Saturday, February 05, 2005

50 Reasons I Like the Fair Tax - Part 3
Kenneth J. Van Dellen (with help from friends) 1/22/05

FairTax and Individuals and Families (Family-friendly tax reform)

Reasons 21-30
  • It encourages individuals to self-insure, making the health system more direct-pay (no 3rd party pay), thus bringing costs down.
  • It puts an end to the anxiety for honest taxpayers that begins soon after January 1 for most of use, culminating in wondering whether we’ve claimed everything we legally could and nothing we shouldn’t, all without raising questions at the IRS. It makes April 15 just another day. (Perhaps it will be a holiday after the FairTax is enacted!)
    FairTax and Social Security and Medicare
  • It eliminates the regressive payroll tax that hurts the poor. Currently, every one of us is taxed a minimum of 7.65% on our first-dollar of wages up to $90,000 (the cap for FICA, not Medicare), if we earn that much. It provides funding for Social Security and Medicare at a level equal to the current system.
  • It provides that all 290 million Americans and 51 million visiting tourists fund Social Security and Medicare with their purchases. Today only 110 million workers fund these programs via deductions from their paychecks.
  • It assures that the wealthiest Americans will be voluntarily helping to fund social security with every last dollar they spend above the poverty level. Today, earnings are subject to FICA taxes only up to $90,000. The wealthiest Americans therefore do not pay into the system above that amount. If their earnings are from investments, no earnings fund the Social Security system.

FairTax and the Economy

  • It increases investment in business by eliminating the capital gains tax.
  • It allows for better planning by businesses, because they no longer have to consider the tax implications of everything they do.
  • It makes higher employment or better compensation possible in the small business sector, where today it costs approximately three dollars in compliance costs to pay one dollar in payroll and income taxes.
  • It makes American products more competitive overseas by removing the embedded tax from them, thus lowering the prices of our exports, which compensates for low foreign wages.
  • By making our exports more competitive overseas, it lowers our balance of trade deficit and increases employment at home.

Coming in Part 4: The Economy; Churches; and Rights and Freedoms.

For more information go to

Saturday Ramblings

Iraqi Citizens Kill Terrorists: From Free Iraqi a story about a village who's citizens were attacked because they dared to vote in last Sunday's elections. I believe in allowing the government to protect it's citizens - to a certain extent. In this story, there was no governmental force available and the citizens of Al Mudhiryiah had to take control themselves. And, at this time in Iraqi history, until the government is able to offer protection to its citizens, the citizens must protect themselves.

The Hitchhiker: Great story from Mountain Mama about her adventures with a mouse in the car. Found via American Warmonger.

From Denver: This story about two teenage girls wanting to do something nice for their neighbors. Apparently, they delivered home-baked cookies to neighbors. When they got to one house, they scared the woman into an anxiety attack that landed her in the hospital. Please. I realize the girls may have used poor judgement in delivering cookies after dark. But I think a lawsuit was a little over the top. An apology from the girls and paying the hospital bill should have been enough. I also think a little therapy and maybe some Prozac might help, too. Not for the girls, for the neighbor. I think she needs help for her anxiety issues. Link via Florida Cracker and at the Denver Post.

Presenting ID to vote: From the Captain's Quarters: Rep. Joe Parisi (D-Madison), the former Dane County clerk, said getting rid of the vouching system would make it virtually impossible for homeless people to vote. Why are the homeless voting? They have no residence, so can't be assigned to a precinct. And I doubt that the homeless care much about voting anyway unless it's because some politician has offered them something in exchange for their vote. And this: Karla Smith of Madison, who uses a wheelchair, told lawmakers that the measure would disenfranchise disabled people, because they would have trouble lining up transportation to get an ID. Disabled people who want to vote can line up transportation, so why would lining up transportation to get an ID be more difficult? The disabled can find transportation to shop, go to doctor's visits, banking, visiting family and friends and a whole host of other places transportation is needed. Doesn't Ms. Smith need ID when she goes to the bank? I can't believe that a bank doesn't require some form of ID to cash a check. Or maybe she uses ATM's where she doesn't have to present ID. And that raises the question of how does she get to the ATM? I am required to show ID when I vote, why should the disabled or homeless be any different? Disenfranchising people by requiring them to get an ID to vote is a crock, pure and simple.

Friday, February 04, 2005

50 Reasons I Like the Fair Tax - Part 2
Kenneth J. Van Dellen (with help from friends) 1/22/05

Reasons 11-20

FairTax and Individuals and Families (Family-friendly tax reform) (continued)
  • It eliminates 90% of the cost of compliance. American families and American businesses waste an estimated $250 – $600 billion per year (and countless hours of time) doing the paperwork necessary to comply with the current tax code. That is roughly $1,000 – $2,000 annually for every man, woman and child in the U.S. (Businesses typically pass their tax bills and compliance costs on to the consumer, i.e., individuals and families.)
  • It’s simple, unambiguous, and certain, the opposite of the current tax code, 60,044 pages and counting.
  • It assures that no American will find, at the end of the year, a need to get a loan to pay taxes as an alternative to penalties, interest, or cheating.
  • The broader tax base comprises everyone spending money in the U.S., including the ten percent of our economy (an estimated $1 trillion) that today is underground or under the table. Under the FairTax, the illegal drug dealer will pay his tax just like the rest of us when he buys his sunglasses, BMW, and other items, as will those who work for cash and undocumented immigrants, all of whom receive government and societal benefits.
  • It encourages work by letting workers keep 100% of their earnings and giving a rebate, in addition, making the notion that “the more you work, the more money you have”, a reality, unlike the current system where welfare is lost when you go to work, so the first dollars earned after taxes just offset what a welfare recipient is currently receiving in assistance, so working is perceived as disadvantageous.
  • It allows more of the lower income families to become home owners by allowing a second job income above their current income (all tax free) to be applied to a mortgage. Money for down payments for homes is also saved totally tax free, causing it to accumulate faster.
  • It has the result that all lending in America will be at the equivalent of today’s tax exempt interest rates, which are 25%-30% less than today’s taxable home mortgage interest rates. This will create a huge boom in housing purchases and allow existing homeowners to refinance and reduce their cost of homeownership substantially.
  • It allows families to retain farms and businesses in the hands of those who built them through the elimination of the death tax.
  • It allows families to give tax-free assistance to one another by eliminating the gift tax.
  • It gives individuals (and businesses) the right to donate as much as they want to in a given year to charitable causes, without concern for exceeding an allowed limit on giving.

Coming in Part 3: more Individuals and Families; Social Security and Medicare; and the Economy

For more information go to

Thursday, February 03, 2005

State of The Union

As you know, President Bush offered his State of the Union address last night. I could only half-listen to it as I had other things going on at home. Here is the text. I wish he had devoted more time to tax reform, but at least it was mentioned.

I have three current issues gnawing at me right now, in no particular order.

Tax Reform
Social Security Reform
Immigration Reform

There are other issues I have interest in, but these are the top three at the moment. You can expect considerable blogging about these three over the next few days, weeks, and months.

You have been warned!
Save Social Security

One of the things President Bush outlined in his State of the Union address is the need to reform Social Security. I can't get over how many Democrats are so opposed to this. Most say that there's nothing wrong and SS will be fine for the next 50 years. Others say, well, there are problems but it's nothing critical and reforms or fixes can wait. I say, why wait? If all it needs are a few "fixes", and I don't believe for a minute that's all it will take, why not fix it now? Everyone knows that fixing something now is cheaper than fixing it later when all hell breaks loose.

In order to educate the public, the RNC has created a website, Preserving Social Security. There is a petition you can electronically sign that will be sent to your state representatives to encourage them to do what you want them to do. Here is a page where you can find the problems that we are facing, what GWB proposes to do to strengthen Social Security, and a section of Personal Retirement Accounts.

And, as an aside, is a link to their In Case You Missed It page. Could be rather interesting.

Go and look over the site. It's important to your future and future generations of Americans.
Speaking of Taxes

Dale and I filed our taxes the other evening. We have a great CPA whose business plan is to legitimately get his clients every penny they are entitled to. Since we are obligated by Constitutional amendment to pay taxes, I want to pay whatever we are legally responsible for paying and not one damn dime (sound familiar?) more.

John is always amazed at how organized I am. I handed him a three ring binder, divided into various sections, W-2's, medical, mortgage, charitable giving, and so on. I had an itemized list of all our prescriptions (and receipts for each), and the mileage to and from the doctor's offices and the pharmacies we use. Since Florida now allows a sales tax deduction, I had gone back through all our receipts and itemized the sales tax. Turns out that was a waste of time. There's a formula that's used to figure the sales tax allowance and it was something like four times what I had listed. You betcha we used that figure and not mine! And I won't bother keeping track of sales tax next year. It was mostly for my own interest to see how much we paid in sales tax anyway.

We spent about forty minutes driving to his home, spent maybe 30 minutes talking to him, and our taxes were electronically filed. Before we left, Kansas City had confirmed receipt of our tax return. We should get our return direct deposited to our bank account by the end of next week.

Ain't technology grand?

50 Reasons I Like the Fair Tax - Part 1
Kenneth J. Van Dellen (with help from friends) 1/22/05

Because there are 50 reasons, I will post 10 each day for the next five days. That will break it down nicely, I believe, so that you can mull over each reason and see just how good the Fair Tax is.

FairTax and Individuals and Families (Family-friendly tax reform)
  • It allows workers to keep 100% of their pay, with nothing withheld for the IRS or for Social Security and Medicare payments.
  • It is revenue neutral with the present income and payroll tax system, funding the federal budget at current levels.
  • It shifts the tax to consumption. Records show that consumption is more stable than income, therefore the tax revenue stream is likely to be a more stable and predictable amount.
  • It is progressive, a “prebate” of the tax amount up to the poverty level is given to everyone. This means that those spending below the poverty level have a net gain because the “prebate” exceeds the amount paid in taxes. (Under the present system the working poor pay the 7.65 percent payroll tax even if they get a full refund of income tax withheld.)
  • It doesn’t tax pre-owned items – clothes, cars, homes. Only new items are taxed when sold by a business to an individual.
  • It is expected to remove an average of 22% of the cost of American made goods by removing the built-in payroll tax (the other 7.65% of earnings that employers pay), corporate income tax, and other business taxes that are now passed to consumers as an “embedded" tax of approximately 22% due to the cascading of income and payroll taxes paid by U.S. employers, at every step of production, to the U.S. Treasury. Competition will cause prices to fall by approximately that amount, on average.
  • It allows families to save more for home ownership, education, and retirement. An average family making $50,000 will have $7,500 more spendable income.
  • It removes the need for formal accounts of the 401(k), IRA, HSA, etc., varieties. Anyone, rich or poor, will be able to set up any kind of savings or investment account without regard to taxes or the government. No special knowledge of tax law is necessary.
  • It makes educational tuition a tax-free expenditure of tax-free income.
  • It eliminates the income tax and the IRS. Members of Congress and the public overwhelmingly agree that the current internal revenue code is cumbersome, intrusive, coercive, and inefficient.

Coming in Part 2: more Individual and Families

For more information go to

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sunday Ramblings

Human Shields: Jason Smith posting at GOPBloggers made an interesting point. He wrote about the Human Shields that were so about protecting various strategic sites in Iraq to keep the Coalition from bombing those sites. Where are the Human Shields today? They could be placing themselves at polling places. Surely that would be sufficient to keep terrorists from launching missiles at those sites. Suicide bombers would never blow up a Human Shield. Surely the terrorists have enough compassion for their fellow man to not bomb those polling places when a Human Shield is present? They may not mind killing fellow Iraqi's who are trying to vote, taking their place in the future of their country, but surely they wouldn't want to kill Europeans or Canadians. Would they?

Iraqi Voting: It's over until they get to vote on a Constitution. I haven't heard how many were killed trying to vote. One is too many, but they died doing something for the future of their country. Will their names be written in history books? Probably not. Most likely no one outside their families and friends will know that they died during the birth of democracy in Iraq. My hope is that now that Iraq has a grasp of the democratic process, they won't run scared and return to their former way of life. The deaths of those whose lives were taken because they wanted a different, better way of life would be in vain. Iraqi citizens must learn the lesson that many Americans either haven't learned or have forgotten: freedom isn't free.

Democracy in America was born in revolution. Democracy in Iraq had to be torn from the hands of a dictator. Terrorists are still trying to deny Iraqi citizens the freedom of choice. I applaud the Iraqi citizens who have the courage to defy those terrorists. America cannot guarantee freedom to Iraq. It boils down to the fact that the Iraqi people have to stand up to the terrorists and say "Enough. We are Iraqi's and we want freedom. You can threaten our lives, you can take our lives, but we will have freedom."

And for those who said that Iraq wasn't ready for elections and they should be postponed to a later date: nyah, nyah, nah, nah, nyah!

Challenger: January 28th was 19 years since the Challenger exploded. It's hard to believe it's been that long. It's one of those events that you remember where you were and what you were doing. I remember that I had intended to go to the roof of the garage next to our office. Even being on the west coast of Florida, we could see the flame of the exhaust when a shuttle was launched. I don't remember why I didn't go, but I do remember walking down the hallway toward my desk when a co-worker, Sue, came toward me saying, "I don't know how to tell you this. I know how interested you are in the space program, but the Challenger exploded." Sue was in tears. I was saddened by the loss of life, and I grieved for the families of those lost. I knew, and I felt badly, that the space program would be grounded for some time. I was a little shaken up about it, but it wasn't like it happened to a close, personal friend.

Now for something completely different: Moan tones: It seems that Jenna Jameson is selling ring tones for your cell phones. Well, they aren't really "ring" tones. Since Jenna is a porn star she's recorded sex sounds. If you are tired of the generic ring tones that come with your cell or want something that really sets you out from everyone else you can download her moans, groans, grunts, and other assorted sex sounds. You can even download pictures for your cell wallpaper. She records in English, Spanish and Swedish. But, apparently no US carrier has expressed interest in offering the service. Can't you just imagine sitting in a meeting and suddenly hearing someone moaning? It'll happen. In every meeting I've ever attended, someone has forgotten to turn off their cell and everyone was treated to "Dixie", themes from James Bond or Charlie's Angels or whatever. It would certainly liven up those dull, stuffy board meetings.