Chavez: Raiding Social Security

Townhall - Extending the payroll tax cut -- as the GOP leadership has now agreed with Democrats to do -- may be good politics, but it is lousy policy.
Linda Chavez
For the average household with earnings of $49,445 a year (about the median), keeping individual payroll taxes at 4.2 percent as opposed to 6.2 percent will mean about a thousand dollars more in their wallets this year. And generally speaking, letting people keep more of their own money to spend and invest as they choose is a good thing, both for individuals and the economy as a whole.
But there is a difference when it comes to payroll taxes, whose specific purpose is to fund Social Security. Many people mistakenly believe that the payroll taxes they pay when they're working actually provide the funds for their own future Social Security benefits. But that is not the case.
Payroll taxes of currently employed workers end up paying for the benefits of current Social Security recipients, with any excess retained by the Social Security Trust Fund. But because, on average, Social Security recipients receive more in benefits over their lifetimes than they and their employers contributed in taxes during their working years, the system functions only because there are enough current workers making additional payments into the fund. This is why some people describe Social Security as a giant pyramid scheme. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Like House Districts: The Costs to Taxpayers of Redistricting Litigation Seems to Have No Boundaries

News NM note (Spence) Lawyers will be slurping at the trough again today when they march into court funded by, you guessed it, New Mexico taxpayers. In the latest round of litigation that first and foremost lines the pockets of attorneys, yet another legal venue will hear arguements about House district boundary lines drawn by retired Judge James Hall last month after countless hours of testimony from all parties. It came as no surprise that the first bill passed by Democrats in the legislature in the just ended 30 day session had a provision to provide money for the state to sue itself. Leading the charge to gobble up what the state appropriated to fund the latest legal fight is lawyer and House member Brian Egolf of Santa Fe, who seems to have nothing better to do.
Albuquerque Journal - Lawyers for Democratic State Rep. Brian Egolf of Santa Fe and four other parties to redistricting proceedings in state court have asked to intervene in the redistricting challenge filed in federal court Monday by Republicans.
The intervenor-defendants are seeking for the federal lawsuit to be dismissed. The three-judge panel named late Thursday to hear the case, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Harris Hartz, Chief U.S. District Judge Bruce Black and U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson, set a hearing for 1:30 p.m. today in the case.
“They’ve essentially filed a friendly lawsuit where you sue yourself and agree with yourself,” attorney Ray Vargas Jr., who represents the intervenors, said of the federal complaint. “Unfortunately, they did not bring any people who don’t agree with them into the suit. We believe as real parties in interest we have a place at the table.”
Vargas said the Egolf parties sought to participate in the lawsuit “to try to give effect to the Supreme Court’s order.”  Read full story here (subscription required): News New Mexico

More Taxpayer Dollars Poured into Green Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $1.37 million to four New Mexico-based tribes for “clean” energy projects. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu who also advocated for more than $500 million in taxpayer loan guarantees to go to Solyndra just before the company filed for bankrupcy, announced yesterday that the New Mexico grants include: $347,090 to the Navajo Hopi Land Commission, $278,987 to Zia Pueblo, $301,113 for Jemez Pueblo, to complete preconstruction work on a four-megawatt solar facility, plus $146,775 and another $300,000 to the Navajo.


A New Term to be Studied in Government Classes

What happens when we ignore the fundamental tenets of the U.S. Constitution? One of our listeners with an ever-watchful eye on the evolution of language shared this new word with us:
Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.


For Martinez, session brings wins and losses

From NM -By  - Gov. Susana Martinez didn’t succeed on many of the issues she had endorsed, but she emerged from the 30-day legislative session with the tax breaks she most cared about and a budget she can work with. Democratic leadership succeeded in killing bills aimed at repealing licenses for undocumented immigrants and ending so-called social promotion, and quickly dispensed with moves to reinstate the death penalty and impose a restriction on abortion. Senate Majority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, said he leaves Santa Fe pleased that lawmakers approved a plan to reduce tax “pyramiding” in the construction industry and a fix to the unemployment insurance fund that is designed to save money for businesses.  Legislative Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, also touted the unemployment insurance fund fix. “It is probably the largest reduction in cost to employers in the state of New Mexico, and it flew under the radar,” Smith said. Lawmakers also approved Martinez’s proposed tax credit for business hiring veterans. But they rejected a proposal to provide legal immunity for supply and manufacturing companies involved in flights from Spaceport America. Democrats succeeded in getting a bill they characterized as closing a gross-receipts tax “loophole” for-out-state corporations, but the bill seems destined to be vetoed by Martinez. Read more