A friend sent me the link to the following video. It would be funny if it weren’t so true.
It’s too bad the President and Congress don’t. Please take 5-1/2 minutes, and watch the video below. Whether you agree or disagree, please take the time to enter your answer to the new poll in the right margin.]]>
“I can make a firm pledge: Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”
- – Then Senator Barack Obama, September 12, 2008
According to GOP.gov:
Beginning January 1, 2013, ObamaCare imposes a 3.8% Medicare tax on unearned income, including the sale of single family homes, townhouses, co-ops, condominiums, and even rental income.
In February 2010, 5.02 million homes were sold, according to the National Association of Realtors. On any given day, the sale of a house, townhome, condominium, co-op, or income from a rental property, can push middle-income families over the $250,000 threshold and slam them with a new tax they can’t afford.
This ObamaCare tax is the first time the government will apply a 3.8 percent tax on unearned income. This tax on home sales, unearned income and other Medicare taxes raise taxes more than $210 billion to pay for ObamaCare. The National Association of Realtors called this new Medicare tax on unearned income “destructive” and “ill-advised” and warned it would hurt job creation.
No thanks! I’ll keep my guns, my God and my money. You can keep “The Change”.
I met a fairy today that would grant me one wish.
“I want to live forever,” I said.
“Sorry” said the fairy, “I’m not allowed to grant wishes like that!”
“Fine,” I said, “Then I want to die after Congress gets their heads out of their asses!”
“You crafty bastard,” said the fairy.
I can’t take credit for it, but I sure do echo the sentiment behind it.]]>
There is a new storm brewing on the horizon you all should be aware of: That of the approximately 10 million private pensioners lobbying for a government bailout. None of us have forgotten the trillions of our tax dollars spent on the private financial sector bailouts of 2008 and 2009. Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
We have police and firemen retiring in their early 40s on full pensions, teachers (and school administrators) receiving guaranteed annual raises (not based on merit) despite the recession, and our politicians continually agreeing to unsustainable (and unfundable) public sector compensation programs. The Tea Party movement has seen this coming, and you should be aware of it, too.
To quote Damien Hoffman of the Wall St. Cheat Sheet, “There are no guarantees in Capitalism. If the U.S. is to recreate one of the greatest economies in the world, we must end the practice of aiding businesses and programs which would otherwise go bankrupt without government subsidy. Once guarantees are offered to a privileged group of people, a society ends up in the current tit-for-tat gameplay currently reaching elevated heights in the U.S.”
Granted, there are programs providing significant value to a small percentage of people that really need the assistance. However, guaranteeing survival in the private market or permitting outlandish retirement benefits in the public sector are a direct path to the same fate as ancient Rome.
It used to be that a person contemplating going to work in the public sector would work for less wages than his private sector counterpart, but had a nicer retirement and benefit package to offset the wage disparity. This has changed, in that public sector wages have caught up with (and in many cases, surpassed) those in the private sector, while the public sector fringe benefits have gotten even fatter.
The tit-for-tat mentality works this way:
The public sector employees aren’t blind, and see the bailout money flowing to the public sector for a lot of stupid reasons… much of which lines the pockets of upper management in the form of bonuses.
Then, the private sector sees public employees retiring after 15+ years with full pensions at ridiculous rates (much of which is based on trumped up timekeeping methodology), fully paid medical benefits with little or no worker contribution, and other completely outrageous benefits dreamed up by the labor unions. This is on top of the wage rate, which in most cases matches that of the private sector.
The private sector then pushes back because they see the waste of tax dollars used to prop up the public sector’s ever increasing standard of living. The tit-for-tat continues until rational people intervene and stop the BS.
The public sector needs to learn basic math. More importantly, so do the legislators that cave in to the public sector labor unions’ demands. Organized Labor must be forced out of the public sector, or else there will never be a balanced budget or sustainable tax burden to pay for the continued increases in public sector benefit packages. This applies at the Federal, State and Local levels. Government must set the pay scales (similar to the old Federal “GS” system), where promotion and raises are based on time and merit. Public sector employees must start contributing to their own retirement plans, and the employee contributions must constitute the bulk of the funding. The High-3* system needs to be retired, being replaced with something similar to the private sector’s 401(k) system, where the pension amount is determined by employee/taxpayer contributions, without regard to how much the employee earned in his/her highest 3 years of compensation. A change to this type of system would give the public sector employee total control of their retirement fund, thus preventing the Government and Unions from using retirement fund money to fund their pet projects.
Yo… Organized Labor… do you hear me? My name is John Q. Taxpayer, and I’m mad as Hell and am not gonna take it any more. Wanna know why? I’ll tell you:
That’s right… it’s YOUR FAULT.
When $1,600 of the current cost of a GM vehicle goes toward paying legacy costs (i.e., mostly retiree health and pension benefits), that’s a sign of a major problem. Assuming the average price of a GM vehicle is $25,000, the cost of retiree health and pension benefits comprises 6.4% of that vehicle’s price and is paying benefits for people that no longer work for GM. That’s a problem, don’t you think?
39.5% of California’s General Fund expenditures goes toward K-12 education, and 82.9% of that pays teacher and staff salaries and benefits. In 2006-2007 salaries for classroom teachers accounted for 39.5 percent of school expenditures; salaries for other school staff, including counselors, principals, and secretaries, accounted for 24.4 percent; and employee benefits, including retirement and health benefits, accounted for 19.0 percent. That’s right… 19% of California’s education budget pays for retirement benefits. When added to administrative costs, 43.4% of the budget goes toward what we in the private sector call G&A (General and Administrative Expenses). If a private sector company had G&A expenses of 43.4%, it would be bankrupt because it couldn’t compete in the market. Oh gee…. look at GM and Chrysler.
For the record, I believe Organized Labor once had its place in this nation. But those days are over. We have Federal Labor and Minimum Wage laws that protect the Worker. The American worker doesn’t need a union to look out for his or her best interests. What the American worker needs to do is get a better education so they’re better equipped to negotiate their own best deal with their potential employers.
In 2009, just over 16 million Americans are union members, accounting for approximately 12.4% of the workforce. Organized labor believes that new legislation such as the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA aka Card Check) will give workers a better opportunity to join the union movement. Opponents feel it’s nothing more than pressure tactics on non-unionized employees. If you take out the public sector, unions are practically irrelevant, representing just 7.8% of the private sector workforce.
More concerning is the influence unions have through their pension funds. A study done by New York University professor Ashwini Agarwal found that AFL-CIO (the central federation of labor unions in the U.S.) affiliated pension fund assets total $100 billion, with 46% invested in domestic equities (as of September 30, 2006). In 2006, union-related funds were responsible for 295 out of 699 shareholder proposals. It also found that AFL-CIO funds became much less combative when the union no longer represented a company’s employees.
If you have a union pension, take a very close look at the investments. You can bet they’re playing retired workers against the current workers in a sophisticated game of chicken. Don’t let it happen. Unions increasingly find themselves in a conflict of interest today, in that they claim to represent the worker, when in reality they only represent themselves using their (unearned) influence to buy political favors by contributing to political campaigns. It’s a cat and mouse game that politicians would do well to beware of (and this includes you, Mr. Obama, with your cozy relationship with SEIU). Conflict of interest works both ways.
Of course, this is just One Man’s View. Your comments are, as always, most welcome.
An excerpt from a post on Greta Van Susteren’s blog, where President Obama was speaking at a rally for Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA):
POTUS (Obama) says he gets 10 letters delivered to him each day. “About half of them are calling me an idiot … but the other half … tell again and again just heart breaking stories about children asking why it is they have to move even though they really like the house they live in,” or families talking about how they are going to take care of their parents or how they are going to make their mortgages.
“And nothing is harder and nothing is more heartbreaking than reading this letters and knowing that change is not coming as fast as we’d like. … But here is the main message that I have for all of you: change is coming.” Loud applause.
As tragic as it is that so many people have lost their homes, what is almost never publicized is that a very large percentage of these people took huge Cash-Out ReFis on their homes, and pissed away the money. They gave no thought to the future, or the possible negative ramifications of what they were doing, instead exercising poor judgment and the consequences be damned.
How would Obama explain to these children that it was their parent’s greed and stupidity that led to their having to move… not the banks or mortgage industry? OK… before you jump on me for taking the side of the Financial Sector, let me be clear that there are unscrupulous lenders and mortgage brokers out there that prey on the gullibility of John Q. Public. However, nobody forced these people to sign on the dotted line, and one would think they might take the loan paperwork to an attorney or CPA for some advice before signing. Paying a professional for an hour of their time to evaluate the deal might have saved their home.
Of course, this is just One Man’s View. Your comments are, as always, most welcome.]]>
I ran into a friend at the market last night, who also happens to be my CPA. Brian was picking up groceries for dinner with his 84 year old father, a Tuesday night ritual for them. Brian invited me to join them for some liquid refreshment, snacks and conversation. Even though I had already dined (my wife is off visiting my daughter for a few days), I really enjoy sitting down with him and solving the world’s problems over a glass or 3 of wine (or a fine Scotch) so I agreed to join them.
The conversation eventually turned to the current State of the U.S., as it usually does.
We were discussing the National Debt, when I made mention that “a little debt is healthy”. Brian was quick to remind me of my many comments that the Government needs to be run like a non-profit corporation, asking “How can a non-profit corporation ever hope to pay off any debt when its goal is to have no profits with which to pay it?” This was an excellent point, and one which bears more discussion at another time.
By now you’re probably asking “What does this have to do with the Tea Party?”. Well, I have been thinking a lot about the Tea Party of late… mostly about where they’re headed in terms of influencing our political process. Brian and I also discussed where they fit in the overall political spectrum, and how they could be most effective… and how they might self-destruct. I spent some time floating around their web site, and came across their Mission Statement:
The impetus for the Tea Party movement is excessive government spending and taxation. Our mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets.
While their Mission is laudable, I think those who are highly active in the movement need to reach a consensus on how they plan on making their mission successful. That said, here are some of my thoughts… which will probably prove highly unpopular to a LOT of people:
A lot to chew on? Absolutely! However, if the Tea Party can reach a general, national consensus on the 8 items I listed above, they will be a force to be reckoned with forevermore. Of course, these 8 items aren’t all that need to be done to fix what’s wrong with our political processes today… but they’ll go a long way toward it.
Of course, this is just One Man’s View. As always, your comments are most welcome.]]>