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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Walker's War on the Elderly, Rural, Middle Income and Poor of Wisconsin - Raise Sales Tax

12/26/2015 ... Be aware -  anytime Walker takes something away from one group, say your School Board, County Board, Teachers or state employees he is lowering the common denominator.  Others not in those groups have less control of their lives.  Your benefits or privileges are affected too.

1/1/2015 - MJS:  The myth of Scott Walker as a budget guru











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1/22/2014 Walker's "State of the State" essentially meaningless.  Who paid the $1 billion in taxes collected that now may be distributed.  By that I mean incidence - wealthy or poor, elderly and/or rural residents?

1/24/2014 - The top 20% of Wisconsin wage earners — those making more than $88,000 a year and paying the most in taxes now — would receive 44% of the benefit of Gov. Scott Walker's latest proposed tax cuts, a new analysis shows.
The bottom 20% of state residents by income — those making below $21,000 a year and paying the least in taxes now — would receive 5% of the $504.6 million Walker wants to cut in property and income taxes, according to the review by the liberal Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy and the Wisconsin Budget Project.

Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/headlines/top-wage-earners-taxpayers-get-biggest-benefit-from-walker-tax-cuts-b99191408z1-241905661.html#ixzz2rXvWTJZE


Scott Walker: Eliminating income tax, raising sales tax on the table


In the printed version of WSJ under the label "Tax Reform" the Wisconsin State Journal headlines "Gov. Walker eyes more cuts".  The subtitle "His administration is exploring the idea of eliminating income tax while raising sales taxes in Wisconsin".

I don't know whether this is just another trial ballon or just an illustration of Governor Walker continuing to pander to the elites and 1%.

Who would such a change harm or have the greatest impact on.
  • Middle and low-income families.
  • Those living on fixed incomes, i.e., pensions, Social Security, et al, (double whammy).
  • Those generally living in rural counties and communities
I suspect a lot of people do not realize that those on Social Security in this state pay practically no income tax - this "perk/subsidy" was passed by Democrats and signed by Governor Doyle.
All social security benefits that are taxable for federal purposes. Up to 85% of social security benefits are subject to federal tax, but Wisconsin does not tax social security benefits. For taxable years beginning in 2008 or after, all federally taxable social security benefits are allowed as a subtraction.  page 5 of report in the link

Income tax in this state is mildly "progressive" which means the more you earn you pay at a higher tax rate by brackets.  Everybody pays on earned income at the low end.

I will probably add to my comments and observations as this "topic" continues to evolve.
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12/21/13 some data

Governor Walker’s Tax Shift Plan Would Raise Taxes for Most

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

What's up with this ad? Just benefits no costs to environment?

Although an exact number may be available all I can say is that it is played on "cable television" a lot!  I'm confident I've seen it at a least 10 times a month for at least the past several months.

What's wrong with it is that it uses our "brains" against us.  The ad has practically no substance or evidence included.  If the "farmer" and "circumstances" are real and let's assume they are it is at best a non-factual testimonial that this guy has not had any problems with raising cattle and having natural gas wells co-exist on his farm.

Their About says this -
Published on May 29, 2013
Keith has owned his farm for 30 years. With six active natural gas wells on his land, he can now grow the size of his farm, modernize his equipment and even send his grandchildren to college - all while protecting the health of the land and groundwater.

http://www.thinkaboutit.org

This kind of statement and the video narrative are what Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize Winner, describes as "availability and affect heuristics".

The combined use causes most of us to become "positive" about the co-existence of gas wells and farming just by hearing the narrative. We only hear and see positive things.  We are not presented with any possible risks or negative consequences.  Certainly it is being posited that somehow groundwater is being protected by the co-existence!

In Kahneman's book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Chapters 12 and 13 go into these heuristics illustrating how they are an artifact how we sometimes think too quickly and need to carefully reflect on what we are being told.

You have to wonder why it is being "run" over and "over" again when we have strong political discussions going on about benefits versus costs of fracking, pipelines, local governmental control and environmental impact while many politicians are being "fracked" with political contributions.



Ad placed by: ANGA - America's Natural Gas Alliance

The "Think About It" tagline is also being run on NPR these days ... 12/13/2013 ... about public utilities using gas in Georgia ... not coal I assume? 1/29/2014 ... still doing it on NPR ... although there is a campaign going on to stop it now!

Texas family plagued with ailments gets $3M in 1st-of-its-kind fracking judgment


#Fracking #1% #Elites #Politics WI 1848 Forward:What's up with this ad? Just benefits no costs to #environment ? #47%

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Market Economy versus Market Society: Inequality and Civic Decisions - TED - Michael Sandel



Here's a question we need to rethink together:
 What should be the role of money and markets in our societies?

Michael Sandel: Why we shouldn't trust markets with our civic life


He makes the very important distinctions between Market Economy and Market Society!


Over the past three decades, we have lived through a quiet revolution. We've drifted almost without realizing it from having a market economy to becoming market societies. The difference is this: A market economy is a tool, a valuable and effective tool, for organizing productive activity, but a market society is a place where almost everything is up for saleIt's a way of life, in which market thinking and market values begin to dominate every aspect of life: personal relations, family life, health, education, politics, law, civic life. (bolding added)

Sandel gives two reasons for being worried about letting a Market Society come about.  I agree with him that we have been letting this happen.  One reason has to do with "inequality", e.g., a small group of people have a lot more money or wealth than most, by far the majority, of the people.

But when money comes increasingly to govern access to the essentials of the good life -- decent health care, access to the best education, political voice and influence in campaigns --when money comes to govern all of those things, inequality matters a great deal. And so the marketization of everything sharpens the sting of inequality and its social and civic consequence. ... (bolding added)

The second reason is that "social goods" served in a market society by market thinking is that our view of the "social goods" are changed.  I would translate this into potentially affecting our morality and ethics.  How should "social goods" be distributed? By need, by lottery, or by ability to "pay?"

There's a second reason apart from the worry about inequality, and it's this: with some social goods and practices, when market thinking and market values enter, they may change the meaning of those practices and crowd out attitudes and norms worth caring about.

Sandel does not directly address market regulation or management or control but it is implicit.  Any one who approaches this topic with a clear mind has to continue to question and consider "markets", how are they functioning and are they an appropriate way to allocate resources.

Watch the video. Read the transcript.  I only summarize his ideas.



04/05/2014

Consider this story in the context of the Supreme Court giving those with money a "bullhorn" to shout their views while the rest of us can only cup our hands.


Moyers - Is Net Neutrality Dead? 5/2014 New Threat ! PBS   ... let it not become "one of those things you can't afford!"

Another perspective -- EQUALITY -- click to listen -- 12 minutes

The Declaration of Independence: The Ultimate Self-Help Guide

So my night students got the kernal of the Declaration a lot faster than any other students I’ve seen. What the Declaration offers is a certain kind of rigor of analysis. What’s your diagnosis of your circumstances? What do you propose to do about it? How do you justify it? Three steps. So I think they found it very empowering. What was the different kind of course they wanted to set? How would they justify it.

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#1% #Elites #Inequality and #Civics Decisions WI 1848 Forward: Market Economy vs Mkt Society:  #TED -Michael #Sandel

#Morality #Inequality & #Civics Decisions WI 1848 Forward: Market #Economy vs Market Society  #TED -Michael #Sandel

#Inequality and #Civics Decisions WI 1848 Forward: #TED - Market Economy vs #Immoral Market Society == #Walker WI

#Inequality #Immorality WI 1848 Forward: #TED - Market Economy vs #Immoral Market Society == #Trump - Who is he for?