Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Trump tax plan

Although most of the presidential candidates have released their tax plans, its Donald Trumps thats getting all of the attention. And no wonder. The media CNN especially are obsessed with the man. Aside from the illegal immigration issue, his positions have been short on detail. Taxes are in Trumps wheelhouse and he has some really good ideas. He also has at least one thats not.

First, lets look at whats good about the Trump tax plan. It lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. Personally, I would take that to zero but thats probably not realistic given the level of class envy in this country. Some of you reading this right now are balking at lowering the tax on corporations because youve been conditioned by the left to want to punish them. Lets think through this logically. What happens when you tax a corporation? Let me ask it another way. What happens to your grocery bill when the price of gasoline goes up? The price of your groceries goes up. Everyone understands that concept. Why are taxes any different from gasoline? Theyre not. Theyre both expenses and they both help determine the price of products. It stands to reason that if you raise taxes you raise prices. Conversely, if you lower the corporate tax youll lower prices. The market will see to it.

Trumps reduction in the corporate tax would apply to small businesses and freelancers, as well as corporations, and the potential to stimulate the economy is enormous. Republicans have advocated either lowering or eliminating the corporate tax for decades but its always been demagogued by the left. It may take someone like Donald Trump to get this passed.

Trump lowers the top tax rate from 39.6 to 25 percent and cuts the tax brackets from seven to four. NPR quoted Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the left-leaning Tax Policy Center as saying, Bushs was a large tax cut aimed at high-income people. This is an even bigger tax cut aimed at high-income people.Thats a rather ridiculous statement given that the plan pushes another 75 million people off the tax rolls. Yes, it lowers the top tax rate but it lowers all the rates. Any individual making less than $25,000 or couple making less than $50,000 pays no tax under the Trump plan. This is the part I have a problem with.

Before I get into it, understand that we already take care of the poor. Food stamps, housing subsidies, outright cash payments, we go above and beyond what we should be doing to compensate low-income individuals and families. Already nearly half of Americans pay no federal income tax. Trumps plan apparently pushes us over the 50 percent mark. To me, its unconscionable that a couple making $50,000 a year would pay nothing toward the well-being of this country.

Thats been part of the problem already. Too many people have no ownership stake in this country. If you dont have any money invested, why would you care how much the government spends? Everybody needs to have some skin in the game, no matter how little they make. Instead, the Trump plan continues to move us in the opposite direction.

That doesnt even take into account the 40 percent of people who get more from the Earned Income Tax Credit than they pay in. They certainly dont give a rats hat about runaway government spending.

Theres an old saying that when you rob Peter to pay Paul youll get no argument from Paul. We need more Peters and fewer Pauls.

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lessons from the VW scam

The car company that Hitler built may be coming to an end. No doubt, you’ve heard about the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Because of the conscious confusion of the global warming agenda there’s confusion over just what Volkswagen has done. Let me elucidate. They have admitted to rigging some of their “clean diesel” vehicles to fool smog tests. When the vehicle is hooked up to emissions-testing equipment the cars emit far fewer nitrogen oxides, which are major components of smog. Once the cars are on the open road, they emit far more nitrogen oxides than are allowed by U.S. law. Understand, this is real pollution, as opposed to the trumped up charges against carbon dioxide.
In an article from they stated the following: “While diesel cars get better mileage and emit fewer carbon-dioxide emissions, they also emit more nitrogen oxides (NOx), which help form smog, and particulate matter, which can damage lungs. Both types of pollution can have serious health effects.” (emphasis added) Here’s the problem. Carbon dioxide poses absolutely no health effect. Also, there is no CO2 in smog. I’ll repeat. There is no CO2 in smog. Al Gore and the global warming alarmists have cleverly conjoined CO2 and smog by shortening carbon dioxide to just “carbon” to make it sound sinister. CO2 is not a pollutant and, in fact, is essential to life on earth. It’s known as plant food.

The problem with Volkswagen is they weren’t trying to get around the CO2 regulations, which would’ve been excusable. They were getting around the smog regulations, which is inexcusable. They will be fined heavily and they should be. How heavily? Estimates are a minimum of $18 billion. To put that in perspective, VW’s pre-tax net income last year was roughly $4.7 billion.

This could mean an end to the car company Adolf Hitler started back in 1937. Hitler wanted an affordable car for the masses. The problem was even with his subsidy plan, few Germans could afford it. Then came World War II and production of the VW halted. It wasn’t until after the war, when Allied forces were inspecting a bombed-out factory, that the discovery was made of several VW prototypes. The Americans used Volkswagen as the centerpiece of their efforts to rebuild the German economy.

In 1959, an American advertising agency dubbed the VW the “Beetle” and an automotive phenomenon was begun. Twelve years later, VW surpassed the record set by Henry Ford and his Model T, selling more than 15 million vehicles. By the 1970s, the Beetle was looking tired and sales began to fall off. VW made a comeback in the ‘80s and in 2011 had built a production facility in Chattanooga, TN. The car company laid out about $1 billion. Federal, state, and local governments chipped in another $577 million in incentives.

That looked like a great deal to proponents of government welfare until the proverbial defecation hit the fan. Now Tennessee is scrambling to figure out what to do. What they should do is not defend the indefensible. As someone who has fought the misinformation of global warming for many years, I understand the problem of real pollution. In California, for example, vehicles account for about 60 percent of the smog. That’s a real problem. The way to address the problem is through cleaner-burning engines. The trick is dodging the CO2 requirements while making a cleaner engine.

In a perfectly combustible engine all you get is CO2. Perhaps the Volkswagen case will be a wake-up call. CO2 is not smog. It’s the alternative to smog.

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Political Correctness: I refuse to play

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, certainly not known for his right-wing politics, recently went off on political correctness on college campuses. He’s not alone. Many top-tier comedians have given up the college circuit because of the lack of sense of humor. Tasteless comedian Sarah Silverman, however, has succumbed to the pressure. She now says comedians need to change with the times. In other words, allow some college kids to dictate what you say.

The PC landscape is ever-evolving. That’s one of the things that makes it so annoying. Who knows what’s PC from day to day? I recently was recounting a story of an elected official who quoted an online urban dictionary and the definition included “retarded monkey.” Now, I understand in that context it probably wasn’t very nice and an elected official should probably know better but it set off a debate over the word “retarded” itself.

Calling someone a “retard” is not polite. I get that. However, when someone has a diminished mental capacity they’re referred to as mentally retarded. Or, at least, I thought so. I got it with both barrels from some hysterical woman who said my use of the phrase “mentally retarded” was hate speech. Hate speech? I asked, pray tell, what I’m supposed to use in its place. “Intellectually challenged,” she said. Really? Intellectually challenged? That’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, if I’m still allowed to use the word “dumb.”

I thought I remembered an organization called ARC, the Association for Retarded Citizens, so I went to their website. Apparently it’s no longer ARC, it’s Arc. In other words, they’ll still call it Arc but it doesn’t really stand for anything. However, right there under the ‘Who Are We’ section is the dreaded word. “The National Association for Retarded Citizens,” it reads, “was founded in 1950 as the National Association of Parents and Friends of Mentally Retarded Children.” Oh, my. Hate speech right there on the Arc website.

Please don’t misinterpret my frustration. I have a special place in my heart for mentally retarded citizens and give regularly to organizations like Special Olympics. My problem is with the overly-sensitive PC police who feel it necessary to change the language.

Oftentimes it’s done to try and erase a negative connotation. Take the word “liberal,” for instance. Liberals don’t like to be called liberals anymore because it’s a negative, so they want to be called “progressives.” They’re still liberals and they’re still wrong so it’s only a matter of time before “progressive” becomes a dirty word.

They’re doing the same thing with “illegal.” Illegal alien is a perfect description for someone who’s broken into our country and isn’t supposed to be here but that word has become so negative. Well, yeah, it is a negative. They’ve tried to paper over the problem by calling them “undocumented workers.” They even try to ban the word “illegal.” We should probably just refer to them as what they are: Undocumented Democrats.

Pardon me if I sit out this silly game of musical words. There are apt descriptions of people and things that fit perfectly and there’s really no need to change them. Am I opposed to changing with the times? Not always. I don’t use “gee whiz” or “far out” so I certainly understand how language changes. However, I naturally resist tossing words just because a few people don’t like them anymore. I wrote in The Conservative’s Handbook that political correctness is the liberal version of fascism, and it is.

Controlling language is the first step in controlling thought and I refuse to be bullied.

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Is Kim Davis right?

Interesting test case in Kentucky where a county clerk, Kim Davis, refused to issue marriage licenses because of her opposition to gay marriage and was subsequently jailed. A judge later ordered her release and she has vowed not to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians under her name.

Is she right?

Well, of course, that depends on what side of the argument youre on. Ill take a non-partisan position and lets see. First of all, we must determine whether or not the state requires clerks of court in Kentucky to issue marriage licenses or allows it. Thats a critical point. My understanding is Alabama allows clerks to issue marriage licenses. Thats why the clerks there who have refused to issue licenses havent been jailed. Its my understanding that Kentucky requires it, which would put Kim Davis in contempt.

But that doesnt settle the argument. Theres the matter of objecting to a law because of your religious beliefs. Remember Muhammad Ali objected to the selective service law and was allowed to avoid the draft. In fact, exemptions are made for all sorts of people based on their religions. The Amish come to mind.

The bigger question is who has authority over the Kentucky matter. It troubles me that federal marshals detained Mrs. Davis. Its my opinion that marriage is and always has been a matter of the state government, not the federal government. Federal authorities jailing an elected official over something that is clearly not under the authority of the federal government is troublesome, to say the least. What compounds the concern is how many times federal government officials refuse to enforce the law or unilaterally countermand with no negative repercussions.

Take President Obama, for example. How many times has he refused to enforce immigration law? Absolutely nothing has happened to him. In fact, not only has he refused to follow the law, he has instructed the Border Patrol to ignore it, as well. Innocent citizens have died because he has allowed criminal illegals to roam the streets.

Speaking of which, why didnt the federal marshals detain the idiots in San Francisco who defied an ICE demand to turn a dangerous illegal alien over to them and, instead, turned him loose on the streets where he murdered someone? This happens all the time. Why arent those people in jail.

When it comes to gay marriage, why didnt someone arrest the mayor of San Francisco several years ago when he ordered the city clerk to start issuing marriage licenses to gays even though it was against the law? Surely, if the federal government can arrest someone for not issuing a license when they believe its now legal, they could arrest someone for issuing a license when it was not.

Thats my problem with the Kim Davis issue. Personally, if I objected to issuing marriage licenses to gays I would simply resign. Apparently she wants to make a statement and shes certainly doing that. Its an issue that needs to be resolved. If were going to have religious accommodations for religion then we need to somehow accommodate Mrs. Davis. If were not, we need to end them for everyone, which many would argue violates their constitutional rights. Why arent these folks standing up for Davis?

Perhaps if she were Muslim things would be different. The politically correct are bending over backwards accommodating them. Perhaps out of fear, I dont know. No matter the motivation, its time to be evenhanded. Maybe if the gays wanting to get married were confederates or, worse, lion-killers Davis would get a little bit more sympathy.

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Is it over for Trump now that he's taking the money?

After I watched Donald Trump’s recent rally in Mobile I turned to my wife and said, “I don’t think anybody can stop him.” I’m modifying that remark. There is one person who can stop him, and that’s Donald Trump.

He came out of the gate like he was shot from a canon and blasted past the rest of the pack. The allure was confounding to the press but pretty easy to understand for the everyday American. Trump was so rich he was “unbuyable.” Special interests couldn’t buy him. Big donors couldn’t control him. What made him so attractive was the impression that he was going to shake Washington, DC to its core. He was an absolute phenomenon. It didn’t matter what he said. It didn’t matter what he’d said five or ten years ago. All that mattered was he was not a politician. He was immune to the mother’s milk of political campaigns.

Then everything changed.

He floated the idea of possibly taking campaign contributions. He suggested he may give the money to charity, which made no sense. Why take contributions in the first place if you’re not going to use them? You may as well tell the person contributing to give to their charity of choice. Then he said if he took any money he would only take it from individuals, not corporations. Then he said he would consider corporate contributions but there would be no strings attached. That’s what politicians have been saying for years.

“I’m really rich,” Trump said, but apparently not rich enough to finance his own campaign. Or, maybe he is. Maybe he’s just not committed enough to finance his own campaign.

When my father first ran for Congress back in the day, he said he wouldn’t put his own money in the race. The reason being, he said, was if he couldn’t persuade enough people to support his candidacy he had no business running. For a congressional candidate with limited resources that made sense. It makes sense for all the other candidates running for president. What made Trump’s candidacy so exciting was the prospect — and what turned out to be the illusion — that he was above the nasty business of fundraising. He didn’t have to beg for money. He wouldn’t be beholden to donors. He couldn’t be bought.

According to NPR, Trump has already taken $100,000 from a fellow developer who just happens to be his daughter, Ivanka’s, in-laws. There’s a donate button on his campaign web site and big money is reportedly rolling in. Is this problematic? I think it is. Not that he doesn’t have a right, just like every other candidate, to raise money. The problem is he set himself up as someone who was different. Someone who didn’t need the money. Someone who was “really rich.”

Trump now sloshing to the trough comes across as unseemly. It takes some of the shine off the apple. People naturally resent rich guys. Can you imagine if Mitt Romney had announced that he was “really rich?” Trump’s wealth is so off the charts that he’s in a different league, almost like royalty. He seemed to rise above even his own station in life, as if he were called to do something much more meaningful with his life than building things and employing thousands.

He seemed bigger than life, in part, because he couldn’t be bothered with the uncouth business of raising money for a political campaign. Then he bowed to the financial pressure, took the money and became a mere mortal again. Now he has to explain just what makes him different.

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