Not Surprising: Top 3% of Income Earners Pay Most Taxes in This Country

New IRS findings confirm that wealthy Americans are job creators, pay too high of taxes each year.

 

We are told to bemoan the 1% and wealthy Americans for making too much money and for not contributing their fair share, but did you know they contribute the most in taxes? Color me shocked.

 

Income taxes are the federal government single largest source of revenue, and the top 3% of income earners contribute the most. Bloomberg Quint looked at 2016 tax returns to demonstrate this. Among the statistics that stick out, the top one percent paid 37.3% in taxes, while the top 50 percent of taxpayers paid 97% of total income taxes. They found the following:

 

  • The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (37.3 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (30.5 percent)*.*
  • The top 50 percent of all taxpayers paid 97 percent of total individual income taxes*.*
  • In other words, the bottom 50 percent paid 3 percent*. Which small percentile of tax payers also paid 3 percent or more? You might have guessed it. It is the top 0.001%, or about 1,400 taxpayers. That group alone paid 3.25 percent of all income taxes. In 2001, the bottom 50 percent paid nearly 5 percent whereas the top 0.001 percent of filers paid 2.3 percent of income taxes.*

 

For fiscal year 2018, which ended September 30th, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the individual income tax is expected to bring in approximately $1.7 trillion (or half of all federal revenues) in revenue. The current tax structure is progressive in nature, meaning those who generate more income pay a higher share in income taxes and vice versa.

 

Despite left-leaning outlets suggesting the rich don’t create jobs or rich people have little to do with job creation — they tell us government creates jobs!— the evidence points to the contrary: The top income earners are the biggest job creators in this country. In fact, as part of the greater system of “trickle-down economics” overall, job creation at the hands of wealthy Americans works very well. Take that!

 

Remember: The government doesn’t create jobs nor should it be tasked with such a responsibility. Their only role is to create a pro-business environment for businesses to flourish and job creation to be seen through private enterprise.

 

As Ben Shapiro quips, facts really don’t care about your feelings — especially with respect to wealth generation in the U.S.

BREAKING: Trump Finally Replaces Lois Lerner’s Boss, John Koskinen

After nearly five years, the man who oversaw Lois Lerner’s inquisition against conservatives, and who presided over Barack Obama’s IRS, is about to leave, and not a day too soon (or a thousand days too late).

Treasury Assistant Secretary David Kautter will take on the role as acting IRS Commissioner (without giving up his current, confirmed position). The Washington Examiner reported Thursday:

“I look forward to having David Kautter as acting commissioner of the IRS. David will provide important leadership while we wait to confirm a permanent commissioner,” [Treasury Secretary Steve] Mnuchin said. “Assistant Secretary Kautter has had an illustrious 40-year career in tax policy, and I am confident that the IRS and the American people will benefit from his experience and insight.”

Trump let Koskinen serve out his term, instead of firing him, which is overly generous in my opinion. Jason Pye, one of my favorite old Peach Pundit foils back in the day, who is now vice president of legislative affairs at FreedomWorks, was quoted, “We’re glad to see him go. He did not earn his salary or his big pension.”

No kidding. Koskinen should have been gone in 2013. But Congress punted on impeaching him. But better late than never.

 

Session’s DOJ is Confusing

Last week the Department of Justice announced they would not seek charges against Lois Lerner. This ignited the internet, and for good reason.

Ms. Lerner’s actions were beyond the pale. She used the might and power of the Internal Revenue Service to harass, intimidate and obstruct both conservative non-profit groups and religious organizations. Her actions were sickening, and frightening to anyone American who loves the Constitution, liberty and democracy.

Since the IRS was discovered to have engaged in this traitorous activity, conservatives in unison have demanded justice. They wanted heads to roll, IRS employees fired, and those responsible indicted.

As usual, Republican politicians promised their constituents a swift and speedy response. Instead, they were treated to Ms Lerner taking the Fifth in front of our Creator and the entire world. They were treated to the IRS Commissioner lying and obfuscating to Congress whenever he appeared under oath. To rub salt into that gaping wound, the IRS allowed Ms. Lerner to retire with a wonderful package.  Even more infuriating, the Commissioner, John Koskinen remains in his position, which is puzzling to the extreme. Mr. Koskinen was appointed by a Democratic administration, yet there hasn’t been any explanation as to his continued employment.

Many if not most conservative Republicans want to see Ms Lerner in prison wearing an orange jumpsuit. Most do not understand why General Sessions and his Department of Justice have made this maddening decision. Their reason to let go of this issue was the uncertainty in obtaining an indictment. (The Hill)

The Justice Department declined to prosecute Lerner in 2015 under former President Obama, but Brady and Roskam wrote a letter in April to Sessions asking him to reconsider the department’s decision. In a letter Friday afternoon, Sessions rejected their request, writing that based on a review of the case, it “would not be appropriate” to reopen the investigation. While “the Department’s investigation uncovered substantial evidence of mismanagement at the IRS,” the Justice letter said, the probe “had not uncovered evidence of criminal intent by any IRS official.”

But on the other hand, this past week the DOJ also acted on a major decision but this one didn’t get the same coverage. (Wash Post)

In a major upcoming Supreme Court case that weighs equal rights with religious liberty, the Trump administration on Thursday sided with a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The Department of Justice on Thursday filed a brief on behalf of baker Jack Phillips, who was found to have violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to created a cake to celebrate the marriage of Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012. Phillips said he doesn’t create wedding cakes for same-sex couples because it would violate his religious beliefs.

This is an incredulous fantastic decision by the DOJ. Made even more amazing, because prior to this announcement, the DOJ was supporting the gay couple that had sued the christian baker.

The MSM didn’t spend much time on this second decision, and the internet hasn’t been as occupied with this announcement as it has with Lois Lerner. Not really surprising, anger over the IRS matter was and is white hot.

In contemplation of these two decisions, I find myself confused by this administration’s Department of Justice. If they plan on investigating Hilary Clinton, we haven’t heard about it. If the Clinton Foundation is being looked at by the FBI and DOJ, its a well kept secret. Those at the State Department who lied to Congress seem to be safe from prosecution, not to mention Platte River and those who enabled Hillary Clinton’s criminal activities.

After conservatives were treated to constant promises concerning the DOJ’s role in draining the swamp, expectations were exceedingly high and management was expected to jump into these issues right away.

Instead it appears General Sessions is mainly concerned about immigration, and law & order. Which isn’t surprising, given that these were his soap box issue in the Senate. But the DOJ is a very large organization and has the ability to multi-task with the best of them.

General Sessions continues to confuse and confound. On one hand, he hasn’t pursued investigations that are important to conservative principles; on the other hand, his work on border control, and protection of religious liberty continues to be stellar and exemplary.

The problem he has created by these inconsistencies is an issue of trust. He is likable as all get-out, and seems to be just a really decent man. However; increasingly he appears nothing more than a swamp senator who achieved his life long goal. He seems to be quite content with the go-along to get-along management model. His friendships with Democrats in the Senate appear to dictate his decisions more than the millions of Trump supporters who enabled his employment.

Until General Session’s DOJ makes a consistent commitment to conservative values, and endeavors to keep President Trump’s campaign promises, he will anger and confuse the President’s supporters. And at the same time, when he makes righteous decisions such as the amicus brief on behalf of the christian baker, he will continue to gratify and bless.

Confusing indeed.

Fake Outrage From Fake GOP Over Lerner

I happen to agree with the Department of Justice’s decision to take a pass on prosecuting Lois Lerner for her obvious bias against conservative groups under the Obama administration. It’s a terrible precedent for one administration to reach back into a previous civil service scandal just to get revenge or make political points.

Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee faked outrage for the quote “terrible decision” unquote, which he knew full well was coming. The Washington Examiner reported Friday:

“I have the utmost respect for Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions, but I’m troubled by his Department’s lack of action to fully respond to our request and deliver accountability,” the Texas lawmaker said in a statement.

Come now. John Koskinen is the IRS Commissioner. He was IRS Commissioner under Obama for three years, and Trump hasn’t seen fit to replace him, despite him being 78 years old. Koskinen presided over the lost-then-found Lerner 30,000 email fiasco.

The House kicked around a resolution to impeach Koskinen in 2015 but nothing was ultimately done after DOJ elected not to prosecute Lerner.

Nothing has changed, except maybe Brady’s mind and desire to make points with his constituency, many of whom are battling Harvey’s flood waters. Brady voted for the $1.1 trillion omnibus in 2015, the pork-heavy transportation/EX-IM bank reauthorization, and the fake health care bill that didn’t repeal Obamacare.

As a matter of fact, Brady has voted for every big spending bill that comes across the GOP table, with a 62% rating from Heritage Action and an 84 score from Club for Growth (ranked 68 in 2016), but his 2015 score was 64 (ranked 152). In 2009 he held a 97 from Club for Growth and it’s been sliding into the pork barrel ever since.

Politicians who do things purely for political advantage are what makes the public hate Congress. Brady’s fake outrage over something that happened three years ago, when nothing has changed is about what we expect from a Republican willing to go along to get along.

Lerner is never going to be prosecuted. Let’s quit with the fake outrage from fake Republicans.

President Signs EO Aimed at Religious Liberty

Every once in a while, debate fires up over the Johnson amendment governing free speech rights of religious organizations. And each time, I’m astounded by how many of my fellow Christian conservatives support the federal government telling churches and other non-profits what they can and cannot say. The law is rarely enforced, but in church circles, it still sends shivers down the spines of the faithful.

Passed into law in 1954, as part of the Internal Revenue Code, the Johnson Amendment, named after then-Senator Lyndon Johnson, forbids any 501c3 organization from engaging in political activity.

Today, the president signed an executive order, telling the IRS to “use discretion” when prosecuting the terms of the amendment. It is, however, still the law. Rumor has it that Vice President Mike Pence has been lobbying hard for several executive orders related to government regulations on religious activity.

According to the IRS website, 501c3’s “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.” They specifically threaten that any “voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.”

Violating the law “may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.” Whew! But, get this… the original prohibition had nothing to do with being tax exempt anyway. In fact, Johnson never even intended for churches to be included in the ban either, He was aiming for non-profit organizations, like those that fought his candidacy back in Texas.

Regardless, five decades into the war against God in public life, “separation of Church and State” is the loudest argument you hear.

I know how the left feels, especially those who don’t believe in a sovereign God. But it’s those I have grown up with and known all my life that surprise me. To a person, these Christians argue that the church has no business preaching politics from the pulpit. Well, of course, I agree with them. Pastors should avoid discussing politics, especially candidates, except in extreme circumstances, and most would never do so. However, that decision should lie solely with the individual and church. Dr. Wayne Grudem feels the same way, asserting:

“Decisions about what is preached from the pulpit of a church should not belong to the government, but to the individual pastor and the church itself.”

So, why does do we need the federal government to enforce it?

Politics.

The reason this has become a hot topic today is because over the years, the IRS has interpreted the law to mean they can revoke 501c3 status of any church for simply discussing politics in an official capacity. The Alliance for Defending Freedom has made it a more public matter as well, as a means of stoking interest and driving conversation.

But, the threat to churches is real, and the empowerment of a bureaucrat to determine the appropriateness of your speech is chilling. In 2004, Rev. George Regas of All Saints Church in Pasadena, CA came under fire for a sermon called “What if Jesus Debated President George Bush and Senator John Kerry.” Evangelist Bill Keller, based in Florida, was threatened when Americans United sent a public letter to the IRS asking them to investigate Keller for likening Mitt Romney to Satan during the primaries of 2012.

Ok, Romney wasn’t “Satan,” but isn’t he entitled to make silly statements without the threat of government action?

Some supporters of the amendment worry that churches could become vehicles for campaign cash. There’s a rational argument to say that churches should not be used to funnel unreported donations to supporters in a political cycle. But why? It’s not like it’s in a vacuum. Churches are, by definition very public, and their members have the ability to hold their leaders accountable. Why should we care, and care so much that we use the force of law to prohibit it?

I support allowing churches and their leaders to speak freely about politicians, who affect our daily lives, just as they are allowed (for now) to speak out against sins those politicians defend. It’s not a reach to say that if the Johnson Amendment can tell pastors what they can and can’t talk about with regard to elections, what’s to stop them from expanding this to “hate speech” in the future? This isn’t unrealistic. Nearly every terrible legal tragedy has come from laws whose authors assured us there wouldn’t be one.

Either you support the government telling people what they can and cannot say, or you don’t. The same goes for our houses of worship.

 

IRS on Obamacare Mandate: Do Not Resuscitate

Our friends at Reason.com are now reporting that the Internal Revenue Service has issued a rule that it will accept tax returns filed without proof of health insurance coverage:

Following President Donald Trump’s executive order instructing agencies to provide relief from the health law, the Internal Revenue Service appears to be taking a more lax approach to the coverage requirement.

 

The health law’s individual mandate requires everyone to either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known as a “shared responsibility payment.” The IRS was set to require filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. Alternatively, they could claim exemption from the mandate by filing a form 8965.

 

For most filers, filling out line 61 would be mandatory. The IRS would not accept 1040s unless the coverage box was checked, or the shared responsibility payment noted, or the exemption form included. Otherwise they would be labeled “silent returns” and rejected.

 

Instead, however, filling out that line will be optional.

In other words, while the Affordable Care Act still requires individuals to prove they have health insurance on their tax forms, the IRS will no longer be enforcing that provision.

Whether or not this is actually legal remains a gray area, but from a political standpoint this is very smart.  It cements Donald Trump as a man of action who keeps his promises, while at the same time undermining an important foundation of the hated law.  Without the mandate to prop it up, the ACA–which is already on shaky financial ground, what with insurers pulling out left and right–will only accelerate its demise.  This, in turn, puts even more pressure on the Republican Congress to move forward with a full repeal and replace, rather than just nibbling at the edges as some members would prefer.

On the other hand, from a Constitutional perspective, there isn’t much to like.  Defying the law through executive orders was something that conservatives howled about during Barack Obama’s tenure, and rightly so.  Presidents are not kings, free to enforce the laws they like while ignoring the ones they don’t.  And–as Obama has discovered to his own chagrin–that which is deemed by executive order can easily be rescinded by executive order.  In the long term, it’s not really a solution if it can be scrapped with the stroke of another president’s pen.

Let’s just hope that this prods Congress into fulfilling its own promises to replace Obamacare with something that actually works,

It’s Time For The IRS Chief To GO

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

In a move to bring about something that’s long overdue, a group of congressmen have signed a letter to the Trump administration urging the president to immediately terminate IRS chief John Koskinen:

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., will make the ask. The chairman of the Republican Study Committee has quietly but urgently been circulating a letter inside the GOP conference to build support. He’s now got 50 congressmen signed onto the letter.

While Trump has fleshed out his cabinet, so far, he’s stayed hush about the fate of the IRS chief. And conservatives really want Koskinen’s head. “You have the authority to remove Commissioner Koskinen,” Walker writes to Trump, adding that “we encourage you to dismiss him in the most expedient manner practicable.”

Koskinen, you may recall, was appointed to head up the IRS in the wake of the Lois Lerner scandal, in which the agency targeted conservative groups for extreme scrutiny in order to slow their requests for tax-exempt status.  This essentially crippled their ability to fund raise, and prevented them from mobilizing the same get-out-the-vote efforts that had proven so effective in the 2010 midterms, when Republicans took back the House of Representatives.  If you think that sounds an awful lot like a government agency suppressing votes, you would be correct.  Koskinen’s job was to go in, clean house, and find out what happened.  Well, that didn’t turn out so hot:

  • The IRS failed to search five of six possible sources of electronic media for Lois Lerner’s emails.
  • The only source the agency bothered to search – her hard drive – was destroyed by an industrial strength AMERI-SHRED AMS-750 HD shredder​ after a brief search deemed information unrecoverable. Documentation suggests that more could have been done to recover data.
  • Later, the agency’s ineptness — or corruption — resulted in 24,000 Lerner emails being lost when they were “accidently” destroyed despite the existence of an agency wide preservation order.
  • Koskinen withheld from Congress both the preservation order and destruction of tapes during sworn testimony.
  • Koskinen also failed to disclose details regarding Lois Lerner’s mysteriously destroyed hard drive during testimony.

Kinda makes it look as if Koskinen’s real job was to cover the IRS’s tracks and provide deniability to the Obama administration.  In that endeavor, he appears to have been quite successful.

There was a movement in the House to impeach him, but the GOP leadership shot that down for fear that it might have an adverse effect on the election.  Was that cowardice or smart politics?  Who knows?  But now that the election is over, it’s time to remove a malignant tumor that has been allowed to fester at the IRS for too long.

Koskinen is the very embodiment of the kind of corruption we witnessed throughout the Obama administration.  Firing him would not only be a cleansing act, it would provide another fine example of how the Trump administration is making a hard break with the past eight years.  There is ample evidence to justify his removal and absolutely zero reason to keep him.  Besides, the guy is about as likable a Bond villain.


I’m having a hard time telling the difference

Please, President Trump–fire this man!

Congress Refuses to Impeach TEA Party Targeting IRS Chief

The GOP led house failed yesterday to take up articles of impeachment against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Instead of taking action, Rep. Jim Jordan’s resolution was referred back to the Judiciary committee by a vote of 342-72.

Commissioner Koskinen is accused of complicity in the IRS’ targeting of conservative organizations and a willingness to allow subordinates to deceive Congress.

Jordan and his fellow Freedom Caucus members decided to push the impeachment after new evidence of continued Tea Party targeting by the IRS. Rather than let the Commissioner run out the clock on his term, they preferred to impeach him, albeit only weeks prior to his leaving office.

Having been referred to the judiciary committee, the resolution is effectively dead. You can watch Rep. Jordan’s post-vote comments below: