Friday, March 2, 2012

An Independent's View: Federal Spending

Photo Source: FactCheck.org

        It's been 1,031 days since the Senate has passed a budget. The federal debt has risen above $15 trillion and exceeds the U.S. GDP. There is over $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities on the nation's books (actually, it's not even on the books; Congress doesn't count a liability until a check is written). The housing market is still weak, with prices down and foreclosures up. Unemployment is high, especially if you count people looking for full-time employment but only finding part-time jobs. Some politicians say we need to cut spending, others that we need to keep it high through this tough economic time.

Read more.

Friday, February 17, 2012

An Independent's View: Fair, Simple Taxation

Photo Source: LeeEldridge.com

On the campaign trail and in Washington, there's no lack of complaints regarding the complexity and efficacy of the American tax code. People at the bottom of the income pile have negative income tax liability (they get back more money than they pay in federal taxes), and taxpayers at the top find creative (but also legal) ways to evade taxes and shelter their money. Enormous corporations like GE manage to pay little taxes, while small business gets squeezed. Yet there are few solutions for simplifying it, and those available leave a little to be desired. Case in point, Herman Cain's famous "9-9-9 Plan," which on the surface seemed to make filing taxes less complicated, actually raised taxes on most middle income families unless "opportunity zones," i.e. distressed areas where special deductions could be taken for business owners, became a part and added inevitable man-hours to tax returns. There was the Perry optional flat tax, which simply lowered rates for the highest income earners (but, to be fair, didn't hurt middle or lower income families), and led many to believe the federal government would raise insufficient revenue. Bottom line: many have tried, but none have crafted a code for which both sides of the aisle would vote.

Here is an Independent's view.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Decision Time for the U.N.

Photo Source: sitemaker.umich.edu

        The violence in Syria is escalating, with protesters being fired upon with rockets. The Arab League, which has sent Observers to the area to try to keep the peace, has asked the United Nations for assistance. However, in a vote held early last week, Russia and China voted down a U.N. proposal to get involved in the nation's affairs, even as hundreds of innocent people are killed. Bashar al-Hassad's regime, without any threat of world retaliation, will continue exerting deadly force to quell the uprisings and silence the voice of the people. The U.N. is at a key juncture where it must define what type of organization it will be in the 21st century.

Taxes and Tax Code Reform

Photo Source: DrJeffCornwall.com

        First post in Opposing Views!
 
 
        With the Republican nomination running at full speed and the general election only 9 months away, the issue of taxation has become possibly the hottest topic for the candidates and President. The growing complexity of the tax code have made all politicians critical of its efficacy, and the idea of "fair share" has begun to be defined. A few of the presidential candidates believe in bold, fundamental reforms, others tweaks in certain areas that make the tax code more capable of generating revenue or encouraging business growth. See how they stack up in a side-by-side comparison of policies.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Newt Demands Delegates in Florida

Photo Source: DailyKos.com

       
        Romney won a decisive victory in Florida over Gingrich Tuesday, however the Speaker is contesting the results. According to Republican National Committee rules, no winner-takes-all states were permitted to hold a primary before April 1. Newt has seized on this rule to try to pressure the Republican election officials in the Sunshine State to count the votes on a proportional basis, which would take some delegates away from Mitt and hand them over to him. However, with the Nevada primary just two days away, should this really be the focus of the Gingrich campaign?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Should "Obama-care" be an Issue for Candidates?

Photo Source: Politico.com

        As the Republican election machine moves out west, the people of Nevada will begin getting bombarded with rhetoric day in and day out. One of the major issues agreed on by all the candidates is the Health Care Reform Act, informally known as "Obama-care," each attesting to its poisonous individual mandate, devastating economic impact, and horrifying consequences for the American health care system. But is it really worth the debate? With a case being heard by the Supreme Court a month from now, the Republicans may be wasting breath shaming the bill when it may be found unconstitutional, and thus null and void. Maybe its time to pick a new topic?

Romney Takes Florida in a Decisive Victory

Photo Source: MittRomney.com

        By a margin of 14 points, Romney beat Gingrich in Florida to took 50 delegates from the winner-takes-all state. As recently as last week, Newt was leading the governor in the polls, but a couple of tough debate performances and millions of dollars worth of attack ads coming from the Romney camp caused his support to crumble and Mitt to rise at just the right time. Speeches abound, and the campaign moves on to Nevada for all but Santorum, who is heading to Missouri. How does this win affect the coming states? Click here to find out.

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