Kathleen Kane: Still putting off being fitted for her orange jumpsuit.

Remember Kathleen Kane, the former Democratic Attorney General of Pennsylvania? The First Street Journal did several articles on her, noting her legal troubles, which eventually led to her conviction on several charges, and was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in jail.

While reading an article on alleged misconduct by Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, I recalled Mrs Kane’s legal problems. While the photo shows the former Attorney General being led away in handcuffs, she was quickly released on bail as she filed an appeal of her conviction. So, when I did a google search, I found this article:

Convicted former AG Kathleen Kane: Prosecutor given too much power

Updated on June 16, 2017 at 7:53 PM Posted on June 16, 2017 at 7:51 PM

Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D-PA) is led away from the Montgomery County Courthouse in handcuffs.

Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D-PA) is led away from the Montgomery County Courthouse in handcuffs.

Associated Press: The former Pennsylvania attorney general who’s been sentenced to jail for leaking secret grand jury information and lying about it said in an appeal filing Friday that a judge gave too much power to the special prosecutor who investigated her.Kathleen Kane argued in the document filed with Superior Court that Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter’s decision to give the special prosecutor grand jury authority was illegal and unconstitutional.

“While Judge Carpenter had the inherent authority to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate a grand jury leak, no statute, rule of court, judicial opinion or other legal precedent authorized him to invest the special prosecutor with the authority to fully utilize the power of the investigating grand jury,” her lawyer wrote.

Once glamorized by The New York Times and declared the Democrats’ new “It Girl” by Real Clear Politics, Mrs Kane now has only jail forward to which to look. Disgraced, disbarred and divorced, she has little future ahead of her beyond working in a convenience store, unless she wins the ridiculous alimony she is seeking. Mrs Kane is currently receiving $350,000 in alimony and child support from her estranged husband, Christopher Kane of Kane is Able trucking, and is anticipating about $6 million in the final settlement.

Why do I bring this up now? Mrs Kane was sentenced a year ago, on October 25, 2016: if she had just bitten the bullet then, and started serving her sentence, she’d almost certainly be out of jail by now. Perhaps she would have avoided jail altogether in her appeal, but she’s been under heavy restriction while out on bail, not exactly jail but restriction nevertheless, and has little more freedom than she’d have had as a first offender in a minimum security facility.

Mrs Kane’s sons were aged 15 and 14 when she was sentenced, and she asked the judge not to send her to prison, not to separate her from her children. Now they are 16 and 15, and, had she gone ahead and done her time, she’d still be with them during their high school years. By not getting it over with, she could very well miss their high school graduations as her postponed sentence keeps hanging over her head.

We love it when the Democrats don’t get to work! Living in 2016 won't help them win in 2018

When I first heard about this, I thought, “This has got to be a hoax!”

Thousands of Americans Will Scream Helplessly at the Sky on Trump’s Election Anniversary

By Chris Riotta | October 23, 2017 | 2:08 PM

Updated | Thousands of concerned citizens will take part in a new ritual of sorts: commemorating the anniversary of Donald Trump’s election by screaming at the sky.

Wahhh! Hillary Clinton supporters crying when she lost.

Wahhh! Hillary Clinton supporters crying when she lost.

Over 4,000 Facebook users have RSVP’d—another 33,000 are interested in attending—to the Nov. 8 event being held in Boston that is literally titled “Scream helplessly at the sky on the anniversary of the election.”

The event is pretty much self-explanatory. On the anniversary of last year’s election, thousands will flock to the Boston Common for a party fueled by despair and aggravation over the contest’s winner—whom 73 million Americans voted against.

“This administration has attacked everything about what it means to be American,” Johanna Schulman, a local activist in Cambridge who is working on organizing the event, told Newsweek Friday. “Who wouldn’t feel helpless every day? Coming together reminds us that we are not alone, that we are part of an enormous community of activists who are motivated and angry, whose actions can make a difference.”

Protests have erupted across the country since Trump took office, with the Women’s March, which took place the day after his January 20 inauguration, possibly marking the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history. Nearly all the demonstrations came with a call to action: The Women’s March demanded gender equality and inclusion; protests at airports nationwide stood in opposition to Trump’s travel restrictions on Muslim-majority nations. Other events have been spearheaded by progressive organizations like Planned Parenthood as fundraising initiatives.

Hillary Clinton supporter celebrates Donald Trump's victory.

Hillary Clinton supporter celebrates Donald Trump’s victory.

The scream event is certainly a one-of-a-kind protest, but it isn’t the only unique demonstration created in the wake of Trump’s election. Residents of Washington, D.C., flocked to Vice President Mike Pence’s house and threw a dance party celebrating the LGBT community. Nationwide, groups also are finding new ways to engage with their representatives, including baking cupcakes for Republican lawmakers when they derail Trump’s conservative agenda.

The upcoming Boston scream party is a departure from taking action against the administration and its agenda. Instead, Americans will be provided the unique opportunity to vent their rage by shouting at the darkening skies above, all the while expecting nothing in return.

There’s more at the original, but this is really hysterically funny: this sounds like the kind of ‘event’ that James O’Keefe or Milo Yiannopoulos or Roger Stone would organize, just to get more funny pictures and mock the left. Republicans were absolutely gleeful at the photos of Hillary Clinton’s supporters breaking down in tears at her ‘victory’ party, as it became increasingly obvious that Donald Trump was going to win the election. “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων) appears seven times in the Gospels (Matthew 8:12, 13:42, 13:50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30 and Luke 13:28), as descriptions of the sufferings of those condemned to Hell, and it seems as though the left want to symbolize that again.

So, if this really isn’t a hoax, I hope that the left do exercise their freedom to peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances. Let them scream helplessly to the sky.

Happy birthday, Hillary Clinton! This tweet did not age well

I’m pretty sure that this was added by a staffer rather than the candidate:

Two days after her 69th birthday, James Comey gave her a belated present. :)

Mrs Clinton turns 70 today. That makes her a year younger than President Trump, but she’s pretty obviously in much poorer health. It is somewhat amusing how many articles I’ve added under the categories of 2016 Elections and Hillary Clinton as a candidate in that year, this late in 2017. The election was 50 weeks ago, and the left are still weeping and gnashing their teeth over it, with Mrs Clinton’s book tour sucking all of the air out of the room as far as the Democrats are concerned. Senator Bernie Sanders (S-VT) introduced his single-payer health care plan, but it was quickly yesterday’s news, as Mrs Clinton said something else on her book tour. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tried to get publicity for his “Better Deal,” but it was quickly overshadowed by other news; almost no one remembers it now.

While the candidates are almost always introduced as “The next President of the United States,” perhaps the candidate herself bragging about such isn’t particularly good form. I’m just surprised that it’s still available on Twitter!

Well, as a Republican and a conservative, I’m quite happy that the left are still fighting the 2016 election, with some,1 including her, fantasizing about how Mrs Clinton could still become President. The longer Mrs Clinton’s book tour keeps sucking the coverage away from all of the other Democrats, the less time they’ll have to get ready for the 2018 elections.

Is journalism actually being done?

First I saw this tweet:

Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier

By Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman | October 24, 2017 | 7:21 PM

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.

After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.

There’s more at the original, and the story has hardly been fleshed out, but it at least hints of Clinton campaign contacts with Russia.

Then came this tweet from CNN’s Jake Tapper:

Obama-era uranium deal yields new questions, new accusations and new investigation

By Jessica Schneider and Mary Kay Mallonee, CNN | Updated 8:33 PM ET, Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Washington (CNN)House Republicans announced a probe into the circumstances surrounding the sale of a uranium mining company to Russia’s Atomic Energy Agency, Rosatam, that was approved by the Obama administration in 2010. The deal had to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a committee that is composed of representatives from several US government agencies, including the State Department, which at the time was led by Secretary Hillary Clinton.

New questions have been raised by Republican lawmakers in light of reporting by The Hill that while the uranium deal was being reviewed and approved, the FBI was in the beginning stages of a racketeering and extortion investigation into a US subsidiary of Rosatom. The Hill reporting raises the allegation that decision-makers on the uranium deal, including members of Congress, were informed of the racketeering investigation that was ongoing. Further, the Hill cites sources indicating that Russian nuclear officials routed millions of dollars to the US that were designed to benefit the Clinton Foundation at the same time the deal was approved. The Hill does not indicate there’s any evidence to show that Clinton was influenced by this.

The FBI criminal probe resulted in the sentencing of Vadim Mikerin, an executive at Tenex (a subsidiary of Rosatom), to a 48-month prison sentence for conspiracy to commit money laundering. Mikerin pleaded guilty for his role in a bribery scheme where Russian interests had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks.

There’s more at the original, but, by golly, it looks as though at least some of the credentialed media are starting to tale a non-sycophantic look at Democrats, specifically the Obama Administration and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The Hill scooped everyone else with the Uranium One story, and most of the credentialed media refused to touch the story for a couple of days. It reminded me of 2007, when The National Enquirer broke the story about Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards paying off of his mistress, Rielle Hunter, and the credentialed media ignored it, until the Enquirer presented so much actual evidence that the rest of the media had to pay attention. The Hill is a respected news source, something that the Enquirer is not, but the credentialed media were treating the Hill story the same way, until now.

Of course, the professional media were busying themselves with truly important matters, like criticizing Melania Trump’s stilettos.

Now, we’re beginning to see a shift. Perhaps it began with the media’s coverage of Hillary Clinton’s book tour, and the non-fawning reviews of her book and the book tour. Even before former NPR CEO Ken Stern’s article on the liberal bias at NPR specifically, and among journalists in general, NPR was noting how conservatives were fleeing California for Texas. Perhaps it has been pushed by the conservative sites such as Breitbart and the things on Twitter that catch people’s eyes; the credentialed media lost its ‘gatekeeping’ function long ago. Perhaps some will be dragged along, kicking and screaming — think Chris Cuomo and MSNBC and Paul Krugman here — but there’s a hint, just a hint, of actual journalism being attempted here.

Freedom of Speech works both ways

From The Washington Post:

‘It’s BS’: MLB player who knelt during national anthem denied service at Alabama restaurant

By Jacob Bogage | October 24, 2017 | 3:19 PM

Bruce Maxwell (@Bruu_truu13) was barely home in Huntsville, Ala., when he met a rude welcome. Out to lunch with Huntsville city councilman Devyn Keith (@DevynsKeith) and another friend, a waiter recognized Maxwell, the catcher for the Oakland Athletics who knelt during the national anthem, and refused his table service.

Maxwell ordered a beer with his meal, and the waiter asked for drivers licenses from everyone at the table, Keith said. When he saw Maxwell’s ID, the waiter told the group he wouldn’t serve them.

“He said, ‘You are that guy. You are the guy who took a knee,’ ” Keith said. “And then everything changed.”

“He goes, ‘I voted for Trump,’ ” Maxwell told TMZ Sports, ” ‘And I stand for everything he stands for.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, really?’ And our councilman went and got their manager and had some words with him and took him off of our table and put us another person on our table. That’s where I’m from.”

Maxwell told The Washington Post in a text message, “I’m really over that happening and it’s BS.”

Keith, a 27-year-old Democrat, called the episode, “an embarrassment.” He and Maxwell promised the restaurant’s management they wouldn’t publicize its name so people would continue to support local businesses.

“I believe in the fact that this was an idiot doing a stupid thing than a small business doing something wrong,” Keith said.

The idiot doing a stupid thing was Bruce Maxwell, not the waiter who refused to serve him. The unnamed waiter might have been risking his job, but he exercised his freedom of expression just the way Mr Maxwell did in Oakland.

This is what happens when professional players decide to exercise their freedom of speech: not everyone is going to respect what they have to say, and everyone has a right to react and respond — within the law, of course — as he sees fit. This waiter saw fit to refuse to serve Mr Maxwell, and it would be a very good thing if other people did the same.

Of course, it’s already happening, though not quite as personally. The Sporting News, not exactly a political publication, noted:

The league’s average TV audience through Week 5 of the 2017 season dropped 7% vs. the same period of the 2016 season, according to Nielsen data obtained by Sporting News. Worse for the league, the average game audiences are down 18% compared to the first five weeks of the 2015 season.

The NFL’s average TV audience (including Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, Monday night and Thursday night games) slid to 15.156 million viewers through Week 5 of the 2017 season. That’s down 7.42% from an average of 16.371 million viewers through the same period of the 2016 season, and 18% down from the average of 18.438 million viewers through the first five weeks of the 2015 season.

But there’s more: CNN’s Frank Pallotta pointed out:

Ratings last season were hampered by presidential campaign coverage, but viewership rebounded when the election ended and as the playoffs approached. This season got off to a bad start due to Hurricane Irma, which got around-the-clock coverage and prompted evacuations in Florida.

In other words, this season’s numbers are down from the previous year, which also saw a decline in viewership.

There are some trying to explain away the ratings and attendance declines. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports began:

People are staying away from the NFL. Viewership is down and empty seats are up compared to the record ratings of a few years ago. It’s hard to argue that fact. Any camera angle that panned across the upper deck in any number of stadiums Sunday confirmed that fact. The issues with ratings are well-documented.

Then he tried to explain it away by stating that it isn’t the player protests, but bad teams with awful quarterbacks. That a lot of teams in the NFL are dog teams is true, but the same thing has been true for a while now. Mr La Canfora picked on the hapless Cleveland Browns in his article — and the Browns traded away the opportunity to draft Carson Wentz, who’s lighting in up in Philadelphia — but the Browns have been hapless, haven’t had a winning season since 2007, and won only one game in all of 2016. If there aren’t that many teams people want to watch this year, well there weren’t a lot of teams worth watching last year, either.

The fans, people who like pro football, have been exercising their freedom of speech, their rights to assemble peaceably, by choosing not to spend money on NFL games, by choosing not to assemble at football stadia across the land. The fan not in the stands isn’t quite as personal as the waiter who refused to serve Mr Maxwell, because no one knows who isn’t there.

Freedom of speech works both ways: the players have a perfect right to protest anyway they wish, and the fans can do the same. My congratulations to the unnamed waiter in Huntsville, for taking a stand.
Cross-posted on RedState.

Did President Trump know we had 1,000 troops in Niger?

From Real Clear Politics (a totally false site name if there ever was one):

Schumer: I Didn’t Know U.S. Has Troops In Niger; Time To “Reexamine” Post-9/11 AUMF

Posted By Tim Hains | October 22, 2017

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responds to the admission from GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham that he “had no idea the U.S. had deployed more than 1,000 troops to the African country of Niger, as a result of the post-9/11 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against “radical Islamic terrorism.” Schumer says that he also did not know the military was active in that part of the world until four special forces soldiers died there this month.

CHUCK TODD: You heard Senator Graham there. He didn’t know we had a thousand troops in Niger. Did you?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER: Uh No, I did not. And what it means, uh Chuck, for the war authorization, is I agreed with Senator Paul that we ought to look at this carefully. We are in a brave new world, you know, there are no set battle plans. You don’t declare war and then fight three weeks later. But having said that, the constitution says Congress has the power to declare war, and if you’re in a long-term war, Congress ought to keep that ability. So we need to reexamine this. We’re on an A.U.M.F. that extends uh 16 years, from right after we were attacked at the World Trade Center. So I would be for reexamining it. Absolutely. There’s no easy answer, but we should look at it. The answer we have now is not adequate.

This raises a very obvious question: Did President Trump know that we had 1,000 troops in Niger?

That is not an insulting question. Rather, while the President has access to all of the information he wants, American troops are deployed all around the world, and there are ‘missions’ which are too small to be brought to his attention, at least until something goes wrong. The deployment to Niger began in 2013; did President Obama know about it, did he approve it, was what was supposed to be a drone base important enough to bring to presidential attention?

Niger is a former French colony, and France normally undertakes efforts to provide assistance, including military assistance to its former colonies. If Niger needed Western help, France should have been the nation to provide it. Other than Niger’s uranium mines, there is no reason for the United States to be there at all.

There was a significant intelligence failure which led to the deaths of four American Special Forces soldiers, so now we all know about the deployment there. It’s time to ask why we’re there, and whether it is a worthwhile mission.

Federal judge: Registered sex offenders cannot be kept from using the internet

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Judge strikes down Kentucky’s social media ban for sex offenders

By John Cheves | jcheves@herald-leader.com | October 20, 2017 1:07 PM

Frankfort: Kentucky’s registered sex offenders have the constitutional right to use Facebook, Twitter and other online social media, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Ruling in a lawsuit brought by a Lexington child pornography defendant identified only as “John Doe,” U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove struck down Kentucky’s sweeping restrictions on internet access for registered sex offenders.

“This is a very important decision,” said Scott White, a Lexington attorney who represented Doe. “The laws effectively deprived anyone on the sex offender registry of access to the most effective forms of communication that we have today. It was a complete suppression of speech.”

One law prohibited sex offenders from using social networking websites or instant messaging or chat rooms that potentially could be “accessible” to children — which is to say, much of the internet. The other law required sex offenders to keep their probation or parole officers updated on all of their email addresses and various online identities.

Van Tatenhove cited a unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in June that struck down a similar North Carolina ban on social media for sex offenders, in part because so many civic institutions — from elected officials to news media — are now tied into social media.

Read more here.

It’s difficult to criticize part of the judge’s decision, given the Supreme Court ruling in Packingham v North Carolina, though I fail to see how requiring a registered sex offender to keep his probation officer informed about all of his e-mail and social media identities is a violation of the First Amendment.

But it absolutely pegs the irony meter that the legal filing and the Herald-Leader, which may not have had the information, can make a claim that the freedom of speech of a registered sex offender is being restricted, yet the identity of the registered sex offender making the claim is being hidden behind the “John Doe” alias.

Mr “Doe’s” crime was the possession of child pornography, something that is obtained over the internet. Mr “Doe’s” claim that the internet restriction prevented him from accessing public officials’ websites and inhibited his ability to seek employment has at least some argumentative merit, but requiring someone already convicted of using the internet to obtain child pornography to keep his probation officer informed of all of his e-mail and other online identities does not restrict his freedom of speech; it simply makes it more difficult to hide any future attempts to access child pornography.

One further point: Mr Cheves’ article was fairly diligent in posting hyperlinks to sources supporting his story, seven of which were included, but failed to include what is possibly the most important link:

Doe said he was convicted in 2007 of one count of possessing child pornography. As a result, he must register his home address with authorities as a known sex offender on a list that is publicly available.

The most important link would have been to the Sex Offender Registry list maintained by the Kentucky State Police, the link which would have been of the most interest and most use to readers. For all of the research Mr Cheves did for this article, this was the most glaring omission; one hopes that he can update his article to provide the link for future readers.

The Devil is in the Deficit: καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτοῦ ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ

From The Wall Street Journal:

U.S. Ran $666 Billion Deficit In Fiscal 2017, Sixth Highest on Record

U.S. revenue and spending both hit record highs in fiscal 2017, according to department

By Kate Davidson | Updated October 20, 2017 | 2:54 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON—The federal budget deficit widened in fiscal year 2017 to the sixth highest deficit on record as government spending growth outpaced growth in tax collections for the second year in a row, the Treasury Department said Thursday.

The budget shortfall rose to $666 billion in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, up $80 billion, or 14%, from fiscal year 2016. That tracks with an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, which had predicted a $668 billion deficit for the last fiscal year.

Federal tax receipts reached a record high in fiscal year 2017, at $3.3 trillion, thanks to slightly faster growth, according to a senior Treasury official. But government outlays also hit a record high last year at nearly $4 trillion, 3% higher than they were in the previous fiscal year, thanks to increased spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as higher interest payments on the public debt.

As a percentage of gross domestic product, the deficit totaled 3.5%, up from 3.2% in fiscal year 2016.

“Today’s budget results underscore the importance of achieving robust and sustained economic growth,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement accompanying the report. “Through a combination of tax reform and regulatory relief, this country can return to higher levels of GDP growth, helping to erase our fiscal deficit.”

How appropriate: the number of the beast is 666. καὶ ἵνα μή τις δύνηται ἀγοράσαι ἢ πωλῆσαι εἰ μὴ ὁ ἔχων τὸ χάραγμα, τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ θηρίου ἢ τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ. ὧδε ἡ σοφία ἐστίν· ὁ ἔχων νοῦν ψηφισάτω τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ θηρίου, ἀριθμὸς γὰρ ἀνθρώπου ἐστίν· καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτοῦ ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ. (Revelation 13:17-18)

The number is just a coincidence, of course, not far off from what the government had estimated it would be, but this coincidence should focus our minds on the problem of the deficit. Some will want to lay this at the feet of President Obama, but President Trump, for most of the fiscal year, and the Republicans who control Congress are just as much to blame. Worse, the tax cut plan being pushed by the GOP will increase the deficit, not pare it back.

I have said it before: yes, I want tax cuts, but I want spending cuts first. No, not promises of spending cuts once tax cuts have been passed; we’ve gone down that road before, and spending never gets cut. We need to cut spending, and that means real cuts, not just slowing down the rate of spending increases, spending cuts that will actually hurt real people; if we are not willing to hurt real people, we will never, ever get spending under control.

The last thing they should do! Will Congress foul up retirement savings plans to pay for a tax cut?

From The Wall Street Journal:

Talk of Retirement-Savings Cap Rattles Financial Industry

GOP lawmakers are looking for ways to generate revenue to support broad reductions in individual tax rates

By Anne Tergesen and Richard Rubin | October 20, 2017 | 7:00 a.m. ET

Proposals floating around Washington to cap the amount that Americans can contribute before taxes to 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts are unsettling professionals in the retirement industry.

Republicans are looking for ways to generate revenue to support broad reductions in individual tax rates. One idea is to limit the amount of pretax money households can sock away for retirement saving. Such a move would likely generate significant political blowback but it hasn’t been explicitly ruled out, stirring worry among industry lobbyists.

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee are widely expected to release a version of the tax bill by mid-November. Specifics on a wide range of issues remain unclear. Emily Schillinger, a spokeswoman for the Ways and Means Committee, declined to comment.

Lobbyists and others in the retirement and financial services industries who have spoken to congressional staff and committee members say lawmakers are looking at proposals that would allow 401(k) participants to contribute significantly less than what is currently allowed in a traditional tax-deferred 401(k). An often mentioned amount is $2,400 a year. It isn’t clear whether that would only apply to 401(k)s or IRAs or both.

Currently, employees under age 50 can save up to $18,000 a year in a 401(k), while those 50 or older can set aside up to $24,000. In an IRA, the annual contribution limits are capped at $5,500 and $6,500 for the same age groupings. The 401(k) limits are scheduled to rise to $18,500 and $24,500 in 2018.

There’s more at the original.

Given that money contributed to a 401(k), 403(b) or IRA plan is eventually taxed, it’s not as though people are somehow ‘getting away’ with avoiding taxes. The underlying theory is that people will wait until retirement to withdraw money from such plans,1 and, no longer earning a paycheck, will be in a lower tax bracket when the money is withdrawn. Thus, for the Feds, people withdrawing money from tax-deferred accounts won’t be paying as much tax on their retirement savings as they would have were the money taxed when earned.

This proposal will impact the working class: if your 401(k) contribution rate is 6%2 would be contributing $3,120 per year into his 401(k) plan, matched with $1,560 by his employer. A proposal to limit such to $2,400 per year would mean that either the employee would have to limit his contribution to $2,400 per year, (4.6%) meaning only $1,200 additional by the employer, effectively a pay cut, or that a second, Roth-style 401(k) plan3 would have to be set up for contributions over $2,400.

The current maximum deferred plan rates, $18,000 and $24,000, are very much middle class issues. You’d have to earn $90,000 and defer 20% of your income into a 401(k) plan for someone under 50 to hit the limit.4

An obvious question: why would Republican congressmen want to cause troubles for the very voters who put them in office? The people such a change would affect are the people at the lower and middle ends of the economic spectrum, wreaking havoc among settled retirement savings plans, forcing changes upon them. More, some small businesses would have to put time and money into expanding their 401(k) retirement plans to include Roth options if they don’t already have them. There are more than a few employees in 401(k) plans who are not prepared for any greater complexity in how those plans work and are run.

In theory, helping to finance lower tax rates by reducing the maximum 401(k) deferral rate could be a net wash for some people, but when we are talking about the working class, people already at the lowest tax bracket, that washout wouldn’t occur. We should always encourage people to save for retirement, to avoid poverty during retirement years; all that this ‘plan’ can do is to trade more immediate revenues for greater elder poverty in the outyears.

Defined benefit retirement plans are falling by the wayside, as many who worked in the steel industry discovered when their former employers went out of business, and the pension plans employees thought would be there when they retired were gone. Defined contribution plans are what is happening now, and the last thing that the Congress should do is try to hold back what employees can save.
Cross-posted on RedState.

  1. There is a 10% federal tax penalty for withdrawing funds before age 59½.
  2. The most common participation rate is 6% by the employee, matched 50¢ on the dollar by the employer, an employee earning $25.00 an hour, or $52,000 a year. Standard assumptions: 40 hours per week, without overtime, over 52 weeks per year.
  3. Under Roth plans, the money contributed is taxed before contribution, but is then tax-free upon withdrawal. Once you have been in a Roth plan for five years, the gain on investment is non-taxable as well. I always urge people who ask me to put their money in a Roth plan, because the value of untaxed gains can be enormous.
  4. In 2016, Vanguard reported an average contribution rate of 6.2%, while Fidelity reported 8.4%.