Category Archives: National

Seriously Misleading Tax Reform Act Posts

Yes, I’m probably going to anger a few folks, but I just can’t seem to let some of these frequent posts go unanswered. Why? It’s probably because I’m old, cranky, and don’t have a high tolerance for BS. You folks know who you are, because you keep regurgitating the Democrat talking points from the popular sources and any other possible source of disinformation. [Don’t believe a word I say – read the actual Tax Bill – I included the link at the bottom of the post]

TAX REFORM ACT

By a 51-48, strictly along party lines, the US Senate has passed a GOP-backed tax reform package that will cut taxes for more than 80 percent of all Americans (raising taxes on a tiny, disproportionately wealthy fraction), benefit small businesses, and make America’s extraordinarily high corporate tax rate — both statutory and effective — far more internationally competitive.”

Let’s start with what it isn’t — It’s not a giant step toward tax reform. As a matter of fact, it has some serious flaws, some of these changes don’t solve a darn thing, except as a political attempt by the Republicans to say, we got something done. It does however help many that its intended.

The main things it won’t solve; the national debt, it may even add to it, but that’s not its major flaw because the only way that problem will go away is through serious reductions in spending and assessing what our priorities are as a nation. I can tell you, if these politicians ever did get serious about debt reduction, the howling would be heard in other countries.

The other point I will make is there’s never going to be a perfect tax bill. Many people have been arguing for a Fair Tax system for years. It’s been rejected. It’s not a matter of how strongly you feel about it, the fact is, it’s never going to be passed, primarily because the left would see it as a regressive tax.

Now lets talk about what bothers me with so many Social Media posts on this topic.

The Democrat strategy wasn’t one of, lets bring our proposal forward to see what the public thinks. It was about class envy, trying to create a public opinion that only the evil rich will be the main beneficiaries, while everyone else has to take up the burdens of the national debt.

According to the CBO, the ~ 39% (combined federal and average of state and local rates), United States has the highest marginal corporate tax rate in the OECD and the third highest in the world. I can almost hear the collective eyes roll on this point. So what you may think? These corporate fat cats need to pay more. We’re tired of Corporate welfare, etc.

Let’s start with the basics of what a corporation is, and isn’t. It’s not the heirs of the Walmart stores (Waltons), the Koch brothers, Mobil Oil, whomever. A corporation is legal identification of a business. A means to hold together a business, control it as a single entity, totally separate from individual officers & staff who may come and go. When a corporation is taxed, it’s the entire business, which passes the costs of taxes on to it’s customers along with all the other expenses. So, if you’re mad at a company, you really just pass that litigation and taxation cost to all of its customers. Of course if a company can charge at a consistent rate, even if it can lower it’s overall operations cost, it’s going to make greater profits. This disturbs some people, but it’s a simple fact.

This is where the tax bill was trying to alter the playing field for corporations to keep making profits, but also, for the large ones to reconsider their overseas management / tax havens. Yes, the large ones do place their offices in more favorable taxed countries. The Republicans want them to move back, and if you recall, President Trump talked to several major automakers and other large industries early on, to bring back more domestic jobs. Yes, I know Trump has clothing in offshore manufacturing. Don’t look for absolute perfection.

Here’s the thing that keeps getting ignored, there are over 100 times more small businesses than large ones. They pay the same tax rate and they’re also the ones that overall employ more people than those with over 500 employees. So if you have just a handful of employees, a reduction from the mid 30% down to a low 21% is going to help. That’s the real focus of the bill, not the political party claim to it’s minions… `Republicans just want to create tax giveaways to the rich.`

President Barack Obama called for a reduction in our uncompetitive corporate tax rate. His proposed cut was smaller and structured different than the Republicans bill, but Obama agreed the existing rate was too high.

The anti-Trump analysts quickly weigh in. It reminds me of the Great Karnak. Lets see if any of their predictions come true. One thing that could be counted on even before this is passed, the annual debt is going to rise at just over the $1 Trillion level. It hasn’t a thing to do with the new tax act even though they want to tie the two together. The problem is and always has been, spending at a rate far greater than revenues.

  • The Tax Policy Center found that the bill would only boost GDP by 0.7% in 2018, well short of growth promised by Republicans.
  • The bill would also add $1.23 trillion to the federal deficit over 10 years, even when adding in new revenue from economic growth.

About 70 percent of all US taxpayers currently take the standard deduction. This deduction will approximately double in the newly passed bill.

Independent analyses found that the proposal would (a) result in net tax reduction for average taxpayers and households across all five income groups, including middle-income families, (b) create nearly one million new, full-time American jobs, and (c) boost US economic growth. The average household of four people, based on national median income, would save nearly $1,200 on their tax bill next year.

Does the new law cut Medicare or stop payment for certain cancer treatments? The short answer is no. There were OMB provisions passed well before Donald Trump took office, which have triggers altering the funding to Medicare should spending levels exceed specific thresholds. * Paul Ryan stated that if this were to happen, Congress would act to prevent this from occurring.

What does that have to do with cancer treatment? In 2013, when Medicare faced an automatic 2 percent cut under the sequester, some cancer clinics told the Washington Post that they couldn’t afford to continue administering pricey chemotherapy drugs and still stay in business. The Post‘s Sarah Kliff wrote: “Cancer patients turned away from local oncology clinics may seek care at hospitals, which also deliver chemotherapy treatments.”

“Oncology clinics are again concerned about a potential cut to payments they receive from Medicare for these cancer drugs.” The Community Oncology Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group for these practices, said in a Nov. 30th press release, that a further cut “will reduce access and increase costs for patients.”.

Once again, this was politics being played out through Democrat sympathetic news organizations. Designed to stir up the base, it did so for a while. This is not what the tax bill would do. There’s certainly concern, however, about the pay-go spending cut trigger and the potential impact.

* McConnell and Ryan issued a joint statement on Dec. 1, saying Congress would waive the pay-go requirement.

The sunset provision was necessary to meet the Byrd Rule requirement (adopted in 1985 and amended in 1990) that only allows Senate legislation to be passed with a simple majority if it does not result in net tax cuts beyond a 10-year period (otherwise, it requires 60 votes to prevent a legislation-stopping filibuster).

1986 was a marquee year for tax reform. Back then, Republicans controlled the White House and the Senate, and Democrats controlled the House. Neither party was in a position to dictate the terms, and any legislation passed was, by definition, a compromise. The result was the Tax Reform Act of 1986, signed into law by President Reagan on October 22, 1986.” The Hill 27 August 2012

References:

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The Constant Hum of Net-Neutrality?

I’m reading a lot of the “voices of reason”, telling us their hope for a brighter, better, fairer, more economical, world-wide-web is through FCC regulation. If only we do this one little thing, ask our representative’s for more regulation. As a matter of principle, and all that is net-holy, we need to demand more regulations, we have to get more bureaucrats to control this nightmare of an Internet that soon can befall us, without extensive government guidance.

When someone makes an extraordinary claim, they should be obligated to demonstrate their claim is real.

cartoon-people-clappingNet neutrality The common perception of net neutrality is positive. It’s supposed to require Internet service providers to treat all on-line content the same. They can’t deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites, block sites, or applications, nor can they put their own content at an advantage over rivals.

The claim “The elimination of the FCC enforcing net neutrality will give big cable companies control over what we see and do on-line. If corporations get their way, they’ll allow widespread throttling, blocking, censorship, and extra fees.”

Net neutrality advocates portray a problem, then without proper examination of facts, they want the government to control the Internet. Their proposals lack the essential explanations of, over what time period a remedy should occur, the cost, or how their regulations are going to monitor and insure the problem(s) were fixed.

Meanwhile a host of complaints, which almost any service provider routinely responds, are cited as hypothetical problematic issues.  Except where criminal conduct has been involved, there are no examples of any Internet-service provider preventing its customers from viewing content on-line. Comcast attempted to “throttle” or slow down access to certain data packets a decade ago; they were blasted in the court of public opinion and soon relented.

beware-false-claims-2There’s an illusion that somehow government can control enterprise better than individual companies. Nowhere can such a claim be demonstrated by facts, yet many persist we need more, not less government intervention. There’s a disconnect on how speeds and feeds would be monitored for each type of Internet application and entertainment source.

Having been involved with data communications over 30 years and responsible for managing the speed as well as the perceptions of individual users, complaints are the daily norm. In many instances a problem stems from user perceptions, equipment malfunction, and purposeful attacks on companies and infrastructure through clever hacking.

One of the frequent claims by those advocating net neutrality are that service providers will raise rates without government regulation. I know for reasonable certainty two things will occur in regard to pricing.

  •  price increases and advertisement revenue claw back is already in the works.
  •  regulations, monitoring, and compliance with increased government regulations most certainly will increase the cost to the consumer.

Google has an 88 percent share of the search-engine market. Facebook has a 77 percent share of mobile social media. Amazon, controls 70 percent of e-book sales, how would government effectively manage their access and cost to use with additional regulation?

If anything, net neutrality is a lose-lose scenario. Access that we take for granted would invariably be slower because providers would have to be increasingly watchful of data flow. Throttling techniques, (packet shaping) would be necessitated. Costs to the end-user would increase.

Summary

The Internet is made up of billions of users, millions of individual pieces of equipment, passed through complex routing by thousands of companies. We’ve seen exponential growth since 1994. Video tape rentals were the usual source for on demand entertainment. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and even Google were created during this period. The flexibility, adaptability, and skills required to meet this growth were all done without government supervision. You can almost guarantee if the government had been supervising, we would be still using ISDN or dial-up, waiting for connection, and certainly not getting video on demand.

“When I took office, only high energy physicists
had ever heard of what is called the World Wide
Web… Now even my cat has its own page.”
Bill Clinton

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Why Do We Need Guns?

Statute of Liberty There have been several horrific events which have brought out the worst of humanity to take advantage of people gathered to either worship or enjoy themselves. Most, if not all, if my memory serves me, were perpetrated in designated safe zones. This is the hallmark of people who are predators.

The person attacking anyone with deadly intent is an angry and aggressive psychopath with no sense of the moral dimension of their crime. Their internal logic is different from yours.

Those thwarted in some criminal enterprise for profit, who use firearms to get gain, may recognize the error of their ways and stop. Those driven by compulsion won’t stop. You need a good tool to save you. Whether that tool is a firearm which you’ve been trained to use, or a baseball bat, the result needs to be the same. That psychopath needs to be stopped or the carnage will continue.

The second amendment was a recognition of human behavior in all its forms, both good and bad. It’s not there because, oh by the way, we may want to hunt, go to sporting events, or collect interesting mechanisms. It was written as an inherent right of every free person to defend themselves or their property.

Just as important as it is to be able to speak freely, gather together in common purpose, prevent unjustifiable search, arrest & property seizure, worship how we may choose; self-protection is absolutely fundamental to a free society. Without it, the other civil liberties can’t be guaranteed.

Eventually, without a second amendment, a greater form of tyranny emerges, and there’s no way to readily restore prior conditions. To keep pace with these real and constant threats, the law abiding citizen must be able to continue to legally possess and use the latest in weapons technology.

It’s not about sports, militias, parades, or historic relics of the past. It’s about each one of us being able to defend & protect against any aggressor, no matter their size, shape, or societal status with weaponry capable of matching that challenge.

Societies protect themselves, and so too should any free individual person, unless we accept our fate to the whims of criminals, and the providential timing of a benevolent government appointed employee.

Freedom comes at a price purchased by the observant, able to work, and willing to sacrifice for it.

George Orwell seeing in front of our nose