3/27/09

The Post now goes through the Website (we are now located at squarewon.org).

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So far, the Congress and the Federal Reserve have bailed out:

  • Bear Stearns
  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • AIG (multiple times)
  • Citigroup
  • GM
  • Chrysler
  • Bank of America
  • The States (see: Gov. Mark Sanford, R-SC; Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-LA; et al.)
  • Amtrak
  • Everybody and their dad

Now, the discussion has come to newspapers and the US Postal Service.  Pretty soon, we’ll be asking who hasn’t had a bailout.  Rather than letting bad businesses fail, we’d rather throw cash at them and hope that their business models and/or practices magically transform into profitable ones.   This is otherwise known as “wishful thinking.”

In Obamaspeak, however, “wishful thinking” is the same thing as “investment.” Much like his “tax cuts” which were actually naked income redistribution, these “investments” are actually just cash given to enterprises in which no individual in their right mind would invest.  Generally speaking, we used to call this “corporate welfare.”

So while we’re at it, I have a few suggestions for industries that need bailouts (excuse me, “investments”), all of which have seen massive losses in the past few years and are in danger of collapse:

  • 8-track tape makers
  • Betamax production lines
  • Telegraph operators
  • Typewriter factories
  • Analog TV companies
  • Horse-drawn carriage drivers
  • Milkmen

Or, we could just save ourselves a lot of money and let the market work like it’s supposed to.  What are your suggested industries for bailout?

One of President Obama’s campaign promises- one that was greatly celebrated by the bleeding hearts- was to raise taxes on those families making over $250,000 in income. The outcome of the 2008 election shows that this was clearly a popular plan. Liberal class warfare is accepted by liberals and moderates alike (and even some conservatives) because most people, even most highly educated people, do not know where they stand, statistically, or even how the graduated income tax works. While it’s worthwhile to debate how much is Leftish wealth redistribution, Obama’s proposals can really be put into perspective by examining actual tax statistics that are provided by the Internal Revenue Service. For those of you who are tax professionals or have studied the subject, this is probably no surprise to you. However, it is our responsibility as American citizens to understand the system by which the government claims our income, and it our duty to share our knowledge with our fellow taxpayers. Here are the facts:

The IRS administers a progressive income tax, meaning that higher income dollars are taxed at a higher rate. A policeman who earns $50,000 a year pays the same amount of tax on his $50,000 income as does the doctor who earns $200,000 a year. However, the doctor will pay a higher rate on his income from $50,000 to $75,000, and a still higher rate on dollars from $75,000 to $100,000, and so on. This sets up a system in which the more the doctor works, the less he is “paid” for his work after taxes are taken out. Perhaps the next time you cannot get an appointment because your doctor has chosen to take the afternoon off, you should blame the graduated tax system.

The statistics tell of an even more insidious effect. The top 50% of earners shoulder 97% of the tax burden, meaning that the bottom 50% of earners pay about 3% of all taxes. To be in the top 50% of earners, a person need only make $30,881. Furthermore, the bottom 50%, in addition to paying almost none of the tax, are the citizens likely to be receiving government benefits (retirees, welfare moms, disabled people). Not only do these people get a free ride, but we’re paying them to take it.

In 2005, the most recent year for which such statistics are available, total individual income tax collected was $934,703,000,000 and the average tax rate was 12.45%. The statistics are compiled by return, meaning that a married couple is treated as one entity (so if the income is $40,000, this includes unmarried individuals who make $40,000 as well as couples for whom the combined income is $40,000). Also, the income amounts, in dollars, are pre-tax dollars (meaning that taxes are paid out of this amount).

• The top 1% of income earners paid an average tax rate of 23.13%.
• The top 5% paid an average tax rate of 20.78%.
• The top 10% paid 18.84%.
• The top 25% paid 15.86%.
• The top 50% paid 13.84%.
• Keep in mind that the top 50% rate includes and is averaged with the top 1% rate. So someone in the 50th percentile actually pays less than 13.84%, because his rate is averaged with the higher rates of those who earn more.

What is truly ridiculous is that the share of income that each group earns does not line up with the corresponding share of the taxes that the group pays. While the top earners do have a larger share of income, they pay a share of taxes grossly out of proportion with that income.

• The top 1% of earners claimed 21.20% of all income but paid 39.38% of the total income tax. These earners paid a share of tax equal to almost double their share of income.
• The top 5% of income earners made 35.75% of the income, but paid 59.67% of the taxes.
• The top 10% of earners got 46.44% of total income earned by individuals, but paid 70.30% of taxes.
• The top 25% of earners had 67.52% of the income but paid 85.99% of the taxes.
• The top 50% of earners claimed 87.17% of total income but paid 96.93% of the taxes.
• The bottom 50% of earners claimed 12.83% of income but paid only 3.07% of income taxes. People in this category were also significantly more likely to be receiving government benefits (getting money back from the government).

Liberals like to say that the “rich” get more income so they should be taxed more. The Left loves to write about taxing “the rich,” but “the rich” is a class they leave largely undefined. The statistics below show that “the rich” is not limited to those people featured by Robin Leech on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, but “the rich” actually encompasses much of the middle class.

• To be in the top 1% of income earners, a taxpayer need only earn $364,657. A person in the top 1% will pay an average tax rate of 23.13% of his income (almost 1 out of every $4 goes to pay income tax).
• An income of only $145,000 qualifies one to be in the top 5% of income earners.
• The top 25% of income earners includes those people who make $62,068 per year. These earners pay 85.99% of all income taxes.
• To be in the top 50% of earners, one need earn only $30,881.
• To really put this in perspective, a person in the top 50% of earners, but not in the top 25% of earners, makes between $30,881 and $62,067 dollars per year and pays 10.94% of all taxes.

So what’s the point of all of these numbers? Basically, it’s to show that the vast majority of the “rich” to whom the Left refers are not business tycoons with houses on every continent or Paris Hiltons who shop at Gucci and live for the next fashion show. The “rich” are people who have nice house that’s by no means a mansion. The “rich” are people who work hard every day. The “rich” are people for whom raising the tax rate a “mere” 2% may seriously compromise their ability to send their children to the college of their choice or to obtain a necessary medical procedure that their insurance does not cover. The “rich” is you.

Statistics can be found at: http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/indtaxstats/article/0,,id=133521,00.html

For Part I, Click Here.

For Part II, Click Here.

In the last segment, Part II, I explained the legal justification on why Prop 8 is fine. As I ended the article, I wrote about freedom. By way of a good transition into this topic, here is a small recap.

A well-intentioned by sadly misled commenter on the Part I column suggested that freedom’s “blessings,” as referenced in the California Constitution, was open for defining, and surely opposed to Prop 8, which tells folks who engage in homosexual behavior that they can’t “marry” a person of the same sex. It goes against this freedom, the commenter argues.

What is freedom? If I’m from Alice’s world, the “Wonderland,” that she found through the mirror, then “freedom’s” up for grabs. Like Humpty Dumpty said to her, freedom can mean “just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” What if it’s “freedom to the contrary?” That would be like me suddenly wanting to change into a turnip. Surely no, we don’t have that. Or me suddenly wanting the ability to fly like a bird. No, again. So freedom is limited to smaller choices, those within as set of boundaries.

Can I decide that when I want to walk off a high cliff, I can choose not to follow gravity? No, again. The Law of Gravity [and the absence of an airplane or wings] determines the consequences of my choices. So freedom is basically a description of choices, but yet these choices are inherently bound by rules to a certain set of consequences. So let’s say that my benevolent benefactor gives me a car. I’m free to put anything in the gas tank to make it go. Water, Sugar, Flour—those are all good ingredients in cake that make me go, so why not try it? Because, again, choices are bound by rules to a certain set of consequences. Gasoline is the appropriate fuel. And it would break the gift given to my by my benevolent benefactor, the gift-giver, to attempt otherwise.

So, even if one takes “freedom” to be an all-out, anything-goes, willy-nilly, rebellion against what another calls “norms,” the choices you make will be bound by rules to a certain set of consequences, no matter what you want inside. It is those negative consequences, like putting sugar in the gas tank, which the people of California wish to avoid by having Prop 8, to perpetuate the blessings of freedom and not stop the “car” of marriage, given by the more than benevolent benefactor, God.

But the question then follows, “What are the rules” relating to marriage which justify traditional marriage? Well, for Prop 8, it’s pretty clear: Marriages are only between people of the opposite sex. Why? For good public consequences. No doubt there are same-sex friends, even homosexual couples, who have great private interests in staying together, for reasons platonic or intimate. But those reasons are not sufficient as a basis for public law. The important distinction is that we find out how traditional marriage works publicly—its public consequences, to defend Prop 8. And the opponents need to show how their unions are equal to or better in order to justify public inclusion of same-sex marriage.

In the context of freedom, granting the relativists all their self-doubt, we’ll proceed to see what justifications exist for traditional marriage, hoping to see that there are proven reasons. Here are some basic justifications for Prop 8, ones that show its public consequences superior to that of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, and ones that produce a certain set of good consequences: (These are from an article by Lynn Wardle in 24 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 177 (2001) so doubters can look up the stats and references there before challenging these.)

  • safe sexual relations, responsible procreation, and optimal child rearing: These three function best within a heterosexual union. The state has a definite interest to ensure that people who can procreate are committed to each other and stand on that commitment; the nearly two decade dependency of children (until age 18) requires that the state help guide procreative activity into something with legal consequence. Traditional marriage, by encouraging monogamy, also discourages rampant sexual activity and thus transmission of STD’s via the procreative acts necessary to physically perpetuate society. Also, traditional marriage tends to encourages men to be responsible fathers, tying them to their children rather than fostering irresponsible procreation from men not intending to become fathers. Over 30% of all children were born out of marriage in 1996 according to the US Census Bureau, and had increased risks in juvenile delinquency, crime, educational failures, poverty, and welfare distress. These are huge public reasons for promoting traditional marriage. Homosexual acts can’t touch on the procreative aspects and thus can’t justify being included as public good.
  • healthy human development: children raised outside of traditional marriage have a higher risk for child abuse, sexual abuse, and life-threatening violence. Mother’s boyfriends perform about 2% of child care, but are nationally responsible for over 50% of child abuse. This statistic would only increase, as natural parents, while not immune to committing child abuse, have been found far less likely to commit child abuse than their non-biological counterparts. In homosexual marriage, a child is, from the get-go, determined to be absent a parent of one sex and necessarily forced to live with a non-biological adult who is far more likely, based on research, to abuse or neglect that child.  And the fact that abuse does occur in mixed gender parenting relationships doesn’t argue for the opposite.  You can’t take the worst example in one case and pit it against the best of another case.  So the argument for same-sex marriage from a human development standpoint can’t rise to the level of a public good, whereas traditional marriage can.

And so, which consequences do we want, publicly? Like our current economy, in which printing gobs of money sounds good but has bad consequences like guaranteed inflation, we will be bound to the consequences of the decision. Same-sex supports sound good, but, like Wardle writes, the “bill for the exciting adult adventure of opening new frontiers of sexual liberation and experiencing, [through a reversal of Prop 8], the thrill of social endorsement of new relations would be paid by the next generation. Advocates of same-sex marriage would balance the accounts on the backs of children—not just those who would grow up in same-sex homes, but all children who would grow up in a society in which social support for responsible procreation, dual gender parenting, and the linkage between procreation and child rearing had diminished.”

Surely the above reasons are not so wholly unreasonable—concerning only the public concerns of marriage, not the emotional, self-esteem driven private concerns—that Prop 8 supporters are unjustified in their opinions. They simply want to operate within the rules that govern the “freedom” of relationships and find the good consequences, consequences put in place by the author of marriage, God, and rules that, if broken, will break society, preventing Californians as well as others from perpetuating the blessings of freedom as claimed by the preamble of their Constitution.

Orwellian Newspeak has been thrust upon us by the new administration. For those of you who either don’t remember your summer reading from high school or chose not to read it at all, “Newspeak” was the means by which George Orwell, in his novel 1984, demonstrated the power of an oppressive regime’s control over dialogue and thus thoughts. The novel describes newspeak as “the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year.”

Language is the key to our very understanding. Studies have shown that most people think and contemplate by using a running dialogue in their head. Through the manipulation of the language that is used in the marketplace of ideas one can essentially control the parameters of any discussion. Essentially, the words used to describe the thought controls the thought. Here’s a quick refresher on Newspeak.

The basic idea behind Newspeak is to remove all shades of meaning from language, leaving simple dichotomies (pleasure and pain, happiness and sadness, goodthink and crimethink) which reinforce the total dominance of the State. Similarly, Newspeak root words served as both nouns and verbs, which allowed further reduction in the total number of words; for example, “think” served as both noun and verb, so the word thought was not required and could be abolished. A staccato rhythm of short syllables was also a goal, further reducing the need for deep thinking about language. (See duckspeak.) Successful Newspeak meant that there would be fewer and fewer words – dictionaries would get thinner and thinner.

In addition, words with opposite meanings were removed as redundant, so “bad” became “ungood”. Words with comparative and superlative meanings were also simplified, so “better” became “gooder”, and “best” likewise became “goodest”. Intensifiers could be added, so “great” became “plusgood”, and “excellent” and “splendid” likewise became “doubleplusgood”. Adjectives were formed by adding the suffix “-ful” to a root word (e.g., “goodthinkful”, orthodox in thought), and adverbs by adding “-wise” (“goodthinkwise”, in an orthodox manner). In this manner, as many words as possible were removed from the language. The ultimate aim of Newspeak was to reduce even the dichotomies to a single word that was a “yes” of some sort: an obedient word with which everyone answered affirmatively to what was asked of them

The new administration has instituted at least two instances of Newspeak principles in the first 60 days. First, the administration has decided that we will no longer refer to terrorist attacks as such. They now fall under the category of “man made disasters.” How reassuring. Under the Obama administration we can be certain will be free of terror attacks. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services describes man made disasters as follows: “Man-made disasters are events which, either intentionally or by accident cause severe threats to public health and well-being. Because their occurrence is unpredictable, man-made disasters pose an especially challenging threat that must be dealt with through vigilance, and proper preparedness and response.” In fact, Janet Napolitano, the Head of Homeland Security, now refuses to use the words terrorism or terrorist threats. She calls their use part of the old “politics of fear.” By eliminating the use of the word “terrorism” the administration seeks to transform attacks on U.S. sovereignty from acts of war to merely unpredictable events similar to those caused by nature in the form of hurricanes or floods. Man made disasters “feel” much more palatable than terror. I know I feel safer now.

Further, the Obama administration had decided to no longer use the term “enemy combatant” instead substituting it with the term “detainee.” The Obama administration is seeking to sanitize an unsavory ingredient in combat, that of the enemy. It appears that under the new administration there will be no acknowledgment that the US actually has enemies. Individuals seeking to seek and destroy this nation are merely regular old gents hoping to be the source of man made disasters. Perhaps we should give this a try with the economy as well. Referring to the current state of the economy as “doubleplusungood” is sure to boost consumer confidence.

SquareWON.org is pleased to announce our first event – a Tax Day Tea Party. This “Tea Party” is in the tradition of the Boston Tea Party, a protest of taxation, and is a national phenomenon…these events will be happening simultaneously all over the country!

But we’ve got something more at ours…

Free Pork! Sausage that is, courtesy of our sponsor, the MONROE SAUSAGE COMPANY!!!

We’re proud to be the EXCLUSIVE host in Tuscaloosa, AL (the current base of operations for SquareWON). We definitely need your help! All Students, Residents, pretty much anyone who thinks we are taxed too much, come out to the Quad, in the heart of the University of Alabama’s campus, for this event…TO THIS CIVIL, FAMILY FRIENDLY EVENT.

We’ll be on the Quad on April 15th from 5:00-7:30 (so the hardworking citizens can attend after work and before church events).

So come out and let’s make a statement that will be heard in Washington, DC!

DON’T FORGET: RSVP on the Facebook Event Page and note that you’re coming!

- SquareWON Team

Tonight I read one of the most powerful and, I believe, historical articles I have read that has been written in my lifetime. I will get to it in a moment, but first, let’s go over the background.

As many of us readers now know, Father Jenkins, President of Notre Dame, elected to welcome President Barack Obama to his university, even after the Council of Bishops instructed that no honor be given a Pro-Abortion leader.

The backlash has been nothing more than miraculous.

In the last two days, a Petition to un-invite Obama has become a nation-wide movement. Today the petition grew by nearly 60,000 signatures, almost reaching 100k (link to petition at the bottom of this article). This astounding feet has now been supported with a momentous and powerful letter by Bishop D’Arcy. To understand why this is such a big deal, you’ve really needed to be following American Catholicism…so I’ll give you some insight.

In the past forty years, many of the Priests and Bishops have either been silent, slow to move, or actually on the wrong side (the opposite side of the Church…so the wrong side especially for them) of social issues. Popular slogans like “What about the Death Penalty?” have been used to defend voting for what is a non-negotiable issue: the issue of abortion (vs. the Death Penalty, which is a prudential issue, and permitted under some circumstances, as Thomas Aquinas and Augustine so say…abortion is intrinsically evil). Unfortunately, we who have been championing dignity of every person have been somewhat missing the big guns, that being the Bishops…until recently.

Enter champions like Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham and Bishop Chaput of Denver. These guys come to play ball, along with several others. But what just happened with Bishop D’Arcy, perhaps an extremely difficult decision, was HUGE, because he in effect publicly chastised the University that is supposed to stand for Catholicism: Notre Dame. He chastised it, he says, because the people there are choosing “prestige over truth.” WELL SAID.

I will not give a dissertation on the Bishop’s letter (I do have it posted, and will leave the reference at the bottom), except to say that in Bishop speak, which is very polite and eloquent, His Excellence told Notre Dame that they were not acting in the graces of the Church, that they are in real danger, and that Obama’s practice of condoning the radical abortion agenda is in effect killing innocent human beings.

And I thought Pope Benedict’s wrath on Pelosi was serious. This was far more…especially because its a Bishop in America.

And thank God. Thank God for your letter Bishop D’Arcy. We have been struggling…struggling for the culture of life, even though many “Catholics” snub their nose at us, even though “Catholic” politicians like Pelosi and Kerry and Biden stand for funding embryonic stem cell research, even though 54% of Catholics voted for Obama…FINALLY, at last oh Lord, let us protect these unborn!

For the Bishop to boycott the President is not only brave…IT IS A BEGINNING. It might even be an unprecedented event. If not, I am sure its rare.We now have public help from the Bishops in a HUGE way.

Thank you Bishop D’Arcy. Thank you. Thank you.

And for all those that have been bombarding this post…THANK YOU. We are really onto something. If we go do the Tax Tea Parties, and continue to protest Obama at Notre Dame…going as far as to protest on the Notre Dame’s campus (with CIVILITY mind you), we are truly going to change this country.

And usher in the Culture Of Life.

Thank you Your Excellency. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

For Bishop D’Arcy’s letter and other information concerning this issue, click here.

The original Notre Dame Protest Post has become MASSIVE with information. Therefore, I moved my original article to this post, simply for clarity. For all Protest updates, click here.

Here is my original article:

A few days after President Obama was elected, the Council of Catholic Bishops announced that they will fight the heavily touted Freedom of Choice Act, a Planned Parenthood initiative that would literally wipe all Abortion restrictions off the books. The Bishops announced their frustration at Obama, because I’m guessing politics and fear, after the election. Now we have an all out assault against human life and natural law…everything that Pope John Paul II stressed was important for a flourishing society. He had a phrase for the culture that is quickly becoming the standard in our country: the Culture of Death.

So I was happy about the Bishops’ recent statement that any  Catholic Organization should refrain from giving awards to anyone that is Pro-Choice. It was at least a step in the right direction.

I suppose Notre Dame didn’t get the memo.

Just announced is something so disgusting, so hypocritical, so embarrassing, that I am at a loss of words, and seething…President Obama will be delivering the commencement address at Notre Dame, and will be receiving an honorary doctorate from this the alleged Catholic School in the United States.

Notre Dame was founded on faith in Christ, and while our country is merely encouraged to receive Grace, Notre Dame is commanded to do so. The name of the University honors a woman who went through a difficult crisis pregnancy with total faith. Her name is Mary, and Catholics are supposed to honor her name, not slander it.

Years from now, when abortion is considered one of the great injustices of the world, and outlawed as ferociously as slavery, people will be able to point at this Catholic School, and say the same thing that people say about the Catholic Church under so many circumstances: what in the heck is the difference between Catholicism and other institutions? In a social sense, I’m wondering the same thing for the United States Church.

Its funny, cause the Protestants are fighting what we promise to fight. The Christian Right takes it in the face for protecting unborn children. But those in the Catholic Church, who are supposed to be heralded for their decisions, don’t receive these awards. No. They are shoved in the back so we can put Obama on stage. They are underfunded. They struggle. I know them. I watch them, frustrated. *Update. Mary Ann Glendon will also receive an award. Apparently ND has been feeling the heat off their decision to pick Obama. This award does not appease, nor does it diminish the lack of foresight with their decision to have President Obama.*

But I tell ya, if I were Obama I’d receive the award and honorary degree too. It seems that he is claiming his triumph over the Catholic Church in the United States. “I, Obama, have overcome the power of Benedict’s words for the Catholic Church.” I think he’s got a point.

In 2008 54% of Catholics voted for Obama, contrary to the teaching and instruction of the Catholic Church. Just a few weeks ago, Nancy Pelosi, a self-proclaimed “ardent Catholic,” who was recently and sternly warned to protect the sanctity of life by Pope Benedict XVI, publicly applauded Obama’s decision to fund embryonic stem cell research, and was videoed in St. Anthony’s Church (in San Francisco) saying that Border laws were unAmerican. WHAT?! Perhaps she hasn’t read any Catholic teaching on a state protecting its borders. Neither have the Priest’s at St. Anthony’s apparently.

Meanwhile, we who are trying our best to live by the standards of the Church are screaming at the top of our lungs that the Church demands the Sanctity of Life, we think we are gaining ground…and then Notre Dame goes and does this.

My question to all leaders in the Catholic Church is simple: how are we supposed to continued to be disparaged and made fun of, defending the name of our Church, when you stand by and let this injustice go on?

Bishops…PLEASE forbid this. This is something that is an international scandal for the Catholic Church. It is your duty to stand up for those that cannot speak. It is better to be poor and alive than dead. You are supposed to defend this principle. That is your job. You are eternally accountable for this, more than the rest of us. It is the cross you were called, and this is NOT politics, this is about the LIVES of your flock.

This is not the end of this. There will be civil protest. I will keep you updated…and to all non-Catholics who want to help protest, welcome. We appreciate your help and support.

Last week, taxpayers found out that of the $173 billion we have generously bailed out AIG with, around $165 million was used to pay “retention bonuses.” If my math is correct, that comes out to a little less than one tenth of one percent of the total sum of AIG’s bailout.

This one tenth of one percent has been expressly singled out by the House of Representatives as waste that should be subject to a 90% tax. In passing the tax, the House nicely glossed over the fact that these retention bonuses are a contractual obligation of AIG and that Congress, seemingly at Senator Dodd’s insistence, explicitly condoned these payments in the terms of the bailout.

Those pesky facts aside, there is a constitutional hurdle that the House’s 90% tax will have to jump over—the infrequently used bill of attainder clause. Before the Senate takes up this tax for consideration, I’d like to propose another bill of attainder, since they seem to be all the rage today. If Congress can demand that the taxpayers “recoup” the money that has been “wasted” on AIG’s employee bonuses, can’t the taxpayers demand to recoup the money that Congress has wasted?

Consider the $410 billion omnibus bill that President Obama signed earlier this month. Within that bill were 9,500 earmarks containing between $5.5 and 7.7 billion in pork. Even giving Congress the benefit of the doubt, that comes out to at least 1.34% of our money being wasted, ten times more money wasted on a percentage basis (and 33 times more on a dollar basis) than the AIG bonuses. While a 90% tax on AIG’s bonuses would recoup around $150 million for the taxpayers (from other taxpayers, of course—got to spread that wealth), recouping 90% of Congress’s waste in the Omnibus Bill alone would save just under $5 billion! So please, call your senators and ask that if they’re so interested in saving taxpayer dollars all of a sudden, would they mind going about it the constitutionally acceptable way?

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