Issues you haven’t heard discussed in the campaign, 1: Clinton, on fair taxes

November 3, 2016

presidential-taxes-13-638

Slide from the Motley Fool on Clinton’s tax plan; slide is from 2015, Clinton’s position isn’t changed much. She knows what needs to be done.

With an assist from Warren Buffet.

This is wholly purloined from the campaign website for Hillary Clinton (unless otherwise noted), just to try to get a little discussion going on the real issues of the campaign.

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub may do an entire series on issues not yet discussed, less than a week before the vote. Consider it public service, in the spirit of Fillmore, who remained ever conversant in public affairs and anxious to take a role to push for policies to improve America, as he saw it — and who, supported by his wives, founded the White House Library, the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, and the University of Buffalo (now SUNY-Buffalo) to further knowledge.

It’s outrageous that multi-millionaires and billionaires are allowed to play by a different set of rules than hardworking families, especially when it comes to paying their fair share of taxes.

Hillary, January 11, 2016

Hillary Clinton believes that we need an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. But when it comes to taxes, too often the wealthiest and the largest corporations are playing by a different set of rules than hardworking families.

Hillary is committed to restoring basic fairness in our tax code and ensuring that the wealthiest Americans and large corporations pay their fair share, while providing tax relief to working families. That’s not only fair, it’s good for economic growth, because she will use the proceeds to create good-paying jobs here in America—and make bold investments that leave our economy more competitive over the long run.

As president, Hillary will:

  • Restore basic fairness to our tax code. Hillary will implement a “fair share surcharge” on multi-millionaires and billionaires and fight for measures like the Buffett Rule to ensure the wealthiest Americans do not pay a lower tax rate than hardworking middle-class families. She’ll close loopholes that create a private tax system for the most fortunate, and she’ll ensure multi-million-dollar estates are paying their fair share of taxes. Read the fact sheet
  • Close corporate and Wall Street tax loopholes and invest in America. Hillary will close tax loopholes like inversions that reward companies for shifting profits and jobs overseas. She will charge an “exit tax” for companies leaving the U.S. to settle up on their untaxed foreign earnings. She will close tax loopholes that let Wall Street money managers pay lower rates than some middle-class families. And she’ll reward businesses that invest in good-paying jobs here in the United States. Read the fact sheet
  • Simplify and cut taxes for small businesses so they can hire and grow. The smallest businesses, with one to five employees, spend 150 hours and $1,100 per employee on federal tax compliance. That’s more than 20 times higher than the average for far larger firms. We’ve got to fix that.
  • Provide tax relief to working families from the rising costs they face. For too many years, middle-class families have been squeezed by rising costs for everything from child care to health care to affording college. Hillary will offer relief from these rising costs, including tax relief for Americans facing excessive out-of-pocket health care costs and for those caring for an ill or elderly family member.
  • Pay for ambitious investments in a fiscally responsible way. Hillary believes that we can afford to pay for ambitious, progressive investments in good-paying jobs, debt-free college, and other measures to strengthen growth, broaden opportunity, and reduce inequality. Hillary will use the proceeds from ensuring the wealthiest and the largest corporations pay their fair share to pay for these investments without adding to the debt.

Read the fact sheet

Related:

What do you think? What do your numbers show?

More, not from Clinton’s campaign:


469 days Trump hides taxes from American voters

September 28, 2016

Russian-built UAZ 469 is one of the few, almost-successful vehicles to come out of Russia. This model cover illustrates it in military mode, familiar to NATO forces opposing these vehicles in Bosnia and Eastern Europe. American voters worry that Trump will work to bring these vehicles to the U.S., either as competition to U.S. car makers, or in some enforcement action by his friend Vladimir Putin. Details to be found in Trump's tax returns, which fittingly are 469 days overdue today. Mac Distribution image

Russian-built UAZ 469 is one of the few, almost-successful vehicles to come out of Russia. This model cover illustrates it in military mode, familiar to NATO forces opposing these vehicles in Bosnia and Eastern Europe. American voters worry that Trump will work to bring these vehicles to the U.S., either as competition to U.S. car makers, or in some enforcement action by his friend Vladimir Putin. Details to be found in Trump’s tax returns, which unfittingly are 469 days overdue today. Mac Distribution image

Wednesday, September 28 is the 469th day of Republican candidate for president Donald Trump’s hiding of his tax returns from American voters.

What does he have to hide from voters? There are several possibilities.

  • Trump may be trying to hide income from America’s enemies, or from other foreign sources that are a powerful conflict of interest with U.S. security; his campaign team is riddled with veterans of campaigns for or by Russia’s junta leader Vladimir Putin.
  • Trump may be trying to hide fantastic claims of wealth, not borne out by reported income. He would hate to confess that his business dealings are not so successful as he shouts.
  • Trump may want to hide that he gives little to no money to charity, nor to support any church. Trump has no ties to any church, though most of his supporters would disqualify anyone else who lacked such ties.
  • Trump may want to hide that he uses charities to launder income, and to do political favors. Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold carefully documents daily revelations on Trump’s misuse and abuse of charities and tax laws to hide income and to purchase trinkets for his friends. The series started when Fahrenthold tried, unsuccessfully, to document Trump’s having donated to veterans’ charities a reported $6 million Trump had claimed to raise, at an event back in February.

It’s astounding Republicans did not check Trump out better during the primary season, an indication of the poor quality of the field of candidates fielded on the GOP side.

Tell Donald Trump to come clean, to confess, to stop hiding from the American people essential information we need to decide for whom to vote.

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NASA's secret X37-B spent 469 days on a secret space mission. But it ended after 469 days. It's time for Trump to end his 469-days of secrecy, hiding crimes and wrongdoing in his taxes. Release the taxes, Trump. NASA image

NASA’s secret X37-B spent 469 days on a secret space mission. But it ended after 469 days. It’s time for Trump to end his 469-days of secrecy, hiding crimes and wrongdoing in his taxes. Release the taxes, Trump. NASA image

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Trump has played voters as chumps for 463 days; no taxes, but a fog of corruption and graft

September 22, 2016

Donald Trump has stiff-armed American voters on releasing his taxes for 463 days since he announced his candidacy. It’s a long-simmering scandal.

A sign for Arkansas Route 463. Rt 463 will carry a voter 20.59 miles from Payneway to Jonesboro, about 20.58 miles farther than Donald Trump's policies will carry America. Wikipedia image

A sign for Arkansas Route 463. Rt 463 will carry a voter 20.59 miles from Payneway to Jonesboro, about 20.58 miles farther than Donald Trump’s policies will carry America. Wikipedia image

Should we be concerned? Sure. Careful investigation by reporters such as David Fahrenthold at The Washington Post reveal uncomfortable, immoral and illegal shenanigans in transferring funds from Trump’s various foundations to cover Trump business fines and buy trophies for Trump properties, screwing charities out of much needed money.

Can Trump’s taxes show he’s not a grifter? Either way, America needs to know. The last national candidate who didn’t reveal his taxes was Maryland Gov. Spiro T. Agnew. It was later discovered he’d accepted bribes for issuing state contracts. In place of trial and prison, Agnew agreed to resign as Vice President. The entire affair tied up national government for many days, contributing to the fall of President Richard Nixon.

We cannot afford not to be sure Trump is not a crook. 

loads

463 was a powerful K-27 “Mudhen” locomotive for the old Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in Colorado, pulling loads that pushed America’s economy. Trump shouldn’t sully that image of 463. He should release his taxes today.

A Trump foundation gave $100,000 to Fisher House, a charity. Will Trump's tax returns reveal he illegally deducted this as a contribution from his own bank account? Is that why he won't release his taxes? Washington Post image

A Trump foundation gave $100,000 to Fisher House, a charity. Will Trump’s tax returns reveal he illegally deducted this as a contribution from his own bank account? Is that why he won’t release his taxes? Washington Post image

More: 

463 puts you at Madrid Plaza on the Madrid Intercity Buses. 463 puts you up Vote Feces Creek if you're a U.S. citizen trying to figure out just how corrupt Donald Trump really is.

463 puts you at Madrid Plaza on the Madrid Intercity Buses. 463 puts you up Vote Feces Creek if you’re a U.S. citizen trying to figure out just how corrupt Donald Trump really is.

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By this date in 2012, tax release holdout Mitt Romney released his taxes. Trump?

September 22, 2016

Apologies to Disney, Lewis Carroll, and especially the White Rabbit, none of whom deserve to be affiliated with Donald Trump, each of whom has more character than Trump and strives to do the right thing. Image: sandragravesisisrising.blogspot.com

Apologies to Disney, Lewis Carroll, and especially the White Rabbit, none of whom deserve to be affiliated with Donald Trump, each of whom has more character than Trump and strives to do the right thing. Image: sandragravesisisrising.blogspot.com

At least the White Rabbit had enough sense to feel embarrassed by being late.

Donald Trump is not the man Mitt Romney is — not the candidate, not the businessman, not so honest.

Wholly apart from Romney’s being an Eagle Scout while Trump was a Bad-Boot-Camp-Sergeant wannabe, Romney released his taxes on September 21, 2012. They showed Romney was rich, and honest.

Betting is, Trump’s taxes won’t show either.

What evil and embarrassing stuff is Trump trying to hide? It’s probably worse than we can imagine.

It’s a test of character, and Trump is failing.

Trump isn’t the man the White Rabbit is.


Trump’s taxes 461 days overdue

September 20, 2016

Would it help if we sent out the bloodhounds?

Bloodhounds track criminals with great results. Tax scofflaws, too? 461 days into his campaign, Donald Trump has failed once again to release his taxes. Must we call Holly the Bloodhound to the job? (PBS NOVA image)

Bloodhounds track criminals with great results. Tax scofflaws, too? 461 days into his campaign, Donald Trump has failed once again to release his taxes. Must we call Holly the Bloodhound to the job? (PBS NOVA image)

Though he had said no one should run for president without releasing income taxes, and though he had said he would, then promised he would, Trump the Candidate refuses so far to let American voters see how he makes his money, or how he might spend it to benefit others.

461 days since he said he would, 49 days from Election Day November 8, Trump’s taxes remain mostly a mystery.

Why should we trust a man as president, who refuses to demonstrate a reason for that trust?

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456 days of stonewall; Trump’s not a good neighbor

September 16, 2016

Couldn't believe the Germans were so upset about Trump not releasing his taxes for 456 days! Oh, Bundesstraße 456. Wikipedia image

Couldn’t believe the Germans were so upset about Trump not releasing his taxes for 456 days! Oh, Bundesstraße 456. Wikipedia image

Today September 15 is the 456th day since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, having promised to release his tax returns so American voters could discern and judge his openness, that Trump failed to deliver on that promise.

Word out of the Trump campaign today is Trump doesn’t want to release his taxes because he’s afraid people will look at them.

Sadly, that is not made up.

More:

By Scott5114 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3518260

Don’t give us that garbage, Don! New Mexico Highway 456. Wikimedia Commons photo; By Scott5114 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

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455 with a rocket: Trump stonewalls American voters on taxes for 455 days

September 14, 2016

Rocket 455, an obscure band whose record cover reminds American voters Donald Trump failed to release his taxes for a world record 455th day. Did his dog eat them? (Image from Amoeba Records)

Rocket 455, an obscure band whose record cover reminds American voters Donald Trump failed to release his taxes for a world record 455th day. Did his dog eat them? (If only Trump were “safe, harmless.”) (Image from Amoeba Records)

Today is the 455th day since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, having promised to release his tax returns so American voters could discern and judge his openness, that Trump failed to deliver on that promise.

We may have clear indications of why Trump does not want Americans to see his taxes. Newsweek today published a story detailing Trump’s business dealings with crooked Russian oligarchs and other shady people, foreign interests which would probably scare away honest American voters, and quite a few in his handbasket of deplorable supporters as well. Trump’s foreign  businesses pose threats to U.S. national security.

Trump makes the

Trump makes the “cover” of electronic Newsweek, but he’s not happy. See the blurb, lower right, saying Trump’s business dealings threaten U.S. national security. BoingBoing image

So, American voters, you know now WHY Trump doesn’t want to release his taxes, and why it’s more important than ever to get him to release them. A man who wishes to follow the footsteps of FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan and Obama, needs to be transparent in dealings with foreign powers.

In contrast with Rocket 455, Trump is a complete cipher. Rocket 455 are better qualified to be president than Donald Trump, from their tax returns.

Poster for a concert by Rocket 455 and others; they lay out their souls in public. Trump should at least release his taxes. (His soul might darken the day; let's not go there.) Chris*Kro image

Poster for a concert by Rocket 455 and others; they lay out their souls in public. Trump should at least release his taxes. (His soul might darken the day; let’s not go there.) Chris*Kro image

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Trump’s taxes: 454 days without a release

September 13, 2016

New York State Highway 454 sign. Donald Trump hasn't released his taxes in 454 days since he started his campaign. Wikimedia image

New York State Highway 454 sign. Donald Trump hasn’t released his taxes in 454 days since he started his campaign. Wikimedia image

Donald Trump entered the race to be U.S. President on June 16, 2015.

Before he joined the race, Trump himself said that a candidate should release her or his taxes, so Americans can see their candidates are honest taxpayers.

But Trump has not released his taxes since that day. 454 days Trump has refused to show his honesty to America.

Should we vote for a guy who won’t come clean that he’s an honest taxpayer?

Donald Trump hopes to keep his secrets glued up in some vault, with Loctite 454. But if you agitate, dear reader, you can make 454 a lubricant, for the truth.

Donald Trump hopes to keep his secrets glued up in some vault, with Loctite 454. But if you agitate, dear reader, you can make 454 a lubricant, for the truth.

 

Trump promised to release his taxes years ago; we count from the day he declared his candidacy. Alas, Trump appears used to shanking on promises.

Trump promised to release his taxes years ago; we count from the day he declared his candidacy. Alas, Trump appears used to shanking on promises.

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Trump’s taxes release overdue by 453 days.

September 12, 2016

trump-taxes-453-days

 

Donald Trump entered the race to be U.S. President on June 16, 2015.

Before he joined the race, Trump himself said that a candidate should release her or his taxes, so Americans can see their candidates are honest taxpayers.

But Trump has not released his taxes since that day. 453 days Trump has refused to show his honesty to America.

Should we vote for a guy who won’t come clean that he’s an honest taxpayer?

If he were applying to the U.S. to be a refugee from ISIS, he could not qualify, due to his lack of candor. Should he be president if he can't be a refugee?

Despite past promises, Donald Trump now says his taxes are “none of your business.”
If he were applying to the U.S. to be a refugee from ISIS, he could not qualify, due to his lack of candor. Should he be president if he can’t be a refugee?

Update: Trump promised a Cadillac campaign; but we got a Smart 453 instead. 453-day delay in releasing his taxes.

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September 30, 1794: George Washington marches on tax protesters

September 30, 2015

On September 30, 1794, President George Washington mounted his horse to lead a 13,000-man all-volunteer army, against Americans who refused to pay, or threatened to not pay taxes on whiskey.

Tea Partiers and Republicans might do well to spend a few minutes refreshing their memories from history class — or getting the information they didn’t get the first time around.  Citizens in western Pennsylvania, and that part of Virginia that would be come West Virgina, and the Ohio Territory, complained that federal taxes on whiskey were “theft.”

No, taxes are not “stealing.”  Here’s an offending but explanatory poster I found on Facebook:

Who are the history-illiterates who make these offensive posters? Taxes are not

Who are the history-illiterates who make these offensive posters? Taxes are not “stolen,” at least, not according to patriots like George Washington.

I told one guy who posted it that I thought it was a crude misrepresentation of George Washington, there on the left — but that I had always suspected he didn’t like the “founders,” and was grateful to have any doubts I may have had, removed.

He said, “Huh?”

This Prominent Americans series stamp of the U...

Pay your taxes, maybe they’ll put you on a stamp. This Prominent Americans series stamp of the United States from 1968 features Oliver Wendell Holmes. Wikipedia image

One could always refer to that wonderful line from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., about how he liked to pay taxes because “with them I buy civilization.”  But I suspect most tax revolters in the U.S. don’t much like civilization (and they have the guns to prove it).

Instead I simply told the story of George Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion, the first, and mostly-forgotten, case of U.S. tax rebels.  You know the story.

I wrote:

Yeah, in 1794, a bunch of farmers out in western Pennsylvania got ticked off at taxes. They said paying taxes was like the government stealing from them. And, they had their representatives explain to President George Washington, didn’t they fight a war against paying taxes?

Washington, you may recall, was the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in the great American Revolution against Great Britain. “No taxes without representation” was one of the original war cries.

Washington said, ‘It takes money to run the government, and that money is collected from the people in taxes fairly levied by their elected representatives.’

The farmers weren’t having any of that. They were way out in western Pennsylvania, near the wilderness Fort Pittsburgh. The federal government, what little bit of it there was, was in Philadelphia. ‘How are they going to make us pay taxes?’ the rebel leaders shouted to crowds.

George Washington

A more friendly portrayal of George “Pay Your Taxes or Swing” Washington – Wikipedia image (which bust is this? Library of Congress?)

Washington got a dozen nooses, and a volunteer army of 13,000 Americans, and marched to western Pennsylvania to hang anyone who wouldn’t pay the tax. Oddly, by the time Washington got there with the nooses, the rebels decided maybe it was a good idea to be patriotic about it after all.

So I assumed you just updated the pictures a little. [In the poster] There’s George Washington on the left, with his Smith and Wesson “noose,” telling the big corporate farmer to pay his taxes.I think your portrayal of Washington is a bit crude, but it’s historically accurate, with regard to taxes.

I always suspected you didn’t like George Washington. Now I know for sure you don’t.

You could have looked it up: The Whiskey Rebellion – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/duel/peopleevents/pande22.html

And it was on this day in 1794, September 30, that Washington and the army set out to put down the rebellion.

How would Washington have dealt with secession, or the Texas Republic movement?

I don’t much like crude political dysfunction and disinformation from people who don’t know U.S. history, and won’t defend American principles.  Am I being unreasonable?

More:

Gen. Washington, astride his favorite white horse, reviewing his troops at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, before the march to the western part of the state to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. Image from the Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Gen. Washington, astride his favorite white horse, reviewing his troops at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, before the march to the western part of the state to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. Image from the Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. (Just try to find who painted it!)

” . . . to execute the laws . . .” a painting by Donna Neary for the National Guard, on the Whiskey Rebellion. National Guard Caption: In September 1791 the western counties of Pennsylvania broke out in rebellion against a federal excise tax on the distillation of whiskey. After local and federal officials were attacked, President Washington and his advisors decided to send troops to pacify the region. It was further decided that militia troops, rather than regulars, would be sent. On August 7, 1794, under the provisions of the newly-enacted militia law, Secretary of War Henry Knox called upon the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania for 12,950 troops as a test of the President’s power to enforce the law. Numerous problems, both political and logistical, had to be overcome and by October, 1794 the militiamen were on the march. The New Jersey units marched from Trenton to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There they were reviewed by their Commander-in Chief, President George Washington, accompanied by Secretary of the Treasury and Revolutionary war veteran Alexander Hamilton. By the time troops reached Pittsburgh, the rebellion had subsided, and western Pennsylvania was quickly pacified. This first use of the Militia Law of 1792 set a precedence for the use of the militia to “execute the laws of the union, (and) suppress insurrections”. New Jersey was the only state to immediately fulfill their levy of troops to the exact number required by the President. This proud tradition of service to state and nation is carried on today by the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard.

Tip of the old scrub brush to the historians and other fine people at Mount Vernon, for the reminder:

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.


Founders on education standards: James Madison

February 25, 2015

Photo of inscription to the left (north) of the main entrance on Independence Ave., of the James Madison Building, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Library of Congress photo

Photo of inscription to the left (north) of the main entrance on Independence Ave., of the James Madison Building, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Library of Congress photo

Madison said nothing against a federal role, but much which supports Common Core standards, and everything in support of public schooling (spellings and other longhand affectations of Mr. Madison left as they were in the letter; emphases added here):

Letter to William Taylor Barry

James Madison (Aug. 4, 1822)

Dear Sir, I received some days ago your letter of June 30, and the printed Circular to which it refers.

The liberal appropriations made by the Legislature of Kentucky for a general system of Education cannot be too much applauded. A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.*

William Taylor Barry was, in 1822, Lt. Governor of Kentucky (one of many posts he held in his lifetime of public service), and the author of the Barry Report, which proposed a system of free public education for Kentucky. Image from Kentucky Secretary of State, at Kentucky.gov

William Taylor Barry was, in 1822, Lt. Governor of Kentucky (one of many posts he held in his lifetime of public service), and the author of the Barry Report, which proposed a system of free public education for Kentucky. Image from Kentucky Secretary of State, at Kentucky.gov

I have always felt a more than ordinary interest in the destinies of Kentucky. Among her earliest settlers were some of my particular friends and Neighbors. And I was myself among the foremost advocates for submitting to the Will of the “District” the question and the time of its becoming a separate member of the American family. Its rapid growth & signal prosperity in this character have afforded me much pleasure; which is not a little enhanced by the enlightened patriotism which is now providing for the State a Plan of Education embracing every class of Citizens, and every grade & department of Knowledge. No error is more certain than the one proceeding from a hasty & superficial view of the subject: that the people at large have no interest in the establishment of Academies, Colleges, and Universities, where a few only, and those not of the poorer classes can obtain for their sons the advantages of superior education. It is thought to be unjust that all should be taxed for the benefit of a part, and that too the part least needing it.

If provision were not made at the same time for every part, the objection would be a natural one. But, besides the consideration when the higher Seminaries belong to a plan of general education, that it is better for the poorer classes to have the aid of the richer by a general tax on property, than that every parent should provide at his own expence for the education of his children, it is certain that every Class is interested in establishments which give to the human mind its highest improvements, and to every Country its truest and most durable celebrity.

Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty & dangerous encroachments on the public liberty. They are the nurseries of skilful Teachers for the schools distributed throughout the Community. They are themselves schools for the particular talents required for some of the Public Trusts, on the able execution of which the welfare of the people depends. They multiply the educated individuals from among whom the people may elect a due portion of their public Agents of every description; more especially of those who are to frame the laws; by the perspicuity, the consistency, and the stability, as well as by the just & equal spirit of which the great social purposes are to be answered.

Without such Institutions, the more costly of which can scarcely be provided by individual means, none but the few whose wealth enables them to support their sons abroad can give them the fullest education; and in proportion as this is done, the influence is monopolized which superior information everywhere possesses. At cheaper & nearer seats of Learning parents with slender incomes may place their sons in a course of education putting them on a level with the sons of the Richest. Whilst those who are without property, or with but little, must be peculiarly interested in a System which unites with the more Learned Institutions, a provision for diffusing through the entire Society the education needed for the common purposes of life. A system comprizing the Learned Institutions may be still further recommended to the more indigent class of Citizens by such an arrangement as was reported to the General Assembly of Virginia, in the year 1779, by a Committee appointed to revise laws in order to adapt them to the genius of Republican Government. It made part of a “Bill for the more general diffusion of knowledge” that wherever a youth was ascertained to possess talents meriting an education which his parents could not afford, he should be carried forward at the public expence, from seminary to seminary, to the completion of his studies at the highest.

But why should it be necessary in this case, to distinguish the Society into classes according to their property? When it is considered that the establishment and endowment of Academies, Colleges, and Universities are a provision, not merely for the existing generation, but for succeeding ones also; that in Governments like ours a constant rotation of property results from the free scope to industry, and from the laws of inheritance, and when it is considered moreover, how much of the exertions and privations of all are meant not for themselves, but for their posterity, there can be little ground for objections from any class, to plans of which every class must have its turn of benefits. The rich man, when contributing to a permanent plan for the education of the poor, ought to reflect that he is providing for that of his own descendants; and the poor man who concurs in a provision for those who are not poor that at no distant day it may be enjoyed by descendants from himself. It does not require a long life to witness these vicissitudes of fortune.

It is among the happy peculiarities of our Union, that the States composing it derive from their relation to each other and to the whole, a salutary emulation, without the enmity involved in competitions among States alien to each other. This emulation, we may perceive, is not without its influence in several important respects; and in none ought it to be more felt than in the merit of diffusing the light and the advantages of Public Instruction. In the example therefore which Kentucky is presenting, she not only consults her own welfare, but is giving an impulse to any of her sisters who may be behind her in the noble career.

Throughout the Civilized World, nations are courting the praise of fostering Science and the useful Arts, and are opening their eyes to the principles and the blessings of Representative Government. The American people owe it to themselves, and to the cause of free Government, to prove by their establishments for the advancement and diffusion of Knowledge, that their political Institutions, which are attracting observation from every quarter, and are respected as Models, by the newborn States in our own Hemisphere, are as favorable to the intellectual and moral improvement of Man as they are conformable to his individual & social Rights. What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of Liberty & Learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual & surest support?

The Committee, of which your name is the first, have taken a very judicious course in endeavouring to avail Kentucky of the experience of elder States, in modifying her Schools. I enclose extracts from the laws of Virginia on that subject; though I presume they will give little aid; the less as they have as yet been imperfectly carried into execution. The States where such systems have been long in operation will furnish much better answers to many of the enquiries stated in your Circular. But after all, such is the diversity of local circumstances, more particularly as the population varies in density & sparseness, that the details suited to some may be little so to others. As the population however, is becoming less & less sparse, and it will be well in laying the foundation of a Good System, to have a view to this progressive change, much attention seems due to examples in the Eastern States, where the people are most compact, & where there has been the longest experience in plans of popular education.

I know not that I can offer on the occasion any suggestions not likely to occur to the Committee. Were I to hazard one, it would be in favour of adding to Reading, Writing, & Arithmetic, to which the instruction of the poor, is commonly limited, some knowledge of Geography; such as can easily be conveyed by a Globe & Maps, and a concise Geographical Grammar. And how easily & quickly might a general idea even, be conveyed of the Solar System, by the aid of a Planatarium of the Cheapest construction. No information seems better calculated to expand the mind and gratify curiosity than what would thus be imparted. This is especially the case, with what relates to the Globe we inhabit, the Nations among which it is divided, and the characters and customs which distinguish them. An acquaintance with foreign Countries in this mode, has a kindred effect with that of seeing them as travellers, which never fails, in uncorrupted minds, to weaken local prejudices, and enlarge the sphere of benevolent feelings. A knowledge of the Globe & its various inhabitants, however slight, might moreover, create a taste for Books of Travels and Voyages; out of which might grow a general taste for History, an inexhaustible fund of entertainment & instruction. Any reading not of a vicious species must be a good substitute for the amusements too apt to fill up the leisure of the labouring classes.

I feel myself much obliged Sir by your expressions of personal kindness, and pray you to accept a return of my good wishes, with assurances of my great esteem & respect.

Careful readers will note Madison assumed public schools; he had been one of those who contributed to the Northwest Ordinances, which set aside pieces of every township, which land was to be used to create public schooling on the frontiers of America.  If you think Madison’s description of what was to be taught and how sounds an awful lot like Advanced Placement (AP) courses, or the International Baccalaureate curriculum (IB), you’d be in good company.  As opposed to those yahoos who oppose AP or question IB.

_____________
* This line was a favorite quote of Education Secretary Bill Bennett when I published his works in the area. I cannot say whether he still favors Madison’s view, but once upon a time Bennett was rational on these issues.

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What happens when “austerity” budget cutting blows up on the GOP? See Kansas

July 8, 2014

Kansas finds itself in a big, big pickle.

Republican Governor Sam Brownback managed to get the legislature to make massive tax cuts, claiming it would boost jobs in Kansas and stimulate the Kansas economy, thereby  paying for themselves.

Instead the Kansas economy is failing. Massive cuts have gutted Kansas’s once-revered public education system, and deeper cuts will be necessary to keep the state government afloat, unless there is some change in tax policy, or a massive, miraculous influx of business beyond what even the Koch Bros. could arrange.

Gov. Brownback is running for re-election, and finds himself behind in popularity in Kansas — behind even President Barack Obama.

Wow.

Full story at Vox, “Kansas was supposed to be the GOP’s tax-cut paradise, but now can barely pay its bills.”

And of course, there is comedy of the kind that you couldn’t make up:  Brownback blames Obama.

Oy.

Chart from Vox, showing what happened to Kansas's surplus revenues, promised to balloon with the tax cuts Gov. Brownback asked for, and got.

Chart from Vox, showing what happened to Kansas’s surplus revenues, promised to balloon with the tax cuts Gov. Brownback asked for, and got.

Turns out Americans, and especially the citizens of Kansas, want government that works.  They’d like taxes to be low, but low taxes won’t make voters happy when the roads are bad and the kids’ schools are crappy.

Wonkblog's chart showing job creation in Kansas is terrible, also.

Wonkblog’s chart showing job creation in Kansas is lagging, also, contrary to the GOP promises when tax cuts were instituted.

Government’s first job is to govern; just governments are established among men to secure human rights, old Tom Jefferson wrote.  Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness make a snappy line in a patriotic reading on July 4, but when the crowd drives home, they don’t want to be dodging potholes, and they don’t want their kids to complain from the back seat of the car that they don’t know what the Declaration of Independence is or what it says, “and who is Jefferson — I thought it was just a street in Dallas?”  When government fails to do basic jobs, voters may not be happy.

Will false advertising be able to bail Sam Brownback out?  Watch Kansas.

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Taxes are “stolen?” Those who don’t know history, shouldn’t pretend to complain about taxes

August 24, 2013

No, taxes are not “stealing.”  Here’s the offending poster I found on Facebook:

Who are the history-illiterates who make these offensive posters? Taxes are not "stolen," at least, not according to patriots like George Washington.

Who are the history-illiterates who make these offensive posters? Taxes are not “stolen,” at least, not according to patriots like George Washington.

I told one guy who posted it that I thought it was a crude misrepresentation of George Washington, there on the left — but that I had always suspected he didn’t like the “founders,” and was grateful to have any doubts I may have had, removed.

He said, “Huh?”

This Prominent Americans series stamp of the U...

Pay your taxes, maybe they’ll put you on a stamp. This Prominent Americans series stamp of the United States from 1968 features Oliver Wendell Holmes. Wikipedia image

One could always refer to that wonderful line from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., about how he liked to pay taxes because “with them I buy civilization.”  But I suspect most tax revolters in the U.S. don’t much like civilization (and they have the guns to prove it).

Instead I simply told the story of George Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion, the first, and mostly-forgotten, case of U.S. tax rebels.  You know the story.

I wrote:

Yeah, in 1794, a bunch of farmers out in western Pennsylvania got ticked off at taxes. They said paying taxes was like the government stealing from them. And, they had their representatives explain to President George Washington, didn’t they fight a war against paying taxes?

Washington, you may recall, was the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in the great American Revolution against Great Britain. “No taxes without representation” was one of the original war cries.

Washington said, ‘It takes money to run the government, and that money is collected from the people in taxes fairly levied by their elected representatives.’

The farmers weren’t having any of that. They were way out in western Pennsylvania, near the wilderness Fort Pittsburgh. The federal government, what little bit of it there was, was in Philadelphia. ‘How are they going to make us pay taxes?’ the rebel leaders shouted to crowds.

George Washington

A more friendly portrayal of George “Pay Your Taxes or Swing” Washington – Wikipedia image (which bust is this? Library of Congress?)

Washington got a dozen nooses, and a volunteer army of 13,000 Americans, and marched to western Pennsylvania to hang anyone who wouldn’t pay the tax. Oddly, by the time Washington got there with the nooses, the rebels decided maybe it was a good idea to be patriotic about it after all.

So I assumed you just updated the pictures a little. [In the poster] There’s George Washington on the left, with his Smith and Wesson “noose,” telling the big corporate farmer to pay his taxes.I think your portrayal of Washington is a bit crude, but it’s historically accurate, with regard to taxes.

I always suspected you didn’t like George Washington. Now I know for sure you don’t.

You could have looked it up: The Whiskey Rebellion – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/duel/peopleevents/pande22.html

I don’t much like crude political dysfunction and disinformation from people who don’t know U.S. history, and won’t defend American principles.  Am I being unreasonable?

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Gen. Washington, astride his favorite white horse, reviewing his troops at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, before the march to the western part of the state to put down the Whiskey Rebellion.  Image from the Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Gen. Washington, astride his favorite white horse, reviewing his troops at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, before the march to the western part of the state to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. Image from the Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. (Just try to find who painted it!)

” . . . to execute the laws . . .” a painting by Donna Neary for the National Guard, on the Whiskey Rebellion. National Guard Caption: In September 1791 the western counties of Pennsylvania broke out in rebellion against a federal excise tax on the distillation of whiskey. After local and federal officials were attacked, President Washington and his advisors decided to send troops to pacify the region. It was further decided that militia troops, rather than regulars, would be sent. On August 7, 1794, under the provisions of the newly-enacted militia law, Secretary of War Henry Knox called upon the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania for 12,950 troops as a test of the President’s power to enforce the law. Numerous problems, both political and logistical, had to be overcome and by October, 1794 the militiamen were on the march. The New Jersey units marched from Trenton to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There they were reviewed by their Commander-in Chief, President George Washington, accompanied by Secretary of the Treasury and Revolutionary war veteran Alexander Hamilton. By the time troops reached Pittsburgh, the rebellion had subsided, and western Pennsylvania was quickly pacified. This first use of the Militia Law of 1792 set a precedence for the use of the militia to “execute the laws of the union, (and) suppress insurrections”. New Jersey was the only state to immediately fulfill their levy of troops to the exact number required by the President. This proud tradition of service to state and nation is carried on today by the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard.


ObamaCare in 90 seconds – from nurses, so you know it’s right

June 18, 2013

Nurses attend signing ceremony

Nurses attended the  signing ceremony for the Affordable Care Act. Photo: flickr.nurse;

Tired of the distortions of ObamaCare all over Facebook, blogs, and Twitter?

Need a quick summary to give your obnoxious brother-in-law something to think about, without seeming rude?

Here, in 90 seconds, a bunch of nurses go over the basics:

Who did this video?

Wondering what the Affordable Care Act can do for you and your family? Check out what nurses have to say about the benefits of the healthcare law and then share this video with friends, family and co-workers!

* HealthLawBenefits.org is a joint campaign of SEIU, the Nurse Alliance of SEIU and 1199SEIU.

Tip of the old scrub brush to the BlueStreet Journal.

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You need to watch this: Paul Krugman, ‘Jobs NOW, the key to our recovery’

January 15, 2013

As so often the case, Bill Moyers finds THE expert, who has the real answers.  Hint:  Cutting deficits now could bring economic disaster; Paul Krugman carefully and clearly explains why.

Description at Vimeo:

Krugman's book End This Depression Now!

Cover of Paul Krugman’s book, End This Depression Now!

Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman explains why our top priority should be getting America back to work – if only Congress and the President would stop throwing distractions in the way. He also details the catastrophic impact the economic downturn continues to have on average Americans, as well as avenues of hope and recovery. Krugman’s latest book, End This Depression Now!, is both a warning of the fiscal perils ahead and a prescription to safely avoid them.

Yeah, yeah, I know — this thing is 47 minutes long!  Watch ten minutes now, and come back to it.

It’s only the fate of our nation, and the planet, that rides on this information.

Moyers explained on his blog:

Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argues that saving money is not the path to economic recovery. Instead, he tells Bill, we should put aside our excessive focus on the deficit, try to overcome political recalcitrance, and spend money to put America back to work. Krugman offers specific solutions to not only end what he calls a “vast, unnecessary catastrophe,” but to do it more quickly than some imagine possible. His latest book, End This Depression Now!, is both a warning of the fiscal perils ahead and a prescription to safely avoid them.

Some moments from the conversation:

ON JACK LEW, NOT KRUGMAN HIMSELF, AS POSSIBLY THE NEXT TREASURY SECRETARY
“I probably have more influence doing what I do now than I would if I were inside trying to do the court power games that come with any White House, which I don’t think I’d be any good at… What the president needs right now is he needs a hard-nosed negotiator. And rumor has it that’s what he’s got.” Watch this clip.

ON SAVING VERSUS SPENDING
“We’re awash in excess savings. And if you decide to save more, it’s not actually going to help society… If there’s one crucial thing to understand about all this it is that the global economy, money moves around in a circle. And my spending is your income, and your spending is my income. And if all of us try to spend less because we want to save more, we don’t succeed. All we end up doing is creating a global depression… the thing that all the evidence of history says works in a situation like this is the private sector won’t spend, government can step in and provide the spending that we need in order to keep this economy afloat.”

ON THE POWER OF JOB CREATION
“The only obstacles to putting people to work, to having those lives restored, to producing hundreds of billions, probably $900 billion a year or so of extra valuable stuff in our economy, is in our minds. If I could somehow convince the members of Congress and the usual suspects that deficit spending, for the time being, is okay, and that what we really need is a big job creation program, and let’s worry about the deficit after we’ve had a solid recovery, it would all be over. It would be no problem at all… All the productive capacity is there. All that’s lacking is the intellectual clarity and the political will.”

ON WHAT SHOULD BE OBAMA’S ECONOMIC PRIORITY
“[Obama’s] policy priority right now should be doing whatever he can to at least move in the direction of the kinds of policies that we want for full employment, that we need for full employment. And that the obsessions of Washington about a grand bargain on the deficit are really pretty much beside the point right now. That, if given a choice between doing something that will help the economy in the next two years, and something that will allegedly settle our budget problems for all, you know, for all time, which it wouldn’t, that he should go for the stuff that will help the economy now…

Great Depression

In the Great Depression, people listened to Franklin D. Roosevelt urge full employment, on their radios; this statue is part of the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C. – Photo credit: Koshyk

We happen to have a very intelligent man as president. He’s for real. And he does understand. You can have real discussions with him. And I think he understands that, although things have improved some… it’s a glacial pace, compared with the way we should be… We cannot allow ourselves to be blackmailed into spending cuts, partly because blackmail should not be part of how the U.S. operates, and partly because spending cuts would be disastrous right now. So Obama’s right to say he doesn’t negotiate. I’d like to know exactly what he will do if it turns out that there is not a quorum of sane people in the Republican party.”

ON THE LONG-TERM DAMAGE OF A BAD JOB MARKET
“We have pretty good evidence on how long does it take to make up for the fact that you happen to graduate from college into a bad labor market. And the answer is forever… You’ll miss years getting onto the career ladder. By the time you get a chance to get a job that makes any sense, you know, that makes any use of your skills, you will already be tarred as somebody, ‘Well, you’re 28 years old and you haven’t held a responsible position?’ ‘Well, yeah, I couldn’t because there were no jobs.’ It just shadows your whole life. And it’s very clear in the evidence from past recessions, which have been nowhere near as bad as this one.” Watch this clip.

ON COVERING BOTH THE ECONOMY AND POLITICS
“If you write about economics right now and implicitly adopt the perspective, ‘Well, let’s get reasonable people together in Washington and reach a solution here,’ you’re paying no attention to reality. And, of course, if you talk about the politics without talking about the economics, you’re also missing everything. So how could I not be writing about both?”

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