Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Category: Issues (page 3 of 12)

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.

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.

Mitt Romney’s Tax Cutting Plan

I’m reading this week’s Bloomberg Businessweek and there on page 38 is Charlie Rose’s interview with Mitt Romney.    He says, “The President’s plan is another short-term stimulus effort, akin to throwing a cup of gasoline on embers.”

In the interview, he makes some good points – he states that businesses hire because there is demand.  He recognizes that our wages are stagnate.  I give him credit for that.  However; like the rest of the GOP, he wants to see more tax cuts for the wealthy.  His job plan on his website states, “His plan seeks to reduce taxes, spending, regulation, and government programs.”

Don’t you just love that?  Reduce taxes – taxes are the lowest they’ve been since the 1950’s.  Guess what  This isn’t all about the taxes.  Reduce Spending – what spending?  The spending that keeps our schools open and our military protecting us?  Reduce Regulation – Interesting, but which regulations?  We threw out the Seagall – Glass Act, which kept out financial markets safe for over sixty years.  Regulations are not the enemy – bad corporate decisions are.

In short, Mitt Romney may have a greater clue than the rest of the Republican Pack, but he still has a long way to go.

 

The GOP Way: Cutting Taxes on the Rich, Raising Taxes on the Middle Class

According to Huffington Post, the Republican Party is all for raising taxes on you and me.  Actually, I didn’t need to read the article to know that, they’ve been saying it all along.  Paul Ryan – who is unfortunately, my representative in Congress – called the other night with one of them recorded messages.  He stated, “I work for you.”  Really?  Because your roadmap for America plan makes it seem like you’re only working for the rich.

Pay attention, here’s where I’m going to do math.

Current Ryan’s Plan
Salary $1,250.00 $1,250.00
Medical $63.36 $63.36
Taxable Income $1,186.64 $1,250.00
Federal Income Tax $212.04 $312.50
% 17.87% 25.00%

Under Paul Ryan’s plan, health insurance would no longer be pre-taxed. Under his plan, any single making more that $50,000 per year would pay 25% in Federal Income tax. The tax rate for corporate America? 8%.

So, basically, Ryan and his Republican cronies will be financing this country on the backs of the single people.  A family of four can earn $39,000 without paying one penny in taxes, while us single people will only be able to earn $16,000 without paying taxes.  That means that I will end up paying more in taxes – a lot more.  Under Ryan’s plan, I will pay $12,250.00 in taxes.  Under our current tax structure (and using the standard deduction and personal excemption), I only pay $9,917.85.  That’s a difference of $2,332.15.

Anyone who is single, shouldn’t vote Republican.  It’ll cost you in the long run.

My plan for saving Social Security

There is a serious problem with Social Security.  More is being paid out than is coming in.  The cause of this discrepancy can be broken down into five general areas:

1)      The 2% relief on Social Security President Obama ordered.  I love Obama, but this was a really dumb idea.

2)      There aren’t enough people working – when unemployment is between 4 and 5%, more money is going into the Social Security coffers.

3)      A lot of people who are working are working at low paying jobs.  12.4% (6.2% paid by the employee and 6.2% paid by the employer) of a $10.00 an hour job works out to just $2579.2 per year into Social Security.

4)      Social Security isn’t taken on all salary income.  Once you earn above $104,000, you stop paying Social Security on the rest.

5)      Mismanagement of the funds.  I know what you’re saying, but here is an example of mismanagement of funds. You’re not going to believe this one, but it is true.  Say Marge marries Homer and they stay married for eleven years.  Then, they divorce.  Marge is entitled to half of Homer’s Social Security – for life – while Homer can collect all of his Social Security.  Say Homer marries Angie and they stay married for eleven years, before divorcing.  Now, Angie is entitled to half of Homer’s Social Security and Homer is still entitled to all of his Social Security.  Well, let’s say Homer is a hound dog or he’s really just out to be punished, because he marries again and, yet again, he divorces wife #3, whom we’ll call Betsy, after eleven years of marriage.  Now, Betsy is entitled to half of his Social Security, while he still collects his full amount.  Are you keeping track here?  Homer collects his full amount, while his three ex-wives collect a half each, making Social Security pay out 2.5 times the amount to which Homer is entitled.  Does that seem right to you?  No?  It doesn’t to me.  The worst part is once Homer dies, boom!  All three wives can collect his FULL amount.  Have we lost our minds?

 

Here’s my three step plan for saving Social Security:

1)      Tax the employees at the full 6.2% rate.  The 2% isn’t really helping the economy and it is hurting Social Security.  Example, I am only receiving an extra $25.00 in my pocket each week.  So, I pay more on my credit card or I go out to dinner one extra time.  Okay, maybe, that is helping the economy a little, but it is hurting Social Security a lot.

2)      No more just stay married for eleven years and collect half of your ex-spouse’s Social Security.  First, let’s raise it to at least twenty years.  Twenty seems more reasonable.  We don’t want some jerk divorcing his wife right before retirement and leaving her high and dry, but we don’t want to take a system that was once solvent and drive it into the ground.

3)      Start taxing the whole amount of people’s salary – Period, end of story.

That’s it – no vouchers, no yelling and screaming.  Just three simple ideas that will put Social Security back on the right path.  The only problem with my plan is that there is absolutely no way you’ll ever get it passed because the Republicans control the House and they don’t want to save Social Security. They want to run it into the ground and let it die a slow and painful death.  They think Social Security is some sort of burden.  They make it sound like Social Security is a handout.  No, no it’s not.  The people who paid into it, deserve to get something out of it.

Now, if you have a long memory, you’ll remember that I’m pretty much for the government giving me back my money and closing it down.  I am.  I don’t plan on needing Social Security for my retirement, however; I do realize that not everyone is as prepared as I am and they will need Social Security.  Mainly because the big corporations are no longer paying salaries to the average working person that allows them to save for their retirement, while they save for their children’s college education.  But, let’s not get me started on that!

Who Can I Blame?

A lot of people are complaining about their lot in life.  They drew a bad hand.  The “man” is keeping them down.  Big government is butting into their lives.

The truth is that the one person you can blame for your lot in life is you.  Yes, you heard me right.  Look in the mirror.  That person staring back at you is where the buck stops.  Yes, I realize that you can’t be blamed if you caught some disease and lost you job and home.  That isn’t your fault.  However; those people are not my target audience.  I’m not talking about those people befallen by horrible disasters beyond their control.  I’m talking about the people who like to blame everyone else for their issues.

Oh, I pay too much in taxes and that’s why I can’t get ahead.

No, no you don’t.  If you’re earning that much money that you’re in the highest tax bracket – stop complaining.  Man up, for Pete’s sake!  You’re out earning the majority of Americans, so be a little grateful that you won’t have to make the choice between eating and paying rent.

I’m underwater in my house and the government should bail me out.

No, no the government should NOT bail you out.  That’s crap.  You have a choice, continue to pay for the house and wait for the market to bounce back.  It will bounce back.  But, if you just walk away from your home and let it go – that’s total crap.  You’ve now contributed to the housing problem because now your home will lower the value of everyone else’s home.  Thanks a lot.  I understand a foreclosure if you’ve lost your job, but just walking away because you can is totally irresponsible and I’m going to punch the next person I meet who has done just that.

I can’t find a job and I’m still unemployed.

Oh, quit your whining.  There are jobs out there, you just have to lower your standards.  And, what have you been doing while you’ve been unemployed?  Have you been taking classes to update your skills?  Have you been trying out side jobs?  Have you been looking to move into a different field, perhaps one that is actually hiring?  Or, have you been sitting on your rear end blaming the world around you for your lot in life.  Yes, American Corporations should be bitched slapped for how they’re laying people off.  However; there are jobs to be had.  Take one.

I’m underemployed.  I’m too smart for this job.

Oh, please, get off your high horse and just be grateful you have a job.  Then, read the paragraph for the unemployed.  You will get nowhere in life if you don’t stick your neck out.  Working full time and going to school is tough.  Finding a work – home – school balance can be tricky, but it can be done.  I had a job that I loved and then it went away.  That was the catalyst that sent me back to the classroom and after six very long years of hard work, I managed to not only obtain my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Computer Science, but I found a good paying job to top it all off.  And, I’m not just sitting on my butt whining either.  I’m moving into the next phase of my life, as soon as I pick from where I want to obtain my Master’s.  Life is NOT a spectator sport.  You don’t get to sit on the bench and complain that the coach won’t play you.  You have to get out there and make a move that makes you worthy to move up the food chain.

Wow!  I’m glad I got all of that off my chest!  I feel so much better.

Outrage with No Truth

I bought my mother a couple of economic books. I wanted her to understand just what is going on with the nation’s economy. She said they were too dry to read. Instead, she asked me to pick up Laura Ingram’s new book for her, which is a switch because she normally reads Bill O’Reilly. At least she hasn’t discover Ann Coulter and when she does, she will not get the book from me. Someone else will have to feed her right-wing, free from the truth book habit.

I don’t know why I bother torturing myself in this manner. Life is just easier all around if I don’t talk to her. My mother is like a lot of Americans out there today. She’s mad that the economy is in the toilet. Two of her children are suffering because of the bad economy. And, my mother is blaming the government, which is exactly what Fox News wants her to believe. Even my own father, who is normally very reasonable, blames Obama for the economy. He believes that Obama signed TARP into law. Even when I pointed it out to him that, no, Pop, that was Bush; he looked at me like I was speaking another language. When the truth is staring us in the face, we still don’t want to see it.

And, that’s the whole problem.

We don’t bother actually looking at facts and figures ourselves. We trust the wrong news media – one run by a man who decides what gets covered and what doesn’t. Yes, economic books can be dry, but why wouldn’t you want to take the time to read one to find out what all of this on the news means? Why wouldn’t you want to be able to understand how the world works without being told by someone else? Right or left, if you don’t really understand the issue, then you can’t figure out the bias and you don’t really understand what’s going on.

I know that I harp on this a lot, but it just drives me absolutely crazy.

The Republican Plan

Rush Limbaugh – that moronic flab of hot air – says that the Republicans can’t compromise. Well, that’s just great. The Republicans should play to their fringe and not to common sense. Around half of our deficit problem is because of the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. A quarter is because of two wars that we cannot afford. The government, despite my own comparison, cannot run like our household budgets. The government’s job to to provide for the general welfare of its people (see US Constitution) and if people aren’t going to eat because there aren’t any jobs, let the government spend the money.

Yes, we need to cut spending, but we need to raise taxes on the upper echelon of this country. If tax cuts create jobs, like the right wing keeps claiming, then where are they? The US Corporations are paying less in taxes now then since the 50’s (which, by the way, have a great economy). So, where are the jobs?

Limbaugh claims that the GOP won’t have a backbone if they compromise, well, Limbaugh wouldn’t know a backbone if it hit him in the face. None of these guys would. Having a backbone, manning up, this takes courage and it is easy for them not to compromise if that’s what the tea party wants. They’re bending to someone else’s will.

What shows a backbone is standing up for that which is right against those who disagree. If the Republicans said, look Obama has compromised on spending, so we’re going to give a little revenue – that would show some courage. Right now, they’re just thinking about their jobs and not the country.

Debt Ceiling

I could go over Obama’s talk from last night and cover the whiner, Boehner’s dismal response, but I won’t.  I was going to post my own economic research, but I found an article on The Coffee Party website.  I think it is a pretty level headed response to what is going on in this country.

So, please go over there and read it.

The graph regarding the comparison between individual and corporate taxes is enough to make you sick.  It is, also, one of the reasons that the middle class’s wages have been stagnate.  I’m going to blame the lack of hiring in this jobless recovery on it as well.  If there is no incentive to hire someone, corporations aren’t going to do it.

We’ve been here before

It is amazing to me how history continues to repeat.  We – the collective we – fail to learn from the past.  Here we are, on the brink of defaulting on our loans, and the Republicans on standing on ideology instead of doing what is right for the country.  We may not be able to spend our way out of debt and we cannot tax cut our way out of debt.  However; the Republicans are too scared of making Obama look good and going against the Tea Partiers to do what is the right thing to do.

When we default next week, because the Republicans cannot and would not accept a very reasonable offer, don’t come crying to me.

Ironically, these “Republicans” claim to revere Ronald Reagan, yet Reagan raised the debt ceiling 18 times.  Despite the spin the right-wing talking heads want to put on it, he still – while saying he didn’t want to do so – raised taxes.

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