The US Government’s debt is large enough to have paid for each and every mother in the US to get two dozen roses, delivered, each and every year for Mother’s Day for the next 3,400 years!
In 2009, the US Census Bureau estimated that approximately 85.4 million moms live in the US. We’ll round up to 87 million.
One prominent online vendor will send two dozen roses to the mom of your choice, delivery and taxes included, for about $57.00. Lastly,
Happy Mother’s Day from Freedom Forge Press!
Despite gun crime decrease of 49 percent; Obama, Reid promise further gun control actions.
Freedom Forge Press
Do you remember Chris Rock’s well thought out reasoning for supporting President Obama’s push for tighter controls on the freedoms of law-abiding gun owners? Let’s rewind the tape for you!
Thank you, Chris, for that thoughtful and well-reasoned justification for why law abiding citizens should surrender their Second Amendment freedom. We’ll come back to this in a moment.A Pew Research Center report released yesterday detailed a 49 percent decrease in gun-related crimes in the United States since 1993. The trend line shows a decline from 1993 to 2001, a leveling off, then resumed a downward movement in 2007. Interestingly, the same report shows the public is woefully uninformed about the trend. A public opinion poll showed 56 percent of respondents thought gun crime was up from 20 years ago. Twelve percent correctly identified the trend as lower; the rest, sadly didn’t know. These results are interesting to note along side a recent Gallup poll. The poll asked what issues are most important to the public. Gun control came in at a respectable…4 percent, well behind the economy and unemployment (which really represent the same issue, no?), dissatisfaction with the government, and government spending. None of these items seem to draw much attention or interest from the Obama Administration. Yet assaulting the freedom of lawful gun owners continues to be a fascination of the president and Congressional Democrats. Following the Senate pulling gun control bill, the president’s official Twitter account had the below message: It probably doesn’t help that the “90 percent” figure is pure fantasy. The Gallup poll above shows the number is about 4%. And reality tells us that gun-related crime is on a downward trend without further government “help.” But as if taking his cue from the president, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reportedly stated on April 26 that gun control will “definitely” be back again this year. Returning to Chris Rock’s comments above, that gun owners and the country should listen to the president because he is “our boss” and like our “dad of the country.” And when your dad says something, “you listen…when you don’t it usually bites you in the ass later on.” Well Chris, and those who shared the “Demand a Plan” platform with you, nodding and laughing with you, we see it differently. We’d like to introduce you to a group of people known as the Founding Fathers. You can think of them also as founding “daddies” or “daddies of the country” if that helps. They wrote things like, “no free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms,” and “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” See these “daddies” of the country lived in another time when their government was attempting to take away basic freedoms too. Based on their experience with this tyranny, they put checks and balances on government power in place, like the Bill of Rights, to safeguard against future government mischief. We’d like to see our current president and virtually all Members of Congress–from BOTH parties–get reacquainted with our founding fathers/daddies and relearn the principles of limited government that are illustrated in the Constitution that they have taken an oath to protect and defend.
Senate Proposed Marketplace “Fairness” Act Limits Personal Freedom, Choice
Freedom Forge Press
Yesterday the US Senate approved its version of the “Marketplace Fairness Act.” The proposed law seeks to require online retailers to collect and pay sales taxes to state and local jurisdictions. On the face of it, it seems like a good idea. After all, shouldn’t individuals buying goods across state lines have to pay sales tax? It’s only fair because if they went to their local store they would have to pay sales tax. Right? People who rudely seek a deal across state lines rob schools, police, and firefighters of their state and local tax funding.
Enter Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Dick Durban (D-Illinois), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) with the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which should be renamed the “Free Money from Thin Air Act.”
In the world before the bill, retailers did not have to collect and pay sales taxes on goods sold online to out of state customers. That is, unless, and we are over simplifying here, a) the seller had a physical location in the same state as the buyer; or b) the seller’s state had an agreement with the buyer’s state that would require sales taxes to be collected and paid to the buyer’s state.
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is one group lobbying Congress in favor of the law. According to the NCSL, states lost an estimated $23.3 billion in 2012 alone from their inability to collect taxes on online and out-of-state purchases. $11.4 billion of that figure is estimated to be lost from an inability to tax online sales. To make up for lost revenue, many states passed “sales and use” tax filing requirements. When filing state tax returns, residents would have to report on the amount of goods and services they purchased from outside their home state and pay their state’s sales tax. That attempt was about as successful as starting a fire with two wet sticks.
As a solution, states could opt to step up enforcement on their own residents who were not paying the sales and use taxes. But we can only imagine how well the voting public would reward their politicians for dumping this increased tax bill on their laps. Plan B would be to impose the tax collection requirements on the seller of the goods and services. This is a more attractive option for politicians because the out of state sellers often have no local representation and no ability to hold politicians accountable for their actions. The only problem to date has been that if the seller resides in another state it is well outside the reach of the clutches of the home state’s taxing agency thanks a Supreme Court ruling that said such taxation was not constitutional unless authorized by Congress,
Enter the Senate with its “Free Money from Thin Air Act,” which if passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the president would provide the very authorization needed to overrule the Supreme Court and permit states to levy taxes on out of state businesses.
And it is only out of fairness (the bill’s name is the Marketplace FairnessAct didn’t you know?!) that states are requiring out of state Internet sellers collect and pay the same taxes as their in-state competitors. The politicians say it’s very unfair for the “bricks and mortar” store to have to inconvenience their customers by collecting taxes when the buyer can order the same item from an out of state online seller and avoid the sales tax. This argument completely overlooks the problem of shipping costs from the out of state seller’s point of view. Many customers have come to expect free shipping from online retailers. So adding a local sales tax on top of a shipping cost will place the online out of state store at a disadvantage. Where is the “fairness” now?
More than once, advocates of the law say, it’s not a new tax, it’s a “due” tax. But if the tax bill hasn’t been collected in the past, it seems like the Senate is expecting the $23 billion to materialize out of thin air–with no impact to consumers. If the issue is state budget pressures, one solution could be to stop dumping unfunded mandates (e.g., Obamacare) onto state budgets. This would relieve the pressure from state budgets without expecting consumers to fork over another $23 billion in “taxes due.”
Of course there’s no reasonable way to comply with the law without some complex tax accounting software. This may explain why Amazon.com made a sudden U-turn from its vigorous opposition to applying state and local taxes to its sales and now supports the law. Trying to find the answer to this reversal and new found friend for politicians doesn’t require much sleuthing. Amazon isn’t looking for tax fairness, it’s looking for customers. Amazon’s convenient new Tax Collection Services offers online merchants a convenient 3% fee for figuring out all that tax mess. Three percent of $11.4 billion is likely a rich enough potential customer base to come out in support of the new taxing measure.
As usual, Congress, and in this case Democrats and several Republicans in the Senate show an abysmal intelligence of how commerce works outside of their DC dreamland. A few oversights that the Senate made:
1. Complexity. Suddenly, online retailers would be required to have a working knowledge of nearly 9,600 state and local tax laws and regulations affecting everything from different tax rates for different goods and whether certain items are exempted from sales taxes.
2. Enforcement. The bill authorizes state taxing authorities to target online retailers with audits to verify compliance. Businesses simply do not have the financial resources to put into defending and answering auditor’s questions from a variety of taxing authorities. Not to mention that responding to audits takes them away from much more efficient uses of their time, like running their businesses. The Senate was generous to limit the audits to one from each state. (The Government speak looks like this: “single audit of a remote seller for all State and local taxing jurisdictions within that State”)
3. Ambiguity over what a “State” means. Most people grew up (at least those who were in school since 1959) understanding there are 50 states. This bill extends the “state” definition to include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and “and any other territory or possession of the United States.”
4. Native American Tribes recognized as state taxing authorities. “And any tribal organization (as defined in 18 section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b)).” There are 566 such tribal organizations.
5. What does an “audit” mean. State taxing authorities–to include the 550 new states the Senate found–can engage in all kinds of harassment of businesses without initiating a formal audit.
The bill introduced by Sen. Enzi was supposed to limit a small business’s risk of visits from state tax auditors to one per state. But with final bill markup, a small business is potentially at risk of more than 600 audits with the expanded definition of what a “state taxing authority” means.
The Wall Street Journal reports asking Senator Enzi’s office for clarification on the above issue. When the answer (today!) was that the Senator was still trying to figure out the answer when the bill was passed last night reminds us of the “have to pass the bill in order to find out what’s in it” stupidity started by then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi when referring to ambiguity in the Affordable Care Act.
The proposed law serves as another example of Washington ignorance of the private economy. It also illustrates the politicians’ ongoing search for free money at the expense of the freedom of small business owners who operate across state lines. While the search goes ever on and on, 69 Senators waved a magic wand and expected “free money” to come flying out of a magician’s hat. Sixty-nine Senators want you the taxpayer to believe their illusion that they’ve found a cost-free way to fund state and local budgets without harming consumers–ignoring the fact that the money will come from somewhere.
These politicians think they’ve done their part to spread the pain of state and local sales tax in a way that makes the process “more fair” for brick and mortar and online retailers. But they’ve failed to consider a more reasonable alternative–that instead of simply spreading around the tax pain, they could have acted to reduce or eliminate the tax pain by eliminating wasteful spending, ending duplicate government programs, and pretending that unfunded federal mandates such as education, Obamacare, and environmental regulations magically fund themselves
While speaking at a commencement ceremony in Ohio, President Obama stated that college graduate and young people should disregard any “voices” that constantly warn against government tyranny.
“The voices”, according to the president, say that government is a source of tyranny and bad things. That “tyranny lurks just around the corner.” The president urges his audience to reject these “voices,” because accepting that tyranny is possible means that our experiment in self rule is just a sham and that people can’t be trusted.
The the president expresses in this speech illustrates his utter ignorance of America’s founding and the very points of federalism, divided government, checks and balances on power, and the concept of natural rights–those given to men and women because we are born, not because some government grants them to us.
In Federalist No. 51, James Madison writes, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” But men are not angels. In this line, he acknowledges that some government is necessary. But he goes on to write, “If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” But angels do not govern the affairs of men, nor are they working in modern government. Thus government power must be controlled.
The president implies that those who fear government tyranny and speak their concerns seek only to “gum up the works” to getting things like gun control, government healthcare, and other legislative agenda items pushed through Congress.
Perhaps the president fails to recognize what tyranny is, we are glad to help him out.
Government (at all levels, not just federal) has engaged in a variety of oppressive behavior in the last few years. Examples abound such as banning the sale of sodas of an arbitrary size, banning legal gun owners from having or purchasing guns with more than 7, 10, or more bullets in an ammunition magazine. The government enacted a mono-partisan take over of healthcare, passing a law of approximately 2,000 pages with so many fill in the blanks for the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the federal bureaucracy that the current count of regulations issued to fill in the legislative blanks stands at nearly 20,000 pages, a tower of paper more than 7 feet tall. The president has, despite taking an oath to the contrary, arbitrarily selected what federal laws he will enforce and which he will not.
The president signed a law authorizing the indefinite detention of US citizens without trial and without right of judicial review. His Department of Homeland Security has amassed more deadly hollow point ammunition at a rate faster than used by the US military in conducting the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. His Department of Justice is involved in an illegal gun running scandal that resulted in Mexican drug cartels obtaining weapons which were used to murder a US ATF agent and Mexican citizens. Instead of submitting to Congressional oversight, the White House asserted executive privilege to avoid having to answer for its bad acts.
Finally, the US government has recently involved itself in a number of warrant-less, paramilitary raids on American businesses for trumped up charges (The Gibson Guitar factory raid is just one of several examples). While no actual wrongdoing is found, the government refuses to file charges, return seized property, or allow a judicial hearing on the actions that took place.
The examples above do not inspire confidence that government is a merely a benevolent, nurturing force for good. Despite the president’s urging to the contrary, government and the intention of individuals running it are not always noble or pure. And that is why the entire framework of setting up the federal government is one that restricts its powers. The federal government is granted power by the Constitution via enumerated powers–those specifically given to it. Those powers not granted are reserved to the states or to the people. No matter what politicians benevolently promise, that’s how the system should remain.
Liberty is to the collective body what health is to every individual body. Without health, no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society.
Monday, April 15, 2013: Patriots’ Day for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. I’m an avid competitive runner and look forward to this day every year. To me, the Boston Marathon represents the pinnacle of running for common runners like myself. It’s my dream to qualify for and run this race during my lifetime.
Monday afternoon I learned from a co-worker of the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I was tracking a couple of friends on the marathon website but had no idea about the bombings. I quickly checked news sites and was able to watch muted coverage on my boss’s TV. As I read the very early accounts and saw the footage, I was shocked. A thousand questions came to mind. Is everyone OK? Where are my running friends? I know some of them crossed the finish line but are they safe? What about the others? How did this happen? Were those really bombs? As I watched the silent coverage, one thought cut through: this is an attack on our freedom.
As I listened to coverage on the radio on my drive home, picked up the TV coverage at home, and checked Twitter and Facebook, the thought wouldn’t escape. This was a malicious act, it was senseless, it was heartless, it attacked the core of what I consider to be a great expression of freedom: running. At that point, I cried. The Boston Marathon’s iconic “Heartbreak Hill” took on an entirely new meaning for me…I was heartbroken for Boston. And because I didn’t know what else to do and couldn’t make sense out of any of it, I decided to do the only thing that did make sense to me: run. I ran 2.62 miles as a tribute to Boston, I ran to chase away fear, I ran to keep the free spirit alive.
I felt better when I returned home, but that was temporary. I turned the coverage back on while making dinner and at that point, for the first time, saw the video coverage of the bombings with audio. I heard the explosions, I heard the screams, I heard the shouts of terror and confusion, and again, I cried. I’ve run 4 marathons, and I know how grueling yet joyous a marathon finish is. And this scene was the complete antithesis. A marathon finish line is filled with cheering spectators, encouraging volunteers, congratulatory friends and family, and celebratory runners. Not bombs, lost limbs, causalities, screams, sirens, and mass chaos resembling a war zone. The freedom of running, to watch running, to support running, to celebrate life at its best was attacked.
The time on the official race clock directly above the finish line read 4 hours and 9 minutes when the first bomb shook Boylston Street. The significance of this time was not lost on me. Had I qualified for Boston in one of my previous two attempts and successfully registered, I would have made the 26 mile 385 yard journey from Hopkinton to Boston on that day and would very likely have been in the vicinity of the finish line when the bomb exploded. My family would have been right there cheering…just like Martin Richard, his mom, and sister cheered for their dad and husband. That little 8 year old boy, his mother, and sister weren’t a threat to anyone, they had done nothing wrong, they were at the finish line that day because they love their dad and husband. To a marathoner in the final stretch, that love and support means more than words can express…it is priceless. For such innocence to be taken away in one horrific instant is unfathomable.
Despite the panic and chaos, the running community displayed something it’s so good at…responding, adapting, and joining together to help each other through a time of adversity. Acts of heroism abounded and far outweighed the act of terrorism. The first responders immediately rushed to the scene to treat victims. Race volunteers and runners ran to the scene to help and pick up fallen spectators and other runners. The race medical tent personnel created a makeshift hospital to provide emergency care on the scene. Wheelchairs transported the injured before ambulances arrived with stretchers. The response for blood donations was so plentiful that the center had to turn donators away and ask them to return in the coming weeks when the need for blood would still be high. All of these acts and more speak volumes of the American spirit to act and join together during a time of crisis.
In the week following the bombings, the outpouring of support for the victims and their families and friends has been amazing. One Fund Boston was established to accept donations, raising a phenomenal $20 million in one week. Runners across the country are mobilizing at already established races and grassroots impromptu group runs to show their solidarity. Ultimately, we are a nation built on freedom and we will not be deterred. Boston strong. Boston stands as one. United we stand and united we run.
About the Author:
MEG SHERWOOD is a lover of running. She started running 14 years ago and hasn’t stopped. Meg checked “run a marathon” off her bucket list in 2010, but that was just the beginning. She has completed 4 marathons to date and one day hopes to qualify for and run Boston.
Photo Credit: “Runner’s Unite Race Bib” http://www.runjunkees.com/
The US government has amassed enough debt to give each and every American 49 five-day long cruises. No, we’re not talking about that one company whose boats always get stuck out at sea and strand their passengers. We’re talking about a different company.
Still not good enough? The level of accommodations you’ll get on each of your 49 cruises is at the mini-suite level, capable of sleeping 4 adults. Go travel the world and the seven seas—7 times each!
***WARNING! This Post Contains Images that Have Been Deemed to Be Inappropriate by the Government of the District of Columbia*** By continuing to read this post, you the reader, agree to indemnify and hold harmless Freedom Forge Press LLC, its agents, associates, owners, and editors of all liability should you be in any way offended whether real or imagined by the graphics herein contained.***
If you believe that you will be offended by seeing images of inappropriate subject matter, such as viewing “FREEDOM”, we kindly suggest you avail yourselves of the following link to exit our page immediately.
Many people know the District of Columbia’s “Taxation Without Representation” license plate slogan. The District has mimicked many (actual) states in allowing residents to order customized messages on license plates.
Simply visit www.dmv.dc.gov and a world of possibilities for vanity plates and license plate customization await. Also like many (actual) states, DC bans license plate messages that it deems to be offensive or inappropriate.
When we heard that the District banned “FREEDOM” on its license plates, we thought maybe it was a mistake. Surely the capital of the country whose national anthem references “the land of the free” wouldn’t have an issue with “FREEDOM” on its license plates.
Or would they?
To earn our investigative field work bona fides, we decided to “hit the pavement” all the way to www.dmv.dc.gov in order to investigate the matter for your benefit, gentle reader.
We entered “FREEDOM” in the personalized tag preview box and were greeted with the error, “The requested personalized tag has been deemed unacceptable by the DMV. Please try a different combination.”
Unacceptable indeed. What more ironic way to symbolically kill freedom than to ban the word itself from license plates as if it were now some sort of dirty word that ought to be excised from the English language. The word is so offensive in fact that the website refused to even display what the offending license plate might look like if it were indeed placed on a DC license plate.
But as with most things connected with the District, internal controls aren’t that robust. A preview is available simply by choosing a different radio button.
***CAUTION! Images Below Has Been Deemed Inappropriate by the Government of the District of Columbia*** You Have Been Warned!
Oh. The. HORROR!!! It may take some time to get over that. Like a moth drawn to flame, our staff couldn’t resist the temptation to see what the illicit images might look like on another tag style. So we did the unthinkable, and pit it… ONTO ANOTHER PLATE!
***CAUTION! Image Below Has Been Deemed Inappropriate by the Government of the District of Columbia*** You Have Been Warned!
We’ll give you a moment to absorb all that hate speech.
Of course the crafty folks at the DC DMV would never let us order a license plate with such a hateful message.
But the message encouraged us to try a different combination. And so try we did.
“WE SUCK” No good. Clearly offensive!
But with the radio button trick noted above, we at least get to see what it looks like. We can always dream.
***CAUTION! Image Below Has Been Deemed Inappropriate by the Government of the District of Columbia*** You Have Been Warned!
While “WE SUCK” complete with the DC flag icon was banned, apparently “DCSUCKS” is ok (and available) though we are guessing there is a 29 percent chance the license plate police may not let this go through.
***CAUTION! Image Below Has Been Deemed Appropriate by the Government of the District of Columbia*** You Have Been Warned!
C’mon DC, let some lucky person have “FREEDOM” adorn their license plate if they so choose and are lucky enough to be the first to request it after the ban is lifted.