TAKE ACTION: It’s Time for United to be Reunited with American Values

We don’t envy the tourist and travel industries. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated virtually all of their sectors – first, due to fears of the coronavirus. Then, it was lockdowns. And, now, vaccine concerns have left the industry staggering into a slow recovery.

You’d think leading travel companies would welcome the chance to get back to business, and to start paying employees again. Unfortunately, United Airlines (2.00) has doubled down on treating the unvaccinated like enemies of America. Even Delta (2.26) has joined in on company vaccine mandates as they both have decided to either put unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave or imposing surcharges on healthcare premiums. And CEO Scott Kirby said he will stand behind a passenger vaccine mandate if President Joe Biden makes such a policy. (We talk about delta here so we need to have their score and link to company score page).

United doesn’t have a good 2ndVote ranking already, and this latest move means it’s not likely to get off of our bad company list. While all Americans should be sympathetic to companies which are navigating the new normal – Delta Airlines, for example, is charging unvaccinated workers $200 per month because it says unvaccinated employees hospitalized for COVID are costing the company $50,000 per employee – there is still so much we don’t know about the vaccines. Will United reimburse pregnant or lactating staffers whose babies become ill? Will people with natural immunities after getting coronavirus be exempt from the vaccine mandate?

Perhaps most importantly – the public has been told to mask up for 18 months. Are masks suddenly not working?

The insanity of this vaccine mandate position is most evident at America’s southern border, where Haitian immigrants are being allowed to illegally stay in the country without being vaccinated. The enormous costs to take care of these migrants – many of whom are in legitimate need, coming from one of the world’s poorest and most corrupt nations – come out of your tax dollars. And, yet, they are not required to vaccinate before spreading out on our border and into the rest of the country.

In 2018, United took a distinct position on illegal immigration – one at odds with law enforcement and national security. Unless they are willing to pressure the Biden administration to treat immigrants equal to American citizens, their vaccine mandate will just be another bit of hypocrisy in a long line of corporate betrayals of Americans and our values.

As you are aligning your dollars and values, check out Allegiant Air (3.00), Air Canada (3.00), Express Jet (3.00), Spirit Airlines (3.00), Frontier Airlines (3.00), and Hawaiian Airlines (3.00) when you think about booking your next flight.


TAKE ACTION

Remember, use your voice to let United know that these woke leftist decisions do not align with American values and contact them using this link here, today!


EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

YouTube Banning Prominent Anti-Vaccine Mandate Activists and Blocking All Vaccine Critical Content

Totalitarianism on the left is spreading quicker than any COVID variant. What’s more frightening? The Democrats? Or American apathy?

YouTube is banning prominent anti-vaccine activists and blocking all anti-vaccine content

By: Gerrit De Vynck, MSN, September 28, 2021:

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SAN FRANCISCO — YouTube is taking down several video channels associated with high-profile anti-vaccine activists including Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who experts say are partially responsible for helping seed the skepticism that’s contributed to slowing vaccination rates across the country.

As part of a new set of policies aimed at cutting down on anti-vaccine content on the Google-owned site, YouTube will ban any videos that claim that commonly used vaccines approved by health authorities are ineffective or dangerous. The company previously blocked videos that made those claims about coronavirus vaccines, but not ones for other vaccines like those for measles or chickenpox.

Misinformation researchers have for years said the popularity of anti-vaccine content on YouTube was contributing to growing skepticism of lifesaving vaccines in the United States and around the world. Vaccination rates have slowed and about 56 percent of the U.S. population has had two shots, compared with 71 percent in Canada and 67 percent in the United Kingdom. In July, President Biden said social media companies were partially responsible for spreading misinformation about the vaccines, and need to do more to address the issue.
Analysis: ‘YouTube magic dust’: How America’s second-largest social platform ducks controversies

The change marks a shift for the social media giant, which streams more than 1 billion hours’ worth of content every day. Like its peers Facebook and Twitter, the company has long resisted policing content too heavily, arguing maintaining an open platform is critical to free speech. But as the companies increasingly come under fire from regulators, lawmakers and regular users for contributing to social ills — including vaccine skepticism — YouTube is again changing policies that it has held onto for months.

“You create this breeding ground and when you deplatform it doesn’t go away, they just migrate,” said Hany Farid, a computer science professor and misinformation researcher at the University of California at Berkeley. “This is not one that should have been complicated. We had 18 months to think about these issues, we knew the vaccine was coming, why was this not the policy from the very beginning?”

YouTube didn’t act sooner because it was focusing on misinformation specifically about coronavirus vaccines, said Matt Halprin, YouTube’s vice president of global trust and safety. When it noticed that incorrect claims about other vaccines were contributing to fears about the coronavirus vaccines, it expanded the ban.

“Developing robust policies takes time,” Halprin said. “We wanted to launch a policy that is comprehensive, enforceable with consistency and adequately addresses the challenge.”
Facebook and YouTube spent a year fighting covid misinformation. It’s still spreading.

Mercola, an alternative medicine entrepreneur, and Kennedy, a lawyer and the son of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy who has been a face of the anti-vaccine movement for years, have both said in the past that they are not automatically against all vaccines, but believe information about the risks of vaccines is being suppressed.

Facebook banned misinformation on all vaccines seven months ago, though the pages of both Mercola and Kennedy remain up on the social media site. Their Twitter accounts are active, too.

In an email, Mercola said he was being censored and said, without presenting evidence, that vaccines had killed many people. Kennedy also said he was being censored. “There is no instance in history when censorship and secrecy has advanced either democracy or public health,” he said in an email.

More than a third of the world’s population has been vaccinated and the vaccines have been proven to be overwhelmingly safe.

YouTube, Facebook and Twitter all banned misinformation about the coronavirus early on in the pandemic. But false claims continue to run rampant across all three of the platforms. The social networks are also tightly connected, with YouTube often serving as a library of videos that go viral on Twitter or Facebook.

That dynamic is often overlooked in discussions about coronavirus misinformation, said Lisa Fazio, an associate professor at Vanderbilt college who studies misinformation.

“YouTube is the vector for a lot of this misinformation. If you see misinformation on Facebook or other places, a lot of the time it’s YouTube videos. Our conversation often doesn’t include YouTube when it should,” Fazio said.

The social media companies have hired thousands of moderators and used high-tech image- and text-recognition algorithms to try to police misinformation. YouTube has removed over 133,000 videos for broadcasting coronavirus misinformation, Halprin said.

There are also millions of people with legitimate concerns about the medical system, and social media is a place where they go to ask real questions and express their concerns and fears, something the companies don’t want to squelch.
A major founder of the anti-vaccine movement has made millions selling natural health products

In the past, the company’s leaders have focused on trying to remove what they call “borderline” videos from its recommendation algorithms, allowing people to find them with specific searches but not necessarily promoting them into new people’s feeds. It’s also worked to push more authoritative health videos, like those made by hospitals and medical schools, to the top of search results for health-care topics.

But those methods haven’t stopped the spread of anti-vaccine and coronavirus misinformation. More than a year after YouTube said it would take down misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines, the accounts of six out of 12 anti-vaccine activists — identified by the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate as being behind much of the anti-vaccine content shared on social media — were easily searchable and still posting videos. Wednesday’s policy change means many of those will now be taken down.

Once communities grow and build bonds on mainstream platforms like Facebook and YouTube, they often survive even if they get kicked off those sites, said Farid. Influential figures that get banned on YouTube can slide to another service like Telegram or Gab which have fewer restrictions on content, and ask their followers to come with them.

“These conspiracy theories don’t just go away when they stop being on YouTube,” Farid said. “You’ve created the community, you’ve created the poison, and then they just move onto some other platform.”

The anti-vaccine movement goes back to well before the pandemic. False scientific claims that childhood vaccines caused autism made in the late 1990s have contributed to rising numbers of people refusing to let their kids get shots that had been commonplace for decades. As social media took over more of the media landscape, anti-vaccine activists spread their messages on Facebook parenting groups and through YouTube videos.
How wellness influencers are fueling the anti-vaccine movement

When the pandemic hit, and vaccines became a topic that was suddenly relevant to everyone, not just parents of young children, many went looking for answers online. Influencers like Mercola, Kennedy and alternative health advocate Erin Elizabeth Finn were able to supercharge their followings. Some anti-vaccine influencers, including Mercola, also sell natural health products, giving them a financial incentive to promote skepticism of mainstream medicine.

The anti-vaccine movement now also incorporates groups as diverse as conspiracy theorists who believe former president Donald Trump is still the rightful president, and some wellness influencers who see the vaccines as unnatural substances that will poison human bodies. All of the government-approved coronavirus vaccines have gone through rigorous testing and have been scientifically proved to be highly effective and safe.

The company is also expanding its work to bring more videos from official sources onto the platform, like the National Academy of Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic, said Garth Graham, YouTube’s global head of health care and public health partnerships. The goal is to get videos with scientific information in front of people before they go down the rabbit hole of anti-vaccine content.

“There is information, not from us, but information from other researchers on health misinformation that has shown the earlier you can get information in front of someone before they form opinions, the better,” Graham said.

Getting authoritative information in front of people early can help, but fact-based videos often have trouble competing for people’s attention with ones spouting misinformation, Fazio said. “If you’re going to make up something you can make it as compelling as you want.”

YouTube’s new policy will still allow people to make claims based on their own personal experience, like a mother talking about side effects her child experienced after getting a vaccine, Halprin said. Scientific discussion of vaccines and posting about vaccines’ historical failures or successes will also be allowed, he said.
Nicki Minaj tweets coronavirus vaccine conspiracy theory, spotlighting struggle against misinformation

“We’ll remove claims that vaccines are dangerous or cause a lot of health effects, that vaccines cause autism, cancer, infertility or contain microchips,” Halprin said. “At least hundreds” of moderators at YouTube are working specifically on medical misinformation, he added. The policy will be enforced in all of the dozens of languages that YouTube operates in.

Still, there are dozens of past examples of videos going viral even if they explicitly break the company’s rules. Sometimes YouTube only catches them after they’ve been flagged by reporters or regular viewers, and have already racked up thousands or millions of views.

“Like always, the devil’s in the details. How well will they actually do at pulling down these videos?” Fazio said. “But I do think it’s a step in the right direction.”

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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Does Biden’s $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Include a Mileage Tax?

Here’s a dismaying prospect: Paying 6, 8, or 10 cents in new taxes for every mile you drive. It may sound small, but at an 8 cent rate, that would be $1,144 in new annual taxes for the average American, who drives about 14,300 miles a year. Yikes!

Some on social media are claiming that this punitive tax scheme has been slipped into President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending legislation—which, after all, is nearly 3,000 pages and is chock full of unrelated waste and partisan pet projects. But are they right to be concerned about a mileage tax soon becoming reality?

No. At least, not yet.

The infrastructure legislation does not include a mileage tax or another form of driving tax. What it does include is a pilot program to study and test the idea. The legislation authorizes $125 million in taxpayer funding for this test initiative. (A lot of taxpayer money for an experiment, no?)

“People would volunteer to be part of the test,” fact-checkers at local New York news outlet WGRZ-TV report. “The test would require volunteers to record their miles, pay the fees, and then be reimbursed by the government. This pilot program would go through the year 2026 and at that point, if Congress and the president like it, they would have to pass another bill making it into law. This infrastructure bill simply creates the program.”

We can certainly question the wisdom of this endeavor. But rest assured that if the infrastructure legislation ultimately passes—a likely if not certain outcome—you won’t get a new per-mile bill from the IRS. However, this move does represent a shift toward mainstreaming and advancing the idea of a per-mile driving tax.

Such a tax would be highly regressive, meaning that it would disproportionately burden low-income Americans. So, too, the costs would fall harder on rural Americans who drive more than their city-dwelling counterparts. That said, proponents argue it simply funds highway infrastructure by taxing those who use it. They also note that it could replace the gas tax, which currently attempts to do the same yet fails to capture usage by electric vehicles.

Still, the prospect of sizable new taxes levied on working-class Americans solely for the privilege of being allowed to drive your own car isn’t an attractive one. Luckily, we aren’t actually facing this as an immediate reality, even if it is slowly being advanced into the mainstream.

WATCHNew Biden Vax Mandate Doesn’t Make ANY Sense (Here’s Why)

COLUMN BY

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Like this story? Click here to sign up for the FEE Daily and get free-market news and analysis like this from Policy Correspondent Brad Polumbo in your inbox every weekday.

U.S. Household Incomes Increased More in 2018 Than in the Previous 20 Years—Combined

Why did U.S. incomes suddenly explode in 2018 after decades of tepid growth? The answer is not difficult to find.


For years, a school of economists has complained that US wages have been virtually stagnant for decades.

“Jobs are coming back, but pay isn’t. The median wage is still below where it was before the Great Recession,” former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said in 2015. “Last month, average pay actually fell.”

In fact, it’s not hard to find data showing that wages have barely increased since the 1970s, a figure many have used to stoke classy envy.

The truth is, there have always been problems with the claim that real wages (adjusted for inflation) have been stagnant for years. As economist Don Boudreaux has pointed out (see below), Reich and others overlook several important factors—including how inflation is calculated, compensation outside of wages such as healthcare, and the distinction between individuals and statistics.

The stagnant wage narrative was always mostly wrong. Federal Reserve data (which uses a chain-weighted price index) shows US hourly earnings have seen impressive growth in recent years.

Nevertheless, if one does choose to use Bureau of Labor Statistics data to measure family incomes over the last two decades, the picture is indeed a bit bleaker—at least it was.

Government statistics, which use the Consumer Price Index to measure inflation, show that from 2002 through 2015 median weekly earnings didn’t budge at all, but surged between 2018 and 2020.

I’m not the first person to notice this stunning wage growth. Writing in Bloomberg, economist Karl W. Smith describes the growth in income using a slightly different metric, real median household income.

“In 2016, real median household income was $62,898, just $257 above its level in 1999,” writes Smith. “Over the next three years it grew almost $6,000, to $68,703.”

Indeed, median household incomes increased from $64,300 to $68,700 in 2018 alone—an increase of $4,400. To put it another way, US incomes increased more in 2018 than the previous 20 years combined. (Household incomes were $61,100 in 1998 and $64,300 at the end of 2017.)

The question, of course, is why did US incomes suddenly explode after decades of tepid growth? The answer is not difficult to find.

The year 2017 saw massive deregulation and passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Estimates placed the deregulation savings at $2 trillion. But what was likely even a bigger factor was the cut businesses saw in corporate taxes.

Prior to 2017, the US had the highest corporate tax in the developed world (if not the whole world). With a top bracket of 35 percent, its corporate tax rate was higher than Communist China and socialist Venezuela.

This was a terrible policy on a number of levels. For starters, the revenue-maximizing rate of a corporate tax is 15-25 percent, which means anything above that isn’t even generating more revenue, it’s simply punitive and economically harmful. (Evidence bears this out. The United Kingdom, for example, reduced its corporate tax rate and saw revenues grow.)

Second, high corporate taxes actually hurt workers more than “Big Business.” Tax experts point out that roughly 70 percent of what businesses earn in profits gets paid to workers in the form of wages and other benefits. So it’s no surprise to see that studies show that workers bear between 50 and 100 percent of the brunt of corporate income taxes.

But the reverse is also true: cutting corporate taxes leaves companies more capital to grow and invest.

“Lower corporate taxes increase rewards for improving techniques, technology, and increasing capital investments, which increase worker productivity and earnings,” writes economist Gary Galles. “They expand rewards for risk-taking and entrepreneurship in service of consumers. They reduce the substantial distortions caused by the tax. And those changes benefit others, such as workers and consumers.”

So in 2017, when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law, companies saw their tax rate fall from 35 percent to 21 percent. Just that fast, businesses suddenly had more capital to spend to grow their business, improve productivity, and hire more workers—and few things attract workers more than higher wages.

Media scoffed at the possibility that corporate tax cuts would actually result in wage increases for US workers. But the data speaks for itself: Families saw incomes increase faster than at any time in generations.

Moreover, though median wages surged, showing the benefits were broad-based, every segment benefited from these wage gains.

“The lowest quintile increased their pay more than the upper quintile,” Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist recently pointed out in a conversation with FEE’s Brad Polumbo.

To be sure, reducing the corporate tax rate wasn’t the sole factor for the surge in wages, but it was likely by far the biggest.

The surge in family incomes no doubt helped soften the impact of the economic destruction the world suffered in 2020 during the recession precipitated by economic lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.

Whether the wage gains continue may depend to some extent on the permanency of the corporate tax cut. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who appears poised to become the next US president, has signaled he’d restore the corporate tax to its 35 percent rate or raise it to 28 percent.

“Biden would make our business tax higher than China’s,” Norquist quipped. (He’s not wrong. China’s corporate tax rate stands at 25 percent.)

This appears unlikely to happen, however. Even if Biden’s claim was more than campaign rhetoric, it appears unlikely that he’ll have enough votes in the Senate to roll back the tax cuts.

Even more promising for US workers, Biden appears inclined to roll back Trump’s tariffs, which are basically taxes on Americans and imposed costs on businesses.

“When you put a tariff on steel, you make American cars not competitive anymore. You make everything made with steel less competitive,” Norquist observed. “We did a lot of damage to the American economy that way.”

If a Biden administration rolls back Trump’s tariffs while leaving the corporate tax rate in place, the US economy could build on the gains made prior to the arrival of the lockdowns.

That would be a winning formula for US workers, businesses, and the US economy.

COLUMN BY

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune. Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki Refuses to Acknowledge Economic Reality Because She Thinks It’s Mean

Whether Psaki and Biden think that corporate tax hikes should lead to lower wages or high prices is utterly immaterial. They do. 


Ayn Rand famously quipped, “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s latest viral flub seems perfectly calibrated to confirm the late author’s wise words.

At a Monday press conference, Psaki was confronted by journalists citing data showing that House Democrats’ proposed tax increases would violate President Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000.

In particular, multiple studies have shown that the proposed increase in the corporate tax rate from 21 to 26.5 percent would lead to lower wages for workers and higher consumer prices. (A de facto tax increase for those earning less than $400,000 if not technically a direct one.) The press secretary responded to the journalist’s query by downplaying the potential pass-along costs and simply declaring them immoral.

“There are some… who argue that in the past, companies have passed on these costs to consumers,” Psaki said. “We feel that that’s unfair and absurd and the American people will not stand for that.”

That’s nice. But the laws of economics are unmoved by Psaki’s personal condemnation, and Americans who will bear the real brunt of the tax hike proposals certainly care more about what the practical impact will be than the White House’s moral musings.

Whether Psaki and Biden think that corporate tax hikes should lead to lower wages or high prices is utterly immaterial. They do.

Both a near-consensus of empirical research and basic economic theory confirm this reality. Indeed, a study by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation found that a previous Biden proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent—so, slightly higher than the 26.5 percent proposed now—would have shrunk the size of the economy, lowered wages, and eliminated 159,000 jobs. We can safely assume that similar dysfunction would accompany the latest proposal.

Of course, the destructive fallout of their proposed tax hikes is a politically inconvenient reality for the Biden administration. But that’s no excuse for denying or downplaying it. Jen Psaki’s empty moralizing and hand-waving cannot change the laws of economics. Nor will the press secretary’s words comfort workers who bear the brunt of bad policymaking.

WATCHReacting to PAINFULLY Dumb Gun Control TikToks

COLUMN BY

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Like this story? Click here to sign up for the FEE Daily and get free-market news and analysis like this from Policy Correspondent Brad Polumbo in your inbox every weekday.

New Wine Company is an Unabashed Cheerleader for America [+Video]

It’s becoming a popular fad for companies to focus on America’s so-called faults, not our freedoms.

Bank of America (1.00): “All Americans need to see racism as a national issue.”

American Express (1.00): “George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Christian Cooper are just the latest victims… that indicate we still have a very long way to go as a nation to ensure that the human rights of all people are respected equally.”

Amazon (1.62): “The inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country must stop.”

It doesn’t stop with corporations, either. This pervasive anti-American sentiment is also being passed on to our children. Several weeks ago, a California teacher removed an American flag from her classroom “because it made [her] uncomfortable.” She told her students to pledge allegiance to the LGBT Pride flag, instead.

Clearly, the cultural war on America is in full swing. Thankfully, some courageous organizations are fighting back, branding themselves as unabashed cheerleaders for our nation’s values. We the People Wine (3.68) is one of these companies, offering an alternative to wine-drinkers who proudly stand for our founding principles like freedom and equality.

We the People Wine is intentional about combating the anti-American orthodoxy pushed by many cultural and corporate icons. When he appeared on Fox & Friends last month, founder Ryan Coyne said, “We wanted to build a brand about American exceptionalism. Free people, free markets, free speech – all the values we think are under attack by world culture.”

Every We the People Wine bottle proudly features an American flag, and a portion of proceeds goes toward pro-American causes. Their recent advertisement, which went viral, features a near-prophetic President Ronald Reagan reminding us that freedom in America must be fought for.

That’s exactly what We the People Wine is doing. With their entrance into the market, wine-drinkers who love America now don’t have to buy from wine companies such as Barefoot (2.67) or Constellation Brands (2.67), which 2ndVote shows lean left. Instead, use your wallet to support your American values. To order a bottle (or two!) from We the People Wine today, click here and remember to thank them for what they are doing!

Use your voice to call out Barefoot and Constellation Brands to let them know why you will not continue shopping with them. Click the company names so that you can contact them directly through the 2ndVote page!

EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Elizabeth Warren Revives Terrible Pandemic Policy


In late August, the Supreme Court struck down the Centers for Disease Control’s so-called “eviction moratorium.” The justices ruled that the federal agency did not have the legal authority to unilaterally extend a prohibition on the eviction of non-paying tenants in many circumstances. This was a win for both the rule of law and for a rental market destroyed by the order—but the victory could prove short-lived, if a new coalition of progressive lawmakers gets its way.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Cori Bush, progressive Democrats, just co-sponsored legislation to revive the eviction moratorium: the “Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021.”

Their bill would explicitly give the CDC the authority to re-enact the moratorium and compel it to do so. This new moratorium would potentially go even further, applying automatically to all rentals without tenants applying, as previously required. So, too, it would remain in place until 60 days beyond the “conclusion of the public health emergency.”

“This pandemic isn’t over, and we have to do everything we can to protect renters from the harm and trauma of needless eviction, which upends the lives of those struggling to get back on their feet,” Warren said in a statement. “Pushing hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes will only exacerbate this public health crisis, and cause economic harm to families, their communities, and our overall recovery.”

While Bush and Warren’s compassion for hypothetical struggling renters is commendable, the alleged ongoing pandemic-fueled eviction crisis their law responds to does not, in fact, exist. An internal report from the Biden administration even found that the financial situation of renters actually improved, on average, during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccines are available at no cost to almost all Americans who want them, and there are more than 10 million unfilled job openings waiting for anyone seeking work.

The evictio​​​n moratorium was always an unjustifiable overreach, but it has absolutely zero legitimate justification left at this point. If revived, though, it would have drastic consequences.

In stark contrast to progressive misconceptions, many landlords and property owners are not “rich” or members of “the 1%.” In reality, the eviction moratorium bankrupted and devastated countless working-and-middle-class landlords. Yet it wasn’t just hurting landlords; it was blowing up the rental market on both ends.

In response to the moratorium, which deprived them of any way to enforce rent collection, landlords were responding by leaving units empty and off the market, requiring 6 months rent upfront, raising rent, and selling off their properties. They’re only now finally regaining their feet with the crushing weight of the moratorium lifted. Reviving it would once again deliver a gut punch to landlords and devastate the supply of rental housing— increasing rent prices, fueling the housing shortage, and ultimately leaving more people unhoused.

If Elizabeth Warren, Cori Bush, and other progressive lawmakers really want to make housing more affordable, bringing back the eviction moratorium is the last thing they ought to pursue. Only getting the government out of the way and letting the housing market recover can get us out of this mess.

COLUMN BY​​​​​

Brad Polumbo

Policy correspondent. (@Brad_Polumbo)

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. Read more

ANALYSIS: Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Hurts Working Class America The Most

  • President Joe Biden’s executive action requiring most U.S. workers to get vaccinated hurts working class Americans the most, according to polling and vaccination data.
  • “Unfortunately, this disproportionately harms people of lower socioeconomic groups,” Jeffrey Singer, a health policy expert at the Cato Institute, told the Daily Caller News Foundation when asked about Biden’s vaccine mandate. “A significant number of people who don’t want to get vaccinated are mainly of lower socioeconomic status.”
  • Just 66% of U.S. adults with less than a college degree have been vaccinated, significantly fewer than the 76% of total adults who have received a vaccination, according to a Sept. 10-13 Morning Consult poll.

President Joe Biden’s executive action requiring most U.S. workers to get vaccinated hurts working class Americans the most, according to polling and vaccination data.

Americans with lower levels of education are less likely to get and be more hesitant about COVID-19 vaccinations, according to survey data from the Census Bureau. Separate polling data showed that those Americans are also more likely to oppose vaccine mandates including Biden’s recent order requiring the jab for millions of workers.

“Unfortunately, this disproportionately harms people of lower socioeconomic groups,” Jeffrey Singer, a health policy expert at the Cato Institute, told the Daily Caller News Foundation when asked about Biden’s vaccine mandate. “A significant number of people who don’t want to get vaccinated are mainly of lower socioeconomic status.”

“At this point, I think it runs the risk of doing more harm than good,” Singer added.

Just 66% of U.S. adults with less than a college degree have been vaccinated, fewer than the 76% of total adults who have received a vaccination, according to a Sept. 10-13 Morning Consult poll. Meanwhile, 84% and 88% of adults with a bachelor’s degree and graduate degree respectively have been vaccinated.

About 11% of adults with some college education or an associate degree, 14% of adults with a high school diploma and 14.6% of those with less than a high school diploma reported being hesitant to get vaccinated, the Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey found. By comparison, 5% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree are hesitant.

Biden ordered the Department of Labor last week to issue a rule forcing businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations at their workplace. The order, which applies to more than 81.1 million Americans, allows workers to choose to submit weekly tests to their employer instead of getting vaccinated.

The White House hasn’t clarified if private sector workers who choose not to be vaccinated will be expected to pay for the weekly tests. Some experts have predicted that employers will be allowed to choose whether to pay for the tests or not, The New York Times reported.

The Labor Department didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment on how weekly tests will be paid for.

Biden’s vaccine mandate for private sector workers doesn’t apply to those who work from home, according to the Miami Herald.

The president also issued executive orders requiring federal employees and contractors to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, 2021, the White House said. There are an estimated 4.2 million full-time federal employees, according to the Congressional Research Service.

“Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated, even though the vaccine is safe, effective, and free,” Biden said during Sept. 9 remarks at the White House.

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” he added later in his speech.

Thirty-six percent of Americans with less than a college degree said they opposed Biden’s rule forcing private sector employees to get vaccinated, the recent Morning Consult poll showed. Those with a Bachelor’s degree and those with a graduate degree opposed it at a rate of 29% and 23% respectively.

On the question of vaccine mandates more broadly, 43% of adults with less than a college degree agreed that mandates violate the rights of Americans, according to the poll. Thirty-one percent of adults with a Bachelor’s degree and 25% with a graduate degree agreed.

Labor unions and trade groups representing working class Americans have come out in opposition to Biden’s vaccine mandate.

“These proposed requirements—however well-intentioned—threaten to cause further disruptions throughout the supply chain, impeding our nation’s COVID response efforts and putting the brakes on any economic revival,” American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear said in a statement.

“If these mandates are designed to protect Americans, then why the discriminatory 100-employee threshold, picking winners and losers for both employees and employers?” he continued.

COLUMN BY

Thomas Catenacci

Reporter

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EDITORS NOTE: This The Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Treasury Department Seeks to Track Financial Transactions of Personal Bank Accounts Over $600

In May, the Treasury Department released the Biden administration’s revenue proposals for fiscal year 2022. One aspect of this document that has gone under-reported is the administration’s new plan for reporting requirements for financial institutions.

The document is unequivocal about the administration’s goal for financial reporting, stating, “this proposal would create a comprehensive financial account information reporting regime.”

The Biden administration’s goal here is to increase tax revenue by making sure no income avoids detection. How will the administration do this? It plans to leverage financial institutions like banks.

“[T]his requirement would apply to all business and personal accounts from financial institutions,” the proposal reads, “including bank, loan, and investment accounts, with the exception of accounts below a low de minimis gross flow threshold of $600 or fair market value of $600.”

In other words, financial institutions will report any flows in and out of business and personal accounts of more than $600.

This reporting requirement is far above any current requirements on financial institutions. As the document itself states, currently only information for certain types of revenue (including 1099 forms MISC, NEC, and K) require reporting.

Some may view this proposal by the Biden administration positively. After all, this isn’t an attempt at raising taxes. The goal of this policy is to ensure individuals pay what is legally required, isn’t it?

There are two issues with this way of thinking.

The first issue is highlighted by economist Ludwig von Mises’s insight that “capitalism breathes through [the] loopholes.” The great innovations and improvements in well-being made available through capitalism were not generated in a loophole-free system. Oftentimes, the most important innovations begin as small start-ups with razor thin margins. As loopholes close, the chance of these risky start-ups succeeding declines.

Entrepreneurs are not ignorant to the barriers of regulations and taxation. When something is taxed, you get less of it. If any entrepreneurs are right on the fence of whether a new business venture is likely to be worth it, increasing costs even a little bit may be enough to persuade them otherwise. Economists call this “being on the margin.”

Avoiding taxes and reporting on small dollar transactions (either intentionally or unintentionally) is another form of loophole. De jure businesses are required to follow strict tax reporting rules, but, much like driving the speed limit, the de facto reporting often departs from the official rule.

To understand the danger of making businesses comply with tax law to the letter, consider how difficult it would be for businesses to do so. The tax code is now so long that nobody, including government officials, are sure of its length. How can business-owners be sure they’re complying with a document of unknown length? Put simply, they can’t.

Therefore, not only will these increased financial reporting requirements raise taxes on entrepreneurs on the margin, they will also force businesses to expend more time and resources ensuring they pay the proper amount of taxes. Any tax audit with access to every account transfer over $600 will crush businesses without a team of accountants or lawyers able to justify every transfer.

The burden of this policy, then, will fall primarily on small businesses without access to a massive internal legal team. A policy that punishes small businesses like this may be good for large corporations, but it’s bad for market competition.

As Mises noted, capitalism suffocates without loopholes.

The second issue associated with Biden’s proposal is its effect on financial privacy. The administration’s focus on increasing financial reporting is becoming a consistent theme. For example, the “information reporting regime” document also includes proposals for cryptocurrency reporting which can be seen as a precursor to the crypto reporting requirements shoehorned into the “infrastructure” bill.

The increase in financial scrutiny provided by access to every transaction greater than $600 associated with personal accounts would provide an unprecedented look into the finances of many Americans. Even the powerful political will behind the 2002 “Patriot Act” only led to requirements that banks report suspicious transactions of $5,000 or more.

Much like small businesses, most individuals don’t have access to a team of lawyers and accountants the same way DC politicians and bureaucrats do. As such, these new requirements are likely to hurt poor and middle income Americans whose primary source of income is non-traditional. This is unsurprising given the Biden administration’s record of threatening gig work, for instance.

Some may argue that privacy is unnecessary because you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide. But, again, individuals cannot be expected to perfectly comply with a document of unspecified length. Unfortunately, as the government approaches perfect information, perfect compliance becomes the standard.

At one time, perhaps community banks or other small financial institutions interested in keeping customers around could’ve provided resistance to this by generating political pushback or work-arounds for customers.

However, government policies have effectively destroyed a more decentralized network of financial institutions. Since the early 1990s the number of small banks has fallen from over 10,000 to below 5,000. Now politicians are proposing to leverage their relationships with the few big players who are “too big to fail” to examine every aspect of Americans’ finances.

Especially with the lockdowns, the federal government already has small businesses, independent contractors, and the economy in general in a stranglehold. This new “Information Reporting Regime” will only tighten its economically lethal grip.

RELATED ARTICLE: House Progressives Unveil Massive Multi-Trillion-Dollar Tax Hike—Here’s How It’ll Impact You

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Pelosi Says Capitalism Has Not Helped U.S. Economy, Argues ‘We Have To Correct That’

This is a communist coup on America.

Ayn Rand on Capitalism, 

“Capitalism did not create poverty — it inherited it.” For much of human history, the vast majority of the population was mired in poverty. All too often, the average individual lived in unimaginably wretched conditions. It was only in the nineteenth century, and then only in the West, that the masses started to enjoy prosperity because of capitalism.

“The nineteenth century was the ultimate product and expression of the intellectual trend of the Renaissance and the Age of Reason, which means: of a predominantly Aristotelian philosophy. And, for the first time in history, it created a new economic system, the necessary corollary of political freedom, a system of free trade on a free market: capitalism.”

“No, it was not a full, perfect, unregulated, totally laissez-faire capitalism—as it should have been. Various degrees of government interference and control still remained, even in America—and this is what led to the eventual destruction of capitalism. But the extent to which certain countries were free was the exact extent of their economic progress. America, the freest, achieved the most.”

“Never mind the low wages and the harsh living conditions of the early years of capitalism. They were all that the national economies of the time could afford. Capitalism did not create poverty—it inherited it. Compared to the centuries of precapitalist starvation, the living conditions of the poor in the early years of capitalism were the first chance the poor had ever had to survive. As proof—the enormous growth of the European population during the nineteenth century, a growth of over 300 per cent, as compared to the previous growth of something like 3 per cent per century.”

“The flood of misinformation, misrepresentation, distortion, and outright falsehood about capitalism is such that the young people of today have no idea (and virtually no way of discovering any idea) of its actual nature. While archeologists are rummaging through the ruins of millennia for scraps of pottery and bits of bones, from which to reconstruct some information about prehistorical existence—the events of less than a century ago are hidden under a mound more impenetrable than the geological debris of winds, floods, and earthquakes: a mound of silence.”

“Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.”

“The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others. The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man’s rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man’s right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control.”

“The moral justification of capitalism lies in the fact that it is the only system consonant with man’s rational nature, that it protects man’s survival qua man, and that its ruling principle is: justice.”

“In a capitalist society, all human relationships are voluntary. Men are free to cooperate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their own individual judgments, convictions, and interests dictate. They can deal with one another only in terms of and by means of reason, i.e., by means of discussion, persuasion, and contractual agreement, by voluntary choice to mutual benefit. The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial. It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree—and thus keeps the road open to man’s most valuable attribute (valuable personally, socially, and objectively): the creative mind.”

“Capitalism demands the best of every man—his rationality—and rewards him accordingly. It leaves every man free to choose the work he likes, to specialize in it, to trade his product for the products of others, and to go as far on the road of achievement as his ability and ambition will carry him. His success depends on the objective value of his work and on the rationality of those who recognize that value. When men are free to trade, with reason and reality as their only arbiter, when no man may use physical force to extort the consent of another, it is the best product and the best judgment that win in every field of human endeavor, and raise the standard of living—and of thought—ever higher for all those who take part in mankind’s productive activity.” 

Pelosi Says Capitalism Has Not Helped US Economy ‘As Well As It Should,’ Argues ‘We Have To Correct That’

By Brianna Lyman, Daily Caller, September 17, 2021:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Friday capitalism “has not served our economy as well as it should” but insisted it is a system to improve rather than abandon.

“In America, capitalism is our system, it is our economic system, but it has not served our economy as well as it should,” Pelosi said at a Chatham House event in the United Kingdom, according to Reuters. “So what we want to do is not depart from that, but to improve it.”

Pelosi said “stakeholder capitalism” has historically been beneficial to the states as it has allowed both workers’ wages and management’s to rise as productivity increases, according to The Washington Post. Pelosi, however, criticized “shareholder capitalism” which she says causes employees’ salaries to remain the same despite a growth in productivity.

“You cannot have a system where the success of some springs from the exploitation of the workers and springs from the exploitation of the environment and the rest, and we have to correct that.”

Pelosi has remained steadfast in her commitment to capitalism, albeit with some adjustments to the system.

When asked by a left-leaning student in 2017 whether Democrats should move farther left with “a more stark contrast to right-wing economics,” Pelosi immediately clarified Democrats are capitalists.

“I have to say, we’re capitalists, that’s just the way it is,” she responded, according to NYU Local. “However, we do think that capitalism is not necessarily meeting the needs with the income inequality that we have in our country.”

“We’re a capitalist system. The free market is – is a place that can do good things.”

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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Lyft Puts Anti-Life Ideology on Display with Opposition to Texas’ Heartbeat Law

State legislators have a duty to enact laws supported by their constituents. This foundational principle is core to America’s Constitutional, federalist system. But it’s also somehow controversial to woke social justice warriors, who rail against any state policy that goes against their vision of a progressive cultural utopia.

The latest state to end up in their crosshairs is Texas. Their newly enacted “Heartbeat Law” prohibits abortion after 6 weeks gestation, making it a civil offense to perform or aid in one after the unborn child has a heartbeat.

Never mind that a plurality of Americans support the law. It contradicts the authoritarian woke agenda, so woke corporations have dutifully fallen in line to express their opposition.

One of the most ridiculous responses is from ride-sharing app Lyft (1.00), whose CEO Tweeted that since their drivers could be considered “aiding abortion” by bringing women to their appointments, Lyft would cover legal fees for drivers sued under the law. They also gave a $1 million donation to Planned Parenthood.

For a company that waxes poetic about their employees’ value, Lyft cares little for their freedom of expression. Just weeks ago, they fired a driver for listening to a radio show a passenger deemed “racist.” Ironically, the show featured a Black host accusing Black Lives Matter of ignoring how abortion destroys more Black lives than any other demographic. Clearly, Lyft values their employees only when they dutifully adhere to pro-abortion ideology: acceptance earns applause; dissent gets you fired.

While Lyft put their hypocrisy on display, it isn’t the only company taking a stance against Texas’ new law. Dating app Bumble pledged to help Texas-based employees terminate their pregnancies out of state. GoDaddy Inc. (2.67), a website-hosting service, took down a site used to report violations of the new law.

These companies must get out of the business of policymaking and leave that to lawmakers and the courts. Until they do, take your money elsewhere. Perhaps when we hold Lyft accountable for their support of destroying human life, they’ll get out of politics and back to business.

Please reach out to LyftBumble, and GoDaddy to share your collective thoughts on the pro-life issue and let your voice be heard!

EDITORS NOTE: This 2nd Vote column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: FDA Bought Fetal Organs, Heads and Tissue for ‘Humanized Mice’ Project

Judicial Watch has uncovered more documents detailing the evil activities of your federal government – the trafficking of the remains of unborn human beings killed by abortion.

We received another 198 pages of records and communications from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) involving “humanized mice” research with human fetal heads, organs and tissue, including communications and contracts with human fetal tissue provider Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR).

Most of the records are communications and related attachments between Perrin Larton, a procurement manager for ABR, and research veterinary medical officer Dr. Kristina Howard of the FDA.

We received the records through a March 2019 FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, of which the FDA is a part (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department Health and Human Services (No. 1:19-cv-00876)).

Our lawsuit asks for all contracts and related documentation on disbursement of funds, procedural documents and communications between FDA and ABR for the provision of human fetal tissue to be used in humanized mice research. After we successfully opposed the FDA’s redaction of certain information from its records, a federal court ordered HHS to release additional information about its purchases of organs harvested from aborted human fetuses – including “line item prices,” or the price per organ the government paid to ABR. The court also found “there is reason to question” whether the transactions violate federal law barring the sale of fetal organs. Documents previously uncovered in this lawsuit show that the federal government demanded the purchased fetal organs be “fresh and never frozen.”)

The records include an FDA generated contract with ABR, based on a “requisition” it issued on July 27, 2012, for $12,000 worth of “tissue procurement for humanized mice,” which indicates the requisition was for a “non-competitive award.” Although the initial award was for $12,000, the total estimated amount of funds allocated for the requisition was $60,000. Under “Justification for Other than Full and Open Competition,” the FDA writes:

Scientists within the FDA and in the larger field of humanized mouse research have searched extensively over the past several years, and ABR is the only company in the U.S. capable of supplying tissues suitable for HM research. No other company or organization is capable of fulfilling the need.

Costs are estimated [for the fetal parts] at $230 per tissue x two tissues per shipment = $460 plus $95 shipping = $555 per shipment. A total of 21 shipments = $11,655.00.

An April 1, 2013, “Amendment of Solicitation/Modification of Contract” form that shows the FDA purchased fetal livers and thymuses from ABR going back to at least October 2012, billing $580 per liver/thymus set, but later paying a unit price of $685.

A January 1, 2013, “Fees for Services Schedule” provided by ABR to the FDA includes:

FETAL CADAVEROUS PROCUREMENT                           SERVICE FEE
2nd trimester D&E
[Dilation and Evacuation abortion]
(13-24 weeks)                                                                      per specimen     $275
1st trimester aspiration [abortion] (8-12 weeks)          per specimen     $515
Intact Calvarium [baby’s skull] (8-24 weeks)”                per specimen     $515

The fees for services schedule also includes “Special Processing/Preservation” of the fetal parts, such as “Tissue ‘Cleaning,’” “Snap freezing,” and “Passive freezing (Dry ice).”

In a September 9, 2014, “Order for Supplies or Services,” the FDA writes regarding a $9,900 order:

The Contractors shall ship 2nd Trimester thymus $325, 2nd Trimester liver $325. Overnight deliver $150 and EFT wire transfer fee $25, for a total per delivery of $825. Total of this contract not to exceed $9,900.00.

As the result of an August 21, 2015, “Amendment of Solicitation/Modification of Contract,” ABR bumped up the price of baby livers and thymuses from $325 each to $340 each.

A “Tissue Acquisition Quote” sent by ABR to Howard on July 5, 2017, provided a quote of $5,440 each to provide 16 sets of second trimester (16-24 weeks) livers and 16 sets of second trimester (16-24 weeks) thymuses at $340 per “sample.” The request for the quote notes that “tissue known to be positive for HIV, HepA, HepB, HepC or chromosomal abnormalities are not acceptable.”

On June 28, 2017, a redacted FDA contract specialist sends Larton at ABR a request for a quote (RFQ) of pricing for human fetal tissue, aged “16-24 weeks,” including a “Statement of Needs”:

The HM [humanized mice] are created by surgical implantations of human tissue into mice that have multiple genetic mutations that block the development of the mouse immune system at a very early stage. The absence of the mouse immune system allows the human tissues to grow and develop into functional human tissues…. In order for the humanization to proceed correctly we need to obtain fetal tissue with a specific set of specialized characteristics.

A May 2018, report from a company named “LABS,” which was employed by ABR to test fetal parts and their mothers for hepatitis and HIV, notes in its “methodology description” that they are approved by the FDA “for living and cadaveric donor screening.”

The records include a recitation of requirements by the FDA for “Payment by Electronic Funds Transfer,” in which ABR must adhere to regulations relating to “Convict Labor” and “Child Labor-Cooperation with Authorities and Remedies.”

On September 24, 2018, the Trump FDA terminated its contract with ABR for human tissue purchases and began an audit of its acquisitions of baby body parts. The records include the FDA’s letter terminating the contract:

Based on the terms and conditions of the Purchase Order as awarded to Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (“ABR”) on July 27, 2018, the Government is not sufficiently assured that the human tissue provided to the Government to humanize the immune systems of mice will comply with the prohibitions set forth under 42 U.S.C. § 289g- 2. Furthermore, the Government has concerns with the sufficiency of the sole-source justification. Therefore, pursuant to FAR [Federal Acquisition Regulation] clause 52.213-4(f), the Purchase Order is being terminated effective September 24, 2018.

Here’s some background.

In February 2020, we first uncovered through this lawsuit hundreds of pages of records from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showing that the agency paid thousands of dollars to a California-based firm to purchase organs from aborted human fetuses to create “humanized mice” for HIV research.

In May 2021, this lawsuit uncovered FDA records showing the agency spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to buy human fetal tissue from ABR. The tissue was used in creating “humanized mice” to test “biologic drug products.” The records indicated the FDA wanted tissue purchases “Fresh; shipped on wet ice.”

On August 3, 2021, we announced that The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and Judicial Watch, through a separate lawsuit, received 252 pages of new documents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that reveal nearly $3 million in federal funds were spent on the University of Pittsburgh’s quest to become a “Tissue Hub” for human fetal tissue ranging from 6 to 42 weeks’ gestation. The Pitt scientists note that, “All fetal tissue is collected through a collaborative process including Family Planning, Obstetrics and Pathology.” Pitt anticipated “being able to harvest and distribute quality tissue and cells … [and] do not anticipate any major problems related to the acquisition and distribution of the tissues.” Pitt’s target goal “is to have available a minimum of 5 cases (tissues and if possible other biologicals) per week of gestational age for ages 6-42 weeks.”

Chopping up aborted human beings for their organs and tissue is a moral and legal outrage. This issue should be front and center in any debate about America’s barbaric abortion industry.

EDITORS NOTE: This Judicial Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

New Plan Would Push Top Tax Rate to Almost 60 Percent In These 4 States

If Congress’s new tax hikes come through, successful residents in high-tax states will be placed in a terrible position.


Successful residents of high-tax states are in for an ugly surprise if new tax legislation passes in Congress. Democratic legislators are currently proposing a multi-trillion-dollar tax hike to raise revenue for a massive welfare and climate change spending plan. Proposed tax hikes include raising the corporate tax rate, higher taxes on cigarettes and vaping products, raising the capital gains tax rate, and higher individual income tax rates.

On the last front, the proposed income tax increase would apply to income over $400,000 for an individual and raise the rate from its current 37 percent to 39.6 percent. The proposal also includes a 3 percent surcharge on all income above $5 million. The tax hikes could push Americans in states like New York, California, New Jersey, and Hawaii up to nearly 60 percent top income tax rates.

“For New Yorkers earning more than $5 million, the combined city, state and federal tax rate would skyrocket to 61.2% under the House plan,” Fox Business reports. “The combined rate in California, meanwhile, would spike to 59.7%, while the wealthiest individuals living in New Jersey could pay a rate as high as 57.2%. In Hawaii, the combined marginal rate would be an estimated 57.4%.”

That’s right: High-earning residents of these states could end up paying nearly 60 percent tax rates on their income earned above a certain level. That’s an obscene and fundamentally unfair level of taxation. But such punitive levels of taxation are also highly impractical and certain to have adverse economic consequences.

For one thing, successful residents can simply move to another state. It is only the combination of high federal income taxes and high state-level income taxes that leads to these combined rates of nearly 60 percent. Yet some states, such as New Hampshire and Florida, have no income tax at all.

We’ve already seen an exodus of wealth, people, and major businesses from states like California, and that trend will only accelerate if taxes are sent even higher by this new plan. It’s only logical: states that heavily tax something are discouraging it, while states that don’t tax it at all are welcoming it. Why would anyone want to discourage income-earning?

Punitive taxation has ramifications for more than just the high-earning individuals and families directly impacted by higher tax rates. If they leave the state, they take with them jobs, investment funds, and spending that would otherwise go back into their communities.

It’s true that not all high-earners will flee states with these punitively high taxes. Some, for a variety of reasons, will stay. But even for these individuals, the high tax rates will backfire, because they’ll create perverse incentives and discourage economic activity above a certain level.

Why?

Well, people make economic decisions “on the margin.” What this means is that they evaluate each additional hour worked on the basis of whether the potential benefits exceed the costs. Then, they work up until the point where the costs begin to exceed the benefits.

When the government applies 60 percent tax rates to income above a certain point, it drastically reduces the benefits of additional labor subject to that tax. Yet the costs of working remain the same. As a result, far less economic activity will happen beyond that threshold.

Think about it like this. A successful entrepreneur founded a restaurant and when it did well, opened up two other locations. Does he add a fourth or rest on his laurels?

Well, if he will only get to keep 40 percent of the income he earns from new locations, because he’s now already making $400,000, he probably won’t bother to expand. Who would want to work more and hustle harder only to hand over 60 cents of every dollar to the government? This economic disincentive hurts more than one entrepreneur—it means jobs never created, customers never satisfied, income never earned, and a community never enriched.

Another problem with highly progressive tax rates is that they discourage economic investment. The same “rich” citizens who would face these 60 percent tax rates are those who would otherwise save and invest that money into the economy. (Rather than simply spend it as low-earners tend to do). As the economist Ludwig von Mises put it, “Progressive taxation of income and profits means that precisely those parts of the income which people would have saved and invested are taxed away.”

Ultimately, 60 percent tax rates are confiscatory, unfair, and economically indefensible. If Congress’s new tax hikes come through, successful residents in high-tax states will be placed in a terrible position. Luckily, they have the option to move to less hostile states. Don’t be surprised when many take it.

WATCH: New Biden Vax Mandate Doesn’t Make ANY Sense (Here’s Why)

COLUMN BY

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

Like this story? Click here to sign up for the FEE Daily and get free-market news and analysis like this from Policy Correspondent Brad Polumbo in your inbox every weekday.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Media Attempt to Downplay Alarming New Inflation Report

Despite media spin, price inflation is still very much a problem.


It’s no secret that the mainstream media has a left-leaning bias. So it’s not exactly surprising that when alarming new inflation data were released on Tuesday, many journalists and media outlets attempted to downplay the story. After all, rising concerns about inflation could hamper the federal government’s ongoing efforts to massively increase government spending and expand the welfare state.

Here are just a few examples of countless reports that sought to downplay the just-released inflation figures. For one, the Washington Post dubbed the new numbers “an early sign that inflation could be easing.” And CNBC went with a different spin in its headline: “Consumer prices post smaller-than-expected increase in August.”

Meanwhile, many left-leaning commentators and analysts argued that the new data vindicate their claims that recent price inflation is just “transitory.” (Aka temporary.)

Yet when one looks at the actual report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this rosy spin seems utterly unwarranted. It shows that the Consumer Price Index, an average sample of typical consumer prices, rose 0.3 percent in August. This is less than the 0.4 percent increase that had been predicted, prompting the media spin to suggest that August saw “less inflation than expected.” While perhaps true, this is misleading, because the new figures still show prices seriously on the rise.

On an annual basis, from August 2020 to August 2021, prices rose 5.3 percent. That’s nearly a 13-year high!

In particular, energy costs rose 25 percent year-over-year, while food prices rose 3.7 percent. Used vehicle prices rose a whopping 31.9 percent over the last year as well. These are just a few examples of the many ways Americans’ purchasing power—their real standard of living—eroded over the last year due to price inflation.

It might be true that inflation is easing or slowing down, but that’s not the main takeaway here. Prices have still risen significantly! And, as shown in the graph below, comparing August 2021 to August in years past shows that price inflation is still very much a problem. [VIEW CHART HERE]

Ultimately, prices are still rising in alarming ways. That can be traced back to government policies like the Federal Reserve’s printing of trillions of new dollars to fund COVID “stimulus” efforts. Those who want the feds to spend more and grow the welfare state have every incentive to downplay the consequences of fiscal and monetary recklessness.

But don’t fall for the media spin. Everyday Americans suffer the consequences of price inflation when their paychecks don’t stretch as far as they used to. It’s important to look beyond political narratives to understand just how much “stealth taxation” via inflation is really going on.

COLUMN BY

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Manchin: Schumer ‘will not have my vote’ on $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill

Bernie Sanders and the Democrats seeks to inject socialism into America with this monstrosity of a bill. In addition, it has been discovered that this bill would allow the IRS to monitor bank transactions, potentially violating the 4th Amendment. The bill will also grant amnesty to millions of people who have entered the United States illegally. And the bill would provide free community college to Americans, while funding  radical “green” projects in the years ahead. This bill must be stopped. Keep calling Senator Manchin and tell him to vote no.

Manchin: Schumer ‘will not have my vote’ on $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill

By Fox News, September 12, 2021

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Sunday that he will not vote in favor of his party’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, which is a central part of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda and needs the support of all 50 Democratic senators to pass.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Manchin was asked by anchor Dana Bash to respond to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who said Democrats were moving “full speed ahead” on the package for which Manchin previously called for a “pause.” Manchin, who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said his main issue with the package is its hefty price tag.

“He will not have my vote on 3.5 and Chuck knows that,” he said, adding that it should be more like $1.5 trillion. “It’s not going to be three and a half I can assure you.”

Manchin said the bill that Democrats should be primarily focused on is the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed in the Senate and is awaiting House action. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said a vote on that bill would be held on Sept. 27, but progressives have threatened to vote against it if the reconciliation bill is held up in the Senate.

Manchin said there is “no way” the reconciliation will pass this month, and he said progressives are making a big mistake if they follow through on their threat.

“They have to do what they have to do,” he said. “And if they play politics with the needs of America, I can tell you America will recoil.”

Appearing later on ABC’s “This Week,” Manchin criticized Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., after the senator declared on Twitter the day before: “No infrastructure bill without the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.”

“I just respectfully disagree with Bernie,” Manchin told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “I’ve never seen this in legislation. I never thought the purposes of the progress we make in legislation was basically to hold one hostage over the other.”

Sanders, who appeared later on the same show, fired back, saying “the real question” is whether it is “appropriate for one person to destroy two pieces of legislation.”

Sanders said that regardless of the party infighting, he expected both bills to eventually pass.

Budget reconciliation rules prevent Republicans from filibustering the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, so Democrats only need a simple majority to pass it. With a 50-50 Senate, Democrats need every senator in their party to vote yes, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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