Tax Reform—at last!

Until Herman Cain brought forth his 9-9-9 plan, a 9% personal income tax, 9% corporate income tax, 9% national sales tax, no one in the GOP herd had the guts to bring forth this topic for national debate.  All that has apparently ended and it’s a good thing, too.

The State Media immediately attacked it.  The Atlantic called it three VAT taxes in one.  Clearly they’d never bothered to actually read the proposal but relied on what other libs said about it. 

ABC news said, “However, a much longer list of economists say Cain’s plan would be a tax hike for the lower middle class and a tax windfall for the wealthy.” In short, they’re against those who have never paid any income taxes, paying some and they’re also against the abolition of punishing taxes against those who are successful.

In that same vein, the Chicago Tribune went to more libs for their opinion. You shouldn’t be surprised, their opinion was negative.

But Bruce Bartlett, a former Treasury official under President George H.W. Bush who studied Cain’s plan and wrote an analysis Tuesday for the New York Times, said Cain “offers no evidence for this assertion; it is simply put forward as self-evident.”

Bartlett called the plan “a distributional monstrosity.”

“The poor would pay more while the rich would have their taxes cut, with no guarantee that economic growth will increase and a good reason to believe that the budget deficit will increase,” Bartlett wrote.

That’s because two of Cain’s three 9s – the income tax and the national sales tax — would disproportionately impact the 47% of tax filers who don’t pay any federal income tax under the current system – many of whom are elderly or poor.

Yes, those people who have never had skin in the tax game, suddenly would!  What’s fair for some, is fair for all.  If you had an income, you should pay tax on it.  That’s the spirit of the 16th Amendment that authorized the income tax in 1913.

The issue, as it seems to me, is that the proposal would have taxes applied equally to all. The existing code benefits 47% of the population that pays no income tax at all. The dems and libs think that, is fair.

I don’t.

But to continue,  the discussion about tax reform is continuing.  Rick Perry is about to introduce his version of tax reform—a flat tax.  The Christian Science Monitor has this short piece.

Rick Perry flat tax plan: Don’t expect a 9-9-9 retread

Rick Perry says his flat tax plan is a major part of his broad prescription to revive the economy and create jobs – a move he hopes will also revive his campaign.

By Brad KnickerbockerStaff writer / October 19, 2011
Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, runs prior to delivering a keynote address during the Western Republican Leadership Conference, Wednesday, Oct. 19, in Las Vegas. Perry said he’ll be announcing details of a flat tax plan next week.
Isaac Brekken/AP


“It starts with … scrapping the three million words of the current tax code, starting over with something simple: a flat tax,” the Texas governor told GOP activists at the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas Wednesday.
Like businessman Herman Cain, whose 9-9-9 plan came under fire at Tuesday’s debate, Mr. Perry wants to do away with the current tax system. Although Perry won’t reveal the details until a speech scheduled for next week in South Carolina, the similarities likely end there.
Personally, I have some concerns about Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. It includes a new tax, a tax we’ve never had before, a national sales tax.  There is great danger there and the potential of the dem/lib party raising that 9% sales tax in some future year to an intolerable level.
Don’t get me wrong, I like what I’ve seen and heard so far about Herman Cain. I’m just not sold on the totality of his plan.

On the other hand, I’ve become disillusioned with Rick Perry.  He had a good start, good credentials and a reasonably good record in Texas.  He also had some serious weaknesses in his stance on immigration and education. I’m open on his flat-tax plan. I’m a bit impatient to discover more.

Regardless, the topic of tax reform, is out of the closet and out in public view.  It’s about time.


Late post today

I’m with Mrs. Crucis today for another follow-up visit at the optomitrist. It will still be another four weeks before she can get her ptescription reading glasses. She still needs mote healing time.

I’ll work up a better post later.

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Late post today

I’m with Mrs. Crucis today for another follow-up visit at the optomitrist. It will still be another four weeks before she can get her ptescription reading glasses. She still needs mote healing time.

I’ll work up a better post later.

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Stuck on stupid

Every morning I scan the headlines and various news sources.  Usually something will catch my eye and be a source for that day’s blog post.  Today, is another such instance.

I wonder where some state legislators come from?  There has been so many acts of outright stupidity that the total would amass volumes and kill off acres of trees to document them all.

Here is an example from Louisiana.

Posted: Oct 18, 2011 4:58 AM CST
Cold hard cash. It’s good everywhere you go, right? You can use it to pay for anything.

But that’s not the case here in Louisiana now. It’s a law that was passed during this year’s busy legislative session.
House bill 195 basically says those who buy and sell second hand goods cannot use cash to make those transactions, and it flew so far under the radar most businesses don’t even know about it.

“We’re gonna lose a lot of business,” says Danny Guidry, who owns the Pioneer Trading Post in Lafayette. He deals in buying and selling unique second hand items.

“We don’t want this cash transaction to be taken away from us. It’s an everyday transaction,” Guidry explains.
Guidry says, “I think everyone in this business once they find out about it. They’re will definitely be a lot of uproar.”
The law states those who buy or sell second hand goods are prohibited from using cash. State representative Rickey Hardy co-authored the bill.
Hardy says, “they give a check or a cashiers money order, or electronic one of those three mechanisms is used.”
Hardy says the bill is targeted at criminals who steal anything from copper to televisions, and sell them for a quick buck. Having a paper trail will make it easier for law enforcement.
“It’s a mechanism to be used so the police department has something to go on and have a lead,” explains Hardy.
Guidry feels his store shouldn’t have to change it’s ways of doing business, because he may possibly buy or sell stolen goods. Something he says has happened once in his eight years.
“We are being targeted for something we shouldn’t be.”
Besides non-profit resellers like Goodwill, and garage sales, the language of the bill encompasses stores like the Pioneer Trading Post and flea markets.
Lawyer Thad Ackel Jr. feels the passage of this bill begins a slippery slope for economic freedom in the state.
“The government is placing a significant restriction on individuals transacting in their own private property,” says Ackel.
Pawn shops have been forced to keep records of their clients for years. However under this bill they are still allowed to deal in cash.

Really?  I can tick off instances where cash is the only method of monetary transaction.  What are you going to do at Garage/Yard/Rummage sales?  Install a card swipe for a few days? What about a flea market organized as a fund raiser?  What about the Salvation Army store and Goodwill? Credit and debit cards only? Just think of the impacts to all private sales.

This legislation seems to be focused primarily on small and individual businesses.  Perhaps the real reason is that cash transactions are the staple of the grey economy…those transactions between individuals that is never reported to the state—and never collect sales tax either.

On top of all that, how can you enforce it? Garrison every second hand store, every pawn shop with a cop?  Oh, I forgot, they exempted pawn shops.

But, how could I be surprised when this comes from a state that provided Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans who, when his city was in peril, fled to Las Vegas and left his constituents to drown and Governor Kathleen Blanco who dithered for days before allowing the feds to enter the state for disaster assistance and then tried to pass her failures onto the Bush Administration.

A famous saying came out of the mess of Katrina, “Stuck on Stupid.”  I see it is still alive and well in Louisiana.

Alert! Obama’s teleprompter stolen and held for ransom!

Overnight, a truck with Obama’s teleprompter, podium, presidential seals and a portable sound stage was stolen in Virginia.  The truck contained the equipment that was to be used for a speech by Obama at Chesterfield, VA, a few days ago.

The Richmond Police received a communication about the stolen teleprompter.

October 18, 2011

APB put out for Obama’s teleprompter

Rick Moran

Police in Richmond, VA have issued an All Points Bulletin for a truck carrying President Obama’s teleprompter and other electronic equipment which was stolen from the hotel yesterday.

The vehicle was later recovered Monday afternoon in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn Express near the airport. Sources tell WWBT/NBC12 that law enforcement agencies were seen examining a white truck that was parked there.

There are no indications of whether equipment was taken from the truck.
“No classified or sensitive information was in the vehicle. We take incidents such as this very seriously and a formal investigation is continuing,” a Defense Information Systems Agency spokesperson told the news outlet.

No ransom demand for the teleprompter has been made as yet, but a source in the Richmond police department reports receiving a threat from an unknown caller who reportedly said, “Tell the prez that unless he gives the OWS demonstrators what they want, the TOTUS gets one right between the paddles.”
White House aides considered canceling several events, worried that the lack of a teleprompter would make the president more incoherent than usual. But Obama bravely insisted that “the show must go on” and would ad lib if necessary. Panicked advisors talked about rigging a “Fail Safe” switch so that they could turn the sound off on the president’s mike if, as expected, Obama began to stutter and stammer while losing his place. It is unknown if they were able to install the switch prior to the president’s appearance.

This column in the American Thinker was written as a straight story. I would caution you, however, to take it as satire.  Although there is an element of believability to it, don’t take this version of the story to heart.

By the way, did you know that TOTUS has his own website?  Yes, he does. You can find it hereHe reports from captivity in this posting.

Heh, heh!


If you’ve read some of my comments floating around the internet, you will know I’m not a Ron Paul fan.  I think he’s a ticking time-bomb like many of those on the left.  If elected, I also think he’d do as much, or perhaps more, damage to our country as is Obama and his coterie of Marxists.

That said, I do like some of Ron Paul’s proposals.  The American Thinker reports of those plans.

October 17, 2011

Ron Paul’s Serious Proposal

J. Robert Smith

GOP presidential aspirant Ron Paul will unveil his budget and government reform proposal today, the Wall Street Journal reports.  Paul’s plan is a serious alternative to the generally cautious Romney proposal.  Paul’s plan will either be met with stony silence by the fossil media and DC’s RINOs or derided as politically unrealistic.  Libertarians will cheer, but so should grassroots conservatives.
If elected president, Paul proposes cutting a trillion dollars in spending during his first year in office.  Mitt Romney is aiming for a paltry $20 billion (possibly less than Cardinals’ slugger Albert Pujos will be paid annually when he signs a new contract).
Paul wants to eliminate five cabinet-level departments, they being the Departments of Energy, Education, Interior, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development (isn’t HUD a delicious oxymoron?  Let’s think Detroit or Newark.).
But that’s not all.  Danny Yardon in the Wall Street Journal writes:

Mr. Paul would also push for the repeal of the new health-care law, last year’s Wall Street regulations law and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the 2002 corporate governance law passed in response to a number of corporate scandals, including Enron. 

 Mr. Paul, who wrote the book “End the Fed,” calls for an audit of the Federal Reserve and “competing currency legislation to strengthen the dollar and stabilize inflation.” The excerpts did not provide more details on how such legislation would work.

When it comes to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, Mr. Paul wants a system that “honors our promise to our seniors and veterans, while allowing young workers to opt out.”  He also wants to run Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor, and “other welfare programs” through block grants to states.

And as a nice jab at the political class, Paul proposes cutting the president’s annual salary from four hundred grand annually to just $39K.  Public service should be a sacrifice, not an alternative career path.   
Paul’s proposal is the core of a real reform agenda, not the milquetoast stuff coming from Romney, who’s more about trying to restore America, pre-Obama.  Paul’s plan addresses the problem of government boldly (who could see Ron Paul waving a pale pastel flag, anyway?).
Does Paul’s budget and government reform proposal increase his chances of securing the GOP presidential nomination?  Nope (let the brickbats fly, Paul supporters!).  But Paul’s willingness to go big and bold in addressing the problem of government should be well noted by Perry, Cain, and Bachmann. 

The Paul approach – big and bold – is the prescription that the more viable conservative contenders for the GOP nomination should examine and adopt.  Romney’s money and organization can be defeated if conservative voters are coalesced behind one conservative candidate with the guts to proclaim that the federal government needs more than handyman work; it needs an overhaul that unleashes Americans’ energy, know-how, and creativity – all of which will create a new American prosperity and better safeguard liberty moving forward.

There is more in the column above at the website.  As I said, I’m not a Ron Paul supporter, but no one can deny that some of his ideas—foreign policy and national security excluded, are worth a second, third, and fourth look.

My old school.

A bunch of friends and I were discussing school food last week in an e-mail list.  As expected there were a number of horror stories about school food and how it was served.  Not where I went to grade school. No horror stories there!

I went to a country school.  It was not the oft-maligned one-room-school although the school did start as a one-roomer.  The property, about 20 acres, had been bequeathed early in the 20th Century for the school .  I remember seeing class photos in the school hallway going back to the 1920s.

At one time, the school was a brick, one-roomer.  There were still a couple of out-houses on the property made of concrete and long abandoned.  Over the years the school expanded. First another room was added during the 1940s. In the early 1950s, a third class room, indoor restrooms, an office, basement, gym and a coal-fired furnace were added. When I was in the third grade or thereabouts, the school expanded the gym by adding bleachers and two locker-rooms with showers underneath the bleachers.

How could this small country school afford all this?  We had an oil well on the school property about 100 yards away from the school.  We were NOT strapped for cash. In addition, a twelve acre field was leased to a neighboring farmer who share-cropped it. The remaining eight acres, including a three acre woodlot, was reserved for the school, a play area and a ball field.

Most of the mineral rights in that part of southern Illinois were owned by the coal mines.  The mines bought up mineral rights throughout the southern part of Illinois in the early decades of the 20th Century.  The school property pre-dated the coal mines, at least the ones that could reach the school’s property line.  For some reason, the mines never acquired the mineral rights from the school.  When oil was discovered in our county in the 1930s and a well was drilled, mistakenly so I was told, on school property, the money started flowing in.  It also lowered the school taxes to just the bare minimum required by law.

My family had a direct affect on that school beyond my attendance.  At one time or another, my Mother was a teacher and later the Principal.  My older sister was a part-time music teacher, splitting her time between mine and two other small schools in the county.  Finally, my Father was on the school board and was the board president during his last term.

I had no privacy at school.  Everyone knew me. There was no escape.  Later, when I was in high school, it was the same.  Every teacher and administrator in the entire county knew me, my mother, my sister and my father.  I was on a tight leash.

Getting back to the original subject—school lunches, ours was great.  The two school cooks were elderly widows who lived in the school district.  Both had children and grandchildren attending the school.  

They cooked home style.

I don’t remember the entire menu, but it was different from school menus I’ve seen today.  Yeah, there may have been days when hot-dogs or ‘burgers were on the menu, but those were rare, maybe once in three or four weeks.  What I do remember was “meatballs.”  Think of a meatball about the size of a baseball, some were bigger. Think of the cooked meat balls simmering in spaghetti sauce.  This was served with mashed potatoes, a vegetable, corn or peas, I think. Included were a side dish of fruit, apple-sauce, sliced peaches, a peeled half of a pear, or fruit cocktail.

Then there was dessert.  Pies, cakes, puddings, all made from scratch. And, once a week, ice cream. 

The typical menu included a meat dish, a choice of two or three vegetables (and you had to take at least two of the three choices,) fruit, dessert and milk, either white or chocolate and twice a week fruit juices.  On rare occasions, very rare, there may have been kool-aid.  I don’t ever remember being served pizza, PBJ or some of the current quick-fix food substitutes I’ve seen on modern school menus.

One reason that we ate as we did is that every food item was from a can.  The meats were canned. The vegetables and fruits were canned. Even the ice cream was served in individual servings, not scooped from a larger can.  The school had one freezer and two refrigerators. They didn’t have much room for anything that wasn’t canned.

At lunch time we marched down to the cafeteria by grades. Each grade had a particular section to be seated. The next higher grade would be seated next, elbow to elbow on long trestle style tables lined in four or five rows from one end of the lunch room to the other.  The room could seat around eighty kids in one session.  During the eight years I attended, I don’t think the entire school population, including the adults, ever exceeded seventy people.

After everyone had been served, adults too, we could have seconds.  And we did!  The meat balls were my favorite. I’d ask the serving cook, one of the two widows, to put the meat ball on my plate first, then put the mashed potatoes on top,ladle some spaghetti sauce on top of that with peas or corn on the side.

We were a bit strange about food mixtures.  To this day, I like peas mixed in with my spaghetti. My wife and daughter still think that’s strange.

With the exception of the ice cream, all the desserts were made from scratch.  The cakes were baked late in the previous afternoon in large sheet cakes.  The pies too.  If my mother hadn’t made pies in circular pans at home, I’d never know that a pie was served in a wedge.  One pie that I loved was apple-sauce pie.  Somehow they were able to make a pie from apple sauce that stayed within the crust when it was served, like a custard.  My wife tried to make it for me once and when it was cut and served, all the apple sauce ran out leaving just the crust.

We did eat a lot of beans. Usually navy beans that we’d see soaking in large five gallon pots the day before they were cooked.  When the beans were cooked, they would put an entire ham into the pot to be cooked with the beans.  Late in the process the ham was removed, cubed and put back into the pot.  We loved those navy beans.

When, one time, the two cooks were both out sick, a substitute cook was brought in to fill-in.  Big mistake.  She served butter-beans.

No one, not even the adults, liked them.  I think most of the students and faculty went vegetarian that day.  When the two original cooks returned, we bid the temporary to never return.

In the 1960s, there was a big push to consolidate all the smaller school districts into one larger unified district.  Our school was included and was particularly sought after because of the oil revenue.  They were a bit surprised to later discover a codicil on the original will that created the school.  The property would revert to the original family if the school was ever closed.  No school, no oil well.  Long story made short, the new unified school district did not get the oil money. I’m fairly sure if they’d realized that in the beginning they wouldn’t have annexed my country school into their larger district that covered almost half the county.

In the end, the Hill City School District ceased to exist.  The school building, an all-brick and steel construction reverted to its original owners.  Shortly thereafter it was sold, minus the mineral rights, to the county.  For awhile it was converted into apartments. A few years later, if I remember correctly, it morphed into a youth center.

As I wrote this post, I did a Google search on my school.  I’m dismayed how much the record is wrong.  In the official history of Franklin County, they say that Hill City had a West Frankfort, IL address.  Not when I still lived in the county. Our mailing address, at the farm and at the school was Rural Route 1, Benton, IL.  The record also says the school was organized in 1946.  That, too, is misleading. The school was “consolidated” in 1946 when the state made school districts more formal.  The school existed for over two decades before that “consolidation.”  I guess it was too much effort to get the facts accurate when that county history was written.

I haven’t been by the school in several decades now.  I think the actual school building has been torn down. Our family farm was sold after my father died in the early 1980s—sold to one of my Hill City school mates in fact.

At its heyday, Hill City School held almost a hundred students in eight grades in three rooms.  The first through third grades were located in the original brick building, the fourth and fifth grades were in a room in the 1940s add-on, and sixth through eighth grades were in the last room added in the early 1950.  As time went on, the classes grew smaller. The district aged, passed on, and moved away with the closings of the coal mines.

My eighth grade class contained eight students.  To the best of my knowledge, only one of my classmates still lives in the old Hill City school district, the boy who decades later bought my father’s farm.  All the rest of us have moved on.  The other boys, including me, went into various branches of the armed services and wherever we left the services is where we remained.  For me that was Kansas City.

I still think of them from time to time…my cousin Donna who died recently, Mary Ann and Silas, who grew up as neighbors and later married, Paul who bought our farm.  Mary Ann went to SIU as I did.  Silas joined the Marines after graduating high school and he and Mary Ann were married a couple of years later.  

I lost track of the others. But, for a time, we were all family. 

Friday Follies for October 14, 2011

The Barbarians at the Gates.

In a campaign speech recently, Joe Biden called actions by states to curtail the power of public sector unions as barbarism and those governors and legislators who supported those actions as “barbarians at the gates.”  But in reality, just who are the barbarians?  Those who strive to curtail the wild spending and graft that is the creed of public sector unions or the unions themselves?

Matt Patterson, writing in the Washington Times, has this to say about “barbarians.”

Unions: The new barbarians

In a recent address to a union rally in Ohio, Vice President Joseph R. Biden underscored the threat to organized labor posed by the wave of collective bargaining-reform legislation sweeping the country, spearheaded by governors like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Ohio’s John Kasich.
“This is a fight for the existence of organized labor,” said Mr. Biden. “You are the only ones who can stop the barbarians at the gate!”
Mr. Biden’s use of “barbarian” to describe politicians – of both parties – who have come to realize that decades of union-negotiated public-employee contracts are bankrupting cities, states and whole sectors of the federal government (the U.S. Postal Service, for example) is quite interesting. The word conjures up images of Gothic hordes laying waste to Roman civilization, plunging the world into the Dark Ages. Given that government employees now comprise the majority of union members in the United States, public-sector unions form the core of the “civilization” Mr. Biden calls to defend.

The reality is actually the opposite.
In a series of sieges leading up to the sacking [of Rome], the Romans had attempted to make peace with Alaric, sending ambassadors to his camp to ask his price for sparing Rome. Alaric asked for all the gold and silver, movable property and barbarian slaves in the city. The Romans, seeing an offer they couldn’t refuse, obliged, delivering to Alaric 5,000 pounds of gold and 30,000 pounds of silver, as well as untold pounds of spices and silks.
That sounds a lot like what government employee unions have done to the coffers of our cities and states.
The cycle goes like this: Unions spend millions to elect pro-union politicians, who then give their union supporters fat contracts, which usually include generous defined benefit pensions, health care benefits that extend well into retirement, and budget-busting raise escalator clauses. If the politicians don’t show enough gratitude, unions threaten strikes, putting basic public services in jeopardy.
This vicious circle has brought many state and local governments across the country to the brink of insolvency. To give but a few examples, last August, the city of Central Falls, R.I., was forced to file for bankruptcy largely because of the city’s pension plan and its promised $80 million in retirement benefits for city employees, a sum five times the city’s general operating budget. And then there are the fiscal basket cases of California, New Jersey and Illinois, where government unions have long wreaked havoc on state budgets.

So who are the real barbarians? Big Labor is acting a lot like Alaric’s hordes, enriching itself at public expense, either not knowing or not caring about the poverty and decay its actions will unleash.

Dear Government, U.S. Business Doesn’t Need You
In a “pro vs. con” column in Bloomberg’s Businessweek, the subject was the need for government to assist business in job growth. The “pro” side repeated the left’s mantra that only government had the ability to “stimulate” the economy.  We all know the falseness of that position. The government can only put into the economy what it first takes from the economy.  And, during that cycle, less is returned, through graft and wastage, than is returned.

Thomas Bowden, of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, refutes that argument.

We Don’t Want Your Kind of Help

Why does anyone think that business needs government help? If assistance from a large central government were really necessary for economic growth and job creation, the U.S. could never have blossomed from an agrarian economy into an industrial giant. Yet that 19th century growth miracle (the population alone soared from 5 million to 76 million) happened without “help” from Washington.
Many people think business needs Uncle Sam’s help to get out of the current economic mess. But wait, that mess was caused by government intervention in the first place. The solution, therefore, cannot be more of the same poison that sickened the economy—whether it comes in the form of runaway spending, mortgage promotion, import quotas, tax favors, or other forms of “welfare for business.”
Take job creation, for example. President Barack Obama, Congress, and state governments all claim to have solutions for high unemployment. But high jobless rates are easily traceable to government programs that hamstring investment, product development, manufacturing, global free trade, and everything else that makes for a healthy economy.
Jobs are created by private businesses when they expand production, launch new products, and develop new markets. Government’s proper task is to protect the rights of these job creators (and the people who fill the jobs). That means enforcing laws against embezzlement, fraud, breach of contract, and all the other crimes and civil wrongs that violate the right to free, voluntary trade.
After that, government’s No. 1 priority is to butt out. Our lawmakers need to be pondering how to roll back the programs that stifle job creation. From Federal Reserve-driven currency manipulation that fogs up the economic prediction windshield to costly and demoralizing regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley that treat businesspeople as guilty until certified innocent and on to runaway “stimulus” spending that sucks capital out of the private sector, government “help” actually kills business initiative.
If Washington wants to help business, it should focus on providing the freedom businesspeople need to succeed.

If appears the dems and lib really have no inkling how our economy works.  Even Keynes didn’t expect “priming the pump” to be the end-all solution that is the bible of progressives around the world.  There is no endless supply of money and resources for them to steal to prop up their power base.  Eventually, you’ll, to paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, run out of other people’s money.

That is where we are today.  The source of tax money is exhausted and we can no longer support the parasite class.The “occupy Wall Street” crowd will last only as long as George Soros provides the money.  When he cuts them off, like other parasites, they’ll drop out and look for some one else to leech.  It won’t be too soon for them to discover that well is dry too.