November 12, 2012

WSJ: Obama Could Get Increased Collections If He’d Just Get Out of the Way (of Course, He Won’t)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:33 am

Reacting to the last five years, and the President’s insistence on punishing success (bolds are mine):

FedFiscalData2007to2012

… The feds rolled up another $1.1 trillion deficit for the year that ended September 30, which was the biggest deficit since World War II, except for each of the previous three years. President Obama can now proudly claim the four largest deficits in modern history. As a share of GDP, the deficit fell to 7% last year, which was still above any single year of the Reagan Presidency, or any other year since Truman worked in the Oval Office.

Tax revenue kept climbing, up 6.4% for the year overall, and at $2.45 trillion it is now close to the historic high it reached in fiscal 2007 before the recession hit. Mr. Obama won’t want you to know this, but this revenue increase is occurring under the Bush tax rates that he so desperately wants to raise in the name of getting what he says is merely “a little more in taxes.” Individual income tax payments are now up $233 billion over the last two years, or 26%.

This healthy revenue increase comes despite measly economic growth of between 1% and 2%. Imagine the gusher of revenue the feds could get if government got out of the way and let the economy grow faster.

Now let’s look at outlays, which declined a bit in 2012. That small miracle was achieved thanks to a 4% fall in defense spending, a 24% fall in jobless benefits, and an 8.9% decline in Medicaid spending.

Note, however, that federal spending remains at a new plateau of about $3.54 trillion, or some $800 billion more than the last pre-recession year of 2007. One way to think about this is that most of the $830 billion stimulus of 2009 has now become part of the federal budget baseline. The “emergency” spending of the stimulus has now become permanent, as we predicted it would.

When Beltway politicians claim they want a “balanced” approach to reducing the deficit, what they really mean is raising taxes to finance this new higher spending level. And the still-higher level that is coming with ObamaCare.

… Even if Mr. Obama were to bludgeon Republicans into giving him all of the tax-rate increases he wants, the Joint Tax Committee estimates this would yield only $82 billion a year in extra revenue. But if growth is slower as a result of the higher tax rates, then the revenue will be lower too. So after Mr. Obama has humiliated House Republicans and punished the affluent for the sheer joy of it, he would still have a deficit of $1 trillion.

The administration has predicted sub-trillion-dollar deficits for “next year” three years running, and was wrong each time. It seems like Obama’s trying to make a fourth happen.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (111212)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:08 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: Plans emerge for Pope’s personal Twitter account

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:07 am

From Vatican City:

Nov 9, 2012 / 01:58 pm

ust after holding the synod on the New Evangelization, Vatican officials say that Pope Benedict XVI will start his own Twitter account.

The announcement of his new account, which may be launched by the end of the year, comes after bishops from around the world met in Rome to discuss ways to evangelize an increasingly secular world.

At the evangelization synod of bishops, which concluded on Oct. 28, one of the messages that emerged was that social networks and other new media environments are places where “consciences are often formed, where people spend their time and live their lives. It is a new opportunity for touching the human heart.”

Pope Benedict has used Twitter before, but the one instance of that happening involved him launching a news portal for all of the Vatican’s news outlets. He inaugurated that portal by tweeting, “Dear Friends, I just launched News.va. Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI.”

But the Pope will now have his own account, which will offer feeds in five or six languages, and some believe Latin, the Church’s official language, could be one of them.

“We’ve been speaking for some time now of a Twitter on behalf of the Pope,” Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See press office, told CNA on Nov. 9. “The project continues to be studied. All the relevant information, including also its handling, is not now known.”

“It’s possible that this will happen by the end of the year, but I always recommend waiting for the official announcements before giving indications of the precise time,” he added.

The Vatican already has several accounts in different languages, including Vatican news @news_va_en, Vatican communications @PCCS_VA, and the social network @Pope2YouVatican. …

Go here for the rest of the story.