Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

I think those who are focusing on individual behavior, either by the protesters on Wall Street or by those who work in the financial services industry is (mindblowingly, in my opinion....btw..I trademark that word) missing the point. We all work hard, take pride in what we do, want the best for our families and are sincere in our beliefs and behaviors. But there is a culture, clearly in evidence in our political system and in certain industries, particularly financial services, that there is a self-serving system which perpetuates things that many of us, me included, feel is wrong. We have a Supreme Court that makes a judgment, against all logic, that allows for unlimited spending in political campaigns. Much of that cash is coming from the financial services industry, allowing for a political environment that not does not seek to regulate financial services to the good of the nation and the world, but seeks to end regulations to prevent things such as the packaging of toxic securities or other high risk and questionable activities. When teachers, firefighters, police officers, veterans and the elderly are asked to sacrifice, it is frankly obscene that it is considered blasphemy in many ranks to ask those in the financial services industry to undergo any sacrifice or accountability. Virtually no one has been prosecuted for financial fraud on a scale that almost brought the world economy to their knees. Hedge fund managers are paying 15% taxes on their money while nurses are paying double that. There is a culture of the financial services industry using its vast resources in order prevent any action that would result in shared sacrifice. When all of us know of those who are out of work or losing benefits or losing their homes, it just not feel right that one industry seems so intent on using its influence on Washington to not act in the best interest of the country but in the best interests of their industry, with the mistaken notion that the two are always necessarily are the same. There is a lack of specific demands because there is a total mistrust of anyone who could carry out those demands, from the courts, to the congress, to those who have the greatest resources to affect change. There is a system we can no longer be proud of and cannot believe they will do the right or the best thing. The White House seems to have the right values but a consistent lack of spine has allowed a small group of people, many of whom seem to lack, shall we call it "sanity", control the nations policy and agenda and, in doing so, the media. One can dismiss the Occupy Wall Street protesters as a bunch of unfocused crack pots, but they are tapping into a welling sense of disappointment and disheartenment (trademark) with not only where the country is going, but where it is now.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Ten easy ways to balance the budget:

1) Make all earned income, not just the first $106,800, subject to the 6.2% Social Security tax on employees and match that by 6.2% of all earned income from employers.
2) Get rid of Bush tax cuts.
3) Get rid of mortgage tax deduction on everything but the primary residence.
4) Means test the mortgage interest tax deduction, the property tax deduction and Social Security income.
6) Change tax laws to eliminate loop-holes such as hedge fund manager allowing income to be taxed as investment income.
5) Means test co-pays for Medicare for high income individuals on a sliding scale.
7) Eliminate tax breaks for oil and gas industries
8) Eliminate ethanol subsidies
9) Eliminate ability to write off depreciation on corporate luxury items such as yachts and corporate jets.
10) Tax investment income the same as earned income.