Sean's Blog

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Opinion And Current Events

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I have to post a link to the TaxProf Blog because it contains a vital point that I want to have the next time some leftist goes on about how George W. Bush gave unfair tax cuts to the rich and shifted the tax burden to poor people:
WSJ on Distribution of Tax Burden

Today's Wall Street Journal has an interesting editorial, Who Pays What. The conclusion:

An IRS study by a trio of tax wonks shows that, even after including Social Security taxes, the overall tax burden grew more progressive from 1979 to 1999. And while that burden became a tad less progressive after the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, the rich and upper middle class continued to pay far and away the bulk of U.S. taxes.
The study was conducted by Michael Strudler and Tom Petska of the IRS and Ryan Petska of Ernst and Young and the bottom line is that the top .1% of tax payers pay 9.52% of all our taxes, the top 5% pay 17.75% of all taxes and the top 20% of all tax payers pay 67.47% of all our taxes.

The bottom 20% of all tax payers pay .65% of all our taxes! If you don't pay taxes you don't deserve a tax break. If you are one of those top 20% and you're one of the people who pays more than 2/3 of all the taxes that are paid in the country and the government decides to give some tax relief, then you deserve some of the money.

I've had with leftists screaming about "tax cuts for the cuts for the wealthy" when the fact is they are bearing a large burden that they surely can afford, but since they do pay taxes then when it's appropriate to give tax cuts then they surely deserve a break.

The problem is that leftists never believe taxes should go down. Some people would argue that when the government projected budget surpluses in the '90's then we should have kept that money in D.C. to pay down our debt. Ideally, I would love to see that happen, but I know that if that money had stayed in Washington those bastards on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats, would have spent that money. They would not have paid down the debt and anyone who believes they would have is naive. It would have been a feeding frenzy. Our representatives know the best way to get reelected is by sending money home and that temptation would have been too much.

No, the best thing was to get that money out of D.C. in the form of tax cuts for the people who pay taxes. That was the right thing to do. Leaving any "surplus" in Washington would have lead to massive waste and fraud. It was better to get that money out of D.C. and away from the crooks on the left and right.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Mark Steyn:
The weak bromides touted by the Dems in lieu of a policy -- a legalistic approach to the war on terror, greater deference to the U.N. and America's ''friends'' -- were defeated at the polls. Since then, they've been further discredited: The failure of terrorist prosecutions in Europe underlines how disastrous John Kerry's serve-'em-with-subpoenas approach would be; the sewer of the Oil-for-Food scandal and the attempts by Kofi Annan to castrate the investigation into it demonstrate yet again that there is no problem in the world today that can't be made worse by letting the U.N. have a hand in solving it; and America's ''friends'' -- by which Kerry meant not allies like Britain and Australia but the likes of France and Canada -- turn out to be some of the countries most implicated in the corruption of U.N. ''humanitarianism.''

Republican voters understand this. Why don't Republican senators? The rap against John Bolton is that he gets annoyed with do-nothing bureaucrats. If that's enough to disqualify you from government service, then 70 percent of citizens who've visited the DMV in John Kerry's Massachusetts are ineligible. Sinking Bolton means handing a huge psychological victory to a federal bureaucracy that so spectacularly failed America on 9/11 and to a U.N. bureaucracy eager for any distraction from its own mess. The Democrats' interest in derailing Bush foreign policy is crude but understandable. But why would even the wimpiest Republican ''moderate'' want to help them out?
Personally, I rather "moderate" Republicans just go ahead and switch parties.

I will not vote for John McCain if he is the Republican candidate in '08. I will vote, but I won't vote for him.

Syrian Withdrawal From Lebanon Almost Done

That's the headline at Fox News. I haven't seen this report anywhere else so I'm a little skeptical. Is Syria really getting out? What an amazing turn of events if this is for real. Who would have thought that Syrian occupation of Lebanon, after 29 years, would end so suddenly?

I wonder who Democrats will credit. Mikhail Gorbachev perhaps?

On December 6, 2002 I blogged an article by Joshua Kurlantzick in The New Republic about China.

It now appears that Kurlantzick was something of a prophet:
In private, and when speaking to certain domestic reporters, even China's leaders admit the fix is in. When Rawski and other leading economists chat with official statisticians in Beijing, they often hear that no one in the government believes recent GDP numbers. "American economists are going around the U.S. praising China's economy, and when I come to Beijing the people there are vastly more pessimistic," says Rawski. A cursory glance at Chinese-language newspapers over the past five years turns up reams of stories vastly different from those in the gushing foreign press--articles about economic stagnation, falling wages, and deflation. (Though the Chinese press is still censored, it has grown more open in recent years, and some groundbreaking publications like Caijing and Southern Weekend regularly print information that reflects poorly on China.) Even top officials know China overstates the figures. In 2000, former premier Zhu Rongji, the straightest-talking mandarin in Beijing, warned that "falsification and exaggeration of statistics are rampant."

More ominously, Kurlantzick warns that if the Chinese facade cracks the leadership is prepared to stoke anti-American feelings and confrontation with Taiwan or the US could become a very real possibility:

"China's growing economic weakness could force its latent anger at the United States to the surface. Already, Beijing stokes anti-Americanism in order to deflect criticism of its own actions and expends little effort explaining its relationship with the United States to its people. Imams in Xinjiang, a Muslim province in western China that I visited this September, have been forced to attend "reeducation sessions" laced with anti-American propaganda. Party-controlled media companies have produced popular videos glorifying the September 11 attacks. In one video, as the camera focuses on the rubble of the World Trade Center, a commentator says, 'Blood debts have been repaid in blood. ... This is the America the whole world has wanted to see.
Then, the target was America, but really, it appears, the Chinese communist government doesn't much care which country they use to distract the people from their evident and growing domestic problems. The recent and seemingly popularly spontaneous protests against Japan and threats of war against Taiwan now appear to me to be nothing more than an attempt by the government to redirect public anger.

This is what Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and other Middle Eastern autocrats did in recent years to redirect their people's frustrations. They convinced their populations via official and semi-official government newspaper editorials and stories that every Arab problem was because of the Jews and America.

For years the U.S. simply ignored what was happening in the Middle East and in fact continued to send billions of dollars to Egypt and continued to kiss up to Arab leaders like Yasser Arafat. We didn't see any harm in this virulent anti-Americanism. As long as the region was stable we put up with it. Then the hate for America spilled over and created 9/11. The right in America said, "Enough!". The left wanted (and stills wants) to keep up the one sided idea that everything we have done over the years was nothing short of pure evil. That everything was our fault and that the U.S. hasn't done one single noble or great thing for anybody in the world since World War II.

This was and remains the strategy of the international left. It's worked for years and years and there are many examples.

In addition to autocrats like Mubarak, Gerhard Schroeder of Germany very effectively used anti-Americanism to redirect German frustrations in the last German general election. France and Jacques Chirac is fluently anti-American. The United Nations also uses the United States as it's whipping boy to mask it's vast corruption and sickness.

To an extent the American Democratic party is doing the same thing. They don't have any new ideas that are popularly supported so they are left with trying to redirect voter attention. All they offer is criticism and conspiracies and that's not much different than what the communist Chinese, Schroeder, Chirac, and Mubarak have done over the years.

This strategy has worked time and time and time again in every region of the world and now we are seeing the Chinese do the same thing. That's a clue that something is very wrong in China and it's why I think Joshua Kurlantzick was onto something almost three years ago.

The next few years may see dramatic changes in China. The signs are evident to anyone who is paying attention.

The BBC sent hecklers who were wired with microphones into a British conservative party campaign rally as part of a program on the history of heckling.

The documentary idea seems legitimate enough, but it must be maddening for the conservatives to find themselves double teamed by both the BBC and the Labor party. Does Labor really need any help? It doesn't appear that any hecklers were likewise sent to a Labor rally.

It's often said that the MSM here in the United States is a wing of the Democratic party and it looks like the same is true in England. What would be most infuriating would be if I were a Conservative party voter in the U.K. and I found out that my television license fees (mandatory taxes in the U.K. if you want to watch TV) were being used against me politically.

If I lived in England I would be outraged.