Monday, May 01, 2006

Let's Roll, Not Let's Rollover

Let's Roll, Not Let's Rollover

I got an email message from Rep. Charles Taylor regarding a request for funds he received for the memorial of Flight 93 project in Pennsylvania. He said he approved a 50/50 plan to match funds with Pennsylvania in the amount of $12.5 million dollars some 3 years ago and so far $2 million Federal tax dollars has been spent in the 'design and thinking about it' stage.

He also said “The memorial committee has now submitted a plan calling for the purchase of 2000 acres, an area three times larger than Arlington National Cemetery, and a variety of structures which they say could cost some $60 million. Realistically, it could cost between $75 million and $100 million.”

The rest of his email blathers off into typical non-committal political-speak.

2,000 acres?! I can't tell if he's seriously entertaining the ridiculous notion of spending $100 million for a cow pasture or if he's trying to diplomatically say he's planning to rein in the numbers to a more acceptable amount.

He closes with “Our Fiscal Year 2007 budget has not yet been marked-up by either the House or Senate. In it, however, we will ensure that the passengers and crew of Flight 93 - who sacrificed all - will receive a lasting tribute to their memories and the values of freedom and liberty for which they stood.”

Rep. Taylor also mentioned in the message that the World Trade Center projected cost is in the $500 to $800 million dollar range. Another outrageous boondoggle.

I don't mean to belittle the victims of 9/11 or their families in any way. And yes, I believe there should be a suitable tribute to them, something to help Americans honor and remember them and also what happened that day.

But these exorbitant amounts being considered are absolutely insane, even if the Federal government is only picking up half the tab.

In a day when Washington is operating deep in red ink, President Bush wants to sell off National parks to pay some bills, and we have continuing budget problems in getting adequate armor and supplies to our fighting forces, at a time when the Fed won't loosen their grip on the 18 cents of taxes per gallon of gas (Exxon, et al make about 10 cents), and we just can’t seem to muster a buck to build a wall against illegal entry into this country, I just don't think spending these huge amounts of tax dollars in this way is very smart.

This all comes down to pork-barrel politics and Pennsylvania and New York are obviously taking advantage of the opportunity to take a long drink at the Federal trough.

This has got to stop.

I hope you'll join me in telling your elected officials to turn off the money spigot on projects like this. Enough is enough already.



Tax the oil companies?

With all the hoopla going on in the press and in Congress, including some mis-guided Republicans talking about supporting a corporate windfall tax on the oil companies, and the criticism about the sweet deal the retiring CEO of Exxon is getting with his $400 million retirement package, could somebody please tell me why there's no screaming in the streets over Bill Gates and Microsoft for even higher profits?

Let's talk about gouging.

"For the fiscal third quarter, Microsoft reported operating income of $3.89 billion and profit of $2.98 billion on sales of $10.9 billion."

That's almost a BILLION DOLLARS A MONTH of pure profit!

Bill Gates is the richest guy on the planet. $400 million is chump change to him.

Microsoft is selling a plastic disk for over $200 that costs them less than a penny and all it has pressed on it is a copy of Windows XP, which still, after 15 years, is a mediocre OS so poorly written and so full of security holes and leaks that it looks like a piece of Swiss cheese from a Tom & Jerry cartoon.

Who is gouging whom?

Or how about Charter cable (run by another Microsoft Billionaire) and all the other cable and satellite companies. We're over $100 a month now for "basic cable" and internet service, and they still nag you to add on yet more movie channels like Showtime, HBO and Pay-per-View.

Yes the oil companies are reaping record profits in terms of dollar amount. But the reality is they make about 10 cents a gallon on gas. They just sold a LOT of gallons. The Federal government takes almost twice that from you in taxes on every gallon. And state and local governments take even more. About 40 cents of a gallon of gas is TAXES. So why aren't you boycotting them?

Who is gouging whom???

The oil companies create hundreds of thousands of jobs directly and literally millions of jobs indirectly. You'd better be damn glad they're out there cranking out gas as fast as they can so you've got gas when you want it so you can hop in your SUV and drive to the spa any time you want to. Maybe you tree-huggers should keep that in mind the next time an oil company wants to build a new refinery.

And don't even get me started on ANWR.

One other thing on taxes.

Repeat after me: Corporations don't pay taxes, PEOPLE pay taxes.

You can tax the oil companies all you want, but they're still going to earn their 10 cents a gallon profit. How? Simply by raising prices of course. Who do you think pays for ALL of the expenses and taxes a corporation pays in the process of producing and selling their product? You do! It's built into the price of the product. "Profit" is the money that's left AFTER all expenses are paid and those expenses include taxes, regardless of how much you tax them.

That's so obvious I can't understand why those pinheads in Washington don't get it.

Government Remains Biggest Oil Profiteer

Even the LA Times gets it:

LA Times Op-Ed: Crude economics