Friday, January 4, 2013

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly From The Fiscal Cliff Deal

The fiscal cliff deal contains more bad news than it does good news.
Yes, the tax increases on the middle class could have been much worse, and we should be thankful that Congress at least did something for the middle class.  Unfortunately, they didn’t do enough.
Every American worker is going to pay higher taxes next year as a result of this deal.
The fiscal cliff deal represents the biggest tax increase in 20 years, and it is also projected to increase the U.S. national debt by an additional 4 trillion dollars over the next decade.
In the final analysis, U.S. government finances are still wildly out of control and we are all going to be paying higher taxes.  Not a whole lot to be excited about, and nothing has really been fixed for the long-term.
Our politicians have kicked the can down the road once again, but someday they will run out of road and all of this debt will absolutely crush us.  And of course a lot of our politicians didn’t even really know what they were voting for.
The fiscal cliff bill was more than 150 pages long, and our Senators got the bill into their hands just 3 minutes before they voted on it.  So none of them actually read the bill.  But that is the way things work in America today.
The blind are leading the blind and everyone is mindlessly hoping that everything will turn out okay somehow.
For a few moments, let’s take a closer look at the fiscal cliff deal.  There are some good things in there, there are some bad things in there, and there are some things about the deal that are downright ugly.
The Good
-One of the best things about the fiscal cliff deal is that income tax rates did not rise on the poor and the middle class.
This is great news for millions of families that are struggling to make ends meet each month.  A significant rise in income tax rates would have been crippling.
-The Alternative Minimum Tax will now be permanently adjusted for inflation.  This is something that I had screamed about in previous articles.  If an AMT fix had not been passed, approximately 28 million households would have been hammered with the Alternative Minimum Tax on their 2012 earnings.
-Millions of unemployed workers will continue to receive extended federal unemployment benefits.  We probably cannot really afford to keep doing this, but at least now there won’t be millions of unemployed workers that suddenly have their only source of income shut off.
The next trick will be to find jobs for all of those workers.  Unfortunately, millions of our jobs continue to be shipped to the other side of the world.
The Bad
-Payroll taxes are going up for every American worker.  The fiscal cliff deal allows the 2 percent payroll tax cut to expire, and so now the average U.S. household bringing in about $50,000 a year will pay approximately $1,000 more per year in payroll taxes.
As a result, it is being projected that U.S. consumers will have $115 billion less in disposable income to spend in 2013.  Happy New Year American workers!
-The fiscal cliff deal did nothing about the new Obamacare taxes that went into effect on January 1st.  Many of these taxes will hurt the middle class.  To see an example of a receipt where a consumer was charged the new “medical excise tax” in Obamacare, just check out this article.
-The carried-interest deduction loophole remains intact, so incredibly wealthy hedge fund managers will continue to get away with paying very little in taxes.
If the rest of us are being taxed into oblivion, then they should share in the pain with the rest of us.  Of course I personally believe that the income tax should be abolished entirely, but none of our politicians seem interested in that idea at all.
-Income tax rates will increase for high earners.  This will hurt a lot of small businesses.  Many small businesses that earn more than $400,000 a year will now be faced with making some really tough choices.  Some may have to lay off workers.
The top rate will now be 39.6 percent, but when other federal and state taxes are factored in, many small businesses will now be paying a top marginal rate of well over 50 percent.  That is absolutely obscene.

 A compromise was reached on the estate tax.  The exemption was scheduled to fall to just $1 million and the rate was scheduled to go up to 55 percent, and fortunately Congress decided to do something about that.
As I have written about previously, that would have been a disaster for many small businesses and family farms.  As a result of the fiscal cliff deal, the estate tax will only rise from 35 percent to 40 percent.
The exemption for individuals will be about 5 million dollars and for couples it will be about 10 million dollars, and those figures will now be indexed for inflation.
A tax increase is never a good thing, but if Congress had done nothing things would have been far worse.
-The fiscal cliff deal contains a lot of pork.  In particular, it contains provisions that extend specific tax breaks related to Puerto Rican rum, electric motorcycles, biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel, the film and television business, and motorsports entertainment complexes.
The Ugly
According to the Congressional Budget Office, as a result of this deal the U.S. national debt will be about $4 trillion higher a decade from now than it would have been if Congress had done nothing.
The deficit for fiscal year 2013 alone will be about $330 billion higher than it would have been if Congress had done nothing.
So this deal has made our debt problems even worse.
Right now, the U.S. has a debt to GDP ratio of about 103 percent.  We are already well into the “danger zone”, yet most Americans still don’t seem very concerned about all of this debt.
The fiscal cliff deal contained hardly any spending cuts at all.  In fact, there was a 41 to 1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts in the deal.
The Democrats definitely won this round.  But of course they had most of the leverage.  If Congress had done nothing, the middle class would have been absolutely devastated by all of the tax increases, and the Republicans were desperate to prevent that.
But now that the battle over taxes is done, the leverage is going to shift over to the Republicans for the next big fight.
The battle over the debt ceiling is next.  If Congress does not act, the U.S. government will soon not be able to borrow any additional money.  This battle will be one of the stories that dominates the headlines over the next few months.
If the Republicans want to do something serious about spending, now is their chance.  The battle over tax rates is already over, and there is no election in November.
The Republicans could conceivably say “NO” to a debt ceiling increase if they want to.  If that happened, the federal government would only be able to spend the money that it already has.  It would not be able to borrow more.  That would mean that we would have to start living within our means.
What a novel concept.
Of course there is no reason to believe that the Republicans in the House will suddenly grow a spine.  They have folded every other time that the debt ceiling has come up.  It will probably be the same again in 2013.
And Barack Obama is already saying that there will be “no negotiations” over the debt ceiling this time.  He expects the Republicans to raise the debt ceiling for him without getting anything in return
“I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether they will pay the bills they’ve already racked up.”
But the U.S. government cannot spend a single penny or borrow a single penny without the approval of the U.S. House of Representatives.
If the Republicans in the House want to ever get serious about government spending, the upcoming battle over the debt ceiling is a golden opportunity.
They could stop the Obama administration from piling up crazy amounts of debt if they want to.  All they need is the courage to take a stand.
During the first four years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government accumulated about as much debt as it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office.
The Republicans have had control of the House for about half of that time.  That means that they have been willing accomplices.
So will they take a stand?
That is very doubtful.  Over the past few years they have exhibited the intestinal fortitude of a frightened chicken.  They will probably huff and puff a little bit, but in the end they will probably give in to Obama once again.
But what we are doing to our children and our grandchildren is so immoral that it is hard to describe.  We are stealing more than 100 million dollars from them every single hour of every single day, and we plan on leaving them with the biggest pile of debt the world has ever seen.  We should be absolutely ashamed of ourselves.
Why can’t we just spend the money that we have?
What would be so wrong with that?
Unfortunately, that would mean such a painful downward adjustment in our standard of living that most Americans would freak out.  We are addicted to debt-fueled prosperity, and so we can’t stop stealing from future generations.  We need their money to feed our addiction.
In the end, this gigantic mountain of debt is absolutely going to destroy everything that our forefathers built for us.  There have been some people that have been warning about this for decades, but the American people did not listen.
Soon enough, we will all pay the price for this foolishness.

Mortgage activity slows at close of 2012

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. mortgage activity fell sharply in the final two weeks of 2012, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Thursday.
Mortgage activity fell 21.6 percent from the week ending Dec. 14 to the week ending Dec. 28, the association said. Refinancing activity dropped 23.3 percent over the same period.
For the week ending Friday, interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate conforming mortgages rose from 3.51 percent to 3.52 percent. Points for 30-year conforming loans rose from 0.45 to 0.48.
The average interest rate for 30-year contracts on jumbo loans -- those larger than $417,500 -- fell from 3.77 percent to 3.75 percent, matching an all-time low for the survey. Points for 30-year jumbo loans fell from 0.32 to 0.3.
Interest rates for 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose from 2.84 percent to 2.86 percent with points rising from 0.21 to 0.27.
The average rate for 30-year loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration fell from 3.35 percent to 3.34 percent with points rising from 0.58 to 0.61. Average rate for short-term, adjustable-rate mortgages fell from 2.66 percent to 2.65 percent in the week with points rising from 0.33 to 0.42, the MBA said.

The Banking Elite are Not Only Stealing Our Wealth, But They Are Also Stealing Our Minds

In the past several years, people worldwide are slowly beginning to shed the web of deceit woven by the banking elite and learning that many topics that were mocked by the mainstream media as conspiracy theories of the tin-foil hat community have now been proven to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt. First there was the myth that bankers were upstanding members of the community that contributed positively to society. Then in 2009, one of their own, Paul Volcker, in a rare momentary lapse of sanity, stated “I wish someone would give me one shred of neutral evidence that financial innovation has led to economic growth — one shred of evidence.” He then followed up this declaration by stating that the most positive contribution bankers had produced for society in the past 20 years was the ATM machine. Of course since that time, we have learned that Wachovia Bank laundered $378,400,000,000 of drug cartel money, HSBC Bank failed to monitor £38,000,000,000,000 of money with potentially dirty criminal ties, United Bank of Switzerland illegally manipulated LIBOR interest rates on a regular basis for purposes of profiteering, and though they have yet to be prosecuted, JP Morgan bank, Goldman Sachs bank, & ScotiaMocatta bank are all regularly accused of manipulating gold and silver prices on nearly a daily basis by many veteran gold and silver traders.

Over the past several years, many of the things that have been passed on to us as “truth” both in schools and in the media regarding financial principles have now been exposed as pure lies. We are in the process of coming full circle with the bankers and banks that were once consistently, regularly and deservedly vilified by US Presidents and US Congressmen in the late 1800s and early 1900s as “vipers and thieves” and as “evil institutions” that “impoverished and ruined the [American] people”. During the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s’, banking jobs, due to their high compensation and pay, remained the most highly sought after positions among recent MBA grads, and Presidents today still falsely laud bankers for their character (i.e. President Obama on Jamie Dimon: he’s “one of the smartest bankers we’ve got”). However, throughout history, we have often experienced cycles when the truth predominates for a long period, followed by a period when lies predominated for many years, and then ultimately followed by a period when a return to truth was ultimately realized once again.

Consider the case of Christopher Columbus, who historian Samuel Eliot Morison correctly identified in 1954, despite being a courageous explorer, as also undoubtedly an unconscionable murderer: “The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successors resulted in complete genocide” of native Indians in Cuba, Hispaniola and other places Columbus visited during his trek across the Atlantic. However, as time passed, the truth about Columbus was washed clean by American storytellers, and Columbus incredulously morphed from a genocidal mass murderer into a “hero” admired by millions of American school children for his “discovery” of America. Consequently, the US government followed up this revisionist delusional accounting of Columbus by bestowing him with the honor of a national holiday, Columbus Day. Finally, as the cycle of truth came full circle as it often does, and thousands of Americans learned of Columbus's genocidal activities, the US government responded to this movement of truth by revoking the status of Columbus Day as an official national holiday in America. This week, as we observe a Bloomberg journalist submit an article titled “UBS Libor Manipulation Deserves the Death Penalty”, I am confident that the circle of truth about banks and the banking industry's despicable transgressions against humanity will once again return to its rightful place as common knowledge among the masses and not just among the few.

Though the banking elite are now increasingly being exposed for their criminal activities against humanity in their theft of citizens’ wealth, rarely is another one of their greatest transgressions, their theft of citizens’ minds and the process by which they target and transform young adults into docile, obedient creatures through institutional academia, ever discussed. Below, please find a video of how children are targeted at a young age with psychotropic drugs, Skinner operant and Pavlov stimulus-response behavioral modification, and outcome based education (OBE) in the institutional schooling system to literally “dumb down” the critical thinking skills of young adults and turn them into zombie-like unthinking robots. Through behavioral modification and the heavy use of drugs, the banking elite are not only stealing wealth globally at this current time, but also stealing the minds of children to ensure that they will mature into obedient citizens of the state with very little capacity to exert their free-will and determine for themselves the dirty truth of the global monetary system and of our consequent enslavement. If you do not know of the intimate connection between the banking elite and their foray into, and their control of the global education system, then the below video is for you.

References included in the above video:

The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, by Charlotte Iserbyt
The Illusions of Psychiatry, by Marcia Angell
Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, by Robert Whitaker
Unhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry—A Doctor's Revelations About a Profession in Crisis, by Daniel Carlat
Doping Kids with Ritalin for ADHD, by Kelly Patricia O'Meara
Ritalin use for ADHD children soars fourfold, by Jamie Doward & Emma Craig
Raising the Ritalin Generation, by Bronwen Hruska
Infants receiving the most vaccines are the most likely to be hospitalized and die, by Neil Z. Miller

About the author: JS Kim is the Founder & Managing Director of SmartKnowledgeU, a fiercely independent investment & research consulting firm with a focus on Precious Metals and a mission of fighting the debt enslavement goals of bankers with a return to sound money principles. Follow us on Twitter @smartknowledgeu (Our promise to all of our clients is to keep them informed of the criminal banking cartel's movements in global financial markets to the best of our abilities every year. Despite the year-end banking cartel raid on gold & silver and the PPT pump of stock markets in 2012, our flagship Crisis Investment Opportunities newsletter still outperformed the US S&P 500 in 2012).

Scott Rothstein’s wife to plead guilty in jewelry coverup

Kim Rothstein faces federal prison time for the alleged effort to hide more than $1 million in jewelry after her husband’s Ponzi scheme imploded.


Kim Rothstein, left.
Kim Rothstein, left.
Amy Beth Bennett / AP

Sun Sentinel

The wife of Fort Lauderdale’s most infamous fraudster could soon be before a judge fighting for her own freedom.
Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein’s wife is scheduled to plead guilty on Feb. 1 to conspiring to hide more than $1 million in jewelry from federal authorities, one of her attorneys confirmed Wednesday.
Read the full story at

Read more here:

Analyst: Chances of U.S. Default Now 20%

Source: WSJ
A Washington analyst said that the U.S. government now has a one-in-five chance of defaulting on its debt, citing the acrimonious debate in Washington over resolving the fiscal cliff.
“The next fiscal cliff is going to be more toxic and could end with an almost unthinkable conclusion: a technical default on the U.S. debt,” wrote Chris Krueger, a senior political analyst at Guggenheim Partners’ Washington Research Group. “We are raising our odds of a debt default from 10% to 20%. This is largely due to the brinksmanship and regained leverage that Republicans will have on the second fiscal cliff.”
In 2011, the U.S. government narrowly avoided breaching the debt ceiling when policy makers reached a last-minute deal to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts. The U.S. government neared the debt ceiling again on Monday, and the Treasury Department has begun emergency measures to provide several more weeks of time before another potential debt crisis. Many Republicans have said they will demand deep spending cuts in exchange for any increase in the debt ceiling, but the White House has said it will no longer negotiate in this fashion.

USA Land of disposable people

While the USA goes around the world expounding on the virtues of its way of life, it is obvious that those in charge place little value on human life. They are willing to kill thousands, even millions, for profit, for power, for money, for oil and resources.
An inordinate amount of the national budget is put at the disposal of the military industrial complex.
The USA doesn't even value the lives of its own citizens.  Witness the numerous testing of weapons, drugs, medications, pesticides and what have you on the population.  This has been well documented in this space.
Also, it is one of the few developed nations that fails its citizens totally in the area of the right to adequate health care.  Those who cannot afford it, do not get it.  And I don't want to hear about the nonsense that people can go to an emergency room for treatment and not be refused...being given 100 dollar bandaids and then sued for medical care later on that the person was unable to pay for.
Another problem is the state's unwillingness to comprehensively deal with those members of society with mental illness.  All of a sudden the do-gooders (read cheap bastards) pontificate that the mentally ill have rights.
Yes, they have the right to refuse treatment.  They have the right to refuse medication.  That way no one has to take care of them.  That way they are not taking up a hospital bed or a room in a treatment facility.

Then, without the capacity to understand how to care for themselves, they end up homeless on the street.  Begging money.  Being robbed.  Being beaten.  Being hungry.  Committing crimes because they have no self control.
The very few community placements they have such as group homes evict them at the first sign of trouble.  So why are they there?  It's ridiculous.
Then there are the families.  Sometimes the unfortunate families, not wanting their loved one on the street, keep them at home, not wanting them to be vulnerable to the hazards of the streets.  But the lives of these families are pure hell.  There is violence, destruction, threats.  Lack of cooperation from the mental health system or law enforcement when the person gets out of control.  The person refuses to go to get help, the family is stuck, the police will not do anything.
It's a good chance that the woman killed today had that sort of personal hell, that has now expanded to many other families.
The 20-year-old suspect in the Connecticut school shootings, according to a law enforcement official, killed his mother at their home Friday and then drove his mother's car to the school where he went on a deadly rampage.
Adam Lanza is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Ryan Lanza, brother of the shooter, told law enforcement that his brother was believed to suffer from a "personality disorder" and was "somewhat autistic" and lived with the mother in Connecticut.  She taught at the school where the shootings took place.
So meet the mentally ill of the USA and victims of the many who go without treatment.  Meet more disposable people.  The politcal pundits and politicians then start a mantra about gun control in order to gain more control over the population.  It's not the guns, stupid!   It's the lack of care for your own people.
It is suggested that the USA gets its own house in order before dictating to the rest of the world.  Use the many blessings and resources of the land and people for your own people and not for trotting around the globe killing others for fun and profit while those at home suffer.  The capitalist system sees people as a disposable commodity, to be thrown out if not productive or useful in some way.  To be thrown out if blocking the wishes of the elite.  That's just not going to impress anyone to adopt the so-called "American Dream" which in reality is the American nightmare.  For its own citiznes and for the unfortunate citizens of the world who get in their way.
Lisa Karpova

Fiscal Cliff Deal Extends Measure Making it Easy for Wall Street to Avoid Taxes

The deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff” — which President Obama signed into law yesterday — included a host of corporate tax breaks, including breaks that benefit NASCAR and rum producers. As the Financial Times reported, another break will benefit big banks that park money overseas:
US banks and other large cross-border companies will retain a key tax break covering billions of dollars in foreign income under this week’s fiscal cliff deal.
Extending the so-called “subpart F exception for active financing income” will allow multinationals to defer paying US taxes on certain financial transactions undertaken outside the US. The companies are taxed by the US on that income only when it is brought back to the country. [...]
Companies including Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, General Electric and JPMorgan Chase have banded together to form the Active Financing Working Group, to lobby for renewing the exemption in recent years.
The group has paid $1.03m to lobbying firm Elmendorf Ryan since 2009 to campaign for the tax break to be extended, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Extending the exemption will cost the US Treasury some $9.4bn in lost revenue in 2013, according to estimates from the Senate Joint Tax Committee.
As Citizens for Tax Justice explained, “The active financing exception makes it easier for multinationals to expand overseas, making investments and creating jobs in foreign countries rather than here in the U.S., by reducing the related tax costs.” CTJ added, “The active financing exception also plays a significant role in the ability of large U.S.-based financial institutions to pay low effective rates.”

Meanwhile, the fiscal cliff deal allowed a cut in the payroll tax to expire, raising taxes on every working American. The deal will reduce U.S. economic growth by about 1.3 percent this year.

Bankers Love Socialism -- Professor Antony Sutton

A classic lecture by Professor Antony Sutton, who taught economics at California State University, and was a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover ...

The Federal Reserve (playlist)

Quantitative Easing Explained

The Supreme Court decisions concerning the 16th Amendment

  The Supreme Court is bound by the Constitution.  In Article I, Section 8, the Constitution grants jurisdiction to the federal government to regulate three areas of commerce:  “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes” - in other words, foreign commerce, interstate commerce, and Indian commerce.   
          The 16th Amendment, the income tax, has been the subject of many Supreme Court decisions.  The IRS always cites to the Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 240 U.S. 1 (1916), to inform the public that the income tax was held to be constitutional by the Supreme Court.  What the IRS doesn’t inform the public about Mr. Frank Brushaber, the central character in the Supreme Court case, is that he was a withholding agent for several foreign investors in the Union Pacific Railroad, acting as their fiduciary.
          The Supreme Court, obviously being aware of all of the pertinent details, ruled in the Brushaber case that the federal government always had the power to tax income as an excise tax and, therefore, the 16th Amendment is constitutional.
          The Supreme Court then ruled in the very next case it decided, Stanton v. Baltic Mining, 240 US 103 (1916), the following:  “… that by the previous ruling it was settled that the provisions of the Sixteenth Amendment conferred no new power of taxation, but simply prohibited the previous complete and plenary power of income taxation possessed by Congress from the beginning from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged and being placed in the category of direct taxation subject to apportionment by a consideration of the sources from which the income was derived…”.  The ”previous ruling” cited in the Stanton decision was referring to the Brushaber decision.
          A few years later the Supreme Court again ruled upon the 16th Amendment’s effect on the federal government’s power of taxation.  In Peck & Co. v. Lowe, 247 US 165 (1918), the Supreme Court stated, in part:  “The Sixteenth Amendment … does not extend the taxing power to new or excepted subjects …”.     
          The Supreme Court decisions above all inform everyone that no new power of taxation was granted to the federal government by the 16th Amendment.  These decisions all inform everyone that the federal government always had the power to tax income from the beginning.  Since no new power of taxation was granted to the federal government by the 16th Amendment and the federal government was held to always have had the power to tax income, then the revenue that’s being derived by the federal government from an income tax must come from one of the regulated commerce jurisdictions granted to the federal government by the Constitution – therefore, this revenue must come from foreign commerce, interstate commerce, or Indian commerce.  After all, generating income is a commercial activity.
          The Supreme Court ruled exactly that in Eisner v. Macomber, 252 U.S. 189 (1920), where the Court stated the following:  “The 16th Amendment must be construed in connection with the taxing clauses of the original Constitution and the effect attributed to them before the Amendment was adopted.”.       
          By realizing that Mr. Frank Brushaber was a fiduciary for foreign investors in the Union Pacific Railroad, it becomes obvious that the revenue being derived by the federal government from the income tax must come from foreign commerce.
          After the Brushaber and Stanton Supreme Court decisions were rendered, the Treasury Department issued its own decision, Treasury Decision 2313 (TD 2313).  TD 2313 was issued to “collectors of internal revenue” and it stated that the Internal Revenue Form 1040 is to be used only by the fiduciary of a nonresident alien who has received interest from bonds and dividends on the stock of domestic (US) corporations on behalf of that nonresident alien.  This Treasury Decision, which was based upon the Supreme Court decisions, confirms the foreign commerce nature of the income tax.  
          The statutes that make up the Internal Revenue Code must, therefore, be read in mind with the above Supreme Court decisions as well as the following Supreme Court decision:
          “It is elementary law that every statute is to be read in the light of the Constitution.  However broad and general its language, it cannot be interpreted as extending beyond those matters which it was within the constitutional power of the legislature to reach.” – McCullough v. Com of Virginia, 172 U.S. 102 (1898).
          The Social Security scam was created to enslave free, sovereign Americans.  An American applying for a Social Security number has become a federal employee by joining a partnership (the Social Security number is the partnership number) that is attributing an undistributed dividend to that American as a partner in that partnership, said dividend being the link to foreign commerce that subjects that American to Treasury Decision 2313 and the requirement to file an Internal Revenue Form 1040.  The undistributed dividend, known as a patronage dividend within the Internal Revenue Code, is offset by the American’s foreign tax credit, FICA.
          The Internal Revenue Form 1040 has a large section titled “Tax and Credits”.  Within that area are various credits that can be claimed by attaching the corresponding form, for instance:  Form 2441 for credit for child and dependent care expenses, Schedule R for credit for the elderly or the disabled, Form 8863 for education credits, Form 5695 for residential energy credits, Form 8880 for retirement savings contributions, etc.  However, the foreign tax credit line states “Attach Form 1116 if required”.  It only states “if required” because the Form 1040 automatically is claiming a foreign tax credit, FICA.  FICA is a possession tax as stated at 26 USC Section 7655, and the possessions are treated as foreign countries (26 USC Section 865 and Section 872 for example).  This makes FICA a foreign tax and it is the credit that is used to offset the earnings represented by the undistributed patronage dividend.
          Social Security is the biggest fraud ever instituted – making a free, sovereign American nothing more than a subservient slave for the federal government.  The federal government (actually its owners, the international counterfeiters who have bankrupted the federal government) has had to contrive this incredible fraud in order to get around the bedrock of America – the Declaration of Independence which states that “all men are created equal”.  Since all men (and women) are created equal, no one American or group of Americans may initiate fraud or force against another American or group of Americans, including the government, which is simply made up of other Americans.  No one may convey a power to any government agent that that person does not have.  In other words, Americans can not vote to give a power to the government that Americans do not have to begin with.  The government and its owners, the international counterfeiters (the Federal Reserve) know that the government has no power over free, sovereign Americans.  The prohibition, the depression, and wars have all been masterfully engineered in order to get Americans to give up their sovereignty by enrolling in Social Security.

Economy Contracting At 8% Then 10% And Then It All Goes To Hell

The US economy is contracting at 8% a year if you believe the estimates from Goldman Sachs and Dr John Williams at Shadow Stats. Goldman estimated the US economy is grew at 1% in the last quarter of 2012 but Williams said the real inflation rate was 9.6%. That puts the real GDP shrinking at 8.6% after you subtract out inflation. I truncated that to 8% and freely admit the real contraction rate could only be 6%.
J P Morgan has already evaluated the tax increases from the Fiscal Cliff deal made on New Years Day. It will depress the GDP by an additional 1%. Mario Monti, former Goldman Sachs VP, was appointed Prime Minister of Italy and levied an additional tax on property. He managed to cut Italian Christmas retail sales 12% from last year’s already depressed levels. Taxes on the wealthy in the US are going up but withholding taxes will go up 2% a week for those who still have jobs. That raises the rate of our contracting economy to 9% but we still have to discuss Obamacare.
Micheal Snyder estimated that Obamacare will put a trillion dollar drag on the economy. Millions of workers will be working fewer hours so their employers can avoid paying for health insurance. Others have already been fired because the additional cost would have bankrupted their former places of work. I estimate that Obamacare that this will contract the economy by another 1% by March for a total of 10% before taxes are due on April 15th.
This might be a good time to discuss the Gross Domestic Product, inflation and other government definitions. The government inflation and unemployment rates are about a third of the real numbers we would arrive at if we used the definitions Ronald Reagan inherited from Jimmy Carter in 1980. In 1980 if someone was cut from 40 to 25 hours at work, he would be considered unemployed but not today. Also wages are lower now than in 1980 so the word job does not mean the sane thing that it did then. 1 in 4 workers in America works at or below the adult minimum wage in Great Britain, The minimum wage today is $7.25 an hourhere and was $1.25 when Kennedy was President. But those quarters were 90% silver. $1.25 in silver quarters weighs one ounce which would be worth $30 if you sold it online.
I heard a chemist say that he bought a blender 40 years ago which broke and he replaced two years ago. It lasted two years and had to be replaced recently. His comment was that the old blender was a darn sight cheaper than anything available today because of planned obsolescence. Another criticism is illustrated by an American who was injured while in Switzerland and paid less than $200 by doctor at a clinic there which he said would have cost ten times that back in America. What would happen to America’s GDP if we devalued what America spends on healthcare by what it would really be worth if we had access to medicine in Europe or Asia where treatments are far cheaper? In the last 10 years U.S. spending on healthcare doubled from $1.3 trillion to $2.7 trillion a year. It is expected to reach $4.6 trillion in 2020, at which point per-capita spending on healthcare will exceed $13,000 a year. US GDP is running about 15 trillion dollars but is it fair to compare that to what happens in other countries? Under Obamacare insurance premiums are slated to go up 20% in 2013. Millions of people will be forced to  buy health insurance. Does that mean our real GDP is actually increasing?
So how do we quantify this change in GDP due to the new health insurance laws? People will be spending 20% more on health insurance at a time when their after tax incomes are declining. A lot of businesses will have to close their doors in 2013 because their customers just do not have any money to spend. Yet the politicians will be back in February and March trying to figure out how to cut our benefits and raise our taxes. They never did bother to pass that bill to give relief to Hurricane Sandy victims. They did avoid cuts to military spending and those mandatory cuts will have to be dodged again when we have another vote to raise the US Treasury debt limit of 16.394 trillion dollars. Secretary Geithner says some of those bonds are not subject to the debt ceiling limit so the Congress has a little time to delay in its decision making. This might be a good time to repeat my prediction that the US Treasury deficit for calendar year 2013 will pass 2 trillion dollars.
As I said my best guess is that the US economy will be contracting 10% a year in March when the Congress has to vote again on more tax increases but that will be two months after our take home pay was cut. The voters are going to be really angry next time. These are the same Americans who bought ten million rifles in the ten days after Obama called for a gun ban in the wake of the Newtown shooting. This is the country whose citizens own 700,000 slide fire stocks that permit them to fire more than 700 bullets a minute from their AR-15s and AK-47s. This is not Spain where the police last year beat women in the face with clubs at Occupy Wall Street rallies  and this year chased peaceful protesters into the subways of Madrid so they could beat them. That European level of tax increases and Austerity cuts combined with police brutality will not happen in America. Americans are not as well behaved as Europeans and we have 300 million guns. The Second Amendment is there so we can say No.
The decline in revenues will force state and local governments to lay off civil service workers and raise taxes again in 2013. They already laid off 500,000 civil servants in the last round of cuts after the 2008 financial crisis. Another round of state and local cuts will be coming our way this summer. I have predicted that more than 1,000 cities, counties, school districts and other local agencies will be defaulting on their bonds this year. Though most of these will be due to several severe natural disasters I have been predicting. This will crash the bond market.
I have often quoted Dr Steve Keen who has said we have the greatest level of debt in 500 years so we will have  the greatest Depression in 500 years if we do not cancel the Unpayable Debts. I have also been predicting Hyperinflation and the crash of the dollar in 2013. There will be a cascade of nations dumping dollars as they see America rapidly deteriorate. Most US dollars are overseas so when they are repatriated prices will double overnight which when combined with higher taxes and health care costs will set 280 million Americans at or near the poverty line.
And that will be when hell is released on earth.
Notes: Want a good reason to cut defense spending? Read this.
Barbara Honegger And  The Pentagon Attack Papers in 2 Minutes
Want to explain to friends why Austerity never worked in Europe? Read this.
The Mathematics Of Austerity: Proving Austerity Never Was Even Intended To Work
This next  article explains why fractional reserve banking must be abolished.
IMF Economists: ‘We Were Wrong.’ Will Someone Please Tell The Press And The Politicians.
I think the following is the most feasible means of seizing the tens of trillions of dollars stolen from us by the bankers:
Memo To Pentagon: Compare The Invasion Of Lichtenstein And The Cayman Islands To War With Iran And Syria

FBI Should Investigate Bankers, Not Protesters

Reader Supported News | Perspective

ecember 16th of 2012 marked the 239th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, when activists clad in Native American costumes protested a tax code that benefited a multinational corporation at the cost of taxpayers, and committed one of the biggest acts of property destruction in history by dumping the East India Tea Company's product into the Boston Harbor by the crateful. For nearly fifty years, the act was either shunned or ignored by the populace. But today, those activists' names are among the revered "founding fathers" of our country.
Yet, while we celebrate the radical activists behind the Boston Tea Party, today's activists protesting corporate greed and a rigged tax system are labeled "terrorists" by the federal government and investigated as such. This week CNN reported what most of us in the movement already knew and assumed - that the FBI had been closely monitoring the Occupy movement since its infancy and considered the movement's organizers a terrorist threat. And judging from a photo of my #S17 arrest in the CNN article's slideshow, it's safe to say I'm probably being closely monitored as well. Maybe they're reading this article. Maybe they'll at least learn something.
Since September 17, 2011, police have arrested at least 7,719 people affiliated with Occupy Wall Street. But since September of 2008, when banks, ratings agencies, corrupt regulators and complicit economists helped cause the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, not one banker or corrupt government official has been jailed. The fact that the federal government has used extensive resources to help coordinate law enforcement response to the Occupy movement is well-documented. The FBI's budget request for 2013 is $8.2 billion. Surely, with 34,000 employees and an impressive budget, the FBI could glean all the information they needed for the arrests of those who rooked families out of their homes to make excessive short-term profits. There's certainly no shortage of evidence that can be found for free with a simple Google search.
According to redacted FBI documents, federal agents had been warning the New York Stock Exchange of a coming "anarchist protest" since August of 2011, a month before the movement even began. Surely they also knew in advance that Moody's and Standard and Poor's were intentionally giving AAA ratings to worthless mortgage-backed securities that Goldman Sachs eagerly sold to state pension funds on the open market, then referred to as "shitty deals" in private emails with one another. If the FBI spent the same amount of time and resources on gathering evidence to use against corrupt bankers in court as they did on profiling Occupy Wall Street activists, we might not even be protesting right now.
It's offensive that our government, which was founded on revolutionary war against tyrannical government and protesting the multinational corporations they colluded with, puts nonviolent protesters in the same classification as terrorists. It's offensive that it is now considered criminal activity to peacefully protest economic inequality. But it's disgusting that our government is letting real terrorists and criminals get away while going after the very people trying to make things right.
It shouldn't shock anyone anymore to say that the United States is now a police state, or that walking on a sidewalk in New York City while protesting can end up with your head in between a cop's knee and a sidewalk, or that the I in FBI stands for Intimidation rather than Investigation. Hoping that President Obama will suddenly start caring about the rights of protesters in the United States or appoint a new Attorney General that will prioritize the protection of the First Amendment is naÔve and silly. But what we should do is continue to build our own evidence locker against the bankers, continue to announce their crimes to all who would hear, and keep risking arrest to get the truth out. Maybe we can finally turn the cops against the real bad guys.

Now You Know The Rest Of The Story

The income tax amendment was pushed through Congress in 1909 by Sen. Nelson Aldrich, father-in-law of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and grandfather and namesake of Nelson A. Rockefeller.
At this time during the Taft administration, Philander Knox served as the Secretary of State from 1909 to 1913. Knox was for many years the primary attorney for the richest men in America, including Carnegie, Rockefeller, Morgan and the Vanderbilt's. Just a few days before he left office in 1913, to make way for the Wilson administration, Knox proclaimed the 16th Amendment to be ratified, even though he knew it had not been legally ratified. The 16th Amendment was not ratified as Knox had fraudulently proclaimed.
Ratified or not, the United States Supreme Court has ruled:
"...[the 16th Amendment] conferred no new power of taxation...[and]...prohibited the...power of income taxation possessed by Congress from the beginning from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged...".
– United States Supreme Court in Stanton v. Baltic Mining (1916)
Article V of the U.S. Constitution controls the amending process, which requires that three-fourths of the states ratify any amendment proposed by Congress. In 1913, there were 48 States in the American union, so to adopt any amendment required the affirmative act of 36 states.
The federal government claimed Kentucky was the second state to ratify the 16th Amendment, on Feb. 8, 1910. However, the records of the State of Kentucky show that after the Kentucky House proposed a resolution to adopt the amendment and sent it to the Senate, on Feb. 8, 1910 the Kentucky Senate voted upon that resolution, but rejected it by a vote of 9 in favor and 22 opposed. Apparently, the Kentucky Senate never did ratify that amendment. Federal officials, who had possession of documents showing this rejection, nevertheless claimed Kentucky had ratified the amendment.
In Oklahoma, the proposed amendment was passed by the language of the 16th Amendment in such a fashion as to have a precisely opposite meaning. The California legislative assembly never recorded any vote upon any proposal to adopt the 16th Amendment. And whatever California did adopt bore no resemblance to what Congress had proposed. Several states engaged in the unauthorized activity of amending the language of the amendment proposed by Congress, a power that these states did not possess.
Minnesota sent nothing to the Secretary of State in Washington, but this did not stop Philander Knox from claiming that Minnesota ratified the amendment, regardless of the absence of any documentation from the State of Minnesota.
In February 1913, Knox issued a proclamation claiming that 38 states had ratified the amendment – including Kentucky, California, and Oklahoma. But since Kentucky had rejected the amendment, California had not voted on it, and Oklahoma wanted something entirely different, the amendment was not legally adopted, the number of ratifying States being only 35, which Knox said included Kentucky, California and Oklahoma. Then a total of 11 states failed to vote on the amendment, plus Minnesota sent in nothing. That would only leave 33 states, less the states that took it upon themselves to change the amendment. In the final analysis, if the process of the adoption of the 16th Amendment is subjected to strict legal scrutiny, the amendment was never adopted. Knox told a boldface lie. Thus, Knox had created his clients’ the largest cartel in the world. Nevertheless, the people were not buying into the tax scheme, ever so cognizant that a 1894 income-tax was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1895.
During World War I, the secretary of the Treasury explicitly suggested use of "widespread propaganda" to convince the public to forgo their "needless pleasures". The Treasury Department implemented what it called a "campaign of education" regarding the income tax. Its "essential features" included government-supplied news stories and editorials as well as encouragement of special cartoons and films. Perhaps the most intriguing feature was its use of the clergy. The commissioner of Internal Revenue reported that "Thousands of clergymen, at the suggestion of the Bureau, made taxation the subject of at least one sermon." As a result of the "patriotic response" aroused "dissatisfaction and complaint over the burden imposed by taxation were minimized." Government officials commented that "the groundwork was laid for securing in ensuing years of prompt and regular response to revenue demands." To perpetuate its success, the Bureau of Internal Revenue advocated "the most intensive cultivation of intelligent public opinion" (U.S. Treasury Department 1919: 964-65, 974).
The citizens of America still didn’t buy into the scheme of income tax allowing politicians to coerce them out of their hard earned money. But the greedy politicians would not give up. To increase public awareness and acceptance of the income tax, the government used volunteer public speakers to persuade the American people that paying taxes was their patriotic duty to support the war effort. One-third of the cost of World War I was paid for by income taxes. Additional funds needed for the war effort were provided through war bonds, liberty loans and other government borrowing.
At the beginning of World War II, in 1939 about 15 % of the people paid income tax. That’s all! The government called on Walt Disney to produce a cartoon to support the war effort. Disney agreed and made a cartoon with Donald Duck. The cartoon urged the average American to save, not spend, their money...but to pay income tax to support the war. (Cartoon): You don’t wanna forget our fighting men, do you laddy? Donald: "No, Sir!!!" Then you’ll have to meet your tax payments... Donald also informed, "that it is ‘your privilege, not just your duty, but your privilege to help your government by paying your tax and paying it promptly’." More than 32 million people saw the film in the first few months of 1942, and a Gallup poll reported that "37 percent felt the film had affected their willingness to pay taxes." Without doubt, such government propaganda manipulated political information in ways that raised the expected marginal cost of income tax resistance. Revenues increased dramatically. In 1941 the government collected $7.4 billion in taxes. By 1945, the tax total had increased to $43 billion. At the end of the war the government had 80% of American families paying income tax. The willingness to pay income taxes and to buy more bonds demonstrated the deep involvement of the civilians caring and support to the military. Politicians had at last found the key to the unyielding pocket books of America. As the president and Congress imposed ever higher income taxes, tax payment was wrapped in patriotism and remains so today: the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, wars fought on behalf of the United Nations, Defense systems, supporting foreign governments in the name of freedom, etc.
Sixty years later nothing has changed; Americans are still paying taxes and being dumbed down by propaganda provided by the governments and the controlled media. Docile as we may be, with fluoride in our drinking water, we are entertained with sports, recreation, movies, and just about anything else you can name all for sanctioning taxation. Public education being controlled by governments has also played a key role in developing a subservient citizen towards taxation and government. To prove this point we need only to look at what we are being told today. The government says "Budget Surplus," a normal person would say, "No, Excessive Taxation", or "Abusive Taxation". The government says it’s "their money", a normal person would say, "No, it’s my money!" The government doesn’t trust you with "your money", and therefore must decide on how it will be spent. And being a people fearful of the tyrants in government, we say nothing.
The truth is there is no Constitutional law for income tax as it is applied to the masses today.

Hollande vows to revive French supertax

France's President Francois Hollande gives his New Year 2013 address  
Mr Hollande said the law would be redesigned with the same objective

France's President Francois Hollande says he still plans to raise the top rate of income tax after his 75% plan was struck down on technical grounds.
In a national address on New Year's Eve, he said the law would be redesigned, adding, "we will still ask more of those who have the most".
However, he did not mention the 75% figure, leading some to speculate that the move would be watered down.
The president also promised "all efforts" towards cutting unemployment.
The number of jobless broke the three-million barrier for the first time this year, prompting Mr Hollande to say the trend must be reversed.
Mr Hollande has been criticised for lacking direction, and his popularity levels have plummeted, since he took power in May.
He acknowledged the "serious and legitimate" concerns of the public, and that there had been "fits and starts" in his first six months.
But the president insisted France would emerge from the financial crisis "sooner and stronger" than expected because of action by his government.
"We've set the course - jobs, competitiveness and growth - and I will not deviate. It's the future of France," he said.
Business anger The Socialist president said he would resubmit his flagship policy of raising income tax for those earning more than 1m euros (£817,000) a year.
It was rejected by the Constitutional Council on Saturday because, unlike other forms of income tax, it was to be applied to individuals rather than households.
Mr Hollande said while the law would be "redesigned" its objective would remain the same - that those who could afford to do so should pay more to France's effort to tackle its deficit.
The policy has angered France's business leaders and the right-wing opposition, who say it discourages entrepreneurship and wealth-creation. It has led to some wealthy citizens, like the actor Gerard Depardieu, to say they would emigrate.
While the measure is popular with Mr Hollande's supporters on the left, some analysts think it may be dropped or watered down, possibly by raising the income level at which it is paid.
"I suspect this tax will be shelved," Philippe Gudin, an economist for Barclays and a former French treasury official, told Reuters news agency.
"For the [low amount of] revenue it would raise, the outcry it has provoked and the damage it has done to France's image, it would be more sensible if it were quietly buried."

Jim Rickards: Fiscal Cliff Is a `Train Wreck You See Coming'

Jim Rickards: Fiscal Cliff Is a `Train Wreck You See Coming'

Bill Gross on 2013: Bernanke Isn't Rumpelstiltskin, Can Only Spin Straw Into Gold For So Long

Bill Gross on 2013: Bernanke Isn't Rumpelstiltskin, Can Only Spin Straw Into Gold For So Long

Reality Check: The Ugly Truth of the "Fiscal Cliff" Deal

(FOX19) - The House has passed the fiscal cliff bill and that means the American economy has been saved from disaster.

At least that is what lawmakers in Washington might tell you.
So what is the truth behind this fiscal cliff bill?
Ben has the ugly details in a Reality Check you won't see anywhere else.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.

Best Buy Co Inc Stock Sell Recommendation Reiterated (BBY)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a sell with a ratings score of D . The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and generally high debt management risk.
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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Specialty Retail industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 106.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $154.00 million to -$10.00 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Specialty Retail industry and the overall market, BEST BUY CO INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for BEST BUY CO INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 26.10%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -0.09% trails that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $101.00 million or 90.73% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.26 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
Best Buy Co., Inc. operates as a retailer of consumer electronics, computing and mobile phone products, entertainment products, appliances, and related services primarily in the United States, Europe, Canada, and China. Best Buy has a market cap of $3.89 billion and is part of the services sector and retail industry. Shares are down 50.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.
You can view the full Best Buy Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

Tim Carney: How corporate tax credits got in the 'cliff' deal

Photo - CHICAGO - JANUARY 22:  A General Electric Co. (GE) logo is displayed on the door of one of the company's microwave ovens being offered for sale at a Sears store January 22, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Today GE posted a 19% slump in fourth-quarter earnings, but still beat Wall Street expectations.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - JANUARY 22: A General Electric Co. (GE) logo is displayed on the door of one of the company's microwave ovens being offered for sale at a Sears store January 22, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Today GE posted a 19% slump in fourth-quarter earnings, but still beat Wall Street expectations. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
 The "fiscal cliff" legislation passed this week included $76 billion in special-interest tax credits for the likes of General Electric, Hollywood and even Captain Morgan. But these subsidies weren't the fruit of eleventh-hour lobbying conducted on the cliff's edge -- they were crafted back in August in a Senate committee, and they sat dormant until the White House reportedly insisted on them this week.
The Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012, which passed through the Senate Finance Committee in August, was copied and pasted into the fiscal cliff legislation, yielding a victory for biotech companies, wind-turbine-makers, biodiesel producers, film studios -- and their lobbyists. So, if you're wondering how algae subsidies became part of a must-pass package to avert the dreaded fiscal cliff, credit the Biotechnology Industry Organization's lobbying last summer.
Some tax lobbyists mostly ignored the August bill "because they thought it would be just a political document," one K Streeter told me. "They were the ones that got bit in the butt."
Here's what happened: In late July, Finance Chairman Max Baucus announced the committee would soon convene to craft a bill extending many expiring tax credits. This attracted lobbyists like a raw steak attracts wolves.
Former Sens. John Breaux, D-La., and Trent Lott, R-Miss., a pair of rainmaker lobbyists, pleaded for extensions on behalf of a powerful lineup of clients.
General Electric and Citigroup, for instance, hired Breaux and Lott to extend a tax provision that allows multinational corporations to defer U.S. taxes by moving profits into offshore financial subsidiaries. This provision -- known as the "active financing exception" -- is the main tool GE uses to avoid nearly all U.S. corporate income tax.
Liquor giant Diageo also retained Breaux and Lott to win extensions on two provisions benefitting rum-making in Puerto Rico.
The K Street firm Capitol Tax Partners, led by Treasury Department alumni from the Clinton administration, represented an even more impressive list of tax clients, who paid CTP more than $1.68 million in the third quarter.
Besides financial clients like Citi, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, CTP represented green energy companies like GE and the American Wind Energy Association. These companies won extension and expansion of the production tax credit for wind energy.
Hollywood hired CTP, too: The Motion Picture Association of America won an extension on tax credits for film production.
After packing 50 tax credit extensions into the bill, the committee voted 19 to 5 to pass it. But then it stalled. The Senate left for the conventions and the fall campaign. Meanwhile, House Republicans signaled resistance to some of the extensions -- especially for green energy.
One lobbyist said he didn't worry too much about the Baucus bill because "we knew the House wasn't going to pass it." But another lobbyist, who had worked on the Puerto Rico issues, said he saw Baucus' bill as an important starting point that "set the parameters" of a future fight with House Republicans.
But there never was a fight. Baucus' bill sat ignored until last week, when the White House sat down with Senate Republicans to craft a deal averting the fiscal cliff.
A Republican Senate aide familiar with the cliff negotiations tells me the White House wanted permanent extensions of a whole slew of corporate tax credits. When Senate Republicans said no, "the White House insisted that the exact language" of the Baucus bill be included in the fiscal cliff deal. "They were absolutely insistent," another aide tells me. (The White House did not return requests for comment.)
Sure enough, Title II of the fiscal cliff legislation is nearly a word-for-word replication of the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012.
So, this wasn't a case of lobbyists sneaking provisions into a huge package at the last minute. That probably wouldn't have been possible, many lobbyists told me Wednesday, because the workload in the past two weeks was too large and the political stakes were too high.
One lobbyist who worked on the bill over the summer said he would never ask a member " 'Hey, can you do this for a client,' when their political lives are on the line."
"The legislators and the staff go underground when things get so intense," another Hill staffer-turned-lobbyist told me. "Nobody has time for a meeting. Nobody wants to talk about what's going on. ... The key is to plant the seed months in advance."
GE, Goldman Sachs, Diageo -- they planted their seeds over the summer. They'll enjoy the fruit in the new year.