Better call or write your Representative.

Comments

Tom Garrett 1 year, 8 months ago

We have a problem with Congress. Well, not will all of Congress, just with the GOP portion of the House.

Yesterday, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate agreed to extend the current tax rates for 98% of all Americans.

What that means is that the average family of four will pay about what it paid last year.

However, House Republicans have stalled the bill. Why? They want the wealthiest 2% of the nation to be included.

What will it cost you if the extension does not go through? It will cost the average family an extra $2,200. I don't know how much you make, but you can make a judgment based on that. One way or another, you WILL be paying more taxes than you have paid for the last ten years if the extension is not approved.

A fair question is where the cut-off line is. The answer is that House Republicans want to continue to give a tax cut to people who are being taxed on a quarter of a million dollars a year of "taxable" income. The trouble is, that's not the same as saying that they only pocketed a quarter of a million dollars. For one thing, investment income is exempt, as are many other forms of income. So you may only be reporting a quarter of a million in income, but you may be making a whole lot more.

My opinion?

The Senate is on the right track.

Why do I say that? Because I'm a flat tax guy, someone who says that if we just counted everything a person made as income, and taxed everyone at an equal rate, we'd do very well, but as long as the wealthiest 2% of Americans want to keep all their exemptions they have to expect the tax rate to be adjusted so that they are carrying a share of the load. The idea of billionaires paying $10,000 a year in taxes because of the over 180 tax loopholes is obscene.

The bottom line: Unless you, personally, want to pay more income tax, call your representative and tell him you want that extension approved.

No delays. No rhetoric. No posturing.

Just get the %$#@! job done.!!

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Dan Haapala 1 year, 8 months ago

Tom, with all do respect, the wealthiest 2% of Americans are already paying more than 70% of the taxes. It's a fact. I agree a flat tax is the answer. The bottom feeders in America don't want to hear it because they currently don't pay tax. Having said that, I'll switch gears and say, this class warfare has to end.

It's easy to say...He has money and I don't. It's easy to say...I work hard but I don't see him working at all. When the "Unions" started telling us the fat cats were cheating and taking profits that belonged to us, "They LIED." The American system of profit has always been a bottom up system not a top down one.

When John agrees to go to work for a "lumber mill" for an agreed upon wage, he goes to work. He does his job so that the company can harvest the lumber and make a profit in order to stay in business. John says I'll work hard for $X an hour. The company says that will work. At the end of the week John gets a paycheck, he pays his bills and has a little left over. The company has made a profit that they can reinvest in the company, but it doesn't end there.

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Dan Haapala 1 year, 8 months ago

John takes his paycheck to the bank and deposits it. He goes home and says we have money to pay the bills and buy groceries. John pays the rent, buys his family food, and spends some on clothes and other items. But it doesn't end there....When Johns check buys a can of beans, the grocer says great, I need to buy some more beans, so he calls the wharehouse and says " I need some more beans", the wharehouse says great and calls the supplier and says 'I sold all the beans and need some more' and supplier says great I'll get some more and they call the farmer and say I've sold all my beans you have to grow some more......I don't know why everyone doesn't understand this.

Somewhere in IOWA there is a farm that understands perfectly well what I'm saying. They can work their you know what off but until something is sold.....nothing happens. It doesn't matter whether or not there is a road or a bridge or a government grant or loan. Everything in the American Economy begins with a seller and a buyer and if you doubt that....see what happens if everyone stops buying because they have no money to spend, because they don't have a job and an income. The company that employed them can't afford to keep them employed because there is no profit and therefore no reason to stay in business, and .......The Government who believes they step in and fix it, doesn't have any money coming in because no one is working and paying taxes. Did I miss something?

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 8 months ago

Dan,

Those who want us to believe all you just said are very clever, but a few hours spent researching original sources, not political websites, shows a very different picture.

Take the 2% thing.

It is clever way of lumping together small business people and the ultra rich. There is no way that should be done. There is no reason why some hard working businessman making--say--$250,000 in actual taxable income should be lumped in at the same tax rate with the one tenth of one percent of all working Americans who swallow up two thirds of every dollar made in this nation.

Consider these real, verifiable numbers (just go to the federal government files to see them).

As a nation we make about $15 trillion a year, a verifiable number.

Out of that $15 trillion a year, $10 trillion goes to just 1 million earners, a verifiable number.

The other $5 trillion is shared by all 143 million other earners, a verifiable number.

What that means is that one tenth of one percent of all earning people in this nation pocket two out of every three dollars we make, and the other 99.9% of us have to do with the other dollar.

That is obvious wrong, but the ultra rich try to hide that fact by lumping their one tenth of one percent in with the hard working honest business people who make over $250,000 a year. That's smoke and mirrors. How is it right that some guy who owns a business here in Payson, who works day and night sweating over the numbers, and employs people who make a decent wage working for him...how is is right that he be lumped in with some CEO who is taking in $143,000,000 a year from the corporation he is looting?

Dan, that is wrong. We need to separate out the honest, hard working wage earner, and the equally honest, hard working small businessman, from the blood sucking leaches who are turning our corporations into their private cash cows.

One tenth of one percent of all earners taking in two out of every three dollar made in this nation? How can that possibly be right?

The only way we are going to beat that is to force Congress to separate out those who are bleeding this nation dry from those who are making a fair wage or a fair amount from their businesses. Once we let Congress know we are NOT going to allow the extension of the tax cuts for the upper 2% they will have to come back and put some reality into our tax system.

The goal, if we can't get a flat tax, it to tax the pants off anyone who thinks he can sit in an office and loot the corporation he works for. What we have to do is keep a fair and reasonable tax rate for those who earn a reasonable living. And bash those who are destroying America by looting the major corporations which employ so many of our people.

We start by refusing to allow Congress to extend the tax break for the upper 2%.

Then we separate out the people who deserve that tax break (the small businessmen) and give it only to them, but not to the corporate leeches.

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Ed Smith 1 year, 8 months ago

Unfortunately, I have to challenge the initial assumption of the need for an income tax. John and the lumber mill owner agree on a contract. John provides labor in return for a wage from the owner. This wage is the fruit of John's effort. The government decides it wants a bite of that fruit. It uses the only tool in its arsenal to secure that pound of flesh...force. If you or I took the fruit of another's labor by use of force it would be called robbery. When the government does it, it's called income taxation. How did the government secure funding before the passage of the 16th Amendment in 1913?

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Dan Haapala 1 year, 8 months ago

Okay, let's say we are not going to be about class warfare. The Incomes of americans vary and it depends on what they have invested in their abilitiy to produce. Is that a wrong statement? awaiting a response.

Regardless of the response, It is my belief that our founding fathers expected that citizens would be willing to pay for the services that a 'collective government' could provide, as long as everyone contributed. Is this a wrong assumption?

A Government 'of,by and for' the people' would expect everyone to contribute, wouldn't it?

Now, understand this, the day the Federal government decided to use the treasury to help a citizen in need!!!!!!! was the day our Republic died. It happened in Congress before the battle of the Alamo, It happened under the watch of an American hero Davy Crockett. Read the book, 'the life and times of Davy Crockett'

Here is my challenge to the risk of the believers of a political party.

Show me one example where the party of your faith, did one thing to promote the general welfare (for everyone) without spending your tax dollars, and never spending their own.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 8 months ago

Ed,

I like the way you put things, but I feel that income tax--done fairly--is the only tax we should have. Other taxes trouble me. Property tax, for example, which seems like a punishment for being frugal and not spending every nickel you get. I believe that things like property taxes derive from the day when we taxed the lords and ladies because they were the only ones with money. And a tax on tobacco to force people who want to do something that is not good for them to become saints? Or a sales tax on gasoline that continues the inflationary spiral decade after decade? I think of it this way; what could possibly be wrong with each of us paying into the pot according to what this great land of ours has enabled him to earn? No other taxes. Just that.

Dan,

"The Incomes of americans vary and it depends on what they have invested in their abilitiy to produce. Is that a wrong statement? awaiting a response."

As long as there is no collusion between government and business, I would agree--with one tiny caveat. It doesn't change the basic idea, but people are also limited in what they can earn by what they were born with. You and I have been lucky, but we didn't earn the ability to think and work; they were inherited in our genes. Doesn't change the basic idea, but we have to keep that in mind at times (your friend at Safeway; see what I am saying?.

"Regardless of the response, It is my belief that our founding fathers expected that citizens would be willing to pay for the services that a 'collective government' could provide, as long as everyone contributed. Is this a wrong assumption?"

Amen!

"A Government 'of,by and for' the people' would expect everyone to contribute, wouldn't it?"

Ditto!

"Now, understand this...."

There is where we part company, Dan. If we assume that the people is "us," then we have a God given right to aid those who need our help. The only question becomes of one simple human justice: Did the person we are helping earn our help? If the answer is yes, then we may, if we wish, help.

What is wrong is when political parties use welfare as a tool for reelections. It is then that the system gets twisted into something beyond what is fair and proper.

You know something, Dan? I think I have finally come to hate political parties. I hate nothing else; I seem to be unable to hate. But when I see what the parties have done to this nation it breaks my heart. They have stolen it away from us.

Hate. That's a hard thought. Maybe not hate. I cannot find it in my heart not to forgive anyone. But--help me out someone--there must be a word for what I feel about what has become of our Great Experiment. Surely the experiment isn't a failure? How could it be? The rule of law instead of the rule of privilege just seems so right.

Ah, well, You tell me.

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Dan Haapala 1 year, 8 months ago

Exasperation! Tom, those who would control us are doing all they can to divide us. The party of " we have heart and want to help" uses the money of " we work hard and want to contribute" and the end result is our government has created a dependency upon the government. I give where I can to help those who need. I believe most Americans do as well. The difference between the two major parties has become very clear to me. One says, 'I see a wrong and I want it right. I want everyone to agree so I'm going to make it a law so that everyone must do right." The other party says, ' I see where some want things to be the way they want them to be but a lot of people don't agree, so I'm not going to agree that a law should make them behave.'

The governed are us. Those that govern are given the right by us. The government doesn't tell us how to live, we tell the governors what we want. Is that a clear enough statement of America?

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 8 months ago

When the governed and the governors are one and the same, things will once again be right.

"Tom, those who would control us are doing all they can to divide us."

And our response has to be to divide ourselves, but not from each other, from those who would divide us.

It's not that we have "allowed" ourselves to be controlled, but that those who want to control us have forced control upon us--bit by bit. We have now reached the point where the system is rigged to keep things as they are, one party offering us a small part of what we have earned and paid in as taxes as a reward, and the other party screaming that we should have kept our money in the first place, but taking it away by looting us through high interest rates and charges, high prices, and depressed wages. And so the people in both parties live off our hard work, enjoying the fruits of our labor and telling us not just what we should be, and should do, but how we should think about being robbed, either by high taxes or by high prices.

The enemy is the parties. They must go. It is the only solution.

Think of an America like this:

A man or woman wants to be in office. He or she gathers as many signatures as needed to be on the ballot. As many people as can do that run for any given office. Candidates talk to us about what they want to do and what they believe, but they speak as individuals, not as part of any group. We listen to what they say and choose among them.

This is what we still have at the local level. It is not perfect, but it is probably as perfect as a democratic republic will ever get. It works. The people we elect are answerable to the people, and if they break they promises they are either removed or not reelected. Discussion of changes are more or less made in the open, not behind the closed doors of committees. The rules guiding meetings are simple and obvious. By and large, unless the state or the federal government interferes, we are reasonably satisfied with our form of local government.

Contrast that--very quickly--with what we have in Washington:

Every thought, every word spoken or written, every law passed, every amendment to every law, is scanned up and down according to party wishes. The question of whether or not something will be done is not a question of whether or not the people want it, or need it, or approve of it, but whether it will help to either (D) control the people by making them dependents of the state or will (R) control them by appearing to fight for their rights while actually ignoring them and looting the nation.

Now, take away the parties. Which of those two situations is more likely to exist? What we have in local government or what we have in Washington?

Get rid of political parties. Make each legislator a party of one.

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Ed Smith 1 year, 8 months ago

Dan, Two points you posit are right on the money, if I understand you correctly. First, redistribution of wealth to the needy has no place in our Republic. Whether the needy be the poor or corporations, the wealth is extracted by force from one party and given to another deemed fit by those wielding government's gun. Robbery plain and simple. Secondly, the Democrats and Republicans are opposite wings on the same bird of prey. The prey is us. Divide and conquer is the most effective strategy to rule over a populace. Ever wonder why we are constantly told a vote for a third party candidate is a wasted vote? It would ruin the two-party monopoly on power.

Tom, I agree. Property tax, gas tax, sin tax, and all the other myriad taxes do not belong in a free society. Perhaps your proposed single tax idea would come in the form of a bill with a base fee to cover common defense and the court system and then check boxes for other things you wish to support such as food stamps or other programs for the less fortunate. My feeling, though, is that these programs would run much more efficiently and effectively on private, local level.

Dan and Tom, Before ratification of the 16th Amendment, income tax was unconstitutional and, therefore, illegal because it is a direct tax. Direct taxation was one of the reasons the Founding Fathers fought the Revolutionary War in the first place. By the way, a heavy and progressive income tax is the 2nd plank of the Communist Manifesto.

Voluntary participation in helping others is the only way.

Morality cannot be legislated.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 8 months ago

"What is so great about our local govt??"

It is directly responsive to the people.

"By the way, a heavy and progressive income tax is the 2nd plank of the Communist Manifesto."

I've always wondered how many people knew that.

As to direct taxation, the fear in the early days was that the burden of running the state would be shifted from the wealthy, where it was at that time, to the working class (there was no "middle class, per se). There was a fear, which I find interesting, that if people were taxed directly--that is as individuals instead of on the property they held--it would lead to direct democracy. In other words that people would say, "Hey! I'm paying for this mess, so I'm going to run it."

It's odd, isn't it? Seeing our forebears as being just a bit undemocratic in that they feared to allow the "common people" to vote is hard to think about. If you read some of the writings of those days, our forebears come across as snobs (in 21st century thinking).

None of what I just said is meant as a criticism; just as a comment on the way thinking changes over time. We would, for example, go nuts if it were declared that only property owners could vote, but in those days nothing was thought of it. It was the way things were. One person to look at closely in the Madison notes is Gouverneur Morris; you'd hate the guy (he was a PA delegate).

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Pat Randall 1 year, 8 months ago

Tom, In answer to my question, "what is so great about our local govt.?" you said, "it is directly responsive to the people." What people?

Have you seen the library in Payson? It was voted against by the people in Payson. Built anyway. That is not the only thing the people voted against and the town went right ahead with thier plans.

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Ed Smith 1 year, 8 months ago

Indeed, Tom. It sometimes makes me cringe when I hear the 'Founding Fathers' used as if they were some monolithic entity that all shared the same view on how the laws should be written. Quite the contrary, in fact. Most don't know that Washington was actually the 15th 'President' following our independence. There were huge disagreements amongst our founding fathers regarding the form of government we should have. Hamilton wanted Washington to be king, for instance. As far as democracy goes, it's two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner. A fancy name for mob rules. In a constutional republic, the sheep has a gun. Addressing your despair regarding the state of our Great Experiment...sun goes up, sun goes down, empires rise and fall, all things have a cycle. Unfortunately, I believe we are witness to the decline of an empire. Can't say we weren't warned by people like Jefferson, Franklin and more recently Eisenhower with his mention of an industrial-military complex. Is that Nero I hear fiddling off in the distance?

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 8 months ago

Right, Ed. Some of the anti-federalist papers I've read sound like letters to the editor that someone wrote last week.

There will always be disagreements among people. As long as they involve how to get something done that we all want done, that's fine. When it comes to deciding right and wrong according to the latest sound bite, we are in trouble. I'll never understand why people don't just look at the equity, honesty, and logic of issues.

Almost always, there are three questions that can asked that will tell you where to stand on an issue:

  1. Is it broken?
  2. Is it something that we should fix?
  3. Can we afford to fix it?

Let's take a couple of issues and see how that works.

Illegal aliens:

  1. Is the system of controlling immigration broken? Yes.
  2. Is it something that we should fix? Yes. If we have a system, it stands to reason that it should be one that works. Otherwise why have it?
  3. Can we afford to fix it? We can't afford NOT to fix it. If we sent the deserving majority of illegals home we would have full employment within two years, 20% of all crime would disappear, we could empty 1/5 of our prisons, the cost of education and medical care would plummet, and we could at last begin to make our Latino citizens feel as welcome as they are.
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Tom Garrett 1 year, 8 months ago

Terrorism:

  1. Is it broken? Yes. We are spending far too much money on safety measures that were not necessary in the past.
  2. Is it something that we should fix? Yes. We need to find the proximate cause of Muslim extremism and remove it. Islam is a religion of peace, with some of the same roots as Judaism and Christianity. We are far more alike than we are different. We should learn to benefit from our differences.
  3. Can we afford to fix it? Yes. The cause of the problem is twofold, and both can be "fixed." One cause we can remove very quickly and efficiently, and the other cause is plainly due to unjust beliefs which have been fostered as a means of eliminating the first cause. The first cause, the primary cause, is the continued occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel. The U. N. resolution that created Israel also created a Palestinian state, but that part of the resolution has been ignored, a result of the Cold War. We should withdraw all support from Israel, or at last let Israel know it will happen, until the Israeli government sits down, negotiates a fair and equitable solution, and puts it in place. The second part of the problem is an Arab extremist viewpoint and has nothing to do with Islam; it says that Israel does not have a right to exist because it lies in lands that were once Arab lands. That is a mistruth. The Middle East has always been a mix of ethnic and religious groups. The Palestinians themselves are 10% Christian. Iran is not an Arab land (aryan). Turkey is not an Arab land (a mix, a very proud people). Egypt is not an Arab land (a mix, still mostly descendants of pharaonic times) . We have to be very firm, letting everyone know that we will, if needed, fight for the right of Israel to exist, but telling Israel at the same time that we will cast them loose right now if they do not quit lying and dragging their feet while they occupy and build on more and more land that is not theirs. The solution will require each side to give up unreasonable demands, and to lose a little here and there, but we should make it clear that we are through fighting the same shadow war we have been fighting by remote control for 64 years.

Logic. You see? Telling the truth. Thinking it through. It works.

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