NewsBreaker: Philly Grocery Tax is Bad Education Policy

Mayor Jim Kenney (D-Philadelphia) is pushing a regressive beverage tax which targets his city’s poorest residents. The Mayor claims his tax will raise $400 million to fund myriad government programs, including universal Pre-K. The problem is the Mayor’s plan is doomed to fail. It’s a false promise.

Education experts are unanimous on the point that the first and best teachers are parents and caregivers. However, the Mayor’s tax increase will force Philly parents to work harder and longer to pay their bills and taxes. Working longer hours means less time with their children.

In this special “News Breaker” segment, The LangerCast is joined by the Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke.  Lindsey discusses the Philly tax in the context of education policy, and it’s not surprising that Mayor Kenney’s proposal receives a Failing Grade when it comes to what’s best for Philly’s students and their families.

Lindsey is a distinguished expert on education policy, and her work has appeared in a wide array of national media outlets, including The Atlantic, Time, Newsweek, The Boston Herald, The Star-Ledger, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Times, The Daily Caller, National Review Online as well as CNN and Fox News Channel.

Click here to Listen to our Special News Breaker segment: LangerCastNewsBreaker: Philly Tax is bad Education Policy

Education experts, economists, and many Democrats Agree: Philly Grocery Tax is a Terrible Idea

Jerry Rogers on TPA’s TaxpayerWatch talking CFPB & the Philly Grocery Tax

Mayor Jim Kenney (D-Philadelphia) is pushing a regressive beverage tax which targets his city’s poorest residents. The Mayor claims his tax will raise $400 million to fund myriad government programs, including universal Pre-K. The problem is the Mayor’s plan is doomed to fail. It’s a false promise.

Education experts are unanimous on the point that the first and best teachers are parents and caregivers. However, the Mayor’s tax increase will force Philly parents to work harder and longer to pay their bills and taxes. Working longer hours means less time with their children.

Economists are unanimous as well in their analysis that if you want less of something tax it more. How will this tax raise $400 million if Philly’s richest citizens simply shop outside the city limits? The poor will pay higher grocery bills, but the well-off will avoid the tax all together. The result will be hardship for low-income families, and a huge budget shortfall for universal Pre-K.

Many of the Mayor’s fellow Democrats are calling his tax unfair. Bernie Sanders—progressive champion and Democratic presidential candidate —recently wrote in Philadelphia Magazine “… I do not support Mayor Kenney’s plan to pay for this program with a regressive grocery tax that would disproportionately affect low-income and middle-class Americans.

Education experts, economists, and many Democrats agree the Kenney grocery tax is a terrible idea.

 

 

Philly’s Mayor Jim Kenney Targets Poor

http://tinyurl.com/PhillySodaTaxHurtsPoor

Mayor Jim Kenney (D-Philadelphia) wants to add universal pre-Kindergarten to the city’s public schools. However, the city is overtaxed and the schools are in distress.

The Mayor’s plan is to impose a beverage tax–3 cents per ounce–on the residents of his city. At a press conference announcing the massive tax, Mayor Kenney said, “… this is not personal toward Big Soda, but there’s a lot of money being made off the backs of poor people.”

Who will be pay the tax? Ed Rendell, the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, said that Kenney’s tax “unfairly hits poor people.”  It’s Kenney who is seeking to raise money “off the backs of poor people.”

Experts in early-childhood care and education across the political spectrum agree that the first and best teachers for our children are parents and family members. However, Mayor Kenney has offered a tax scheme that will drain from families the earnings that would be better spent on quality child care, and cheat them out of the quality time devoted to their children.

Universal pre-K can be a worthy goal. However, it must be done right, not on the backs of Philly’s poorest families.

Click here to listen to our discussion of the mayor’s tax. We’re joined on The LangerCast by Michi Iljazi from the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

 

Philly Soda Tax Breaks the Rules and Hurts the Poor

Philly Soda Tax Hurts the Poor Institute for Liberty 3/15/2016

By Jerry Rogers

Mayor Jim Kenney (D-Philadelphia) has proposed a massive tax hike on the residents of his city. The soda tax, set at 3 cents an ounce, will be an added cost on top of the city’s existing 8 percent sales tax.  Today, a 67-ounce bottle of Coke is $1.99. Kenney’s soda tax would add $2.01 to the price, more than doubling the cost.

Kenney says the tax will raise $400 million over five years to pay for a universal pre-K program. But, this is a cruel deception.

The mayor’s proposal breaks all the rules on “Tax it or not” Situations:

  1. When you tax something more you get less of it.
  2. If X and Y are two locations, and if taxes are higher in X and lower in Y, consumers will have a greater incentive to shop in Y.
  3. Businesses don’t pay taxes. They pass the cost of all taxation onto their customers in the prices of the goods and services they sell

Imagine a scenario: Compare two states or two cities — one with a giant tax on beverages and one without. Then do your own calculation and analysis. The results should be apparent. States and cities with lower tax burdens always have higher and faster growing economies and personal incomes than in states or cities with rising tax burdens. For evidence, look at 1990s New York City. Under Rudy Giuliani New Yorkers’ tax burden was reduced by nearly 20% – its lowest level in generations. Giuliani cut taxes 23 times, and the whole city benefited, from Wall Street to Main Street and from lower Manhattan to the Bronx.

Kenney’s tax on beverages is fundamentally unfair. The Kenney tax is regressive, betraying—for Democrats particularly—the sacrosanct principle of tax fairness. Mayor Kenney’s tax will disproportionately harm low-income individuals, as they spend a larger portion of their income on consumer goods like soda.

A soda tax will hurt Philly’s poorest families, and it won’t fund universal pre-K. Those who can will buy their beverages outside of the city’s limits. And, such arbitrary taxation will have businesses and jobs fleeing Philadelphia.

Kenney’s tax proposal is not a tax on Big Soda. It’s a tax on Philadelphia’s poorest residents.

Philly Soda Tax will Crush the Poor

By Jerry Rogers

In politics in most big cities – Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco – politicians turn on the very people who elect them.

Consider Mayor Jim Kenney’s outrageous, regressive proposal in Philly to tax soda at 3-cents-per-ounce! Who will end up paying the tax? Poor residents who can’t afford to travel outside the city. What’s great news for Jersey – “Tonight I’m gonna take that ride across the river to the Jersey side” – is tragic for Philly.

Ironically, Kenney opposed a similar tax when Mayor Nutter pushed for it in 2010 and 2011. Nutter’s bids failed. Now Kenney hopes his massive soda tax will raise $400 million in five years to pay for universal pre-K. What will happen to the pre-K program when the money doesn’t come in?

A soda tax will hurt Philly’s families and businesses, and it won’t fund universal pre-K. Those who have means will buy their soda elsewhere.

This unfair, unsustainable tax should be defeated.  Shame on Kenney – and all in the political class – for turning their backs on the people.

 

Congress Must Return to Regular Order

The Republican majority in the House has an extraordinary opportunity to lay out a comprehensive conservative blueprint for the first time in a generation. And, Speaker Ryan is intent on moving a “bold conservative agenda” in 2016. Heritage Action has asked Speaker Paul Ryan to deliver the keynote address at its third annual policy summit. Speaker Ryan will speak about ways to unite the conservative movement “around big ideas to save the American idea.” One such big idea is to restore the integrity of the legislative process. Regular order is an important safeguard for liberty and a constraint on Big Government.

A conservative agenda and building a movement around pro-liberty ideas must begin with the Congress keeping sacrosanct the legislative process. Otherwise we’re in for more of the same—no accountability and passing a bill to know what’s in the bill. Will Speaker Ryan lay his promise to rest? For the cause of liberty and moving forward with a “bold conservative agenda”, let’s hope that Paul Ryan is true to his word.

Pro-Market, Pro-Modernity: Let’s All Adopt the EMV-Chip

By Jerry Rogers

I don’t shop on Black Friday, and I am home all day with my family on Thanksgiving; however, I understand too that a modern economy never really sleeps. Why should it? How can it? Frank Sinatra sang about how capitalism’s most important city – New York, New York – is a city that never sleeps.

“I want to wake up, in a city that doesn’t sleep and find I’m king of the hill Top of the heap.”

You don’t make it to the “top of the heap” by keeping your doors closed or by ignoring changing times and technologies. Entrepreneurship, innovation, disruption, and transformation are pillars of free enterprise. Sometimes this requires getting up earlier, staying open longer, welcoming modernity, and embracing new technology.

As Charles Murray has eloquently made clear, “everywhere that capitalism subsequently took hold, national wealth began to increase and poverty began to fall. Everywhere that capitalism didn’t take hold, people remained impoverished. Everywhere that capitalism has been rejected since then, poverty has increased.” Free enterprise is the only system in the history of humankind to lift people – billions of people – out of poverty.

So, for those of you celebrating capitalism this Thanksgiving or Black Friday, take a look at your credit and debit cards. I write this because just this week my bank sent me a new business card with chip technology. My bank is embracing new technology (and modernity) to help protect me from having my accounts hacked.

An astounding 48 percent of the world’s credit card fraud happens in the United States. In recent years, our credit card security has fallen behind most nations, making us the target of choice for fraudsters. Being the weakling in the room is not the proper place for American Entrepreneurship. It’s really kind of sad when Europe is the iPod to America’s Walkman when it comes to banking technology. This must be fixed.

The immediate answer lies in the thumbnail-sized computer chip found in my new bank card – an EMV chip. It stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, the three companies that originally created the standard. Perhaps your bank has already issued you a new EMV chip-enabled card. These chip cards, unlike the magnetic stripe cards we’re all used to, can’t be counterfeited. Though not a panacea to all card-related cybercrime, they are a huge step in the right direction. EMV cards have been the standard in Europe for a decade.

While we know how to make credit cards far more secure, the urgency to embrace this technology has been lacking. Resistance to making the switch to EMV technology in the United States has, not surprisingly, come down to cost. Banks have been slow to issue new cards and retailers have been reluctant to pay for new terminals to read chip cards. For businesses that have to buy multiple terminals, sometimes hundreds, the cost is considerable. But the cost of inaction is too great. Card fraud is expected to top $10 billion in the United States this year alone.

However, we are starting to turn a corner. On October 1, we saw a shift in liability that should provide increased market incentive for banks and retailers to pick up the pace of the EMV transition. For years, a card issuer absorbed the costs associated with counterfeit fraud transactions. Now, liability for fraudulent charges rests on the weakest link in the chain. That means, in case of counterfeit fraud, retailers are responsible if they haven’t upgraded to EMV-enabled terminals and banks are responsible if they haven’t issued consumers new chip cards.

Unfortunately, while banks are making significant progress in issuing new cards to consumers, retailers aren’t moving nearly as quickly to upgrade payment terminals. That’s a shortsighted mistake. While upfront costs of upgrading terminals may be considerable, liability from a major incident of counterfeit card fraud could be crippling.

Quickly adopting EMV technology is the first, critically important step to righting the ship. More work will be needed, but ignoring modernity and technological change is the antithesis to American Entrepreneurship. We are a country of innovators and entrepreneurs, and it is past time we fix this problem.

In the spirit of modernity, maybe I will venture out this Friday to do a little shopping? While out, I’ll finally replace my Walkman with one of these new-fangled iPod things. Happy Thanksgiving.

The Food Bullies of Maine

By Jerry Rogers

Just in time for Thanksgiving the Food Bullies are back looking to ban foods and monitor what we eat – all in the name of what they think is good for the rest of us.

Maine – through its Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) – is renewing its push to ban certain foods and drinks purchased through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (food stamps). This time it’s trying to get the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allow a ban as an addition to federal healthy-eating efforts.

According to the Portland Press Herald, “The state Department of Health and Human Services is once again seeking to ban food stamp recipients from using their benefits to purchase candy and soda. The department announced that it will seek a federal waiver to prohibit so-called junk food purchases within SNAP. The move by the department follows several failed efforts to seek the waiver through legislation, including a bill that died in the Legislature this year. This time DHHS will pursue the change through rulemaking.”

How will store clerks distinguish between food purchased through SNAP or with cash? Why should we trust that the surveillance will not spread to all food purchased by all Americans? Conservatives should reject proposals to leverage government agencies (like the USDA) to interfere so deeply in the personal choices of Americans. Monitoring what some Americans put in their grocery carts is decidedly bad policy and anathema to conservative values.

Food surveillance is a misguided, dysfunctional idea that will result in less freedom, bigger government, and more spending.

Whether it’s under the guise of entitlement reform or public health, some politicians may favor food monitoring and restrictions because it’s an easy way to show voters that they’re being good stewards of taxpayer money. On the contrary, if the precedent is set that state governments – on the basis of public health – have the authority to monitor the food choices of the poor, state-bureaucracies from coast to coast will set us down a slippery slope toward the food-police regulating and keeping watch over the diets of all Americans.

There are some politicians who believe that solving nutritional issues is the responsibility of the government. However, a food surveillance program will not make people healthier; it will not save taxpayer money; and it will not reform entitlements. Instead, the food-police will disrupt the free market and create massive state-based food bureaucracies. And if consuming less of an unhealthy food is good for poor people, consuming less of an unhealthy food is good for all people. Food surveillance will have its start in SNAP, but will end up impacting all Americans.

Public health advocates believe that all adults are unable to make responsible decisions about the food and beverages we consume. Conservative advocates and elected officials should stand against paternalistic policies aimed at our diets, and trust the American people to decide for ourselves what is healthy or unhealthy. Food surveillance violates individual liberty, and it creates a gateway for more government intrusion into our lives. Food surveillance is not entitlement reform, and it is not going to make Americans any healthier – as if that’s the government’s business anyway.

CFPB is a Rogue Agency

By Jerry Rogers, Vice President at the Institute for Liberty and Founder of Capitol Allies 

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) calls on his colleagues to reform the CFPB

Dodd-Frank effectively gave the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) unlimited regulatory power with little congressional oversight. The bureau’s budget is not subject to congressional appropriations—no power of the purse—because the Federal Reserve, not Congress, funds the agency. Given its independence from congressional scrutiny, the CFPB’s power to regulate is essentially a government license to destroy.

Dodd-Frank, however, specifically exempts auto lenders from the grasp of the unaccountable CFPB, but bureaucrats are going around the law and using lenders as agents of government to regulate auto dealers.

It’s time for Congress to reign in this rogue agency.

 

Stop the Iran Nuke Deal

Andrew and Jerry were live from the Tea Party Patriots’ “Stop the Iran Deal” rally on Capitol Hill. They start off at the Hotel George, discussing the latest with Hillary’s email scandal and the latest “reboot” of her campaign. Then they break down the Iran deal, and discuss Democrat stalwart Leon Panetta’s op-ed voicing concerns with the deal–talking about the rule of law, and even tying it into the Kim Davis situation.

Then they go to the rally (where Andrew helped emcee) and interview… former Congressman Michele Bachmann, Matt Schlapp from the American Conserative Union, radio talk show host Mark Levin (interviewed, without introduction, by Jerry), Rep. Mo Brooks from Alabama, Rep. Lee Zeldin from New York, we get audio of Ted Cruz, and then Jerry and Andrew chat with a woman named Dierdre Flanagan, an Obama supporter, who tries to explain what the difference is between this “executive agreement” and a “treaty”.