Archives For Republicans

As Washington lawmakers struggle to make any progress on tax reform, North Carolina passed a major overhaul of its tax code – the first in 80 years.

The legislation is based mainly on Republican ideals – a flat tax, simplified code, fewer deductions, and less revenue. It will change the state’s tax system from one that was on par with national averages to one that is “fairly radical in relation to other states.”

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Lerner

Lois Lerner confers with her attorney during a U.S. House committee hearing in May. (Photo credit: washingtonpost.com; photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg)

A top IRS official, who invoked her fifth amendment rights during a congressional hearing about the U.S. tax agency’s targeting of tea party groups, may be forced to re-appear before Congress.

Next time, Lois Lerner, former head of the IRS’ tax-exempt groups division, risks being held in contempt of Congress should she choose to refuse cross-examination.

On Friday, a U.S. House committee concluded that Lerner waived her right to remain silent when she read a statement saying that she had done “nothing wrong,” and that on the advice of her council she would not answer any of the committee’s questions.  “One of the basic functions of the Fifth Amendment is to protect Innocent Individuals, and that is the protection I am invoking today,” Lerner said.

Scroll to the bottom of this page to watch her full statement.

Republicans were not pleased with that decision.  “That is the not the way the Fifth Amendment works. You don’t get to tell your side of the story,” and then avoid cross-examination, said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R—S.C.). “She sat there and could have said nothing.”

On a party-line vote, the Republican-led Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved that Lerner did in fact waive her right to protection from self-incrimination by making a statement but refusing to answer questions. Continue Reading…

The deal was a last ditch effort to save automatic spending cuts and tax hikes induced by the fiscal cliff from crippling the economy; in that regard it was a success. It comes with a silver-lining though — Congress now has two more months to resolve trillions of dollars in sequestration. Embrace yourselves for the fiscal cliff, part two.

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The Bush Tax Cuts have been the spotlight of fiscal cliff negotiations. Sure, there are plenty of other bargaining chips on the table, but none is more spoken of than what to do with the expiring 2001/03 Bush era tax cuts. It’s not a yes/no debate, either; with President Obama winning re-election only one thing is certain – they will expire for some income earners, or no deal. The question then is for what income thresholds, for how long, and what specific deductions should be rid of and for whom. Amidst this negotiation is the larger question of what effect different plans will have on the economy, and the answer is something both sides use to support their arguments.

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Amidst the ongoing political negotiations and obsessive media coverage of the “fiscal cliff,” many politicians and economists are pleading for a re-branding of the term. Whether or not it should be re-dubbed a fiscal slope, gradual fiscal slope, fiscal curve, taxmageddon, austerity crisis, or other less exaggeratory terms is a matter of opinion; but it doesn’t take an expert to realize that the mandatory budget cuts and tax hikes that will go into place at year-end unless a deficit-reduction deal is struck isn’t quite the doomsday that the word “cliff” implies. As Ed Ardeni, president and chief investment strategist for institutional investor advisory Yardeni Research, put it: “We’re not going to fall off the edge of the earth at the beginning of next year. When you fall off a cliff you die. So it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say that’s what we’re facing here.” Similarly, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), noted that even if we go past the deadline by a month or two, “I don’t think a whole lot of people will know the difference…it’s not like something cataclysmic happens on Dec. 31.”

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