16 February 2011

Ventriloquist's Dummy

Wall Street Journal Reader Comment Forum
– by Alan Caruba, falsely attributed to Eddie Sessions

I have this theory about Barack Obama. I think he's led a kind of make-believe life in which money was provided and doors were opened because at some point early on somebody or some group (George Soros anybody?) took a look at this tall, good looking, half-white, half-black, young man with an exotic African/Muslim name and concluded he could be guided toward a life in politics where his facile speaking skills could even put him in the White House.

In a very real way, he has been a young man in a very big hurry. Who else do you know has written two memoirs before the age of 45? "Dreams of My Father" was published in 1995 when he was only 34 years old. The "Audacity of Hope" followed in 2006. If, indeed, he did write them himself. There are some who think that his mentor and friend, Bill Ayers, a man who calls himself a "communist with a small 'c'" was the real author.

His political skills consisted of rarely voting on anything that might be deemed controversial. He went from a legislator in the Illinois legislature to the Senator from that state because he had the good fortune of having Mayor Daley's formidable political machine at his disposal.

He was in the U.S. Senate so briefly that his bid for the presidency was either an act of astonishing self-confidence or part of some greater game plan that had been determined before he first stepped foot in the Capital. How, many must wonder, was he selected to be a 2004 keynote speaker at the Democrat convention that nominated John Kerry when virtually no one had ever even heard of him before?

He outmaneuvered Hillary Clinton in primaries. He took Iowa by storm. A charming young man, an anomaly in the state with a very small black population, he oozed "cool" in a place where agriculture was the antithesis of cool. He dazzled the locals. And he had an army of volunteers drawn to a charisma that hid any real substance.

And then he had the great good fortune of having the Republicans select one of the most inept candidates for the presidency since Bob Dole and then John McCain did something crazy. He picked Sarah Palin, an unknown female governor from the very distant state of Alaska. It was a ticket that was reminiscent of 1984's Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro and they went down to defeat.

The mainstream political media fell in love with him. It was a schoolgirl crush with febrile commentators like Chris Mathews swooning then and now over the man. The venom directed against McCain and, in particular, Palin, was extraordinary.

Now, nearly a full 2 years into his first term, all of those gilded years leading up to the White House have left him unprepared to be President. Left to his own instincts, he has a talent for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. It swiftly became a joke that he could not deliver even the briefest of statements without the ever-present Tele-Prompters.

Far worse, however, is his capacity to want to "wish away" some terrible realities, not the least of which is the Islamist intention to destroy America and enslave the West. Any student of history knows how swiftly Islam initially spread. It knocked on the doors of Europe, having gained a foothold in Spain.

The great crowds that greeted him at home or on his campaign "world tour" were no substitute for having even the slightest grasp of history and the reality of a world filled with really bad people with really bad intentions.

Oddly and perhaps even inevitably, his political experience, a cakewalk, has positioned him to destroy the Democrat Party's hold on power in Congress because in the end it was never about the Party. It was always about his communist ideology, learned at an early age from family, mentors, college professors, and extreme leftist friends and colleagues.

Obama is a man who could deliver a snap judgment about a Boston police officer who arrested an "obstreperous" Harvard professor-friend, but would warn Americans against "jumping to conclusions" about a mass murderer at Fort Hood who shouted "Allah Akbar." The absurdity of that was lost on no one. He has since compounded this by calling the Christmas bomber "an isolated extremist" only to have to admit a day or two later that he was part of an al Qaeda plot.

He is a man who could strive to close down our detention facility at Guantanamo even though those released were known to have returned to the battlefield against America . He could even instruct his Attorney General to afford the perpetrator of 9/11 a civil trial when no one else would ever even consider such an obscenity. And he is a man who could wait three days before having anything to say about the perpetrator of yet another terrorist attack on Americans and then have to elaborate on his remarks the following day because his first statement was so lame.

The pattern repeats itself. He either blames any problem on the Bush administration or he naively seeks to wish away the truth.

Knock, knock. Anyone home? Anyone there? Barack Obama exists only as the sock puppet of his handlers, of the people who have maneuvered and manufactured this pathetic individual's life.

When anyone else would quickly and easily produce a birth certificate, this man has spent over a million dollars to deny access to his. Most other documents, the paper trail we all leave in our wake, have been sequestered from review. He has lived a make-believe life whose true facts remain hidden.

We laugh at the ventriloquist's dummy, but what do you do when the dummy at the teleprompter is President of the United States of America?

08 February 2011

Your Actual Taxes

Total Tax Burden

The Total US Tax Burden, according to Forbes for 2004 as a percentage of Gross Domestic Production was 25.5%

Our personal total tax burdens are much higher than that. Our Federal income tax burden alone for most of my working years was about 25%

But I paid many other taxes from my income. Here are just a few with my estimate of the percentage of my income.

Social Security Tax (6.2% of your pay and 6.2% by your employer of pay that could have been yours)

Medicare Tax (1.45% of your pay and 1.45% by your employer of pay that could have been yours)

State Income tax (10%)

Real Property tax (.5%)

Personal property tax (Auto, tools, appliances, RV’s

Federal Excise tax, (handguns (10% of sale price) rifles and ammo (11% of sale price) tires, fishing and archery equipment)

Federal Gas tax (18.4¢ per gallon-¢pg)

State Excise Tax;

Tobacco Tax (cigarettes 87¢ per pack, other tobacco 33.02 percent),

Alcohol Tax ($3.30 per gallon distilled <100 proof, 20¢ per gallon beer and wine),

Nature Gas, Emergency phone and Energy resources surcharges Container recycling fee CRV (5¢ per bottle< 24 oz, 10¢ ≥24oz.)

Tire fee

State Gas Tax (35.3 ¢pg, 47.7 ¢pg counting other taxes and fees, 10 cents higher for diesel)

State Sales Tax (8.75%)

Federal tobacco Tax (small cigs and small cigars $1.01/20, large cigs $2.11/20, large cigars 40¢ each)

Federal Liquor Tax (distilled $13.50/proof gallon, beer $18/barrel 5¢/can, wine $1.7/gallon)

Licenses, (vehicle, bedding, hunting and fishing permits,)

Fees () Required Insurances () Required Safety Equipment

Luxury Car Tax, originally only on certain cars over $40,000, now many cars and trucks cost over that, so luxury tax applies to pick up trucks.

In the purchase price of many necessary commodities are the taxes, licenses, fees, and regulatory costs levied on businesses, but paid for by consumers. Here are just a few with my estimate of the percentage of purchase price that was tax and regulatory burden.

Fuel and food; some foods use fuel many times before they reach the consumers table. A 10% fuel tax can increase food costs by 70%. For some foods fuel is used to till the fields, kill the weeds and bugs, fertilize a couple times, harvest, haul to market, haul to storage, haul to processing, haul to warehousing, haul to retailing, and hauled home by the consumer, all using fuel.

Regulation, Product liability insurance, fees, surcharges, environment requirements, licenses and permits to the extent they are excessive they add 30 to 50 percent unnecessarily to the cost of everything.

Each year we spent about 15% of net income on commodities, about $15,000.00 annually.

Vehicle and transportation taxes and regulation burden; we averaged about $22,000.00 per year in transportation costs.

Real Estate taxes; we averaged about half of one percent of our income because of Prop 13 in California. Had we sold our original home from 37 years ago and moved elsewhere in California our property tax could have easily been two to five percent of income yearly. Many homebuyers pay:

$5,000.00 per year in property related taxes.

I think our effective tax rate including regulatory costs, mandates and fees, direct and indirectly passed along in product and service prices is about;

75% of your income!!! Are you getting your moneys worth? I doubt it.

Incidentally, this doesn’t include the cost of eroding the value of your savings and investment through intentionally induced inflation. Our money has been reduced in value by about 90% since 1960. That’s right; a dollar today is worth about 10¢ in 1960 money.

Think about that when you cash your government check.

Need Tax Revenue, Cut Old Programs

No Tax Increases, No New Taxes

Unemployment payments were extended for way more than was planned and prepared for and now taxes must be increased on the wages of working people, and on the prices of everything we must buy.

This means less pay and fewer jobs. More costs for businesses and higher prices for everyone on everything.

This kind of non-market, regulatory, tax driven inflation is completely unnecessary. The tax revenue to pay for unemployment has already been paid to the government. They are attempting to spend it on programs that benefit only their constituents. If it doesn’t benefit all citizens equally, then cut it. Taxes should not be used to benefit only a special constituent.

Equality, not special treatment (discrimination) for narrow constituencies

Twenty six weeks of unemployment was paid for, planned for, and more than enough. Paying people not to work of 99 weeks increased and prolonged destructive unemployment, and is typical of excessive government benefits that damage people’s lives and destroy self-esteem.

Now unemployment funds have been completely exhausted and deficit spending is required for yet another excessive government benefit.

Here’s my suggestion; use the revenue currently programmed for any of the thousands of unnecessary, excessive and over-funded existing programs, discretionary or not.

Cut them all. Cut them now. Eliminate the ones that are not or have not accomplished their objective. Reduce all programs by 35 percent. Withdraw all program funds not yet obligated.

Wake up! Make some deliberate funds management decisions. You want more unemployment funds, cut everything else.

It’s really that simple. Pick the five most important things.

Fully funds those and cut everything else. Everyone whose brain works will understand it.

Funds are limited! Everyone that matters knows that.

You can’t have everything you want, but if congress actually does their job, we can get what we really need.