In Holland, they ended up while I was there with an 18% VAT tax, plus a 62% income tax. Not easy to save money with that combined rate.Comment Posted By mannning On 3.03.2009 @ 18:39
Yes, the FairTax and the Flat Tax are worth looking into. But, how do you sell either of them to the 40% and soon to be 60% of the voting taxpayers that currently owe no taxes at all, and may well get money from the IRS anyway via negative income tax provisions?
Then too, either of these approaches will hit another big wall, and that is the constitutional change that would be required to the 16th Amendment in order to allow them to function. There could go years of the ratification process.
The real fear I have is that we just might end up with the worst of both worlds--the income tax, and the FairTax/Flat Tax--given the thirst for revenue in the Triumverate.Comment Posted By mannning On 3.03.2009 @ 14:43
I have seen the call for new ideas and new directions for conservatism being made by many spokespersons. What I have seen very little of are presentations of well-thought-out ideas that have both the punch and the basis in conservatism required to capture the imagination of the public.
It is still true in my mind that a tax cut is the bread and butter issue for now, paralleled, obviously, by significant spending cuts somewhere.
But where are the really new ideas that would replace or complement these staid and sound ideas of the past? Tax cuts are an easy sell, normally. Spending cuts are going to be a very hard sell when the opposition is using a snow shovel to toss money into the economy, to save jobs, and mortgages, and cars.
But it is precisely spending that must be brought under control, and if it is attacked by us in the next election cycle, many of our citizens will believe that they will suffer for it (probably rightly) and will opt for shovel-loads of taxpayer money yet again.
The old saw of shooting for greater government efficiency to save taxpayer dollars has been used over and over, I would say with very limited success, among many reasons, because government growth overwhelms the savings, the system itself mitigates against contraction of services for needs, the protection by Congress of fiefdoms, the incessant and effective lobbying for this or that program continuation, and what I will term "poor utilization of human resources" in government, just to get around lots of sensitive pieces of the problem.
Entitlements are yet another area that must be handled, including SS and Medicare. They are the largest spending sector, and they have large constituencies as well. The opposition is going to offer low cost or even some free medical care, subsidized by the government. That tends to trump rational suggestions that promise to put these programs on a healthy financial basis over time, but must have many subscribers to pay fees in the meanwhile.
If we look into Education, or Energy, or Defense, or (God help us!) Climate Change, for new ideas, we hit the shovel approach again head first from the opposition, right in the middle of the depression/recession/stagflation or what have you? in 2010.
What I return to is the crying need to identify a significant list of line-item targets for spending reductions and the rationales for them that sell the public practically on the face of what they are now. The magnetic rail line in Nevada comes to mind, and bridges to nowhere that keep cropping up, or saving a rodent or bug in the desert or forest are examples. The identified savings would have to amount to many billions of dollars, while not doing more harm than good.
So, I am hoping for some brilliant men and women to put the new ideas and their justifications up for review real soon now. The complexity of it all is daunting. I envy no President his job, but I do reserve the right to object to what is proposed, particularly in the case of the Obama/Reid/Pelosi Triumverate.Comment Posted By mannning On 3.03.2009 @ 14:25
Such love!Comment Posted By mannning On 2.03.2009 @ 21:47
Fellow Virginian Sara:
My thought on catharsis is for individual conservatives to look into what the party did over the last administration, to identify the sins that were committed, to understand the why of them, and to resolve not to repeat them or not elect representatives that would repeat the sins.
I did not identify any sins in particular; that is a decision for each of us. I happen to believe that all of the breast-thumping, and pouring of ashes on our collective heads is absolutely useless. Perhaps it is even worse than that, because it hands our very vocal and opportunistic opposition a full and admitted list of the party's sins.
Now what do you think the Democrats would do with that list? Use it as a club over our heads at every election for the next 10 years or more. So confessing our sins will get us exactly the reverse of what many here have claimed as necessary for us to regain credibility.
No, you can only regain credibility by proposing and championing a program of forceful, accurate, and sensible legislation, showing how it does have the right provisions that would correct past flaws(sins), without making a sorry case for how it came about, and then making sure it gets wide exposure, and eventually, signing into law. We must create a groundswell of people that believe only we can fix what is wrong, right the ship, and get ahead on the economy, thus driving more people to vote for our men for Congress. We cetainly do not achieve all of that by re-airing our sins at every opportunity for the Democrats to use against us.
This amounts, I think, to tacit admission of some "process flaws" that will be forcefully corrected by our programs, but no personal vendettas or witch hunts. We are tired of mea culpas when they are only ammunition for the opposition.Comment Posted By mannning On 2.03.2009 @ 11:08
Not everyone is fully up to speed on the principles of conservatism and how they are applied in a wide range of circumstances. But many are set on what they do know about it, and want more--lots more.
Not all of these people are introverts, and learn well from online or book sessions. They want to find the personal contacts that they can learn from and exchange ideas with, but without grinding arguments at every turn to take the fun out.
They also want to feel that they belong to a tangible movement, not a chat room. These nascent conservatives want to be boosted out of the doldrums and away from the shrill, machinegun deliveries of an Allen Colmes liberal type.
They are looking for hope, too. Hope that there is a way to regain power so as to do something right for the nation, and to stop what they know in their hearts is wrong. Perhaps also they are genetically inclined to conservatism, and see a gathering as a bonding with like souls--it gladdens the heart to find kinships.
These would-be activists are groping for their collective identity and their causes, and they will be better for it, never mind who else thinks it is foolish and somehow hurts the grand movement. Not if it is done with dignity and integrity and clarity of purpose it won't.
What has gone before has indeed hurt the movement, so there must be catharsis for past sins, and answers to questions about what should change. A gathering or so is one way to address these things in a meaningful way.
Then, the idea of building up to a major event has its attraction too, one step at a time, and growing this movement.
All the while, absorbing and learning about the political, social, economic, scientific and military situations we are faced with, and what needs doing in each, all of which represent complex challenges.
So I see the keywords to be: learning, association, principles, problems, answers, building, catharsis, hope, dignity, integrity, clarity of purpose.
This is not a bad set of guidewords for Tea Party conservatives to follow at this time, especially for the new activists. The greatest need they have is for strong leadership.Comment Posted By mannning On 1.03.2009 @ 23:19
You have suggested that the party take a large share of the failures of the past 8 years, and openly admit their sins under an official party letterhead, so to speak.
I suggest to you that such an act would be virtual suicide for the party. Just what do you think the Democrats would do with such an official admission of our sins at each election cycle for the next decade or two? Trot it out and tell the voters yet again how we admitted our enumerated sins over and over and over. Such a club would bury us, even if most of it was wrong, or only half right.
In my view, you regain credibility by creating a legislative program with high integrity and with provisions that preclude the sins of the past from reoccuring, but without a mea culpa to go with it. If this program is properly designed, it would appeal to a large percentage of the public, would provide sensible corrections to our pressing needs, and would reaffirm our principles of conservatism.
With that program design in hand, we take it to the people over and over again and show them how it works in their best interest. We show the people the set of legislators we will champion and their commitment to all of those provisions in the program that benefit the public and correct past flaws.
If we beat this drum well, it will penetrate and be rewarded at election after election until we are back in control.
In fact, I have never seen a campaign whose manager would allow the candidate to apologize for anything. No negatives at all, but positives all the way. We will correct the flaws in our system, etc. and we will have the talented people to do it in DC.Comment Posted By mannning On 2.03.2009 @ 12:32
The Folks have short memories. What everyone is seeing is the tailspin that is happening right now, not the past sins of the previous administration. Sticking it to Bush is way out of synch with what the body politic is thinking at this horrendous moment. Obama owns the problem now.
Obama lied, the economy died.Comment Posted By mannning On 28.02.2009 @ 10:56
All that is needed, friend, is a bit of organization and ample notice to bring the attendance up to a critical level...in a few months.
Obama lied, the economy died.Comment Posted By mannning On 28.02.2009 @ 10:52
Anf if this was a Moran parody, it is he who will be very surprised to see this actually blooming over the year.
Obama lied, the economy died.Comment Posted By mannning On 28.02.2009 @ 10:44