Posted By Jim Kouri On March 19, 2010 (8:10 am) In Voices and Choices

President Barack Obama is already planning his next sweeping change for American society after he gets his Obamacare passed in both houses of Congress: fulfillment of his campaign promise to revamp U.S. immigration policy as part of his fundamental transformation of the United States.

On Thursday, Obama mentioned a proposal by Democrat Senator Charles Schumer and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, that features a first-ever national identification card for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want a job.
In a blog posted online by The Washington Post, Senators Schumer and Graham stated “our immigration system is badly broken.” Graham, who has angered conservatives time and time again, and Schumer outlined plan revamp U.S. immigration policy.

While the proposal for state-of-the-art identification cards are a new development in the Senate, other parts of the Schumer-Graham plan are old hat including a promise to upgrade border security, creating a new process for admitting temporary workers, and implementing a “tough but fair path to legalization for those already here,” a euphemism for illegal alien amnesty.

Obama met last week with Schumer and Graham, and the White House said a sweeping agreement dealing with as many as 12 million illegal immigrants was unlikely to get through Congress without support from both parties. Such a measure would have difficulty advancing before November’s congressional election especially with the epidemic of violence occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border and reports that Islamic terrorist groups are recruiting and training would-be terrorists in Central and South American countries.

It’s been widely reported that illegal aliens comprise upwards of 27 percent of the US prison and jail population. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection — two agencies within the Department of Homeland Security — claim in several reports that they’ve apprehended over 100,000 criminal aliens whose offenses go far beyond violation of immigration laws and regulations.

Sadly, only about 25 percent of expenses for imprisoning criminal aliens is reimbursed by the federal government to state and local governments. This creates a hardship for taxpayers in states with high incarceration rates for criminal aliens. The proponents of open borders or lax immigration enforcement always point to the benefits derived from illegal immigration such as the amount of taxes they pay into the government system. Evidence, however, exists that refutes those claims. For instance, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence that suggests a large number of illegal aliens are paid “off-the-books” therefore those wages are not taxed.

The National Research Council has estimated that the net fiscal cost of immigration ranges from $11 billion to $22 billion per year, with most government expenditures on immigrants coming from state and local coffers, while most taxes paid by immigrants who actually do pay taxes go to the federal treasury.

The net deficit is caused by a low level of tax payments by immigrants, because they are disproportionately low-skilled and thus earn low wages, and a higher rate of consumption of government services, both because of their relative poverty and their higher fertility.

This is especially true of illegal immigration. Even though illegal aliens make little use of welfare, from which they are generally barred, the costs of illegal immigration in terms of government expenditures for education, criminal justice, and emergency medical care are significant.

Californian officials have estimated that the net cost to taxpayers in order to provide government services to illegal immigrants approached $3 billion during a single fiscal year. The fact that states must bear the cost of federal failure turns illegal immigration, in effect, into one of the largest unfunded federal mandates existing today.

In addition, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, even with free trade, the United States continues to enjoy a higher real wage than other nations, due to the superiority of US technology. If taken to an extreme and the US removed all barriers to migration, most foreign workers would move to the United States, lured by the higher wages available here; Foreign labor would essentially cease to exist.

However, with all labor now in the United States, the prices of goods would return to their level of self-sufficiency, prior to the opening of trade. That is, perfectly free migration entirely eliminates the gains from trade that US natives had enjoyed. World income rose with the migration, but the natives of foreign countries in this case received more than all of this rise, since the income of US natives declined. With the world’s majority of low-wage workers in the US, there would be tremendous damage to free trade and its benefits, with US middle and upper-middle class workers suffering the brunt of declining wages.

The urge for a utopian state of existence and a desire to make all things equal by the American Left has given way to a desire simply to make all things equal sans utopia. In their passion for a neo-Marxist level for the masses, they’ve decided consciously or subconsciously that if they could not bring the World’s population up to the American level of prosperity and wealth, then they will bring US citizens down to the World’s level of poverty and misery. For this is a result of seeing free trade as a zero-sum entity, and self-alienation of the American Left from their own country, the USA.

The problem isn’t about the need for new laws; the problem is about the lack of enforcement of existing laws. The US Constitution provides the executive branch with a number of inherent powers such as the enforcement of immigration laws.

The Constitution also mandates that the President protect American sovereignty and the American people. That is the number one priority for our government — of it should be. And congress is mandated to provide domestic tranquility for Americans. Criminal alien gangbangers do not add to our domestic tranquility.

Why is it suddenly necessary for congress to pass laws on illegal immigration when we haven’t been enforcing the laws that already exist. The executive branch has the power to add border agents, equipment and other resources. The President has the power to use the military if necessary to enhance border protection. Passing laws is an easy, painless process. The trick is to enforce those laws.

And why isn’t the US government arresting illegal aliens while they are protesting in our city’s streets all across the country? The protest organizers, are said to be sponsored by left-wing groups including Open Borders and MEChA, are protesting the border security bill that passed the US House of Representatives in December and is still awaiting passage by the US Senate.

The University of Texas at El Paso recently conducted a study that found the following: Treating illegal immigrants in hospitals accounts for nearly one quarter of the uncompensated costs at border county hospitals in Cochise County. That county in Arizona spends tens of thousands of dollars just picking up trash left at campsites by these illegals. Prosecuting and jailing illegals costs this county an additional $5 million a year. And 25 percent of Cochise County’s budget is paid for health care for the uninsured, the majority of whom are illegally in the country.

In another study of a sample group of 55,000 criminal aliens, it was discovered they accounted for over 400,000 arrests and more than 700,000 criminal acts including felonies. In Los Angeles, the city that’s hosting the protest — which was whole-heartedly endorsed by its mayor — 95% of the outstanding arrest warrants for homicides are for illegal aliens and 65% of all felony warrants are for so-called undocumented immigrants. Are they committing the crimes Americans won’t commit?

Sources: National Criminal Justice Research Service, Department of Justice, The Center for Immigration Studies, National Institute of Justice.

Ron, Rand Paul discuss broken government with Blitzer
Posted By Steve Adcock On February 24, 2010 (10:44 am) In Voices and Choices

SOUTHERN ARIZONA – Small government Republicans Ron Paul and son Rand Paul discussed broken government with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this week, arguing that the “government mechanism is broken because the government is broke”.

“By the time you go broke, the government is too big and inefficient,” Ron Paul said early in the interview.  ”You have to admit that you can’t pay the bills.”

Dr. Paul argued that with a 10% inflation rate, you’ve wiped off a trillion in national debt.

“Show me a government program that has ever come in under budget,” son Rand Paul said, responding to CBO data that suggested cutting waste, fraud and abuse may enable national health care to be paid for without adding to the United States’ running deficit.

Both Congressmen Paul and Kentucky Senatorial candidate Rand Paul recognize the severity of our government’s debt and refuse to believe that adding government programs will somehow fix what ails the American people, literally and figuratively.

“I would reject what the president is proposing [regarding health care], and we as Republicans need to articulate a version of what we would do,” Rand said.  ”When government sets the price for health care, the patient quits caring about the price, and there is no price competition.”

Regarding the War in Iraq, “It is not in our national security interest, and the sooner we end this, the better,” remarked Ron Paul in response to a question from Blitzer regarding disagreements between the father and son in terms of national security.

“The most important enumerated power of the federal government is to take care of our national security,” Rand said.  ”I will make them debate whether they declare war or not,” Paul continued.  ”It’s not enough to just say that our national security is threatened.”

Read the Press Democrat article here.

by Richard Rider, Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters

Version 1.57        Revised 26 January, 2010

                   Phone: 858-530-3027                        

 

Here’s a depressing comparison of California taxes and economic climate with the rest of the states.  The news is breaking bad, and getting worse (I keep updating this article):

California has the 3rd worst state income tax in the nation.  9.55% tax bracket at $46,349.   10.55% at $1,000,000

http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/bp59_es.pdf

By far the highest state sales tax rate in the nation.  8.25%.  7% is next highest (does not include local sales taxes)

http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/bp59.pdf  Table #15

California corporate income tax rate is the highest in the West (our economic competitors).   8.84%

http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/bp59.pdf  Table #8   — we are 9th highest nationwide.

2010 Business Tax Climate ranks 48th in the nation.
http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/bp59_es.pdf

Fourth highest capital gains tax   9.55%

http://www.thereibrain.com/realestate-blog/capital-gains-tax-rates-state-by-state/109/

Highest gasoline tax (averaging 65.0 cents/gallon) in the nation (January, 2010).  When gas hits $3.00/gallon, we are numero uno – because unlike many states, we charge sales tax on gasoline purchases (built into the price).
http://www.api.org/statistics/fueltaxes/   (also usually highest diesel tax)

California is ranked 27th worst in per capita property taxes (including commercial) – the only area where we are not in the worst ten states.  But CA property taxes per home were the 10th highest in the nation in 2008.

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/251.html  and  http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/1913.html

Fifth highest unemployment rate in the nation.  (December, 2009)   12.4%.  National rate 10.0%.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.nr0.htm 

One of the highest state vehicle license car taxes. 1.15% per year on value of vehicle, up from 0.65% in 2008.

http://tinyurl.com/lrvmtd

California’s 2009 “Tax Freedom Day” (the day the average taxpayer stops working for government and start working for oneself) is again the 4th worst date in the nation – up from 28th worst in 1994. 

http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/387.html

1 in 5 in LA County receiving public aid.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-welfare22-2009feb22,0,4377048.story

California has 12% of the nation’s population, but 36% of the country’s TANF (“Temporary” Assistance for Needy Families) welfare recipients – more than the next 7 states combined.  Unlike other states, this “temporary” assistance becomes much more permanent in CA.

http://weblog.signonsandiego.com/weblogs/afb/archives/034662.html

California prison guards highest paid in the nation.
http://www.caltax.org/caltaxletter/2008/101708_fraud1.htm

                                                            
CA teachers the highest paid in the nation – their 2008 $64,424 average salary is over $2,000 higher than 2nd place NY.

http://www.nea.org/home/29402.htm  2008 salaries  (CA has the second lowest student test scores)

California now has the lowest bond ratings of any state, edging out Louisiana. 

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/19/BA7F16JLKH.DTL

California ranks 44th worst in “2008 lawsuit climate.”

http://www.instituteforlegalreform.com/component/ilr_featured_tools/29/item/LAI/19.html

America’s top CEO’s rank California “the worst place in which to do business” for the fourth straight year (3/2009).  But here’s the interesting part – they think California is a great state to live (primarily for the great climate) – they just won’t bring their businesses here because of the oppressive tax and regulatory climate.

Consider this quote from the survey (a conclusion reflected in the rankings of the characteristics of the state):  “California has huge advantages with its size, quality of work force, particularly in high tech, as well as the quality of life and climate advantages of the state. However, it is an absolute regulatory and tax disaster.”

http://tinyurl.com/cyvufy

 

California, a destitute state, still gives away college education at fire sale prices.  Our community college tuition is by far the lowest in the nation.  How low?  Nationwide, the average community college tuition is 4.5 times higher than California CC’s.  This ridiculously low tuition devalues education to students – resulting in a 30+% drop rate for class completion.  In addition, 2/3 of California CC students pay no tuition at all – filling out a simple unverified “hardship” form that exempts them from any tuition payment, or receiving grants and tax credits for their full tuition.  

http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/capitolalertlatest/020722.html

http://tinyurl.com/ybrc2kn

On top of that, California offers thousands of absolutely free adult continuing education classes – a sop to the upper middle class.  In San Diego, over 1,400 classes for everything from baking pastries to ballroom dancing are offered totally at taxpayer expense.

http://www.sdce.edu

California residential electricity costs an average of 22.6% more than the national average (far higher in San Diego).   For industrial use, CA electricity is 71.1% higher than the national average (October, 2009).

http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/fig7p5.html

http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_6_a.html

 

It costs 38% more to build solar panels in California than in Tennessee – which is why European corporations have invested $2.3 billion in two Tennessee manufacturing plants to build solar panels for our state.

http://tinyurl.com/llussb

Consider California’s net domestic migration (migration between states).  From April, 2000 through June, 2008 (8 years, 2 months) California has lost a NET 1.4 million people.  The departures slowed in 2008 only because people couldn’t sell their homes. 

http://www.mdp.state.md.us/msdc/Pop_estimate/Estimate_08/table5.pdf

These are not welfare kings and queens departing.  They are the young, the educated, the productive, the ambitious, the wealthy (such as Tiger Woods), and retirees seeking to make their pensions provide more bang for the buck. The irony is that a disproportionate number of these seniors are retired state and local government employees fleeing the state that provides them with their opulent pensions – in order to avoid the high taxes that these same employees pushed so hard through their unions.

As taxes rise and jobs disappear, we lose our tax base, continuing California’s state and local fiscal death spiral.  This spiral must stop NOW.

 

NOTE:  If you would like to receive my free periodic “Richard Rider Rant” e-newsletter with more of this type of information and analysis, just drop me an email at RRider@san.rr.com.  To see the latest version of this “Breaking Bad” column, plus samples of my free “Richard Rider Rant” e-newsletter, go to my blog at http://www.open.salon.com/blog/Richard_RiderThis report also is available as a 2 page Word file for printing.

Posted By J. D. Longstreet On March 9, 2010 (6:27 am) In Voices and Choices

Well, the BIG Push is on to ram ObamaCare through the Congress and down the throats of the American people.

Obama is jetting around the country holding pep rallies to try to gin up support for the “Bill from Hell” — Socialized Medicine. You should know these rallies include ONLY Obama supporters and ObamaCare supporters. The wild enthusiasm is staged for your benefit to, hopefully, give you the impression that ObamaCare is supported by the majority of Americans. The truth is – it is NOT.

These rallies are all propaganda. It’s “The BIG LIE” told over and over again just as the Nazis in Germany did to convince the people of an entire country they truly desired the socialism of the Nazi Party. I must tell you Joseph Goebbels, the Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, would be proud of the Democratic Party in America today. The Obama Regime has taken a page from the leftist Nazis of the last century on how to brainwash an entire nation into believing a lie. A lie that, once accepted, will spell the absolute doom of America.

The Democratic Party, by itself, simply does not give a damn! They are interested in two things and two things only — and that is to maintain their hold on the government of the US and to ensure their reelection. They simply have no sympathy for what the American people truly want. Plus, THEY DON’T CARE WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT! All that counts is what they, the Democrats, want.

It is called “Command and Control.” A strong central government in charge of a “command and control economy” is their dream — and it is their goal. They intend to reach that goal no matter what — even if it means shredding the US Constitution.

Those of us on the right vowing to throw the Socialists and Marxists, masquerading as Democrats, out of the Congress this November had better watch our backs. The dems are quietly lining up the resistance to our movement and between now and November the right will come under attack, intensifying each day as the election draws nearer and nearer.

They are quietly conspiring with the less literate democrat voters and those who, for generations, have depended on the government welfare dole for their existence. Their intention is to flood the polls in November of 2010 to offset and overwhelm the anti-ObamaCare. These “wards of the federal government” will be flooding the polling places, everywhere in America, to dilute the opposition to ObamaCare and defeat the efforts to save the constitutional republic we know as America. Their intent is to create, once and for all, a Socialist/Communist America. And they may very well succeed!

For years those of us who have had the foresight to see the Socialized Medicine Bill for what it is, even though it is wrapped in the pretty package of ObamaCare, have worked tirelessly to expose it as a true Socialized Medicine Bill anchored in Marxism and Communism.

There are times when this scribe feels as though I am standing in front of a wall shouting the warning at the top of my lungs only to have it bounce back onto myself with little, if any, effect on the people whom the Bible describes as a people who have “stopped their ears.”

I must admit to weariness and fatigue and frustration, as the realization sets in that the masses of ObamaCare advocates, like lemmings, have chosen to follow their own Pied Piper — this time straight over a cliff and into a Marxist/Communist hell-like oblivion.

During this fight, I have gained a better insight into Noah’s dilemma. He preached over and over the warning that a deadly flood was coming and would wipe out every man, woman, and child – but to no avail. As the story goes every one was killed except for the handful aboard Noah’s Ark.

America is on the verge of collapse. The final step ensuring that collapse is the passage of ObamaCare.

Posted By Neal Boortz On March 9, 2010 (6:25 am) In Voices and Choices

There is one thing that Democrats, Republicans and Independents can all agree on – the debt we owe is our greatest long-term threat to national security. By a two-to-one margin, Americans of all demographics and political parties believe that the amount of money we owe to China is now a greater long-term threat than radical Islam. They’re right, but it’s must worse than that. The level of debt facing this country will destroy the dreams of our children and grandchildren. It is hard to imagine that future generations will have the opportunity to pursue anything close to the lifestyle we enjoy as they are faced with this crushing debt to retire.

Just how bad is this problem? Read on …..

Last Friday, the Congressional Budget office released a report stating that our projected debt is actually going to be much higher than the White House predicted. Wow! Now who didn’t see THAT coming? The CBO says that Obama’s budget is going to lead to annual deficits averaging $1 trillion for the next decade. The White House’s prediction was an annual budget shortfall of $853 billion for the next decade. Why the discrepancy? Obama expects to bring in more tax revenue. The CBO, on the other hand, does not believe the Obama economy will be able to generate the tax revenue because it expects less economic growth. In fact, the CBO predicts that the deficit will never fall below 4% of the GDP under Obama’s policies and “would begin to grow rapidly after 2015.”

(By the way, as of right now our predicted annual deficit for this year is $1.5 trillion – a post WWII record at 10.3% of our economy.)

But back to this report … the CBO says that deficits of that magnitude would force the Treasury to continue borrowing at prodigious rates, sending the national debt soaring to 90% of the economy by 2020, while interest payments on the debt would also skyrocket by $800 billion over the same period.

Speaking of interest rates, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell puts our interest rates into perspective. He says, ” … in just four years the administration predicts the government will have to spend more just to pay interest on the federal debt than it spends on the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, HUD (Housing and Urban Development), Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Treasury, and the Corps of Engineers, Environment Protection Agency, GSA (General Services Administration), NASA, National Science Foundation, Small Business Administration and the Social Security Administration — combined.”

Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit.

By JOHN MACKEY

“The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out
of other people’s money.”

  —Margaret Thatcher

 

With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people’s money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us.

While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:

Chad Crowe

Mackey2

Mackey2

• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs is one solution that could solve many of our health-care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high-deductible health-insurance plan. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees’ Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness.

Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan’s costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of worker satisfaction.

• Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.

• Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.

• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.

• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.

• Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor’s visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?

• Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.

• Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?

Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That’s because there isn’t any. This “right” has never existed in America

Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.

Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last month in Investor’s Business Daily. In England, the waiting list is 1.8 million.

At Whole Foods we allow our team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund. Our Canadian and British employees express their benefit preferences very clearly—they want supplemental health-care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments. Why would they want such additional health-care benefit dollars if they already have an “intrinsic right to health care”? The answer is clear—no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K.—or in any other country.

Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.

Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.

Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.

Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.

Mr. Mackey is co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc.

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