Sunday, April 15, 2007


Rising tax burden threatens revenues

Democratic politicians have been complaining all century about the Bush tax cuts. So why does the tax man seem to bite harder this year? Well, it's not you who is confused.

While President Bush was reducing taxes in 2001 and 2003 for the poor, middle class and rich alike, a rising toll from state and local governments was making up much of the difference.

Indeed, the tax burden from state and local governments this year has hit a 25-year high, consuming an average 11 percent of income, according to a new report by the Tax Foundation. Californians pay 11.5 percent, a load that has increased steadily since 1979, when state and local levies skimmed 9.2 percent.

Combined with federal taxes, various governments take a staggering 34.3 percent of Americans' incomes.

And yet, this raid on our pockets is just getting started. Lawmakers are busy cooking up the largest tax increases in U.S. history.

In Washington, the new Democratic majority on Capitol Hill has unveiled 5-year budget plans that would repeal the Bush tax cuts. What's more, congressional leaders have imposed “pay-as-you-go” budget rules that exclude the existing entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, which dominate federal spending. So “paygo” is really just political cover for new taxes to support new spending.

Meanwhile, cash has been pouring into the treasury. The Bush tax cuts, together with Federal Reserve policy, stimulated the economy into six years of impressive growth. By far, the wealthy gave the most; their job-creating investment binge has triggered a historic surge in government revenues.

So Washington has plenty of our cash. This year federal tax revenues will come in at 18.6 percent of the total U.S. economy, above the 40-year historical average of 18.3 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Yet Democrats say they will let the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010. Revenues could actually decline, because higher taxes are likely to damage the economy.

In California, a similarly reckless culture of tax-and-spend is gaining steam. Despite pledges against new levies, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a government health insurance plan that would impose new taxes on employers and health care providers. More fundamentally, lawmakers have badly out-spent revenues, despite record gains from property, sales and income taxes.

Now, as the economy slows, state budget deficits are poised to widen. With Democrats refusing to cut spending, the looming fiscal crisis will test Republican promises to resist tax hikes.

Then there's San Diego, which is drowning in pension debt, losing police officers and neglecting its infrastructure. Mayor Jerry Sanders, who inherited the mess, rightly refuses to ask voters for a tax increase until the city streamlines operations and solves its pension crisis. But the union-backed City Council is less austere.

At every level, politicians have squandered the Bush economic boom. As they turn to higher taxes, and thus discourage work and investment, they jeopardize the fiscal engine of their ambitions.


Video from last night's show here.

I think I was about to hurl when Geraldo called Al Sharpton a "great man" and one of the nation's top "civil rights" leaders. You can hear me mutter "whose civil rights?" Certainly not the rights of innocent prosecutor Steve Pagones, who was truly scarred for life by the lying, conniving Sharpton machine. Jeff Jacoby summarizes Sharpton's "great" record:

1987: Sharpton spreads the incendiary Tawana Brawley hoax, insisting heatedly that a 15-year-old black girl was abducted, raped, and smeared with feces by a group of white men. He singles out Steve Pagones, a young prosecutor. Pagones is wholly innocent -- the crime never occurred -- but Sharpton taunts him: "If we're lying, sue us, so we can . . . prove you did it." Pagones does sue, and eventually wins a $345,000 verdict for defamation. To this day, Sharpton refuses to recant his unspeakable slander or to apologize for his role in the odious affair.

1991: A Hasidic Jewish driver in Brooklyn's Crown Heights section accidentally kills Gavin Cato, a 7-year-old black child, and antisemitic riots erupt. Sharpton races to pour gasoline on the fire. At Gavin's funeral he rails against the "diamond merchants" -- code for Jews -- with "the blood of innocent babies" on their hands. He mobilizes hundreds of demonstrators to march through the Jewish neighborhood, chanting, "No justice, no peace." A rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, is surrounded by a mob shouting "Kill the Jews!" and stabbed to death.

1995: When the United House of Prayer, a large black landlord in Harlem, raises the rent on Freddy's Fashion Mart, Freddy's white Jewish owner is forced to raise the rent on his subtenant, a black-owned music store. A landlord-tenant dispute ensues; Sharpton uses it to incite racial hatred. "We will not stand by," he warns malignantly, "and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business." Sharpton's National Action Network sets up picket lines; customers going into Freddy's are spat on and cursed as "traitors" and "Uncle Toms." Some protesters shout, "Burn down the Jew store!" and simulate striking a match. "We're going to see that this cracker suffers," says Sharpton's colleague Morris Powell. On Dec. 8, one of the protesters bursts into Freddy's, shoots four employees point-blank, then sets the store on fire. Seven employees die in the inferno.

If Sharpton were a white skinhead, he would be a political leper, spurned everywhere but the fringe. But far from being spurned, he is shown much deference. Democrats embrace him. Politicians court him. And journalists report on his comings and goings while politely sidestepping his career as a hatemongering racial hustler.

Israpundit has more.

There is, contrary to Geraldo's assertion, a world of difference between Imus's career of dumb remarks and Sharpton's career of malicious racial demagoguery.

There is no ideological difference between the hate-mongering likes of Malik Shabazz and Al Sharpton.

Sharpton, with the help of willing media, is exploiting the Imus matter to further rehabilitate his image without having to renounce any of his past poisonous behavior. Now, he's playing martyr with the latest reports of death threats against him.

If the media--broadcast, cable, print, and radio--really wanted to do something to "heal" race relations, they'd keep this charlatan (and all his mini-mes like Shabazz) off the airwaves and off their news pages. The only place they deserve to be is under the headline "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."


Get rid of Sharpton. Meet Jason Whitlock. Here's his Real Talk archive.


Here is an interesting self-examination from ABC News about the media's decisions to inflate the Race Charlatans' role in the Imus story.