Want a Fair Tax System?

Why do Major Corporations and the Super Rich have the ability to pay less taxes?

Because they can!!

The government has become a special interest government and those who have the money to get deals and breaks can do so because they are big enough to afford lobbyists and lawyers who get them favors with politicians.

Why would politicians give favors to big companies?  I’ll let you decide.

For now let’s look at a solution, not only a solution to limit the favoritism but a solution that would make every Americans life easier and more fair.

Watch and comment;

What could be more fair than EVERYONE without exception paying the same percentage?

Advertisements

Gerrymandering a New Government

According to Wikipedia – the definition of Gerrymandering:

In the process of setting electoral districtsgerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander (/ˈɛriˌmændər/); however, that word can also refer to the process.

In an article by Douglas J. Amy Department of Politics at Mount Holyoke College he states;

Most Americans believe that who wins political races is decided on election day by the voters. But in a single-member district electoral system that is frequently not true. Who wins is often determined before voters even go to the polls – sometimes many years before. The outcome is decided by those who draw the district lines. If they decide to create a district that is 70 percent Republican, there is little chance the Democratic candidate will win. And Republican candidates will usually lose if a district is drawn so that it is predominantly Democratic. Voters go to the polls confident in the illusion that they control the fate of the candidates. But in reality they are often only participating in the last act of political play whose ending has already been written.

Which party wins the most seats may not determined by how many votes that party gets, but instead by how the district lines are drawn. 

In a recent article on February 15th 2014 in the DavidsonNews.net a community news website to share information and promote discussion about town news, events, and issues in the town of Davidson, N.C.

Former Congressional candidate and author Harry Taylor states ending gerrymandering is critical for democracy. “The state General Assembly can redistrict, or re-establish voting districts, after every 10-year census,” Taylor said in an interview. “The party in control can do whatever they want to do.”

Is there a solution?

Oliver DeMille and Orrin Woodward in their Bestselling Book LeaderShift provide a comprehensive plan with 28 specific, non-partisan constitutional and policy proposals

Other considerations;

Again Professor Amy weighs in;

Given the pernicious and clearly undemocratic results of gerrymandering, its elimination is obviously high on the list of those who believe in fair elections. But reform in this area has been slow in coming, and the problem continues to plague our political system. Some reformers have tried to challenge this practice in court, but they have been consistently unsuccessful. While the Supreme Court has said that redistricting plans can be challenged in federal court, they have consistently refused to overturn them. Strangely, while the Supreme Court has been eager to label as unconstitutional the practice of “racial gerrymandering” – the manipulation of district lines to increase the representation of minorities – it has been reluctant to criticize partisan gerrymandering even in its most blatant and undemocratic forms.

Obviously those in Politics (the Supreme Court is appointed by the highest of elected Politicians – President of the United States) have little interest in changing this long standing political maneuvering. Since Politicians have little interest in changing something that both parties want to use to ensure their candidates get or stay in office, perhaps a system where we live within those districts would be a solution to satisfy both parties, at least until the impact of “brutal reality” reveals itself.

Here is my simple proposal;

We have the technology to know who lives where and what their political philosophy is in order to create these districts, so why not have two separate forms of government to match their political philosophies. Since all politics for the most part boil down to a couple major issues; money and power, let those who believe in more government power and those who believe in less government each run their own system.

Let each party whose district they control, levy their taxes and provide services according to their plan of governing. In those districts that believe in a more liberal system of government where the government controls the economy and provides liberal benefits for their constituents let them do so. In those districts where the constituents prefer a more free market approach and personal accountability let them also tax and provide services to people in their districts. Other than those items of National concern such as providing for the general defense of the nation, etc., the districts would be self governing and self sustaining.

I believe what would happen in a fairly short period of time, would be that the debate over which system of governing is best, will not be necessary. The reality of each system to its constituents would reveal itself.

2014 – Let’s Consider Our Legacy…..Again

2014

In a post I did on January 2nd 2013 entitled Your Legacy I challenged us all to;

  1. Be thankful
  2. Change our input
  3. Determine our Legacy

If you haven’t been able to determine what you want that legacy to be for you, perhaps I can give you a perspective you may not have thought of, or some insight into a legacy beyond yourself. That is you know what legacy’s are really all about….what we did for others or what we did for mankind.

 In this excerpt of a recent article on the Legacy of 2013  by Oliver DeMille are some facts and thoughts on where America is headed. For you maybe this article can give you some ideas as to what you want your legacy to be.

During 2013 state governments in the United States passed over 40,000 new laws.

That’s not a typo. It’s 40,000 new laws — which means five times that many regulations when all the agencies of government write these laws into agency policies. It’s even more if you add the new federal laws.

Taken together, these signal a serious period of decline for America. We are a nation being overtaken by our biggest competitor (some would say future enemy) China, and simultaneously mired in skyrocketing levels of regulation.

Governments, federal and state, now seem determined to regulate and overregulate every facet of our lives — private and business. Many entrepreneurs, who were already reeling from reams of Obamacare regulations, are now facing more government red tape from every flank.

The free enterprise economy is literally under siege. Those who think this is exaggerated should try to open a significant new business in the United States. Most of the biggest entrepreneurs and corporations who have attempted this recently have decided to build in China or some other economy instead. The U.S. government has become generally hostile to business.

This is a strange reality for the land of the free and the home of the brave. Long considered the bastion of world freedom and economic opportunity, America is consistently less appealing to many businesses and investors.

The December 31, 2013 issue of USA Today summarized this overarching trend by saying that “aristocracy” is now “in” in America.

Aristocracy, really? That’s a bold statement. Yet it is increasingly true. The lower classes are more dependent on government, and the middle classes only survive by using debt. Only the upper class, the elites, are financially flourishing — and many of them rely on international investment that is growing in foreign economies.

Anyone relying on the U.S. economy right now is concerned. What will the escalating rollout of Obamacare bring? How many more government regulations will come in 2014, and how will this further weaken the economy?

The experts are finally taking notice of sharply rising levels of regulation, even if Washington isn’t.

For example, Francis Fukuyama called our time “The Great Unravelling” (The American Interest, Jan/Feb 2014) and Steven M. Teles called it “Kludgeocracy in America” (National Affairs, Fall 2013). We have become a Kludgeocracy indeed, with more business-killing regulation every week.

In The Discovery of Freedom, Rose Wilder Lane said that,

“Men in Government who imagine that they are controlling a planned economy must prevent economic progress—as, in the past, they have always done.”

What is her definition of a planned economy? Answer: modern France, Britain, and the United States. She quoted Henry Thomas Buckle, who wrote:

“In every quarter, and at every moment, the hand of government was felt. Duties on importation, and on exportation; bounties to raise up a losing trade, and taxes to pull down a remunerative one; this branch of industry forbidden, and that branch of industry encouraged; one article of commerce must not be grown because it was grown in the colonies, another article might be grown and bought, but not sold again, while a third article might be bought and sold, but not leave the country.

“Then, too, we find laws to regulate wages; laws to regulate prices; laws to regulate the interest of money…The ports swarmed with [government officials], whose sole business was to inspect nearly every process of domestic industry, to peer into every package, and tax every article…”

This was written about France, just before it lost its place as the world’s most powerful nation, and it was published as a warning to Britain, just before it lost it’s superpower status. This quote applies perfectly to America today.

Great nations in decline need innovation and entrepreneurialism, but instead they choose anti-innovation and anti-entrepreneurial regulation. It’s amazing how every nation repeats this well-known but addictive path of self-destruction.

As Lane Kenworthy argues in Foreign Affairs, opponents of bigger government “are fighting a losing battle.” In the near future, he says,

“More Americans will work in jobs with low pay, will lose a job more than once during their careers, and will reach retirement age with little savings.”

But this will be offset, he suggests, by more vacation days, less working hours each week, and more government programs that pay for many of these people’s needs.

Many of the experts agree — he U.S. economy isn’t going to boom anytime soon, but this will be balanced for investors by significant economic successes in Mexico, South Korea, Poland, Turkey, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, among other places.

All of this adds up to an America on the verge of what Paul Kennedy called the “fall of great powers”: overreach in international affairs that spends much of the nation’s prosperity, and simultaneously too much government regulation at home — shutting down a nation’s innovative/entrepreneurial class at the same time that the government taxes and spends more and more.

This same pattern brought down the top leader status of Spain, France, Britain and the Soviet Union. Before these, it brought down Athens, Rome, and the Ottoman Empire. Unless the United States changes course, it is following this same blueprint for decline.

When historians look back on 2013, they may well see it as the tipping point to a rapid American downturn. Partisan conflicts, government spying on its own people, drastic government spending, constantly increasing regulation, the rapid rise of China — any of these could fuel real decline. Together they may be insurmountable.

But one thing stands out: In a nation desperately in need of innovation and entrepreneurial initiative, the government is handing out innovation-blocking regulations at a breakneck pace.

The good news in all this is that entrepreneurs don’t give up easily. Tenacity is part of their DNA. The future will be determined by this race between politicians (increasing regulations) and entrepreneurs (innovation and prosperity).

Whoever wins will lead the 21st Century.

Our future as a nation, as well as our children and grandchildren’s future depend on who wins. Perhaps the role you could play in helping to develop a stronger and freer America might be your legacy. So look at the last year and determine what you will do differently this year, then look beyond this year and determine when you get to the end of your life what you want your Legacy to be. Perhaps it will be one that changes the course of history for the benefit of all freedom loving people.

Be aware of the magnitude of YOUR significance and remember;

  1. Be Thankful – YOU are alive today to play a role
  2. Change YOUR Input – educate and develop yourself
  3. Determine YOUR Legacy – only YOU can

Why Do People Immigrate To America?

According to the Migration Policy Institute:

Of the 40.4 million foreign born residing in the United States in 2011, 38 percent entered the country prior to 1990, 27 percent entered between 1990 and 1999, and almost 36 percent entered in 2000 or later.

That would make the current immigration population of the United States the 33rd largest country in the world. There are 242 countries which means over 210 countries around the world are smaller than our current population of immigrants alone.

Have you ever wondered why people from other countries leave their homes, family, and the land they grew up in and risk everything to come to America? They come because America was known to the rest of the world as the land of opportunity. The great majority of Americans, approximately 290 million of us, were born here. We only know America as we see it, as an insider, so our perspective is minimal.

I have read of, heard, and spoken with countless immigrants who have shared their concern for the direction of America. The immigrants I have spoken to don’t classify themselves as Italian Americans, German Americans, Greek Americans (my ethnic heritage), or African Americans. They proudly say they are Americans! They have come to America many of them with nothing but the shirt on their backs and very few dollars. They have taken menial jobs and worked hard to save a few dollars to start a business, or go to college. Some became successful working for a company by doing what few American born workers were willing to do. They were and continue to be grateful for the opportunity to determine their own destiny.

Now, so many foreign born and American born citizens are concerned the opportunities to succeed are getting increasingly difficult due to a ever growing and intrusive government. For what purpose you might ask? Is it to make America more fair or provide more equality of opportunity? I don’t hear complaints from the many hard working immigrants (legal or not) who just appreciate the opportunity to pursue their dreams by discipline and hard work. Is there discrimination in America? Always has been, and most likely always will be. I’m sure many of the immigrants can tell us horror stories about discrimination we might find hard to believe.

One recent talk I heard I want to share, as it is a story similar to those told to me by so many immigrants who came here with a larger perspective than the almost 300 million born here. This is not a red, blue, or tea party talk. Listen to the principles that attracted this man and so many other immigrants to America. This is real perspective from someone who has lived through experiences many of us have not. I challenge you to listen with an open mind because for some of us will disagree, but maybe we haven’t lived anywhere else but in America.

Do We Need a New Definition of Austerity? Or a New Definition of Leader?

Austerity to Blame? But Where’s the Austerity? an article I first read in Forbes by Paul Roderick Gregory is a fabulous essay written that challenges the concept that governments of this world are really cutting their spending.

In economicsausterity describes policies used by governments to reduce budget deficits during adverse economic conditions according to the definition provided in Wikipedia.

Paul Gregory is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. He holds an endowed professorship in the Department of Economics at the University of Houston, Texas. Mr. Gregory is a research professor at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin, and is chair of the International Advisory Board of the Kiev School of Economics.

Here is Mr Gregory’s article:

Keynesian Economic thinkers complain that the world’s economies are drowning in austerity. They argue we need more government spending and stimulus, not spending cuts. Northern Europe should bail out its less-fortunate neighbors to the South so they can pay their teachers, public employees and continue generous transfers to the poor and unemployed. If not, Europe’s South will remain mired in recession. In America, Keynesians entreat the skinflint Republicans to loosen the purse strings so we can escape sub par growth. They advise Japan to spend itself out of permanent stagnation and welcome recent steps in this direction.

The stimulationists complain that they have been overwhelmed by the defeatist austerity crowd, lead by the un-neighborly Germans and the obstructionist Republicans.  If only Germany would shift its economy into high gear while transferring its tax revenues to ailing Southern Europe, and the rascally Republicans drop the sequester cuts, we would be sailing along to a healthy worldwide recovery. We don’t need spending restraint. Instead, we need stimulus, stimulus, and more stimulus to revive economic growth. We’ll deal with the growing deficits later, the stimulation crowd tells us, but we must first get our economies growing again.

The Keynesian stimulus crowd blames austerity for the world’s economic woes without bothering to examine facts.

Take the PIIGS of Europe (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) have supposedly been devastated by cutbacks in public spending.  The official figures show that PIIGS governments embarked on massive spending sprees between 2000 and 2008. During this period, their combined general government expenditures rose from 775 billion Euros to 1.3 trillion – a 75 percent increase. Ireland had the largest percentage increase (130 percent), and Italy the smallest (40 percent). These spending binges gave public sector workers generous salaries and benefits, paid for bridges to nowhere, and financed a gold-plated transfer state. What the state gave has proven hard to take away as the riots in Southern Europe show.

Then in 2008, the financial crisis hit. No one wanted to lend to the insolvent PIIGS, and, according to the Keynesian narrative, the PIIGS were forced into extreme austerity by their miserly neighbors to the north. Instead of the stimulus they desperately needed, the PIIGS economies were wrecked by austerity.

Not so according to the official European statistics. Between the onset of the crisis in 2008 and 2011, PIIGS government spending increased by six percent from an already high plateau.  Eurostat’s projections (which make the unlikely assumption that the PIIGS will honor the fiscal discipline promised their creditors) still show the PIIGS spending more in 2014 than at the end of their spending binge in 2008.

As  Erber wryly notes: “Austerity is everywhere but in the statistics.”

The PIIGS remind me of the patient whose doctor orders him to lose weight by eating less. The patient responds by doubling his calorie intake. He later cuts back by ten percent and wonders why he is not losing weight. The PIIGS went on a spending binge from which they do not want to retreat. They then blame their problems on austerity and the lack of charity of others.

There is another message in these figures: the insolvent PIIGS cannot finance their deficits on their own in credit markets. They can keep on spending only with loans from international organizations and the European Central Bank. That PIIGS have continued to spend unabated means that their “miserly” neighbors have continued to bail them out, largely out of public sight.

So much for the scourge of austerity in Southern Europe. The facts show it simply does not exist.

Which leads us to the austerity that is supposedly underway in the United States (Remember that radical sequester that was supposed to ruin the economy?) Our figures tell exactly the same story as the PIIGS  – a binge of public spending that has not been reversed. Between 2000 and 2008, both federal and state and local spending increased by almost two thirds. Despite budget cliff hangers, sequestration, and Republican intransience (so claim the Democrats), the federal government today is spending 16 percent more than at the peak of its binge spending in 2008.  State and local governments, which cannot borrow as freely as the Feds, are spending a modest 11 percent more.

Instead of “where’s the beef?” we should ask “where’s the austerity?”

Perhaps you can show me in the chart below where the spending has been cut, because I just don’t see it.

US_National_Debt_Chart_2010

If those who control the spending of our tax dollars are going to make an effective change in the long term stability of our nation(s) they are going to need a new definition of austerity. Perhaps WE need a New Definition of Leader, because the current “leaders” of the nations of this world are doing a very poor job of leading, not just here in the United States but around the globe. When we compare ourselves to other nations and say we are doing comparatively well, reminds me of the phrase “pigs don’t know pigs stink” (not to be confused with the PIIGS Mr. Gregory speaks of in his article).

Educating the Populace

In my ongoing discussion about education and the value of college degrees I came across a video posting of Dr Ben Carson on an expanded discussion after his National Prayer Breakfast speech. In this interview he mentions that one of the most important things we can do to re-direct the course of America is that “we have to get our populace educated” Given the fact we have more college educated adults today than in the history of our country one would have to question the value of those college educations. Given Dr. Carson’s comment certainly one would assume that having a nation with so many college graduates we would not have the problems we have as a nation. It questions the validity of the many college degrees that have been granted. Listen to Dr. Ben Carson as he is interviewed by a number of guests and discusses possible solutions to America’s challenges. As Dr. Carson speaks about solutions by educating ourselves ask yourself  are we educating our populace or are we just selling degrees? The LIFE community has an objective to lead people to truth i.e. to educate the masses.

The National Debt Crisis

American’s all seem to have some awareness that the United States is financially unstable. Many although somewhat aware, are confused as to how to solve this problem. Many are really unclear of the real issues due to the size and complexity of our government.

First, we as Americans need to understand in simple terms where we stand financially. This short video I believe describes quite clearly the current situation in easy to understand terms.

As you can see from watching this video America has a simple problem; we spend more than we bring in. Everyone should know that is not a good practice even on the smaller scale of our own homes. And if we continue on this path we could be in a similar situation as Greece. The size and impact could be even larger than Greece’s. In Greece investors lost 70% of their money but with America’s debt at 32 times that of Greece’s, investors are at risk of losing a whole lot more. This affects everyone in America.

Second we need as Leadership Guru Orrin Woodward states to “confront brutal reality”. We can no longer ignore the real problem. We must face it and deal with it.

What is that brutal reality? I thought it was spelled out simply in the video;

  1. Washington must admit the problem
  2. Explain the problem to all Americans (without blaming)
  3. We (all of us) must face the pain of fixing the problem

What will it take to deal with this problem and fix it?

The crisis of the debt will be solved not by bantering back and forth but by facing the very real problem with very real solutions. The solutions spelled out in this video seem simple and quite clear. Congress and Washington certainly have an abundance of talent as many of these individuals are educated at some of the best colleges and universities in America. Certainly education is not the challenge. Experience should not be the issue as we have been facing some of these same issues for years, and when you break it down in simple terms they are not that complicated. What then is the problem and how can we solve it? I believe those in politics know what the problem is and lack the courage to solve it. It is much easier to blame each other and then confuse American’s by complicating the data.

That leaves the third step. We as Americans need to have leaders in our Nation’s Capitol that can be accountable. We need to expect someone in Washington to have the Courage of Leadership. We need to demand that someone who steps up, put the politics aside and put the Nation and its people first.

How?

Be knowledgeable – Get involved and Vote

Contact your Federal, State, and Local Representatives and expect them to be accountable

Let your voice be heard.

If we are to succeed to be a great nation once again, we need to put the special interests aside and do as Abraham Lincoln said, “to be a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Just a comment after watching this video again.  –  Notice that what the federal government classifies as mandatory programs have taken the Constitution’s Article 1 Section 8 and redefined general welfare. The federal government has interpreted providing for the general welfare to include areas of life that were once considered personal responsibilities. It seems it has literally taken personal responsibility out of the equation. Providing for ones personal retirement and ones personal healthcare has now become a mandatory responsibility of the federal government. I don’t believe the framers of the Constitution meant such a broad definition of general welfare to include those responsibilities that should be left to the individual.