Archives for May 2009

The Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act of 2009

“Cracker” ;  a pejorative (term of abuse or ethnic slur) term for a white person, mainly used in the Southern United States,  according to Wikipedia “Cracker” has been used among African Americans like Malcolm X and Black Panther Party during the Civil rights movement and is considered an anti-white ethnic slur among African Americans.  This is the term applied to supporters of Governor Sonny Perdue by columnist Bill Shipp in his column “Sonny snaps out of it” found in the Bryan County News (May 20 2009), when he referred to  the Governors “disgruntled cracker followers”.  (I was quoting the paper copy.  The link goes to The Monticello News which carried the same column as I can’t find the column on line from the Bryan County News.)

I had stated in a previous column I did not particularly care to respond to individual columnists.  In the case of Mr. Shipp I am making an exception.  Every time he writes a racial slur, a cultural stereotype, or other assorted terms of abuse, I will write about it.  I find it inappropriate for a syndicated columnist being carried by the Bryan County News-or any newspaper to use these stereotypes or slurs.

After six paragraphs slapping the Governor around a bit, Mr. Shipp apparently gets to the subject of the column; The Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act of 2009.  As the bill was favorable to business and would actually leave some tax dollars in business and consumers hands, Mr. Shipp was of course against passage of this legislation.

The six provisions in the JOBS Act are contained in two bills, HB 481 and HB 482.

1.       $500 credit on unemployment tax to any business who hires someone currently on unemployment compensation for at least 60 days prior.

2.       Income tax credit for any business who keeps a previously unemployed employee for 24 months.

3.       Business start up holiday, exempting new startups from all state government fees to stimulate entrepreneurship.

4.       Eliminate inventory tax on businesses. This requires a referendum, thus the separate bill.

5.       Eliminate sales tax deposits, which are prepayments on projected sales.

6.       Gradual elimination of corporate tax, beginning in 2012, complete in 2023.

In the present time of 8.5% unemployment rate and a slowly recovering economy, allowing businesses to keep some of their money and use it to hire workers and increase inventory seems like a no brainer.

Encouraging the hiring of new workers through tax credits is a super idea which would permit businesses to grow while eliminating some of the 400,000 Georgians from the unemployment rolls. Same with the new ss4 online program.  Encouraging new businesses to start up and grow through the use of a tax holiday again seems like an idea which would work creating wealth and a growing business class.   The inventory tax is a tax that should have disappeared a long time ago.  Georgia is one of 14 states which consider a business’s inventory of goods as property and taxes it as such.  A tax is again paid on this merchandise when it is sold.  Item six calls for the gradual elimination of the corporate tax, which in Georgia is a flat 6% based on the corporation’s net income.

When it comes to the elimination of taxes or fees paid by any corporation or business, a point that must be considered is they pay no taxes or fees; the consumer pays them in the form of higher costs at the register.  This is a hidden cost of government.  The consumer is paying a large amount of taxes and is not consciously aware of it.  When citizens want to increase taxes and fees on businesses and corporation; they are in effect asking to be taxed at a higher rate themselves.

H.R. 481 and 482 both passed legislation, but Governor Perdue vetoed the bills when they hit his desk.  This is the cause of Mr. Shipps gloating.  Mr. Shipp however fails to mention Governor Perdue said May 11 he vetoed the bill because Georgia constitutionally is required to maintain a balanced budget.

“For every dollar in decreased revenue, we must correspondingly cut expenditures,” Perdue said. “We cannot deficit spend as the federal government does, even if those deficits generate economic growth in the long term.”

He did, however, call the bill “well-meaning” in intent.  If I were the Governor, I would send the bill back to be rewritten to take effect in 2010 when the budget is not halfway through a fiscal year.

Again, Mr. Shipp plays on class warfare and envy to make this bill sound as if it were written for the intent of making all the “rich people” richer.  Somehow, he comes up with the figure, “richest one percent of the state’s taxpayers would receive 75% of the benefits”.

What is this one percent and how much do they pay in taxes?  This latest IRS data is shown in Table 1.  It shows that the top 1% of income earners now pay 40% of federal income taxes, while earning 22% of income. The top 5% pay 60% of income taxes while earning 37% of income. The bottom 50% of income earners pays only 3% of federal income taxes.

Internal Revenue Service data, 2006

Share of federal Income taxes         Adjusted Gross Income

Top 1%                            40%                                         22%

Top 5%                            60%                                         37%

Top 10%                          71%                                         47%

Top 25%                          86%                                         68%

Top 50%                          97%                                        87.5%

Bottom 50%                      3%                                       12.5%

Furthermore, the bottom 40% of income earners pays nothing.

Why this major thrust to redistribute the wealth?  To create an artificial playing field?  The business owner is the person taking the risk; taking out loans, saving their money, borrowing off of relatives and credit cards to open a business and keep it running by working 12-16 hour days until it is operating reasonably smooth.  The business owner is the one putting up the costs of licenses, fees, insurance, and goods.  They are the ones paying the unemployment insurance, workman comp, matching social security, security bonds, etc.  When a business folds, the owner is the one who loses; the employee can (sometimes with difficulty) find another job.  Why does our government continue to “punish” those who succeed?  The “progressive” tax code we now have which is confiscatory in nature does just that.  It rewards failure and punishes success.

When elements of this tax system are questioned or an attempt is made to change the code, the Bill Shipps of this country will always be in the forefront of the fight to “sock it to the rich and business”, all the while apparently never realizing the taxes he is applauding right now are actually a regressive tax which hits the poor harder when the costs of doing business are passed on to the consumer by business.

Shining with Nelson

While writing today’s Turn Around Tuesday, I came across an amazing quote from activist, Noble Prize Winner, Statesman, former South African President and Madiba, Nelson Mandela.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

For those who are familiar with Turn Around Tuesday, you will be surprised to find that this was my response.

I am not being lazy, I swear. I didn’t have any big Memorial Day plans yesterday that have left me struggling today. Honestly, I am ready to write a full TAT. But, after a quote like that, what else is there really left to say?

Today I encourage you to read that quote again and decide where you fit in. Are you a shiner or a shrinker? At first pass, I think I am a shiner with overwhelming shrinker tendencies. Or, it may be that I am a shrinker with rare moments of shiner greatness. One thing I know for sure – my inner Warrior is dying to be a shiner.

This was followed by an invite to come here and dig into the idea a little further.

So let’s discuss – shiner or shrinker?

*Photo by manitou

Memorial Day

 

Memorial Day-the holiday observed by Americans to remember….. and honor those who have given their lives in military service to their country.

As we traditionally use this day to unofficially celebrate the start of Summer by grilling and going to the beach, let us take a few minutes at 3 pm and remember why we have this day of observance and remember the sacrifices these young men and women have made.

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

Canadian Army

 

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

courtesy of  Arlington Cemetery    

 

President Obama has made his Memorial Day speech.  I am including the link to it as he is the Commander in Chief, but I wish he cared enough to actually learn just what the purpose of Memorial Day was and he had addressed the actual holiday.

Obama: Honor Veterans This Memorial Day

Today’s Superhero Cape

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”
– C. S. Lewis, author

One of the easiest things to do is to feel like a failure. Not good enough or smart enough or fast enough…the list goes on. Always watching other folks just to find more things I am lacking. How come I can’t pull that off or participate in that or be involved with that? Where is my superwoman cape?
Fortunately for me, I have the opportunity to discuss these thoughts with a couple a really smart women. During one such conversation, I had an epiphany. I am a wife, a business owner and the mother of four children under the age of 12. There’s my superwoman cape. This is the stage of my life I am in. These are the things that I concentrate on. Leaving the other stuff alone does not create failure – it demonstrates priorities.

In eight too short years, I will be the mother of 4 children between the ages of 10 and 20. That is a totally different place than where I am now. That stage of my life will have its own set of priorities, commitments and challenges. My superwoman cape will change, but it will still be mine.

Today I encourage you to appreciate your cape. At least for today – or the next five minutes – realize that you don’t do it like everybody else because you are unique. While your warrior cannot accomplish all things, the ability to accomplish all things meant for you is there in truckloads. You are perfectly positioned for your journey in this point. Run tomorrow’s race tomorrow. Enjoy today’s events now. It is the only thing you can truly wrap your arms around.

Hey There Parents

It is almost that time of the year again. You can always tell when it is fixing to happen. Bouncing, over excited, giddy, homework forgetting kids are preparing to roar into their summer vacation.

I am looking forward to my kids having a good time. They can’t take themselves to the pool or the park or the beach – so I get to go all those places too. Wonderful benefit.

However, I also worry about the summer brain rot. Three months is a long break from the 3 R’s. And they are expected to fall right back into the swing of things at the beginning of the next school year.

So, my question today is – What kind of activities and learning resources will you use to for your kids this summer?

Special Thanks to Julien Tromeur for the superhero graphic

Just say “Thanks”

“I work with wonderful people who support me. And, my beliefs are that the business needs to serve the family rather than the family serve the business.”
– Kathy Ireland, Model and Entrepreneur

I feel like I have been disconnected from the friends that believe in me the most. Lately, I haven’t been able to stop for coffee, schedule a lunch or make quite as many “hey how are you doing” phone calls. Keeping it together in these interesting times has taken some serious focus.

That’s the funny thing about focus. While totally necessary to excel in an area, it can put a damper on other ones – like noticing the people around you. You see, while I may feel disconnected, I actually am not. And realizing that is nothing short of a compliment to those around me without whom I could do nothing.

Lately, I have not been the supporter or the giver or the provider. Hence, the feeling of disconnect. I have been the needer and the taker. That has, in all honesty, led to some paranoid inadequacy feelings. However, what a slap in the face to those who are taking their time and effort to be there for me. Support comes from those who can out of goodwill not out of a need to create guilt in the receiver.

Today I encourage you to say just “Thank you.” No qualifiers, no fillers, no “oh you shouldn’t have how can I ever repay you” platitudes. Simply thank you. Stripped down, naked, pure gratitude. Appreciation that fills you up with what you needed and honors the person who is offering the gift. Watch, I’ll go first.

Thank you.

Two Months?!?!
Seriously?!?

Yes, seriously. It has in fact been two months since the last edition on TAT hit cyberspace. You have my sincerest apologies. But, I have no regrets.

TAT went on an unplanned hiatus due to the work overload of the producer. Something had to give – TAT was it.

Once TAT ceased to enter mailboxes, I started to get phone calls. What wonderful phone calls they were! You have no idea how much the encouragement to move forward and the support in my decisions meant to me.

As of May 1st, I have hired a full time assistant and she is fantastic! Just in the few days she has been in the office, I have seen a dramatic difference in, well, everything.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!

A response to Mr. Shipp “editorialist”

I don’t normally respond to individual columnists, but the last column by Mr Shipp in the Bryan County News (Keep America First; 6 May-Bryan County News) has to be responded to.

The entire gist of the column seems to be “those traiterous Republicans want to jump ship now a Democrat is in office”.  He first trots out as evidence a speech given by Texas Governor Rick Perry preaching secession and follows it up with our own Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine “having a team of researchers working on schemes to declare our independence and bid adios to old D.C.”.  Where did he come up with this information?  The first came from a speech given by the Texas Governor to a “Tea Party” rally in which he stated, “… There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”  Governor Perry had in recent days asserted states’ rights under the 10th Amendment and denounced Washington for overstepping authority. He had said earlier in the speech, “Washington needs to hear us loud and clear,” said Perry, who wore a khaki jacket and a hunting cap. “Cut the spending, cut the taxes, shrink the government.  And reread the Constitution.”  Dangerous talk? No and it was hardly treasonous.  And what were the remarks Oxendine had made saying he favored secession?  “If Governor, I would support legislation which puts Georgia on record as affirming our sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States and which would serve as notice and demand the federal government, as our agent, cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers. Additionally, I would support legislation which states all compulsory federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or that requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed.”  

Again, nothing dangerous to the American way of thinking; Oxendine merely wants the Federal government to follow the constitution as does Perry.

Does he offer any further proof of his allegations?  Yes.  He offers as the final proof a poll conducted for a “progressive” blog called the Daily Kos which apparently stated a third of Georgians want to leave the union while 38% of Texans say the same.  

QUESTION: Would you approve or disapprove of Georgia leaving the United States?

                             APPROVE DISAPPROVE NOT:SURE

ALL                            18           76                6

MEN                           21           74                5

WOMEN                     15           78                7

DEMOCRATS                5           89                6

REPUBLICANS            32            63                5

INDEPENDENTS          14           79                7

QUESTION: Do you think Georgia would be better off as an independent nation or as part of the United States of America.

                          US     IND     NOT:SURE

ALL                    68       27         5

MEN                   54      32          4

WOMEN              72      22          6

DEMOCRATS      88        8          4

REPUBLICANS     52       43         5

INDEPENDENTS  61       33          6

Demographic

MEN                               287    48%

WOMEN                         313    52%

DEMOCRATS                  246    41%

REPUBLICANS                 258    43%

INDEPENDENTS/OTHE     96    16%

18-29                             78    13%

30-44                           174    29%

45-59                           210    35%

60+                               138    23%

WHITE                            419    69%

BLACK                           168    28%

HISPANIC                        12     2%

OTHER                             6     1%

QUESTION: Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Rick Perry’s suggestion that Texas may need to leave the United States? 

                                 APPROVE  DISAPPROVE NOT SURE

ALL                             37                  58            5

MEN                            42                  54            4

WOMEN                      32                   62            6

DEMOCRATS               16                  80            4

REPUBLICANS              51                  44            5

INDEPENDENTS           43                  50            7

QUESTION: Do you think Texas would be better off as an independent nation or as part of the United States of America?

                                US      IND    NOT SURE

ALL                          61        35        4

MEN                         57        39        4

WOMEN                   65        31        4

DEMOCRATS           82        15         3

REPUBLICANS          48        48         4

INDEPENDENTS       55        40         5

(I’m not sure where Mr Shipps statistic of 38% of Texans comes from, the printed number is 48%.)

Demographics

MEN                                   288    48%

WOMEN                             312    52%

DEMOCRATS                     199    33%

REPUBLICANS                    234    39%

INDEPENDENTS/OTHER    167    28%

18-29                              102    17%

30-44                             204    34%

45-59                               96    16%

WHITE                             390    65%

BLACK                              77    13%

HISPANIC                        115    19%

OTHER                             18     3%

Source: dKos

Of interest:

The Research 2000 Georgia Poll was conducted from April 27 through April 29, 2009. A total of 600 likely voters who vote regularly in state elections were interviewed statewide by telephone.  Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers. A cross-section of exchanges was utilized in order to ensure an accurate reflection of the state. Quotas were assigned to reflect the voter registration of distribution by county.

The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than plus or minus 4% percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the “true” figure would fall within that range if the entire population were sampled. The margin for error is higher for any subgroup, such as for gender or party affiliation.

For those who may think Research 2000 actually lives up to their claim of being non-partisan a reader would have only to look at the company web page in which the lead story is a “hit piece” on Rush Limbaugh.  In fact, their major listed client is Daily Kos.  The remaining articles on their site consists mostly of Obama success polls and dismal Republican polls.  So, I’m not sure they are quite as non-partisan as they claim.

For the last eight years I have listened and read far worse than this, all the while being told “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” which Sen Kerry falsly attributed to Thomas Jefferson.  I have seen this on bumper stickers, blogs and even heard Democrat politicians spout it off when slamming President Bush and his administration.  During both presidential campaigns when President Bush was running, I heard far too many entertainers threaten to move away from the country if Bush won.  To my knowledge, none did.  Daily, I read some of the most appalling criticism of the Bush administration.  Some writers were even wishing Bush, Cheney, et al dead on a rather alarming basis.  Mr Shipp has conveniently forgotten this seeming to believe for the last eight years there was absolutely no partisanship being played by the Democrats or their electorate.

Mr Shipp then plays a great finishing act with the quote “as soon as I finish this column, I think I’ll look up a Federal judge to advise me on how to round up these America haters.  We ought to send most of them back where they or their forebears came from, but Ireland and Scotland probably don’t want them either.”  Nice.  Not even a thought of re-education camps first-just immediate expulsion?  And an assumption all of the above respondents were of Irish and Scottish descent?  This isn’t his first slip with bigotry and stereotyping.  His last column (In wake of shooting; 29 April, Bryan County News) alluded to Southerners having AK-47s under their beds, then goes on to snidely state, “Guns are us. In the South, you’re not a man if you don’t own a gun or two or three”.  

His contempt for the constitution was already apparent when he stated in the same article he didn’t expect any action to come from the Athens shooting, “…just more hot air about Second Amendment rights…”.  From my readings of Mr Shipp, I get the impression that is his take on the entire constitution-just more hot air.