Should we penalize marriage? 1


By Tom Quiner

Society has a vested interest in marriage.

The institution was established thousands of years ago as society’s way to protect wives and their children.  To this very day, we see measurable benefits to traditional marriage:

Marriage reduces poverty.  The poverty rated for single mothers with children is five times higher than married women.

The poverty rate for single fathers is two-and-a-half times higher than married men.

Two-thirds of all poor children live in single parent households.

Marriage is the engine for a healthy society.  Government policy should reward marriage, not punish it. Unfortunately, a new study on President Obama’s economic policies reveal that marriage will be penalized more than ever.  The study can be found at Concerned Women for America.  The name of their report is “Obamanomics: A Summary of the Analyses and Commentary Related to the Financial Impact of ObamaCare on Women and Families.”

According to the report, President Obama’s policies will expand the “marriage penalty.”  Here are the highlights:

  • Married couples could be paying as much as $10,000 more for being married.
  • It will encourage cohabitation and divorce because of increased insurance premiums and fees for being married.
  • It will discourage married women from working because of higher tax rates.
  • Young married couples and empty nesters will be hit especially hard.
  • Financial effects are perpetual and, thus, cumulative.
  • ObamaCare increases the magnitude of the disincentives for marriage.
  • By encouraging single parenting, the bill will increase poverty.
  • It rewards the 70 percent of unmarried women who voted for President Obama in 2008.
  • The majority of taxpayer-stimulus jobs went to women, even though men suffered the majority of job losses during the current recession — costing taxpayers trillions of dollars per year.
  • Current welfare programs cost almost $1 trillion per year (twice as much as national defense, and nearly the size of the federal deficit).
  • ObamaCare is projected to add another $2.5 trillion to the cost of welfare programs.

How do we reduce poverty?  Through traditional marriage.  How can we expand poverty?  By penalizing traditional marriage.  President Obama’s policies pursue the second path according to Concerned Women for America.

Ask not what your country can do for you 1


By Tom Quiner

President John Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address is considered to be a classic speech.  In it, he invoked his famous line, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

In his presidency, Mr. Kennedy cut taxes.

In his presidency, Mr. Kennedy used NASA to put a man on the moon.

In his presidency, Mr. Kennedy faced down evil during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

How times change.

President Obama believes Americans are under-taxed.

President Obama believes that NASA is an instrument of social justice to improve relations with Muslims.

President Obama bows to our enemies.

Most of all, President Obama rejects Kennedy’s philosophy of “ask not what your country can do for you …” Our current President even thinks government (taxpayers) should pay for your abortions.

If John Kennedy were alive today, would he still be a Democrat?

Why voters are cynical 1


By Tom Quiner

Voters hate to be manipulated.

The faux commercial above is funny because it smacks of some truth.  Take the current budget debate. Nine days ago, the Congressional Budget Office made a dire prediction:  America is going to experience long term red ink like we haven’t seen since World War II.  We have a growing crisis.  So what is our leadership in Congress doing about it?

Nothing.  They refuse to pass a budget.  Rather than presenting the usual five year fiscal blueprint, the House passed a non-binding one year budget “resolution.”

Even Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, David Broder, who is no conservative, is stunned by the depth of the Democrats’ chutzpa.  He describe it this way:

For all the publicity that goes to earmarks and other spending gimmicks, this was a far worst dereliction of duty. And the cynicism of the maneuver just made it worse.

Speaker Pelosi, no stranger to chutzpa, said Democrat’s dereliction of duty was “another step in restoring fiscal responsiblity.”

Do you remember how these same people railed (with justification) against President’s Bush’s profligacy?  Now they are not only spending us into an abyss from which we may never extricate ourselves, they are refusing to step up to the plate and present a responsible budget.

Republican Paul Ryan is one politician who has stepped up to the plate and presented a responsible budget proposal (ignored by Democrats).  Here is what he said of Democrats’ budget resolution:

“This is not a budget. The measure fails to meet the most basic, commonly understood objectives of any budget. It does not set congressional priorities; it does not align overall spending, tax, deficit and debt levels; and it does nothing to address the runaway spending of federal entitlement programs.”

Honest differences of opinions exist between the two parties on various issues. Nothing wrong with that. That’s politics.  That’s America.  But Democrat’s refusal to present a budget isn’t honorable.  It’s called political cowardice.  And it breeds nothing but cynicism.

Government unions ask us to sacrifice Reply


By Tom Quiner

Here’s what I said on my recent post titled, A Tale of Two Protests:

“Something’s wrong when public employee unions donate lavishly to one political party, the one that keeps the perks and jobs flowing for these unions, while the rest of America sacrifices and suffers.”

Here’s a response I received back:

“I agree with you on this, but it was my impression that you felt that there shouldn’t be limitations on PAC contributions, plus you agreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling that there shouldn’t be limitations on what corporations or any private group can spend to influence people or politicians. Isn’t this just what the public employee unions are doing? Exerting their constitutional right to overly influence our politicians?”

My response:  Yes, that is what they’re doing, and I support their right to make PAC contributions without limit.

Having said that, it’s time for push back.

Here’s the dynamic at work:  unionized private companies can’t compete as well with their non-unionized counterparts.  For example, Honda and Toyota increased jobs as General Motors and Chrysler shed jobs.

Unions have successfully organized government workers because government has two huge advantages:  there’s no competition and they never go out of business.

They lobby for higher taxes and increased government spending to pay for their growing perks.

I reiterate:  there is some top notch talent working for government at different levels.  But the recession we’re in shows how out of whack things have gotten:

• Total union compensation grew twice as fast as the private sector’s last year (2.4 vs. 1.2 percent).

• The average state or local government employee earns $39.83 an hours in wages and benefits compared to $27.49 an hour in the private sector (according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

• More than 80 percent of state and local workers have pensions while just half of private-sector workers do.

As the Heritage Foundation shows in the chart below, unionized government employees now exceed private union members:

Union dollars pour into the coffers of the Democratic Party.  Democrats are beholden to these unions and have aggressively shifted our tax dollars into government worker’s paychecks,

If you’re okay with this, vote Democrat.

If you’re not, write a letter to the editor or get people to this blog.

If you’re not, donate a few bucks to a PAC that calls for sanity in government spending.

If you’re not, vote for someone else.  It may be a Republican.  But if you do vote for a Republican, make it clear that you demand fiscal accountability.  That includes leveling the playing the field between public and private sector employees.

Government employees work for us, not the other way around.

Iowa needs tax relief 1


As seen in the Des Moines Register March 21, 2010

I’ve enjoyed a life long love affair with Iowa. I think it’s the best place in America to live.

From the beauty of our land to the down-to-earth  people with good values and common sense, Iowa offers me what I want out of life.

We’re faced with some problems, though.

I’ve had the pleasure of having my oldest son in town on a visit in March. Unfortunately, he decided to leave Iowa upon his graduation from the University of Iowa a few years ago.  Opportunity first led him to Alaska and then to Houston, where he now lives and works.

I hope opportunity leads him back to Iowa some day.  Same goes for my daughter in North Carolina, and my son at Iowa State.

Does Iowa offer opportunity?  Yes it does, but it could offer more.

We need more jobs in Iowa.

Our tax policies may be holding us back according to the Tax Foundation, a Washington D.C. think tank specializing in tax policy.

They produce the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index.  The index ranks states on the basis of five facets of their overall tax systems, including corporate and individual  income tax rates, sales tax, unemployment insurance, and property tax rates.

According to the Tax Foundation, Iowa ranks number 46.  Our neighbor, South Dakota, has the most favorable tax climate for business in the country.  Does tax policy affect employment?

Let’s compare.  From 2000 to 2008, the number of full and part time jobs in South Dakota increased by 9.9% according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.  In Iowa, these jobs only increased by 5.4 percent.

The rate of growth in business ownership is faster in South Dakota than Iowa this past decade.  So is personal income.

The Tax Foundation offers insights as to why.  Here are key findings from their research:

• Local and state taxes can have an adverse impact on employment.

• Corporate income tax rates have the greatest negative affect on job creation.  (South Dakota has no personal or corporate income tax).

• High property tax rates are a major deterrent to new business start ups, because they are paid regardless of the businesses’ profitability.

The bottom three states on the Tax Foundation’s index in order are New Jersey (#50), New York, and California.  What do they have in common?  They’re bleeding jobs.  Why?  An unfavorable tax environment for business is a major reason.

The next governor of Iowa needs to get it right on this issue.  I was able to reach one gubernatorial candidate prior to deadline. Bob Vander Plaats told me the number one issue he hears on the campaign trail from business owners concerns our high property tax rates.  He would like to see property tax relief to spur economic development throughout the state.  Even more, he’d like to get government out of the business of picking winners and losers by dangling carrots in the form of tax credits and incentives.  He advocates a level playing field with lower personal and corporate income tax rates coupled with property tax relief.  In other words, economic development without gimmicks.

Last year, the U.S. News and World Report rated Iowa the second worst state in the county in which to start a business (West Virginia finished last).  They were critical of our high level of government interference in the guise of very high capital gains taxes, high corporate income taxes, and high unemployment taxes on wages.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

We have the best people in American living right here in Iowa.  And yet we’re not realizing our full potential because of unsound economic policy.  Iowa’s policy encourages business decisions on the basis of political forces as much as market forces.

There is more to economic development than tax policy. But in light of our current standing, tax relief is the place to start.