Federal Judges Deliver A Pair Of Small 2nd Amendment Victories

Two federal judges in different states have issued rulings this week striking down local and state restrictions on access to firearms, garnering a pair of small but significant victories for 2nd Amendment rights.

In California last Friday, federal judge Anthony W. Ishiji struck down the state’s 10-day waiting period law for firearms purchases, ruling the law is unconstitutional. Two California gun owners, along with the Calguns Foundation, filed a suit challenging the law.

According to the Calguns Foundation, Ishiji said in his decision the waiting period “‘violate[s] the Second Amendment’ as applied to members of certain classifications, like [plaintiffs] Silvester and Combs, and ‘burdens the Second Amendment rights of the Plaintiffs.’”

More from Calguns:

Under the court order, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) must change its systems to accommodate the unobstructed release of guns to gun buyers who pass a background check and possess a California license to carry a handgun, or who hold a “Certificate of Eligibility” issued by the DOJ and already possess at least one firearm known to the state.

In Louisiana on Monday, another federal judge overturned a local gun ordinance in Baton Rouge that prohibited gun owners from keeping their firearms inside their cars while on the property of a business that sells alcohol. 

Federal judge Brian Jackson pointed out the inherent absurdity of such a requirement, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate:

“[A]ny law-abiding citizen who exercises his or her right to keep or bear arms within the confines of his or her personal vehicle will violate [ordinance] 13:95.3 anytime he or she, for example, stops to refuel a vehicle at a service station that sells alcohol, or stops to purchase groceries at a grocery store that sells alcohol,” the judge wrote.

“Similarly, the ordinance prohibits law-abiding citizens from purchasing and possessing firearms at any establishment that sells alcohol, thereby rendering the sale of firearms at establishments like Wal-Mart a criminal act,” he said.

Jackson also issued an injunction permanently forbidding East Baton Rouge Parish, including Baton Rouge, from enforcing the ordinance. 

The case stems from a legal challenge brought by Baton Rouge resident Ernest Taylor, who was stopped in 2012 for allegedly failing to turn on his headlights after leaving a bar. Police found three rifles in his vehicle and arrested him under the now-enjoined ordinance. 

“Taylor, who had no prior felony convictions, alleged the ordinance conflicts with a 2008 Louisiana law that permits firearms in locked vehicles in ‘any parking lot, parking garage or other designated parking area,’” The Advocate noted.

Jackson agreed, setting an October hearing to determine the amount of damages the parish and city may have to pay Taylor. Taylor got his confiscated guns back in June.

IRS Admits It Destroyed Lois Lerner’s Blackberry After Congress Began Investigating Scandal

When the IRS met Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s deadline last Friday to produce sworn documents explaining a variety of things about how and why Lois Lerner’s emails went missing, it dropped a couple of bombs for anyone who’s been following the ever-simmering IRS scandal.

The IRS admitted that it had destroyed Lerner’s mobile Blackberry device months after it learned that member of Congress were looking into allegations of political discrimination against conservative groups during Barack Obama’s reelection campaign.

The agency’s designated oath-taker for this testimony, IRS tech officer Stephen Manning, told the court the IRS had wiped the data from Lerner’s Blackberry — issued to her in November 2009 — in June 2012 and had issued her a fresh one in February 2012.

The New York Observer’s Sidney Powell (a former DOJ attorney for 10 years) put this in context:

We all know by now that Lois Lerner’s hard drive crashed in June 2011 and was destroyed by IRS. The emails of up to twenty other related IRS officials were missing in remarkably similar “crashes,” leading many to speculate that Lois Lerner’s Blackberry perhaps held the key. Now, the Observer can confirm that a year after the infamous hard drive crash, the IRS destroyed Ms. Lerner’s Blackberry — and without making any effort to retain the emails from it.

Judge Sullivan has had to pry information from the IRS to learn anything about Ms. Lerner’s Blackberry. Now, with these latest revelations, I’m confident he’s not finished.

In two elusive and nebulous sworn declarations, we can glean that Ms. Lerner had two Blackberries. One was issued to her on November 12, 2009. According to a sworn declaration, this is the Blackberry that contained all the emails (both sent and received) that would have been in her “Outlook” and drafts that never were sent from her Blackberry during the relevant time.

With incredible disregard for the law and the Congressional inquiry, the IRS admits that this Blackberry “was removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.” This is a year after her hard drive “crash” and months after the Congressional inquiry began.

…Lerner was issued another Blackberry for Valentine’s Day 2012 — also after she came under fire for her targeting of conservative groups. The IRS still has that Blackberry. It’s now in the possession of the Inspector General of the Treasury, but the new device would not have the data from the prior three years. That was most likely the point of getting the new device.

The Blackberry news came on the same day that a lawyer from the Department of Justice representing the IRS admitted to Judicial Watch — the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the IRS over its alleged discrimination — that the federal government backs up everything, everything, everything in case of a cataclysmic event, and that includes Lois Lerner’s emails.

So they do exist after all; apparently, they always have.

But, the DOJ lawyer argued, it would be too tough to retrieve those emails from the boundless trove of government data (kinda obviates the act of backing the data up in the first place, doesn’t it?)

Here’s how Judicial Watch responded to that on Monday:

Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe.  The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search.  The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system.

We obviously disagree that disclosing the emails as required would be onerous, and plan to raise this new development with Judge Sullivan.

This is a jaw-dropping revelation.  The Obama administration had been lying to the American people about Lois Lerner’s missing emails. There are no “missing” Lois Lerner emails – nor missing emails of any of the other top IRS or other government officials whose emails seem to be disappearing at increasingly alarming rate. All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion. The Obama administration has known all along where the email records could be — but dishonestly withheld this information. You can bet we are going to ask the court for immediate assistance in cutting through this massive obstruction of justice.

Free Military Gear To Cops Has Resulted In 184 Local Police Departments ‘Losing’ Guns, Humvees

When the federal government places leftover military weapons, MRAPs, Humvees, fire trucks and even ready-to-eat meals and sleeping bags in the hands of local fire and police forces, it’s at least trusting that those agencies will hang onto them — even if they’re used to restrain and repress civilians.

But even that is too much to ask for dozens upon dozens of local departments. Since the federal 1033 program was implemented almost 25 years ago, the feds have suspended nearly 200 local agencies from participating because they “lost” some of the equipment they received or violated other terms tied to receiving the free stuff.

From Fusion TV (a Disney/Univision-owned network) Monday:

Fusion has learned that 184 state and local police departments have been suspended from the Pentagon’s “1033 program” for missing weapons or failure to comply with other guidelines. We uncovered a pattern of missing M14 and M16 assault rifles across the country, as well as instances of missing .45-caliber pistols, shotguns and 2 cases of missing Humvee vehicles.

… More troubling yet is the possibility that some of the missing weapons, which were given to local police departments as part of a decades’ old government program to equip cops for the wars on terrorism and drugs, are actually being sold on the black market, Lynch said.

… Since the program began in 1990, more than $4.3 billion in equipment and weapons has been transferred to more than 8,000 participating police departments, according to the Pentagon.

Three bad outcomes for the price of none: militarizing the local police; the local police “losing” guns that end up for sale elsewhere; and controlling local agencies by dangling yet another rotten carrot that the local police can’t nibble — unless they comply with all the federal guidelines (because we don’t have enough of that.)

The story goes on to list specific instances of the cops misplacing automatic weapons, handguns and pistols in California, Mississippi, Arkansas, Arizona and Georgia.

As one commenter pointed out, the government holds itself to a much lower standard of accountability than that to which it holds the governed: “when it come[s] to weapons there is no normal for lost or missing. The acceptable number for unaccounted weapons is 0. Just ask any FFL [Federal Firearms License holder] when the BATF comes around to check. Certainly we can expect the police to meet the same standards as the private sector.”

Read the rest of Fusion’s in-depth piece here.

Paperwork May Delay Tax Returns For Patients Covered Under Obamacare

Obamacare customers will have to fill out additional paperwork next year in order to verify their eligibility for tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. Tax preparers acquainting themselves for the changes say that, given Obamacare’s track record of delays and glitches, it’s difficult to imagine the added layer of bureaucracy won’t delay many of those patients’ tax returns.

The verification document, the federal 1095A form, is supposed to be in the hands of every eligible tax filer by Jan. 31, 2015. Anyone who purchased health insurance through a government-funded exchange must file the form. But according to The Washington Times, tax professionals already foresee delays, not only with the January deadline, but for everything that follows afterward.

“It really strains credulity to think 1095A is not going to be a big problem,” Jackson Hewitt vice president for health programs George Brandes told The Times.

One major concern is the deadline itself: Many people receive their federal W-2 form much earlier than Jan. 31. Many of those same people simply aren’t yet aware of just how pervasively Obamacare’s financial stipulations will reach into other aspects of their financial lives and, therefore, may prepare and file their taxes before the 1095A form ever hits their door.

One tax professional interviewed for the Times piece said it’s “absolutely critical” that patients covered under Obamacare have the 1095A form before filing their taxes, but even then, it’s not clear that many will know what the form is for.

Also:

The IRS has released drafts of the forms taxpayers will see next year, but stakeholders are still waiting on instructions that explain how to calculate subsidy amounts to see if they correctly match up with a person’s income.

So even if the forms do arrive on time and customers do know exactly what they’re for, they may still have a hard time figuring out the precise numbers they must share with the IRS (under penalty of perjury, no less).

In related Obamacare news last week, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released its August business outlook survey, which revealed that businesses are dramatically altering their hiring patterns in order to avoid Obamacare’s coverage mandates for full-time employees.

tax graphic

“In special questions this month, firms were asked qualitative questions about the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how, if at all, they are making changes to their employment and compensation, including benefits,” the survey summary stated.

“Over 18 percent of the firms indicated that the number of workers was lower because of the ACA; 3 percent indicated higher levels. The same percentage (18 percent) indicated that the proportion of part-time workers had increased.”

Note from the Editor: As you’ve just read, the Obamacare abomination doesn’t bode well for anyone. But if you know how to navigate the system you can still control your own healthcare—as every American should! My trusted friend and medical insider, Dr. Michael Cutler, and I have written a concise guide to help you do just that. I urge you… Click here for your free copy.

Fed Up With Media Circus, One Reporter Explains Why He Walked Away From Ferguson

Freelance journalist Ryan L. Schlosser went to Ferguson, Missouri to report on the rioting that followed the controversial police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, on August 9.

He came away disgusted with the way the story was being reported, and the callous, self-serving manner in which national and international news outlets insinuated themselves, and their apparent agendas, into the much smaller local narrative – all while demonstrating a fundamental disregard for Ferguson residents while they were guests in their city.

“After what I saw last night, I will not be returning,” wrote Schlosser, who went to Ferguson to report on the riots in collaboration with Al Jazeera America. “The behavior and number of journalists there is so appalling, that I cannot in good conscience continue to be a part of the spectacle.”

Does he give examples? Of course he does:

  • Cameramen yelling at residents in public meetings for standing in way of their cameras
  • Cameramen yelling at community leaders for stepping away from podium microphones to better talk to residents
  • TV crews making small talk and laughing at the spot where Mike Brown was killed, as residents prayed, mourned
  • A TV crew of a to-be-left-unnamed major cable network taking pieces out of a Ferguson business retaining wall to weigh down their tent
  • Another major TV network renting out a gated parking lot for their one camera, not letting people in. Safely reporting the news on the other side of a tall fence.
  • Journalists making the story about them
  • National news correspondents glossing over the context and depth of this story, focusing instead on the sexy images of tear gas, rubber bullets, etc.
  • One reporter who, last night, said he came to Ferguson as a “networking opportunity.” He later asked me to take a picture of him with Anderson Cooper.

Schlosser also observed the selective pre-editing of story ideas, in which news outlets took the lay of the land and quickly settled on reporting only on the most sensational events. If anything good was going on as a result of the community’s coming together over the Brown shooting, the mainstream media wanted no part of it.

“One anecdote that stands out: as the TV cameras were doing their live shots in front of the one burnt-out building in the three-block stretch of ‘Ground Zero,’ around the corner was a community food/goods drive,” he blogged. “I heard one resident say: ‘Where are the cameras? I’m going to go see if I can find some people to film this.’”

Read Schlosser’s full post here.

IRS Answers Due Today In Lawsuit Over Missing Lerner Emails

The Internal Revenue Service is expected to present sworn testimony today to a federal judge who cracked down on the agency after it offered dismissive responses to a previous discovery order aimed at explaining how Lois Lerner’s infamous “lost” emails went missing.

The new order, issued last week by U.S. District Court Judge Emmett G. Sullivan in a lawsuit brought against the agency by Judicial Watch, left nothing to the imagination after the IRS’s previous attempt at satisfying a broader order by Sullivan went largely unheeded.

Sullivan gave the agency until Aug. 22 to come up with under-oath answers to a host of new demands:

In light of the [previous] Declarations filed by the IRS, the IRS is hereby ORDERED to file a sworn Declaration, by an official with the authority to speak under oath for the Agency, by no later than August 22, 2014. In this Declaration, the IRS must: (1) provide information about its efforts, if any, to recover missing Lois Lerner emails from alternate sources (i.e., Blackberry, iPhone, iPad); (2) provide additional information explaining the IRS’s policy of tracking inventory through use of bar code property tags, including whether component parts, such as hard drives, receive a bar code tag when serviced. If individual components do not receive a bar code tag, provide information on how the IRS tracks component parts, such as hard drives, when being serviced; (3) provide information about the IRS’s policy to degauss hard drives, including whether the IRS records whose hard drive is degaussed, either by tracking the employee’s name or the particular machine with which the hard drive was associated; and (4) provide information about the outside vendor who can verify the IRS’s destruction policies concerning hard drives. Signed by Judge Emmett G. Sullivan on August 14, 2014.

Judicial Watch hailed the order as tantamount to the launch of an “independent inquiry” into the alleged loss of Lerner’s email data — something for which conservative groups and alternative media had been clamoring for several months.

“In an extraordinary step, U. S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan has launched an independent inquiry into the issue of the missing emails associated with former IRS official Lois Lerner,” Judicial Watch Tom Fitton said in a statement on Aug. 14.

“Previously, Judge Sullivan ordered the IRS to produce sworn declarations about the IRS email issue by August 11. Today’s order confirms Judicial Watch’s read of this week’s IRS filings that treated as a joke Judge Sullivan’s order.”

While Fitton’s statement might be prematurely jubilant, Judicial Watch’s lawsuit against the IRS is faring better than a similar one filed by Texas-based conservative group True the Vote. Earlier this month, federal judge Reggie Walton denied True the Vote’s request for an independent forensic audit of IRS computers connected with Lerner’s emails, saying it would only duplicate the investigative efforts of the government’s Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

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Democrats Fear Obamacare Just Like Everybody Else

There’s some party-line disparity to be found in the results of a new breakdown of U.S. employees’ perceptions of how Obamacare will affect their jobs, but not much. Even Democrats with jobs appear nonplussed by the prospect of their bosses abandoning their group health coverage plans in favor of online Obamacare exchanges — as well as the poorer-quality coverage that would accompany it.

A May report by S&P Capital IQ predicted that Obamacare — contrary to its stated purpose of making healthcare affordable for individuals — would actually save companies listed on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index a ton of money (nearly a trillion dollars’ worth).

How? By driving the cost of employer-sponsored group plans so high that the companies would ultimately just scrap their in-house coverage and pay the (eventually) mandatory penalty. The employees, meanwhile, would fend for themselves on the Obamacare exchanges.

This week, a new round of analyses revealed that employees through the U.S. are beginning to realize what that means for them — and that, in most cases, it isn’t good.

The Hill reported it this way, but the writer buried the lede:

Most workers are worried their employers will shift them over to health plans under the ObamaCare exchanges leading to worse coverage, but the concern is highest with Republicans.

A new analysis by Morning Consult found that 72 percent of Republicans are concerned they will be pushed to a health plan under the new exchanges versus 60 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents who feel the same.

The news there isn’t that more Republicans are fretting about this — of course they are, because they’ve been ideologically opposed to Obamacare from the start. What’s amazing is that working Democrats, who’ve ideologically favored Obamacare throughout its gestation, are now facing the law’s reality. It’s the reality they have a problem with.

In addition to the findings quoted above, the report indicates only 27 percent of Democrats believe dumping employees onto Obamacare exchanges would “have a positive effect on their current healthcare coverage.” And 42 percent of Democrats (compared with 62 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of independents) also said they’d consider looking for another job if their employer attempted such a move.

And, of course, all of this is still up in the air, thanks to dueling rulings in two similar court cases last month. Those conflicting decisions have left unresolved the matter of whether the government can force eligible (read: medium and large-scale) employers in the 36 states without state-run Obamacare exchanges to pay a penalty for not offering insurance to their employees.

Note from the Editor:As you’ve just read, the Obamacare abomination doesn’t bode well for anyone. But if you know how to navigate the system you can still control your own healthcare—as every American should! My trusted friend and medical insider, Dr. Michael Cutler, and I have written a concise guide to help you do just that. I urge you… Click here for your free copy.

Not So Fast And Furious: Judge Orders DOJ To Hand Over List Of Withheld Gunrunning Documents

Attorney General Eric Holder may have gone about his business with a Congressional contempt charge hanging over his head for the past two years, but the gunrunning scandal that got him that way hasn’t disappeared.

On Wednesday, a federal judge ordered Holder’s Department of Justice to hand over to Congressional investigators a list of the documents it has attempted to keep secret since 2012, when Holder citied an innovative interpretation of executive privilege.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson gave the DOJ until October 1 to deliver the list to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The order does not compel DOJ to surrender the documents themselves, but Jackson had indicated during a May hearing that she would force Holder to convince her, one document at a time, that the information should be protected by executive privilege.

The House Oversight Committee subpoenaed more than 1,000 pages of documents relating to the so-called gun-walking scandal in late 2011. Holder resisted, leading to the contempt charge on a 255-67 House vote that included 17 Democratic votes in favor of contempt.

The Fast and Furious scandal erupted when two firearms connected with the DOJ’s gun-walking practice were discovered at the scene where border patrol agent Brian Terry was murdered in a firefight with alleged illegal immigrants in late 2010.

“Gun walking” describes the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ practice of tracking the transfer of firearms through the hands of suspected drug traffickers, instead of intercepting the weapons – even though the agency had cause to suspect they were intended for use in the commission of crimes at the behest of Mexican drug cartel leaders.

GAO Report: Department Of Defense Violated The Law In Bergdahl-Guantanamo Prisoner Swap

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has found that the Department of Defense violated the law when it carried out the Obama Administration’s arranged swap of five Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay for the freedom of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

In a ruling released today, GAO General Counsel Susan A. Poling confirmed that the DoD unlawfully spent nearly $1 million in funds to make the swap, because the appropriations measure that funds the department specifically requires at least 30 days’ notice to relevant Congressional committees before appropriated money can be used to transfer Guantanamo prisoners.

From today’s decision, addressed to Republican members of the Senate Appropriations Committee:

At issue in this opinion is whether DOD violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014, for failing to provide at least 30 days of advance notice to specific congressional committees, and if so, whether DOD also violated the Antideficiency Act.

…In our view, the meaning of section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014, is clear and unambiguous. Section 8111 prohibits the use of “funds appropriated or otherwise made available” in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014, to transfer any individual detained at Guantanamo Bay to the custody or control of a foreign entity “except in accordance with section 1035 of the [FY 2014 NDAA].” Pub. L. No. 113‑76, § 8011. Section 1035 of the FY 2014 NDAA, in turn, requires the Secretary of Defense to notify certain congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of such a transfer, among other things. Pub. L. No. 113‑66, § 1035. Because DOD did not provide written notice to the relevant congressional committees until May 31, 2014, the same day as the transfer, DOD violated section 8111.

…Our opinion in this matter rests upon the Secretary of Defense’s responsibility to comply with a notification condition on the availability of appropriations to transfer individuals from Guantanamo Bay. This opinion does not address the Secretary’s decision to transfer the five individuals in this case as part of DOD’s efforts to secure the release of an American soldier. However, when DOD failed to notify specified congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of its transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to Qatar, DOD used appropriated funds in violation of section 8111. As a consequence of using its appropriations in a manner specifically prohibited by law, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act. See 31 U.S.C. § 1341(a). DOD should report its Antideficiency Act violation as required by law.

Though it’s a slog to get through all that, most of it is self-explanatory. Congress funded the DoD through the 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, setting clear parameters on how the DoD could use the appropriated funds in the event of a prisoner transfer at Guantanamo.

At the Obama administration’s behest, the DoD did not follow those parameters — specifically, giving 30 days’ notice to the Congressional committees that originate and oversee appropriations legislation — when it secreted the forthcoming prisoner exchange from Congress until after the transfer was done.

Not only did that move violate the DoD Appropriations Act of 2014; it also violated the Antideficiency Act, a law that (perhaps redundantly) states that it’s illegal to spend money that isn’t (legally) there. “We have consistently concluded that the use of appropriated funds for prohibited purposes violates the Antideficiency Act, because zero funds are available for the purpose,” the GAO explains in a footnote.

We will update this story as the consequences (if there are any) for the DoD or other government personnel involved become clearer.

How Much (Or How Little) Will $100 Buy In Each Of The 50 States?

Everyone knows that location matters in determining the relative cost of equal goods. It’s amazing, though, just how great a disparity exists between the costliest and the cheapest locations in the U.S. when it comes to stretching (or squeezing) the value of a dollar for all it’s worth.

The Tax Foundation is out with a new infographic that compares the relative buying power of $100 in each of the 50 U.S. states, along with some focused commentary suggesting even bigger value discrepancies between localities and metro areas.

The intent of the graphic is to show “the real value of $100 in each state,” according to The Tax Foundation. As a rule (there are exceptions), states that shelter lower wages are typically the same states that afford residents more buying power for their $100. Conversely, goods and services in states that offer higher wages usually also cost more than in their lower-income counterparts.

JPriceParity2012

What that means, in most cases, is that lower income and lower costs in one state — or higher income and higher costs in another — tend to balance out. Residents of lower-income states who manage to command higher wages (through pensions, independent wealth, etc.), though, can enjoy both high income and low costs — a sweet financial proposition for those fortunate enough to earn high and pay low.

The most expensive place to spend $100 isn’t even a state; it’s Washington, D.C. There, $100 will only net you the same amount of product as $84.60 would at the national average. Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, and California round out the list of most expensive states using The Tax Foundation’s metric.

By Contrast, Mississippi — among the nation’s poorest states in terms of wage levels and public spending — will stretch your $100 farther than any other state. In Mississippi, what $100 will buy, on average, throughout the U.S. can actually buy much more: $115.74 worth of stuff. Unsurprisingly, the best dollar-stretching states happen to be in the Heartland and the Deep South: Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama and South Dakota round out the top five. 

The Dakotas — particularly North Dakota — present an interesting exception to The Tax Foundation’s low-wage; low-cost rule. “As it happens, states with high incomes tend to have high price levels. This is hardly surprising, as both high incomes and high prices can correlate with high levels of economic activity,” their report states. 

“However, this relationship isn’t strictly linear: for example, some states, like North Dakota, have high incomes without high prices. Adjusting for prices can substantially change our perceptions of which states are truly poor or rich.”

Viewed in terms of extremes, there’s a vast difference between the relative value of $100 in the nation’s costliest and least-costly states. “Regional price differences are strikingly large, and have serious policy implications,” the report asserts. “The same amount of dollars are worth almost 40 percent more in Mississippi than in DC, and the differences become even larger if metro area prices are considered instead of statewide averages. A person who makes $40,000 a year after tax in Kentucky would need to have after-tax earnings of $53,000 in Washington, DC just in order to have an equal standard of living, let alone feel richer.”

For an idea of how much greater the metro-level disparities are, see The Tax Foundation’s infographic, which it published in response to “a lot of requests – particularly from upstate New Yorkers.” 

That map generally follows the same high-wage, high-cost correlation observed at the state level, although rural areas provide perhaps the most interesting revelation of all:

It’s important to see that price differences do persist across states, even in non-metropolitan areas. $100 still doesn’t go nearly as far in rural California ($101.94) as it does in rural Texas ($113.64). It doesn’t even go as far as it does in San Antonio. ($106.50.) This suggests that policy – not just geography and urbanization – may play a role in these price differences.