Currently, I don't have any form of health care... never have. When I go to the hospital, etc, I have to pay for it out of my own pocket. So, I rarely ever go, even with major illnesses and injuries. So, why the hell wouldn't I want some reform?
Monday, June 16, 2008
As many of you scramble to get your taxes done before tomorrow's deadline, Citizens for Tax Justice, a Washington-based advocacy group, has released a new report showing just how much love the Bush administration has shown to the richest one percent of Americans... literally at the expense of the rest of us. Not that we didn't already know this, of course, but somehow seeing it all laid out in black and white brings it home all the more clearly.
According to the report, in 2010, when all of the Bush tax cuts will finally have taken effect, the richest one percent of American families—those earning $1.6 million annually—will receive, on average, a $92,000 tax cut. As a share of the population, these families will account for an estimated 53 percent of all tax relief, while the poorest 60 percent will be on the receiving end of just 12-15 percent of tax cuts.
Just what does it take to belong to the richest one percent? Money, of course, and lots of it. According to the report:
In 2008 the best-off one percent will have an estimated average income of almost $1.5 million each. Just to get into this elite group requires an income greater than $462,000. If all of that came from wages, then for single people it would take an average wage of $224 an hour to make it into the top one percent, and $722 an hour to become an average member.
For two-earner couples with both spouses working full time, it would take an average wage for each spouse of $112 an hour to get into the top one percent and $361 an hour each to be an average member of the top one percent.
Yet, however unlikely it may be, membership in this elite club is something many Americans believe to be a realistic prospect. According to a 2000 opinion poll, some 19 percent of us believed we were already members of the top one percent, while another 20 percent said they expected to get there someday. Never let it be said that Americans lack optimism.
But back to the Bush tax cuts... the fact is that nothing in life is free, and as the national debt continues to soar, so does the certainty of troubled times ahead as we struggle to pay it down.
From the report:
Even if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of 2010, as they are schedule to do under current law, interest payments would continue to cost us about $1.5 trillion during the 2011-2020 period. (This is not included in the $5 trillion cost of extending the tax cuts.
These costs should not be written off as some abstract or distant problem. The national debt must be paid off eventually, either in the form of increased taxes or cuts in public services that Americans rely on.
And, finally, to put the tax cuts offered to the richest one percent in some perspective, the report compares them to the annual budget allocations for various federal agencies:
The cost of the Bush tax cuts going to just the richest one percent in 2008 (about $79.5 billion) is more than the entire budget for the Department of Education this year ($68 billion), almost twice as much as the entire budget for the Department of Homeland Security this year ($42.3 billion) and over ten times as much as the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency ($7.5 billion).
Sunday, June 08, 2008
The Obamarama Campaign Express was roaring down a New Hampshire highway near Nashua when an aide spotted the sprawling No Holds Barred Sports Bar. “Let’s stop the bus,” she urged, “and do some random schmoozing.”
Obama and his entourage poured out of the bus and headed for the front door, over which hung a large sign: “HOME OF THE POLI-BEER: WHERE BOOZE, POLITICS AND SPORTS MIX IT UP!”
Inside the packed bar, the guys and gals were gathering for the Big Game to start. Before the game, however, there was an hour for political talk time. Their eyes widened in amazement when they saw Barack, bounding through the doorway with his secret service detail.
The bar had a big pit, with a huge crackling fireplace, where the patrons have their regular give and take. Obama was ready for some of that.
He started: “I stand for change. They said we set our sights too high in Iowa. They said now is not the time. I proved the cynics wrong in corn country and I’ll prove them wrong in the granite state. To show you I mean it, no speech, go at me. Our time for change has come.”
Guy number one-”Ok, Barack, you’re going for the power in the Big House, the big companies already have the power, how ya gonna make us little people powerful?”
Obama-”Stay tuned. One leap at a time. We are one people. Get me there first.”
Gal number one-”You say, CHANGE, well how are you going to cut the bloated military budget full of vast waste, fraud and abuse, when you’ve specifically said you’ll ‘expand and modernize the military?’ Why, it’s already half or more of the government’s operating budget, squeezing programs for children, health and all that. I’m an accountant and I know numbers.”
Obama-”Exactly. Our time for change has come. I’m going to change the old weapons with new weapons and the old soldiers with the new soldiers. That’s real change-at the grass roots.”
Guy number two-”You don’t seem to have any rough edges, Barack.”
Obama-”It’s all about the mood, dude.”
The crowd was getting agitated and the questions came faster and faster.
“Why are you for nuclear power with taxpayer guarantees?”
“Will you oppose Congress getting pay raises, pensions and health insurance until the American people get the same?”
“Do you favor repealing the anti-union nightmare-the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947?”
“How can you talk about change and take gobs of campaign money from the big corporate lawyers and bosses?”
Obama, smiling: “It’s ALL about the mood, dudes. All the rest are details you can look up on my website-obama_is_us.org. We are choosing hope over fear.”
Gal number two-”Ok, answer this one that probably isn’t on your website. When are you going to meet with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and campaign in the black ghettos-say Harlem or Watts?”
Obama-”Whoaa, give that tough lady a Poli-beer on me! We are one nation.”
Guy number three (with an Obama face mask)-”I’m the old Obama, remember me? I was for single-payer, full medicare for everyone. I was strongly for Palestinian rights and for replacing NAFTA and WTO, not for tweaking them. I was for taxing the super-rich and defending class actions. I was for capping credit-card and loan shark interest rates. What happened to me?”
Obama-”Well, didn’t I tell you that I stand for CHANGE?”
Gal number three-”You seem to be for everyone, but not everyone is for everyone. Some are against everyone. Tell me, are the big corporations, the greedy defense contractors, drug, oil and insurance companies, starting to quake in their boots at the thought that you are now the front-runner?”
Obama, lifting his chin-”Well, Ma’am, we haven’t ordered our seismometer yet.”
Oooohs and boos float around the pit. A few start drifting away.
Guy number four-”You’re one of those smart Haavard lawyers, Barack. You were a constitutional law teacher. You were against the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. So, why aren’t you putting two and two together-impeachment of the war criminals in the White House followed by conviction in the Senate?”
Obama-”You don’t understand (testily), impeachment talk is just more of the same old Washington politics. I stand for change. No need to point fingers. We are one people.”
Gal number four-”Hello, Barack. I’m Hermaphrodite and I luv your blended politics of harmony.”
Obama-”Great! Then how about a quick dance around the bar before we have to leave,” he said, humming to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic-”We are choosing unity over division, we’re sending a powerful message, that change is a coming to America, it is all about the mood, dude…”
Saturday, June 07, 2008
I'm a bit tired of watching every presidential candidate I endorse lose. But...what the hell, I'm supporting Ralph Nader at this point, which is a guaranteed defeat. I would rather support a candidate that I know will change America if given the opportunity, rather than sit back and vote for the lesser of two evils. We need serious reform in Washington, not verbal diarrhea.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin has called on Dick Cheney to apologize for remarks he made about the state today at the National Press Club.
And indeed the vice president has apologized.
Cheney had spoken of his family history and said he had Cheneys from both sides of his family. "And we don't even live in West Virginia," Cheney said. "You can say those things when you're not running for re-election."
Cheney's words sparked this response from Manchin, who defended the state:
"I truly cannot believe that any vice president of the United States, regardless of their political affiliation, would make such a derogatory statement about my state or any state for that matter," Manchin said in a statement on his Web site.
"West Virginia is home to some of the most patriotic people in the nation and our sons and daughters have answered the call to duty every time a president has needed their service. They deserve better from the vice president, and so I would simply ask for his apology."
And this evening, the vice president's office said no offense was intended.
"The vice president's off-hand comment was not meant to hurt anyone,'' said Lea Anne McBride, spokeswoman for Cheney. "On reflection, he concluded that it was an inappropriate attempt at humor that he should not have made. The vice president apologizes to the people of West Virginia for the inappropriate remark."
In his remarks, Cheney said that his wife was researching a book, when she noticed that his grandmother was descended from a Richard Cheney.
Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) blasted Cheney with this response:
"That a man who has ascended to the seat of vice president of the United States would openly display such contempt and astounding ignorance toward his own countrymen is an insult to all Americans," Byrd said in a statement. "Now that he or the administration he represents no longer needs their vote, Mr. Cheney apparently feels that he is now free to mock and belittle the people of West Virginia."
During a question-and-answer period following a speech, the vice president said he has distant roots which connect him to Sen. Barack Obama.
Cheney said he would not object to a family reunion with Obama, but that the presidential candidate might not want one before November.
"He'd probably be fearful I might whisper in his ear and change his whole view of the Middle East," Cheney said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.