All posts by Gofishing

Single Issue voters

Single Issue voters

I contend that voters on the political extremes tend to make a voting decision based on one single issue. Using the right to life vs abortion issue as an example I venture to say that as many as 40% of voters will vote based upon this single issue. It will not matter if you consider yourself a liberal or a conservative, this issue controls your vote. There are several other issues that control votes (probably to a lesser extent). Examples are: gun control (for some conservatives), climate change (for many liberals), etc.

It does not really matter if a candidate is unethical, immoral or incompetent as long as he or she adopts a position that agrees with the single-issue voter. It doesn’t even matter if the candidate really believes in the position, it is enough that he or she publicly adopts the stance.

This situation further enhances the increasing polarization that is contaminating our political process. There are many issues that we can come together on: Healthcare reform, budget control & reform, infrastructure improvement/ maintenance, etc.

Single issue voters are a reality and I think there is little that can be done to mitigate their numbers. It’s a political reality that most candidates recognize. The task then becomes to determine what will appeal to the majority of the remaining voters.

The Population issue and how it concerns us in the near term

The Population issue and how it concerns us in the near term

Based on the estimates by the experts that study and analyze population and based on current technology the Earth’s resources have the ability to “sustain” somewhere between 3 & 5 billion people. What this means, with a population exceeding 7 billion we are using up our resources at an alarming rate. Current projections show that the world’s population will be just short of 10 billion in 2050!

In the past, we have believed that one significant measure of a country’s success is growth in the economy. When we examine this view along with population growth it becomes evident that this belief is not sustainable without creating conflict among countries. As resources dwindle countries will become more protective of the resources they have and they will be much less willing to share. Competition for resources will eventually lead to a significant increase in armed conflicts!

Currently, in the US the death rate is slightly higher than the birth rate which I view as positive. The downside is that there are fewer persons working to support the retirement funds that seniors rely on, especially when the numbers in the senior group continue to increase. You might think that the seniors have paid into Social Security and they are merely getting what they put in returned. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but that is a topic for yet another post to this blog.

Fortunately, we do have a modest growth rate in workforce availability via immigration. Looking forward we must come up with more feasible measures of success that do not rely on depleting resources. I would suggest that both productivity and quality of life are worth considering.

Who pays taxes & who should

Who pays taxes & who should

I admit that I am a bit addicted to the National Debt Clock. While the growth of our debt is alarming and our unwillingness to manage it unconscionable, that web page carries quite a bit of useful information. Anyone can access that information at: https://www.usdebtclock.org/

Before I get to that it is also alarming to know that the currently stands at over $22 trillion and is on target to add over another $trillion in the next 12 months. Putting that into perspective the taxpayers’ average potion of this debt is over $180,000!

What this page contains that pertains to this post is a general breakdown of the sources of the tax revenues: 51% comes from taxes reported on personal tax forms, 35% from payroll taxes. 7% from Companies & 7% from misc. other sources. What is interesting to me is that only 7% is being paid by companies. Prior to the recent tax code change the company portion stood at 9%. While there are those that were appalled by that redistribution of income I am not. I will not repeat what is contained in an earlier post which contends that our economy would benefit in the extreme if there were no corporate taxes, since in the long term all costs eventually are reflected in consumer pricing and become, in effect, a regressive tax.

I am much more concerned with the impact of taxation on the middle class. There are numerous financial definitions of income to describe the middle class. In 2013, Congress quoted its own definition of a middle-class income during the fiscal cliff compromise. It said the middle class is anyone making less $400,000 or couples making less than $450,000. This seems too high for me and does not define a range (no lower boundary). I prefer to be a bit more conservative and will use the range of $30,000 to $300,000 annual family income as a definition.

Family incomes above $300,000 represent only 1% of the population. Family incomes below $30,000 represent 50% of the population. By this definition the middle class represents about 49%. Also using this definition, the middle class (the primary consuming class) bears 63% of the tax burden. My contention is the middle class should be paying no more than their fair share (no more than 49%) and the rich should be paying the amount required to make up for the lack of lower and below poverty families to pay tax (currently at about 4%). This bottom group struggles just to survive.

Again, I will not regurgitate how to achieve this since my approach is contained in previous posts.

One more comment related to companies. I do not think that dividends (the reward for capital investment) should be taxed. We should encourage capital investment!