September 22, 2008

TAXES

My husband is deployed right now, so we don't pay a dime of taxes. And even when he's here, as a one-income family, we don't pay that much into the pot. But I, like Morgan Freeberg, try to look at what's best for the entire US and not just my own wallet.

Classic example of gulping the liberal koolaid without knowing you're gulping it: "Oh don't worry, that's a tax on super rich people, not you!"

The pattern is that if it can be categorized as a tax cut for 95% of us, then everyone should be thinking of it as a tax cut for all of us, even if the remaining five percent see their tax liabilities go shootin' so freakin' high that it ends up being a net increase. It all depends on your point of view: In my world, if we all end up paying more, then we all end up paying more.

But I notice if you look at this through the left-wing lens, whether you know you're doing it or not...like factcheck.org and the AP up there...then 95% of us pay less taxes.

We'll just pay more for goods and services, that's all.

Or, as commenter aharris said:

So, I can pay less taxes until those who produce the goods I depend on for my livelihood: gas, food, clothing, etc., start hiking prices to compensate for their increased tax burden. I can look to pay less in taxes and enjoy no impact on my life until my husband's division of the company who has to yearly justify its existence and profitability to its German headquarters can no longer show enough return on its investment vis a vis the tax burden on business in the US and the Germans decide to pick up and re-locate the entire division to Mexico where they already have a small plant in operation. My husband might lose his job, or if he's valuable enough, he might be offered a transfer, and all of a sudden, I am forced to face becoming a citizen of Mexico.

I don't care if my husband would take home more money under an Obama presidency because I am not shortsighted enough to make voting decisions based on what is best for me personally. Shoot, if I did, wouldn't I be anti-war? Bring the troops home and give me a tax cut, future of the US be damned!

And make my knitting for charity tax deductible while you're at it. Heh.

Posted by: Sarah at 03:55 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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September 18, 2008

CALL ME A MORON

Don't you love when commenters rip on everyone else for being stupid...and then reveal their own shortcomings? I was watching a youtube clip of some Obama splices and saw this recent comment:


Hahahahaha.
If you believe this clip to show the truth about Obama, chances are good that your IQ is way below average.
The sheer amount of cuts mid-sentence in this clip is pretty much proof of that.

Besides, doesn't the US constitution explicitly encourage people to be critical about government and their own country? I guess morons just forgot that little tiny detail.

Maybe I am a moron, but I don't remember that "explicit" part of the constitution. Do you think he means the part of the Declaration of Independence about throwing off the despotism, or is he just running his mouth?

Or maybe he thinks that Thomas Jefferson really said that dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Heh.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:16 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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September 14, 2008

THREE CHEERS FOR PRICE GOUGING

I admit that everything I know about economics I learned from Thomas Sowell, but this morning I feel like I know more than some folks on TV. I want to throw stuff at the screen when they start talking about gas price gouging. I just actually heard someone say, "The oil companies are making a profit and it needs to stop." Oh puh-lease. This can't be considered serious commentary.

Here's some basic economics:

What all this boils down to is that prices higher than what observers are used to are called "gouging." In other words, prices under normal conditions are supposed to prevail under abnormal conditions. This completely misunderstands the role of prices.

Why do prices exist at all? To cause things to be produced and made available to the public -- and to cause consumers to limit how much they consume. Why then do prices suddenly shoot up? Because there is either less of a supply available or more of a demand, or both.

And here's more, worded differently:

Prices are not just arbitrary numbers plucked out of the air. Nor are the price levels that you happen to be used to any more special or "fair" than other prices that are higher or lower.

What do prices do? They not only allow sellers to recover their costs, they force buyers to restrict how much they demand. More generally, prices cause goods and the resources that produce goods to flow in one direction through the economy rather than in a different direction.

Plus a breakdown of why price gouging is necessary and helpful:

One hotel whose rooms normally cost $40 a night now charged $109 a night and another hotel whose rooms likewise normally cost $40 a night now charged $160 a night.
[...]
What if prices were frozen where they were before all this happened?

Those who got to the hotel first would fill up the rooms and those who got there later would be out of luck -- and perhaps out of doors or out of the community. At higher prices, a family that might have rented one room for the parents and another for the children will now double up in just one room because of the "exorbitant" prices. That leaves another room for someone else.

Someone whose home was damaged, but not destroyed, may decide to stay home and make do in less than ideal conditions, rather than pay the higher prices at the local hotel. That too will leave another room for someone whose home was damaged worse or destroyed.

In short, the new prices make as much economic sense under the new conditions as the old prices made under the old conditions.

Too bad few people on TV have any sort of economic sense.

So people who don't need to gas up their cars this week will wait for next week, leaving the gas for people who really need it right now. Duh, that's how the market works during a crisis. And gas station owners will have to replenish their pumps with more expensive gas, so they have to adjust now.

Really, if I can understand it, it ain't that complicated.

Posted by: Sarah at 06:42 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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September 13, 2008

JUXTAPOSITION

I read this this morning:

Jonathan Haidt, an associate professor of moral psychology at the University of Virginia, argues in an essay this month, “What Makes People Vote Republican?”, that it’s liberals, in fact, who are dangerously blind.

Haidt has conducted research in which liberals and conservatives were asked to project themselves into the minds of their opponents and answer questions about their moral reasoning. Conservatives, he said, prove quite adept at thinking like liberals, but liberals are consistently incapable of understanding the conservative point of view.

Then I read this:

I'm not even getting into the fact that the religious right teaches closed mindedness so it's almost impossible to gain new voters from their pool because people who disagree with them are agents of the devil.

Heh.

And a comment from the same post:

We remain a country of beer, bubbas, bibles and bigots, who are easily persuaded by a few billionaires to vote in the rich's best interests. It's inescapable.

Like I said, keep 'em coming, Left. Keep 'em coming.

Oh, and since I mentioned this to my mother when I was home and she had never heard of the elitist garbage that Michelle Obama has said, let me point out that she thinks $600 is chump change for buying earrings and that she complained to working women in Ohio that she spends $10,000 a year on her kids' piano and dance.

Honestly, I thought it couldn't get any better than when Teresa Heinz Kerry didn't know what chili was...but apparently it can.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:11 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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September 03, 2008

A GUEST POST

When AirForceWife sent an appalled email this morning over the double standard shown at this link, I asked her if she'd like to bang out a post on it. The result is hardly "banged out."

I'm delighted to host this guest post from AirForceWife.

*********

The news of Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter didn't surprise me - it was me.

Or, rather, it was me about 17 years ago last month. Seventeen years ago, in August 1991, I discovered that I was pregnant before my senior year in high school ever started. I was an honors student, I was active in multiple clubs and organizations on campus, I volunteered at the local American Legion, I babysat, I even showed horses. I was also the daughter of a City Manager, which is pretty small potatoes compared to the position Bristol Palin finds her family in. But it is enough of a connection that I feel what she is going through as if it is happening to me.

The coverage of Bristol Palin enrages me, and it hurts my heart. There are legitimate issues to discuss about teen pregnancy - the thing is, those issues are only the excuse to uncover sordid and often untrue family rumors and cast aspersions on someone - and their family - who are going through a very difficult time in their lives. I had all of those same charges leveled at me when my seventeen year old self had to go to the grocery store with my enormous belly (I've always had large children) parting the crowds before me like Moses and the Red Sea.

People that I thought were my friends, parents of friends that I respected, suddenly started treating me like a leper. Not because I was sexually active, but because I "got caught". Even though many didn't want to admit it, what I did was no different than what many of their own children did. I was just blessed (or cursed) with fertility to rival anything modern medical science can discover. And I chose to keep my baby.

The injustice of it all still hurts me today. Even now, married for a gazillion years to my soul mate (who, by the way, never stinted to tell people that he never wanted children until push came to shove and children were no longer just a possibility but a reality) it hurts me to think back and remember the people who would see me at the store and pretend they weren't seeing me because they didn't want to talk about it. I heard the whispers behind my back, about how I "should have used protection", about how "that's what she gets for sleeping around." Not a one of them were true - as a Peer Educator, I put more condoms on bananas to demonstrate to giggling sophmores correct birth control usage than I could keep track of. I knew, and I practiced what I preached. But there's a statistic on a condom for a reason - because sometimes they just don't work. And anyone who has ever seen me with my husband can't think that either of us are worried about sowing wild oats, or that he is now one of the most devoted fathers on the planet.

And even more - my family was avowedly liberal. There was no "conservative hypocrisy" going on with us. Many members of my family encouraged me to have an abortion, and were quite upset when I refused. I was ruining my life, you see. It could be "fixed", I was being stubborn.

What happened to me in a smaller town (although bigger than Wasilla!) in California, I see happening to Bristol Palin on a national scale. And in the same vein, I see the very people turning on her who claim that we need to help others. Not a one of my Peer Educator compatriots had anything to do with me after I got pregnant with my first daughter. In fact, I ended up transferring to a continuation school to get my high school diploma. It was strongly encouraged; for my "state of mind", of course.

That is the reality of teen pregnancy that doesn't end in abortion when your family is in politics. People are gleeful, and people are mean. And the very people who accuse others of being hypocrites are often the biggest hypocrites themselves.

There were people who were wonderful. They didn't approve of my situation, but it was there. It had to be dealt with. A wonderful City Council member who was an Evangelical Christian scoured the yard sales at the local base for months to find me a high chair, a car seat, baby clothes, cloth diapers. She would bring these things to me a couple times a month. When my daughter was born, she was known to us as "Grandma Joan."

The Mayor Pro-Tem and his wife, devout Catholics, bought me a beautiful bassinet with a lace covering.

My Godparents - extremely devout Catholics - called every night for two weeks before I delivered and two weeks after to check on me and make sure that I had someone to talk to. They ran a crisis pregnancy center, they weren't about to let me fall apart.

The American Legion, where I volunteered and where my mother was the Commander, pooled together to provide other items a teen mother needs and can't afford.

And my family, my family pulled together to make sure I had a place to live, breastfeeding help, someone to drive me to the hospital. And they endured the rumors, too. It was their fault, of course, according to the conventional wisdom. It was something they had done wrong. I guess it always has to be someone's fault.

Bristol Palin will succeed. What happened to her is not ideal, but she has the support and, quite frankly, the genetics, to tough it out. I did - my husband enlisted in the Army at 17 and we both paid our own way through college. We're doing well now, we're happy and I believe that we've been successful in life. And there's really nothing special or unique about us.

It was hard, but nothing worth having is easy and sometimes life throws curveballs. Bristol Palin can do it, and I'm sure she will. But I'm also sure she will always remember how people treated her when they found out that she was a statistic. She'll remember what it was like to be the topic of an entire nation as though no politician's daughter has ever had premarital sex in the history of the United States.

My first thought this morning was this, "I think I should knit Bristol Palin a baby blanket." Because, as I did, I'm sure she'll remember all the nasty things people said and did. But I'm also sure she'll remember those who treated her with humanity and kindness and tried to help. I'd like to be one of those.

Just don't call me "Grandma AFW."

Posted by: Sarah at 06:48 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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September 02, 2008

WHY SHE'S NOT A REPUBLICAN

A blogger at Reclusive Leftist wrote about Palin and got instalanched. Her comment section is an interesting read. Some Instapundit readers tried to point out to her why Republicans aren't so bad. She replied to one of them with this comment:

“Ideally, the government would leave me alone completely and I’d return the favour. Since that’s not practical..”

Well, there’s the rub right there.

The fact is, there is a strong streak of libertarianism in Americans on the left and the right side of the political divide. It’s part of our heritage, our history. Many of the most radical feminists and leftists I know want above all to be left alone. Americans prize freedom from interference, freedom to live as we choose. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Where we on the left and the right differ is when we come back to real world, where no one is an island. We can’t be left alone, by the government or anyone else. We live in communities, in towns, in cities. We’re a nation of 300 million, not a bunch of isolated Davy Crockets out there in the wilderness.

And when human beings live together in social groups, questions arise that don’t obtain out in the wilderness. Poverty, pollution, interference between the needs of the many and the needs of the few. Your rights end at the tip of my nose, and all that.

The chief difference between liberty-loving leftists and liberty-loving rightists is that the leftists recognize that people who live in communities must be good neighbors. No one is an island. Rightists like to continue to pretend that we’re all Davy Crockets, that we’re all islands, and that no one owes even the slightest thought to anyone else.

The rich white Republican man likes to pretend that everything fortunate in his life is his own doing, that he has created his own reality all by himself, that he is not the beneficiary of being born into the right family and race and class and country.

And he likes to pretend that everything unfortunate in the life of the immigrant slave who sewed his shirt is because of her own doing, not because she was born into poverty or discrimination or urban blight. Why should it matter to him that she works for a dollar a day and is beaten by her employer?

The rich white Republican man thinks he has the right to pollute the river that flows by his factory because, in his mind, he’s not responsible for anybody downstream. He doesn’t even know or care that they exist.

This what the Republican idea of “individual rights” really is: the “right” not to be responsible. The “right” to do as you please no matter how much your actions harm others, and no matter how much you are dependent on others.

The most striking thing about the libertarian right is selfishness. It is the defining characteristic, really, a “f*ck you” to everyone else, an “I got mine” attitude.

So...I just found that interesting. I don't really agree with the underlying assumptions behind it, but I felt like it was at least a reasonable articulation of why she's not a Republican, like I tried to do when I wrote why I'm not a Democrat.

Plus, I thought it was hilarious that she said an instalanche is "like being inside an Ayn Rand novel."

Posted by: Sarah at 12:22 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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