Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Random Thoughts

George Foster - April 24th, 2003
The Idiocy of Tax-Cuts
If you are still raging about your 2002 taxes, due last April 15th, you are not alone.
Fortunately, our benefactors in the U.S. Congress feel our pain. As a result, they have been debating a federal tax cut proposal that would amount to about $726 billion slashed from the tax bills of Americans. Before we all rush out to celebrate our windfall of tax refunds, consider the reasons given for the cut by its supporters and what they fail to mention about this proposed legislation.

Though $726 billion is totally incomprehensible to my pea-brain, it must mean that we will all receive a huge tax break.
Think again, pea-brain. The Bush administration‘s tax cut plan would reduce my taxes by $50 if I made $35,000 this year. $50, whoopee. That might cover dinner and a movie with my girlfriend. It begs the question: to whom is the other $749,999,999,950 going? Donald Trump and Bill Gates, that‘s who.
Why would anyone of sound mind and average financial means want to support the main component of the plan. No one I know. It is a dividends tax cut that gives back 50% of the savings to the top 2% of the population? The problem is that many of our lawmakers are in the same income bracket as Trump, Gates, et al - filthy rich. They think that by throwing a few bones ($50 or so - each) to the masses, we will happily step aside while the Brinks trucks transport even more bundles of cash to their gated compounds.

It was the budget surpluses from the Clinton years that justified these tax cuts, so just give us back our money.
I get a chuckle out of the “our money“ argument. We barely got used to fiscal surpluses and now they are gone. As Ernie Harwell would say, “Long gone.“ A review by financial experts at Goldman Sachs have concluded that the deficit will increase by $4.2 trillion to $6.7 trillion over ten years if the administration‘s new tax cuts are enacted. These stratospheric figures don‘t even include the cost of the invasion of Iraq and other wars and reconstruction jobs in the quest to eliminate terrorism.
Do we really want our $50 tax refunds enough to allow the federal debt to be increased by trillions for our children and grandchildren to pay off? From now on have a ready answer when someone demands to get his tax money back, exclaiming, “It belongs to me.“ Make sure you remind him, “Don‘t forget to pay back your share of the trillions in federal debt while you are at it. That belongs to you, too, buddy.“

The government needs to stimulate the short-term economy in order to get things moving again, right?
This argument is debatable - by the administration itself. The president continually reassures us by saying the economy is, “Pretty darn strong.“ Many experts think the economy is recovering and consumer confidence is the only thing lacking at present.
Even if we do need a short-term stimulus, less than 9% of the administration‘s proposed tax cuts would take effect in 2003. Most of the revenue reduction would take place in the long-term, hardly a kick-start of the economy in the near future.

Well, if none of the reasons for a tax cut stands up, why is Congress even debating one? It isn‘t fair and doesn‘t accomplish what was intended. This proposed reduction is bribe - pure and simple. Politicians think we stupid enough (hopefully, they are wrong) to vote them back into office if only our taxes are cut by $50 or so periodically.
The U.S. income tax system needs to be reformed for sure, maybe even eliminated. Yet, erratic tax cutting to make Americans happy in the year before a national election does not constitute an economic policy. When the financial markets and economy were roaring in the 1990‘s there were no tax cuts instituted. The distinguishing feature of our government‘s policy during that era was the priority it placed on balancing the federal budget.
There were no new tax cuts then and it makes less sense now.

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