that it is difficult to bring about changes and reforms because the legislative branch is controlled by the opposition party with its own agenda, and because some of the executive branch's own party members may not be on board. This situation can not only be seen in Washington, D.C. but also in the northeastern states, in California and elsewhere.
Our current income tax system, inaugurated in 1913 with the adoption of the 16th Amendment, began with a 1 percent tax on taxable income above $3,000 ($4,000 for married couples). A series of surcharges of up to 6 percent were applied to higher incomes, with the maximum rate being 7 percent on taxable income over $500,000. Less than 0.5 percent of the population ended up paying income tax.
From these humble beginnings, the income tax soon blossomed, thanks to World War I, into a tax with a minimum rate that doubled and a maximum rate that reached 77 percent on income of over $1 million.
The James Madison Center filed two federal lawsuits on Friday, April 3, 2009, to challenge the IRS definition of "political intervention," which has been used by the IRS to stifle the legitimate speech activities of many non-profit organizations.
For decades the IRS has applied an "all the facts and circumstances" test to the grass roots lobbying, issue advocacy and voter education activity of non-profits to determine if the non-profit has actually engaged in prohibited political activity. Furthermore, this vague IRS test has been exploited by some liberal groups to threaten and harass churches and other non-profits, causing many of them to be fearful of IRS retribution if they discussed moral or public policy issues. Non-profits have even shied away from legitimate grass roots lobbying activity in fear that it will be considered political intervention. As a result, the legitimate speech activities of many non-profits have been chilled and their free speech rights infringed.
Over a period of time, I been hearing this phrase that there are "businesses that are too big to fail." Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey stated that of the automobile industry with regards to General Motors, Chrysler and Ford when he wrote me in response to an online letter that I sent him. Now it seems like that is the case with regard to every industry, particularly the newspapers.
Washington DC - Effective September 1, 2009 the federal government shall be transitioning to four digit acronyms for all of its agencies. The current use of three digits only allows for only 1,692 combinations (accounting for unusable acronyms due to current usage). Transitioning to four digits will allow for over four hundred thousand combinations.
This change is necessary because with the current growth rate the federal government is expected to run out of usable acronyms by the summer of 2010. Existing agencies will have an A added to the end (unless such use conflicts with an existing usage).
The Office of Federal Registry (OFRA) shall shortly be publishing a list of all updated acronyms.
Heard on Off the Hook.
Read the full article...
The mother of the New Jersey girl whose death inspired Megan's Law is criticizing prosecutors who charge teenagers with child porn for distributing nude photos of themselves.
Maureen Kanka said Thursday that the prosecutors are harming the children more than helping them.
Her comments came as authorities in Passaic County charged a 14-year-old girl with child pornography for posting nude photos of herself on MySpace.com.
If she is convicted, she would have to register with the state as a sex offender under Megan's Law.
The NJ Libertarian Party Convention was a rousing success. It was wonderful to see other Libertarians who saw the future with as much optimism as I do. The speakers were fantastic, including Wayne Allyn Root, Jim Bennett, Howard Kupferman, and Walter Luers. I cannot imagine a better lineup than what we had at this convention. We have video of the speakers and when it has been posted online I will inform everyone. The elections also went well with the following results:
In an unpublished decision released today, the Appellate Division affirmed a trial court's dismissal of Doris Lin's First Amendment case against the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders. The decision is on-line HERE.
The NJLP's Preempted Ordinance Repeal Project has recently succeeded in getting two Salem County municipalities--Pilesgrove Township and Woodstown Borough--to repeal their loitering ordinances.
Pilesgrove finalized the repeal of their ordinance on March 19th, Woodstown repealed their ordinance on March 24th.
For more information, see LP Of Central NJ Loitering Page