Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘taxes’

Support Schools & Private Enterprise, Drink Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Whiskey

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 9, 2012

Having apparently not blogged about this, I find myself remiss that I so negligently – if inadvertently – omitted this news story… which I’m about to bash.

Before I proceed however, Alabama‘s governor, Dr. Robert J. Bentley, MD (a retired dermatologist), when he was campaigning for the office, on Thursday, June 17, 2010 vowed that, “I will forgo a salary as state representative for the rest of my term and will not accept a salary as Governor until Alabama reaches full employment.” To his credit, he has lived up to that vow, and has only accepted what is legally mandated – $1.00/month as representative, and has been reimbursed for minimal incidentals or travel-related expenses. The state’s records show he has collected about $2,100 in travel reimbursements during his term as governor. Alabama’s governor’s salary is about $112,000; and so far, as governor, he has only been paid $2 in salary.

Part of the irony of liquor, taxes and employment is that Dr. Bentley is a Southern Baptist. And for many years he has been a deacon at First Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa. As a denomination, Baptists are well-known and avowed tee-totalers, who continue to badmouth beverage alcohol. I suppose in some way, they could be considered modern Prohibitionists. But here, in this scenario, Alabamians – whose population is significantly Protestant – have enjoyed the jobs and money that making whiskey provides.

I suppose, however, that the irony is not lost on others, for the Amish grow tobacco, yet eschew its use. Similarly, many religious Afghanis (most who practice Islam) have grown marijuana and/or opium poppy to provide for their households, yet use neither. The discussion of the ethics of such decisions would be fascinating – at least it would be to me.

Now, on to the news.

It’s not the news, per se, but the atrocious writing which aggrieves me so.

Actually, the plant will be near Decatur, Alabama. More specifically, it will be located in the Mallard Fox West Industrial Complex, along Alabama Highway 20 in Trinity, Alabama. The complex is located in Lawrence County, which is the adjacent county WEST of Morgan County.

Lawrence County, AL_overview

Location of Mallard Fox West Industrial Complex in Lawrence, County, Alabama

But this raises another question, and it is this: If someone wrote that New York was in Los Angeles, you’d think them insane, right?

Well, why then would you not think the same for those who make such egregious errors as is so blatantly displayed in the following headline, and story?

DAMN IT, MAN!

GET IT RIGHT!

And Read the rest of this entry »

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Weather Extremes Not Just in United States

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 8, 2012

Here is Wisdom.

(Either that, or pragmatism.)

If there is nothing humans can to to lessen the severity or frequency of these, and other extreme weather events, then the very least that should be done is to significantly improve infrastructure to more effectively manage them, and to mitigate potential for damage.

And that is spelled I – N – F – R – A – S – T – R – U – C – T – U – R – E.

What’s “infrastructure”?

A definition of infrastructure from the New Oxford American Dictionary: “the basic physical and Read the rest of this entry »

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Stay-at-home-mom Ann Romney’s tax deductions for her dressage horse exceeded the average American Median Income

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 18, 2012

Ann Romney's horse deductions

Is this not a prime example of how “We the People…” should require higher tax rates of the über wealthy?

I mean, really… they get a deduction of $77,000 for their f*ing horse?!

C’mon, people!

What’s wrong with this picture!?!

Out of touch with reality, or out of touch with reality?

Hey!

I know!

Mitt says “job one is creating jobs in America.”

Since Mitt & Ann get those rich-folk tax breaks, that makes him a “job creator.”

So maybe you can work in one of Mitt’s horse barns!

You plebian slob.

Romney Horse Wins Spot on Olympic Dressage Team

June 16, 2012
By

GLADSTONE, N.J. — Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, who plan to attend the opening of the Olympic Games in London this summer, now have a personal rooting interest in the event.

Jan Ebeling, Mrs. Romney’s longtime riding tutor, and his horse Rafalca, co-owned by Mrs. Romney, Read the rest of this entry »

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Booze News You Can Use: Cullman, Alabama city officials delighted with alcohol tax revenue

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 5, 2012

For many years, Cullman, Alabama – a tiny town in Central North Alabama, founded by German immigrants in 1873 – had been “dry,” which is to say that there were no legal sales of beverage alcohol in the city.

In fact, the city had been dry for nearly half its existence, having experienced “wet” and dry periods aside even, from national Prohibition.

There had been various referendums in 2004, 2002, 1992, 1990, 1986 and 1984, with the closest vote in 1984, when alcohol sales were voted down by a mere 159 votes.

Cullman had also been the butt of national jokes & mockery because it had the only dry Oktoberfest in the United States. That all changed in 2011, and for the 30th celebration of Oktoberfest that year, celebrants were able to legally sell & enjoy the consumption of beer, wine & liquor.

What is particularly fascinating about this entire ordeal – local prohibition in small-town Alabama – is that it is representative of Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Governor Bentley gives Marshall county chicken farm $5K tax dollar$ to buy light bulbs during proration

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This is stuff for the Cobert Report!

Sad, but true folks…

Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley, MD (R)

Alabama Governor, Robert J. Bentley, MD (R)

Yes, you read that correctly.

Bear in mind also, that the state is already in a period of budgetary proration.

What’s that?

Alabama’s Constitution forbids debt spending, so the budget must equal – not exceed – the state’s revenue.

So, in accordance with the state’s Constitution, on March 16, 2012, Governor Robert J. Bentley declared a proration of  “10.6 percent for the state General Fund for non-education services, cutting budgeted spending by $188 million because of a shortfall in expected revenues.”

Can you smell the hypocrisy cooking?

Bentley awards grant to help business upgrade lighting

May 22, 2012

MONTGOMERY – Gov. Robert Bentley awarded a $5,000 grant to help a farm business in Marshall County reduce energy consumption and save money.

The grant will help Maze Farms Inc. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thomas Jefferson on “the Buffett Rule”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 23, 2012

How much is enough?

How many houses does a man need to live in?

How many cars does a man need?

In response to the question “Can you ever have enough money?,” billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson replied, “You only need one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner, and therefore the money aspect is not actually that important.”

Thomas Jefferson on the Buffett Rule

by Alan Grayson on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 1:44pm ·

I don’t know what Founding Father and President Thomas Jefferson would have thought about TV, cars, spaceships, cellphones, skyscrapers, computers or nuclear weapons. But I do know what Jefferson would have thought about the Buffett Rule. He would have liked it.

The Buffett Rule is the Obama Administration’s proposal to adopt a 30% minimum tax rate on personal income above $1 million a year. It would promote one of the central tenets of progressivism: that the burden of taxes should fall on the rich, not the poor.

In 1811, two years after Jefferson left the Presidency, Jefferson wrote a letter to General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a hero of the American Revolution. Jefferson said that he supported taxes (then tariffs, since there was no income tax yet) falling entirely on the wealthy. As Jefferson explained: “The farmer will see Read the rest of this entry »

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Things Alabama ain’t got… Mega Millions Lottery

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 30, 2012

Some folks would say “common sense,” and to some extent, that’s probably true.

Well… better make that “to a great extent.”

But, a state lottery is another thing Alabama ain’t got.

And, the Republicans in the legislature in the past administration and the present administration seem to have absolutely no inclination to allow the people the opportunity to vote on it… whether to have state sponsored gammlin’, that is.

Folks’ve tried to get one for education but have failed. And, in a move called “proration,” the governor this year cut all state budgets across the board by 10.6%, excluding education, because Alabama’s state constitution, for better or for worse, forbids going into debt and requires a balanced budget. Bonds are a different matter.

But, one other thing the state’s legislature doesn’t do Read the rest of this entry »

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Tom Coburn: End welfare for the wealthy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 1, 2011

Congress, it has been recently noted, has the lowest approval rating since record-keeping of that type has begun. In fact, it was noted with significantly ironic disdain, that more Americans favor the United States becoming a Communist nation than approve of Congress. Disapproval of congressional action – or inaction – has been duly noted by all members of congress, house and senate.

Regular readers of this blog will recognize that I have excoriated Republicans and their presidential nominee wannabes for numerous reasons, not the least of which is their blind obedience to their corporate masters – which in essence, makes them high-powered prostitutes – whores, if you prefer – and for the greatest part towed the line refusal to modify or raise – even slightly – of the rich, which has been the proposal of “some random person,” otherwise known as Grover Norquist. The reader may be interested to know that Mr. Norquist was “promoter of the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” which was signed by 95% of all Republican Congressmen and all but one of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates – in which the signer promises to never, under any circumstances, support an increase in taxes.” That pdf document may be downloaded here.

Human nature what it is, many will be loyal to those whom sign their paychecks, particularly when powerful strings are attached to those checks.

And yet, while we respect loyalty, we also honor those whom stand upon principle, and whom are motivated and guided by selflessness and a genuine desire to help others – with liberty and justice for all – not just an elite cadre.

In that sense – especially in this Op-Ed – Senator Tom Coburn, R-OK, seems to be the voice of reason in the GOP. The reader may also be interested to note that Sen. Coburn was a signatory to that random lobbyist promulgated document. The lobbyist being none other than the Born-with-a-silver spoon-in-his-mouth-Harvard-educated Grover, whom federally-convicted felon-lobbyist Jack Abramoff also fingered in his recent tell-all. It is interesting to note that Sen. Coburn has chosen the high road.

End welfare for the wealthy

By Tom Coburn, Special to CNN
updated 2:10 PM EST, Thu December 1, 2011

(CNN) — The debate in Congress this week about whether to pay for extending the payroll tax cut by imposing a new tax on millionaires will have nothing to do with solving our nation’s economic challenges and everything to do with election-year politics. Senate Democratic leaders have already signaled they will use the debate as a purely partisan exercise designed to embarrass Republicans into opposing tax cuts for the poor while defending tax cuts for the rich.

I intend to offer an alternative. Instead of punishing the rich with higher taxes, I will give Congress the option of helping pay for extending the payroll tax cut by ending welfare to the wealthy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Florida Taxpayers Bilked for Welfare Drug Test Costs by Republican Gov. Rick Scott

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, August 27, 2011

Updated October 27, 2012 – Readers should be aware there is now two years of data. The original story was published in 2011, and the three new stories added are from 2012, and show similar data – that being, that the cost of the program to mandate drug testing for all public assistance recipients in Florida – is unproductive and wasteful, and costs more in tax dollars and time wasted than it purports to save.

Dedicated to everyone who believes that merely because some people need a helping hand that they’re automatically suspect.

It’s not a crime to be poor. And Christ said, “The poor you will always have with you.”

The line of thinking on drug testing goes like this: A.) The exceeding majority of public assistance recipients are lazy, good-for-nothing drug abusers, so B.) Taking them off the dole will save hundreds of thousands – if not tens of millions of dollars, so C.) Make them pay up front to defend themselves against the blanket accusation, and reimburse them if they don’t “come up dirty.”

Turns out, however, that only a measly 2% of recipients have been positive. In other words, the vast and exceeding majority of public assistance recipients – 98% – are law-abiding, non-drug abusing citizens.

What does that mean for the good, hard-working, tax-paying people of Florida? Why, they’re on the hook to cough up some reimbursement money to the folks that paid up front to be tested. And at $43,200/month, that’s over $518,000/year. Not exactly chump change – especially in tough economic times.

Why, even the old Charlie Daniels song acknowledges that Read the rest of this entry »

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Warren Buffet tells Congress, “Stop coddling the Super-Rich.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 15, 2011

Op-Ed Contributor

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

By WARREN E. BUFFETT
Published: August 14, 2011

Omaha

OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was Read the rest of this entry »

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CEO pay soars while employee pay falters

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 1, 2011

Those “poor, poor” rich men. We shouldn’t tax those poor, poor souls because they, in their mercy, give jobs to us, the genuinely wealthy slobs who do not need them. No, Congress should cut their taxes, and should not tax multi-national corporations such as General Electric which makes billions in profits and does not pay any income tax. In fact, Congress should eliminate all taxes upon the über-wealthy and should tax the poor! (sarcasm ends here)
•••

CEO pay soars while workers’ pay stalls

By Matt Krantz and Barbara Hansen, USA TODAY
Updated: 04/01/2011 9:20am

CEOs didn’t have to cry poor for long.

The heads of the nation’s top companies got the biggest raises in recent memory last year after taking a hiatus during the recession.

At a time most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010 as the executives’ compensation started working its way back to prerecession levels, a USA TODAY analysis of data from GovernanceMetrics International found. Workers in private industry, meanwhile, Read the rest of this entry »

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Continuing Stubborn Ignorance

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Having recently read this Op/Ed columnist’s article, I found the author’s remarks spot-on… so much so, that I am sharing them here for your benefit. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Within the past decade, I’ve written three columns titled “Deception 101,” “Stubborn Ignorance,” and “Exploiting Public Ignorance,” all explaining which branch of the federal government has taxing and spending authority. How can academics, politicians, news media people and ordinary citizens get away with statements such as “Reagan’s budget deficits,” “Clinton’s budget surplus,” “Bush’s budget deficits and tax cuts” or “Obama’s tax increases”? Which branch of government has taxing and spending authority is not a matter of rocket science, but people continue to make these statements. The only explanation that I come up with is incurable ignorance, willful deception or just plain stupidity; if there’s another answer, I would like to hear it.

Let’s look at the facts. Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution reads: Read the rest of this entry »

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Veteran’s Day 2009

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 9, 2009

I’m proud to have served my nation in the uniform armed services, having done so voluntarily. I think every young American should do similarly. And, I believe our nation should provide significant benefit to those whom so choose.

Some years ago, I envisioned what I called a “234 Plan,” which would:

  1. Double pay grade for two years up to pay grade E-3 for initial enlistees;
  2. Require a minimum of Four Years of service;
  3. Pay for four years of higher education, up to and including Ph.D., with the ability to transfer benefits to first-degree relatives;

and perhaps most importantly,

4. Provide such income as federally Tax-Free, forever.

At current pay rates, that would be slightly under $76,000 for a period of two years at pay grade E-3 – not a bad nest egg. And then, there’s the 30 days paid vacation, head-to-toe health care, incentive/bonus pay for skills, BAH (basic allowance for housing), and a host of other remunerations and fiduciary potential – all of which are added to Basic Pay, thereby increasing take-home pay. Potentially, managing money wisely, a young enlistee could emerge from a four year commitment with very nearly $125,000 in pocket, VA health benefits, GI Bill benefits, and more.

The money could be used wisely, or squandered. But the principle would forever be federally tax-free – and I think it should be at the state level, as well. It’s well known that young enlistees have high levels of “disposable” income. But WISE fiscal management could yield significant benefits to them individually, and by extension, to our nation.

Part three of the plan I envisioned – higher education – was implemented when President Obama signed the Post 9/1 G.I. Bill, providing the most comprehensive expansion and provision of educational benefits our troops have received since F.D.R.’s presidency.

I recollect a report entitled “Young Virginians: Ready, Willing, and Unable to Serve,” having read and saved it September 2, this year. It was authored and advised by an impressive cadre of Generals, Admirals, field-grade officers, and senior executive NCOs, from all branches of the service, and “supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Pre-K Now, campaign of the Pew center on the States.”

Interestingly, NPR has only recently reported on it.

The problems the report addresses are from a thorough examination of Virginia, though it’s findings can be extrapolated to the United States at large.

According to the report, the three greatest problems disqualifying American youth from service to our nation include:

1.) Criminality – felony and serious misdemeanor offense;

2.) Education – failure to graduate high school, and low achievement in reading & math, 30% unable to pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test; and

3.) Health – specifically obesity, although asthma, eyesight, hearing, mental health, ADHD and additional health problems factor in, thereby disqualifying over half of all young adults.

Additional disqualifiers include single custodial parenthood, and drug or alcohol abuse.

These are all social ills.

Mission: Readiness – Military Leaders for Kids is a bipartisan, nonprofit, national security organization of more than 80 retired generals and admirals,” whom “accept no funds from federal, state, or local governments,”  and “call on all policymakers to ensure America’s security and prosperity by supporting interventions proven to help America’s youth succeed academically, stay physically fit, and abide by the law. Pre-K Now collaborates with organizations and policy makers to lead a movement toward high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds.”

In recent political history, social programs have been an “easy target” for many of the Republican stripe whom have seriously reduced or eliminated such programs’ funding, effectively or outright killing the very programs that could have done much to have prevented these anathemas.

Ironically, prison construction and maintenance is a capital expenditure. And of all the world’s nations, ours has more incarcerations per capita than any other, having exploded (doubling 2.5 times) since 1980 (though incarcerations remained relatively stable since 1920, according to the U.S. Department of Justice).

How’s that THAT for the so-called “Reagan Revolution?” It sounds more like a “Contract on America” rather than “with America,” to me.

Wonder why no more.

Governance is much more than infrastructure expenditures, and military readiness includes a strong social component.

Our Constitution calls it providing “for the common defense,” by promoting “the general welfare,” to “secure the blessings of liberty.”

Healthcare is an integral and unequivocal part of that equation… as we can now painfully, and plainly see.

I suppose it would be apropos and germane – though perhaps trite – to conclude with a line from advertising: “You can pay me now… or, pay me later.”

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