The blocks that make up the IRS building might not even be as dense as some of those who work inside
This post originally published in 2013. I believe, that while some of the details have changed, the overall message still applies two-plus years later
The Internal Revenue Service is on course to hand out $70 million in bonuses even as the agency is mired in scandal. The IRS is still under fire for targeting conservative groups prior to the 2010 and 2012 elections. This latest news is sure to draw ire from Republicans in both the House and Senate – and rightly so. Continue reading
(A reflection upon our election…and what the Founding Fathers of our nation thoughts were towards voting and how important it was)
Americans HATE electoral politics. How else can you explain the low turnout year after year and the immense relief that comes on the first Wednesday of November (the day after Election Day)? They are continually bombarded with ads on the television, the radio, in their mailbox and their neighbor’s front yard. Once Election Day passes, they won’t have to worry about being called at night for the sixth time in seven days asking them who they plan to vote for or why they should vote for this candidate over the other. For many, they simply cannot wait until this is over, for life to return to normal. They either don’t plan to vote or they go into the voting booth and check off the most familiar names they see without really thinking about the consequences.
With Congressional approval well below 20 percent one would think that Americans would be energized for change. Perhaps the problem is that they just don’t feel that their votes will matter or they don’t know who or what these candidates really are. Others lament the “dirty politics” of negative ads. The truth though is that negative campaigning has been around almost as long as the nation has existed. Continue reading
It has been awhile since I sat down to write a Hoosier Tuesday column. Partly this is because politics in Indiana haven’t been all that newsworthy. There aren’t any competitive races, nothing with a national impact or appeal. But Matthew Tully’s column ends that dry-spell for us.
I love Ocean’s Eleven. I loved 12 and 13 too. Heck, I would have loved for it to go all the way to 21. I never thought I would be using a line from the movie in a conversation about foreign affairs. It fits though.
I had thought about going with something my Dad used to say when I was younger – “shit or get off the pot” – but figured Google might have a problem with me cussing in a blog post title. I think that it is rather appropriate for our foreign policy too. President Obama’s half-measures aren’t working, plain and simple. Just go ahead and look at the front page of any major media website. We are not in Iraq…except that we are. We are pulling our troops out of Afghanistan anymore….except for those that aren’t being pulled out. And who knows what the hell we are doing in regards to Russia and the Ukraine.
They all sit here…unicameral and nonpartisan
Nebraska is just a little bit different than other states when it comes to politics. Not only are they farther ahead of other states when it comes to their electoral college approach, but they also have a non-partisan unicameral legislature. This means that there is only one House…and it is not divided into Republican or Democrat.
It seems that each party has its lightning rod subgroups, with the Republicans it is the Tea Party and with the Democrats it is – or could become – the Occupy (wherever) Movement. In 2008 and 2009 the Tea Party movement was born and grew from nothing into a very big something. In 2011, the Occupy (insert place here) Movement spring up across the nation. One group – very conservative, the other – very liberal. What is interesting though is that these two groups are really born out of the same issue – unhappiness with government role and actions within our economy.
A friend of mine alerted me to a news story from The Hill regarding a proposal by an AK Senator to create what amount to tax-free savings account for gasoline. Now, on the surface, this seems like a good idea. With fuel costs rising, it costs more for all of us to accomplish our everyday tasks like go to work, run errands, cart our kids around, etc. The ability to divert some money from our paycheck to pay for the ever-increasing burden of fuel price seems like a good idea.
Think about this who idea for a second though. If it is a good idea to divert money away from income tax so it can be fully used on fuel, why not just reduce the federal fuel tax by the average income tax percentage? Well, because this is Congress, why do something simple when we can make it complicated? How many people would really take part in such a venture and fully utilize it? Would it be available for corporations or just individuals? Would there be an income cutoff or only available on certain fuels? I obviously have a lot of questions because this legislation is just theory right now, it has not even been vetted on the Senate floor. My take away from this though is that I just don’t see this as having any real impact, more of a glamor bill than a guts bill – something that looks good but doesn’t do a darn thing. If you want to use the tax code to impact the price of fuels, simply lower the federal gas tax. Not only will it have an impact with real dollars at the pump, it will play on Wall-Street too as speculators will no doubt have to adjust their pricing for the shift in demand.
Two take aways from this though – we really need to work on fuel diversification. Everyone knows we are gas/oil dependent. However, oil is used for A LOT more than just energy. I hope that the auto and energy industries are moving forward faster than what they are publicly acknowledging when it comes to alternative sources of fuel and propulsion. I also think the “tax-free account” idea may have some merit. However, lets use it for something that people actually need, like food…that sounds like a blog post for another time though.
In the past few weeks I have noticed a rise in the popularity of a common misperception: free health-care for our US Senators and Representatives. Furthermore, some even carry it forward to their staffs (this also goes along with the “Congressional Employees and Officials do not pay into Social Security but receive all the benefits).
Simply put, this is 100% false.
I had the thought that with this blog I would refrain from naming names and try “rise above the fray”. I will continue to try and do this. However, there is an irksome matter I want to address.
It seems that some Republicans (ok, one Republican) felt that the official rebuttal to be given by Rep. Paul Ryan is just simply not good enough. It appears that some are not behind the official selection made by the Speaker of the House and the Senate Minority Leader. So much for Republicans being united in this new Congress.
It is fine to have your own thoughts about the SOTU. That is what press releases and interviews with your local media (or the quick hits on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC) are for. Republicans have an important chance to make a statement tomorrow night – it would be nice if they made it in unison.
– Sam the Eagle
This past summer the topic of “birthright citizenship” temporarily came to the forefront of the immigration debate, especially within the Republican Party. While the discussion was high level, it seemed to lack the necessary traction to actually become anything than political pandering.
That may have changed though.