Massive tax increases for anyone who isn’t in poverty (already)

By Joe Curl The Washington Times

It’s not often that so many incredible — even laughable — stories come along all in the same week, so let’s not waste one moment before we jump right in:

With Russia all but invading Ukraine, President Obama used the crisis as cover while he proposed his 2015 fiscal year federal budget. And guess what? The plan calls for a $1 trillion tax hike. That’s trillion with a “T.”

Haven’t heard about it yet? Of course not. All the  and newspapers are downplaying the proposal as they rush headlong into what they seem to hope is World War III. Details are sketcy. “Obama would boost collections by regulating tax preparers, increasing the enforcement budget by 7% and requiring more electronic filing,” USA Today reported.

Hmm. And that brings in $1 trillion? He should’ve done that years ago. But wait. “Obama’s budget contains 175 different revenue proposals,” the paper reports — including, of course, massive tax increases for anyone who isn’t in poverty (already) and huge new taxes on small businesses.The new budget also calls for hundreds of billions in new spending. Just two months into his second term, Mr. Obama has already rung up $6 trillion in new debt ($16,687,289,180,215.37 to be exact). His latest budget is more than $800 billion short.Congress is almost sure to ignore the plan as laughable — only because it is.

****** But not as laughable as the president’s dealings with Vladimir Putin. In a bizarre episode, Mr. Obama last week showed up in the White House briefing roomHYPERLINK  \l “” to warn the Russian president not to intervene in Ukraine, and less than 30 minutes later he declared “Happy Hour” with a band of fellow Democrats.

Any intervention in the former Soviet satellite , he said, “would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people. It would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitmentHYPERLINK  \l “” to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine, and of international laws.”

Minutes later, Obama hit the Capitol Hilton hotel for the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting. “Well, it’s Friday. It’s after 5 o’clock. So, this is now officially happy hour with the Democratic Party,” the president said at the huge fundraiser. “I can do that. It is an executive action. I have the authority.”

At one point, an audience member in the raucous crowd yelled: “Tell us about your plans for nuclear war with Russia!” nThen this happened, according to the White House transcript:THE PRESIDENT: I’m sorry, who’s that back there? (Laughter.) What the heck are you talking about? (Applause.)AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama! Obama!

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, don’t worry about it. We’re okay. Have a seat. I don’t know anything about that plan. (Laughter.) I don’t know what you’ve been reading. (Laughter.) Let me return to what I was talking about. (Applause.) See, he thought happy hour started earlier. (Laughter and applause.)” So much (Laughter) because the president is so (Laughable).  reference to above stuff in brackets.

But there was no laughter on Capitol Hill on Wednesday when former IRS Commissioner Lois Lerner appeared. A House committee had called the official, accused of helping to spearhead the targeting of tea party and other conservative groups, to testify. But she never even put her purse down when she sat at the witness stand.

“Why did you think the Tea Party cases were ‘very dangerous?’” Chairman Darrell Issa asked her. “Why did you order the Tea Party cases to undergo a ‘multi-tier review’? … Why were you worried about this being perceived as a political project?”

“On the advise of my counsel, I respectfully exercise my Fifth Amendment right and decline to answer that question,” she said in over and over and over.

The California congressman was not amused. Having been snubbed by the Obama official during the session, called for the sole purpose of her testimony, he simply adjourned the hearing. “Close it down,” he said, shutting off the microphones.

But ranking Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings became enraged. Complaining about what he said was the Republicans’ “one-sided investigation,” he yelled: “I am a member of the Congress of the United States. I am tired of this.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama was having lunch at Café Beauregard in New Britain, CT — no doubt laughing his head off. Although months ago he had promised to order his aides to cooperate in the probe, he had dragged his feet throughout the investigation.just like with Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the NSA phone snooping, all the rest.

Rep. Dave Camp said federal agents investigating the matter have not yet talked to a single target of the scandal, and he has yet to receive crucial e-mails. “I don’t fully understand why it’s taken them so long given that the president promised,” Mr. Camp said. “He promised that he would have quick action and we still don’t have the documentsHYPERLINK  \l “” from an agency that is in this administration.” So Mr. Obama has gone from lame duck to laughingstock in just a week. Cue the (Laughter).

Read more:
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter


Lois Lerner is the scowling face of this state, which has earned Americans’ distrust.

by George Will

As soon as the Constitution permitted him to run for Congress, Al Salvi did. In 1986, just 26 and fresh from the University of Illinois law school, he sank $1,000 of his own money, which was most of his money, into his campaign to unseat an incumbent Democratic congressman. Salvi studied for the bar exam during meals at campaign dinners.

He lost his campaign.- Today, however, he should be invited to Congress to testify about what happened 10 years later, when he was a prosperous lawyer and won the Republican Senate nomination to run against a Democratic congressman named Dick Durbin.

In the fall of 1996, at the campaign’s climax, Democrats filed with the Federal Election Commission charges against Salvi’s campaign alleging campaign finance violations. These charges dominated the campaign’s closing days.* Salvi spoke by telephone with the head of the FEC’s Enforcement Division, who he remembers saying: “Promise me you will never run for office again, and we’ll drop this case.” He was speaking to Lois Lerner.

After losing to Durbin, Salvi spent four years and $100,000 fighting the FEC, on whose behalf FBI agents visited his elderly mother demanding to know, concerning her $2,000 contribution to her son’s campaign, where she got “that kind of money.” When the second of two federal courts held that the charges against Salvi were spurious, the lawyer arguing for the FEC was Lois Lerner.

More recently, she has been head of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division, which has used its powers of delay, harassment and extortion to suppress political participation. For example, it has told an Iowa right-to-life group that it would get tax-exempt status if it would promise not to picket Planned Parenthood clinics.

 Last week, in a televised House Ways and Means Committee hearing, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Salvi’s former law partner, told the riveting story of the partisan enforcement of campaign laws to suppress political competition by distracting Salvi and entangling him in bureaucratic snares. The next day, the number of inches of newsprint in The Post and the New York Times devoted to Roskam’s revelation was the number of minutes that had been devoted to it on the three broadcast networks’ evening news programs the night before: Zero.

House Republicans should use their committee chairmanships to let Lerner exercise her right to confront Salvi and her many other accusers. If she were invited back to Congress to respond concerning Salvi, would she again refuse to testify by invoking her Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination? There is one way to find out.

Durbin, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, defeated Salvi by 15 points. He probably would have won without the assistance of Lerner and the campaign “reforms” that have produced the FEC’s mare’s-nest of regulations and speech police that lend themselves to abuses like those Salvi experienced. In 2010, Durbin, who will seek a fourth term next year, wrote a letter urging Lerner’s IRS division to pay special attention to a political advocacy group supporting conservatives.

Lerner, it is prudent to assume, is one among thousands like her who infest the regulatory state. She is not just a bureaucratic bully and a slithering partisan. Now she also is a national security problem because she is contributing to a comprehensive distrust of government.

The case for the National Security Agency’s gathering of metadata is: America is threatened not by a nation but by a network, dispersed and largely invisible until made visible by connecting dots. The network cannot help but leave, as we all do daily, a digital trail of cellphone, credit card and Internet uses. The dots are in such data; algorithms connect them. The technological gathering of 300 billion bits of data is less menacing than the gathering of 300 by bureaucrats. Mass gatherings by the executive branch twice receive judicial scrutiny, once concerning phone and Internet usages, another concerning the content of messages.

The case against the NSA is: Lois Lerner and others of her ilk.

Government requires trust. Government by progressives, however, demands such inordinate amounts of trust that the demand itself should provoke distrust. Progressivism can be distilled into two words: “Trust us.” The antecedent of the pronoun is: The wise, disinterested experts through whom the vast powers of the regulatory state’s executive branch will deliver progress for our own good, as the executive branch understands this, whether we understand it or not. Lois Lerner is the scowling face of this state, which has earned Americans’ distrust.