Archive for the ‘Government Angst’ Category

In total, how much do Americans pay in taxes? For what? To whom?.

January 26, 2017

Since tax reform is on the front burner, it’s time for some tax facts.

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Americans pay a tad over $5 trillion in taxes to the Feds, States and Local Governments.

Technical note: In government parlance, the taxes are called “revenue”.

By taxing authority

Drilling down, the $5 trillion is split roughly 50%-30%-20% to the Feds, States and Locals, respectively

image

* * * * *

By type of tax

Roughly 1/3 of the $5 trillion is income taxes individual and corporate)

about 1/4 is ad valorem taxes (think sales and property taxes)

just under 1/5 are social insurance (i.e. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid)

… slightly more than 1/5 are fees and charges (think tolls, business licenses)

image

* * * * *

Income taxes

Roughly 1/3 of the $5 trillion – about $1.8 trillion — is income taxes

…  83.4% are individual income taxes; only 16.6% are corporate income taxes

… about 80% of income taxes go to the Feds; around 20% goes to the States & Locals

image

* * * * *

Ad-valorem taxes

Roughly 1/4 of the $5 trillion in total taxes paid – about $1.2 trillion – is ad-valorem taxes – taxes paid based on the value of something bought or owned.

…  about 40% of ad-valorem taxes are Local property taxes

…  about 1/3 are Sales Taxes …  going mostly to the States

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* * * * *

Social Insurance

Roughly 1/5 of the $5 trillion in total taxes paid – about $961 billion – is social insurance – with about 80% going to the Feds

…  roughly 60% of the social insurance payments going to the Feds is for Social Security

…  almost 1/4 of the social insurance payments going to the Feds is for Medicare.

image

* * * * *

Pulling it all together Ken’s Rosetta Stone of Taxes

All the details — now much? to whom? for what?

Click for a PDF: Ken’s Rosetta Stone of Taxes

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PDF          Data Source

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Gallup: Big government is biggest threat …

January 5, 2016

The mainstream media loves to bash big business and praise big government, but guess what … the American people don’t seem to buy it.

Each year, Gallup asks which is the bigger future threat: big business, big government or big labor.

For 50 years, big government has won that horse race … usually by a pretty big margin.

But, post 9-11 and during the Obama honeymoon period, the government-as-a-threat numbers dipped a bit.

That improvement was short-lived.

Most recently, the numbers have hit historic highs with about 70% thinking that big government is the biggest threat.

 

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The breakdown by political party affiliation has a few surprises to offer …

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Stop right there, professor … proof of citizenship, please !

June 25, 2014

Unfortunately, this has become an annual event.  A summer initiation of sorts.

Once again, I was detained for questioning by government officials.

This year was unusually unnerving.

No, it wasn’t by rogue IRS agents in Cincinnati targeting an alleged conservative blogger.

 

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I was suspected of crossing a border to illegally access government-provided services.

Here’s the story …

(more…)

Nums: Trust in government falls … even lower.

September 16, 2013

Right when you think trust in government has bottomed out, Gallup releases a new poll.

Gallup is reporting  Less than half of Americans trust the government to handle any kind of problems, anall-time low..

According to Gallup. just 49% of Americans have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in the federal government to handle international problems

The previous low was 51 percent in 2007.

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Source

 

And, that’s the good news.

Trust is even lower on domestic issues.

(more…)

Ordering a pizza in 2015 …

August 16, 2013

If you’ve been shrugging off the  government spying and control stuff, watch this short video-simulation.

It’s getting personal …

click to view

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Thanks to ST for feeding the lead …

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Follow on Twitter @KenHoma              >> Latest Posts

Uh-oh: Jurassic Government

May 28, 2013

Everybody knows Jurassic Park – the 1993 science fiction adventure film in which a team of genetic scientists create a wildlife park of cloned dinosaurs.

When the security systems go haywire, the dinosaurs go uncontrollably wild.

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Jonathan Turley is a left-leaning law prof at George Washington University …. a frequent legal analyst on CNN … not to be mistaken as a Tea Party kinda guy.

He had a weekend op-ed in the Washington Post that’s a must read.

Titled “The rise of the fourth branch of government “, the article’s central thesis:

The growing dominance of the federal government over the states has obscured more fundamental changes within the federal government itself:

It is not just bigger, it is dangerously off kilter.

Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch:

An administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency.

That is, the government agencies have gotten so big and sprawling that they  have substantially more power over our lives than the 3 Constitutional branches of government … and they are, for all practical purposes, unmanageable and largely out-of-control.

Hmmm.

= = = = =

Here are some highlights and stats from Turley’s article …

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Nums: Will the scandal hurt the IRS’s image?

May 17, 2013

Trick question since the public’s perception of the IRS is already pretty low

According to A Pew survey, the Internal Revenue Service, now under intense scrutiny for singling out conservative groups,  is one of the least-popular federal agencies.

Specifically. the IRS ranks 11th out of 14 agencies (the 13 listed below plus the Homeland Security Department) in terms of public perception of their performance.

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Only 47% of people surveyed said they had a “very” or “mostly” favorable opinion of the IRS.

Hmmm.

That pesky 47% number.

 

I guess that folks who don’t pay income taxes think that the IRS lightening everybody else’s wallets is way cool.

The IRS is the second-lowest among the 13 agencies people were asked about.

The only agencies ranking lower were Eric Holder’s Justice Department (38% excellent or good), the Social Security Administration (36%) and Arne Duncan’s Education Department (33%).

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ABC: IRS Official in Charge Targeting Now Runs ObamaCare Division

May 16, 2013

Definitely from the ‘you can’t make this stuff up” file …

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ABC News is reporting …

The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.

Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012.

But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed.

House Speaker John Boehner expressed “serious concerns” that the IRS is empowered as the law’s chief enforcer.

“Obamacare empowers the agency that just violated the public’s trust by secretly targeting conservative groups,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind.,
added.

“Even by Washington’s standards, that’s unacceptable.”

Sen. John Cornyn even introduced a bill, the “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013,” which would prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury, or any delegate, including the IRS, from enforcing the Affordable Care Act.

“Now more than ever, we need to prevent the IRS from having any role in Americans’ health care,” Cornyn, R-Texas, stated.

“I do not support Obamacare, and after the events of last week, I cannot support giving the IRS any more responsibility or taxpayer dollars to implement a broken law.”

Seriously, you just can’t make this stuff up …

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Follow on Twitter @KenHoma              >> Latest Posts

Stop right there, professor … proof of citizenship, please !

May 16, 2013

Unfortunately, this has become an annual event.  A summer initiation of sorts.

Once again, I was detained for questioning by government officials.

This year was unusually unnerving.

No, it wasn’t by rogue IRS agents in Cincinnati targeting an alleged conservative blogger.

image

I was suspected of crossing a border to illegally access government-provided services.

Here’s the story …

(more…)

Gotcha: IRS admits to targeting “Patriots” … turns attention to ObamaCare enforcement.

May 13, 2013

Just in case you missed the news last Friday, the IRS publicly admitted that it targeted conservative groups during the 2012 election … and then shielded itself behind a George Castanza defense.

Here is the WSJ summary of the IRS disclosure:

Yesterday,an Internal Revenue Service official disclosed for the first time, and by way of apologizing, that the agency that wields the taxing power of the federal government had targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny during the 2012 election season.

A spokeswoman acknowledged that the agency had flagged groups with the words “tea party” or “patriot” to have their tax returns inspected.

In addition, the agency was targeting groups raising  “issues regarding government spending, government debt or taxes”,  or …  how to  ‘make America a better place to live’WSJ update

She added the tax inspections were carried out entirely by low-level workers in Cincinnati without any direction from Washington.

Here’s my take on the IRS revelations:

First, a couple of weeks ago Obama bristled at the thought that some (many ?) folks don’t trust the government. 

What does the jabrone expect if his administration turns its bulldogs on its political opponents?

Can you imagine the outcry if George Bush had told the IRS to key word search “Muslim”, “Islamic”,”Progressive” or “choice” and then said to go get ‘em.

All hell would have broken loose.

Second, about the “don’t blame me, it was somebody in my organization” defense …

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Nums: Obama was right … it’s a matter of trust.

April 19, 2013

For the record: I love kids (especially my grandkids), I lived in the city adjacent to Newtown for 7 years, and I’m definitely not a gun hawk – I’ve never owned one, never shot one and don’t plan to do either.

I think most people are reading this week’s gun control vote all wrong.

First, it’s repeatedly reported that 80% to 90% of Americans support background checks.

That’s probably true, but a practical  overstatement because “while about 80 percent of those Americans think that background checks sound like a reasonable idea, they don’t really care much …   only 4 percent of Americans consider guns to be the “most important” issue facing the country.” NRO

Second, I think that President Obama had it right a couple of weeks ago when he pitched: “People say they don’t trust the government.  But, we are the government.”

Yep, he has it right … people don’t trust government.

At least the Federal government.

Here’s some evidence …

A recent Pew survey shows that trust in government took a major hit during the Johns0n-Nixon-Ford-Carter years … and has been cycling around the 30% mark since … currently, a little over 20% of the population trusts the government.

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Think about that for a moment …

Even assuming that – at an extreme – no Republicans trust the current administration … it means that less than half of all Democrats trust the administration.

Hmmm.

Here are some more interesting nums …

(more…)

The election in a nutshell … maybe jobs don’t matter as much any more!

October 18, 2012

There’s a sobering,  must read editorial in the WSJ today … Can Government Benefits Turn an Election?

Here are key points …

The federal government’s 120 means-tested programs today provide $1 trillion of benefits.

  • Unemployment insurance has stretched to 99 weeks
  • Record numbers of unemployed have qualified for disability benefits
  • Food stamps recipients have increase 40% to almost 50 million

The spending for these programs has grown 2½ times faster during the Obama presidency than in any other comparable period in American history.

To what extent might these benefits not just foster dependency but also make the economy’s performance seem less of a deciding factor in voters’ choices?

If you are concerned about your well-being and worried about a failed recovery — but getting new help from the government— do you vote for the candidate who promises more jobs or do you support the candidate who promises more government benefits?

Voters have historically set high standards and voted out incumbents not because they personally disliked them.

Rather, they’ve elected a new president because they understood the importance of a strong economy to their jobs, their income and the future prospects of their children.

Based on the economy, Mr. Obama should lose on Nov. 6. Yet it seems implausible that tens of millions of Americans who have received additional government benefits during his presidency can be completely unaffected by that largess. The election will test the relative power of private-sector aspirations and public-sector dependence.

Based on the economy, Mr. Obama should lose on Nov. 6.

Yet it seems implausible that tens of millions of Americans who have received additional government benefits during his presidency can be completely unaffected by that largess.

The election will test the relative power of private-sector aspirations and public-sector dependence.

Keep in mind that most jobs being created are relatively low paying service sector jobs … an increasing number of which are part-time … in part of duck Fed regulations and taxes (think, ObamaCare).

To get a visceral sense of the electoral “tension”, read Threats to Assassinate Romney Explode After Debate.

And, consider that an increasing number of folks feel that they are paying their fair  share (or more) with the government wasting much or most of the taxes it takes in …   what if those folks decide it’s not worth 60 hour weeks any more any more and shift into neutral?

This year’s election won’t be the end of the process … regardless of the outcome.

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Which Federal government agency is rated lowest?

September 24, 2012

Answer: the Department of Education

As Nick Cannon would say on AGT, “America has voted … via a Pew Research poll.

Despite spending hundreds of billions of dollars over the past couple of decades*, the Department of Education gets the fewest favorability nods for Americans …  only 40% give it a favorable rating … and its favorability rating is falling faster than any other agency.

The Education Dept’s low ratings aren’t that surprising since the U.S. is constantly reported to be trailing other developed nations in math, science and other basic skills … and since every politician lasers in on our need to fix public education (while protecting the sanctity of the teachers’ unions).

Second lowest is the IRS … also not surprising given its adversarial role versus citizens …  imagine the IRS rating once the 15,000 new agents start enforcing the ObamaCare mandates on companies and individuals.

I was surprised to see the low rating for the Social Security Administration … especially since its primary mission is handing out money.  Best hypothesis I can conjure is that the SSA is generally regarded as a hassle to deal with, and probably gets the brunt of ill-feelings when folks can’t make ends meet when on Social Security.

Initially, I was most surprised to see the comparatively high score for the oft-maligned Post Office … with an 89% favorability score, it’s 10 points higher than #3 – the Center for Disease Control.

Come to think of it, the Post Office hasn’t disappointed me often – especially given the number of transactions it handles.  In fact, our local Post Office and our neighborhood mail carrier provide really good service.  I guess that happens when people are customers not captives, and when there is some private enterprise competitors keeping the system somewhat on its toes.

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* Source re: Dept. of Education Spending

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Do Americans think that they can trust government?

September 20, 2012

Yes for state and local governments …  the Federal government: not so much.

According to Gallup, less than 1 in 5 Americans say that they trust the Federal government

… over 80% only trust the Federal government some of the time or never.

 

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According to Gallupa majority say that they trust state governments to handle their problems

…. about 2 in 3 think they can trust their local governments.

The lesson to politicos: keep it local … decentralized … closer (and more responsive) to the people.

 

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Why do so many Americans hate paying income taxes?

September 19, 2012

It’s not simply about the money.

Researchers Jeff Kidder of Northern Illinois University and Isaac Martin from the University of California-San Diego have found that there are moral underpinnings that help explain why many hate paying taxes.

Rather than being associated with a free-market ideology or a person’s own economic interests, tax hostility is more linked with moral principles.

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“Tax talk is about dollars, but it is also about a moral sense of what is right.”

Generally, respondents saw income taxes as violating the moral principle that hard work should be rewarded.

The respondents “portray taxation as a threat to the moral order because they believe taxes deprive deserving hardworking middle class people of dignity, while rewarding others who are undeserving (both rich and poor)”.

Entrepreneurs are particularly anti-tax.

In fact, a recent survey by payroll service provider Paychex found that tax codes, along with employment regulations and retirement security are the top three election issues for small business owners.

Source: LiveScience extract from the Journal Symbolic Interaction

Are you angry with the Federal government?

September 18, 2012

According to a Pew Research poll, 1 in 5 Americans are angry with the Federal government

… another 56% say they’re frustrated with the Federal government

That leaves less than 1 in 5 who are basically content with the Federal government.

How are you feeling these days?

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In total, how much do Americans pay in taxes? For what? To whom?.

September 11, 2012

Americans pay a tad over $5 trillion in taxes to the Feds, States and Local Governments.

Technical note: In government parlance, the taxes are called “revenue”.

By taxing authority

Drilling down, the $5 trillion is split roughly 50%-30%-20% to the Feds, States and Locals, respectively

image

* * * * *

By type of tax

Roughly 1/3 of the $5 trillion is income taxes individual and corporate)

about 1/4 is ad valorem taxes (think sales and property taxes)

just under 1/5 are social insurance (i.e. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid)

… slightly more than 1/5 are fees and charges (think tolls, business licenses)

image

* * * * *

Income taxes

Roughly 1/3 of the $5 trillion – about $1.8 trillion — is income taxes

…  83.4% are individual income taxes; only 16.6% are corporate income taxes

… about 80% of income taxes go to the Feds; around 20% goes to the States & Locals

image

* * * * *

Ad-valorem taxes

Roughly 1/4 of the $5 trillion in total taxes paid – about $1.2 trillion – is ad-valorem taxes – taxes paid based on the value of something bought or owned.

…  about 40% of ad-valorem taxes are Local property taxes

…  about 1/3 are Sales Taxes …  going mostly to the States

image

* * * * *

Social Insurance

Roughly 1/5 of the $5 trillion in total taxes paid – about $961 billion – is social insurance – with about 80% going to the Feds

…  roughly 60% of the social insurance payments going to the Feds is for Social Security

…  almost 1/4 of the social insurance payments going to the Feds is for Medicare.

image

* * * * *

Pulling it all together Ken’s Rosetta Stone of Taxes

All the details — now much? to whom? for what?

Click for a PDF: Ken’s Rosetta Stone of Taxes

image

PDF          Data Source

>> Latest Posts

Does the Federal gov’t have a positive or negative impact on your life?

August 29, 2012

According Pew Research, an increasing plurality (43%) of people think the Federal government negatively impacts their lives.

15 years ago, 50% thought he impact was positive … now,  only 38% think so …..

How do you feel?

 

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Is the Federal government a good value?

August 28, 2012

A Kaiser Foundation survey asked folks:

Thinking about all that the Federal government does for you, do you think that you get more or less value than what you pay in taxes?

The results

  • Less than 10% said that they got more value than what they paid in taxes.
  • About 1/3 thought they got about the right value for taxes paid
  • More than half of the respondents said that they got less value than what they paid in taxes.

Of course, the last finding is most interesting since it’s a majority … and since about half of the folks don’t pay any income taxes.

Hmmm

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Source question

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What’s the government’s GPA?

August 27, 2012

A Kaiser Foundation survey asked folks to grade the government on a traditional A to F grading scale.

Back in 2000, the government scored a “gentleman’s C” … GPA = 2.07.

In the past decade, the GPA has dropped to 1.63 … a C-minus / D-plus.

Hmmm.

Isn’t that probationary at most b-schools?

 

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Source question

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