Herman Cain

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Cain Train, Newtmobile

Spending the night at the Woodlands Resort after the Texas Patriots PAC “debate” between Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain. They proved that competition is good – wish we’d had some. Besides that, in the parking lot in front of my room – taking up 5 -6 of the parking spaces – is the Newt Mobile, the Cain Train pick up and the trailer they haul the NewtMobile around in. How close are these two and are we supposed to believe they’ve got it all figured out?

The Cain Train pickup, with the Newt2012 billboard.







And the NewtMobile, with Cain President on the front and back.

Perry’s Flat Tax vs. Cain’s ?-?-? Tax: Which has less risk?

The Republican candidates for President have all promised to simplify the tax  code and make it more fair. Governor Rick Perry’s plan for a Flat tax will be revealed tomorrow (October 25) and it’s already being compared to Herman Cain’s “999” tax plan.

From what I’ve read about Governor Rick Perry’s flat tax plan (see the Wall Street Journal article, here, and Fox News article, here), the bureaucracies would be much simpler – that’s one reason they call it “flat:” a single tax bracket with a standard deduction per person would require very little in the way of new procedures at the IRS. If anything, it would decrease the personnel needed and there would be less need for “interpretation” of the tax code.

We certainly wouldn’t need more tax regulations, IRS employees or arbitrary decision making within the Treasury Department under Perry’s plan. The tax payers would have the option of using the old code or the new, flat bracket with a deduction off the top for each person in the family.

Currently, there’s a provision for a Newspeak-named “alternative minimum tax.” After a certain income level, people have to figure their taxes two ways, with and without certain deductions. They pay the greater amount.

There aren’t separate bureaucracies for those who pay the current regular tax and for those who pay the “alternative minimum tax.” The same crowd audits both.

On the other hand, Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan has already been tweaked, to make it more “fair.”

Mr. Cain says he has changed the 9% income tax (the middle “9” in that scheme) to the 9-0-9 with 0% income taxes for those that Washington deem “impoverished” and the brand new “empowerment zones” for favored cities and communities. In addition, the sales tax would require larger, newer bureaucracies, since there are currently no rules or regulations for monitoring or collecting a National sales tax, identifying who is paying it or who is not. That bureaucracy would have to be developed, along with reams of regulations made up from whole cloth.

In addition, the biggest flaw in Mr. Cain’s 9-?-9 tax plan in my opinion is that the very areas that are Democrat-controlled and and rife with corruption would be the places that Cain proposes to put “empowerment zones.” These “zones” nor the regulations to define or run them do not exist. How long ’till the corruption sets in? Who gets paid to develop more empowering empowering zones that favor the current powers that be? Who gets paid to look the other way when some are “empowered” more than others?

Edited for grammar – BBN 10/25/11, 4 AM

Would Rick Perry Repeal the 16th Amendment?

Governor Rick Perry has repeatedly said that Government shouldn’t “spend all the money,” that the Federal government is too big and replicates what the states do and usurps the authority of the the States to decide what to spend or not to spend.

There’s a lot of comment these days about Herman Cain’s “999” tax plan, in which he prioritizes raising revenue by taxes that will cover spending. His staff and advisers are currently defending their calculations to raise $2.3 Trillion a year with his plan. With the “empowerment zones” meant to make the tax less regressive, he’s already increasing the complexity of the plan – along with the bureaucracy.

(To be fair, the WaPo article seems not to notice that Mr. Cain’s plan would end payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, lowering the burden for many workers, and I believe that the nay-sayers under estimate collections from “the wealthy.”)

In contrast, Governor Perry’s priority has always been to cut spending first, and to cut the influence of the federal government in our lives. I tend to agree: My preferred “plan” has always been to cut spending, now.

Here’s what he’s said in the past:

“In the wake of the New Deal, We have allowed Progressives to successfully frame the debate. Republicans constantly allow themselves to be trapped into thinking they are against people if they oppose certain programs.” (p. 55,location 945 kindle)

“First, we must restrict federal spending. Rampant and wasteful spending in Washington is an affront to both freedom and federalism. The most important thing we could do is amend the Constitution — now — to restrict federal spending. There are generally thought to be two options: the traditional balanced budget amendment or a straightforward spending limit amendment, either of which would be a significant improvement. I prefer the latter. It is imperative that we establish a constitutional requirement that the federal government live within its means like states and most American households must do—but I don’t want the Washington establishment to hide behind tax increases to balance the budget. Let’s use the people’s document—the Constitution—to put an actual spending limit in place to control the beast in Washington.” (p.181)

“Second, we should restrict the unlimited source of revenue that the federal government has used to grow beyond its constitutionally prescribed powers. One option would be to totally scrap the current tax code in favor of a flat tax, and thereby make taxation much simpler, easier to follow, and harder to manipulate. Another option would be to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution (providing the power for the income tax) altogether, and then pursue an alternative model of taxation such as a national sales tax or the Fair Tax.” (p.182)

Perry, Rick (2010-11-15). Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington. Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

Japanese troops on the Great Wall of China

My husband and I visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, this week. I couldn’t help but relate the events of December, 7, 1941 to those of September 11, 2001. Listening to the stories of the people who were suddenly under fire from an enemy from the sky, who saw friends and family shot and bombed, was almost too much to bear. The sight of the Arizona underwater, where all those men died without warning when bombed and their ammunition supplies blew up, reminds us that there are men who will kill, without warning, for power.

The source of that picture is here.

The museum at the Park has a series of videos telling the story of Pearl Harbor and World War II, and a movie that everyone watches on the way to the shuttle boats that take you to the Memorial. Since there’s been so much talk lately about building a wall along the Texas-Mexico border, one particular image caught my eye: movie footage from the early 1930’s, showing Japanese troops marching on the Great Wall of China. I thought it was propaganda from the war department, but no, it really happened.

“Chinese and Japanese representatives met in the Tanggu district of Tianjin starting on 22 May 1933 in an attempt to end the undeclared war between China and Japan. Japan demanded that a demilitarized zone be established 100 kilometers south of the Great Wall, and Japan was to be given possession of the Great Wall itself. Also, Japan demanded that Japanese units were to be allowed to patrol the demilitarized zone. The Chinese government agreed to all Japanese demands and signed the document on 31 May 1933.”

See more about the First Battle of Hebei or Operation Nekka, here.

I had just read that some wanted to build a similar wall all along our Rio Grande,  and had even read one candidate, Herman Cain, wanted to build our own version of  “The Great Wall of China.”

It wasn’t for lack of a wall that China lost much of her land to Japan. It was the lack of men and materials to defend the wall.

We already have Mr. Cain’s “moat,” although without the alligators. It’s called the Rio Grande. Our farmers and ranchers along the Rio have water rights that allow them to make a living and grow food for Texas and the United States. The fence makes it harder and more expensive for them to do their jobs and does nothing to stop illegal aliens and drug runners from coming into the US, because our Border Patrol agents are too few and far between to respond and apprehend criminals, even when alerted.

The fence only works where there are frequent patrols and response from near by. It does not work if there’s no one to respond to breaches. A fence is straight, the river curves back and forth. So, the Feds build it inside the border, not on the border, giving up land that is U.S. soil.

In the meantime, they cut off homes from the rest of the State, they deprive Texas farmers and ranchers their rightful access to their own property and to their water rights. This not only leaves wide swaths of the United States outside of normal defense, it makes it more expensive to run the farms, the ranches, and even regular households.

The next time you hear someone say that we need a fence along the Rio Grande, I hope you remember the Great Wall of China. We need men and materials to defend our border, not a wall between Texas and the Rio Grande. Read more about the border, here.

(Edited to add a source for the picture of the soldiers on the wall and a couple of lines about the effects of the fence on farmers and ranchers. BBN)

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