Thursday, 17 SEP 2015 :: More debate / election comments - and the flat tax possibility

It looks like everyone is still trying to get some media mileage from the debate... according to my limited view from Facebook.  :-)  I like to watch which details the media decides to focus on.

I didn't hear anything about Bobby Jindal... I thought he rose high on the scale last night and was very impressive.  I am wondering if he is among the favored.  Remember, my follow-up view is limited.  I don't have everyone sending their posts to my page, but I am seeing some of the conservative media responses.
  • I got a direct plea for donation from the Ted Cruz camp... in my emails, I think... not sure why.
  • I noticed several Rubio posts on Facebook about his great performance at the debate... and finally a plea for a donation.  I think he did a really great job, so it wasn't offensive to see. 
  • The only woman in the pack has risen to higher stature in the competition... and was a serious presence in the responses she made.  I haven't been able to watch the expose videos myself... I am already pro-life and can't bear some of the materials that are attached to the battle for children's lives.  I was amazed at her statement about what she saw... I couldn't believe that anyone would actually do that to a baby, without any sense of remorse. 
  • Rand Paul was in my Facebook timeline several times.  I shared my comment on one that I thought he held his own pretty well in the debate.
  • The highlight, for me, was a post by Trump about the ratings for CNN... he asked if they would be sending him a thank you.  :-)  He has certainly raised the level of attention for the Republican Party.  I suppose his media attention also has raised the national level of the candidates.
It's hard to know who would be the best president. 

Our country is at such a huge crossroads.  In one presidential reign our survival as a country has been jeopardized with too much debt, unnecessary added expenses, and by a disregard for the authority of the voter.  I am not sure we will ever recover from it.

If the economy folds in the near future, the next President or two will have to deal with all the issues it will bring.  I keep remembering that it took Detroit sixty years to declare bankruptcy.  The government thinks raising taxes is the answer to every problem, but the citizens that pay those taxes can't pay more... they are already paying too much.

Our national and our citizen debt levels leave us without the room we need to flex in emergencies. I know what it means to face a crisis without any resources, but without the ability to use a credit card or print my own money.  I see that the government is again attacking the poor as the reason for all their problems.  No one is considering that we need to create a plan for when the economy falls... and that plan has to include emergency measures like food stamps, emergency care, shelter.

This has reminded me of the conversations in the debate about tax reform and implementing a flat tax instead of a variable rate.  If I remember right, there were three candidates who mentioned a flat tax approach for reforming our system.  I remember one candidate saying that 14.5% would be a worthwhile tax rate, along with other changes in the structure of the tax process. (I believe Rand Paul was the one with that proposal.)  Another candidate, possibly Huckabee, mentioned a flat rate approach at 20%, I believe.  If I remember right, Dr. Carson also mentioned a flat tax, but I am not sure it was him.  I was happy to be hearing any suggestions of a flat tax as a reform for our tax system.

I changed my view of taxation when I realized the only tax
 that can be applied at a GLOBAL level is a sales tax. 
In my search for answers that applied to Working Together issues, the relationship between government and citizen was high on the list.  We know there has to be some kind of financial support for the government to accomplish its required responsibilities, but how much should citizens be required to pay? 

I decided that ten percent was a reasonable tax relationship and a sales tax was the best way to collect a tax payment for the government.  It means the government will go through a serious withdrawal period, much like an addict does, but the result will be a better country.

Here are some of the reasons I decided on a single flat-rate sales tax...
  • Property taxes are unfairly applied and distributed.  Our schools are a mess because the funding we use to provide for education is not equal.  Instead of rich neighborhood getting more money for their students, all students should get the same amount, and parents need to decide where that education money will go... public school, private school, charter school, homeschool, etc.
  • Property taxes allow the government to confiscate the property of citizens.  Funding the government was not meant to be a way to take a citizens home or business away from them.  We need to get out of the property tax arena completely. 
  • Income taxes need to be eliminated because they allow the government access to personal information they really should not be able to access... or should not need to access.  To verify your income, you have to give the government permission to access any and all records pertaining to you.  Isn't that a serious infringement on our freedoms?  A sales tax would eliminate that right of the government.  NOTE:: Receiving any government money has this invasion attached to it, including Obamacare, welfare and food stamps, Medicaid, etc.
  • Income taxes, as they are applied now, have created the rich versus poor conflicts we repeatedly endure.  A sales tax funding source for the government would eliminate the conflict.  Everyone would pay the same rate, and rich households would pay more taxes because they would purchase more products.
  • A sales tax of 10% would be higher than the current tax requirement for some products, like gasoline. 
  • A sales tax can be divided easier among government departments (global-1%, federal-3%, state-3%, county-3%), collected immediately and deposited automatically into specific bank accounts (with automatic receipts for recordkeeping), can be adjusted as needed in the same automatic way, and can be spent immediately if it is necessary.
  • A sales tax can be applied to different needs, such as taxes on automobile products going to transportation programs, medical purchases going to medical programs, food taxes going to food programs, etc. 
  • A sales tax would keep us dependent on consumption.  Spending seems to be the measure of our financial health as a nation.  Purchases create jobs, jobs create the ability to purchase.  In time, you will only need to purchase necessities, so I don't know if that is the best foundation for citizens or nations, but that seems to be what we have been depending on.
  • At some level there would be a minimum tax amount for government to budget, which would be food, clothes, gas, housing, and basic needs.  That would be the starting point for a budget.
  • A flat-rate sales tax would force the government to budget realistically, to actually try to save money, to stop spending recklessly, to return to a dependence on community charity programs for the care of people in need, and reduce their wages and benefits.

Another thing to think about ::  a lot of the fees we pay for government services are actually taxes.  We would need to clarify what is a tax and what is a product or service of the government, and then create a reasonable cost for that product or service... like a driver's license or ID, a license plate, park camping, and other government programs.

We will have to find a better way to do things.  Changing the tax system might force a lot of the changes that are necessary to keep America healthy financially.

And, eventually, there will have to be a global court, prison, military, and policing system and it will have to be paid for somehow.  Right now we have a membership system for the UN, which is the likely organization to take on our global responsibilities.  In time, a taxing system will take that over.

I have mentioned a lot of this before, but this seemed like the right time to mention it again.  :-)  I have considered it might take a national law created by the vote of the people to force government into this kind of limitation, but it would be a good thing to do as a long-term solution to a lot of our national problems.  I probably won't see it in my lifetime... but it would be nice.

It looks like I went past midnight in creating this post, but it is still a post for Thursday.  I wanted to comment on other things so I may write again later in the day.  If not, have a wonderful weekend... I will see you next Monday.

Wednesday, 16 SEP 2015 :: The GOP (Republican) Debate

I was able to see most of the two debates tonight... which is better than not seeing any of it.  I looked it up on the internet and only CNN and Salem Radio were listed as options.  I don't have cable and didn't think I could watch it on CNN.  When I finally turned on the radio to listen, it wasn't on my local stations... and I am not that much of a techie to know why not.  I checked online for the radio website, but nothing was there.  I finally went to to see if there was any information there and I was able to live stream it...kind of.  I had to keep refreshing the page to keep viewing it and never knew if it would work.

The topics and number of people to answer was interesting... you can tell the politicians by their answers... and the "newbies" are easy to see, too.  I was impressed with Bobby Jindal in the first debate, and there were a few winning segments/presentations in the main debate.

Immigration and Iran were the main issues that kept coming up. And the tax problems we are facing also came up.  We can't do anything without money, and the budget is wasted on interest payments because of our debt.  The president is only one man in the government, and no one man can solve all our problems.  This is the problem with our elections... everyone promises to fix it all, but when they get elected, they can't.

I can't say I liked the answers about immigration.  I was glad to hear that 40-60% of the millions of "illegal immigrants" that keep getting highlighted are not people who have come over the death trails from Mexico... someone mentioned they are people who came on work visas and stayed over their given time period.  I think that means they don't cost us money in forced support costs when they are imprisoned for wanting a better life.  Legal work and taxes could solve that problem.

Another person said they wanted to restrict any potential immigrants to agricultural work.  That comment says a lot about someone's opinion of the people involved.  It assumes the issue is about Mexican/Spanish illegals, and it says this someone thinks that's all the immigrants are good for. 

There are a lot of people who come here from Mexico and work in the agricultural fields because that is what they know and the main type of work they can get as a non-English speaker.  It also means that someone thinks that is all they are good for... and that solving our agricultural problems is how they can qualify to stay here.  No one seems to see these strangers as normal people with families, trying to survive the same way a zillion others are trying to survive.

That brings up another issue :  the language conflict that has become a problem in our conversations.  If we went to another country, would we know the language?  No.  Somewhere along the way we would have to learn it.  That takes time.  Until we do, the only language we can understand is out home language, which could be Spanish, French, African, Russian, or any number of languages in the approximately 200 countries of the world.  All this energy wasted on what language needs to be spoken is really a waste of time.  English is our language.  Translating our government materials into other languages is the real problem... it costs money.  Maybe we are talking about the wrong problem.

The automatic American by birth issue is related to immigration... it was a hot topic as well.  I had no idea that the practice was associated with the 14th amendment. (I think that is the one.)  And another one of the debaters said that was really not even a clear "commandment" in the law... that it applied to slaves, not anyone else.  The issue has never really been explored in our government system (the Supreme Court).    Here we are, arguing about something that hasn't really been established legally.  I suppose this is another case of talking about the wrong problem.

The conflicts we are involved in all over the world came up and also were attached to our military readiness.  Controlling Iran seems to be the concept that is traveling in government we can do that.  Bombing Iran, having full access to any facility they operate, unannounced, voiding the recent treaty that was negotiated, the security problems caused by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton  (and now Kerry) were brought out by several of the debaters... but Marco Rubio was the easiest to understand in that topic.

I think I must be like all the other Americans who have too much to do to follow every action of our government, trusting that the ones we have in charge will do what is best for America and for us.  I don't keep track of all the little detail because I can't.  It's a full time job... their job...and I struggle to survive the details of my own life.  I just want to have food to eat, a place to live, and work that can help me with my basic needs and small dreams beyond that.  At one point in my life, I realized that is what the "silent majority" was... all the Americans who don't have time or inclination to monitor the government representatives they elect.  We don't write letters to the editor.  We vote.

I hope I can find the best overall person for the job ahead... we need the best.  America is dealing with problems that can destroy us. Some people would love to see us destroyed.

Tuesday, 15 SEP 2015 :: Keep the focus going in the right direction.

Here we go again... the LONG week, the lethargy, the slump...
It sometimes feels like autopilot is the only option.

In my view, now that I am on the other side of young, I can see that keeping on is a really big thing in life.  It seems like there is nothing worth going toward, but that is because you can't see it yet.  When I was younger, and there wasn't a choice about these things, I just kept going because there wasn't anyone else to lean on. I suppose those hard years make the new challenges seem easier.

I have been busy, not sleeping all day.  :-)   All the mundane things that need to be done just don't seem so earthshaking and productive, they don't equal a ton of money so what value do they have?  It seems like they don't have value, but they add up and contribute to the total package.  Where would we be if we never ate, never did dishes or cleaned the kitchen, never washed our clothes, never swept floors, never figured out how to keep records, never created a goal, never worked out a plan to reach that goal, never read a book, a magazine, a brochure, and all those little things that add to our life and mind and meaning?

When I can't find the inspiration I need, I start doing all those little things that take time but aren't a finished product.  Like cutting out the pieces I will need later, sorting colors, reorganizing, looking for supplies, searching for ideas.  Sometimes I just start doing something in the direction I am trying to go, like drawing or painting things that don't mean anything just to start moving in the direction of a finished painting, or writing a letter when other words can't be found.

There is always something that needs to be done....

  • I am looking for a name for my own products.
  • I am trying to design a label for my personal products.
  • I need to separate my website into personal sales and Working Together sales.
  • I am searching for shelves to organize my supplies so I can actually use them.
  • I am praying for a larger space, lots of equipment, sales, time to create...
  • I am designing craft kits.
  • I am looking for art topics that will keep me interested and are equal to my talent and goals.
  • I am learning about social media, networking, keeping track of details, what matters when something is sold or purchased, what products are worth the time and effort, how to find money to do these things...
  • I search for tools, and equipment, and instructions.
  • I need delivery options, or money for alternatives.
  • I am trying to save money and buy only what I need.
  • I need a commercial kitchen, money for supplies, time to develop my recipes.
  • I want a garage with a small kiln for small clay and glass projects.
  • A larger kiln and a potter's wheel for kitchen creations.
  • Tools and equipment for each activity.
  • Real silver and a way to make it into my own designs.
  • A better electric sewing machine and a non-electric treadle machine.
  • New computers and a smartphone that will take orders and payments.
  • More advertising,
  • Customers.
  • Income.
  • To pay my past debts and build a better future.
  • Freedom, peace, safety, fellowship...
  • Land.
  • and lots more.
You can see that dreams don't die, they seem to get bigger and bigger.  :-)

Today I am planning to focus on art and clay... and wait for another of my supplies orders... as soon as I finish this and my other routine tasks.

I can see how online living would work as a shut-in... and I am trying to define what kind of life I want to have in my "old age."  How much do I want to stay home, how much time do I want to devote to my craft projects?   How will I protect my health and sanity and personal space?  How can I afford the life I want to have?

These quests all take time, and will have to be planned to some degree.  When I don't have the inspiration to make things to sell, I try to find the answers to all these other questions.

Monday, 14 SEP 2015 :: Weekends are always too full of things to do!

It is hard to decide what to write about on Mondays.  So much happens over a weekend, lots to think about, contemplate, file away, research, plan, etc. 

The rains returned to Oregon today, but it looks like California could use some of the moisture... It is so sad to see the destruction that is happening there.  I went to the Napa Valley as a young person to visit relatives that lived there, and then I passed through it on my own travels as an adult... it was one of the most beautiful places I discovered in California as I wandered.  I have lost all my personal possessions more than one time, so I know the heartache that it causes.  Nothing can replace the treasures we collect over our lifetimes...they hold our best memories, that is why we collect them.

Starting over is always hard, but when you don't have a choice about the matter, all you can do is keep moving forward, go through the grieving process, and begin to heal.  I still mourn the loss of things that mattered greatly to me and/or my children.  Nothing can make the loss go away, the pain, the tears, the sadness. 

My heart is crying with them, with all people who have lost their homes, their friends, families, pets, and more.  Fire is a terrible thing, but it isn't the only way we suffer this kind of loss.  The refugees of war in the Middle East, in Africa, in all parts of the world, suffer this same pain.  Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, even traffic accidents, can forever change our lives.  It is overwhelming to think of so many people suffering and in need of basic help.

What else happened?  I sorted my supplies and started creating the next step for several of my planned and evolving projects.  When I went to use my iron, it didn't work!  Now I will need to put that on my budget list.  :-)   It's always something, right!?   My workspace is beginning to find it's flow... by next year it should be ready for a full year of preparations for Christmas 2016... my main goal.

My weight is again going downward... that is good.  :-)

All these small things that make up our days... I could go into more expansive thoughts about their meaning, but these are the details of my days... right now... the ones I have already shared at some point.  My real focus in life is the realities of survival like the ones I talked about in the beginning.  It is hard to write only about those things... they are emotionally draining, tearful, hard to share every day... meaningless things like weight loss seem easier to share.

I guess I will have to find a way to balance the deeper topics with the smaller matters.  I suppose establishing priorities is a personal matter, too.  Weight loss can be the most important subject in some lives.

May the GOD of all creation watch over those who love Him... and guide our lives to places of safety and fellowship.  Amen.