Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dave Camp's Tax Plan

Just saw an article from NYT’s Stephan Ohlemacher about Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s tax overhaul plan and to my eye it has a lot to recommend itself. As Ohlemacher says;
“In theory, the unhappiness at both ends of the political spectrum could mean that Camp has hit all the right notes..”
-I always figure that if you have both sides pissed-off you’re getting somewhere. Being a Republican plan, of course, it starts with tax cuts. Seven tax brackets become two, with a 10% levy on incomes starting at twenty-some thousand, somewhere becoming 25%, and then add a surcharge on incomes over $425,000 (or $450,000 for married households.) The corporate tax rate would fall from 35% to 25%. So where does the money then come from? Sacred cows.
“Taxes paid to state and local governments would no longer be deductible.” -That’s scary to folks in high-tax states, but sounds good to me in Texas, with no state income tax to deduct.
“The earned income credit for low-wage workers would be converted to a more limited deduction on payroll taxes.”
-Well, the EITC, a popular program since the 1970s, is designed to help low-wage workers get by. A payroll tax cut could do the same. There is the question of this being corporate welfare for low-paying employers like WalMart, the biggest welfare queen ever.
“Deductions of mortgage interest in the future would be capped at $500,000 of debt, half the current cap.”
-There is also to be, I believe, no more mortgage interest deduction for second homes. Real estate professionals will be screaming bloody murder about this, and there probably ought to be some relief for poor devils of modest means living in high-dollar housing markets, but this has largely been a deduction for the well-heeled. I don’t want to help pay for somebody else’s McMansion.
“Under the Camp plan, private equity and hedge fund managers would be prevented from classifying much of their income as lower-taxed capital gains for tax purposes, closing what Democrats have criticized as the "carried interest loophole."
-Be still my heart! This is the provision that gave Mitt Romney a tax rate lower than mine.
“Camp even embraced an idea that has taken hold in the most progressive parts of the Democratic Party, a tax on transactions by the biggest banks.”
- I love this idea. The ‘economic sector’ has been growing larger in recent decades through a frenzy of mergers and acquisitions, plus such innovations as “outsourcing,” “offshoring” and “dead peasant policies.” A modest transaction tax could raise boatloads of money while acting as a break on such plagues as automated trading and churning of accounts. I can’t believe I’m seeing it in a GOP proposal.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"U.S. Government to Release New Dollar Coins" "Since the 1950's, "In God We Trust" has been our National Motto, and has been inscribed on the front of all coins and the back of all paper currency. This new coin came out this month. The U.S. Mint hopes the redesigned $1 coin will win acceptance with consumers. It does not have "In God We Trust" on it. Here's another way of phasing God out of America. You guessed it 'IN GOD WE TRUST' IS GONE!!! "Who originally put 'In God We Trust' onto our currency? My bet is that it was one of the Presidents on these coins.All our U.S. Government has done is Dishonor them, and disgust me!!! If ever there was a reason to boycott something, THIS IS IT!!!! DO NOT ACCEPT THE NEW DOLLAR COINS AS CHANGE Together we can force them out of circulation. Read more at" -Dear Flanders, I find it funny when people send these things with links to snopes or some other site that actually debunks the message sent. This is one of those. If you read the links you’ll see that the motto is inscribed on the edge of the coins. Is that not good enough? I imagine it will still provoke litigation from some atheist attorney somewhere. Snopes does note that the motto was added to currency in the 1950’s. This period of our history is also known as the “red scare,” not one of our best times in many ways. I guess the idea was that the motto would gird us against Godless communism. I’m grateful that God didn’t let us incinerate ourselves in this cause. I’m sure you’re familiar with the gospel story about coins with Caesar’s picture on them. Re-reading Matthew 20: 21, I have to wonder if we’re making a mistake putting “God” on our currency, as many of us seem to worship money itself. -Charly Hoarse

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chupacabra Report

I can tell that newspaper circulation is down in Houston when I go to the Tel-Wink diner for breakfast and there are no copies loose on the counter to read.

But I am still a subscriber. I get news from the comic section and great comedy from the news. It’s such fun to look at the front page headlines and see that Steve Stockman, my useless congressman, is in hot water again, or that his opponent in the GOP primary for the US Senate, incumbent John Cornyn, is polling less than 50% against a field of unknown wackos.

This week I’ve been delighted to see that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has drawn criticism for including Ted Nugent in campaign events. Abbott probably thought nothing of it, as Governor Rick Perry often shared the stage with Nugent. ‘Ted the Head’ would shred the national anthem, call Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi bitches and offer to let them “suck on my machine gun.” Congressman Stockman took Nugent as a guest to President Obama’s State of the Union Address. But this week it was front page news when Abbott did it. Good.

Chronicle columnist Bill King weighed in today on the Outlook page:

“Abbott may have made just the fatal mistake we did not expect. For reasons beyond comprehension, Abbott decided to campaign with rock star-turned-political wacko, Ted Nugent.

“Nugent, a Detroit guitarist, became famous in the 1970s and reinvented himself as a far - and I do mean far - right-wing activist in the 1990s. He is legendary for outlandish comments and behavior.

“He has admitted that he frequently slept with under-age girls while on tour, a felony in Texas. Although he frequently invokes fallen American military servicemen in his political rants, he also admitted to an elaborate scheme to dodge the draft and the Vietnam War.”

“According to him, President Obama is a "subhuman mongrel" and a "piece of s---." He referred to Hillary Clinton as a "bitch" and worse. He has said he would shoot those crossing the border illegally, that it might have been better if the South won the Civil War, that feminists are "fat pigs" and he sees nothing wrong with using the N-word.

“After their appearance this week, Abbott meekly denied knowing about some of Nugent's more outrageous comments and attempted to parse his association with Nugent based only on his support of the Second Amendment.

“But that is simply not going to wash. The media have exploded with stories about the joint appearance, and each one has chronicled some of Nugent's most despicable comments or positions. Now Abbott is stained with Nugent and has provided Davis with material for powerful negative campaign ads.”

“I have heard from a number of women, who, although they are lifelong Republicans, intend to quietly go into the polling booth and vote for Davis. I suspect quite a few more will do so after hearing about Abbott's appearance with Nugent.”

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chupacabra Report

Maybe not a key economic indicator, but the San Antonio Express News reports that unemployment is down among goats.

VICTORIA — Goats soon could dot the Texas landscape as fire prevention experts try new ways to tamp down highly flammable brush, a key component in the outbreak and spread of wildfires.

City officials in Victoria started an experiment this week to see if four-legged barnyard animals could beat two-legged landscapers in clearing the city's Riverside Park.”

“The 25 to 30 Boer-Spanish goats, which started work Monday, are up by 5 a.m. and loaded into a truck at 6 a.m. By 7 a.m., they are hard at work munching their way through sometimes poisonous scrub that has closed off portions of Riverside Park for the past decade.”

“The city is paying $1,200 a week for the goats to dine on the park's brush.”

-Hmmm, $1200 divided by 28 goats by forty hours, that makes goat wages just over a dollar an hour. Probably more than I get committing music, but then, maybe goats can sight-read. I have long schemed to rent out goats as lawnmowers, but had no clue how to stop them from eating gardens, shrubs and satellite dishes. I’ll be keen to hear how this experiment pans out.