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This is post number 2000.

The only real significance is it is 150 posts more than where Tommywonk stopped exactly one year and fifteen days ago…

If some future historian looks back, I can only guess they may kindly make some note of the quality of thought that underlies these efforts, but my guess, is no one will ever notice…

Irregardless, as long as the urge to put thoughts down for others continues, we will go on. As usual, with no goal, no direction, and no ulterior motive. Probably upon reflection, my biggest surprise, right here, right now … is that I still enjoy it so much, and can’t wait to jot my thoughts down, click the button, and send them off to where ever cyberspace and the vast internet ocean, lets them drift….

For each of you who have become regular over the years, … thank you friend…

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Would any American support a law imposed on us by the Soviet Union?

Would any American support a law imposed on us by Communist China?

Would any American support a law imposed on us by Islamic Iran?

Would any American support a law imposed on us by Mexico?

Would any American support a law imposed on us by Canada?

Would any New Yorker support a law imposed on them by South Carolina?

Would any South Carolinian support a law imposed on them by New York?

Would any Delawarean support a law imposed on them by Alaska?

No?

When put in this perspective, the phrase…”it’s the law…” rings rather hollow…

It’s the law… of what? It’s the law of…. who? It’s the law decided by whom?…… What reference does this law have to me?

Such is every Americans feeling to corporate law… These laws were applied to the lawbooks without our knowledge. These laws were applied to the lawbooks without our approval… There laws were applied to the lawbooks not in an open environment, but subtlely sneaked in, unannounced, unnoticed, unapproved, unsubstantiated, and unconstitutional…..

These laws that are being upheld, benefit a very thin percentage of people, a razor thin percentage of people. at the expense of the majority…..

Rick Santorium stands up and states we are a nation of law. We follow the rule of law…

Yes, we will follow a rule of law onto which a majority of us signs on to… But nowhere in our contract with America did we agree to follow laws that have not been sanctioned by the Constitution as being legal. Nowhere in our contract with America, did we agree to follow the phantom that corporations were human beings. that corporations had just as much right as people to write laws, get them passed, and then uphold them… as if they were people….

There are times when breaking the law, is better than following it…

If you don’t believe me, just ask Jesus.

A bridge to the future, if collapsed, takes you no where… –kavips

This chapter looks at rebuilding our infrastructure. We have highway problems, energy problems, educational problems, as well as health problems, environmental problems, and social problems. Can rebuilding our infrastructure be a tool to begin the mending process?

Up to now very little has been spent on maintaining our highways. Most highway money was earmarked for new growth.. It was as if no one gave consideration of the fact that maintenance of what we already had up and running was a cost that needed budgeted in.. After all, what political points are ever given for repairing a road before it goes bad? (Damn it, why are they tearing up good highway, costing me twenty five minutes in each direction?) But with the August 1, 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35 Bridge in Minneapolis, we see what happens when highway infrastructure is ignored.

For example in the United States alone, 25% of our bridges are deficient. In Delaware, 15.4 % of our bridges are either functionally or structurally deficient, which is actually good when compared to our fellow small state Rhode Island with 52.9% of its bridges deficient. As one travels back and forth, one crosses an unknown number of tiny bridges; of these, one out of four is deficient. How would you like to be on the I 95 bridge across the Susquehanna… when its time came to fall?….. or perhaps driving across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge between Kent Island and Annapolis? Thinking “one out of four” may raise your apprehension rate the next time you find yourself traveling unknowingly across a potential deathtrap…

The need to improve our infrastructure is obviously there. So if we have the labor available, how will we pay for the construction and repairs with our treasury bottomed out?

That depends on whether bonds still had any worth, meaning whether or not anyone still had any interest in buying them… Normally bonds are sold at a low interest rate, and the money taken in is used for construction. The notes are paid back in regular payments. But if there is no demand for, or more money out there with which to buy the notes, who will fund the infrastructure investment?

Today the bottom line is that the money will have to come from the Treasury. Being broke, that also means the Treasury will no choice but to print more money in order to accommodate the economy’s need. As more money starts chasing fewer goods, inflation looks at us dead center down it’s barrel. Unfortunately we are in such dire straits, that we have no choice but risk the chance of inflation just to keep the next Great Depression at bay….

The same scenario applies to our efforts to revamp our educational system. Now estimated to require between 45 to 50 billion (how much was AIG’s bailout?) the infrastructure of our schools systems faces the same challenge of acquiring minimum funding, as does that of rebuilding our highway system.. Up until August of this year it could still have been done. Now due to insufficient funds, this accomplishment is unlikely. But if we choose to go forward, we will have to do so again funded by printed money with inflation drawing another bead upon the target on our own purchasing power..

Even today, there is enough work to employ every man, woman and child in America if we can find the resources to pay for them doing so… Work such as environmentally cleaning up Superfund Sites, energetically laying new transmission lines, socially integrating our square pegs into round holes, educationally teaching problem readers to become literate, or simply maintaining hospice care over those citizens who cannot survive long enough to see America turn its corner; yes, work can be found…

But the underlying question still remains as to how we will be able to fund the privilege of keeping America employed… and at whose expense? If we were unable to solve these problems during the past 8 years of plenty, how will we deal with them during a time of shortage?

Fortunately, we are not the first group of people in our lifetimes to rebuild our world around us… Three examples of what can be accomplished, are found in three post war states who after war’s end, found themselves under American influence. That would be Germany, Japan, and South Korea. These are the models we need to turn to. Someway and somehow they bounced back from complete devastation to becoming the the second, third, and fourteenth largest economies behind that of the United States…

At war’s end, there were very poor resources to spread around. Everything possible needed fixed at once. But with a small amount of seed money provided by the Marshall plan, a major currency adjustment, and a release from price controls, the German population pulled themselves up and today have roaring economies better than do any of our allies of that past conflict. (It doesn’t seem fair.)

History shows us that for two years after the war, while post war punitive policies were kept in place, all of the occupied countries’ economies decreased. The Soviet sector opted to maintain those policies and their economy continued to suffer accordingly until German Reunification in 1990. However in the western Allied sector, starting in 1948 with the abolition of price controls and most post war rationing, along with the devaluation of their currency designed to shrink the amount (by 93% contraction) of the money in circulation, their economy took off; lost days decreased by half, and industrial production climbed within six months by 50%. Both nations were blessed with the post war abundance of skilled cheap labor; therefore both nations were able to increase the flow of money into and around their country.

Rising to the challenge imposed upon them by history, all three countries had able leadership which was effective in communicating this to each countries’ populations: … that their time and effort were to be properly considered as an investment. Their rewards would not be reaped immediately, …but would someday be magnificent. Their leadership was also effective in communicating that timing was critical. If they did not begin immediately… their nation’s dreams would never materialize. It was their competent leadership that marshaled the populations of both WWII nations back to work “on the cheap” and that…. the bottom line, is how both counties bounced back. Not dictatorially, but economically. One should note that both of the two occupied economies fared much better than our Allies, who received far more Marshall Plan aid than did the conquered nations, and who did not have to pay for war repatriations as did both of the war-torn countries.

From here I pulled this little piece of history, showing the progressiveness that forced the German economy forward…..

Colonel:“How dare you relax our rationing system, when there is a widespread food shortage?”

Erhard:“But, Herr Oberst. I have not relaxed rationing; I have abolished it! Henceforth, the only rationing ticket the people will need will be the deutschemark. And they will work hard to get these deutschemarks, just wait and see.”

That they did.

Obviously sitting in our armchairs looking forward, we too understand that we will face the specter of inflation. It MUST come with the copious amounts of money we are currently and anticipated soon to be printing. However as does any nation in a war, our country does what is needed. Currently and just like it was after WWII, the US right now is the only global entity strong enough to expand its money supply fast enough to put most of its citizens back to work. As we begin earning extra spendable income, our demand increases; when that demand pushes up prices, more and more entrepreneurs race to fill in the vacuum of goods… bringing them back down. Greed is good.

As for actual rebuilding of infrastructure, postwar Japan offers a slightly different model. In Japan we meshed the government, banking system, and large industrial players to fund, construct, and grow their infrastructure during the sixties. The local banks, backed by the government of Japan, used a system of overloaning. This policy is one which the Bank of Japan guarantees all loans issued by city banks to their industrial conglomerates. Because there was a shortage of capital in Japan at the time, industrial conglomerates borrowed beyond their capacity to repay, often beyond their own net worth, thereby causing city banks in turn to over borrow from the Bank of Japan. This gave the national Bank of Japan complete control over all dependent local banks until the loans were repaid.

The primary difference between the Japan of then and America today, is that today, the money is still not being lent out by those banks receiving Federal assistance. Instead, today’s over loaning is being wasted on the buying up of other banks; today that mass infusion of capital is being used to consolidate the financial industry, instead of financing large projects that actually put citizens to work, and in turn funnel money back through the economy.

The question remains. Does rebuilding our infrastructure get us back on our feet?

Yes and no. The economic impact on the local level at the location where the federally funded project is being built, is huge. But it is a localized effect. For an economic turnaround to be effective, infrastructure building must occur simultaneously in almost every town or village across the United States. If funded solely by the federal government, that significant cost would appear prohibitive. But if instead of being funded solely by the Federal Government, it is done as did the Japanese during their infrastructural rebuild, (where all local banks simultaneously financed local projects close to their locations), much more capital becomes available. If we place our bets on the option that local banks WILL lend out the money, if we guarantee that they lose none of the amount lent out,…. then that outcome could start some infrastructure development in the very near future somewhere near every community’s small bank, no matter where it may be located.

So if as a nation, we choose this plan, and we attempt the Japanese-tried approach, the question next arises over which infrastructural improvements will return the largest investment? The consensus seems to be that Energy, Education, and Technological advancement lead the pack.

As we now all know, even during prosperous times our nation gives up a large percentage of its income to other overseas nations just for oil. By simply keeping that dollar amount in the United States we could provide our economy a substantial boost. Furthermore, manufacturing and exporting new technology which help frees the rest of the world from their dependence on oil, would certainly assist us in turning the trade balance back in our favor. Both of these lines of thought converge to point out this: the increase of our energy independency could become the primary viaduct which could bring America back into prominence.

As for increasing our energy independency, there are several options for doing so. One, is to create new sources. Here is one startling fact: there is enough potential wind power in North Dakota alone to cover 25% of America’s energy needs. The problem is getting it to where it needs to be used. Building transmission lines from America’s heartland out to its extremities, where its largest users are, should be a first priority. For one, it actually uses the free market plan and opens markets to a cheaper supplier of that required product. Two, transmission costs are a significant portion of the energy costs we pay for electrical energy today. Three, poorly outdated transmission grids eat up a lot of energy that could instead be used to power America.

Likewise building transmission lines from our local shores to major metropolitan areas, provides those city areas with cheaper electricity from off shore wind, thereby increasing the likelihood that more wind power generating companies will set up off-shore. The larger the wind farms are off shore, the better our economy will weather that upcoming Depression that appears to be looming off our horizon… And if hydrogen is one day destined to become our replacement fuel, then locating their manufacturing plants in close proximity to offshore wind farms, in order to capitalize on a wind farm’s free excess energy during non peak hours….. could certainly help build an industrial base to back up the tourist economies of rural shoreline counties.,.

Directly related to the new technology of wind power, would be the need to construct electrical storage facilities in areas that have no jobs. Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia would be ideal localities to build closed circuit water generators that use free excess wind power during non-peak times to pump water up a hill to reservoirs on top, from which water can then be released during peak times, flowing downhill turning a series of giant generators as it falls to the valley floor. These massive projects would put large numbers of Americans to work in those areas desperately needing new development.

But these three investment strategies are all dependent on the knowledge that wind driven energy will be a big player in the years to come. No one will make such an major investment in a climate of doubt. The Federal government over the next few years … has to make that clear.

For other hard hit areas, an investment in solar power out in America’s Southwest can do the same. A conglomerate of local banks issuing out loans, guaranteed by the Federal Banking System, should have sufficient resources necessary to begin the immediate construction of a series of large solar farms in that area. With such an investment to attract large numbers of employees to that area hardest hit by the housing crises, local banks could with the Federal bank’s support., begin paying workers who in turn would help out the local banks by buying back some of those foreclosed mortgages at market prices…

But unquestionably, the largest saving can be made by simply conserving more energy in our homes and businesses. Just re-insulating every home in America, can save the cost of its installation within a year. According to the Department of Energy, re-insulating a home can save between 5% and 22% of its energy costs per year. At their estimated energy cost of $1500 a year (seems low, doesn’t it), the range would be from $75 dollars to $300 dollars a year. So paying someone a bounty of $75 dollars for each house, just to infra-red, then re-caulk it’s leaky windows and insulate it’s doors, would see its return within one year on every dwelling visited. Paying someone to go through a city’s public housing could save that city government tremendous amounts of money which could be better spent putting its citizens back to work.

Educational infrastructure is likewise needed. Our nation’s schools for the most part, have not been updated on a grand scale since they were originally built for the influx of baby boomers … What is more important than structural additions to existing buildings, is a revamping of the educational process itself.

America needs to regain their technological prowess… Our educational system ranks behind most of Europe and civilized Asia. One Duke study concluded that 137,437 engineering graduated in the United States, compared to 112,000 for India and 351,537 for China. Of course the quality of those foreign engineers are open to debate. But still, with lopsided numbers like that, it is obvious that over time…. we lose the technological war. Today… whoever is driving the global need for technology… drives the global economy.

Putting additional parents or motivators inside of class rooms, increasing allocations for science supplies (simply dropping sodium into water turns most students on to science as well as instantly explains the clarity of the periodic table), and increasing the social status of the “geeks” in teenage classrooms, are just some of the ways we can rebuild our educational infrastructural needs, without large investments of cash… Where we most often complain that the educational system is broken and in dire need of fixing, at the core of the problem is broken down people. Whether it is administrators, teachers, school board members, parents, or the students themselves, what we have throughout our education system is a group of talented, but leaderless individuals. All are spinning their wheels independently in their effort of trying to find some type of traction in improving education. Often within the same schools, different partners are spinning in opposite ways.

What American education needs is a grand goal, one that is set nationally and bought into by all of its people. Once again, America needs to be challenged. At its forefront it needs a leader capable and willing to stake his reputation on meeting and achieving that goal.. And most importantly, that challenge needs to me made without any financial strings attached. You know: the usual “we need to invest $$$ in …….”. Instead, what is needed by our incoming leadership is to voice a measurable goal such as this one for example: that says by 2015 we will as a nation, turn out as many engineers as does China….. (Goal reaching against a competitor worked for reaching the moon). Perhaps to achieve it, some additional funding may be necessary. But what is more important, is that is sends a real signal to students that fun and games as they have been portrayed on children’s TV, can no longer be tolerated within our high schools. Every young person now has the survivalist duty to apply themselves to the best of their ability, for the honor of their country in whatever the direction their talents lead them… (With proper leadership, this can be done fairly cheaply: it takes just one big speech.)

The long term return on this cheap investment is that by 2020, our engineers should be in the field working at top notch organizations, benefit them and us from their training and expertise…. The longer we wait… the further behind China and India we find ourselves… We are already talking twelve years from now before we can get any return on both ours, and our student’s investment….

Likewise, tying in with improvement of our educational output, is our need to advance ourselves further along the road of technological innovation, ie. creating new patients. For which ever nation builds the most savvy technical gadgets, that is the country from whom all others will want to buy…

But in today’s economical climate one must realize that a risky investment on some new technological device, untested in the market place, will have difficulty finding financiers. Once again, the Federal government, if it is spending its resources elsewhere, has the option of only printing more money to pay for this investment, assuming that private lenders are too scared to lend. Therefore as mentioned above, as in the post-WWII-Japanese model where the small city banks overloan to businesses and corporations allowing them to invest in research and development, if these loans are themselves guaranteed by the national bank, private lending can fulfill the need.

A very strong incentive to promote new research and development by corporations, would be to allow all such expenses devoted to the creation of new products, to become tax deductible under the newer higher rates that will be forthcoming shortly. Every bit of money spent on research and development, is our nation’s best investment. Innovative new products lead to the quickest economic turnaround as those new developed ideas soon become commercially viable…

Other areas where infrastructure can also be propped up by an infusion of small loans made by city banks which are then guaranteed by the Federal Reserve, are in the areas of environmental protection, health care, social services. Western forest fire fighting companies, environmental detoxification companies, and tree reforestation companies, could begin putting people to work.

It could work like this. A company such as Guardian, on call for disaster, receives a payroll loan from a small bank guaranteed by the Federal Government to keep itself afloat until money comes in from charging an oil tanking firm for the mess they made… Most of that loan money is used to buy necessary additional equipment, which puts someone to work in the manufacturing plant where that piece of equipment came ….. As work eventually comes in, the Federally guaranteed loan is paid back to banks… In this and most cases, no direct Federal investment is required. They just stand behind the guarantee.

In the health care industry, private companies providing hospice care, watching over psychiatric patients, creating new MRI’s, handling billing requests and follow up from insurance claims, can now receive a private loan from a small bank guaranteed by the Federal Government to carry them over until their money returns. Needing new equipment keeps a job at the plant where that piece was manufactured…

Companies specializing in assisting the poor, handicapped, impoverished, hungry, homeless, can also stay afloat by these private loans over lent by their banks, but guaranteed by the Federal Government. When the money returns from their clients, the loans are paid off.

In each of these areas, existing goods and services are maintained. The businesses don’t fold. Here is a different way of looking at it. This Keynesian jolt of economic activity is metaphorically like starting a heart of a human being temporarily stopped in cardiac arrest. At that time, all the systems are in place to work…. the heart just needs pressed to get started….. Our economy is like that. Inattention to the core of our economic problem, which is money not flowing out of banks, will lead to the same result to us as it would to a patient who does not get his heart restarted….

So this chapter can be summed up this way. The Federal Reserve is given responsibility for making sure that all projects having a viable chance of success, receive funding from, and eventually pay back… the small local banks making those loans. The Fed just guarantees the loans won’t fail….

Those out going loans should be focused on projects giving us our biggest bang for our money. Those areas providing the best return on their investment, are in the areas of energy, education, and technological advancement……

Instead of direct investment, the use of Federal guarantees in these three areas, coupled with the Federal Reserve’s monitoring the effects of inflation, are one way our nation can capitalize on its current hardship, and pull itself out through our effort, grit, and tenacity….

My bills are too high to expect me to help out the economy.….– kavips

One Trillion shy of all domestic Household debt (14T) , is the debt imposed upon us by “the borrowing of our governments”… local, state, and Federal (13T). The majority (10.4T) is our Federal debt. It should come as no surprise that tackling this task should be our first priority to insure that any short term economic gains we create, are not wiped out months or years later.

We were on a successful track to achieve this goal just 8 years ago… Budget surpluses were projected far into the future, and before our eyes, the whittling down of our national debt actually happened . Today, Generation X’rs and Y’rs simply accept that as fact, that balancing the budget is possible. Very few recognize how much of a miraculous achievement that thing is: a budget surplus… For until Clinton-Gore arrived, no one ever expected our national debt to decrease. But decrease it did and not only did it actually drop within our lifetimes, but a credible path was tracked showing it decreasing year by year to negligible amounts. And then … with one election… things drastically changed. We stopped our Treasury from taking in enough money to cover its known expenses and instead, borrowed the amount to fund what was necessary.

In eight years we went from a projected $5 trillion dollar surplus to an actual $10.4 trillion dollar deficit; a flip flop of $15 trillion dollars! Political afficiendos will be quick to blame Republican philosophy and their elected president: George W. Bush. Unfortunately they are way off the mark. (I say unfortunately for if one party and one president were truly the problem.. the fix would be much easier to amend…)

The problem is a systemic one. The entire financing system of the Federal government is now broken; almost to a point where returning to the glory days of before 2000, is barely considered a laughable alternative. The problem can be best ascribed to a head on collision between a poorly timed demographic shift, and unreal expectations. Put simply in one word, entitlements; put in four words, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare.

Here’s how paying off our nation’s trillion dollar debt benefits us.

2007 Federal Budget Expenditures
Courtesy of Federal Budget 2009 (Right click for full image)

Looking at the image and being asked what can be cut under current law, one sees that only two areas of the above pie chart cover discretionary spending. The other four cover mandatory, non-discretionary items. That means that they get paid, … irregardless. We have no choice but to pay them fully. We have to pay interest. We have to pay Social Security. We have to pay Medicare and Medicaid, as well as all other mandatory payments such as Treasury obligations.

The only two areas where we can slice, dice, and cut back on expenses, are between that of national defense, and everything else we think of as being “our government”; both together amount to a paltry 38% our our entire expenditures. 62% of our Budget is locked down, and commitments have already been determined where it will be spent…. long before the fiscal year even begins.

So one sees that if we were to pay down the National debt, we free up the interest payments ( 9% of our current budget) which can then be applied to other things we might need ten years from now.

Obviously our entitlement programs will have to be changed. One can see that ridding ourselves of Medicare and Medicaid as a governmental expense would go a long way to reducing our deficit, and ultimately be a big push bringing our interest payment closer to zero…. But doing so… brings up the ugly social issue of what to do with those Americans lacking health care….

Contrary to popular belief getting rid of these programs is not completely impossible. Except for the time-frame covering the past 40 years, mankind has survived OK without Medicare and Medicaid. Rome lasted a thousand years without it. We all know that if we suddenly became faced with an all-out-war against some type of alien invader (Independence Day),what money was currently designated as a mandatory expense to cover health costs, would instantly be moved to supplement our planet’s defense with nary a whimper. Our sick would make due the best they could… perhaps even do better than they do now… (at least for those 2 million Americans a year who pick up a nosocomial infection!)

The writing is on the wall. One entitlement will have to fall in order to save this country. As America’s retirees get older, the medicare problem is one costly extravagance that must be looked at closely to determine whether it helps or hurts our nations viability.

When compounded with Social Security’s insolvency, the Medicare situation takes on an additional albatross around its neck. For as one thinks about it, we are using federal funds to extend the lives of those who are receiving Social Security. Using all and any expense available to keep someone resuscitated long enough to earn one more Social Security check, does not make practical or financial sense. We must rethink our commitment on how we will provide long term health care, based on today’s prices… not those prices existing back when the Great Society was envisioned….. the 1960s.

Ultimately for governmental medical assistance to survive, we will have to suck the profits out of health care. There will be a few who protest. But if Medicare were suddenly to cease to exist, and health care became a cash only commodity, somehow we would survive. Who knows? When faced with no free blood pressure medicine, we might try other methods to keep alive… such as eating right and exercise.

The amount of people dying will never change. Everyone born will die at some point. All we are doing, is removing the unlimited amount of taxpayer money used to support the unreasonable assertion,that we have the right to use lots of other people’s money to live as long as we selfishly can.

Think about this. Very few of us would purposefully bankrupt our own flesh and blood children by forcing them to pay out of pocket for our over-the-hill medical needs… With Medicare being fully funded by taxpayers….. it is doing just that…

Of course there is another method we can use to fund our budget and keep Medicaid and Medicare: bring in double the revenue…

But, because of the demographics of our aging population and the sparsity of those working young who are paying for the old people’s expenses, keeping this cancerous expense on-board, and paying for it by saddling those still working with double taxes, is not a viable option…. One could argue that it is morally wrong. It would be saying to our children that “yes, we had the American Dream freely given to us by our parents; now you will have to work much harder, and earn even less, just to continue that dream for us.”

The writing is on the wall… Sometime, somewhere in our future, it will have to go… Not disappear, mind you, but in its form now, funded as it is currently… it cannot last… The pie chart tells all. Tweaking 3 or 4 percent in any one category makes no dent upon our unfunded problem.. We must begin preparing ourselves for this uncompromising reality; one entitlement will have to go. Looking above we see the absence of Medicare and Medicaid in the Federal Budget, is more plausible than the loss of any other category.

If we were to wean ourselves away from that entitlement, and apply that amount in bulk towards our national debt as a payment of one half of one trillion per year, within 20 years…. our debt will be gone.

For when it comes down to discretionary spending… we are as low… as we can go… The cut has to come from Medicare/ Medicaid. What replaces it is a whole different discussion…..

So how high do taxes need to rise, (using today’s figures without cutting out one entitlement), if we truly wish to decrease our national debt? Since the economy grew significantly during the Clinton years when all taxes were higher, those rates we can be assured do not stifle economic growth. As a first step, that would be the smartest move; let the Bush tax cuts expire. …To those who argue that increased taxes constrain our economy, try and get a solid answer from them as to why the economy grew like magic when they were previously in place.

Since it has already once been done, it should not be hard to do it again. Right? Need more detail?

Let’s look at the twentieth century as a whole.. This chart simply shows the highest marginal tax rate per year. It ranges from 7% in 1913 up to 94% in 1944-45. Graphically displayed it looks like this….

Graph of Top Marginal Tax Rates 20th Century
Graph Courtesy of Truth and Politics.org

Although the graph stops at 2003, this evidence shows the ending level extends at 35% through to 2008.

If one couples one’s knowledge of history with numbers portrayed upon the graph, a correlating factor of 40% seems to be the ideal marginal tax rate.. When rates dip below that amount….they may last for a few years at that level, then they soar sky high for many years thereafter… It appears that languishing below 40% puts too much stress on the private sector. Something goes wrong, it buckles, and great governmental expense is taken to bring it back under control.

But if one uses the same evidence portrayed on the graph, and this time couples it with one’s knowledge of economics, they notice that lower rates produced boom economies, and the higher rates stifled economic growth.

Recent knowledge ( ie. today’s events) coming off of the experimenting and tinkering between 40 and 35 percent, leads one to believe that 35% is too low to sustain the economic viability of this country. As a nation we have socialized ourselves a bit too far to survive upon those lower rates…. 40% seems to be the optimum low that we can go….

Unfortunately because we played around with cutting underneath that magic number, we will be paying steep rates throughout the near future, very much like those which occurred between 1933 through 1963. Those who lived their full lives listening to Republican partisans constantly complaining about today’s high taxes… well, thanks to them (Republican partisans), America’s wealthy is about to find out just what “high taxes” really are…. As one can see from the chart, and can estimate from the amounts of the bailouts being currently given out…. the highest marginal tax rates for the wealthy, will climb higher than most of our wealthy has seen in their lifetime…

And because of that increase… our economy will slow.

The beauty within this chart is that it provides to all a sense of where the line needs to be drawn.. When we talk of raising taxes… we are speaking of returning to 40%, a level only 5% different from where we are now… What that means is … instead of someone making a full billion dollars now, after future taxes are deducted that person would be still sitting on $950,000,000 dollars… Who wants $950,000,000 dollars? I do. I certainly would not fold my business just because I had to give an additional 50 million over to my government, a scare tactic some may make us try to believe. Especially since I already know that our economy functions more consistently with that additional 5% amount financing the support structure on which all businesses depend on.

So how much revenue does that paltry 5% increase raise? Try $390 billion dollars per year, based on current data provided for this year’s third quarter.

True, that five percent does suck a little spending out of the economy, but if applied to the deficit, it reduces the amount borrowed which in turn lowers government’s cost. Eventually when interest payments reach zero, we can again fund our government on a pay as you go plan, thereby balancing taxes with costs in a fine equilibrium….

So if we hold costs the same. How long and how high do we raise taxes to bring our deficit to nothing in 11 years… 2020.

Debt —–Yr Expenses—Yr income—-Yearly incremental amount
10.4T——— 2.7T ————-2.6T ———————– 204 B

(The extra 100 Billion comes from above: it’s the yearly difference between current expenses and income multiplied by 10 for each year.)

So how much does that cost us? 204 Billion is what percentage of 2.6 Trillion? 7.8%

We need a yearly increase of just 7.8 percent to pull us out of debt in ten years, assuming we continue to spend as much as we do now, and that we continue to receive as much national income as we do now……..

That would make the highest marginal rate (35% + 7.8%) equal to 42.8%: just 2.8% higher than it was during the booming Clinton Presidency. Really…. is that not a lot of hardship to undertake?… Especially when one compares it what our predecessors, “the Greatest Generation” had to pay in order to give us the prosperous America which we inherited?……

And if that increase amount is spread across the entire spectrum of our sources of income.

Preliminary Estimated Receipts for US Federal Budget 2009
Courtesy Federal Budget 2009 (Right Click for Full Image)

The actual cost to the top ranked taxpayers, could be less…. One would be well advised to realize that the stimulus packages perhaps costing up to 3 Trillion by the time politicians finish robbing our future, will extend these estimates considerably.

But seeing the numbers makes one realize that we are not at the end of financial stability…. The United States has vast resources at its disposal to throw towards the global economic meltdown, slowing and then stopping its progress. We need just a moderate revenue increase to make it happen as well as begin making plans for shedding responsibility for one of our hitherto guaranteed…. Federal entitlements.

The question is what is in it for us… Bottom line… a job.

Although distant and remote, the National Debt plays a huge role in our economy, just as do charges and credit card payments play a similar role in everyone’s household finance. Think of all the spending you personally would be free to do, if you owed no one any money and could pocket what you earned…. That same principal holds for our government as well.

Those of us who still have jobs today are worried. Those of us without… are worried even more. Our jobs and long term security, depend upon our Federal Government getting costs in line and living within their means as well…. As with any investment, paying out an additional 7.8 percent is affordable if one gets a payback of a higher return…

Those living in the 90’s saw it with their own eyes… Dropping the debt creates long term stability and that…. creates jobs.

How Higher Tax Rates Benefit Household Net Worth

Reuters reports that President-elect Barack Obama has begun laying the groundwork for overhauling the troubled U.S. healthcare system, reaching out to interest groups and building grass-roots support for the huge undertaking.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, will participate in a healthcare reform debate in Colorado on Friday that is expected to begin detailing the plans for change.

Obama’s internet site www.change.gov asks people to submit ideas for changing the costly and inefficient system that leaves tens of millions uninsured.

Here is my idea:

Service Contracts: a business practice often used in equipment repairs.

This is when a business pays a monthly fee to be covered by a service, and is not charged for each occurrence.

In other words it is like you pay $30 dollars a month to have all you house repairs taken care of… water heater, oven, refrigerator, furnace, central air, at no charge to you. Something breaks, just pick up the phone…you have already paid for it. Of course, most service contracts do not cover parts, just the labor… Which is still a savings at prices as high as $90 an hour. Something breaks, you pay just for the part…

The alternative is to pay nothing until something goes wrong, and then, your out of pocket expense is not affordable. Time to sell the house.

The nice part of having a service contract is that you can better budget the cost … The nice part of being a vendor involved in service contract, is that you have a financial incentive to insure that nothing breaks . Since no additional money will come in for labor, one’s time is better spent on accounts not having service contracts… where one can charge labors, while still having the $30 dollars a month entering the cash stream from everyone on the contract….

Whereas if you are not on a service plan, each time you come in, there is an overwhelming incentive to find something to keep you coming back… “Grandma, your thiggilywatt on your dashometer is not working (really?). Can we schedule an appointment next Thursday so we get it fixed for you? It could be dangerous, you know….”

So Healthcare Service Contracts?

Idea is this.. The doctor of your choice gets paid $2000 to keep you well… If you get sick, he treats you at his cost. Daughter has the flue, in and out. Measles or Chicken Pox? in and out.. Problems with the bowels? Early colonoscopy and early removal of polyps.

As with insurance, the healthy pay the cost of the sick. If the doctor ever wants a date with the golf course, he has an incentive to keep you from getting sick…

That test he prescribes, if truly needed, is cost effective for him. It would cost him more not to test and pay for your operation much later… Likewise, to test someone for Gary Bauer syndrome, just to get some extra cash, winds up costing him money … The very rare chance that you might catch that disease, makes testing for it, rather silly .. especially if the doctor has to pay for it….

So paying $2000 per patient, and the doctor covers everything else, minus parts and pharmaceuticals, gives us a start towards changing our medical system…

At 300 million people in our country, the total cost would at $2000 each would be $600 billion a year.

U.S. healthcare costs now account for about 16 percent of U.S. gross domestic product — or $2.3 trillion — a proportion projected to grow to 20 percent or $4 trillion by 2015.

This is a guessing game. It’s supposed to be fun. You do the guessing. I’ll reveal the answer at some point in the future. Bottom line, I am interested in how this plays out. (To keep answers out of moderation, no links please.) You may use the categories above for some helpful hints, but knowing me, don’t expect to find the answer that easily.) 🙂

1) Foreign policy/defense: I want American imperialism rolled back and American interventionism halted, as the same time we begin to pull free from the military/industrial complex by slashing the budgets for defense and homeland security to reasonable levels.

2) Civil libertarian issues: I want to see gay marriage legalized; drugs decriminalized; Real ID abolished; the Patriot Act gutted; and immigrants viewed as human beings. I want intrusive government the hell out of my life.

3) Fiscal sanity: I want a government that stops growing and taking an ever-expanding bite out of my paycheck; I want to see wasteful programs cut, and to have Congress faced with the same sort of imperative the Delaware General Assembly had to face this year: balancing the budget.

Recently there seems to be an effort put on by Republicans to show the world just how bipartisan they truly are…..I have had the fortune to see some amazing video footage, of Harry Reid speaking in Louisville at a function sponsored by Mitch McConnell, and lately see the pairing of Trent Lot and Tom Daschle on stage together at UMiss.

Seeing these pairings together has the similar effect of one seeing Dick Cheney and Hillary on the floor of a closet pounding shots of Jose Cuervo…..One looks twice and mutters “it can’t be…”

In both cases the subject of the talk was the same; we need to work together to get things done……One gets the feeling that these adversaries actually like each other, but something always pops up to keep them apart……

All of them talked about the “air of partisanship” that permeates the inner beltway of Washington… Now I don’t know about you, but the “air of partisanship” is some sort of vague term that does not translate well into a person, place, or thing…. Where’s the target? How can we, the citizen find the source of this bad “air of partisanship”, and pluck it out from the ground, like one would a skunk cabbage…….

And then, the answer came from Trent Lott, of all places….. Like a searchlight on top of stockade tower that scans the surrounding ground, he picked out the enemy…. and locked on.

Paraphrased, here is what he said…..in a response to a question that a guest posed to Tom Daschle….

The amount of partisanship in Washington! My Goodness! A case in point is this immigration bill. Now early on, I never gave it (immigration) much mind, since we do not have an immigration problem in Mississippi, I stayed low and worked other issues. But then as I was listening to it go on, it came to mind that I was elected to the Senate to fix America’s problems, not just Mississippi’s and that perhaps I could provide some balance to the discussion since, not being personally concerned with the issue, I could rationalize with both sides……

So we worked that bill up and down both aisles, and hammered out an agreement where no one got everything they wanted , but everyone got something out of it…..It was a classic compromise. We had enough votes put together, and with a weekend coming up, we scheduled the vote sometime the following week and went home and forgot about it…….

But we made a mistake. We forgot about the talk shows. The talk shows! Man alive! They ate us up…..They pummeled me, of all people…..And I consider myself on the same side as Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingram, and Newt Gingrich, but boy, did they beat me up…..And they’re my friends…..But this radio talk show circuit got on the air, and where we had a twelve point plan that outlined the bullet points, they had on their side one word: amnesty! They got on the air and said this bill was amnesty, and by the time we got back on Monday, my phone lines were jammed all day….Mail flooded the office dominated by one word: amnesty…

And we worked hard to make sure amnesty was not in the bill. But where we did a great job on crafting the bill, and I should say, in all my years in the Senate, this bill is the closest one I’ve worked on where all the participants put aside their politics and tried to do what was best for the country as a whole. We did a great job on creating a great bill….but in the end we did a lousy job on marketing it……

While we were gone, the conservative talk show hosts killed us and stopped this bill, which could have begun to solve this great problem we have now. The bill was dead on arrival…….

What struck me first was that a conservative, one of the most conservative of the conservatives, was dising the conservative talk show network in his conservative home state……Either Trent Lott has become a liberal, (not very likely)_ or the conservative radio circuit has dropped off all charts that measure human sanity……”

As you can see Trent Lott, in a nice way, holds these hosts responsible for driving an impossible wedge between both parties…..Because of fearing this group, it is impossible for any Republican to confer with the “enemy” on a bipartisan agreement, without being called out publicly for “appeasement” by these freaks, especially if ones constituents happen to live where these fools are the only source of entertainment; ie, no cable, no TV, no FM radio.

Officially these hosts have every right to say whatever they want. The are protected by the Constitution….But no is allowed to yell “fire” in a crowded theater. And in a sense, that is what these talk show hosts do…….

Many of you are unfamiliar with Tokyo Rose, or Lord Ha Ha. But during WWII these two talked nightly to troops huddled in foxholes and chided them for fighting idealistically for the wrong side…….The troops never took them seriously, but by listening to them, they heard music and learned news of our own nations operations in other areas, and so the US military kept the stations unjammed……So the issue we face today, is not really with either the programming or the hosts; they are just entertaining us…..The true problem lies with those Americans who haven’t got a clue……and are incapable of separating fact from fiction…..

But those few are a tiny inconsequential flames. The problem is that the talk show hosts keep throwing gasoline on them…………………………

So it stands to reason, that if we contain these flairs, and isolate them so they flash without secondary burning, we can ignore the talk show radio as did our GI’s ignore the Axis propaganda in WWII……….

Bottom line, is that we, the American people, must realize that these talk show celebrities, are just that, celebrities……they might as well be Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton……

Either one of those two would make more relevance to simple life than either Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity…….

But as for now, that old guard of talk show hosts, the very ones who destroyed this bipartisan bill that was crafted and achieved with the support of both parties, still continue to drive this nation apart, and in doing so, screw all of America in the process.