Typical

In an ambitious first budget plan, Governor Tom Wolf on Tuesday proposed more than $4 billion in higher taxes on income, sales and natural gas drilling to support new spending on schools and to cut property taxes as part of an effort to overhaul the way public education is funded.

Wolf, a Democrat, is also asking the Republican-controlled Legislature to cut corporate taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars, borrow more than $4 billion to refinance pension debt and inject new money into business loans, clean energy subsidies and water and sewer system projects.

Hardly the End of the World

Just months after the Obama administration cracked down on mergers that helped US companies skirt domestic taxes, a wave of foreign takeovers is steering more tax revenue away from Uncle Sam.

But no one, particularly those on the political Left, has ever bothered to show how steering more tax revenue away from Uncle Sam is such a bad thing. It is, after all, not Uncle Sam’s money, it’s the money of those business’ owners. It’s also not as if Uncle Sam needs the money, other than like an addict needs heroin.

It’s a Start

Senators Mike Lee (R, UT) and Marco Rubio (R, FL) offered a tax reform plan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this week. It’s a fine start, I think. Highpoints are presented below, together with my comments on improvements that should be added over the succeeding few Congressional sessions (they really shouldn’t need more than this Congress and the next one) to get us to a proper, balanced, and unbiased national tax code.

Off Ramps

That’s the cool, new buzz phrase. Congressmen John Kline (R, MN), Paul Ryan (R, WI), and Fred Upton (R, MI), Chairmen of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Ways and Means Committee, and Energy and Commerce Committee, respectively, used it Monday in The Wall Street Journal to propose alternatives to Obamacare should the Supreme Court strike down Federal subsidies related to health care coverage plans bought through ObamaMart rather than through the State exchanges that the Obamacare law requires for Federal subsidy eligibility.

In the main, their alternatives are good ones, but there are a couple points with which I wholeheartedly disagree, and it’s disappointing that three men who know better would propose them.

A Conservative’s View of American Domestic Policy: Some Thoughts

It’s out.

This is the first of a pair of publications on American policy; the other is concerned with National Policy, which consists of foreign and defense policy.

Domestic Policy both is necessary in its own right and must come before National Policy since a sound policy domestically is absolutely required both for the health of the nation within our borders and to facilitate—indeed, to enable—any form of outward-facing policy at the national level.

Who Should Run For What?

Of the Republican candidates, likely and unlikely, for President, who should run for what (I’m ignoring term limits in this little exercise)? I’m also doubling up on some positions because, primaries. Here’s my thumb nailed early list, alphabetically sorted.

Jeb Bush—President

Effective conservative governor. Regardless of his views on Common Core, the race should not be about one issue. Regardless of his views on legalization of illegal immigrants, immigration is a thing that needs to be settled—all three legs. Bush reduced taxes, while balancing Florida’s budgets, by some $19 billion over his time in office. That ain’t peanuts.

Rule By Law—Spying Edition

The People’s Republic of China is on the verge of enacting a law that would make legal corporate spying by the PRC government. Of course, the Chinese are couching this as a wholly innocent effort at countering terrorism.

The draft law requires both foreign and domestic telecommunications and Internet service providers to create backdoors in their systems to give Chinese authorities surveillance access, hand over copies of their encryption codes and assist government agencies with decryption when asked, among other provisions. Also, companies would be required to store Chinese users’ data on servers in the Chinese mainland; otherwise, they wouldn’t be allowed to operate in the country.

Taxes and Audits

Fox Business reported the following earlier in the week:

The IRS says budget cuts forced the agency to reduce the number of tax audits last year to the lowest level in a decade.

In 2014, fewer than 1 percent of individual tax returns were audited, the lowest rate since 2004. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says the number of audits is likely to decline again this year.

In a speech on Tuesday, Koskinen said there are fewer audits because the tax agency has fewer agents. He said the IRS is down more than 2,200 revenue agents since 2010.

A Thought on Net Neutrality

…as conceived in secret by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

The image below, from the AP via USA Today, is…illustrative. The outage about which the article was written was clearly the result of vandalism. Read carefully, those signs taped to the window in the image.NetNeutrality

Think about them. Think about what happens when Government controls the Internet. The concerns presently center of free speech, and those concerns are of extreme importance. But the same control gives Government control over what businesses will be allowed to operate on the Internet, and at what cost—unique, perhaps, to a company of which Government disapproves.

A “Clean” DHS Bill from the Senate

The Senate passed, yesterday, by 98-2, a bill that funds DHS fully and sent it to the House.

If (House) Republicans are smart, they’ll accept the trap the Senate Democrats have given them, take up the Senate bill, and amend it to include the original measures to block President Barack Obama’s immigration “executive actions.” That will force the bill to a House-Senate Conference Committee, and the result of that goes to each house of Congress for reconciliation vote—no filibuster.