Tag Archives: taxes

Biden tax strategy makes sense

Joe Biden drew a few lines in the sand today with his budget proposal, but I want to look at just one of them with this brief post: tax policy.

The president has dared congressional Republicans to oppose his notion that those who earn $400,000 per year should pay more in taxes than those who earn less than that. Interestingly, that is the amount of money that Biden earns annually as president of the United States; that amount, plus first lady Jill Biden’s teaching salary and the assorted other income he receives puts him in the rich folks’ tax bracket.

Middle-class Americans won’t pay more in taxes, Biden said.

Fine. I’m all for that. As an American on a fixed income who makes a little scratch each year writing freelance articles for a weekly newspaper group and for a public radio station in North Texas, I don’t want to pay any more in taxes than I do already.

Too many uber-rich Americans perform the Houdini act of not paying taxes. Ditto for corporations, according to the president.

Joe Biden has positioned himself as being “for the average American” and has positioned his political foes — namely Republicans in Congress — as being in the corner of the “rich and powerful.”

Hmm. Which side am I going to take? Oh, wait! I am one of those average Americans for whom the president says he is fighting.


National crisis needs to produce national sacrifice

National crises have this way of producing national unity and a call for national sacrifice to deal forthrightly with the challenges that arrive at our doorstep.

It is being argued that tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of Americans might lose their jobs as the coronavirus pandemic strikes at us.

The nation has a shortage of testing equipment, of surgical masks, hospital beds, medicine, various household supplies essential to people’s daily lives.

Cities, counties and states are doing what they can to wage war against what Donald Trump has called “an invisible enemy.”

There must be a national response. One is developing, or so it seems, but it is being cobbled together on a piecemeal approach. The president went from dismissing the pandemic as a short-term matter to something vastly different.

National sacrifice? How does that manifest itself?

They’re talking about paying out sums of money to every American household. How do we afford that when our budget has acquired a debt of $22 trillion and when the annual federal budget deficit has zoomed past the trillion-dollar mark?

Here’s a thought: an increase in taxes.

If the nation is going to respond completely to battle this pandemic, then it must be able to pay for it. No one wants to pay more in taxes, but given the alternatives facing us at this moment, there might not be any way for our federal government — for which we already are footing the bill — to avoid leveling a greater tax burden on us all.

Someone has to pay for all that we need. If not us ā€¦ then who?

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


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.


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


U.S. Sen. Bernie SandersĀ 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 ReaganĀ 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


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.


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 progressiveĀ 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.