Tuesday, November 29, 2005

5% flat tax urged for Utah..... sort of.

The Utah Tax Reform Tax Force, although unable to solidly come up with a specific recommendation urged that the state go with a 5% flat tax along with a 50% credit for mortgage interest, and a 50% credit for charitable contributions, according to DesNews. One specific recommendation task force made was for the removal of the sales tax on food. Upsetting to some members of the task force was that they were unable to agree on one specific recommendation and passed along several options. Rep. Roz McGee, D-Salt Lake, a longtime proponent of removing the sales tax, was also disappointed the task force only passed a "concept" and did not support a specific proposal. "Voting things out as a concept is an abdication of the responsibility we had as a task force," she said. "We've worked for seven months. . . . To vote things out that are concepts is a disservice to our fellow legislators and to the public." Bramble defended the task force "the deep review of the state tax system was commendable and is already successful. " The Chair of the task force says their are many things that can be done, keeping our existing system may be best.

Here is my basic take on the flat tax:
(This isn't fully representative of the states proposal, it is a generic representation)

Average citizens -- Using current state sytem
AGI 50,000
Itemized 20,000
Exemptions (6)14,100
Taxable Income 15,900
Tax (7%) 1,113

Average citizen -- Flat Tax
AGI 50,000
Tax (5%) 2,500*
(Proposed credits not accounted for, because I don't know how they are proposed to work)

Tax increase 1,387

Rich Citizens -- Using simplified current state system
AGI 1,000,000
Itemized 70,000 (limited)
Exemptions completely phased out
Taxable Income 930,000
Tax (7%) 65,100

Rich Citzens -- Flat tax
AGI 1,000,000
Tax (5%) 50,000 *

Tax Decrease 15,100

The flat tax is the biggest joke to me because it is clearly a tax cut for the wealthy. I thouroughly believe that the task force found that there was no way to reform the tax system using the flat tax that would not negatively effect the middle class, however being in a Republican stronghold they couldn't fully dismiss it. The current system is pretty darn equitable, even though it seems to be a hassle, the average joe will pay less in taxes under the system of deductions and credits than under a flat percentage tax. I'd have to suggest the state offer a child tax credit, and I would have very few complaints about the states tax code. The state currently has very few tax credits that positively effect families, which seems pretty schizoid in a majorly religious conservative stronghold.

I'm very happy that they made the recommendation that the sales tax on food be eliminated. Steve U posts that the cities are going to fight removing the sales tax on food tooth and nail. Steve wrote,"This seems a bit strident, especially since the cities will receive significant inflationary and expansionary increases in their revenues this year, not to mention significant increases from franchise fees they place on top of escalating energy costs." If there was ever a tax that hurt the poor it is this one, good job Task Force. I hope the legislature follows through with this suggestion.

Cindy Sheehan..... Your 15 minutes are up.

This picture was on Obligatory Anecdotes. Cindy Sheehan being mobbed by her adoring followers. Oh.. wait... no one is there but reporters? Too bad you sold out your son's honorable memory for 15 minutes.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Christmas v. Happy Holidays

Today on many of the talk radio shows the debate about whether or not Christmas infringes on the rights of the non-Christian or Atheist was being discussed. Atheists claim that any reference to any certain religions belief in God (Christ) in a public place is a infringement of their rights. What is the problem?!? I'm sure a good portion of Americans don't even know that Christmas has anything to do with Jesus Christ and Christianity, most people think it is about a mythical character called Santa Claus - an advertising gimmick created by Coca-Cola. Easter is about a bunny that lays eggs, right? I guess that the atheistic left won't be satisfied until Christmas is officially called Claus-mas ...oh wait it is called in public a generic "Holiday".

To the atheistic left, back off! December the 25th (CHRISTmas) was started by the Roman Catholic Church at the Nicene Council as the commemoration of the Birth of Jesus Christ. A large number of Christian churches don't even believe that December 25th is the accurate birthday, but you must accept that CHRIST is the reason Christmas was created. LET IT GO! If you want to have more holidays off I'm fine with that. Thailand has a Buddhist holiday called Songkram (a nationwide water fight in the middle of summer) probably the funnest holiday I've ever experienced -- write Congress about this one. We can include Hanukkah, Kwanza, Ramadan, just to make everyone happy. Just let Christmas be called Christmas.

Utahn tries new tack in battle over Net porn

There was an article, about a project that Ralph Yarro is working on. The project is CP80, a nonprofit organization that proposes that the existing Internet infrastructure of ports and protocols be used to categorize all Web content into channels, allowing Internet users to choose the type of content they want to receive —— much like cable television. He also is calling for supportive legislation that will make sure that adult content providers follow regulation keeping adult content restricted to adult designated channels "and putting laws in place to make pornographers who violate the law accountable, similar to the way the Federal Communications Commission regulates television and radio."

I think this could be a feasible solution to the pornography issue. It doesn't restrict freedom of speech, but it does create some protection to the public from viewing pornographic content inadvertently. Although it would likely create another form of government bureaucracy, I would have to support it because of the danger pornography represents for families and children. I would personally like to see porn eradicated from public accessibility. I find the idea that the degradation of women and sexual relations the way that pornography does, as a form of speech that the framers of the constitution intended to protect absurd. However, since the courts have ruled in favor of the smut there needs to be strong regulation of this form of entertainment.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Congress: Iraq must be won in Washington

In a recent article by Fred Barnes and a post at Reach Upward, there is alot to worry about with the vocal discent of prominent Democrats on Iraq. Fred Barnes brought up the point that the war in Vietnam was nearly won when Congress cut funding for the war and began the pullout that ended with the 1975 fall of Saigon. Congress seems to be heading down that path again. John Murtha, a Vietnam vet normally described as a war hawk called for the withdrawl of military troops, which led to a rather weak Republican led resolution for a complete withdrawal from Iraq (made with some kind of weak reasoning that this would "force the Dem's hand"). This kind of opposition to the war is extremely dangerous, because it gives the insurgents the encouragement they need to just continue on -- they don't have to beat American troops in Iraq when they can win in Congress.

This is exactly the reason that people like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and John Murtha need to support the war. We are in Iraq, disagree with the reasons we went there or not, we can only win this war by staying the course. Unfortunately alot of the damage has been done, the insurgents see that psychologically, they are heading to victory. Victory will not be won militarily, because of the Vietnam war we must now win psychologically. Victory for the U.S. will come only when the insurgency sees that America will stay the course and will continue to aid Iraq in the cause of democracy for as long as it takes. Victory will, and seems to be, coming to the insurgents by the how negative public opinion polls get and Congress' swaying their opinion of the Iraq war with those poll numbers. Congress seems to be more like grass swaying to the wind.

This issue is fundemental to the War on Terror, we are in Iraq, it is a central front on terrorism, and no matter what reasons got us there we must stay in Iraq untill the insurgents seen no other option but surrender.

Carter heads to Utah, brings feisty views on issues

The Tribune discussed Jimmy Carter's latest book and his views on Christian fundalmentalism. While I don't agree with him on many issues, I must say that he has articulated some good arguments in regards to some of the most volitile issues that face our country. Minus the Iraq war, and his resurrecting old Democrat rhetoric regarding "rich and poor", he makes two great arguements about abortion and gay marriage.

"Rather than letting the controversial issues remain so divisive among our citizens, perhaps we should separate the two basic approaches, by letting governments define and protect equal rights for citizens, including those of "civil unions," and letting church congregations define "holy matrimony." This is a great point, especially in a nation that has separation between church and state. Marriage, while holy and sacred in most religons, is a sacred rite that shouldn't be defiled by homosexuality. However, it is a religious rite, and there needs to be an allowance for civil unions to allow monogamous gays to enjoy some legality to their relationship.

Check the Tribune article out. He has made a better ex-preident than he ever made a President.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bush forms an alliance with Ghengis Khan

Just an idea for Cindy Sheehan and the rest of the anti-war gang for more Bush hating propaganda.

Think about it, Bush uniting with Ghengis Khan's Mongol armies, America would be free to rule the world's oil supply!!! It makes for pretty interesting propaganda

Monday, November 21, 2005

Diversity declines at university

In the Tribune today there was an article about declining diversity at the University of Utah. "We do not feel enough is being done to make sure we (Hispanic students) are admitted [to the U.] and stay until we earn a degree," said Daisy Ramirez, Hispanic Student Association president and "Social Justice" major. "It's already sad to be the only one of color in your classes. . . . Now, it's getting worse." Many diversity proponents argue that admission requirements (a student admitted to the U. must score at least 18 on the ACT test and have at least a 2.6 grade-point average) are geared toward middle-class white Americans.

Pop quiz, what does diversity mean? When I think of diversity, I think of differing opinions, points of view, backgrounds, etc. in this sense diversity should be a subject inclusive of all people. But, as I'm starting to understand, diversity seems to be a more PC word for affirmative action. Don't get me wrong I believe affirmative action has done a lot to progress equal right for minorities and women. The problem is no one wants (or dares) to let go of Affirmative Action, least of all the hard left. It seems to me that Affirmative Action and "diversity requirements" are statements to Hispanics, African-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Gays, and Lesbians that you aren't strong enough, smart enough, able enough to make it through this world yourself. These "diversity" requirements will continue to foster mistrust and inequality among races in America for generations to come.

I would defy American institutions to drop diversity requirements. There are more important issues to be addressed in college, i.e. helping students progress expeditiously through their desired fields of study, instead of wasting time in liberal indoctrination courses. We have some strong examples of minorities who have succeeded: Conde Rice, Clarence Thomas, and Colin Powell. However, time and time again liberal minority leaders have derided these people as sell outs, because they have the courage to say that minorities need to stop using race as an excuse for failure.

Tip for colleges and universities: Maybe diversity training should be focused at some liberal arts and social science professors? Some of these professors have no respect for opposing viewpoints. I majored in Business, thereby circumventing most of these types of professors. However, SUU (I'm sure any college has their share) had a sociology professor that was notorious for tyrannically belittling students who dared openly oppose his liberal rhetoric.

I'm glad I missed diversity indoctrination... I mean requirements. I'm sure some will discount my viewpoint because I didn't go through a school that had rigorous diversity requirements, but thats the way I see it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Spending: The Utah Democrat predicts problems

Here is a good example of why people like Matheson, he was the sole member of the Utah congressional delegation to vote down Congress' ridiculous excuse of a spending reduction act. Cannon and Bishop "begrudgingly" voted for the bill. This bill, instead of curbing spending in areas that are actually out of control, cut Medicaid and aid for deadbeat dad recovery services. Matheson pointed out after the vote that this bill will do little if nothing to curb the deficit, after taking into account another 56 million dollar tax cut. "It's kind of embarrassing that this is called the deficit reduction act....This is a missed opportunity for some belt-tightening by members of Congress,"Matheson said. "If there was ever a time for shared sacrifice, this is it." Republican's dropped drilling in Anwar in order to get this bill passed.

One of the reasons why Matheson is so popular among constituents is he has been very conservative in regards to federal spending. In regards to federal spending even amongst the most loyal conservatives there is a feeling that Republicans have shown the restraint of a drunken sailor. On this point Pete Ashdown should take notes, people are tired of seeing Republicans spend spend spend. Cannon and Bishop, how do you begrudgingly vote for a bill? If you don't want to vote for something shouldn't you not vote for it, but wait that would be sticking your necks out wouldn't it. Anwar is the most annoying part of this, a provision that would have been a start to ending our dependence on foreign oil, was dropped for rather Scroogish spending cuts.

P.S. One of the latest bills passed included another pay hike for Congress. Matheson, again, was the only member of the Utah delegation to vote no. So while Utah Congressional Republicans are taking pay raises from poor single moms, Matheson is sticking to his principles.

Here is the Tribune article: Spending: The Utah Democrat predicts problems

Friday, November 18, 2005

Evolution debate hits the beer aisle

Wasatch Beers is changing the label on its 2002 Unofficial Amber Ale — a title that once raised a ruckus with Olympic officials — to "Evolution Amber Ale." Buttars doesn't seem to amused, "I guess some people are going to get a chuckle out of it. I don't see anything funny about it," Buttars said. "Anytime someone (tries to) sarcastically exploit issues of morality in those kinds of ways is very unappealing. But it doesn't bother me, whatever they put on there."

Rock on Greg Schirf! I think they idea is fun. Buttars you need to lighten up man, since when does Darwinism equate immorality?

Here is the link to the DesNews link: http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635162236,00.html

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Buttars, it's okay! Evolution doesn't mean your religious beliefs aren't true.

In the The Senate Site blog and a recent DesNews article, Chris Buttars announced that he is preparing a "confidential" bill on evolution. Buttars said that the bill will challenge the Utah Board of Education's position, and could include certain disclaimers before evolution lessons. "I believe with the President of the United States that Intelligent Design should have an equal place in evolution lessons." Gayle Ruzicka said, "We are not asking that the State not teach evolution, but one, teach evolution as a theory, and two, include more than one viewpoint." To be fair Buttars said that ID should be taught in philosophies, a point to which I agree with him.

In my opinion, it is very dangerous to force teachers to teach accepted scientific theories with disclaimers. Evolution falls in the realm of science, because it is derived of empirical evidence that can be tested by the scientific method. Intelligent Design cannot fall in the realm of science, because it cannot be proved or disproved by experimentation and observation. The problem is that for some Evolution threatens their deeply held beliefs, just as for atheists Evolution becomes the bedrock proof that their is no God. Here is what the religious right and the atheistic left need to keep in mind, Evolution is the best explanation that science has for the creation and existence of species in this world -- but it doesn't mean there is not God. On the other hand ID is based on a rather vague one and a half page section of the Bible -- it is meant to be believed or disbelieved, proved or disproved by means of prayer, scripture study, and faith.

Buttars -- we can't force a faith based idea that exist in only in literature to be taught as science, and we can't teach a generally accepted scientific theory with disclaimers that it is "just theory". Intelligent Design if it is to be taught in schools must be left to philosophy, and evolution should be taught as the unencumbered as science. I don't think evolution should challenge a belief in God. For example, isn't evolution to an extent one of the main tenants of Mormonism (that we are all trying to evolve to be like God) therefore I see evolution and ID as being (however slight) complimentary.

Here is the link: http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635161898,00.html

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Excellent News!

In a recent Dan Jones poll, 48% of Utahns said it is time to give someone else time in Hatch's Senate seat. This is very good news to myself and any other Utahn who is tired Senator Hatch. With the recent withdrawal of Steve Urquhart, conservatives and those opposed to Hatch need to take a good look at Pete Ashdown.

I personally think Ashdown is a great candidate. Take a look at his campaign website: http://vote.peteashdown.org/issues/

Who's the most popular politician in Utah?

In a recent Desnews poll, Jim Matheson came out with the highest approval rating of all Republican Congressmen, Senators, Huntsman and Bush. This news may be a shock to some who view Utah as a land of indoctrinated drones that vote only Republican. For example, SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson called the political conditions of this state "Taliban-esque". How could this happen?

It could be that Utahns may not be as drone like as some like to believe. Democrats need to take note, it is possible for a Dem to hold office in this state in counties other than Salt Lake. As a conservative, I've been rather impressed with Matheson. He has sought to represent the issues that affect his constituents without getting wrapped up in the ever tiring partisan bickering. He has been a strong representative rather than an obnoxious soapbox preacher of liberal rhetoric.

As Utah voters, we need to seek politicians that are Utahns foremost before we concern ourselves with party affiliation. Some Utah politicians such as Orrin Hatch and Rocky Anderson spend far too much time deriding views that they are opposed to, rather than representing voters needs. When our politicians become more concerned with the publicity they get in the national spotlight, it is time to elect other people. Dems can win, they just need to concern themselves with being representatives rather than special interest lackeys.

Here is the link to the poll: http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635161648,00.html