Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Arizona Sucks

Illegal immigration is a real problem our country must deal with, especially in those states who share a border with our neighbors to the south, Mexico. Every day non-tax paying immigrants cross our borders illegally to take advantage of our already taxed education, healthcare, and social services systems. If something’s not done the tax-paying citizens of the United States will continue to suffer. Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which was recently passed into law and signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010, is NOT the answer however.

SB1070 legislation does the following:

• Makes it a state misdemeanor crime for anyone to be unable to prove lawful residence in the United States upon being asked to provide such proof

• Requires police to make a reasonable attempt, when practical, to determine immigration status if there is cause to suspect they are illegal immigrants

• Provides that Arizona citizens can sue such agencies or officials to compel full enforcement of the law

Or to put it another way it transforms Arizona into a police state where anyone who’s not pearly white must carry proof of citizenship with them at all times, or risk being fined and thrown into jail. Furthermore it promotes racial profiling by forcing police to question the immigration status of anyone who’s not pearly white, or otherwise risk being sued by the fine citizens of Arizona for not enforcing the law. I’m sorry, but is it 2010 or 1810? Are you fucking serious, Arizona? This is insanity.

The bill, with a number of changes made to it, passed the Arizona House of Representatives on April 13, by a 35–21 party-line vote. The revised measure then passed the State Senate on April 19, by a 17-11 vote that also closely followed party lines, with all but one Republican voting for the bill, ten Democrats voting against the bill, and two Democrats not voting. More troubling however is the proportion of voters in the state of Arizona who favored the bill. A Rasmussen Reports poll indicated that it held wide support among likely voters in the state, with 70 percent in favor against 23 percent opposed, although a majority of voters were also concerned that actions taken due to the bill would violate the civil rights of some American citizens. Gee, you think? Yet you still favor the bill. What’s wrong with you, Arizona?

Governor Brewer had been silent on whether she would sign the measure, but facing a Republican Party primary challenge from more conservative opponents, she did. Because after all re-election is more important than moral integrity, right Governor Brewer? Against concerns that the bill would promote racial profiling, Brewer stated that no such behavior would be tolerated: "We must enforce the law evenly, and without regard to skin color, accent or social status.” How is that even possible, Jan? She then vowed to ensure that police forces had proper training relative to the law and civil rights. Ultimately, she said, "We have to trust our law enforcement.” God help us all. Giving more power to the police and expecting them not to abuse it is like providing state senators with unlimited booze and hookers and expecting them to stay sober and abstinent.

Thousands of people staged protests in state capital Phoenix over the law, and a pro-migrant activist called the measure "racist". The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials said SB1070 was "an unconstitutional and costly measure that will violate the civil rights of all Arizonans." Some Latino leaders have compared the law to Apartheid in South Africa, Nazi Germany, or the Japanese American internment during World War II. Proponents of the law scoffed at such inflated rhetoric, and argued that the law was reasonable, limited, and carefully crafted. Yeah and I bet you’d argue that evolution never took place either, am I right?

The legislation is considered constitutionally vulnerable by some, who claim that the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution gives the federal government authority over the states in immigration matters and that only the federal government can enact and enforce immigration laws. Drafters of the bill however said it would survive any challenge: "There are some things that states can do and some that states can't do, but this law threads the needle perfectly.... Arizona only penalizes what is already a crime under federal law,” stated Professor Kris Kobach, the primary drafter of the bill (hmmm - I wonder if his middle name starts with a ‘K’ too?). State Senator Pearce noted that some past state laws on immigration enforcement had been upheld in federal courts, and called the bill's signing "a good day for America.” A good day for America, my ass. Pull your head out Senator Pearce. You suck and so does Arizona.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Something Smells Rotten In The State of Denmark

On this April 15, 2010, or tax day as it has (un)affectionately come to be known let us reflect on some disturbing federal tax statistics. According to the Tax Policy Center, for the year 2009, 47% of U.S. households will pay NO federal income tax. NO federal income tax as in ZERO. Obviously, most of them will pay other kinds of taxes – state tax, property tax, sales tax, etc. But at a time of record levels in federal spending and federal debt, half the country is effectively making NO contribution to it. Five years ago it was just under 40% who paid no federal income tax; now it's just under 50%. If this foreboding trend continues, by 2012, America could be holding its first federal election in which a majority of the population will be voting for government swag that they're not even paying for. In less than 25 years, the American Revolution phrase "No taxation without representation" will have effectively been reversed into representation without taxation. Think about the state of the union for a moment. China and a handful of oil-rich countries in the Middle East have our balls in a huge vice called sovereign wealth funds, we’ve blown our national defense wad in Iraq and Afghanistan thus allowing a crazy North Korean midget to build a potent nuclear arsenal, and our national debt continues to spiral unabatedly toward $20 trillion dollars, yet the number of Americans who are net contributors to the federal treasury continues to decrease annually. The thing about democracy is that it’s great… until it’s broken.

What's that? You don't think it's broken? Then how about a few more mind-numbing stats to consider on tax day: The top 5% of taxpayers contribute 60% of the revenue. The top 10% provide 75%. About 40% make up the rest, and the remaining 45-50% pay NOTHING. This isn't redistribution of wealth people. It isn't even “spreading the wealth around," as then Senator Obama put it in an uncharacteristic off-the-prompter gaffe during his 2008 campaign. It’s a system gone wrong where a handful of adept citizens are burdened with 75% of the load, while the unfit masses stand around and do nothing. Yet when it comes time to pass out the government swag the unfit masses are at the front of the line deciding who gets what, while the folks at the back of the line who did all the heavy lifting in the first place are left to take it in the shorts.

If ‘progressive taxes’ are truly that how come our country is so completely fucked and growing more fucked with each passing day? Why not just throw the whole thing out and start over with a ‘flat tax’ where everyone makes an equal contribution to the federal treasury proportionate to their household earnings? I can hear the libs already: (in super whiney voice) "But a flat tax isn’t fair! Since the marginal value of income decreases with the amount of income earned (or since the last $100 earned by a poor person has considerable more value than the last $100 earned by a rich person) taxing that last $100 of income the same amount despite vast differences in the marginal value of money isn’t fair!" Okay libs – I’m a reasonable guy – to appease your argument I’ll even include a tax exemption for household income below a certain cutoff level. This way the truly ‘poor’ (which ain’t nowhere near 47% of current American households) won’t get porked (like the top 10% of earners do under the current system). But alas I’m not as stupid as I look and I understand human nature, so I know a ‘flat tax’ will never be adopted (not in my lifetime anyway). After all why would something that makes so much sense ever get passed when a near majority of the American population is a beneficiary under the current flawed tax system? Think about it. Once 51% of the population is no longer paying any federal taxes (which will happen within the next two years) they’ll be able to pass legislation to bleed the other 49% of the population dry. And why wouldn’t they? Free Obamacare and government swag for everyone (except those of us who are actually paying for it of course)! Isn’t democracy great? Happy tax day everyone.