Varney invited documentary filmmaker Josh Fox on his program to discuss a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency that concluded there is not enough evidence to support claims fracking has caused harmful effects to drinking water.
The two clashed when Fox said he believes the Obama administration supports fracking.
“You think this administration wants to frack?” Varney asked. “That’s news to me!”
Fireworks, however, erupted when Fox noted on-air that Varney had told him he would not support fracking on his upstate New York property….
Last week, the Cato Institute released an analysis of the total level of welfare benefits by state called “The Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off” by Michael Tanner and Charles Hughes. The analysis claims the current welfare system acts as a disincentive “because welfare benefits are tax-free, their dollar value was greater than the amount of take-home income a worker would receive from an entry-level job.”
In particular, this study seeks to determine the approximate level of benefits that a typical welfare family, consisting of a single mother with two children, might receive, and to compare those benefits with the wages that a recipient would need to earn in order to take home an equivalent income
Even after accounting for Earned Income Tax Credit, welfare currently pays more than a minimum wage job in 35 states. Welfare in 42 states exceed the Federal Poverty Level and District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Hawaii pays more than twice the poverty level.
Looking at Welfare Benefits Packages as a whole, the states with the largest welfare packages are:
1. Hawaii- $49,175 2. District of Columbia- $43,099 3. Mass- $42,515 4. Connecticut- $38,761 5. New jersey- $38,728 6. Rhode Island- $38,632 7. New York $38,004
Despite the administration’s controversial decision to delay forcing companies to join Obamacare for a year, three-quarters of small businesses are still making plans to duck the costly law by firing workers, reducing hours of full-time staff, or shift many to part-time, according to a sobering survey released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“Small businesses expect the requirement to negatively impact their employees. Twenty-seven percent say they will cut hours to reduce full time employees, 24 percent will reduce hiring, and 23 percent plan to replace full time employees with part-time workers to avoid triggering the mandate,” said the Chamber business survey provided to Secrets.
Under Obamacare, just 30 hours — not the nationally recognized 40 hours — is considered full-time. Companies with 50 full-time workers or more are required to provide health care, or pay a fine.
— 77 percent continue to think the U.S. economy is on the wrong track. However, small businesses are more optimistic about their local economy and individual business.
— The majority (61 percent) of small businesses do not have plans to hire next year.
— Concerns about regulation have increased significantly from 35 percent last quarter to 42 percent now. Small businesses are looking for leadership on issues that will remove barriers and encourage growth.
— 88 percent of all small businesses support addressing entitlement spending to resolve America’s growing financial challenges and escalating debt.
— 83 percent support congressional efforts to reform the tax code — with the majority focusing on making it less complex.
— 81 percent of small businesses surveyed believe the immigration system is broken and needs to be reformed.
— In contrast to the president’s recent speech pushing new energy regulations, 90 percent of small businesses support easing EPA regulations and opening up more federal lands for drilling.
Labor unions are among the key institutions responsible for the passage of Obamacare. They spent tons of money electing Democrats to Congress in 2006 and 2008, and fought hard to push the health law through the legislature in 2009 and 2010. But now, unions are waking up to the fact that Obamacare is heavily disruptive to the health benefits of their members.
Last Thursday, representatives of three of the nation’s largest unions fired off a letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, warning that Obamacare would “shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”
The letter was penned by James P. Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Joseph Hansen, international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; and Donald “D.” Taylor, president of UNITE-HERE, a union representing hotel, airport, food service, gaming, and textile workers.
“When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act,” they begin, “you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat…We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision. Now this vision has come back to haunt us.”
What surprises me about this is that union leaders are pretty strategic when it comes to employee benefits. It was obvious in 2009 that Obamacare’s employer mandate would incentivize this shift. Why didn’t labor unions fight it back then?
One of Democrats’ most traditionally loyal and vociferous factions of support, Big Labor is most upset about the law they for which they very proactively helped to shore up support and make sure stayed in place.
The usually solid benefits and health care options, for instance, are traditionally some of the biggest attractions for even being in a union in the first place; but with ObamaCare mucking up their multi-employer health plan system and with employers moving to part-time employees right and left, unions are now in an outraged and yet entirely predictable panic:
The first union grievance is that the employer mandate is leading business to hold worker hours below 30 hours a week to comply with the Administration’s regulatory definition. Despite the one-year suspension of the mandate, many businesses that must provide insurance or pay a penalty are shifting to part-time labor, and the union chiefs explain that “fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.” Nice to know Mr. Hoffa is reading these columns.
The unions are also aggrieved because they have failed to gain special subsidies for the multi-employer health insurance plans allowed under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. The White House had no legal authority to grant such a request, so refusing to do so for a major political patron showed unusual restraint. …
What Mr. Hoffa and the other union reps don’t mention amid their cold sweats is that less employer-provided insurance means less of a role for unions as middle men in contract negotiations….
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: It is true, they supported the bill, they supported the administration, they helped elect it, had the boots on the ground and they were swindled, but it isn’t as if they weren’t warned. People who looked at the bill said the way it is constructed, there’s this huge incentive for any business, small business, to drop the number of employees under 50, the firms are now known as the 49ers, so people get fired as a way to get under the requirement of employer mandate.
It also means that a lot of full time employees are going to lose at least ten hours of work, they have to get under 30 hours. So, if you’re a full-time worker now, you’re not going to be able to support a family on part time income. But the worst is as you indicated, that they’re going to lose their members. The glory of the union movement is that beginning in the second World War when there were wage and price controls, companies competed against each other by including health care in the package. That was the beginning of that. And that’s one of the great achievements of unions.
Now what they’re seeing is workers are looking at the exchanges and seeing, ‘I can drop out of the employer plan, I get a huge subsidy, I come out ahead, and don’t have to be a member of the union.’ So this is a disaster for the unions and that’s why you have this letter of desperation and disappointment. (Special Report, July 17, 2013)
What many Democrats seem to forget is that the reason for Big Business to join forces with Big Government, is to run any threat of competitiveness out of the market. To MONOPOLIZE. Obama’s policies are proving that these Big Businesses are not altruistic in their reasoning for pursuing such causes like Obama-Care and raising of taxes and more regulatory conditions. From over Obama-Care 2,000 waivers, to the stories below, Obama’s policies are filling the rolls of LARGE insurance carriers and forcing small companies who cannot compete with large “Warren Buffett” type firms to move many of their full-time workers to part time. FAILED policies.
What is funny — to give one more example — a family member of one of the Gay Patriots told him he was voting for Obama because he thought Republicans wanted to cut Pell Grants. Sorry Charlie:
This cut in eligibility was never mentioned by President Obama during the campaign, and when he boasted about increasing funding to the Pell Grant program, CNN fact-checked his claim as true. While the amount of government funding to the program is going up in future years, CNN failed miserably by not pointing out the cuts in eligibility to students. The cuts could be a rude awakening to students who thought President Obama was expanding their educational opportunities.
Hollywood is another example of this hypocrisy of avoidance, proving, yes PROVING, the Republican position. Hollywood and most in it campaign for higher taxes. But what is wrong with this is that after these taxes hit, they leave California to shoot movies in other states with lower tax-rates. Here Adam Corolla and Dennis Prager talk about this:
Another example of what Democrats voted for, unlike Bill Clinton who, yes, raised taxes but REFORMED social programs and CUT spending at the time. Obama is offering another stimulus (more government spending) that is about equal to any forecast gain in tax increases/revenue — the exact opposite of Clinton!
Like medical giant, Stryker, one of Obama’s biggest financial backers, laying off almost 1,200 workers to prep for Obama-Care, and the falling revenue (33%) of the Californian government showing in the the micro what higher taxes and more regulation does to the engine of the economy. Here are more stories of failure, and how these higher taxes will hit the retired folks that worked hard their whole lives, just to see it disappear. Google and Microsoft are two of Obama’s largest financial backers (Bloomberg):
The company avoided about $2 billion in worldwide income taxes in 2011 by shifting $9.8 billion in revenue into a Bermuda shell company, almost double the total from three years before, filings show.
Governments in France, the U.K., Italy and Australia are probing Google’s tax avoidance as they seek to boost revenue. Schmidt said the company’s efforts around taxes are legal.
We pay lots of taxes; we pay them in the legally prescribed ways,” he said. “I am very proud of the structure that we set up. We did it based on the incentives that the governments offered us to operate.”
The company isn’t about to turn down big savings in taxes, he said.
“It’s called capitalism,” he said. “We are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this.”
Google’s overall effective tax rate dropped to 21 percent last year from about 28 percent in 2008. That compares with the average combined U.S. and state statutory rate of about 39 percent.
Costco also was a huge supported of Obama and is borrowing money to avoid paying higher taxes on it now (WSJ):
When President Obama needed a business executive to come to his campaign defense, Jim Sinegal was there. The Costco COST +1.92% co-founder, director and former CEO even made a prime-time speech at the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte. So what a surprise this week to see that Mr. Sinegal and the rest of the Costco board voted to give themselves a special dividend to avoid Mr. Obama’s looming tax increase. Is this what the President means by “tax fairness”?
Specifically, the giant retailer announced Wednesday that the company will pay a special dividend of $7 a share this month. That’s a $3 billion Christmas gift for shareholders that will let them be taxed at the current dividend rate of 15%, rather than next year’s rate of up to 43.4%—an increase to 39.6% as the Bush-era rates expire plus another 3.8% from the new ObamaCare surcharge.
More striking is that Costco also announced that it will borrow $3.5 billion to finance the special payout. Dividends are typically paid out of earnings, either current or accumulated. But so eager are the Costco executives to get out ahead of the tax man that they’re taking on debt to do so.
To sum up:Here we have people at the very top of the top 1% who preach about tax fairness voting to write themselves a huge dividend check to avoid the Obama tax increase they claim it is a public service to impose on middle-class Americans who work for 30 years and finally make $250,000 for a brief window in time.
If they had any shame, they’d send their entire windfall to the Treasury.
Other companies as well that bundled, supported money (and press time to) Obama are doing the same (Townhall):
One of the people who will benefit from this deal will be Costco’s co-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal who owns more than two million shares of its stock and will collect about $14.4 million from the special dividend. Had he taken that next year, he could be slapped with a tax rate of 43.4 percent if Obama’s proposed tax increases become law (boosting the tax rate on dividends to over 20 percent and adding a surcharge tax on millionaires).
Instead, Costco decided to pay its stockholders before Dec. 18 so that the special payoff plus a regular quarterly cash dividend of 27.5 cents will be taxed at the current 15 percent rate under the investment tax cuts wisely enacted under President George W. Bush in 2003.
This means Sinegal, who gave a prime-time speech in behalf of Obama’s re-election at this summer’s Democratic national convention, would avoid paying about $4 million in higher taxes next year.
Costco is not alone in its early tax-avoidance payouts. Many American businesses, from Wynn Resorts to Tyson Foods, have also declared special dividends to avoid the higher tax rate if the Bush rates expire.
One of the most notable Fortune 500 companies to join the pack is the Washington Post who endorsed Obama for a second term and has warmly embraced his tax increase plans. The media conglomerate has announced it will pay its 2013 dividends “before the end of this year to try to spare investors from anticipated tax increases,” reports the Associated Press.
Among those who stand to benefit from the Post’s beat-the-tax-deadline — and pocket a bundle of money — will be stock tycoon Warren Buffet and his Berkshire Hathaway firm, the newspaper’s biggest shareholder.
How can governments stop people from doing this, besides the right thing and lowering taxes to increase the amount of businesses staying in our country and wanting to move their operations here? Why, enforce the law with threat of prison and fines! Here is an example from France, whom, you’ll remember, raised the top rate to 75%, here is a story from Libertarian Republican (“stopped at the border… ‘papers please'”):
The President of France, François Hollande, announced today the possibility of reviewing the existing tax treaties with Belgium to prevent welthy people from moving to the neighboring country in order to evade taxes. One of the most recent cases was that of the famous actor Gerard Depardieu, who decided to set his house in the Belgian town of Néchin, where other wealthy French citizens live in order to benefit from a more lenient tax regime. “Everyone should have and ethical behavior, regardless of his job,” Hollande told reporters. The tax exile of the highest paid actor in France was described as a lack of patriotism, especially since he always boasted of its popular origins and occasionally denounced social inequities.
What other option is there? If you are Big Government that is!
1) On a dark street, a man draws a knife and demands my money for drugs;
2) Instead of demanding my money for drugs, he demands it for the Church;
3) Instead of being alone, he is with a bishop of the Church who acts as the bagman;
4) Instead of drawing a knife, he produces a policeman who says I must do as he says;
5) Instead of meeting me on the street, he mails me his demand as an official agent of the government.
If the first is theft, it is difficult to see why the other four are not also theft.