Friday, February 8, 2013

nFocus: February 8, 2013

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Immigration Reform: Too Many Unanswered Questions

Imagine a time when Republicans and Democrats have agreed to an immigration plan that will secure the border, grant legal status to illegal immigrants, and crack down on employers who hire them. If you think this is a current event, you're wrong. I'm talking about the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act passed by the 99th Congress and signed into law by Ronald Reagan. The 1986 reform shows us that the current proposals before Congress will not solve our immigration problems; it will only add to them.

Since the 1986 plan, border security has not improved. In 1986, amnesty was approved with a promise of border security, but no one followed through on the promise. In fact, more illegal immigrants are coming across our border today than in 1986. According to the Office of Immigration Statistics, there was an average of just over 200,000 people coming across the border in 1986; in 2010, that number stood at well over 300,000.

The present “bipartisan” plan also includes a promise of border security, and unlike the 1986 plan, implementation of the amnesty program would supposedly hinge on the border being secure. However, we are left with an unanswered question: what exactly is a secure border? The question would most likely be left to the committee that is supposed to determine when the border has been secured.

This committee raises a second unanswered question: who will be on the committee, and how will they be appointed? It is highly unlikely that Democrats would support a plan that would require Joe Arpaio and Jan Brewer to approve, and it is equally unlikely that Republicans would support a plan requiring the approval of Janet Napolitano and Chuck Schumer. Until we know exactly how this committee will be appointed, it is impossible to know if the committee will actually do its job or serve as a farce to satisfy enough Republicans to pass the bill.

Without securing the border, we are not finding an immigration solution; we are finding a temporary fix. The 1986 bill was supposed to solve our immigration problems, but 27 years later, we are faced with the same problem on a larger scale. Without knowing the specifics of the border enforcement provisions, it is impossible to know if this is a worthwhile bill or another useless congressional can-kicking exercise.

D.C. Daily: February 8, 2013

Senate

The Senate met yesterday and took the following actions:
  • Passed H. Con. Res. 11, providing for a joint session of Congress to receive a message from the President.
  • Passed S. Res. 27, designating the week of February 4 through 8, 2013, as "National School Counseling Week".
  • Resumed consideration of S. 47, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013". During consideration, the Senate rejected one proposed amendment to the bill.

The Senate will not meet today. The next scheduled meeting of the Senate will be on Monday, February 11.


House of Representatives

The House was not in session yesterday.

The House will meet today at 11:00 AM in a pro forma session.

Morning Media: February 8, 2013

First, Robert Arial provides a description of exactly what Obama is shooting. View at Townhall

Second, Dr. Benjamin Carson gave this amazing speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. It is almost 30 minutes long, but it is well worth your time to watch. View at YouTube

Next, another longer video (about 17 minutes) shows what the President should have said at his inauguration. View at RightScoop

And finally, adding the cat ruined Monopoly. View at Townhall

Thursday, February 7, 2013

D.C. Daily: February 7, 2013

Senate

The Senate was not in session yesterday.

The Senate will meet today at 9:30 AM. The Senate will resume consideration of S. 47, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013".


House of Representatives

The House met yesterday and passed H.R. 444, the "Require a PLAN Act", by a vote of 253 yeas to 167 nays.

The House will not meet today. The next scheduled meeting of the House will be on Friday, February 8.

Morning Media: February 7, 2013

First, Chuck Asay shows the problem of anti-gun education. View at Townhall

Next, Robert Ariail shows what happens when Popeye ate some bad spinach. View at Townhall

And finally, CBS in New York City did a report on the growing number of flash mob robberies. View at RightScoop

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

D.C. Daily: February 6, 2013

Senate

The Senate was not in session yesterday.

The Senate will not meet today. The next meeting of the Senate will be on Thursday, February 7.


House of Representatives

The House met yesterday and began consideration of H.R. 444, the "Require a PLAN Act", after approving H. Res. 48, the rule providing for consideration of the measure.

The House will meet today at 9:00 AM. The House is expected to resume consideration of H.R. 444, the "Require a PLAN Act", subject to the rule passed yesterday.

Morning Media: February 6, 2013

First, Henry Payne explains why the groundhog failed to see his shadow. View at Townhall

Second, Steve Kelley shows Obama's hypocrisy on guns and weapons. View at Townhall

Third, Bob Gorrell has an idea on the immigration debate. View at Townhall

And finally, a father of a student at Sandy Hook gave this speech to a board investigating the tragedy. View at RightScoop

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

nFocus: February 5, 2013

Tonight's edition of nFocus has been emailed. If you did not receive it, you can view it by clicking on the link below. View nFocus

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The Withheld Secret

A little over one month ago, the government stood in gridlock as politicians once again argued over the current income tax rates. Ironically, only thirty-four days after we came to a solution on the “fiscal cliff”, the tax rates that were the primary source of contention turned one hundred years old. On February 3, 1913, the income tax became a part of our Constitution, and by extension, the life of every American.

The income tax in 1913 was imposed on those making over $20,000 per year ($440,000 in today's money), and it began at a whopping 1%. The highest rate, reserved for those with incomes over $11 million in today's money, was 7%. At the time of its enactment, the tax affected approximately 7% of Americans. However, within thirty years, the higest rate was 94%, and the tax affected all Americans.

How were taxes allowed to get so high so quickly? We barely notice our income tax today because most people never see their income tax money. During World War II, Roosevelt proposed reinstating income tax withholding. (Withholding had been included in the original 1913 tax plan but was dropped three years later.) Under this plan, money to pay our income tax is removed from our paychecks before we see it. At a designated point (currently April 15), we must then submit paperwork to the federal government which shows our income and documents any extra tax we owe or requests a refund for taxes overpaid through withholding.

This system has reduced the awareness most Americans have about the taxes they pay. The Treasury Department, in The History of the U.S. Tax System, states that the income tax “greatly reduced the taxpayer's awareness of the amount of tax being collected.” How much did you actually pay in federal income taxes last year? Most people would have no clue. However, they can usually tell you how much they owed or received as a refund. By creating the withholding system, government has masked the true impact of high taxes.

Even worse, it has created a system where most people actually get excited when they realize that they overpaid the government and will receive that money back. This system can have a huge impact on your finances without you even realizing it. If a person receives a tax refund of $100 per year from age 18-62, that person will have received a total of $4,500 back from the government. However, if the same person took $8.33 per month (which is $100 per year) and invested it with a 6% annual return, that person would have almost $23,000 by the age of 62. For this ficticious person, the income tax comes with a $18,500 cost.

Combined with the complexity of our tax code, income tax withholding has destroyed any knowledge about the actual amount of taxes we pay to the federal government. In fact, despite our President's assertions to the contrary, a poll conducted by The Hill showed that 75% of Americans believe that current tax rates are too high. While other polls showed majority support for Obama's “tax the rich” idea, The Hill asked about specific rates and reported that “precisely 75 percent said the right level for top earners was 30 percent or below.” At the time, tax rates for the highest earners were 35%, and for this year, the rate will be 39.6%.

Americans have no clue how much they or anyone else pays in income taxes. Until we can get Americans to start paying attention to their check stubs and tax statements, they will never understand the true impact of income taxes.

D.C. Daily: February 5, 2013

Senate

The Senate met yesterday and passed the following measures:
  • S. 227, the "Embassy Security Funds Transfer Act of 2013".
The Senate also began consideration of S. 47, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013", after agreeing to the motion to proceed by a vote of 85 yeas to 8 nays.

The Senate will not meet today. The next meeting of the Senate will be on Thursday, February 7.


House of Representatives

The House met yesterday and passed the following measures:
  • H.R. 297, the "Children's Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013".
  • H.R. 225, the "National Pediatric Research Network Act of 2013


The House will meet today at 10:00 AM. The House is expected to consider H.R. 444, the "Require a PLAN Act", subject to a rule.

Morning Media: February 5, 2012

First, Gary Varvel shows where the path to citizenship leads. View at Townhall

Second, someone brought the economy to Obama's garage. Will he find the right solution? View at Townhall

Next, this great video explains the entitlement state. View at Conservative Videos

And finally, this commercial for the Dodge Ram was the most-tweeted commercial and has already reached 1 million views. View at YouTube

Monday, February 4, 2013

D.C. Daily: February 4, 2013

Senate

The Senate was not in session on Friday.

The Senate will meet today at 2:00 PM. The Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 47, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013", with a vote on the motion to occur at 5:30 PM.


House of Representatives

The House met Friday in a pro forma session.

The House will meet today at 2:00 PM. The House is expected to consider three bills under suspension:
  • H.R. 297, the "Children's Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013".
  • H.R. 235, the "Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2013".
  • H.R. 225, the "National Pediatric Research Network Act of 2013

Morning Media: February 4, 2013

First, Obama's "all of the above" energy policy excludes a few items. View at The Weekly Standard

Second, the President's Jobs Council is looking for a new job. View at Townhall

Third, while immigrants are headed to California, someone else is running out of it. View at Townhall

And finally, Sandra Fluke was attempting to stay relevant by appearing in front of the (small) MSNBC audience to claim that opposing the contraception mandate is the same as opposing leukemia coverage or blood transfusions. View at Conservative Videos