Monday, February 28, 2022

Point Arena Time Capsule, 1950

 


    Facebook is often maligned, and I suppose rightfully so, but I'm grateful for Facebook more often than not. In the case of this photo, it's special to me in a way that it would be for few. It was taken by a family friend, Jimmy Morrison, from his light airplane flying over the south end of Point Arena sometime in late 1949 but more probably in 1950. So far I'm the one providing the estimate of when it was taken based on my knowledge as a seven-year old at that time with familiarity with certain Point Arena landmarks. 

    But let me devote some words to Jimmy Morrison. When we arrived in Point Arena September 10, 1949, Jimmy was an auto mechanic at the Union 76 station, owned and operated by Jack Pelascio and his son Jim. At the time the Pelascios owned quite a lot of Point Arena, besides the Union 76 station the Point Arena Theater on adjacent property, and the old high school building and its land. 

    The picture was posted on Facebook by Jimmy's stepson, David Weymouth, who added: 
I couldn’t have had a better stepfather. His parents were so poor in New York City that they had to give him to a farm family in upstate NY to work for them when he was in the fourth grade. That was the extent of his schooling. But he always read a lot and saw a bit of the the world in and after the war in the military and Coast Guard. He never went far financially but was a fine person and wonderful for my mother.

    At the photo upper left, just above the open fields, stands the former Point Arena High School building. When we arrived from Southern California, we parked our trailer on the left (east) side of the building on a concrete slab which may have been a combined tennis and outdoor basketball court. I feel certain that the silvery object by the building is our trailer, which in 1951 we moved to the front of the building after we had moved into one large room at the left front of it. 

    I wrote about our life in the Old High School here.

    

Monday, December 20, 2021

Our 2021 Christmas Letter


 We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


About 2021, as Yogi Berra was reputed to have said on a different matter, "It's deja vu all over again."

But years are like snowflakes; no two are alike. Maybe. But given an infinite number of snowflakes...

So where am I going with this?  

Beats me.

But I continue. At the first instance, with all that we didn't do we still continued to never being bored, a pattern of our lives that hasn't changed for either of us for 79 years. We both always have something that interests us and often wonder how retirement can be so busy. 

Maybe we can blame it on Radar, our little boy in a doggy suit. He wakes me in the morning - early - and I walk him into the trees so that he can do his necessaries. Then still in the morning it's time for his pee-pee-poo-poo walk for over a mile amongst the redwoods, taking us over a half-hour, and yes, Radar still talks baby talk. Then Radar has us take him to Cook's Beach at low tide to play ball for an hour and walk another mile+. 


Sunset at Cook's Beach

Finally the sun goes down and we grab our mountain lion beating sticks for Radar's pee-pee-poo-poo walk, another mile and another half-hour roaming through our neighborhood. 

On our night walk we observe many animals - numerous deer, occasional foxes, raccoons, and too many skunks - Radar has been sprayed twice - but so far no mountain lions.


Radar in a Christmas party mood.

Besides indulging Radar, we've stayed active doing "people" things too. Alice loves her book club meetings, reads a "good" book - a classic or best-seller - every five days -twice through if it's for the book club - and studiously tags key points, new words, interesting passages - each of the books she's read is festooned with colorful tags.


Alice's book club met outdoors

The company Alice founded in 1975, Vulcan Wire, Incorporated, continues to operate successfully with very loyal work employees. Vulcan's Christmas party at Club Paradiso was attended by all sixteen plus spouses, dates, and other family, and the photos were taken at opposite ends of the table to feature everyone.






Alice's company,Vulcan Wire, was central to her memoir,
The Lady With Balls

Alice signed copies of her memoir at Barnes & Noble Book Store in Santa Rosa.





Our 2021 travels were modest but very satisfying. We attended two weddings. The first was my grandson Michael marrying Brittany, who is the mother of one of my great-granddaughters. 

Michael and Brittany, and daughter, in Crescent City



Michael and I

Then Michael Bonham married Sarah. Michael invited us to his wedding because twenty years ago Alice tutored him in reading, and her efforts met with such great success that Michael wrote that "she changed his life."

Alice and Michael Bonham

Michael and Sarah


A highlight of our year was the family gathering in Lafayette to celebrate the 80th birthday of Alice's first husband and father of her two daughters, Hans Stiller. Their families were joined by Han's sister's family from Southern California. 



Alice treated her daughters and their families to a Black Friday dinner after a wonderful Thanksgiving at daughter Jeanette's home.




Other good times were involved with my Gualala Lions Club and Rotary Club activities, as we find ways to have in-person meetings and activities. We just completed an outstanding Project Santa involving funds raising, then identifying about two hundred needy families in the area and delivering them toys for their children and vouchers for food of their choice at our local supermarkets. While wearing my Rotary hat I handle the money collected and issue checks, then put on my Lions cap and fill my truck and trailer with bags of toys to deliver to the Horicon Elementary School for distribution to the families. Project Santa is a complete community effort, from donations from over two hundred families, purchasing the toys and food vouchers, wrapping the toys, and organizing dozens to transport it all on the delivery day. 

I'm writing diligently on two projects, a sort of a memoir, sort of a local history, about growing up in Point Arena in the 1950's, titled Strong as an Ox and Nearly as Smart, and another proving that climate change is natural and can be adapted to, entitled It Ain't Necessarily So. I've written a lot, the easy part, now I need to organize it all, which ain't easy. I need to crack the whip on me like Alice did on herself when writing her memoir. 


I also hope and plan to have a Point Arena High School reunion of the classes of 1967 - my class was 1960 - back to the beginning of time. The reunion website is Point Arena High School Reunion.

Maybe Alice and I can collaborate on a book about how to keep busy in retirement. But I'm afraid that we're too busy at the moment to take it on as a new item.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!





Sunday, December 20, 2020

Our 2020 Christmas Letter

 




Merry Christmas!

Alice and I celebrated our 31st Anniversary on August 5 at St. Orres Restaurant, as we've done for most of the years since we moved to Gualala in 1998. However, we dined outside on the deck and my mask strings are dangling from my vest pocket. Not quite Anniversary As Usual. 

Two months later (October 20) we were walking on flat, sandy Cook's Beach with Radar and Alice fell. She said she was sore but OK, so we continued our walk, then Alice drove home, went up the steps to our second floor, sat down, and commenced screaming. She couldn't stand up so I called 911 and the paramedics and firemen came quickly, packed her up in a "burrito wrap", and took her to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital by ambulance. The next day Alice's left hip was replaced.

Seven weeks later, for the first time since her fall, Alice made the complete one-mile circuit nightly peepee-poopoo walk for Radar. Now we walk it every night.

Above and beyond that, it's been an exciting year. Did I just hear a "Duh"? Some good, some otherwise. Life.

We'll start by counting our blessings.

  • Friends and family either are virus-free or have recovered with no problems. 
  • We live in an almost virus-free area.
  • Our firemen and paramedics are great.
  • Radar plays ball with us on Cook's Beach daily and makes us take long walks.
  • Alice's memoir "The Lady With Balls" keeps her busy with new and interesting activities.
  • Alice held her book club meetings on our deck. 
  • And a whole lot more.
I understand the temptation to try to forget 2020 but we're still enjoying life every day. Alice and I do everything together but this past year we have been in each other's company more than ever, and we love it. We don't watch TV; it's too passive and we nicknamed TV watching "brain poison" many years ago. We both read a lot, exercise, and talk about the many things that interest us, especially in our two daily and one weekly newspapers. 

It's wonderful when your spouse is also your best friend.

The latest Time Magazine had a cover "2020 The Worst Year Ever" that I found appalling. In the  story itself, written by a film critic, she casually acknowledged that there have been many worse things such as World Wars and the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic - which killed 50 million when the World population was only 1.5 billion - but that now we are suffering the most terrible thing, a feeling of helplessness. 

In some way the author is a fit analyst of our times. She trivializes past tragedies, and exalts the damage that helplessness plays upon our tender psyches. Easily overlooked are the facts that the World has never been a better place for its masses than it is right now. All the needs of humanity are being better satisfied than ever before. Prosperity, health, longevity, creature comforts, democracy, peace - certainly there is ample room for improvement in lives everywhere you look, but now has  to be compared to the past, not to a sought-after but not achievable standard of perfection. 

"Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good!"

As I step down from my soap box in this best of all possible worlds...

We've also used the telephone more. What about Zoom? We're glad you asked. Alice hates Zoom because she is a perfectionist and feels that she has to achieve the perfect appearance - clothes, makeup, background features, lighting, noise. I think she does, but she's never satisfied and prefers the more casual communication possible over a telephone. Then she is totally relaxed and considers it a short call if she only chats for an hour. My calls now usually last half an hour, which is triple my former average time per call. 

Our travels since March have been twice to Fort Bragg for photos and videos for Alice's website and book promotions, and thrice to Santa Rosa for her hip replacement and follow up medical exams. Over a year ago we had decided to cut back on traveling while Alice concentrated on promoting her memoir. However, we did think that we would travel to interesting places for book presentations, but that couldn't happen. 

Here is Alice's "hero" shot (The shot featured on a website).




However, our time is still very busy and well spent. Alice is always researching and posting to her website, The Lady With Balls

And of course, I keep adding our annual Christmas Letters to my blog.


"Retirement"
(please click the full screen icon at the lower right and turn up your volume) 

One of our favorite daily activities is playing ball with Radar on nearby Cook's Beach. Besides beach time, we also take Radar on other daily walks, including a night-time mile walk through our neighborhood. He's a great excuse for staying active. When our beloved dog Buddy died in 2013 we continued the same walks every day and then added Radar to our walks half a year later when we picked him from the Fort Bragg animal shelter.  


Radar discovers Cheetos!
Photo by Cheryl Sidrian-Waters

Lately there always seems to be a lot of people at Cook's Beach at sunset. I've nicknamed them "Sundowners" and this photo helps to explain why they are there.




Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!




Friday, October 23, 2020

A Simple Science Quiz

A science quiz. Science’s answer to each of the following questions concerning climate in the past 10,000 years is “yes.” 

 

Has Earth been significantly warmer?


 


Sea levels higher?



 

 Glaciers much smaller?

 

This is a link to many studies that show that during the past 10,000 years glaciers were predominantly smaller than they are now. 

 


 

Below is a US government chart of glacier retreat at Glacier Bay, Alaska, which shows that there was over 60 miles of glacier retreat from 1760 through 1900, and less than six miles of retreat since 1948.



 

 

 Was the Little Ice Age (1300-1800 AD) the coldest period?



 

 

 Has Earth had a cooling trend for 8,000 years?

See above.

 

 Were wildfires more frequent and burn far more acreage before 1900 than now?

 

Fire ecologists say that far more land burned each year during the 1800s and earlier, than in recent years. In the preindustrial era, from 1500 to 1800, an average of 145 million acres burned every year nationwide — about 10 times more than the nation’s recent annual burns. In the West, it was estimated that 18 to 25 million acres burned each year, as recently as the 1800s. 


Click this link to go the study.


 

Globally, more recently NASA satellite systems have been able to determine a decreasing trend in global burned area.

 


 

Source: Nasa Earth Observatory 
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/145421/building-a-long-term-record-of-fire

 

 

 Were there megadroughts that lasted over 200 years in North America 1,000 years ago?



 



This Bjorn Lomborg article succinctly describes the California wildfire problem and why, even if California, even if all the United States were suddenly carbon neutral, the wildfire problem would just get worse. Logic and critical thinking demands that the forests be managed regardless of climate. Just 200 years ago a lot more of California (and the US) burned annually when average temperature was over a degree lower.





 

 Has the Greenland icecap grown?

 

These diagrams determined from ice core and satellite studies show it has.

 



 




 

Have temperature increases preceded CO2 increases?

 

Ice core analysis does reveal that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels did lag behind increasing temperatures at the end recent ice ages. Although there is a certain degree of uncertainty regarding the lag time, it is generally accepted that at the end of an ice age, temperatures began to increase, and then carbon dioxide levels began to increase.”


 

Of note, during all the times this has happened there has never been a single case of unstoppable global warming. In fact, at each temperature and CO2 maximum, cooling began and the next 100,000-year glacial period was launched.

 



 

This chart below shows that for the past 600 million years, CO2 at times was over 15 times the current level and that cooling oceans absorbed CO2 as temperature fell. It also shows that for most of the past 100 million years, temperature was 10C (18F) higher than now, even as vast numbers of photosynthesizing organisms removed CO2 from the atmosphere. 

 


 

 

 Is food production setting record highs?

 



 

This article has links to studies showing global record harvests.


 

Do wind and solar combined only produce three percent of total energy consumption?




 

Was half of current warming before the rapid increase in CO2 after 1950?

 




The NOAA chart below shows no temperature trend. The temperature spikes are in El NiƱo years.

 



 

The chart below shows that 11 of 12 hottest years were before 1960.





This NOAA chart shows Santa Rosa average annual temperature, a cooling trend, for over 100 years. 






 

The answer to the following questions is “no.” 

 

During the Eemian interglacial period 125,000 years ago, when sea levels were up to 30 feet higher and global temperature eight degrees Fahrenheit warmer, was there runaway warming?

 

Obviously not, or we wouldn’t have had a 100,000-year glacial period following it. 

 

Is carbon dioxide the most significant greenhouse gas (hint: water vapor at 96-99% is)?

 

Both water vapor at 0.4% of the atmosphere and CO2 at 0.04% are trace gases. Temperature changes resulting from orbital variations periodically (every 100,000 years) cause temperature to increase with resulting increases in both water vapor and CO2 levels in the atmosphere. The pattern of the past million years show that the Sun – via its position relative to the Earth – drives climate change and that CO2 and water vapor changes are a result, not a cause, of the climate change.




 

Is a colder Earth more productive?

 

It wasn’t for the 100,000-year period glacial period that lasted from the end of the Eemian interglacial until the current interglacial began 11,700 years ago. At one point atmospheric CO2 was at 180ppm, barely above the level of plant starvation of 150ppm.

 

Are storms more frequent and powerful?

 

From 2006 through 2014 no Category 3 or stronger hurricane struck the continental United States, the longest such period since the Civil War.




 

The science behind each of these questions is robust and irrefutable. Climate change is natural and unstoppable. 















Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A Natural Climate Change Debate Challenge

Franz Kafka described individuals who were powerless to understand or control what was happening to them. I have the feeling that Kafka is writing today’s headlines about climate change. Authorities accuse sceptics of rejecting science while displaying their own profound science ignorance and proudly parade it before an equally ignorant public. Apocalyptic predictions are breathlessly proclaimed, then studiously ignored when they don’t come to pass.

A case in point is our reaction to recent wildfires. The prescription for solving the problem begins with stopping climate change by reducing California CO2 emissions. Overlooked is that if California totally eliminated CO2 emissions and returned to Horse & Buggy days, over five billion people in the developing world would still be rapidly accelerating their CO2 emissions as they pursue our prosperity. China and India would still be bringing an average of one new coal-burning power plant on line each week for years to come, and China would be assisting African nations to solve their energy poverty. 






 

Also overlooked are statistics showing that neighboring Canadian wildfires have decreased in number and acreage burned in the past three decades, with the most acreage burned in 1994 and 1995. Acreage burned in 2020 is only at eight percent of the average of the past ten years. 



 

Fire ecologists say that far more land burned each year during the 1800s and earlier, than in recent years. In the preindustrial era, from 1500 to 1800, an average of 145 million acres burned every year nationwide — about 10 times more than the nation’s recent annual burns. In the West, an estimated 18 to 25 million acres burned each year, as recently as the 1800s.

 

Our current natural climate change is totally unremarkable in the context of the eight major cycles of the past million years. Exhaustive studies of Earth’s orbital parameters (Milankovitch cycles) during that period determined that they were responsible for alternating 100,000-year glacial periods with short 15,000-year warm periods. It will shock many to learn that Earth’s climate changes have been dramatic; only a bit over 20,000 years ago, all of what is now Canada was covered with ice sheets over a mile thick; Earth’s surface is still rebounding in many places after the ice sheets melted and our current warm period began only 11,700 years ago.

 

The previous warm period, the Eemian, peaked about 125,000 years ago with temperatures 4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer and sea level 20 to 30 feet higher than present. This sustained warmth enabled the hippopotamus to range as far north as the rivers Rhine and Thames. The atmospheric level of CO2 reached 280 parts per million (ppm), then fell to 180 ppm (below 150 ppm, plant-life dies on a massive scale) as temperatures dropped and the next glacial period began 115,000 years ago. Both the increased and decreased levels of CO2 followed, not preceded, temperature changes, since cooling water absorbs CO2 and warming expels it.

 

There have been five warm periods in the past 10,000 years and the first, the Holocene Climatic Optimum (9,000 to 5,000 years ago), was the warmest. Fortunately for skeptics, evidence of its higher temperatures than present left features that are abundant and easily observed. The northern latitudes of Europe, Asia, Alaska, and Canada display tree stumps hundreds of kilometers north of where trees can now grow. Glaciologists have determined that glaciers are now larger than they were then. Studies of features such as coral mounds up to six feet above present sea level are irrefutable evidence of prior warmth because coral cannot grow above water. 

 

Unlike assurances by Al Gore and his “apocaholics,” current climate change is far from unprecedented. Besides the first and warmest period of the past 10,000 years, there have been four other warm periods including the present. After the Optimum came the Minoan, Roman, Medieval, and Modern, each of which was less warm than its predecessor. For roughly the past 8,000 years, Earth has experienced a cooling trend, and studies such as Greenland ice core samples show that the past 1,000 years are the coldest in 10,000 years. 




 

Current discussions of climate change lack scientific and historical perspectives. It is irrefutable that past greater warming did not result in runaway temperature increases, even millions of years ago when CO2 levels were ten to twenty times higher than now. Natural catastrophes such as droughts, powerful storms, and wildfires have all been intensively studied and found to have been much worse during earlier periods. 

 

In California, 1910 to 1940 was much drier than any 30-year period since. However, the past 100 years have been much wetter than the previous 7,000 years, which featured several 200-year mega-droughts. 

 

Every one of the items I’ve mentioned is easily accessible and clearly demonstrates that our present climate change is a part of natural cycles that have persisted for the past two million years. For over twenty years I have made a debate challenge that hasn’t been accepted: “Proposition: Climate change is natural and always has been.” I’ll take the affirmative. 

 

I welcome any and all who wish to debate the negative.

 


 

Friday, September 18, 2020

My review: Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future


 


 

by 
U 50x66
's review 
 ·  edit

it was amazing

Power, the ability to perform work, not the ability to control others, is directly correlated to prosperity. At the moment and for the foreseeable future, prosperity will be powered by fossil fuels. Electricity is not going to effectively move airplanes, ships, and large vehicles, but electricity is vital for performance of all other productive functions. In that regard, the author illustrates the world-wide innumeracy that results in policies that depend on wind, solar, and biofuels (renewables) to replace fossil fuels and nuclear energy. When the rapidly increasing world need for power is examined in terms of the scope of the need, it is obvious that renewables cannot do the job; "There ain't no way to get there from here." Using wind generation as an example, an enormous area of land and sea is required to generate what is in essence a tiny amount of world energy requirements which requires huge quantities of steel, concrete, fibrous materials, and rare earth resources to erect ecological eyesores that have very short lives. In addition, since wind is erratic and intermittent, it requires fossil fuel backup generation and/or power storage, the methods of which are 1. currently nonexistent and 2. uneconomical if ever developed. I can only highlight the excellent analyses that Robert Bryce develops and communicates clearly and effectively. As applies to many of the books I've reviewed recently, this book should be read by everyone, but especially by those who thing a Green New Deal is possible. Many a foolish thought or decision is a result of the innumeracy that prevents understanding relevant information. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

"False Alarm" Should Be Required Reading





     I would not give five stars to a work that contains a fundamental error, but "False Alarm" is so pertinent that everyone on Earth should read this book. Whether climate change skeptic or alarmist, there is much that both sides will find valuable and useful, but before I indulge in fulsome praise Mr. Lomborg does have a fundamental flaw in his presentation: being ignorant of or overlooking thousands of prior periods of natural climate change that warmed Earth far more than even the most unlikely climate model forecast. If while reading "False Alarm" you mentally eliminate all of the scenarios of human actions to causes and combat climate change, the rest of his presentation becomes even stronger and timely. One word it sums up: adaptation. 

     Personally, I would like to take Mr. Lomborg and the rest of the world into the light of reason and science by debating; Proposition: climate change is natural and always has been. The obvious result is triumph for the affirmative and then Mr. Lomborg's positions on economic progress such as improved education, innovation, and health becomes foundations for the rapid and dramatic betterment of humankind. This would place Mr. Lombard in the company of the greatest humanitarian of all, who he mentions, Norman Borlaug. Leadership like theirs validates optimism for us all.


Saturday, July 18, 2020

Before Michael Shellenberger "Saw The Light"

Break Through: Why We Can't Leave Saving the Planet to EnvironmentalistsBreak Through: Why We Can't Leave Saving the Planet to Environmentalists by Ted Nordhaus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is extremely well written and contains a lot of information about climate change that the author now completely repudiates in "Apocalypse Never." I was intrigued by his former position on wind turbines, particularly on the failed Cape Wind project, compared to his present understanding of the waste and futility of wind, solar, and biomass energy generation. Just to say "he saw the light" would be to understate the brilliance of his transformation. Still, this book is so well written and original, and his treatment of limit-constricted environmentalists so accurate, that it should be read after reading "Apocalypse Never" to give the reader an appreciation of the thought that has gone into both endeavors.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Apocalypse Never - Everyone Should Read

Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us AllApocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is must reading for everyone, but particularly environmentalists. Each concept - energy generation, plastic waste, adaptation, natural disasters, prosperity vs. preservation, and many others - are treated clearly and thoroughly, with copious footnotes. Of particular interest is Shellenberger's treatment of environmentalism as religion substitute, where each can feel that they by doing some small thing are performing heroic service to the world. He contrasts that with the needs of poor people to gain enjoyment and meaning from their lives, not be inhabitants of an elites' back to the-way-it-was vision of earthly paradise. He shows how agricultural modernization using machinery, fertilizers, and GMOs create food surpluses while freeing people to stop being low production farmers and to be city workers and dwellers. The economic clarity of his illustrations are among the most valuable contributions of this book to approaching and solving the environment of panic created and spread by environmental alarmists. Malthus, Ehrlich, McKibbins are all honored by the left and are all monumentally wrong. Shellenberger gives them the attention they deserve.


View all my reviews

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Our Income Taxes Are Not Progressive




















Progressive?

The claim we have progressive income taxation has been accepted with no thought given to whether it is true.

It isn’t. Although the wealthy are paying a larger share of total income taxes than ever, they are also wealthier than ever, and Liberals are constantly whining about the growing wealth gap. Far from being progressive, income taxes discourage savings and the accumulation of wealth, and place obstacles in the path to closing the wealth gap. It’s easy to maintain wealth, hard to accumulate it.

To begin, what makes an income tax progressive? The probable answer is that the higher the income, the higher the tax rate. The intent of progressive taxation is to have the wealthy carry the tax load, because: “They should pay their fair share. They need to give back. They receive the greatest benefits. Yada, yada & Etc.”

Because of the “progressive” nature of our income tax system, the wealthy make a lot of tax lawyers and accountants wealthy too by paying them to devise ways to beat high taxes. Even government has leaped into the tax avoidance business, by promoting schemes like tax-free municipal bonds.

Since the top 5% in terms of adjusted gross income pay 60% of income taxes (the top 5% share of the total has increased steadily, up from 37% in 1980 when the top tax brackets were at 70%), and the bottom 50% pay only 3% of the total (less than half of the 7% they paid in 1980).

You can see by the trend, the wealthy need all the help they can buy to avoid fulfilling the Democrat’s dream of wealthy Republicans eventually paying all the income tax. As it is, almost half of our “taxpayers” no longer pay any taxes to the IRS.

Thanks to the Internet, you can also easily find entire nations that provide tax avoidance services, offering off-shore banking in British Virgin Islands, Belize, Dominica, Seychelles, Panama and Gibraltar, and in other less favored states.

As is usual, the unwealthy need not apply.

Can an income tax be regressive? Look no farther than FICA (Social Security) and Medicare payroll taxes for the answer, a resounding “Yes!” The FICA and Medicare rates are the same for all, and FICA is paid equally on the first dollar earned up to the 137,700th dollar, after which the marginal rate is zero. Therefore, the total FICA tax rate for someone earning $275,400 falls to 3.1 percent, exactly half the 6.2 percent rate for anyone earning $137,700 or less.

You do realize your "employer contribution" comes out of your wages too, don't you? It's a sneaky way politicians try to make you think you're only paying 6.2 percent into Social Security. If you were self-employed, you would know you pay 12.4 percent into Social Security, and 2.9 percent into Medicare.

The total FICA tax rate continues to fall once taxable wages pass $137,700  For example, for someone earning $413,100, the tax rate is only 2.07 percent. At $550,800, it falls to 1.55 percent, or approximately the 1.45 percent Medicare tax. Get the picture?

FICA is also regressive because it discourages savings and wealth accumulation. The 12.4 percent of income paid into Social Security earns at about a 2 percent rate, less than the rate of inflation. After a lifetime paying into FICA, mortality tables show that a black male born before 2000 will die just about the time he would collect his first check at about 66 years of age. He will probably be unmarried when he dies, so his Social Security benefits will cease with his last breath. The return on his working lifetime investment is worse than 0.00%, which would be the return if someone was paid what he put in. No, his return on investment is a negative 100 percent (-100%).

Opponents of privatized Social Security accounts don’t spend much time on this feature of the present system, or on the fact it went cash income negative in 2010 and goes bankrupt in 2035.

As added frosting on the wealthy’s tax avoidance cake, a person making a million dollars a year from investments only pays FICA at the 0.00% rate. If, following the example of Ross Perot, the million dollars was all income from tax-free municipal bonds, his federal income tax rate is also 0.00%. Therefore, the wealthy can legally pay FICA and income taxes at the same rate as the drug dealer, who pays none of either unless he is caught, arrested, and convicted, and then only if the government can then find where he stashed his loot (see British Virgin Islands, Belize, Dominica, Seychelles, Panama and Gibraltar), and then find someway to collect from it.

Lots of luck collecting, G-Men.

Not only FICA is regressive, but our “progressive” income tax system is too. It also discourages savings and wealth accumulation, by taking a portion of the income before it can be invested, and then taxing interest and profits which, during inflationary periods (i.e. most of the time), means the IRS is reducing your capital base.

Taxing both interest earned on investments and capital gains are particularly regressive and oppressive forms of taxation. In the first instance, interest usually doesn’t keep up with the rate of inflation, so taxing interest earned just adds to capital shrinkage.

On the other hand, capital investments usually increase with inflation, and often at a faster rate. However, that still means that most of the value of the asset is original cost plus inflation. If the value only goes up by the amount of inflation, and the asset is then sold, the investor has not made a profit, he has just gotten back the value of his original investment.

“Not so,” says the IRS. "You have made a profit, i.e. selling price – original cost = profit, and on that profit you will pay capital gains tax." In other words, your investment not only did not beat inflation, but after paying tax on the “capital gain,” you lost money. Such a deal! Courtesy of your IRS.

I am waiting for a Liberal to explain to me why a system of taxation that discourages savings and investment is considered “progressive.”

The most illogical and regressive part of income taxation is the double taxation of corporate profits. Corporations are taxed at a very high rate (basically 21%, formerly 35%, with possible add-ons) when profits are earned, and then those profits are taxed to individuals when distributed as dividends.

Liberals have justified this double taxation by once again clothing it in the mantel of “fairness,” declaring that corporations must pay their fair share. Either through deceit or ignorance, the Liberals don’t admit that corporations don’t actually pay any income, property, or any other form of taxes; we who buy their products pay their taxes.

That’s right, when you’re calling for corporations to take on more of the tax load, what you are really demanding is government to tax us more. To a corporation, corporate taxes are just another cost of business to be passed on to their customers along with the costs of labor, materials, and overhead.

When the government collects corporate taxes, it reduces the capital the corporation can use for investment. Therefore, instead of funding growth internally through increased retained earnings, the corporation has to replace the funds lost to corporate income taxes by borrowing.

I’ve heard many Liberals dispute this, but without demonstrating to me how corporations could pay their taxes unless they receive money from their customers when they sell them their products. Some have told me that corporations sell a lot to other corporations, and to government, as if that proved a human being was not the ultimate link in the tax paying chain.

For the accounting illiterate among you, I would like to explain that corporations who buy anything from anyone include those costs as material or overhead charges, and recover them through charges such as depreciation, amortization, professional services expenses (such as tax lawyers and accountants), & etc. The only time they “eat” the taxes instead of passing them on is when they are operating at a loss. However, at that point taxpayers subsidize their loss because tax law provides for corporations to carry losses back against prior period taxes paid, and then forward against subsequent year profits.

The bottom line is there is nothing progressive about “progressive” income taxation. It is an artifact created from class envy and taxpayer ignorance by legislators to fool taxpayers. While the taxpayers are gloating and celebrating how politicians have “socked it to” the wealthy and to the evil corporations, the politicians are gloating about how easy it is to fool ignorant and envious citizens and get their votes.

Meanwhile, instead of benefiting from the stronger and healthier economy that sensible taxation would promote, the taxpayer congratulates the politicians for distributing tax misery equitably.

Income taxation problems such as discouraging investment, wealth accumulation and savings, slowing economic growth, and placing American business at a competitive disadvantage in the world marketplace, would be solved by a national sales tax along the lines of the Fair Tax proposal.

Just as regressive income taxation has been called “progressive,” the progressive Fair Tax proposal has been labeled regressive.

Newspeak lives.

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