Here's "the Good"... my 3rd child's senior pictures:
PICTURE DELETED BY BLOG OWNER
Isn't he adorable? This is Kaleb, my most kind-hearted child. Don't worry - I'm not showing favoritism. I think even his siblings would agree with that characterization. Kaleb is so kind-hearted, he can't even bear to kill a spider. He tends to "set them free", something that I, his arachnophobia afflicted mother, totally disagree with. In most areas of life, he's such a mature kid - I take that for granted sometimes. Like the day he had his senior pictures taken, for instance. I told him to wear the black dress shirt (he looks good in it, no?). I assumed that would be the extent of the wardrobe advice needed from me. I was wrong. I was a bit...taken aback when we got the proofs in and I saw that Kaleb had added the hat and the fingerless gloves and hadn't bothered to button the shirt. I knew I should have gone with him that day. But, even though this is not what I would have chosen for him to wear, I think the pictures themselves came out pretty darn good. We're going to have more pictures taken when he receives his letterman jacket. (I think I'll attend that photo shoot and make sure those gloves don't put in another appearance.)
Now for "the Bad": I was watching TV the other day when an advertisement came on for some new diet cookies.
Before any cookie company lawyers start preparing a lawsuit against me, let me make clear that I am not commenting on the effectiveness of this product. Their commercial cracked me up, though. Not for their claim that these cookies can help you lose weight...no, no, no. The funny thing to me was when they said "Many clients comment that they have actually saved money on our program by eliminating the need to purchase food." When I heard that claim, I thought "Geez! Now even these diet places are appealing to our economic fears!". Ummmm, don't most all nutritionists say that we should eat a balanced diet for optimal health? Eliminating food seems like an awfully drastic diet plan to me. lol
Now for "the Ugly"...Barack Obama's Tax plan. I've been doing some research on this tax plan. I've found points from the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Brookings Institute. Who are they, you ask? The more conservative American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation, along with the more liberal leaning Brookings Institute, are generally considered the three most influential policy institutes in the U.S. Here's what they have to say about Obama's tax plan. This chart is from the American Enterprise Institute and it shows the effective Marginal Tax Rates of Obama's plan compared with the current tax law:See how Obama's plan can actually raise taxes for us "middle class people"? By the way, wondering what "Marginal Tax" means? Yeah, me too. Here's the definition for you:
Marginal Tax Rate
The amount of tax paid on an additional dollar of income. As income rises, so does the tax rate.
Notes:Many believe this discourages business investment because you are taking away the incentive to work harder.
Uh, huh. Really clear, isn't it? I'm not an economist, I don't get the tax code all that well, and a lot of this is gibberish to me (hey, I'm being honest here! The only math I'm really good at is figuring out how much an item will cost me if it's on sale. You give me the starting price and tell me the percentage off, I can tell you PDQ just exactly how much that item will cost in the end. lol). However, you can go to the wikipedia link here for a better explanation. (Maybe. Depends on your aptitude to decipher economic talk, I guess.) Anyway, while I don't have a firm grasp on this subject, I think I understand what the basic gist is. And I don't think it's as good for us "middle Americans" as we've been led to believe.
Now here's what The Heritage Foundation had to say about Obama's tax plan:
Wow! Are we simply out to punish success in this country? You know, I'm not happy about those Wall Street CEOs and their outrageous pay packets, either. In fact, I think it's absolutely ludicrous what these people have been paid in salaries and bonuses. Heck, I'm just as outraged about the huge sums of money actors and athletes get paid in this country. It's crazy! But make no mistake, people. We're not talking about those "ultra rich" people here. These are people who make over a quarter of a million dollars a year. Yeah, it's a lot of money, but it's not an outrageous sum of money. To tax those people at such a rate should bother each and every one of us. These people are not the greedy bastards that ran Wall Street into the ground...they are people who managed to excel in America, something this country has always advocated for. Punishing them for that is not the American way, nor should it be. Here's more from The Heritage Foundation:
Among the more prominent elements of his tax proposal, Senator Obama would end the Bush tax cuts and allow the top two tax rates to return to 36 and 39.6 percent. He also would allow personal exemptions and deductions to be phased out for those with income over $250,000. The real kicker, though, is that Senator Obama would end the Social Security payroll tax cap for those over $250,000 in earnings. (The cap is currently set at $102,000.) These individuals will then face a tax rate of 15.65 percent from payroll taxes and the top income tax rate of 39.6 percent for a combined top rate of over 56 percent on each additional dollar earned.
High-income individuals will be forced to pay even more if they live in cities or states with high taxes such as New York City, California, or Maryland. These unlucky people would pay over two-thirds of each new dollar in earnings to the federal government.
Historically, Senator Obama's tax rate would be the highest individual tax rate since the Jimmy Carter days. Tax shelters and tax avoidance strategies were common when the top marginal rate was 70 percent or higher. This new top tax rate will again encourage these gimmicks, reducing investment and economic growth as resources are squandered in an attempt to avoid punitive taxation.
As to the effect on our work force, The Heritage Foundation says this:
These high tax rates could also have a large impact on the labor force. Many workers could choose to reduce their hours or simply retire in the face of such high taxation. Economists usually argue a great deal about what effect minor changes in the tax code will have on incentives to work. However, the Obama plan calls for a tax increase so large that economists will be focusing on the harm to the overall economy rather than just the isolated effects on labor and on capital.
You can read the entire article from The Heritage Foundation by clicking on this link.
Okay, so you think these are just the views of conservatives. Fine. They are. They make sense, but I can see where a liberal would find them suspect. So here's the breakdown from The Brookings Institute as outlined in the Washington Post (click to enlarge):
so·cial·ism (sō'shə-lĭz'əm) n.
1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.
Honestly, people. Look at that chart, the one from The Brookings Institute. It shows you that Obama is taking from the richest and giving to the poorest. Many of you think that's okay. It's not. I'm all for eliminating poverty, but this isn't the way to do it. This is America. We're supposed to strive for success, not aim for mediocrity. Why can't some of you see that's what Obama's plan is geared towards? When did you confuse Wall Street's greed with Main Street's hard work? If socialism is the abhorrence to you that it is to me, you'd better start spreading the word so that your friends and neighbors will feel the need to look into this themselves. As always, don't take my word for anything. Do the research yourself. And decide for yourself which way you want this country to go...