Friday, July 29, 2011

The Vicious Cycle of Progressive Politics

How have liberals used the federal government to gain control of our daily lives? They create a vicious cycle of one bad policy after another that enables them to unlawfully use their power to control and intrude into our daily lives. Here are a few examples:

This is a recent example. The Journal of the American Medical Association wrote an article stating that obese children should be moved into child protective services (in other words, they classify ANY obese child as abuse, even if there are medical reasons why they are obese). This is a great example of how the vicious cycle of the progressive nanny state works: First, state, local, and federal governments write poor legislation that reduces physical education, recess time, games kids can play at recess, and have even written the school food menus. And let’s not forget that liberals are the ones who allowed frivolous lawsuits that have ended physical education, recess, and children games. But now it is the parents’ fault their kids are overweight when the government has taken parental guidance out of their control. Yes, parents should be responsible for their kids’ appearance, but the government has intruded into all aspects of their lives including banning them from bringing their own lunches to school in some districts. This is why “progressive” is a great way to describe liberal politics since they progressively pass one piece of bad legislation after another until finally they can achieve the ultimate goal: To control our families and children. It is no mistake that the obesity epidemic has gotten worse at the same time the government has passed more intrusive laws. For instance, ObamaCare does nothing to curb obesity and does nothing to reward healthy individuals. ObamaCare punishes the responsible and rewards the irresponsible. Let’s face facts; the ultimate goal of any liberal law is to make individuals as dependent as possible on the federal government. And if you do not conform to the liberal power grab, the government will continually (progressively) pass laws until you are ultimately forced to conform and the government has complete control over your life.

The classic example of the vicious cycle of liberal politics is the progression of welfare. What is the result of initial welfare policies? More welfare! Just look at the progression of the vicious cycle of Obama welfare policies. Even though we are going bankrupt as a nation Obama and liberals passed ObamaCare. Obama and liberals have also redefined the definition of poverty and now the number of people requiring government assistance has ballooned from 42% to 55%. They want to provide amnesty to illegal aliens, who are over 20% more likely to require government welfare assistance than native-born Americans. To see the true effects of welfare, we need to look no further than the inner city slums of Newark, New Jersey and Detroit, Michigan to see how liberal policies have progressively made the poor and minorities more dependent on the federal government. This is not only the result of welfare but quota systems such as diversity and affirmative action. These policies have failed miserably to provide equality, but instead enforce the fallacy that women and minorities are inferior to white males. The result of these policies, and welfare, has resulted in not only the decline of inner cities, but the decline of the family unit and corporate innovation to name a few.

My Book: Is American Dying? (, Barnes and Noble)

Friday, July 15, 2011

10 Worst Tax-Friendly States for Retirees

This is a good article by Interestingly, 9 of the 10 states are for the most part liberal states, which voted for Obama in 2008. These states work to not only drive away retirees, but the working class and industry. A few states on this list, such as Wisconsin and New Jersey, are trying to change for the better. did a similar article rating the top 5 tax friendly states to retire. They were Wyoming, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Alabama. It comes as no surprise that 4 of these states are conservative strongholds.

Some states offer attractive tax benefits for retirees. Then there are these ten tax hells, which have earned a place on our "do not live here for your second act" list either because of higher-than-average taxes across the board or because of policies that don't exempt much retirement income from state taxation.
For retirees living on a fixed income, high income taxes, burdensome real estate taxes and hefty sales taxes on daily purchases can really eat into a nest egg. Choosing to relocate to — or stay put in — a state with a low overall tax burden can help stretch your retirement income.
State Income Tax: 3.55%-8.95%
State Sales Tax: 6% (localities can add another 1%)
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: Yes/No
There are no exemptions for retirement income in the Green Mountain State, except for Railroad Retirement benefits (which are exempt in every state). Out-of-state pensions are fully taxed. Vermont exempts medical devices and prescription and nonprescription drugs from its 6% sales tax. But it imposes a 9% tax on prepared foods, restaurant meals and lodging, and a levies a 10% sales tax on alcoholic beverages served in restaurants. Real estate taxes have two components: school property tax and municipal property tax collected by towns and cities where the property is located. The Tax Foundation, a nonprofit tax-research group in Washington, D.C., lists Vermont's property tax among the ten highest in the nation.
State Income Tax: 5.35%-7.85%
State Sales Tax: 6.875% (cities and counties can add another 2.65%)
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: No/No
Minnesota offers retirees cold comfort on the tax front. Social Security income is taxed to the same extent it is taxed on your federal return. Pensions are taxable regardless of where your pension was earned. Income-tax rates are high, and sales taxes can reach 9.53% in some cities. Food, clothing, and prescription and nonprescription drugs are exempt from sales taxes. The North Star State does offer some residents 65 and older who have income of $60,000 or less the option of deferring a portion of their property tax. But this is a low-interest loan, not a tax-forgiveness program.
State Income Tax: 2.56%-6.84%
State Sales Tax: 5.5% (localities can add another 1.5%)
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: No/Yes
There are no tax breaks for Social Security benefits and military pensions in the Cornhusker State. Real estate is assessed at 100% of fair market value. Residents 65 and older qualify for a homestead exemption on property taxes. Food and prescription drugs are exempt from state sales taxes. But Nebraska imposes an inheritance tax on all transfers of property and annuities.
State Income Tax: 5%-11%
State Sales Tax: None
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: No/Yes
First, the upside: There's no state sales tax in the Beaver State. But it shares the distinction with Hawaii of imposing the highest tax rate on personal income in the nation on taxable income of $250,000 or more. Although Oregon does not tax Social Security benefits, that's the extent of its income-tax breaks for retirees. And Oregon has an inheritance tax that applies even to intangible personal property, such as investments and bank accounts, no matter where it is located.
State Income Tax: 1.25%-9.55%
State Sales Tax: 7.25% (effective July 1, 2011)
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: No/No
The Golden State has lost its luster for many retirees. Although Social Security benefits are exempt from state income taxes, all other forms of retirement income are fully taxed. Californians pay some of the highest income taxes in the U.S., with the top rate of 9.55% kicking in at $46,767 of taxable income. State and local sales taxes can reach 9.25% in some cities, although food and prescription drugs are exempt. Real estate is assessed at 100% of cash value, but taxes are capped at 1% of value.
State Income Tax: 2%-8.5%
State Sales Tax: 5% (counties can add another 0.5%)
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: Yes/No
Like the majority of states, Maine exempts Social Security benefits from state income taxes. And residents can deduct up to $6,000 per person of eligible pension income. But remaining income in excess of $20,150 per year is taxed at a steep 8.5% rate. Residents of the Pine Tree State pay a 5% sales tax statewide on everything except food and prescription drugs. All real estate and personal property is subject to local property taxes (and, in some cases, state property taxes, too), but permanent residents can receive an exemption of $10,000 on the assessed value of their home. Maine is also one of only three states that do not allow cities and towns to impose their own local sales taxes.
State Income Tax: 0.36%-8.98%
State Sales Tax: 6% (localities can add another 1%)
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: No/Yes
The Hawkeye State offers no feathered nest for retirees. Although it allows single retirees to exclude up to $6,000 of retirement-plan distributions from state income taxes, and married couples can exclude up to $12,000, the rest is taxed at rates as high as 8.98%. Iowa taxes a portion of residents' Social Security benefits, too, although it is in the process of phasing out the Social Security tax, which is scheduled to disappear in 2014. Food and prescription drugs are exempt from the statewide 6% sales tax. Real estate is assessed at 100% of market value, and most property is taxed by more than one taxing authority, such as cities, counties and school districts. There is a small homestead tax credit for residents who live in-state at least six months of the year.
State Income Tax: 4.6%-7.75%
State Sales Tax: 5% (counties can add another 0.5%)
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: No/No
The Dairy State exempts Social Security benefits and military-related pensions from its state income taxes, but it taxes most other pension and annuity income the same way the federal government does. Retirees 65 and older can subtract $5,000 of qualified retirement income, including IRA distributions, from their Wisconsin taxable income, subject to income restrictions. Some Wisconsin state- and local-government retirees qualify for a tax exemption. But out-of-state government pensions are fully taxed. Food and prescription drugs are exempt from state sales taxes. Some homeowners may qualify for a school property-tax credit against their state income tax.
State Income Tax: 1.4%-8.97%
State Sales Tax: 7%
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: Yes/Yes
Its nickname may be the Garden State, but New Jersey is no Eden for retirees. The Tax Foundation says New Jersey's combined state and local tax burden is the highest in the nation, thanks in part to sky-high property taxes. But there are a few bright spots: New Jersey does not tax Social Security benefits and military pensions. It also allows residents 62 or older with incomes of $100,000 or less to exclude up to $15,000 ($20,000 for married couples filing jointly) of retirement income, including pensions, annuities and IRA withdrawals. Groceries, medicine and clothing are exempt from the 7% statewide sales tax. The state imposes an inheritance tax on the transfer of real and personal property worth $500 or more, but bequests to family members are exempt. Even with the bright spots, it's an expensive place to live for retirees.
State Income Tax: 3%-6.7%
State Sales Tax: 6.35%-7%
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: Yes/No
Connecticut can be inhospitable to retirees, depending on their income and where they earned their retirement benefits. Although some residents of the Constitution State can exclude their Social Security benefits from state income taxes, the exclusion applies only if their adjusted gross income is $50,000 or less ($60,000 or less for married couples). All out-of-state government and civil-service retirement pensions are fully taxed. Effective July 1, 2011, the sales tax rate statewide is 6.35%, with luxury items taxed at 7%. Connecticut residents pay some of the highest property taxes in the U.S., according to the Tax Foundation, but residents 65 and older qualify for an annual property tax credit or rent rebate.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ten Incentive Ideas to Help America

1. Education - Make it a requirement for citizens to obtain a high school or trade school diploma in order to obtain the right to vote or drive. Those that drop out should be automatically enrolled in the Armed Forces. The goal of this idea is to diminish the high school drop out rate since these individuals are at the most risk of living lives dependent on government entitlements.

2. HealthCare – Healthier people should pay lower insurance premiums while unhealthy people should pay higher insurance premiums and fees for self inflicted problems. The goal is to lower healthcare costs by reducing the demand for medications and doctors by providing incentives for individuals to be healthier.

3. Politics – It would be advantageous to institute term limits and move back to the old method of having state legislators selecting senators. The goal of this proposal is to mitigate the effects of present day Washington politicians who are out of touch with Main Street because they answer to special interests and not the people. Also, the government should make the following transparent to the public: the fiscal consequences of each politicians voting record. In other words, show how much of a budget surplus or deficit is the result of how politicians voted on legislation.

4. Frivolous Lawsuits – The losing party in any lawsuit should be liable for all court expenses including the litigation fees from the winning party. The goal is to reduce frivolous lawsuit claims, which will help keep prices for goods and services lower.

5. Entitlement Reform – Nothing should come for free, entitlement recipients should be required to do at least 30 hours of weekly volunteer service that makes a positive impact towards society. Also, it would be wise to institute a lifetime cap on entitlement payments per person. For instance, a maximum of 4 years of unemployment or 15 years of welfare benefits may be a good compromise. The goal is to redefine and rename social programs from entitlement benefits to responsibility benefits.

6. Judicial Reform – Increase jail sentences for any violent criminal offenses. Jail space can be increased two fold by doing the following: When one shift is working in the field on local infrastructure projects the second shift is housed in prison cells and vice versa. The goal is to decrease the incentive for individuals to commit crimes.

7. Energy – Reward individuals and corporations (per capita) that use less energy (top 33% should receive a 33% discount) with lower rates meanwhile high energy users (bottom 33% should pay a 33% premium) should be penalized with higher rates. The goal is to lower energy consumption and make America less dependent on foreign oil.

8. Economy – Institute a fair tax and repeal the sixteenth amendment which would do away with the income tax. This will first eliminate the need for the IRS. Secondly, the fair tax will result in more monies in both the pockets of corporations and individuals while at the same time increasing the tax revenue base for the United States Treasury. A fair tax will provide fewer incentives for illegal immigrants to come to the United States and will dramatically cut into the profits of black market crime activities including drug, prostitution, human trafficking, and so forth.

9. Immigration Reform – Institute a national identification card that all citizens must carry and use for employment. Companies that hire illegal aliens must be prosecuted with harsh penalties including mandatory fines and imprisonment.

10. Special Interests – Institute right to work laws to mitigate the influence and power of unions on both politics and industry. The goal is to eliminate government restrictions, mandates, and regulations on corporations. This, in turn, will make it easier for U.S. corporations to compete globally.

The purpose of these provisions is to help motivate individuals, corporations, and politicians with incentives that will enable them to become more responsible and accountable for their actions.

My Book: Is America Dying? (, Barnes and Noble)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Why Have a Constitution?

Why did the founding fathers of our great nation write a Constitution? Seriously, other than the Bill of Rights it seems the Constitution is null and void! If the purpose of the Constitution was to prevent government from getting too big, it has failed. If the Constitution is inclusive to all federal government power grabs, then why write a Constitution? In other words, if the Constitution fails to prevent the federal government from passing laws and legislation that are not included in the initial writings, then why have a Constitution? The document seems to be meaningless. Alexander Hamilton stated the Constitution gives the federal government all powers that are not specifically stated in the document. This is how the document has been interpreted over the past 220 years.

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution specifically states those enumerated powers granted to Congress. There is nothing written in this section allowing the government to create a Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, and dozens of other organizations. So, it begs to reason, why write a document if the federal government can create any agency, department, or organization it sees fit? After all, there is no need for a document if the federal government can do what it pleases.

The federal government has expanded the Necessary Clause of the Constitution to include just about everything they want. Today, the President has used the Necessary Clause to expand the power of the executive branch. Think about it; the President has appointed over 40 czars including a faith, Asian Carp, and car czars. If the federal government can use the Necessary Clause to control Asian Carp in the Great Lakes, then there is nothing the federal government cannot use as an excuse, via the Necessary Clause, to meddle and interfere into our daily lives. So, once again, why have a Constitution?

The federal government has expanded the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to include everything, there are no exceptions. At first the Commerce Clause was needed to protect interstate commerce, but today it includes intrastate commerce including how much each American can farm on their personal property. Today, the federal government is using the Commerce Clause to mandate American citizens to buy a product they may not necessarily want – health insurance. If the federal government can force Americans to buy something they do not want, then what exactly does the Commerce Clause exclude them from doing? Nothing! So, why did the founding fathers write a Constitution in the first place?

The only thing that seems necessary in the Constitution is the Bill of Rights, with exception of the tenth amendment. The tenth amendment gives state government’s all powers not vested by the Constitution to the federal government. Since the Constitution apparently has no constraint for the federal government – then why would the founding fathers include the tenth amendment in the Constitution?

What’s worse, it is not just the legislative and executive branches exploiting the Constitution for political gains, the Supreme Court has ruled on subjects that should be decided by the individual states such as abortion. And the courts have expanded the Contracts Clause of the Constitution far beyond its original scope to protect lenders. So, the question remains, why did our founders write a Constitution if there are no exceptions to the powers of the judicial branch?

The bottom line is that it makes no sense to write the Constitution if it has no intrinsic value. If the Constitution allows the federal government to do everything it wants, then why doesn’t the Constitution say that or better yet, why write a document to define the scope of the powers allowed by each of the three branches of government at all? It simply makes no sense to write a document to define limitless powers. It only makes sense to write a document to restrict and specifically define powers.

My Book: Is America Dying? ( Barnes and Noble)

The Two Faces of Obama

I have to admit it; I can no longer listen to or watch Obama speeches or press conferences. It is like the commercial where the audience is watching an egg fry with the narrator saying “this is your brain on drugs”. Well, I think my brain gets fried listening to the multitude of contradictions, hypocrisies, explanations, and excuses of the Obama White House. I run speech transcripts through a word / phrase counting program I created. I use this tool to analyze books, speeches, and movies. In Obama’s latest press conference, here is a breakdown of the insanity.

Obama wants Congress to work through recess to hash out a budget deal, but Obama himself has been too busy playing golf and attending fund raisers (31 in the past 3 months) to not only get involved in the budget talks, but to meet with his own economic advisors. What’s worse, the President snubbed a Mitch McConnell invite to work on the budget; Obama said “It is not a discussion worth having”. It simply appears Obama does not have the time to do his job properly.

In the press conference, Obama claims he only wants to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires. This is not true; Obama’s proposed plan will raise taxes on families that earn more than 250,000 dollars per year (or individuals that make over 200,000 dollars per year) by eliminating their itemized deductions.

Obama blamed Republicans, oil companies, and the wealthy for all American problems. In fact, he stated multiple times how he wants to eliminate private jet tax breaks as well as oil company tax breaks. These two examples equate to a mere 0.1% of our budget deficit this year alone. Thus, the Obama solution to the budget deficit is lacking significant substance. And let’s remember that the Republican plan proposed by Paul Ryan would eliminate these tax breaks and secondly, it was the Obama stimulus which created the jet tax breaks in the first place. In fact, Obama is talking about two separate issues because, as a nation, we need both comprehensive budget and tax reform legislation. Finally, Obama compared the jet tax breaks to food safety and student financial aid cuts proposed by Republicans. These budget items are not even comparable; the jet tax break equate to 3 billion dollars over 10 years whereas student financial aid and food safety programs amount to nearly 60 billion dollars this year alone.

Obama made this dumb statement, during the press conference, about the consequences if the U.S. hits its debt ceiling limit: “So are we really going to start paying interest to Chinese who hold Treasury Securities and we're not going to pay folks their Social Security checks?”. As President, Obama should clearly understand that Social Security payments are always appropriated, even in a government shutdown. And as President he should also understand there is a big difference between a government shutdown and hitting the debt ceiling. Obama continually talks as if they are one in the same.

Obama continues to push Republicans to raise the debt ceiling and says in failing to do so it would be an economic calamity. He called Congress “selfish” and said they should “do their job” and raise the debt ceiling, and finally, he warned “this is urgent”. Remember, this is the same Obama who voted against raising the debt ceiling when he was in the Senate. He insisted Bush’s spending was an irresponsible burden being placed on future generations.

In the same speech Obama claimed it would be up to a judge to decide the case between the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Boeing. Hence, he sat on the fence on this issue. The NLRB is blocking Boeing from expanding its operations and opening a plant in the non-union state of South Carolina. But when Obama was asked about Gay Marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Obama acted as if he was a Supreme Court Justice by claiming DOMA was unconstitutional. Let’s face it; Obama has routinely played judge (when it is convenient to him) and has used demagoguery when discussing Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens United.

On Libya, Obama used words such as “fuss” and “politics” to naysayers about his policies. Remember, this is the same Obama that used Iraq war to get elected into office. But the facts are clear; Libya was removed off the “states that sponsor terrorism list” four years ago. In 2009, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, met with Gaddafi’s son and said “we are looking forward to doing business with you”. What changed? Gaddafi was “threatening to massacre his own people”. How is this any different than Saddam Husain, who routinely massacred his own people? And let’s not forget that Obama went to war without Congressional approval, a clear violation of the Constitution.

My Book: Is America Dying? (, Barnes and Noble)