Trump: I'd Pay $600 Million for White House

Sunday, 20 Mar 2011 11:40 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Highest in World
2. Trump: I'd Spend $600 Million on White House Run
3. Protesters Video License Plates at Gov. Walker Fundraiser
4. Al Gore Has New Publisher for New Book
5. Medicare/Medicaid: $70 Billion in 'Improper Payments'
6. Entitlement Programs Now One-Third of Wages
 

1. U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Highest in World

We're No. 1!

But that's the bad news. After a reign as the nation with the second highest corporate income tax rate, the United States is set to move into first place when Japan lowers its rate next month.

The combined federal and state rate in the U.S. is 39.2 percent of corporate profits, a new analysis by the Tax Foundation disclosed. When Japan, which currently has a rate of 39.5 percent, enacts a planned cut of 4.5 percentage points in April, America will have the highest rate of all the economies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the group of 34 advanced nations with economies most comparable to the U.S.

"United States companies are now in the position of trying to compete in the 21st-century world economy with a 20th-century tax system," said Scott A. Hodge, the Tax Foundation's president and author of the new study.

America has moved to the top of the corporate tax list not by raising taxes but through inaction. Between 2000 and 2010, nine OECD countries cut their corporate tax rates by double-digit figures, and almost every OECD nation has cut rates to some extent.

In the United States, on the other hand, the rate has remained essentially unchanged during that 10-year period.

Germany, which had the highest rate in 2000, 52 percent, has slashed its rate to 30.2 percent, and Canada, No. 2 in 2000, cut its rate from 42.57 to 29.52 percent.

The rate in Ireland is now just 12.5 percent, while in Iceland it is 15 percent and in Chile, 17 percent. Four other OECD nations have a rate lower than 20 percent.

Worldwide, about 75 countries have cut their rates since 2006, according to the Tax Foundation.

But 2011 marks the 20th year in which the U.S. statutory tax rate has been above the average of OECD nations.

For the United States to move to the OECD average and match China — which significantly lowered its rate in 2008 — the federal rate would have to be reduced to 20 percent.

"The scope of corporate tax reform so far endorsed by the White House would fall far short of this goal," the Tax Foundation stated.

Hodge said: "Dozens of countries around the world — including many of the United States' closest trading partners — have realized that sky-high corporate tax rates are an economic dead end.

"Now more than ever, Americans want to see policies that will help create increased growth, more jobs, and higher standards of living — exactly the things that a lower and more streamlined corporate tax system can help achieve."

And the National Center for Policy Analysis, commenting on the Foundation's report, observed: "As other nations enact reforms and rate cuts, the U.S. corporate rate will continue to stand out as a hindrance to economic growth and competitiveness unless lawmakers move to lower the tax burden for businesses."

Editor's Note:



2. Trump: I'd Spend $600 Million on White House Run

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump reveals he is prepared to spend $600 million on a campaign for the presidency — and says he's "never been as serious as I am now" about running.

In an interview with Ashleigh Banfield that aired Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Trump was asked if would be willing to put up that sum to seek the White House.

"Absolutely," he declared. "Assuming I'm doing well."

Banfield asked: "Do you have $600 million?"

Trump replied: "I have much more than that. Part of the beauty of me is that I'm very rich. So if I need $600 million, I can put up $600 million myself. That's a huge advantage over the other candidates."

Trump also discussed potential GOP presidential candidates and said of Sarah Palin: "I think she's more qualified than Barack Obama was when he became president."

Editor's Note:



3. Protesters Video License Plates at Gov. Walker Fundraiser

Opponents of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's move to curtail public employees unions protested outside a Republican fundraiser attended by the governor, chanting "recall Walker" and shouting "shame" at donors arriving for the event.

More than 2,000 demonstrators showed up at the March 12 fundraiser in Washburn, Wis., waving protest signs, banging pots and shaking tambourines at cars carrying donors.

One person videotaped the license plates of at least some of the vehicles, the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune reported.

About 50 law enforcement officers were on hand to maintain peace in the town of 2,271.

The day before the fundraiser, Gov. Walker signed legislation curbing most collective-bargaining rights for Wisconsin's public employees.

Not all sign-holders in Washburn expressed opposition to the governor's action. One man stood on a corner near the event site with a large sign bearing the words, "God bless Gov. Walker."

Editor's Note:



4. Al Gore Has New Publisher for New Book

Former vice president and climate change crusader Al Gore has dumped his publishers, Rodale and Penguin, and is moving to Random House for his next book.

Gore published his first work on climate change, Rodale's "An Inconvenient Truth," in 2006 to accompany his documentary of the same title.

"At the time, having a companion book to a heavy, thought-provoking movie was considered something of a gamble," Keith J. Kelly writes in his Media Ink column for the New York Post.

"But it ended up as a best-seller, as did his follow-up for Penguin, 'The Assault on Reason,' which sold about 350,000 copies."

A subsequent book for Rodale, "Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis," was also a best-seller.

His next book, a yet untitled work due next year, could be an even bigger seller, according to Random House's new executive editor, former Newsweek editor in chief Jon Meacham.

He said: "This will have a wider reach."

Editor's Note:



5. Medicare/Medicaid: $70 Billion in 'Improper Payments'

Medicare and Medicaid combined dished out at least $70.5 billion in "improper payments" in 2010 alone — more than the combined budgets of Homeland Security and the State Department.

Medicare made at least $48 billion in improper payments in fiscal 2010, while Medicaid's improper payments totaled $22.5 billion, according to Senate testimony from Kathleen King, director of healthcare for the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO said: "An improper payment is any payment that should not have been made or that was made in an incorrect amount (including overpayments and underpayments) under statutory, contractual, administrative, or other legally applicable requirements."

The $70.5 billion constitutes 8.95 percent of the $781.6 billion in total federal expenditures for Medicare and Medicaid last year, CNS News observed.

The actual amount of improper payments may in fact be higher for Medicare because the $48 billion does not include the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' estimate of the improper payments made by Medicare Part D, the prescription drug-benefit program.

The Center, which is responsible for the improper payments, is a key bureaucracy in implementing Obamacare.

According to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Homeland Security spent $44.5 billion and the State Department spent $23.8 billion last year.

Editor's Note:



6. Entitlement Programs Now One-Third of Wages

Government entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance now equal 35 percent of all wages — up from 26 percent as recently as 2002 — pushing the United States toward "European territory."

The recent increase in government assistance is due largely to the recession's high unemployment, according to Madeline Schnapp, director of macroeconomic research at the investment research firm TrimTabs.

But she believes that even when unemployment declines, the 35 percent mark is not likely to drop very much.

"What would it take to bring the ratio of social welfare benefits to wages and salaries back to its pre-recession level of 26 percent?" she writes.

"Either wages and salaries would have to increase $2.3 trillion, or 35 percent, to $8.8 trillion, or social welfare benefits would have to decline $500 billion, or 23 percent, to $1.7 trillion.

"Neither of these scenarios seems likely. The economy is not growing rapidly enough to generate extraordinary growth in wages and salaries, and the oldest of the 78 million Baby Boomers turn 65 this year and are eligible for Medicare."

Commenting on Schnapp's research, Daniel Indiviglio, associate editor of The Atlantic, notes that as baby boomers age they increasingly rely on government payments through programs like Social Security and Medicare. So even when the millions of jobless Americans do find work, the government unemployment insurance they no longer receive might go to increased benefits to seniors.

He writes: "At 35 percent, the U.S. is entering European territory. Schnapp says that transfer payments in the U.K. are currently around 44 percent of wages and salaries — but that's up from 36 percent in 2007, before the global recession hit.

"So if this ratio remains around 35 percent in the U.S. even after the unemployment rate declines, then the U.S. government's transfer payment burden will, indeed, begin to resemble that of a European welfare state."

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Editor's Note:



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