Sunday, April 17, 2016

April, 2016, Part 2, By The Numbers: More Weapons To The MIddle East, More Hassles To Filing Taxes, and More Bad Priorities From the Obama Administration

On a periodic basis we do some posts that fall under the theme of “by the numbers.” Rather than trust what the American political tells us about reality, we like to examine the real numbers and the real reality in the world to understand what is actually going on. Relying on politicians, and their cohorts in the media, to tell us what is reality is always a sucker bet. They have their own agendas and goals, usually centering around their needs and self-enrichment. So we need to look at the reality of the numbers to determine what is really going on.

Previous analyses of “by the numbers” can be accessed by entering the phrase in the search box above. This is the third and final post this month where we look at the numbers to truly find out how good, not likely, or bad, most likely, the American political class is doing in managing our tax dollars, protecting our freedoms, and resolving major issues that affect all of us. 

1) Pew Research recently completely an interesting and involved study to determine what issues are most important to Americans today, providing a priority list of things that they would want the Washington political class to address most heavily. As you will see, as usual, Washington in general and Obama specifically, are very much out of step with what are most important and worrisome issues to Americans today.

Pew gave the poll participants a list of 18 issues facing the country today and asked them to choose which ones they felt should be a top priority of Obama and his administration. The results show a major disconnect:

  • Gun policy was 16th out of 18 as far as being a priority even though Obama has been obsessing about shredding the Second Amendment rights of Americans.
  • Climate change was only 17th out of 18 even though climate change is another obsession of Obama.
  • Global trade ranked dead last, 18th, even though Obama has been pushing hard for his new Pacific trade pact to be approved.
  • The economy was the number one issue with a whopping 75% of poll participants saying Obama should focus on that.
  • Unfortunately, Obama has provided no new economic plans, thoughts, or focus on the economy for years and even when he did have economic thoughts and strategies earlier in his term, e.g. his economic stimulus program, they were failures, resulting in persistent high real unemployment, anemic economic growth, stagnant wages and incomes, and over 45 million Americans on food stamps for years.
  • Dealing with immigration has increased as a priority by 11% since Obama took office, the highest increase of any priority, but despite this growing concern, illegal immigration continues unabated along with the drug running, human trafficking, and criminal elements that go with it.
  • The priority to strengthen the military has gone up 8% since Obama took office but our overall military fighting capability has deteriorated during Obama’s Presidency.
  • Protecting the environment, another Obama favorite, has dropped 5% as a priority with Americans since Obama came into office.
  • 51% of the poll’s participants think that Obama’s failures will outweigh his accomplishments and only 39% think his accomplishments will outweigh his failures.
  • Independent voters are even more pessimistic about his failures and accomplishments with a 16 point difference between the two. 
Very telling numbers. A Presidency and political class that work on things that are irrelevant or much less of a priority to the majority of Americans and ignore issues that are of the highest priority to Americans. Maybe that is why nothing ever gets resolved by Washington these days and over the past couple of decades. Today’s American politicians do not know how to resolve the highest priority problems facing Americans so they work on stuff that has no answer just to look like they are working on something, e.g. rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Pathetic leadership and know how. The numbers do not lie.

2) Since most of us just got done paying our taxes to the Federal government, consider some facts and numbers that show how perverted our current tax code is, as explained in an article in Reason magazine by Veronique de Rugy:

  • On average, each American family had to expend 8 hours and $120 to file their tax personal returns.
  • This translates into 1.35 billion wasted hours just filing tax returns. 
  • The compliance cost to the country, Americans, and our economy to file those non-business tax returns is over $20 billion a year.
  • 45.3% of Americans do not pay anything in Federal income taxes. Were you in that 45.3% or were you the one of the 54.7% of Americans who actually paid real money to the Federal government while many of your neighbors paid nothing?
  • The top 1% of earners in this country paid a whopping 37% of all Federal income tax while the top 10% paid 70% of all Federal income taxes.
A few observations relative to this idiocy:

  • How many needy Americans could be helped if some of those 1.35 billion hours could be funneled into volunteer work to help the needy, hungry and homeless in this country rather than wasting time doing tax returns?
  • How many needy Americans would be helped if that $20 billion could be funneled into the needs of the needy, hungry, and homeless in this country rather than wasting time paying for tax returns to be done?
  • Given that almost half of all Americans do not pay anything in Federal income taxes, it is not a surprise that they do not get excited when the American political class wastes Federal tax money on stupid and inane projects and programs, they have no stake in making sure that Congress and the President are spending tax money efficiently and effectively, none of that wasted money is theirs.
  • Given that record numbers of Americans are leaving the country every year and renouncing their citizenship and the likelihood that those leaving are part of the top 1% or top 10% of earners, how long will it take for the Federal government raises taxes on EVERYONE to compensate for the high earners leaving the country forever?
Scary questions and results from a scary, cumbersome, and stupid tax code, as proven by the numbers.

3) One last set of numbers for today. When Obama came into office, there was significant hope across the MIddle East and the World that he would help to finally bring peace to the region. But consider some numbers from the March 4, 2016 issue of The Week magazine:

  • A huge weapons buildup is current underway in the Middle East.
  • Saudi Arabia is now the second largest arms and weapons importer inthe world behind only India.
  • Annual Saudi and Qatar arms purchases are up an amazing 275% since 2011.
  • Weapons imports by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are up 35% since 2011.
  • Iran is ramping up its weapons purchases, mostly from Russia.
  • But despite that hope of peace from Obama early in his term, the United States is still by far the world’s largest weapons and arms exporter in the world, accounting for one third of all weapons sales.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Obama is not better than all previous Presidents, the numbers showing that this country is still the nation most responsible for arming the rest of the world, a very dangerous world.

That will do it for the numbers today. America making the world a more dangerous place, the IRS and the U.S. tax code making life more miserable for Americans, and Obama more out of touch with what is important to Americans, the numbers do no lie. More depressing numbers tomorrow.

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