Bermuda Fables

"I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." – Charles De Gaulle

A comment on the Spread the Wealth post that needs to be emphasized… (thanks B) October 29, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 11:55 am

Okay, finally found something re the impact of eliminating the Bush tax cuts. It’s on a website I usually don’t follow but everyone else seems to be ignoring the calculations. [If you don’t believe the article you can do your own calculations – there’s a link to the actual IRS forms].

Senator Obama’s Four Tax Increases for People Earning Under $250k

I confess. Senator Obama’s two tax promises: to limit tax increases to only those making over $250,000 a year, and to not raise taxes on 95% of “working Americans,” intrigued me. As a hard-working small business owner, over the past ten years I’ve earned from $50,000 to $100,000 per year. If Senator Obama is shooting straight with us, under his presidency I could look forward to paying no additional Federal taxes — I might even get a break — and as I struggle to support a family and pay for two boys in college, a reliable tax freeze is nearly as welcome as further tax cuts.

However, Senator Obama’s dual claims seemed implausible, especially when it came to my Federal income taxes. Those implausible promises made me look at what I’d been paying before President Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, as well as what I paid after those tax cuts became law. I chose the 2000 tax tables as my baseline — they reflect the tax rates that Senator Obama will restore by letting the “Bush Tax Cuts” lapse. I wanted to see what that meant from my tax bill.

I’ve worked as the state level media and strategy director on three Presidential election campaigns — I know how “promises” work — so I analyzed Senator Obama’s promises by looking for loopholes.

The first loophole was easy to find: Senator Obama doesn’t “count” allowing the Bush tax cuts to lapse as a tax increase. Unless the cuts are re-enacted, rates will automatically return to the 2000 level. Senator Obama claims that letting a tax cut lapse — allowing the rates to return to a higher levels — is not actually a “tax increase.” It’s just the lapsing of a tax cut.

See the difference?

Neither do I.

When those cuts lapse, my taxes are going up — a lot — but by parsing words, Senator Obama justifies his claim that he won’t actively raise taxes on 95 percent of working Americans, even while he’s passively allowing tax rates to go up for 100% of Americans who actually pay Federal income taxes.

Making this personal, my Federal Income Tax will increase by $3,824 when those tax cuts lapse. That not-insignificant sum would cover a couple of house payments or help my two boys through another month or two of college.

No matter what Senator Obama calls it, requiring us to pay more taxes amounts to a tax increase. This got me wondering what other Americans will have to pay when the tax cuts lapse.

For a married family, filing jointly and earning $75,000 a year, this increase will be $3,074. For those making just $50,000, this increase will be $1,512. Despite Senator Obama’s claim, even struggling American families making just $25,000 a year will see a tax increase — they’ll pay $715 more in 2010 than they did in 2007. Across the board, when the tax cuts lapse, working Americans will see significant increases in their taxes, even if their household income is as low as $25,000. See the tables at the end of this article.

Check this for yourself. Go to http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/ and pull up the 1040 instructions for 2000 and 2007 and go to the tax tables. Based on your 2007 income, check your taxes rates for 2000 and 2007, and apply them to your taxable income for 2007. In 2000 — Senator Obama’s benchmark year — you would have paid significantly more taxes for the income you earned in 2007. The Bush Tax Cuts, which Senator Obama has said he will allow to lapse, saved you money, and without those cuts, your taxes will go back up to the 2000 level. Senator Obama doesn’t call it a “tax increase,” but your taxes under “President” Obama will increase — significantly.

Senator Obama is willfully deceiving you and me when he says that no one making under $250,000 will see an increase in their taxes. If I were keeping score, I’d call that Tax Lie #1.

The next loophole involves the payroll tax that you pay to support the Social Security system. Currently, there is an inflation-adjusted cap, and according to the non-profit Tax Foundation, in 2006 — the most recent year for which tax data is available — only the first $94,700 of an unmarried individual’s earnings were subject to the 12.4 percent payroll tax. However, Senator Obama has proposed lifting that cap, adding an additional 12.4 percent tax on every dollar earned above that cap — and in spite of his promise, impacting all those who earn between $94,700 and $249,999.

By doing this, he plans to raise an additional $1 trillion dollars (another $662.50 out of my pocket — and how much out of yours?) to help fund Social Security. Half of this tax would be paid by employees and half by employers — but employers will either cut the payroll or pass along this tax to their customers through higher prices. Either way, some individual will pay the price for the employer’s share of the tax increase.

However, when challenged to explain how he could eliminate the cap AND not raise taxes on Americans earning under $250,000, Senator Obama suggested on his website that he “might” create a “donut” — an exemption from this payroll tax for wages between $94,700 and $250,000. But that donut would mean he couldn’t raise anywhere near that $1 trillion dollars for Social Security. When this was pointed out, Senator Obama’s “donut plan” was quietly removed from his website.

This “explanation” sounds like another one of those loopholes. If I were keeping score, I’d call this Tax Lie #2.

(updated) Senator Obama has also said that he will raise capital gains taxes from 15 percent to 20 percent. He says he’s aiming at “fat cats” who make above $250,000. However, while only 1 percent of Americans make a quarter-million dollars, roughly 50 percent of all Americans own stock – and while investments that are through IRAs, 401Ks and in pension plans are not subject to capital gains, those stocks in personal portfolios are subject to capital gains, no matter what the owner’s income is. However, according to the US Congress’s Joint Economic Committee Study, “Recent data released by the Federal Reserve shows that nearly half of all U.S. households are stockholders. In the last decade alone, the number of stockholders has jumped by over fifty percent.” This is clear – a significant number of all Americans who earn well under $250,000 a year will feel this rise in their capital gains taxes.
Under “President” Obama, if you sell off stock and earn a $100,000 gain — perhaps to help put your children through college — instead of paying $15,000 in capital gains taxes today, you’ll pay $20,000 under Obama’s plan. That’s a full one-third more, and it applies no matter how much you earn.

No question — for about 50 percent of all Americans, this is Tax Lie #3.

Finally, Senator Obama has promised to raise taxes on businesses — and to raise taxes a lot on oil companies. I still remember Econ-101 — and I own a small business. From both theory and practice, I know what businesses do when taxes are raised. Corporations don’t “pay” taxes — they collect taxes from customers and pass them along to the government. When you buy a hot dog from a 7/11, you can see the clerk add the sales tax, but when a corporation’s own taxes go up, you don’t see it — its automatic — but they do the same thing. They build this tax into their product’s price. Senator Obama knows this. He knows that even people who earn less than $250,000 will pay higher prices — those pass-through taxes — when corporate taxes go up.

No question: this is Tax Lie #4.

There’s not a politician alive who hasn’t be caught telling some minor truth-bender. However, when it comes to raising taxes, there are no small lies. When George H.W. Bush’s “Read my lips — no new taxes” proved false, he lost the support of his base — and ultimately lost his re-election bid.

This year, however, we don’t have to wait for the proof: Senator Obama has already promised to raise taxes, and we can believe him. However, while making that promise, he’s also lied, in at least four significant ways, about who will pay those taxes. If Senator Obama becomes President Obama, when the tax man comes calling, we will all pay the price. And that’s the truth.

Detailed tables showing various changes are contained in the article.

* When “President” Obama allows President Bush’s tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 to expire, this will amount to a de facto tax increase –

  1. http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/10/senator_obamas_four_tax_increa.html

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A bit of republican knowledge. October 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 4:14 pm

Who were the co-founders of the NAACP? ?

Black-American Republicans and women’s suffragists Ida Wells and Mary Terrell co-found the NAACP on 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. (February 12, 1909)

Who tried to introduce the ‘40 acres and a mule’ relief?

U.S. Rep. Thaddeus Stevens (R-PA) introduces legislation, successfully opposed by Democrat President Andrew Johnson, to implement “40 acres and a mule” relief by distributing land to former slaves (February 5, 1866)

Who supported the 13th amendment?
The 13th Amendment banning slavery passed by U.S. House with unanimous Republican support, but intense Democrat opposition, January 31, 1865

When did lynching become a federal crime?
House passes bill authored by U.S. Rep. Leonidas Dyer (R-MO) making lynching a federal crime; Senate Democrats block it with filibuster January 26, 1922

Who introduced the 1960 Civil Right Act?
President Eisenhower informs Republican leaders of his plan to introduce 1960 Civil Rights Act, despite staunch opposition from many Democrats (February 4, 1959)

http://hiphoprepublican.blogspot.com/2008/10/did-you-know.html

 

“Spread the Wealth” October 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 1:14 pm

Watching the news over the weekend, a lot of attention was given to this comment of Obama’s as a sign that he intends to move towards a more socialist form of government. I have to admit, I’m not as conversant with the tenets of socialism besides that which I have learned from osmosis.  Under Barack’s new tax plan, that 45% of americans would no longer pay income tax, in fact some will receive refunds based on all the deductibles. That in itself creates a welfare society. It also penalizes for those that succeed at their chosen career to a certain extent. But socialist? I don’t think so. It does veer that way, yes, but not totally.

 

This campaign has been very dirty, what with 56% of the campaign ads of McCain being directly negative and 76% of Obama’s ads being directly negative. So much of the important information has been lost behind glossy attack ads, containing more implications than truth. I spend lots of time separating the wheat from the chaff, thankfully through various fact checking websites. But that is something I enjoy. The average american has no want to find the truth and are making their decision on who will lead their country based on not much more than a smile and a soundbite. Does that make you scared? It does me. I guess it speaks to our attention span as a species. But there’s a light ahead… it will be all over in two weeks 🙂

 

Lull October 20, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 6:09 pm

Hi all

 

I’m sure you have been wondering why the long period of no posting. Due to the way that the last thread devolved in name-calling and useless personal attacks, I decided to let all cool down, calm down, whatever. It’s frustrating that no matter the topic it becomes a continuous finger-pointing and blaming exercise, with more interested in scoring points off each other than actually learning from each other. I actually found myself holding back posts on topics that might be volatile simply because I am unsure as to how badly it would be derailed. And I’d love to think we (for the most part) are more mature than that but it appears some aren’t. So I took a mini-break.

 

Prayers and best wishes to the Wikinson family. October 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 6:02 pm

I send my sincerest best wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery to Mr Wilkinson.

 

Just a quick props to the MOE website October 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 4:25 pm

They have this cool quiz on the front page for Dame Browne-Evans and it’s very interactive. As it’s one of the only Bermuda Gov’t sites currently up, I just had a look around and it’s pretty good. Needs more content but that’s probably a work in progress.

 

The link is www.moed.bm if you areinterested in learning some interesting details about Bermudian education, it’s systems and curriculum.

 

Further On Name Change Debacle

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 12:37 pm

Reading the RG this morning, it appears that Minister Dale Butler thinks St. Davids Islanders are separatists and incapable of learning anything besides through the method of force-feeding it down our throats. Not only that, but somehow by not wanting to lose the name our school has had since Hilton Richardson’s time (and which he was proud to call it, I’m sure), we are indirectly insulting both Mr. Richardson and his memory and by extension, Dame Lois Browne-Evans. Really? I mean, like… really??

 

“The least our generation can do is say thank-you and we are going to rename a building after you.”

No, the best our generation can do is make sure that people become educated about Mr. Richardson through the web, through books and other methods. Renaming places is one way to honour and educate people, sure, but it’s not the only way. And what good does that renaming do when you are doing it in such a way that ostracises the people who should be doing the honouring. What good does it do when by the very act you are removing a symbol of solidarity of a community! As has been suggested, let’s rename the assembly hall or the library. Just as effective. But make it two-prong. How about we start making sure that these people are commemorated in ways that actually teach people. Through books and the web, as I said before.

 

As for his comment that St. Davids Islanders consider them separate from Bermuda? Yeah, in a way we do. Ask yourself why. It’s because the rest of Bermuda considers US separate. Who makes the jokes about St Davids Islanders? Which way is the good-natured, at times, ribbing directed? YOU think we are different and odd and strange… but we aren’t. We are a family. A big family made up of all types – it’s called a community.

 

Okay rant done.

 

A Huge NO on the Name Change! October 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 12:44 pm

The MOE intends to change the name of St. David’s Primary to Hilton C. Richardson Primary. Mr. Richardson was the headmaster of St. David’s Primary from 1910 to 1957, during which time the school evolved from a wooden structure to a stone structure. The idea behind this change is, as per Mr. Horton’s words in the gazette, “There are many young people, younger generations, who maybe don’t know of Mr. Hilton Richardson. If you don’t know him, we want you to know him.”

 

I get that. Honouring people by naming things after them is great but not when it removes a sense of pride from those selfsame people! I admit, this caused me to start some research on this gentleman, which didn’t really get me anywhere. There is nothing on the internet and I would really like to learn more BUT changing the name of our school? i’m proud to be a St. Davids Islander and I’m immensely proud to have gone St. David’s Primary. Don’t take that away from us. The MOE sees this as a learning experience. The problem is we are learning that what we want and what means so much to us is not as important as what others in power want. The MOE was shocked at the backlash that came from this proposed change but any St. Davids Islander, whether they live there still or no, isn’t. This isn’t about a name change for us, not really. It’s about losing our sense of community. No matter who you are, what family branch you stem from, in St. David’s we ALL went St Davids Primary. And with the recent murders shaking our foundations, another shake-up is not the best idea. Especially one we were informed of, not asked our opinion on!

 

*If anyone wishes to sign the petitions protesting this change, you will find them at Black Horse Tavern and Real Deal.

 

Does The Government Necessarily Equal The Political Party? October 6, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 6:20 pm

*NOTE: This is not so much a commentary of Bermuda politics or even US politcs, simply a commentary.*

 

This is a question I have been mulling over quite a bit lately. I’m not sure how correct the conclusion I have come to and I really would like some input into this. But the answer I keep coming back to is this – No.

 

To me, a political party is more of a concept. It’s a group of people who identify with certain ideals and thusly band together to furthur promote said ideals in a manner of solidarity. Indeed, this is with the intention of being voted into the government which allows them to run the country in ways defined by those ideals.

The government, however, is led by these people, yes, but also includes many other people (the civil service, contractors, etc.) – possibly with opposing ideals, other priorities and other points of view. A gaint machine, if you will, with components and proponents whose main singular purpose is to enrich the lives on the citizen. By definition partisan but by application non-partisan.

 

Is this too simplistic a view point for reality, perhaps. It certainly does not take into account the people themselves. Nothing is ever so black and white, is it? it’s just… well, I hear a lot of people criticizing the PLP and the Government interchangeably. In one noted case, criticizing a certain PLP member as “what’s wrong with the government”. I don’t completely understand that. Being a member of PLP, even one who ran in the recent election, does not make you a member of the government by definition. One is not a sub-set of the other. They interlock, sure. And yeah, there are things that bleed over but they are not the same. If they were then the Opposition members who sit in parliament would be PLP members (and I’m sure they would love to know that! 🙂  ) Anyone, this is just me basically asking for opinions on this. Am I right or wrong? Way off base? Naive? (Sorry, SOOOOO could not resist that, ha).

As an example, I’m a pro-life supporter by definition but by application, pro-choice. They interlock but by no means are they interchangeable. I’m not sure if this makes any sort of sense but I’d welcome any ideas…

 

Speak out, speak loud?

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 4:09 pm

So  anyone who has been reading the blogs lately has noticed that certain bloggers are getting flak for speaking out about things within the bermudian politicial arena that they deem unacceptable (in some cases) or simply frustrating. Personally, I choose (for the most part) to talk about the issues that directly affect me here online, on different sites. Public criticism via the web is just as valid as any other. This is a new world that we live in. Connectness is much more immediate now because of the technology of webloging and various forum sites. and that’s a great thing. People get a chance to talk about stuff, to discuss like ideas with others in a manner that simply would not be possible in RL. Sure, some of it is negative, some is wholy unnecessary but a lot of it is honest. I feel, I experience therefore I blog. For me, it helps me to learn things that I wouldn’t have the chance to otherwise. The sheer knowledge available at my fingertips, the sheer expanse of human contact is boggling to be sure. Now, admittedly, on these “political” sites, the majority of the people posting are of the lighter persuasion. Does that matter? I think not. It simply speaks to how people wish to communicate. This is one of many ways to speak. It is no more nor no less valid than any other method and should be treated accordingly. The message and the concerns are just as important as if that person was standing next to you on the street. Sure it’s (in some cases) anonymous but so could said commentor on the street be. In fact this allows for more honesty in my opinion. So let’s talk. No pointing fingers, no trying to put a face to the words. Let’s just treat every commentator with respect. Hey, you may not get it back but at least you ain’t the one being an idiot.

 

And please, not every bit of criticism is meant to hurt. Sometimes we speak loud because it’s important to us and we need to understand. We are frustrated at things out of our control and this is one thing we can control, our own words. Our own concepts and ideas. In the states, political commentary is fast becoming a web-based thing. Which is great. There’s a definite sense that the government “belongs” to me, to you, to us. And it does. This is MY island, this is MY government and these are MY concerns. All we ask is for someone to listen….