Friday, November 20, 2009

HR 4130 - Share The Sacrifice Act of 2010 – Barney Frank (D-MA) Signs on to Murtha (D-PA) Tax Hike on The Middle Class

Barney Frank (D-MA)4th District - Points the Way to More Taxes -image: stand up for America

Corrected 11-24: The Share the Sacrifice Act proposes taxes based, not on income, rather "tax liability". This liablity will affect those "middle-class households earning between $30,000 and $150,000" (Politico)The original headline and body of this op-ed has been corrected from an earnings of $22,600 to $30,000

HR 4130, entitled “Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010”, allows for an increase in Federal Income Tax to those with with an income of $30,000 per year in 2011. The Act is intended to offset the costs for the escalation in the Afghan War - the apparent surtax would be “necessary” in order to allow the current revenue levels to pay for the trillion dollar Health Care Reform Act, now before the Senate. In a Congressional document entitled:
, the authors speak specifically about the costs of the War and its proposed drain on Health Care Reform. The Bill, was introduced by the following legislators: Congressman Dave Obey (D-WI), Congressman John Murtha (D-PA), Congressman John Larson (D-CT), Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA), Congressman Raul Grijalva (DAZ),Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA).

In order to justify pushing more families into poverty, the esteemed Democrat members of Congress offered this logic:

“For the last year, as we’ve struggled to pass healthcare reform, we’ve been told that we have to pay for the bill – and the cost over the next decade will be about a trillion dollars. Now the President is being asked to consider an enlarged counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan, which proponents tell us will take
at least a decade and would also cost about a trillion dollars. But unlike the healthcare bill, that would not be paid for. We believe that’s wrong,” said Obey, Murtha and Larson. “Regardless of whether one favors the war or not, if it is to be fought, it ought to be paid for.”

The problem with this statement is that the Health Care Reform Act now before the Senate includes multiple taxes. According to the Tax Foundation in the Senate Plan there are five significant areas of taxation as of October 30, 2009. A rise in the corporate income tax, an excise tax on “Cadillac Insurance Plans”, Pay or Play provisions for employers, Penalties for those who do not carry insurance, and a Tax on Medical Devices, and Other Health Care Items.

Added to the burden on the middle class is the demise of the tax cuts enacted in 2003 under President Bush. in 2011, individuals in 39 of the 50 United States will be at a 50% tax rate. The end of a tax cut, is a tax increase

Welcome to Massachuetts - Federal and Commonwealth Taxes Unending - photo fliker

Frank, Chairman of the House Finance Committee, and McGovern (D-MA), should be familiar with the concept of “Taxation Gone Wild”; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is constantly in the red due to the myriad entitlement programs, specifically Commonwealth Care, and the inability of the Massachusetts D.O.R. to collect enough taxes in order to meet budget demands. Apparently, Massachusetts lacks enough corporate and individual taxpayers in order to foot the bill; the Massachusetts Legislature in collusion with Governor Deval Patrick, implemented an additional round of taxes on the dwindling tax base last July, with the end result of a continued decline in D.O.R. income.

One gets the impression that those members of Congress and the Senate currently involved in areas of finance should take basic Accounting Courses, or refresher courses. It is glaringly apparent to those who are still fortunate enough to be employed, that adding additional taxes, takes away from the little discretionary income currently available. Whether one is lower, middle or upper income, the proposed new round of Federal Taxes, will take what is left of discretionary income away; this will significantly affect the retail, hotel and restaurant and travel industry, causing further unemployment. Should double digit inflation rear its ugly head in the not too distant future, (and economic indicators would have the U.S. on the brink) one can add food and housing to that list.

Although, the AFP (French Press) believes that the Act is “merely symbolic” and is “seen as having to chance of passage”, given the tax, and spend with abandon policy of the Obama Administration and his Congress, one cannot be overly confident that this particular Amendment, or a similar version, will not become law. Deval Patrick (Barack Obama’s Mini-Me) and his Massachusetts Legislators, have consistently defied the cries of the Commonwealth citizenry; those opposed to a specific tax, will find it return under another name, most likely accompanied by additional tax measure. Given Frank’s history of fiscal irresponsibility, and his stamp of approval on this particular Act, it is most likely a given and should he be re-elected in 2010, his brand of accounting will continue. To be fair, Frank did not author this Act, Murtha (D-PA) is responsible, but Frank’s position as Chairman of the House Finance Committee puts a “stamp of approval” on the “Share the Sacrifice Act”.

One can only hope that a new Congress and Senate in 2010 would author a “Give Back the Hard Earned Taxes to the People Act” – It is that the current administration and congress have created a similar atmosphere to that of 1773 : taxation without true representation has become the norm. Fortunately for Congressman Frank and Company the practice of Tar and Feathers has been lost to history, but the ability to vote has not.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Obama Administration Decision - Terrorist Trials In New York City – Playing Politics with the Hearts and Minds of New York’s Citizens

The decision by the Obama Administration to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, has come under fire from both Republicans and Democrats – giving the impression that politics trumps reason. From New York’s embattled Governor, Democrat David Patterson to Republican’s in the Senate, agree in strong opposition to trying enemy combatants who were not captured nor held on U.S. soil, for a war crime committed against the United States. Pundits are weighing in on the political cost of of the trial all without giving thought to the American citizens who were so egregiously affected by the bombings of the World Trade Center, as well the Pentagon and Flight 93.

The emotional burden on the families and the nation, as a whole, is the biggest reason that these trials should not be held in New York or, anywhere on U.S. soil for that matter. The costs of increased security, at a time when the nation can ill afford any additional expenditure, should be a secondary consideration – it is an insult to those who died and those who were left behind as a result of the greatest attack on U.S. soil in history.

The argument that there will be an increase in terrorists activity in New York and that an effective trial cannot take place, has been debunked by Ben West and Fred Burton of Statfor Global Intelligence. They contend that the City of New York has held trails of this nature in the past, with successful outcomes, most notably, the trial of Omar Abdel Rahman, in 1993, which resulted in a life sentence. They point to the effectiveness of the U.S. Attorneys office of the Southern District of New York against Islamic Radicals who have done harm on U.S. soil. That said, a fact sheet from the U.S. Justice Department, shows the variance in sentencing in recent trails involving foreign and domestic terrorists.

The “What If’s are the proverbial elephant in the room that is driving the emotions of New Yorkers caught in the never ending politicizing of every facet of American Life. Granted, there have been life sentences passed down in the Southern District, however, not without ongoing problems, specifically the trial of the Blind Sheik, Omar Rahma, where he continued to fuel his “jihad” against American once incarcerated in the U.S. using his lawyer as a willing conduit. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that some fears regarding this particular trail are justified. The fact remains, however, that trying these particular individuals in the City they destroyed, under U.S. Civil Law is a bad idea, perhaps not logistically, nor a gain or loss of political “capital”, but most definitely as a slap I the face to those who live in the City of New York, the first Capitol of the United State of America and the symbol to those who suffer worldwide that a safe harbor does indeed exist.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MA - Gov. Deval Patrick Calls for In-State Tuition and Drivers Licenses for Illegal Immigrants – Schools Include “Immigration Lessons”. Next Stop:D.C.

Deval Patrick with Barack Obama - Tax and Spend image msnbc

As the Nation, lately, is most likely to follow Massachusetts’ lead in matters of economic chaos (see Massachusetts Universal Health Care Debacle), Democrat Governor, Deval Patrick has renewed his call for for illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition assistance from the Commonwealth. Based on a report released by the executive branch advisory council, illegal immigrants would be eligible for in-state tuition, complete with financial assistance, the ability to obtain a drivers license, and a host of other services detailed in the report entitled: “The New American Agenda”.

The Report, prepared in October and released by the Governor this week, is broken into three sections: The Overview: part 1,Education: part 2 and “Refugees: part 3.

All three sections of the report call for creation of more state-funded programs, something that may leave the State’s dwindling tax-paying population, wondering how much more Massachusetts can squeeze a paycheck. In July, the Commonwealth approved a round of tax increases, including a 25% hike in the sales tax, and taxes on communications (rising cable and telephone bills statewide) and a tax on Satellite Television and unemployment benefits. Desperate to cover expenses from Commonwealth Care (Massachusetts Universal Health Care Program), the State has even proposed taxing Massachusetts pet owners - no kidding. The only way to pay for these programs (some of which receive federal funding) is obvious, increase taxes on employers (what’s left of them) and those still working in the Commonwealth.

Boosting services for legal immigrants would be one thing – the nation has been built on the backs of immigrants – therefore, any proposal that would serve to aid those who have arrived here legally, are welcome, however, one finds that paying for services rendered to those who have broken the laws of the nation and by sheer numbers, have pushed away legal immigrants by reducing immigration “quotas”, is a little difficult to comprehend.

Most worrisome about the proposal are the national implications: Massachusetts policy under the Patrick administration seems to find its way to the Obama administration – and then to the halls of Congress where yet another ridiculous, tax-payer funded, unworkable program is proposed in a Bill introduced by Speaker Pelosi. Massachusetts residents have the ability to move across state lines (and as the State’s population declines, it is apparent that is exactly what is happening), however, once these idiotic programs are national, there are few choices when it comes to protecting what’s left of one’s income from the tax-happy administration in Washington.

It is, therefore, no wonder, that the Governors approval ratings have been in the tank, and Massachusetts residents are already reviewing options for 2010. Although recent polls suggest that Patrick would succeed in a gubernatorial race, with the inclusion of Democrat conveniently turned Independent, Tim Cahill, and Republican Christy Mihos (Republican turned Independent turned Republican), it remains a bit early to call this race “Safe” for the incumbent. Massachusetts voters, although interested in Independent Candidates, generally push them aside at the 10th hour for one of the major party candidates. Christy Mihos knows this too well, his poll numbers were identical to Cahill’s when he began to run, only to find that voters turned to either Patrick or Healy once inside the ballot box, leaving him with 6 percent of the vote. One can anticipate that the same thing will occur with Cahill, leaving the Commonwealth with two choices and the Governor will, in all likelihood, be asking his close friends Axelrod and Obama for employment in 2011.

Note: the opinion on immigration is based on the author being a first-generation American of Hispanic descent.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fed Chairman Predicts Continued Unemployment, Credit Remains Tight, Amidst Falling Dollar and Rising Oil Prices – 2010 Forecast Dim - Analysis

Jimmy Carter Graces Cover of Time several times in 1979 - as dollar declined, oil prices rose, unemployement and inflation created the "misery index"

In a speech before the Economic Club of New York, Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, predicted continued unemployment through 2010 yesterday. In addition, Bernanke noted that banks were less likely to release loans, another factor barring economic recovery. This came on the heels of a further weakening dollar and the continued rise of gold prices. Add to the mix, rising oil prices on the fall of the dollar leading 2010 to recap the misery of the late 1970’s. Only one thing is missing from the scenario; inflation.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis the PCE inflation rate (personal consumption expenditures) for September was 1.5% , with the next report due in November. One of the biggest factor that contributes to inflation is a weakening dollar. As the dollar weakens, prices rise – hardest hit: those who are unemployed, underemployed and living on a fixed income.

Enter the IRS who will be asking millions of American’s who either work two jobs, or are married (see AP article for all categories )to pay back up to part of the “stimulus” found in paychecks since April. This will increase the burden on those seniors, who are now facing no cost of living increase in Social Security disbursements and a rising Prescription Drug premium (Medicare D).

An interesting article, entitled “The 1923 German Hyperinflation”, was recently re-published by the Philadelphia Bulletin – it is well worth the read (here) Although one does see an increase in Government dependent programs (note: some are still pending, specifically the massive health care reform bill), it is the similarities between the late 70’s rather than the 1920’s Germany which gave rise to Hitler, that are more striking.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Abortion Not Likely A factor In Catholic Vote in 2010, Despite Church Inclusion in Health Care Reform Debate

A recent article in Politico suggested that the Democrat Party may lose the “Catholic Vote” in 2010 should abortion be included in the Health Care Reform plan that has gone to the Senate – the argument: that Catholic Bishops will play a factor in how the rank and file votes in upcoming elections should the Bill include abortion has never been tested.

The Catholic Identity versus the Political Identity of Catholics has, in the past, resulted in a run to the Party and away from Church Teachings. The 2008 elections were a testament to that fact, despite the increased efforts from Rome to educate Catholics on politics and abortion. Additionally, In the 11th hour of the 2008 Presidential Campaign, the Church began to make mention of abortion and the vote as it related to those Catholics who held political office and their pro-abortion stance. High profile Democrats: John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi openly espouse their “Catholic Identity" in an effort to sway their constituents, while being endorsed by abortion activists as being leaders of the pro-abortion movement in the United States (2008 List here). Several Catholic Priests, who openly opposed pro-abortion candidates, were quickly rebuked by both the press and the Church. As far as Barak Obama, the candidate, was concerned, he made no pretense of the fact that he was clearly pro-abortion; his support for late-term abortions was, for the most part, public knowledge.

The Catholic “excuse” at the time (2008) was – “war”. In an effort to assuage their “Catholic Identity”, Obama, the candidate of “peace”, was chosen over McCain, the candidate of “war”. The real motivator however, had little to do with religion – it was, and it remains – the economy. Fear that the Republican Party, seen as been “in control of the economy for eight years, despite the fact that Congress was, for two of those years, a Democrat majority, pushed the Catholic Vote towards the Democrat who was going to fix the economy, and a host of other issues – abortion was simply not a factor. In the month before the campaign ended polls supported an Obama win, based solely on the economy.

Although the Catholic Bishops, appeared to have some say in the Stupak Amendment, it remains doubtful that a social issue will be the driving force against Health Care Reform. What will drive this particular vote is economics. The rank and file Catholic is well aware of the cost of the bill and the current state of the economy. It is a question of what will happen when it comes time to pay for additional government programs that will be the driving factor – this time, abortion will be the “excuse.”

Although a poll by Gallop in May of this year, suggests that more American’s consider themselves pro-life, since that pollster began asking the question in 1995, recent polls suggest the economy and health care reform are top on the minds of most Americans. In fact a recent survey by Rasmussen, shows 85% of the respondents chose the economy as the top issue.

Therefore, the probablity exists that those that are attempting to drive the conversation away from the economic factors of Health Care Reform, though “fear of Rome and the Catholic Church in general”, are missing the mark. The evangelical Christians, who decided to sit out the election in 2008, as there were no acceptable Republican candidates. As early as 2007, James Dobson and a host of evangelical leaders decided they would not support any Republican nominee (Video here. He went further, in 2008, Dobson specifically stated that he would not support McCain (see James Dobson on not voting for McCain in 2008 here). The loss of the evangelical vote propelled Obama into office, and maintained the Democrat majority in the House and Senate. Therefore, moving the conversation away from the economy to the abortion issue, is doing nothing more than announcing to those Catholics who do follow the Church’s teachings, that they will be joining the ranks of those millions of evangelical social issue voters who will come roaring back to the polls in 2010 and 2010.

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