Taxation is about all there is to Government. You know, people don’t want their taxes lowered near as much as the politicians try to make you believe. People want just taxes more than they want lower taxes. – November 2, 1924 — Will Rogers
It seems that much that drives my radical-right friends is the adamant conviction to prevent someone from getting something they haven’t worked for. This belief drives much of their feeling of social conservatism. They would rather deny ten people adequate food than to give it to someone who is gaming the system. People gaming welfare seem to be their number one enemy to be destroyed at almost any costs.
I myself am a fiscal conservative so in a different way I too want to prevent someone from gaming the system to obtain any degree of underserved wealth. In that regard I am not that different from the radical right. But, the major difference is that I have compassion for those suffering for something they have almost no control over. I am willing to accept that when I help some in need there will be a minute few who will game the system. Innate greed seems to assure that possibility.
I want to come down just as hard of those who game the Medicare, Medicaid, and other welfare systems as my radical right friends. Where we differ almost completely is at the other end of the game. That is those who game tax laws to keep from paying their fair share of taxes. My radical-right friends seem to almost celebrate those who can get out of paying taxes by whatever means possible. Since almost half of those in our present congress are millionaires they themselves are probably taking advantages of numerous tax loopholes.
During the recent budget talks the Democrats want to go after the tax loopholes that many in the upper 1% use to keep their tax rates lower than those who clean their houses. The Republicans in congress seem to be as much against that idea as they are for going hard at those on the other end of the wealth spectrum. They say closing loopholes is raising taxes and they will not have anything to do with that. To me, and I believe most sensible people, see closing loopholes as a way to get the super-rich to pay their fair share. It is not raising taxes but simply getting them to a level they should have been all along.
It will be interesting to see if any thing resembling agreement on this issue will come from the congress. I am for keeping people from gaming the system at both ends. They should be spending as much of their political capital at the top end of the wealth ladder as we do at the bottom end.
But I’m just a simple guy so what do I know….
I see that the latest poll shows approval ratings for congress is about 18%. In my mind that is about where it belongs. Those yahoos just don’t know how to play together. They are more dysfunctional than most marriages today!
So 82% of us don’t approve of how they are doing their jobs. After thinking about it the most alarming thing about this latest statistic is that
18% think congress is doing a great job!!!
I don’t think I have ever come across any of those 18%ers. Just who are these guys? I don’t know them but I think they are in need for some serious therapy.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is really the case then I say let the Democrats emulate the Republicans in their do-nothing attitude. There has been talk about the Senate Democrats letting the all the Bush tax cuts expire and forcing the ten-percent reduction in the military budgets by doing nothing. Will the Republicans be flattered by this imitation of their strategy in congress? I kind of doubt it.
But at least it would result in some restructuring of our debt increases. Will it be good for the jobs picture? It can’t be any worse than it is. The conservatives said that tax cuts to the “job creators” (meaning rich) would create jobs; never happened in the ten years since. How long do we need to wait If the Republican are really for no new taxes and all tax cuts then maybe they will agree to a middle class tax cut to put them back to where they were with the Bush cuts. It sounds like a win-win situation for everyone except those who are filthy rich. They might have to fork over a little more of their obese discretionary income. They may not be able to buy a second or third vacation home but they should get by.
This idea seems too good to be true for a Democrat strategy so I’m pretty sure they will screw it up before the end of the year. After all they have proved to be pretty good at caving into Republican demands lately. But at least I can hold out hope for this one.
But what do I know…
It was 1965 when Medicare was enacted. I was just entering college so I still have some vivid memories of what went on around it. I remember the conservatives in congress were saying such things as:
We’ve got to repeal this law, it is bad for the country.
It takes away choice.
It will bankrupt the country
And the most typical comment that also goes with increasing the minimum wage
Businesses will fail because of this law.
Now almost a half a century later the same thing is being said about the Affordable Care Act that recently got a pass from the Supreme Court. For some reason they want to take the meager advances given to lower-income folks in this, like many other areas, away from them. Maybe if they put out a comprehensive plan of their own their “get rid of it all” rants might get some traction. Without that they just seem to be against helping others less fortunate than they are, and that is almost everybody.
They seem to say that everything is fine the way it is in healthcare. They also seem to say if we got those 30+ million people any form of healthcare they would overwhelm our system. While that was true to an extent when Mitt Romney instituted universal healthcare in his State it looks like that is working its way out. I can remember pre-candidate Governor Romney bragging that his model of healthcare should be implemented across the country. When did it become so bad even for him??
It’s ironic that the conservatives in congress over the years have been against what most of us consider many of our biggest successes. First it was Social Security in the 1930s, then civil rights in the 1950s and 60s, Medicare in 1965, and of course every time that we raised the minimum wage almost always in democrat administrations. They seems to be on the wrong side of so much I can’t understand why they have lasted as a viable party as long as they have?
I know those guys in congress are anti-socialism to their core and anything that has even a slight smell of socialism brings up their ire and their “get rid of it” mantra. They need to get over that We are first a diversified nation but our second biggest success is that we in the past have also be a pragmatic nation. We find out what works and then go about implementing it. We seem to have lost that ability in the last couple of decades. We desperately need to get that back.
But what do I know…
Source: NBC Politics – Congress prepares for year-end spending and tax cut bazaar.
Complain if you will about congressional gridlock, but right before the holidays is often when the gridlock eases because everyone is focused on getting out of town and back to their families.
The extension of at least some of the 53 tax credits and preferences which Congress created or preserved last December. The platter of tax breaks includes something for almost all tastes: the deduction of state and local sales taxes, which is worth about $2.8 billion to taxpayers who itemize, the economic development credit for American Samoa, worth about $15 million, a tax break for mine safety equipment, worth about $20 million, and many others.
If Windows is a “giant hairball” as Steve Jobs joked that is was I don’t know what you would call the U.S. tax code except maybe “insanity”! Come on guys, quit adding more complexity and special treatment to our tax codes and do the work necessary to simplify them.
Maybe one enticement to starting the simplification process is to require every congressman and woman to do their own tax returns for 2011. No outside help, no handing it off to an assistant. That is something that none of them have probably done since they gained their coveted office or probably even before.
But What do I know….
Baltimore Sun – January 20, 2011 by Thomas Stitz
With the new U.S Congress looking for ways to cut the deficit, we should demand that they eliminate their own health insurance from their benefits. If Republicans are so hell-bent on repealing the new health care law, they can give up their own health insurance. After all, they are essentially independent contractors, hired on for a two- or six-year stint, and most of them are rich enough to pay for their own insurance. Why should the taxpayer pay? And why do we pay for premium lifetime health benefits after they’ve served only 5 years?
Some members may have trouble getting a policy because of pre-existing conditions like chronically enlarged egos, convenient memory loss and wagging tongue syndrome. Sen. Mitch McConnell has recycled arteries after he got federally-paid-for, triple bypass surgery in 2003. New Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, a wealthy physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, had a hissy fit when he learned that his government health policy wouldn’t start until February 1 — forcing him to go a whole month without taxpayer subsidized insurance! Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic hypocrisy.
Maybe Congressional staff should have to pay for insurance also. Let their bosses go out and find a small group policy. If just one of the brightest, hardworking staff has a pre-existing condition, it would raise the rates for the rest of his staff so much that this ideal employee could not be hired. This very situation happened in 2010 to a friend of mine who owns a 100-person business in Dallas.
This current debate is not about coming up with better health legislation — it’s about defeating President Obama in 2012. He and the last Congress had the foresight, brilliance and determination to make consumer-oriented changes to a health care system controlled by a few large, tyrannical health insurers. The health care sector has spent $1.7 billion lobbying Congress since 2006. Let’s ask the health insurers to take the millions they pour into campaign coffers and, instead, provide free health insurance for this new Congress. With the average family policy costing $13,750, we could cut the deficit by $330 million this year alone and still keep the insurers in most of the back pockets of Congress.
Thanks Thomas for the above article. Will Rogers would have certainly been proud of you for your words. Those words speak for themselves so I don’t have much to add. If the now Republican controlled House is serious about budget reductions and really believe that entitlements in general and single payer health care in particular are an evil then they should vote to remove themselves from the very systems they vilify. Let them go out on the private market and get insurance for their families and staff members. After all what company in the real world covers its short term private contractors! None that I know of. As mentioned this action would be an immediate $0.3 billion reduction of the deficit! If they are really serious about their rhetoric then let their actions speak louder than their words.
Does anyone out there really see this happening???