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The Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017, Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos — Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening In October 2017 by Selling Some ($10 Billion Per Month or $120 Billion Per Year) of $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economic Slows in 2017? — Videos

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 Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos —

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BREAKING NEWS: President Donald Trump Announces New Sanctions on North Korea through Executive Order

Trump: China has told its banks to stop doing business with North Korea

North Korea: Trump signs new order to widen sanctions

Trump hints at ending US trade with all North Korea partners | Time To Play Trump Card

WHY NORTH KOREA IS TESTING MISSILES & NUKES? TOP 5 REASONS

Inside North Korea Newest Documentary (2017)

North Korea DARKEST SECRETS 2017 Deepest Secrets Revealed for the First Time

China Pulls Trade From North Korea! Russia RESPONDS BY Increasing Trade by 73%!

John Bolton calls for ‘sweeping’ set of sanctions on China

United Nations funding mechanism needs to be changed: John Bolton

John Bolton: We are at a ‘crisis point’ with North Korea

Trump administration undercuts his message on North Korea

Former CIA Director James Woolsey: North Korea Has Been Able To Hit Power Grid For Years | CNBC

Ralph Peters on North Korea: China will never help us

Peters: People don’t understand how desperate North Korea is

China getting away with ‘trade murder’: Ralph Peters

What Are Economic Sanctions?

Chinese sanctions will help US trade deficit, but could backfire: Andrew Peek

Gordon Chang: China understands the effects of US sanctions

Lou Dobbs : Is China helping North Korea create nuclear missiles? : 5/30/2017

Gordon Chang: NKorea is forcing the United States to act

Trump unplugging Chinese banks will end China’s economy: Gordon Chang

BREAKING: Putin To Trump – I will arm your enemies if you send arms to mine

What Is Life Really Like In North Korea?

Why China Supports North Korea

Where Are The World’s Nuclear Weapons Stored?

What Countries Have Nuclear Weapons?

Trump signs order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program

  • President Donald Trump signs an executive order to expand his authority to target people and institutions doing business with North Korea.
  • With the action, he aims to reduce funding going to the dictatorship’s nuclear and missile programs.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Trump unveils order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program  

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order expanding his authority to target people and institutions that do business with North Korea.

Through the measure, the president aims to cut off the communist dictatorship’s funding and deter its nuclear and missile ambitions amid a string of recent tests and provocations.

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said before a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind. The order enhances the Treasury Department’s authorities to target any individual or entity that conducts significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea.”

The isolated nation has tested ballistic missiles and an apparent hydrogen bomb in recent weeks in the face of international economic sanctions and warnings. On Tuesday, Trump told the U.N. General Assembly that the U.S. “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if it is forced to defend itself or its allies.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed fresh measures to punish the communist dictatorship economically, with the support of China and Russia. Trump has repeatedly pressed China, North Korea’s only major ally, to do more to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Trump on Thursday highlighted that China’s central bank has told its banks to strictly implement U.N. sanctions. He thanked President Xi Jinping for what he called a “bold” and “somewhat unexpected” move.

On Tuesday, he also commended Beijing for signing on to two recent sanctions packages enacted by the Security Council. The U.S. sees China’s commitment to sanctions as crucial to forcing Pyongyang to end its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump appeared to try to quash speculation that he is targeting China or other North Korean trading partners with the action.

“I want to be clear — the order targets only one country, and that country is North Korea,” he said.

Trump said the order identifies industries including textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing, which the Treasury Department can target with “strong sanctions.” The president added that the order includes “measures designed to disrupt” shipping and trade networks to reduce North Korea’s ability to avoid the sanctions.

Earlier, national security advisor H.R. McMaster said Trump would take more action to stop North Korea “short of war.” Trump’s advisors have repeatedly said they prefer to use diplomatic methods to curb North Korea’s aggression.

The president again said that he seeks the “complete denuclearization” of North Korea.

Trump had separate bilateral meetings scheduled with both Moon and Abe on Thursday.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/21/trump-to-make-north-korea-announcement-mcmaster-says.html

 

Trump announces new economic sanctions targeting North Korea over nuclear program

 September 21 at 12:45 PM

President Trump announced an executive order on Sept. 21 to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and countries that do business with the “rogue regime” of North Korea. (The Washington Post)

NEW YORK — President Trump announced an executive order Thursday granting the Treasury Department additional authority to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and target foreign companies and individuals that do business with the rogue nation in Northeast Asia.

Trump said the new powers aim to cut off international trade and financing that dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime uses support its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs. The president also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had ordered Chinese banks to cease conducting business with North Korean entities. Trump called the move “very bold” and “somewhat unexpected,” and he praised Xi.

“North Korea’s nuclear program is a grave threat to peace and security in our world, and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said in brief public remarks during a meeting with the leaders of South Korea and Japan to discuss strategy to confront Pyongyang.

He added that the United States continues to seek a “complete denuclearization of North Korea.”

He added that the order will give Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin the “discretion to target any foreign bank knowingly facilitating specific transactions tied to trade with North Korea.”


President Trump meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Thursday. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

A White House fact sheet said the executive order imposes a ban on airplanes or ships that have visited North Korea will be banned for 180 days from visiting the United States, a move to crack down on illicit trade.

“This significantly expands Treasury’s authority to target those who enable this regime…wherever they are located,” Mnuchin said.

Trump’s announcement came as he has sought to rally international support for confronting Pyongyang during four days of meetings here at the United Nations General Assembly. In a speech to the world body on Tuesday, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” the North if necessary and referred derisively to Kim as “rocket man.” But the president and his aides have emphasized that they are continuing to do what they can to put economic and diplomatic pressure on the North in order to avoid a military conflict.

“We are witnessing a very dangerous confrontation spiral,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a speech to the United Nations, filling in for President Vladimir Putin, who skipped the forum. “We resolutely condemn the nuclear missile adventures of Pyongyang in violation of Security Council resolutions. But military hysteria is not just an impasse, it’s disaster…There is no alternative to political and diplomatic ways of settling the nuclear situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

China is North Korea’s largest trading partner, but Mnuchin emphasized that “this action is in no way specifically directed at China,” and he said he called Chinese officials ahead of the announcement to give them a heads up.

In recent weeks, the U.N. Security Council has approved two rounds of economic sanctions but also left room for further penalties. For example, the sanctions put limits on the nation’s oil imports but did not impose a full embargo, as the United States has suggested it supports. The Trump administration has signaled it also wants a full ban on the practice of sending North Korean workers abroad for payments that largely go to the government in Pyongyang.

Sitting down with South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the trilateral discussion with Japan, Trump said the nations are “making a lot of progress.”

Moon praised Trump’s speech to the U.N., saying through a translator that “North Korea has continued to make provocations and this is extremely deplorable and this has angered both me and our people, but the U.S. has responded firmly and in a very good way.”

The Security Council had also applied tough new export penalties in August, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that there are signs those restrictions are having an economic effect.

“We have some indications that there are beginning to appear evidence of fuel shortages,” Tillerson said in a briefing for reporters. “And look, we knew that these sanctions were going to take some time to be felt because we knew the North Koreans…had basically stockpiled a lot of inventory early in the year when they saw the new administration coming in, in anticipation of things perhaps changing. So I think what we’re seeing is a combined effect of these inventories are now being exhausted, and the supply coming in has been reduced.”

There is no sign, however, that economic penalties are having any effect on the behavior of the Kim regime and its calculation that nuclear tests and other provocations will ensure its protection or raise the price of any eventual settlement with the United States and other nations.

All U.N. sanctions have to be acceptable to China, North Korea’s protector and chief economic partner. China’s recent willingness to punish its fellow communist state signals strong disapproval of North Korea’s international provocations, but China and fellow U.N. Security Council member Russia have also opposed some of the toughest economic measures that could be applied, such as banking restrictions that would affect Chinese and other financial institutions.

“We continue to call on all responsible nations to enforce and implement sanctions,” Trump said.

Trump said the United States had been working on the North Korea problem for 25 years, but he asserted that previous administrations had “done nothing, which is why we are in the problem we are in today.”

Through executive orders and other measures extending back to the Clinton administration, the United States has been trying to undermine the economic underpinnings of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

Each new sanction from Washington has been followed by evasive measures by Pyongyang, and then another attempt from Washington to ramp up pressure. Earlier sanctions restricted trade between U.S. companies and businesses involved with the North Korean regime and its weapons efforts. Until recently, however, such sanctions had limited effects because North Korea continued an expansive trade with other countries, mainly China.

In recent years, the United States has sought to expand the economic pressure by working through the international banking system, where the country has particular leverage because so much of international trade is conducted in dollars. The “vast majority of international transactions are denominated in dollars, the world’s reserve currency,” a Congressional report found last year.

Even when the companies are outside the United States, trade conducted in dollars typically must run through U.S. banks, and last year, that provided the Obama administration an opportunity to interrupt such business.

In November 2016, a special measure implemented by the Treasury barred U.S. banks from providing the accounts that handle such transactions for any North Korean bank or any party acting on its behalf. The measure essentially cut off North Korean banks from any trade denominated in U.S. dollars.

North Korea, however, has continued to conduct such trades by using front companies located in third countries, at least some of which are in China.

The new executive order expands the U.S. pressure on the North by allowing the Treasury to single out those front companies, and any banks helping to finance any trade with North Korea, for sanctions. Those sanctions would cut off trade with those companies or forbid them from conducting transactions in dollars.

Anne Gearan in New York,  Abby Phillip in Washington and Peter Whorisky contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/09/21/trump-says-the-u-s-will-impose-new-sanctions-on-north-korea/?utm_term=.f13cecf3e9e7

US-North Korea standoff could spark economic war with China

  • The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.
  • So far, economic sanctions against Pyongyang have done little to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.
  • Now, critics of those measures are calling for stepped-up pressure on China, North Korea’s largest trading partner.

President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.

At issue are a series of sanctions against Pyongyang designed to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

But those measures have had little impact on the increasingly bellicose stand-off, and on Thursday President Donald Trump repeated his complaint that Beijing needs to lean harder on Pyongyang to defuse rising tensions.

“I think they can do a lot more and I think they will do a lot more,” the president told reporters. “We lost hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. They know how I feel. It’s not going to continue like that.”

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to inflict “fire and fury” on North Korea if it continues to pursue its nuclear weapons program. A recent series of successful North Korean test launches were matched Wednesday by Kim’s threats to launch a missile at the U.S. territory of Guam.

The latest round of sanctions includes fresh restrictions, unanimously approved Saturday by the United Nation Security Council, that target North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. The measures also ban countries from hiring more North Korean laborers, bar new joint ventures with North Korea and ban fresh investment in existing joint ventures.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S. but you can’t do both.'”-Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Economic sanctions so far have proved ineffective largely because North Korea has found ways to get around them with “evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication,” according to a February U.N. report.

“Designated entities and banks have continued to operate in the sanctioned environment by using agents who are highly experienced and well trained in moving money, people and goods, including arms and related material, across borders,” the U.N. report found.

The widest flow of goods and cash, by far, crosses North Korea’s border with China. As North Korea’s largest trading partner, China accounted for roughly 85 percent of overall volume in 2015, according to data from the United Nations Comtrade database.

Coal and other minerals accounted for more than 40 percent of North Korean exports in 2015, followed by textiles (29 percent), metals (7 percent) and machinery (6 percent). North Korea’s biggest imports included textiles, machinery and raw materials including minerals, metals and plastics.

Though China has taken some steps to curb imports from North Korea, exports rose by nearly 30 percent in the first half of this year, according to Chinese customs data. During the six-month period, overall trade flows across the North Korean-China border rose 10 percent to $2.65 billion.

That’s why critics of the existing North Korean sanctions say the measures don’t go nearly far enough in cutting off the flow of cash and goods to the Pyongyang regime.

Some of those critics are calling for “secondary sanctions,” which would cut off trade and financial flows to any country doing business with North Korea.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S., but you can’t do both,'” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D.-Md., told MSNBC on Thursday. “That is what got people’s attention with the Iran sanctions, and that’s what we need to do now.”

Last month, Van Hollen co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Pat Toomey, R.-Pa., that would impose secondary sanctions targeting third parties and countries that do business with North Korean companies and individuals.

Secondary sanctions offer a powerful financial weapon by allowing the U.S. government to bar foreign banks access to the U.S. financial system.

In late June, the White House imposed limited secondary sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for helping North Korea develop nuclear weapons and also accused a regional Chinese bank, the Bank of Dandong, of laundering money for Pyongyang, Reuters reported.

Beyond cutting off cash and supplies to the North Korean regime, secondary sanctions squeeze the flow of cash to individuals, putting pressure on Kim’s political allies, according to David Cohen, a senior CIA official in the Obama administration.

“Imposing secondary sanctions would send a strong message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the financial noose is tightening in a way that could drive a wedge between Kim and the Pyongyang elite critical to his continued hold on power,” Cohen wrote in a recent op-ed piece.

Imposing secondary sanctions that single out major Chinese banks and state enterprises comes with the risk of economic retaliation from Beijing.

To minimize that risk, the White House will need to build a much wider coalition of Asian countries, says Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO during the George W. Bush administration.

But developing that coalition will be a tough task for an administration that has yet to fill dozens of key diplomatic positions. So far, the White House has filled fewer than half of the State Department positions that require Senate confirmation.

“It really is a time for diplomacy,” Burns told CNBC on Thursday. “But there’s no American ambassador to South Korea, there’s no secretary of State for East Asia. So, you’ve also got to fill out the ranks.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/10/us-north-korea-standoff-could-spark-economic-war-with-china.html

 

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

North Korea is known for its bluster and outrageous propaganda, but the nuclear threat posed by the country is taken seriously by those in the know.

The “hermit kingdom” is estimated to have between 13 and 30 nuclear weapons, according to the Institute for Science and International Security. It could have up to 50 by the year 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made it clear that he considers North Korea a legitimate threat. In early April, Trump dispatched the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its battle group to waters off the Korean Peninsula, and said “major, major conflict” was quite possible.

WATCH: Trump discusses military option for North Korea

Tensions have since soared over fears that North Korea may be about to conduct its sixth nuclear weapons test. On Friday, the country sent a letter to American lawmakers, saying any sanctions would only cause its nuclear testing program to “gather greater pace, beyond anyone’s imagination.”

But how did a country as isolated and impoverished as North Korea get its hands on nuclear weapons in the first place?

The Korean War

In 1950, a few months into the Korean War, U.S. President Harry Truman said in a press conference that the use of an atomic bomb was under “active consideration.”

Truman’s nuclear threat remained just that, with the Korean War formally ending in an armistice in 1953. But U.S. forces still laid waste to North Korean targets, dropping over 650,000 tons of bombs and napalm, according to The Korean War: A History.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay estimated that the U.S. “killed off 20 per cent of the Korean population.”

WATCH: North Korea propaganda video puts White House in crosshairs, simulates strike on US Capitol

After the war, North Korea tried to convince its wartime ally China to share its nuclear weapons technologies. Supreme Leader Kim Il-Sung, grandfather of present-day leader Kim Jong-Un, twice asked Chinese ruler Mao Zedong for help but was refused both times, according to The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History.

Denied an easy path to a nuclear bomb, North Korea set about cobbling together an indigenous nuclear weapons program.

Soviet support

It helped that the country already had basic nuclear infrastructure in place.

As a founding member of the Soviet-led Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, North Korea had for years sent its scientists to the Soviet Union for nuclear energy training, according to a timeline compiled by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

The Soviets even helped North Korea set up its first nuclear reactor in 1964. The reactor was used to produce radioactive isotopes for medicinal, industrial and research purposes.

READ MORE: Mike Pence urges China, Russia to pressure North Korea to abandon weapons program

But in the years that followed, the country began to explore weapons capabilities, summoning its best scientists home — including from Canada, according to NTI — to work on its fledgling nuclear weapons program.

But while North Korea’s scientists had the technical training, they lacked designs for the highly sophisticated facilities needed to produce nuclear weapons.

Path to a plutonium weapon

 In the ‘70s and ‘80s, North Korea set about acquiring sensitive nuclear technologies from Europe, taking advantage of the lack of adequate nuclear information safeguards at the time.

At one point, North Korean agents went to a conference in Vienna and chatted up some Belgian scientists who had a design for a plutonium separation plant, The Atlantic reported.

“Lo and behold, it wasn’t long before the North Koreans obtained the design information for that installation… and then eventually over a period of 10 to 15 years, they set that technology up, they deployed the plant, they started to experiment with it and use it,” Mark Hibbs, a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Atlantic.

READ MORE: North Korea says it’s ready for war if Donald Trump wants

In 2003, CIA director George Tenet told the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea “probably” has one or two plutonium-based nuclear warheads, according to The Statesman’s Yearbook 2012.

The following year, second-generation Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il invited a delegation of Western nuclear scientists to North Korea to see its plutonium extraction facility. One of them, American scientist Dr. Siegfried Hecker, revealed in a Google Tech Talk lecture that North Korean officials at one point brought out two marmalade jars of plutonium.

“Inside one was a plutonium powder and the other one had plutonium metal,” Hecker said.

He even held one of the jars in his hand, and concluded from its appearance, weight and warmth that it contained radioactive plutonium.

In 2006, two years after Hecker’s visit, North Korean state media announced the country’s first nuclear weapon test.

By then, the country’s scientists had increasingly begun redirecting their efforts away from plutonium-based nuclear weapons to uranium-based ones, according to NTI. This is because the facilities needed to produce weapons-grade uranium can more easily be hidden underground, away from prying satellites and weapons inspectors.

North Korea wanted to cover all its bases.

Pakistani proliferation

The groundwork for North Korea’s uranium nuclear weapons program was laid in the ‘90s, with substantial help from Dr. A.Q. Khan, the pioneer of Pakistan’s atomic bomb program.

Khan orchestrated the clandestine transfer of uranium centrifuges, enrichment machines and technical data to North Korea over a period of several years, according to the book Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks.

According to the book’s author, Mark Fitzpatrick, some of Khan’s deals were likely tied to existing official agreements between the two countries, wherein North Korea provided ballistic missile technologies to Pakistan.

WATCH: Pakistan test fires submarine-based cruise missile

In 2003, the U.S. learned of North Korea’s plans to build a uranium-enrichment facility with Pakistan’s help. The following year, Khan admitted to running a global nuclear proliferation ring, with Iran and Libya among his other clients.

Khan later told German magazine Der Spiegel that he was merely acting on behalf of the Pakistani leadership.

He even released what he claimed was a 1998 letter from Jon Pyong-ho, one of the architects of North Korea’s nuclear program, in which Pyong-ho assures that $3 million has been transferred to Pakistan’s army chief, and asks that Khan dispatch “the agreed documents, components, etc.” via a North Korean emissary.

READ MORE: Pakistan refuses to release doctor who helped US find Osama bin Laden

Khan was later pardoned by Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

“By freely selling enrichment equipment and putting the designs on computer disks, Khan significantly lowered the technical barriers to nuclear weapons development,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

And no country benefited more from Khan’s largesse than North Korea.

READ MORE: Pakistan issues nuclear warning to Israel on Twitter after fake news story

In 2010, Dr. Siegfried Hecker was again invited to North Korea, and was this time taken on a tour of a uranium enrichment facility. He described what he saw as “truly mind-boggling” — around 2,000 centrifuges that appeared to contain highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.

“[The North Koreans] take whatever they can get, and then they build things themselves, and they do it quite well,” Hecker concluded in his Google Tech Talks lecture.

The Nuclear Silk Road

In early 2015, debris from a North Korean satellite launch were analyzed by experts and found to contain components manufactured in the U.K. and routed through Chinese companies, according to a United Nations Panel of Experts report.

The following year, foreign journalists on a tour of a Pyongyang factory spotted a shipment of boxes from Calgary-based chemical producer Dow Canada, the Washington Post reported.

These are but two of several known instances of North Korea evading international sanctions and export controls to procure weapons components.

WATCH: China says it will impose more sanctions on North Korea if missile test conducted: Tillerson


“North Korea is very creative in the way that it goes about sanctions evasion, and the patterns in which it goes about it vary,” Andrea Berger, a senior researcher with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told Global News.

Berger says North Korea often sends trusted nationals to China to set up front companies, often in collaboration with Chinese citizens. These companies then import equipment from Western manufacturers, who often have no way of knowing that the companies are really fronts controlled by the North Korean regime.

“Let’s say you’re Siemens in Germany and you get a purchase request from ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ in China. You look into that company and it doesn’t have a big web presence  —  because most Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises don’t  — and you assume, after some limited due diligence, that it’s probably fine,” Berger says.

READ MORE: China defends trade practices with North Korea after Chinese-made vehicles seen towing ballistic missiles

Even Chinese banks themselves often get deceived, she adds.

“The bank account might be under, say, ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ or a Chinese director,” Berger says. “The Bank of China might not immediately be the wiser that there’s a North Korean beneficiary behind that account.”

By covering their tracks in this manner, front companies procure sensitive goods before re-exporting them to North Korea, evading Chinese export controls via misleading shipping labels or creative smuggling techniques.

READ MORE: U.S. mulls North Korea sanctions, targeting cash that flows through Chinese banks

The racket doesn’t exclusively involve surreptitious front operations, however.

In 2015, a large Chinese company called Shenyang Machine Tools bought equipment from a European manufacturer under the explicit condition that the items wouldn’t be re-sold to North Korea, according to the Institute for Science and International Security.

Shenyang Machine Tools promptly broke the agreement by embedding the products into its own line of industrial machines, which were then exported to North Korea.

The equipment in question is commonly used to manufacture missile parts and uranium centrifuges.

Financial skullduggery

So how does North Korea pay for the expensive parts that it acquires illegally?

Turns out it doesn’t just use front companies to buy  —  it also uses them to sell its own military products.

Earlier this year, the UN Panel of Experts reported the interception of a shipment of 45 military radios bound for Eritrea. The shipment was sent by a Malaysian-based company called Glocom — which investigators found to be controlled by the North Korean intelligence agency.

Glocom was selling the radios to developing countries at North Korea’s behest — for $8,000 per unit.

READ MORE: U.S. urges UN Security Council to increase economic pressure on North Korea over weapons program

Berger, who is familiar with the Glocom investigation, said the company was “being used to facilitate sales of that technology specifically.”

The combination of such clandestine military deals, the sale of missile technologies and the export of coal and minerals have enabled North Korea to fund its nuclear procurement, the UN report suggested.

The “disco ball” warhead

In March 2016, North Korean state media released photographs of Kim Jong-Un standing in front of what it claimed was a miniaturized nuclear warhead “standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles,” Reuters reported.

The object was silver, shiny and shaped like a giant orb. It was roundly mocked on Twitter for resembling a disco ball.

So you’re saying this new disco ball with old CDs stuck on the side will be more glittery? 

But experts aren’t laughing.

Melissa Hanham, a researcher who analyzes open source data and photos to assess North Korea’s weapons programs, says it’s “plausible” that the object is a working nuclear warhead.

“We can’t see inside it to say, ‘Yes, it is’ or ‘No, it isn’t’ a nuclear warhead,” Hanham told Global News. “But they’ve had five nuclear tests, so it wouldn’t be surprising for them to have that kind of compact warhead by that many tests.

READ MORE: North Korea’s latest missile launch could be 2nd test of new technology, experts say

“I can tell you that we’ve measured it a lot, and it does fit into the payload of many of their missiles.”

Hanham admits it’s bizarre that North Korea would let its Supreme Leader stand so close to the real thing, but points out that “there are other photographs of Kim Jong-Un engaging in really dangerous activities that confuse us as well” — referring to photos of him smoking next to a solid-fuel rocket engine and standing underneath a heavy object dangling from a crane.

A legitimate threat

The purported warhead may have been goofy-looking, but it represented one of many milestones in a ramped-up schedule of North Korean nuclear weapons development over the past year and a half.

“North Korea in 2016 spent a lot of time doing a point-for-point refutation of every major narrative of the things it ‘couldn’t do’ in its nuclear missile program,” Berger says.

“All the developments we’re seeing in the nuclear missile program are deeply serious, and the more we continue to laugh about it, the more North Korea will attempt to demonstrate that it has a credible military program that is making rapid advancement.”

WATCH: Should we be worried about North Korea?

That advancement is the result of over half a century of steadily accumulated scientific know-how and single-minded subterfuge, with North Korea taking advantage of lax regulations and shady foreign partners to hoodwink the international non-proliferation regime.

Berger says China’s “conscious negligence” — in relation to both clamping down on front companies and tightening export controls — has resulted in such a huge flow of illicit goods to North Korea that it would take “an enormous effort” to rein it in at this point.

“The problem we have is enormous policy inertia, and very few good ideas of how to address the situation,” Berger says.

READ MORE: Could North Korea’s nuclear missiles reach Canada?

Hanham agrees. “I think there are probably still opportunities to slow or disrupt their program, but they’ve already crossed a lot of important thresholds that make it unlikely that they will give up their [nuclear] program entirely,” she says.

“North Korea has shown that it’s dedicated to acquiring nuclear weapons, and it’s very hard to stop any country that’s completely dedicated.”

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening by Selling Its $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economic Slows in 2017? — Videos

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Fed will finally wind down historic rescue program

The Federal Reserve is leaving interest rates alone to give the economy room to keep growing.

But the central bank did take historic action on Wednesday: It will begin undoing the extraordinary steps it took to prop up the economy for almost a decade after the financial crisis. The Fed said it would begin shedding some of the $4.5 trillion in investments starting next month.

The announcement marks a milestone in the long recovery from 2008, and reflects confidence by Fed officials that the economy will continue to grow.

Starting in October, the Fed will begin unloading $10 billion of debt from its so-called balance sheet, including $6 billion in Treasury securities and $4 billion in agency debt each month through December.

For years, the central bank piled up purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, a strategy intended to stimulate the economy by reducing borrowing costs for everyone. At the time, it also reduced its benchmark interest rate to zero, and only began raising it in December 2015, seven year after the crisis.

On Wednesday, the Fed left rates unchanged, hovering between 1% and 1.25%.

Related: The CNNMoney Trump Jobs Tracker

The central bank has raised that rate three times since December as the economy has gradually improved. Raising rates too quickly could risk hobbling the recovery.

Still, the majority of Fed policymakers signaled on Wednesday that they expect to lift rates one more time this year.

Central bankers pointed to signs of strength in the U.S. economy, including a pickup in household spending and growth in business investments, in a statement following the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day meeting.

“Job gains have remained solid in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low,” the Fed said in a statement.

While Fed officials cautioned that the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria would hold back the U.S. economy in the “near term,” they said the storms would not “materially alter” the country’s economy overall.

“Within a few months, rebuilding activity has typically kicked in, returning economic growth to normal—or maybe even a little higher than normal,” wrote Eric Winograd, AB senior economist in a note. “So, despite the storms, we’re still confident the U.S. economy will keep its momentum, because the foundations are sound.”

Related: Fed Chair Janet Yellen warns – Monitor your credit report!

Some Fed officials have warned against raising interest rates until inflation — which reflects the prices of everything from meat and cheese to houses and cars — meets the goal of 2% that they consider healthy for the economy.

But inflation is still running below that target, even though the job market has picked up and other explanations have fallen away. In a press conference, Fed chair Janet Yellen described it as something of a “mystery.”

In past years, she said the Fed has been able to point to root causes of low inflation: the gap between those employed versus those that aren’t, energy prices and a rising dollar.

“This year’s inflation shortfall is more of a mystery,” Yellen told reporters at the press conference. “I will not say that the committee clearly understands what the causes are.”

Central bankers have been in a bind over when to lift rates again. Inflation has been stubbornly low for years, suggesting the Fed should hold off. But economic growth and low unemployment suggest they should act.

Fed officials cautioned that they do expect inflation to be higher than normal — at least for a little while — following the hurricanes that have devastated Texas, Florida and now Puerto Rico.

“Inflation remains the wild card of Fed policy and the temporary boost to gasoline prices following the hurricanes only clouds the picture further,” said Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride. “Whether the Fed hikes in December will remain an open question until December.”

Along with one more rate hike this year, the Fed also predicted three more possible moves next year.

“It is too soon for the committee to conclude that the recent slowing in inflation was sufficiently permanent to alter the Fed’s plans,” Michael Gapen, a Barclay’s analyst wrote in a research note.

The Fed said it continues to expect inflation to remain at 1.6%, below its target, and the unemployment rate to be 4.3%, based on its updated economic projections.

The central bank did, however, offer a rosier picture of the overall economy, upping its economic growth forecast to 2.4% from 2.2%.

Yellen again declined to address speculation about whether President Trump will nominate her for a second four-year term leading the Fed. Her first term ends in February.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/20/investing/federal-reserve-janet-yellen/index.html

Fed prepares to cut $4.5 trillion portfolio: What it means
By Matthew Rocco Published July 12, 2017 The Fed FOXBusiness Opens a New Window.

USA-FED/ The Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will be on Capitol Hill for two days of congressional testimony starting Wednesday, and investors will be closely watching the proceedings for any clues about the central bank’s plans to shrink its securities portfolio.

The Fed has begun to pave the way toward cutting its balance sheet, which grew from about $1 trillion to $4.5 trillion in five years. The large increase is the result of an aggressive bond-buying stimulus program known as quantitative easing. The program was implemented to keep interest rates low and support a collapsed housing market. Since December 2015, the Fed has gradually raised the benchmark fed funds rate from near zero amid an improved labor market and U.S. economy. But its large portfolio of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities has remained in place.

With officials phasing out its crisis-era monetary policies, the Fed is now discussing a timeline to start winding down its portfolio to about half its current size.

“[The Fed] is in uncharted territory. They’ll be very cautious because they are committed to reducing interest rates and reducing the balance sheet. The first foray will be fairly limited,” said Nariman Behravesh, IHS Markit’s chief economist.

Investors have mostly prepared themselves for the Fed’s next move by anticipating an increase in interest rates. If anything, the Fed tends to “do less than the market expected,” Behravesh added.

“I think the good thing is the Fed is raising rates in an environment that’s not gangbusters, but it’s decent. Rates will go up, no question, but if they go gradually, it won’t do a great amount of damage to the economy,” he said, noting that the fed funds rate remains historically low. “Monetary policy is becoming tighter, but at the end of next year, it still won’t be tight.”

Fed members have already decided on a plan of action. Currently, the Fed purchases new bonds to replace the ones that come due. Once it starts the clock, the central bank will allow bonds to mature and roll off its balance sheet.

At their June policy-setting meeting, members of the Federal Open Market Committee set up a plan to shed as much as $6 billion worth of government bonds and $4 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month as a starting point. The Fed would raise the amount every quarter, eventually hitting a cap of $30 billion in Treasury and $20 billion in mortgage bonds per month.

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2017. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTS1750PExpand / Contract
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)
Demand for bonds will weaken once the Fed stays on the sidelines, thus lowering prices and forcing interest rates to climb. (Bond yields move in the opposite direction as prices.) The magnitude of that rate increase will depend on how gradually the Fed sells off its holdings, Behravesh explained.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield has declined about 0.081 percentage points since the start of the year, hitting 2.36% in recent trading.

As for when the Fed will kick off the process, several officials prefer to “announce a start to the process within a couple of months,” according to minutes of their June meeting Opens a New Window. . Others believed that a decision later in 2017 would give the Fed more time to study inflation, which has fallen short of the central bank’s target, and U.S. economic activity.

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The general consensus is that the Fed will make an announcement in September. In her prepared remarks to Congress Opens a New Window. , Yellen affirmed that the Fed will “likely” implement the program this year, as long as the economy “evolves broadly as anticipated.”
“We do not intend to use the balance sheet as an active tool for monetary policy in normal times,” Yellen said, adding that the Fed is prepared to “resume reinvestments” if it sees a deterioration in the economic outlook.

No matter when the Fed begins to shrink its portfolio, economists expect it to move in the same way it raises interest rates: slowly.

“It’s hard to tell how slowly they are going to go,” Behravesh said, but the Fed is determined to move one step at a time. The impact on the financial and housing markets isn’t fully clear, and the Fed plans to raise the fed funds rate at the same time it dumps assets.

In June, the Fed raised the fed funds rate another quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1% to 1.25%. The next rate hike is expected in December.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/07/12/fed-prepares-to-cut-4-5-trillion-portfolio-what-it-means.html

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Story 1: American Collectivism (Resistance Is Futile) vs. American Individualism (I have not yet begun to fight!) — Federal Income, Capital Gains, Payroll,Estate and Gift Taxes, Budget Deficits, National Debt, Unfunded Liabilities, Democratic and Republican Parties, Two Party Tyranny of The Warfare and Welfare State and American Empire Are The Past — The Future Is Fair Tax Less, Surplus Budgets, No Debts, No Unfunded Liabilities, and American Independence Party with A Peace and Prosperity Economy, Representative Constitutional American Republic Are The Future — Lead, Follow or Get Out of The Way — Those Without Power Cannot Defend Freedom — Videos

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Image result for branco cartoons tax reform

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Trump’s tax cutting plan faces a watered-down version

Trump will push 15% corporate taxes: Mulvaney

OMB’s Mulvaney Says Trump’s Focused on 15% Tax Rate

MICK MULVANEY FULL ONE-ON-ONE EXPLOSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BRET BAIER (9/12/2017)

Sen. Manchin Says Trump Tax Cut Plan Not Is for Wealthy

Sen. Joe Manchin: “Open dialogue” at bipartisan dinner on tax reform

Report Says Richest Households Get Biggest Benefits Under President Donald Trump Tax Plan | CNBC

Trump looks to bring Democrats on board with tax reform

President Trump Announces Massive Tax Cuts for Middle Class 9/13/17

Brit Hume: Trump ‘Got Rolled’ in Debt Deal With Pelosi and Schumer

Jim Jordan: Trump-Pelosi-Schumer Debt Deal Bad for American Taxpayers

The politics of Trump’s relationship with Democrats

Gingrich: Trump struck a ‘very smart’ deal with Democrats

Laura Ingraham Blames Republicans For Trump’s Democrat Deal Here’s Why(VIDEO)!!

Ingraham to Trump: Remember how you won the presidency

Donald Trump Is the Accidental Genius

2016 FLASHBACK: Ted Cruz Predicts Trump Will Cut Deals With Pelosi, Schumer

Dan Mitchell Discussing Taxes, the IRS, and Tax Reform

Milton Friedman Speaks: Is Tax Reform Possible? (B1231) – Full Video

Dan Mitchell Discussing Outlook for Tax Reform

Dan Mitchell Discussing if Trump and the GOP Will Deliver Tax Reform

Inside Politics 09/13: TRUMP INVITES PELOSI, SCHUMER TO DINNER AT WHITE HOUSE

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin On Donald Trump, Tax Reform And The Debt Ceiling (Full) | CNBC

President Trump Participates in a Tax Reform Kickoff Event

Trump’s New Tax Plan Speech

Pence on the Fair Tax

What’s Killing the American Dream?

The Collapse of The American Dream Explained in Animation

Would a Flat Tax Be More Fair?

Is America’s Tax System Fair?

The Progressive Income Tax: A Tale of Three Brothers

Why Is America So Rich?

Bill Gates: Don’t tax my income, tax my consumption

It’s better to raise taxes through consumption than by taxing savings, income, and investment.

Income Tax vs. Consumption Tax

FairTax: Fire Up Our Economic Engine (Official HD)

Freedom from the IRS! – FairTax Explained in Detail

Robert Frank: Consumption Tax

Americans Need a Progressive Consumption Tax

100 Years of the Income Tax

A taxing history: The origin of U.S. income tax laws

How Did We Start Paying Income Tax?

IRS Fraud: There Is No Law That Requires You To File A 1040!

Aaron Russo vs. IRS Commissioner

America: There’s “NO INCOME TAX LAW.”

Do we have to pay income tax?

Irwin Schiff vs. IRS on Fox TV News

Irwin Schiff on Stossel 20/20

Exhibit #11.005: Interview of Peter Schiff about the conviction of his father, Irwin Schiff

Irwin Schiff’s Secrets of Living an Income Tax-Free Life Part 1

Secrets of Living an Income Tax Free Life Part 2

Irwin Schiff’s Life Sentence and America’s End Game

Irwin Schiff – A ‘Most Dangerous Man’

Irwin Schiff Remembered

Peter Schiff on Why His Father Irwin Died In Prison While the Wolf of Wall Street Roams Free

Ron Paul: Feds Killed Irwin Schiff For Speaking Out

Episode 86: Taxation: How the Government Funds Itself (with Daniel J. Mitchell)

Judge Napolitano: Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Gov’t is Dangerous

The Collapse of The American Dream Explained in Animation

George Carlin – It’s a Big Club and You Ain’t In It! The American Dream

Scientific Method – Janeway gets rid of hostile aliens

The Borg Documentary 1 of 2

The Borg Documentary 2 of 2

Trekspertise – A History of the Borg

Collectivism and Individualism

Milton Friedman – Collectivism

Milton Friedman: The Rise of Socialism is Absurd

G Edward Griffin On Collectivism & Donald Trump MUST WATCH!

G. Edward Griffin: Individualism & Capitalism vs. Collectivism & Monopolies

G. Edward Griffin: The Collectivist Conspiracy (Full Length)

G. Edward Griffin Explains The Ideological Foundation In The Battle For Freedom

G Edward Griffin on Collectivism vs Individualism, Idea X and The Creature from Jekyll Island

G. Edward Griffin – This Thing Called Power

G. EDWARD GRIFFIN DISCUSSES THE TRAJECTORY OF THE WORLD WITH DONALD TRUMP AS PRESIDENT

G. Edward Griffin: Trump, Collectivism & Solutions

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John Paul Jones (1959)part 8 of 9

John Paul Jones (1959)part 9 of 9

 

Trump hosting Pelosi, Schumer for dinner in extension of Dem outreach

President Trump is taking his outreach to Democrats to a new level, planning to host House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at the White House for dinner Wednesday night.

The dinner date comes after the president stunned GOP congressional leaders by striking a deal last week with the two senior Democrats for a short-term spending and debt-ceiling deal. While GOP leaders wanted a longer-term package, the deal helped ensure immediate aid to hurricane victims while averting a government shutdown for now.

Now, Trump is trying to jump-start his legislative agenda beginning with tax cuts and tax reform. He had dinner with bipartisan senators Tuesday night.

A source familiar with Wednesday’s planned Pelosi-Schumer dinner told Fox News the meeting will follow up on last week’s sit-down with the Hill leaders.

Schumer, D-N.Y., and Pelosi, D-Calif., are expected to press the president on protections for “dreamers,” young illegal immigrants who had been shielded from deportation under a 2012 Obama administration policy that Trump has since announced he intends to roll back. The Democrats also plan to discuss ways to stabilize the health care markets.

Trump and his aides have defended the president’s new outreach to the minority party – which comes amid some frustration at the White House over the performance of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

A senior source inside Tuesday’s dinner with bipartisan senators told Fox News that Trump’s new strategy is to meet and work with lawmakers across the aisle — in part, an effort to “shed” the guidance from the Reince Priebus-era where the former chief of staff and his aides held the view that the president should only work with GOP leaders like Ryan and McConnell.

But after the failure of the health care bill and other legislative frustrations, Trump is reverting to a strategy that has worked for him in the past, before his time in the White House. The source said Trump ran an “unconventional campaign” with “unconventional” methods – and the “conventional” methods that were used in the first part of the year were not working for him.

Fox News’ John Roberts, Serafin Gomez and Chad Pergram contributed to this report. 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/09/13/trump-hosting-pelosi-schumer-for-dinner-in-extension-dem-outreach.html

Consumption tax

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

consumption tax is a tax on spending on goods and services. The tax base of such a tax is the money spent on consumption. Consumption taxes are usually indirect, such as a sales tax or a value-added tax. However, a consumption tax can also be structured as a form of direct, personal taxation, such as the Hall–Rabushka flat tax.

Types

Value-added tax

A value-added tax (VAT) applies to the market value added to a product or material at each stage of its manufacture or distribution. For example, if a retailer buys a shirt for $20 and sells it for $30, this tax would apply to the $10 difference between the two amounts. A simple VAT would be proportional to consumption but would also be regressive on income at higher income levels, as consumption falls as a percentage of income. Savings and investment are tax-deferred until they become consumption. A VAT may exclude certain goods to make it less regressive. It is used in European Union countries.

In AustraliaCanadaNew Zealand and Singapore, it is instead called a Goods and Services Tax (GST). In Canada it is also called Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) when it is combined with a provincial sales tax.

Sales tax

A sales tax typically applies to the sale of goods, sometimes also to the sales of services. The tax is applied at the point of sale. Laws may allow sellers to itemize the tax separately from the price of the goods or services, or they may require it to be included in the price (tax-inclusive). The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale. When a tax on goods or services is paid to a governing body directly by a consumer, it is usually called a use tax. Often laws provide for the exemption of certain goods or services from sales and use tax.

Excise tax

An excise tax is a sales tax that applies to a specific class of goods, typically alcohol, gasoline (petrol), or tourism. The tax rate varies according to the type of good and quantity purchased and is typically unaffected by the person who purchases it.

Expenditure tax

A direct, personal consumption tax may take the form of an expenditure tax or an income tax that deducts savings and investments, such as the Hall–Rabushka flat tax.[1] A direct consumption tax may be called an expenditure tax, a cash-flow tax, or a consumed-income tax and can be flat or progressive. Expenditure taxes have been briefly implemented in the past in India and Sri Lanka.[2]

This form of tax applies to the difference between an individual’s income and increase/decrease savings. Like the other consumption taxes, simple personal consumption taxes are regressive with respect to income. However, because this tax applies on an individual basis, it can be made as progressive as a progressive personal income tax. Just as income tax rates increase with personal income, consumption tax rates increase with personal consumption.[3][4]

History

Consumption taxes, specifically excise taxes, have featured in several notable historic events. In the U.S., the stamp tax, the tax on tea, and whisky taxes produced revolts, the first two against the British government and the latter against the nascent American Republic. In India, an excise tax on salt led to Gandhi‘s famous Salt Satyagraha, a seminal moment in his struggle to win independence from the U.K.

United States

In the early U.S., taxes were levied principally on consumption. Alexander Hamilton, one of the two chief authors of the anonymous The Federalist Papers, favored consumption taxes in part because they are harder to raise to “confiscatory” levels than incomes taxes.[5] In The Federalist Papers (No. 21), Hamilton wrote:

It is a signal advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess. They prescribe their own limit, which cannot be exceeded without defeating the end proposed—that is, an extension of the revenue. When applied to this object, the saying is as just as it is witty that, “in political arithmetic, two and two do not always make four.” If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product to the treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds. This forms a complete barrier against any material oppression of the citizens by taxes of this class, and is itself a natural limitation of the power of imposing them.[6]

Although personal and corporate income taxes provide the bulk of revenue to the federal government, consumption taxes continue to be a primary source of income for state and local governments. One of the first detailed proposals of a personal consumption tax was developed in 1974 by William Andrews.[7]

Japan

The Liberal Democratic Party government of Masayoshi Ōhira had attempted to introduce a consumption tax in 1979. Ohira met a lot of opposition within his own party and gave up on his attempt after his party suffered badly in the 1979 election. Ten years later Noboru Takeshita successfully negotiated with politicians, bureaucrats, business and labor unions to introduce a consumption tax,[8] which was introduced at a rate of 3% consumption tax in 1989.

In April 1997[9] under the government of Ryutaro Hashimoto[10] it was increased to 5%.[11] The 5% is made up of a 4% national consumption tax and a 1% local consumption tax.[12] Shortly after the tax was introduced Japan fell into recession,[13] which was blamed by some on the consumption tax increase,[14] and by others on the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he had no intention of raising the tax during his government, but after his massive victory in the 2005 election he lifted a ban on discussing it.[15] Over the following years a number of LDP politicians discussed raising it further, including prime ministers Shinzō Abe,[16] Yasuo Fukuda,[17] and Tarō Asō.[18]

The Democratic Party of Japan (now the DP) came to power in the August 2009 elections with a promise not to raise the consumption tax for four years.[19] The first DPJ prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama was opposed, but Naoto Kan replaced him and called for the consumption tax to be raised. The following prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda “staked his political life” on raising the tax.[20] Despite an internal battle that saw former DPJ leader and co-founder Ichirō Ozawa and many other DPJ diet members vote against the bill and then leave the party; on June 26, 2012, the lower house of the Japanese diet passed a bill to double the tax to 10%.[21]

Despite considerable opposition and an attempted no-confidence motion from minor opposition parties the bill was successfully passed through the upper house on August 10, 2012, so the tax was increased to 8% by April 2014 and will be increased to 10% by October 2019 (twice postponed from the original date of October 2015).[22][23]

Savings effect

Consumption taxes do not tax savings, which allows invested assets to grow more quickly. If, in the absence of taxes, $1 of savings is put aside for retirement at 9% compound interest, savings will grow to $7.86 after 24 years. Alternatively, by assuming a 33% tax rate, the same $1 is reduced to about $0.67 after taxes when earned. The effective interest rate, thereafter, is reduced to 6%, since the rest of the yield is paid in taxes.

After 24 years, the balance increases only to $2.64. The cumulative taxes in the latter case are $0.96. The missing $4.26 is not lost by the economy in any sense, as the $4.26 is what the government would make in interest, if they invested their tax revenue. If the initial investment amount is not taxed when earned, but the earnings are taxed thereafter, the cumulative taxes paid are about the same, but are spread more evenly across the period and the asset grows to more than $4. These results are primarily sensitive to the rate of return. With a 3% return, most of the tax receipts come from the tax on the initial $1.00.

To the extent that taxing something results in less of it (whether income or consumption), taxing consumption instead of income should encourage both work and capital formation, which will increase economic growth, while discouraging consumption.[3][4] Secondly, the tax base will be larger because all consumption will be taxed.

Some critics argue that sales and consumption taxes can shift the tax burden to the less well-off. The ratio of tax obligation shrinks as wealth grows because the wealthy spend proportionally less of their income on consumables.[24] An individual unable to save will pay taxes on 100%, but individuals who save or invest a portion of their income will be taxed only on the remaining income.

Practical considerations

Many proposed consumption taxes share some features with the current income tax systems. Under these proposals, taxpayers would be given exemptions and a standard deduction in order to ensure that the poor do not pay any tax. In a pure consumption tax, other deductions would not be permitted, because all savings would be deductible.[3]

A withholding system might also be put into place in order to estimate the total tax liability. It would be difficult for many taxpayers to pay no tax all year, only to be faced with a large tax bill at the end of the year.

A consumption tax could also eliminate the concept of basis when computing the value of investments. All income that is put in investments (such as property, stocks, savings accounts) is tax-free. As the asset grows in value, it is not taxed. Only when the proceeds from the asset are spent is any tax imposed. This is in contrast with the current system where if one buys land for $10,000 and sells it for $15,000, one has a taxable gain of $5,000. A consumption tax taxes only consumption, so if one sells an investment to buy another investment, no tax is imposed.

Andrews notes the inherent problem with housing. Renters necessarily “consume” housing, so they will be taxed on the expenditure of rent. However, homeowners also consume housing in the same way, but as they pay down a mortgage, the payments are classified as savings, not consumption (because equity is being built in an asset).

The disparity is explained by what is known as the imputed rental value of a home. A homeowner could choose to rent the home to others in exchange for money but instead chooses to live in the home to the exclusion of all possible renters. Therefore, the homeowner is also consuming housing by not permitting renters to pay for and occupy the home. The amount of money that the homeowner could receive in rent is the imputed rental value of the home.

A true consumption tax would tax the imputed rental value of the home (which could be determined in the same way that valuation occurs for property tax purposes) and would not tax the increase in the value of the asset (the home). Andrews proposes to ignore this method of taxing imputed rental values because of its complexity. In the United States, home ownership is subsidized by the federal government by permitting a deduction for mortgage interest expense and exempting a significant increase in value from the capital gains tax. Therefore, treating renters and homeowners identically under a consumption tax may not be feasible there.

Also, a consumption tax could utilize progressive rates in order to maintain “fairness.” The more that someone spends on consumption, the more that the person will be taxed. The rate structure could look like the current bracket system, or a new bracket system could be implemented.

Economic impact

The temporal neutrality of a consumption tax, however, is that consumption itself is taxed, so it is irrelevant what good or service is being consumed in terms of allocation of resources. The only possible effect on neutrality is between consumption and savings. Taxing only consumption should, in theory, cause an increase in savings.[3] William Gale, Co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, offers a simplified way to understand a consumption tax: Assume that our current tax system remains the same but remove limitations to contributing to and removing funds from a traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

Thus, a person would essentially have a bank account where they could place tax-free earnings at any time, but unsaved (or consumed) withdrawals would be subject to taxation. Having an unrestricted IRA under the current system would approximate a consumption tax at the federal level.

Many economists and tax experts favor consumption taxes over income taxes for economic growth.[25][26][27]

Depending on implementation (such as treatment of depreciation) and circumstances, income taxes either favor or disfavor investment. (On the whole, the US system is thought to disfavor investment.[3]) By not disfavoring investment, a consumption tax might increase the capital stock, productivity, and therefore increase the size of the economy.[3][4] Consumption more closely tracks long-run average income.[4] An individual or a family’s income often varies dramatically from year to year. The sale of a home, a one-time job bonus, and various other events can lead to temporary high income that will push a low or middle income person into a high tax bracket. On the other hand, a wealthy individual may be temporarily unemployed and will pay no taxes.

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ The Flat Tax Archived 2010-05-23 at the Wayback Machine., By Robert E. Hall and Alvin Rabushka, Hoover Institution
  2. Jump up^ “Taxation”. Encyclopedia Britannica.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d e f Andrews, Edmund L. (2005-03-04). “Fed’s Chief Gives Consumption Tax Cautious Backing”The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  4. Jump up to:a b c d Auerbach, Alan J (2005-08-25). “A Consumption Tax”The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  5. Jump up^ Bartlett, Bruce (2002-04-05). “The Founders and the consumption tax”. Townhall.com. Retrieved 2007-08-09.
  6. Jump up^ Federalist Paper No. 21
  7. Jump up^ Andrews, William D. “A Consumption-Type or Cash Flow Personal Income Tax”, 87 Harv. L. Rev. 1113 (1974)
  8. Jump up^ The Daily Yomiuri Website Reflections on Leadership – 2 / Leaders should build network of contacts, keep enemies closeRetrieved on July 4, 2012
  9. Jump up^ The Daily Yomiuri Is the “cash payout plan” the most effective solution for stimulating the economy? Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  10. Jump up^ News Channel Asia Aso says raising consumption tax will not aid Japan’s economy Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  11. Jump up^ Bloomberg website “Japan’s Kan Tackles Sales Tax ‘Taboo’ That Obama Won’t Touch” Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  12. Jump up^ JETRO website Section 3. Taxes in Japan – 3.6 Overview of consumption tax Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  13. Jump up^ East Asia Forum Japan’s aging population and public deficitsRetrieved on July 4, 2012
  14. Jump up^ MSNBC Japan firms want ‘safety first’ on nuclear restarts: pollRetrieved on July 4, 2012
  15. Jump up^ electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies Can the Democratic Party Finally Raise Japan’s Consumption Tax?Archived 2012-07-16 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  16. Jump up^ The Japan Times Sales tax hike would need voter OK via Lower House poll Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  17. Jump up^ The Financial Express Fukuda Vows To Continue Reform In Japan Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  18. Jump up^ Reuters Japan PM Aso says consumption tax hike unavoidable Retrieved on July 2012
  19. Jump up^ Asashi Shimbun DPJ’S Governing Fiasco: Party never challenged Finance Ministry Archived 2012-04-07 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  20. Jump up^ Forbes magazine For PM Noda: A Week of Political Drama and the Challenge Ahead Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  21. Jump up^ Asahi Shimbun Update: Lower House passes bills to double consumption tax Archived 2013-06-22 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on July 4, 2012
  22. Jump up^ Bloomberg website Abe Postpones Japan’s Sales-Tax Hike Until Late in 2019 Retrieved on March 25, 2017
  23. Jump up^ KPMG research Japan – Consumption tax rate increase to be postponed Retrieved on April 23, 2015
  24. Jump up^ Gilbert E. Metcalf. “The National Sales Tax: Who Bears the Burden?
  25. Jump up^ Regnier, Pat (2005-09-07). “Just how fair is the FairTax?”. Money Magazine. Retrieved 2006-07-20.
  26. Jump up^ “Greenspan: Consumption Tax Could Help Economy”. Fox News. 2005-03-03. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
  27. Jump up^ “America the Uncompetitive”. Wall Street Journal. 2008-08-15. Retrieved 2008-09-03.

External links

 

FairTax

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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}{\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

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

 

G. Edward Griffin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
G. Edward Griffin
G. Edward Griffin.jpg
Born November 7, 1931 (age 85)
Detroit, Michigan
Nationality American
Education University of Michigan
BA
Occupation Author, lecturer, filmmaker
Known for Conspiracy theories
Spouse(s) Patricia Irving Griffin

G. Edward Griffin (born November 7, 1931) is an American far-right conspiracy theorist, author, lecturer, and filmmaker. He is the author of The Creature from Jekyll Island (1994), which promotes theories about the motives behind the creation of the Federal Reserve System.[1][2] Griffin’s writings include a number of views regarding various political, defense and health care interests. In his book World Without Cancer, he argues that cancer is a nutritional deficiency that can be cured by consuming amygdalin, a view regarded as quackery by the medical community.[1][3][4] He is an HIV/AIDS denialist, supports the 9/11 Truth movement, and supports a specific John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory.[1] Also, he believes the actual geographical location of the biblical Noah’s Ark is located at the Durupınar site in Turkey.[5]

Biography

Griffin was born in Detroit, Michigan, on November 7, 1931, and became a child voice actor on local radio from 1942 to 1947. He later emceed at WJR (CBS), and continued as an assistant announcer at the public radio station WUOM. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1953, majoring in speech and communications. In 1954, he served in the United States Army, and in 1956 was discharged as a sergeant.[6]

Griffin worked as a writer for Curtis LeMay, vice presidential running mate for George Wallace during his 1968 United States Presidential campaign.[6] Shortly thereafter, he began writing and producing documentary-style videos about the same controversial topics covered in his books, such as cancer, the historical authenticity of Noah’s Ark, the Federal Reserve System, the Supreme Court of the United States, terrorism, subversion, and foreign policy.[7][8]

Political advocacy

In 1964, Griffin wrote his first book, The Fearful Master, on the United Nations, a topic that recurs throughout his writings. While he describes his work as the output of “a plain vanilla researcher”, Griffin also agrees with the Los Angeles Daily Newss characterization of him as “Crusader Rabbit“.[9]

Griffin has been a member and officer of the John Birch Society (JBS) for much of his life[10] and a contributing editor to its magazine, The New American.[11] Since the 1960s, Griffin has spoken and written about the Society’s theory of history involving “communist and capitalist conspiracies” over banking systems (including the Federal Reserve System), International banking, United States foreign policy, the U.S. military-industrial complex, the American news and entertainment media as propaganda, the Supreme Court of the United States, and the United Nations.[12][13] From 1962 to 1975, he completed nine books and seven film productions; his 1969 video lecture, More Deadly Than War: The Communist Revolution in America, was printed in English and Dutch. In 1974, he published World Without Cancer, and in 1975, he wrote a sympathetic biography of JBS founder Robert W. Welch.[14][15]

In May 2009, Griffin helped Robert L. Schulz and Edwin Vieira organize a meeting at Jekyll Island of thirty people including “radical tax protesters, militiamen, nativist extremists, anti-Obama ‘birthers,’ hard-line libertarians, conspiracy-minded individuals with theories about secret government concentration camps, even a raging anti-Semite named Edgar Steele“.[16] Speakers at the meeting “warned of ‘increasing national instability,’ worried about a coming ‘New World Order,’ denounced secret schemes to merge Canada, Mexico and the United States, and furiously attacked the new president’s ‘socialized’ policies and failure to end illegal immigration,” and attendees made plans for a “continental congress” that occurred in November 2009 that was hosted by the We the People Foundation.[16] Griffin was the first to speak at the Jekyll Island meeting and he “told conferees that merely putting ‘large numbers of people in the street’ was not enough. ‘We must,’ he said, ‘achieve power.'”[16]

Alternate conspiracy theories and fringe science

The Creature from Jekyll Island

Griffin’s 1994 book, The Creature from Jekyll Island, draws parallels between the Federal Reserve and a bird of prey.

He has opposed the Federal Reserve since the 1960s, saying it constitutes a banking cartel and an instrument of war and totalitarianism.[17] Griffin presented his views on the U.S. money system in his 1993 movie and 1994 book on the Federal Reserve SystemThe Creature from Jekyll Island.[6][note 1] The book was a business-topic bestseller.[2][18][19] The book also influenced Ron Paul when he wrote a chapter on money and the Federal Reserve in his New York Timesbestseller, The Revolution: A Manifesto.[20]

Edward Flaherty, an academic economist writing for Political Research Associates, characterized Griffin’s description of the secret meeting on Jekyll Island as “paranoid”, “amateurish”, and “academically suspect”.[21]

Cancer, chemtrails, and AIDS denial

In 1973, Griffin wrote and self-published the book World Without Cancer and released it as a video;[22][23] its second edition appeared in 1997. In the book and the video, Griffin asserts that cancer is a metabolic disease like a vitamin deficiency facilitated by the insufficient dietary consumption of amygdalin. He contends that “eliminating cancer through a nondrug therapy has not been accepted because of the hidden economic and power agendas of those who dominate the medical establishment”[24] and he wrote, “at the very top of the world’s economic and political pyramid of power there is a grouping of financial, political, and industrial interests that, by the very nature of their goals, are the natural enemies of the nutritional approaches to health”.[25]

Since the 1970s, the use of laetrile to treat cancer has been identified in the scientific literature as a canonical example of quackery and has never been shown to be effective in the treatment or prevention of cancer.[26][27] Emanuel Landau, then a Project Director for the APHA, wrote a book review for the American Journal of Public Health, which noted that Griffin “accepts the ‘conspiracy’ theory … that policy-makers in the medical, pharmaceutical, research and fund-raising organizations deliberately or unconsciously strive not to prevent or cure cancer in order to perpetuate their functions”. Landau concludes that although World Without Cancer “is an emotional plea for the unrestricted use of the Laetrile as an anti-tumor agent, the scientific evidence to justify such a policy does not appear within it”.[28]

Griffin’s websites refer visitors to doctors, clinics, and hospitals with alternative cancer treatments, including sellers of laetrile.[22][29][30] He does not sell laetrile himself.[22]

In 2010, Griffin engaged in HIV/AIDS denialism, claiming that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) “doesn’t exist” and that antiretroviral medications (rather than the HIV virus) cause acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).[1]

In a 2012 video titled “What in the World Are They Spraying?”, Griffin asserts that airplanes leave a permanent grid of chemtrails hanging over cities like Los Angeles.[31]

Noah’s Ark search

In 1992 Griffin wrote and narrated The Discovery of Noah’s Ark, based on David Fasold‘s 1988 book, The Ark of Noah.[5] Griffin’s film said that the original Noah’s Ark continued to exist in fossil form at the Durupınar site, about 17 miles (27 km) from Mount Ararat in Turkey, based on photographic, radar, and metal detector evidence. Griffin also said that towns in the area had names that resembled terms from the Biblical story of the flood. He endorsed the historicity of the Biblical account of the flood, and speculated that the flood was the byproduct of massive tides caused by a gravitational interaction between Earth and a large celestial body coming close to it.[9]

Works

Some of Griffin’s work is published by Western Islands Publishers, the publishing arm of the John Birch Society, with the remainder being self-published through his own company, American Media.

Bibliography

  • The Fearful Master: A Second Look at the United Nations. Boston, MA: Western Islands Publishers. 1964. ISBN 0-88279-102-8OCLC 414277.
  • The Great Prison Break: The Supreme Court Leads the Way. Boston, MA: Western Islands Publishers. 1968. OCLC 220369.
  • More Deadly Than War: The Communist Revolution in America (transcript). American Media). 1969. OCLC 71304108.
  • This is the John Birch Society: An Invitation to Membership (1st ed., 2d ed. 1972, 3d ed. 1981 Western Islands ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: American Media. 1970. OCLC 83825.
  • The Capitalist Conspiracy: An Inside View of International Banking (transcript) (1st ed., 2d ed. 1982 Huntington Beach Patriots ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: American Media. 1971. OCLC 3263688.
  • World Without Cancer: The Story of Vitamin B17 (1st ed., reprinted 1976, 1977, 2d ed. 1997, reprinted 2001, 2006 ed.). American Media. 1974. ISBN 0-912986-09-3.
  • The Life and Words of Robert Welch, Founder of the John Birch Society. E. Merrill Root (introduction). Thousand Oaks, CA: American Media. 1975. ISBN 978-0-912986-07-4OCLC 1530499.
  • The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve (1st ed., 2d ed. 1995, 3d ed. 1998 American Media, 4th ed. 2002, now in 5th ed.). Appleton, WI: American Opinion Publishing. 1994. ISBN 0-912986-16-6OCLC 31354943.

Filmography

  • The Grand Design: A Lecture on U.S. Foreign Policy. 1969. OCLC 5549063.
  • More Deadly Than War: The Communist Revolution in America (Lecture). American Media. 1969. OCLC 5549058.
  • World Without Cancer: The Story of Vitamin B17 (Visual material). American Media. 1974. OCLC 5604983.
  • Bezmenov, Yuri; Griffin, G. Edward (1984). Soviet Subversion of the Free Press: A Conversation with Yuri Bezmenov (Videotape). Westlake Village, CA: American Media. OCLC 45810551.
  • Griffin, G. Edward; Solis, Willy (1985). The Red Reality in Central America (Videotape). Westlake Village, CA: American Media. OCLC 37023488.
  • The Discovery of Noah’s Ark: The Whole Story (Videotape). Westlake Village, CA: American Media. 1992. OCLC 29511807.
  • Griffin, G. Edward; Shurtleff, Howard (1994). The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve (Videotape). John Birch SocietyOCLC 36245861.
  • Hidden Agenda: Real Conspiracies that Affect our Lives Today (6 volumes). Venice, CA: Knowledge 20/20. 2001. OCLC 49289908.
    • Vol. 1 (1971). The Capitalist Conspiracy: An Inside View of International Banking. American Media. OCLC 5558340.
    • Vol. 2 (1983). The Subversion Factor: A History of Treason in Modern America (Part 1: Moles in High Places, Part 2: Open Gates of Troy) (Videotape). Westlake Village, CA: American Media. OCLC 36968013.
    • Vol. 3 (1968). The Truth About Communism: Only the Brave are Free (Videotape).
    • Vol. 4 (1966). Anarchy U.S.A.: In the Name of Civil Rights (DVD). John Birch Society.
    • Vol. 5 (1962). Katanga: The Untold Story (Videotape).
    • Vol. 6. WBTV (1982). No Place to Hide: The Strategy and Tactics of Terrorism (Videotape). Alexandria, VA: Western Goals FoundationOCLC 10744020. Also OCLC 19993388.
  • Griffin, G. Edward (executive producer); Dill, David; Gazecki, William; Harris, Bev; Mercuri, Rebecca; Rubin, Aviel D (2004). Invisible Ballots: A Temptation for Electronic Vote Fraud (Videotape, DVD). Westlake Village, CA: American Media and Reality Zone. ISBN 978-0-912986-43-2OCLC 65199460. Also OCLC 56844390.
  • Jaeger, James; Baehr, Theodore; Griffin, G. Edward; Paul, Ron; Vieira, Edwin (2007). Fiat Empire: Why the Federal Reserve Violates the U.S. Constitution (DVD). Beverly Hills, CA: Cornerstone-Matrixx Entertainment. OCLC 192133806.
  • What in the World Are They Spraying? Produced by G. Edward Griffin, Michael Murphy, and Paul Wittenberger. (2010). OCLC 682713571

Notes

  1. Jump up^ The title refers to a 1910 meeting at Jekyll Island, Georgia, of six bankers and economic policymakers. The meeting was recounted by Forbes founder B. C. Forbes in 1916, (see: Forbes, B. C. (1916-10-19). “Men Who Are Making America”. Leslie’s Weekly. p. 423. I am giving to the world, for the first time, the real story of how the famous Aldrich currency report, the foundation of our new currency system, was written.) and recalled by participant Frank Vanderlip as “the actual conception of what eventually became the Federal Reserve System”. (See:Vanderlip, Frank A. (1933-02-09). “From Farm Boy to Financier”. Saturday Evening Post. pp. 25, 70. Also, Vanderlip, Frank A. (1935). From Farm Boy to FinancierNew York City, New York: Appleton-Century Company. pp. 210–219. In Gurumurthy, S. (2007-12-28). “US Fed: an enigma wrapped in mystery”Business Line. Retrieved 2008-09-02.)

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c d Easter, Sean (March 26, 2011). “Who is G. Edward Griffin, Beck’s Expert on The Federal Reserve?”Media Matters for America. Retrieved 2015-03-10On his Fox News show, Glenn Beck presented Griffin as an authority on the history of the Federal Reserve System. Griffin has a history of holding and promoting various conspiracy hypotheses, whether founded or unfounded, that include notions that question the very existence of HIV/AIDS, as well as the view that the origin of cancer has to do with a specific dietary deficiency, and correspondingly, that cancer can be effectively cured with an ‘essential food compound’.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Paul Out to Slay The Creature from Jekyll Island”USA Daily. August 22, 2007. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-02Griffin, in ‘The Creature from Jekyll Island’ documents an organized and successful attempt to seize control over the U.S. monetary system by powerful American and European banking families. …
  3. Jump up^ Herbert V (May 1979). “Laetrile: the cult of cyanide. Promoting poison for profit”Am. J. Clin. Nutr32 (5): 1121–58. PMID 219680.
  4. Jump up^ Lerner IJ (February 1984). “The whys of cancer quackery”. Cancer53 (3 Suppl): 815–9. PMID 6362828doi:10.1002/1097-0142(19840201)53:3+<815::aid-cncr2820531334>3.0.co;2-u.
  5. Jump up to:a b “The Discovery of Noah’s Ark”. Reality Zone. Retrieved 2008-03-06This program was written and narrated by G. Edward Griffin.
  6. Jump up to:a b c Who’s Who in America 1994 (48th ed.). Marquis Who’s Who. December 1993.
  7. Jump up^ “G. Edward Griffin”IMDB. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
  8. Jump up^ “G. Edward Griffin”WorldCat. Retrieved 2015-03-11.
  9. Jump up to:a b “T.O.’s Griffin All Booked Up With Writing, Film Projects”Daily News of Los Angeles. May 22, 1995. Retrieved 2008-02-29G. Edward Griffin, author and documentary film producer, calls himself ‘a plain vanilla researcher and writer.’ But the projects he has completed don’t deal with ‘vanilla’ subjects. They concern the Federal Reserve, the Supreme Court, cancer and even Noah’s ark. Perhaps a better description of Griffin is one he also admits to – ‘Crusader Rabbit’. …
  10. Jump up^ Aune, James Arnt (2001). Selling the Free Market: The Rhetoric of Economic Correctness. Guilford Press. pp. 140–1. ISBN 1-57230-757-9.
  11. Jump up^ Steele, Karen Dorn; Morlin, Bill (2000-09-02). “Get-rich pitch ‘bogus’: Seven states have determined Global Prosperity is an illegal pyramid scheme”The Spokesman Review. Archived from the original on 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2008-03-05.
  12. Jump up^ Sayre, Nora (1996). Sixties Going on SeventiesRutgers University Press. p. 98. ISBN 0-8135-2193-9In a wonderful lecture by G. Edward Griffin, slides and diagrams of triangles and arrows and circles show how the Conspiracy learned its techniques from the 18th Century Freemasons of Europe. …
  13. Jump up^ Stone, Barbara S. (February 1974). “The John Birch Society: A Profile”. The Journal of Politics36 (1): 184–197. JSTOR 2129115doi:10.2307/2129115.
  14. Jump up^ Bourgoin, Suzanne Michele; Byers, Paula K. (1998). Encyclopedia of World BiographyGaleISBN 0-7876-2556-6.
  15. Jump up^ Thornton, James (1993-12-13). “Remembering Robert Welch”John Birch Society. Retrieved 2008-03-06We invite you to learn more about him by reading The Life and Words of Robert Welch by G. Edward Griffin. …
  16. Jump up to:a b c Heidi Beirich. “Midwifing the Militias: Jekyll Island Gathering Recalls Another” (Spring 2010, Issue 137). Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2015-03-11G. Edward Griffin, who helped organize the Jekyll Island gathering, may have been more revealing. Griffin, who wrote a scathing 1994 attack on the Fed published by the anti-communist John Birch Society and also a sympathetic biography of the group’s founder, was the first to speak at the meeting. He told conferees that merely putting ‘large numbers of people in the street’ was not enough. ‘We must,’ he said, ‘achieve power’.
  17. Jump up^ Thomas, Kenn (2002). Popular Paranoia: A Steamshovel Press Anthology. Adventures Unlimited Press. p. 298. ISBN 1-931882-06-1.
  18. Jump up^ “Bestselling business books”. Calgary Herald. 2006-07-04. p. F5.
  19. Jump up^ “Best-selling business books, April 14”Rocky Mountain News. 2007-04-14. Archived from the original on 2008-09-27. Retrieved 2008-02-2910. The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve: G. Edward Griffin. American Media. $24.50. …
  20. Jump up^ Paul listed Griffin’s book on his “Reading List for a Free and Prosperous America”. See: Paul, Ron (2007-04-30). The Revolution: A ManifestoNew York City, NY: Grand Central Publishing. pp. 169–70. ISBN 0-446-53751-9.
  21. Jump up^ Flaherty, Edward. “Debunking the Federal Reserve Conspiracy Theories: Myth #1: The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was crafted by Wall Street bankers and a few senators in a secret meeting.”Somerville, MassachusettsPolitical Research Associates. Retrieved 2008-05-10G. Edward Griffin lays out this conspiratorial version of history in his book The Creature from Jekyll Island. Mainstream-approved academics have viscerally criticized the very nature of his research as “highly suspect”, his methods of research as “amateurish, and his controversial historical conclusions by referring to them as “utterly preposterous” however. … …
  22. Jump up to:a b c Lagnado, Lucette (2000-03-22). “Laetrile Makes a Comeback Selling to Patients Online”Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  23. Jump up^ “Controversial Cancer Drug Laetrile Enters Political Realms”Middlesboro Daily News. 1977-08-10. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  24. Jump up^ “New Library Books”BooksGrand Forks Herald. 2003-07-13. p. 4. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  25. Jump up^ Kenadjian, Berdj (2006). From Darkness to Light. Zakarian, Martin, illus. (2d ed.). Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-933538-24-2. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
  26. Jump up^ Milazzo, Stefania; Horneber, Markus (2015-04-28). “Laetrile treatment for cancer”The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4): CD005476. ISSN 1469-493XPMID 25918920doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005476.pub4.
  27. Jump up^ Nightingale SL (1984). “Laetrile: the regulatory challenge of an unproven remedy”Public Health Rep99 (4): 333–8. PMC 1424606Freely accessiblePMID 6431478.
  28. Jump up^ Landau, Emanuel (July 1976). World without Cancer; the Story of Vitamin B17 (PDF). American Journal of Public Health66(7): 696. ISSN 0090-0036doi:10.2105/AJPH.66.7.696-a. Retrieved 2008-03-05The author maintains that the missing food nutrient is part of the nitriloside family which is found particularly in the seeds of the fruit family containing bitter almond …
  29. Jump up^ Jones, Marianna (1976-10-11). “Cure or fraud?”Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  30. Jump up^ “The Cancer Cure Foundation”. The Cancer Cure Foundation. Retrieved 2015-03-11This website provides an unbiased analysis of the major alternative-cancer clinics, treatments and therapies. It explains the theories of how these treatments work and where to locate doctors, practitioners and natural-health clinics. It also provides case histories of patients who have benefited from these non-conventional approaches.
  31. Jump up^ “Chemtrails – Conspiracy Theory?”. Australian Science. December 28, 2012. Retrieved 2015-03-11The filmmakers bring in advocate and conspiracist G. Edward Griffin to join this chemtrail crusade. He talks about how chemtrails don’t dissipate; that a permanent grid hangs over cities like Los Angeles.

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G._Edward_Griffin

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017, Story 1: Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irma is History — Storm Surge and Rain Floods Jacksonville, Miami, Naples , Charleston and Many Others –Wind and Flood Damage In Billions — More Than 25 Dead and Over 7 Million Without Electrical Power — Looting — Videos — Story 2: Bannon on Sixty Minutes — Republican Leadership Promises Not Kept — Firing of FBI Director Comey — A Big Mistake — DACA May Lead To Republican Civil War — Videos

Posted on September 11, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Climate Change, Comedy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Eugenics, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Gangs, Government, Government Spending, Health, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, National Interest, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Social Networking, Social Security, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Uncategorized, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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MOST SHOCKING : Live Footage as Hurricane Irma SLAMS Florida , #irma, #hurricane irma florida

LOOTERS IN THE HURRICANE : MOST CRAZIEST Footage EVER Of Florida Hurricane Irma (SEP. 10, 2017)

Hurricane Irma: Nearly half of Florida in the dark, Tampa takes pounding

The hurricane’s maximum sustained winds weakened to 85 mph with additional weakening expected. As of 2 a.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 25 miles northeast of Tampa and moving north-northwest near 15 mph.

Irma continues its slog north along Florida’s western coast having blazed a path of unknown destruction. With communication cut to some of the Florida Keys, where Irma made landfall Sunday, and rough conditions persisting across the peninsula, many are holding their breath for what daylight might reveal.

Forecasters say they expert Irma’s center to stay inland over Florida and then move into Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

They also expect Irma to weaken further into a tropical storm over far northern Florida or southern Georgia on Monday as it speeds up its forward motion. The hurricane center says the storm is still life-threatening with dangerous storm surge, wind and heavy rains.

More than 3.3 million homes and businesses — and counting — have lost power in Florida as Hurricane Irma moves up the peninsula.

The widespread outages stretch from the Florida Keys all the way into central Florida.

Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest electric utility, said there were nearly 1 million customers without power in Miami-Dade County alone.

There are roughly 7 million residential customers in the state.

The county administrator in the Florida Keys says crews will begin house to house searches Monday morning, looking for people who need help and assessing damage from Hurricane Irma.

Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi says relief will arrive on a C-130 military plane Monday morning at the Key West International Airport.

Once it’s light out, they’ll check on survivors. They suspect they may find fatalities.

Gastesi says they are “prepared for the worst.”

Hurricane Irma made landfall Sunday morning in Cudjoe Key.

But The Associated Press has been texting with John Huston, who has been riding out the storm in his house on Key Largo, on the Atlantic side of the island, just south of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Every few minutes during the height of the storm, he sent another dispatch.

He described whiteout conditions, with howling winds that sucked dry the gulf side of the narrow island, where the tide is usually 8 feet deep. He kept his humor though, texting to “send cold beer” at one point. Now he sees furniture floating down the street with small boats.

He says the storm surge was at least 6 feet deep on his island, 76 miles from Irma’s eye. He can see now that structures survived, but the storm left a big mess at ground level.

Irma set all sorts of records for brute strength before crashing into Florida, flattening islands in the Caribbean and swamping the Florida Keys.

It finally hit the mainland as a big wide beast, but not quite as monstrous as once feared. The once-Category 5 storm lost some of its power on the northern Cuba coast.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_HURRICANE_IRMA_THE_LATEST?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-09-11-07-05-11

Florida picks up the pieces of Irma’s devastation: 7.2million left without power and at least seven dead after hurricane beat a path across the state before being downgraded to a tropical storm

  • Irma weakened to a tropical storm on Monday, as it continued to pummel northern Florida 
  • The storm is expected to move into Georgia later today, where Atlanta has been put on a tropical storm warning for the first time ever and schools are closed for the day 
  • More than 4,000 flights were cancelled on Monday, mostly out of Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa’s airports  
  • About 7.2 million people are without power and it could take a few days to by fully restored 
  • Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys early Sunday morning then pushed up the Gulf Coast
  • The National Hurricane Center said water levels in Naples rose 7ft in just 90 minutes with substantial flooding
  • Seven deaths reported in Florida so far but officials admit they do not have a definitive number of fatalities yet
  • The storm has toppled cranes, swallowed streets and ripped the roofs off homes  
  • Nearly seven million people had been told to leave their homes in mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders
  • More than 200,000 people waited in shelters statewide as Irma headed up the coast 
  • The storm has already claimed at least 25 lives across the Caribbean since it took hold earlier in the week 

The first Floridians are returning home today to survey the damage wreaked by Hurricane Irma.

The powerful hurricane made landfall Sunday morning in the Florida Keys as a category 4 storm and then made it’s way up the Golf Coast – knocking out power to some 7.2million people in the southeast, swamping downtown Miami with storm surge and blowing the roofs off homes.

More than 200,000 people waited in shelters statewide as Irma headed up the coast.

As of Monday morning, the storm was still pummeling northern Florida but had been downgraded to a tropical storm. Irma’s maximum sustained winds were down to 60 mph as the storm was about 50 miles south-southeast of Albany’ Georgia Monday afternoon. It’s moving at 17 mph.

Northern Florida and southern Georgia should keep getting soaked, with rain totals eventually accumulating to 8 to 15 inches. Isolated parts of central Georgia, eastern Alabama and southern South Carolina may get up to 10 inches of rain.

So far, the storm is believed to have caused seven deaths – including two in the Florida Keys, which was under mandatory evacuation.

But this morning, Florida Director of Emergency Management Bryan Koon said he could not confirm or deny reports of multiple deaths or extensive damage, admitting: ‘I don’t have any numbers on fatalities at this point.’

Scroll down for video 

A person walks through the flooded streets of a trailer park in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Monday in Key Largo, Florida

Marie Powell surveys damage to her property at a mobile home park after Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S. September 11, 2017

Tommy Nevitt carries Miranda Abbott, 6, through floodwater caused by Hurricane Irma on the west side of Jacksonville, Florida on Monday

Debris from destroyed mobile sit in the Naples Estates mobile home park in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida Monday, September 11, 2017

Kelly McClenthen returns to see the flood damage to her home with her boyfriend Daniel Harrison in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Bonita Springs, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

Wrecked boats that have come ashore are pictured in Coconut Grove following Hurricane Irma in Miami, Florida, U.S., September 11, 2017

The Sunrise Motel remains flooded after Hurricane Irma hit the area on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

Water rises in a neighborhood after Hurricane Irma brought floodwaters to Jacksonville, Florida Monday, September 11, 2017

Floodwaters surround a marina in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Monday in Key Largo, Florida 

Floodwaters surround a marina in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Monday in Key Largo, Florida

Hurricane Irma will cross into Georgia on Monday, bringing heavy wind and rain to the state 

A van remains in a sinkhole on Monday  in Winter Springs, Florida after Hurricane Irma passed through the state

People walk around branches and trees that were downed when hurricane Irma passed through Miami, Florida on Monday

A man walks by damage from Hurricane Irma at Sundance Marine in Palm Shores, Florida, Monday, September 11, 2017

Boats sit on the bottom in the north Florida panhandle community of Shell Point Beach as Hurricane Irma pulls the water out September 11, 2017 in Crawfordville, Florida

Downed power lines are seen in Bonita Springs, Florida, northeast of Naples, on September 11, 2017 after Hurricane Irma hit Florida

The roof of a gas station is shown damaged by Hurricane Irma winds on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

A gas station is shown damaged by Hurricane Irma winds on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

Pedestrians try to walk as waves crash at The Battery as Tropical Storm Irma hits Charleston, South Carolina on Monday

This satellite image shows Tropical Storm Irma as it moves up Florida's West Coast Monday morning

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says there’s damage across the state caused by Hurricane Irma and it’s still too dangerous for residents to go outside or return from evacuation.

Scott said Monday on Fox News that he’s concerned about flooding now unfolding in Jacksonville and the amount of damage in the Florida Keys. The governor will be flying out of Mobile, Alabama, on a U.S. Coast Guard plane down to the Keys where he plans to inspect the extent of the damage there.

Scott asked Floridians to be patient and warned that roads are impassable and that there are downed power lines.

A Fort Lauderdale police officer holds the paw of his K-9 as the two take a nap during the storm on Sunday 

While Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm over Florida, it still has winds near hurricane force.

Jacksonville, Florida, authorities are telling residents near the St. Johns river to leave quickly as floodwaters rise.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office warned people in evacuation zones A and B along the St. Johns River to ‘Get out NOW.’

They say river is at historic flood levels and likely to get worse at high tide around 2pm.

On its Facebook page, the sheriff’s office told those who need help evacuating to ‘put a white flag in front of your house. A t-shirt, anything white.’

Rescue teams were ready to deploy.

The storm surge flooding in downtown Jacksonville has already exceeded a record set during a 1965 hurricane by at least a foot. A river gauge downtown in the Atlantic Coast city measured 3 feet above flood stage.

John Ward, the emergency operations manager of Clay County, says crews have pulled 46 people from flooded homes by early Monday and an undetermined number are still stranded as the area’s creeks and ponds are getting record flooding.

Ward says between 400 and 500 homes received severe flood damage but there have been no serious injuries or deaths.

To the south, winds knocked a utility pole and power lines onto a sheriff’s cruiser late Sunday in Polk County, illustrating the dangerous conditions for emergency personnel. A deputy and a paramedic, who had just escorted an elderly patient to safety, were trapped for two hours until a crew could free them. Both were unhurt.

Property damage is seen at a mobile home park after Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S. September 11, 2017

A man walks through a flooded street in a rural area the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

A tree blocks a road after it was downed by winds from Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

People take photos of boats that have come ashore in Coconut Grove following Hurricane Irma in Miami, Florida, on Monday

Partially submerged boats caused by Hurricane Irma sit in the water in a marina in downtown Miami, Florida on Monday

People wade through a flooded neighborhood in Bonita Springs, Florida, northeast of Naples, on September 11, 2017, after Hurricane Irma hit Florida

People wade through a flooded neighborhood in Bonita Springs, Florida, northeast of Naples, on September 11, 2017, after Hurricane Irma hit Florida

Kelly McClenthen walks through her flooded neighborhood, as she returns to see the damage to her home in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Bonita Springs, Florida on Monday

A boat is seen washed ashore at the Dinner Key marina after hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

Street flooding is prevalent on the Southbank of downtown as Hurricane Irma passes by in Jacksonville, Florida on Monday

A fire truck is shown in a flooded area in the wake of Hurricane Irma on Monday in Key Largo, Florida 

The entirety of the Florida Keys was under evacuation during Irma but an estimated 10,000 stuck around to weather the storm 

Above, another flooded neighborhood in Key Largo, Florida on Monday 

A pickup truck drives through a flooded area of Key Largo, Florida on Monday 

The winds ripped the roofs off of these two homes in Key Largo, Florida, as seen on Monday

The heavy winds left many of the trees in Key Largo, Florida barren after the storm 

And more than 120 homes were being evacuated early Monday in Orange County, just outside the city of Orlando, as floodwaters started to pour in. Firefighters and the National Guard were going door-to-door and using boats to ferry families to safety. A few miles away, 30 others had to be evacuated when a 60-foot sinkhole opened up under an apartment building. No injuries were reported in either case.

Much of central Florida, including Orlando, suffered significant damage as Irma blew through Sunday night and into Monday morning.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said Monday morning that there’s been widespread damage and significant power loss throughout the area.

Jacobs said approximately 300,000 residents in Orlando are without power. She also said 60 per cent of the fire stations are operating on backup generators and dispatchers received 1,381 calls between Sunday at midnight and 5:45 a.m. Monday morning.

Residents are being asked to minimize usage such as flushing toilets, bathing, along with washing dishes and laundry.

SeaTow workers attempt to save a damaged motor yacht in the Pompano Beach, Florida on Monday, following the passing of Hurricane Irma

A driver guides his pickup truck through a neighborhood flooded by Hurricane Irma on Monday in Bonita Springs, Florida

A driver guides his pickup truck through a neighborhood flooded by Hurricane Irma on Monday in Bonita Springs, Florida

A man walks through Hurricane Irma floodwaters on Monday in Bonita Springs, Florida

A man walks through Hurricane Irma floodwaters on Monday in Bonita Springs, Florida

People move around branches and trees that were downed when hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

People move around branches and trees that were downed when hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

A boat is seen washed ashore at the Dinner Key marina after hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

A boat is seen washed ashore at the Dinner Key marina after hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

ouis Castro picks up a coconut downed by the winds of Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

ouis Castro picks up a coconut downed by the winds of Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

Members of the Bonita Springs Fire Department set off to survey damage in a flooded neighborhood in Bonita Springs, Florida, northeast of Naples, on September 11, 2017 after Hurricane Irma hit Florida

Members of the Bonita Springs Fire Department set off to survey damage in a flooded neighborhood in Bonita Springs, Florida, northeast of Naples, on September 11, 2017 after Hurricane Irma hit Florida

A woman walks past trees downed by the winds of Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

A woman walks past trees downed by the winds of Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

Some street flooding persists on Biscayne Boulevard after Hurricane Irma struck in Miami, Florida, USA, 11 September 2017

In Redington Shores west of Tampa, attorney Carl Roberts spent a sleepless night riding out Irma in his 17th floor beachfront condo. After losing power late Sunday, he made it through the worst of the storm shaken but unhurt.

‘The hurricane winds lashed the shutters violently, throughout the night,’ he wrote in a text message, ‘making sleep impossible.’

As morning broke, he couldn’t open the electric shutters to see outside.

‘It’s so dark in here,’ he said.

Nearly 5.8 million homes and businesses across Florida lost power, and utility officials said it will take weeks to restore electricity to everyone. More than 125,000 were in the dark in Georgia.

Downtown Savannah was getting soaked Monday morning, with winds just strong enough to rustle treetops and shake small branches onto the roads. Impacts from the storm were expected throughout the day.

People walk through flooded streets the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

A Miami Beach Police officer watches residents attempting to return to their homes after Hurricane Irma struck in Miami, Florida, USA, 11 September 2017

Mike Getman (left) and Rob Beaton (right), residents of the north Florida community of Shell Point Beach, walk the newly exposed Gulf bottom as Hurricane Irma pulls the water out on September 11, 2017 in Crawfordville, Florida

Neighbors emerge from their homes to get a first look at the damage to their neighborhood caused by Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Fort Meade, Florida

A women stands near trees downed by Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

A women stands near trees downed by Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

Zachary Harrison, his fiance Cheyanne O'Donnell and their three children, Jaiden, 14, Jackson, 9, and Ella, 10-months, get their first look at the damage to their neighborhood caused by Hurricane Irma on Monday in Fort Meade, Florida

A large tree is seen laying on top of a home after high winds from Hurricane Irma came through the area on Monday in Fort Meade, Florida

A large tree is seen laying on top of a home after high winds from Hurricane Irma came through the area on Monday in Fort Meade, Florida

The National Weather Service said the threat of storm surge had decreased Monday along Georgia’s 100 miles of coast, but flooding rains could still cause swollen rivers, streams and creeks to overflow.

Officials say at least one tornado has been reported in coastal Georgia as strong winds and drenching rains from Tropical Storm Irma hammer the state.

The National Weather Service also issued a flash-flood emergency for Charleston,  South Carolina as heavy rains begin to move into areas already flooding by ocean surge from Tropical Storm Irma.

Irma has now knocked out power to around 190,000 customers in South Carolina.

Firefighters on one of South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island are staying inside until the worst weather from Tropical Storm Irma passes.

Irma’s center was about 105 miles north of Tampa when forecasters announced it had weakened to a tropical storm. However, they warned its maximum sustained winds were 70 mph, and the storm was still producing higher gusts.

The monster storm, which arrived in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, has toppled at least three constructions cranes – two over downtown Miami and one in Fort Lauderdale.

People in the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area had feared a first direct hit from a major hurricane since 1921, but the storm weakened to a Category 2 as it approached that area.

A Florida Highway Patrol vehicle drives by part of a roof and ceiling torn off of a nearby home from the high winds from Hurricane Irma at an intersection on September 11, 2017 in Bowling Green, Florida

A Florida Highway Patrol vehicle drives by part of a roof and ceiling torn off of a nearby home from the high winds from Hurricane Irma at an intersection on September 11, 2017 in Bowling Green, Florida

A car sits in a flooded parking lot outside the Germain Arena, which was used as an evacuation shelter for Hurricane Irma, which passed through yesterday, in Estero, Florida on Monday

A car sits in a flooded parking lot outside the Germain Arena, which was used as an evacuation shelter for Hurricane Irma, which passed through yesterday, in Estero, Florida on Monday

Above, another view of downed trees in Miami, Florida on Monday  

Above, another view of downed trees in Miami, Florida on Monday

A couple leave their flooded home the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Fort Myers, Florida

A couple leave their flooded home the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Fort Myers, Florida

A home with a religious message taped to the front door sits apparently undamaged just hours after Hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Fort Meade, Florida

A home with a religious message taped to the front door sits apparently undamaged just hours after Hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Fort Meade, Florida

Cars make their away through a flooded street the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

Hurricane Irma whips an aluminum carport in the north Florida panhandle community of Shell Point Beach on Monday

Above, the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Florida 

A fallen palm tree and a roof litters a street as Rick Freedman checks his neighborhood's damage from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Florida on Monday

The front staircase sits damaged as Rick Freedman surveys the aftermath on his home with his parrot Mango from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Florida on Monday

Hotel guests are served breakfast by lamplight as the power remains off at the Courtyard by Marriott one day after Hurricane Irma struck the state on Monday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the situation was not as bad as it could have been, but warned residents that dangerous storm surge continued. He also described downed power lines and other debris.

Speaking Monday morning on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe,’ Buckhorn said ‘What we thought was going to be a punch in the face was a glancing blow.’

Buckhorn did say there are a lot of downed power lines and debris.

He said Tampa’s officials have vehicles positioned ‘to be sure that when that surge comes in we can keep people out of the streets.’

He said he expected power to be out for some sections of Tampa for at least a couple more days.

Meanwhile, rescue efforts ramped up in the evacuated neighborhood near Orlando as Guardsmen in helmets and fatigues rolled through standing water in a high-clearance vehicle. Firefighters rescued a puppy from one of the homes there and leashed the anxious dog to the front of one of their trucks to give it water and snacks.

As the sun rose in Orlando, many tried to survey the damage, but authorities warned that conditions remain dangerous and asked people not to venture outside because of a curfew.

Sedat Esenbahar carries his bird Maxiy after checking out of at the Courtyard by Marriott, where he stayed during Hurricane Irma on Monday

Sedat Esenbahar carries his bird Maxiy after checking out of at the Courtyard by Marriott, where he stayed during Hurricane Irma on Monday

Seat Turtle Overshight Protection co-founder Richard WhiteCloud works to recover and re-bury sea turtle eggs that were destroyed during Hurricane Irma along Fort Lauderdale Beach on Monday 

Seat Turtle Overshight Protection co-founder Richard WhiteCloud works to recover and re-bury sea turtle eggs that were destroyed during Hurricane Irma along Fort Lauderdale Beach on Monday

A bicycle rack is half buried in blown sand at Fort Lauderdale Beach the day after Hurricane Irma slammed into the state on Monday

A homeless man lays on a bench on Historic River Street on Monday in Savannah, Georgia 

Evacuees, from left, Dennis Larios, Odaliz Larios, Jennifer Larios and Kevin Renoso, wait to leave the Germain Arena, which was used as an evacuation shelter for Hurricane Irma, which passed through yesterday, in Estero, Florida on Monday

Tony Lobato works on removing tree branches and debris downed in the early morning hours by Hurricane Irma from his home on September 11, 2017 in Bowling Green, Florida

Tony Lobato works on removing tree branches and debris downed in the early morning hours by Hurricane Irma from his home on September 11, 2017 in Bowling Green, Florida

Sam Parish wades through a flooded neighborhood in Bonita Springs, Florida, northeast of Naples, on September 11, 2017 after Hurricane Irma hit Florida

Miami downtown residents return home after evacuating before Hurricane Irma struck in Miami, Florida, USA, 11 September 2017

Road crews clear debris after Hurricane Irma passed through on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

A woman walks past trees downed by the winds of Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

Kristen Bell sings for Hurricane Irma evacuees

Actress Kristen Bell says she’s ‘singing in a hurricane’ while riding out Irma in Florida.

The ‘Frozen’ star is in Orlando filming a movie and staying at a hotel at the Walt Disney World resort. She stopped by an Orlando middle school that was serving as a shelter and belted out songs from ‘Frozen.’

Back at the hotel, Bell posted pictures on Instagram of her singing with one guest and dining with a group of seniors.

Bell also helped out the parents of ‘Frozen’ co-star Josh Gad by securing them a room at the hotel.

Bell tells Sacramento, California, station KMAX-TV – where her father is news director – that the experience is her version of one of her favorite movies, ‘Singin’ in the Rain.’

Actress Kristen Bell performed at a shelter during Hurricane Irma on Sunday, belting out songs from the movie Frozen

Irma has so far claimed seven lives so far in the U.S.

Two of the people killed were in Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys. One of the bodies was found in a Shark Key home while another man was killed when he lost control of a truck carrying a generator.

A sheriff’s deputy and corrections officer were killed in a two-car crash in Hardee county during heavy rains.

Hardee County Sheriff’s deputy and mother-of-one Julie Bridges and Hardee Correctional Institute sergeant Joseph Ossman crashed and died around 60 miles from Saratosa.

Another victim was killed in Miami-Dade county from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator while one person died in a car crash in Orange County.

Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Catherine Howden said Monday that one storm-related death has been confirmed in Worth County, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) south of Atlanta. She had no further details.

In the Caribbean, at least 37 were people were killed during Irma’s destructive trek across exclusive islands known as the vacation playground for the rich. Ten of those deaths were in Cube.

Randy Bresnik took this picture of Hurricane Jose's eye from the International Space Station

Hurricane Irma, taken by NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, seen from the International Space Station.

INSIDE THE EYE OF HURRICANE JOSE – Taken by Randy Bresnik aboard the ISS – ‘A walk inside the Eye of #Jose. Just amazing to see through the eye to the surface!’

Bridges, one of the people killed during the hurricane, had been collecting supplies to keep helping civilians when she collided with Ossman, 53, who had been going to work.

‘She worked the shelter all night and was going home to retrieve some more items and then go back to the shelter,’ Hardee County Sheriff Arnold Lanier told the Herald-Advocate.

The wreck was reported at 6.53am, having been found at the intersection of Old Crewsville Road and SR 66 in Zolfo Springs. No other vehicles or people were involved.

Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the incident, and has not yet ruled whether the winds and rain caused by Irma at the time of the crash directly influenced the accident.

Bridges was a mother of an eight-year-old boy and a member of the sheriff’s Honor Guard. Ossman, meanwhile, had been working at the Hardee Correctional Institute for 21 years.

‘We are heartbroken by this loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and fellow officers at this time,’ Corrections Secretary Julie Jones told the Miami Herald.

They were not the only people to die amid the deluge.

Evacuees leave the Germain Arena, which was used as an evacuation shelter for Hurricane Irma, which passed through yesterday, in Estero, Florida on Monday

Tony Loduca walks back to his apartment past a roof whose tiles where torn off from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Florida on Monday

A roof is strewn across a home's lawn as Rick Freedman checks his neighbor's damage from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Florida on Monday
A roof is strewn across a home’s lawn as Rick Freedman checks his neighbor’s damage from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Florida on Monday

Brian Baker, of Valrico, Florida, cuts up an Oak tree that fell across Falling Leaves Drive after Hurricane Irma passed through the area on Monday in Valrico, Florida

Wind from Hurricane Irma whip the flags on City Hall, Monday, Sept., 11, 2017, in Savannah, Georgia
Wind from Hurricane Irma whip the flags on City Hall, Monday, Sept., 11, 2017, in Savannah, Georgia

A large tree is seen laying in the front yard of a home after high winds from Hurricane Irma came through the area on Monday in Fort Meade, Florida 

Ducks swim through a street the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida. Hurricane Irma made another landfall near Naples yesterday after inundating the Florida Keys

People inspect their neighborhood that was flooded by Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

Men clear debris from a roadway the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

Another man was killed after tropical-storm-strength winds caused him to lose control of the truck he was driving through Monroe County, which contains Key West. He had been carrying a generator, local officials told ABC News.

And an elderly man died of natural causes while sheltering in a school in the city of Marathon on the Keys, Larry Kahn, an editor for FlKeysNews.com, said.

‘He was staying in one of the classrooms,’ Khan explained. ‘Police came up, along with a couple of nurses who are here, actually, got everyone out of the room and sealed it off.’

Those deaths come after Irma claimed at least 25 lives in the Caribbean as it swept over several countries, destroying entire islands. Yesterday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that the confirmed death toll on the Caribbean island of St Maarten had increased to four.

In one of the largest U.S. evacuations, nearly 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to seek shelter, including 6.4 million in Florida alone. More than 200,000 people waited in shelters across Florida.

An overnight curfew was imposed in Miami to stop opportunistic looters taking advantage of the countless coastal homes that now stand abandoned.

But at least 32 people have been arrested across Florida for trying to loot the empty businesses and homes.

Two people burst into an Orlando sporting store and allegedly stole guns, before facing off with SWAT in a standoff. Shocking videos also emerged of gangs trying to break into stores and take advantage of deserted properties.

Bryan Koon, Florida’s emergency management director, said late Sunday that authorities had only scattered information about damage.

‘I’ve not heard of catastrophic damage. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It means it hasn’t gotten to us yet,’ Koon said.

Pedestrians walk by a flooded car on a street as Tropical Storm Irma hits Charleston, South Carolina on Monday 

A pet owner protects her dog as pedestrians prepare for waves crashing over The Battery as Hurricane Irma hits Charleston, South Carolina on Monday

Mattson Wiksell picks up debris at Waterfront Park as Hurricane Irma hits Charleston, South Carolina on Monday

Mattson Wiksell picks up debris at Waterfront Park as Hurricane Irma hits Charleston, South Carolina on Monday

A man takes pictures as people prepare for huge wave crashing over The Battery as Hurricane Irma hits Charleston, South Carolina on Monday

In the low-lying Keys, appliances and furniture were seen floating away, and Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark said the ocean waters were filled with navigation hazards, including sunken boats.

The county administrator, Roman Gastesi, said crews would begin house-to-house searches Monday morning to check on survivors. They suspect they may find fatalities. Gastesi says they are ‘prepared for the worst.’

About 30,000 people heeded orders to leave the Keys as the storm closed in, but about 10,000 refused, in part because, to many storm-hardened residents, staying behind in the face of danger is a point of pride.

Koon said it was likely they did not have power or water and that there would have been ‘fairly significant impact to homes’.

‘It is obvious we need to get in there, assess the damage and figure out what we need to do for helping those folks,’ he said.

John Huston, who stayed in his Key Largo home, watched his yard flood even before the arrival of high tide.

‘Small boats floating down the street next to furniture and refrigerators. Very noisy,’ he said by text message. ‘Shingles are coming off.’

As the nation’s eyes turned to follow Irma up the west coast of Florida, the Keys began to take in the immensity of the damage done.

Another victim of the storm was claimed when his truck (pictured) was swept off the road and into a tree in Monroe County. He has not yet been named

People drive through a neighborhood that was flooded by Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Bonita Springs, Florida

Workers from Orange County rescue make a final check of an area on a flooded street after they were called to rescue residents from their homes during Hurricane Irma on Monday in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

An abandoned car that was stranded in storm surge remains on North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard one day after Hurricane Irma slamed into the southern part of the state on September 11, 2017

Florida responded with the launch of a massive airborne relief mission by Monroe County Emergency Management, whose director, Martin Senterfitt, called the damage done to the Keys a ‘humanitarian crisis.’

He promised disaster mortuary teams, as well as C-130 cargo planes, which United States Air Force special operations pilots are testing flights around the massive storm. Also on the mission will be Air National Guard flights of more C-130s, backed up by squadrons of helicopters. They are expected to start arriving early Monday morning.

The first load will head to Florida Keys Marathon Airport. As it can handle about two C-130 planes at a time, the plan is to land two every two hours, keeping a steady flow of good.

‘The help is on its way,’ Senterfitt said, adding: ‘We’re going to get more aid than we’ve ever seen in our lives.’

It has been difficult to determine the extent of damage Hurricane Irma caused in the Florida Keys due to difficulties with communication.

The Navy is sending an aircraft carrier to Key West to provide emergency services.

An update from Monroe County describes ‘an astounding recovery effort’ taking place in the Florida Keys.

The USS Lincoln aircraft carrier will be anchored off Key West to provide emergency services, and three other Navy vessels are en route.

Officials said the National Guard has arrived in the island chain, and state transportation officials have cleared six of 42 bridges as safe for travel. However, roads remain closed because of debris, and fuel is still a concern. There is no water, power or cell service in the Keys.

Irma once was the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, a Category 5 with a peak wind speed of 185 mph (300 kph). For days, forecasters had warned Irma was taking dead aim at Florida. Irma made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday morning at Cudjoe Key, not far from Key West. It then rounded Florida’s southwestern corner and hugged the coast closely as it pushed north.

Meanwhile, an Atlanta airport official says there’ve been around 800 cancellations due to the threat of Irma, which weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport spokesman Andrew Gobeil says the airport will still be operational Monday and will monitor storm conditions.

Gobeil says the airport created an overflow parking plan to allow planes unable to land in areas such as Florida to park at the airport in Atlanta.

Miami International Airport has announced it will be closed today and there has been no confirmation flights will resume on Tuesday.

Orlando International Airport closed Saturday and won’t reopen to passenger traffic until after Irma has passed, a damage assessment has been completed, necessary recovery efforts made and the airlines are consulted to determine when best to resume operations.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport says on its website it has no timetable yet to reopen. Its last flights were Friday. Tampa International Airport also is closed as Hurricane Irma moves up the Florida peninsula.

Airlines are preparing their recovery schedules, which may take several days to execute.

As the remnants of Hurricane Irma move out of Florida, work is underway to resupply the state with gasoline. Hurricane Irma caused a huge spike in gasoline demand as residents evacuated, topped of their tanks, and/or filled gas cans to power generators. This led to outages at various gas stations throughout Florida and neighboring states, and it could take a week for supply conditions to return to normal.

Suppliers face an uphill battle in the coming days, trying to keep gas stations supplied, as Florida evacuees return home in large numbers after the storm. Gas stations not located along major highways should have an easier time keeping supplies, as residents are no longer ‘panic pumping’, since the storm is no longer a threat. Refueling gas stations along major evacuation routes will be a top priority, as it was before the storm. Motorists are still likely to find long lines, which could lead to temporary outages, due to the surge in demand.

Heavy westbound traffic comes to a stop at a back up on I-4 near the Celebration exit as Florida residents attempt to make their way back home after evacuating Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Steve Slonan inspects a friend's home after Hurricane Irma hit the area on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

: A man walks through a flooded street in a rural part of Naples the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

A family leaves their flooded home in a rural area the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the area on September 11, 2017 in Naples, Florida

A home is shown damaged after Hurricane Irma hit the area on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

A home is shown damaged after Hurricane Irma hit the area on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

A home is shown damaged after Hurricane Irma hit the area on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

A home is shown damaged after Hurricane Irma hit the area on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

A swamped boat off Watson Island marina after Hurricane Irma struck in Miami, Florida, USA, 11 September 2017

A damaged boat is seen at the Dinner Key marina after Hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

‘Florida evacuees should plan their return home very carefully,’ said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. ‘First, ensure you know there are no major hazards at home or along your travel route. Expect congestion on the roadways, as the first few days after the storm will be the busiest. Pay close attention to traffic reports. Ensure you have a full tank of gas before you hit the road. Do not let your fuel gauge fall below a quarter tank before you start looking for a place to refuel. Bring a gas can in case you run out of fuel. It is not safe to drive with a full gas can inside an enclosed vehicle.’

President Donald Trump said last night that the U.S. may have gotten a ‘little bit lucky’ after Hurricane Irma veered from its original course and headed west along Florida’s coast.

He said Irma might not have been quite as destructive as a result, but that things will play out over the next several hours. Trump added that Irma would cost ‘a lot of money’ but he wasn’t thinking about that because ‘right now, we’re worried about lives, not cost.’

He declared a major disaster in the state of Florida, making federal aid available to people affected by Hurricane Irma in nine counties already hit by the storm.

The federal help includes temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans for uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover in the counties of Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, and Sarasota.

Property damage is seen at a mobile home park after Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S. September 11, 2017

Property damage is seen at a mobile home park after Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S. September 11, 2017

Property damage is seen at a mobile home park after Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S. September 11, 2017

With no gas stations open anywhere in the area, motorists running low on fuel stop at an on ramp to westbound I-4 and get a few gallons of gas from Javier Franqui, a Florida Department of Transportation Road Ranger, on September 11, 2017 in Lake Helen, Florida

With no gas stations open anywhere in the area, motorists running low on fuel stop at an on ramp to westbound I-4 to refuel from tanks strapped to their vehicle's roof on September 11, 2017 in Lake Helen, Florida

Debris is shown strewn along a roadway in the wake of powerful Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Isamorada, a village encompassing six of the Florida Keys

A road is partially blocked by a tree downed in the high winds from Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida

Residents make their way across a flooded street after Hurricane Irma brought floodwaters to Jacksonville, Florida Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

Lawrence Buckmen rides his motorcycle through Hurricane Irma flood waters on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

Lawrence Buckmen rides his motorcycle through Hurricane Irma flood waters on September 11, 2017 in East Naples, Florida

The crumbled canopy of a gas station damaged by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida, U.S., September 11, 2017

A patient is evacuated by boat from the St. Vincent's Medical Center after floodwaters from Hurricane Irma covered the first floor of the hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

A patient is evacuated by boat from the St. Vincent’s Medical Center after floodwaters from Hurricane Irma covered the first floor of the hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

A lamp post is wrapped around a car in the wake of Hurricane Irma in Kissimmee, Florida September 11, 2017

Federal funding also is available to governments and non-profit organizations for emergencies in all 67 Florida counties. For the first 30 days, that money will cover 100 percent of the costs of some emergency responses.

As Irma swept over the country, people trapped in its midst told DailyMail.com of the drama they were enduring. One of them was lifelong Floridian Jacqueline Cobb of Pembroke Pines, which is near Miami.

She had been forced to bunker down in a school as it was the only shelter she could find for people with special needs, like her friend Stephen Herndon who has problems with his autonomic nervous system that can cause severe nosebleeds, fainting and overheating.

She had originally found a hotel for them to stay in, but it canceled their booking, saying that the lack of impact windows and a backup generator meant they had to shut down.

Cobb helped out as a Red Cross volunteer in Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but says Irma is on another level. ‘It was nothing like this, because Hurricane Andrew was a smaller, more compact hurricane, so you could get away from it,’ she said.

‘We did not feel the wrath, so to speak, in the northern part of the county, but in the southern part it was a battle field. It was completely decimated, some houses were completely destroyed, others were partially damaged.’

Cobb and her friend are safe in her shelter, but a shocking text message left her worried about her home and neighbors.

‘I received a code red tornado alert,’ she said. ‘I have a two-story townhouse and there is a three-and-a-half-ton air conditioner on the rooftop. I’m on a lake in the first house, so If the tornado rips that off, it will open up my house and let water into the building,’ she said.

Heavy rainfall is predicted to continue falling through Tuesday, even as Irma moves on, breaks up and dissipates

Also in the line of the storm was British tourist Stephanie Jay, who took shelter in Naples with her husband Elliot and their two-year-old daughter Isabella.

The family, from St Albans outside London, had enjoyed a week’s holiday in Miami until they were unceremoniously evicted from their hotel.

‘We went down to reception to ask what was happening and were told to pack our bags and move out of the hotel,’ she told DailyMail.com.

‘They weren’t very helpful considering they knew we were very worried, especially as we don’t know many people in Florida… They clearly didn’t want us to be there and made our one night there very difficult.’

‘We tried to get out of Florida but all the flights were booked and we knew they would be closing the airport so didn’t want to be stranded with a two year old,’ she said.

Instead, they spent a night in Naples with a friend before heading to Bradenton, south of Tampa. That has left them in the path of the oncoming Irma – but they are remaining positive and hope to return home as planned next week.

In more serious trouble were a pair of would-be sailors who called Martin County Sheriff’s Office for help after they remained on their boat in the storm – even though they could not swim.

‘MCSO Marine Rescue and Strike Teams are launching into treacherous waters to begin a marine rescue of two people who remained on their boat near the causeway,’ a post on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page.

‘The mariners say they are unable to swim. We will keep you posted on this. Please pray for the safety of our brave first responders.’

Video later showed the paid being led off their boat safely onto the docks.

Reader Jenny Williams sent in this photograph from her Saratosa neighborhood where she and many of her neighbors had decided to weather out the storm

Key West's streets started to flood as Hurricane Irma struck the area. Even with the eye 15-20 miles out, winds and rain had made it too dangerous to drive

Water levels rose rapidly in Naples (above) from Hurricane Irma's storm surge with a reported a seven foot rise of water in just 90 minutes. The storm kept its top sustained wind speed of 110 mph yesterday

People tend to a car that flipped over on Cape Coral Parkway during Hurricane Irma last night in Cape Coral

A tree is seen toppled onto a pickup truck in Miami after being battered by Irma's winds. Flying debris is an omnipresent danger for those outside in the terrifying weather

Dramatic pictures have emerged showing the moment Hurricane Irma's powerful 130mph winds ripped the roof off a Miami home

Dramatic pictures have emerged showing the moment Hurricane Irma's powerful 130mph winds ripped the roof off a Miami home

A car sits abandoned in storm surge along North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. Irma made initial landfall at 9:10am on the Florida Keys, which are now the subject of a massive relief effort. Five people have been confirmed dead in the disaster

A car sits abandoned in storm surge along North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. Irma made initial landfall at 9:10am on the Florida Keys, which are now the subject of a massive relief effort. Five people have been confirmed dead in the disaster

Irma tore down a construction crane atop a skyscraper high over Miami

The crane can also be seen here. Cranes are designed to withstand strong winds and twist like weather vanes to reduce resistance, but Irma was too much

Palm Bay officer Dustin Terkoski walks over debris from a partially collapsed two-story home at Palm Point Subdivision in Brevard County

Large waves produced by Hurricane Irma crash all the way over the top of Anglins Fishing Pier in Fort Lauderdale as Irma picks up steam in the area

Large waves produced by Hurricane Irma crash all the way over the top of Anglins Fishing Pier in Fort Lauderdale as Irma picks up steam in the area

Recently planted palm trees lie strewn across the road as Hurricane Irma passes through Miami Beach

At least 32 people have been arrested across Florida for trying to loot empty businesses and homes that have been evacuated in preparation for Hurricane Irma

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4872940/The-sun-rises-devastation-wreaked-Irma-Florida.html#ixzz4sP9v0kAu

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The Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017, Part 2 of 2, Story 1: President Trump’s Tax Speech — Very Light On Specifics — Let Congress Fill in The Details — Formula For Failure — Tax Rate Cuts Are Not Fundamental Tax Reform — A Broad Based Consumption Tax Such as The FairTax or Fair Tax Less Not Even Mentioned — What Good Is Dreaming It If You don’t actually do it! — Videos —

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Part 2 of 2 Story 1: President Trump’s Tax Speech — Very Light On Specifics — Let Congress Fill in The Details — Formula For Failure — Tax Rate Cuts Are Not Fundamental Tax Reform — A Broad Based Consumption Tax Such as The FairTax or Fair Tax Less Not Even Mentioned — What Good Is Dreaming It If You don’t actually do it! — Videos —

FULL. President Trump speech on tax reform in Springfield, Missouri. August 30, 2017.

Special Report with Bret Baier 8/30/17 – Special Report Fox News August 30, 2017 TRUMP TAX REFORM

Destroy Trump Media – President Trump Pitches Tax Reform Plan – Kellyanne Conway – Hannity

President Trump’s tax plan

Will US Markets Finally Get Tax Reform – 29 Aug 17 | Gazunda

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Dan Mitchell on GOP Tax Reform Wrangling, Part I

Dan Mitchell on GOP Tax Reform Wrangling, Part II

Dan Mitchell Discussing the Fate of Tax Cuts and Tax Reform

How Trump’s tax plan impacts average Americans

Trump’s Tax Cut Plan Alienates His Base

Cohn Says White House Is Concerned About U.S. Wages

Gary Cohn on the Trump administration taking on tax loopholes

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Gary Cohn’s take on tax reform

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Donald Trump Is To Give Speech On Tax Reform But He Has No Tax Reform Plan | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Freedom from the IRS! – FairTax Explained in Detail

Mark Levin: Donald Trump gave a good speech on tax reform (August 30 2017)

Why U.S. Tax Reform Isn’t Likely in 2017

Milton Friedman – Why Tax Reform Is Impossible

Honda – “Impossible Dream” Power of Dreams Advert Full

 

Trump’s Tax Reform Plan Targets Middle-Class Tax Complexity

Policy director at Competitive Enterprise Institute

President Trump visited Missouri to talk about tax reform, stressing simplicity and middle-class tax relief and “plans to bring back Main Street by reducing the crushing tax burden on our companies and on our workers.”

Noting the elimination of “dozens of loopholes,” special interest carve-outs, and the reduction of brackets and rates that Congress achieved three decades ago, Trump said, “the foundation of our job creation agenda is to fundamentally reform our tax code for the first time in more than 30 years. I want to work with Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, on a plan that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker — and pro-American.”

We’re about to re-enter Obamacare repeal-style complexity and venom, but it’s important, I think, for the public to see the tax reform debate as something other than a campaign to benefit business. The U.S. does have comparatively high corporate tax rates. And the Econ 101 lesson on tax incidence shows that consumers pay much of the corporate tax, not the company.

It’s probable some Democrats would like to reform the tax code, especially come 2016, but the zero-tolerance of Trump, such as that seen at the Commonwealth Club when Sen. Diane Feinstein was barely favorable toward him, prevails.

But things can turn on a dime, as the response, likely bipartisan, to Hurricane Harvey may further show. And separately the controversial debt limit needs to be addressed no matter what (hopefully with parallel cuts in regulatory costs), and that debate will influence the trajectory of tax reform.

My broader point here though is is that taxation is just the beginning of the story when it comes to the complexity of regulatory compliance. The economy marinates in compliance burdens to service noble ends, but sometimes serve regulators instead. Trump characterized the Internal Revenue Service’s unfairness to the typical taxpayer like this:

The tax code is now a massive source of complexity and frustration for tens of millions of Americans.

In 1935, the basic 1040 form that most people file had two simple pages of instructions. Today, that basic form has one hundred pages of instructions, and it’s pretty complex stuff. The tax code is so complicated that more than 90 percent of Americans need professional help to do their own taxes.

This enormous complexity is very unfair. It disadvantages ordinary Americans who don’t have an army of accountants while benefiting deep-pocketed special interests. And most importantly, this is wrong.

There’s solid backup for what Trump’s talking about in terms of pubic burdens, even if some are disinclined  to reckon with it, or if their allegiances require professing public disdain for corporations (one of the great democratizing forces in human history, but that’s another story).

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) agrees, I think, that Trump’s example of the IRS is a good one. In the course of a project I have of compiling examples of government proclamationsthat are not laws from Congress, nor even formal regulations from agencies, but instead “memoranda” and “guidance,” the IRS emerged as a leading “offender.”

A September 2016 GAO report called  “Regulatory Guidance Processes: Treasury and OMB Need to Reevaluate Long-standing Exemptions of Tax Regulations and Guidance,” looked at the Internal Revenue Service’s hierarchy of law, regulations, guidance, and explanatory material with respect to communicating interpretation of tax laws to the public.

It’s an eye-opener.

A pyramid diagram presented by GAO was topped by the Internal Revenue Code, as passed by Congress. Beneath that, in widening stages, one finds “Treasury Regulations,” “Internal Revenue Bulletins,” (IRB), “Written Determinations,” and “Other IRS Publications and Information.” The IRS regards the bulletins as generally authoritative, while determinations tend to apply to individual taxpayers.

That’s a lot of public guidance, difficult to absorb.

As the GAO explains:

Treasury and IRS are among the largest generators of federal agency regulations and they issue thousands of other forms of taxpayer guidance. IRS publishes tax regulations and other guidance in the weekly IRB. Each annual volume of the IRB contains about 2,000 pages of regulations and other guidance documents.

From 2013 to 2015, each annual Internal Revenue Bulletin edition contained some 300 guidance documents; back in 2002-2008, about 500.

When one sees such document proliferation from the IRS, an impartial observer might surmise the time for tax reform and simplification has arrived.

Likewise, when regulatory guidance multiplies that applies to various sectors—like finance, Internet, health care—one might similarly conclude the time has come for Congress to enact regulatory liberalization. Trump mentioned cutting the overall federal regulatory burden in the Missouri speech, too.

We knew it all along, but paying taxes also requires paying a lot of attention to regulations. In more ways than one, tax reform and regulatory reform go hand in hand.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/waynecrews/2017/08/30/trumps-tax-reform-plan-targets-middle-class-tax-complexity/#31fda3736ef8

Ann Coulter goes off on Trump over taxes, saying he delivered his ‘worst, most tone-deaf speech’

Conservative author Ann Coulter rebuked President Donald Trump over his speech on Wednesday in which he rolled out the broad outline of his tax reform plan.

In a slew of tweets on Wednesday, the firebrand conservative pundit said the president’s focus on simplifying the tax code and lowering business taxes to 15% was missing an opportunity to prioritize some of his more incendiary, but unique, policy objectives, including building a southern border wall and deporting immigrants living in the US without permission.

This isn’t a “once in a lifetime” shot at tax cuts! EVERY GOP cuts taxes! This is “once in a lifetime” shot to save US: Wall & deportations!

Bush cut taxes! Did it create millions of jobs? Nope. The rich pocketed their tax cut & sent jobs abroad, hired guest workers. F– them.

It’s so obvious Trump’s only getting polite applause for tax cuts. Want to get the crowd hollering, @realDonaldTrump? Talk about THE WALL!

It’s like Night of the Living Dead watching our beloved @realDonaldTrump go to DC & start babbling the same old GOP nonsense on tax cuts.

Tax cuts are a 2d term issue. 1st term: BUILD THE WALL, End DACA, Deport Illegals, No Refugees, No Muslims, Immigrn Moratorium. SAVE USA!

Cutting taxes doesn’t do a damn thing for wages if you allow businesses to keep bringing in cheap foreign labor!

To create jobs for AMERICANS, no more cheap foreign workers, CUT REGULATIONS & cut corporate taxes. (NOT income taxes.)

Coulter particularly singled out the similarities between Trump’s plan and a hypothetical plan that other Republicans like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would’ve put forward.

This speech could have been given by Jeb! — except even he wouldn’t have talked about the govt helping yuppie women with child care costs.

Oh stop pretending this is about letting “families” keep more of their money. HALF OF AMERICANS DON’T PAY TAXES! This is for Wall Street.

Indeed, beyond the prominent former Wall Street figures playing key roles in overhauling the tax code, Trump’s administration has absorbed some financial figures from Bush’s policy world.

Notably, Bush’s former senior policy director Justin Muzinich joined the Treasury Department in March to work closely with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on “major policy initiatives” and on tax reform.

Over the past several months, Coulter has increasingly criticized Trump and mocked him on social media and in interviews, saying that he has not fulfilled his anti-immigration campaign promises.

“The millions of people who haven’t voted for 30 years and came out to vote for Trump, thinking, ‘Finally, here’s somebody who cares about us’ — Nope!” Coulter told The Daily Beast after former chief strategist Steve Bannon left the White House earlier this month. “Republicans, Democrats — doesn’t matter. Jeb exclamation point, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton — doesn’t matter. Goldman Sachs is running the country.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/ann-coulter-trump-taxes-speech-2017-8

 

Who Pays Income Taxes?

The charts below illustrate the share of taxes paid by income percentiles for Tax Year 2014, the most recent set of data available from the IRS. NTUF has broken down the federal share of income taxes by gross income to show how much each bracket contributes yearly.

For more information:

 

https://e.infogr.am/38b876d9-6c59-4a84-8b02-1ed223f6a454?src=embed

https://www.ntu.org/foundation/page/who-pays-income-taxes

Trump Hits The Road To Promote Tax Cuts (Details To Come)

President Trump participates in a tax overhaul kickoff event at the Loren Cook Company in Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday.

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

President Trump called for a major rewrite of the U.S. tax code during a visit to Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday afternoon. The speech came a day after Trump’s trip to Harvey-hit Texas and is the first in what is expected to be a series of traveling sales pitches on taxes from the president.

But the White House is not ready to spell out what the rewrite will look like or what kind of price tag it will carry. Trump spoke in broad terms about creating a tax system that favors middle-class Americans and keeps business in the U.S.

“First and foremost our tax system should benefit loyal, hardworking Americans and their families. That is why tax reform must dramatically simplify the tax code, eliminate special-interest loopholes,” he said.

Trump called on Congress to join him and “unite in the name of common sense and the name of common good” to create jobs and improve America’s “competitive advantage.”

“I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done, and I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress,” he said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn have been meeting regularly with Republican congressional leaders to discuss tax policy. Thus far, though, they’ve committed only to a vague statement of principles that calls for lower tax rates on both individuals and businesses. Cohn said it will be up to lawmakers to fill in the details.

“We’ve got a great, I would say, skeleton,” Cohn told reporters earlier this month. “We need the Ways and Means Committee to put some muscle and skin on the skeleton and drive tax reform forward. And it’s our objective to do that between now and the end of the year.”

With Republicans in control of the House, Senate and the presidency, supporters have described this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to overhaul the tax code in accordance with GOP principles. But after Trump’s insistence on swift, ultimately unsuccessful bids to repeal the Affordable Care Act, some observers are skeptical that Trump has the patience or discipline to see a tax overhaul through to completion.

Mnuchin insists tax cuts are now Trump’s No. 1 priority.

“He’s going to go on the road,” Mnuchin said. “The president is 100 percent supportive of us passing legislation this year.”

The White House has been promising such a sales campaign for weeks, only to see much of August consumed with controversy over the president’s Charlottesville, Va., remarks and his intraparty carping with fellow Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Mnuchin conceded that rewriting the tax code is a taller order than he initially imagined.

“Earlier in the year I said I thought we’d get it done by August, and I was wrong,” the Treasury secretary said. “I am now going to say that I’m very hopeful, and I think we can get this done by the end of the year, but we will continue to revisit it.”

“The president’s leadership on this is critical,” said a senior White House official who briefed reporters on the Springfield trip. “Everybody involved understands that and believes that. And he is ready to really take this conversation where it belongs and that’s the heartland of America.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The president now feels that it’s the right time to begin engaging directly with the American people on tax reform,” he said.

The administration argues the current tax code is too complicated and rates are too high to encourage investment in the U.S.

“We are not competitive with the rest of the world on the business tax and on the personal income tax,” Cohn said.

Neither the White House nor congressional leaders have spelled out how much lower tax rates should go, nor have they specified how the government would make up the lost revenue. They’re counting on faster economic growth to help close the gap. They’ve also promised to eliminate unspecified tax “loopholes,” which Trump called out multiple times in his speech on Wednesday.

Back in April, the White House proposed lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent while reducing the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. That’s broadly similar to a proposal Trump put forward during the presidential campaign. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said at the time 78 percent of the tax savings in Trump’s campaign plan would go to people on the top 20 percent of the income ladder. (Nearly a quarter would go to the top one-tenth of 1 percent.)

The campaign plan was also forecast to reduce government revenue by more than $6 trillion over a decade — a gap that would be difficult to erase through growth and loophole closings.

The White House has said it wants to preserve deductions for charitable contributions, retirement savings and mortgage interest.

One popular tax break that could be on the chopping block is the deduction for state and local taxes. That’s one of the biggest loopholes in the tax code. Eliminating it would boost federal revenues by an estimated $1.3 trillion over a decade. The tax break is particularly popular with residents in the Northeast and West Coast, typically blue states with relatively high tax rates.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., favored a so-called border adjustment tax on imports as another way to raise revenue and offset the cost of income tax cuts. But lawmakers ultimately scrapped that idea after consultation with the administration.

Senate Republicans plan to use a procedural tactic to prevent Democrats from blocking the tax overhaul with a filibuster. Under Senate rules, though, any measure passed with that tactic must not add to the federal deficit for more than 10 years.

This presents a choice for Republicans: Go with a more modest tax cut that can be offset by growth and closing loopholes, or opt for a more ambitious cut but allow it to sunset after a decade.

For all the challenges, GOP lawmakers are under political pressure to pass something they can brand as “tax reform.” Otherwise, they’ll have to face voters in 2018 with little to show for two years of single-party rule.

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/30/547114024/trump-hits-the-road-to-promote-tax-cuts-details-to-come

 

Trump’s Fill-in-the-Blanks Tax Reform Plan

The president is leaving the details to Republicans in Congress. Only they haven’t figured them out yet, either.

Alex Brandon / AP

notable

On Wednesday, President Trump traveled to Missouri to expand on the need for tax reform, to lay the groundwork for a major legislative push in Congress this fall. But more than anything else, what Trump’s speech revealed was that despite months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Republicans aren’t much closer to enacting the most significant overhaul of the tax code in 30 years than they were back in April.

Trump was pitching a plan that doesn’t exist and demanding votes for a bill that hasn’t been written. If anything, the address the president delivered was even less detailed than the skimpy blueprint the White House issued in the spring. The most specific item Trump mentioned—a 15 percent corporate tax rate, down from the current 35 percent—is something that Republican tax-writers on Capitol Hill believe is impossible to achieve under the parameters with which they must work. He talked in broad terms about simplifying the code so that it’s easier for people to file their taxes, removing unspecified special interest loopholes, and encouraging businesses to bring back profits they’ve parked overseas—all policies that have been central to GOP proposals for years and offer little indication of the particular direction the party plans to go.

This was a bully pulpit speech. Having laid down his principles, Trump is once again leaving the dirty work to Congress, a strategy that even he seemed to acknowledge was as risky as it is politically necessary. “I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress, do you understand me? Do you understand?” he warned at one point, a none-too-subtle reference to his recent hectoring over the GOP’s failure to deliver on health care.

To the delight of Republican leaders, the one lawmaker Trump singled out for pressure was not one of their own; for the first time in weeks, the president picked on a Democrat, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, who is up for reelection in a state he won easily in November. If McCaskill doesn’t vote for tax reform—whatever it turns out to be—“you have to vote her out of office,” Trump demanded of the crowd.

Top Republicans were evidently pleased with the speech, or at least with the fact that the president stuck to the message they were told beforehand he would deliver. Within minutes after it ended, statements (undoubtedly prewritten) flowed in with glowing reviews. “President Trump is taking the case for tax reform straight to Main Street,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said. “We are united in our determination to get this done.” Representative Kevin Brady, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said his remarks were “excellent.” Even members of Trump’s Cabinet that have no role in tax reform, like Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, or in domestic politics whatsoever, like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, chimed in with praise.Yet while Trump talked at length about the need for tax reform, he said little about how Republicans would get it done. And that’s because they still don’t know themselves. GOP leaders haven’t made several crucial decisions. Will the legislation be a revenue-neutral tax reform that fully offsets the reduction in rates by eliminating costly—and popular—exemptions and deductions? Or will it be a more straightforward tax cut, that would likely have to expire within a decade to comply with Senate rules? How low will they try to push down the corporate rate? About all they’ve determined is that 15 percent is too low, but will it be closer to 20 percent or 25 percent? And on, and on.
The Ways and Means Committee is currently writing the tax bill, but the only timeline they’ve set is to get it done by the end of 2018. The longer they take to write it, however, the less realistic that deadline becomes. And as I explainedearlier this month, Republicans must first pass a budget before they can even get to tax reform, which, to this point, has been no easy task.These unresolved details have also tripped up Trump’s messaging toward Democrats. Does he want their support, or are Republicans planning to do it alone as they tried to do on health care? In his speech, the president started out by saying he wanted to work with both parties to enact tax reform. Later on, however, he attacked Democrats as “obstructionists” and called out McCaskill. By the end, he was back where he began, saying tax reform was an issue on which lawmakers should put aside partisanship.Democrats say there’s been no outreach from the administration on taxes, and they’ve noted that Republicans are, for now, planning to use the same budget reconciliation process on tax reform that they used in trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That would allow them to skirt a Democratic filibuster and pass tax reform with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate. Unlike Obamacare repeal, some Democrats have expressed a willingness to work with the administration on taxes, so long as the GOP plan is not skewed to benefit the wealthy. With so few details, they were unimpressed with Trump’s speech in Missouri. “Stepping to the podium to declare that we need tax reform does not signal leadership on this issue; rather, doing so without offering any proposals on how to achieve it is an abdication,” said Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking House Democrat. “If the president is serious about tax reform, he should focus on the how, not the why.”Trump is not a detail-oriented president. That much is clear. But while he may be able to stick to broad strokes in rally-the-public speeches and leave the rest to Congress, his party will eventually have to make the tough decisions about who’s going to pay more, who gets to pay less, and by how much. Until that happens, tax reform isn’t going anywhere.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/trumps-fill-in-the-blanks-tax-reform-plan/538509/

Trump’s populist message on taxes comes with heavy dose of corporate rate cuts

Trump’s speech didn’t mask the fact that lawmakers still face a wide range of knotty questions when they return to Washington next week.

08/30/2017 01:59 PM EDT

Updated 08/30/2017 04:08 PM EDT

Trump maintained that a new tax system was crucial to ushering in a new prosperity in the U.S., in a speech that White House officials acknowledged beforehand would be light on policy details.

“Instead of exporting our jobs, we will export our goods. Our jobs will both stay here in America and come back to America. We’ll have it both ways,” Trump said at a Springfield, Mo., manufacturer, adding that millions of people would move from welfare to work and “will love earning a big fat beautiful paycheck.”

“We believe that ordinary Americans know better than Washington how to spend their own money and we want to help them take home as much of their money as possible and then spend it,” he said. “So they’ll keep their money, they’ll spend their money, they’ll buy our product.”

But Trump’s speech also underscored just how big a challenge he and a Republican Congress will face in pulling off a true overhaul of the tax code. The president only briefly touched on policy details, saying that businesses would “ideally” be taxed at a top rate of 15 percent and that the tax code would contain incentives for child care — a top priority of his daughter, Ivanka Trump.

“I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done,” Trump said. “And I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress. Do you understand me?”

Trump’s speech was aimed at showing that Republicans have the message down on tax reform, but lawmakers have yet to confront the monumental task of turning the rhetoric into reality.

Senior White House officials this week repeatedly billed the president’s speech as an address focused on why tax reform needs to happen, not how it will materialize. That’s the sort of big-picture cover on taxes that Trump didn’t offer congressional leaders in their doomed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

But while congressional leaders undoubtedly welcome the president making the broad case for a tax revamp, Trump’s speech doesn’t mask the fact that lawmakers still face a wide range of knotty questions when they return to Washington next week.

Republicans still have to figure out how to pass a budget this fall, a process that will play a big role in deciding how generous a tax plan they can write. They also have to decide whether tax changes should be permanent or temporary, or a mix of the two, and whether their plan should be a net tax cut that would add to the deficit.

And that’s before they will feel the full brunt of a massive lobbying push on what would be the first major tax overhaul in more than 30 years. Already, GOP lawmakers are starting to hear from industries that might be the losers in a tax overhaul, such as big corporations that don’t want a minimum tax on foreign earnings and a retirement sector wary of potential changes to savings plans.

The hurdles won’t be limited to policy, either, after a summer that saw both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue grow increasingly wary of the other as the GOP’s health care efforts imploded. Republicans on Capitol Hill steamed privately in July that Trump’s obsession with White House infighting and the Russia controversy was a major factor in the death of the repeal effort. They’re crossing their fingers that he won’t be so easily distracted on tax reform.

 

Fact-checking President Trump’s speech on his tax plan

 August 31 at 3:00 AM
The Fact Checker’s round-up of five fishy claims made by President Trump in his speech on Aug. 30. (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

President Trump on Wednesday delivered an address on his “principles” for a tax plan in Springfield, Mo., though he provided few details. He also shifted from extolling how well the economy is doing to language that suggested the United States was suffering terribly. As usual, some of the president’s  facts and figures were a bit fishy, so here’s a roundup of 10 of his claims.

“In the last 10 years, our economy has grown at only around 2 percent a year.”

This is misleading. By going back 10 years, Trump includes the worst recession since the Great Depression, which brings down the 10-year average. This chart shows that that quarterly average since the recession was well above 2 percent, even hitting 5 percent in the third quarter of 2014. The GDP growth rate for the United States averaged 3.22 percent from 1947 to 2017.


Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

“We just announced that we hit 3 percent in GDP. Just came out. And on a yearly basis, as you know, the last administration, during an eight-year period, never hit 3 percent.

Trump plays some sleight-of-hand with the numbers. He first cites an annualized quarterly figure — 3 percent GDP growth in the second quarter of 2017 — and then compares it to what appears to be calendar-year figures for former president Barack Obama.

As the chart above shows, the economy grew better than 3 percent in eight quarters during Obama’s presidency, most recently in the third quarter of 2016. (Technically, this is known as “annualized quarterly change” or SAAR — seasonally adjusted at annual rate.) Trump gets his terminology wrong, using the phrase “yearly basis,” which could mean from the third quarter of 2015 to the the third quarter of 2016, in which case Obama easily exceeded 3 percent numerous times. On an annual basis, Obama’s best year was 2015, when annual growth was 2.6 percent.

“If we achieve sustained 3 percent growth, that means 12 million new jobs and $10 trillion of new economic activity over the next decade. That’s some numbers.”

With this statement, Trump downgrades promises he made during the 2016 campaign — he said he would achieve 4 percent GDP growth and 25 million jobs over 10 years.

“In 1935, the basic 1040 form that most people file had two simple pages of instruction. Today, that basic form has 100 pages of instructions, and it’s pretty complex stuff.”

Trump is correct that in 1935, the basic 1040 individual income tax form had two pages of instructions, but this claim needs historical context.

There are many reasons the instructions were so simple back then — including that just about 4 percent of the population paid the federal individual income tax. In 1935, the individual income tax largely was a tax on the wealthy. In fact, the top rate in 1935 was 63 percent — and President Franklin D. Roosevelt raised it to 75 percent later that year.

This changed with World War II. “Driven by staggering revenue needs, lawmakers in both parties agreed to raise taxes on everyone: rich, poor, and — especially — the middle class,” wrote Joseph Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project.

“The tax code is so complicated that more than 90 percent of Americans need professional help to do their own taxes.”

This is misleading. The 90 percent figure he is referring to includes people using tax software, such as Turbo Tax, which helps people file their taxes on their own. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2016 report, 54 percent of individual taxpayers pay preparers and about 40 percent of individual taxpayers use software that costs about $50 or more.

Yet later during the speech, he made it sound as if the “professional help” is only referring to hired accountants: “That is why tax reform must dramatically simplify the tax code … and allow the vast majority of our citizens to file their taxes on a single, simple page without having to hire an accountant.”

“Our last major tax rewrite was 31 years ago. It eliminated dozens of loopholes and special interest tax breaks, reduced the number of tax brackets from 15 to two, and lowered tax rates for both individuals and businesses. At the time it was really something special … In 1986, Ronald Reagan led the world by cutting our corporate tax rate to 34 percent. That was below the average rate for developed countries at the time. Everybody thought that was a monumental thing that happened. But then, under this pro-America system, our economy boomed. It just went beautifully right through the roof. The middle class thrived, and median family income increased.”

Trump heaped praise on Reagan’s Tax Reform Act of 1986, which simplified tax brackets and eliminated tax shelters; it also lowered the top individual tax rate to 28 percent but raised the capital gains rate to the same level, giving them parity. But this is a rather strange flip-flop because Trump always has been a fierce critic of the bill, blaming it repeatedly for the savings and loan crisis, a decline in real estate investing and the 1990-1991 recession.

“This tax act was just an absolute catastrophe for the country, for the real estate industry, and I really hope that something can be done,” Trump told Congress in 1991. In a television interview with Joan Rivers, he said: “What caused the savings and loan crisis was the 1986 tax law change. It was a disaster. It took all of the incentives away from investors.”

Trump also frequently attacked one of the Democratic sponsors of the bill, Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), such as in a Wall Street Journal commentary in 1999. “Mr. Bradley’s last big idea to be enacted into legislation was also one of the worst ideas in recent history,” Trump wrote, saying Bradley was responsible for the elimination of a tax shelter for real estate investments. (He said the good parts of the bill could be attributed to Reagan.)

“We lost the jobs. We lost the taxes. They closed the buildings. They closed the plants and factories. We got nothing but unemployment. We got nothing.”

As Trump frequently notes, the unemployment rate in July was 4.3 percent — the lowest level in 16 years. So this overwrought language seems misplaced.

“We have gone from a tax rate that is lower than our economic competitors, to one that is more than 60 percent higher. … In other words, foreign companies have more than a 60 percent tax advantage over American companies.”

The United States certainly has one of the highest statutory corporate tax rates in the world, currently pegged as high as 39.1 percent when including state taxes. (The federal rate is 35 percent.) Trump says it is 60 percent higher than “our economic competitors,” comparing 39.1 percent to the average rate for the other members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which is 25.5 percent when not weighted for GDP. (It is 29.6 percent when weighted for GDP.)

But the official rate does not necessarily tell the whole story. What also matters is the actual tax a company pays, after deductions and tax benefits. That is known as the effective tax rate, which can be calculated differently depending on the survey. According to the Congressional Research Service, the effective rate for the United States is 27.1 percent, compared to an effective GDP-weighted average of 27.7 percent for the OECD. “Although the U.S. statutory tax rate is higher, the average effective rate is about the same, and the marginal rate on new investment is only slightly higher,” the CRS says.

The Congressional Budget Office, when it examined the issue, said the U.S. effective tax rate was 18.6 percent, which it said was among the highest of the biggest economic powers, the Group of 20.

Trump, naturally, used the numbers that suggest the difference is really huge.

“Today, we are still taxing our businesses at 35 percent, and it’s way more than that. And think of it, in some cases, way above 40 percent when you include state and local taxes in various states. The United States is now behind France, behind Germany, behind Canada, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and many other nations.”

As we noted, the statutory federal corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, making the United States the highest among G-20 countries, including the countries Trump listed. But the effective corporate tax rate in the United States in 2012 was 18.6 percent, making it the fourth highest among G-20 countries, behind Argentina, Japan and Britain, according to the CBO.

“Because of our high tax rate and horrible, outdated, bureaucratic rules, large companies that do business overseas will often park their profits offshore to avoid paying a high United States tax if the money is brought back home. So they leave the money over there. The amount of money we’re talking about is anywhere from $3 trillion to $5 trillion.”

There are no official, current numbers on the profits held overseas by U.S. companies, just estimates. The White House would not respond to a query on where Trump is getting these numbers, but his high-end figure appears to be an exaggeration. The Internal Revenue Service in 2012 said the figure was $2.3 trillion, and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that it had risen to $2.6 trillion in 2015. There are other estimates as well, but none top $2.8 trillion, according to PolitiFact.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/08/31/fact-checking-president-trumps-speech-on-his-tax-plan/?utm_term=.8ea0dc0c4d24

 

Story 2: Revised Second Estimate of Real GDP Growth in Second Quarter of 2017 Is 3 Percent — Videos

Economic growth hits 3% in Q2

Growth Rates Are Crucial

Nightly Business Report – August 30, 2017

Can Trump’s plan double U.S. economic growth?

How Trump’s economic proposals offer a vision from the past

What is Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?

Nominal vs. Real GDP

Real GDP Per Capita and the Standard of Living

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, Wednesday, August 30, 2017
BEA 17—42

* See the navigation bar at the right side of the news release text for links to data tables, contact personnel and their telephone numbers, and supplementary materials.

Lisa Mataloni: (301) 278-9083 (GDP) gdpniwd@bea.gov
Kate Pinard: (301) 278-9417 (Corporate Profits) cpniwd@bea.gov
Jeannine Aversa: (301) 278-9003 (News Media) Jeannine.Aversa@bea.gov
National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product: Second Quarter 2017 (Second Estimate)
Corporate Profits: Second Quarter 2017 (Preliminary Estimate)
Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in the second quarter of
2017 (table 1), according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the
first quarter, real GDP increased 1.2 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the
"advance" estimate issued last month.  In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.6
percent. With this second estimate for the second quarter, the general picture of economic growth
remains the same; increases in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and in nonresidential fixed
investment were larger than previously estimated. These increases were partly offset by a larger
decrease in state and local government spending (see "Updates to GDP" below).

Real GDP: Percent Change from Preceding Quarter
Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 2.9 percent in the second quarter, compared with an
increase of 2.7 percent (revised) in the first. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental
measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 3.0 percent in the
second quarter, compared with an increase of 2.0 percent in the first quarter (table 1).

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential
fixed investment, exports, federal government spending, and private inventory investment that were
partly offset by negative contributions from residential fixed investment and state and local government
spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased (table 2).

The acceleration in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected upturns in private inventory
investment and federal government spending and an acceleration in PCE that were partly offset by
downturns in residential fixed investment and state and local government spending and a deceleration
in exports.

Current-dollar GDP increased 4.0 percent, or $189.0 billion, in the second quarter to a level of $19,246.7
billion. In the first quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 3.3 percent, or $152.2 billion (table 1 and table
3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.8 percent in the second quarter, compared
with an increase of 2.6 percent in the first quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 0.3 percent,
compared with an increase of 2.2 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index
increased 0.9 percent, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent (appendix table A).


Updates to GDP

The percent change in real GDP was revised up from the advance estimate, reflecting upward revisions
to PCE and to nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by a downward revision to state
and local government spending. For more information, see the Technical Note. A detailed "Key Source
Data and Assumptions" file is also posted for each release.  For information on updates to GDP, see the
“Additional Information” section that follows.

                                    Advance Estimate        Second Estimate
			           (Percent change from preceding quarter)
Real GDP                                  2.6                  3.0
Current-dollar GDP                        3.6                  4.0
Real GDI                                   …                   2.9
Average of Real GDP and Real GDI           …                   3.0
Gross domestic purchases price index      0.8                  0.8
PCE price index                           0.3                  0.3


For the first quarter of 2017, the percent change in real GDI was revised from 2.6 percent to 2.7 percent
based on revised first-quarter tabulations from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
program.

Corporate Profits (table 12)

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment and capital
consumption adjustment) increased $26.8 billion in the second quarter, in contrast to a decrease of
$46.2 billion in the first quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased $29.4 billion in the second quarter, compared with
a decrease of $40.7 billion in the first quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased
$64.8 billion, compared with an increase of $3.8 billion. The rest-of-the-world component of profits
decreased $8.6 billion, compared with a decrease of $9.3 billion. This measure is calculated as the
difference between receipts from the rest of the world and payments to the rest of the world. In the
second quarter, receipts increased $8.5 billion, and payments increased $17.1 billion.





                                       *          *          *




                           Next release:  September 28, 2017 at 8:30 A.M. EDT
                     Gross Domestic Product:  Second Quarter 2017 (Third Estimate)
                      Corporate Profits:  Second Quarter 2017 (Revised Estimate)




                                       Additional Information

Resources

Additional resources available at www.bea.gov:
•	Stay informed about BEA developments by reading the BEA blog, signing up for BEA’s email
        subscription service, or following BEA on Twitter @BEA_News.
•	Historical time series for these estimates can be accessed in BEA’s Interactive Data Application.
•	Access BEA data by registering for BEA’s Data Application Programming Interface (API).
•	For more on BEA’s statistics, see our monthly online journal, the Survey of Current Business.
•	BEA's news release scheduleNIPA Handbook:  Concepts and Methods of the U.S. National Income and Product Accounts

Definitions

Gross domestic product (GDP) is the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy
less the value of the goods and services used up in production. GDP is also equal to the sum of personal
consumption expenditures, gross private domestic investment, net exports of goods and services, and
government consumption expenditures and gross investment.

Gross domestic income (GDI) is the sum of incomes earned and costs incurred in the production of GDP.
In national economic accounting, GDP and GDI are conceptually equal. In practice, GDP and GDI differ
because they are constructed using largely independent source data. Real GDI is calculated by deflating
gross domestic income using the GDP price index as the deflator, and is therefore conceptually
equivalent to real GDP.

Current-dollar estimates are valued in the prices of the period when the transactions occurred—that is,
at “market value.” Also referred to as “nominal estimates” or as “current-price estimates.”
Real values are inflation-adjusted estimates—that is, estimates that exclude the effects of price changes.
The gross domestic purchases price index measures the prices of final goods and services purchased by
U.S. residents.

The personal consumption expenditure price index measures the prices paid for the goods and services
purchased by, or on the behalf of, “persons.”

Profits from current production, referred to as corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment
(IVA) and capital consumption adjustment (CCAdj) in the NIPAs, is a measure of the net income of
corporations before deducting income taxes that is consistent with the value of goods and services
measured in GDP. The IVA and CCAdj are adjustments that convert inventory withdrawals and
depreciation of fixed assets reported on a tax-return, historical-cost basis to the current-cost economic
measures used in the national income and product accounts.

For more definitions, see the Glossary: National Income and Product Accounts.


Statistical conventions

Annual rates. Quarterly values are expressed at seasonally-adjusted annual rates (SAAR), unless
otherwise specified. Dollar changes are calculated as the difference between these SAAR values. For
detail, see the FAQ “Why does BEA publish estimates at annual rates?”

Percent changes in quarterly series are calculated from unrounded data and are displayed at annual
rates, unless otherwise specified. For details, see the FAQ “How is average annual growth calculated?”

Quantities and prices. Quantities, or “real” volume measures, and prices are expressed as index
numbers with a specified reference year equal to 100 (currently 2009). Quantity and price indexes are
calculated using a Fisher-chained weighted formula that incorporates weights from two adjacent
periods (quarters for quarterly data and annuals for annual data). “Real” dollar series are calculated by
multiplying the published quantity index by the current dollar value in the reference year (2009) and
then dividing by 100. Percent changes calculated from real quantity indexes and chained-dollar levels
are conceptually the same; any differences are due to rounding.

Chained-dollar values are not additive because the relative weights for a given period differ from those
of the reference year. In tables that display chained-dollar values, a “residual” line shows the difference
between the sum of detailed chained-dollar series and its corresponding aggregate.


Updates to GDP

BEA releases three vintages of the current quarterly estimate for GDP:  "Advance" estimates are
released near the end of the first month following the end of the quarter and are based on source data
that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency; “second” and “third” estimates
are released near the end of the second and third months, respectively, and are based on more detailed
and more comprehensive data as they become available.

Annual and comprehensive updates are typically released in late July. Annual updates generally cover at
least the 3 most recent calendar years (and their associated quarters) and incorporate newly available
major annual source data as well as some changes in methods and definitions to improve the accounts.
Comprehensive (or benchmark) updates are carried out at about 5-year intervals and incorporate major
periodic source data, as well as major conceptual improvements.
The table below shows the average revisions to the quarterly percent changes in real GDP between
different estimate vintages, without regard to sign.

Vintage                               Average Revision Without Regard to Sign
                                         (percentage points, annual rates)
Advance to second                                     0.5
Advance to third                                      0.6
Second to third                                       0.2
Advance to latest                                     1.1
Note - Based on estimates from 1993 through 2015. For more information on GDP
updates, see Revision Information on the BEA Web site.

The larger average revision from the advance to the latest estimate reflects the fact that periodic
comprehensive updates include major statistical and methodological improvements.

Unlike GDP, an advance current quarterly estimate of GDI is not released because data on domestic
profits and on net interest of domestic industries are not available. For fourth quarter estimates, these
data are not available until the third estimate.

https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2017/gdp2q17_2nd.htm

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 755, Part 1 of 2, Story 1: President Trump’s Tax Speech — Very Light On Specifics — Let Congress Fill in The Details — Formula For Failure — Tax Rate Cuts Are Not Fundamental Tax Reform — A Broad Based Consumption Tax Such as The FairTax or Fair Tax Less Not Even Mentioned — What Good Is Dreaming It If You don’t actually do it! — Videos — Story 2: Revised Second Estimate of Real GDP Growth in Second Quarter of 2017 Is 3 Percent — Videos

Posted on August 31, 2017. Filed under: Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Independence, Labor Economics, Law, Life, Media, Monetary Policy, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Rule of Law, Security, Senate, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Trade Policy, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, War, Wealth, Weather, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 955, August 30, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 902, May 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 900, May 25, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 897, May 22, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 892, May 12, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 886, May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885, May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884, May 1, 2017

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Image result for average quarter to quarter real gdp growth

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Image result for annual real gdp growth 1950-2017 u.S. economy

Story 1: President Trump’s Tax Speech — Very Light On Specifics — Let Congress Fill in The Details — Formula For Failure — Tax Rate Cuts Are Not Fundamental Tax Reform — A Broad Based Consumption Tax Such as The FairTax or Fair Tax Less Not Even Mentioned — What Good Is Dreaming It If You don’t actually do it! — Videos —

FULL. President Trump speech on tax reform in Springfield, Missouri. August 30, 2017.

Special Report with Bret Baier 8/30/17 – Special Report Fox News August 30, 2017 TRUMP TAX REFORM

Destroy Trump Media – President Trump Pitches Tax Reform Plan – Kellyanne Conway – Hannity

President Trump’s tax plan

Will US Markets Finally Get Tax Reform – 29 Aug 17 | Gazunda

Keiser Report: The bizarre decade (E1117)

Dan Mitchell on GOP Tax Reform Wrangling, Part I

Dan Mitchell on GOP Tax Reform Wrangling, Part II

Dan Mitchell Discussing the Fate of Tax Cuts and Tax Reform

How Trump’s tax plan impacts average Americans

Trump’s Tax Cut Plan Alienates His Base

Cohn Says White House Is Concerned About U.S. Wages

Gary Cohn on the Trump administration taking on tax loopholes

As White House Cracks Show, Are Rex Tillerson and Gary Cohn Headed Out? | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Gary Cohn’s take on tax reform

Limbaugh Airs Montage Of The ‘3 LIES’ Media Said After Trump’s Tax Speech

Trump’s tax cuts will be done before Thanksgiving: Grover Norquist

Donald Trump Is To Give Speech On Tax Reform But He Has No Tax Reform Plan | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Freedom from the IRS! – FairTax Explained in Detail

Mark Levin: Donald Trump gave a good speech on tax reform (August 30 2017)

Why U.S. Tax Reform Isn’t Likely in 2017

Milton Friedman – Why Tax Reform Is Impossible

Honda – “Impossible Dream” Power of Dreams Advert Full

 

Trump’s Tax Reform Plan Targets Middle-Class Tax Complexity

Policy director at Competitive Enterprise Institute

President Trump visited Missouri to talk about tax reform, stressing simplicity and middle-class tax relief and “plans to bring back Main Street by reducing the crushing tax burden on our companies and on our workers.”

Noting the elimination of “dozens of loopholes,” special interest carve-outs, and the reduction of brackets and rates that Congress achieved three decades ago, Trump said, “the foundation of our job creation agenda is to fundamentally reform our tax code for the first time in more than 30 years. I want to work with Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, on a plan that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker — and pro-American.”

We’re about to re-enter Obamacare repeal-style complexity and venom, but it’s important, I think, for the public to see the tax reform debate as something other than a campaign to benefit business. The U.S. does have comparatively high corporate tax rates. And the Econ 101 lesson on tax incidence shows that consumers pay much of the corporate tax, not the company.

It’s probable some Democrats would like to reform the tax code, especially come 2016, but the zero-tolerance of Trump, such as that seen at the Commonwealth Club when Sen. Diane Feinstein was barely favorable toward him, prevails.

But things can turn on a dime, as the response, likely bipartisan, to Hurricane Harvey may further show. And separately the controversial debt limit needs to be addressed no matter what (hopefully with parallel cuts in regulatory costs), and that debate will influence the trajectory of tax reform.

My broader point here though is is that taxation is just the beginning of the story when it comes to the complexity of regulatory compliance. The economy marinates in compliance burdens to service noble ends, but sometimes serve regulators instead. Trump characterized the Internal Revenue Service’s unfairness to the typical taxpayer like this:

The tax code is now a massive source of complexity and frustration for tens of millions of Americans.

In 1935, the basic 1040 form that most people file had two simple pages of instructions. Today, that basic form has one hundred pages of instructions, and it’s pretty complex stuff. The tax code is so complicated that more than 90 percent of Americans need professional help to do their own taxes.

This enormous complexity is very unfair. It disadvantages ordinary Americans who don’t have an army of accountants while benefiting deep-pocketed special interests. And most importantly, this is wrong.

There’s solid backup for what Trump’s talking about in terms of pubic burdens, even if some are disinclined  to reckon with it, or if their allegiances require professing public disdain for corporations (one of the great democratizing forces in human history, but that’s another story).

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) agrees, I think, that Trump’s example of the IRS is a good one. In the course of a project I have of compiling examples of government proclamationsthat are not laws from Congress, nor even formal regulations from agencies, but instead “memoranda” and “guidance,” the IRS emerged as a leading “offender.”

A September 2016 GAO report called  “Regulatory Guidance Processes: Treasury and OMB Need to Reevaluate Long-standing Exemptions of Tax Regulations and Guidance,” looked at the Internal Revenue Service’s hierarchy of law, regulations, guidance, and explanatory material with respect to communicating interpretation of tax laws to the public.

It’s an eye-opener.

A pyramid diagram presented by GAO was topped by the Internal Revenue Code, as passed by Congress. Beneath that, in widening stages, one finds “Treasury Regulations,” “Internal Revenue Bulletins,” (IRB), “Written Determinations,” and “Other IRS Publications and Information.” The IRS regards the bulletins as generally authoritative, while determinations tend to apply to individual taxpayers.

That’s a lot of public guidance, difficult to absorb.

As the GAO explains:

Treasury and IRS are among the largest generators of federal agency regulations and they issue thousands of other forms of taxpayer guidance. IRS publishes tax regulations and other guidance in the weekly IRB. Each annual volume of the IRB contains about 2,000 pages of regulations and other guidance documents.

From 2013 to 2015, each annual Internal Revenue Bulletin edition contained some 300 guidance documents; back in 2002-2008, about 500.

When one sees such document proliferation from the IRS, an impartial observer might surmise the time for tax reform and simplification has arrived.

Likewise, when regulatory guidance multiplies that applies to various sectors—like finance, Internet, health care—one might similarly conclude the time has come for Congress to enact regulatory liberalization. Trump mentioned cutting the overall federal regulatory burden in the Missouri speech, too.

We knew it all along, but paying taxes also requires paying a lot of attention to regulations. In more ways than one, tax reform and regulatory reform go hand in hand.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/waynecrews/2017/08/30/trumps-tax-reform-plan-targets-middle-class-tax-complexity/#31fda3736ef8

Ann Coulter goes off on Trump over taxes, saying he delivered his ‘worst, most tone-deaf speech’

Conservative author Ann Coulter rebuked President Donald Trump over his speech on Wednesday in which he rolled out the broad outline of his tax reform plan.

In a slew of tweets on Wednesday, the firebrand conservative pundit said the president’s focus on simplifying the tax code and lowering business taxes to 15% was missing an opportunity to prioritize some of his more incendiary, but unique, policy objectives, including building a southern border wall and deporting immigrants living in the US without permission.

This isn’t a “once in a lifetime” shot at tax cuts! EVERY GOP cuts taxes! This is “once in a lifetime” shot to save US: Wall & deportations!

Bush cut taxes! Did it create millions of jobs? Nope. The rich pocketed their tax cut & sent jobs abroad, hired guest workers. F– them.

It’s so obvious Trump’s only getting polite applause for tax cuts. Want to get the crowd hollering, @realDonaldTrump? Talk about THE WALL!

It’s like Night of the Living Dead watching our beloved @realDonaldTrump go to DC & start babbling the same old GOP nonsense on tax cuts.

Tax cuts are a 2d term issue. 1st term: BUILD THE WALL, End DACA, Deport Illegals, No Refugees, No Muslims, Immigrn Moratorium. SAVE USA!

Cutting taxes doesn’t do a damn thing for wages if you allow businesses to keep bringing in cheap foreign labor!

To create jobs for AMERICANS, no more cheap foreign workers, CUT REGULATIONS & cut corporate taxes. (NOT income taxes.)

Coulter particularly singled out the similarities between Trump’s plan and a hypothetical plan that other Republicans like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would’ve put forward.

This speech could have been given by Jeb! — except even he wouldn’t have talked about the govt helping yuppie women with child care costs.

Oh stop pretending this is about letting “families” keep more of their money. HALF OF AMERICANS DON’T PAY TAXES! This is for Wall Street.