Sunday, November 26, 2017
Dear Readers: Here is a letter I sent my Senators and my Representative through their contact pages. Feel free to use it on your own Senators and Representatives. I added references not so much because I think anyone will look at them, but so that it does not look as if I am making up what I say. Dear XXXXX: I am writing to ask you please not to give any sort of legal accommodation whatsoever to DACA recipients until we have mandatory E-Verify for all businesses and an end to chain migration (i.e. limit family reunification to spouses and minor children). There is no reason to hurry to address DACA this year; it does not expire until March. Putting any sort of a “fix” in the spending bill, or passing legislation such as the DREAM Act, which would give away citizenship not just to DACA recipients but millions of other illegal aliens, would be a slap in the face to the American people and a declaration that you wish to put the children of illegal aliens ahead of those of U.S. citizens. Recent polls have shown that Americans do not consider sorting out the so-called DREAMers’ statuses to be a high priority ("DACA Fix Fades as a Priority for Voters: Poll" Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner 11/09/17). Moreover, polls consistently show that Americans favor enforcement measures prior to legalizing people here illegally ("Survey Highlights Popularity of Immigration Enforcement" Steven A. Camarota, Center for Immigration Studies, 11/07/16), which undercuts claims that the vast majority of Americans want DACA recipients legalized; even those who think that this should be the eventual decision do not want it done until we have taken steps such as ending chain migration and mandating E-Verify in order to limit its impact and to prevent future illegal immigration. (Various links on Glaivester blog, 10/20/13, last updated 9/26/17). There are also all kinds of problems that need to be addressed prior to even considering any “fix.” There is little verification of age or school attendance. ("Fmr. USCIS Investigator: There’s a ‘Huge’ Amount of Fraud in DACA" Margaret Menge, Lifezette, updated 11/21/17) People who arrived as older teenagers, make frequent trips to their countries of origin, and do not bother to become fluent in English still met the qualifications for DACA. ("Time to End DACA" Steven A. Camarota, 08/03/17. Center for Immigration Studies) DACA recipients tend to be lower-skilled and lower-income - despite the public image of them as college graduates - and estimates for their contribution to the economy tend to be lower per capita than those of current Americans (even including non-working Americans such as babies)("Are Dreamers Net Contributors" Glaivester Blog 09/13/17), indicating that they will on average consume more than they add to the economy, while even moderately sized increases in workforce participation by millennials could easily offset any reductions in the workforce from DACA recipients going home ("Industry Group Reacts in Horror: Ending DACA Will Put a ¼ of 1 Percent Dent in Economy (and That Claim Isn’t Even True)" Ira Mehlman, ImmigrationReformDotCom, 09/16/17). The election of Trump was a clear message that the American people want the government to get control of our border. The constant drumbeat of opposition to the enforcement of our immigration laws indicates that our politicians do not care about the people of the country and simply want to let businesses and other interests import new people to use against us. Please put the American people before illegal aliens and oppose efforts to extend or continue DACA before we have mandated E-Verify and ended chain migration. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, XXXX That is all.
Here are a few Congressmen (and Senators) who have come out against illegal immigration whom you ought to give to over the next week if you can afford it. Make certain to write a comment on one of their Facebook posts (a germane one if possible) letting them know why you donated, or contact them on Twitter. Make absolutely certain to ask them to keep speaking out against any DACA fix until we have mandatory E-Verify for businesses and an end to chain migration. You can easily find their campaign, congressional and social media pages, but as I have time I will list them as links for your convenience. A sample message: "Thank you for your work in XXX [e.g. introducing a piece of legislation, speaking out against DACA]. I just donated $X to your campaign. We need more people to stand up for Americans! Please [make sure to speak out/continue speaking out] against any attempt to tie DACA to the spending bill." Dave Brat. Why: He has introduced the LAWS Act (H.R. 4340) that would end chain migration and mandate that businesses use E-Verify. Campaign website (Donate HERE) Congressional website Campaign Facebook Congressional FaceBook Campaign Twitter Congressional Twitter Marsha Blackburn recently introduced the CLEAR Act that would help local law enforcement work with immigration officials to deport illegal aliens. She is running for Senate in 2018). Mo Brooks recently introduced legislation to reform the temporary protected status program. (His only campaign website right now is for his Senatorial special election bid; you can give there or just let him know you will give when his re-election campaign site opens up). Louie Gohmert. Steve King. (Appears to have two campaign sites: steveking.com and kingforcongress.com) Lou Barletta. (He is running for Senate in 2018). In the Senate there are: Tom Cotton (co-introduced the RAISE Act) David Perdue (co-introduced the RAISE Act) That is all.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
I like numbers and so tax policy can be quite an interesting subject for analysis. While my primary focus is on immigration and "national question" issues, taxes can be a bit of a respite for me. This data (ExCel file) provides a starting point for determining how tax rate changes would affect government revenues. It's the filing data for the 2016 filing season (i.e. 2015 taxes) at week 47 (about November). In particular, it shows that there are at least 431,335 filers (counting joint filers as one filer) with incomes of over $1,000,000 (numbers are likely a bit higher, assuming some tax returns were received more than 47 weeks into 2016. The overall adjusted gross income (AGI) for these people is about $1.377 trillion ($944 billion in non-capital gains), which would be more than $945 billion if you exempt the first million from the count ($513 billion in non-capital gains if you simply take the average AGI and subtract the percentage that is capital gains before subtracting the million - this is not quite a precise way of measuring this, as the exact distribution of capital gains among people of an income class will affect the results, but it's a good working estimate). This means that even if we make conservative assumptions on growth, over the next ten years these people would make at least $10 trillion ($5 trillion non-capital gains) even if we do not count the first million each makes. In other words, every 1% tax on income over $1 million would make $100 billion over that time, assuming static scoring (I think that's the right term, I mean assuming that the tax does not change the economy or behavior in a way that alters revenue). So a 44% tax rate over $1 million (accompanied with a 24.4% capital gains rate for income over $1 million) would make $440 billion (44% being 4.4% higher than 39.6%). Even if you did not tax capital gains higher, it would bring in a little more than half as much - say $240 billion. There are 44,416 people making over $5 million. Total adjusted gross income is $668 billion ($372 billion non-cap gains), $446 billion of which remains given an exemption of $5 million ($150 billion non-cap gains). ( This would mean that a similar rate levied on incomes over $5 million would yield a little less than half as much - $210 billion, perhaps. If you only taxed regular income, it would be about a third as much - say about $70 billion. Obviously, there is a lot of wiggle room to use here if one wanted to shift taxes. I am all for moving taxes from corporate to high-income personal. That is all.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
I am trying to figure out how I would change the GOP tax plan if I could. A few ideas (numbers based on bill as shown on Congressman Sam Johnson's website: First, I think it would be better at this point not to end personal exemptions. Ending them largely undoes the effects of increasing the standard deduction, and might increase taxes on those that itemize. Unfortunately, that would increase the "cost" of the tax plan by $1,562.1 billion dollars over ten years, so it would have to be made up for to keep the total "cost" at the level that the reconciliation rules require. (Note: I don't know whether costs are calculated as if each proposal were done alone against the current system, or how that proposal would do if measured against the rest of the tax bill being passed without it, or what. However, I am fairly certain that you can't just add the numbers up to get the total cost as each section will have some effect on the other sections, but I'll pretend that the parts do not effect each other for purposes of estimating the effect of these policy changes). I would make up for that in part by increasing the standard deduction only by 50%. I'll assume that this would approximately half the cost of the increase, which would give the government $460.7 billion more than the current House GOP plan. Second, I would keep the estate tax, and keep the personal alternative minimum tax as it currently is. The former would get the government $172.2 billion and the latter $695.5 billion. Third, I would ease up on the tax rate simplification. I would combine the two lower brackets into one 12% bracket, but leave leave the other brackets where they are (projected brackets for 2018), except that I would eliminate the 35% bracket, and set the threshold from the 33% to the 39.6% bracket at $425,000 for singles, $437,500 for heads of households, and $450,000 for married ($225,000 for married filing separately). This would mean that everyone would pay somewhat lower taxes, even after the exemptions phased out at higher incomes, and even if they itemized deductions, except for people who itemize deductions and have an income under $15,875.00 ($22,666.67 for heads of household and 31,750.00 for couples,). This would be resolved by giving singles/heads of households/couples who itemize deductions a tax credit of $2 for every $100 of taxable income up to $10,000/$15,000/$20,000 and then taking away $2 for every $100 up to $20,000/$30,000/$40,000. I'm not certain how this would change costs, but with the current GOP plan reducing revenues by $961.2 billion, if it only reduced revenues by half as much, it would still add $480.6 billion compared to the current plan. Overall, these changes (assuming the rate change has half the cost of the GOP plan) would add up to $1,809 billion, more than enough to keep the exemptions. In addition, I would probably limit the amount of "pass-through" income treated as business income (page 3-4 of the tax plan) to some amount at or under a million dollars to allow this provision to be used mainly for small businesses. This would add to revenues compared to the current bill being proposed, although I am not certain how much. Now, for things I would like to do if I could find the money in the plan: Keep the deductions for medical expenses. I would keep the deduction for state and local taxes but limit it to somewhere between $25,000 and $35,000 for all state and local taxes combined. If I could find the money, I would like to see some change in the alternative minimum tax the neighborhood of changing the rates from 26% and 28% to 24% and 30%, and changing the exemption phase out from 1/4 to 1/6 (i.e. you lose $100 exemption for every $600 of income over the threshold instead of $150). That would keep the highest effective marginal AMT rate at 35% (28% + 7% to 30% + 5%), and weight the tax away from lower earners to higher earners. Extra money in the plan beyond this could be used to increase the standard deduction by as much as we could afford. (There are other provisions in the tax bill that I am, in effect, leaving in place at this time. Maybe some of them should be changed; any of them that would have a significant cost to change would obviously have to be paid for somewhere, but I think this would be a better base to work from than the current plan). That is all.