QUOTE OF THE DAY
Washington Post: Why not let taxes rise on the middle class?
Barring a last-minute breakthrough, taxes will go up for every U.S. taxpayer on Jan. 1 — and that’s a development conservatives should welcome.
Don’t get me wrong: It would be better not to raise taxes on anyone, pursue pro-growth tax reform and cut the size of government instead. But that’s not what the American people voted to do last month. Americans cast their ballots for big government.
Now it’s time to pay for it.
P.J. O'Rourke: Dear Mr. President, Zero-Sum Doesn't Add Up
Given that hypocrisy is an important part of diplomacy, and diplomacy is necessary to foreign policy, allow me to congratulate you on winning a second term.
I wish I could also congratulate you on your conduct of international affairs. I do thank you for killing Osama bin Laden. It was a creditable action for which you deserve some of the credit you've been given. Of course the intelligence was gathered, and the mission was undertaken, by men and women who, although they answer to your command, answer to duty first. And it is difficult to imagine any president of the United States who, under the circumstances, wouldn't have ordered the strike against bin Laden. Although there is Jimmy Carter. Thank you for not being Jimmy Carter.
Washington Post: Why Bernanke’s policies could hurt the economy more than going over the ‘fiscal cliff’
In the short term, Washington lawmakers are understandably preoccupied with trying to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”
But the decisions that are likely to affect the economy’s long-term health are happening not on Capitol Hill or at the White House, but at the Federal Reserve — specifically, Chairman Ben Bernanke’s policy of continuing to drive down long-term interest rates until unemployment hits 6.5 percent. This tactic, called quantitative easing, could remain in place for years. But is it helping the middle-class Americans who need it most?
Reason: Labor Union Fights Liquor Store Privatization in Pennsylvania
The labor union that forms the backbone of opposition to Republican plans to privatize Pennsylvania’s liquor store system gave more than $140,000 to state-level candidates in 2012, including plenty of campaign cash to some high-ranking Republicans.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, which counts about 3,000 state liquor store employees among its members, is the most visible and vocal opponent of House Majority Leader Mike Turzai’s (R-Allegheny) call to privatize the state-owned liquor monopoly.
BBC: 75% Income Tax on Rich Struck Down as Unconstitutional in France
France's constitutional council has struck down a top income tax rate of 75% introduced by Socialist President Francois Hollande.
Raising taxes for those earning more than 1m euros (£817,400) has been a flagship policy for Mr Hollande.
Fiscal Times: Middle Class Gets ‘Cliffed’ by Huge Tax If No Deal Reached
There’s a common misperception about the fiscal cliff — that the tax increases only apply to 2013. Not true.
Those families would face the “Alternative Minimum Tax,” which was introduced in 1969 to supposedly guarantee that wealthy Americans could not elude the taxman. But the AMT not only flopped, it was never indexed to inflation. So with each passing year, it seeps away from high society and into the wallets of Target and Wal-Mart shoppers. That sets up a disaster for April 15.
“Because most affected taxpayers will not have put aside money for it either through withholding or estimated taxes, it will cause more hardship in April than tax increases usually do,” Eric Toder, co-director of the Tax Policy Center, told The Fiscal Times. “The economy is facing huge risks from what could be entirely self-inflicted wounds.”
CNBC: Does anyone care about the Dairy Cliff?
The futures market does not seem to be all that worried about the possibility of milk prices doubling. The question is: Do the futures traders know something we don't?
Milk now costs an average of $3.65 a gallon. But the price of milk could shoot up if Congress doesn't act to pass a bill preventing a reversion to the 1949 farm law that would mandate government price supports at much higher levels. Although it's not clear how high the price could go, some say it could rise to between $6 and $8 a gallon.