Tag Archives: Democrats

Shakespeare, Trump and the IRS

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

The internet, newspapers, and talk radio are awash with debate, comment and opinion concerning Donald Trump’s tax returns.  What is all the fuss about?  Why such concern?  Consider this, it may well be it has little to do with his return and more to do with politics and perception.

We all pay taxes and most people would like to pay less and many people would like to have some people pay more.  The tax topic has been a hot button issue in the Democratic primary but the reality of their policies doesn’t nearly match their rhetoric.  (More on that later)

Hillary calling out Donald Trump over taxes creates a diversion from the real issues of the Presidential campaign and frankly his tax return is of little substantive value in considering him as a candidate.  How many of people so upset over not yet seeing his tax return have the tax knowledge to understand how to prepare such a return?  I am absolutely certain Donald Trump does not sit down on April 14th and write up his own return or his form 1040.

The only real question should be did he pay taxes as required by law?  He says, he is currently being audited by the IRS, ok that seems realistic considering the complexity of the return a person of wealth may have.  There are thousands of pages in the tax code and legal opinions vary as to some regulations so an audit review does not seem unreasonable.

As voters our real question and concern should be did he legally file a return based on legal interpretation of the IRS code.  The answer will be judged by the IRS auditors and that could take a considerable amount of time.  Unless the law is broken a candidate’s tax return proves little more than the fact they or their tax preparer complied with the tax laws.

Frankly the amount of tax Donald Trump paid or did not pay should be more a problem for the Democratic Party than Donald Trump.  It is a matter of record, the Democrats had control of both the House and the Senate in addition to the White House during the first Obama term.   Therefore, if Trump followed the law and passes the audit he has followed the tax code the Democrats either endorsed or did not chose to change.  Hence there should be no question or concern with his return but there could well be many questions about the Democratic Party actions that set the rules for Trump to follow in preparation of his return.

Some folks are pointing out some other Presidents have disclosed their tax returns and Richard Nixon disclosed his during an audit.  It matters little if any candidate for any office discloses their tax returns it is not a requirement for office and for that matter it is not a normal requirement for any employment application.  That being said, it is common for any employer to ask for a college transcript and yet our current President had his college transcript sealed to hide the facts from public disclosure.  Many of those making a fuss over Trump’s taxes showed little concern for Obama’s transcript.

Hillary asking about Trump’s tax return brings to mind, Hamlet and the words of Queen Gertrude when she said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”  Shakespeare was a wise and complex playwright and perhaps if he were alive today he would pen a play about this tax issue and call it Much Ado About Nothing Part II.

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It’s Time To Say Good-By

"He who transplanted sustains" takes on new meaning as GE leaves

“He who transplanted sustains” takes on new meaning as GE leaves

Hartford was a hub, New Haven a nucleus, and Waterbury the heart around which small towns grew and flourished. All were vibrant, dynamic and creative urban centers. All three were centers of wealth and commerce in their respective areas.

 

They all had something else in common, a political machine. Not a political machine dedicated to represent a unity of strength in diversity but rather digging a ditch of dichotomy. They saw the skylines change with raising glass. They could have joined with those within the rising spires with skyline visions to new horizons of opportunity, but their visions were not skyward.

 

The political machines took another road. They threw stones, not those of metamorphic beginnings but those founded by political heat and pressure. The growth could have been seen as opportunities for the common man, as incubators of opportunities encouraged to flourish and grow. The machine saw opposition and the potential of economic growth that would threaten their stranglehold on political power.

 

The political machines, saw the financial growth of economic opportunity as a storehouse of potential plunder waiting to be attacked like swag off a loading dock. The story was the same from places far away like Jersey City, and Newark to our cities of Connecticut. The rhetoric was repeated, the policies were duplicated, and the ditch of dichotomy had to be dredged to protect the machine.

 

The machine taxed and punished the job creators, they destroyed the dreams, and shattered the hopes. They shoveled their dirt, with the rhetoric of division, destruction and ruin, piling the mud along their ditch.

 

The opportunities left the cities, the people that remained were more dependent than ever on the hollow hopes of false promise from the political machine. The ditch of dichotomy has grown deeper as metamorphic stones of politics have piled higher buffered with political mudslinging from the city moat.

 

To preserve and expand their fiefdoms the political machine has moved to the halls of the State Capital. They have taken their ruinous reins of power and rhetoric of destructive dichotomy to new levels. They are leading our State down the path they have taken our cities.

 

To anyone that watched the slow destruction of our cities, and the loss of economic opportunities, the loss of GE was no surprise. History repeats itself. Connecticut is marching down the path following the same bandwagon that has led our cities from splendor to mere memories of what once was.

 

Remember when Hartford, was known as the insurance capital of the world, and we waved good-by to so many, history repeats itself. Today we wave good-by to GE, and history repeats itself. Voting for another Democratic machine candidate and hoping for a different result is folly, history repeats itself.

 

The leaders of industry and commerce are on the move and the lights of opportunity are leaving our state. We can change our direction now or we can kick the can down the road like the State unfunded pension problem. We can leave a legacy of darkness for our next generation or we can act.

 

It is time for a new light in leadership for Connecticut. It is time to make history, it is time to vote to turn Connecticut in a new direction, it is time to wave good-by to Malloy, Murphy, Blumenthal, Courtney, DeLauro, Wyman, Merrill and the rest of the machine.

 

Will you be part of the solution, will you help to defeat the machine? What path do you want for Connecticut, one of darkness or light? You can help to build the new path in your Republican Town Committee where plans are now underway for a better tomorrow.

 

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You Can Bury The Man But Not The Memory

Today our nation stands poised on a fiscal cliff.  Today we are faced with extreme economic challenges and yet our leaders on both sides of the aisle in Washington are blinded by political ambition and self-preservation.

Economics is not an easy subject to master; there are many opinions on the philosophy of any economic planning.  The prognosticators analyzing any budget priorities or economic plan have a history of reflecting personal bias supported by twisted statistics to render their own position valid.

So it is on this day that I turn back the hands of time and apply some of the teachings of another man to look forward as we face economic peril fostered on us from our elected leaders in Washington.  I also remember that the study of economics comes from a family tree with the roots of basic mathematics.  In other words the numbers have to add up to make sense.

“Our present tax system … exerts too heavy a drag on growth … It reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking … The present tax load … distorts economic judgments and channels an undue amount of energy into efforts to avoid tax liabilities.”1 There is no doubt we have seen investments and jobs driven overseas by our own tax policies.

“Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”2 More taxes on your neighbor while politically popular are not the answer.

“In short, it is a paradoxical truth that … the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”3Taxing the rich as an economic solution to our federal deficit is mathematically folly; there simple are not enough rich people to accomplish the goal.

We need more people working and paying taxes to enable our economy to pay off our debt. “The largest single barrier to full employment of our manpower and resources and to a higher rate of economic growth is the unrealistically heavy drag of federal income taxes on private purchasing power, initiative and incentive.”4There is a solution, “Expansion and modernization of the nation’s productive plant is essential to accelerate economic growth and to improve the international competitive position of American industry … An early stimulus to business investment will promote recovery and increase employment.”5

On this date in history November 25, 1963 we laid to rest President John F. Kennedy.   His memory is recalled in the above words on economic policy.  They were words of wisdom and a proper solution for our economic woes.

It is time for the Republicans in Congress to embrace the words and economic philosophy of an icon Democrat and it is time for the Democrats to abandon political rhetoric and join together to solve our economic woes.  It is time our leaders set aside personal political posturing and pandering to “ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”6.

Our nation buried the man but let us not fail to honor his memory.  It is time to enact his message.

 

  1. John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, press conference
  2. John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.
  3. John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, news conference
  4. John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, special message to Congress on tax reduction and reform
  5. John F. Kennedy, Feb. 2, 1961, message on economic recovery
  6. John F. Kennedy, Jan. 20, 1961, Inaugural Address

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HALT! Stop The Madness

This country is in trouble and it doesn’t matter if you support Democrats or Republicans what matters is that you look at what is happening.  Reflect on how our government attempts to solve a problem.

Can we all at the outset agree that our economy is weak and that employment is a significant problem?  Can we now look at one example without political rhetoric and finger pointing to see how “our government” looks toward a solution?

Can we have a consensus of opinion that the American auto industry is not what it once was?  Now we can differ as to what role the government could, should or will take to support that industry but we have to accept the fact that “our government” has taken some action.  The question today is this, has “our government” served this nation well doing what is smart and efficient with the taxpayers trust and money?

In 2010 a new hybrid battery manufacturing facility was opened in Michigan and our government was a large contributor giving the owners 150 million dollars (half their cost of construction) in a grant plus $50 million in property taxes over 15 years and another $2.5 million annually in business taxes.  That totals to 202.5 million dollars but the question is, was it a good investment for the taxpayers and the nation?

Here we are two years later and we can now begin to measure the results, we have created 200 jobs with workers each being furloughed one week a month to collect unemployment.  That’s right, you and I the American taxpayers put up $1,000,000 per job and what have we got, people working part-time and collecting unemployment.  But, wait there’s more to the story.

The company we gave the money to is not an American company like General Motors or Ford, no the company is LG Chem from South Korea.  When the ground breaking took place in 2010 “our government” told the workers, “You are leading the way in showing how manufacturing jobs are coming right back here to the United States of America,”

“Our President”, told workers at the ground-breaking ceremony. “Our goal has never been to create a government program, but rather to unleash private-sector growth. And we’re seeing results.”  He did not mention the cost or the fact we are using borrowed money to invest in these jobs.

This investment on behalf of the American people was done by “our government” and not by the private-sector banking industry and perhaps that was required because the banks reviewed the project first and considered it too risky as an investment.  Why you ask are the workers still collecting unemployment after taxpayers have spent so much to create a job for them?

It seems they have not yet produced and sold a single battery and the market for their proposed product is very limited.  Electric cars may be part of the change “our government” wants to make and they may hope this works out but the economic numbers just don’t look promising for the future.

Spending a ton of taxpayer dollars hoping to change the American automobile industry into increased demand for our electric industry does not mean the taxpayers will invest their own money into the purchase of such a car. You see taxpayers look at spending with an eye to value and return on their investment and that is something “our government” should do.

Borrowing $1,000,000 to create a single part-time job is lunacy. It’s time to stop the madness.

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Noah Webster Never Defined A Connecticut Democrat

Last week the State of Connecticut rating for General Obligation Bonds was downgraded from Aa2 to Aa3 and assigned a stable outlook by Moody’s.  My first reaction was to write a quick reaction but then I sat back to see what the general media would do and what the reaction would be.

I am dismayed to write today there has been little reaction and the Governor has successfully gathered his political cronies over at the Capitol to sweep the news and consequences under the rug like yesterday’s dust.  Like the dust under the rug the problems will not go away even if we ignore them they will erode and eat away the fiber of our economic recovery.

Just as you can expect the sun to rise in the east you can expect higher interest rates on future State Bond Obligations to rise.  Just when we need every penny to be used wisely our pockets will be picked for higher interest payments.  So why did it happen?

According to Moody’s, “The rating downgrade is based on Connecticut’s high combined fixed costs for debt service and post-employment benefits relative to the state’s budget; pension funded ratios that are among the lowest in the country and likely to remain well below average; and depleted reserves with slim prospects for near-term replenishment. Connecticut’s state employees retirement system (SERS) and teachers retirement system (TRS) had funded ratios of 44% and 61%.”

The immediate response by our political puppets was to call Moody’s wrong and then point out we have a balanced budget and GAAP accounting both of which were actually taken into account by Moody’s.  It was a meaningless response from an empty suit exactly the kind of head in the sand thinking that has gotten us into the financial mess we find ourselves.

To be balanced and candid it should be pointed out that some pension and healthcare reforms were achieved in last year’s round of union negotiations. However, funded ratios are not likely to improve significantly until closer to the end of the remaining amortization periods which is 21 years for SERS and 25 years for TRS.  We have not exactly turned the corner here on a road to fiscal sanity but we have published hope for the next generation.

Just how bad is the pension fund situation here in Connecticut?  The fixed costs for debt, pension, and other post-employment benefits relative to budget are among the highest in the nation.  That’s right our children will have to dig their way out of the hole left behind by the current generation of legislators.

The Governor and his political cronies may have a different view of this situation than many Connecticut thinking men and women.  In fact here is what his Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management says about the situation, “Investors appreciate Connecticut’s strong income levels, conservative debt management practices, and fiscally conservative leadership.” That leads to one question, in light of the passage of medical marijuana legislation, what is that guy smoking?

Calling a State with one of the largest debts for pension funds and a history of excessive spending while leadership kicks the can of responsibility for payment to the next generation “conservative fiscal leadership” is either lunacy or a total lack of understanding as to the meaning of conservative.  Moody’s didn’t miss the mark and it is time for our legislators to step up, face the reality that the root of our real problem is found in excessive spending not a lack of income.

Noah Webster never envisioned Dan Malloy and capitol Democrats when he wrote the definition of “conservative”.  No they can be described many ways but “conservative is not one of them.  The time has come for real conservative fiscal leadership not for phony and false political rhetoric.

 

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The Problem In Washington Is Goats

History has its’ scapegoats Nero used the Christians, Stalin blamed the failure of the Russian economy on the small independent farmers, known as Kulaks and Hitler used the Jews.  Throughout history scapegoats have been used to divert attention from reality.

Government leaders are all motivated from different perspectives but a common trait is the belief in their own self-worth, ego if you will.  Covering their shortcomings, hiding their failures and finding plausible explanations for their mistakes make some politicians masters at creating scapegoats.

Our economic woes should not be blamed on a single factor.  While it may be expedient for some to blame everything on, George Bush it is equally silly to blame Barack Obama.  We do not find ourselves in a trough of economic afflictions from big business any more than we are bearing the burden from big union labor.

Scapegoats will find their way into our soon to be national election campaigns, some will blame Democrats, and some will blame Republicans.  We will hear about Tea Party Republicans and Acorn Democrats all will be shrouded with blame and shame.

Picking our new leaders based on their campaigns against a scapegoat will only provide us with a false sense of hope for the future.  A hope based on a scapegoat, a diversion from the truth yielding a false sense of security that our new leaders will be able to effectively lead.

While they may very well attack and limit the role of the scapegoat in our lives rarely does that have a truly meaningful impact on making our lives better.  It would be like blaming big oil companies for our economic problems and dependency on foreign oi, then regulating them to stop drilling and add punitive taxes until they cut back on jobs and explorations in our own country.  In the end our scapegoat is punished but we the people will have nothing more than a bragging politician crowing about reigning in the greedy barons of big oil.

Goats belong on the rural farms of America but scapegoats have no place in the halls of government or being used in political campaigns.

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