I'm still trying to get this sorted out for myself. Advocates for both
sides seem to be attempting character assasination of rivals and
partisanship seems to trump truth much too often.
I don't look for perfection in any of the candidates, so am prepared to
notice and discount behavioral anomalies where that seems appropriate,
unless/until I come across something that strikes me as a show-stopper.
I think this "throwing under the bus" is an unfortunate metaphor.
Politics necessitates making alliances and working with others when
interests coincide - but those alliances rarely seem static/stable.
I'm interested by the 'throwing grandma under the bus comment' so will
do my own investigation on that.
Regarding your tax comment (which I hope you might agree is pretty
incomplete) - before I make a judgment, I'd like to know which tax(es),
on who/what, and how much. We've depleted some resources and squandered
much that we could ill-afford. We've neglected our schools and
scholarship and transportation system and probably our entire physical
infrastructure. I suspect that we wasted enough on a "shock and awe"
display alone to have provided every graduate of the class of 2002 with
a free ride to college. There's no question in my mind that we'll have
to pay the piper.
The money spent for one month of Operation Iraqi Freedom could have
installed solar heating panels sufficient to heat every single-family
residence in Iowa - for the next quarter century. That's the only
calculation I had enough info to work out. Perhaps someone with
appropriate knowledge could translate that money into new schools and
teacher salaries, or restoration and improved flood control for New
Orleans, or subsidies for wind and solar electrical generation, or...
There's a lot to be concerned about. My take is that the majority of the
things you've listed are under control of the Congress and that we need
a better job from them.
I'm interested in who will advocate most strongly to repair the damage
done in the past decade by a spineless, rubber stamp Congress that IMO
failed miserably in their 'checks and balances' role.
(going for a cup of coffee to avoid going into rant mode)
While pouring coffee I began re-thinking the possible benefits of
instituting term limits for congressmen...
Thank you - accepted. I don't blame you for being edgy - there's the
usual foolish rush to polarization just when we most need to engage in
thoughtful discourse and in sorting the true from the half-true and
I think we have some serious work to get done - and I don't think anger
will get us there.
[ deux centimes ]
One of the fundamental problems we have here is that one of the candidates
is not being fully forthcoming with his previous record or experience while
the other one has been in the public spotlight for years.
Here is where I think we have a fundamental difference of opinion. Our
schools and scholarship system are in no way a responsibility of the
federal government. There are significant portions of the federal budget
being spent on things that it has no constitutional authority to spend
money on (the "general welfare" statement in the pre-amble is NOT a get out
of jail free card for the federal government to do as it pleases), those
monies should be spent on the things for which the federal government does
have the mandate: general defense and possibly the interstate road system.
I want someone in Congress and the Executive that understands the limits
on the federal government and will work to put the fed back within its
bounds. I don't want someone telling me how much more they are going to
do "for" me, or how they are going to punish the "evil rich" with higher
taxes and re-distribute that money -- that's not what the government should
While that is all well and good, that's not the job of the federal
government. If those solar panels are cost competitive with existing
energy sources, that is a function of the free market system; if they are
not, that is government subsidy.
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough
Point noted. My approach was to keep a (non-obsessive) eye on both of
them for the past four years. That hasn't provide all the information
there is to have, but enough to satisfy my interests. I would like to
know more - but I don't have the reservations you say you have.
We might have a difference of opinion, and I'm not sure that's a Bad
Thing. From my viewpoint, the federal government has sucked substantial
wealth from our society (with too large a share coming from those parts
of the population least able to afford it) and spent it unproductively,
but to the primary benefit of a select segment of the population whose
share of the burden was simultaneously reduced.
I feel obliged to point out that as wealth is sucked out of the
middle-income groups, that group became less and less able to provide
local funding - even as the federal government mandated increased local
spending for selected educational programs. I was paying attention when
school bond issues and education-supporting tax increases were turned
down by folks who felt they couldn't afford any increase to the load
they were already carrying. Perhaps it's different where you are, but
there's been a steady decrease in SAT scores here - and I think there's
a connection. What I've described is just what's been happening in Iowa,
and only some of the education impact. It may be different where you
are, and that difference may be the root of our difference in opinion.
Now we're back in agreement. I sure hope you're getting involved in
politics at the local level so you have a voice in who runs for what,
because that involvement is what it's going to take...
You are exactly right, as far as you've taken it. Now let's back up a
step and see what might happen if the federal government did _not_ take
that money out of the citizen's pockets and consider how they might
choose to put it to work.
Here we absolutely agree. Probably one of the biggest mistakes made was
passing the 16'th amendment allowing the institution of the federal income
tax. There was a reason the founders didn't want the federal government to
have the ability to directly tax the people and we are seeing the results
and consequences now. By allowing the federal government to directly tax
each citizen's wallet as it sees fit, the federal government gains absolute
power over the states and local governments and the ability to perform
whatever social engineering it chooses by fiat. The threat is that if a
state or local government wants any of the wealth taken from its citizens
to come back to its origin (minus the appropriate "management and
oversight" fees of course), then the state or local government must conform
to certain guidelines and/or pass laws that match a federally approved
template. While this may be a good idea for highway systems, it's not such
a good idea applied in other arenas. The fact that the federal government
takes the largest chunk of tax revenues from citizens makes the states
dependent upon those monies coming back from the fed -- there isn't enough
left to take without revolt. The current tax system is diabolically
clever: 1) it takes money from each paycheck and then provides a "refund"
once a year that many view as a windfall to them instead of what it really
is -- the government returning money that belonged to them in the first
place and was able to use interest-free; and 2) The graduated income tax in
which the top 50% of wage earners pay 96.9% of taxes, the top 10% pay 70.3%
and the top 1% pay 39.4% (2005 figures, the latest released) assures a
voting base to politicians who are willing to spend other peoples' money
for the benefit of those who aren't paying anything. What this implies is
that the bottom 50% of income earners who vote have no incentive to see the
federal government spend less, and actually have the incentive to vote into
office those who will raise spending because they are most likely to
benefit from increased federal spending. Arguably, one could extend this
into the bottom 75% of wage-earners who are only paying 14% of federal
taxes (a number that has continued to decline -- the bottom levels of
income earners benefited more from the Bush tax cuts in terms of percentage
paid to the treasury). Thus, the politicians' only dilemma is to determine
at what point those who are pulling the cart are going to throw up their
hands and quit -- at which point both the economy and the government are
going to face a huge crisis.
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough
On Sun, 31 Aug 2008 17:12:50 -0700, Larry Blanchard
If wikipedia is to be believed, the top 10% earned 54%, top 50% earned
85% I haven't found any easy to read numbers although the talking
heads keep citing statistics. I may not be asking google the correct
words. It seems that if everyone include drug dealers and illegals pay
a national sales tax, the inequity is reduced. Income is captured from
under the table businesses. They have a food rebate figured in for the
underachievers of the US.
I would prefer social programs be left to the states. Let the fed give
me safe superhighways, air travel and routes for commerce. Clean air
and water. Safe borders and reasonable safe defenses against
superpowers like Russia and China. OK, maybe Russia is not a
superpower just like we in the US are not a superpower, but China is
OK, that was painful, the IRS web site is a bit harder to navigate than it
used to be, however, from: <http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/06in01etr.xls ,
for tax year 2006:
Top Total Income Tax Revenue (%) Adjusted Gross Income Share (%)
50% 97.01 87.49
25% 86.27 68.16
10% 70.79 47.32
5% 60.14 36.66
1% 39.89 22.06
So, from the IRS data: the bottom 50% are making 12.5% of adjusted gross
income and paying less than 3% of all income taxes while the top 1% are
making 22% of adjusted gross income while paying nearly 40% of all federal
Bet that's not where you were going with this, was it?
Oh, and just to further emphasize how the Bush tax cuts have so benefited
the rich, the following are the data for the tax years from 2000 to 2006
Year Total Income Tax (%) AGI Share (%) Ratio (Tax/AGI)
2000 37.42 20.81 1.80
2001 33.89 17.53 1.93
2002 33.71 16.12 2.09
2003 34.27 16.77 2.04
2004 36.89 19.00 1.94
2005 39.38 21.20 1.86
2006 39.89 22.06 1.81
So, despite the "massive tax cuts to benefit the wealthy", the % share of
taxes relative to the % share of AGI has hardly moved, and during the years
immediately following 9/11 when the left-wing was bleating about how the
rich were benefiting from the tax cuts for the wealthy, the top 1% were
actually paying a greater share of their income to the treasury than they
were during the last year of the Clinton presidency.
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough
On Sun, 31 Aug 2008 21:17:23 -0700, Mark & Juanita wrote:
I may be wrong on the numbers, but I seem to recall a recent article that
said about 10-15% of the population is living in poverty. So they would
make up 20-30% of the bottom 50%. I doubt they, or even the group
directly above them, pay any income taxes, given that there is a standard
deduction. That helps to explain some of the discrepancies. And if you
add in other taxes, like sales taxes, that helps even more.
At least Warren Buffet had the decency to complain that his secretary paid
more income taxes than he did :-).
I think the statement was that she paid a higher rate than he did. This is
based upon his paying at the capital gains rate on a significant portion of
his income rather than the personal income rate. I would seriously doubt
she paid more in total dollars than he. His argument is somewhat specious
as, for the bulk of those who benefit from capital gains rates, this is a
recognition of the risk at which their money is placed when investing.
There is no assurance that one will make money, there is a chance one could
lose the full investment (K-mart, Enron) or a significant portion of it
(Krispy Kreme, Circuit City). The idea of the capital gains rate is to
provide some incentive to invest.
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough
60 years ago, Harry Truman, in his acceptance speech at the 1948
Democratic convention, referred to Congress as "That do nothing 80th
Congress", and called them back into session in July/August.
Unheard of at the time.
"The more things change, the more they stay the same."
We have that in California, you don't want to go there.
Let's face it, taxes are a reality of our lives.
Doesn't make any difference whether it is the Republicans or the
Democrats, they BOTH waste money.
The only difference between the Republicans and the Democrats is where
they waste the money.
Agreed, but how much and how that revenue is spent is a matter of choice
- and the question we might want to consider is _whose_ choice.
Again, let's consider how much waste can we live with. At the moment it
seems that $10B/month might be excessive...
Have you heard how much is spent on "earmarks"? Do you understand how
earmarks are used? In a nutshell, a congressman slips an earmark into a
bill which results in a government purchase from some vendor, who makes
a delivery (frequently of unusable goods) to the government - and then
makes a campaign contribution (totally unrelated, of course) to the
congressman responsible for the earmark. Guess who /really/ made that
And knowing that makes the waste acceptable? Not to me.
The Republicans never saw a social program they thought was worth a
75 years later, they are still trying to get rid of Social Security,
The Democrats pretty much feel the same way about tax breaks for big
They are not big on Trickle Down Economics.
As usual, someplace in the middle would probably solve a lot of
It's called "Job Security", "Bringing home the bacon to your
"Waste" was a poor choice of words.
"Priorities" is a closer approximation.
Agreed. Now "all we hafta do is" agree on where that middle ground is
and shift our policies there.
(As I wrote that I couldn't help recalling the saying about how politics
is like sausage-making.)
I understand that, and I might not object as strongly if the pig didn't
lose so much weight making the trip to DC and back...
...and if I want to make a campaign contribution, I know how to write a
check and/or make an online payment. When I do that, by the way, I have
a choice in /whose/ campaign is being funded. Please note that the slime
balls who "play the earmark game" are precisely those I would _not_
choose to support.
Let's agree to disagree - when $1M of tax money is spent on something
that ends up being stored in a warehouse because it's unusable so that
some congressperson can receive a $250K campaign contribution, you can
call it "priorities" - but I'm inclined to call it "waste", and /that/
only when I'm in a really good mood...
(Gotta stop here, I'm on the verge of ranting again.)
That sentiment is echoed in today's Des Moines Register on page 6A,
where the normally slightly-right-of-center newspaper had a list of
not-quite-factual Palin statements including:
Palin: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ...
and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress."
The Facts: As mayer of Wasilla [population 6375], Palin hired a lobbyist
and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town
totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested
nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest
per-capita request in the nation.
Sunshine is good!
Isn't that part the Mayor's job and a very basic Mayor responsibility to get
funding for their own town? And you know these were wasteful because?
In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested
And these requests were important because? Alaska is a very unique place in
light of significant energy and other natural resource production. Its
proximity to Russia, it long border with Canada. The current oil production
and the 40 billion dollar natural gas pipeline will significantly impact the
lower 48 states. I don't think per capita federal spending is a significant
barometer of much of anything. Rod
Note that there is no enumerated right specified by the Constitution
wherein the Federal government has permission to run a program like
Social Security. Even FDR knew this and both packed the court (or
tried to) and eventually very consciously ignored the Constitution.
This is not a "Republican" thing, BTW. I am no Republican, but I abhor
the fact that both parties ignore the Constitution's limitations on
Federal power on a regular basis.
(Big business does not pay taxes - NO business pays taxes - they merely
pass them along to their customers in the form of higher prices.) Democrats
are the party of class warfare. Since excellence is hard to achieve,
they appeal to the far greater number of people that are not excellent
with a narrative built on mooching: Even though you cannot/did not
earn great wealth, you are *entitled* to it to make things "fairer". It
is a public policy doctrine built on subtle forms of theft and the
threat of violence and one that is in direct opposition to a limited
Federalist form of government.
No, the right place would be to reinstitute a strictly Constitutional
government , thereby disempowering both the left and the right
and reempowering the "several states and the people" as was initially
intended. The "center" today is just the worst parts of the right
and the left mixed together.
Tim Daneliuk firstname.lastname@example.org
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