O/T: A Milestone

Page 6 of 8  
Mark & Juanita wrote:

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 blatantly false.
I think we have some serious work to get done - and I don't think anger will get us there.
[ deux centimes ]
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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Morris Dovey wrote:
... snip

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.
... snip

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 be doing.

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.
... snip
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Mark & Juanita wrote:

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.
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Morris Dovey wrote:

... snip

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.
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On Sun, 31 Aug 2008 15:12:52 -0700, Mark & Juanita wrote:

And what percent of earnings do these groups have?
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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 the gorilla.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States
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FWIW, Keith Olberman recently said that the top 1% who pay the 39.4% taxes earn 22% of the income.
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snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com says...

Some dated (it's only gotten worse), but relevant data:
http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/53xx/doc5324/04-02-TaxRates.htm
--
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Larry Blanchard wrote:

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 income taxes.
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.
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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 :-).
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Larry Blanchard wrote:

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.
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snipped-for-privacy@hadenough.com says...

Not to mention that the corporation pays taxes on profits in addition to the capital gains tax.
--
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"Morris Dovey" wrote:

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.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

I'm not sure. I might. :-)

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 campaign contribution...

And knowing that makes the waste acceptable? Not to me.
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"Morris Dovey" wrote:

Precisely.
The Republicans never saw a social program they thought was worth a hoot.
75 years later, they are still trying to get rid of Social Security, for example.
The Democrats pretty much feel the same way about tax breaks for big business.
They are not big on Trickle Down Economics.
As usual, someplace in the middle would probably solve a lot of problems.

Agreed.
It's called "Job Security", "Bringing home the bacon to your district", etc.

"Waste" was a poor choice of words.
"Priorities" is a closer approximation.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

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.)
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Morris Dovey
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"Morris Dovey" wrote:

What you are describing can only be called blatant waste.
Agreed, most ear marks could stand a little more time in the light of day.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

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:
8< ---------- 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. ---------- >8
Sunshine is good!
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Morris Dovey
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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
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

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.

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