Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
And here's a neat fact I discovered: Only 53% of federal revenue comes from income tax. When you figure in state and local revenue, income taxes only account for one-third of the total.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
I didn't know the name until today, but my favorite firework is called the Fish. You can see 9 others at the link below.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Though it died in 1975, TVN was obviously an early trial run for the powerhouse Fox News would become. The ideas were the same - to route Republican-friendly stories around the gatekeepers at the network news divisions. In Nixon's day, the only way to do that was to pump stories directly to local stations. By 1996, cable television offered a much more powerful alternative. And the whole project began - on the taxpayer's dime - in the White House under the direction of a Watergate felon.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
For every person killed on September 11, another 73 have been killed since.
Astounding... I think it's fair to say America has overreacted a little bit. That is only a rough (low) estimate since the Pentagon doesn't make official death toll announcements for Afghan and Iraqi civilians. Or indirect dying as a result of PTSD, illness, or other trauma.
The report underlines the extent to which war will continue to stretch the U.S. federal budget, which is already on an unsustainable course due to an aging American population and skyrocketing healthcare costs.
Again, 3.7 trillion is given as a conservative estimate. That will go higher if America doesn't get out of the war business. It is time to reevaluate our priorities and end the culture of armed conflict.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
The amount the U.S. military spends annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan: $20.2 billion.
That's more than NASA's budget. It's more than BP has paid so far for damage during the Gulf oil spill. It's what the G-8 has pledged to help foster new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia.I hope more congressmen begin to see our 21st century wars as Sen. Manchin does:
When you have this many people in a country that doesn't want you there — that has no economy, no infrastructure and a corrupt government — and you're trying to stabilize it and build them into a viable nation? I'm not sure we have enough time, and I definitely know we don't have enough money.America is still spending money for war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq but politicians won't increase revenue from taxes. That leads to national debt and that, in turn, is hamstringing our national economic recovery efforts.
Politicians make this so complicated... but it is simple. When governments fight wars, they have to pay the bill by increasing taxes. America had huge national fundraising drives during WWI and WWII and the premise is still true today. Tea party folks seem to forget that.
And nearly all 21st century politicians are beholden to poll numbers, lobbyists, and MSNBC/Fox viewers. It's never easy to tell Americans, "sacrifice your standard of living", but that is exactly what we need to do in order to pay our debts.
Please understand that I do not support war in Afghanistan or Iraq and would love to bring every American soldier home tomorrow. But those are already sunk costs and it makes no sense to continue piling up national debt.
In order to buy bullets, we need to bite one and raise tax revenue.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
The U.S. Constitution sets strict age requirements for election into federal office -- 25 for the House, 30 for the Senate, and 35 for the presidency. Most Americans probably take these age minimums for granted and don’t think twice about them. But they actually represent an antiquated, imprudent and even pernicious form of state-sanctioned discrimination -- one that undermines our democratic republic more than you may realize.Here's my summary of John Seery's argument:
1. Many other countries allow young people to run for office and they bring a unique perspective to election debates.
2. Other fields (sports, business) have great young professionals, therefore there may be some great young politicians that are not allowed to participate due to age requirements.
3. There exists a generational gap between Americans and their elected officials.
4. Young people are disenfranchised because they can vote for, but not serve as, elected officials.
Those are convincing arguments and surely debate worthy. I would love to have some real facts, though. Canadians may have elected six University students to Parliament, but have they done any good work? Do young elected officials produce better legislation? Are there any studies to find out whether lowering the age of candidacy would spur more young people to seek office?
And are there any studies to the contrary? Since "good judgement" is correlated with prefrontal cortex development, couldn't we say that elected officials over age 25 are better for our country?
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Parnell still says he is going to cut the budget by $400 million. I wish he'd give up the heavy-handed threats. Alaska just went through a costly special session in May, partly because Governor Parnell threatened to veto capital spending projects for districts who opposed him.
Of course, I would like more education and social service funding, but this is the best budget our legislature could craft. Governor Parnell, do you really think your judgement is that much better than the collective wisdom of our House and Senate?
Oh, and Parnell... if you are so concerned about balancing the budget and maintaining our $11 billion budget reserve, stop trying to reduce our revenue with your flip-flopping 2 billion dollar-a-year tax cuts. Go ahead and sign the budget already!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
James Verone has no job and no health insurance, so he decided to get arrested. He wants the government to pay for 3 years of medical care, food, and shelter.
Given that our taxes are paying for his medical care, shouldn't we demand a cheaper and better alternative for James?