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How They Keep Us Apart, part three

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 05/14/2011 - 18:08


Distractions abound in this country.

Cynical Roany thinks that this is by design.

The example of this that best speaks to me has to do with taxes.

Your "Silly Little Democrats ............." are always whining about tax cuts for the "The Rich".

Your "Formerly (although still mostly) Feckless Republicans ............." counter that "The Rich" pay almost 90% percent of all the income taxes paid in this country.

The American people pick a side and go to arguing and finger pointing.

Anger and upset are the only outcome.

Media is complicit.

Everybody benefits except the citizenry.

Democrats have their union and legal haters pumping up the masses.

Republicans have their wealthy and middle class constituents feeling themselves to be under siege.

The media get their ratings and sell their advertising because promoting drama is good for business.

As for me?

I got questions.

First of all, who the hell is "Rich"?

As opposed to, who the hell is Rich?

I would truly love to hear the debate where "Rich" finally gets defined.

Is "Rich" a function of income?

Are you "Rich" if you made $250,000 last year?

What if you've never made anywhere near that number ever before?

What if you're unlikely to ever make that much again?

That doesn't happen you say?

I know a raft of guys in the real estate business who had a big year that they have never duplicated.

How about if you're only making $60,000 a year, but it's from a $1,800,000 in CDs or treasuries, and you happen to be living in a nice little, paid for condo in Destin.


What if you're 62 years old and have a defined benefit retirement plan from a pair of government entities paying $86,000 a year with escalators for inflation until the day you die, plus Social Security, plus all the health care you can eat for $142 a month, and you happen to be living in the nice little paid for condo in Destin right next door to the one mentioned above?

The reason I ask is that my HP 12C (financial calculator) is telling me that the above deal has a "Present Value" of $1,292,228 if capped at 3% (That there is real estate guy talk. Capped is short for cap rate which is an assumed rate of return for some specified investment, which in this case it is arbitrarily set by me at 3% because there is almost negligible risk in a defined benefit government retirement plan.  The less risk, the lower the cap rate.) and amortized over 20 years.

That $1,292,228 is before you even begin to figure for the Social Security benefit, and the true cash value of the health care.



How they keep us apart, part two

Submitted by Roanman on Mon, 04/11/2011 - 17:52


Here's maybe a better example on how government and the "Political Class" keeps America divided.


Let's say somebody earned $100,000 last year.

How much taxes did he/she pay?


Who the hell knows?

Everybody is different.


Do you have a mortgage?

Live in a high tax environment?

Breed excessively?

Drive far to work?

Save for retirement?

Support a church or a charitable organization?


There is only one area where everybody is the same.

Everybody is pretty damn sure everybody else is paying a helluva lot less. 


Let's take your Uncle Roany as an example.

I own my home free and clear, having bought a much smaller, cheaper house than I could have, had I been willing to mortgage.


So ....... here's my question?

Why the hell should I be expected to subsidize the interest payments you make on your purchase of a bigger and nicer house than I have??????


Your Uncle Roany really likes sex.

Really, really ............................................ Seriously.

Early on in my marriage, I didn't realize that a lot of sex would result in a lot of babies.

I thought it was the fluoride causing it.

Why should you be asked to subsidize the consequences of my baser instincts and lack of training in the "Facts of Life"?


Because I have a pretty small house in a suburban bedroom community, my property taxes are pretty low.

Why should I have to subsidize your lifestyle in a real cool, high tax city.


I like to give money away.

Why should you be expected to subsidize my religious, charitable or civic convictions?


How do you think people would feel about themselves, their neighbors, and their country, if everybody knew for damn sure that everybody was getting the exact same deal?

Whatever that exact sameness might be?


How they keep us apart.

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 04/10/2011 - 09:42


 First of all, apologies to whomever put together the below chart.

I grabbed it off from somewhere thinking that there was some identification on the chart to acknowledge and link to.

There is not.

Now I can't remember where I found it.

If somebody has seen it before, let me know.

I will cheerfully give credit and link to the source.


The following chart provides an outstanding example of how our government keeps us apart and at each other's throats.


Anybody paying the slightest bit of attention has heard that the rich pay the lion's share of the INCOME TAXES in this country.

It is true.

The top 1% of taxpayers pay about 35% of our nations INCOME TAX.

The top 25% pays about 83%.

The top 50% pays about 96%.

It is also true, the rich earn the lion's share of our national income, but on a percentage basis they pay more in taxes than they earn in income.


But INCOME TAXES on individuals only makes up 43.5% of the total tax receipts of the federal government.

42.3% is paid in in the form of "PAYROLL TAXES" aka "WITHHOLDING TAXES" aka FICA, aka Social Security and Medicare taxes which are deducted directly from wage earners paychecks and are sent to the government.

The balance mostly comes from by corporate taxes which we all pay when using the goods or services provided by corporations, and some other relatively minor sources.



The withholding rate for "The Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund (OASI), again what most of us call Social Security or FICA is 12.4% of one's taxable income.

The rate for Medicare is 2.9% of one's taxable income.

For a total of 15.3% tax on wage earners above the INCOME TAX.

In the case of Social Security, the tax is largely paid by middle and lower income taxpayers because the income against which it is applied is capped at $106,800.

Here's where the truth gets bent.

 I'm trying to put the best construction on this.


You are told that the funds go to the "Social Security Trust Fund" or the "Medicare Trust Fund".

And that's true as far as it goes, but what really happens is that the Federal Government issues debt (bonds) which is exchanged for your (cash) payroll taxes.

And subsequently sends your payroll taxes (cash) to the general fund.

Every dime of income the Government collects regardless of source, ends up in the general fund where it is spent as though it were exactly the same thing as "INCOME TAXES".


Name an activity that the Federal Government participates in, and that is where your FICA is being spent.

Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, now Libya, maybe Iran.

Defending Europe (NATO) from Russia, or Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan and South Korea from North Korea and China, the Saudis from Iran.

Not to mention from their own people.

Welfare benefits, unemployment compensation, food stamps.

Government salaries, pensions, benefits and perks.

National parks, roads, bridges, education, research.

Office supplies.


Now, some of that stuff you can legitimately call an investment in America.

But is it appropriate to be investing people's health and retirement monies on all of the above?

Here's the government's argument,

"Some people are not able, or prepared to invest their retirement money themselves.  What if they make bad investment decisions and lose their money?

Were some people in control of their retirement funds they would indeed make some bad investments and suffer losses.

But just for fun, imagine a prospectus selling an investment in the defense of Europe.


Here's the offering.

You provide military equipment and personel to Europe free of charge, and in so doing allow the average European citizen a month of vacation every year, mostly free health care, and retirement at around age 58.

You don't get a plug nickel back, get to work until your 61.5 at least, but ................. you get to say that you're making the world safe for Democracy.

You can be a drooling moron and you're still passing on that opportunity.


So, here's the consequences:

Upper income people feel abused because they're thinking they're doing all the heavy lifting.

The middle class feels abused because they thought they were saving for their retirement, but are starting to realize that Social Security is likely to go broke, their money having been squandered.


In truth, it ain't gonna go broke.

The government will print the dollars to pay you back.

The bad news is that each dollar is likely to be worth a helluva lot less than the one you payed in.

Retirement money is just being spent and not invested, which results in the poor feeling abused because there are no jobs, and subsequently no future.

While all they hear is "The Rich" bitching about their taxes.


The Deficit Commission

Submitted by Roanman on Thu, 12/02/2010 - 06:08


The President's Deficit Commission released their recommendations yesterday, and they are as follows:


Would collapse today's five income tax rates into three brackets: 8 percent for the lowest incomes, 14 percent for middle incomes and 23 percent for the wealthiest.
Would lower the corporate tax rate to 26 percent from 35 percent today.
Would end $1.1 trillion in popular tax breaks to permit these low rates. Tax breaks to be eliminated range from the deduction of mortgage interest to receiving health insurance from employers on a pre-tax basis. Such moves would broaden the tax base and make virtually all Americans pay more in taxes.
Would tax capital gains and dividends as ordinary income rather than at today's 15 percent rate.
Would raise payroll taxes on the wealthy so that 90 percent of taxable wages would be subject to the payroll tax by 2050.
Would increase the federal gas tax by 15 cents a gallon to pay for transportation improvements.

Retirement benefits

Would raise the age Americans can get Social Security benefits from 62 to 68 by 2050 and to 69 by 2075. This reflects that Americans are living and working longer.
Would allow early retirement benefits for career manual laborers.
Would boost benefits for Americans aged 81 to 85.


Would cap spending on almost all government programs through 2020 except for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and some defense programs.
Would require the president to propose annual limits on war spending, a major change when America is fighting two wars without a tax increase to pay for them. That has never happened in U.S. history.
Federal pay, work force

Would impose a three-year freeze on congressional pay, which now increases annually.
Would freeze pay for civilian federal workers.
Would gradually reduce the government's civilian work force by 10 percent.
Got a problem with any of that?
Let's see what you can do.
Here's another chance to balance the budget with The New York Times budget puzzle.
Click on the chart below to play.



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