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I'm Sick and Tired
of being Sick and Tired
By Michael Fredrickson

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of General Manager Michael Fredrickson. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Names can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

 
Reader says “Give me a break - we’re not dumb”

I had a very informative column on my opinion of the economy all ready to publish this week however, I got this very long letter from a reader that illustrates the threat to capitalism and free markets.

Mr. Michael Fredrickson,

Give me a break and give the residents of this area a break. We are not as dumb as you apparently think. A lot of us know the truth about both McCain and Obama’s tax plan. And, c’mon, Obama is not a socialist!!!! Calling Obama a “socialist” simply isn’t logical but just another red baiting or fear tactic of the GOP.

I detest conservatives throwing around the words “socialism” when it comes to Obama as much as I get angry when liberals toss around the word “fascist” when describing Palin. It bespeaks a lack of knowledge of what socialism and fascism represent as well as an ignorance of simple definitions.

Obama will not set up a government agency to plan the economy. He will not, require businesses to meet targets for production. He will not outlaw profit. He will not nationalize industries. He may not be as attached completely to the free market as a conservative but he does not want to get rid of it either. He wants to regulate it; which currently is being sought by both Democrats and Republicans alike. Both parties have come to the realization that deregulation went too far.

He wants to mitigate some of the effects of the market when people lose. This is just typical Democratic party liberalism not radical socialism. Barack Obama, like John McCain, is very much a ‘politician’ as usual, fully committed to the continuation of the capitalist system. I also think it’s hard for McCain to call Obama a socialist when President Bush is nationalizing banks.

Obama is certainly not looking to overthrow capitalism. My goodness, he wouldn’t have the support of someone like Warren Buffet, if he truly was going to overthrow capitalism. Right now, with the economy in the tank, the idea of a little wealth sharing doesn’t sound so bad to people whose 401k plans are tanking, to people who are on the cusps of losing their job, or to people about to lose their home. The idea of closing that wealth gap, I think, is a concern for many Americans and is nothing to new to the American political system or to the millions of faithful in our country.

Obama wants nothing more than to reverse the cuts for wealthy Americans that John McCain opposed when they were first enacted. And, we’re only talking about the top 4-6% of our country; 95% do get a break. There are lots of tax calculators and charts online where people can see how much money they’d get back under both McCain and Obama’s plans.

Basically, if you make under $112,000.00 you’ll get significantly more money back under Obama’s plan. And, married couples making $200,000.00 do get a tax decrease; not an increase like you said. It is at that dollar point where McCain and Obama’s tax breaks are almost identical.

There is also less national debt with Obama’s plan then with McCain’s plan. Middle class families get bigger tax breaks under Obama where the upper class or the richest get the bigger tax breaks under McCain. Obama is also not changing the current corporate tax rate. There are tons of economic analyses of both plans and the truth speaks for itself—Obama’s plan is not socialistic at all, the middle class really do get a break and quite substantial compared to McCain’s plan.

I don’t know too many people who make above $250,000 individually or jointly. And the one’s I know wouldn’t mind if their taxes went up a little if it would in the end mean better for all of us. Plus these individuals already know about lots of tax loop holes and could donate more to charity to get their income lower for their taxes. The tax rates proposed for the wealthy (top 5%) under Obama’s plan are still lower than they would have been if nothing was done after the current tax breaks expire.

Heather Hahn

My response to Heather

First and foremost, thank you for reading my column and taking the time to respond however, you did not even respond to the basic premise of my column (see archives online at www.fortbendstar.com Sick and Tired Oct. 22, 2008). Do you believe the purpose of our tax code is to give a tax refund to people that don’t pay income taxes.

Mr. Obama has said that 95% of “working families” will receive a tax cut under his tax plan. The media has not corrected him by pointing out that 50% of tax filers do not pay income taxes therefore how can 95% get refunds?

Just in case you missed it - people that don’t pay federal income taxes will be getting a check and as in my example, a $1,000 check and Mr. Obama is calling this a TAX CUT!! It is not. He has fooled tons of people with this RIDICULOUS claim of 95% of working families, blah, blah, blah. Every Obama supporter I know argues with me that my example isn’t true. Then when I am proven correct they change their argument and insist that they will not get an increase (don’t hold your breath). Never will they just call it what it is - wealth redistribution, which is a basic tenet of socialism.

He stated on a video shown repeatedly... ‘I don’t want to punish your success, I just want to make sure those behind you get the same opportunity’ (whaaaat?) and he said... ‘I just want to spread the wealth around’. This is NOT the purpose of our tax code.

I would just like to make sure that EVERYBODY is pulling the wagon period. I don’t care how much you make EVERYBODY should be pulling the cart. The only people “in the cart” should be the handicapped, infirm and/or people that cannot work, etc. As I wrote in my column, the lowest 50% of wage earners do not pay any of the federal income tax burden (their total is actually like 3%) while the upper 50% of wage earners pay all the income tax burden (actually like 97%). This is a very dangerous proportion. According to the Houston Chronicle about 46 million tax returns filed in 2006 paid no income taxes. If every one of these filers received just the average $500 “tax refund” Obama will spends $23 billion of our money buying votes.

By the way, Bush (and the democrat controlled Congress) has NOT nationalized any bank! Also you say both parties realized that deregulation went too far. Exactly what regulation was deregulated? Please tell me. I would like to know. I hear the leftstream media bandy that about all the time but no one has explained what it was.

I watched a 20-minute segment on 60 minutes and most of the one-hour special on Fox News Channel about the sub-prime/financial meltdown. Both of these segments seemed to blame the lack of any regulation to begin with of mortgage-backed-securities and the sellers ability to use some kind of “credit default swap” instead of real insurance as well as the lack of due diligence of a 3+ inches thick securities prospectus.

As far as Warren Buffet - he has an angle. He always does. I don’t respect an investor that pushes for higher inheritance taxes when that investor benefits from heirs that have to liquidate company equity and/or ownership (according to the Wall Street Journal) to pay inheritance taxes and that company is sold at a discount.

Finally - everybody I know, no matter how much they earn, doesn’t think “it will be any better for ALL of us” if the government takes money away from taxPAYERS to give to a college/high school kid making minimum wage. How exactly does that make it better for you and me?

By my calculation, with gasoline approximately $1.50 per gallon cheaper than six months ago, American consumers are keeping about $600 million more PER DAY to spend elsewhere. This is the biggest boom to our economy that EVERYBODY benefits from and dwarfs any one-time tax refund.

I really like your point about giving to charity. However, you fail to mention a “little” thing in the tax code called the Alternative Minimum Tax which actually decreases any incentive (tax liability reduction) to give more to charity. Please tell the government to decrease my taxes so I can give to more charities (see Sick and Tired archives March 26, 2008).

 

Michael Fredrickson is the General Manager of the Fort Bend/Southwest Star. He can be reached at michael@fortbendstar.com.

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   Last Update:  December 03, 2008