Our Senator is at it again . . .
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Who needs concrete walls and barbed wire when you can simply seize passports?
A new Democrat proposal would make it illegal for Americans to leave the United States if they owe on their taxes.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.) has introduced the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act" or "MAP-21."
"If someone owed more than $50,000 in back taxes, the IRS would be able to send their name over to the passport office for suspension, provided that the IRS already either filed a public lien or assessed a levy for the outstanding balance," The Atlantic reports.
That's troubling, because it strips Americans of the right to travel even if they are not under arrest or facing criminal charges.
According to Professor Daniel Shaviro, a tax policy expert at New York University School of Law, "the passport rules could be misused, say, to harass specific individuals whom government officials dislike."
A record number of Americans renounced their citizenship last year, with most citing the United States' draconian tax laws. Boxer's bill, which amounts to detention of certain Americans, could be used to trap citizens within the borders and prevent them from moving overseas.
Household income worse under Obama than under the recession
"A new report put out by the Pew Research Center finds that the median income is worse now than it was during the Great Recession," CBS reports.
"According to Pew, the Census Bureau showed that the median income for American households in 2009 - the official end of the Great Recession - was $52,195 (in 2011 dollars), while the median income dipped to $50,054 last year, falling 4.1 percent over two years," CBS reports.
"The decrease in household income from 2009 to 2011 almost exactly equaled the decrease in income in the two years of the recession," the Pew report stated. "During the Great Recession, the median U.S. household income (in 2011 dollars) dropped from $54,489 in 2007 to $52,195 in 2009, a loss of 4.2 percent. By this yardstick, the recovery from the Great Recession is bypassing the nation's households."
New record as 15% of Americans on food stamps under Obama
The report also finds the poverty rate and median household wealth are worse under Obama's policies than they were under the recession.
A record number of Americans are on food stamps under Obama, and that has economists worried. Three years after the recession officially ended "47 million people each month are using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)," Manhattan Institute economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth reports.
"Food stamp participation has always increased during a recession and in the initial stages of a recovery...levels seen since the end of this recession are far higher than in prior recoveries. While the 36 month periods following the recessions of the early 1980s saw decreases in food stamp usage, the recessions of the early 1990s and in 2001 saw increases between 1 and 2 percent over the same period, in comparison with an increase of 3.5 percent following the recession ending in 2009," the report finds.
The difference appears to be the result of changes by politicians to incentivize welfare enrollment. " In addition to the difficult job market, this is because of changes in the program that began in October 2008, including expansion of benefits and elimination of the cap for child care expenses."
"The increase in participation in 2008 was caused by a combination of widened benefit eligibility, the recession, and a concerted effort to expand access to benefits. The 2008 Farm Bill changed the name of the program from the Food Stamp Program to SNAP, in an effort to reduce the social stigma associated with receiving benefits. As of October 1, 2008, the minimum benefit and standard deduction for households were increased. The cap for child care expenses was also eliminated. There were also changes aimed at combating fraud, including disqualification of people who sold benefits or food obtained with SNAP benefits for cash, and the bill allowed the USDA more flexibility in setting consequences including fines and disqualification periods for retailers who engaged in food stamp fraud."
Libertarians want to replace the welfare statement with the empowerment state.
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