Published on July 16th, 2012 | by Allen West Republic0
Rep Allen West – Weekly Wrap, Legislative Update and Highlights of the Week
Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and indeed all Americans. I want to take the time in this missive to discuss something that many Americans need to take a closer look at—tax policy. First, some historical perspective. Back in 1913, just prior to the inauguration of America’s first “Progressive” presidential administration, Woodrow Wilson, the United States made a decision to change tax policy in America. The decision was to base taxation on production, i.e. income, as opposed to consumption of certain goods and services. The Sixteenth Amendment states: “The congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” ??This amendment to the constitution gave the federal government the power to tax a person’s income. These income taxes would be used to pay for the government’s new programs. Taxes were not based on a flat rate but could change according to the amount of income earned. In effect, the richer you are, the more taxes you pay. If you’re poor, you get a break. What was created was a “progressive tax” system, based upon the level of one’s income.
Today, in 2012, we find we have gone beyond the ideal of funding the basic functions of the federal government. We are now using the tax code as a weapon. The United States has six individual tax brackets that extend from 10 percent to 35 percent, at the current tax rates. The current administration uses the tax code to manipulate certain groups and punish others.
The President supports increasing only the top two personal income brackets from 33 percent to 37 percent and 35 percent to 39.6 percent. We already have the highest corporate business tax rate in the world at 39.6 percent. Higher personal income tax will only punish producers and is unlikely to generate more tax revenue.
As Thomas Sowell recently wrote:
“As far back as the 1920′s, a huge cut in the highest income tax rate — from 73 percent to 24 percent — led to a huge increase in the amount of tax revenue collected by the federal government. Why? Because investors took their money out of tax shelters, where they were earning very modest rates of return, and put their money into the productive economy, where they could earn higher rates of return, now that those returns were not so heavily taxed.”
In 2008, then Senator Barack Obama admitted he supported raising tax rates on higher income earners in the name of “fairness.” In other words, our government should enact targeted tax increases upon certain productive segments of society in order to funnel those dollars to economically dependent segments—-they are poor simply because the others are rich.
In fact the entire tax code is now being used to further social policy. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is an example. In this law, there are 21 new taxes on the American people. Since the individual mandate has been ruled a tax, we now face the legal precedent of behavior modification by way of taxation.
These new taxes exist only to fund a bureaucratic nanny-state with central control of healthcare, including the funding of 159 new government agencies and 16,000 new IRS agents. It is merely a means by which to redistribute wealth in America.
We tax capital gains, dividends, and we have a death tax. We are also taxing Americans for services they use, like the new tanning tax in the healthcare act. Where will it end?
One of the grievances Thomas Jefferson listed against King George III in the Declaration of Independence was for imposing taxes “without our consent.” It looks like we as a nation have come full circle.
President Barack Obama says he is all about “fairness?” Currently, 47 percent of American wage-earning households don’t pay a dime in federal income taxes. Is that fair? How much hard-earned American taxpayer dollars is required to legislate “fairness?”
We need a flat tax, to eliminate the dividends and death tax, to keep the capital gains tax at 15 percent or lower, to bring the corporate tax rate down to between 22 percent to 25 percent, reduce deductions, eliminate corporate loopholes, and reduce the scope of the federal government to only the essential services individuals and the private sector cannot provide. We are at a critical mass for federal government spending. We are trillions of dollars in debt and about to close our fourth straight year with trillion dollar deficits. More taxes will only go to further expand the government. We all know the extra American taxpayer dollars will not be going to debt or deficit reduction.
The first progressive administration in 1913 got this ball rolling. The current progressive administration is taking it to a whole other level.
Steadfast and Loyal,
- Repeal of the President’s federal takeover of healthcare law — On Wednesday, the United States House of Representative approved H.R. 6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act, by a vote of 244-185, I VOTED YES. Five members of the Democrat Party voted for the repeal. The bill would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), and Title I and subtitle B of Title II of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. In addition, the bill would include various findings regarding PPACA. Specifically, the bill would state: “Despite projected spending of more than two trillion dollars over the next 10 years, cutting Medicare by more than one-half trillion dollars over that period, and increasing taxes by over $800 billion dollars over that period, the law does not lower health care costs.” And, “the law imposes new or higher taxes on American families and businesses, including 12 taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year.” Concluding, “The law expands government control over health care, adds trillions of dollars to existing liabilities, drives costs up even further, and too often put Federal bureaucrats, instead of doctors and patients, in charge of health care decision making. The path to patient-centered care and lower costs for all Americans must begin with a full repeal of the law.”
- Mining Production — On Friday, the United States House of Representatives approved H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012, by a vote of 256-160, I VOTED YES. The legislation would streamline approval of domestic mineral exploration and development projects by eliminating duplicative analysis, providing for timely filings for litigants, and allowing 30 months for the lead agency to prepare, consider and reach a decision on permitting for mine development. The bill would also define domestic mine projects that provide strategic and critical minerals as “infrastructure projects” in order to expedite the permitting process. According to the Congressional Budget Office, implementing H.R. 4402 would have no significant impact on the federal budget.
- Defense Appropriations — The United States House of Representatives is expected to consider the Department of Defense Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2013. In total, the bill would provide $519.2 billion in regular funding for the Department of Defense, an increase of $1.1 billion over the Fiscal Year 2012 level and $3.1 billion above the President’s request, according to CBO. In addition, the bill contains $88.5 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) for Defense activities related to the Global War on Terror. The legislation would include $128.5 billion to provide for 1,401,560 active-duty troops and 843,400 reserves. This funding level is $2.6 billion below last year, due to the reduction in troop totals. This also includes a 1.7% pay raise for the military, which is in-line with pending Defense authorization legislation.
- Sequestration — This week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012. The bill would require the Administration to submit to the United Sates Congress a detailed preview of the sequestration required by the Budget Control Act (BCA). Under the BCA, the spending authority of many federal departments and agencies will be reduced on January 2, 2013. After accounting for 18 percent in debt service savings, the required reductions amount to $984 billion to be distributed evenly over 9 years – or $109.3 billion per year. Thus, each year $54.7 billion in reductions will be necessary in both the defense and non-defense categories. House Republicans have passed legislation (H.R. 5652) to replace these cuts with responsible savings through reform. However, the United States Senate has yet to act. The American people have a right to know how the White House plans to implement the sequestration cuts. Specifically, this bill would require the president to submit a report to United States Congress that includes an estimate of the sequestration amounts necessary to achieve the required reduction for each spending category.
Highlights of the Week:
- Monday, 9 July; taped show “Politically Speaking” with host Todd Bonlarron for PBC Channel 20.
- Tuesday, 10 July; addressed approximately 35 students attending the Bill of Right’s Constitutional Academy Program on House of Representatives’ Floor on subject of fundamental principles of a Constitutional Republic, and fielded their questions; attended House Armed Services Committee classified briefing on Intelligence Support to combat theaters of operation; met with 17 members of the South Florida Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) on critical legislative matters and tax/regulatory policy adverse effects on construction industry and small businesses; met with representatives from AIPAC on US-Israel security relationship, emerging events in Egypt and Syria, and Iran’s military ambitions; met with Florida Bankers Association President Alex Sanchez regarding the SBA 504 loan program and avenues of unleashing capital for small business growth; selected for meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and four top National Security/Foreign Policy advisors on Iran-Syria; finished the day with a floor speech on Patient Protection Affordable Care Act impacts on small businesses.
- Wednesday, 11 July; attended House Armed Services Committee classified briefing on annual report on Military and Security developments involving the People’s Republic of China, met with Ms. Karen Wilson (Coconut Creek), her brother Randall Winston (Producer of TV SITCOMs Scrubs and CougarTown), and representatives of the Lupus Foundation of America on the issue of Lupus disease awareness; attended Small Business Committee hearing on the Federal Motor Vehicle Compliance Safety program and adverse effects on the small trucking business owners; attended House Armed Services Committee Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee hearing on the Future of US Special Operations Forces. My concern is that we are over-extending this capability beyond its intended mission set/scope.
- Thursday, 12 July; met with Mr. Ted Yeats and five students from the Christian Campus organization, The Navigators, to discuss the role faith has played in my life; met with South Florida constituents ahead of Small Business Investigations, Oversight, and Regulation subcommittee hearing on the Marine Industry…during which I was afforded the opportunity to Chair the hearing….you can view the hearing here and see pictures here. Met with two Washington Center interns, Bonny Varghese from Cooper City and Nicole Dagata from Delray Beach, and discussed several policy issues; met with former Congressman JC Watts regarding an initiative called Insight America United focused on assisting GOP minority Capitol Hill staffers in professional development; met with Mr. Tom Bethel of the American Maritime Officers association who brought along Medal of Honor winner United States Air Force Colonel (Ret.) Leo Thorsness, a former F-105 pilot who was shot down and spent 6 years as a North Vietnamese POW.
Friday-Sunday; family time in South Florida