Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Mother of All Tax Hikes: Why we need it

To many, the 4% tax hike being proposed by Rep. Rangel of New York (D) is typical of Democratic politics; coming in and screwing up what the Republicans have done (tax cuts), by raising taxes.

To many, the 4% tax hike that is targeting individuals with incomes above $150,000 ($200,000 for married couples) will ripple throughout the economy by coming down hard on small businesses and crippling the economy.

While as a dependant teenager, who hasn't had to pay taxes (yet), I might not stand in any position to make a claim for supporting the largest tax hike in U.S. history, I do have an opinion. What is getting lost in translation with this bill is that it will be providing a tax cut for 90 million Americans; 90 million that need a tax cut the most.

I wish to point out that those who oppose this tax cut are the wealthy Republicans who fall into this class, which consists of an estimated 10 million Americans. The same Republicans who approved tax cuts in that same tier while raising taxes on Americans who can't afford the additional burden. This at the same time that the national debt has soared to unprecedented levels.

The Americans that will be benefiting from this greatly outweigh those who are going to be specifically targeted. If anything, the wealthy should be willing to pay higher tax rates, perhaps it will give them a feeling of philanthropy by helping the common good.

What angers me more than anything else about this debate is the predominance of the opinion that the wealthy should pay less while the poor carry the burden. Perhaps my ideas are liberal, and yes, they are. I don't like tax raises as much as the next, but unfortunately this country is in a situation that requires a tax raise to fix a number of issues ranging from reducing the federal debt and ensuring that the Baby Boomers have enough money for Social Security.

You decide: do the pros outweigh the cons?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket? (Part I of ?)

Current events around the world have started to concern me, and I felt that the time has come for me to address them.

Turkey has approved military action in Iraq. This military action would be directed towards the Kurds of northern Iraq, who they claim have been aiding Kurdish rebels in Turkey. The Kurds, who are heavily persecuted in Turkey, are seeking to break away and form their own country, a veritable Kurdistan if you will. While Turkey has made no significant motions against the U.S. occupation in Iraq, these recent actions come in the wake of a House bill that states that the United States officially recognizes the brutal slaughter of 1.2 million Armenians under the then Ottoman Empire in 1917-1920 as a genocide.

Though recent news from The Hill seems to indicate that Democrats who supported the bill, proposed by House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D), are backing away, sighting the negative impact that such a bill would have on U.S.-Turkey relations. This move makes sense, considering it is already fairly obvious that it was a genocide and that it is a waste of time for our representatives to declare the obvious. Not to mention, it is also a diplomatic faux pas to bring up an issue that is nearly a century old, especially one that would hit a sensitive nerve for any country with that kind of dirty laundry to deal with.

Russia has made warnings in recent days that it would be a mistake for the United States to take military action against Iran and supporting that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. This comes in the wake of a series of events that has lead to Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing an interest to run for Prime Minister in the upcoming elections, thus keeping his foot in the door of Russian politics. Russia is also accused of flying long range bombers near the shores of the United States, and in fact incurring on airspace over Alaska during the summer. In the past year or so, journalists have been "silenced" for openly opposing Putin's government, and these actions in and of itself are seen as "the death of democracy" in Russia.

Further straining relations with China, President Bush met with the Dalai Lama, despite warnings from China. While this meeting is definitely a positive action, for both the Dalai Lama's fight for religious freedom and the public image of the United States, tensions between the U.S. and China are already strained. While it is not in the interests for either China or the U.S. to react violently to any event, recent strains on those "interests" between the U.S. and China increase that likelihood. These strains that I'm talking about are on the economic ties between the two countries, and while no one is perhaps ready to abandon low cost products from China, it doesn't help that more and more evidence seems to indicate that those products might be dangerous; examples being lead paint in toys and Boy Scout patches, tainted food, and other product recalls.

My final observation about this series of negative events it that President Bush, in a statement made last Wednesday, had this to say about Iran:

"So I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

I might be young and naive, but if you're a world leader, you really shouldn't make a reference to World War Three in any speech, especially one made during a time when rash political decisions and statements are being made simultaneously. I'm not saying that what Bush said is wrong (he's actually right?), but it is fueling a fire during a time that needs a fire fighter.

A full copy of the transcript from his Wednesday press conference can be found here and it also addresses some of the other issues I've brought up here today. It's a little lengthy, but as a personal opinion, I find it easier to form my own opinions on what the President says by reading it, however little sense it might make. ; )

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stephen Colbert ~ 2008

I woke up this morning, and I didn't know what to wear.
So I went down to my computer, and sat in my chair
I logged online, and to my surprise
A new candidate for 2008: You Decide
His name is Stephen Colbert, the man from TV
His comedy show is very popular you see
I rubbed my eyes, in total disbelief
I could not believe, do my eyes deceive me?

Yes! It's true, his candidacy is real!
He's running for president, so what's the big deal?
The problem is simple, my friend, I shall tell
He will steal votes from candidates, who know all too well
That he is popular, very popular indeed
He has a soap box, it is your own TV

Advertising money? Campaign funds?
Next to nil, at least for this one
In fact HE will be paid, to run for that office
He even has a friend, the main star on The Office
His chances are good, he has a good following
But what if he loses? A political drowning

He would steal votes from other candidates
The next Ralph Nader
One might even call him, the next Darth Vader
He could cost the election, from the rightful winner
That's why in the end, he's just a silly prankster
How far will he go? I don't know, we'll see
But one thing's for sure, he's after the Presidency
As for what to wear, I think I shall choose
My "Stewart/Colbert" shirt, but it's your turn - you choose.

-By Me