Month: February 2009

I’m the Taxman…

Maybe It’s just me…

but Lennon & McCartney had it right 40 years ago…

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One, two, three, four…
Hrmm!
One, two, (one, two, three, four!)

Let me tell you how it will be;
There’s one for you, nineteen for me.
‘Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don’t take it all.
‘Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

(if you drive a car) – I’ll tax the street;
(if you try to sit) – I’ll tax your seat;
(if you get too cold) – I’ll tax the heat;
(if you take a walk) – I’ll tax your feet.

Taxman!

‘Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Don’t ask me what I want it for,

If you don’t want to pay some more.
‘Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Now my advice for those who die, (taxman)
Declare the pennies on your eyes. (taxman)
‘Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

And you’re working for no one but me.

Taxman!

Take a look at this…

Not one of the taxes listed below existed 100 years ago…and yet our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt….We had the largest middle class in the world…and Mom could stay home to raise the kids.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax Federal Income Tax

Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

This is just a short list of taxes we are subject to.

There will be more on the horizon.

This is what is around the corner when it comes to our tax liability now that we have a “Trillion Dollar” porkulus bill.

It is only a matter of time and certainty.

Is it too early to say I told you so? We are not even into a month of Obama’s term in office and we have had embarrassing cabinet resignations, offensive remarks made by his staff, signs of Government threats and intimidation made by our own President and a reckless pork laden stimulus bill that has guarrenteed an extreme tax burden on us, our children and grandchildren.

It is keeping me up at night wondering what the next few months will bring…

We have no one to blame but ourselves… we could have stopped this from happening.

As President Obama gives his best “It’s going to get worse before it gets better” speech tonight,  I wonder if the ground around Ronald Reagan’s tomb isn’t turned up from all the tossing and turning he will do tonight listening to all the socialist, left-wing,  I’m the taxman and you work for me rhetoric coming from OUR Whitehouse.

But then again…maybe it’s just me.

The Fierce Urgency of Pork

“A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.”

— President Obama, Feb. 4.

Catastrophe, mind you.

So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared “we have chosen hope over fear.”  Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill. 

And so much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple. An ostentatious executive order banning lobbyists was immediately followed by the nomination of at least a dozen current or former lobbyists to high position. Followed by a Treasury secretary who allegedly couldn’t understand the payroll tax provisions in his 1040. Followed by Tom Daschle, who had to fall on his sword according to the new Washington rule that no Cabinet can have more than one tax delinquent.

The Daschle affair was more serious because his offense involved more than taxes. As Michael Kinsley once observed, in Washington the real scandal isn’t what’s illegal, but what’s legal. Not paying taxes is one thing. But what made this case intolerable was the perfectly legal dealings that amassed Daschle $5.2 million in just two years.

He’d been getting $1 million per year from a law firm. But he’s not a lawyer, nor a registered lobbyist. You don’t get paid this kind of money to instruct partners on the Senate markup process. You get it for picking up the phone and peddling influence.

At least Tim Geithner, the tax-challenged Treasury secretary, had been working for years as a humble international civil servant earning non-stratospheric wages. Daschle, who had made another cool million a year (plus chauffeur and Caddy) for unspecified services to a pal’s private equity firm, represented everything Obama said he’d come to Washington to upend.

And yet more damaging to Obama’s image than all the hypocrisies in the appointment process is his signature bill: the stimulus package. He inexplicably delegated the writing to Nancy Pelosi and the barons of the House. The product, which inevitably carries Obama’s name, was not just bad, not just flawed, but a legislative abomination.

It’s not just pages and pages of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections, one of which would set off a ruinous Smoot-Hawley trade war. It’s not just the waste, such as the $88.6 million for new construction for Milwaukee Public Schools, which, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, have shrinking enrollment, 15 vacant schools and, quite logically, no plans for new construction.

It’s the essential fraud of rushing through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus — and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress’s own budget office says won’t be spent until 2011 and beyond, and that are little more than the back-scratching, special-interest, lobby-driven parochialism that Obama came to Washington to abolish. He said.

Not just to abolish but to create something new — a new politics where the moneyed pork-barreling and corrupt logrolling of the past would give way to a bottom-up, grass-roots participatory democracy. That is what made Obama so dazzling and new. Turns out the “fierce urgency of now” includes $150 million for livestock (and honeybee and farm-raised fish) insurance.

The Age of Obama begins with perhaps the greatest frenzy of old-politics influence peddling ever seen in Washington. By the time the stimulus bill reached the Senate, reports the Wall Street Journal, pharmaceutical and high-tech companies were lobbying furiously for a new plan to repatriate overseas profits that would yield major tax savings. California wine growers and Florida citrus producers were fighting to change a single phrase in one provision. Substituting “planted” for “ready to market” would mean a windfall garnered from a new “bonus depreciation” incentive.

After Obama’s miraculous 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that at some point the magical mystery tour would have to end. The nation would rub its eyes and begin to emerge from its reverie. The hallucinatory Obama would give way to the mere mortal. The great ethical transformations promised would be seen as a fairy tale that all presidents tell — and that this president told better than anyone.

I thought the awakening would take six months. It took two and a half weeks.

By Charles Krauthammer  (Washington Post)

Friday, February 6, 2009

I couldn’t have said it better myself…

But then again… maybe it’s just me.

When it is All Said and Done

There were no two ways about it.  When I was fourteen… I was a pretty cool kid.  Not in the ninety-ninth-percentile of coolness, maybe, but definitely top third of my class.  I knew the walk.  I knew the talk.  I had my own kinda… style.

But, like a lot of “cool” kids my age, I did have one tragic flaw.  One terrible secret that threatened the very fabric of my fragile image.  One secret that most teenagers try to hide… I, David Lee, was a momma’s boy.

When you’re a little boy, you don’t have to go very far to find the center of your universe.  Mom.  She’s always there.  It’s a pretty good arrangement.  No matter what happened in your life she was there.  When you went to bed, when you got up in the morning, she would be there when you left for school and there when you came home.  When you’re a young boy, all you can imagine is the fact that you will be with her for the rest of your life.  Nothing would ever change that.  She would always be there and never leave your side. I would always be momma’s boy and nothing could change that.

But around age fourteen, there starts to be… a problem.  The problem then is…she’s always there.  And I mean always.

She poured my milk, she sewed my buttons… Face it.  The woman loved me.  She knew me better than anyone in the world.  Which, of course, was the problem.  She knew…too much.

Now a mom has to be a mom, but a guy’s gotta be a guy.  And when the irresistible force of independence meets an immovable object… Sooner or later – somethings gotta give.

Unfortunately it did…

I guess I could tell a story of how we ended up having some big terrible fight or some extreme family crisis and that we didn’t talk to each other for years and we would reconcile years later…however, none of that would be true.

It may be a better story to be read than the one I’m telling…but what actually took place is something a little more sinister.

Something more hurtful.  Something filled with more regret.

I did what teenagers have done since the beginning of time.

I did something that I can never take back.

I ignored her.

When I say, I ignored her; I mean I took her for granted.  I did not take the opportunity to spend more time with her.  I started to make my own decisions and I left her out of most of my plans.  I did not do it intentionally.  It wasn’t meant to hurt her.  It was a part of growing up and I regret it to this very day.

Over the past few years, I have spent much of my spare time writing the story of my family. I am intrigued at how we all came together and became a family. I do as much research as I possibly can. And, one evening as my mother and I tried to put together the strands of our old and faded family tree, I came to realize what so many Americans do in search of their roots. [That] I was a mutt.

Every American family has its own unique blend of personalities, my family is no exception.  Within our family tree we range the full spectrum of types.

From the flamboyant… to the demure.

From the repellent… to the ideal.

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Agnes Elizabeth Clemens was born in November of 1931 in Washington, Pennsylvania.  She was the oldest of eight children born to William and Lida Clemens.

Her young life was filled with events and situations that would have defeated and broke the spirit of most of the young girls her age.  Times were hard and things were tough.  That’s not to say there were not good times, but as I remember my mother telling me stories, there always seemed to be a common theme…Nothing stayed “good” for long.  She felt as if she had the responsibility of her family on her shoulders, with no real help in sight.

She was forced to grow up way too soon.  She left home at 17 and left Pennsylvania and never went back.  She had to make decisions that would affect her for the rest of her life.  Had not it been for that Greyhound Bus breaking down outside Sandusky, Ohio only God knows what would have happened to her.

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She put her childhood and her past on the shelf, met and married my Dad, became a mother and looked to the future.  Her dreams and desires for her life were now solely surrounded in her family…in particular her children.  I have never known her to do one thing in this life where she did not put her children first.  Her eyes sparkled when she looked at her children.

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Simply put…she found her happiness in her children…she found her destiny…she was meant to be…a mother.

She endured and persevered, but lost a part of herself when she lost a child, my brother Bobby on a cold November day in 1970.  He was killed tragically in a car/train accident. That sparkle in her eyes was dimmed and I look back with wonder trying to figure out how she made it through.

That wonderful sparkle came back when she got to hold her grandchildren shortly after their birth. And now as she is part of the newest generation of “great grandchildren” and I am not sure that anything makes her happier.  Whether as a child, grandchild or great grandchild, each one of us have been privileged to have her love and to be looked upon with that beautiful sparkle.

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I can never go back and fix the times in my life that I could have spent more time with her.  She tells me that she will live to be at least 100, so she can see what the world will be like then.  I don’t know about that.  But what I do know, I hope she makes it.  Because there is more to this woman than I have ever learned and there is so much more to her that I want to know.

Live long mom.

When it is all said and done, at the end of my life, I am sure there will be many things said about me.  I have left a trail of failure and some footprints of success.  I am sure that the words to describe me will vary about as much as the times I have been successful and the times I have failed.  Say what you will.  I can think of no higher honor than to have words that describe me as a man the loved his God, his wife Pamela, his children and future grandchildren…and that I was simply a “mommas boy”.

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Never Let a Serious Crisis go to to Waste

Maybe it’s just me…but…

I never would have believed that in the two weeks since we spent $150 Million on the inauguration,  would be jamming a $825 billion House legislation bill down our throats.

WELCOME TO THE CHANGE EVERYONE WANTED…WELCOME TO BIG GOVERNMENT

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The Democratic Motto, per Rahm Emanuel:

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.”

This “stimulus plan” is a political pork- laden deception that has us passing the debt and burden of this debacle on to our grandchildren.   Just about every proposal that was presented by the Democratic Party for the past 40 years  is going to get renewed life and funding in this plan.  I can’t believe that this “stimulus plan” includes the following:

  1. $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years.
  2. $2 billion for child-care subsidies.
  3. $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts. (ever heard of Maplethorp?)
  4. $400 million for global-warming research  (Been to Ohio lately?)
  5. $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects.  (Seriously…?)
  6. $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons. (we have been hearing about this for two years…are people really that ignorant?)

In selling the plan, President Obama has said this bill will make “dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy.”

Well, you be the judge…

  1. $30 billion, or less than 5% of the spending in the bill, is for fixing bridges or other highway projects.
  2. $40 billion for broadband and electric grid development, airports and clean water projects that are arguably worthwhile priorities.
  3. $20 billion for business tax cuts
  4. Only $90 billion out of $825 billion, or about 12 cents of every $1, is for something that can plausibly be considered a growth stimulus.
  • Most of the rest of this project spending will go to such things as renewable energy funding ($8 billion) or mass transit ($6 billion) that have a low or negative return on investment.
  • Most urban transit systems are so badly managed that their fares cover less than half of their costs. However, the people who operate these systems belong to public-employee unions that are campaign contributors to . . . guess which party?

And if all of this was not enough…

  1. Congress wants to spend $600 million more for the federal government to buy new cars. Uncle Sam already spends $3 billion a year on its fleet of 600,000 vehicles.
  2. Congress also wants to spend $7 billion for modernizing federal buildings and facilities. The Smithsonian is targeted to receive $150 million; we love the Smithsonian, too, but is this a job creator?
  3. Another “stimulus” secret is that some $252 billion is for income-transfer payments — that is, not investments that arguably help everyone, but cash or benefits to individuals for doing nothing at all.  For example…
  • $81 billion for Medicaid
  • $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits
  • $20 billion for food stamps
  • $83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don’t pay income tax.

While some of that may be justified to help poorer Americans ride out the recession, they aren’t job creators.

As for the promise of accountability…

  • $54 billion will go to federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as “ineffective” or unable to pass basic financial audits. These include the Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, the 10 federal job training programs, and many more.

Oh, and don’t forget education, which would get $66 billion more. That’s more than the entire Education Department spent a mere 10 years ago and is on top of the doubling under President Bush.

  • Some $6 billion of this will subsidize university building projects. If you think the intention here is to help kids learn, the House declares on page 257 that “No recipient . . . shall use such funds to provide financial assistance to students to attend private elementary or secondary schools.”

The larger fiscal issue here is whether this spending bonanza will become part of the annual “budget baseline” that Congress uses as the new floor when calculating how much to increase spending the following year, and into the future. Democrats insist that it will not. But it’s hard — no, impossible — to believe that Congress will cut spending next year on any of these programs from their new, higher levels.  The likelihood is that this allegedly emergency spending will become a permanent addition to federal outlays — increasing pressure for tax increases in the bargain.

This is supposed to be a new era of bipartisanship, but this bill was written based on the wish list of every living — or dead — Democratic interest group.

As Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it, “We won the election. We wrote the bill.”

So they did.

Republicans should let them take all of the credit.

Personally, I think we need to wrap all this information up and place it in a time capsule.  Have that capsule scheduled to be opened in 40 years.  That way our great grandchildren can better understand how we sold their future down the sewer all in the name of CHANGE.

But then again…maybe it’s just me…