These are my links for April 16th through April 17th:
- Tax time pushes some Americans to take a hike – A year ago, in Action Comics, Superman declared plans to renounce his U.S. citizenship.
“‘Truth, justice, and the American way’ – it’s not enough anymore,” the comic book superhero said, after both the Iranian and American governments criticized him for joining a peaceful anti-government protest in Tehran.
Last year, almost 1,800 people followed Superman’s lead, renouncing their U.S. citizenship or handing in their Green Cards. That’s a record number since the Internal Revenue Service began publishing a list of those who renounced in 1998. It’s also almost eight times more than the number of citizens who renounced in 2008, and more than the total for 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined.
But not everyone’s motivations are as lofty as Superman’s. Many say they parted ways with America for tax reasons.
The United States is one of the only countries to tax its citizens on income earned while they’re living abroad. And just as Americans stateside must file tax returns each April – this year, the deadline is Tuesday – an estimated 6.3 million U.S. citizens living abroad brace for what they describe as an even tougher process of reporting their income and foreign accounts to the IRS. For them, the deadline is June.
The National Taxpayer Advocate’s Office, part of the IRS, released a report in December that details the difficulties of filing taxes from overseas. It cites heavy paperwork, a lack of online filing options and a dearth of local and foreign-language resources.
For those wishing to legally escape the filing requirements, the only way is to formally renounce their U.S. citizenship. Last year, IRS records show that at least 1,788 people did, and that’s likely
an underestimate. The IRS publishes in the Federal Register the names of those who give up their citizenship, and some who renounced say they haven’t seen their name on the list yet.
- A Wisconsin Vindication – Property tax bills fall as Scott Walker’s reforms start to kick in #tcot – The public employee unions and other liberals are confident that Wisconsin voters will turn out Governor Scott Walker in a recall election later this year, but not so fast. That may turn out to be as wrong as some of their other predictions as Badger State taxpayers start to see tangible benefits from Mr. Walker’s reforms—such as the first decline in statewide property taxes in a dozen years.
On Monday Mr. Walker’s office released new data that show the property tax bill for the median home fell by 0.4% in 2011, as reported by Wisconsin’s municipalities. Property taxes, which are the state’s largest revenue source and mainly fund K-12 schools, have risen every year since 1998—by 43% overall. The state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner’s bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker’s collective-bargaining overhaul and budget cuts.
The median home value did fall in 2011, by about 2.3%, which no doubt influenced the slight downward trend. But then values also fell in 2009 and 2010, by similar amounts, and the state’s take from the average taxpayer still climbed by 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively. In absolute terms homeowners won’t see large dollar benefits year over year, but any hold-the-line tax respite is both rare and welcome in this age of ever-expanding government.
- 2012-13 California state budget is a looming fiasco – It’s become a pattern in California. An exhausted Legislature finally completes work on a tardy state budget. Soon afterward, it becomes obvious the budget is a farce stitched together with funny numbers and delusional assumptions.
With the 2012-13 budget, however, the process has accelerated. Even before Gov. Jerry Brown issues his May revised budget, decisions made by lawmakers, the courts and federal bureaucrats – combined with bad news on the revenue front – make it close to impossible to expect a spending plan with a shred of credibility or accounting substance.
- Will We Defuse Our Debt Bomb? – The big question facing America now, and in the foreseeable future, is not who is going to win the next election but whether we are going to defuse a debt bomb that has put our very survival at risk.
Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not exaggerating when he called our debt the greatest threat to our national security. History has shown time and time again that debt can bring nations to their knees. Great powers such as Britain, Spain, France, the Ottomans, the Soviet Union, and the Roman Empire declined economically before they contracted, collapsed, or were conquered. Our founders understood this history very well: John Adams warned, “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Day By Day April 17, 2012 – Zip File – Day By Day April 17, 2012 – Zip File
- Harry Reid Pushed to Allow Government Conferences in Vegas : Roll Call News – RT @PounderFile Roll Call: “Harry Reid Pushed To Allow Government Conferences In Vegas” #tcot
- Romney hire means shift on Hispanics – Mitt Romney’s hiring of Republican strategist Ed Gillespie is being seen as a sign the campaign will heavily court Hispanic voters — perhaps at the expense of immigration hard-liners in the party.
Gillespie, a former head of the Republican National Committee, has long advocated an aggressive outreach to the Hispanic community. He helped found the Republican State Leadership Committee, a group that recruits and trains GOP candidates for office and has emphasized finding female and minority candidates. He also heads up Resurgent Republic, an organization focused on messaging to independents, including Hispanic swing voters.
- Insiders Oppose Scaling Back Missile-Defense Plans Amid Russian Objections – Monday, April 16, 2012 – Three-quarters of National Journal’s National Security Insiders oppose dropping or scaling back the Obama administration’s plans to deploy missile-defense systems in Europe amid Russia’s objections — even if Moscow offered to share intelligence with Washington.
“Russia has adamantly opposed U.S. missile-defense strategy for three decades,” one Insider said. “The Obama change in European missile-defense architecture lessened any theoretical threat to Russia from the Bush system, but Russia has stayed on the warpath against U.S. missile defense as if nothing important has changed. U.S. concessions to Russia will bring neither reward nor gratitude. The best U.S. policy toward Russia on missile defense is benign neglect.”
- Halperin: How the Buffett Rule could work for Obama – Halperin: How the Buffett Rule could work for Obama
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-17 – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-17
- (404) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/scott-walker-leads-democratic-rivals-in-new-wisconsin-rec – (500) …
- (500) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/scott-walker-leads-democratic-rivals-in-new-wisconsin-recall-poll/2012/04/16/gIQAeJbGMT_blog.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost – RT @washingtonpost: Scott Walker leads Democratic rivals in new Wisconsin recall poll:
- AD-38: California State Senator Tony Strickland Endorses Patricia McKeon for Assembly » Flap’s California Blog – AD-38: California State Senator Tony Strickland Endorses Patricia McKeon for Assembly via @flap
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Fundraising Totals Show Republican Tony Strickland Far in the Lead – CA-26: Fundraising Totals Show Republican Tony Strickland Far in the Lead
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » The Morning Flap: April 16, 2012 – The Morning Flap: April 16, 2012