Category Archives: politicians

Income Taxes

According to a recent article in CNNMoney, ‘a little more than 43% of U.S. households — or 70 Million homes will end up owing no federal income taxes for 2013.”  Of these households, 67% have incomes of below $30,000.  23 millions households pay nothing to the Federal government, when you consider payroll taxes to support Medicare and Social Security.

These statistics highlight a couple of problems that needs to be addressed.  First, approximately 33% of households with incomes over $30,000 pay NO Federal taxes.  This is due to, too many exemptions, exclusions, credits and deductions.  The Federal debt and deficit are too large and the need in America is too urgent for this to continue.  I am not advocating higher rates, just that everyone should pay something, every year, regardless of who they are of what they have.

Our Legislative brand looks at each “special” tax break in a silo, in many cases ignoring the compounding of these breaks.  Households can and do take multiple breaks to minimize their tax liability.  The Legislative branch needs to consider the bigger picture and how these combined breaks impact households.  The Legislative branch needs to take support the view that ‘everyone’ pays someone (with perhaps the exception of the elderly and disabled).

Additionally, there needs to be either a “cap or ceiling” on deductions taken each year.  This cap should be a percentage, thereby making sure that everyone pays something.  So that taxpayers do not feel like they are being shortchanged, I would allow the “excess” tax break to be rolled forward for 3-5 years.  Thereby, bringing in more tax revenue while at the same time, not ‘taking’ away anything from taxpayers.

Another option is to create a minimum tax that everyone pays, a floor.  It can be something modest, to pay for the military, national parks, food inspectors, and etc.  For example, every household in the U.S. must  pay a minimum of $500 in taxes.  You might exempt the elderly and those with a disability.  The idea being that everyone pays something.

There will be those who say that the poor would be paying a higher percentage of their income than those at the higher income brackets.  In an ideal world, you would incorporate both the ideas.  Put a cap on tax breaks, combined with a minimum tax that everyone pays.  This will bring in more revenue and be must fairer to everyone.

The second issue that these statistics highlight is there are far far too many households in the U.S. making below $30000 a year.  Too many families are having to support themselves on an income with no room for savings, emergencies or the extras that make for a good life.  Higher quality, higher paying jobs is the solution for this.  Some might believe that businesses should be ‘forced’ to pay more, I don’t think that is the solution.  A thriving economy and manufacturing jobs would help.  If this were to be improved, the Federal government would also bring in more revenue.

The U.S. can’t ignore these statistics any longer, something needs to be done.  The Congress and the President needs to take action.

 

 

Fast Food Restaurant Protests

One of the big stories over the past few weeks is protests going on around the county by fast food workers demanding higher pay.  In some cases, these people are walking off the job in protest.  Fast food workers are protesting at McDonalds, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC and others.  Many of these workers are upset because they believe they should be paid more, in some cases more than double what they are being paid today.

I think the workers have every right to protest, find other jobs or quit.  The business model at these restaurants will not adequately support higher pay.  The jobs are lower wage because they are repetitive in nature, requiring only basic skills.  The jobs were designed for employees with limited training and that can be done will little supervision.  Further, the customers of these fast food restaurants want low cost food.  They want the restaurants to continue promotions, to continue their $1 menus and continue their discounted ‘combo’ offerings.

The real problem with this scenario is the people who are now working these low skilled, entry level fast food jobs.  Traditionally, most of the fast food jobs were taken by high school and college aged students who might be living at home and in a position to make minimum wage.  They were gaining good experience while at the same time wanting a flexible schedule where they might be only working 20-30 hours per week.

If you go into most fast food restaurants today, the employees are people in there 20s or 30s, sometimes older, who have children and families to support.  No longer are these employees wanting to work part time with flexible schedules.  They want to work 40 hours a week, have benefits and be paid a wage that will allow them to support not only themselves, but their family.

The real problem is the people who are in these jobs are low skilled workers who are unable to find other employment.  Companies don’t want to invest in training.  They want to hire people ready to work and contribute day one.  Further, there are a limited number of higher paid jobs, there are not enough manufacturing jobs in American that pay higher wages.

The real long term solution is to create an environment where companies can afford to manufacture goods in the US again.  This will create higher demand for skilled works and will result in employers willing to hire and train the people they need.

There are many things that the President and Congress can do to improve the economic conditions and jobs in the United States.  I hope that rather than make it more difficult for businesses to operate, with programs like Obamacare, they should be making a concerted effort to make it easier and less expensive.  This will result in more higher paying jobs, this is the real solution that these fast food workers want and need.

 

 

 

 

RNC to Punish CNN and NBC

I just read that the RNC is going to “punish” NBC and CNN by not allowing them to broadcast the primary election Republican Party debates.  As a long time Republican, I think this is totally absurd.  While I understand the Republicans don’t like the fact that Hilary Clinton is being given an “unfair” advantage in the Presidential race, I believe there is a difference between news and entertainment.   I believe the American voter understands that.

I am concerned about where this takes us in the extreme.  So what if the White House decided to not do anymore interviews with Fox News and tells everyone in the administration to never talk to any conservative news organization or reporter.  Does that do the American people any good or does it hurt more.

What if the DNC told all the networks that if they do any positive stories on any potential Republican candidates, they were going to ban them from covering the Senate, the White House and any “political event’.  And further that if they do any nice human interest stories on any Republicans they are on the outs for all future DNC conventions.

I do believe that there are biases in the media, I think the better approach is to give people a choice.  The RNC should work with the other networks to have counter programming on the leading Republican candidates.  The RNC should work on promoting itself and its candidates rather than trying to pull down the networks.

The reality is Hillary Clinton is a pretty remarkable woman.  I may not like her politics, leadership or the way she conducts herself, she has had a remarkable career and life.  She will go down in history as a woman who broke through barriers and made an impact on the United States and world.  Many young girls and woman look up to her.

The Republican National Committee needs to reverse itself and go on the offensive to promote its ideas and values.  It needs to stand behind its candidates and push them forward, rather than believe holding Hillary Clinton back is a worthwhile strategy.

 

Politics of Dependency and Addiction

Cory Monteith and Lisa Robin Kelly died of drug overdoses.  The Michael Jackson wrongful death case is in full swing.  Anthony Wiener is running for Mayor of New York and has continued to be plagued with the need to “sext” with pretty young women.  Lindsey Lohan exited rehab.  Jesse Jackson, Jr. was sentenced to prison for ‘stealing’ funds from his campaign

As a society we idolize the rich, young, beautiful, powerful and well-connected.  They are given chance after chance to redeem themselves, to be forgiven.  While at the same time giving the impression to the young that they too can make mistakes and be forgiven.  But that is not the case.  They will spend time in jail, they will be held accountable, they won’t be given chance after chance to fix their issues.

We need equal justice under law…. as it says over the entrance to the Supreme Court.  It is the only way our children will see these celebrities and politicians should not be looked up to and emulated.   We need to fix our legal system, we need to fix our political system and most of all we need to stop idolizing actors and musicians.