Monday, October 27, 2008

Not Better off? Better off with Obama!

The source for this information is CNN Money.

I’ve been receiving a tirade of emails claiming that Obama’s tax plan will sink small businesses and take a major tax bite out of the income of ordinary Americans. Here is something that’s closer to the truth.

The candidates tax plans:

Source:The Tax Policy Center

McCain: Even though everyone gets a cut under the McCain plan, high-income taxpayers would benefit more than everyone else. According to CNN Money and the Tax Policy Center, the highest-income households - those with incomes of at least $603,000 - would see a boost in after-tax income of 3.4%, or more than $40,000. The McCain plan gives nearly one-quarter of its benefits to households making more than $2.8 million annually - the top 0.1% I guess that will benefit the McCains, too.

Obama: High-income taxpayers would pay more in taxes, while everyone else's tax bill would be reduced. The lowest income groups would benefit the most - in terms of reducing their taxes. Obama's plan would keep the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts in place for everyone except those making more than roughly $250,000, and he would increase the capital gains tax. (I guess Wall Street doesn’t like this, but Main Street doesn’t give a hoot.)

Under both plans, all American taxpayers could pay a price for their tax cuts: a bigger deficit. The Tax Policy Center estimates that McCain's tax proposals could increase the national debt by as much as $4.5 trillion with interest, while Obama's could add as much as $3.3 trillion if they remained intact for 10 years.

So let’s be realistic: Which tax policy would benefit the average Joe—not the plumber? Which tax plan will be better for the country? In reality, I don’t think candidates will be able to live up to their campaign promises on taxes, because the Bush/Cheney administration hasn’t been a careful steward of our economy. The next president is going to have to try and clean this mess up. I’m reminded of the bumper sticker—“we’re spending our children’s inheritance”—often seen on retirees cars. Our children and grandchildren will be paying for fifty years to correct the fiscal malfeasance of the last 8 years.

Oh, and for you fiscal conservatives out there--How do you like the recent acts of socialism by the US government? Now the taxpayer is part owner and guarantor of the financial industry. The “we the people” will have to make up for the fiscal irresponsibility of the financial industry. I hope Paulson knows what he’s doing and that he’s an honorable man, because certainly there are only a few people in this country who understand what he’s doing. By the way, none of those people are in the White House.

Also, if I remember correctly, “W” ran a few other enterprises into the ground and had to seek a bail out for those, too. It’s nice to have a rich Pappy, huh?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Council approves Bloomberg’s power grab

The City Council agreed today to extend term limits to three four–year terms by a 29-22 vote. (See how your representative voted.)

Many of the council members who voted for the proposal offered two arguments. The first is that the current financial crisis requires an experienced hand at the helm and who can manage our finances better that our own resident billionaire. Well, that kind of argument didn’t work for Guiliani in 2001 who wanted to extend his term for only 90 days. Bloomberg opposed that suggestion then and continued to oppose extending term limits until very recently.

The second argument goes something like this: The change in the charter does not in any way usurp the democratic process, because the people will continue to have the right to vote for the candidate of their choice in the primaries and the general election in 2009.

But, that’s a bogus argument since incumbents who would have been term-limited will undoubtedly run again and more than likely be the candidate of choice in their party primaries. How many Republicans or Independents will oppose Bloomberg in the primaries? In essence this ruling has limited the field of possible candidates.

Remember, that in 2006 Bloomberg spent a little more than $84 million, setting a record for any campaign other than national campaigns for president. (See what the current presidential candidates are spending. ) Add to that Bloomberg’s ability to control most of the media and Anthony Weiner and Bill Thompson would be little more than a blip on the media radar. And Tony Avella, well, he wouldn't even make a showing.

A Quinnipiac poll found that registered voters generally disapproved of Bloomberg’s plan and overwhelmingly thought that it should be the voters who make the decision and not the City Council. But the mayor autocratically decided that he can go over the heads of the voters and the lapdogs in the council succumbed to the pressure, or made deals with Bloomberg and approved the measure. Up until recently the mayor didn’t support extending term limits. He even vetoed a 2002 bill to amend it, saying it was an attempt by politicians to change the rules for personal gain.

Take a hike Mike!

But, Bloomberg is not invincible. He failed to get a new football stadium built on Manhattan’s West Side. He failed to get the 2012 Summer Olympics and he failed to win over the state Legislature to approve his congestion pricing plan. Consider also the construction crane failures that the DOB botched up. Or, judge him on the effectiveness of the school system he now controls. (Mayoral control sunsets in 2009 and maybe then will we be able to accurately measure any progress.) Or, judge him on the Housing Stability Program that failed miserably to reduce the number of homeless in the city.

Another four years will be more of the same. Take a hike Mike!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Take a hike Mike

There’s something suspicious about the mayor calling for the end of term limits so that he can have another four years at the helm of the city, especially since it is early enough to schedule another referendum on the issue. Why is he trying to bypass the need to take it back to the voters?

Mayor Bloomberg said in his press release, ”I also understand that people voted for a two-term limit, and altering their verdict is not something that I think should be done lightly.” Remember, that the people voted twice (1993 and 1996) for this two-term limit.

However, the Mayor adds, that according to the Charter, the Council has the right to change the law without a referendum that tests the will of the people.

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

Mayor Mike and all the other mayoral candidates (except for Green) in the aftermath of 9/11, disapproved of Giuliani’s call to extend his term for 90 days in the wake of the disaster and turmoil we experienced at that time. So why are people lining up behind this idea now for Mayor Mike?

If 9/11 wasn't a good enough reason for Giuliani to extend his term for 90 days, then why does this financial crisis rise to the level of an emergency that requires Mayor Mike to hold office for another 4-year term?

A Daily News online poll shows that a large percentage of people oppose the potential power grab and a New York Times piece quotes several people who expressed opinions that this Wall Street crisis doesn’t justify suspending the election rules.

Read Mark Green’s blog on the Huffington Post where he says there’s plenty of time to bring the issue to the people in a public referendum. He adds that if this is the time to have a financial manager run the city, then why don’t we just suspend the mayor’s office and city government and hire Warren Buffet?

One way to cure an addiction to power and fame is to cut the person off from the source. So take a hike Mike and let someone else carry the baton.