cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Our political system creates winners and it creates losers. It has done that since there was a political system. It does that no matter the party in power. We are watching the reshuffling of the seats of power in Washington now, and that is a great thing to watch since it did not involve a military coup or the forceful overthrow of one regime in favor of another.
The winners and losers are being resorted as the result of the most recent election. It is interesting to me that I see many of the same faces that I recall seeing over the course of time. They seem to ebb and flow almost like the tides. They may be "out of favor" for awhile and then they're back "in favor". In their cases, there is relatively little difference between the two except that there may be more prestige when they're "in favor". Money always seems to flow in their direction although it can be diminished when they are "in favor" if that means they hold an office in the government of our country.
We shouldn't anguish over their plight for too long since they seem to make up for any financial duress suffered when they 'retire' from the government position.
Government employees are adept at remaining winners. Some in Milwaukee County walk away with a million dollars in their pocket at retirement. Few are ever laid off even though that threat hovers every once in awhile. All have solid benefit programs. Few seem to be overworked. It seems almost impossible to "privatize" any of these positions as we see from the trials and tribulations of Scott Walker as Milwaukee County Executive
Some winners seem adept at remaining winners almost without regard to the party in control.
Some losers seem adept at remaining losers, too.
The perennial losers of whom I am thinking are us...the taxpayers. It seems we are always coming out on the 'short end of the stick', doesn't it?
Just over the course of three days in November, we learned why we are in the column called "losers".
MATC was given the seemingly perpetual right to tax us to the tune of at least $5.7 million every year since we are blessed to be part of that taxing district. Us taxpayers took another one in the shorts!
Governor Doyle was quoted as saying "the pain must be shared" in speaking of the current $5.4 billion expected shortfall in the next biennial budget. We know to whom he was speaking...us taxpayers!
Then to add insult to injury, three gentlemen wrote an article called "How to raise money for our state" that was published on JSOline on November 22nd. I tote up the great ideas they espoused:
- the Doyle proposal to increase taxes on oil companies and hospitals to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars
- a sales tax increase of 1% that would raise something on the order of $800 million per year
- the extension of the sales tax to non-medical professional services like tax preparation and accounting services that would raise some $300 million per year
- the extension of the sales tax to business services that would raise $230 million
- closing business tax "loopholes" for companies doing business in and out of Wisconsin (so-called "combined reporting") that would generate an estimated "several hundred" million dollars a year.
- elimination of something that is called the "domestic production deduction" that would 'only' impact companies with over $100 million in assets and that would yield "at least $40 million"
- changing the taxing of businesses from that of taxing profits to a system where business receipts would be taxed instead (so that a business not making a profit would still pay taxes) which would generate some $400 million
- increasing the top rate on personal income tax from 6.75% to 7.75% ( a nearly 15% increase) which would raise another $180 million
- taxing all capital gains thus adding some $280 million to the treasury
- restoring the tax on the first 50% of social security earnings to get another $100 million
- elimination of a thing called the "itemized deduction credit" that would 'only' hit people earning more than $100,000 per year thus generating $320 million
- bringing back the tax on inheritances that would generate another $95 million
- and, last but certainly not least, restoring the annual inflation indexing of our already highest in the nation tax on gasoline that would bring in another $32 million for every penny of gas tax (that would mean something in the range $1 billion annually if the gas tax is now $0.30 per gallon)
I certainly appreciate their attempt to be helpful but I doubt that our governor and the senate and the assembly majorities need any help to raise taxes.
What is forgotten, ALWAYS, is that it is us losers...us taxpayers...who pay every penny of every tax levied in the state in one form or another.
Taxes always find their way to the lowest rung on the economic ladder, and that is us, the consumer and the taxpayer.
There certainly are winners and losers. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could experience being a winner once in awhile?
And...isn't it amazing that we never learn how much could be saved if some of the jobs would be eliminated, and if some of the benefits would be reduced, and if some of the massive 'give-away' programs were curtailed?
Yup. I'm hallucinating, all right!