Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Year: 2011 (page 2 of 20)

Republican Jobs Plan

Is it me?  Because I just don’t get it.  I don’t understand how the Republicans can keep coming back to the same old / same old and think that it will work.  Yes, Ronald Reagan cut taxes in 1981, but he raised government spending (and I’m really simplifying because monetary policy had a lot to do with the recovery).  The idea that the country can get our citizens back to work via lower tax rates and the reduction of government regulations is a one that is not based on any facts.

Here’s what drives companies to hire people – it’s simple, but true:  DEMAND.  That’s it, demand for a company’s good has to be high enough for the company to hire more people.  PERIOD.  If we’re not out purchasing Ding Dongs, the Ding Dong factory up the road is not going to hire more people.  It doesn’t matter how low a company’s taxes go, they’re NOT going to hire anyone they don’t actually need.

I don’t understand why it is that the Republicans in the Senate (led by John McCain) and the majority of the Republican Candidates for President do not understand the basics of economics.  And, actually, I do understand why Michele Bachmann doesn’t – the woman doesn’t know that Abraham Lincoln wasn’t a founding father and that Elvis is dead.  I understand why Rick Perry doesn’t get it – he’s a politician. But, Mitt Romney and Herman Cain are businessmen – Romney hasn’t been one for quite a while, but Cain did an impressive job turning around the Godfather’s Pizza business.

How can either one of them say, in all honesty, that they would hire someone they don’t need in a company just because taxes are low?

Why would anyone?

The truth is that consumers are tapped out.  I’m tapped out, you’re tapped out.  We’ve pretty much purchased everything we wanted in the last, say, twenty years.  I have a house.  I purchased two cars – one new, one used – within the past two years.  Other than buying some Christmas presents and a new cell phone, quite honestly, I’m done.  Finished.  There’s no more spending coming from my house.  It is time – and this is probably anti-Patriotic of me – to do some saving.

There’s a lot of people out there who are just like me.

So, how does the economy improve?

By the government spending, spending and spending some more.  I don’t like the concept, I don’t like the idea, but that’s what has to happen.  We can’t lay off 15,000 government workers in one state and expect that state’s economy to make any improvements.

We have been neglecting our infrastructure in this country for years.  Now is the time to fix the bridges, the roadways, the levees, our schools and whatever else needs fixing.  Now is the time for the government to spend.

There’s a balance that has to be met.  We can’t have too much government money pumped into the economy or it will push out private investment.  We need to find that balance.

But, we are not going to improve the economy by cutting more taxes and reducing even more regulations.  The Republicans need to start singing a new tune, because the economy can’t march to the one they’ve been singing.

Cornel West Arrested Protesting on Supreme Court Steps

Yes, you read that headline right.  Cornel West, noted American Philosopher and Civil Rights proponent, was arrested for protesting on the steps of the Supreme Court.

Did you know that it is illegal to hold political signs on the steps of the Supreme Court? Neither did I, until I read this (see link). Excuse me, but isn’t the Supreme Court supposed to uphold the Constitution and isn’t freedom of speech the FIRST amendment?  How can it be ILLEGAL to protest ANYWHERE?

The Westboro Baptist Church – you know, those bigoted haters – are allowed to PROTEST at the FUNERALS of AMERICAN SOLIDERS!  It is THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT.  This was upheld by the Supreme Court!

But, American Citizens are not allowed to protest against the Supreme Court decisions – such as the one where they declared Corporations to be human?  How is that possible in America?  How can that be in our great country?

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Tax Plan

When it comes to taxes and being told what’s going to cost me more money and what’s going to save me money, I generally don’t believe the Press, or the person touting the plan.  What I do believe is taking what I pay in taxes now and comparing that to the new plan.

This is what I did when comparing the “savings” Paul Ryan’s plan touted.  This is what I have done with Herman Cain’s plan.

Now, there is something I’d like to add.  Mr. Cain has not made public a lot of details about his plan.  It is possible that I am making incorrect assumptions.  I am listing the assumptions that I have made before the comparison – if anyone knows for a fact that the Cain plan doesn’t do any one of these, please leave a comment and I will make adjustments.

  • No deductions: personal exemption, neither Medical nor the Standard Deduction.
  • Taxes on everything: food, gas, clothing and bills such as electric and cable.
  • Even though when I purchase my next home or car – and only if Cain’s plan passes – I would pay a 9% sales tax on the home or car, I did not include this in my car payments, nor in my mortgage payments.  I made the assumption that the 9% tax would not be retroactive.  Therefore; in my total spending, I did not include my mortgage nor car payments.

I picked last month for my spending.  I figured September is a typical month for me.  Some months I might spend more and some months, I spend less.  For comparison purposes, I included Paul Ryan’s plan in my chart.

 

Current

Ryan’s Plan

Cain’s Plan

Salary

$5,416.67

$5,416.67

$5,416.67

Insurance Deduction

$253.44

$0.00

$0.00

Personal Exemption

$291.67

$316.67

$0.00

Standard Deduction

$483.33

$1,041.67

$0.00

Taxable Income

$4,388.23

$4,058.33

$5,416.67

Federal Income Tax

$784.18

$1,014.58

$487.50

National Sales Tax

$0.00

$0.00

$399.09

Total Tax

$784.18

$1,014.58

$886.59

%

17.87%

25.00%

9.00%

This is based on one month’s salary and all the spending for the household.  In the month of September between bills (cable, electric, cell phone, etc.), food, household items and misc. items (books, software), I spent $4,434.30.

As you can see, I currently pay – each month – $787.18 in Federal Income Tax (after deductions, which really aren’t taken out until the end of the year, but I wanted this to be a fair comparison – apples to apples).  Under the Cain Plan, I will only have $487.50 taken out of my paycheck for Federal Taxes.  That’s a savings of $299.68.  That sounds pretty good.

But, wait – there’s more…

Once the addition of the sales tax on $4,434.30 of goods and services is paid, my federal tax bill is raised by $399.09 – almost $100 more than the initial savings.  This brings my total taxes under Herman Cain’s plan up to $886.59!  Clearly, the Cain Plan is not a winner for me.

Let’s deal with the critics on this.  I’m sure some people are saying, “Just spend less.”  Hmmm, nice idea, but then what’s the point?  If, in order to save taxes, I slow down my spending, then for what am I working?  What’s my motivation for earning more money?  What do I get and how does the economy get rolling along if I cut my spending in half?

Let’s say I only spend the essentials – cut out the extras, like eating out or my passion for books – what happens then?

Well, I would save $52.80 in taxes each month.  And, sure, I could sock the extra money away in savings, but who wants to live like that?  I don’t drive up to Brookfield every single day to not enjoy the money I spend.  I sock away savings and money for retirement, but then I enjoy life.

And, how will I pay for that next car?  Sure, I could use my savings, but when the average car price is around $20,000 an extra 9.0% in sales tax is really going to make a huge difference.  That adds – without any other taxes or licensing fees – and extra $1,800 to the price of my new car.

Perhaps, Cain’s plan won’t take food or, maybe, cars will be exempt.  Wouldn’t that be subsidizing certain industries and isn’t that one of the ways we ended up in this mess in the first place?

Here’s what I recommend – don’t take my word on whether or not you like the Cain Plan.  Do the math for yourself.  Figure out exactly how much more or how much less you’ll pay in taxes.  Come to your own conclusion.  That’s what we should really be doing anyway.  Checking out the plans and weighing our options.

Happy Calculating!

Warren Buffet’s Tax Rate…

Warren Buffet released his 2010 taxes for Congress’s review.  He wanted to prove his point that the rich do not pay their fair share in taxes and that they can afford to pay more.  After comparing his tax return to my tax return, I so agree with him.  I earned .10% of what Mr. Buffet earned last year.  That means, for those of you who are math challenged, he earned 1,000 times as much as I did.

Now, if all is fair, then he should’ve paid 1,000 times more than I did in taxes.

Except, he didn’t.  Everything being equal, he should’ve paid $8 million in taxes.  He didn’t, he paid just under $7 million.  I can hear the argument now, that’s more than you paid.  If you don’t like it, why don’t you go get rich.  (Usually, these arguments come from people who make half as much as I do.)

How can a man who make 1,000 times more than me pay a tax rate that is only 2% higher than mine?  How is that fair?

Well, I have to go to work, where 1/3 of my paycheck goes to taxes and insurance before I even come home.

Stupid Republican – The HPV Vaccine doesn’t equal Sexual Promiscurity

I’ll make this brief and I’ll type slow, so the Republicans can understand.  Rick Perry made the right decision regarding the HPV Vaccine.  Protecting our children should be the most important decision we make, but somewhere along the line people started confusing this vaccine not with protecting our girls, but allowing them to be sexually active.

How stupid can you be?

Take a good look at your daughter.  No matter how old she is, someday, she will grow up and be sexually active.  If you raised her right, that someday will be when she is an adult and able to make informed decisions.  If you didn’t, she’ll be active at a younger age.  No matter what – she’s going to have sex at some point in her life.  We place the burden of sexual activity on women and not men.  Men are allowed to hound dog it up, so I’m sure that the guy she picks will be just like every other man.  Not many women marry virgins.

Do you want your little girl to get cervical cancer because YOU didn’t allow her to have the vaccine that could prevented it?

As far as giving them permission, what kid knows what vaccines they’re receiving?  I certainly didn’t.  You tell the kid they’re getting a shot.  When she’s old enough to understand, let her know she’s had the vaccine.

I don’t agree with Rick Perry on 99% of what he says and does, but he was right on this issue.  Our little girls need to be vaccinated, because they are going to grow up to be women.  He did the right thing.  Stop jumping on him at the debates you dumb ass Republican Candidates.  Give the guy a break.  Stop spreading lies about the vaccine for political gain.

373 – 1

373 – 1 => that’s the difference between your salary and the salary of the guy on top.  For every dollar you earn, a CEO is earning 373 dollars.  And, what do you get for that huge difference?

You get a boss who thinks you’re paid too much.

You get a boss who wants to raise profit margins and he does this by laying off your co-workers or even you.

You get a boss who is more than willing to move a factory overseas to save money, so he can make even more.

You get bad health insurance – if you have any health insurance at all.

You get to save for your own retirement out of the little bit of money that you have – and you get politicians that want to take away your safety net.

You get the feeling that you are expendable.

We could blame the government for our nation’s economic woes.  However; it isn’t entirely the government’s fault.  Greed is good, so the saying goes.  Except, greed is only good for those on top and it harms those of us on the bottom rung (and, even those of us a couple of rungs higher).

Perhaps, the government should take some, but not all, the blame.  It was the government that removed the financial regulations that had prevented a financial collapse for sixty years.  The free market system would work if only greed and the ever desire for higher and higher profit margins wasn’t part of the deal.  When men (and women) only concern themselves with profit and not sound business decisions, economic collapse ensues.

I’m not entirely sure what can completely fix our economy, but I can tell you what won’t and what hasn’t.  Lowering taxes even farther and ending financial (and other business) regulations are not going to put this great nation back on solid financial footing.  We need to put the Glass-Seagull act back into place to protect our financial markets.  And, we need to raise taxes on the upper classes.  The top limit needs to be moved back to 39%.

Ronald Reagan was correct to lower taxes in the eighties.  It was a good thing and it started economy recovery.  However; too much of a good thing can do us harm.  Our current economic status is proving just that.

Sarah Palin / Steve Jobs

Two things happened in the news yesterday – one was predictable and the other was, at least to me, shocking.

Yesterday, Sarah Palin announced that she would not seek the Republican nomination for President.  Did anyone actually think she would?  Mrs. Palin has a fairly nice life.  She writes books, makes television appearances and if she farts, the whole world knows about it.  Did you know that when she was governor of Alaska, she was actually a moderate?  I didn’t until recently when I looked into her record.  Personally, I don’t believe she’s as right wing as she appears – and I think the woman is media savvy.  Right wing is in and she’s willing to pick up her conservative banner and wave it all over.

This is not a criticism – it is merely an observation.  I would love someone to pay me to spout off my opinions around the country – so good for her.  She saw a market and she is exploiting it for her own financial gain.  Nothing wrong with that.  However; she can’t do that and run for President.  She’d have to give up her Fox News paycheck and five kids are expensive to feed.  Sarah’s no fool.  She’s been on the campaign trail with handlers and having to censor yourself.  She doesn’t want to do that.

And who could blame her?


In 1983, I was sitting in a classroom when they brought in an Apple IIe. The entire class was all up in arms regarding this new computer.  The computer room in high school had a sign up sheet.  The room had 15 or 20 Commodores, but only one Apple IIe.  You were only allowed so much time on the Apple because of the list of people waiting, but you could spend as much time as you wanted programming on the Commodores.

I’m an impatient gal and I don’t like to stand in line.  I never bothered giving the Apple a second glance.  I spent my computer time programming in Basic on the Commodore, which led me (after some detours) to Windows and, eventually, to my current profession – as a Report Developer.

So, you see, Steve Jobs is the reason I do what I do.  I am such a Microsoft gal, that – with one exception – I have never worked on Apples or Macs or anything with a i in front of it.  But, had he not created the Apple IIe, there would’ve been more people wanting to use the Commodores in high school, leaving me with less time on them.

I’m sure people will write better eulogies to the man who changed the way we do things in the world than I ever could.  So, let me say this:  Thank you, Steve Jobs, for all you’ve done in technology.  Without you, I couldn’t have done the few things I’ve done.

Cold Sassy Tree

There are times when you read a book so touching that it stays with you long after you close the back cover. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns is one of those books. I checked the Cold Sassy Tree audiofile out of my local library. Listening to Tom Parker (aka Grover Gardner, who read Mark Twain’s autobiography) I was mesmerized.

Mr. Parker’s voice carries to to Cold Sassy in July, 1906.  The voice may be Mr. Parker’s, but the story belongs to 14 year old Will Tweedy.  As the story begins, Grandpa Blakeslee has arrived at Will’s house with some news.  Everyone is worried about Grandpa Blakeslee, as it has just been 3 weeks since his wife, Mattie Lou, died.  Since he won’t let his daughter’s take care of him and he won’t hire anyone, he has an idea.  Grandpa intends to marry Miss Love Simpson – his store’s milliner and a Yankee to boot!  Needless to say, this causes a ruckus that drives the story all the way to the end.

This book will make you laugh and cry.  If you listen to the audiobook, you’ll be at the edge of your seat.  Mr. Parker’s voice is perfect for a story that takes place in Georgia in 1906 and he lulls you along, believing that you know these people.  The story is well thought out and written by Olive Ann Burns.

It isn’t often that a book does this and I don’t say it lightly, but this book has renewed my faith in God and humanity.  It touched me that much.

Funny Kitty

Sometimes, I just can’t read one more word about politics. I can’t write another article about the Christian hypocrites in this country. I just can’t do it.

But, what I can do is laugh at the funny kitty video. I hope you do,too.

Pity the Anti-Gays

So, I posted on the video page about a comment I had read about on Huffington Post.  The whole thing was that the person making the comment didn’t like the gay agenda.  I questioned what that means, as of writing this, the author has not responded.  I stated my case that the gay “agenda” is no different than a straight agenda.  You can read the whole post here.

Here’s why I writing this post, someone commented calling themselves hiwaychristian and he or she compared being gay to the difference between liking onions and not liking carrots:

Why can’t you folks see the difference? If I prefer onions to carrots, I don’t go out and make it a political issue. Why is your sexual preference so crucial to your identity?

Well, there is a difference, as I wrote:

No one is going to fire you for hating carrots. No one is going to deny you the right to buy a home or rent an apartment, because you hate carrots. No one is going to say that your love of onions is unnatural and you don’t deserve your full rights as an American citizen.

(You can read the whole comment on the post, go ahead, I’ll wait.)

Then, the brave poster went on to mention God, which really has nothing to do with gays and lesbians civil rights.  We have separation of church and state, but apparently the only time anyone of them remembers that is when I mention Matthew 25.

Anyway, I wrote what I considered a logical and unemotional response.  Not that I really expected hiwaychristian to come back and read it, but apparently he (she?) did.

Did this person respond with logical arguments?

No, of course not.  I posted another response last night, but this morning, it dawned on me that it was a complete waste of time.  You can’t argue with an anti-gay.  They believe that they have God on their side – no matter how illogical that is.  Truth is that none of us can know what God wants or expects.  That said, I’m pretty sure Jesus meant it when he said to love thy neighbor and what you do for the least of you, you do for me.  However; I don’t think the anti-gays get that.  I don’t think they can comprehend anything that doesn’t fit into their little world of “love the sinner, hate the sin” and that denying equality doesn’t equate love.  (Jesus didn’t say love thy neighbor just a little, which would keep you and your neighbor on unequal terms, He said, “Love thy neighbor as you love yourself”, which means you’re equals.)  I honestly believe that if hiwaychristian realized that they’re just as much as a sinner as I am, their head would explode.

So, to my gay brothers and sisters, take my advice – just ignore them.  Yes, then they think they’ve won the argument, but let them.  They have so little in their lives.  They aren’t logical, they’re obviously not educated and they don’t realize that their hatred is both Biblically wrong and part of a dying breed.  We will gain our rights – slowly, but surely.  And, while we do, we must just pat these people on their tiny-brained heads and say, “settle down, partner.”

When we get down on our knees at night, we should include them in our prayers, as they need us to show them God’s mercy and we need to follow Christ’s teachings, and consider them equals.  Which reminds me of an Irish Blessing I’d like to pass along:

May those who love us, love us
And those that don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts;
And if He doesn’t turn their hearts
May He turn their ankles
So we’ll know them by their limping.

Peace.

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