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Thoughts on the Boston Bombing / Manhunt Fiasco

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Preface – I am not the type who thinks everything is a ‘conspiracy’. I try to reserve judgement on things until I have enough data to judge the veracity of events based on the merits of the available facts. I am a conspiracy realist, not a ‘conspiracy theorist’ . By the definition of the word conspiracy, there are many conspiracies happening all over the world all the time. This is factual reality, you can, as they say, ‘look it up’. I have a tinfoil hat, but only take it out for special occasions.

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Food for thought: I saw multiple reports of the MSM (mainstream media) broadcasting with a 5 minute delay tonight in Boston, to prevent showing anything too graphic for television. Stop. Live television has been broadcast with a delay for decades. To prevent showing streakers, cursing, a football fan mooning the camera, etc. If memory serves, this delay has traditionally been in the 10-30 second range. The only reason I can think of for needing a 5 minute delay is if someone is approving what is going out before it goes out to allow time for everything to be given the “O.K.” – I’m picturing some high level Fed in a trailer somewhere. Think about it. FIVE minutes is forever in live TV.

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A good comment received on the above thoughts:   “Early in the night there was no live filter. But they fucked up too many things by reading off twitter and not knowing what was and wasn’t credible.”

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My response:   Or they were ordered to do so. I Can’t see multiple networks and the people in charge of them all deciding to run a filter of the same extreme length at the same time. They do this shit for a living 24/7.

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I feel strongly that the MSM has lost most of what little credibility it had left with much of the reasonably intelligent populace over  the past week.

The MSM was being totally slammed on Twitter tonight. EVERYONE seems to know they are basically worthless / entertainment at this point, except for relaying propaganda from the PTB (powers that be). I have been watching widely popular, live, breaking news events on twitter for over a year, as I have found it far better, quicker, and overall more accurate for information gathering purposes than television, Facebook, or various other methods. I do not ever recall seeing the volume or relentlessness of criticism and ridicule that  was heaped upon the MSM tonight, shortly before the suspect (dead man walking) was captured. The ‘tweets’ slamming the MSM outnumbered those commenting on actual events at times. This fills me with glee and hope for the future of our society. Some ‘tweets’ I liked:

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“Quote of the day: As NBC News just cut to local cable news channel, a disembodied voice just said: “We don’t know shit.” ”

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“BREAKING: CNN reporting that the boat is “dark-skinned.” ”

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“Idiot on CNN comparing this to Zero Dark Thirty. You know, THE FUCKING MOVIE.”

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“CNN BREAKING: A boat is a small vessel for traveling over water, propelled by oars, sails, or an engine.”

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“Listening in on a police scanner. Much more reliable information than the news. Huh. This is nervewracking.”

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Fox news just said he did the boston bombing, guilty!” Well then, it’s a wrap!

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“NY Post reporting the boat is a Saudi national.”

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“Boston police asking that info off radio scanners not be relayed on social media. All 222,000 of us.”

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“NBC producer: Ted, we need you with Brian Willaims RIGHT NOW. Me: My name is Seth. Producer: Ok – Seth, then.”

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“Do you get the feeling CNN has been getting their news from us?”

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“CNN LETTING THE ZERO DARK THIRTY GUY TALK MORE! He is now saying his name has to do with his terror. WHAT?!”

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“2 million people listening to the Boston Police Dept scanner!!! The power of livestreaming & social media.”

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“Don’t tweet scanners. Main Stream Media needs 20 minutes to catch up with what we already know.”

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Federal Tax Rates: Most Americans are Getting Screwed.

What the Feds are Doing to Working Class Taxpayers

A Really Big Screw

        Disclaimer: I do not claim to be an accountant, tax lawyer, economist, or constitutional scholar. However, at various times I am all of these things, as I do all the payroll, accounting, taxes, and economic planning for my auto repair business, and can read and understand the constitution. Figures and arithmetic may not come out to the penny, but are pretty close. This is an article, not a tax return. Feel free to run the numbers yourself with links at bottom.

        Mitt Romney paid 13.9% of his gross income in federal taxes in 2010, the last year he has released records for, on a gross income of over $21,700,000. Barack Obama paid 20.5% of his gross income in federal taxes in 2011, on income of over $700,000. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett paid 11% of his 2010 income ($62 million plus) in total Federal taxes. The 200+ millionaires in the U.S. House and Senate and most other U.S. multimillionaires and billionaires most likely paid federal tax rates in the 10% – 22% range as well.

        Lets compare this to a fictional regular American. Rebecca owns and operates a computer repair shop. She has no employees, and has a good year in 2013, making $64,000 in net profits before taxes. As Rebecca is single with no children, her federal income taxes owed are $10,608, or 16.6%. Next, we can figure Social Security and Medicare taxes. These are considered by some people to not count as taxes, but as an old age / retirement fund. Rebecca has never collected from these programs and will die when she is 48 years old, before she collects funds from either program. As such, these funds are taxes for her, as they are taken from her by law and given to other people. Social Security tax is currently 6.2%, while Medicare is 1.45%, for a total of 7.65%, making her total tax rate 24.25% of her gross income. She is not done yet, as like Mitt Romney and Warren Buffet, she is a self-employed business owner. She also gets to pay the employer share of Social Security and Medicare, which stands at 7.65%, bringing her total to 31.9%.

        Where we stand so far:

Warren Buffet:   11% on $62,855,000 income for 2010

Mitt Romney:   13.9% on $21,700,000 income for 2010

Barack Obama:   20.5% on 734,000 income for 2011

Rebecca:   31.9% on $64,000 income for 2013

        Rebecca has seen these numbers, and wants to increase her income so she too can pay taxes at a lower rate. She works really hard for the rest of the year, and has a little luck, and her income goes up to $90,000. Unfortunately, this also increases her tax rate, to 32.9%.

        This brings us to:

Warren:    11%   $62,855,000

Mitt:   13.9%   $21,700,000

Barack:   20.5%   $700,000

Rebecca:   32.9%   $90,000

        Eight Rebeccas, though making the same amount in gross income, would pay over 50% more to the IRS than one Barack. 241 Rebeccas, while making the same amount in gross income, would pay over 2.2 times as much in federal taxes as one Mitt. 698 Rebeccas would pay THREE TIMES as much to the feds as one Warren.

        Lets now go to a lower income person. Brad has a job at Megacorp, and makes $25,000 in 2013. His income tax withholding rate is only 9.6%. What a damn freeloader. Oops, we almost forgot his other taxes: 7.65% for SS / Medicare, 7.65 percent for employer’s share of SS / Medicare, and 6% Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA, which is also paid by the employer). FUTA tax rate is 6% on first $7,000 in income, which brings Brad’s total rate to 26.6%, somewhat lower than Rebecca’s rate.

        Hold on, you say – we can’t include the employer’s share of payroll tax or FUTA, as this is not a part of the employee’s pay. These amounts wind up in the U.S. Treasury as a direct result of Brad’s labor. If he did not work, or was replaced with a machine, the funds would not go to the feds. If laws did not require Megacorp to pay an amount equal to 7.65% of every dollar of Brad’s wages, plus $420 for FUTA to Treasury, Megacorp could give these funds to Brad, without affecting their profits one bit. Money going into the Treasury only due to the fact that Brad made income is income tax.

        So-

Warren:    11%    $ 62,855,000

Mitt:   13.9%   $ 21,700,000

Barack:   20.5%   $ 700,000

Rebecca:   32.9%   $ 90,000

Brad:   26.6%   $ 25,000

        Another fictional friend, Maria has been unable to find work in her field for 3 years, and gets a part time temp job for a few weeks, her only income for the year. As she only made $700, she pays no income tax at all, but is still responsible for 21.3% of her gross income winding up in the U.S. Treasury (7.65 + 7.65 + 6). There is no lower limit on SS / Med /FUTA tax, but income over around $112,000 is exempt from Social Security Taxes.

        Our final tally:

Warren:   11%   $ 62,855,000

Mitt:   13.9%   $ 21,700,000

Barack:   20.5%    $ 700,000

Rebecca:   32.9%    $ 90,000

Brad:   26.6%   $ 25,000

Maria:   21.3%   $ 700

        Capital gains are currently taxed at a 15% rate by the federal government, if they are not stashed in some offshore tax haven. Someone who just collects money from various investments theoretically gets taxed at a 15% rate. If our fictional Rebecca had her tax burden decreased by 20%, this would bring her rate to 12.9%, saving her $18,000.  698 Rebeccas, each with an extra $18,000 to spend would certainly do more good for the American economy and populace than one Warren keeping all of this amount.

        The tax laws which make this possible were not all put into effect by Bush, or Obama, or Clinton, or Reagan, for that matter. Many hundreds of Congresspeople and many Presidents have voted on and signed tax laws in the past several decades. Several reports I have seen have the current U.S. Federal tax code at well over 70,000 pages.

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        Update 4/13:

        Barack and Michelle Obama released information about their 2012 Federal taxes yesterday. From the White House website:  “reported adjusted gross income of $608,611. The Obamas paid $112,214 in total tax. ” and: “The President’s effective federal income tax rate is 18.4 percent.” So his tax rate drops by 2 % once he knows he will not be running for office when the numbers come out. How convenient for him. Vice president and Mrs. Biden:  “Together, they reported adjusted gross income of $385,072. The Bidens paid $87,851 in total federal tax for 2012.”  This comes out to 22.8%. Fifteen times the income of Brad from our example and a lower tax rate. $385,000 per year is not middle class in America today. It is rich, wealthy, or whatever such term you care to use. Mitt Romney would not release tax information from other years when running for president, so you can be damn sure his rate in those years was lower than 13.9%.

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Since only about 7 or 8 people will ever read this, (hi Mom) and no one will comment, I have decided to argue the merits of this post with some troll comments I make up myself. This may make me go blind, but here goes:

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“Taxes are unconstitutional, end the Fed, end capitalism, taxation is theft,  you are a Marxist, etc.”

        Since this article is comparing current U.S. federal tax rates paid by individuals to rates paid by other individuals of varying income, these arguments are irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Please return to your Ron Paul rally / anarchist meeting / laying on the couch watching Fox News / etc.

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“Warren paid $6.8 million in taxes. (11% of $62 million) This is way more than his fair share.”

        This argument is contrary to the very concept of how taxation has worked in America for the past few decades, if not for most of history. If each person was to pay the same amount, this would be a citizenship fee, like a fishing license, not a tax. Is it unfair for someone who buys 100 bottles of whiskey to pay 100 times the liquor tax of someone buying 1 bottle? Want to pay less total liquor tax? Buy less whiskey. Want to pay less total income tax? Have less income. Seems pretty fair and equitable. We have sales tax in our state. Someone buying $10,000 worth of stuff pays 100 times the tax as someone buying $100 worth of stuff. This seems pretty fair and equitable. I can see arguing for or against having a sales tax, but not arguing that different people should pay different rates. ‘All men created equal’ and such.

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“Maria from your example is probably collecting welfare and food stamps, getting back more in benefits than she paid in taxes.”

        First, that would be irrelevant to this article, as it is only about tax revenues, not how they are spent. Second, this is a completely ignorant and prejudicial comment, based on the data presented in article. Maybe Maria was laid off from a $200,000 per year job 3 years ago, and has been living on her savings, never collecting any type of assistance. Maybe she has a boyfriend who takes care of her every need as has never collected any type of assistance.

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Federal Budget Deficit Solved. – It’s Not Complicated.

http://wp.me/a22eXH-1M

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I ran across something interesting recently while perusing numbers at the website of the White House Office of Management and Budget. The chart above was copy / pasted from chart titled “Receipts by Source” and shows all funds taken in by the U.S. Federal government in millions of dollars. Individual and Corporate Income Taxes titles are pretty self explanatory. “Social Insurance and Retirement Receipts” would presumably include Employee and Employer share of Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, as well as Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA), which is paid by the employer in states where applicable.

A few things stand out about this little chunk of data. Corporate and Personal Income Tax Receipts peaked in 2007, right before the worldwide financial crisis. Social Insurance and Retirement Receipts peaked in 2008, decreasing by only about 1% for 2009. Most of the drop here for 2011 can be explained by the 2% cut on employee’s share of the Social Security tax. Regardless of the reasons, total Social Insurance and Retirement Receipts changed (up or down) by less than 4% over the four years 2007-2010. Individual Income Taxes, by contrast, dropped by over 22% from 2007 to 2010, while Corporate Income Taxes dropped by over 62% in just 2 years, and was still less than half of the peak amount for 2011.

How can we reconcile the fact that total annual individual income taxes collected decreased by 22%+, or about $265 billion, while social insurance and retirement funds collected remained essentially flat? For 2007-2010, 12.4% of each dollar in wages (up to the following limits: 2007 – $97,500, 2008 – $102,000, ’09 & ’10 – $106,800) went to the U.S. Treasury as Social Security tax (6.2% each from employer and employee). There is no upper limit on Medicare withholding, which totals 2.9% of wages. Thus, a good share of the $265 billion in lost income tax receipts can be explained by decreased income earned above the $100,000–ish Social Security withholding limit. Another likely contributing factor is decreased tax receipts from capital gains tax, which can also be counted as individual income. As people in the lower income brackets rarely, if ever, realize much income from capital gains, this data suggests that most of the decreased tax revenue in this period was from individuals in the upper income brackets ($100,000+ per year gross income). This may be some good information to bring up when someone is talking about the ‘rich’ paying more than their share in taxes.

Looking at the data for corporate income taxes, amounts collected essentially dropped off a cliff (a fiscal cliff?) in 2008 and never came back. The kicker to this story is the fact that corporate profits rebounded, and are at record highs, while the taxes they paid stayed low. According to data at the St. Louis Federal Reserve, total corporate profits reached an all time record high in 2010, beat that record in 2011, and set another new record in 2012,  yet corporate income taxes paid are less than half of the 2007 level.

Let’s apply logic any competent high school student could figure out, and presume if workers earning under $100,000 can have their SS / Medicare tax revenues remain flat, all individuals and corporations should be able to do the same with income tax. Keeping individual and corporate tax receipts at 2007 levels for 2008-2010, we come up with an extra $531 billion from individuals and $476 billion from corporations. A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talkin’ some real money. That’s over $1 trillion in ‘lost’ tax revenues over 3 years. Not that the Feds necessarily need more money, but they can sure stop bitching about not having enough. They gave it to wealthy people and corporations. Also, the thought that corporate profit tax revenues lost will get collected from individuals as capital gains tax is a bit of a fallacy. Shares of a corporation can be owned by a taxpaying American citizen, but can just as easily be owned by a guy in France, the government of Iran or China, or a fireman’s pension fund in Germany,  with these entities earning any profits.

The only reason these numbers are this way is because the corporate whore politicians in D.C. and their masters want them this way. The Federal debt, Federal budget deficit, ‘fiscal cliff’, sequester, and other contrived political theater bullshit going on is just cover for forcing austerity on the not-very-wealthy portion of the American public.

Additional Info in a previous post: https://zanesworld1.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/u-s-corporate-vs-personal-tax-ratesporate-tax-rates

To find source data (cannot link to it) :  Go to Google. Type in “White House OMB”. Click on “Historical”. Click on Table 2.1.

For Corporate profit data: Go to Google. Type in “St Louis FRED”. Click on “FRED Graph”. Type in “Corporate Profit” in upper right search window.

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