Question of the Day – August 31, 2008

Do you know how many houses you own?

-Josh

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Does God support Obama?

Stuart Shepard of Focus on the Family asking followers to pray for rain on Obama’s outdoor speech at the DNC last Thursday.

Stuart Shepard of Focus on the Family, one of America’s leading evangelical groups, was shown in a video filmed at Denver’s Invesco Field, where 75,000 are expected to cheer Mr Obama on Aug 28, asking Christians to pray for “torrential” rain.

Or just watch the video:

Since it didn’t rain as Shepard asked and prayed for, does that mean that God supports Obama?

-Josh

What will FEMA do?

With hurricane Gustav bearing down on New Orleans, are we going to see a repeat of the response lack of response to Katrina?  Or are we going to see a response like the hurricanes that landed in Florida in 2004?

Remember 2004, we had hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne wreak havoc on Florida.  But the relief effort was strong.  Personally I think two things factored into the proper response we saw in 2004, one Florida was critical to Bush getting re-elected, and two his brother was governor of the state.

Yet in 2005, with no election looming, Bush was no where to be seen with New Orleans going under water.  Now McCain has criticized the Bush Administrations response to Katrina, yet on the day that Katrina was wreaking havoc on New Orleans, they were together celebrating John McCain’s 69th birthday, you could read about that (and see photos) at Huffington Post.

So when you think of the response we will see this week to hurricane Gustav, it isn’t an example of learning from your mistakes.  But instead the reality that these Republicans only decide to practice effective government when it will impact their election chances.

-Josh

Question of the Day – August 21, 2008

Can the McCains represent the party of family values if Cindy McCain doesn’t acknowledge her half-sister?

Question of the Day – August 17, 2008

Is Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires the most passionate classical music in the world?

Question of the Day – August 13, 2008

Will positive thinking get Victoria Osteen free of the civil suit against her for flight rage?

Corporate taxes are so high, that many corporations don’t even pay them

When you have members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle ask for reducing the corporate tax rate from 35%, more than half of the corporations have not paid taxes in at least one year of the past eight years, as the Congressional Quarterly reported on a new report by the GAO.

During the eight-year period covered by the report, 72 percent of foreign-owned corporations went at least one year without owing taxes, and the same was true for 55 percent of domestic corporations.

Small companies were much more likely to pay no taxes than larger companies. Still, more than 3,500 large domestic corporations — with more than $250 million in assets or $50 million in gross receipts — did not pay taxes in 2005.

The report said about 80 percent of the companies studied paid no taxes because they didn’t generate any profit after expenses. Money-losing companies can legitimately owe no tax, and others can use provisions of the tax code to lower or eliminate their liability.

Those aren’t exactly small mom and pops not paying taxes.

But what is more troubling is the tax gap,

In addition, Levin, Finance Chairman Max Baucus , D-Mont., and other senators have been trying to close the “tax gap,” the difference between taxes owed and taxes collected.

In a statement, Baucus said, “I’m committed to finding ways to improve compliance and reduce taxpayer burden so that we begin to bridge the tax gap, which accounts for $345 billion in legally owed but uncollected federal revenues each year.”

I don’t know about you, but I think we could get a real great return on investment if we put some money into enforcement.  I mean $345 billion each year is not chump change, in fact is a bit smaller than our annual deficit.

On a slightly brighter note, the deficit for the 2008 budget year ending Sept. 30 will actually drop from an earlier projection of $410 billion to $389 billion, the report said.

So lets collect that money from those that actually owe it and bring that annual deficit to about $44 billion this year.  It really sounds like we have a collecting problem, not a spending problem!

-Josh

Recommended Reading

Joshua Holland at Alternet has a great article on attempts to level the playing field between employees and employers, and how the corporations will do anything to keep the status quo.  Just go read it.

-Josh

Will Conservatives please keep their eye on the ball

I checked out this front page story of the Business Section of the Washington Post because of a Dean Baker blog.  Baker is convinced that the entitlement scare, or what I call the Social Security Bogeyman, is one of the Washington Post’s roles, and I think he is on to something.

In reading the article, they focus heavily on David Walker’s (formerly of the GAO) work, their movie star.

“I.O.U.S.A.” offers up as its action hero David M. Walker, former head of the Government Accountability Office. With movie-star looks that scream “accountant” rather than “Terminator,” Walker has been the Cassandra — or Chicken Little — of America’s growing deficit for some time. Last August, he compared the United States to the final days of ancient Rome, which he said was militarily overextended and fiscally irresponsible. Since 2005, Walker has been traveling the country on the catchy-sounding “fiscal wake-up tour,” preaching his apocalyptic message to half-empty rooms, at least at the start. The tour picked up steam after Walker’s message was featured in a “60 Minutes” piece in March 2007.

But if you look at his power point presentation, which I have in a previous blog, it shows that the real problem is Medicare and Medicaid, here it is again:

Of this $52.7 trillion that we are supposed to be very scared by, 64.7% is in health care.  If the Washington Post or David Walker wanted to have a serious discussion about the long term economic health of America, they would focus on Health Care Reform to get our costs under control.  That is where the bulk of our problems lie.  It is much easier to deal with this problem if you take the different pieces separately.  With health care the clear winner of this whole problem then that should be dealt with first.

-Josh

Question of the Day – August 8, 2008

Will Canadian coverage of the Olympics be better than the US coverage?

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