Tag Archives: Revenue

The Debt Ceiling, Revenue & The Progressive Overreach

9.4 debt by states-02 (2)Soon, President Obama will stand before the American people, at his inaugural, and take the Oath of Office. He will place his hand on the Holy Bible (we assume) and swear an oath before God and country to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. He did this once before in 2009. But, he has increasingly ignored the dictates and tenets of this Founding Document – one of the documents in the Charters of Freedom. He has disparaged the document as “flawed” and has transparently sought out legal mechanisms – and sometimes not so legal mechanisms – to circumvent the provisions and authorities set forth within. Many Presidents have done the same, although, perhaps, not as egregiously.

Truth be told, a great deal of the partisan gridlock – at least where the finances of the nation are concerned – wouldn’t exist today if the politicians we elect to office would simply cease being politicians upon being tasked with doing the business of government; if they simply followed the rules of government as set forth by the Founding Documents. But then, as James Madison said, “If men were angels…”

In a prior article, Why Is Boehner Negotiating with Obama at All?, I pointed out:

“Article I, Section 7, of the United States Constitution reads:

“‘All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.’

“And while the verbiage that follows outlines the processes by which the presidential veto and congressional veto overrides are to be executed, nowhere is the power of the purse – the ability to create legislation that raises revenue – extended to any other branch of government or congressional body.

“I bring this fundamental tenet of our system of government to the forefront because I am puzzled as to why House Republicans, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), are negotiating budgetary financial matters, a responsibility and purview exclusively vested in the US House of Representatives, with anyone outside that body, let alone the Executive Branch, which only has the constitutional power of the veto over said legislation?

“Such are the questions that arise when the bully pulpit is used to usurp the constitutional order of our government.”

So, you can imagine how happy I was to read that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), has told his fellow Republicans that he is done with private, one-on-one negotiations with President Obama. The simple fact of the matter is that he never – ever – should have entered into negotiations with anyone from the Executive Branch over issues of raising revenue in the first place; not on the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling, the budget, tax reform, deficit reduction…none of it. Pure and simple, the Executive Branch, other than allocating revenues granted to it to through the constitutionally mandated legislative process, to the agencies and departments under their purview, has no authority over the raising of revenue whatsoever. I defy anyone to find any provision in the US Constitution that contradicts that fact.

The reality that President Obama (and through him his team) can co-opt authority over matters of national finance simply by bullying his way to a “negotiating table” under the perverted guise of “leadership” says a lot about how far we have gotten away from the constitutional process of government. That the elected officials in the Legislative Branch do not howl in protest over the usurpation of the Separation of Powers – and perhaps that they don’t know better to howl in the first place – presents as a frighteningly, but all to true, commentary on just how constitutionally illiterate (or subversive) our elected officials have become. The same, sadly, can be said of the electorate itself.

If, and that is the optimal word here, our elected federal officials adhered to the US Constitution as the rulebook by which government is executed (which it is), legislation would follow a path that goes something like this:

▪ Legislation regarding the generation and securing of revenue (including matters of debt reduction, budgeting and borrowing) would be created working through regular order, letting the House work its will.

▪ The legislation would be advanced to the US Senate where they “may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” (Note: had the 17th Amendment not been passed allowing for the direct election of Senators by the electorate, Senators would still be charged with protecting the rights of their respective States from the overreach of the federal government.)

▪ The legislation would then go to “conference” where the original legislation would be reconciled between the two chambers.

▪ The legislation would then be presented to the Executive Branch (as is the proper procedure for any piece of legislation), where the President can either sign it into law or veto it.

▪ At this point the House (because the legislation for our purposes has to do with revenue generation) would reconsider the legislation and the objections of the Executive Branch and either override the veto or make changes so as to satisfy the Executive’s objections. The overridden or revised bill would then go to the Senate for a similar procedure.

So, as you can see, the only options available for President Obama (or the Executive Branch), constitutionally, are to either sign the legislation into law or veto the legislation presented. Nowhere – nowhere – in the US Constitution is the Executive Branch afforded negotiating rights on matters of raising revenue but for those two options and at that moment in the timeline.

That understood, what we just witnessed – with the US Senate crafting legislation regarding the raising of revenue and the Executive Branch negotiating from the start with the leadership of the US House – was wholly in usurpation of the constitutional process by which revenue legislation is supposed to adhere. In fact, it could be said that the entire piece of legislation, by way of its origination, is unconstitutional.

Yet, because there will be no constitutional objection to this travesty of process, American taxpayers are now saddled with higher taxes and over $4 trillion in new debt over the next ten years, and we haven’t even dealt with the sequestration, the debt ceiling or the budget, all of which will, most likely, see an arrogant and belligerent Executive Branch bullying its way to yet more “negotiating tables”; negotiating tables at which they do not belong. I am willing to bet that through it all, taxes spending and the national debt will rise, and deficit reduction will remain in the realm of political rhetoric; the filth of political opportunism soiling the futures of our great-grandchildren.

On January 21, 2013, Barack Obama will place his hand on the Holy Bible (we assume) and swear this oath, as mandated by Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Nowhere in that oath exists the caveat, “…unless I think the document is flawed.” Barack Obama’s job as President of the United States is to uphold and protect; to defend the US Constitution. That means adhering to the provisions, limitations and authorities held within, including the legislative process by which revenue is raised for the federal government.

So, when you hear Mr. Obama say: “I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed,” two thoughts should come to mind.

First, your eyes should roll, given the fact that all the Obama Administration has done over the past four years is scream that they need to spend more money. Blaming Congress for racking up trillions in new debt with nothing to show for it but fictitious “jobs saved or created” numbers that don’t reconcile with the unemployment and workforce stats is tantamount to piling up debt on your Dad’s credit card and then blaming him for being a spendthrift.

Second, you should be asking yourself – and your elected representatives – this: What gives Mr. Obama the right to say he “will not have another debate with this Congress,” over the debt ceiling when he has no authority to debate it in the first place? More importantly, you should ask yourself why your elected members to the US House would allow their leadership to include Mr. Obama in debates exclusive to House membership…ever.

The time to understand the US Constitution – to become constitutionally literate – is now…as is the time to actually start asking these question. Your great-grandchildren’s’ freedom may just depend on what you do right now.

Research Shows Universities and Colleges Are Missing Out on Critical Revenue Stream

New research suggests that higher education institutions need more focus on providing relevant offerings in order to capitalize on corporate education and training dollars

 TORONTO, May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Destiny Solutions, the leading innovator of lifelong learning business solutions, today announced the results of a research project commissioned to bring additional attention to the market potential of corporate partnerships for higher education institutions.

The research, which is available on the Destiny Solutions website, reveals that although 95 percent of corporations have systems in place to financially support employee education, only a fraction of that spending goes to colleges and universities. The research suggested that this is due in large part to the fact that colleges and universities are out of touch with the needs of corporations looking to develop their workforce, seeing as only 16 percent of employers said that there is an adequate availability of programs tailored to their needs.

“Given the budget crises higher education is currently experiencing, capitalizing on this market could provide an invaluable revenue source for many colleges and universities,” said Shaul Kuper, president and CEO of Destiny Solutions. “By responding to corporate needs, institutions will not only be able to increase revenue, but they will also be able to better equip students with the skills they need on the job.”

With the rapid pace of advancement in today’s markets, education can no longer be a one-time event, with 70 percent of corporations stating that employees need continuous education and training just to keep up with the pace of their job. However, there are many different options for education, ranging from internally run training departments to tuition reimbursement programs, to corporate partnerships with colleges or universities.

Additionally, low participation rates in tuition reimbursement programs and low success rates of internally developed programs suggest that partnerships with colleges and universities provide one of the most impactful and lucrative options for both the corporation and the institution. Nonetheless, low satisfaction rates with the scope and availability of programs provided by institutions have meant that only 9 percent of corporations surveyed have formalized partnerships, leaving a large percentage of the market untapped by colleges and universities and open for competition.

“Research shows that corporations are spending billions of dollars each year to educate their employees, and they want to be sure that programming is relevant and cost-effective,” Kuper said. “Higher education institutions are being presented with a golden opportunity to transition the workforce, the community and the education system into the 21st century.”

To download the research paper, please visit: http://www.destinysolutions.com/2012-research-voice-employer-effects/

 

Apple Knows How To Generate Revenue; Why Doesn't Our Government?

In light of the recent revelation that Steve Jobs told Barack Obama that he’s on his way to being a “one term president”, I thought I would share something with you that I originally posted on AiPolitics.me.  In it, I discuss how our politicians lack creativity when it comes to generating revenue, and that over-taxing us is not the way to go about improving our fortunes.

There’s been a story circulating lately that’s caught more traction than I thought it would.  You’ve probably heard it.  It’s the story of how Apple has more money than the U.S. government.  I’ve considered it a non-story, because the government makes (and spends) more money in fifteen days than Apple has after a decade of hard work.  So… I haven’t paid it much mind, but the story still persists.

And while I still believe it is, in fact, a non-story, I have realized that it contains a valuable lesson about “revenue”.  You see, our nation is in a rut when it comes to this subject; it’s as if we’ve simply run out of imagination.  And that’s sad, because imagination has long been one of our strongest exports.  But I digress… (sorry for beginning so many sentences with connecting words by the way)

Revenue is the life blood of any society.  In simple terms, “revenue” is money.  In broader terms, revenue is roads, hospitals, and air conditioning.  (blessed are those who have air conditioning)  Even if you hate capitalism, you need revenue.  The Soviet Union didn’t have enough of it, and the Berlin Wall came down.  Incidentally, Germany is doing quite well these days.  Revenue is how I see my family that is thousands of miles away from me.  Revenue is how we got to the moon.  Revenue is how you are reading this right now.  There is no free lunch, free ride, or free internet.  It all costs money.  And money is revenue.

So how do we get it?  There are various ideas of how to do that, but the proof is in the pudding.  The countries with the most financial resources almost always use capitalism or have a free market mechanism of some sort.  The countries where people die of thirst and have no food generally have a poor mechanism for generating revenue, but still they employ deficient techniques so long as the dictators have mansions or palaces.  (with air conditioning, of course)  But… this piece is not about the promotion of free markets; it’s about revenue.

So again, I ask, how do we get it?  Well, if you ask our current politicians (most of them Democrats), they would tell you that we raise taxes.  They equate raising taxes to creating revenue.  And in a sense, they are correct.  If you charge more for a product, you will get more money per product, therefore you should have more money at the end of the day.  But… That’s not how life works.  Usually when you make things more expensive, fewer people buy them, so at the end of the day, you can actually have LESS money in your coffers.  Think about it:  Is Walmart the biggest retail chain in the world, or is Neiman Marcus?  Volume usually wins at the end of the day.

So what does this all have to do with Apple?  Apple updated their operating system for their Mac computers earlier this month.  And by “update”, I mean they created a whole new product.  The new operating system is leaps and bounds more sophisticated than the previous (and popular) one.  Typically, an operating system is worth every penny of $100-$200, and that’s the price that is generally charged.  Apple is in a unique situation.  They sell almost every piece of equipment they make, and their fans are generally quick to adopt their new software.  If Apple charged $100 for Lion (their new operating system), it would sell like gangbusters.  But… they didn’t.  They sold it for thirty bucks.  You read that right.  The software that makes their insanely popular computers so popular retails for $29.99.

Do you want to know why Apple has more money on hand than the U.S. government?  If Barack Obama headed Apple, and not Steve Jobs, Lion would sell for $200.  Don’t believe me?  Look how much Microsoft sells Windows 7 Professional for.  It retails for $199.99.

And that’s what I mean when I say our politicians lack imagination.  Our government wants to tax people and make things more expensive in an effort to raise their revenues, when there are other ways to make money.  Drilling in our coast would be a great start.  Which makes more sense?  Taxing gasoline more so that we drive less (therefore we shop less and do less commerce in general, thus costing revenue), or drilling in the coast?  If you drill, then the oil companies get taxed every step of the way from the equipment they use to how they distribute the oil to the profit they make on it.  That’s a lot of revenue we are missing out on.  Then the gas stations sell more gallons (each being taxed, thus generating revenue), and the more trips people make to the gas station, the more likely it is they are going to buy additional products from there (which all get taxed, generating revenue).

I’m telling you folks that volume wins.  Ask Apple.  Ask Walmart.  Ask the “old” United States.  Volume wins everyday, every time.  So why do we limit our volume?  To paraphrase @IowaHawkBlog, “Sell more tacos; don’t charge more for them”.

So even if if I originally thought of this as a non-story, there’s still a lesson to be learned.  Apple knows how to generate revenue, and it’s sad that our government does not.

What (currently) unexplored ways of making revenue do you think our government is missing out on.  Let me know in the comments below.  Maybe we can send some suggestions to Washington.