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It was a GOP wave.

“Americans … have risen up and retired Harry Reid as [Senate] majority leader,” says @SenTedCruz.

In a near-sweep of yesterday’s midterm elections, Republicans shifted the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, gaining at least seven seats, widened their majority in the House by at least 11 seats and defeated Democrats in 24 governor’s races.

“We are headed to Washington and we are going to make ’em squeal,” a triumphant Joni Ernst, Iowa’s newly elected Republican senator, told cheering supporters in West Des Moines.

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President Obama had said his policies were on the ballot, even if he wasn’t, and in those terms it was difficult not to see the results as a repudiation by voters of an unpopular president and his Democratic allies.

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Vote November election, Change Things Sign

Ahead of the Nov. 4 midterm elections, the major television news outlets are covering the anticipated anti-Obama voter backlash with far less fervor than in 2006, when a public disgruntled with President George W. Bush handed control of Congress over to Democrats.

According to an analysis by the conservative Media Research Center (MRC), the three U.S. broadcast news networks are covering this year’s elections — widely anticipated to be a net loss for Democratic incumbents — with a frequency that pales in comparison to the incessant anti-GOP coverage they offered ahead of the 2006 midterms.

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5 Bills in the Land of the Free that are straight out of Atlas Shrugged

by Simon Black

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“John Galt is Prometheus who changed his mind. After centuries of being torn by vultures in payment for having brought to men the fire of the gods, he broke his chains—and he withdrew his fire—until the day when men withdraw their vultures.”

Sick of the overbearing regulation, taxation, and entitlement mentality in society—in the book Atlas Shrugged, John Galt went to one entrepreneur after another to convince them that they just didn’t need to put up with it anymore.

They didn’t need to keep propping up a system that was trying to destroy them. Where’s the point in continuing to feed a parasitic system?

So one by one, these innovators and producers simply closed up shop, deciding to just “shrug” and abandon what they were providing thanklessly to the looters.

Today many companies are doing the same. They may not be abandoning their businesses altogether, but they are moving them out of the hands of the parasites by moving their tax bases abroad.

In Ayn Rand’s book, the Economic Planning Bureau dealt with this by legislating that no businesses could leave: “[a]ll the manufacturing establishments of the country, of any size and nature, were forbidden to move from their present locations, except when granted a special permission to do so.”

In real life today, we have a string of policies being proposed to similarly discourage companies from leaving, or failing that, to try to claw as much money as possible from them first.

First, take the H.R. 5278: No Federal Contracts for Corporate Deserters Act, which bars federal contracts for American companies that have gone overseas for tax purposes.

Then take the H.R. 5549: Pay What You Owe Before You Go Act, which seeks the seizure of unrepatriated corporate revenue.

Even the language used by these bill’s supporters is eerily similar to the novel, as politicians call for corporations to pay their “fair share” and bemoan that Americans have to “pick up the tax burden inverted companies shrug off.”

At the time, Rand might have thought that she was writing about an extreme, fictional society. But it seems that the Land of the Free is eager to exceed even her worst expectations.

When she wrote about the “Economic Emergency Law”, which forbade any discrimination “for any reason whatever against any person in any matter involving his livelihood”, she was likely thinking about criteria such as race, gender, and age.

She might have even considered they would try to prevent employers from making judgments based on a person’s ability, though I’m sure she would not have even imagined what politicians have actually come up with in the US.

Try the S. 1972/ H.R. 3972: Fair Employment Opportunity Act that proposed to prohibit discrimination according to a person’s history of unemployment.

Or even worse, the S. 1837: Equal Employment for All Act that would have prohibited employers from even looking at prospective employee’s credit ratings.

The literary similarities don’t just stop with corporations either. Compare the fictional Project Soybean, designed to “recondition” people’s dietary habits to the actual H.R. 4904: Vegetables Are Really Important Eating Tools for You (VARIETY).

Tell me, which one sounds more ludicrous to you?

With each new piece of legislation being proposed in the Land of the Free, Atlas Shrugged seems to be ever more prophetic.

While even the most terrifying elements of the book are coming true, so are the reactions.

People and companies are leaving, refusing the put up with the looting of their efforts any longer.

Despite politicians’ desperate attempts to stop it, Atlas is already shrugging.

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Want an Economic Boost? Let’s Kill the Death Tax

Death and taxes are two of life’s certainties, but the tax on death itself should certainly be eliminated. A recent analysis by The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis found that doing away with the federal death tax would provide a much-needed, long-lasting boost to the nation’s economy. Indeed, it would increase economic growth by $46 billion over the next 10 years and add an average of 18,000 jobs per year throughout that period.

The federal death tax (officially known as the “estate tax”) confiscates 40 percent of the income and assets, above a specified exemption, that individuals leave behind after their death. The exemption currently stands at $5.34 million. Because of this high exemption level, the death tax hits only a small fraction of Americans directly — a fact that makes the levy popular among those who believe it is good tax policy to “soak the rich.” Yet for years pollsters have found widespread popular support for eliminating death taxes.

Perhaps Americans despise the death tax because taxing someone for dying just seems wrong. Or perhaps they recognize that income and assets seized by the death tax have already been taxed once — if not twice — by the feds. Or maybe antipathy toward the tax abounds because the American Dream instills the hope that we, too, may someday accumulate significant wealth to pass on to our children.

Americans’ disapproval of the death tax is primarily rooted in fairness, but the economics confirm that the death tax is also inefficient. For starters, some can avoid the death tax through careful — albeit expensive and time consuming — financial planning. But this kind of planning promotes second-rate decision making; in attempting to avoid the death tax, individuals spend more and invest less, while companies voluntarily restrict their growth. These substandard choices mean other companies lose out on investments that are not made, and other workers and consumers lose out on jobs, products and services that are never created.

Despite careful planning, some individuals and businesses cannot avoid the death tax. For example, many small, family-owned businesses are asset-rich but cash-poor. When the owner of such a business dies and the government comes to collect 40 percent of the assets left behind, many of those family-run operations are forced to sell off part or all of their business. This is great news for large corporations who can swoop in and buy up those enterprises at fire-sale prices, or who reap the benefits of reduced competition, but it is bad news for the employees of those businesses who lose their jobs and for the communities who lose their products, services and community involvement. Despite the devastating impacts on those it affects, the death tax brings in only a minuscule amount of federal tax revenue, making it one of the most inefficient forms of taxation. The death tax is a tax on capital, which often has been double-taxed (as regular income and dividend income) before death. Higher taxes on capital reduce the amount of investment in the economy. Lower investment means workers are less productive. Lower productivity means lower wages. And lower wages, in turn, generate less tax revenue.

Although estimates of the death tax’s effects on economic growth and tax revenues vary, the inefficiency of the death tax is well documented. An extra $46 billion in economic growth over the next 10 years may not sound like all that much in a $17 trillion economy. But considering that the death tax generates just about one-half of 1 percent of all federal tax revenues, its elimination would actually provide a lot of bang for the buck. What’s more, incorporating additional distortions of the death tax — such as its compliance costs and cause of inferior decision-making — would lead to even bigger economic gains. Some estimates have even found that eliminating the death tax would generate so much economic growth that tax revenues would rise.

Federal policymakers should heed the will of the people and kill the death tax once and for all.