Posts Tagged: Raise

Sep 10

Raise The Recruitment Age?

Matt Steinglass doesn't want to send 18-year-olds to war:

[T]eenagers should not be firing automatic weapons in America's name. We should raise the minimum age for soldiers on combat duty to 21. Behavioural research since time immemorial shows that teenagers are prone to doing ridiculously ill-advised things, particularly under the influence of peer pressure; mortality actually goes up 200% during adolescence even when we're not shipping the rascals off to Afghanistan; and MRI mapping shows that the brain doesn't finish developing white matter until you're in your 20s.

Of course, raising the minimum age for joining the military is an extremely impractical proposal. It would probably require a significant raise in pay to recruit enough soldiers if 18-year-olds could no longer join. Adults tend to find recruitment campaigns based on macho athletic fantasies and evocations of the World of Warcraft experience somewhat less convincing than teenagers do. But for a military that expects to spend much of its time drinking tea and building collaborative relationships with local community leaders, rather than blowing things up, that's probably a plus.

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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Sep 10

Obama to spend Thursday night helping party raise money

(CNN) – President Barack Obama will help his party raise money Thursday night.

The president is the main attraction at a small fundraising dinner at a private residence in the nation’s capitol. A Democratic Party source tells CNN that the event is expected to bring in around $ 1 million for the Democratic National Committee.

Obama then heads to a concert at Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall featuring hip-hop artist B.o.B. The Dem source says the sold out event is expected to bring in $ 750,000 for Gen44, a group housed within the DNC, which the party says is geared towards the “cultivation of a rising generation of Democratic leaders.”

The DNC has pledged to spend $ 50 million this midterm election cycle.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

CNN Political Ticker

Sep 10

Boehner: “A Vote to Adjourn is a Vote to Raise Taxes”

GOP turns up the heat on panicked Dems over tax hikes:

Appearing at the weekly Republican leadership press conference, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) decried Democratic Leaders’ intent to adjourn for the fall without allowing an up-or-down vote to stop all of the tax increases set to take effect on January 1. Boehner issued the following statement:

“A vote to adjourn this Congress without an up-or-down vote to stop all the tax hikes is a vote to raise taxes and destroy more jobs. American families and small businesses deserve better. This Congress has a chance to help end uncertainty for families and small businesses by stopping all the tax hikes set to take effect on January 1. If Democratic Leaders leave town without stopping all of the tax hikes, they are turning their backs on the American people.

Read: 47 Democrats Side With GOP on Some Tax Cuts

The Hill says Boehner is resisting a discharge petition drive. What say you?

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday blasted Democratic leaders for blocking a vote extending all the Bush-era tax cuts, but appeared resistant to using a procedural maneuver called a “discharge petition” to force a vote on the issue.

“A discharge petition has to sit around for 30 legislative days and I don’t think the American people want to wait that long,” he told reporters.

A discharge petition with at least 218 member signatures forces a floor vote on a bill without it going through regular order. The tactic can be used when a majority of House members want to pass a particular initiative that is being blocked by leaders.

Over 40 House Democrats have already called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to stop tax hikes from occurring next year and Boehner said a majority of members in his chamber support extending all the Bush tax cuts.

Michelle Malkin

Sep 10

Boston public unions raise $1.3 million to fight cut in taxes

The protection racket at work.
American Thinker Blog

Sep 10

Jihadists on the rise in Balkans: “Oh Osama, annihilate the American army. Oh Osama, raise the Muslims’ honor.”

A few years back, if you spoke about jihadists in the Balkans, you were an “Islamophobe” who denied the patent reality that all Muslims in the Balkans were moderate, peaceful lovers of America. If you dared say anything about this, you were probably a secret supporter of Milosevic and genocide to boot, beyond the pale of decent human beings. Just ask the enlightened dhimmis and jihad collaborators at Commentary.

But as always, the truth will out. “Radical Islam on rise in Balkans, raising fears of security threat to Europe,” from AP, September 18 (thanks to all who sent this in):

SKOPJE, Macedonia – SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — An online music video praising Osama bin Laden has driven home a troubling new reality: A radical brand of Islam embraced by al-Qaida and the Taliban is gaining a foothold in the Balkans.

“Oh Osama, annihilate the American army. Oh Osama, raise the Muslims’ honor,” a group of Macedonian men sing in Albanian, in video posted on YouTube last year and picked up by Macedonian media this August. “In September 2001 you conquered a power. We all pray for you.”

Although most of Macedonia’s ethnic Albanian minority are Muslims, they have generally been secular. But experts are now seeing an increasing radicalization in pockets of the country’s Islamic community, particularly after armed groups from the ethnic Albanian minority, which forms a quarter of the population of 2.1 million, fought a brief war against Macedonian government forces in 2001.

It’s a trend seen across the Balkans and has raised concerns that the region, which includes new European Union member Bulgaria, could become a breeding ground for terrorists with easy access to Western Europe. Many fear that radicalized European Muslims with EU passports could slip across borders and blend into society.

At the center of the issue is the Wahhabi sect, an austere brand of Islam most prevalent in Saudi Arabia and practiced by bin Laden and the Taliban.

“Wahhabism in Macedonia, the Balkans and in Europe has become more aggressive in the last 10 years,” said Jakub Selimovski, head of religious education in Macedonia’s Islamic community. He said Wahhabis were establishing a permanent presence in Macedonia where none existed before, and that “they are in Bosnia, here, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia and lately they have appeared in Bulgaria.”

It is the first time a high-ranking official in the former Yugoslav republic’s Islamic community has agreed to speak openly about the presence and threat of radical Islam….

Jihad Watch

Sep 10

Obama’s Plan to Raise Tax Rates

By Chris Edwards

President Obama wants to raise the top two individual income tax rates for 2011. The top rates will rise from 33% to 36% and from 35% to 39.6%, unless the president and Congress agree to extend the current rate structure.

Before taking action on this issue, policymakers should consider the following facts and data. (All information is cited in my related congressional testimony).

  • President Bush cut the top federal tax rate by 5 percentage points, but the average top rate in the 30 OECD nations has also fallen by 5 percentage points since 2000.
  • Unless policymakers extend current tax relief, the combined U.S. federal-state top rate will increase from 41.9% to about 46.5%, based on OECD data. That will give us about the tenth highest rate among the 30 OECD nations.
  • The chart shows that the average top OECD rate fell from 46.7% in 2000 to 41.5% in 2009. If we let the Bush tax cuts expire, we won’t be simply going back to our situation in 2000—the world has changed since then as other countries have adopted more competitive tax rates.

  • President Obama’s proposed top federal rate of 39.6 percent is 41-percent higher than the 28-percent top income rate achieved in the late 1980s after the bipartisan Tax Reform Act of 1986.
  • Higher marginal tax rates will reduce incentives for working, investing, and expanding businesses, and they will increase incentives for tax avoidance and evasion.
  • If income tax rates rise, some high-income workers will work fewer hours and retire earlier. Some spouses in two-earner families will stay out of the workforce. Some angel investors will have less cash to invest in start-up ventures. And some small businesses will decide not to buy new equipment or hire new workers.
  • Higher-income taxpayers often have a lot of flexibility on their working and investing decisions—tax them more and they will reduce their reported income alot. Robert Carroll finds that this effect of raising the top rate from 35% to 40% would offset about 40 percent of the government’s otherwise expected revenue gain.
  • Today’s highest-earners are generally not passive inheritors of wealth, but are usually self-made and entrepreneurial. Glenn Hubbard notes, “when you look at data, you see that people who are rich almost entirely are rich because of entrepreneurial risk taking.”
  • Many people with high incomes are angel investors, who help to fuel small business expansion. If their taxes go up, they will have less money and fewer incentives to invest, and they will park more of their money in tax-free municipal bonds.
  • More than half of all business income in the United States is reported on individual returns, not corporate returns. This income is reported by proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, and S corporations. If the top two individual income tax rates are increased, it would hit a substantial amount of this business income.
  • Robert Carroll looked at individual tax filers who derived more than half of their income from a business. He found that one-quarter of these taxpayers were in the top two tax rate brackets, and thus would be hit by the proposed tax increases.
  • The Joint Committee on Taxation found that about 25 million individual tax returns will report about $ 1 trillion of net positive business income in 2011. Of that total, 44 percent is in the top two income tax brackets and thus would be hit by the proposed tax increase.
  • In an empirical study, Glenn Hubbard and William Gentry found that higher marginal tax rates discourage entry into self-employment and business ownership. A study by Donald Bruce and Tami Gurley for the SBA similarly found that marginal tax rates affect entrepreneurship.
  • Once a small business is up and running, empirical research by Robert Carroll, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Mark Rider, and Harvey Rosen found that higher individual income tax rates negatively affect hiring, investment, and expansion.

Those are the facts, and here are my views. It’s very sad that a nation that has been a bastion of free market growth and individual achievement has a tax code that is becoming very hostile to high-earners, entrepreneurs, and businesses.

Let’s keep the Bush tax cuts, cut our corporate tax rate from 40% to 20%, and cut government spending. Rather than the government filling its coffers at the expense of families, that policy would make the economy boom, and fill government coffers as a side effect of rising family incomes.

Cato @ Liberty

Sep 10

Biden to help Sestak raise campaign cash

 Vice President Joe Biden will fundraise for Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania on Monday.

Vice President Joe Biden will fundraise for Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania on Monday.

Washington (CNN) – First President Barack Obama. Now Vice President Joe Biden.

CNN has learned that Vice President Biden is going to help raise campaign cash for Joe Sestak, the Democrats Senate nominee in Pennsylvania. This comes just five days after CNN reported that Obama would host a September 20 fundraiser to raise money for the two term representative.

The Sestak campaign tells CNN Wednesday that Biden will be the main attraction at a fundraiser for Sestak on September 13 in the Philadelphia area.

Last year the former admiral and congressman from southeast Pennsylvania challenged Republican turned Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter for their party’s nomination. Obama and Biden both supported Specter. But Sestak survived a nasty intra-party battle and defeated Specter in the May 18 primary.

Top White House officials, including Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, also became involved in a huge controversy over whether they used former President Bill Clinton to dangle before Sestak an advisory job in the executive branch in exchange for him dropping out of the primary contest.

Sestak refused the offer while White House officials have denied that any laws or ethical regulations were breached, and Sestak’s campaign staff now says it’s time for Democrats to put everything behind them.

Sestak finds himself trailing former Rep. Pat Toomey, the Republican Senate nominee, in both campaign cash and in the polls. Toomey was leading Sestak by nine points and ten points in two recent surveys of Pennsylvania voters.

CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, walked along side Sestak in Monday’s Labor Day parade in Pittsburgh. Sestak told King, anchor of John King USA, that he realizes he’s down the polls but is confident he can win in November.

-CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry contributed to this report

CNN Political Ticker

Sep 10

Don’t raise the retirement age, cont’d

Earlier, a reader mentioned that the “full retirement age” for Social Security is really 70: That, and not the more commonly cited 66, is when you can begin collecting the maximum yearly benefit. The difference is large: Compared with benefits you get starting at age 62, the benefits you get at 70 are about 70 percent larger.

That’s straightforward enough: Wait longer, get more. But there’s a way to game this gap. Frank Curmudgeon (via Austin Frakt) explains:

Seniors can elect to “reset” the year they start taking benefits by paying back what they got before the new start date. So a 70-year-old who started getting checks at 62 can pay back eight years of benefits and start getting much larger checks from then on. What I didn’t realize, and what stupidly never occurred to me, is that the paying back is without interest. …

And it is more than just an interest-free loan. It is also a free option. The downside risk for waiting until age 70 to collect benefits is not subtle. You might not live that long. Kick off the day before you turn 70 and you get nothing. But start at 62 and you can have it both ways. Draw checks for eight years and if you are still in reasonably good health, pay it back interest-free and reset. If not, well, you got some money from the feds while you could.

The danger, of course, is that Social Security could (and, it seems, should) change the rules in the middle of your play. But then you’re still getting checks: You haven’t lost anything. You just haven’t gained it, either.

Social SecurityUnited StatesSocial Security AdministrationPoliticsRetirement
Ezra Klein

Sep 10

Don’t raise the Social Security retirement age cont’d

A reader writes in with some good further thoughts on Social Security. Pay particular attention to No. 3:

(1) You indicate that some people work on their feet and strain their backs. True, but it’s also true that the Dilbert comic strip is not a work of fiction. Sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer screen will eventually drain your body, mind, and spirit. Most of us retire because we have to. A fortunate few retire when they want to. Very very few retire just because their age matches some magic number on some government agency’s website.

I retired because life in Dilbertville had become unbearable. If I had stayed longer, I believe it could well have been fatal.

(2) If you’re really paying attention, you’d know that the actual full Social Security retirement age has always been 70.

People born when I was (1944) are told that their full retirement age is 66, and that they can begin collecting benefits up to 48 months earlier at a reduced rate. What seems to be much less well-known is that you can begin collecting benefits up to 48 months later at an increased rate.

As a person with a degree in mathematics and who is perfectly capable of using numbers to deceive, I regard that as an exercise in deception. It would be much more straightforward and honest to simply state that the full retirement age is 70 and that you can begin collecting benefits up to 96 months earlier at a reduced rate, and then publish a single reduced rate table. When you understand that the retirement age is actually 70, then it’s obvious that the political talk about raising the retirement age has got absolutely nothing to do with actual retirement ages and is really just code for adjusting the benefits tables so that most people will retire with less benefit.

(3) If the politicians actually mean that people should work longer, they themselves have got a lot of work to do in order to make that realistic. Age discrimination laws and enforcement will have to be much tougher, and employers will have to be required to provide reasonable accommodations for older workers such as flexible work hours and increased sick leave benefits.

I’d also recommend this post from Mark Thoma.

Social SecurityUnited StatesPoliticsRetirementPrivatization
Ezra Klein

Aug 10

Why Not Raise The Retirement Age? Ctd

by Patrick Appel

Drum provides one answer:

[W]here does the preoccupation with [raising the retirement age to] age 70 come from? That would represent a decrease
in the expected number of years of retirement since 1970, during a
period in which the United States has become nearly twice as wealthy.
That doesn't even begin to make sense. Sure, life expectancy may
increase in the future, but if it does then we have the option of
increasing the retirement age when it happens. For now, we should make
policy based on current reality, and the current reality is that life
expectancy at age 65 has increased only 3.5 years since 1970. There's
no reason the retirement age should increase five years in response.

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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan