Monday, November 30, 2009
Mark Sullivan, Directer, United States Secret Service, should be fired. The fact he hasn't been fired as of yet tells you all you need to know about the present state of our Union.
Whoever is in direct day to day charge of White House Security should be fired as well.
As for Mr. and Mrs. Salahis... they should have been taken into custody immediately and in fact they should still be in custody - charged with every offense it's possible to charge them on - awaiting trial. Instead, though, they're free as birds, not even charged yet; they're "shopping" interviews - hoping for a big payday - and as for the U.S. Secret Service... well... the New York Times reported yesterday that beyond not yet having charged the Salahis' with any crimes, the boys and girls with the earpieces are treating the Salahis' with kid gloves to the extent that these scam artists have only been interviewed on "neutral turf," not at the couple's home, not at Secret Service headquarters.
The inmates are running the asylum, folks - from the White House on down the line.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their Joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness, Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation; for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the National One now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations - especially such as have shewn kindness unto us - and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789
Saturday, November 21, 2009
From page, "The Photo News," Friday, November 20, 2009: "North Main's Family ESL Program Filled To Capacity With Participants."
Hmm... first thought: How much is this costing me?
Second thought: How many illegal aliens are receiving "services" paid for out of my pocket and the pockets of my fellow citizens?
No doubt the reporter, Nancy Kriz, and her editor, Bob Quinn, view the story as a heartwarming "human interest" piece. Me...? I immediately think of my taxes being squandered and additional debts being piled upon the backs of our children and grandchildren.
Yeah... that's the thing... New York State is in fiscal crisis. Here's the immediate problem:
New York is presently set to run out of money in December when a huge chunk of the $3.2 billion deficit is due.
According to my state's Democratic Governor, David Paterson, "If lawmakers [Democrats control both Houses of New York State's Legislature by the way] don't act now on a deficit reduction plan, then tough actions will have to be made: Furloughs, layoffs, borrowing, downgraded credit rating, delayed payment to schools, delayed payments to local governments, delayed payments to service providers, delayed payments to workforce..."
And yet... this weekend's edition of my local weekly reports, "Funded through a federal grant, the Family ESL Program provides dinner, instruction and class materials to adult students and their children. The evening ends at 8 p.m. so parents can get their kids home for bedtime."
DINNER...??? DINNER...!!! There's no end to the insanity...!!!
Call me "mean." Call me "cruel, harsh, unsympathetic." Oh... and while you're at it, why not label me "racist" or perhaps simply "xenophobic?"
Or... just to leave the politically correct talking points aside so as to allow one uninterrupted moment of sanity... why not simply acknowledge that with New York State, most other states, and of course the federal government itself operating in perpetual deficit mode, borrowing money from abroad to finance these deficits, increasing taxes, fees, and surcharges yet still spending more than is raised via taxes, fees and surcharges...
(*BLOOD PRESSURE SHOOTING THROUGH THE ROOF*)
(*TEARS OF ANGER AND FRUSTRATION WELLING UP*)
Are there no priorities? No hierarchy of needs? No recognition of reality...?!?!
People. In case you missed it... a few days ago the news was announced that our National Debt has surpassed $12 trillion...
In just the first nine months of Barak Obama's presidency, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Democratic House and Democratic Senate of the United States have added $1.6 trillion to our National Debt.
The White House itself issued an analysis in August - based upon their own budget desires and projections - estimating that at the conclusion of fiscal year 2010 (September 30, 2010) the National Debt could top $14 trillion...
Friends. Readers. This same White House "preview of things to come" predicts that by the end of the decade - 2019 - the National Debt will hit $24.5 trillion - exceeding the nation's expected GDP for that year!
My God... the people in power are destroying our nation's economy! And when I read that while all this is going on the federal government (in cooperation with New York State and my own Monroe-Woodbury School District) is not only directing my hard earned tax dollars towards while simultaneously borrowing additional funds to finance FREE DINNERS on top of the basic cost of running an ELS program that no doubt counts illegal aliens as "clients"...
No. Strike that word "counts." Because I'd bet anything that no id's are required... but even if I'm wrong and some form of identification is requested, I submit that there's no way in hell any effective "verification of citizenship" is taking place.
But listen... even if we're talking legal residents - even citizens - the bottom line remains that we're spending money we don't have; spending money that government borrows and we and our children and future generations are on the hook to pay.
Hey... I want these people (the ones who are here legally) to speak English. In fact, speaking English should be one of the requirements up front in order to gain lawful residency status in this country, let alone citizenship. But this is all besides the point. Once again... the point is that we're spending money we don't have and I look upon this particular instance of government largess as representing the problem in microcosm.
Folks... this expenditure is one grain of sand in the sand dune of irresponsible fiscal policy we know as government. But, folks... it's the sand grains that make up the sand dune.
The politicians are destroying this nation. They're destroying our nation... they're dooming our Posterity.
To those of you who live within the political boundaries of the Monroe-Woodbury School District I urge you...
Contact your New York State Assembly Member.
Contact your Member of the New York State Senate.
Contact Governor Paterson.
Contact John Hall, our United States Congressman.
Contact U.S. Senators (supposedly) representing New York Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
Or... continue to do nothing... stay silent... sit back and watch the politicians bankrupt America and one day when your grandchildren and great grandchildren ask you how and why you allowed their birthrights to be stolen you can respond...
Folks. I'm begging you. GIVE A DAMN!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The Peoples representatives can't seem to help themselves from from attempting to ingratiate themselves with the voters - adding injury to insult... using the voters own money and "credit line" to do so!
Perfect example... H.R. 3548 - the so-called "Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act.
Basically, the bill extends unemployment insurance benefits for up to 20 weeks - extending jobless benefits in all states by 14 weeks and allowing beneficiaries residing in states where the official unemployment rate is above 8.5% an additional six weeks of unemployment checks - thus coverage for another 20 weeks in total.
(And of course nothing stands in the way of the House, Senate and President Obama "providing" additional add-on benefits - perhaps an additional additional 14 or 20 weeks worth of payments - once the current add-on benefits expire. According to the news article I'm relying upon, our free spending politicians have already twice lengthened the time people can receive checks to as much as 79 weeks, depending upon the state.)
In addition to the new unemployment spending (at a time when the national debt stands at more than $12 trillion dollars with the 2009 national deficit alone weighing in at $1.4 trillion), H.R. 3548 also extends the "emergency economic stimulus" $8,000 tax credit for first time homebuyers into the middle of next year and creates a brand new $6,500 tax credit for those who buy a home after living in their previous home for at least five years.
Oh yeah... and by "home" the President, Nancy Pelosi and 402 of her fellow House Members and Harry Reid and 97 of his fellow Senators mean not just that small starter house or roomier family home; nope, our elected representatives in Washington were "kind" enough to legislate that if you have the kind of money it takes to move into a McMansion (as the owner, not the cleaning lady or nanny) - say a $799,999.99 Westchester NY "estate" - you too get a kickback courtesy of... well... the rest of us.
Proposed Bumper Sticker: Schmucks Unite!
Folks... we're the schmucks.
Just as with the ill thought out and ultimately regressive "Cash For Clunkers" program, the "have nots" and even those one might refer to as the "have less" silent majority are being forced to subsidize "the haves" and the just plain "right place, right time" contingent with their personal spending and lifestyle choices.
To everyone who isn't planning on "taking advantage" of the government's "free money" - tough noogies.
To those of you who scrimped and saved to buy a home prior to this latest example of fiscal irresponsibility coming out of Washington - too bad; you lose! (But, hey... the government will happily raise your taxes to fund someone else's McMansion tax break!)
As to the unemployment payments extension...
I've been unemployed. It sucks.
I've collected unemployment insurance - which I paid premiums towards - in the past. I was happy to get the money.
In fact... if memory serves... I was once unemployed during a time where my benefits were extended.
And you know what... full disclosure: Those benefits acted as a cushion for me to avoid considering the more unpalatable employment options which are always open to people when and if they're truly desperate for work - any work.
Listen. Long story short, political reality acknowledged, Republicans couldn't have stood in the way of this legislation had they wanted to. There aren't enough Republicans and there certainly aren't enough conservatives. That said, here's the proposal I would have made:
If Congress is going to borrow the money (and ultimately as long as the federal government runs deficits and as long as there's a federal debt we'll always be referring to borrowed money) to extend unemployment benefits for up to 20 weeks, they should do so in such a way as to discourage beneficiaries from being either too "picky" or too sanguine concerning the possibility of further extensions.
Let's say you've been receiving $500/week in unemployment. You've now exhausted your 20 weeks worth of benefits; you've received $10,000 in cash benefits total.
Now let's say the government decides to extend your benefits for another 20 weeks. Should we be talking another $10,000? I say no.
What I propose in this situation is that your first "new" check - drawn on "extension funding" - should remain $500. However... your next check would be for only $475.
The check after that... $450.
The check after that... $425.
Do you see what I'm doing; what I'm getting at?
After the first week, each additional week you lose 5% of your original unemployment "compensation." The extension itself is the carrot; this weekly diminishment is the stick.
Cruel? Well... if you believe my proposal is "cruel" then certainly - logically - you must believe in unlimited unemployment eligibility. I mean... if it's "cruel" to ween recipients slowly off of what our British cousins call "the dole" then how much crueler is it to envision ultimately removing the "safety net" of unemployment compensation cold turkey?!
Folks... our elected representatives are spending us into oblivion. It must stop! But as I've just demonstrated... it's not stopping. Deficits spending has been accelerating. Debt is increasing at previously unheard of rates! And folks... whether the politicians voting for these irresponsible and destructive policies are turned out of office at the next election or the one after than or whether they retire years from now at a time of their choosing, they will proper and live happily ever after in luxury. Their pensions will be secure - secure and generous.
Are you as confident that your golden years will be lived out in similar comfort..???
Anyway... something to think about.
Here's one more thing - a shout out to the twelve courageous and principled Members of the House who dared to vote "no" on H.R. 3548:
John Shadegg (R-AR); Steve Scalise (R-LA); George Radanovich (R-CA); Tom Price (R-GA); Ron Paul (R-TX); Tom McClintock (R-CA); John Linder (R-GA); Scott Garrrett (R-NJ); Trent Franks (R-AZ); Jeff Flake (R-AZ); Michael Burgess (R-TX); and finally - last but not least - Paul Broun (R-GA).
What I want to know is where were the rest of the self-described "conservatives?"
Michelle Bachmann...??? I'm very disappointed in you.
* Note --
I just called Congresswoman Bachmann's office to try and get a straight answer as to why she voted "yea" on the final bill - the bill as passed by both Senate and House and signed into law by President Obama on November 6, 2009. I was told by a staffer (sorry, I didn't get the young lady's name) that Ms. Bachmann hadn't voted "aye," that in fact she had voted "nay."
Unfortunately... that young staffer was a bit... umm... confused.
While Bachmann did in fact vote against the House bill on September 22, which is all well and good, (82 of her House colleagues joined her in fact) as the young staffer should have known, the vote that mattered was the vote on November 6, 2009 on the House-Senate conference "melded" bill which passed 403-12. Bachmann's was not one of the "nay" votes.
Members of the RSC...
I expect you to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Sorry, folks, but those of you insisting that the Ft. Hood murders (13 killed, at least 29 wounded) qualify as a "terrorist attack" against America on U.S. soil are wrong.
9/11 was a terrorist attack...
The first bombing of the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993 was a terrorist attack...
October 12, 2000 - the attack on the USS Cole - that was a terrorist attack...
Nidal Makik Hasan is a criminal, a murderer, a traitor... but as far as I can tell he doesn't fit the definition (my definition) of a "terrorist."
Was he part of a domestic terrorist cell - a "home grown" extremist group? Not that we know of.
Was he working under the control or guidance of a foreign terrorist organization or foreign government? Again... not that we know of.
If further investigation points to either of the two above scenarios turning out to be the case then yes, I'll withdraw my assertion, admit I was wrong, and label Hasan a terrorist. But until then...
Is Hasan a Muslim? Yes. Self-described.
Is Hasan the type of individual we refer to as a fanatical Muslim Fundamentalist, an "Islamic Jihadist?" Yes. No doubt. Again... from what we know it appears beyond any doubt that Hasan thought of himself - thinks of himself - as a "Jihadist."
Basically Hasan is a criminal. His crimes were hate crimes - violent, murderous, treasonous hate crimes. They were political in the sense of being in the service of his religious and political ideology. Still, this doesn't make him a "terrorist" in the sense of the word as I've always used it.
Does a bank robbery create "terror?" A mugging? A rape? Are these "terrorist" crimes simply because they create terror in the victim? How about a non-violent economic crime such as a scam that steals every red cent out of a senior citizen's nest egg? Certainly even those of us nowhere near retirement react in horror - in "terror" - to the thought of our life's savings suddenly disappearing... and what that would mean.
I'm not playing word games here. I'm trying to use real world examples which explain and hopefully buttress my point.
Was Timothy McVeigh a terrorist? Yes. I believe he was. What makes McVeigh a terrorist in my eyes and Hasan simply a nut... a murderous nut, but still just a nut?
Recall... McVeigh worked with others - Terry Nichols, James Nichols, Michael Fortier and Lori Fortier - in the conception, planning, and ultimately the execution of the bombing of the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. McVeigh was involved in a conspiracy... an anti-government conspiracy.
A self-describe Catholic/Christian fundamentalist assassinating an abortion doctor... is that terrorism? Does it matter if the killer works alone or whether he is part of a conspiracy? How about if the motive is personal - say the doctor has performed an abortion on the killer's wife without his, the husband's, the father's, knowledge or approval? What if religious tenets have no bearing on the decision to murder the doctor?
Oh... and of course there's this: What if "anti-government" sentiment has nothing to do with the "terror inducing" crime of murdering an abortion doctor or even bombing an abortion clinic...??? Can terrorism be defined separately from its component as a political act?
See where I'm coming from? Again, I'm not playing word games. Is all arson "terrorism?" No. Is some arson terrorism? Yes. How about assassinations of political figures? Is Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme a "terrorist?" Sarah Jane Moore? John Hinchley Jr.?
Listen... I could go on like this all day and so could most of you reading this. My point is...
While I can see where people are coming from when they refer to Hasan as a terrorist, those same people should bear in mind that others of us don't believe Hasan's murderous rampage was "the first successful act of terror on American soil since 9/11."
Those of us in the "it's not terrorism" camp aren't trying to downplay the horror of what Hasan did; at least I'm not.
We're not - at least I'm not - trying to "ignore" that Hasan considered himself a practicing Muslim and viewed his act a religious act of Jihad.
What I'm saying is that Hasan was a nut...
What I'm saying is that Hasan was a Muslim nut...
What I'm saying is that I expect Hasan to be tried, convicted, and executed and in my view this is exactly what he deserves.
All this said... while I certainly see Hasan's crimes as treasonous - thus marking Hasan as a traitor by definition - I view it as a mistake to label his criminal behavior "terrorism."
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
For Christ's sake... it's Veterans' Day - November 11, 2009.
Halloween is less than two weeks past!
Thanksgiving is slightly more than two weeks away...
ENOUGH WITH THE EARLY CHRISTMAS MARKETING...!!!
Santa was at the mall this weekend. He SHOULD be at the North Pole supervising toy production!
Listen... I love Christmas...
I love the Christmas season...
The Christmas season starts not after Halloween... not days before Veterans' Day... not on so-called "Black Friday"...
Nope. No way. The Christmas season commences on the First Sunday of Advent; this year - 2009 - the First Sunday of Advent falls on November 29th. Period!
Rather than "get me in the mood," the only thing that merchants achieve by bombarding me with "Christmas Spirit" prior to Advent is to piss me off.
Listen. I'm a capitalist. I understand commercialization... marketing... trying to get a jump on competitors and grab market share early... but this is getting ridiculous!
There's such a thing as RESPECT!
I want Jesus shown respect. I want Santa - jolly old Saint Nick - shown respect. I want our kids - and my fellow adults - to view the Christmas season as more than a race for trinkets. I want Halloween and Veterans' Day and Thanksgiving to be shown respect for what they represent and not to be seen as simply preludes - part of the countdown - to Black Friday.
That's how I feel.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Anyone who has ever been mattress shopping knows what a pain in the neck it is.
First of all, the mattress manufacturers create lines of mattresses and within these lines are distinct models.
Sounds reasonable, right...?
The thing is, these models are named differently depending upon the retailer. Thus, it's almost impossible to compare apples to apples - or in this case mattresses to mattresses.
Anyway... as friends and regular readers know, I'm a "best bang for the buck" kinda guy and my focus is on comparative value rather than straight price per se.
So... as of now I'm deciding between the King Koil XL-100 and the Serta St. Charles Extra Firm, part of the Perfect Sleeper line and sold exclusively at Macy's.
Folks... you may at this point be asking yourselves, "What the heck...? Why is Bill telling me about his mattress buying adventures...???"
Fair question! Short answer... why not...?!?! It's my blog! At this particular moment in time my focus is not on national or world events, but locked like a laser beam on replacing my worn out old mattress. For those who would rather focus on more... er... important issues... head on over to Drudge. There you'll find stories such as:
New York State Will Be Broke Before Christmas...
Gold Price Hits Record High As Dollar Wanes...
Freddie Mac Posts $5 billion Loss...
Banks In GA., MI., MN., MO., CA., Closed...
...and so on and so forth.
Nope! Me... my concern is getting the best new mattress I can at the best price!
Hey... final comment: For anyone else who is in the market - or soon will be - for a new mattress, here's a great website I found which I'd term "must reading" for the perspective mattress buyer.
Good luck... and God Bless American...!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Well... don't expect a great deal of cheer from me.
The good news: Virginia. As Liz Sidoti of the AP put it, "Independents who swept Barack Obama to a historic 2008 victory broke big for Republicans on Tuesday as the GOP wrested political control from Democrats in Virginia..."
Yes, the GOP swept Virginia last night; conservative Republicans as far as I can tell. That's good news. As Bob Rayner of the Richmond Times Dispatch wrote, "It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of Bob McDonnell's comfortable win in the race for governor of Virginia; not because it necessarily portends a GOP sweep in the 2010 midterms, but because it serves as a model for conservative and Republican victories in battleground states across the country."
Rayner continued, "there's no doubt that McDonnell ran as a clear-cut conservative -- as did his running mates for lieutenant governor and attorney general, who both won..."
Well hip-hip hooray - based on the campaign rhetoric at least. Now let's see how McDonnell governs.
As to Chris Christie of New Jersey...
Yeah, yeah... he won; the Republican challenger won big in one of the bluest of the blue states. Cause for celebration...? Not really.
Christie is just another Jersey pol. He's "conservative" in the same way Al D'Amato was "conservative" - meaning more emphasis on the label than the underlying reality as measured by legislative action. Christie reminds me a bit of Trent Lott - or Tom DeLay without the brains. Christie is a guy who - IMHO - will say or do anything if he thinks it'll help him in the short term. Christie is a guy - again, IMHO - lacking intellectual firepower... especially as it relates to formulating economic policy.
We'll see. I hope I'm wrong. Time will tell.
Which leads us to... the bad news:
We can debate the reasons he lost; we can blame Gingrich, blame Scozzafava, blame Hoffman himself... but in the end the only thing that matters is that Hoffman lost. The Democrat, Owens, won with approximately 49% of the vote - 49% of the vote in a district that is registered Republican (and therefore you'd hope would lean conservative) 174,221 to 123,299.
Well... Owens has a year in office till Election 2010. We'll see how he does. We'll see what happens next year.
Final thought... Newt Gingrich is dead to me.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
If you're going to finance government through income taxes, then it seems to me only just that all citizens earning income contribute to the governmental tax coffers.
Unfortunately... that's not how the current federal income tax code works. Google the phrase "percentage of Americans paying no federal income tax" and you'll get approximately 13,900,000 hits. Cutting to the chase... the answer... depending upon which news organization is reporting the facts and which analysis they're relying on... somewhere between 43% and 49% of the American population pays no income tax and a substantial number actually receive "negative income tax" federal payouts.
According to the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, in 2009 approximately 47% of single filers, 38% of joint filers, and a whopping 72% of heads of households will pay no federal income taxes.
This is unacceptable. This is blatantly unfair! This is policy madness which subverts our very democracy, endangers our beloved Republic by deliberately separating Rights from Responsibilities.
Yes. We must all "pay our fair share." Generations have been raised on this simple dictate. But how can paying NOTHING in federal income taxes while others pay 35% of their adjusted gross incomes in federal income taxes alone be seen as "fair?" In my view... it can't be.
If we're going to stick with the concept of a federal income tax, I say we throw out 99% of the existing IRS code and move towards a flat tax - or at least a flatter tax.
In the following paragraphs I will outline my concept of a fair income tax. When I insert numbers - tax rates - these are just for illustration; no firm numbers are set in stone. In short, I'm simply attempting to set up a model for discussion.
First... what is income? Is a $20 check to your nephew on his birthday or at Christmas "income?" No.
What happens when a wealthy father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, or anyone else gives "baby Joey" a birth gift of $13,000 and each year from then on another birthday gift representing the then maximum allowable "gift" amount? Well... it seems to me that each check should be taxable "income" to "Joey."
I could dedicate this entire post to just this facet of taxation, but I won't. You folks get the point, right? We need to draw the line in the sand somewhere when it comes to "gifts" vs. "income," but bottom line, in the real world, we can and must do a better job in separating the two distinct concepts than the present legal equivalency between a $20 bill and thirteen grand.
In theory I'm for a plain, simple, one all encompassing flat rate. In the real word... that just ain't gonna happen. So... Plan B:
The 2009 federal poverty threshold for a individual American is roughly $11,000.
Now... two points prior to continuing --
1) I purposefully focus on the INDIVIDUAL because I believe all rights - and all responsibilities - rest ultimately upon the shoulders of the individual.
2) In line with my philosophical beliefs regarding individual freedom and responsibility, my upcoming tax proposals will focus upon the individual. How individuals choose to relate to one another - group together as families, bring children into the world, live with a lover or lovers, live alone, live with roommates, choose not to bring children into the world... whatever - is each individual's own business and in my view the government should neither subsidize nor penalize personal choices via the tax code.
(So... where was I...??? Oh, yes...)
Reality being what it is, let's create twelve tax rates:
Taking the federal poverty level of approximately $11K as our baseline, I propose that those earning $1.00 thru $550.00/yr. pay a one percent (1%) federal income tax rate and additional earnings beyond $550.01 thru $16,500/yr. be accessed at two percent (2%).
From $16,500.01/yr. thru $22,000... let's make it a three and a half percent (3.5%) federal income tax bite.
$22,000.01 thru $27,500... five percent (5%).
$27,500.01 thru $33,000... seven percent (7%).
$33,000.01 thru $44,000... ten percent (10%).
Interestingly enough, $44,000 is not simply the approximate national poverty threshold times four ($11,00 X 4); it's also approximately median male income nationwide.
Hey... if a "tithe" has historically worked out for God... then it should do for the U.S. government based upon middle class wages.
$44,000.01 thru $66,000... seventeen and a half percent (17.5%).
$66,000.01 thru $88,000... twenty percent (20%).
$88,000.01 thru $132,000... twenty-seven and a half percent (27.5%).
$132,000.01 thru $440,000... thirty-two and a half percent (32.5%).
$440,000.01 thru $1,760,000... thirty five percent (35%).
For every dollar over $1,760,000.01 ... federal income taxes accessed at thirty-seven and a half percent (37.5%).
Now if you think twelve separate rate "ledges" are too many... fine; it's the concept that I'm highlighting. The proposed rate "ledges" are for illustration; they're not meant to be set in stone absolutes.
As to how I apportion these "ledges," these rates...
Again. Fine. You have quibbles? Take it up with the accountants. President Obama and the Democrats who control the House and Senate have given set the 2010 federal budget at $3.6 TRILLION.
Operating under the "concept" I've just outlined... what rates at what "ledges" will it take to bring in $3.6 TRILLION?
Listen. Understand. I'm for cutting spending. Unfortunately the politicians in Washington aren't. So... if "The People" in their supposed wisdom refuse to throw the bums out and install Representatives and Senators who will cut the spending... well... then the tab is on us, folks.
Right now we're foisting that tab on - in the form of debt requiring repayment with interest - to our children, grandchildren, and the way things are going... our great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.
But, hey... I digress...
Back to my philosophy on taxation:
No write offs. No loopholes. If we're gonna stick with an income tax then stick to the income tax - period. You pay based on your income, not on how you choose to spend it.
My nieces and nephews model. They get paid. They should pay taxes.
The parents of these nieces and nephews - my brother and sister in law - they're married. Good for them! I remember enjoying their wedding! That said... this status of "married" should neither add nor subtract from their tax responsibility; nor should their status as parents.
You wanna buy a house...? Buy a house! But no write-off for mortgage interest. That's your business. If people wanna buy houses that's their business. If people wanna rent apartments that's their business. No tax breaks, no tax penalties. That's my housing tax policy.
Give to charity? GREAT! I do too. That's your business. That's my business. Our only "reward" should be the good feeling we get by doing good.
Are you getting the picture, folks...? I'm an American. I'm for individual rights, responsibilities, and freedoms. I'm for fiscal sanity and TRUE economic justice, which isn't socialism, but rather, is a reflection of the fairness of opportunity, not outcome.
I'll make my lifestyle choices; you make yours. I'm not asking you to subsidize mine; don't ask me to subsidize yours.
Unfortunately, as already mentioned, our government "of the People, by the People, and for the People" keeps on irresponsibly over-spending money collected from those of us who pay federal income taxes and irrationally borrowing (and simply printing) money in our names and that of future federal income tax payers. I don't like it... I don't support their decisions... but these are the folks our democratic process put in power.
This being the case... we all need to have... umm... "some skin in the game."
Monday, November 2, 2009
...is for folks to gift each other AMERICAN MADE products and services.
Each year I travel far and wide - both via cyberspace and concrete highway - looking for American made products to purchase as Christmas and Hanukkah gifts.
Forget the cheap Chinese made crap that the big box stores, malls, and department stores try to foster on you. Why stimulate the economy of a nation which wishes us no good when instead our hard earned dollars can buttress local, state, and nationwide businesses owned, run, and staffed by our fellow citizens?
Support a local restaurant - buy a gift certificate for someone!
Booze...? Always appreciated! Wine, whiskey, beer... even vodka... our nation's vintners, distillers and brewers - and their employees - deserve our support! (And, hell... bottles are always good for re-gifting... as a housewarming present... as something to bring along to a party! Bottom line... the gift of booze won't go to waste!)
How'bout gourmet food products? You know, the choices range far beyond Omaha Steaks...
Seriously! Check this out... I want one of those pies...!!!
(And, hey... what's pie without coffee? I get New Mexico Pinon Coffee at Trader Joe's for $6.49 a can! Anyone out there still want to help our fellow citizens in New Orleans? I know I'd be thrilled to receive some honest to goodness Cafe du Monde coffee with chicory; why not stimulate the economy of the Big Easy as opposed to financing expansion of the Great Wall? Finally... a Hawaiian vacation - pricey; some Hawaiian coffee... priceless!)
You're getting the idea, right folks?
Clothing...??? Check out the All American Clothing Company and Union House Apparel.
Folks... com'on... we can do this; we can stick together as a nation!
Utilize the internet. Plug in search terms such as "American Made" and "Made in USA." Throw in qualifiers such as "toys," "games," "tools," etc. They're out there... you just have to put a little effort into looking for them.
Call up our "friends" at Walmart at 1-800-925-6278 and tell the customer service representative who answers that you're a customer and if Walmart wants to retain your business they'll start stocking and selling more American made products. Low prices at the cost of American jobs is anything but a bargain folks.
Call up Sears... 1-800-349-4358
People! You get the idea! We all have our favorite stores - both independent stores and chain stores. Speak to store management the next time you're out shopping. Contact their customer service departments from the comfort of home or from your office. It'll take you but a moment to hunt down a phone number and making a call so as to let America's retailers know that you want their stores to stock and sell American made goods and that those who do will get your business - those who don't will lose it.
Anyway... that's my Christmas message. I hope you take it to heart.
God Bless American and... Merry Christmas... Happy Hanukkah...