Democrats Just Snuck a $1 Billion Tax Hike on Workers Into Their COVID Bill

When the economy is struggling to recover from a pandemic and crushing government lockdowns, that’s probably the worst time to impose $1 billion in new annual taxes on the working class. But that’s exactly what a new provision quietly slipped into the Democrats’ sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID legislation would do. 

“A last-minute insert by Democrats looking to offset the cost of their coronavirus aid package would send tax collectors into the gig economy, eventually costing Uber and DoorDash drivers, Airbnb hosts and others about $1 billion annually,” Roll Call reports.

Under current tax law, earnings data for gig economy workers only needs to be reported to the IRS once it reaches $20,000. This means that small earners pursuing gig work to supplement their income aren’t hit by crushing federal taxes. However, the Democrats’ provision would nearly eliminate this benchmark, and instead require all income above $600 to be reported to the IRS.

“The stiffer tax burden would be imposed while 10 million Americans are unemployed and more and more have turned to freelance and gig economy work to make ends meet,” Roll Call notes.

Indeed it would, and this would be disastrous for both workers and the economy.

This tax hike “adds a significant burden to gig economy and small business workers at the worst possible time,” according to TechNet spokesman Steve Kidera. One tax expert warned Roll Call that many struggling gig economy workers won’t be able to pay the higher taxes, and that IRS penalties “can destroy a person’s life.”

It’s mind boggling to think that after a year of depriving workers of their incomes and strangling the economy with government lockdowns, politicians would really shoulder billions more in taxes onto working Americans’ backs. It’s even more aggravating when one realizes that this is being done to pay for a $1.9 trillion “COVID” package where at least 15 percent of the money goes to partisan spending priorities like Obamacare expansion and only 1 percent goes to COVID vaccine distribution. 

If politicians really wanted to reduce the package’s price tag, they could instead start by eliminating the legislation’s countless examples of cronyism and waste. For example, Democrats could cut out the $1 billion their bill allocates for “racial justice” for farmers, the $1.5 million it spends on a bridge in New York that Chuck Schumer wants built, or the $112 million it earmarks for transit projects in California.

Instead, in a move sadly typically for Congress, our elected officials are choosing to pile $1 billion in new annual taxes on the working class rather than eliminate waste and pet projects. This kind of political malpractice and fiscal irresponsibility will continue in Washington, DC until voters finally say enough is enough.

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Opinion Editor at the Foundation for Economic Education.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Libertarian New Year’s Resolutions

Harry Browne, the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee in 1996 and 2000, was among the greatest salesmen for liberty who ever lived. He wrote these Libertarian New Year’s Resolutions in 1998.

I read them every year; In 2020, they are particularly meaningful as we move into a new decade.

Libertarian New Year’s Resolutions
By Harry Browne

  • I resolve to sell liberty by appealing to the self-interest of each prospect, rather than preaching to people and expecting them to suddenly adopt my ideas of right and wrong.
  • I resolve to keep from being drawn into arguments or debates. My purpose is to inspire people to want liberty ­not to prove that they’re wrong.
  • I resolve to listen when people tell me of their wants and needs, so I can help them see how a free society will satisfy those needs.
  • I resolve to identify myself, when appropriate, with the social goals someone may seek ­ a cleaner environment, more help for the poor, a less divisive society ­ and try to show him that those goals can never be achieved by government, but will be well served in a free society.
  • I resolve to be compassionate and respectful of the beliefs and needs that lead people to seek government help. I don’t have to approve of their subsidies or policies ­ but if I don’t acknowledge their needs, I have no hope of helping them find a better way to solve their problems. No matter what the issue, I resolve to keep returning to the central point: how much better off the individual will be in a free society.
  • I resolve to acknowledge my good fortune in having been born an American. Any plan for improvement must begin with a recognition of the good things we have. To speak only of America’s defects will make me a tiresome crank.
  • I resolve to focus on the ways America could be so much better with a very small government ­ not to dwell on all the wrongs that exist today.
  • I resolve to cleanse myself of hate, resentment, and bitterness. Such things steal time and attention from the work that must be done.
  • I resolve to speak, dress, and act in a respectable manner. I may be the first Libertarian someone has encountered, and it’s important that he get a good first impression. No one will hear the message if the messenger is unattractive.
  • I resolve to remind myself that someone’s “stupid” opinion may be an opinion I once held. If I can grow, why can’t I help him grow?
  • I resolve not to raise my voice in any discussion. In a shouting match, no one wins, no one changes his mind, and no one will be inspired to join our quest for a free society.
  • I resolve not to adopt the tactics of Republicans and Democrats. They use character assassination, evasions, and intimidation because they have no real benefits to offer Americans. We, on the other hand, are offering to set people free ­ and so we can win simply by focusing on the better life our proposals will bring.
  • I resolve to be civil to my opponents and treat them with respect. However anyone chooses to treat me, it’s important that I be a better person than my enemies.

Read more of Harry Browne’s work here.

The Myth The Rich Don’t Pay Their ‘Fair Share’ of Taxes

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have led the charge to add many zeros to what some Americans should be given at others’ expense. As a result, they have doubled (or tripled) down on an “old reliable” claim of the left that “the rich” don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes. But that excuse to tax them more to line others’ pockets is obliterated whenever the highly disproportionate income tax burdens actually borne by higher earners are reported.

Rather than abandon the electorally valuable false premise that ever-more disproportionate burdens are justified, however, the political left tries to buttress their position by asserting that other taxes are regressive, so that even more progressive federal income taxes are justified. The main components of such claims are state and local sales and excise taxes and Social Security taxes. Unfortunately, those taxes must also be distorted to defend “fair share” misrepresentations.

Los Angeles Times writer Michael Hiltzik illustrated the state and local gambit in a column echoing charges that their sales and excise taxes “disproportionately hammer lower-income taxpayers,” with that alleged regressivity offsetting income tax progressivity.

That claim arises because those with lower current measured incomes spend a larger proportion of them on those taxes. However, as Edgar Browning has noted, ” … relative to lifetime income, there is very little difference in the percentage of income consumed among income classes. “

As a result, apparent regressivity based on current incomes is shown instead as “roughly proportional” to income in the more-appropriate lifetime context. Low current-income families also often consume a multiple of their income, largely financed with government transfer payments that are excluded from official income measures, which further exaggerates the share of their incomes going to such taxes.

The Social Security angle is illustrated by articles citing the fact that Social Security taxes only apply to earned incomes up to an earnings cap, currently set at $132,900. For instance, a Washington Post article summarized the result as “the more money you make, the less your effective Social Security tax rate is, making this tax about as regressive as they come.” However, Social Security treats lower-income workers far better than higher-income workers.

The CBO found that incorporating such unmeasured income actually made Social Security taxes progressive for all but the top 20 percent of earners.

Rather than being regressive, Social Security taxes are proportional to earned income up to the tax cap. So, for the vast majority of Americans who fall in that range, taxes rise apace with earnings. Beyond the cap, earnings are not subject to the tax. So for those earners, their average tax rates fall with further income. Only for that relatively small number can one claim that despite paying more in total Social Security taxes, they pay a smaller percentage of their total earnings.

When one incorporates the fact that a great deal of income for low-income households is government transfers that are not counted as official income nor subject to Social Security taxes, the picture changes. Years ago, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that incorporating such unmeasured income actually made Social Security taxes progressive for all but the top 20 percent of earners.

Even more important, Social Security’s supposed regressivity reflects only its taxes. But they generate retirement benefits, and accurate evaluation must incorporate both. Doing so reveals Social Security as progressive, not regressive.

For example, for a single earner retiring at 65 in 1993, Social Security replaced 59 percent of taxed income for low earners and 44 percent for average wage earners, but only 25 percent for an earner at the Social Security tax cutoff. Higher-income earners received far smaller returns on their contributions than average earners and less than half that of lower earners. Allegations that higher-income earners don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes are a mainstay misrepresentation of the political left.

Taxation of benefits for higher-income retirees now increases this difference. In terms of lifetime net benefits, in 1992 dollars, a single low earner retiring in 2000 would net $27,983 from the system, an average earner, $14,833, but a high-income earner would lose $23,129.

Both approaches show Social Security does not benefit higher earners at the expense of lower earners. It actually redistributes income the other way.

Allegations that higher-income earners don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes are a mainstay misrepresentation of the political left. And when facts such as the far from justifiable disproportionate income tax burdens get in the way of that narrative, they go all-in on bogus defenses that misrepresent state and local taxes and Social Security, as well. Unfortunately, while that illustrates how important taking lots of other people’s money is to their agenda, it also illustrates how unimportant the truth is in advancing it.

Gary M. Galles
Gary M. Galles

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. His recent books include Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014) and Apostle of Peace (2013). He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Libertarians believe that if someone is peaceful, they should be welcome to immigrate to the United States

From LP.org

Libertarians believe that people should be able to travel freely as long as they are peaceful. We welcome immigrants who come seeking a better life. The vast majority of immigrants are very peaceful and highly productive.

Indeed, the United States is a country of immigrants, of all backgrounds and walks of life…some families have just been here for more generations than others. Newcomers bring great vitality to our society.

A truly free market requires the free movement of people, not just products and ideas.

Whether they are from India or Mexico, whether they have advanced degrees or very little education, immigrants have one great thing in common: they bravely left their familiar surroundings in search of a better life. Many are fleeing extreme poverty and violence and are searching for a free and safe place to try to build their lives. We respect and admire their courage and are proud that they see the United States as a place of freedom, stability, and prosperity.

Of course, if someone has a record of violence, credible plans for violence, or acts violently, then Libertarians support blocking their entry, deporting, and/or prosecuting and imprisoning them, depending on the offense.

Libertarians do not support classifying undocumented immigrants as criminals. Our current immigration system is an embarrassment. People who would like to follow the legal procedures are unable to because these procedures are so complex and expensive and lengthy. If Americans want immigrants to enter through legal channels, we need to make those channels fair, reasonable, and accessible.

Libertarians Redefine Membership

The Libertarian Party of North Carolina made major changes to the bylaws during the annual convention last month at Lake Lure. The party redefined membership, revised and expanded the duties and responsibilities of officers.

Redefining membership is perhaps the most significant change. The convention overwhelmingly approved the membership amendment after a spirited and passionate debate. David Ulmer of Wake proposed the change to Article III as an amendment to the bylaws committee report.

There are now two categories of membership: member and associate. The primary difference between members and associates is that only members can serve on local affiliate or state party executive committees, as delegates to county and state conventions, or as NC delegates to the national Libertarian Party convention.

Members must be North Carolina residents who are not registered with another political party, but they may be registered unaffiliated. Members must also fulfill one of these criteria: 1) register Libertarian; 2) pay dues to the LPNC or an affiliate; 3) pay dues to the LP, or; 4) submit a written or electronic affirmation to the secretary that they do not advocate the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals (the NIOF statement).

These are the same criteria in the old bylaws.

NC residents registered with another political party can become LPNC associates if they: 1) pay dues to the LPNC or an affiliate; 2) pay dues to the LP, or; 3) submit a NIOF statement.

The LPNC still has a more open membership policy than the old North Carolina parties. Neither allows unaffiliated voters or anyone registered in another party to be members at all or participate in party affairs.

Go here to join the LPNC.

The convention also approved new duties and responsibilities for party officers. The state chair now has authority to appoint, with the “advice and consent” of the executive committee, members of all committees. The state chair can also appoint staff, including an executive director, again with the approval of the EC.

These changes were made as an amendment to Article IV Officers. Also, a new Article V was added to the bylaws to replace Section 3 of Article IV Executive Committee. This new article authorizes the executive committee to create a party staff positions, including an executive director. The state chair will appoint staff members, including an executive director. The executive director will be the principal administrative assistant to the chair and supervise all staff.

The bylaws committee presented these proposals as next step in the evolution of the LPNC organization and as a compliment to the goals and objections to the party’s 2020 Strategic Plan.

In addition to developing and adopting the strategic plan over the past two years, the executive committee has been developing and adopting job descriptions for staff departments and positions. Part of the work of the strategic planning committee has been to draft proposed organization structures.

The convention also approved changes to the Convention Rules. Most notably, they approved electing party officers and executive committee, and nominating candidates by majority vote, rather than using the multiple and single transferable voting systems. This action required deleting rules 9 and 10 and revising rules 7 and 8.

The 2017 Bylaws and Convention Rules Committee Report is here.

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Libertarians Say Repeal HB2

The Libertarian Party has joined the growing list of organizations calling for the repeal of House Bill 2.

“The state has no authority to determine gender,” the unanimous resolution states. HB 2 also “unduly intrudes state authority into local decision-making and unreasonably limits the ability of the citizens … to govern themselves.”

In addition, the bill reduces individual rights because it “bans citizens from using state courts to remedy discrimination”

Nic Haag, Libertarian candidate for NC Senate 44, introduced the resolution. It was endorsed by General Assembly candidates Brad Hessel, NC Senate 15, Brian Irving, NC House 36, and Rob Rose, NC 37.

The convention was held in Raleigh last weekend.

The convention also passed a resolution calling for the repeal of the ban on counting write-in votes. The state does not count the votes for persons who haven’t gathered enough petition signatures.

This “amounts to the legislature picking and choosing which votes to count, sometimes yielding suspicious results like unanimous vote tallies in our statewide elections,” the resolutions says.

Six candidates for the Libertarian presidential nomination participated in a forum Saturday. They included former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, the party’s 2012 standard-bearer.

In other business, the convention elected at-large members to the state executive committee and adopted a revised platform. It also selected delegates to the Libertarian National Convention and nominated presidential electors.

Read the resolutions here.

Short History of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina Project

I’m editing and updating a “Short History of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina,” using several resources, including Wikipedia (which I know is out of date and incorrect), SBOE records, several Google searches, some LPNC archive files, and a section of the legal brief filed in 2005 in LPNC vs. the State of North Carolina.

While I’m working from an old article, I’ve forgotten where it originated or the author (possible Sean Haugh).

I’m trying to reach out to as broad a network of libertarians as possible, which is why I’m posting it here. I’ve also sent it to a list of every activist, candidate, EC member, or anyone who was every involved with the LPNC I could think of and had email address for.

If you have an information, knowledge or experience with the LPNC history, especially the ’70s, or can correct, update or expand anything in this article, and are willing to share it, please email me directly at vicechair@lpnc.org.

Thanks for your help.

Here’s the draft.

Libertarians seeking new executive director

The Libertarian Party of North Carolina is seeking a replacement for executive director Brad Hessel, who will step down June 30 to pursue other business interests.

“We’ll be focusing our search on candidates here in North Carolina,” said J.J. Summerell, LPNC chair. “We’re looking for someone with strong managerial and communications skills, preferably with experience in politics or non-profits.”

“Hessel will be a tough act to follow,” he added. “But if we have to make a change, on off-year in the election cycle is a good time to do it.”

“We’ve achieved much in the last 18 months,” Hessel said. “Individual contributions were up 81 percent in 2014 and are up again so far in 2015. Last year, Sean Haugh’s U.S. Senate campaign garnered the most votes and highest percentage ever for a Libertarian running a statewide race in a non-Presidential year. And our candidate lineup for 2016 is shaping up to be very strong.”

He noted that the party now has affiliates in 21 counties, including all of the ten most populous, up from 16. More and more voters are registering as Libertarian or unaffiliated, a clear sign people are dissatisfied with the old parties.

Hessel, whose knowledge management consulting firm Intelledgement, LLC was contracted to provide his services part-time as executive director, will continue to perform limited volunteer work for the LPNC. He will be appointed IT manager for the party effective July 1.

“I wish I could continue to do more, but I’ve got bills to pay and the LPNC is not yet at the point where they can afford a full-time executive director,” he added. “Evidently if my objective were to make money in politics, I would have had to work for the Republicans or the Clinton Democrats.”

Prospective applicants should contact J.J. Summerell at chair@lpnc.org for more information.

Show Up. Be Nice. Win!

The formula for Libertarian candidate success is rather simple: Show up. Be nice. Win. That will be the message of Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark in his keynote address to the Libertarian Party of North Carolina State Convention April 11.

sarwark_nicholas.pngSarwak said that when Libertarians run for office consistently, it shows people who aren’t libertarian that we’re a political party that’s here to stay, and will be here when they need us.

When we do show up, we should be nice. The means focusing on finding areas of agreement with people, rather than trying to win arguments. This builds relationships that will last long after the election.

“If we do these two things, and keep at it, we can win in the short and long term.” he concludes.

Join us April 10-12, 2015 at the Hilton Garden Inn on Miami Blvd (just off I-40), Durham.

Libertarians should ‘Strike While the Ire is Hot’

A confluence of factors may present an opportunity for electoral success for Libertarians and the party needs to be prepared to “Strike While the Ire is Hot.” That will be the message renowned political analyst John Davis will present to the Gala Banquet attendees at the 2015 State Libertarian Party Convention April 11.

John-Davis-Pix-e1420343258854Davis will argue that the American political system is undergoing a demographic revolution which is disrupting the status quo. The dominant voter profile is no longer an older, white male. Hispanics, Asians, women, and millennials are becoming significant factors in most elections.

Davis says that the demographic revolution is occurring at the same time voters are increasingly frustrated by dysfunctional government caused by the polarization of the two major parties. To illustrate the polarization of the two parties, Davis’ presentation includes the results of a study by the National Journal showing that the nation’s “political middle” has all but disappeared.

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