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Taxing the Rich? Not Taxing the Rich?

Taxing the Rich?  Not Taxing the Rich?

I’ve been pondering all of this taxation, fiscal cliff stuff and trying my best to have an open mind to both sides of the debate.  My views have been deeply changed and the reality of some of this is kind of astonishing.

I know I am seriously oversimplifying the debate, but a key question is if raiding taxes on those with astronomical amounts of money helps the economy and job creation or if giving them greater tax breaks empowers them to do a better job of creating jobs and thus creating a better economy.

I did this and have to force myself to think of the ridiculously rich people and ridiculously rich corporations as the same since the Supreme Court has declared corporations to be people.

The trickle down theory of economics implies that if they extremely rich have a bit more money to play with they will grow their empires which will involve creating more jobs to serve in the building and sustaining of these empires as well as growing their wealth more to lead to more empire building and more jobs.  With more jobs and more money there will be more spending and the more employees with more money will be spending and the economy will have more money moving around.

I encountered a few stories about tax breaks for big oil companies and I remembered being angry a few times over the past few years at stories of these companies making record profits at the same time that the American people were paying record prices for gasoline.  Then I was miffed by public statements from these companies that the record prices and record profits were not related.

Then when all of this conversation about tax breaks started, I found out that these companies were still getting tremendously large tax breaks (AKA assistance) while making record profits.

So in trying to open my mind, I thought, “Well, maybe in all of this more jobs were created and so on as I have been being force fed as an idea.”

I found nothing but evidence to the contrary (one of the clearest and well done articles http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2012/02/07/11145/big-oils-banner-year/)

Looking at the evidence I have found in my admittedly casual research, it seems that nothing seems to happen with more money but more greed and a lust for more power to keep the fountain of wealth flowing.

Some who are old enough might remember back in the seventies when the OPEC folks slowed production of oil to raise prices and absolutely jacked up the economy to levels where gas had to be rationed and panic was a way of life.

Well, our big oil companies were doing the same thing when we were all dying at the pumps as we still are.  Now with us numb to the inflated prices that we pay for gas the profits over the past few years have been at levels never seen before and the tax breaks still remain in place.

It’s like a person who is on welfare (or some other government program) because he/she lost his/her job, getting a job that makes him/her absolutely rich (more so with each paycheck) and being able to still collect welfare.  As a matter of fact, there are people on Capitol Hill trying to say that because the welfare worked so well in helping this person get the job, we should make that persons welfare check even larger to make that job even better.

If confronted on this logic, then the argument turns to the idea that even though this person is getting rich right now, what if this person isn’t making as much next year or the year after?  In this example, what if this person loses the job?  We need to keep this person who is getting rich on welfare because he/she might struggle again later.  WTH!!!!

It seems that once the government steps in to help you out and you become rich, it might be time for you to start carrying your weight.  You know:  Like how others pulled the weight when you were struggling which allowed you to pay less.

Let’s look at the logic and the arguments specifically the ridiculous nature of these arguments.

Over the election season I heard a few arguments and debates on the idea of how the rich pay more money in taxes than the rest of the population and that means that they should be taxed less.

So let’s imagine that all taxes were ten percent of your income for everybody (because the math is easy).  A person making ten million dollars a year would pay a whopping million dollars a year.  A person making thirty thousand dollars a year would only pay three thousand dollars a year. 

The logic is that if we give the ten million dollar a year person a massive tax break, the economy will end up better.  In my research I found a few different numbers about percentages of taxes paid but it seems to be a pretty general consensus that the rich pay taxes on about 2.7 percent of their income.

Lets round that off to three percent (the math is easier and it gives them the benefit of the doubt point three percent) and run the numbers.  That means that my ten million dollar a year person only pays taxes on three hundred thousand dollars which reduces the taxes from being a million dollars a year to thirty thousand dollars.

So, the idea that the rich already pay considerably more than the rest of the population is absolutely true.  In fact, in this example the rich person pays exactly what the other person makes in the year (Numbers I picked by accident, but it is pretty cool numerically).

The problem is that the amount of responsibility each person carries is not proportionate.  In other words I think the logic of all of this is a terribly flawed system.

Picture our economy as a tug-of-war with the rest of the world.  On our side there are small, incredibly weak people, weak people, normal people, slightly strong people and a few massively strong giants that could probably do the tug-of-war match all by themselves.

What would happen if the massively strong giants decide that they do too much of the pulling and decided they should not have to pull so hard.  This few decide to pull using slightly more pulling power than the incredibly weak people are puling with when pulling with all of their might. 

Can you honestly say that the massively strong giants are doing their part?  If the team starts to lose the tug-of-war terribly and the massively strong giants refuse to pull any harder and as a matter of fact complain that they should be pulling less, are they really pulling their weight on the team?

The tug-of-war only works if every person involved gives their all.  If the weaker people are giving their all and the stronger people are just giving some because they are comparing themselves to the strength of the weaker people shouldn’t you look at the stronger people when you are losing?

The few, massively strong people in our economy are not pulling their weight and are refusing to.  We are losing the tug-of-war match and are about to fall over fiscal cliffs and back into recessions and this few is talking about how they already pull more than the rest of us why should they pull as hard as they can.

Now on to the idea that at least this extra money is creating jobs and building the economy, which assumes the giving nature of these people (and corporations) who are already not pulling as hard as they could.

In the case of the big oil companies, record profits (plus 2 billion is subsidies) led to, producing less oil.  The money didn’t go into producing more oil or new jobs etc. (they did do exploration and had some jobs come and go but not substantially more then when they didn’t have record profits) the money went into buying their own stock and into buying political power.

According to the article I referenced earlier, in 2011 the big five oil companies spent $1.6 million on campaign contributions and $65.7 million on lobbying efforts.  Apparently, the only jobs created were in politics.

I am becoming more and more a fan of the idea of a flat tax.  Then everyone in the tug-of-war would pull as hard as they are able and the whole group does its best.  I do believe that there could be tax breaks for groups that are somehow in need, but that has to be a break that is only in place during the time of need.  If you are breaking world records for income, I am not sure a tax break that was to help you when you were down is still a valid use of tax breaks.  I think your need is over and it is your turn to repay those that carried the weight when you were down by taking your turn to carry the weight.

I know the wording has been tweaked a bit to describe “raising the taxes on the rich” and having the rich carry the burden of the economy etc., but I have realized that all we are talking about is bringing things back to where everybody is giving the same amount of effort.  The stronger pull as hard as they can and the weaker pull as hard as they can even though that means the stronger pull with more strength than the weaker.

So, I am starting to realize that this idea of raising the taxes on the ultra rich that the Republican Party is probably the right idea especially when the economy is bad.  I am not saying that I am buying everything the Democrats are peddling right now, but I am starting to see how this one concept is just sensible.

The Republicans’ insistence on getting as close to this “Fiscal Cliff” as possible while sticking to the idea that they will never allow anything that raises taxes on the ultra rich is an astonishing stand on foolish grounds especially since the American people have overwhelmingly voted to show that this is what they want.  If the democratic process has clearly stated that this is what a large majority of the American public wants then why are they letting the extremist arm of their party direct them in this illogical direction that threatens to ruin their party and throw us over this “Fiscal Cliff” (which will raise taxes on everybody including the rich anyhow on New Years Day).

The Election, the Race and Race

The Election, the Race and Race

Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about the election and the implication that this is the first time that the “white male vote” has not decided the election.Races

Holy cow!?  I am not convinced this is true, but if there have been powers that be in politics that have subscribed to the logic that the vote that will make a difference is the “white male vote” particularly in “swing states” then our whole electoral process has strongly shaped and directed by one group from our country and all of the women and otherwise non-white males have been second class citizens in terms of political influence and power.

The reason I stated earlier that I am not convinced this is actually true (or completely true) is because the facts say that the president received about the same percentage of the votes from Caucasian men as Bill Clinton in 1992 and more than many of his democratic predecessors over the past 40 years or so.

That implies that the challenge in capturing the votes of Caucasian males has little to do with the race of the current president and has more to do with the collective mindset of voters who identify themselves as white males.

Some of the public displays from the republican party over the past few years have demonstrated that some of the more prominent republicans have been completely out of touch with the tines and the rest of the country.

Some of the more extreme examples include:

Todd Akin:  Victims of ‘Legitimate Rape’ Don’t Get Pregnant…If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down

Tom Smith:  Implied that rape victims are the same as women who have women who get pregnant outside of marriage

Herman Cain:  (In speaking about China who has had nuclear weapons since long before I was born) So yes they’re a military threat. They’ve indicated that they’re trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have. So yes, we have to consider them a military threat.

There are more and more and even moments like the misstatements (or lies if you are a bit more to the Left Wing) that Mitt Romney has been accused publically of.  Look up Mitt Romney Debate Lie and you might be surprised at what you see.  Some who follow these sorts of things might remember one debate where a misstatement was publicly corrected in front of the entire planet (Click Here to See Video).

What you see here is a party creating the public perception that they are out of touch, misinformed and possibly the stereotypical shady politicians that a growing number of Americans are coming to believe are “the problem” with our government.

The question is not one of weather the Republican Party is due for a re-branding and a change in its public expressions of itself.  Most of us have heard a lot of this talk from prominent republicans and pundits over the past few months and assume all of that to be the changes that need to happen for Republicans to remain a force in American politics.  What I mean is that I am not surprised that there are groups of politicians that are capable of doing stupid things publicly.  My concern is that there has been enough support for such ridiculousness that has allowed it to get this far out of hand.

The deeper aspect of the challenge I am having is that there is an implication in all of this that the predominance of American White Caucasians support this group of folks we have seen doing all of this craziness over the past few years no matter how ridiculous they get.  This means that either the predominance of Caucasian men in America are in absolute agreement with this insanity or that this group will root for their political team no matter what they do as if it was their local football team that they have always rooted for.

Some of the reports I have heard and read imply that much of these extreme opinions are based on the fact that the Caucasian male vote wants this extreme, outdated and misinformed public face and that is why that is what we get.  That I find a bit hard to swallow.  That we all are somehow all living as aliens in this huge extremist White-man-istan and that all other people who live in America are just allowed to vote to make us feel like we had some say.  Then it is implied that that has been the way it has been until the presidential election when an African American Incumbent President managed to get enough non-Caucasian male votes to overpower the government of Whitemanistan.

Whatever the truth is, I hope that this is the end of all of this and that we won’t be hearing of such things ever again.  My hope is that over the next four years the parties will come to reflect some level of common sense and will both come to reflect a focus on the more diverse cultural makeup and more diverse thinking of the melting pot that is (or at least is supposed to be) America.

I would like to think that no single group has the political power to render any of the other groups in our country so irrelevant that the politicians can say and do any sort of crazy thing and still be able to overpower all forms of other thought.

Hopefully more equally represented than ever before;

Alethinos Paradoxos

Oh Shih-Tzu This Election is Dog Eat Dog!

Oh Shih-Tzu This Election is Dog Eat Dog

Okay this is an official WTH!  I’ve been catching bits and pieces of this and it is all just coming together in my mind, so bear with me as I sort it all out…!

So this Romney person took a family trip at some point in history and strapped his dog on the roof of the car…  WTH?!?!  This story hits the news and goes all viral.

Then someone finds some evidence that this Obama character ate dog as a small child…  (remember all that dog shopping they were doing when he first came into office, HMMM?).

I have been pretty busy the last few days and just decided to look this story up and I stumbled across what I presume to be the next viral trip in this really weird saga:  The Romney camp or someone is releasing a story that he once saved a dog from drowning using his jet ski.  I have to admit, my mind is having a really hard time making the jump from dude who strapped the family Irish Setter on the roof of the car in a cage for family vacation to cool super-hero, dog saving guy who is in his disguise as a mild mannered presidential candidate.

Here is my real question:  WTH!?!?  What are we talking about this for?  I suppose the strapping the dog on the roof in 1983 is a bit unnerving and disturbing, but I am not sure that alone would eliminate a person from being able to run for president.  (for those of us who remember the early eighties, just about any information that surfaces from that period should probably be ignored – what a weird time in history).

On the other hand the eating dog in another country as a child story is even less earth shattering to me.  The fact that as a child in another country someone had you eating something that you are probably now grossed out by really bears no impact on which way I vote at all.

Now that Romney super dog saver stuff starts to sound a bit desperate.  I suppose it would have had an impact on me if I had heard it prior to the strapping the dog on the roof story, but suddenly hearing it for the first time now cheapens the story a bit.

What’s next; Ron Paul is going to announce that he was raised in the wilderness by a pack of wild dogs?  Newt Gingrich is really a shaved down Shar-pei?

I am not actually as amazed at these three stories as I am at the energy that many outlets of the media and particularly the campaigns and the supporters are putting into all this dogfight stuff.  The internet is all abuzz with these serious sounding rants trying to really prove one candidate or another is completely disqualified for president because of some dog incident and now dog heroics make the better president.

 

I did however, while I was writing this stumble into new information in the saga (which I have not verified and could be totally fictitious) stating that this Romney character is listed two different national animal cruelty websites for other major animal cruelty incidents.  In light of that I might want to slow down and start taking some of this more seriously.  If this is a habit and not an old, isolated incident, we might have a real problem.

Let me help you catch up to my change. I stopped typing to get some good, all-American food (got some nuggets from under the golden arches) and stepped away for a minute.  I decided to look at some of the current waves of web dog fighting and stumbled across http://www.dogsagainstromney.com/ .

As I said, I just saw all of that and have yet to verify any of it, but if it does turn out to be true there really is a serious problem in the Romney camp.

Why my change of tone?  If a person is not qualified to lead a sports team due to animal cruelty and needs to spend time in prison to leave and have a terrible time finding the next job (even though that person is a star athlete) then a repeat offender that is running for president is going to be a hard sell.  

I am of course describing quarterback Michael Vick.  Especially with all of this racial tension or whatever it is that weaves its way in and out of all things political lately, the idea that a rich Caucasian gentleman can get caught for animal cruelty and run for president no problem while an African American athlete who gets caught for animal cruelty gets the book and the kitchen sink thrown at him will not go over well.

I actually do find that the dog-fighting was probably considerably more egregious, but it’s not just about what I think. 

I am however quite concerned that there may be this tendency and this particular site says that he is not allowed to adopt pets because of these animal cruelty entries.  I suppose I will keep an eye on this for a few weeks before I deem it to be just silliness.  If he turns out to be a serial offender, there could be major fallout.   COULD RON PAUL END UP AS THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE?

And yes my nuggets were made of chicken (as far as I know 100% white meat)

 

Til next time

Your Dawg, Alethinos

Racism, Insensitivity, Chicken, Watermelon and “Our Blacks”

Racial profiling has become a major issue again over the past few days and it is going to be huge news after today.  This is really a growing problem in both the media and politics particularly for the Republican party for the past few years.

Today’s news hinges on the shooting case of Trayvon Martin (a Florida teenager that was gunned down last month that has raised many questions about racial profiling on several levels including the media)

Today, the point was made by Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) who wore a hooded sweater this morning on the House floor.  He then informed the House that “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”

He was asked to leave by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) the presiding officer.  Rush continued to speak while Harper continued to ask him to leave the chambers and  Rush ended up being escorted out (hopefully not because he looked like a hoodlum).

I looked at a site named BlackDemographics.com and ran into these numbers:

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2010 there were 42,020,743 African Americans in the USA or 13.6% of the total population of 308.7 million. The black population exceeded 500,000 in 15 states. Blacks were the largest minority group in 24 states, compared with 20 states in which Hispanics were the largest minority group..

When I see these numbers I have to wonder how so many people in important positions specifically politics and in the media have no idea what will make this big chunk of the population uncomfortable or angry.  

I can only think back to Ann Coulter a while back and her “our blacks” vs. “their blacks” rant:  5min.com coverage of the comments.  Coulter is promoting a book that supposedly clears up how the Left is rewriting history and how the Right is the ones who stand up for the blacks.  Now this self-proclaimed expert on African American needs goes into a rant that clearly shows the world that she is clueless about anything about the current African American culture. 

There have been several slips like this since the 2008 election – Check out this report from TruthDig about a news report about the Obama Bucks (You may remember that this was an image of a food stamp with then Candidate Obama’s picture a bucket of chicken, ribs and a slice of watermelon which appeared on a newsletter for Republican Women in Inland Empire, California – CNN Video).

 

Over the paste few years little slip ups like this have been occurring and reoccurring yet politicians and people in some media outlets persist in saying that the African American population (and other minority groups) are simply overreacting and getting bent out of shape for nothing.  

I do not feel I can really declare somebody a racist or a group racist over a slip here and there.  I do feel that there is however, a pattern of behavior that shows that some of the media and many in politics (particularly those calling themselves Republican) have an insensitivity to what the African American community is put off by and an insensitivity to the unresolved issues of the past.

In my lifetime, people were segregated in schools and public places, people were beaten, arrested, raped and killed for being persons of color.  There are people alive today who lived through these things, experienced these things, saw these things done to their loved ones and on and on.  They were called somebody’s property as a vicious attack to degrade and demoralize them, they watched and listened as people of power debated if African American people were to be considered as human or as intelligent as others and on and on.  To just use the language and the images that these people and their children find offensive will put them off.  

For people who find it puzzling because somebody offended somebody “but they didn’t mean to” there is a rule of communication to keep in mind.  Communication is not what you think you are saying, communication is what the other person thinks you are saying.  How much more true this is when you are seeking election.  

There are those who are okay with being one of Ann Coulter’s blacks and see nothing wrong with political images with buckets of chicken, watermelon, ribs, Kool-Aid and Barack Obama’s picture and that is all fine and dandy, but understand that a large majority of African Americans will be put off by such things for a very long time and seeing as they a big block of the population you might try to tick them off less and get their votes more.

Some days I wear a dress shirt and slacks and some days (like today) a wear a hooded sweater and jeans, I sure hope that nobody assumes I am a hoodlum and shoots me and I hope that nobody escorts me out of anywhere for wearing my sweater.  By the way, it is raining out and the sweater is simply a good idea.

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