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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Starve the beast

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I was reminded this week that my father had an interesting definition of the political term liberal. According to him, "A 'liberal' is one who wants to spend the money that a 'conservative' earns." We have all been following the current machinations in Washington involving the President, the House and the Senate trying to raise the debt ceiling by raising taxes or lowering spending or some combination thereof. The liberals can see no problem raising taxes to afford their voracious spending habits. The conservatives have vowed to resist raising taxes and attempt to force the liberals to cut spending to meet the current debt limit. Drama!

For 12 years I had the honor of serving the public, eight years as County Commissioner and four years on City Council. Each of those years an annual budget was agonized over and a budget made with projected expenses not exceeding projected revenue. In only one of those budgets, the first one when I was new to the job and didn't know better, did I vote to increase the tax levy to meet the desired spending. As I remember we commissioners voted to raise the property tax levy from 30 cents to 301⁄2 cents to raise enough revenue to meet our needs. Raising taxes would have been easy as the statutory limit for counties is 50 cents on each $100 valuation and most counties in Nebraska are setting right on the 50 cent limit.

Our present U.S. Congress could take a lesson from our record as Commissioners led by Eldon Moore, Mr. Frugal. The City too has been good to hold the line on raising property taxes as they have kept their levy at a number less than the statutory limit except when they cheated by implementing a sales tax to generate more tax money to spend. That sales tax was of course approved by a majority vote of the citizens of McCook. Unfortunately not all who pay the sales tax were able to vote but that is a subject for another day.

Dad always seemed to have a beef with Sen. George Norris, the liberal Senator from McCook, for whom we just celebrated his 150th birthday. The celebration also marked the 75th Anniversary of REA the implementation of which brought electricity to rural citizens throughout America. It was Sen. Norris who believed that by spending from the vast treasury of the United States great projects, the systems of dams harnessed to produce electricity in the Tennessee Valley for example would benefit great numbers of citizens. Sen. Norris was proven correct in that the modernization of rural America produced great economic benefit that in turn generated tax revenue that more than returned to the treasury the large sums spent in building the required electrical infrastructure.

Similar investments, for example the Interstate Highway system, championed by President Eisenhower, have produced greater economic benefit and thence taxes that have more than repaid the tax money invested. Another example would be the Space initiatives through NASA by President Kennedy, grand projects with fantastic returns that have produced the high tech life that we take for granted today.

Money invested in defense, our superb military, is a horse of a different color. The defeat of the military conquests of Nazi German and Imperial Japan came at great cost but made the world safer for people to live in civil liberty. The designs of world conquest by the USSR were stymied through great expense in building up our own arms which in turn caused the USSR to spend itself broke into financial and then total collapse. Money spent for defense is vital but how much is a continuing problem.

Over the years liberal spending from the federal treasury took a different tact when it was realized that voters could be swayed to keep incumbents in office by spending in their home districts. Senator Robert Byrd earned a reputation as "king of pork" by steering vast sums to be spent in all sorts of projects in his home state of West Virginia. He died in office in 2010, one of the longest serving congressmen ever. Senator Byrd's lessons of using our money to fund his reelections were well learned, even by our own "conservative" Democrat Senator Ben Nelson, and "earmarks" are a significant part of any federal budget yet today.

In watching today's struggle to reach a compromise in spending that will necessitate raising the federal debt one has a hard time sorting out how much spending is necessary for the good of the country and how much is purely political so that President Obama and the Democrats can win reelection. Our federal bureaucracy has developed a voracious appetite for tax money and only through starving the beast can it be brought under control. Hopefully for our own economic well being, the conservatives will be able to hold the line and the constant increase in federal spending can be brought under control. One can always hope.

That is how I see it.

Dick Trail

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I guess we are right on track to forcing our country into the sewer pipe of bankruptcy, with the Pres, I guess today, enlightening us that all folk on Government funded retirement may well not receive an August check, all 70-million checks. I get the feeling someone wants to achieve a coup-de-Blah, quickly and 'throat cuttingly,' (pun intended). Social Security, and Veterans retirements were cited, but, sadly I must say, not one word about sending foreign aid to countries that have only one gain in life, the destruction of USA, no, they have not been threatened by the Prez, to lose their 'Dole-checks.'

Since I could rant for hours on what is happening, even when my studies of Bible Prophecy indicates this type of happenings will happen, I must admit to great frustration, even though I know that: """WE WIN""" I, for one, am very upset with both sides of the isle, Liberal and Conservative, but for different reasonings.

Did anyone notice that the negotiations for a 2-Trillion dollar cut-back, in savings, must take ten years to implement??? It only took a few weeks to implement each venue of increased spending, but no, we must withdraw from our addiction of spending, slowly so our toe-nails don't curl, or something like that.

How about: Quit Spending, and Shut down all spending other than that owed to our own peoples?? I would be remiss to suggest that we cease helping Israel, but that is the only outside nation we should be in support of, bar-none.

Oops, I was going to cease my rant, hmmm, would anyone mind if I took two or three weeks to slow down, so I don't suffer with-drawl, from my rant??

Please contact your Representative, and shout NO in their ear, NO, for NO-MORE!! Stop this. Take Congress, and our other administrative types, and place everyone on the same Social Security and Medicare coverage. Congress will then find the right course to follow, lemme tell-ya.

Sorry Dick, you say well, and I begin to blather, so I'm done.

In Service to Jesus.


-- Posted by Navyblue on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 7:09 PM

"Spending money a conservative earns"...well I only have one problem with this. The money that we're talking about is for the Americans who earns more than $250,000 a year, that receive many many many tax breaks, write offs, loop holes, etc. Why is the rich so against a flat tax, make everyone equal, no more loopholes? It's not a matter of a liberal wanting to raise taxes or take away the conservatives money, it's about what is fair for the NORMAL American who isn't priviledged, who works their butt off every day to put food on the table and have a roof over their heads.

I vote for FLAT TAX, stop the loopholes, benefits for the rich and help EVERY American instead of just the "special".

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 8:07 AM

Hey, little brother. A gentle reminder: Taxes are the price we pay for civilization. Furthermore, most of your income and the incomparable security you have enjoyed in your life have been paid for by taxes. Taxes paid by everyone, including the poorest of the poor in this country, through a blend of taxes on income, property, and consumption. I worked hard my whole life and raised up (pretty much single-handedly) three kids who are now wage-earning, tax-paying, contributing members of society. I reacted against the ultra-conservative strictures of my upbringing to become a proud, card-carrying liberal. Our Dad was wrong about a lot of things, not least the notion that only conservatives "earn." He was a man of his own time, and not more nor less prone to error than anyone else.

-- Posted by Virginia B Trail on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 9:52 AM

Oh yes, I paid and still pay taxes. Year in year out. No loopholes for me or any of the other working poor.

-- Posted by Virginia B Trail on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 9:55 AM

Rural, are you referring to a "fair tax"? In that each person pays a percentage, no matter their income level?

I think I'll only comment with regard to the property taxes collected in RW county. The benevolent councils don't have to levy taxes and continue to look good to the people as long as the assessors continue to do their jobs, right?

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 10:20 AM

It's basically White collar versus Blue collar...I'm with you Virginia! There shouldn't be a difference when paying taxes.

Speakez, I'm talking about one flat percentage tax regardless of the amount of income.

Ochosinco, the only reason why Obama has mentioned threats to social security is because Republicans won't compromise on their high and mighty income and give a little for the "common average American". The people who are initially are going to be hurt if something isn't compromised on is the elderly on social security because we won't have the money to pay their checks. Who's actual fault is that?

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 11:01 AM

Cuts should be made along with cutting out the tax loopholes for the rich.

I agree Republicans want cuts however they're also not willing to sacrifice the rich's benefits. Why should the normal American have to continue cutting back and the rich get richer because of their tax breaks?

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 11:50 AM

ochostinko types faster then he thinks apperently

-- Posted by president obama on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 12:31 PM

HAHAHAHA, exactly bigdawg! No, the rich that Obama is wanting to increase taxes on is above $250,000. How many people do you know in rural areas make that? I want everyone taxed (including myself) equally. I don't get tax breaks because I give money to special interest groups, I don't get tax breaks because I have more than one company. I work 60 hours a week trying to make sure my family have food and shelter and a decent life. I don't make $250,000 but I do have a good life because I budget, I don't take from nor do I take advantage of the government.

In the other post, I didn't say that teachers don't deserve a raise. I said that if a teacher isn't doing their job, why should they get the same raise as another teacher who is? Paying taxes is different that getting a raise. If you make $250,000 and pay a 5% flat tax, it's exactly the same as me making $40,000 and paying 5% flat tax. We are all taxed equally.

No I'm not making this a class war but it sure seems like the government (Republicans and Democrats) are pushing towards that. Most "rich" people are white collar...most average American have blue collar jobs that work their butts off for what they deserve.

Just an opinion.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 1:18 PM

By the way, spending when you can't afford it is stupid...Boy did I just agree with ochosinco? Wow! Anyway, the government should agree to cut the budget, flat tax everyone to make it equal and live within their means. WHY CAN'T BOTH SIDES AGREE TO THAT?

Also, Obama is only warning us about not paying seniors and vets because that is what is going to happen if the government can't come to an agreement on the budget. That is not what he is proposing permantly. Who do you think pays for the seniors and the vets? It's the people who are making less than $250,000...the rich don't care!

Make an agreement that cuts spending, taxes fairly and we'll all get along!

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 1:22 PM

flat tax would be o.k. with me. btw, has anyone heard the anointed one say anything about government employees (especially congress, judiciary and executive branches) not getting their pay?

-- Posted by doodle bug on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 2:10 PM

Does anyone really think we have a tax income problem??? Or Americans as a whole are NOT taxed enough??? What we have here is a spending (government) problem.

-- Posted by remington81 on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 3:36 PM

Tax income problem has been around for years. There just hasn't been anyone bold enough to put a stop to the rich loopholes. Yes, there is a spending problem...for years and under many presidents. However, the government would have enough money if EVERYONE was treated equally and taxed equally!

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 3:42 PM

$45,000 last year and I am spending it wisely and saving is wisely for my and my family's future. I've cut spending personally, why can't the government! Give me a very good reason why someone making $250,000 should pay 5% versus me paying 5%. It works out to be the same! What's wrong with that? Obviously ochosinco, you're worried for a reason. Good for you that you make alot of money. Who cares? I live within my means, pay taxes and do just fine. Why can't the rich live within their means by paying the same amount of taxes?

The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal. well then why can't we all be treated equal in taxes? There is no rob Peter to pay Paul...it's called equalization not communism!

And for your information, I'm a registered Republican however don't always agree with the conservative views so don't pull the "liberal" name on me.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 4:08 PM

I pay my taxes. The people over $250,00 seem to get out of paying taxes. Is that fair?

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 8:18 PM

I don't know man. When did it become okay be jealous of how much another man makes? When did it become okay to determine how much is "too much"? I think I am probably biased in the same way that those who feel that everyone considered "filthy rich" is getting away with "tax loopholes". I don't make anywhere near $250,000, but I have seen the results of small businesses being able to put actual cash back into the pockets of their employees because of those terrible tax cuts. ACTUAL CASH! I recognize the need to pay taxes. I am willing to do so. However, we cannot punish success in this country. In addition, with the continued burden of the ever-growing population and greed of the government, we cannot expect the same number of tax payers to sustain that growing burden. Did I say that right? Correct me if I am wrong. Who are we to say that one man needs to pay more because he is more successful? Stop the ridiculous spending like ocho said, like rural agreed.

Rural, I'll agree with you here and save posting on the other story. We have teachers here (and in other schools across the state and country) who have found a way to get by calling themselves teachers and doing very little for it. I agree to an extent that there should be some merit to it, but there is some limitation and qualification to my statement. I know there are teachers who do very little in the classroom and then call themselves coaches and leaders of national honor society but do nothing at any of the jobs and getting paid more for it. The problem we have is that there is no actual fair way to judge the teachers who are working hard in the classroom because we have administrator bias in each separate school. Another "test" won't solve the problem either. If you give the kids tests, the teachers will teach to the tests.

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 9:25 PM

Rural - the entitlement programs (Soc Sec, Medicare etc) are separate from the issue of the debt ceiling. The checks WILL go out no matter what either side on Capitol Hill decides to do.

I notice you keep talking about taxing the "rich" (people who earn over 250k) and getting rid of the "loopholes".

Did it ever occur to you that in this very region, there are hundreds of families that make over 250k annually. The fact is, there expenses and their payrolls gobble up quite a bit of the money that they make; but because they had an income of that amount or more; they must report it. I'm talking about local farm families.

Do you know what it takes to run a business? Have you ever had to provide payroll for an employee, and also try to provide benefits? Let alone the overhead of equipment, materials, office space, etc. Many families who are NOT farmers file their taxes for their businesses on a personal form. This makes it look like the 'individual' made out like a bandit. That being said, their reward for their risk should be generous. There is nothing wrong with profits.

Finally, the tax loopholes that you speak of are legal. Is your mortgage deduction a loophole? You bet, but I'll bet you aren't interested in giving that up. So why should other people be penalized because they make their living differently than you?

Obama is the mastermind for the mess we're in now; and he should be held accountable in terms of losing his bid for a contract renewal next year. I sincerely hope that people remember that we can make something of ourselves, instead of relying on government to hand us our livliehood.

-- Posted by Mickel on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 10:23 PM

Mikel said "Obama is the mastermind for the mess"... The president only signs legislation, and proposes it, but he never passes it through the congress, so how is it Obama's fault?

Ocho - What about "Read My Lips, No New Taxes" Bush? Not Bush bashing, only pointing out that Bush recognized that spending has to match income. For you to say "ITS THE SPENDING, NOT THE TAXING, STUPID!!!!" seems based on oversimplification and "conservative talking points" of a very complex issue in reality.

I invite you take a look at how income is distributed in this country... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_in...

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 8:34 AM

Please don't put words in my mouth ocho, and you have no argument other than to bring up my tooth fairy friend?

I have not advocated blank check spending as you imply, and I'm not a fan of redistribution of wealth either. My point is good sir that this country has had a spending problem for a long time. You correctly point out that borrowing to pay interest payments is foolish... I could not agree with you more.

However, even the worlds 3rd richest and pretty well respected guy in these parts says you are wrong about taxing the rich ocho... http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes...

Just Warren Buffet sayin'

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 9:25 AM


Please watch!!!!!!!!!!


-- Posted by remington81 on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 9:44 AM

Very interesting comment there ocho... you ARE saying that Warren wants higher taxes for the rich because it will benefit Warren? I doubt that logic frankly, and I think he has a better handle on the economy and taxation than you do.

I've seen that video remington81... all good points.

You prove my point very well thank you... that there is no simple answer. The rich say tax us, liberals say tax the rich, conservatives say cut SS and Medicaid and don't tax the rich as they create jobs. Cut this, cut that, spend here, spend there...

Now which is it really? I don't know, I'm pretty sure you don't have a better clue either in reality. But incessent attacks isn't solving anything, everybody in Congress has an agenda and that doesn't seem to include the well being of our country or we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

I say, until we have term limits, we're doomed no matter who is running the show.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 10:27 AM

Sorry ocho... I overlooked one of your posts above...

The only reason I brought up income distribution is for general information. I found it interesting that a figure for incomes of over $100,000 is not even listed separately. It completely backs up your and remington81's point about tax for high income people not being enough to make up for our budget woes.

I'm all for cutting expenses, Lord knows that! But I also think we're ALL gonna have to pay more stupid tax to get out of a situation where over 40% of our income goes to interest payments and going up each and every second.

Stupid tax because we voted 'em in, and don't get rid of 'em.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 10:46 AM

As I said ocho... the prez doesn't pass the budget, so put the blame where it should be.

BTW - If I wrong with my statemnt about what you said about Warren... I appologize.

And my reference to Buffet in no way says that I endorce the man, just pointing out that at least some of the rich feel very differently than you!

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 10:54 AM

Funny thing is ochosinco is that this "stupid spending" started a long time ago BEFORE Obama! No one has ever had the balls to stop it before it got out of hand. Who bailed out WallStreet before he left office? The WallStreet that screwed millions of people. That's what I thought.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 11:27 AM

Love this line from your citation...

"Spending: budgeted guesstimated estimated"

WTF??? Just kiddin' around now.

I've always gotten your point I think ocho. I don't always agree with every one you make.

Where I come from, having a zero negative cash flow is pretty important. I expect that my government would think likewise but that has not been the reality. Playing games with the public treasure is coming to a head, and I think the public is going to have to pay for their past transgressions of voting for the guy that gives them what they want and not what they need.

Since the debt belongs to us all, I figure all of us owes. Now if higher taxes are tied to reduction of spending, that's the way I'd run my family... wouldn't you? I'd think if you got yourself into a financial issue, you would cut your costs, and get a second job to recover from your situation as quickly as possible. Bite the bullet for a while so to speak and do what is necessary to make it right.

Look, I realize we're talking about the government here, so we as responsible voters need to take charge if we want to right the ship.

Your argument based on past experience with our government and it's spending habits should be a warning to us all. I'm afraid the ship sinks this way, but damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

So to actually answer your question of "how stupid"... perhaps very if congress doesn't do what it needs to and quits playing games with our treasure. I'm optomistic I know, but I expect the congress to do the right things somehow.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 11:55 AM

got a funny in my email the other day. hope you all like it as well as i did.

Met a fairy today that said she would grant me one wish.

"I want to live forever," I said.

"Sorry," said the fairy, "I'm not allowed to grant wishes like that!"

"Fine," I said, "then I want to die after Congress gets their heads out of their asses!"

"You crafty bastard," said the fairy

-- Posted by doodle bug on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 12:12 PM

Based on past performance of OUR government, I'd say your outlook has plenty of support ocho.

So PLEASE tell me...

How do you stop "more of it all"?

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 12:22 PM

DB - That's gonna be a classic!

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 12:23 PM

Not pointing fingers? Well, I believe Ocho, that you've established the fact that Republicans know it all and Obama is stupid and to blame for all this mess. Wow, that's intelligent! All Obama is TRYING to do is make is fair for everyone. I could care less whether I make $45K or $250K. I have everything I need, I want and am extremely happy with my family and surroundings. I just want it fair all across the board. Is that too much to ask?

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 3:57 PM

ochostinko types faster then he thinks

-- Posted by president obama on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 7:01 PM

bigdawg, it should be "than"

-- Posted by speak-e-z on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 7:30 PM

BigDawg may be correct, he types, then he thinks?

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 4:29 PM

Recent quotes from Senator Al Franken discussing if tax cuts generate revenue as Republicans often claim.

"But there is no evidence that that works. In 1993, when we had something called the Deficit Reduction Package, President Clinton said, 'let's raise the top two levels' [a 2% tax increase for the top earning 1% of Americans]. Every Republican voted against it, every single one. It passed by one vote in the House and one vote in the Senate. Every Republican, well not every Republican, but every Republican who said anything said this will cause a recession."

"It worked. We had the longest period of uninterrupted expansion of our economy in our history when we increased the marginal rate on the people at the top. So it worked. And not only that, but it turned a record deficit into a record surplus, which he took from one Bush, a record deficit, and turned it over to the next Bush, a record surplus."

"Five days after George W. Bush became president, Alan Greenspan testified to the Senate Budget Committee, and said 'we are in danger of paying off our national debt too fast. We have a projected $5 trillion surplus going into the next ten years and we very well may pay off the debt too fast, the federal government is in danger of having too much money.' He said, what would happen as a result of that is, we will have to take our excess money and invest it into private equities and that could disrupt the market."

Well, we all know how that turned out - the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

It is past time to reinstate some taxes and close some tax loopholes.

-- Posted by Geezer on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 8:35 PM

I forgot to include my source of information for the above post.


Sorry about that!!

-- Posted by Geezer on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 5:55 AM

thank you grammer police

-- Posted by president obama on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 11:25 AM

I'll go along Geezer as soon as you pony up your dough to back up your talk.

Hmmm, maybe it wasn't such a good idea afterall.

-- Posted by Mickel on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 1:38 PM

And Geezer, besides the 01 & 03 tax cuts old George the 2nd gave us, he starts the Iraq war that has added trillions to the deficit. The first time any tax cuts were made during a time of war.

Many people also like to forget that the expendicures for the Iraq war were supplemental expendicures, not part of the budget, under Bush.

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Mon, Jul 18, 2011, at 8:41 PM

Funny - I thought radical islamist started the "Iraq War" and congress approved our engagement in it.

-- Posted by Mickel on Mon, Jul 18, 2011, at 10:20 PM

But Mickel you forget the tons of false information that Bush and his chicken hawk buddies spoon fed congress and the public.

If the true purpose of the war as Bush professed, was to take down the evil Sadamm, a few million dollars paid to a sharp shooter would have done the same thing and saved thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars.

Little details indeed.

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Fri, Jul 29, 2011, at 9:10 AM

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Dick Trail
The Way I Saw It