Notes from around the Human Experience…
THE WEEK IN TRUMP: When President Trump – President Trump! – took office our only real hope for substantive governing was the hope a GOP president with a long career in business would have the good sense to muster up a substantive overhaul of our tax code. And a tax bill is worming its way through Congress with the House having already passed its version and the Senate considering one. They hammering these out on their own because the White House is providing some zero guidance on the matter.
To Review: Candidate Donald Trump, of course, really should have had a tax plan when he entered the race in August 2015, but he didn’t because Trump has never had a long-term vision for what he wants to accomplish as president. From the get-go all he has done is display his only real talent, drawing attention to himself.
Back On Message: There are some things to consider before passing judgment on the GOP tax plan.
Leading Off: One, will it simplify our tax code? Currently, the American tax code has over nine million words and is so confusing the IRS gives out incorrect information one-quarter of the time.
Batting Second: Two, will it stop the government from taking more of our money than it deserves?
Fly In The Ointment: The answer on both counts is no. Both the version passed by the House and being considered by the Senate have several tax layers, plus changes to what is and what is not deductible and other dickhandling designed to make it look like they are doing something substantive. They’re not. Our tax code will still be beyond comprehension to the average American and to one-quarter of IRS agents.
On the second count, the government is still taking more of our money than they deserve. Depending on the version and income level, a lot of Americans will still be paying between 25 and 40 percent of their income in taxes.
Dry, Technical Matter: Both versions lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.
FunFact: Regardless of which version passes, complying with our tax obligations will still cost American citizens and businesses over $400 billion every year.
Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: We said this till we turned blue on the campaign trail for the United States Senate (2104) and House of Representatives (2016):
The American economy will not flourish until it is anchored in low taxes and free markets.
Some Philosophy Crap: Ideally, we would be allowed to keep all the money we earn, but we are so fiscally adrift that is not practical right now. We favor a flat tax, ideally, five percent but no more than ten percent, on individuals and the corporate tax should be eliminated because that is nothing more than an expense they pass on to us consumers. The philosophy of soaking the rich will not produce dividends because either the rich will stop earning money or, eventually, they will have nothing left to tax.
The Bottom Line: Neither GOP plan provides anything remotely resembling low taxes. As it has since they took power in January, the GOP is proving itself utterly unable to govern.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: The Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty between the United States and Panama is signed on this date in 1903. The Treaty gave the United States control of a portion of Panama to build and maintain what would become the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal Zone returned to Panamanian control in 1999.
More Dry, Technical Matter: The Hay in question was US Secretary of State John Hay. Hay began his career as a private secretary to Abraham Lincoln and from the time of Theodore Roosevelt’s ascension to the presidency after the death of William McKinley until Charles Fairbanks was inaugurated vice president in 1905, Hay was next in line for the presidency.
Please Pass The Dry, Technical Matter: The Bunau-Varilla in question was Phillipe-Jean Bunau-Varilla, who was actually French, about as Panamanian as a cheeseburger. He had been involved in the original, 19th-century French attempt to build a canal and had been instrumental in the signing of a treaty where Colombia ceded land to the US to build the canal, a treaty the Colombian Senate rejected. So, working out of New York, Bunau-Varilla became instrumental in getting Panama to secede from Colombia, a dream most future Panamanians didn’t even know they had. Despite the fact he had not been in Panama for 17 years he was made the new country’s first US Ambassador.
So That’s Where The Term Originated: Jim Jones, leader of the People’s Temple cult, initiates the mass murder/suicide that resulted in the deaths of 918 people in Guyana on this date in 1978. Most of the deaths came from drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid.
Among those killed was US Congressman Leo Ryan of California. Ryan was in Jonestown investigating the cult and was assassinated a few hours before the mass murder.
Oh Yeah: It was the single largest deliberate act resulting in dead Americans until 9/11. The compound has long been deserted.
Quotebook: Only when you have been in the depths can you truly appreciate the heights. – Richard Nixon
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: There was not a national governing document of the United States prior to the Articles of Confederation.
Today’s Stumper: Leo Ryan was the second US Congressman to be assassinated while in office. Who was the first? – Answer next time!