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Thursday, April 16, 2009

After the Party Questions

April 16, 2009
I get why folks want to protest; I protest something every day: the price of Sentinel and Frontline, the price of gas, the price of school tax, and the cost of roast beef. Furthermore, many are frustrated by the news that we are falling apart as a nation and more frustrated that no one, in a position of power, seems to be doing anything about it. We are also troubled because when a political change is affected, 50 percent immediately hate it; the perpetual, iniquitous cable networks pick up bits and pieces of the event and drub it to death in their biased pitch to their audiences. To add to our misery, not many of us really trust others to make a sensible observation unless we hold membership in a particular philosophopolitical mindset. Lastly, we are scared by our news, by our loss of wealth, by the aloofness of our leaders, and of our future. Should we grab onto gold coins, get a permit to carry a concealed weapon, join a group of survivalists, pull our kids out of school, and/or start a church? With all that transpires in this scary world, some chose to protest our tax bills, and I am glad that they did because the more people who actively take part in offering rational solutions to our problems, the better are the chances that we will stumble upon some answers that maybe 70 percent could agree are good.
Naturally, the Tax Party events were covered (some will say promoted by; some will say derided by) the Media, and today the web and newsstands disclose the various takes on the event, and coincidentally (or not) on how much taxes the Obama’s paid. I want to share some data that I apprehended in this morning’s Washington Post which cites the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office as its source:

The federal income tax burden is already hovering near its lowest level in three decades for all but the wealthiest Americans.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the average family forked over barely 9 percent of its earnings to the IRS in 2006, the most recent year for which information is available.
The middle fifth of taxpayers, who earned an average of $60,700 per household in 2006, paid just 3 percent in federal income tax that year, down from a high of 8.3 percent in 1981.
According to the most recent IRS statistics, about 45 million households -- a third of all filers -- owed no federal income tax after taking their credits and deductions in 2006. This year, with the profusion of new credits in the stimulus package, about 65 million households -- or 43 percent of all filers -- are likely to owe no income taxes, according to a new analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.

The article goes on the quote Dick Armey, a Republican lobbyist, former House majority leader, and head of FreedomWorks. Armey claims that the protesters are not complaining about the taxes they pay now but about the taxes they will have to pay because of the current stimulus packages and bailouts.

Well, OK, whatever. I do support the Tax party’s right to assemble, but I can’t quite get my mind on what they really are protesting: taxes that are high, or taxes that are going to be? If the CBO’s analysis of 2006 is correct: taxes are not high at all, and Obama has offered more tax cuts for people making under 250, 000 dollars, plus car credits college credits, first time home buyer credits, and children credits. So if this is true and will come about what high taxes were all these people protesting? Or did they all trust Armey who claims that people know that more spending means more taxes?
Obviously, we are full circle in the search for reason in all this protesting, whom do we trust? CBO, Armey, Fox News, MSNBC, The Washington Post? I can only tell you that I would not be inclined to trust a Texas repuklican. I do think I can get an agreement on one idea: we have to pay for what we use. We wanted a war; we have to pay for it. We wanted lower taxes and got them; we have to pay for it. We wanted to make business more profitable by outsourcing jobs traditionally filled by blue collared Americans; now we have to pay for it. We wanted cheaper TVs, sandals, shirts, pants, iPhones, iPods and we shipped overseas all the jobs to make them; we got to pay.

If the CBO is correct (and I know that is a magnormous IF), maybe some folks ought to take to the streets protesting for a reasonable INCREASE in taxes to help get us out of the messes we are in.

If the Tax Party was about anything other than high taxes, those groups would do well to identify clearly their purposes, so that the rest of us could really understand what’s going on and not have to guess: we already guess too much.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why, oh why, is "everbody pickin'" on me?

Been off a week getting totally abused by my sons who yanked all my fun money on the golf course. We had a blast. Now, I want to get back into the swing of things by asking some questions about labels that really hurt my feelings.

I just don’t get it; how did all my friends end up being repuklicans, pseudo-conservatives? I spend a bit of time on this blog hoping to enlighten, to reminisce, to inject some humor, and to purge some wrath. I surely don’t expect one reader to agree with me on any issue as I am convinced that my wiring was disturbed when at age 8 or so, I took a fall from the chest of drawers, onto the concrete and tile floor, popping my head a bit and surely rattling most of its contents. But, gee whiz, hows come I am “allatime” getting called a socialist, a liberal, a taxandspender, a naive (that hurts), and am accused of drinking from either the liberal Kool-Aid tank or from the reservoir of socialist ignorance?
I sure would like to know why one is a liberal if all he wants is to know what actual taxes corporations pay in this country, the ones that show not the tax RATE but the actual taxes paid? I think that information would be helpful in deciding if policies concerning corporate taxes were fair or not. Seems pretty simple to me, take the top 100 non-oil companies in the United States, see what profits they made and find the check they wrote for their share of taxes. Take the total of those taxes and divided by the net profits and just freaking tell what the rate of tax is, sounds like advanced elementary school math to me. If I can get that information and if I can examine the tax credits, tax deferments, and all the other accounting sleights of hand permitted by the corporate tax codes, I might just be able to join all my conservative buddies who want to lower or eliminate taxes on corporations. I would only like to see some data unbiased by unions, by corporations, or by dot.orgs that all have an interest in skewing the results in their directions. I guess I am a liberal for asking the dot.govs to give me that information.

Another thing: I want to know why I don’t pass the Kool-Aid test because I want to see some numbers on how many home loans went out to folks who couldn’t afford them, thus throwing us into an economic abyss. Of all the mortgages granted from 1990 to 2007, what percent was awarded to people who couldn’t afford them? A simple question but I do not know why is it a liberal, socialist, commie question. Conservatives want to blame the financial troubles on those irresponsible home buyers ; I want to know how many there were, and if a provable, documented source illustrates that huge numbers of lousy, greedy poor people actually bought homes that they couldn’t afford, well shut my mouth, hide my liberal taters, I will join up with the repuklicans. I guess it is a real liberal idea to suppose that the banks had the ultimate responsibility in making sure that borrowers were worth the risk. Oh yea, the banks were all afraid that Barney Franks would run down and whip their asses if they didn’t make a whole boat load of bad loans.

One more: why in the world would my buddies call me a hopeless-radical-hippie-socialist-asshole because I don’t automatically jump in the bandwagon and fire up my tuba tooting to get all the illegal aliens out of OUR country. I am not in favor of anyone being here illegally but why am I naive to think that aliens are here to make money and for them to make money someone has to pay them? Is it really liberal thinking to suggest that, if employers would not pay aliens, the immigrants might go back or not come here in the first place. I might be a nasty liberal but I can’t see myself sitting in a 120 degree box on a truck, facing the possibility of suffocation, dehydration, or starvation unless I was pretty damned sure I could get a job when or if I got out of that box. Is one definitely a socialist who would want to hold the employers of illegal aliens accountable in a huge way for hiring them in the first place? It is the employers who are really setting up all the waste and expenses to our health care and education systems which is surely not a good deal for any of us. Furthermore, am I a communist for thinking that it would be cheaper and fairer to provide adequate INS agents to close down, fine, and hold accountable those who provide work for illegal aliens than it would be to build a jillion mile fence to keep the dang aliens out? Maybe I am a pinko because I have not inculcated a burning bias for those who happen to speak Spanish as their native tongue? Maybe I am just a radical for expecting fairness?

I sure don’t get why everybody is always picking on me and calling me all those danged names, but I hang in hoping to entice just one of my buddies to the water cooler of reasonable thinking.

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