Monday, March 25, 2019

Week of 03/25/2019

Say “No” To The “No Refund” Script
There’s a minor comedy scene in the animated feature “The LEGO Batman Movie” where our animated heroes are crammed into a Bat-jet built for one (because the last time LEGO Batman looked, he only had one butt) and they’re being fired upon by the bad guys.  And despite LEGO Batman’s superior piloting skills, the plane’s engines get hit and catch fire one at a time.  And each time, LEGO Batman excuses the loss as something they don’t really need.

Batgirl: Engine one down.
Batman: Not a big deal. Don't worry about it. It's fine.
Batgirl: Engine two down.
Batman: It does that sometimes.
Batgirl: We've lost engine three.
Batman: Oh, could live without it.

Until they run out of engines.

Batgirl: Engine four!
Batman: That I do need to fix.

There is a similar script being generated when it comes to taxes among the masses.
In December of 2017, Narcissist President Donald Trump and his GOP enablers and lackeys passed and signed into law a change in the tax code.  This change would supposedly help out all of us, but obviously it would benefit the millionaires and billionaires and Big Corporate first and foremost.  No big surprise, right? 
Well, the first lie was that we were all supposed to get a larger paycheck.  Somewhere to the tune of $1000-4000 a year.  Unless you were one of those millionaires or billionaires or lived entirely off stocks and bonds, you didn’t get that.  If you did get anything more in your paycheck, it was so small you really didn’t notice it.
But now many Americans are discovering that this tax screwjob had a second level to it.  Rather than get a tax refund, many hard-working Americans are getting tax bills.  Or, if they are getting a refund, it’s a lot smaller than before.
Turns out that “extra money” had nothing to do with lowering your taxes, but instead it was messing with how your employer withholds taxes from your paycheck.  That and several of the common deductions hard-working Americans used to rely on were eliminated so the GOP could give those millionaires and billionaires and Big Corporate those tax breaks.  So instead of getting a tax break, a lot of you are paying for all those taxes that your employer didn’t withhold properly.
Winning!  Tired of it yet?
So now here comes the new script on behalf of those millionaires and billionaires and Big Corporate.  You know, the real recipients of those tax breaks.  They’ve got their so-called “financial experts” hitting the airwaves and news sites telling you that you really shouldn’t be upset about the screwjob.  In fact, you should be rejoicing that you’re not getting a refund according to them!
The script goes as follows: If you’re getting a refund from your income taxes, then that means that you’re giving the government more than you’re supposed to pay.  That means that you’re supposedly giving the government an “interest-free loan” that they pay back when you file your returns.  And that is supposed to be a “bad” thing.  (Never mind what it says in the Bible in the books of Deuteronomy, Exodus, Luke, and Leviticus on charging interest.)
Except there’s one problem... what happens when you don’t “pay enough”?  You know, all those people who – through no fault of their own – had less money withheld for taxes from their employer and now have to make up the difference.  If you can’t pay that off when you report your taxes, then you are liable for the penalties and fees and, yes, interest that incur when you don’t pay that full amount.
Tax withholding is not always an exact science.  The rules change.  Deductions change.  My parents found that out the hard way several times when they ended up short on the tax withholdings.  And this was years before Trump and the GOP tax screwjobs.
Having said all that, would you like to pay too much or not enough?  I would certainly prefer the former, because then at least I get my money back if I paid too much.  If I owe, and I can’t pay the lump sum, then I’d have to pay those penalties and fees and interest.  In other words, I’d be paying a lot more than just what I still owed.  There are people right now who are finding that out the hard way.
And therein lies another little “accident”.  The interests and penalties and fees.
It was just a decade or so ago that it was revealed that the big banks... you know the ones; “too big to fail”... made some considerable money through penalties and fees and the interest on those penalties and fees.  Billions off their own clients through some overdraft charge or because they used one of those “free checks” they loved to send or because their interest rates suddenly went up.  They pretty much wanted their clients to fail because then they could hit them up with those fees and penalties and then charge interest on them. 
Funny how their friends who serve as “financial experts” seem to be setting the rest of the country up for a similar situation when it comes to taxes.  Maybe that is how Narcissist Trump and the GOP really intended those tax cuts to “pay for themselves”... through penalties the rest of the hard-working Americans would be forced to pay when they find out they haven’t paid enough through withholdings.
Let’s get brutally honest here... we need to reject the script of the so-called “financial experts” that say that we should strive for no tax refunds.  We are not banks.  We sure as hell don’t get treated like banks.  We don’t get to buy our way out of accountability if we fail like the banks do.  Because we are not financial institutions.  We are the wretched and unclean masses.
When we overpay our taxes, even by a little, we are actually protecting ourselves from those penalties and fees and compounding interests.  It’s like going to the store and buying $10 worth of groceries and paying with a $20 bill.  We don’t expect the cashier to give us $10 plus seven-percent interest in change for the “privilege” of doing business with us.  We expect to get back what was owed.  No more and certainly no less.  When we go to the gas station and give them $20 for gas and we can only put in $15 worth, we don’t expect them to pay us interest for the “privilege” of holding on to that $5.  We expect to get that $5 back.  No more and certainly no less.
Taxes are the price that we pay for being in society.  Do we want roads and police and public education?  They don’t work for free.  Neither do our military, our courts, our various regulatory entities, or, for that matter, our elected officials.  We may not like how we are taxed or how that money is used, but it is still the price of being part of society.  And to hell with those who want us to think it is a good thing to flirt with failure to pay those taxes.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Week of 03/18/2019

Speaker Pelosi’s Failure To Impeach Fails America And Enables Trump
The hardest part this commentator has about being proven right is that the universe refuses to acknowledge it.
For quite some time now, this commentator has warned that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi would never allow Narcissist President Donald Trump to be impeached if she were allowed to become Speaker of the House again.
This is from my column in April of 2018...

No, I don’t believe that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi would allow Trump to be impeached should she become Speaker of the House again.  I know this because she’s done this the first time she became Speaker.  With allegations of violating federal laws being floated about, then-Speaker Pelosi said arrogantly that “impeachment is off the table” when it came to the White House under President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
She said it then, and I believe she would say it again should she become Speaker again under Trump’s kakistocric rule.

And now once-again Speaker Pelosi from March 11th 2019’s Washington Post Magazine...

I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.

I await the words of “You were right, David”, but I know I will probably never hear them.  The human race suffers from so much cognitive dissonance that it cannot handle me being right about anything, never mind this.
And I really should not be surprised that she did this.  I warned you that she would.
I warned you.
I warned you.
I warned you.
And you still refuse to accept it.
Even worse are the excuses that I am hearing to justify Pelosi’s refusal to impeach Narcissist Trump.
One person suggested that Pelosi didn’t “rule out” impeachment, just “put it away for now”.  Which part of the statement “I’m not for impeachment” did you not understand?
Someone else – with no grasp of the U.S. Constitution – said that Pelosi can’t impeach Narcissist Trump because the Senate will refuse to do their part.  Okay people, here’s your quick U.S. civics lesson: the House of Representatives has the responsibility to impeach the President.  It doesn’t matter which party is in charge of the Senate.  They can impeach Trump at any time, with or without the approval of the Senate.  Impeachment is to bring charges against the President.  It is the responsibility of the Senate to then try the President on those charges and decide whether to convict and remove the President on those charges.
Come one, people!  It’s only been twenty years since we’ve last been through this!
Oh, and your “fear of reprisals” if you can’t get that conviction?  What reprisals?
Let’s go back those twenty years.  You want to know why the GOP lost some of their power in the Congress in 1998?  It wasn’t because they impeached President Bill Clinton for lying about oral sex.  He wasn’t impeached until two months after the mid-term election!  The GOP nearly lost the Congress because Nutty Newt Gingrich was seen as shutting down the government because he was slighted on a trip on Air Force One.  Oh, and because the GOP was seen as a bunch of hypocrites for going after Clinton over sex while they had their own dalliances.
Go ahead, Nancy.  Spin up another hoax.  Just remember that I’ve been here almost as long as you have.
Then there’s the excuse that impeachment would be “too polarizing” and would “fragment the nation”.  Hello Pollyanna!  Where the hell have you been?
Get this into your skulls: America is *already* divided!  It is *already* splintered and polarized, fragmented into partisan factions.  It has been splintered and fragmented and divided and pulled apart thanks to a steady campaign of sabotage and propaganda from talk radio and Fox News and the extremist media groups.  That is how we ended up with Narcissist Trump in the White House.  And that is what Narcissist Trump has been doing for years.  He’s been pulling America apart, pitting parents against children, neighbors against neighbors, states against states, and thriving off the divisiveness.
That brings us to the other excuse used by Pelosi’s water-carriers... that they don’t want to distract from the 2020 Elections.  They’d rather focus on getting Trump out by the ballot box instead of the Constitution.
This has been the fatal flaw of the Democrats and why they continue to be failures.  They are always talking about “the next election”.  Never on what is going on right now.  Never on what is right or what is decent or what is proper.  It is always about “the next election”.  Always. 
But we are getting closer to the truth.  It’s really not about the Democrats.  It’s about Nancy Pelosi.  She needs Trump to be the enemy to keep the Democrats in line as well as keep herself in office.  It’s about power.  She is a power-monger.  That’s how she manages to stay in office and stay in control of the Democrats.
And you know what?  I think Narcissist Trump knows this.  That’s why he doesn’t have a cute but demeaning nickname for her like he does for everyone else.  He doesn’t have to mock her because he can count on her to do exactly what she is doing now.
Let’s get brutally honest here... Speaker Nancy Pelosi has failed America!  Her steadfast refusal to impeach Narcissist Trump not only betrays her responsibility as Speaker of the House under the U.S. Constitution, but it also plays right into Trump’s hands.
As long as Pelosi refuses to bring articles of impeachment against Trump, she is enabling and emboldening him, allowing him to continue to operate without accountability.  That’s why he continues to do what he’s been doing.  He’s not afraid of reprisals because he knows Pelosi will never allow him to be impeached.
Pelosi did not have to come out and reject impeachment.  She could have kept quiet about it.  Let the newer Dems talk about it and throw it about.  Keep Trump and the GOP on their toes, always wondering if it could happen.  And rather than say “no”, say she’s “weighing all the options”.  Keep that fear in the back of Trump’s mind.  That’s what the GOP did previously.
And there is power in being able to impeach the sitting president, even when it doesn’t result in a conviction in the Senate.
There have been only two presidential impeachments in American history.  Bill Clinton in 1998 and Andrew Johnson in 1868.  Neither resulted in a conviction, but the impeachments themselves were a stain on their legacies.  Do you really think that Trump – who is obsessed with his own vainglory – would want that stain as part of his legacy?
That is what Speaker Pelosi is pissing away... and for what?  So she can stay in office for yet another term?  So she can dangle Trump on the campaign trail like the GOP dangle her as the straw opponent?
At some point – and that point is coming soon – Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats will have to choose between doing the right thing and doing the politically expedient thing.  The Democrats have failed to do the right thing in the past, which is why they are still the party of failure.  If they continue to follow that path, then Trump being re-elected will not be the only casualty.  We will all lose.