Category Archives: Uncategorized

I’m a Taxpayer – Not

taxpayer

President Trump introduced his tax reform plan last week. Critics in the media labeled it “tax cuts for the rich.”

But there’s a reason for that. The rich pay most of the federal income tax.

Democrats are running against income inequality. And they’ve got a point. According to the Tax Foundation the top one percent earn twenty percent of all the income in America..

But they also pay forty percent of all the federal income taxes in the country.

Taxpayer

Half the working population can’t protest against Washington by demanding “I’m a taxpayer and ..!” That’s because they don’t pay federal income taxes. Though they do pay social security and medicare taxes.

Here’s a link to a Tax Foundation chart breaking down who pays what by percentile:

The data demonstrates that the U.S. individual income tax continues to be very progressive, borne mainly by the highest income earners.

  • In 2014, 139.6 million taxpayers reported earning $9.71 trillion in adjusted gross income and paid $1.37 trillion in individual income taxes.
  • The share of income earned by the top 1 percent of taxpayers rose to 20.6 percent in 2014. Their share of federal individual income taxes also rose, to 39.5 percent.
  • In 2014, the top 50 percent of all taxpayers paid 97.3 percent of all individual income taxes while the bottom 50 percent paid the remaining 2.7 percent.
  • The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (39.5 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (29.1 percent).
  • The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a 27.1 percent individual income tax rate, which is more than seven times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (3.5 percent).

 

 

Nuclear Umbrella

nuclear umbrella

The U.S. pledges to protect its Pacific allies from nuclear attack by providing a “nuclear umbrella.” So far it’s worked. The umbrella keeps a lid on proliferation. And countries like Japan build Nissans instead of Nukes.

Folding the Nuclear Umbrella

But if the only country to know what a nuclear hit feels like wanted to go it alone, it could. Walter Russell Mead speculated in the WSJ that Japan might be able to build the bomb in a matter of months. But since it can’t be dropped from a Nissan, delivery could be problematic.

Still, shooting missiles over Japan might be a good way to get things started.

What’s WannaCry?

WannaCry

It’s ransomware that attacked computers around the globe last week. The malware was loaded onto networks through certain versions of Windows. (Microsoft blames the NSA.) It then encrypts your system and demands ransom to unlock your computer. Three hundred dollars payable in bitcoin.

WannaCry

According to Wired WannaCry can tell when it’s being detected and go dormant. Later, when when you least expect it, it comes back. Kind of like shingles for computers.

The feds want software companies to leave backdoors on computers to make it easier to for them to snoop around. Unfortunately, bad guys can get in through the back door too.

What Could Be Worse Than Russian Interference?

Russian interference

Kimberly Strassel has an idea of what could be worse than Russian interference. In her WSJ column she says the bombshell news story of the week was drowned out by the uproar created by California Rep Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff is outraged that Committee Chairman Devin Nunes violated protocol by viewing classified documents at the White House, and briefing Trump rather than sharing with the committee.

The real news is what’s in the documents.

First, there were dozens of documents with information about Trump officials. Second, the information these documents contained was not related to Russia. Third, while many reports did “mask” identities (referring, for instance, to “U.S. Person 1 or 2”) they were written in ways that made clear which Trump officials were being discussed. Fourth, in at least one instance, a Trump official other than Mr. Flynn was outright unmasked. Finally, these documents were circulated at the highest levels of government.

To sum up, Team Obama was spying broadly on the incoming administration.

CIA, Valerie Plame, Democrats, Russians, and Trump

cia

Liberals hate the “intelligence community.” At least they did back in the days when the FBI was spying on Martin Luther King. And the CIA was infiltrating antiwar demonstrations and trying to get Castro to light exploding cigars.

Senate and House Democrats Frank Church and Otis Pike investigated the “IC” in 1975. Senator Church called the CIA a rogue elephant. And President Ford banned government assassinations. (Former President Obama has yet to get the memo.)

CIA Gone Wild

The CIA, NSA, and FBI remained on the Democrat’s rogue elephants list until 9/11 came along, followed by the Valerie Plame affair. Plame was a CIA operative. She sent her diplomat husband, Joe Wilson, to investigate a claim that Saddam Hussein was getting uranium for his alleged weapons of mass destruction through a source in Niger. Wilson wrote about his findings here in the NYT. The story undermined President Bush’s rationale for the Iraq war. Robert Novak got wind of Wilson’s CIA connection and outed his wife in this column in the Washington Post.

The anti-war crowd was outraged over Plame’s blown cover. Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed special counsel to investigate the case. Fitzgerald went after Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby. He offered to let Libby off if he’d deliver his boss, Cheney. Fitzgerald did this despite already knowing the real leaker was deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage. Libby was convicted of perjury.

As for the guy who appointed Fitzgerald as special counsel in the first place? Jim Comey. He was assistant attorney general at the time.

I stumbled on an interesting take on the liberal evolution on the CIA in the Jacobin. It’s a serious left wing publication. Meaning its writers aren’t wearing “pussy hats“, crying hysterically about Trump, or threatening to blow up the white house. Though they are trying to destroy capitalism. The article is titled “The CIA is Not Your Friend” it says, “The CIA is rebranding as a rational, progressive arm of the US state. And some liberals are buying it.”