Bernanke says monetary policy is not a panacea for economic growth and recovery. Likewise, tax policy does not seem to get the job done, as we have many and generous loop-holes in our tax code. Also, we have tax cuts and tax incentives for almost everyone, especially the “favorites”; many of who finance our political campaigns. These standard medicines don’t seem to work anymore. Apparently, society has built up immunity to them. They have become more like welfare and less like incentives to growth.
Maybe we are looking in all the wrong places. Maybe we have cultural problems. Maybe we have work ethic problems. Maybe we have imaginative and creative problems. Maybe we have family problems. Of course, we know we have education problems.
The average age of a farmer in America, I am told, is 58 years old. That is sort of old. We need young farmers. We need to teach farming in high schools. The world needs to eat. We need to grow foodstuffs from one end of this rich and bountiful land to the other end.
Why has Apple been doing so well in this depressed economy ? Apple is a toy maker. They make toys for big boys. I suppose some big boys still have disposal income. But, their numbers are shrinking. And, many are now having to choose between toys and essentials.
Saturday (June 12), the Wall Street Journal did a piece on Rep. Michelle Bachmann, a potential candidate for President of the United States. That is difficult to write, after reading the article. I read it not once, but twice. Bachmann gave her opinions on the state of the economy, foreign military involvements, and the tax code. A trained tax attorney, Bachmann revealed a lot of opinions on taxes.
Bachmann is ready to take the corporate tax rate from 35% down to 9%. She was silent on corporate tax loopholes and corporate tax expenditures. She loves the national sales tax idea (Fair Tax), but does not trust it to become the single tax. She thinks it would become a second tax. The sales tax is a regressive tax. It goes after the poor man’s dime. Here in Tennessee we would pay about 33% for a loaf of bread, when you combine the “fair tax” with our state sales tax. The bank president and the common laborer would pay the same 33% sales tax for their bread.
She would “zero out” the capital gains tax. That would benefit the higher income people, as they do the most capital gaining. Great break for the wealthy. The mechanic with a wife and two children must pay the straight rate on his income, assuming he has no capital gains.
Bachmann would also “zero out” the alternate minimum tax. A loophole is a loophole is a loophole. Maybe she thinks it is time for good Americans to start honoring their loopholes.
Finally, it is time to “zero out” the estate tax, which she calls the death tax. Only the financially well-healed pay federal estate taxes. The current exemption is 5 million. I wonder if she thinks the estate tax is double taxation. Being a tax attorney with the IRS, surely she knows that much income over possibly many years would not be subject to any tax for high asset people. That is, according to the Bachmann plan. Again, another sweetener for the wealthy and near wealthy.
After reading Rep. Bachmann’s proposals, it is easy to come away thinking; here is a woman with a big heart for the rich.
Alan Greenspan wants more tax collection and tax reform. He wants to go back to the Clinton era tax schedules. He might want to go back even further. Greenspan says the debt scares him. Why didn’t it scare him before ? It is good to see him catching on. A few people might still listen to him.
The representative from Brooklyn, Anthony Weiner has, for days, been unsuccessful in squelching an inquiry into high tech lewdness. Now he has come clean. Broken, says he lied all along. We never seem to learn that the lie is worse than the crime. But, it is good he come clean.
The legendary Earl Long, onetime governor of Louisiana, once got into an indiscretion that grabbed public notice. He and staff decided to follow the first course of defence and lie. That did not work, so they weaved a better prepared lie. Failed again. The reporters would not let up. To his staff’s chagrin Gov. Earl said, “we are going to tell the truth”. The truth about what happened and the truth about the lies. While he went on radio, his staff, was, I suppose, preparing for jail time and making the necessary personal calls. The people of Louisiana, at that time, accepted his confession and forgave him. He remained in office.
Not so sure Weiner will have the same results as Earl.
Weiner is a liberal Liberal. He is always on the attack and does not take prisoners. One of the most prominent mouthpieces for a virulent strain of Liberal ideology, inside and outside of Congress. He is interesting to watch on C-Span. Democrats count on him to carry the water and hand out the switchblades. Politically speaking, there is much at stake.
So, now we have more crying and remorse on Capital Hill. Washington has also become a crying capital. I don’t say this derisively. I am glad to see the violators confess and be sorry for their sins. We are all subject to find ourselves in Weiner’s predicament for some personal weakness. I am just puzzled why so many try the lying route first and sometimes second or even third until it finally dead-ends.
Most of the time, I don’t think politicians are different, or necessarily more vile than anyone else, but just live under more illumination. Of course, that could be unjustified optimism on my part.
Last week I went to a local Tea Party gathering. My first Tea Party. About 70 people there, and a long-winded speaker with a power point presentation. I stayed for about 30 minutes. Just before I left the speaker said he would take approximately one more hour.
All along I have been sympathetic to the Tea Party. i think they have made a very useful contribution to the political life of the country. Change, reform, and progress in American has often come by way of third parties.
Yet, the Tea Party has to mature, a lot. They know enough about national affairs and Congress to be mad. They are learning about sissy politicians that pretend to represent them. All positive signs. But, the issues are more sophisticated than the Tea Party’s simple solutions.
To be a force the Tea Party will need to extend beyond anger and frustration. They need to formulate and advocate common sense and workable solutions.
They need to read the countries tolerances a little closer. Americans want Medicare reform, but not elimination. Same with Social Security. Ideas like the national sales tax(Fair Tax) is just crazy, and has no chance of acceptance in my opinion.
Once, during the meeting I said audibly, ugh! It just come out on what I thought a senseless idea. Tea Party crowds are boisterous, just as advertised, but the crowd was generally respectful and courteous.
This past week-end I traveled to eastern Kentucky. It is easier to get around in the coal fields nowadays, due to improvement in the main roads. Our primary stop was the home place of Loretta Lynn and her sister Crystal Gayle. The home is located near Paintsville, KY in a hollow called Butcher Holler, a part of the mining community of Van Lear.
Butcher Holler is about as deep as you can go into the Kentucky hills and still keep on the topside of the earth. Some of Loretta and Crystal’s family, including a brother, still live in the holler. A niece of theirs gave us a tour of the house. There is no sign directing you to Butcher Holler, except it is written in white paint on a large rock. You don’t want to meet another car on the narrow little road leading to the house.
Living in this region of the Appalachians, most of us have some identity or knowledge of humble living standards. But material comforts is a false measurement of a man or a family. That was never more evident than Butcher Holler.
Loretta Lynn’s story, as well as the rest of the Webb musical family, is bigger than their music, and , of course, their music is sizable. Years ago I read Loretta’s autobiography, and I pulled it off the bookshelf for this trip. I remember watching Loretta at a county fair, when she was just coming into her own in the 60’s. Same with Crystal Gayle. I saw her at the Ramp Festival in the Smokies very early in her career.
The home place, albeit humble, gave me the impression of peace, love, and tenderness. It is the less common story of survival and even flourishing when the odds are stacked sharply against you. It is the American story. A story that will move you. It is being duplicated, even now, somewhere.
Material well-being is important, but it is overvalued in our culture. Reading her autobiography, and watching the movie “Coal MIners Daughter” will give you insight into the higher ranking values. Faith, family love, sacrifice, and perseverance are just a few qualities that made their family “well-off”.
Once, someone inquired of the financial standing and credit worthiness of an acquaintance of A. Lincoln’s. The person was obviously materially poor. But, Lincoln converted his real assets into monetary terms. As I recall he started with a good wife and put a monetary sum of her worth. There were several children and Lincoln valued them at about 50K each and so on. Finally, he mentioned a hole in the man’s wall that Lincoln suspected contained a measure of currency. When he added it all up he could recommend the man as sort of wealthy.
So it is with the family of Butcher Holler.
The Business Journal of the Tri-Cities, in the most current issue, printed an opinion from Rep. Phil Roe, that should be an embarrassing for the publication.
Roe makes an amateurish attempt at demagoguery. He is going to do something about high gas prices at the pump. He is tired of hard working Tennesseans having to pay so much for gasoline. He and other members of House Energy Action Team(HEAT) are trying to cut the red tape and get the oil pumping out of the Gulf of Mexico. Somehow, I can’t find much on “HEAT”. Among his solutions, he wants to give “Big Oil” more tax breaks. They will pass along the savings, which means lower pump prices. It’s called trickle-down. Sure, they will !
If we will just listen to “HEAT” , we will be on the road to energy independence. We can overpower the regulators and “tree-huggers” in short order. After all, it’s the bureaucrats that are making us pay through the nose for gasoline.
It is depressing to imagine that someone, somewhere might believe this garbage.
Apparently, no one has cornered Roe and told him we have 3% of the proven oil reserves and we use 25% of the world’s production.
Roe is just another lost ball in high weeds up there.