Tag Archives: taxes

‘Smart’ to avoid paying taxes? OK, how do we fix what’s wrong?

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Thomas Friedman asks “How could we?” elect someone who says things he says.

The New York Times columnist, naturally, is referring to Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee who keeps spouting rhetoric that’s either ridiculous, false, ludicrous … or all of it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/28/opinion/trump-how-could-we.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

Let me focus on one of the statements Trump has uttered that makes no sense at all.

Friedman writes: “How do we put in the Oval Office a man who boasts that he tries to pay zero federal taxes but then complains that our airports and roads are falling apart and there is not enough money for our veterans?”

Yes, Trump has bragged about how he uses tax laws to his benefit … even though he denies saying it. He denied saying it Monday night — when the entire nation heard him say it into a microphone that was working quite nicely.

So, does he suggest that while he works to avoid paying taxes that others are to foot the bill to fix all those infrastructure things he says are falling apart?

Veterans’ care? Who pays for that if Trump seeks to avoid shouldering the tax bill required to give veterans the health care they need?

Hmmm. Well, as a veteran myself, I believe I now shall express my personal disgust and revulsion at what Trump has said about whether he’s going to pay his fair share of taxes.

Is it smart? Well, I guess so if you’re just a rich guy. It’s pretty damn stupid, though, for someone who is running for president of the United States of America.

Bernie channels Fritz Mondale

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U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders made a pledge last night at the CNN-sponsored Democratic Presidential Candidate Town Hall Forum.

The self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” said he will “raise taxes” to pay for his universal health insurance plan if he’s elected president of the United States.

Interesting, you know?

Here’s why.

The last national politician I can remember who made such a promise was the 1984 Democratic nominee for president, former Vice President Walter F. Mondale.

He stood before the party convention, accepted his party’s nomination and then said that President Ronald Reagan (against whom he ran that year) also will raise taxes. “He won’t tell you; I just did.”

I recall liking Mondale’s honesty at the time. It struck me that it was a bold statement to make.

But how well did it play with American voters that fall?

Not well . . . at all.

The president pulled in 59 percent of the popular vote; he beat Mondale by about 17 million ballots; President Reagan won 525 electoral votes; what’s more, he came within about 2,000 votes of winning all 50 states, losing only Mondale’s home state of Minnesota.

Promising to raise taxes never is a good idea, Sen. Sanders.

 

Tilting left, most of the time

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Readers of this blog, specifically those with a conservative political outlook, have at times accused me of being a flamer, a lefty progressive.

One reader keeps referring to “liberal logic” when trying to counter whatever argument I seek to make.

It’s time, therefore, to set the record straight on a few issues.

On abortion, I believe in a woman’s right to control her own body. Do I condone abortion? No. Neither do I believe government should set laws that criminalize someone from making an intensely personal and heart-wrenching decision. I could not counsel any woman to terminate a pregnancy, but I will never condemn her for making that decision.

Wealth redistribution runs counter to my capitalist instincts. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, makes no bone about it. He’s a socialist and he’s damn proud of it. Good for him. He wants to share the wealth. I don’t have much wealth, but my wife and I do have a nest egg that’s building and we intend to keep our hands on it.

War or diplomacy? I’ll take diplomacy every time whenever possible. I am weary of Republican critics of Barack Obama who contend he is too timid about the use of force against our adversaries/enemies. I have had a tiny exposure to war — back in the late 1960s. Some of you might remember that time. What angers me more than anything in this regard is hearing the get-tough talk from chicken hawks in Congress who fought like hell during the old days to avoid going to war while many of the rest of us were answering the call to duty.

I struggle with the term “gay marriage.” I happen to be a traditionalist on this matter. But I do know what the U.S. Constitution says about “equal protection.” It guarantees that anyone is entitled to marry whomever they wish, without regard to their sexuality. If that’s what the Constitution states — and if the Supreme Court affirms it, which it has done — then I accept the document’s intent.

I am not a partisan Democrat. Texas voting law gives people the opportunity to choose which primary in which they can cast votes. In the two-plus decades I’ve lived in the heavily Republican Texas Panhandle, I’ve cast many votes in the Republican primary. Why? Because here, the Republican primary is where the action is. Democrats often don’t field candidates for local offices. I want my voice heard on races involving county government and the Legislature. I’ll acknowledge here, as I’ve done before, that I haven’t yet voted for a Republican for president since I cast my first vote in 1972. I do, though, split my ticket liberally.

Rich people should pay more in taxes than middle-income folks. I have no difficulty insisting that wealthy Americans should pay more per capita than those of us who haven’t acquired as much wealth. I don’t want them to pay all of their wealth, just enough to help fund government. Hey, they can still be rich!

Finally, I believe in good government. I don’t believe necessarily in big government. I believe government can be a force to help people. I don’t believe, as Ronald Reagan said upon taking the presidential oath in 1981, that government “is the problem.” I want our elected leaders in Congress to stop using their anger at certain agencies to threaten to shut down the entire government. That is demagoguery at — or near — its worst.

There could be more examples. I’m sure some of you will challenge these few items. I just felt the need to lay it out there.

Do I lean left? Sure. There you have it.

Sharpton owes how much to the IRS?

The New York Times — one of the conservative movement’s favorite targets — has done something that left-leaning activists might not have imagined.

The paper has reported on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s back tax bill, which according to the Times amounts to more than $4 million.

Four million bucks!

Wow! Let this one sink in for a moment.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/19/politics/al-sharpton-finance/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Sharpton is a noted MSNBC commentator. He also has become known as a civil-rights activist and a founder of the National Action Network, an organization dedicated to seeking justice on behalf of disadvantaged Americans.

Sharpton is an outspoken progressive firebrand who — and this is where the irony kicks in — regularly rails against wealthy tax cheats or those who use their wealth and standing to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

Now comes this report that Sharpton himself has a serious issue with the Internal Revenue Service.

Sharpton has fought back. He says he has paid down the bill, that he doesn’t owe as much as the NYT says he does.

Let’s wait for this thing to play out.

My advice for MSNBC, though, would be to take Sharpton off the air while this matter gets sorted out. Any time he speaks out against wealthy tax cheats is going to produce nothing but laughter across the land.