End Exploitation: Illegal Immigration, Tax Credits, ID Theft, And The Border Crisis

I was tipped off to a 2015 KSL article in the comments (thanks Jen). The report is super as it has several illustrations for today: Republicans say Obama giving immigrants ‘amnesty bonuses’

Armed with new Social Security numbers, many of these immigrants who were living in the U.S. illegally will now be able to claim up to four years’ worth of tax credits designed to benefit the working poor. For big families, that’s a maximum of nearly $24,000, as long as they can document their earnings during those years.

Obama has issued executive orders shielding about 4 million immigrants from deportation. Some were brought to the U.S. as children; others are parents of children who are either U.S. citizens or legal residents.

They’re referring to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It’s something that should sound familiar if you’ve read this blog. It involves illegal aliens not only engaging in identity fraud but tax fraud as well and the IRS basically doesn’t care. To catch up, read the posts on WTHR’s Bob Segall’s outstanding investigative reporting on this issue. Better yet, check out all his reports from the source: WTHR Tax loophole investigation.

Based on the above, it may be possible for one of the illegal aliens who used a fake ID to ‘game the system’ and get a huge EITC for ineligible family members to turn around and file again (thanks to Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty) but under the new social security number they were assigned. Thus, they could double their take of taxpayer funds.

One means that this may be prevented is if the IRS flags their earnings documentation as having already been reported under a different SSN but, given Segall’s findings, that appears unlikely.

Then there’s the identity theft aspect that goes hand-in-hand with illegal immigration:

How does Social Security know when it receives taxes from immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally? There is no foolproof method, Goss said. One way is by tracking reported wages in which the Social Security number does not match the name the agency has on file.

Some of these are clerical errors or unreported name changes, But Goss estimates that a majority of these wages come from immigrants who have made up Social Security numbers or used someone else’s.

The numbers are huge.

It’s well known and well documented that illegal aliens engage in identity theft (along with credit fraud and medical ID theft) and leave plenty of innocent victims in their wake (besides those murdered, drunk/other vehicular deaths, and sexual assault and decades long humanitarian/drug border crisis). Amnesty, HB116 and/or cheap labor proponents like the media, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints prefer to ignore it and hope no one notices the one-sided compassion for the perpetrators and blind eye to victims. But so does the Federal Government.

The IRS upper echelon obviously doesn’t care. Even before Obama’s amnesty, Segall found frustrated IRS officials upset at the abuse and blind eye to the identity theft. The Treasury Inspector General wasn’t happy either. With Obama’s amnesty, the “supporting documentation” they provide will clearly, again, indicate earnings via a fraudulent social security number. Fortunately, you can count of IRS chief, Koskinen, to thumb his nose at victims, citizens/legal immigrants, IRS workers and the IG.

The IRS accepts these tax returns without reporting the taxpayers to immigration authorities, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. That encourages the workers to pay taxes.

“We don’t enforce the Social Security laws, we don’t enforce the immigration laws,” Koskinen said of his agency. “In fact, the reason illegal immigrants file taxes with us is they know we aren’t sharing that data with anybody. We treat it as taxpayer-protected information.”

The IRS was supposed to finally take action with a rule change but I have no idea if it was ever implemented (Segall’s investigation ends there).

Finally, the article ends with a line that unwittingly exposes and condemns the Chamber of Commerce:

“Let’s not forget that these workers receive the lowest wages for what they contribute to their communities and local economies,” said Ellen Sittenfeld Battistelli, policy analyst at the National Immigration Law Center. “What do we as a nation gain by further impoverishing them?”

This is an admission that points that illegal aliens are getting paid below market rates (thereby likely artificially depressing wages and innovation) and underpaid employees are dependent on these credits. Unscrupulous employers (and the Chamber of Crony Capitalists) are quite happy to have taxpayers subsidize their lust for cheap labor.

This exploitation of various victims needs to end. The wall must be built and it is essential that E-Verify be implemented to turn off the magnet and perverse incentive to hire underpaid, illegal labor for competitive advantage.

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Bountiful Power Pamphlet Shorts Out

This month a pamphlet was included in the city power bill. Overall, the pamphlet is a good representation of Bountiful City Light & Power. It includes several factual statistics (customer number, kilowatt hours sold etc.) and discuses their employees.

First, I do want to point out that the section on their crews’ dedication and service is right on the money:

…crews are available to respond when required: day or night, on sunny days, and snowy days…Bountiful Power crews work quickly and safely to get the power back on so your life can go back to normal.”

I can attest, first hand, that the power department folks are courteous and dedicated and I appreciate their outstanding crews. If you’ve dealt with them, I’m sure you’ve found the same (tip: it’s always a good idea to call HQ and with feedback and ask that they recognize a good employee).

Anyway, I didn’t know how to title this post and, with scant time as usual, I just went with the above. So how does the pamphlet ‘short out’? It’s the line that “public power results in…reduced taxes”.

As demonstrated here, it does not. At best, it transfers who collects the revenue. At worst, it is used as a defacto taxing entity by city politicians manipulating and over-charging customers on their power rates to collect additional revenue and thus also cloak the true tax/government burden on citizens. Bountiful City politicians employ the latter tactic, unfortunately. This tax hiding results in a higher overall burden, in my estimation, as most citizens aren’t aware of the revenue transfer from power department to the city and don’t realize how much government actually costs them, particularly for political crony/pet projects.

I don’t know who decided to add the last page with the “reduced taxes” sophistry but it’s too bad as it detracted from the rest of the message.

Utah Media Bias Chris Jones (KUTV) Style

Waste is always worthy of being exposed and addressed. It’s the pretentious nature and condescending attitude Jones has toward parents (i.e. ‘outsiders’) coupled with his failure to disclose conflicts of his go to “expert” and one-sided reporting that torpedoes his credibility. His bias was on full display.

Here’s a snippet from his report (“APA charter school blew nearly $500K in botched expansion plan”):

American Preparatory Academy [APA] is in the middle of a lengthy, expensive legal battle that has cost Utah taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, all thanks to what critics suggest is poor planning and a sense of entitlement.

“It was an expensive, dubious project to undertake,” said Carol Lear of the Utah State School Board.

He goes on to go after APA’s actions but here’s what Jones left out of his report:

  • He didn’t disclose Carol Lear is a counsel attorney to Lear & Lear, LLP, a competing law firm (specializing in education law) to the one paid to represent the charter school in Jones’ report. Her firm is one which, just a few months ago, bid on a state school board contract resulting in conflict of interest concerns: “State board mulls possible conflicts after firms of 2 school board members bid on $40,000 contract“.
  • Jones didn’t disclose Lear’s apparently passionate involvement prior battle with this issue and APA which occurred and was reported on over a year ago. She certainly wasn’t one of the “board members [who] were more moderated in their communications, while still hinting at discomfort over the issue.”
  • In the televised newscast, he concluded, telling the KUTV anchors, that charter schools aren’t managed well because parents sit on the board instead of an elected politician or a professional education administrator.

Believe it or not, parents have a vested interest in the school’s operation (they pay for school and often volunteer) and their kids are directly involved and may be harmed. Meanwhile, a politician’s interest is in a career path. Of course, the media is in bed with professional political swamp, so not much of a surprise here that KUTV would want to promote the latter.

Charter schools are far, far more responsive to parents than a traditional school. I speak from experience. Obviously, not all charter schools are good (conversely, plenty of traditional schools suck too) but they are overall much more responsive and, at least, bear the consequences of their actions (decreased enrollment, funding, and eventual closure). Traditional schools generally don’t have this level of feedback. In economics, it’s been long known that the closer an individual or organization is to the funding source of their service, the better job they do – just read the section on public and private education pros and cons in Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations.

I looked through several KUTV “Beyond the Books” reports and I didn’t see such a ‘tenacious’ report on waste and poor management from the traditional public schools and I’m sure there’s plenty (some options: student data sharing, school fee abuses, Taj Mahal buildings, apparent violations of Utah code and district policy). Maybe he’ll go after them with the same zeal but I’m not counting on it.

I’m sure Jones has never found any problems with any politician’s decision…well, besides those he politically disagrees with. But he can sure run some exposé when it’s someone outside the anointed Utah political insider club like a bunch of parents on  a board…ugh that icky rabble should just stay out of the playpen.

All this begs the question given the one-sided nature of his “reports”: Who’s feeding Jones the attack information so he can act as their hired gun? At least one of his benefactors is the left-wing Alliance for a Better Utah who sicced him on School Board member Lisa Cummins and I suspect he’s happily aligned with them and/or just plain lazy and happy to regurgitate what he’s been told.

I already linked to this above, but if you really want to know what’s going on with the APA issue in a much more objective manner read this in full: Should Utah charter schools be allowed to seize private land? Maybe Jones should ask the article’s writer, Benjamin Wood, to mentor him. Otherwise, he and KUTV are always welcome to the world of blogging where he can spout his opinion rather than feigning objectivity.

Note: I’m not affiliated with APA nor at all enamored with their actions based on what I read in Wood’s actual reporting (last link above). I’m just sick of pretend journalists (“fake news”). If you’re going to advocate, fine,  just be open and explicit – don’t call yourself a journalist.

Side note for potential future reference: I stumbled on this. Apparently Carol Lear isn’t a fan of concealed carry and weapons training in schools:

“It’s a terrible idea,” said Carol Lear, a chief lawyer for the Utah Office of Education. “It’s a horrible, terrible, no-good, rotten idea.”
Utah educators say they would ban guns if they could, but legislators left them with no choice. State law forbids schools, districts or college campuses from imposing their own gun restrictions.[I believe this the opinion of the UEA]

Local Swamp: Bountiful City Not Only Wastes Citizens Tax Money But Surrounding Cities’ As Well

A few months ago, Bountiful city council politicians voted to go forward with yet another “revitalization” project for Main Street. That’s code for blowing tax money on some pet project they like or special interests lobby for (AKA, pork). These projects are usually well outside the scope of core and appropriate government function but rationalized away. Once approved, the funding schemes begin.

In this case, Bountiful City is going to put in some unnecessary plaza and has decided to include an “ice ribbon” (narrow outdoor skating area) which will double as a roller skating facility once the ice is off. So, the city is taking your money to pay for someone else’s hobby/fun.

Now the funding scheme. Besides blowing Bountiful families’ and fixed income residents’ money on this, the Mayor (Randy Lewis) has managed to secure money from Centerville, West Bountiful, Woods Cross and North Salt Lake residents. He was able to do this because he serves on the recreation district board with other mayors (this is key). The board voted to have the recreation district pay half of the operation, maintenance and repair costs for the ice ribbon (that includes a Zamboni to resurface the ice) for the next 30 years. Thus they voted to use the recreation district’s taxpayer funds for Bountiful’s benefit.

Why would the other mayors take taxpayer money from the district to, in effect, supplement Bountiful’s budget? It comes down to back scratching and the time-tested political stunt of accountability dilution (spreading the blame). The other mayors know that Mayor Lewis will vote to cough up recreation district taxpayer money for their future pet projects (back scratching). Since ‘the board members’ voted for the wasteful spending and to supplement another city’s tax revenues, each mayor can say it was a board decision and dilute their culpability when citizens question the spending.

Not only are Bountiful residents on the hook for this project but surrounding cities’ residents are also tied to it for the next 30 years. Now that’s what I call government efficiency!

For what it’s worth, this is the same recreation district board also recently voted themselves a “salary” (politicians who pushed for the recreation center “promised” the board would be an unpaid position) and gave their whole household free annual recreation center passes.

Finally, I’m tired of hearing all the conservative virtue signalling about fiscal responsibility, respect of families, and individual accountability in Bountiful. It’s bunk. When push comes to shove, many are happy to turn to government and demand you pay for something they think is cool but don’t want to pay for or are too lazy/entitled to or ask for voluntary donations/cooperation. It’s that voluntary cooperation that creates a true community that cares – not rationalizing and forcing people to pay for fun perks. Bountiful definitely isn’t conservative. It’s all hat, no cattle.

Bountiful Issues Annual Disclosure That It’s Ripping You Off On Your Electric Bill

Normally, Bountiful City issues a notice of their power fund transfer in June but they were late and decided to send you a Christmas present this year.

This year they overcharged Bountiful residents, charities, churches and businesses $2.49 million. That comes on the heals of the $2/month “street light” charge and power rate increase city politicians slapped on everyone so they can maintain their pet project slush fund. That’s on top of the other tax/fee increases they’ve nailed families with.

That’s your labor/money they mayor and city council feel entitled to blow on things government has no business in like ‘ice ribbons’ and getting other cities/Davis County to cough up cash they have no business paying another city (but it keeps the back-scratching circle going…how this doesn’t amount to quid-pro-quo, I don’t know). I’ll type up a separate post on this ice ribbon scheme later.

Naturally, the power fund transfer notice includes the debunked pap about ripping you off really being a “dividend”.

Anyway, I’ve tracked this for years and will continue to do so. Here are a few of the last posts regarding this (click here for all posts on the power topic):
Bountiful Raising Power Taxes Again (2018)
Bountiful Power Has Regressive Rate Structure, Higher Than Rocky Mountain Power Depending On Usage
Bountiful City Raising Your Power Rate To Maintain Politician Play Fund (Update)

Utah’s Ignorant Ivory Tower Bubble Class And A French Warning

The Utah League of Cities and Towns (ULCT) recently reported on a meeting that included a discussion with the Governor about the state legislature forcing cities to accommodate high density housing. The ULCT understood Governor Herbert was supportive of the developers position and expected he ULCT to go along with their decision. The ULCT was made aware that they will get no where with the Governor if they bad mouth developers.

To sum: residents will just have to deal with it. I expect nothing less from Governor “Available Jones” and his Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce cohorts.

I guess you can add this to the list of other crap our local ignorant ‘elites’ have dumped on us because they know what’s best for the little people. Many are the same people who blather on about federalism, states’ rights, and that decisions should be made locally. Funny how they forget all about it in their own backyard. No, now centralized planning is A-OK. Besides, they live in areas that won’t have to deal with the congested housing fallout.

Of course, the ULCT isn’t going to fight or do anything about it. Regrettably, the ULCT is intimidated by the Governor and Legislature and won’t stand up for the interests of their citizens who have reservations about high density housing. They generally serve the same interests as the Governor and have shown, time and again, that they prefer to lobby for tax increases and certainly don’t represent taxpayers nor residents. Unfortunately, taxpayers pay almost $2 million/year to fund the useless ULCT to…lobby for more tax increases.

I’m left to wonder where the breaking point will be as the not-so-smart bubble dwelling ‘elites’ keep coming up with burdensome schemes that fail and then pop out their next great idea will fix the last (while neglecting to disclose why a ‘fix’ is needed, of course).

If you look around, you realize that virtually the same people run and/or are on the boards of all the major policy-oriented organizations (e.g. the Utah Foundation) that Gov. Herbert and the media refer to as the “authority” for what the state needs. It’s a monolithic echo chamber where the same elites with virtually the same background group-think their way into new policy recommendations. Recommendations which don’t substantially affect them but do adversely impact the rest of us and they simply don’t realize it in their bubble.

These are the folks that still can’t grasp why Trump is in office and think he simply came out of nowhere. A fluke. A total shock and surprise that they still can’t and won’t accept. They are cloistered in their board meetings, think tanks, and summits and simply miss what is going on the ground outside their clique. If you want to get a feel for the late stage of this process, look at what is going on in France right now with the “Gilet Jaunes”:

France: Understanding the Gilets Jaunes Uprising.

Normally, I include a quote from a linked article. Not this time – read the whole thing (it’s not long) and pay close attention to the “Arrogance & Ignorance : A Toxic Mix” and “Those Who Forget History, Are Condemned to Repeat It” sections. It is a warning I hope they notice and one we should apply to our own lives.

Utah’s Uber Rich Slapping More Burdens On The Great Unwashed

Dave Bateman sums it up well.

Gail Miller received a $22.7M tax credit for her Vivint Arena renovation, much of which would have gone to fund Utah schools. She then took $250K of that to fund the “Our Schools Now” ballot initiative, transferring the cost of school funding to the poorest among us through a gasoline tax. Utah’s uber rich are using ballot initiatives to increase their wealth at the expense of Utah citizens

After the OurSchoolsNow bomb, and the coming Medicaid expansion fiasco Bateman mentions, now the Salt Lake Chamber (of crony capitalists) has their point man Governor Gary “Available Jones” Herbert out touting that he needs to raise the food tax: Gov. Herbert’s office prepares plan to expand sales tax and increase the tax on food:

Gov. Gary Herbert’s office is readying a proposal to expand Utah’s sales tax — potentially to increase the rate on food purchases and to tap into a ballooning service economy.

I’ll let you figure out who is proportionally hardest hit by this tax increase.