Luke Schroeder, columnist Last Thursday, Congressional GOP leadership finally unveiled their plan for reforming the U.S. tax code. The 429-page bill is called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). There are two major components to the TCJA – reforms to corporate taxes and reforms to individual taxes. First, let’s take a look at the corporate side. As I previously wrote in this publication, “the [current] corporate tax rates in the U.S. make our country one of the most hostile for business in the industrialized world.” Under current law, U.S. corporations are taxed 35 percent at the federal level, on top of an average 4.1 percent state rate. The resulting national rate is a whopping 39.1 percent, nearly 15% higher than the average rate paid by corporations in other member nations of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Under the TCJA, the U.S. federal corporate tax is lowered to 20 percent, which would presumably result in an average 24.1 percent rate once state taxes are factored in. This corporate tax rate places the U.S. on par with most other industrialized nations. This is very good news – this will make the U.S. much more competitive in the global economy, and will lead to more domestic investment, more American jobs and less outsourcing. Even better news: the TCJA would make the new 20 percent corporate rate immediate and permanent....Read More
Luke Schroeder, columnist When President Trump introduced his now infamous “travel ban,” he acted under the authority of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, a law that has been on the books since 1965. This act delivers broad power to the executive branch to set and implement immigration limitations. To best understand the act, read an excerpt of it for yourself: “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.” Recent presidents haven’t exactly used the powers of this act sparingly – President Clinton used it 12 times and President Obama used it 19 times, according to the Los Angeles Times. While President Trump’s use of this power is not unprecedented, the scope of the order was sizable – it temporarily suspended immigration from seven countries: Syria, Libya, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, Somalia and Iraq. Later iterations of the order added restrictions to travel from Venezuela and North Korea, among others. Immediately after the original order was announced, backlash erupted – the talking point developed that...Read More
As it was once written by Benjamin Franklin, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Americans pay all sorts of taxes: federal income tax, state income tax, payroll tax, sales tax, excise tax and property tax, just to name a few. Nearly everything we do is impacted by taxes of some kind – for some, even their own death is a taxable event. Those who inherit estates worth more than about $5 million are forced to pay 40 percent of the estate’s value upon the death of the owner. Trust me, I know what you’re thinking. Five million? That’s a ton of money! Who cares if the government takes 40 percent? For some, especially progressives, this logic makes sense. However, here’s the reality: the death tax is a tax on success, a tax on hard work. It’s a perfect example of government greed. Often, the full burden of the death tax hits family farms and businesses the hardest. The death tax is wrecking entities like these all across America. Why? Farms and family businesses are often “asset rich” and “cash poor”. Basically, this means that a farm or business is worth a lot on paper (due to valuations of land, machinery, buildings, inventory and so on) while also being short on usable cash (they often operate on meager profit margins). For example, let’s...Read More
Luke Schroeder, columnist Last Friday, President Trump announced the decertification of the Iran Nuclear Deal. While this move has attracted high volumes of criticism, it is the right course of action. To understand why this is the right decision, let’s take a step back to 2013. At that time, members of the international community were deeply concerned with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. A nation where chants such as “Death to America” are common should never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. joined the U.N. Security Council in negotiations with Iran. By the end of 2013, the talks had resulted in the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), a temporary agreement that reduced economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for a freeze of that nation’s nuclear weapons program. Negotiations continued for nearly two more years, and eventually led to the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. The Deal eliminated over $100 billion in international sanctions on Iran in exchange for a weakening of Iran’s nuclear program. As part of the final agreement, the United States also payed Iran nearly $2 billion, including $400 million in cash. Critics of the deal frequently cite its sunset provisions, which lift key nuclear restrictions a few years after they take effect, as fundamental flaws. In their eyes, significant Iranian...Read More
Lukas Schroeder, Columnist Needless to say, gun control is one of the most polarizing issues in the United States. This split isn’t difficult to notice – Americans on both sides of the aisle typically possess deeply rooted, divergent views on gun ownership and the Second Amendment, views that are not easily altered. Those who call for more gun control mean well. They wish to decrease violence in the United States, and believe the reduction of gun ownership in our country would accomplish that goal. However, these people are mistaken. Studies estimate that there are well over 300 million guns...Read More
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