Saturday, April 16, 2011

Federal taxes are at their lowest point in decades

After filing my taxes for 2010, I noticed that my effective tax rate was just under 10%. This is about as low as it has ever been. Why all of the Tea Party angst? Republicans continue to keep screaming about taxes while they have no concept of economic reality. The reality I'm talking about is the need to raise revenue to pay for their ridiculous war in Iraq and the failings of the Bush administration to keep the economy on course. It's funny how Republicans never mentioned the deficit when Bush was President but they blast Obama daily for inheriting his mess.

There is a great web site that I happened upon the other day called; "". In one article, the top marginal tax rates from 1916 to 2010 are charted. Categories of taxation on the chart include income tax, corporate tax and capital gains for the period. Just look at the picture; a picture is worth a thousand words in this case. I'm still not sure that Republicans will get it as they are still tied to Reagan voodoo economics that has caused our massive Federal deficit.

I have a smaller problem with lowering the corporate tax rate from the current 35% to 25% as even Obama has suggested. The key here is to have 100% of U.S. corporations paying taxes, not the current 25%. Corporate lobbyists have done a great job making sure their interests avoid taxes. The middle class has no such luxury in this country.

So why all of the fuss about taxes? It's truly a ruse created by the Republican Party to win votes through radical propaganda. Barack only wants to turn the green line on the chart back to where it was during the Clinton administration. Remember, this is only being considered for those incomes that exceed $250,000 per year (35% to 39%). Please note that this rate was 91% during the Eisenhower administration and at 50% during the Reagan administration.

Republicans continue to say that America has spoken because of the 2010 election. I hate to clue them in but, Barack Obama won in 2008 by over 5 million votes and ran on this very concept. Barack stood in front of the American people and insisted that the top marginal tax rate needed to be where it was during the Clinton administration. Tea Party Republicans are simply wrong.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Election 2012: What will it look like?

Palin, Bachmann, Huckabee, Romney - Pawlenty, Barbour, Paul or Trump - who will win Republican minds, radio radicals and tea party butts? OK; sorry for the funky posing of the question, but I feel that it is time for me to make a few predictions before the s--t hits the fan. Noticeably absent from the list of Republican hopefuls is a name we all know; Bush! I do not think that Jeb Bush is stupid enough to enter the fray in 2012, even if they wanted to draft him. Jeb bush is waiting for 2016.

I have made a few predictions in this column and they have been accurate to date. I predicted that Sarah Palin would get a job with Fox news but that would be the extent of her career. Since she quit as Governor of Alaska, I have no reason to back off of that prediction. Even many Republicans hate her - she stands no chance! She did take a job with Fox news: I'm not looking bad at this point. If you study these pages, you saw that I urged people to buy stock in Ford Motors when the price was at approximately $2.00 per share. Check the ticker; you would be rich if you had listened to me.

Now I'm going to put my "Nostradamus" hat on and make a few predictions. Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee. He will have tremendous problems getting the nomination; but look at the field - my God - there is no crystal ball here. The big question is who will be his nominee for Vice-President. This is where things get real complicated, but not for the reasons you might perceive.

In the final analysis, I see the Republican Vice-Presidential choice coming down to a toss-up between Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi and Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas. My prediction is Haley Barbour because of all of his connections to the oil money. Money always "trumps" ideology. Sorry Donald; you already went bankrupt once and screwed a lot of people in the process.

Why Haley Barbour as Vice-President? Romney lacks no credibility with the evangelical right in this country and his Mormon faith will drag him down. Romney will need to address this problem with his pick. As I see it; he has two choices, Huckabee or Barbour. Neither of these guys can light a fire in the Democratic states. Barbour will be detestable to the Democratic voters but they won't care. Huckabee would have a greater ability to pull in the independent voter and the evangelical right, but only in the states the Republicans are going to lose anyway. This raises Haley Barbour to the surface because Republicans need to win states like North Carolina and Florida. Barbour will be strong with the evangelical voters but more importantly, he will bring in money. Scads and scads of money from the oil companies that will continue to bleed the middle class until we are all walking the streets!

What about the Democrats? Do you really think that the ticket is going to be Obama/Biden. That worked once, but maybe, just maybe, the ticket to success will be changing the ticket. I don't think this is a long shot, but how about an Obama/Clinton ticket? That's Hillary Clinton! Obama is going to need to infuse some excitement after his middle of the road first term.

So here is my early prediction: Obama/Clinton vs Romney/Barbour. I would not throw Joe Biden out the door. Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State are positions that come to mind for Joe Biden that has served his country well.

OK; I've laid it on the line early on. Let's see what happens. By the way; if Romney and Barbour win, the Mayan's were right!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

The saga of getting your opinion before the people

While I'm grateful that the Providence Journal finally published my opinion piece this week, I am distressed about some things that happened along the way. For out of state readers, I know this may be a little boring. I'll head to national issues in my next post. For now, here is the story.

The "Journal" endorsed Linc Chafee for governor who ran on a platform of changes and expansion of the sales tax. His plan was to reduce the tax from 7 to 6% and create a second tier of 1% on some items and services. The "Journal" has continually attacked the plan. Not only had the paper been attacking the plan, they have allowed a stream of opinion pieces for key state figures (two who ran against Chafee and lost) who are well known in political circles. The "Journal" gave these writers almost a half page space.

I noticed that there was absolutely no balance on the opinion page which drove me to write my piece. After over 3 weeks and no luck seeing publication, I wanted Governor Chafee to feel that he had support in the community regardless of the one-sided attempt to control thought by the "Journal". I copied my opinion piece, mailed it with a cover letter to Governor Chafee on a Friday. The following Monday I was contacted by the "Journal" as it had become clear that they would publish. My suspicion is that it took an act of the Governor's office to jog the article forward, but I have no evidence of this.

On Thursday, April 7, 2011, the "Journal" printed the article. That's fine but what really upsets me is a simple change they made to improve their position in this thing. At one point in the article the conversation goes as follows: "The "Journal" writes that " state employees continue to receive annual pay increases"". My response was; "this is not true". The "Journal" changed my response to, " this is grossly misleading" (view my previous post of March 25 2011).

I want to say that "grossly misleading" was not my statement and is not accurate. There have been many years that I could point to where state employees got no pay raises. The "Journal" is trying to split hairs here because in any given year, some employees may receive a longevity increase which happens 4 times in a career. This happens in any given year for a small percentage of employees but should never have been part of the "Journal's" blanket statement. The "Journal" tried to create the idea in the head of the readers that state employees get raises every year and that is absolutely not true.

On the "Truth-O-Meter", the Providence Journal fails this test and rates a "Not True". Enough of this topic already!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tax cuts for the rich killing the middle class

The title of this article says it all, but nobody could say it better than Berkley Bedell. Berkley is a businessman and former politician that dedicated his life to making things better for other people. You have to read his own story (click here).

Yes, America is badly hurt by tax cuts for the rich. There may have been a time to reduce taxes on the wealthy, but that time is not now. The wealthy are continuing to pay a smaller and smaller percentage of tax while the middle class struggles to pay bills on a daily basis. Reaganomics has gone too far. Supply side economic theory has done nothing but make the wealthy wealthier while impoverishing the middle class. Enough is enough!

By the way; my letter to the Providence Journal in support of Governor Chafee's tax plan finally was published. I applaud the Journal for publishing my thoughts, although I must say there is a story within the story that I will not repeat here. I must say that you need a very thick skin to publish these days. Individual opinion seems to mean less in this country. It seems like you have to belong to a "tea party" or something. Offer your opinion and you get swamped by brickbats that do not have a clue about what you are saying. The comments to my opinion piece were largely attacks on my person that had no foundation. The authors of those attacks have probably listened to talk radio for far too long and have no right to question my integrity.

If you have read this blog, you will know that many of Berkley Bedell's comments have been discussed here for some time. Berkley is the age of my mother and he makes me realize that there are still great Americans in this country with the age and wisdom to guide us forward. Thank you Berkley for you service to us all. Please make sure you read Berkley's story (click here).