Friday, June 29, 2012

MAYBE, JUST MAYBE...


June Smith

…Chief Justice Roberts hit a high fly ball that was well hit, arched toward the sky but ended up landing in Mitt’s mitt, to end the campaign game.
 
Maybe, just maybe, Romney will win the World’s Serious Election.
 
Minutes after the landmark SCOTUS decision, "Obamacare upheld. Elections have consequences" hit Romney's website along with Tom Corbett’s comments: “Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold President Obama’s healthcare law is disappointing. If implemented, we will be saddled with a nearly $2 trillion entitlement. The Supreme Court’s decision sets the stakes for the November election. Now the only way to save the country from this massive government takeover of healthcare is to elect a new President and lawmakers in Washington, D.C. We need a leader who understands that free markets and competition lead to better quality, greater access and lower costs for our healthcare. We need a leader who understands that real healthcare reform shouldn’t be a burden to taxpayers or come at the cost of American jobs. That leader is Mitt Romney.”
 
While Romney was responding to the decision and vowing once again to repeal Obama’s health care law, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul was tweeting that the Republican “received $1.5 million and more than 13,500 donations as of about 2:35 p.m. ET.” It’s up to $4.3 million this morning.

Immediately after the decision, @Nancy Pelosi sent out this tweet: “Victory for the American People! Millions of American families and children will have certainty of health care benefits and affordable care.”
 
Hours later, she tweeted this: “Rs who want to challenge the constitutional health care law are showing they’re ‘handmaidens of the special interest.’”
 
Pelosi tweeted the day before the decision that she’d “be appearing on @MeetthePress this Sunday to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act.”
 
Speaker of the House John Boehner quickly chirped in after the announcement of the decision with his @John Boehner tweet: “Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court underscores the urgency of #fullrepeal of #ObamaCarehttp://t.co/PdLzCq4y #jobs.” Good job, John, on the last 51 characters and one space. Hope it was a cut and paste.
 
How quickly we’ve become a nation of followers of @ symbols and hashtags. But I digress…
 
In his response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare, “translated” by Roll Call @ www.rollcall.com, Romney said, “As you might imagine, I disagree with the Supreme Court's decision and I agree with the dissent.
 
“What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.

“Let's make clear that we understand what the court did and did not do.
“What the court did today was say that Obamacare does not violate the Constitution. What they did not do was say that Obamacare is good law or that it's good policy.

“Obamacare was bad policy yesterday. It's bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday. It's bad law today.
“Let me tell you why I say that.

“Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion. Obamacare cuts Medicare - cuts Medicare by approximately $500 billion. And even with those cuts and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt, and pushes those obligations on to coming generations.
“Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep.

“Obamacare is a job-killer. Businesses across the country have been asked what the impact is of Obamacare. Three-quarters of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people.

“And perhaps most troubling of all, Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor.

“For all those reasons, it's important for us to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“What are some of the things that we'll keep in place and must be in place in a reform, a real reform of our health care system?

“One, we have to make sure that people who want to keep their current insurance will be able to do so. Having 20 million people - up to that number of people lose the insurance they want is simply unacceptable.
“Number two, got to make sure that those people who have pre-existing conditions know that they will be able to be insured and they will not lose their insurance.

“We also have to assure that we do our very best to help each state in their effort to assure that every American has access to affordable health care.
“And something that Obamacare does not do that must be done in real reform is helping lower the cost of health care and health insurance. It's becoming prohibitively expensive.

“And so this is now a time for the American people to make a choice. You can choose whether you want to have a larger and larger government, more and more intrusive in your life, separating you and your doctor, whether you're comfortable with more deficits, higher debt that we pass on to the coming generations, whether you're willing to have the government put in place a plan that potentially causes you to lose the insurance that you like, or whether instead you want to return to a time when the American people will have their own choice in health care, where consumers will be able to make their choices as to what kind of health insurance they want.
“This is a time of choice for the American people. Our mission is clear: If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we're going to have to replace President Obama. My mission is to make sure we do exactly that: that we return to the American people the privilege they've always had to live their lives in the way they feel most appropriate, where we don't pass on to coming generations massive deficits and debt, where we don't have a setting where jobs are lost.

“If we want good jobs and a bright economic future for ourselves and for our kids, we must replace Obamacare.
“That is my mission, that is our work, and I'm asking the people of America to join me. If you don't want the course that President Obama has put us on, if you want, instead, a course that the founders envisioned, then join me in this effort. Help us. Help us defeat Obamacare. Help us defeat the liberal agenda that makes government too big, too intrusive, and that's killing jobs across this great country.

“Thank you so much.”
The election campaign has hit the boiling point, Roberts’ Riddle needs to be to be solved and resolved, and there will be enough tweets, hashtags, and sound bites about the mystical Affordable Care Act from politicians, political pundits and the media to sicken us. Ironic, huh. 

By the way, I’m not campaigning. I’m just commenting.  As Ron said, "It doesn't matter who the President is, we're still screwed."







June Smith is the widow WBAL talk show host and Sun columnist, Ron Smith, who posthumously received an Emmy® for his lifetime achievement in television and radio at WBAL in Baltimore, MD. Smith was a media titan in the central Maryland area and beyond for almost forty years. Mrs. Smith’s tribute website honoring his legacy is www.FriendsofRonSmith.com.  She is working diligently to raise one million dollars for the Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at Johns Hopkins and is an advocate for H.R. 733, the Pancreatic Cancer Research Education Act. Her email is june@friendsofronsmith.com.


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VRWC Radio: Special Edition

Jimmy Braswell will be hosting a special edition of The Vast Right Win Conspiracy regarding the Obamacare decision today at 4 PM. Listen live exclusively on the Red Maryland Network.


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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Red Maryland Radio: 6/28/2012

Another great episode of Red Maryland Radio came at you this week:



Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

We had a few things to talk about:
All that and more this week. Be sure to listen every Thursday night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.


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Seize This Moment

REMINDER: Greg and I discuss this and more tonight at 8 on Red Maryland Radio

I thought this morning of my International Relations professor from my days at Western Maryland College, Volker Franke, who used to always say "There is opportunity in adversity."

I saw that Twitter, Facebook, and the internet in general went into a state of general apoplexy this morning over the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act. Seemingly, a lot of my fellow Republicans seemed to be inching closer toward the ledge and toward jumping off said ledge. That with the Obamacare ruling, the end was nigh and that there really wasn't much worth fighting over.

Bull. While the act being in place is a terrible thing for health care and the American people (notwithstanding this bizarre editorial from the Baltimore Sun) things are not as bad as they seem:

  • Commerce Clause: Chief Justice Roberts stood with the four dissenters as it relates to the application of the Commerce Clause to the individual mandate. What does that mean to you? It means the Commerce Clause has limits. It is a continuation of the court's refutation of Wickard v. Filburn and other cases which allowed for a broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause. This, in the long run, will be the most significant development from the ruling of this case; that the Federal Government has limits to the exercise of its power (which also extended in this case beyond the Commerce Clause down to Necessary and Proper).
  • The Power of Taxation: Chief Justice Roberts majority opinion on the individual mandate was based on the idea that the Federal Government had the power to tax; a power that most rational people agreed the Federal Government already had anyway. Those are the narrow grounds on which this decision was based. The Court, in the Roberts opinion, does not hold that the taxation power is the creation of a new authority, just an exercise of already existing Constitutional authority. And while we strongly oppose their use of this authority in this case, it isn't anything knew under the sun.
  • Federalism Still Holds: Randy Barnett called the ruling a "Weird Victory for Federalism" and he's right. One of the things that the Roberts opinion also does is note that Federal Government does not have the power to penalize states for opting out of the ACA's Medicaid expansion. The Court has clearly ruled that the power of the Federal Government to penalize states also has limits, which could make for some very interesting challenges on funded and unfunded mandates later on down the road.
  • The Game is Changed: The Administration and the Democrats have said time and time again that they have not raised taxes on the middle class. That argument was thoroughly destroyed by the Court today given the fact that the Court upheld the Individual mandate solely on its status as a tax. It is impossible for the Democrats to make the argument now that they didn't just pass the largest middle class tax hike in American history.
Face some facts: The Commerce Clause has been reigned in. Obamacare is still wickedly unpopular. And the Court hung the label of passing record taxation around the Administration and the Democratic Party. While at the same time I concur with the editors of the National Review who note that "The law, as rewritten by judges, remains incompatible with the country’s tradition of limited government, the future strength of our health-care system, and the nation’s solvency."

It's go time folks. Get ready to help your candidates. Mitt Romney, Dan Bongino, Andy Harris, Nancy Jacobs, Eric Knowles, Faith Loudon, Tony O'Donnell, Roscoe Bartlett, Frank Mirabile and Ken Timmerman are going to need all of the help that they can get in order to win this November and to work together to repeal this unconscionable act.

There is opportunity in adversity. Now let's go make the most of it.


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DANCIN' IN THE STREETS

June Smith

The Dems and Dumbers are celebrating the Supremes Obamacare 5-4 ruling despite it being yet another tax.
 
There was some good news in the narrow ruling: some of the power of Government has been restricted. The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, states that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution does not give Congress power and authority to require us to have health care.
 
But other parts of the Commerce Clause open a super-sized can of worms. The Commerce Clause gives Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among several states, and with the Indian tribes.”

We all know how well that worked out for the Indian tribes. Now it’s our turn to play Congress and Indians.

But I digress...
 
The word “Commerce” is not defined in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution thus the Government’s broad interpretation of it at its discretion.

Although the Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, “Chief Justice Roberts concluded in Part III–A that the individual mandate is not a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause."

Read the ruling: Supreme Court Opinion. See how it will affect you; your family; your income; your employer; your healthcare, and your insurance plan. Don’t forget to factor in the impact on small businesses and commerce in general—health care represents one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

To determine if you’ll be putting on your dancing shoes, here are the first three paragraphs of the Opinion:  “No. 11–393. Argued March 26, 27, 28, 2012—Decided June 28, 2012*

“In 2010, Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in order to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance and decrease the cost of health care. One key provision is the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to maintain “minimum essential” health insurance coverage. 26 U. S. C. §5000A. For individuals who are not exempt, and who do not receive health insurance through an employer or government program, the means of satisfying the requirement is to purchase insurance from a private company. Beginning in 2014, those who do not comply with the mandate must make a “[s]hared responsibility payment” to the Federal Government. §5000A(b)(1). The Act provides that this “penalty” will be paid to the Internal Revenue Service with an individual’s taxes, and “shall be assessed and collected in the same manner” as tax penalties. §§5000A(c), (g)(1).

"Another key provision of the Act is the Medicaid expansion. The current Medicaid program offers federal funding to States to assist pregnant women, children, needy families, the blind, the elderly, and the disabled in obtaining medical care. 42 U. S. C. §1396d(a). The Affordable Care Act expands the scope of the Medicaid program and increases the number of individuals the States must cover. For example, the Act requires state programs to provide Medicaid coverage by 2014 to adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, whereas many States now cover adults with children only if their income is considerably lower, and do not cover childless adults at all. §1396a(a)(10)(A)(i)(VIII). The Act increases federal funding to cover the States’ costs in expanding Medicaid coverage. §1396d(y)(1). But if a State does not comply with the Act’s new coverage requirements, it may lose not only the federal funding for those requirements, but all of its federal Medicaid funds. §1396c.
 
"Twenty-six States, several individuals, and the National Federation of Independent Business brought challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion. The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld the Medicaid expansion as a valid exercise of Congress’s spending power, but concluded that Congress lacked authority to en-act the individual mandate. Finding the mandate severable from the Act’s other provisions, the Elevent  Circuit  left  the  rest  of  the  Act  intact."
 
Boiled down, the sleeping Giant is awake and that doesn’t bode well for we the people of the United States.


June Smith is the widow WBAL talk show host and Sun columnist, Ron Smith, who posthumously received an Emmy® for his lifetime achievement in television and radio at WBAL in Baltimore, MD. Smith was a media titan in the central Maryland area and beyond for almost forty years. Mrs. Smith’s tribute website honoring his legacy is www.FriendsofRonSmith.com.  She is working diligently to raise one million dollars for the Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at Johns Hopkins and is an advocate for H.R. 733, the Pancreatic Cancer Research Education Act. Her email is june@friendsofronsmith.com.












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Supreme Court Decision on the Affordable Care Act: Constitutionally Sound, but Practically Flawed


--Richard E. Vatz

     In one of the most rapidly transmitted pieces of news in history, the Supreme Court decisions on the Affordable Care Act surprised almost everyone.  Parenthetically, despite everyone’s having knowledge that the Court would issue its decisions on this, the final day of its term, CNN actually publicized the following:  “The Supreme Court has struck down the individual mandate for health care - the legislation that requires all to have health insurance. “  That may become as famous as the Chicago Tribune headline "Dewey Defeats Truman" which was the famously inaccurate banner headline on the front page of the Chicago Tribune on November 3, 1948, the day after the presidential victory by Harry Truman.

     One of the oldest clich├ęs surrounding the Supreme Court is that the Court, in Finley Peter Dunne’s famous formulation, “follows the election returns.”  My initial thoughts were that suspicions have forever surrounded the Supreme Court regarding whether the Justices generally are motivated to first determine their decisions and then find a Constitutional rationale to defend them.  If one goes through the history of the Supreme Court, one does not find a great many decisions that are antithetical to the political dispositions of the Court.  Individual Justices generally vote their political consciences.

     I am not a scholar of the Supreme Court, but I have suspected this general motivation for decades and wrote a lengthy piece on it years ago with a lawyer bud.   It is indisputable in my mind that politically Chief Justice Roberts dislikes the Individual Mandate, but found it Constitutional as a tax.  That is an honorable if impractical vote, but, again, the Court’s mandate is to rule on the Constitutionality of laws.  The other justices whose votes all reflect their policy preferences could have coincidentally found their politics and Constitutional adjudication identical, but it could not be the case for all eight of them.

     Again, as a non-expert I wonder what the limits of lawmakers are.  Is there any limit to government's freedom to tax anything they want?  Is there any legal limit to their ability to redistribute wealth through taxation?

     When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt attempted to “pack” the Supreme Court, he made the following point in a speech:  I defy anyone to read the opinions concerning the Triple A, the Railroad Retirement Act, the National Recovery Act, the Guffey Coal Act, and the New York minimum wage law and tell us exactly what, if anything, we can do for the industrial worker in this session of the Congress with any reasonable certainty that what we do will not be nullified as Unconstitutional.”

     Justice Robert Jackson is famous for his argument that the Constitution is “not a suicide pact,” a fascinating observation that would seem to mean that punctiliously adhering to principles should stop when overwhelming consequences argue against a Constitutionally sound decision.

     Justice Roberts must feel that sustaining the Individual Mandate is not sufficiently destructive to the United States to suspend his principles.


Prof. Richard Vatz teaches persuasion at Towson University and is author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2012)


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Red Maryland Radio Tonight

Red Maryland Radio returns tonight at 8 PM only on the Red Maryland Network.

We're going to have a few things to talk about:

  • The Obamacare decision comes out today; we'll discuss;
  • The Eric Holder contempt vote is scheduled for today; we'll discuss
  • Did you know that dual citizens can vote in both the Mexican and the U.S. Presidential Election this year?
  • A blogger did a post on redistricting this week, and it got a visceral reaction from Greg; listen in as he explains
All that and more tonight. Be sure to tune in tonight at 8, only on the Red Maryland Network.


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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

MARKETPLACE FAIRNESS

June Smith

Momentum is growing for the passage of the internet sales tax bill called the “Marketplace Fairness Act” (MFA), sponsored by Senator Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and several other usual suspects.
 
According to www.marketplacefairness.org, “The Marketplace Fairness Act grants states the authority to compel online and catalog retailers ("remote sellers"), no matter where they are located, to collect sales tax at the time of a transaction - exactly like local retailers are already required to do. However, there is a caveat: States are only granted this authority after they have simplified their sales tax laws.”
 
Simplifying their sales tax laws.  What an amusing thought.
 
A B.S. in BS might make the translation of the "use tax" jabberwocky easier. Not having one, I’ll attempt to “simplify” what it means to us: Taxpayers should be paying a “use tax”, the equivalent of their home State’s sales tax on Internet and out-of-state purchases, but that’s not happening. Most taxpayers don’t know it’s their responsibility and there’s no way for the states to track it or go after it.

With the Government’s help, the burden of collecting the taxes will shift from the states to large companies.

Small businesses with less than $500,000 may be exempted but the big "remote sellers" will take a hit ultimately affecting their price advantages over local sellers.

Numerous states have enacted similar MFA legislation to recoup lost “use” taxes from the big retailers, focusing on Amazon, since they currently only collect sales tax from customers in five out of the 50 states.
 
Amazon waged war with several of those states over it, called it unconstitutional, and terminated its relationships with affiliates in several of those states. 
 
The battle lasted years and cost Amazon lots of money but they recently gave in and are now supporting the MFA because they figured out a way to make money on it.
 
Abe Gardener answered the question as to how Amazon will benefit in his recent piece online at Seeking Alpha www.seekingalpha.com:

Mr. Gardner wrote, “U.S. Internet retail sales topped $176 billion last year and are expected to reach $279 billion by 2015, according to Forrester Research Inc.

“According to Internet Retailer magazine, Amazon will offer to handle the sales tax collection process for its third-party merchants in exchange for 2.9% of the tax collected. This means that Amazon has created a money printing machine. Amazon's new offer is aimed at hundreds of thousands of independent U.S. businesses, ranging in size from tiny used-book sellers to major manufacturers that sell their products through the Amazon.com site.

“Over the past twelve months Amazon has posted revenue of $48.1 billion. Nearly 40% of the merchandise sold worldwide by Amazon is by third parties that use the company's Internet platform. It has been estimated that about half of those sales required Amazon to collect sales taxes or value-added taxes from U.S. and foreign buyers. Under the Marketplace Fairness Act that percentage would grow significantly.

“Assuming $279 billion of U.S. Internet retail sales in 2015, Amazon could have $70 billion in revenue running through its platform. Let's assume 75% of that ($52.5 billion) is a target for third-party merchant tax collection fees. Let's further assume that sales tax is 7.5%.

“That means by 2015, $116 million of annual revenue (2.9% of $4 billion) could end up in Amazon's checking account as a result of the Marketplace Fairness Act. By 2025 the aggregate amount could exceed $1 billion.”

Thanks, Abe. That certainly explains it.
 
The House Judiciary Committee will be holding hearings on the issue in July. Most likely, it will pass—and the “use tax”, soon to be simply known as sales tax, will pass on to us.
 
Marketplace fairness, indeed.


June Smith is the widow WBAL talk show host and Sun columnist, Ron Smith, who posthumously received an Emmy® for his lifetime achievement in television and radio at WBAL in Baltimore, MD. Smith was a media titan in the central Maryland area and beyond for almost forty years. Mrs. Smith’s tribute website honoring his legacy is www.FriendsofRonSmith.com.  She is working diligently to raise one million dollars for the Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at Johns Hopkins and is an advocate for H.R. 733, the Pancreatic Cancer Research Education Act. Her email is june@friendsofronsmith.com.


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Celebrate Red Maryland's 5th Anniversary

Red Maryland celebrates our 5th Anniversary on July 11th. Come celebrate with us on Friday night, July 27th at Two Rivers Steak and Fish House in Pasadena for a special live taping, tweetup, and celebration.

All of the Red Maryland Network stars will be there, as well as additional special guests that we'll be announcing the closer we get to July 27th.

We've setup a Facebook event if you'd like to RSVP for this great event.


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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

VRWC Radio: 6/26/12

Ethan and Jimmy were joined live in studio this week by Mark Newgent, as they discussed the Sandusky Case, Syria, and more:


Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio


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VRWC Radio Returns Tonight

The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Radio returns at 8 PM tonight with Jimmy Braswell and Ethan Grayson.

Listen in or watch live.


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The Broadside 6-25-12

Check out last night's The Broadside with Mark Newgent and Andrew Langer


Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio


The guys talked about the Supreme Court's impending ruling on Obamacare;
How Maryland, once again, managed to screw the pooch on gambling;
And why Mark didn't "Choose Civility" in a Howard County parking garage

Listen to The Broadside every Monday night at 7pm and subscribe to all the Red Maryland Network programs on iTunes.




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My Appearance on The Marc Steiner Show

If you missed it, I appeared on The Marc Steiner Show yesterday to discuss gambling, along with former Delegate Gerron Levi and Gazette Columnist Barry Rascovar.

Click here to listen!


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Monday, June 25, 2012

Seeing Red: 6/24/2012

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

Video streaming by Ustream


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The Broadside Tonight 7pm

Tonight on the Broadside:


Mark runs afoul of Howard County's favorite bumper sticker slogan
Martin O'Malley and Maryland Democrats have found yet another way to botch gaming in Maryland
The impending SCOTUS decision on Obamacare
Elite white folks defending their precious bicycle subsidy

All that and more tonight on The Broadside with Mark Newgent and Andrew Langer. Tune in tonight at 7pm on The Red Maryland Network


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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Seeing Red returns tonight

Seeing Red with John and Andi Morony returns tonight at 7 PM.

Link
Listen in or watch live.


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Friday, June 22, 2012

TAXING TIMES & CIRCUMSTANCES


June Smith

The Government takes as much of our money as possible. Now they are telling us how we spend what’s left over.

The U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics latest—2009, which seems about how long it would take a U.S. Department of Anything to produce something— Consumer Expenditure Survey details “U.S. Consumer Unit Expenditures” and “average annual expenditures and percent totals.”

Here are the percentages by category, fellow “Units”:

·         34.1%: Housing (shelter; utilities, fuels and public services; household operations; furnishings; and housekeeping supplies

·         17.6%: Transportation (vehicle purchases; gas, oil, and maintenance; and other transportation expenses)

·         12.4%: Food (at home and away from home)

·         10.8%: Insurance, Pensions, Life and other personal insurance

·         5.7%: Healthcare

·         5.4%: Entertainment

·         3.8%: Apparel and Services

·         3.7%: Cash contributions

·         1.9%: Education

·         1.6%: Miscellaneous

·         1.2%: Personal Care Products and Services

·         0.9%: Alcoholic Beverages

·         0.7%: Tobacco

·         0.2%: Reading

Added up, it totals 100%.

Missing from the big pie chart is any mention of the percentage of income taxes paid by the average “U.S. Consumer Unit”—“expenditures” also known as the mandatory payments legally withheld from gross income by the Government, states and paid to local municipalities.

What a major victory it was for the Government when mandatory withholding was established in 1943. If the average “Unit” had to calculate and make quarterly tax payments, write a check payable to the U.S. Treasury, put a stamp on it and mail it, there might be a another Tea Party like the one in Boston.

But I digress…

We use net income, after tax dollars (ATDs), what’s left over after Uncle Sam gets his piece of the pie to pay for our “Unit Expenditures” and to pay for additional taxes on taxable items, varying by state.

We’re not just paying at the gas pump. We’re paying for other imposed taxes with ATDs, directly or indirectly. Here a tax, there a tax, everywhere there’s a tax, tax, tax.
 
This compilation of taxable items from www.infotaxsquare.com is an eye-opener:
 
“GENERAL MERCHANDISE:

Automotive supplies, Ballpoint pens, Bath linens (towels, washcloths, etc.), Bathroom Scales,
Batteries, Bed linens (sheets, pillowcases, etc.), Books (except for serial comic books and crossword puzzle magazines), Calcium fluoride (for melting ice), Candles, Carpet fresheners, Chalk, Charcoal, Christmas trees (live and artificial) and Christmas tree ornaments, Cigarette lighters, Clock radios, Clocks, Clothing (gloves, hats, socks, shoes, underwear, etc.), Coffee makers, Comic books (non-serial), Compact discs, Computer discs, Cookbooks, Cookware, Correction fluid (e.g., White-Out), Crayons, Cutlery, Date books, Diaries, Dish detergent, Disposable cigarette lighters, Envelopes, Erasers, Flashlights, Flatware, Flower pots. Flower seeds, Folders, Footwear (all types), Furniture (e.g., folding chairs), Furniture polish, wax, etc., Garden furniture, seed packets, tools and supplies, Gift wrap, Glue, Greeting cards, Highlighters, Hosiery, Household cleaners and deodorizers, Housewares, Ice (including ice cubes, ice chunks, ice blocks, and chipped ice), Ink, Ink pens, Kitchen appliances and utensils, Lead pencils, Lighter fluid, Loose-leaf binders and paper, Lunch boxes, Magic Markers, Manila folders, Mechanical pencils, Memo pads, Microwave cookware, Notebooks, Paper clips, Paper plates and cups, Pens and pencils, Photography equipment (disposable cameras, instant cameras, still cameras, etc.), Photography supplies (film, flash bulbs, flash cubes, etc.), Picnic Accessories (jugs, flatware, cutlery, etc.) and baskets, Plants, Plastic ware, Playing cards, Radios, Reading glasses (non-prescriptive), Rock salt, Room fresheners and deodorizers, Scales (kitchen or bathroom) Sewing notions (needles, thread, thimbles, etc.), Shoe laces, Shoes, Silverware, Snow shovels, Staplers and staples, Stationery, Stereos, Sunglasses (non-prescription), Table linens, Tableware, Thermos bottles, cups, jars, etc., Torch lights, Toys, Underwear, Video cassette recorders and tapes, Watches, Wrapping paper, and Writing tablets.

“COSMETICS & TOILETRIES

After shave creams, lotions, moisturizers and powders, Almond meal and almond paste, Antiperspirants and deodorants, Astringents, Bath crystals, milks, oils, powders, salts, tablets and bubble bath, Bay rum, Beauty creams, Bleaching creams and lotions, Body powders, Bouquet liquids, Breath fresheners and sweeteners, Brilliantine, Cleansing creams and lotions, Closet deodorants, Cold creams, Colognes, Combs, Compact refills, Cosmetic stockings, Cuticle removers and softeners, Dental floss and dental cleaners, Depilatories, Dusting powders, Eau de cologne, Essences and extracts, Exfoliants, Eye shadow, Eyebrow brushes, dyes, and pencils, Eyelash dye and mascara, Face cream and lotions, Face packs, powder and facial oil, Finger wave lotions, Floral essences, Foundation makeup, Freckle remover, Fuller’s earth, Hair bleach, brushes, combs, dressing, dye, gel, lotion, and oils, Hair pomade, remover, and restorative, Hair rinse, spray, straightener, tint, and tonic, Hand cream and lotion, Henna, Lavender, Lip ice, pomade, lipstick, lipstick refills and liquid lip color, Liquid face powder, liquid stockings, Manicure preparations, Mascara, Mask preparations, Massage cream, Mittens containing toilet powder, Moisturizers, Mousse, Mouthwash, Mustache wax, Nail bleach, brushes, enamel, lacquer, polish, polish remover and whitener, Olive oil (if scent or color added), Orris root, Pancake makeup, Perfume, perfume kits, and perfume novelties, Permanent wave neutralizers, waving cream, waving kits, and waving lotion, Peroxide (if for use in bleaching the hair or for other toiletry purposes), Petroleum jelly (if scent or color added), Plucking cream, Pore cleanser, Powder base, Pumice stones, Rock salt bath crystals, Rose water, Rouge, Sachets (containing powder or other aromatic material), Shampoo (non-medicated), Shaving cream and shaving preparations, Skin balm, Skin bleach, cream, lotion, oil, tonic, and whitener, Stain removers, Talcum powder, Texture cream, Tissue cream, Toilet ammonia, cream, lanolin, and water, Tooth powder, toothpaste and toothbrushes, Vanishing cream, Water softener, Wave set, Witch hazel, and Wrinkle-concealing preparations
 
“MEDICAL EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES

Air conditioners, purifiers and cleaners, Athletic supports, Basins, Bathtub safety rails and safety seats, Bed baths, Blackhead removers, Braille books and games, Cast cutters, Cotton (unsterile) and unsterile cotton balls and swabs, Dehumidifiers, Dental Floss, dental cushions, and dental liners, Ear plugs and stopples, Emesis basins, Exercise equipment, Fans, Feminine hygiene syringes, Foot baths, Funnels, Garter belts, Gloves, Grab bars, Heaters and humidifiers, I.D. bracelets (medical), Massage devices, Mattress covers, Medical charts and diaries, Nose clips and shields, Nursers (baby bottles) and nursing pads, Orthopedic mattresses, Over bed tables, Pads for eyeglasses, Parallel bars, Plaster bandages and splints, Plastic sheets, Poison records, Posture shorts and support chairs, Prep brushes (surgical), Pumice, Rubber gloves and sheets, Sanitary napkins, Skin removers, Straws, Sun lamps and sun lamp goggles, Sunglasses (non-prescriptive), Tongue blades and depressors, Tweezers, Ultraviolet lamps, Veterinary equipment, instruments and supplies, Vibrators, Wheelchair trays, Whirlpool baths, concentrate, and pumps.
 
“FOOD & BEVERAGES

Beer, Bottled water, Candied apples, Candy, confectionery and candy bars, Candy jellies, Caramel, caramels, and caramel-coated popcorn, Carbonated beverages and water, Chewing gum, Chocolate, chocolate candy, chocolate-coated nuts, raisins, and pretzels, Coated candies and coated candy, Cocktail mixes and Collins mixer, Cranberry juice cocktails, Cream candies, Dietetic candy, carbonated beverages, and soft drinks, Fountain drinks (e.g., sodas, milkshakes, etc.), French burnt peanuts, Fruit drinks containing less than 70% natural fruit juice, Fruit nectars and punch less than 70% fruit juice, Fudge, Gatorade, Glazed fruit, Hard candy, Hi-C, Honey-roasted peanuts, Ice and ice cubes, Ice cream cones and sodas, Jelly beans, Jordan almonds, Kool-Aid, Licorice, Maple sugar candy, Mineral water, Nougats, Nuts (chocolate or candy coated), Orange Crush, Pet food and supplies, Seltzer water, Soft drinks, Sugar-coated nuts and raisins, Toffee, Vegetable plants and seeds used to grow, Vichy water, Water, and Yoo Hoo (assorted flavors).”
 
Here is a sampling of a few other taxes and fees we pay with ATDs:
 
Mobile phones: a Federal Universal Service Charge, Regulatory Recovery Fee, State Gross Receipts Surcharges, the 911 Service Fee, and a State Telecom Tax;
 
Energy: State tax surcharge;
 
Cable: Sales tax, FCC Regulatory Fee, Franchise Fee, and a 911 fee.
 
The Regulatory Recovery Fees paid on mobile phones, cable service, etc., is not a tax or government-mandated charge; rather, it is imposed by the service provider to defray regulatory costs such as state universal services, relay services, and certain state and local utility fees.
 
Whether our “U.S. Consumer Unit Expenditures” align with the Consumer Expenditure Survey calculations and regardless of what income tax bracket we are assigned, taxes in any form must be paid.
 
The first bite, taken from gross income, may be the worst, but the bleeding continues from all the other taxes and fees we pay.
 
And it isn’t about to change. Chumming for our ATDs continues. There are always more tax increases, universal service charges, fees, etc., on the horizon.
 
By the way, there is no such thing as an average U.S. tax bracket. Taxpayers pay the tax rate determined by gross income, minus the allowable deductions.  Taxes are imposed mandatorily for individuals and range from 0-35% federally and 0-11% by the state.
 
If you don’t know there are penalties for not filing tax returns, filing late returns, and that certain “intentional” failings are subject to jail time, you’re either in big trouble or living in one of the countries with no extradition treaties with the U.S. 
 
According to the Internal Revenue Service’s official boowah, bushwah, blah blah, “The failure-to-file penalty is calculated based on the time from the deadline of your tax return (including extensions) to the date you actually filed your tax return. The penalty is 5% for each month the tax return is late, up to a total maximum penalty of 25%. The percentage is the tax due as shown on the tax return. If your tax return is more than five months late, simply multiply your balance due by 25% to calculate your failure to file penalty.
 
“The failure-to-pay penalty is calculated based on the amount of tax you owe. The penalty is 0.5% for each month the tax is not paid in full. There is no maximum limit to the failure-to-pay penalty.  The penalty is calculated from the original payment deadline (the original April 15th filing deadline) until the balance due is paid in full.
 
“Interest is calculated based on how much tax you owe. Interest rates change every three months. Currently, the IRS interest rate for underpayment of tax is 4% per year. The interest is calculated for each day your balance due is not paid in full.
 
“IRS interest rates are variable and are set quarterly” because “they” make the rules.
 
Taxing times and circumstances, indeed.


June Smith is the widow WBAL talk show host and Sun columnist, Ron Smith, who posthumously received an Emmy® for his lifetime achievement in television and radio at WBAL in Baltimore, MD. Smith was a media titan in the central Maryland area and beyond for almost forty years. Mrs. Smith’s tribute website honoring his legacy is www.FriendsofRonSmith.com.  She is working diligently to raise one million dollars for the Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at Johns Hopkins. Her email is june@friendsofronsmith.com.



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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Red Maryland Radio: 6/21/2012

Another great episode of Red Maryland Radio came at you this week:



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This week:
All that and more this week. Be sure to listen every Thursday night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.


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