The Rockin Johnny B

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Miscellaneous Crap

So, the Debt Ceiling passes and the stock market tanks.  Hummm.  Stock market punishing the Washington Legislature?  Probably.  Let's face it, this whole debacle was not only avoidable, but truly stupid.  It was like kids fighting over who's gonna play with the tether ball.  These are supposed to be grownup people!

I was agog with the silliness of this whole experience.  I have never seen it before in my 69 years and I'm beginning to believe it doesn't even have to do with politics.  People in the legislature hate President Obama.  It actually feels like bigotry.  Could that be it?  The President is black?  Nah, couldn't be...could it?  Could the Reps be that small?

I don't know...I really don't.

Four more wolves killed near Elk City
   LEWISTON (AP) — Four more wolves have been killed near Elk City in an effort to push the animals away from the small mountain town, officials said.
   Elk City residents have complained for months about frequent wolf sightings and dogs and cattle being attacked by wolves. Idaho Department of Fish and Game supervisor Dave Cadwallader issued the kill permits to deputies shortly after Congress removed Endangered Species Act protections from Idaho and Montana wolves last May.
   A total of five wolves have been killed. The first was shot by Idaho County deputies in late June.
   Cadwallader told the Lewiston Tribune that four other wolves were caught in foot-hold traps set by agents from U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service. State conservation officers and sheriff’s deputies are helping check the remote traps because the federal agency is “so undermanned,” Cadwallader said.
   “The local guys are checking the traps on a daily basis,” he said.
   Cadwallader said Monday that even after the five wolves were killed, two large calves were attacked and killed within the Elk City township.
   Elk City sits in one corner of a 36-square-mile township that is a mix of private property, state and federal land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. Cadwallader’s order allows trappers, deputies and conservation officers to kill wolves until Aug. 29, just a few days before the state’s wolf season opens on Sept. 1.

Here we go.  The wolves run out of elk to eat, find out cows are easier to kill, and do so with abandon.  The critters are even moving into the township itself.  If that don't get your worrier up, I don't know what will.  A 150 pound predator in your backyard.  That wouldn't bother ye, ye olde tree hugger, then I guess we should put a pack in your backyard and see how well you cope.

The truth is we've gotta do something about the burgeoning wolf population in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho...soon to be Utah, Washington and Oregon.  Mark my word, these animals breed, well, rabbits.  If they are not controlled, they will take over areas and run out game animals and start on livestock every time.

BSU uniform restrictions silly, petty
Mountain West Conference’s rule prohibiting all-blue uniforms for home games, based on misguided belief that opposing players can’t see Bronco players, makes conference appear weak
   File this one under “Y” for “You’ve got to be kidding.”
   The Mountain West conference, the new home to Boise State University’s athletic program, has told the football team it can’t wear its traditional all-blue uniforms for home games anymore.
   If you follow the Broncos football program, you’ve probably heard some interesting theories revolving around BSU’s trademark blue playing field. One myth is that birds are always crash-diving into it, mistaking it for a large body of water. That one has led to some pretty clever T-shirts.
   Another theory is that the Broncos have an unfair advantage wearing all-blue uniforms at home because, since that is the same color as their field, they blend in and are harder for opposing players to see.
   As silly as the crashing bird myth is, the uniform one might be even sillier.
   First of all, players aren’t looking down at the field like spectators or TV viewers are — they’re at field level. So they’re not looking down at the turf. The background they see consists of fans in seats, ergo they should be able to see Boise State players just fine. Should we forbid fans from wearing the same color as players, then?
   And what about all the teams with green uniforms that play on traditional grass and green turf fields? Do they have an unfair advantage? Has anyone ever accused Michigan State, Oregon, Alabama-Birmingham, Baylor or Colorado State (which, coincidentally, also plays in the Mountain West Conference) of having an unfair advantage?
   Maybe the Broncos should wear uniforms with glowing red bull’s eyes on them to make sure opponents can see them.
   All kidding aside, the Mountain West might have had a semi-legitimate argument if it would have claimed the reason for outlawing the blue unies was for TV purposes. Viewers who don’t have high-definition television sets can have a hard time seeing the BSU players because, since TV cameras shoot from an elevated position, the uniforms can blend in with the turf.
   But the conference didn’t make that argument. It claims the restriction is to negate an unfair advantage, which makes conference officials look petty and whiny. It also gives the impression they think the rest of the conference is weak and needs all the help it can possibly get. That’s not a strong message to send about your conference.
   Football is supposed to be a manly, tough sport. Stop griping about the colors the Broncos are wearing, strap on a helmet and get ready to play football.
   n Our view is based on the majority opinions of the Idaho Press-Tribune editorial board. Members of the board are Publisher Matt Davison, Managing Editor Vickie Holbrook and community members Tim Vandeventer, Sandi Levi, and Brandon Scholl, all of Nampa; Opinion Editor Phil Bridges and community member John Blaisdell of Caldwell, and Alex Zamora of Wilder.

Here, here!  Come on Mountain West, we beat 'em on their turf as well as our own.  Where's the advantage?  Get over yourselves.  So, we beat you because of our uniforms?  How ridiculous can you be?  I guess the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl because their uniforms are primary green.

Cartoon generated expected response
   In reply to Betty Williamson’s letter “clarifying” and registering her strident complaint about the content of the cartoon on July 12: You made my day. Your reaction was exactly what I was after.
   Your outrage at the distortion of information just proves my point. For 10 1/12 years now, I have listened to the Left vilifying, denigrating and outright lying about President Bush — they even called him a Nazi!
   OK, how does it feel?
   Your ilk can dish it out, but you can’t take it! You folks are so predictable. That’s why we take back the country in 2012.
   Tea Party forever!
   n Jack Kindall, Nampa

I blogged about this on the 12th of July.  You can look it up.  This guy's really a case.  Facts meant nothing to him and his cartoon was seriously not funny at all.


Yes, 47% of Households Owe No Taxes. Look Closer.

Forty-seven percent.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News
About three-quarters of households pay more in payroll taxes than in income taxes.

Readers’ Comments

Readers shared their thoughts on this article.
That’s the portion of American households that owe no income tax for 2009. The number is up from 38 percent in 2007, and it has become a popular talking point on cable television and talk radio. With Tax Day coming on Thursday, 47 percent has become shorthand for the notion that the wealthy face a much higher tax burden than they once did while growing numbers of Americans are effectively on the dole.
Neither one of those ideas is true. They rely on a cleverly selective reading of the facts. So does the 47 percent number.
Given that taxes are likely to be one of the big political issues of the next few years — and maybe the biggest one — it’s worth understanding who really pays what in taxes. Once you do, you can get a sense for our country’s fiscal options. How, in other words, will we be able to close the huge looming gap between the taxes we are scheduled to pay and the services we are scheduled to receive?
The answer is that tax rates almost certainly have to rise more on the affluent than on other groups. Over the last 30 years, rates have fallen more for the wealthy, and especially the very wealthy, than for any other group. At the same time, their incomes have soared, and the incomes of most workers have grown only moderately faster than inflation.
So a much greater share of income is now concentrated at the top of distribution, while each dollar there is taxed less than it once was. It’s true that raising taxes on the rich alone can’t come close to solving the long-term budget problem. The deficit is simply too big. But if taxes are not increased for the wealthy, the country will be left with two options.
It will have to raise taxes even more than it otherwise would on everybody else. Or it will have to find deep cuts in MedicareSocial Security, military spending and the other large (generally popular) federal programs.
All the attention being showered on “47 percent” is ultimately a distraction from that reality.
The 47 percent number is not wrong. The stimulus programs of the last two years — the first one signed by President George W. Bushthe second and larger one by President Obama — have increased the number of households that receive enough of a tax credit to wipe out their federal income tax liability.
But the modifiers here — federal and income — are important. Income taxes aren’t the only kind of federal taxes that people pay. There are also payroll taxes and investment taxes, among others. And, of course, people pay state and local taxes, too.
Even if the discussion is restricted to federal taxes (for which the statistics are better), a vast majority of households end up paying federal taxes.Congressional Budget Office data suggests that, at most, about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes. The number 10 is obviously a lot smaller than 47.
The reason is that poor families generally pay more in payroll taxes than they receive through benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit. It’s not just poor families for whom the payroll tax is a big deal, either. About three-quarters of all American households pay more in payroll taxes, which go toward Medicare and Social Security, than in income taxes.
Focusing on the statistical middle class — the middle 20 percent of households, as ranked by income — underlines this point. Households in this group made $35,400 to $52,100 in 2006, the last year for which the Congressional Budget Office has released data. That would describe a household with one full-time worker earning about $17 to $25 an hour. Such hourly pay is typical for firefighters, preschool teachers, computer support specialists, farmers, members of the clergy, mail carriers, secretaries and truck drivers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Taking into account both taxes and tax credits, the average household in this group paid a total income tax rate of just 3 percent. A good number of people, in fact, paid no net income taxes. They are among the alleged free riders.
But the picture starts to change when you look not just at income taxes but at all taxes. This average household would have paid 0.8 percent of its income in corporate taxes (through the stocks it owned), 0.9 percent in gas and other federal excise taxes, and 9.5 percent in payroll taxes. Add these up, and the family’s total federal tax rate was 14.2 percent.
I realize that it’s possible to argue that payroll taxes should be excluded from the discussion because they pay for benefits — Social Security and Medicare — that people receive on the back end. But that argument doesn’t seem very persuasive.
Why? People do not receive benefits equal to the payroll taxes they paid. Those who die at age 70 will receive much less in Social Security and Medicare than they paid in taxes. Those who die at 95 will probably get much more.
The different kinds of federal taxes are really just accounting categories. At the end of the day, the government has to cover the cost of all its operations with revenue from all its taxes. We can’t wish our deficit away by saying that it’s mostly a Medicare and Social Security deficit.
If anything, the government numbers I’m using here exaggerate how much of the tax burden falls on the wealthy. These numbers fail to account for the income that is hidden from tax collectors — a practice, research shows, that is more common among affluent families. “Because higher-income people are understating their income,” Joel Slemrod, a tax scholar at theUniversity of Michigansays, “We’ve been overstating their average tax rates.”
State and local taxes, meanwhile, may actually be regressive. That is, middle-class and poor families may face higher tax rates than the wealthy. As Kim Rueben of the Tax Policy Center notes, state and local income taxes and property taxes are less progressive than federal taxes, while sales taxes end up being regressive. The typical family pays a lot of state and local taxes, too — almost half as much as in federal taxes.
There is no question that the wealthy pay a higher overall tax rate than any other group. That is an American tradition. But there is also no question that their tax rates have fallen more than any other group’s over the last three decades. The only reason they are paying more taxes than in the pastis that their pretax incomes have risen so rapidly — which hardly seems a great rationale for a further tax cut.
So why are those radio and television talk show hosts spending so much time arguing that today’s wealthy are unfairly burdened? Well, it’s hard not to notice that the talk show hosts themselves tend to be among the very wealthy.
No doubt, like the rest of us, they don’t particularly enjoy paying taxes. They are happy with the tax cuts they have received lately. They would prefer if other people had to pick up the bill for Medicare, Social Security and the military — people like, say, firefighters, preschool teachers, computer support specialists, farmers, members of the clergy, mail carriers, secretaries and truck drivers.

1 comment:

  1. I put this on FB today. Read it if you've got FB yourself.