This post is in response to some videos surfacing that claim Reagan promoted the same kind of tax policy that Obama does now. I believe the key difference (and an important one) is in the beginning of the second paragraph:

What we’re trying to move against is institutionalized unfairness. We want to see that everyone pays their fair share, and no one gets a free ride. Our reasons? It’s good for society when we all know that no one is manipulating the system to their advantage because they’re rich and powerful. But it’s also good for society when everyone pays something, that everyone makes a contribution.

After all, we’re all citizens, equal in the eyes of the law, and equal in the eyes of God. You’re given a lot of benefits when you’re born in the U.S.A, but you’re given a responsibility, too, a responsibility to do your part and become a contributing member of the American family and an equal partner in America, Incorporated. When you pay your taxes, you buy your shares. And every year you get to vote on who should be on the board of directors.

There is more that illustrates the differences between Reagan and Obama and I don’t think it does Obama any favors to try and make the comparison.

Here is a video of the speech I quoted above. I did not find footage from the video used in the “Buffet Rule” video to check the context of those remarks.

A payroll tax cut sounds good and I suppose it is good for families in the short term, but it defunds social security.

I favor tax cuts (or a simplified tax code, at least) and a serious overhaul of social security, but supporting a tax cut that defunds social security while showing commercials of the other side pushing granny off the cliff is a little disingenuous, don’t you think?

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“Gov. Perry’s plan will reduce taxes for everybody and grow the economy and not pit Americans against each other like President Obama is doing,” Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner told Fox News. [emphasis added]

via Perry To Pitch Scrapping Tax Code, Offering Optional 20 Percent Flat Tax | Fox News.

 

The state budget is about $4.7 billion. If you just look just at state money, state spending is down about 3.5 percent from last year. But with federal funds, overall spending for the state budget is actually up.
http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=14314336

This article only skims the surface over how the two (three, really) sides are positioning themselves in the budget debate. The Progressives want to raise income taxes (on the “wealthy”, for now), the Republicans want to leave taxes alone and focus on finding a balanced budget through spending cuts, and the Democrats want a mixture of taxes and spending cuts. On the surface it seems like the Democrats are taking the middle road. But that is hardly the case when you consider the above paragraph. Their position is that they don’t really need to balance the budget because we’ll just get more from Washington D.C.

Here is a key statement:

But Democrats have the votes to pass whatever plan they want.

So, what will the Democrats do with this power? We’ll find out soon, I imagine.

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The Vermont House is ready to raise a slew of taxes impacting everyone from homeowners to hospitals.

via Vt. House ready to raise a slew of taxes – WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-.

You might think that this would lead to a critical piece on taxes and how the taxes might have an impact on the residents of Vermont and the economy. You would be wrong. Instead, capture the near-breathless manner intoned to share this bit of good news (the very next line):

The entire revenue package raises more than $28 million in new taxes.

Wow! Isn’t that great! New taxes will raise more than $28 million! Gee, that’s swell! (Sorry to all you saps who will have to pick up the tab for that $28 million.)

Here is the big problem I have with that first paragraph: it assumes that all spending patterns/behaviors will remain the same once the taxes take effect. It’s a bad assumption and poor reporting.

If you tax Product A (i.e. raise its price), then it will probably lead to some change in purchasing habits of those who bought Product A at a formerly less expensive price. They may buy less of Product A, they may switch to a competitively priced version of Product A (found in a different market?), or they may stop purchasing Product A altogether.

If I had the time to follow this up when all was said and done, then I suspect I would find that the revenues that they hope to raise from these increased taxes will not reach their proposed $28 million mark.

Well, at least governor Schumlin comes out against a certain tax; the cigarette tax:

“It seems to me illogical that we would ask a factory worked making 9,10,11 dollars an hour to pay 27 cents more for a pack of cigarettes and then tell the dentists who refuse to see Medicaid and Medicare patients that they are off the hook,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.

Can you say class warfare?

Or perhaps you smell an acrid, nicotine-flavored smoke coming from the back rooms of Shumlin’s office. (I am merely making a conjecture that his opposition to the cigarette tax could be motivated by a less pure motive like protecting a financial supporter. I don’t know if he has any ties to any tobacco companies. Wouldn’t it be interesting if he did…) The one tax where the health nuts in office actually want and expect to change purchasing behavior and the governor comes out against it. Huh?

Here’s the best part (in my humble opinion)…

Meanwhile, back on the House floor a small group of Progressives and Democrats tried to raise the income tax. The group wanted an income surcharge on the state’s highest earners.

“There are times when a legislative body has to step up and step up to the plate and become the social conscience of the people who are going without many necessities,” said Rep. Paul Poirier, I-Barre City.

But the House leadership and the governor strongly opposed the measure– 23 members supported the surcharge, 117 voted no– a strong victory for the governor and House Speaker Shap Smith, as a tax package makes its way through the Legislature. But many on the House floor believe they’ll be debating taxes again.

They (Shumlin & Smith) want to raise taxes all over the board in an attempt to raise $28 million and because they vote down a proposed income tax surcharge on the state’s “highest earners” we’re supposed to see that as a victory? Way to go boys. Thanks for sticking up for the taxpayers!

First of all, whoop-ti-do!  If a carry-on fee is reprehensible to you, then don’t fly the airline that charges you one.  Cased closed.

This, however, gets me goat:

New York Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday that American, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, US Airways and JetBlue Airways each have committed to him that they would not institute fees for carry-on bags. He said he was hopeful other carriers would follow suit.

via 5 airlines won’t charge for carry-on bags, senator says: Rutland Herald Online.

Why do airlines, private business entities, have to commit anything to Charles Schumer?  They have to commit to him just because he’s a senator?  What the heck?  Is he in charge of setting fees for airlines, now?

I would have to do more research, but in article that Rush Limbaugh read on the air last Thursday he uncovered the real reason behind the carry-on fees being used by Spirit Airlines in Florida: the government doesn’t (or can’t…not sure which) levy a tax on fees.  In other words, the government can tax the sale of the ticket, the cost of the fuel, and just about everything else that goes into making an airplane trip possible, but they can’t tax a fee for a bag.

So, Spirit Airlines, I presume, has introduced the bag fee and lowered their ticket prices to negate the tax implication of providing customers with the service that they demand.  It may even be a win-win for the customer and the airline.  The customer pays the same (or slightly less) for a trip to reach their destination and the airline keeps more of the money from the transaction for itself.

I hope that Spirit Airlines doesn’t cave and I wish that the electorate would stop tolerating senators who think that an entire industry must answer to them for how they go about making their businesses work.

“They’re an environmental hazard, and they’re made of foreign oil,” said Sen. Robert Hartwell, D-Bennington. Taxing them at 10 cents apiece would raise an estimated $6 million to $9 million.

Oh, dear.  Is it possible that most grocery shoppers don’t really care whether a bag is environmentally friendly or made from foreign oil?  Even so, all Sen. Hartwell’s cries are intended to do is evoke emotions for both the environmental crowd and the energy-independence crowd at the same time.  Kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

I have no idea how much it costs to produce a plastic bag in the bulk that a grocery store would need, but my guess is that by 10 cents would nearly double the price they pay and you would end up with one of a few possible results:

  • stores refuse to carry them to avoid the tax
  • stores charge more to customers who use plastic bags (who in turn shove as many items into one bag as possible causing potential difficulties in the parking lot)
  • stores spread the cost of the tax across the spectrum of goods and while no one really notices, everyone pays for the environmentally insensitive and foreign oil addicted shopper

But Democrats who control the Legislature have been singing from the same anti-tax hymnal as Republican Gov. Jim Douglas this year, with both saying tax increases would hurt any hope for economic recovery.

It is good that common sense sometimes prevails.

“I say bag the bag tax,” said Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, a Putney Democrat and candidate to replace the retiring Douglas.

It would be very unwise of Sen. Shumlin to support this tax and I’m pretty sure he knows that.

House Speaker Shap Smith, D-Morristown, was a bit less blunt. “I wouldn’t say it’s high on my list of priorities this year.” He added of the bags, “We reuse them as garbage bags at home.”

If speaker Smith still holds his position in the legislature next session, don’t be surprised to see this tax again.

Backers, led by the Vermont League of Conservation Voters and the Vermont State Employees’ Association, say the tax likely would cause people to switch from plastic bags back to paper or, better yet in their view, to canvas and other reusable bags.

Well, I’m not surprised about the Vermont League of Conservation Voters (although I had not heard of them until today), but what stake does the VSEA have?  I found this comment on their website:

Unions, environmentalists and (judging by the AP story) the public support generating revenue through a plastic bag fee, but legislative leaders are unwilling to even entertain the idea. It’s possible the fee could generate $6-$9 million for Vermont, while helping our environment.

I love the parenthetical thought, “judging by the AP story”, as though the AP is a paragon of objectivity (which is questionable) and as though anyone in Montpelier is going to say that they actually like using plastic bags when they know that they could face some kind of retribution either real or imagined.  This statement also gives the VSEA an opportunity to sound bipartisan by lumping all of the legislators together into one group.  Similar to the make up in Washington DC, the Democrats in Montpelier (generally making up the environmentalist crowd) controls the House and the Senate and could easily override a gubernatorial veto without getting a single Republican vote.

Sigh.

via Vt. plastic bag tax proposal seen coming too late: Rutland Herald Online.