Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Unintentional Errors"

If it weren't so pathetic, it would be comical.

Now Kathleen Sebelius, Governor of Kansas and U.S Health and Human Services nominee, has had to pay back taxes of more than $7,000. The errors were discovered by an accountant she hired to scrub her taxes in preparation for her confirmation hearings. Funny how she didn't scrub her taxes before she filed her returns.

One of the most perturbing aspects of all the tax cheats being nominated and confirmed is that these cheaters are the very same people--Democrats--who want to raise taxes on other people. Yet they can't be bothered to pay the taxes that they owe themselves.

On a personal note, I find it double perturbing that after paying many thousands of dollars in taxes to the state of Kansas, I received the following letter from this wonderful state government, headed by a tax cheat. (Click the pic for a larger view.)

She doesn't pay $7,000 in taxes she owes, but she'll come after people with threatening letters who owe $22.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Obama and Charity

With each passing day it seems ever more charitable to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt regarding his intelligence.

Obama thinks it's "the right thing to do" to reduce the tax deduction for charitable contributions from 39% to 28% for the wealthiest givers. Currently a rich donor can deduct more than a middle class donor, and Obama doesn't think that's fair.

Fair? (This reminds me of Obama's comments during the campaign when he said he still favored higher tax rates on capital gains despite evidence that more revenue is generated by lower rates. His reason: fairness.)

Obama also doesn't think this will effect charitable giving. He said, "Now, if it’s really a charitable contribution, I’m assuming that that shouldn’t be the determining factor as to whether you’re giving that hundred dollars to the homeless shelter down the street."

I know Obama is overrated by many, but is Obama really this clueless?

Suppose after investments and expenses a wealthy person has $100,000 remaining to give to charity. Currently, that money can be donated and no taxes are owed on the money. Under Obama's plan, in order to give $100,000, 11% of that money will have to be given to the government. That leaves $89,000 for the charity.

How is this more fair?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Defending Obamanomics?

A couple sentences popped out of a correspondingly ridiculous article in today's Wall Street Journal by Laura D'Andrea Tyson, a member of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
"...the president proposes to limit the deductions ... to 28% [while paying a tax rate of 39.6%]... Some critics claim this is class warfare. But why should a family in a higher tax bracket get a bigger break on expenses than a middle-class family?"
I realize that some of my posts are overly concise. But on this, does anything more need to be said?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Obama's TelePrompter Crutch

During a discussion I was having this past week about the stock market, the person with whom I was conversing mentioned that economics and banking were not President Obama's forte.


Then I asked him a trick question. "What is Obama's forte?"

Naturally, he was dumbfounded.

Obama's forte, as a matter of fact, is speaking to large audiences with words written by a skilled speechwriter. Most people paying attention have long known that Obama isn't at his best when he's off-script. That's why I thought this article was so interesting. And not the least bit surprising.

I especially got a kick out of what deputy press secretary Bill Burton said: "...the American people are a lot more concerned about the plans relayed than the method of delivery."

Yeah, right.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Thomas Frank, Out of Touch

Today's article in the Wall Street Journal by Thomas Frank is interesting--not for shedding light on his subject, but rather for displaying his own out-of-touch, elitism.

He describes today's conservatives as the "living dead," clinging to "discredited notions." But he doesn't actually detail any of the notions that supposedly have been discredited. Is he referring to the Reaganomics that got us out of the recession of the early '80's? He doesn't say.

He goes on to chronicle a "tea party" he attended in Washington D.C. where suits were common attire worn by the protesters. As the event wore on, he says, slogans were repeated, "zombie-like." He says he "got out of there quick." (I realize his was just an opinion piece, where wider rhetorical license is given; but I can't help but wonder how he could both witness the event wearing on and at the same time get out of there quick.)

Mr. Frank describes the phenomena of "tea parties" and general protestation of the expansionist government as "capitalist self-pity." And he says that the Republican party is also "out of touch." But again, Mr. Frank fails to describe what basis he has for these labels.

If the Republican party is out of touch, it is in the way that they don't yet fully realizing how tired their grass-roots members are with the uncontrolled growth of government--including growth that was sanctioned by Republican leaders in Washington.

Die-hard leftists, like Thomas Frank, confuse standing on principles that may not be in vogue with being out of touch. It's understandable, though, because people like Thomas Frank don't have principles--at least not the traditional American principle of liberty.

(And just for the record, I didn't come across any suit-donning protesters at either the Kansas or Missouri protests that I attended.)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rush Limbaugh and Michael Steele

Let me preface this post by saying that I am a major Rush Limbaugh fan, a "ditto-head," as they say...

During Rush's excellent speech he gave on Saturday at CPAC 2009, he said that he wasn't bothered by people attacking him. "I don't mind what anybody says about me, any time ever," he said. "I don't have time for it. I don't give other people the power to offend me." Today, however, after learning of Michael Steele's comments on CNN, Rush defended himself, and in the process, attacked Michael Steele.

First, watch the short clip that started it.

On his show today, Rush facetiously said that people tuned into his show for his song and dance routines, obviously perturbed by Steele's comment that Rush is (just) an entertainer.

Interestingly enough, Rush himself has said on numerous occasions that he is "just" an entertainer. I think this time, coming from Michael Steele, he interpreted his remarks as being condescending--especially given the "incendiary" and "ugly" adjectives Steele used to describe some of Rush's remarks.

I definitely think Michael Steele made a mistake by peppering his conversation with provocative labels. But I don't believe he meant them. He made the comments in a dismissive way in order to relate to his audience, as if he were talking to a couple brothers at a barbecue.

And because of this, I think Rush overreacted. Big time. I have no way of knowing, but I have to wonder if Rush actually heard Michael Steele make the comments, or if he just read the transcript. That could make a big difference in how it might be interpreted.

Another Tax-dodging Nominee, Ron Kirk

Former Dallas Mayor, Ron Kirk, who has been nominated by President Obama to be the United States Trade Representative, will now have to pay almost $10,000 in back taxes, according to a press release from the Senate Finance Committee.