Friday, March 27, 2009
But the 90% tax Representative Gordon voted to exact on the political embarrassment is only one such attempt to legislate behavior through taxation. It's perhaps the most obvious, but its far from the oldest.
It has long been the practice of Congress and State Legislators to put special taxes on cigarettes. Regardless of how you feel about smoking, it is legal and it is a personal decision. In the early days of this special tax, it was designed to alter behavior. When politicians realized that smokers are addicts, they began to see it as a cash cow. Recently, they increased the cigarette tax by, not to, $8.00 a carton. The government now makes more money off the tobacco industry than do the manufacturers.
Adding to this, the State of Tennessee is imposing "minimum" prices on cigarettes as of April 1st.
The 111th Congress is considering the implementation of the Chicago Politician's special tax on energy. What is the result of such programs, including the desired result of decreased energy usage? Increased energy costs and higher energy bills.
Not convinced? Pull out your most recent water bill and electric bill and compare both the price per unit and the base service charge to a 2007 bill. Compare your usage of these services as well. Many of you will find that you pay more for less service now. Utilities must achieve a certain amount of gross profit to cover the costs and they are monopolies, necessary monopolies, but monopolies nonetheless.
Many Representatives were even calling for a tax hike of 50 cents/gallon on gasoline during the $4/gallon days of last summer. With our gas tax dollars already being swindled from the upkeep of our roads, this tax was not designed to provide better roads, but make it economically unfeasible for you to drive as much as you currently do.
And despite all of this taxation, the government continues to be in centuries old debt and racking up record deficits. The 111th Congress, including our Representative Gordon plans to increase the federal debt in their short two years than did the previous 5 Congresses.
The Whipped Blue Dogs are voting exactly as Speaker Pelosi of California Idealism tells them to vote. It appears as if they are trying to bankrupt Our Nation.
The entire tax code is designed to alter behaviors, with credits for what politicians deem good behavior and penalties for what they deem bad behavior. And yet in the midst of this, Congress is considering increasing the taxes paid on charitable donations. This is mind-boggling and the conclusions that can be drawn from it are not very flattering.
It is indeed time for a new tea party. Taxes, penalty by taxation, and behavior control by taxation are out of control. We pay more now in taxes, in real dollars, in inflation adjusted dollars, in percentage of income, than did our Founding Fathers when they threw off the chains of Britain.
It may be time for Nationwide Recall Petitions of Congress. This Congress is out of control, under the whip of Pelosi. The Blue Dogs, our last hope for rational legislation, have been whipped into submission by fringe elements of a once great party that abandoned the people.
Tennessee Taylor©2009, TNT, all rights reserved
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
But what exactly are we talking about with "toxic assets?" Those are the predatory loans made by the greedy to the greedy based on unrealistic rises in real estate values. These are the loans that should never have been made. These are the risks that corporations took in a belief that they would make astounding profits, that failed.
Simply, they are bad loans, foreclosed loans on real estate not worth the borrowed amount.
Your "representatives" think that you, the taxpayer, should pay 2005 inflated prices in order to get the banks out of the trouble they got themselves in. It will have the marketed effect, the banks will be better off. Their stock prices will go up. It will benefit the corporate constituencies of our elected officials.
This comes at a cost to you, the taxpayer. It is wrong. Capitalism is a system of personal and professional responsibility. It allows individual choice and freedom. It rewards good decisions and holds each responsible for bad decisions.
An underlying but unstated right of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Capitalism is the right to be wrong and to let the world know that you are wrong. If you decide to pay $100,000 for a 2010 Ford Mustang believing you can sell it to your neighbor for $150,000, your friends may tell you you're out of your mind. But that is your money and your decision to make.
If the neighbor pays the $150,000 for it, we'll shake our heads in disbelief, but if you end up selling it to him for $50,000, it is not our responsibility to make up the difference. And that is what Congress is doing. They're making us pay the difference in the losses of banks.
To be a bit more accurate, it would be like a single person bidding and purchasing an entire estate at auction regardless of bid price, selling everything that could make a profit and then coming to their neighbor and expecting them to pay the price bid for the items not worth the price he paid at bid. Now imagine that it was the richest man in town that did that and exacted the losses on every worker in town.
It is not right. It is not Constitutional. It is not moral. It is not capitalism. It is not the American way.
These corporations took the risks. They got greedy. And they got burned. It is NOT the responsibility of the taxpayer, i.e waiters, factory workers, and Soldiers to pay for the bad risks that the corporations made.
Tennessee Taylor©2009, TNT, all rights reserved
The Government has made the executives "a deal they can't refuse." When Chris Dodd (Senator-CT) & Timothy Geitner (Treasury Secretary) finally admitted that they had personally had a hand in the language of the CEO Bailout Bill allowing the bonuses, the House of Representatives had their back. The House, believing themselves to be riding a tide of populism, voted for a 90% tax on Specific Individuals.
While such a targeted tax on money earned prior to the legislation would not likely pass the Constitutionality test in the court system, the cost of legal representation (lawyers) would have cost more than the new government employees had earned.
It is now being reported (CNBC) that most if not all of the US executives that received a bonus have "voluntarily" returned it. Most of the remaining executives keeping the bonuses are foreign residents, i.e. not subject to the targeted tax of the US House of Representatives.
Was all of this hoopla, was this blackmail by the government worth the $50 Million returned or even the $165 Million paid in bonuses? Or was this simply something to divert our attention from the fact that Congress paid out $700 Billion to their CEO Constituencies from the pockets of the common worker? Even if all of it is returned, that's still $699.8 Billion paid out of OUR pockets.
At what cost did these executives return the money? The check came with their resignation. In the midst of turmoil at the now Government owned AIG, now AIU (they changed the name), the top managers have decided to walk out. For some, we might say "good riddance." For others, their knowledge, expertise, and experience with the problem itself may mean, we need them. We simply don't know anything about who was there, who was paid a bonus for what, and hence who left.
Those that left were targeted because of their earnings, not their performance, which may or may not be tied to their performance (should be). If the bonuses worked the way they should have, they would have been paid to those that did the most to keep the corporation in the black. But we don't know, do we?
There is a bit of good news in this: Corporations have learned that Government is not a good business partner. The entire affair has been more akin to an Organized Crime operation than what I expect of government. Several Corporations were forced into the "deal they could not refuse." Once in, they found themselves bullied by politicians that have a record of losing money.
But there is a winner in all of this: Warren Buffett, a major contributor to the Obama campaign. Buffett, through his corporation, Berkshire-Hathaway, is known for his market prowess. Even as Congress first began considering the CEO Bailout Bill, Buffett expressed a wish that he could get in on just 10% of it. Meanwhile, he had $50,000,000,000 sitting on the sidelines, waiting for just the right moment to jump in.
And as the financials market plummetted with the acts and talk of Congress, he found his mark. It wasn't the "toxic assets" and failing banks that Representative Frank and Representative Gordon were forcing the American taxpayer to buy. It was the best of breed, Goldman-Sachs, that had to be co-erced into the bailout that he bought into.
We don't know when exactly he bought in, but on November 3, 2008, GS was selling at $89.09/share and on November 20th at $52.00/share. As of March 23, 2009, it is selling at $111.93/share. That's a gain of 25% to 115% gain in less than 6 months on a stock still considered undervalued by the very system that Obama supporter, Warren Buffett uses.
Warren Buffett is an astute investor and one of the richest men in the world. Many people shook their heads when he so forcefully backed both Hillary and Obama last year in the campaign. Who would have thought then that the tens of thousands he personally donated would earn him literally billions of dollars? Should there be a targeted tax on his earnings? Will there be politicians riding a tide of populism to call for it? NO.
As immoral as it is to back a political candidate for personal profit, it is not illegal. Though it may be satisfying to "tax the rich," to "stick it to the man," to forcefully recover those profits through targeted taxation, it is not Constitutional. It is not legal, nor should it be.
But there is more to this story. Goldman-Sachs, which was bullied into accepting taxpayer money it didn't want, has realized that Tony Soprano would be a better business partner than the US Congress. They didn't want the money. They didn't need the money. And they are working on ways to get rid of the dirty money as quickly as they can.
Goldman-Sachs is looking around at the strings and demands being made on others. Perhaps, they will also pick up the best and brightest from AIG executives, even as they rid themselves of the strings tied to government money.
And a final note on AIG, which is now 80% owned by the US Taxpayer. It is no longer named AIG. It is paying large amounts of (taxpayer) money to change its name to AIU, though many are preferring a more appropriate name IOU, for the failing US Government owned company.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Treasury, parent of the IRS, has grown to a prominence and to power, previously unknown in this Nation.
And I cannot help but find poetic justice in Code Pink having turned on Barney Frank and other of their allies that used them in the anti-Iraq campaign.
Tennessee Taylor©2009, TNT, all rights reserved
Monday, March 23, 2009
But how often do we hear of multi-million dollar bail being imposed? And Congress has recently voted to impose a 90% tax on certain members of certain corporations, which amounts to excessive fines.
There is little outcry over excessive bail because we usually hear about it when a serial killer is being tried. We don't want him running the streets during his trial, so we aren't all that sympathetic. The answer? No Bail in such a case.
Meanwhile, fringe elements of the world try to argue that all kinds of things are "cruel and unusual punishment." Those things allowed by law in 1790 were clearly not "cruel and unusual" according to the writers of the Bill of Rights, including capital punishment, including the holding of prisoners of war.
"Cruel & Unusual" would be being "drawn and quartered" as was the practice in England. It would include being "racked." It does not mean that prisoners have a right to cable and the internet. They don't.
Tennessee Taylor©2009, TNT, all rights reserved
Saturday, March 21, 2009
When two Veterans meet, stories will follow, and yesterday, two Veterans met. The stories we shared did not stop with Desert Storm, and they barely touched on the terrain of Afghanistan. They stepped back to the Civil War, when our ancestors and relatives likely stood face to face in battle and shoulder to shoulder against brothers, fighting the bloodiest war in Our Nation’s History. Our lives have paralleled as have the lives of our ancestors.
And General Dave Evans is an astute gentleman, and clearly a worthy adversary. He’s an observant man who recognizes not only the symbols but knows the meanings behind them.
We share not only similar backgrounds, but similar positions. He holds the Constitution and Bill of Rights dear. And why wouldn’t he? We’ve spent much of our adult lives defending them.
He understands the Pelosi-Reid-Obama alliance cannot withstand opposition of the real Democratic party of Jackson. He understands that our current whipped “Blue Dogs” are supporting Pelosi and Murtha and Barney Frank and that without that support, the elitists would fail.
Our parents were Democrats. Our fore-fathers were Democrats. But today’s DNC is not the party of our forefathers. It is not the party of our fathers.
We both stand on principle. It comes not only from our ancestral roots of Middle Tennessee but from Army Values. He is as concerned with Congressional largesse of Congress as am I, even if he has focused more pointedly at different aspects of it.
But there are also differences. Minor differences, really, but they are there. He was a Voluntarily Enlisted Private in the Marine Corps in 1968, during the hot period of the Viet Nam War. I was a Voluntarily Enlisted Private in the Army in the Cold War. I arrived in Germany at a time when we were still considered the “trip-wire,” there only to slow the Soviet hordes long enough for reinforcements to arrive and push them back over our bodies.
He chose the path of a Commissioned Officer (and a Gentleman, by an act of Congress), and I maintained the path of a Non-Commissioned Officer. (“I work for a living!”). He has more respect for General Shinseki than do I. (I have none, nor must I demonstrate any, anymore.) After Desert Storm, he went to Bosnia. I trained until I was sent to Afghanistan, grateful not to be sent to Bosnia.
He has a good 20 years on me, which still makes me more experienced than when Gore gave the district to Gordon. Both General Evans and I have more in common with Andrew Jackson than does Gore or Gordon, but Jackson and Evans were both Generals and I avoided the Officer rolls.
I’m thinking he was appalled to realize that Tennessee Tax Dollars are being used by Planned Parenthood to fund abortion. I doubt he knew that Bart Gordon had voted for it. Then again, I didn’t know that our Representative had taken a trip to Europe on our dime.
I’d venture to say I’m more internet savvy than is he. I have little doubt he is more politically astute than am I. It is amazing we haven’t crossed paths before. We’re certain to cross paths many times in the future. I know I’ll need to be well prepared for the debates, particularly if his attention is not diverted by Gordon’s presence. I’ll be sure to invite lots of cameras. Bart always seems to be where the cameras are.
In the meantime, the choice between General Evans and myself is likely to rest on personality, on style, rather than substance. When I face Bart Gordon, it will be all substance. It is a choice for the good citizens of Middle Tennessee to make. It is time for YOU to weigh in. And you can tell us now, that you know, or you can tell us that you need to see more of us.
But one thing is certain, neither Dave Evans nor myself are career politicians. Neither Evans or myself will continue the 6th District vote for Obama. Neither Evans nor myself will give Pelosi the free rubberstamp that does Gordon.
This is not an endorsement of Evans, but it is recognition of our Common Goals. It is recognition that he is a worthy opponent, a gentleman with Tennessee Values, rather than the panderer to Washington Insiders that we have now.
I’m a bit more rough around the edges. I did take off the John Deere hat before I met him and his wonderful wife and I dressed up in a polo shirt while he dressed down in suit jacket.
He has a party behind him, and I do not.You can contact me TNTaylorFor-TN6th2010 @ yahoo.comLet me know your thoughts. Are we ready to send Common Sense to Washington? Are we ready to ask Rep Gordon to enjoy retirement? What are the issues you want addressed?TNTaylor©2008, TNT, all rights reserved.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
It is calling for "Idea based resistance" to the drastic changes occuring in the new federal government. On April 15th, they will hold events in Nashville, Knoxville, and Cookeville as well as many other locations across the Nation.
A challenger to Bart Gordon for the Representative of the 6th District seat has joined the Tennessee chapter of the organization, as of last night. David L. Evans is a Citizen-Soldier from Wartrace, TN and has declared his 2010 campaign for Congress.
We welcome Mr Evans to the debate and look forward to exploring the positions with him.
We hope that the organization will not be mischaracterized but recognize the name alone is sufficient for the media to do so. The following statement is important and is found below the profiles of the leadership of the organization:
"I affirm that ResistNet is for principled, patriotic resistance to Barack
Obama's ideology and agenda and is not a forum for personal attacks, lewd or
profane language, or militancy against Barack Obama or others. " TN Resistnet Phil Dedrick
Welcome to the debate Mr. Evans.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
But not only does this provide for the right of the accused to be tried by a jury, it also sets "common law" as the precedence. And that is the reason why lawyers argue about cases of old, where a ruling was made in the favor of their argument.
"In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. "
"Common Law" simply means that if a court has previously found that owning a firearm is your right, then your judge must find the same in your case.
Will the Blue Dog Democrats finally bite the hand that whips them? Will Representative Gordon finally demonstrate some backbone against the Chicago Political Machine?
"There are no tax increases this year." Obama Adminstration, Larry Summers, CNBC 3/17/2009
I guess he thinks people won't notice that the Government increased the Cigarette Tax by $8.00 a carton.
I guess he wasn't listening when Charles Schumer threatened to take by force the Bonuses of AIG, if they didn't give it back willingly, due to threat of force. Frankly, it sounds the same as a common thug, mugging someone downtown Washington DC. "Give it to me, or I'll take it."
Clarity again: It's morally wrong for those executives to take the bonuses. It's contractually obligated they be given those bonuses. It's not in the least bit illegal for them to keep them.
It's not constitutional for Congress to have forced the Taxpayer to buy AIG. It is reprehensible that they did not read their own legalese before they forced us into that $700 Billion in debt (+interest).
Schumer, Obama, Gordon, Cooper, Cohen all voted for the $700 Billion CEO Bailout bill, the same one they're now complaining about.
Tennessee Taylor©2009, TNT, all rights reserved
Monday, March 16, 2009
Our Congressman, along with every other member of his party from this state, short of Lincoln Davis, plus the Representative from Chattanooga voted for the CEO Bailout Bill. Marsha Blackburn led the minority party of our state, minus Zach Wamp in opposition to the CEO Bailout Bill, championed by then Senator Obama and supported by his opposition to the Presidency.
They tried to sell it to us as an "emergency" requiring "immediate action." They didn't have time to read the 700+/- pages of legalese and we have to wonder who had time to write it. But why now are they surprised that so much is being spent in Executive Bonuses? Perhaps because they didn't read what they voted for? Or perhaps because they knew it benefitted their campaign paying constiuencies?
We had little choice in the election of 2008. The press didn't cover the positions of Chris Baker. There is unlikely to be much coverage of the 2010 nominees for a while.
It didn't take long for the Common Sense Citizens of Tennessee to voice opposition to the CEO Bailout Bill. I withheld opinion until I could see the bill, but it didn't take but a few sections to realize we were being sold down the river. So why, did OUR Representative vote for it? Why was it that he bucked the views of the people of our district and why did he not realize it did not stop the largesse of CEO's and Executives?
Does he believe we have such short memories? Does he believe he can gloss over his support of the CEO Bailout Bill, the UAW Bailout Bill, and the Debt Stimulus Bill? Does he think that we will forget that he has voted FOR quadrupling the deficit in less than 12 months?
But let's be clear: It's not illegal for the executives to take the bonuses promised them. It is immoral for them to take the bonuses. It is not illegal for them to enjoy lavish retreats while contributing to the political campaigns of those voting for their bailouts. It is immoral.
It is not illegal to vote for earmarks, all 9,000 of them but it is irresponsible to do so. It is time to send a Common Sense Citizen to Congress. It is time to send a nice guy to pasture. It is time for Our Representative to Endorse a true representative of the People of Middle Tennessee. It is time for the follower of Gore to be replaced with a follower of Andrew Jackson. It is time for us to realize that the whipped Blue Dogs are not the Democrats of our forefathers.
Tennessee Taylor©2009, TNT, all rights reserved
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Some things are within the scope of an individual's responsibility and other things are not. A person who takes out a 105% loan (as Obama proposes to offer through the US Government) should be astute enough to know that they can't sell that house for the amount they owe on it.
A person with an income of $36,000/year should know that they cannot pay back a loan with a monthly payment of $3,000/month.
A CEO has the job of ensuring a corporation does what it can to make money. Sometimes, conditions outside his control, like an economic downturn or Congressional interference in those policies, will negatively impact his ability to do so. Other times, it is purely on his head that the corporation does not make money for its investors.
But, when one has failed to live up to their financial obligations and responsibilities, the last place that they should go to for advice is someone with a worse record on financial responsibility. When Citibank (and others) lost money in the short term, Congress's record of 200 years of financial irresponsibility at the very time they are accelerating gross irresponsibility is the wrong place to look for advice.
Sure, it sounds nice to hear that we will soon get "free health care" but nothing is free. The Government is one of the least efficient organizations in the Nation. Congress mismanages nearly everything they touch.
CEO's should not be getting multi-million dollar bonuses for loosing money, but Congress should not be the one to change that: Shareholders should be. When Congress becomes the board of Corporations, we will see greater mismanagement, not less.
And we already see the first nationalization of a bank, in earnest: Citibank is now up to 36% government owned. In fact, just two years ago, it would have taken half of the CEO Bailout bill to buy Citibank alone, but now, the $700 Billion CEO Bailout Bill could purchase more than 75 CitiBanks, outright.
We must send a Common Sense Citizen to Congress.
The accumulated National Debt through 2008 was $10.2 Trillion, reflecting more than 200 years of deficit spending. The original 2009 budget called for a record deficit of $407 Billion deficit. Obama is pushing it another $1.75 Trillion higher in 2009 and that's based on tax revenues expected from pre-recession 2008. Before he begins passing supplemental spending bills and with the expectation of 2008 tax revenues (which are shrinking with our paychecks), he has asked for another $1.25 Trillion of deficit in 2010.
In just his first 3 months, Obama will have increased our national debt by 30% of what it took us 200+ years to accumulate.
The Whipped Blue Dogs continue to rubberstamp every whim of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Obama. The Whipped Blue Dogs continue to obey their masters from California, Washington, and New York. The Whipped Blue Dogs continue to ignore their electorate in favor of their CEO Constituents.
The Budget Request must be voted down. We simply cannot afford it. We must set priorities. And the priorities of this budget are simply backwards.
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton goes to the Middle East to announce a $900 Million giveaway to Gaza, i.e. Hamas, Obama was announcing that Our Troops will not get the pay raise they are scheduled to get. Why are we giving money to terrorists while cutting the pay raises of our Troops? Why is our Representative on board with that?
But the Budget Obama has proposed does not simply increase the deficit in 2010, it adds more deficit to this years. Obama has complained that he inherited the deficit, but the fact is he voted for it. He threw his weight behind the $700 Billion CEO Bailout, which was 100% deficit spending. He threw his weight behind the $17 Billion UAW Bailout which resulted in the Big 3 not purchasing parts from Tennessee suppliers. He forced down our throats the $800+ Billion Debt Stimulus Package. He did this with the full support of our Congressman.
As a result, he is now asking for more deficit spending. He has asked for a deficit of $1.75 Trillion in 2009. He didn't inherit it. He voted for it. He forced it on us. And Representative Gordon has voted for every thing he was told to vote for by Corrupt Chicago Politicians and the Far Left California Speaker of the House. My "hope" that Rep Gordon would lead against the radical left wing of his party has been dashed.
The "change" is that the Blue Dogs have been whipped into line.
We are at War, whether Americans feel it or not, whether Obama and Congress acknowledge it or not. This is not the time to be cutting the defense budget. This is not the time to be giving money to Hamas while cutting the raises of Our Troops.
We are in an economic downturn and every American feels it. This is not the time to be frivolously spending money we don't have. This is not the time to be increasing taxes on employers and decreasing the incentive for the rich to give to charities. This is not the time to be cutting Medicare benefits, earned by our retirees to fund Nationalized Health Insurance. And these are the things that Obama has proposed and Congressman Gordon is on board with.
Obama has claimed he will cut the deficit in half. The 2008 budget deficit was the previous record of $455 Billion. Obama predicts (based on 3.2% growth next year and 4% growth thereafter which we have no indication will come) a $581 Billion dollar deficit in 2012. That would be a record deficit, if it weren't for the fact that he and Congressman Gordon were implementing quarterly deficits in 2009 and 2010 that supercede the record annual deficits of all years prior.
In fact, if Obama's rosy outlook of growth occurs, despite no indications it will, he will have increased the National Debt by more than 50% in just his first term, with the Blue Dog's Support.
Meanwhile, he has also laid out his plan for Iraq, a 36 month withdrawal. See War On Terror News for the details. Troop Levels in Iraq will remain pretty steady into 2010 with 35,000 to 50,000 Troops, falsely labeled "non-combat" into 2011, but his budget calls for only $50 Billion to support those Troops in 2011 compared to $130 Billion in 2010. And that money is for both Iraq and Afghanistan Operations. Surely, Our Congressman, with his two years of Reserve Service understands that Our Troops deserve more support while they defend Our Nation against Terrorists.
Tennessee Taylor©2009, TNT, all rights reserved