Tuesday, May 24, 2011

California Dreaming

The Supreme Court (as in the U.S. Supreme Court) has told California to relieve its overcrowding in prisons.  Jerry Brown has come up with an unexpected and unique solution - raise taxes.  But is this necessary?

The order is to remove about 33,000 inmates from the prison system.  Transferring them to local jails requires more funding for those facilities, thus the tax proposal.  And of course, this itself is only a short term bridge, not a solution.

Consider the following from The Sacramento Bee, Jan 26, 2010 (http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2010/01/corrections-sta.html):

"As of Dec. 31, 2009, California prisons had 22,173 inmates with an immigration hold or potential immigration hold, according to a Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation analysis. That represented 13 percent of the state's 168,830 inmates."

These "immigration hold" individuals remain a potential burden to the taxpayer system whether they are inmates or walking free.  However, by simply implementing the law of the land, these individuals can be removed from the prison system and from the country, while they work on correcting the particular "hold" that exists on their immigration status.  

It is interesting that the courts (and California) ignore the immigration status of the inmate population, and instead concentrate on the "grossly inadequate provision of medical and mental health care,"  that the court identified in its 5-4 ruling (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/23/BAGK1JJQRJ.DTL#ixzz1NIUNqQTZ) as a right to which every inmate is apparently entitled.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Who Really Pays the Taxes?

It is common to quote the statistics that the top 1% of wage earners pay 38% of the Federal Income Tax collected, or that the top 10% pay 70% of the taxes collected.  But these statistics, as seemingly outrageous as they are, actually grossly understate the real situation.  When talking about 1% of the population, they should be compared to other 1% segments, not to the remaining 99% as a whole.  For example, let's say Jane makes $1M a year, but has 99 workers earning $40K a year.  The total wages for all 100 workers is $4.96M.  It is nonsensical to say that Jane makes only 20% of what the other employees make.  But this is exactly what is being done above when one states that “the top 1% of wage earners pay 38% of the tax.”  Instead, one generally correctly states that Jane earns 25 times more than the average employee.  We get envious when we learn Jane makes 25 times more than we do, but it is not at all distressing to be told instead that she makes 20% of what we make.  

So with the tax burden, the question one must ask is, “What do the top wage earners pay in taxes in relation to other groups of the same size?”, or, "How much more does a top wage earner pay on average than any other wage earner?" 

For example, compare the top 1% of wage earners to the 99 other groups containing 1% of wage earners.  The top 1% pays 38% of all federal income taxes, while the other 99 groups pay, on average, only 0.63% of the taxes each (62%/99 = .63%).  Thus, the top 1% of wage earners pay 60 times more in taxes than their average counterparts in any other group including 1% of wage earners (38/.63 = 60).  This means that each member of the top 1% group pays, on average, 60 times more in taxes than any member in any other 1% group.  If this were income, and the average member of the other 99 groups earned $27K per year (they do), then the average pay in the top 1% group would be $1.6M (it isn’t - it is, in fact, $380K). 

The charts below demonstrate graphically how much the top 1%, 5% and 10% of wage earners pay in relation to other groups of the same size.  The top 1% of wage earners pays 60 times more in taxes than any other 1% group.  Stated differently: The top 1% of wage earners pays 6,000% more in taxes than any other 1% group.  So with Jane, we weren't upset when we heard she made 20% of what we make.  But when we learned she actually makes 25 times more than us, we got interested.  Likewise, it might not sound so bad to learn that top wage earners pay 38% of all taxes.  But isn't it another story when we learn they pay 6,000% more than we do?  

One must then ask: "If paying 6,000% more than any other group of tax payers is not a fair share, then what is?"

Who Edited Obama's Birth Certificate?

The press seems quite content to accept or propose that Obama's birth certificate was edited by some well meaning individual solely to make it "more legible."  Thus while they acknowledge the editing, they pass it off as harmless.

That the birth certificate was edited, on a MAC, in photoshop, is indisputable (see for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s9StxsFllY). Jerome Corsi, of World Net Daily and author of Where's the Birth Certificate?: The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President, agrees.

So, given that everyone acknowledges the edits, and given that they were done for aesthetic reasons, one must ask:  Why hasn't the editor come forward?  Or, more importantly: Why hasn't the White House identified the benign editor?  If I were the individual who took the original scan, and subsequently "cleaned it up," on my own accord, I would have immediately made this known once the controversy began.

How simple it would be to say, "Wait a minute - there is no conspiracy here.  I have the original file.  Here it is.  And here are my changes.  I was only trying to help."  Conversely, the White House should have immediately put the matter to bed by saying, "Yes, we posted an edited birth certificate to make it more legible.  However, here is the original, and here is the individual that cleaned it up for us."

Since neither of these has happened, one can only assume that the birth certificate was altered nefariously at best, and created out of whole cloth at worst.

When one scans a document, the name of the scanner goes with the file (i.e. Epson or Xerox), and stays with the file, even during edits.  In this case, the source of the file is not a scanner, but rather MAC OSX 10.  This is not a scanner, it is an operating system on an Apple computer.  A computer is not a scanner, thus, it appears the birth certificate was created in Photoshop on a Mac computer, presumably from imported and created images.

This is why no one can come forward and say, "I made the edits, and here is the original."  There simply is no original that matches the posted item to any acceptable degree.