Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The real Christian approach to taxes

I was reading a piece in the Wall Street Journal about religious groups in Illinois protesting the state’s income tax. No, it’s not what you think. Yes, they think the state income tax is unjust, but only because it doesn’t tax rich folks enough. Right now, the Illinois state income tax is a flat tax. These protestors want a progressive tax. In other words, the more you make, the bigger chunk they take, like the federal income tax.

“This is a moral imperative,” the Journal quoted Rev. C.J. Hawking as saying. “There are over 400 passages in the Bible that talk about God’s special concern for the poor.” Yeah, Reverend, and you are supposed to be the one taking care of them, not the government.

But this is the state of our nation these days. Too many religious institutions are shirking their responsibilities and insisting — and, in this case, protesting — that the government should do their job for them. It’s quite interesting that many of these same liberals are the ones who claim a separation of church and state, yet they believe the state is somehow obligated to answer the call of the Bible.

While Rev. Hawking and other so-called religious leaders protest the rich not being gouged, churches in Illinois are not only exempt from paying property taxes, they buy items without paying a sales tax. Nothing against churches, I’m a member of one, but they’re the last entities that need to pointing fingers at tax scofflaws. 

If Hawking and others are going to get biblical on us, the Bible says we should tithe. Maybe Hawking needs to look that word up. It means to give a tenth. There’s nothing in the Bible about a graduated income tax. In fact, there’s nothing in the Bible that says the state should be paying for the poor. Not that I’m against that, mind you, but there are too many people passing themselves off as poor when they’re not.

One of the primary responsibilities of a Christian church is to look after the less fortunate. That’s why you see so many charities that have been started around this country by churches. Prior generations understood that churches were called by God to help those less fortunate. This new generation of liberal theologists believe the government should do the work. They protest for higher taxes on the rich, when the rich are already paying the bulk of the taxes. They protest for a “living wage” instead of stepping in themselves to help folks who aren’t making it month to month.

To be quite honest, it makes me absolutely furious to hear so-called religious people scold anyone about not doing their fair share, especially the rich. To quote a CNBC headline, “The rich do not pay the most taxes, they pay ALL the taxes.” This was a story about a Congressional Budget Office report that revealed the top 40 percent of wage-earners in America pay 106 percent of the taxes. The bottom 40 percent pay negative 9 percent.

How can this be? The bottom half of wage-earners pay no income tax and the the bottom 40 percent get money through the Earned Income Tax Credit that they never paid in. In other words, they not only pay no income tax, they make money on Tax Day. 
Now, back to these “religious groups.” How Biblical is it to steal from those who produce and give it to those who don’t? Theft shrouded by a reverend’s robe is no less theft. In fact, stealing in the name of the Lord is the worst.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

More doom and gloom from the Chicken Little crowd

It would be comical if it weren’t so serious. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy went on “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central to tell Jon Stewart’s viewers that global warming is the biggest public health and economic challenge we face. Forget that we haven’t warmed, globally, for at least 15 years, these folks find it necessary to ratchet up the hysteria. It’s akin to people who talk to foreigners who don’t speak English. They think if they just talk louder the person will understand them.

What’s so unfunny about McCarthy’s Comedy Central performance is we have scientists right now proposing that we spray sulphur and aluminum particles into the atmosphere to
block the sun. I am not kidding! Have these people lost their minds? Apparently, but these are the types of scientists who get funded not just by our government but by governments worldwide.

In fact, there’s strong evidence to suggest they have already been spraying these toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. All in the name of stopping some phantom theory of manmade global warming.

The other day the UN’s IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, issued yet another dire prediction that we only had 15 years to do something about climate change or it would be too late. Don’t they know that we know they’ve been doing the same thing since 1982? 

Here’s a brief history of the hysteria from the website

The Executive Director of the UN Environment Program warned in 1982 the “world faces an ecological disaster as final as nuclear war within a couple of decades unless governments act now.” In 1989, the UN said we’d reach a tipping point in ten years. In fact, Al Gore said there would be no Arctic sea ice in the summer of 2013. The truth was, we had 50 percent more sea ice in the Arctic in the summer of 2013 than we did the year prior.

But, as this whole climate scam started to fall apart, they just upped the hysteria. In 2009, the UK’s Gordon Brown said we only had “50 days to save the world.” That same year, Prince Charles was a little more optimistic. He said we had 96 months. It was also in 2009 that Canadian Green Party looney Elizabeth May said “we have hours” to prevent climate disaster.

It seems 2009 was a big year for panic. The godfather of global warming, NASA’s James Hansen, said we just had Obama’s first term to save the planet. Then greenie James Lovelock slowed things down a bit in 2010. He said, “we may have 1,000 years to sort it out.”

The latest came from the UN on April 16, 2014. “The world now has a rough deadline for action on climate change,” the IPCC said. “Nations need to take aggressive action in the next 15 years to cut carbon emissions, in order to forestall the worst effects of global warming.”

Look folks, I was born at night but not last night. This is basic huckster behavior. You have to get that roof replaced and right now, before it all falls in on you! You have to replace that engine in your car because it’s just not safe to drive! And what’s always at the heart of these scams? That’s right, money. The UN wants producer nations like the United States to pay for our sin of “carbon pollution,” which is another way of saying, “pay for your sin of success.”

None of what Al Gore predicted in his movie came true, so now they’re doing a sequel. Maybe they should name it Gullible’s Travels.  

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'm mad as hell and, well, you know the rest

I get hacked off every year about this time. No, it’s not the blood moon or frustration that the new season of 24 can’t come soon enough. It’s not that NCAA basketball is over or even Mother Nature slapping us with another ‘sprinter’ before real spring arrives. What’s got me all hot under the collar? I just did my taxes.

I know, I should probably let someone do this for me, put myself at arm’s length. Maybe if I don’t see all that money going out the door I won’t notice it. But I feel it necessary to see
where all my money’s going. That’s why I agonize over the tax forms every year.

This year was particularly brutal. I wouldn’t mind so much if I were able to choose where the money goes. For the second year in a row, we have more people getting food stamps than we have women working full-time. Think about that. Most of the food stamps go to women with children. Now we have about as many on government assistance as working. Talk about your war on women.

We have a national debt over $17 trillion. That number doesn’t even mean anything to most people anymore. It’s so out of control that we will never be debt-free in this country ever again. Well, then, why worry about it? Because we have to pay interest on the debt.

Right now we pay just under nine cents of every tax dollar to service the national debt. That’s more than we pay on government, education, agriculture and science combined. The experts tell us if we continue down the same road we’ll be paying about 30 cents of every dollar on interest by 2040. By 2050 it would be half of all money coming in. Think about that. No matter what your pet project is, there would be half the money to argue over because of the ballooning debt.

Here’s something else to think about. The Heritage Foundation estimates that, given the current road we’re on, by 2030 entitlements plus the interest on the debt will consume all tax revenue. We’re talking Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare plus interest on the debt and there’s no more money. That means no money for defense. No money for infrastructure. No money for science or natural disasters. No money for anything.

Don’t get me wrong about this tax business. I don’t mind paying taxes. Really, I don’t. What I mind is when my money is being wasted. What I mind is seeing all these people abusing food stamps and other government charities. What I mind is watching billions, if not trillions over the long run, thrown down a rat hole chasing a phantom like man-made global warming.

What I mind is seeing half of the people around me pay no taxes whatsoever and another 40 percent get money from the government they’ve never paid in through the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The liberals love to say the tax system isn’t fair and they’re right, only they think the rich should be paying more. I don’t know where I fit in as far as the rich go but I can tell you this. I’m one of the top 50 percent who’s actually paying taxes and I’m sick and tired of pulling this wagon while half the folks are riding.

If you’re making over $100,000 you’re in a group that’s paying 72 percent of all federal income taxes. That’s outrageous! Too few are working so that too many don’t have to.

And you wonder why I’m mad?

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The fascists are here

I’ve been doing this a long time, bringing you the issues of the day through my prism of conservatism. It’s what’s known as an opinion. We all have them. We take for granted that, in the United States, we’ll always have the freedom to express them. We can no longer take that for granted.

The case of Brendan Eich at Mozilla is one of the most frightening examples of fascism that I’ve witnessed in my long career of voicing my opinion. The fact that many of you are
learning of this for the very first time is even more startling.

You may not have heard of Mozilla but you may have heard of their primary product. They make the web browser Firefox. Brendan Eich was one of the founders of that company. Eich also invented the computer programming language JavaScript. It’s the language that allows you to browse the Internet.

It seems back in 2008 Mr. Eich made a $1,000 contribution to Proposition 8. That’s the California proposition that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. Radical, right? The state constitutional amendment was passed by the people of California but later ignored by state officials.

In March of this year Eich was elevated from Chief Technical Officer to Chief Executive Officer. It’s not clear when his contribution to Prop 8 came to light but upon his appointment as CEO the radical gay dating site,, went nuts and launched a boycott of Mozilla and Firefox. The board of directors caved and fired Eich. Well, they claim they didn’t fire him, that he left because of the controversy, but that’s nearly impossible to believe.

Here’s an excerpt from the company’s statement on the Eich affair:

You need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to 
stand for both at the same time can be hard.

Figuring out how to stand for free speech and equality can be hard? Actually, it’s quite simple. When you fight for equality, fight for everyone’s equal opportunity to be free. Ironically, the Eich incident came the same week the Supreme Court ruled that campaign contributions constitute free speech.

Apparently it’s the free speech part Mozilla is having a hard time with.

What’s frightening is so many people think it’s perfectly appropriate for Mozilla to sack its CEO over a campaign contribution. This is the primary reason leftists want the courts to grant them access to contributor information. It’s to exact their punishment on those who contribute to organizations they don’t like.

I wrote in The Conservative’s Handbook that political correctness is the liberal version of fascism. This is exactly the kind of fascism I was referring to. 

There’s a group in Hollywood called Friends of Abe. It’s an organization of conservatives and right-leaning independents. They get together and hear speakers and gather information about various issues. They had grown to a point where they needed office space, thus they needed to be able to accept donations from their members. They applied for 501(c)3 status with the IRS. The IRS dragged it’s feet, as we famously know they do, but finally approved the status.

During the approval process, the IRS insisted on access to a password-protected section of their website that included a list of members. They refused and ultimately won that argument.

It’s sad that those of us in favor of full disclosure find ourselves insisting on secrecy in order to protect people from the new American fascists.

If that list is ever made public it’s only a matter of time before they ‘Eich’ someone else.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The new king of chicken is a template for corporate America

There’s a new king of the chicken chain store. For decades the cock of the walk was KFC, the chain formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken. Then something, well, miraculous happened. A God-centered, family values chain called Chick-fil-A blasted past KFC with a fraction of the store locations, according to the latest Technomic data.

KFC has two-and-a-half times the number of stores, with 4,491 locations. Chick-fil-A has 1,775 locations yet they did over $5 billion in business while KFC did $4.2 billion. What’s
even more amazing is when you look at the individual store average. KFC averages about $938,000 per store. Chick-fil-A averages $3.2 million.

What’s more, Chick-fil-A voluntarily takes itself out of the competition one-seventh of the time. They’re closed on Sunday.

What gives?

Actually, it’s pretty simple. Chick-fil-A is unashamedly a business run on Christian family values. As CEO Dan Cathy once told the Tampa Bay Times, “We don’t wear religion on our sleeve. We serve it in the cup.” Unlike almost every other fast food restaurant, you won’t find openly disgruntled employees working at Chick-fil-A. They know the customer doesn’t care if they’re having a bad day. We don’t care if you don’t like your job. Your job is to be cheery, pleasant, polite and efficient.

In fact, Cathy says the secret to Chick-fil-A’s success is training. “It took us 10 years to teach teen employees to say ‘my pleasure’ when someone thanks them instead of ‘not a problem.’”

It ain’t that hard. You create a pleasant atmosphere and people want to come back. Of course, the food has to be good and Chick-fil-A literally invented the chicken sandwich.

There’s a feeling you get when you visit a Chick-fil-A restaurant. I can think of a lot of adjectives to describe it, but the word that really incapsulates that feeling is ‘wholesome.’ You not only feel good about the restaurant when you’re there, you feel good about yourself. You feel good about life.

Unlike other fast food chains that sell franchises and keep a percentage of the revenue, Chick-fil-A owns the stores. They charge an independent operator to run the the store and split the profits down the middle. As Cathy puts says, “It puts our interest on the same side of the table as theirs.”

Owning the stores gives them more control over quality and employees which are the hallmarks of their success. This is a lesson every business could learn. As customers, we’re not asking for much. If you’re going to be in the fast food business the first rule is to be fast. How many times have you stood at a restaurant in utter frustration of the glacial speed at which the employees were moving?

In addition to wanting your food fast, you want your order correct, you want your food to be good and you want your service to be pleasant. Pretty simple.

If your food isn’t good you shouldn’t be in the restaurant business in the first place, so that’s an easy one. Make sure your crew is working in concert. Make sure you put everything in the bag the person orders. And for crying out loud, don’t forget the straw and the napkin. And do it all with a smile and a kind word.

That’s it. That’s all we in the fast food consumer world ask for. 

If you’re still a little cloudy on how this works, just visit a Chick-fil-A.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.