Elections in the United States
Elections in the United States are held for government officials at the federal and local levels. At the federal level, the nation's head of state, the President, is elected indirectly by the people of each state, through an Electoral College. Today, these electors always vote with the popular vote of their state. All members of the federal legislature, the Congress, are directly elected by the people of each state. There are many elected offices at state level, each state having at least an elective Governor and legislature. There are elected offices at the local level, in counties, towns, townships and villages. According to a study by political scientist Jennifer Lawless, there were 519,682 elected officials in the United States as of 2012. While the United States Constitution does set parameters for the election of federal officials, state law, not federal, regulates most aspects of elections in the U. S. including primaries, the eligibility of voters, the running of each state's electoral college, as well as the running of state and local elections.
All elections—federal and local—are administered by the individual states. The restriction and extension of voting rights to different groups has been a contested process throughout United States history; the federal government has been involved in attempts to increase voter turnout, by measures such as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The financing of elections has long been controversial, because private sources make up substantial amounts of campaign contributions in federal elections. Voluntary public funding for candidates willing to accept spending limits was introduced in 1974 for presidential primaries and elections; the Federal Elections Commission, created in 1975 by an amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act, has the responsibility to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, to oversee the public funding of U. S. presidential elections. The most common method used in U. S. elections is the first-past-the-post system, where the highest polling candidate wins the election.
Some may use a two-round system, where if no candidate receives a required number of votes there is a runoff between the two candidates with the most votes. Since 2002, several cities have adopted instant-runoff voting in their elections. Voters rank the candidates in order of preference rather than voting for a single candidate. If a candidate secures more than half of votes cast, that candidate wins. Otherwise, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Ballots assigned to the eliminated candidate are recounted and assigned to those of the remaining candidates who rank next in order of preference on each ballot; this process continues. In 2016, Maine became the first state to adopt instant-runoff voting statewide for its elections, although due to state constitutional provisions, the system is only used for federal elections and state primaries; the eligibility of an individual for voting is set out in the constitution and regulated at state level. The constitution states that suffrage cannot be denied on grounds of race or color, sex, or age for citizens eighteen years or older.
Beyond these basic qualifications, it is the responsibility of state legislatures to regulate voter eligibility. Some states ban convicted criminals felons, from voting for a fixed period of time or indefinitely; the number of American adults who are or permanently ineligible to vote due to felony convictions is estimated to be 5.3 million. Some states have legacy constitutional statements barring declared incompetent from voting. While the federal government has jurisdiction over federal elections, most election laws are decided at the state level. All U. S. states. Traditionally, voters had to register at state offices to vote, but in the mid-1990s efforts were made by the federal government to make registering easier, in an attempt to increase turnout; the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 required state governments that receive certain types of federal funding to make the voter registration process easier by providing uniform registration services through drivers' license registration centers, disability centers, schools and mail-in registration.
Other states allow citizens same-day registration on Election Day. In many states, citizens registering to vote may declare an affiliation with a political party; this declaration of affiliation does not cost money, does not make the citizen a dues-paying member of a party. A party cannot prevent a voter from declaring his or her affiliation with them, but it can refuse requests for full membership. In some states, only voters affiliated with a party may vote in that party's primary elections. Declaring a party affiliation is never required; some states, including Georgia, Minnesota, Virginia and Washington, practice non-partisan registration. Voters unable or unwilling to vote at polling stations on Election Day can vote via absentee ballots. Absentee ballots are most sent and received via the United States Postal Service. Despite their name, absentee ballots are requested and submitted in person. About half of all states and U. S. territories allow "no excuse absentee," where no reason is required to request an absentee ballot.
Others require a valid reason, such as infirmity or tra
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D. C; the composition and powers of the Senate are established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The Senate is composed of senators; each state, regardless of its population size, is represented by two senators who serve staggered terms of six years. There being at present 50 states in the Union, there are presently 100 senators. From 1789 until 1913, senators were appointed by legislatures of the states; as the upper chamber of Congress, the Senate has several powers of advice and consent which are unique to it. These include the approval of treaties, the confirmation of Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, federal judges, flag officers, regulatory officials, other federal executive officials and other federal uniformed officers.
In addition to these, in cases wherein no candidate receives a majority of electors for Vice President, the duty falls to the Senate to elect one of the top two recipients of electors for that office. Furthermore, the Senate has the responsibility of conducting the trials of those impeached by the House; the Senate is considered both a more deliberative and more prestigious body than the House of Representatives due to its longer terms, smaller size, statewide constituencies, which led to a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere. The presiding officer of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States, President of the Senate. In the Vice President's absence, the President Pro Tempore, customarily the senior member of the party holding a majority of seats, presides over the Senate. In the early 20th century, the practice of majority and minority parties electing their floor leaders began, although they are not constitutional officers; the drafters of the Constitution created a bicameral Congress as a compromise between those who felt that each state, since it was sovereign, should be represented, those who felt the legislature must directly represent the people, as the House of Commons did in Great Britain.
This idea of having one chamber represent people while the other gives equal representation to states regardless of population, was known as the Connecticut Compromise. There was a desire to have two Houses that could act as an internal check on each other. One was intended to be a "People's House" directly elected by the people, with short terms obliging the representatives to remain close to their constituents; the other was intended to represent the states to such extent as they retained their sovereignty except for the powers expressly delegated to the national government. The Senate was thus not designed to serve the people of the United States equally; the Constitution provides that the approval of both chambers is necessary for the passage of legislation. First convened in 1789, the Senate of the United States was formed on the example of the ancient Roman Senate; the name is derived from Latin for council of elders. James Madison made the following comment about the Senate: In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure.
An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, to balance and check the other, they ought to be so constituted. The Senate, ought to be this body. Article Five of the Constitution stipulates that no constitutional amendment may be created to deprive a state of its equal suffrage in the Senate without that state's consent; the District of Columbia and all other territories are not entitled to representation allowed to vote in either House of the Congress. The District of Columbia elects two "shadow U. S. Senators", but they are officials of the D. C. City Government and not members of the U. S. Senate; the United States has had 50 states since 1959, thus the Senate has had 100 senators since 1959. The disparity between the most and least populous states has grown since the Connecticut Compromise, which granted each state two members of the Senate and at least one member of the House of Representatives, for a total minimum of three presidential electors, regardless of population.
In 1787, Virginia had ten times the population of Rhode Island, whereas today California has 70 times the population of Wyoming, based on the 1790 and 2000 censuses. This means some citizens are two orders of magnitude better represented in the Senate than those in other states. Seats in the House of Representatives are proportionate to the population of each state, reducing the disparity of representation. Before the adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, senators were elected by the individual state legislatures. Problems with repeated vacant seats due to the inability of a legislature to elect senators, intrastate political struggles, bribery and intimidation had led to a growing movement to amend the Constitution to allow for the direct election of senators; the party composition of the Senate during the 116th Congress: Art
Patrick Joseph Leahy is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Vermont, a seat to which he was first elected in 1974. A member of the Democratic Party, Leahy held the position of President pro tempore of the United States Senate from December 17, 2012 to January 6, 2015, was thus during that time third in the presidential line of succession. Now in his eighth six-year term of office, he is the most senior member of the Senate, is the last of the Senate's "Watergate Babies" – Democrats first elected to Congress in 1974, following President Richard Nixon's August 9, 1974 resignation over the Watergate scandal. Additionally, Leahy remains the only sitting U. S. Senator to have served during the presidency of Gerald Ford. Leahy received the title of President pro tempore emeritus in January 2015; the current dean of the state's congressional delegation, Leahy is Vermont's longest-serving U. S. Senator, as of 2018 is the only Democrat the state has elected to the Senate.
He is the former chairman of the Agriculture and Judiciary Committees, has served as the ranking member of the Appropriations Committee since 2017. In 2001, Leahy was one of the two U. S. Senators targeted by the anthrax attacks, he is the longest-serving Democrat in the current 116th Congress. Leahy was born in Montpelier, the son of Alba and Howard Francis Leahy, a printer, his maternal grandparents were Italian, his father was of Irish ancestry. He graduated from Saint Michael's College in 1961 with a bachelor of arts degree in political science, received his J. D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1964. He was an associate at the firm headed by Philip H. Hoff Governor of Vermont. In May 1966 Hoff appointed him to fill a vacancy as State's Attorney of Chittenden County. Leahy was elected to a full term in 1966 and reelected in 1970, his service as state's attorney was notable for his participation in a sting operation that caught Paul Lawrence, an undercover police officer for several agencies in Vermont who falsely claimed to have purchased illegal drugs from several people, which resulted in convictions based on his false testimony.
Leahy married Marcelle Pomerleau in 1962. They have resided in a farmhouse in Middlesex, since moving from Burlington, have three children: Kevin and Mark. In 2012 the Leahys celebrated their 50th anniversary, with Leahy saying, ‘‘We hate it when we’re apart from one another.’’ Leahy has been blind in his left eye since birth. Leahy was elected to the United States Senate for the first time in November 1974, in the wake of the Watergate scandal that had resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon in August of that year, he won a close race against Vermont's lone congressman, Richard Mallary, succeeded retiring 34-year incumbent George Aiken. At 34 years old, he was the youngest Senator in Vermont history; as of 2015, Leahy and Minnesota Representative Rick Nolan were the only two remaining Watergate Babies in Congress, though Nolan left Congress in 1981 and returned in 2013. After Nolan retired from Congress in 2019, Leahy became the only remaining Watergate baby in Congress. Leahy was nearly defeated in 1980 by Republican Stewart Ledbetter, winning by only 2,700 votes amid Ronald Reagan's landslide victory.
In 1986, he faced what was on paper an stronger challenger in former Governor Richard Snelling, but Leahy turned it back, taking 64 percent of the vote. In 1992, Secretary of State of Vermont Jim Douglas held him to 54 percent of the vote. Leahy has not faced a substantive Republican challenger since then. Leahy was the first non-Republican Senator from Vermont since 1856; as of 2016 he is the only Democrat elected to the Senate from Vermont, one of only three Democrats to represent Vermont in either house of Congress since the end of the Civil War. However, since 2001, two other Vermont Senators have caucused with the Democrats. Jim Jeffords was elected as a Republican, his successor, Bernie Sanders, was elected as an Independent. In May 1981 Leahy and Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy requested that the Senate reject the nomination of John Crowell Jr. as Assistant Agriculture Secretary, with Leahy stating his opposition was "because documents have been uncovered since his approval by the Agriculture Committee which suggest that he was aware of and involved in the anti-competitive and monopolistic practices of his former employer."
Leahy and Kennedy contended that Crowell concealed his involvement with Louisiana-Pacific, Panhandle Logging Company, Ketchikan Spruce Mills during the confirmation process. Crowell was confirmed by the Senate. In 1981 Leahy introduced an amendment that would have increased the enforcement budget for the Energy Department by $13 million, he called the Reagan administration's cuts to the enforcement budget "de facto amnesty" for violations made by alleged increases in prices for oil companies. The amendment was defeated in the Senate on October 28, by a vote of 48 to 43. On December 2, 1981, Leahy voted in favor of an amendment to President Reagan's MX missiles proposal that would divert the silo system by $334 million as well as earmark further research for other methods that would allow giant missiles to be based; the vote was seen as a rebuff of the Reagan administration. In March 1982 Leahy was named to the Senate Select Committee to Study Law Enforcement Undercover Activities of
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States. The GOP was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which had expanded slavery into U. S. territories. The party subscribed to classical liberalism and took ideological stands that were anti-slavery and pro-economic reform. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president in the history of the United States; the Party was dominant over the Democrats during the Third Party System and Fourth Party System. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt formed the Progressive Party after being rejected by the GOP and ran unsuccessfully as a third-party presidential candidate calling for social reforms. After the 1912 election, many Roosevelt supporters left the Party, the Party underwent an ideological shift to the right; the liberal Republican element in the GOP was overwhelmed by a conservative surge begun by Barry Goldwater in 1964 that continued during the Reagan Era in the 1980s. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party's core base shifted, with the Southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics and the Northeastern states becoming more reliably Democratic.
White voters identified with the Republican Party after the 1960s. Following the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party made opposition to abortion a key plank of its national party platform and grew its support among evangelicals. By 2000, the Republican Party was aligned with Christian conservatism; the Party's core support since the 1990s comes chiefly from the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and rural areas in the North. The 21st century Republican Party ideology is American conservatism, which contrasts with the Democrats' liberal platform and progressive wing; the GOP supports lower taxes, free market capitalism, a strong national defense, gun rights and restrictions on labor unions. The GOP was committed to protectionism and tariffs from its founding until the 1930s when it was based in the industrial Northeast and Midwest, but has grown more supportive of free trade since 1952. In addition to advocating for conservative economic policies, the Republican Party is conservative.
Founded in the Northern states in 1854 by abolitionists, modernizers, ex-Whigs and ex-Free Soilers, the Republican Party became the principal opposition to the dominant Democratic Party and the popular Know Nothing Party. The party grew out of opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and opened Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory to slavery and future admission as slave states; the Northern Republicans saw the expansion of slavery as a great evil. The first public meeting of the general anti-Nebraska movement, at which the name Republican was suggested for a new anti-slavery party, was held on March 20, 1854 in a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin; the name was chosen to pay homage to Thomas Jefferson's Republican Party. The first official party convention was held on July 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. At the 1856 Republican National Convention, the party adopted a national platform emphasizing opposition to the expansion of slavery into U. S. territories. While Republican candidate John C.
Frémont lost the 1856 United States presidential election to James Buchanan, he did win 11 of the 16 northern states. The Republican Party first came to power in the elections of 1860 when it won control of both houses of Congress and its candidate, former congressman Abraham Lincoln, was elected President. In the election of 1864, it united with War Democrats to nominate Lincoln on the National Union Party ticket. Under Republican congressional leadership, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution—which banned slavery in the United States—passed the Senate in 1864 and the House in 1865; the party's success created factionalism within the party in the 1870s. Those who felt that Reconstruction had been accomplished, was continued to promote the large-scale corruption tolerated by President Ulysses S. Grant, ran Horace Greeley for the presidency; the Stalwart faction defended Grant and the spoils system, whereas the Half-Breeds pushed for reform of the civil service. The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was passed in 1883.
The Republican Party supported hard money, high tariffs to promote economic growth, high wages and high profits, generous pensions for Union veterans, the annexation of Hawaii. The Republicans had strong support from pietistic Protestants, but they resisted demands for Prohibition; as the Northern postwar economy boomed with heavy and light industry, mines, fast-growing cities, prosperous agriculture, the Republicans took credit and promoted policies to sustain the fast growth. The GOP was dominant over the Democrats during the Third Party System. However, by 1890 the Republicans had agreed to the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Interstate Commerce Commission in response to complaints from owners of small businesses and farmers; the high McKinley Tariff of 1890 hurt the party and the Democrats swept to a landslide in the off-year elections defeating McKinley himself. The Democrats elected Grover Cleveland in 1884 and 1892; the election of William McKinley in 1896 was marked by a resurgence of Republican dominance that lasted until 1932.
McKinley promised that high tariffs would end the severe hardship caused by the Pa
Donald John Trump is the 45th and current president of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a television personality. Trump was born and raised in the New York City borough of Queens and received an economics degree from the Wharton School, he was appointed president of his family's real estate business in 1971, renamed it The Trump Organization, expanded it from Queens and Brooklyn into Manhattan. The company built or renovated skyscrapers, hotels and golf courses. Trump started various side ventures, including licensing his name for real estate and consumer products, he managed the company until his 2017 inauguration. He co-authored several books, including The Art of the Deal, he owned the Miss Universe and Miss USA beauty pageants from 1996 to 2015, he produced and hosted The Apprentice, a reality television show, from 2003 to 2015. Forbes estimates his net worth to be $3.1 billion. Trump entered the 2016 presidential race as a Republican and defeated sixteen opponents in the primaries.
His campaign received extensive free media coverage. Commentators described his political positions as populist and nationalist. Trump has made many misleading statements during his campaign and presidency; the statements have been documented by fact-checkers, the media have described the phenomenon as unprecedented in American politics. Trump was elected president in a surprise victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, he became the oldest and wealthiest person to assume the presidency, the first without prior military or government service, the fifth to have won the election despite having lost the popular vote. His election and policies have sparked numerous protests. Many of his comments and actions have been perceived as racially charged or racist. During his presidency, Trump ordered a travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries, citing security concerns, he enacted a tax cut package for individuals and businesses, which rescinded the individual health insurance mandate and allowed oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge.
He repealed the Dodd-Frank Act that had imposed stricter constraints on banks in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. He has pursued his America First agenda in foreign policy, withdrawing the U. S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Iran nuclear deal. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, imposed import tariffs on various goods, triggering a trade war with China, negotiated with North Korea seeking denuclearization, he nominated two justices to the Supreme Court: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The Justice Department investigated links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government regarding its election interference; when Trump dismissed FBI Director James Comey, in charge of the investigation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to proceed with the probe. The Special Counsel investigation led to guilty pleas by five Trump associates to criminal charges including lying to investigators, campaign finance violations, tax fraud.
Trump denied accusations of collusion and obstruction of justice, calling the investigation a politically motivated "witch hunt". Attorney General William Barr wrote that the special counsel's final report did not find that Trump or his campaign had "conspired or coordinated" with Russia during the 2016 election, but did not reach a conclusion regarding obstruction of justice, neither implicating him regarding obstruction of justice nor exonerating him. Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946, at the Jamaica Hospital in the borough of Queens, New York City, his parents were Frederick Christ Trump, a real estate developer, Mary Anne MacLeod. Trump grew up in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood of Queens, attended the Kew-Forest School from kindergarten through seventh grade. At age 13, he was enrolled in the New York Military Academy, a private boarding school, after his parents discovered that he had made frequent trips into Manhattan without their permission. In 1964, Trump enrolled at Fordham University.
After two years, he transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. While at Wharton, he worked at Elizabeth Trump & Son, he graduated in May 1968 with a B. S. in economics. When Trump was in college from 1964 to 1968, he obtained four student draft deferments. In 1966, he was deemed fit for military service based upon a medical examination and in July 1968, a local draft board classified him as eligible to serve. In October 1968, he was given a medical deferment that he attributed to spurs in the heels of both feet, which resulted in a 1-Y classification: "Unqualified for duty except in the case of a national emergency." In the December 1969 draft lottery, Trump's birthday, June 14, received a high number that would have given him a low probability to be called to military service without the 1-Y. In 1972, he was reclassified as 4-F. In 1973 and 1976, The New York Times reported that Trump had graduated first in his class at Wharton. However, a 1984 Times profile of Trump noted.
In 1988, New York magazine reported Trump conceding, "Okay, maybe not'first,' as myth has it, but he had'the highest grades possible.'" Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney, testified to the House Oversight Committee in February 2019 that Trump "directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores." Days after Trump stated in 2011, "I heard [Barack O
Green Party of the United States
The Green Party of the United States is a green federation of political parties in the United States. The party promotes green politics environmentalism. On the political spectrum, the party is seen as left-wing; the GPUS was founded in 2001 as the evolution of the Association of State Green Parties, formed in 1996. After its founding, the GPUS soon became the primary national green organization in the country, eclipsing the Greens/Green Party USA, which formed in 1991 out of the Green Committees of Correspondence, a collection of local green groups active since 1984; the ASGP had distanced itself from the G/GPUSA in the late 1990s. The Greens gained widespread public attention during the 2000 presidential election, when the ticket composed of Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke won 2.7% of the popular vote. Nader was vilified by many Democrats and some Greens, who accused him of spoiling the election for Al Gore, the Democratic candidate. Nader maintains; the political movement that began in 1985 as the decentralized Committees of Correspondence evolved into a more centralized structure by 1990, opening a national clearinghouse and forming governing bodies, bylaws and a platform as the Green Committees of Correspondence and by 1990 The Greens.
The organization conducted grassroots organizing efforts, educational activities and electoral campaigns. Internal divisions arose between members who saw electoral politics as corrupting and supported the notion of an "anti-party party" formed by Petra Kelly and other leaders of the Greens in Germany vs. those who saw electoral strategies as a crucial engine of social change. A struggle for the direction of the organization culminated a "compromise agreement", ratified in 1990 at the Greens National Congress in Elkins, West Virginia and in which both strategies would be accommodated within the same 527 political organization renamed the Greens/Green Party USA, it was recognized by the FEC as a national political party in 1991. The compromise agreement subsequently collapsed and two Green party organizations have co-existed in the United States since; the Green Politics Network was organized in 1990 and the National Association of Statewide Green Parties formed by 1994. Divisions between those pressing to break onto the national political stage and those aiming to grow roots at the local level continued to widen during the 1990s.
The Association of State Green Parties encouraged and backed Nader's presidential runs in 1996 and 2000. By 2001, the push to separate electoral activity from the G/GPUSA issue-based organizing led to the Boston Proposal and subsequent rise of the Green Party of the United States; the G/GPUSA lost most of its affiliates in the following months and dropped its FEC national party status in 2005. In 2016, Mark Salazar set a new record for a Green Party nominee for Congress. Running in the Arizona 8th district against incumbent Republican Congressman Trent Franks, Salazar received 93,954 votes or 31.43%. The GPUS follows the ideals of green politics, which are based on the Four Pillars, namely ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy and nonviolence; the Ten Key Values, which expand upon the Four Pillars, are as follows: Grassroots democracy Social justice and equal opportunity Ecological wisdom Nonviolence Decentralization Community-based economics Feminism and gender equality Respect for diversity Personal and global responsibility Future focus and sustainabilityPeter Camejo was quoted in 2002 as claiming that he was a watermelon—green on the outside, but red on the inside.
In January 2004, he initiated the Avocado Declaration. "An avocado is Green on the outside and Green on the inside". The Declaration goes on to explain that Greens have a vital role in bringing democracy to the otherwise undemocratic two party system of the United States; the Green Party does not accept donations from corporations, political action committees, 527 organizations or soft money. The party's platforms and rhetoric harshly criticize corporate influence and control over government and society at large; the party supports the implementation of a single-payer healthcare system. They have called for contraception and abortion procedures to be available on demand; the Green Party calls for providing tuition-free college at public universities and vocational schools, increasing funding for after-school and daycare programs, cancelling all student loan debt, repealing the No Child Left Behind Act. They are against the dissolution of public schools and the privatization of education; the party favors the abolition of the death penalty, repeal of three-strikes laws, banning of private prisons, legalization of marijuana, decriminalization of other drugs.
The Green Party advocates for "complete and full" reparations to the African American community, as well the removal of the Confederate flag from all government buildings. The party supports same-sex marriage, the right of access to medical and surgical treatment for sex reassignment, withdrawing foreign aid to countries with poor LGBT+ rights records; the Green Party calls on the United States to join the International Criminal Court, sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and Non-Proliferation Treaty. Additionally, it supports cutting the defense budget
Taxation in the United States
The United States of America has separate federal and local governments with taxes imposed at each of these levels. Taxes are levied on income, property, capital gains, imports and gifts, as well as various fees. In 2010, taxes collected by federal and municipal governments amounted to 24.8% of GDP. In the OECD, only Chile and Mexico are taxed less as a share of their GDP. However, taxes fall much more on labor income than on capital income. Divergent taxes and subsidies for different forms of income and spending can constitute a form of indirect taxation of some activities over others. For example, individual spending on higher education can be said to be "taxed" at a high rate, compared to other forms of personal expenditure which are formally recognized as investments. Taxes are imposed on net income of individuals and corporations by the federal, most state, some local governments. Citizens and residents are allowed a credit for foreign taxes. Income subject to tax is determined under tax accounting rules, not financial accounting principles, includes all income from whatever source.
Most business expenses reduce taxable income. Individuals are permitted to reduce taxable income by personal allowances and certain non-business expenses, including home mortgage interest and local taxes, charitable contributions, medical and certain other expenses incurred above certain percentages of income. State rules for determining taxable income differ from federal rules. Federal marginal tax rates vary from 10% to 39.6% of taxable income. State and local tax rates vary by jurisdiction, from 0% to 13.30% of income, many are graduated. State taxes are treated as a deductible expense for federal tax computation, although the 2017 tax law imposed a $10,000 limit on the state and local tax deduction, which raised the effective tax rate on medium and high earners in high tax states. Prior to the SALT deduction limit, the average deduction exceeded $10,000 in most of the Midwest, exceeded $11,000 in most of the Northeastern United States, as well as California and Oregon; the states impacted the most by the limit were California.
The United States is one of two countries in the world that taxes its non-resident citizens on worldwide income, in the same manner and rates as residents. The U. S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of imposition of such a tax in the case of Cook v. Tait. Payroll taxes are imposed by the federal and all state governments; these include Social Security and Medicare taxes imposed on both employers and employees, at a combined rate of 15.3%. Social Security tax applies only to the first $106,800 of wages in 2009 through 2011. However, benefits are only accrued on the first $106,800 of wages. Employers must withhold income taxes on wages. An unemployment tax and certain other levies apply to employers. Payroll taxes have increased as a share of federal revenue since the 1950s, while corporate income taxes have fallen as a share of revenue.. Property taxes are imposed by most local governments and many special purpose authorities based on the fair market value of property. School and other authorities are separately governed, impose separate taxes.
Property tax is imposed only on realty, though some jurisdictions tax some forms of business property. Property tax rules and rates vary with annual median rates ranging from 0.2% to 1.9% of a property's value depending on the state. Sales taxes are imposed by most states and some localities on the price at retail sale of many goods and some services. Sales tax rates vary among jurisdictions, from 0% to 16%, may vary within a jurisdiction based on the particular goods or services taxed. Sales tax is collected by the seller at the time of sale, or remitted as use tax by buyers of taxable items who did not pay sales tax; the United States imposes tariffs or customs duties on the import of many types of goods from many jurisdictions. These tariffs or duties must be paid before the goods can be imported. Rates of duty vary from 0 % based on the particular goods and country of origin. Estate and gift taxes are imposed by the federal and some state governments on the transfer of property inheritance, by will, or by lifetime donation.
Similar to federal income taxes, federal estate and gift taxes are imposed on worldwide property of citizens and residents and allow a credit for foreign taxes. The U. S. has an assortment of federal, state and special-purpose governmental jurisdictions. Each imposes taxes to or fund its operations; these taxes may be imposed on the same income, property or activity without offset of one tax against another. The types of tax imposed at each level of government vary, in part due to constitutional restrictions. Income taxes are imposed at most state levels. Taxes on property are imposed only at the local level, although there may be multiple local jurisdictions that tax the same property. Other excise taxes are imposed by the federal and some state governments. Sales taxes are imposed by many local governments. Customs duties or tariffs are only imposed by the federal government. A wide variety of user fees or license fees are imposed. A federal wealth tax would be required by the U. S. Constitution to be distributed to the States according to their populations, as this type of tax is considered a direct tax.
State and local government property taxes are w