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The Pronk Pops Show 1252, May 7, 2019, Story 1: Case Closed Move On Desperate Delusional Democrats — Obama The Appeaser Emboldened Russian Interference In 2016 Election — Trump Takes Russian Election Interference Seriously With Sanctions and Increased Election Security and Defending United States Sovereignty — Videos — Story 2: Impact of Trade Agreement on 2020 Election and U.S. Economy — Bad Deal Worse Than No Deal — Impose The 25% Tariff On All Chinese Exports to United States — Stop The Merry Go-round of Trade Talks — Videos —

Posted on May 9, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, China, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Employment, Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Monetary Policy, National Interest, News, People, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Case Closed Move On Desperate Delusional Democrats — Obama The Appeaser Emboldened Russian Interference In 2016 Election — Trump Takes Russian Election Interference Seriously With Sanctions and Increased Election Security — Videos —

 

McConnell on Mueller report: ‘Case closed’

MCCONNELL ON MUELLER: Blistering Senate floor speech – ‘Case closed’

Bannon: Today is the most important day of Trump’s presidency

Story 2: Impact of Trade Agreement on 2020 Election and U.S. Economy — Bad Deal Worse Than No Deal — Impose The 25% Tariff On All Chinese Exports to United States — Stop The Merry Go-round of Trade Talks — Videos

China trade tensions flair as President Trump threatens new tariffs

What’s behind Trump’s trade war with China

Trump tweets tariff threats to China ahead of anticipated closing round of trade-war talks

Trade war a cloud over Trump’s 2020 prospects

 Published 

President Donald Trump’s aggressive trade policies are running headlong into his campaign for reelection.

As Trump prepares to run on the economy, his threat to increase tariffs on imports from China has sent the stock market diving and served to undercut a stretch of positive economic news. U.S. farmers and exporters, already bearing the brunt of China’s retaliatory tariffs, now face the prospect of an escalated trade war in which key states that Trump needs to win reelection will be in the crosshairs.

The trade war has also exposed a rift inside the White House and among the president’s allies – with some officials pushing for a quick resolution to calm the markets ahead of 2020, and others warning the president that a weak deal with China could leave him politically vulnerable.

My warning has been, we don’t want the 2020 election year to become greatly intensified friction with China over trade issues. We want a deal that works,” said Michael Pillsbury, a China expert at the Hudson Institute who has advised the Trump administration on trade. “One way to unite all 21 Democratic primary candidates is if the president gets a quick but flawed deal that inevitably leads to friction when China is caught cheating next year.”

However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow are among a group of Trump aides who have encouraged the president to quickly reach a deal with China and avoid political blowback from a full-scale trade war in 2020, according to people familiar with the internal debate.

White House officials said Trump is prepared to take a hard line with China going into 2020 in part because he intends to keep his 2016 campaign promise to fix what he views as bad trade deals. Trump believes strongly in the power of tariffs to force China and other countries to negotiate and won’t sign a deal for political expediency, said two officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal strategy.

The two officials also played down the extent of disagreement within the administration, saying top advisers are mostly in agreement about the need to take on China over its unfair trade practices.

Trump’s trade agenda is likely to play a central role in the 2020 race, as Democrats seek to challenge the president’s economic message and compete with him in export-reliant states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The president is also struggling to build support in Congress for his renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement, with some Republican lawmakers objecting to the continued use of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from U.S. allies.

Some Democratic presidential candidates are using turbulence around the trade talks to needle Trump and try to undercut his messaging on the economy.

“This is what happens when he tries to go at it alone and he has no leverage,” Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said in an interview. “So he has to create this kind of leverage through a tweet. We should be sitting at that table with our allies.”

Trump campaign officials recently polled trade messaging in a multistate survey, according to people familiar with the matter. Trade and immigration are likely to be two themes on which the president focuses as he ramps up his campaign in the coming months, officials said.

Trade talks between the United States and China faltered this week as Trump publicly voiced his frustration by announcing plans for new tariffs on Chinese goods.

“The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate,” Trump tweeted Sunday, after threatening to levy tariffs on all imports of Chinese goods. “No!”

U.S. officials accused China of reneging on prior commitments in the talks, which have included 10 rounds over the past year. In meetings in Washington and Beijing, the Trump administration has been pushing for significant concessions from the Chinese on issues including market access, intellectual property rights and the trade deficit.

Robert Lighthizer, the president’s chief trade negotiator, told reporters Monday that though Chinese officials have walked back their previous commitments, the U.S. is still planning to move forward with talks. The administration expects to host Chinese Vice Premier Liu He to continue discussions in Washington this week.

Trump has credited his previous tariffs with bringing Beijing to the table, but China has retaliated by slapping tariffs on U.S. agricultural products. Those tariffs and other retaliatory levies from the European Union, Canada and Mexico have sent economic shock waves through communities that helped Trump secure his 2016 victory.

Republican lawmakers have increasingly voiced concerns to the White House about the president’s trade policy and the impact of tariffs on their states.

Though many praise Trump for his tough-on-China stance, they also say patience is wearing thin and that the president risks losing the backing of farmers in key presidential swing states.

“If he gets a deal, awesome. If he doesn’t, it’s gonna hurt,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who is up for reelection next year in a state that Trump won in 2016. Farmers are “losing their patience, yeah, but they want to see a deal.”

Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., said that Republican senators have tried to make the political argument against tariffs but that it seemed fall on deaf ears.

“I just think he believes that farmers are going to be with him because they think he’s doing the right thing,” Thune said. “And by and large, that’s true. But when you start losing the farm, that calculation starts to change a little bit.”

When Vice President Mike Pence attended the Senate GOP lunch Tuesday, he got an earful from senators who complained about the political ramifications of Trump’s trade approach, said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

“There’s a lot of feeling in farm country we’re being used as pawns in this whole business,” he said. “We will benefit tremendously if we get a good deal, so we’re hanging in there with the president. As opposed to hanging separately.”

Pence encouraged the senators to stick with Trump, who has publicly complained about a lack of unity in his party as he tries to negotiate trade agreements.

Trump’s campaign advisers expressed confidence that the president’s trade policies will help him connect with voters in Rust Belt states that have lost manufacturing jobs to China.

“Unlike his predecessors, President Trump has demonstrated that he has the courage to take on China’s unfair trade practices,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that singled out former vice president Joe Biden for saying China was “not competition” for the United States. “While other administrations have talked a good game about confronting China, President Trump has been working on a deal to stop China from stealing intellectual property, forcing transfer of technology, manipulating currency, and dumping steel into the market.”

Trump had previously said trade talks were going well and that he was on track to hold a face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to finalize the deal. Those positive comments coincided with a soaring stock market in recent weeks.

But White House officials said Trump has grown frustrated at times that a deal with China has not been struck. Once he received word from trade officials in recent days that talks were unlikely to come to a resolution soon on terms the United States wanted, he decided to impose new tariffs, thinking that doing so would force China back to the table.

One official said Trump is aware that he needs a deal before 2020 to hold onto support from farmers in the Midwest.

The president repeatedly boasts to advisers that his tough approach is hurting the Chinese economy – and that Beijing’s standing in the world is falling – even as some officials and advisers close to him worry that the Chinese are negotiating from a stronger position politically. But there is also disagreement within the White House about how much economic pain the United States can stomach before the trade battles blow back on the president politically.

“They’re scared of the market going down, since it could undercut the president’s claim of boosting the economy so much,” Pillsbury said.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 473 points, or 1.8 percent, on Tuesday as investors weighed the prospect of Trump’s following through on his threat to increase tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods. Trump has closely watched the markets and tracked the impact of his policies on stocks.

The president has claimed that the strong economy gives him leverage to push for a comprehensive deal with China. The U.S. economy grew in the first quarter at a surprisingly robust rate of 3.2 percent, and the unemployment rate fell last month to its lowest point in nearly 50 years.

Dan DiMicco, a former steel executive and trade adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign, said the president’s base wants him to maintain a tough position on trade, even if it causes some short-term economic head winds.

“He believes that this trade issue is as important as the economy because they’re totally related,” he said. “He’s going to be running on both.”

https://www.lmtonline.com/news/article/Trade-war-a-cloud-over-Trump-s-2020-prospects-13827237.php\

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1241, April 18, 2019, Story 1: Replacing All Federal Taxes With A Single Broad Based Consumption Tax of 20% With A $1000 Per Month or $12,000 Per Year Tax Rebate For Every Adult American Citizen Age 18 and Above Making Tax Progressive — Fair Tax Less — Videos

Posted on April 18, 2019. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Business, Communications, Countries, Currencies, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, History, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Medicare, Military Spending, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Social Security, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Tax Policy, U.S. Dollar, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weather, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Replacing All Federal Taxes With A Single Broad Based Progressive Consumption Tax of 20% With A $1000 Per Month or $12,000 Per Year Tax Prebate For Every Adult American Citizen Age 18 and Above — Fair Tax Less — Videos

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FairTax

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The FairTax is a proposal to reform the federal tax code of the United States. It would replace all federal income taxes (including the alternative minimum taxcorporate income taxes, and capital gains taxes), payroll taxes(including Social Security and Medicare taxes), gift taxes, and estate taxes with a single broad national consumption tax on retail sales. The Fair Tax Act (H.R. 25/S. 18) would apply a tax, once, at the point of purchase on all new goods and services for personal consumption. The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to all family households of lawful U.S. residents as an advance rebate, or “prebate”, of tax on purchases up to the poverty level.[1][2] First introduced into the United States Congress in 1999, a number of congressional committees have heard testimony on the bill; however, it has not moved from committee and has yet to have any effect on the tax system. In recent years, a tax reform movement has formed behind the FairTax proposal.[3] Attention increased after talk radio personality Neal Boortz and Georgia Congressman John Linder published The FairTax Book in 2005 and additional visibility was gained in the 2008 presidential campaign.

As defined in the proposed legislation, the tax rate is 23% for the first year. This percentage is based on the total amount paid including the tax ($23 out of every $100 spent in total). This would be equivalent to a 30% traditional U.S. sales tax ($23 on top of every $77 spent—$100 total).[4] The rate would automatically adjust annually based on federal receipts in the previous fiscal year.[5] With the rebate taken into consideration, the FairTax would be progressive on consumption,[2] but would also be regressive on income at higher income levels (as consumption falls as a percentage of income).[6][7] Opponents argue this would accordingly decrease the tax burdenon high-income earners and increase it on the middle class.[4][8] Supporters contend that the plan would effectively tax wealth, increase purchasing power[9][10] and decrease tax burdens by broadening the tax base.

The plan’s supporters state that a consumption tax would increase savings and investment, ease tax compliance and increase economic growth, increase incentives for international business to locate in the US and increase US competitiveness in international trade.[11][12][13] The plan is intended to increase cost transparency for funding the federal government. Supporters believe it would increase civil liberties, benefit the environment and effectively tax illegal activity and undocumented immigrants.[11][14] Opponents contend that a consumption tax of this size would be extremely difficult to collect, and would lead to pervasive tax evasion.[4][6] They also argue that the proposed sales tax rate would raise less revenue than the current tax system, leading to an increased budget deficit.[4][15] Other concerns include the proposed repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, removal of tax deduction incentives, transition effects on after-tax savings, incentives on credit use and the loss of tax advantages to state and local bonds.

Legislative overview and history

Rep John Linder holding the 133 page Fair Tax Act of 2007 in contrast to the then-current U.S. tax code and IRS regulations.

The legislation would remove the Internal Revenue Service (after three years), and establish Excise Tax and Sales Tax bureaus in the Department of the Treasury.[16] The states are granted the primary authority for the collection of sales tax revenues and the remittance of such revenues to the Treasury. The plan was created by Americans For Fair Taxation, an advocacy group formed to change the tax system. The group states that, together with economists, it developed the plan and the name “Fair Tax”, based on interviews, polls, and focus groups of the general public.[4] The FairTax legislation has been introduced in the House by Georgia Republicans John Linder (1999–2010) and Rob Woodall (2011–2014),[17] while being introduced in the Senate by Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss (2003–2014).

Linder first introduced the Fair Tax Act (H.R. 2525) on July 14, 1999, to the 106th United States Congress and a substantially similar bill has been reintroduced in each subsequent session of Congress. The bill attracted a total of 56 House and Senate cosponsors in the 108th Congress,[18][19] 61 in the 109th,[20][21] 76 in the 110th,[22][23] 70 in the 111th,[24][25] 78 in the 112th,[26][27] 83 in the 113th (H.R. 25/S. 122), 81 in the 114th (H.R. 25/S. 155), and 46 in the 115th (H.R. 25/S. 18). Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (Republican) had cosponsored the bill in the 109th–110th Congress, but it has not received support from the Democratic leadership.[21][22][28] Democratic Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Democratic Senator Zell Miller of Georgia cosponsored and introduced the bill in the 108th Congress, but Peterson is no longer cosponsoring the bill and Miller has left the Senate.[18][19] In the 109th–111th Congress, Representative Dan Boren has been the only Democrat to cosponsor the bill.[20][22] A number of congressional committees have heard testimony on the FairTax, but it has not moved from committee since its introduction in 1999. The legislation was also discussed with President George W. Bush and his Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson.[29]

To become law, the bill will need to be included in a final version of tax legislation from the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, pass both the House and the Senate, and finally be signed by the President. In 2005, President Bush established an advisory panel on tax reform that examined several national sales tax variants including aspects of the FairTax and noted several concerns. These included uncertainties as to the revenue that would be generated, and difficulties of enforcement and administration, which made this type of tax undesirable to recommend in their final report.[8] The panel did not examine the FairTax as proposed in the legislation. The FairTax received visibility in the 2008 presidential election on the issue of taxes and the IRS, with several candidates supporting the bill.[30][31] A poll in 2009 by Rasmussen Reports found that 43% of Americans would support a national sales tax replacement, with 38% opposed to the idea; the sales tax was viewed as fairer by 52% of Republicans, 44% of Democrats, and 49% of unaffiliateds.[32] President Barack Obama did not support the bill,[33] arguing for more progressive changes to the income and payroll tax systems. President Donald Trump has proposed to lower overall income taxation and reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three.

Tax rate

The sales tax rate, as defined in the legislation for the first year, is 23% of the total payment including the tax ($23 of every $100 spent in total—calculated similar to income taxes). This would be equivalent to a 30% traditional U.S. sales tax ($23 on top of every $77 spent—$100 total, or $30 on top of every $100 spent—$130 total).[4] After the first year of implementation, this rate is automatically adjusted annually using a predefined formula reflecting actual federal receipts in the previous fiscal year.

The effective tax rate for any household would be variable due to the fixed monthly tax rebate that are used to rebate taxes paid on purchases up to the poverty level.[2] The tax would be levied on all U.S. retail sales for personal consumption on new goods and services. Critics argue that the sales tax rate defined in the legislation would not be revenue neutral (that is, it would collect less for the government than the current tax system), and thus would increase the budget deficit, unless government spending were equally reduced.[4]

Sales tax rate

During the first year of implementation, the FairTax legislation would apply a 23% federal retail sales tax on the total transaction value of a purchase; in other words, consumers pay to the government 23 cents of every dollar spent in total (sometimes called tax-inclusive, and presented this way to provide a direct comparison with individual income and employment taxes which reduce a person’s available money before they can make purchases). The equivalent assessed tax rate is 30% if the FairTax is applied to the pre-tax price of a good like traditional U.S. state sales taxes (sometimes called tax-exclusive; this rate is not directly comparable with existing income and employment taxes).[4] After the first year of implementation, this tax rate would be automatically adjusted annually using a formula specified in the legislation that reflects actual federal receipts in the previous fiscal year.[5]

Effective tax rate

A household’s effective tax rate on consumption would vary with the annual expenditures on taxable items and the fixed monthly tax rebate. The rebate would have the greatest effect at low spending levels, where they could lower a household’s effective rate to zero or below.[9] The lowest effective tax rate under the FairTax could be negative due to the rebate for households with annual spending amounts below poverty level spending for a specified household size. At higher spending levels, the rebate has less impact, and a household’s effective tax rate would approach 23% of total spending.[9] A person spending at the poverty level would have an effective tax rate of 0%, whereas someone spending at four times the poverty level would have an effective tax rate of 17.2%. Buying or otherwise receiving items and services not subject to federal taxation (such as a used home or car) can contribute towards a lower effective tax rate. The total amount of spending and the proportion of spending allocated to taxable items would determine a household’s effective tax rate on consumption. If a rate is calculated on income, instead of the tax base, the percentage could exceed the statutory tax rate in a given year.

Monthly tax rebate

Proposed 2015 FairTax Prebate Schedule[34]
One adult household Two adult household
Family
Size
Annual
Consumption
Allowance
Annual
Prebate
Monthly
Prebate
Family
Size
Annual
Consumption
Allowance
Annual
Prebate
Monthly
Prebate
1 person $11,770 $2,707 $226 couple $23,540 $5,414 $451
and 1 child $15,930 $3,664 $305 and 1 child $27,700 $6,371 $531
and 2 children $20,090 $4,621 $385 and 2 children $31,860 $7,328 $611
and 3 children $24,250 $5,578 $465 and 3 children $36,020 $8,285 $690
and 4 children $28,410 $6,534 $545 and 4 children $40,180 $9,241 $770
and 5 children $32,570 $7,491 $624 and 5 children $44,340 $10,198 $850
and 6 children $36,490 $8,393 $699 and 6 children $48,500 $11,155 $930
and 7 children $40,890 $9,405 $784 and 7 children $52,660 $12,112 $1,009
The annual consumption allowance is based on the 2015 DHHS Poverty Guidelines as published in the Federal Register, January 22, 2015. There is no marriage penalty as the couple amount is twice the amount that a single adult receives. For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,160 to the annual consumption allowance for each additional person. The annual consumption allowance is the amount of spending that is “untaxed” under the FairTax.

Under the FairTax, family households of lawful U.S. residents would be eligible to receive a “Family Consumption Allowance” (FCA) based on family size (regardless of income) that is equal to the estimated total FairTax paid on poverty level spending according to the poverty guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.[1] The FCA is a tax rebate (known as a “prebate” as it would be an advance) paid in twelve monthly installments, adjusted for inflation. The rebate is meant to eliminate the taxation of household necessities and make the plan progressive.[4] Households would register once a year with their sales tax administering authority, providing the names and social security numbers of each household member.[1] The Social Security Administration would disburse the monthly rebate payments in the form of a paper check via U.S. Mail, an electronic funds transfer to a bank account, or a “smartcard” that can be used like a debit card.[1]

Opponents of the plan criticize this tax rebate due to its costs. Economists at the Beacon Hill Institute estimated the overall rebate cost to be $489 billion (assuming 100% participation).[35] In addition, economist Bruce Bartlett has argued that the rebate would create a large opportunity for fraud,[36] treats children disparately, and would constitute a welfare payment regardless of need.[37]

The President’s Advisory Panel for Federal Tax Reform cited the rebate as one of their chief concerns when analyzing their national sales tax, stating that it would be the largest entitlement program in American history, and contending that it would “make most American families dependent on monthly checks from the federal government”.[8][38] Estimated by the advisory panel at approximately $600 billion, “the Prebate program would cost more than all budgeted spending in 2006 on the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Interior combined.”[8] Proponents point out that income tax deductions, tax preferences, loopholescredits, etc. under the current system was estimated at $945 billion by the Joint Committee on Taxation.[35] They argue this is $456 billion more than the FairTax “entitlement” (tax refund) would spend to cover each person’s tax expenses up to the poverty level. In addition, it was estimated for 2005 that the Internal Revenue Service was already sending out $270 billion in refund checks.[35]

Presentation of tax rate

Mathematically, a 23% tax out of $100 yields approximately the same as a 30% tax on $77.

Sales and income taxes behave differently due to differing definitions of tax base, which can make comparisons between the two confusing. Under the existing individual income plus employment (Social Security; Medicare; Medicaid) tax formula, taxes to be paid are included in the base on which the tax rate is imposed (known as tax-inclusive). If an individual’s gross income is $100 and the sum of their income plus employment tax rate is 23%, taxes owed equals $23. Traditional state sales taxes are imposed on a tax base equal to the pre-tax portion of a good’s price (known as tax-exclusive). A good priced at $77 with a 30% sales tax rate yields $23 in taxes owed. To adjust an inclusive rate to an exclusive rate, divide the given rate by one minus that rate (i.e. {\displaystyle 0.23/(1-0.23)=0.23/0.77=0.30}).

The FairTax statutory rate, unlike most U.S. state-level sales taxes, is presented on a tax base that includes the amount of FairTax paid. For example, a final after-tax price of $100 includes $23 of taxes. Although no such requirement is included in the text of the legislation, Congressman John Linder has stated that the FairTax would be implemented as an inclusive tax, which would include the tax in the retail price, not added on at checkout—an item on the shelf for five dollars would be five dollars total.[29][39] The legislation requires the receipt to display the tax as 23% of the total.[40] Linder states the FairTax is presented as a 23% tax rate for easy comparison to income and employment tax rates (the taxes it would be replacing). The plan’s opponents call the semantics deceptive. FactCheck called the presentation misleading, saying that it hides the real truth of the tax rate.[41] Bruce Bartlett stated that polls show tax reform support is extremely sensitive to the proposed rate,[37] and called the presentation confusing and deceptive based on the conventional method of calculating sales taxes.[42] Proponents believe it is both inaccurate and misleading to say that an income tax is 23% and the FairTax is 30% as it implies that the sales tax burden is higher.

Revenue neutrality

A key question surrounding the FairTax is whether the tax has the ability to be revenue-neutral; that is, whether the tax would result in an increase or reduction in overall federal tax revenues. Economists, advisory groups, and political advocacy groups disagree about the tax rate required for the FairTax to be truly revenue-neutral. Various analysts use different assumptions, time-frames, and methods resulting in dramatically different tax rates making direct comparison among the studies difficult. The choice between static or dynamic scoring further complicates any estimate of revenue-neutral rates.[43]

A 2006 study published in Tax Notes by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University and Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff estimated the FairTax would be revenue-neutral for the tax year 2007 at a rate of 23.82% (31.27% tax-exclusive).[44] The study states that purchasing power is transferred to state and local taxpayers from state and local governments. To recapture the lost revenue, state and local governments would have to raise tax rates or otherwise change tax laws in order to continue collecting the same real revenues from their taxpayers.[38][44] The Argus Group and Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics each published an analysis that defended the 23% rate.[45][46][47] While proponents of the FairTax concede that the above studies did not explicitly account for tax evasion, they also claim that the studies did not altogether ignore tax evasion under the FairTax. These studies presumably incorporated some degree of tax evasion in their calculations by using National Income and Product Account based figures, which is argued to understate total household consumption.[44] The studies also did not account for capital gains that may be realized by the U.S. government if consumer prices were allowed to rise, which would reduce the real value of nominal U.S. government debt.[44] Nor did these studies account for any increased economic growth that many economists researching the plan believe would occur.[44][47][48][49]

In contrast to the above studies, William G. Gale of the Brookings Institution published a study in Tax Notes that estimated a rate of 28.2% (39.3% tax-exclusive) for 2007 assuming full taxpayer compliance and an average rate of 31% (44% tax-exclusive) from 2006 to 2015 (assumes that the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule and accounts for the replacement of an additional $3 trillion collected through the Alternative Minimum Tax).[4][15][50] The study also concluded that if the tax base were eroded by 10% due to tax evasion, tax avoidance, and/or legislative adjustments, the average rate would be 34% (53% tax-exclusive) for the 10-year period. A dynamic analysis in 2008 by the Baker Institute For Public Policy concluded that a 28% (38.9% tax-exclusive) rate would be revenue neutral for 2006.[51] The President’s Advisory Panel for Federal Tax Reform performed a 2006 analysis to replace the individual and corporate income tax with a retail sales tax and estimated the rate to be 25% (34% tax-exclusive) assuming 15% tax evasion, and 33% (49% tax-exclusive) with 30% tax evasion.[8] The rate would need to be substantially higher to replace the additional taxes replaced by the FairTax (payroll, estate, and gift taxes). Several economists criticized the President’s Advisory Panel’s study as having allegedly altered the terms of the FairTax, using unsound methodology, and/or failing to fully explain their calculations.[35][44][52]

Taxable items and exemptions

The tax would be levied once at the final retail sale for personal consumption on new goods and services. Purchases of used items, exports and all business transactions would not be taxed. Also excluded are investments, such as purchases of stock, corporate mergers and acquisitions and capital investmentsSavings and education tuition expenses would be exempt as they would be considered an investment (rather than final consumption).[53]

A good would be considered “used” and not taxable if a consumer already owns it before the FairTax takes effect or if the FairTax has been paid previously on the good, which may be different from the item being sold previously. Personal services such as health care, legal services, financial services, and auto repairs would be subject to the FairTax, as would renting apartments and other real property.[4] Food, clothing, prescription drugs and medical services would be taxed. (State sales taxes generally exempt these types of basic-need items in an effort to reduce the tax burden on low-income families. The FairTax would use a monthly rebate system instead of the common state exclusions.) Internet purchases would be taxed, as would retail international purchases (such as a boat or car) that are imported to the United States (collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection).[53]

Distribution of tax burden

Boston University study of the FairTax. Lower rates claimed on workers from a larger tax base, replacing regressive taxes, and wealth taxation.

President’s Advisory Panel’sanalysis of a hybrid National Sales Tax. Higher rates claimed on the middle-class for an income tax replacement (excludes payroll, estate, and gift taxes replaced under the FairTax).

The FairTax’s effect on the distribution of taxation or tax incidence (the effect on the distribution of economic welfare) is a point of dispute. The plan’s supporters argue that the tax would broaden the tax base, that it would be progressive, and that it would decrease tax burdens and start taxing wealth (reducing the economic gap).[9] Opponents argue that a national sales tax would be inherently regressive and would decrease tax burdens paid by high-income individuals.[4][54] A person earning $2 million a year could live well spending $1 million, and as a result pay a mere 11% of that year’s income in taxes.[4] Households at the lower end of the income scale spend almost all their income, while households at the higher end are more likely to devote a portion of income to saving. Therefore, according to economist William G. Gale, the percentage of income taxed is regressive at higher income levels (as consumption falls as a percentage of income).[6]

Income earned and saved would not be taxed until spent under the proposal. Households at the extreme high end of consumption often finance their purchases out of savings, not income.[6][37] Economist Laurence Kotlikoff states that the FairTax could make the tax system much more progressive and generationally equitable,[2] and argues that taxing consumption is effectively the same as taxing wages plus taxing wealth.[2] A household of three persons (this example will use two adults plus one child; the rebate does not consider marital status) spending $30,000 a year on taxable items would devote about 3.4% of total spending ([$6,900 tax minus $5,888 rebate]/$30,000 spending) to the FairTax after the rebate. The same household spending $125,000 on taxable items would spend around 18.3% ([$28,750 tax minus $5,888 rebate]/$125,000 spending) on the FairTax. At higher spending levels, the rebate has less impact and the rate approaches 23% of total spending. Thus, according to economist Laurence Kotlikoff, the effective tax rate is progressive on consumption.[2]

Studies by Kotlikoff and David Rapson state that the FairTax would significantly reduce marginal taxes on work and saving, lowering overall average remaining lifetime tax burdens on current and future workers.[9][55] A study by Kotlikoff and Sabine Jokisch concluded that the long-term effects of the FairTax would reward low-income households with 26.3% more purchasing power, middle-income households with 12.4% more purchasing power, and high-income households with 5% more purchasing power.[10] The Beacon Hill Institute reported that the FairTax would make the federal tax system more progressive and would benefit the average individual in almost all expenditures deciles.[7] In another study, they state the FairTax would offer the broadest tax base (an increase of over $2 trillion), which allows the FairTax to have a lower tax rate than current tax law.[56]

Gale analyzed a national sales tax (though different from the FairTax in several aspects[7][45]) and reported that the overall tax burden on middle-income Americans would increase while the tax burden on the top 1% would drop.[6] A study by the Beacon Hill Institute reported that the FairTax may have a negative effect on the well-being of mid-income earners for several years after implementation.[49] According to the President’s Advisory Panel for Federal Tax Reform report, which compared the individual and corporate income tax (excluding other taxes the FairTax replaces) to a sales tax with rebate,[8][35] the percentage of federal taxes paid by those earning from $15,000–$50,000 would rise from 3.6% to 6.7%, while the burden on those earning more than $200,000 would fall from 53.5% to 45.9%.[8] The report states that the top 5% of earners would see their burden decrease from 58.6% to 37.4%.[8][57]FairTax supporters argue that replacing the regressive payroll tax (a 15.3% total tax not included in the Tax Panel study;[8] payroll taxes include a 12.4% Social Security tax on wages up to $97,500 and a 2.9% Medicare tax, a 15.3% total tax that is often split between employee and employer) greatly changes the tax distribution, and that the FairTax would relieve the tax burden on middle-class workers.[2][52]

Predicted effects

The predicted effects of the FairTax are a source of disagreement among economists and other analysts.[41][42][54] According to Money magazine, while many economists and tax experts support the idea of a consumption tax, many of them view the FairTax proposal as having serious problems with evasion and revenue neutrality.[4] Some economists argue that a consumption tax (the FairTax is one such tax) would have a positive effect on economic growth, incentives for international business to locate in the U.S., and increased U.S. international competitiveness (border tax adjustment in global trade).[11][12][13] The FairTax would be tax-free on mortgage interest (up to a basic interest rate) and donations, but some lawmakers have concerns about losing tax incentives on home ownership and charitable contributions.[58] There is also concern about the effect on the income tax industry and the difficulty of repealing the Sixteenth Amendment (to prevent Congress from re-introducing an income tax).[59]

Economic

Americans For Fair Taxation states the FairTax would boost the United States economy and offers a letter signed by eighty economists, including Nobel Laureate Vernon L. Smith, that have endorsed the plan.[12] The Beacon Hill Institute estimated that within five years real GDP would increase 10.7% over the current system, domestic investment by 86.3%, capital stock by 9.3%, employment by 9.9%, real wages by 10.2%, and consumption by 1.8%.[49] Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics projected the economy as measured by GDP would be 2.4% higher in the first year and 11.3% higher by the 10th year than it would otherwise be.[47] Economists Laurence Kotlikoff and Sabine Jokisch reported the incentive to work and save would increase; by 2030, the economy’s capital stock would increase by 43.7% over the current system, output by 9.4%, and real wages by 11.5%.[10] Economist John Golob estimates a consumption tax, like the FairTax, would bring long-term interest rates down by 25–35%.[60] An analysis in 2008 by the Baker Institute For Public Policyindicated that the plan would generate significant overall macroeconomic improvement in both the short and long-term, but warned of transitional issues.[51]

FairTax proponents argue that the proposal would provide tax burden visibility and reduce compliance and efficiency costs by 90%, returning a large share of money to the productive economy.[2] The Beacon Hill Institute concluded that the FairTax would save $346.51 billion in administrative costs and would be a much more efficient taxation system.[61] Bill Archer, former head of the House Ways and Means Committee, asked Princeton University Econometrics to survey 500 European and Asian companies regarding the effect on their business decisions if the United States enacted the FairTax. 400 of those companies stated they would build their next plant in the United States, and 100 companies said they would move their corporate headquarters to the United States.[62] Supporters argue that the U.S. has the highest combined statutory corporate income tax rate among OECD countries along with being the only country with no border adjustment element in its tax system.[63][64] Proponents state that because the FairTax eliminates corporate income taxes and is automatically border adjustable, the competitive tax advantage of foreign producers would be eliminated, immediately boosting U.S. competitiveness overseas and at home.[65]

Opponents point to a study commissioned by the National Retail Federation in 2000 that found a national sales tax bill filed by Billy Tauzin, the Individual Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 2717), would bring a three-year decline in the economy, a four-year decline in employment and an eight-year decline in consumer spending.[66] Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto states the FairTax is unsuited to take advantage of supply-side effects and would create a powerful disincentive to spend money.[54] John Linder states an estimated $11 trillion is held in foreign accounts (largely for tax purposes), which he states would be repatriated back to U.S. banks if the FairTax were enacted, becoming available to U.S. capital markets, bringing down interest rates, and otherwise promoting economic growth in the United States.[11] Attorney Allen Buckley states that a tremendous amount of wealth was already repatriated under law changes in 2004 and 2005.[67] Buckley also argues that if the tax rate was significantly higher, the FairTax would discourage the consumption of new goods and hurt economic growth.[67]

Transition

Stability of the tax base: a comparison of personal consumption expenditures and adjusted gross income

During the transition, many or most of the employees of the IRS (105,978 in 2005)[68] would face loss of employment.[44] The Beacon Hill Institute estimate is that the federal government would be able to cut $8 billion from the IRS budget of $11.01 billion (in 2007), reducing the size of federal tax administration by 73%.[44] In addition, income tax preparers (many seasonal), tax lawyers, tax compliance staff in medium-to-large businesses, and software companies which sell tax preparation software could face significant drops, changes, or loss of employment. The bill would maintain the IRS for three years after implementation before completely decommissioning the agency, providing employees time to find other employment.[16]

In the period before the FairTax is implemented, there could be a strong incentive for individuals to buy goods without the sales tax using credit. After the FairTax is in effect, the credit could be paid off using untaxed payroll. If credit incentives do not change, opponents of the FairTax worry it could exacerbate an existing consumer debt problem. Proponents of the FairTax state that this effect could also allow individuals to pay off their existing (pre-FairTax) debt more quickly,[11] and studies suggest lower interest rates after FairTax passage.[60]

Individuals under the current system who accumulated savings from ordinary income (by choosing not to spend their money when the income was earned) paid taxes on that income before it was placed in savings (such as a Roth IRA or CD). When individuals spend above the poverty level with money saved under the current system, that spending would be subject to the FairTax. People living through the transition may find both their earnings and their spending taxed.[69] Critics have stated that the FairTax would result in unfair double taxation for savers and suggest it does not address the transition effect on some taxpayers who have accumulated significant savings from after-tax dollars, especially retirees who have finished their careers and switched to spending down their life savings.[38][69] Supporters of the plan argue that the current system is no different, since compliance costs and “hidden taxes” embedded in the prices of goods and services cause savings to be “taxed” a second time already when spent.[69] The rebate would supplement accrued savings, covering taxes up to the poverty level. The income taxes on capital gains, estates, social security and pension benefits would be eliminated under FairTax. In addition, the FairTax legislation adjusts Social Security benefits for changes in the price level, so a percentage increase in prices would result in an equal percentage increase to Social Security income.[16] Supporters suggest these changes would offset paying the FairTax under transition conditions.[11]

Other indirect effects

The FairTax would be tax free on mortgage interest up to the federal borrowing rate for like-term instruments as determined by the Treasury,[70] but since savings, education, and other investments would be tax free under the plan, the FairTax could decrease the incentive to spend more on homes. An analysis in 2008 by the Baker Institute For Public Policy concluded that the FairTax would have significant transitional issues for the housing sector since the investment would no longer be tax-favored.[51] In a 2007 study, the Beacon Hill Institute concluded that total charitable giving would increase under the FairTax, although increases in giving would not be distributed proportionately amongst the various types of charitable organizations.[71] The FairTax may also affect state and local government debt as the federal income tax system provides tax advantages to municipal bonds.[72] Proponents believe environmental benefits would result from the FairTax through environmental economics and the re-use and re-sale of used goods. Advocates argue the FairTax would provide an incentive for illegal immigrants to legalize as they would otherwise not receive the rebate.[1][11] Proponents also believe that the FairTax would have positive effects on civil liberties that are sometimes charged against the income tax system, such as social inequalityeconomic inequalityfinancial privacyself-incriminationunreasonable search and seizureburden of proof, and due process.[14]

If the FairTax bill were passed, permanent elimination of income taxation would not be guaranteed; the FairTax bill would repeal much of the existing tax code, but the Sixteenth Amendment would remain in place. Preventing new legislation from reintroducing income taxation would require a repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution with a separate provision expressly prohibiting a federal income tax.[59] This is referred to as an “aggressive repeal”. Separate income taxes enforced by individual states would be unaffected by the federal repeal. Passing the FairTax would require only a simple majority in each house of the United States Congress along with the signature of the President, whereas enactment of a constitutional amendment must be approved by two thirds of each house of the Congress, and three-quarters of the individual U.S. states. It is therefore possible that passage of the FairTax bill would simply add another taxation system. If a new income tax bill were passed after the FairTax passage, a hybrid system could develop; albeit, there is nothing preventing a bill for a hybrid system today. To address this issue and preclude that possibility, in the 111th Congress John Linder introduced a contingent sunset provision in H.R. 25. It would require the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment within 8 years after the implementation of the FairTax or, failing that, the FairTax would expire.[73] Critics have also argued that a tax on state government consumption could be unconstitutional.[67]

Changes in the retail economy

Since the FairTax would not tax used goods, the value would be determined by the supply and demand in relation to new goods.[74] The price differential/margins between used and new goods would stay consistent, as the cost and value of used goods are in direct relationship to the cost and value of the new goods. Because the U.S. tax system has a hidden effect on prices, it is expected that moving to the FairTax would decrease production costs from the removal of business taxes and compliance costs, which is predicted to offset a portion of the FairTax effect on prices.[11]

Value of used goods

Since the FairTax would not tax used goods, some critics have argued that this would create a differential between the price of new and used goods, which may take years to equalize.[37] Such a differential would certainly influence the sale of new goods like vehicles and homes. Similarly, some supporters have claimed that this would create an incentive to buy used goods, creating environmental benefits of re-use and re-sale. Conversely, it is argued that like the income tax system that contains embedded tax cost (see Theories of retail pricing),[75] used goods would contain the embedded FairTax cost.[69] While the FairTax would not be applied to the retail sales of used goods, the inherent value of a used good includes the taxes paid when the good was sold at retail. The value is determined by the supply and demand in relation to new goods.[74] The price differential / margins between used and new goods should stay consistent, as the cost and value of used goods are in direct relationship to the cost and value of the new goods.

Theories of retail pricing

supply and demand diagram illustrating taxes’ effect on prices.

Based on a study conducted by Dale Jorgenson, proponents state that production cost of domestic goods and services could decrease by approximately 22% on average after embedded tax costs are removed, leaving the sale nearly the same after taxes. The study concludes that producer prices would drop between 15% and 26% (depending on the type of good/service).[76] Jorgenson’s research included all income and payroll taxes in the embedded tax estimation, which assumes employee take-home pay (net income) remains unchanged from pre-FairTax levels.[4][77] Price and wage changes after the FairTax would largely depend on the response of the Federal Reservemonetary authorities.[29][37][78] Non-accommodation of the money supply would suggest retail prices and take home pay stay the same—embedded taxes are replaced by the FairTax. Full accommodation would suggest prices and incomes rise by the exclusive rate (i.e., 30%)—embedded taxes become windfall gains. Partial accommodation would suggest a varying degree in-between.[29][78]

If businesses provided employees with gross pay (including income tax withholding and the employee share of payroll taxes),[44] Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics estimated production costs could decrease by a minimum of 11.55% (partial accommodation).[47] This reduction would be from the removal of the remaining embedded costs, including corporate taxes, compliance costs, and the employer share of payroll taxes. This decrease would offset a portion of the FairTax amount reflected in retail prices, which proponents suggest as the most likely scenario.[29] Bruce Bartlett states that it is unlikely that nominal wages would be reduced, which he believes would result in a recession, but that the Federal Reserve would likely increase the money supply to accommodate price increases.[37] David Tuerck states “The monetary authorities would have to consider how the degree of accommodation, varying from none to full, would affect the overall economy and how it would affect the well-being of various groups such as retirees.”[78]

Social Security benefits would be adjusted for any price changes due to FairTax implementation.[16] The Beacon Hill Institute states that it would not matter, apart from transition issues, whether prices fall or rise—the relative tax burden and tax rate remains the same.[44] Decreases in production cost would not fully apply to imported products; so according to proponents, it would provide tax advantages for domestic production and increase U.S. competitiveness in global trade (see Border adjustability). To ease the transition, U.S. retailers will receive a tax credit equal to the FairTax on their inventory to allow for quick cost reduction. Retailers would also receive an administrative fee equal to the greater of $200 or 0.25% of the remitted tax as compensation for compliance costs,[79] which amounts to around $5 billion.

Effects on tax code compliance

One avenue for non-compliance is the black market. FairTax supporters state that the black market is largely untaxed under the current tax system. Economists estimate the underground economy in the United States to be between one and three trillion dollars annually.[80][81] By imposing a sales tax, supporters argue that black market activity would be taxed when proceeds from such activity are spent on legal consumption.[82] For example, the sale of illegal narcotics would remain untaxed (instead of being guilty of income tax evasion, drug dealers would be guilty of failing to submit sales tax), but they would face taxation when they used drug proceeds to buy consumer goods such as food, clothing, and cars. By taxing this previously untaxed money, FairTax supporters argue that non-filers would be paying part of their share of what would otherwise be uncollected income and payroll taxes.[11][83]

Other economists and analysts have argued that the underground economy would continue to bear the same tax burden as before.[13][82][83][84] They state that replacing the current tax system with a consumption tax would not change the tax revenue generated from the underground economy—while illicit income is not taxed directly, spending of income from illicit activity results in business income and wages that are taxed.[13][82][83]

Tax compliance and evasion

“No, No! Not That Way”—Political cartoon from 1933 commenting on a general sales tax over an income tax.

Proponents state the FairTax would reduce the number of tax filers by about 86% (from 100 million to 14 million) and reduce the filing complexity to a simplified state sales tax form.[52] The Government Accountability Office (GAO), among others, have specifically identified the negative relationship between compliance costs and the number of focal points for collection.[85] Under the FairTax, the federal government would be able to concentrate tax enforcement efforts on a single tax. Retailers would receive an administrative fee equal to the greater of $200 or 0.25% of the remitted tax as compensation for compliance costs.[79] In addition, supporters state that the overwhelming majority of purchases occur in major retail outlets, which are very unlikely to evade the FairTax and risk losing their business licenses.[44] Economic Census figures for 2002 show that 48.5% of merchandise sales are made by just 688 businesses (“Big-Box” retailers). 85.7% of all retail sales are made by 92,334 businesses, which is 3.6% of American companies. In the service sector, approximately 80% of sales are made by 1.2% of U.S. businesses.[29]

The FairTax is a national tax, but can be administered by the states rather than a federal agency,[86] which may have a bearing on compliance as the states’ own agencies could monitor and audit businesses within that state. The 0.25% retained by the states amounts to $5 billion the states would have available for enforcement and administration. For example, California should receive over $500 million for enforcement and administration, which is more than the $327 million budget for the state’s sales and excise taxes.[87] Because the federal money paid to the states would be a percentage of the total revenue collected, John Linder claims the states would have an incentive to maximize collections.[11] Proponents believe that states that choose to conform to the federal tax base would have advantages in enforcement, information sharing, and clear interstate revenue allocation rules.[85][86] A study by the Beacon Hill Institute concluded that, on average, states could more than halve their sales tax rates and that state economies would benefit greatly from adopting a state-level FairTax.[85]

FairTax opponents state that compliance decreases when taxes are not automatically withheld from citizens, and that massive tax evasion could result by collecting at just one point in the economic system.[37] Compliance rates can also fall when taxed entities, rather than a third party, self-report their tax liability. For example, ordinary personal income taxes can be automatically withheld and are reported to the government by a third party. Taxes without withholding and with self-reporting, such as the FairTax, can see higher evasion rates. Economist Jane Gravelle of the Congressional Research Service found studies showing that evasion rates of sales taxes are often above 10%, even when the sales tax rate is in the single digits.[83] Tax publications by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), IMF, and Brookings Institution have suggested that the upper limit for a sales tax is about 10% before incentives for evasion become too great to control.[37] According to the GAO, 80% of state tax officials opposed a national sales tax as an intrusion on their tax base.[37] Opponents also raise concerns of legal tax avoidance by spending and consuming outside of the U.S. (imported goods would be subject to collection by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection).[88]

Economists from the University of Tennessee concluded that while there would be many desirable macroeconomic effects, adoption of a national retail sales tax would also have serious effects on state and local government finances.[89] Economist Bruce Bartlett stated that if the states did not conform to the FairTax, they would have massive confusion and complication as to what is taxed by the state and what is taxed by the federal government.[37] In addition, sales taxes have long exempted all but a few services because of the enormous difficulty in taxing intangibles—Bartlett suggests that the state may not have sufficient incentive to enforce the tax.[42] University of Michigan economist Joel Slemrod argues that states would face significant issues in enforcing the tax. “Even at an average rate of around five percent, state sales taxes are difficult to administer.”[90] University of Virginia School of Law professor George Yin states that the FairTax could have evasion issues with export and import transactions.[38] The President’s Advisory Panel for Federal Tax Reformreported that if the federal government were to cease taxing income, states might choose to shift their revenue-raising to income.[8] Absent the Internal Revenue Service, it would be more difficult for the states to maintain viable income tax systems.[8][89]

Underground economy

Opponents of the FairTax argue that imposing a national retail sales tax would drive transactions underground and create a vast underground economy.[4] Under a retail sales tax system, the purchase of intermediate goods and services that are factors of production are not taxed, since those goods would produce a final retail good that would be taxed. Individuals and businesses may be able to manipulate the tax system by claiming that purchases are for intermediate goods, when in fact they are final purchases that should be taxed. Proponents point out that a business is required to have a registered seller’s certificate on file, and must keep complete records of all transactions for six years. Businesses must also record all taxable goods bought for seven years. They are required to report these sales every month (see Personal vs. business purchases).[40] The government could also stipulate that all retail sellers provide buyers with a written receipt, regardless of transaction type (cash, credit, etc.), which would create a paper trail for evasion with risk of having the buyer turn them in (the FairTax authorizes a reward for reporting tax cheats).[52]

While many economists and tax experts support a consumption tax, problems could arise with using a retail sales tax rather than a value added tax (VAT).[4][37] A VAT imposes a tax on the value added at every intermediate step of production, so the goods reach the final consumer with much of the tax already in the price.[91] The retail seller has little incentive to conceal retail sales, since he has already paid much of the good’s tax. Retailers are unlikely to subsidize the consumer’s tax evasion by concealing sales. In contrast, a retailer has paid no tax on goods under a sales tax system. This provides an incentive for retailers to conceal sales and engage in “tax arbitrage” by sharing some of the illicit tax savings with the final consumer. Citing evasion, Tim Worstall wrote in Forbes that Europe’s 20-25% consumption taxes simply would not work if they were a sales tax: that’s why they’re all a VAT.[91] Laurence Kotlikoff has stated that the government could compel firms to report, via 1099-type forms, their sales to other firms, which would provide the same records that arise under a VAT.[52] In the United States, a general sales tax is imposed in 45 states plus the District of Columbia (accounting for over 97% of both population and economic output), which proponents argue provides a large infrastructure for taxing sales that many countries do not have.

Personal versus business purchases

Businesses would be required to submit monthly or quarterly reports (depending on sales volume) of taxable sales and sales tax collected on their monthly sales tax return. During audits, the business would have to produce invoices for the “business purchases” that they did not pay sales tax on, and would have to be able to show that they were genuine business expenses.[40] Advocates state the significant 86% reduction in collection points would greatly increase the likelihood of business audits, making tax evasion behavior much more risky.[52] Additionally, the FairTax legislation has several fines and penalties for non-compliance, and authorizes a mechanism for reporting tax cheats to obtain a reward.[40] To prevent businesses from purchasing everything for their employees, in a family business for example, goods and services bought by the business for the employees that are not strictly for business use would be taxable.[40] Health insurance or medical expenses would be an example where the business would have to pay the FairTax on these purchases. Taxable property and services purchased by a qualified non-profit or religious organization “for business purposes” would not be taxable.[92]

FairTax movement

A FairTax rally in Orlando, Floridaon July 28, 2006.

The creation of the FairTax began with a group of businessmen from Houston, Texas, who initially financed what has become the political advocacy group Americans For Fair Taxation (AFFT), which has grown into a large tax reform movement.[3][29] This organization, founded in 1994, claims to have spent over $20 million in research, marketing, lobbying, and organizing efforts over a ten-year period and is seeking to raise over $100 million more to promote the plan.[93] AFFT includes a staff in Houston and a large group of volunteers who are working to get the FairTax enacted.

In 2007 Bruce Bartlett said the FairTax was devised by the Church of Scientology in the early 1990s,[42] drawing comparisons between the tax policy and religious doctrine from the faith, whose creation myth holds that an evil alien ruler known as Xenu “used phony tax inspections as a guise for destroying his enemies.”[94] Representative John Linder told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Bartlett confused the FairTax movement with the Scientology-affiliated Citizens for an Alternative Tax System,[95] which also seeks to abolish the federal income tax and replace it with a national retail sales tax. Leo Linbeck, AFFT Chairman and CEO, stated “As a founder of Americans For Fair Taxation, I can state categorically, however, that Scientology played no role in the founding, research or crafting of the legislation giving expression to the FairTax.”[93]

Much support has been achieved by talk radio personality Neal Boortz.[96] Boortz’s book (co-authored by Georgia Congressman John Linder) entitled The FairTax Book, explains the proposal and spent time atop the New York Times Best Seller list. Boortz stated that he donates his share of the proceeds to charity to promote the book.[96] In addition, Boortz and Linder have organized several FairTax rallies to publicize support for the plan. Other media personalities have also assisted in growing grassroots support including former radio and TV talk show host Larry Elder, radio host and former candidate for the 2012 GOP Presidential Nomination Herman Cain, Fox News and radio host Sean Hannity, and Fox Business Host John Stossel.[97] The FairTax received additional visibility as one of the issues in the 2008 presidential election. At a debate on June 30, 2007, several Republican candidates were asked about their position on the FairTax and many responded that they would sign the bill into law if elected.[30] The most vocal promoters of the FairTax during the 2008 primary elections were Republican candidate Mike Huckabee and Democratic candidate Mike Gravel. The Internet, blogosphere, and electronic mailing lists have contributed to promoting, organizing, and gaining support for the FairTax. In the 2012 Republican presidential primary, and his ensuing Libertarian Party presidential run, former Governor of New Mexico and businessman Gary Johnson actively campaigned for the FairTax.[98] Former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza Herman Cain has been promoting the FairTax as a final step in a multiple-phase tax reform.[99] Outside of the United States, the Christian Heritage Party of Canadaadopted a FairTax proposal as part of their 2011 election platform[100] but won no seats in that election.

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up to:abcde Fair Tax Act, 2009, Chapter 3
  2. Jump up to:abcdefgh Kotlikoff, 2005
  3. Jump up to:ab Linbeck statement, 2005
  4. Jump up to:abcdefghijklmnopq Regnier, 2005
  5. Jump up to:ab Fair Tax Act, 2009, Chapter 1
  6. Jump up to:abcde Gale, 1998
  7. Jump up to:abc Tuerk et al., 2007
  8. Jump up to:abcdefghijk Tax Reform Panel Report, Ch. 9
  9. Jump up to:abcde Kotlikoff and Rapson, 2006
  10. Jump up to:abc Kotlikoff and Jokisch, 2007
  11. Jump up to:abcdefghij The FairTax Book
  12. Jump up to:abc Open Letter to the President
  13. Jump up to:abcd Auerbach, 2005
  14. Jump up to:ab Sipos, 2007
  15. Jump up to:ab Gale, 2005
  16. Jump up to:abcd Fair Tax Act, 2009, Title III
  17. ^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2015-02-05. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  18. Jump up to:ab H.R.25 108th Cosponsors
  19. Jump up to:ab S.1493 108th Cosponsors
  20. Jump up to:ab H.R.25 109th Cosponsors
  21. Jump up to:ab S.25 109th Cosponsors
  22. Jump up to:abc H.R.25 110th Cosponsors
  23. ^ S.1025 110th Cosponsors
  24. ^ H.R.25 111th Cosponsors
  25. ^ S.296 111th Cosponsors
  26. ^ H.R.25 112th Cosponsors
  27. ^ S.13 112th Cosponsors
  28. ^ Bender, 2005
  29. Jump up to:abcdefg Boortz and Linder, 2008
  30. Jump up to:ab Davis, 2007
  31. ^ CBS News, 2007
  32. ^ Rasmussen Reports, 2009
  33. ^ Obama, 2008
  34. ^ 2015 prebate
  35. Jump up to:abcde Rebuttal to Tax Panel Report, 2006
  36. ^ Bartlett, 2007
  37. Jump up to:abcdefghijk Bartlett, 2007, Tax Notes
  38. Jump up to:abcd Yin, 2006, Fla. L. Rev.
  39. ^ Linder and Boortz, 2007
  40. Jump up to:abcde Fair Tax Act, 2009, Chapter 5
  41. Jump up to:ab Miller, 2007
  42. Jump up to:abcd Bartlett, 2007, Wall Street Journal
  43. ^ Gingrich and Ferrara, 2005
  44. Jump up to:abcdefghijk Bachman et al., 2006
  45. Jump up to:ab Burton and Mastromarco, 1998
  46. ^ Burton and Mastromarco, 1998a
  47. Jump up to:abcd Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics, 2006
  48. ^ Altig et al., 2001
  49. Jump up to:abc Tuerk et al., 2007
  50. ^ Esenwein, 2005
  51. Jump up to:abc Diamond and Zodrow, 2008
  52. Jump up to:abcdef Kotlikoff, 2008
  53. Jump up to:ab Fair Tax Act, 2009
  54. Jump up to:abc Taranto, 2007
  55. ^ Kotlikoff and Rapson, 2006
  56. ^ Tuerk et al., 2007
  57. ^ Zodrow and McClure, 2006
  58. ^ Giuliani, 2007
  59. Jump up to:ab Vance, 2005
  60. Jump up to:ab Golob, 1995
  61. ^ Tuerk et al., 2007
  62. ^ Gaver, 2006
  63. ^ Hodge and Atkins, 2005
  64. ^ Linbeck, 2006a
  65. ^ Linbeck, 2007
  66. ^ Vargas, 2005
  67. Jump up to:abc Buckley, 2008
  68. ^ IRS Labor Force, 2005
  69. Jump up to:abcd Taranto, 2007a
  70. ^ Fair Tax Act, 2009, Chapter 8
  71. ^ Tuerck et al., 2007
  72. ^ Types of Bonds
  73. ^ Fair Tax Act, 2009, Title IV
  74. Jump up to:ab Landsburg, 1998
  75. ^ Forbes, 2007
  76. ^ Jorgenson, 1998
  77. ^ Boortz, 2005
  78. Jump up to:abc Tuerck, 2008
  79. Jump up to:ab Fair Tax Act, 2009, Chapter 2
  80. ^ McTague, 2005
  81. ^ Schlosser, 2004
  82. Jump up to:abc Taranto, 2007
  83. Jump up to:abcd American Enterprise Institute, 2007
  84. ^ Moffatt, 2006
  85. Jump up to:abc Tuerck at el, 2007
  86. Jump up to:ab Fair Tax Act, 2009, Chapter 4
  87. ^ California Legislative Analyst’s Office
  88. ^ Karvounis, 2007
  89. Jump up to:ab Fox and Murray, 2005
  90. ^ Slemrod, 2005
  91. Jump up to:ab Worstall, 2015
  92. ^ Fair Tax Act, 2009, Chapter 7
  93. Jump up to:ab Linbeck, 2007
  94. ^ Bartlett, Bruce (7 September 2007). “Scientology’s Fair Tax Plot”CBS News. Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 17 June2015.
  95. ^ Galloway, 2007
  96. Jump up to:ab Boortz, 2005
  97. ^ Boortz, 2006
  98. ^ Gary Johnson 2012 Campaign Site, 2011
  99. ^ RedState, 2011
  100. ^ Christian Heritage, 2011

References

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FairTax

 

Tax Administration: Compliance, Complexity, and Capacity April 2019

 

 

Research

TAX DAY 2019: LITTLE IMPACT ON COMPLIANCE COSTS FROM TCJA (SO FAR)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • The total projected cost of Internal Revenue Service paperwork is $197.3 billion annually – a small increase over last year’s total, suggesting that changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have yet to affect the paperwork burden of taxes.
  • Taxpayers this year spent an estimated 8 billion hours annually on tax paperwork – 52 hours per taxpayer, a slight decrease from last year – while the number of individual forms increased by 13 percent, the second straight year of a double-digit increase.
  • A number of other researchers have estimated tax compliance burdens, and while these studies offer a range of estimates, they are remarkably similar in magnitude and direction.

INTRODUCTION

Many provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) took effect for tax year 2018, and as a result the paperwork burden of taxes could be expected to change, as well. Except for an uptick in the number of forms attributable to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), however, other tax-paperwork compliance burdens remain similar to Tax Day 2018.

According to data from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the estimated aggregate time burden required to complete IRS forms, when rounded, decreased slightly from 2018 to an even 8 billion hours. This figure breaks down to 52 hours per taxpayer.

According to the IRS, the monetary cost of completing this paperwork is $90.2 billion. This official number is an underestimate, however, because the IRS only provides monetary burden estimates on 15 of its more than 670 information collection reviews (ICRs) – how the IRS groups its tax forms, such that the individual tax return is a single ICR. While the IRS provides a time-burden estimate for every ICR, these 15 ICRs account for only 62 percent of the burden. Thus, a large percentage of total hours are unaccounted for.

This study estimates the cost of the missing hours to arrive at a final sum for the total cost of tax compliance this year: $197.3 billion, a modest 1.54 percent increase over 2018. This projected cost is the highest since the American Action Forum (AAF) began its annual review in 2014, with the exception of the anomaly of 2016.

METHODOLOGY

AAF researched every active IRS Office of Management and Budget Control Number (collections of information or recordkeeping requirements) on reginfo.gov, the government website that houses all federal paperwork information (as of April 2, 2019, for the purposes of this study). That search found 676 unique ICRs, all of which contained IRS estimates of expected responses and burden hours. The IRS estimates the costs for just 15 of these ICRs, however. To project costs for the rest, AAF applied the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ estimated average hourly wage for compliance officers ($34.86). The methodology is consistent with AAF’s previous Tax Day research.

RESULTS

The most noteworthy change from 2018 was a 13 percent increase in the number of IRS forms – the second consecutive year with a double-digit increase. While the total projected cost and average hours per paperwork submission increased slightly, the total number of hours required to deal with all active tax forms dropped by about 40 million.

  • Forms: 1,337
  • Hours: 8 billion
  • Average Hours Per Paperwork Submission: 11.9
  • Total Projected Cost: $197.3 billion

FORMS

The total number of forms issued by the IRS is at its highest amount in the six years AAF has researched tax paperwork burdens. The number of forms increased to 1,337 from 1,186 a year ago. Since 2014, only once did the number of forms decrease (2015). The chart below illustrates the overall increase in IRS forms since 2014.

Business and individual tax returns continue to generate the most forms, with 423 and 200, respectively. The number of forms associated with business tax returns increased more than 15 percent from 2018. The third-most forms are associated with tax-exempt organization returns (103), which increased almost 3.5 times from 2018 (23). Given the TCJA imposed substantial new tax regimes, particularly with respect to multinational firms, this development is hardly surprising.

Tax paperwork undergoes a burden review when an ICR is substantially revised or when a previous review expires (typically every three years). According to OIRA data, only about one-third of IRS paperwork has been substantially revised or expired – and therefore reviewed – since passage of the TCJA. Accordingly, the full effect of the changes of the TCJA are likely not reflected in these numbers.

INFORMATION COLLECTION REVIEWS

The IRS had 676 active ICRs as of April 3, 2019. This total is down nearly 4 percent from 2018 (704). Ten new reviews appeared this year, while 38 ICRs lapsed. Some of these 38 may return to active status once OIRA completes its review. Accordingly, AAF’s annual research is best interpreted as a snapshot of IRS paperwork burden.

Six ICRs come with total burdens of more than $10 billion annually. These collections represent nearly 78 percent of all burdens imposed by IRS paperwork. These six ICRs remain in the same order when it comes to total burden hours, and they are the only collections that consume more than 300 million hours of Americans’ time annually.

Collection Cost ($ Millions)
U. S. Business Income Tax Return 58,148
U.S. Individual Income Tax Return* 31,764
Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions 23,508
Form 4562 – Depreciation and Amortization 15,630
Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return 14,015
U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts 10,731

* To remain consistent with previous years’ research, AAF used the burden estimate included in OIRA’s summary table. A review of the supporting documentation for this collection includes a new methodology, used without clear explanation, that shows a burden of more than $60 billion.

The U.S. Business Income Tax Return remains the largest source of burden from IRS paperwork. According to IRS estimates, it takes 11.3 million filers an average of 279 hours to complete the return annually at a total cost of $58.1 billion. By comparison, the IRS estimates that it takes the 157.8 million filers of the U.S. Individual Tax Return 11.3 hours per return, for a total cost of $31.8 billion.

Five ICRs have an average hourly cost above $50. The five collections are:

Collection Cost/Hour
Internal Claims and Appeals and External Review Disclosures (PPACA) $503
Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan $391
Suspension of Benefits Under the MPRA $189
IFR for Grandfathered Health Plans under the PPACA $165
Application for Certificate of Subordination of Federal Tax Lien $52

ALTERNATIVE MEASURES OF TAX COMPLIANCE COSTS

A number of studies have attempted to capture the cost to the taxpayer and the economy of administering the U.S. tax system. A 2019 study by the Bipartisan Policy Center provides an excellent survey of recent estimates.[1] The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) has also reviewed recent attempts at capturing the cost of the U.S. tax code, noting that experts have embraced a range of methodologies for these calculations.[2] TAS, for example, estimated the 2015 cost of income-tax compliance at $195 billion. The Tax Foundation estimated that compliance costs amounted to $406 billion in 2016.[3] Subsequent estimates that include additional cost considerations and alternative approaches to monetizing the hours spent complying with the tax code alters these estimates considerably. Fichtner and Feldman completed a thorough assessment of the costs that the U.S. tax code extracts from the economy through complexity and inefficiency, beyond TAS’s estimate. According to the authors, in addition to time and money expended in compliance, foregone economic growth and lobbying expenditures amount to hidden costs estimated to range from $215 billion to $987 billion.[4]

These estimates provide valuable context and, despite some differences, are noteworthy for the relative similarity in magnitude and direction. These estimates do not reflect costs associated with the changes from the TCJA, which substantially reformed individual and business taxation. There will necessarily be a period of transition as taxpayers adjust to new tax regimes, with new information and reporting requirements, which have associated costs. For many taxpayers on the individual side, the TCJA likely made filing incrementally less onerous. According to a more recent study by the Tax Foundation, for individual filers the TCJA reduced the cost of compliance by $3.1 billion to $5.4 billion.[5]

Other measurements beyond mere time and pecuniary estimates reflect an increasingly burdensome tax code. TAS has reported that tax compliance is so onerous for individual taxpayers that over 90 percent used a preparer or tax software to submit their returns. TAS uses the IRS’s ability to answer taxpayer telephone calls and its ability to respond to taxpayer correspondence as key metrics for taxpayer service. TAS reports the IRS received 77.7 million calls to its customer service lines in fiscal year 2018, which is up slightly from FY2017 with 3.3 million additional calls. These figures are down considerably from the over 104 million in FY2016, however, when over 47 percent of toll-free calls went unanswered. TAS reports that over 78 percent of calls from the toll-free number were answered in FY2018, with an average speed of an answer at just over 7.5 minutes, about half that of FY2016 and about a minute faster than in FY2017.[6]

CONCLUSION

The cost of tax paperwork continues to inch toward $200 billion annually. Despite the implementation of the TCJA, little deviated from last year’s top-line metrics aside from another substantial increase in the number of forms. It is too soon to determine the true impact of recent tax reform legislation, but early indicators appear to show little change in the burden and compliance cost that tax paperwork imposes.

 

[1] https://bipartisanpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Tax-Administration-Compliance-Complexity-Capacity-1.pdf

[2] National Taxpayer Advocate. “Annual Report to Congress.” Taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov. Internal Revenue Service Web. https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/Media/Default/Documents/2016-ARC/ARC16_Volume1.pdf; See also Government Accountability Office (GAO), GAO-05-878, Tax Policy: Summary of Estimates of the Costs of the Federal Tax System (Aug. 2005), http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05878.pdf.

[3] https://taxfoundation.org/compliance-costs-irs-regulations/

[4] Fichtner, Jason J. and Jacob M. Feldman, “The Hidden Costs Of Tax Compliance.” Mercatus Center 2015 Web. http://mercatus.org/sites/default/files/Fichtner-Hidden-Cost-ch1-web.pdf

[5] https://taxfoundation.org/different-methods-calculating-tax-compliance-costs/#_ftn12

[6] https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/Media/Default/Documents/2018-ARC/ARC18_Volume1.pdf

Read more: https://www.americanactionforum.org/research/tax-day-2019-little-impact-on-compliance-costs-from-tcja-so-far/#ixzz5lTfUEbgs
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https://www.americanactionforum.org/research/tax-day-2019-little-impact-on-compliance-costs-from-tcja-so-far/

August 21, 2018

Reviewing Different Methods of Calculating Tax Compliance Costs

  • Complying with the individual income tax code creates real costs for taxpayers. Estimates of the compliance burden vary widely depending which calculation method is used. Each method produces unique illustrations of the cost of complying with the U.S. tax code.
  • Quantifying compliance costs can be complex. Calculations may include out-of-pocket costs on things like software or the cost of time spent keeping records and filling out forms instead of engaging in productive economic activities. Other costs associated with tax code complexity may be considered as well, such as lobbying and the tax gap, or the difference between taxes owed and collected.
  • We estimate that the individual income tax reforms in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could result in compliance savings ranging from $3.1 billion to $5.4 billion.

Introduction

Reforms to the individual income tax in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) helped simplify the tax code. Most importantly, doubling the standard deduction, curbing several itemized deductions, and limiting the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will make the tax filing process simpler and reduce compliance costs. However, trying to calculate the compliance cost of the tax code is complex, and estimates vary widely depending on how one tries to measure compliance costs.[1]

In the Tax Foundation’s recent paper on the changes the TCJA made to the individual income tax, we used two different estimates to illustrate the reduced compliance burden.[2] However, there are a variety of ways to think about measuring the cost of compliance.

Different Compliance Measures

Complying with the federal tax code creates a burden on taxpayers, resulting in real economic costs. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates time spent on tax compliance activities as well as out-of-pocket costs; see the table below.[3] The IRS separates the average time burden across recording keeping, tax planning, form completion and submission, and all other activities; time spent on post-filing activities is not included.

Table 1: Estimated Average Taxpayer Burden for Individuals by Activity
Primary Form Filed or Type of Taxpayer Percentage of Returns Average Burden Average Cost (Dollars)**
Average Time (Hours)
Total Time* Record Keeping Tax Planning Form Completion and Submission All Other
*Detail may not add to total time due to rounding. **Dollars rounded to the nearest $10. ***Rounds to less than one hour. ****You are considered a “business” filer if you file one or more of the following with Form 1040: Schedule C, C-EZ, E, or F or Form 2106 or 2106-EZ. You are considered a “nonbusiness” filer if you don’t file any of those schedules or forms with Form 1040 or if you file Form 1040A or 1040EZ. Source: Internal Revenue Service, 2017 Instructions 1040
All Taxpayers 100 12 5 2 4 1 $210
Primary forms filed
   1040 68 15 7 2 4 1 $270
   1040A 20 7 4 1 3 1 $90
   1040EZ 10 5 1 *** 2 1 $40
Type of Taxpayer
   Nonbusiness**** 70 8 3 1 3 1 $120
   Business**** 30 21 11 3 5 1 $410

In general, the IRS estimates that individuals spent 12 hours on average completing their individual income tax returns in 2017, with an average out-of-pocket cost of $210 per return. Pass-through businesses, such as S corporations, limited liability corporations, and sole proprietorships, file their taxes using the individual income tax, and those businesses spent significantly more time completing their taxes. On average, it took pass-through businesses 21 hours to complete their 2017 tax returns, with half hat time spent on record keeping.

These estimates provide a useful starting point for quantifying the burden of tax code compliance.

Out-of-Pocket Costs

The simplest way to calculate compliance costs is just considering out-of-pocket expenditures on complying with the tax code. In other words, all spending on tax preparation fees, software, and other supplies taxpayers use to file their taxes. The National Taxpayers Union Foundation estimated that out-of-pocket costs for tax year 2017 were $31.9 billion.[4]

While this number is easier to calculate and understand, solely looking at expenditures ignores the economic costs of the time spent complying with the tax code instead of engaging in other productive economic activities, which the National Taxpayers Union Foundation acknowledges.

Cost of Time Spent Complying

Another way to calculate compliance costs is to convert the time spent complying with the tax code into a dollar figure. One way to do this is to assume that an hour spent preparing a tax return has the economic cost of an hour of work.

The Tax Foundation calculated the cost of complying with the individual income tax in a 2016 publication. [5] According to IRS estimates that year, Americans spent 2.6 billion hours complying with the individual income tax. The hourly aggregate can be translated into compliance costs by multiplying them by an hourly compensation number. In the 2016 Tax Foundation report, the average hourly compensation for all full-time private sector workers in December 2015 ($37.28) was used to estimate the total annual cost in dollars, which amounted to $98.68 billion.[6] Note, this does not include the out-of-pocket expenses on tax preparation fees, software, and other supplies.

There is an argument to be made, however, that using average hourly compensation to calculate the economic cost of an hour of tax compliance is inaccurate. Higher-income taxpayers pay a larger share of taxes and are subject to more complex provisions than lower-income taxpayers. For instance, higher-income taxpayers are more likely to itemize deductions and have AMT liability, both of which require more compliance time than a basic tax form. And the opportunity cost of higher-income individuals complying with the tax code is greater than the average hourly compensation.

According to this idea, economists should use a different measure to calculate compliance costs. For example, the same Tax Foundation report used an hourly compensation cost of $52.05, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ estimate for professional and related workers, for more complex provisions to better approximate the cost.[7]

Lobbying Costs

Some economists think that factors other than out-of-pocket and time costs should be considered when calculating the economic costs of tax compliance. For example, the Mercatus Center included spending on lobbying in their estimate of tax compliance costs.[8] A more complex tax system creates more opportunities for lobbyists and special interests to try to influence public policy in the way a simple tax system does not. Thus, a complex system leads to money spent on lobbying rather than spent on productive economic activity.

The Tax Gap

Another factor to consider is the tax gap: the gap between the amount of taxes owed versus the amount of taxes actually collected. According to recent estimates, the U.S. has a tax-reporting compliance rate of 85.5 percent, meaning current tax revenues are 85.5 percent of what the U.S. government is owed. The IRS estimates that the average annual tax gap for the period from 2008 to 2010 was $458 billion.[9] A simpler tax system could reduce this gap and raise revenue.

Other Measures

UCLA economist Youssef Benzarti created a novel process to calculate tax compliance costs, which uses the idea of revealed preferences.[10] For the individual income tax, taxpayers choose to either take the standard deduction or itemize their deductions. Theoretically, taxpayers should add up their itemized deductions to see if they can deduct more than the standard deduction. However, that’s not always the case: many taxpayers choose to take the standard deduction even if they could deduct more if they itemized, forgoing tax savings to avoid the complexity.

Benzarti used the forgone tax savings to estimate tax compliance costs, finding they increase with income, which is consistent with the idea that higher-income taxpayers have a higher opportunity cost. He used these estimates and estimates of the time required to file other schedules to estimate the cost of filing federal income taxes, finding they have reached 1.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product in recent years.

Estimating the Compliance Cost Reductions of the TCJA

In our recent paper on the simplifications of the TCJA, we estimated the compliance savings of all the changes made to the individual income tax as well as the reforms made to the AMT.[11]One important note: these two estimates cannot be combined. Both are useful in illustrating the reduction in compliance burden driven by the TCJA.

All Individual Income Tax Reforms

The IRS estimated that the TCJA will reduce the average time to complete an individual income tax return by 4 to 7 percent.[12] This estimate is the net effect of all changes made to individual income taxes, such as the expanded standard deduction and AMT reforms (which reduce the compliance burden) and the new Section 199A deduction (which increases the compliance burden).[13]

The average time to complete a Form 1040 was 15 hours in 2017.[14] If filing time is reduced by 4 to 7 percent, it will take from 13.95 to 14.4 hours to complete a Form 1040 under the new tax law, meaning the average time will be reduced by 0.6 hours to 1.05 hours per form. To convert this to an aggregate time savings, we multiplied the estimated differences in average time by 150 million, assuming that 150 million tax returns will be filed. This translates to a total estimated time savings between 90 million and 157.5 million hours.

To convert this time savings to dollars, we multiplied the hours saved by an estimate of the opportunity cost. We used $34.17, the most recent average total employer compensation costs per hour for private industry workers.[15] We estimate that all the changes to individual income taxes taken together translate to compliance cost savings of $3.1 billion to $5.4 billion.

Alternative Minimum Tax Reforms

We also estimated the compliance savings of AMT reforms on their own. The IRS estimates that 9 million fewer AMT forms will need to be filed under the new tax code.[16] Estimates show that those who file an AMT form spend nearly double the time on their tax returns than those who do not.[17]

If 9 million fewer forms are filed, and if it takes about 15 hours more to file an AMT tax return than a regular tax return, the changes made to the AMT will save approximately 135 million hours. Again, using the assumption that an hour of compliance bears the economic cost of $34.17, the AMT changes translate to compliance savings of $4.6 billion.

However, given that AMT filers tend to be higher-income, it might make sense to use a higher-income taxpayer’s compensation. We might use the employer cost per hour worked for full-time workers in management, professional, and related occupations as a higher-income proxy: $62.99.[18] This would change the estimated compliance savings of AMT reforms to $8.5 billion.

Conclusion

Complying with the tax code creates real costs as taxpayers must spend valuable time keeping records and filling out forms instead of engaging in productive economic activity. There are several ways to quantify these costs, and estimates can vary widely depending on which method one uses to calculate them. These different methods are important to keep in mind when evaluating how tax policy changes might affect taxpayer burdens. Each method produces different estimates that provide unique illustrations of the cost of complying with the U.S. tax code.


 

[1] Michelle Ye Hee Lee, “Ted Cruz’s claim that tax compliance costs as much as the military budget,” The Washington Post, May 12, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/05/12/ted-cruzs-claim-that-tax-compliance-costs-as-much-as-the-military-budget/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.aff2c18e1ea5.

[2] Erica York and Alex Muresianu, “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Simplified the Tax Filing Process for Millions of Households,” Tax Foundation, Aug. 7, 2018, https://taxfoundation.org/the-tax-cuts-and-jobs-act-simplified-the-tax-filing-process-for-millions-of-households/.

[3] Internal Revenue Service, “2017 Instructions 1040,” 100-101, https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040gi.pdf.

[4] Demian Brady, “Tax Complexity 2018: With Relief on the Way, Taxpayers Hope Headaches Will Ease,” National Taxpayers Union Foundation, April 16, 2018, https://www.ntu.org/foundation/detail/tax-complexity-2018-with-relief-on-the-way-taxpayers-hope-headaches-will-ease.

[5] Scott A. Hodge, “The Compliance Costs of IRS Regulations,” Tax Foundation, June 15, 2016, https://taxfoundation.org/compliance-costs-irs-regulations/.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Scott A. Hodge, “The Compliance Costs of IRS Regulations.”

[8] Jason J. Fichtner and Jacob M. Feldman, “The Hidden Costs of Tax Compliance,” Mercatus Center, May 20, 2013, https://www.mercatus.org/system/files/Fichtner_TaxCompliance_v3.pdf.

[9] Internal Revenue Service, “Tax Gap Estimates for Tax Years 2008-2010,” https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/the-tax-gap.

[10] Youssef Benzarti, “How Taxing Is Tax Filing? Using Revealed Preferences to Estimate Compliance Costs,” NBER Working Paper No. 23903, October 2017, http://www.nber.org/papers/w23903.

[11] Erica York and Alex Muresianu, “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Simplified the Tax Filing Process for Millions of Households.”

[12] Internal Revenue Service, “Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Regulation Project 83 FR 34698,” July 20, 2018, https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2018-15627/p-49.

[13] Scott Greenberg and Nicole Kaeding, “Reforming the Pass-Through Deduction,” Tax Foundation, June 21, 2018, https://taxfoundation.org/reforming-pass-through-deduction-199a/.

[14] Internal Revenue Service, “2017 Instructions 1040,” 100-101.

[15] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation – March 2018,” June 8, 2018, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecec.pdf.

[16] Internal Revenue Service, “Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Regulation Project 83 FR 34698.”

[17] Taxpayer Advocate Service, “Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax, 2013 Annual Report to Congress,” 298, http://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/2013-Annual-Report/downloads/Repeal-the-Alternative-Minimum-Tax.pdf.

[18] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment Cost Trends,” https://www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently released new data on individual income taxes for tax year 2016, showing the number of taxpayers, adjusted gross income, and income tax shares by income percentiles.[1]

The data demonstrates that the U.S. individual income tax continues to be very progressive, borne primarily by the highest income earners.[2]

  • In 2016, 140.9 million taxpayers reported earning $10.2 trillion in adjusted gross income and paid $1.4 trillion in individual income taxes.
  • The share of reported income earned by the top 1 percent of taxpayers fell slightly to 19.7 percent in 2016. Their share of federal individual income taxes fell slightly, to 37.3 percent.
  • In 2016, the top 50 percent of all taxpayers paid 97 percent of all individual income taxes, while the bottom 50 percent paid the remaining 3 percent.
  • 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 1 percent of taxpayers paid a 26.9 percent individual income tax rate, which is more than seven times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (3.7 percent).

Reported Income Increased and Taxes Paid Decreased in 2016

Taxpayers reported $10.2 trillion in adjusted gross income (AGI) on 140.9 million tax returns in 2016. Total AGI grew $14 billion from 2015 levels, less than the $434 billion increase from 2014 to 2015. There were 316,000 fewer tax returns filed in 2016 than in 2015, meaning that average AGI rose by $260 per return, or 0.4 percent.

Taxes paid fell slightly to $1.4 trillion for all taxpayers in 2016, a 0.8 percent decrease from the previous year. The average individual income tax rate for all taxpayers fell slightly, from 14.3 percent to 14.2 percent, and the average tax rate fell for all groups.

The share of income earned by the top 1 percent fell slightly from 20.7 percent of AGI in 2015 to 19.7 percent in 2016, and the share of the income tax burden for the top 1 percent fell slightly as well, from 39 percent in 2015 to 37.3 percent in 2016.

Table 1: Summary of Federal Income Tax Data, 2016
Note: Table does not include dependent filers. “Income split point” is the minimum AGI for tax returns to fall into each percentile. Source: IRS, Statistics of Income, Individual Income Rates and Tax Shares (2018).
Top 1% Top 5% Top 10% Top 25% Top 50% Bottom 50% All Taxpayers
Number of Returns 1,408,888 7,044,439 14,088,879 35,222,196 70,444,393 70,444,393 140,888,785
Adjusted Gross Income ($ millions) $2,003,066 $3,574,828 $4,729,405 $6,950,051 $8,979,705 $1,176,907 $10,156,612
Share of Total Adjusted Gross Income 19.72% 35.20% 46.56% 68.43% 88.41% 11.59% 100.00%
Income Taxes Paid ($ millions) $538,257 $839,898 $1,002,072 $1,240,010 $1,398,523 $43,863 $1,442,385
Share of Total Income Taxes Paid 37.32% 58.23% 69.47% 85.97% 96.96% 3.04% 100.00%
Income Split Point $480,804 $197,651 $139,713 $80,921 $40,078
Average Tax Rate 26.87% 23.49% 21.19% 17.84% 15.57% 3.73% 14.20%

High-Income Taxpayers Paid Majority of Federal Income Taxes

In 2016, the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers (those with AGI below $40,078) earned 11.6 percent of total AGI. This group of taxpayers paid $43.9 billion in taxes, or roughly 3 percent of all income taxes in 2016.

In contrast, the top 1 percent of all taxpayers (taxpayers with AGI of $480,804 and above), earned 19.7 percent of all AGI in 2016, and paid 37.3 percent of all federal income taxes.

In 2016, the top 1 percent of taxpayers accounted for more income taxes paid than the bottom 90 percent combined. The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid roughly $538 billion, or 37.3 percent of all income taxes, while the bottom 90 percent paid about $440 billion, or 30.5 percent of all income taxes.

Half of taxpayers pay 97 percent of all income taxes, 2018 federal income tax data

High-Income Taxpayers Paid the Highest Average Income Tax Rates

The 2016 IRS data shows that taxpayers with higher incomes pay much higher average income tax rates than lower-income taxpayers.[3]

The bottom 50 percent of taxpayers (taxpayers with AGIs below $40,078) faced an average income tax rate of 3.7 percent. As household income increases, the IRS data shows that average income tax rates rise. For example, taxpayers with AGIs between the 10th and 5th percentiles ($139,713 and $197,651) paid an average effective rate of 14 percent—3.8 times the rate paid by those in the bottom 50 percent.

The top 1 percent of taxpayers (AGI of $480,804 and above) paid the highest effective income tax rate, roughly 26.9 percent, more than seven times the rate faced by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers.

High income taxpayers pay the highest average income tax rate, 2018 federal income tax data

Taxpayers at the very top of the income distribution, the top 0.1 percent (with AGIs over $2.1 million), paid an even higher average income tax rate of 27.1 percent.

Appendix

  1. For data prior to 2001, all tax returns that have a positive AGI are included, even those that do not have a positive income tax liability. For data from 2001 forward, returns with negative AGI are also included, but dependent returns are excluded.
  2. Income tax after credits (the measure of “income taxes paid” above) does not account for the refundable portion of the earned income tax credit. If it were included, the tax share of the top income groups would be higher. The refundable portion is classified as a spending program by the Office of Management and Budget and therefore is not included by the IRS in these figures.
  3. The only tax analyzed here is the federal individual income tax, which is responsible for more than 25 percent of the nation’s taxes paid (at all levels of government). Federal income taxes are much more progressive than federal payroll taxes, which are responsible for about 20 percent of all taxes paid (at all levels of government), and are more progressive than most state and local taxes.
  4. AGI is a fairly narrow income concept and does not include income items like government transfers (except for the portion of Social Security benefits that is taxed), the value of employer-provided health insurance, underreported or unreported income (most notably that of sole proprietors), income derived from municipal bond interest, net imputed rental income, and others.
  5. The unit of analysis here is that of the tax return. In the figures prior to 2001, some dependent returns are included. Under other units of analysis (like the U.S. Treasury Department’s Family Economic Unit), these returns would likely be paired with parents’ returns.
  6. These figures represent the legal incidence of the income tax. Most distributional tables (such as those from the Congressional Budget Office, the Tax Policy Center, Citizens for Tax Justice, the Treasury Department, and the Joint Committee on Taxation) assume that the entire economic incidence of personal income taxes falls on the income earner.
Table 2: Number of Federal Individual Income Tax Returns Filed 1980–2016 (Thousands)
Source: IRS, Statistics of Income, Individual Income Rates and Tax Shares (2018).
Year Total Top 0.1% Top 1% Top 5% Between 5% and 10% Top 10% Between 10% and 25% Top 25% Between 25% and 50% Top 50% Bottom 50%
1981 94,587 946 4,729 4,729 9,459 14,188 23,647 23,647 47,293 47,293
1982 94,426 944 4,721 4,721 9,443 14,164 23,607 23,607 47,213 47,213
1983 95,331 953 4,767 4,767 9,533 14,300 23,833 23,833 47,665 47,665
1984 98,436 984 4,922 4,922 9,844 14,765 24,609 24,609 49,218 49,219
1985 100,625 1,006 5,031 5,031 10,063 15,094 25,156 25,156 50,313 50,313
1986 102,088 1,021 5,104 5,104 10,209 15,313 25,522 25,522 51,044 51,044
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
1987 106,155 1,062 5,308 5,308 10,615 15,923 26,539 26,539 53,077 53,077
1988 108,873 1,089 5,444 5,444 10,887 16,331 27,218 27,218 54,436 54,436
1989 111,313 1,113 5,566 5,566 11,131 16,697 27,828 27,828 55,656 55,656
1990 112,812 1,128 5,641 5,641 11,281 16,922 28,203 28,203 56,406 56,406
1991 113,804 1,138 5,690 5,690 11,380 17,071 28,451 28,451 56,902 56,902
1992 112,653 1,127 5,633 5,633 11,265 16,898 28,163 28,163 56,326 56,326
1993 113,681 1,137 5,684 5,684 11,368 17,052 28,420 28,420 56,841 56,841
1994 114,990 1,150 5,749 5,749 11,499 17,248 28,747 28,747 57,495 57,495
1995 117,274 1,173 5,864 5,864 11,727 17,591 29,319 29,319 58,637 58,637
1996 119,442 1,194 5,972 5,972 11,944 17,916 29,860 29,860 59,721 59,721
1997 121,503 1,215 6,075 6,075 12,150 18,225 30,376 30,376 60,752 60,752
1998 123,776 1,238 6,189 6,189 12,378 18,566 30,944 30,944 61,888 61,888
1999 126,009 1,260 6,300 6,300 12,601 18,901 31,502 31,502 63,004 63,004
2000 128,227 1,282 6,411 6,411 12,823 19,234 32,057 32,057 64,114 64,114
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
2001 119,371 119 1,194 5,969 5,969 11,937 17,906 29,843 29,843 59,685 59,685
2002 119,851 120 1,199 5,993 5,993 11,985 17,978 29,963 29,963 59,925 59,925
2003 120,759 121 1,208 6,038 6,038 12,076 18,114 30,190 30,190 60,379 60,379
2004 122,510 123 1,225 6,125 6,125 12,251 18,376 30,627 30,627 61,255 61,255
2005 124,673 125 1,247 6,234 6,234 12,467 18,701 31,168 31,168 62,337 62,337
2006 128,441 128 1,284 6,422 6,422 12,844 19,266 32,110 32,110 64,221 64,221
2007 132,655 133 1,327 6,633 6,633 13,265 19,898 33,164 33,164 66,327 66,327
2008 132,892 133 1,329 6,645 6,645 13,289 19,934 33,223 33,223 66,446 66,446
2009 132,620 133 1,326 6,631 6,631 13,262 19,893 33,155 33,155 66,310 66,310
2010 135,033 135 1,350 6,752 6,752 13,503 20,255 33,758 33,758 67,517 67,517
2011 136,586 137 1,366 6,829 6,829 13,659 20,488 34,146 34,146 68,293 68,293
2012 136,080 136 1,361 6,804 6,804 13,608 20,412 34,020 34,020 68,040 68,040
2013 138,313 138 1,383 6,916 6,916 13,831 20,747 34,578 34,578 69,157 69,157
2014 139,562 140 1,396 6,978 6,978 13,956 20,934 34,891 34,891 69,781 69,781
2015 141,205 141 1,412 7,060 7,060 14,120 21,181 35,301 35,301 70,602 70,602
2016 140,889 141 1,409 7,044 7,044 14,089 21,133 35,222 35,222 70,444 70,444
Table 3: Adjusted Gross Income of Taxpayers in Various Income Brackets, 1980–2016 ($Billions)
Source: IRS, Statistics of Income, Individual Income Rates and Tax Shares (2018).
Year Total Top 0.1% Top 1% Top 5% Between 5% & 10% Top 10% Between 10% & 25% Top 25% Between 25% & 50% Top 50% Bottom 50%
1980 $1,627 $138 $342 $181 $523 $400 $922 $417 $1,339 $288
1981 $1,791 $149 $372 $201 $573 $442 $1,015 $458 $1,473 $318
1982 $1,876 $167 $398 $207 $605 $460 $1,065 $478 $1,544 $332
1983 $1,970 $183 $428 $217 $646 $481 $1,127 $498 $1,625 $344
1984 $2,173 $210 $482 $240 $723 $528 $1,251 $543 $1,794 $379
1985 $2,344 $235 $531 $260 $791 $567 $1,359 $580 $1,939 $405
1986 $2,524 $285 $608 $278 $887 $604 $1,490 $613 $2,104 $421
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
1987 $2,814 $347 $722 $316 $1,038 $671 $1,709 $664 $2,374 $440
1988 $3,124 $474 $891 $342 $1,233 $718 $1,951 $707 $2,658 $466
1989 $3,299 $468 $918 $368 $1,287 $768 $2,054 $751 $2,805 $494
1990 $3,451 $483 $953 $385 $1,338 $806 $2,144 $788 $2,933 $519
1991 $3,516 $457 $943 $400 $1,343 $832 $2,175 $809 $2,984 $532
1992 $3,681 $524 $1,031 $413 $1,444 $856 $2,299 $832 $3,131 $549
1993 $3,776 $521 $1,048 $426 $1,474 $883 $2,358 $854 $3,212 $563
1994 $3,961 $547 $1,103 $449 $1,552 $929 $2,481 $890 $3,371 $590
1995 $4,245 $620 $1,223 $482 $1,705 $985 $2,690 $938 $3,628 $617
1996 $4,591 $737 $1,394 $515 $1,909 $1,043 $2,953 $992 $3,944 $646
1997 $5,023 $873 $1,597 $554 $2,151 $1,116 $3,268 $1,060 $4,328 $695
1998 $5,469 $1,010 $1,797 $597 $2,394 $1,196 $3,590 $1,132 $4,721 $748
1999 $5,909 $1,153 $2,012 $641 $2,653 $1,274 $3,927 $1,199 $5,126 $783
2000 $6,424 $1,337 $2,267 $688 $2,955 $1,358 $4,314 $1,276 $5,590 $834
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
2001 $6,116 $492 $1,065 $1,934 $666 $2,600 $1,334 $3,933 $1,302 $5,235 $881
2002 $5,982 $421 $960 $1,812 $660 $2,472 $1,339 $3,812 $1,303 $5,115 $867
2003 $6,157 $466 $1,030 $1,908 $679 $2,587 $1,375 $3,962 $1,325 $5,287 $870
2004 $6,735 $615 $1,279 $2,243 $725 $2,968 $1,455 $4,423 $1,403 $5,826 $908
2005 $7,366 $784 $1,561 $2,623 $778 $3,401 $1,540 $4,940 $1,473 $6,413 $953
2006 $7,970 $895 $1,761 $2,918 $841 $3,760 $1,652 $5,412 $1,568 $6,980 $990
2007 $8,622 $1,030 $1,971 $3,223 $905 $4,128 $1,770 $5,898 $1,673 $7,571 $1,051
2008 $8,206 $826 $1,657 $2,868 $905 $3,773 $1,782 $5,555 $1,673 $7,228 $978
2009 $7,579 $602 $1,305 $2,439 $878 $3,317 $1,740 $5,058 $1,620 $6,678 $900
2010 $8,040 $743 $1,517 $2,716 $915 $3,631 $1,800 $5,431 $1,665 $7,096 $944
2011 $8,317 $737 $1,556 $2,819 $956 $3,775 $1,866 $5,641 $1,716 $7,357 $961
2012 $9,042 $1,017 $1,977 $3,331 $997 $4,328 $1,934 $6,262 $1,776 $8,038 $1,004
2013 $9,034 $816 $1,720 $3,109 $1,034 $4,143 $2,008 $6,152 $1,844 $7,996 $1,038
2014 $9,709 $986 $1,998 $3,491 $1,093 $4,583 $2,107 $6,690 $1,924 $8,615 $1,094
2015 $10,143 $1,033 $2,095 $3,659 $1,145 $4,803 $2,194 $6,998 $2,000 $8,998 $1,145
2016 $10,157 $966 $2,003 $3,575 $1,155 $4,729 $2,221 $6,950 $2,030 $8,980 $1,177
Table 4. Total Income Tax after Credits, 1980–2016 ($Billions)
Source: IRS, Statistics of Income, Individual Income Rates and Tax Shares (2018).
Year Total Top 0.1% Top 1% Top 5% Between 5% & 10% Top 10% Between 10% & 25% Top 25% Between 25% & 50% Top 50% Bottom 50%
1980 $249 $47 $92 $31 $123 $59 $182 $50 $232 $18
1981 $282 $50 $99 $36 $135 $69 $204 $57 $261 $21
1982 $276 $53 $100 $34 $134 $66 $200 $56 $256 $20
1983 $272 $55 $101 $34 $135 $64 $199 $54 $252 $19
1984 $297 $63 $113 $37 $150 $68 $219 $57 $276 $22
1985 $322 $70 $125 $41 $166 $73 $238 $60 $299 $23
1986 $367 $94 $156 $44 $201 $78 $279 $64 $343 $24
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
1987 $369 $92 $160 $46 $205 $79 $284 $63 $347 $22
1988 $413 $114 $188 $48 $236 $85 $321 $68 $389 $24
1989 $433 $109 $190 $51 $241 $93 $334 $73 $408 $25
1990 $447 $112 $195 $52 $248 $97 $344 $77 $421 $26
1991 $448 $111 $194 $56 $250 $96 $347 $77 $424 $25
1992 $476 $131 $218 $58 $276 $97 $374 $78 $452 $24
1993 $503 $146 $238 $60 $298 $101 $399 $80 $479 $24
1994 $535 $154 $254 $64 $318 $108 $425 $84 $509 $25
1995 $588 $178 $288 $70 $357 $115 $473 $88 $561 $27
1996 $658 $213 $335 $76 $411 $124 $535 $95 $630 $28
1997 $727 $241 $377 $82 $460 $134 $594 $102 $696 $31
1998 $788 $274 $425 $88 $513 $139 $652 $103 $755 $33
1999 $877 $317 $486 $97 $583 $150 $733 $109 $842 $35
2000 $981 $367 $554 $106 $660 $164 $824 $118 $942 $38
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
2001 $885 $139 $294 $462 $101 $564 $158 $722 $120 $842 $43
2002 $794 $120 $263 $420 $93 $513 $143 $657 $104 $761 $33
2003 $746 $115 $251 $399 $85 $484 $133 $617 $98 $715 $30
2004 $829 $142 $301 $467 $91 $558 $137 $695 $102 $797 $32
2005 $932 $176 $361 $549 $98 $647 $145 $793 $106 $898 $33
2006 $1,020 $196 $402 $607 $108 $715 $157 $872 $113 $986 $35
2007 $1,112 $221 $443 $666 $117 $783 $170 $953 $122 $1,075 $37
2008 $1,029 $187 $386 $597 $115 $712 $168 $880 $117 $997 $32
2009 $863 $146 $314 $502 $101 $604 $146 $749 $93 $842 $21
2010 $949 $170 $355 $561 $110 $670 $156 $827 $100 $927 $22
2011 $1,043 $168 $366 $589 $123 $712 $181 $893 $120 $1,012 $30
2012 $1,185 $220 $451 $699 $133 $831 $193 $1,024 $128 $1,152 $33
2013 $1,232 $228 $466 $721 $139 $860 $203 $1,063 $135 $1,198 $34
2014 $1,374 $273 $543 $824 $150 $974 $219 $1,193 $144 $1,337 $38
2015 $1,454 $284 $568 $866 $160 $1,027 $233 $1,260 $154 $1,413 $41
2016  $1,442  $261  $538  $840  $162  $1,002  $238  $1,240  $159  $1,399  $44
Table 5: Adjusted Gross Income Shares, 1980–2016 (percent of total AGI earned by each group)
Source: IRS, Statistics of Income, Individual Income Rates and Tax Shares (2018).
Year Total Top 0.1% Top 1% Top 5% Between 5% & 10% Top 10% Between 10% & 25% Top 25% Between 25% & 50% Top 50% Bottom 50%
1980 100% 8.46% 21.01% 11.12% 32.13% 24.57% 56.70% 25.62% 82.32% 17.68%
1981 100% 8.30% 20.78% 11.20% 31.98% 24.69% 56.67% 25.59% 82.25% 17.75%
1982 100% 8.91% 21.23% 11.03% 32.26% 24.53% 56.79% 25.50% 82.29% 17.71%
1983 100% 9.29% 21.74% 11.04% 32.78% 24.44% 57.22% 25.30% 82.52% 17.48%
1984 100% 9.66% 22.19% 11.06% 33.25% 24.31% 57.56% 25.00% 82.56% 17.44%
1985 100% 10.03% 22.67% 11.10% 33.77% 24.21% 57.97% 24.77% 82.74% 17.26%
1986 100% 11.30% 24.11% 11.02% 35.12% 23.92% 59.04% 24.30% 83.34% 16.66%
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
1987 100% 12.32% 25.67% 11.23% 36.90% 23.85% 60.75% 23.62% 84.37% 15.63%
1988 100% 15.16% 28.51% 10.94% 39.45% 22.99% 62.44% 22.63% 85.07% 14.93%
1989 100% 14.19% 27.84% 11.16% 39.00% 23.28% 62.28% 22.76% 85.04% 14.96%
1990 100% 14.00% 27.62% 11.15% 38.77% 23.36% 62.13% 22.84% 84.97% 15.03%
1991 100% 12.99% 26.83% 11.37% 38.20% 23.65% 61.85% 23.01% 84.87% 15.13%
1992 100% 14.23% 28.01% 11.21% 39.23% 23.25% 62.47% 22.61% 85.08% 14.92%
1993 100% 13.79% 27.76% 11.29% 39.05% 23.40% 62.45% 22.63% 85.08% 14.92%
1994 100% 13.80% 27.85% 11.34% 39.19% 23.45% 62.64% 22.48% 85.11% 14.89%
1995 100% 14.60% 28.81% 11.35% 40.16% 23.21% 63.37% 22.09% 85.46% 14.54%
1996 100% 16.04% 30.36% 11.23% 41.59% 22.73% 64.32% 21.60% 85.92% 14.08%
1997 100% 17.38% 31.79% 11.03% 42.83% 22.22% 65.05% 21.11% 86.16% 13.84%
1998 100% 18.47% 32.85% 10.92% 43.77% 21.87% 65.63% 20.69% 86.33% 13.67%
1999 100% 19.51% 34.04% 10.85% 44.89% 21.57% 66.46% 20.29% 86.75% 13.25%
2000 100% 20.81% 35.30% 10.71% 46.01% 21.15% 67.15% 19.86% 87.01% 12.99%
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
2001 100% 8.05% 17.41% 31.61% 10.89% 42.50% 21.80% 64.31% 21.29% 85.60% 14.40%
2002 100% 7.04% 16.05% 30.29% 11.04% 41.33% 22.39% 63.71% 21.79% 85.50% 14.50%
2003 100% 7.56% 16.73% 30.99% 11.03% 42.01% 22.33% 64.34% 21.52% 85.87% 14.13%
2004 100% 9.14% 18.99% 33.31% 10.77% 44.07% 21.60% 65.68% 20.83% 86.51% 13.49%
2005 100% 10.64% 21.19% 35.61% 10.56% 46.17% 20.90% 67.07% 19.99% 87.06% 12.94%
2006 100% 11.23% 22.10% 36.62% 10.56% 47.17% 20.73% 67.91% 19.68% 87.58% 12.42%
2007 100% 11.95% 22.86% 37.39% 10.49% 47.88% 20.53% 68.41% 19.40% 87.81% 12.19%
2008 100% 10.06% 20.19% 34.95% 11.03% 45.98% 21.71% 67.69% 20.39% 88.08% 11.92%
2009 100% 7.94% 17.21% 32.18% 11.59% 43.77% 22.96% 66.74% 21.38% 88.12% 11.88%
2010 100% 9.24% 18.87% 33.78% 11.38% 45.17% 22.38% 67.55% 20.71% 88.26% 11.74%
2011 100% 8.86% 18.70% 33.89% 11.50% 45.39% 22.43% 67.82% 20.63% 88.45% 11.55%
2012 100% 11.25% 21.86% 36.84% 11.03% 47.87% 21.39% 69.25% 19.64% 88.90% 11.10%
2013 100% 9.03% 19.04% 34.42% 11.45% 45.87% 22.23% 68.10% 20.41% 88.51% 11.49%
2014 100% 10.16% 20.58% 35.96% 11.25% 47.21% 21.70% 68.91% 19.82% 88.73% 11.27%
2015 100% 10.19% 20.65% 36.07% 11.29% 47.36% 21.64% 68.99% 19.72% 88.72% 11.28%
2016 100% 9.52% 19.72% 35.20% 11.37% 46.56% 21.86% 68.43% 19.98% 88.41% 11.59%
Table 6: Total Income Tax Shares, 1980–2016 (percent of federal income tax paid by each group)
Source: IRS, Statistics of Income, Individual Income Rates and Tax Shares (2018).
Year Total Top 0.1% Top 1% Top 5% Between 5% & 10% Top 10% Between 10% & 25% Top 25% Between 25% & 50% Top 50% Bottom 50%
1980 100% 19.05% 36.84% 12.44% 49.28% 23.74% 73.02% 19.93% 92.95% 7.05%
1981 100% 17.58% 35.06% 12.90% 47.96% 24.33% 72.29% 20.26% 92.55% 7.45%
1982 100% 19.03% 36.13% 12.45% 48.59% 23.91% 72.50% 20.15% 92.65% 7.35%
1983 100% 20.32% 37.26% 12.44% 49.71% 23.39% 73.10% 19.73% 92.83% 7.17%
1984 100% 21.12% 37.98% 12.58% 50.56% 22.92% 73.49% 19.16% 92.65% 7.35%
1985 100% 21.81% 38.78% 12.67% 51.46% 22.60% 74.06% 18.77% 92.83% 7.17%
1986 100% 25.75% 42.57% 12.12% 54.69% 21.33% 76.02% 17.52% 93.54% 6.46%
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
1987 100% 24.81% 43.26% 12.35% 55.61% 21.31% 76.92% 17.02% 93.93% 6.07%
1988 100% 27.58% 45.62% 11.66% 57.28% 20.57% 77.84% 16.44% 94.28% 5.72%
1989 100% 25.24% 43.94% 11.85% 55.78% 21.44% 77.22% 16.94% 94.17% 5.83%
1990 100% 25.13% 43.64% 11.73% 55.36% 21.66% 77.02% 17.16% 94.19% 5.81%
1991 100% 24.82% 43.38% 12.45% 55.82% 21.46% 77.29% 17.23% 94.52% 5.48%
1992 100% 27.54% 45.88% 12.12% 58.01% 20.47% 78.48% 16.46% 94.94% 5.06%
1993 100% 29.01% 47.36% 11.88% 59.24% 20.03% 79.27% 15.92% 95.19% 4.81%
1994 100% 28.86% 47.52% 11.93% 59.45% 20.10% 79.55% 15.68% 95.23% 4.77%
1995 100% 30.26% 48.91% 11.84% 60.75% 19.62% 80.36% 15.03% 95.39% 4.61%
1996 100% 32.31% 50.97% 11.54% 62.51% 18.80% 81.32% 14.36% 95.68% 4.32%
1997 100% 33.17% 51.87% 11.33% 63.20% 18.47% 81.67% 14.05% 95.72% 4.28%
1998 100% 34.75% 53.84% 11.20% 65.04% 17.65% 82.69% 13.10% 95.79% 4.21%
1999 100% 36.18% 55.45% 11.00% 66.45% 17.09% 83.54% 12.46% 96.00% 4.00%
2000 100% 37.42% 56.47% 10.86% 67.33% 16.68% 84.01% 12.08% 96.09% 3.91%
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
2001 100% 15.68% 33.22% 52.24% 11.44% 63.68% 17.88% 81.56% 13.54% 95.10% 4.90%
2002 100% 15.09% 33.09% 52.86% 11.77% 64.63% 18.04% 82.67% 13.12% 95.79% 4.21%
2003 100% 15.37% 33.69% 53.54% 11.35% 64.89% 17.87% 82.76% 13.17% 95.93% 4.07%
2004 100% 17.12% 36.28% 56.35% 10.96% 67.30% 16.52% 83.82% 12.31% 96.13% 3.87%
2005 100% 18.91% 38.78% 58.93% 10.52% 69.46% 15.61% 85.07% 11.35% 96.41% 3.59%
2006 100% 19.24% 39.36% 59.49% 10.59% 70.08% 15.41% 85.49% 11.10% 96.59% 3.41%
2007 100% 19.84% 39.81% 59.90% 10.51% 70.41% 15.30% 85.71% 10.93% 96.64% 3.36%
2008 100% 18.20% 37.51% 58.06% 11.14% 69.20% 16.37% 85.57% 11.33% 96.90% 3.10%
2009 100% 16.91% 36.34% 58.17% 11.72% 69.89% 16.85% 86.74% 10.80% 97.54% 2.46%
2010 100% 17.88% 37.38% 59.07% 11.55% 70.62% 16.49% 87.11% 10.53% 97.64% 2.36%
2011 100% 16.14% 35.06% 56.49% 11.77% 68.26% 17.36% 85.62% 11.50% 97.11% 2.89%
2012 100% 18.60% 38.09% 58.95% 11.22% 70.17% 16.25% 86.42% 10.80% 97.22% 2.78%
2013 100% 18.48% 37.80% 58.55% 11.25% 69.80% 16.47% 86.27% 10.94% 97.22% 2.78%
2014 100% 19.85% 39.48% 59.97% 10.91% 70.88% 15.90% 86.78% 10.47% 97.25% 2.75%
2015 100% 19.50% 39.04% 59.58% 11.01% 70.59% 16.03% 86.62% 10.55% 97.17% 2.83%
2016 100.00% 18.12% 37.32% 58.23% 11.24% 69.47% 16.50% 85.97% 10.99% 96.96% 3.04%
Table 7: Dollar Cut-Off, 1980–2016 (Minimum AGI for Tax Returns to Fall into Various Percentiles; Thresholds Not Adjusted for Inflation)
Source: IRS, Statistics of Income, Individual Income Rates and Tax Shares (2018).
Year Top 0.1% Top 1% Top 5% Top 10% Top 25% Top 50%
1980 $80,580 $43,792 $35,070 $23,606 $12,936
1981 $85,428 $47,845 $38,283 $25,655 $14,000
1982 $89,388 $49,284 $39,676 $27,027 $14,539
1983 $93,512 $51,553 $41,222 $27,827 $15,044
1984 $100,889 $55,423 $43,956 $29,360 $15,998
1985 $108,134 $58,883 $46,322 $30,928 $16,688
1986 $118,818 $62,377 $48,656 $32,242 $17,302
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
1987 $139,289 $68,414 $52,921 $33,983 $17,768
1988 $157,136 $72,735 $55,437 $35,398 $18,367
1989 $163,869 $76,933 $58,263 $36,839 $18,993
1990 $167,421 $79,064 $60,287 $38,080 $19,767
1991 $170,139 $81,720 $61,944 $38,929 $20,097
1992 $181,904 $85,103 $64,457 $40,378 $20,803
1993 $185,715 $87,386 $66,077 $41,210 $21,179
1994 $195,726 $91,226 $68,753 $42,742 $21,802
1995 $209,406 $96,221 $72,094 $44,207 $22,344
1996 $227,546 $101,141 $74,986 $45,757 $23,174
1997 $250,736 $108,048 $79,212 $48,173 $24,393
1998 $269,496 $114,729 $83,220 $50,607 $25,491
1999 $293,415 $120,846 $87,682 $52,965 $26,415
2000 $313,469 $128,336 $92,144 $55,225 $27,682
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
2001 $1,393,718 $306,635 $132,082 $96,151 $59,026 $31,418
2002 $1,245,352 $296,194 $130,750 $95,699 $59,066 $31,299
2003 $1,317,088 $305,939 $133,741 $97,470 $59,896 $31,447
2004 $1,617,918 $339,993 $140,758 $101,838 $62,794 $32,622
2005 $1,938,175 $379,261 $149,216 $106,864 $64,821 $33,484
2006 $2,124,625 $402,603 $157,390 $112,016 $67,291 $34,417
2007 $2,251,017 $426,439 $164,883 $116,396 $69,559 $35,541
2008 $1,867,652 $392,513 $163,512 $116,813 $69,813 $35,340
2009 $1,469,393 $351,968 $157,342 $114,181 $68,216 $34,156
2010 $1,634,386 $369,691 $161,579 $116,623 $69,126 $34,338
2011 $1,717,675 $388,905 $167,728 $120,136 $70,492 $34,823
2012 $2,161,175 $434,682 $175,817 $125,195 $73,354 $36,055
2013 $1,860,848 $428,713 $179,760 $127,695 $74,955 $36,841
2014 $2,136,762 $465,626 $188,996 $133,445 $77,714 $38,173
2015 $2,220,264 $480,930 $195,778 $138,031 $79,655 $39,275
2016 $2,124,117 $480,804 $197,651 $139,713 $80,921 $40,078
Table 8: Average Tax Rate, 1980–2016 (Percent of AGI Paid in Income Taxes)
Source: IRS, Statistics of Income, Individual Income Rates and Tax Shares (2018).
Year Total Top 0.1% Top 1% Top 5% Between 5% & 10% Top 10% Between 10% & 25% Top 25% Between 25% & 50% Top 50% Bottom 50%
1980 15.31% 34.47% 26.85% 17.13% 23.49% 14.80% 19.72% 11.91% 17.29% 6.10%
1981 15.76% 33.37% 26.59% 18.16% 23.64% 15.53% 20.11% 12.48% 17.73% 6.62%
1982 14.72% 31.43% 25.05% 16.61% 22.17% 14.35% 18.79% 11.63% 16.57% 6.10%
1983 13.79% 30.18% 23.64% 15.54% 20.91% 13.20% 17.62% 10.76% 15.52% 5.66%
1984 13.68% 29.92% 23.42% 15.57% 20.81% 12.90% 17.47% 10.48% 15.35% 5.77%
1985 13.73% 29.86% 23.50% 15.69% 20.93% 12.83% 17.55% 10.41% 15.41% 5.70%
1986 14.54% 33.13% 25.68% 15.99% 22.64% 12.97% 18.72% 10.48% 16.32% 5.63%
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
1987 13.12% 26.41% 22.10% 14.43% 19.77% 11.71% 16.61% 9.45% 14.60% 5.09%
1988 13.21% 24.04% 21.14% 14.07% 19.18% 11.82% 16.47% 9.60% 14.64% 5.06%
1989 13.12% 23.34% 20.71% 13.93% 18.77% 12.08% 16.27% 9.77% 14.53% 5.11%
1990 12.95% 23.25% 20.46% 13.63% 18.50% 12.01% 16.06% 9.73% 14.36% 5.01%
1991 12.75% 24.37% 20.62% 13.96% 18.63% 11.57% 15.93% 9.55% 14.20% 4.62%
1992 12.94% 25.05% 21.19% 13.99% 19.13% 11.39% 16.25% 9.42% 14.44% 4.39%
1993 13.32% 28.01% 22.71% 14.01% 20.20% 11.40% 16.90% 9.37% 14.90% 4.29%
1994 13.50% 28.23% 23.04% 14.20% 20.48% 11.57% 17.15% 9.42% 15.11% 4.32%
1995 13.86% 28.73% 23.53% 14.46% 20.97% 11.71% 17.58% 9.43% 15.47% 4.39%
1996 14.34% 28.87% 24.07% 14.74% 21.55% 11.86% 18.12% 9.53% 15.96% 4.40%
1997 14.48% 27.64% 23.62% 14.87% 21.36% 12.04% 18.18% 9.63% 16.09% 4.48%
1998 14.42% 27.12% 23.63% 14.79% 21.42% 11.63% 18.16% 9.12% 16.00% 4.44%
1999 14.85% 27.53% 24.18% 15.06% 21.98% 11.76% 18.66% 9.12% 16.43% 4.48%
2000 15.26% 27.45% 24.42% 15.48% 22.34% 12.04% 19.09% 9.28% 16.86% 4.60%
The IRS changed methodology, so data above and below this line is not strictly comparable.
2001 14.47% 28.17% 27.60% 23.91% 15.20% 21.68% 11.87% 18.35% 9.20% 16.08% 4.92%
2002 13.28% 28.48% 27.37% 23.17% 14.15% 20.76% 10.70% 17.23% 8.00% 14.87% 3.86%
2003 12.11% 24.60% 24.38% 20.92% 12.46% 18.70% 9.69% 15.57% 7.41% 13.53% 3.49%
2004 12.31% 23.06% 23.52% 20.83% 12.53% 18.80% 9.41% 15.71% 7.27% 13.68% 3.53%
2005 12.65% 22.48% 23.15% 20.93% 12.61% 19.03% 9.45% 16.04% 7.18% 14.01% 3.51%
2006 12.80% 21.94% 22.80% 20.80% 12.84% 19.02% 9.52% 16.12% 7.22% 14.12% 3.51%
2007 12.90% 21.42% 22.46% 20.66% 12.92% 18.96% 9.61% 16.16% 7.27% 14.19% 3.56%
2008 12.54% 22.67% 23.29% 20.83% 12.66% 18.87% 9.45% 15.85% 6.97% 13.79% 3.26%
2009 11.39% 24.28% 24.05% 20.59% 11.53% 18.19% 8.36% 14.81% 5.76% 12.61% 2.35%
2010 11.81% 22.84% 23.39% 20.64% 11.98% 18.46% 8.70% 15.22% 6.01% 13.06% 2.37%
2011 12.54% 22.82% 23.50% 20.89% 12.83% 18.85% 9.70% 15.82% 6.98% 13.76% 3.13%
2012 13.11% 21.67% 22.83% 20.97% 13.33% 19.21% 9.96% 16.35% 7.21% 14.33% 3.28%
2013 13.64% 27.91% 27.08% 23.20% 13.40% 20.75% 10.11% 17.28% 7.31% 14.98% 3.30%
2014 14.16% 27.67% 27.16% 23.61% 13.73% 21.25% 10.37% 17.83% 7.48% 15.52% 3.45%
2015 14.34% 27.44% 27.10% 23.68% 13.99% 21.37% 10.62% 18.00% 7.67% 15.71% 3.59%
2016 14.20% 27.05% 26.87% 23.49% 14.05% 21.19% 10.71% 17.84% 7.81% 15.57% 3.73%

[1] Internal Revenue Service, Statistics of Income, “Number of Returns, Shares of AGI and Total Income Tax, AGI Floor on Percentiles in Current and Constant Dollars, and Average Tax Rates,” Table 1, and “Number of Returns, Shares of AGI and Total Income Tax, and Average Tax Rates,” Table 2, https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-individual-income-tax-rates-and-tax-shares.

[2] This data is for tax year 2016 and does not include any impact from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

[3] “Average income tax rate” is defined here as income taxes paid divided by adjusted gross income.

Summary of the Latest Federal Income Tax Data, 2018 Update

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The Pronk Pops Show 1220, March 5, 2019, Story 1: Washington Witch Hunters Reign of Revenge — Trump Haters Show Trials — Trump Mocks Them All — Videos — Story 2: 2020 Democratic Party Ticket Joe Biden For President and Michelle Obama for Vice President — Videos — Story 3:  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) In Trouble Using Campaign Slush Fund — AOC Denies Violation — Videos

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Story 1: Washington Witch Hunters Reign of Revenge — Trump Haters Show Trials — Trump Mocks Them All — Videos —

 

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Gowdy: New House investigations of Trump are ‘all about 2020’

 

Adam Schiff Hires a Former Prosecutor to Lead the Trump Investigation

Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has hired a veteran prosecutor with experience fighting Russian organized crime to lead his investigation of the Trump Administration. Last month, according to a committee source, Daniel Goldman, who served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 2007 to 2017, joined the committee’s staff as a senior adviser and the director of investigations.

The hiring of Goldman, who will be joined by two other former federal prosecutors on Schiff’s staff, underlines Schiff’s decision to conduct an aggressive investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia during the 2016 Presidential campaign. In the rough division of labor among the various committees in the House of Representatives, Schiff’s panel is tackling the most provocative and, so far, most elusive subject related to the President: whether so-called collusion occurred between the Trump campaign and Moscow. In public comments, Schiff has suggested that Trump’s interest as a private citizen in building a tower in Moscow led him to curry favor with Vladimir Putin, the Russian President. American intelligence agencies long ago concluded that the Russian government made significant efforts, through the hacking of e-mails and use of social media, to help elect Trump over Hillary Clinton. The question of whether the Trump campaign facilitated, assisted, or knew about these efforts has been at the heart of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller—and will also be central to Schiff’s inquiry.

Goldman seems well suited to lead this effort. As deputy chief of the organized-crime section of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, Goldman supervised the prosecution of more than thirty defendants accused of racketeering, gambling, and money laundering. During his decade in the office, Goldman convicted individuals associated with Russian organized crime of securities fraud and health-care fraud, and convicted leading figures in the Genovese crime family of racketeering and murder.

One of Schiff’s previous committee hires drew a critical comment from the President. Last month, Schiff hired Abigail C. Grace, who served as an Asia-policy staffer on the National Security Council during the early part of the Trump Administration. In response, President Trump tweeted that the Democrats were going “nuts” and that Schiff was “stealing people who work at the White House.” In response, Schiff pointed out that congressional committees often employ individuals with experience in the executive branch.

The conflict between Trump and Schiff dates back to well before the Democrat took over as the chair of the Intelligence Committee, after the midterm elections. In a tweet, Trump once rendered Schiff’s name as “Schitt,” and, in his recent speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the President bestowed the congressman with the nickname Shifty Schiff.

Goldman’s hiring comes amid a flurry of investigative activity by Democrats on Capitol Hill. Schiff and Representative Maxine Waters, the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, have agreed to coördinate an investigation of Trump’s long-standing ties to Deutsche Bank, which has paid multimillion-dollar penalties for facilitating the work of Russian money launderers. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee, led by Representative Jerrold Nadler, revealed that it had demanded testimony and documents from eighty-one people and entities close to Trump relating to the issues of obstruction of justice and abuse of power. And, of course, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, gave damning testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform last week. All of these investigations appear to be much closer to the beginnings of their efforts than their ends.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/adam-schiff-hires-a-former-prosecutor-to-lead-the-trump-investigation

President Trump attacks Democrats, socialism and Mueller probe in fiery CPAC speech

Story 2: 2020 Democratic Party Ticker Joe Biden For President and Michelle Obama for Vice President — Videos —

Biden: My family wants me to run in 2020

 

ThumbnailImage result for joe biden and michelle obama presidential ticket in 2020

 

CNN focus group rejects Biden

A CNN focus group comprised of Democratic voters has rejected former Vice President Joe Biden as their presidential nominee.

The focus group’s dismissal of Biden is notable since the former vice president, who is expected to join the Democratic primary soon, has been leading a number of public opinion polls and is seen as the potential front-runner.

The Democrats gathered by CNN, however, said they weren’t interested in Biden. Some said they wanted a candidate who was further to the left.

“I think we need a bold, strong leadership, and you’ll find that in the progressives,” Democratic voter Carol Evans said.

“We had the standard-bearer for the kind of pragmatic centrist candidate in Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Donald Trump is now president. He is not your average political candidate, so we really need to try to think outside the box because, you know, it seems like the dude is made of rubber. Anything you throw at him just bounces off, there’s nothing that sticks,” said focus group member Michael Milisits.

Several progressives, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), have entered the race.

The focus group was moderated by “New Day” co-anchor Alisyn Camerota at CNN’s New York City bureau.

When she asked if any of the focus group members would like Biden to enter the race, none of the six people raised their hands.

“His time is done,” Evans said.

“I will be honest. He was riding the Obama wave and I thought he was a person that would unite the party, but to be honest, Sen. Biden really comes from kind of the good old boy politics of the past,” Democrat Russel Banks said.

“I don’t think Joe Biden represents that new thing that we need. We need a new economy, we need new politics and we need someone different,” Democrat Owen Evans added.

Biden currently leads most early polls over the other 13 declared candidates in the field, with political pollsters citing name recognition as the primary reason due to his long tenure in the Senate and eight years as President Obama’s vice president.

CNN has made the 2020 campaign one of its top priorities and has already featured several candidates in prime-time town hall events, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sanders, as well as former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is considering an independent run for president.

The network is set to host a town hall this Sunday night with three more Democratic presidential hopefuls — former Rep. John Delaney (Md.), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — at the South by Southwest conference in Texas.

The event will be moderated by “The Lead” host Jake Tapper and CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash in Austin, Texas.

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/432611-cnn-focus-group-rejects-biden

Michelle Obama talks 2020 Trump challengers, gives update on Malia and Sasha

On Tuesday, former first lady Michelle Obama officially became a published author with the release of her memoir “Becoming.” But one thing she has no interest in becoming is a presidential candidate.

“No, no, no,” Obama told “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts during a live interview Tuesday morning in Chicago.

Roberts acknowledged that the Princeton and Harvard Law grad has no interest in “returning to public service like that,” but she did want to know whether Obama thinks Hillary Clinton should run again and if not, who she believes is capable of challenging the Trump.

“I think, at this point, everybody’s qualified and everyone should run,” the former first lady said to peals of laughter. “I might even tap (her younger daughter) Sasha!” 

Embedded video

Good Morning America

@GMA

.@MichelleObama on whether Hillary Clinton should run for president in 2020: “I think at this point everybody is qualified and everybody should run. I might even tap Sasha!” http://gma.abc/2Tc7FMi 

When Roberts tried to goad her into saying she was trying to say that anybody would be better than Trump, Obama laughed and said, “You went there!”

Michelle Obama:  How to succeed in politics, even if you don’t really like it

Turning a bit more serious, Obama explained, “Where I’m at right now is that we should see anybody who feels the passion to get in this race, we need them in there. I think the process will play itself out. I haven’t really been paying attention and looking at the candidates. I think there’s just a lot of noise and talk, but it’s still pretty early. Let’s see who wants to roll up their sleeves and get in the race. That’s what the primary process is for.”

Michelle Obama talking on a cell phone: Michelle Obama says at this point, she's interested in a respectful challenger to President Trump than a flashy one.© Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. Michelle Obama says at this point, she’s interested in a respectful challenger to President Trump than a flashy one.But Obama did express a wish that the presidential candidates “treat each other respectfully. That’s the thing that I’m going to be looking out for. I don’t want people in either party tearing each other up to get to the nomination. I’m going to be looking to see who handles themselves and each other with dignity and respect so that by the time people get to the general (election), people aren’t beat up and battered.”

Obama’s bottom line? “I think this (Democratic nomination) is open to any and everybody who has the courage to step up and serve.”

She also provided an update on daughters Malia, a sophomore at Harvard, and Sasha, who will graduate from high school this spring.

“They are thriving,” Obama told Roberts. “I am so proud of those little girls. They have managed the situation with poise and grace. They are normal, kind, smart, friendly and open. Gosh, and it could have gone so wrong.”

Embedded video

Good Morning America

@GMA

.@MichelleObama on Sasha and Malia: “They had support from a lot of the other first kids – Jenna and Barbara and Chelsea. I love those girls. I will love them forever for what kind of support they provided to my daughters. They always had their back.” https://gma.abc/2PShoZC 

She extended her enduring gratitude to former first daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush and Chelsea Clinton for having her daughters’ backs throughout their time in the White House.

“I love those girls,” Obama gushed. “I will love them forever for the kind of support they provided to my daughters … If someone went after them in the press, Jenna would get in there and say something and Chelsea would send a tweet out. That made a big, big difference.”

Sitting next to her older brother, New York Knicks executive Craig Robinson, Obama also dished on her mom Marian, who lived with the family in the White House but is still very much a Chicagoan at heart.

“My mom is a South Side mother,” she said, noting she is still a bit stuck in her ways. “It was like, ‘Mom, you want to go to China with us?’ She’d be like, ‘Why do I want to go to China?’ Then she’d go to China and be like, ‘China’s great!’ But you have to push. These black mothers on the South Side, you gotta push ’em to try some new stuff!”  

‘Becoming Michelle Obama’:  What we learned from her ABC News interview

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/michelle-obama-talks-2020-trump-challengers-gives-update-on-malia-and-sasha/ar-BBPF9sL

Story 3:  Ocasio-Cortex AOC In Trouble Using Campaign Slush Fund — AOC Denies Violation  — Videos

See the source image

IFS Chairman Brad Smith Corrects AOC on Campaign Finance Law

Judge Nap: Ocasio-Cortez’s Chief of Staff in ‘Legal Jeopardy’ After FEC Complaint

AOC’S CAMPAIGN HIT WITH FEC COMPLAINT

AOC’s Chief of Staff May Have Broken Campaign Finance Laws

Ocasio-Cortez accused of breaking campaign finance law

Ocasio-Cortez, chief of staff illegally moved $885K in campaign contributions ‘off the books,’ FEC

AOC SCANDAL: FEC VIOLATION? She Paid Her Boyfriend $6,000 From Campaign Funds.

Ocasio-Cortez denies illegal campaign finance allegations

Alexandria Ocasio-cortez gets humiliated in Congress for asking dumb questions

Ocasio-Cortez Has Temper Tantrum After New York Post Exposes Her As A Fraud

Ocasio-Cortez has a Nervous Breakdown on Live TV

What They Haven’t Told You about Climate Change

Greenpeace Founder Torches ‘Pompous Twit’ Ocasio Cortez ‘You Will Bring Death’

Mike Pence Obliterated Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez With These Four Words

Campaign Finance Law Primer with Walter Olsen, Part 1 of 2

Campaign Finance Law Primer with Walter Olsen, Part 2 of 2

‘There is no violation!’ Ocasio-Cortez denies watchdog’s complaint to the FEC that her chief of staff funneled campaign cash to his own firm

  • The National Legal and Policy Center watchdog filed the complaint 
  •  It accuses top aide Saikat Chakrabarti of funeling contributions to his own companies
  • The former Sanders aide funded the Brand New Congress PAC 
  • Complaint claims reporting requirements and contribution limits may have been skirted 
  • AOC denied any violation 

Rep. Alexanadria Ocasio-Cortez is denying any violation in campaign finance law after a conservative watchdog group filed a complaint charging that her top aide funneled $1 million in contributions from a PAC he controlled to his own companies.

‘There is no violation,’ the first-term lawmaker told Fox News as she arrived in Washington, D.C. for a day when votes in the House are scheduled.

She also denied that the Federal Election complaint, filed against her and her chief of staff, connected her to ‘dark money’ in her campaign. ‘No, no,’ she responded.

Ocasio-Cortez responded after the National Legal and Policy Center’s Government Integrity Project filed an FEC complaint saying her top aide shifted the funds in what it argued could have been a bid to avoid disclosure.

The aide, chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti, set up the Brand New Congress PAC as a way to collect contributions to boost new members of Congress.

Rep. Alexanadria Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti set up the Brand New Congress PAC as a way to collect contributions to boost new members of Congress

Rep. Alexanadria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti set up the Brand New Congress PAC as a way to collect contributions to boost new members of Congress

PACs face disclosure requirements beyond what a company would be required to reveal about how funds get spent.

Chakrabarti tweeted about the unusual arrangement in response to media reports Monday. ‘We were doing something totally new, which meant a new setup. So, we were transparent about it from the start,’ he said.

Conservative watchdog group National Legal and Policy Center, which previously had researchers investigating longtime New York Rep. Charles Rangel – a senior lawmaker like the one Ocasio-Cortez knocked off in a primary in her Queens district – named both Ocasio-Cortez and her top aide in the complaint.

A watchdog group claims in a new Federal Elections Commission complaint that the top aide to AOC funneled $1 million in contributions from a PAC he controlled to his own companies +4

A watchdog group claims in a new Federal Elections Commission complaint that the top aide to AOC funneled $1 million in contributions from a PAC he controlled to his own companies

Chakrabarti’s campaigns raised $3.3 million and diverted more than $1 million to his companies, the Washington Examiner reported.

He helped found both Brand New Congress PAC and Justice Democrats, with the goal of bringing new and progressive members like Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described Democratic socialist, to Congress.

After starting Brand New Congress, he formed a Delaware-based LLC, Brand New Campaign LLC. Shifting the funds avoided detailed disclosure requirements of itemized expenses.

‘None of that makes any sense,’ former FEC lawyer Adav Noti of the Campaign Legal Center told the publication. ‘I can’t even begin to disentangle that. They’re either confused or they’re trying to conceal something.’

Chakrabarti’s campaigns raised $3.3 million and diverted more than $1 million to his companies, the Washington Examiner reported

Brand New Congress congratulated AOC after she was elected to in November 2018

Brand New Congress congratulated AOC after she was elected to in November 2018

Ocasio-Cortez responded to the Washington Times Monday saying: ‘He’s not on my payroll. They were not working for me and they are two separate entities here.’ She added: ‘This is the difference between an LLC and a PAC.’

Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign also paid the LLC for ‘strategic consulting.’

Justice Democrats responded to questions about the arrangement in a May 2018 post titled: ‘When I look at the FEC report for Justice Democrats in 2017, why are there so many expenditures to ‘Brand New Congress’?

The statement says organizers, including Chakrabarti, concluded ‘this PAC would be necessary to do the work of policy development and candidate recruiting. So we created Brand New Congress as a PAC. But actually running the campaigns — meaning doing direct work for campaigns — is not something a PAC can do for a candidate for free.’

For that reason, they set up an LLC that served as the vehicle to pay staff and bill campaigns for services. The goal was ‘to essentially run the full campaigns’ and act as a vendor.

Chakrabarti, 33, is a Harvard-educated tech millionaire.

The complaint argues that the arrangement was illegal and skirted a $5,000 PAC contribution requirement.

Read more:

New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denied violating campaign finance laws Tuesday in response to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint alleging she and her chief of staff set up a million-dollar private slush fund.

“There is no violation,” Ocasio-Cortez told Fox News.

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), a conservative government watchdog, accused Ocasio-Cortez and Saikat Chakrabarti, her chief of staff, of illegally funneling money between political action committees (PACs) and private companies that were both controlled by Chakrabarti.

The NLPC claims that the transfers from the PACs to the LLCs were part of an “extensive” plan to avoid reporting campaign expenditures to the FEC.

Fox also asked Ocasio-Cortez if she is connected to “dark money,” to which she replied, “No, no.”

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a news conference at the East Front of the U.S. Capitol February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC ... (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a news conference at the East Front of the U.S. Capitol February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC … (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Ocasio-Cortez has not responded, however, to other alleged campaign finance violations as reported by The Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez And Her Chief Of Staff ‘Could Be Facing Jail Time’ If Control Over PAC Was Intentionally Hidden)

Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti obtained majority control over the Justice Democrats PAC in December 2017, despite the fact that the PAC was credited with being the central force behind Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory against incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley.

Ocasio-Cortez never disclosed her control over the PAC while it was supporting her primary campaign, an arrangement that could open the Democrat up to massive campaign finance violations. The pair could face prison time if it is found that they intentionally withheld the ties between the campaign and the PAC from the FEC.

“If the facts as alleged are true, and a candidate had control over a PAC that was working to get that candidate elected, then that candidate is potentially in very big trouble and may have engaged in multiple violations of federal campaign finance law, including receiving excessive contributions,” former Republican FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6767303/Alexandria-Ocasio-Cortezs-chief-staff-accused-skirting-campaign-finance-laws.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1214, February 22, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Surviving, Thriving and Winning Against Political Elitist Establishment and Big Lie Media Mob — American People vs. Political Elitist Establishment — Videos — Story 2: Exposing, Investigating and Prosecuting The Plotters of The Greatest Political Scandal in United States History — Constitutional Crisis — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Surviving, Thriving and Winning Against Political Elitist Establishment and Big Lie Media Mob — American People vs. Political Elitist Establishment — Videos —

Victor Davis Hanson February 19, 2019

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Survival at the White House
By VICTOR DAVIS HANSON
February 21, 2019 11:12 AM

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C., February 19, 2019. (Jim Young/REUTERS)

The administrative state took aim at Trump, but it has not been able to destroy him
No one in Washington called Donald J. Trump a “god” (as journalist Evan Thomas in 2009 had suggested of Obama) when he arrived in January 2017. No one felt nerve impulses in his leg when Trump talked, as journalist Chris Matthews once remarked had happened to him after hearing an Obama speech. And no newsman or pundit cared how crisply creased were Trump’s pants, at least in the manner that New York Times columnist David Brooks had once praised Obama’s sartorial preciseness. Instead, Trump was greeted by the Washington media and intellectual establishment as if he were the first beast in the Book of Revelation, who arose “out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”

Besides the Washington press and pundit corps, Donald Trump faced a third and more formidable opponent: the culture of permanent and senior employees of the federal and state governments, and the political appointees in Washington who revolve in and out from business, think tanks, lobbying firms, universities, and the media. Or as the legal scholar of the administrative state Philip Hamburger put it: “Although the United States remains a republic, administrative power creates within it a very different sort of government. The result is a state within the state — an administrative state within the Constitution’s United States.”

Since the U.S. post-war era, the growth of American state and federal government has been enormous. By 2017, there were nearly 3 million civilian federal workers, and another 1.3 million Americans in the uniformed military. Over 22 million local, state, and federal workers had made government the largest employment sector.

The insidious power of the unelected administrative state is easy to understand. After all, it governs the most powerful aspects of modern American life: taxes, surveillance, criminal-justice proceedings, national security, and regulation. The nightmares of any independent trucker or small-business person are being audited by the IRS, having communications surveilled, or being investigated by a government regulator or prosecutor.

The reach of the deep state ultimately is based on two premises. One, improper government-worker behavior is difficult to audit or at least to be held to account, given that it is protected by both union contracts and civil-service law. And, two, a government appointee or bureaucrat has the unlimited resources of the state behind him, while the targeted private citizen in a federal indictment, tax audit, or regulation violation not only does not, but is assumed also not to have the means even to provide an adequate legal defense.

In theory, the deep state should have been a nonpartisan meritocratic cadre of government officials who were custodians of a civil service that had often served Americans well and transcended changes in presidential administrations. The ranks of top government regulators, justices, executive officers, and bureaucrats would take advice, and often be drawn, from hallowed, supposedly apolitical East Coast institutions — the World Bank, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Federal Reserve, Ivy League faculties, Wall Street, and blue-chip Washington and New York law firms.

In fact, the deep state grew increasingly political, progressive, and internationalist. Its members and cultural outlook were shaped by the good life on the two coasts and abroad. And every four or eight years, it usually greeted not so much incoming Republican or Democratic presidents as much as fusion-party representatives with reputable résumés, past memberships in similar organizations, and outlooks identical to its own.

Then the disrupter Trump crashed in.

While the deep state was far too vast to be stereotypically monolithic in the Obama and Trump years, it was a general rule that it had admired Obama, who grew it, and it now loathed Trump, who promised to shrink it. Moreover, Trump did not, like most incoming and outgoing politicians, praise in Pavlovian fashion the institutions of Washington. Nothing to Trump was sacred. During and after the campaign, he blasted the CIA, the FBI, the IRS, and Department of Justice as either incompetent or prejudicial.

When Trump cited the Department of Veterans Affairs, it was to side with its victims, not its administrators or venerable history. In Trump’s mind, the problem with federal agencies was not just that they overreached and were weaponized, but that their folds of bureaucracy led to incompetency.

Trump was not so much critical as ignorant of the deep state’s rules and its supposed sterling record of stable governance. Trump proved willing to fire lifelong public servants. He ignored sober and judicious advice from Washington “wise men.” He appointed “crazy” outsiders skeptical of establishment institutions. He purged high government of its progressive activists. And he embraced deep-state heresies and blasphemies such as considering tariffs, questioning NATO, doubting the efficacy of NAFTA, whining about federal judges, and jawboning interest rates. He also left vacant key offices on the theory that one less deep-state voice was one less critic, and one less obstacle to undoing the Obama record.

In the meantime, establishment institutions provided the seasoned opposition to almost everything Trump did. They were likely the “senior officials” to whom an anonymous New York Times op-ed writer referred when he talked about an ongoing “resistance” inside the government to thwart the Trump agenda. In the conservative old days, a Republican president could call upon New York and Washington pundits and insiders — in the present generation, names such as David Brooks, David Frum, Bill Kristol, Bret Stephens, or George Will — for kitchen-cabinet advice. But now they were among Trump’s fiercest critics. Only in the matter of judicial appointments could Trump find seasoned and experienced conservatives eager to be appointed or advanced, and respected organizations such as the Federalist Society eager to help him ensure conservative justices.

As an initial result, Obama holdovers lingered everywhere in the executive branch and cabinet offices. They had no immediate desire to leave when obstruction, if caught, only won accolades. Almost immediately, Trump’s private phone calls with foreign leaders such as Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull were leaked to the press and appeared as transcripts in the Washington Post.

In the 1970s, the military officer corps and the top ranks of the CIA, DOJ, and FBI were, in the eyes of the Left, synonymous with conspiracies like those in Seven Days in May and The Manchurian Candidate. Yet in 2016, these same institutions had been recalibrated by progressives as protectors of social justice against interlopers and bomb throwers such as Donald Trump. Whether it was scary or needed to have a secretive, unelected cabal inside the White House subverting presidential agendas depended on who was president.

During the Robert Mueller investigations, progressives usually defended the FISA-court-ordered intercepts of private citizens’ communications, despite the machinations taken to deceive FISA-court justices. Indeed, liberal critics suggested that to question how the multitude of conflicts of interest at the Obama DOJ and FBI had warped their presentations of the Steele dossier to the courts was in itself an obstruction of justice or downright unpatriotic.

News of FBI informants planted into the 2016 Trump campaign raised no eyebrows. Nor did the unmasking and leaking of the names of U.S. citizens by members of the Obama National Security Council. Former CIA director John Brennan and former director of national intelligence James Clapper soon became progressive pundits on cable news. While retaining their security clearances, they blasted Trump variously as a Russian mole, a foreign asset, treasonous, and a veritable traitor.

Both became liberal icons, despite their lucrative merry-go-rounds between Washington businesses and government service, and they sometimes lied under oath to Congress about all that and more.

On March 17, John Brennan, in objection to the firing of deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe (who shortly would be found by the nonpartisan inspector general to have lied on four occasions to federal investigators, and was soon reportedly in legal jeopardy from a grand-jury investigation), tweeted about the current president of the United States: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history . . . America will triumph over you.”

In mid April, Brennan followed up with another attack on Trump: “Your kakistocracy [rule of the “worst people”] is collapsing after its lamentable journey. As the greatest Nation history has known, we have the opportunity to emerge from this nightmare stronger & more committed to ensuring a better life for all Americans, including those you have so tragically deceived.”

If such hysterics from the former head of the world’s premier spy agency and current MSNBC/NBC pundit seemed a near threat to a sitting president, then Samantha Power, former U.N. ambassador and a past ethics professor on the Harvard faculty, sort of confirmed that it really was: “Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan.”

Trump was warned by friends, enemies, and neutrals that his fight against the deep state was suicidal. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, just a few days before Trump’s inauguration, cheerfully forecast (in a precursor to Samantha Power’s later admonition) what might happen to Trump once he attacked the intelligence services: “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

Former administrative-state careerists were not shy about warning Trump of what was ahead. The counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd, who had worked in the CIA and the FBI under Robert Mueller, warned CNN host Jake Tapper in August 2017 that “the government is going to kill” President Donald Trump. Kill? And what was the reason the melodramatic Mudd adduced for his astounding prediction? “Because he doesn’t support them.” Mudd then elaborated: “Let me give you one bottom line as a former government official. The government is going to kill this guy. The government is going to kill this guy because he doesn’t support them.” Mudd further clarified his assassination metaphor: “What I’m saying is government — people talk about the deep state — when you disrespect government officials who’ve done 30 years, they’re going to say, ‘Really?’”

It was difficult to ascertain to what degree Mudd was serious or exaggerating the depth of deep-state loathing of Trump.

Despite the predictions and expectations of nearly everyone associated with the establishment, in the first two years of his presidency, Trump has not resigned. He has not been impeached. He has not been indicted. He has not died or been declared non compos mentis. Trump did not govern as a liberal, as some of his Never Trump critics predicted. He had not been driven to seclusion by lurid exposés of his womanizing a decade earlier as a Manhattan television celebrity.

An administrative state, swamp, deep state, call it what you wish, was wrong about Trump’s nomination, his election, and his governance. It was right only in its warnings that he could be crude and profane, with a lurid past and an ethical necropolis of skeletons in his closet — a fact long ago factored and baked into his supporters’ votes.

At each stage, the erroneous predictions of the deep state prompted ever greater animus at a target that it could not quite understand, much less derail, and so far has not been able to destroy. By autumn 2018, the repetitive nightly predictions of cable-news pundits that the latest presidential controversy was a “bombshell,” or marked a “turning point,” or offered proof that “the walls were closing in,” or ensured that “impeachment was looming on the horizon,” had amounted to little more than monotonous and scripted groupthink.

Never before in the history of the presidency had a commander in chief earned the antipathy of the vast majority of the media, much of the career establishments of both political parties, the majority of the holders of the nation’s accumulated personal wealth, and the permanent federal bureaucracy.

3
And lived to tell the tale.

–This essay is adapted from Mr. Hanson’s new book, The Case for Trump, which Basic Books will publish in March.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won. @vdhanson

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2019/03/11/survival-at-the-white-house/

Story 2: Exposing, Investigating and Prosecuting The Plotters of The Greatest Political Scandal in United States History — Constitutional Crisis — Videos

Conrad Black explains his defence of Trump

The Unprecedented President Trump

Black on Trump

Conrad Black – The ‘Civil War’ in the American Media

Conversations with Conrad – EXTENDED Mark Steyn Interview

Conrad Black: Black on Red, White and Blue

Conrad Black’s first public outing

The Fall of Conrad Black (2007)

The Greatest Constitutional Crisis Since the Civil War

By | February 21st, 2019

The most immense and dangerous public scandal in American history is finally cracking open like a ripe pomegranate. The broad swath of the Trump-hating media that has participated in what has amounted to an unconstitutional attempt to overthrow the government are reduced to reporting the events and revelations of the scandal in which they have been complicit, in a po-faced ho-hum manner to impart to the misinformed public that this is as routine as stock market fluctuations or the burning of an American flag in Tehran.

For more than two years, the United States and the world have had two competing narratives: that an elected president of the United States was a Russian agent whom the Kremlin helped elect; and its rival narrative that senior officials of the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, and other national intelligence organizations had repeatedly lied under oath, misinformed federal officials, and meddled in partisan political matters illegally and unconstitutionally and had effectively tried to influence the outcome of a presidential election, and then undo its result by falsely propagating the first narrative. It is now obvious and indisputable that the second narrative is the correct one.

The authors, accomplices, and dupes of this attempted overthrow of constitutional government are now well along in reciting their misconduct without embarrassment or remorse because—in fired FBI Director James Comey’s formulation—a “higher duty” than the oath they swore to uphold the Constitution compelled them. Or—in fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s words—“the threat” was too great. Nevermind that the nature of “the threat” was that the people might elect someone he and Comey disapproved of as president, and that that person might actually serve his term, as elected.

A Long List of Offenders—and Offenses
The extent of the criminal misconduct of the former law enforcement and intelligence chiefs is now notorious, but to make the right point here, it has to be summarized. The fact that the officially preferred candidate lied to federal officials about her emails and acted in outright contempt of Congress and the legal process in the destruction of evidence, was simply ignored by the FBI director, who announced that she would not be prosecuted, though he had no authority to make that determination.

The dossier of salacious gossip and defamatory falsehoods amassed by a retired British spy from the lowest grade of intelligence sources in Russia, commissioned and paid for by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, was circulated to the media by high public officials and cited in illegal and dishonest applications to authorize surveillance of the campaign of the other presidential candidate. A special counsel was empowered on the false pretext of the necessity to get to the bottom of Trump-Russian collusion in the election, of which there was and remains no evidence, because it did not occur and was a complete partisan fabrication.

The special counsel then packed his staff with militant Clinton partisans, and acted very late and only when his hand was forced by the media to remove two officials who referred in texts to each other to the Bureau’s ability to smear and provoke the impeachment of the winning candidate as “an insurance policy” against his filling the office to which he was elected.

Large sections of the media colluded with the Democratic campaign and produced the doctrine that anything was justifiable, no matter how dishonest, to destroy the incoming president’s reputation and damage him in public opinion polls to legitimize attempts to remove him from office. Large sections of the media deliberately deluged the public with stories they knew to be false about the new president and referred to him in terms of unprecedented vituperation in what purported to be reportage and not comment.

This unorganized but widespread campaign of defamation was taken up by a great number of ordinarily newsworthy celebrities and was accompanied by false, unresearched stories denigrating President Trump’s supporters, such as the false claims about Catholic school students’ treatment of an elderly native American and the false claim that actor Jussie Smollett had been beaten up and reviled by Trump supporters. The former intelligence chiefs of the nation under President Obama repeatedly have accused this president of treason, the most heinous of all crimes, and have asserted with the authority of their former positions that the Russians determined the result of the 2016 presidential election. They knew this to be entirely false.

The special counsel has failed to find any evidence of the collusion and electoral interference that was the justification for establishing his inquiry, and the Democrats are already expressing disappointment in his failure to produce such evidence when the leading Democratic members of congressional investigative committees still robotically claim to have at least prima facie evidence of such collusion.

The dishonest attempt of much of the opposition and what even left-leaning media-monitoring organizations record as 90 percent of the national media, continued for more than two years to try to condition the country to believe that the president had committed the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required by the Constitution for impeachment and removal from office.

The special counsel, apart from smearing the president, distracted public attention from or tended to justify the ever more evident misconduct of the president’s enemies. And we now know that Comey, despite his “higher duty,” lied to the president about his not being a target of an FBI investigation, illegally leaked to the New York Times the contents of a self-serving memo he purloined from the government, and lied to Congress by claiming 245 times in one sitting to be ignorant of recent matters that no one of sound mind could have forgotten.

And now we have Andrew McCabe’s proud confirmation that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein not only continued the illegal counterintelligence investigation of President Trump, but actively discussed methods of securing his removal from office by deliberate misuse of a variety of laws, including the Emoluments Clause, the 25th Amendment to deal with mental incompetence, and the Logan Act of 1799, which has never been used successfully and has not been tested in 150 years.

Make Those Responsible Pay at the Polls
This entire monstrous travesty is finally coming apart without even waiting for the horrible disappointment of the special counsel’s inability to adduce a scrap of evidence to justify his replication of Torquemada as an inquisitor and of the Gestapo and KGB at rounding up and accusing unarmed individuals who were not flight risks. The collapse of this grotesque putsch, under the irresistible pressure of a functioning attorney general and Senate committees that are not hamstrung by NeverTrumpers, will cause a revulsion against the Democratic Party that will be seismic and prolonged.

The disgrace of their misconduct is profound and shocking. Richard Nixon, against whom there is no conclusive evidence that he broke any laws (although a number of people in his entourage did) never did anything like this. J. Edgar Hoover in 47 years at the head of the FBI and its predecessor organization, never tried to meddle in a presidential election. Those responsible will pay for this, including at the polls.

Without realizing the proportions of the emergency, America has survived the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War. All those who legitimately oppose or dislike the president, including traditional high-brow Republicans who find him distasteful, should join in the condemnation of this largely criminal assault on democracy, and then, if they wish, go out and try to beat him fair and square, the good old-fashioned way, in a free election. But they must abide by the election’s result.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Andrew Caballero-Renyolds/AFP/Getty Images

About the Author: 

Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world as owner of the British telegraph newspapers, the Fairfax newspapers in Australia, the Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and scores of smaller newspapers in the U.S., and most of the daily newspapers in Canada. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, one-volume histories of the United States and Canada, and most recently of Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. He is a member of the British House of Lords as Lord Black of Crossharbour.

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The Pronk Pops Show 1205, February 11, 2019, Story 1: Fake Fence Funding Fraud — Need $30 Billion To Build 1500 Miles of New Border Barrier and Road or $2 Billion Per 100 Miles of Border Barrier and Road — Videos — Story 2:  President Trump Stands Firm on Demand For $5.7 Billion To Build Nearly 300 Miles of Border Barrier of 1500 New Border Barrier — Democrats Siding With Drug Dealers and Criminal Illegal Aliens Against The Safety and Security of American People — Trump Wins in 2020 If Border Barrier Built — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Approval Rating Hits 52% Despite Big Lie Media’s Two Year Negative Smear Campaign Against Trump — Progressive Propaganda Poop — PooPourri — Videos — Story 4: American People’s Confidence Keeps Rising — Videos

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageLine graph. A near-record 69% of Americans say they expect to better off financially a year from now.Image result for trump approval hits 52%

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Story 1: Fake Fence Funding Fraud — Need $30 Billion To Build 1500 Miles of New Border Barrier and Road or $2 Billion Per 100 Miles of Border Barrier and Road — Videos —

Donald Trump’s wall will be more like 550 miles, not all 2,000 miles of U.S.-Mexico border, he says

December 25, 2018 2:11 pm

 President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the government would not reopen until the country has a border wall or fence to stop “very bad criminals” coming into the country.

With a fight over border wall funding keeping the U.S. government shut down, President Donald Trump said Tuesday that construction is set to start on “probably the biggest section” of the wall in Texas next month.

Speaking to reporters on Christmas morning, Trump said the federal government yesterday handed out a contract to build 115 miles (about 185 kilometres) of wall, which represents about a fifth of the total 500 to 550 miles (805 to 885 kilometres) he expects to see constructed along the U.S.-Mexico border.

WATCH: Trump claims part of border wall built, cites Israel as proof a wall works

He hopes to have all 550 miles built by November 2020, when the next U.S. election rolls around.

“It’s a 2,000-mile border, but much of it has mountains and region where you can’t get across so we’re looking at between 500 and 550,” Trump said.

He also said the government has renovated a “massive amount of wall and, in addition to that — and I think very, very importantly — we built a lot of new wall.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

I am in the Oval Office & just gave out a 115 mile long contract for another large section of the Wall in Texas. We are already building and renovating many miles of Wall, some complete. Democrats must end Shutdown and finish funding. Billions of Dollars, & lives, will be saved!

Trump’s remarks drew some scrutiny on Tuesday morning.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump pledged to build a “great, great wall” on the border and said Mexico would pay for it.

But Tuesday represented the first time he said how much he’d build or made any suggestion that renovating existing barrier would count toward realizing his promise, according to the Dallas News.

READ MORE: Donald Trump would settle for less border wall money: White House

Trump wants $5 billion to build the wall, and that amount would take care of approximately 215 miles — half of which would be replacements, it added.

The cost of a wall along America’s southern border has been pegged at anywhere between $12 billion (Trump’s estimate) and $21 billion (Homeland Security’s estimate).

The idea of building one has repeatedly been criticized, however, with some suggesting that there’s no crisis that the wall would solve. Opponents have also noted previous efforts to strengthen the border that have been cheaper than building a wall.

READ MORE: ‘There is no crisis at the border’: U.S. unauthorized immigration near 12-year lows, report shows

U.S. border apprehensions hit a decade-long high in 2007 and fell every year until 2011, when they started to fluctuate from one year to the next.

Former president Barack Obama also took tough action on the border, which included a $600-million spending bill that helped to pay for more border agents, drones and personnel for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Trump expects to go to Texas for a groundbreaking ceremony next month.

Donald Trump’s wall will be more like 550 miles, not all 2,000 miles of U.S.-Mexico border, he says

Beyond the wall: Dogs,
blimps and other things
used to secure the border

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Regardless of what “the wall” is made of or how much more of it is ever built, it will always be just one of many instruments in the toolbox of security measures on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Many devices, technologies and personnel work together to prevent drugs and people from illegally entering the United States.

Here are two common scenarios that require completely different tactics.

Sorting contraband from cargo at ports of entry

During “pre-inspection,” while a line of cars is waiting to cross, a drug-sniffing dog alerts its handler to something inside a truck. The vehicle is flagged for secondary inspection.

A cargo scanner scans the truck and the image reveals a suspicious compartment in its bed.

An officer uses a handheld elemental isotope detector to confirm heroin residue. The driver is arrested.

The U.S.-Mexico border has 47 land ports of entry through which about a half-million commercial trucks, cars and pedestrians enter the United States every day. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have the difficult job of expediting traffic while keeping an eye out for illegal crossers and cargo. Everyone and everything undergoes a primary inspection, in which license plates are scanned and passports are checked against Homeland Security data, said Blas Nuñez-Neto, a researcher at Rand Corporation and former senior advisor to the CBP commissioner.

Detecting and tracking people in remote areas

In the middle of the night, a ground sensor detects human footsteps in an area miles from the nearest Border Patrol station.

Agents in a control center check footage from surveillance towers in the area, spot a group of people and track them as they walk.

Other agents in an SUV head toward the area with mobile surveillance gear and night-vision goggles to locate and apprehend the group.

Between ports of entry, Border Patrol agents may be stationed miles apart, so they depend on various types of electronic surveillance to detect and track suspicious activity until they get there. If people move out of surveillance range, agents use classic tracking methods such as following footprints from the last known location.

We wanted to know not just what is there but also the strengths and limitations, so we talked to two experts who provided some perspective: Nuñez-Neto, formerly of CBP, and Adam Isacson, who analyzes border security for the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).

Physical barriers (a.k.a. “the wall”)

PROS Delay would-be border crossers long enough for agents to catch them.

CONS Largely ineffective in remote areas; susceptible to vandalism; expensive to maintain; obvious and immovable, so people may simply go elsewhere.

About a third of the southern border, nearly 700 miles, is lined with some kind of wall or fence.

Imposing pedestrian barriers comprise about half of that and are most useful in densely populated areas where nearby law enforcement officers can apprehend people quickly. They are made of materials such as bollards, steel slats with mesh panels, fences topped with concertina wire — even rows of carbon steel Vietnam-era helicopter landing mats. Some areas have two or three rows of barriers separated by a Border Patrol road.

[Analysis: The history of U.S. border apprehensions]

The rest of the barriers are mostly low-slung vehicle barriers that stop cars and trucks but not people on foot. Sometimes barriers attempt to funnel people or vehicles to open places where agents can most easily intercept them.

In San Diego, a segment of wall stretches along the U.S. border with Tijuana, Mexico, at right. (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post)

Cargo scanners

PROS Very effective; next-generation models will be able to scan vehicles in line before they arrive at a port of entry.

CONS Expensive; require extensive training; more are needed; some date from the early 2000s and need to be upgraded.

Most illegal drugs that come into the United States from Mexico are smuggled through ports of entry, often mixed among legitimate goods, hidden in secret compartments or even in vehicle’s gas tanks.

Large X-ray and gamma-ray scanners identify illicit substances or hidden people by looking for differences in the density of cargo, such as a recent truckload of cucumbers that also contained almost 650 pounds of fentanyl and methamphetamine under a false floor. These scanners are mounted next to traffic or on moveable trucks and peer into vehicles horizontally as they pass by. Radiation detection devices are also used.

Ground sensors

PROS Provides ears on the ground rather than just eyes.

CONS Many false alarms because calibrating them to tell a person from, say, a deer can be difficult; smugglers figure out where they are; no tech has reliably detected tunnels.

Buried seismic sensors, often paired with cameras, detect when a person (or animal, car or even a low-flying plane) is moving in the area, and the sensors ideally can differentiate among those things. The sensors ping border agents in a control center so they can take a look at camera footage of the area. Other aboveground sensors and ground-penetrating radar are used to find tunnels.

Aerostats

PROS Can stay aloft for weeks at a time; not thwarted by undulating terrain.

CONS Sidelined by bad weather; radar can’t penetrate thick foliage; expensive to operate; may raise privacy concerns; one once broke loose and wreaked havoc.

Six roughly 200-foot-long unmanned, blimplike aerostats float thousands of feet above key areas of the U.S.-Mexico border. Each carries a downward-pointing radar system that can detect vehicles within a 200-mile radius and send data through its tether to a control station on the ground.

Aerostats are particularly good at detecting low-flying aircraft, such as the ones drug smugglers use, because their radar isn’t blocked by hilly terrain the way ground-based radar can be. And newer, smaller versions fly closer to the ground and carry radar that can better identify people. But Nuñez-Neto said it’s no secret that aerostats can’t fly in bad weather, and “the smugglers can read the weather forecast just as well as we can.”

An aerostat used by the Air and Marine Operations division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Eagle Pass, Tex., in 2017. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Drones

PROS Excellent image quality; Predators theoretically can stay in the air for 24 hours; small drones are portable, agile and quick to deploy.

CONS Expensive; require a lot of manpower; dependent on good weather; raise privacy concernsfor nearby residents.

Since 2006, huge Predator B surveillance drones have patrolled the border from above 19,000 feet, capturing and transmitting live video and detailed infrared and radar images of people on the ground. More recently deployed smaller drones produce even better images, which reportedly are sharp enough to identify a person’s height, weight and hairstyle.

Like aerostats, however, drones can’t fly in bad weather.

Fixed surveillance towers

PROS Most effective in flat, wide-open areas.

CONS Radar can be blocked by hilly and leafy terrain; very visible, so people can see and try to avoid them; require people to monitor the feeds.

“Integrated Fixed Towers” as they are officially called look like TV station towers that soar to 160 feet high. Each is equipped with radar, high-resolution daytime cameras and infrared cameras to monitor up to a seven-mile radius. Their feeds are linked to a control center, where agents can track suspicious people and vehicles over a larger area. Smaller types of fixed towers provide additional camera surveillance.

A Border Patrol surveillance tower stands near the Rio Grande River bank in Hidalgo County, Tex. (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post)

Planes and helicopters

PROS Carry some of the most sophisticated surveillance equipment in the CBP’s arsenal.

CONS Expensive; require a lot of maintenance and personnel.

Fixed-wing surveillance planes often have under-mounted infrared cameras and powerful night-vision equipment on board. If radar pings something, Air and Marine officers on board can verify what it is and follow along, alerting law enforcement on the ground.

“There are parts of the border where you don’t want to apprehend as soon as you see someone,” said Nuñez-Neto. “You want to be able to keep eyes on them but let them get to a part of the border where you have the tactical advantage.”

Planes are mostly used for reconnaissance, but helicopters often transport people and help with search and rescue.

A CBP helicopter flies over as a group of men who crossed the U.S. border illegally and tried to run from Border Patrol agents are detained in Mission, Tex., in August 2018. (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post)

Satellite surveillance

PROS Another set of eyes.

CONS Expensive to use; can’t penetrate cloud cover; civil liberties concerns on U.S. soil.

Satellite images are used much like images collected by other air surveillance from remote places, Nuñez-Neto said. Agents will compare images taken of the same location at different times to look for changes, such as evidence of new or different patterns of foot traffic. Some people fear satellites will be able to zoom in on individuals.

Radio and cell data surveillance

PROS Can be used for search and rescue.

CONS Communication can be spotty in many areas.

The Department of Homeland Security says law enforcement may use commercially available location data “to identify the presence, but not the identity, of individuals within the border area.” Isacson said narco-traffickers in Mexico and Colombia have been tracked by triangulating their cell signals.

In remote areas, cell coverage is new or nonexistent, so smugglers often communicate by radio or walkie-talkie, and Border Patrol can sometimes intercept their signals.

Mobile surveillance equipment

PROS Mobile; able to operate in extreme places.

CONS Older cameras have bad resolution; some types are not integrated with other systems; not automated, so people need to watch the feeds.

Agents need different types of on-the-go surveillance gear, such as portable radar, daytime and nighttime cameras and thermal imaging equipment that allows them to see for miles in the dark.

The largest and least-agile device in this category is an 80-foot tower on a trailer platform that can be driven (slowly) to new sites. It contains powerful Remote Video Surveillance System (RVSS) cameras, which send images to a central control center and were responsible for the discovery of at least one smuggling tunnel. (RVSS systems can be mounted on fixed towers, poles and buildings, as well.)

Other devices are truck-mounted, and still others are small enough to be handheld or perched on tripods. Many of the smaller devices don’t link to a control center.

A fixed surveillance tower stands in Mission, Tex. (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post)

Specialized gear

PROS Allow agents to be faster and more effective.

CONS Agents in different areas need different equipment; off-the-shelf products rarely work in hot, sandy, windy environments.

Border agents and CBP officers have all kinds of additional devices to help them do their jobs. Among them are Defense Department surplus night-vision goggles, elemental isotype analyzers that can identify illegal substances, medical supplies and even gizmos that lasso the tires of fleeing vehicles. Some gear may be as simple as a stick that taps on cars so that well-trained ears can make sure that certain parts sound hollow, kind of like thumping a melon.

Biometrics

PROS Biometrics are a very effective way to cut through fraudulent documents and identify known criminals or people who may have previously used other identities.

CONS Readers and scanners can be glitchy and wear out quickly; facial recognition tech is new and is already raising privacy and civil liberties concerns.

Fingerprint readers often are used when agents in the field apprehend people and may also be used at ports of entry if officers have reason to believe a person is trying to enter the country illegally.

Biometric options beyond fingerprinting are becoming more robust and more precise, although they are not yet used at the U.S.-Mexico border. However, trials are underway at several airports and at least one seaport in which live photos and passport photos are matched so that your face is basically your boarding pass.

Patrol boats

PROS Can go places along the river that are hard to reach over land.

CONS Loud and easy to hear coming; some parts of the Rio Grande are too shallow to navigate.

While most agents and officers travel in SUVs, some ride ATVs, bikes, horses — and boats.

Air and Marine agents may carry cameras, radar and other equipment that helps them detect, track and intercept unfamiliar boats and look for smuggled goods. They also assist the Coast Guard and other law enforcement with disaster relief, searches and rescue operations.

Boats on the Mexican border are used mostly along the lower Rio Grande at the southern part of Texas. (The Coast Guard has jurisdiction on the coasts, so they’re the ones most likely to intercept drug boats headed to California, for instance.)

A CBP marine unit passes patrols the Rio Grande in August 2018 in Mission, Tex. Mexico is visible across the river. (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post)

Dog teams

PROS Fantastic at finding whatever they’ve been trained to detect.

CONS Need lots of breaks, particularly in hot, desert areas; a tiny inhaled dose of ultra-potent drugs, such as fentanyl, can be deadly.

More than 1,500 CBP canine teams work on U.S. borders, and they are extremely successful at sniffing out drugs, weapons, currency and other contraband. They also help find people (and human remains), whether concealed in vehicles or lost in the wilderness.

On the Mexico border, dog teams operate primarily at ports of entry and checkpoints.

Dogs who successfully detect drugs — or people, such as in this simulation in Jamul, Calif. — are often rewarded with extra play time. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Agents and officers

PROS Nothing happens without them.

CONS Very expensive (nearly all the CBP’s budget goes to salaries, said Nuñez-Neto); high turnover rate; months long hiring process.

Notice the word “agent” or “officer” appears in everyone of these descriptions? Without them, all the surveillance, barriers and devices are useless.

“If you don’t have the people available,” Isacson said, “you’re just watching movies of people doing bad things.”

However, hiring and keeping agents can be difficult. Nearly 17,000 Border Patrol agents worked at the southern border as of the end of 2017, down from an all-time high of 18,501 in 2013 according to CBP, despite more money earmarked for hiring.

That’s because the work is tough and dangerous, the pay is not great, Isacson said, and the jobs require living and working in desolate, undesirable areas. Hiring can take months because of rigorous security and background checks, and about 65 percent of applicants reportedly fail a mandatory polygraph test.

Nevertheless, those agents are the one piece of the border security puzzle that is absolutely necessary.

Border Patrol agent Robert Rodriguez reports a smuggler near the Rio Grande River in Hidalgo County, Tex., in August 2018. (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post)

Joe Fox contributed to this report.

About this story

Additional sources: Spokesman Rick Pauza of the Laredo, Tex., office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; CBP documents; General Accountability Office report on border security; Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection photos from CBP Flickr page. Some illustrations are based on references from CBP photos.

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/what-is-border-security/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.98497d4fe0c1

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Why the Wall Won’t Work

Donald Trump captured the imagination of many American voters with a single campaign promise. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border,” he boasted in June 2015. For good measure, he added, “And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.” The twin pledges-which followed a tirade about Mexican rapists and drug dealers-neatly captured everything that was either attractive or repulsive to voters in the real estate mogul’s presidential run: bravado, nationalism, and controversy.


Joanna Andreasson

Trump was often criticized for lacking precision in policy ideas, but he had bold and detailed requirements for his wall. It would be 1,000 miles long. (The other 1,500, he said, were covered by “natural barriers.”) He gave various estimates of its height-between 30 and 50 feet, with the most common number being 35. His barrier would be an “impenetrable physical wall” composed of “precast [concrete] plank…30 feet long, 40 feet long.” He also insisted that it would be aesthetically pleasing.While he said after the election that a fence may be appropriate in “some areas,” he added that a wall would be better, and he has since vigorously corrected reporters who describe the project as a “fence.” Throughout the campaign, he described the current fences as a “joke,” implying that he would not only build a superior barrier, but that he would replace the one that exists at some points now.

The History
The president’s proposal has a decadeslong history. After the 1986 “amnesty,” when President Ronald Reagan traded increased border security for the legalization of 3 million unauthorized immigrants, the San Diego Border Patrol constructed a 10-foot welded steel fence along the 14-mile section of the border closest to the Pacific. In 1996, a new law provided funds for a second layer. Despite repeated requests from the Border Patrol for more, by the year 2000 just 60 miles of the southern border had fencing, almost all of which was in urban areas. Only San Diego had a second layer.

After 9/11, border hawks launched another push for fences, with little success. Most immigration enforcement funds were going to a surge in border agents. But President George W. Bush’s push for comprehensive immigration reform, which would have legalized the unauthorized immigrants in the United States, gave the hawks their opportunity. In 2006, Congress approved the Secure Fence Act mandating nearly 700 miles of fencing on the border.

The legal, practical, economic, and moral case against Trump’s border barrier.

The president signed on to the bill hoping to placate the secure-the-border-first crowd and obtain the humane immigration changes that he wanted. This sales job enabled it to pass with bipartisan support from the likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The immigration reform never materialized, but fence construction was nearly complete by 2009, and there are now 617 total miles of physical barriers, 36 miles of which have two layers.

Yet the hawks were not placated. They complained that there was no second layer in most places. They stewed that half the fence was just “vehicle barriers”-concrete posts that provide obstacles for drivers but not pedestrians. Moreover, the 317 miles of real pedestrian fences dramatically vary in height and quality. The Border Patrol uses half a dozen types of fencing materials-wire mesh, landing mats, chain-link, bollard, aesthetic, and sheet piling-just to control on-foot crossings. These barriers are mainly a combination of steel posts and bars supplemented in places with wire, ranging in height from 6 to 18 feet.

The Legal Obstacles
Trump has been adamant that his wall will be built “ahead of schedule.” For that to happen, he’ll need to avoid the various legal issues that plagued earlier efforts. Entities other than the federal government-states, Indian tribes, private individuals-control over two-thirds of borderland property. Private parties own the vast majority of the border in Texas, and for this reason, roughly 70 percent of the existing border fence is located in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Almost all of it is on federally controlled land.

The Bush administration bullied property owners, threatening to sue them if they did not “voluntarily” hand over the rights to their land. It offered no compensation for doing so. Thinking that they had no recourse, some people signed off, but others refused. The government then attempted to use eminent domain, a procedure Trump has long defended, to seize their property, but the lawsuits imposed serious delays-seven years in one case.

In 2009, the Homeland Security inspector general concluded that the Border Patrol had “achieved [its] progress primarily in areas where environmental and real estate issues did not cause significant delay.” One intransigent resident had owned his property since before the “Roosevelt easement,” which gives the federal government a 60-foot right of way along the border. He fought the administration, so the fence had until recently a 1.2-mile gap on his land. Border residents fought more than a third of all land transfers, in fact. Because the Constitution promises just compensation for takings, Trump can do little to speed this process.

Native American tribes also have the capacity to stop construction of barriers. The Tohono O’odham Nation, which has land on both sides of the border, has already pledged to fight any efforts to build a wall there. In 2007, when the tribe allowed vehicle barriers to be constructed, the Bush administration ended up desecrating Indian burial grounds and digging up human remains. The new president would need a stand-alone bill from Congress to condemn their land. Senate Democrats can (and likely would) filibuster such an effort.

Even federal lands can be problematic. In 2010, two-thirds of patrol agents-in-charge told the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that land management laws had delayed or limited access to portions of federal lands, for fence building or repairs and other purposes, with more than half stating they did not get a timely response when they requested permission to use the lands. In one case, it took nearly eight months for the Border Patrol to get the OK to install a single underground sensor.

Water rights have also been a problem for the fence. A 1970 treaty requires that the floodplain of the Rio Grande remain open to both sides of the border. The Obama administration attempted to build fences along the river anyway, but the treaty and the river’s floods forced the barrier to be placed so far into the interior of the United States that it has many holes to allow U.S. residents access to their property. These also provide an opportunity for border crossers.

At the same time, the fence can cause Mexico to receive too much water. Even when a fence has holes, which a wall would not, debris can turn the fence into a dam. Thanks to the barrier, some floods have fully covered the doors of Mexican buildings in Los Ebanos, across the Rio Grande, while producing little more than deep puddling on the U.S. side. The International Boundary and Water Commission that administers the treaty has rebuffed the Border Patrol’s attempts to replicate this disaster in other areas of the Rio Grande Valley.

The Practical Considerations
Fences or walls obstruct crossers’ paths, cutting off a straight shot into the interior of the country. But a barrier is not the permanent object that some people imagine. Natural events can knock down parts of a border fence. One storm in Texas left a hole for months. Fences and walls can also erode near rivers or beaches, as the one in San Diego did. And they can be penetrated: Some fencing can be cut in minutes, and the Border Patrol reported repairing more than 4,000 holes in one year alone. They neglected to mention whether that number equaled that year’s number of breaches.

Much of the current fencing can be easily mounted with a ladder or from the roof of a truck. In some cases, border crossers can scale the fence without any additional equipment. One viral video from 2010 shows two women easily climbing an 18-foot steel bollard-style pedestrian fence in less than 20 seconds. Smugglers can even drive over the fence using ramps, a fact that was discovered only when a couple of foolish drug entrepreneurs managed to get their SUV stuck on top. (They took the dope and split.)


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (data); GAO-15-399 (map)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, June 2011

A wall would probably be less easily damaged by man or nature. But in at least some areas, its impassibility could also become a maintenance liability. Border Patrol agents have told Fox News that a border wall would still “have to allow water to pass through, or the sheer force of raging water could damage its integrity, not to mention the legal rights of both the U.S. and Mexico to seasonal rains.” In 2011, for example, a flood in Arizona washed away 40 feet of steel fence.

While not “impenetrable,” a concrete wall would impede efforts to cut through it. Trump has also claimed that no one would ever use a ladder to go over his wall because “there’s no way to get down.” After pondering the question for a second, he then conceded, “maybe a rope.” Nonetheless, the height might discourage some people from attempting to climb it, and it would certainly take them longer to do so, giving Border Patrol agents additional time to reach them.

If not over or through, some crossers may opt to go under. Tunnels are typically used more for drug smuggling, but they still create a significant vulnerability in any kind of physical barrier. From 2007 to 2010, the Border Patrol found more than one tunnel per month, on average. “For every tunnel we find, we feel they’re building another one somewhere,” Kevin Hecht, a Border Patrol tunnel expert, told The New York Times last year. A wall would likely increase the rewards for successful tunneling as other modes of transit grow more expensive.

Trump is unconcerned, asserting that “tunnel technology” will rule out any such subterfuge. Effective tunnel detection equipment is seen as the Holy Grail of Border Patrol enforcement, but the Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology Directorate has so far concluded that no current technology for detecting tunnels beneath the border is “suited to Border Patrol agents’ operational needs.”

But the biggest practical problem with a wall is its opacity. In fact, many Border Patrol agents oppose a concrete wall for precisely this reason (albeit quietly, given that they were also some of Trump’s biggest supporters during the election). “A cinder block or rock wall, in the traditional sense, isn’t necessarily the most effective or desirable choice,” Border Patrol agents told Fox News. “Seeing through a fence allows agents to anticipate and mobilize, prior to illegal immigrants actually climbing or cutting through the fence.”

The agency is already desperate to switch out the nontransparent landing-mat fences in use in some places. These metal sheets were adapted from helicopter landing pads left over from Vietnam, and while inexpensive, they are ill-suited to their purpose. Popular Mechanics described these parts of the fence as “obsolete, in need of replacement,” noting that they “can be easy to foil since Border Patrol agents can’t see what’s going on on the other side.” If a wall slows down agents as much as it does smugglers and migrants, it provides no advantage on balance.

To put it most simply, border barriers will never stop illegal immigration, because a wall or fence cannot apprehend crossers. The agents that Fox News spoke to called a wall “meaningless” without agents and technology to back it up. Mayor Michael Gomez of Douglas, Arizona, labeled the fence a failure in 2010, saying “they jump right over it.” Former Border Patrol spokesperson Mike Scioli has called the fence little more than “a speed bump in the desert.”

The Efficacy of a Wall
Trump speaks with absolute certainty of a wall’s ability to repel entries, yet the efficacy of the existing barriers has gone largely unstudied. The president is proposing a project likely to cost tens of billions of dollars and to suck up many other resources, and he is doing so without a single evaluation of the barrier. Obviously, any obstacle to passage will reduce entries at the margin. But would other options work better?

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) of the House Homeland Security Committee failed to obtain an answer to this exact question from the Obama administration. Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) concluded in 2013 that “it would be an inefficient use of taxpayer money to complete the fence,” but he gave no indication of how he evaluated the costs and benefits. A 2016 Migration Policy Institute review of the impact of walls and fences around the world turned up no academic literature specifically on the deterrent effect of physical barriers relative to other technologies or strategies, and concluded somewhat vaguely that walls appear to be “relatively ineffective.”

Fences can have strong local effects, and the case for more fencing often relies completely on these regional outcomes. Take the San Diego border sector, probably the most commonly cited success story in this debate.

From 1990 to 1993, it replaced a “totally ineffective” fence with a taller, opaque landing mat fence along 14 miles of the border. This had little impact on the number of border crossers. “The primary fence, by itself, did not have a discernible impact on the influx of unauthorized aliens coming across the border in San Diego,” the Congressional Research Service concluded.

From 1994 to 1996, Operation Gatekeeper doubled the number of agents in the sector to reinforce the fence, but this too had little effect on the number of apprehended migrants. (Researchers use apprehensions as a proxy for illegal immigration because they usually track closely to the number of total entries.) Instead, the apprehensions shifted dramatically away from the areas guarded by western stations at Imperial Beach and Chula Vista, where fences were built, and toward eastern stations. The net flow remained the same.

From 1997 to 1999, when the San Diego sector was reinforced with nine miles of secondary fencing and even more agents were added, the numbers did finally slow. But looking at the apprehension figures, it appears that San Diego simply pushed its problem even further east, to the El Centro, Yuma, and Tucson sectors. Each agent in those places ended up apprehending more people after the fence was built than before.

Ideally, we would perform the same type of before-and-after analysis of the impact of the Secure Fence Act of 2006. The problem is that those barriers were rolled out at the same time that Congress almost doubled the size of the Border Patrol, increasing it from 12,000 to 21,000 agents. Moreover, fences went up in many different sectors, making it difficult to isolate the effects. To complicate matters further, this period saw the collapse of the housing bubble, which caused a huge exodus of unauthorized workers back to Mexico.

The Unintended Consequences
The numbers from this period also suggest that counting “reduced crossings” as a victory may be misleading. As the amount of fencing and the number of agents grew, the share of unauthorized immigrants entering illegally fell, but the number entering legally (and then staying illegally) rose.

In 2006, the Pew Research Center calculated that more than a third of all unauthorized immigrants entered lawfully and then simply overstayed their visas. People who come to the U.S. as tourists or temporary business travelers are forbidden from working, so a small number remain after their visa expires to work under the table. For every three border crossers in 1992, there was one overstay. But by 2012, visa overstays accounted for 58 percent of all new unauthorized immigrants. A wall not only will do nothing to stop these people from entering, but it may actually incentivize more people to stick around without authorization.


Border fencing, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, June 2011

Using reduced border crossings as the standard of success also obscures the wall’s effect on the total population of undocumented residents in the country.Until the first fence was built in 1990, workers could circulate freely across the border, coming to harvest crops during the summer and then returning home in the winter. They crossed with a goal of bettering their lives south of the border. The 1980s had more total crossings than the 1990s, but because as many people left each year as arrived, the total number of unauthorized immigrants remained roughly constant at about 3 million. The true measure of of a barrier’s efficacy should be not the gross flow but the net flow, taking into account both entries and exits.

Increased enforcement in the 1990s raised the cost to cross the border, which obviously prevented some migrants from crossing at the margin. In fact, the cost of a single border crossing exploded from $500 in 1995 to $3,000 in 2009. Increasing the price of illegal activity is law enforcement’s main measurement of success. The Drug Enforcement Administration would be thrilled to claim it had driven up illicit drug prices 600 percent in a decade and a half.

But this strategy backfired. The increased costs and risks disincentivized people from returning home. In 1996, just as the secondary fencing was going up in San Diego, a majority of new unauthorized entrants left within one year, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania sociologist Douglas Massey. By 2009-with three times as many agents, 650 miles of barriers, and constant surveillance along the border-an illegal immigrant’s likelihood of leaving within one year had dropped to a statistically insignificant level. Border security had essentially trapped them in.

The illegal population grew in tandem with the increases in smuggling prices, which in turn paralleled the growth in the number of border officers. This process continued from 1990 to 2007, when the housing collapse finally set Mexican migration into reverse.

Massey calculates that as of 2009, 5.3 million fewer immigrants would have been residing in the United States illegally had enforcement remained at the same levels as in the 1980s. He argues that a large guest worker program, similar to the one that the United States last had in the early 1960s, would reduce not just border crossings but the population of immigrants living in this country-seemingly a nationalist two-for-one.

The Price Tag
Congress set aside $1.2 billion for the 700-mile border fence in 2006. It ended up spending $3.5 billion for construction of the current combination of pedestrian fences and vehicle impediments. In 2009, the Border Patrol estimated it would need to spend an average of $325 million per year for 20 years to maintain these barriers. The Congressional Research Service found that by 2015, Congress had already spent $7 billion on the project, more than $11.3 million per mile per decade.

Of course, it hardly makes sense to look at averages, given that half the fence is inexpensive vehicle-only barriers. Of the 317 miles of true pedestrian fencing, the GAO found that construction alone for the first 70 miles cost $2.8 million per mile on average. In the more difficult, non-urban areas, costs grew dramatically: For the next 225 miles, they rose to $5 million per mile on average. In a mountainous region east of San Diego, they hit $16 million per mile. After about 290 miles, the GAO assumed the average cost for the final 26 miles would be $6.5 million.

If Trump backs away from his promise or if Congress ignores his requests for new funding, he may choose to simply build out the existing pedestrian fence for the remaining 683 miles to reach his 1,000-mile goal. Using the $6.5-million-per-mile figure, Congress will still need to front at least $10 billion over 10 years. The entire fence would price out at $18 billion, accounting for inflation. Add in the costs associated with acquiring private land and building in less accessible areas and the price tag goes even higher.

Trump, who still insists that his wall will be not a fence but an “impenetrable physical wall” of concrete, claims that it will cost between $10 billion and $12 billion. In early 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested that a similar amount of appropriations would be needed for the wall. Neither the president nor the speaker has revealed his methodology. But since we know that just building out the existing fence would cost at least that much, the wall will undoubtedly cost far more.

Not only that, but the existing fences were relatively inexpensive to build because they were constructed from materials such as old metal from helicopter landing pads and built low to the ground in some places. Trump has criticized them for, among other things, their inability to prevent tunneling, their materials, their height, and their aesthetics. Trump’s wall would use, according to one engineer’s estimate, more than 1.5 times as much concrete as the Hoover Dam.

For the full 1,000 miles, Trump’s 30-foot wall (with a 10-foot tunnel barrier) would cost $31.2 billion, or $31.2 million per mile, according to the best estimate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers. Two other estimates placed the construction cost of the wall in the $25 billion range. An internal Department of Homeland Security report from February 2017 concluded the project would cost $21.6 billion for “a series of fences and walls” along 1,250 miles of the border. And these are solely upfront construction costs. They don’t include ongoing maintenance, which has accounted for roughly half of the price of the existing barriers over a decade.

The Economic Downside
Donald Trump has insisted from the start of his campaign that Mexico will pay for the wall. When he presented a proposal to Congress to fund the wall’s construction in January, he continued to insist that Mexico would repay the United States. For his part, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has said that he would refuse to pay for any portion of the wall, and the back-and-forth became so heated in January that he canceled a meeting with Trump.

The U.S. president has remained vague about how this reimbursement will happen without Mexico’s cooperation, and his total lack of understanding of basic economic concepts may be contributing to his erroneous belief. “The wall is a fraction of the kind of money…that Mexico takes in from the United States,” he told CNN in April 2016. “You’re talking about a trade deficit with Mexico of $58 billion.” In other words, he seems to be saying that if the Mexican government does not give him the $31 billion or more that it will take to build the wall, Trump will tax America’s business with Mexico. White House Spokesman Sean Spicer intimated something similar in January 2017.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Even if that were to happen, it is simply inaccurate to claim that America’s southern neighbor would be paying for the wall, since the revenue would be coming from U.S. consumers. If the United States imposes a tax on Mexican imports, then people in America buying Mexican goods, from beer to cars, will cover it. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said as much to Trump during a presidential primary debate in January 2016, explaining that the Mexican government “doesn’t pay the tariff-the buyer pays the tariff.” Evidently, the lesson failed to stick.Trump has also floated the idea of cutting off remittances to Mexico of unauthorized immigrants if the Mexican government refuses to pay up. His proposed regulatory method of doing this (claiming that cash wire transfers are actually bank accounts) is legally suspect, but even if it were licit, it would not cover the cost of the wall. Although Mexican immigrants annually send $26 billion to their families in Mexico, only half of the Mexican immigrants in the United States are here illegally, and the majority of the remittances from unauthorized immigrants would likely find a way home through means other than wire transfers.

The Reason
President Trump’s wall would be a mammoth expenditure that would have little impact on illegal immigration. But perhaps that’s not the point. The campaign’s goal was to plant an image in voters’ minds of what making America great again would look like. The president’s goal may now be to create a symbol, an illustration of a nationalism that says to the world that although people of all kinds may want to come here, America was created by and for Americans.

For those who are not nationalists, the wall is a problem. The direct harms are easy to document: the spending, the taxes, the eminent domain abuse, and the decrease in immigrants’ freedom of movement.


Right: Tijuana, Mexico; left: San Diego, California. Public Domain

Even if the wall fails to reduce illegal entries significantly overall, one byproduct of making it harder to enter is that people will choose to cross in increasingly dangerous points along the border (the president’s “natural barriers”). This objective was a purposeful Border Patrol strategy in the 1990s, and it caused the number of deaths to skyrocket as people perished in mountains or deserts. From 1993 to 2005, the number of lives lost in crossing rose from 23 to 500 per year. Since the border fence was built, the number has declined, but the death rate per crossing had more than tripled by 2012.Wasteful security has always been the compromise that non-nationalists give to nationalists to obtain a better immigration system, one that treats people humanely and allows more of them to enter and live here legally. The most optimistic case is that the president builds some kind of barrier and takes credit for the drop in illegal immigration that began a decade ago. Seizing victory, he allows some form of immigration reform palatable to moderate Republicans to pass.

But agreeing to the symbol could be seen as conceding the principle behind it. If Trump understands the costs and the limited benefits of the wall, his true purpose may be to force his opponents to give in to the nationalist viewpoint and spend the ensuing decades building and maintaining its outward sign. Many Republicans, including the president, have adopted a “border security first” philosophy that requires certain metrics to be met before other humane reforms take effect, so the wall could simply be an attempt to move the goalposts for security so far that they can never be reached (especially if Mexico’s reimbursement is a criterion).

Another possibility is that the wall serves as a grand red herring, forcing Trump’s opponents to focus on the symbol while he enforces his true vision in other areas. The president’s executive order mandating the construction of a wall also requires a crackdown on asylum seekers coming to the border from Central America. His order on interior enforcement renders nearly all unauthorized immigrants priorities for removal. He has still further orders planned to undermine the legal immigration system for foreign workers. And of course, he has tried to ban all people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering at all. As his opponents focus on the wall, the Trump administration targets immigrants from every direction.


Congressional Research Service

In a sense, the wall merely represents the Trump administration’s worst instincts and desires. It is harmful, wasteful, and offensive, but an ineffective wall is nonetheless better than the surge of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to round up and deport people that the president also wants. No wall has ever arrested, robbed, battered, or murdered nonviolent people, as immigration enforcement has. A wall will not create an interest group to lobby for itself, endorse nationalist presidential candidates, and demand more power and funding, as the Border Patrol union does.The wall is more than a symbol. It will harm the lives of thousands of border residents and immigrants while wasting billions of tax dollars. But in a world run by nationalists, the one small source of comfort for non-nationalists over the next four years may be the knowledge that it could be worse.

Story 3: President Trump Approval Rating Hits 52% Despite Big Lie Media’s Two Year Negative Smear Campaign Against Trump — Progressive Propaganda Poop — PooPourri — Videos —

Trump polls at 52 per cent, his best approval rating in 23 months – Daily News

LATEST POLL: President Trump’s Approval Rating SOARS to 52%

Donald Trump’s entire 2019 State of the Union address | Full speech on CNN

Trump hits 48 per cent approval in his favorite poll as he prepares for State of the Union

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Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 52% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-seven percent (47%) disapprove.

Trump’s highest level of approval since shortly after his inauguration.

The latest figures include 39% who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing and 39% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of 0. (see trends).

Regular updates are posted Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m.  Eastern (sign up for free daily email update).

Now that Gallup has quit the field, Rasmussen Reports is the only nationally recognized public opinion firm that still tracks President Trump’s job approval ratings on a daily basis. If your organization is interested in a weekly or longer sponsorship of Rasmussen Reports’ Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, please send e-mail to beth@rasmussenreports.com .

Total Approval20-Jan-1721-Apr-1724-Jul-1723-Oct-1730-Jan-1801-May-1802-Aug-1801-Nov-1811-Feb-190%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%www.RasmussenReports.comTotal Approve (Trump)Total Approve (Obama)

 

0Approval Index20-Jan-1721-Apr-1724-Jul-1723-Oct-1730-Jan-1801-May-1802-Aug-1801-Nov-1811-Feb-1910%20%30%40%50%60%www.RasmussenReports.comStrongly DisapproveStrongly Approve

Some readers wonder how we come up with our job approval ratings for the president since they often don’t show as dramatic a change as some other pollsters do. It depends on how you ask the question and whom you ask.

To get a sense of longer-term job approval trends for the president, Rasmussen Reports compiles our tracking data on a full month-by-month basis.

Rasmussen Reports has been a pioneer in the use of automated telephone polling techniques, but many other firms still utilize their own operator-assisted technology (see methodology).

Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 2.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Results are also compiled on a full-week basis and crosstabs for full-week results are available for Platinum Members.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/trump_administration/prez_track_feb11

Trump’s approval rating among likely voters soars to his best in 23 MONTHS at 52 per cent after State of the Union address as border-wall shutdown talks intensify

  • Rasmussen Reports poll as Trump at 52 per cent approval, his best showing in 23 months and a higher number than his winning edge in 2016
  • Significant up-swing since government-shutdown low of 43 per cent
  • New numbers were collected in the three days immediately following State of the Union address
  • Asked what Monday’s numbers mean, a senior Democratic House aide confided on background: ‘I don’t know yet if it’s horrible, but it sure isn’t good’ 
  • Polling average is just 42.4 per cent, including mostly those surveys that are open to all Americans; Rasmussen polls only ‘likely voters’

That number is his highest since March 6, 2017, less than seven weeks after he took office. It has been even longer since Trump’s ‘strongly approve’ and ‘strongly disapprove’ numbers weren’t under water. They were even at 39 per cent on Monday.

Overall, 47 per cent of likely voters disapprove of Trump’s Oval Office performance. That’s a low water mark since November 2, 2018.

Monday’s numbers came from surveys conducted during the three weekdays following the president’s State of the Union address.  It’s not unusual for presidents to get a polling ‘bump’ after the high-profile annual address.

Asked what Monday’s numbers mean, a senior Democratic House aide confided on background: ‘I don’t know yet if it’s horrible, but it sure isn’t good.’

The White House, however, seemed pleased. Trump himself tweeted an image of this story at the top of The Drudge Report, an influential news aggregation website.

Donald Trump is gaining ground in the nation's only daily presidential approval tracking poll, surging to 52 per cent – a higher level of popular support than he had on Election Day 2016 and his best poll showing since less than seven weeks into his presidency

Rasmussen's poll had Trump at 46 per cent on the day the three-week government shutdown began; he dipped to a low of 43 per cent in mid-January, but is now at 52 per cent after his State of the Union address

Rasmussen’s poll had Trump at 46 per cent on the day the three-week government shutdown began; he dipped to a low of 43 per cent in mid-January, but is now at 52 per cent after his State of the Union address

President Trump boasted his latest approval number by tweeting an image of this story at the top of The Drudge Report

The principal battle is shaping up, as it was in December, over the preisdent’s demand for money to continue construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Democrats are pledging to yank their purse-strings tight, while Trump has an ace up his sleeve: a threat to declare a national emergency and build the wall with existing funds Congress appropriated last year.

Trump often cites Rasmussen as a rare example of a trustworthy poll, suggesting others are operated by ‘fake news’ outets that are slanted against him.

The president won 46.1 per cent of the votes cast in the 2016 election, prevailing on the strength of a commanding majority in the Electoral College. 

Rasmussen’s Monday numbers suggest Trump could have a majority of Americans behind him and a leg up on his winning position from two years ago.

The president’s approval had been sliding in recent weeks, reaching a low of 43 per cent in the Rasmussen poll as the recent government shutdown wore on.

An average of presidential approval polls maintained by Real Clear Politics now has the president at 42.4 per cent.

That suggests he still has a steep hill to climb at a time when most Americans still blame him and congressional Republicans for the shutdown – and Washington is growing skittish about the possibiity of a repeat performance Friday night.

Trump’s State of the Union address appears to have earned him a ‘bump’ in his approval rating

The most dire polls included in the current RCP average belong to Reuters and Quinnipiac University, which found last week that just 38 per cent of Americans approve of Trump’s work in the White House.

There are three recent polls that show a whopping 57 per cent disapproving of the president.

Leaders of Congress from both parties, however, consistently fare even worse in national polls.

Unlike most broad samples, which draw from all American adults, Rasmussen surveyers accept responses only from self-described ‘likely voters.’ 

The Rasmussen survey since November has been the only national poll that records the public’s assessment of the president’s performance every weekday. Gallup ended its competing daily tracking poll last year and now only reports monthly averages. 

Real Clear Politics maintains a polling average that puts Trump's overall approval at 42.4 per cent, but Rasmussen's survey is the only one of the bunch that excludes people who are not 'likely' U.S. voters ('LV' in the table above)

Real Clear Politics maintains a polling average that puts Trump’s overall approval at 42.4 per cent, but Rasmussen’s survey is the only one of the bunch that excludes people who are not ‘likely’ U.S. voters (‘LV’ in the table above)

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6691891/Trumps-approval-rating-likely-voters-soars-best-23-MONTHS-52-cent.html

Story 4: American People’s Confidence Keeps Rising — Videos

Americans’ Confidence in Their Finances Keeps Growing

Americans' Confidence in Their Finances Keeps Growing

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • 69% expect their financial situation to improve over the next year
  • Optimism about finances over the next year is almost at a record-high level
  • 50% say they are in better shape financially than a year ago

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ optimism about their personal finances has climbed to levels not seen in more than 16 years, with 69% now saying they expect to be financially better off “at this time next year.”

Line graph. A near-record 69% of Americans say they expect to better off financially a year from now.

The 69% saying they expect to be better off is only two percentage points below the all-time high of 71%, recorded in March 1998 at a time when the nation’s economic boom was producing strong economic growth combined with the lowest inflation and unemployment rates in decades.

Americans are typically less positive about how their finances have changed over the past year than about where they’re headed, and that remains the case. Fifty percent say they are better off today than they were a year ago. That 50% still represents a post-recession milestone — the first time since 2007 that at least half of the public has said they are financially better off than a year ago.

Ten years ago, as the Great Recession neared its end, the percentage saying their finances had improved from the previous year was at a record low of 23%. More than half the public, 54%, said they were worse off. Now, with unemployment below 1998 levels and the job market growing steadily, the number saying they are worse off than a year ago has dropped to 26%, the lowest level since October 2000.

Line graph. Half of Americans say they are now better off financially than they were a year ago.

Only 11 times in 109 polls stretching back to 1976 have at least half of those polled said they were in better financial shape than they had been a year prior. Only once in 114 polls going back to 1977 have Americans been more optimistic about their personal finances in the coming year than they are today.

In every one of the 105 Gallup polls since 1977 that asked both questions, more Americans were optimistic about their future finances than said their current finances had improved versus a year prior. On average in those 105 polls, 56% have expected to be better off in the next year, while 39% have believed they were better off than they had been the previous year. For both questions, a substantial percentage of the public volunteered a response of “the same” — indicating either that their finances had not changed in the past year or that they did not expect them to change in the coming year.

Partisanship Plays a Role in Perceptions of Past and Future Finances

Members of most major demographic groups are more likely in 2019 to say their financial situation has improved in the past year than to say they are worse off — with Democrats the one major exception. By 37% to 32%, more Democrats say that compared with a year ago, they are worse off financially rather than better off. However, among some of the key groups that generally vote Democratic, a plurality or majority say they are better off.

  • Sixty-two percent of those under 30 say they are better off; 25% say worse off.
  • Forty-five percent of women say they are better off; 29% say worse off.
  • Forty-five percent of those with annual household incomes of less than $40,000 say better off, 35% worse off.
  • Among liberals, 40% say better off, 31% worse off.

Republicans are at the other end of the spectrum, with 68% saying they are better off, and only 10% saying worse off. Among groups that are more Republican than the national average, 66% of conservatives say they are better off, as do 57% of those with annual incomes of at least $100,000 and 56% of men.

Both Republicans and Democrats significantly changed their perceptions of how they were doing financially when the 2016 presidential election replaced outgoing Democrat Barack Obama with Republican Donald Trump.

The two most recent times the question was asked before Trump’s election, in January 2015 and January 2016, as many Republicans — 37%, on average — said they were worse off as said they were better off. In the two polls since Trump has taken office, one in January 2018 and one last month, a robust majority of 67% have said they are better off, compared with 13% saying “worse off.”

Democrats, who were more than twice as likely to say they were better off (58%) rather than worse off (24%) in the two pre-Trump-election polls, have reversed field, with 35% saying they are better off and 38% saying worse off in the two post-Trump-inauguration polls.

Changing White House Occupants, Changing Views of Personal Finances
Would you say that you are financially better off now than you were a year ago, or are you financially worse off now?
Better off Worse off
% %
2015-2016 polls
Democrats 58 24
Republicans 37 37
2018-2019 polls
Democrats 35 38
Republicans 67 13
Results based on combined January 2015-January 2016 polls and combined January 2018-January 2019 polls
GALLUP

For both Republicans and Democrats, results are more positive over the same time spans for the question asking about financial expectations for the coming year. Though Republicans’ expectations rose after Trump took office and Democrats became less optimistic, majorities from both parties said they expected to be better off in the coming year in both the pre-Trump-election polls and the post-Trump-inauguration ones.

Bottom Line

The United States brought in the new year with a partial government shutdown that stretched through most of January and a growing sense of pessimism about the nation’s economy.

But in spite of the negative turn in the public’s views about the national economic picture, Americans are more upbeat now about their own finances than they have been in years.

Economic conditions can take rapid turns, and lofty expectations can be dashed in the process. But for now, it appears that most Americans believe, at least for their own financial situations, that 2019 will be a good year.

View complete question responses and trends

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The Pronk Pops Show 1202, February 6, 2019, Story 1: President Trump’s State of The Union Address — Choose Greatness — Walls Work and Save Lives — Great Nations Do Not Fight Endless Wars — America Will Never Be A Socialist Country —  Great Speech — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s Approval Rating Hits 48% and Rising — Videos —

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Story 1: President Trump’s State of The Union Address — Choose Greatness — Walls Work and Save Lives — Great Nations Do Not Fight Endless Wars — America Will Never Be A Socialist Country —  Great Speech — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s Approval Rating Hits 48% and Rising — Videos —

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Text of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address

Text of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, as delivered and provided by CQ:

___

Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans. We meet tonight in a moment of unlimited potential as we begin a new Congress, I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic break-troughs for all Americans. Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now gathered in this great chamber, hoping we will govern not as two parties, but as one nation.

The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda, it’s the agenda of the American people. Many of us have campaigned on the same core promises to defend American jobs and demand fair trade for American workers, to rebuild and revitalize our nation’s infrastructure, to reduce the price of health care and prescription drugs, to create an immigration system that is safe, lawful, modern and secure and to pursue a foreign policy that puts America’s interests first. There is a new opportunity in American politics if only we have the courage together to seize it.

Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country.

This year, America will recognize two important anniversaries that show us the majesty of America’s mission and the power of American pride. In June, we mark 75 years since the start of what General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the great crusades, the allied liberation in Europe. On D-day, June 6, 1944, 15,000 young American men jumped from the sky and 60,000 more stormed in from the sea to save our civilization from tyranny. Here with us tonight are three of those incredible heroes, Private First Class Joseph Riley, Staff Sergeant Irving Locker and Sergeant Herman Zeitchiek.

President Donald Trump arrives in the House chamber before giving his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 at the Capitol in Washington. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

Gentlemen, we salute you. In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon. Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag, Buzz Aldrin.

Thank you, Buzz. American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets.

In the 20th century, America save freedom redefined the middle class and when you get down to it, there’s nothing anywhere in the world that can compete with America.

Now we must step boldly and bravely into the next chapter of this next great American adventure and we must create a new standard of living for the new 21st century, amazing quality of life for all of our American citizens is within reach. We can make our communities safer, our families stronger, our culture richer, our faith deeper and our middle class bigger and more prosperous than ever before.

But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good.

Together we can break decades of political stalemate, we can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make. We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction. Tonight I ask you to choose greatness.

Over the last two years, my administration has moved with urgency and historic speed to confront problems neglected by leaders of both parties over many decades. In just over two years, since the election, we have launched an unprecedented economic boom, a boom that has rarely been seen before. There’s been nothing like it.

We have created 5.3 million new jobs and, importantly, added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs, something which almost everyone said was impossible to do. But the fact is, we are just getting started.

Wages are rising at the fastest pace if decades and growing for blue collar workers who I promised to fight for, they’re growing faster than anyone else thought possible. Nearly five million Americans have been lifted off food stamps.

The U.S. economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world. Not even close.

Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in over half a century. African-American, Hispanic American and Asian American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. Unemployment for Americans with disabilities has also reached an all-time low. More people are working now than at any time in the history of our country. 157 million people at work.

We passed a massive tax cut for working families and doubled the child tax credit. We virtually ended the estate tax or death tax, as it is often called, on small businesses, for ranches and also for family farms.

 

Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers thanks to our historic reductions in taxes and regulations. And we have unleashed a revolution in American energy. The United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. And now for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.

After 24 months of rapid progress, our economy is the envy of the world. Our military is the most powerful on Earth by far – and America is again winning each and every day.

Members of Congress, the state of our union is strong. That sounds so good. Our country is vibrant and our economy is thriving like never before. When Friday it was announced that we added another 304,000 jobs last month alone, almost double the number expected.

An economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations. If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way. We must be united at home to defeat our adversaries abroad. This new era of cooperation can start with finally confirming the more than 300 highly qualified nominees who are still stuck in the Senate, in some cases years and years waiting. Not right.

The Senate has failed to act on these nominations, which is unfair to the nominees and very unfair to our country. Now is the time for a bipartisan action. Believe it or not, we have already proven that that’s possible. In the last Congress both parties came together to pass unprecedented legislation to confront the opioid crisis, a sweeping new farm bill, historic V.A. reforms, and after four decades of rejection, we passed V.A. Accountability so that we can finally terminate those who mistreat our wonderful veterans.

And just weeks ago both parties united for groundbreaking criminal justice reform. They said it couldn’t be done.

Last year, I heard through friends the story of Alice Johnson. I was deeply moved. In 1997, Alice was sentenced to life in prison as a first-time nonviolent drug offender. Over the next 22 years she became a prison minister, inspiring others to choose a better path. She had a big impact on that prison population and far beyond. Alice’s story underscores the disparities and unfairness that can exist in criminal sentencing and the need to remedy this total injustice. She served almost that 22 years and had expected to be in prison for the remainder of her life.

In June, I commuted Alice’s sentence, when I saw Alice’s beautiful family greet her at the prison gates hugging and kissing and crying and laughing, I knew I did something right. Alice is with us tonight and she is a terrific woman.

Terrific. Alice, please. Thank you for reminding us that we always have the power to shape our own destiny. Thank you very much, Alice. Inspired by stories like hers, my administration worked closely with members of both parties to sign the First Step Act into law.

This legislation reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African-American community. The First Step Act gives nonviolent offenders re-enter society. Now states across the country are following our lead.

America is a nation that believes in redemption. We are also joined tonight by Matthew Charles from Tennessee. In 1996, at the age of 30, Matthew was sentenced to 35 years for selling drugs and related offenses. Over the next two decades, he completed more than 30 Bible studies, became a law Clerk and mentored many of his fellow inmates. Now Matthew is the very first person to be released from prison under the First Step Act. Matthew, please. Thank you, Matthew.

Welcome home. Now, Republicans and Democrats must join forces again to confront an urgent national crisis. Congress has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our government, protect our homeland and secure our very dangerous Southern border. Now is the time for congress to show the world that America is committed to ending illegal immigration and putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, and human traffickers out of business. As we speak, large organized caravans are on the march to the United States.

We have just heard that Mexican cities in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection. I have ordered another 3,750 troops to our Southern border to prepare for this tremendous onslaught.

This is a moral issue of the lawless state of our Southern border is a threat to the safety and security and financial well-being of all America. We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today who follow the rules and respected our laws. Legal immigrants enrich our nation in countless ways. I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.

Tonight I’m asking you to defend our very dangerous Southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country. No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration.

Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls, gates and guards. Meanwhile, working-class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal immigration, reduce jobs, lower wages, overburden schools, hospitals that are so crowded that you can’t get in, increase crime and a depleted social safety net. Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate. It is actually very cruel.

One in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north. Smugglers use migrant children as pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country. Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.

Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed by lethal drugs that cross our border and flood into our cities, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. The savage gang, MS-13, now operates in at least 20 different American states and they almost all come through our Southern border.

Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting on a subway platform in New York City. We are removing these gang members by the thousands. But until we secure our border, they are going to keep streaming right back in. Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.

I have gotten to know many wonderful angel moms, dads and families. No one should have to suffer the horrible heartache that they have had to endure. Here tonight is Debra Bissell. Just three weeks ago, her parents, Gerald and Sharon were burglarized and shot to death in their Reno, Nevada home by an illegal alien.

They were in their 80’s and survived by four children, 11 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Also here tonight are Gerald and Sharon’s granddaughter Heather and great-granddaughter Madison and please stand. Few can understand your pain. Thank you. And thank you for being here.

Thank you very much. I will never forget and I will fight for the memory of Gerald and Sharon that it should never happen again. Not one more American life should be lost because our nation failed to control its very dangerous border.

In the last two years, our brave ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes and 4,000 killings or murders. We are joined tonight by one of those law enforcement heroes, ICE Special Agent Elvin Hernandez.

When Elvin was a boy, he and his family came to the United States from the Dominican Republic. At the age of eight, he told his dad he wanted to become a special agent. Today, he leads investigations into the scores of international sex trafficking.

Elvin says that if I couldn’t make sure these young girls get their justice, I’ve really Done My Job. Thanks to his work and that of his incredible colleagues, more than 300 women and girls have been rescued from the horror of this terrible situation. And more than 1,500 sadistic traffickers have been put behind bars.

We will always support the brave men and women of law enforcement. And I pledge to you tonight that I will never abolish our heroes from ICE. Thank you.

My administration has sent to Congress a commonsense proposal to end the crisis on the Southern border. It includes the humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling and plans for a new physical barrier or wall to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry.

In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall. But the patrol wall never got built. I will get it built. This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier, not just a simple concrete wall. It will be deployed in the areas identified by the border agents as having the greatest need. And these agents will tell you where walls go up, illegal crossings go way, way down.

San Diego used to have the most illegal border crossings in our country. In response, a strong security wall was put in place. This powerful barrier almost completely ended illegal crossings. The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime, one of the highest in the entire country and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country. Simply put, walls work and walls save lives.

So let’s work together, compromise and reach a deal that will truly make America safe. As we work to defend our people’s safety, we must also ensure our economic resurgence continues at a rapid pace. No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women who have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year.

You weren’t supposed to do that. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the work force than ever before.

Don’t sit yet. You’re going to like this. And exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before.

That’s great. And congratulations. That’s great. As part of our commitment to improving opportunity for women everywhere, this Thursday we are launching the first ever government-wide initiative focused on economic empowerment for women in developing countries.

To build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount, reversing decades of calamitous trade policies, so bad. We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end.

Therefore we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods and now our treasury is receiving billions and billions of dollars. But I don’t blame China for taking advantage of us. I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen.

I have great respect for President Xi and we are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.

Another historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA. I have met the men and women of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire and many other states whose dreams were shattered by the signing of NAFTA. For years politicians promised them they would renegotiate for a better deal. But no one ever tried until now.

Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the USMCA, will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers like they haven’t had delivered to for a long time. I hope you can pass the USMCA into law so that we can bring back our manufacturing jobs in even greater numbers, expand American agriculture, protect intellectual property, and ensure that more cars are proudly stamped with our four beautiful words, made in the U.S.A.

Tonight I am also asking you to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the exact same product that they sell to us. Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure.

I know that Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill. And I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future. This is not an option, this is a necessity.

The next major priority for me and for all of us should be to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs and to protect patients with pre-existing conditions. Already as a result of my administration’s efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years. But we must do more. It’s unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place. This is wrong, this is unfair, and together we will stop it, and we’ll stop it fast.

I am asking Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American patients finally.

We should also require drug companies, insurance companies and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs way down. No force in history has done more to advance the human condition than American freedom. In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against H.I.V. and AIDS. Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once distant dream within reach.

My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the H.I.V. epidemic in the United States within 10 years. We have made incredible strides, incredible. Together we will defeat AIDS in America and beyond. Tonight I am also asking you to join me in another fight that all Americans can get behind, the fight against childhood cancer.

Joining Melania in the gallery this evening is a very brave 10-year-old girl, Grace Eline. Every birthday – Hi, Grace. Every birthday since she was 4, Grace asked her friends to donate to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. She did not know that one day she might be a patient herself. That’s what happened. Last year, Grace was diagnosed with brain cancer. Immediately she began radiation treatment. At the same time she rallied her community and raised more than $40,000 for the fight against cancer. When Grace completed treatment last fall, her doctors and nurses cheered, I love her and still love her, with tears in her eyes and hung up a poster that read, “Last day of chemo.”

Thank you very much, Grace. You are a great inspiration to everyone in this room. Thank you very much. Many childhood cancers have not seen new therapies. We will ask for $500 million to fund this critical life-saving research to help support working parents. The time has come to pass school choice for America’s children.

I’m also proud to be the first president to include in my budget for a nationwide paid family leave so every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.

There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with the life upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies, who will never share their love and dreams with the world and then we had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth, to defend the dignity of every person. I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in a mother’s womb.

Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth, all children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God. The final part of my agenda is to protect American security.

Over the last two years, we have begun to fully rebuild the United States military with $700 billion last year and $716 billion this year. We are also getting other nations to pay their fair share. Finally.

For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by friends of ours, members of NATO. But now we have secured over the last couple of years more than $100 billion of increase in defense spending from our NATO allies. They said it couldn’t be done.

As part of our military buildup, the United States is developing a state of the art defense missile system and under my administration, we will never apologize for advancing America’s interests. For example, decades ago, the United States entered into a treaty with Russia in which we agreed to limit and reduce our missile capability.

While we followed the agreement and the rules to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms. Been going on for many years. That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty or INF Treaty. We really have no choice. Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement adding China and others or perhaps we can’t, in which case we will outspend and out innovate all others by far.

As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our hostages have come home. Nuclear testing has stopped and there has not been a missile launch in more than 15 months. If I had not been elected president of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea. Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong-un a good one. We will meet again on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.

Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela and its new President, Juan Guaido. We stand with the Venezuelan people and their noble quest for freedom and we condemn the brutality of their regime whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.

Here in the United States, we are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence and not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free and we will stay free.

Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country. One of the most complex set of challenges we face and have for many years is in the Middle East. Our approach is based on principle, realism, not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress. For this reason, my administration recognized the true capital of Israel and proudly opened the American embassy in Jerusalem.

Our brave troops have now been fighting in the Middle East for almost 19 years in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nearly 7,000 American heroes have given their lives. More than 52,000 Americans have been badly wounded. We have spent more than $7 trillion in fighting wars in the Middle East. As a candidate for president, I loudly pledged a new approach.

Great nations do not fight endless wars. When I took office, ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria just two years ago. Today, we have liberated virtually all of the territory from the grip of these blood-thirsty monsters. Now, as we work with our allies to destroy the remnants of ISIS, it is time to give our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome home.

I have also accelerated our negotiations to reach, if possible, a political settlement in Afghanistan. The opposing side is also very happy to be negotiating. Our troops have fought with unmatched valor. And thanks to their bravery, we are now able to pursue a possible political solution to this long and bloody conflict.

In Afghanistan, my administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban. As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop’s presence and focus on counter-terrorism. And we will, indeed, focus on counter-terrorism. We don’t know whether we will achieve an agreement, but we do know after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace and the other side would like to do the same thing. It’s time.

Above all, friend and foe alike must never doubt this nation’s power and will to defend our people. Eighteen years ago, violent terrorists attacked the USS Cole and last month American forces killed one of the leaders of that attack. We are honored to be joined tonight by Tom Wibberley whose son, Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley, was one of the 17 sailors we tragically lost. Tom, we vow to always remember the heroes of the USS Cole. Thank you, Tom.

My administration has acted decisively to confront the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, the radical regime in Iran. It is a radical regime. They do bad, bad things. To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.

And last fall we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed by us on a country. We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people. We must never ignore the vial poison of antisemitism or those who spread its venomous creed.

With one voice we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs. Just months ago, 11 Jewish Americans were viciously murdered in an anti-Semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Swat Officer Timothy Matson raced into the gun fire and was shot seven times chasing down the killer. And he was very successful.

Timothy has just had his 12th surgery and he’s going in for many more. But he made the trip to be here with us tonight. Officer Matson, please. Thank you. We are forever grateful. Thank you very much.

Tonight we are also joined by Pittsburgh survivor, Judah Samet. He arrived at the synagogue as the massacre began. Not only did he escape death last fall, more than seven decades ago he narrowly survived the Nazi concentration camps. Today is Judah’s 81st birthday. (Audience sings “Happy Birthday.”) They wouldn’t do that for me, Judah.

Judah says he can still remember the exact moment nearly 75 years ago after 10 months in a concentration camp when he and his family were put on a train and told they were going to another camp. Suddenly the train screeched to a very strong halt. A soldier appeared. Judah’s family braced for the absolute worst. Then his father cried out with joy, “It’s the Americans, It’s the Americans.”

Thank you. A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight was a prisoner at Dachau. He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks. For me, Joshua recalls, the American soldiers were proof that God exists and they came down from the sky, they came down from heaven.

I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-day in the Second World War. One of them was Herman. But there is more to Herman’s story. A year after he stormed the beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of the American soldiers who helped liberate Dachau. He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on Earth. Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight, seated side by side here in the home of American freedom. Herman and Joshua, your presence this evening is very much appreciated. Thank you very much. Thank you.

When American soldiers set out beneath the dark skies over the English Channel in the early hours of D-day, 1944, they were just young men of 18 and 19, hurdling on fragile landing craft toward the most momentous battle in the history of war.

They did not know if they would survive the hour. They did not know if they would grow old. But they knew that America had to prevail. Their cause was this nation and generations yet unborn. Why did they do it? They did it for America, they did it for us. Everything that has come since, our triumph over communism, our giant leaps of science and discovery, our unrivaled progress towards equality and justice, all of it is possible thanks to the blood and tears and courage and vision of the Americans who came before.

Think of this Capitol. Think of this very chamber where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways and defeat fascism, to secure civil rights, and to face down evil empires.

Here tonight we have legislators from across this magnificent republic. You have come from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii, from the snowy woods of Wisconsin and the red deserts of Arizona, from the green farms of Kentucky and the golden beaches of California.

Together we represent the most extraordinary nation in all of history. What will we do with this moment? How will we be remembered? I ask the men and women of this Congress, look at the opportunities before us. Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead. Our most exciting journeys still await.

Our biggest victories are still to come. We have not yet begun to dream. We must choose whether we are defined by our differences or whether we dare to transcend them. We must choose whether we squander our great inheritance or whether we proudly declare that we are Americans. We do the incredible. We defy the impossible. We conquer the unknown.

This is the time to reignite the American imagination. This is the time to search for the tallest summit and set our sights on the brightest star. This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots. this is our future, our fate, and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness. No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together. We must keep America first in our hearts. We must keep freedom alive in our souls. And we must always keep faith in America’s destiny. That one nation under God must be the hope and the promise and the light and the glory among all the nations of the world.

Thank you, God bless you. And God bless America. Thank you very much.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-6672435/Text-President-Donald-Trumps-State-Union-address.html

Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address was the longest since Clinton’s in 2000

 

Donald Trump Second SOTU Snags More Than 46M Viewers; Beats Barack & 2018 – Update

Airing on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, PBS, CNN, CNNe, FOX Business, FOX News Channel and MSNBC in the 9 – 10 PM ET slot, the third longest SOTU in history topped Trump’s first official address to Congress in 2018 by over 1 million viewers.

In a number that will also be important to the 45th POTUS, the address before the now Democrats’ dominated House of Representatives, the Senate and invited guests also beat Barack Obama’s second SOTU of January 25, 2011 by over 9%. That speech by the 44th POTUS was shown on the 11 outlets of ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNN, Centric, CNBC, FOXNC, and MSNBC

PREVIOUSLY: UPDATED with early Nielsen numbers: Donald Trump never mentioned the unprecedented government shutdown nor the Democrats’ newly installed majority in the House of Representatives in his second official State of the Union address Tuesday night, but it sure felt like he talked about everything else.

At 82 minutes and with POTUS’ red tie askew, the primetime speech also received some unexpected applause from unexpected areas when white-suited female Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rose for Trump’s comments about the growing role of women in the workforce and in Congress.

Almost as long as Bill Clinton’s 2000 SOTU and two minutes more than his own 2018 address, last night’s speech saw the former Celebrity Apprentice host hold pretty tight to the teleprompter like last year as he hailed the economy and insisted the state of the union is strong.

What was also strong was the audience at home for a President well known to be obsessed with ratings. Fox News Channel topped all networks covering the speech for a second year in a row, drawing 11.1 million viewers and 2.8 million in the key adults 25-54 news demo from 9-10:30 PM ET in early Nielsen numbers. That topped No. 2 NBC, which drew 7.1M viewers and 2.6 million in the demo. That outpaced fellow broadcast net CBS, which had been leading among the Big 4 in the early metered markets.

Fox News led its cable rivals in primetime (8-11 PM ET) too, with 8.5M viewers and 2.02M adults 25-54; MSNBC was a distant second in viewers, while CNN was second in the demo. During the 9-10:30 time slot, MSNBC delivered 3.8M viewers and 798,000 in the demo, and CNN 3.4M and 1.2 million in the demo.

Coverage of Stacey Abrams’ Democratic response following the address was also paced by Fox News, with 6.4 million viewers and 1.6 million in adults 25-54. MSNBC and CBS followed with 4.7 million viewers apiece, with the latter edging the former in demo viewers (1.4M-1.1M).

With individual rises for all of the Big 4, last night’s SOTU was up overall more than 10% in the early metrics from Trump’s official inaugural address to the House members and the Senate of January 30 last year. It’s a rare feat for any President this deep into his term, the rise also shows that Trump will eclipse not only his own first SOTU and his 2017 address to Congress but also the second SOTU of his predecessor Barack Obama.

Over 11 outlets, the 44th POTUS pulled in 30.9 million for his January 25, 2011 speech – a number Trump looks likely to beat with ease when the final numbers come in later today.

Speaking of final numbers, Trump’s first SOTU last year ended up snaring 45.6 million viewers watching on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Univision, PBS, Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, FBN, NBC Universo and Estrella.

With that, as always, we’ll update with more SOTU numbers as we get them.

UPDATE, 8:37 AM: As more and more responses to Donald Trump’s second State of the Union speech trickle in this morning, more ratings are also being delivered.

Now, fast affiliate numbers from Nielsen are almost always subject to significant change in live events like major league sports, Hollywood awards ceremonies and SOTUs. Which means the real solid results, including ratings from the cable newers and the eventual total audience figure, will come later.

However, as it is right now, POTUS seems to have certainly bested himself with what is now the third longest SOTU ever.

Between 9 – 11 PM ET, the address to Congress and subsequent pundit and political response on top rated NBC (1.4/7), Fox (1.1/5), CBS (1.0/5) and ABC (0.9/4) has pulled in around 20.4 million viewers. At least in sets of eyeballs that’s a bop up of 3% over the 2018 State of the Union address, Trump’s first one officially.

Looking back at Trump’s first official SOTU, the two-minute longer 2019 version was up 2.3% overall among adults 18-49 on the Big Four compared to 2018.

As for the rest of the small screen night, NBC’s pre-SOTU offering of Ellen’s Game of Games (1.4/7) slipped 13% in the key demo from last week to a season low. ABC’s American Housewife (0.8/4) and The Kids Are Alright (0.8/4) were pretty much the same as their last originals among the 18-49’s, but the demo season low hitting former rose to a season viewership high of 4.7 million. Not showing Trump’s speech, the CW saw The Flash (0.7/3) speed ahead a tenth from its January 29 show. Follow up Roswell, New Mexico (0.4/1) was also up a tenth from last week.

Donald Trump Second SOTU Snags More Than 46M Viewers; Beats Barack & 2018 – Update

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Dems Refuse to Cheer for Record Low Black, Hispanic Unemployment Rates

During the State of the Union on Tuesday, when President Donald Trump celebrated the historic low rates of unemployment among racial minorities, many Democrats refused to stand and clap, while Republicans cheered.

“African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded,” Trump declared. Wild applause broke out among Republicans and a few Democrats, but as the camera panned to Democrats, most were seated and not clapping.

https://pjmedia.com/video/dems-refuse-to-cheer-for-record-low-black-hispanic-unemployment-rates/

 

 

Story 2: President Trump’s Approval Rating Hits 48% and Rising — Videos 

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty-one percent (51%) disapprove.

The latest figures include 36% who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing and 42% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -6. (see trends).

Regular updates are posted Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m.  Eastern (sign up for free daily email update).

Now that Gallup has quit the field, Rasmussen Reports is the only nationally recognized public opinion firm that still tracks President Trump’s job approval ratings on a daily basis. If your organization is interested in a weekly or longer sponsorship of Rasmussen Reports’ Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, please send e-mail to beth@rasmussenreports.com .

Total Approval20-Jan-1720-Apr-1720-Jul-1718-Oct-1724-Jan-1824-Apr-1825-Jul-1823-Oct-1805-Feb-190%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%www.RasmussenReports.comTotal Approve (Trump)Total Approve (Obama)
-6Approval Index20-Jan-1720-Apr-1720-Jul-1718-Oct-1724-Jan-1824-Apr-1825-Jul-1823-Oct-1805-Feb-1910%20%30%40%50%60%www.RasmussenReports.comStrongly DisapproveStrongly Approve

Some readers wonder how we come up with our job approval ratings for the president since they often don’t show as dramatic a change as some other pollsters do. It depends on how you ask the question and whom you ask.

To get a sense of longer-term job approval trends for the president, Rasmussen Reports compiles our tracking data on a full month-by-month basis.

Rasmussen Reports has been a pioneer in the use of automated telephone polling techniques, but many other firms still utilize their own operator-assisted technology (see methodology).

Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 2.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Results are also compiled on a full-week basis and crosstabs for full-week results are available for Platinum Members.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/political_updates/prez_track_feb05

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1201, February 4, 2019, Story 1: Patriots Win Super Bowl and Brooklyn Dodger Fans Cheer — Champions of The World — OK — Videos — Story 2: Soaking The Rich With 70% Tax Rate Is Not The Answer — Replacing All Federal Taxes With A Single Broad Based Consumption Tax Like The Fair Tax Is The Answer Together With Downsizing The Federal Government Which Is The Problem — Beware of Fake Polls — Videos — Story 3: Trump’s State of The Union Address — United We Stand Divided We Fall — Never Ever Give Up — Video

Posted on February 4, 2019. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies,