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Right click to open full image… Pictograph Courtesy of Viral..

So, can someone tell me again, why we shouldn’t tax the rich, and instead, balance the budget on the backs of everyone else?…….

I seem to be missing that little detail where that all makes sense……

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The story goes that Warren Buffet, rather worried about his investments early 2008, wanted to talk to God… God told him to use his phone and he’d send him the bill… He got and paid the $333 million dollar charge. His investments flourished, too… That would be the end of the story, except he was down in Sussex County recently, following up first hand on a corporate case being processed out of Georgetown… once again, he asked God for the right to call, and agreed to accept the charges… When he got his bill, he was fuming… He was only charged 25 cents… “God”, he said, “you ripped me off on that first call, big time!”… God said, “Warren, don’t you get it? In Sussex County, that’s a local call…”

Local call or not, Sussex County is weighing in on whether to say a prayer before County meetings or to not… Here are a few takes on that policy: one, two, three, four……

As someone who grew up where prayers were always said before football games and county meetings, it isn’t a big deal…… That is, as long as everyone agrees it isn’t a big deal. You don’t see prayers before meetings conducted in New York.

Not because New Yorkers are heathens, but because in New York, you have a multiplicity of religions, so praying a prayer from one of them, is a slap in the face for all others…

Why it’s even an issue in Sussex County is because the Positive Growth Alliance, has been building condo’s like ants, and lots of people who did not grow up in Sussex County, now live there. Many have different ideas of religion than those who’ve always been there all their lives…

If everyone believe in the same version of God as does David Anderson, then of course, duh, why are we even arguing about it… Of course we’re going to pray to God to guide us through this meeting.. That’s what He’s for!

Suddenly, thanks to Rich Collins and the Positive Growth Alliance, we have tons of people who do object to having David Anderson’s version of God, one who dislikes Homosexuals, and one who casts pox on Democrats, one who believes married people should have sex only when they have children, one who believes sex between animals is immoral, one who believes taxes are caused by the devil, one who believes that nature was made to bulldoze and pave with a combination of petroleum and gravel. … one who believes that oil companies have the divine right to pollute oceans, one who believes that animals were made for us to kill. … one who believes a national religious holiday should fall on the first day of deer season.. one who believes pick up trucks and baseball caps are proof that homosexuality is a sin,… on who believes killing someone with a gun is not a sin, but taking that gun away for the safety of others is…

(yes, I’m having fun and talking tongue in cheek)…

The point I’m making is that Sussex County is changing; and it is changing mostly thanks to Rich Collins and the Positive Growth Alliance.

Can you make new citizens join the current religion? If so, then by all means, just like the days of old, they will see no qualms in having a tiny prayer before the meeting.

But if they don’t want to join that religion, then, to force one group of religious people to impose their prayers on others, is not American…In fact, it’s kinda creepy…

If in an effort to show fairness, the Sussex County decided they would do prayers from all religions in alphabetical order, when they came to “B” and hit Buddahism, giving an Buddahist prayer before the session, most of those in the audience would be saying WTF! This is our nation, why do we have to listen to such crap…

Which is… exactly what those Buddahists think, who have opened a business in Millsboro, and have come before the county to ask for a variance on something or other that is in their antiqued code….

So… If it is unnatural for a Baptist to suffer a Buddahist prayer, it is equally unnatural for a Buddahist to sit through a Baptist prayer…

It’s not about one religion being right and the other wrong. It’s about who the citizens are that make up Sussex County. If you want to blame anyone over this controversy, the blame solely lies with those who built up Sussex County and brought in all these new people to begin with… Now that they are here, we have to make Sussex County as fair to them as New York, is fair to us, when we take our business up there……

Positive Growth, huh? Depends on your version of positive I guess………….

Historians will one day call it the reign of the Middle Class. That period stretching from the end of WWII to the beginning of 2001, will probably be hailed as America’s evolutionary peak. Those living in 2111 who look back, will mark 2001 as the turning point where this nation began its long decline.

Today someone will probably comment that the US is not dead yet. That is true, but then again, neither is the United Kingdom; but few would say the UK still has the clout it did in international politics during these same numbered years, a hundred years ago (1911)….

Alas, the UK never recovered from WWI… The USA, it appears, may never recover from the Republican Party.

To fully appreciate what is happening today, you really need to be familiar with American history from 1870 up to the first world war… That time frame wasn’t very nice to the middle class; in fact, during those times, the wealthy and government together conspired to do everything they could to prevent the middle class from growing (see Mr. Potters argument in “It’s a Wonderful Life“.)

…What’d you say just a minute ago?…They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait! Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken-down that they…Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about…they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?

Labor unions are the vehicle on which middle class arrived… . Prior to their inception, a worker had no option but to work for nothing if he wished to stay alive.

Basically, somewhere back in the 1890’s, the question began to be raised: why should the wealthy be gambling for sport and playing around with money needed by others for basic food and shelter? And, to any impartial observer, that is a compelling question.. Why should they?

Now if they used that excess money to insure the creation of jobs, to give merit raises to good workers, or in other words, provide something back that has at least some remote worth to the economy, then I would say more power to them.

But, they don’t. They don’t. They simply gamble it away. “Let’s buy this company, hoping we can sell it later at a higher price. Sorry, you’re jobs are gone.

No, the middle class thrives on having money rise through them to the top, then, circulate back to the bottom to rise again.

The Reagan model actually preached this.. The “trickle down theory” was supposed to work. It was supposed to happen like this. As the rich got richer, they were “supposed” to build new plants, “supposed” to invest in great works that would create jobs…

The Bush years were the republican party’s glorious attempt at making that happen. Everything they preached for, they got…

America waited for the results. …. and waited…… and waited……

When the results came in, it became rather obvious that facts and reality, don’t fit in with the Republican model hypothesis: that wealth trickles down benefiting all. It doesn’t.

For Republicans, it’s a shock.

It’s like stating that God created earth in 6 days, then finding geological evidence that it took 5 billion years………. But just like the creationists that support them, these republicans keep harping their obsolete values, simply because they have nothing left. Facts have proved them wrong, so the only thing left, ….. is chutzpa.

The eight years of Republican politics, cost this economy a net loss of American jobs. Now, at the end of those 8 years, the top 1% of America’s population, currently holds 43% of this nation’s wealth; the next 19% holds 50% of this nations wealth (combined 93% in the top 20%), the next two 20%, or what should be called the middle class, holds a paltry 6% of the wealth, which dwarfs the bottom 40%, who combined barely total 1%…..

Wealth Distrubution in the USA
Chart courtesy of The Big Picture

or for those not used to being behind bars, or in honor of the upcoming Pi day (3.14) , … a pi chart……

American Wealth Distribution
Courtesy of G. William Dumhoff

Obviously reality hasn’t come to most Americans yet. We saw that during the mid-term elections.

“A number of people I know consider themselves middle-class based on their substantial income–but they own very few financial/liquid assets, and if they lose their jobs then their health coverage vanishes.

It is time our hick population faces reality. The middle class of China, fares much better than us. The middle class of France (despite our changing the name for their fries), are fairing better than us. The middle class of Norway, are faring better than us. The middle class of Dubai, are fairing better than us. Holy shit! The middle class in Brazil, even fares better than us.

Wake up!

In fact, you have to go to Africa to find another country other than the United States, where losing one’s job can kill you, if you simply have the misfortune to get sick and have no free United Nation’s health clinic in your town to save your butt…….

” There’s no way I’m worse off than some Arab!… ” blabs Joe the Plumber. ” I got my Ford. It’s sticker is almost $40,000…. I got my house; it’s a mansion worth $120,000 on the Ohio market…. No way am I worse off than some commie socialist..”

“Hey Joe! How much would you get for that car if you traded it in right now?”

“Uhh,… Blue book says its worth $18,000 retail right now…”

“Hey, Joe! How much is wholesale?”

“Uhh, …. Somewhere between $13,000 and $14,000…..

“How much do you still have on the 7 year loan you took out?”

“Uhh, ….. $16,574 as of March 15th… ”

“Ha, Ha, Joe….. You realize if someone wreaked into your car, your insurance would cover only $13,000 of that? You’re in the hole $3574….. You don’t own that car. Your loan company does! Same with your house…. So Joe, what do you own, that you are not making payments on?”

“Uhh, …… this shovel…..”

“Hey Joe, … better dig your own grave, before they figure out how to charge you for that, ha, ha….”

I can remember back when a union scale coal miner could buy a Datsun 240Z and pay for it with cash.

In the 1950’s over one third of all cars in America, were paid for with cash….

“So Joe, … is the middle class better off than we were 60 years ago?

Truth in Graphs: Americanism vrs Capitalism
Courtesy of CBO

I call this chart: Before Reagan; After Reagan.

It shows the growth per quintile during a period of “Big Government” (green), high taxation, and lower spending, versus the era of Republicans who are to blame for “Big Deficits (red), lower taxation, and higher spending”

During the post world war period, when the top marginal rate of taxes WERE quite high, we see the rich get richer! And we also see the poor getting richer too…. Hallelujah!

But, the idea that wealth trickles down on its own, we see, is really nothing but an illusion. It sure didn’t in Pottersville….

If you want to get angry, just look at the graph above and see the red graph at the top 1%: imagine if that money were instead, evenly split between all five quintiles?….

It’s no wonder our nation is in crises. What we have done economically, is the equivalent of having a father, the head of household, eat all the family’s food and whatever else he couldn’t stomach, he then allows to be ingested by his starving wife and children!

We would be aghast if such a household story were to rise from the projects and hit the local news. Likewise, we should equally be aghast that this is exactly what is happening to our economy, involving the middle class as we speak!

So……. when America’s most notorious bank robber was once asked why he robbed banks…… He allegedly replied, … “That’s where the money is…”

Likewise, if you want to balance state budgets, you should be doing so by robbing (it is essentially what taxation is) “where the money is….”

Currently Delaware’s top marginal tax rate is 6.95% on incomes over $60,000... If your income is between $40,000 and $60,000, your rate is only…. only 5.5%…. Compare that to the Red State of Georgia.. where you’re top rate of 6%…. starts and applies to all incomes over $7000! Everyone in Georgia, a state that brags it is a low tax state, pays a hell of a lot more in state income taxes than Delaware, up to the $60,000 level….

For 63% of Delawareans, our state taxes are lower than Georgia’s……

More random facts: Delaware’s 6.95% starts at $60,000. South Carolina’s 7% starts at $13,800…

Our neighbors: A person at $60,000 pays 3.07% in PA, 5.5% in NJ, and 4.75% in Maryland… all under Delaware’s rate for that income level… However those making over $500,000 pay a rate of 8.97% in New Jersey, 3.07 in PA, (they legislated a flat rate), and 5.5% in Maryland. Putting Delaware near the top in of the Mid Atlantic states.

Hawaii has a top rate of 11% that starts at $200,000. Oregon has a top rate of 11% that starts at $250,000…. California has a top rate of 10.3% that starts at $1 million…. Next is Iowa… Iowa? Yes, Iowa has an 8.98% starting at $64,755… Then New Jersey and New York tie at 8.95% but that doesn’t start until $500,000…..

So in real terms, Delaware has the option of at least tying Iowa… In percent that is an additional 2.3% to the top echelon. Now, it makes sense not to do as Iowans do and start our top rate at the level of $65,000… Rather it makes sense to put in a tax increase that will be sunset in two years, for a top rate of 8%, starting at incomes of over $1 million dollars…

Delaware has 16,763 households worth more than $1 million this year, representing 4.93 percent of all households. In 2008, Delaware ranked 11th with 18,322 millionaire households, or 5.47 percent. Delaware was No. 7 in 2007 with 20,274 millionaire households, or 6.08 percent.

As a minimal base line, if we raised the rate 2%, and assuming these are annual income figures and not statements of worth, 16,763 times $1,000,000, times 2% …. yields a gain of revenues amounting $335,260,000…..

Obviously we don’t have to go as far as Iowa to balance our budget. We can tweak those rates downward as necessary. Just this theoretical teeny tiny increase, putting us on the same level as another agriculture state, Iowa, and levying it only against 4.93% of Delaware’s households, all of which are pulling in over 1 million a year, can almost completely fund the entire health and benefit plan for the entire state of Delaware ($358 million) for an entire year!

“Today a $30,000 per year State of Delaware employee pays 7.4% of his gross pay ($2216.00) toward his family health care plan, not counting deductibles and co-pays (eg. $25.00 for specialist visits-hope the kids stay healthy) and an additional $810.00 toward his/her pension, (that is over 10% of his/her gross)”

So if you have to rob someone, who’s it going to be? The poor? or those motherf’ers with all the money?

Duh…

One might as well come right out and say it.. The Tea Party movement is based on race… There is no other explanation.

Lets assume, just for fun, that black is white… and white is black….

Imagine that thousands of black protesters, bussed in from Wilmington, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and DC, were to descend upon Dover’s Green, next to our General Assembly, armed with AK-47s, M-1’s, and handguns stocked with live ammunition. And imagine that the television cameras happen to conveniently catch some of these protesters — all wearing hoodies — ranting over the need for violent political revolution and armed conflict, should laws they despised, ever be enforced by the government? Would you see them as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would shit in your pants and want them all “lined up and shot”? Don’t answer! You know how you’d see them.

We all know this happened… but black was white… and Republicans cheered and licked the butts of those shouting slogans.

Imagine John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and Michelle Bachman, while walking to work, got surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit so much in Michelle Bachman’s hair, it caused her to look like she had just exited a Penn State frat party. It was done for no reason, except that she had not voted the way that black demonstrator with a Muslim beard and saggy pants, had desired.

Would you see this as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or would it be apparent to you, that it was an angry, potentially violent, and even a subversive mob of really dumb ass people?

Again, we all know that this happened… but black was white… and Republicans cheered and licked the butts of those shouting the slogans.

Imagine the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, a rap artist, were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.”

This happened… but black was white… and Republicans cheered and licked the butts of those shouting the slogans…

Now.

Imagine that a pill popping black radio host with the face of an ass, were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of any white president was to “hate black people,” or that a prominent white General had only endorsed a white presidential candidate cause they were both the same color, or blamed a white president because a fight occurred one of our nation’s school buses in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or if this ass faced radio host had said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, we all know these are things Rush Limbaugh has said….. and when he did, Republicans cheered and licked the butts of those shouting the slogans…

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.”

Meanwhile the Republicans cheer and line up to lick the butts of those shouting the slogans…

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.”

And Republicans stand up to cheer and line up to lick the butts of those shouting the slogans…

Imagine a black political commentator, with very odd hands, suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead.

… and the Republicans cheered and licked the butts of those shouting the slogans…

Enough.

Even if one-third of the anger currently being hurled at President Obama, were being aimed by people of color at a white Republican president, how many whites would wax eloquent about every black person’s right to free speech, to own a gun, and praise all the glories of democracy?

On the other hand, how many of them would be instead calling for crackdowns on unlawful behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of all those armed people of color?

Bottom line… Free speech, intimidation, and the right to insurrection, being championed everywhere across the Republican spectrum, … is only “right” if it’s “white”…

To each and every one of us who are color blind….. Intimidation is not right at all…

There are common laws of human decency, that boil down to the realization that ALL men do not share the same agenda. We are blessed that it was OUR founding fathers who realized that this could be a good thing… The open expression of ideas and the public rebuttal of the criticism of them, allows for cream of this country, to rise to the top…

Any group, white or black, that doesn’t abide by such common lows of human decency, … “deserves to be lined up and shot”.

If as a nation we go that far, just make sure we dump their carcasses in a salt dome… We wouldn’t want those tea bags, either white or dark, leaching into our aquifers…

Funny, … I don’t hear Republicans lining up to cheer….

Why? Because the Tea Party is all about being anti black; Anyone who has ever heard Martin Luther King Jr. speak to a crowd, … knows in his heart, there is no other explanation.

That includes Michael Steele, and David Anderson. At some point, like Senator Robert Byrd, they will come clean about their past…..

… and so ends Conservatism. exactly 30 years after it began.

During break I had a chance to browse the changed landscape of the Delaware blogosphere in depth.

There are two blogs that now carry the weight. Delaware Liberal and Delaware Way. Each are different in their own way. Delaware Liberal is an institution of fine writers, but is primarily dominated by two: Delaware Dem and El Somnambulo.

Delaware Way is where one goes to get news in the raw; for Nancy publishes everything… which is good since that is the only place one can go to find it.

Each of these provide a function… Delaware Liberal is where one can go to skim the headlines. Due to their updated format, if you missed a couple of days, it is hard to catch up… Being tied up, that has made following the news through them a little difficult. Nancy’s blog, although panned by Hube for it’s outdated format, is structured so one can follow it in consecutive order… Sort of like a facebook feed where one can drop back continuously until they reach where they last dropped off…

Other than that, there is nowhere else to look… That may be good for non- thinkers. But those of us who plan and run this state, are running blind… A scary thought as we approach the election year…

It seems like the old days mimicked the foundation of this nation. Whereas they argued over pints of ale; we argued over electronic wires… In our exchanges we tampered our views into an amalgamation of something that included the best of both worlds, and for that reason, the policies we forged, could pass the test of time… The only test it couldn’t pass, was us getting old and tired…

What is at stake, with the upcoming election… is a lack of depth. The brilliant group assembled under the general grouping “Delaware blogosphere”, was able to uncover all types of shenanigans; most of which had been going on under the cloak of looking the other way for most of our lifetimes… One, or even two blogs, cannot do the research being done independently by those of ALL political persuasions….

Which of course, means it will be easier to fool all the people some of the time… As long as they stay fooled until the votes are cast….. it doesn’t matter what happens later…

It is time each of the old bloggers look into their hearts, and review what they accomplished… It is time they look through what is written now and compare it to the days of yore…. It is time they return to the fight… the fight for truth… the fight for knowledge… the fight for justice.

It is time they realize they mattered and that like it or not, they were important to the everyday flow of politics… They made this past election happen. They changed the political landscape. They are what made local politics an issue….

We can go back to the pre-blog days of 2006… or we can continue exposing, inspecting, digressing, and scooping each other and the News Journal with information, that if left in the dark, would cost us each our money going into someone else’s pocket…

Delaware needs us. And you can’t escape that fact… It needs us.

Nancy has an example as to why….

On that page is a link to this Rasmussan Report.

VOTERS AGREE ONLY ON TAXING THE RICH TO PAY FOR HEALTH CARE PLAN.

Now anyone who knows me, knows I don’t take any stock in polls. I am smart enough to twist them into whatever I want, and so I can assume others out there are smart enough to do as well…

But over the past election, this group was the one closest to actual results throughout the primaries, as well as the general… So even though they were made up figures, I guess I’m saying, they still were closer than anyone else’s made up figures….

So the fact that a majority of Americans, all smart people mind you, believe that the rich should pay for our nation’s deficits… you know, the ones their party caused…. is rather telling. It implies that all the talk of no new taxes is baloney. New taxes on the rich are what Americans want. We want it sooner instead of later…

It boils down to ethics. Shouldn’t the wealthy take care of those who made them rich, now that times are hard? It reflects this nation’s battle with slavery 150 years ago.. Shouldn’t plantation owners take care of their slaves, like feed them? like give them a place to sleep? like allow them to get a drink of water?

If we had laws in place 150 years ago to cover the welfare of slaves, why then, can’t today’s wealthy and rich assist and help out law abiding citizens who have no jobs, who have no homes, who have no food… but still have their freedoms?

They can and it’s called paying their fair share of taxes… Americans who work, eat, live and die in our towns are saying the rich need to pay their fair share… Not get soaked mind you… BUT PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE…. Every American knows deep down that it is true… Every American knows that during WWII almost every family gave up someone to the war effort, because it was needed to save our nation… Yet today, we have the speaker of the House, A DEMOCRAT MIND YOU, saying there will be no new taxes on the table?

That goes even against the Rasmussen Report linked to above… Which plainly states: THAT THE ONLY THING AMERICANS ACROSS THE BOARD CAN AGREE TO, IS THAT THE RICH PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE….

And as proven in the post below, taxing the wealthy is super good for the economy. It fueled the Clinton boom. It drove the post second world war economy to new highs. Every time we had higher taxes, each person’s welfare, including the wealthy, just kept getting better….

Gilligan needs to get into the real world. and out of the pockets of wimpy land… (Everyone knows I love Gilligan but I get yelled at when I make mistakes and so should he). We are not on Gilligan’s Island. ( I fought the urge and succumbed). We are in a real world with real problems and one of those problems is that we are running out of money….

As one notorious bank robber responded when asked as to why he robbed banks responded: because that’s where the money is….

… so does our legislative need to solve it’s monetary needs by going to where the money is… the state’s wealthy….

It is such common sense and America knows it…. And the only reason we know America knows it…. is because Nancy published it in Delaware Way.

We need more like her…

There already is a flat tax for Delaware that begins above $60,000 dollars… Some, like El at Delaware Liberal, ask for a progressive rate to continue into the higher elevations of income levels.. The more you make, the more you pay…

This may sound unfair to some… and at face value it is… By face value I mean as the words themselves are written. For what is actually happening in a progressive tax, is this:

The more you make over what you can possibly spend in your wildest dreams, the higher percentage you pay of all that excess back the government that made your extravagant wealth possible….

Put that way…. that’s fair. That’s damn fair…

Most of us don’t have enough money. Most of us don’t pay much in taxes. That’s fair. But those with too much money over what they can spend? Don’t they have a duty too?

They’re the ones benefiting the most from the American dream. Shouldn’t they be the ones contributing the most to make it happen for others? Don’t they have the most to lose if all stability ruptures and violence, rioting and revolution begin eating away at all they have gained?

Obviously yes… and when people are starving next to you, it inhumane not to want to give up some of that money THAT YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY SPEND IN YOUR WILDEST DREAMS so they can get one bite of food and live.

So we need a flat tax in Delaware… One that is fair. Republicans like flat taxes; they say they are fair. But somehow I don’t think they will like this one…

This upcoming year we have a budget deficit of $300 to $400 million ….. again…

WE the people, can make it go away if we invoke a flat tax based on percentages.

If you make $100 million over what you can possibly spend…. we tax it at !00%….
If you make $ 99 million over what you can possibly spend,….we tax it at 99%….
If you make $ 90 million over what you can possibly spend….. we tax it at 90%…
If you make $ 50 million over what you can possibly spend….. we tax it at 50%…

We follow the same pattern all the way down… fair is fair…

If you make $ 20 million over what you can possibly spend….. we tax it at 20%…
If you make $ 10 million over what you can possibly spend….. we tax it at 10%…
If you make $ 5 million over what you can possibly spend….. we tax it at 5%…
If you make $ 1 million over what you can possibly spend….. we tax it at 1%…

Under $1 million the tax code can stay the same… The budget crises had been solved…

Under this arrangement, those in the high end may grumble… “Why should we support a government that allowed us to prosper?” But if any of you are making near the low end, you see this arrangement causes you to pay far less taxes than you do now… Imagine… having more money…

Ironically this plan benefits those who the Republican leadership is always saying needs the help: those new millionaires…. Of course some tweaking will be done… It is not fair that someone would pay more taxes at $999,999 still under the old plan than they would at $1,000,001 under the new.. But we can fix that.

Some may say the top earner will leave Delaware.. He should. He’s not paying state taxes anyway, so his loss means nothing to us as far as revenue goes… But that is a threat, we have to take into account.

But just the top ten percent of left-over-income earners would clear our deficit.. Boom… Gone… Goodbye.

And the economy would get back into shape as Delaware got back to work….

It is rather obvious we must raise taxes on the top earners of this state, no matter what one’s political persuasion may be.. It is not about politics; it is about money….

Everyone else has sacrificed as much as they can possibly stand. It is time those spoiled ones at the top, who have no idea of what sacrifice entails, step up and contribute their fair share… After all, it’s only money they can’t possibly spend anyway…..

So the next time someone says they won’t raise taxes in Delaware ask them why?

Say why won’t you raise taxes on those who can’t possibly spend the money they’re earning anyway? Why should they get to keep their money, while everyone else in the state has to lose theirs?

When, but for just a few people, taxing them fairly under a flat tax based on percentages, would improve the lives of many?

It makes just way too much sense. We need $400 million? We take it from the top.

Unstable Isotope sprang the story first. Recently El took it and ran…

Democrat Speaker of the House, Bob Gilligan, told some of Delaware’s brightest and most compassionate people, that increased taxes were off the table.

Instead we would lay off copious amounts of workers, close large numbers of schools, not repair any of our state’s roads, trim down government workers pay again, and … strip funding to police, fire, and ambulance corps..

Fortunately for all us, legislative salaries would be spared and would continued to be paid for at the rate of their last voted increase amount…

All of this is necessary in order to prevent one more tax dollar from being collected…

But wait a second. What’s wrong with one more tax dollar being collected?

Nothing. In fact, raising taxes has been proved to generate thriving economies.

“No way I’m giving another fuckin’ penny to the damn government! I’ll just buy a brand, spanking new truck with the money I’d be giving them! I’ll show those bastards. I’ll just make 0 dollars income this year…

A truck, that would never would have gotten bought, does… Taxes are paid by the manufacturer, distributor, sales person, bank or loan officers, and not to mention… by everyone else from who those people decide to spend the money they made upon the sale of that truck…

So you see, as this one tiny example shows you, taxes are good for the economy. Not so much the paying of them, mind you, but… the threat of taxes and a way out so anyone can get out of paying them… does wonders for any economy… It causes people to spend their money instead of hoarding it.

Whereas the eighties were often defined by the image of Kirk Douglas standing in front of stockholders, arguing that “greed was good”, … history and analysis will define the future 2000-teens by this adage: taxes are good.

After all, that adage explains why the Clinton years were wonderful, and the Bush years sucked. Unless of course you were in the top 1%. And even for you top one per-centers, even the Clinton years were pretty damn good!

So why would Bob Gilligan say taxes are off the table? Because he has sat in a Republican controlled House most of his life and that is all he’s heard? All laughing aside, yes, he and almost everyone else who doesn’t think for themselves…

And you can’t blame him… Based on the facts…if I were in his shoes, I would do the exact same thing… A man needs to get re-elected. And if the population is illiterate and unknowing of all the details, then you had better follow the money if you want to continue to hold power…. And that is what he is doing…

In 1999, 6180 people earned over $200,000 in income. (2.1%) Almost all of those individuals contributed to fund Delaware’s election the following year. Logically, House Speaker Bob Gilligan, along with his compatriot in the Senate, Tony De Luca, knows most of those 6180 people by face and probably half by name. He knows them far better than he knows his constituents living up and down the second street behind his home…

Were I in his shoes, I too would support my friends who got me elected… I too would have to say “no” to taxes in 2010, and trust that my constituents living two blocks behind me, would follow my lead… After all, they never read anything but the News Journal anyway, so my bet on their continued ignorance, is a pretty safe one….

So what has to happen is that the playing field must change. Bob Gilligan and Tony De Luca have to worry more over those people who are living in their neighborhoods, than they do over those making over $200,000 dollars a year…. Which means … we really need to start squawking…

Unstable and El have begun… The rest of us need to follow…

You can tell she’s a new teacher; she still cares.

But as a child this person had a learning disability. One of those programs about to be cut from our budget.

After all, you can’t spend inordinate amounts on one or two children and take away from teaching all the others…

This person could not read until 5th Grade. By their own admission, they should have been held back each year, but weren’t. Oh, they could get by up to that point. They were smart and knew how to game the system at an early age, but they never understood how letters on a printed page corresponded to the sounds in speech that are heard by us all.

In the fifth grade, they finally got an IEP.. From the testing it was learned that this person suffered from a treatable auditory learning disability. The solution was offered and this person went on through the full 16 years of school and is currently in the process of receiving their masters in education..

This person now teaches in the Red Clay School District. The stories I hear of what goes on in that classroom are pathetic. No ones fault, mind you, but pathetic.
Kids can’t learn because they are starving. Yes, despite all our free lunches, breakfasts, etc, some kids in Red Clay are starving. This teacher through trial and error eventually found that they had to keep candy bars on hand in order to keep the class quiet enough so that others could learn. It is hard to teach when one student is whimpering and just … won’t … stop… Eventually, Child Services were alerted, and upon their investigation, the child was removed from it’s home environment.

The IEP costs may appear to be excessive. But they must be seen as an investment.

Because of their use years ago, today some child who may have otherwise slipped through the cracks …. won’t….

She woke up Thursday morning feeling antsy. This is the day she said.. After seven years it was the day for all to come to a head…

The same old bullshit thrown from Adam’s way, over and over and over and over… she was just tired of all it.

Know one knew what was to come… well almost no one…. the author of a surprise Senate Bill recently laid on the table, did get some forewarning, and that premonition turned out to have immeasurable consequences..

She waited for business to wind down in the Senate at the end of Thursday’s session. The clerks were packing up their massive folders, the Senators were saying their goodbyes, and she stood up and shouted “I request to suspend the rules of the Senate and force consideration of HB 1”, and she half turned around so the departing Senators could hear, “that’s the open govenment bill, HB 1.”

Tony DeLuca turned bug eyed and purple, shot up on his feet and shouted “I object”…

“I request a vote to suspend the rules of the Senate”… she said again.

DeLuca shouted “I request we immediately break for caucus.”

At that both she and Sokola shot up: “I object” each said….

The Senators were stunned, some still unaware of what was happening. Upstairs the lobbyists who had lingered and not left early, raced up and then down the tiny steps of the upstairs gallery leading out to the grand hallway, half whispering, half shouting “Get in here… G E T B A C K I N H E R E, gesticulating wildly at their colleagues who were so intent on leaving…

A voice vote was taken and out of 21 Senators…. these voted to force the bill... Sens. Colin Bonini, R-Dover South; George Bunting, D-Bethany Beach; Brian Bushweller, D-Dover North; Catherine Cloutier, R-Heatherbrooke; Dori Connor, R-Penn Acres; Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East; Michael Katz, D-Centreville; Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington West; David Sokola, D-Newark, and Liane Sorenson, R-Hockessin.

She had the votes.

Next they voted on moving to caucus… The roll went down the same way… except for Michael Katz. She turned to see his backside disappearing out the door…. WTF? Isn’t that why we put him in? DeLuca won 11-9 and off into caucus went all the Senatorse…

The caucus was heated. DeLuca was three shades of red. His eyeballs which usually appear twice their size because of his prescription, were now four times their normal shape! He began the caucus yelling “what do you mean pulling a stunt like that without telling anyone” The proper response was: “what do you mean by holding this bill hostage in committee without letting it go on the floor, especially since it was overwhelmingly passed in the other chamber?… (Old Thurman had to be awakened and told something was going on, so DeLuca was the only one standing defending his position…)

Tony pulled the usual leadership threat about tabling all of a certain legislators bills from seeing action…. But that threat was trumped by the rising Democratic leadership now beginning to fulfill the public’s expectation of them in the House… “Well, I have it on the Speaker’s Authority that IF this bill is not passed as is, … NO SENATE BILL WILL SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY IN THE HOUSE!” “That’s bullshit” said an apoplectic DeLuca, now crimson with rage. “Gilligan never said that.. He and I have an agreement that we can water, change this bill in committee…”

“That’s not true. He has talked to me. He never said that!”

DeLuca stormed out of the caucus… ” I’m going to talk to him myself!”…..
Someone leaned over to Karen and asked… “Do you trust him talking to Gilligan alone?” After a brief second, “No”, and out the door she went after him…

Speaker of the House Gilligan was speaking at the time, and Karen went up to the Clerk and asked if she could interrupt. “Sure, go ahead, said the clerk”.. Are you sure? “Yeah, no problem… you can go” and so she did…

“Speaker Gilligan, did you promise Tony that you would water down the content of HB1 in conference after it had passed both Houses?”… That little tuft of hair over the speaker’s left eye, twinkled upward? WTF? “Of course not, was the answer.” After repeated assurances the Houses business continued and the Senator returned to caucus… When she got there DeLuca was already back there.waiting for her.

“I talked to Gilligan…” ” I know, I know! I was waiting in the back to be recognized and YOU JUST WENT RIGHT UP THERE!”

“Yes I did”, …

Tony then offered to bring up the legislation first thing, June 2nd… “No, we had the vote to do it now…” But the arguing continued… finally Karen said that she would accept the majority vote of the caucus since we were, after all a Democracy. The vote was to postpone the vote until June 2nd.

She acquiesced…. All along she was worried some trick was in play. Come June 2nd, something would come up and table the legislation….

But instead, it went as planned. The first item of business on June 2nd was the passage of HB 1 which opens up the General Assembly to public scrutiny.

The Delaware Senate voted unanimously to allow open government throughout all functions of the General Assembly of the state of Delaware…

Bob Venebles came up to our hero and said in what has become his notoriously pompous demeanor: ” I don’t approve of how you handled that bill” he said disapprovingly.

“You mean like suspend the rules as you yourself did just two weeks ago, and have repeatedly done so over your tenure here?” You mean to say you disapprove of THAT method?”

“I don’t approve of how you handled that bill” said the dinosaur…..

Reading between the lines we are beginning to see that the passage of this bill so easily through the Senate, portends that the current leadership is very worried that HB 5 may pass and was willing to give this up to insure that HB 5 gets voted down…. It’s that important to them that non heterosexuals do not have rights at work…

Across from the governor’s office in Legislative Hall, a tent was set up, wires and microphone brought in, and lots of AFSCME green shirts were handed out…

All were there to protest the 8% wage cut. Approximately 400-500 people showed up at the rally to support state labor and to question the necessity of cutting back pay for state workers by 8%,,,

Some of the legislators who crossed the street to show their support, were Debbie Hudson, John Kowalko, J. J. Johnaon, Dori Conner, as well as Mister Pro Union Republican Dick Cathcart.. Others arriving late because of caucuses, were Bethany Hall-Long, Pete Schwartzkoph, Bruce Ennis, and Bob Gilligan, … who missing podium time, mingled with the crowd outside.

The News Journal was there. Their reporter got out of her car, wandered around briefly, talked to two people, got back in their car, and drove off.. I saw her. Great reporting from a great paper.

It was cold, but not too cold. The Big Top tent was supported by to massive poles, but still not enough room underneath was present for the crowd that came… Many buses were on standby, having brought state employees from as far away as a little office outside of New Castle airport on Rt. 57 Churchman’s Road…. The atmosphere was apolitical in nature, but it’s tone was more direct, as is usually the case when one’s incomes are directly on the line…

Obvious attempts at cheerleading were promulgated by Green Shirted AFSCME speakers, with the popular phrase being “No Pay Cuts” erupting around the Green. It was their day in the sun, although perhaps prognostic for state employees, there was no sun shining… If that’s the official celestially-sent omen, then…..tighten the belts, boys and girls….

Despite the darkening skies, warm comaraderie and sense of purpose buoyed kindred spirits…

For despite how we see things in our impersonal bureaucratic kind of way… the bottom line is these people showing up, cannot survive on what they earn now, and are at wits end as to how they can remain solvent after taking an 8% cut….

This is real folks. It’s a real issue focused on survival… It is not about losing a little money here or there…

And that is what the demonstration finally drove home… As a government for the people, of the people, by the people, we must ask ourselves….do we want to put ourselves in the business of hurting people? One state worker from the Emergency Center outside Smyrna, said he wished his co- workers could also be there, but unfortunately they had to go to their second job: you know, the job that is required to keep ahead of today’s expenses… Now this worker had been employed over a decade… Over the period of that length, their income had increased a whopping 4%… Yes, 4%… Why cut back 8% they asked, to a rate less than when they joined? I gave the answer that the 8% was determined by taking the dollar amount needing cut, and dividing it by the number of people working across the state, 8% is what it came to mathmatically. (My realism was not appreciated in the emotionality of this environment).

Even I had to question returning this person’s wage level back to the times of George Herbert Walker Bush… Yes, we all know it was the party of his son who physically ruined everything for us… But still, jumping back twenty years?

Today, getting another source of income does not seem likely. Jobs are hard to find right now… And for those couples who have both partners working for the state, and are now approaching the “medical” years, the benefits for which they left the private sector and join the government and be willing to accept a measly 4% pay increase over the expanse of ten years, simply because of the strength of their benefit package,… are now losing those very benefits when they need them the most…

But then, I said, “everyone is suffering. Private sector employees have been making those sacrifices over the entire span of the Bush years as American jobs got shifted offshore solely because of the Republican tax breaks, and every domestic employer had to trim back his offered benefit package just to stay competitive…..”

“But, they were not working for the people”.. I was then told. “They were working for a business. We, gave our lives to help people, and now, we lose 8%? Is there any other option?””

Just then John Kowalko (D Newark) stood up with a plan to raise additional revenues from fees and corporate taxes, so that no employee would have to take a cut in pay. As expected those words went over well with this crowd… The prime argument being made by John, was that with state employees are taking an 8% pay cut, and they being the largest employee-base in this state, their damping of the state economy, would kill any chance of recovery before it had the opportunity to begin… People losing 8% do not spend. Businesses catering to people losing 8% do not earn revenue. Enamored with his response, Kowalko led a new cheer for “no pay cuts”. We could hear our echo bounce back to us off the windows of the Governor’s office….

Then Dori Conner stepped right up to the microphone….
Her twelth anniversary had just gone alright..
Between her and her great husband Bob,
Thirty seven years, …had gone by.
In their care the teachers, had done all right…..
They were the Sultans…

Next pro union pumped up Dick Cathcart got up to speak.. (he’s a Republican you know)… He laid into the racino industry who just last night in the House, threw enough money at enough Republicans to stymie a bill to raise $55 Million for the state through sports betting.. “Do you know why they wanted the bill dead?” “NO” yelled the crowd back to them. Louder he yelled, “Do YOU know why they wanted the bill dead?” “NO” roared the crowd back.. In his loudest voice cracking under the strain, “DO YOU KNOW WHY THEY WANTED THE BILL DEAD?” The crowd in one voice blasted back: NO!

“THEY WEREN’T HAPPY WITH THE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS THEY’D BE MAKING OFF THE EXISTING DEAL… THEY WANTED MORE….AND MORE…. AND MORE…”

(Now if ever there was a good reason for gun control, then this just brought it up… For in the heat of that moment, as the collective mindset of all those present slowly grasped the gravity of the insolence that had occurred the night before, had everyone there had access to a firearm, the possibility exists that there would be no Republican left standing by this time tomorrow.)

Next “JJ” Johnson reminded the audience of the march on Washington… Reciting the directives of 1963, he encourage that group to stay organized and work together… “United we stand, Divided we fall”. he led the crowd… Although his analogy was outdated and a little off mark, (the march on Washington which culminated in the ” I Have A Dream” speech was to dramitize the plight of African Americans, not labor ), his enthusiasm was contagious towards fueling the protest of the moment, as many there envisioned the power trip that they would elicit from being part of something as grand as that march on Washington…….

Finally AFSCME spokesman led the final cheers of “No Pay Cuts” and had us direct them toward Markell’s office, and the party slowly matriculated outside. Symbolism not being lost on this observor, it is hereby dutifully noted, that throughout the demonstration, the podium had been facing South: the direction Republican leadership had led our State House and our country over these past 8 years….

Final points occurred on the sidewalk as Legislators who had been tied up in caucus, came over to “pay their dues” or to “show their support…” Bob Gilligan, Bethany Hall-Long, Bruce Ennis, and the newly fired Pete Schwartzkoph, joined John Kowalko on the sidewalk. The official AFSCME sign carriers, proceeded to march across the street and parade up and down past Markell’s window.. I couldn’t help make the casual observation, based on what I was currently seeing, that carrying signs in today’s electonic age, was silly and made one look quite foolish and outdated… What’s the point, anyway, when you can reach thousands with a radio ad? Why look like you belong in the 1890’s parading around Matewan?

Bet you can’t guess who out of these legislators, was the most engaged?

Pete.

The least? Bethany Hall- Long, I think… who walked ten feet in each direction blankly saying “thanks for your support”… and then returned to huddle with Gilligan, and several staffers…

And, I should say.. Bruce Ennis impressed me…

And as is tradition, I’ll close with a vignette:

Bob Gilligan, when he heard about Pete’s firing, came up and offered this observation…

“Look Pete, not only is what they did, stupid…. but it was “fucking” stupid….”

Damn! I love Democrats… Gone now are those Copelandish aphorisms of ominously finding ourselves “stepping into a big pile of doo doo”.. At least we’re hearing real truth for a change… Even if it gets interpreted by Pete’s darling grandson as being “truckin’ stupid….”

(inside joke)