Ban the Guns, and Gays, and Asprin

Speaking from memory, and using the words of some of my friends on the left, in the past couple of years, a half dozen guns have killed nearly 70 people. Of course, I would never claim a gun killed anyone, the person using the gun is the killer, but, I will use their words for this article.

Because of all of these guns killing all of these people, there is now a cry for “reasonable gun restrictions.” Of course, one man’s reasonable is another man’s extreme. CNN is reporting 52% of Americans are wanting some type of gun control laws passed. Some of the ideas being tossed around from Congressional leaders, media, social networks, etc., a ban on assault weapons (still no one has defined that to me), limiting the number of bullets a gun can hold at one time. Mental health background checks on gun owners. One Govenor even vetoed a concealed carry bill after it was passed by the legislature pre-Sandy Hook, but to his desk post.

So, if the “correct” thing to do after these guns have killed so many people, is to remove the killer (the gun) where else do we apply this logic in our lives?

What if a group of people went on a killing spree with chinese throwing stars, would we demand they be banned? (I bet we would) If someone started using dry Ice and screws as bombs, would we limit the sale of Dry Ice? (I bet we would)

That is my problem. We over react in these situations. We act as if only some different law were in place, the tragedy we just experienced would be prevented. We banned guns on airplanes to prevent hijackings, we still have hijackings. We banned drunk driving, we still have drunk drivers. We banned hate crimes, we still have people being hated.

No law, no regulation, no government action will stop the sick people from committing sick acts.

In an off handed comment the other day, a friend of mine stated she was glad she lived in Japan where she was 99.9% sure her kids would not be killed at school. I think we would all love such an assurance. However, I ran the actual numbers. Taking the number of school shootings in the past decade or two, divided into the number public, non-college, schools in the US (about 95,000), the chance of your child being in one of those schools is about .00000048. In other words, you are 99.9999952% sure your school will not be the site of a school shooting. If you take the number of students into the number shooting deaths, the number becomes even smaller (my calculator does not have enough decimal places for that number!)

So, using this accurate, and obscene number as our benchmark. Ask yourself. would you want Congress to start limiting everything in your life that has a .00000048% chance of exposing you to danger? (remember, the chance of actually being harmed is MUCH smaller) Below is a VERY SMALL list of things you will be demanding the government to regulate more than it already does:

Cars

asprin

pools

bathtubs

husbands

gay people

pot

pots

doctors

most any prescription medication

black people

white people

police

fire fighters

tow truck drivers

prisoners

Obviously this is somewhat toungue and cheek, but the point is solid. We are about to engage in a nationwide debate about curtailing something that has saved more lives than can EVER be measured because of an event that, as tragic as it was, is so small in it’s probability, if it was a game in Vegas, it would not be approved because of how impossible it would be to win. If this percentage was multiplied by 10,000, it would still get FDA approval as a new drug as it would be considered safe with that few deaths as a side effect.

The first response when I point out the math of this is always, “Well, dumbass Jeremy, you would not be saying this if it was your daughter.” Well, in a way, you are correct. If I was THAT emotionally connected to a particluar debate, I would most likely abstain from it. But, if I did engage in it, I would use the same path of logic, and come to the same conclusion.

I remember I had an idiot college professor in my “Sensitivity” class. She was a freak that believed the government wanted to kill the black people. She cited a program where the government paid for IUD’s for women in poor (read black) neighborhoods. She said the government lied to these women because the paperwork told these women the chances of death or serious permanent fertility problems from having this device was about 2%. She stated the real percentage was 50%. The class sat silent, mostly because we all knew she was an idiot, but I asked the question, “50%? What data supported this percentage and how did the government get away with such a lie?” Her reply was simple, and could not be given a rebuttal. “You either get injured from the device or you don’t, one outcome out of a possible two, thus, 50%”

I know few people are as dumb as her, but, instictevly, we seem to think in those terms. We see tragedies like these and we quickly thank God it was not our child. We pray for the families suffering the unbearable loss. We see two outcomes, life, and death. We cannot see, without deep thought and consideration, there were 94,999 other schools in America that day where a shooting did not occur. We cannot understand, on the same day as that tragedy, more innocent people died while innocently driving to school or work that day. We forget, though no news outlet knew of, much less reported, more lives were saved that day by the presense of guns than those that were taken by the guns.

We want to do something. Our inner goodness makes us think, if we don’t do SOMETHING, the next time such a thing happens, it happened because we did nothing. A popular “feel good” solution is to put armed guards, possibly military, at every school in America. I ran those numbers and to do would cost us about 7.6 billion dollars a year. Assuming we had that kind of money, people will quickly say, “spend it!” But again, the professional policy maker, the one responsible for actually voting to allocate that resource, the money, must consider the options. Forgetting the role of government for a moment, spending 7.6 billion dollars on armed guards at schools, if 100% effective, would maybe have saved 100 lives in the past 10 years? That means spending 76 Billion dollars to save 100 lives. “But Jeremy, you cannot put a price tag on lives, especially on our children!” Sadly, yes, I can. However, I do not need to do so to make my point. If it is about saving lives, imagine how many MORE lives could be saved in 10 years with 76 Billion dollars if the money was spent on food programs for the poor, health insurance, doctor check ups for the orphans. For the same 76 billion dollars, we could save 1000’s, if not 10’s of thousands of lives. But some want to use it to save 100? Again, it is because those 100 are thrown in our face on the news, in an instant, in a tragedy.

Life is hard. Self governing is harder. Tough choices must be made in the coming months. If you are serious about saving lives, about protecting our children, I only ask you to do one thing. Run the numbers, choose the option that will save the most lives. I predict, that solution will be, choose to allow trained staff to carry their personal firearms at schools. No option cost less money, has been proven to save more lives, and can be implemented faster. You may be opposed to all guns, so don’t use one. But, if your goal is save lives, you really only have one legitimate choice.

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My First Golf Game

Every once in a while, as in, this is the first time, I like to write a lighthearted entry. I hope you enjoy. If not, I hope you were able to waste enough time to put off doing what you really should be doing right now.

I did not ever go golfing, for real, until well into my adult life. I had been to driving ranges many times. I even went with my then soon to be father in law and a couple of guys right before my marriage, but I just rode in the cart and drank beer.

My friend Joel, the husband of a co-worker when I lived in Birmingham was a novice golfer, though compared to me, he was Tiger Woods. Somehow or another we either invited ourselves or got invited, or were the result of a lost bet of some guys and arranged a foursome at a course on Super Bowl Sunday.

Since I was not a golfer by any stretch of the imagination, that meant, like most men do, I must quickly compensate somehow. So, the night before my golf debut, I went to the local sporting goods store to buy a set of clubs. Of course, I also bought a couple dozen balls, the gloves, a windbreaker, a visor, maybe even some golf shoes.

The big day arrives. Joel and I arrive at the golf club. Obviously, being the pretend expert I was, we promptly parked in a golf cart parking space. I went into the clubhouse, where, shockingly, they had a pro shop. A PRO SHOP! Why would I be wearing this store bought crap when I could be wearing PRO SHOP level gear?! I quickly bought a new windbreaker, new visor, but kept whatever shoes I currently was wearing.

After I changed, and drank what I thought was the required amount of vodka before teeing off and we went to our golf carts. Imagine my surprise to discover my car being stared at by several course employees wondering what idiot parked there. I made my way to them as calmly as I could and told them I would help look for the idiot while I was on the course.

One minor note. Driving a golf cart while drinking is about as hard as driving a car while drinking. The only real advantage, in the golf cart, you are not always worried about a cop pulling you over for “weaving.”

So we get to Tee 1. Of course, there was no way in hell I was going to tee off first, so I fiddled around tying my shoe, pouring more vodka, counting the geese, loading my gun, or whatever else I could do until it was decided the order of play, I was fourth.

While the first two, obvious actual golfers, were taking their first shot, I noticed Joel was taking practice swings. Of course, that is what I should be doing also! So I got out the club that looked closest to the ones everyone else was using. Now, it must be noted, I have NEVER actually been golfing. BUT, I had been to the range, many times. In fact, my drive was really not that bad. But, I was overly nervous and for the life of me, I could not get a good practice swing in.

Nothing seemed right. The club seemed “off.” I double checked the others, they were approaching their ball just like I always did on the range. They seemed to be holding the club the same way as I always did. Then I thought of something. More than one club looked like the ones they were using, so I grabbed a different one from my $99.99 set bought less than 14 hours prior. Still odd. Still wrong.

By this time Joel was putting his ball on his tee. (Damn it, I knew I forgot something) My time was running out. I better figure out what the heck is wrong, in a few short seconds Joel would be swinging and oddly, everyone would be expecting me to do something similar to what all three of them did as easily as I poured vodka.

Joel hit a perfect drive straight down the middle, a shot Tiger himself would have been proud. Or maybe he hooked it back to the clubhouse, I have no recollection because the moment he went into his back swing was the exact moment I solved my problem. I bought left handed clubs. (I am NOT left handed)

Now, I do not recall if I ever told anyone this was my first attempt at a real golf game. I do know I LOOKED like I have been many times, or maybe I just looked like a catalog model reject, but I had ‘the stuff” for the game. Everything except clubs. (I found some used tees around the tee box, so no one knew I forgot to buy those) Joel was kind enough to let me borrow his clubs for the round. I think I said I must have had some shift in handedness or something.

After that, we had a pretty good round. It was my first time, so my score was a respectable 103 or something. But, we decided nine holes was enough and we never went to the back nine and instead, sat in the clubhouse while the other two guys made bets on the length of the national anthem to be sung at the game, and I waited for a shift change so I could get my car out of the illegal spot.

I never returned to that course, but, Joel and I did have many great golf adventures. A good commentary of our adventures; many drivers of roads near courses, and cows, are glad to know I no longer live in them there parts.

1776 vs. 2012 Part 2

1776 vs. 2012 Part 2

Hopefully you read part one, if not, please go here 1776 vs. 2012 Part 1. To recap, I am simply comparing the government’s role in our everyday life during the time of the revolution against the Crown and the role our government has today. We are going through the listed grievances in the Declaration of Independence.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

The reader must remember, we are comparing the Crown to our current federal government. While technology surely gives an obvious advantage causing some to think this point moot, the fact it, it is not. To compare this provision, we must see what the founders did to solve the problem. They, in part, created the House of Representatives. A legislative body close to the people and able to replaced every two years. The number of Representatives at that time “shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each state shall have at least one.” If we stuck to that formula today, our House of Representatives would be about 10,400 instead of the 435. It would be very easy to have constant and real contact with your representative. It would also make it much easier for a third, fourth, maybe even a fifth party to be established. This writing is mainly focused on principle, not policy, one of the few diversion I will make is here. Having 10,000 representatives may be overkill. I would be happy to scale that down a bit and maybe make the formula to be based only on those over the age of voting (currently 18), maybe even only actual citizens. (Did you know, the original Constitution did not specify “citizens” for the purposes of determining Representatives. The exact words were “Free persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years” and then excluded Indians who were not taxed and then 3/5th of all other people. – the oft mis-quoted saying our founders considered slaves only 3/5ths a person.)

Back to the point. At the time, the problem was the Crown made it very difficult for the bodies to physically meet to discuss the issues. While that is not a problem today, we can meet anytime and with technology, most any place is near “the depository of their public records.” What is similar today, our Representatives simply represent too many people. No matter how hard they tried, they simply cannot do an adequate job of understanding the concerns of the people they represent. They can only comprehend the “high level” of public sentiment. They know if their district is “against” this bill or “for” that bill. But, they do not get the advantage of talking with them and getting new ideas. I will grant, part of this problem lies at the feet of the people, too lazy to even register to vote, too lazy to follow what goes on in DC, but, in the end, we should demand a more accessible House, even if that accessibility is not used to full capacity.

He has dissolved Representative House repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

We certainly do not fear being invaded because of any dissolution of Congress. One small aspect similar to that time is the current practice of “recess appointments.” The original intent of these was to ensure a cabinet member could be appointed when Congress was out of session in case of death or other incapacitation. Now, it is used by our Presidents to appoint people who they know would not be confirmed by our Senate. If stretched enough, the Presidential use of “Czars” could be included in this.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

I almost glossed over this one. We all know DC cannot become a state, but, we have several other territories wanting to become states. Unfortunately, the skeptic in me thinks the main reason is for the welfare they will then be entitled. However, this section is also about immigration. While, at that time, the issue was not enough, we now have a problem of too many. Or at least too many illegal’s or “undocumented” or whatever other PC term one wishes to use. In either case, then or now, the solution is the same, the government should get off the can and pass/enforce real legislation to fix the problem.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

This is one few people realize is such a problem. There are many federal judge positions vacant because the Senate refuses to take up their nomination. In the actual time of now, the problem is not that big since both the Senate and the President are of the same party. However, for years now, it has been common practice for the Senate of the opposing party of the President to filibuster a judicial nomination. While neither party is immune from this, the most recent tryst was the Democratic Senate refusing to consider dozens of judges nominated by the Republican President George W. Bush. This is certainly an area of checks and balances, but we, as citizens should demand the Senate at least vote on the Presidential appointments rather than not even bringing the name to floor for a vote. Furthermore, we should demand no stupid filibuster to deny a vote once on the floor. A long debate may be warranted for the lifelong appointment, but at least have that debate. The second one above is not a “problem” today. A President cannot fire a judge or determine his salary.

Part three will be coming tomorrow, again, thanks for reading, and go out and blow colorful stuff up in the air as John Adams envisioned when he said of the signing of the Declaration of Independence,

“…it ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

1776 vs 2012 Part 2

1776 vs. 2012 Part 2

 

Hopefully you read part one, if not, please go here https://jeremy2010.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/1776-vs-2012-part-1/.  To recap, I am simply comparing the government’s role in our everyday life during the time of the revolution against the Crown and the role our government has today.  We are going through the listed grievances in the Declaration of Independence.

 

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

The reader must remember, we are comparing the Crown to our current federal government.  While technology surely gives an obvious advantage causing some to think this point moot, the fact it, it is not. To compare this provision, we must see what the founders did to solve the problem.  They, in part, created the House of Representatives.  A legislative body close to the people and able to replaced every two years.  The number of Representatives at that time “shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each state shall have at least one.”  If we stuck to that formula today, our House of Representatives would be about 10,400 instead of the 435.  It would be very easy to have constant and real contact with your representative.  It would also make it much easier for a third, fourth, maybe even a fifth party to be established.  This writing is mainly focused on principle, not policy, one of the few diversion I will make is here.  Having 10,000 representatives may be overkill.  I would be happy to scale that down a bit and maybe make the formula to be based only on those over the age of voting (currently 18), maybe even only actual citizens.  (Did you know, the original Constitution did not specify “citizens” for the purposes of determining Representatives.  The exact words were “Free persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years” and then excluded Indians who were not taxed and then 3/5th of all other people. – the oft mis-quoted saying our founders considered slaves only 3/5ths a person.)

Back to the point.  At the time, the problem was the Crown made it very difficult for the bodies to physically meet to discuss the issues.  While that is not a problem today, we can meet anytime and with technology, most any place is near “the depository of their public records.” What is similar today, our Representatives simply represent too many people.  No matter how hard they tried, they simply cannot do an adequate job of understanding the concerns of the people they represent.  They can only comprehend the “high level” of public sentiment.  They know if their district is “against” this bill or “for” that bill.  But, they do not get the advantage of talking with them and getting new ideas.  I will grant, part of this problem lies at the feet of the people, too lazy to even register to vote, too lazy to follow what goes on in DC, but, in the end, we should demand a more accessible House, even if that accessibility is not used to full capacity.

 

He has dissolved Representative House repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

 

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

 

We certainly do not fear being invaded because of any dissolution of Congress.  One small aspect similar to that time is the current practice of “recess appointments.”  The original intent of these was to ensure a cabinet member could be appointed when Congress was out of session in case of death or other incapacitation.  Now, it is used by our Presidents to appoint people who they know would not be confirmed by our Senate.  If stretched enough, the Presidential use of “Czars” could be included in this.

 

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

 

I almost glossed over this one.  We all know DC cannot become a state, but, we have several other territories wanting to become states.  Unfortunately, the skeptic in me thinks the main reason is for the welfare they will then be entitled.  However, this section is also about immigration.  While, at that time, the issue was not enough, we now have a problem of too many.  Or at least too many illegal’s or “undocumented” or whatever other PC term one wishes to use.  In either case, then or now, the solution is the same, the government should get off the can and pass/enforce real legislation to fix the problem.

 

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

 

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

 

 

This is one few people realize is such a problem.  There are many federal judge positions vacant because the Senate refuses to take up their nomination.  In the actual time of now, the problem is not that big since both the Senate and the President are of the same party.  However, for years now, it has been common practice for the Senate of the opposing party of the President to filibuster a judicial nomination.  While neither party is immune from this, the most recent tryst was the Democratic Senate refusing to consider dozens of judges nominated by the Republican President George W. Bush.  This is certainly an area of checks and balances, but we, as citizens should demand the Senate at least vote on the Presidential appointments rather than not even bringing the name to floor for a vote.  Furthermore, we should demand no stupid filibuster to deny a vote once on the floor.  A long debate may be warranted for the lifelong appointment, but at least have that debate.  The second one above is not a “problem” today.  A President cannot fire a judge or determine his salary.

 

Part three will be coming tomorrow, again, thanks for reading, and go out and blow colorful stuff up in the air as John Adams envisioned when he said of the signing of the Declaration of Independence,

 

“…it ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

1776 vs. 2012 Part 1

I am going to write a series of comparisons of the time a people decided to form their own government back in 1776 compared to the issues we face today in 2012.  Lest I be accused of trying to start another revolution to overthrow our government, let me be clear, we still have the ability to correct our situation at the ballot box.  But, I do caution, I do fear that will soon be lost.

 

Part 1

 

We all know the Declaration of Independence was drafted, written, and signed to declare the birth of a new nation.  At the time, the colonies operated much like their own country, being so far from the Crown of England, yet, still had to abide by rulings and such from the Crown.  I equate it to a 20 year old living at his parents’ house.  Sure, he is cable of being on his own, but, so long as he lives under their roof, they still maintain some level of  “the final word” on what he can and cannot do.

 

The Declaration was written and outlined for the world to see the specific reasons why the States of America should be, and from that point would be, their own free independent country.  I am going to list all of those listed grievances and compare them to today.  Not all compare of course, but, the astute reader will be amazed how much more we, as a people, have tolerated compared to the people of 1776.

 

Of course, the Declaration starts with the famous words, “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary….  We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…”  We all know this.  Most all of us had to memorize this at some point of our government indoctrination education.  However, what we SHOULD have memorized are the listed reasons.  We did not memorize those, for doing so would teach us we have already long passed many of those items and realized it is time for another revolution.  Shall we?

 

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

 

We currently have enough, er, too may laws.  Compared to today, we could easily say our government refuses to remove laws.  If there is one thing our government is not shy about, it is passing laws for the “public good.”  The pendulum has certainly swung on this one.

 

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, has utterly neglected to attend to them.

 

In this case, there is no “he” there is “it” and that “it” is the Senate of the United States.  The current House, the same house frequently accused of “doing nothing” has passed dozens of bills which have yet to even be debated in the Senate.  I often say elections have consequences.  As much as I abhor the healthcare law, the simple truth is, the President said he would pass it if elected, the American people voted for him, and a House and Senate of Democrats, many of whom said the same thing.  Right or wrong, the American voters got what they wanted.  However, the same should be true for 2010 when the American people made a historic vote and replaced enough Democrats in the House to give the control to the Republican Party.  As such, THAT election has the same consequence as the one of 2008.  We should be demanding the Senate start voting on the bills passed by the House.  Let the Senators make it known exactly where they stand on those bills so the people can decide in November if we wish to keep 1/3 of those Senators.

 

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

 

I could compare this today with so many different angles, and in the conclusion of this series, I very well may reference this a time or three.  For this segment, I will focus on the first part of it.  Why do we have a Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, and a whole host of other government regulatory agencies?  In part, to absolve Congress from being held accountable for the laws and regulations put into effect by those agencies.  We, as a people, have been forced to relinquish our right of Representation in the Legislature.  When the EPA issues a regulation, there is no one we, as a people, can vote out of office and replace.  We are near helpless to these unelected government officials.  By most any definition, if these agencies were just a single person, we would label that person a tyrant.  Is living by the demands of a body of people or a single tyrant any different when the rules are the same?

 

Part 2 will be published tomorrow.  Thank you for reading, feel free to leave comments and let the debate ensue.  The only “rules” for posting, obviously, keep it clean, secondly, keep the debate related to the topics of this post.  Do not “fast forward” to other parts of the Declaration, I am going to cover the entire Declaration by the end of the series.

 

 

Buffett Tax Lie

This is my attempt to illustrate why capital gains taxes are “lower” than income taxes.  There are plenty of philosophical reasons, such as income from capital gains involves an element of risk, meaning you could lose the money you invest, therefore make nothing.  However, this writing is concerning the simple math of the foundation of it.

To be sure everyone understands capital gains as other than just a tax rich people pay, here is the Reader’s Digest version of what it is.  If you buy 10 shares of the new Facebook stock at $20, you will spend $200 on the stock.  You may decide to sell the stock the next day at $30, giving you a profit of $100.  That $100 is your capital gains.  Using a 15% capital gains tax, you will give the government $15, leaving you with $85.  Capital gains are also from the interest in your savings account, selling your house for a profit, even if you sold an antique car that increased in value from when you purchased it.  Basically, anything you sell for a higher price than what you paid results in capital gains and is subject to the capital gains tax, regardless if the sale is reported to the government or not.

Sticking with the numbers above, I have shown the $100 in income resulted in you paying $15 in taxes.  However, if you had “earned” income, income from a paycheck for $100, your tax rate might be in the 25% bracket, meaning you would pay $25 in taxes. (For this writing, I am ignoring all deductions and other credits, which are available in both instances. All income being shown is the income after the expenses and deductions that might be taken) The difference illustrated here is what is being debated by “The Buffett” rule.  Warren Buffett, like most all investors, makes most of his money from the gains in their investments.

Why is it “fair” we tax capital gains at a lower rate than “earned income.”  First, I would suggest it is not; I think both should be lower.  But, politicians, from the left, do not like that idea, they would rather raise the taxes on capital gains.

One must remember, to invest money, one must first HAVE money.  There are really only two legal ways to get money, work for it, or inherit it.  For the most part, unless it is a large estate, inheriting money is not going to allow someone to make enough in capital gains to survive.  I will show that first.

If papa Buffett dies, his estate is taxed as much as 35%.  So, if there is one million dollars in the taxable estate, the recipient will get about $650,000.  In other words, the money he was going to get, the one million dollars, already has a tax of 35% on it.  (not to mention the fact the one million is what was left after papa Buffett paid taxes already) Instead of investing with one million, he is only investing with $650,000.

When you clock in at KFC, the only direct tax (income) you pay is your particular tax rate (25% in our example).  This means, you get 75% of your money to invest, while the person who inherited his money only gets 65%.  If you earned $500 that week, you have about $375 to invest.

From this money, let’s assume you both double your money in the stock market.  You make $375, the guy who inherited his money makes $650,000.  You will both pay the same capital gains rate, 15%.  This means you now give the government $56.25 and he gives them $97,500.  Let’s add the taxes, all combined from the beginning, shall we.  You have now paid $181.25 in taxes while he has paid $447,500.  Let’s now compare rates.  Your total income, from the investment and the job, was $875, his was $1,650,000.  That makes your total tax rate 20.7%, his, the rich guy, is 27.1%.  Nearly 30% more!!!

“Well,” you might say, “that is from inheriting money, it must be different if they had earned income!” Maybe so, let’s check.  The rich owner of the KFC is given a salary resulting in a taxable income of $200,000.  He will pay about 35% in taxes on that or $70,000, leaving him $130,000.  As the employee of KFC, you are left with $10,000 taxable income in the same period.  Assuming about a 20% tax rate, you will pay $2,000 in taxes, leaving you with $8,000 to invest.  Both you and the owner invest all of your money in a stock and sell it the next day doubling your money.  You have made $8,000, he made $130,000.  Again, you both will pay the same capital gains tax rate of 15%.  You will pay $1,200, he will pay $19,500.  Using our same methodology as before, adding all the income and taxes, we will get our effective tax rate between the two.  You will have had $18,000 in total taxable income, him $330,000. You paid a grand total of $3,200, he paid a grand total of $89,500.  Your rate is then 17.7%, his is 27.1%!!  Wait!! According to Warren Buffett, Barak Obama, and other ignorant or lying people, the worker is paying a much higher rate even double that of the rich person, how can this be?  It is because everyone ignores THE INITIAL rate the rich people had to pay before they were even able to have the money to invest.  You can continue the cycle and formula; it will be years before the total tax rate of the rich person eventually gets to the point that it approaches the rate being touted by the left and other advocates of gouging the rich.  That assumes the investor never has earned income, however, as principals in their companies, they usually take a salary, at the 30%+ tax rate.

So next time you are told how the rich only pay 15% and their secretaries are paying double that, remember, there is more to the story.  The rich people are paying tax on their money more than once.  That double taxation must be considered when calculating the full rate.  However, it is easy to take a simple snapshot of a tax return, divide two numbers into each other, and claim that to be the tax rate.

The SOPA Myth

Anything that Google, Wiki, GoDaddy, and WordPress is against must be bad, right?  So it seems to be in the world of the pending SOPA legislation.  The sad part is, I have seen very few people actually speak facts regarding the “controversial” bill.  I put that in quotes because I do not understand why there is controversy?

Before I can support a bill to be passed at the federal level, I first check that the subject matter is even anything they should be doing.  In most cases, I conclude they are debating bills that they, Constitutionally, should not even be considering.  Armed with my Constitution, (something I bet only half the people in DC have in their desk drawer) I conclude for two reason the subject matter to be Constitutional.  First, Article 1 Section 8 includes, “Congress shall have the power to…promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”  the section ends with the statement they may pass laws to enforce this.  Of course, at the time of the Constitution, they had no clue about CD’s, movies and such, but of course, over time writings and discoveries became to include books, movies, music, etc.

Secondly, Congress often abuses this part, but, in this case, this is certainly interstate commerace as the web certainly sells products over state lines.

With that out of the way, we can get to the meat of the issue and the bill.  Before we do that, we must agree on a couple of fundamentals.  Sadly, these are not universal, as some people not only engage in this behavior, they see nothing wrong with it.  We must agree downloading music without paying the price set by the rights holder is wrong. (It is illegal, regardless of contrary opinions)  The same is true for movies, software, etc.

This bill is intended to put a stop to these actions.  I Google’d “SOPA bad” and had a very hard time finding many facts of the bill, just opinion saying it will not work.  Okay, so the opinion is it will not work.  If it will not work, why the opposition?  One common complaint I have heard is the bill will give the government the power to shut down sites if they contain material the government finds offensive.  Let me discredit that myth right away.  From the bill, on page 2, Sec 2. “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to impose a prior restraint on free speech or the press protected under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.”  In other words, people like me who bash Obama, the Congress, and the government in general are as safe as we are right now.

Another fear being said is that bill is so broad the government could shut down sites like Google or Facebook if they contain even a single link to an illegal download.  First, that is not true, but, let’s pretend it is.  Current drug laws could be used to confiscate an entire mall if someone is caught selling a dime bag of weed in the parking lot. (I do not know what a dime bag is, but I’ve seen it in a copyrighted movie once)  How many malls have you seen confiscated by the feds? I can assure you, many a drug deal goes down on mall property, I asked my drug dealer.

Currently the government has blocked all on-line gambling sites such as PartyPoker.  I was against that bill for I did not see where in the Constitution Congress could regulate gambling.  However, that legislation was similar to this.  How many abuses of that power have you seen?  The feds have not shut down St. Catherines Parish advertising their Sunday bingo sessions, though, technically, they are advertising gambling.

The government should have the power to stop illegal activity.  We deserve, and expect, our local government to put a chop shop out of business when it is proven they are doing illegal things.  They do the same thing with meth houses and their attempts bringing down the mob continue.  Why are people against the government stopping illegal downloading of copyrighted material?

As stated earlier, I have actually read the bill, you can also: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr3261ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr3261ih.pdf

From the bill:

DEDICATED TO THEFT OF U.S. PROP2
ERTY.—An ‘‘Internet site is dedicated to theft of
3 U.S. property’’ if—
4 (A) it is an Internet site, or a portion
5 thereof, that is a U.S.-directed site and is used
6 by users within the United States; and
7 (B) either—
8 (i) the U.S.-directed site is primarily
9 designed or operated for the purpose of,
10 has only limited purpose or use other than,
11 or is marketed by its operator or another
12 acting in concert with that operator for use
13 in, offering goods or services in a manner
14 that engages in, enables, or facilitates—
15 (I) a violation of section 501 of
16 title 17, United States Code;
17 (II) a violation of section 1201 of
18 title 17, United States Code; or
19 (III) the sale, distribution, or
20 promotion of goods, services, or mate21
rials bearing a counterfeit mark, as
22 that term is defined in section 34(d)
23 of the Lanham Act or section 2320 of
24 title 18, United States Code; or

(ii) the operator of the U.S.-directed
2 site—
3 (I) is taking, or has taken, delib4
erate actions to avoid confirming a
5 high probability of the use of the
6 U.S.-directed site to carry out acts
7 that constitute a violation of section
8 501 or 1201 of title 17, United States
9 Code; or
10 (II) operates the U.S.-directed
11 site with the object of promoting, or
12 has promoted, its use to carry out
13 acts that constitute a violation of sec14
tion 501 or 1201 of title 17, United
15 States Code, as shown by clear ex16
pression or other affirmative steps
17 taken to foster infringement.

 

blah, blah, blah

The important parts above are the site is PRIMARILY designed or operated for the purpose of … the sale, distribution, or promotion of goods, services, or materials.  I left out the legalease mumbo jumbo referring to the US code sections related to copyright infringement and such.  The point of all that is the site must be primarily used to facilitate the distribution of illegal materials.  Putting a link on Facebook to my server for people to illegally download a song will not put Facebook in jeopardy of being blocked in the entire US.  They are targeting websites like the old Napster, Kaza, and other sites that serve little purpose than to facilitate the exchange of copyrighted materials.

 

The next major objection is that the government can just decide to shut down the site.  That is simply not true.  That is like saying the government can see the the drug dealer making a sale and they can put him jail for 20 years.  He is still entitled to due process, which includes a trial, and judgment.  This bill specifically states the government must notify the owner of the website of their illegal actions.  The bill gives that owner the ability to defend his site. (see page 29 of the cited pdf.)

Anyone that knows me knows I despise most of the bills passed by our government. However, this is almost a textbook definition of what our federal government should be doing besides defending our country.  There is no “free market” solution to this problem and only the government can stop this illegal behavior.

As of this writing my Congressman, Tom Graves, has stated he will be voting against this bill.  Congressman Graves is great congressman and I have agreed with nearly every vote he has made.  I understand Graves must vote with his conciense and the will of the people he represents.  I hope if you are in his district, the current or new one, you will take time to let him know you hope he will change his mind.

I fear this bill will not be passed, not because it is a bad bill, but because of all of the mis-information concerning the bill.