Amid talk of vouchers and charter schools, the Trump administration should consider significant tax breaks for homeschoolers.
The reasons for homeschooling vary. Some parents want to emphasize a religious education for their children. Others want to avoid the left-leaning indoctrination of public schools. Still others face inadequate or unsafe schools.
According to the National Home Education Research Institute, more than two million students in K-12 are schooled at home. One study found that more than 30 percent of these students are Black, Hispanic or Asian. Moreover, the students and their parents save taxpayers more than $20 billion a year based on an estimated cost of more than $11,000 a year per child for a public school education.
But homeschoolers receive no significant tax breaks for teaching their children.
Homeschools in most states cannot be run as a business or even as a non-profit as parents cannot charge their children for their education. Moreover, homeschoolers cannot deduct donations to their own school. Also, the IRS usually does not allow homeschooling to be considered a hobby, which could reap some limited tax benefits.
Here are some possibilities to make homeschooling more affordable:
–Allow tax breaks for tuition and books purchased from homeschooling businesses.
–Provide deductions for individuals who are the primary teacher.
–Give tax incentives for tutoring in specific subjects, such as math, science and technology.
–Provide a mechanism to receive a reduction in local property taxes, which often are paid to local schools, for individuals who homeschool.
“Open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children,” Donald Trump says. “Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships. I call it competition-the American way.”
That competition should include incentives and benefits for homeschoolers and their children to allow them to choose an option other than charters and vouchers.
Christopher Harper is a recovering journalist who worked for The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times and teaches media law.
Judicial Watch has been instrumental in following the paper trail with regards to the Benghazi scandal. According to Judicial Watch this week, “The new documents show that the Obama administration engaged domestic and foreign Islamist groups and foreign nationals to push the Internet video narrative.”
Judicial Watch issued a statement this week with an update on the response to Benghazi originally given by former Secretary of State and current Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton:
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released new State Department documents showing that Hillary Clinton and the State Department’s response to the Benghazi attack was immediately determined by top Obama White House officials, particularly Ben Rhodes, then-White House deputy strategic communications adviser, and Bernadette Meehan, a spokesperson for the National Security Council. The new documents were forced from the U.S. State Department under court order in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01511)).
An email from Meehan, sent at 10:15 p.m. on September 11 to Rhodes, Nuland, Sullivan, Kennedy and Clinton aide Philippe Reines, further confirms the White House approval of Hillary Clinton’s statement tying the Benghazi terrorist attack to an Internet video: “All, the Department of State just released the following statement. Per Ben [Rhodes’] email below, this should be the USG comment for the night.”
Judicial Watch has pointed to Ben Rhodes as being the White House epicenter of the Benghazi talking point that blamed a YouTube video for the attack. The emails turned over by Blumenthal show that the talking point came from him and that Clinton ran with it.
Remember, Rhodes’s brother is President of CBS news. CBS ran a story on Benghazi starring Lara Logan instead of Sharyl Attkisson who had been leading reporting on the attack. The report that aired starring Logan was which was “flawed” seemingly because the information differed from ‘official sources’ like the White House and State Department. CBS let Logan go not long after. Hard to see that turn of events as a coincidence.
Also this month, it became apparent that Hillary Clinton did not turn over all the Benghazi emails to the State Department. This information came to light as 15 emails from Clinton’s friend and adviser, Sydney Blumenthal, were not in the batch of emails given to the State Department by Clinton. Remember — Clinton ‘wiped’ her own private server.
Politico reports Blumenthal is all over Clinton’s emails on a wide range of topics and allegedly edited one of her speeches. Politico also has copies of the emails. The State Department is also retroactively classifying some of the emails. What a circus.
Becky Gerritson of the Wetumpka Tea Party noted that the person in charge of picking through and turning over the Benghazi emails is the same individual who was involved in and was in charge of turning over emails to Congress in the IRS Tea party targeting scandal. That woman is Catherine Duval.
As of this June, it has been determined that over 24,000 emails are still missing from Lois Lerner in the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal. Given Clinton’s server wiping and Catherine Duval being in charge, the fate of the Benghazi emails might be the same.
A.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com.
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, StopCommonCoreNC.org and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885
Imagine my surprise when I opened my email this morning and found a link to Roger Kimball’s post, Deunionize the IRS.
Say what? Deunionize? As Roger asks, “The government’s tax collecting agency is unionized?” What union?
The union in question is The National Treasury Employees Union. According to the web site of the NTEU, the mission of the union is “To organize federal employees to work together to ensure that every federal employee is treated with dignity and respect.” That’s a tall order, in part because there are so very many federal employees. The NTEU’s web site includes a nifty interactive graphic that shows you just how many there are in each state: 279,622 in Texas, for example, 350,544 in California, 165,943 in New York, etc., etc. There are, in short, millions of them.
Just the kind of news one doesn’t like to hear first thing in the morning.
While most of us Da Tech readers know that public-sector unions are a prescription for political corruption, the politicians-the-unions-help-elect-who-in-turn-help-the-unions consider that a feature, not a bug, which only adds to our outrage.
So the IRS lost two years worth of Lois Lerner’s emails? Huh.
And they are saying that it’s a hard disc error? Hmm.
And there are no servers with these emails on them? Imagine that.
And the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman has asked the…wait for it…the Department of Justice to investigate these “missing” emails? I’m sure that Attorney General Eric Holder will get right on that.
I remember when Former President Clinton’s National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, absent-mindedly walked out o the National Archives with classified documents which had fallen into his socks. Then, one day, as he was walking around the house with the documents in hand, he tripped and dropped the documents. They, unfortunately fell into the blades of the scissors which were lying on the floor and they were turned into ribbons.
For his “unfortunate mishap,” Berger received a misdemeanor verdict of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, was fined $50,000, placed on probation for two years and stripped of his security clearance for three years—and received no jail time. That was in 2005.
I’m guessing that one of the Clintons wrote a check to Mr. Berger. Services rendered and all that.
There was some outcry online for a bit, but it died down and the Left took note. So did I.
Back then, it seemed to me that this brazen incident of theft and destruction of classified documents—and its outcome–was some sort of test. The Left wanted to see what it would be able to get away with, and it did indeed see. Berger basically got away with his heist and it was the proverbially harbinger of things to come.
As a result, and with the inauguration of President Obama in 2009, the Left and its primary host, the Democrat Party, have upped the ante: more theft, more egregious law-breaking and each time, the stakes become larger. The secondary host—mainstream media outlets like the New York Times–does its part by failing to report these crimes.
The perennial question remains: what are you, the People, going to do about it?
UPDATED: The harbinger may have happened a bit earlier than I thought.
I was talking with a friend of mine recently about some issues that arise on the nightly news. Many of these revolve around the Constitution and various things that show up on the nightly news about this document. The friend was also an Army Veteran and between the two of us have spent enough years in uniform that we like to know what it is we are/were defending. So this topic does come up.
In particular this conversation revolved around the fifth Amendment. So for review here is the original text:
Original Text of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
This Amendment is usually not one that is argued terribly often, with one notable exception, however it is invoked in ways that it may not apply, and recently.
It basically tells us that the police (or other government authority) can’t hold a Citizen for an unreasonable amount of time (discussed below) without being charged of a crime. Being charged with a crime means there will be a trial. But, people will complain, there is a long time while the person is in confinement before their trial. This is due to the gathering of evidence phase, not because of anything else. You can argue what reasonable length of time is but that is where we must argue, not the validity or invalidity of being held.
In other words, despite what prime time television shows have told us, we can’t be thrown in jail, have the key thrown out, and never see the light of day again. That is, without being charged with a crime.
As we mentioned this is usually not argued by too many people, as even drug dealers and murders see their day in court.
The notable exception to this is the prisoners from the Global War in Terror that to this day still reside at a prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba. These prisoners went a very long time without being charged with anything. Here is the government argument for that exception.
They are not United States Citizens; they are not inside the United States and therefore not subject to our laws and privileges. They are, and this is where it gets sticky, on a Military Base. Those are generally considered US Territory. We really don’t know exactly how that one is gotten around, but somehow it is.
On top of all of that they are considered to be Prisoners of War. While we are required by the Geneva Convention to treat them with basic human rights, they don’t fall under our judicial system.
Is this government argument correct?
Maybe, but maybe not.
That is beyond the scope of this discussion and could probably fill book after book by itself (if you look on Amazon there may already be one). However, the Constitution does only apply to Citizens of the United States and really only to the area of the globe inside our borders.
The Constitution, and the rights guaranteed by it don’t extend everywhere. For instance, in Iran one cannot reasonably expect to have the right to indefinite detainment without being charged with a crime. There, you can be thrown into a prison for no apparent reason and the Constitution of the United States can’t protect you, even if you are a US Citizen.
Another recent possible Fifth Amendment issue in the recent news cycles concerns the Internal Revenue Service. There was a controversy of them holding up and allegedly harassing groups with one (and only one) political ideology. That is the claim.
How true is that claim?
Well…enter the United States Congress doing an investigation (what could possibly go wrong now). The Congress questioned an IRS official, and that official “took the fifth” and refused to answer questions (presumably so they wouldn’t incriminate themselves).
Here is the interesting bit.
That same official was offered immunity for any wrongdoing then pulled back in front of Congress. So, this amendment says you can refuse to answer so you don’t incriminate yourself. This person can’t possibly incriminate themselves in the commission of a crime…they have immunity.
So do Fifth Amendment rights pertain to this? Can this person officially refuse to answer questions without being held in contempt of Congress (for which they can be thrown in jail)?
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Dr. Peter Blood: Faith, there’s a witness that you can’t deny: yourself, sir! For if I’m not a physician, how is it I know that you’re a dying man? The death to which you’re dooming hundreds of poor men daily – in a frantic effor to send their souls to perdition before your own – is a light pleasantry compared to the bleeding death in the lungs to which the great Judge has condemned you.
Captain Blood 1935
Rose Tyler:I can see everything… all that is… all that was… all that ever could be.
The 9th Doctor:But that’s what *I* see. All the time. And doesn’t it drive you mad?
Sherlock Holmes:Because you’re an idiot. (Watson gives a look) No, no, no, don’t be like that, practically everyone is.
Sherlock A Study in Pink 2010
Even though it’s been years since I’ve worked at technical support the memories and instincts really never leave. When I walk by a computer I notice what it’s running, it’s speed, it’s response time. When I was still doing this on a daily basis I could generally tell if a system was infected in just s few seconds.
It’s the same in other professions I’ve spoken to locksmiths who notice every door that isn’t properly secured, carpenters can spot a door that isn’t properly square and a really good cook knows a bad meal even before they’ve tasted it.
In some professions this can be disconcerting, In my position I deal with authorities on a regular basis and police I’ve spoken to say at events they find themselves quickly picking out people who are trouble as the instincts simply can’t be turned off.
And that brings us to your local IRS agent.
We’ve been pretty hard here on the administration and the IRS over the scandal involving the examinations of Tea Party. It’s a pretty bad situation and the IRS deserves all the brickbats they have gotten for this as does the administration whose story has been re-written more than The Doctor has re-written the timeline.
but lets consider just for a moment what the IRS agent in the office deals with.
I don’t know if you’ve had reason to call an IRS office but agents over the phone start each call with an ID number that tags them to you. If there is any problem, or mistake they can now be identified in person.
They work for the most hated agency in the country and have to deal with a tax code so complicated that professionals concede that it can be interpreted in different ways.
That makes it difficult enough but there is one thing more
Larry: Say , after all making out the income tax is nothing.
Moe: What do you mean nothing?
Larry: When I get through, the income tax collector will get nothing!
Moe: You know it’s funny how people love to Gyp on their income tax
Shemp: That’s because it’s such a cinch, they never can catch smart guys like us
The Three Stooges:Income Tax Sappy 1954
While my mother always told me to pay the IRS first because the government has the right to take before court rather than after in culture, in movies and in reality the ability to pull one over on the IRS is celebrated and has been since long before I was born.
Now of course no person should be expected to pay a penny more then they are required to by law (Those Apple hearings were a joke) but there are many who go far beyond what the law allows and IRS agents have heard every trick, every sob story and every possible attempt to befuddle them and see it every single day.
When you deal with that, day in and day out, it’s hard to keep your trust for humanity, and even harder to be sympathetic even with the taxpayer, even the taxpayer who is totally in the right.
So while we dig to the bottom of the IRS scandal and prosecute those involved to the fullest extent of the law, all the way up the ladder, remember when the local grunt IRS agent is going over your return he’s doing it carefully not so much because of you, but for the example of every person he dealt with before.
As we get closer to the end of what is looking like the worst week in the history of the weekly paycheck the writing still goes on.
if you think that writing is worth more than $22 for the week, consider hitting DaTipJar below.
Yesterday while I was giving my wife her belated mothers day gift of a Drive to Maine to visit fabric stores Lois Lerner went before the House committee investigating the IRS scandal.
The Video is not a good image for the White House and will surely be part of many a GOP ad as 2014 closes. Even worse the topic is one almost impossible to defend without looking the fool and too many on the left are not willing to be that foolish in public.
If the Goal is to defend the administration and to rally their supporters the subject HAS to be changed, but how?
Lois Lerner provided the solution by making a speech rather than just simply invoking her Fifth Amendment rights prompting this from Rep Trey Gowdy:
Mr. Issa, Mr. Cummings just said we should run this like a courtroom, and I agree with him. She just testified. She just waived her Fifth Amendment right to privilege. You don’t get to tell your side of the story and then not be subjected to cross examination. That’s not the way it works. She waived her Fifth Amendment privilege by issuing an open statement. She ought to stand here and answer our questions.
“House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said embattled IRS official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights and will be hauled back to appear before his panel again. The California Republican said Lerner’s Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination was voided when she gave an opening statement this morning denying any wrongdoing and professing pride in her government service.”
and that has started a whole new debate:
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the Oversight committee, also said he didn’t think Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment protections.
“I don’t think her counsel would have allowed her to give a statement knowing that the very purpose of him being here — for her to assert her fifth amendment rights — would be damaged if she made a statement,” he told reporters.
But Paul Rothstein, a law professor at Georgetown University, disagreed saying she “has run a very grave risk of having waived her right to refuse to testify on the details of things she has already generally talked about.”
I drove back from Maine Wednesday I heard lawyer after lawyer today marvel at the supposed legal mistake of Lerner’s team, suggesting this was first year law school stuff. If this was simply about a criminal case they would have a point, but they’re misreading the situation. They assume this was a mistake.
Mrs. Lerner is not a fool, nor is her legal team, it is inconceivable they would allow her to put herself in legal jeopardy without foreknowledge, unless they had something else in mind like perhaps changing the subject
What happens when Issa brings her back and the questions begin? Could be that she’ll cave and start answering, but I assume her lawyer will tell her to take the Fifth again, in which case it’s Issa’s move. He could try to hold her in contempt, which would probably ignite a court battle and would certainly ignite lots of media concern-trolling about the GOP crushing Lerner’s rights as a way to change the subject from the underlying scandal. The court battle would slow down the investigation and might spark a bit of public sympathy for Lerner and the IRS
Suddenly the the video that the MSM had little time for above will be replaced. Instead of a Lois Lerner the woman who helped Target the Tea Party with the IRS to rob them of their Constitutional rights, we will have the image of woman defending hers in front of congress. Instead of both parties talking about the IRS disgrace the vote on compelling testimony will be along party lines.
The left will have a whole new narrative that they can discuss for months. Millions of pixels and barrels of ink will be devoted to the court case and on MSNBC, CNN and and the Sunday Shows on all the networks will have person after person saying “of course what the IRS did was wrong but there is no more sacred right than the 5th Amendment and no matter what Ms. Lerner might have done the GOP has no business trying to deprive her of her rights”. In fact the Obama Administration need never be mentioned.
Which is, in my opinion, exactly what was intended when she took the stand Wednesday morning.
The congress however doesn’t have to fall for the trap. If Issa is smart, he will delay re-calling Lerner. He will instead continue the investigation beginning with the lowest level person in Cincinnati and building the case from the bottom up, then, and only then, when the case has been made before both the congress, the courts and the public and then, and only then, should she be called back to play legal games and maintain her silence of facts already in evidence.
Update: Hogewash notes the actual words of Miranda:
If You Give Up Your Right to Remain Silent anything you say may be used in court against you.
That’s the way a Miranda warning goes. Didn’t Lois Lerner’s lawyer tell her?
That’s exactly why I think it’s a setup
Lerner might have succeeded in slowing down the process in congress, but she isn’t responsible for the slow week that DaTipJar has suffered thus far.
You can solve that problem, if 14 of you can find $20 to spare before Saturday this week’s $300 paycheck can be achieved and this month’s mortgage will be paid.
Bailiff:Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?
Fonz: Let me tell you something, the Fonz is straight.
Happy Days Two Angry Men 1976
While I’m waiting for my Tea Party videos to upload when I saw this news for the first time:
A top IRS official in the division that reviews nonprofit groups will invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions before a House committee investigating the agency’s improper screening of conservative nonprofit groups.
Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening – or why she didn’t reveal it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor 3rd.
Well while it’s nice to know Ms. Lerner respects at least one of the Amendments to the constitution the effectively ends several of the storylines involved.
1. This was a bunch of rogue agents
2. We don’t know if this is against the law.
3. There was no political motives involved.
4. The Administration was not involved.
Ms. Lerner has the absolute right to take the 5th before congress and any other court.
And we have the absolute right to draw the logical conclusion that she is doing so to protect herself and her higher-ups in the Administration from revelation that would put them at criminal risk.
I thought we might eventually get here. I didn’t think it would be within 2 weeks.
Hey, remember when Steve Miller insisted there’s nothing illegal about the IRS targeting a particular political faction for extra scrutiny?
She’s lawyered-up, and not just with any lawyer, either.
This sets up Lerner to appear before the committee, as she should, and repeatedly answer straightforward questions with versions of “I cannot answer on the advice of counsel, as my answer may incriminate me.” After fake-fired acting commissioner Miller’s evasions and lies by omission and the White House’s own changing story, Lerner pleading the fifth will give the story some nasty new optics for the Obama White House.
Lerner is slated to appear before the investigatory panel alongside former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, Treasury watchdog J. Russell George, and Treasury Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin. However, Taylor argued in the letter, sent Monday, that Lerner should not appear since she will not answer questions. Making her sit before the panel under those circumstances would “have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her,” he argued.
Embarrass her? At this point I sincerely doubt that is possible
BTW I’m sure this story is totally unrelated to this news:
Spotted: @joshtpm @capehartj @ezraklein & other lefty columnists headed into the West Wing as a group. POTUS coffee? Carney meeting? Anyone?
Abin SurYes…by the green beam of my ring…I see that you are honest! And the battery has already selected you as one born without fear! So you pass both tests, Hal Jordan
Showcase #22 SOS Green Lantern October 1959
If there is one thing that I’ve seen a lot of when I’ve been out writing and reporting these five years of the Obama Administration it’s fear.
I’ve gone to businesses and heard about fear, fear of the economy fear of Obamacare. Fear on how they are ever going to draw customers to their business and how they are going to pay themselves with their margins cut to the bone.
I’ve been to the unemployment offices and the fear is palatable, particularly among older workers. Will I be able to find a job? Can I find anything? How will I pay my mortgage, my rent?
I’ve talked to college students and recent grads. They are terrified. Where are the jobs? Will they find one, how can they pay their student loans? Will I every be able to move out of my mother’s house?
and finally there is fear among those who already have jobs.
They know there are dozens of people simply waiting WAITING for a chance to take their job. They see people come in every single day with applications and more importantly they know their supervisors have the exact same fear.
Each one of them knows they are just a single mistake from being into that pool of unemployed workers, and what will their chances be of getting hired again if they’ve been let go?
That is the Obama era. That is the reality that Americans are living in, the reality of FEAR!
And that brings us to the IRS scandal and the White House’s meme that doesn’t hold water.
The White House, their allies online and their enables in the press would have you believe that these people in the Cincinnati IRS office acted alone.
We are to believe these people who see their neighbors and families worry every day about their future, these people who sit in positions made secure by civil service rules, these civil servants who have jobs sheltered from the capricious whims of this economy we are to believe these people were willing to risk those few jobs secure in the storm in order to make trouble for Tea Party opponents of the left all over the country…
…and they were willing to do it without being told.
Unlike the White House and their minions we don’t insult your intelligence here. I clearly state that this is a commercial enterprise and the goal of said enterprise is at least $300 a week allowing me to pay the mortgage.
It’s for you to decide if that enterprise is worth your time and/or your money. If you think it is, please consider hitting DaTipJar below.
The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine.
Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area 10 where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing.
Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.”
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
The News that the IRS, a branch of the federal government, targeted religious groups and pro-life groups is so antithetical to the principles of the founding of this government and of the people who STILL come here for the sake of religious freedom it literally leaves you gobsmacked. I found myself so shocked that I couldn’t function until I called a friend and expressed myself.
Two days later with a full night sleep and big family events behind me. I’m almost ashamed to have been so befuddled and angry.
The shock isn’t what they are doing, the shock is that now it’s out in the open for the general public to see. I didn’t think it would happen so fast.
Now two tests are taking place, the first is of Christians as the Pope mentioned today
Catholics can’t put their faith on a part-time schedule or rely on it just for the moments they choose; being Christian is a full-time occupation, Pope Francis said.
If people don’t open their hearts to the Holy Spirit to let God purify and enlighten them, then “our being Christian will be superficial,”
The test of faith is when there is a cost. We will find out which Christians of all denominations are willing to pay it.
The second test is of the American People.
The IRS scandal in general and the targeting of Religious groups to the point where they were asked for their prayers or told they can’t protest planned parenthood are attacks on the basic rights of Americans.
If the American People are willing to let this pass, and are more interested in what is up with Beyoncé or American Idol or the Voice or Star Trek, then they will not only lose this republic they will deserve to.