Thursday, February 28, 2008

From the Desk of Nancy Pelosi

"We need to work toward the goal of equalizing income in our country and at the same time limiting the amount the rich can invest."

When asked how these new tax dollars would be spent, she replied: "We need to raise the standard of living of our poor, unemployed and minorities. For example, we have an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in our country who need our help along with millions of unemployed minorities. Stock market windfall profits taxes could go a long ways to guarantee these people the standard of living they would like to have as 'Americans'."

Money I have earned over a lifetime of work to be taxed to help those who are here illegally or those who are unwilling (or too lazy) to get an education or training that would give them a job that would have the standard of living they would like to have. I worked since the age of 14 so I could have the standard of living I wanted. Why should I pay taxes on my retirement fund so that an illegal alien or someone on welfare can have my standard of living? Apparently I was stupid to do so. I should have had a bunch of kids and lived off the government.
Raise the standard of living of our poor, unemployed and minorities? How about getting an education or training so that they don't have to live off the government? Welfare is, and always was, a bad idea. People get used to having money handed to them without earning it. Oh, wait. They earn it by not working by dropping out of school, and then voting for the politician who is willing to buy their vote.

Can we say "Socialism"?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Did you know???

Did you know that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?

Did you know that the Iraqi government currently employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?

Did you know that 3100 schools have been renovated,364 schools are under rehabilitation,263 new schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been completed in Iraq?

Did you know that Iraq's higher educational structure consists of 20 Universities, 46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers, all currently operating?

Did you know that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2005 for the re-established Fulbright program?

Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational? They have 5 -100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a naval infantry regiment.

Did you know that Iraq's Air Force consists of three operational squadrons, which includes 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft (under Iraqi operational control) which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 Bell Jet Rangers?

Did you know that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion?

Did you know that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers?

Did you know that there are 5 Police Academies in Iraq that produce over 3500 new officers every 8 weeks?

Did you know there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq? They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities.

Did you know that 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 have received the first 2 series of polio vaccinations?

Did you know that 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in primary school by mid October?

Did you know that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq and phone use has gone up 158%?

Did you know that Iraq has an independent media that consists of 75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?

Did you know that the Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of 2004?

Did you know that 2 candidates in the Iraqi presidential election had a televised debate recently?

Of COURSE we didn't know!

WHY didn't we know?



Instead of reflecting our love for our country, we get photos of flag burning incidents at Abu Ghraib and people throwing snowballs at the presidential motorcades.

Tragically, the lack of accentuating the positive in Iraq serves two purposes:

It is intended to undermine the world's perception of the United States thus minimizing consequent support, and
it is intended to discourage American citizens.

Above facts are verifiable on the Department of Defense web site.

I have not verified the above information. If even a few are correct it's still more than the media has reported - ed.
Why Democrats Should Love the FairTax
By Laurence Kotlikoff
February 24, 2008

SUPPOSE A presidential candidate proposed taxing wealth and using the proceeds to reduce taxes on workers and provide a rebate large enough to cover taxes paid by poor workers. Such a candidate would be hailed by the left and reviled by the right.

Thus, it's remarkable that so many Democrats, with the exception of presidential candidate Mike Gravel, oppose the FairTax and so many Republicans, particularly presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, support it. In fact, the FairTax, which replaces all federal taxes with a federal retail sales tax and provides a rebate, represents a way to tax wealth, reduce taxes on wages, and disproportionately redistribute money to the poor.

A sales tax effectively taxes wealth?

It does. When we buy goods and services in a sales tax world, part of the payment goes to sales taxes. So we end up with fewer real goods and services.

Take Mr. Megabucks, who is sitting on $65 million and wants to buy a jet like Oprah Winfrey's - a 10-passenger, $50 million Global Express XRS. Under the FairTax, the jet costs him an extra $15 million because of the 30 percent sales tax. Mr. Megabucks gets the jet, but the extra $15 million, which he had budgeted for Beluga caviar, Dom PĂ©rignon, and other flight snacks, goes to Uncle Sam.

Now $15 million is 23 percent of $65 million - so the FairTax cost Mr. Megabucks 23 percent of his wealth. Precisely the same outcome would arise were Uncle Sam to directly tax Mr. Megabuck's $65 million in wealth at a 23 percent rate, leaving him with $50 million to buy the jet at the original price.

What if Mr. Megabucks sits and counts his money? With a direct wealth tax Mr. Megabucks pays $15 million immediately and is left with $50 million in purchasing power. Under the FairTax, Mr. Megabuck is in the same boat. Retail prices rise by 30 percent and Mr. Megabucks finds that his $65 million can only buy $50 million in real goods and services; Mr. Megabucks has the same number of dollars, but 23 percent less purchasing power.

This equivalence is no coincidence; taxing consumption is mathematically identical to taxing the resources used to buy consumption - current wealth holdings plus wages as they are earned. The beauty of the FairTax is that taxing wealth at a 23 percent rate generates enough revenue to reduce workers' marginal tax brackets to 23 percent. This is dramatically lower than the 30 percent to 45 percent marginal tax bracket confronting most workers under our combined income and payroll taxes.

The FairTax sales tax rate isn't graduated; everyone's resources get taxed at the same 23 percent effective rate. What makes the FairTax progressive is its rebate. The rebate is a trivial share of the resources of the rich, but 23 percent of the resources of the poor. Since our current tax system is regressive, adopting the FairTax would achieve progressivity.

Our tax system is regressive because none of the corpus - the principal - of the wealth of the rich, including our more than 400 billionaires, is subjected to taxation. Instead they pay taxes only on the income earned on their wealth. But this income comes primarily as capital gains, which are taxed at only 15 percent. Furthermore, capital gains taxes are levied only when wealth holders realize their gains - when they sell their appreciated assets.

But the superrich don't need to sell their gains. If they need cash they can borrow using their appreciated assets as collateral. When they die, they can hand their heirs their appreciated assets with a step-up in basis, which wipes out prior capital gains. With the right estate planning, they can also avoid most estate and gift taxes. Unlike most of us, what the superwealthy and just plain wealthy pay in taxes is a matter of choice - their choice. When Warren Buffet says his tax rate is much lower than his secretary's, he's got it right.

So why do so many Democrats think the FairTax is regressive? Because they consider taxes relative to annual income rather than resources, and the former is a terrible proxy for the later. Bill Gates's income this year may be zero given what's happening to stocks. If so, a man with over $47 billion in resources will be classified, based on income, as no better off than the homeless. And since Gates's consumption is based on his resources, not his current income, the ratio of this "poor" person's FairTax payments to his income would be sky high. Measuring taxes relative to income will thus suggest regressivity with respect to consumption taxation where none exists.

Our economy needs a simple, transparent, and progressive tax system. The FairTax is the answer. Democrats should give it another look and a fair chance.

Laurence J. Kotlikoff, a professor of economics at Boston University, is an economic adviser to Mike Gravel and a consultant to

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Another Endorsement for Obama?

A Spry Farrakhan Sings Obama's Praises
Sunday, February 24, 2008 9:00 PM

In his first major public address since a cancer crisis, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan said Sunday that presidential candidate Barack Obama is the "hope of the entire world" that the U.S. will change for the better.

The 74-year-old Farrakhan, addressing an estimated crowd of 20,000 people at the annual Saviours' Day celebration, never outrightly endorsed Obama but spent most of the nearly two-hour speech praising the Illinois senator.

"This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better," he said. "This young man is capturing audiences of black and brown and red and yellow. If you look at Barack Obama's audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed."

Farrakhan compared Obama to the religion's founder, Fard Muhammad, who also had a white mother and black father.

"A black man with a white mother became a savior to us," he told the crowd of mostly followers. "A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall."

Here's the rest of the article.

This bothers me. Personally, I'd be distancing myself from anything to do with Farrakhan, but I understand there are ties between Obama, the minister of his church, and Farrakhan. I don't know much more than that, so I don't want to be rumormongering. Just saying I heard things.