You can have your paycheck when we’re done with it

It’s annoying enough to have the government force employers to withhold money from one’s paycheck, but the new government in the UK wants to take it one step further. Under a new proposal, employers will send employees’ paychecks to the government, first. Then, when they’re done with it, the government will give what’s left to the employee:

The UK’s tax collection agency is putting forth a proposal that all employers send employee paychecks to the government, after which the government would deduct what it deems as the appropriate tax and pay the employees by bank transfer.

The proposal by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) stresses the need for employers to provide real-time information to the government so that it can monitor all payments and make a better assessment of whether the correct tax is being paid.

Currently employers withhold tax and pay the government, providing information at the end of the year, a system know as Pay as You Earn (PAYE). There is no option for those employees to refuse withholding and individually file a tax return at the end of the year.

If the real-time information plan works, it further proposes that employers hand over employee salaries to the government first.

And this from a Conservative government? Obviously the word means something different on the other side of the Atlantic than it does here.

Fausta points that this is how foreign employers pay their workers in … Cuba. The company gives the government the check, and Havana gives the campesino what’s left. Some may wonder what the substantive difference is between this and normal withholding. In my opinion, the difference is huge: while the government takes a cut under the withholding system, the check is still a matter between the employer and the worker. Under the Cuban-British model, the worker becomes dependent on the central government for his money, no matter where he works – or if he works at all, given welfare. It’s another way of turning a free citizen with his own property -in this case, a paycheck- into a ward of the state.

I can sympathize with the desire to make tax collection more efficient in order to get the money the government is owed, but maybe HMRC should consider something radical, such as a low-rate flat tax that will leave more money in the hands of the citizen, who will then use it to generate economic activity and, in turn, increased revenue for the government. That pesky little Laffer Curve in action, again:

But that kind of logic is alien to the statist, whose answer to every problem is the expansion of government power and its further intrusion into every aspect of one’s life, inevitably hobbling individual liberty. What next? Simply declaring everyone to be an employee of the State Crown?

LINKS: Ed Morrissey points out the many practical problems of this proposal, such as giving government access to everyone’s bank accounts. Power Line asks “Whose money is it?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

‘Miracle worker’ prez learning that even his own supporters are growing disillusioned

A Q & A session President Obama participated in earlier today took a decidedly negative turn that I doubt our celebrity President was expecting:

WASHINGTON — It was billed as “Investing In America,” a live televised conversation between President Obama and American workers, students, business people and retirees on the state of the economy, a kind of Wall Street to Main Street reality check.

But it sounded like a therapy session for disillusioned Obama supporters.

In question after question in Monday’s one-hour session, which took place at the Newseum here and was televised on CNBC, Mr. Obama was confronted by people who said, in short, that they had expected more from him. People from Main Street wanted to know if the American dream still lived for them. People from Wall Street complained that he was treating them like a piñata, “whacking us with the stick,” in the words of a former law school classmate of Mr. Obama’s who now runs a hedge fund.

“I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for,” said the first questioner, an African-American woman who identified herself as a chief financial officer, a mother and a military veteran. “I’ve been told that I voted for a man who was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class, and I’m waiting, sir, I’m waiting. I still don’t feel it yet.”

A 30-year-old law school graduate, Ted Brassfield, told Mr. Obama he had hoped to pursue a career in public service — like the president — but could barely pay the interest on his student loans, let alone think of getting married or starting a family.

“I was really inspired by you and your campaign and the message you brought, and that inspiration is dying away,” Mr. Brassfield said, adding, “What I really want to know is: Is the American dream dead for me?”

And a third-generation business owner from Pennsylvania, Walter Allen, told Mr. Obama that his biggest challenge as an entrepreneur was a fearful, negative public. “How can you regain the political center?” Mr. Allen asked plaintively. “You’re losing the war of sound bites. You’re losing the media cycles.”

Here’s video of the full exchange (transcript at that same link) between Obama and the woman who said she was “exhausted” from defending him:

Jim Geraghty observes:

I suspect she’s as tired of “we’re moving in the right direction” as we are.

Maybe this will be a blip, but I wonder if this question will be seen as a highly symbolic moment, in that this African-American woman professional so clearly lays out the disappointment and frustration of those who thought, nearly two years into Obama’s presidency, that their lives would be better.

Problem is, though – and keep in mind I haven’t read a full transcript of the entire Q&A – how this woman and the two others quoted in the NYT piece seemed to expect government to do something for them, rather than suggest to the President that it would help all parties involved (except Democrat politicos, of course) if the government stopped taxing and penalizing to death everything that moves, and ceased mandating that employers offer health care coverage, a mandate that is going to – even in the short term – cause employers who will have trouble affording it to go with smaller health care coverage options that will mean less AND more expensive choices of both doctors and services for their employees, which means, no, you may not be able to keep your primary care doctor (one of the many lies the country was fed about ObamaCare). Not only that, but you can’t expect employers to en masse go gangbusters on hiring people when they know how much they’ll have to pay out in health care coverage expenses alone. For those who do hire a lot of people, guess who the rising costs of their health care coverage options are going to be passed along to? You.

The biggest question of Obama that needs to be asked is: President Obama, when will you get off of our backs? If you read his answers to the woman, you’ll see that it’s all about “what government has done for you” rather than government has gotten out of the way. It’s an answer that probably impressed the well-meaning woman and the others in the audience who were wondering where the “change” was that they were promised in 2008, but in reality it’s the wrong way to govern if you want a healthy, cranking economy, as Ed Morrissey reiterates:

She’s hardly alone in worrying about a return to the “hot dogs and beans” days for middle-class Americans, because many people have begun to realize that this is indeed the new reality under this administration’s economic policies. Apparently, that’s not the change for which she voted in 2008, but as many of us predicted, it’s the change Obamanomics delivers every time it has been tried. Instead of defending Obama, perhaps she should spend her time looking for alternatives in 2010.

Another piece of advice: When a candidate for ANY office promotes himself as, essentially, a miracle worker who can “heal the planet” and “fix our souls,” you should do one thing and one thing only: make sure he or she does NOT get elected to office. Number one, there’s only one healer and soul fixer out there, and it is not anyone of this earth. Secondly, there is no politician, Democrat or Republican, who can magically make our nation’s problems disappear. They can make them a little easier, though, and that’s by getting the government off our backs and out of our wallets. That’s the kind of change I hope is coming after November 2010 and November 2012.

Physicist throws global warming under the bus

Shrieks of “HERESY!!” and “APOSTASY!!” must be echoing through the Cathedral of the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming right about now, as a former University of Ottawa professor says that fossil fuels are insignificant to the amount of CO2 in the air:

The present (2010) historic maximum of anthropogenic (caused by humans) fossil fuel burning is only 8% or so of global primary production (GPP) (both expressed as kilograms of carbon per year, kg-C/y). GPP is the rate at which new biomass (living matter) is produced on the whole planet. And of course all biomass can in principle be considered fuel that could be burned with oxygen (O2) to produce CO2 gas, H2O water, energy, and an ash residue.

This shows the extent to which anthropogenic energy production from fossil fuel burning is small in comparison to the sun’s energy delivery to Earth, since biomass primary production results from the sun’s energy via photosynthesis.

(…)

Given all the fuss that is made about the present rate of fossil fuel burning (2010; 0.8 x 10^13 kg-C/y where 10^13 = 10,000,000,000,000 with thirteen zeros), it is important to keep in mind that this represents an amount of CO2 release comparable to or somewhat less than the CO2 released by simple breathing from humankind and its domestic animals [LINK]. The combined biomass of humankind and its domestic animals (cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, pets, etc.) is in turn estimated to be only 0.04% of Earth’s living biomass (all expressed as kilograms of carbon, kg-C), which is a lot more CO2-producing breathing. (Ants, for example, are estimated to represent ten to one hundred times the biomass of humankind and ants can be argued to have “transformed” the planet and its ecology far more than humans.)

Emphasis added.

Dr. Rancourt has a very Left/Progressive outlook, but a portion of his conclusion is worth quoting:

For left progressives to collaborate with First World governments that practice global extortion and geopolitical wars in order to pass carbon schemes to undemocratically manage and control the developments of non-First-World communities and sovereign states is obscene, racist, and cruelly cynical.

This conservative finds it hard to disagree. Well, except for that “global extortion” and “geopolitical wars” part. Can’t have everything…

But he touches on a good point: the AGW cultists and alarmists not only want to cripple Western economies and establish bureaucratic-statist control over the lives of individual citizens, but they want to keep poor countries poor, too, by denying them the very means the industrial and post-industrial nations used to become wealthy. It’s no wonder that both China and India have refused to sign on to the global-warming farce; the measures the alarmists demand we take to fight a problem that does not exist would absolutely derail their economic development.

In the great scheme of things, this is just another small crack in the vaunted scientific consensus. By itself, it means little. But, the more cracks appear, the sooner comes the day when the AGW cathedral collapses.

via WUWT

UPDATE: Is the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming the Beauvais Cathedral of our time? Via Dan Collins.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)