Tag Archives: Politics

Comparing the two candidates’ statements on the invasion of Georgia

Senator McCain’s statement:


Contact: Press Office Friday, August 8, 2008


ARLINGTON, VA — U.S. Senator John McCain issued the following statement regarding the current conflict between Georgia and Russia:

“Today, news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally-recognized border into the sovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory. What is most critical now is to avoid further confrontation between Russian and Georgian military forces. The consequences for Euro-Atlantic stability and security are grave.

“The government of Georgia has called for a cease-fire and for a resumption of direct talks on South Ossetia with international mediators. The U.S. should immediately convene an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to call on Russia to reverse course. The U.S. should immediately work with the EU and the OSCE to put diplomatic pressure on Russia to reverse this perilous course it has chosen. We should immediately call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to assess Georgia’s security and review measures NATO can take to contribute to stabilizing this very dangerous situation. Finally, the international community needs to establish a truly independent and neutral peacekeeping force in South Ossetia.”

Senator Obama’s:

Statement of Senator Obama on Tensions in the Caucasus Region Between Georgia and Russia Chicago, IL | July 23, 2008

Chicago, IL — “Over the last several weeks, Russia and Georgia have been engaged in a steadily more dangerous confrontation over two secessionist regions of Georgia — South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Although these territories are located within Georgia’s internationally-recognized borders, the Russian government seems determined to challenge Georgia’s territorial integrity in both places. Developments took an especially provocative turn several days ago when four Russian warplanes violated Georgian airspace close to the Georgian capital for forty minutes.

All parties — Russia first and foremost — must now reduce tensions, avoid the risks of war, and reengage in peaceful negotiations.

As I stated in April of this year, I am committed to upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia. This commitment has long been a fundamental building block of U.S. policy, and it will not change under an Obama Administration. I also affirm Georgia’s right to pursue NATO membership. This aspiration in no way threatens the legitimate defense interests of Georgia’s neighbors.

Only a political settlement can resolve the conflicts over Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia needs to roll back the aggressive actions it has taken in the last three months. The Georgian…

“McCain needs only 213 words to get to the point and put out an actual coherent, step-by-step plan. [Obama has a lot of words but nothing of substance.] McCain knows that he can reliably put out a press release on foreign affairs without having to spend an introductory paragraph explaining to his supporters what the Hell is going on.”
(from http://www.redstate.com/diaries/redstate/2008/aug/08/comparing-the-two-candidates-statements-on-t/)
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Taxes, According to Glenn Beck

In his article, entitled Arguments against Idiots, Glenn Beck goes on the offensive against “liberal whiners:”

What the liberal whiners say:

1.’The rich don’t pay their fair share’

2.’The working class carries the full load in this country, while the rich just keep getting richer, and paying LESS’

3.’How about those 50 hedge fund managers Barack Obama talks about all the time who made $29 billion, but actually paid less in taxes than their $60,000 a year SECRETARIES!’

4.’I’m sick and tired of all the corporate welfare in this country’

Your winning, logical, reasoned arguments:

1.Really? According to the Tax Foundation, the top 1% of wage-earners in this country pays nearly 40% of the burden (an 11% INCREASE over 1999, when WHO was President? Oh that’s right…Bill Clinton). Not fair? Well, you may be saying, ‘that’s because they have ALL the wealth!’ Wrong again. The top 1% of earners account for just 21% of the total adjusted gross income. Hmm. Come to think of it…you’re RIGHT! That really isn’t fair. They’re paying DOUBLE what they should be. By the way, the top 10% of earners pay 70% of the load. When you get all the way down to the top 50% of earners, they account for 96.4% of the entire tax burden. The next 10% pays 3.6%. And the bottom 40% of wage earners…pay NOTHING. That’s right, nothing. In fact, they pay nothing, and then often get a “refund” (handout) at years end.

To see his other responses, continue reading on glennbeck.com

A Roadmap for America’s Future

Here is the introduction by Paul D. Ryan, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin and a member of the Budget Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, to his legislative plan to secure the fiscal future of the United States:

merica faces a choice between two fiscal and economic futures.

In one, ever-rising levels of government spending overwhelm the Federal budget and the U.S. economy with crushing burdens of debt and higher taxes. It is a future in which America’s best century is the past century.

The second future is one in which the principles that created America’s freedom and prosperity are restored. It is the path set out in my plan, A Roadmap for America’s Future.

Currently, we are on a path of unsustainable Federal spending. The main problem is the looming crisis of entitlement spending. The well-intentioned social insurance strategies of the past century – particularly Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – are headed toward financial collapse.

Not only will these programs grow themselves into extinction, they will immensely burden our economy and budget – piling massive amounts of debt on future generations, crippling our ability to compete in the international marketplace, and dramatically reducing Americans’ standards of living.

We can and must set a different course. But the time for talk has passed. We need a plan.

Based on the input of many, I developed A Roadmap for America’s Future to:

1. Ensure universal access to health insurance, fulfill the missions of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and make these programs permanently solvent.

2. Return Federal spending growth to sustainable levels and lift the debt burden looming over future generations.

3. Promote sustained economic and job growth and put the U.S. in a position to lead – not merely survive – in the international marketplace.

We are going to have to tackle these problems, or they’re going to tackle us. My plan addresses all these issues at once because piecemeal, incremental “fixes” cannot match the magnitude, the urgency, and the interrelated nature of these challenges.

It’s an ambitious proposal. Not everyone will agree with every aspect of it, and that’s fine. But if nothing else, it’s my sincere hope that it will spur Congress to move beyond simply rehashing the problem – to debating and implementing actual solutions for the American people.

It is a real plan, with real proposals, real numbers to back them, and real legislation to implement it.

The details, including an independent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, is available here: American Roadmap

We’re not in a recession, we’re in a slowdown.

President George W. Bush may turn out to be the top economic forecaster in the country.

About a month ago he told reporters, “We’re not in a recession, we’re in a slowdown.” At a White House news conference a few weeks later, despite the fact that reporters pressed him to use the “R” word, Mr. Bush refused. And on Friday, after the most recent jobs report — which produced a much-smaller-than-expected decline in corporate payrolls, a huge 362,000 increase in the more entrepreneurial household survey (the best gain in five months), and a historically low 5 percent unemployment rate (4.95 percent, to be precise) — the president told reporters: “This economy is going to come on. I’m confident it will.”

We’re in the midst of the most widely predicted and heralded recession in history. Problem is, so far it’s a non-recession recession. Score one for President Bush. In an election year, it could be a big one.

First-quarter GDP growth came in at 0.6 percent. It wasn’t the widely predicted decline, and economists expect that number to be revised up. GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2007 was also up slightly, while the prior two quarters averaged over 4 percent growth.

Continue reading: Bush’s ‘R’ Is for ‘Right’

And, here’s a quote from Lawrence Kudlow’s blog,

Economic Resilience. When you think about it, look at what we had to deal with in the first quarter. You had the credit market seizeup; you had Bear go out; you had Lehman close to going out—not because it should have, but because the financial markets were driving it that way; you had extraordinary moves by the Fed; you had continued collapse in homebuilding, and we still grew at 0.6 percent. That says to me if the economy was going to collapse, it would have collapsed then. It’s going to get better from here. Slowly, gradually, saucer-shaped, but it’s going to get better from here.

-Jim Awad, chairman of WP Stewart Asset Management

A Non-Progressive Fixed Tax

A few months ago a few of us had a discussion regarding the taxes in the United States. We both feel that taxes (corporate and income) need to be reduced for a number of reasons, one of them to stimulate the economy. A friend of mine, who is a Libertarian, feels exactly how the author discussed in my last post feels: the rich don’t receive any more benefit from their government than the poor so why should the rich have to pay so much more in taxes?

I can understand that reasoning a little bit. However, if everyone is going to pay the same fixed dollar amount (not as a percent of income but as a fixed amount) what would be a “fair value?” $5,000, $10,000, $50,000, or more in annual taxes? What if you make just over $10,000 and have to pay everything to the government. And with any of these amounts, the very rich would go from paying way over $200,000 in taxes a year to substantially less. The argument that the government would not be able to function on this significantly lowered tax revenue causes the Libertarian to suggest that then the government is doing too much. The government should only be doing the things that it can do better than private enterprise, namely defense of its people. And further, more money in the hands of private persons means more investment which means more money to be loaned out and more jobs created. This means that the money eventually “trickles” down to the average person. So then the argument goes back to the person or family making slightly more than the fixed tax. Since a fixed tax is inherently non-progressive, what do you offer? Does everyone making less than $X not have to pay taxes? Unless you start rich, then how does anyone “move up” in life when a huge percent of income is given to the government? Rather than the tax cuts being unfavorable to the rich, a fixed dollar amount tax would be like paying with loose change to the rich but significantly prohibitive to the poor and middle class.

Bush’s Tax Cuts Are Unfair …


This article, Bush’s Tax Cuts Are Unfair … To The Rich, is from October 2004, but I feel is still relevant today. (Especially with the Democrats thinking about repealing the tax cuts.) I found this while looking for data regarding the federal tax rates and revenue and the effect it had on the poor, middle class, and wealthy. And for those of you that feel that the middle class pays a disproportionate amount of taxes, consider this data: The top 10% of income earners paid 70% of the federal income tax. And, as Steven E. Landsburg in the Slate article writes, “it seems patently unfair to ask anyone to pay over 30 times as much as his neighbors (unless he receives 30 times as much in government services, which strikes me as implausible).”

Select quotes from the article below. Please visit the site to see the rest of the article and the charts/graphs.

The Bush tax cuts (which Congress just voted to extend) are an affront to the most fundamental principles of fairness. They are skewed in favor of those who already pay less than their rightful share of taxes and shift the burden even farther onto the shoulders of the most overtaxed. In other words, the Bush tax cuts are unfair to the rich.

I know there’s a lot of hype to the contrary, but look at the numbers. If you and your spouse have a taxable income of $60,000 a year, you’ve had almost a 24 percent income tax cut since President Bush took office. (And ditto if your income was just $20,000.) Meanwhile, the folks who make $350,000 a year got a cut of only about 12.5 percent; those who make $1 million a year got an even smaller cut.

My own opinion is that the rich already pay too much—it seems patently unfair to ask anyone to pay over 30 times as much as his neighbors (unless he receives 30 times as much in government services, which strikes me as implausible). If you share my sense of fairness, you’ll join me in condemning the president’s tax policy.

(the bolding is mine)

The Ant and the Grasshopper

There are 2 Versions – Read Both


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold

Be responsible for yourself!

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Obama and Taxes

Above the Law figures just how much an Obama presidency will cost you (that is, if you are making over $164,000):

The effect is enormous. Betsy’s marginal tax rate goes up from an already ridiculous 42.5% to 51.4%—not including the new 6.2% marginal tax on your employer. Subject to how she structures her withholding, Betsy’s take home pay drops an average of $515 a paycheck—less in the early months of the year, but much more in the later months of the year. Add in the effects on her bonus, and Betsy loses nearly $20,000/year in take-home pay.

I added a third column: how big a pay cut would you have to take to receive the same take-home income? The answer is that Obama’s tax increases have a bigger effect on your income than a law firm cutting New York salaries by $34,000.

Now, I’m not anywhere close to making that kind of money right now. I still have another 2 years of medical school to pay for and then another at least 5 years of around $40,000 a year during residency. So the earliest that I’d start earning this income would be around 2015. However, I still feel that the best stimulus for the country is to reduce taxes and limit spending of the non-essential federal programs. Here’s a good article called Ten Myths About the Bush Tax Cuts that explains how the tax cuts stimulated the economy and promoted growth. The key balancing point for the correct tax rate is theorized by the Laffer curve: “This curve illustrates ‘taxable income elasticity’, which is the idea that government can maximize tax revenue by setting tax rates at an optimum point and that neither a 0% tax rate nor a 100% tax rate will generate government revenue. At one extreme, a 0% tax rate means the government’s revenue is, of course, zero. At the other extreme, where there is a 100% tax rate, the government collects zero revenue because (in a ‘rational’ economic model) taxpayers presumably change their behavior in response to the tax rate: either they have no incentive to work or they avoid paying taxes, so the government collects 100% of nothing. Somewhere between 0% and 100%, therefore, lies a tax rate percentage that will maximize revenue.”

Here’s something interesting. National defense spending (including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) as a percentage of the GDP is actually 1.5 percentage points below the 45-year historical average.

2008 Future Wisconsin Conference

The fourth annual Future Wisconsin conference will be held on Saturday, April 5th, 2008 at Bluemound Gardens Conference Center in Wauwatosa, WI. WISN Radio talk show host, Jay Weber will be the master of ceremonies for the conference. Click the link above to sign up as well as to preview the list of great speakers they have scheduled. Student registration is free!

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend because of upcoming exams (pharm and pathology). However, this is a great opportunity to get involved in improving the economic health of Wisconsin for those that are free on Saturday.