Sunday, March 29, 2009

RNC Survey

I was pointed to this link to a survey being run by the Republican Party for its members. It's pretty hilarious. The wording is so slanted I don't know how they even expect serious results.

5. Should Republicans unite to block new federal government bureaucracy and red tape that will crush future economic growth?


11. Should bureaucrats in Washington, DC be in charge of making your health care choices instead of you and your doctor?


The best question, and one that I almost registered just to answer was this one:

1. Why did Republicans lose the White House and Congressional seats in the 2008 elections? Check all that apply.
Iraq War
Poor Economy
Government's Response to Katrina
Republican Scandals
Republicans acted like Democrats
President Bush's policies
Liberal Media

How I would love to check every item except "Liberal Media" and "Republicans acted like Democrats" (what's that supposed to mean anyway?) and then go to town on "Other". Here are some I would add:

- Nominating an unqualified person like Sarah Palin to be VP
- Inciting racism
- Allowing torture

What would you add?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Obama's Tax Plan: No Need to Cry for the Wealthy

Before everyone cries for all of the rich people who will be getting tax increases or contends that Obama is a socialist for even daring to increase taxes on the rich, I would like to point out two things.

First, let us define "marginal tax rate". According to Webster's New World Finance and Investment Dictionary, the definition is:
The tax rate that is paid on an additional dollar of taxable income.
So, when you hear percentages being tossed around, please remember that increasing the marginal tax rate on those making over $250,000 will only apply that rate to the amount made over $250,000. That is how a progressive tax system works. As you make more, the additional amount made is taxed at a higher rate. So, for 2008, a married couple filing jointly pays 10% on any income up to $16,050. For the amount made between $16,050 and $65,100, 15% is paid. The current top marginal tax rate (35%) is only paid on income over $357,700!

Second, please take a look at the history of the highest marginal tax rates. Between 1917 and 1980 (except from 1925-1931 hmmm, interesting, what happened to the economy during that time?), the year Reagan won the Presidential election, the top tax rate ranged from 46% to a whopping 92%! When Ronald Reagan took office, the top tax rate was 70%. Reagan brought it down to 50% in 1982 and then down to a low of 28% near the end of his time in office. (Hmmm, what happened to the economy in the early 90s? I'm thinking I should compare the history of top tax rates to economic cycles). When Clinton took office in the 90s, it went back up to 39.6%. George W. Bush brought it down to the current 35%.

President Obama is talking about bringing rates back to the level of the 1990s, so back to a maximum of 39.6%. This is still at the very low end of the range of historical tax rates and is again, only a marginal tax rate. So please, let's not act like President Obama is some radical that is turning the United States into some socialist, communist version of France.

And please don't cry for the wealthy. Relatively speaking, they have it pretty good.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Socialism Revisited

In an earlier post, I provided the definition of socialism and how it is not at all the correct word to describe what President Obama is having to do to fix this horrible economic mess George W. Bush left for him. I anticipated that the Republicans were going to continue this campaign rhetoric of John McCain.

Here is an excellent editorial that was in the San Jose Mercury News by Stanford professor Dan Edelstein further explaining why it is so wrong for Republicans to be using this term. He also provides a definition of socialism:

Socialism, as it was theorized in the 19th century and put into practice by the Soviets, was the nationalization of everything — all the "means of production": banks, yes, but also industries, farms, even private property. It was an economic philosophy that explicitly rejected the market economy and capitalism, seeking instead to have the state direct economic growth through "five-year plans" and other centralized measures.

This is not at all what is happening in this country, and it is maddening that the media is propagating this myth with headlines like Newsweek's "We Are All Socialists Now". Republicans are using the term as a code word for Communism, and it absolutely laughable. However, the media is not setting anyone straight with the facts and history of the term.

Government spending is not socialism. A progressive tax system where the marginal tax rate increases as income increases is not socialism. Helping the nation's needy is not socialism. Developing a health care system that attempts to provide affordable health care for those who cannot currently afford health insurance or get it provided by their employer is not socialism. Providing services through government is not socialism. Government funding of scientific research is not socialism.

Check out the article from an expert on the history of socialism.

A Worthy Cause - Tide Loads of Hope

Tide Loads of Hope, which began during Hurricane Katrina, is an effort to help in the aftermath of natural disaster by providing clean clothes and a sense of comfort to families in need. They help by either washing loads of laundry for free in special traveling Tide Loads of Hope trucks and vans or by partering with local laundromats.

P&G is currently driving an effort to raise money for Tide Loads of Hope by selling really cool t-shirts. These Tide Loads of Hope vintage shirts can be purchased through this link. All profits go to support families affected by disaster.

Please consider helping out this worthy cause by purchasing a t-shirt here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

On a Lighter Note

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's impersonation of Barack Obama really cracked me up. President Obama's image is so calm, cool and collected, which I think is very beneficial during a crisis of the magnitude we are facing. What I like about the impression is that even while angry, Obama is portrayed still as very calm. It's hilarious. Check it out!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

So NOW the Republicans Want to be Fiscal Conservatives Again!?

I find it quite interesting after eight years of the Bush Administration deficit spending, NOW the Republicans are all of a sudden worried about burdening our children and grandchildren with debt.

The fact is that when President Clinton was in office, there was budget surplus. Now, I want to make sure that I state this correctly, because I do believe this fact is sometimes misunderstood. When Clinton left office, his budget for the last three years did have a budget surplus. This does not mean that there was no national debt. Still, he was spending less than revenues being brought in, reducing the national debt rather than adding to it. So much for big spending Democrats, right?

Enter President Bush, from the "fiscally conservative" Republican party. What happens? Immediate budgets with deficits. See the chart here! To quote the story on

President Bush inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion when he took office in 2001 but has since posted a budget deficit every year

So, in Bush's eight years in the White House, he added trillions of dollars to our national debt. Where was this fiscal conservatism when Bush was spending billions of dollars on the Iraq War? Where was the concern when Bush was pushing through his $1.3 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy? Now that the country is in such serious trouble, the Republicans seem to have no problem making a complete 180-degree flip and decrying leaving this debt for our children.

I say, let's make sure there is a viable country to leave for our children and grandchildren. One where the financial system is fixed; where we have solved the problem of oil dependency; where there is health care for anyone who needs it; where there are good-paying jobs for everyone who wants to work; where the nation's infrastructure is not in a bad state of disrepair; where levies hold and where bridges are stable; a nation where the educational system works and provides a quality education for all children.