Tag Archives: tax

Class Warfare?

Are the rich the enemy?

Two articles stuck out to me this morning as I perused all the news and views Google feels fit to display, one about Disneyland and the other more, um, obvious.

Frank Rich in the New York Times spends a plethora of paragraphs going on about how the up by the bootstraps mentality of America is under attack and in serious danger of slipping completely away. And according to Mr. Rich a particular group of people at primarily to blame. But you don’t get to find out the villains until the very end and for most of the article you get the idea Mr. Rich is simply in a mood for memories in “Who Killed The Disneyland Dream“.

CNN took a slightly different tack starting with their headline “Gap Between Rich And Middle Class Grows: The Rich Are Much Richer Than You And Me“. You pretty much get the drift of the author, Chris Isidore’s, point just from that lead.

I get that Messrs. Rich and Isidore are jealous and that they are not above using their positions of penned power to shoot barbs at their favorite enemies. But I was a bit more interested in the timing.

Wasn’t it just two weeks ago we were hearing ad nauseum about tax breaks for the rich? Weren’t many in Washington pushing to shaft the rich with significant tax increases (pushing to extend current tax policy when the alternative is that taxes would increase doesn’t count as a “cut”, it’s the status quo)?

Methinks Isidore and Rich are sore losers who, recognizing the new powers in Washington D.C. are less friendly to their preferred Robin Hood methods of taxation, are intent on stirring up the waters of class envy and economic strife against those who, ironically, are the ones most capable of getting us out of this mess their pals greatly assisted in getting us into.

Not that “the rich” are saints. But many of “the rich” Washington wants to rob are the small business owners that make up the vast majority of the economic muscle of the US of A. And to take from them is to take our jobs and our future.

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Media: Can’t Be Bothered By Facts

SANTA MONICA, CA - APRIL 15:  Five-year-old Ka...
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When reporting a story, context is everything. When making a statement, context is everything. When communicating, it is important to include context in your communication if you really want to be understood.

There are two reasons context is left out of communication: ignorance or underhandedness.

Ignorant context-dropping results in faux paus and jokes we tell over a beer. Underhanded context-dropping is what we read in the media.

Come on, it’s not all that bad. They’re writing and writing and maybe they assume we know what they’re talking about, or maybe they are really that dumb. They can’t be doing it maliciously or for nefarious causes!

Judge for yourself.

If you’re talking about stem cells there are two very different forms with very different moral surroundings and very different legal arrangements. It is important to specify which type of stem cell is being discussed because that bit of information is necessary to an accurate understanding of the topic at hand.

I’ve been over the various types of stem cells here on I, Pandora before. The short version is that there are adult stem cells that usually come from adipose (fat) tissue of the person who will be receiving the tissue. No babies destroyed. And there are embryonic stem cells which are harvested from “unwanted” embryos and then applied to other people.

There are several different considerations regarding stem cells, but you can read up on them yourself.

In recent reporting on the stem cell issue, as the Obama Administration and this new government has tried to allow embryonic stem cell research, you would have been hard pressed to find, in reading headlines, any clarification as to which type of stem cells were being talked about. Nor would you have heard anything about President Bush not having prohibited embryonic stem cell research. Apparently the writers of the news didn’t think these facts was significant information or material to the discussion.

So there are the differences with where the stem cells come from, big deal, you may say. There are also significant differences between success rates with treatments using the various types of cells. Check around for yourself, but there have been zero successful treatments using embryonic stem cells, and that despite the fact that evil President Bush did not stop all embryonic stem cell research and that annoying detail that research using embryonic stem cells has attracted vastly more government money than treatment using adult stem cells. There have been thousands of successful treatments using adult stem cells for all types of conditions.

So I think it is important that we clarify which type of stem cells we’re talking about. It’s not until the end of the fourth paragraph in this story, after they’ve lost many of the readers who are now fuming at how anti-science and downright medieval that judge is. By George, he must be a Bush appointee!

The second issue is brought on by President Obama recognizing he is not making sense to enough people with all his efforts to create a command economy. So he’s trying to speak in a language more people understand: tax cuts.

So he’s trying to pass tax cuts for the poor and let all those tax cuts the rich currently enjoy expire. A couple problems: the poor don’t currently pay much of anything in taxes, and the rich do.

I think it’s fair to draw the rich/poor line at half. Though I personally would say it’s probably nearer the bottom 10% that are really poor, and those of us in the middle class have just gotten too used to spending way too much.

But if you draw the line at half, you get just about the line at which people stop (or start) owing federal income tax. There are more taxes than federal income tax. Sales tax, investment tax, state taxes. Rich people own property, so they pay property tax. They buy more expensive things, so they pay more sales tax, and they probably pay luxury tax on some of what they buy. The rich have many and large investments, which means they pay investment taxes. They also can buy off politicians and get loopholes built into laws. That racket is one of the most significant blights on the current US government. Which shows more the differences between the parties, where McCain ran publicly supporting an extremely simplified tax code with a 1040 the size of a recipe card. Not a cure-all, but a step in the right direction.

But when the media talk about tax cuts, it’s all about how those nasty, rich-loving Republicans want to tax the little guy and let the rich keep beating the system, getting off scott-free. There is no scott-free for the rich. Corporations in the US are taxed at more than 30% of their net earnings. This is the highest corporate taxation rate in the industrialized world. This confiscatory and unbelievably high rate encourages companies to spend vast sums of money manipulating tax policy and government projects in their favor. The rich are taxed at similar rates and make similar efforts to avoid, by loophole and shelter, those insane rates.

Not that lowering or equalizing the tax rate will cure all these ills, but 10% or 15% is a much easier pill to swallow. For everybody.

It is important to have context, and to know that the media have some reason not to tell the whole truth in their stories. Objectivity is such an old ruse.

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Share The Sacrifice

The mad hatter's haven't been to the real tea parties
The mad hatter's haven't been to the real tea parties

Representative David Obey, Democrat of Wisconsin, wants you to share in the sacrifice of the soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. But not like you may think.

His “Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010” is a tax.

So what? What’s new and wrong about a new tax?

It’s the rationalization for the tax that is so ugly here.

This tax is to raise money to prevent payment for the war in Afghanistan from interfering with the monetary obligations piling up from the numerous other new and continuing social programs including socialized medicine.

In other words, the tax and spend quibblers on the Hill are admitting they’ve spent more than we’ve got and they’re coming to us again. And in order to justify this new tax upon us, recognizing our growing antipathy towards additional confiscation of our natural and just property through damaging levels of taxation, they claim it’s for the war.

We’re not fooled.

You can’t keep your yes hand zipped or even dream of living within our means, and so your forcing us to cough up more of what we’ve earned rightfully.

The co-sponsors of this bill, H.R. 4130, are the usually laundry list of suspects from the hallowed halls, Reps. John Murtha, Barney Frank, and James McDermott, to name a few. The unprincipled lot are after our pocket books again.

OpenCongress.org is an excellent source of information on all things Congress, and you can keep track of this egregious H.R. 4130 there.

Boeing And The Pro-Business Government

787 Dreamliner
787 Dreamliner

Conservatives are often accused of being pro-business while Liberals consider themselves more pro-people and therefore the better of the two.

As a conservative, I accept that accusation and wear it proudly. I am pro-business.

Liberals, in their desire to be more pro-people than pro-business, though, haven’t the foggiest idea they’re actually hurting people more than helping them.

The illustration today comes from the far north-west corner of the contiguous 48, Seattle.

Boeing has just decided to not build it’s new 787 Dreamliner factory in Seattle. The taxes and regulatory environment is simply too taxing. It costs Boeing too much money to expand their operations in Seattle, and so they’ve moved to North Carolina.

In Seattle it would have taken years to navigate the permit process to build the massive new hangars. In North Carolina, it took days.

Because the government of Seattle and Washington state have failed to make it easy enough for businesses to begin, run, and maintain operations, thousands of jobs will be lost directly, or moved to North Carolina, and the myriad of dependent suppliers and small businesses which were supported by the employees of Boeing will lose most or all of their income.

So the liberal mind says “Yes! We showed that polluting monster who’s boss!”. And the conservative shakes their head.

Many people will move from Seattle to North Carolina now to continue working. These are productive and well-payed people who likely paid significant taxes on their income to Seattle and Washington state. With even less tax revenue the city and the state will have to decrease social services to the unproductive public teat slurpers.

Now that can’t make the liberals happy. So they’ll raise taxes on the poor saps left behind so they don’t have to lose any of their bought-off voting bloc.

North Carolina is directly benefiting from increased construction in the short term, and a massive influx of highly skilled jobs as well as the necessary social structures and new markets for delis and theatres and parks and playgrounds. By being pro-business North Carolina will reap the benefits of massive growth in tax revenue without even raising their tax rates.

There’s nothing pro-people about an anti-business environment.

There are caveats or qualifications to 100% business centric government that I believe are reasonable and necessary.

First, I don’t agree with any government, federal, state, or local, applying special tax breaks and exemption from processes for the purpose of attracting a single company. North Carolina has pushed through a deal that makes it easier for Boeing to operate in that state than an average business started by Joe Entrepreneur. Overall, the state is still much easier to work in than Seattle, but I believe, on principle, that the fact the state government had to scramble to build this special package should have indicated their overall regulatory and business environment isn’t quite what it ought to be for everybody.

Second, government regulation is often pro-specific-business rather than anti-general-business. Al Gore profits measurably from “green” technology. He’s put his money where his mouth is. Pro-green regulation benefits him directly as companies will work with his outfits to implement the required changes.

Regulation can also be pushed by large corporations which will still effect them, but because they are so much larger, the monetary penalty will be a much smaller percentage of the large company’s operating costs than for a small company. The small company will no longer be able to compete as the regulatory costs hit them hardest.

Regulation can also be used to stifle competition and build artificial barriers to the self-regulating abilities of the free market. Network Neutrality is an example of this. Google and other large content companies are the primary supporters and lobbyists for network neutrality. They are dependent on the infrastructure companies, such as AT&T to actually get their content to the end users, and they want to use the bludgeon of federal regulation to protect them from free market pressures brought by the carriers.

With the caveats that pro-business should mean, in an ideal world, pro-all-businesses, we find that a pro-business government environment is directly pro-people as well.

If governments realized the nature of this, there would be a race to the bottom in taxation and government leanness as states vied for the privilege of being the best for business. And the growth in business would mean more employed people, higher standard of living, and more tax revenue.

The final question is: are they willfully or ignorantly blind?

Previous articles on the free market:

How Many Democrat Leaders Pay Taxes?

Forgetting that Mr Daschle spent his time outside of the Senate in a legal gray area of “not really a lobbyist”, his name has been added to the list of those who had to pay back taxes to correct mistakes in their filings from the last several years.

Is this an epidemic or what?

Geitner couldn’t do his taxes right, the Governor of New Mexico is being investigated for corruption, Daschle couldn’t figure out TurboTax apparently.

I think this is fair reason to investigate each and every Democrat leader inside Washington and out to make sure they’re paying taxes.

Let’s make sure they’re paying before any of them get to vote to require us to pay anything more than we already are.

Daschle “deeply embarassed’ over tax issues – CNN – “Deeply embarassed” he got caught and it may cause a second glance before they allow him to run a huge and hugely pointless bureaucracy. If he can’t figure out TurboTax or how to call H&R Block, how do we expect him to run HHS?

Daschle apologizes for income tax err0rs – Washington Post – When I apologize for stuff like that, it’s while I’m on my way to jail. Don’t we operate under the rule of law?

And some complimentary nosing around into the grey area of “not really lobbying” that kept Daschle busy (and making unreported earnings) while he waited for his next gravy train.

I say kick them all out and force President Obama to bring in some truly qualified people. I don’t have to agree with them, I just have to be able to trust them.