Thursday, December 30, 2010

Time Flies With Retail Help

It seems each year time passes faster and faster.  Yesterday, it seems, our children were newborns or toddlers.  Today they are graduating high school, college students, working professionals, and parents.

Each year we bemoan the retail ploys of promoting the holidays earlier and earlier each year.  Halloween decorations in September, Christmas decorations and paraphernalia  in October.  This is getting ridiculous. What are they thinking?

Ok, I know, this is nothing new, so where am I going with this?  Yesterday, December 29, mind you, I'm in the grocery store.  Of course there is the typical after Christmas clearance of holiday items which I bypass but when I get to the register, what to my wondering eyes does appear?  EASTER CANDY!  117 Days before the big day when the proverbial bunny comes hopping, they are selling Easter candy!

I wouldn't have been terribly surprised to see Valentine candy, but Easter?  As I ponder this insanity, it occurs to me that this candy is either left over from last year (ewww) or made so early that by the time the holiday finally arrives it's going to be pretty old (again, ewww).

Commercial retailers, please take notice.  I know time is passing faster each year.  I know the holidays are coming sooner and sooner each year.  I do NOT need you to help me along with getting older.

Maybe in this time where governments are legislating whether or not fast food chains can put toys in kid's meals we can get them to pass a law that prohibits marketing holiday candy more than 30 days prior to the holiday itself.  I don't know about anyone else but it would also help my waistline if those things were not not available 117 days before the holiday.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tax Cuts - How about a general election to decide?

The hottest political topic these days outside of the wikileaks cables (do people even send cables any more?) are the soon to expire tax cuts.

Back in February 2001 George Jr. was in the white house and there was federal surplus.  In a joint session of Congress Mr. Bush said  "The people of America have been overcharged, and, on their behalf, I'm here asking for a refund." Who doesn't want to hear politicians talk about refunds and tax breaks right? With the coffers full, why not give a little back to the people?  When all was said and done, the tax breaks pushed through by the Republican Congress heavily favored the wealthiest of Americans.  

On February 8, 2001, Senator Tom Daschle made the following comparison. "If you're a millionaire, under the Bush tax cut you get a $46,000 tax cut, more than enough to pay for this Lexus, but if you're a typical working person, you get $227. And that's enough to buy for this muffler."  Under intense pressure, Democrats supported the bill under the condition that the tax cuts would expire in 10 years.  

Now, fast forward to December 2010.  I can't tell you what a Lexus costs because of the 183 new Lexus vehicles within 30 miles of my zip code, not a single one lists a price.  But that's really neither here nor there since the majority of the people who really NEED these tax cuts couldn't afford a Lexus.  

Millions of unemployed Americans are sitting in limbo because a certain political party refuses to approve extending benefits unless Congress agrees to renew the tax cuts for the richest Americans in the country.  In the grand scheme of things, is $46,000 (in 2001 dollars) really going to make or break someone whose income is in the millions?  Are they even going to notice?  On the other hand, if someone is unemployed with a family, wondering where their next meal is coming from, are tax cuts and unemployment extensions going to make a noticeable difference?  For that family and all the others like them, yes.  

Republicans are screaming for a balanced budget, not that they bothered to keep it balanced while they had control of Congress.  How about killing those tax cuts for those making over a million dollars a year?  How do they plan on making up for the income they are cutting from the budget? They are going to refuse to extend unemployment benefits to the poorest of Americans. That's right, if richest of the rich don't get what they want, they are going to punish those who are struggling to just get by and keep their families clothed and fed. How is that fair?  If you voted Republican and are unemployed, I hope you call your congressman/woman and thank them for holding you hostage to either directly or indirectly line their own pockets

My suggestion, since the politicians can't seem to make a fair and reasonable decision is to hold a general election.  A series of line items with a simple yes or no answer. Tax cut for those making under $50,000? yes or no?  $100,000? yes or no? $200,000? $500,000? $1,000,000?  Yes or no? What bracket do you fall in? If you are in the higher tax brackets, are you willing to pay a bit more to help those who are less fortunate?  Seems to me the party supported by the religious right isn't acting in a very Christian manner, but then, that's par for the course, isn't it.