Thursday, May 29, 2008
Can the GOP balance a budget?
No. The first Republican President ran a huge deficit and invented the income tax.
Do tax cuts stimulate the economy?
No, tax cuts cause public debt, currently about $10 trillion dollars and rising.
Did Bush give a $1,740 tax cut to middle class families making $40,000 per year.
No. This is answered in full in another chapter, Does the Federal Government overtax people?
Did tax revenues rise after the 1981 tax cuts, commonly known as the Reagan Tax Cuts.
No, revenues fell sharply. However, in 1983, Reagan signed into law the largest peace time tax increase in the history of the United States. Once that tax increase went into place, revenues increased from previous levels.
Did Reagan destroy Communism and the Soviet Union?
No. Reagan was loaning money to the Soviet Union and supporting Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Further, Reagan was not in office when an internal revolution toppled Soviet leadership. After the wall in Berlin came down, researchers discovered the truth about the Soviet Empire. The Empire couldn't feed it's people most of the time. Over time, the Soviet people lived in a third world type of existence similar to life in Cuba. Cubans live on an annual income of about $400. Overall, not much of an empire.
Soviet historians when asked about the Reagan myth often answer, "Who was Ronald Reagan?"
Do consumers pay corporate taxes?
No. Corporations pay corporate taxes.
The idea that tax burdens can be shifted from corporations to individuals is a perversion of Adam Smith. Smith writes, "Neither would such a tax fall altogether upon the ground-rent; but it would divide itself in such a manner as to fall partly upon the inhabitant of the house, and partly upon the owner of the ground."
So Smith is saying personal "rent" taxes are burdens for the taxpayer and the landlord. That has become twisted into, "Consumers pay all taxes."
By the way, if you're read this far, you can now brag about it. Next time you're at a party and people start talking about books, you can say, "I just started reading a book on economics, taxation, and government. I've already finished five chapters."
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
It would be a short book to match my attention span. Serious at times. Controversial almost always. And, I hope it will be funny from time to time.
I can see the title, "Everything you've ever wanted to know about government and taxation but were afraid to ask a Democrat."
The short title would be "Just Ask a Democrat."
The chapter on Tax Cuts could be very short.
Do tax cuts stimulate the economy?The same for the chapter on Balancing a budget
No, tax cuts increase the national debt.
Can the GOP balance the federal budget?
No. Both Lincoln ran a debt and huge deficits even by today's standards. In an effort to make ends meet, Lincoln, a Republican, started the income tax.
Seriously, send me some ideas on what does the voting public really need to know about government. I'll give an honest answer.
Just a teaser on taxation:
Does the federal government over tax people?
The personal income tax is not a tax on people. People pay a tax only on a portion of their income. That portion is best described as disposable income. Our income that is absolutely needed for living is tax free. At least free of federal income tax. State tax might be another matter altogether. But consider this:
A family of four making $40,000 with both children in daycare could pay no taxes at all. The standard deduction for four shields $10,700 from income tax. The tax code allows another
$3,500 per dependent. A dependent can be the taxpayer and almost anyone living in the house with the taxpayer, children, spouse, and possibly parents or others. For a family of four that means $14,000 for dependents.
So, the government excludes a family of four from paying income taxes on the first $24,700, leaving only $15,300 of taxable income. The income tax due on $15,300 would have been $1,561 in 2005, assuming no other adjustments or credits.
What's the real income tax rate for a family of four with an income of $40,000?
Just divide 1561 by 40,000 ... or to make it easy for Republicans ... 0.039025! Or, can we just say, 4 percent?
Is four percent of your total income too high a price for freedom?
If 61% of your income is exempt from income taxes, are you being overtaxed by the federal government?
If the family can afford it, other retirement shelters like 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts can also reduce the taxable income by as much as another $4,000.
Now, we could have just $11,300 in taxable income and a tax bill of $1,128 or roughly 3 percent of total income.
Now come the tax credits. Let's assume for the sake of being representative of the real world, that a family of four can't save $4,000 in tax shelters each year. So, each year that family might face a 4 percent income tax.
Not always true.
Each child may be eligible for the Child Tax Credit. The average amount of credit for our example is around $300 to $400, the total credit could be a thousand, or in some rare cases, two thousand dollars.
So, to be fair, the average of $400 in Child Tax Credit cuts the income tax to $1,131. Again, just under 3% of the total income is taxed.
There remain other tax credits that might reduce the tax completely such as the Dependent Care Credit for parents with child care. For our example, the taxpayer could get a credit of 22% of daycare expenses. If those expenses exceed a $100 per week for child care, then the total income tax would be zero!
Is a tax rate of Zero Percent too high?
Some important notes:
When Congress enacted Section 151 of the Internal Revenue Code, it did so believing that a certain level of income, “personal exemptions,” should not be subject to the federal income tax. Congress reasoned that the level of income insulated from taxation under §151 should roughly correspond to the minimal amount of money someone would need to get by at a subsistence level (i.e., enough money for food, clothes, shelter, etc.).
The IRS explains the Child Tax Credit in publication 972 available as a .pdf file here and the Child and Dependent Care Credit is explained in publication 503 which can be downloaded here.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
With the cuts, standardized test scores have fallen. Now massive numbers of students have failed the social studies portion of the tests. And, 40 percent of 8th graders failed the math portion.
By federal law, the 8th graders cannot enter high school until they complete a remedial math program or pass the math exam.
A basic tenet of the conservative movement has always been breaking the public school monopoly on education. If you don't believe me, if you think I'm a conspiracy theory nut, check out the Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation is the world's most influential conservative think tank. Oddly enough, funding comes from around the world to this group that once advised Reagan.
So, Georgia has been cutting the budgets of every school. Now those schools are failing the No Child Left Behind standards. Georgia must comply with No Child Left Behind and provide "other" educational opportunities to passing students.
So far, Georgia has been using vouchers. But, soon private Christians Schools will be getting direct public funding. Can you say, "Faith Based Initiative" which funded the building of new Christian (private) schools?
From my twisted perspective, the GOP wants to destroy the federal government and undo the War of Northern Aggression, aka the Civil War.
You'all need to do a little research before singing "Dixie."
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The tax calculator at the Heritage Foundation has not been updated as promised. It continues to give inaccurate and unreliable information.
The calculator cannot be used for filing taxes so I don't know why it's called a tax calculator.
I don't know why conservatives continue to support the Republican party and the Heritage Foundation type groups. I guess all three, conservatives, Republicans, and the Heritage Foundation, would rather follow the dinosaurs into extinction than face reality.
As to a future without the GOP, I'd rather hunt dinosaur bones.
Say Good Night, Gracy.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I didn't write a letter to the Gainesville Times on April the 2nd. However, I'm glad you invented such a letter. Now I get my turn.
You say the tax cuts "would cut their federal income taxes from $1,785 to $45. It's not the $2,000 Mr. Parker speaks of, but the $1,740 cut is real and sizeable, not mythical.
I've been to your little tax calculator at the Heritage Foundation. Even it doesn't give a family of four with an income of $40,000 a $1740 tax break. The hypothetical result shows at best a tax cut of $1133.
Can you invent some more urban legends for me to debunk? It's fun.
While looking at real world tax information from the IRS, in 2005, roughly 1.4 million taxpayers in your targeted income level got a Child Tax Credit. The average amount was $289.
Where's the thousand dollars per child you bragged about?
Did Alexander Tyler steal it?
James Pilgrim, you also said a "that the federal taxes of a couple with three children and making $50,000 were cut from $1,620 to $88."
The calculator said only $333!
What can we see from the IRS information?
Those upper middle class families got an average of $733 from the Child Tax Credit.
Again, where is the $2,000? That would be the two thousand dollars maximum for the Child Tax Credit. Middle class families don't get that money. It's a myth.
Two out of three taxpayer make less than $40,000 per year. And, the Bush Tax Cuts ignored them.
A taxpayer making an average of $150,000 got a savings of $3,400.
That's a substantiated fact verifiable with IRS data.
Up Yours, Mr. Pilgrim.
This is the usual form of the urban legend:
1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some
2,000 years prior:
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a
permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until
the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts
from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for
the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with
the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal
policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."
"The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of
history, has been about 200 years.
During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the
1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage "
Here's my letter to the Times, published in May.
Urban legend turns up in recent letter
I have been waiting for a credible source concerning the allegations by several Republicans that 30 to 40 million middle-class Americans are getting a $2,000 tax break from George Bush. While I'm waiting for that credible source, I might as well debunk Alexander Tyler.
No "Alexander Tyler" ever existed to pen the quotations often repeated over and over again by Republicans. The "Alexander Tyler" quotation was used by Jim Mewborne in a letter to the Editor of the Gainesville Times on Wednesday.
Remarkably, Ronald Reagan may have been the first to quote the mythical "Alexander Tyler" in a recorded speech in 1964. Then, on June 8, 1965, Reagan again used a version of that quote in a speech. But, it is uncertain if the 1964 speech cited "Tyler" or Tydler, his 1965 speech quoted a Tytler.
Tytler did exist and was the author of several books and a professor of history. However, the quote does not appear in any of his published works.
Further, the quote has been attributed in several forms to various people. Those people include Benjamin Disraeli, Alexis de Tocqueville, R. G. LeTourneau, Robert Muntzel and Arnold Toynbee.
Because the quotation is in several forms and attributed to so many people suggests very strongly a fraud. Certainly someone penned the words. But what reason is there for putting those words in the wrong mouths?
I suspect that someone with a political agenda manufactured the quote. The quote then was given a powerful author. The name of a powerful author gave the quote a false amount of credibility.
Tyler is an urban legend, a falsehood. Just like the "middle-class tax break" of $2,000 for a family of four from George Bush.
How shameless are Republicans to invent a hateful quote, create a false identity for the author, and a bibliography? All that just to smear our country, our government, and our way of life.
Pilgrim letter to the Gainesville TimesPoor James Pilgrim.
Community Forum: Tax cuts offer real relief for families
POSTED May 10, 2008 1 a.m.
I don't know anything about the mythical Alexander Tyler that Michael Parker wrote about in his April 2 letter. I do know, though, that President Bush's tax cuts delivered real benefits to real middle-class families, especially families with children; not $2,000 for a family of four making $40,000, but "only" $1,740.
Since Mr. Parker claims these cuts are "a fraud," he might want to consider a big fan of those cuts who is not a Republican, namely, U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. Baucus is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and is trying to preserve the cuts. He is fighting Democrats who have cut the child tax credit in half and eliminated other of the president's cuts. (see the Finance Committee's Web site,
finance.senate.gov, for details).
Another suggestion would be to read President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address in which the he noted what the cuts would do for a couple with two children and making $40,000 a year. It would cut their federal income taxes from $1,785 to $45. It's not the $2,000 Mr. Parker speaks of, but the $1,740 cut is real and sizeable, not mythical. (The child income credit as raised by the president allows up to $1,000 for each child.)
Mr. Parker might also want to go to the site of the Heritage Foundation where he can find a tax calculator that shows how the cuts would affect single and joint filers, with or without children. He would see that the federal taxes of a couple with three children and making $50,000 were cut from $1,620 to $88. He will see that filers with children ages 17 and younger benefit far more than those without children, which is why it so important to middle-class families.
Taxes are, of course, complex. These numbers are based on a filer taking the standard deduction, which the president raised from $7,950 to $9,500. Some families would have more deductions and their taxes would be lower. It also figures in the elimination of the marriage penalty and other Bush cuts.
Certainly not all who benefit get anywhere near $2,000 because our federal tax system is so progressive. A family of four paying only $500 in federal taxes could get no more than a $500 benefit. President Bush's cuts took another 3.5 million filers off the federal tax roles.)
But if Mr. Parker seems set in his beliefs, I don't suppose any of this evidence will matter, not even Sen. Baucus' efforts to save these cuts the House Democrats are trying to eliminate.
I didn't write any letter to the Times on April 2nd.
And, if we check at the Heritage Foundation, the calculator does not support Pilgrim's figures or the President's figures. Check for yourself at www.heritage.org. Using that calculator shows a possible savings of $1133. The fine print also says, ... you can not use this information to file your taxes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Is Pilgrim just making things up?
I know he is. After all, he's defending George Bush and the Republican Party.
Who is he and why should anyone care?
Why am I writing about him?
He emailed me about Obama. Newt has the down and dirty on Mr. Obama. But, before rehashing the email, just who is Newt Gingrich.
He's the former Speaker of the House, that's the House of Representatives in Washington. He was the Congressman from Cobb County. And a part time college professor.
Before his illegal activities got him a $400,000 penalty! The largest penalty ever for a sitting Congressman.
He also married his high school English teacher only to divorce while she was fighting breast cancer.
In the divorce proceedings, which are public records, she alleged that dear old Newt sodomized her.
He divorced wife number two and now lives in sin with a former staff member.
Now that I've thought about who he is, I don't need to read the email.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Words like liberators.
Phrases like "open arms."
And, the classic, "Fog of War."
The ever lasting 'fog of war' remains and obscures the carnage but not the leadership failures.
Chambliss, Deal, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and nearly every GOP member supported the war. Now, they refuse to support our troops. Especially the troops still obscured by the fog of war.
Liberal newspapers have covered the total disgrace at Walter Reed Army Hospital; the horrors of longer deployments and shorter times back in the US; and the black holes in the VA's long term care for disabled combat veterans.
Now, another liberal paper cuts through the fog to reveal another horror, the long term loss of life by suicide among former combat troops.
In a new study, deaths through suicides and psychological mortality will take more of our soldiers than the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mostly because our leadership invaded with the 'army that we have' not the army that was needed and supported in such a long term disaster.
How many must die, how many must be crippled, and how many must wither away before our nation can see past the smoke screen called by Rumsfeld, "the fog of war?"
Link to story by the AFP.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Not only is Nathan Deal brain dead, Saxby Chambliss is brain dead.
The YouTube video is over a week old. What has the draft dodging Chambliss had to say about it?
However, my favorite asshole, and Saxby is nothing but an asshole, says he is proud of his role in crafting legislation that supports the military and improves on base housing.
Why the asshole even has Johnny Isakson singing hymns to Heaven to praise Chambliss.
What does he say? According to the press release dated today, our troops are "a big winner in this Defense Authorization bill, thanks in large part to the work of Senator Chambliss on the Committee,” said Isakson, who serves on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “This legislation sets the priorities for our nation’s military needs, and I am proud of the strong commitment it shows to" our troops.
You can read the entire press release here.
But, watch the video first. We can truly see how Republican draft dodgers treat our troops THEN read the press releases.
Assassination is too good for Chambliss. He's already brain dead. Now, we just need to tie his worthless ass to a bed at Walter Reed or the barracks at Ft. Bragg.
Saxby, you're such a fucking asshole. You hear me? I've watched you speak to college students at North Georgia College and State University, also the military college of Georgia. I've heard you say that God CALLED you to service in the Senate!
You cheap, lying bastard.
Some one forward this to the Senate.
Did you see the video from the military base? It shows the conditions our troops face when returning from Iraq.
Iraq looks better than the barracks at Fort Bragg.
See the video here.
Defense Secretary Gates didn't know anything about these conditions?
Doesn't he remember the conditions at Walter Freaken Reed Hospital?
I guess our troops should be so lucky.