Friday, February 29, 2008

Lesson on the Graduated Income Tax

Got this from a forward, so have no idea about the veracity, but entertaining nonetheless...

This is a great explanation; too bad the liberals could never understand it.
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1
The sixth would pay $3
The seventh would pay $7
The eighth would pay $12
The ninth would pay $18
The tenth man (the richest)would pay $59

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. He said, "Since you are all such good customers, I'm going to reduce the daily cost of your beer by $20. Drinks for the ten of you now will only cost just $80."

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes, so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men, the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share"? They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay!

And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings)
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings)
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28% savings)
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings)
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings)
The tenth now paid $50 instead of $59 (15% savings)

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $9!" "Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got nine times more than I!" "That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $9 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!" The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money among all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up any more. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.

For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Media Fawning

Great SNL clip demonstrating the fawning of the media...

Nader Joins the Fray

Ralph Nader joining the presidential race? This can only be good news for Repubs. He addressed the spoiler claim thusly:

Nader vociferously disputes the spoiler claim, saying only Democrats are to blame for losing the race to George W. Bush. He said Sunday there could be no chance of him tipping the election to Republicans because the electorate will not vote for a "pro-war John McCain."

"If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form," Nader said.

I think he's wrong on the war claim...the latest polling shows that the positive numbers on Iraq hover around 40%. If the vote for a particular candidate was based only on that issue, he's right. However, the economy has emerged as the top issue and I'm sure there will be much effort to tie the two closely together...probably why Murtha has started focusing on the "Hidden Costs to the War in Iraq".

I do think that people will be more swayed by Health Care ideas and hoping for more giveaways from the Feds now that the media has just doesn't have much dire news to report from Iraq. They've got plenty of fodder in highlighting the minuscule number (relatively speaking) of people "losing their homes" due to foreclosure.

Sister Toldjah
has a great round-up on Nader's announcement and reactions to it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

VDH is spot on

Victor Davis Hanson's article discussing the Democrat's placing of blame strikes me as spot on. This excerpt from the beginning of the article:

Barack Obama may have gone to exclusive private schools. He and his wife may both be lawyers who between them have earned four expensive Ivy League degrees. They may make about a million dollars a year, live in an expensive home and send their kids to prep school. But they are still apparently first-hand witnesses to how the American dream has gone sour. Two other Ivy League lawyers, Hillary and Bill, are multimillionaires who have found America to be a land of riches beyond most people's imaginations. But Hillary also talks of the tragic lost dream of America.

Read the whole thing...

HT: Powerline

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Roger Clemons - Guilty or not...who cares?

I happened to catch the testimony of Roger Clemons and Brian McNamee before Congress the other day while waiting (as is my lot these days) in a doctor's waiting room.

While watching them, and then the blustering whathisname Dem from Maryland continue to ask Clemons whether he thought his friend lied. I was struck with the absurdity of it all.

I know there are answers to my questions, but I would like to be enlightened.

First, why is this a federal issue? Let's just say Clemons did take HGH to enhance his performance. Let's just say that was a crime. Would it be considered a federal crime? If so, why? This seems to equate to the silliness that prohibits me from using my mailbox, purchased with my money, for other things.

States have constitutionally granted police powers. If Clemons had been accused of murdering his trainer for saving syringes and cotton balls, the federal government wouldn't be touching it. He would be tried in the state that the murder occurred, unless for some reason he was accused of violating the civil rights of the person he murdered...the infamous "hate crime" legislation.

The justification for this probably has something to do with the national character of the game he allegedly besmirched. It's so easy to justify when we want grandaddy federal government to cure everything.

Second, don't our august legislators have anything better to do? Listening to our elected officials sounding off on one or the other was just a display of their own egos. Really, why are these people doing this? Linda Chavez, in her article today put this in perspective:

We are a nation at war. We have a Social Security and Medicare crisis looming. We have a tax system that rewards borrowing instead of saving or investing. Our education system is failing, despite exponential growth in federal funding over the last several decades. We have an immigration system that stifles economic growth and encourages lawlessness. These are the issues Americans want addressed, not more investigations into whether athletes are using performance enhancing drugs.
I tend to agree...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Problem with Unions

Matt Barnum makes several salient points concerning unions:

  1. He misses the Office.
  2. There is a problem with the "simplistic portrayal of good workers vs. evil businesses." Of course employers are greedy, but so are unions.
  3. "They represent all workers with one voice, when in fact different workers have competing interests. In the case of merit pay, good teachers are likely to be in favor of it (provided there is a way to accurately measure teacher performance), while bad teachers would be against it. ...In the end, unions provide unfair protection for below-average workers, and unnecessary protection for good ones. "
  4. This results in "worse service or products if you’re a consumer, higher costs if you’re an employer, and a more difficult road if you’re a job-seeker."
  5. "There are many other reasons why unions are bad for anybody who’s not in one. They artificially raise wages, which distorts incentives and hurts businesses and consumers alike. They negotiate collective contracts, which generally fail to provide incentives for harder and better work, as pay is usually based on seniority. Their power structure (like those of some businesses) breeds corruption. They sometimes strike, causing a ripple effect that hurts many members of society (like my not being able to watch The Office)."
He had me at "hello."

Union Label

We had talked previously about unions and my consternation with the need for them. I mentioned that

As an independent educator, I have never had a desire or seen the need to be involved in a union. Independent schools must produce a service that the customer is wiling to pay twice for, since the state plunders its citizens to pay for others' children's education first, then allows them to pay tuition on top of that.
I truly don't see how teacher's unions actually help the students. It seems to me that the purpose of their existence is to take care of the teachers. That's fine. Just don't pretend you're doing it for the children.

Anyway, here's a story that caught my eye of "Pat Crowley - the $84,000 per year Assistant Executive Director of the RI affiliate of the National Education Association - and Pat is also the Lincoln Democrat Party chairman." He is giving the "bird" - a gesture one would expect from one fighting for the children.


Polar Bears

Ok...a bit of a break from the normal..this video of polar bears is cute and cuddly, but the comment below made me chuckle...

It’s like, can someone just please release video footage of a polar bear tearing a human being apart limb from limb? Because until I see photographic evidence of such an occurrence, I will just assume that polar bears are gentlest creatures of the land, “science” and Lost theories be damned. God willing I ever run into one in the wild, I am going to slow-motion style run across a daisy field directly into its oversized cotton-candy-cloud arms and pray I don’t get Kruegerfied.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kenya - Odinga's Manipulations

It seems that Odinga doesn't know what to do or say because of who he has appealed and made promises to...

He told reporters today

"We are not going to betray our supporters, but as far as giving and taking, we are prepared," the opposition leader Raila Odinga told reporters as he left church.
He told supporters Saturday that

Kibaki "must step down or there must be a re-election - in this I will not be compromised."

Two days earlier, he indicated he would not insist on Kibaki's resignation, saying "we are willing to give and take."

But Odinga returned Saturday to the themes that have rallied supporters, repeating a comparison of which he is fond: "You cannot steal my cow, and I catch you red-handed, and then expect me to share the milk."

In Odinga's stronghold in western Kenya, his supporters have threatened to burn down his farm and a large molasses factory his family owns outside Kisumu if he returns as anything less than president.

More than 1,000 people have been killed and 300,000 forced from their homes since the election. The fighting has pitted members of Kenya's rival ethnic groups against one another, gutted the economy and left the country's reputation as a budding democracy and a top tourist destination in tatters.

He appears to me to be a man who is desperate to gain power, but is receiving much more scrutiny than he's used to...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Romney's Concession

I'm a little behind...but if you haven't read Romney's concession, it's a picture of someone who believes in more than his own power.

I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror. If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters… many of you right here in this room… have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country.

As I noted before, one who truly loves his country will give up pursuit of power if that pursuit will likely damage his love. Like Ashcroft in Missouri and others involved in disputed elections.

A lesson Odinga could well learn from...

Kenya - a Cogent Analysis

Professor Mutua from SUNY at Buffalo provides an insightful analysis of the situation in Kenya.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Football and The Declaration

I've always enjoyed the relatively new (since 2002?) tradition of the recitation of the pertinent philosophical points of the Declaration prior to the Super Bowl. It's so important for people to read and hear the actual words that founded our nation.

I hadn't heard this quote by Thomas Paine before...

"Our citizenship in the United States is our national character. Our citizenship in any particular state is only our local distinction. By the latter we are known at home, by the former to the world. Our great title is AMERICANS." This point, of course, has been a source of contention since the very beginning.

Some people like this commenter (#8) don't appreciate it this because of imperfections in our founders...
so when the Decleration of Independence was signed many of the guys pictured in the commercial wouldn't have been there unless their slave owners allowed them. As for the lack of women in it, of course, they weren't recognized until 150 years after that fact - I guess the truths we held evident weren't sp evident, except to the to rich white guys - hey just like the nfl owners today- coincedence?
Looks like that guy needs to read this book...a very readable book with solid scholarship on these and other accusations.

A student told me one day that he wouldn't pledge allegiance to the flag because the country wasn't fair to Blacks. I told him that we don't pledge to what is, but to what we aspire to. No one says at their wedding ceremony, "I pledge to continue hanging out with you and be mostly concerned about my own happiness." No...the starry-eyed couple pledges to love through every conceivable circumstance -- a lofty aspiration indeed.

The ideals grounded in the Declaration set us on the unprecedented path to achieve equality for all humans based on the natural law. If it wasn't for the "rich white guys" who were willing to pledge their "lives, fortunes and sacred honor" human freedom would likely be much more limited than it is now.

The commenter is correct if he means that our working out of our founding principles were flawed at the beginning...and are still flawed. However, I think he's conflating this with the principles themselves -- a very dangerous and ignorant error.

Great game, by the way...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Obama's Absolution

While I was expressing discouragement about Republican prospects in November, irrespective of the nominee, a friend expressed great confidence in a Republican win.

His rationale was that America is not ready for a Black or Female POTUS.

My rejoinder is that Americans are eagerly awaiting a Black candidate they can vote for in order to exorcise the slavery demons. It seems that the motivation for voting for a female president is not as pressing, because the injustice that females have endured as females are not remotely akin to chattel slavery, despite Betty's and Gloria's ("sex is a caste system, just like race") famous claims.

So, Obama offers America a poultice of platitudes, selling indulgences for just one vote, for a limited time only!

Shelby Steele agrees with me in his new book A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win.

Though I'm not so sure he can't win...

Paul agrees with me when he says

Indeed, as I mentioned, Steele himself now entertains the possibility that Obama would not have to remove his mask until after being elected president. The prospect of a president who rides to office on a wave of magic that he must forfeit almost immediately upon taking office is a rather frightening one.

Kenya - "Peace Plan"

The two rivals have agreed to a "peace plan" -- sort of...

The two sides signed a four-point agenda that said they would complete talks within 15 days on measures to end the political crisis.

Former UN chief Kofi Annan who is acting as a mediator between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga announced: "We believe within 7 to 15 days, we should be able to tackle the first three agenda items. The first is to take immediate action to stop the violence."

Odinga continues to blame Kibaki for the violence while dodging accusations that he is stoking the violence:

The violence came as Mr Odinga, who leads the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), responded to Mr Kibaki's suggestion that the opposition should challenge the election result in court.

"Mr Kibaki... is undermining the [peace] process by saying the problems in Kenya can be resolved locally by court action," he said.

Mr Odinga also denied claims that the ODM had instigated the violence.

"[Kibaki] is trying to cover up the ethnic cleansing that is occurring in his own backyard in central Kenya," he said.
This "peace plan" seems to be nothing...just an agreement to have an agreement, while people die. It seems to me that Odinga is motivated by power to the exclusion of Kenya's interests. Even if the election was stolen, one who is seeking office for the right reasons will secede for the good of the nation, then continue to work through other channels to bring about the required change.