Saturday, December 8, 2012

Obama and the lost generation

Tea Party Nation ^ | 12/7/12 | Judson Phillips

We have a lost generation of Americans. We who make up the baby boom generation still talk about the American dream.

For the lost generation, the American dream is now dead.

Who are the lost generation and why is the American dream nothing but a myth to them?

The lost generation is the group we call “Millennials.” They are the people under 30.

Why is their generation lost?

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Questions Continue Over Alleged Mob Ties Of Janitorial Company That Got O'Hare Contract!

Friends of Ours ^ | 12/07/12 | Friends of Ours

Public pressure continues to mount on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to launch "investigations into alleged mob ties at United Maintenance Inc., which got a $99 million airport contract" as reported by John Byrne for the Chicago Tribune:

"Paul Fosco, a vice president at United Maintenance's parent company, went to prison following 1987 charges of racketeering conspiracy related to a scheme to swindle the Laborers Union through manipulation of lucrative benefit plans. Alleged former Chicago outfit boss Anthony 'Big Tuna' Accardo was charged in the same case as Fosco, but acquitted."

Last week it was alleged that United Maintenance owner Richard Simon once "was the longtime business partner of a man accused of involvement in organized crime" as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times:

"United Maintenance Co. Inc., owned by Richard Simon, was chosen last month to clean O'Hare International Airport for five years starting on Dec. 15. Simon was involved in another company with alleged mob figure William Daddano Jr. from 1998 until that firm was officially disbanded on Dec. 17, 2011, according to state records."

A statement from United Maintenance states that "Simon's collaboration with Daddano involved leasing 'certain heavy equipment' at convention centers and ended about five years ago," and "'at no time was anyone at United aware of allegations' against any of its business partners."
Daddano is the son of the late Outfit enforcer William "Willie Potatoes" Daddano, and he apparently hung up when contacted on his cell phone by a Sun-Times reporter.

Why US Air Corps Servicemen Were Allowed to Wear Such Badass Bomber Jackets in World War II

IO9 ^ | Dec 7, 2012 | George Dvorsky

Badass Bomber Jacket - World War II
Why US Air Corps servicemen were allowed to wear such badass bomber jackets in WWII
In honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Lisa Hix of Collectors Weekly has put together a fascinating and sobering article that both commemorates and explains why members of the US Army Air Corp were allowed to customize their bomber jackets to such outlandish and extreme degrees. The Army, not known for its lax uniform standards, allowed their air-bound servicemen to decorate their jackets with pictures of scantily clad pin-up girls, favorite comic characters, lucky charms, and any other assortment of icons. The reason, says historian John Conway, may have something to do with the age of these soliders — but also the tremendous risks they had to endure.
Badass Bomber Jacket - World War II
Indeed, most of these guys were just out of their teens, with some as young as 18 years old. And they ways in which they emblazoned their military issued leather A-2 jackets were a reflection of their age and exuberance. Hix writes:
On the bawdiest of these jackets, scantily clad babes gleefully ride phallic bombs. On others, cuddly cartoon characters charge forward, bombs in tow, driven by a testosterone-fueled determination to kill. Some jackets depict caricatures of Native Americans or Pacific Islanders, usually drawn with bones in their noses. Even rarer are those showing Hitler being humiliated-while the number of bombs designated missions flown, swastikas represented German aircrafts destroyed.
Badass Bomber Jacket - World War II
The fact that the Army would allow their servicemen to decorate their jackets with such provocative images isn't really that surprising. Army Air Corps duty was one of the most hazardous professions of World War II.
John Conway, co-author of American Flight Jackets and Art of the Flight Jacket, explained to Collectors Weekly that, "When you were up there in a plane, you'd get shot at, and you couldn't call field artillery to support you. You had no ambulance, no medic. There was no tank to come in and run over the enemy. All it took was one accurate aircraft shot, and a plane full of 10 guys was gone."
Bombing missions over Europe carried incalculable risks. Actually, it was calculable — and to a disturbing degree; at the worst of times, a crew could expect a 1 in 15 chance of being shot down. And they would have most certainly known the odds — especially considering that many servicemen were required to fly upwards of 30 missions. Conway continues:
"We don't have any concept today of what losses are like," he says. "We hear, ‘We lost six guys in Afghanistan today,' and it's horrible. But it's not the same as losing a hundred B-17s in one raid, each one with 10 guys on it. That was happening day in, day out. In the old British Army, all the guys would come out of one town for each regiment. When they went to World War I, there were several cases where in one day, every man in a town was wiped out. So they stopped that old regimental system. During World War II, the attitude of the U.S. Army was, ‘Let's do whatever we can, try to keep these guys happy, they might not be here next week.'"
Badass Bomber Jacket - World War II
Bugs Bunny and other characters from Looney Tunes and Walt Disney cartoons were particularly popular motifs with young pilots, as were the Vargas Girls from Esquire magazine. (Disney artists, for what it's worth, designed many of the squadron patches or insignias.) Conway says we have to remember that American pop culture was a lot smaller and a lot more homogenous at the time. No one had the Internet, cable, or even a TV. The A-2 and nose art imagery tended to come from radio programs, newspaper funny pages, comic books, magazines, and cartoon reels shown before movies, which served as a common language for young Americans.
Badass Bomber Jacket - World War II
"Again, you're talking about guys who were 18, 19 years old," Conway says. "And this was the first place they'd ever been besides home. They tended to cling to things that were familiar to them. A lot of those guys read comic books and the comic strips in the newspapers when they were kids, and that stuff just stayed with them. They listened to popular radio shows like ‘The Lone Ranger' and ‘The Shadow,' and then they would visualize characters from those programs and paint them on the aircraft."
Badass Bomber Jacket - World War II

Blood Chit Pictures, Images and PhotosA hand-embroidered blood chit has a Republic of China flag and a Chinese message promising a reward to anyone who helped the airman get back to Allied lines.

Related article ...
“WWII War Paint: How Bomber-Jacket Art Emboldened Our Boys”

Show This To Anyone That Believes That Taxes Are Too Low

The Economic Collapse Blog ^ | 12/07/2012 | Michael Snyder

Every year average Americans pay dozens of different types of taxes, and yet many of our politicians are very open about the fact that they want to raise rates even higher and invent even more ways to bleed us all dry. Someday historians will look back and be absolutely amazed at how stupid we were. We have the most complicated tax code in all of human history and at this point the federal tax code is more than four times as long as the entire collected works of William Shakespeare. In many places it is so incomprehensible that nobody actually understands what it means and the entire thing is absolutely riddled with loopholes from the beginning to the end. Trust me, I used to study this stuff. Nobody could ever read the entire thing - it is close to four million words long. But that is just for federal income taxes. We have a number of other taxes taken out of our paychecks such as state income taxes, Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes. Sadly, the taxes taken out of your paycheck are only just the beginning. As I will detail below, there are more than 40 other taxes that average Americans pay each year in addition to the taxes that are taken out of our paychecks. Our politicians love to find ways that they can "raise revenue" without us feeling it. Most people just focus on income tax rates and they forget about the dozens of other ways that they are bleeding us dry. It really is kind of like "death by a thousand cuts", and of course the middle class gets hit the hardest. The poor are exempt from many taxes, the ultra-wealthy are masters at cheating the system and avoiding taxes, and so the most pain is always felt by those in the middle. Hard working middle class families and small businesses all over America are being financially raped by this insidious system. If you know of anyone out there that believes that taxes are "too low", please show this article to them.
Just counting federal, state and local income taxes, some Americans will be paying marginal tax rates of over 50 percent in 2013. But like I said, there are a lot of other taxes we pay than just those.
The following are 44 more taxes that at least some average Americans are paying now or will be paying soon other than federal, state and local income taxes...
#1 Building Permit Taxes
#2 Capital Gains Taxes
#3 Cigarette Taxes
#4 Court Fines (indirect taxes)
#5 Dog License Taxes
#6 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)
#7 Federal Unemployment Taxes
#8 Fishing License Taxes
#9 Food License Taxes
#10 Gasoline Taxes
#11 Gift Taxes
#12 Hunting License Taxes
#13 Inheritance Taxes
#14 Inventory Taxes
#15 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
#16 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
#17 Liquor Taxes
#18 Luxury Taxes
#19 Marriage License Taxes
#20 Medicare Taxes
#21 Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare
#22 Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (if you don't buy "qualifying" health insurance under Obamacare you will have to pay an additional tax)
#23 Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income (a new 3.8% surtax on investment income that goes into effect next year)
#24 Property Taxes
#25 Recreational Vehicle Taxes
#26 Toll Booth Taxes
#27 Sales Taxes
#28 Self-Employment Taxes
#29 School Taxes
#30 Septic Permit Taxes
#31 Service Charge Taxes
#32 Social Security Taxes
#33 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)
#34 Tanning Tax (a new Obamacare tax on tanning services)
#35 Telephone Federal Excise Taxes
#36 Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes
#37 Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes
#38 Telephone State And Local Taxes
#39 Tire Taxes
#40 Tolls (another form of taxation)
#41 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)
#42 Utility Taxes
#43 Vehicle Registration Taxes
#44 Workers Compensation Taxes
Sadly, this list is far from complete. There are many more forms of taxation that could be included.
When you account for all forms of taxation, there are some Americans that "play by the rules" that are sending more than half of their incomes to the government.
This is why "tax avoidance" has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. People are sick and tired of being drained dry by a system that is way too complicated and way too unfair.
Posted below are 30 reasons why the U.S. tax system is stupid. Some of these facts I have discussed before, and some of them are new. You might want to be sitting down while you are reading this, because this list is likely to make many of you very angry...
1. Thanks to Proposition 30, many high income residents of California will be paying marginal income tax rates of 51.9% in 2013 if the fiscal cliff is not avoided. Keep in mind that the 51.9% figure only includes federal and state income taxes. It does not count any of the dozens of other taxes that we pay each year.
2. If a fiscal cliff deal is not reached, many residents of New York and Hawaii will also be paying marginal income tax rates of more than 50 percent.
3. If Americans fully funded the government through their taxes without any borrowing, the average American would have to work for 197 days just to meet the expenses incurred by government.
4. The U.S. tax code is now 3.8 million words long. If you took all of William Shakespeare's works and collected them together, the entire collection would only be about 900,000 words long.
5. According to the National Taxpayers Union, U.S. taxpayers spend more than 7.6 billion hours complying with federal tax requirements each year. Imagine what our society would look like if all of that time was spent on more economically profitable activities.
6. 75 years ago, the instructions for Form 1040 were two pages long. Today, they are 189 pages long.
7. There have been 4,428 changes to the tax code over the last decade. It is incredibly costly to change tax software, tax manuals and tax instruction booklets for all of those changes.
8. According to the National Taxpayers Union, the IRS currently has 1,999 different publications, forms, and instruction sheets that you can download from the IRS website.
9. Our tax system has become so complicated that it is almost impossible to file your taxes correctly. For example, back in 1998 Money Magazine had 46 different tax professionals complete a tax return for a hypothetical household. All 46 of them came up with a different result.
10. In 2009, PC World had five of the most popular tax preparation software websites prepare a tax return for a hypothetical household. All five of them came up with a different result.
11. The IRS spends $2.45 for every $100 that it collects in taxes. That is incredibly inefficient.
12. According to The Tax Foundation, the average American has to work until April 17th just to pay federal, state, and local taxes. Back in 1900, "Tax Freedom Day" came on January 22nd.
13. When the U.S. government first implemented a personal income tax back in 1913, the vast majority of the population paid a rate of just 1 percent, and the highest marginal tax rate was just 7 percent.
14. Residents of New Jersey pay $1.64 in taxes for every $1.00 of federal spending that they get back.
15. The United States is the only nation on the planet that tries to tax citizens on what they earn in foreign countries.
16. According to Forbes, the 400 highest earning Americans pay an average federal income tax rate of just 18 percent.
17. Warren Buffett had an effective federal income tax rate of just 17.4 percent for 2010.
18. The top 20 percent of all income earners in the United States pay approximately 86 percent of all federal income taxes.
19. Sadly, as Bill Whittle has shown, you could take every single penny that every American earns above $250,000 and it would only fund about 38 percent of the federal budget.
20. The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world (35 percent). In Ireland, the corporate tax rate is only 12.5 percent. This is causing thousands of corporations to move operations out of the United States and into other countries.
21. Some tax havens are doing a booming business in setting up sham headquarters for U.S. corporations. For example, the city of Zug, Switzerland only has a population of 26,000 people but it is the headquarters for 30,000 companies.
22. In 1950, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue. In 2012, corporate taxes will account for less than 7 percent of all federal revenue.
23. In a previous article, I discussed how many of our largest corporations make huge profits and yet pay less than nothing in taxes....
What U.S. corporations are able to get away with is absolutely amazing.
The following figures come directly out of a report by Citizens for Tax Justice. These are combined figures for the tax years 2008, 2009 and 2010.
During those three years, all of the corporations below made a lot of money. Yet all of them paid net taxes that were below zero for those three years combined.
How is that possible? Well, it turns out that instead of paying in taxes to the federal government, they were actually getting money back.
So for these corporations, their rate of taxation was actually below zero.
If you have not seen these before, you are going to have a hard time believing some of these statistics.....
Profits: $4.9 billion
Taxes: -$34 million
*Fed Ex*
Profits: $3 billion
Taxes: -$23 million
*Wells Fargo*
Profits: $49.37 billion
Taxes: -$681 million
Profits: $9.7 billion
Taxes: -$178 million
Profits: $32.5 billion
Taxes: -$951 million
Profits: $2.1 billion
Taxes -$72 million
*American Electric Power*
Profits: $5.89 billion
Taxes -$545 million
*General Electric*
Profits: $7.7 billion
Taxes: -$4.7 billion
Are you starting to get the picture?
24. Exxon-Mobil paid $15 billion in taxes in 2009, but not a single penny went to the U.S. government.
25. If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his entire fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.
26. The number of traffic accidents spikes each year right around April 15th. The following is from a recent Bloomberg article....
Deaths from traffic accidents around April 15, traditionally the last day to file individual income taxes in the U.S., rose 6 percent on average on each of the last 30 years of tax filing days compared with a day during the week prior and a week later, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
27. The elite are not stupid. They are not just going to sit there and let our politicians tax them into oblivion. In fact, many of them will openly cheat if that is what it takes to avoid taxes. Most of them have become masters at avoiding taxes or they have hired people that do that kind of work for them. According to the IMF, the global elite are holding a total of 18 trillion dollars in offshore banking havens such as the Cayman Islands.
28. It has been reported that 80 percent of all international banking transactions involve offshore banks. A whopping 1.4 trillion dollars is being held in offshore banks in the Cayman Islands alone.
29. An article that appeared in the Guardian estimated that a third of all the wealth on the entire planet is being kept in offshore banks. One of the primary reasons for this is tax avoidance.
30. If a deal is not reached and the "fiscal cliff" is not avoided, the average American taxpayer can expect to pay about $3,500 more in taxes next year.
Clearly, the tax system that we are using right now is not working.
The big corporations and the ultra-wealthy have mastered the art of moving money offshore and using loopholes to make their tax burdens as low as possible.
So our politicians just keep finding more ways to squeeze more money out of the middle class and small businesses in order to make up the difference.
If you are a middle class American and you don't think that you are paying enough taxes already then you are one sick puppy.
They are draining blood from us in dozens of different ways, and they are constantly inventing new ways to tax all of us.
So what is the solution?
Well, a good first step would be to completely abolish the federal income tax. It is terribly inefficient, it is way too complicated and it is terribly unfair. It rewards those that know how to exploit loopholes and those that know how to cheat the system. Those that "play by the rules" always get the short end of the stick.
Our government could easily be funded by tariffs and other forms of taxation that are more equitable. There were vast stretches of American history when there was no federal income tax, and the federal government did just fine.
And of course one of our biggest problems is that the federal government simply spends way, way too much money. There is not a single category of government spending that does not need to be reduced and/or made much more efficient. The amount of waste that goes on in Washington D.C. is absolutely mind boggling.
Unfortunately, both political parties seem content to be married to the current system so I would not expect any significant changes any time soon.
So what do you think about all this?
Do you believe that taxes are too low, or do you believe that they are too high?

Mr. Obama, do we bailout Detroit today, USA tomorrow? ^ | December 7, 2012 | Jeff Crouere

In fact, Ms. Watson said it was the President’s obligation to help Detroit because “our people in an overwhelming way” voted for him, so “there ought to be a quid pro quo.”

Because 75% of Wayne County voters supported Obama, Watson says that Detroit leaders should bring home “some bacon” as they did during the Jimmy Carter administration.

Maybe Ms. Watson does not realize that vote buying is illegal. Her attitude is typical of many Obama supporters who want something such as a check, a phone, a job or in this case “some bacon” from the federal government.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

73% of New Jobs Created in Last 5 Months Are in Government!

CNS News ^ | 12/7/2012 | Terence P. Jeffrey

( - Seventy-three percent of the new civilian jobs created in the United States over the last five months are in government, according to official data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In June, a total of 142,415,000 people were employed in the U.S, according to the BLS, including 19,938,000 who were employed by federal, state and local governments.
By November, according to data BLS released today, the total number of people employed had climbed to 143,262,000, an overall increase of 847,000 in the six months since June.
In the same five-month period since June, the number of people employed by government increased by 621,000 to 20,559,000. These 621,000 new government jobs created in the last five months equal 73.3 percent of the 847,000 new jobs created overall.

Dems look to Obama to punish Michigan over labor vote!

The Washington Times ^ | December 7, 2012 | Andrea Billups

LANSING, Mich. — A top Michigan Democrat is looking to President Obama to deliver retribution to Republicans after the GOP-dominated state legislature approved a package of bills that could make this stronghold of union power the nation’s 24th right-to-work state as early as next week.
Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, who on Thursday called the votes to approve the right-to-work measure “petty and vindictive politics,” sparked more backlash Friday when she said she wants the president, who is set to visit Detroit on a previously scheduled political trip on Monday, to push back on Republican Gov. Rick Snyder by holding back federal money for a new international bridge project to Canada and a badly needed mass-transit program in ailing Detroit.
“We are hoping that when President Obama comes to Michigan next week, that this is going to be on his radar screen, that he’s going to say Michigan doesn’t care about their middle class, [so] why should we be bending over backwards to make sure that this governor is able to deliver on his promise,” said Mrs. Whitmer in an interview with local radio station WWJ.
Her remarks, amid calls from other Democrats and union leaders to use all legal means necessary to stop the bills from becoming law, drew a stern rebuke from WJR host Frank Beckmann, in Detroit, who wondered on his program Friday if Mrs. Whitmer, considered a possible gubernatorial candidate in 2014, might want to reconsider her words.
“This should immediately disqualify her for any consideration to run for governor,” Mr. Beckmann said. “Taking the interests of the entire state of Michigan, the entire region of Detroit, holding them hostage because you object to legislation that has passed in 23 other states and has caused great economic growth?… That’s outrageous.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Message To GOP: No Tax Increases! Go On Offense!

Forbes ^ | 12/07/2012 | Steve Forbes

Mr. Speaker: ("The No Nutz Putz")

We are losing the cliff war in terms of public opinion, but the tables can be turned. A few days ago you offered tax increases via eliminating or capping deductions. Your generous gesture won no goodwill from Democrats and the mainstream media. Moreover any tax increase now only damages the economy. Concerning deductions, why give stuff away now for no real tax reform or simplification?
Here’s what the GOP should do now:

I. The House passes a bill extending for a year or at least six months all the cliff items – current income tax rates; the Alternative Minimum Tax patch; yes, even those Social Security payroll tax cuts. The whole kit and caboodle. The same with sequestration.

The point to make is that the U.S. economy is headed for a recession. One ill omen is that business investment is faltering. Any tax boost will be particularly perverse. Destroying capital and hurting small businesses will only contract the economy even more. We shouldn’t follow the bad examples of Western Europe and Japan. These countries are all raising taxes and the results are frightening. Japan’s economy is declining. Southern Europe is in a severe recession. France and Germany are about to go into recession. Britain just reported disappointing economic news and experts believe its economy will go into negative territory.

Another point to make – it is ridiculous to try to reform the tax code two weeks before Christmas. Ditto for entitlements.

About “the rich” label, polls show that if the question is rephrased as to whether the economy would be helped if upper-income couples had their tax bills increased substantially, most Americans are opposed to the hikes. We should learn how to phrase these issues instead of employing the Democrat’s vocabulary.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

An economics lesson

Tea Party Nation ^ | 12/7/12 | John Wiseman

Dr. Sowell is perhaps one of our greatest living economists. Since arguments and debates about economic matters seem so important to almost everyone during our election cycles, I will never understand America's reluctance to actually take the time and energy required to gain even a basic understanding of the subject.

I will likewise never fully understand the nation's economists remaining mostly silent during election seasons and allowing politicians and morons to take it upon themselves to put words into their mouths. 

When Barack Obama and Bill Clinton stood up during the Democrat National Convention and made the astoundingly false claim that all economist agree with us, why was there not a resounding cry from economists around the land that let Americans know that in fact, they were lying?

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

NBC's Williams Fantasizes Over Change in Constitution Allowing Obama to Control Business by Fiat

NewsBusters ^

In an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook for Thursday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams wondered why the tech giant couldn't be a "made-in-America company" and outlined a political scenario in which President Obama was all-powerful: "Let's say our Constitution was a little different and Barack Obama called you in tomorrow and said, 'Get everybody out of China and do whatever you have to do, make these, make everything you make in the United States.'"

Cook responded by suggesting American workers simply didn't have the capacity to manufacture Apple products: "Over time, there are skills that are associated with manufacturing that have left the U.S., not necessarily people, but the education system stopped producing them."

LAUGH BREAK Is Rice really so bad? (nothing wrong with having another proven liar in the WH)

NY POST ^ | 12/7/12 | OP-ED

Rice is par for the course for a sap-happy Chicago pol who never met an honest person in the Windy City in his entire life.

EXAMPLES: Ohaha's treasury secretary couldn’t figure out how to pay his own taxes. His AG leads a Justice Dept that thought selling guns to Mexican drug cartels would have good results. And he appointed only one czar who was a Communist truther (that we know of).

So, as long as Rice is reasonably loyal to the US (ie, ID'S the US as one of her five favorite countries) and doesn't accidentally start a Mideast war (or more than one war), she's “good enough” --- and unless she gives US nuclear secrets to North Korea or accidentally burns down a foreign capitol building, she might even be above average..........for the Obama Cabinet, that is.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Fiscal Cliff Means 50% Tax Rates For The Middle Class!

By: Money Morning

Keith Fitz-Gerald writes: If I didn't know any better, I'd think there's a small but growing group of people in Washington who think it would actually be good if we temporarily went over the fiscal cliff.
I say that because I am seeing a smattering of articles recently suggesting that somehow going over the cliff "won't be all that bad" or that we're "really just talking about cuts that need to happen in the first place."
President Obama seems to think the same way judging by the fact that he's dug in his heels, telling the GOP there will be no fiscal cliff bargain that doesn't include tax hikes.
Now noted budget hawk Republican Senator Tom Coburn has broken ranks, noting that he'd rather see rates rise because that "will give us a greater chance to reform the tax code and broaden the base in the future."
I find that to be an absolutely appalling argument given how much further the president's proposals will squeeze the middle class.
As Fox Business Network's Gerri Willis, an expert on consumer and personal finance issues, recently pointed out to me, the average middle class tax rate is already 43.12%, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation.
Beyond that, Willis says if we do go over the cliff, the average middle class tax burden jumps to nearly 50%.
I asked her how she came to that conclusion. I could only smile as she simply noted she'd "done the math," knowing full well that's one of the president's tax hike tag lines.
Unless Congress takes action, Willis observed, the average middle class federal rate jumps to 28% from 25% when the Bush-era cuts are allowed to expire. At the same time, payroll taxes will jump 15% from 13.3% to 15.3%.
Factor in state taxes, which average 4.82% nationwide, and that would take the total average middle class tax burden to 47.5%.
Keep in mind that doesn't include state income tax hikes, city or county taxes, many of which are on the rise no matter where you live thanks to decades of poor fiscal management.
Chances are, many middle-class earners living in states like California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Hawaii, for instance, will actually have substantially higher tax burdens that, practically speaking, are well in excess of 50%.
The Rocky Ground at the Bottom of the Fiscal Cliff
The real world stakes behind the debate are very high.
Case in point, the President's Council of Economic Advisors estimate that a rise in middle class taxes and the corresponding decrease in consumption would shave 1.4% off GDP, which is consistent with the signals being telegraphed from that other great oxymoron in DC, the Congressional Budget Office.
Even the president's team has estimated that consumers will spend nearly $200 billion less as a result of higher taxes alone.
Conversely, the latest GOP deal called for $800 billion in new revenue via tax reform while not increasing tax rates on the top 2% of taxpayers. It also involves limiting tax credits and capping deductions.
Naturally it was quickly rejected by the White House because it doesn't meet the "test of balance" according to White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, was quick to jump on the bandwagon noting that the GOP's proposal is yet "another assault on the middle class, seniors, and our future."
Exactly -an assault on the middle class.
Willis believes "that taxes shouldn't go up on anybody right now. Growth is sluggish and anemic so the prospect of tax hikes don't make sense, especially on those the president purports to protect."
I agree. What you want to do is improve growth. Do that and you have improved employment.
That, in turn, takes more people "off the dole and leads to higher receipts," Willis added.
Half of Every Dollar Earned?
But how high should taxes go, and who's going to pay them?
For some reason, corporate taxes are strangely missing from the entire discussion.
According to the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the 2013 fiscal year budget calls for $237 billion in corporate income tax revenue against individual income tax revenue of $1.165 trillion.
If you add in Social Security and other payroll taxes, individuals are on the hook for more than $2 trillion in taxes, or 81.25% of all revenues the government intends to collect.
Very few corporations actually pay the often demonized 35% U.S. corporate tax rate. In fact, the average U.S. corporation pays just 12%. Many don't even pay that.
Instead they use legions of lawyers and thousands of foreign subsidiaries to pay taxes only when they bring them home and repatriate their profits. Or, they stage a tax rebellion of sorts.
Willis believes that the White House doesn't grasp the fact this is already well under way as companies like Oracle, Costco, Wal-Mart and more than 200 others rush to pay dividends early with the express purpose of avoiding tens of millions of dollars in higher taxes that presumably lie ahead in 2013.
Adding insult to injuries the struggling middle class has already sustained, what these companies are doing is "all very quiet and perfectly legal," she observed.
If only the middle class had that option.
Let's just hope it's not half of every dollar earned.

Everything You Need To Know About The Black Boxes Coming To Your Next Car!

Jalopnik ^ | Friday, December 7, 2012 | Jason Torchinsky

It's looking very likely that a bill in Congress that will make mandatory the use of "black boxes"— more formally, Event Data Recorders (EDR) — will become law soon. These are little computers clad in rugged casings that record data from your car's various sensors and computers to use for accident investigation and, very likely, other uses.

There's lots of privacy concerns around this new bill, and lots of questions as to exactly what that little boxy black snitch is snooping on. Plus, what about the voluntary black boxes some insurance carriers are offering? Let's see what we can clear up.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Unions to provide civil disobedience training, prepare for more Michigan Capitol protests! ^ | December 07, 2012 at 4:00 PM, | Melissa Anders

LANSING, MI — Union members say their fight isn’t over after the House and Senate passed bills to make Michigan a right-to-work state.
After a long day of protesting inside and outside the state Capitol, union leaders called on members to attend civil disobedience training on Saturday, and return to Lansing for more protests on Tuesday.
“We’ve got to rebuild the broad social justice movement; I think this is going to energize people,” said United Auto Workers President Bob King. “All this administration has done is attack working people, so it’s our job to go out and talk in our communities…”
Union members will learn how to protest, get noticed, stay safe and conduct themselves in a peaceful way, said SEIU Michigan State Council President Marge Robinson-Faville.
The training will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UAW Local 600 in Dearborn.
Members will meet at the Lansing Center to protest the right-to-work bills on Tuesday, which is the next scheduled session day for the legislature.
“Never have all the unions come together as strong as they have now,” King said. “In every crisis there’s opportunity; we've got to make this the opportunity that changes Michigan, as we’re trying to change this country to be about working families again.”
Hundreds -- if not a few thousand -- union members and others gathered at the Capitol for hours on Thursday, chanting against the right-to-work bills.
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BREAKING! Sheriff Arpaio - FULL STEAM AHEAD with BHO Investigation; Surprises Coming! ^ | December 7, 2012 | Carl Gallups

(video transcript)
"...within the next week or so there will be a huge push forward on the eligibility investigation lining up before the January 6th date when Congress is supposed to certify the electoral college votes."
"This huge push forward is scheduled to involve a uniquely qualified VIP..."

"The PPSimmons Channel has verified that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Cold Case Posse is not giving up the Obama eligibility investigation. Lt. Mike Zullo confirmed in a phone conversation with the PPSimmons channel that the investigation and the resulting legal actions from the investigation was going full steam ahead. The investigation team of six investigators that employed the services of two independent document forensics laboratories along with a bevy of digital document experts is 100% convinced that the document that Obama brought forth as his official birth certificate in June of 2011 is a verified forgery and is completely fraudulent.
"According to Lt. Mike Zullo the evidence continues to mount and continues to be verified by some surprising and perhaps soon to be announced sources. As PPSimmons reported last week, we have also received inside information from a confidential, but highly knowledgeable source that within the next week or so there will be a huge push forward on the eligibility investigation lining up before the January 6th date when Congress is supposed to certify the electoral college votes. According to the US Constitution, Congress has the authority and responsibility to verify the eligibility of the candidate that it is certifying by the electoral college. This huge push forward is scheduled to involve a "uniquely qualified VIP" whose announcement may wind up on national and international television. Stay

It Begins… Obama’s Ministry Of Truth Replacing Great Literature With Propaganda In The Classroom!

Gateway Pundit ^ | December 7, 2012 | Andrea Ryan

The Obama Administration has launched its newest campaign to confiscate the minds of our children. To qualify for federal grant funds, Obama is requiring states to adopt a new program called Common Core State Standards In English. The program would wipe great works of literature from English curriculums across the country. And replace them with “information text”, such as “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management”, an Order, of course, favorable to the Liberal environmentalist movement.
Via Lucianne, Powerline reports,
Controversy is brewing over new Common Core State Standards in English that call on public schools to emphasize the reading of “information text” instead of fictional literature. According to the Washington Post, English teachers across the country are upset by what they consider the government’s effort “to drive literature out of the classroom.”
English teachers are right to be upset, but they shouldn’t take it personally. The government has nothing much against literature, per se. Rather, this initiative is driven in large part by the desire to promote political propaganda in the classroom. The study of literature is being downgraded in the process, but for a good cause.
Consider that one of the “informational texts” recommended as a replacement for, say, Great Expectations is “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.” Students would thus study government propaganda in English class (this Executive Order was issued under President Bush, but it is still propaganda — a political sop to the environmental left, as Stanley Kurtz shows).
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How to scam welfare in 2012

Ricochet ^ | December 6, 2012 | Ryan M.

If you are foolish enough to answer truthfully on an application for state assistance, do not despair. The state has thought of that, and does not discriminate against the foolish; you will likely be given multiple opportunities to lie, and you will eventually get your fair share. Always remember that it is best to consult your state and federal poverty guidelines before you subjectively determine what you can or cannot afford. The numbers do not lie, even if you have to lie to fall within them.
Please allow me to repeat that: there are state and federal poverty guidelines. Allow a moment for that to sink in. Yesterday, I made a trip to the grocery store to pick up some dinner items. I saw an enormous bag of generic cereal for about three dollars. I saw a box of Ramen noodles, consisting of some 50 packages, for three dollars and 29 cents. That is dinner for two months. It isn't all that healthy, but it is food. Breakfast and dinner for months and it will cost you about six bucks. That is the bare minimum. That is subsistence. That, perhaps, is poverty. Where that is poverty, there is no poverty.
Peter Robinson recently posted an article stating that the United States has eliminated poverty, and it has. But how does our omniscient government determine poverty? Just consult the state and federal poverty guidelines. Today's poverty is yesterday's kingship. Yet it is a human right. Human rights evolve, I suppose.
I have had a difficult week. This afternoon, I sat next to an indignant man who had been denied court-appointed counsel. He whined to the court that, after all, he has bills to pay! You see, he had made the mistake of filling out the form honestly. That is bush league...
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Sorry, Democrats: 4 Ways Progressives Are About to Have Their Hopes Dashed

The Atlantic ^ | December 7, 2012 | Molly Ball

Ever since Election Day, the left has been riding high. Not only did President Obama and Democrats across the country win big on Nov. 6, the president has gratified his base with his tough talk on the fiscal cliff negotiations, and the new Congress looks to be substantially more progressive than the last.
But how long will the second honeymoon last for President Obama and the Democrats? Chances are, it won't be long until the left's hopes are dashed. Here are four possible letdowns on the horizon.
1. Entitlements: Obama has talked very tough on tax rates for income over $250,000, but you don't hear nearly as much strong rhetoric from the White House about progressives' other ironclad fiscal-cliff demand: protecting Social Security and Medicare. Back in 2011, during Obama and House Speaker John Boehner's failed attempt at a big deal on the debt ceiling, Obama was theoretically open to the kinds of changes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is now advocating, such as raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67 and increasing premiums for recipients with higher incomes.
If a fiscal-cliff deal gets made, chances are it'll include some concessions along those lines. Obama's opening offer to Republicans included $400 billion in deficit reduction from unspecified changes to entitlements. Suzy Khimm has a helpful rundown of what entitlement changes Democrats have signaled a willingness to consider.
Thus far, defenders of Social Security have been gratified to hear White House Press Secretary Jay Carney say changes to the program are off limits in the negotiations...
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Amount Spent on Welfare Exceeds Average Income!

Semi-News/Semi-Satire ^ | 7 Dec 2012 | John Semmens

Data from a Congressional Research Service report reveals that the amount the government spends on welfare per family below the poverty line exceeds the median earned income. The median for earned income in the United States is about $50,000 per year. The amount spent per family on welfare exceeds $60,000 per year. Assuming a 40-hour work week, welfare equates to an after-tax wage of over $30 per hour.
Congressional Democrats used these figures to make the case against prospective cuts to the government's entitlement spending. “The GOP's notion that we ought to be pushing people to get jobs is completely refuted by these numbers,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) contended. “Any person who can qualify for welfare payments would be harming her family by leaving the shelter of government benefits for the uncertainties of the marketplace.”
Over in the Senate Charles Schumer (D-NY) claimed that “cutting welfare benefits would devastate our economy. As the research shows, families on welfare contribute more spending to stimulate the economy than those who work for a living. Rather than foolishly trying to reduce the number of persons who qualify for welfare as the Republicans want us to do, we ought to be adding to and extending the benefits we bestow on this economically vibrant segment of our society.”
The New York Senator averred that “the President's bid to raise taxes on the wealthy is a small step in the right direction, but it doesn't go far enough. The number of these people who will be encouraged to leave the workforce is small. A much bigger impact would be achieved if we could, like former Governor Howard Dean advises, raise everyone's taxes. That way a lot more could join this crucial economic cohort.”
In related news, disability is now America's fastest growing career choice among persons aged 18-64. In 1960 less than 1% of these persons were receiving disability payments. Last year more than 5% were. Disability due to “mood disorders” was credited with “making substantial inroads into the workforce over the last 50 years.” “Given the plasticity of this designation we see no reason why the vast majority of the population shouldn't qualify for benefits for this cause over the next few decades,” boasted Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “We are within sight of creating a society where the majority can be relieved of the burdens of toil.”