30 May 2007

Tax Hikes on You and Me Made Possible by the Ruling Elite

They know what is best for us. So they think. Why is it that the first thing politicians do when they propose a new program or policy is to assume that tax hikes are needed? Both Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Senator Barrack Obama (D-IL) have proposed programs and policies during their presidential campaign stops that will require additional spending. In order to pay for it they want to increase our taxes and take away tax cuts for businesses.

“Under a nine-point plan, Mrs. Clinton proposed to let President Bush's tax cuts for top earners expire, scrap subsidies for oil and gas companies, and require large oil companies to invest in alternative energy or pay into a national research fund. She also called for greater scrutiny of the salaries of chief executives. In a bid to keep jobs in America, she is pushing to eliminate an element of the tax code that allows companies to defer taxes on profits they earn overseas.

In ending what she called Mr. Bush's "irresponsible" tax cuts, the former first lady said she would revert to the tax rates for "upper-income Americans" during the 1990s. She did not specify an income cutoff, but a campaign spokesman said later that it would be $200,000.”

- The New York Sun, May 30, 2007

President Bush’s tax cuts were only irresponsible in that they did not come with spending restraints and cuts. Senator Clinton is just as guilty as President Bush in this regard. I have not heard the esteemed Senator proposing tax cuts or railing against the billions of dollars of pork in the spending bills she votes on. Don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house, Senator.

Once again the politicians show how clueless they really are by fostering a protectionist mentality. If they really understood the way the world works they would understand that we are in a global economy and in order to compete in a global economy companies need to make sure they keep their labor costs down. What they also fail to realize is that successful companies grow and hire people stateside. Protectionist attitudes to lock up the labor vote are shortsighted and harmful to the economic future of America.

“Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s plan for universal health care for all Americans require $50 billion to $65 billion in new revenue, according to estimates released this morning by his campaign.The campaign suggested tax increases for the wealthiest Americans may be the way Obama would pay for his plan. The campaign released estimates from the Urban/Brookings Tax Policy Center saying the money could be raised by restoring the top two personal income tax brackets and rates on dividends and capital gains to Clinton-era levels.”

Des Moines Register, May 29, 2007

Now, I do not necessarily disagree with Mr. Obama’s plan. I do think we need some form of universal healthcare. Let’s face it; in a country supposedly as prosperous as America, there really should not be millions without health insurance. Here are the highlights as reported by the Des Moines Register:

• Obama will tell the crowd his plan would reduce the typical family’s health-insurance premiums by $2,500 a year.
• Businesses that don’t make a meaningful contribution to health coverage of their employees would do so by supporting the new plan.
• The government would pick up the tab for some of the most expensive illnesses and conditions, which would reduce costs for businesses.
• Much of the extra costs would come from savings in such things as health screenings and better management of chronic conditions that Obama has said can save the system billions of dollars.
• Increasing insurance industry competition and reducing underwriting costs and profits, which Obama’s campaign staff say will reduce insurance overhead.

I like these suggestions. The insurance industry is woefully inefficient (I suppose they look to the federal government for their business model.) What I disagree with his assertion that we need to increase taxes in order to pay for it.

It bothers me that these politicians automatically assume everything needs a tax increase. I think that the answer really lies in making government more efficient. They require it of their contractors (I know because as a government contractor they nickel and dime us on every project nowadays) maybe they should start looking in the mirror and at the bloated and inefficient way THEY do business. I am tired of funding this thoughtless government and its plethora of wasteful, duplicitous, and mostly needless programs.

One last thing…

Senator Clinton also said the following during a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire:

"It's time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few, and for the few, time to reject the idea of an ‘on your own' society and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity," she said. "I prefer a ‘we're all in it together' society."

- The New York Sun, May 30, 2007

Really Mrs. Clinton? You are for an end to government of the few, by the few, and for the few? We normal folk out here in fly over country have been saying that for years. It is you politicians in Washington, D.C. that refuse to listen. In order to make government more transparent and accessible to the American people we need term limits for our senators and representatives and meaningful campaign finance reform (not the type we have now that requires hundreds of millions to run for president). Senator Clinton, will you vote for term limits? Will you vote for comprehensive campaign finance reform? I doubt it. You are part of the system, so spare your lectures for the doped up dregs of our society. Your attitude of the socialist “we” without personal responsibility will further disintegrate this society. It is the “on your own” aspect of this country that has in part made it great. It seems to me like you are part of the problem not the solution. And like all problems, we hope they will go away and not turn into something worse like cancer.

Photo by KCThinker, Barbed Wire on Fence Post, Iowa

28 May 2007

The Bush Presidency – A Legacy of Failure?

If you told me in November 2000 that the Bush presidency would be littered with policy missteps, scandals, and outright embarrassing failure at almost every turn I would not have believed you. I probably would have thought “How bad could it possibly get?”

Nearly seven years later I have to contend that George W. Bush ranks up there with the worst presidents. He has earned his place on the table with the likes of Jimmy Carter.

Because there are so many ways in which President George W. Bush has failed the United States I will at least first bring up the one and only area in which he has succeeded. President Bush has done one thing right. With the cooperation of the House and Senate, he cut taxes and provided a spark for the American economy in the aftermath of 9/11. You can say what you want, but the United States economy is doing alright.

Now that the kudos are over let’s examine where he has fallen far short of expectations. I am sure there are others. Feel free to let me know what I missed.

1. Education. Crafted with a worthless democratic senator, the No Child Left Behind Act misses the mark on education reform. This act has decimated education in America. It does not provide the necessary tools for our children to compete in the global economy. Another well intentioned, poorly thought-out piece of legislation – just one more in a long line coming from Washington, D.C. The only thing that the No Child Left Behind Act guarantees is that today’s children will not be smart enough to recognize the ways its government is failing them in the future therefore ensuring that selfish and clueless politicians remain in power.

2. Prescription Drug Plan. Another example of the federal government doing what it does best – waste taxpayer money – one of the most ill-conceived modifications to an ill-conceived government program. In one swipe of the pen, President George W. Bush bankrupted future generations of American citizens. Thanks W for not looking out for the unborn.

3. Energy Policy. Crafted with oil and natural gas in mind it falls far short of bringing this country into the 21st century and providing the means for the United States to kiss Middle Eastern and South American oil good bye. Bush’s short sighted policy comes at a time where far sightedness is needed. Instead of ensuring that the United States is a leader in renewable energy technology it ensures that the United States is kept in a 20th century frame of mind.

4. Budget. If you would have told me seven years ago that the Republicans would spend like the Hollywood elite in a cosmetic surgery and recreational drug store buying frenzy, I would have told you that you were off your rocker. Needless to say, under President George W. Bush, we have spent like money was going out of style. Recession or no recession, there is no justification to borrow nearly $2 trillion in the last seven years. Congress, with President George W. Bush’s guidance should have cut spending. Unlike the conservative talk that got him elected, President George W. Bush has been at the helm of one of the largest expansions in federal government. Thanks for increasing the mediocrity of our society, President George W. Bush and again not looking out for the unborn.

5. Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. The war in Afghanistan was justified; the one in Iraq was an unfortunate decision. We should have concentrated on Afghanistan and rounded up and killed each and every Taliban fighter. But, instead, President Bush did not heed any of the obvious warning signs and decided to take on Iraq as well. Now we are fighting a half-assed effort in both countries. Once again President Bush and his team had no plan for maintaining peace and transiting government after an easy win. Years later Bush is finally getting it by providing more troops (still not enough in my opinion) but the American public with its 60 second attention span has lost its taste for these wars. It does not help that UBL, or OBL or whatever the pricks real name is, has not been caught either.

Now I should not lay all the blame on President George W. Bush. He had his willing helpers (both democrat and republican) in the House and Senate. And if you think a democrat as president would do any better, guess again. None of these morons has a clue as to how their actions today will affect future generations of Americans. They only think one election at a time.

Photo by KCThinker. In-law's farm in Iowa.