July 20, 2009

Lucid and Lickety-Split Links (072009, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 10:01 am

Lucid Links:

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Forty years ago today, Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and Wapakoneta, Ohio native Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on its surface:

This separate ABC video indicates that Armstrong hadn’t thought about what to say when setting foot on the moon until the moment was upon him.

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Commenter Jason S has a great sound bite and legislative suggestion at my Saturday Pajamas Media column now posted at BizzyBlog“We have truth in lending, why not have truth in taxation?”

Indeed. There’s an APR (Annual Percentage Rate) required by Truth in Lending law. An Annualized Tax Increase (ATI) requirement might help make clear many of the points made at the column. Example: Increasing the top federal income tax rate from 35% to 46% would carry an ATI of 31% (11% rate increase divided by old rate of 35%). That reflects the true monetary hit on those affected.

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From Georgia’s Secretary of State (HT Gregg Jackson in an e-mail) — It’s clear that the Obama administration wants to bring Chicago-style election non-integrity to the rest of the nation:

Obama Justice Department Decision Will Allow Non-Citizens to Register to Vote in Georgia
Decision Bars Georgia From Continuing Voter Verification Process

Atlanta – “The decision by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to deny preclearance of Georgia’s already implemented citizenship verification process shows a shocking disregard for the integrity of our elections. With this decision, DOJ has now barred Georgia from continuing the citizenship verification program that DOJ lawyers helped to craft. DOJ’s decision also nullifies the orders of two federal courts directing Georgia to implement the procedure for the 2008 general election. The decision comes seven months after Georgia requested an expedited review of the preclearance submission.”

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AP0718TodayInHistoryOnTedKAt the right is the Associated Press’sToday in History Highlight” for July 18.

Readers can peruse this linked detail (which, other than having an unacceptable title, does a very good job of cataloging what happened) of the events of that night and what followed to decide if the above rendering adequately describes what occurred. Helpful alternative entries for the AP to consider in future years are welcome.

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Chappaquiddick-related — This sentence from a Boston Globe retrospective on Kennedy’s career, apparently delivered by Ted mere hours after Mary Jo Kopechne died, says it all about what this man is and always has been all about — “Kennedy’s future loomed, suddenly uncertain. ‘What am I going to do, what can I do?’ Kennedy asked.”

Also, On TIB Radio this past Saturday (open up the Live Blog at the link), Matt Hurley assembled an impressive set of links, and yours truly opined that the enduring significance of Chappaquiddick is that it taught ambitious politicians, especially liberals and leftists, that the press and the public would let them survive the unforgivable. Surely, a certain Arkansas college student was paying attention. Check out the post-7/18/69 portion of the timeline surrounding Bill Clinton’s draft-dodging.

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Lickey-Split Links:

  • WorldNetDaily“Lib talker, Lou Dobbs now asking eligibility questions.”
  • Right Side of Life“Talk Shows, Press Begin Covering (Obama) Eligibility.”
  • NYC talker Steve Malzberg of WABC spoke out on the eligibility matter on July 15. Personally, I think that either the concerns being raised are valid — or that this is the Mother Of All Sucker-Punches, in which case the full release of proof, if ever deemed necessary, will be delivered when the crescendo hits its db peak to maximize embarrassment. I wish I knew which one it is.
  • Guess who paid for the Michael Jackson memorial concert — and cheerfully?
  • At the Wall Street Journal (“What’s Up, Docs?”) — “The AMA signs its members up to be civil servants.”

The Language of Taxation Needs an Overhaul

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:47 am

UncleSamshakedownBecause of Congress’s proposed health care “surtax,” now is the perfect time.

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Note: This was posted at Pajamas Media and teased here at BizzyBlog on Saturday.

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Imagine, if you can — and given the likely results if cap and trade legislation recently passed by the House ever makes it into law, you don’t have to imagine very hard — that after paying $500 a month for utilities, your household is slapped with an increase that will cause your monthly bills to go up to $750.

How much have your costs increased? That’s obviously not a trick question; the answer is 50%.

But that’s not the language of taxation. That needs to change.

The current government spin applied to the above situation would go something like this: “Well, since your income is $5,000 per month, and your utility bills are increasing from 10% of your income ($500 divided by $5,000) to 15% of your income ($750 divided by $5,000), your utility rate is only going up 5% (15% minus 10%).”

If your neighbor tried to console you with such language and said, “What’s the big problem here?”, you’d be tempted to deck him, or even her (but being a sensible person, you’d resist) — especially because (and I’ll get to this later) such an increase would force you to cut your discretionary spending by way more than 5%. Yet we let politicians get away with taxation verbiage like this all the time. This serves to make their seemingly endless designs on the contents of our wallets appear more palatable than they should.

The last time I recall a real pushback against this mathematical chicanery was in Ohio during the early 1980s. Helped along by political clumsiness, the blowback was effective enough that it should have been considered  a model for future anti-tax efforts. Instead, it has mostly fallen into the dustbin of history.

But to measure the tactic’s effectiveness, all you have to do is ask almost any news-following longtime Buckeye State resident older than 50, “Who raised Ohio’s income tax by 90%?” The overwhelming odds are that they will answer, “Oh, that was Dick Celeste.”

Now of course Celeste didn’t take 90% of Ohioans’ income (though, given his far-left political positions, he may at some point have been tempted). Also, nobody ever said he was the brightest tactician. In 1983, shortly after winning office, Celeste, with the help of a slim majority of Democrats in the Ohio Senate, imposed a “temporary tax rate surcharge (that was) increased to 83.3% in 1983 and to 90% in 1984 and made permanent.”

Celeste and the Democrats protested that 50% of that 90% was “only” a continuation of a “temporary” tax passed by the previous administration, and that the other 40% was “only” a rate hike of a couple of percentage points.

The complaints fell flat. Everyone in the state knew that what the Democrats had imposed was a permanent tax increase of 90%. Because it was applied across the board to all rate brackets (that was the clumsiness, partially inherited from clumsy Republicans), even those who supported it had a hard time not speaking of the truly correct 90% increase.

William Hershey of the Dayton Daily News, who seems more than a little bitter, recalled last month that:

Democrats controlled the Senate by just one vote, 17-16. All 17 voted for Democratic Gov. Dick Celeste’s so-called “90 percent tax hike” – a renewal of a temporary income tax increase plus an increase. None of the Republicans voted for it.

Senate Republicans used the tax issue to grab control of the Senate in the 1984 elections and have maintained that majority for 25 years. The way the Republicans told the story, every Democratic senator who voted for the tax increase and was up for re-election cast the 17th and decisive vote.

“It destroyed us,” (former Senate Democratic leader Harry) Meshel recalled.

The tax changes proposed by Congress to fund its statist designs on health care represent a clarion call to resurrect the just-described language.

Though the draft bill has been released, it’s clear that the legislation will go through the usual sausage grinding. So for simplicity’s sake, I’m going to use these core elements of what House leaders want as the Wall Street Journal understood them on Monday:

  • An 8% payroll tax surcharge (you read that right), “that would apply to all firms with 25 or more workers that don’t offer health insurance to their employees.”
  • (if nothing is done about them, and the President sticks to his oft-repeated campaign promise) Increasing federal income tax rates to their level before the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 for those earning above about $250,000.
  • Beyond said restoration, an income tax surcharge of up to 5.4%.

Since the tax-and-spenders are more clever, it’s not easy to frame these rate increases as tax increases. But it can be done, and I will do it.

Let’s take someone who would be subject to all of the taxes noted above; there are plenty of small businesses whose owners pay themselves well but who, for various reasons (which, frankly, should be none of our business), don’t offer their employees health insurance. Using rates currently in effect and the proposed rates as calculated by the Journal, this would be the before and after picture for such business owners in Ohio who are considering withdrawing additional salary:

TaxRatesUnderHealthCareVsCurr0709

Now you see how really devastating the House’s proposal is:

  • The tax increase isn’t the rate change of 11%, it’s the increase in the rate, which is 31%. The House surtax proposal and the return to the rates in effect before Bush’s tax cuts will cause affected persons to pay $46 out of every $100 they try to pay themselves. That’s 31% more, and it’s not arguable.
  • Properly stated, the marginal payroll rate the affected persons will pay, which would increase from 2.9% to 10.9%, represents a whopping, inarguable 276% tax increase.
  • The affected persons’ marginal federal tax rate will increase by 50%. Beyond that, out of every additional $100 paid, they will only get to keep $43.10 instead of $62.10. Thus, they will have 31% less with which to pay state and city income taxes (coming up), other taxes not listed such as property taxes, and their personal and family bills.
  • When combined with Ohio’s already-existing state and municipal income taxes (the big city rate is the average found in Ohio’s largest cities), the affected person’s marginal rate goes from its current 46% to a truly confiscatory 65%. That’s a 41% tax increase. At that level, it leaves affected persons with a stunning 35% less money to pay other taxes not listed, and their personal and family bills.

In sum, Congress wants to make a very small percentage of people pay roughly 50% more to the federal government than they do currently, and, depending on their state of residence, to take about one-third of what they currently live on — all to fund other peoples’ health care.

Now that is an opposition message that would, I believe, go a long way towards stopping this utter nonsense dead in its tracks.

The Gipper on Universal Healthcare (Carried Forward)

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 8:17 am

(HT: Tom L. Lewis via an emailer):

Best 10 minutes of radio I have ever heard. As such, I’ll pass along the advice of the emailer: When you are finished listening, listen again.

It is amazing that this battle has been going on since before many of us were born. I didn’t know that Communists were so patient but the strategy makes sense… dumb-down the electorate via government schools and control of the media, then wait for any remnants of common sense to die out.

Positivity: Dog Helps Reunite Mom With Missing Boy

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:16 am

From Oklahoma City (video is at link):

POSTED: 7:09 pm CDT July 17, 2009
UPDATED: 12:30 am CDT July 18, 2009

Mastiff Stands By Boy, 4, During Solo Run To Sonic

A 4-year-old boy who disappeared has been reunited with his mother with the help of the family dog.

DeAndre Mathis crossed busy Britton Road to visit a Sonic restaurant. He eventually walked about four blocks away from his house, but his dog didn’t leave his side the entire time.

Police got a call about a lost child on Friday morning and picked DeAndre up. Moose, the family’s 1-year-old Mastiff, was with him.

DeAndre was letting the dog out and decided to go to the restaurant on his own, police said. He was found wearing one boot and one sandal.

Andrea Mathis said she got a frantic call from work that her son was missing. Her sister was baby-sitting him and fell asleep. She said she is happy that Moose served as his protector.

“I think that he is a good dog and I’m glad he was there to keep my son safe,” she said.

She said the details of her son’s adventure were pretty scary.

“They crossed Britton Road,” she said. “He almost got hit by a car and that is when someone called the cops.”

When police found the boy, he could only give his name, but Moose helped fill in the pieces. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.