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?

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What’s the Truth?

What’s the Truth?

That is the question we have to ask ourselves today with any piece of information or advice we get.

Whether the information or advice comes from a known source such as a family or friend, or from the mainstream media, the internet, or even our own physician whom we have so come to trust, we have to question is that information really true.

This short TED Talks video of Sharyl Attkisson, formerly an investigative correspondent in the Washington bureau for CBS News might be an eye opener for many.

After watching this video it made me start to wonder “What’s the Truth?”

If our own doctor can be misinformed/educated, maybe we are being misinformed or improperly educated. If Wikipedia a trusted source for so many, contradicts Actual Peer Review Medical Research according to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, or Philip Roth a noted author in a an Open Letter to Wikipedia posted in The New Yorker Magazine contested that according to Wikipedia, he was not a credible source on himself, you have to wonder how can we tell “What’s the Truth?”

Maybe one of the telltale signs as Ms. Attkisson suggests is when you hear someone attack an issue, and the people around that issue by saying, they are nutty, telling lies, saying it’s a myth or conspiracy, maybe you need to question those who are making the attacks. As she states “instead of questioning authority they question those who question authority”

I like the concept of going to the source. If you want to know something about someone meet the person and ask them yourself. See the behavior of those closest to them, their children, friends and associates. People tend to associate with people like themselves.

Small Businesses Threatened by Increasing Regulation

A friend shared an interesting article that could threaten the livelihood of small business in America. Being a small business owner for over 37 years I understand the risk, effort and opportunities that making individual business decisions involve. This decision by the National Labor Relations Board increases the risk and effort, while decreasing the opportunities for small business owners by the government having greater control of a small business while taking that control away from the individual owner.

Business owners trying to keep a clear understanding and meet the federal guidelines regarding the separation of employees from independent contractors now will have the lines muddier. This opens the door for increased liabilities regarding workers compensation, unemployment compensation, insurance liability, overtime, etc.etc.

This reminds me of the gerrymandering of election districts that political parties do to control the outcome of elections. The control of  electing our electing government officials is taken away from the individual and put in the control by the parties redistricting.

Individual liberty and the freedom to succeed or fail has been the cornerstone of entrepreneurship. It is what made America a diverse nation in the first place. People flocked to America because they wanted the freedom to control their destiny and escape the governments controlling every aspect of their lives.

After reading this interesting article how do you feel about this decision by the National Labor Relations Board?

From – Small Business Solutions – by Diana Furchgott-Roth

Under a National Labor Relations Board decision released on Thursday, the Board has dramatically expanded the numbers of “joint employers” in America. Now, employees of franchised business such as Burger King may be classified as employees of the parent company. Employees of subcontractors, such as office cleaners, may be classified as employees of the company that hires the subcontractor.

With its decision, the Board overturned a prior ruling by its regional director that employees of Leadpoint were not joint employees of Browning Ferris, a recycling plant that subcontracted operations to Leadpoint. Subcontractors and franchisees across the country had better watch out for more lawsuits and higher costs of doing business.

Last week, speaking at the Detroit Economic Club, Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio said, “The National Labor Relations Board is on the verge of declaring that David doesn’t even own his business, that he is a ‘joint employer’ with his franchisor. The likely impact is that fewer franchises will open, and costs and litigation will increase for existing ones.”

Before this decision, if a firm did not exercise authority over the employees of its subcontractors then it was not counted as an employer.  Now the NLRB is saying that if a firm just possesses the authority to control its subcontractor’s employees—even if it does not use this authority—then it is a joint employer.

The implications of this decision are immense. Millions of franchises are at risk of being told that they are joint employers with parent companies such as Jiffy Lube, Dunkin Donuts, or H & R Block.  Millions of subcontractors may find that the company that is employing them has morphed into a boss. This raises the costs of doing business, encouraging companies to reorganize or go offshore.

The Board notes, disapprovingly, that “the diversity of workplace arrangements in today’s economy has significantly expanded. The procurement of employees through staffing and subcontracting arrangements, or contingent employment, has increased steadily…”

What the Board fails to note is that franchises and subcontractors have come about as the most efficient way of providing particular services.  Franchises make it easier for people to start their own businesses, and independent contractors can move from one employer to another at will, or work for multiple employers at one time.

The Board’s ruling follows guidelines from the Labor Department  on when to classify workers as employees, who are entitled to fringe benefits, or independent contractors, who are not.  These guidelines, which became effective in July, attempt to make it more difficult for employers to hire independent contractors.  In June the Labor Department issued new proposed expanded overtime revisions that would reduce workplace flexibility for millions more workers by prohibiting time off in exchange for extra time on the job.

With the new Labor Department rulings and the National Labor Relations Board decisions, President Obama wants to move America back to the mid-20th century when people worked for one employer for most of their lives and independent contractors were less common.  The sharing economy, with Uber and Airbnb, were unimaginable.

One result of the new 21st century economy is that unionization levels have decreased. People don’t want to pay union dues and initiation fees.With the share of wage and salary workers who belong to unions declining from 20 percent in 1983 to 11 percent in 2014, unions are feeling the pinch. They lack dues to pay salaries for union bosses and give political contributions to political parties, practically all Democrats.   That is why the Board is trying to make it easier for unions to coerce workers into joining. It is far easier for a union to organize one large workplace than several small ones.

Unions are particularly interested in the fast food industry because of its rapid turnover.  On average three people per year occupy one slot at a fast food restaurant. People come for a short period of time, such as the summer, then leave. Someone else might start in the fall. If each of these three people had to join a union, the union would get three sets of initiation fees per year.  With fees at about $50 per person, that is $150 annually.

As federal and state governments have tried to expand the benefits that employers must provide, it has become more advantageous for small firms to form to avoid these mandates.  Take the Affordable Care Act, for instance.  Firms with more than 50 employees have to offer a certain level of health insurance or pay a penalty.  Firms with fewer than 50 workers are often exempt from other mandates, too. Contracting out some operations keeps the size of the firm down, along with the costs of doing business. With the new rules, watch for more companies going offshore, and the share of Americans who are employed or looking for work declining further.

The franchise model has dramatically expanded the number of small businesses in America. Congress should place a clear definition of an employer and a subcontractor in the law.  The NLRB’s decision is a travesty that Congress and the next president can and should reverse.

 

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.

Cronyism in America

There are a considerable amount of Americans that are disillusioned with our government today. Approval of Congress is at an all-time low. Citizens are upset and protests are occurring from the Occupy Movement to the Tea Party.

Why is there such a concern? We’ve heard too big to fail but is the problem too big to fix.

Watch this video and give me your thoughts.