For months now, conservatives and other critics of the White House's health care reform have pointed to a provision in the law requiring businesses to report to the IRS purchases from every vendor totaling $600 or more per year.
Karen McMahan reported on this for Carolina Journalin July.
The new law has been described in some quarters as the “Staples tax,” as it will force millions of companies to begin filing 1099 forms to every business selling them office supplies, snack foods, and cleaning products.
The Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy research organization, says the new regulations will affect 40 million businesses, of which 26 million are sole proprietorships. Small businesses face the biggest threat because they lack the resources to track and manage this type of reporting.
It seems the Obama administration has gotten the memo. HHS Secretary Kathleen ("don't tell the truth about Obamacare") Sebelius and Treasury Secretary Timothy ("only the little people pay taxes") Geithner have written the Senate, urging it to amend the bill, boosting the reporting threshold from $600 to $5,000. Republicans are pushing repeal of that provision entirely. (At first. Repeal of the entire mess remains high on the GOP's agenda.)
Had this bill been processed normally through committees and debated honestly, this flaw would have gotten immediate attention. Instead, the ObamaCare bill got written in back rooms, rushed to the floor of both chambers, instead of developed in the normal process. The excuse was that it was too important to get vetted, and too time-critical to delay it or pass it in components. Well, this is what happens when Congressional leadership says that they have to pass a bill to find out what’s in it, and when they drop 2,800 pages of legislative text on members just 48 hours before floor votes.
UPDATE (2:08 p.m.): The Washington Examiner reports each party defeated the other's proposed fix in the Senate. Dems led a 46-52 vote against full repeal; then an attempt to increase the threshold to $5,000 and exempt companies with fewer than 25 employees went down 37-61.
Dan Mitchell discusses the latest "increase" in the poverty rate here. As the graph illustrates, it all depends on the start date.
But the real story should be the degree to which the federal
government’s War on Poverty has been a complete failure. Taxpayers have
poured trillions of dollars into means-tested programs,
yet the data show no positive results. Indeed, it’s quite likely that
the programs have backfired. As shown in the chart, Census Bureau data
reveal that the poverty rate was steadily falling in the 1950s and
early 1960s, but then stagnated once the War on Poverty began. It’s
possible that there are alternative and/or additional explanations for
this shocking development, but government intervention may be
encouraging poverty by making indolence more attractive than work.
The Buncombe County Planning Board has submitted
recommendations to the county commissioners that would impose zoning rules
limiting the height of buildings, regulating plantings that might obscure views
and mandating low-density development along ridge lines and slopes in Buncombe
County. The rules would apply to over a quarter of the land in Buncombe County.
And why? Largely to protect the view. That’s right,
government regulating what you can do on your land because someone else has
decided their right to a nice view is more important than your property rights.
However a Mountain Resource Commission was created and is
meeting to consider such things as planned growth in the mountain region. Their
next meeting is Sept. 17 in Madison County. Slope reports and landslide hazard mapping are on the
Stricter land use regulations in Buncombe County are just
another step towards more government regulation of private property across the
state. We’ve seen abuses of
eminent domain and forced annexation.
Steep slope regulations are next.
Combining elements of two earlier posts this morning — Thomas Sowell and social justice — Thomas Sowell's latest column posted at Human Events focuses on "social justice."
Warm, fuzzy words and phrases have an enormous advantage in politics. None has had such a long run of political success as "social justice."
The idea cannot be refuted because it has no specific meaning. Fighting it would be like trying to punch the fog. No wonder "social justice" has been such a political success for more than a century-- and counting.
While the term has no defined meaning, it has emotionally powerful connotations. There is a strong sense that it is simply not right-- that it is unjust-- that some people are so much better off than others.
Justification, even as the term is used in printing and carpentry, means aligning one thing with another. But what is the standard to which we think incomes or other benefits should be aligned?
Is the person who has spent years in school goofing off, acting up or fighting-- squandering the tens of thousands of dollars that the taxpayers have spent on his education-- supposed to end up with his income aligned with that of the person who spent those same years studying to acquire knowledge and skills that would later be valuable to himself and to society at large?
Some advocates of "social justice" would argue that what is fundamentally unjust is that one person is born into circumstances that make that person's chances in life radically different from the chances that others have-- through no fault of one and through no merit of the others.
Maybe the person who wasted educational opportunities and developed self-destructive behavior would have turned out differently if born into a different home or a different community.
That would of course be more just. But now we are no longer talking about "social" justice, unless we believe that it is all society's fault that different families and communities have different values and priorities-- and that society can "solve" that "problem."
National Association of Scholars president Peter Wood has written an excellent, synoptic essay on the prospect of a higher education "bubble" and I commend it to all Locker Room readers.
Peter covers the arguments raised by the establishment against the idea that higher ed has been oversold -- that its enormous costs are warranted, that getting a college degree is still a good investment, that the nation needs to increase the number of people getting college degrees to keep up internationally, and that the system will easily adjust to the changed circumstances in which if now finds itself -- and gives solid refutations to each. I wonder if any of the people who keep advancing the notion that the nation should "invest" more resources in higher education will take the essay seriously. Overwhelmingly, they have either ignored or misrepresented the case against them in the past.
As the National Association of Scholars, has amply documented, one of the great new fads on college campuses is "sustainability." The trouble is that no one is asking about the sustainability of higher education if it stays on its current course of rising cost but declining educational value.
But if all he says is true, why is it the case that college enrollments remain high? The answer Peter gives is this: custom. Over the decades, it has become a custom for most parents to put their children into college if at all possible. The higher ed system is coasting along on that custom, but it can't last forever.
In the latest dead-tree version of National Review, Loyola (Maryland) political science professor Diana Schaub reviews Kenneth Minogue’s book, The Servile Mind.
Among Schaub’s most interesting observations is her take on Minogue’s dissection of a particularly overused — and misused — word:
Minogue points also to the ubiquity of the adjective “social,” as in “social justice,” “social capital,’ and “social responsibility.” In the case of “social justice,” the qualifier upends justice, reversing its meaning. Justice involves respect for legal ownership (your right to the bread you earn by the sweat of your brow). Social justice, however, is radically redistributive; it operates by the formula “You work, I’ll eat” — a formula that Abraham Lincoln decried as the epitome of despotism, whether practiced by masters who live off the unrequited labor of slaves or by the many poor who expropriate the few rich through confiscatory taxation.
The last thematic section of Thomas Sowell’s Dismantling America focuses on “legal issues,” and he includes four of his columns on the famous Duke lacrosse case.
In a new preface, Sowell explains why he devoted so much attention to the issue:
This extensive coverage was because that case revealed a moral dry rot that extended far beyond the legal system and included both the media and academia as major contributors to a frenzied lynch mob atmosphere, in which anyone who dared to doubt the guilt of the three accused young men was treated as a moral leper. Yet the strange procedures of the prosecutor from the outset gave ample evidence of the fraudulence of the case, as I pointed out in my first column on this case, a year before the multiple layers of fraudulence were exposed by the state attorney general, forcing the resignation of District Attorney Michael Nifong and his subsequent disbarment.
This is not just the story of one man’s misuse of the law. It is a story of whole institutions and movements that generated a lynch mob atmosphere which threatened the integrity of the law itself, in addition to threatening to ruin the lives of three young men, who could not be guilty of a crime that had not been committed. Among the most disturbing e-mails I received during the year that I wrote about the Duke “rape” case were e-mails that asked why I was so concerned about “three rich white guys.” That attitude is more of a threat to the integrity of the law than even a corrupt prosecutor. Indeed, it is a threat to a whole society, for a society cannot remain a society if it degenerates into a war of each against all.